*One more kiss could be the best thing

Or one more lie could be the worst

And all these thoughts are never resting

And you're not something I deserve*

He stares at the ceiling in deep thought while lying on his bed, both hands behind his head. He thinks about everything that has changed over a year ago now. Sometimes, he still finds it hard to believe, though he doesn't mind going with the flow about it. From discovering who Yuuki Cross truly was, to adapting that she is the new Pureblood Princess, to fighting in battle against Rido Kuran with his friends in order to protect Cross Academy…. All of those things came with a blink of an eye back then. Well, at least the war is finally over between them and that sadistic pureblood. For Akatsuki, new changes don't take a serious effect on him so easily.

Now he finds himself traveling with his friends and the two remaining purebloods. This is where he's residing right now, at the old Kuran mansion. It's not like he feels awkward about living with them and his friends under the same roof, or anything. He just wonders what new path Kaname-Sama will lead them to next. When they will return to Cross Academy and start over, he doesn't know. Until otherwise, all he can do is make the best of his time with everyone right now. After all, someone has to keep an eye on his idiotic cousin, Hanabusa.

Growing bored from staring, Akatsuki decides to get up and leave his large room to take a walk outside. He could use some fresh air while walking alone on the mansion grounds, clearing his thoughts about the future. He grabs his jacket, and heads for the door.

*In my head, there's only you now

This world falls on me

In this world, there's real and make believe

And this seems to me…*

It was a comfortable, quiet night as Akatsuki took a stroll around the gardens in the back of the mansion. He takes a good view of the glowing red full moon, the moon of blood for the vampires. Surprising or not, he finds it enjoyable to gaze at the moon. The moon often brings back memories, memories from the past. Although he doesn't focus about those moments on a daily basis, it doesn't mean that he has forgotten about them. Showing feelings is also not his thing, unless situations involve himself or the lives of his friends. He prefers to keep a cool head and not waste energy when unnecessary. Besides, it keeps his 'wild-bad-boy' image in check, even though his calm, laid-back demeanor is far from it. Funny how some people are compared with such ridiculous stereotypes.

Akatsuki continues walking so more, until he spots a figure standing by the window on top of the third floor. He recognizes the beautiful, familiar, figure completely. Ruka Souen. None other but his longtime best friend-and longtime crush since the very beginning. He just stands there at the side of the mansion, watching her looking out at the moon without her noticing his presence at all. Was she just enjoying the good weather tonight as well? Knowing Ruka, some things are more to it than ordinary expectations coming from a young woman like her. Judging by the solemn expression on her face, Akatsuki immediately knew what was on her mind right then and there.

He closes his eyes and smirks. No matter what, she still wishes that she would have had a future with him instead of the Pureblood Princess. She never changes. Akatsuki would think that Ruka has improved a little and found closure when traveling with them, when realizing her childish infatuations for Kaname-Sama over a year now, just a little. Then again, he probably doesn't expect anything different from her after everything that happened.

Or does he?

*You love me, but you don't know who I am

I'm torn between this life I lead and where I stand

You love me, but you don't know who I am

So let me go, let me go

I dream ahead to what I hope for

And I turn my back on loving you

How can this love be a good thing?

If I know what I'm going through?*

Like he said, he doesn't expect anything different from her at all. Why would he anyway? It's not like he has that one, amazing healing power to release her from the pathetic state she sets herself in. No matter how much he always desperately wanted to. Honestly, this game of romantic hopelessness is truly becoming exhausting, even for him. Akatsuki knows that Ruka must feel the same way too. He also knows that she still can't find the strength to get herself quitting the game.

Maybe he was wrong about saying Ruka's behavior was just some infatuation. It was more than that. He knows that it has been something cherish able and serious for Ruka to deal with for some time. He knows what kind of real pain she put herself through because of these strong feelings for Kaname-Sama. This is why it's going to take her more than a year to recover from this. And not just recovering from him, but from the hatefulness she held towards the former little human girl. Not that Akatsuki could blame her. Stuff like this isn't something that can be fixed overnight. Maybe she's adjusting to the new changes around here too. He's just…so damn sick and tired of having to see Ruka go through with this. Especially since the whole equation doesn't involve with him only.

He leans against the concrete wall at the side of the house with his hands resting in his pockets, picking up Ruka's scent to know that she's still by her window outside. He goes into wondering again. How long has it been now since the two of them gone through with this? How long has it been since he stood around, watching her mourn over someone that isn't hers? Since they were children? Babies? No, these obstacles didn't go back that far with them. In fact, there were of course great times when they were kids together. Before life became a challenging board of chess to worry about, before emotions became fragile to cater while growing up, the past was a time when they could act free without a care in the world. And they did those things-together. Unintentionally, Akatsuki finds himself thinking of memories again.

*In my head, there's only you now

This world falls on me

In this world, there's real and make believe

And this seems real to me…*

He's flashing back to when him and Ruka first met as children. It wasn't love at first sight for him, since he didn't understand such things at the time and neither did she. But there was something that gave him a warmth in his chest when he set eyes on her. Unmistakably, she sure was a sight than other girls he was acquainted with. That short, fairly honey brown hair, those pure, lovely dusky rose eyes that twinkled with innocence and playfulness. Akatsuki even remembers how her creamy, delicate skin shined under the moonlight as a child like it does now.

But it was the bonds that made their past treasure able. As much as he enjoyed the quality time with Hanabusa and the rest of his friends, his and Ruka's collaboration brought out something more special. That very same partnership was what made it irreplaceable to his relationships with others. It was mainly him and her on everything they did; whether it was building sand castles in their sand box, taking turns swinging each other in the playground, pulling off humiliating pranks on Hanabusa, even stepping on each other's toes while waltz practicing…all those experiences meant something to him. It was as if time had stopped and they were the only ones in the world. And he liked it that way.

That was when Akatsuki's undying promise to her began. He sees that now. That was when he made the decision to be by her side, and never leaving her astray. He had pledged to shield her against the world if need be, proudly become her 'vampire knight' from all who dares to endanger her without any regrets. If he needed to train another two hundred years to be strong enough to protect her, he would do so. Even make the ultimate sacrifice if it ever came down to it.

More importantly, Ruka saw that promise within him as well. That was when she acknowledged him there with her, sensing that she must have meant something special to him. He wanted her to know and feel happy that he had only eyes for her, and her alone. He wanted her to know that she truly was something remarkable as her own person, and doesn't need to change for nothing else. All was well in the past because life was simple and sweet with her. He sighs and runs a hand through his red tousled hair. If only they were kids again….

That is until he came into the picture. Unfortunately.

*You love me, but you don't know who I am

I'm torn between this life I lead and where I stand

You love me, but you don't know who I am

So let me go, just let me gooooo…

Let me go…*

To be honest, Akatsuki used to wish that they haven't known Kaname-Sama, that he had never existed in the first place. He knows very well never to say these thoughts out loud, for it would seem like an act of treason. But was it a crime after all? No, for it only spoke the truth. As his right-hand man, he holds the up most respect towards his leader and friend, but it doesn't change the fact that Kaname-Sama is the source to Ruka's despair of love. And that's the part that pisses him off the most. What makes matters worse is that Kaname-Sama is completely unaware of his role for Ruka, and obviously never cared.

But because the pureblood prince has entered into their lives, that was when the gap between him and Ruka started to spread. Because of his incredibly manipulative, hypnotic presence, Kaname-Sama cased his spell of seduction, making her turn her head the other direction from him. Akatsuki would never forget his first-time feeling of jealousy, perhaps anger towards them. He felt as if something was pulling him back to keep him from reaching her. Everything else picked up from there.

Ever since then, Ruka kept turning the other direction from wherever Akatsuki stood, no longer showing that same acknowledgment like before. That newfound naivety turned her into a new person, made her chased after something that she was too blind to see wasn't meant for her to have. And in all those times he stood and watches her go, a part of him says to run after them, grab her by the arms and shake her out of her foolish senses. A part of him says to 'fight' Kaname-Sama and take back what's his. As he looks back on that now, he wonders why he never did so in the first place. Was he afraid? A coward? Weak? If only Akatsuki knew the answer a long time ago, he would've been snapped Ruka out of it by now.

Or was it that he thought it was the right thing to do? By not causing more stress for her sake? By just being there if and when she's ready for a shoulder to cry on? After all, that's what he's been doing up until now, right? Always being there whenever she comes back with her tail between her legs, embracing the hugs, and hearing the never-ending rubbish for not declaring Kaname-Sama. That is their relationship now. No longer having that committed partnership. She, the lost damsel in distress. And he, the loyal following lap dog.

Akatsuki smirks again. The following lap dog. Is that what he is to her now? It sure looks that way, doesn't it?

*And no matter how hard I try

I can't escape these things inside

I know, I know*-

So why is this still happening? Why is he still here? If the whole world was to know his situation with Ruka right now, he would hear voices everywhere telling him to do the one thing that could have saved him from the envy-leave. He would hear that he needed to set his eyes on something different in his life, something better. It would be the only way to escape this tiring torment and see new horizons with new people. As much as he hates to admit it…it was true. Akatsuki knows he doesn't need to put up with this mess forever. When will this ridiculous cat-and-mouse game for Ruka ever end? Is this the reason why he's traveling with everyone? To see what new destination lies ahead for him wherever Kaname-Sama will lead them? And if so, is that what he would want? Would he be ready?

Would it be the best-for her?

Akatsuki frowns as he looks down at the ground. Maybe it would be best if he, if neither both of them, try to make the next step. He doesn't want to jeopardize whatever spark is left in their relationship as it is. Besides, he knows without a doubt that Ruka could never snap out it and finally see him the way he wants her to. So why bother waiting around so more, hoping for that miracle to come true? It's nothing but a dream, just a stupid dream that he's holding onto. He seriously needs to take a different route and move forward, find that someone who loves him for him, his own individuality. Is it right to feel this way about the two of them now?

He's done all he can for Ruka, and is afraid nothing can help her now. He can never be the Kaname-Sama she wants him to be and never will, filling up those empty places in her broken heart. Perhaps in the end, he's still not strong enough to do so. So for the sake of love, or whatever he should call it, he needs to let that dream go. He needs to let her go. And she needs to do the same for him. Not like she ever felt some kind of love for him anyways. He is just a friend, a 'comfort blanket'. That does sound right. What a disgrace.

So his mind is telling him to turn his heel and start something new-but his heart is telling him to stay where he is now. Why can't he build the strength to turn his heel? Why can't he find himself walking away? What's holding him down to stay where he is now, with the same people that he's known his entire life? Why does he feel that a part of him he'll be abandoning if turning Ruka away? Why does he still feel that she's a part of his soul?

There it goes. Flashbacks of her face hits Akatsuki again, sending him back in time of the memories. And then he smiles. Oh. Now he knows the answers-

*But all the pieces fall apart

You will be the only one

Who knows, who knnnooowwwsss…

You love me, but you don't know who I am

I'm torn between this life I lead and where I stand

You love me, but you don't know who I am

So let me go, just let me go!*

It's her. It's always been her. No matter how life puts it, Ruka is obviously born to be the other half of him. And that truth is what keeps him alive and going every day. Leaving Ruka would be betraying his love for her, as well as breaking his promise. He can never do that to her, not now at a time like this. Even though he never hear her say it, even though she doesn't tell him in person herself, she does need him. Her desperate, pleading eyes screams for help whenever she runs into his arms and cry against his chest. This final realization has opened his mind into the next level. He needs to keep fighting for her. And he has decided-that he will continue to do so.

Some people would say that a powerful creature of the night like him deserves a soul mate with benevolence, strength, and spirit. A girl who can stand her own ground, who holds her strong, beautiful head high with undying dignity, and can grant the same strength to her significant other and to the rest of her loved ones. They would say that he needs a soul mate that can make him feel the happiest being alive and complete.

Heh. Akatsuki doesn't need anyone else. Because he already has that. All of those elements are still within her. He knows it, and so does she. She only needs to be reminded again. All the more reason why he's not throwing the towel away just yet.

*You love me, but you don't

You love me, but you don't

You love me, but you don' know who I am*-

And so, he will walk until the ends of the earth with her. He will wait until the end of days for her to open those eyes, and go back to the 'right direction' again. And if she truly comes back to that direction, it would be just be like how it used to be. Him and her, against the world. And this time, Akatsuki promises himself to grow stronger to win back what's his. They belong together. He feels it in his slightest gut. In time, she will finally notice that as well.

Akatsuki looks up at the moon a final time. He's no longer picking up Ruka's scent by her window. He walks over to the side of her balcony, only to see that she disappeared and went back in her room. Showing another grin, he shakes his head slowly and heads back into the house. Silly girl, he thinks to himself. She'll see soon enough. In the meantime, he now knows his place. He'll continue pursuing whatever destiny holds for him in this new chapter of life. If this is a cat-and-mouse game won't end any sooner, then let it be a game for them to endure together. Then and only then Akatsuki will reach the peak on being the winner. All in the name of love indeed-

*You love me, but you don't

You love me, but you don't

You love me, but you don't know me*

Hell. It is worth a try.

THE END