Demyx plays at lets-pretend. Spoilers for KH2.
"Shut up with that damned noise already!"
Demyx ducked instinctively as a lightning bolt whizzed past overhead, close enough to leave residue static charges sparking through his hair. It was early in the day - or at least, in her day - and Larxene hadn't had her coffee yet.
It wasn't as if the castle really had days or nights - the same flat white light illuminated the halls regardless, and nothing would cast much light on the void outside. But habits were hard to ignore, even for the old fogies who preferred to stay shut up in their smelly labs - not that Demyx was going to mention any names, of course. Nevertheless, they had a general consensus of social waking hours, if only because it was hard to plan and scheme when you'd just gotten up but half your cohorts thought they were going to turn in for the night, thank you very much.
Demyx didn't follow those rules. He'd tried to explain, of course, that because of what they'd named him he had to be up and about during those hours. Artistic integrity and all that, because he had to keep to the role they assigned him; there was little enough to hold on to in the first place.
Larxene just wasn't having any of it. Picking up his instrument with some haste, Demyx scurried out of his makeshift performance space - after all, why have the huge flat stage with the balcony seating if you weren't going to use it for something fun? - and headed for the safety of his private space. He wasn't entirely sure if his water dolls followed the laws of physics, but instinct told him that lighting plus water was bad, and he preferred to not find out the hard way. For a moment he considered fighting her for the right to freedom of expression, but that just wasn't him. Because he was the clown, the fool, the one with "mostly harmless" stamped in huge red letters across his forehead.
He didn't really remember much of his life before - well , you know - but he was pretty sure he'd wanted to be a musician, considering the weapon he instinctively chose. Just like good old Luxord was a hopeless gambler and he'd bet good money that Axel had been a circus juggler in a previous life. And a musician had to follow his vocation, even at the risk of life and limb, and most especially when there was an audience that did not complain or throw things at him.
And so it was that Demyx found himself once again perched on one of the balconies of the hallway overlooking his stage, working on a new tune to the delight of the mindless Nobodies that spun and danced below. As he scribbled hasty notes on paper he really wished he had a ruler to draw clefs on, he could already see the performance in his mind, a lively crowd in place of the Nobodies, a real concert hall decked with all the colors that weren't white, and some pretty girls with pom-poms and flowers cheering in the background. As soon as he managed to get that one bridge right---
As Demyx reached absentmindedly over for his cup sitting on the floor beside him, his hand encountered unexpected resistance. His fingers found the hem of fabric and someone's boot. Feeling not unlike a badly drawn cartoon, he squinted slowly upwards, dreading to find the disapproving scowl of an elder member.
It was, in fact, none other than No. 2 himself. Demyx silently cursed the all-illuminating white light that made for poor shadows, and his shoulders tensed with the anticipation of another lecture on behavior or - more likely - the purple lasers that could be aimed his way at any moment. But instead of drawing his weapon or launching into a lecture, Xigbar bent over and stared down at the mess of sheet music scattered across the floor. The stink of alcohol was evident in his breath, making Demyx lean back on his heels . . . which turned out to be a mistake.
Before Demyx could react, the sitar was gone from his hands. He made an instinctive grab for it, but Xigbar had about half a foot of height - and therefore reach - on him, and the instrument was held high out of his reach like a child's toy.
"Xig, give it back, pleeease?" He knew his voice was scaling into the registers of "hapless whine", but it was his beloved instrument, dammit, and he didn't want to have to use force to wrestle it away.
"You're way too wound up, kid. Not gonna get far with creativity like that, hmm?" Instead of annoyance, the sniper sounded . . . amused? Looking up, he watched Xigbar's one good eye blink slowly in what he could only describe as a conspiratorial wink. Demyx nearly gagged in surprise. That had to be the beer talking.
What followed was even more surreal, as Xigbar stepped back, squinting at the sheet music, and began to play his tune on the sitar. It wasn't nearly to Demyx's level of skill, but then Demyx had never tried playing when he was too drunk to walk in a straight line, either. As the tune wound on, it hit the bridging melody that he'd been beating his head against for so long, and slipped past . . . with all the grace of a flying hippo, but it slipped past. While the tune concluded on a rather more boisterous and rough end than he'd originally intended, Demyx's ears were filled with the phantom sounds of new notes to add to the crude mix.
"You're gonna have to get more volume outta that thing when you actually play for real though," said Xigbar, as though it were the most natural thing in the world. As though there would be a real concert with real people. Demyx just stared up at him, feeling like a fish out of water trying to cope with the unexpected break in their accustomed roles, and mumbled "thanks" because it was the only thing he could think of to say.
Pushing the sitar back into Demyx's unresisting hands, Xigbar turned and meandered casually up towards his room, still whistling the tune in time with the click of his boots across the flat white floor.
A couple of weeks ago if someone'd told him that Xigbar was into music he'd have pointed them in the direction of Vexen's lab as an act of mercy. But a couple of weeks ago was before Roxas; the kid changed all the rules of their skit into something bizarre and unpredictable, and among some of the more conservative members he was viewed with not a little suspicion for upsetting that delicate status quo.
Demyx decided then that he couldn't really care less. He had his sitar, his sheet music, his mug of hot chocolate, and all was right with the world.
As he ran along the cold, damp corridors of the Underworld, Demyx couldn't help but sigh in resignation at the memo tucked into his sleeve. He'd told the boss, how many times now, that combat wasn't his forte. Neither was running amok in some godforsaken literal hellhole keeping tabs on heroes, truth be told.
Picking up pace, he dodged around a couple of stalagmites, making sure to keep well away from the floating ghosts. They couldn't do much to him, and it was ironic on some level, disembodied spirits after a heartless monster, but they spooked him nevertheless. Just as he was gathering up the courage to touch the massive doors in front of him, the patter of footsteps from the caverns behind him brought him up short.
The hair was several shades too dark, it wasn't the right face, and the only expression he could read was antagonistic. Nevertheless, he gave it his best shot. Pulling out his most disarming, innocent-buffoon smile, he said, "Roxas?"
"What's that?" replied the boy in front of him, startled.
If it'd gotten bad enough that he didn't even remember the name, there wasn't much hope left, was there? But some part of him wanted to believe that Roxas was still in there somewhere, because Roxas had been real. "Roxas?" he repeated.
The kid and his traveling circus just stared at him, uncomprehending.
Demyx knew it wasn't going to go well before he started the duel; he couldn't fight Roxas even back when it had been just the one - half? - of him. But he had to try, boss's orders, and hope that maybe the boss was right about Roxas' memories.
"Roxas . . . come back? Please?" If he'd only just come back it'd be just like old times. Well, almost like old times - five of the twelve stones in that room were wrecked now, and as much as he hated to admit it, there were times when he missed Larxene's hysterics and even Lexaeus' stony silence. But even now, if Roxas came back, he'd have someone to hide behind when Xemnas got mad at him - again - for failing the missions he invariably screwed up. He wouldn't have to watch Saix drift further and further away from reality, or Axel pace the halls as though he'd lost soul as well as heart.
"The Organization are Nobodies too."
"So you don't have a heart anyway, you're just pretending!"
"Sheesh, give a guy a break, will ya?" Yeah, just pretending. That was the plan, right? All he had to do was pretend, and everything'd turn out fine. Because Roxas, damn the kid, didn't remember that time when the spark of life had been added to their plays, and he probably never figured himself for being so important. To them.
The quacking from the oversized duck was giving him a bit of a headache, on top of everything else. He was, truth be told, getting a bit depressed by their taunts - they didn't have to be so mean about it - and he wondered for a moment how that was possible, before slipping back into role. "Oh come on, believe me?"
"We're not gonna fall for it!"
They were right, of course; it was just pretend, and however hard he pretended he still couldn't make it real. The memories of the shadow of emotions he couldn't get a handle on whirled around in his mind and temporarily made the world spin with dizzying lights.
There really wasn't much chance of doing that concert anymore, but even if it'd never been real it had been his. He wasn't sure why that mattered so much to him now, but confronted with the denial in their voices, Demyx found an emotion that he was pretty familiar with, having seen most of his colleagues simulate it often enough - anger.
"Shut up, traitor."