I can't sleep.

It wasn't so much that he wasn't able to as that he didn't dare to. The music Demyx was working on was possibly his greatest composition ever, and if he stopped, even to eat or sleep, he was afraid he'd lose his inspiration and be unable to continue. Five days he'd been working on it without pause, alone in the Hall of Empty Melodies, only pausing to take his hearing aids out when someone - usually Axel or Roxas - tried to get him to take a break, or to put them back on after they left. Selective hearing could be such a gift sometimes. Kept him from getting distracted, when distraction could mean disaster, as far as his work in progress was concerned. He couldn't let himself feel tired, couldn't let himself feel hungry, had to keep working. If he could no longer feel the empty spot in his chest, why should he feel the empty spot in his gut?

Perfect. It had to be perfect to be good enough. Sure, none of the others would probably care if it wasn't - they'd just clap and say "good job" if they heard it, or they wouldn't have stuck around to hear it at all because they didn't like his music anyway - but he knew better; he needed it to be absolutely perfect just so he could be satisfied with it. Maybe, just maybe, if he created a perfect piece of music, he himself could be a little less imperfect.

He played the last few lines he'd written - that was good maybe excellent but not perfect not perfect he had to make it perfect. Tears pricked at his eyes - how could he not have made it perfect the first time? He hastily scribbled out and rewrote the lines and played them again - perfect. That time perfect. He grinned.

Almost done. Almost. Try once, and try again. One more line and one more after, one more note and one more after. A little closer, and a little closer yet.

Music was better than sleep anyway. You never noticed sleep. You couldn't ignore music. And it was better than food, too - bad food, or too much of even the best food, would make you sick, or even kill you. Music, never.

The notes on the paper seemed to float in front of his eyes, even when he looked away. Just as well; he didn't have to keep looking back at the sheet music that way. He couldn't hear every note he played, not with his ears, but in his mind they all rang pure and clear, just as if his natural hearing was still intact, had never failed him. He would have been having trouble sorting out what he was hearing in reality from what his memory was supplying, if he'd bothered to try. Right now, he couldn't tell the difference and couldn't have cared less that there was a difference. It was music. It was beautiful.

He didn't know it, but his eyes were burning with an unnatural light as he played his nearly-complete work through in its entirety, and if he had known, he wouldn't have cared. Hunger meant nothing. Fever meant nothing. The music meant everything. The notes flowed out from the strings of his sitar - like water, like waves on the shore, like a river to the sea, like a stream to a river, like gentle rain, like a downpour, like a wild, raging storm - the weather outside was changing itself, conforming to the rhythm and the melody, draining his power without him realizing or caring. His face glowed with a strange, mad ecstasy, an expression that might have frightened him if he'd seen it on another face in different circumstances.

This was his life. This was his soul. This was the key to his existence, the key to his sanity - or to his insanity.

Better than food. Better than sleep. This was all he needed to live.

As the wild music suddenly calmed, like a tempest fading away to reveal a beautiful clear sky, he could feel something fluttering in his chest. Barely able to grasp what was going on, he added six notes to the end of the song - three sets of two beats.

Ka-thunk. Ka-thunk. Ka-thunk.

He wrote the new notes onto the end of the song, then dispelled his sitar and signed his name to the final sheet of music.

Composition...complete...

When had the Hall become so chilly? And how did he get so tired all of a sudden? He tried to stand up, go back to his room for a little rest, but his legs were so shaky...he fell back to the floor, scattering the sheets of music he'd spent so long writing...and...what was that in his chest?

As the world started to go dark around him, he pressed his hands to his chest, entranced by that odd thumping sensation.

I made something...perfect...


"Why would he do that to himself?" Roxas murmured.

"I don't get it either." Axel shook his head. "Then again, I'm not a composer. I'm tempted to say I'm not an idiot, but you'd argue with that." They'd forced their way into the Hall of Empty Melodies the day before to find Demyx sprawled across the paper-strewn floor, in the grip of a raging fever. He'd been unconscious or delirious ever since. "I hope he's done with whatever he was working on, because I don't think he should be allowed to go back to work on it." Demyx moaned softly and grabbed for Axel's hand, as if he was aware through the fever that he was being talked about. "Hey, calm down. You just get your demented self better, and then we'll talk."

"My heart...where is it...I had it for a little while...but it's gone again..." Axel sighed heavily and rolled his eyes. "The music...it had to be perfect...that's how..."

"Demyx, please let go of my hand." Demyx didn't seem to hear him, so Axel jerked his hand away. Demyx whimpered. "Don't complain to me. You brought this on yourself."

"I...I made my own heart...out of music..."

Axel and Roxas just looked at each other. Axel drew little circles around his ear with his index finger.

Roxas looked regretfully at the sheets of music on Demyx's desk, that they'd collected from the floor of the Hall - five days of nonstop work, that none of the others had ever heard. "You know...if this is what got him into that state...maybe you should burn it before he comes to and pretend you never saw it. For his own safety. It's probably incredible, but if he's hurting himself because of it..."

Axel thought for a moment. "You know how Demyx will forgive anyone anything?"

"Yeah."

"There is no way in hell he would forgive that. Well, maybe if I killed myself in remorse, but there is no way he'd forgive me that doesn't involve me dying. Trust me." Demyx smiled faintly and grabbed Axel's hand again. "Stop grabbing my hand, okay? You might be contagious." Instead of letting go, Demyx rolled over, trapping Axel's hand underneath him. "Ow! Get off me!"

"Muh...I had a heart, Ax...for a few minutes..."

"You. Are. A. Lunatic. Got it memorized?" Demyx rolled off Axel's hand and started to cry. "...Great. Now I have my hand back, but I feel like an ass."

"Ax, he's really sick. Cut him a little slack."

"I know, and it's his own damn fault for burning himself out like that." Demyx tossed and turned restlessly, oblivious to the world around him. "Why the hell would you do something like that, you loon?"

Demyx moaned and clutched at his chest. "My heart..."

Axel looked up at Roxas, then back at Demyx. "...Lucky bastard."


AN: Deaf!Demyx-muse has been behaving erratically all day. From complete and utter intoxication to a drunk!Axel even worse than in "Dichotomy" to an AU where he's the voice in shizophrenic!Axel's head - by the way, schizo!Axel is never seeing the light of day, he's too weird - that I finally asked him: "Have you gone crazy?"

He grinned at me and nodded. Then he made me go without food and sleep to finish this. At least it only took me one day.

Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, got it memorized?