Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts. The plot for this piece of fiction is a cross between my own work and that of a true story. The characters used are property of Square Enix and Disney. The locations are very real places.

WARNINGS: Mild profanity, drug references, teen pregnancy, STDs, hard drug references, mild references to stoner culture, trespassing, teen sexuality, under-age sex, breaking and entering, theft, the disregard of several Constitutional Amendments, under-age drinking, abusive relationships, teen violence, needles, character death, under-age smoking, heterosexual relationships, homosexual relationships, and implied statutory rape.

Nanoda88 did some art for this story! The link's on my profile under "fanart and art" as "Visual Boy." Check it out!

-Visual-Boy-

This is a story of High School.

Still here? Good for you.

Now, like any other High School story there is a main character who plays the role of "Hero" without doing much in the way of anything. Because that, after all, is what teenagers actually do in their free time; absolutely nothing. Don't be fooled. But since our character is a Hero he should be different, right?

Wrong.

Moving right along, now. Keep up, keep up.

Like many others in the past - Batman, for example - our Hero has a secret. A deep, dark secret that he cannot tell anyone. But unlike Batman, if he revealed his secret he would face ostracism and disgust from many an angle. Society is like that, you see, and societies were far more suspicious and tighter knit back then.

We have now reached the point that prompts the collective thought of, "Oh - I can handle his secret! I'm an open-minded individual with a heart of gold! I'm practically Jesus!" And while your thought might not have occurred exactly like this, there's a good chance it crossed the dear reader's mind. But it would greatly alarm the writer should it have actually occurred thus, in which case she would have two words for you.

"Get out."

Now then, just to be fair and warn you, the beloved reader, this secret has a bit of the "gross" factor.

Yes, dear reader; if you have not already left you have just been given the writer's blessing to do so. No one would blame you. And now that we have hit the end of yet another tangent, the writer fears that the story will never occur and wishes to get down to business. Consider this to be your last warning.

Our Hero - let's call him "Demyx" - is a rather peculiar boy. And though he is not the only peculiar boy in the world, let alone in this tale, he still manages to be quite strange. He had been raised by a single mother - let's call her "Wisteria" - and children of single mothers tend to be unusually well-rounded in their strangeness. He had been raised on Peace rallies and spinach. Naturally, there wasn't much for the boy to hate. (Except for peanuts, but that was due to an allergy-induced life-or-death race to the hospital when the boy was three.)

Our Hero's story really begins one bright Saturday many years ago - June 11th, 1983 to be exact. The family of two attended an impromptu peace rally in the park. (And while this may seem odd to you, they lived in Portland, Oregon. Strange, to one such as the reader, is considered very normal there. Things like impromptu peace rallies and tea cozies made of acorn-tops were common.) See, little Demyx had wandered around the rally like he always did, making sure to navigate in a small circle around his mother and to keep her in sight at all times. And being the peculiar, sweet, adorable little boy that he was he made quite a few friends - one of which offered him a soda, which he took with a smile.

Later that day, his mother laid out their hemp blanket in the grass and they cuddled, munching on seaweed and carrot sandwiches. Which, as we all know, is an appropriate snack for any two vegans. They watched the sun set with matching grins, and only when the stars - what could be seen of them in the city, that is - peeked their little lights from behind the sky did they pack up. And finally the two skipped home, pleased by their day well-spent.

A week later the small boy awoke to painful pus-filled boils infesting his lips and the more sensitive insides of his mouth.

And that, dear readers, is how Demyx contracted Oral Herpes.

-Visual-Boy-

Lesson One: Artificial Intelligence

-Visual-Boy-

The year was 1996, and some jerk had decided to donate twenty computers to Demyx's school.

Okay, now that's not true. We all know that anyone who donates anything useful, let alone something as awesome as a computer, is automatically not a jerk. But one must keep in mind the times. 1996. Yup.

Demyx, during that particular year, was convinced that he would never understand computers. They were the world's shiny new invention designed to torture teenagers and waste money. At least, they were through his eyes. Every other week "designers" came out with new programs - programs technologically illiterate teachers would try to teach him to use.

Naturally, teaching him to "use" a computer was easier said than done. Their instructions were simple, but still a bit lacking for the blond. Then again, they were:

1. Press the on button, then hit it twice up the side of the base.

2. Log in, and shortly follow your password with a light "tap" to the front with your foot.

3. Click something - anything - and proceed to abuse the thing with a baseball bat as the machine sputters, freezes, and fights to load every individual pixel.

While in modern society people will kick you to the curb for even looking at their laptop wrong, in the old days these things were crash-proof. And hand-proof. And foot-proof. And baseball-bat-proof. And - Demyx's personal favorite - user-proof. Very, very user-proof. (Why else would they make them crash-proof?)

"You have to learn how to work them," his teacher would tell them every so often. "Computers are the future, and one day that future will arrive. Typing will be a necessary skill! Entire buildings will be run by technology! Cars will drive themselves! People will be able to buy things from halfway across the world without leaving their homes!"

Seeing as the newer models of computers seemed to be getting bigger and bigger, with increasingly useless functions, Demyx really didn't see the point. He could already open a door on his own. Why would he need a computer to do it for him?

"Psst!"

Keeping his eyes on the screen, the blond stared at his own reflection - green-blue eyes, thin face, long limbs; the works. He was attractive. He was popular.

"Hey! Hey Demyx!"

He was also trying to ignore the boy at the door of the computer lab, whose reflection was not an inch below his left ear, motioning not-so-subtly for him to come over.

"What the fuck, Demyx? Just turn the fuck around!" Looking away from the monitor, the seated teen fought down a condescending glare. "Get over here!" the other boy hissed, peeking out from the side of the door frame, body obscured behind the wall. Making a motion with his fingers - a pinch at the lips shortly followed by the removal and a small exhale - the teen giggled.

"What the Hell, Seifer?" Demyx hissed back. "I'm in the middle of class here!"

The boy rolled his eyes. "Come on man! Don't leave me out to dry after I came all this way."

Turning back to his computer, Demyx stared blankly at the equally blank screen. Word - or whatever they were calling it - stared right back at him. Type for me, he thought. Type yourself. You're a computer, right? Shouldn't you have, like, artificial intelligence or something?

No go.

"Demyx!"

"Mr. Almasy!" The two boys shrunk as the teacher stepped away from the sea of bulky contraptions that hummed like it was D-day to approach the blond at the door.

"Hello, Mrs. Beast," the boy greeted through his teeth.

"Seeing as you aren't in class at the moment, would you like to take part in our seminar? I'm sure you would benefit from the experience." From his crouched position behind the door, Seifer attempted to sneak a peek beneath the woman's pencil-skirt. "Stand Mr. Almasy; this isn't story time."

"Yes Ma'am." Stumbling to his feet, the teen tried not to cower under the woman's gaze.

"Take a seat."

"Yes Ma'am."

Demyx almost laughed as his friend all but ran to the seat beside him, plopping down without ceremony. In the process, he missed the look of death the teacher sent him. "You alright there?"

"Yeah," the boy replied, glancing over with a scowl. Straightening, he glared at his friend. "Jeez - even sitting you're taller than me." Demyx did laugh, then, but was careful to keep it under his breath. "So what are we doing here?"

The blond shrugged. "Typing, I think. Open something on your desktop called 'Word.'"

"Desktop?"

"Just log in - student ID number and birth date."

"ID number?"

"It's on your ID card."

Digging out said card, the other blond scowled before turning to the keyboard and tapped curiously at the keys. He watched as Seifer sent the information, only to violently jerk as a pop-up jumped before him. "Crap! You said birth date, right?"

"Yeah - like how you write it on a math test, but without the dividers."

"Oh..." He tried again, and it began to load. "Cool... I guess."

Demyx rolled his eyes. "You only think that because it's being nice to you."

"What - like in a relationship?"

"I guess."

"So we're in the honeymooning stage."

"Yeah - except this passes quicker. Soon it'll start walking all over you and demanding your wallet." Turning his eyes to Demyx for a moment, then back to the screen, Seifer began to regard the device with apprehension and suspicion. Mentally, the blond patted himself on the back, proud that he had alerted yet another person to the hazardous evil that was the personal computer.

Now that his friend was up close, the taller boy tried not to stare at the scar marring what would have been a handsome face. It started just above one eyebrow, cut across a flawless nose, and continued under the other eye. It was a wonder the other teen was popular, with such an extreme cosmetic disfigurement.

When the teacher wasn't looking, Seifer nudged him. "Hey, you up for some grass after this?"

Shaking his head in a negative, Demyx glanced back to make sure the teacher hadn't heard his friend before replying. "No thanks."

"Traitor," the other joked.

Demyx shrugged. "Someone has to say no."

"Okay - I have to respect you for that." Unbidden, a grin sneaked onto the unmarred blond's face as he realized just why they were friends. "But seriously - you gotta try it sometime. It's awesome." His only response was Demyx reaching up to tap the DARE button permanently affixed to his chest. "Damn you."

"Mr. Almasy," Mrs. Beast warned. "I can hear you."

"Sorry, Mrs. Beast," he apologized half-heartedly before turning back to his screen. But, like before, he couldn't stay quiet for long. "Got any plans after school?" he whispered. "Those losers from Bay are having a foam sword tournament in Ester Short Park."

Staring at the screen in false interest, Demyx tried to recall what he had going on that day. "Can't - swim practice. Then I have to run home and help Mom."

Seifer scoffed. "Like, literally run? You're kidding, right? It's pouring - I'll give you a ride."

"Don't worry about it," the blond replied. "Besides, you should go early. The sooner you leave, the sooner you can school those 'Couve rats. Show them where they can shove their dime-store foam swords."

"Amen to that!"

-Visual-Boy-

October in Portland is, in a word, wet. However, as that word can be used to describe the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area during the other eleven months of the year, this doesn't say much in the way of anything. Back in the day, in the dawn of the decade our story takes place, the weather was very similar. That is, to say, wet. Windy. Cold. Ungodly damp. And, like every other Portland bred-born-and-raised citizen, Demyx did not own an umbrella.

Oddly enough, everything could be traced back to this.

Unbeknownst to Demyx, as he ran home from school that fateful October 11th, 1996 - a Friday - a specter began to follow him. A representation of Life itself, cloaked in the most cliché of long, flowing white robes and sporting the most overused forms of fictional anatomy - that of a human skeleton. Through the city, past Powel's, past Rocko's Pizza, and through downtown it shadowed him. Until, finally, they arrived at the residential district. By then its work had been done and it faded into the background. But not for long. Soon it would return for him.

His life had finally been set in motion.

-Visual-Boy-

A week after the aforementioned jaunt through the rain, shit had hit the fan.

Twice.

"Well look at this - my baby has laryngitis!" Demyx's mother was not a pillar of support when he was ill. "It's your own fault for yacking your mouth off when you have a cold." Nope. Not a pillar of support.

The worst part of it was that the blond couldn't defend himself. Literally.

When he'd woken that morning he'd found his voice a nonexistent gasp, and when his mother had seen how he was over his cold but unable to speak she'd begun laying down the ground rules. All the while almost literally forcing his home-made, home-dyed hemp backpack onto him.

"Now," Wisteria announced, putting on airs to make herself look bigger as she brought herself up to all of her five-foot-two-inches of height. Her son, an intimidating eleven inches taller, trembled in the presence of her glory. "You are going to drink your lemon tea, then you are going to eat an orange. After that you will walk to school with my umbrella - don't give me that look! It's bamboo, not kitten leather dyed pink with neon-green polka dots and aborted baby key chains. Speaking of which, it is your baby until you can speak. And until you are coherent you will not go to swim practice. You will not dawdle in cold climates for any reason.

"You will not gripe, whine, whisper, moan, groan, speak, utter, or vocalize anything for two days. If you witness a murder walk away and drag someone to the crime scene. If a police officer stops you on the street you pull out your note cards. You don't speak for anyone; not even the president. Not even God. I don't care if someone is about to step in a basket of kittens - let them squish the goddamn crap out of the Godforsaken creatures. Have I made myself clear?"

Unable to do anything more, Demyx nodded, stirring his lemon tea with a look of utter dejection on his face.

Breaking into a great grin, his mother pulled him into a tight hug before holding him at arms-length. "Now, where did you put your mouth guard, funny lips?"

Despite how stupid it was, Demyx loved his nickname. Even if it spawned from the lip-covering mouth-guard he wore during Herpes outbreaks to cover the sores.

The blond had no idea if people usually hid it like this. But, then, people with Herpes weren't very forthcoming about their condition.

-Visual-Boy-

"Hey, Demyx!" Turning in his seat, Demyx found himself face to face with a petite redhead, all smooth skin, long hair, and model-skinny limbs. He grinned in greeting. "Rocking the lips today, huh? Copacetic."

"Someone's been watching too many Freddie Prince Jr. movies, again," Seifer commented, coming in beside her with a grin.

A tall brunette passed by, throwing a comment their way. "Please - I don't know what's more pathetic: the fact that she watches them or the fact that you actually remember the guy's name."

"Watch it," Seifer hissed just as the redhead declared, "They're going to be classics one day and you'll all bow to my exquisite taste!"

"Kairi, Seifer, Demyx," a taller boy murmured as he approached. He was a wall of muscle, with bright orange hair shoved beneath a beanie. He easily topped Demyx's six-foot-one by a good three inches, marking himself as ungodly, freakishly tall. Appropriately, he was a lineman on the football team.

"Lexaeus!" Kairi greeted enthusiastically. "Pair with me for P.E. today? Please? Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?"

"I'll pair with you if it's your cherry on top," Seifer sneered. The redhead rightly ignored him.

"Please?"

The taller boy shrugged. "I don't see why not."

It was just before the beginning of first period and, to be frank, Kairi wasn't supposed to be anywhere near them. Her homeroom was clear across the school. Nevertheless, she was there, talking up a storm as Seifer interjected with crude comments and Lexaeus agreed with everything she said. Meanwhile, Demyx just sat there, observing. What did he observe, you might ask? Well, it's very simple.

First he observed the ceiling. He counted the squares one by one across, then front-to-back and multiplied. It was then, for the fourth time in his life, that he became aware that every single class was perfectly square with exactly 144 square feet of room. Then he turned his eyes to the chairs, which doubled as desks. The students were packed in like sardines, with barely enough room to sidle between the seats sideways - or jostle into two parallel clusters if you happened to be built like Lexaeus. (Read: Ridiculously cut.)

Third, he observed the brick wall to his left. The reddish hue had been painted over with a subdued gray - not that he minded. He liked gray. Gray was soothing. Gray was neutral. Nobody really fought over gray, because nobody knew what gray was. Everyone figured it was a shade, but sometimes it looked like it had blue in it, which would make it a dusty blue. But then, gray was one of those in-between colors that no one really noticed. Maybe that was why nobody fought over it.

Fourth was the desk. He ran lazy fingers over the engravings others had left for future attendees over the past. Things like, "Devin was here," "Call Ashley for a good time," followed by a number, and the "S" made from vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. Then there were the equations. "2 + 2 = Fish," "2 + 2 = 4, dumbass," and his personal favorite, "5 – shoes = orgy." These messages could be considered entertaining when compared to Social Studies.

Finally, he turned his eyes out the window. He took in the grass and the sky. Memorized the way the clouds ambled across like they had all the time in the world. Saw the last of the day's students racing to the front gates like chickens with their heads cut off. And like every other person who had been born and raised in the North-West, he didn't even realize the trees were there.

The bell rang, and Demyx clenched his jaw against his mouth-guard, preparing for another day of silence.

-Visual-Boy-

"So you can't talk?" Seifer looked far too pleased with this information.

It was finally lunch time, and Demyx looked very much like a kicked puppy. The kind that didn't look you straight in the eye so it looked ten times more pathetic. Even Seifer wanted to hug him, and Seifer wasn't the hugging type. No, really. The shorter boy's idea of cuddling consisted of two very disconnected chairs at least seven feet apart, a B-list movie, and two separate bowls of popcorn. And that's on a good day.

"Are you going to be okay?" Kairi asked, reaching out a hand to touch the mute boy's shoulder. It was a comforting weight, not that Demyx would have been able to admit it. Touchy-feely things were great for girls, but unless he wanted to start reading poetry and hanging out in the library he'd get hell from the guys. "Laryngitis is rough."

Pressing his pencil to a blank note card, Demyx replied in his usual fashion. It's only for a few days.

"Yeah, but sometimes they last two weeks - and sometimes it doesn't go away."

Seifer rolled his eyes. "Your optimism is overwhelming, Kairi."

-To-Be-Continued-

End Notes: Thanks to Chaotic Dawn, Roanam, Princely, and Elizabeth, Visual Boy's Betas. (Why so many? Well... there were... issues...) And to Conigliomannaro on LJ for being my Alpha. Thanks also to Zenelly for hosting the KH Big Bang on LJ and DW, for which this was written.

What do you guys think? Drop a review - even if it's just to rail on me for writing Demyx with Herpes. Although, I should warn flamers that Visual Boy is based on a real story, and any derogatory comments made about people with STDs will be taken seriously, and will not be tolerated (and will probably be reported.) So don't even joke.

Cordially,

Besieged Infection

P.S. If you're reading this, you know who you are. This is for you.