AN: I return with a new fanfiction. Please be kind folks this is the introduction that sets up everything. As usual all suggestions, comments etc are encouraged.

I don't own anything except Sanjuro.

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It was unusual Yuki Cross thought, a little annoyed to be stuck in this carriage of Baroque proportions. It was two weeks before Christmas and the sun shone weekly out on the moor like land they were traveling over. Her brown eyes settled on her ever-present stepfather Headmaster Cross who was sound asleep. Nuzzled in the far corner of the richly upholstered carriage. He hadn't stirred for hours now and the only thing other then the rumbling of the carriage was his even breathing, or a soft muttering of something in his sleep.

Letting the heavy satin curtain fall over the window, she looked down to her lap where an elaborately written letter sat. She had taken it from her father's attaché case that lay next to her.

Simply it read

I have urgent news that cannot be written for chance someone might use it for ill, only know that you have until the full moon to arrive here at the Kuran Palace.

Tsukasa.

Yuki wondered if that was Kaname-sama's father and why everything was cloaked with such secrecy. All her thoughts flew out of her head as she was pitched violently forward, her father woke with a snort was the carriage came to a bone jarring stop. Yuki's found herself on the other side of the spacious carriage, cradling a throbbing head.

"Stay in the carriage Yuki." The Headmaster cautioned and opening the carriage door stepped lightly out into the rapidly gathering twilight. The line of six white horse's had stopped about 50 yards from a massive iron wrought gate and surrounding fence which was at least about thirty feet high, the black painted spikes glittering in the eerily colored light.

A tall and wiry figure stood about ten feet away from the horses, dressed entirely in black. The Headmaster smiled and approached the figure, who extended his hand in greeting. Headmaster Cross shook the cool hand with a wider smile

"It is nice to see you again Sanjuro-san."

"And you" the deep voice replied, the man pulled back the hood from his face and Headmaster bit back a gasp. No matter how many times he had meet Sanjuro, he could never get over how closely he resembled Kaname. Yet there was something so dark and sinister about his face…. His eyes a piercing gold, his hair was nearly floor length the color of a raven wing. Sanjuro's odd eyes narrowed as he raised his head and sniffed the air "You have brought a young lady with you… Your step daughter am I correct?"

The Headmaster nodded, gazing into the lifeless gold eyes of the vampire "She is here because…"

Sanjuro smiled "Because you didn't want to leave her alone with Maria Kurenai or should I say Shizuka Hio?"

The Headmaster smiled wanly "Yes, Yuki is… A very naïve and forgiving child she nearly fell pray to her once before."

Sanjuro's sickly sweet smile turned into a smirk "Her blood is very powerful, vampires are drawn to her for that reason. But then I suppose you already knew that from long ago."

Sanjuro looked up just as a drop of water trickled down his alabaster skin, he touched his face.

"How ungracious I have been leaving you here to stand out in the weather. You and your daughter will go on ahead in the carriage. I have business to take care of, good evening." And in a blink Sanjuro Kuran was gone, leaving Headmaster Cross to stare a bit dumbly in his wake…

000

The rain was pounding on the roof of the carriage moments after Headmaster Cross stepped back into the carriage and sat down. Yuki looked at him quietly, willing for her father to break the silence

"Who was that man?" she asked then

"It was one of the Kuran's, Sanjuro is his name. He is related very distantly to Kaname Kuran… He has always been the host of this Palace, the Gatekeeper." Yuki studied her father his eyes were far away, glazed over in thought.

The look on her Father's face disturbed her and feeling the lurch of the carriage forward, lost her thoughts in the scenery outside.

000

The massive gates had pulled back to permit their passage into the darkening grounds of the Kuran Palace. Ancient willows lined both sides of the dirt road. Their long branches swaying in the soft wind in the wake of the carriage, Yuki felt something like fear begin to form in her stomach. She hadn't expected Kaname's home to be like this…

Actually she really didn't know what to expect, everything about this trip was unexpected, including their use of transportation. This carriage had showed up one morning out on the drive near the Headmaster's private suites. A tight lipped and pale footman waiting for them in the Headmasters office, with the letter she had surreptitiously stuffed into her pocket.

Her stepfather hadn't released it had gone missing…yet.

"Yuki we are almost there"

"We are?" she had peaking back outside to the eerie and secluded gardens that were almost dark now as the daylight finally surrendered to the darkness.

"Yes it is nearly a mile into the property before we reach the Kuran Palace."

Yuki had suspected that her father had been here before but did not press the subject, she was tired, dirty and in need of a good meal. Right now a warm shower and a soft bed was all that she was worried about.

"Father, what about Cross Academy?"

"It is Christmas break, I made sure all the students went home and Zero went to go stay with his Master. As for the Vampires, I have made arrangements, Kaname had to stay there unfortunately or he would have made the journey with us."

That was the other thing she was bothered about, she longed to see Kaname the week's ride to his home was one of the most trying she had ever experienced. She was nervous, her Father was keeping her totally in the dark about their whole purpose for being here…

What was going on?

Suppressing a sudden shiver, she eyes slid away from her father and she lost herself in thought before the carriage slowly rolled to a stop.

"We're here" the Headmaster breathed and the footman had noiselessly opened the door for them. A brilliantly lit pavilion greeted Yuki's tired eyes, a massive set of highly polished stairs at the end. In the center was a rectangular pond filled with the strangest waterliles she had ever seen. In the light she watched the blood colored petals open, to the night. Koi sparkled between the leaves, as she drew closer and leaned over to get a better look. The pond was nearly the length of the pavilion itself and smelled heavenly. But there was something about the eerie water plants that disturbed her.

"Yuki come here" she turned to see her Father still near the carriage, a few women dressed in crimson were taking their bags towards the marble stairs, they passed her without a word. But one person remained behind even as the carriage pulled away into the darkness of the lane.

Carefully she walked over and the Headmaster smiled warmly

"This is Sanjuro Kuran, Yuki."

Yuki looked up to the tall man and gasped. He looked so much like Kaname it brought a flush to her cheeks; his lips were that same rosy color. Skin a flawless alabaster and eyes covered by the thickest of lashes. He was perfect except for his eyes; they were golden like a hawk or eagle. And his smile, an unconscious shiver thrilled through her, he gazed at her like a predator looks at prey.

"It is nice to meet you Yuki-san" he took her hand and kissed it, his voice was like Kaname's except deeper, and far more charming. Almost wicked, evil… No she didn't like this man at all… She was actually afraid of him, pleadingly she looked at her Father. He surveyed the exchange with a furrowed brow and something like panic filling his eyes.

"My Aunt and Uncle have not yet returned from… their supper. It would be better if you were to see them tomorrow, when the moon is full." Sanjuro began mercifully letting go of Yuki's little hand and turning to her Father.

The Headmaster nodded "Yes, I think it would be better if we had some rest before, things began."

"Then follow me"

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