Something I wrote two years or so ago for a friend's birthday. Personally, it's one of the things I've written that I enjoy the most. So there's that.

the agreement

When Neku heard the terms of the agreement he had been in the midst of downing an orange soda from Sunshine. The burger was already long gone with wrapper conveniently teetering off the edge of the booth's table.

But, perhaps it's best if we start at the beginning.

It was the beginning of summer and it was an exceptionally hot day in Shibuya. It was Neku's last summer before college and he was determined to make the best of it. Of course, his plans had already been thwarted. A day prior, he had asked Shiki to go out with him. She had kindly rejected him (Eri had been close by and blushing up a storm and oh god why hadn't he realized they were doting on one another?!) and demanded that they stay best friends no matter what and hang out during the summer. It had been a huge smack to Neku's ego, which hadn't really grown since the end of the Game two years prior. All Neku had wanted was to have a girlfriend during his last summer in Shibuya. Someone he could go to the movies with, allow his hormones to develop and experiment with on (but nothing too drastic, he told himself, because not only would that be awkward but he didn't feel ready for that), and someone to actually care about on more than a platonic level.

That all came crashing down when Shiki said no. Beat and Rhyme had consoled him and he had shrugged it off quickly and went back to drawing, but he was clearly perturbed.

And that was why he was here at Sunshine the next day, drowning his sorrows with burgers and soda. With Shibuya's Composer.

"…You want me to what?"

Joshua had, surprisingly, been tolerable the past two years. After the initial hurdle they had to face, as well as a few demons from the past, the two managed to iron out a decent friendship. When Joshua wasn't busy playing God of the Underground, and when Neku wasn't swarmed with class work or out with his other friends, they'd sit around and talk. Actually talk. Not snark and grate each other's nerves, but actually talk. Somehow, Neku had built up a tolerance for the teenager's rash and idiotic tendencies, but this? This was a bit too far.

"You said you wanted to enjoy your last summer," Joshua said flippantly, lounging in the seat across from Neku. "So why not?"

"There's…so many things wrong with that statement, Josh," Neku said slowly, hand coming up to rub his forehead. Maybe he never would get used to being best friends with Shibuya's Composer.

"Name them," Joshua demanded, fingers beginning to strum the table in irritation.

"Okay, one. I said I wanted to have a girlfriend for the summer. Girlfriend." He emphasized the words by dropping his hands to his chest, cupping them, and then jerking them upwards a fraction. Joshua dignified the gesture with a small snort of laughter. "Two—stop laughing, asshole—Two, I'm not into guys."

"Because physical body parts are all the rage nowadays," Joshua purred in amusement. "Go on, my apologies."

Neku glared but continued nonetheless. "Three, I would never, ever, ever consider dating you, because that would entail kissing you."

Joshua gave another snort of amusement. He sat up some and reached across the table, stole Neku's soda, and took a sip. "Oh my, it seems I have, in fact, kissed you, Neku. Whatever will you do?"

Neku's glare shifted into a pathetic pout as he grabbed for his stolen soda. "That's not the same, dick."

Joshua giggled mercilessly and handed it back with a pleasant smile. "See?" he said when Neku took a brooding sip. "Now we've officially kissed. With tongue, actually, considering the exchange of saliva—"

"Would you cut it out?" Neku mumbled around the straw of his soda as he looked away. When he finished the drink, he sighed.

"You said you wanted to enjoy the summer," Joshua mused, hand flying up to twirl his hair out of boredom. "And besides, you'd be dating the Composer," he said, this time a bit lower, violet eyes sparkling mischievously. "I don't think you can do any better, Neku~"

Neku groaned and slumped back in his seat. "How about no," he sighed. "I'll find someone else. There has to be a girl I'm forgetting about that wouldn't mind going on a date or something."

"No one knows you better than I do," Joshua reminded, tipping his head back to stare at the yellow ceiling fans of Sunshine.

"Creepy…but true," Neku confessed and absently toyed with his French fries.

"Or do you still hold that cute little grudge from two years ago?"

Neku glowered. "I still haven't forgiven you for that," he reminded, gaze sharp, but it softened after a moment.

"So~ I don't see the harm."

"Just because you're a flaming gay doesn't mean I am too."

"But Neku, haven't you ever heard the saying, 'it takes one to know one?'" He tossed his ex-partner a wink and nudged his foot at Neku's from beneath the table.

Neku's face accordingly turned a soft red and he moved his foot away. He chomped down on a few fries seconds later to distract himself from the forming blush. "No, you're just obvious. Anyone could tell that you liked dick."

"Vulgar," Joshua pouted.

"I don't know why I'm friends with you," Neku said, wringing his hands in defeat.

"Because it's not your choice," Joshua purred and finally got up from the booth. He reached for the small black bag he had brought with him. "I hate to cut this short, but I promised Mr. H I'd be at Wildkat by three, and it looks like I'm already going to be fashionably late."

Neku couldn't help but chuckle lightly under his breath. "Point proven."

"I'm sure he'll understand," Joshua continued, putting his things into the bag. "I'll just tell him I was ravishing you. Crisis averted." He shot the redhead a dramatic wink.

"Girly boy ravishing me," Neku repeated, nose scrunching up. "Uh…don't see how that's possible. He'll know you're lying."

"Oh, I know," Joshua agreed and slung the bag over his shoulder. "I wouldn't believe it unless there were marks on my neck."

Neku's face surged a hot red and he gaped. "….Excuse me?"

"Nothing," Joshua hummed and headed for the door. He tossed Neku a wave over his shoulder. "I'll see you tomorrow, then. Hachiko, as always?"


Neku feebly returned the wave and stared back down at this food once Joshua was gone.

Two years earlier

"You…actually came."

A softy, airy giggled the suddenly quiet Hachiko. Joshua stepped closer to the statue, hands nestled in his pockets, and gaze securely fastened to the stunned redhead who was leaning against the surrounding wall, in a daze. The Composer lifted his hand in a mock greeting before sashaying over, eyes reflecting the midday sun.

"You invited me, didn't you?" Joshua said, tilting his head curiously at Neku.

"It's been…weeks and you…" Neku's gaze lowered, his shoulders tensed, and he went quiet. Joshua remained silent as well, merely observing his proxy, before Neku's head snapped back up, usually apathetic blue eyes drenched with emotion. "You asshole!"

The rawness to Neku's voice caught Joshua off guard, and the Composer blinked.

"You-!" Neku bit back a strangled growl and did the only logical thing. He punched the jerk right in the pretty-boy face.

Having been completely unsuspecting of the blow, Joshua stumbled backwards, losing his balance. His backside hid the hard pavement and a wince came from the usually suave Composer. Of all the things he had forgotten to do, he just had to forget to keep his guard up around Neku.

"That's charming, really…." Joshua mumbled and rubbed the small of his back, remaining seated on the pavement.

Neku sucked in a deep breath, body still shaking, just a bit. "That's for what you did," he grumbled.

"And here I was expecting a hug of some sorts…" Joshua mumbled sarcastically and fixed his gaze on Neku. "Hm?"

Neku's hand was in the air, extended out towards the Composer, just waiting. "Well, are you going to take it or not? I'm hungry and Sunshine closes in a bit."

A small, weary smile cracked on the Composer's lips. "…Naturally."

"Guys, uh, this is Joshua…"

Why they didn't remember him was beyond Neku's understanding.

"Hi," Shiki said with an uplifted smile. Her arms clutched Mr. Mew tighter. As if she knew. As if the truth was still buried in her head somewhere, but had been temporarily turned off.

"A pleasure," Joshua greeted, staying close to his once proxy.

"Have I seen ya 'round before, prissybritches?"

Neku frowned at Beat's question and lack of proper decorum. He visible paled, though. "Beat—"

"It's nice to meet you," Joshua interjected, eyes sparkling with a bit of mischief.

Neku could feel a tangible haze of awkwardness settling in upon his small group of friends. He coughed and decided to propel the conversation before it came to a crashing halt. "So—Sunshine?"

"You're an exchange student?"

"Mhm," Joshua said, idly toying with the fries in the small dish. "I've been here for three years now."

"That's so cool. I've always wanted to visit New York," Shiki said in utter awe.

"A dazzling place," Joshua answered and spared a look to Neku. "You okay there?"

God, can he be any more gay? "Just. Fine." Why was Joshua flirting with Shiki?!

"You sure…?" Shiki frowned. "M-Maybe we should start heading back to Hachiko?"


Always one with words, Joshua.

Why did, after only two weeks, did Neku feel like he had known the jerk all his life? Like he had been dealing with his antics and strange speech pattern since the first grade? Why was Joshua becoming an engraved, inane part of his routine? Like he always there… Like…

He was part of his life.


"Think I should get this, Neku?"

Joshua had dragged Neku to Pegaso that day. The strange thing was that the Composer hadn't mentioned the proposed agreement . It wasn't like this ignorance was remonstrant, but it did pose a plethora of questions. Had he just been jesting? Had it all been a gag to see if he really would fall for it? Joshua was, by nature, a horrible flirt. It grated on Neku's nerves. Not because oftentimes it was directed at him, but because the jerk had led on countless girls, including Eri (he didn't feel too bad over that incident now, considering the Shiki fiasco).


Right. He had zoned out.

"Isn't it a bit…" Girly, even for you?

"Expensive?" Joshua guessed. A giggle followed, sounding like bells. "No worries, I have enough."


Neku's hand instinctively went to the spikes of his hair. Uncertain as to what to say, he merely shrugged and settled his gaze on a blue tile on the floor.

"What's up?"

"Nothing," Neku mumbled and kept his gaze averted.

Joshua returned to the racks of clothes and hummed pleasantly under his breath; Neku recognized it at once as Shibuya's song. The Composer looked oddly content. That wasn't saying too much, considering the bastard was always smirking, but it was nice to point out those sort of things, especially when he seemed sincere for once.


He didn't look over.

"I'm game."

Still no response or reaction. God damnit.

"I'll go out with you."

Shibuya's Song fluttered and then ceased for an entire moment. Her Composer did not turn around at first. Awkward moments ensued.

"Are you coming on to me?"

Without warning apart from a faint, airy giggle, Neku's wrist was seized by Joshua. He was then unceremoniously, and forcefully, dragged to the back of the store and consequently the dressing rooms. Neku barely struggled, too used to this kind of behavior. Though, the gawking middle-aged women weren't helping matters. Once to the stylish fitting rooms, Joshua gave a slight shove to Neku's lower back and pushed him in.


"As much as I like you, Neku, saying that out in the middle of Pegaso wasn't advisable."

Right, prim and proper elderly people stuck in decades before where same sex relations were kept on the extreme down-low. They primarily hated teens nowadays, especially those that were sexually curious.

"You weren't paying attention, how else?"

"I was just trying to make you flustered." A smirk. "And it clearly worked."

A faint red surged on Neku's face. Subconsciously, he touched the headphones around his neck. "Jerk."

Joshua cooed mockingly and leaned back against the door. Just in case any brazen oldens were so bold as to step in on this conversation. "Now… you've finally come to your senses? My, my, it certainly took you awhile."

"More like lost my senses."

Joshua released the beginnings of an actual laugh.

"If we're doing this," Neku said, eying Joshua surreptitiously, "I have a few rules."

"Really, Neku?" An exaggerated sigh. "But go ahead."

"One, we don't kiss."

An arched brow. "Oh?"

"It's reserved for, you know, actual relationships."

"But Neku, you've kissed an awful lot of girls with less than decent pasts."

Neku choked on air and nearly tripped backwards into the mirror that hung up on the back of the mini-room. "—What?!"

"It's only the truth," Joshua said nonchalantly and coyly smirked.

"Shut up…" A growl.

"Other terms, Neku?"

"…I'm the one to tell my friends."


"We don't tell my Mom. Got it?"

"Yessss. Anything else?" A bored look.

"No more sleepovers. Ever."

"Afraid you'll molest me?"

"…No. The complete opposite."

"As if~"

Neku reached up to rub his temples, feeling an incoming headache. "And we break up the day before I move in to college."

"Of course."

"A no strings attached relationship, okay?"

Joshua waved his hand dismissively. "I get it, Neku."

A deep breath. Neku closed his eyes. "So we're really doing this?"

"It seems so, partner~"

"I can't believe this…"

"Yes. The theater is rather large~"

Joshua was slouched back in a cinema chair. A tub of popcorn was balancing precariously on the armrest between them. Neku groaned and tried to get comfortable, but how could he when he was on a kind-of date with the God-Damned Composer?

He had thought about it. Thought about it long and hard. They had been legitimate friends for two years and now, the very idea of dating just seemed … strange. But here they were, in a no-strings attached relationship. And his stomach was churning and the mental images of kissing Joshua, of touching the Composer, the god of the UG, the most powerful being in Shibuya… it seemed so surreal and random and he just couldn't accept it.

"You're tense."

"Gee, I didn't know that."

"Afraid we'll get caught?"

"Excuse me…?" Neku was barely paying attention at this point, still trying to calm himself from his frantic, confused thoughts. Why had Joshua even proposed this stupid idea?

"When you go down."

Neku sat straight up in his chair, sputtering and nearly choking on his spit. The back of his hand rubbed his mouth moments later, trying to maintain some shred of dignity.

"Like hell!"

"It was a joke." Joshua's giggling was merciless.


Neku slumped back in his chair and began regulating his breathing again. "Dating you was a bad idea." Here came the thoughts of Joshua and him together again.

"I'm sure~"

"No really. I've never been on a date—"

"With a guy, or one that didn't involve a favour."

Neku shut up. So he had had two girlfriends since the Game and both had awkwardly given him a hand job at a movie. Not like they were sluts or anything, but they certainly weren't too surewhat they wanted from life. Considering the longest relationship lasted for four months, and the girl moved on rather quickly to a guy much more dangerous than Neku.

"I regret telling you these things about my life."

Joshua shrugged absently. "At least I know you like danger."

Neku chose to ignore Joshua.

"One week, Joshua."

"And a wonderful week at that."

For some reason, that simple sentiment made Neku blush.

But nothing made his face redder than when Joshua didn't make any moves in the theater. At all.

"I thought I had said no sleepovers, Josh."

But that doesn't stop the Composer of Shibuya from nudging Neku over with his elbow, all the while cradling a bag of popcorn and two sodas in his arms. Neku sighed before complying, albeit defiantly shooting his boyfriend a halfhearted glare. When there was enough room on Neku's bed, Joshua was seated. The Composer smirked and lazily offered one of the sodas to Neku all the while setting the bag of popcorn on the comforter between them.

In the dim light of the television, Neku could barely make out the smirk, but he knew it was there. With a sigh, he took the soda and went about chewing the straw, taking a sip a few seconds after. At least Joshua hadn't done anything strange to the soda.

"So what are we watching?"

Neku didn't answer and continued chewing distractedly on the plastic.


A tap to the teenager's head and Neku reflexively turned, mouth's grip on the straw disappearing. "What?" he asked, not having heard a single word of whatever it was Joshua was going on about this time.

"I asked you what was on the tv, silly," Joshua said with a dismissive hand wave. His feet ascended up on the bed and his back perched back against the headboard.

"Comfortable?" Neku asked sarcastically before turning his attention back to his soda.

"A bit," Joshua agreed. "Well?"

"Some mystery or something," Neku explained and took a long sip.

Joshua's eyes accordingly brightened at the prospect. "You know me too well," he jokingly cooed and stretched his arms, lacing them behind his head. Frankly, he was the picture of comfort.

"So…you staying the night?"

Joshua's smirk took shape. "But Neku, I thought that was one of your rules? You seemed pretty opposed to it a few minutes ago."

"I changed my mind," Neku decided simply and went back to watching the television and completely ignoring his attention-demanding boyfriend.

Joshua all but pouted. Still, the statement made his brow quirk and he couldn't help but chuckle under his breath. "Is that so…"

"Be happy I'm in a good mood."

"More than words can express." A snicker.

"Just shut up and eat your popcorn."

"Yes, sir." And Neku was used as a headrest for the rest of the night, even after Joshua had fallen asleep.

Joshua had been spending a lot of evenings, and nights at that, down at the River, doing Composer business. Something along the lines of revamping the Game with his Conductor, and needing to spend a lot of the time doing that. Sometimes, though, the Composer event spent days without a single word to Neku. Not like he was jealous or anything, or missed the creep. They had been together a month and barely done anything; barely touched hands, and yet… yet he had grown this bizarre possessive habit. And was it paranoia? Was it paranoia that made him wonder, rather stupidly at that, if that new Conductor was attractive, was smart, was witty, was what Joshua would really want.

Neku hated himself for thinking that. For acting childish. But he just couldn't help it.

And this was one of those nights. Where he had made plans with Joshua, only to receive a text earlier that night saying that the Composer would be busy and that they'd have to reschedule.

His head hurt.

Which left Neku sprawled out on his bored, on his laptop, utterly bored. With unfounded paranoia gnawing at his mind every two seconds.

"Happy July, Neku~"

Neku glanced up from his laptop to gawk at his boyfriend. "Happy July, J…?" A pause. "I thought you were busy."

Joshua lingered by the door to the bedroom, casually leaning, gaze affixed to Neku. "We finished early." Nice wording, Joshua. "You look busy yourself. Should I come back later?"

"No." Neku immediately closed his laptop and sat up on his bed. "What's up?"

"Came to visit you. I felt bad about breaking our plans," Joshua replied with a shrug.

"…Oh." Unexpected.

"Don't want that?"

"No, it's fine." Neku gave a weak smile and awkwardly gestured beside him, in case the jerk wanted to sit down or something. Not like he would or anything, right?

"Do you know what day it is?"

"July 1st?" Neku supplied, watching as his pseudo boyfriend took a seat.

"Besides that."

"I don't know…?"

"My birthday," Joshua explained and flashed Neku a charming look.

"What…really? Composers have birthdays?"

Joshua scowled. "Neku, that's rude."

The once proxy couldn't help but let out a laugh. "No offense."

"None taken," Joshua answered with a coo and flopped down on his back. "Would have been eighteen, too."



The jerk hadn't even given him notice to get a present or make a card or plan anything! When had he become so sentimental though? Wasn't a 'Happy Birthday' good enough? Clearly not, nowadays.

With a sigh, Neku shifted down into a laying position beside Joshua. He moved just a bit so that his chin was situated on the Composer's shoulder. "Happy Birthday. Thanks for the warning, asshole."

A soft, pleased coo. "It's why I'm here."

To spend his birthday with me…. A hefty blush. Shut up, shut up….

Without prior warning, Neku tipped his head to the left, closer to his Composer and ghosted his lips over the crook of his boyfriend's neck. A moment of hesitation and then his lips were flush to the arc of a pale column of skin.

"….Neku?" An airy gasp.

Neku made a low noise in the back of his throat and moved his lips up along Joshua's neck, almost as if to tell the idiot to shut up. Still….hell, he could feel his pulse under his lips. A slight tremble and oh god…

"Mm…" Joshua's head tipped back, exposing more of his neck.

Neku watched in subtle amazement that the Composer was actually making noises like that. A shiver slithered down his spine and he had to keep from pulling away. He could do this. He had done this before to his girlfriends so why was this so different—

"Feeling…brazen today?"

An airy gasp. The first thing they had done together and Neku was the one initiating it.

"Shut up." A faint grin on Neku's lips. "You like it."

"Mm… perhaps."

Neku finally pushed away and eyed the red spot. "…Not enough to make a mark but…"

"I think it makes the point quite nicely," Joshua decided, lifting a hand to gently run the pads of his fingers over the spot. His eyes flashed deviously and he smirked. "A wonderful birthday present. Creative, too. That's a plus."

Neku rolled his eyes, forced himself to regulate his breathing, and flopped back against the headboard. "Yeah, I know."

Joshua couldn't help but faintly giggle. "There's something bothering you."


Neku looked at Joshua carefully, noticing the deep and telling expression in his eyes. God Damnit. Why did the jerk always have to be right about every little thing? "It's nothing, Josh."

"Oh, but that means it's something," Joshua argued and reached out, lightly taking hold of Neku's chin with a frail hand. "And knowing you, you won't tell me. Well, you probably will, but it'll come out much later when you blow up over it. It's probably something small, too. Am I close?"

Neku flushed and tried to wrench his chin away. "It's nothing."

Not because it truly was nothing, but because he felt stupid and guilty for even thinking about what it was.

"Wrong answer, Neku. Try again?"

"There's no second chances when it comes to guessing. I lose," Neku argued and tried again to tilt his chin away, but Joshua kept a firm, yet so soft, grasp on it.

"You got a second chance, didn't you?"

Neku glowered. "Dude, don't even bring something like that into this conversation."

"My apologies," Joshua giggled and finally let go of Neku's chin, satisfied with the shade of red he had turned. "I could always scan you if you won't tell me."

"Here's me trusting that you won't," Neku said in response and closed his eyes. "Listen, if it was a big deal I'd just say it, okay?"

"So you admit it's something."

"….Go die."

"Already am. Try again~"

"…Drop it, Joshua."

"But I can't drop 'it' if I don't know what 'it' is. Why, I could drop a lot of things." A growing, bold smirk and he draped an arm around Neku's shoulders. Neku paused, tensed, and felt himself being tugged closer. And that arm around him was warm and comforting and since when did Joshua suddenly get so close to his face? "Well, Neku?"

"Maybe some other time."

"But it's my birthday," Joshua feigned a whine, lightly tugging on his boyfriend's sleeve.

Neku rolled his eyes. "I already gave you a present, jerk." A blush at the reminder.

"Enjoy the moment, Neku."

"I'd enjoy it more," Neku began, snaked his hand behind his back, and triumphantly smashed a pillow upside Joshua's head, "like this."

And that was the beginning of the most entertaining hour of Neku's summer, let alone his teenage life. Having a pillow fight with Joshua. Fucking Joshua Kiryu beating Neku upside the head with a pillow without any fancy powers, without any pretenses. Just two teenage boys, occasionally playing dirty with a brush of lips here, a brush of hands there, and the occasional clamor that usually ended up with them on the floor, beating each other senseless with the feathery weapons, until one combusted from ironic and pathetic laughter. The position was compromising, yes, but for some reason, it just made it all the victory all the more sweeter when Joshua was beneath him, hair mussed from multiple pillow-assails, breathing heavily, face tinted, and completely and utterly human.

And perhaps in that moment, Neku realized, somewhere along the line, he had crossed the line of acting and stepped boldly into the unknown.

"You've got ketchup on your face."


Neku scrunched his nose up at his boyfriend, ignoring the foot lightly teasing his own, and continued eating his lunch. "I'll wipe it off when I'm done," he added and took another bite of his fries.

Joshua snorted and lazily slouched back further in the booth. "How goes that book you're reading?"

"It's fine; and your work?"


Neku lazily smirked. It was strange, but asking about 'work' in general had somehow morphed into a direction question of, 'Are you busy later?'. A few months of dating a person could cause a development of personalized lingo, apparently.

"My place or yours?"

"Do you even have to ask?" Joshua twirled a strand aimlessly around his finger. "Have we ever gone over mine?"

"I forgot—you live in the sewers," Neku smirked and went about consuming his burger.

Joshua all but pouted. "No, Neku. That's just a clever cover-up."

"A fancy sewer, then?"

Joshua couldn't help but snort under his breath as he reached for his water. "Neku Sakuraba, be happy that I like you."

Neku cheekily smiled after swallowing. "Lucky me."


They both ignored the fact that this was Neku's last week before college.

Joshua's foot lazily ran along the side of Neku's. Neku didn't move his away, nor did he jerk. He only continued eating, wearing a slight pink to his face. Joshua wasn't as open about PDAs as he had expected, but the occasional, furtive, flirtatious gesture was enough to make him flustered and know that he was technically putty in the Composer's hands to toy with.

"Why Neku, you're turning red…"

"Gee….wonder why," Neku grumbled and tossed his boyfriend a meaningful stare.

"Almost as red as you did the other night when—"

Neku all but choked on his fries. No, Joshua was not bringing up the end of July. That one, warm night where they had been arguing over what to watch and had ended up forgetting about the movie altogether in favor of something far more interesting—each other's necks, ears, jaws, the occasional hip, leg, thigh—And yes, Joshua had technically speaking got him off, but no clothes had been violated, which only made it all the more frustrating.


Joshua smirked deviously. "Remind me again what you said when you—"

"Shut. Up." Neku breathed through his teeth, face a hot red, glaring dark holes into the Composer's person.

"You're very vocal about your needs. It's almost endearing."

Neku opted to ignore Joshua after that, even after he felt the Composer's hand on his knee, tracing absent circles.

Lunch was always such a pleasure with the dick around.

"That's a lot of bags, Neku."

Neku glanced over his shoulder at Joshua who was curiously inspecting his collection of bags near the corner of his bedroom. He had already packed his suitcases, made sure all his music was in order, neatly folded his clothes, and brought everything he possibly could think of. College was going to be rough and he was going to need the comforts from home. That he was certain of.

"So when does it start?"

"Next Monday."

"And your Mom is driving you up tomorrow?"

"Yeah, it's orientation weekend," Neku explained and he sat down on his bed. "For freshmen."

"Cute," Joshua teased and took a seat beside him. "And corny."

"Is not." Neku rolled his eyes. "I'm kinda excited."

"Of course; it's college," Joshua teased and closed his eyes and flopped back down on the bed. "Too bad they don't have Sunshine there, hm?"

"They might."

"Not the same one."

"True. The burgers are probably better at the one on campus."

"No Scramble Crossing either."

"Yeah, but they have this cool shopping district not too far away."

"Neat. And practical, I suppose."

"Yeah. I looked online and there's an awesome music store nearby that sells single-cds before they hit the radio or online. It's sweet." Neku laid down beside Joshua, yawned, and closed his eyes.

"How fortunate for you."

"And apparently they have a fencing team. Pretty sure I'll be a pro at it. I mean, after all those Pins and whatnot."


"…Think I should try for any other clubs?"

"I don't know, Neku."

"I picked a few easy classes for the first semester. You know, just to make sure I get adjusted."

"Of course…"

"And the person I'm dorming with seems pretty cool. I've talked to him on facebook a few times."

"Good for you."

"Yeah, and –" Neku paused, cracking open an eye. It had taken him awhile, but he had finally realized Joshua didn't seem all too interested in his ramble about the weekend and year to come. Instead, he looked a bit peeved and perturbed. Neku subsequently shut up and allowed the silence to engulf them. It was awkward, but comforting. Then again, awkward was never Neku's true style, so he started up again, albeit a bit hesitantly.

"Beat said I should try out for the Debate team, because apparently I'm good at that sort of crap."

"Of course you are."

"I mean, I always beat you in arguments, so why not a team?"

"Mm…if you say so."

Yeah. Joshua wasn't enthused.

"And it's probably a better atmosphere for me. Not as busy city-life and less trifling and—"

Neku was cut off when his chin was seized. He blinked, eyes widening involuntarily without warning. His gaze barely had time to meet frustrated violet before his senses were shut off. At least, everything except feel because the only thing that flooded his entire body for the next minute was an undeniably hot liquid warm that started at his lips, rushed through his chest, and landed down at his groin and—

And Joshua had broken the number one rule—no kissing.

Wait. Joshua was… kissing him?

And fuck. He was good at it, too.

The Composer's hand remained tightly on Neku's chin as his tongue traced Neku's lips, wet, warm, powerful, and commanding. His free hand lodged itself in the orangey spikes, ignoring the soft noises of surprise from him.

Neku's body shivered and he wasn't sure what to do; but instinct eventually took over and he cautiously moved his lips back against Joshua's. Not with as much force, because whatever was driving Joshua was far more than some teenage desire to experiment, maybe frustration and – and Joshua was really, really good at this.

Why had he refused any sort of kissing for the three months of summer?

"Josh…?" Neku gasped when Joshua broke off, hands still securely at their positions.

"You…" Joshua began, voice low and authoritative, "belong in Shibuya."

Neku's entire core trembled and he didn't know what to say. Didn't know what to think. Joshua had never once voiced true dissatisfaction over Neku leaving, never once asked him to stay, never once said he was important. And now… now Joshua had just said that, in that tone, and why the hell did his eyes suddenly become hot, red, and stinging from all the building water and—

"Josh… that's…"

"With me," Joshua added, voice a fraction softer, a fraction quieter, a fraction hesitant.

Neku couldn't help but shake in the Composer's hold. "I—That's…"

"If you thought," Joshua began, lips at the corner of Neku's mouth, and god damn he really needed to stop using those lips like that, it was so unfair… "for one minute, that I agreed to this just to attend to your bored whims, you're dimmer than I thought."

Dimmer…. Neku blinked and tried his best not to break down right there in confusion. "Why the hell are you telling me this now…?!"

Oh, he got the implications.

It didn't matter.

Joshua bruised their lips together again, entertaining the question, but in the end decided just to steal Neku's breath, finding it more satisfying. Neku shut up and let himself enjoy it for the time-being.

Let himself enjoy every minute of it until he couldn't any longer—until he felt his Vibe change, felt his body arch as Joshua dragged him higher, touched him, kissed him, used all those Composer tricks on places that weren't meant to be used like that and – and it was nothing that he would ever regret, even though, deep down, he knew he should have.


Neku was at Hachiko, waiting for the bus that would bring him to the airport. He was seated on the small wall and had been absently touching the marks on his neck for the past hour. Joshua had only recently decided to show up, hands in his pockets, eyes distant, and hair still messy from the night before.

"Have fun at college, Neku," Joshua offered, waving a hand in greeting as he neared.


He couldn't make eye-contact. Not after the night prior. It wasn't like he hadn't done anything like that before but… but it was just different. Felt different. Felt serious, felt substantial, felt far more real.

"Pull your collar up. Don't want your Mother to see you like that," Joshua teased and tilted his head to the side.

Neku blushed and did as instructed, grumbling. "You know this isn't permanent, asshole."

"Oh, I know. Just eight months out of twelve."

Neku winced. "No, idiot. Just one semester."


Neku inhaled deeply and looked up at the sky. His finger flirted over his MP3 and he closed his eyes. "I talked to the college this morning, talked with my Mom, and decided it'd be financially best if I did the rest of my schooling in Shibuya. Shibuya basically has the same schooling I'd be getting there, but just cheaper and I wouldn't need to board, so I'd be saving a hell of a lot of money that I could put towards graduate school."

They both knew that wasn't the reason at all.


"I'll be back in December."

Neku cracked open an eye and looked at Joshua. The priceless, stunned expression made it all worth it. "What…?"

"Nothing." He averted his gaze, honestly touched, or rather, stunned, by the proposal. "Just wondering what Shibuya will do without you in those months~"

Neku cracked a weak smile. "…You know, you could have asked me to stay from the beginning."

"Oh, I know."

"…And you could have just told me last night that you wanted to be with me for real."

"Mm, I know that as well."

"And that you're not quite as much of an ass as I originally thought you were."

"…I've been trying to tell you that for years, dear." Joshua smirked lazily and took a seat beside Neku. "Mm… I suppose this means that you aren't breaking up with me, then?"

Neku snorted under his breath. "No, Joshua, I'm ending it right now and going to go get laid at college, come back, and crawl towards the sewer in hopes that you'll take me back."

Joshua smirked at the absurd statement and lightly guided Neku's mouth towards his, eyes sparkling. "And then I'd have to show you just how one gets properly 'laid'."

Neku's face surged a deep crimson and he sputtered. "And then I'd… smack you in the face for being a pervert."

"Before or after you felt the best in your life? Oh wait, that was last night. My apologies~"

Neku pouted, even though he felt Joshua's warm breath over his. Good god… "You're a dick, you know that?"

"Mm…Well aware."