"Please, guys - I'm sorry, but...I just...can't talk right now."

Demyx felt horrible, pushing his closest friends away like that, but he really could not tolerate company at that moment. His ribs hurt, his back hurt, his broken pelvis was radiating pain throughout his abdomen and down his legs, and his left hand had never stopped throbbing since it had thawed out completely. And the physical pain wasn't nearly the worst of it - those few times he wasn't in pain or unconscious, he was always wiped-out and woozy from all the morphine they kept giving him, more than it seemed like Vexen had ever given him back home, and yet he could never truly relax and rest; he was willing to believe he hadn't had an honest-to-goodness full night's sleep since...since the accident.

The accident. When the roller coaster he'd been riding on had spontaneously collapsed, severely injuring him and killing the ride operator who'd been riding along. That's what everyone else said had happened; that's what everyone else thought had happened. Demyx had never had the nerve to tell anyone otherwise, not even Axel or Roxas - to tell them the truth as he knew it, about the inhuman monster of a ride operator who'd tried to drive him to insanity and suicide with visions of himself as a monster, turn him against his friends with visions of all the unkindness and cruelty they'd ever shown him, seduce him with the burning-cold crystal heart around her neck, and finally, when he'd proved resistant to all her tactics, simply break him inside and out. He didn't dare tell anyone that Unktehi, the legendary stone-scaled monster the roller coaster had been named after, was real, and was the roller coaster, and wanted to replace her lost powers over water by destroying him and taking his...he just couldn't. If he was lucky, they'd tell him the morphine was getting to him. Even his left hand, that had been so horribly frostbitten when he'd pulled the crystal heart away and smashed it, that should have been clear proof that his story was true...he didn't even dare explain that. He pretended it was as much a mystery to himself as it was to anyone else, even though he knew there was a chance he could lose that hand and be the only person in the worlds to know why.

"All right...can't say I blame you. You rest and get better, and we'll come see you when you feel more fit for company." Demyx bit his tongue as Axel leaned over and ruffled his hair - rest? With nightmares like he had? Not likely. And adding in the headache and nausea he had going right now - he so hated painkillers - he'd be lucky if he could close his eyes for fifteen minutes without puking or sliding into another nightmare. But he couldn't tell his friends that. They wanted to know he was okay, so they had to think he was or would be okay. Axel, at least, seemed to feel confident that he would be okay without their constant support, which was exactly what Demyx wanted, but Roxas paused in the doorway on his way out, looking back at Demyx with a worried expression. Demyx just closed his eyes, as if he was really intending to go to sleep, until he heard Roxas go out the door.

Once his friends were gone, though, he didn't really have anything to do but go to sleep. He didn't especially want to, but turning the TV on would be intolerable with his headache, and he couldn't sit up to read or do anything else. It was sleep or stare at the ceiling, and though staring at the ceiling had the benefit of not leading to nightmares, it would inevitably make him fall asleep sooner or later. He tried to fight it - he never wanted to see Unktehi again, he wanted to forget she'd ever existed even if he had hallucinated her all along, he wanted to be out of this fucking hospital and back at the castle even if he would be stuck in the medical wing because at least he'd have to deal with Vexen and Fori and Zexion instead of an unending chain of strange doctors and nurses and people he didn't know who wouldn't leave him alone... With those uncomfortable thoughts still in his head, he accidentally fell asleep.

He found himself on a roller coaster. No, not just any roller coaster - the roller coaster. Unktehi's roller coaster. Just like in real life, in the dream, he didn't know what was going on or that it wasn't just a normal roller coaster until it was too late, and the ride was already pulling away, and the whole world froze around it. The ride operator who'd hopped into the front car at the last second turned and smiled at him, a malicious, predatory smile, and he knew he was in deep shit all over again - he had to get off the ride, quick, before it was too late. He already knew what he had to do - get Unktehi's heart away from her, smash it on the rails, and then and only then could he escape -

He tried to stand up, and failed. His left hand was stuck to the seat. He looked down - his left hand was becoming part of the seat, part of the roller coaster, part of the monster Unktehi -

I'm doomed. I'm doomed I'm doomed I'm dead I am so doomed...

The world suddenly slid sideways, and the dream shattered. But he did not wake up.

He found himself in a sunny field, with green grass underfoot and a brilliantly blue sky with appropriately white, fluffy clouds overhead, in uniform, for no comprehensible reason. He had not the faintest idea how he got there, which bothered him immensely - he was aware that something had just happened, and that he'd just been yanked out of the recurrent nightmare about the roller coaster to here (wherever here was), but beyond that, he didn't know what the hell had just happened. When you were suddenly jarred out of a dream like that, no matter if it was a good dream or nightmare, no matter what had jarred you out of it, weren't you supposed to wake up?

Well, maybe it was just a different dream, which would be perfectly welcome. This place looked infinitely more pleasant than the roller coaster, not to mention somehow familiar. He couldn't quite tell yet how it was familiar, so he looked around, on the premise that it couldn't hurt and might help. Behind him, the grass began to turn dry and brown, and the clouds grew darker and more numerous, but in front of him, the grass stretched on, green and lush under a blue sky, dotted here and there with brilliantly colored flowers...

He'd had a dream like this once before, hadn't he? He'd been in the hospital then too, except in the hospital wing at the castle...while he was still recovering from Malenisa's handiwork - come to think of it, Unktehi and Malenisa had certain things in common, mostly unpleasant personality traits...on top of his injuries, exacerbated by a recent seizure, he'd been sick with pneumonia, very sick...in fact, he'd very nearly died...

All of a sudden, the long-forgotten details of that long-ago dream came crashing back, and Demyx sat down hard on the ground, staring at the distant flowers with an expression of blank shock and horror. He knew where he was now. He knew that beyond the flowers was a deep pool, beyond the pool a gateway beneath a waterfall, and beyond the gateway...the next life. And this time, he knew, there would be no Axel willing to put his life on the line to save him, and keep him from crossing over. Axel would be back in the World that Never Was by now, with no idea...no idea... Not even Demyx knew what had just happened - had he just randomly died in his sleep or something? Did he have a fatal seizure - still dying in his sleep, but less random? Did it even matter? He was here, and there was only one place for him to go now...and he did not want to go.

"I wasn't expecting this," he whispered to the careless breeze. "I wasn't ready."

The breeze continued on, totally heedless of anything he had to say, leaving him sitting in the grass, still struggling to come to grips with what had just happened. He'd fought so hard for his life, when Unktehi had been fighting so hard to kill him...and he'd won; he'd destroyed the monster. It was beyond unfair for him to just spontaneously die of his injuries two weeks later. He wasn't supposed to die now. He was supposed to be getting better. He'd fought so damn hard to live, and that was exactly what he wanted to do - live. Not die. Live. And...oh, fuck him for kicking Axel and Roxas out earlier; if only he'd known that was the last time he'd ever see them, the last chance he'd ever get to talk to them, until they could join him here...had Roxas known? Or at least guessed something was going to happen? Was that why he'd given him that backwards glance on his way out the door?

I didn't think it would happen so soon...not now...not like this...

But when the Reaper came calling, there was no saying no. And he couldn't just sit in the grass all day. Slowly, very slowly, Demyx picked himself up on the ground, forcing himself to walk as normally as possible towards the flowers. The horrible suddenness and unfairness of his situation kept tearing at him, ripping into him so badly he couldn't even cry, but the further he went, the more he came to grips with it - yes, it was unfair, but a lot of people died totally unfair deaths. Besides, as often as he'd knocked on Death's door and run away in the past, he should have known his luck would run out eventually. And he knew that it was beautiful, on the other side...it just...wasn't fair. He'd had plans for the rest of his life, that were never going to happen now - places to go, good times to have, things to accomplish...and as the flowers became so thick around his feet that the grass disappeared, he suddenly stopped in his tracks and began to cry.

He didn't know how long he stood there crying, but when the tears finally dried, he discovered he felt - clean. Cleansed, somehow. Not that he wanted to die, not that it wasn't still horribly unfair, but he felt somehow readier to face it. Technically, it had already happened, but now he could continue the rest of the way, to the pool and the gateway beyond, and - beyond. Beyond to a world he'd only glimpsed once, but that glimpse had shown him such beauty, at once grand and intimate, and he'd heard such incredible music over there...he knew that he would be welcome there, and welcome to join the song, no matter what his mortal life had been like... By the time he reached the edge of the pool, he felt - almost truly ready. Not quite, but almost. And there was something new he didn't remember from the last time he was here, a little boat on the shore, presumably ready to take a passenger across...

Something stirred, deep within the pool. Demyx took an instinctive step back, and froze with horror as Unktehi's stone-scaled head rose from beneath the surface, grinning at him.

Well, well, well, the monster's voice echoed in his mind, as Unktehi rose further out of the water and loomed over him, her fang-studded grin reminding him strongly of the ride operator's sadistic smirk. What a pleasant surprise to see you here.

"Oh, shut up," Demyx said bitterly, once he got over the shock. Of course Unktehi would be here; she was dead, after all. And she was probably too evil to be allowed across the waterfall. It wouldn't surprise him if she'd been waiting for him here the whole time, just so she could rub it in... "So you won. I'm dead. And a fat lot of good it does you."

Such a shame, Unktehi purred, lowering her head and looking at him on his own level with her glowing-bright eyes. You were quite young, even for a human, were you not? And after you fought so hard to survive...

"Shut up," Demyx repeated, scowling down at his boots. "Pardon me if you don't come across as entirely sincere when you were the one trying to kill me."

As you said, it does me no good, Unktehi responded, her mental voice still that insincere purr, and shrugged in a way that seemed to involve her entire serpentine body. I can show respect to a strong opponent if I so choose.

"Oh, bullshit." Demyx sat down on a rock near the boat, turning his scowl on Unktehi, who seemed to deserve it more than his boots. "There's a difference between showing respect to a strong opponent and rubbing in the fact that they're dead anyway. At least you're not swearing at me anymore." Fuck it, wasn't he past the point where all pain ended forever? Most of his body felt healthier than ever - he was even pretty confident that he was hearing perfectly well without his hearing aids, though he hadn't yet checked whether he had them or not - but his left hand had just started to hurt as much as it ever had in the hospital. If Unktehi wasn't in the way, he'd just get in the boat and head for the waterfall and the gateway; on the other side, all pain would surely disappear.

Unktehi looked mildly affronted at the mention of swearing, or as much so as a monster-stone-snake-dragon with glowing eyes could; she was starting to remind Demyx more and more of Malenisa. I was only swearing at you in the first place because that sort of language seemed appropriate to a modern teenage avatar, she said. I'm surprised you were shocked by it.

"Not so much shocked as annoyed; I'm pretty sure I told you to lay off the F-bombs at the time." Demyx turned his scowl to the water's edge now, and tucked his throbbing hand under the opposite armpit - maybe the added warmth and pressure would make it hurt less. "Out of curiosity, was that ride operator a real person you possessed, or just something you made up out of magic? Because she certainly didn't hit or take hits like a real person - more like a marble statue - ah, what the hell does it matter. We're both dead. Thanks to each other. But I, at least, will be able to rest that much easier knowing you're not still out there wreaking havoc. I doubt you can say the same. So if you'll excuse me -" Demyx pulled himself to his feet and took one step towards the boat, intending to be on his way and leave Unktehi behind. With him in the boat, there was nothing she could do to keep it from reaching the other side; he could keep it afloat if she smashed it in half.

You don't want to go there, do you? Not yet, at least. The direction you really want to go is back where you came from...

Demyx stopped, squeezing sudden tears from his eyes. She just would not stop twisting the knife as long as she had the handle, would she? "Yeah, and so what?" he hissed through clenched teeth. "I can't go back. Death is a one-way street. It's stay here or go on, and hell if I want to stay here with you for company."

Unktehi only rose a little further out of the water, stretching towards him until her head was only two feet from his. But you haven't crossed over yet. All you have to do is turn around. You can still go back.

"...What?" Demyx said in a small voice, wondering if she was toying with him or something - she couldn't want him to survive out of the goodness of her colder-than-ice heart. Either she was lying to him, or she simply wasn't telling him everything. "What's the catch?" he demanded suspiciously, unable to believe that there wasn't one.

No catch, Unktehi replied, as pleasantly as was probably possible for her. All you have to do is turn around and go back the way you came. You'll be able to return to the life you left behind, no worse for wear. It's that simple. Demyx kept staring at her for several moments, unable to believe it could really be that simple; finally, when no more information was forthcoming and he couldn't work out a catch to save his life (other than the obvious possibility that Unktehi was lying, and if she was, no harm would come of investigating), he turned away from the boat and started heading back through the flowers, towards the field. And, of course, I will be coming with you.

"...What?" Demyx whipped around, his face contorting with anger - he knew it, he knew she wasn't looking out for him, but for herself. "If that's the case, fuck yourself!" he shouted, turning back toward the boat and forcing back the tears that were pricking at his eyes again. Fuck her; he was so not ready to die, and never see anyone he knew again until they died as well, but if the only way he could return to life was to bring her back with him...no. He'd sooner die a thousand times over, in Malenisa's torture chamber.

Don't be too rash now. All of a sudden, there was nothing...nothing he could describe as overtly or covertly evil in Unktehi's voice, just a warning tone, that he might have expected from any concerned stranger trying to make him not do something stupid. He trusted it as far as he could throw Unktehi. If you cross the water and pass the waterfall, there will be no turning back. Ever. Think carefully before you go - are you truly ready?

"Does it matter?" Demyx said bitterly. "Whether I'm ready or not, I would rather die now than go back and take you with me. I'd be happy to die to make sure you stayed dead." The regret ached as badly as his hand - he didn't want to die, he wasn't ready, there was so much he was going to miss, all that future he wasn't going to have - but if survival meant he had to take Unktehi back with him, then he would die.

Are you truly ready to leave everything behind forever?

Demyx pretended not to hear her. He knew that she was only trying to talk him into living for her own benefit, and it was something he was just not willing to do. His little life was a small price to pay to ensure Unktehi could never wreak havoc on the worlds again...Axel and Roxas would understand, if only they knew...but...they wouldn't know. They'd never know. And they'd never understand. All they'd know was that their best friend - their brother - had simply died all of a sudden, alone in a hospital on some distant world, just when they were sure he was recovering all right. If Greater Nobodies faded like Lessers when they died...there wouldn't even be a funeral. There wouldn't even be a chance to say goodbye... How could he do that to them? But how could he justify bringing Unktehi back to life, no matter what?

...Why did he have to bring her along anyway? If his body hadn't faded yet, he would have something to return to, and if it had, then he couldn't return anyway and there was no point in worrying about it anymore - but he knew Unktehi's body had been destroyed. He could still see the shattered remains of the roller coaster scattered on the grass around him, as clearly as if he was still lying there, and he'd seen the "ride operator" or whatever she was being loaded into a body bag. And her crystal heart, which had apparently been all-important to her survival, had been very thoroughly smashed. She couldn't come back, no matter where she followed him. Laughing aloud at this realization, he took a few running steps back through the flowers, hardly even caring that Unktehi rose out of the water to follow him. "You might as well stay there," he said, a little smugly. "There's nothing for you to go back to. You have been pretty thoroughly destroyed. And if I have too, then, we're both equally screwed and wasting our time. Either way, you're screwed and wasting your time. Now, as you pointed out, I have a life to get back to already."

There was silence for a moment. Then Unktehi laughed. Laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed - the entire field was ringing with it. Demyx turned around very slowly to look at her - she suddenly seemed to have grown to the size of a mountain, as if the sheer force of that smug laughter was inflating her and shrinking Demyx to the size of an ant.

...I'm screwed, he realized with an intense, ugly chill.

When Unktehi stopped laughing, she grinned down at him with far more teeth than any being should have. But of course I have something to return to, she purred. Demyx's left hand suddenly burned with pain, agonizing enough to send him to his knees. I said I would be returning with you.

"No," Demyx ground out between clenched teeth. Kingdom Hearts, his hand...it had never hurt this much in his life, not even when Malenisa cut two of his fingers off and set it on fire. On impulse, he ripped the glove off it, to discover that it was randomly sparkling for no reason he could explain.

No. Not no reason. It was suddenly covered in little chips of shining stone. Just like Unktehi's scales.

Haven't you always wanted a heart? Unktehi asked solicitously, arching over his head. If you'd rather your cohorts didn't know about it, you could hide it...but just think of the power it would bring you. Power over water and earth alike. The future made as clear to you as the here and now. Health, long life, and any woman you please, or man, if you prefer. Her "voice" dropped to almost a whisper. No one would ever ignore you again, or pass you by in the street like you didn't even exist. No one would ever call you "nobody" again.

...It was tempting. It shouldn't have been - Demyx knew he shouldn't want anything to do with it - but it was tempting. He didn't like being called a Nobody, even if it was accurate. He didn't like being weak and frail and generally ignored. And he did want a heart...but damn it all, he wanted a real heart. Not a chunk of vibrating stone, hard as ice and twice as cold. Not a heart like Unktehi's. And the scales on his hand told him what the bargain would be, if he agreed to it - if he went back to his old life, he wouldn't just bring Unktehi with him, he would become Unktehi. That left him only one real choice.

With a forlorn sigh, he turned back towards the pool and the waterfall beyond, with every intention of getting in that boat and taking the final one-way trip. But Unktehi kept looming over him, still wearing that smug, expectant grin...and he realized, with a shock as sharp as breathing icewater, that if he continued to the paradise beyond the waterfall, she would follow him there too. He didn't want to think what a monster like her would do to that beautiful land, that was supposed to be free of pain and suffering of all kinds. There was nowhere for him to go - if he didn't want Unktehi to return to life, or to invade that paradise, he would have to remain in this limbo forever, with no one but Unktehi for company. Aside from the pleasant surroundings, it would do as a working version of Hell.

...Yes, his hand was still covered in tiny stone scales. Even here, there was no way to be sure he wouldn't turn into a male version of Unktehi, sooner or later.

Maybe one way.

Stealthily, silently, he slipped his right hand into his pocket. Seeing as he was in uniform, there was no reason to - yes, there it was. His utility knife, that Xemnas required all of them carry on duty just because they came in so damn handy in so many situations. He pulled it out with a faint smile - yeah, the sawblade attachment would probably work best. Taking a moment to reflect on what he was about to do and the fact that he'd completely lost his mind, he braced his left hand against a convenient rock and started sawing at his wrist with the blade.

Unktehi screamed. The sound was almost enough to knock him on his back, but he kept sawing determinedly, forcing the blood to stay in his body where it belonged instead of spilling out all over the place. The pain - ah, Gods, he didn't want to think about that, he couldn't take the time to let it hurt - he just kept sawing, and kept sawing, and kept sawing, and - blessed Gods, it was off. As he stared at the stone-scaled hand on the blood-stained rock, trying to wrap his head around the fact that that hand used to be part of his body and he'd just cut it off with a pocketknife, Unktehi screamed even louder, and suddenly collapsed into the water with a resounding splash.

...Was it really that easy?

That was easy?

Did I really just cut off my own hand...with a pocketknife?

Oddly enough, that realization wasn't nearly as shocking as it should have been, which Demyx figured meant that he'd lost a marble or ten somewhere along the way. Conscientiously tucking the bloody stump behind him so he wouldn't have to see it, he picked up the scaly hand and threw it into the pool as well, then...just stood there on the shore, wondering where to go from here. He still wanted to live, not die...if he chose to live, would he wake up to find himself with one hand? Could he stand to live like that? Well, he'd better learn how...blessed Gods, he felt so tired...so weak...he'd tried to keep the blood loss down with his powers, but maybe it hadn't worked so well...he tried to turn around, and head back through the flowers and the field towards life, but...what actually happened was that he swayed for a second, and then fell facefirst into the water.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

...He knew that sound. It was a heart monitor...a what now? Was that attached to him? How could it find anything like a pulse? Did he actually...no, he could sense a touch of magic in his arteries. Blood-magic, not water-magic, but the two had a lot in common. He remembered now, he'd used a little bit of magic to create a convincing pulse for himself, even before he'd been loaded onto the ambulance...but that wasn't his; that had to be Fori's. What happened to his magic? Why had Fori replaced it? Where the hell was he, anyway? He had to assume he was still in the hospital, or at least that was the most obvious conclusion when he thought about it, but how? He was pretty sure he was dead...maybe that had just been one seriously fucked-up dream...it wasn't like he'd really cut off his own hand in real life, no matter what...

Well, his hand still hurt, though not as much as it had - probably painkillers at work. Just to make sure it was still attached, he tried to wiggle his fingers, expecting a major pain surge. There was certainly fresh pain, but...it was in his wrist, not his hand. And his hand...so strange, he couldn't tell what was going on, he couldn't really feel anything...he raised his left arm so he could see it, and discovered that it now ended in a bandaged stump.

Blessed Gods. It really is gone.

"Damn...I was hoping you wouldn't catch on until you were at least more level." Demyx didn't even look up at the source of the familiar voice; he was too busy trying to convince himself that it wasn't the end of the world and lots of people lived just fine with one hand and there must be instruments out there that only required one hand to play and he really didn't need to cry, really. "Oh, come on, dude. I admit this might not be the prettiest face you could possibly wake up to, but you could at least look in my direction."

Look in his direction? It felt like a year before Demyx could bring himself to acknowledge that anyone was even there. "What happened?" he rasped finally, letting the stump fall across his stomach and covering his eyes with his right hand - the only hand he had, now.

"Gas gangrene, myonecrosis, and toxemia happened," Xigbar said in a wry tone, as if he was trying to be funny and failing pretty miserably. "I'll spare you most of the ugly details, and only mention that the first anyone knew of it was when you had a massive seizure and went into 'cardiac arrest'." Demyx raised his hand a little and actually looked at Xigbar now; the Freeshooter winked at him, a private instruction to keep the impossibility of a Nobody actually going into cardiac arrest between the two of them. "Luckily, they, uh, got your heart started again a few seconds after we dragged Fori here -" Suspicions confirmed. Demyx wasn't sure how anyone back home could have known as soon as he went into "cardiac arrest" - or when his own magic cut off and the doctors realized he had no heartbeat - but it made sense that they'd drag Fori into it and make him create a fake pulse, lest the doctors give up on trying to restart the heart he didn't have and declare a live Nobody dead. "But, uh, yeah. The infection was bad enough that...amputation was the only real option. At least they didn't have to take your whole arm."

Well...there was that tiny comfort. It would be even worse to try to adjust to life with no left arm as opposed to no left hand. It didn't change the basic fact that he'd never play sitar again. Or guitar, or violin, or viola, or just about any instrument he could think of off the top of his head...well, he could conceive of playing koto without an actual left hand, though it would certainly limit how he could play it, but... "I...guess it could be worse," Demyx whispered, pressing the stump to his chest over where his heart should have been. That was two vital pieces missing. Add in his malfunctioning ears, and...well, he wasn't left with much.

It's not fair. I don't care if it could be worse, I don't care if it was the only option. It's not fair.

"Well, if it makes you feel any better, as soon as they spring you from here, we can get to work on getting you a replacement."

Demyx uncovered his eyes all the way, squinting at Xigbar and wondering if he really had had the gall to say that. "What, is Vexen gonna invent a prosthetic good enough to play sitar with?" he asked bitterly, privately figuring that the way Vexen worked, he'd get his heart back before he ever finished.

Xigbar shrugged expressively. "He can if he wants to, but he doesn't have to. They already make 'em like that in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Lifelike in appearance, lifelike in motion. Permanent biomech implants. It'll take a while to get one, but once you do, it will be like having a whole new hand. And it's quicker than waiting on Vexen."

Demyx stared at him in disbelief, privately vowing to kill him horribly if he couldn't deliver. Granted, the Galaxy Far, Far Away had the highest technology level of any world he knew of, and if any world could pull that off, that was probably it, but...it was so incredible, to think that his hand was gone, taken away by infection or Unktehi's corrupt influence, but that they could somehow give it back... "If you're shitting me, I'll butcher you," he said, his voice coming out a dazed whisper.

"I'm not shitting you, man. I'd have to be pretty sick in the head to shit you about something like that." Xigbar chuckled faintly and ruffled Demyx's hair. "All right, I'm gonna go let your fellow delinquents in on the fact that you're still among the living, if you promise not to kick 'em out again. They just about pissed themselves when they heard what happened - I don't think Roxas has slept yet."

Demyx could only chuckle faintly - if only he dared tell them the story; they'd think he'd taken a day trip to la-la land. "Tell 'em I'm sorry for scaring 'em," he murmured softly. "And I won't kick 'em out again." That was one important thing - you could still give out hugs with one hand.

At least I'll sleep better tonight.

AN: Thanks to Revolutionary Venom, I've been inspired to work on in-between pieces spanning the gaps between epics, but I seem to have lost the ability to write drabbles. Everyone knows I love inflicting pain and suffering on my characters. I had all the excuse I needed to remove Demyx's left hand. And since I would be absolutely heartless to leave Demyx without a left hand indefinitely, he will get an excellent replacement.

Originally, I was going to just have the doctors decide that the frostbite damage went too deep and his hand had to be amputated, in a very ordinary, happens-all-the-time sort of way. To the rest of the world, severe frostbite leading to gas gangrene and amputation is still a not-unrealistic development, but the story as Demyx has it now...features more EPIC DEMYX. Albeit epic in a slightly weird, somewhat insane way. You kind of have to be to cut your own hand off, even if it's tainted with evil and has to be removed to save yourself and the worlds.

This will probably only make sense if you've already read "The Ride to Nowhere". And the setting for most of it will make more sense if you've read chapters 4 and 5 of "Weathering It".

Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, got it memorized?