Chapter 27: The Queen of Ice

My brain just did a gigantic mushroom cloud.

No, seriously. I can't feel the top of my skull anymore.

I licked my lips, finding them dry and realized that my mouth tasted like cotton- like that time I had gone to the dentist and he stuck a needle to numb the pain so he could drill a hole into my bottom tooth. My stomach knotted and the nervous butterflies spread their wings, clogging my throat. I closed my eyes to focus on breathing since I was struggling to get air. My head began to spin, forcing me to lean against someone's car.

That was a bad idea.

When I reopened my eyes the first thing I saw was Mrs. Rangus's corpse, which sat in the driver's seat. My neighbor's head was tilted to the right, exposing the two puncture holes in her neck. Startled by her empty bulging eyes, I flew backwards in horror and hit the pavement hard with my butt. I quickly scrambled away on the palms of my hands as far as I could until my back hit a mailbox.

I puked on the lawn.

I don't know how long I took to recuperate, but after the shaking stopped I forced myself to return to the house. I could handle seeing Mr. Tampon dead. I hated his guts and had wanted to kill him myself. The neighborhood was a different story. These were people I grew up with...that babysat me, that drove me to work, that asked me about school... I stopped myself from crying and became angry. Where the fuck were the cops? The news? Why hasn't anyone noticed this massacre? This would have attracted attention by now!

Unless...

She must be attacking something much more important. What else would have their attention other than the crises of celebrities?

Plugging my nose, I grabbed the remote to the television. I stood by the doorway as I turned on the television but muted the noise. I didn't want to be disturbed by anyone screaming in terror. My stomach could only handle so much. I flipped to the channel where I knew the news would be broadcasting and there she was: On the screen was a helicopter flying around a woman with fiery red hair. This woman was standing on top of the roof of the Virginia State Capitol. The camera zoomed in on the red head, showing the state my mother was in. Her eyes were glowing red; her fangs were exposed and tarnished. Her nails had grown into sharp claws and patches of her skin were dangling from her muscles.

She was grinning, pleased with herself. She was waving at the camera, challenging the humans to approach her.

I turned on the volume, curiously wondering what the broadcaster was saying. A frightened male voice began sputtering, making it hard for me to decipher what the hell he was saying until an older woman, who sounded like she had more experience with terror, took over. The camera zoomed in on her and I quickly realized that the only reason she wasn't freaking out was because she was a vampire. Probably not a noble vampire, but a vampire all the same.

I had forgotten that vampire civilians could take any job without humans noticing what they really were. Her brown eyes didn't blink as she spoke. They were void of emotion and she just stared calmly into the camera. Her face, wrinkled free and solid as stone, had no expression. I had to force myself to remember not to take it personally that she wasn't showing any emotions. It wasn't her job to care about the Level E vampire.

It was mine.

"The deranged woman seems to be just standing after slaughtering all the S.W.A.T teams, but the government is sending in the National Guard-" I muted the television. I didn't want to know what Mom had done. I was probably going to see it in person sooner or later anyway.

I inhaled a deep breath, knowing what I needed to do before the government got a hold of my mother. I went through the back door and stepped into the backyard, noticing Diana was still sitting in the same place I left her. She looked at peace with her surroundings-as if the blood and gore of the neighborhood didn't bother her at all.

I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to scream "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!"

But my legs stopped cooperating with me before I could start screaming in hysterics and I met the grass face first.

Diana was immediately hovering over me, a crooked look on her face. Like she couldn't understand why I was on the ground. "Serena?"

I rolled over and placed a hand on my heart hoping to calm it. It was beating at an alarming rate.

I was wheezing. "I need...I need you to... teleport me...me to Richmond. Mom's... at the Virginia... State Capitol... building."

This made her frown. "She knows what she's doing. That's not a good sign."

I gave her a questioning glare. I really hate vague people. Especially right now.

Diana stood, brushing off the dirt that had collected on the bottom of her pants. "As you are aware, Level E vampires do not normally express intelligence. They only think about blood. For your mother to make it all the way to that particular building means her brain is still functioning, and she plans who she wants to kill."

"That doesn't make any sense! If that were the case she wouldn't have killed the whole neighborhood! She loved this place more than I did!" I argued, throwing my arms in the air dramatically.

"That is not what I meant," Diana countered calmly. "Think about it, Serena. Why else would she have gone to the Virginia State Capitol? Not only did your mother want the government to get involved, she also exposed vampires to the human public. The purebloods and noble vampires normally have this kind of thing under control. They can erase or replace the memory of small groups of humans, but they cannot do a whole nation."

"Then what's going to happen?"

"That's not important right now," she said. "What you have to ask yourself now is how you are going to kill her while the nation is watching."

Fuck. I didn't even think about that.

I groaned, using my hands to squish my face together in frustration. "I'll...come up with something."

She raised an eyebrow at me in disbelief but held her hand out. "Let's go."

I took her hand, this time noticing the background blend and squeeze together. My lungs felt like they were on fire, but thankfully it only lasted about thirty seconds. We were in one of the many streets of Richmond, quite aware of the cars that were crushed and piled on top of one another. Some of the street poles were missing so parts of the streets were dark. We were a few miles away from all the chaos so I could hear the helicopters, the screams, and the numerous voices broadcasting. People were either running away from the commotion or running to it out of curiosity.

To those running to the commotion: Dumb-fucks.

"I was wondering when I was going to see you." Kaito was sitting on top of the roof of one of the permanently parked cars. His legs were far apart in a relaxed position and his hands were in his pockets. He had a blank expression on his face as he looked me up and down. "You should have changed into your prefect clothes."

My first instinct was to take out the Blood Star and bash his head in vigorously, but I held my composure. I couldn't lose my temper here. Too many things could go wrong.

I faked a smile. "Isn't it my luck that you haven't been drained of blood yet."

He ignored me, turning his face to the direction of the helicopters. "Richmond...it is the most populated, tightly constructed cities in Virginia. This city rarely has open spaces, making it harder for prey to escape...hmmm...did you know that the year before you enrolled at the academy it had been attacked by a pureblood?"

I narrowed my eyes. "So what?"

"You're not the least bit curious as to why your father opened the school back up? Or why he allowed the vampires to continue to go to his school?" he scoffed. "You're more stupid than I previously believed."

I snapped. "Why the fuck does it matter? He's already done it. I can't change that. I can't focus on something I have no control over."

"You're the reason it was reopened. You see...the Kurans were using you as bait," he answered, watching me carefully.

Diana visibly stiffened beside me, causing me to believe he wasn't lying.

"Go on," I told him, now curious. I always had a hunch the Kurans had an agenda. "Since you seem so interested in telling me."

"I just want to see your reaction," he smirked.

I folded my arms and gave him a cocky glare. "Well? Dish out."

"After the attack on the school, the purebloods scattered themselves all over the globe. They don't trust each other like they used to, or rather, they don't trust the Kurans. Kaname Kuran, specifically," he began to explain, arrogance in his voice. "Some of the purebloods believe that the Kurans aren't fit to lead them simply because they don't agree with their ideals, but they can't openly oppose them. They searched for a leader to confront the Kurans, and they came across Hajime Bokyo."

"This would mean that Chairman Cross was persuaded by Kaname Kuran to allow Serena to enroll into the academy." Diana's voice was cold and her frosty eyes had reduced to dangerous slits at the vampire hunter.

"Precisely. Granted that the Chairman probably just wanted to see his daughter and make amends, the Kuran had other plans," he stated, still smirking. "He used Serena to lure out Hajime, knowing that she posed as a threat to Hajime. Hajime reacted, sending his own great granddaughter Kaede to investigate the school...knowing that doing so also meant risking Kaede's life at the hands of the Kuran."

A pawn in a game of chess.

I growled. "How did you come across this information?"

He sneered. "If you were intelligent enough you would have figured it out on your own. Analyzing your enemies and investigating them are key priorities of being a vampire hunter."

Control your temper. Control your temper. Control your temper. Control your temper.

God. Damn. It.

I bit my bottom lip hard. "Why did you want me to know?"

"Because I hate purebloods," he declared bluntly. "And I know you share the same sentiments."

"Don't compare me to yourself, asshole. Just because I don't trust them doesn't mean I despise them." Okay, I was lying. I did despise purebloods. However, I wasn't going to kill one just because I wanted to.

He must have known I was lying because he had the guts to stand inches from my face. "You've joined the Hunters' Association."

"Only to become stronger. Not for your fucked up ideals," I snarled, this time removing the Blood Star from my back.

"Are you going to attack me? The news will turn their cameras on you." He reminded me that there were other people here.

I got in his face, jabbing my index finger into his chest. "I'm not here to fight you, moron! I'm here for my mother so don't you go stealing my thunder! She's the sole reason I began training myself!"

"Claiming her as your prey?" he laughed mockingly.

"I'm not a predator," I said coldly.

"Everyone is a predator when they hunt someone down," he told me.

"This would mean that vampire hunters are predators too," I argued.

"And I admit that some of us are."

"Then you're no better than a pureblood," I hissed.

He folded his arms over his chest in defiance and tossed his brown hair so it was out of his eyes. "You can't deny what you are, Serena."

"Maybe you don't understand how a family works, Kaito," I spat at him. "She gave me life so I'm the only one who can take hers."

He grinned callously. "How touching."

"That's enough," Diana announced herself over us, grabbing Kaito by his collar. Surprisingly, he didn't struggle within her grasp. He just flashed her an angry glare.

She gave me a dutiful look. "We will create a distraction so you can complete your task."

Their bodies began to blur like a fuzzy picture, becoming nothing but smudges in my vision and within seconds they vanished. I didn't know how far they teleported but it couldn't have been too far because the next thing I knew there was a thunderous explosion, causing the street below my feet to vibrate and the piles of cars to fall apart. I assumed that Diana was battling Kaito somewhere. This created a new uproar of terrified screams and the people who were surrounding Mom began to disperse. Once the massive crowd started to thin out, Mom spotted me.

I don't know how she saw me, or how I managed to know that I had been found, but despite the distance between us we knew each other's location. Maybe because we were related and could sense each other? Who knows. It didn't really matter. I was too busy blocking her deadly claws from my face with the Blood Star to really care. I shoved her off with brute force and she bounced until she was standing on the wall. Sideways. She tilted her head, luminous red eyes gleaming, and grinned in recognition.

"You know who I am, don't you?" I asked in a hushed tone.

She laughed outrageously, keeping the same Cheshire cat grin. "Do you know who I am?"

Her voice shocked my nerves like electricity. It was low, raspy and diabolical. Mom was gone. She was already dead. The beast in front of me only had her appearance, possessed her body, but this was not my mother.

I tightened my grip on the Blood Star. "I did once."

I sprinted forward to attack her but she dodged my blow by tilting her body to the right of the Blood Star and she hung in air. I stared at her in surprise and she took that opening to grab me by the shoulder, digging her claws so deeply into my flesh that I couldn't squirm away unless I wanted to lose a shoulder. In fact, I was pretty sure she got my bone. She lifted me up as I screeched in pain and began jumping from one rooftop to another.

I ignored the blood that poured from my shoulder and clenched my teeth together.

"WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME?" I shouted at her, ordering myself not to look down.

We were up really high. Why the hell did she have to choose tall buildings to jump to and from? Normally I wasn't scared of heights but I knew that from this height I wouldn't just break a few bones if she dropped me.

I'd die.

I gulped, swung the Blood Star with my left arm and whacked the left side of her head. She let out a howl, throwing me and luckily I collided with the solid cement of a roof butt first. Unfortunately I kept rolling until my left hand grabbed the edge of the roof, leaving me dangling. I gulped again, realizing just how tiny the cars looked.

Okay, Serena. Get your fat ass on the roof!

I used whatever strength I had in my arms to pull myself up onto the roof, and blinked a few times to readjust my mind since the rolling around had disoriented me. I looked down to see the blinking sign of a hotel.

"Great. At least we're away from cameras," I muttered to myself.

I glanced down at my shoulder to see the wound. Sure enough, there was bone visible but strangely I didn't feel anymore pain. I wasn't sure if that was good or bad sign. I didn't read anything about Level E vampires having toxic claws, but I didn't want to rule it out. Mom wasn't a normal Level E vampire. She already had vampire blood in her, so maybe some section of her brain was still working like Diana had mentioned. Though...the section of her brain that was working seemed to only be malevolent. A part of the real vampiric side?

I was telling myself that the adrenaline in my body had numbed the pain.

She charged at me and her head smashed into my stomach. We fell off the roof together at an incredible fast pace and I realized that she was planning on crushing me against the pavement. I took out the Blood Star, struck it against the side of the building and one of the spikes got stuck in one of the railings of a balcony. We were left dangling had her arms wrapped tightly around my waist, digging into my sides with her claws. And then she nuzzled my stomach with her face. It didn't give me a comforting feeling. In fact, I was creeped out. The hairs on my neck stood, warning me. She abruptly sunk her teeth into my stomach, causing me to screech as I felt the sharpness of her fangs. She shook her head excitedly, ripping my insides.

I felt like an animal being gutted.

I tore out the Blood Star from the rail and fractured her skull by whacking her in the head. I was freed from her but we were both falling again. Fortune must be smiling at me for now because I landed inside of a balcony this time. I groaned loudly, rolling over to force myself to sit up and clutched my stomach as I watched her continue to fall. She landed with a loud bang, denting the ground. The cracks in the sidewalk outlined her body. Her leg had landed in a twisted angle like her left arm did, and she was looking up at me with an impish grin. Her red eyes were dull for a mere second. Then she blinked and they became red again. She stood confidently with a toothy smirk on her face as her body fixed itself. Once all the bones were back in place, she started to crawl sideways on all fours on the hotel wall, moving up to join me.

A cold shiver went down my spine.

I used the Blood Star to break the sliding doors and stepped into the bedroom. I headed to the bathroom first to check how serious my stomach injury was and was astonished to see that the wound wasn't as bad as I thought. My stomach had a fist-sized hole but it wasn't deep. I was bleeding a lot but at least my organs were still intact. I ran to the front door, down the hall and went straight to the stairway, racing down the stairs. I knew she wasn't going to attack anyone in the hotel since I was her primary target. She had a taste for my blood now.

My mind raced and I began to feel light headed. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know where to go. Kaito had been right about Richmond. It was a tightly constructed place with little to no room to run or hide from an enemy. I took three deep breaths to steel my nerves and gently caressed my stomach to ease the pain.

"There's a fountain in front of the hotel," a voice said in my head.

I froze, one hand clinging onto the Blood Star and the other gripping tightly onto the rail to keep me from toppling over. "Damon?"

No response.

"Damon? Damon? DAMON?" I cried out, panicking slightly.

This time I got a loud war cry from sixteen floors up and the ex-human's face popped over the railings. She laughed hysterically at me, climbing down the stairs faster than I could blink.

"Shit!" I hurried to the lobby.

Ignoring the people asking me what I was doing there and if I was okay, I pushed against the revolving doors just as the ex-human busted through the stairway door. And I saw it: A brightly lighted, circular fountain that was a size of a large pool. There were statues of tiny kids in the middle of the fountain. They were playing in the water, spitting water from their mouths. Their facial expressions showed that they were laughing and having fun.

I jumped into the fountain, hissing when the freezing water came up to my knees. Goose bumps tickled the skin on my legs and arms. I spun around, Blood Star ready in my hands and faced the ex-human.

Think Serena. Don't repeat the bus accident. You don't want innocent people to die. Calculate how much strength you need.

I inhaled deeply, tightening my grip on the Blood Star and focused.

I could do this. I've trained myself to do this. And I wasn't going to let anyone else kill her. I was ready for this. This was what I wanted.

I brought the Blood Star up, tilted at a forty-five degree angle. I felt the my arms pulse with strength, the burning sensation in my lungs and the ache in my muscles.

I watched her shove people aside, rip the revolving door out and crawl outside on all fours. Her red eyes were glaring, attempting to claim me as her victim. She growled at me, drool dripping from her lips as her mouth began to foam. She roared before she began galloping towards me and the moment she was precisely two inches from me, I slammed the Blood Star into her chest with everything I had. The Blood Star vibrated in my hands, causing me to drop it. Her last shriek of pain was not lost in the deafening blast as the water from the fountain sprayed twenty feet into the air. The bottom of the fountain and the ground around it trembled, breaking apart. The fountain was destroyed, replaced by an enormous crater. I fell on my butt and covered my head with my arms as everything around me disintegrated.

Everything began to swirl around me like a violent twister. Water, debris, blood...everything kept spinning...

And then everything stopped moving. Everything became quiet.

I peeked out from my arms to see that the hotel was mostly untouched. Only the front and the first three floors suffered damage, lacking a wall and the windows had shattered. However, the people were safe. In shock, but safe. Water came back down like droplets of rain, soaking me thoroughly. I realized that there wasn't a body in front of me. Not even a cloud of dust that reeked of burned flesh, which was what I normally got when I annihilated a ex-human.

She was gone. Just like that. I didn't have anything to bury or mourn over. Just memories. Horrible memories I knew I was going to have nightmares about later in life.

The Blood Star was...somewhere. I didn't have the strength to look for it. In fact, I didn't have the strength to do anything. I had focused the remaining of my strength into killing her but constricted the blow of the power to a limited area of attack so I wouldn't harm anyone else. It took a lot more brain and muscle power than I had realized. And to be honest, I was surprised I hadn't died in that explosion too. I definitely thought the force of the explosion would have cost me something.

An arm, a leg...my brain.

I was covered head to toe in my own blood, and most of the injuries were going to leave scars this time. I sprawled myself out on the broken, cratered ground. I was wet, exhausted and completely out of energy. I was breathing harshly, coughing to clear my lungs. Honestly, I think something pierced it. I digress though. I didn't want to think about it right now. I just wanted sleep.

My limbs relaxed...my heart slowed down...tears ran down my cheeks...

And I blacked out.


The sound of my breathing woke me. It was slow and steady, but there was something attached to my face. My hands reached out to gingerly touch my face, feeling the soft fabric of the oxygen mask. I paused for a few seconds, realizing I was in a hospital. I continued to feel around, finding myself hooked up to IVs that were most likely feeding me while I was unconscious. When I finally opened my eyes I couldn't see anything, so I assumed it was night and someone hadn't bothered flipping on the light.

There were hushed voices around me. Three males, two females, and only one sounded human. I couldn't decipher what they were saying due to the fact that they were whispering. I felt a smile on my lips, recognizing the gentle tone of my father. Still, I had to wonder how long I had been in here.

"Ooooh look at this! She's awake!" Thora squealed as she entered the room. I felt her grab my left hand and held it gently to her face. "I'm so happy I could cry!"

"Thora! You're hurting her!" the chairman's voice cut in, alarmed. He rushed over, sending a little whoosh of air into my face. I shivered in response.

"Oh! We can probably remove this now!" Thora said with glee, taking off my mask while the chairman protested weakly. "Oh shush! She's fine! Go and tend to your collapsing school! Your students still need guidance!"

"Can..." I rasped, "someone turn on the lights? I can't see." Silence met my ears. "Hello?"

"Well...umm..." Thora started.

"Do you want to tell her?" the chairman sounded irritated. "Since you obviously wanted to take over?"

"Well, it's not my fault she named me her guardian!" Thora snapped. "Chiara obviously believed I would make a better caretaker!"

"You're insane, woman!" the chairman barked. "And she would have been left in my care if she had forgiven me!"

"Guys...I'm still here and I can still hear," I grumbled. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Serena, sweetie," the chairman began.

"The light is on. You've temporarily lost your eye sight," Thora interrupted bluntly, causing the chairman to sigh loudly. "But don't worry! You'll get it back in no time!"

For some reason, I wasn't surprised or even the slightest bit irritated. A part of me figured it was because I was under the influence of a lot medication. The other part of me still believed that explosion should have killed me. To get away with just my eyesight screwed up was like receiving a gentle tap on the hand after getting caught stealing rather than being tossed in jail. I was lucky, in a fucked up way.

The irony of it. I had to lose one parent to gain the other.

"Serena?" the chairman asked, concerned.

"I just lost my mother and you're fretting over my eyesight," I chuckled, and pain squeezed my stomach. They fell silent, both unsure on how to respond to my words. "Who else is here?"

"One eye and your boyfriend," Thora replied. "One a lot more fussy than the other."

"Miss Kiren is also standing outside. We've all been worried," the chairman answered.

I smirked, knowing which was fussing more. "Tell them I'm okay. I just want to be alone..."

"Alone?" they said in union, and from the silence I could tell they were glancing at each other, wondering if it was a good idea.

"Oh please. As if I could do anything stupid from my position," I said, adding my next line when they weren't reassured. "I'm not moving from my bed, promise. I wouldn't make it very far."

"Okay. Just holler if you need anything," Thora said and I could hear her drag my father out.

I took a deep breath and squeaked when pain shot up my spine. I groaned, knowing it was going to take me forever to heal. Once again, stuck in a place I didn't want to be. The door creaked and closed, causing me to face the noise. My nose was greeted with the cool scent of winter.

I sighed tiredly. "I told them that-"

"I know," Hanabusa cut me off. He sounded exhausted. "You want to be alone."

"And yet you're here." I forced a smile.

"I just wanted to make sure you were okay," he said.

I sighed again, knowing he wasn't going to leave anytime soon. "How bad am I this time?"

"Well, you're temporarily blind," he answered. "The doctors stitched up your shoulder and stomach, but they said that the injury on the stomach would leave a scar. Thankfully though, you'll be able to walk in two days so you won't have to remain in this room. You'll have to have someone guide you until your vision comes back."

"And the school?"

"Currently being rebuilt." I heard him sniff the air and make a grunt.

That's right. Hospitals usually reeked of old vomit, dried up blood, and dying humans.

"Why the hell is it being rebuilt? The students are either dead or leaving for the next country over," I frowned.

"True that some of the students are dead...their bodies are being collected right now by the police and parents. The remaining students have either chosen to stay or transfer," he stated calmly, pulling up a seat. "And before you ask why they would want to stay, we've been told that they felt as if the school would be a safer place for them."

I laughed bitterly. "A safer place?"

"Hajime got what he wanted so he won't be back unless it's to kill you. Besides, it's better to be in the school than the outside world. At least they know who the beasts are while they attend this school." His voice was cold.

I twitched at his words, anger beginning to boil in my blood. "You knew, didn't you?"

I could imagine his face frown in confusion because of the tone in his voice. "Knew about what?"

"You're the Kuran's right hand man. Of course you knew that I was his pawn in his plan. That I was being used to draw out the head of the Bokyo Clan because they were a threat to Yuuki." I licked my cracked lips, tasting the blood that crept out of the cracks.

I felt him stiffen beside me. "Yes, I did know."

My shoulders slumped, wishing he had lied to me instead. I laughed to cover the hurt. "So that's the truth, isn't it? Why you befriended me? Why you kept so close to me?"

"That isn't true Sere-"

"You vampires are all the same," I grumbled.

I heard the chair crash on the ground and felt the icy breath in my face. "Serena, you don't understand. I-"

"Oh well do enlighten me," I snapped.

He growled, grabbed my hands and forcefully pulled me closer to him. I yelped in surprise. "I was willing to do anything, everything, to protect you. Even if it meant keeping you in the dark. Even if it meant hurting your feelings in the process. I admit that I knew who you were before I even met you in person, but I wasn't expecting-"

"Serena-chan?" a feminine voice interrupted, silencing Hanabusa. "Oh sorry, I didn't know you-"

"It's okay, Kiren," I told her. "Hanabusa was just leaving."

I felt him exhale loudly, attempting to calm himself. He released my hands.

"But it looked like you-"

"Miss Darako," Hanabusa greeted her politely. Judging by volume, he was standing closer to the door now. "I hope your leg is healing rapidly."

"Oh yes, thank you. My leg feels better," she said and I could hear the smile in her voice.

"Your leg? What happened to your leg?" I asked worriedly.

The door closed quietly, leaving me and her alone in the room. "They told me you couldn't see."

"Yeah but I'll get it back eventually. Now what's up with your leg?"

"My right leg was broken during that...invasion. I have crutches right now," she replied and carefully sat on the bed. "You should be nicer to him, Serena-chan."

I snorted in response.

"He loves you. He's been waiting for you for a long time." Her fingers gently tucked my hair behind my ears.

"How long have I been in here?" I changed topic, feeling uncomfortable with the subject.

"You've been in here for the past two weeks. Diana brought you to the chairman as soon as she no longer sensed your mother's presence," she said quietly. "Serena-chan, do you want to talk about...what happened?"

"What's there to talk about? I killed her. End of story," I mumbled, suddenly feeling like I had a rock clogging my throat.

Kiren gently patted me. "Okay."

It was quiet. I could hear the ticking of a clock, Kiren breathing in and out, and the annoying birds chirping outside the window. I reached out my hand, feeling the warmth of the sun that sneaked into the room. The warmth on my hands spread, filling up the gaps I wanted to hide away from people.

There was only one person I really wanted to be around. "Kiren?"

"Yes?"

"No offense, but could you get Chairman Cross for me?"

"Of course!" She hopped off the bed and I heard the wood of her crutches scrape the ground. The door opened and closed. And then opened again, slowly, and closed again.

I got straight to the point, knowing I didn't have much strength left. Sleep was beckoning to me. "I heard him...before I killed her."

He cleared his throat. "Him?"

I felt my eyes water and didn't bother to stop the tears from falling. My nose sniffled and my cheeks burned. "Damon. I heard Damon."

He was closer now. He was standing next to me. His hands were running through my hair.

"He's been taking care of me, you know? This entire time."

"Like a good brother always should." His voice shook.

I laughed softly, crying. "Just give me a hug Dad."

He didn't have to be told twice. He bent over, kissed me on the forehead, and enveloped me into his arms.


"Kiren, be careful of where you're stepping," I told her.

Even though I was the one who couldn't see, at least I didn't have crutches. I was worried that one of her crutches would get stuck in between rocks or something and she'd fall down on her face.

"Would you relax? I'm fine. I'm not the one who's blind," she chuckled.

"Are we almost there yet?" I was carrying my telescope, the blanket and whatever Kiren placed into my hands.

"Be patient," she huffed. "Almost."

The night was a little warmer than the night before. It was the beginning of March and school was out, so no rules. No prefect to bitch at us about us being outside while it was late. The vampires wouldn't have bothered us anyway. Takuma was keeping a very paranoid eye on us and Dad stalked us in the shadows whenever we went out. We were heading to Damon's grave, dressed up in our hoodies and sweat pants. Kiren wanted to stargaze, promising me she would tell me what she saw since I wasn't going to be able to see anything. I agreed to the field trip just because I wanted to escape the room Dad had locked me in. My shoulder had healed quickly in two weeks and three days, but the stitches around my stomach were taking its time. It was a chore to keep food down because of the pain. While I couldn't see, I could feel the bumpiness of the stitches that went around my belly button and led to the bottom of my ribs.

"Serena-chan, you stubborn oaf. You shouldn't move around so much!" Kiren complained.

"Why? Am I bleeding again?" I felt for any warm liquid.

"No, but if you keep this up you'll ruin the stitches again!"

I chuckled. "Stop worrying."

"Okay, okay. Just sit down. We're here," she said, taking the blanket from my hands.

A cool breeze caressed my face, sending my hair into a frenzy.

"I can't wait till I can see," I uttered with a smile on my face.

"What? You miss seeing my pretty face?" Kiren joked.

"Yes, yes I do," I smirked and she let out a joyous laugh.

Truth be told, I wanted to see because now I had someone to look up to. Mom was in the sky, and she and Damon were watching me just like I was watching them. They were both on the other side, waiting for me to join them. I felt around for Damon's tombstone, finding the cold rock to be flat and smooth. The grass around it was wet from melted snow. I smiled and closed my eyes, hoping that Damon could hear my thoughts.

It's your turn to babysit her.

"Serena-chan, can I ask you something?" I heard Kiren shuffle around as she assembled the telescope.

"Shoot," I told her.

"What are you going to do now? Vampires are out in the public...the government is going crazy, hiring vampire hunters left and right..."

"Are you asking me if I'm going to start working for the government? Kiren, I haven't even graduated from high school yet."

"Yes but I heard that you were joining the Hunters' Association," she said. "Are you...are you going to hunt down the leader of the Bokyo clan?"

I sat quietly for a few seconds, pondering. "I will one day."

"You're not afraid?" she asked, draping her arms around my shoulders carefully.

I shrugged. "Strangely, no."

"What about your mother's death? Do you still not want to talk about it?"

I grabbed her hand and gave it a soft squeeze. "I came to the conclusion that I need to live without regrets, without letting pain corrupt my judgment and without fear breeding in my heart."

"Why that sounds very philosophical of you," she giggled. "But that doesn't really answer my question."

"That's all I can give you for now."

"Well I'm glad 'cause I have a surprise for you," she said softly.

That's when I noticed the scent of winter and a very potent smell of a flower. I heard him clear his throat nervously as he helped Kiren to her feet. I felt the coldness of his skin as he sat down next to me, and felt how his hair tickled my cheek as he moved around to get more comfortable.

"I'll be right back," Kiren said and I could imagine her grinning.

"You sure it's safe for her to go off like that," I questioned the ice wielder once she was out of earshot.

"Takuma's out there too. She...kinda...planned this," he muttered.

I sighed. I should have known she was up to no good when she said she wanted to go out stargazing. I mean, honestly, stargazing with a blind person?

"What did you bring?"

"Stargazers," he answered, holding them in front of my face since I couldn't see. "They're your favorite flowers."

"That would explain the smell," I smirked and took the flowers from him. I placed them on top of Damon's tombstone.

"Did you know that stargazers mean that the soul of the departed has regained its innocence in death?" he asked.

"No, I didn't."

It was quiet. Not an awkward quiet, but I figured that he was probably uncomfortable. He kept shifting his weight, changing his sitting position, sighing, and messing with the telescope.

"I can't see anything," he complained.

"You're probably doing it wrong." I reached out to him with my hands, making him jump. "Relax. I'm just trying to find your face."

He sighed, placed my hands on his cheeks and waited for me to smack him. Or whatever violent thing he expected me to do since he probably believed I was still mad at him. I smiled, caressing his cheeks with my thumbs and felt him exhale through his nostrils. I leaned over closer to him, resting my cheek against his. I breathed in his scent, feeling more at home. I really have been holding out on him for too long. I had been too afraid that he was going to abandon me, almost forced the idiot to abandon the Kurans- his duty-to make him prove that he wasn't just using me for his own personal gain.

"I'm sorry," I whispered into his ear.

He stiffened at the sensation of my breath tickling his ear. I had to fight the urge to laugh. Maybe losing my eyesight wasn't so bad. "For what?"

"For making you wait." I left a trail of small kisses on his cheek until I got to his lips, causing him to go completely still. Contrary to my belief, his lips were warm. Warm and soft and tasted nothing like blood. I was so hungry to taste him that I almost forgot that I was supposed to just leave a peck. Laughing softly, I backed away until his hands stopped me from moving.

"What- what was that?" I didn't have to see to know that he was shocked.

"I love you too, you idiot. That's what that was about," I told him, ruffling his hair.

"But you-"

"Hanabusa, don't complicate this. Just enjoy it." I claimed his lips, nibbling shyly on his bottom lip until he opened up.

He was more prepared this time, and he took over for me.


I was in Dad's office, fingering his desk and files. My eyes scanned the files in my hands, reading over how many level E vampires there were. "I don't get it. What did he want then?"

"Hajime broke into my office to make a copy of my files," Dad responded, handing me some of his freshly made tea.

"What files?" I asked curiously.

"The Hunters' Association keeps track of its members, the family tree they come from, and the vampires that exist. This includes level E vampires," he answered, taking a break to sip his tea. He sat down in his comfortable chair. "Hajime wanted the files of our family tree."

I blinked. "Why?"

"Hajime is trying to remove all possible threats that exist in our family, this includes you and I."

I sat down next to him, frowning. "So you're saying that he's hunting down members of my family. That doesn't sound like anything new."

"No it isn't new, but it's new information for him since he now knows where you used to live in the United States. He knows where you used to go to school, where you worked, what people you befriended, and so on."

I scowled. "Do you think he'll go after Jade?"

"No," he said. "Jade's not in America."

"Then where is he?"

"He's with your Aunt Thora in China, training. Once he heard you were in the hospital and became Thora's dependent, he moved here. He said wanted to be more...involved with the vampire crises," he chuckled, pouring himself more tea. "Your mother always knew how to get attention."

"She didn't want humans to be left in the dark," I defended her.

"I wasn't saying that to be mean," he said softly.

"What's he training to be?"

"A bomb specialist."

Oh god.

He smiled playfully, noticing my grimace. "I don't know. Thora seems to like him."

"Why am I not surprised," I grumbled under my breath. "Well, what about you? What are you going to do with this school?"

"I've gotten requests to turn this place into a safe haven for humans and vampires now that vampires are out in the open," he said.

"I don't get it. The school was attacked. You'd think that they'd be more reluctant."

"The world is like a jungle, Serena, only it's more dangerous. In the jungle you know who the lion is and who the monkey is. However, in our society anyone can play the role of beast or sheep. The school clears up some of that, uniting the humans with the vampires to teach them about vampires and learn to recognize which vampires are harmful and which are not...and what to do in certain situations," Dad explained. "Yes, the school was once attacked but we're building it differently this time. We're making it safer and harder to invade."

"That sounds like a load of bullshit."

He sighed. "Serena-"

"I'm sorry but there are BODIES out there! What parent, in their right state of mind, is going to-"

"Serena, I'm trying to teach the world how to coexist with each other," he narrowed his eyes.

"Oh yeah, makes sense," I said sarcastically. "I mean take Jade for an example-being taught by a vampire to be a bomb specialist. Real pacifist."

"Exactly! A vampire teaching a human to be a bomb specialist," he grinned. "And you're dating a vampire. Officially, I might add."

I felt my face flush. "The world doesn't see things like I do."

"Would you continue as a student and vampire hunter here?"

"I don't really have a choice, now do I?" I smirked. "I mean the head of the Hunters' Association is still here."

"Well. Sort of. You know Zero is graduating, right? He'll be taking his role as leader more seriously now, and won't be around the school unless there's a meeting."

"And there's always you to harass," I reminded him.

"Speaking of which, would you like to live with me?" he asked shyly. "I mean I know you can't return to America and-"

"I'd love to," I cut him off, saving him from his rambling.

He beamed at me. "Well that was surprisingly easy."

"Yeah, but this school-safe haven bullshit won't be. I have a feeling you won't have many students," I told him.

"I'll take what I can get," he said, shrugging.

"Just make sure they're not out to get me," I reminded him.

"Are you ready for your first training with the Hunters' Association?"

I smirked, putting my feet onto his desktop. "Of course."

"Getting a little arrogant, aren't we?" He tapped my feet and I placed them back on the floor.

"Not at all. Zero is going to kick my ass all the way back to Russia," I said, making him laugh. "But that doesn't mean I won't enjoy it. It'll make me stronger."

A little red haired boy once told me that ice was like snow- pure but harder to break. He named me the Queen of Ice. And I was going to be tough to break, right brother?

I smiled to myself.


Suntiger: And that's the end. Holy shit.

Sorry it took so long. My laptop died in a water accident. Ironic right? Since my first laptop caught on fire. I just have a magical way with computers. Anyway, I've been kidnapping my friend's laptop to finish this. I added a lot more detail, which is why it's soooo long. I'm still iffy on making a sequel. Mostly because I don't care about vampire knight. I've stopped reading the manga because I've lost interest in the characters. However, I might be persuaded to write as long as I don't have to follow the manga. One of my friends even suggested making a crossover (between vampire knight and kingdom hearts...but meh...that might be too much going on, and I've only recently started playing the game).

BTW, I left the kiss to the reader's imagination. I figured the romance would be a lot hotter in your minds than mine since I'm more of a goofball.

Oh, did you know that Hanabusa means petals of a flower? Heh heh.

Night folks!