No copyright infringement intended: Vampire Knight is a product of Matsuri Hino.


King and Consort

Prologue

His face is hard to remember because he died young. In a time long ago that seems distant in the cusp of my small world, he was all that mattered and in that world he felt the same about me. Our worlds are different and strange now. For one he doesn't exist any longer and I am all that remains a wafting emptiness alive only in the flesh, not soul.

There were wonderful things about him reiterated by many. He was a brilliant scholar, a kind man and a good son. He'd tuck me warmly in bed and push my hair over the pillow and smile. They thought he'd be regal as a king one day. Ask them how they feel today and all of them slap tongues on fangs and shake heads in dismay. In the living room mantle there are no pictures or remnants of his stay in our home. Like time his face is inscrutable and tucked in shadows.

Mother said it's ok not to remember. A son of the Kurosu clan did not feel impish over trivialities such as that. A brother wouldn't mind being forgotten by his sole sister. A ghost does not harness power over the living.

Not me, I wasn't the same.

In order to fill the void incurred by his absence I dedicated a shrine to him. On my most difficult days, there I sat and tried to remember him and his soothing hand passing over my head.

"Don't worry. It's going to be fine." Mother whispered against the ring of my ear. "Be strong. Remember everything we talked about? It'll come in handy today." She held strands of my hair between her elegant fingers and looked at the shrine. "This was out of our hands from the beginning. The curse will continue to haunt our clan forever."

She resumed brushing my hair in lethargic tugs. "We're indebt by the promise your forefathers made. Don't be scared. From here on our clans' lives lie in your hands." Lucky rubies, stark emeralds and bright jade ornaments were pinned to my hair for good luck.

"Juuri." My father hovered the hallway entrance. "The car has arrived."

She clenched my forearm and it left me still against the floor. Her arms strapped around my waist tightly and I felt her shiver tearfully against my shoulder. "Yuuki…" Her soft croon quivered in a melody of sobs. Then she stiffened so suddenly my knees trembled as I was hauled to my feet.

"You're all grown up now. We were waiting for this day ever since your brother died." On the carpet her silhouette swiveled into hands that wiped tears.

I waited for her to compose and turned around.

"Help us live, Yuuki." Stabs of repentance and grudge anchored her tone.

My arms wrapped around her slender frame affectionately. "I will."

Through the veil of her dark hair, the soft ruby eyes of my father appeared. He stepped closer and offered me a hand. My mother nodded reassuringly and urged me forward with a hand on my back.

He swooped the other arm around my head to kiss my pate. "Take care of yourself."

"I will, thank you, 'ka-chan, otou-chan."

This was not a celebration. Relatives and spies hawked impatiently around our residence for weeks, all salivating for this particular event. Their morose eyes drenched with pity and scorn devoured me. My mother stopped somewhere in the foyer and I understood it was as far as she could go. I didn't blame her and parted an exuberant smile from my shrieking heart to my vigilantes.

"So young…" Someone whispered behind me.

"It's better if it's her."

"Tsk, tsk our family's life is on her tiny shoulders."

"Can she really do it? Ruthless purebloods, ruthless."

"…That Yuuki Kurosu had it coming."

My father cloaked me before guiding me inside of the car. "Don't be angry, Yuuki." He whispered over my enshrouded head. "It was fated." A tear glided over the curve of his jaw as he closed the door.

Yes, it was a day fit for a funeral. I'm being transported to meet the ominous purebloods of all time. The chauffeur's sparkling cider eyes caught mine in the mirror. He waved a gloved hand in acknowledgement and started the ignition. I glanced to my left at the window, freezing at the fleeting image of my bowing father.

This is one journey I can't do with my parents.

* •

I'm told they are ravenous demons from the hollows of hell. Centuries ago a deal forged between our families renders me their prisoner. For the sake of the Kurosu clan, I will surrender my life to the originators of our kind, the royal purebloods. Humans worship gods in the sky and idols in temples but for millions of vampires over the world, they worshipped the purebloods for none were as supreme as those who controlled over lives, the kamis of vampire world.

Once upon a time, a pureblood king was murdered without an heir. Indictments floated until a member of the Kurosu clan was convicted. Previously daughters were snatched as sacrifice to perpetuate the curse. All of them had to salvage their worthiness in the king's eyes and all of them were killed. Every two centuries the youngest Kurosu daughter is sacrificed in honor of the murdered pureblood.

There is one exception to the curse, nonetheless, and that is a first-born son can exonerate his sister. In the last six centuries, the Kurosu clan only conceived sons who married noble vampires and resumed the downward spiral from their pureblood ancestry to noble or a few common leveled vampires. This record of male births ceased for once.

Twenty years ago the first daughter of the Kurosu clan was born. That is I.

My qualities vary from that of my relatives. As a born sacrifice of my clan, I was raised hidden in my home. In my younger fledgling days I stole away from home and illegally crossed the human-vampire border because the outside world is a curiosity of mine for as long as I can remember. My relatives pray to the moon and bask in the shadows. Very few of my ancestors prefer the sun like I do. Between generations the features of my ancestors alternated. Henceforth most Kurosus have celestial fair hair and eyes and yet like my parents I was born with darker features that harbored an astonishing resemblance to the feared purebloods.

The chauffeur opened my door once we arrived at the palace. "Keep your head lowered." He counseled.

Restless wind fluttered against my hood, nipping my skin. The long grass in the yard tickled my ankles. The scraping leaves dispersing over the courtyard instilled me with unrelieved nostalgia. Full of snow and chills, inevitable and ferocious, winter lurked high in the clouds and deep in the soil.

The sight of snow filled my heart with longing for an inscrutable refuge in a snow storm with a perfectly beautiful stranger. It's been seven years since I stepped out in daylight.

The chauffeur's trailing cloak helped guide me up the entrance. He didn't ring the bell but the door hung open by an unseen silhouette, light shot over shoes and the creature skittered back into shadows. I stepped through, suddenly burdened in the darkness. He launched solidly like a falling wall.

"You must be, " The vampire peered in the cylinder of my hood, "Kurosu, Yuuki."

I could only catch glues of his polished shoes and the movement of large wrinkled hands from my hood.

"Come, they are expecting you." Crossing over the burgundy carpet that ran for miles, he led me toward a hallway that interlocked with another.

Various objects came cross my vision such as oriental rugs, sculptures, western and eastern art but no mirrors.

He came to a sharp halt and tossed me one careful review. "Enter here." Gliding past me, my tacit escort prompted me to a drawing room. Once he arranged me in precision he left me to my gloom after the reverberation of the closing door.

Standing in a room belonging to the stupendous purebloods is nerve wracking. My heart skated out of my chest. I busied myself instead by pulling my hood, arranging my hair and swatting dusts from my coat. Odd how vanity was comforting at a time like this but a woman could only prefer looking presentable and amiable on her doomsday.

Too late for loopholes and escape plans, I was as good as a lamb to ferocious wolves.

Padding noises ghosted on smooth floor from somewhere behind. I turned and saw myself disappear in black eyes that swelled only with crimson. Its colossal frame assumed ample strength to overpower and tackle me as the wolf's head stopped directly over my chest.

A wolf.

It really was a wolf.

I truly am a lamb to him.

Coincidences be damned.

Its empty eyes rode over me in fascination and the hairy black ears angled ever so slightly at my gravitating hand. "Please don't eat me." I nervously stroked the pate.

The doors behind me plunged open to let several members enter. I ducked around, eyes downcast in front of the revered purebloods whose prey I had become.

• * •