For the Love of Lily
Summary: Kaname just wants to be a knight in shining armor on a white horse for Yuuki. The white horse in question has different plans...
Pairing: Kaname x Zero, mentioned Kaname x Yuuki, perhaps a smidgen of Zero x Yuuki, (but really it's mostly one sided Lily the horse x Zero. (So many closet fans of this pairing, it seems... XD))
Disclaimer: Vampire Knight is far too lovely a thing for my own mind to have conceived.
This takes place after chapter 42, so this is a spoiler warning. Don't read if you're not up to date.
Chapter Two - Making hay
He'd bought her apples. He'd bought her oats. He'd bought her carrots. He'd showered her with sugar lumps and had then procured a salt block for her to lick. All his feeding treats had been shunned; stomped on; kicked at; spat on.
Kaname was leaning against a tree outside the stables, rubbing at his temples and wondering how he would win Lily over. His numerous efforts throughout the day thus far had been ridiculously unsuccessful. Lily didn't like him an iota more than she had when she'd bitten his hand last night. This was how a jilted lover felt, he supposed. This was what unrequited love must be.
It was no fun.
Then again, his motives weren't entirely pure, were they? He was trying to win Lily's trust by buying it, and whereas this trick seemed to work on some humans and even some vampires, Lily wasn't falling for it. Lily was street smart. No sugar lump would entice her to let down her guard, no juicy carrot would soften her resolve. The way to her heart was obviously not through her stomach.
At least she'd not bitten him again, thought sadly this wasn't due to lack of effort on her part. She had tried to bite and kick and stomp him numerous times. Kaname had used his vampire reflexes to dodge vicious bites and quick hooves. He could not, he would never use his vampire powers to hurt a horse, but there was no need to be a martyr and let her hurt him either.
'I pity the boy horse who ends up with you, Lily,' he thought distantly, smiling slightly. 'He will be trampled on merely for trying to neigh good morning to you. But love is an odd thing. Perhaps it would be worth it to him.'
He was distracted from his uncharacteristically lighthearted henpecked horse-husband thoughts by the familiar scent of another vampire approaching the stable area.
What was he doing here? There was no reason he could think of why Kiryuu Zero would visit the school stables. Kaname found himself slipping out of view behind the tree.
To Kaname knowledge wasn't only power, it was a way of life, and he did not want to confront the human-vampire without knowing his motives.
Perhaps Kiryuu merely came here to wind down. If you ignored the potently malicious aura of Lily the horse the stables were such a restful, lovely area of the school grounds. Kaname found himself feeling oddly relaxed here in spite of his thwarted quest of love.
This would be a place Kaname would choose to relax if he could afford to do so; perhaps Kiryuu escaped his daily woes here too... His motives could be as simple as that.
Alternatively he could be having a raunchy secret tryst with a stable girl, (Kaname smirked wryly at the thought) or perhaps he came here to illegally trade blood pills or sell vampire weapons to villainous characters. Who knew what Zero did in his spare time?
His curiosity was oddly piqued at this possible glimpse into the life of Zero, or at least into a part of his life that he had not thought of before. He had thought of Zero many times in the past year; as a rival, as a pawn, as a shield for Yuuki, often as a nuisance, and had considered every aspect of his usefulness to himself. Zero had been weighed and measured and considered in Kaname's mind. Kaname knew the exact extent of Zero's strength, could calculate the percentage of Zero's loyalty to Yuuki to the closest decimal; could predict his moves in a combat situation perfectly accurately; could gauge how large his scowl would be once he spotted him... but even though he technically knew Zero better than most people he'd never thought much of the boy's life outside of his uses or his token character traits.
Kiryuu came into view now, walking slowly, hands stuffed into the pockets of his pants, looking thoughtful. Kaname had thus far only seen Zero when the boy had known he was being watched, or a few times whilst in the throes of blood lust where he'd let down his guard at the cost of agonized desperation, but right now there was something peacefully unguarded about him. His posture was relaxed. His eyes seemed softer. It could have been a trick of the light, or simply the country fresh setting he was in, but he looked almost broodingly gentle. He still had a far way to go to be a picture of happiness, but at least he wasn't tense, scowling and glaring. He seemed entirely unaware that he was being watched, and Kaname felt like an intruder, watching someone display a face he only kept for himself, not for others.
Kiryuu walked right past the tree Kaname was hiding behind obliviously, and veered into the direction of the stables. He stopped at the open stable door, casually leaning his hand against the door frame.
What was he doing? He was a vampire, surely the horses didn't like him.
"Ohayo Lily," Kaname heard him murmur gently.
Instead of the snorts and spits and and indignant horse snickers that had preceded Kaname's sojourns into the stables he heard a welcoming, positively seductive, soft neigh.
Kaname would have sputtered if he had not been far too refined to resort to such uncouth behavior. That could not have been Lily. The neigh had been as gentle as the cooing of a turtle dove; that demonic horse couldn't be capable of such a sweet sound.
"I'll be back in a few minutes, I'm just going to get some fresh hay for you," Zero continued.
Hay? He doubted she'd eat hay. She had scorned far greater horse delicacies than mere hay in the past few hours. But in spite of himself Kaname watched as Zero slipped out of his uniform jacket, folding it over the stable door. He grabbed the large rake that leaned next to the door and then walked toward the enormous heap of hay a few meters to the left of the stables.
He looked on in some surprise as Kiryuu Zero then proceeded to rake hay into piles. He'd never pictured Zero doing something as simple as some manual labour, gathering feed for a horse. Zero's white shirt stretched stiffly against his back every time he leaned forward to spear some hay with the rake, accentuating broad shoulders and shoulder blades. He was quite a poignant figure; a lone silver haired man toiling in front of a haystack, the sun threatening to set in the distance. Some artist would have been gratified to paint the little scene, Kaname was sure.
He was taking longer than a few minutes, and raking far more hay than was necessary to feed one horse, or even a few horses. Perhaps he was immersed in his hay gathering. Kaname knew that stress could be eased by throwing yourself into work, and perhaps that was what Zero was doing. Oddly enough he suddenly had the urge to rake hay as well. It looked so simple and satisfying. So far removed from vampire politics and love triangles and darkness and blood.
The sun had almost disappeared behind the horizon by the time Kiryuu had finished. He swung the rake into the ground with a loud thunk, picked up a bale of hay and then turned back to the direction of the stables. His face was slightly flushed and he looked almost content.
There was a soft horsey snort of reproach when he entered the stables and disappeared from view.
"I'm sorry Lily, that took longer than I said it would," Kaname heard Zero murmur. "You must be hungry."
There was silence for a few minutes. Kaname itched to know what was happening. Had she mauled him to death? Was she accepting the food? Either way it was quiet.
Kaname was almost getting used to the silence when he heard Zero's low tenor voice again. "I can't stay today. I have some things to do for the chairman. My duties have doubled since Yuuki left the Day class and became a... Never mind. That's not your concern Lily. But I'll take you out for a walk tomorrow morning, you must be getting restless stuck in here."
A pause. And then a soft whinny.
A few moments later Kiryuu appeared at the stable door, pausing to gather his folded jacket and then walked away, looking deeply contemplative, his silver hair a beacon in the now twilight sky.
Kaname stayed where he was for a long time after that, ignoring the sudden chill of the night, wondering at the sudden fleeting stab of guilt that had assailed him.
'I use people because I must,' he reminded himself, looking into the direction of the warm looking stables. 'I use them for the greater good.'
By early morning Kaname was forcefully focusing on the other information he had gained the previous night.
Zero, it seemed, had somehow tamed Lily. Kaname wasn't sure whether the extent of Zero's friendship with the horse was merely talking to her from a distance, he hadn't been able to physically see their interaction, but even so, Kiriyu had managed to do so without her whinnying and snorting in resentment. Somehow Lily tolerated, or even possibly liked Zero. That meant that it was possible to tame Lily, and that was a positive thing. It meant Kaname could do the same thing.
He supposed he could have asked Zero for advice, and he normally would have. Kaname wasn't above asking other's opinions and getting help from others. He had his pride, but he knew full well that too much pride could lead to one's downfall. In fact he made a point of sometimes asking Ichijou or others for help, just to prove to himself that he had enough humility to trust others with important duties. But the thought of asking Zero for help in taming a horse left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Somehow he didn't have enough humility to do that. If Kiryuu could do it, he certainly could too.
He'd resolved, instead, to gather help from all sources except for Zero. He'd already dispatched Aido and Ichijou to the library to find books on horses; he'd sent Ruka to the staff quarters to speak to the head groom; and he had Kain searching for information on the best horse trainers. Kaname wasn't laying about idly either.
He had just returned from headmaster Cross and wheedled the stables' records out of him. He'd told the man that he was interested in procuring horse stock for breeding purposes on one of his family estates, and that he wanted to check a few details of the horses' at school's pedigree.
Thankfully Cross hadn't asked why a vampire would want to breed horses, and he'd amiably shuffled through the files in the cabinet of his office until he'd found a file containing the breeding certificates of the horses in the stables.
Kaname had been relieved that the certificates still existed. He knew vaguely that horsey people were often very proud of the lineage and pedigree of their horses, sometimes displaying them on their walls in ornate frames; but Cross didn't strike him as the sort of man who'd much care where a horse came from or what its blood relations were. The certificates were probably only still there because Cross had never bothered to sort out his filing cabinet.
Currently he was lounging on the elegant couch in his room, scanning Lily's certification papers. They were less telling or impressive than he'd thought they would be.
Some of the other horses in the stables seemed to have had far more famous breeders or sires, at least as far as Kaname could tell. Admittedly he didn't know the first thing about horse breeding certificates, but he had enough common sense to make conclusions from the differences in the certificates.
One of the horses, for example, had been sired by Malcolm XiVVV, Grand Champion of the Stallion Division, 1993, 1995, 1996. Double winner of the Grande July horse race, bred by multi-award winning Masashi farms. The mare was Divine Aquatic Wind, a double grand champion at some prestigious dressage show, bred by a count with an unpronounceable name.
Lily's certificate merely cited that she had been sired by 'Rose' and 'Thunder' from Yamato-smallholdings, and that she had been born four years ago.
That didn't sound nearly as impressive. In fact, the way these things read, it seemed as if Lily must have come from humble origins. Humble origins were not nearly as easy to research as prize winning horse ranches, but Kaname wouldn't let that deter him.
He'd already sent a message to one of his useful acquaintances in the nearby town with an order to find out more about Yamato-smallholdings, wherever it may be. This particular acquaintance dealt in shady business, and some of the things he did made Kaname's skin crawl, but he was good at finding things. And Kaname could overlook people (and vampires') nasty habits and shady business dealings if they had uses. Much as he hated it, he had to.
Either way he was sure he'd know everything he needed to by tomorrow.
He would find out everything he could about Lily - especially concerning her genealogy and her background. Knowing about genes and history was often useful in pinpointing and understanding people and vampires. He was sure the same applied to horses. Meanwhile his friends were finding out more about horses in general. He would be armed to the teeth with knowledge the next time he entered the stables.
Logically there was no way this could fail.
'Watch out Lily,' he thought.
Long A/N - O-oh, this came out completely differently to what I had planned D: (Shouldn't write at 3am in the morning :3) It seems the fic will be longer than I anticipated...
I don't even know for a fact if horses have certificates of pedigree, though I'm pretty sure many of them do. Kaname strikes me as a particularly thorough vampire, I think it would be in character for him to check Lily's genealogy in this case. Thus the little excerpt on horse certificates. I suppose it wasn't strictly necessary but I wanted to lengthen the chapter, and have now embarked on a small newly discovered side plot :3 (I am sure people want to hit me and are yelling 'Just get to the yaoi, who cares about horse genealogy!' XD)
Also, I'm confused as to the spelling of Zero's surname. Some sources seem to say it's Kiryuu, others Kiriyu. Maybe it's something else entirely. Anybody know the correct spelling?
Thanks for the reviews. 3 Much appreciated.