Type: Crossover, slash
Word Count: 19,000~ words
Characters/Paring: Neku/Joshua, Arthur/Eames, Team Death and the Dream Team
Warnings: slash and some kidnapping/drugging
Summary: The Angels are secretive, and Eames is used as a tool. Joshua is in love and Neku has become pretty good at games. And Arthur? Arthur wants the hell out of Shibuya.
A/N: A big thank you to my artist and Domi, who without her, this would never have come about. And also, to neoncitylights because that's where I got the idea.
Also, I've had some trouble with file corruption, so please forgive any paragraphing or punctuation errors.
Without further ado, Dancing with Air.
Neku sees Rhyme and Beat's faces in the crowd, heading towards him. There's a girl with chopped brown hair and glasses holding Mr. Mew that can only be Shiki. Even without that backstabbing, cruel, heartless, beautiful, asshole of a man, Neku can't help but feel that this is how his life is supposed to feel. That finally, everything is over. That everything is going to be alright.
But, of course, it isn't.
When they step out of the plane, even Arthur can't help but feel anything less than giddy. All the emotions flowing through his veins are magnified; his heart beating twice as fast as it should. The touch of Eames' hand at the curve of his back is electric and the relieved look on Cobb's face almost makes him shed tears. Ariadne is positively glowing with excitement, even though she can hardly understand what they've just accomplished.
In this moment in time, they're invincible.
It doesn't last long.
***Two Months Later***
Neku, Beat, Rhyme, and Shiki spend two months not talking about what happened to them. Maybe they should have, but he's certainly no physiatrist. More than that, Neku is not used to sharing his feelings with other people; even these people. If the words aren't coming easily to Rhyme or Shiki, then they're probably never going to come to him.
For the moment, it's enough for Neku to just be around someone who knows
Until one day it's not.
Neku is sitting quietly on Hachiko and is the first to arrive of their group. Usually he's not, but his foster parents are in a particularly bad mood that morning, starting off with a fight over cereal. Neku has always been one to slip away during conflicts (not worth his time or patience, listening to two people who are supposed to love each other forever argue over mundane things) and decided to quietly slip out. As he sits in the warming sunlight, his mind drifts in and out of fantasy and reality, further blurring the thin line of fact and fiction his previous experiences have created.
"Cute little boys like you should pay more attention to their surroundings."
Neku's head snaps up so fast it makes his neck crack, but at this point, he's too shocked to have a reaction to it. Joshua looks just like he did the last time he saw him; though last time he saw him, there was that little part about destroying Shibuya. Still, Neku's breath catches in his throat when he looks into Joshua's eyes.
Joshua stands two or three feet in front of Neku, with one hand twisting his hair and the other balanced so perfectly on his hip it looks like he's cocky instead of a gay fanboy. There's a grin plastered across his face, and if it were any other situation, it would have pissed Neku off.
"J...Joshua?" He stutters after a moment. The whole situation is just too bizarre. It feels like it's just the two of them in the crowd; they're invisible to all watching eyes and the mindless drones of people just move around them. Neku feels like an idiot, though, stuttering and blushing like a school girl. Hell, he shouldn't even feel this way towards Joshua. He was the one who killed him. He was the one that tried to destroy Shibuya.
Who knows why, but he feels that anyways.
"Who else would it be? Here I was thinking you got people, Neku," Joshua says in a taunting tone. There's a noxious feeling in the bottom of Neku's stomach as he remembers the conversations- arguments- they had by the river. He wants to be pissed off, but somehow he can't bring himself to be.
"Shut up," Neku mumbles instead, breaking eye contact. It? starting to make him nervous. For a moment, Joshua looks surprised, but he quickly slips back into his former cool expression. "What are you doing here, anyways?"
"Listen, I'll get right to the point," Joshua says. He becomes serious now, and more like the Composer Neku thought possible. "I have a little gift for you and your friends, but I can't have your silly emotions getting in the way. So do me a favor and talk it out."
"What the hell Josh-"
"No buts, Neku. When you have, go see Mr. H." Before Neku can formulate an intelligent reply, or even a thought, Joshua is flipping open his orange cell-phone making a small tutting noise in the back of his throat. "Seems like I've got to run. Stay out of trouble, Neku."
For a moment, as Joshua disappears into the crowd, Neku thinks that maybe everything will be okay if he follows the Composer and demands to know what's going on. He has a thousand and one questions to ask and Joshua is the only person who he can trust to answer them. But the moment passes, and Neku is alone again.
Arthur would have liked to say that the two months after Inception were like a honeymoon. That him and Eames were in a state of blissful happiness and tranquility while staying the Los Angeles. Those are the things he would have liked to say, but it doesn’t happen like that.
Oh sure, the first week is fantastic. Exactly ten minutes and 34 seconds after stepping off the plane with Eames in tow, Arthur books a five star hotel with his newly acquired fortune. The point-man feels vaguely like there should be an expensive diamond ring weighing down his finger. Over the course of a week, Eames makes five newlywed and heart shaped bed jokes; a fete Arthur didn't think was even possible. Of course, Arthur should have known that they were still riding high off the adrenaline of the job.
It's a Monday, two week after the job, when it starts.
Scratch that, it starts when Arthur wakes up Sunday morning to a bed void of Eames and a scrawly note written in a handwriting Arthur doesn't recognize on the bedside table.
Call 000-000-0003. Ms. May will pick up, ask for Ms. June.
Arthur's fingers trace over the note lightly, then heavier when the ink doesn't smudge. Upon further inspection, he deducts that the note isn't new, but it isn't old either. There's an uncomfortable thought gnawing at the back of Arthur's mind, like a mole he should be getting checked out. (The idea rambles things like, "Could be prostitutes. Maybe he's doing jobs for another extractor behind your back. Could be cheating on you, or working for a government that wants you dead. That’s pretty much all of them. The only thing is, even with all his training and schooling, he does not want to. At this point, all Arthur wants to do is go back to sleep. So when he hears the sound of a door opening and closing, that's what he pretends to do.
What they don't teach you in private schools or med school is how to handle other people. They don't teach you how to handle social problems or bullying or relationships the way public schools do, because they don't have to worry about their students gallivanting about. No, their too busy with their homework and doing nice things to put on their resumes.
Against his better judgment, he doesn't say anything about the note to Eames when he pretends to wake up, complete with a cheery disposition.
All he knows that is whoever Mr. Day, Ms. May and Ms. June are, they know who Marvin Eames really is. And that is worrisome. Not even mentioning the weird phone number.
The changes start off small, ,really small, after that. Things ranging from blue or black pens or what muffins or thread count. What Arthur thinks is an innocent comment about the coffee Eames buys them on the way to their flight to Amsterdam makes the forger send a look to him that makes Arthur think that he smells bad. (Arthur discretely leans his nose near his shirt to double-check even though he took two showers this morning.)
"You should have bought it yourself, then."
"Maybe I should have." Arthur spits back. Arthur knows both him and Eames are far too stubborn for fighting in a relationship when neither of them can use their escape methods of choice. (Eames likes to get naked, and Arthur likes to leave. A wonderful example of both happening in the same night was when they were having dinner back in the day with Mal and Cobb. Arthur didn't want Eames to where his hideous tweed jacket-so much so he was ready to have a fit over it- and to solve this problem, Eames took it off. Everything off. Later that night, when Arthur was ready to just about kill Eames for flinging mash potatoes with James and Phillipa, he decided to just go on a walk with Mal instead. So started their not-fighting.)
Eames grabs a cigarette from his pocket. Arthur snatches it away just as quickly.
"Arthur darling, I know you're ever so concerned about my health, but be a dear and give me my smoke back." Eames says through gritted teeth and well restrained anger. Without saying a word, or even looking at Eames, Arthur tosses it onto the street.
"What the hell, Arthur?" Eames yells.
"You quit smoking, Eames. Remember?" Arthur says and stops walking all together. Eames stops a few feet in front of him in order to give him a poisonous glare. "What's with you?" Suddenly, Eames becomes subdued and is far more interested in the sidewalk than Arthur.
"I'm sorry. Let's... let's just go." Eames shoves his hand into his pockets and hunches his shoulders. It's so disgustingly not Eames that is actually scares Arthur.
"No." Arthur says. He knew it would be stupid not to say anything about the note.
Consider this Arthur's blissful ignorance and irrational need to act like a normal person. "Eames, this ends now. What was with that note yesterday? Who's Mr. Day?"
If it was possible, the color drains further from Eames' face. His eyes are wide with shock, and the point-man can notice a slight tremble travel through his body. His mouth hangs open unattractively as he looks Arthur in the eye. He looks as though he's going to say something when he stops. He stops and doesn't move.
Then it's over.
Eames straightens up and his expression becomes stony and cold.
Lately, all Eames seems to be able to do is scare him.
"Don't wait up." Is all Eames says before he's gone.
He is numb.
They both are.
Before he does anything, Neku finds his way into a public bathroom and collapses onto the floor of a stall. Thankfully, he's the only one around the dirt stained room. He vomits into the toilet, a sharp and disgusting taste stinging in his mouth and throat. He uses the off-white, stained plumbing as support as he breaths in and out deeply, knees curling up to meet his chest. The toilet is cold to touch, just like his burning loneliness smoking away.
Neku does the most logical thing he can think of, and that's talk to Rhyme first. Out of all of them, the petite blond is the one most down to Earth, despite the fact she was the one turned into a Noise. He shows up crouched on the fire escape outside her window, the one he knew was there from a late night with Beat. It's a school day for the rest of them, but Rhyme's private school has the day off.
Over time, Neku has learned that Rhyme is the type of person who can best be described as lovely. She's kind and sweet and knows when to stop. Really, the girl is everything Beat boasted her to be. She was deservingly excepted into one of the best private academies in Tokyo almost immediately after their return. Neku likes Rhyme not only for her seemingly aged wisdom, but for the way she expertly handles Beat and somehow also manages to keep her own needs in mind.
Neku appreciates someone who can keep them all from losing their shit.
Rhyme opens the cheap sill, shoving just the right amount to the left so it won't get snagged. She leans against the side of it with a pleasant expression on her face as Neku crawls in. She's still standing there smiling when Neku gets himself in order.
"No school today, Neku? Shiki and Beat will be wondering where you are."
"We need to talk?" Rhyme guesses. She walks past him and towards the door, beckoning for him to follow her. Neku is cautions when he peeks him head out from Rhyme? room; a little girl? room isn? the type of place he wants to be seen sneaking out of. The blond is nowhere in sight, and for a moment, Neku thinks that he? been left by a twelve year old to be found by her parents.
Then he remember that this is Rhyme? house he? in.
He settles himself awkwardly by the couch as he waits for the blond to reappear. The Bito house is nice and actually looks lived in. If it wasn’t for his prior knowledge on Beat, Neku would have guessed that they had a Leave it to Beaver kind of family arrangement going on.
From his waiting spot of choice, Neku can see glimpses of crayon drawings on a refrigerator; one of them being of a familiar red-squirrel like creature. Rhyme? doing, then. (Not that Neku thought that Beat would be the artist in the family.)
There are coats laying right next to a coat hanger, and various unwanted pads lying haphazardly on bookcases and under stacks of textbooks. None of them look used. Even after death, it seems Beat still doesn’t care much about safety.
Neku is just beginning to inspect the family portrait hanging above the television set (a rather hilarious picture of three happy people happy to be near each other, and one person who would be happy not being there.) when Rhyme comes out of a door near the kitchen, one he didn’t see. She’s wearing slightly too large sweatshirt and carrying an oddly colored wallet.
“Ready?She asks him as she heads for the front door. “I’m in the mood for tacos.”
Sitting on the steps of some closed business eating tacos, Neku explains what happened before they met at Hachiko two days before. Rhyme is probably the best listener he knows, always knowing when to look upset or when to giggle at something. It’s very unlike her brother, who needs everything explained at least three times, or even Shiki, who wants to know even the tiniest of details.
“So all we need to do is talk about... the Game?” Rhyme asks after Neku is finished and taking a bite from her taco.
“That’s what he said.” It sounds so strange now that he says it.
“Do you trust him?” She asks.
“I don? know if we should. After what-”
“I asked if you trust him, Neku.” Rhyme interrupts. She looks into Neku’s eyes with a serious expression.
“I..” Neku’s voice falters. He neglected to tell Rhyme about the feelings he still had for Joshua, but then again, who would? “I think I do. I know it’s stupid, Rhyme, but-”
“It’s not stupid.” Rhyme says, leaning on Neku’s shoulder. She gazes across the road, to where two girls are playing Reaper Creeper. The chip moves every so slightly towards yes, but it makes Neku’s heart sink. Another week, another Game. Over and over and over again. “I’m not sure if we can trust him, but you can. And I know you’ll never hurt us.”
“Now what?” Neku asks. Rhyme smiles and climbs to her feet, then holds out her hand to Neku.
“We’ll go talk to Shiki and Beat, that’s what we do. That’s what Joshua said, right?”
Neku finds himself smiling, even though he feels like he shouldn’t.
Arthur stands on the street, feeling like an idiot for what seems like an hour. (It was really only ten minutes.) He watched Eames disappear, clinging to the thought that he would come back, but he never did. He still stood there even after Eames was long gone.
Taking a strong hold on what? left of his sanity, Arthur grips his suitcase filled with lovely designer suits and turns and walks in the opposite direction of Eames.
In his teen years, Arthur always hated the chase. And hated people who couldn’t let go after a breakup even more. (Not that he was getting a lot himself, back then.)
Arthur finds it lucky that he’s in a city, so he can walk for hours and hours. He walks until his feet ache and are practically begging for him to stop, then he walks more.
When he finally does stop, it’s because he’s ready to collapse from exhaustion. Arthur finds himself in front of a small and quaint bookstore called Mouse Books. He quietly enters, the bell above the door tinging softly when the door opens. There’s a young Korean woman sitting behind the counter with her nose in a tabloid magazine.
(On his list of favorite people in the world, girls who read tabloid magazines has a rather low standing. In fact, it isn’t even on the damn list.)
Arthur ends up in a large blue plush chair nestled in between Self-Help and Cooking. Rachel Ray smiles gleefully at him from at least five covers, and Ghandi give his suggestions to finding happiness. The store is quiet but for the turning of magazine pages, as he is the only patron. The lighting is dimer than most public places but Arthur feels it matches him mood rather well.
He finds it funnier than he should, how he has yet to fully grasp what has happened to him.
Until, of course, he’s crying. Crying in a tiny bookstore, in between Self-Help and Cooking with Korean woman a few feet away. God, he wants them to stop. They don’t.
“Do you feel better?” A squeaky voice asks. Arthur looks up suddenly, furiously whipping his eyes. The Korean girl is peering at him from behind a bookcase with the tabloid still in her hand. He’s got no way of knowing how long he’s been crying.
“Oh, um, yeah.” Arthur says as he tries not to make eye-contact.
“I like to read the tabloid when I’m bummed, you know. It makes me feel better about my own life.” She hands him the magazine, and Arthur can read the cover proclaiming “Lohan in rehab again!” on the cover. There’s probably something to this girl’s theory.
“Thank you.” Arthur mumbles quietly as the girl disappears into the maze of isles. Arthur flips through the magazine, seeing such titles as “Cheating Again!” and “Two Girls, One Dress!”
When he leaves, he says thank you, and really means it.
For the first time in years, Arthur dreams.
In his dream, he’s standing at a train station. It’s not Grand Central Station, or any other one he’s been to before. In fact, it doesn’t even look like a train station; Arthur only knows that it is one. There’s a red brick platform with a small podium on it with the dark shadow of a man is standing behind. All around the platform is clear, blue water stretching out to the horizon in every direction.
Arthur’s body moves him to the podium and to the shadow-man.
“One ticket.” He says. The shadow-man doesn’t ask for any money and just hands him the ticket. Under destination, it reads:
You Don’t Know.
Arthur stands at the edge of the platform near the tracks.
Slowly but surely, waves start forming on the surface of the water, getting bigger and bigger. In a few minutes, the waves are nearly reaching Arthur’s feet. “It’s a sign that the train in coming.” Something whispers in the back of Arthur’s head.
The voice sounds mysteriously like Eames
Arthur can hear the train now. The water, once the loudest thing in the area, is drowned out by the train pressing in.
It slows when it approaches the platform, then stops completely with a door in front of him. Arthur gets on without thinking about it.
There are only a few people on the train, all sitting by windows. Arthur can see Saito and Ariadne; Cobb, Mal, Phillipa, James,Yusuf, and even Robert. Then: Eames.
Eames is sitting in the very back of the train, a window seat like the rest. No one looks at him when he takes a seat next to the forger, but Arthur doesn’t care at the moment.
“Where is the train going?Arthur asks.
“You can? be sure.” says Eames’ voice in the back of his head again. When Arthur turns to look at the Eames next to him, however, he’s still staring out the window.
“Why not?Arthur asks, smiling fondly at Eames, who still is not looking at him.
“It doesn’t matter."
“Because we’ll be together.” Arthur takes Eames’ hand in his, and when he does, there is a horrible reaction.
There is a gun in between Arthur and Eames’ hands. Mal is taking James and Phillipa’s hands and opening the train door as it speeds down the tracks. Cobb does nothing but attack Ariadne as his late wife jumps with his kids. Yusuf is swallowing something green, and Saito is taking a knife to Robert and then to himself.
Eames turns to meet Arthur’s startled eyes.
“You’re still not dreaming big enough.”
It’s a nice thought, to think that Arthur wakes up in Eames’ arms, warm and comforting. It’s foolish, however, to think so. Because, obviously, it doesn’t happen.
No, Arthur wakes up in his hotel room, by himself, sweating and cursing.
His first real dream in years. He didn’t expect it to be pleasant.
Lucinda Frankfort has seen a lot of different type of people meet at the Lost Holiday Resort,(located in northern California) a lot of weirdos, too. But in all her years of working there, she had never seen people quite as strange as the current ones.
First off, they checked in under the party name of Upperplane. Not even those odd-balls in Turkey (Lucinda went there once, on her second honeymoon) had names like that.
Then each one of them had crazy names for themselves. There were ladies and gentlemen with last names of months and elderly folk with last names of days of the week. Not to mention that Mr. Day. He was the strangest, weirdest, most odd-bally one of them all.
He took his coffee straight up black!
They could be aliens, Lucinda supposed. Or British. In her mind, those two were one in the same.
Unbeknownst to her, the very people she’s going on about are doing the same about her.
“That woman is rather off.” Ms. June says, leaning over to take a bite off of Ms. May’s pastry.
“Younglings, these days. Always gossiping their little mouths off.” Says Mr. Thursday, an elderly man with a rather impressive beard.
“I have half a mind to leave a little Noise sigil to mess with her.” Ms. May says, and takes a sip of Mr. Day’s coffee. “This is shit, Mr. Day. No cream or sugar at all?”
“Don’t you dare, Miss. We don’t want to end up like him.”
“Yes, that is what this is all about, yes?” Chimes in Mr. January.
“Shame, really. I really liked Mr. Monday.” Ms. May says, leaning her head on her palm. “Even if he did Fall and all that. He was young and hip.” No one notices the guilt in her voice.
“That was his downfall.” Says Mr. Day. Right after he says so, a tall, dark, and handsome man comes striding into the room. He-for lack of a better word- oozes confidence and all around greatness, even if it is dated by fifty years. (Which it is.)
“Afternoon, Mr. Year.” The people sitting at the table greet. Mr. Year takes a seat, and then helps himself to some of Mr. Day’s black coffee. Some people are too much alike, as they don’t say.
“Did you leave Marvin a note?” Mr. Year asks. That’s who Mr. Year is: all business and black coffee.
“Of course sir.” says Mr. Day.
“I picked up. He sounded off, just like I knew he would. I handled myself very professionally, though. I felt bad, breaking him and his cute little boyfriend up. I’m not really good for all this bad, you know?” Ms. May rambles.
“Yes, he asked for me. I told him where to meet us in Tokyo.” Ms. June says, as she is always the calm voice of reason.
“Good.” Mr. Year says, and rises. He walks out the door he came from, and does not come back.
“Give me the shivers. No? Yes?” Mr. January says, brushing the muffin crumbs from his corduroy pants.
“Goodbye, then.” says Mr. Day. “See you all in Tokyo.”
Lucinda is still grumbling to herself when they leave.
“So you really think this will work?” Sanae Hanekoma, the guardian angel so-to-speak of Shibuya asks his equivalent of an evil twin, Joshua.
“Of course it will. The Angels have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to humans. They think Mr. Marvin Eames will follow their plan perfectly.”
“We all know what happens when you mess with humans, don’t we Joshy?” Mr. H teases. The cafe owner pours the Composer another cup of coffee (two creams, one sugar) and takes a donut for himself.
He always knew having a cafe would come in handy.
“Shut up.” Joshua says sharply, though Mr. H isn’t fazed. Oh no, he’s known the Composer since the beginning of things. Nothing surprises him when it comes to Joshua, not anymore. “Yes, yes. Neku changed and ended up saving this retched city in the end. We all know how that story goes.”
“No need to be so bitter.” The Fallen-Angel is quiet for a second as he stares at what’s left of his donut. “Why are you doing this for me, anyways? Doesn’t the high and mighty Composer have better things to do than galavant around in his human form and help people who tried to kill him?”
“I’ve forgiven you for that, you know. Sho Minamimoto made the Game a little more interesting anyways.” Joshua says. “Besides, I figured I owe you one.”
“That can’t be everything. I know you better than that.” Mr. H argues. What he finds frustrating about Joshua is his habit to avoid telling things straight-forward, or even the truth.
“I might want to play with Neku a little more.” Joshua nearly giggles at the thought of his ex-proxy.
“I thought so.” Mr. H says, then lets his eyes drop to the silver briefcase in the corner of the room. “Have you used the PASIV device with anyone else yet?” The Composer hums in his own way of confirmation.
“Koki Kariya volunteered.”
“Sho’s boyfriend? Wouldn? he be a little...”
“Angry? I’m sure he is, but Sho is very cute as a Noise. Besides, that man has enough power to be Conductor. He’ll figure out a way to bring him back, I’m sure.”
“You should be more worried about this than you are.” Mr. H shakes his head. But then again, Joshua is rarely too serious about anything. “How did it go?”
“Well. It confirmed our previous theory. Then again, we’re all dead, or most of us are.”
“Using the boy you have a crush on as a guinea pig is not the kindest thing to do.” Mr. H chides. “It’s an awful way to pick up dates.”
“I do not have a crush on Neku.” Joshua snaps slipping from his chair. He dumps his coffee into the sink and tosses the appropriate amount of money onto the counter. After checking his cell-phone, he says, “I’m leaving.”
“You're in love!” Mr. H yells as the door swings shut.
In order to counteract the depressing topic of the conversation that was about to take place, Neku -with Rhyme’s assistance- decides to talk to Shiki and Beat after a 777 concert.
(For the record, their new singer is really good. Not as much charisma as their Reaper frontman, but they still fill the house.)
Shiki is stumbling out of the arena and has decided to use Neku’s arm as support. Neku can only guess her and Eri got ahold of something alcoholic. Beat is carrying Rhyme on his shoulders, like a good brother should.
The four of them take refuge from the streaming crowds near Lapin Angelique. Shiki is using Neku’s shoulder as a pillow now, giggling on and on about how the drummer of 777 looked at her and Eri and how it was so awesome. Beat can’t stop laughing at her.
“Think about it.Rhyme says suddenly, making eye contact with Neku. “We could have never made it out of the Game. Never been able to do this.”
There is an erie silence hanging above them.
“Wh-what?” Beat says. If they were in a comic, there would be sweat drops dripping down his face.
“The Game. We could have been gone. Poof.” Rhyme emphasizes the “poof” by spraying her fingers out.
“We could have died.Shiki whispers in a strained voice. She seems suddenly sober now, letting her hands drop from Neku’s arm. “I mean, more than we were. We could have been made into something that hurt people!”
“It’s over now, though. For now.” Neku puts in. He hears Shiki start to cry into Mr. Mew’s head, and shuffling on Rhyme and Beat’s end. Maybe Rhyme is curling up into Beat’s side like she usually does when she’s scared or worried or sad.
“Fuck. Beat hisses.
“What...what did you mean by “for now?” Shiki asks through sniffles. The crowd streaming out of the arena is starting to lessen now. It’s down to the scantily clad girls who failed to get into the back with the band and other groupies. By the time Neku can decide what he wants to say, the flow of people has stopped completely.
He glances over at Rhyme, already looking at him through the gaps in her bangs. “Go on,” she says. “Just like you told me.”
Neku choses to ignore the suffocating glare Beat is sending him.
Taking a deep breath, he begins to explain.