Revised on August 4, 2008
Sweet and divine, razor of mine.
Sweet and divine, razorblade shine.
–"Razor" by the Foo Fighters.
He entered the bathroom with a certain amount of apprehension in his stop, as if he knew his trip there was inevitable whether he turned around now or not. He must have decided to get it over with now rather than later. If he delayed his ritual, it would probably only get worse as the time passed.
Softly, he shut the wooden door behind him, locking it as he always did, though it wasn't really needed. He turned the hot water faucet of the sink, holding his hands under the stream until it was warm, swiftly pulling the stopper so it would hold the water at the bottom. Watching until it was fill half-full, he cut the stream of water, briefly watching the steam hit the cool, air-conditioned atmosphere.
Like a well-oiled machine, the routine down pat and perfectly rehearsed after so long, Zexion walked over to his stereo, flicked it on, bringing the machine to life. Revolution by the Beatles warbled at him from the speakers, informing him that 'We all wanna change the world', promising that 'It was going to alright. Alright'…
He really wasn't in the mood for the ever-hopeful, unwavering songs of The Beatles at the moment. Maybe another time, but not now, not when he was so close to becoming undone that he felt that it threatened to kill him.
Sighing, he slide the button over to c.d. mode. A deafening silence filled the room, intimidating him so much that he almost fled the bathroom right then, almost changed his mind altogether. Almost.
He quickly pushed the play button, waiting for the crooning of Jim Morrison and The Doors from their Greatest Hits c.d. to capture and claim him. He hated the silence; the dead-calm and stillness that threatened to give him the chance to think, threatened to give the memories a chance to seep back through his vigilantly constructed barriers and reclaim him. The milliseconds ticked by like agonizing, torturous hours until, finally, the music began to play.
The opening notes of Hello, I Love You claimed the attention of the room, the speakers catching Zexion's narrow gaze. Nope, that was definitely not the song for this particular occasion. Hitting the next button, he listened to approximately four seconds of Light My Fire before deciding that that song, too, would just not do. In succession to the first push, he pressed the next button again, smiling wryly as People Are Strange filled that air of the tiny room, the sound waves bouncing off the robin's egg blue tiled walls. Yes, this was definitely a song that would suit the occasion. He gave the volume knob a sharp twist to the right, cranking it so loud that the stereo vibrated slightly on the counter where it had made it's home for the past several years. He very much doubted anyone else would hear it anyway, let alone care; no one else was home and all the neighbors were the 9-5ers that didn't make it home until it was time to feed little Johnny and Susie after picking them up from the babysitters.
Ah yes, the loud music was doing just the trick, turning his ever-overthinking brain to a silent and peaceful, beautiful oblivion.
He shrugged out of his zippered hoodie that had become an essential part of his wardrobe, as essential to him as his jeans perhaps, tossing it to the counter where it landed next to the boom box. Glancing down, he saw the many scars that littered his arms, some faint and white with age while others were still purple and red, raw and new, and in the healing stage. One long stretch of skin close to the crook of his left arm still sported a giant razor-thin scab. It wasn't yet three days old, a remnant of the last time the memories had gotten this utterly unbearable.
The sight of the many self-inflicted wounds caused tears to well up in his eyes. He hated himself now more than he ever had before. He hated the fact that he hurt himself whenever he hurt inside. But he especially hated the fact that he couldn't seem to stop.
Opening the second drawer under the sink, he pulled out the shaving kit his dad had gotten him a few years earlier, pulling out his razor that had only one use for Zexion, and it wasn't to shave his face.
He had cleverly rigged the razor to drop one of the four blades after pulling the small plastic end off and taping it on the counter. Numbly, he did so, picking up the small razor with his slender fingers. In his trembling hands, he brought the razor to his freshest injury, piercing the skin next to it with the small silver liberator.
He didn't even feel it pierce his skin; he'd stopped feeling the pain long ago. Engulfed by the sensations of release, he was only vaguely aware of the blood pouring down his arm and onto his gray T-shirt. He failed to notice that the blood, Lord, so much blood, was so much more than usual. Tossing the bloody razor into the water-filled sink, he watched it pour from the wound with a dim fascination, swaying slightly as he did so.
He felt suddenly weak, woozy, and could no longer stand on his own two feet. Dropping to the floor, he grabbed a bath towel from the rack and wrapped it tightly around his arm. He let the weariness encompass him. The towel quickly retained his blood until it was undeniably soaking.
Minutes elapsed before he faintly heard the voice. "Zexion!" the familiar voice called to him, "Zexiooooon, where are yoooooou?"
He cringed as his heart swelled at the mere sound of the voice, cursing himself for the way his body was reacting.
He didn't want Demyx to see him, not ever like this.
"Sorry I just let myself in," the voice explained with a chuckle, somewhere outside the bathroom door. Demyx had found him. "You weren't answering and I got tired of standing there waiting. I didn't realize you were on the crapper." Demyx's sweet laughter rang through the door, somehow audible over the loud stereo and the even louder thumping of Zexion's heart.
Grimly, Zexion willed the floor to simply open up and swallow him whole, but it didn't happen. Instead, he remained immovably slumped against the bathroom wall, his favorite jeans swiftly soaking up his blood.
"Zexion? Zexion, are you okay? Why aren't you answering?" Demyx asked, his voice taking on a frantic edge. "If you don't open up the door right now or say something, I'll break the fucker down! I swear I'll do it!"
"Demyx," he said faintly "Go 'way. You can't see me like this." Zexion, Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger, and Ray Manzarek were the only ones who heard his pitiable request.
Dutifully and true to his word, Zexion heard Demyx's body slam against the bathroom door, the door itself remaining steadfast in it's place in the doorframe. Demyx's curses were low, and Zexion could just barely make them out. It made bile rise in his stomach to know that it was his own fault that such filth was coming from Demyx's mouth.
Again, Demyx ran into the door without success. The third attempt, however, was successful, the door slamming against the wall, bouncing off it a few times before growing stationary. A tall teen was revealed, standing hunched in the doorway, no doubt from whatever damage he'd just done to his shoulder. Demyx was sweating slightly, the dirty blond roots of his hairline damp. Glancing around the tiny room, Demyx paled instantly at the sight of Zexion on the floor, his face taking on a rather delicate and muted shade of jade.
"What did you do to yourself?" he asked, looking at the numerous scars covering Zexion's bony arms. "Oh Zexion, what did you do?" Zexion's sapphire eyes closed in exhaustion. It had never been this bad before…
Demyx stepped quickly to the stereo, unplugging it from the wall, before wiping out his cell phone and dialing a number. Zexion couldn't quite hear what was being said, but was fairly sure Demyx had called for an ambulance.
Abruptly, Zexion felt two strong hands wrap around his cut, using the pressure Zexion had been too weak to apply. Opening his eyes, he saw something get tied around his wound, possibly another towel.
Zexion sighed, as content as he could be with the situation at hand, as Demyx sat down next to him, paying no attention whatsoever to the growing puddle of blood on the floor, pulling the smaller man between his spread legs. His arms wrapped around Zexion securely, one hand clamped upon the wound, the other brushing Zexion's sweat-dampened bangs from his eyes.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Demyx asked softly after a moment of painful silence. Zexion's heart broke when he heard his best friend's voice tremble, when he felt his best friend's tears land hot and wet on his shoulders.
"I could have helped you, you know," Demyx continued, distressed. "You didn't have to keep everything all bottled up inside you, Zexion, you know that. I'm always here for you and always will be. For anything, anything at all. You see, I'd probably jump off a bridge if you were the one asking me to do it."
Zexion concentrated on Demyx's heartfelt words, the words alone being the only thing that kept him from going unconscious on the spot.
Hugging Zexion to himself a little tighter, Demyx went on, "I love you Zexion. As in, I'm in love with you. Didn't you know that? Everyone always said it was so blatantly obvious, transparent even, that I was ninety-nine percent positive that you knew."
Demyx's body shuddered then, heavy sobs claiming him as he took all of Zexion's guilt upon himself. "The only thing I ever wanted to do was to take care of you and I failed miserably!"
Guiltily, Zexion turned his head to look at Demyx, reaching up with his uninjured arm to wipe the tears from the blond's cheeks. "Don't cry," he whispered softly. "Please don't cry,"
"How can I not cry when I look at you and see what you've done to yourself and know I didn't do anything to stop you!" Demyx said hysterically.
"You are doing something, Demyx. You're here." The words were uttered very faintly, so light it took Demyx a moment to realize what was said.
An almost sickly bright artificial light woke Zexion. Even in his drugged state he could tell that it was artificial, fluorescent bulbs gleaming down at him like a mocking sun. This light was nothing like the sunlight that woke him every morning, always warm and content. No, this light was putting on a façade of comfort, trying it's damnedest to lure him into a sense of false security. Real sunlight wouldn't have left him feeling so cold and numb. Hollow.
He felt as if he had been drawn and quartered, which, in reality, he saw wasn't too awful far from the truth when he opened his eyes for the first time. His whole body ached, right on down to the tips of this blanket-clad toes. His left arm felt void of any feeling, discovering it to be immobile when he tried to move it to brush his hair from his adjusting eyes.
Gazing around the room, he saw that he was in what appeared to be a hospital room. Stark white walls, a TV attached high on the wall, and a few chairs surrounding his bed, all confirming his suspicions.
But this was nothing like the room his brother had been in the last time Zexion visited the only hospital Twilight Town had. No, Hayner had gone straight to the morgue…
Inspecting the room further and blinking back a tear he didn't know had appeared in his eye, Zexion realized that he was not alone in the small room.
In one of bedside chairs sat Demyx, his head propped against the wall behind him, hands folded in his lap, his feet extended in front of him and crossed at the ankles. He was sleeping in a way that seemed peaceful, but an underlying edge belied the image. There were great bags under his eyes, so purple that they appeared to be bruises, adding further evidence to Zexion's notion. His skin was paler than usual and had a sickly yellowed tinge to it. And his normal mused blond hair was downright ratty, as if he hadn't brushed it in days, but had been running nervous fingers through it whenever the urge struck.
Looking down his body, Zexion cringed as eyes fell upon Demyx's bloodstained clothes. The thighs of his jeans were thickly coated with the dried, brown substance and his t-shirt hadn't fared much better.
But as Zexion's eyes landed on the tell-tale blood stains, the memory of everything that had transpired came flooding back like a rainforest during the monsoons; the episode of pain, the razor, the blood, Demyx kicking down the door... He blinked back a fresh wave of tears as he looked down at the several layers of gauze that thoroughly encased his left arm from just under the pit to down past the wrist, one loop wrapped around the hand between the thumb and forefinger.
He'd cut himself again. But this time, he'd gone too far.
Whatever pain he'd felt before during his episode was nothing compared to how awful he felt staring over at his best friend. He didn't want Demyx to see him like this ever again; in the hospital, weak and so out of control.
In that very moment, knowing what he was putting Demyx through, he regretted very scar, every cut tenfold more now than he ever had. Maybe if he had just come to Demyx, told him his feelings, he could have sheltered Demyx from all the pain that no doubt felt right now.
"Demyx," Zexion said with difficulty. His voice was hoarse so he tried clearing his throat a few times before speaking again. "Demyx," he said again. This time it roused the blond. Demyx's cerulean eyes fluttered open, landing unfocusedly on Zexion.
"You're awake," Demyx said softly, his voice sounding immeasurably relieved. He got up from his chair and walked over to the bed, tentatively sitting on the edge and grasping Zexion's free hand. "I was so worried about you."
"I know. I'm sorry," Zexion said, looking away. He couldn't meet those intense blue eyes, it was too difficult. He was painfully aware of how hollow his apology sounded but couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Don't apologize," Demyx said quickly, as if he was worried about upsetting the other.
So foolish, Zexion thought. He's worried about offending me!
"Really, there's no need to apologize," Demyx reaffirmed resolutely.
"But there is," Zexion said, looking back at his friend, capturing his eyes.
"No," Demyx said forcefully. In all their years of friendship, he'd never heard such a commanding statement fall from Demyx's mouth. Most of the time he was the epitome of cheerful, always smiling and laughing and caring. "You'll be going away for a while," he said, his face falling.
Zexion gave Demyx's hand a reassuring squeeze, Demyx's beautiful blue eyes widening slightly. "I figured as much," Zexion said, taking a deep breath. His next words cost him much, but he knew he needed to say them. "I'd like you to do me a favor while I'm gone."
"Anything," Demyx said quickly, just as Zexion knew he would.
He hated tricking Demyx into something that they were both going to hate, but he had to. "I'd like you to stay away from me while I'm gone. Don't come visit."
"No, listen to me. You already said that you would fulfill my request. I don't want you to see me the way I am now. I don't want you to see me until I'm better."
"I don't understand," Demyx sputtered. "I could help you get better." His voice was pitiable.
"I know, but I think that if I have incentive, then I'll want to get better and will faster."
"Incentive? What incentive?" Demyx asked, confused.
"This," Zexion said, letting go of Demyx's hand to clasp the back of the blond's head, drawing Demyx to him. Their lips touched, softly caressing each other. After a moment, Zexion deepened the kiss until they were both breathing heavily, leaving Demyx thoroughly dazed.
When they parted, Zexion added, "You said you loved me, remember? Well, I have something to confess as well; I love you too. And when I get out, I'm going to take you out on a date."
Demyx's eyes were entirely unfocused and his breath caught in is throat. "There'll be more of that, I hope."
"Of course," Zexion said, suddenly feeling quite weak again.
Demyx's face fell as he remembered what he'd just agreed to, no seeing Zexion for a long time, perhaps months. "Can we write to each other? And talk on the phone?" he asked with a small gleam of hope.
Zexion's eyes crinkled as he smiled up at the blond. "Actually, it's required."
Demyx's pretty blue eyes softened. "Then I'll write to you. And call you. So much so that you'll get sick of me."
"Good, because I'm not going to be able to get through this without you. And I could never get sick of you, silly. I want to get better, but I'm doing all of this for you."