A/N: I'm glad that a lot of people took interest and read the first chapter. If you have read most of my works, you would notice that it is unlikely for me to write a chapter that short. In this case though, it is necessary to have the chapter short to emphasize that Zero and Yuuki's first encounter at the ball was that short. It was just mere seconds of silence shared between them amidst the buzzing crowd of vampire aristocrats. Nobody pointed out the length actually but I just wanted to point it out as well for deeper appreciation of the said chapter. =)

Here is another short installment of the said first encounter between the two, told in Zero's perspective. I somehow wanted to use a first person viewpoint honestly but since I have never tried it before, I am not going to try it on this one (because I might ruin it). I hope the story told in a third person view point doesn't lessen the impact for my readers though.

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Disclaimer: The story and characters of Vampire Knight are not owned by me. I am not doing this to earn any profit whatsoever except to give enjoyment to the ever growing, loyal fandom.

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Chapter 2

His Thoughts of Her

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"Thanks for your patience, you can come out now." Kaito called out to who was inside the huge suitcase that was recently wheeled to them.

Zero's eyes immediately widened at the sight of light brown hair that peeked out of the luggage. The scent of a human drifted in the air the moment she came out. 'What the—' He instantly grasped Kaito by his collar, demanding him an explanation for bringing Yori there. "Hey, Kaito! What's the—?!"

"Relax, I can protect a single human no problem." Kaito didn't have the slightest reaction to Zero's rough behavior when he grabbed his collar. "How about you also watch over her?" He was starting to enjoy the turn of events now.

Zero lowered his hold on him while he glared at him but he still didn't quite release him yet. Just when he thought the night couldn't be any worse. 'Why did Wakaba agree to go here?' Zero asked to himself but he knew the answer to it—definitely knew the answer. He didn't want to think about it though.

"All right, Wakaba-kun, you can go now and look for that friend of yours." Zero heard Kaito give Yori the permission to search for her. "But you have to stay where I can see you." To Zero, it was like telling a rabbit to enter a cage filled with hungry lions and promising that she would perfectly be fine.

"Yes." Her answer was clear and resolute. Zero couldn't see any fear reflected in her eyes. ''Why do you go this far, Wakaba?' He couldn't understand how a human like her could still stay so attached to a vampire who had disappeared for a year. 'Yes... I don't understand at all.' In his heart though, he swore he had heard someone who just called him a liar but he ignored that voice.

He kept his mind busy with other stuff rather than dwell in that subject that he had labeled as forbidden. His heart always seemed to linger on the topic but he always forced himself to forget or else he might remember her. His eyes were now following every move Yori made. Her head turning left and then right, searching for that familiar figure she was searching for. Her light blue dress was perfectly blending in with the sea of colors of the crowd wearing tuxedos and evening gowns yet Zero thought she stuck out like a sore thumb. It was proof that she was human and those people were not. The way her dress was exposing her pale neck temptingly was not helping either. It totally attracted their attention all the more. 'Does she really understand how dangerous this is for her?' He thought, slightly feeling annoyed and silently cursing the girl's loyalty and sense of friendship.

"And now we have a little lamb joining our party." Kaito still didn't care that Zero was still holding him by his collar. He was far more interested with the reactions the aristocrat vampires were giving as Yori slowly moved around the crowd to look for her petite best friend.

Zero knew that his threatening would not help the situation anymore so he finally released Kaito with a disgruntled sigh. 'It looks like I have to baby-sit this guy as well tonight... We have to prioritize Wakaba's safety too.' He kept his pale purple eyes on Yori's figure. She was such a small form compared to the vampires that seemed to tower over her. One more reason that made her look vulnerable in Zero's opinion. She was so tiny yet her presence seemed to alert everyone in the party, walking through the crowd quietly but still conspicuously. Even Zero could distinguish her scent from the others with his eyes closed no problem at all, that was how susceptible she was as a human in this flock of beasts.

Two vampires tried to approach her and offered her a drink. He was about to go to Yori's aid but she had already quickly yet politely turned them down, already continuing her momentarily delayed search. The two bloodsuckers noticed that Zero was looking out for her so they didn't pursue her further. 'I guess she deserves more credit than I give her. Her determination is definitely amazing.' He thought, acknowledging Yori's courage. 'Maybe a rabbit in a lion's cage isn't quite right...'

"Take a look, Zero... Those bloodsuckers' eyes instantly change color the moment she passes by them—" Kaito said with high interest, his eyes also closely guarding Yori.

Zero looked at him from the corner of his eyes for a moment then returned his gaze on Yori. He didn't need him to tell him that. "Kaito..." He cut him off, a hint of exhaustion in his voice. "What course do you teach again?" He asked him, as if reminding him of his current role.

"Ethics, why—?"

'This guy is really a pain.' Zero concluded without a doubt, his mauve eyes sharpened for a second when a vampire had almost bumped Yori but safely avoided her. "If by any chance, one of those vampires even tries to make a move that might hurt Wakaba..."

He wasn't just making an empty threat at all. Even Kaito could tell that. "That gives you the perfect legal reason right there." He told Zero with no trace of jest in his tone. "For you to kill that vampire."

As if on cue with Kaito's words, Zero sensed her before he even saw her. Even though it was already a year and he kept on telling himself to forget everything about her, she was still a familiar scent—he could still tell her from others in just a split-second's time.

The red curtains opened and revealed the main couple of the evening. It was her—together with him.

Zero remained where he was, at the back of the crowd, looking at what everyone was looking at. It was a year since they last saw each other but to him it felt longer than that. He was finally seeing her but he couldn't feel anything. Was he supposed to be happy? He examined his heart but his heart seemed frozen, not able to feel anything at all. It probably went numb from the constant pain he felt for a year. He simply looked at her, taking in her looks. She looked the same as before but also different. She still had the same length of hair, the same length the day she awakened as a pureblood. Her face didn't look like she aged a year's worth. 'Of course, she is a vampire.' He thought, finding it funny that he had to remind himself over and over again what she was. His heart was stupid for still keeping memories of her as a human. Maybe that was why he thought she was somehow different. He was unconsciously comparing her to how she was before when she was still human. She now reflected the aura of a pureblood—a majestic, graceful and respected vampire to all other vampires.

That night, he realized once more that she was someone who was meant to be beside Kuran Kaname.

It was faint but he felt a familiar pang in his heart. 'I guess I still haven't completely gone numb from everything.' He mentally laughed sardonically at himself. He still felt something and that was a big failure for him. One year had gone by yet he still couldn't achieve one of his goals. He thought he was going to finish that goal with the help of time but he only suffered. He felt pain but all of his feelings remained intact. He never forgot anything. That one goal of his remained half-finished.

He was able to make her move forward.

But he was still stuck where he was. He wasn't able to move forward at all.

He only pretended that he was moving forward. All of it was just a big act that he couldn't turn into the real deal.

Just this one instance, he would stop pretending and allow himself to think about her. Just this once he would be honest—at least, to himself.

To him, she still looked breathtaking and simply beautiful—warm despite the royal-like exterior. He still thought she was a wonderful person despite her pureblood status. He still believed and trusted her—that would probably never change. He still saw her as a precious person who had always stood beside him. He still thought of her even though he forced himself to forget her—he simply couldn't forget about her. He still missed the times they would patrol together during nighttime, even if he lost sleep over it. He still found it funny how she loved to act like a big sister to him when she was so short and he was actually older than her. He still remembered how she always hated being tutored by him because he would always tease her for being stupid. He still remembered the way her lips tasted when he forced a kiss on her before they parted ways. He still missed her. He still longed for her. He still wanted her.

She was still his everything.

His eyes gazed intensely at her, but he didn't allow any emotion to show on his face. He just simply looked at her and let his thoughts express what he really felt. He watched silently as Kaname bent down to whisper something to Yuuki's ear. His heart gave another painful twitch at the sight of Yuuki's tiny smile but his face remained cold and apathetic. His lips remained a straight line while his eyes took in her momentary gentle smile.

'I still love you.'

As if Yuuki heard his silent confession, Zero saw her head turn towards his direction. Her eyes were no doubt looking at him—studying his demeanor.

But he wouldn't allow her a peek in his heart. He kept his face void of emotions but he held her gaze. With the slightest tilt of his head, he just stared at her icily, carefully fixing his mask to completely cover his heart. He didn't care if anyone saw through his pretense—anyone but her, he could deal with. As long as she didn't see how much he still—

He stopped his thoughts all together, afraid that his thoughts would be mirrored in his eyes. He could see and feel Yuuki's eyes on him, searching him. He didn't quite get what she was looking for in him but he wasn't going to give her anything.

He had already accomplished half of his goal. He didn't want to ruin what he had accomplished so far. He wouldn't do anything to hold her back again. He would keep pushing her farther away. He wouldn't make her do any more sacrifices just to help him. He wouldn't let her hesitate anymore.

All he wanted was her—that was the truth. But more than that, he would prefer to give her happiness. Even if it wasn't with him, he would still be contented. Because she was everything to him, he wanted to give her everything that he could. He knew his love was not something she would ever want so instead of love he would give her freedom—so that she could love freely and be happy with someone else.

He had endured the pain for that purpose. He didn't mind playing the part of the bad guy for her. He had hurt her and he had hurt himself badly deep inside but he hadn't and wouldn't let her see that—never ever. He had already lied and pretended up until now without any complaints. Tonight, would be the same. He would act and no one would notice he was acting.

Especially not her.

'It should only be me who should suffer. It should only be me who remains attached to you. You should just remain free from me.' He thought, as if mentally bidding her another farewell through his eyes.

He didn't know if it was his imagination but he thought he saw hurt momentarily show in her bright reddish brown eyes. He didn't falter though—he shouldn't falter. He vowed that his mask would stay in place the whole night until this ball was through. He continued to look at her with the same expression of indifference still on his face.

'Please don't see through me.'

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A/N: Next chapter will be covering events in Chapter 54, mainly focusing on Zero still because this chapter didn't cover anything at all of Chapter 54 on Zero's side. I just noticed I included Yuuki on Chapter 54 already last chapter so I will do Zero's turn next chapter. This was totally intense! I was totally shipping Zero x Yori when I started the first page but that was immediately blown away by how intense Zero's feelings were for Yuuki when he finally saw her. X3 If Yuuki had heard all of Zero's thoughts, I wouldn't blame her if she cried and then jumped to his arms. ;.;