Disclaimer: KH is not mine.

Summary: Zemyx. He doesn't care what is real and what's just illusion. Rating and warnings for some smut; nothing particularly graphic.


Unsung Rhapsody

When he was real, he wants to say— except that can't be right, because he has never been anything more than he is now: discarded pieces of a personality that no longer exists. Loose ends held together by… well, he both wishes he knew and is glad he does not.

But he has the memories.

He still remembers the way the wind once billowed into unfurled sails, and the familiarly salty scent of the ocean breeze. He still remembers the laughter of countless crewmates, even though he can no longer quite recall their names or faces. Most of all, he still remembers the vision of a starry, moonless sky reflected upon the surface of dark water, and the simple awe it once inspired.

He can almost hate his Other for never quite understanding, for never finding the time to notice. No sky or sea will ever again fill him with more than a shadow of the wonder his Other felt, but he has learned how to pretend.

There is no sky above his head tonight; only sterile, white tiles are stretching across the ceiling. Staring up at them, Demyx knows that no amount of make-believe will ever fully conceal the reality beneath, and fancies that perhaps the sudden hatred he feels is not entirely illusory. Blinking his eyes, he murmurs plaintively, half to himself, "It'd be nice to see the stars again, I think."

When the ceiling drops away, he smiles.

The room is gone, suddenly replaced by a vision from a dream. The night sky unfolds above him, glistening far more beautifully than it ever does in his memories, and he appreciates the sentiment as much as he is able. He can vaguely detect the distant scent of imaginary ocean air, and after a moment, hears the shrill calls of a dozen different seabirds. Beneath him, fresh grass lies where a bed once was, and he needs no heart to relish its fragrance.

He is hardly surprised that he notices the scents first; smell has always been Zexion's favourite sense.

With only slight reluctance, he turns his attention away from the dreamlike scenery, and glances to his left. Zexion is seated beside him, his eyes now closed and an uncharacteristically soft smile upon his lips. Demyx is irrationally pleased to see it, knowing that Zexion normally doesn't indulge himself for trivial reasons. The Cloaked Schemer is too grounded in reality to view his mastery over illusion as anything more than a tool. Demyx can't understand it; he sees no harm in self-delusion if it brings some pleasure to an existence otherwise without any.

Staring up at that uncharacteristic smile, he thinks that maybe, secretly, Zexion agrees. Grinning widely, he sits up, the shadow of an idea forming in his mind. Before he can stop it, his hand darts forward, brushing lightly across Zexion's cheek.

When blue eyes fly open, he stands there frozen, waiting for whatever scathing comment is sure to follow.

Zexion simply watches him for a long moment, not speaking, not even bothering to pull away. Finally, he sighs softly and says, almost gently, "It's not real."

"Neither are we," Demyx shrugs, dropping his hand and again leaning back. He finds that this realization doesn't particularly bother him. Too many real people waste their lives away and end in failure; at least he will always have an excuse.

His attention returned to the sky, he feels more than sees Zexion settle down beside him. As he watches, a single glimmer of light dashes across their make-believe sky, and he plaintively points out, "Shooting stars are more Xigbar's style, don't you think?"

When the stars suddenly begin to dance, he can't help but laugh aloud.

"Maybe it's not such a curse," he begins softly, almost reverently, "if losing your heart makes you capable of things like this."

And he almost believes that with a bit more time, this might be enough. Perhaps even more than enough. Despite knowing that he is nothing more than the shadow of his Other, he can no longer imagine an existence that doesn't include having power over water. He wonders if success would mean losing that.

Glancing up, he expects words of scorn from Zexion. He finds instead that the Cloaked Schemer is regarding him thoughtfully, a slightly sad smile – and Demyx thinks there may be more to it than memory alone – gracing his lips. "You're still in love with fairy-tales."

It is not quite a question.

"Maybe a little bit," he admits.

Zexion wants to say something, and Demyx can tell that this is an answer he will not want to hear. Partly to distract himself, partly for reasons he can almost recall, he reaches out and threads his fingers through Zexion's hair. The strands are softer than he remembers, softer than he would have thought, and as he moves closer, he is amused by the sudden light of wariness shining in the Schemer's single visible eye. Zexion probably understands him better than he understands himself, but he is still caught by surprise every time.

The caution soon fades away, as if it too had been nothing more than illusion, the product of long habit. With a small, mysterious smile – even now, Demyx cannot begin to read it – Zexion shifts slightly and melts fluidly against him. Fighting residual uncertainty, as if they haven't done this countless times before, Demyx fumbles slightly with the coat zipper. He knows that until he asks, Zexion will not lift a finger to help him; the Schemer has always preferred the illusion of passivity.

Demyx dances practiced fingers across firm flesh, marvelling at how similar this is to playing an instrument, albeit one that doesn't quite work correctly. He is almost amazed by how quickly he relearns how to coax soft sounds out of Zexion, but soon takes full advantage of the discovery. All he wishes, pressing his hand against Zexion's chest, is that a heart still existed within to set a constant rhythm. All he wants is a symphony.

He doesn't realize that he has begun to hum until Zexion seizes a handful of his hair and pulls him down, silencing him.

Even as he shifts above him on a bed of imaginary grass, Demyx realizes that this submissiveness is no more real than the stars above their heads. Zexion will always remain unattainable, untouchable— well, perhaps not that, Demyx amends as he presses his lips against flushed skin. Zexion tastes vaguely like sea salt, and he wonders if that too is part of the illusion.

In the end, he decides, it doesn't really matter. Nothing here exists, nothing real is happening, but…

But thinking becomes too difficult, and his mind shuts down. Only sensation remains, and though he knows that he should not be able to feel at all, he is certain that his Other never once experienced anything as intense.

Around them, the illusions fade, returning the world to bleak reality. Collapsing against a painfully mundane bed, Demyx has never been so reluctant to watch a dream melt away. He cannot decide whether to be disappointed or pleased that Zexion can no longer spare the concentration.

Still nestled beside him, Zexion has fallen silent in that thoughtful way that always makes Demyx nervous.

"Demyx," Zexion finally murmurs against his throat, his voice little more than a sigh, "the villains always fail in the end."

Demyx is not surprised by the comment; as far as he can tell, he has never been more than a momentary distraction for Zexion. And as much as he would like to claim differently, he knows that the Schemer is correct. He can think of no fairytale that ends any other way.

Running his hand through slate grey hair, he cannot bring himself to care. The end is still a long ways off, and until it arrives, he will take whatever he can get out of this imperfect existence. For the moment, he is happy – or at least as close to happy as he will ever come.

And yet…

And yet when he walks through the door, he knows that this will mean nothing at all. His memory has never been strong enough to hold his world together, and even this will soon be nothing more than a half remembered dream. No matter what may befall them, he knows that he will never be able to miss Zexion.

"Yes," he replies, holding on to the memory of sadness as long as he can. "But then again, we've always known that."

Finis


End Notes: This was born mostly from dialogue and vague, dreamlike notions that may or may not have actually come across properly. Feedback is appreciated, especially since it's nice to know if you're not running away in disgust. I can offer bribes! :D