Title: Shall We Have Coffee Together?
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Pairings: Zexion/Demyx, mentions of Leon/Cloud, Axel/Roxas, Riku/Sora and Marluxia/Larxene
Warnings: AU, romance, fluff, sap
Word count: 9600
Disclaimer: I wish. Don't own anything or anyone from Kingdom Hearts though.
Summary: Harbouring a crush on Demyx, fellow university student and dorm mate, Zexion's attempts to get to know him better have always fallen short. Until the day Demyx walked into the Japanese class he was taking. Zemyx.
Note: Dedicated to Dualism, my friend.
Zexion had never believed in marriage.
Oh yes, he believed in love all right.
But not in marriage. Never in marriage.
It was, in his opinion, a mere pathetic sheet of paper that bound you legally to someone else, almost synonymous with an agreement to share all your property and wealth with that someone else. Kind of like a will, only that it was signed in a moment of folly.
Or in his elder brother's case, a sudden lapse of sanity and logic in his hopes of giving him, his younger brother, a family complete with a bubbly mother. Annoying younger siblings not included, thank god.
Sometimes, Zexion thought that Leon took his elder brother role far too seriously. They had been doing well enough, just the two of them, living quite comfortably off their inheritance from their deceased parents. And then Leon just up and decided Zexion needed a maternal figure in his life. That was when Tifa, Leon's friend and believer in practical marriages over marriage sustained only by love and air, popped in.
And while Tifa was a wonderful mother who made the meanest meatloaves and came up with the most brilliant of ideas to get her 'son' out of bed in the mornings during his high school years, she did somewhat pose a problem when Leon finally met the love of his life. Cloud Strife, their new neighbour on Destiny Island, was quite adamant about not coming between Leon and Tifa. What ensued was a battle of Tifa's wits (and damn that woman's brilliance in formulating the best foolproof plans!), Cloud's moral dilemma (Zexion could just /see/ the angel Cloud and devil Cloud fighting each other on the real Cloud's shoulders) and Leon's pathetic attempts at wooing Cloud (which more or less undermined Tifa's brilliant schemes).
It was a pity Zexion had to leave for university and so couldn't stay to finish watching the drama with his popcorn. And last he had heard from his mum over the phone, Leon was still trying to convince Cloud that he had nothing to do with his divorce with Tifa. That, and that he had not meant for Cloud's pet chocobo, Vinnie, to get drunk and nearly die of a hangover. Tifa had quite exasperatedly, told Zexion of how his fantastically brilliant brother had decided to drown his sorrows by indulging in a lot of alcohol and getting Vinnie to be his drinking companion.
That was when Zexion concluded that marriage was a troublesome thing. And that his brother should have drowned in his stupidity.
And then Zexion's childhood friend, Axel, further provided him with evidence that marriage was a waste of time and effort. The redhead had married his high school sweetheart, a blond named Roxas, the day after their graduation, and now, in their last email correspondence a week ago, Axel was trembling with fear before his first meeting with his in-laws. Apparently, the happy couple had neglected to tell Roxas' parents about their marriage ("Zexion, I swear Roxas had told me his parents would love to have me as their son-in-law! I thought they were busy with their jobs when they didn't turn up for the wedding!") until after their honeymoon, and they were understandably quite upset with, and he quote, "the ruffian that had kidnapped their precious son". And Axel couldn't help but give in to Roxas' pout and puppy eyes when he suddenly decided it was time to go home and meet the parents.
Vaguely, Zexion wondered how many pieces the redhead would be left in after that meeting. While he had never met Roxas' parents, he did hear something about them being a pair of extremely shrewd businessman and woman with a very, very mean protective streak when it came to their one and only son. And even in the slim, slim, slim chance that Axel did manage to get through those two, there was still Roxas' sadistic cousin and her fiancé to consider. Larxene and Marxy, was it? The legendary couple who had scared off at least half a dozen of prospective suitors before Roxas finally decided to secretly date Axel?
Whatever. That was Axel's problem, not his.
So Zexion was convinced that marriage was troublesome and headache-inducing. It was seriously not worth all the hassle, he told himself.
That was when he moved into his college dormitories, opened his door for some fresh air after lugging all his suitcases into his room, and saw the most beautiful person nonchalantly walk pass his door.
Deep blond hair, styled into a Mohawk that looked a little odd and outdated, with parts of his bangs matted to his face; bright blue eyes that were a little too large for his face and yet reflected the setting sun; a faint blush on his sweat-covered face, probably a result of moving all his belongings into his dormitory; and that tall, lanky body that reminded Zexion of one of those gangly and clumsy teenagers still going through an awkward stage in their lives.
Despite all that –or perhaps because of all that- Zexion thought that that person was absolutely stunning.
But what truly surprised him was the first thought that came into his mind at that moment: This person should be my wife.
And then the politically correct part of his mind recovered from the shock and added: No, not my wife. My other half.
From then on, as long as Zexion was in, the door to his room never closed again.
Always waiting for a fleeting glimpse of the beautiful blond who would sometimes walk by.
The first time I'd met Zexion while I was moving in our shared room in the dorms, I thought he was the poster boy for one of those stuck up brats. You know? The type whose eyes you'd barely ever get a chance to see because they preferred to look at the world with their noses instead? Yeah, those type. And then Demyx happened. - Riku, Zexion's new roommate
"You know, Zexion? One day, we are so going to get robbed. I mean, our door's almost always opened I wonder why we even have one," Riku commented offhandedly, no doubt bored of the book he had taken to reading some time ago. Propped up on his hands and lying on his stomach, Riku's aquamarine eyes darted to their opened door, following the erratic flight of a mosquito that had wandered inside their room.
And there was still no response to his comment.
Zexion could just see his roommate rolling his eyes at his lack of response. Not that anyone could blame him, really. Riku was one of the, if not /the/ most annoying person he had ever had the misfortune of knowing, and his hobbies included annoying Zexion, snogging his boyfriend, annoying Zexion, snogging his boyfriend, annoying Zexion, and…. Yes, annoying Zexion.
Zexion wondered sometimes if he had unintentionally offended anyone from the students' affairs office to assign him such a roommate.
Then Riku's voice broke through his reverie.
"Oh right, so that we don't get raped when we're sleeping at night. And to keep out the din when Demyx-kins' practicing with his guitar."
The pen that had been faithfully helping Zexion with his note-taking was, in a moment, nearly wrung dry of its ink. And when Zexion spun around in his chair, the chair gave a small squeak of protest, but nothing more than that, as though afraid of bringing unwanted attention to itself.
Riku smirked at the evil gleam in his roommate's eyes, the one he had dubbed the 'I will smack you into the wall until you resemble bugs squashed by a flyswatter' gleam, tucking a lock of his silver hair behind his ear as he did so. Holding up a hand in mock surrender, he added, "Right, right. That's a sitar, not a guitar. And I'm not supposed to call him Demyx-kins because you're the only one in the world who has the right to give him pet names. Right, got the message."
Zexion cursed his inability to control the blush that he knew was spreading quite prettily across his face, if the self-satisfied look on Riku's face was any indication. It was extremely childish, but Zexion felt the need to get the last word.
"Why, and may I remind you that today's a Saturday, are you still here? Shouldn't you be out somewhere frolicking with your boyfriend?"
"I would if I could, but Sora got dragged to one of those movie marathons with Kairi and the girls. And as much as I love him, I'm not quite interested in those," Riku replied dryly. And then his expression turned mischievous. "Though I'm sure you'd be bouncing at the edge of your seat if Demyx were there, and you'd probably be happy to hand out the tissues when the girls cry with those chick flicks, just as long as your Demyx-kins were there." He grinned, knowing he'd hit the nail on the head several times over.
Zexion gritted his teeth, if only pouting was juvenile and unmanly, both embarrassed and irked.
Riku's grin just got wider, much like how the proverbial wolf lying in bed must have grinned while waiting for little red riding hood.
"You know," he said as he flipped off his bed to stretch his taut body and work out the kinks that had developed earlier, "you've usually got quite the wits about you. A mind sharper than a steel trap, Sora said. But somehow, every time we steer the conversation towards Demyx, your steel trap always rusts up almost instantly.
"Will you ever work up the courage to actually talk to him?"
Zexion's eyes narrowed defensively. "Does this concern you?"
"Not really. Just that I get tired of seeing your kicked puppy looks sometimes, and I wonder if you're going to do anything to rectify that." He ducked to his right the moment he finished his sentence. Good timing too, since the pen Zexion had chucked at him whizzed through the air and hit the wall with a dead 'thud' instead.
Riku gave an impressed whistle, inwardly praying that his roommate did not have a hidden stash of sharp objects in their room he didn't know about. While Zexion reminded him more of someone who'd use a dictionary or thesaurus to get his way, looks could be deceiving. Kairi looked like the last person who'd have a whip under her bed.
"I do not look like a kicked puppy. I just…"
"…Just look like a kicked kitten, if that's more your thing," Riku finished. "My point is: are you ever going to talk to Demyx? I mean, you've more or less memorized his class schedule –ah, don't deny that; I saw his entire class schedule on your laptop that day- and you must have timed your lunch periods to coincide with his several times, and not to mention, you always keep our door open just to see him walk by. You must have done something right with the students' affairs office to give a room in this prime location, situated two rooms away from the pantry, so Demyx-kins will pass by our room every time he makes his way there."
Well, sometimes Zexion felt the same way. Other times, he thought as he peered at his roommate again, he was prompted to feel otherwise.
And it wasn't like he didn't want to approach Demyx. Was it his fault that Demyx was almost never alone? The blond had so many close friends he was seldom seen without at least one of them. Worse still, of all the people to make friends with, Demyx seemed to have the weirdest people attracted to him. Like the one-eyed surfer wannabe Xibgar, the self-proclaimed gambling god Luxord, the science lab obsessed Vexen, the self-confessed moon stalker Saix, the bossy graduate student Xenmas, the ardent lancer Xaldin who was trying to start up a new activities club in university and that Lexaeus, who… Zexion wasn't quite sure what that guy did, actually. He was a recent addition to Demyx's ever growing pool of friends. And then Demyx still had his band mates, those that made up the rest of Melodious Nocturne.
Zexion had tried. Gods, he had tried so many times! To just walk up to Demyx after one of his many well-received performances to tell him, "Hey, great job!" and hopefully find a way to ask him out for coffee, perhaps. Or to bump into him 'accidentally' after one of the blond's classes so he could pick up his books and start a conversation. Or even knock on his door, comment on the music flowing out of the musician's room, and impress him with his knowledge of music, which Zexion had read up intensively in the college library.
But his plans were always thwarted. He had been nearly trampled over after Demyx's concerts by his too many to count fans (his fan girls were particularly vicious), had gotten shoved aside by Xigbar and Saix before he could even 'bump' into Demyx, had been forced to play a game and nearly lost his pants to Luxord when he knocked on Demyx's door, only to find out that Demyx had gone off for the weekend and Luxord, his roommate, was playing with his sitar instead. He wasn't quite as lucky as Riku, who had gotten to know Demyx after a chance meeting during dinner in one of the mass halls, for he never seemed to get a chance to. But those were just the least of his problems.
The bigger and more pressing problem in his opinion, was that he had no idea on how to ask Demyx out. "Hey, that song you just played was really good." And then what? Somehow, Zexion didn't think that tagging a "How about we have some coffee? You and me?" after that was a good idea. It made him sound… desperate. And a "What about singing that song you always sing when you're hanging your laundry?" sounded stalkerish.
Tifa and Leon (or mostly Tifa, since Leon just nodded along with his now ex-wife) had always told him that he was a bad conversationalist.
Again, it was another one of those things that wasn't really his fault. After all, he had grown up with a sorry excuse for a brother who could barely stutter in front of his one true love, which of course had misled into Cloud believing that Leon had been /born/ with the stutter. And then Zexion's childhood best friend was someone who couldn't say anything else but lame pickup lines to the biggest crush of his life. No wonder Roxas had rejected Axel seven times before agreeing to just one date, which everyone had speculated as something Roxas did just to make Axel shut up. Of course, those two were happily married now, but that didn't mean Roxas didn't whack Axel every once in a while for spewing those cheesy lines he had no doubt stolen from chick flicks.
His thoughts were disrupted quite abruptly by a rustle of clothes. When Zexion raised his head, Riku was already putting on his jacket and sneakers, which slipped on easily even with the shoelaces tied up previously.
"While you continue to angst and go emo over how to approach Demyx, I shall head over to Kairi's and rescue my boyfriend from the onslaught of chick flicks. They're probably already into the third film already, and Sora will kill me if I let him finish it. He hits his quota with two and a half," Riku explained easily, grabbing his wallet and keys as he did so.
The room was quiet again all of a sudden. Sometimes, Zexion thought he had gotten so used to Riku's chatter and nagging he would not be able to live alone anymore. The walls felt like they were closing up on him whenever he was alone in their room.
Zexion secretly wished that the chattering voice would belong to a certain someone else.
The first time I realized something was wrong with Zexion, or rather, the first time I realized the huge –no, scratch that- the gargantuan crush Zexion had on Demyx, it was during a particularly witty conversation the two of us were having. Demyx had walked by our room, gave me a jaunty wave and smile before going along his merry way. No doubt back to his own room. Zexion had stumbled over his words, blushed quite prettily, and promptly forgot what our conversation was all about. That was before he grabbed me by my collar, shook me around a few times, and demanded how I had gotten to know Demyx. – Riku, Zexion's unfortunate roommate
Lunch time. Perhaps better well-known and cherished as the time between lessons within Twilight University. It was for most, a time to chat with friends and gossip about not-so-close friends and professors.
For Zexion, it was 'spy on Demyx from a safe distance' time.
Sitting just three rows away from his crush, it was the perfect distance to gaze at Demyx, to see the way the blond always flailed his fork animatedly as he talked and the way he laughed at something his friends said. At the same time, he wasn't close enough to let Demyx figure out that he was staring, or to let Demyx's many friends accuse him of glaring.
It was the perfect distance.
If only Lexaeus wasn't blocking his view!
Now Zexion knew what the newest addition to Demyx's circle of friends was good for: block Demyx away from all his suitors' eyes. Damn that man and his huge body mass. And damn Demyx's ability to befriend even the burliest of guys.
"Can anybody tell me why we're having lunch at this godforsaken cafeteria, ten thousand miles away from our faculty building? Especially when there's another cafeteria ten steps away from our last class?" Tidus grumbled, poking at his mashed baked beans, eyeing them warily as though afraid that they'd come alive any second and pounce on him. "And worse off, the food here sucks."
Zexion felt a cold draft breeze by his back.
Kairi nodded tiredly, flicking her straw upwards from her cola, unmindful of how she'd flicked up droplets of her drink onto Selphie's arm. "Notice I'm not eating anything?"
Zexion resisted the urge to shiver.
Wiping her arm with no small amount of irritation, Selphie added, "Not that you eat anything, ever. You're always on a diet. But the food here really /is/ horrible compared to our cafeteria. See this?" She pointed to her bowl of dessert, which had long since been reduced to a thin, watery substance. "This is goo disguised as vanilla ice cream, meant to be part of the school's evil scheme to brainwash us through food contaminated with some unknown micro-organisms."
Zexion decided to concentrate on stuffing more bread into his mouth.
"Not a very clever plan then, if the school thinks we'd actually eat the food here," Wakka supplied testily, finally throwing down his knife and fork, thereby giving up his valiant fight with his pork chop. That thing was tougher than a brick!
Riku clicked his tongue and shook his head, all the while looking like a mother chastising her children for being silly and ignorant of what was blatantly obvious. "Whoever said we're here to eat?" His smirk was wider than that of the Chesire Cat's, so smug and so full of self-satisfaction his teeth could have tempted someone to punch them all out, one by one.
Zexion's bites into his bread started to get really vicious, gnashing it into puny bits.
Before the gang could give voice to their questions, Sora, who had been listening to the mild complaints with a smile on his face all along, pointed to the figure three rows down. They looked over their shoulders, and when everyone turned back to face Zexion, now reduced to meekly stuffing his lowered face with bread, they all sighed.
Tidus' comment summed up the situation.
"Understooded." It was a situation all of them had understood twice over, and they'd understood it clearer than just 'understood'.
What they did not understand was why Zexion still couldn't pluck up enough courage to at least talk to Demyx. And to think: Zexion's crush had started at the beginning of freshman year. They were already over the halfway mark of their four-year degrees.
Zexion wasn't too bad of a guy, they thought, and he did have everything going for him. He had the looks, he had the brains, he had a good enough family, and all that should be enough to make up for his lack of a vivacious personality. Or if they had a sappier love bone in their bodies, much like Selphie did, they would say that Demyx's personality neutralized Zexion's.
The only problem Zexion had, in their very humble opinion, was his inability to even utter a word in Demyx's presence. Worse yet, his failure to even walk up to the blond for a casual word or two.
If the man could bring the usual wits he displayed during classes and his flair for discussing anything related to his academics when talking to Demyx, then he would probably put every poet in the world to shame. Perhaps he would even find a way to make trigonometry and aerodynamics sound romantic. Zexion was clever like that.
Zexion was aware of all that. He had long since analyzed all his friends' thought patterns to death while he waited near where Demyx got off his classes, and his conclusion was that the only reason why they hadn't tried to blackmail him into confessing his feelings to Demyx was because of his plotting.
Zexion had demanded that Wakka tell him why he hadn't confessed to that Lulu girl in his economics class yet.
Tidus' blitzball gear had been found in Yuna's room, and Zexion had nonchalantly suggested the amount of damage Selphie would cause if she ever found out that her boyfriend's missing things turned up in another girl's room, even if the only reason was because Yuna was the blitzball team's manager and she took care of everyone's gear every now and then.
Selphie had been a happy waitress working in a restaurant since a few months ago, secretly working to earn enough money and buy Tidus that set of blitzball gear he'd been dreaming of, until Zexion walked into the restaurant and ordered a steak.
Whenever Kairi ran into a problem with her assignments, Zexion was the person to ask for help.
While Zexion had nothing on Sora and Riku, those two were usually too busy with each other to bother him about his problem. Riku did occasionally talk –bug was a more accurate word for what the silver-haired teenager did, though that egoistic freak would never admit it- to him and even tease him about what he knew of Demyx, but Zexion was already starting to build up some sort of immune system to it. And whenever the sensitive topic came up, Sora would just smile that knowing smile of his.
It irked him to no ends. What did Sora know that he didn't? It wasn't that the brunet actually knew Demyx on a personal level, so the chances of a miraculous possibility that Demyx secretly liked him in return was close to nil. But on that one occasion when he'd finally swallowed his pride and actually asked Sora, the little brat had merely given him an exasperated look and said, "Zexion, I love you. I really do. But sometimes, you're slower than dial-up internet in the Australian outback."
Regardless of whether there was even internet service in the outback, of course.
Zexion blinked when he tasted plastic, and his brow almost twitched upon the realization that his bun had already been sacrificed in full to his stomach. All that was left was the plastic bag the bun had come with. Finally raising his head, the first since his friends started complaining about the food served in this cafeteria, he sighed.
Demyx was already gone.
Zexion used to memorize Demyx's timetable just so he'd know where to stalk him out after classes ended. Oh wait. Did I say 'stalk'? Well, forgive me. If I had a more extensive vocabulary, I would have substituted 'stalk' for something better, because what Zexion did wasn't just plain stalking. It was the type of stalking that included stealthy ninja skills, since Demyx never found out Zexion existed until much, much later. – Riku, Zexion's roommate who can't bear seeing it anymore
Basic Japanese was one of those classes Zexion had signed up by accident. He had been one elective short this semester and found out about it much too late to find a good class he was at least interested in. Just as when he was about to fret ('about' being the operative word here, since Zexion wasn't about to stoop /that/ low and actually fret), Riku, who was used to signing up for his classes at the last minute, told him about the vacancy in Basic Japanese.
And so Zexion was signed up for the third tutorial class of Basic Japanese.
At first, he had been more than a little miffed, feeling he'd been forced to take a language class he saw no use for. Riku took it so he could watch those badly subbed anime and laugh his butt off, and Sora took it to keep Riku company. And maybe to laugh at Riku when Riku laughed at the wrong parts of those anime.
Three classes into the semester, Zexion found that it wasn't quite so bad. In fact, if he were completely honest, the classes were actually rather interesting. Of course, they weren't interesting like say, thermodynamics, but thanks to the instructor ("Oh please, do call me sensei instead, since this is a Japanese class and that's what students in Japan call their teachers"), they weren't half bad either. But the real clincher (in Riku's words), was when he realized that Demyx was also taking the same class, just one tutorial earlier. Basically, that just meant that while Zexion had the class on Mondays and Wednesdays, 11am to 1pm, Demyx's class ran on the same days, just 2 hours before his.
After that realization, Zexion always made sure he arrived at class at least ten minutes early, just so he would be sure to get to see Demyx leave the classroom after his lessons were over.
Riku used to pat him on his head like he did with the stray dog that wandered around their dormitories every time Zexion insisted on arriving early until he threatened to take the silver-haired teen's hand off for that. But sometimes, occasionally, on a particularly good day (read: days when Demyx smiled in his general direction, even though that smile was directed towards Sora and Riku), he would stand there like a good little boy and allow Riku –or to be more accurate, give the other the opportunity to- to mess up his meticulously-styled hair.
However, today was not one of those days.
It was one of those days Riku knew better than to jest around with his roommate, because Demyx had not appeared.
While they had, as usual, turned up a little earlier for their Japanese class, the blond musician was nowhere to be found after class dismissal. It seemed that he hadn't turned up for the class at all.
Without a word, Zexion marched into the classroom, making a beeline for his seat, the one he always took. It was located in the corner, far away from the others to not be disturbed by anyone except Sora and Riku, and far back enough that he could have the perfect view of everything going on in class. As Sora and Riku plopped into the row before his, he brooded silently.
The blond wasn't the type to skip lessons just because he felt like it. Neither was he the type to skip classes in favour of other classes' assignments, and besides, it was still quite early in the semester for project deadlines. So what reasons could there be?
Maybe Demyx was trying to avoid him? Perhaps he had, one way or another, realized that Zexion was always around where he was and gotten worried about his possible stalker tendencies?
No, no, no. As much as he loathed admitting it, Demyx still had no idea he even existed, much less notice his so-called 'stalker tendencies', so lovingly dubbed by Riku.
So maybe Demyx' circle of friends had noticed it instead and somehow decided to help the naïve blond switch class?
No, he didn't think so. Zexion didn't think he'd done anything particularly provocative that would arouse their suspicions and closet mother-hen personalities. Besides, those people probably didn't see him as a threat to anything. In their eyes, he was only one of Demyx's many admirers, and one of insipid ones that still hadn't gotten quite enough guts to even speak to the blond much.
Then… maybe Demyx had fallen sick? Yeah, it was possible. There had been a flu bug spreading across the student population lately where upon one student got well another student would get sick, and Zexion vaguely remembered seeing Luxord, Demyx's roommate, sneezing a couple times outside his room.
Somehow, while this reason seemed most plausible, Zexion still thought it was a little hard to believe. In all the time he had known Demyx, which, while wasn't very long, was quite enough for him to gain an astute understanding of the blond, Demyx had never even gotten a cold. Even that one time when Luxord had been confined to the bed for three days following an especially bad fever, and everyone else around him had more or less gotten infected, Demyx was the only person to walk about perfectly fine and unscathed.
Just as he was about to launch into another internal dialogue cum analysis of the possible reasons for Demyx's absence, a familiar figure appeared at the door, panting and looking almost frantic. Zexion's eyes positively lit up.
Realizing everyone's eyes were on him, Demyx chuckled sheepishly, scratching the back of his hand. "Merlin sensei, I'm sorry for missing your class earlier. I…" – he paused, as though trying to figure out the least provocative word to explain himself – "overslept. My alarm clock just went batty this morning. So can I… you know, join this class today instead?" On second thoughts, he added, "Please?"
Zexion couldn't see any reason for their sensei to reject the request. Not when Demyx looked so apologetic. And cute. Even Bambi couldn't imitate Demyx's doe eyes.
Merlin sighed with fond exasperation, merriment twinkling in his eyes despite his head shaking. With the textbook in one hand, he waved nonchalantly to the rest of the class. "I hope this doesn't happen again, Demyx. Now go find yourself a seat so we can start our lesson. This class is slightly ahead of yours, actually, but I guess it can't be helped. If you have any questions, just ask someone from the class."
Oh, he would more than help, if Demyx asked him. In fact, he really wouldn't mind going through the whole textbook with the blond either, for a little one-on-one lesson. And so, Zexion was reminded again of why he liked Merlin sensei.
Demyx grinned brightly. "Yes sir!" Adjusting his book bag over his shoulders, he walked inside while his eyes scanned the room, probably looking to see if there were anyone he knew.
Zexion felt his arms twitching, but while he considered the likelihood of Demyx not recognizing him at all, Riku beat him to it with a cheery wave and yell.
"Demyx, over here! There's a seat over here! Come join me and Sora!"
The blond waved back excitedly before bouncing over. Dropping his bag into an empty seat beside his, he sat himself in the seat beside Riku and Sora's, much to Zexion's disappointment. Well, not that Zexion expected the blond to remember him at all to respond to his wave, had he waved at all. At least Demyx was now sitting in the seat right before his, he consoled himself. As lessons started, he leaned forward in his chair, pretending to listen to Merlin sensei lecture about how to talk about if they wanted to do a certain thing like drinking beer and watching movies, while he was in fact, eavesdropping on the whispered conversation taking place in front of him. He strained his ears to hear.
"…party last night…Luxord… nearly died of a hangover this morning… take care… my alarm clock… late…"
As embarrassing as it was, Zexion sighed in relief. At least now he knew the blond hadn't been avoiding him, nor had he gotten ill. But his relief was only temporary, for once that feeling had passed away, Zexion realized the chance. The golden opportunity he had always been lamenting he could not find. The perfect time for him to actually find a way and talk to Demyx without any of the blond's pals interfering.
Both Riku and Sora knew about his… infatuation, as they called it, so surely they'd give him the ideal opening to cut into their conversation? Surely they'd find it in their hearts to help out a buddy?
They would, wouldn't they?
A little seed of hope started sprout up within Zexion, its first leaf breaking free to bask in the beautiful sunlight. And when Sora gave him a playful but encouraging grin, the small sapling immediately exploded in growth, trunk thickening and gaining in strength, leaves spreading out the various branches in vast amounts. It would not be a hyperbole to say that what was a once a little plant had grown enough to rival Jack's famed beanstalk.
That was when Riku shot him a shrewd smirk that signaled to Zexion that there was an incipient prankster cum jerk in the house.
With that one look, his beanstalk crumbled and collapsed, withered away like a seed exposed to the harsh winter.
Zexion spent the next twenty minutes half-listening to the class, and half-devoted to planning his roommate's demise.
Just when he had gotten to the good parts (read: a method of torture with the greatest efficacy that had something to do with tweezers, colourful condoms and announcements via notice boards and emails), his line of thought was unfortunately interrupted by Merlin sensei's voice.
"Now class, pair up and practice what we just went through," he said, pushing his glasses up his nose. "Riku, you and your friends will have to practice in a group of three again… Oh wait, now that Demyx is here, we have an even number! Good, good… now all of you can pair up and practice properly."
Zexion had nearly forgotten about the pair-work they always did in Japanese class. Merlin sensei was a devout believer in the saying that practice makes perfect, and so he had made a habit of pairing students up to form sentences and have short conversations in Japanese. Usually it was something really simple, and a pair would each take a role provided in the textbook and enact the scene. Sometimes, after the textbook conversations, Merlin sensei would encourage the class to come up with similar conversations themselves. It was fun, it was interesting, and it was the golden opportunity come back for Zexion. He immediately sat up straight in his chair, mind already fumbling over the many lines of possible things to say to Demyx so they could pair up. Thankfully, someone did it for him.
"Hey Demyx? Do you mind practicing with Zexion? Ah, he's the one sitting behind us, actually. Sora and I work best together." Then there was a wink thrown in his direction, and suddenly, Zexion wanted to hug and kiss his roommate. Who was the heaven-sent angel who had given him this wonderful, brilliant man of a roommate?
Demyx turned around. "I don't mind! You and Sora go ahead." Turning around in his chair, he pouted at the uncomfortable position, blissfully unaware of the almost silent squeak that had found its way out Zexion's mouth. He was even less aware of the squeak that never made it out of Zexion's parched throat when he commented that it was awkward to do pair-work like that and just grabbed his bag and plopped into the seat right beside Zexion's. Neither did he notice the double thumbs up of encouragement from Sora and Riku to their now-unable-to-talk-properly-except-squeak friend.
"Hi Zexion. I'm Demyx. So, who do you wanna be? Suzumura, or Sakurai?" he asked nonchalantly as he flipped his textbook back to the page they had stopped at, referring to the two characters in the book who were talking about their plans for tomorrow.
"Ah… I'm fine with anything."
"I'll be Suzumura then." He cleared his throat and began. "Konban nani wo shimasu ka?"
"Aa…" Zexion paused for a moment, trying to figure out what Demyx had just said. Everything in their textbook was written in Japanese, and even after so many lessons, he still took a bit of time to process and understand every time. Oh, so Demyx's character had just asked him what he was going to do that night. Eyes zoomed onto his reply.
"Nihongo wo benkyoushimasu. Sore kara, terebi wo mimasu." I'm going to study Japanese, and after that, I'm going to watch television. There. All answered.
Demyx chuckled. "This Sakurai-san sure is studious, isn't he? Fancy hitting his books on a Friday night. Personally, I wouldn't touch my books with a ten-foot pole on weekends."
Zeionx knew that. He also knew that Demyx usually spent his Friday nights performing gigs at a club off-campus, in the city. And that was the reason why Zexion usually accepted Riku's (that brilliant gem of a man, really) invitations to go clubbing on Friday nights.
"So now… shall we try it again, with some variations? I'll be Sakurai this time, so you can start."
"Ashita nani wo shimasu ka?" It was the standard first line again, except that instead of asking what the other was doing tonight, he'd asked what Demyx was going to do tomorrow. Oh no, of course he wasn't expecting the blond to really tell him his plans for the next day. After all, their level of Japanese was still pretty low, so everyone tended to stick to the vocabulary and whatever else they had already learned in the previous lessons.
…No, he wasn't going to be disappointed by Demyx's textbook answer.
"Etou…Tenisu wo shimasu. Sore kara, eiga wo mimasu."
Of course it was a textbook answer. Nobody in their right minds would watch a movie in the cinema right after playing tennis. In fact, going into any air-conditioned places after sports was a big no-no. It was disgusting, it was dirty, it was… a faux pas. So of course it wasn't what Demyx was really going to do tomorrow.
They practiced a few more variations, and by the end of it, they had learned that the other was going to have dinner after writing a letter, a game of poker after some revision, and some shopping after reading the newspapers. Everything was the standard answer, as supplied by their textbooks. And once they were sure they could handle this part well enough, they decided to move on to the next example, where Suzumura was inviting Sakurai out to do something together.
He started. "Isshoni koohii o nomimasen ka?" Shall we have coffee together, he'd asked. A standard first line in the textbook to start such a conversation. Nothing much. But the answer was different. The textbook had supplied both the standard replies for an acceptance and a polite refusal, just so they could practice for both situations. Holding his breath, as much as he knew it shouldn't matter/didn't/ matter, Zexion wondered what the other would reply with.
A load was lifted off his chest when Demyx smiled brightly.
"Ii desu ne. Nomimashou."
Demyx had accepted his invitation. He had /accepted/. Even though Zexion knew this was just for practice in their Japanese class, he still allowed himself to return the smile. Maybe he could con his foolish heart into believing that it was real, just for a moment, if only to console himself and give his silly self something to look forward to. A date with Demyx? If only it were real!
But even so… even if this was just a textbook answer… Zexion was never going to forget the tenderness in Demyx's voice as he gave his acceptance. He was never going to forget /anything/ from that instant in time, as though that one moment had been plucked out from a reel of moments and then carefully stowed away, preserved, in a tiny corner of his heart that would always stand out and be relived, over and over.
He couldn't bear for it to end.
"Doko de nomimashou ka?"
Where shall we go, for coffee? He could tell that Demyx was surprised by his sudden question, one that was not in their books, from the way his head had shot up suddenly and his eyes widened.
And he waited.
"…Makudonarudo de nomimashou."
McDonald's usually wasn't anyone's first choice when it came to luxurious coffee, but it would have to suffice. After all, it was one of the new vocabulary they'd learned just today, wasn't it? And Zexion wasn't expecting much. Not an actual answer, least of all.
So he just nodded, a faint curve on his lips.
But despite how Zexion always thought he knew everything that was to know about Demyx, what he didn't know was what really counted. Of course, that was the one thing Sora and I knew. And while I always wanted to hang it like a tantalizing carrot in front of my lovely roommate, Sora never let me. – Riku, Zexion's mischievous roommate and Sora's whipped boyfriend
That day, Zexion was especially slow when he was packing his books back into his bag, taking utmost care that his favourite pen was in its designated slot so he could find it easily and that his textbooks would not get folded or bent where they weren't supposed to be. Through all his packing, he never looked up. And when Sora and Riku reminded him that their next class was due to start in fifteen minutes, he told them to go on ahead. He would join them later, when he was done packing and arranging every little thing inside his book bag.
Zexion barely heard Sora's promise to save him a seat as the two sprinted off. After all, a lecture with Professor Maleficent about the theories and dissection of fairy tales was not one to be missed. The witch even took attendance, for god's sake.
But that class was about the last thing on his mind at that moment.
All he could remember was Demyx's suggestion of having coffee at a fast-food chain. That, and how the blond had hightailed out of class the minute Merlin Sensei said, "Class dismissed!"
How silly, he thought, to even hold one scrape of hope that the suggestion could be real. He had told himself over and over again during the class, hadn't he, that it was just a practice conversation in Japanese class? So why had he allowed himself to hope?
Serves himself right for that.
Sighing inwardly, he grabbed his bag and shuffled quietly out of the classroom. A class with Prof Mal. How entertaining. Zexion was just positively looking forward to hear her squeeze every last bit of magic out of those insufferable fairy tales, like that lecture on how 'Snow White' held racial discrimination themes or that assignment that asked them to compare the many versions of 'Beauty and the Beast'. Oh, please don't forget the Disney version, she had said, because that one was atrociously remade for children's viewing. Tifa would be upset to hear that; his mother always did love Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' the most and often drew parallels between her and Belle, Leon and Beast.
Zexion vaguely remembered that they were going to cover 'Sleeping Beauty' today.
Ambling out of the now deserted classroom, he tried to psyche himself into 'Sleeping Beauty' bashing mode, for that seemed to be Prof Mal's most hated fairy tale of all. Oh, if he had known that beforehand, he would never have signed up for the elective. He happened to like that fairy tale, thank you very much, especially since Tifa always teased him relentlessly during his high school days about how much of a sleeping beauty he was for trying to sleep in during school days.
And then he heard someone yell his name.
"Zexion, wait up!"
There was Demyx, running up towards him, apparent flustered.
"Demyx? Is there anything…?"
The blond nodded. "Of course there is! I thought we agreed to go for coffee together? I just needed a trip to the toilet, that's all."
"…We did?" Zexion blinked hard. Surely, this was when Tifa was going to tug on his blankets hard and yell at him to stop being such a sleeping beauty. She was going yank and pull and haul his beloved blanket away, expose him to the freezing colds of morning, and then remind him that Leon was already starting at their breakfast, and it was Zexion's favourite blueberry pancakes that day.
"We did! During class, remember?" answered Demyx brightly, chuckling.
Zexion swallowed. "…Mc… McDonald's?"
"Well, it doesn't have to be McDonald's! It was just the first place that came to my mind in Japanese! We just learned that word, today, so it was at the top of my head." He shrugged. "So… Coffee? Now?"
Between being a good student and attend his class on bashing fairy tales and having coffee with the one person he'd longed for since the first day of his freshman year in university, there wasn't much of a choice. Really, there wasn't.
"I have a class now."
"Oh…" Demyx's smile dimmed.
"But it's my last class for the day. Can I see you then? We could even have dinner together!" The gears in Zexion's mind were whirling fast enough to power a car-assembling factory for at least three full days.
"What… what class is it?"
"Professor Maleficent's fairy tale class. I think we're doing 'Sleeping Beauty' today."
Demyx's jaws dropped, and then closed up again in the widest grin Zexion had ever seen. "Seriously?" That's the class I tried to apply for and got put on the waiting list!"
"Really? Interested in crashing the class? I don't think the prof will notice an extra student if we just sneak in from the back."
"I'll be quiet," promised Demyx, as he started to walk. "So… coffee after class?"
"Coffee after class."
"Not at McDonald's, right?"
"Definitely not." Unlike Riku, I'm not a cheapskate who brings his date to a fast-food chain on their first date, Zexion thought. "Maybe that new café that opened up in town? And then we can have dinner at the Japanese restaurant nearby. Maybe we can try placing our orders in Japanese?" He smiled, gently pulling on Demyx's arm when it was time to turn right into another corridor.
"Right. But we might confuse the servers there! And maybe even ourselves. I mean, we just learned how to buy stuff in Japanese last lesson. I'm still not very good at it, actually. Oh Zexion, where's the lecture theatre?"
"Here. This one."
Sneaking inside, since he was already, technically, ten minutes late, Zexion thought that he still didn't really believe in marriage. Definitely believed in love, he did. After all, Demyx was already here, right beside him, sneaking into class with him. But marriage was another thing altogether.
Still, looking at Demyx right here, right now, staring in awe at how Prof Mal ranted on Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty' and how it should have been impossible for Prince Phillip to slay the dragon in the end that easily, Zexion knew it was just a matter of time before he started believing in it.
What is it that Sora and I knew that Zexion didn't, you ask? It's a really simple thing, really. I'm surprised Zexion, for all his wittiness and scheming ways, never noticed a thing so simple. The answer is: Zexion's stalking and attendance of all Melodious Nocturne's concerts paid off, in the end. Oh sure, it took Demyx quite a long time to notice the persistent guy with the periwinkle-coloured hair who seemed to always be around him, and even longer to realize that the same guy actually lived a few rooms down, but he did notice. Even if it took him a whole year to. – Riku, Zexion's sympathetic roommate
"Hi, you have reached Zexion's mailbox. I am unavailable to pick up the phone, so just leave a message after the tone."
"Zexion, Tifa here. Where are you? I've got the biggest piece of news for you, and you're not even there. Take the pleasure out of something this fun, why don't you? Anyway, just grab onto something sturdy before I break the news. Or better yet, just sit on the floor and lean against the wall or something that won't fall over too easily.
"So you ready?
"This is about your brother, in case you haven't figured it out yet, since he's the only person around us who can and /will/ give us heart attacks. You're not going to believe this, but… Hey, are you sitting on the floor yet? You'd better. I nearly fell off the stairs when Yuffie came bouncing into our house and told me what she saw the other day. So sit on the floor. Or something. You figure something out.
"Oh, and don't you 'Just get to the point, Tifa' me! I may have divorced your brother, but I'm still your mum! Ahem… so. Apparently, your brother has, well/convinced/ Cloud to give him a chance. Yes, I know I know! Finally, right? After three freaking years -two of which your brother spent apologizing and placating Cloud for nearly running Vinnie over with his car every time he backed into the garage, but Cloud just doesn't understand Vinnie's attraction to our garage- your brother finally has a chance! I'm still not quite sure what Leon did to get this, considering Cloud was hopping mad earlier for Leon's hand in Vinnie's almost premature death. I told you about how your brilliant brother went drinking with Vinnie, right? So whatever Leon did, it must have been good.
"And by the way, what did you bet on with Auron's betting pool? Did you bet that Leon would succeed in ten years or twenty years? No matter, your money's gone now. I have no idea how Auron –that mad guy of a neighbour, really- guessed that Leon would hit the jackpot in under five years! I mean, Leon is just so… so… so dense, sometimes. And he's just so hopeless with romance! Did I ever tell you how your brother proposed to me? 'Tifa, just wear the damn ring,' he'd said. Why, he didn't even have the decency to give me flowers! So yeah, Auron is now laughing all the way to the bank. I don't think anybody here bet anything less than ten years. Cid even reckoned that Leon would never get a chance with blondie! Well, he sure is eating his words right now.
"Leon seems to be doing quite well with Cloud, actually. Yuffie even said she saw them kissing the other day! Yeah, that's why I nearly fell off the stairs. From the way Yuffie described, the kiss was the stereotypical perfect kiss from romance novels. The type that makes the kisser and the kissee see fireworks in their eyes, feel fire burning in their bodies, get the tingles traveling down their spines. You know, the cheesy type? But you know Yuffie. Twenty bucks that she was on high on vanilla ice cream. And that reminds me: that girl must be the only person in this world who can get high on vanilla ice cream.
"But yeah, the lovebirds have a little trouble now. Cloud's ex-boyfriend, some guy named Sephiroth, is after him again. Apparently, blondie bumped into him again at work, and now he can't shake him off. And the really funny thing is: this Sephiroth guy is the exact opposite of Leon. Where he's romantic, your brother is hopeless. But well, if Cloud is sticking to Leon, I guess that doesn't really matter. Then again, I heard from Aeris and Zack –Cloud's best friends, remember?- that they saw Leon checking out this whole series of 'How to get a date' type of books from the local library, so maybe there's a copy of 'Dummy's Guide to Romance' in that stack. I don't know; your brother's been keeping really quiet about his success with Cloud. He doesn't even tell me when he scores! Thank god for grapevines.
"Where were we? Before Leon borrowing those books? Oh right, Sephiroth. He came by yesterday, actually. And I swear, when that guy came by with a full entourage of sound systems, sound engineers, armful of flowers and enough chocolate to put Willy Wonka out of business, Leon's fingers kept twitching and inching towards his gunblade. I stopped him, of course. Wouldn't do to have all that blood in our front lawn, you know? I hate cleaning out blood stains.
"Cloud sent him away, though, before any real damage could be done. Like our glass breaking. I think that guy was going to serenade Cloud, and he even got his sound blasters and speakers and what-have-you all set up. But Cloud was quite vehement that he got off his property immediately. They argued a bit, and somehow it worked, and that Sephiroth guy and his entourage drove off, sound systems and all. So now your brother's sticking to Cloud like industrial-strength superglue crossed with duct tape. I haven't seen him since yesterday.
"Alright, enough about your brother. So how are you doing? Your exams are in three weeks time, right? Remember to study, alright? And Demyx? If you're around to hear this, then help me oversee Zexion's revision, alright? He listens to you most nowadays. And you take care of yourself too! Remember to visit us during your next holidays. I'll make my meatloaf. You should ask Zexion about how good it tastes. I used to lure him out of his room for dinner with my meatloaves.
"Anyway, I think that's about it. Gotta go now. I'm meeting Aeris and Yuffie in an hour. We're going doujinshi shopping. Bye kids!"
Subject: I survived. Yeah.
Date: 12 Jul 2007 15:33:23 -0700
Bet you didn't expect me to survive my meeting with Roxas' parents, but well, whaddya know? I'm still alive and kicking, and I think I did pretty well too. I mean, apart from some singed hair and bruises, I actually came through with all my limbs intact. And just in case you're wondering, if I have a fascination with fire, Roxas' parents are /obsessed/ with it. His dad, especially. I mean, I play with matches and lighters, and his dad has a room full of flamethrowers. And extinguishers. Thank god for extinguishers. Roxas would be lacking one loving husband now if there were no extinguishers.
Truth be told, they're not too bad, even if Hades –Roxas' dad- almost ripped me apart on our first meeting. But it's to be expected, right? I mean, Roxas didn't tell them about the wedding until after our honeymoon, so no surprises there, about their reactions. Roxas' mum, this young chick named Persephone, nearly set her fire-enhanced chainsaw on me. You should have seen that thing! It was totally brilliant: a chainsaw that spits flames. Of course, it doesn't look as wicked when that thing's under your nose, but well. Persephone said that she's scared away at least ten of Roxas' boyfriends just by whipping that chainsaw out.
Now we're more or less gotten a truce, since Roxas threatened his parents that he'd just run away with me if they objected to our marriage.
But of course, his cousin needed a little more work.
While I had hit it off right away with Marluxia (Larxene's fiancé, if you've forgotten), since he had always secretly encouraged Roxas to rebel and get married to someone not of his parents' choosing and arranged marriages, Larxene wasn't as easy to handle. She really does live up to her nickname of 'Savage Nymph'. She nearly bit my head off for, in her words, "abducting her innocent and naïve cousin". Did Roxas ever tell you that she carries an electric rod with her wherever she goes? Almost zapped me with it too.
I bought her over with alcohol. A lot of alcohol. Enough alcohol to drown a chocobo, I swear. Larxene is a lot more amicable when she's drunk, so I've learned to keep her drunk. And Marluxia says she's more creative at night when she's drunk anyway, so he doesn't mind. In fact, he'd told me explicitly that he likes vodka and Larxene prefers rum.
I think I should be safe now, from Roxas' family.
Then again, maybe not. Persephone just came into the room earlier. Roxas' uncles and aunts and more cousins and some family friends are visiting tomorrow. They're already on the way, she said.
…I'm gonna die.
Zex, could you drop on by at my mum's house whenever you get the time, after I'm gone? Lie and tell her it was painless.
A/N: And so ends my first foray into Zemyx! I've actually had this fic idea for years now but never found the perfect pairing to write it for. I think Zexion and Demyx fitted in perfectly, and so here it is! XDDD
Anyway, happy belated birthday, Dual! As this is essentially your birthday fic, can you spot all the references I've included? In fact, can everyone spot /all/ of the references I inserted? Some are references to Dual's fics, some to mine, but mostly Dual's. Have fun spotting!
Also, all of the Japanese used in this fic was taken from my textbook, so there shouldn't be any mistakes. But if there are, please do drop me a note about it. Thanx!
Lastly, please remember to review (not just fave and alert it!) if you enjoyed this fic to keep my writing muses strong and alive! I've had so many people who just fave and/or alert like, so many of my fics, and not even one review. It's a little depressing, you know, to know that my fics can't translate fuzzy feelings it gives to action. So please reivew! Thanx! XDD