Disclaimer: I don't own Vampire Knight or any of its characters or plot. I only own my OCs and the plot that differs from canon.

Warnings: The usual warnings of the series apply; mild language, violence, etc..

A/N: I've been a fan of the Vampire Knight series ever since I watched the anime back in 2008 when Vampire Knight Guilty aired (that was almost eleven years ago... holy crap), and I've had this idea of a story in my mind for almost as long and decided to finally write it down. Constructive criticism is welcome – I've only recently started to write my story ideas down, so I'm not that experienced as a writer. I don't mind suggestions, and although I have already written an outline for the chapters with a certain plot and character interactions in mind, I can still add ideas or scenarios if I like them and they fit into the planned plot and canon universe :)

I hope you enjoy the first chapter even though it is more of a prologue than actual chapter!

Rewritten on 09.06.2021

Chapter One – Gilded Cage

The ancestor of the Kuran family strolled pensively through the traditional Japanese manor, that was even at the beginning of autumn permeated by the scent of cherry blossoms. He had just freed Hiō Shizuka from the cage she'd been confined to ever since birth. Her quarters were enchanted with anti-vampire magic by Hunters so even a Pureblood couldn't break through the barrier from the inside.

Now the chess pieces in this unforgivable game were on the move – Shizuka would surely take her revenge on the Kiryū family for killing her ex-human lover – but there was one small, unforeseen possible obstacle. Naturally, Kaname had to see it with his own eyes and contemplate what to do with it.

Shizuka had hesitated for a moment when she stepped out of the cage and had glanced into another direction of the mansion, where Kaname could sense another non-dormant Pureblood. It was barely more than a child.

"She is a peaceful, gentle child unlike her father... or me," the Hiō princess had said wryly as she looked down at the Kuran in the form of a fifteen-year-old teen.

"You won't take her with you?" he'd asked her, guessing that Shizuka was talking about her daughter that he hadn't even known about.

"She is not suited for revenge." A faraway look had entered Shizuka's eyes while she was walking around him, the chime of a bell accompanying her movements. "Take her with you before the Council makes her their vampire slave supplier or that beast comes for her again."

After having uttered these words, she'd left the Hiō compound, darting one last look at Kaname.

The ancient Pureblood stopped in front of the living quarters of the other caged vampire. Behind wooden bars, sliding doors with cherry blossoms painted on them blocked his view of the occupant of these quarters.

It was nothing that couldn't be solved with some telekinesis. By an invisible power the doors slid open on Kaname's command. Vampire powers could be used inside the cage though they were considerably weakened by the anti-vampire magic.

Moonlight flooded the lightless room that appeared to be a living room. With his eyes that could even see in the poorest light conditions Kaname easily spotted dark brown wooden furniture on tatami mats, a low table with detailed drawings of landscapes, flowers, trees and birds scattered over it, some small shelves that almost burst over with books, and one sofa with blue cushioning, a flute of some kind carelessly lying on it.

However, the other Pureblood was still hidden from his sight. Without further ado, Kaname opened the cage door and entered it, having no doubts that he would be able to leave it again because he possessed the key. By using his Pureblood abilities, he had manipulated the servants to stay in their own quarters for some more time, so no one could close the door behind him either.

His senses led him to a corner of the room, where a small huddled figure sat, the legs pulled to their chest, and the arms curled around them. It was a very human, childlike pose – rather unusual for a Pureblood that had been taught etiquette and how to conduct oneself from early childhood.

The scent and the presence Kaname sensed were clearly not that of a human child, though her scent lacked the sickly sweet hint of blood that was typical for grown vampires, which meant that her thirst for blood hadn't awakened yet. He could also detect a hint of sunlight in her scent that usually only humans or vampires who had been humans possessed.

This struck him as odd. Why did she, a Pureblood vampire, smell like someone who lived their life in the light of day?

The girl's face was hidden by the fabric of her light blue kimono with a butterfly pattern, and her silky, silvery-white hair, that curled slightly at the ends, covered the rest of what was visible of her skin. She had to know that he was standing right in front of her – an unknown Pureblood and possible threat – and yet she didn't react to it.

"Who are you?" Kaname broke the silence by asking a question he already knew the answer to.

For some time he had to wonder if the girl would answer him at all, but then a soft but clear voice finally reached his ears.

"...Hiō Koharu, Hiō Shizuka's daughter. But you already knew that, didn't you? Who are you?" she asked in turn, slowly lifting her head to meet his gaze.

The thirteen-year-old possessed the ethereal beauty that was typical for Purebloods, but she wasn't hiding her feelings behind a blank mask. Kaname could read her face like a book.

Sorrow, hurt, hints of fear and hope, and a deep loneliness – a feeling he knew well himself – were displayed on her face, shone in the eyes of a familiar cobalt blue hue he had come to associate with a certain accursed relative of his. Despite the wrong colour scheme Koharu had inherited from her father Ridō and mother Shizuka, she undoubtedly took after her aunt Juri... resembled Yūki as a consequence, though she was older than her.

Kaname was taken aback for a second though it didn't show on his face. "Why are you crying?" he asked the younger Pureblood, watching as tears silently trailed down her cheeks, seemingly uncaring that he saw them.

It was a sacrilege for a Pureblood to show someone their vulnerable side; many believed they didn't even have one.

The ancestor in teen-form was surprised by the free way the girl expressed herself, that made him think of Yūki, and perhaps even slightly envious because he couldn't do the same.

She broke eye contact with him then and stared at the floor. "I've been... abandoned for the second time," she informed him. "Why was I even born if no one in this world wants me around?" she directed the despondent inquiry at him, as if he could give her a sufficient answer.

A long time ago, he'd asked himself the same question. "I cannot give you an answer to that question. You will have to search for it yourself," Kaname replied, feeling a small spark of sympathy. "However, I doubt that you will find an answer in this cage."

He considered his options and wondered if he should comply with Shizuka's request.

The Ancestor suspected that Koharu would truly become the Vampire Council's puppet in time and give them an army of human-turned-vampire slaves whenever they were in need for them if she stayed here. It was a headache that he could prevent if he intervened here and now and let her at least escape.

Taking the young Pureblood's life was another option. However, killing his relative when she was just a child simply because she was Ridō's daughter and had the potential to become a nuisance in the future was a vile, unsightly thing to do, that only the likes of Ridō would consider.

And would Yūki forgive him if she one day found out that he had killed her cousin? Although, if it was for Yūki's safety, Kaname was willing to do the most despicable things. He'd already put such a plot into motion by freeing Shizuka from her cage, so she could exact her revenge on the Kiryū family.

"If I leave this place, I won't have anywhere to stay," Koharu pointed out.

Kaname didn't think that he would ever have to convince someone to escape from a prison but here he was. Still, he understood the girl's reluctance to leave behind the only home she had ever known.

"Are you fine with staying in this cage of yours forever then? Is there truly nothing out there that you want?" he gave her one last incentive.

The Pureblood girl lowered her head again, her eyes wandering slowly to a pencil drawing that laid on the floor. It was the drawing of a human family – a father, mother and two sisters. All of them were smiling, clearly feeling at ease around each other.

Kaname wondered where Koharu had seen them. She'd never left the Hiō compound, had never met a human family. Maybe there was a picture or drawing of it in one of her books? Or had she drawn the family from her imagination?

"Family... I would like to have a family," she said softly.

'Of all the things to ask for... It has to be one of the things that is the hardest to obtain,' Kaname thought, half-amused but also slightly saddened by the innocent, sweet wish.

Just like Koharu yearned for a family, people that would unconditionally accept and love her and stay by her side, he too yearned for a certain someone. He longed to see the girl again that was like a beacon in the darkness and gave meaning to his tiresome immortal life.

"The place where I currently reside is not that much different from the Hiō residence, perhaps even worse in some aspects, but at the very least you wouldn't be caged there like this. And while I can't give you the family you desire, I may be able to offer you companionship as your relative if you want it," he proposed, the suggestion being both rationally calculated and emotionally influenced.

"The choice whether you wish to come with me or continue to stay here in this prison is yours." He held out a hand for the girl to take if she chose so.

For his plans he had stolen away her only family. This was what he could offer in return. Maybe complying with Shizuka's request and taking the girl with him was more an attempt to ease his own conscience than anything else.

The young Pureblood seemed to mull over his words and his offer and glanced once more at the drawing of the human family before her cobalt blue eyes met his garnet ones with determination.

Tentatively, Koharu reached for Kaname's outstretched hand and he helped her stand up.

She had accepted his offer.

Unbeknownst to the Kuran ancestor there was more to the Pureblood girl than met the eye and she wasn't quite the child she appeared to be.

A/N: Feel free to tell me what you think :)