(A/N): Every time I have a million other things I should be doing, an idea waltzes into my head and begins singing old show tunes until I pay attention to it. Although I would be perfectly content to write fics centered around Axel and Roxas until the cows come home, this idea started knocking around my brain and refused to be ignored. For those wondering, it started singing 'Oklahoma.' This is my first time dealing with Demyx, so... no stoning me if you don't like how I portrayed him. Thanks. Oh, and reviews are balm for the soul.
Disclaimer: I never have and probably never will own these characters. Unless we enter some bizarre parallel universe. Then all bets are off.
And the Rain Poured Down
"Maybe…waiting isn't good enough." – Kairi, Destiny Islands
Demyx stood stock-still in the middle of the empty street, dark hood thrown back, face turned up into the rain that was quickly plastering his light hair against his skull.
He'd only ever seen rain once or twice before – it rarely rained in the World That Never Was. He'd certainly never had the luxury of examining the phenomenon from anywhere but behind the castle windows.
So when the sky had opened and dropped a deluge on the residents of Hollow Bastion, Demyx had been the only person who hadn't immediately sprinted for cover. Instead, he'd found himself drawn to the center of the street as if in a trance.
He was soaked in no time, the water trickling underneath the collar of his dark jacket and slipping icily down his spine. Demyx didn't move, only blinked the water out of his eyes and continued to stare up into the falling droplets, entranced.
There was something unspeakably beautiful about the water pouring down from the heavens, washing everything around him into pale shades and shadows. He smiled into the droplets crashing against his face, closing his eyes as he summoned his sitar into his hands.
He plucked at the strings randomly until the melody began to pour out of him of its own volition, bright and wild and free. Water clones formed around him, swirling up from the dark puddles rapidly growing at his feet, dancing wildly to the chords Demyx chased across the strings of his instrument.
Demyx laughed, the sound as bright as the music spilling from his fingers as the rain broke against his face, streaming down his neck and causing his dark coat to cling to his shoulders. The water clones spun around him in an intricate ballet. Demyx had never felt so free.
He felt a small tug at the edge of his right sleeve. Glancing down, Demyx was confronted with the grinning face of a young girl, dark bangs plastered over her forehead. He grinned back, his fingers racing across his instrument as the music swelled around them.
The small child clapped her hands and laughed in delight, reaching out to run stubby fingers through the water clones as they danced past her. Shrieking with glee, she drew her hand back when one of the watery forms turned and bowed to her.
Demyx's grin widened.
"Oh my God – Kira, get away from him!"
Demyx fumbled the chords as the piercing shriek rang out against the gentle hiss of the rain. Around him, the water clones splashed back to the ground, shattering against the pavement. Throwing an uneasy glance over his shoulder, Demyx saw a middle-aged woman, her dark hair tied back in a kerchief, run from one of the gray houses, arms outstretched toward the small girl at his side.
Demyx took a guilty step away from the child, but she turned and wrapped her hands in his wet coat, beaming up at him. Demyx grinned back, but it was a quick, nervous expression that quickly faded. He bent to try and untangle the girl from his clothes, but froze at the woman's scream.
"Don't hurt her!"
Demyx looked up to find the woman on top of him, snatching the girl around the waist, trying to hoist her up and away from the Melodious Nocturne. The little girl, not understanding, clung to Demyx's coat and screamed with laughter.
"Help!" the woman screamed. Demyx tried to raise his hands in a soothing gesture, but she shrieked and jerked away from him.
"What's going on?!"
Demyx paled when he saw the dark-haired warrior emerge from Merlin's house, sword gripped tightly in his hands. He'd had strict orders not to draw the attention of anyone involved with the Keybearer.
The little girl still had the edge of his jacket clutched in stubborn fingers, enjoying the game immensely. Demyx ignored the mother's shrieks as he lowered his gloved hands to the child's. With gentle pressure, he pried his coat loose from the girl's grip.
"See ya," he whispered, smiling sadly as the woman turned and streaked back to her home.
He shook himself into motion, dashing off into one of the alleys crammed with building supplies, calling up a portal to the darkness. He ran into the comforting corridor, letting the portal close behind him as Leon rounded the corner, scowling in confusion at the empty alley that stretched before him.
Demyx walked out of the darkness well beyond the limits of the half-finished town, in the ravine below the decaying castle. He was shivering slightly, suddenly conscious of the water that had found its way into almost every article of his clothing.
Taking shelter under a crop of overhanging rock, Demyx shook his wet hair out of his eyes. He'd have to wait until he'd dried some to return to the Castle That Never Was. The Superior had become ferociously short-tempered ever since Axel had abandoned the Organization to pursue the Keybearer. To try and bring Roxas back.
Demyx didn't know why they even bothered to call themselves Organization XIII anymore. They hadn't had thirteen members since – well, since the events at Castle Oblivion. Six members had left the Castle That Never Was. Only Axel had returned.
Demyx still didn't know what Marluxia and the others had been trying to accomplish. He only knew that with five of the members suddenly gone, the Castle That Never Was had suddenly seemed too large, too empty. The remaining elders had pulled away from the neophytes, and the uneasy camaraderie that had existed between them since the Organization's beginning had vanished.
Demyx summoned his sitar again, staring out at the falling rain. His gloved fingers absently plucked a soft melody from the strings.
Demyx had tried to keep things from changing. He'd tried to keep Marluxia's plants from dying – the vibrant blossoms were the only splash of color in the castle's monochrome halls. But even Demyx's powers hadn't been enough to keep the foliage from fading away – Marluxia had obviously used more than water and fertilizer to make the plants flower in their world's unforgiving soil.
Only Axel and Roxas had seemed unaffected by the aftermath of Marluxia's betrayal. Demyx had always found it humorous in an ironic sort of way that the two of them – the most unlikely pair in the Organization, in his opinion – had formed a bond strong enough to be called friendship.
While the other members had never gone out of their way to be cruel to one another (with the exception of Larxene, but Demyx thought that might have had more to do with the unstable nature of her powers rather than who she had been before) Axel and Roxas were the only two who had ever gone out of their way to be kind to him.
Still, Demyx had known he could never be a part of what they shared. Axel had told him once – not unkindly – that Demyx felt too much. Demyx had understood.
But it was Demyx Axel had come to when Roxas had left the Organization. The sitarist had looked up from his bed to find the Flurry of Dancing Flames standing uncertainly in his doorway, his usually expressive green eyes hopelessly bleak.
Demyx had pushed himself up from the bed and walked the halls with Axel for hours without a word. They'd finally ended up in the Proof of Existence. Axel had stared silently at Roxas's stone, the blue glow making his pale skin look drawn and sickly.
"Ya know, this stone will never turn red," he'd said at last, his voice rough. "And it's a lie. Because the minute Roxas and Sora meet, Roxas will disappear. Forever."
Demyx hadn't known how to answer the redhead. For all his carefree ways and his optimistic assurance that they would succeed in reclaiming their hearts, he had never formed an attachment with another person of the same strength Axel had forged with Roxas.
Axel had turned his back on the glowing stone. Demyx had watched as the Flurry of Dancing Flames had stalked out of the room, shoulders held painfully straight.
That had been the last time he'd seen Axel.
The Organization now only numbered six, including himself. And Demyx didn't know what to do. He'd tried to keep his world from crumbling around him, but it had proven to be a futile effort.
The Melodious Nocturne started violently at the unexpected voice, the sitar dissolving back into water as his concentration wavered. Beside him, Saix stepped out of the darkness.
"Where have you been? You were supposed to be back an hour ago."
Saix's inflection never varied, but Demyx couldn't help the way his eyes flinched away from the Luna Diviner's. Everything about the Berserker made him nervous – he was secretly convinced Saix was going to flip out and attack him one of these days.
"Why are you wet?"
Demyx turned his eyes back to his elder, his cheeks flushing.
"I, uh –"
"Never mind," Saix interrupted, frowning slightly. "Xemnas wants to see you."
"Oh, ok," Demyx stuttered, running his hands through his damp hair. "Just lemme go back and straighten up and I'll –"
Demyx flinched again. "Ok," he muttered in a defeated tone.
Demyx tried to ignore the way his wet boots were squeaking with each step he took, but it was hard when it was the only sound in the otherwise silent halls. Saix was walking beside him, and Demyx felt the Luna Diviner's silence only accentuated the racket he was making. It was intimidating, especially considering he'd thought he'd seen Saix's eye twitch at some point.
By the time they reached the Superior's door, Demyx was bathed in a cold sweat.
Even though Xemnas had to be expecting them, Saix stepped forward and knocked, waiting for the Superior's acknowledgement, muffled by the door, before he ushered Demyx into the room.
Xemnas's brows drew together when he saw Demyx's bedraggled state. His eyes wandered back to Saix for a minute, his raised brows clearly transmitting an unasked question to the Luna Diviner, but Demyx was too nervous to glance over his shoulder and gauge the Berserker's reaction.
The Superior turned his attention back to him and Demyx did his best not to shake in his boots.
"You've seen the Keybearer, haven't you Demyx?" the Superior asked, his tone silken. Demyx swallowed hard.
"Yeah – yes," he stammered.
He'd seen Roxas's Other in the dark passages of the Underworld. He'd called out to Roxas, but the look Sora had fixed him with had told him it was no use. The Keybearer had fought him and taken back the Olympus Stone, forcing Demyx to retreat. The Superior hadn't been pleased.
"Things are almost ready in Hollow Bastion," Xemnas continued, dragging Demyx back to the present. "I want you to draw the boy and his friends to the ravine. Fight him if you must, but make sure he battles the Heartless." His silken tone didn't change, but his voice dropped on the last phrase in a way that made Demyx's skin crawl.
The Melodious Nocturne swallowed against a throat suddenly gone dry.
"Uh, wouldn't it be better if someone else went?" he asked nervously. "I didn't do so well against him last time, and –"
In those two syllables, Demyx understood his future. They were sending him to his death. And they knew it.
He sagged for a moment, wishing he had Roxas's strength, Axel's guts. So he could walk away and have at least the false hope of living long enough to find his heart. But he couldn't fight his nature. He would forever form himself around what others expected him to be – water always chose the path of least resistance.
He straightened, squaring his shoulders as he met Xemnas's eyes for what he knew would be the last time.
"Yes, sir," he said softly. He turned on his heel and left the room. Saix didn't speak as Demyx breezed past him, and that hurt him a little, but he shrugged it off. Saix wouldn't think of saying goodbye – it simply wasn't his nature.
Demyx made his way out of the Castle That Never Was in a daze, eyes sliding over the familiar halls and passageways without taking in any of it.
He didn't notice that it had begun to rain.