Chapter 1

by lightpathetic

ZERO rolled over in the bed and stretched, the crisp "swish" sound of the sheets noticeable as he did so. Such luxury. He must be dreaming, he thought, as he noted the way the fabric soothingly complemented his skin. He didn't have such things in his one-room studio apartment in Tokyo...

Zero sat up quickly and looked around, knowing what he would see but hoping against hope that he would be wrong. His stomach fell as his eyes took in the rich trappings of the five star hotel penthouse suite: the silk hangings from the four-poster bed, the plush cream carpet and "antique" furnishings. He couldn't have been that drunk. He couldn't have been. But how else would he explain what had happened?

KANAME leant on the balcony rail overlooking the vibrant city below him. He absently watched the lights on the buildings and the bustling cars and humanity below knowing he had no place with any of them. Depending on his mood he relished the slight advantage he felt, or he cursed it, his loneliness sometimes more than he could handle. No-one else knew what he was. They thought he was just a beautiful rock musician with eccentric tendencies. The way he kept to himself only increased his mystery and the way he only ventured out at night only pissed off his agent who had to smooth it over with the record company executives...

"Ken?"

Kaname already knew that the kid had woken up a few minutes before but had done nothing. He didn't know why he was hesitating. The kid had no family. They had been tragically killed years ago when he was child. He had one brother he was estranged from and he worked a dead-end bar-tending job in a club Kaname had happened into several weeks ago with his entourage to celebrate a huge recording contract with an equally huge American company. "Pure Blood" was going global and his team was going with him.

The kid had spilled a drink "by accident" on one of his managers who had shouted verbal abuse at him over some trivial nonsense. The boy was serving their private table and had stood up to him even though Itsuki was probably three times his size, his eyes unwavering as if daring Itsuki to hit him so he could kill him. Kaname remembered the thrill he'd felt as he'd seen the familiar, murderous glint in his eyes. The kid was crazy. And when that cold, grey stare was directed him after Kaname had told Itsuki to sit down and shut up, as if he were a bug to be squashed under his shoe, Kaname knew he had to have him...

"I'm on the balcony."

He seemed calm. Kaname guessed he hadn't realised what had happened to him as yet.

Zero stepped out onto the small terrace and took in the view of the city and of the dark beauty before him. Ken really was exceptionally beautiful. His fine, perfect features and lithe form would make him attractive to anyone, Zero told himself as he ventured further onto the balcony. Maybe he would live down making love to a man if he told himself he was drunk and it was a rock star. He was sure Ken wouldn't mention a word to anyone...

"Well this is awkward. Why don't I just leave and we can pretend this never happened? I know I am game..."

"What do you think happened?"

Kaname turned to look the striking youth in the eye, his tousled silver-grey hair was practically gilded by the lights of the city. As he waited for the answer to his question though his eyes wandered admiringly the length of the boy. The faint scars on his arms and torso were gone leaving nothing but smooth, pale skin. But he came back to the youth's remarkable, expressive eyes. Kaname again felt a thrill but this time in excitement about his new… acquisition…

Zero frowned. Maybe this was a game the rich and famous played with the "unfortunates". Wasn't it obvious? He'd awoke in bed naked after seeing a decidedly tipsy Ken home to his suite - the musician having followed him when he was leaving after his shift for some reason, having sent his party home, and fallen over in front of him - and after having been persuaded to have a night cap that was swiftly followed by another. The last thing he remembered was Ken nibbling on his neck and his feeling light-headed… Dear heaven…

"As I said: it never happened," Zero emphasized, grinding his teeth as if punishing the impulse that brought him here in the first place, "I'll go get dressed."

Zero turned to exit the balcony but the door slammed shut in front of him. After a moment's puzzlement he tried the handle only to realise they were locked out.

"Dammit!! The door's locked! We're stranded out here!"

Kaname stood with his arms folded and calmly watched the youth struggle with door. Eventually he would stop. He had already noticed that his bite mark had healed. But he had known that would happen when the youth didn't die from his bite. The night before...

Zero stopped fighting with the door and looked around for something to break the glass. He lifted the plant-pot to his right and swung, only to have it whipped away from his hands before he hit the glass. Zero spun and stared at the hovering pot and then at the quietly amused man who leaned casually against the railing watching Zero's efforts. Why hadn't he realised? Ken hadn't been in the least worried about being locked out. And… was that pot… flying?

"This... this is all very funny. But the joke's over. My girlfriend knows where I am and she's the type to call the police if I am late for dinner..."

"Don't lie," Kaname said softly, "lowering" the pot to its place beside the door. "I know you live alone. I know you have no family. At least, no-one that cares about you. You just moved to the city and have few acquaintances and even fewer friends. Only that waitress at the club and your boss will miss you when you are gone."

"What...? You were spying on me?"

"Not spying. Just observing. I have to be careful when I choose... my prey."

"What?!" Did the man just say "prey"?!

Kaname stayed silent, knowing Zero had heard him. Why was he doing this? He should have killed him. Sometimes he felt the urge to play with his victims, but he usually quelled it. It was enough he had to hunt to live. Had to kill to survive. Normally he just satisfied his urges – in the bathroom so that the violent evidence could be washed away easily – and went on with his life. He would pick people he thought society could do without – hardened criminals, abusers, people who pissed him off... But he had never picked anyone like this. Someone who had impressed him. Why did he this time? Why did he spare his life?

"Okay, I mean it! Open this door or I am pressing charges, you psycho! I don't care who you are...!"

"You should care. After all, I took your life as you know it."

Zero stood staring at the calmly gazing lunatic with a look of incredulity so hilarious only the situation saved them both from laughing. Zero was being held prisoner by this madman who said he was "prey" and who leaned against the railing as if he was discussing the ambient atmosphere, quite ignoring Zero rising anger, hysteria or both.

Kaname looked away towards the bustling town and sighed. It would be easier to kill him. Another long meal and the boy would fade into obscurity. But as Kaname watched the traffic and the laughing people and groups and families... he realised why he had spared this kid's life. Why he had chosen to take it...

"Let me out now or I am throwing you over! Don't think I won't do it!"

Kaname's eyes widened as he looked into the grey ones filled with disgust and anger, but not raising a finger to stop him from squeezing his neck. Zero tightened his grip and pushed the other man further over the railing.

"Go ahead. Push," Kaname encouraged, calmly.

"You are crazy! Is that it? You want to die?! Fine! Just leave me out of it! Let me go!!"

"Do it. Throw me over. It is the only way you will leave here alive."

"What?"

"Do it!"

Kaname's breathing increased despite himself. He watched the youth's eyes almost hopefully. There was the look again. He could try to kill him as if he were nothing. He wondered if he would… But…!

Zero pushed the dark-haired man further out and then released him. He didn't fall. Zero wasn't a killer. He wasn't, dammit! He tore himself away and kicked the door, breaking the heavy wooden structure easily. He grabbed his clothes and ran down the stairs to the living-room, heading for the door. This was the last time he went anywhere with a stranger. You would think you would be safe with a celebrity. He was so naive.

"Sit down."

Zero paused mid stride, only for a moment, as the other man seemed to appear before him. But it could only be more tricks. He bounded at him and punched him hard in that perfect nose before going to knee him in the groin. Ken's head turn slightly to the left from the punch as he swiftly and easily blocked the blow to his jewels. Zero noticed the brunette's upper lip had split and then, it wasn't...

"Dear God..."

"My turn."

Zero found himself airborne, flying back towards the far wall. He crashed into it with an unholy "thud" the slithered to the floor. He fell dazed, but not unconscious. He struggled to sit up but soon a weight was on top of him.

"You bastard! What are you?!" Zero asked, still struggling with the thing he realised wasn't exactly like any other man he had seen before. Zero hadn't even felt a punch. He could move things without touching them and he was inhumanly fast. Inhumanly...

"Now you want to listen?" Kaname seethed, pissed that this pathetic creature had drawn blood from him, but subconsciously pleased at how alive he felt. He liked that there was another like him in the world, even one that he had made. He tried never to do this. He didn't want to curse anyone else to this existence. It was lonely and harsh. But when he had seen Zero's eyes that night, he felt like there was something inside him that would be a complement to himself. Maybe, if he had someone, it would be more bearable…

Kaname released Zero and stood, wiping his own face and licking the blood from his hand. He walked over to the bar and poured a drink for Zero and removed a chocolate bar for himself. He tried not to think of his own desperate reasons for doing this. Zero would be much better off like this. His life was going no-where except destined for another unremarkable human existence. He could see the beginning of something exceptional he could nourish before it was drowned in the mundane.

Kaname turned back to see Zero standing watching him warily, still looking for an escape, not quite seeing the futility. Kaname smiled at his hope, offering him the drink, which he took and sipped politely. He stood and waited.

"Please sit down."

"No. Thank you."

Kaname felt the pull of Zero's burgeoning vampire make-up but resisted the urge to use it against him. It had been so long since he had felt that pull, that call, to one like himself. His eyes closed as he relished it...

"Listen, Ken..."

"Yes?"

"You seem lonely. Why don't I call someone for you? Your manager...?"

Kaname sighed and took a seat himself. He watched the wary boy for a while deciding how to say this.

"Zero, I am a vampire."

Zero dropped his drink on the table and headed for the door again. The hell he was going to stay with this freak...

Kaname pulled at the gooey centre of the bar he was eating and watched as Zero came back to sit down. It felt so good to do that. He hadn't been able to do that in so long.

"Listen to me. I am a vampire and now, you are one as well. We didn't have sex. I bit you and you changed. It is rare for this to happen. One in fifty people survive my bite and you are one of those people..."

"A vampire?! Are you on drugs?" Zero finally managed as he realised he could speak again. What had happened? Was his drink drugged? "Do you actually believe the shit you compose?"

"I thought you didn't listen to my music."

"I don't. You weren't the only one 'observing'."

Zero had looked him up after Ken had started frequenting the club. Zero was requested for the table even after the debacle with one of his henchmen and had been the recipient of some substantial tips. The boss was happy – they'd almost drink the bar dry themselves – and Zero thought the least he could do was find out what they were on about. He found the music online and listened for only a few minutes. It seemed too depressing and contrived for his tastes.

"Touché."

"What do you want?"

Kaname paused, still playing leisurely with the caramel, and then looked Zero in the eye.

"You."

"No. Fucking. Way."

Kaname sighed again. He supposed it wouldn't have been easy. He would have been disappointed if it had been. But still, a part of him had hoped Zero would have jumped at the chance or at least have been intrigued. What else did he have to live for?

"Soon your body is going to demonstrate what you are and when it does I want you to call me," Kaname said rising to get a card from his desk. "I am going to be busy with touring and other things but this number will always get me..."

Zero took the card, crushed it, and threw it to the ground.

"If what you say is true, do you think I would call you for support? If anything I would hunt you down and kill you..." Zero spat, his exquisite grey eyes almost mesmerising as they flashed in anger.

"Good. I want you to come to me. I want you with me."

"Go to hell."

Kaname laughed at this and took another card. He scooped up Zero's clothes and brought them to him, helping him to get dressed. It would be interesting to see if this bird would come back to him. If not, Kaname didn't think he would have to look very far to find him again.

"Take the card. It will make it easier to hunt me when it does happen. You are not a killer. I realise that now. You will need help." Still, Kaname thought, still he wanted this kid...

"What is going to happen? How will I...?" Zero asked as he was ushered to the door, the irony hitting him now as he realised he wanted answers where before all he had wanted to do was leave.

"You'll see," Kaname answered, pushing Zero out into the corridor and closing the door.

to be continued

lightpathetic wrote this but these are not my characters. They are from "Vampire Knight".

This started out as a crack fic for fun and then it ended up much weirder. This story is not associated with Anne Rice and her novels in any way - please don't sue me.