[Inspired by a drawing on y!Gallery by YvieChan: can you feel something like...Love!] My first ever KH2 fic! I'm a relative newcomer to this pairing-a few months, at the very most-so if the characters are OOC, I would really appreciate some direction from the more experienced! :)

Anyway, this is a little AU-mainly because I've not been a member of the pairing fandom very long so I'm not really sure exactly where this would properly fit, if it would at all-in the KH2 time line. Axel is 23 and Roxas is 19 in this fic.

The darkness being referred to here is a metaphor for the confusion and sometimes the wounds that conflicted feelings can inflict on someone, particularly when one is sure of their feelings for another but the person in question isn't. It's really a journey of discovery, in that respect, with a little fantasy thrown in for good measure. I'm trying to get inside their skins to see how they would react as people and not just characters.

Thanks to Midnight-hunter for her critique and pan2dapan on y!Gall for her help and suggestions! Special thanks to DezoPenguin, my husband, for his advice and TLC!

I hope you enjoy it! As always, comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated!

Rated Teen, AU/Drama/Romance, Axel x Roxas

How did I get here?

He was falling in the darkness, trapped deep inside its cold and frosty heart, tumbling slowly downward. He was alone, his hands clawing desperately at the suffocating black, trying to find a glimmer of light and, with it, hope that he would find his way out and to the one who's heart was calling out to him.

How he got here was anyone's guess; he didn't even know himself how he had ended up in this pitch-black darkness. To the best of his memory, one moment he was at the supermarket buying items for dinner for himself and Roxas; in the next, he was tumbling down this black crater.

Pushing aside these thoughts for the present, Axel struggled to find a toehold in the Stygian darkness, throwing his hands out around him, trying to find something to hold on to as he fell, thoughts of Roxas burning themselves into his fevered brain.

He loved him with all of the force in his being without the slightest hope that Roxas would love him back but that didn't really matter all that much to Axel. If he could be near him or even see him from a distance, he would be content with that. Of course, he fervently hoped that it could be something more once he'd gotten his conflicted feelings sorted out.

Axel knew he had to be patient and he really was trying but he found himself becoming more and more frustrated the longer Roxas took to sort things out. He sighed as he thought of it, his black cloak rising and falling about his body like wings.

I'll find him... if I can ever get out of this place first, that is.

Twisting first to the left and then to the right, Axel somehow managed to slow his descent long enough to conjure his flaming chakrams and, gripping them tightly in his black-gloved hands, he lunged out, slashing hard at the smooth obsidian walls that he had felt when his shoulders brushed past them as he tumbled down.

A hideous screeching noise rewarded his efforts, sparks flying in a shimmering wave that burned everything they touched, much like the burning flames inside Axel's own body. He gritted his teeth hard as little pieces of burning brands touched the skin on his face, groaning in pain as they left their incendiary mark with a soft, hissing sound.

Despite the pain it caused him and the crazy angles his body crashed into the walls on the way down, Axel continued to lunge and slash when he could, Roxas' heart-call becoming louder the further he fell into the abyss. He was tumbling head over feet and hard-pressed to try and control his crazy, out of control dive.

Damn it! he thought, twisting his body desperately to avoid a collision with a jagged cliff-like protrusion that stuck out from the darkness, its sharp, glimmering tip reflected in the short, intermittent spears of light that came from somewhere in the darkness. I'm losing control!

He managed to miss impaling himself by mere inches on that wicked tip but he didn't fully escape contact with the sharp point. It tore through his black pants, inflicting a nasty cut that went from his knee to his ankle; he screamed in agony as he felt the arctic-cold pierce him straight to the bone. His body arched as he threw his head back, his red hair fluttering madly, his hands clenching and unclenching into fists, his muffled screams of pain ricocheting off the walls.

It hurts, Roxas! He clenched his teeth tightly together, trying to suppress a scream that threatened to burst from his lips. The pain...!

Out of the darkness came a voice, soft and menacing, that seemed to fill his mind and he started violently, his eyes widening.

-Do you love him enough to suffer for him, to suffer on account of him?- A mocking though familiar voice said softly, the words cutting and deliberately cruel. -You have no heart, Axel... what do you know of love? How could a Nobody know what love is...? He IS the reason you're here, Axel...- The voice sighed with what sounded like genuine regret. -You've been such a disobedient boy since he came into your life...-

He recognized that voice although, at this point in time, he couldn't remember who it belonged to. What... that... that voice! What the hell is... is that... voice doing here?!

"Who the hell are you?!" Axel yelled, screaming again as another ice-cold shard pierced his left arm. "What do you want?! Who are you?! Why am I here?!"

A rich, throaty chuckle liberally laced with menace echoed in his ears.

-Do you even have to ask, Axel?- Another humorless chuckle, the flat, emotionless voice a poisonous hiss in his ears. -Foolish child. You, of all people, should know who I am. As to why I brought you here, the reason is simple.- A slight pause. -You must be punished for your disobedience. Organization XIII can't allow rogue boys to be among their number; it's not good for discipline. Therefore, you will serve as an example to the others as to what will happen if they get out of line... if they develop certain... interests above and beyond what we allow... like you did, Axel...-

Realization dawned on Axel of what the voice meant by "developing certain interests above and beyond what we allow..." and ice-cold fear clutched at his heart. It couldn't mean what he thought it did, could it...?

If they develop certain... interests above and beyond what we allow... Like you did, Axel...

Axel's eyes opened wide, his mouth trembling as the cold menace of what those words implied finally made itself clear in his mind. They would never let either of them go to live their lives together in peace apart from the Organization. He should have known that this had been their plan from the beginning; like a fly trapped in a spider's web, he was now their helpless pawn.

"No!" he cried in anguish, made all the more sharp by another razor sharp shard piercing his glove, leaving an ice-cold trail of burning cold across the back of his hand. "You... can't! Not...not... to...him!"

Not to him who is my life, whom I would willingly sacrifice my life for. Not to him who is my reason for living.

It was clear to him that the Organization would rather see one, or, preferably, both of them destroyed to keep the others in line and that this would be considered by them to be a small sacrifice and one hardly worth mentioning, at best. They would rather see both of them dead than to let them go free...

Loud, savage laughter reverberated in his mind and he screamed, clapping his hands to his ears to try and drown it out but it was useless as both the sound and the excruciating pain found their mark, reverberating painfully inside his head.

-Yes, Axel, we can. And we will, you can be sure of that.- A chilling silence followed for a few minutes before the voice spoke again, Axel's moans of pain bubbling up from deep within him. -You will learn first hand what Organization XIII does to traitors. We will get our revenge, I promise you.-

Axel's mind spun as he fell, his speed increasing until he could hear a steady screaming in his ears. Revenge? Revenge... for.. what? And on whom? Did they mean... Roxas? Why? What can that possibly mean...?

A soft, serpentine whisper invaded his mind.

-You betrayed us and, for that, you must be punished...-

He didn't have time to think about the implications or even wonder what kind of punishment they were planning for him for he came to a sudden stop, crashing hard onto an ice-cold floor. He lay still for many moments, gasping for breath, his body heaving as he desperately tried to breathe and writhing in pain from the many wounds he had suffered during his free fall.

He slowly lifted himself painfully up onto his elbows but fell back down again with a loud thump, sending pain crashing through his body. A muffled scream emerged past his tightly clenched teeth, lost in a wave of pain that soon dissipated as the darkness returned and he fell into it, gratefully accepting its embrace.