In theory, the Hall of Empty Melodies was supposed to be just that - empty, especially of melodies. In practice, that hadn't worked out since Organization VII became Organization IX, or specifically since Demyx discovered what wonderful acoustics the Hall had. If someone was looking for him, and couldn't find him in his room, the Hall was always the first place to check. And if you got lost in the castle - not that difficult, since the hallways all looked alike - just listen for sitar music.

Axel wasn't lost, but he was looking for Demyx. He'd burned himself copies of some of Demyx's CDs and was trying to return them to their owner directly - simply leaving them in his room to find made it too likely they'd never be found. And he was hearing music from the Hall. It just wasn't sitar music. It sounded like a violin.

Well, there was only one member that had ever shown any musical inclination of any kind. It was just that Axel had always figured the sitar was the only instrument Demyx could play. So...which is more likely, Demyx plays violin or anyone else plays violin? Let's go with "Demyx plays violin". He peeked inside. There was no mistaking the mullhawk.

Axel took a seat and listened to an impromptu concert. A couple borrowed CDs weren't important enough to make it worth interrupting, and Demyx was apparently almost as good on violin as sitar. It wasn't until the music finally drew to a close that he looked up and and noticed Axel was even there. "Oh, uh, hi, Axel. Did you need me for something?"

"No, I just wanted to give you back these CDs you let me borrow. I figured they'd get lost if I just left them in your room." Axel took the CDs out of his pocket and set them down next to him, but made no move to leave.

"Okay. Thanks...Was there anything else you needed?"

"No, I was just listening in. I didn't know you could play anything besides sitar."

Demyx nodded enthusiastically. "If it's got strings, I can play it, unless it's closely related to a piano. There's just a limit on what I actually own."

"Well, what do you own, besides the sitar and a violin?"

"A guitar, a koto, and a viola d'amore. Decent instruments tend to be kind of pricey, and there's a limit to what I can store under my bed."

"...I'm not even gonna ask about those last two." Get him started on music and instruments, and Demyx would give a lecture that would put Vexen to shame. That was probably how Roxas ended up taking sitar lessons - to get Demyx to shut up. "Why don't I ever hear you play anything but your sitar?"

"Inattention? I do take the others out and play them sometimes. Obviously; you just walked in on me doing so."

Axel shrugged and nodded. "Hey...do you take requests?"

"...It depends on the request."

"Can you do 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia'?"

Demyx stared at Axel like he was wondering whether to say "Yes", "No", "Screw you", or "Dance, water, dance!". "...You are aware that I'll have no backup, right."

Axel grinned. "That did kinda come to mind, but I just want to hear you play the fiddle part." He leaned back, preparing to slide under his seat at a moment's notice.

Demyx sighed, shook his head, and rosined up his bow. "You're going to sing along, aren't you?" Taken by surprise, all Axel could do was nod. "Good. Then get up here. If I can't have a band, I need all the help I can get." Not wanting to risk a soaking, Axel crossed over and climbed onto the raised platform Demyx was using as a stage. "What do you want to bet we'll have an audience by the time we're done?"

"You're nuts."

"We'll have one, I can almost promise you..." Demyx took a few deep, measured breaths - counting off. Then he started playing flawlessly. Axel was so busy thinking about how dumb agreeing to sing along had been that he came close to missing his cue.

"The Devil went down to Georgia, he was lookin' for a soul to steal; he was in a bind 'cause he was way behind and he was willin' to make a deal. When he came across this young man sawin' on a fiddle and playin' it hot, the Devil jumped up on a hickory stump and said 'Boy, lemme tell you what!'" It was a lot harder than he'd expected to stay in time - when Demyx wasn't playing, he had no musical cues at all. "'I guess you didn't know it, but I'm a fiddle player too, and if you'd care to take a dare, I'll make a bet with you. Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy, but give the Devil his due - I'll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul, 'cause I think I'm better than you!' The boy said -"

Demyx cut him off suddenly. Apparently he'd claimed Johnny's part as his own. "'My name's Johnny, and it might be a sin, but I'll take that bet you're gonna regret 'cause I'm the best that's ever been!'"

They both ended up singing the next part. "Johnny, rosin up your bow and play that fiddle hard, 'cause Hell's broke loose in Georgia and the Devil deals the cards! Now if you win, you get this shiny fiddle made of gold, but if you lose, the Devil gets your soul!" Agreeing to sing along didn't seem like such a bad idea anymore - this was actually kind of fun. And clearly, the music wasn't too challenging for Demyx to handle. He was playing from memory without a single noticeable mistake.

Axel was all alone on the next verse. "The Devil opened up his case and said 'I'll start this show!', and fire flew from his fingertips as he rosined up his bow." He punctuated the line with a burst of flame from his own fingertips. "He pulled that bow across the strings and it made an evil hiss -" accompanied by a grating screech from Demyx's violin - "and a band of demons joined in and it sounded somethin' like this." With nothing but his own carefully controlled breathing to keep him in time, Demyx didn't slip up once as he prowled around the stage. Axel had no idea what he was doing, but as long as he knew, his only responsibility was to keep track of his own cue.

"When the Devil finished, Johnny said -"

"Well, you're pretty good, ol' son, but sit down in that chair right there and let me show you how it's done!"

The two of them leaned towards an invisible mic, Demyx leaving room for his real violin. "Fire on the mountain, run, boys, run!" Each pause was punctuated by a burst of music. "The Devil's in the house of the risin' sun! Chicken in the breadpan, pickin' out dough! Granny, does your dog bite? No, child, no!" No question about it - Demyx was practically dancing across the stage while he played Johnny's solo, presumably for the benefit of the nonexistent audience.

Axel shook his head and sighed theatrically, as if he was the defeated Devil. "The Devil bowed his head because he knew that he'd been beat, and he laid that golden fiddle on the ground at Johnny's feet. Johnny said -"

"Devil, just come on back if you ever wanna try again -" Demyx leaned in close to him. He wasn't just gloating in character - they did have an audience. "I told you once, you son of a bitch, I'm the best that's ever been!"

One last chorus together. "Fire on the mountain, run, boys, run! The Devil's in the house of the risin' sun! Chicken in the breadpan, pickin' out dough! Granny, does your dog bite? No, child, no!"

Demyx was grinning like a lunatic as he played the end of the song, complete with theatrical flourishes. He was a born performer, bowing deeply even to scattered applause. "Thank you! Thank you very much! We'll be here every day, except when we're not!"

Axel wiped sweat off his forehead. "Whew...I'm glad I didn't take your bet. Hey, Rox, how'd you like the show?"

Roxas was laughing too hard to answer, but Luxord grinned and nodded at them. "That was impressive...how long have you two been rehearsing?"

Axel looked at Demyx. "Rehearsing?"

Any answer Demyx might have given was interrupted by a voice from the ceiling. "Hey, do you dudes take requests?"

They looked up at Xigbar simultaneously. "No!"


Fin. And he played 'Fire on the mountain, run, boys, run!'
AN: Sometimes, I listen to a song and carefully develop an awesome story idea. Sometimes, I listen to a song and spit out a bunch of garbage. I don't know how you, the reader, will categorize this, but if you want something I like, go read 'The Gales of November'.

(ahem) My original story idea revolving around "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" revolved around a Guitar Hero duel - Axel vs. Demyx. It would have been a net downer because I was going to set it sometime after Demyx started to lose his hearing but before he went completely deaf, so even though he won the duel (like Axel had a chance), he'd still be depressed because he couldn't hear the music as well as he used to and he'd never hear it that well again. (For more on the cruelest thing an author could possibly do to Demyx, read 'The Day the Music Died' and 'The Sound of Music'. People always ask.) Ennyway, I listened to the song one more time while writing a whole other story and came up with something completely different. I've forgotten what that whole other story was now, but I might still write the Guitar Hero duel with a different song someday.

A koto and a viola d'amore are real instruments. Google is your friend, just like Wikipedia is mine.

Disclaimers: Kingdom Hearts and all its associated characters belong to Square Enix and Disney. "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" belongs to the Charlie Daniels Band.