Kingdom Hearts Fan Fiction ❯ Undistorted ❯ Tears of the Light ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Sweet Distortion, a Kingdom Hearts fanwork:  Drabble challenge by Bond Of Flame08, written by Raberba girl
6. Tears of the Light

Summary:  There is an old prophecy about the treasure in the cave.  Demyx knows it.  Zexion should have listened.

A/N:  Weird AU inspired by all those movies about superstitious natives leading gun-toting thugs and a bespectacled scholar through the jungle to find some ancient archaeological treasure. *sweatdrop*

o.o.o

The cut on his back hurt and they were still pointing those thundersticks at him, but Demyx no longer cared.  They were getting closer and closer to Her domain.

It would all be worth it.  This awful moon-turn, those savage bullying strangers, all the hard work they'd made Demyx do and the things he'd learned and witnessed because of them....  This once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Her would be worth it.

Their leader, the smallest one among them and yet the only one who could actually talk (sort of), had intervened before most of the bad things could get too far.  That was why Demyx had grown rather fond of this one he called Zexion, which meant "smartypants," since the little stranger's real name was too hard to pronounce.  Demyx had seen Zexion step in when the other, meaner strangers had tried to gang up on Naminé, when they'd been tormenting Vexen, when Axel had picked a fight with them and nearly gotten himself and Saïx killed.

Zexion might boss everyone around like he owned the place and rely on those stupid thundersticks for intimidation and act like he had never learned how to smile, but...he wasn't all bad.  He'd somehow healed their strongest tribe member when they all thought Lexaeus was gonna die.  Larxene had nearly sliced him open after he'd (accidentally, Demyx hoped) walked in on her purification ceremony, but he hadn't done a thing to retaliate, even though they all knew very well that he could have ordered her killed.  He still had Xion's flower sitting in his fancy tent, its color preserved even though the petals had long dried.

Demyx even knew that all those mysterious leaf collections of his were not entirely filled with scribbles...there were a lot of pictures, too.  Beautiful ones in amazingly fine lines, of birds and plants and animals and landscapes, scenes from the village, daily life, tribe members.  Demyx had even seen his own image in there, as if Zexion had somehow captured it off a sheet of polished copper, though it was far clearer than any copper Demyx had ever gazed into.

Yes.  He did like Zexion, pretty much.  Zexion was the most human of all those dark strangers.  And now Demyx was taking him to see Her, and the cut on his back and the strange weapons didn't matter; this was the happiest day of his life.  "In there," he said, pointing.  They had reached the cave mouth.

Everyone broke into a babble of their gibberish.  It was kind of funny seeing them scurry around like ants, until someone seized Demyx by the shoulder, those stupid spikes on the glove digging into his flesh.  "Ow!  I'm going, I'm going, you don't have to be mean," Demyx protested, but the bully-stranger just kept shoving him along.  Demyx looked hopefully at the leader as they passed, but Zexion was too busy trying to ignite one of their little magic suns.  "You don't really need that," Demyx said.  As usual, they ignored him.

The cave was dim, but the glow from the little stream that ran down its center was enough to keep a man from getting lost or losing his footing, as long as he was careful.  Of course none of these oafs were careful.  They bustled around, making enough noise for the echoes to deafen them, tromping heedlessly through the illuminated stream.  "She won't like that," Demyx warned.

Ignored again.  Though Zexion at least did finally notice that this was no ordinary stream.  He knelt beside it, exclaiming excitedly in his barbarian gibberish as he got out more of those endless clear containers and leaf-packets of his.  No one else seemed interested, though, and Demyx soon lost sight of him as he was dragged along.  "You're a jerk," he conversationally told the thug beside him, but of course there was no response.

How stupid did these sub-humans have to be, to get this big without ever having learned to talk?  Maybe they grew in reverse.  Maybe they started out big and got smaller, which was why Zexion was the smartest one of them.  That would explain a lot, actually.

"Let's veer left a little bit, please," Demyx said, pulling against the punishing grip on his shoulder.  He sang a little song of introduction and apology as they splashed into the stream.  "My name is Demyx, 'Melodious Nocturne,' and I'm so happy to get to see you at last.  Pardon my intrusion, I only want to take what you freely offer."  The jerk holding him made a sharp, meaningless sound and hit him.

'Owww...you didn't have to do that,' Demyx thought reproachfully.  At least his bare feet were stepping through water now.  He loved the touch of even normal water, but Hers set his skin tingling and seemed to send joy and healing up through his entire body, soothing his torn back and his bruised shoulder and his wounded heart.  "If you'd let me be your friend," he told the thug warmly, "we'd both be a lot happier."  It didn't even bother him when the creature only growled in response.  Yes, today was certainly a wonderful day.

Ah!  So Zexion could smile after all.  His whole face was practically lit with excitement as he hurried into the central chamber, the first one to enter Her presence.  Apparently, he was so happy that he'd even forgotten to be polite.

"Sing, Zexion," Demyx called out.  "Introduce yourself."  Sometimes Zexion could be very attentive and focused, but this was apparently one of those times when he behaved as childishly as his fellow strangers.  He completely ignored Demyx, fawning over Her and even touching Her without a trace of hesitation.  "Zexion, don't, She might get mad," Demyx pleaded.

She didn't look mad, though.  She looked like she was dying of grief, her stone figure frozen there at the head of the stream, illuminated water flowing from her eyes like tears of light.  "I hope this really is the day of the prophecy," Demyx whispered.  Much as Her presence had caused his land to flourish over the past hundred years, he couldn't stand seeing how sad she had really been all this time.  There hadn't been anything in the prophecy about how much she must have missed her Home.  "I hope it really is."

The thug finally tossed him aside and ran toward Her like everyone else was doing.  Demyx climbed painfully back to his feet, trying to wipe the blood away from his leg where he had scraped it against the rocky ground.  Then he froze, staring in astonishment.

They had thrown Zexion.  They had actually laid hands on their little boss and flung him aside as if he was worthless, the way they usually treated Demyx's own people.  "Zexion!"  Demyx rushed to him, but by the time he got there, Zexion was up again and shouting blah blah blah stuff at the others.  They were ignoring him.

"I'm really confused," Demyx murmured.  Zexion was the boss.  Everyone listened to Zexion.  Now everything was all switched around.  These strangers were very, very strange indeed.

"Blah blah BLAH!" Zexion screamed.  He was trying to stop them from tying ropes around Her, from crushing Her stone base, from uprooting Her.  They threw him to the ground again - and this time, a weapon was pointed at him.

"No!"  Demyx plowed straight into the one with the stick, and thunder went crashing off into a corner of the cave, causing a cascade of rock to come crumbling down.  That wasn't how it had started, though.  Demyx could feel the ground under his feet, and realized that it had been shaking for a while now.  She knew what was coming.  She had heard their approach, and she was more than ready.

Demyx threw himself to his knees, seizing Zexion and practically groveling.  "Since you have been blessed with power, please also have mercy," he sang in as soothing a voice as he could manage.  These idiots couldn't understand words, but hopefully the tone would be enough.  "Don't be scared, don't be worried," he continued, cautiously beginning to creep backwards.  "I'm just taking this one here, we'll leave you all alone to do whatever you want...."

There was a tense moment between the three of them as the others continued to yell and strike at Her in the background.  Demyx was pretty sure they only had as much time to escape as it would take for Her to be completely released.  She could probably get loose by Herself now, yet they still kept trying to tear Her free from Her base - perhaps they meant to sacrifice themselves in order to make it easier for Her.  Demyx would not have expected such a noble act from these brutes, but who knew what strange thoughts went through their heads.

"You don't want to hurt us, do you?" Demyx went on, crawling farther and farther away.  It was hard because Zexion, though quiet, was resisting him.  "There's no need to hurt us, you should really just let us go...."

The barbarian finally gave a harsh laugh and fired again.  Both Demyx and Zexion yelped and flinched as thunder bit the ground near their knees, but the worst that happened was a rock chip flying up to cut a line of blood across Zexion's wrist.  A small price to pay, since the savage with the thunderstick had lost interest and turned away, now yelling with the rest as he went to rejoin his crazy friends.  "Get up," Demyx said quickly, hauling Zexion to his feet.  "We can run now."

"Blah blah no run," Zexion raged, finally breaking back into his odd chopped-up version of human speech.  "Stay, *something* stop *something, something*--"

"I have no idea what you're saying, you silly thing," Demyx said in exasperation.  The rumbling had gotten so intense that even the barbarians were finally starting to notice it, their senseless yelling growing more chaotic.  "Come on, we're running."

Zexion fought hard, but he was little and weak and defenseless and wasn't boss anymore, so Demyx managed to haul him up over his unbruised shoulder.

"Blah blah DOWN, right away, *something* monster!"

It was interesting being the one to ignore someone else, for once.  "Goodbye, Princess," Demyx called.  "Thank you.  Be free."  Then he turned and pelted for the exit as fast as he could.

"Blah!"

"I can't talk now, sorry, I'm busy trying not to die," Demyx said breathlessly.  He was grateful for the glowing stream of her tears, guiding his feet with no need for a torch or a strange sun.

He could see light in the distance.  Hope exploded in Demyx's thoughts even as the rock was cascading down around them.  'Almost there almost there almost there....'

Freedom.  Amid the roar of collapsing rock, Demyx thought he could hear Her song of joy as She was released at long last.  Yet he did not look back until he had broken out of the trees and reached the top of a hill.  Then he set down his burden and turned to look.

The cave was gone now, a huge pile of rubble sitting under a thick dust cloud.  Glancing to the side, Demyx found Zexion staring in open-mouthed shock.  "Isn't it wonderful?  The prophecy's finally been fulfilled!  You and me were there to see it!"

Zexion made a little whimpering noise.

A thought occurred to Demyx.  "Oh.  Umm...sorry about your friends.  They were...kind of mean, though.  And they'd had time to run if they'd wanted to.  I guess they were trying to do something good to make up for everything else."

Zexion didn't move.  He looked like the insides of his head had disappeared and left his body behind like a frozen shell.

"Umm...oh!  I know what'll cheer you up!"  Demyx patted Zexion's head and then hurried off into the jungle.  He found what he was looking for quickly and came back with an armful of yellow things shaped like stars.  Zexion was exactly as he had left him.  "Look, Zexion!  Paopu fruit, just for you!  Here, I'll peel them, since I know how picky you are."

Zexion didn't react until the fruit touched his lips.  He raised a hand to grasp the sweet golden flesh for himself, chewing slowly.  Then he bowed over until his head almost touched the ground and began to weep.

Demyx patted his back.  "It's okay, Zexion, it's okay...I know you're sad, but today was actually a good day, it really was."  When that didn't help, he began to sing a song of grief on Zexion's behalf - those brutes barely warranted it, but they were gone now, and Demyx could afford to be gracious.  "They were strong and powerful.  They subdued the earth, but then the earth subdued them.  They are gone--"

He was a little exasperated when Zexion interrupted him.  What kind of creature grieved for its lost companions and then was disrespectful to their memory?  "You!  Kill you!"

"Huh?  Why do you want to kill me?"

"Kairi," he growled, which Demyx had recently figured out was how Zexion seemed to refer to Her.  "Kairi, gone."

"Yeah," Demyx said happily.  "She went Home."

"Home--"  Zexion suddenly froze again.

"Don't break," Demyx said worriedly.  "I can't get anymore paopu, the rest are all too high for me to climb."

"Home," Zexion whispered.  "I no...home can go...trapped...."

Demyx cocked his head curiously.  "You mean you can't go back to wherever you guys came from?"

Zexion got to his feet and began moving away, his gait unsteady.

"The village is this way."  Demyx took his arm and gently steered him around to the right.

Zexion gave him an appraising look, his expression starting to return to its normal haughtiness.  He made condescending-sounding gibberish noises, then briskly marched off in the direction he had been pointed in.

Demyx shrugged.  "I'm glad you're feeling better."

It was a very long trek back, they were both tired, and they had lost all the pack animals.  Demyx ended up carrying him part of the way, though Zexion scrambled to get down once they reached the common footpaths.

Roxas and Xion came into sight, both armed with machetes for the first time since the strangers' arrival.  Xion gave a little gasp, but then relaxed when she saw they were alone.  "Demyx!  You're okay!"  Her face lit up and she ran to throw her arms around him.

"Hello, sweetie," he greeted, hugging back.

"Xaldin told us he saw the cave collapse," Roxas said.  "We thought you all might be dead."

"Everyone else is," Demyx replied.  "I grabbed Zexion and ran.  We barely made it out."

Roxas nodded in satisfaction.  "Good.  Naminé won't have to hide or be scared anymore.  I'll go tell the others."  He turned and vanished back down the path.

"What happened to your shoulder?" Xion exclaimed in dismay.

"Aw, nothing much.  You know how they are."

Her eyes were so sad as she looked at him that he couldn't stand it, so he smiled again.  "I don't mind.  I got to see Her."

"Was She pretty?"

"...She was really sad.  That stream is made out of Her tears, you know."  Xion looked so stricken that he hastened to add, "But it's all right now.  Today really was the day of the prophecy."

"Prophecy," Zexion interrupted sharply.  "Tell."

Demyx looked at him in surprise.  "But I told you already.  Like, three times.  When the Melodious Nocturne leads the cloaked schemer down the path of liquid light, the Way to the Dawn is unlocked and the Princess can return to the sky."

Zexion stared at him blankly.

"Kairi free," Demyx simplified in exasperation.

Zexion's eyes widened.  Then he started making a lot of what Roxas had begun to call the strangers' "Mad Sounds."

"You'd better go," Demyx told Xion.

She gave him a small smile.  "It's gonna be a mess when you get home."

"I know."

"They'll wish you had left Zexion in the cave."

"I know that, too."  Demyx took a deep breath.  "Don't worry.  I have a plan."

"Don't do anything silly."

"Oh, you know me."

She laughed, then headed off in the direction Roxas had gone.

"Go in village," Zexion demanded.

"So impatient!  We'll get there soon enough."

Demyx could sense the others falling into place as they continued on, shadowed figures stalking them through the trees, but Zexion was completely startled when the warriors burst out upon them at the edge of the village.  "Aaahhhh!"

"Aaahhhh!" Demyx yelped in response, wincing as Zexion gripped his arm.  His bruised shoulder throbbed.  "Do you really have to scream like that?  You nearly made my heart stop."

"Is it true?" Axel demanded.  "Roxas said you two came back alone."

"Jungle's clean," Xigbar announced.  "The only one within a hawk's call is Little Boss here."

"Stay back," Zexion commanded, still clinging tightly to Demyx.

Xaldin gave a very unpleasant smile as he hefted one of his spears.  "So the little one's alone now, and weaponless.  Move, Nocturne."

Demyx spread his arms, though Zexion was small enough to be shielded behind his body without that.  But, you know.  Symbolic gesture and all.  "No."

"Get out of the way, Demyx," Larxene hissed.

"I won't let you hurt him," Demyx announced.  "His evil drones are gone, and he's not boss anymore.  It's fine."

"Really, Demyx?  After everything they've done?" Saïx said witheringly.

"What they almost did to Naminé," Lexaeus murmured.  "That alone is enough."

"Forget Naminé," Xaldin said impatiently.  "They let Her escape."

"Well, she was fated to escape eventually," Luxord mused.  "It was foretold, after all."

Saïx sighed.  "Trust the savages to let it happen sooner rather than later."

Marluxia hefted his blade.  "Who knows what will happen to the land now.  We're taking our payment in blood, and his is all that's left.  Stand aside."

Demyx took another deep breath.  He really was going to have to go through with this.  "Well, you're just gonna have to take it in barbarian magic and medicine and stuff instead.  Because I, Demyx, Melodious Nocturne, take...um...."  Still couldn't pronounce that stupid name, and he couldn't use 'Smartypants' for something like this.  "I take Cloaked Schemer as my Ienzo," he finished.  "So there."  He gave them a defiant look.  There was a long pause.

Then Xigbar burst into laughter.  "Demyx, you're a moron."

"But I'm a moron with an Ienzo.  The one who saved Naminé, you know, and who stopped them from blasting Saïx's head off and throwing Axel over a cliff.  And he saved Lexaeus and he's the only one who did things besides bully people, and he was nice to Xion and he's at least human enough to talk a little bit and I think he might be a baby who grows backwards anyway, but it doesn't matter because he's my Ienzo now and you can't hurt him."

Larxene sighed loudly.  "Ugh.  Whatever."

"I call dibs on the fancy machete," Xigbar announced.

"I get a magic sun," Roxas said immediately.

There was a sudden rush for the strangers' tents.

Alone again, Zexion tugged insistently on Demyx's arm until he had turned to face him.  "Ienzo, what?" Zexion demanded.

"Um...well, it's...uh...it's like--  Hm."  Demyx had no idea how to explain it in a way his new charge would understand.

Then Zexion realized what was happening to his fancy cloth house.  He shouted some Mad Sounds and ran.

"Zexion!  No!  Don't go over there!"  Demyx pelted after him.

They were taking the place apart.  Xigbar, having claimed the beautiful silvery blade, now simply sat off to the side and laughed as he watched the others.  Xaldin, Saïx, Marluxia, and Larxene were fighting over the few remaining weapons.  Larxene emerged triumphantly with a small thunderstick and fired it into the sky, then half-playfully pointed it at the others.  Marluxia turned away dismissively and Xaldin glared, though Xigbar and Axel made appreciative "Ooohhhh!" noises.  Then Axel went back to handing sun after sun to Roxas.

Xion was over in a corner, her eyes sparkling almost as much as the colorful bits of glass and polished metal she was pouring through her hands.  Luxord held the ticking face box, studying it with interest.  Saïx unrolled the huge leaves with a thoughtful frown, Lexaeus was carefully gathering the magic medicines together, and Vexen looked absolutely delighted amongst the powders and liquids and outlandish tools.

"Stop!  No!"

Demyx felt a little sorry for Zexion, shouting gibberish and Mad Sounds at everyone with the occasional 'No' or 'Stop' thrown in.

"Zexion."  Ignored.  Demyx quickly pulled Zexion out of the way before Xaldin could get annoyed enough to hit him.  "Come on.  We have to go."

More furious gibberish.  Demyx finally wrapped both arms around Zexion and bodily hauled him off.  "Zexion," he said again when they were far enough away.  "Listen."  Zexion's furious visible eye met his, demanding explanations.  Demyx tried to speak slowly and use words he would understand.  "You, alone now.  Weak.  Can't stop us.  Not boss anymore."  He pointed at the largest tent.  "Not yours anymore.  You have nothing.  Ours now."

Zexion stared at him.

Demyx sighed.  "I know it's not fun, but we haven't been having fun this moon-turn, either.  Whatever you give, that's what you're gonna eventually get back, you know."

That inside-of-head-has-departed expression was coming back.  Zexion made a long string of soft noises, and for the first time, Demyx wondered if maybe it wasn't meaningless after all.  Maybe it was some sort of...of language, a secret one, one that only Zexion spoke, now that all his companions were dead.

'It's like we're from two completely different worlds.  So different that maybe...maybe what's strange to us is normal to them, and what's strange to them is normal to us.  And he was...trying to touch my world as best he could.  Now he's alone and he has no world to belong to, and all he has left is me, because I put my claim on him.'  Demyx smiled.  "I'm not really supposed to get anything, because obviously I have you now, but I don't think anyone will care if I take the things I have in mind.  They're just going to burn what's left over, anyway."  He stood up.  "Wait here."

The smaller tents that had belonged to the drones were already being torn down, looking decidedly unimpressive all piled in battered heaps like that.

"What are you doing?" Larxene asked sharply when she saw Demyx picking his way back to Zexion's old house.

"I want to save the leaf-packages before you guys set everything on fire.  Why, did you want them?"

Larxene rolled her eyes and turned away.

Demyx did not know which bundles of leaves had the pictures in them, so he decided to just take them all.  He tossed everything out of one of the big boxes and filled it with piles of scribbled-on leaves, then found that the whole thing was too heavy for him to carry by himself.  "Hey, Lexaeus, can you help me with this?"

Zexion was a picture of defeat by the time he got back, slumped in the moonlight with his knees pulled up, face resting against his arms.  Demyx decided that he was a lot more likeable when he wasn't marching around being bossy.  "Hey, Zexion.  I brought those leaves you're always staring at and scribbling on.  It's okay, no one else wanted them."

Zexion slowly raised his head.

"See?"  Demyx took out a leaf-bundle and handed it to him.

Zexion slowly grasped it, still with that empty-head look.  He dragged himself closer and peered into the box.  Then he whispered something, and Demyx thought he had heard him make one of those sounds a lot before.  'Book.'  Or maybe it was 'books,' Demyx wasn't sure.

"You mean your leaf-things, right?  Yeah.  Books.  That's all I can let you have, sorry."

Zexion, cradling two or three of the book/s against his chest like they were babies, raised his head.  Firelight from the burning tents glimmered on the unshed tears in his eyes as he said something Demyx had never thought to hear from his kind.  "Thank you."

o.o.o

Author's Notes:  This ended up similar to my "Gleam" theme for Fire & Moonlight.  And also might have dragged on for too long.  Sorry.  When I'm writing individual scenes, I just start from what feels like the beginning (though a lot of my beginnings are in medias res) and keep going 'til I reach what feels like the end.  And in case you couldn't tell from my other fics, I love the Organization in its entirety, I hate leaving out characters when they obviously have stuff to contribute.

I managed to work in two references to the prompt. :p  The first was intentional, the second was just a last-minute, "Hey!  If I word this a certain way, I can slip in a bonus reference!"

In case it wasn't clear enough, Zexion and the thugs speak this universe's equivalent of English, and the Org tribe speaks their native language.  Since this story is from Demyx's perspective, the tribal language sounds natural, and the "English" sounds foreign.  Also, the "huge leaves" that Saïx was looking at were maps.

No, the Org's not wandering around completely naked (but I'd...still be embarrassed to see any fanart of this fic *wince*).  There are a few logistical things in here that I'm not satisfied with, but whatever; it's not worth angsting over.  I assume that the tribe consisted of more than just the Organization and Naminé, but I didn't feel like making up OCs, so none of the others even got mentioned.

I'm pretty sure that Xem got killed, not that any of the characters really miss him. *wince*  I'm guessing Xal, Sai, Marly, and Larxene will be battling it out for supremacy now that they're free to choose a new leader, but I don't care who wins.  And I'm putting a lot more thought into this than is necessary, seeing as how I have no plans to write anything else in this universe, except for the short challenge version.

Complete:  6/100.  Next:  "Another Side"
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