Sometimes, being alone and isolated could be the best thing in the worlds. Of course, it depended very strongly on the circumstances in which one was alone and isolated. Being alone and isolated on a tiny rowboat in the middle of the ocean after dark, with bad weather approaching...well, whoever you were, you were probably screwed, doubly so if you were on your own. Being alone and isolated in a small but well-built lakeside cabin, sitting on a comfortable couch wrapped in a blanket, with a fire in the fireplace and a plate of comfort food in hand, watching the night snowstorm raging over the lake through the huge picture window secure in the knowledge that the bad weather wasn't getting at you...that had a lot to recommend it. Just you, the wind, and the water, except you got to watch the show while safely ensconced in your own little bubble of warmth and comfort.

Honestly, that was the life, Demyx thought as he pulled the blanket a little closer with one hand, watching the snowdrifts building on the thin patch of lawn and beach that separated this cabin from the water. It beat the living daylights out of being back at the castle, trying to wrangle a little more heat out of the in-room heater and trying to browbeat or wheedle an elder member into adjusting the castle's central heating system and sleeping on Axel's floor for warmth when all else failed. Granted, he'd have to go back to that in a week, assuming he didn't get yanked back earlier, but he was going to enjoy this brief vacation to the hilt. The vacation, and the mashed potatoes - laden with butter and cream, drenched in even more melted butter, and topped with diced green onion for crunch and bite. Most of Demyx's go-to comfort foods were Indian through and through, but these mashed potatoes were something special. Probably sick with fat and calories, too, but he didn't care - he didn't get them like this very often, and besides, he was a little below his ideal weight anyway and had been for quite a while. He could almost hear Axel ranting about vegetarians and health now, and couldn't help but laugh to himself. That wasn't why he'd become a vegetarian anyway. Briefly, he wondered what had been served for dinner at the castle, and laughed again. Whatever it was, he could bet it was something he couldn't eat; he pretty much took care of his own meals now, like Zexion. Except Zexion wasn't a vegetarian; he had food allergies. To shellfish. Which made up a substantial part of Demyx's diet, so he usually had to wait until both Xaldin and Zexion were done in the kitchen before he could eat. He was used to pretty late mealtimes now.

Of course, it was shortly after midnight in this world, and he was just eating dinner. That was late even for him. But these potatoes were so good...so rich and buttery, and the green onion offered just the right amount of crunch...this was just the sort of thing you wanted on a bitter winter night you didn't have to go out in. He should make it more often, except if he made it too often, he'd have to get a whole new set of uniforms, or at least bigger pants. That, or spend most of his free time in the arena exercising. That kind of exercise would severely cut into his music time. He'd rather go without the potatoes than the music. Potatoes were good; music was all-important. Speaking of which...he closed his eyes for a moment, just to listen to the wind howling and the fire crackling. His hearing aids picked up such environmental sounds easily, more easily than they did speech - normally that was more of a hindrance than anything, especially if he was trying to talk to someone who was reading at the same time (the rustling paper inevitably drowned out the other person's voice), but he wasn't trying to listen to anyone else right now. He was much more interested in the music of the wind and fire.

Hot fire, warm blankets, sturdy shelter, rich comfort food, a good show, a brilliant concert, a bit of alone time, and the ability to go straight back home or even bring some company here if he got too lonely. Could life get any better?

Well, yes, it could, he decided as one particularly loud pop from the fire was answered by a short burst of feedback from his left hearing aid. Life would be better if he could still hear for shit without hearing aids. But limiting himself to the possible, he couldn't see how life could get any better. And he was getting a full week of this, assuming something didn't happen back home - oh, glory. Tomorrow morning, if it had finished snowing by then, he could pop back to the castle and grab Axel and Roxas, if they were free, and bring them back here for a snowball fight. It would be a blast. And then he could make lunch for them - now what could he make here that both he and they would eat? Besides more mashed potatoes? A good fish chowder came to mind...he'd bought plenty of groceries before the snowstorm arrived...and this was definitely soup kind of weather...

Alas, the potatoes were gone. Eh, well. Demyx was warm, content, and well-fed as it was; he didn't really need more potatoes. Setting the empty plate aside, Demyx pulled the blanket a little closer, gazing out the window at the snowflakes swirling and dancing hypnotically just outside. He was so lucky - to have wrangled a full week off, to have found this cottage for rent by the week off-season, to just be here now. The wind was singing to him. Singing to him, a song he'd never get the chance to hear otherwise; like the snowflakes it was blowing around so wildly, this song was unique to this storm. The wind would blow again after, but this exact song would never be repeated. And while any normal person with functioning ears would only hear the howling gale, with no music behind it besides maybe the war-chant of some malevolent spirit bent on wreaking icy havoc, Demyx, a highly unusual "person" with all-but-useless ears, heard more, much more - there was no malice in the wind, no ill-will. Its song was a celebration of its own strength, its own majesty, its own self - its own freedom.

He might well be the only person in the world able to hear the real music in the wind. And frankly, that was a shame. It would be nice if he could make everyone hear it the same way he did, but that was impossible; the closest he could come was writing it down and playing it for them. And no human musician, no matter how gifted, could really replicate the music of nature.

Then again...maybe a skilled enough musician could teach other people to appreciate the music the same way. Maybe he could, if he tried hard enough. That was an encouraging thought. If nothing else, he might be able to at least capture some of the essence of this song for posterity.

He sighed softly, rearranging the blanket a little and putting out the fire with a well-placed splash of water as he lay down on the couch. He would have to haul himself off the couch and into the bedroom sooner or later, but that could wait - for now, he was content to lie on the couch in the dark, listening to the wind. He couldn't see the snow falling anymore, but he knew it was out there, dancing and swirling and piling up into mounds of soft, cold whiteness. He really did have to haul Axel and Roxas over for a snowball fight tomorrow, if they were free...it would be so awesome...and after the snowball fight was over and they'd had their chowder or whatever he decided to make, he could play for them. He already knew what he'd play - the music he'd heard in the wind tonight. He kind of wished they'd been here to hear it tonight, but they wouldn't have understood it...besides, it was nice to get a little solitude once in a while, he reflected as he blinked sleepily, trying to force his eyes to stay open. Eventually, he just gave up and let his eyes sink closed for a moment, enjoying the oddly floaty sensation it caused, and accidentally drifted off to sleep, still lying on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and listening to the wind.


AN: All right, so I can still write drabbles. If you extend the definition of "drabble" to include 1,500 words about Demyx eating mashed potatoes and going to sleep...

This (should) become a continuation of the Hundred Themes Challenge I started with "Losing the Melody". So there is a point to this thing. Let it live. This one is "Solitude".