A tall, stone white door flew open abruptly, echoing across the empty pale hallway. A tall hooded man in a black overcoat stormed down the hallway, somewhat short of breath but still remained silent except for his heavy footsteps. He passed multiple doors and columns, not entirely sure where exactly he was going. But he didn't really care. All he wanted at this point was to put as much distance between himself and the room he had just left and the people within it. He needed to get out of here and find someplace to sit and clear his thoughts, preferably somewhere that he could be alone.
He walked out of the hallway and into a much more open area. Staircases and pathways lead in and out the enormous room and were accompanied by windows that were just as large. The starless night sky outside looked peaceful, but it hardly did anything to calm his mind. He gazed around the area, frowning at the great expanse above and the endless darkness below. Having a giant castle to themselves was great and all, but did they really need all this useless space?
He headed down a staircase and through the door at the bottom. He kept his ears open, listening to make sure that none of the others were following him. He winded in and out of doors and stairs, making his way to the lower portion of the castle. He eventually found an empty room with nothing but a few chairs and another window on the other side. Luckily there was no one currently inside, bringing a smile to his face. He shut the heavy door behind him and made sure it was secure, though he knew it didn't matter should someone decide to look for him. He moved to one of the chairs and plopped down on it, leaning back into the comfortable cushions it had and placing his arms on its armrests. He then blew out an aggravated sigh.
He shut his eyes for a while, the silence of the room slowly calming his mind. Countless thoughts plagued him, with an equal amount of pleasant and terrible ones, but after several minutes his face and body relaxed. He then opened his blue eyes, gazing around at the amount of white that assaulted them. The place could really use some color. Black and white was nice, he supposed, but was a little blue too much to ask?
He leaned forward from his comfortable position and threw back his hood, revealing brown hair that was short at the sides but much longer at the top and stuck up. He ran a gloved hand through his hair and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Demyx had never felt so annoyed with everything before. He does his job like everyone asks, and yet he still gets yelled at. Yes, he was defeated, and yes, he lost the Olympus Seal, but it wasn't like he didn't try. The kid and his friends were a lot stronger than he thought.
Not to mention that he could have sworn that he saw him in the kid…
It was bad enough that he had to fight and lose, but upon returning to the castle his day took an outright downfall. Everyone criticized him and called him a failure and boasted about how they were at least doing what they were told. He told them repeatedly that he tried, but they refused to listen to his side of the story. They didn't realize just how difficult his task was, nor did they seem to even care. They just kept calling him weak, and it made his blood boil. He clenched his fists tightly and his face twisted at the thought. He didn't normally get angry over things such as this, but times like these made him wonder if he really had a heart or not, although all he needed to do to answer that question was look at his reflection.
He leaned forward and held his head in his hands. The more he thought about it, the more he felt that they were right. Sometimes he really wondered why Xemnas let him join the Organization. He hated thinking about such things, but he couldn't help it. He closed his eyes and shook his head. He really needed to find a way to keep his mind off of such things. He lifted his head and stared out the window, noticing heavy dark clouds appear in the distance. They would surely bring rain, and with them a calming melody of a storm…
Demyx blinked, and then smiled. He slowly lifted an open hand above him, and then within seconds water formed out of thin air and swirled around his hand until it formed a ball. He clenched his hand over the ball and a beam of light shot left and right, splashing droplets of water everywhere as the light faded. In its place hovered a large sitar shaped like their mark. He grabbed the neck of the sitar and set it on his lap, gazing over its body and checking the strings. He plucked a few of them, making sure they were all in tune and made a few adjustments here and there. When he was happy with how it sounded he scooted forward into a comfortable position, and then he started to play.
He plucked the strings slowly, listening to the notes vibrate through the air. He moved his hands back and forth, starting with a few low notes and simple rhythms. A tune began to form in his mind and came out through his fingers, his smile growing brighter. He played a melody here, added a chord or two there, trying different combinations of notes and rhythms to see what he liked the most. His fingers moved slowly and in harmony with each other as he listened to the music flow throughout the room, blocking out all outside noises and interruptions and letting himself become immersed within his art.
He started to pick up the tempo and he plucked and flicked the strings quicker, trying a more upbeat sound and melody. He bobbed his head and tapped his foot, flowing from melody to arpeggio to a chorus and back to another melody. Even though he was making up the music as he went along, somehow it all seemed to flow seamlessly as if it were a whole song. Demyx waved his hand through the air above his sitar while continuing to play with the other and multiple orbs of water formed. They grew and stretched until they formed the shape of musical notes. They hovered through the air on their own, bouncing and weaving in and out as if they were dancing to the music he was playing. The water notes glided around the room and above his head and he watched them happily, remembering how much fun it was to play with his power every once in a while.
A portal of darkness suddenly opened in front of the door to the room, startling Demyx and making him jump in his seat. He stopped playing and the water notes came splashing to the ground, one which fell on his head, soaking him and the chair. He frowned, wiping his face with his sleeve and breathing an angry sigh. He had a feeling that someone would eventually come to find him but hoped they wouldn't. He stood up and held his sitar upright, disappointed that his fun had to end so soon and braced himself for more bashing.
However, the person who stepped out of the portal wasn't who he expected.
The portal vanished, leaving behind a thin man in a black coat with his hood over his face. Demyx's eyes widened as a nasty feeling of who the man was crept up his skin. The man turned toward him and lowered his hood, revealing light blue eyes and releasing a mane of long spiky red hair. He then smiled.
"Nice tune you had going there." He said brightly. "I hope I didn't ruin it…"
"You…!" Demyx exclaimed, nearly dropping his sitar. "What are you doing here?!"
The man looked taken aback. "Is that how you greet an old friend? Don't tell me you've forgotten about that too…"
Demyx shook his head. "Y—you shouldn't be here, Axel! They'll catch you for sure!"
Axel smiled and waved him off. "Please…you know better than anyone that they can't catch me. Besides, is a simple visit so much to ask?"
Demyx stepped toward him. "You've gotta get out of here! Who knows what they'll do if they catch you!"
Axel frowned. "Sheesh…you people really have changed. The Demyx I used to know never worried this much. What happened to the funny music lover I was friends with?"
Demyx looked down at his feet, remembering how he felt earlier. Things had changed a lot in the last year or so. He could vaguely remember what it was like in the days when there were actually thirteen members in the Organization, when it actually felt like they were all a big happy family striving for the same goal. Axel was one of the few people he actually liked and never minded it when he felt like hanging out with him for a while. But ever since Roxas disappeared everything seemed to have changed, sometimes for the worst. He quite missed those days and couldn't figure out what went wrong and he was sure that Axel sometimes felt the same way.
"Play that song again." Axel suddenly said. Demyx looked back up at him.
"Play that song you were just playing. I didn't get to hear the whole thing."
Demyx stared at him for a moment. Axel motioned toward his sitar and he glanced at it before smiling again. He sat down in the wet chair, but he didn't mind. He placed the sitar back on his lap and strained his brain for the music he was playing before. When he couldn't remember exactly how it went he gave up and decided to play a new one and started picking at the strings again. Axel grinned as he watched him play which lifted his spirits. The notes in his mind were released from his fingers and he played a moderate-paced but soft and gentle melody. Axel closed his eyes and bobbed his head lightly at the music and Demyx resisted the urge to create more water notes. After a while he slowly but suddenly stopped, gaining Axel's attention.
"Why'd you stop?" He asked.
Demyx shrugged his shoulders. "I ran out of ideas for this one."
Axel chuckled. "Now THAT'S the Demyx I remember."
"I remember how we used to listen to you play when you didn't know it. Sometimes we would sit outside your door forever just waiting for you to start playing again when we had nothing better to do. Listening to you play always helped us chill out and think about pleasant things for a change."
"By 'we' you mean you, Roxas and Xion, right?" Demyx asked.
Axel's smile quickly vanished. He stared down at the floor and a hint of sadness pulled at his face. "…Yeah."
Demyx frowned, feeling the redhead's spirits start to fade. He knew that he never liked talking about either of them nowadays and felt a bit guilty for bringing them up again. He remembered how drastic Axel's personality had changed since those events and usually left him alone about it. But he couldn't help but ask his next question.
"You miss them, don't you?"
Axel didn't answer. His eyes narrowed as he continued to stare at the ground. After a while he breathed a heavy sigh before turning back to Demyx, his smile returning.
"Well, no use in reminiscing on the past now is there?"
Demyx blinked, surprised at how quickly the mood in the air had changed within seconds.
Axel folded his arms and started pacing around the room. "So…anything interesting happen while I've been gone?"
Demyx smirked. "Not really. Xemnas has been working on that…moon thing, Xaldin, Saïx and Luxord have been heart collecting, and Xigbar…well, I really don't know what he's been doing."
Demyx grunted. "I was supposed to find that Sora kid and try to make him respond to me or something. Xemnas gave me a note with instructions, but I really just wanted to go collect hearts with the others. They could've just had Saïx do it, but sure enough, they chose me of all people. Apparently he's too busy chasing after you…"
Axel grinned, no doubt entertained at the thought.
"So…did you find him?"
"Yeah, I found him…"
Demyx hesitated, unsure of the right thing to say. He rested his head in his hand and tapped his fingers on his chin for a few moments, thinking of the best way to describe what he saw and what he did. Axel waited patiently until he lifted his head up again.
"Well, the guy chased me down after I stole that stone like I was told to. I saw him back in Hallow Bastion when I was with the others and couldn't see him very well. But when I got a closer look I…well…I thought I saw Roxas for a sec."
Axel's eyes widened, clearly interested in what he was saying. He stopped pacing around the room and stepped toward him to listen.
"But when I called out to him, he had no idea what I was talking about." Demyx continued. "So, I followed what my note said and fought him with my water clones, but he easily took them all down! He and his friends aren't to be taken lightly…"
Demyx was about to say more, but he noticed Axel turn away from him and bow his head as if in deep thought.
"So you…saw him?" Axel said softly.
Demyx frowned. "Huh?"
Axel shook his head. "Ah, nothing. So Sora and his friends defeated you and the others have been giving you grief for it. Heh, that much hasn't changed apparently. But in all honesty, you should've known that they'd be stronger than that. If you had used all your power, then maybe they wouldn't be all over you about it."
"Yeah, I know…"
"So why didn't you?"
Demyx looked down at the ground, the feeling of shame creeping back again. "I don't know… I guess I thought…that there was still a chance to make him hear me."
Silence fell between the two, but he could tell that there was a lot on his mind. He leaned on the arm of the chair and held his head while Axel went over to the window and stared out into the still night. Demyx's thoughts continuously drifted back and forth to the blonde haired keyblade wielder and the task he had failed to accomplish. Roxas had been a good friend just like Axel was while he was in the Organization and seeing him again (or least he thought he saw him) was somewhat discouraging. At this point he wasn't sure whether or not he should bother trying a second time, especially since he thought that it was useless. But Xemnas wouldn't have given him the task if he knew it was impossible, especially since he said it was important.
"What are you going to do now?" Axel suddenly asked, still looking out the window.
Demyx sighed. "I don't know… I really don't want to have to deal with that Sora guy again."
"So you're just gonna sit here and play music all day? Because if you are, I personally wouldn't mind."
Demyx shrugged. "But I can't just sit here. When Xemnas gives us a job, he wants it done. You know how he is."
"Then why don't you just get one of the others to help you?"
Demyx clenched his fists, feeling his uncharacteristic anger rise at the thought. "Yeah right, like that would work. I'd be giving them another reason to hate me. Even if they would, I won't ask them anyway."
"Why not?" Axel asked, folding his arms.
Demyx threw his arms to his sides and his sitar clattered onto the ground, emitting a few random notes and surprising Axel. "Because Xemnas gave ME the job! I'm the one who's supposed to liberate his true disposition!"
"Heh, liberate his true disposition… Do you even know what that means?"
Demyx frowned. "Well…not really…but still! It's my job! I'll be the one who gets it done, one way or another!" He turned away from Axel, looking down at his feet. "Besides, I wouldn't want any of them to help anyway. I don't need their help! They'd all probably just scream at me for how bad I was doing or whatever."
"Hmph, sure sounds like them…"
Demyx held up a tightly clenched fist, his mind getting the best of him again. Even though he didn't like it, he could feel his anger give him strength and confidence. He was tired of being called weak, being the odd one out and seen as just a man who happened to be wearing a black coat. He turned back to the redhead.
"You'll see. I'll show them. I can be just as strong as they are! Sure, I held back before, but the next time I meet him, I'll make him hear me! I'll make all of them hear me! Then we'll see who the strong one is!"
Axel stared and listened to his words intently. Demyx stood still, breathing hard and shaking slightly as he stared back. He took a few breaths to calm himself down and regain his disposition. After several moments Axel smirked again.
"That's the spirit." He said cheerfully. They stared at one another without a word and Demyx could feel himself relaxing fully as if seeing his old friend smile at him had that effect on him. Axel then waved at him and turned around, heading for the door to the room.
"Hey, where you going?" Demyx asked.
Axel stopped and turned his head toward him. "I need to do something to prove that I'm still loyal to the Organization again. That…" He turned the rest of his body to him. "…And if what you said is true, I'll need to see Sora myself to—"
A dark portal suddenly appeared before Axel in front of the door, catching both of their attentions. A tall, black cloaked man with long light blue hair and dark skin stepped out the portal. Xemnas took a step forward as the portal vanished and his gaze immediately fell upon the one in front of him.
"Axel…" He hissed.
"Oh, crud…" Axel muttered, raising his hand and creating a portal of his own behind him. He quickly threw himself into it and disappeared as Xemnas lunged forward to grab him but only reached the black mist that was being left behind. Demyx raised an arm toward the already gone portal and then lowered it again as the last of the mist evaporated into the air.
Xemnas stood up slowly and he turned his head toward him. His orange eyes glared down at him and he could feel the energy emitting from him seethe with rage and annoyance. He readied himself for a slew of verbal abuse.
"What were you two doing in here?" He asked softly, but not without heavy hints of irritation. "And why didn't you try to stop him?"
Demyx opened his mouth to speak but hesitated and lowered his head. He had a nasty feeling that the truth would merit potential punishment for the former and that there wasn't a right answer for the latter. He held his tongue and remained silent, hoping that his piercing gaze would drift away from his direction.
Xemnas scoffed and held his head in his hand. "What am I going to do with you?" He paced back and forth, switching from glaring at him to staring at the ground. "What am I going to do with you…?"
Demyx sighed, feeling his nonexistent heart drop. "Maybe you should just do everyone a favor and throw me out of the Organization…"
His boss stopped and turned slowly to face him fully with raised eyebrows. "And why would I do that?"
"I'm obviously not good for anything…so go ahead. Say the word and I'll go…"
Xemnas stared hard at him, his face without expression. He continued to do so for a long time, making him uncomfortable as he tried not to look at him. He always hated it when he looked at him that way…
"Do you remember why I asked you to join the Organization?" He suddenly asked.
Demyx looked up at him, somehow embarrassed that he read his mind even though he seemed to be able to do so with all the members of their brotherhood. He shrugged his shoulders slightly and looked away.
"It should be obvious."
Demyx glanced at him, unsure of where he was going with his words.
"All members of Organization XIII strive for the same ultimate goal and have a sign that represents our brotherhood. We have powers and abilities that are unique to each individual. However, you have something no one else has and can never have; an unusual thing you have created not because it is beneficial to you or us, but because it is a part of your very being. It is a mark of your existence."
He listened to his words, but couldn't understand why he explained things he already knew or what he really meant by that last statement. It wasn't often that he talked to him or the others about such things, but he was sure that he wasn't the only one whom he had done so with. When he did his intentions were always unclear but it made more sense when all was said and done. He frowned and waited for him to speak again.
"Your melody…" He said simply, gesturing toward the sitar still on the ground.
Demyx looked down behind him at his instrument and felt the familiar and lovely urge to start playing once again. He bent down and lifted the sitar up, holding it close to his face and examining it closely.
"It's been quite some time since I've heard it myself." Xemnas said, his eyes narrowing.
Demyx glanced at him, then back at his sitar, and then back at his leader. He had a strange feeling that that was some sort of a hint, but the look in his eyes did nothing to relieve the doubt in his mind. Xemnas stood very still as if waiting for him to act. He thought for a while, unsure whether or not he wanted to play in his presence as he thought that he would embarrass himself, but he never felt that way any other time he played music.
He quickly made up his mind and took a seat in the chair behind him, setting his sitar on his lap. He plucked and flicked the strings, starting with a chorus he liked and played often and transitioned from verse to verse flawlessly. Xemnas silently watched him as the melody graced his ears, the room they were in, the halls outside the door and the endless night outside the window. He didn't smile, he didn't even move. But Demyx could tell that he was listening, and that was all that really mattered.