For: Melly

It was snowing.

It was such an oddity for it to snow this time of the year. Usually Shibuya was too warm for anything but rain. Even stranger was that the flakes were actuallysticking to the awning of the roof outside Neku's window. But perhaps what was the strangest was that Joshua was home that afternoon. Sundays were church and piano practice for the star-teen and Neku had gotten used to looking out his window and seeing an empty bedroom staring back at him. Today, however, was different.

Joshua was seated at his fartoo expensive desk, chin buried in his palms, bangs falling in his face, reading. What he was reading was out of Neku's line of vision, but he had his guesses - likely a book on biology. Didn't Joshua have the highest marks in that class? Which wasn't surprising, given his overall marks in general.

Neku leaned forward against his own desk, eyes narrowing to try and make out whether or not Joshua was actually reading or if he had dozed off. Neku contemplated taking out his phone and texting him but chose against it the moment he reached to open his drawer. He was low on minutes, anyway. His Dad would be peeved if he went over his limit for the third month in a row.

Settling upon simply observing, Neku leaned back in his chair and changed the song on his ipod. There was never a song that quite fit Joshua. It wasn't for a lack of searching, either. Neku just never was able to find a song that adequately summarized the relationship he had with his best friend; Joshua was an enigma that even Neku found hard to put into words and understand half the time.

The calculus homework looming on Neku's desk was nearly screaming at that point. It was due tomorrow morning. If he missed another assignment he'd suffer a point reduction on his overall grade. The missed assignments weren't so much caused by his lack of understanding - no, really, he was great at math and it was surprisingly his best subject. It was a matter of forgetfulness. That, and a matter of having so much better things to do with his teenage years than busying himself with math homework.

In favor of continuing to procrastinate, Neku leaned forward a second time. This time, however, he stretched his arm out enough to unlatch his window and nudge it open. Expectedly, a cold gust of air greeted his face. He had gotten rid of the bug-screen that came with his window a long time ago. It was bad for the nights that he wanted to sleep with his window open, but the benefits outweighed the costs. The largest benefit being sitting on the small ledge outside, staring up at the stars. On rare occasions Joshua would join him. Joshua's ledge wasn't exactly suited for sitting upon, so he tended to perch himself in the window itself, letting his legs dangle down onto the wood-ledge for support.

Neku's phone unexpectedly began to dance across his desk, buzzing loudly, sounding as if it was a small jet about to take off. There went the idea of being conservative with his minutes.

"Hello?" Neku propped the phone up against his shoulder, his hands going back to sketching skylines and cityscapes. He felt particularly inspired today. Go figure.

"Keep staring like that and you'll make me blush." Neku felt his face scorch a hot red. His lips drew into a thin line as his brows furrowed together, unimpressed.

"Hello to you, too, jerk." Neku lifted his gaze from his messy desk to peer across the way to Joshua. As to be expected, Joshua was looking back at him, smirk sprawled across his face. When their eyes met, the fairer-skinned boy wiggled his wrist in a half-wave. Neku couldn't help but scoff.

"I'm surprised you're not out building a snowman," Joshua said as his chin returned to his hand.

"And I'm surprised you're not at practice."

"It was cancelled due to inclement weather." Joshua pointed up at the sky melodramatically. "I doubt it's going to get to whiteout conditions. The weather people tend to ghastly over-exaggerate."

"Sometimes they're right," Neku pointed out, bringing his pencil up to his mouth to chew on. "It's those times you don't listen that'll bite you in the ass, Josh."

"Hmmm, I know. That's why Mother wasn't upset about the appointment being cancelled. Me, on the other hand..." A long pause as his eyes seemed to god damn sparklethrough the panes of glass separating them. " horribly bored."

Bored. Joshua. Those two words were never a good fit.

"Yeah, and?" Neku chewed harder on the end of his pencil. "I have homework to due, you know."

"You've been drawing for the past hour. Don't give me that excuse, Neku. It may work on Professor Mai, but not me."

Neku looked up again, eyes widening, absolutely scandalized. "How the hell did you know what I was doing?" Stirrings of a pout began to take shape on Neku's face.

"Your expression." Joshua's giggle was even moreannoying over the phone. Sound impossible? Well, the little shit somehow managed to do it.

"What do you mean?" Neku frowned back at him, very glad that the distance made it hard to see his embarrassment.

"Hmm, what's the word?" Joshua clicked his tongue a few times. "Dreamy. You look dreamy whenever you're drawing. You look like you're being tortured when you're doing real work."

"This is real work," Neku retorted quickly, bypassing the 'dreamy' compliment. Compliment? Was it a compliment or just another attempt to rile him up? Either way, he was going the alternate route. "I need to finish my piece for the artshow."

"Oh? You're doing that?" Joshua's interest was piqued again. His voice may not have conveyed it but the lift of brows beneath his fringe of bangs definitely did.

"Yeah. I told you I was last week, dumb ass." Neku grinned albeit sheepishly. "It's free to get in. It's being held at the school."

"Yes, yes, I know the details, Neku." Joshua shook his head. "I'll be there."


Neku smiled as his gaze dropped back down to his drawing. Shibuya. It was near Spain Street, a certain area he and Joshua frequented often after school to get a snack. The architecture there was breathtaking and he had finally gotten around to getting it down on paper. Along with many other parts of the city he loved. That was what his display was to be about, too. The beauty of Shibuya. Pride in one's city. Something cheesy like that.

"...So, why'd you call?"

"To tell you stop staring," Joshua said automatically.

"Are you serious?"

"Dead." It was almost a pur as the other teen winked from across the way, his free hand hooking in the knot of his tie he still had on from church earlier that morning. "Unless you plan on acting on those silly little stares of yours."

"Hanging up now before I go over my minutes. Later."

Neku shut his phone without waiting for Joshua to respond. He got up from his desk seconds later, managing to catch a brief flicker of surprise on Josh's face. It was a tiny victory, having rendered him surprised for once. The little things in life really did mean a lot to Neku.

He stretched his arms above his head before heading over to get changed. He had some snow to conquer and traverse through. He wanted a burger.

Were those... rocks?

Yes, those were definitely rocks.

Neku stared up at his ceiling. After a long moment, his gaze turned to peer at the clock. It read two a.m. Were rocks seriouslypinging his window at two in the morning?! A low growl started in the back of Neku's throat as he shoved off the blankets when the fifth rock hit his window, sounding as if it was going to break the glass-mixture the window was made out of. And if it broke, well, he'd certainly be in far more trouble than going over his cell phone minutes could ever wrought.

Neku shuffled over to his window and thrust it open, just in time to dodge a sixth rock that was incoming. The small pebble landed near his desk, clinking loudly in the silence.Seriously.

"Dude, if you break my window my Mom is going to strangle-" Neku began but was cut off when he realized Joshua was seated at his window, not on the ground like he had earlier suspected.

Usually, the other would come home late and Neku would have to help him sneak back into his bedroom. There was a tiny lattice near Joshua's window that he would climb up while Neku played lookout to make sure the Kiryus were fast asleep. What Joshua was doing out so late all the time Neku didn't necessarily wish to know.

"Hi there." Joshua waved from his perch, head tipped to the side.

"...Why are you awake right now?" Neku brought his hand up to cover a yawn. "It's two in the morning."

"I'm aware." Joshua hummed thoughtfully. "I can't sleep."

"So you're going to make me suffer, too," Neku finished for him, elbows coming to rest on the edge of his window. If he didn't, well, he'd probably fall over from how tired he was. "As uh, touched, as I am, I kinda wanna go to bed, Josh."

"You already got up. What will ten minutes more do?"

"You're insufferable." Neku closed his eyes, willing away the sleepiness for the time being. "Ok, you can't sleep. Why?"

"Caffeine, likely. I was finishing a term paper earlier and I suppose I had too much."

"So this is self-caused. I don't feel sorry for you." Neku yawned again, grumpily scrunching his nose. "You could have called me. You didn't have to chuck rocks at my window."

"Pieces of gravel, actually," Joshua corrected as his legs dangled back and forth.

"Ok, gravel." Neku frowned. "We're going to wake my parents up."

"Tell me a story and maybe I'll leave you alone."

"A story?" Neku couldn't believe what he was hearing. It was two in the morning, it wascold outside, and Joshua was seated in his window like a small child wanting to hear abedtime story. It took everything Neku had not to slam the window shut and shuffle back into his warm, inviting blankets. God, his bed was such a temptress right now.

"Yes, a story. I'm sure even you can handle that."

He was insulting him on purpose, wasn't he? "Ass."

"Well?" Joshua drawled, fingers strumming against the windowsill.

"Augh, fine." Neku moved a few things on his desk before he took a seat, cross-legged, on it. It was a bit uncomfortable, but if he sat any further away, he risked waking his parents up. Neku cleared his throat despite it. A story. How was he going to come up with a story on the fly? Let alone a story the other would enjoy. This was a miserable turn for the worst.

"Well, Neku?"

"I'm thinking," Neku breathed out in vexation. "All right. Once upon a time-"

"How cliche."

"Can it."

"Yes, sir."

"Not too long ago, there used to be a ruler of Shibuya. He could have anything he wanted, whenever he wanted. He ruled the city and everyone that lived there. However, because he was ruler, he couldn't leave his throne. If he did, someone else would take it and he would lose his position. Anyway, because of that, he was a lonely ruler. He had no friends and no one ever came to see him. Ever his subjects didn't know the real him."

"Wow, this is depressing, Neku."

"Can you shut up for two seconds?"


"One day, the lonely ruler decided that he wanted to see his City. He asked one of his servants to sit on the throne and pretend to be him in case someone came to overthrow him. It sounded like a good plan. So the lonely ruler went out to look at his city and get to know his people."

Neku shifted, surprised that Joshua's gaze was fixed solely on him, utterly fixated on the story. He continued.

"When he was out, he met a few people. A merchant who showed him the native foods that made Shibuya famous. A young girl who showed him the latest music and trends. And finally he met a boy. One that ran into him when he was out and kept walking. Naturally, not used to being treated like that, the lonely ruler got ticked off and called the boy out. The boy just laughed at him. A fight almost happened, had it not been for the fact that the lonely ruler noticed something special about the boy."


"He remembered him from before he was the ruler. They had been friends when they were young. Really young. But he remembered him, because no one else in Shibuya had such pretty eyes."

"Pretty eyes. Really, Neku?"

"Do you want the story or not?"

"Yes, yes. Continue."

"Well, the boy obviously didn't remember him. The ruler didn't say anything and murmured an apology before heading back to his throne. He felt even worse. He felt lonelier than he had before he left."

"Neku, are you awake?"

Neku started, nearly falling off the desk altogether. His Mom's voice rose from down the hall, making his heart stop. Panicking, Neku tossed Joshua an apologetic stare before quietly closing his window and lunging back into bed. Just as quickly he dragged the blankets over his head and feigned sleep. Damn it, if he was caught awake at this hour, talking to Joshua, well... well his parents would be mad.

Too bad he wasn't tired anymore.

By the time his Mom had come and gone to check on him, Joshua was already gone.

Yes, this night absolutely sucked.

It was snowing, again. Neku decided it was going to be common this winter to look outside and see a mini-blizzard between their two houses. The sun had already set and the only light was radiating off the moon and their bedrooms. But it was enough.

Joshua was in the midst of practicing piano - he could hear it. Joshua had closed his, but Neku's was open. He could easily hear the faint pitter-pattering of piano keys. It sounded like a cascade. Neku found himself subconsciously humming along to the beats he came to know because of how often Joshua played them. He had never told his friend that he liked to listen in on his practices. Was it weird? Neku wasn't entirely sure but he wasn't about to bring it up.

Still, though. The way the other's hair fell down over his shoulders, the way he bent forward just slightly - despite being told always to have a straight back when playing... Neku couldn't help but smile. Joshua truly was a piece of work. A piece of artwork. Which is why he sketched him so often. He had the perfect proportions, the perfect blend of feminine and masculine features - he was the perfect model.

But that's the only reason he drew him. Because he was like having a personal model whenever you wanted right outside your window. That was all. Of course.

Neku's phone buzzed again. When he looked to see what it was about, a tiny text popped up.

"I'll play for you one day, if you're that enthralled." A little heart was stamped after it.

Neku nearly gagged. Pompous ass.

Rocks were hitting his window. Again.

And he had a math test in the morning.

God damn it he was going to destroy Joshua.

Begrudgingly, Neku got to his feet. By the time he had made it to the window, he came to the realization that it was rain and not little rocks smacking the glass. He hesitated, though. Not because it was raining and would likely the entirety of the next day, but because Joshua was sitting outside his window again, legs dangling out, pajama bottoms completely soaking wet. And he was staring up at the sky, almost lifelessly. Neku bit his bottom lip. What was that about? Didn't he know he could get sick and die? Ok, maybe that not severe, but with Joshua, nothing was out of the league of possibilities.

Neku found himself opening his window without even realizing it.

"...What's up?"

Joshua didn't answer him. The rain was falling in just the perfect angle so it was brushing Joshua's face. Neku frowned again.


Joshua finally seemed to register that Neku was talking to him. He looked over, eyes just as lifeless as the rest of his form. "Hm? You're awake?"

"Yeah. Duh." Neku eyed his the window before all but crawling out it to sit on the small ledge outside.

It was cold, and wet, and he was certain he was going to die if he made one wrong move and fell off the slippery ledge. But here he was, in his pajamas, getting soaked, staring at an unresponsive Joshua. It was probably near midnight and he was going to pay for this in the morning, he really was.

"You look like death," Neku offered up trying to lighten the mood.

Joshua's gaze did not betray any hints. "Say, Neku. How does that story end?"

"...What story?"

"The one you told me a few weeks ago. About the ruler of Shibuya."

Neku frowned. Oh, this again? "I don't know. I was making it up as I went."

"I see."

"...What's wrong?" Neku tried to reach out across the way to try and touch Joshua. He failed, though. They had learned this long ago that despite being so close, touching from their perches was impossible. Now, Neku was cursing it more than he ever had before. Joshua looked like he was about to break down and all he could do was sit here and stare at him.

"Do you think he finds happiness? Or is he doomed to be a lonely ruler forever?"

"I don't think it matters, Josh, it's just a story."

Joshua didn't respond. Instead, he giggled, emptily. "Shall we make up an ending, then?"

"Sure." If it'll make you feel better.

Joshua's gaze lifted again, meeting Neku's. It was a bit distant, but at least it seemed a bit livelier. "He went out again to City."

"Yeah, and he tried to find the boy."

"Mhmmm." Joshua's lips formed a straight, indifferent line. "And he scoured the City for him."

"He wasn't sure why, though." Neku wasn't entirely sure where this was going.

"It was obvious, if he searched himself enough. That boy was the only person who made him feel alive. Made a rather bland life worth living. Made him feel like a person." Joshua wasn't looking at him anymore.

"He found him eventually."

"Well that's good. Because the ruler needed someone to talk to. To listen to him."

"And they talked for a few hours."

"The boy never found out who the ruler was, either." Joshua frowned. "It was a pity, really. But they remained friends. They saw each other a few times after that, though."

"Whenever the other one needed cheering up." The rain grew heavier, louder, colder. It was almost hail at that point. "Josh, we should probably go in before we get sick."

"That's likely the best course of action."



Neku stared at him for a long moment. Never before had he wished the ledges were just a tiny bit closer. Just a bit. Joshua tossed him one final look before heading back inside. He slept with his phone by his side that night, just in case. Just in case.