Very few people hear it. It is the soft sigh the earth emits as the last rays of the sun trace their golden fingers along the mountain sides, leaving behind the velvet darkness. A figure watched the last traces of the day sink below the mountains and emitted a sigh that copied the Earth's as he turned back to the old warehouse. The figure shook his silver hair out of his eyes as he read the address on the piece of paper in his pale hand. "Yep, this is the address. Now let us see if the leeches show up."

Zero pulled his coat tighter around himself as he leaned against the crumbling brick wall and flashed reviewed the case in his head.


Zero flipped through all the pictures, studying each face. "So they all were turned?"

"Yep, but before they even reached level E, they disappeared."

Zero's sensitive nose twitched as the thick smell of his sensei's cigarette filled the room. "So what is the big deal? Maybe someone is saving us the work. And can you please not smoke those things in here!?! As much as I hate to admit it but I am a vampire and the stench is giving me a headache."


A vein pulsed on Zero's temple but before he could jump across the room and strangle Yagari, Zero's adopted father caught his attention. "Zero, it is more complicated than that. First off, it is against the law to kill if the vampire has not fallen. Second off, something peculiar has come to our attention."

Cross slid another picture in front of Zero. "We caught this young lady a couple of days ago. We had been tracking her for some time and when we found her, she had a new mark that we knew was not there before she was turned. We unfortunately had to exterminate her after we took the picture."

Zero cringed at the red eyes and elongated fangs that graced the face of the once beautiful vampire. A black mark on the vampire's neck caught the hunter's attention. The mark looked like a torch with a delicate A underneath. "What the hell is that?"

"We don't know yet but we…"

"It is an ownership mark." A velvety voice interrupted. Zero fought to pull out Bloody Rose as a strong vampire aura made itself known. Zero turned in his seat to see the tall, elegant Kaname Kuran walk towards him.

"What does that mean Kuran?"

"Ownership, to posses for one's own individual self." Kaname said, taking the other seat next to Zero.

"I do not need the definition Kuran," Zero said through clenched teeth. "I mean, how was she owned? I thought it was illegal."

Kaname crossed his long legs and neatly folded his hands across his knee as he answered Zero's question. "For humans it is, Kiryuu. Not for vampires. The problem is, this person is not using them for normal purposes; he is collecting."

Yagari's eye narrowed as he strode over to stand beside Cross, facing the two vampires in the room. "What makes you think that Vampire?"

Kaname ignored the older man's rudeness and proceeded to explain. "Several centuries ago, a noble vampire began to collect level D vampires. He of course went only for the more beautiful and exotic but he marked them as his all the same. The mark that is on that vampire's neck is almost exactly the same."

Kaname touched a delicate finger to the black mark in the picture that was on Zero's lap. Zero went rigid but did not say anything.

"The only difference is the letter. The original vampire had a C instead of an A. I believe you have yourself a copycat."

Kaname sat back in his chair and turned his chocolate gaze to Zero.

"I think I know where you can find where the next transfer will be too."

Zero jerked his head up as his senses picked up a vampire aura. Not taking any chances, Zero leveled his gun at a familiar brunette's head. He did not level the weapon until a small chuckle came from the darkness.

"Afraid I was not going to show up Kiryuu?"

Zero scoffed before he answered, "Did not think you would want to come. Not if it meant maybe getting dirt on your new shoes."

Kaname leaned against the wall next to Zero and looked straight ahead. "Don't be ridiculous, I brought my old pair."

Before Zero could voice his witty reply, both vampires tensed at the feeling of multiple vampires' approaching. Zero again checked his magazine while Kaname used his abilities to mask both his and Zero's aura. They did not want to jump the gun, in Zero's case literally, so they did not wish to alert the party that was now approaching the building. Kaname looked around their surroundings and realized the area they were in was perfectly situated to let them see the targets but at the same time allow them to remain invisible to others. He definitely had to give the hunter credit.

Zero watched the group of vampires approach, three nobles and if his senses were correct, two level D vampires. Both were beautiful young women, one with auburn red hair and the other with short raven black hair. One of the nobles unlocked the warehouse door while the other each kept a hand on one of the exhumans. After a couple of tries, the noble finally got the rusty door open and the small party went into the building.

Zero lightly touched Kaname's arm to get his attention and jerked his head toward a fire escape that led to a door three stories up. Kaname silently nodded and followed the silver headed hunter up the stairs and through the door. The two men emerged onto a balcony that overlooked the warehouse just as they got the beginning of a conversation three stories below.

"So these are the girls? Very nice. When were they bitten?"

Kaname and Zero got down onto their stomachs and stuck their heads out over the metal walkway. The party they saw earlier was facing two men in expensive suits, the smaller of the two talking to the leader of the group.

"I ain't telling until you show me the money."

The smaller business man flashed a bright smile as he turned to his colleague. The other vampire handed him a leather briefcase that he opened to show several dozen twenty dollar bundles. "Of course all the money is real. The Archivist does not like to anger his clients. Now, may I know their expiration dates?"

Zero had to keep himself from growling as he heard the disrespectful talk about the women. Kaname felt the hunter's anger and shocked himself when he found his hand slipping over Zero's to comfort him. He tried to reassure himself that it was only to keep their auras from being noticed, but a feeling in his gut said different. Kaname was even more shocked when Zero did not pull away from his touch, making the feeling even stronger. Kaname shook his head to clear it and tuned back into the conversation.

"They were bitten six months ago. The Archivist has awhile to play with them. So do you want them or not?"

The small man stuck his hand out to the other vampire. "Yes, we have a deal." The other noble took the outstretched hand and his lackeys loosened their grip on the women's arms, both being completely silent the entire time. Suddenly blood spattered across the dust covered floor and the business man pulled his hand out of the vampire's chest, a heart in his hand. Chaos ensued as the fallen vampire's comrades began to attack the other nobles.

Zero and Kaname jumped down from the walkway and landed gracefully in the middle of the fight. Kaname released his full aura as Zero began firing rounds, hitting one of the nobles directly between the eyes. Kaname used his nails to slice open the throat of the taller business man that had been running at him with a katana. Zero fired another shot and hit the noble holding one of the women in the heart.

Both the Pureblood and hunter turned to the sound of an eerie laugh. The smaller business man was half way out the door, his eyes looking Zero up and down. "Well, you can keep the girls, but I have to tell my employer about an interesting specimen I have encountered tonight. I will see you again soon young hunter." The man winked at Zero as a bullet from Bloody Rose hit the doorframe. The man turned on his heel and ran out the door, the briefcase in hand. Zero went to run after him but Kaname caught his arm.

"The girls need our help Kiryuu." Kaname spoke gently, noticing the mix of feeling swirling in the young hunter's eyes. Anger, repulsion, and…fear. Kaname had seen how the noble had looked at Zero and he was sure Zero had also noticed it too. "Ze…"

"Forget it Kuran. Let us get them back." Zero replaced the emotions in his eyes with his normal cold gaze. He could not show fear; if he ever did the enemy would see. That could not happen because he was alone, no one would protect him. That is what he had always taught himself.

Zero did not know how wrong he really was.