(A/N): For Nuppi, for reminding me I'd been planning to do something with this for a long time. And for Suzaka, for solidifying my obsession with Zemyx in the first place. This is set in the Waiting universe, and is somewhat dependent on the plot of said fic - if you haven't read it, you may not understand this. Something I've been meaning to write for a while. Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
With You, Suddenly
Zexion let his breath out in a harsh sigh as he left the train, shoulders relaxing marginally as he left the crowd and noise behind. Shaking his hair out of his face, he settled his gloved hands in his pockets, stepping out of the way of the subway steps before he paused and swept his eyes down the street. He'd gotten off the train a stop early – the used bookstore Lexaeus had told him about was still several blocks away, but the press of people on all sides had become intolerable. Public transportation didn't sit well with him – mingling with people in general didn't sit well with him – but he didn't have the money to throw away on a cab. A passer-by jostled Zexion roughly as he squeezed past him, and the slate-haired man closed his eyes, wondering if it wouldn't be more prudent to simply turn around and return to his apartment.
It was a tempting thought, but he wasn't here for himself. With a sigh, he hunched his shoulders and moved down the sidewalk, trying to remember the title of the book Vexen had spoken of with such enthusiasm. He owed the man something for all his help, and Lexaeus had assured him Merlin's Used Books and Curio Shop's prices were reasonable. Zexion ducked his head and let his hair fall into his face, training his eyes on the sidewalk as he threaded through the crowds. He managed a block and a half before he had to wait for a traffic light. A slight frown slipped across his features as he took a deliberate step back from the confining crowds, drawing his hair away from his face automatically.
He wasn't even conscious of the music that had been playing somewhere off to his left until it stopped. It stuttered and died away with one last sour chord hanging heavily in the air until the last echoing vibrations dissipated. The weight of the silence that followed was almost palpable. Frown deepening, Zexion raised his head and glanced to the side.
His breath caught in his throat.
A young man with blond hair and ocean-colored eyes was standing outside the café Zexion was standing next to, a guitar hanging from his shoulders. Zexion could only stare, wondering why his mouth was suddenly dry. The musician stared back at him, eyes wide, and all Zexion could think was that it seemed so right to see him standing there with an instrument in his hands, even if it was the wrong one.
Where had that come from?
The light changed and the crowd surged around him, but Zexion remained standing where he was, eyes still locked with the musician's. He took a step forward, then another, hesitating as he searched the man's face intently. He'd never seen him before in his life, of that he was certain, but –
The musician blinked, a flash of almost-recognition appearing in his eyes, and Zexion's stomach clenched. The slate-haired man cleared his throat and tried to work up enough saliva to swallow. It suddenly seemed imperative that he speak. At the same time, it seemed equally imperative that he didn't. Baffled, unused to such muddy thinking, Zexion opened his mouth only to close it again. He shook his head, pulling his hair out of his face as his throat strained to form some sort of articulate sound.
As if understanding the source of Zexion's trouble, the musician's face split into a tight, nervous smile as his fingers danced lightly across the strings. "U-um, hi," he murmured.
And just like that, the moment was gone. Those ocean eyes no longer seemed to harbor a secret Zexion should know – the blond was only a young man standing outside a corner café with a guitar in his hands. There was no reason to stand here conversing with an itinerant musician. Zexion waited for his feet to turn away and carry him to his destination; instead, he found himself dipping his head and returning the blond's greeting. "Hello."
The blond's smile eased, became something that made Zexion's breath hitch in his throat again as the musician absently strummed a few disparate chords. "I don't think I've seen you before," he offered, and Zexion found himself nodding again, though the rational part of his brain was pointing out that it wasn't possible for the musician to remember every person that passed him by. "I'm Demyx."
"Zexion." Warmth lit Demyx's eyes as he repeated Zexion's name, nodding as if committing it to memory.
"You play very well." Zexion bit his tongue, wondering where that had come from. He'd barely been aware of the musician's playing before and was in no way qualified to offer criticism or praise on the man's ability – but at the same time, he knew he wasn't lying. It was, without a doubt, the most disconcerting experience he'd ever encountered.
A faint flush sped across Demyx's cheeks, but his smile didn't dim. "Thanks." They stared at each other for another moment, but there didn't seem to be anything left to say. Zexion inclined his head one last time before he turned away, letting his hair fall forward as he continued on his way. Behind him, the music began again, and he found himself straining his ears for each note long after he was beyond hearing distance.
Even away from the musician, he remained distracted; the clerk at the bookstore had to give him his total three times before Zexion realized he was being spoken to. "I say," the old man grumbled, peering over his half-moon spectacles, "are you all right, my boy?" Zexion stared at him blankly for a moment before he managed a nod, his mind already elsewhere as he pocketed his change and left the store behind.
Demyx was nowhere to be seen when he passed the café again, and Zexion was surprised at his sense of disappointment and the feeling that he'd been cheated out of something of vital importance.
With Vexen's gift purchased, there had been no reason for Zexion to subject himself to another trip on the train. Yet he had. He scowled thoughtfully at the café in front of him. Demyx was once again absent from his spot in front of the eatery, and Zexion felt that small sense of disappointment pulse through him again. He'd wanted to see the musician again, if for no other reason than to try and understand what about him had inspired the dreams – dreams of laughter that was almost genuine, soft smiles and a musical voice crying his name in the dark; a sense of contentment he'd thought impossible for Nobodies to experience. Dreams that made as little sense as his reaction upon first seeing Demyx the other day and that some part of him recognized anyway.
And yet it had apparently been for nothing. The blond was nowhere in sight. On principle, Zexion refused to let his disappointment manifest itself on his face, but his shoulders slumped slightly as he turned away from the building.
"Hey! Hey Zexion!"
Zexion paused, lifting his head and peering over his shoulder at Demyx standing in the café's doorway, waving an arm vigorously. The blond smiled when Zexion's eyes met his, and Zexion couldn't help the way his lips tilted upwards slightly in return. The musician beckoned Zexion closer, and Zexion found himself obeying automatically, raising a hand to brush his hair away from his face as he came to stand in front of the blond. "Hello, Demyx."
The musician fidgeted, rubbing a hand absently against his thigh, his eyes locked on Zexion's face. "You came back," he stated, a grin flashing across his face, there and gone in the next instant. Zexion's lips quirked up in another almost-smile.
Demyx began to reach a hand out, pausing and curling his fingers into a loose fist before letting it drop back to his side. "I wasn't sure you would. I'm…I'm glad." Zexion tilted his head to the side, staring at the blond. Demyx flushed under his steady gaze and began tapping a nervous rhythm against his leg. "I mean, I wasn't sure I'd see you again after yesterday, and um…I'm just – I'm just…glad." He let loose a nervous laugh, glancing away from Zexion. "That probably sounds weird, right?"
"Yes." It was true, after all. Demyx's flush deepened as he ducked his head and rubbed at the back of his neck. Zexion felt his lips quirk again before he extended a hand. "I'm glad, too." Demyx glanced back up at him before his face split into a wide grin and he shook Zexion's hand. Zexion thought nothing else had ever felt quite so right as the feel of the musician's calloused palm against his.
"Um. I'm still working," Demyx muttered sheepishly. "But I'm off in about a half-hour –"
"I'll wait," Zexion interrupted before his mind had quite finished processing that he was going to speak. Demyx flashed another brilliant smile, giving Zexion's hand one last squeeze before he let go.
"Okay." He glanced around, pointing to an empty booth in the corner. "You can wait there, if you want." Zexion nodded and began to brush past him. "Do you want coffee or something?"
"No, thank you."
Demyx nodded before hurrying over to another table, his expression apologetic. Zexion took a seat in the booth Demyx had indicated, resting his chin in his hand as he stared out the window and waited for Demyx. Almost exactly a half hour later, the blond was sliding in across from him, running a hand through his hair and offering Zexion a quiet smile.
Zexion's lips tilted upward at the light in Demyx's eyes. "So." Demyx laughed a little and ducked his head, studying the way his fingers splayed across the table.
He raised his gaze back to Zexion, a smile curling his lips and dancing in his eyes. In that moment, Zexion knew enduring another trip across town on the train had been worth every second.