Author Notes: Decided to write a KanamexZero oneshot just for Valentine's Day because I'm stuck with the next chapter of What Could Almost Be and that won't be ready until next week. After having written this oneshot I realised it could very well have been an earlier chapter of WCAB after all! -shakes her head at herself- Only now it can't because of the progress the boys have made since Chapter Seven. Oh well… so this oneshot isn't really related to any of my other stories even though a couple of elements from No Matter What and What Could Almost Be did surface all the same. Hope you enjoy this and Happy Valentine's Day!
Appreciation: This was in part inspired by the beautiful Valentine banner and half hidden box of yummy chocolates in Blackened Wing's blog :D
Summary: It's Valentine's Day and Yuuki and Yori are making use of a free hotel room stay to enjoy a girls' night out. Kaname arrives at the hotel with roses and chocolates to take Yuuki out for a romantic candlelight dinner. Zero arrives with daisies to do the very same thing. Fate, however, has other plans for both boys. An almost yaoi fic.
Disclaimer: Vampire Knight could only and does belong to the great Matsuri Hino.
-- Story Start --
Yuuki and Yori had entered a local supermarket contest recently and to their surprise, had drawn the third prize – a one night stay in the nearby town courtesy of a local hotel with breakfast for two and a one hundred dollar voucher at the local supermarket. Both girls had given the latter to a very pleased Chairman Cross while opting to use their prize on Valentine's Day itself.
Normally, free hotel room stays weren't valid for public holidays or peak seasons but as usual, Yuuki managed to charm her way through. The hotel was only a short walk away from their favourite Sweet Treats café and the auburn haired prefect was planning to drag her friend over there to gorge themselves on ice cream sundaes for dinner before going back to the hotel to give each other facials and pedicures and very possibly chatting the whole night away… if neither of them fell asleep first.
Yuuki had no idea the two important boys in her life were planning a very different dinner for her that night.
- o -
The bouquet of daisies made a very pretty picture. Half a dozen fresh white and yellow blooms were resting on a bed of light pink crepe paper while a wide violet satin ribbon tied them all togther in a large bow. Zero shook his head at himself, smiling inwardly at his own extravagance as he carefully sprinkled drops of water from his cup onto the large blossoms. Buying flowers on Valentine's Day itself wasn't the most thrifty thing the stoic, silver haired prefect had done but he knew it was worth every cent of it to see Yuuki's pretty face light up with happiness when he presented her the daisies before taking her out to dinner tonight. Zero caught up the bouquet in his hand then went over to his door, feeling nervous yet excited at the same time. He had never really told his fellow Prefect how he felt about her and perhaps this was the right time to do so. He knew Yuuki had always thought of him as her 'little' big brother only but perhaps in time... well, he hoped that she might have a change of heart . The silver haired prefect peeked out of his door and made sure there was no one around in the corridor before he left his room, then the Sun Dorms, at vampire speed.
Zero whistled softly as he strode briskly out of the Cross Academy gates and made his way to town. He was dressed in a light gray long sleeved shirt and his black trousers. The long satin ribbons trailed along his trouser leg and the slight breeze made them flutter. Zero pushed his silver hair back off his forehead, his usually dour expression lightening up a little. He hadn't wanted to inform Yori about his surprise for her roommate but he felt bad about whisking Yuuki off to dinner while leaving the other girl by herself. But when he cornered Yori the day before and told her his plan some awkwardly, the blond haired, green eyed girl was her usual calm self. She placidly agreed to keeping his surprise a secret and declared she didn't mind having dinner by herself and being on her own for a couple of hours. After all, it wasn't everyday she had the luxury of being able to call for room service for her dinner, which was Zero's thanks to her.
- o -
The bouquet of roses made a very pretty picture. Two dozen fresh pink and red rosebuds were resting on a bed of white crepe paper while a wide red satin ribbon tied them all togther in a large bow. Kaname's sculptured lips tilted in a rare, warm smile as he carefully sprayed tiny droplets of water onto the blossoms with a spray bottle he had borrowed from Takuma. Buying fresh, premium roses on Valentine's Day itself was expensive but Kaname knew it was worth every cent to see Yuuki's wide brown eyes glow with happiness when he presented her the roses before taking her out to dinner tonight. Kaname adjusted his burgundy silk tie then caught up the bouquet in his hand then went over to his door. The pureblood vampire peeked out and made sure there was no one around outside his room before he went downstairs at his usual, languid walk.
Kaname nodded at the driver who was waiting just outside the Moon Dorm entrance. As the limousine drove out of the Cross Academy gates, Kaname rested his chin in one hand, his other hand holding the bouquet. He knew it wasn't a gentlemanly thing to do, leaving Sayori Wakaba alone in the hotel room for a couple of hours while he whisked Yuuki off to a sumptuous dinner. But surprisingly, the blond girl had assured him that she didn't mind being left alone if it meant Yuuki was going to have a good time. She promised not to say a word about it to Yuuki and thanked Kaname graciously when he told her that anything she wished to order off the Room Service menu was on him.
- o -
It was strange that the charismatic Moon Dorm Leader and the grouchy silver haired prefect did not notice each other on the road leading to the town. But at the exact moment that the limousine drove past Zero, he had buried his face in the bouquet he was holding in his hand, and that same moment, Kaname was doing the very same thing to his bouquet of roses. The pureblood arrived at the hotel earlier than Zero but decided to make a stop at the local candy store to purchase an elegant box of imported chocolates. He then requested his driver to wait for him at the hotel entrance while he went upstairs to invite Yuuki out to dinner.
Zero stepped into the hotel lobby about fifteen seconds later, frowning a little to himself. There was something very familiar about the limo that was parked just outside… He looked up and saw that the doors for one of the two lifts were now closing.
"Hey, wait up!" Zero called and started sprinting towards the lifts. The sooner he got the daisies out of his hands and into Yuuki's arms, the better because he didn't like the way the few guests in the lobby were eyeing him and his flowers - with amused, knowing grins on their faces. To Zero's relief, the lift doors reopened, which meant that the person or persons inside had waited for him. Eager to get inside the lift and still pretending that he wasn't holding flowers, Zero didn't sense the presence inside the lift until he had actually stepped foot into it.
Geez, what a coincidence. Kaname Kuran, Moon Dorm Leader and young, dynamic pureblood was standing in the lift as well with what looked like an enormous bouquet of roses held in one arm, their sweet fragrance overpowering his own pureblood scent. Something clicked in Zero's mind as he stared open mouthed at Kaname - no wonder that limousine outside had seemed familiar to him!
Kaname looked as startled as Zero was, both eyebrows raised as his gaze dropped instinctively to the daisies in the prefect's hand. In the pin drop silence that followed, the doors closed almost soundlessly behind Zero and the lift started ascending since Kaname had already pressed the button for the fifteenth floor, where the girls were staying.
Zero scowled. Kaname was attired in a beautifully fitting black jacket and matching trousers, the rich colour of his silk tie offset by the snowy white dress shirt he had on. With the roses and the box of chocolates in his hand as well as the fact that he had already pressed the button for Yuuki's floor, there was no doubt at all in Zero's mind that the pureblood was here for the same reason he was – to take Yuuki out to dinner.
Kaname's eyes narrowed at the prefect in turn. No wonder the voice that had called out earlier for him to hold the lift seemed familiar to him. The prefect usually dressed in casual T-shirts and jeans when he wasn't in his Day Class uniform but now he was in a smart long sleeved shirt and trousers. With the daisies in his hand, there was no doubt at all that Zero was here for the same reason he was – to take Yuuki out to dinner.
Without a word, amethyst eyes directed a hostile, icy glare at the pureblood. Without hesitation, deep brown eyes returned the glare in equal measure. Both vampires were almost baring their fangs at each other, instinctive territorial urges rising to the fore. Then almost at the same moment, both of them dismissed the other's glare and looked up at the numbers flashing over the lift doors. Kaname was facing the door while Zero was facing him with his back towards the door but since the prefect's reflection, the doors as well as the numbers were also reflected in the highly polished mirror that covered the entire wall behind Kaname's back, Zero chose to watch the reflection of the numbers instead, reluctant to turn his back on his rival. Each floor lit up one by one as the lift continued to ascend – they were on the sixth floor now.
After a few seconds, Zero's eyes met Kaname's again. A silent challenge was issued and accepted without the need for words – they would each try to get Yuuki to go out with them once they reached her room. At the same time, an unspoken agreement was reached – they would not stoop to undignified fighting while inside the lift.
Zero nodded once, eyes fierce and jaw clenched. Kaname returned the nod silently then their eyes lifted to check out the numbers again as they breathed in the heady scent of fresh roses and daisies, the fragrance even stronger now within the confined area which was only four by six feet. The awkward silence between both of them were masked by the lilting strains of Vivaldi's Four Seasons wafting out from the speaker set in the ceiling.
They had reached the tenth floor now... eleventh... twelfth...
Both Kaname and Zero tensed up imperceptibly, adrenaline starting to tingle through their muscles as the lift approached the fifteenth floor. Zero eyed Kaname out of the corner of his eye, wondering if he should break into a run towards Yuuki's room once the doors opened and wondering if the pureblood would do the same. A moment later, he realised that he had no idea where Yuuki's room was since this was the first time he had even stepped foot in this hotel. So much for wanting to appear dignified...
And then it happened. The music got cut off and the lift jarred to an abrupt stop, midway between the thirteenth and fourteenth floor – both floor numbers were blinking now. The two boys stared at the lit up buttons for a stunned moment, the sudden silence ringing in their ears. Then Zero spun around to stare at the numbers directly. "I think we're stuck," he stated, glancing sideways at Kaname. The pureblood returned Zero's look calmly. "I know," he said. Turning to the control panel on the wall on his right side, he pressed on the red intercom button. "Hello," he called out. After a few seconds, static sounded from the small speaker above the button and a metallic sounding voice came through. "This is Security. Can I help you, sir?"
Zero cursed under his breath as Kaname explained their situation. Great, just when they were nearing Yuuki's floor, this had to happen.
- o -
Ten minutes later, they were still stuck in the lift and an oppressive atmosphere had shrouded the confined area. The hotel's security personnel had confirmed that one of the winches for the lift they were in was faulty and that the emergency brakes had automatically stopped the lift car as a safety precaution. He added that they were trying to call in repairmen to attend to the problem as soon as possible and tendered his apologies.
Kaname and Zero waited out another ten minutes, the pureblood trying to hang onto his temper and aura as the prefect paced up and down the small carpeted area, growling to himself and glaring at his reflection each time he faced the mirror. Finally, the pureblood jabbed at the intercom button again none too gently and asked for the status of the repairs. It had obviously not started yet since there had been no sounds or movements at all that could possibly be related to any form of repair work but he still asked the question, trying hard not to sound too annoyed.
The security guard was most apologetic as he nervously and reluctantly explained that due to it being Valentine's Day, the repair company in charge of maintaining the hotel lifts had closed for the day and given their workers a rare night off. Kaname had to narrow his eyes at Zero in warning since the prefect looked close to exploding after hearing this. The hotel staff were now trying to contact the local fire department for assistance. The hotel manager came on the line then to apologise profusely for the incident, promising a free night's stay with complimentary breakfast and dinner vouchers for each of them.
Seeing as there was nothing they could do for the moment – Kaname having decided that showing everyone in the hotel what he was by blasting a hole through the lift door with his telekinetic powers wasn't exactly a good idea – he requested the manager to inform his driver who was still patiently waiting outside the hotel, to return to the school until he was summoned again. After that, pureblood released the intercom button and bit out a few choice expletives under his breath. The shaded lights on the wall flickered again and a corner of the large mirror cracked as his anger got the better of him.
"Hey," Zero began, startled. He stared at the crack then swung around to face Kaname. "Hey, cut it out, Kuran, you're giving me a blasted headache!"
Quickly, Kaname reined in his aura. "My apologies," he said stiffly after a moment, aware that both their breathing sounding rather loud in the confined space.
"Look," Zero said after a moment, trying to sound calm. It wasn't a good idea to be stuck in a lift with a deeply annoyed pureblood after all. "We're stuck in here so just – just relax, OK?"
Kaname glared at him dangerously, hands on hips. "Maybe I will, if you would only stop pacing up and down – it's annoying me!"
Zero glared right back at him fearlessly. "Maybe I will if you promise to get a hold on that aura of yours – it's annoying me!"
Kaname opened his mouth then shut it again. "Deal," he said after a moment. Zero hesitated, then nodded stiffly. Kaname did the same. They stood in opposite corners, still eyeing each other and still gripping their respective bouquets in their hands.
- o -
Thirty minutes crawled past with excruciating slowness. Zero could have sworn that the second hand on his wristwatch was deliberately moving at its own sweet time, pardon the pun.
Both vampires were now sitting down on the carpeted floor, facing each other with their backs resting against the opposite walls adjacent to the doors. Their legs were drawn up with their arms resting on their knees. Kaname had shed his jacket and removed his tie. Both were folded up neatly and resting in his lap. Zero's shirt was unbuttoned halfway down his chest and he had tugged it out of his waistband as well. The air conditioning in the lift appeared to have been cut off and it was now getting warm and stuffy. Despite their shirtsleeves rolled up to their elbows, both vampires were now slightly damp with perspiration.
The good news was, the repair work had finally started and they could both hear muffled noises together with faint voices. The lift had shuddered once or twice but other than that, it was neither moving upwards nor downwards. There wasn't any danger of it actually falling since the emergency brakes had kicked in and were in good working condition but... it was the waiting they both hated.
Zero sighed dispiritedly, not even in the mood to be angry any longer. It was a forgone conclusion that his dinner reservations were now cancelled since it was now more than half an hour past the time he had specified. So much for wanting a romantic dinner with Yuuki. The silver haired prefect ran the back of his hand across his damp forehead, mussing his silver hair even more in the process. Kaname heard the sigh but didn't say anything. He was gazing at the perfect rosebuds on the carpet beside him. Another couple would have grabbed his reserved table by now. So much for wanting a romantic dinner with Yuuki. He sighed softly then looked up.
Zero heard the sigh and looked up to see Kaname's gaze on him. The prefect raised an eyebrow as if to ask 'What?' Kaname shrugged. More to make conversation than anything else, he asked, "So, where were you planning on taking Yuuki tonight?"
Zero shrugged as well knowing that there wasn't any harm in telling the pureblood his plans now. After all, even if they got out of here within the next five minutes, it was already dinner time and Yuuki would most likely be eating with Yori somewhere in town. "Le Prestige," Zero replied and was surprised to see that Kaname looked a little taken aback. "I was planning on taking her there as well," the pureblood said.
Zero's lips twisted wryly. "It's not as if there are many choices for a nice place in this town," he commented. Surprisingly, Kaname nodded, his gaze drifting again to the roses. Zero was starting to wonder if that was the end of their conversation when Kaname looked up again, this time with a small smile on his lips. "If I were to let Yuuki choose though, we would most likely end up in her favourite café-"
"You mean 'Sweet Treats'?" asked Zero dryly and the pureblood gave him a startled look before chuckling ruefully. "Oh, you know that place too?"
Zero rolled his eyes. "She's only dragged me there about twenty times or so," he returned but with much less sarcasm in his tone than usual. Kaname smiled. "I know what you mean," he said almost gently. For a moment, they smiled at each other then Zero's gaze fell. "I guess it's just as well I meant for the dinner to be a surprise, since it's not going to happen now," he muttered.
"Oh? What about Wakaba-san then?" Kaname asked.
Zero shrugged, still looking down at the carpet. "Yori knows I planned to take Yuuki out tonight, I told her yesterday."
"And were you planning on letting Wakaba-san go to dinner on her own, Kiryuu-kun?"
Zero looked up at once, bristling at the disapproving note in Kaname's voice. " Of course not!" the prefect retorted. "I told her that dinner was on me if she wanted Room Service and she said she would."
Again, Kaname looked a little taken aback. Then he shook his head and chuckled a little. "What's so funny?" Zero demanded, wondering if his offer to Yori had seemed silly to the pureblood. Kaname sobered up at once. "Yuuki doesn't know about my wanting to take her out to dinner either," he explained. "And I also told Wakaba-san last night that since she would be deprived of Yuuki's company for dinner, she could have Room Service on me."
Zero's lips parted in surprise – another coincidence? Kaname nodded solemnly at the unspoken question in Zero's eyes and the latter started shaking his head, almost grinning now. "Yori would be laughing at the two of us if she knew where we are now," he said, making Kaname's lips quirk. "You mean while she's having ice-cream with Yuuki at Sweet Treats?" he asked wryly. That made Zero grin even more as he met the pureblood's gaze and nodded. But his smile faded after a moment and they both looked away.
- o -
Another half hour passed with the same clanging noises but no word of progress from the repair men outside.
Zero was now both thirsty and hungry and he had heard a couple of familiar gurgles coming from Kaname's flat abdomen that suggested the pureblood was feeling quite the same way. Zero ran his fingers through his perspiration dampened hair and shifted his shoulders – his shirt was sticking uncomfortably to his back now. "If only we had something to eat," he muttered plaintively, more to break the rather oppressive silence than anything else.
"Mmm," concurred the pureblood, his eyes closed and his head leaning back against the wall. Then his head snapped forward suddenly and his eyes opened. "Wait a minute, I do have something we can eat," he said, sounding rather surprised not to have realised it earlier.
Zero blinked at him and sat up straighter. "What is it?" he asked, sounding surprised and hopeful at the same time.
"This." Kaname lifted up the roses and took up the rectangular box it was resting on. "Chocolates."
Zero had seen them earlier too but had somehow forgotten about them. "Chocolates?" he echoed before his surprised gaze found Kaname's. "But - they're for Yuuki," he said uncertainly. Kaname nodded. "I know, but we're both hungry and she will understand. I can get her another box when we get out of here."
Zero's eyebrow lifted at the casual way Kaname had said that. "But - they're expensive," he pointed out with his usual honesty, knowing it was a petty thing to say but still reluctant to partake in something that Kaname had purchased expressly for Yuuki. After all, she was the one with the sweet tooth, not him. It was Kaname's turn to raise an eyebrow at him. "It's food, Kiryuu," he said quietly. Zero met his gaze silently and after a moment, he nodded. "All right," he said rather awkwardly. He watched as Kaname pulled off the beautiful red ribbon and opened up the box, trying hard not to feel envious that he couldn't afford the same thing for Yuuki, not on top of the dinner he had planned to splurge on. Of course, Yuuki would never hold it against him or anything but still...
Zero's thoughts broke off as Kaname lifted the protective paper inside the box and revealed twenty pieces of individually arranged chocolates. They all smelled divine, in the way only top quality chocolates do. Zero's mouth watered at the beautiful sight even though he didn't usually like them. He shifted a little closer to Kaname and the pureblood obligingly held the box out. "You first," he offered.
Zero gave him a quick glance. "Uh, thanks," he muttered as he lifted out one of the chocolates nearest to him with his thumb and forefinger. He waited as Kaname took out a piece before setting the box down on the carpet between them. When Kaname looked up, he was a little surprised to see Zero still holding the chocolate. Then the pureblood shrugged. "Well, cheers," he said lightly, raising the treat in his hand as if it were a glass of the finest champagne . "Guess this is tonight's dinner," he added wryly. It was actually breakfast time for him but he knew the prefect still regarded this as dinnertime.
Zero couldn't help a rather sardonic grin as he muttered 'Cheers' in return then popped the chocolate into his mouth. He chewed on it with relish. Dark chocolate on the outside with a soft caramel filling – delicious! Zero could feel his saliva flowing into his dry mouth, it made chewing the rich, sticky treat easier.
"Mm, this is good and not too sweet," he commented after swallowing gratefully.
Kaname nodded. "Yes," he said, picking out the second piece from the box before motioning Zero to do the same. The prefect didn't hesitate this time. The rumbling in their stomachs ceased after they had polished off half a dozen pieces each then both vampires licked the melted chocolate off their fingertips somewhat contentedly. There was something to be said for chocolate raising one's spirits after all... Perhaps it also served to make them more relaxed because after a while, Zero looked up to see Kaname's eyes on him again. "You know," said the pureblood thoughtfully when he saw the unspoken question in the prefect's eyes. "I never told you this before - but I've always admired your strength and even your stubbornness, Zero."
Zero blinked. They were on first name basis now? And Kaname admired his strength and his stubbornness? In what exactly? Zero wasn't aware that there was anything at all about him that the regal pureblood could possibly admire. Unless it was his glare, that he had now honed to a fine art. Kaname read the confusion in Zero's eyes but he hesitated to explain, not wanting the other to blow up in anger again. After all, who knew how long they would be stuck here in this lift? The last thing he needed now was another helping of the moody prefect's angst.
"In what, Kuran?" asked Zero, looking and sounding genuinely curious. The pureblood had called him by his name but Zero wasn't sure if he could – or wanted – to do the same. Kaname hesitated uncharacteristically. "In managing to fight what you have become for so long, even though it was inevitable," he admitted reluctantly, half expecting Zero to start glaring at him. "And I mean that as a... compliment," Kaname quickly added.
"Oh." Zero was surprised but too despondent about the way the evening had turned out to actually take umbrage at what Kaname had said. Well, what could he say? He had certainly tried his best... even if he hadn't succeeded in the end. Zero shrugged a little embarrassedly, uncomfortable with the fact that Kaname was actually complimenting him. "Uh, thanks," he mumbled, not knowing what else to say. Kaname nodded and they both fell silent again.
- o -
Another fifteen minutes passed. Both of them had been stuck in the lift for close to two hours now and they were feeling thirsty again after having had the rich chocolate. Zero said as much, needling the pureblood with, "Why didn't you think of buying a bottle of mineral water for Yuuki as well, to wash down the chocolates with?"
Kaname was about to retort a 'Why didn't you?' when he saw the unexpected twinkle in the prefect's amethyst eyes and changed his answer without batting an eye. "That's because I was planning to order champagne later on," he countered instead, making a reluctant smile tug at Zero's lips. Kaname's eyes lingered on the prefect's face a little longer than was necessary. He had never realised how good looking Zero actually was when he smiled... well, that was because the prefect had never smiled at him before.
In the companionable silence that followed, they both heard one of the repairmen calling out sharply, "Hey, no lighting up in here, for Pete's sake!"
Kaname and Zero traded startled looks. They heard a hurriedly formed apology but the next moment, they sat up alertly, their keen noses having detected the smell of cigarette smoke now. Both of them looked up at the ceiling in unison and without further ado, the lone sprinkler set beside the speaker came on and a shower of cooling water rained down in the confined lift, happily spraying both its occupants without fear or favour.
"Great," Kaname groused, raking back his dark, wavy hair with the fingers of one hand as it got rapidly wet together with the rest of him. He hung his head forward and sighed. The next moment, he heard a chuckle. Kaname's face snapped up again and he looked at Zero curiously. Was the prefect laughing?
Zero couldn't help it. It looked like everything was conspiring against them this evening - even the sprinkler. He caught Kaname staring at him with a look that suggested he thought the prefect might be going mad and that only made Zero laugh again. "Hey, why rain when it can pour, huh?" he quipped, still chuckling. The pureblood continued to stare at him in surprise but unexpectedly, his lips quirked. "Yes," he agreed with another shake of his head that sent water droplets flying everywhere. "Why indeed?"
Both vampires exchanged rueful smiles as they realised that they were now getting very wet, their hair plastered to their heads and their shirts sticking even more to their skin. Kaname's shirt was white and the fine silk was turning translucent. He sighed and looked down at his roses, feeling the water dripping off his nose and chin. "Well, at least the flowers won't dry out," he quipped in turn. That made Zero chuckle again and he peered at his own bouquet. "Yup," he agreed.
Kaname's eyes drifted to the daisies next to Zero. He was silent for a moment, then he shifted nearer to take a closer look. "They're beautiful," he said softly. Zero looked up at him, amethyst eyes wide. Wait – was that another compliment coming from Kuran? Granted, they were for the flowers and not him this time but still...
Kaname couldn't help but smile at Zero's obvious shock. Was it so unthinkable that he could actually appreciate his rival's effort? "Why do you look so surprised, Zero?" he asked. "They are beautiful. I know Yuuki will think the same thing when she sees them."
Zero blinked again – Kaname didn't seem to hold any rancour about the fact that Yuuki would be receiving not one bouquet but two tonight, even if they were completely drenched ones. Then his eyes softened as another rare smile touched his lips. "Yeah, I hope so," Zero murmured, a little embarrassed at the strange, contemplative look in Kaname's eyes. "I – I could only afford a half dozen, however," the prefect added, even though he had no idea why he had confessed that and to Kuran of all people.
Kaname's eyebrows shot up then he narrowed his eyes at Zero. "So what?" he asked quietly. "Yuuki is very kind and understanding, she would be happy with only a single bloom if it came from someone who - cares - for her."
Zero's jaw dropped as he stared at Kaname. Of course he had known from the start that Yuuki wasn't a materialistic sort of person but it was the other thing the pureblood had said that had startled him.
Kaname averted his head, looking a little uncomfortable at what he had said. It was obvious he hadn't meant to blurt those words out. A moment of awkward silence passed then Zero shrugged offhandedly and jerked his chin at Kaname's impressive bouquet. "So why'd you get her twenty four roses then, Kuran? When you knew as much as I do that she would be satisfied with only one?"
It was Kaname's turn to look startled now. Perhaps it was the sheer audacity of Zero questioning him like this when others would have only complimented his generosity and thoughtfulness. "I don't know," he said at last. "I guess I was just trying to..." It felt too embarrassing to say 'impress her' and he just trailed off and shrugged. Zero was still staring at him. Here was a sight of Kuran he had never seen before and it wasn't difficult to guess the rest of his unfinished sentence either. "Just trying to show off again, huh?" he said dryly, but his words were missing their usual sting.
Kaname realised that, as unlikely as it seemed, the prefect was just teasing him. Hence, it wasn't worth the effort to get all riled up about it, especially when they had no place to go. He shrugged again. "Yeah, I guess," he admitted with another wry smile. Zero returned the smile uncertainly, a little surprised that Kaname hadn't gotten annoyed with him as he had half expected the pureblood to. Then Zero sighed. He pushed his wet hair off his forehead with both hands and leaned his head back against the wall. The sprinkler had stopped by now but had done its work most thoroughly – the carpet was soaked and they were both soundly drenched. Despite that, the air was getting increasingly stale and the diminishing oxygen was making Zero sleepy. He yawned suddenly.
Zero nodded and rubbed his eyes, unaware of how appealing he looked right then. "Cross and his prefect duties," he grumbled then yawned again. Then he stiffened, his eyes snapping open. Kaname had taken the daisies and was setting them down beside the roses. Both bouquets were now lying next to the mirrored wall at the back of the lift. Then the pureblood shifted himself to sit down beside Zero so that their backs were against the same wall now. Kaname turned his head and saw Zero regarding him curiously. "Why are you sitting here?" the prefect asked with his usual bluntness. It wasn't as if his side of the carpet was any drier than the other side, right?
"So that we don't catch a cold," Kaname replied in a neutral tone but chose not to meet Zero's gaze. He pocketed the tie on his lap then shook his jacket open before draping it over both of them, covering their chests. Kaname shifted closer to Zero at the same time to let the jacket accomodate them both. Zero gave him a startled glance. He wasn't aware that purebloods could get chilled.
"Why, are you cold?" Zero asked but he was already snuggling into the soft material with another yawn, his eyes closing. He knew he should be on his guard – he was sitting next to a pureblood vampire, for goodness' sake! But Zero's hunter senses had long since quietened down after being in Kaname's company for two hours now. It wasn't as if they were going to kill each other right here in the lift, anyway. Besides, like the pureblood, his jacket also smelled... good.
"A little," Kaname lied softly, unexpectedly entranced by the way Zero's words were slurring – so different from his usual strident tone. "Here, come closer," Kaname said impulsively as he slid an arm around Zero's shoulders to pull him closer. The prefect's eyes blinked open and he tensed up again. For a moment there, he looked like he was going to struggle, then he relaxed and allowed the pureblood to tug him closer.
"I'm sorry," Kaname said softly. Zero frowned at him. "For what?" he said, sounding surprised. "It's not your fault we're in this mess."
Zero felt Kaname's shoulder beside his lift in a small shrug. "If I hadn't kept the door open for you, you wouldn't be stuck here with me," explained the pureblood. Zero stared at him. "But then you'd still be stuck here," he said, stating the obvious. Kaname shrugged again. "Better than the both of us," he said pragmatically. "At least Yuuki would have someone to take her out for a good dinner tonight."
Zero's breath caught in his throat at Kaname's words. Did the pureblood really mean that? Was he really that unselfish to put Yuuki's happiness before his own? Zero was pretty sure he would have done that too and without a moment's hesitation if he could have known what was going to happen tonight but he never thought that Kaname would do the same. He said as much aloud and the pureblood actually chuckled softly. "You would have done the same thing if you had known too, wouldn't you?" he asked quietly and that stunned Zero. How could Kaname have known that?
His startled eyes voiced the question and Kaname read it easily. "Because you love her too," he said steadily. Zero couldn't stop the colour that flooded his cheeks at that moment. So it was that obvious, huh? Quickly, he looked down. "Yeah," he mumbled. A moment later, he sighed. "Well, we're thirsty and we're wet but at least the lights are still working," he said, trying to sound his usual sarcastic self and failing. He just wanted to say something to alleviate his sudden embarrassment that Kaname had read him so easily.
At that moment, there was a shout of warning from outside and the lift jerked again then the light flickered before going out with a soft pop. Zero raised his head and looked around him, blinking in surprise. Beside him, Kaname sighed softly. "You were saying...?"
Despite not having meant this, Zero shot him a guilty look. There was now only a very faint light coming in from the top of the lift but it was enough for Kaname to see the prefect's expression. "Uh, sorry," Zero muttered. "Never mind," Kaname sighed and tugged his jacket a little higher up over Zero. "You might as well rest since there's nothing else we can do now," Kaname added and felt something stir in his heart as Zero complied silently and even closed his eyes trustingly.
- o -
It was another half hour later before the lift finally started working again. Zero had dropped off to sleep beside Kaname after a while, his head tilting to rest on the pureblood's shoulder. Kaname wasn't surprised when he felt the soft weight and closed his eyes as well, somehow finding the prefect's nearness comforting to him. He adjusted the arm around the sleeping prefect's shoulders, pulling him even closer. To tell the truth, Kaname had found small, confined areas somewhat claustrophobic but Zero's presence had helped to alleviate the fear he always kept firmly tamped down. It would never do for a pureblood to admit to such a common fear when he had power and strength beyond compare, would it?
Besides, Zero's head on his shoulder felt kind of... nice... and the fact that the usually moody prefect had let his guard down far enough to actually fall asleep in his rival's presence was kind of... touching... to Kaname. He found himself musing on Zero's surprise earlier, when he had told the prefect that he really wouldn't have minded being stuck in the lift, even if he didn't like it, if it meant that Yuuki would still have a good time despite it being with his rival's company rather than his own. After all, Kaname had already decided that Zero was the best possible person to keep Yuuki safe while he himself couldn't. Surely the importance of her safety and wellbeing was not that far above the importance of her happiness?
Kaname had a feeling his thoughts were getting somewhat maudlin at this point but they still made perfect sense to him. He also wondered why he had never noticed before how Zero's soft scent, instead of sending alarm and discomfort through him, only served to relax him. Kaname decided he was definitely thinking strange thoughts at this point and closed his eyes resolutely, refusing to think anymore.
When the lift finally jerked into motion some twenty minutes later, Zero stirred, surprised to find himself resting against Kaname. He quickly straightened up, blushing a little as he surreptitiously inched away and was even more surprised to find the pureblood's arm still around him. Zero's movements made the jacket fall off his chest where Kaname had tucked it under his chin earlier as he slept. "Hey, is that what I think it is?" Zero mumbled after a moment, rubbing at his eyes. He stifled a yawn with difficulty.
"Yes, the repair work appears to be completed," Kaname replied quietly as he reluctantly removed his arm from Zero's shoulders and folded up his jacket again. "How are you feeling?" he asked. Zero couldn't seem to look him in the eye now and the pureblood had a rather amused suspicion that the prefect was embarrassed at having fallen asleep like that. "I'm fine," Zero mumbled. His hair was even more mussed now - Kaname had to resist the very strange urge to stroke the soft strands back into place as the prefect got to his feet. Kaname got up as well just as the fifteenth floor lit up and the lift doors opened.
Both vampires blinked in the light of the corridor that seemed too bright after having been in darkness for some time. Ducking down, Zero caught up his bouquet of daisies and Kaname did the same for the roses, picking up the box of chocolates at the same time before they both stepped out of the lift, dripping water onto the fifteenth floor corridor carpet . A security personnel was already waiting for them and he had to hide his apologetic grin at their wet and somewhat bedraggled state. The hotel manager was there as well, together with a couple of staff from Housekeeping with bottled water and folded bathtowels in their hands. They draped the towels around Kaname and Zero's shoulders before handing them the water.
As the two boys slaked their thirst, they accepted the hotel manager's profuse apologies and handshakes with the promise of a formal written apology and the previously promised vouchers to be mailed to them very soon. Kaname and Zero then dried themselves off as much as they could after which the pureblood asked to borrow a telephone and made a quick call to his driver to pick them both up. They then took the other lift down to the lobby, accompanied by the manager.
When the lift doors opened, the first two persons they saw were Yuuki and Yori, obviously waiting for them. It looked like Yori had spilled the beans to her friend during dinner but neither male could blame her for that. After all, she must have been wondering why neither of them had turned up to take Yuuki out to dinner as they had planned to. Both the girls had returned to the hotel to enquire at the concierge, where they had learned of the trapped lift and its two male occupants. It wasn't difficult to put two and two together to come up with the conclusion.
Yuuki's eyes widened in relief and she ran forward to throw herself into their arms, sending both bouquets of flowers flying. "Kaname-sempai! Zero! Goodness, we've been so worried, Yori told me everything!" Without giving them a chance to reply, she asked, " Are you two OK? Why are you both drenched to the skin?"
Both Kaname and Zero wanted to hug Yuuki at the same time and unexpectedly, they ended up in a three way hug. Yuuki was between both of them but the auburn haired girl so petite, Kaname and Zero's faces inevitably ended up close together, their chins practically resting on each other's shoulders. Still, it was a few moments before they actually realised this and hurriedly disengaged, averting each other's gazes and not wanting to dwell on the fact that they found the hug strangely pleasant.
"We're sorry for making you worry, Yuuki," Kaname said gently as he smiled down at her and briefly explained what had happened. He noticed Yori was looking at him and nodded at her. "It's OK," he told her. "I'm glad Yuuki had someone to have dinner with." Yori looked relieved at this and she smiled at Zero as he said the same thing, only in less words.
The pureblood then bent down to pick up the fallen roses. "Happy Valentine's Day, Yuuki," he said as he offered her the bouquet. "I'm sorry you got them so late," he added.
"Oh, that doesn't matter and they're beautiful!" sighed Yuuki happily as she buried her face in the roses and took a deep breath. "Thank you, Kaname-sempai!" She didn't notice that Kaname's left hand was hidden behind his back, discreetly holding the opened box of chocolates out of her sight. Zero saw that and grinned to himself as he bent down to pick up his own bouquet. "And here's mine, Yuuki," he said quietly as he held it out to her in turn. "Happy Valentine's Day."
"Aw..." Yuuki sighed and took them into her arms, shifting the roses to make room for the daisies as well. "Why Zero, this is the first time you've actually bought me flowers!" she giggled before burying her nose in the daisies and taking another appreciative sniff. Zero scowled and blushed, ignoring Kaname's sudden smile. Yori stepped forward. "Shall we go back to our room, Yuuki-chan?" she asked. "I'm sure Kuran-sempai and Zero-kun would like to get back to school to change out of their wet clothes."
Both Kaname and Zero had almost forgotten their current less than perfectly turned out state but at Yori's words, they couldn't agree any faster, seeing as how the other hotel guests were now eyeing them. Besides, their wet clothes were still clinging to their skin and feeling even more uncomfortable with the stronger air conditioning of the hotel lobby.
"Yeah, we'd better go," Zero muttered, turning his back on the curious eyes. Kaname agreed, saying that his driver had probably arrived by now and he would take Zero back with him. They wished both girls goodnight then walked out of the lobby where the limousine had indeed already pulled up. Kaname casually tossed the box of chocolates into the nearest rubbish bin before they both got into the backseat of the car. Zero had half a mind to sit in front but the driver was still holding the door open after Kaname had slid in so Zero got in the back as well.
They were mostly silent on the short ride back to Cross Academy, perhaps wondering how on earth had they managed to survive at least three hours in each other's company, and in a confined space no less. When the car rolled to a gentle stop outside the Moon Dorms, Zero got out at once with a muttered 'Goodnight' but a hand on his arm stopped him. He swung around to meet Kaname's gentle gaze. "Even if it didn't really turn out as expected, Happy Valentine's Day, Kiryuu-kun," he said quietly.
So he was back to being Kiryuu again, Zero mused but he simply nodded. "The same to you, Kuran," he said simply before setting off to the Sun Dorms, not realising that a pair of contemplative brown eyes were still on him.
Actually... Happy Valentine's Day, Zero.
-- Story End --