Categories > Games > Kingdom Hearts

Cat's Cradle

by Arhel 1 review

Demyx, Larxene, and a lullaby

Category: Kingdom Hearts - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy - Characters: Demyx, Larxene - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-06-15 - Updated: 2006-06-16 - 1656 words - Complete

Disclaimers: blah blah, copyright Squeenix, blah. Might make more sense in conjunction with an earlier fic, Metamorphosis, but can be read without.

Cat's Cradle


Demyx knew perfectly well where he was going. Even if, just maybe, he wasn't entirely clear on the technicalities of the steps involved in getting there. And anyway the castle was big and space didn't really conform to normal parameters so it wasn't really his fault. Besides, he'd get there eventually.

He just hadn't expected to be making a detour to some bizarre mausoleum along the way.

The room he'd found himself in was huge and circular, clear skylight giving way to the blackness of the void outside. The floors were tiled in some organic pattern he couldn't quite make out, rather than the stark white or geometric patterns of the rest of the castle. In the middle of the room was a raised platform, on which there was a long box-shaped thing resembling a coffin, of some clear glass-like material.

What prevented him from exploring the new room was the presence of his fellow Organization member. Not that he had anything against her, he added mentally, but Larxene wasn't the most stable of individuals. Like the time she nearly took Marluxia's head off for showering her with roses, or obliterated entire sections of wall and ceiling chasing down Axel after a couple of verbal matches went awry. In Demyx's books, Larxene fitted quite neatly into the categories of Do Not Cross and Avoid At All Costs.

But this Larxene wasn't anybody he knew. She paced irritably around the circular room, muttering things to herself in a language he didn't know. Every now and then she'd lash out a fist at something invisible, or kick at thin air. The Larxene he knew would have simply gone out and killed something if she was in a bad mood.

As curious as he was about the entire situation, Demyx wasn't quite curious enough to be suicidal, and Larxene in a bad mood was anything but conductive to survival. Deciding to make good his escape before she noticed, he turned but apparently wasn't quite quiet enough. Demyx couldn't suppress a startled yelp as the daggers took a chunk out of the doorway inches away from his face.

Larxene dashed across the room, her fist gripping the front of his coat and yanking his face down level with hers. "What. Are. You. Doing. Here?"

"I, um, got lost, passed by, um, didn't mean to pleasedon'thurtme."

"If you tell anyone about this," she snarled.

"I won't. I promise, I won't." Putting every ounce of earnest truth he could manage into the words, he tried to look as harmless as possible. Which, admittedly, was one of his few effective talents.

She hesitated for a moment, scowling at him as if to push her point across. With a final intimidating glare, she let go of his coat and stalked out of the room.


Everything in his admittedly limited experience was screaming for him to just leave well enough alone, but curiosity had always been one of his flaws. And it hadn't quite killed the cat. Yet.

He found the room again with ease - while it was hard to predict the route of how you got somewhere, once you had the destination fixed in your mind, it was easy to eventually get there.

Larxene was curled up against the dais supporting the glass coffin, head resting against the side of the thing and arms wrapped around herself. She seemed to be asleep, a restless, disturbed sleep, twitching and shifting against the cold stone. But asleep, the sharp, oftentimes cruel lines of her face were softened, and she looked way younger than any vicious sadistic bullying standoffish arrogant - well, you get the point - had a right to be.

Before Demyx knew what he was doing, he'd sat down cross-legged on the tiled stone floor and started the first few notes of a soft lullaby that rippled with the voice of the sea. Curiosity might not have killed the cat, but it was doing a damn good job with Pavlov's dog.

Demyx was surprised to find that the acoustics of the room weren't bad, and when he stared at the walls he could pick out the patterns of rose vine trellises carved into the material. The walls and floor themselves looked suspiciously like marble, even though he knew, rationally, that the castle was made of some substance with wires in it that Vexen or Zexion would have names for, in really long word strings that abbreviated to acronyms like CAT.

And then he saw them, the faceless things that flapped like vultures and slithered like snakes around her. They weren't Heartless or Nobodies, but they weren't really alive in the true sense of the word either. Smelling of a sickly mixture of musky floral perfume and rotten fruit, they turned their glowing eyes away from Larxene and fixed upon Demyx, undulating forms drifting towards him as though drawn by the music.

Don't panic, he told himself. Just don't panic. Or make any sudden moves. Or breathe, for that matter. They weren't real. Couldn't be.

. . . could they? Even as removed from the cycle of life as he was, he instinctively knew the creatures as predators, and Demyx . . . Demyx as nature intended was probably some furry rodent whose life was punctuated by a small, sad squeak.

Something that might have been the memory of fear froze his fingers, and the last notes of the melody echoed away into the vastness of the empty room. The shadow-things drifted around him for a few more moments, and then faded away. Against the dais of the coffin, Larxene shifted in her sleep and curled up tighter against the stone.

Completely spooked by the visions, if they were really visions, Demyx quietly scurried for the safety of his own domain.


He'd worked out that they were real, for some definition of real. And they were drawn by music, though he doubted it had much to do with artistic appreciation. When he played they were visible, and they followed him like some poor copy of the Pied Piper. They had no voices, but the sense of malice that enveloped them like a shroud grated on his nerves whenever they got too close.

If he moved while he played, they moved with him, although they seemed reluctant to actually leave the room. Still, in the several weeks he'd tested the theory, he was able to coax some of them out into the corridor. Progress, of sorts, even though he wasn't entirely sure what the progress was towards.

And as long as the music played, as long as the creatures' attentions were focused on him, Larxene slept in peace.

He wasn't even sure why he was doing this. The rational, sensible part of his mind reminded him that it was probably better to not open this particular can of worms, it wasn't really his business, she wouldn't want his so-called help anyway, and dozens of other things that he was so unfortunately skilled at ignoring.

She wasn't the same. She wasn't the same and there were no gaps to bridge, no lost time or bonds of blood that he could cling to or make up for. She wasn't the same, but she fit that particular jigsaw piece in his tattered memory, and if he didn't care about the past much he couldn't ignore it either. There was probably an encyclopedia entry somewhere out there with his picture, under the term "loser".

She wasn't here every day, and sometimes he'd emerge from the corridor to find her pacing and obviously ticked off, and on those days he beat a hasty retreat. It was perhaps the seventh or eighth time he'd played, and the shadows were getting uncomfortably close.

A rustle of robes from the center of the room shook him out of his reverie. Larxene was awake. She stared at him, at the shadows, her blue eyes wide with shock, and for several moments he ran on reflex, fingers plucking strings and brain spinning helplessly around the inevitable oh no she's gonna kill me.

And then Larxene moved. Daggers ripped into the closest creature, while lightning incinerated a second, and then she was among them, slashing, stabbing, tearing them apart with her bare hands. Grinning with satisfaction and bloodlust, she tossed the broken husks aside to melt in the white light and relentlessly sought for more targets, a lioness among hyenas.

Demyx kept playing. As long as he played the things were visible, they were here, and they could be hurt. Even when the creatures, sensing their danger and the source of their imprisonment on this plane of existence, came howling at him in a storm of claws and teeth, he summoned his Dancers to block their assaults, and continued his music uninterrupted.

One by one they fell to Larxene's vicious attack, and as their numbers thinned they began to flee, wounded creatures trailing ribbons of ink behind them. She followed, out of the room and into the corridor, further into the halls and stairways of the castle.

Demyx didn't follow, figuring that lost was probably not where he wanted to be. And it was a pretty good opportunity to explore the strange place, now that he knew for certain that neither Larxene nor the creatures were around. Roses and glass coffins, like some fairytale princess somewhere, wasn't it? But Larxene was no princess.

He was still poking at the strange coffin when she returned, striding imperiously into the room. Larxene brushed past him and seated herself on the thing. "Play," she commanded. When he simply stared at her, stupefied, she gestured impatiently at the sitar that never left his side. "Play," she repeated, like some queen restored to her proper domain.

Demyx sighed, and wondered if he would be the first to test the theory of whether Nobodies got muscle cramps.

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