Kira: Hey everyone. Trying my hand at a multi fic once more. Hopefully I won't lose interest like all of the other times. Anyhow, you'll see in the coming chapters that the songs, and in some cases, books, look to be names of fanfictions, and they are, so I suggest you going and searching them up in the KH fandom and read them. I'd LOVE to thank the amazing LiteraryMirage for betaing this chapter! Go check out her stories everyone. Oh, and the disclaimer, I don't own Kingdom Hearts, or any Final Fantasy character that makes its way into this story. If I did, it'd be a huge yaoi fest.
School was something that a certain blond headed kid was not too fond of. Actually, when had any student liked the thought of being put through six grueling classes each day, for five days in a row, and actually being sad when leaving the premises of the campus? That's right, no one. Only the overworking theater groupies and wannabe musicians ever stayed this late, as well as any book lover who took advantage of the always open library, which was unusually large for a high school, more suited for the life of a college student. But even though this one blond kid was aspiring to become a musician, he still hated the fact that in order to get the credit to pass the course for his music classes, both music theory and another class he never quite memorized the name of, even though he had been taking it for almost the whole semester, he had to spend at least an hour practicing his instrument of choice, a sitar. A rare choice, as everyone paired up with guitars, drums, and pianos or keyboards. He found those choices boring, though he did play a mean guitar as well.
But right now, the poor blond was wishing he didn't have to practice for his band gig that was coming up soon. Heck, even though he should have been excited for it, he needed one more song to complete the set that they would be performing. But no matter what, all the lyrics that the musician tried to write sounded off and lifeless, causing him to throw them away instantly into the trashcan. His mind went over where his band, Oblivion, would be playing, which was known as The Underworld. The pub, which was pretty spacious and above ground, contrary to its name, was a huge hit with college kids, random drinkers, and party goers. It was the perfect place for his band to get noticed by at least a small crowd of the town. As it was at the moment, they were a huge hit and popular in the town just because of where they played at, but they had yet to be able to score a contract with a big music company, such as, say, Twilight Records. The recording company was run by the famous ex-general Sephiroth Valentine, who surprisingly had an excellent taste for music...
So deep in thought he was, that he didn't realized that he had stopped walking through the hallway which led to several spaced out practice rooms, five in all. He had stopped by the first one, just standing there, mulling over the fact that he had to find another song to sing, or else they'd be short one song for the audience. Long slightly calloused fingers ran through his blondish brown hair, which was styled into something similar to the lovechild between a mullet and a mohawk, such a strange sight to look at, but one that fit him to a T. The soft echoes of a piano drew the blonde, Demyx Yomizu, out of his thoughts. He looked up in surprise, his ocean blue orbs startled when he realized that someone else was here. He had thought that by staying this late, the time now being the late hour of three in the afternoon, that no one else would be disturbed by his music. Frowning, he figured that maybe instead of practicing, that he would continue to write lyrics until he magically conjured a winning song out of his cauldron of a mind, or just tap the long strings of his sitar while softly humming the music pieces he was given.
Yes, that was a perfect idea. He quietly started for the fifth and last practice room, briefly being impressed by the low, almost non-existent sounds being produced seemingly effortlessly. Softly played notes flowed through the hallway like a warm up before they suddenly stopped, the vibrations of music waves passing through the air until they faded away. The blond found himself missing the notes, finding them quite nice and carefree. As if fingers had hesitated before playing the piece that they wanted to, another tune began, but this one was controlled, an actual musical composition, but why did Demyx find the introduction, as soft and sad as it was, filled to the brim with emotion, so familiar? He paused with his hand on his chosen practice room's door knob, standing there with ocean blue eyes narrowed in thought. He chewed on the bottom of his lips, an old habit of his, trying to think why the beautiful notes seemed to be so important, so familiar. The soft tones started to increase in melody and complexity, prodding the cue for the first stanza of a song.
Erased from existence
No trace left from life once lived
Wandering the ethereal boundaries
Between life and death
The four verses hit home and the sitar case was nearly dropped from his shoulder when a dumbstruck expression appeared on the musician's face. That was his song! The song he first wrote, the one that helped form the band he was in, Oblivion. Slowly he turned his head to glance over his shoulder, shock embedding itself in those bright eyes. Sure the sitar player heard his song on the radios at times (rarely), and fans singing it horribly out of key, but the voice that was singing his own lyrics, the verses that had seemed to flow like oil down a sword from his own pencil to the paper, in a beautiful voice, one that was soft, yet echoed throughout the hallway. Curiosity struck as the words were sung, accompanied by the perfect match of the piano converted melody. How great it would sound accompanied with his drummer, bass player, and his own sitar. Slowly, the fingers slipped off of the cold metal doorknob, wanting to see who this great pianist and singer was.
Step by step the blond approached the door, his gaze staring through the small window in the door. The inside of the room was identical to the other four rooms, but with one detail missing, or rather, moved. The piano was not where it would usually be, next to the right corner where the mirror coated the whole wall. Strange, the musician thought. He laid a hand on the door, craning his neck to see if he could find out where the person was, hearing the music come from the left, which was out of his view. A frown scoured its way onto his lips, not liking the fact that he couldn't at least know who was playing his song so beautifully. He could at least thank her, or him, whichever gender it would turn out to be. The voice rose to start the second stanza, blending a whirlwind of emotions consisting of broken hope, being forgotten, and sadness, the perfect heartbreaking touch he had been writing it for. It caused the frown to turn into a small smile, turning away from the door even though he wished to open the door and see who it was. He carried himself back to the back room and slipped inside, berating himself on how he had acted, like a stalker no less.
Demyx you idiot! You've heard awesome pianists before so why are you so impressed with this one? Besides, you can't just waltz on in there and interrupt the person practicing. Now that's just plain rude!
Arguing with himself as he locked the practice door and dumped his backpack on the ground, the musician plopped onto the floor and pulled out a few pieces of music, using his backpack as a makeshift stand, preferring sitting on the carpeted floor rather than in a proper chair. He twisted to the side and flipped the case open in a simple motion, drawing out his beloved blue and white sitar. He smiled briefly, his eyes running over the familiar instrument; fingertips lightly running down its smooth polished surface lovingly, like a mother would do to a newborn infant. The music of his song settled into the background, an instrumental intermission between the second part and the start of the chorus.
Now to start practicing. Or at least try to.
Placing his beloved sitar onto his lap, he scanned the music sheets with disinterest, not really wanting to practice at the moment, which was quite surprising, as music was more or less his whole entire life, though his mother always sought a way to persuade him out of his goal to become a famous musician with his band, wanting him to focus on a more solid career such as a businessman or a lawyer. He almost scoffed at the very thought, how could he, Demyx, be a lawyer? He frowned and leaned back, staring at the pieces of paper, yet not reading the notes that were printed on there. Why did he feel like not playing?
Nerves, his brain told him.
Why was he nervous though? He had played so many gigs before at The Underworld, and he knew the barkeeper, Cid, always looked forward to them playing, saying that it was both good for business, and it kept things interesting. The only thing he didn't tolerate was the bassist's pyromaniac antics, except when that lighter he carried was used for lighting up a cigarette, or for a show based performance. That was nothing to get antsy over, since he always felt so at home in the bar, dancing on the stage and singing to his heart's content. He loved it, being able to share his music with the world, which was always received with enthusiasm and respect, able to portray emotions behind the songs themselves.
That was it; it was just nerves, even if he didn't know what was causing them.
Sighing as his brain finally shut out the nervousness, Demyx decided instead to once more attempt to write a song. Suddenly writing one and then playing it in so little time made it hard to fully write out music for the band to play. But thank god that the band was quite good at improvising with music. A pencil was wrestled out of the backpack's depths and he used a folder from one of his classes, music theory, for an imitated version of a portable desk. Lead encountered paper as he scribbled some lyrics down, his eyebrows furrowed in strict concentration. He was slightly hunched over, pencil dancing across the page only to pause to tap against his chin in thought before resuming its rapid crazy waltz. He didn't even notice that someone walked into the room, his mind swimming with possible lyrics to follow up the last one he wrote.
Open Pandora's Box and release
The deadly surprise that lies deep inside
Be it a curse or a gracious gift
I'll take a gamble with my fate
Another line was about to be added in sudden inspiration before it was lost when two hands suddenly covered his vision. Letting out a startled squeak of surprise, the blond musician tried to claw the hands off, knowing instantly who was in the room. The paper and pencil lay discarded, instantly forgotten on the ground. The other student in the room had a mischievous look in his eyes and a smug grin plastered onto his lips like the Cheshire Cat's trademark smirk.
"Well well Dem, you aren't practicing your sitar. You gonna let us down in our best gig yet? Quit trying to write a new song at the moment and practice the ones you know." The tone of voice used by the male was a mix between mocking and scolding, though it was half kidding. He refused to remove his hands from where they covered his best friend's eyes, finding the actions of the smaller and younger musician quite entertaining. Fiery red hair graced his head, with pools of emerald beauty shining from underneath the currently disheveled spikes, as if he had ran all the way across the school campus, which, knowing him, it would have been from leaving school as soon as the bell rang, getting a bite to eat at the food court across the street, and then running back while avoiding any teachers or administrators to get to this practice room. Trust him to have a crazy fire loving friend as his bassist for the band.
"Axel! Stop! I'm trying to write a song here and you ruined my inspiration!" Demyx whined, flailing until the pyromaniac finally removed his hands, placing them on his knees as he knelt down next to him, still having that crazy grin on his face, and somehow the tear-like tattoos underneath his eyes accented it even more. Although he did feel a bit of guilt for ruining his inspiration, which he knew came very rarely to the poor boy; he couldn't help but tease his friend when he could. He leaned over and ruffled Demyx's hair, chuckling as the other tried to both swat his hand away and duck at the same time with little success.
"Sorry Dem, but you know it's hard to resist, besides, you do have a few lines written, so you will be able to recall the inspiration sometime later. Got it memorized?" Axel pointed out, tapping the side of his forehead in time with his famous quote. He loved to say that and the fans of the band always wanted him to repeat it for them, much to the other two band members' displeasure, them having heard it too many times already.
"Yeah yeah Axel, I 'got it memorized'." Demyx huffed. "But that's no guarantee that I will recall the rest of the lines." He rolled his eyes, lying back so he was prone on the ground, cushioning his head with his arms. The abandoned lyrics on the paper lie on the ground next to his music, forgotten.
"So what are you doing here Axel? Just here to torment me while I attempt to actually get some practicing done? Or to make sure that I'm not gonna chicken out of this gig because I haven't gotten a new song to play?" Demyx asked in a sarcastic voice, his sapphire eyes meeting emerald ones. The least his friend could have done was grab him a bite to eat as well, food was sounding pretty good at the time. His stomach grumbled an agreement, causing Axel to laugh. The pyro had forgotten to think that his pal would have been hungry at this time, especially after not being able to get lunch that day. He was about to answer, saying that he wanted to hang out with his water loving buddy, but he then paused, hearing the piano play, the notes causing him to forget what he was going to say. He knew someone was playing, having walked by the first room, but he had not paid attention to it. Only now did he realize what song was being played.
"Hey, Dem? Isn't that... your song being played?" he asked, raising a fiery eyebrow in question. He didn't need to ask it, but he was still confirming it. The voice he heard was astonishingly amazing, he had to admit, but it was hard to tell at the moment if it was of the female or male gender. He tilted his head to catch more of the musical notes, hearing the familiar melody of his best friend's first song, his best song, their band's number one favorite. His eyes softened, missing the nod that Demyx gave him, remembering how happy the musician had been when he had finally finished it, and then when they had first preformed it. Glittering eyes gaze back at the now lazy vocalist, such a different scene that was playing out now. Instead of eagerly writing a song, the boy was having trouble, not able to bring forth the perfect emotion to weave into a poem, not able to write from his heart. It was quite a sad sight.
"I couldn't see who was playing; the piano seemed to have been moved to the corner where the wall blocks it from view." The blond said, shrugging, counting the number of ceiling panels out of half boredom, though in his oceanic eyes swam a want to investigate. Axel raised a crimson eyebrow, as it was strange that one would want to hide themselves from being seen. Sounded like this mystery pianist didn't like to be seen, a great challenge to whomever wanted to figure out this person's identity. He wondered for a few seconds who in the school it could be. The fire-head noticed that the lyrics were not being guarded and snatched them from the ground, leaning away when the lyricist tried to steal them back, abandoning his relaxed pose immediately to defend his lyrics.
"Axel! Come on! You know I hate it when you read unfinished lyrics of mine!" Demyx grunted, flailing his long arms as he attempted to get them back. His pleas fell on deaf ears, the bassist rolling his eyes in amusement as he read the four lines. Pandora's box?
"This is quite a change from your other songs... Speaking of which, which songs are you going to pl-" A door slamming open cut his sentence off rather abruptly. Confused, the two teens looked towards the door, now just realizing that the music had stopped. Demyx's heart sank when he realized that that meant he missed his chance in trying to find out who the player was. Sighing, he was about to answer Axel's unfinished sentence when the door opened a few moments later, revealing an unusual man standing there.
With pink hair.
It was none other than Marluxia Terrace. Their flower-loving drummer who had quite a sly streak going on underneath that pretty exterior of his. Bright blue eyes glittered happily as he pranced, yes, pranced, over to the two and sat down in one graceful movement.
"I have great news! Cid says that the tickets are all sold out for the gig. And the VIP tickets, all three of them, are gone!" The pinkette looked positively pleased at having spilled the small good news. Their singer stared at the news bringer. Sold out? They had never sold out before! Even the bassist was surprised at the news, having not expected it. Demyx's jaw was hanging open.
"M-Marly, how? How did all of the tickets sell out? There's hardly enough people in this town that are interested in hanging out in a bar almost all night to listen to a small band like us!" the blond asked, pointing a finger at him accusingly while using his friend's widely used nickname, having recovered from his shock. Axel sat there, mind racing to come up with a possibility that could explain how that many tickets could have been bought.
"Unless you recruited the whole school into going there, I can't think of any way." The redhead admitted, scratching the back of his neck with a slightly confused look on his face. A smug look appeared on the drummer's face, leaning back, a smirk on his lips.
"Well, I recruited the help of a certain someone who is quite..." Marluxia paused, trying to search his mind for the perfect word to describe the 'someone' without giving away outright who it was, "quite persuasive in getting people to do what they want them to do. That's all I'm saying, so you can guess all you want, but I'm not telling." Marluxia turned to Demyx, who was pulling his famous puppy dog eyes, blue eyes wide and watery, a pout heavy on his lips. All in all, he looked like the perfect replica of a begging puppy. Anyone who laid eyes on him at that point would have easily given in. But Marluxia had some sort of magic ability to not give in, at certain points of times that is.
"Sorry Dem, that look of yours won't fool me this time. You'll figure it out eventually."
Demyx pouted for real this time, noticing how Axel had averted his eyes to avoid falling under the puppy eyes spell. The singer then remembered something, the song, the pianist. Maybe his pink haired friend had seen him.
"Hey, Marly? Did you see anyone else in the practice rooms? Or by chance, anyone leave?" Demyx's tone was hopeful, hoping that his drummer had seen the mystery person so he could, though not in a stalker-like way, track him down and ask him to play his song again. With those haunting sounds that perfectly matched the song. The third member of their band frowned, rocking back to balance on his rear as he thought back. He slowly nodded.
"Yeah, a boy around our age ran out of the room like a banshee was chasing after him, either that or a 'Heartless' was trying to steal his heart. But he never stopped to even say I'm sorry. He had this strange hair color, but he was gone before I knew it, so I never did get an apology. Or his name. Sorry Dem. From the look on his face, he looked more than a bit terrified. I'm gathering that he didn't expect people to hear him playing or something? It IS usually deserted down here unless you come here to play." Marluxia pointed out. Demyx groaned in disappointment, sinking his head into his arms and sighing.
"I guess... Maybe I can hear him play if I keep coming back here." Axel nodded in agreement with Demyx, but then, to torment his friend again, handed the lyric sheet to Marluxia, who immediately started to read what was on the paper.
"Marly, I think Demyx has a new song in the wings for us to play!"
"NO! Ax-Marl-AXEL! Oh come on guys, give it back!" A whine was heard as the three ran around the room, the blond trying to grab the paper away from his two friends, laughs filling the quiet room and hallway, gently taking the place of the music that the mystery pianist had been playing.
"Give me back my lyrics!"
Junior year in high school was a time in which one would be starting to get serious about applying for college and figuring out how to up their grades that they may have let drop, becoming a bit too carefree about the freedom and importance of being an upperclassman. However, that was not quite the case for one junior. Currently locked up inside one of the five practice rooms, the incredibly intelligent student was instead playing the piano, having been quite skilled with it ever since his mother encouraged him to play it after he watched her play a few songs on it, one of them being Sanctuary by the legendary singer Hikaru. He had been a quick learner and enjoyed playing it in his free time when he wasn't studying, which was rare as he took in knowledge like it was air, or doing homework. He tried to avoid distractions as best as he could, never wanting to be engaged in an awkward conversation for one simple yet complex reason.
He, Zexion Nomura, was mute.
It was rather tiresome and more than annoying to explain by writing on a piece of paper that he couldn't talk. What he hated most was the stares and words of pity, and the laughing eyes of people who didn't care, that he received. It was infuriating. Was it his fault that he was mute? It was not his fault that he had gotten into a car accident with his mother and damaged his voice box in the process five years ago. It was proclaimed that it was a miracle that he had survived the crash and that he would never be able to speak again. Shuddering, the timid boy remembered the hospital - Memory Skyscraper's Hospital, that he and his injured mother had been taken to. Zexion could still remember the disgusting smell of blood, the coppery taste that overwhelmed him, flowing off his own body and his mother's, sickening him to the point that his stomach tried to heave up substance that wasn't there, stomach acid burning his throat and mouth in a terribly sickening way.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, banishing those upsetting memories to the very corners of his mind, filed away to prevent them from resurfacing, he turned his eyes towards the empty music stand, his hands having paused for quite a while instead of playing like he wanted. But now what should he play? He didn't have any music that his mother suggested, or anything that he wanted to play in particular. A silent sigh was released and he withdrew his hands, neatly placing them in his lap. Though the junior knew without any doubt that hardly anyone visited the practice rooms after school, he couldn't help but not want to play where someone could hear him, as slim of a chance as it currently was. Thinking hard, his eyebrows slightly furrowing in thought, he remembered something. What did one of his friends say? She was talking, among other things, about a band and this particular song. Oblivion, that's right, that was the name of the band she kept rattling on about. He had been forced to listen to their music, for one song at least. Erased, the name of the song had perked his interest, and he had, to the amusement on his lightning-tongued friend, listened to it over three times in an attempt to memorize it and come up with piano pieces that could go along with it. He immediately knew that that was what he would play.
But first, a warm-up. It was essential for him to do that small tradition beaten into him by his mother before playing a piece. Jumping straight into a musical piece without checking to make sure that you were tuned and absolutely ready to play was considered bad manners by his mother, like throwing your dirty laundry on the ground without care on where it will land instead of placing it into a hamper in the closet.
Fingers were withdrawn from where they lay on his lap, gently swaying across ivory and ebony keys in a graceful dance, soft slow notes floating into the air, remembering where each note on the scale was, dark blue eyes firmly closed as he concentrated, the piece of music he was going to play formulating in his mind. So lost he was in what he was doing, that his overly sensitive nose did not detect a whiff of a scent, which surprisingly smelled like sea salt and ocean mist, invade the room. If he had noticed, the pianist would have immediately abandoned his playing and fled. He did not want to be seen by another student.
An abrupt stop halted his fingers, the ends twitching slightly over the keys, as if hesitant to continue. He took a deep breath, nervousness taking hold, as Zexion did not know if his creation would be correct, never testing it out before hand when writing it. He would have played it to either his mother or his friend, but they weren't there at the moment. Letting go of the breath, the intro started to flow from his fingers, gently touching the smooth surface of the many keys, the piano version flowing through his mind and body. Emotions danced around in his mind, longing to burst forth and to be woven into the first few verses. But he was mute, he couldn't sing… could he? It was then when the cue to start the opening verses came, and without thinking, his lips parted, slightly wet from where a tongue nervously coated them in saliva, and words passed through the opening.
Erased from existence
No trace left from life once lived
Wandering the ethereal boundaries
Between life and death
Words, lines, verses. But didn't the car crash steal his voice, the one thing he had used to hold intellectual conversations and deep clashing debates among his teachers? It was true that his voice box had been damaged, but somehow, when listening to a song his mother gave to him in an attempt to cope with the sadness a few months after the accident, his mouth moved as if trying to imitate singing the words and suddenly it was him singing the lyrics to Real Emotion by the popular girl band YuRiPa. Both shocked and startled by the voice that had come from his lips, and from the sudden tightness in his own throat, pain racing through the membranes in his larynx, he had clamped his mouth shut. He hadn't listened to that song since. However, the occurrence of suddenly being able to sing lyrics to songs again came to surface when he had been over at an old friend's house, who was rather surprising calm about hearing his voice again. But that was only situation when his voice box actually produced sound, with music. Only with music.
Angels and Demons
Forgotten and broken
Waking up to see
A washed out sunrise
His tone was wavering now. He always had a limit to how long he could hold onto his almost forgotten voice. If only he could reach the chorus… If only. He pushed on ahead, feeling something akin to sandpaper rubbing harshly against his throat, the sensation first starting out as a mere annoyance, but was escalating rapidly into something much more painful. His hands never wavered from playing during his inner turmoil, his voice breaking into the chorus after a nice instrumental break, increasing the tempo and volume, intertwining itself with emotion as needed, which wasn't quite hard for one such as he.
Once more to hide away
Shredded wings and broken wills
Maybe today will be different
Will I be remembered?
His throat constricted before he could finish the last word of the chorus stanza and his fingers jerked away from the piano, clutching at his throat as the pain throbbed through damaged nerves and membranes. Breathing became slightly difficult for a few minutes and he nearly hyperventilated in a state of panic, but his calm mind forced him to sit through it, obviously knowing it was bound to happen, having forced himself past his limit once again, and not for the last time. His lungs finally stopped working overtime to gulp in the oxygen so desperately needed to function, though the pain that had been felt faded to a dull and distant throb that stayed, an angry haunting reminder of his muteness. He closed his eyes, the scholar frowning deeply. Why did he have to sing? Why was he so obsessed with finishing singing that one simple song? Why couldn't he just accept the fact that he would never be able to again speak regularly again? Why?
Questions, questions, questions. Something that his mind did not want to answer at the moment. It was only then that he heard voices, as soft as they were. He hadn't heard them before, his music and voice drowning them out. And their scents… Two people from the voices, one smelling of the ocean, salty yet somehow pleasant to the nose, and the other reeking of fire, that smoky smell of ash. Wrinkling up his nose at the second one in absolute disgust; he hated it when he came across a person's smell that he disliked, he looked down at the piano, thinking about the music he had been playing when his mind suddenly re-winded.
Rewind for a second… Yes… now stop there.
He had heard VOICES?
His eyes widened to their full capacity. No, two students heard his singing. This couldn't be happening! Panicking, the chrome blue haired boy closed the piano's key cover, grabbing his books and folder and ducked his head; the only thing that flew through his head was to get out of there before the room was investigated to see who had produced such beautiful music with a ghostly voice. His quick footsteps brought him to the door, flinging it open without care on how loud the small creak sounded and without regard to the small thud that the knob made when it hit the cushioned spot of the wall. His ears instantly sought out where the voices were coming from, even through his panic. The last practice room. Turning, he made to flee from the hallway, but with his eyes covered by disheveled bangs and his gaze to the ground, he didn't know that someone was heading his way, going as equally as fast as he was, and hardly paying attention in turn. Within three half sprints, he ran into something hard, the momentum causing him to rebound and fall backwards onto the ground quite ungracefully.
Pain raced through his head and chest, but he didn't look up as someone quickly apologized, offering to help him pick up his scattered items. He quickly shook his head, his eyes catching sight of only one color, pink, as he lunged to grab his stuff, leaping to his feet and running away, leaving a confused male looking after him before he remembered where exactly he was going, skipping to the room where the voices resided.
Only one thing ran through Zexion's mind even as his nose dimly registered the almost overwhelming smell of flowers…
He wanted to get home.