by reenas-as

Summary: And where he had once shied away from her lips - even guiltier for desiring her love than for desiring her blood - he now sought them eagerly. 2nd in series. Zero x Yuuki

Stupid girl! All gentle sympathy and good intentions and pleading eyes. Didn't she understand that it was for her own good that he pushed her away? Could she not see the terror that lurked in his eyes, the creature that called out for her blood and refused to be denied? And he had been fighting for far too long.

The first time had been the worst. To be completely helpless in his own body, in his own mind, to be a prisoner of the beast that lived within him, always just under the surface. And she had just stood there and allowed it, and she had not allowed Kuran to kill him. And afterwards he had wanted so badly to die, to end it, but she would not let him. Didn't she see that he was dying in pieces every time he took from her? But she wanted him to live and he couldn't tell her 'no'. The most he could do was make her swear that she would kill him by her own hand when the time came.

And despite her innocent naiveté it would come.

But it did no good to tell her no. She didn't listen and eventually he stopped saying it.

But he couldn't forgive himself.

She could not understand what it did to him, her offering herself so freely. Could not begin to fathom how wonderfully, terribly, torturously erotic the words sounded falling from her lips. Because in a way it was what he had always wanted, even before the bloodlust had come upon him.

He wanted Yuuki.

It had always been there, just beneath the surface, the tightly reigned desire to touch her and feel the smoothness of her skin.

And he had always denied himself.

That was the reason he pushed her away.

Because he was not worthy, because he was loathsome, because if he could not love himself how could he expect her to? He didn't want her to. He didn't deserve her love.

And so he had struggled, hiding his emotions behind a mask of indifference and even annoyance, fighting the urge to apologize when that look of pain entered her eyes. Cleverly hidden in put downs and snide remarks and insolent gaze. He had even encouraged her affections for that Pureblood, though it sickened him, in his own way. He had to protect her from himself. Because even if he had not had to fight the beast within himself he knew that she only saw him as a brother. And so he tried to play the part. Even when the world crashed down around him, and their relationship was forced to change, he tried to play the part.

But there were times it was so hard. When his fangs were buried in her neck and his body pressed intimately against hers, and he wanted so much more. And though he loathed himself he could not stop the ever growing desire.

Because the truth was, he needed this. As much as he feared it he also craved it with an insatiable hunger that could not be pressed away. Yes, he wanted more, so much more than she had offered, more than he had the right to take. Because he didn't just want her blood, and he didn't just want her body, he wanted her soul. … I want these gentle hands and this kind smile… Every part of her entwined with himself until they could not be drawn apart. And he had no right.

It was wrong in every sense.

And he hated himself all the more for wanting this.

And yet he could not keep the hunger from his gaze in those rare unguarded moments when she did not know that he was looking.

And he felt so guilty. But there was nothing he could do to stop it; he was powerless against the tides that swept him ever closer to that ledge. And once he fell over there would be no turning back. They would be lost together, inextricably entwined. And so he restrained himself in any way he could. But she was so willing and so warm, and she drew him close when she should have pushed him away.

His tongue washed over her neck, longingly, an eerie imitation of a lover's kiss. His arms wrapped around her, the distorted shadow of a lover's embrace. But in those moments it was love, stronger and more consuming than any love a mere mortal could know.

And it doesn't help that he has always been drawn to her.

He tried desperately to ignore her sighs and soft gasps, the ones that made his heart race and told him that she wanted this just as much as he. He reminded himself that she was doing this because she felt she had to, because she didn't want him to die, and that she had no control over the natural response of her body to what was, by its very nature, an intimate touch. But he ached to hear those pleasured, contented sounds.

And he prayed she would not notice the way his touch lingered on her waist before pulling away. Prayed she would ignore the way his hands slid down her arms when he released her wrists against the door. Prayed she would interpret the slow, sensuous, slide of his tongue against her neck as a vampire's instinct and not the evidence of his own desperate desire.

But the prayers of the damned were futile it seemed.

The way she looked at him had changed.

His lips brushed her ear and they both shuddered. And he felt a small, guilty pleasure at knowing that she had enjoyed it just as much as he had. And even though he told himself that it was wrong, he could never seem to pull away. Because she was so willing, so innocently eager to help him and perhaps… perhaps for more than that. And when her small, delicate, fingers weaved into his hair and he felt her lips touch his brow he could not stop himself from brushing his fingers along her shirt, searching for bare skin. And the taste of her blood on his lips was nothing compared to the aching sweetness of her hesitant touch. She was so warm, so desperately submissive. And the guilt which always clung to him so tenaciously was being eaten away by her whispered assurances and soft exhalations.

And soon enough it was washed away, driven to the deepest recesses of his heart and mind, melting beneath her hesitant touch – as though she didn't want to frighten him, when it should have been the other way around. And he whispered soft words of seduction in her ear. And he thrilled at the shiver that worked through her body. Had this been in his nature all along, or was it part of this cruel transformation? And when she pressed herself more tightly against him and allowed him to do with her as he wished did it really matter anymore?

He was lost.

And yet he held himself together by a thread, because as much as he yearned to take all that she would offer he was still not worthy. Because to be her duty was one thing, but to be her lover would be another. And so he held steadfastly to his ever slipping grip on restraint and refused to take that last step, the one that would tangle them in one another until it was impossible to escape. But he toed the line daily, each time pressing a little farther, a little deeper.

A sharp gasp as his fangs pierced the skin of her neck and what once would have brought a flood of guilt now carried with it only pleasure – a sleepy, satiated contentment that carried him toward ecstasy. And where she had once lain limp she now pressed closer, needing him just as much as he needed her.

He smoothed his tongue along the puncture wounds, slow and soothing, wondering if it could dull the pain as he had seen Kuran do to a wound on her arm once. Kaname Kuran. The mere name made his blood heat with anger and yet made it run cold. He didn't know what bothered him more about the man, the fact that he "deigned" to let him live as a shield for Yuuki, or the way he looked at her, all desire and mystery, and tenderness that simply could not be real.

And he knew that Kuran knew. Manipulative and enigmatic and darkly powerful, the Master Vampire was too near omniscient, so he had to know. The words were never spoken between them, but Zero read it in his crimson gaze. And there was the unspoken warning, the reminder that Kuran was only leaving her to his care. As if it was his words that held him back instead of his own self-loathing. And yet he had said, he had said that he envied him. Even so, I am… jealous of you… you who is able to protect the girl you love.

And though it had shocked him at the time, because he had thought it was so well hidden, he did love her. He had always loved her.

And how could he ignore that when she was so very close. Always so very close. That he should not have her did not mean that he did not want her, especially when he knew that he could have her. It was in the taste of her blood. She was willing to give him everything. She did not know what she was offering. Yet still she offered.

What am I to you? And she had never answered, not in words. But she hadn't had to.

For when he had finally taken her mouth with his there had been no resistance, no hesitation, and he could no longer pretend that this was just a vampire's need for blood. This was a man's need for his love.

He had long stopped resisting, but now he came eagerly, craving the moments of skin brushing on skin every bit as much as he craved the taste of her blood, perhaps more so. And where he had once shied away from her lips - even guiltier for desiring her love than for desiring her blood because at least that he could explain - he now sought them eagerly. And the taste of her mouth as his tongue brushed every surface was as intoxicating as any drug.

It was not just her blood that soothed him, it was her scent, her very presence. When she was near the need grew painfully, but a touch of his skin to hers could quell the fire and turn it into something else entirely. She was his addiction in every way. And if that did not bother her then who was he to complain? And so he gave in and stopped fighting the inevitable, allowed himself to be drawn to her and bound to her in ways neither of them could fully understand.

And he wanted her so badly that he shook, raised unsteady hands to gather her to him and pressed his face into the crook of her neck just to take in her scent without even drawing blood. Because if the scent of her blood was enticing, the scent of her skin was intoxicating. And he tangled his hands in her hair the way he knew that she liked and pulled her head back to expose her the creamy expanse of her throat before him and he marveled that someone so fragile could be so strong. How many women would not break under the obsessive love of the fallen?

And that made her all the more precious to him, all the more desirable. And the need grew in him until he could no longer wait for stolen moments in darkness and he needed to be near her always. His hand catching hers beneath desktops, his arm around her shoulder in the courtyard. And to his immense pleasure and nearly overwhelming relief she did not pull away but instead snuggled closer. And it didn't matter who was watching, because he wanted them all to know. And when his eyes met Kuran's darkly he saw the faintest resignation there. The knowledge that Yuuki had chosen.

And though he hated the way Kuran spoke with her, he said nothing. He hated the way Aidou looked at her, but it didn't matter. They could not take her from him for she was a part of him.

It was in the arch of her back as she allowed him to drink his fill. In her labored breathing as he laved at new wounds. It was in the soft sighs and gentle moans released when she felt his breath on her ear and the way she squirmed with pleasure when his tongue followed its curve. It was in the way she nibbled on his piercings and the way her hands fisted in his shirt.

He wanted this, needed this, would die without it in so many ways, and the thought was no longer so appealing. Because as long as Yuuki was here life was still worth living. As long as she was by his side he could control his other nature. He would suffer a thousand horrors worse than this just to be near her, to be with her. As long as she loved him he could endure anything.

And yet in the back of his mind was still the fear, the fear that it was all pretend and that in the end he was nothing but a monster. And he knew that she knew this and that it hurt her, but he this also could not be pushed away.

And when she had thrown herself between him and the hunter he had known that he had to make a choice. Would he choose the path of self-hatred, the path of pain and destruction? The path that would, in the end, destroy them both? Or would he choose the path of healing, the path of acceptance and love. The path that led to Yuuki.

And Zero knew that there had never really been a choice - that it had been made years before. To leave her was unacceptable, to abandon her unforgivable. Their lives were woven together as tightly as threads in a tapestry. To remove the one would unravel the whole. And though he cared little for his own life, he cared greatly for hers.

And when she drew him into her dorm room late that night, intent to scold him, the look in his eyes had been so intense and yet so tender that she had fallen against him, pleading and enraptured, and he had secured her to himself with strong arms and sweet words. And there had been no need for blood that night, and no need for words, just the soft press of lips on flesh, and the sound of gasped breaths. And though he still would not take that final step he knew that when he did it would belong to her just as he did. Because everything in his life, every part of him, was in her keeping. Every secret, every longing, every hope, and every dream tangled in her own. Right or wrong, they were prisoners of the fate they had chosen, bound together for all eternity. And in that knowledge he found peace.

Author's Notes: Well, I thought I was through, but I've been dying to get inside Zero's head, especially after reading chapter 24, so here it is. I considered making the original a two-parter, but decided that I really wanted to post that summary Besides, my stories authored list is too short… I'll probably post a third part to this series soon, Kaname's view on the evolving relationship of Zero and Yuuki. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go drool over pictures of Zero panting over Yuuki… hee hee, you ever noticed how they always put the little "huff"s around him when he's struggling not to bite her? That's so cute!