A/N: Hum. I forget where this idea came from, actually. I'm not even sure if it fits with the timeline of the game... no, on second thought, I'm pretty sure it does. So enjoy.

The worst thing, Kairi decided very quickly, was lack of company. The cold was bad, yes, as was the hunger gnawing at her empty stomach, but really, she was lonely. She had been content to spend time in blissful solitude on the Islands, imagining the happy day when Sora and Riku returned, but there she had had the sound of the waves, the birds winging through the sky.

Here in this cold world of silver and black, there was no sound. If there was wind, she couldn't feel it. There were no birds or fish, only the strange, grey creatures, and of course her captors.

She wasn't sure whether they counted as company, however. Thus far, none of her guards had said a word. Only the blond man with all the piercings even acknowledged her existence, and she could have done without that… he stared at her in a way which made her very uncomfortable. Once she looked up to see the man with the ponytail sitting upside-down on the ceiling, which startled a laugh from her. At the sound, he turned to stare at her with one molten gold eye, and she clapped her hands over her mouth.

The first sign that the guard was changing was always the sound of a dark portal opening outside the bars. This particular time, Kairi had her back to the room at large and was busy petting the dog, whose collar proclaimed him to be "Pluto." The dark path opened with its trademark "splash," and although Pluto didn't open his eyes, his ears perked up and his tail thumped against the floor. Curious, Kairi turned to observe her most recent guard.

He looked young, maybe not too much older than Riku. His hair was a light tawny and very messy. He looked at her and smiled, and she saw that his eyes were blue. For some reason, she suddenly felt a lot more relaxed than she had been. It wasn't that his eyes were blue— the blond man had blue eyes, and his stare unnerved her— but that they were the color of the sea, and she had always felt safe near the ocean.

The young man took a seat nearby. At first he looked away, but she caught him stealing glances at her as the minutes wore on.

Finally, he turned in his seat.

"Hi," he said. "What's your name?"

Kairi was taken aback. It was the first time that one of them had spoken to her since her arrival here.

"I'm Kairi," she said without thinking. "What's yours?"

"What a pretty name!" he replied, grinning. It was a nice grin, and she couldn't help but smile a little back. "I'm Demyx. How're you doing?"

Kairi shifted awkwardly.

"I'm a little hungry," she admitted. Demyx jumped to his feet.

"What kind of food do you like?" he asked. Kairi blinked.

"Um, just a sandwich would be fine," she answered.

"Is peanut butter okay?"

Kairi shrugged, and he vanished into a dark corridor. She looked down at Pluto.

"What do you think, boy?" she asked. "Is he a friend?"

The dog wagged his tail and licked her hand.

Demyx returned a few minutes later, bearing a plate and a glass of milk. He passed them to her through the bars.

"I hope it's all right," he said anxiously. "Xaldin would have been the bet, but he's on a mission, and I didn't have the nerve to ask anyone else."

A bit apprehensive, Kairi took a bite.

"It's good," she assured him through a full mouth. His smile was positively radiant.

"Really?" he asked.

"Without a doubt," she replied.

"I asked a Dusk to bring food and water for the dog, but I'm not sure if it'll obey me," Demyx said, looking around.

"Why wouldn't it?" Kairi wondered. Demyx looked embarrassed.

"I'm kinda new here," he said. "Plus, I'm not much of a fighter. I don't think they take me seriously. Maybe I should have gotten a Dancer to do it…"

He prattled on as she ate, something about the merits of Dusks and Dancers and how annoying Snipers were and how the Berserkers scared him. His voice was comforting, in a way. Its oddness alone made her smile, even if she didn't understand half of what he was talking about.

The Dusk did eventually appear with a pair of bowls for Pluto, who barked at it until it had set them down and disappeared. Kairi heard Demyx laugh and giggled a bit herself.

Demyx hummed when he was bored, she soon found out. At first she couldn't figure out where the quiet music was coming from, but she doubted that Pluto could sing, and her guard was the only other person.

"That was a nice song," she said when he was finished. He jumped, as though he'd forgotten she was there.

"Really?" he asked, his face breaking into a nervous smile. She nodded.

"I've never heard it before," she said.

"It's from one of the worlds I went to," he said, and he sounded excited. His eyes were lit. Obviously, this was a subject he was interested in. "It seems like every world I go to has different songs."

"Do you remember every song you hear?" Kairi asked curiously. Demyx shrugged.

"Yeah," he replied. "I always had a good memory for music. I like to learn their songs. You know, you can learn a lot about the people of a world through the kinds of songs that they sing."

He hesitated.

"Do… do you want me to sing you some?" he asked hopefully.

"Sure," Kairi answered, nodding emphatically. "I'd love it."

"Okay," Demyx said, beaming. He raised his arm and, in a wash of bubbles, a large stringed instrument appeared. Kairi wondered if he used this as a weapon, since she'd seen the one-eyed man polishing the guns he summoned in much the same way.

"I hope you don't mind this," he said. "Some people don't like a sitar's sound, and it's not really made for this kind of music, and…"

"It's okay," Kairi interrupted. Demyx smiled anxiously and began the song.

He had a nice singing voice, which was very different from his speaking voice. The "sitar" twanged along, and although it seemed discordant at first, she gradually got used to it. The songs he sang were vastly different in style, the lyrics speaking of different things. As she listened, however, she could sense the basic similarities between all worlds, the common threads woven into every heart.

The most amazing thing about Demyx's songs was the way they made her feel. Some made her laugh, others filled her with the sort of bittersweet joy she had come to associate with nostalgia.

His last song made her chest tighten and a lump rise in her throat. He looked up at her and promptly dropped his sitar, which vanished in more bubbles.

"Oh, jeez," he said, hurrying over. "Kairi, I'm really sorry, are you okay?"

"Y-yeah," she sobbed, wiping tears away. "The-that song w-was really s-sad."

"Really?" Demyx asked, frowning slightly. "I mean, it's sad, but why are you crying?"

"How can you n-not be crying?" Kairi asked, sniffing. Demyx flinched.

"I… well, I…"

He stopped as a dark path opened nearby. The scary-looking man with blue hair stepped out, and Demyx scrambled away from the bars.

"Um, h-hi, Saïx," he stammered. "I… I was just getting ready to go. I… yeah. Yeah, that's right. I. Well. Bye, then."

He cast an apologetic look at Kairi as he departed. Saïx made an annoyed nose in his throat and took up his post. Kairi could feel his gaze on her as she discreetly wiped her face, trying not to sob.

"Why are you crying?" her new guard asked at last. His voice was very low and controlled.

"Because I'm sad," Kairi replied, glaring at him. His scarred face was impassive.

"You're lucky," he said. "Be grateful that you can even feel sorrow, Kairi. Those with hearts should be thankful, for they have what we lack."

"Hearts?" Kairi asked. Pluto growled softly. "You mean… you don't have harts?"

Saïx wouldn't speak again for the remainder of his time there.

"Is it true?" Kairi asked the moment Demyx next appeared. He blinked at her uncomprehendingly. "Is it true that you don't have hearts?"

Demyx's face fell.

"Yes, we do," he said, although he looked uncertain. "We have hearts. Of course we have hearts."

"Who are you trying to convince?" Kairi asked. "Me or you?"

Demyx looked crestfallen.

"Come on, Kairi," he begged. "I have a heart. I just… it… I just can't hear it right now. It's singing a different song than I am, okay? But I have a heart. I've got to have a heart. I couldn't make music if I didn't, right?"

He looked so pitiful that Kairi couldn't help feeling sorry for him.

"Convince me," she said. "Play for me again."

Demyx's shifts became the high point of Kairi's days. He always brought her food, either a sandwich or some exotic fare from whatever world he had been to. He brought new songs with him as well and played for her all the time. For some reason, he brought her colored pencils and a drawing pad.

"I thought you might like them," was his only explanation, along with a mysterious smile.

It helped to pass the time while he wasn't there. She drew Pluto often. Other times she drew Sora and Riku, or the three of them on the Island. Selphie, Tidus, Wakka and the rest, she drew. She doodled Heartless and Dusks. Once she drew Ansem, but the dog ate it. She drew what she thought Roxas looked like, then crumpled it up. She drew Demyx playing the sitar, or Axel, or even Saïx and the others. She showed every picture to Demyx. No matter how awful it was, he always smiled and said, "That's great, Kairi!"

Between songs, he told her about all the different worlds he'd been to. She had a feeling that he held back some things, such as what he'd done there, but the effort and detail he put into his stories inspired her. She tried drawing the worlds he described, while he peeked through the bars to correct her.

She never brought up what Saïx had mentioned again, but she knew that either of them had forgotten.

Kairi was so used to the pattern that she was surprised when, one day, Demyx didn't come. She waited through the blond man's—Luxord's—stares and Xaldin's silences. At last, she worked up her courage and moved to the bars, looking out at Xigbar.

"Excuse me," she said, and he turned to regard her. "Um… is Demyx coming back soon?"

The one-eyed gaze turned frosty.

"No," Xigbar said. "He isn't coming back."


"Never," the man said shortly. "You can thank you buddy Sora for that."

Kairi's stomach clenched horribly and she shrank back, turning to escape his furious glare.

"Sora," she whispered, but her happiness was muted.

Learning of Sora's safety had come at a terrible price.

Kairi's hands were trembling as she tried to draw Sora, Donald, and Goofy. She set the picture aside and began a new one.

She tried, but she couldn't make the tawny hair soft. The sea-colored eyes wouldn't dance. The smile wasn't bright enough. She couldn't bring the picture to life, make him sing, make him laugh again…

Even when her eyes blurred, she couldn't imagine that the picture was moving, and all her tears achieved only smudges.

A/N: Did you cry?

Review or Demyx's ghost (WAAAH! T.T) will haunt you forever.