I don't own the characters of Vampire Knight. For reals. But if I did, you KNOW things would be going differently right now. And Zero would live in my pocket. Oh, yes.

Ok, so this is a sorta' dark chapter. Some badness going on, but nothing absolutely horrible and life scarring or anything.

Still rated 'M' for some naughty bits. Expect drama, foul language and some fluff thrown in there, too. I know, odd. Aaaand I'm trying to get this fic rolling along at a faster pace so it can actually be finished some day (soon?), so look out! Runaway fic! Aaaaaaah!

Author's Bitching…I mean…"Notes": I haven't even bothered to read Chapter 66. No Zero AGAIN? Ok, fine. Not gonna' bother. I am 374% all Yume'd out at this point. I just can't take anymore at the moment, so I'm not gonna' make myself groan and read it right now. I'll catch up in December when 67 comes out. *puffs up and stomps foot* Raise your hand if you've also had enough Yume to last the rest of your freakin' lives? *watches hands rise* Yeah, I thought so, since you ARE reading a Zeki fic and all. Anyway, moving on…here's Chapter 16. Hope it grants a little Zeki relief for ya'. :)

X-O-X-O

She awakened to the feeling of his hands as they roamed over her, a smile touching her lips as she opened her eyes, taking in the sight of him as he hovered over her. Her arms laced around him, pulling him closer in order to deliver a devastating kiss.

"I love waking up like this," she noted, his lips trailing along her neck before flowing between her breasts, his teeth nipping at her skin.

"I should wake you up properly," he told her, his knee spreading her thighs, his hand trailing its way down her body. The moment was rudely interrupted by the furious ringing of Zero's phone, Yuuki sighing mightily as she felt him shift.

"Shit. It's always something," he griped, before answering the demonic ringing object.

"Hello? Ok, give me a bit and I'll meet up with you. Yeah. Bye," came his terse side of the conversation, the vampire sitting his phone back onto the inn table before turning his attention back to his lover.

"More work?" she wondered, closing her eyes as his lips touched her forehead.

"Yeah. Looks like my backup's here," he said, the irritation in his voice easily recognizable.

"You don't sound very thrilled. You know them?" she asked, the vampire nodding in response.

"We trained together for a while before I came here. He's not a bad guy, he's just kinda' pushy. He likes things done his way and he's competitive as hell, but I suppose that's just how he is. He can annoy the hell out of people, but overall, he's good to have around in a pinch," Zero told her, his smoky lavender eyes gazing down upon her.

"I hope he's not like Yagari," she muttered, reaching up to clear his hair from his eyes.

"No, he's a bit easier to get along with, though he's more than a little wary of my kind. He just happened to know me before…before my family was attacked. I guess he still trusts the human part of me that remains," he noted, cupping her cheek before kissing her fiercely.

"Now, where were we?"

Some time later, Yuuki lay breathless, having been shown the depths of the realms of pleasure for the duration of the morning, her consort taking a shower as she attempted to recover. Propping herself up on her elbows, she allowed her eyes to trail over his naked form, having committed the sight of him to memory long before. She continued to watch as he dried himself off before beginning to dress, slipping into his holster before donning his coat.

"I've got to go pick him up. I guess he'll be staying at St. Mary for a while until he finds somewhere else," he said, leaning down in order to kiss her once again.

"What are you up to today?" he asked, the girl sitting up on her knees in order to cradle his face in her hands.

"Class with Cross, then work. I've been slacking lately, so I thought I'd better go see him," she answered, his arms lacing themselves around her, holding her close against him.

"I'll be stuck handling business most of the day, but I'll be back early tonight," he told her, brushing her long russet hair from her face.

"Ok. Be careful," she said, closing her eyes as he delivered a final kiss before turning to go, leaving her already longing for night to come. She watched as he disappeared out the door, the girl sighing contentedly before beginning to haul herself out of the comfort their bed.

X-O-X-O

"Well, well. Aren't you a sight?" the tawny haired man drawled, Zero approaching as he stood beside his luggage.

"You look different, Zero…less put off than usual. I guess your girl's got the magic touch," he teased, Zero rolling his eyes as he bent over, picking up one of his cohort's suitcases.

"Word travels fast, huh?" Zero asked, beginning the short trek back to his car.

"When it's this epic, of course it does. Something like you having a girl can't be overlooked very easily. So tell me…how'd she manage to tame you?" Kaito wondered, hoisting the other suitcase as he began following his new partner to his car.

"Who said that she has?" Zero retorted, Kaito's laughter soon reaching him.

"Yagari's still trying to swallow it, but he relayed the details of this whirlwind romance of yours to me before I got here. Even he's impressed that someone got to you like this. She must really be something special for it to work between you two. One would think you'd have nothing but problems trying to be with a human," he noted, obviously striking a nerve as his cohort glared at him over his shoulder.

"You let me worry about that and don't bother to concern yourself. All you need to concentrate on is helping cut down the veritable army of Es that's been exploding across the city lately. What's the latest?" Zero asked, effectively switching the conversation to something other than his love life. Kaito rolled his eyes, though he allowed the conversation to be shifted to Association talk for the time being.

"Well, they still have no real leads on who's decided to start making themselves an army of Es, but they've been interviewing quite a few Purebloods lately. Most of them have been nothing but cooperative, if you can believe that. Kuran hasn't come up yet," he told him, the two at last coming to the black coupe parked at the curb. Zero's mood seemed to darken at the mere mention of the Pureblood's name before he tossed Kaito's luggage into the back seat, the pair then sliding into their seats in order to begin the drive back to the city.

"I suppose that's a blessing, since I'm sure he'd be the first to cause an uproar should we dare to attempt to investigate his private matters. He's been absent for quite a while, I'm assuming on business. The less I have to see of him, the better," Zero griped, his cohort quick to nail one of the reasons.

"Could that have something to do with your girl?" Zero looked at him with disbelief, unsure of how he was always able to pinpoint things like this with such deft precision.

"What is she, a vampire magnet?" Kaito wondered absently, Zero's irritation quickly getting the better of him.

"Like I said, it's best not to concern yourself with Yuuki."

"Yuuki. So that's her name. I still don't get how this works, man. I mean…how do you resist? Aren't you afraid you'll hurt her?" he asked, the vampire in no mood to play twenty questions when there was work to discuss.

"This doesn't have anything to do with why you're here, so if you don't mind, how about we cease discussing her," he nearly ground out, Kaito shaking his head.

"Still all business, I see. Well, that's fine. As long as she knows what she's gotten herself into, then…"

"Kaito," he warned, the man at last becoming silent. It was short lived, however, as he soon delivered his next pressing question.

"You love her?"

"You never stop, do you?" Zero sighed, wondering how on Earth he'd been so blessed to be stuck with not only Yagari but this annoying bastard as well.

"You think she knows what it means to be loved by a vampire? Do you honestly think she's prepared for what she'll have to face? You know it's only temporary, don't you? How many lifetimes do you think you'll get, when she'll only know one? You ever think about that?" Kaito asked, only succeeding in stirring his partner's anger further.

"I think about it every fucking day. Every time I look at her, I know I'll only hurt her, but…" he trailed off, unable to convey his own emotions so freely.

"If you love her, I mean really love her, you should let her go. You know better than anyone that she's not like you. How do you expect her to live like that?" Kaito asked, Zero's self loathing reaching an ungodly level as they sped along the highway.

"It's not that easy. Look, just drop it, will you? I can handle my own affairs without your interference," he growled, his comrade holding up his hands in an act of peace.

"Fine, fine. Whatever you say. Some things never change," he muttered, the ride becoming silent as they continued on their way.

X-O-X-O

She was busy bustling around the café when her phone rang, Yuuki nearly falling over herself to answer it. Pausing for a moment, she flipped it open, unable to suppress a smile as his voice reached her.

"Hello?"

"Hey. How's the day going?" Zero wondered, her smile refusing to fade.

"Fine. Cross said to tell you hello and that you shouldn't be such a stranger. How about you? Everything ok?" she wondered, working to uncork a fresh bottle of wine as she held the phone to her ear with her shoulder.

"As well I I'd expected. It's proving to be a rather long day," he griped, Yuuki finding herself wishing for night to fall so she'd be able to grant him a bit of respite.

"Sorry to hear that. At least it's almost over," she pointed out, glancing at the clock to find it to be nearly closing time.

"Yeah. I should be home in a couple of hours. Is Kain giving you a ride?"

"No, I thought I'd just walk, since it's not snowing tonight," she answered, Zero's sigh soon to follow.

"You're so stubborn. Fine, if that's what you want. Just be careful. I'll see you soon. I love you," he said, the girl's heart warming before she responded.

"Love you, too. Later." She closed her phone, beginning to clean up for the night, the girl humming a cheerful tune as her thoughts remained fixed upon her lover.

A while later, she'd locked the door behind her, beginning the small trek to the loft, snow crunching beneath her feet as she walked. The night was cold, though the snow had ceased to fall for the past several days, leaving the sidewalks mostly maneuverable. She was unaware of being followed, a small cry leaving her as she was struck from behind, her world fading to black as she lost consciousness.

X-O-X-O

Her eyes fluttered open, Yuuki assaulted by darkness, her head spinning as she sat up. She slowly got to her feet, her legs shaky beneath her as her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the room she found herself in. Before she could gather herself, the back of a hand connected with her face, the metallic taste of blood materializing in her mouth. Her eyes were wild, fear and anger burning steadily within them.

"Well, now. So you're the one that's tamed Kiryu. I must admit, you're no disappointment,"
the stranger noted, taking rough hold of her chin and forcing her eyes to meet his gaze. His eyes were cold, nothing but apathy swirling within them.

"Who the fuck are you?" she spat, the blow she attempted being easily deflected by his strength.

"My name is Tora, and I've come to teach Kiryu a lesson he won't easily forget." He chuckled as she again attempted to fend him off, his fingers holding her wrists above her head as he looked down upon her. So helpless she was, like a fawn trapped in a wolf's den, her body trembling in his grip as his hunger began to nag away at him.

"You're an obstinate little thing, aren't you? I see your hunter has neglected to teach you any manners," the rogue vampire said with a wicked grin. She was horrified as his eyes began to glow red in the pale light, his features menacing as he continued gaze down upon his intended prey.

"Stay back. Don't touch me!" she ordered, attempting to put space between them, only to find her back pressed against the cold wall behind her.

"Those eyes…I'm sure you've never looked at him with such eyes. He's just like us, or are you too dense to realize that?" he wondered, seizing her roughly by the throat. She gasped for air, his fingers closing more tightly as she was lifted off the ground, her legs thrashing wildly in an attempt to dissuade her attacker. Her nails clawed at his hand to no avail, the girl growing faint from lack of oxygen.

He laughed, a dark, wicked sound that permeated her very soul. She was all alone, no one around if she could even muster a scream. Her redeemer wouldn't manage to save her this time, that she was sure of. Even if she could manage a scream, he would never hear it. Her thoughts were interrupted as she was slammed to the ground, her body aching as her attacker's weight pinned her to the floor.

"Get…off of me," she managed, still struggling to catch the breath she'd been denied.

"Poor girl. Your knight isn't here this time, is he? Say his name. Scream it," Tora hissed, his hand ripping open her shirt, exposing her pale skin to his sight.

God, what a lovely little creature. No wonder the hunter was so smitten by her. A pity, he thought, for such a beautiful thing to exist as a fragile human. He was sure that Zero didn't possess the heart to have her turned, even though it would benefit her in more ways than one. As much as the hunter despised his own kind, he knew Zero would never allow such a fate to befall the one he loved.

"Stop!" she shouted, thrashing wildly about. Gripping her neck and holding her to the ground, his head bowed, tongue tasting her tender flesh as she cried out in shock.

"Kiryu's been selfish," he noted, his other hand ripping her skirt from her body. Her frantic screams echoed throughout the room, her painful cries dying as his grip on her throat tightened.

"Z…Zero," she managed brokenly, her strength leaving her as his lips ran hungrily along her exposed flesh.

This vampire was a fiend, a self-serving, lustful monster that cared for no one, nothing in this world but fulfilling his own whims. His hatred for Zero and all he stood for had led him to commit this atrocious act, one that the hunter would not be able to overlook.

"Yes, call for him. He's your savior, isn't he? So full of honor, despite the monster he truly is. How would you feel, should you witness him in true form?" he asked, his fingers digging into her flesh as he gripped her tender breast.

"Beg," he demanded, slamming her hard against the floor, his hand slipping between her thighs. Never. She would meet death before giving him the pleasure of hearing her beg him for anything, despite the fear that had overtaken her.

"Fuck you, vampire," she spat, causing wicked laughter to erupt from him.

"I grow tired of this," he told her, making short work of the last remaining garment separating him from her.

She heard the fabric ripping, felt his hand roughly parting her thighs. This was nothing like her times with Zero. She recalled the last time they were together, his body moving within hers from behind, arms holding her as they made love like beasts. Still he was gentle, his love for her easily recognizable, his every touch a small act of worship.

Wrath erupted suddenly from her, her body breaking free as her fingernails raked across her tormenter's face, his shout of rage almost deafening as he struck her hard, her body falling limply to the floor once more.

"Ungrateful bitch," he hissed, his fangs extending as he prepared to commit his supreme indulgence. He intended to use every last inch of her before draining the last drop of blood from her body, the girl at last having succumbed to the abuse she'd been dealt as she lie motionless on the floor.

His shout rang out, the sound deafening in the closed quarters of the room. Blood splattered to the floor, his body falling way from the seemingly lifeless girl before him. The vampire clutched at his arm, reeling backwards as the tall figure stood before him, lavender eyes seeming to glow in the night.

"You've resorted to the ways of cowards, I see," the silver haired vampire noted, another cry cutting through the still of the night.

He'd arrived to find her laying helplessly, her clothing shredded and her body bare, a sight that was startling even to him. The bastard had almost gotten his way, Ichiru knowing that he'd in fact just saved his old friend's life. Had Zero been the one to discover the ghastly sight before him, he knew that Tora's life would've been put to a swift, merciless end.

The wounded vampire had retreated to the corner of the room, sliding backward against the wall. His laughter erupted suddenly, Ichiru kneeling next the still form of the girl before him.

"Since when does the method matter to you?" Tora wondered, blood soaking through his shirt from Ichiru's katana strikes. Ignoring his opponent, Ichiru kept his attention on Yuuki, who remained unmoving upon the floor.

"Yuuki? Can you hear me?" he tried, his eyes moving back to Tora, katana rising as he got to his feet.

"What did you think this would accomplish? I told you to let it be, did I not?" he ground out, his eyes glancing downward to his brother's broken lover.

"They had it coming and we both know it. He walks around with that superior air of his, when he's nothing more than a blood starved beast himself. He's an idiot for choosing to love such a fragile creature. Look how easily I…" Tora said, only to be interrupted by Ichiru.

"You've sealed your own fate," he told him, "because now, it will be perfectly acceptable for him to pursue you. You've violated the laws by going after a human and now, you may as well consider your life to be forfeited. If I were you, I'd run while I was still able," Ichiru suggested, wiping his bloodied katana blade on his sleeve before sheathing it. He bent down, draping his coat around the body of the motionless girl before him before lifting her in his arms, her body limp in his grip.

"When exactly did you lose your nerve, Ichiru? I thought you came here for his head," Tora said, watching as the silver haired vampire began his retreat.

"I did," he replied, turning to his old comrade for the final time.

"I suggest you vacate this city tonight, and that you flee as far as you are able. There's no telling what he'll do when he sees her like this," Ichiru told him, adjusting Yuuki's slight weight in his arms.

"And what will you do?" Tora wondered, struggling to get to his feet, blood puddling at his feet.

"Whatever I am able. Goodbye, Tora," he said, disappearing into the darkness with the unconscious girl in tow.

X-O-X-O

She could hear the sound of his voice, seemingly in a most heated exchange with another, vaguely familiar one.

"And you let him go? Why the fuck did you just let him walk away?" Zero raged, trying his damndest to keep his voice low and failing ever so miserably at doing so.

"It wasn't my place to handle him after what he's done. I merely ruined his plans for the evening," Ichiru said, the rage in his brother's eyes all too familiar. The same had been present on the day they'd been turned, the day they'd been torn apart.

"Where is he?" Zero demanded, his brother seemingly unfazed by his anger.

"Gone. He won't be back to bother either of you again," he assured him, though it wasn't nearly enough to sate his incensed twin.

"Gone? Ichiru, where the fuck is he?" Zero demanded, pulling him forward by his collar, Ichiru's cool collection only making him more agitated.

"I have no idea. Don't you think you'd better concern yourself with her and concentrate on your revenge at a later time? I'm sure your beloved Association will grant you all the freedom you require in order to pursue him for what he's done, " he pointed out, nodding towards Yuuki as she lay silently in bed behind them.

"Get out," Zero nearly growled, at last releasing his estranged brother before turning back to his sleeping lover. Ichiru watched him sit upon the mattress, awestruck by the gentleness he soon witnessed. Zero's hand stretched out, his fingers tracing along Yuuki's cheek. Ichiru had never known his brother to possess such tenderness, the vampire still in shock as he took his leave, leaving the two alone in the loft.

As he watched her, her eyes suddenly fluttered open, her head turning to take in the sight of him. His face looked gaunt, his eyes darker than she'd ever seen them. Her hand reached out, touching his face.

"How do you feel?" he asked, clearing her hair from her eyes.

"Like shit," she said bluntly, causing his brows to furrow.

"Where is he?" she asked, only then noticing that she was safe in their bed. He scowled at her question, his fist clenching at his side.

"Don't worry about that now," he said, his voice thick as he spoke. She could detect the rage lying just beneath the surface, just waiting for the opportunity to be unleashed.

"God, look at you," he sighed, Yuuki pulling herself up into a sitting position with his help.

She was bare, save for the borrowed shirt that seemed to swallow her, the hem reaching to mid thigh. Blood splatters marred the fine porcelain of her skin, though she knew not whether it was her blood or the blood of her attacker. The feeling of his hands upon her remained, a shiver coursing through her body. He was exactly what she'd always thought vampires to be, until she'd come to know Zero. Cold, unfeeling…dangerous.

Yuuki gasped as she was suddenly pulled into his embrace, his strong arms holding her against his hard chest, his head bowing over her.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, the anger still prominent within his voice. Her eyes lifted, meeting his lavender gaze as she moved to comfort her only light in this world of violence and chaos.

"Stop," she said simply, her eyes not leaving his for a moment. Her arms slid about his neck, his own continuing to hold her to him tightly.

"Don't you realize it by now?" she asked, feeling the warmth of his body against her, permeating the thin material of the shirt she wore. He looked at her, puzzled by her words. Stroking his cheek with her fingers, she smiled a melancholy smile.

"I'm your weakness and he knew that."

"Yuuki, don't say such foolish things," he told her, cutting her off before she could continue.

"But it's true. Look at the trouble I've caused you. If I weren't here…"

"If you weren't here, my life would be empty. Don't you see that?" he asked, tangling his fingers in her hair.

"I'll do anything for you. I'll rip his very soul apart to keep him from harming you. He won't touch you again," he vowed. "No one will."

His words washed over her like the tide, finally settling into her very soul. This man…this vampire, cared so much for her that it was nearly painful. Never had she imagined to find such a man, one so devoted to protecting and loving her with every last fiber of his being.

"Don't ever think you're burdening me, Yuuki," he said, his thumb running along her bottom lip.

He looked at her, lavender eyes full of nothing but sincerity as he spoke. Her stomach in knots, Yuuki's arms laced themselves about his torso, gently pulling him down atop her.

"Zero," she breathed, taking in the sweet, musky scent of him. Her thoughts overwhelming her, she spoke, requesting what seemed to her a reasonable thing.

"He was right. In this form, I'm nothing but a burden. I'm just…fragile. If Kaname were to…" she began, only to have his voice cut her off sharply.

"Don't speak of such things," he said curtly, his eyes becoming cloudy with emotion as he looked down upon her. Surely she couldn't be entertaining such a notion.

"But it's true. You know it's true," she told him, her hands smoothing along his naked chest.

"I can't allow that, Yuuki," he returned firmly, seeing the disappointment wash across her beautiful face.

"Baby, I couldn't live with myself if you…"

"What about me, Zero? I'm just a liability in this state. If Kaname turns me, I'll be capable of taking care of myself," she argued, frowning as he pushed himself up, putting space between them.

"You don't know what you're asking," he said, the same familiar anger lacing his voice. His eyes burned, a silent fire dancing in their depths. She'd obviously struck a nerve, though the girl was not to be so easily dissuaded. But the mere thought of that Pureblood touching her nearly sent him into a jealous rage.

"I do know. I'm asking to stay with you, to leave this frailty behind," she told him, maneuvering herself into his lap as she continued her persuasions.

"You hate my kind, Yuuki. Have you forgotten that so easily?" he wondered, the feeling of her nearly bare body calling upon his innermost feral nature to come forth.

"I was over that long ago and you know it. You showed me the truth," she said, longing to feel his touch upon her skin.

"You know it's been on your mind," she said suddenly, "from the very beginning. I know it's what you've wanted," she said, shame washing across his striking features.

She was right. Ever since he'd first laid eyes upon her, his mind had wandered to the possibility, though he'd thought himself utterly selfish to even think of it. However, there was no way he could allow such a thing. She was far too precious to him for him to allow such a fate to befall her, despite how desperate she was to convince him to.

"Yuuki, don't press this," he asked, seeing the hurt wash across her face.

"You don't want me to stay with you, then. My life is limited as long as I'm like this. Surely you see that," she stated, looking away as his heart wrenched within his chest.

"That's not the issue. It's…I can't talk about this right now," he declared, moving to take his place beside her, his arms going around her in an almost automatic fashion. She leaned into him, grateful that his brother had gotten to her when he had. She could understand why he was so reluctant to go along with her plan. To this day, he hated himself for what he was, something that saddened her to no end. She knew too that he would rather shoot himself with his own gun than allow Kaname to touch her, but the more she thought about it, the more it seemed to be the obvious choice to make. However, she decided to give in for now. She'd just experienced a traumatic event and was in need of some serious repair from the only one that could do so.

"Fine," she sighed, her head resting against is shoulder. He was obviously still on edge, his eyes yet clouded over with rage.

"You're the most important thing to me, baby. I won't allow anyone to hurt you again," he affirmed, lifting her in his arms in order to carry her to the shower in the corner. She stood silently as he removed her borrowed shirt, allowing the water to warm before pulling her in under the falling streams. His hands began moving over her, washing away the traces of blood that marred her skin.

"I'm sorry I wasn't there," he said gravely, her head tilting back in his hands. She looked up at him, the girl leaning up in order to capture his lips. Her arms laced around him, his own rising to envelope her as she spoke.

"You can't be everywhere at once, Zero. It was my own fault for letting my guard down. It won't happen again," she promised, his teeth nipping at her bottom lip before his tongue invaded her mouth, her back against the shower wall soon afterward.

"No, baby. It won't," he agreed, his arms lifting her off her feet, her legs lacing themselves around him before he shut off the water, carrying her through the nearby door into the bathroom. He sat her onto the counter, then going about the task of drying them both off. Draping the towel around her shoulders, he gazed down upon her, his heart wrenching within his chest as he took in the sight of her bruised face, her lip split from the abuse she'd been dealt by Tora earlier.

"That bastard," he nearly growled, his thumb gently touching her lip. She winced, the vampire sighing mightily.

"Let's get you in bed. You need to rest," he told her, gathering her in his arms once more before making his way out to their bed. She allowed the towel to drop to the floor as he laid her down, the girl thankful for the warmth of his body as it pressed against hers beneath the covers.

"You know what the worst part was? That I thought I'd never see you again," she all but whispered, his fingers stroking through her long russet locks as she cuddled in under his arm.

"Try not to think about it anymore. I'm right here and I'm not going anywhere. Just try to get some sleep," he said, kissing her forehead before drawing her closer still, the warmth of his skin and tender embrace washing away the feeling of Tora's cruel hands upon her.

"I want you to touch me," she said suddenly, taking him a bit off guard. He always felt as though she was fragile, though he felt even more strongly about it at the moment, the vampire gazing down at her with turbulent lavender eyes.

"Yuuki, your body needs to rest. You've been through hell and I don't think…"

"I want you to touch me," she said again, her arms lacing about him, tugging until she'd effectively rolled him atop her. His will was quickly broken down by her cinnamon gaze, the love and hurt in her eyes enough to break him entirely. This girl meant so much to him that it literally pained him to think of losing her. How could he possibly go on without her, now that he'd known what it was like to love her? To hold her close and to hear her cry his name in the night? Perhaps she'd been right. Maybe, he thought, there was only one clear choice to be made. Even so, he couldn't force himself to consider choosing such a destiny for her, the keeper of his very heart. He loved her so that there was no possibility that he'd allow such a fate to befall her. Pushing his thoughts aside, Zero focused on the girl lying beneath him, looking him through with her tear filled eyes.

"Don't cry," he nearly begged, seeing the first rogue tears begin to fall from the corners of her eyes.

"I can't help it. I'm scared. I'm scared I won't be able to stay with you. I don't ever want to leave you, Zero!" she cried, the girl shivering beneath him, her arms like iron around him, unwilling to let go.

"Shhh, baby. It's alright," he tried, raining kisses upon her face, his thumb brushing softly along the wetness of her cheek.

Time seemed to still, his touch more gentle than she could ever recall as she lay in wonder beneath him, his larger frame hovering over her. His lips trailed along her naked skin, his hands gliding along her flesh as he paid homage to her.

"Zero," she breathed, watching him flow along her body, washing over her like a wave. She sighed as he pushed inside her, her back arching as he moved within her, so gently, as if he feared she would break should he be more forceful. His lips touched hers again and again, soft butterfly kisses that were killing her softly as she moved to meet his strokes. She gripped his biceps, tears still leaking from her eyes as they made love, her legs lacing around him, drawing him further still within her.

He leaned back, taking her with him before she settled atop him, his hands guiding her hips as her warmth devoured him hungrily, her hands on his shoulders as she showed him just how much love she harbored for him. Her pace increased until she felt herself falling, her body clamping down hard around him, her cries echoing throughout the room as she met her end.

Before she could recover she was against the wall, her legs lacing themselves around him, her arms tight about his shoulders as he drove hard into her, his recent gentleness having given way to feral possession. Her head tilted back, exposing the column of her neck, his thirst beginning to stir. Soon his fangs had extended behind his lips, his tongue trailing along her naked skin. His lips touched her throat before flowing up her neck, tasting her skin. Without breaking their connection he sank his fangs deeply into the muscle of her neck, causing her to gasp aloud.

The sharp pain quickly dissipated, evolved into something far more sinister, the girl feeling lightheaded as the heat of him between her thighs and the sensation of him sucking in her blood overtook her. He heard her breathe his name like a mantra, her fingernails ripping into the muscle of his back as she came undone, the vampire soon to follow as his warmth exploded within her. Zero lapped at her neck, his tongue trailing then along her collarbone, drinking in the last traces of blood that had flowed along her skin, still embedded in the warmth of her tomb. She kissed him, tasting her blood on his tongue, his body still pinning her against the wall. Resting his forehead against hers, he kissed her for a prolonged moment, the girl struggling to regain her breath.

"I love you so much," she whispered, holding onto him tightly.

"I love you too. I'll never let you go," he promised, the resolute lavender flames burning in his eyes both reassuring and a bit frightening.

A bit later they lay in bed, Zero wide awake as his lover slept soundly under his chin, her small body warming him. His mind was full, though he refused to allow his thoughts to overtake his logic. There had to be a way for it to last…another way besides the horrid plan she was currently plotting silently despite his protests. He was sure that he wouldn't be able to go on without her, the very thought making him bitter, the vampire tightening his grip on his consort. She snuggled in closer to him, never waking before becoming still once again.

He'd never imagined that anyone would ever be so dear to him, so vital to his existence as this fragile creature by his side had proven to be. With new resolve, he vowed silently to protect her at all costs, to never allow her to endure a horror like she had known that day. Never again, he swore, would she know such fear and pain.

At last allowing himself peace, Zero too fell into a troubled sleep, the girl in his arms unaware of his inner torment as the first pink rays of morning streaked across the sky, chasing away the all consuming blackness of night.

X-O-X-O

Aaaaand there's Chapter 16. Hope someone out there liked it! I can't really tell, since no one really seems to review this fic anymore. But I HOPE you're still enjoying it. Chapter 17 comin' up!

Until then, I'm going to do something fangirly and dumb like compile a list of reasons Yuuki should end up with Zero. You know, just to make myself happy while the Yume business keeps flying in the manga. *groans*

I have a clear view on how the ending of this fic is gonna' play out, but getting there is gonna' be a little rough I think. But I've got much goodness in store for you fine people. Don't worry! I'll try not to let you down.

What is Tora's motivation, you ask? He's just a bored bastard. That's how he rolls. ;p

If any of you just read this all the way through, let me know if there's anything funky or out of place, as it's been bit since I've read it all over again to make sure things are cohesive. *is in over her head* I appreciate the assistance and thanks for reading!

*Cosmic*