Title: What's Left of Me Now
Genre: Kingdom Hearts, AU/post-KHII
Rating: PG14
Pairings: Zexion/Demyx
Summary: Zexion/N. Schaduw is a college student, Demyx/Dillian Kawako is a traveling street musician. Being reborn isn't all it's chalked up to be. Really. Sidestory to Nothing is Whole and Nothing is Broken (see profile for link).

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Chapter 1 "Now It's All Begun"

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"Simple words we never knew,
The power behind what they put us through,
Now it's all begun what it takes to make it real
"

--"Save Us" by Cartel

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One could claim this all started when Zexion met Demyx, but your audience would probably be confused of which meeting you're talking about, plus—we're not called Zexion or Demyx anymore.

Being reborn isn't all it's chalked up to be. Really.

I suppose I should start from the middle—you already know the beginning after all.

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Zexion was reading, not something all that strange to find, although he's not called Zexion anymore. He probably would not even answer if you called that out, although he might find the name familiar in some sense.

So, Ernie—excuse me—N. was reading.

His soft slate-colored hair was draped in his eyes, although that didn't seem to bother him all that much. The only real movement he would make for hours was to push his square-framed glasses away from the tip of his nose where they would slip down to.

Occasionally someone watching might wonder why the quiet bookworm didn't read in a more orderly place—or at least not in the middle of the busiest coffee shop on campus.

If one were to ask, they probably wouldn't get more of an answer than a glare or a threat to their life, but the real answer was that the loud, chaotic atmosphere brought N. some sort of strange inner-peace…

Just kidding. The real answer was that his dorm wasn't any quieter, but at least this place had the lifeblood of any college student: coffee.

Perhaps, if N. wasn't such a frequent background to the coffee shop, or if the winds had taken that particular storm to another city, then maybe Demyx would never have been the one to step into that door and set a million different events into action.

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Demyx, although he, like N. wouldn't know that name anymore, was cold. Or rather, Dillian was shiveringfreakingcold. DAMN it was cold out. And wet. One couldn't forget the wet.

Dillian grumbled to him himself as he stumbled through the littered, cheaply-paved streets. Sea blue-green eyes darted from sign to sign. Most places were closed because the people around here knew the signs for an incoming blizzard. No one sane would be open during this weather.

Which is probably why the coffee shop was open: you're never sane when you're a college student and coffee is your crack.

Dillian shoved his dirty blond hair out of his eyes, in the same movement tugging down the pale pink beanie on his head. "Coffee, eh?" He took in the neon sign, green lady-thing and all. "Oh hell, why not." He figured he'd freeze later. Coffee now.

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At first N. ignored the strange tug he felt when the door dinged open.

A few pages later, the pale teen was practically sweating from resisting the strong beat of his heart nearly dragging him forward.

N. wondered if maybe he should call 9-1-1. His heart was not a strong organ. When he was a mere infant, he'd needed open heart surgery to correct something they still didn't know what to call. He'd had heart attacks before, but this didn't feel the same.

Grey eyes bolted from word to word, not taking in anything until N. dropped the novel to the corny 60's-style table. Logical function had shut down, he simply gasped for air now, clutching at the table, shaking hard.

His eyes, unbidden jumped from person to person, searching—for what though?—for who?

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Dillian whistled to himself as he shoved open the door to the shop. It was full of people, of course. The chattering voices almost too much to take as they seemed to invade every part of him.

The street musician welcomed the invasion, the warm voices ridding him of the quivering frost that had held on during the passage from cold to hot through the door. Dillian plucked out his earphones—pausing the blast of music for the simple music of voices, just for now.

Sweeping off his beanie and ruffling his hair—trying in vain to style it back to the way he liked it… But to no avail. He had some serious hat hair. He tucked the beanie into his overstuffed backpack, which was hanging on his shoulders next to his Sitar case.

The reminder of his own vanity had him checking out his audience. College students, huh? He must be near Harvard then. Unless this was Boston College—Dillian was pretty sure he was near Boston by now. Either way, he didn't think he'd stay here all that long. Too cold, but not as cold as Canada—nothing was ever quite as cold as home.

So far he had been too deep in his study of his surrounding to feel it—that slight tug. As he swayed to a song only he could hear and queued, the feeling became more pronounced.

Knitting his blond brows, Dillian laid a nail-bitten hand over his heart. Its quavered beat fought under his fingertips, pushing, pulling, like a connection had been made somewhere that refused to be unmade.

The street musician tapped his foot, trying to ignore it, hoping he could get his venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha. Or maybe a grande Banana Chocolate Blend. He purred to himself, pondering over his many choices, purposefully ignoring the unsteady beat of his heart.

By the time it was his turn to order, Dillian was a mess. Foot tapping to a nonsensical pattern, droplets of sweat running down his face, which had grown all too pale.

"Welcome to—Whoa, dude. Are you okay?" The man at the counter looked at him with concern—which struck Dillian as funny because the man looked quite insane himself with his bright red hair and dark tan hair. All that plus his funny almost Jamaican accent would normally have sent Dillian into barrels of laughter, but today he barely noticed.

"Fine. Just need coffee." Dillian twitched vaguely towards the menu on the wall behind—Dillian glanced at the nametag: "Walker."

"Ja, okay. Wha'cha want, dude?" Walker, who might be better known to the audience as Waka, seemed a little taken back, but crazy people were sort of the norm for any coffee shop.

"CinnamonDolceLattewithwhippedcream—asMUCHasyoucanfitonit." Dillian practically spit out the words, somehow figuring that if he could just get his espresso he'd feel normal again.

Bright red brows shot upward, "You sure you want all that caffi—"

"YES," Came the barely sane answer.

Walker just blinked at him and jotted the order down, quickly handing it off to his co-worker: a messy-blond with bright blue eyes and the name of Tiyler, better known as Tidus, though.

Dillian heaved a sigh, but his heart hadn't stopped its dance in his chest. The blond dug his fingers into his scalp and jostled to the side to wait for his drink.

Suddenly sea blue-green eyes clicked into grey irises and the connection was complete.

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N. stared into those large expressive eyes. Surely nothing was quite as wonderful as looking into them.

Forgetting his book, forgetting everything, he stood up, eyes not unlike a deer in headlights.

He was in way over his head, something in the back of his mind declared, but it went unanswered as the rest of his mind buzzed with the invisible tie that pulled the two lost ex-Nobodies together.

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A/N: Next chapter coming soon! Tell me what you think. Happy Writing!

-kit