And on to the last chapter!

Chapter Two: Succumbing to Desire

Barely a half hour later, he allowed himself to be ushered into the large, comfortable household, his eyes focused on the visible neck of the seemingly very young maid. It did present a rather tempting sight...

The maid stopped outside the doors to the familiar drawing room that he was usually entertained in when he visited the older Vampire –at least, until he was ushered into the study for more private discussions.

"Shiki-sama is not at home at the moment, Kuran-sama," said the maid as she bowed, never once meeting his eyes with hers. "We will send word for him to return, if you are willing to wait a while..."

He stared at her for a moment or two, seeing the outline of the nice, large vein on the skin of her neck.

"There is no need for that. I will wait."

The maid nodded as she opened the doors to the drawing room.

"He should be returning sometime soon in any case, so you will not have to wait for long, Kuran-sama."

When she swallowed like that, it was so very tempting to...

"Is there anyone else at home?" he asked, distractedly.

"The Madam is in her chambers, Kuran-sama." The maid paused. "I can inform her of your-"

"-No. There will be no need for that."

The maid nodded, looking nervous.

"The...the young mistress is not at home either, although she was due to return an hour ago."

"Ah, I see." Pondering on that for a moment, he abruptly turned and started walking down the corridor heading not in the direction of the front door, but in the direction that would lead him towards the impressive staircase.

"K-Kuran-sama, y-you cannot--" The young maid stopped abruptly when he spun around, his mismatched eyes narrowed as he observed her quickly frightened face.

"I cannot what?" he queried, as he moved closer to her. She was practically shivering in her flat shoes.

"I –I did not mean –I only thought you would be more comfortable in the d-drawing room, K-Kuran-sama..."

Quickly deciding that the scared thing would not be a tasty meal, he smiled genially at her, taking in the way she stared at him somewhat bemusedly, before his hand darted forward.

"I am sorry," he commented to her frozen face. "I fear you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time." Squeezing his fingers and quickly squashing the lump they had enclosed around, he leaned closer towards her. "It is nothing personal, my dear," he whispered, before he pulled his empty hand free.

He brought the hand up to his face and stared at the stain on it, before slowly raising it to his lips. A quick lick later, his lips curled in distaste. "I was right...not appetising at all," he said as he looked at the pile of dust on the floor, before he turned back around and headed towards the stairs once more.

Allowing his sense of smell to guide him, he paused on the first floor for a brief moment, his head upturned, before shaking his head and continuing. He knew before long that the second floor was where his stop would be.

Reaching out with his senses, he noted that the rooms on this floor were empty. Pleased, he continued down the hallway before stopping at the door at its very end. He eyed the white door for a moment before he quickly let himself in. The interior of the room was dark –as the heavy curtains that covered the windows were drawn over them- but it did not trouble him, for he was a Vampire, was he not?

It being his first glimpse of the room, he surveyed it with detached eyes, taking in the large, neatly made bed and its warm colours; the large wardrobe that took up the entire length of the wall to his left and that also had mirrors that ran along the lengths of its doors; the sturdy bookshelves that held many knick knacks in addition to books and magazines; and finally, the desk and chair that was beside it.

It was nothing extravagant, but it was comfortable –and, given the family's reputation and background, he knew that everything in the room had most definitely been specially made and expensive.

He was pleased to know that he had the support of the wealthy, well-connected family, for he knew that it would be advantageous to him in the long run.

Sensing a moving presence on the floor below him, he snapped out of his musings and effortlessly masked his presence –an ability that he knew was very unique and very useful to Purebloods. After all, he did not want anyone sensing him until he wanted to meet them.

And he was not feeling too sociable at that moment.

Quickly striding towards the wardrobe, he allowed himself to gaze at his reflection, not one bit surprised to note that his eyes were almost purely crimson.

For he knew intimately that feeling in his gut; that tightness in his chest; that lump in his throat. And of course, that dark, powerful taste on his tongue –one that he had gotten better acquainted with over the years.

She was with child.

Haruka's child, not his...

Oh, he knew, he knew very well that he should have expected that. He knew about the 'facts of life' or whatever humans called it, he knew of what a man and a woman did when they were...caught in the throes of love and lust. So of course he had known, upon his siblings' betrothal and later marriage, that this was inevitable.

But perhaps he had not thought that it would...happen so soon. He had not thought that the couple would be ready to handle a –a child after only being bonded for a short, few years. And besides, it was normal for Vampires, especially Purebloods, to delay the welcoming of their offspring into the world.

And perhaps he had thought that, by the time such an event occurred, he would have been sure of his position as the Kuran heir –he might even have succeeded their father, and would therefore have something to...comfort him. For even though his Juuri would conceive Haruka's child, if it was done when he had fulfilled his only other desire, then it might not have...hurt as much.

He chuckled as his reflection was replaced with a sinister darkness.

Alas, it seemed as though everything conspired against him. And it was not for the first time either.

Soon, there would be another Kuran, the product of his...siblings' love for each other.

And, suddenly, it worried him as much as it hurt him.

They were to have a child, and he...he was not even bonded yet. Bonded to the Pureblood Hiou Shizuka.

It was entirely possible for their father to...make his decision based on a successor in reference to that. For while he was still unpredictable, reckless and single, unpredictable, responsible and married Haruka might appear to the royal as the more worthy candidate, even more so as he would already have an heir, whether the child was a boy or a girl.

The soft, sharp, creaking brought him out of his train of thought, and a quick, proper glance at the mirror showed the small, faint cracks that were appearing at its corners.

He quirked his eyebrows at the display of his power, small fraction of it though it was. He had not even known that he was thinking in anger.

How...interesting. Did that mean that there was a possibility of him losing his control and not knowing of it?

The more he thought about it, the more advantageous he realized it could turn out to be.

But, the occupant of the room he was in would most certainly not appreciate a lack of mirrors in her room, so he desisted from testing out his theory. Looking around the room, he headed instead towards the chair that was by the desk. Making himself comfortable on it, he waited, allowing his thoughts to consume him once more, although he made sure to keep his aura and powers under control.

It seemed to him that all he could do, all that was left for him to do, was always to wait.

He had waited as Haruka continued to be quiet and uninteresting, not once thinking that he could become his competition.

He had waited as Juuri had grown up, showering her with affection hoping to have it returned in the future, not once imagining that she would turn from him.

He had waited as he saw the fondness in his father's eyes as he looked upon Haruka, not once bothering to think it could land him in his current, uncertain predicament.

He had waited as he discerned his father's dislike of him, but had not lost any sleep over it; for he had thought it was a fleeting thing that would pass.

And look where all of that had got him.

He laughed as the dark mist took over him once more.

One thing was definite; he certainly led a very interesting, very unstable life.

He did not know how much time had passed, before he sensed the presence the moment it entered the building, but paid it no heed all the same. His mood had deteriorated rapidly since the time he had first taken a seat on the cushioned, wooden chair, allowing his hands to rest on its armrests as he allowed his legs to splay out lazily on the wooden floorboards beneath them.

In fact, although he did not know when it had happened –either at the point he had considered marching over to the main Kuran residence and crushing his brother's heart and forcefully claiming Juuri, or the point he had thought to do the same thing to his father- but he could hear the very clear sound of his own heart beating. The sound of his blood being pumped around him, of the life-giving, thirst-quenching liquid flowing through his veins, was also disturbingly clear.

He was just...aware; very aware of not only himself, but of what was going on around him. He was more aware than he usually was –which was quite a feat, as he was usually impressively aware in any case.

The...beast inside of him, the one that he had gotten better acquainted with over the last few years –at the expense of humans and some Level C Vampires- was pawing at him, demanding to be freed...and he knew that, this time, he wanted it to be freed as much as it did.

Too long had he controlled it, too long had he allowed his...reservations to dictate his actions.

No one seemed to care how their actions affected him, so, really, why should he care how his actions affected them?

The –now dried- blood on his hand, from his...earlier run in with the maid, did not help matters either. For, as unappetising at it was, it teased him, it called out to him. And it made him hungry. As hungry as the recollection of the maid's heart in his hand made him. Holding another's heart in his hand, such a vital little thing, sent such a wonderful rush of power through him...

...that he could not help but lust for more.

He looked up lazily, his mismatched eyes as crimson as they had been when he had seen them in the mirror, when he sensed the presence just outside the door. Having masked his presence earlier, he knew that none had sensed his presence in the household –and that sent another wave of power through him.

Distantly, he watched the door open and close as the familiar figure stepped inside the room. Her room, if he was willing to be honest. She took a few steps towards the large bed, having quite clearly not seen or sensed him, letting out a quiet sigh as she held a hand to her head.

That was all that he was able to observe, before he heard the so very enticing sound of the blood rushing through her veins. And he was willing to be that her blood would not be unappetising.

Oh, yes...

He was out of the chair and standing behind her before he –or she- knew it, and it was only when he wrapped his arms around her that she tensed, figuring that something was not quite right.

"What in the-!" She struggled against her 'unknown captor', much to his dark amusement. "I suggest you-"

"Relax," he whispered huskily, allowing his breath to tickle her neck as he sniffed at it. "You might enjoy this..." He felt her still her struggles at his voice, and instead, sensed her confusion.

"Kuran-sama...?" she whispered. "What are you doing? Why are you in my rooms?" She tried to turn around to face him, but he did not allow it. "Kuran-sama what-" He smiled at the gasp that escaped her lips when he lightly pressed his fangs over the pulsing vein on her neck. "R-Rido-sama-!"

"As I said, you might enjoy this," he murmured, trailing his tongue over her skin.

"Or I m-might not," hissed the noble, as she resumed her struggling. "You must not do this, Kur –Rido-sama. I am certain there are others who would be more satisfying...so kindly--" He cut her off by bring one of his hands up, placing it over her mouth and effectively quietening her.

He smiled against her neck.

"Then again, you might not enjoy this," he said, darkly, before sinking his fangs into her neck. He felt her stiffen and then struggle some more, but really, none of that affected him. Purebloods were much stronger than other Vampires after all, and he was not above using that strength to his advantage at that moment.

As he tasted her blood, he was pleased to know that, once again, he had guessed correctly, for her blood was good. And the dark beast within him growled in agreement, although it screamed for more than the thin rivulets that were seeping out of the bite.

And really, who was he to deny the darkness what it wanted?

Pulling his fangs away, he bit down on her again...and again...and again, creating enough sharp piercings on her slender neck and allowing more blood to flow through them in thicker steams. She whimpered as he drank, and he felt her try to pry his hand from her mouth, but a hard, deeper bite of warning on her neck stopped her at once.

The muffled sounds of her protest echoed in the room, but he paid them no heed. The sound of the blood in her, the sound of his drinking, the feel of her powerless figure –that was what he concentrated on.

As he continued to drink, his mind conjured up an image of a beautiful brunette and, for a moment, he was tempted to pretend. To pretend that the woman held against him was someone else; that her blood belonged to someone else; that...her whimpers were wordless cries of encouragement...

And when he closed his eyes, he found that...it was actually not as impossible as he thought it might be.

Yet whatever tenderness he might have brought forth at the pretence was replaced by frustration and anger, and he was vicious with his actions. The arm that was wrapped around her pinned arms suddenly gripped them harder, and his elongated claws tore through the fabric of her long sleeve, digging deep into her skin and causing her to whimper in more pain as he dragged them down her arm.

All that mattered was him. Him and the now somewhat sated beast in him. It did not matter that he was taking too much from his captive, nor did whatever she was feeling matter –what mattered was the power he had, and the slight easing of the mist that clouded him. After all, since he--

The hand on his head surprised him out of his pleasured thoughts, and he froze for the briefest of moments, unwittingly allowing reality to set in. The dark mist slowly shifted as the iciness of the hand seeped through his hair –an iciness that was surely not natural, for the room was not cold at all.

As he pondered this, the mist clouding his mind receded somewhat, being pushed aside by rational thinking, and it was only then that he noticed how the noble was leaning against him; he was not forcing her to him, she was willingly leaning against him, albeit weakly.

The mist cleared, and he drew his face away from her neck.

The burgundy haired Vampire whimpered softly as he pulled his arms away from her. His eyes widened ever so slightly as he looked at her neck as saw...the jagged, bleeding flesh on it.

He had done that.

He stepped forward and quickly caught the woman as she headed lifelessly towards the floor. Cradling her in his arms, he saw that her face was deathly pale, and that she was almost unconscious from his...thirst. His eyes moved from her face to her bloodied neck, before travelling to her bleeding left arm.

Something flashed across his mismatched eyes, but it was fleeting.

The scent of her blood would no doubt have reached others in the house –or would reach them soon. Given his current, non-family supported situation, he did not want to lose one of his loyal allies, and who knew what would happen if someone were to enter the room and see...this?

He could not reveal how he had lost control. No, that was a definite 'no'.

His striking face impassive, he eyed his markings on the still, burgundy haired noble's neck and quickly lowered his head to it as he felt the beast stir once more, awakened from its momentary appeasement by the continuous scent of her blood.

He kissed down the side of the noble's slender neck, pressing his lips against every bit of jagged, pierced skin that he could feel, letting his tongue linger on the wounds to allow his healing abilities to close them. Having...lost the amount of blood that she did, it would take drinking someone's blood for her to be fully conscious –and since he was not going to offer her his, it was best if she slept the blood-loss off, once she was healed. She could feed from someone when she awakened.

Pulling back from her now healed neck, he turned his attention to her arm, raising it to his lips and repeating the same procedure. When that too was healed, and once he had licked clean the remaining stains of blood, he lifted her feet off the ground and moved towards the bed she had earlier been heading towards.

Once he pulled the covers back, he placed her down on it, straightening her unresponsive limbs, before pulling the covers back up to rest just below her shoulders.

There was no expression on her face as she faded from awareness, and nor was there one on his as he lifted her head slightly off the pillow he had placed it down against, before sliding his other hand underneath it and pulling out the pin that kept her hair piled on top of her head. The burgundy locks were soft against his skin –a fact which he made a mental note of- as he smoothed them down before placing her head back on the pillow.

He never once realized that his more recent actions had been almost carefully gentle, a stark contrast to his earlier behaviour; for he sensed another familiar presence enter the household. It seemed as though his friend and sometimes advisor had returned.

He straightened, his mismatched eyes taking on a dark gleam as he recalled the thinking he had done as he had waited in the empty room. There were things that needed to be said, and things that needed to be done, for he had most certainly had enough of waiting.

Waiting had only led to disappointment, and he was not willing to allow himself to be disappointed anymore. Nor was he willing to have anyone snatch anything more out of his grasp.

Without a backward glance at the unconscious, burgundy haired noble, he stalked towards the door.

He had not gone far down the hallway when he saw the familiar figure of his friend heading towards him. Coming to a halt, he watched as the noble slowly became aware of his presence.

"Rido-sama?" he questioned, looking faintly puzzled. "What..." His voice trailed off, and his eyes darted from the door at the end of the hallway and back to the Pureblood. "How long have you been here, Rido-sama?"

The Pureblood shrugged.

"Not very long."

"I apologize for not being informed of your-"

"-I did not make my presence known, Shiki-san," he cut in, running a hand through his thick dark hair, unaware of the red tint of vengeful anticipation in his eyes. "I have some things to discuss with you, Shiki-san. Things regarding our...plans."

The noble straightened at once, a serious expression crossing his face.

"I see." He paused. "Let us go to my study then, Rido-sama."

He nodded.

"I would also like Ichijou-san to be present for this," he said, seeing the questioning look the noble was sending him. "There are things that I would like your opinions on," he clarified, quietly, and said no more on the matter. For his part, the older noble seemed to accept this, as he turned around and headed towards the stairs that would take them downstairs.

He followed the older Vampire, clearing his mind of all unnecessary thought. None of what plagued his mind would be of any help to him in his present situation. And besides, it was high time that he let go; it was high time that he moved forward.

Everyone around him had moved on.

Juuri had moved on...so why was he holding back?

She had made her decision, she had chosen her side, when she had accepted what Haruka had to offer her. And it was time enough for him to realize that she would not 'suddenly' fall out of love with his younger brother and in love with him.

Reality did not work in that manner.

She was going to be a mother –and thereby more distant from his clutches.

He should let go. Of her, of what he...felt for her, of what he wanted from her.

His mind told him that it was logical, and that it must be done if he wanted to achieve his goals, and he agreed with it –for this was nothing but a weakness in his plans. A weakness that could and would be exploited by others.

A weakness he and his allies could do without.

A weakness he could be free without.

If that is correct, he thought, a touch morosely, as he watched the older noble's back, why, then, does it hurt to even think of doing so?


There we go; all done. Good thing I didn't leave it as a one-chapter thing, or someone might just have killed their eyes with reading it all at once –I know I almost did when I was reading through it to proof-read the thing.

Sigh. I just can't quite seem to give up the desire to write something, anything, based on Rido. But I suppose I should enjoy it while it lasts, huh? Sadly, just when we Rido-fans began to pity him, or see him in a different light, he gets killed and we will therefore have nothing more on him. A shame, that. But I suppose life goes on!

Anyways, that's it from me. Hope it was to your liking.

See ya!