Title: Voice of Respect
- Characters: Lexaeus, Demyx
Rating: PG
Notes: SquareEnix owns them, I don't. Disclaimer done. Lexaeus needs more love these days. And I need to prove to myself that while I don't like Demyx, I appreciate him.

- t-h-e - p-a-s-t-

Voice of Respect

Demyx honestly perplexed him. The freak in their circus, the stain on the rug. He was born normal enough; at the time he claimed it was the power of music that kept him strong enough to make a successful transition from whole being to part being. Just another note in their research, the variations that will produce the almost identical shell from that of a Somebody. That was all fine; Lexaeus had no problems with him physically.

It was vocally where Lexaeus wondered if they'd adopted an obnoxious furry pet instead of inducting the latest member of the Organization.

He talked with a simple mind, pouted when he bothered to openly eavesdrop on more scientific conversations, and just seemed to dog after anyone and everyone.

Saïx ignored him, Demyx's presence neither a comfort nor a burden. Zexion always out maneuvered him, but Demyx hadn't seemed to get the hint. Vexen snaps at him, and Demyx always wanders away from those encounters like he was a kicked puppy. Xaldin's current mission kept him away far too much for Demyx to ever have latched onto him. Axel used him like a toy, somehow always getting Demyx to do as he wished. Above all, he never tried to press his company onto Xemnas.

Only Xigbar tolerated him; Lexaeus believed it had to do with Braig's affections for children. Demyx certainly had that quality of air around him: guileless, innocent, and gullible. Always complained about his tasks being too hard to memorize and requested them in list format.

Lexaeus didn't get it. Recently Xigbar had been singing praises about his abilities with water-- one of the very reasons Xemnas had chosen Demyx-- but Lexaeus found it slightly hard to believe Demyx was ruthless enough to have Xigbar of all people commenting he'd fit in just fine when it was time for the Fight.

Maybe that's why Lexaeus found himself just below one of Demyx's favorite perches within the castle.

"'Ey, Lexaeus!" The sitar dissolved into a flurry of bubbles and Demyx leapt down from the block pillar, with a smile Lexaeus found disturbing. "Going somewhere?"

Children. Even Ienzo had never been so grating. With a quick flick of his wrist, Lexaeus had his black Tomahawk in hand and heft it onto his shoulder. Coupled with the look he gave Demyx, it spoke volumes.

"Ohhhh. ...Can I watch?"

Lexaeus shrugged. It was, after all, his intention for Demyx to accompany him, and with an easy open invitation, Demyx predictably fell in step beside him. The way Demyx allowed himself to be read was just another naïve quality about him. It was almost ridiculous enough to laugh at, but even if Lexaeus did have his heart, he wouldn't have wasted the breath. Demyx didn't deserve a sound.

Lexaeus preferred walking to ghosting through the holes of a world's own defenses. Walking was human; while he didn't regret his choice (to live without the burden of his own past actions), he didn't want to forget what made Elaeus and, in essence, himself. If Demyx had a problem with that, he'd better keep it to himself. As honorable as Lexaeus was, with Elaeus so used to competency, he had no problem with dropping his idea for the evening. Lexaeus had no time for wasted complaints.

The section known as Memory's Skyscraper literally groaned as Lexaeus stepped out from its shadow. The lingering Heartless scattered, back to the safety of the darkness at the approach of the Nobodies. The reverse magnet effect from Heartless to Nobodies was in itself fascinating, a topic he liked debating with Xemnas and Vexen. Right now, it was dismissible.

Lexaeus stopped and propped the Tomahawk against the stone, casting Demyx a look. Demyx, in return, blinked. "What?"

With a cock of his head, Lexaeus stared at him pointedly.

Demyx stared back blankly, confusion marring him, until he seemed to notice a single finger tapping the hilt of the Tomahawk. "Oooohhh...! Gotcha, big guy." And Demyx waved a hand toward him. "Maybe if you didn't have such a high standard, you could get results faster."

The shift in the personal atmosphere was almost tangible; Lexaeus arched a curious eyebrow.

Demyx's act had finally dropped. "Don't think I haven't figured you out, Lexaeus. You haven't said a word to me for the last ten minutes. In fact, you haven't said a word to me since I got here three months ago."

And he smiled. With a shrewdness Lexaeus wouldn't have expect before now; it suited Demyx much better than his pity-me routine. "I'll bet you don't talk unless you 'like' the other person. You'll only shell out a word for the people you consider 'on your level'. That's fine with me."

At the foot of the skyscraper, the fountain water began to churn in its basin. From it, a thick, oily whipcord of water shot from its pool to Demyx's outstretched hand. Fingers closed instantly around it, and his sitar appeared from nether-space in the same flurry of bubbles as before, now reflecting the Square's neon lights. The same old show every time, whether popping in or away.

Lexaeus remained unimpressed.

With an experimental pluck of a string, the latest rainwater puddled at their feet rippled in a harmonic resonance. "The water will do my talking for me."

- t - i - m - e -

He lasted far longer than Lexaeus expected. It wasn't much different from battling Air or Fire, except neither required him to willingly seek out dryer threads afterward. With a stray thought, every stone chip and boulder began replacing itself into the Square's cobbled floor. Demyx was also 'cleaning up', shooing all the puddles and mini-floods back into the fountain from where he'd landed from Lexaeus' last blow. The test was over, the score to be tallied.

"Dude!" The boy exclaimed, eyes shining with so much admiration it hurt. "That was fun! You're way better than Xigbar!"

He allowed himself a twisted half-smile, and said, "Don't tell him that."