Title: Bloody Rose
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: PG for fantasy violence. Some spoilers for "Vampire Knight" canon.
Characters: Zero and a human-weapon adaptation of his gun, Bloody Rose.
Setting: "Vampire Knight/Soul Eater" fusion.
Summary: Zero Kiryu and his weapon partner are on the hunt.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Matsuri Hino, and the concepts to Atsushi Okubo. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: I originally posted this fic for the word "Shot" at Fan Flashworks. It's based on a fusionverse concept a friend and I had been toying with, envisioning what pairs of characters from other anime would be like in the "Soul Eater" world as weapons and meisters. In this case, the subjects are Zero Kiryu from "Vampire Knight", and an anthropomorphized version of his handgun Bloody Rose. I found it was an intriguing challenge to interpret Rose as a person, and to explore the symbiosis dictated by these two partners' mutual needs.
Zero Kiryu's fingers were trembling. His weapon Bloody Rose could feel the vibrations against her trigger, as he pounded down the dark alley in pursuit of the strangler they were hunting. It had been too long since they found their last prey. She knew her meister had become painfully hungry by now, which could make him weaker—and more reckless.
And also much more dangerous.
Ahead of them, the strangler released a snarl as he ran up against the brick wall that turned the alley into a dead end. He whirled to face the tall, pale avenger who stalked toward him with a gleaming pistol. In the scant moonlight that fell between the buildings, Rose could just barely make out a glimpse of the killer's distorted face, twisted into something inhuman by the taint of evil that came from consuming innocent souls.
The advantage belonged to the young man who clutched her. Zero wasn't human anymore, either—and his eyes were made to see in the dark. When he pointed her at his target in the blackness, Rose had the grim satisfaction of knowing his aim would be true.
Under normal conditions, Rose took care not to draw upon Zero's soul through their bond as weapon and meister, lest she drain energy from him before it was absolutely necessary. Now she opened herself to it, feeling the essence of him flood through her. He was heady with the heat of righteous fury… but also ragged around the edges, aching with the hunger and need that gripped him. She realized he wouldn't be able to keep this up much longer.
He squeezed her trigger, and a burst of red light exploded from her muzzle: the compressed pulse of his own soul-energy which she channeled and amplified. The shot was fairly minimal, calculated only to stun the cornered strangler.
And yet, suddenly, the man was balanced on top of the wall, as the shot harmlessly cratered the bricks where he had stood an instant before.
Zero's gasp echoed Rose's own mental exclamation of surprise. In the brighter shaft of moonlight at the strangler's new elevation, she could now see his freakishly long, knob-kneed legs, folded double underneath him as he crouched.
Now Rose understood why some other meister with a morbid sense of humor had dubbed this elusive target the Frog-Strangler.
Biting back a curse, Zero aimed again—and the Frog-Strangler made another leap. It carried him over Zero's head, and several feet farther, toward the entrance of the alley. With his ability to cover ground, had he bounded away then, escape might have been easy; but he spun back instead, aiming a kick of his two-meter leg that caught Zero in the ribs before he could fully turn. Rose uttered a cry of alarm as Zero was hurled against the wall, his impact jarring loose more bricks.
As the Frog-Strangler advanced upon his sprawled former pursuer, licking his lips with a repulsively long tongue, Zero's hand gently but firmly tightened around his partner.
"Drink my blood now, Rose."
Startled by the whispered command, Rose shuddered down the length of her slide. "But Zero—"
"Just do it!"
Wincing internally, the weapon focused, and drew upon her own unique power. Silvery metallic vines erupted from her, twining around Zero's wrist and wrapping halfway up his arm. As the vines tightened, the hollow-pointed thorns that studded them pressed into his skin, to pierce his veins in search of blood.
As her tendrils tapped into the elixir of life within Zero, a new and even more intense surge of power flowed into Bloody Rose. Physical energy consumed from another person felt so much different from the energy of the soul. It wasn't supposed to be stronger… but for her, with her nature designed to use it in this way, it was.
When Zero stretched out his arm toward the Frog-Strangler, as if to aim Rose once more, she moved of her own accord. The vines released his punctured flesh and shot forward, coiling around the killer's body and neck and monstrous legs. The Frog-Strangler howled in fury—and then in terror—as he was dragged to the ground like a hog-tied animal.
Shaking, Zero lowered his hand, and very gently set Rose down on the pavement. She watched him in concern as he stood and stumbled over to their tightly-bound prey.
Understanding all too well what was next, she slackened and spread open the coil of vines that was wrapped around the Frog-Strangler's neck, to expose his throat and the bulging veins beneath the skin.
Once Zero saw that, Rose didn't think her meister was aware of anything else. He dropped heavily onto his knees, leaning down over the now-whimpering, pleading murderer. She heard Zero's shuddering release of breath… and then, the soft squelch of fangs penetrating flesh.
The Frog-Strangler's futile attempts to struggle gradually ceased. Through her vines, Rose could feel his pulse as well; its trapped-bird beating became fainter, little by little, until she could feel it no more.
Beneath Zero's hands, and within the grasp of Rose's vines, the corpse suddenly turned black and disintegrated. As it crumbled, it released a bubble of energy that glowed a malevolent red: the Frog-Strangler's soul, corrupted into a kishin egg by his life of evil.
Rose retracted her vines, and with her own blur of soft white light, she changed to her human form. Now possessing the appearance of a fine-boned, black-haired young woman, she stood still for a moment. Pensively she regarded Zero, who continued to kneel with his head bowed, breathing deeply as he collected himself.
"Are you alright now?" she asked quietly at last.
Zero sighed. Rose didn't need to see his face, veiled beneath his curtain of fine silver hair, to picture the grimace twisting his lips.
That was the answer he always gave her. She knew it was no more true than any time he'd said it before, and he knew that she knew. It wasn't right, but it was the way things were… and at least Rose was able to help him bear his burden. To provide for him, exactly as he did for her. In this way, the two of them were unique among weapons and meisters.
It was entirely fitting that Rose's partner should be a vampire. After all, as a living weapon—one of the rare kind who were not born human, but created by human hands—she herself was a unique specimen, forged using iron from vampire blood. That instilled her with her own need to prey on other lives, and she knew the unclean feeling of that craving, even if it was not as great or as painful as his. Except for occasions like this night, when she was called upon to enhance her strength in battle, she required only a little from Zero's veins now and then; but for him, blood was his very survival.
He drank from her in turn, on occasion, when he was desperate enough. However, it was an option he was loath to resort to. With every ounce of his powerful will, he struggled to limit his feeding to the kishin eggs they hunted. Even when he had gone without for too long, and the ache of hunger began to torment him, he was deeply reluctant to take from his partner.
At least the threat of slow madness no longer hung over him. As a human transformed by the bite of a Pureblood vampire, that had long been expected as his fate; but Zero's twin brother had spared him from such horror. Ichiru's dying offering of his own lifeblood had stabilized Zero, halting his degeneration into the ravenous monster that any other turned human would become.
Still, it couldn't reverse the changes already wrought in his body. A vampire he was, and there was no cure for that. He could only bear it, and try to give meaning to his fate, by using his terrible strengths to mete out justice and protect others from harm.
Rose was glad to be his weapon. She had agreed to the partnership at first because Kaien Cross solemnly asked her to protect his foster son, and she would do anything for the man who redeemed her long ago from the dark path she had once been on… but after all this time, and all she had seen Zero overcome, she cared genuinely for her meister.
That didn't come easily for her. After all, she wasn't human—and she was very aware that she didn't feel things in quite the same way humans did. It wasn't her intent to be as cool and distant as most people found her, but somehow she lacked the ability to connect with the volatile, emotional creatures whose form she had been given.
Among those who studied living weapons, some held the theory that a soul could not be artificially created; that for non-human weapons like herself or Excalibur or Ragnarok, a soul stolen from a human being had to be used to give them life. Rose wondered, if that was true, why she had no memory of a past life as a real person. It would have been nice to at least have some echo of experience that would help her understand human nature.
Thoughtfully she looked at Zero. He could be volatile too, and yet… there was also a coolness about him. Maybe it was the vampire part of his being. Maybe that really was the one part of him Bloody Rose related to, because of the vampire element within her as well.
She waited patiently until he squared his shoulders, wiped his mouth, and raised his head. His tremors were gone, and when he reluctantly met her gaze, his expression was calm—if perhaps a bit humiliated. Even after they had been partners for so long, and knowing she understood his need better than anyone, he still didn't like her to see what it made him become and do.
Gathering the gelatinous, glowing ball of the kishin egg in his hand, he stood, and held it out to her.
This was Rose's own part of their symbiosis. The blood of their targets was his; the corrupt souls were hers. Consuming them nourished her in ways even blood did not. She stepped forward to accept the soul from him, and swallowed it down at a gulp, feeling its energy diffuse through her with a perversely pleasant tingle.
When she opened her eyes, she saw Zero looking at her. The very faintest trace of a smile now curved his lips.
Rose was the only person in the world who he smiled at. That pleased her somehow, although it also made her vaguely somber if she thought about it. There was still enough human in him that he should have been able to share warmth with others, the way she couldn't.
Smiling in return was a gesture she had merely learned to imitate at first, but that did come more easily now, with long practice and the degree of true fondness she had developed for him. Her own lips turned up, not joyously, but gladly—because she was glad Zero felt better, even if only for a while. Even if it would be mere days before his hunger came creeping back.
By then, they would have chosen another target: another kishin egg whose wickedness needed to be erased from the world. Then they would do it all over again, hunting a monster to fulfill their own and each other's needs.
It was alright, because they were together.
Dissolving in a flash of light, Rose reverted to her weapon form, and leaped into Zero's hand. Unlike human-born weapons, the sleek silver handgun she became was her natural state. She was comfortable and content that way… and when Zero tucked her inside the inner pocket of his jacket, in the dark and warmth, some small part of her liked the thrum of the heartbeat she lay nestled against.
As he withdrew his hand, the glistening chain that connected her grip to his lapel jangled softly. Her original creator had meant for that chain to be the bond of a slave; but with Zero, it was the link between partners who shared because they wanted to.
Feeling full and drowsy, Rose let herself drift off to the sway of Zero's footsteps, as her meister set out into the night.
2016 Jordanna Morgan