Hi again! I wanted to thank the reviewers of my first chapter (and truly, thank you! You were all so nice! :D ), and I wanted to give a bit of an intro to this chapter: Its the first class of the day, and the readers get a small hint at the reason Asraella left the States, as well as a clue as to Asraella's background. Also, I hate to describe characters while I'm using their POV, so I attempted to write something from Zero's perspective, in order to give a picture of what Asraella looks like to everyone else. I apologize if there is a tone change or something...it was noticibly harder to write from his POV, so I probably won't do it often. I hope this meets with reader satisfaction!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything Vampire Knight. As much fun as that would be, I only own Asraella.
Economics was extremely boring. So boring, in fact, that Asraella was now completely ignoring the professor at the front of the room and was immersing herself in thought, of things in a different time and a continent away. This economics classroom was different from the old one, with different classmates, and a different teacher, different…
Don't go there!
Everyone. They were still friends, right? They had no reason not to be. They hadn't seen her run, through sheets of rain…They would stay happy and never…never…
Asraella's breathing accelerated. She was locked into a seat in the movie theater of her brain, but was closing her mental eyes to the memory images in front of her. The pain didn't recede, however, and subconsciously she knew she didn't expect it to. So she sat, in emotional and mental agony while running from her thoughts, only avoiding the source of her incessant pain.
A pair of violet eyes snapped her out of her mental reverie, bringing her back to the sanitized present, staring back at her with their blank but deep expression. Oh god was I staring at Zero? Christ, I didn't mean to! What is he going to think of me now…the crazy transfer? Great. As she was turning away, she noticed that several people were looking at her. In fact, more than several. The whole class must have been focused on her. Asraella looked back at Zero, and noticed that something like humor appeared in his face. She was confused. Why is he—
"Miss Mistout, I repeat, could you come to the board and do problem 46?"
The professor didn't sound amused. Asraella dragged her gaze from Zero, and balefully noticed that he now had a certain little facial expression. She didn't know what to make of that look. Whatever. Problem 46…
She glanced at her book and read the assigned problem. "Yes sir, I'm sorry." She looked at the book again to verify what the question was. Simple prediction of curve shifts, the sort of thing that would be in the first month of teaching the course, not halfway through the semester. She sighed. She had to set herself apart already for a useless problem. She stopped herself right there. Why am I frustrated? It's not useless. Show the class what you are made of. Good attitude…good attitude…Stand up, look sharp. Take 'em by storm. Her attempt to settle herself sounded hollow even in her head. Oh well.
She was walking down the stairs of the aisle in the center of the lecture hall. Asraella felt as if she was walking out onto a large stage, in front of the audience of her new classmates. Unintentionally she started slipping into a familiar sense of acting, the feel of a mask settling over her, and fitting to her. By the time she reached the floor, her head was held high, eyes bright, and wearing a slight smile. The professor handed her a piece of chalk with a superior expression, and stepped back, obviously enjoying his perceived chance at harassing the new student. His attitude didn't even faze Asraella. She turned to the board standing tall, and began the problem. Ten seconds later it was finished, and she turned to the professor again, who stood beside her with a properly chastised demeanor. She turned sharply but smoothly and proceeded back to her seat. Every eye was looking at her; many of them with puzzled or amazed faces, but almost all turned back to the professor as he cleared his throat and praised her for her impeccable work. Asraella never heard it. She had come out of her mask, her show, as she had reached her seat. Thinking about what she had just done, how she had just felt, made her sick at her core, in her soul. As teaching resumed, she put her head down and swore to herself she would not cry, not here. The person worth crying over was long gone.
Zero wasn't paying attention to the class at all. He was napping with his eyes open, as usual. Economics was so basic: all you had to know was the common denominator, the running theme in all human behavior. This theory, in a nutshell, was that people will act in their best interests. Everything, every analysis, came back to that, in his opinion. Besides, he was tired. Even though he wasn't getting as tired as quickly as Yuuki (for various reasons), the all-hours double duty as student and prefect – in reality a Guardian of the Day Class students from the filthy Night Class – could be rather exhausting. It couldn't be helped. He was a hunter, even as he was now. He would run himself into the ground to fulfill his duty, which did not necessarily coincide with the Chairman's duty for him, as Guardian. The sudden impact of a paper ball hitting his head woke him up, making him blink and shake his head slightly as he worked to remove the cobwebs from his mind and return moisture to his eyes. He peered around to discover who the thrower was, and was unsurprised to discover Yuuki, sitting two rows down and looking up at him with her tongue stuck out. He gave a tiny sigh. She just had to go and disturb his nap, didn't she? He looked away, deciding not to gratify her with any sort of response. He knew that it would get on her nerves.
He started to look around the room, coming to rest on the new girl, who was sitting at about his 2 o'clock position, towards the right edge of his vision. She was staring at him, with her chin on her hand. Used to winning the normal staring contests between students, he stared right back with his standard apathetic expression. She didn't look away, or show any sort of recognition. He was puzzled.
She was sitting level with him, in the back row. Something about her seemed off, besides her apparent lack of conscious thought, and he couldn't put a finger on why. He felt compelled to take a second, true look at this new student. His eyes examined the rest of her face.
Her face was neutral, a blank mask. Her eyes were the only aspect of her form that held some sort of life, and it was hidden, somewhere within their depths. He realized, with a pang of some emotion he couldn't place, why she seemed different. The look from her wasn't seeing anything within that room; she was watching a different place, competing in a different arena and from his own experience, he knew that what she was witnessing in her head was worse than the goriest, most painful horror movie. He had seen that look before: in pictures of himself, from when he was taken in by the chairman until now, from the moment that his parents were murdered and his brother lost. Somewhere in his being that emotion he couldn't name grew stronger.
He was awoken from his analysis by the Professor asking the new girl if she would come to the board. There was no response from her. She can't hear him. She's completely zoned out. The professor repeated himself, this time at least 2 times louder. By this point, the whole class was watching what must have appeared to them to be her complete disregard of the teacher. The second request for her attention was met by a sudden start from her, and a blink. Zero watched as she "came to" in a second, and the next realized that she was staring straight at him. Her obvious embarrassment amused him. Caught off guard, she looks just like… She looked away quickly and glanced around the room, then answered the professor and looked at the problem. He watched as she almost imperceptibly winced as she noticed that everyone was staring at her. This was quite entertaining to Zero for some reason. She turned to look at him again, and then she turned away just a little too quickly.
He went to look away as well, but a small movement from the transfer student brought his head back around. In the split second he looked away, she seemed to start to morph into another person. She stood straighter, and he realized that her abrupt posture change was the movement he noticed. She had a new cast to her eyes, and the torture he thought he had seen there vanished. She proceeded to walk down the lecture hall's center aisle, and with every step she changed a little more. By the time she reached the floor, she was standing perfectly straight, with a smile and bright, happy eyes. Her gait was more fluid, and her body seemed positioned to catch the eye, with the lines of the jacket and skirt accentuating her natural form. It was a stunning transition, and Zero was certain that Yuuki must have thought so too. A quick glance down confirmed his suspicions. Yuuki was sitting there staring at the new student, looking quite flabbergasted. No one else seemed to have noticed her change, perhaps because none of them had seen her this morning in the Chairman's office. The transfer student finished the problem very quickly and just as gracefully and regally as she had come down, she started returning to her seat. Zero couldn't stop looking at her. It was as if the zoning out was a charade - or was this the charade? He couldn't tell. Both had him believing. He was confused, and he didn't like it. Was she playing a game? Is her whole persona, the whole thing, an act? He hadn't thought much about her as a person, since he had only first seen her today, but now he wanted to know more, just to understand what was really going on. His mind was swirling, trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. He saw as she put her head down, and the puzzle only gained more pieces. He forcefully put her actions from his consciousness. Her puzzle was low on his list of problems to get to the bottom of.
The bell rang and Zero slipped out the door before the other students could even rise. Yuuki would surely look for him, with her misguided worry high in her mind, but she was used to his quickness and would probably catch up within the hour, no matter where he went. So he started to walk to the stables, a holdover from an earlier era and used only by the equestrian team. He knew from experience that hardly anyone came by there during class hours. He was fully intending to skip calculus, the class he had at the next block. He knew it all, anyway.
The sun was shining, a breeze was shimmying through the braches of the trees, causing little whistles, and leaves were falling like overgrown snowflakes. Late October is so beautiful here. Zero paused and appreciated the sight, something he very rarely did. The breeze played with his hair and blew it even more into his face. The moment was broken as he wiped his hair from his eyes and proceeded to the barn.
Once there, he hid himself in a stall and tried to get some sleep. He was now counting the minutes until Yuuki came to find him and harass him about skipping. His thoughts wandered over the day's events so far. He recollected the first time today he ran into the new student…Asraella. Odd name. He was distracted by wondering about how she fit into Cross Academy. She didn't stand out. He had thought she was a regular, matriculated student until he saw her in the Chairman's office. Her face swam into focus within his mind's eye.
She was taller than many of the girls at Cross Academy, but not abnormally so, probably about 5'5". She wasn't as thin as the other girls here, either. She had more to her, a more curved and full body that almost made the uniform indecent. Her round face was accentuated by sapphire eyes and a picture perfect mouth, symmetrical and full. She was pale, but not deathly so. Her dark blonde hair fell to the middle of her back in a braid, and in that morning's early sun it had looked like it had red highlights.
The mentioned morning (it actually seemed relatively long ago, for only being that day) he was headed back to the boy's dorms to change his uniform, after taking a VERY early morning patrol. He couldn't sleep. He refused to admit to himself why he couldn't. He had caught the scent of blood on the air, and rushed to it, almost hoping to find a Night Class student breaking the edicts set up by the school and Kaname Kuran, so that he could vent some frustration and possibly do some damage to any disgusting vampire that got in his way. When he had arrived to where he thought it was coming from, however, there was just her, walking along with her head down towards the main building before anyone else was on campus. What student would want to be at school at 7 a.m.? He approached her from the side, still convinced that he smelled blood, but it was relatively faint, and couldn't be coming from her. She was perfectly fine. He was about to slip away unnoticed when she cursed aloud, and he answered her. She had obviously not realized he was there, due to the way he saw her jump. She stuttered when she replied to him, and was visibly uncomfortable. It was to be expected. Zero could do that to people.
Zero was roused from his hiding place and brought back to the present as Yuuki entered the stable. Damn. That had to be a new record, he thought grimly. Time to find a new place. He turned to face the diminutive brunette.
"Zero, why aren't you in Calculus?!"
Thanks for reading! I hope I didn't dash anyone's hopes or cause some eye-rolling or anything... If you still want to stick with this story, the third chapter should be up within a week. Again, thank you! Please review, I can always use pointers! TTFN, Slomiti Andeo