Disclaimer: I don't have enough creativity for a witty disclaimer, so it's not like I could create my own franchise…


Safety. Of the feeblest kind, in a forgotten house, in a forgotten city in a world already crumbling into darkness. He sits, a moment to breathe and to stop and rest and… almost sleep. He cannot allow himself to truly fall asleep, there are too many people looking for him, chasing and searching for their traitor. And if he were to close his eyes, into a welcomed unconsciousness? It would only lead to dreaming. Of swinging, singing keys, blue eyes and a lost boy. Or music, lonely and searching for sensation, calming waters and a fallen friend.

For now, it is enough to sit in darkness, in a mocking, shamble of a refuge. Another one has died, or faded rather. Another member, searching for a heart and finding nothing. Why was it that they could be denied love, and other emotions, yet allowed to fear death?

It is raining outside, a heavy and constant assault against the roof and windows. At first it is a light percussion of wind swept rain against glass. Then more complex, as the leaking roof gives way to a drip, drip. A sound for release, the wait as it falls, a louder beat as it collides with the floor. He curls inwards; the smell of dampness, rhythm of raining and suggestion of music becoming unbearable in its reminder.

The pipes throughout the walls of the house begin to bellow and moan, as volumes of water surges through. The rushing sound is akin to the movement of blood through veins; the house is becoming alive. What was once a silent sanctuary becomes a rattling vortex of creaking floors and keening wails as the partitions seem to bow and shudder around the huddled figure. Axel hunches further into a ball, hands tearing into his hair as he rocks back and forth in a panicked pattern. Rivulets of water trail down from the cracks in the ceiling, while a puddle quickly spills from under the door, reaching closer and closer.

"Leave me alone" he shouts out, looking up at the ceiling, which is now a gravity defying lake; eddies of water churning dangerously. A few stray drops land on his cheek and are instantly vaporized into steam.

"Leave… Me… ALONE" even as he roars, the noise is crushed by the increasing storm of rushing water and straining wood. Axel shuts his eyes as the noise reaches a ferocious peak… and then suddenly….

Everything is silent.

At first, Axel wonders if he has lost his hearing, until he registers the faint drops of water, like a leaking tap. He opens his eyes, to see a visitor.

A long coat, black leather, so familiar, the second skin of all organization members. Perhaps even so familiar that their original skin took second place with each sin they committed. Blonde bedraggled hair in a ridiculous faux Mohawk, too soft in colour to truly appear rebellious. Even though his body seems solid enough, there are moments of static, brief and eerie, where he disappears for a moment. Only his eyes remain whole, not appearing faded, or distorted. The aqua glint, an unfathomable mixture of green and blue - was it the ocean reflecting the sky, or a lost raindrop in forest...- anchors Axel's gaze towards him. To Demyx. To The Melodious Nocturne. To a Dead Man.

"You're supposed to be dead" it's a whisper, accusatory and angry.

"That's mean. You're not supposed to be mean to dead people" it is meant to be a playful tone, but the sadness in his eyes, the sadness Axel can taste as water drips over his lips, makes a despair so straining and painful neither recognises the smile Demyx tries to wear.

Axel closes his eyes, tired of the ghosts and the dead, who only grow more numerous in number. More water falls from the ceiling, landing in his hair, on his forehead, slowly pushing over his brows and falling quickly down his face. He winces as they fall, like the screeching tires of a crashing car, trying so hard to stop and yet going on forever. The droplets resemble tears, descending slowly and freezing his skin.

"I knew, you know. Before it even happened. Sending someone like you after Sora," he laughs, and hears the eerie sound as Demyx goes into static. Light flickers under his lids as the ghost fades in and out of presence, trying to manifest solidity once more.

"Madness. Pure madness."

He doesn't understand the notion of ghosts. Another question from the abyss. Where is your heart now?

He isn't sure either, if Demyx can answer for himself. Neither could truly explain their own creation, so why wouldn't death be the same?

"I want you to leave" Axel opens his eyes again, attempting to control the room, to bring back the authority he had as Number VIII. Demyx looks on, splintering in form, smiling and miserable, impatient and hopeful, but always, always sad.

"Why do you want me to go?" a swirl of water slides between them, slow and untroubled. It seeps under Axel's clothing, warm, sliding and caressing, a reassuring embrace he cannot escape.

"Because you're dead, Demyx! D-E-A-D. You shouldn't be here. Not now. Just..." the water under his clothes ripples, compacts closer and makes the faintest of whirlpools on his chest, over his… nothing.

Axel frowns as it rains harder from the ceiling, the water sliding over his skin and onto his mouth tastes salty, warm, and sorrowful.

"Are you… angry at me for dying? For leaving you?"

His answer comes in a howl, a burst of flames and the faint smell of ozone and burnt leather. Steam rises quickly as Axel's skin dries, free from the cacoon of water and the uniform he's worn for so long.

Another torrent is sent, stronger, but instantly evaporated, the humidity rising with each attempt Demyx makes to connect. A new tune is added the collection of dripping, the creaking of the walls and the rain outside. A low, choking sound, of coughing and half hidden sobs. By now, there is a fog forming, the cold water and steam meeting in a thick haze and leaving the room in greater despair.

"Are you afraid… to die?" he whispers softly, crouching low in front of Axel and reaching out slowly. Their eyes meet as his fingers pass through skin and it rains harder on Axel's face.

"Don't worry, I'll get this right. Just… trust me" he tries again, and for a moment there is solid contact. A finger against skin.

In the damaged room and drifting fog, Demyx is the clearest thing Axel sees. It doesn't make any sense to him. How can they linger on? With no hearts, what could anchor their mind, their pseudo souls to any world?

Demyx leans forward, the static increasing with the apprehension of the words he has to say.

"You need to keep helping Sora. To keep going. But don't be afraid of death. Death… doesn't mean loneliness"

Before Axel can speak he takes away his words. Silencing both of them with pressed lips. The rain beats harder, surrounding both of them and Axel feels like he is drowning, in a memory, in churning waters and in the ghost of a lover. He opens his mouth slowly, yet still aching with desperateness. Demyx falls in and out of physicality, flickering in spasms in an effort to stay in contact.

Their lips play in a sad game of tag, brushing lightly over skin and catching the other for the briefest of moments. Axel tilts forward, tongue sliding out to embrace with Demyx, pulling and coaxing and burning with the taste of fading life. Two arms reach out, covering him in a faint presence as Demyx leans into him, surrounding, entering and dividing him with water. It arrives in slow trickles, like an underwater kiss as their tongues entwine. It flows, on and on as Axel clings with desperation, struggling to breathe but unwilling to let go as more and more surges inwards, seeping into his mouth, his skin, his eyes, his body. It fills him, weighing him down with water and sorrow and Demyx until he can't breathe and it fills his lungs. The water swirls inside the cavity in his chest, like a wave crashing back on itself, endlessly. Rhythmically. Like a heartbeat.

He still hasn't taken breath, and his body flows and eddies. For a second, there is no seam, no beginning or end to define Demyx and Axel. Their lips break apart, and Axel gasps, breathing in air, breathing out Demyx. There is a final kiss, slow, innocent and promising.

And then he is gone.