AN: For background, read Chapter 7 of "Into the Nexus".
Demyx didn't remember much between the end of the battle in the library and about fifteen minutes ago, when he'd found himself in a little room being looked over by Zexion. Most of what he remembered was pain, incredible pain, and a lot of blood, and the hideous sensation of having someone else's hand inside him touching body parts not meant to be exposed to the outside. Even the eternally-unflappable Zexion had turned pale, finding out just how deep Demyx's wounds were.
Demyx was the first to say aloud what they both knew. "It's over, isn't it?"
Zexion sighed and bowed his head. "There is...very little I can do, except ease your pain somewhat."
Demyx shook his head; if it was his time, he wanted to know where he was going, not be all loopy and out of it from painkillers. "How are Axel and Roxas?" he asked.
Zexion shook his head - if he wasn't so determinedly emotionless, Demyx might have said he shook his head sadly. "There was nothing I could do for Eight."
Well...if he's gone on ahead...maybe I'll catch up with him, and we can go together...it'll be nice to see a familiar face on the other side... Demyx swallowed hard, ignoring the brief flare of even greater pain. "How's Roxas?"
"He'll recover in time."
Demyx sighed in relief, then grimaced in pain. At least one of his friends would survive. "I'd like to see him again. Before I go."
"He was unconscious, last I knew - would you like me to try to rouse him?" Demyx nodded weakly. "Very well..." Unexpectedly, Zexion knelt next to him for a moment and took Demyx's hands in his. "Goodbye...Demyx."
They both knew it meant forever. All the same, Demyx couldn't help but smile faintly that Zexion had unbent far enough to call him by name. "Bye, Zexion. Thanks for the help." Zexion stood up, and a moment later Demyx heard a door latch click into place. Then he was alone, in a ten-by-ten-foot room, feeling his life slowly drain away.
I don't want to go yet...
He should have been afraid. But oddly enough, he felt quite calm, if a little saddened. And tired. Very tired. On the plus side, the pain was starting to fade a little.
The door opened and closed again, and Roxas was standing there, looking more than a little dazed. "Roxas?"
Roxas seemed to snap out of it and notice he was there. "Demyx, are you okay?" he asked, kneeling next to the makeshift bed of priceless medieval tapestries and looking pretty cut up and battered in his own right.
Demyx shook his head weakly. "No...Axel's gone."
Roxas squeezed his eyes shut, fighting back tears. "I know," he whispered.
Demyx suddenly felt a wave of pity for Roxas - losing both his close friends at almost the same time, where he was only losing one, and that one was the sole survivor. Calling on what little was left of his strength, he reached over and touched the back of Roxas's hand. "Rox...I'm so sorry." Roxas opened his eyes and glared at him; Demyx could only imagine what he was thinking. Probably angry about Axel. Maybe even angry at Axel for dying. Demyx wished he still had the strength to sit up and hug him. "At least...two out of four made it out alive..."
Roxas shook his head faintly. "Demyx, what do you mean?"
Demyx squeezed Roxas's hand gently; the poor kid was going to need all the strength he could muster soon. "Axel's gone. And...I'm going to follow him."
The light went on. All the color might have drained out of Roxas's face, if it hadn't been jet black. "No," he whispered.
Demyx sighed, then gritted his teeth - Kingdom Hearts, was that painful. His own face was probably dead white, or close to it. "I'm sorry...I'd rather not...there's so much I'm gonna miss..." He had so many fond memories of the times he'd spent with Axel and Roxas, and it hurt as much as his injuries to think those times were now all in the past and he had no future.
Roxas shook his head. "No...don't talk like that...there's gotta be something..."
"Rox..." Demyx squeezed his hand again, wishing he could absorb a little of his young friend's grief and take it away with him when he left. "There's not. It's bad...reach in and find vital organs bad. Zex tried...everything he could think of. And I wouldn't...make it back home."
"That can't be true...you can't die..." Roxas's voice was trembling, as if he was on the verge of tears. "I'm going to miss you two so much..."
Demyx tried to smile a little and put on a brave face for Roxas's benefit. "Thanks...I'll tell Axel...when I see him again..." His eyes flickered towards the ceiling. "You know what would be cool?...If Ax and I came back as twins." That idea had a lot to recommend it; that way, the two of them would be born inseparable. He wished Roxas could be there too, but - no. It was better that Roxas lived.
Roxas smiled just the tiniest bit - apparently he liked that idea too. Then his face fell once more. "I wish you didn't have to die," he choked.
Demyx squeezed his hand. "I wish too. I'll miss you. But...I'll be able to hear, next time...I know it...so don't worry too much about me..." Being able to enjoy music as it was meant to sound, not filtered through hearing aids...maybe he'd even get his heart back, in his next life, so he could really feel instead of just remembering what it was like...that did have something to recommend it.
Roxas sighed. "Aren't you the one who's dying? I thought I was supposed to be comforting you."
Demyx smiled faintly. "Let me assure you...this is a hell of a lot better...than dying alone...and at least...I get to say goodbye..."
The floodgates opened. Roxas started sobbing uncontrollably. Demyx watched helplessly, holding his hand, as if it would do any good. Considering what he was going through, he needed to cry.
Demyx was oddly touched by this outpouring of emotion from a supposedly emotionless Nobody, and he couldn't resist reaching up to brush the tears away, no matter how much it hurt or how much effort it took. "Thank you...it's nice to have someone...think you're worth crying over...or is this all for Axel?" He couldn't help but smile for some reason.
"It's for both of you." Roxas swallowed hard. "Thanks for not telling me not to cry."
"In your situation...I'd be bawling nonstop." Demyx withdrew his hand and closed his eyes, gathering what little strength he had left. "It was fun, wasn't it..."
Roxas nodded tearfully. "Thanks to you two."
Demyx finally mustered the strength to reach for Roxas's hand again. "Couldn't have done it without you," he whispered.
"Yes." Each breath he took seemed to bring in less air. "But it hurts a little less all the time...it's not so bad..."
Roxas laid a hand on his forehead. "I'll miss you..."
"I know, Rox..." Demyx didn't have the strength to squeeze his hand, but he could always manage a smile. "Listen...you're allowed to cry...nothing wrong with crying...but you gotta be strong too...if you're gonna have to go it alone..." He had to pause and take several breaths before continuing. "I know you can do it...you're a tough kid..." The world was growing a little darker every passing moment. "Remember us...please..."
He closed his eyes for a few moments, and felt something shifting around underneath him. He opened his eyes to discover Roxas was now cradling his head and upper body. "Comfortable?"
"About as much...as I can be..." The pain was gone, and the dim little room was starting to brighten. "Rox...I'm really tired..."
"That's all right," Roxas whispered, stroking his hair. "You just rest."
"Will you be okay...?"
Demyx had to blink several times to bring the world into focus - Roxas was smiling a little. "Always thinking of others first, aren't you...I'll be all right...I'll think of you and Axel every day..." He swallowed hard. "I'll miss you two so much..."
"Thank you..." The bright light seemed irresistible now; Demyx wanted to reach for it, but didn't have the strength. All of a sudden, there was a hand reaching out of the light, reaching out to him...and a familiar face behind it...
"Hey, Demyx, are you actually coming or are you going to linger forever?"
Demyx laughed softly. "Hi, Axel..."
Roxas looked up. "Axel...you can see him?"
"Roxas?" Axel's ethereal hand reached past Demyx and rested on Roxas's head. "Poor Rox...are you gonna be okay?"
Demyx took a deep breath. "He wants to know...if you'll be okay..."
Roxas smiled tearfully. "Tell him yes. I'll be all right."
"Don't need to; I heard it for myself." Axel took a step forward and gave Roxas a hug; Roxas looked up and glanced around as if he actually felt it. "I'll miss you, Rox. Come on, Demyx; it's time to go."
"He says...he'll miss you...it's time..."
Roxas hugged Demyx a little tighter. "I'll miss you too, Axel...goodbye, Demyx."
"I won't forget you. Either of you."
Axel hauled Demyx to his feet, leaving his body behind. "I'm not all that keen on protracted goodbyes, but I guess it stands to reason that you would be."
"Well, you never got a chance to say goodbye for yourself." Demyx glanced back at Roxas, who was still cradling his lifeless frame and sobbing quietly. "I thought you might like to send one more message."
"You were right. Thanks." Axel threw his arm around Demyx's shoulders. "Come on. I haven't actually been over there yet; I was hanging around until you could catch up."
"Thanks...that was damn decent of you..." Demyx put an arm around Axel's shoulders as the two of them walked towards the light together. "What do you think is over there?"
Axel shrugged. "I guess I can't be sure there's anything, seeing as we don't have hearts..."
"Well, we still have souls; that's the important part when it comes to the next life." Demyx could hear faint music and conversation from the other side. "It doesn't sound too bad over there...you know, if there's such a thing as reincarnation, we should try to come back as twins."
Axel grinned. "That would be so awesome. You can be the sweet, adorable twin, and I'll be the obnoxious brat."
Demyx laughed out loud. "Just like old times."
AN2: The division in the middle marks where it splits from the actual storyline.
Published only because Ocean's Nocturne of the COCA asked for it. :P
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or Nexus War, got it memorized?