Author Notes: Hello everyone and Happy New Year! Here is the final chapter to a story that I started more than 2 years ago. I have enjoyed writing this story despite it eating up all my free time and hope you have enjoyed reading it as much.

Appreciation: My grateful thanks and appreciation to all my faithful readers and reviewers. Thank you once again for taking time to share your thoughts with me, they have been my primary source of motivation for each and every chapter.

- Chapter Start -

It was almost ten o'clock now, a mere two hours before the year officially ended. Kaname and Zero had arrived at the former's country villa an hour ago and enjoyed an early meal of fresh mussel broth in white wine and superbly grilled lamb cutlets served with an exquisite, slightly spicy mint sauce, wild rice and buttered asparagus. Not typical breakfast fare perhaps, but delicious all the same.

Zero inhaled deeply, pulling the cool fresh air into his lungs and letting it out with a sigh. He was leaning his forearms on the stone balustrade at the first floor balcony, wineglass in hand and enjoying the incessant song of the crickets. He didn't move when Kaname came to stand beside him, mirroring his stance exactly so that the tip of his left elbow touched Zero's right one.

Without blinking, the hunter switched his wineglass to his left hand so that he could continue sipping at the full bodied red wine without breaking contact with his lover. He was relaxed and contented now, but something continued to gnaw at his conscience, something that had caused two butterflies from goodness knows where to end up inside his tummy where they were now merrily chasing each other amongst the lamb and asparagus, and taking playful dips in the small pools of red wine and broth here and there.

A week ago, Zero had cooked Christmas dinner for his family at Cross Academy – roast turkey, glazed ham, mashed potatoes and mini chicken pot pies with light, flaky pastry and a delicious filling of chicken, carrot, onion and celery. A heavily pregnant Yuko, Tomi, Ichiru, Isamu and Hinata were there, together with Hanabusa Aido and Sayori. And Kaname, of course.

Zero took another sip of wine. His Christmas gift to Kaname was an understated, solid gold tie pin. The pureblood had exclaimed prettily over it and thanked him with a heartfelt kiss in front of the others. Although Yuko and the twins' enthusiastic cheers had rendered Zero red with embarrassment, he was secretly gratified with Kaname's response. After all, the pureblood already owned half a dozen tie pins, each more gorgeously crafted than the one he now held in his hand.

Kaname's gift to him had been an equally understated yet expensive pair of white gold cufflinks. Zero had chuckled when he examined them closely and found a tiny engraving of a skull on each one that was the mirror image of one of his ear piercings. Kaname had an eye for detail all right. The hunter had thanked him with a chaste kiss on the cheek, much to the disappointment of all those watching.

And yet, it was the other gift that Zero had not given Kaname that occupied his mind now. And getting older by the minute, reminded that pesky little voice in his head. It hadn't fallen out of his head yet, worst luck, but it was thankfully quieter now, only popping up now and again to squeal at something or other.

I know, Zero replied it absently. He had no intention of going into the new year without delivering on this particular promise first. His lips twisted wryly at the happy squeal that followed.

The past few months had flown by faster than Zero could ever have thought possible. He felt as if he was finally living again and no longer just dragging himself from day to day as he had in those earlier months when his world first collapsed around him. He still missed Yuuki of course, and he always would, but what he had now was so much worth living for.

Zero continued his hunter duties with zeal, whether it was going out on missions or tutoring the younger generation of hunters at the HA. He enjoyed his weekends and days off that he spent with Kaname and with his children, whether together or separately. He cherished each day that passed and never failed to tell his family that he loved them. Zero sometimes thought he told Kaname that more than he told his children, but that was because he saw or spoke to the pureblood almost every night. Besides, as he confessed wryly to Yuuki during one early morning visit to the cemetery, her brother made each and every declaration worth it... and then some.

Zero had kept his vow never to hurt Kaname again very close to his heart. He was pleased to see a return of the more confident and suave pureblood he had known before. In front of those he trusted, Kaname's behaviour towards him was composed, loving and respectful. The pureblood only displayed his delightfully submissive side when he was alone with Zero who treasured those moments. It reminded him of their earlier months and the promises he had made to himself, to Kaname and to Yuuki – to be thankful for each day granted to him and to fully appreciate his second chance at loving someone and being loved in return.

Hence, Kaname had never been happier. He felt completely appreciated, wholly accepted and wonderfully taken care of. He felt so loved that he wore a smile on his face each morning before he slept and woke up with another smile. In front of Zero's children and their trusted spouses, his inner group of nobles, Seiren, Akira and his loyal personal assistants who would rather die than betray him in any way, Kaname showed his feelings for his lover openly and without reserve. He got up to greet Zero with a kiss and a smile whenever the latter visited his office, which was admittedly rare.

Seiren never failed to interrupt any of Kaname's meetings when Zero called and Kaname never hesitated to answer no matter what he was doing or where he was. Someone whom he had waited twenty years for was, in his book, infinitely more important than anything related to his business.

When Zero escorted Kaname to the occasional vampire galas and dinners, he played the part of respectful and fiercely protective bodyguard to perfection. For some reason, his deferential manners and submissive 'Kaname-sama's' sent a thrill up the pureblood's spine especially when he knew that later on, he would be pinned under his hunter or pushed up against a wall while being thoroughly made love to or fed from or both. Kaname found the contrast in Zero's behaviour deliciously erotic.

Right now, he was longing for one such encounter.

"Zero? Shall we go upstairs?"

Zero turned at the light nudge of Kaname's elbow against his own, smiling as he read the invitation in those dark eyes. Yes, it was way past time to deliver his second gift.

- o -

They held hands as they made their way upstairs. Zero was used to his lover's gracious manners by now; he wasn't surprised when Kaname opened his room door and gestured for him to go in first. Zero took a couple of steps into the room and stopped short at the sight that greeted him.

The wall lights were switched on low, allowing him to see that a fireplace had been built into the wall directly opposite the bed. A small but cheerful fire crackled invitingly behind a fine mesh screen that served a dual purpose in keeping the ash out and muting the bright glare of the flames. The cream coloured carpet had been replaced by hardwood flooring which showed up a large, silver fur rug lying in front of the fireplace.

Zero's eyebrows were well up when he swung to Kaname who smiled happily at him, his eyes twinkling mischievously.

"When did you do all this? And is that real?"

"A month ago. And don't worry, no silver minks were hurt in the production of that. It's not real fur," he reassured.

Zero smiled and turned back to look at the inviting scene.

"I never would have thought of this, but it's beautiful, Kaname," he admitted.

The pureblood's dark eyes glowed with pleasure. He raised their joined hands and pressed a kiss to Zero's fingers.

"Shall we?" he murmured, tilting his head towards the rug. Zero grinned and nodded. They slipped off their shoes and socks, leaving them on the floor and enjoying the smooth feel of the varnished wood under their feet. By the time they reached the rug, they had dropped their jackets on the bed along with Kaname's silk tie.

Zero couldn't help shaking his head when he spied the silver ice bucket resting on a folded towel nearby. Beside it stood two delicate champagne flutes, the cut crystal reflecting the light of the fire. Next to them was a silver platter of fresh strawberries.

Zero sat cross legged on the rug and arched an eyebrow at Kaname.

"Are you planning to seduce me?" he teased. Kaname sank gracefully onto his knees and lowered his gaze, long lashes lying against creamy cheeks flushed with a hint of colour.

"Perhaps," he murmured. Zero chuckled and reached for his hands.

"I'm all for it," he assured Kaname who just blinked at him. They stared at each other in silence, long enough for Zero to start worrying. Then Kaname smiled.

"Sorry," he murmured. "I was just remembering..." how adamant Zero had been when he first stated his requirements. How firm and immovable he had sounded in the back of the limousine one night on their way back from a dinner party.

"I'm ready for more intimacy, Kaname."

"But I won't - I can't submit, not even to you. I don't care how it goes in public but when it's the two of us, I want to be the one to – to claim, to take. Always, Kaname."

At that moment, the pureblood was so ecstatic over Zero's words that he hadn't minded at all. He still didn't.

"How stubborn I was back then, you mean?"

Kaname blinked, brought out of his reverie at Zero's dry tone. He gave a small shrug.

"I didn't mind then and I still don't," he assured him.

"But I changed my mind, remember?" Zero prompted him, his eyes determined.

"I know," Kaname said with another smile. "I remember..." how equally adamant Zero had been when he had changed his mind, just before he confessed his love.

"Kaname, will you make love to me tonight?"

"I've changed my mind," he said steadily, ignoring the heat creeping up into his face. "I want to know what it's like, to be claimed by the one you love."

"And yet you've never reminded me," Zero prompted dryly. Kaname ducked his head, but not fast enough to hide his blush.

"It doesn't matter," he mumbled. Just as he expected, strong fingers tipped his chin up.

"It matters to me," Zero said, his tone now matching the fierce look in his eyes. "I made a promise, damnit!"

Kaname gave a jerky nod, looking strangely nervous.

"I know," he said, his tongue coming out briefly to lick at suddenly dry lips.

"Good," Zero said firmly, his eyes following the darting movements of that talented pink tongue. "Because I want to deliver on that promise right now."

His hand moved to cup Kaname's cheek, thumb brushing over the full lower lip.

"Make love to me, Kaname," he whispered persuasively. "I've been waiting."

The words made Kaname's eyes smart. He hadn't wanted to remind Zero before partly because the hunter had never brought it up again, and partly because Kaname enjoyed having his lover claim him. But now...

"All right," he agreed. Then he darted a shy glance at Zero, "and perhaps you shouldn't bite me this time, otherwise I might not last long enough!"

Zero chuckled.

"It's a deal!"

But even with that delightful possibility hanging in the air, Kaname wasn't in any hurry. He expertly opened one of the bottles of chilled Dom Perignon and poured the sparkling drink for both of them. They made themselves more comfortable on the silver mink, stretching out on their stomachs and facing each other. After toasting each other, they sipped champagne and fed each other strawberries, filling a delightful half hour with sips and nibbles interspersed with teasing kisses and loving whispers.

Eventually, Kaname placed their empty glasses aside. He captured Zero's mouth again in a full and lush strawberry scented kiss, sucking the hunter's tongue into his mouth. Simmering desire flared immediately between them, flashing through their veins, warming their blood and setting nerve ends alight.

Without the need for words, they rose up onto their knees with their mouths still fused together, fingers busy with each other's shirt buttons. Kaname swiftly divested Zero of his top, his nimble fingers then undoing the hunter's trouser button and zipper with equal swiftness. He pushed the trousers down and cupped the taut buttocks, squeezing the firm flesh with delighted appreciation and pulling the hunter close at the same time.

Zero growled as he felt his lover's aroused body against his, faintly annoyed that he hadn't gotten Kaname's shirt off yet. He gave up and went for the fine wool slacks instead, almost tearing off the leather belt in his haste.

Almost absently, Kaname held out a hand and summoned the lube from the nightstand drawer to his hand. He continued nibbling his way along Zero's jaw line to his ear, licking at the silver accessories he found there.

Zero had just pulled Kaname's stiffened length from his slacks when he gasped – a finger slickened with gel had slipped between his buttocks. It was the first time Kaname had ever touched him there. The sensation made Zero squirm, his attention now divided between the rigid flesh in his hand, the hot mouth at his ear and the searching finger circling his entrance. When it started pressing into him, Zero's breath hitched.

Kaname pushed his finger in as far as it could go and then held still as Zero leaned back to look at him.

"How does it feel?" Kaname whispered.

"S'OK," Zero mumbled. Weird was more like it, but at least it didn't hurt.

Kaname nodded. He pulled his finger almost completely out and slid it back in. Surprised pleasure flashed momentarily over Zero's features.

"It feels -"

"Good?" Kaname suggested with a smile. Zero offered a tentative nod.

Still weird, but not so bad...

"You've given me pleasure, Zero," Kaname said softly. "I want you to give you the same."

Zero swallowed, touched at the promise in those dark eyes. So many times, he had been the one controlling their intimate sessions, setting the pace with Kaname willingly following. It was a bit disconcerting to realise that he was the one following the pureblood now, moving into territory that was as familiar as it was unknown. Zero clenched his muscles again around Kaname's finger and saw the dark eyes widen.

"Don't - you're tight enough as it is," Kaname protested softly.

To his chagrin, Zero flushed. He was pretty sure he had said something similar to Kaname before, but having it said to himself made him feel... well... uh, not quite manly. In other words, girly? Cackled the evil voice inside his head. Zero's eye twitched, but he ignored both eye and voice.

"Go on," he said, the words sounding a bit more abrupt than he had intended.

Kaname obeyed, wriggling another slickened finger inside his lover. Zero grimaced and shifted his hips a little. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and forced his muscles to relax, knowing - or hoping, rather - it would help. True enough, the sharp stretch started to ease up. He exhaled and took a deep breath and then held it as those slender fingers started moving in and out of him, slow and sure.

"Still good?" Kaname asked. Zero nodded cautiously, his hands tightening on the pureblood's bare shoulders.

Feels strange, but kinda good too...

Kaname's smile turned tenderly knowing as he twisted his hand from side to side. Zero gave a violent shudder, his breath left his lungs in a gasping rush. He dug his fingers into Kaname's flesh tightly enough to bruise.

"Unh! What the -"

Kaname stopped as he stared into startled amethyst eyes that had snapped open. Zero squirmed a little before pressing down on those fingers, intrigued by the strange mixture of both pleasure and pain.

"Don't stop," he said breathlessly. "I - it feels -"

"Great?" Kaname's soft voice contained a small laugh.

Zero made a tiny grimace before nodding once. There was an annoying chorus of 'I knew it! I knew it!'s' going around inside his head, but he tuned it out.

Kaname's smile deepened.

"I know how good it feels, Zero. You make me feel that each time," he confessed.

Zero stared at him, his chest heaving quickly. Part of him was exulting at how pleased Kaname looked, but the other part was squirming in embarrassment at the physical location of those fingers.

Oh, hush, you've done that yourself, admonished the voice sternly. Zero was about to snap at it when his focus splintered. Kaname's fingers had gone deeper inside him. They twisted again and brushed up against something that made Zero's body go rigid, muscles clamping hard around those fingers and breath whooshing out of his lungs. Absolutely flabbergasted amethyst eyes stared into knowing ones that gleamed with pride and shimmered with moisture.

"Now you know," Kaname whispered. "Now you know some of the pleasure you've given me."

Zero swallowed past a throat that was suddenly, inordinately painful as two tears slipped from Kaname's eyes despite that beautiful smile.

"No, Kaname," he groaned. "Not as much - as you've given - unh!"

Zero broke off and shuddered again as Kaname's fingertips rubbed and stroked and teased. He lifted himself a little and shifted his knees wider apart, still squirming and panting. The flickering light of the fire danced off the faint sheen of moisture on his skin. Kaname was teasing him relentlessly now.

"Oh God!" Zero choked out. "It feels - I - ahh...!"

He groaned again, shifting his knees even wider. Kaname obliged happily, thrusting the tips of his fingers harder against that small bump whose precise position was already burned into his memory. He was aching with need, but his beloved Zero made an absolutely riveting picture, all flushed and helpless at his touch. Why on earth had he waited so long, Kaname found himself wondering. He should have pleasured Zero like this months ago!

To Kaname, making love was never a question of possession or submission. It was always an intimate and precious act that connected him to the one he loved, which was why he had never sought it with anyone else before. At Zero's groan, Kaname cupped the back of that tousled silver head with his free hand and guided his helpless lover forward until Zero's forehead was resting on his shoulder. He curled his arm around those strong but trembling shoulders, reveling in the tightness of his lover's body. He was already longing to see the final bliss in Zero's eyes when he joined their bodies together.

Slowly, Kaname worked a third finger inside Zero who tensed in his embrace, hips jerking in protest and breath hissing sharply past his teeth. Kaname froze immediately.

"Are you all right?" he asked worriedly.

"Give... a moment," Zero gasped, still keeping his head down. Kaname pressed his lips to the damp silver hair, his other hand sliding down to slowly stroke the hunter's softening length.

"As long as you need," he murmured soothingly.

It was several moments before Zero's flesh stiffened again in his grasp. The hunter slowly lifted his head, looking flushed and rather embarrassed. Kaname read the silent question in those amethyst eyes and quickly shook his head.

"No, Zero. You've never hurt me," he promised. "My body adapts faster than yours."

He captured Zero's mouth in a gentle kiss.

"I love you," he breathed and felt Zero's lips smile against his.

"Love you back," the hunter said and then he grimaced. "Although I feel a bit like a girl now..."

Kaname laughed softly, his eyes limpid and tender.

"Are you telling me that's how I feel most of the time?" he teased. To his surprise, Zero only shrugged instead of laughing it off.

"Do you?" he asked solemnly.

"Never!" Kaname protested, shaking his head. "Just loved and cherished and very happy," he vowed. "But if you would rather stop..."

Zero shook his head as well.

"No," he said, his eyes determined. "I want this, Kaname. I want you to claim me." Claim him, Kaname! shrieked the voice ecstatically. Zero ignored it and held the pureblood's gaze. This really wasn't about being in control or submitting, but about learning... and sharing, feeling and trusting.

Kaname smiled. Ignoring his growing want, he started fisting Zero again, his other hand thrusting and stretching with relentless patience as his lover panted and shivered in his arms. At length, Kaname pulled out his fingers. They took a moment to shed the rest of their clothes before Kaname squeezed out more lube to coat himself as he had seen Zero do countless times before.

"Ready?" he asked with a smile. Zero took a deep breath and nodded. He shuffled forward on his knees. Kaname sank onto his heels, one hand balancing himself on the fur rug, the other hand holding his erection in place. Zero positioned himself over Kaname, their breaths coming out shakily as the tip of a flushed head nudged against a rosy, well stretched entrance.

"Slowly," Kaname whispered.

And slowly it was. Zero finally allowed his pureblood lover to breach him where no one else had before.

"You - are the first one... to make love to me - like this," Zero reminded Kaname, his words breaking in parts as he started to impale himself.

"I know," Kaname gasped, finding Zero's body exquisitely warm and wondrously tight. The fire continued to crackle and burn, reflecting off moisture slicked skin as their bodies slowly moulded to one another's.

Zero persevered, forcing his muscles to stay relaxed even when it started to seriously hurt. Kaname had always welcomed him wholeheartedly into his body and Zero wanted to give the same thing back to him - complete surrender, complete trust.

"Slowly," Kaname reminded him again. He let go of his erection when it was half buried, both hands going to support Zero's waist instead. "We have all the time in the - aah!"

Zero had pushed himself down with a hard jerk, groaning in agonised pain as he took Kaname fully inside him at last. They froze in place with their chests heaving against each other's. Kaname's eyes fluttered closed as he stopped breathing for a moment, commanding his trembling body to hold out in the wake of all that gorgeous, pulsating heat surrounding him. Then he took a deep breath and opened his eyes.

Zero was already watching him. The expression in his moist amethyst eyes was defiant and proud and vulnerable all at the same time. Kaname found his vision blurring almost instantly, his throat tight with emotion. He leaned forward and captured Zero's mouth in a tender kiss. His heart was overflowing with so much love, it almost hurt. When he pulled back, Zero looked concerned.

"Are you all right?" they both asked at the same time. Then they blinked in surprise. The smiles came after that, tentative and even strangely shy that an intimate moment like this could bring a touch of humour.

Zero braced his hands on Kaname's shoulders again and shifted his hips, relieved to find that it no longer hurt as much. Kaname's hard length inside him was impossible to ignore, but not unwelcome. Zero offered another smile to Kaname and got one in return.

Then Kaname was pushing his hips upwards and Zero was pressing down. Their movements grew more decisive, Kaname's upward thrusts increased in strength and speed. With Zero spread wide open over his lover, the head of Kaname's erection rubbed insistently at his sensitive core - he cried out sharply as they started bucking into each other. Tension had coiled tightly in their bellies for some time now and there was no letting up.

Kaname started fisting Zero hard, almost sobbing at the incredible joy of feeling his body sheathed inside his lover again and again, seeing the proof of bliss indelibly stamped on Zero's face.

With the delicious friction fueling the passion already burning inside them, everything soon came together in an explosion of sheer unadulterated bliss. Zero reached ecstasy first, splashing creamy fluid over their stomachs with a hoarse cry as he rocked himself mindlessly back and forth on his lover's rigid flesh.

Kaname followed him mere seconds later, hips still thrusting frantically as he screamed out his own orgasm, expelling his seed deep inside Zero. The hunter's muscles were contracting wildly, making Kaname shudder as his flesh was ruthlessly and exquisitely squeezed.

They finally collapsed in each other's arms, trembling and gasping for breath, their senses full of the intoxicating scent of their mingled passion. Several minutes passed before Zero finally opened his eyes. Kaname was leaning over him, his face flushed and his dark eyes sparkling and joyful.

"I -" Zero shook his head, a rueful smile appearing on his lips. "That was... that was amazing, Kaname."

Oh, you can definitely say that again, declared a very satisfied sounding voice inside his head. Kaname uttered a soft laugh and bent down over to kiss Zero who was steadfastly trying to ignore the strange sensation of warm liquid trickling out from his rather sore body.

"Do you need my blood?" Kaname murmured softly.

Zero shook his head.

"Not right now," he assured. Then he frowned a little.

"Did you enjoy that, Kaname?" he asked. The pureblood nodded, giving a slightly embarrassed smile.

"I did, actually," he confessed. "But it's OK if you prefer -"

Zero stopped his words with his fingers.

"I'm fine with it either way," he said firmly. Then he grinned. "But I prefer taking you."

Kaname just seemed to enjoy himself more when he was being claimed, if the volume of his screams were anything to go by. Zero found he was well and truly addicted to those blissful cries. Not that the pureblood had remained silent earlier.

"I prefer that too," Kaname replied solemnly. Zero pulled him down for another kiss.

"Good. As long as you know..."

And found Kaname's fingers pressed against his lips in turn.

"I do know, Zero. Thank you."

Zero gave a relieved smile. He had made good on his promise at last. A quick glance at the wall clock told him he had done so with only minutes to spare. He pulled the still smiling pureblood into his arms and enjoyed the plush feel of the faux fur against his skin. Making love on a bed of fresh rose petals was good, but this was even better.

As they lay nestled together, Kaname directed his power towards the windows, unlatching one of them and pushing it open a few inches. Soon, their keen hearing caught the faint sounds of the countdown to the new year from the staff downstairs.

As the choruses of 'Happy New Year!' reached their ears, Kaname turned around and bumped his nose teasingly against Zero's.

"Happy New Year," he murmured.

"Happy New Year," Zero echoed. He touched their lips together in a gentle kiss that soon turned into two and then three. With a groan, Zero tightened his arms around Kaname and rolled them over. He winced as a sharp pain made itself known. Before he could open his mouth, Kaname arched his neck with a smile.

"Bite me, Zero."

The hunter obliged with a sigh and a grateful smile. He fitted his face in the graceful curve of Kaname's neck and gave a teasing lick. In minutes, his lips and fangs had rendered the pureblood quivering with need and the sting between his legs had almost completely disappeared. Zero was happily mouthing a pert rose pink nipple when his hand phone rang.

Kaname pouted at the interruption, but by the time the short call ended, neither of their minds were on making love anymore. A wonderful New Year's present had just been delivered.

Zero disappeared into the bathroom for a quick shower as Kaname dug his own hand phone from his pocket and called Akira, telling him to get the car ready.

- o -

An hour and a half later...

Kaname turned from the window of the private hospital room. The sight that met his eyes deepened his smile and caused the soft, sweet ache in his chest to almost overflow.

Zero was cradling his first grandchild in his arms. Yuko had given birth to a healthy baby boy just one minute after midnight. The infant had inherited his father's irrepressible blond curls, but the eyes were pale amethyst. They were also staring curiously up at Zero.

Kaname's eyes lingered on the sure way his lover was holding the baby in his strong, capable arms. For a moment, the ache in Kaname's chest sharpened to actual pain. He quickly turned back to the window, eyes squeezing shut. He wanted children as well, sons and daughters. He could have them any time he wished, he knew that. There were many eligible young pureblood and noble class females whose families would only be too happy to merge their blood with the famed and pure Kuran line.

But none of them would be Zero Kiryuu and for that reason alone, Kaname always pushed away the longing each time it surfaced within him. That was one of the reasons why he travelled to Cross Academy as often as he could, to assuage that ache by partaking in his niece and nephews' childhood years. Still, seeing Zero holding his first grandchild was extraordinarily painful. It was a reminder of something that would never happen.

Kaname took a deep breath and squash that longing back down. He was a pureblood, he was almost immortal. But Zero wasn't, as much as Kaname tried not to think about it. He wouldn't have forever with Zero, only a century or two with the help of his powerful blood. So why the hell was he thinking of a family now? He should be thinking, as he did every single day, of how damned lucky he was and how he had vowed never to let an hour go by without cherishing the happiness he now held in his grasp.

After all, Kaname had already obtained something that he thought was impossible a year ago – Zero Kiryuu's love. Zero loved him enough to risk telling his children, enough to surrender his body, enough to embrace a love that could never be made public. Kaname vowed again to cherish every moment of what he had and live life to the fullest. Anything less was completely unacceptable.

"Oji-san? Would you like to carry him?"

Kaname took a deep breath and made sure the only emotion displayed on his face was joy before he turned around to smile at Yuko.

"I would love to," he said softly and meant every word. He was a grand uncle now and surely the happiest one in the whole wide world.

- o -

Two hours later...

The black limousine had left the main roads fifteen minutes ago and was now on the narrow road leading up the hills to the country villa. Akira had already conveyed his warm congratulations to Tomi and Yuko before going back downstairs to await Kaname and Zero. Their visit to the private hospital had lasted a little longer when an excited Hanabusa and Yori arrived.

Akira negotiated the winding curves of the road expertly, ensuring the smoothest possible ride for his two passengers in the backseat.

"What are you thinking of, Zero?"

Zero was looking down at his lap where his fingers were entwined with Kaname's. He looked up and smiled.

"Yuko's son," he replied unhesitatingly. "I wish Yuuki were here to see him and hold him."

Kaname was also guilty of recalling the sweet, innocent scent of his grand nephew and the precious slight weight in his arms earlier. He squeezed Zero's hand, offering silent comfort.

"I wish that too," he whispered.

Zero smiled and pressed a kiss on the back of Kaname's hand.

"No, you don't," he said with a touch of wryness. "Because then –"

The slender fingers trembled in his.

"Because then you two would still be together," Kaname murmured. "I know, but I miss her too."

Zero blinked hard, knowing that their loss would continue to haunt them for a long while yet. After all, only a year had passed since Yuuki died. But because he was now with the one person who would never mind talking about her, Zero knew he was thrice blessed. He raised Kaname's hand to his lips again and pressed a gentle kiss on the soft palm.

"Thank you, Kaname," he said softly. "For knowing that I would need you. For loving me and believing in me and waiting for me."

Kaname's eyes sparkled with unshed tears, but his smile was beautiful.

"Thank you, Zero," he choked out. "For giving love a second chance. For loving me and sharing your family with me."

It's finally my turn now, to be held and loved.

- Story End -

A/N: Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed the story, please take a moment to review and share your thoughts with me. It would be most appreciated. Thank you again!

The sequel to this story is Gift of Trust.