Title: Hanami

Author: DJ ( sexorcist on Livejournal)

Rating: PG-13

Pairings: Eventually Xigbar/Demyx, one sided Larxene/Demyx, one sided Axel/Roxas, other pairings can and probably will happen.

Warnings: Language, cheese.

Disclaimer: Don't own Kingdom Hearts or Beauty and the Beast. Wish I did!

Author's Notes: I pretty much wrote this because I thought it would be fun. Yep, that's...pretty much the only reason I'm writing it. I love mashing plots. Also, 'Hanami' is the type of festival the Japanese people have when the cherry blossoms (sakura) are in bloom. This will make more sense as you read.

Summary: This is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast using Kingdom Hearts characters, and a few different twists! Simple as that. It's kind cheesy, but hello, it's a Disney plot.


Prologue

It was a dark and stormy night. A rather cliché phrase, but it was simply the best way to describe the raging storm that hit the coast that night.

The rain was coming down in buckets, making a thunderous noise on the trees and the bare dirt path as the hunched over woman hobbled along. She wore large, baggy robes, and her appearance was haggard and feeble, as if her aged body would give up on her at any moment. Her skin was wrinkled, the large nose dominating her features, and her mouth missing several teeth, leaving large gaps instead. Her shoes scraped along the dirt as she shivered and moved quicker upon seeing her destination.

It was a castle on the rocky shore, a beautiful castle with large stone walls and iron gates surrounding it. The walls surrounded three sides of the castle, the ocean making an effective barrier on the fourth side of the property, beautiful gardens and fountains extending out to the seashore. The stone fortress towered over her as she drew closer, approaching the gate and pushing it open, leaving the cover of the trees. The rain soaked her dark cloak, the hood clinging to her hair and face, the fabric getting heavier with the weight of the water it soaked up.

Large white statues of angels and gods graced both sides of the path, though the rain gave the appearance of each angel crying, weapons raised in a heavenly battle over the stone path.

The large wooden doors and white statues of lions on either side were briefly lit up by a flash of lightning, and a crash of thunder soon followed. She shuffled up to the door, leaning in to take best advantage of the slight overhang, trying to block the rain as much as possible.

She could barely reach the iron knocker, and her feeble hand barely managed two loud knocks before she rolled down off her tip-toes, waiting for someone to answer.

The door swung open moments later to reveal a tall, smiling redhead.

"What are you doin' all the way out here in this weather?" he asked, starting to step back to allow her inside. She took one step in the door. "Come on in, get dried off and-"

The man was cut off by the appearance of the present owner of the castle, a young prince. Prince Xigbar, who had recently inherited the castle when his parents both succumbed to illness. The woman knew of this man- in fact, he was the reason she was here. The young prince was handsome, with piercing yellow eyes, sharp features, and long black hair that shone in the dim light.

"Axel, how many times must I tell you that we're not a way-station for every weary traveler?" he snapped, pushing Axel out of the way and stepping up to the old woman. "What do you want?"

The woman cleared her throat. "I desire only a safe place to stay for the night," she said weakly. "I do not have anything to offer in return but this."

She pulled from her large robes a small black pot filled with dirt, covered in a glass dome. Underneath the dome was a miniature sakura in full bloom, its pink petals seeming to have a slight glow to them. The prince sneered at the tree.

"What kind of payment is that?" he asked, disgusted. "No. No, I don't think so. Be off with you now."

"Aw, come on, Xigbar, she's just…" Axel started, but he trailed off when he only got a glare from Xigbar in return.

The woman looked devastated. She reached up with her free hand, gently taking hold of Xigbar's sleeve.

"Please," she said. "I have far to go, and only ask for a dry place to sleep. Please."

A moment of silence, but her pleas had done no good. Xigbar pulled his arm out of her reach, making her stumble and almost drop the small tree.

"No," he said firmly. "Get out. Now."

The woman did not move. "Very well, then. You have given me…no choice," she said slowly. Then she reached up, pulled off her cloak, and her body seemed to melt and mold with a bright glow. Xigbar closed his eyes against the sudden light, and when he opened them again, a beautiful enchantress stood in the place of the old woman. She stood tall, with brown hair falling to her chin, one eye of green and another of blue, wearing elaborate robes and holding both the small tree and a long staff.

"No…" Xigbar said softly, realizing his mistake just a few moments too late. Axel was backing up, green eyes wide with shock.

"I am Yuna," the girl said in a youthful voice, any hint of weakness gone. "And I came here to see if you were fit to inherit what your parents left to you. You are not."

"Give me another chance!"

"I gave you two chances. You denied them both. There is no good in your heart."

"I beg of you, please," Xigbar pleaded, dropping down to kneel in her presence. "Please, one more chance."

Yuna fell silent, looking down on the prince with pity in her eyes. Finally, she nodded. "Very well," she said, holding out the small sakura to Xigbar, waiting for him to take it before continuing. "One more chance. By the time the last petal falls from that tree, you must have learned to love and be loved in return, or you will die."

"Thank you," Xigbar said, bowing his head. "I will do this. I will."

"I was not finished," Yuna said. "For your ignorance and your cold-heartedness tonight, I place a curse upon you, and upon all those who dwell with you. This curse upon your servants will become permanent, if you do not complete your task. Your curse will remain forever, young prince, as a constant reminder of your lack of humility."

Axel glared. "Hey, wait a second, I didn't-"

For the third time that night, Axel was interrupted, this time by Yuna's staff striking the floor, a wave of energy rushing from the staff through the castle in an instant.

To this day, there is legend of the horrendous screams heard from the castle that night, even over the noise of the raging storm.

Chapter One – Five Years Later

"It's really too kind of you to help me like this, Demyx. Much too kind. I have nothing to offer in return for your aide."

Demyx smiled up at the old man. "I really don't mind," he said with a bright tone. "Besides, you taught me how to repair my sitar. I think occasionally helping you in your shop is ample repayment."

Merlin chuckled. "I suppose," he said, putting the wooden flute he'd just finished making into a display at the window. It was a cozy little instrument shop, every wall covered in displays of Merlin's handmade instruments, many of which Demyx had helped build or repair.

Demyx finished putting the last string on the guitar he was working on, and then he straightened up proudly. "I did it!" he declared, and Merlin stepped over to inspect the work, like always.

"Indeed you did. I couldn't have put those strings on any better myself," he said, patting Demyx's shoulder. "And now, it's time for you to go home. You've been here for hours. Oh, but first!"

Demyx picked up his sitar case, strapping it over his shoulders as Merlin went through his desk drawers in search of something. He pulled a few sheets of paper out of the drawer, then handed them to Demyx.

"I wrote this myself," he said, pointing to the hand written staff and notes on the paper.

"You wrote a song? For me?" Demyx asked.

"Well, I originally wrote it to be sold here, but…this song really only can be played well on a sitar, and you're the most talented sitar player I know. So…it's a gift, for you."

Demyx pulled Merlin into a hug. "Thank you!" he said, pulling away to quickly head for the door. "I'll drop by tomorrow to help you start the bassoon, okay?"

He didn't even give Merlin a chance to answer before stepping out into the bright sunlight. The shop was right on the main square of town, where there was also a bar, a small restaurant, a bakery, and a few fruit and vegetable stands. People were friendly here; as Demyx walked to the nearby fountain, they waved and shouted greetings, going about their daily business, as usual.

"Good afternoon, Demyx!" Tifa said, herding a small group of the schoolchildren back toward the schoolhouse.

"Hi Tifa! What, did you take them out to the shore again?"

"Yep! We're learning about the ocean right now, I decided to give them some hands-on work," she explained. "Why don't you play for them again? We still have a while before they need to head home."

"Sure," Demyx said, and the kids quickly sat down near the fountain, always eager to hear the musician play a lively piece of music. Demyx looked over the music he'd just been given, and decided this would be a perfect time to try it.

"Cloud, stop pulling Leon's hair," Tifa scolded, sitting down between the two children. Cloud folded his arms and pouted, and Leon stuck his tongue out at Cloud, but both seemed to forget their bickering as Demyx pulled his sitar from the case and began to play.

It wasn't just the kids who stopped to listen; many of the townspeople did as well. It was a small town, and everyone knew Demyx, and most appreciated his music even if they did find him and his instrument a little odd. It didn't help that Demyx's father already had a bit of a reputation for being a little…well, crazy.

A few of the children got up and began to dance to the lively tune, and for Demyx, it was all over too soon. He loved performing, loved putting a smile on people's faces using his music, especially the children.

Tifa thanked him and she began ushering the kids back toward the schoolhouse, and when Demyx turned around to put his sitar away, he realized who was standing nearby- Larxene, with her friend Namine. Larxene wore her usual dark corset and long skirt, her blonde hair slicked back, and Namine wore a white dress, a striking look when combined with her pale skin.

Suddenly, Demyx had the feeling today wouldn't be as great as he thought.

Larxene moved toward him like a cat stalking prey, and he pulled his sitar closer to his chest. "Hi, Larxene…"

"You sure have a way with your hands," Larxene purred, leaning in close, forcing Demyx to take a step back. "But this instrument is just…weird."

"I know," Demyx said. "You've said so before. Every day, I think."

Larxene took the sitar from him, plucking at a string. "How does this even work…?"

"Hey, give it back!" Demyx said in a panic, quickly taking the sitar from her and beginning to put it in the protective case. She only laughed.

"I was just having a look."

"It's fragile," Demyx explained, starting to walk away. "I have to go, my father will be worried."

"Forget that crazy old kook," Larxene said, stepping in front of Demyx. "What about-"

"He's not crazy!"

"Alright, alright," Larxene said, and she started to say something else, but by then, Demyx had stepped past her and quickly disappeared into the crowd. Larxene sneered, crossing her arms as Namine walked up to her.

"That didn't seem like it went so well," Namine said softly, and Larxene snorted.

"He's just playing hard to get."

"I don't think he is…"

"He is," Larxene said. "He's handsome, his family is loaded, and he's the one that I'm going to marry. I won't settle for the farmers and bartenders in this shit town."

Namine sighed. "Of course not."

Larxene's trademark smirk returned to her face, and she lifted her chin. "You watch. Tonight, I'll ask him. I'm the most beautiful girl in this town, how could he say no?"


Demyx sighed with relief as he reached the edge of town. Larxene, even on the best of days, always managed to put him on edge. He took a deep breath of the fresh air, used to the strong smell of manure as he passed the farms that lay between town and his own home.

He had the feeling he knew what Larxene wanted from him. Ever since her family had discovered the sizable wealth Demyx and his father were sitting on, Larxene had paid extra close attention to him. But honestly, he had no interest in the admittedly pretty blonde, no.

To him, she was boring. Stuck up, too. He imagined his dream girl as someone passionate about life, passionate about music, kind and gentle and exciting. Life was so mundane lately; he would've given anything to meet someone new, someone who still had dreams, even in this small town.

It wasn't a long walk, just enough time for his nerves to settle before he spotted his house. It was a modest, small home sitting at the top of a grassy hill, a wooden fence surrounding the small yard. Just inside the fence stood Phillipe, a chocobo who often carried groceries or served as a mode of transportation when they had a long way to travel.

"Hi Phillipe," Demyx said as he stepped through the gate, and he scratched the chocobo's head, enticing an excited warble from the creature. He moved on, and instead of going into the house, he went into the small building next to it- his father's workshop.

"I'm home, Dad!" he called out, and his father turned away from the test tubes and beakers on his workbench, moving to pull Demyx into a hug.

"How was your day?" he asked, pulling away and tucking his blonde hair back behind his ears, even though it never stayed there.

"I helped with the guitars today," Demyx said. "And then I played my sitar for Tifa's class."

His father chuckled. "Your mother would be so proud. You've really taken what you learned from her, and you've flown with it," he said, turning back to his experiment.

"How's the project going?" Demyx asked, looking over his father's shoulder.

"It's going well, very well," his father responded. "You watch; at this meeting tomorrow, they'll be allowing me onto their scientific team. Not just allowing, they'll be begging! My selective acidic materials will tip their scales, I know it. They'll already have the name 'Vexen' on the door by the time I step through it."

Demyx rolled his eyes. "I think you're pushing it with that last part."

"Yes, well, you're the one who told me to be optimistic!"

With a laugh, Demyx shook his head. "I'll go get dinner ready, okay? Come up to the house after you finish with this, it'll be ready by then," he said, stepping back outside and walking to the house.

He was about fifteen minutes into working on dinner when there was a knock at the door. He frowned, wondering who would be coming out to the 'mad scientist's' house- despite being generally well liked, people still talked. Oh, they did talk.

He opened up the door, and had to resist the urge to immediately shut it again. Standing there in a long skirt and a low cut blouse was Larxene, her chin up, leaning on the doorframe.

"Hi there. Can I come in?" she said, not waiting for an answer before she stepped past him and into the house. "Well, isn't this cozy…"

"Larxene, uh…you know, I only made dinner for two. If you want to come over some other time, I could make enough so you could actually…you know, eat…"

It was obvious she wasn't paying attention to him. She was inspecting the painting above the fireplace, a painting of Demyx and his parents, when he was only a child.

"Is that your mother?" she asked. "Wow, she was a bit on the heavy side, wasn't she?"

Demyx's fists clenched with anger. "Look, I'd like you to leave. I'm busy."

"Actually, I came out here for an important reason," Larxene said, stepping over to Demyx and pulling something out of her pocket- a tape measure. "To measure you for your wedding robes!"

"W-What?"

"Your wedding robes, didn't you hear me?" Larxene said with a sneer. "I already asked my parents, and they agree that it's a perfectly acceptable arrangement. We've set the date for the 10th of April. What do you think of having it at the chapel? I would love to have it outside, but you know how unpredictable the weather can be…"

Demyx stared in shock. "I don't want to marry you, Larxene."

"Of course you do, why wouldn't you?"

"No, no, I really don't. Really. Now, would you leave?"

"But-"

"Leave," Demyx repeated firmly, opening the door. "Go, now."

Larxene glared, and then she stepped over to Demyx, sticking her finger right in his face. "One way or another, you will be marrying me," she said furiously, and then she stepped down the front steps- right into a pile of chocobo poo.

Demyx closed the door behind her, leaning back against it with a sigh. Honestly, this day had hit rock bottom. Utter rock bottom.