Author's Comments: Gahhh. I. Couldn't. Wait.
So this is my new project. This story contains a lot of firsts for me. The major challenge I'm faced with is telling the stories of more than one character (like in Benefriends or The Kismet Scribe); instead, I'll be describing the events of several characters—several pairings, no less, from each character's point of view.
What the heck have I let myself get into this time?
Benefriends was a huge joy for me to write and I want to continue writing and sharing with you. It took me a bit of time to come up with a new concept, but I came across Katraa's piece called Caller Number Nine and I instantly thought of Demyx being a radio personality hosting a love song fest of some sort. Thus, The Captive Heart Show exploded into being.
Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts; Final Fantasy VII; the songs O-M-G (by Usher and Will I Am), Dream Lover (by Mariah Carey), or You Belong with Me (by Taylor Swift); the (italicized) lyrics to If I Ain't Got You (by Alicia Keys); or the italicized line from Unwritten (by Natasha Bedingfield). I own Imani.
"And that was the hot single from superstar Usher featuring Will I Am called O-M-G," he said cheerily into the microphone, waving the wire of his headphones to the side so he could prop up his arms on the table. "You're listening to The Elixir on Arpeggio 101.3, your daily dose of the best mix of yesterday and today. This is Myde the Prince of Awesome hanging out with you, keeping you company on your drive home. Thanks for listening in—here's an old favorite: Dream Lover from Mariah Carey."
With a flick of his finger he switched the mic off and let out a breath, his smiling lips puffing out as he exhaled. A glance at the clock on his computer told him it was it was five fifty-six. He still had a while to chill out before—
The button for line one flashed on the call board. Swiftly he pressed down on it and said into the mic, "This is Myde, the Prince of Awesome. What can I do for you?"
"You're not on air, are you?"
He blinked several times. "Imani?"
"I'm gonna take that as a no."
With a loud creak he leaned back in his chair while keeping the mic positioned an inch from his lips. "What's up?"
"Sora said to tell you that Leon told him that Cloud said you still had a spare roll of guitar strings."
"He needs it. Sora, I mean."
"It's in my dorm. Zex should be there to give it to him."
He glanced at the computer. One minute left in the song. "Is that all?"
His smile grew and he reached forward to click on another song to follow after Dream Lover, sticking the radio jingle in between. He sensed otherwise and made his assumption known: "No it's not."
A pause…then a rushed sigh. "Dem—"
"Imani, there's a reason I didn't get fired for starting this," he cut in patiently. "People love this. Arpeggio's got the most listeners because of this. I know what I'm doing. Besides, you were the one who told me to do something I'm good at."
Another pause—the silence of resignation. "I know."
"And I'm really good at this, aren't I?"
"Don't flatter yourself."
He laughed and glanced at the clock on his computer again. Six oh-two. "I gotta go. I'll see you tomorrow."
With another push of the button on the call board, he hung up and set the mic on the table again. In two hours, the real music would start to play—the music of the brokenhearted.
Demyx loved his job.
She eyed her pink cell phone, her lips twisted in a frown. Her knees were drawn up to her chest closely as if she would spill her anxiety if she didn't try to compress herself into the smallest shape possible.
"Some people want diamond rings, some just want everything—"
It couldn't hurt, could it? As long as she didn't use real names, no one would know…but a part of her wanted to be known, to be recognized. She wanted to be recognized by that person…but what if that would make things awkward between them?
"If I ain't got you baby…"
She groaned. Loudly. Thank goodness Selphie was at a study session several blocks from their dorm. She'd have a field day if she saw her doing this.
Her hand trembled as she reached out to snatch her phone and dial a number. Her other hand shook just as fiercely as she turned down the volume of her radio. She could never say she lived life without taking risks…especially when it came to one like this.
She pressed the green button and apprehensively brought the phone to her ear. The ringing echoed ominously and her heart hammered and she bit her lip—
"Hey, this is The Captive Heart Show. Who's calling?"
A squeak escaped her as she jumped at the sudden voice. "H-Hi Myde. This is…" She caught sight of her lucky charm sitting on her bedside table—a star-shaped amulet made of thalassa shells. "Th-Thalassa."
"Thalassa? Like the shell, right? That's a pretty name."
"Thalassa, tell us who's on your heart tonight."
She swallowed down the nerves building up in her throat and mumbled, "His name is S…Sky."
"Thalassa and Sky." She could hear his smile on the other side of the line. "I like that. It's got a nice ring to it. So what's going on between you two?"
There. The moment to lay it all down. Her heart picked up speed as she forced out the words before the rest of her courage disappeared. "W-We've been best friends since we were kids, but…but I've been in love with him ever since last year."
"And he doesn't know and you're afraid of telling him because you don't wanna ruin your friendship."
Her hair tickled her shoulders and neck as she nodded. "Yeah."
"Well, Thalassa, from what I can hear, you sound so scared of telling him that you don't wanna use real names because of the possibility that he might be listening."
For the second time she jumped. Was it that obvious?
Myde laughed good-naturedly. "Hey, it happens, but anyway: What's Sky think about the idea of starting a relationship with you?"
"I…We've never talked about that before," she admitted.
"Then start there. Try hinting at the idea and see what he thinks. He'll be honest with you. What kind of a best friend would he be if he wasn't?"
The pages of her memory flipped furiously but she couldn't find an instance when "Sky" had ever been dishonest with her. "That's true…" A hesitant smile tugged at her lips. "Thanks."
"I hope that helps. Keep us updated, 'kay? I really hope things work out between you and Sky."
"O-Okay. Thanks, Myde."
She pulled the phone away from her ear and hung up. Hint at the idea, huh? It was worth a try.
As she put her phone back on her bedside table next to her lucky charm, she began rehearsing in her head. She had until her second class tomorrow to come up with hints.
Demyx drummed his fingers absentmindedly to the drumbeat of You Belong with Me with a grin. The moment that caller said hello he instantly knew who it was. He could practically picture her fumbling with her phone and glance around her dorm room for an alibi idea. It was only a matter of time before one or the other called.
Thalassa and Sky. "Thalassa and Sky." Oh yeah, it had a nice ring to it…just like "Kairi and Sora."
He switched his mic on again and pressed line three's button on the call board, flicking an eye to the input volume before crooning, "This is The Captive Heart Show—Myde the Prince of Awesome speaking. Who's this?"
Yeah. He loved his job.
He stretched out the kinks in his neck as he pushed open the back door of the kitchen, scuffing the dirt off the bottoms of his boots before stepping on the wooden floor. Tifa made it very clear that she didn't like it when anyone tracked in mud. Very, very clear.
At least Zack was on the receiving end of Tifa's rage instead of him. He made sure to crack open a beer for the poor guy after he'd scrubbed the floors until they sparkled.
Electric blue met coffee brown and he nodded silently to the girl sitting on a stack of soda bottle crates in the corner. She leaned against the counter and sipped her half-empty glass of water. "How's Yuffie?" she asked quietly. "Vincent hasn't killed her yet, has he?"
He shook his head while shrugging off his coat and tossing it onto one of the chairs against the wall. Only the radio sitting above her on the counter kept the silence at bay. A song he'd never heard before—which, he'd admit, could be any song since he rarely ever listened to the radio—quietly finished off as he tugged the fridge open and grabbed several containers of leftovers to heat up. He vaguely wondered why she wasn't lounging in the bar area and listening to the radio out there…
Unless…Was she listening to that crap again?
When he slowly turned from the fridge to send his silent question her way, she sighed and rolled her eyes. "It's not crap," she insisted. "It's—"
"I'm in love with my boss, Myde! What do I do? Oh, what do I do?"
"Now, now, Georgiana. Calm down. It's not the end of the world."
Her jaw tightened and she cringed. He arched an eyebrow. What wasn't crap?
"It's sap," she clarified, downing the rest of her water in one gulp before getting to her feet and placing the glass in the sink. "There's a difference."
As he peeled off the covers of the containers, he took the plate she pulled out for him from the cupboard with a nod of thanks and a skeptical glance. What was the difference?
"As ridiculous as some of this sounds, these are real people calling in to ask for help for their real problems. They need a listening ear and a voice of reason during this time when all they can think about is their distress." A corner of her mouth quirked up in a smirk. "I'd listen in sometime, if I were you. You might be able to pick up a few pointers to help you with—"
His eyes darted to the doorway. Tifa's wine-colored eyes blinked owlishly at him for a moment before she smiled warmly. "You're home."
He nodded while chanting in his head, Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.
As she turned to look at the girl, a few strands of her long, beautiful hair trickled over her shoulder. "Imani, Meg said she and Hercules could give you a ride back to your dorm."
"You're okay for the rest of the night?"
"We'll be fine now that Cloud's here."
A particularly strong beat left his heart frozen for a moment at her words. Tifa flashed him another small smile before disappearing back into the bar. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.
Imani strode to the closet next to the fridge, taking out a dark jacket and a grey tote bag. When she emerged and closed the door, she pointedly glanced at the radio then at him. "It couldn't hurt. He's actually pretty good."
He simply averted his gaze to the containers of cold food before him, jiggling them over the plate and dumping on various amounts. Listen to that crap? He had his pride.
She chuckled quietly, patting him on the shoulder as she walked out. "Night, Cloud."
As the door swung shut after she left—and intentionally left the radio on—he took his food-laden plate to the microwave next to the radio, threw the plate in, pushed the door shut, and set the timer. A new song—a ballad—lilted on the air in the kitchen as the microwave did its work. Calloused fingertips tugged out one of the drawers for a fork. Soon the microwave beeped.
"You're listening to The Captive Heart Show on Arpeggio 101.3…"
He took his warm plate out and stabbed at his food. Listening to this crap had to have been better than letting the silence drown him in his thoughts.
"That's what you're going to say to him?" she asked, glancing at her redheaded cousin momentarily before continuing to pencil in one of the leaves of the flower arrangement in front of them.
Slight panic laced her usually bubbly voice. "Why? Is that too obvious?"
"No, no. I think that's good…"
"No you don't."
She sighed quietly. Why did every pair of people who loved each other deeply have to be painfully oblivious to the other's feelings, especially when the pair had been best friends since childhood? It was the cruelest cliché in the book.
"I know! Why don't you ask him for me?"
A stray line stuck out from a flower petal as she jerked her head up to gape at the girl. "Me?"
"Yeah," she answered with a nod, her blue eyes glowing excitedly. "Ask him if he's ever thought about going out with me."
Small wrinkles creased in her brow. "But…"
"Please, Nam? Imani wouldn't do it if I asked her, Riku doesn't talk to me about these things, and Demyx wouldn't tell me what Sora said. You're the only one who can do this."
"I don't think I should be doing something like that in the first place, Kairi."
Her cousin winced. "Y-You're right…" she sighed.
With her free hand she squeezed Kairi's shoulder encouragingly. "Just tell him what you told me. It'll be fine."
The redhead shot her an unconvinced look, her lips frowning.
"Look at it this way: you've got something to hope for."
Kairi's frown vanished, her pearly teeth nibbling on her lower lip as she took the hand on her shoulder and gave it a squeeze of her own. "He's out there, Nam."
She could only smile. The last huge crush she had was in elementary school—a boy with bluer-than-blue eyes and golden hair that fell into those eyes like tangible sunlight. They weren't close back then, but they got along as fine as any boy and girl their age would.
They'd lost contact after moving on to different middle schools. She doubted she'd ever see him again.
His loud buzzer roared in his ears. He squeezed his eyes closed, lifting an arm lazily to shut up the alarm clock. Oh, how he hated waking up before noon…but he still slithered out of bed with the covers hugging his body, fruitlessly calling him back. Imani wouldn't be happy with him if he was late to class again. Playing romance counselor, even if he brought people together in the glorious name of love, was no excuse to slack off in school, according to her.
A yawn stretched his mouth as he got to his feet and extended his arms above his head, groaning loudly. As his arms slapped his legs on their way down, he hummed randomly and went to look out the window at the sun-kissed courtyard. No need to be quiet since Zexion was at class already. The guy was a night owl and an early bird.
Hm. His window was dirty.
Suddenly his breath caught in his lungs. He felt his bones sizzle and his blood course through his veins. Images and sounds of smiling faces and heated arguments and shattering glass and huddled figures in dark corners and tight embraces and tears and laughter and anxiousness and insecurity and jealousy and hopelessness and love danced in his head.
Something amazing was about to happen. It hummed in his body and sang in the air. It riffed along the strings until his fingertips tingled. It beat in his chest like a powerful drum. It blasted in his ears. Something amazing was about to happen.
He couldn't hold it back. A huge smile annihilated all sleepiness he had moments before. He turned to his dresser, snatched a pair of jeans and a band t-shirt, and headed for the bathroom, singing under his breath: "The rest is still unwritten…"
Author's Afterthought: Ta-dah! What do you think? The writing style is a little different for me, but I hope you liked it. I can't guarantee weekly updates like usual but I'll try my best.
For those of you who don't know who Imani is, I suggest reading either Benefriends or The Kismet Scribe. (Benefriends is much shorter than The Kismet Scribe.) You don't have to, but you'll probably be a bit less confused about her if you do.
Please leave a review and share your thoughts with me. Thank you for reading!