Secrets in the Dark
by Blackened Wing

Rating: M

Summary: There are things in Kaname's past he would rather forget, and some he's forgotten too well. When past and present collide, old wounds are ripped open, leaving Kaname frighteningly vulnerable and Zero scrambling to pick up the pieces.

Warnings: M/M relationships. Very dark themes including rape and young person abuse. Established relationship between Kaname and Zero. Hurt/Comfort. DO NOT READ if any of these elements might disturb you.

Pairings: Zero x Kaname, Kaname x Zero, OC x Kaname (non-con)

Series: This story is part of the Duet Series, which follows Kaname and Zero and their relationship as based off of my stories "Crimson Door" and "Blood Moon". This story takes place a couple years after "Take the Lead". See my bio for a full listing of stories in the series.

Important: This whole series splits off and is AU from the Vampire Knight Manga as of Chapter 33, so there is a lot that is different, such as Kaname and Yuki's past, etc. My version of their past and how the confrontation with Rido went down is told in "Crimson Door" which ended with Kaname, Yuki and Zero together in a tentative three-way relationship. In the following story, "Blood Moon" Yuki was killed and Kaname and Zero had to come to grips with her death, their loss, their grief, and eventually their love for each other. As long as you know that, you don't absolutely have to have read any of my other stories to read this one, but it will make more sense if you have been following the series, because the stories are beginning to build on one another more and more.

A/N: This fic will deal with some painful parts of Kaname's history that have been vaguely hinted at a number of times in my previous stories and shall now finally be explained. Obviously, the back story is completely my own and AU, like pretty much all of these stories have become.

Please note the warnings. There will be some very painful and angsty moments in this fic dealing with heavy themes like rape and abuse of a young person (not exactly a child, but still a young teen). Obviously, these are very horrible things and a large part of this fic is about dealing with the mental and emotional scars that such situations leave behind - as well as, of course, how loved ones can help those scars heal and gently, patiently replace pain with love. :) But please, if you think these themes and situations might bother you, don't read. I don't want to disturb or traumatize anyone and this story may get very dark and angsty in a fairly detailed way during some flashback scenes. I do promise that there will be lots of comfort for all the hurt though. :) *huggles her favorite vampires tenderly*

There's a Linkin Park song called "Easier to Run" which really fits this fic perfectly. If you want to hear it, I will post lyrics and a link to it on my blog (the homepage link in my FFN bio) or you can just Google it. I also want to send an extra thank you to Sagakure for not minding that I accidentally used the same title for this story as she used for one of her previous fics. :)

Disclaimer: Vampire Knight and its characters do not belong to me. They belong to their inspired creator Matsuri Hino (who would probably do me physical harm if she learned what I have done to her Kaname-sama LOL). I borrow them without permission, but with great affection (honest!). This story is for entertainment purposes only; no money is being made from it.

Chapter One: "Nightmares"

His heels dug into the mattress... silk sheets... slippery, they gave him no purchase. His head banged against the splintered headboard. He barely felt it, too much other pain. He was trying not to scream but it burned in his chest like a beast clawing through his ribs to get out. Pain. Humiliation. He should never have let himself get here... a shadowy voice told him this was the price for weakness. For failure.

Blood ran down his arms from his shackled wrists but he couldn't break the cuffs. Inhumanly strong hands griped his shoulders, pinning him down. Press a little harder and they could easily snap his collarbones.

"Now look... you've spilt your blood..." a darkly seductive voice, whispering in his ear. "Don't you know how precious it is? I should punish you for that..."

A moan... was it his? Was that hoarse, frightened voice really his? His wrists weren't the only place Kaname was bleeding by now, but that didn't matter in this twisted game.

Hard, brutal movement. The clawing scream escaped, raw, agonized. A devastatingly handsome face hovered near through the haze. A white-fanged smile. Eyes that burned with cruelty and delight. They were dark as midnight. No trace of red, no hint of blood lust, despite the intoxicating pure blood being shed. That wasn't what this was about. There was no loss of control here, just deliberate, excruciating sadism.

Someone was sobbing in the dark, but it wasn't him. No... he couldn't possibly make pitiful, broken sounds like that. It was that other boy on the bed, it wasn't him. It wasn't. He was just watching now, seeming to float above it all, merely an observer. Stupid, stupid kid. So weak, so foolish. It was his own fault he'd gotten there. He deserved it.

But after a while everything became confused. Pieces were out of order, they didn't fit. There was light outside the window... but it had been dark before, he knew it had. His face was jammed into the pillow and he could barely breathe, but he'd been on his back... so why could he still taste the wet, tear-soaked silk of the pillowcase in his mouth?

That other boy who wasn't him was groaning softly, whimpering, but he couldn't see him. The sound was coming from the other side of the door. It was a strong door, with an old fashioned crossbar wedged firmly across to keep it closed. Why wouldn't the kid shut up? He didn't want to remember that the door was there. It should stay closed and forgotten. Forever.

Yet he was pressing his hand against the door now, feeling the rough wood under his fingers. But it didn't feel like wood, it felt like silk. Like it would give way if he just leaned a little further into it...

Hot breath on his neck and a cloying hand sliding up his body made him jerk his hand away. He stumbled backwards, feet slowed in the sluggishness of a nightmare as he tried to backpedal away from the door. He fell, landing without impact, still trying to scrabble backwards. His body was hot. It burned... but not with pain. No... not pain... It was quaking with desire. Raw. Intense.

No matter how hard he tried to flee, he was powerless to move. The door remained where it was, next to the bed and the two figures on it. The boy on the bed had stopped struggling now, accepting the inevitable. He was still screaming in pain, but it was the door... it was the door that was terrifying.

The portal was of his own making, somehow he knew that. He had closed it... locked it... but he didn't remember why. The reasons were on the other side. In the dark. Where the broken whimpering was coming from. Whimpering that somehow managing to be even more disturbing than the screams from the bed. Why was the door there? Why had he sealed it shut? What could be worse than what was on this side of the door?

The latch jittered. The sounds from the other side were becoming louder. Fire was racing through him again. Shattering. Climactic. No... no... He threw himself forward, catching the crossbeam and forcing it down, not letting it lift.

Keep it closed.

He didn't want to know what was on the other side. He didn't.

Keep it closed.

His body was still burning, hungry. Fire... it made his head swim... it was all around him now. Dancing tongues of flame, mesmerizing, devouring... yes... He fell back into the embrace of the blaze with a sigh of relief, watching without pain as it consumed the flesh right off his bones.

Burn... burn... burn it all down... leave nothing behind...

Kaname awoke with a small, strangled cry. His skin was hot and the sheets were tangled lightly around his legs. His body was jerking, flooded with arousal he couldn't explain, exploding in pleasure that brought only confusion. He sucked his breath in, unable to breathe properly for a moment as the muddled, intense release ripped through him, throbbing in his groin in searing jolts as it dragged him from his sleep. His eyes snapped open.

What the hell...?

Suddenly a hand was touching his arm. There was a warm body close to his on the bed. Blazing white hot panic speared through the pureblood and he tried to blindly struggle backwards, but his legs were tangled up in the sheets and... someone else's legs.

"Whoa, whoa, hey... it's me... you're dreaming, Kaname. Come on..." a soft, sleepy, familiar voice penetrated Kaname's trembling panic about the same time the images coming from his eyes finally started being processed by his brain.

Zero was lying beside him, leaning up on one elbow now as he blinked sleepily at the pureblood. The hunter's silver hair was wildly mussed from the pillow and sticking up at endearing angles. His half-lidded eyes were a little questioning. Usually if Kaname was waking up from a nightmare, he tried to attack Zero. But this time Kaname had tried to pull away from him. Was this an improvement? Or just a different kind of dream? Zero wasn't sure and his sleepy brain wasn't really processing at its swiftest.

He couldn't miss, however, how exactly Kaname had woken up. They were going to have to wash these sheets. Zero smiled at his lover, the hand on Kaname's arm sliding up to brush the pureblood's strangely flushed cheek. "Nice dream?" he mumbled with wry, sleepy amusement, coaxing Kaname to wake the rest of the way up. The pureblood could be downright dangerous when he wasn't lucid.

Kaname closed his eyes, trying to slow his wild breathing and heart. Mortification swept through him. Crap... what the hell was wrong with him? That hadn't remotely been normal wet dream kind of material. Why had he responded that way? It was sick... sick sick sick... the loss of control made him feel physically ill.

"Not... really..." he murmured softly, his voice a bit husky from sleep. He instantly regretted it. He didn't want to pique Zero's curiosity or make him think anything was wrong. Kaname couldn't talk about this dream with anyone, especially Zero... his hand slipped out almost without his conscious thought and curled around Zero's, fingers entwining lightly for a moment, needing the contact.

With conscious effort, Kaname's tense body relaxed and he rolled onto his side, facing Zero. He willed the hunter to not see through him. Please, Zero...

Fortunately, Zero wasn't in his most perceptive state with only a few hours of sleep under his belt. "No?" he murmured, his head resting on the pillow again as he looked across at Kaname, relaxing as he sensed Kaname relaxing. "Was it kinky?" he grinned a sleepy, shit-eating grin at his lover. Zero yawned, his eyes trying to drift closed despite his efforts to oppose the motion. "If it involved me doing something freaky in leather, I don't want to know about it..." he added in a teasing tone. "And don't get any ideas."

Kaname grinned in the darkness. Zero's humor was exactly what he needed at the moment to try to put to rest the fear and confusion pulsing in his heart in the aftermath of the dream. Kaname's fingers traced the back of Zero's hand lightly, just... being near him. He needed to go take a shower, he wasn't going to be sleeping anymore tonight and he knew it, but he wasn't ready to move just yet. "I didn't say it was about you..." he pointed out softly, the playful jibe only a shadow of what he would normally be able to procure, but the normalcy of the banter helped ground him back in the present.

Zero opened one eye and shot him a look. Zero was perfectly capable of being jealous, but not over dreams, and Kaname's tone said he was messing with him anyway. "Oh good, then maybe I'll get a break, huh? I swear, your appetite wears me out, Kaname," he murmured, pulling the other's hand to his mouth and pressing a sleepy kiss on the back of Kaname's knuckles.

Kaname smiled faintly and gave Zero's hand a squeeze before letting it go and pushing up to sit. "I'm going to take a shower," he said softly. "Then maybe I'm going to check if there's any updates from Mission Oil." He knew if he didn't warn Zero that he probably wouldn't be back to bed, the hunter might eventually pry himself up to find out what had happened.

The ex-human frowned reprovingly. Business at this hour? Geez, what did Kaname have against sleep, anyway? He knew that this deal Kaname was working on had the pureblood all tied up in knots for some reason, but he didn't like that it was making his lover lose rest. No business matter could be that important... but he knew better than to interfere with Kaname's affairs.

"Kaname..." he murmured in protest, then sighed, making a valiant effort to shake off the sleep hedging back in on him. "Okay, fine... you want some tea? I'll make us some..." Zero wearily slid his elbow under him, battling the strong gravitational pull of the mattress. He was dead tired, but he hated to see Kaname always up working by himself. Surely, he must be tired too...

Kaname smiled gently, appreciating the offer but not about to accept it. He pressed Zero back down with one hand on his shoulder. "No, go back to sleep, Zero. I don't want to keep you up. I'll probably lay back down in an hour or two anyway," he murmured. It was a lie and they both knew it. Kaname wouldn't be back to bed tonight. But Zero accepted that Kaname wanted to be alone, and in all honesty he was relieved because he was so tired he was already starting to drift again.

Kaname felt Zero's body relax in relief under his hand. He knew Zero wanted to sleep, but would have gotten up with him just to keep him company. That's how Zero was. The pureblood leaned down and pressed a light kiss into Zero's hair, softly treasuring what he had here. Rest well, Zero.

Kaname slid off the bed and headed for the bathroom. Zero's soft, sleepy voice caught him by surprise before he reached it.

"Love you," he murmured, his voice indicating that sleep was already reaching back up to claim him.

Kaname froze in the darkness, a hard, warm lump rising strangely in his throat. He swallowed slowly, closing his eyes. He knew Zero did, but those were still somewhat rare words from his lips, making them all the more precious. Right now, Kaname had needed to hear them very much. He let his breath out slowly.

"Love you too, Zero," he whispered back, his voice unmistakably husky this time as he quickly slipped into the bathroom and shut the door behind him.