Author's Note: This is my first VK fanfic - I'm still working on finishing my Bleach fics so the updates will be irregular. This will get better once I involve the rest of VK cast.

Brief Summary: Hunter is an orphan girl who miraculously survives a fire during which her best friend dies. Having no memories of the event, she is given a second chance at Cross Academy. However, things are a bit complicated seeing as she's not quite exactly human nor vampire. Her presence also puts the vampires on the edge and the only ones who know what she is are Chairman and Sister Katherine. Numb and confused, Hunter tries to fit in but for some reason she can't get herself to put in the effort. ZEROxOC.

Comment. Criticize. Compliment.

Either is fine.

[Handguns and Second Chances]

"They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses;
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream."

-Ernest Dawson

-01: Accelerated-

It was dark. The sound of a water droplet falling into a deeper puddle echoed in the cold darkness. The place smelled damp and musty, like an old cellar. It seemed oddly familiar, even though she couldn't recall ever being in such place. The mustiness of this place was accompanied by a metallic scent – was it blood? Feeling around, her hands were met with the feel of slick, wet bricks that must have been a part of the walls surrounding her. Getting up from the cold stone floor, she felt around the walls trying to create an image in her head like a blind person would.

The place was eerily silent – to the point where her own shallow breathing seemed to be too loud. Yet for some reason she felt as if someone else was there – watching her. Taking a cautious step further, her hand gripped the slick wall, when a set of footsteps echoed outside the room she was in. As if someone was walking down a hallway…

Ignoring her blindness and throwing caution to the nonexistent wind, she hurried towards the source of the sound with her hand still feeling the wall for a door, if there was one. When her hand fell upon a heavy metal door her heart skipped a beat. Feeling herself grin, she fumbled for the door knob then swung the door open to be met with only more darkness. The footsteps resumed in the distance to her right. Without a second thought she broke into a run, wanting nothing more but to meet the person that was wandering about in this darkness.

Cold perspiration clung to her skin, her once shallow breathing now replaced with heavy panting. No matter how fast and how far she ran, she just couldn't catch up with the person in front of her. Refusing to give up, she picked up her speed and continued to run until a sliver of light appeared ahead, illuminating a black silhouette.

A wave of excitement washed over her. She was finally going to meet this person. Suddenly a loud screeching buzz echoed within her head, blurring the image before her. "No…" she said as she reached her hand out to the black silhouette, her vision blurring further with each step. Desperately reaching out to the shadow one more time, her world faded as the buzzing took over her senses.

Her eyes snapped open when a pair of hands began shaking her body. She had that dream again and for some reason she was feeling hot – or was the room just hot? Annoyed by the noise and shaking she mustered a tired glare at the person shaking her, not quite comprehending what was going on. "Hunter, wake up! We need to get out of here!" the person yelled. It was then when her mind recognized the person as her "bunk buddy" Michelle.

Confused, Hunter sat up in her bed trying to comprehend the situation, but Michelle grabbed her arm and yanked her out of her bed and began dragging her out of the room they shared with many other girls. After all, this was an orphanage. Taking a quick glance around them as she allowed herself to be dragged, Hunter realized that the noise that awoke her was the screech of the fire alarms spread throughout the building. It was then that she also noticed that she and Michelle were the only ones in the room. Were they having another fire drill and she slept through most of it due to the sleep-aids the nuns made her take?

Hunter received her answer when Michelle yanked open the door to their room. A torrid wave of heat hit them both from the hallway that was on fire. "Shit!" Michelle cursed as she covered her mouth with her sleeve in order to avoid breathing in the harmful smoke. Hunter stood dumbfounded, like a doll still trying to process everything. Michelle grabbed her hand once more and began dragging her further into the flames. All Hunter could see was the back of Michelle's head – her red hair almost matching the fire. Tearing her eyes away from Michelle she looked at the fire around them. Was the orphanage really burning or was this a dream? She couldn't process. No, her drugged mind couldn't process. The orange flames reflected in her ice blue eyes, dancing about, licking the walls and ceiling, hungrily eating the chipped paint.

Mind still hazed, she allowed Michelle to drag her through the fire. Hunter still couldn't decide whether this was a dream or reality. It didn't really matter either way because Michelle was her best friend and she trusted her. Suddenly the ceiling above them began to crumble, making Michelle yelp as some ceiling joists fell onto the floor before her, blocking their path. Just as quickly the ceiling collapsed above them the floor caved in underneath Hunter, dragging her down into what seemed like the pits of hell. "Hunter!" she heard Michelle yell as their hands got separated. It all happened so quickly yet it seemed as if it was happening in slow motion. Hunter's eyes met Michelle's in mid fall – the image of her friend's emerald green eyes being the last one before her body hit the ground and debris covered her body.

Still conscious, Hunter heard her name being called followed by another loud crash and a scream. A warm liquid dripped down on her cheek and her world faded into darkness.

This was a dream, right?

* * * * * ** * *

Hunter awoke to sunlight jabbing at her closed eyelids. How annoying. She tried to roll over in order to shield her face from the irritating sun but found herself slightly restrained. Cracking one tired eye open she saw strange clear tubes attached to her, accompanied by gauze and different kinds of bandages. Opening her other eye she noticed there was an apparatus attached to her face – an oxygen mask. Looking around she saw plain walls, sterile lighting, and different kinds of machines surrounding her. The sound of a heart monitor entered her ears telling her that it must be her heart it's monitoring.

Piecing things together, the girl finally understood she was in a hospital – but why?

As if on cue, a short haired blond nurse came into her room, hurry evident in her brisk gait. "Oh my, you're finally awake, thank goodness we thought you might have fallen into a coma, I'll go get the doctor" the nurse said chirpily, her doe-like brown eyes filled with sympathetic warmth. The nurse was gone as quickly as she came, leaving Hunter alone once again to contemplate what has happened. Unfortunately she couldn't remember much.

A clean-cut older looking man came into Hunter's room. He was tall with tanned skin and his dark brown hair was begging to display signs of graying. Judging by his attire, she guessed this was the doctor the nurse mentioned. He came up to her bed and removed her oxygen mask just like he's done to many other patients before. "Hunter, I'm Dr. Kesslov and this is Nurse Emilia, I'm glad you're finally awake, so how are you feeling dear?" the doctor asked her in a warm tone.

"F-fine," she managed to croak out, finding it difficult for her vocal chords to function properly. "W-what am I doing here?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper. The nurse and the doctor exchanged worried looks.

* * * * * * * * *

Numb – that's what she was. Sitting next to Sister Katherine, across from them an eccentric man adored in panache attire. It's been a couple of weeks since she awoke in a hospital bed. The doctor and Sister Katherine both explained to her what had happened, though she had no recollection of it actually happening. Apparently St. Margaret's orphanage burnt down due to electrical problems and that she was one of the victims. Sister Katherine told her that it must have been a God's gift that she survived the fire after being covered with debris. The burns all over her arms and back were enough of evidence that she was in a fire. Yet she still couldn't remember it.

The laughter of the two adults disrupted her thoughts as she mentally returned back into the real world. "Headmaster Cross, don't say such things!" Sister Katherine said as she laughed. "Now Katherine, we're not strangers, call me Kaien!" the eccentric headmaster said as he calmed his own laughter. Hunter felt as if she missed something funny – but then again it most likely wasn't funny to begin with. "Anyway, we'll have Hunter get settled in today and she'll start classes tomorrow, we'll take good care of her." The chairman said then as if on cue a short brunette walked into the office.

"This is Yuuki, she'll show you around the school grounds," he said introducing the petit brunette. "I'm Cross Yuuki, pleased to meet you." Hunter stared blankly at the girl as she introduced herself. "I'm Hunter," she replied in monotone, her voice as blank as her eyes. "Well then, I'll see you girls later, don't have too much fun!" Headmaster Cross said as he ushered the two girls out of his office.

Once they were gone, Kaien took in a deep breath then let out a small sigh as he sat down back in his chair. "I'm really sorry for troubling you Kaien," Sister Katherine said, all the joking and laughter gone. "But you're the only one I know who deals with that kind – "she said but the headmaster waved her off. "Don't worry about, besides, she's not that kind, she's different. Otherwise I'd have her in the night class. I'm sure she'll do fine here, poor girl just survived a fire and is suffering from amnesia." Kaien said, his flamboyant demeanor no longer existent.

"Aye, but I'm kind of glad she doesn't remember the fire." Sister Katherine said thoughtfully. "At least she doesn't have to suffer the pain of losing her friend…" she added as an afterthought. "Ah, I guess I'm just glad she can have a second chance at life, being the way she is..."

After a moment of silence, Sister Katherine pulled out some sort of medication from her purse. "These are her sleeping pills. She can never sleep at night due to what she is so we've had her take these to make her sleep like everyone else. She has some of her own along with the other medications the doctor prescribed for her burns. I really appreciate you helping us out and I hope we're not troubling you too much." Sister Katherine said sincerely, though there was undeniable worry in her hazel eyes. Headmaster Cross chuckled, "I have a school full of humans and vampires living together – taking care of Hunter won't be troubling at all." Or at least that's what he thought.

* * * * * *

Hunter followed Yuuki quietly as the shorter girl briskly walked about the academy's grounds, showing her where everything was. She already changed in the day-class uniform to blend in with the rest of the students on campus. The small brunette's chatter was also a never ending thing. Even if she didn't reply, the girl would still continue to talk. "Oh, the sun's setting. I guess it's time for me to show you where the night class dorms are." Yuuki said and headed out of the main building towards the Moon Dorms.

When they reached the gates, Hunter's ears were met with high pitched giggles and shrieks of girls all gathered before the gates to the Moon Dorms, resembling a large claque waiting for their favorite boy band. "Move back! The night students need to make their way to class so please step back!" Yuuki yelled as she blew her whistle in order to get the attention of all the gathered but completely failing. Hunter stood quietly on the side like a shadow watching the spectacle.

The grinding of hinges on the gates made Hunter look towards the source of the sound, only to flinch from the excessively loud shrieks that were produced by these seemingly obsessive fan girls. Cringing at the noise, she heard Yuuki try to yell over the shrieks and screams to get the day-girls under control. She wasn't quite sure what was so special about the night class to get so excited about. Sure, they were attractive, but their strange aura was enough to ward her off.

Hunter took a quick glance at Yuuki, who was losing her battle against the other girls. Poor girl looked like she was about to get trampled. "Scatter…" a cold voice suddenly said, making all the girls go silent and cower in fear before leaving. Hunter let her ice-blue eyes wander to the owner of this cold voice. Her gaze fell upon a tall, silver haired teen, with violet eyes and unnaturally pale skin. It reminded her of a condition called "albinism" where due to lack of pigmentation in the iris the person's eyes look either pink or violet because of the blood vessels within the eye.

"Ah, Zero!"Yuuki exclaimed as she walked up to him. "You're late!" she then yelled and the two broke out into what seemed an old argument. Yawning, Hunter walked up to the two, ignoring the glances of the passing night class. "Eh, Yuuki…" she interrupted catching the attention of the two bickering perfects.

Zero glanced at the girl. This must be the one the chairman mentioned to him earlier. His usual blunt gaze studied the newcomer as her long raven hair danced with the autumn wind contrasting wildly with her pale skin. She wasn't looking at him, instead she was talking to Yuuki, giving him an opportunity to examine her face and notice her ice-blue eyes that seemed rather dull as if the life in them was lost. Eyes that hid something terrible behind them.

"Yuuki…" another voice called. Zero instantly attached the voice to Kaname's face. The mentioned girl ran to the tall brunette, a slight blush adoring her small face. At the same time, Hunter looked up and glanced from the brunette to Zero. Judging by Zero's expression she assumed that he wasn't too fond of this guy. He also seemed jealous. At least those were the vibes she was getting from him. "C'mon, I'll show you to your dorm," Zero suddenly said and began walking off in a different direction. Shrugging, Hunter decided to follow him.

* * * * * * *

Kuran Kaname placed his hand on the small girl's shoulder. "Who is that girl?" he asked her in his calm gentle voice. Yuuki glanced back at Hunter then faced Kaname. "She's new. The orphanage she was staying at burnt down so Chairman said he'd take her in…"she explained the best she could from what she was told. "Why just her?" the vampire inquired, for something felt off about this girl. Yuuki shrugged, "I don't know, apparently all the other girls were placed in different schools and orphanages as well…."

The vampire looked down on the girl quite lovingly. "Thank you, Yuuki." He said as he gently grazed her cheek with the back of his index finger. The small girl blushed once more, her reaction giving him pure satisfaction.