Well...this is awkward...
I guess I should start with I'm sorry. I'm sorry this is about 2 or 3 months overdue. I started writing this story over winter break when I had lots of free time, and then I came back to school, started a new semester, and promptly got my ass kicked by my courses. Engineering classes are not kind to one's social and free time schedules. So I apologize for being really, incredibly late.
Other than that, this is the last chapter, and I hope you like it. Its a bit shorter than the other chapters, only because I didn't want to be adding unnecessary fluff at the end, I thought it was enough as is. If you can put aside you anger at my tardiness, please enjoy.
Zexion looked like he had just been slapped across the face.
At least, that was the only thing that Demyx could think of when he saw Zexion's face. Not the strangeness of the situation, not the random encounter of Zexion outside of the house, not the way the three of them were standing at Axel's front door just staring at each other; no, all Demyx could think of was the completely bewildered and utterly confused look on Zexion's face.
What was he doing here?
That had pretty much been Demyx's exact question to him, but the other man just stood there staring at him like he had grown a second head. He looked so perplexed, but at the same time he looked lost. Demyx had only ever seen Zexion as cool and composed, Zexion always thought before he spoke or acted. At least, he had until a night ago when Demyx walked in on his mental breakdown. But now was different. This wasn't composed Zexion. This wasn't emotionally train-wrecked Zexion. This was like a sad-puppy Zexion, who just seem purely confused. Demyx had received no response to his initial query yet, either.
"Did Axel invite you over?" Demyx asked, turning to his tall, lanky friend. He intended to glare at Axel, because if the answer to that question was anything near 'yes', someone was getting punched, and that someone was Axel. But when he saw Axel's bewildered face and awkward shrug and head shake, he knew that everyone in this situation was very very unsure of how they had ended up where they were right now.
"You…" Zexion started, but then trailed off.
"You what?" Demyx asked, eyeing him nervously. He had no idea why Zexion was here, and now that he was thinking about it, how had Zexion known where he lived? He never gave him his address, as so far as Demyx remembered. "How did you get here?" he asked.
"A bus…" Zexion said, "I came to see…" He trailed off again, then brought his hands up and rubbed at his eyes. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to intrude," he said, his voice muffled slightly by his hands, "I'll just…I'll just…" But he trailed off again, backing away from the door, finally turning away. The two men stood in the doorway and watched him walk across the street and sit down on the curb beneath Demyx's mailbox, resting his head on his knees. Axel and Demyx turned almost simultaneously to look at each other with nearly identical gazes of pure disbelief.
"Maybe you should go talk to him." Axel said, but Demyx just looked at him with a gaze that said something akin to 'You must be nuts'. "Look, dude, I know you're angry or upset with him or whatever, but I'm almost one hundred and ten percent positive he had no idea whatsoever that you were here. I don't think he came looking for you, all he said when he showed up was that he was looking for whoever lived across the street." He turned back to look at Zexion, "I don't think he knew it was you, I think he was expecting to see someone else."
Demyx turned back too, looking at the scene across the street sadly. Axel was right, Demyx was still upset with Zexion, but Zexion sure as hell seemed surprised to see Demyx. He sighed, and walked out the door. He heard Roxas behind him asking what was going on, but Axel's reply was muffled by the closing door.
Demyx made his way across the pavement, footsteps making dull thuds in a natural rhythm. He stopped in front of Zexion, but when the other did not lift up his gaze Demyx sat down beside the still figure. Still Zexion would not look up, but his shoulders rose and fell with deep breathes.
"Zexion?" Demyx prodded, unsure of how to start. He was mad. He was concerned. He was confused. He was hurting and didn't know why. There were so many questions that he had no idea where to begin, but thankfully Zexion picked up his head. He didn't look at Zexion, instead staring blankly across the street. When he spoke, Demyx was surprised by how level his voice was.
"When you were a child, you travelled to this world on a Gummi Ship." He said, calm and collected. It was a statement, not a question.
"Yeah, I did. What's that have to do with anything?" He asked, even more puzzled. But Zexion turned to him, a strange smile on his face, a sad smile.
"That's the beginning of the story."
"The story of how I ended up on Axel's porch today."
Zexion laughed then. It was breathy, empty. His smile became less sad, though. "Just let me tell you, I promise it will explain everything." Demyx simply nodded, interest peaked.
"When you were a child you travelled to this world on a Gummi Ship. But you were scared because you didn't know anything about this world; you didn't know anyone on it. So you wrote a letter, and you put it in a bottle. And then you let that bottle fly out into space, hoping that someone would find it and be your new friend. Do you remember?"
Demyx thought for a moment, "I don't know. That sounds like me so it sounds like it could be true but…" He thought harder, eyebrows creased in concentration, before a sudden epiphany hit him, "I do remember! I was sitting here waiting for a return letter when I met Axel! But how did you-?"
But Zexion was already handing him a folded up piece of paper. It was brown with age, and when Demyx opened it the words were barely legible. But he could vaguely make out the words, the strangely familiar words in a strangely familiar handwriting. It was like remembering a dream, everything hazy and pieces missing. But the more he thought, the more he remembered. The ship, the stars outside the window, waiting for the mailman, sitting on the curb, believing that his friend hated him; it all slowly filtered its way into his memory.
"But how…?" He started, turning up to see Zexion's sad smile once again.
"I'm sorry that I'm such a bad pen-pal." He said with a halfhearted shrug, and Demyx could only stare, shocked as the truth set in. Zexion looked down to the pavement and continued. "When I first got your letter I was about nine or ten years old. My world is dying, you know that. Back then I never thought that I was going to amount to anything. Not because I thought badly of myself, but simply because there was nothing on my world to strive for, nothing to try to amount to. But then," He smiled, a pure radiant smile, "I got a letter from a boy on another world. And he made me remember that, even if there was nothing left on my world, there were other worlds out there. Places where people didn't survive, they lived. He made me strive to reach those places."
"Zexion, I…I don't know…" Demyx tried to formulate his thoughts, but Zexion kept speaking as Demyx desperately tried to put words together.
"Your name was smudged off, I didn't know who you were. I just called you D." Here he paused a moment, looking thoughtful. "I'm sorry I lied to you. When you came to me and I was…upset…you asked if you were D, and I said no. I was unaware, I thought that you couldn't possibly…" He paused again, chuckled. "Anyway, I called you D, and I wrote you letters: replies to your first correspondence. But I could never send them, we didn't have the means. So I kept them, and I kept this image I had of D in my mind and in my heart. I loved D, more than I had loved anyone, because he was the only person who had ever given me hope."
"And then I got off of Traverse. I travelled, and all the while I kept writing to D. My goal was to learn, to experience, but my real reason that I had a hard time even admitting to myself was that I wanted to find D. To see if he was everything I had made him out to be. But then I got to this world, this beautiful world that I knew D lived on, and I couldn't muster up the courage to come see him."
Here he finally quieted, looking contemplative. Demyx was awestruck, he couldn't seem to think strait. "Why didn't you?" He asked finally, "Why couldn't you come here before?"
"Because, at first, I was scared. I was afraid D wasn't going to be who I thought he would. D was…he was like an imaginary friend, one who can't do anything wrong. I had built him up as this image of perfection. No real person is like that." Demyx nodded, understanding, but then the truth prodded at the back of his mind. He was D, and he felt a sudden surge of panic at the thought. He wasn't perfect by a long shot, he wasn't what Zexion had wanted at all. That's why Zexion was so upset, why he had reacted this way. Zexion was disappointed with him, and would never love him know that he knew that Demyx was actually D. He felt tears start to well up behind his eyes.
"I'm sorry." He muttered, "I'm sorry that I'm not what you had wanted."
But Zexion turned immediately, hands flying out to grab Demyx's, clutching them tightly. "No!" He nearly shouted, "No, it's not like that at all! You're wonderful Demyx! You're beautiful and smart and witty and wonderful and…!" He seemed to struggle a moment, eyes pleading with Demyx to understand, "Please, Demyx, please. That's just what I thought at first, but then I realized I was avoiding D for another reason. It was because you were in my life. You had given me everything D had given me: hope, friendship, a reason to keep living. But you were real, you were in my reach, you gave me those things without me having to ask, without me having to imagine you as someone different. You were that perfect person that I had wanted from the beginning, but you were real, you weren't some lovely figure of my imagination."
Zexion's face looked scared, afraid that Demyx would hear, wouldn't understand. His hands clutched Demyx's almost painfully, "And I didn't want to face D knowing that I couldn't love him the way I always thought I had. And if my love for D had been a farce I didn't know what the rest of my life, everything I had done, what any of it meant!" His words were rushed, but so filled with emotional passion that Demyx was unsurprised to see tears welling in Zexion's eyes. He felt them in his own as well.
It was a strange sensation, to be two consciousnesses. Here he was Demyx, hearing about Zexion's love for this other person, hearing Zexion's confession of love for Demyx, the conflicting jealously and pure joy. Yet here he was D, proud of Zexion for what he had done, proud of the things he was able give to Zexion through only one letter. But at the same time he was crushed that love had been torn away from him. But it hadn't been torn away at all, he was still Demyx. Even though he now knew what Zexion had been feeling and doing, he still felt confused. It was his heart that was now unable to understand, not his mind.
"That's why I found you in your apartment like that…" Demyx realized out loud, and Zexion nodded, so Demyx continued. "So you decided to come here to meet D, to sort things out."
"I had thought that if I finally met D it would show me that he wasn't perfect, that he wasn't what I wanted. That he wasn't you, someone I saw as perfect even though I knew they weren't." Then Zexion laughed, a beautiful relieved laugh, like all the weight he had carried with him through the years were falling away. "But here you are. You are D. And you are perfect, you're everything I ever wanted you to be, and I don't know whether to be happy or not."
"Why not?" Demyx asked.
"Because I love you. I love you so completely and utterly that it scares me." Zexion said, face serious but sincere, hands still tightly entwined with Demyx's. His eyes were so wide, his expression so exposed and unguarded, so hopeful. Demyx felt his mind go blank, felt his heart start beating frantically in his chest. He didn't know what to say, what to do, how to tell Zexion how overjoyed it made him to hear those words. How scared it made him as well, to know that, sitting here on this curb outside of his home, he was completely devoted to the man sitting beside him. He would do anything, go anywhere, as long as it meant he could hear Zexion say those words again, and that he could say them in return. So, since his mind was doing little in the way of forming coherent sentence, his body did the next best thing.
He pulled Zexion close, brought their lips together, and then kissed him for all he was worth.
And this is how, next to the red mailbox, Demyx finally found his new friend and true love.
You know me, but I've known you much longer. I've told you every secret of mine, every wish, and every fear. You've been there for me most of my life, sometimes just in my mind, sometimes by my side. And now I'm here for you. Tell me your dreams and worries, because I love you, and I'm here to listen. And I'll never leave if you don't want me to.
I'm sorry that I'm still shit at writing these letters. I haven't even started getting to the important parts yet and I can already tell its going to be bad. Without you here to proofread my essays every time I put a pen to paper, I'm getting to be a horrible writer.
Nothing much is happening here. Axel and Roxas are doing well, so well in fact that I think I'm going to have to find a new roommate next semester. Personally, I think the idea of the two of them living together is scary as hell (not to mention annoying for the neighbors). Also, Axel is yelling at me right now, telling me to write down that you need to come back soon because 'I can't stand Demyx anymore, I'm going to sell him online soon. Come back and screw him already' (his words, not mine, though I don't disagree).
Other than that, I'm doing fine. Classes are going well, despite my favorite tutor moving off-world to study at some other university. Maybe if you stopped being such an overachiever and picked an easier major you wouldn't have to keep changing your address every few months. But you know that I'm proud of you, regardless. I know you're doing well, and I know how hard you work. I'm afraid without me there to constantly annoy you that you're not taking any time off for yourself. Relax a bit, for me okay?
See, I told you this letter would suck. Sorry I'm a failure as a long distance boyfriend. Graduate soon and come back. I love you.
P.S. Roxas just smacked Axel upside the head. Thought you should know.
Zexion placed the letter down on his desk. He couldn't stop smiling. Every time he received a letter from Demyx, it felt like his heart was trying to beat its way out of his chest. He eventually had to leave Demyx's university, as per his major's requirements, but only after a few blissful months at Demyx's side. Although he had been hesitant to go, Demyx had demanded finally that Zexion continue on with his studies, arguing that Zexion had already made it so far, accomplished so much, and he wouldn't let him waste it. Besides, there was always graduate school, he would add with a smile.
And Zexion had been amazed to find a letter waiting for him the first week of his new term. Demyx had apparently decided that phone calls and video chatting wasn't enough, and wanted to make up for all the years that Zexion had been writing to him and had never received a letter in return. Zexion had, of course, given Demyx all of the letters he had written him over his lifetime. Demyx had read every single one. It had taken him a day or two, but when he had finished he had shown up at Zexion's apartment sobbing and stuttering blubbery apologies through the tears. At first Zexion hadn't been able to understand a word he was saying, but finally he figured out what the blond man was trying to convey. He had simply sat with him, entwined in his arms, assuring him that his apologies weren't needed, he had done absolutely nothing.
So now they kept up written correspondence, and every time Zexion got a letter he nearly melted with happiness. He was finally getting his letters from D, from Demyx, and they were more wonderful than he ever imagined. He didn't care if Demyx's letters were silly or about nothing in particular. Just the fact that he could read the words on the page made him overjoyed.
So he leaned across his desk and picked up a blank piece of paper and a pen, and he began to write.
You really need to stop thinking that your letters are rubbish. I love receiving them, you know that. You make me happier than I've ever been before in my life. The only way for me to be any more content would be for you to be here with me.
I need to tell you about a Professor of mine, Vexen is his name. His he's allowing me to sit in on some of his upper level classes. It's been amazing to finally…
And he continued on, writing down all of his thoughts, the events of his days, his feelings, all for Demyx to read and to know. And he was content, knowing that Demyx would indeed read them.
And this is how Zexion and Demyx, pen-pals, friends, and lovers, finally opened their mailboxes and found letters from one another. And each was wonderfully, blissfully, eternally happy.
Hooray! Thank you all so much for reading, I sincerely hope you enjoyed it! If you feel so inclined, feel free to leave a review to let me know what you thought of the ending or the story in general. Much love to everyone who has reviewed so far, you have all been my reason to continue onwards, even though I have had to stay up into the wee hours of the morning to complete this. I've had a great time writing this story, I hope you had a great time reading!