Author's Notes: This is very much complete. It is the first fanfic in a two-fic thing that I'm doing. I have finished this a long time ago, but since then have recieved no more reviews. I wish to upload it again, and go through for final touch-ups... so I hope it will be satisfactory for everyone! Disclaimer: KH isn't mine, Sephy isn't... basically mostly all the characters are not mine save a few. *Smiles*

Readers, enjoy!

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In the beginning, it was said, there was nothing.

Where is here? When is time, how do I calculate the passage of it? Is there time? Or was it a figment of my broken imagination, a result of the slow descent into madness? Is this death?

I am alone in this dismal place, and I walk through inky nothing, illuminated by light that is neither warm nor kind, but cold and empty. It brings me no comfort, lends me no hope at all. I cannot say that I live, nor am I dead. Truly, this is some kind of void to which all are sent. The Darkness can't even help me here. I don't hear it in my thoughts, I don't feel it in my veins.

I cannot see!

Where am I going?

Does it matter?

I breathe, but I do not breathe air. I walk upon nothing, yet am walking somewhere.

Time passing.

I wonder if I am truly, really alone. I hate this. I hate it all, everything, anything that isn't here, yet I love it because I would love to have *something*, but there is nothing to be had. The air is stale. No wind blows here. No one passes me on my invisible path. I don't want to be alone. This...aloneness... it's eating me inside... twisting, writhing like a dragon, slowly digesting what remains of my reason... my name, what is my name...?

I remember my own destruction... I hear the Keyblade master's name, Sora, damn him, Sora echoing in my head..when I remember. He destroyed it all, locked the doors, the worlds, and in the midst of chaos and light had I been cast into this oblivion. Paradoxes sifted around me like ghosts, after I had begun to notice them. Abandoned streams of time, cast aside by Fate to this nowhere. They glide past me, streaming unhindered with memories that peopled them.

Cold. I feel cold! These streaming timelines never touched me, nor did I care. But I feel one, like a living creature, suddenly notice me. It wants me, a hungry destiny aching for a soul to see it through, and I scream when it seizes me in a cold, heartless embrace. I call upon magic that isn't there, weep for the Darkness that had guarded me so safely in life... white. Light. Piercing. It hurts, oh it hurts me it hurts it hurts--

* * * * *

A stranger lay on the cold ground, oblivious of the chilling rain that sifted through his mud-spattered white hair and weighed down on his white, calf-length leather coat. Around him, people wandered in aimless daze, as transparent as they were mindless, going about their preset destinies. As though they were fulfilling an ancient script, written by a demented playwright, fulfilling their roles blindly.

But the man on the ground was solid, glowed faintly, indicating his difference from them, that he was not apart of their destinies as they were apart of each other's.

The street was lined with ramshackle buildings, each two-stories high and nearly identicle in their architecture and condition. Names of shops, cafes, were the only things that made them different. Gray walls that might have been white - these creatures didn't care enough to look after their own surroundings. Leaking roofs adorned the tops, with no trace or scent of smoke rising from the chimneys.

Awareness tickled his nose, which had started to burn with traces of a cold. Or pneumonia. He lifted his eyes, prying them open as he sought energy from within, some hidden store of strength to do more, and locked his eyes on the slowly moving bodies around him. Pale-faced strangers, entirely black eyeballs that seemed to see yet not. Fathomless eyes, so familiar to his blurred memories. He trembled at the mere sight of them, and squeezed his eyes shut again, pressing the heel of his hand into the ground and pushing himself up.

He was filthy with mud from the rain, and as he began to move his body quaked violently so much from the frigid, dangerous cold. Several meters ahead of him he saw a building, a sign that declared it an Inn, but from the condition of the porch he didn't anyone with a brain in his head tended the rooms at all.

Where was this place? Although he was cold, possibly ill with fever, he was thrilled at the existence of 'things' around him, although shoddy and rather down-trodden. It was *something*, at least, and his thirsting senses soaked them up and relieved his exhausted, foundering mind.

He stood up, barely having time to avoid those unnerving ghosts which seemed blind to his existence, yet making no move to stop, or apologize, or even ask if he was alright.

He fixated his glittering golden-red eyes upon another building while he hugged himself for warmth, the bare flesh of his chest nearly caked with grime. He couldn't stop shaking, no matter how much he tried to hold still and reserve warmth. So he chose a direction and walked. The muddy streets sloshed under his boots, the rolling clouds above stretching into the horizon, endless, endless, sunlight merely something he must have dreamed.

Gradually he began to hate this town. This world. Consumed with frustration, he only began to realize twenty minutes later that he was walking in circles. He started to give up. Sagging against the side of a tavern, he moaned quietly in despair, wiping the rain from his brow.

"Someone..." he said quietly. "There has to be someone else but me here... please..."

He tipped his head back, his eyes beginning to drift shut when he saw ...smoke. In the sky. Some distance away, just around the block. Blinking, he stepped into the weak gray light of a torch hanging above the tavern entrance. He started toward the trace of smoke, quickly urging his aching limbs into a run as he shoved non-living aside, splashing through the mud, turning around the corner and twisting his foot slightly as he careened into another non-living.

Further, he ran, smelling wood-smoke as he finally halted, collapsing into a particularly large puddle in front of the steps. This house, though shoddy, was slightly different from the others. It was a splotch of white in a sea of blackness, its shingles well-tended, its paneling relatively preserved. And the roof looked well-managed as well. And light, real light, firelight, filled each window. He sat shivering in the muck, regarding the building. He was tired, very tired... his strength, what little he had, drained from his body like blood from open wounds.

No one seemed to care that he was sitting there in the street. He wasn't sure if he saw people in the windows, but this warmth that glowed inside was too inviting to ignore. He would have given anything just to be inside and have that warmth.

Sliding his weight to his foot, he knelt awkwardly, before pushing himself up once more, and staggered again toward the porch, using the railing to aid him up underneath the eaves and away from the rain. His legs and his lungs burned, but he made himself go to the door, where he knocked, and slid against the paneling to his knees on the welcome mat.

The door opened a moment later, to the face of a young man, barely older than 17, gazing down at him with a slight frown. He had straw blonde hair, dark blue eyes, and a quirky smirk that seemed to blossom with darkness as he watched him.

"Another one," the teenager said, and stepped outside onto the porch, leaning to grab the stranger's arm and haul him to his feet and drag him inside. He plopped him in the middle of the carpet on a rug, and he started to tug his drenched jacket off of him.

* * * * *

"Ansem?"

"Yes."

"And you're from where...?"

"It's hard to say."

The teenager called himself Sydney Losstarot, from a world apart. Ansem learned from him quickly that anyone captured in the timestreaming dragons were stuck there unless they passed harmlessly through. Passing through could take hours or days. Or years. Not that time mattered. In a place of death, this void was deathless.

"I've been here for twelve months," Sydney explained, crossing one leg calmly over the other. He wore a pair of smooth black pants, and an open collar shirt of the same color, with a choker around his throat, a fascinating cameo of opal set against the inviting white of his throat.

Ansem watched him, licking his lips slightly as he was suddenly very thirsty. He had been tossed a pair of warm thick leggings, socks, and a sweater to slip into while his rescuer prepared hot cocoa. His clothes were semi-clean, drying by the roaring fire. He was wrapped in a blanket, sipping a cup of hot cocoa. He didn't feel so terribly ill anymore, but he had a headache. The warmth felt good against his skin. He closed his gleaming eyes and turned his head away slightly.

"Who...*what* are those creatures? Are they dead?" he whispered hoarsely.

Sydney shrugged his shoulders slightly, suddenly sitting up, shifting his legs langorously as he breathed. "Mm.. they were once alive, I think...but not quite dead now...I'm not sure. There might be others like us, too..."

"Where?"

"Other timestreams. But this one is the most hungry, I think. I've met a few dozen while I was here, passing through... I'm the only one who lives here."

"Where do they live?"

"Far away... you're the only one I've met yet that's new." Sydney smirked, and set his mug aside casually. "You're a rather beautiful newcomer, I might add... bad people, like me, who try to possess power and rule worlds with it... I think this is where we end up."

"Ah...so we end up here... the garbage of the universe, defeated and thus useless."

Useless...? Then why are we here?

"Because there's nothing for us to use... or even worth ruling. It's pointless. Look...just forget about it, Ansem. We do our best. Or we kill ourselves, and wander until another time takes us." Sydney rose and stood poised like a dancer, eyes flashing slightly as he gazed at him hungrily, laughing as Ansem's eyes narrowed at him in growing displeasure. "But stay awhile. I'm lonely. No one stays with me. I can tell you're different than the others. You're not stupid, nor too hungry for power. Oh, come on now, don't look at me so."

Sydney strode toward him, and sank into his lap, seizing his wrist as Ansem reached to push him off. "Get off me."

"Why?"

"This is entirely uncalled for! Bloody get off me now, or I'll *throw* you."

Sydney stiffened slightly, narrowing his eyes. They both knew that, without their magic, that Ansem had him pinned on strength and size alone. For he was a tall man, easily capable of over-turning him with his simple physical strength alone. Yet the teenager didn't release his wrist yet, but he closed his eyes, turning his face away in a quiet show of obeisance. But he did not move.

"I....I...." the teenager swallowed, before he turned, lunging against him and pressing his teeth against his throat. It was a hard bite, painful but not damaging and there was little the startled, outraged Ansem could do to prevent it. He seized his shoulders, pushing as he cried out in rage, in pain.

"Y-You--!!!" He shoved him, felt the teenager release his teeth and stagger away from him. Ansem set the mug on the table next to him, sloshing some on his hand, while Sydney started to back away. "You BIT me!!"

"I bit you," Syd replied softly, looking down, the grin fading. "But I need you, don't you understand?"

"Fool... I need no one... And I don't intend to stay here for the rest of my life! I'm going to find a way out!"

"There isn't--"

"--lie! You fool, there's always a way out! ALWAYS!!" Ansem roared, feeling his head pounding with the rush of blood to his head. He rubbed his neck, running his hands through his drying hair before he glanced at his clothes, drying in front of the fire. His eyes seemed so desperate, to look for something familiar, something alive. Even the fire seemed so dismal.

"THERE IS NOT!! I've LOOKED, don't you see!? I have!! Some of my powers remain, but they dwindle. I can think of no way to escape this awful, damnable hell!!" Sydney was shaking, a blackness, not like the blackness of the non-living, slowly filling his eyes. And then his eyes bled black, tracing dark, thin lines across his cheek. Ansem's eyes suddenly found the streaks, and watched him in fascination, as they dripped, sliding down beneath his shirt, vanishing against his soft skin.

Ansem relaxed slowly, and straightened, noble and dark, and he pitied him. He felt the desperation leaking from him, and he felt reluctant to step outside and leave him, to walk among those frightening creatures who weren't even men. There was darkness in this boy's heart, plain as the black jagged lines on his face. He thrived on darkness, was a powerful carrier, and the darkness...attracted him, because he missed his own so much... he trembled, restraining his emotion which smashed like waves against his strength.

Sydney noticed he was not speaking, and raised his hands to show he meant no more bites or harm. He reached for him, and relaxed against the strength of Ansem's chest... he encircled his waist, and trembled.

"You haven't been here for such a short time, to act this way," Ansem murmured when he could trust his voice. "You've had *no* one at all to stay? Ah, poor creature..." He stroked his back, mixed feelings of regret and sadness twisting in his gut. And... what? He knew it, what this other want was, the same kind of want he felt for darkness, a desperate want, a thirsty, hungry want that would haunt him now for the rest of his existence here. Was it...

For Sydney?

"Ansem?" Sydney pulled away, wiping his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. The blackness drained from his eyes, they were now clear and blue again. "Forget it... go ahead and waste your time... you're all the same.... so completely selfish... All I ask is for some company."

"No, you're right, boy. Perhaps there is no escape... And I think I'm falling ill. I don't want to be alone either... I've walked so long, in that void, I'll go mad if I have to go through that again." He smiled slightly, pulling on Sydney's shirt slightly. The action suddenly seemed wrong to him, but he couldn't let go.

Sydney thankfully turned around, and smiled, his mouth quirking deliciously. "Ah...alright... I'm not going anywhere, really... do you want to stay out here?"

"Yes," he whispered, and he let go of his shirt to sit down on the blanket on the floor. He felt the young man against his side, pressing against him and kissing his neck where he had bitten him, muttering a little apology. He was older than he looked, he knew that because no young man was as young as he would seem - most indefinately it was Darkness that kept him young, Darkness which pulsed through the man's frame beneath his skin.

Ansem's resistence was futile. He'd never in his lifetime considered touching a man or woman before, as he was always too involved in his research of his beloved Heartless. (Riku--) Right now, his hands moved as his desire guided them, feeling Sydney's slight frame beneath the cool silk shirt. Sydney moaned softly, tightening his hands on his sweatpants as he lay against him.

"Take me," he heard him say into his sweater, reaching beneath it, growing accustomed to his bronzed skin. "Just...take me... I'm not going to resist, because I don't *want* to... it's been so long since anyone has ever--"

Ansem shushed him, turning Sydney onto his back as his tongue slipped into his mouth, hearing him whine again. He tasted sweet, of cocoa and sugar, and it tasted marvelous. Lust burned in his loins, cascading through the backs of his legs as Sydney's lithe thighs slid around his waist, pulling him on top of him. He was helplessly crushed underneath him, but he hardly seemed to mind. Sydney's muscles twitched slightly, his arms resting around his neck, keeping him close. Warm.

A woman, almost, Ansem thought. But...not. He felt his groin, pressed as it was against his, throbbing painfully, and Sydney's voice spoke with a disquieting need. "You can't stop now... please, you just cannot stop now, not when...when we're this close to each other. Ansem, Ansem..."

His eyes squeezed shut, and he pulled away completely, falling onto the warm blanket as Sydney sat up, eyes glaring with near hatred. "I can't, boy, this isn't... this is--" He shook his head and clenched both of his hands in anger. Frustration sang through his veins, unfamiliar desire and more so, a deep-rooted shame that wouldn't let him continue.

Sydney froze and remained where he sat... he closed his eyes instead, nodding. "You don't need to make love to me, if that's what you mean...just...be close to me, that's all...." A flicker of agony passed over his young, pale features until he lowered his eyes again

"I..I apologize, Sydney. I simply cannot... give you what will satisfy you. I'm not quite experienced..." He crawled over and curled up next to him, still tasting things he wished he hadn't, his desire crumbled beneath shame and confusion. He felt feverish... he was probably mad.

Sydney made no move to hold him or touch him, but he spoke almost inaudibly. "I met a man who looked like you once... when he was a newcomer.... I don't remember his name, but he has silver hair a little different from yours, and green eyes.. I don't know where he went...but.. creatures took him. He might still be in this world... but they took him, and I never saw him again."

" 'These' people?" Ansem relaxed a bit, looking away but just listening to his voice, his eyes fastened to the windows, where he watched the cold and endless downpour.

"No. There are others... hungry ones, who are a little more aware... and dangerous. They seek out defeated ones like us, and take us away... I don't know what they do, where they go...but when I saw them, I wanted to vomit. They are not to be controlled."

"Do you know where they went? Maybe I could go find him. If there are others who were trapped in this same Timestream, suppose we could get them all together-- What's so funny?"

"You sound like a friend of mine here... a long time ago... he said that maybe if people like us could live together, we could have peace..... I don't know where he is now, either... you're not going to stay, are you?" Sydney kept the emotion from his voice, and it was flat and empty. Ansem resisted the urge to look at him.

"I shall. But I am going to search for that man. Whether I do or don't find him, I'm coming back."

Sydney turned slightly, and pressed his mouth to his sleeve. He peered at him, and Ansem looked at him, his golden eyes softened very slightly. "Promise?"

"Of course... I've no where else to go..."

"Mm...alright... You feel hot, you ought to sleep..." Sydney sat up slightly, and patted his forehead slightly before he rose lightly and collected the mugs to bring them to the kitchen. In the growing darkness, Ansem pulled the blanket around him slowly, curling up into a ball.