In theory, Valentine's Day - a day devoted to the celebration of love - should have meant nothing whatsoever to a bunch of Nobodies. Without hearts, love, and holidays related to it, should have been completely irrelevant. In practice, it didn't quite work out that way, and hadn't since the Organization had reached twelve members. Put men and women together, and there would be, if not genuine romantic entanglements, some facsimiles thereof, and special attempts would be made to impress the women on Valentine's Day. By any means possible.
"Look, does no mean something different in your language? I don't know how many times I've told you, I'm not gonna do it."
Demyx glared stubbornly at Marluxia, but the Graceful Assassin was just as stubborn. Or desperate. "1500 munny. For only one hour. You can't deny those are excellent wages for not much work."
"I'll be damned if I'm gonna be anyone's hired Valentine's minstrel. Get that through your head already."
Marluxia actually sneered. "Do you have some other plans for the day? Sitting alone in your room playing your instrument?" He gave the words "playing your instrument" a leering emphasis, which only hurt his cause.
"Here's a novel idea. Think for a second. How romantic is it to pay someone else to play love songs on your behalf? Haven't you ever read any fairy tales? The girl always ends up falling for the musician!"
"Are you truly so naive as to imagine fairy tales might actually come true for a Nobody?" At least Marluxia had the grace not to laugh at him out loud.
He was doing the impossible anyway - making Demyx lose his temper. "If you don't think it can happen, why are you even trying?"
A rose-pink scythe appeared in a flash of light and a burst of perfume. "Maybe you haven't realized this yet," Marluxia said in a silky voice, "but I didn't come here intending to accept 'no' for an answer."
Maybe if he hadn't pushed Demyx to the end of his patience already, the threat might have worked. "You've got five seconds, starting now, to put that thing away and get out of here or decide whether you want your garden turned into a swamp or a desert. Three. Two."
The scythe disappeared. So did Marluxia. "Kingdom Hearts. Thank you. And don't come back." Demyx flopped back on his bed and put his headphones on, trying to recover from the stress. Hell, in this case, the girl wouldn't fall for me, she'd kill me. For fun. Dragonforce seemed appropriate. Relaxing it wasn't, but that was why he used it to recover after a confrontation. Arguments always left him feeling drained.
Someone knocked on his door - fortunately, between songs. "You really can't take 'no' for an answer, can you?"
Pause. "Who can't?"
Demyx ripped his headphones off, so fast he almost took a hearing aid with them. "Marluxia can't. Sorry, Ax."
"What can't Marly take 'no' as an answer to?" Axel asked as he opened the door.
"He was trying to bribe me into playing love songs to Larxene on his behalf..." Demyx got down on his hands and knees and peered under his bed. "There it is." He dragged out one of the several instrument cases and quickly checked the contents to make sure it was what he thought it was.
"And you told him to go piss up a wall? Thanks. Improves my odds."
Demyx handed him the guitar in its case. "Sure you know what to do with this?"
"If I don't, that means you're a bad teacher. And I took your advice about the designer candy. You're right; she is the sort of person who'd actually like hot-pepper chocolates."
"Anything that'll help you beat the roses. Good luck."
"You'll find out how it went tomorrow - oh, hi, Rox."
"Hi, Axel..." Roxas stuck his head in the door. "Hey, Demyx, do you have, uh...any...uh..."
Demyx half-smiled to himself as he started sorting through his collection of mix CDs. "I think so...here." He handed Roxas a CD with "R N" written on it in permanent marker. "This is probably what you need."
Roxas looked at it in disbelief. "Oh...thanks, but how...?"
"It's called thinking ahead. Trust me. That's what you're looking for. Just let me know how it works for you."
Roxas nodded and hastily stuffed the CD into a pocket. "All right. I'll do that. Thanks."
Axel gave him a thumbs-up. "Thanks for loaning me the guitar." The two of them left, talking and laughing with each other; Demyx could still hear them through the open door.
He smiled softly. "Hope you two have fun..." he said, even though they were both long out of hearing range. He summoned his sitar and tried to play, but...something was wrong. Something wasn't working out properly. Everything sounded all wrong.
He couldn't play. The music just wasn't there.
Lovely. It's Valentine's Day, and while the two of you are off trying to impress your girlfriends, I've been abandoned by my one true love.
He sighed and set the sitar down - that never happened on its own. He never found himself suddenly unable to play worth shit for no good reason. So why was it happening now? More importantly, how could he fix it?
He sat on the edge of the bed and stared out the window. Then he stood up and stared at the floor. Then he lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Then he rolled over and stared at the wall. After spending too much time doing nothing at all but staring, he realized - it was Valentine's Day, and he was lonely as hell. Axel had Larxene, Roxas had Naminé, Demyx had exactly no one. He couldn't even think of any girls he liked well enough to bother with.
Maybe he just needed a girl. And quick.
Good thing he knew several places to get one. But - why did the thought of it make him feel a little worse?
Apparently the music had worked. Going by the winks and leers going back and forth across the table between Axel and Larxene - and the absolutely livid expression on Marluxia's face - Axel hadn't spent the night in his own bed. And going by the dreamy, euphoric, slightly dazed expression on his face, there was a chance that Roxas hadn't either - though no way in hell Demyx was going to ask, especially at breakfast. At that age, it wouldn't necessarily take much more than a goodnight kiss to leave him walking on air like that anyway.
Glad you're still young enough to believe.
Demyx definitely hadn't spent the night in his own bed - he'd been in Agrabah, mostly in the company of a dancing girl. Leila, that was her name. And - well, it had been fun, no question about that. But "fun" was all it was. He'd been just one more customer; she'd been just a paid girl. He was already having a hard time recalling her features.
And he still couldn't play.
He stared blankly down at his plate, fork in hand but not in use - he couldn't bring himself to eat. What's wrong with me? Just because I don't have a girlfriend? It never bothered me before; why's it stopping me from playing now? He was one of the last to leave the table that morning, and when he finally gave up, his plate was still basically full. Something in the back of his mind warned him that he'd end up starving later, but he couldn't have cared less if he tried. The only thing he truly loved, and the only thing he really wanted to love, was music, and it had abandoned him.
Somehow, he found himself back in his room, lying on his bed staring at the ceiling. He summoned his sitar and tried to play again, but he still couldn't come up with anything he considered worth listening to. Eventually, he took his hearing aids off and curled up, facing the wall. Maybe he could just wait it out.
It didn't work. The empty hole in his chest was starting to make his stomach feel a little sick, or maybe that was just hunger. Whatever it was, it didn't lend itself well to resting quietly and maybe taking a nap. Instead of just lying there, he wound up tossing and turning constantly.
Without his hearing aids on, he didn't notice when the door opened - he was currently lying on his stomach with his face buried in his pillow. He had no way of knowing anyone else was in the room until they touched his shoulder. Are you okay? You look like you're having a heart attack, Axel signed when he looked up.
I guess I am, now that I think about it. Demyx rolled over and sat up, but he couldn't be bothered to put his hearing aids back on. What gave it away?
It started when you showed up for breakfast and didn't actually eat it.
Demyx sighed and flopped back down. It started last night, after you and Roxas left.
Last night? That's a really long time for a heart attack...Why didn't you say anything then?
Because you both had better things to do than keep me company? Demyx rolled over and faced the wall again, expecting Axel to roll him back over within a few seconds. When he didn't, he wondered what was going on, but he wasn't curious enough to roll back over himself.
He doesn't usually just walk off and leave me alone, though...I'd never walk off and leave him alone...
His upset stomach wouldn't let him stay there. Soon enough, he was back to tossing and turning, and he discovered he was alone in his room, which really didn't make him feel any better. By the time Axel returned with Roxas in tow, he'd moved his trash can over by his bed, just in case. Nice of you two to come spend a little time. Sorry I'm pretty poor company at the moment.
Put your hearing aids back on, Roxas signed. It's never helped, but you always do it anyway.
Demyx sat up on the bed and reluctantly did as he asked. "That better?"
Axel and Roxas sat on either side of him and put an arm around each shoulder. "It's an improvement."
"Bleh." Demyx groaned and rubbed his stomach. "I feel like shit."
"Don't make me run test your blood sugar," Axel said. "Serves you right for not eating breakfast. I'd offer to cook something for you, but that'd really make you sick."
Roxas reached around to punch Axel in the arm. "You can at least heat up a cup of tea or something. Tea is good for upset stomachs."
Demyx smiled weakly. "You know, you two don't have to -"
"Stuff it. We owe you." Axel ruffled his hair; he only realized then he hadn't bothered to put any gel in it this morning. "It's thanks to you and your guitar lessons I even got into Larx's room last night."
"Well, you owe me a lay, then." Roxas gasped, then howled with laughter. "I can wait to collect it, though. Like, forever."
"Yeah, ask me again when I'm drunk off my ass or something...you like sugar in your tea?" Axel's tone suggested he thought there was something wrong with anyone who liked tea, period.
"Yeah, sure..." Demyx stared distantly out the window as Axel teleported away.
Roxas poked him in the shoulder. "Here, you can have your CD back..."
"No, no, keep it. I made it for you. Just 'cause I knew you'd want it sometime."
Roxas's eyes grew. "Oh...well, thanks. Thanks a lot. I really...enjoyed it."
Just then, Axel returned, with a cup of hot water, several different teabags, a few packets of sugar, and a little plate of heart-shaped cookies. "I thought since you refused to eat any breakfast, you were probably pretty hungry under your wobbly stomach," he said, leaving it all on Demyx's bedside table.
Demyx nodded distantly and dropped a bag of mint tea into the cup. Then he looked at the cookies. Smiling faintly to himself, he picked up two of them and put one against Axel's chest, the other against Roxas's. "Hey, I found your hearts!"
Suddenly, he found two cookies being pressed against his own chest. The empty hole underneath crumbled and filled in as he started to laugh. By the time the tea was ready, he was too busy eating cookies and playing sitar to care.
AN: This started out pure fluff. I got angsty, so the story got angsty. Then I cheered up, so the story cheered up. The cookie scene is too cute, which is a little odd, considering this is one of the most mature fics I've written so far (and it's not really that bad. Wait until "Losing the Melody" gets down to the wire).
A "heart attack", to a Nobody, is when the big empty hole in his chest - where his heart should be - wakes up and reminds him it's there. It causes much angst. Normally, it goes away by itself after a few hours. Company helps. Depending, of course, on the company.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, got it memorized?