Roxas has heard rumors from the others. Distasteful grumblings that Demyx is worthless and only ever plays music, never works, and couldn't if he tried. So when he finds the man in the library, filling out reports on a recent mission, wearing slightly-crooked reading glasses over his blue eyes... He laughs. Chuckles, really - a low, quiet noise that the blond in front of him doesn't even hear.
There are eight Dancer nobodies in the room, moving as they always do. They twirl and spin abound the room and furniture, bend and stretch past things, and take the paths with the most in the way, just so they can dance around it - all the while juggling papers and pens to IX. Demyx takes them without looking up, and keeps his eyes down as he writes. Roxas only remembers his reason for being in the room when one of the Dancers nudges him aside politely to set a book back on the shelf.
He wouldn't feel guilty for startling Demyx - he does it all the time, and the reaction is always amusing. Xigbar has admitted, in fact, that he does it for fun. Still, something keeps the boy from making a loud noise just yet. Instead, he waits for the blond to notice him. People usually feel it when he glares at them. He thinks this is stupid, because it's not physical, but Axel fake-swoons and says it's such a 'piercing blue stare' and Roxas only hears it as half-sarcasm. So XIII glares, and waits.
And waits. A few of the dancers eye him curiously from under their hats, but quickly avert their gaze and return to organizing. Roxas frowns and opens his mouth to say something. Loudly. Startling stupid, unobservant Demyx is sounding good right now.
But Demyx yawns loudly and stretches with a low moan. He sighs, and takes his glasses off. "No more," He whines to himself. Or perhaps the dancers, who he addresses next, "I'm done; thanks for your help, everyone."
Roxas leans against the doorway as though he's only just come into the room. "You don't have to thank them, you know. They're your," slaves, but he can't bring himself to say it to the young man, "servants."
Papers fly into the air with Demyx's startled jump. He flails for a moment, gaping at Roxas, then points accusingly. "Don't sneak up on me like that!" After a pause "A-and they're alive, so they're friends."
The boy has to go over the words in his head to make sense of Demyx's too-fast speech. When it finally makes sense, Roxas nods once. "Whatever," He says, and Demyx wonders what the nod was for. Never the less, the man grins at XIII.
"So what can I do for ya'?"
Roxas stares at him. "I have a question."
Demyx sinks into his chair slightly as though feeling threatened. "And you aren't asking the others?" He asks timidly.
Roxas gives him a blank look. "I know you're smarter than a lot of them, IX. You act so stupid all the time--"
"It's not acting!" Demyx insists. Then looks up thoughtfully; confused. "Er, I mean, wait. Not what I meant. I mean... I mean, I know I'm not stupid. But if they wanna think I am 'cuz of how I behave, that's fine with me." After a pause he adds "Xigbar says my personality is what's stupid and that it has nothing to do with intelligence."
The blond shrugs. "Whatever."
Demyx sighs, then flashes a grin, this time forced. Aren't all of them? Roxas wonders. "So what did you want to ask?"
There's a long silence, Dancer nobodies playing around the room, picking up the scattered papers. Demyx looks at XIII with soft blue eyes and a patient smile, until finally the boy asks "Why?"
The smile falters. "Why what?"
Demyx doesn't see the strained look of disinterest - all he sees is a very bored, yet somehow intense boy. Roxas has such bright blue eyes. So he turns, to look out the window.
"I don't kno--"
The older man's shoulders give a jump - startled by the boy's outburst - but he doesn't look away from the window. The rain is pouring down it; he can hardly see outside. He gives the blond a sidelong glance, meeting Roxas' bright, harshly narrowed blue eyes with his own; a deep shade of green.
"Ask your questions one at a time," he says seriously, eyes half-lidded. He rests his chin on his palm, letting his hand cover his mouth. Still, it's only slightly muffled when he says "if you rush to ask them all at once, a lot of answers get lost."
Roxas glares, and as he tries to keep the frustration out of his voice, its tone wavers dangerously. "Why do you say we have hearts when you know we don't?"
Demyx doesn't answer, but gives a long "Hm," in response.
"Why am I the only one who doesn't remember anything?" The blond pushes off the door-way and shoves past Dancers until he's at the desk. He slams both his hands on its surface and leans forward. "Why does everyone here keep so many secrets from me?"
"Why are you so angry?" Demyx asks, voice low.
Roxas lets out a quiet growl, and his pulls his hands back to his sides. Clench. Unclench. Clench. "Because, you're not answe--"
"-So you're angry?"
Hands on the desk again. "Yes!"
The man turns to face him, and gives a weak smile. "See...?" He asks, and the frustration starts to drain from the boy. Demyx shakes his head slowly, and turns his blue eyes on Roxas' hands. "That's an emotion, isn't it?"
Roxas blinks, then gives Demyx a very critical and suspicious look. He doesn't answer, and isn't sure if he could.
"An' I know you weren't acting," Demyx says. He winces and doesn't look up, idly pressing his fingers together. Nervous? "You don't have any memories to copy from like the rest of us."
A Dancer looks at them curiously as it sets Demyx's paperwork back into a neat stack on his desk. Another drops some pens into a cup, and the blond man gives them both nods.
"Sorry for the extra work," he tells them. "You're all dismissed. Again."
It was this one who startled you, the first Dancer says to him.
Troublemaker, the second adds.
Demyx looks worriedly from Roxas to the Dancers for a moment before remembering that only he can hear their voices. Still, he admonishes them. "I'm sure he didn't mean to. Now shoo, before I make you apologize."
One of them says, as if to atone, Not as bad as that Sniper you like so much, and Demyx sighs and shakes his head; but he's smiling.
Roxas can guess what they'd thought of him. Nobodies are rarely fond of anyone but their master - if they like their master at all. Do his Samurai nobodies like him? He isn't sure if he wants the answer to that question. So instead, he asks
"Do your," awkward pause, "servants like you?"
Demyx tilts his head to the side curiously. "I wonder," he says, and laughs shortly. "I suppose they might! They're nice to me, at least."
Roxas shakes his head. "They're nice to you because that's their duty, Demyx."
"Oh. Y-yeah, I guess so, huh?" The older man's smile is hesitant this time. But he recovers, and, standing, picks up his reports. "I have to take these to Xemnas now. If, um. If you have more questions, you can come with."
XIII stares for a long moment. "I can just wait here; it shouldn't take long."
Demyx blinks, then laughs nervously. "I don't like using the dark corridors, so I was going to walk there."
Roxas doesn't bother asking why, but stands beside Demyx to show he'll come with. He wonders if Demyx has ever thought of asking (because, surely the fool asks them things) his Dancers to deliver reports.
"Why does everyone here keep secrets from me?" The boy repeats his question. He dislikes the way his voice echoes off the walls; dislikes how endlessly high the ceiling is. He's always just taken dark corridors everywhere; it's faster and much more efficient. Most importantly, it it lets him avoid these vast, empty, gray rooms. Needless to say, he has no idea how to get around without the portals.
They've gone through two rooms before Demyx finally answers "I don't know. They... Everyone keeps a lot of secrets from me, too. I only know half the stuff about this place because Xigbar tells me." He laughs and sounds nostalgic, and more like a child than Roxas ever has. (That he can remember, at any rate. Has he ever acted like a kid? He feels as though he might have, but can't bring up a single instance.) "When I ask questions in meetings and stuff, he always tells me to shut up - but it's like a code for 'ssh, I'll tell you later'."
"You don't think I'll give that information to Xemnas and have you punished?"
Demyx looks quite confident in himself. "Nah. If you were going to do that, you would've told me straight out or something." He sounds far less sure of himself when he tacks on "I think..."
Three rooms and a short flight of stairs in silence, and Demyx says, cheerfully, "It's really nice to have a best friend."
Roxas stares straight ahead and pretends no one came to mind. "I wouldn't know."
The older man doesn't look down at him this time, and there's something dark in his voice. A smirk that Roxas doesn't need to look up to know is there. "Really, now?" He asks, and it's clear he doesn't believe a word.
"Yes," Roxas says irritably. "Really."
They pass through four rooms before IX is rambling happily again, talking about the weather (always rain, isn't it?), his favorite songs (Sometimes I sneak out and go to other worlds just to see what their music is like.) the funny joke Xigbar told (I told it to the Dancers later - they thought it was pretty funny, too! Wonder where he heard it.), and how Zexion picks on him (I didn't do anything to him, but even when he's not picking on me it's like he's always around.).
"Larxene picks on me, too," he says thoughtfully. "But that's okay, because Xigbar just shows up an' reminds her that I'm ranked above her. Then she shuts up pretty fast." After a long pause he adds "Now that I think about it, almost everyone picks on me. "
"Can't you tell her yourself?" Roxas asks. Why would the older man rely on Xigbar to do something that he was capable of himself?
Demyx gives a soft smile, blue eyes focused on the ceiling that towers above them. "It's kind of nice to have people stand up for you, even if you don't need anyone to."
"Like having a," Not a slave. Roxas berates himself for over-thinking it, "servant?"
Demyx shakes his head slowly, still smiling. "Friends aren't servants - you're nice to them, so they're nice back."
"What's the point of being nice to someone?"
"They're nice back." It's not the words so much as the tone of utter patience that pisses Roxas off.
XIII scowls, and his steps are getting heavier with frustration. "You said that, but..." He trails off, noticing Demyx looking around frantically. Danger? If there were danger, the man would have summoned his sitar. The blond man flails for a moment, then turns, looking pathetic. As always, Roxas thinks. "What is it?"
Demyx mumbles, and Roxas' frown deepens.
The blond stares. "You're lost."
"You... Got us lost."
It hardly takes Roxas ten minutes to direct them to the library, where they find Xemnas flipping through the pages of a photograph-laden book. Photos of the beach. Photos of the sky. Of the ocean. Roxas is almost startled when the superior snaps the book shut. He raises his eyes to the man's face.
Demyx sing-songs, "I brought the reports," and sets them on the near-by desk. Xemnas nods, but busies himself, placing the book back on the shelf, and pulling out a new one. Demyx stares, smiling blandly for a moment, before sidestepping towards the door.
Mildly amused, but refusing to let it show, Roxas follows, only having to take an occasional step to keep up with Demyx's slow, silly sidestepping. When they are out the door, the older man resumes walking normally.
"Where you headed?" Demyx asks, pausing to stretch. His back cracks audibly, and he winces.
Demyx mimics him for a moment, then laughs and begins walking again. After a few minutes of walking, he glances down. "You tagging along with me?"
Roxas shrugs again, still right beside him.
"Okay!" Demyx says, too enthusiastically, taking the shrug as a definite yes. He proceeds to walk in circles. Roxas isn't sure if it's because the blond is bored, or because he is lost again, but this time he says nothing, and follows slowly. He didn't have anything to do today, anyway.
They pass through a room with a couch, eventually, and on that couch, a tall, thin man. The red-head watches the two blonds, amused, as Demyx makes slow circles around the room. Finally, Roxas sighs.
"Enough of this."
"No no," Axel says, waving a hand, "please continue."
Roxas approaches him, intending to kick him in the leg, but decides against it. Instead, he throws himself on the couch beside him.
Demyx just grins and leaves them there.