|Within Striking Distance
Author: Fire Tears PM
Demyx learns to wear pants, Xigbar grudgingly helps with a prank, Axel has fun being a jerk, Roxas fails at chess, and eventually they all learn to tolerate each other as their world slowly crashes down around them. [preCoM to postKHII]Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Angst - Axel & Roxas - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,553 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 23 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 05-04-07 - Published: 01-15-07 - id: 3344333
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts is © Disney and Square Enix. No profit is being made from this work.
Finding His Footing
Demyx is new, and out of sorts.
And, apparently, helping out the new members with the whole 'gaining a weapon and discovering their element' thing. Xigbar's managed to avoid doing that for the last two members (and he's very, very happy about not getting stuck with Axel – Zexion's hair was singed for weeks) so it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Although, to be honest, when Xigbar bangs open the door to the most recent member's room, the last thing he expects is to be greeted by the sound of a very girly shrieking noise and a thump.
The new kid stares up at him with wide eyes from where he's sprawled on the floor. Sprawled very nakedly on the floor.
"Damnit, runt," Xigbar says sharply, "don't you know how to put pants on?"
The Organization's new number IX flushes, turning his eyes to the floor where the black pants are crumpled in a heap. It looks like someone threw the clothes at the kid and left. Which... yeah, probably. Saïx can be an asshole that way.
But still. He can put pants on, can't he?
"My name's Demyx," the kid says quietly, drawing his legs up to his chest. He's rubbing his hands almost compulsively over his knees, as if he can't believe they're there. Huh. Maybe the Heartless ripped off his kneecaps before going for his heart, Xigbar thinks. Weird, but not impossible. "And I know how to put pants on. I can see how you wear them."
Huh. Not a spineless one, then. Not that any Nobody with a human form would be, but Xigbar'd had his doubts when he first walked into the room.
"Then why aren't you wearing them?" he grunts.
"I can't..." Demyx hesitates, glancing up at Xigbar. He waves his hands slightly, as if searching for the word. "I can't... what you're doing." He points.
Xigbar looks down at himself, then back at the kid. "What, wear pants?"
Demyx bites his lip, turning his face away, and for a second Xigbar thinks the kid's going to cry. He stares; is Xemnas certain he didn't grab a human by mistake? Then he sighs.
"Okay, okay. I'm not gonna yell at you. Tell me what you can't do."
Demyx points at Xigbar again, then says softly, "I don't know the word."
"C'mon, kid, we all remember the simple shit."
"It wasn't simple!" The kid's voice is frustrated. "I'm not going to remember something I never did before!"
"You didn't walk or anything where your Other came from?" Xigbar asks incredulously, but the kid isn't listening to him anymore.
"Walking!" Demyx exclaims, his eyes lighting up. His hands wave about expressively, and he nearly falls onto his side from the loss of balance. "That's—" he stops, then slumps. "...not the word. But it's close to that. Walking without moving."
Xigbar knows his eyebrows having been attempting to climb up into his hairline for the past few minutes of this conversation, but now they seem to want to permanently take up residence there. "Standing?"
"Yes!" This time, Demyx does fall over, giving a faint squeak as he does so. He easily pushes himself back up using his arms, and now that Xigbar really looks, he can see that for arms so slim, they actually have a decent amount of muscle.
"Okay, okay." Xigbar spreads his hands, as if in askance. "You can't stand? You don't remember how to stand?"
"I told you," Demyx says, sounding put out and actually a bit annoyed, "I can't remember something I've never done."
"Your Other was—" he eyes Demyx's face "—what, sixteen? And you haven't walked?" Xigbar snorts. "As if."
"I haven't!" Demyx insists. "I can't help it. It just... I couldn't do it." He looks frustrated, then says, "I don't remember why. I just... couldn't."
Okay, well, to be fair, Xigbar can't really blame the kid for something his Other didn't do. Hell, maybe Demyx's Other didn't have any legs or something like that. Makes sense that in his Nobody form, he would've chosen to get himself a pair of legs. From what Zexion's said, his Other always needed glasses, but Zexion doesn't need any now.
Then again, his own scars hadn't been healed, but Xigbar likes them. Maybe that had something to do with it. He can't really imagine someone being fond of a lack of legs. Well, maybe fish.
"If you wanna walk, you're gonna have to stand," Xigbar tells him. "Look, I'll help you." He holds out a hand.
Demyx takes it warily, his fingers closing tightly and belying his trepidation. Xigbar pulls, intent on yanking the kid to his feet—
—and ends up simply dragging him across the floor. Demyx yelps, letting go abruptly, his hands flying to his backside.
"Ow! That hurt!" He glares up at Xigbar, his cheeks stained red with embarrassment at the perceived practical joke.
"You're supposed to push off with your feet," Xigbar explains, his patience waning. He ought to be out collecting hearts or something, not trying to coddle some weird new kid who can't even figure out how to stand.
Demyx hesitates, still obviously wondering if it's some kind of joke, and asks, "Feet?"
Xigbar just looks at him. Slowly, Demyx reaches down and touches one slim hand to his left foot, and looks back up at Xigbar.
"You got it," Xigbar says, before Demyx can ask anything else. "Now, what you gotta do is flatten both of those against the floor and brace yourself when I pull you. Got it?"
"Got it," Demyx says, a tad suspiciously, but takes ahold of Xigbar's outstretched hand anyway. After a moment's thought, the Freeshooter holds out the other hand; he figures Demyx can use all the extra balance he can get.
The kid's fingers are surprisingly rough, Xigbar notes this time around. Callused, especially around the tips.
He pulls, Demyx braces, and... up. Demyx is so startled by his success that he squeaks and nearly falls down again, but hell no, Xigbar is not going through that again, and catches the kid around the waist.
"Um... thanks," Demyx says awkwardly as Xigbar steadies him, swaying slightly when the older man lets him go. He manages to stay on his feet, though, which is a relief.
"Where're the calluses from, kid?" Xigbar asks, nodding at his hands. "If you couldn't do something as simple as walking, where'd you get the energy to do something strenuous enough to mark up your hands?"
"I play sitar," Demyx explains, a smile lighting his face at the memory. "The calluses are from that, though sometimes I still—well, my Other would—make them bleed from playing a bit too long. The calluses peel sometimes, and that's annoying, because then they catch on the strings when you're trying to play." He wiggles his fingers for a moment, then inspects them. "At least they're not peeling now."
"You can't remember what standing is, but you remember all of that?" Xigbar asks, impressed.
"I play my sitar all the time," Demyx reminds him, frowning at the older man. "I didn't stand."
"Yeah, yeah." Xigbar waves his hand.
"I wish it was here," Demyx says, his voice sounding surprisingly mournful for one without a heart. He holds out a hand, twitching his fingers, as if he can feel it in his hand. "I wish—oh!" There's a flash, some weird light-glitter, and suddenly there's a blue instrument (a sitar, Xigbar assumes – he's not all that musically inclined) in Demyx's hand.
Unfortunately, the instrument is big, and Demyx hasn't yet figured out how to balance properly. Xigbar catches him by the arm, forcefully holding him up even as Demyx clutches the sitar.
The kid leans on it for balance, and Xigbar backs off.
"What...?" Demyx's face is almost like a child's, full of a wonder Xigbar knows Demyx can't feel, but it makes Xigbar's empty chest cavity warm a bit anyway.
"That'll be your weapon here, kid." He almost draws his guns as an example, but thinks better of it, considering how Demyx is still trying to acclimate himself to the fact that a non-lethal item just appeared.
Demyx blinks, then just looks at him. "It's not a weapon," he says plainly. "It's an instrument."
"Right. Anyway, about the pants—" Xigbar begins, but Demyx starts to play.
While his immediate reaction is to tell the kid not to sing or even make noise (Axel sings in the shower sometimes, and dear god the pain doesn't end), but... Demyx is actually good.
He thinks he catches the words: 'that's why it's hotter, under the water...' but that makes no sense, so he's probably heard wrong.
Xigbar doesn't know where the music is from, but it makes him think of... bubbles. Huh. Of course, that might have been prompted by the way the moisture in the air around them is currently becoming actual water, swirling around the kid as he plays.
"Oh!" Demyx gasps, jerking in shock. As soon as he stops playing, the water falls to the floor, splashing into puddles at their feet. Demyx stares, and almost falls over as Xigbar unthinkingly claps him on the shoulder. Only by leaning on his sitar does he remain on his feet.
"Heh, good job, kid." Xigbar nods in approval, eyeing the water. "Figured you'd be useless, but hey, maybe not." He ignores the scowl (more like a pout, in Demyx's case) sent his way. The older man kicks the water with his boot. "Try it again."
Obediently, Demyx strums out a few more notes of the song on his sitar, but nothing happens.
"Come on, water," Demyx says, staring at the floor. "Come on, dance." He strums once, hard, and all of a sudden the water is alive, swirling heavily around him like a wall. Once again, it crashes to the floor as soon as Demyx stops playing (Xigbar warps to the hallway to avoid the splash, then back again) but the kid's got the hang of it now. He strums one string, softly, and the water swishes around at his feet.
Xigbar surveys the scene. Demyx proudly looking over his new weapon, the evidence of his elemental power spattered on the floor, and the kid now has the ability to stand. Excellent. They now officially have a new number in their slowly growing Organization.
"Okay," Xigbar says finally. "Now let's try for pants."