A/N: Hey guys! I'm updating a lot, yes? Super weird for me, but it's getting done! :D This is probably my favorite out of all the stories I'm writing right now so it will probably get a bit more attention than the others….I'm a horrible mother…ANYWAY. This was written by my co—author, monopods89, and its Demyx's view of the last chapter! (The repeating plot's a little boring but the next chapter will get better I promise. This is the last in Demyx's view as well. It's necessary I swear!) Thanks for reading!
Tap, tap, tap.
Ugh, five more minutes...
"Oh!" Demyx's eyes flew open as he recognized the soft, vaguely British voice, "yes, sorry, I'll be right there!" Demyx flung off his sheets and scampered around his room, trying to find some clean clothes in order to answer the door in something other than his boxers with tiny cellos printed on them.
Demyx stumbled to the door, knocking over a chair in the process, opening it to reveal-
"Mrs. Stubbs! So good to see you! Would you like to come in? Is everything all right? Can I get you something?" Demyx really hoped that nothing was wrong. After all, Mrs. Stubbs was his landlady.
"Bad news, dear. And you don't look like you need any. Rough night?" She asked, gesturing to the felled chair and Demyx's shirt which happened to be inside out.
Demyx blushed. It was true that he had slept badly. No nightmares but for some reason he couldn't fall asleep until he had pulled out his cello and played himself a lullaby as quietly as possible.
"Um, sort of. I'm sorry; the noise didn't wake you up, did it? I'm so sorry, it won't happen again!" Demyx pleaded as he went to make some tea to butter up Mrs. Stubbs.
"No, not at all! You're much quieter than some people I know," Mrs. Stubbs said shaking her head as though remembering old trouble-making tenants. "And you understand that I'm not your housekeeper, unlike many. It's just that you're very behind on your payments, dear, and I can't have you living here on credit." She slowly placed a letter on his kitchen counter, with a sorrowful glance at the kettle which Demyx had so kindly put on for tea, just for her.
Demyx swallowed audibly, breathing out a "Is that...?" before trailing off.
"Yes, an eviction notice, dear. A notice will be posted on your door tomorrow morning. I know it's ugly and no one wants it but it must be done. You've got five days to make up the money, but I've a strange feeling you won't be able to get the money back from where you've sent it, am I right?"
"Yeah... yeah, I won't. I'm sorry, I've tried so hard to pay both of you, but I haven't been getting enough work to cover everything. But don't you worry! I'll pay back every penny I owe you, I swear, plus interest! It'll take a little time, but I'll... I'll get a job at a restaurant or something. If I can't make enough money with music, I'll make more elsewhere. I WILL be self-sufficient!" Demyx slammed his hand on the counter, angry tears starting to drip onto the letter.
I will provide for those I love, even if I have to give up what I love.
Mrs. Stubbs jumped a little at this, but stepped forward to pat him on the back. "I'm so sorry, dear. Just pay me back what you can when you can. If you ever want to come back or if you need a character reference, I'm here," Mrs. Stubbs assured him, giving him a small sympathetic smile.
Demyx wasn't quite sobbing, but she could tell that he needed some time, so Mrs. Stubbs gave him a final pat, saying "I'll bake you a nice apple pie. You could use it, you skinny thing."
"Thank you, Mrs. Stubbs. For everything," Demyx choked out as she moved to the door.
She gave a warm smile to his hunched back. "Just this once, dear. Not your housekeeper, remember?" She left him to his defeated thoughts with a muffled click of the door.
Demyx trudged the familiar path to the beach with his cello as slowly as possible with his brow furrowed and his head down. Even when he sat down to play, he kept thinking as he drew his bow across the strings and his fingers moved almost of their own accord.
There was no way he could earn enough money in so few days to pay back the months and months of rent he owed and he wasn't about to ask for a handout. Other people needed that money more, and besides, what did he do to deserve it? He had screwed things up for himself so he had to fix it himself.
But how? I can't ask anyone for help, I don't want to be a burden. They don't need to deal with my problems. At least I have a few days to think of where to stay. A few days to play my cello and pretend that things are normal.
Suddenly Zexion came bounding towards him, a shy yet certain smile sliding across his face as he spied his friend.
It's also a few days to say goodbye to Zexion if there's no other option.
Demyx pretended that he hadn't noticed Zexion yet in order to take a moment to compose himself. But Zexy knew that something was wrong.
"Demyx?" Demyx watched his friend's countenance shift to a look of concern and, touched that he cared so much, Demyx was able to give him a small smile.
Zexion still wasn't deterred. "Demyx? Are you all right?"
Demyx stalled by starting to pack up his cello. No, not really. But I can't let Zexy worry over me. I'd hate to upset him over something that's my fault anyway. He tried to appear cheery as he asserted, "I'm okay. I'm just going through some rough times. Nothing I can't handle! How're you, Zexy?"
"I'm okay. Thank you, Demyx." Demyx was relieved that Zexion had dropped it. He didn't think he could stand it if he ended up bawling in front of this kind boy. He decided to try to steer the conversation towards something more positive. Just act like it was a normal situation, and it would be normal.
"So, Zexy, since we're friends now, I thought we could tell each other more about ourselves!"
Zexion gave him a relieved smile as he asked, "What did you have in mind?"
Demyx hadn't planned this far ahead. He thought for a moment before deciding that it didn't matter if he said something stupid as long as things stayed positive. "Umm... oh! What's your favorite color?" The question took Zexy off guard.
"Uhhh, blue I suppose," he said, looking Demyx in the eye as he did so. Demyx smiled, noting that Zexy had dyed his hair blue, so he must like the color.
"Me, too! Look, we have things in common already!" Demyx exclaimed, trying to keep up his usual level of bubbliness. He decided to keep asking these standard questions to keep the conversation moving. "Okay, another one! Where do you live?" Oh, crap. Please don't think I'm a stalker, he prayed.
"Just a few blocks down, on Cherry. Where do you live?"
The question, so innocent a moment before, threw Demyx for a loop when shot back to him.
I've never really had a home, and now that I've almost, finally had something, I've lost it because I've been so careless. But... I couldn't be selfish. Other people needed that money more. But I can't tell him that. I still am living there, for a few days more at least, so it wouldn't be a terrible lie to say-
"Um, I, uh, just live d-downtown?" For now, he added silently.
Zexion sighed, obviously noticing how flustered Demyx was. "Demyx, if you don't trust me to know yet, that's fine. I am a stranger after all." Nononono, that's not it! Demyx thought frantically. He had given Zexy the entirely wrong idea.
"Oh! No, it's not that it's just..." What am I supposed to tell him? It's better if he thinks that I'm a horrible person than if he knows the truth. At the very least, I need more time to get my story straight. "Uh, never mind. Listen, I have to go, Zexy, can I meet you here again tomorrow?" Demyx finished hastily shoving his cello and his bow into its case. He was almost frantic now, desperate to be alone.
"Bye Zexion." Demyx cut him off in his haste. He didn't even turn to look back, knowing that if he saw how much he had hurt Zexion by acting this way, he would break down and he'd have to reveal everything.
Demyx walked quickly towards home, but it wasn't fast enough. And it won't be my home much longer. The thought made him even sadder, but he tried to hold his feelings in, quickly wiping the tears that had started to form with the back of his sleeve and walked even faster. By the time he'd made it to his front door, he had to keep his mouth firmly shut to try to hold back the sobs. As soon as he got inside, he dropped his cello as gently as he could and then proceeded to sink to the ground with it.
As he knelt there, his thoughts weren't even coherent, so he just let go until he was all cried out. He lay there for a while, breathing hard, before pushing himself up and drying his raw eyes with some scratchy tissues.
I can't give up. I've got to start planning for my future, whatever it is. Demyx surveyed the room silently, his eyes skimming over the furniture that was falling apart and the few pictures of the ocean he had ripped out of magazines and taped to the walls to brighten things up a bit. He sighed. I need to figure out what's important, pack it... and leave the rest. Demyx went out and dug around the dumpsters outside until he found a few cardboard boxes that didn't smell too bad. I'll just pack up anything I won't need to make it easier for Mrs. Stubbs to... to get rid of my things.
Demyx got to work, emptying cupboards and pulling down the magazine photos. He tried to keep his mind empty and focus on the task at hand, pretending it wasn't his house, but when he got to his Finding Nemo bed sheets, he almost started to cry again. He tried to justify taking them with him, but they were too bulky. I need to have something from here with me, though. I can't-I just can't leave without a memento. So carefully, lovingly, he took a pair of scissors and cut out the image of the little fish. Sorry, Nemo. Looks like we're both a little lost.
Demyx nearly jumped out of his skin. He moved hesitantly towards the buzzer.
A male voice he didn't quite recognize came through the speakers.
"Um, is this Demyx?"
"...Yep! Who is this? I know you're not my landlord, so..." Who in the world could that be? I know I've heard that voice before, recently even.
"Um. This is Zexion, actually." The name hit him like a cold wave. Demyx gave a panicked glance to the bare apartment and the boxes that now held all of his possessions. What if he's so worried about how I acted today that he's come to talk to me? No, not good. Stall. Keep him out.
"Zexy? Um h-how did you find me?"
"Oh! I just. You left your music book on the beach and I thought... you just seemed unhappy today so I..." Crap, so that was it. Partly. If only I hadn't been in such a hurry to get away I wouldn't have forgotten it! But I'm still not ready to talk to him. I've got too much baggage. Another glance at the boxes. Literally. The bitter pun almost cheered him up and he found the strength to reply to Zexy without tears, though his voice was almost a whisper.
"No! It's fine! C-can you just bring it to the beach tomorrow?... Please?"
"Of course Demyx, but are you alright? You seem-"
"What are you talking about Zexy?" Such a sweet friend. He's so concerned. I can't let him worry about me. I need to pull it together. At least... for him. "I am perfectly fine! I'll see you at the beach tomorrow, thanks for saving my book, bye!" He let the line go dead. Barely managed that one, Demyx thought with a sigh.
He heard Zexion pushing the button again, but he ignored it. He wouldn't be able to keep chipper if Zexy continued to be so persistent. I can't let him see the eviction notice. It's bad enough that he saw where I live-well. Used to live. This tiny, run-down place that I can't even afford... Pathetic.
I really do need to hold it together, though. For him and myself. His eyes fell on his discarded cello. And a real job.
Demyx looked out the window, down the street towards a few restaurants and shops.
I can't go back there and disappoint them like that. Not when I was doing something right for a change. I need to support myself. Whatever way I can. Even if... even if I don't like it.
When Demyx finally collapsed on a bench at the park, he was exhausted but optimistic. He had applied to a few different places that were hiring and although he would probably be starting at around minimum wage, he knew he could at least get some steady work to provide for himself and pay off his debt to Mrs. Stubbs. He would have to shift his tutoring to accommodate and perhaps ask around to see if anyone else needed musical instruction. I can't believe how much I've been slacking off. I've got to give my all! I'm not the only one counting on this. I still don't know where I'll stay, but I'll keep thinking and searching. A few normal days left before I devote myself to my work and give up on the beach for a while...
Demyx played as he thought, passing his bow with much ardor across the the resonating strings. A small crowd gathered but he took no notice, letting the music carry him. He didn't look up until the very end and found Zexion there applauding awkwardly, Demyx's music book in one hand.
"Zexy! And you brought my book!" Demyx grinned, really happy for the first time in a few days, set his cello down, and raced towards the doctor, enveloping him in a hug. Perhaps our last.
"Ooof!" Oops. Perhaps Demyx had been a little too enthusiastic. But Demyx felt Zexy's smile pressed into his shoulder and figured that he didn't mind.
"Hi Demyx, how are you?" Zexion had managed to mumble around his shoulder.
"I'm good actually!" That much was true. "Sorry about yesterday... I was... uhhh... sick and I didn't want you to catch anything, yeah." That was not true. But it was a pretty good lie. C'mon, please buy it. I don't want what could be our last day to end... badly. I'm not worthy of his friendship anymore, but I'd like to part happily.
"Demyx, listen I-"
"Hold on a sec, will you? That was my last piece for today so I need to pack up." No, I won't listen. Sorry. I can't do this. I can't pull anyone else into my problems.
Zexy followed, persisting. "Demyx, I really think we should talk about what happened yesterday," he affirmed. No, we really shouldn't. Don't make this any harder, please. Demyx hummed a peppy tune hoping, praying, that the meek, mild-mannered doctor would simply let the matter go if he realized how impossible it was for him to talk about this one thing.
"Demyx we really need to-"
"Hey Zexy, can you hand me that-"
"DEMYX!" Demyx immediately froze, his weak facade crumbling, and turned to face Zexion. Zexy stood there, his chin thrust forward and his visible eye defiant until he saw the frightened, unguarded look on Demyx's face, at which point he softened.
"Thank you. We need to talk. Please?" Zexion prompted. Defeated, Demyx moved to Zexy's favorite bench and wearily gestured for him to sit.
"Demyx, I-I know something is bothering you and you're my friend so I. I'm really worried." Zexy offered hesitantly. Sweet. He's so sweet. I don't want him to worry, but if I tell him the truth, he'll only worry more. A lose-lose scenario.
"Why would you think that, Zexy?" Demyx offered a half-hearted smile, but he already knew that Zexy wasn't buying that act. He was really postponing the inevitable. The certain alienation or pity that would follow his confession.
"That's why. You're. You're sad at completely random times and I know I haven't known you for too long, but today and yesterday you just seem off from how I've known you," It feels like you've known me forever. "And I-I'm sorry. I'm not very good at this. I'm probably wrong anyway," No you're right. Entirely right. "You can just ignore everything I said I-"
"Zexion!" Demyx couldn't bear to see his smart, brave friend trying to offer him help while knowing that he, Demyx, was rejecting Zexy's friendship in order to save his own image. It was completely, entirely unpardonable. He took Zexion's face in his hand, trying to show him the apology written on his own face. "It's ok. You. You're not wrong." Zexion seemed to accept this, was listening to him now so he let go.
"I am upset. It's just a little problem with my apartment. But really. Don't worry about it Zexy because it's not that big a deal. I swear, okay? A lot of people have it way worse than I do, so. So, I'm totally fine." Demyx managed to smile more reassuringly this time. Please, let that be enough. Please don't ask for more because I can't give you much more.
Zexy, unfortunately, was skeptical. "Demyx. Are you sure? What's wrong with your apartment?"
"It's really nothing, Zexion. I promise." Ok, now he was really full-out lying. And he couldn't hide much longer.
"It's not nothing, Demyx, it can't be nothing."
"I'm fine, really."
"No, you're not." Dang, he's too perceptive. And I'm an open book. Perhaps this is a little rude but-
"How do you know? I'm just fine really."
"NO, YOU'RE NOT, DEMYX! You're right. How do I know? Well, I know I've only really known you for about a week but I feel like it's been months, Demyx. You're one of my best friends already and I really care about you. I don't want you to be sad, because I already know it's not the person you are. So please. Just. Tell me what's wrong. Please."
Demyx wilted. Zexion, too, seemed taken aback by his own boldness. His head was bowed, staring at the ground. He's so afraid of being wrong, but in this case he's right, he's entirely right. And I can't deny him that, it would be too cruel. Zexy started to backpedal, quickly apologizing.
"I-I'm sorry Demyx, I didn't mean to-"
"No. N-no you're right I'm not okay. And I feel t-terrible about it. It's not that big a deal. It's not. I'm lucky. I'm so so l-lucky and I'm so s-selfish to feel this way I just-. I can't-." Demyx tried to hold back, but he couldn't. The weight of the horrible past few days had taken all the fight out of him and he was so tired of trying to be strong. He couldn't anymore. He began to cry, this time in front of his best friend.
And to his surprise, instead of walking away in disgust or yelling at him or making fun of him, Zexy instead moved closer, taking Demyx into his arms, offering kind words. A kindness I don't deserve. This made the tears run afresh, but his sobs were soon quieted.
As soon as he thought himself capable of speech, he pushed himself away and wiped his nose on his sleeve.
"I got an eviction n-notice from my landlord yesterday morning. I have nowhere to go but I don't know why I acted so s-sad about it, some people have it so much worse. I'm l-lucky to even have lived somewhere for so long at all. I'm sorry Zexy. I didn't mean to break down like that. I'm just kind of selfish sometimes so I get sad about it. It's no big deal."
He could tell that this had shocked Zexy quite a bit, yet he was still understanding. "Demyx, why didn't you tell me? I can help you..uh...Come stay with me!"
Now it was Demyx's turn to be shocked. That this man could offer something so generously to someone he had only known for a few weeks was... too much. He couldn't accept.
"No! Nononono. I could never intrude like that. I'll figure something out. Like I said. I was just being selfish really it's not a problem. Really. Other people go through it every day." Shoot, more tears.
Another surprise, Zexy, shy, no-contact Zexy, took Demyx's face this time and started gently wiping away his tears. Zexy himself seemed surprised that he'd done it, but also pleased. Seeing Zexy so vulnerable but so happy cheered Demyx. He giggled, a relief after so much crying. Zexion was back to business again, continuing his offer as he withdrew his hands.
"You wouldn't intrude, and you wouldn't be a burden. My cousin, Riku-he's my roommate too-and I both have good jobs and a lot of space. It would be absolutely no problem with room or money. Please?"
Really, so kind. So impossibly kind. What did I do to deserve this? I've done nothing but wrong and he still wants to help me. But I can't impose on him like that. And Riku! I don't even know him. I really don't want to bother anyone else. I'd pay for everything I could, but I might just end up in debt again, to another kind person.
"It would make me really sad if you didn't..." Zexy begged. And I've already made him so sad. If this will keep him from worrying, then I suppose... I'll have to accept.
Demyx didn't trust himself to speak for the moment so he simply smiled. Zexy smiled back, finally happy, and even hugged him. Surprised once again by this more confident side of Zexy, Demyx laughed, released from his own worry at last.
"Anything to make my Zexy smile."
"But I'm not moving until I have to. I don't want to give you anymore trouble than I have to, and that's that Zexy!"
If I've got to be a burden, I want it to be for as short a time as possible. I already owe so many people so much.
Demyx had been asking all of the parents he knew if they knew anyone who needed a music teacher and had managed to find a few more kids he could take on so he was pleased that he could still do a little of what he loved and make money at it. If he managed to land a part-time job at one of the stores he'd applied to, though, he'd have to give up his days on the beach. So for now, every time he went, he played as if it was the last time.
He was so absorbed in his music that he felt as if he were entirely alone, yet when he finished and opened his eyes there was a small crowd and a little more money than usual in his cello case. He glowed, truly happy that people appreciated his music.
As always, Zexy came strolling up the walk, his grin spreading wider the closer he came to Demyx.
"Hi, Zexy!" Demyx chirped.
"Hi, Demyx, done with your set?" Zexion seemed perfectly normal, now that he was no longer worried about Demyx's situation.
"Yup! I wish I could stay longer but I have a lesson soon," Demyx said with a pout. He liked spending time with Zexy and now that he was taking on more work he couldn't meet him on the beach anymore. But now that he was moving in, he'd get to spend time with Zexy every evening so he decided it didn't matter.
"Oh! I'm sorry. I got held up at work and I couldn't come earlier, I just thought-" Zexion rambled apologetically until Demyx cut him off.
"Zexy! It's fine, calm down! I can always talk to you tomorrow, okay?" Demyx chuckled. The way Zexy switched from shy to brave and back again was a little confusing, but there was something charming about it.
"Oh, ha, right. Well, Okay, I'll see you tomorrow then right?"
"Yep! Bye!" Demyx skipped forward for a quick hug, then started walking to his newest student's house.
"Oh! Hey, Demyx, have you started packing yet?" Demyx turned back to smile at Zexion. Ha, that's right. He doesn't know I've been packed and ready to go for the past few days now. Guess I shouldn't have cut Nemo out of my sheets, now that we'll have a home.
"Yeah. It's sad packing up my apartment but I get to move in with you, Zexy, so it's okay." He walked closer to where Zexy was standing. "Thank you for being so nice and doing this for me. You're wonderful."
Spontaneously, Demyx leaned forward to kiss Zexion on the cheek before turning and rushing away, tossing a "Goodbye!" over his shoulder.
Yikes, where did that come from? Hopefully he won't think that's too weird. I'm going to live with him after all.
Wow. That still hadn't hit me yet, I guess. I'm going to live with Zexy!
Demyx giggled, excited for his new life to begin.
A/N: Thank you again for reading and please review! Try to guess who Mrs. Stubbs is based off of and where her name comes from. When you read the part she's in and don't know where she's from, go find out because it's amazing and I'm kind of obsessed with it. ANYWAY. Try and you get a virtual Marimo! If you're the first to get it right you get a chance to design an OC for this story and I will gladly fit them in! Thanks again!
Love you all!
~Mari-chan and Monopods89