Slender, cool fingers card through unruly locks. It's barely dawn and sleep has escaped him yet again. The ticking of the clock down the hall thrums methodically, strangely in time with the slumber teen's Music. Soft, violet eyes watch him sleep. There's wall and boundaries; he's guarded, even in repose. Eighth notes scurry over the invisible staff-fast, slow, slow, fast, irregular. Then, a cessation. And then it begins all over again, on an infinite loop. A sigh escapes Shibuya's Composer. A warmth reaches out and brushes over the sporadic notes, ghosting them in a blinding, metaphorical light. Once touched, the melody reveals itself. It's lugubrious. It almost stings to touch it. A head ache is imminent and the Composer recoils his hand, frowning.

"...Josh, what the hell are you doing?"

"Hmm... that's a good question," he responds, feeling the nuance in the melody already. A shiver runs down his spine as the notes shift and reach out to him on their own accord. God, it's almost better than kissing.

"No, I asked you," Neku reiterates and sits up. He swats at his Composer's hand that's at his shoulder and frowns. "Well?"

Shibuya's Soul is yearning for that boy.

"Tell me," Joshua begins, eyes effectively masing his motives, "what does it matter? You're awake now."

His attempt is feckless.

"...You were doing it again." He glowers.

Blue eyes like that were never meant to see such grief, such despair.


"I told you not to mess with it." His statement is austere. There's not questioning the passion behind his words and the vehemence in which he utters them. There's a purpose.

"I can't listen to my Conductor's Music when I want?" He feigns a pout.

In the darkness, Neku reaches out and seizes the Composer's shoulder. "When I'm asleep?" A rather serious look follows, and all Neku can do is sigh in frustration. It's too early. Or is it too late? He can't really tell. It's been so long.

"What if I get lonely?" he coos, though stiffens a fraction at the contact.

"I'm sleeping beside you, idiot," Neku sighs in way of a reminder. His fingers curl tighter on Joshua's shoulder. "...Which, by the way, I still don't approve of. I have a room, you know."

"How sweet," the Composer mocks.

"Ugh..." groans Neku as his hand slips away. "I'm going back to sleep."

Joshua watches him, as if speculating. His lips purse together and in the moonlight he looks etheral. At least, more than usual. Without warning, he reaches out to his Conductor's Song and takes ahold. Neku groans and sits back up, but he can't suppress the shiver that follows such contact.

"What now?"

"It's her anniversay, isn't it?"

There's dead silence.

Neku's eyes widen and his breath hitches. His limbs begin to tremble and he doesn't look right away at Joshua. Instead, he lays back down. Silence remains and Joshua's brows curve upward. He hates always being right like this. Nonetheless, he moves closer and lays a hand on Neku's side, allowing his fingers to trace the dips through the Conductor's shirt.

"So it is..." he concludes, not needing the affirmation from the redhead.

Neku doesn't respond. His Music is response enough. It's grown melancholy again and it's aching. Crying. Falling apart. It's crushing in on him and dragging Shibuya's Composer with it.

"How many years is it?"

"Josh, stop," Neku demands forcefully, not afraid to undermine the Composer. He's grown used to this. Being Conductor wipes away most inherent fears of God. "I don't want to talk about it."

"Her Soul," Joshua begins, tracing a certain strand of Neku's Song as he speaks, "was almost as bright as yours. Was she an artist, too? There's a certain chord that only comes with artists, you know. Has Sanae told you that yet? If he isn't, well, shame on him. But yes, her Soul and Song were definitely something. Definitely comparable to my Conductor's."

"Josh," Neku tries again but is silenced when some imaginary force coaxes his Song into submission. He emits a small gasp and closes his eyes. Why does it always have to feel so good?

"The good die young," the Composer reminds and his hand has begun to move up Neku's body and is soon near his jaw. His index finger slips upward and he traces the pale skin to the spot between the boy's eyes. "You, of all people, should know that, hm?"

"Josh-" He's growing angry.

"But that's just fate, I suppose~ It's really a shame, though-"

"God damnit Joshua, why can't you take a hint?! I don't want to talk about my Mother with you!" he snaps and sits up again, smacking the Composer's arm away.

The peaceful Melody shatters.

All that's heard is Neku's uneven breathing and the dying rage in his eyes.

"...Be glad that I'm in a good mood," Joshua says, almost a bit condescendingly, as he watches Neku.

Neku sucks in a shaky, deep breath and lowers his gaze. "Just drop it."

A nod, though he's not really complying. "She loved you, Neku."


"And as much as I hate to admit it, because really, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth ... perhaps more so than I do."

There's an eerie silence and the Composer's gone from the room.

Neku isn't surprised. Any mention of anything remotely serious that doesn't involve Shibuya itself and he vanishes. He goes off to arrange Music, to attend to business, to deal with Mr. H. He always leaves like that. Always has the last word.


Neku can faintly hear the Melody of his Composer in his leave. The Conductor sucks in a deep breath, forcing ill thoughts away of both his Mother's and his Third Death from his mind. Instead, he focuses on the Melody that lingers.

And if sounds were to have a scent, it would most definitely be a lavendar twilight.