And as the light in you went dark
I saw you turn to shadow
Chapter 11: SHADOW
Zero's next awakening was considerably more abrupt than the first, although he woke up in a mercifully more comfortable setting. Familiar, too. Zero was also glad to find that his movements and thoughts were much, much clearer.
This is Kaname's room, at the Academy.
The room was empty. He looked down at himself. He was still in his clothes from the soiree, except for his shoes, which, he discovered when he swung his legs over the edge of the mattress, were on the floor near the end of the bed. He had no clue how they had stayed with him, since he'd lost track of them after he'd been knocked out.
He was just putting them on when the door opened.
Zero jumped off the bed like it was made of coals. One of his shoes, untied, fell off and clunked onto its side as a result of Zero's sudden movement.
Kaname shut the door quietly behind him, nodding his head at Zero.
"What's going on?" Zero demanded, straightening his shirt.
"You were unconscious for about twelve hours," Kaname said, walking towards the bed as he spoke. "Yuuki is well, although shaken." He paused and looked at Zero. "Do you want to see her?"
Zero stared at Kaname, then bent down, grabbing his shoe from the ground. "I don't deserve to see her. As long as she's safe."
"She would like to see you," Kaname said.
Zero's grimaced, shoving his foot violently into the shoe. "Of course she would say that. How did I get here?"
"I carried you. It was rather romantic."
Zero looked at Kaname furiously. Kaname smiled at him. Bending down to tie his shoes, Zero asked, "What exactly happened?"
As usual, Kaname completely disregarded the question. "You have a good amount of leverage against me, you know. She'll likely hate me when you tell her that I was the one that turned you into a vampire and made you suffer so much."
Zero's fingers tensed as he attempted to tie the laces together. "She could never hate you." He pulled at the strings, holding back a frustrated sigh when they pulled into a knot. "You didn't tell her?"
"We only came back twelve hours ago, and she was asleep for most of that time. I haven't been able to talk to her long enough for such a deep conversation."
Hands settled over his own, stilling his jerky movements. Without a word, Kaname gently pushed back Zero's hands and began to work at the knot he had made. "She doesn't hate you either."
"I don't need you to comfort me," Zero said angrily. He paused, then said, "Who was controlling Shiki?"
"The one I told you about before," Kaname said, digging a nail into the tight bundle of rope on Zero's shoes.
"Rido," Zero said, watching Kaname carefully. His head was angled down, but from what Zero could see of his face, there was no visible reaction on at the mention of the name. Zero continued. "He's your uncle."
"He's charming, isn't he?" Kaname said dryly. One of the laces caught under his nail, and he tugged at it.
Zero didn't answer, instead choosing to say, "Why did he take Yuuki?"
"To rattle me," Kaname said, a hint of annoyance creeping into his voice. "This knot is ridiculous."
Zero looked down, watching as Kaname finally untangled the laces. "She was in one of the turrets, wasn't she?"
Kaname glanced up at Zero. "Yes. You would have been there with me if you hadn't been so disagreeable. Then I wouldn't have had to come get you."
Zero glared at Kaname. "I didn't need you to save me. I don't want you to save me."
"He was about to bite you, but of course, in the state you were in, you were completely capable of not letting that happen."
Zero looked away angrily, loathe to admitting Kaname was right. "Who knocked me out?"
"The same man."
"If Rido doesn't have a body unless he's controlling someone, I don't see how—"
"He has his ways. In the process of him taking over Shiki, he must have drugged you then, with his own power."
Zero looked back down at his shoe. Kaname was carefully tying the laces into a perfect bow. As he made the last loop, Zero said, "Did you just not want him to have your blood? The blood inside me."
Kaname looked up at Zero. "I did not want him touching you at all."
Zero flushed angrily. "Because I'm your property?"
Kaname's stare was heavy, and his reply kept the blush on Zero's cheeks firmly in place. "No."
Zero made to look away again, putting his hands on the floor to push himself up. Kaname caught his cheek in his hand, keeping Zero's face angled towards him.
"The hunters that were involved," Zero said, in an effort to distract himself from Kaname's eyes.
"You killed them?" Zero said, shifting his head. Kaname's fingers on his face slid slightly with the movement.
"Yes," Kaname said, and he leaned forward, pressing his lips against Zero's in a sudden, fierce movement.
Zero probably shocked both Kaname and himself by reaching up and grasping the pureblood's face in his hand, pressing back against the kiss.
For several moments, it was almost a fight, each of them pressing hard against the other, each of them leaning back barely an inch as the other pushed into the kiss even more. For half a second, lips separated, only to meet again, parted, tongues pressing against each other.
"You must still be drugged," Kaname whispered against Zero's mouth.
A knock on the door spared Zero from answering. He blinked, quickly pulling back and standing up. Kaname looked up at him before standing as well and calling out, "Come in."
The door opened and Takuma poked his head in, looking cheerful and apologetic. "Ah, Kaname—Zero-kun, it's nice to see you awake! Actually – Yuuki is outside. I think she wants to see you."
Zero looked at Kaname sharply. "How does she know I'm here?"
"I believe she simply thinks that I know where you could be. She doesn't know where you are, exactly."
"Yes, well," Takuma put a hand on his head, smiling sheepishly. "I kind of told her to go away, but I thought I'd let you know."
Zero was suddenly struck with a thought. He looked at Kaname, then glanced back at Takuma.
Takuma took the hint. "Well, well, I'll leave you two alone now."
"Oi—" Zero said gruffly, not wanting him to get the wrong idea, but Takuma was already closing the door. His lips twitched, then he turned back to Kaname.
"Where is Ichiru?"
Kaname's eyes darkened. "He is still here, as usual. Although I believe that he has moved to a single room, and you are now alone in turn as well."
Zero didn't know what to make of that. His heart ached thinking of his twin. Kaname's eyes narrowed a little as he watched Zero's expression. He turned, looking out one of his room's windows.
"I'm leaving," Zero said, not sure why he was announcing it. He felt like there was still so many questions to ask because there was so much left unanswered, but he suddenly did not want to be in the room.
Kaname didn't acknowledge the farewell, and continued to stare out the window even after Zero left the Moon Dormitory.
Zero kept his eyes open as he walked down the path, the feeling of being back at the Academy slightly surreal, even though he hadn't been gone more than a couple days.
He saw Yuuki before she saw him. She was off of the path, leaning against a tree and staring into space. As he slowly walked closer, he noticed that she had her arms crossed over her middle, each hand gripping the opposite elbow tightly. He frowned when she let out a small whimper, her closed eyes clenching tightly.
He was unsure what to do. Surely, his presence would disturb her even more. He didn't even imagine touching her. She still hadn't noticed him, and he was about three feet from her. He settled for saying her name, very quietly.
Yuuki gasped, eyes flying open as she jerked around to face him. There was a wild, out of this world fear in her eyes, but it faded quickly as she looked at him. They were silent for a couple minutes, just staring at each other. Then Yuuki flung herself at him in a wild hug, her small arms wrapping around his waist tightly.
"Zero," she whispered, her voice thick with tears, muffled in his filthy shirt. "Zero, I'm so glad to see you."
"Yuuki," Zero said, his voice low and cracking. His hands hovered over her small body, afraid and unworthy to touch her. "Yuuki—I am so sorry."
Her arms tightened around him. "No! No, Zero. I'm so sorry that I didn't—you were suffering so much a-and…I couldn't help."
"I don't care what you are." She pulled back so she could look at him. Her eyes were bright. "Why didn't you tell me sooner? What…what were you afraid of?"
Zero's eyes tightened. "I'm—I didn't want—"
She stared at him, and then she smiled, very softly, the expression tender and caring. "Zero—it's okay." She lifted her hand to his face. "You aren't a monster."
That's when he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her to him, wishing he could express in words how sorry he was and how thankful he was that she was there for him, as much as he didn't deserve her.
"I'm so sorry that you were suffering, alone," Yuuki whispered against him.
"Don't be stupid," Zero muttered, squeezing his eyes shut tightly.
They stayed in that position, embracing, for a long time before they finally broke apart and began walking slowly towards their dormitory.
They were quiet at first, but Zero knew the question was coming and wasn't surprised when she finally spoke.
"How did it happen, Zero?" Yuuki asked quietly. She was looking at the ground, her arm looped loosely through his.
Zero was at a loss for words, something that shocked him. He was sure that if this moment ever came, he would have no trouble condemning Kaname, telling Yuuki exactly what kind of man she adored.
Words, letters, nonsensical and indecipherable, stuck in his throat.
"Why don't you tell her how it happened, Zero?"
They both stopped and turned to see Ichiru leaning against a tree, a small smirk touching his lips.
"Ichiru," Zero said, and although he meant for the word to come out angry, it barely passed his lips in a broken whisper.
Yuuki's eyes opened slowly. She was dazed, disoriented, and surprised to find herself back in the Academy's familiar clinic. Kaname was sitting at the foot of her bed. She blinked rapidly.
"Kaname-sama…?" she whispered.
"Are you alright?" he asked seriously, eyes roaming over her face.
She pushed herself up into a sitting position and nodded slowly.
"You aren't hurt at all?" Even though he had checked her over, healed anything he might have overlooked, save for one wound, he had to ask her.
Yuuki slapped a hand over the bite mark on her neck. Her eyes widened. "Zero," she whispered.
Kaname was silent as he watched her.
"Zero—Zero is a vampire. Zero—he—"
When she had woken up in the barren room alone, she had only one thought in her mind, and it was not about being kidnapped. The reveal of Zero's true nature had shocked her in a way it shouldn't have. It all made sense. How angry he seemed, how much pain he appeared to be in, and how all of that had been escalating in the past several months. How could she have been so stupid as to not know? Why hadn't he told her?
The thought to cut him off never crossed her mind, even though he had frightened her in that moment. But how long had he been controlling himself? Years. She had failed as his friend.
"Where is Zero?" she said wildly, making to get out of the bed. Kaname put a hand on her shoulder, gently stopping her.
"He is fine. I promise. Yuuki, were you hurt at all?"
Yuuki looked up at Kaname, drinking in his dark eyes, his pale face, his soft hair. She felt her heart beat slow a little. "N-no." She shook her head.
"What happened, Yuuki?"
Yuuki looked up, seeing the Headmaster standing in the doorway. She swallowed, then said, "After Zero—after he—I don't really know what happened. I was already…" she glanced nervously at Kaname. "I was a little faint. And then I blacked out, but I think that's because of what the hunters did," she added hastily, looking down at her hands. "Really, nothing happened…I was barely spoken to. They kept me in a small, empty room, fed me regularly. The only time I was moved was towards the end, I guess. I was on top of this…castle. And—"
She looked up at her adoptive father, whose expression was serious, then towards Kaname, who was watching her gently, not pushing. She squeezed her eyes shut. "They told me to try and remember my past. I just saw some things and got scared. Then I fainted. Again."
Kaname touched her cheek gently. "I'm so sorry I let this happen," he said, pulling her close to him. Yuuki blushed, eyes widening. She was always flustered when he was so intimate.
"You will be safe," Kaname said. His voice was low, serious, and it chilled her a little.
"I have something I need to attend to," he said quietly, pulling back from her. He let his hand slide slowly off of her face.
Yuuki stared at him, eyes wide. "Why was I—"
Kaname smiled sadly. "The hunters didn't tell you? They just wanted to hurt me."
Yuuki frowned. "Kanam—"
"Taking you was a direct hit to me, Yuuki," Kaname said. He stood, kissing the top of her head before he straightened and turned away. "I'm sorry."
"Zero—" Yuuki started, but unsure how to finish. "I…"
"Don't worry so much, Yuuki," Kaname murmured. "I want you to be happy."
He turned and left the room. The way he had spoken made Yuuki feel as though her time was limited. She glanced at Cross, but his head was lowered, his glasses nothing but a white reflection.
"Did you miss me, Zero?" Ichiru said softly.
"Ichiru, you—" Zero was furious, but still unsure at the same time.
Ichiru laughed at his hesitation. "Even after all these years, you believe in me. It's touching, really." He glanced at Yuuki, whose grip on Zero's arm had tightened. "Aren't you curious, Yuuki?"
Yuuki glanced at Zero uncertainly, but her eyes narrowed as she turned back to face his twin. "It doesn't matter."
Ichiru's laugh was softer this time. "The funny thing is, I don't think it would matter, even if you knew. Poor Zero would still be picked second."
Yuuki stared at him, fortunately lost.
"Ichiru, stop," Zero said angrily. He stepped forward, forcing Yuuki to release her hold on his arm. "Without you, they wouldn't have taken Yuuki."
Yuuki's small gasp behind him told him that Kaname really hadn't told her that much whenever they had talked.
"I know that," Ichiru said calmly. "I know a lot Zero. More than you, at any rate." He glanced at Yuuki, his eyes dark.
Zero stepped in front of her, his anger growing with every passing minute. "You wanted that woman to kill our parents."
The matter of fact way he said it hurt Zero more than he could admit. He slammed Ichiru against the tree, leaving Yuuki standing several feet behind him.
Ichiru's eyes narrowed. "That vampire, Shizuka, understood me. She was sad, and so was I. She was going to take me away, after getting rid of my family."
"We loved you. I still…" Zero's voice broke, much to his chagrin.
"Don't be an idiot," Ichiru snapped, pushing Zero away. "I can't stand you, and I'm almost grateful to K—"
Zero shook his brother, hard, stopping him before he said the pureblood's name. Ichiru didn't miss the intention, and perhaps he understood the reason behind it more than even Zero did.
He smirked at his twin, leaning close so he could whisper in Zero's ear. "Don't get me wrong. I hate Kaname. But I do enjoy how much he made you suffer. You can have a taste of the pain I went through. Never being good enough, never—"
"Ichiru, you don't—" Zero's chest was hurting him. This was his fault. He deserved it.
Ichiru leaned back, leaning his head almost lazily against the tree trunk. "I've been looking forward to this day. I don't have to pretend anymore." Zero's hands dropped, and Ichiru glanced over his shoulder at Yuuki again.
"See you in class, Yuuki." He smirked at Zero, then kissed his brother almost tenderly on the cheek, a mock of the affection he had always shown him. "Bye, Zero."
He turned, heading back towards the school, leaving the pair speechless behind him. Only when he was out of sight did Zero begin walking in the same direction. Yuuki said, "Zero…"
Zero shook his head, looking back at her. "C'mon, Yuuki. We have to get to the gates in time, don't we? The Day Class girls have probably been having a field day with you and I gone."
Yuuki glanced in the direction Ichiru had walked in, frowning. But she took one look at Zero's face and did not mention his brother, instead, asking, "Gone? Were you sick?
Zero's head was still reeling, but as shocked and betrayed as he should have felt, the blow seemed dull. It had been hitting him for quite some time now. He had always known, deep inside, that Ichiru…
He focused on what Yuuki had said, frowning a bit. She doesn't know I went to get her.
"Let's go," he said.
Zero shut his door hard, his body's weight closing it with a sharp snap. He looked into his room steadily. He didn't understand how, but the bed Ichiru had slept in was gone, leaving an empty space.
Empty, except for Kaname leaning against the wall near where the head of the bed usually was.
"Get out," Zero said, his voice not coming out half as threatening as he would have liked. It had been one of the longest days of his life, and he'd slept through most of it.
Yuuki had taken his hint at not mentioning their confrontation with Ichiru, and although she acted like a ditz a lot of the time, she was smart enough to figure out that Ichiru had betrayed both her and Zero, and that things weren't the same now. Zero wondered if she'd noticed Ichiru's cold behavior at the random times it had shown during the time they'd lived together. He wondered if she'd just ignored it, like Zero had, or hadn't mentioned it period, for Zero's sake.
He'd prepared himself for actually thinking about his brother, and his and Kaname's trip to recover Yuuki, all to himself tonight. He couldn't very well brood with an audience.
Zero stepped out of his shoes, sitting on his bed, the mattress creaking quietly as his weight settled. When Kaname showed that he clearly wasn't leaving, Zero opted for asking a question instead.
"Who is Rido? I still don't know anything about him."
"You know enough," Kaname said. Half of him was cast in shadow, the rest bathed in silver moonlight. "You're done with patrolling a little early."
"Cross gave me a break," Zero said shortly, annoyed with being in kept in the dark.
"I imagine it must have something to do with Ichi—"
"Don't," Zero snapped.
"Why not?" Kaname asked softly.
"I don't want you talking about him," Zero said.
"Do you think I'll say something like I told you so?"
Zero ripped off his uniform jacket. He had changed before going with Yuuki to the gates, where they'd held off the Day Class girls from the Night Class, which had been absent of Kaname.
"You skipping class?" Zero said.
"Yes," Kaname said, tilting his head back against the wall.
Zero bunched up his jacket in his hands before pushing it carelessly onto the floor, frowning at Kaname, whose eyes had slid shut.
"You didn't tell Yuuki."
All the turns in the conversation were making Zero's head ache. He rubbed his temples. "I know," he muttered.
"Ichiru told me that you bodily stopped him from revealing it himself."
Zero's head flew up. "When did you talk to Ichiru?"
"About an hour ago."
Zero pressed his hands against the mattress, the muscles in his arms tense. "What about?"
"It's not important."
Zero glared at Kaname, but felt too tired to push it.
"I'm curious, and a little surprised. I thought you would be eager to prove to Yuuki what a terrible person I was."
"'Person'," Zero said with a dry scoff.
"Ah, of course," Kaname said, a smile touching his voice. "Animal."
Zero leaned back on his hands, staring at him. His eyes were still closed.
"I didn't know what to say," Zero said. "When she asked."
He thought he saw Kaname smile, but the movement was gone in a flicker of light as a cloud passed over the moon.
Kaname finally lifted his head, opening his eyes to look at Zero. They stared at each other for a while, then Kaname lightly pushed himself off the wall with his shoulder and walked across the room, sitting next to Zero.
Zero's eyes darkened as he watched Kaname unbutton his shirt and slip it off of one shoulder. But he did not speak.
Kaname looked at him out of the corner of his eye, taking in Zero's expression.
"Do I need to force feed you?"
"Why did you take your shirt off?" Zero asked, giving Kaname's exposed neck and shoulder a dark look, as though they were the ones at fault.
"I like this shirt. I'd rather not bloodstain it."
"Why wear a good shirt here if you were planning on giving me blood?"
"I didn't expect you'd agree to it."
"Don't do that," Zero snarled.
"Twist this into making it seem like I ended up asking for it."
Kaname lips curved. "The past few days have been trying, and I doubt Yuuki's blood sustained you very well." His voice had lowered to a murmur.
"Get out," Zero said, and his tone was far more convincing this time.
Kaname shoved him onto his back, hovering over his body. Zero fumed, reaching out to grasp at any part of the pureblood he could get a hold of and mangle, but Kaname grabbed both of his wrists and pinned them above his head.
"You are the most stubborn creature I have ever come across in my life," Kaname said, his voice sounding far off and fond. He shifted, locking his knees tightly around Zero's waist.
Zero twisted around, but he could barely move an inch. Kaname had hooked his feet over Zero's legs, leaving them immobile as well.
Stubborn, was he?
It took some effort, but Zero forced himself to relax, his head sinking back into the pillow. Kaname's eyes glinted as they narrowed.
His grip relaxed, the moment Zero had been waiting for. He leaned forward, simultaneously lifting his arms over and onto Kaname's neck.
This specific press of lips made Kaname feel more than any other kiss ever had in a long, long time. Even if Zero was doing it just to prove some ridiculous point, he frankly did not give a damn. Zero had kissed him, of his own accord, and Kaname felt his heart thud acutely against his chest as Zero's tongue slid over his lips, entreating Kaname to open his mouth and let him in.
The sound that slipped past his lips as they parted was part sigh, part moan, and wholly involuntary. Zero's eyes blinked open at the sound, an unusual glimpse of passion from the usually mute, in control, pureblood.
Those few seconds felt like hours to Kaname, which was a feat, as he had lived long enough to experience the transformation of days into moments.
The control he pulled back over himself was so seamless that Zero wondered if he'd imagined the moan, the small inhalation of breath, the slight surprised tensing of muscles. Kaname was suddenly bearing down on him, pressing Zero's head back into the pillow, kissing him hard and feverishly, tongue licking the inside of his mouth, murmuring lowly against his lips.
Zero suddenly felt very hot, very overwhelmed. His hands were clutching Kaname's upper arms, neither pulling him close nor pushing him away. Hips bucked, once, twice, up against Kaname, and the breath of soft laughter against Zero's cheek was an immediate reaction to the high whine that had just slipped out of the boy's mouth.
"I—I—" Zero squeezed his eyes shut, arching back against the bed, collapsing back on it with a gasp.
Kaname's eyes took on a dull sheen, and he pulled his head back, eyes drinking in the flush of Zero's cheeks, the fast pulse beating on his neck.
He wanted him very much.
Zero's bit his lip very hard, then pushed weakly at Kaname, attempting to roll over. Kaname surprised Zero by offering no resistance and sliding off of him easily. Stunned, Zero stared at the wall for a moment before turning back onto his back, frowning up at Kaname.
Kaname chuckled, leaning forward, his lips brushing over Zero's. "Did you want to continue?"
Zero shoved Kaname back, although this time the vampire chose to retreat slowly. Turning his eyes away from Zero, he straightened up and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
There was a moment of silence. Zero asked, without thinking, "Do you love Yuuki?"
"You already know the answer to that."
Zero felt uncomfortably warm. He absentmindedly pushed his fingers across his lips, holding back a shiver. "She loves you."
Kaname said, "Are you jealous?"
Zero felt like someone had dropped a bag of bricks onto him. "No," he said immediately, the word coming out flat.
Kaname turned, looking at him over his shoulder. "Right. Why should you be? You hate me."
Zero's fingers balled up into fists. "You turned me into a vampire, Kaname."
Kaname turned back around. He stood. "I know."
After the door shut behind him, Zero pulled the covers over his head, burying his face into the pillow, wanting nothing more than to sleep and never wake up.
"I knew you'd be coming," Ichiru said, kicking open the door to his new room.
Kaname stepped in and shut the door behind him. He seemed calm, but his looks were often deceiving. "I just thought I'd see how you were doing."
Ichiru raised an eyebrow. "I'm heartbroken."
Kaname looked back at him. "You remember my threat from four years ago, don't you?"
Ichiru laughed. "Please. If you'd really planned to hold true to that, I'd be long dead already."
Kaname smiled back at Ichiru. "That's right. The only reason you're still alive is because Zero still loves you, and he'd probably be upset with me if I killed you."
Ichiru snorted. "I know what you want to do with him. Don't even try telling me that you haven't considered manipulating him into drinking my blood so he can—"
Ichiru coughed violently, literally choking on his words. It was a very brief moment of control, but the power behind it that had brushed against him was frightening. He glared at Kaname, who was equally agitated.
"Thank you," Kaname said. He leaned forward, gripping Ichiru's chin in his hand, making the weaker twin wince. "Again, let me tell you that Zero is the only thing keeping you alive. I don't care who you are working for—I will kill you." Kaname paused, his eyes sweeping over Ichiru's face. "You two are so completely different."
Ichiru looked slightly stunned, but he recovered quickly, smirking at Kaname seductively. "If I acted like your bitch, we wouldn't—"
There was a loud crack and Ichiru hissed loudly, falling to his knees and cradling his broken jaw in his hands. Kaname stared down at him remorselessly.
"I can'do rough," Ichiru said, his words coming out muffled. "'S'that what m'broth—"
"If I rip your jaw off of your face, will you stop talking then?" Kaname asked.
Ichiru snorted, carefully wiping blood off the corner of his lip. His eyes glinted as he locked eyes with Kaname. "Don't know why your s'worried 'bout me hurting 'im if it's gonna be you in th'end."
Kaname's eyes narrowed slightly. Ichiru kept talking, even if it pained him, which it must have. "He wouldn' let me tell Yuuki you changed 'im."
If this surprised Kaname, he did not show it. He watched a drop of blood drip down the younger twin's chin. Leaning down, he caught it in his finger, bringing it up to his lips to taste.
"Like it?" Ichiru taunted.
Kaname looked down at him and smirked. "Remember what I said."
He left Ichiru in the room, still cradling his broken jaw.
The next day was a Saturday, so Zero allowed himself to lie pointlessly in his bed for a good hour before kicking back the covers and walking towards the bathroom.
The shower he took was well needed, and although he could have and very well should have used the time alone to think, his mind stayed blissfully blank, simply reveling in the feel of the hot water hitting his bare skin, running down his body. The ache of his canines was worse today, but he did his best to ignore it.
When he walked out of the dorm, he found that the day was overcast, and thunder rumbled in the distance. He disregarded the gloomy weather and left the building without an umbrella, walking down the path aimlessly.
He'd veered off the path and had been stepping through the woods for about ten minutes when he spotted Yuuki leaning against a tree, much like she had been the day before. She didn't look nearly as tense, but she appeared deep in thought, enough so that she didn't notice Zero until he was a couple feet away.
"Zero!" she said, looking surprised. He stepped forward, leaning against the same tree. He heard a slight shuffling as she turned her head to look at him. "How are you?"
Zero looked up at the sky through the trees. The leaves ruffled as a gust of cold wind blew through them, a warning for the brewing storm.
"I'm fine," he said. "You don't need to worry about me, Yuuki. Are you okay?"
Yuuki was also quiet for a moment before she answered. "Zero…when they took me…they talked about…my past."
Zero looked down at her.
Her gaze was focused on the ground. "You know, before Kaname-senpai saved me—ten years ago, I mean…" She paused, smiling ruefully. "I don't remember anything. I don't know who my parents are, if they're dead, how they died…" she shrugged, biting her lip, looking hopeless. "I assumed that they were killed by a vampire or something. But I don't really know. And…" she turned to meet his eyes. "I've just gotten to thinking—do you think—do you think Kaname-senpai knows anything?"
Zero stared at her, then blinked his gaze away. "I don't know."
Yuuki's voice sounded more desperate when she spoke next. "He's the one who found me. It makes sense—but Zero—I—I'm scared. I'm not…"
Zero frowned when she stopped.
"I'm sure it's nothing," Yuuki said quietly. It appeared as though she was trying to calm herself down. "I'm sure it's nothing…"
Zero turned a little, looking back down at her. "Yuuki, if it's bothering you so much, you could always just ask him."
Yuuki look surprised, as if the thought hadn't even entered her mind. After a moment, anxiousness took over her features again and she shook her head. "I- I don't…I don't think…"
Zero shook his head, lifting his hand and patting the top of her hair. "Never mind. Don't worry about it, okay?"
Yuuki turned away from him, arms tightly crossed. Both Kaname and Zero were treating her like this, telling her not to worry about anything. They would take care of her.
I'm not a child anymore Yuuki thought, squeezing her eyes shut. But I'm still so weak…and I am clueless.
She opened her eyes and slapped hands over her mouth to stifle a scream. The grass was wet and shining with blood. She whirled around to stare at Zero, who was frowning at her. She glanced back down at the ground. It was wet, but only with water. It had begun to rain without her even noticing.
"What's wrong?" Zero asked, leaning towards her.
Yuuki shook her head sharply. "Nothing."
Zero's eyes softened. "Yuuki—" he reached out to touch her, then pulled back. Yuuki caught the movement and the way his eyes glanced guiltily at her neck, and caught his hand in hers before he could fully withdraw it.
"Zero, you don't have to be that way," she said quietly.
"I'm a terrible monster," he said, looking away from her.
Yuuki shook her head. "Please, don't think of yourself that way." She looked at him hard, eyes passing slowly over his lips, hiding what had sunk into her neck not even a week ago.
"You were turned right before you came to live with us?" Yuuki said softly. It seemed like a stupid question, but Yuuki wasn't sure of anything anymore.
Zero barely heard her voice over the rain, which was increasing in its intensity. He looked away from her. "Yeah."
He did not want to go into it any further, that much Yuuki could tell. Of course she wanted to know what had happened, but Zero was her friend, her best friend, and she would be fine with not knowing until Zero was ready to tell her.
A loud clap of thunder sounded, warning them that they should head inside. Zero told Yuuki to go ahead, that he would be inside soon. She let him stay, because she knew he suddenly wanted to be alone as much as she did.
The rain was coming down hard, so even under the cover of the trees, after about three minutes, Zero was soaked to the bone. He closed his eyes, fingers pressing against the skin on the right side of his neck. It was smooth and slick with rain water.
He opened his eyes, lips tingling. Why had he done it?
Zero had been nothing but an insignificant little boy, barely a hunter. He and Kaname had only met once before that winter night – had he made such an impact on Kaname?
Kaname had made an impact on Zero.
He had never, ever admitted this to anyone—particularly himself. After Kaname had bitten him, Zero had done everything in his power to forget anything remotely positive he had once thought about the pureblood.
Like his beauty, his charm – his odd, almost masked kindness.
Zero had liked Kaname, basically to the point of having a crush on him, not that he had even fully understood what liking someone really meant at that age. Kaname had been some far off, unattainable figure, the kind of being you glimpsed in a dream. Close, but barely tangible; and so desired.
He never thought about those feelings, not since Kaname had bitten him. They weren't—they couldn't be allowed. He couldn't let himself feel that way. His hatred, his bitterness over what had been taken from him—that had consumed him completely.
His throat was dry, even with the down pouring rain. His canines poked against the inside of his lower lip.
He bit down on the soft skin, letting his hand slide off his neck as he pushed off from the tree trunk and made his way through the trees and back towards the path.
Kaname pushed back the letter he had been writing, an acknowledgement of the apology he had received from the Hunter Association, expressing their deepest regrets for the actions of certain members of the group.
He dropped his pen, and it rolled slowly to a stop onto his unfinished response. The thunder outside was disrupting his thoughts, and he found it oddly impossible to concentrate. Lightning flashed, briefly lighting up the dark room. He turned in his chair, glancing at the storm roiling outside. It had been going on for about twenty minutes now, and did not show any signs of letting up.
Without sparing the letter another glance, he stood up and walked towards the window, hiding a frown.
It always felt like he was hiding something.
I always am, he thought, pushing his hair back from his face. When was the last time…
He ran a finger over his teeth, skin catching for a moment on the sharp points. Zero had panicked when Kaname had come close to his neck. He was more frightened then angry, Kaname thought, curling his fingers into a light fist, pressing his knuckles against his chin.
How frightened then, had he been on that night? Terrified. Kaname remembered his trembling too clearly.
His heart had been so weak. Stuttering, slow thumps, decreasing in consistency with each passing moment. And then, when the poison infected him—
The knock on his door made him turn around, and it opening before he gave permission alerted him first to who was behind the door.
"Ichijo let me in."
He shut the door behind him as Kaname said, "Hello, Zero."
A/N: I'm trying to pick this fic back up. I'm really sorry about how long it's been since an update. Rough year, you know. All that. In the time since I've updated, VK the manga has ended. I'm not sure if I'm going to have that ending play very much into this fic, as I already kind of had a plan for where this is going. We'll see. I'm just writing this for fun, and also, for some people to enjoy. Again, I'm really sorry about the abrupt hiatus. The reviews I got made me want to try and keep going with it, so I am. Thanks guys :)
The quote from the beginning is "Broken Pieces" by Apocalyptica feat. Lacey Sturm