I'm finally back with another jump into the VK fandom! This is set roughly five years after the events of Chapter 46, so the story may contain SPOILERS. You have been happily warned.

Disclaimer: I do not own Vampire Knight because if I did, Kaname would have died long, long ago...Hino-sensei still has him breathing.

Vampire Knight – The Hunter Chronicles

Chapter 1: Death Comes Quietly

Kurosu Kaien, the headmaster of Kurosu Academy, sat behind his desk. After a few minutes of attempted small talk with the purebloods Kuran Kaname and Kuran Yuuki, he finally settled down to the serious matter at hand. With a heavy heart, he told them the grievous news: After five years of systematic murder, the last remaining non-Kuran pureblood was eliminated mere days ago along with countless aristocrat bodyguards.

Yuuki stood by the window listening, her face drawn with lines of sadness and remorse.

"He's coming," Kaname stated.

"I know," she acknowledged, her gaze never leaving the slowly brightening horizon.

"No, they're coming," Kurosu corrected.

Caught off guard, Yuuki jerked her head away from the window. "What?" she exclaimed.

Knowing how hard these few words would be on his adopted daughter, Kurosu said quietly, "He's not alone."

Zero sat on his horribly stiff seat in the train car, staring out the window. For having cushions, it sure felt like a wooden plank against his back. That would teach him to ride economy. Why was he being such a penny pincher, anyway? This was the last job. If he succeeded, he could finally end his disgusting existence as a vampire. So why, in the name of all that's good, did he not splurge for a comfy first class seat on the way to his own execution ground?!

A tall, black haired girl walked up the aisle and plopped down in the seat across from him, holding out a candy bar while taking a bite of her own.

Ah, that was why, Zero muttered to himself. This is why I am never letting her touch my wallet again. She's cheaper than a "made in China" McDonald's Happy Meal toy.

"Well, that last one was messier than usual. They've really stepped up security since the first kill. It was almost a challenge." Rin scoffed.

Like Zero, Rin was also a vampire, but unlike him, she had never been anything close to human. Born to a pureblood and a high-ranking aristocrat, her life was always full of blood and the politics of vampire society. She was a strong, capable hunter who had struggled and fought against the oppressive chains of the Senate's influence since her parents' deaths, but going up against purebloods was never to be taken lightly.

"Don't get overconfident." Zero admonished.

Taking another giant chomp on the chocolate, she retorted, "Don't lecture me. Respect your elders." Despite resembling Zero's age in appearance, Rin outranked the boy by a few decades.

"And you remember that the Kuran are not to be underestimated, especially Kuran Kaname," Zero shot back.

"I know what he is capable of, probably more so than you." Rin met Kaname on more than one occasion during her early years of bondage to the Senate and its social functions. He was a creepy little boy even then.

Zero seethed at her unyielding argumentative nature, hissing out a deep breath. "Just keep your head."

"Just worry about yourself," Rin ordered. You haven't told me much, but I've heard the stories, and I know you better than you think, Zero. Despite all your hatred for the purebloods, I know that facing her will test every fiber of your resolve

"Shut up and get some sleep." Zero shifted in his still lumpy seat. He tried, unsuccessfully, to find a decent position for a few seconds, but he soon realized the futility of his actions and stilled his body. He could move later when he wasn't being watched like a hawk.

Rin had to smile at Zero's obvious discomfort. He was too proud to move a muscle until she was asleep, or at least pretending. "You rest up, too, Onii-san."

The downstairs parlor of the Night Dorm was packed to capacity. Yuuki sat off to the side, yet again. She was in no mood to be sociable. Kaname stood before the Night Class, his face stern and serious. The initially miniscule amount of chatter died a quick death. Silence reigned.

"You've all heard the news. In the past five years, the vampire purebloods have been targeted and murdered. Yuuki and I are the only ones left," Kaname announced.

"How long do we have, Kaname?" Ichijou asked. He, like the rest of the Night Class, had instantly grasped the barely hidden message in Kaname's message: the killers were coming.

Aidou leapt to his feet and shouted, "It doesn't matter! We'll protect Kaname-sama and Yuuki-sama! Those hunters won't know what hit them!"

"No! That's enough," Yuuki interrupted. "All of you are to leave Kurosu Academy immediately." Her narrowed eyes blazed with a furious intensity rarely seen in the pureblood girl, and she was tensed, ready for a fight.

The room turned as one to stare at Yuuki after her little outburst. No one spoke, and silence filled the air again, until Aidou sneezed.

"But Yuuki-chan, we can't just leave you two alone," Ichijou protested.

Kaname was tiring of his underlings' refusal to follow orders, if the throbbing vein in his forehead was any indication. "Our sources tell us that there are two perpetrators, and they take no prisoners. We have decided that it is too dangerous for the Night Class to remain on school grounds, so you will all return home until this situation is resolved."

In the calm before the storm, Kaname enjoyed a full three seconds of quiet acceptance to his declaration.

Then Aidou asked, none too quietly, "It's Kiryuu, isn't it?"

Neither Kaname nor Yuuki answered aloud, but the way Yuuki turned away and the sudden grim set of Kaname's jaw said it all.

"I want everyone out within the hour," Yuuki stated, her tone brooking no room for argument. She walked out and headed up to her room.

Kaname watched her go with growing unease. Since Zero left, Yuuki had become withdrawn from everyone, including him, and she spent most of her time either alone in her room or with the headmaster.

"You heard Yuuki-sama! Everyone out!" Aidou barked, his small stature not preventing him from being as obnoxiously loud as possible. He then turned around and whispered to Kaname, "But we're staying."

As the rest of the room slowly emptied, Kaname whispered back, "You'd disobey a direct order from a pureblood, Aidou?"

"Not just him, Kaname," Ichijou piped in.

"Packing is too much trouble," Shiki yawned.

Kain joined the little circle forming around the pureblood. "I'm too tired to travel."

"I will stay as well," Seiren added.

Kaname tried to make them see reason- his reason, but that was the only one that mattered. "The choice is not yours," he hardheartedly informed the stubborn aristocrats.

Aidou all but shrieked in outrage. "We can help, Kaname-sama!"

"Kiryuu and his partner have killed everyone trying to protect the purebloods," Kaname pointed out.

Ichijou stood firm. "We can handle them."

Zero finally fell asleep. It took him long enough to relax, and he obstinately refused to close the window shade until the ten o'clock sun shining straight in his eyes became unbearable. He kept whining about limited visibility in case of a sneak attack or some paranoid stupidity along those lines.

The train ride still had some hours to go before they reached their final destination. Soon, for better or worse, it would all be over.

Rin reached over and took his Bloody Rose gun. His eyes shot open, and he tried to grab it, but she held it just out of reach. After a second, he relaxed, closed his eyes, and went back to sleep.

Rin turned the cold, hard metal over in her hands. The weapon had a mind of its own, and it was as evil as any vampire.

She didn't know if she would make it out of this one, but she did not intend to die without making sure that Zero was free.

He gave her a reason to live. If they succeeded, the end of this mission would mark the end for both of them. They were both vampires, loathing their own existences, but Zero wasn't ready to die. She could see it. If only he wasn't doing such a superb job of ignoring how his last obstacle to death was also his strongest tie to life.

Rin knew what they were going up against. She met Kuran Kaname years ago before all of these messes started. She knew him for the manipulative, murderous, ancient being he was even then, and recent news of his activities did not paint a pretty picture. They were too much alike. That was the problem.

But they did differ in one very important respect. She knew for a fact that no matter what he said, Zero would not kill Yuuki.

Kuran purposely blinded himself to that. Kuran pretended that Zero was capable of killing his best friend, his other half. It gave Kuran a plausible excuse for hating the hunter and wanting him dead, and it distracted Yuuki from the real reason for his hatred. Kuran was jealous because he knew, better than Yuuki herself, that she and Zero were connected by a bond stronger than any he could ever hope to have.

Zero didn't talk about his days at Kurosu Academy much. He'd make a vague reference to some vampire power or technique he picked up, or a weakness he noticed, but he refused to talk about the good, "human" experiences. The unspoken words in everything he didn't say told Rin more than words could have.

Zero would kill himself before he killed Yuuki. That's what Rin was afraid of.

Author's Notes:

Well, welcome to the new VK story. Hope you enjoyed Chapter 1. My goal is to get out the chapters for this story in quick succession before I head back to school, but "the best laid plans of mice and men" and all that...so here's hoping.

If the mood so strikes you, let me know what you think, and Merry Christmas to all, and to all...a not-getting-sick-on-too-much-Christmas-dinner! (I wonder how many people hated me just for the disclaimer...Who knows? Maybe I'll let him live in this story.)