Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts. If I did, AkuRoku would be canon and I would be able to draw... "proof" of said canon. Tee-hee.
Spoilers for KH II. Yeah.
Axel and Demyx friendship, very mild AkuRoku, and slight AkuSora that the author promises will not run on too long.
A piece that has literally been a year or more in the making. The little bastard put up a fight, but I wrote it!
It is my sincere hope you enjoy this fic.
Demyx was an elite Nobody blessed with a human's physical characteristics (and at times, human sensations), but that did not make him exempt from the base instincts of his lesser counterparts.
Notably the instinct of analyzing everything foreign to his non-existence.
So it is understandable that the Melodious Nocturne shook, squeezed, and sniffed the foreign black box, hoping it would do something. But it remained an enigma.
He had first spotted the object with two Dusks while taking a destination-lacking stroll through the Castle that Never Was. There wasn't much else to do in a residence that ranged from glass walls to hallways that led to nowhere.
The two Nobodies had growled and shrieked (for lack of a better language), trying to stop the other from grabbing it with the blunt side of their spear-like hands. Demyx reasoned they had stolen in from one of the many worlds they were sent to terrorize. Nobodies constantly searched for something they attributed to the fleeting memories of their Others; those with hearts. That, coupled with their lack of human restraints, resulted in real world items turning up around the Castle from time to time.
Demyx, bored to the point of taking a stroll, was not able to resist his instinct to analyze the object and wonder if his Other had ever used something of the sort. So, he whacked them both over the head with his sitar and took the strange black box for himself, continuing his now-meaningful stroll.
He had a feeling, or rather a sensation of familiarity, that he'd seen this somewhere before. But all he could remember was a bright flash and long ago laughter.
He reexamined the top of the box, which had a series of small, utterly fascinating buttons.
Xemnas had commanded him never to touch any button located within the confines of the Organization headquarters. Ever. His reasoning was that it would probably lead to something catastrophic. It was for the safety of the other Organization members, Xemnas explained.
But the Superior wasn't here right now, was he?
Demyx grinned stupidly and pressed the large red button.
An evil-sounding whir came to life. Demyx immediately regretted it and thought of running, but a bright, stinging flash erupted from the box, paralyzing Demyx.
The light left as quickly as it came.
Demyx blinked rapidly to get all the whiteness out of his eyes. His vision, for a horrific moment, became one with the white and silver walls around him.
He heard another whirr emit from the box, and he shut his eyes and whimpered. But instead of another bright assault, a piece of paper came out of a slot from the box and fell to the ground face-down.
With a furrowed brow, Demyx picked it up. It was certainly harder than paper, but softer than cardboard.
He flipped it over, where it was yellowy-white. So he poked it. Then prodded it. Then stabbed it with a hesitant finger.
In frustration, Demyx shook it.
An image started to appear. He stared at it, for it was familiar (there was that sensation again).
When it fully formed, Demyx gasped dramatically and looked wildly around to tell someone. He spotted the door to Luxord's assigned room.
Demyx ran over and started banging on it with both fists, the photo lodged precariously between his fingers.
Inside, Luxord sighed and glared toward the direction of the offending noise. Only one Organization member would actually forget that he could simply teleport inside. In fact, Luxord had always wondered why the castle bothered having doors in the first place. The Gambler of Fate stopped his solitaire game and shrunk his giant cards back down to pocket form.
"Look! Look!" Demyx shouted when Luxord grudgingly opened the door. Demyx shoved the foreign object in the gambler's face, only for the older man to slap his hand away.
"Was I really the only person you could bother with your antics?" Luxord asked coldly.
"No, no! Look, this thing… captures time!" He held up the foreign paper thing, showing him with a deer-caught-in-the-headlights look.
Luxord had retained the arrogant presence of his Other, but he certainly wasn't above caving in to the curiosity all Nobodies had of Other belongings. Luxord snatched the box from Demyx, shaking the box and pressing the casing, Demyx looking on with a finger tapping his chin in thought. After a few tense minutes Luxord tossed the box back to Demyx and crossed his arms smugly.
"So, do you know what it is?" Demyx asked nervously.
"I believe it's called a camera. And that what you're holding is a photograph, or if you prefer, a picture. It captures images of people, not time. Idiot."
"For how long?"
"How in the queen's good name should I know? Perhaps it stays like that, until something bad happens to it."
Luxord smirked, snatched the picture back, and ripped it into tiny shreds. Then, with an eyebrow raised in sadistic triumph, he blew the pieces into his face.
Demyx looked at them float down to the ground. Then:
"Hey, will you take a picture with me? So I can capture you forever?"
Luxord groaned in disgust and slammed the door shut.
Demyx shrugged. He headed for the castle's upper levels (still walking, the poor forgetful thing). He hoped there were some Organization members not on a mission.
Because Demyx had no shame but plenty of audacity, he went to go ask the Superior.
"Will you take a picture with me?"
Xemnas sighed from his seat in a huge armchair in a brightly lit room.
"I can't trifle with you right now, Demyx. I'm trying to find the darkness."
"Then why don't you just turn off all the lights?"
"OUT!" Xemnas roared.
So, Demyx went to go ask Saix.
"Can't you see I'm worshipping the moon?" was his response.
"That chunk of rock in the sky? I could go get you some rocks from outside, so ya don't have to shout, 'Bequeath me!' so loudly. Some nights you keep us all up."
Demyx dodged a blow from Saix's staff and ran away.
He went to Xigbar's room.
"Please? I think your eye patch is really cool."
"Why thanks, little man, but I have to go practice my sniping."
"You sure do," Demyx said in a matter-of-fact tone. "The last battle we had together, you were hitting everything but the Heartless."
"Maybe you'd like an eye-patch of your own!"
It took some time for Demyx to work out the threatening part of this sentence, and he barely escaped.
Demyx sat under the tallest tower in the non-world, brooding.
Like a good Nobody should.
He was turning over the strange black box in his hands.
No, the camera.
Emotion wasn't tangible. A heart almost was, but not quite. It wasn't something someone could cradle in the crook of their arm while looking up at the sky with hope, at any rate. So Nobodies were reduced to grasping at material things, tangible things. Why this object made people happy, and why that item struck fear. Documented human reaction to objects were precious but rare, so often Nobodies resorted to seeing how such objects made them "feel". Even Demyx, the resident goofball, had logged in many hours in Vexen's laboratories before the man had died.
So Demyx now theorized why it seemed like such a big deal for him to have a picture with someone.
His epiphany was marred by Axel's voice.
"What's got youdown?"
Demyx looked up at the pyro, his eyes bright with his own personal revelations.
Axel raised an eyebrow.
"Brooding about our non-existence, eh? Haven't done that in a while."
Demyx knew what that meant. He knew Axel had been thinking about other things. Other non-people who betrayed organizations because they needed something much, much more than lab experiments and educated theories about the heart.
Axel's melancholy emeralds caught sight of the strange black box. Demyx noticed the curiosity and held it up.
"A camera," Axel said softly, with a noticeable hint of surprise prompting his speech.
"You know what it is?"
"Sure," Axel replied. "Seen this with Others. Captures images."
Demyx nodded. "I wanted to capture something."
Axel looked at him with sympathy. And perhaps with a bit of pity.
"I hope that something wasn't feeling, Demyx. You know we can't retain emotion. Just the sensation of it."
Retaining emotion was like retaining water. You could, but for only so long. Nobodies didn't have the emotional makeup needed to hold onto feelings. Just a sensation that wore off.
The water metaphor was used a lot in their laboratory findings, and Demyx felt he should have known. He would know about the destructive tendencies of his element, after all.
Keeping his voice steady, he spoke.
"So, you wouldn't ever want a picture of Roxas?"
Demyx looked at Axel. Water suddenly became ice. Axel felt the chill.
"It's – well, it's not like you're ever going to see him again."
Demyx couldn't deliver the last line with any cruelty. He faltered, and he thought he might feel sad.
"I'll see him again," Axel stated, his eyes up to a dark sky in hope.
It was a proclamation. A fact that had yet to happen.
Demyx looked up at Axel. He surely knew that following Roxas meant betraying the Organization? To risk being turned into a Dusk?
Axel's fists were clenched and his eyes were bright, for he knew all that and still did not care.
"Then, will you take a picture with me?"
The image of blonde hair, blue eyes, and a tight embrace were shattered with the question. Axel looked back down at Demyx.
"That way, you can tell all about how much you wanted to find him. And let him know we still think about him."
Axel snorted at the sure indifference everyone else had that Roxas had betrayed.
"We? You forget Xemnas had himself a conniption when no one could find Roxas."
"Well, I still care," Demyx protested quietly. "Photos – they capturepeople. It would be nice to pretend."
Axel smiled weakly and sat next to the musician.
"Means a lot, you know."
Demyx gave his own goofy grin in response. Positioning the camera over their heads, he slid his finger over the button.
"Say cheese," Axel chanted.
"What? You hungry?" Demyx asked.
A flash went off and a whirring sound occurred. Out of the slot came a picture of Demyx looking at Axel while he rolled his eyes with a look of mock exasperation on his face.
They took a few more pictures, for good measure. They both left the other that day with something new to mull over, something else to study and theorize about.
Except this time around, they might actually enjoy the process.
For however longer Demyx lived (to keep the atmosphere of their non-existence up, Nobodies did not bother with time), he kept one of the photos in the hidden pocket of his black coat. It was wedged between some paper he had pilfered from the Superior's own stock to jot down musical notes and time signatures and musings on what would later be his unfinished symphony.
In his absent mindedness, filled with snatches of melody and tunes rather than streamed thought, he only remembered he had the picture when he slipped out his paper, smiling at the image of Axel and propping the picture somewhere he could see it while he wrote down the musical inclinations in his head.
When he finally confronted Sora, on that broken mosaic floor, the water from his attacks and his Keyblade's blunt hits shredded the photographs. When Demyx sunk into darkness, the photographs went with him. No one really knows what happened to them. In a universe obsessed with the degradation and loss of the heart, no one gave much concern to material things.
Even if those pictures had emotion captured within its frame.
No one can really be sure if Axel had the pictures on his person the day he died, because Sora didn't and couldn't have known about them. Axel was too busy telling Sora where Kairi was, streamed thought and feeling in his body dissipating at the rate his body was turning into black wispy matter. Too busy looking into azure eyes and too busy restraining himself from kissing the brow above it.
The only picture Sora ever knew of was the one Riku had given him while he was still masquerading as Ansem. It was the only evidence of Roxas' days within the virtual Twilight Town, since no one cared for a Nobody.
Sora couldn't help but care. A lot. It was his Nobody, after all.
One day, after it was all over, Sora took the Bond of Flame to a small sheltered nook on the children's island, and with tape messily attached the picture to the circular handle, and stuck the blade into the sandy ground deep enough so it would stand erect. The ocean was nearby, the breeze making the picture flutter weakly under its sticky constraint.
That same night, Sora's brow was tingling and hot and a melody without origin or end kept playing in thanks. Sora had lost enough sleep so he didn't feel crazy when he whispered your welcome into the darkness.