Writing a musical to include a sitar is never easy. Spoilers for KH2.
Note: while Demyx's weapon appears to be commonly accepted as a sitar, the appearance of the thing suggests it might actually be a setar, which is apparently a completely different instrument. Being unfamiliar with Indian/Iranian musical instruments, I will assume the former until official sources state otherwise (and edit this if it does turn out to be the latter).
It was strange, when he actually thought about it. The properties of water, acoustics, and common sense suggested that string instruments were perhaps not entirely meant to be played under several fathoms of sea. For that matter, he wasn't entirely certain how mer . . . men . . . breathed, having had little success locating anything that resembled gills. But then again, he wasn't sure how the comparative physiology of Nobodies worked either. Did he really need to breathe, or was it just habit?
Try not to think about it, he reminded himself, or it might just stop working. Besides, water and music went together like, like . . . well, like a certain desperately hopeless evil minion trying to bluff his way into a musical performance, really.
The locals had looked at him with not a little suspicion when he'd first turned up. From a different part of the sea, he'd said, and it was true enough that the world was big and there were places they never had reason to go. The swimming had been harder, but what he lacked in practice he could make up with his element; coaxing the flow of salt water to help his awkward kicks and turns wasn't particularly difficult. And if, every now and then, he missed a current and crashed spectacularly into a coral reef, at least there was no blood to draw the sharks.
The more pressing problem had been his choice of instrument. Sebastian had been slightly nonplussed (more nonplussed than usual) at the somewhat unusual addition to his orchestra. For starters, it wasn't made out of a clam shell.
Slowly, he'd convinced Sebastian that, despite the strangeness of the sitar, it wasn't entirely out of place in their orchestra. It helped, of course, that Demyx had some talent at composition, and an uncanny ability to pick out the lapses in the choir where some subtle accompaniment could help smooth things along. It was different and refreshing, writing for a place in an ensemble performance where he didn't have to carry the melody alone.
As he paddled carefully towards the usual gathering spot, Demyx noticed that the performers were all gathered in a circle, with Sebastian waving his claws rather frantically at the dancers.
"Are we changing the dance choreography again?" he ventured, gliding to a gentle stop beside the tiny crab.
Demyx winced, and resisted the instinctive urge to duck.
"How many times must I say this, there just is no room during that stanza for another turn? They're swimming too close to the edge of the stage as it is, what if Ariel has an accident---?"
"Sebastian." The redheaded princess rolled her eyes in mock exasperation. "I'm not nearly clumsy enough to have an accident that way."
"Besides, this time it'll be even better! We've got Sora to help!" piped in Flounder.
"S- Sora!?" Before he could stop himself, Demyx's voice escaped in a high-pitched squeak.
"Oh, do you know Sora?"
Several of the orchestra members were looking at him curiously. The important thing was to not panic. "N-no, not really." If by "know" they meant "more than for the duration of one hasty fight", technically he was telling the truth. Think, quickly. "Wouldn't it, um, make the directing harder with an extra person? More to coordinate and stuff?"
"Exactly my point!" exclaimed Sebastian. "Ariel is pushing her limits already with the acrobatics, and now with Sora's parts added there'll be even more chance of an accident! We must remain focused on basic, simple principles."
"That's no fun at all. Besides, Sora learns fast and I'm sure we'll have it down in no time."
As the attention of the gathered performers returned to the argument, Demyx made his escape.
Safe behind the shadow of a giant formation of natural stone, Demyx watched the threads of reflected light weave intricate patterns on the rocks. In the distance, the strains of the rehearsal floated through the water, punctuated every now and then by applause from the impromptu audience of passers-by.
The enthusiasm was catching. Demyx had long since decided that he really preferred working with, rather than against, Roxas. The kid had a decent singing voice, good grasp of rhythm, and an unexpected flair for the dramatic that made him quite good at this sort of performance.
He knew he should just give up and leave before something unfortunate (and it would probably involve lightning bolts) occurred, but the thought of all those hours at practice, all the suggestions, mistakes and improvements that they'd made together, wasted, nagged at him with a dogged persistence. Demyx wasn't quite stupid enough to attempt to rejoin the circle of light and laughter, but he wasn't quite ready to leave, either. Which left him hidden behind a convenient rock, feeling sorry for himself. And that, Demyx had to admit, was one area in which he excelled.
He plucked a string, idly, and watched the resultant iridescent bubble float away upwards, followed by a small yellow fish. A small . . . ?
Flounder butted the bubble lightly with his nose, and watched as it popped into a shower of sparkling shards. "That's neat!"
". . . Flounder? Shouldn't you be at rehearsal?"
"So should you."
Demyx closed his mouth before he could blurt out something unexpected. There had to be an excuse, somewhere. "I'm not feeling well."
Flounder simply gave him that look. The one particular to children who were bright enough to make certain adults uncomfortable, that said, pull the other one, why don't you?
"It's Sora, isn't it?" said Flounder, "You and Sora, you're not friends?"
He didn't really know how to answer that one. "Well, we had a violent misunderstanding over a magical medallion" didn't seem like an acceptable response. Nor was "I used to be friends with his alternate personality".
Noting the awkward silence, Flounder continued, "If you don't want to say it's okay . . . I guess it wouldn't matter if Sora didn't know you were here?"
For a brief moment, Demyx considered the question.
He wasn't wearing his coat, obviously, and he'd even taken the pains to flatten his hair a bit, so that the blond bangs hung down over his eyes. He also didn't usually have the shimmering blue-green tail, either. Besides, Roxas would be busy with the vocals and the dance number on center stage, nowhere near the musicians' pit. All he had to do was not notice the distinctively designed, seven-foot instrument modeled after their Organization emblem.
"I . . . don't think that'd work."
The little fish hesitated for a moment, and then swam up to float a couple of inches away from his face, looking intently into his eyes.
"You're not gonna hurt Sora?"
Demyx barely began to construct the right answer when he found to his surprise that he didn't need to bother, as his reply had already slipped out. "Of course not!"
"And you're not here to do weird stuff to our musical?"
"Hmm . . ." A moment later, Flounder winked. "I'll talk to Sebastian."
As the musical roared into life, Demyx settled back into the shadow of the huge clam shell, his back pressed against the iridescent mother-of-pearl lining. There was no direct line of sight to the stage above, but he could see the reflection of the tiny crab and his conductor's wand, and that was good enough. After all that time at practice, he knew all the cues anyway.
It was a simple scouting mission, to see what they could use and what to avoid, and Demyx was supposed to have reported in days ago. He was going to get the telling-off of his life - existence? - when he got back, but that was later. Now, though, now he was all a-busy following the cadence of the orchestra, listening for cues, and sending up multicolored bubbles for them to pop. Now he watched the shadows, reflected on the white sand not far from his perch, weave in and out of their intricate dance. Now he swayed in time with the fronds of seaweed and kelp, listening to Sora and Ariel sing a bright melody that would have completely mortified Roxas.
Later could wait.
Omake: Hakuna Matata
As soon as I get a good grip on this, Saix snarled, "You are so dead." His callused footpads struggled to fit themselves around the familiar weight of the weapon that had suddenly become much larger than he'd have preferred, and the heavy winter coat was making said paws slippery with sweat.
In the shade of the oasis, the spray from the waterfall a cool mist against his fur, Axel yawned and made himself comfortable. His glowing tail remained hooked around the handle of one chakram - it was still Saix, after all - as he idly scratched at the VIII tattoo on one shoulder.
"Bring it, Fido."