A/N: Sweet Merciful Zombie Jesus! It is finally done! This has taken...what three, four months to finish? Now 'Gig' is finally finished and I can move on with my life! The final burst was inspired by three songs on repeat, they are:
'Lake Michigan' by Rouge Wave
'Sake It' by Metro Station
and 'A.M. 180' by Grandaddy.
None of them really have anything to do with the fic, but check 'em out nonetheless! This is dedicated to orange.tictacs! Who has been very patient with me and I love her to bits and pieces. She asked for Zemyx and snow, and hopefully I delivered. So, here it is, my first Zemyx one-shot: 'Gig'!
Warning: Shonen-Ai and by no means proofread
Disclaimer: Don't own it, don't want it, don't sue me.
Demyx woke up in the small bedroom he shared with his three brothers with song birds and rainbows. Not only was Demyx's bedroom, small, but so was the house he lived in, the town he resided in and…Okay, so Minnesota isn't exactly a tiny state. But, you get the picture. The house might not have seemed so crapped had it not been shared by eight people; a mother, a father, two sisters, and three brothers, plus Demyx. It led to a rather cramped lifestyle.
Last night, Demyx had received the most amazing phone call last night. For a city of under 1000, there was rarely anywhere to go. So, for the most of the time, Demyx was confined to the family farm. The Lund family grew corn and raised chickens. Not that they ever killed the chickens (unless they started to get over populated and attacking each other), or sold their eggs. Mrs. Lund, Demyx's mother, thought it was a convenient way to cut down on costs.
Anyway, back to the most amazing phone call Demyx received last night. There was rarely anywhere to go, so most people between the age of fourteen and twenty five all came together at one central location. On the main street in town sat a café, the only one around for…towns.
This café was the Mecca of youth. It was almost impossible to squeeze through the door after four o'clock, seeing as teenagers had already flocked to it after school and filled it past capacity. And during the summer, well, it was anybody's guess. Every Friday night (except for on major holidays), the café would have a band come up and play.
Demyx had been playing guitar for most of his life, though he had never performed in front of anybody besides his mirror. When he'd seen the audition poster outside Seventh Heaven he thought he'd give it a try. And lo and behold, he actually got a gig. And thusly, he received the most amazing call last night.
A gig! Could you believe it? Demyx certainly couldn't. That was yesterday, the gig was today. A bit late notice, but nonetheless, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and he had the day off from school! He had a day all to himself, well he had to share it with his five siblings, but he had a day to practice in silence, all by himself.
When Demyx had finally dressed and made his way downstairs, he could smell eggs. Always with the eggs. His entire family was sitting around the kitchen table, squabbling over bacon and the ketchup bottle. Demyx slide into the only available seat before grabbing a plate and ladling himself up some food.
"Hey, you know that ca-,"
"GIVE IT BACK!"
"DON'T BE A BRAT!"
"Stop playing with your food."
"ll. Its kinda big de,-"
"YOU'RE SUCH A JERK!"
"Mom, he already had three pieces of toast, I want some."
"Share with your sister."
"If you don't stop screaming I'm going to-,"
"STOP IT! OW!"
"al. I'm gonna be playing at th-,"
"SHUT UP! EVERYBODY!" That was Dad, Dad without his morning cup of coffee fully digested. Silence permeated the room. Mom rolled her eyes and passed Demyx a glass of juice, who took it. They sat that way until one by one they excused themselves from the table. Soon Demyx was left all by himself, finishing his toast.
"I've got a gig tonight. A real live gig and I'm getting paid and everything. Isn't that great? Yeah, I know Mom, it is wonderful. Thanks Dad, it is a big deal. Oh really, you'll come down and see me? You guys don't' have to do that. It's really nice how you're all so freakin' supportive all me. Gee whiz! Shucks, and all that crap." Demyx tossed his napkin violently onto his plate before picking it up and bringing it to the kitchen. He piled it on the already mile high stack before marching up the rickety stairs to his room.
After scaring his siblings out, he picked up his battered CD player and turned it on. He put it on repeat as he picked up his guitar. Might as well practice, even if he all he was doing was covering a few songs that night. So he tuned and plucked away at his guitar, and sat by himself peacefully.
Around noon, his mom brought him up a PB&J. He thanked her and picked up the sandwich. A second later, his phone rang. Not his cell phone, because he didn't own one, but the phone that happened to be outside in the hallway, which was probably as old as his mother.
"Demyx." He answered, everybody got confused in their household, and it was the only way to make sense out of anything.
"Hey, yeah. So, big day right?" It was Axel, and Demyx brightened up suddenly. At least Axel somewhat understood him.
"You betcha! You're coming, aren't you?"
"Wouldn't miss it Dem. So, you think your gonna, well, you know." Demyx knew exactly what he meant. He could tell by the way Axel's voice suddenly became a bit more mischievous than it normally was.
"Only if he applauds."
"And when he hates it?"
"Look, you can't be such a pussy about it. Grow a pair. You just have to sing him some song about how you would love to fuck him into the ground and you'll be good to go. You know, open up."
"You seriously call that opening up? Telling a stranger you want to "fuck him into the ground", that's opening up?"
"Yeah…anyways, how are you getting there?"
"Walking, like always. It's only a few miles."
"…" Silence. That wasn't anything to unusual. The phones would go dead every now and then for no good reason at all. In fact, Demyx wouldn't be surprised if the phone he was using had simply died. It had to be on its last legs by now… There's only so much a phone can take. "Have you looked outside?"
"I know it snowed last night, can't be too bad."
"…" More silence. Demyx paused. Really, like a little snow ever stopped anybody. It was Minnesota for God's sake! Actually, they were practically Canadian at this point.
"Give me a sec." Demyx placed the receiver on top of the books and went over to his parent's bedroom and lifted back a curtain. He returned to the phone a minute later, shaking slightly. "Could be worst."
"My left nut it could be worst." Axel hung up after that. Still shaking, Demyx hung up as well. He then slowly made his way downstairs, each step creaking loudly as he went. Without bothering to at least put on a pair of shoes, he wandered out the front door.
While it'd only snowed about three feet last night, adding to the inch or so they already had, it had drifted. Drifted so horribly, that a pile was just about as large as Demyx. In fact, he couldn't even see one of his five siblings, and wondered if she had been buried alive. She was little enough.
"DEMYX! IT'S FREEZING OUT DERE, DON'T CHA KNOW!" His mother screeched, noticing that her eldest had wandered out the front door (and left it open) in only a t-shirt and jeans. "YOU'RE GONNA CATCH A COLD!"
"COULD BE WORST! NOW GET CHA HINEY BACK IN HERE MISTER!" Demyx trooped back through the snow and into the house. "You best go and change." She said, pointing to his wet pants. Blabbering, Demyx had little to no defense against his mother. Pants dripping, he marched up the stairs, each one emitting a groan with every step he took.
Demyx's dark mutterings did not subside as he reached his bedroom. Scaring out one of his little brothers is angrily tugged on a new pair of jeans. And then another when he realized the first pair he had pulled on had a hole in them. After making sure that this pair did fit and that it wasn't one of his brothers' he stomped back down the stairs.
"Hey Dad." Demyx poked his head into the kitchen, where his dad was currently balancing the checkbook. It didn't surprise Demyx at all that his father didn't even look up at him. Punching more numbers into the calculator, his father 'mmmed' and 'oohed'. "Dad?"
"Yeah?" By this stage of the game, Mr. Lund was able to tell his kids apart by pitch, tone and frequency of voice. "What is it Dem?"
"It, uh, snowed pretty bad last night, you know. And, I've got a …date! A date with…Kairi Erickson tonight, so yeah!"
"Red head girl?" Still, he hadn't looked up, but Demyx could tell at least he was interested in what he was saying.
"Yeah, she's real…pretty?" While he might've noticed the slight inflection, the questioning tone, his father didn't.
"And this'd be the…?"
"First date. I only just had the guts to ask her out. You know Riku Smith? He's her best friend, and he's kinda protective over her."
"He plays football, doesn't he?" His father said, now even more interested.
"Quarterback, best player on the team."
"Who else has she dated?"
"That Sora kid." His father looked up, looking at Demyx appraisingly before he huffed.
"You're better looking than him."
"Yeah, so it might go well. And I'd walk, but it'd take forever."
"If you shovel the driveway, and put the snow chains on, I suppose I could take you."
"Thanks! I'll get right on that now!" Thanking his good stars, Demyx rushed off towards the garage. There hung a rather large blue coat, which resembled a badly molding marshmallow with a bite or two taken out of it, and a pair of yellow galoshes. After pulling on both articles of clothing, Demyx also grabbed a pair of balled up gloves from the pile, and donned them as well. Only after he'd taken up a shovel did he realize that the gloves were pink and decorated with Disney Princesses.
Then he sat forth to shoveling the driveway. This, in fact, was a lot more like skimming off the top sheet of snow then actually shoveling.
His brothers and sisters ran by, throwing insults every now and then, the littlest boy actually getting stuck in one of the piles Demyx had made. It took all of them to pull him out again, forming a giant chain of limbs, as their brother cried out in pain at each tug.
"Ahh! You're pullin' to hard!"
"If we don pull hard, ya won't come out!"
"Ahh! Stop it!"
"Don't be such a baby, suck it up."
"Don't say that word!"
"Baby! Baby! Baby!"
"Ahhh!" With a popping noise, his brother flew out of the snow bank and landed with a thud a few feet away. Thanks to all the layers he was wearing, however, it wasn't as rough as a landing as it could've been. Demyx attempted to usher them back into the house, but they weren't having any of it.
After the fifth snowball hit him in the head, he ended up chasing after the lot of them with his shovel. When their mother finally came out and started screaming at the top of her lungs. Under threat of no dessert the kids quietly exited the yard and went back inside. Demyx went back to shoveling the driveway.
In his head he slowly went over set lists, and cords. Which songs would be best? He could play this one, or maybe that one. Maybe it'd be better not to sing any original songs, but to do covers instead. Which ones would he like best? It's not like he'd ever even consider getting up on stage and making an idiot out of himself for just anybody.
Well, he couldn't really make an idiot out of himself. Most of these people had known him for as long as he's been alive. Not like it'd be anything new. Demyx wasn't really the brightest bulb in the pack, and nobody even thought he was. No use to deny it.
Maybe he thought he was smart. What if…what if he thought he was like the next Albert Einstein or something? What if he thought Demyx was like a genius. What if he didn't like musicians…maybe he hated them? Maybe he thought they were stupid or something.
Shaking his head, he went back to shoveling. Best not to over think. Just try to get there, just get out of the house. Don't think of all the horrible shit that could happen, don't think. He slapped himself on the forehead. Maybe he could pound the thought right out of his brain.
"Ow." He smacked himself again. "Ow even more." Maybe one more time. "Ow times infinity."
"DEMYX STOP MUTILATIN' YOURSELF!"
"Kay Mom!" Shoveling, just get out of the driveway, concentrate on that.
A minute later he could already feel his mind drifting. Drifted to him. The way he looked like in that apron they made him wear. How nobody really knew who he was, and what brought him all the way up North. Gossip was that he came from Minneapolis. What drove him to move away from such a big city? He was a mystery, and Demyx assumed that was part of his charm. Or maybe all the charm. Demyx couldn't remember him actually acting friendly to anybody.
In fact, the more he thought about him, the less attractive he seemed to get. He rarely was seen outside of the café. Demyx knew he lived over the shop in the apartment, so it's not like he really had to travel anywhere. He was a bit mean, and was normally in a pretty foul mood. He didn't even say the customary "Thanks come again" like the other baristas. Maybe he was an isolate.
Mr. Semmen would be really proud of him right about now.
Okay, that actually made him a lot more attractive. The fact that he wasn't like all the other smiling natives. Maybe he was sick of the smiling natives. Maybe he should just keep shoveling.
"Dad! Done!" Rattling up the stairs, one step at a time. He ignored his father yells to slow down; he hurried up and skidded slightly on the landing rug before sliding into his room, wellingtons already halfway off his feet. He threw one of them at his brother, which hit him in the head. Who in turn, wailed and ran down stairs yelling for his mother.
Demyx spent the next hour in front of the mirror. He spent his time tugging on different shirts, wondering which one was best, which one would attract his attention. After running across the third Dora the Explorer shirt, he silently wondered if maybe he should bulk up a bit. Seventeen with the physique of an eleven year old girl? Not good, well, unless he was into that type of thing.
After finding a suitable outfit, he turned towards his hair, after kicking one of his sisters out of the bathroom. Were faux hawks really that cool? Had it grown out to mullet proportions? Sweet lord he hoped not. Business in the front, party in the back? No, no. Maybe it would look better without all the gel he normally used. He experimentally rested his hand on the top of his head.
"Shit!" He snatched his hand back. He'd never known that his hair could 'effing maim people! His mind drifted off as he left the bathroom, maybe they wouldn't let him past security in an airport. Not that he'd actually ever flown on a plane. Or traveled farther than Wisconsin. Once.
Somebody should really do something about those stairs. Can you oil stairs? That doesn't seem right. It'd suck if Dad had to make a new set. Pair? Flight. A new flight of stairs. He'd probably get dragged into helping; maybe it'd be best not to bring anything up. He could deal with a few squeaky steps.
"Daad! Let's get a move on!" Demyx was standing on his tiptoes, craning over his father's back, staring at the bill he was still working on. Mr. Lund shot him a dirty look, which forced Demyx flat on his feet again. Slowly, his blue eyes ranked over his eldest, taking in the somewhat flustered face, guitar case, and over all cleanliness. His eyebrows rose and disappeared into his hair. Surely this girl didn't need to be serenaded with an expensive guitar?
"Demyx…" He placed his pen down and turned to look his son in the face. "There's no need for you to bring that along."
"Besides it's only four, what time do you need to be there?"
"I want to be punctual!"
"Bein' punctual isn't being there three hours early."
"I-I don't want her to…to…" Demyx was distracted by the fact that his dad's eyebrows still hadn't returned to their normal position. "Think I'm…a…a…"
"Put it away son."
"But I have a gig! That's the date! I'm going to sing to her, but get paid to do it. Like, on a stage and everything. She knows I'm playing tonight, and I told her I'd sing to her, and only for her and…and…"
"If you don't stop stuttering I'm gonna-,"
"Dad! I have to be there, and tune, and get ready, and everything!"
"Three hours early?"
"One hour early! Which is five, which is an hour away, but it'll take forever to get there in this weather!"
Defeated, Mr. Lund pulled off his reading glasses, piled up the bills and shut them away in their box. Cracking his back, he eyed Demyx suspiciously before getting up.
"Get the munchkins out of the driveway." Whooping, Demyx hurried over to the front door before coaxing the few of his siblings that'd snuck back outside to come in again. He finally had to resort to a little white lie before they all came tumbling in. No, their mother hadn't made cookies, but with enough begging, she would.
"Dad! Dad! DAD!" His father cursed from the coat room as Demyx hopped back and forth, anxious to get on their way. He could hear his mother reprimand his father and the clunk of change being deposited into the swear jar before he finally meet his son as the garage door. Throwing Demyx a dirty look, he unlocked the car doors.
The actual trip to Seventh Heaven took longer than it had ever had in recent memory. Well, that was untruthful, because recent memory went a lot further back then the time that the café had existed. So in all possibility, the trip into town could've taken just as long ten years ago before the café had ever opened. Nonetheless, it took a rather long time, seeing as it was only four miles. And it might've been more productive to say: It took a long time to get to the designated destination. Rather than that long spiel, but there you have it.
It took a long time to get to the café. Demyx sat twitching in his seat; guitar perched on his lap rather precariously. He went over the set he had finally decided on for what seemed like the millionth time that day. Over and over again, even though he knew it by heart. He just wanted to make sure that if he heart somehow escaped via esophagus he'd still know it. Demyx's heart always seemed to make a break for it as soon as he laid eyes on him.
It's not like he was particularly attractive. The guy was shorter than him by almost a head, and if Demyx had the figure of an eleven year old, than he had the body of a five year old girl. Demyx had never really thought of himself as tall, but in comparison, he was a giant. He did have some odd hair…it was styled like any run-of-the-mill emo kid, but the color was something else. He didn't know anybody else with purple hair.
However, Demyx still found him rather attractive. Okay, really attractive... Okay, super hot. No matter how weird his hair was or how short he was. He could've been a five year old girl and Demyx would've probably still liked him.
When the car finally pulled up to the curve Demyx clambered out, flailing slightly and almost dropping the guitar. His father rolled his eyes before carefully pulling away from the curb; half afraid he'd end up killing his own son. Not from any mistake of his own, but because Demyx would accidently wander right into the grill. Which had almost happened so many times Mr. Lund was actually surprised that his first born was still alive.
The woman who ran Seventh Heaven was named Tifa, and Demyx hardly heard a word that came out of her mouth. Not because he was staring at her considerably large rack, but because he was staring at the barista behind her.
Even his name was different. Okay, it's not like there were twenty Demyxs running around town, but he'd never ever heard of anybody else named Zexion. He could've been asleep with his eyes…eye? open. For all Demyx knew Zexion was a one-eyed bandito. This would actually be kinda cool.
"Hey." Tifa was snapping her fingers right under his nose. "You've got half an hour, so you hang out for about fifteen minutes before setting up. Remember ground rules, no swearing, no nudity…no, I don't know. Keep it PG-13."
"Righto." Demyx sidled off to the side before joining Axel at a table. Sitting there was a rather despondent Roxas, head propped up on his arm and looking off into the distance. It was rather obvious that Axel had dragged him there. Axel had taken the liberty of ordering Demyx his drink of choice, hot chocolate.
"So, there he is." Axel threw his eyes over his shoulder, gesturing at Zexion. Demyx froze hot chocolate halfway to his mouth, now staring right at Zexion. He was off in his own world as always, not even paying attention to anything going on around him, especially blond kinds who were undressing him with his eyes.
"Yeah that's him." Demyx started to say when Roxas huffed and rolled his eyes, Axel's attention immediately snapped to him. "Yes, he huffed, moving on."
"What?" Axel turned back to face Demyx. Roxas sighed again and Demyx gave up hope. Nothing would ever be able to stop Axel's pining for Roxas, unless of course, Roxas actually paid attention to Axel. Which would never happen in a million years. In fact, Demyx was surprised that Roxas had even agreed to come in the first place.
They sat like that for a while. Roxas huffing and rolling his eyes every now and then, Axel watching Roxas huff and roll his eyes every now and then, and Demyx was watching it all play out while he sneaked the occasional peek at Zexion. It was a very boring wait until Tifa wandered over towards him whilst he was staring at the back of Zexion's head.
"Kid…" She grabbed him by the shoulder and promptly pushed him towards the raised platform. "Break a leg."
Demyx had thought about what he was going to say once he got up on stage. He figured he'd make some long elaborate speech that'd be really cool. However, once he was on stage and looked out into the crowd and realized he could name everybody there decided to skip it.
"Hey, I'll be playing for you tonight." There was some whooping and cheering from the crowd and Axel applauded extra loudly, only gaining another huff from Roxas which promptly settled him. "Here's the first." As Demyx picked up his guitar he noticed Zexion looking up from the cappuccino maker. Zexion was actually looking right at him, he felt like he could've passed out right then. Readjusting the guitar in his hands he decided it might look better if he actually played the thing and got this over with.
Playing all acoustic sucked. There were only so many songs he could sing and that number was limited again by those you could get away with playing acoustically. He should've asked Axel to bring his bass, and maybe they could've bribed Roxas into playing tambourine. It would've made picking which songs to play a lot simpler. How did MTV ever get away with have a whole show with just acoustic guitar?
There's something about being on stage that always excited Demyx in a way he could never recreate in his everyday life. The way the lights shone on you and how you could barely see what was going on around you, the response of the crowd. Even when he was up on stage for his first grade play he'd felt that way. Soon, he couldn't even remember where he was or what was going on. He forgot he was playing in front of almost everybody that mattered to him, and that the whole reason he was playing in the first place.
He forgot that Zexion was standing not even a hundred feet from him. He also forgot that there were at least fifty sets of eyes on him. One of the pairs was dark blue, though not truly a pair, seeing as one of the eyes was hidden beneath long bangs. The only visible eye was squinted slightly, studying Demyx.
Zexion had been aware of Demyx. Just like how he was aware of everybody else in this room. In this small town it would take more of an effort to try to not recognize people. Anywhere else they'd be called regulars, but here they were the only customers they had. Zexion only needed to look at somebody to know what they wanted to drink.
Minneapolis had been ten times more exciting then this. Zexion didn't like knowing what was going to happen, he'd rather guess what was going to happen and be correct. Living in such a small, remote town took all the guess work out of everything. There was nothing to get excited about, nothing to wonder about. At least in Minneapolis customers were customers and regulars were regulars.
In times like this, when Zexion seriously considered killing himself just to 'mess things up', and even occasionally pondered if he should return to college life. No matter how much he thought about it, living in a rundown apartment over a café was preferable. Even if there was an ungodly amount of snow on the ground.
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
The boy up on the stage (hot chocolate -mint-chocolate if it was in season- mullet, sea-green eyes) was one of the more decent performers. Normally Tifa had to truck people in from the surrounding areas. They were all so generic that not even their presence could shake up the routine.
Hot Chocolate wasn't playing of the new hit songs. He was playing songs he'd never even heard of, or first heard years ago. Zexion liked to think he was well versed in music, but even so. He'd never heard an acoustic performance of "Airbag". In fact, if he hadn't just lived through it, he wouldn't have thought it possible.
He flowed from one song right into the next, barely even pausing in-between each one. The café was pretty full tonight. He didn't blame the locals, it's not like they any other form of entertainment, especially during the winter; though maybe they liked hockey up here. They were pretty close to Canada… and there were a few ponds scattered around that the kids could skate on.
The blond Hot Chocolate had been sitting with earlier was still mostly unresponsive to the red-head next to him. The blond -a zebra- and the red head -a black coffee- were almost always here together. Normally Zebra got there first, and Black following him a few minutes later. Zexion was pretty sure that Black liked Zebra; he always bought for the two of them. Zebra, on the other hand, was most likely in it for the free caffeine. Not that Zexion blamed him.
A petite girl suddenly appeared before Zexion, who almost jumped out of his skin. He still wasn't use to the whole "happy local thing". At his old job there was a higher possibility that he'd get robbed at gun point than be greeted by a happy customer. In fact, Zexion was walking proof of that little statistic. Espresso was her drink of choice and he tuned out of her zesty monologue as he turned to the pump behind him. He vaguely heard her mention exfoliation. Then again she could be talking about how she liked to project her psyche onto espresso pumps. One was never quite sure what customers were talking about. Regulars?
"Thank you, Zeeeexion!" No, thank you faithful patron! Not that he'd actually ever exclaim anywhere else but inside his brain. He should really talk to Tifa about getting rid of the nametags, again. If they hadn't learned his name by now, it would be their loss. And really, it wasn't that big of a loss, for either party.
Zebra was glaring at Black. Obviously whatever song Hot Chocolate was playing meant something to him. There is always that one song that means something to you. And Hot Chocolate was strumming away, stars in his eyes, and Zebra was pissed. Nobody ever said hearing that song meant a good reaction. Black must've tipped Hot Chocolate off, and Zebra knew.
Zebra was gone and Hot Chocolate was already onto the next song. Zexion would've loved for Black to be all conflicted, wondering if he should stick around for his friend or run after his boy toy. However, he had misjudged Black. He stayed rooted to the table, but that might've just been from shock. Probably just from the shock.
Hot Chocolate was unaware of the drama down-center. Probably didn't even remember where he was. He'd seen that look plenty of times. He was one of those people who called their guitar Katie and grew up to be a serial killers, the type who liked to turn their victims into 'art'. Not that anything would've distracted Hot Chocolate at this point. One of those oh-so-common bus sized satellites could have fallen through the ceiling and he would be unmoved. Even with Katie and his hair on fire, he would've continued on.
Zexion could tell that Hot Chocolate was only just warming up, he still had a good half-hour left on stage and he showed no real signs of stopping. A glass of water was about the only thing he paused for. There was something…commendable about it. At the very least, the kid had drive.
That was something Zexion never really had. He had gone to college for about a year, was bored to tears, and quietly left town. He had drifted from job to job when he was younger, and if he could've he would've left this job. There was nothing keeping him here. Not like there was anything challenging about making coffee. In fact, this job made college look interesting.
More than once he'd backed up all of his belongings and was in the cab before he decided that, no, he couldn't go back. There were…issues…back in Minneapolis. Like his furious parents and friends. He had never thought that when he had ducked out of school he'd actually upset people. He'd left a note…
Behind him Tifa was drying cups and rattling around in general. Normally Tifa would be sitting back in her office and leave Zexion to it; she knew that he was rather possessive of his workspace. Tonight, however, she was throwing caution to the wind and happily chatting up the random customers that'd come up to the counter.
"Have you seen Cloud?" She asked him suddenly, closing the cash register and not looking him in the eye.
"No, he never showed up." Cloud, Tifa's best friend, normally would come in to bus tables during nights. Cloud's lack of personality made him preferable to Pence, the other bus boy who insisted on dragging Zexion into conversation. Behind him, Pence dropped a cup but was able to recover it.
"Damnit, he'd really enjoy this…" Tifa was looking out into crowed as if she expected to spot him sitting at one of the tables.
"What?" Pence piped up from the behind the pair, ready to be part of the conversation.
"Demyx playing, he's good."
"Demyx?" Pence turned to watch and his mouth fell open. "He is good." Tifa grinned and placed her hands on her hips and nodded. "I wouldn't have ever thought…wow…"
"I know, I didn't think he'd be this good. Why hasn't he ever been in one of the musicals? His voice…" Tifa trailed off, watching Hot Chocolate with apprising eyes. "We're gonna have to invite him back."
"Who'd've think such a spazz could be so good?" Zexion raised his eyebrows and glanced up at stage. He never had paid much attention to the customers, so he honestly had no idea if this Demyx kid was a spazz or not.
"Defiantly good." Tifa turned back to her cups, and Pence back to his tables. Eyebrows still raised, Zexion leaned up against the nearest counter and watched Hot Chocolate. Demyx, he had a name, Demyx. He'd have to remember that.
Demyx was plowing through his set list with sheer determination. Zexion couldn't help but watch him at it. He did have a good voice, not amazing, not record selling, but decent. He sounded better than most of the people Tifa normally had come out to sing. Zexion noticed that most of the crowd seemed to be focusing in on Hot Chocolate, totally ignoring whoever they were sitting with. Even the red head stayed rooted to his seat, maybe he hadn't noticed when Zebra left after all…
He wasn't sure if the café was quiet or not. On the one hand, nobody was talking; on the other Demyx's voice seemed to fill up every available space. Normally there was a consent buzzing floating through the air, but now… It seemed like nobody even dared to talk. This was a feat in itself with a room full of teenagers.
Aerith sidled behind the counter and copied his pose. She was one of Tifa's best friend, and a native. She was the one who made the desserts that sat behind windowed cases, mostly slices of cake and cookies. Normally she occupied herself in the back, making frilly sugar flowers. She even worked beside him as a barista with the place got packed. Not that it happened often, normally when college kids came back for holidays. Not that he could ever understand why, if he'd grown up here, he'd be running for the hills.
"He's very talented." Aerith supplied softly, her eyes also snapping to Demyx. "We've all known him since he was a baby, though I don't think we've seen this side of him. He's a natural up there." Zexion turned to look at her, obviously confused. "He's the eldest of six." She added thoughtfully. "It's nice to see him like this, surrounded by his peers, and blooming. I was worried about him."
"He's never been overly popular. And it's hard not to be popular in a town like this." She pushed off from the counter and turned around to stare at him, arms clasped behind her back. "It's okay." And with a wink she was off.
Tifa soon followed her and the two settled themselves at a table at the back of the room. This left Zexion all to himself behind the counter. Demyx was winding down, the shop would be closing soon, and Zexion only had a few more orders before the night was done. Mostly parents dropping in to pick up their children who couldn't get themselves home. Normally the whole shop would clear out at closing and you could see the retreating back's of kids for what seemed like forever as they wandered off into the horizon. Now, with all that wretched snow, parents were forced to come collect them.
A few of the more sensible parents hung out in the back, clutching their coffee and whispering. They were gossiping more than their kids were. Each group of huddled parents silently pointing out specific gatherings of teens, though most of their attention was rightfully placed on Demyx.
"Is that the Lund boy?"
"Which one is he…oh, I always forget."
"Derek? I think that's it."
"No, no, he's Demyx."
"That's an odd name…"
"He looks very handsome up there."
"I can't believe he can sing."
"Who knew the Lund kid could play guitar?"
"I wonder who his girlfriend is…"
Zexion was already wiping down the counter and throwing away soggy grounds in the waste paper basket. Did Hot Chocolate have a girlfriend? He'd most likely get laid tonight if that's the case. But for all Zexion knew Demyx could be head over heels in love with Black… This could be possible, if Zexion tilted his head at an awkward angle it almost looked like Hot Chocolate was playing for him. But that was ridiculous; the kids up here were as straight as an arrow, in every way. They were all so home-grown he doubt that even most of them had ever been grounded in their life. Something Zexion couldn't relate to, his parents normally grounded him for his "Foul Attitude" when he was still living with them.
Had Hot Chocolate ever been grounded? He looked no younger then sixteen. And the way he sang exemplified a sense of innocence in him. For some reason Zexion seriously doubted the kid had ever been romantically involved. He drank hot chocolate in a coffee shop, there wasn't all that much mature about him.
Why was he even thinking about him so much? This was idiotic, the last thing he needed was to start crushing on jail bait. He was too old for this. Way too old. And it's not like he hadn't ever noticed the kid before, he knew his favorite drink, so why was he suddenly getting to him? Did Zexion have a secret thing for musicians? That couldn't have been right, and besides, Zexion was pretty sure he was a heterosexual. If he really liked musicians, it wasn't that hard to find a whiny girl playing guitar nowadays.
The last cored was played and the entire café burst into a round of applause. Zexion watched Hot Chocolate murmur a small 'thank you' before wandering off the stage and into the arms of the red head who happily punched him in the arm. After a quick conversation between the two, Black had run off, probably looking for Zebra. Who'd, funnily enough, been standing outside Seventh Heaven for the last forty-five minutes waiting for Black. Probably didn't have a ride home.
Zexion couldn't see Demyx in the crowd of people that now swarmed around him. Everybody had suddenly rushed upon him, and for an alleged 'unpopular' kid, he suddenly had a lot of company. People where thumping him on the back and shaking his hands. A few girls were suddenly seeing him in a new light, most likely a 'poetic rock god of love' light. Zexion tore his eyes away from the sight and silently got back to work. When he glanced over his shoulder he noticed that Pence had abandoned his sink and was also in the flock, congratulating Hot Chocolate.
Throwing one of many wash clothes over his shoulder Zexion completely blocked out the din that now filled the once silent café. This was a skill that had come in handy for his previous jobs, but tended to betray him in the middle of lectures. Slowly the mass dissipated. Tifa stopped on her way out and reminded him to lock up, which he really didn't need to be reminded of, and to kick out the remaining stragglers.
A few more handshakes and soon the only two left were Zexion and Demyx. Pence, having found a way to ditch out on his duties (which Zexion would report to Tifa the following afternoon at the start of his shift), which left Zexion to clean up the café all by himself. Zexion wondered if Pence had even bothered to punch out. Slowly, Demyx made his way up to the counter.
"Uh…you need any help? Looks like Pence ditched out on you…" Demyx caught the dish bucket Zexion threw at him. Grinning Demyx was already off clearing tables. It's not like Zexion couldn't have done it himself, it just would've kept him an extra half an hour or so.
Grabbing a nearby trashcan, Zexion went out to help him clean tables. It was disgusting, handling half-eaten food. You never knew who's mouth this had been in, and if they were sick or something. On top of that, people always seemed to stuff their napkins in their half-drunken coffee. Not only did you have to go fishing for the napkins, but they also soaked. The coffee would creep up through the fibers of the napkin and not only were you handling half-eaten food, but half-drunken coffee. And though Zexion was sure he would be getting sick from it, but it was still disgusting.
Pence and Cloud were desensitized to the whole affair by now, but Demyx was able to breeze through the job with no problem. Zexion idly wondered if it had something to do with having a handful of younger siblings. He still wasn't use to clearing tables; then again, he had only ever had to clean up after himself in the past.
"Want me to wash these?" Zexion nodded mutely and watched the boy pull the tap. He was only a boy, just a kid who liked to drink hot chocolate. He couldn't be that much older than Pence.
With the last bit of sodden biscotti swept off the table and into the bin he quickly grabbed a discarded dishtowel and began to wipe down the tables. Encrusted crap was another thing Zexion was sure he'd never get use to. He had no idea what it could be, possibly snot or half-digested food, whatever it was, it was foul.
Demyx was already halfway through his stack of plates by the time Zexion was done bussing the tables. His work station was still dirty and the coffee machines needed to be cleaned out, well water did not do wonders for the filter. If the machine wasn't cleaned out daily, sediment would build up and cause the water to filter through the coffee at one point, forcing all flavor out of one spot which meant that the pot wasn't a flavorful. So, to keep any semblance of worth to the coffee beans, Zexion would spend each night scrubbing out the ancient machine.
Because Tifa just had to go and buy organic beans that cost too much, so she could charge her customers too much and force Zexion to put in extra hours and maybe make as much as he needed to so that he could survive. Capitalism is a very warped concept and as soon as somebody figured out how to factor out the flaws of communism, Zexion would be on the next boat out. He supposed Demyx would want to rough it out here in the good 'ol U S of A. In Soviet Russia you're compensated properly for your hard work.
How does one clean out an ancient coffee machine? A giant spring. That's the answer, no really.
So Zexion roughly spent the next ten minutes with said giant spring stuffed up the water pipe. White ooze, which vaguely resembled wet salt, clumped to said spring. Pushing the spring in and out scrubbed out the pipe, but the hardest part was actually getting the spring into the spout. The problem was that not only was it clogged, but the tube was bent. So every time you ran into a clump or had to go around a bend, it suddenly became ten times harder to force the spring upwards.
After a long, but overall victorious battle with coffee maker Zexion took a step back to admire his handiwork. The café was clean and was up to HACCP standards. A health inspector could come waltzing in, lick the floors, and be perfectly content with the place. Or at least, would've been before behind him Demyx dropped a plate.
"Oh fuck me!" Zexion whipped around to stare at the shattered dishware. In the few years he'd worked at Seventh Heaven, not once had he broken a plate. Now, the one time he let an outsider handle his work area a plate gets smashed. It's not like he could simply tell Tifa he allowed Demyx to help him out after hours, she'd fry him alive. Now the plate would be taken out of his pay and he'd be stuck here for two extra minutes. Great… "Ow!" Demyx had bent down to pick up the shattered ceramic and promptly cut himself.
"Stay put, and don't stick that finger in your mouth." Zexion ordered after seeing Demyx's finger dangerously close to his lips. He ducked down under the bar and pulled out a first aid kit. "Get up." Sidestepping the remains of the plate he settled himself between Demyx's knees, who had lifted himself up onto the counter. HACCP would disapprove…
Pathetically Demyx held his injured hand out to Zexion, who, in turn, took it roughly from the younger boy. Luckily, the sink was right next to them and Zexion was able to stick it under the faucet and wash it off rather easily. After a dab of Neosporin and a Band-Aid Demyx's hand was released, Demyx took his hand back with a frown as he eyed his injury. Zexion figured he was mourning the loss of a perfectly good finger, Katie would suffer.
"Don't move I'm going to clean this up." Obediently Demyx stayed perched on the counter as Zexion went to get the broom and dustpan. When he returned he swept up the fragments and chucked them into the bin after making sure he got every last bit. The last thing he needed was for Aerith to wander in the next morning and cut her feet. When he returned from putting the broom away he saw that Demyx was still dutifully perched on the counter.
"You told me not to move…" Demyx supplied uncertainly when he noticed Zexion staring at him. "I can only risk screwing up so many times a day, figured I play along." He smiled weakly at Zexion, who didn't feel the need to return the rather awkward grin. After seeing this Demyx shut up immediately and started to twiddle his thumbs.
A rather uncomfortable silence filled the room, Zexion staring blankly at Demyx and Demyx focusing on his twirling digits. Suddenly, Zexion was between Demyx knees again. The youngest recoiled slightly at the closeness. At this distance he was able to take in all of Zexion's features. He could even see the outline of his other eye and the slight freckles on his nose and cheeks. Well at least he knew now that Zexion wasn't a one-eyed bandito, which in no way subtracted from his coolness.
Zexion leaned forward, a hand on either side of Demyx's hips. Demyx looked like a deer in headlights, not quite sure what was going on. He had been washing dishes, and he dropped one, cut himself, almost bleed to death…then there was that awkward silence…and now this?
Was there something in the coffee?
Axel had always hinted there was something in the coffee. That a Columbine Drug Lord had stashed his whole stash into the once harmless coffee bags that custom officers would never think to check for drugs! And now…
And now Zexion was under the influence of drugs, drugs that made him get too close for comfort.
He swallowed hard as he stared at a spot on the wall behind Zexion, not even remotely brave enough to look him in the eyes. Demyx only had one thought on his mind, the one that had been bugging him ever since he had stepped down from that stage.
"Did you like it?" Zexion blinked, his eyebrows rose and asked the obvious question for him. "My playing, was I good?"
"Amazing." Demyx literally felt all the tension rush out of him in one giant burst. He had liked it, he liked it! He didn't even stop to think about all the horrible repercussions this could have. He simply reached out for Zexion's apron and pulled to him.
As far as first kisses went, it went well. Well, in Demyx's opinion. Then again, it's not like he really had anything else to compare it to. Zexion was gripping onto his waist and Demyx completely forgot where he was. Forgot that he was finally kissing Zexion and was currently sitting a freaking countertop and that any second any one of his classmates could walk by the giant glass window and nark on him.
Oh dear Lord he was kissing Zexion! Like, on the lips! When they finally broke apart Zexion helped him off the bar and back onto solid ground. Zexion could've sworn that Demyx's knees buckled a little when he finally hit the tile and couldn't hold back the smirk that grew on his face.
"W-what!" Squeaked Demyx, feeling rather self-conscious.
"Nothing, you taste like hot chocolate that's all." Demyx only squawked loader before turning to face the door and promptly dropping an F-bomb. "What?"
"We're snowed in!" Zexion's smirk only widened.
A/n: Did I kill 'em? Hopefully not... Anyhoo, review! Please, please? And a great big shout-out to orange.tictacs! Love love love darling! Review, I comand it!