So how did that go again? Demyx, now in his pajamas and stretched out on his bed, hummed softly to himself. Hmm...not sure that was it. He hummed a slightly different tune. Ah, there we go. That was it. He kept humming it over and over, making sure it was absolutely clear in his mind as he wrote the notes down on paper. Wonder why the Superior suddenly called a meeting now...I bet there are still a few nursing hangovers...hmm, three repetitions? Four, first pair diminuendo, second pair crescendo - no, other way around, crescendo to diminuendo...yeah, that should sound great...well, Xigbar did say it was an emergency meeting...wonder what the emergency was...wait, maybe eight reps - two sets of four...if it's a real emergency, was it really a good idea to leave me out of the loop? Wouldn't they have ordered me to go, disabled or not?...maybe eight is too many...but then again, I like the pattern it creates...twelve would definitely be too many...
Won't be too long before I'll be able to play it for myself, instead of just humming...or turning it over to the Dancer...He chuckled softly, not enough to cause serious pain, and rearranged himself into a more comfortable position. All right...the next part...
It was late, and the soft, gentle melody he'd been working on already had him thoroughly relaxed. He was fast asleep and dreaming over his staff paper by the time Axel opened the bathroom door. "Hey, Demyx...aw, I cannot believe this. He's already conked out for the night. Too bad for him; I guess he'll find out tomorrow. So, Rox, you still up for a round of Dead or Alive?"
Demyx couldn't help but smile. He didn't think he could have found himself in a more perfect position - his sitar was completely repaired, his arm was out of its cast, his ribs didn't hurt at all, he could hear without his hearing aids, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, the tropical forest was green and lush and perfectly non-threatening, the majestic waterfall somehow didn't drown out his playing or disturb the beautiful lagoon it cascaded into, the rock he was sitting on was amazingly comfortable for being a rock, and there was a crowd of attractive, bikini-clad girls clustered around him, oohing and aahing over the music he was playing. His only real complaint was the heat - living in a world that didn't seem to have a sun, he'd become unused to hot summer days, especially tropical summer days. No matter how much he kept hoping he'd get used to it, the sun kept getting hotter. He would have loved to put his sitar down and dive into the lagoon, but the girls were pressed around so tight - not like he objected - that he barely had room to move.
It wasn't until a fingernail-sized chuck of hot ash from the volcano suddenly landed in the middle of his forehead that he suddenly woke up with a yelp. "Thought that'd get your attention - you must have been having an awesome dream. You absolutely refused to wake up whatever I did."
Demyx glared at the source of his rude awakening with as close as he ever got to murder in his eyes. "Well, Axel, maybe I was. Maybe I was back at home with my grandmother during one of the few happy parts of my Other's life. Maybe I was on a beautiful tropical island surrounded by hot girls in bikinis. Maybe I was about to dream of a way to get our hearts back tomorrow without waiting for Kingdom Hearts to be completed. Guess you'll never know what it is now." He rubbed his forehead where the "hot ash" had landed - more likely Axel's fingertip. "You bastard...I owe you a flooded room..."
"Ah - consider your debt forgiven. I don't mind if I never collect."
"Oh, Axel, I insist...so what was the huge urgency in waking me up? Is the castle on fire?"
"Don't look at me like that...I just thought you wouldn't want to miss breakfast."
"There's not much you can reasonably expect Xaldin to make for breakfast that's all that exciting...it's not like I'm gonna get a new mission anyway, so I might as well sleep in and make my own breakfast later. Hell, I'm a better cook than Xaldin." Demyx flopped facedown on his pillow and tried to go back to sleep, thinking of sunshine and lagoons and waterfalls and scantily-clad girls who loved music and musicians.
There was a pause. "Curious as to what the emergency meeting last night was about?"
Demyx could have slapped himself - he'd forgotten all about it. "Vaguely," he mumbled into his pillow, feigning disinterest.
"It was about the fourteenth stone in the Proof."
Demyx sat bolt upright for about one second before he curled up around his aching ribs. "A new member?"
"That is kind of what a new stone suggests, isn't it? Next time, try not to hurt yourself." Axel thought for a moment, then smirked. "Hell, it seems like every time you break a bone, we get a new member. I think Luxord's been the only exception so far. For Marluxia, it was your ankle. For Larxene, it was your finger. For Roxas, it was your shoulder. Actually, since you broke a whole bunch of bones this time, we might get several new members."
Demyx groaned. "Give me a break."
"First, I'll wait to see how many new members we get in before you're off the disabled list. That would be an interesting tactic, if Xemnas ever catches on - whenever Demyx breaks something, a Greater Nobody loses its heart. So if we're ever in dire need of new members, we could just kick you off a balcony or send you out back with Saix or something."
"Up yours with a wire brush." Demyx rolled over and pulled the blankets up over his head, leaving Axel to ponder the painful ramifications of that statement.
"So Demyx wasn't interested?"
"He seemed more interested in lurid dreams of bikini-clad females than in anything I had to say. He rolled over and went back to sleep."
"Maybe he just wanted to sleep in and cook his own breakfast...Xaldin doesn't have a huge range. I get a little sick of pancakes and scrambled eggs sometimes." Roxas looked sideways at Axel. "Or maybe it had to do with what you said."
"Roxas, I can occasionally open my mouth without putting my foot in it."
"Only when you've opened it to put food in it."
"You're not being very nice."
"Part of my job description involves being cruelly honest when it's in your best interest."
"That may be so, but right now, I think you're picking on me." Axel raised an eyebrow. "Maybe you're just full of it because soon you won't be low man on the totem pole anymore."
"Axel, why would you ever get that impression?"
"I don't know," Axel said airily. "I only spent two weeks there myself, so I don't really remember what it's like..."
"Meaning you have no sympathy whatsoever. Gee, thanks, Ax."
"Soooorryyyy. Maybe I should ask Luxord to go back in time four or five years and ask Demyx's Other to hold off losing his heart until I've been here longer." Axel chuckled. "The rest of them almost thought they were cursed, I bet. Two useless neophytes in a month - I was Mr. Bad Attitude McBacktalk and Demyx couldn't do anything useful in a fight but run away."
"Have you mellowed somewhat since then?"
"Course I have, otherwise someone would have lost all patience and taken my head off long ago."
"Meaning you started out even worse than this."
Axel glared. "I could go back to that, if you'd prefer."
"No thanks, I spend enough time trying to keep you out of trouble."
"If I'm all that bad, why do you bother?"
Roxas grinned and gave him a light shove. "If I were you, I wouldn't question it, big brother. Just because it's fun to give you grief."
"Well, just for that, I won't give you a noogie."
Roxas rolled his eyes. "Gee, thanks, just what I always wanted...anyway, I was wondering, why send Saix and Marluxia after the new girl? Heck, how do we even know it's a girl or where to find her?"
Axel cleared his throat. "Saix knows that. How Saix knows that, I'm not entirely sure and I'd rather not ask. But how many people get sent to find a new member depends on how familiar we are with the world they're in and how dangerous it's expected to be. I recognized the name of the world - Etrylar - and it's the same world Saix and Marluxia are originally from, which is why they sent them instead of any other two."
"I wouldn't have guessed Saix and Marluxia were even from the same world."
"They are, and apparently it's a world full of part-humans and near-humans, so I'm kinda wondering what we're in for. And the Superior sent both Saix and Marluxia because it's not exactly the safest of the worlds."
Roxas drew back slightly in pretend alarm. "You think we might get another Saix?"
"Or another Marluxia, worse yet. Are you going to eat that?"
"Yes." Two envelopes suddenly popped out of the fabric of space and hovered in front of them - one over Axel's coffee, one a quarter-inch above Roxas's pancakes. "Kingdom - how the hell's he get away with that?"
"He's second-in-command and the Superior doesn't care? As long as it didn't land in the syrup, I guess we have no basis for complaint..." Axel opened the envelope closest to him. "...I know where Traverse Town is, but where the hell is Traverse City?"
"I've never heard of it, but I guess I'm going there with you..."
"Traverse City? Are you sure he's not really talking about Traverse Town?"
"Orders specifically said 'not to be confused with Traverse Town'. Apparently, no one's that worried about it, if they're only giving us overnight with an evening return to check it out."
"Uh huh." Demyx pretended to be keenly interested, even though he was still occupied with composing music in his head. "Remember to pack your monitor and all that."
There was a pause, and Axel stuck his head through the bathroom door to glare at him. "What do you think I'm doing in here, looking for my toothbrush?"
Demyx wondered for a moment how to answer that. "Yes, exactly!"
Axel sighed. "You're hopeless some days."
"Do I redeem myself on others?"
"Every so often. Not often enough, but occasionally. And the kitchen's free if you want breakfast yet. You know, it baffles me - you and Lexaeus are both better cooks than Xaldin is, but it's still his job. Why doesn't one of you take over?"
Demyx leaned over for a better look into the bathroom, though not far enough to risk falling out of bed. "I can't answer for why Lexaeus doesn't, but how often do you want sushi or ceviche for dinner?"
Pause. "Good point. I guess I'd rather the raw fish stayed off the general menu." There was a knock on Axel's door. "That must be Roxas, wondering why I'm not done packing." Demyx barely heard the door squeak as it opened. "Hi, Rox."
"Aren't you done packing yet?"
"Demyx keeps distracting me. Go keep him distracted while I pack."
Moments later, Roxas appeared in the bathroom door, leaning lazily on the doorframe. "Axel still has problems accepting blame."
Demyx shook his head. "He used to be worse." He hummed softly to himself while Roxas wondered what the hell Axel was talking about, if Demyx would rather lie there and hum instead of talk. "Oh, dammit, I just remembered what I wanted to ask - what's this about the new member we're supposed to be getting? How much do you know?"
"Gender: female; homeworld: same as Saix and Marluxia; weapon: going by the Proof, bow and arrow; estimated time of arrival: no idea; original species: also no idea. Ax, did you do any packing at all before I got here?"
"Dammit, Rox, I'm not a total slacker...give me two more minutes - make that a minute and a half..."
Demyx pouted at Roxas. "Are you in such a hurry to get out of here and stop having to talk to me?"
"We don't have a whole lot of time allotted and I'd rather not be late...the Superior looks at you funny if you come back late..."
"Rox, over time, I've collected every funny, disapproving, disgusted, and murderous look the Superior has to offer. Merely 'funny' looks aren't all that scary."
"Well, I don't want your track record."
"Get out of here...Axel, get him out of here."
Knock knock. "Dude, you awake?"
Demyx stretched and stood up slowly. "Guess Axel was wrong; you do know how to knock. I hadn't been, but I am now - need something?"
"Well, you've missed every meal so far today, dude; that's a little worrying."
"Oh, that. I've been borrowing a page from Zexion's book today - not a literal page, he'd tear me apart - and making my own food whenever I get hungry instead of showing up for regular meals. That reassure you at all?"
"Yeah. And, the real reason I'm down here knocking - you wanna meet the new girl?"
"Oh, hell yes..." Demyx hastily opened the door, ignoring Xigbar completely in favor of the short, slim girl next to him. At least she seemed short and slim, though she really wasn't any smaller than Larxene. Does she really have black-and-green hair?! No, just black hair with green feathers braided into it...feathers? Now that's kind of odd...
"This is the guy you didn't see at the meeting. He's still in recovery. Demyx, this is Xanrivash. Xanrivash, Demyx."
As she held out her hand, Demyx noticed even more oddities that couldn't be explained by fashion sense, such as the yellow eyes, third eyelids, three-quarter-inch fangs, and neat little claws on her hands. He wondered what exactly her Other had been - besides not human. Well, Xigbar had yellow eyes - or yellow eye - but no fangs, claws, or third eyelids. "Hello -" she hesitated. "Demys."
"I know." She sounded frustrated. "I also know I can't say it."
Xigbar nodded sympathetically. "She has kind of a funny lisp, you may have noticed."
"Is not a lisp, is an assent."
He shrugged. "Well, there you go, dude. She can say 'lisp', she can't say 'accent', so it must be an accent."
"...Well, it's a good thing Axel's not here, then."
She had to try out the name. "Assel...Assel. I see."
Xigbar tried to bite back a laugh. "Okay, so why don't you two spend a few minutes getting acquainted, while we try to get your room fit to live in?" They both nodded distantly, and he disappeared.
Demyx cleared his throat. "So, um, what's your element, if you know yet?"
"Poison." That didn't offer a whole lot of conversational outlets.
They both looked awkwardly at opposite walls. Demyx was really reluctant to start the conversation - he had no idea what subjects might be acceptable and what might be strictly taboo in her society, and she didn't seem eager to talk herself - maybe she was having the same problem. Eventually, she asked about the picture on the wall. "Who is in that picture? I recognize you, but not the others..."
"Ah, those are Axel and Roxas. Axel is the tall redhead. Neither of them are around right now. And, of course, you can't see their faces very well because we're all wearing masks in that picture..."
Xanrivash nodded. "Where were you when that picture was taken, if is all right to ask?" She had a soft, sibilant voice - maybe her Other was something related to both humans and snakes. She certainly walked like she wasn't quite used to legs.
"That was in New Orleans."
"New Orleans..." She tried the name and found it pronounceable. "May I ask why you were there?"
"Go right ahead, but I gotta warn you, it's a very long story."
She nodded. "I'd like to hear it. I love stories."
Demyx shrugged and sat down. "Okay, here goes...originally it was Axel and I who'd been sent to that world...we'd been bickering before we left..."
AN: And from the story Demyx - and eventually Axel, Roxas, and Zexion - told me came "Whoever Katrina Is". I've kept them hopping ever since.
(draws line between character Xanrivash and person on computer Anna)
Hi, Anna speaking. The Xanrivash character concept is older than my account, just so y'all know. And there's no way in hell you can get Xanrivash out of Anna. Vanshira (Xanrivash's Other) was a naga - half-snake, half-human, for those who don't know. The Naga!Nobody idea kind of grew out of constant exposure to Merman!Demyx and nagas on deviantArt. So I went, what the hell, make her the unofficial Organization scribe/"real" writer of all my stories. I've used the name Vanshira a lot on the internet, including for RPing in other situations, though never as a naga, so I recycled the name.
The feathers-in-the-hair thing? I don't remember where that came from anymore. It used to be a stronger story point.
I intend to have more fun with my other OC, but mostly with the Trio in his homeworld. He's more likely to become a quasi-regular feature.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, got it memorized? No. XIV, Xanrivash, the Nightshade Stalker, does belong to me.
The story is ended. Flame away.