Ginger hair. Neku slept around and now there would be twice the hell to pay. Joshua's mind swam with images of the pink haired whore, fixated on their infidelity as if it were being replayed on a screen. Neku would pay. Eri would pay. The child would pay. This was Joshua's world and he could not allow such filth to reside in it.
Who punishes a child for its parent's sins? God does. Joshua is God. He will abort anything that mars his land. The child will atone for the sins of its parents. Shibuya will be pure once more.
One could say many things about the Composer, reclined and resplendent in his throne. Dangerous, blasé, reckless and certifiably crazy were often thrown around by people who should have known better and people who already knew too much. None would ever think to call him brave. Hanekoma knew better though, regarding the two exhausted boys with a tired smile. Anyone who had screamed at the Angels like he had, willingly accepted censure, practically invited erasure like Joshua had deserved to be called brave. All for the boy resting in his lap. Joshua was powerless, in love, and so very brave.
A deep, guttural growl reverberated through the streets outside Towa Records as incisors shredded the delicate flesh under the girl’s collarbone. Blood flooded the paving, filling in cracks and giving the asphalt a patina like tea in old earthenware. The crunch of bones was enough to shake the girls partner out of his stupor, anguish cries erupting as he dived forward in a futile attempt to save the two of them. He fell down, knees buckling whilst the shark tore out her jugular, slipping into catatonia as the girl’s bell pendant clanged on the floor.
Everyone has to eat sometime.
They rarely kissed, not any more. Preferring to express desire, and it was really nothing more, through roaming hands and breathy moans. They had kissed at first of course, the older Composer usually initiating it. Shaking pecks and trembling tongues had dominated the first few weeks of their relationship, mouths battling each other for dominance. Neku had won of course. He would always win. The kissing had stopped them, the ginger boy preferring to keep things purely sexual. Sometimes though, when Neku would shake in terror in slumber, Joshua would let their lips connect and the boys sobbing would cease.
Joshua felt himself shudder involuntarily as the chilled wine slipped down his gullet, taste lingering long after. It was rare he was able to indulge in pleasures like this. In the bright silence of the Dead God’s Pad, he knelt on the glass floor, back arching as he poured the last sips of his wine down his chest, eyes transfixed as it trailed down to pool in his hip bones. He groaned as he ripped choux pastry off a cream puff, chewing noisily and appreciatively as his cream caked fingers deftly flicked against his pert nipples. Mmm, I’m in paradise.
F. F idget
Joshua fidgeted. A lot. Neku observed it with curious amusement near every day. No matter the class, nor the company he was always squirming in his seat, fingers tapping out sonatas on his thigh, braiding his fringe. It happened outside too; visits to Sunshine usually ended with a veritable flock of origami swan as the silver haired boy furiously folded burger wrappers. Sometimes it was more subtle though. When it was just the two of them lounging on his bed, his toes would still shuffle in his socks, like he wanted to say something but just didn't have the courage.
Neku was colour. Pure, undiluted vibrancy, a cacophony of bells and rapturous snare pummelling through his veins with every breath. Each thought was a canvas, each hope a mural and every synapse fired brush strokes. He was every facet of the spectrum, a million and one hues, Shibuya breathed them all into him and Neku was only too happy to return the favour. Everything he touched luminescent with pure creativity, the city was flourishing, a true melting pot of art and music. Neku was paint, Shibuya was a canvas, and Joshua, he was the gesso that held the masterpiece together.
WildKat is painfully hipster these days, pallet furniture local, independent bean roasters and artisan pastries. Joshua thinks he should just franchise out a Starbucks. Sanae thinks it’s Joshua’s fault he can’t make any more art. The Angels stripped him of his ability to imprint after the Long Game and it turned out that without the subtle brainwashing, CAT didn’t have nearly enough charm to compete with Phones. Sanae needs his café to start paying the bills now so he desperately jumps onto every trend he finds. Joshua doesn’t think he’ll ever try hard enough to succeed. Sanae doubts it too.
Neku's nose and cheeks flushed brightly as his mittened hands dug greedily into the powdery ground, compacting and twisting with a grace usually reserved for those who actually did live in snowy climes. Limited edition CAT scarf fluttering in the breeze he crawled out of his new favourite abode, snowball clutched firmly in hand and then swiftly hurled even more firmly at the Composer. Said boy had perched himself rather cautiously on what had previously been the body of a snowman. Cautiousness was indeed wise as he soon found himself snowballed rather unceremoniously off his seat by his guffawing proxy.
Though his clothes may not usually portray it, Joshua was actually rather fashion conscious. He was simply far more comfortable in his lavender button down and jeans than whatever crop tops and miniskirts the Harajuku boys were wearing these days.
Neku however was not. Rather emphatically not. He had spent a particularly frustrating three days during the Game insisting on wearing nothing but Mus Rattus. Whilst Joshua was eternally thankful that this was now behind them, he did still wish the boy would expand beyond JotM. "Don't try and say you're sporty dear, I've seen you try to lift weights."
It had been far too easy and he wouldn’t be particularly surprised if the Composer had wanted to be done with all of this. She’d been neglecting Shibuya for some time, artists moving away and fashion stagnating. Joshua twisted the knife sharply and confirmed his suspicions when she simply sighed as her knees crumpled underneath her. Take care of her, won’t you. The imprints weak and he barely picks up on it, too fixated on her pupils dilating as her soul starts to dismantle. Literal stabbing in the back is apparently a bit gauche. He should really switch to guns.
Mrs. Sakuraba wasn’t dealing well with the divorce. She’d known it was a long time coming, of course, but it still hit her like a freight train when the papers were set in front of her after Neku had been sent to bed. Work was her escape and she threw her energy into overtime shifts. She did feel bad, honestly, that she saw Neku so little, but she was sure he’d understand.
Soups in the fridge, love you. Neku growled as he tore up the note left on the fridge before forcing his headphones on and stalking off to Udagawa.
Joshua's mother was serene as always, floating through the kitchen, it was obvious that she gifted her son his grace. Joshua loved his mother. Everyone loved his mother. She ruffled her son's hair as braised aromas wafted up from the plate she laid down. "That Sakuraba boy…" She started gently, hand rested on her child’s shoulder. "You love him don't you." Joshua tensed as he realised his secret was out then let himself relax when he heard the approving smile in her voice. It was in that moment; Joshua knew he was right not to pull the trigger on himself.
Joshua clasped his hands tightly against his ears, face scrunching up in pain before his mother ran in to scoop the young boy up in her arms, gently shushing the child as she rocked him slightly. “N-noisy!” he choked out as he started to sob, ugly globs of tears falling down his face as he buried his face in his mother’s sweater. She frowned slightly as she smoothed down silvery blonde locks, Joshua had been getting awfully upset over these imaginary creatures he called noise and she wondered idly if yet another trip to the child psychologist might finally work.
Shibuya’s throne room was rarely home to such a spectacle and just about every reaper wanted to be present. Filling out the cavernous room and stretching right back to the bar of the Dead God’s Pad. Neku stared out with a look of at least mild terror on his face as the Composer inked in the remains of his Conductor sigil on his back. The Composer nodded out at the ensemble who quickly leant down into a deep bow and began to chant, marks mirroring those in Neku’s flesh blossomed on the stone floor as the prayers started in earnest.
The Composer was strong. The Composer was above all. The Composer was in control, of Shibuya, of himself and damn it, in the bedroom. The Composer was firm. The Composer was loving. The Composer demanded respect. The Composer received respect. The Composer was God incarnate. The Composer would not back down. The Composer was second to no one.
The Composer would not be bound. The Composer would not whimper names as he begged for release. The Composer would not suck on command. The Composer was putty in his Proxy's hands. The Composer was a plaything. The Composer belonged to Neku.
"What about it?" "I just thought we could go one day, take a holiday." Thin arms slip over the ginger boy’s shoulders, slender fingers fiddling with his treasured music player. Neku had never thought his older partner would want to take a holiday, always insisted that Shibuya was all he'd ever need, all they'd ever need. He sighed as he relaxed back against Joshua's chest. "Isn't that a bit far, what about Okinawa?" "Too hot." "Hokkaido?" "Too cold." "Joshua can you even speak French?" His tone was exasperated now. "Dear, I can barely speak English." Neku's head fell in response.
“You want me to do what?!” Neku hisses, regarding Josh incredulously. “That sounds dangerous, quite possibly illegal.” Joshua just giggles, idly spinning the knife between his fingers. “Risk aware consensual kink, there’s an element of danger, certainly. Good thing I trust you with my life then, isn’t it, plus I don’t harm too easily you know.” Silver glints along pale flesh followed by a thin line of red, Joshua proving his point as the wound heals back up a few seconds later. Neku, for his part, stares transfixed at the crimson circling Joshua’s wrist, gulping air to steel himself. “Safeword?”
They complement each other terrifyingly well. Whilst Kariya is undoubtedly powerful he lacks drive, waiting till the very last day to drag in enough points to make it through the month. Uzuki, however, could take about eight months off and still wouldn’t be anywhere near erasure. He encourages her to take a day off and calm down every once in a while, she encourages him to not get erased this month. It’s symbiotic really, they feed off each other- maybe that’s why they have their puck, and they’re both pretty much sure they’d just be empty souls without the other.
He felt numb. Fingers carded through limp hair, thumb caressing a gaunt cheek. Neku stared up at him, eyes glassy and unfocused. "Will you be there?" Voice raspy and near silent. Joshua nodded and felt his insides churn as a smile played on his lover’s lips. He wouldn't be. Neku was Angel property, soul refined and shining.
He had begged, pleaded, screamed with the Angels. There would be no more Games, no more chances. It hit Joshua like bricks, that his powers were limited. His proxy would die in his arms and he was powerless, truly powerless to save him.
Shiki and Eri meet for sushi every week without fail, Eri brings new sketches, Shiki brings new fabric and the girls eat half their body weight in conveyor belt sushi. This week Eri wanted udon instead, just wanted to try something new. She sets a sloppily sewn green pig plushie on the table next to her steaming bowl and gestures towards Shiki. “I sewed!” Shiki pales slightly, suppressing the urge to spill out something about her not being cut out to sew, instead she forces a bright grin on her face. Some wounds are still raw, but she’s getting there.
Joshua found himself positively swimming with pride over Neku's graduation. Whilst he would certainly not admit it to the orange haired boy, he had been watching him these past three years, watched him grow and change into a mould that was completely his own, past what even the Composer in his almighty wisdom had expected of the boy. From his perch in the rafters of the auditorium, he surveyed his group of survivors, taller, more confident, souls shining brighter than before the long game had commenced. The Composer had many triumphs, but none would ever rank higher than these four.
Neku's wings were breath-taking, all dangerous and comforting, dark and delicate, lace and razor wire. Joshua would often enter their bedroom in Pork City just to stare at them, tucked tight against his back. His hands ghosted over them, sighing as he felt the power ripple through the bones and feather. Neku tilted his head to smile fondly at his Composer, letting his wings flutter sleepily. "Shibuya cried for you, you know. When it thought you were gone." Joshua's voice, strangled. The orange haired boy nodded his response flatly. "I know. I could feel her… I came back didn't I."
Joshua doesn’t leave Shibuya. It’s been so long now he’s not even sure if he can any more. Shibuya is home, his kingdom, the outside world… isn’t, and that’s scary. It’s not any malice to his neighbouring districts, he’s sure the Akita Composer is a lovey guy really, but he’d just much rather stay where he has power and control. He doesn’t know any of the trends, the districts, even how their game runs. It’s all foreign.
He’ll get over it one day, but for now he pushes over an imprint of stargazing atop the 104 after a power cut.
Joshua’s squirrelled himself away inside the yurt somewhere, nature really wasn’t his thing and frankly, the sooner Neku concedes that it’s too cold, too insecty and they should really just go home and order pizza, the better. He huffs impatiently as Neku finally comes back in a with a plate of steaming hot dogs and potatoes and scoots himself under the pile of blankets Joshua’s trying to hibernate in.
Joshua hates camping, even with a facsimile of a roof, hates insects, hates the cold, hates the way camp fire food chars, hates yurts and kind of thinks Neku is okay.
The kid was never any good at maths. He wanted to be. He could see the beauty in the equations even if he could never reach the answer himself. He’d spent countless afternoons pouring over theorems and proofs, desperate for that jolt that’d make the answer fall into place, then the world would start to make sense, he was sure. The possibilities were infinite without the answers.
The Composer gave him the answers after his game, his treat. It took him four years and promoting to Officer before he figured out that he was actually in love with the unknown.