Disclaimer: I own a rectangular box of Chex Muddy Buddies! Do you think they'll trade me the rights to Vampire Knight for that?
Chapter 5: Will You Just Die Already?!
The car sat idling by the road in front of Kurosu Academy. The element of surprise was an unnecessary waste of time. The two hunters were either strong enough to kill the two purebloods, or they weren't. The middle ground in which "surprise" and "miracles" made a difference was next to nonexistent.
Rin turned the shabby automobile off and tugged her key out of the ignition. She dropped it in the center cup holder, atop a few spare coins and candy wrappers. Whether they succeeded or failed, the plan did not include leaving the school alive. Let the police and insurance companies deal with the stupid hunk of barely running metal. It was a miracle the transmission stayed intact long enough to get them to their destination.
As one, the two vampires stepped out of the car, tapped the doors closed, and marched toward the gate. Zero kicked open the heavy iron bars and took his first step back inside the place he once called home. He moved swiftly after that, not bothering to check that Rin was behind him. He could not hear her, but he knew she would follow at a more sedated pace.
The moonlight illuminated the walkway, guiding the hunters to the second gate- the entrance to the world of the Night Dorm. Its guard had long since abandoned his post, and the whole area seemed deserted. With night classes temporarily cancelled, the human girls had no reason to congregate after hours, and a heavy silence stood in their stead, cautioning the killers on their way to the execution grounds.
Finding no lock or other impediment to bar his way, Zero pushed the smaller gate to the side and entered the vampires' lair. The Night Dorm towered over him in all its menacing glory, towers and spinnerets glinting in the hushed glow of the moon. On its steps stood the remnants of the Night Class, including Yuuki.
Purple eyes tinged with the call of blood met determined brown orbs almost instantaneously. Neither party was willing to back down, but no one moved. They were at an impasse, each waiting for the other to begin.
This was the moment Zero had planned for, trained for, and dreamed of ever since he locked away his heart and walked away from the only people he cared about five years ago. Here, he could finally put an end to the monstrosities known as purebloods. So, why wasn't he doing it? What was wrong with him?
Frustrated by his own indecision, Zero resolved to put an end to his deliberations. He was past the point of no return. He could not stop, not now. His will and purpose renewed, Zero reached for his Bloody Rose gun. It would only take a split second, and Yuuki would be dead. He reached, and found empty space where his fingers anticipated cold, unforgiving metal.
That couldn't be right! If Zero knew one thing for certain, it was that he did not misplace his gun. It never left his side unless…
Aidou wanted to maintain the firm, intimidating front that everyone else seemed to be projecting, he really did. However, when he saw Kiryuu reach for his side, grab at vacant air, and turn a furiously burning glare on the black haired vampire behind him who had a shiny silver gun dangling from her fingers and was wearing a rather triumphant smirk, he just couldn't help himself.
"Yuuki-sama! What's wrong with Kiryuu-san? He looks like he's about to explode!" Aidou asked, the pitch of his voice dipping in and out of decidedly whiny tones.
Still torn between disbelief and amusement, Yuuki barely heard the loud vampire's query. Zero was actually going to do it. He was going to kill her. If Yoru-san wasn't holding his gun, he would have shot her then and there. The small part of her that wanted to believe that Zero would never bring himself to harm her died a quick death. On the other hand, Yuuki wanted to burst out laughing. Zero looked madder than the time she tricked him into sitting through a six course dinner with Onii-sama.
A number of different things could have happened at this point. Zero could have tried to get his gun back from the grinning Rin, although the expenditure of energy necessary for that task would have undoubtedly rendered him useless in further combat for some time. Yuuki could have tried to reason with her foes, find some common ground upon which they could build a truce. Aidou could have blurted out another random comment. Yes, any of those things could have happened at that moment, but none of them did.
A bright light sprung up from the ground around Zero, temporarily blinding everyone present. When the blazing glare dimmed down, the silver haired boy was lying on the ground, unconscious. Yuuki tried to leap off the steps to make sure Zero was alright, but Kaname held her back.
"Don't be foolish, Yuuki," he hissed in her ear, his grip unwavering despite her constant struggle. "It is probably a trap."
"Oh, you are correct on that point, Kaname," Kurosu said, stepping out from behind a large tree, a single glowing piece of chalk caught between his fingers. "This was indeed a trap, but not for my precious daughter."
Unwilling to hold back the tide of curiosity threatening to overwhelm his unstable self-control, Aidou dashed down the steps, came to a halt directly in front of the headmaster, crossed his arms, and demanded, "So you set a trap for Kiryuu?"
A low chuckle reminded the vampires that there was still another capable hunter in their midst. Rin side-stepped the fading glow of the headmaster's magic circle and Zero's incapacitated body with the practiced ease of a predator. Her eyes remained shadowed pools of night behind unruly black strands, and she now held the Bloody Rose gun with a finger poised around the trigger.
Kaname pushed Yuuki behind him, and the other vampires crowded together in front of their leader. Even Aidou turned his head to acknowledge the slightly threatening presence approaching them.
She stopped next to Aidou in front of the headmaster. The young vampire surveyed her out of the corner of his eye for a moment before inconspicuously scrambling back up the steps to the others with all the grace of an ice skating giraffe.
Rin stared into the headmaster's eyes, and the Night Class waited with bated breath. A breeze whisked through the courtyard, and Zero's body remained abandoned, unnoticed, and unimportant.
Kurosu broke eye contact first, closing his and cracking a giant smile worthy of the sun. "Rin-chan, I can't thank you enough for bringing my little boy home!"
The hunter's cold demeanor immediately melted, her muscles uncoiling from their tensed state of readiness, her gun toting hand carelessly dropping the weapon into a coat pocket. She smiled back in return. "Anytime, Kai-kun," she said, ignoring the open mouths and wide eyes of the vampires a few feet away. "And now, if you'll excuse me," she continued, pulling the gun back out, "I need to kill the Kuran boy. It's the last thing on my to-do list." Rin reformed her face into the blank expression of a hunter ready to kill and turned on Kuran.
The Night Class quickly regrouped and prepared for the fight they'd been expecting for the last few nights. Swords were unsheathed and ice formed on fingertips.
"Excuse me, Rin-chan," Kurosu interrupted.
Her expression and bearing switched right back to their previous jolly state as she gave the headmaster her full attention, leaving the Night Class frozen an awkward picture of warriors with no foe.
"Would you mind postponing that for one more year?" Kurosu asked, his tone conversational as if he was discussing the latest cornbread recipe instead of murder.
Her eyes searching upward for an answer, she prompted, "For…?"
"It will bug Zero to death," Kurosu automatically responded.
Rin beamed with pleasure. "Then certainly."
The Night Class watched with something akin to horror as this bizarre conversation continued. The two hunters talked of killing and destroying life-long plans with levity and cheerfulness. And people called vampires "monsters in human form." What would they call these freaks?
"You will come visit, won't you?" Kurosu pleaded. "Zero may be a tad upset with us for our little prank, but he'll get over it."
Tapping her index finger to her chin, Rin pretended to consider the offer before easily laughing. "Of course! You don't think I'd go to all the trouble of making sure Kuran didn't jump the gun and kill me on sight just to vanish into the night without so much as a forwarding address, do you?" The hand still holding Zero's gun was waving about in the air as she continued talking, making the other vampires more than a little nervous. "Besides," she explained, "I've officially adopted Zero as a brother, so as soon as you call and tell me he's stopped threatening my life, I'll be happy to drop in."
Kurosu laughed along with her. "Don't be a stranger! Call us when you find a new place to settle."
"Actually, more likely than not, I'll be staying at Point Bleak after I dispose of this." Recalling the heavy lump of metal in her hand, Rin eyed the Bloody Rose distastefully. As effective and useful as it was, an anti-vampire weapon this powerful with a mind of its own was not worth keeping around. Finding the right place to melt it down into a harmless rock would be a pain, but a necessary evil.
Having escaped Onii-san's iron grip once he deemed Yoru-san safe- at least for now- Yuuki squeezed through the crowd of vampires and joined the mini-powwow on the ground. "Point Bleak?"
An image of a dark castle in the pages of an ancient book leaped out in Aidou's mind. "It's an old castle by the sea," he interjected, his eyes closed and his face set in that smug expression it wore whenever he knew what he was talking about, or thought he did. "Been in vampire hands since its construction centuries ago. Couldn't think of anyplace more clichéd, Yoru-san?"
His question was met with silence. Aidou opened his eyes and looked at Yoru-san, or rather, the space where Yoru-san had been standing. She was gone, and no one seemed to be able to pinpoint exactly when she slipped away, despite the fact that she was standing mere feet in front of all of them until just a second ago.
"She disappeared just like Batman!" Ichijou observed.
It was dark. That in itself was surprising. How many times in the past five years had Zero been brutally awakened by the harshest sunlight an open window could offer. It was also soft and smelled of fresh laundry. The last time Zero checked, he was always price-bound by the cheap hotels full of cardboard mattresses and mold.
Zero wasn't in Kansas anymore.
Naturally, his first reaction upon opening his eyes was to reach for his gun. But it wasn't there. Zero resisted the urge to leap up in a panic, wildly searching for the foes that were sure to be lurking about. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he registered that his limbs felt like lead. He stared up at the shadows dancing on the ceiling and managed to realize that there must be a small light over to his left. With a small groan, he turned his head, and there sat Yuuki, smiling as she always did.
"I hope you slept well, Zero. Welcome home."
He shuffled into a sitting position and sank back into the pillows, resting against the headboard, forcing his tensed muscles to relax. There was no danger, not yet at least. "What happened?"
Yuuki sighed and slouched in her chair. "Yoru-san and the headmaster caught you in some magic circle." Her voice was dipped in disapproval, but the glint in her eyes betrayed how happy she was at their deceit.
"Ah," Zero breathed out. So his innocent, manipulative, murdering, little, older, adopted sister was behind his failure to complete his last mission. The wallet and gun thefts should have been a dead giveaway- if only he noticed the missing gun before it was too late. It figured. "I'm going to kill her."
Giggling a little, Yuuki stood and walked over to a small table in the corner. "You haven't changed at all," she said, pouring a glass of water. She returned to her bedside seat and handed over the cup. Her face lost all traces of amusement. "Apparently, Yoru-san helped you eliminate the purebloods because she thought they would cause trouble for the other vampires, force them to choose sides or something now that the Senate is gone."
Zero listened quietly, his mouth twisted in a pensive frown. He never found any reason to delve into Rin's deeper motivation for helping him. It never mattered. One day, she was simply there, walking beside him. The one time he asked why she killed with him, she answered, "Because I can." That had been enough for him. Thinking back on it now, Yuuki's explanation made sense. Rin was practically a pureblood. She once lived at the heart of vampire society and politics, and she knew their flaws. That still left one very big question unanswered.
Seeing the unspoken thought in Zero's eyes, Yuuki interrupted his inner musings. "The headmaster said he met her before we were even born. She contacted him and set this trap for you."
Zero still refused to comment aloud. Rin was so going to suffer for this.
She had been afraid to mention it. The subject was more than a little touchy, but it couldn't be avoided forever. Yuuki took a deep breath, then took the plunge. "Zero, I know you planned to kill me and Onii-sama, and then kill yourself."
The stubborn boy had been content to leave the matter untouched and was not immensely pleased to hear it being brought up so soon. He turned his head away and completely ignored Yuuki.
Her eyes widened before narrowing into an angry glare. Losing control and fuming, she punched him in the arm, shouting, "Don't you dare ignore me, Zero!"
He flinched and grunted. Apparently, Yuuki didn't know her own strength, not that this was new information, although it hurt a lot more now coming from a pureblood. Zero twisted his head back to the left and looked her in the eyes.
"So?" Yuuki prodded.
Zero rubbed his sore arm. "Why aren't you with him?" he hissed.
"Who? Onii-sama?" Yuuki blushed and glanced away. "We don't talk much," she admitted. It was odd. Before she knew he was her brother, she and Kaname had a relationship not unlike that of siblings, but since finding out the truth- since Zero left- they had drifted into a mere shadow of their former closeness. So much for the truth setting you free: the only freedom Yuuki found was freedom from her previous illusions of romantic attachment to her brother.
"Right," Zero drawled, obviously not believing a word she said. Five years of absence did not erase five years of seeing Yuuki fawn over the pureblood prince.
She could find no words of reassurance that wouldn't sound either fake and practiced or disloyal. Despite his occasionally suicidal tendencies, he didn't feel the urge to masochistically poke that old wound any more at the moment.
Yuuki found her voice first. "Well, I guess I'll let you get some more sleep. The headmaster said those magic circles can be pretty draining."
"Yeah," Zero agreed, not really in the mood to talk while he still felt so tired.
"We'll talk later."
Yuuki rose from her chair and made to head for the door, but Zero reached out, grabbed her arm, pulled her forward, and placed a light kiss on her lips. "Thank you, Yuuki."
Yuuki smiled and walked to the door. She turned back with a giant grin on her face. "And don't bother trying to run away again, Zero. The headmaster put another magic barrier on this room just for you."
Drat. Zero thought. Now I'll have to face Kuran and not kill him. You'll pay for this, Rin. Whether his revenge involved stolen chocolate bars, whipped cream-covered rooms, or blood-filled nights was up for grabs, but Zero would have his revenge. He was a hunter, and he would not stop until he caught his prey, even if that prey was another hunter.
Since neither of them had died on this mission, never mind that the targets survived as well, their hunting careers would continue. Although, with the way Zero's homecoming was going, he might have to amend his life's goal to exclude killing Yuuki. As long as it upset someone, Rin wouldn't mind.
Still, the biggest question on everyone's minds after that fateful night was: Why did Kurosu Kaien use the chalk to draw a little heart on the ground next to the magic circle with "Kai & Rin" written inside?
After a fairly short haul, we've reached the end of "The Hunter Chronicles." I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who's read this story and given me wonderful feedback and support, and advance thank yous to everyone who reads this in the future!
I have no idea what project will come next, but I will try to keep my profile up to date as I complete various stages of writing whatever. Thanks again to everyone, and I'll see you later!
Random little scene from my life:
My sister has one of her weekly TV shows on, and we catch a guy in the midst of a not-so-savvy scene. She says, "But he's so cute" in that high-pitched little girl voice.
I say, "That immoral piece of trash needs to be taken out."
She responds, "Bring back his dead body!"
Yay for randomness! Okay, now I'll go. n.n