Disclaimer- I don't own Vampire Knight

Chapter 14

Whispers in the Dark

"You have me to hold me.. A token for all to see. Captured to be yours alone..."

The weather outside of her window was dreary. Dark gray clouds hung low and heavy in the sky making the late morning much darker than it otherwise would have been. Thunder rumbled in the distance, echoing through the forest surrounding the academy. The rain hadn't started yet, but it wouldn't be much longer before the skies opened up and released a downpour.

Sighing, Kana released the heavy curtain and allowed the room to fall back into darkness as she stepped away from the window. It had been three days since she had spoken to Zero, the silver haired hunter had been busy with school and prefect duties. At least until that morning when he had stepped into the back seat of a taxi that had driven him off of the grounds. It had only been a short while, but Kana was anxious already.

Not only was she curious about what he might find, if anything, she was worried for Zero. He had not returned to the site of his family's violent murder since he had left the home years before. She doubted it would be an easy trip for him.

"Stop worrying... It's annoying..."

A soft smile lifted her lips and she shook her head. While the connection between them had weakened, it hadn't yet disappeared entirely. Any time either of them experienced particularly strong emotions, such as worry, the other sensed it. With Zero being quite new to the sensations and tug of the emotions of someone else, she figured it must indeed have been a very annoying thing to feel the worry of someone else in your own mind.

Striding from her room, her steps light and graceful, she made her way to the living room. Despite the early morning hours Riku and Sora both sat on the couch, reading. At least Sora was, Riku had his cheek propped up on his knuckles, eyes closed while a soft snore slipped from his lips. She smiled warmly at the sleeping man as she took a seat in the luxurious wing-back chair across from the couch.

"Is everything alright, Lady Kana?" Sora asked, sensing that something was bothering her as he closed his book with a thump that startled Riku, who jumped and looked around only to glare at his twin for a short moment in stubborn reproach.

She studied the two men thoughtfully for a moment before sighing. "There's something I wish to do, something neither of you are likely to be particularly happy about... However, I can't accomplish much on my own. I will need your help."

"We'll do anything for you, Kana, you know that," Riku replied sleepily, yawning and stretching.

A quiet chuckle escaped her as she watched Riku stretch and Sora shake his head at his brother's messy hair and rumpled clothes. "You should probably wait until I've told you what it is I wish to do before agreeing, Riku, because it involves Zero."

A stubborn scowl immediately clouded Riku's features. "Want me to kill him? I'd be happy-"

"Riku!" both Kana and Sora scolded.

Riku grumbled unhappily, but under the disapproving stares of both his brother and Kana he shifted uncomfortably and settled for crossing his arms grumpily across his chest.

Sighing, Kana shook her head before glancing to the curtained window. The rain had finally begun to fall and thunder rumbled in the distance. "Zero has left to try and find the journals of his ancestors. I need to know what really happened after Kaname found me at Tristan's home. I need to know all of the events that happened after, all of them."

"My lady," Sora spoke up, concern and confusion in his voice. "What's going on?"

Her crimson eyes studied Sora and Riku for a moment before she released a breath and leaned back into the chair tiredly. "I think there is more to Zero Kiryu than any of us expected. If that is the case then... I will need your help to ensure he takes his rightful place among the hunters."

"I still don't understand, Lady Kana. Just what do you mean?" Sora inquired.

"I mean that there is a possibility that Zero is the reincarnation of Tristan Kiryu. If he is, he should be the one to head the Hunters Association."

"But Zero doesn't share the same beliefs as Tristan. Tristan believed peace was possible, Zero does not. He hates all vampires," Sora pointed out.

"And he's a vampire, too," Riku grunted. "Plus, he's an idiot. He can't possibly head the Association."

"That all remains to be seen," Kana said softly, ignoring Riku's remarks. "If Zero is truly a reincarnation of Tristan, then just as I awoke from a deep sleep, so will he. In a sense, at least. Reincarnation isn't just a simple matter of being born and remembering your past lives, it's like an awakening. Certain circumstances and events must occur."

The room fell silent, the only sound was that of the rain tinkling against the glass and the thunder rumbling closer with each passing moment. It was a heavy sort of silence, weighted down by the thoughts of every person in the room and the possibilities that awaited them all should Kana's words prove to be true.

Sitting up in bed, Kana glanced to her window. It was curtained and she couldn't see outside, but she stared at the heavy fabric for several long seconds, a thoughtful frown marring her delicate features. Several days had passed since Zero had returned to his childhood home and returned empty handed. They hadn't been able to speak much since Kana had asked him to try and find the diaries she knew his ancestors had all kept. The little exchanges they had shared since were quick and mostly meaningless.

Kana hadn't revealed her thoughts to Zero about him possibly being the reincarnation of Tristan, she didn't think she needed to. Zero was smart, he likely already had an idea that he wasn't just simply experiencing the dreams randomly. His blood was awakening.

Tossing the bed sheets off of herself, she slid from the bed and let her bare feet carry her in to the living room. It was dark, the heavy curtains kept out any light yet another dreary day might have let in and it was also empty. Sora and Riku had retired to bed for the afternoon not long after she had.

Striding to the window, she brushed the curtain aside to stare out over the grounds. Everything was as it should be, nothing appeared out of place or different in any way. She let the curtain fall back in to place and poured herself a glass of water that she dropped several blood tablets in to from a tin on the table. Slowly making her way back to her room, she was unable to shake the feeling that something wasn't right. That something had changed. Whatever it was, it left her with a sense of foreboding.

"A new student?" She asked curiously, glancing at Sora while they walked down the hall so they could join the rest of the Night Class on the stroll to the Academy.

Sora nodded, adjusting his tie as they approached the stairs. "Yes, Lady Kana. Her name is Kurenai, I believe. Maria Kurenai."

Humming thoughtfully, Kana murmured to herself, "Is that so? Interesting."

"Why would it be interesting?" Riku questioned, loosening his tie as they started down the steps.

Kana couldn't help but to smirk slightly at the unconscious gesture. Riku and Sora were twins and spent most of their time together. Sora had grown into a gentleman where Riku had grown into a bit more of a rebel. Anything his brother did, he attempted to do the opposite. Where Sora was always well dressed with his hair combed and neatly tied back, Riku tended to be more rumpled and disheveled usually with his messy hair tied almost thoughtlessly back.

Shaking away the thoughts, Kana took Sora's arm that he offered to assist her down the steps while Riku took her books from her arms. "I sensed something this morning. Something strange... I didn't know what it was, but it must have been this new student arriving. I'm quite interested to meet her, I have a feeling that our trend of things not being what they seem might just continue."

"Hey, Riku!"

The shout came from a blond student, Hanabusa Aido. The young vampire noble was standing in a group of students that appeared uninterested in their friend's latest outburst.

"You still owe me for that box of pocky you stole!" The blue eyed boy snapped, glaring at Riku.

"I didn't steal them, you dropped them outside of your room," Riku shot back. "I found them, I ate them."

"And you didn't share?" Kana teased, winking at Riku playfully when he looked suddenly ashamed at not having thought to share his prize.

"You owe me!" Aido muttered grumpily.

"Shouldn't we be walking to class?" One of the other boys in the group asked. This one was Senri Shiki, a handsome noble who always appeared bored with his surroundings.

"We should."

Behind her, Kaname was descending the steps with Takuma Ichijo beside him and Ruka Souen behind them, looking as menacing as usual. When Kaname reached the bottom of the steps, he approached Kana and offered her his arm.

There was a moment of hesitation on her part, the gesture made her earlier foreboding return, forcefully. Despite her unease, however, she released Sora's arm that she was still holding and smiled while appearing for all the world to be completely flattered by Kaname's actions. Letting herself be lead forward by Kaname, Kana kept up light, genial, meaningless conversation while all of the Night students fell in behind them.

"There will be a new student joining us this evening," Kaname casually informed her while they walked side by side.

"So I've heard. Maria Kurenai, was it?" She questioned continuing with the pretense that they were in simple conversation, though the two had known each other long enough to read between the lines. Kaname was bringing up the girl for a reason and Kana wanted to know that reason.

"I understand that the girl has been quite sheltered. Apparently she is rather frail and hasn't been well much recently," Kaname told her.

"And she's well now?"

"The Kurenai family has extensive resources and powerful connections," Kaname replied vaguely.

Kana glanced over at the former vampire king thoughtfully. "Extensive resources and powerful connections, hm? Any that I might be familiar with?"

"Actually, yes," Kaname answered, drawing them both to a halt in front of the gates leading to the Academy that were just starting to creak open.

"Care to elaborate, Kaname?" She pressed, when she noticed the others staring at them she chuckled and patted Kaname's arm as if he'd just told her a joke that had stumped her and left her slightly embarrassed.

"The Kurenai's are distant relations to a certain woman..." Kaname trailed off as the gates shuddered and Yuuki's smiling face appeared to greet them.

A few steps from Yuuki was Zero. He had his usual scowl in place and was avoiding looking in Yuuki's general direction. Behind him the Day girls began to squirm and jostle in an attempt to get a better look at the Night students. He barely had to glance at them before they quieted and stilled, his anger was quite palpable tonight.

Being unable to speak to Zero or even really acknowledge him in front of the entire Night Class, Kana barely glanced at him, but in that glance there was a warning. She knew Zero sensed what she wasn't saying, she saw his scowl flicker and his brows draw together while he watched her be led away by Kaname.

The link between them had diminished in the past few days, they could still sense the other's emotions, but telepathic communication was more difficult now. At least for the two of them. She contemplated telepathically asking Sora and Riku to deliver a message, but any of them speaking to Zero now would be noticed. She would have to wait and speak with him later.

And restore the link between them.

Class dragged on into the early hours of the morning, for vampires this was no real problem, of course. The problem came when the new student arrived and caused a bit of stir by insulting a few of the nobles before advancing a little too enthusiastically on Kaname and nearly getting herself mauled by the entire Night Class.

Kana watched the small white haired girl flounce around the classroom, leaving angered and unsettled vampires in her wake. When the girl finally excused herself from the room, Kana glanced at Kaname. The man dismissed her disapproving look and simply returned to reading his book. Shaking her head, Kana rose from her desk and excused herself from the room to refresh herself.

However, once in the hall Kana disappeared. She needed to find Zero before Maria Kurenai did, the girl was not at all what she appeared. In fact, she wasn't even Maria Kurenai, not entirely at least. The body was that of the Kurenai girl, Kana had little doubt about that, but the one inhabiting the body was not a simple noble girl, it was a pureblood. One she wasn't herself acquainted with, but Zero's blood was still lightly entwined with her own and there was no denying the strange pull the girl had had on it. The soul inside of the Kurenai girl belonged to the one who had condemned Zero to a life of madness after murdering his family; Shizuka Hio.

She found Zero quickly and just in time it appeared as well. He was standing with his Bloody Rose drawn and pointed at the forehead of the young Kurenai girl. The girl was smirking tauntingly at Zero as his hand shook and a look of uncertainty flickered across his face that was so often fixed in a scowl.

"That's enough," Kana said softly, stepping forward to place a hand on Zero's wrist and gently lower his arm to his side. She did not remove her hand from his arm as she glanced coolly at Maria Kurenai who now had a slight pout on her young, pale face.

"You're ruining my fun, woman," the girl complained with a childish flick of her hair and a stubborn scowl.

Kana raised a brow and looked down at the girl with disdain. "Woman?" She questioned, her voice taking on a dark undertone. "Have you not been paying attention, child? I am the one woman you do not wish to cross. While I am supposed to maintain the facade of a well behaved student during my stay here, that does not mean that I am tamed. This world's Council and rules do not frighten me, and neither do you. Think again before you next address your former queen."

A look of shock widened Maria Kurenai's eyes and Kana felt Zero relax slightly as the girl's hold on him slipped in her moment of confusion.

"Lady Kana? Is everything alright?" Sora inquired casually, strolling out of the shadows of the school building, Riku not far behind. Both of their eyes glowing a threatening shade of crimson.

"Fine, Sora. I was just reminding this young woman that she is not as infallible as she thinks," she replied, finally releasing the eye contact she had kept with the girl since beginning to speak to her. Instead, she turned her attention to Zero, completely ignoring Yuuki as the teen tried ask just what was going on. The prefect even made as if to separate Kana and Zero, who were still standing side by side with Kana's hand possessively holding on to Zero's arm, but Kana disappeared. As did Zero, Sora, and Riku.

The wind that was stirred up caused Yuuki to shield her eyes from the dirt and leaves that were thrown into the air, when they cleared she was left staring, dumbfounded, at Maria Kurenai. The small white haired girl sighed as the wind died down.

"Is that woman really who she says?" She asked absently.

Yuuki blinked in confusion. "Kana?"

Maria refocused on Yuuki and smiled, giggling girlishly. "What a sweet and delicious child you are."

"Leave us," Kana demanded, not even bothering to glance at Sora and Riku.

Sora's cheek twitched, but he bowed despite not having Kana's attention and made his way from the garden. Riku followed a moment later, an annoyed and bitter scowl on his face.

"Who.. who was that?" Zero asked, letting himself fall onto a stone bench and dropping his head tiredly into his hands.

Frowning, Kana stepped in front of him and lowered herself in to a crouch, taking one of his hands into hers. She squeezed his hand and when he looked at her, she offered a small smile. It did nothing but make her look sad and slightly lonely.

"You already know who that was, Zero. You know who the body belongs too and you know the one who is currently inhabiting it. The question now, is; what to do about it?"

Zero was silent, his jaw clenched and his eyes narrowed while he stared down at his fist that was enveloped in Kana's small, delicate hands. He twitched unconsciously when he realized that he could feel the soft thrum of her blood pulsating through her veins.

Sighing, Kana rose while keeping Zero's hand in hers. "There's a lot to discuss, but first we should restore the link between us. Unless that's a problem?" Kana asked blandly, seeing the scowl flicker back to life on Zero's face. "Think of it this way," Kana continued when Zero glared coldly up at her. "With that woman near you risk falling prey to her every whim, you risk losing your sanity. I can stop that."

Lilac eyes flickered, curious, doubtful. Hesitantly hopeful. "What do you mean?"

"Despite the time that has passed you still have some of my blood in your veins, all hunters do to some extent as hunting tends to be a family affair. You've already seen how long my blood satisfies the hunger, and despite having been growing hungry again you haven't lost yourself in sometime, have you? If even that doesn't satisfy you think of it this way... That woman tainted something that she had no right to touch, the hunters were my creation and she overstepped her bounds when she turned you. She will pay for her arrogance, but if you want to stay sane in the meantime then we need to work together."

"You talk too much," Zero grumbled. His jaw clenched and he looked away from Kana, from the alluring scent of her and the blood running through her veins just beneath her pale skin.

"Then perhaps we should do something other than talk?" She suggested, beginning to unbutton the collar of her shirt and pull it aside to reveal her neck.

For a moment Zero only scowled up at her before saying, "Or you could finally tell me why you asked me to look for those journals. Why I keep having having dreams of Tristan's past."

Sighing, Kana sat down beside Zero and looked out over the garden while he continued to stare at her. "I wanted those journals because I need to know what happened after Kaname attacked Tristan. If, like I speculated before, Tristan's twin ate him... It's possible that while Tristan's physical body died, he lived on in his brother. They were two halves of one whole. They were incredibly connected and if they were joined together with Tristan's death..."

"You're talking about reincarnation?" Zero questioned, skeptically.

"In a manner of speaking, yes. It's a bit more complicated than that, but essentially I think it's possible that you are Tristan's reincarnation."

"Why Tristan and not his brother or some other ancestor?"

Kana shrugged, tilting her head back and closing her eyes. "Who knows?" She said softly. "If I had to guess, however, I would say it was because Tristan was the dominate twin. Tristan was strong, courageous, opinionated. He always did what he believed to be right, he was no coward, like his brother who always ran from a real fight unless he had an advantage. If Tristan's brother ate him, he ate the other half of himself and took in all of Tristan's life force, his past, his memories... Tristan was a good man, Zero. I'm sorry you're being burdened by-"

"Shut up," Zero growled quietly. "This isn't your fault. Even I know that."

Gasping, Kana looked down at her lap. Zero had just taken one of her hands in to one of his own. She smiled almost sadly before squeezing his hand. The motion seemed to startle him and he pulled his hand away from hers, a scowl flashing across his face.

"It may not be my fault, but Tristan's feelings for me were strong... You're likely going to have to learn how to deal with all of his memories and emotions. For that I am sorry, I don't exactly know how this works, but I can imagine that having someone else's memories and emotions swirl around inside of you is unpleasant." She offered a wan smile that Zero scoffed at stubbornly before rising from the bench.

"I already told you, I know it's not your fault," he grumbled grudgingly as he strode towards the path that would lead him deeper into the garden.

Sighing, Kana watched him stride away, his steps purposeful and calm. When he paused and turned back, she felt a slight pain in her chest. There really was no denying that Zero Kiryu looked nearly identical to Tristan. He was younger, yes, more stubborn and full of anger, but there was still a very strong resemblance. Looking away from Zero, she closed her eyes and tilted her face up to feel the cool warmth of the moon on her skin.

"Besides," Zero spoke up, pausing in his walk, but not looking back. "I know it's not easy for you either."

The statement took her by surprise and she froze, eyes wide as she stared at Zero's back that seemed to radiate strength and determination.

"Are you just going to sit there all night?" Zero snapped as if he hadn't just said something he knew would have an impact on her.

Jolting, Kana looked over at the lilac eyed Hunter and frowned. "You were leaving. I thought that meant you wanted to be alone."

"Like that's ever stopped you from following me around before," he retorted snidely. Shoving his hands in his pockets, he turned away again.

For a few moments, she simply stared thoughtfully after Zero before shaking her head and rising to follow him. His pace was leisurely and relaxed, allowing Kana to easily catch up to him. For awhile they simply remained quiet, walking side by side in the coolness of the night while surrounded by the scent of the roses and the nighttime blooming jasmines that clung to some of the fencing.

"Her body.." Zero began hesitantly.

"I imagine her body is somewhere nearby. I wouldn't think her magic would be very effective otherwise."

Despite the nearly non-existent connection between them Kana could feel the emotions rolling off Zero; rage, hate, loss, loneliness. Reaching out to put a hand on his arm that was rigid at his side, Kana forced Zero to a stop. His pale face was tense, his jaw clenched and his eyes fiery with his hate for the woman who had stolen his family violently away from him.

"There's something you should know," she told him, meeting his angry gaze and maintaining eye contact. "Kaname is using you."

"I already know-"

"No, you do not," Kana snapped seriously. "You think you know, but you don't. You are much more important to Kaname than you believe. You have been useful in protecting Yuuki, yes, but that is not where his interest in you ends. You are a weapon, or you will be when-" Kana cut herself off, jerking her head towards the path they had walked down before releasing a bitter snort. "We can't talk here."

Gritting his teeth, Zero released a frustrated breath as he heard Yuuki calling his name. He could also feel Kana's inquisitive crimson eyes watching him. They hadn't really discussed Yuuki since Kana had told him that the teenager was anything but a normal human girl. The growl that leaked from his throat was entirely unintentional as Zero recalled what Kana had said about Yuuki, about her being a pureblood vampire.

"Wait," Zero hissed when Kana made to turn away and, he had no doubt, disappear into the night. He didn't quite like the idea of letting her out of his sight now that they had a chance to speak for the first time in days. "The old Moon Dorm-"

Kana shook her head. "No. Our new guest has taken an interest in that place. I'm guessing it's for the same reason we did, the isolation." She twitched in irritation when Yuuki's voice broke through the quiet calm of the garden again, only a few yards down the labyrinthine path.

"The stables then. No one will be there this time of night," Zero stated.

Frowning, Kana sighed, but nodded. "Fine."

Her words were followed by a chill gust of air and she was gone, leaving an empty space beside him.

"Zero?" Yuuki called again, rounding the corner. Relief painted her face when she saw him and she released a breath before smiling falteringly. "There you are. Is everything okay?"

"Fine," he replied gruffly, refusing to look at her. "Aren't you supposed to be on watch near the school?"

"Well, yeah, but when Kana took you I couldn't just sit back and do nothing!" She protested stubbornly. "I should talk to the Headmaster about her, she never follows the rules and she's always causing so much trouble for everyone. You shouldn't let her treat you-"

"You should mind your own business, Yuuki," Zero cut in haughtily.

The brown haired girl scowled and put her hands on her hips. "You are my business! You're my friend, Zero. What's been going on with you? And what happened back there with Maria Kurenai?"

Running a hand through his hair, Zero sighed before shoving his hands in his pockets and stalking passed Yuuki. "None of your business. Stop trying to follow me around all the time, I don't need your protection."

"Who said anything about protecting you?" Yuuki shouted after him. "I'm trying to help."

"Well, I don't want your help," Zero grunted over his shoulder.

"I'm worried about you, Zero!" Yuuki argued, running after him and grabbing his arm.

"Don't touch me," he snapped, yanking his arm away and regretting his tone when Yuuki shrank back as if he had slapped her. "You don't need to worry about me, Yuuki. I'm fine."

"You're not fine. You've-"

"Got more important things to be doing. Finish your patrol and go to bed, I'll be awake for awhile longer so I'll escort the Night Class to the gates." Hands still shoved into his pockets, Zero turned away and began walking once again.

"What's going on between you and Kana, Zero?" Yuuki asked softly, but she knew Zero heard her when he stiffened and paused.

Glancing over his shoulder, he met Yuuki's eyes, "That's really none of your business, but I'll tell you again that you don't need to worry about me. You should worry about yourself."

He could feel Yuuki watching him walk away, but he had other things on his mind. Kana was at the heart of many of them and he quickened his pace, his feet leading him through the garden and down the path to the stables.

It was very little surprise to find Kana perched atop on of the shorter fences, watching him with a vague sense of curiosity as he approached her.

"Say whatever it is you're thinking, don't just stare at me," Zero said, annoyed and frustrated as he leaned into the fence a few inches from Kana.

In the light evening breeze he could smell the horses in the stable, the fresh cut hay stacked beside it. They were all comforting smells to him, he had spent a lot of time in the stables, they had become a refuge for him. A place to be alone with his thoughts and focus on small things and tasks, or just to rest with the majestic animals for company. Tonight there was another scent beneath all of that. It reminded him of walking through the woods at dusk after a rain. Wild flowers and the soft scent of the woods themselves.

Opening his eyes that he hadn't realized he had closed, Zero looked at Kana. Up on her perch as she was he had to look up at her, her face was tilted to the sky and her eyes were looking up at the constellations as they made their slow trek through the night sky.

"I've lived a very long time... Longer, perhaps, than I should have. I don't belong in this new world I've woken up in. I'm not suited to it. I've never had to make decisions that impacted the lives of so many people. I'm not like Kaname, he was always able to make decisions and give orders. Whether they were the right decisions or not, it is far past the time to judge. I'm trying to survive in a world that is torn between wanting me dead and wanting me in a cage to be stared at and used as my jailers see fit." Kana sighed, closing her eyes.

It was one of the first times Zero had truly seen her vulnerable. The first time he had seen in her eyes how leery and uncertain she was of the future. Looking away, his cheek twitching in irritation at his concern for her, he said, "You made the decision to free Tristan, to start the Hunters Association."

With a bitter chuckle, she replied softly, "And look at how that has turned out. Tristan was murdered because of me and the Association is corrupt."

For several moments Zero was silent, he simply leaned against the wooden fencing and stared into the forest that grew around the Academy.

"You and Kaname aren't as different as you think," he finally said. He could feel Kana's eyes him, curious and confused. "You're both trying to make up for the past in your own ways."

Sighing tiredly, she nodded. "I suppose that's true."

"Kaname is willing to use any advantage he has to accomplish his own goals. Are you?" He asked knowingly, finally looking up to meet her eyes.

"I don't want to use you," Kana stated honestly before hesitating. "However, I can't deny that you are useful. Quite useful. You could be the one to turn the tide for me. With you I could fix the Association and deal with the Council's interference."

"You want to control the Association?" He asked. He wasn't sure how he felt about the idea, she may have created the Association with good intentions, but things weren't what they had been thousands of years prior. She could now take revenge on Kaname if she wanted, on the Council for their treatment of her and their meddling. "What?" He questioned, slightly annoyed when he noticed how Kana was looking at him. She looked almost amused, but there was still a shadow of sadness in her eyes that was unsettling.

"I have no intention of controlling the Association. I have never intended to be in control of it, at least not solely. I'd like to play some role in it, I did essentially create it, but I have never wanted to be at the head of it. The decision of who heads the Association is up to the Association. Mostly," she said wryly, a small half grin forming on her lips.

Blinking up at her, he began to realize what her words meant. "Me? You want to make me the president of the Association?"

"It's not the worst idea," she replied lightly, a smile tugging at her lips.

"You're insane."

She shrugged. "That's certainly not impossible. However," she paused, the tone of her voice shifting and the hint of a smile falling away leaving her with a serious expression. "I don't think you realize just how valuable you are... How much power you could possess if the circumstances were right."

His frown turned thoughtful. "You said Kaname wanted to use me before. That I was a weapon. What did you mean?"

Breathing in the cool, fragrant air Kana hopped lightly down from the fence so she could look Zero in the eyes as she spoke. "Kaname's intentions have been to use you in order to destroy a certain member of the Kuran bloodline. His goal was to use your current situation of hunter turning into a vampire to his advantage. I wasn't lying when I said you have no idea just how much power lies dormant inside of you.. Kaname thought he did, but he doesn't know the true extent of what you're capable of. Even I don't. You're rather a frightening person, Zero..." She sighed, knowing she had slightly gotten off track as he stared at her uncertainly. "You already know that as a hunter you had vampiric blood within you, that makes you stronger than a typical human. When you were bitten that gave you more strength, but also put you at risk of losing your sanity. If you receive Shizuka Hio's blood..." She trailed off as she started to see a flicker of understanding in Zero's eyes.

"I would be strong, but not enough to kill a pureblood. There's something else. What is it?" He pressed. The link between them was weak, but he could sense her unease now, her uncertainty.

It was Kana's turn to visibly hesitate. "How certain are you that your twin brother died?"

Zero could only blink at her as he thought over her meaning. Of their conversation regarding twins being two halves one whole. "You.. you think that if I... eat Ichiru I will be whole and therefore.. what? Unstoppable?"

"Essentially, yes," Kana replied seriously. "If you drink Shizuka Hio's blood, and.. consume your brother you would likely gain an incredible power the likes of which have never been seen in a Hunter. You would be the ultimate hunter, you would have the power to destroy a pureblood. Easily, if I'm correct in my thinking."

"Why?" Zero asked incredulously, disbelief written across his pale face.

She frowned, looking out over the quiet calm of the forest. "Because Kaname has always gotten what he wants... He wants the one who woke him from his long slumber dead, he can't do that on his own. He needed you."

"That's it?" Zero growled. "He wants to use me to kill some relative for waking him up?"

She smiled grimly and shook her head. "Nothing is ever that easy with Kaname. Think a moment... The murder of a pureblood by a hunter...What do you think that would cause?"

Frowning, Zero glared off in to the trees. "War, most likely. Between the hunters and the vampires. Why would he want that, though? What good does a war do him?"

Humming softly, she looked thoughtfully up at the moon. "That is a good question... War is nothing but a distraction to Kaname."

Zero looked over at Kana, at the moonlight reflecting off of her pale face as she stared thoughtfully up into the night sky. A brief flash of her face, lit with laughter and warmth, flashed briefly through his mind. It was a memory that was not his own, but Tristan's. Kana turned to face him, her face lacking the light and warmth of the woman he had seen so briefly.

These flashes were becoming more regular and even in his dreams he would see the way that Kana had once been with Tristan, happy and alive, but he saw more than that too. He had seen Tristan's life in fragments and knew that the man was dedicated to creating the association Kana had dreamed of, he had made some alterations as he saw fit. Kana wasn't an authority on humans and their affairs, after all. The man had cared deeply for her, but towards the end of his life he was beginning to see how futile it was to love a pureblood. She was never going to be his. Even if she was ever to become truly his how long would it last? She would stay forever young while he rotted from the inside in what would be nothing more than a blink of an eye for her.

"Are you alright?" Kana asked worriedly, her brows furrowed.

It wasn't until that moment that he realized he was trembling, that his hands were fisted at his sides while he stared at her. He wasn't sure what kind of look was on his face, but it was obviously one that evoked concern. Looking away stubbornly, Zero struggled to relax his hands and even out his breathing.

"Fine," he grunted out noncommittally.

Frowning, Kana studied the young man before her for a moment. His eyes had gone distant just moments before when he had started to tremble and tense. "What just happened?" She inquired quietly.

"Nothing," Zero ground out bitterly.

Releasing a heavy sigh, Kana stepped in front of him and took his chin into her hands, forcing him to make eye contact with her. "The connection we have may be weak, but I still felt the emotions. I also saw them... What happened?"

"He loved you, but you two never had any future together. He knew that."

Pulling her hand back as if burned by the continued contact, Kana looked as if Zero had slapped her.

"You would stay young and beautiful while he grew old and frail. His lifetime was going to be nothing more than a few blinks of an eye to you. You belonged to Kaname. Your time together was stolen. It was all worth it, but it wasn't going to last forever."

Zero sighed, looking away from the tears that had begun to fall unnoticed from Kana's sad, lonely eyes. After a moment, Kana seemed to regain control of herself as she wiped the tears away with an almost disgusted flick of her fingers before looking up into the night sky.

"I need to be returning soon. Would you like my blood or not?" She asked bluntly.

When he turned to look at her, her eyes were blank and cold. "Not," he growled out almost automatically.

"Fine," she replied shortly, turning on her heel and beginning to walk back towards the academy. She paused after a few steps, turning her head over her shoulder but not quite looking at Zero. "I know you can't control these things you see and feel, that they are unwanted, but.. you are only seeing one side of the past and you aren't even seeing all of it. I'm sure you will in time, unfortunately... I knew my time with Tristan was short, believe me, and despite what you may think I did love him. You are right, though, I belonged to Kaname. That's a curse that I don't know I'll ever escape. I was molded specifically for him over hundreds of years, some of that will never go away. Neither will the thousands of years we spent together.

"Despite the fact that these events occurred thousands of years ago, I'm still regaining all of my memories and that makes a lot of this quite fresh, and quite painful for me. I'm in better control of my emotions and myself than I was several months ago, several days ago even, but there will always be moments where that control slips, for that I am sorry. I don't intend to be unkind or bitter, you can't control what's happening to you and if I ask you a question that you answer honestly I will try my best not to reply harshly as I've done." With another sigh, she began her trek again. "Good night, Zero."

"What about Shizuka Hio?" Zero questioned, watching Kana's shoulders rise and fall as she paused to turn back to him.

"Every moment that that woman is near you will feel the pull of her power. You will feel the insanity gnawing away at whatever amount of resolve you have left to hold on to the last remaining threads of yourself and your sanity. With her near you risk losing everything. Your sanity, your self-control, and if she wills it, your own free will."

For several moments the two simply stared at each other, the yards of swaying green grass between them whispering to itself in the wind.

Finally, Zero asked, "And you can stop that?"

"If you let me help you, yes."

He frowned. In the months that he had known Kana he had never doubted that she would help him if she could, if he would only accept it. Through her ups and downs she had never been anything than honest and warm, even if occasionally unstable. In the time since he had first taken her blood he had changed. Perhaps it was because of Tristan's memories and the feelings that came along with them, but there was no denying that he didn't hate Kana. He loathed her kind, but he felt as if even that feeling was dulled. It was unsettling, the changes he was experiencing because of her.

He didn't blame her for these changes, he didn't even fully believe he could blame Tristan's memories and feelings that had begun to haunt him so frequently. He was so used to being angry, being full of rage and hate, that having those feelings lessen was difficult to come to terms with. He was stubborn, he knew that, but his stubbornness was born out of a desire to protect himself and others. If no one got close to him, if he alienated himself he could accomplish more. He could kill Shizuka Hio and then with his revenge accomplished, he could kill himself. That was what he had wanted before Kana appeared in his life and changed everything.

"What exactly do you want from me?" He inquired.

Lips parting as she took in a deep breath and let it out, her shoulders rising and falling with the motion, Kana very slightly shook her head. "I don't even really know myself, Zero... I want to help you with the problem of Shizuka Hio and see you come in to the power that you deserve, while keeping your sanity and your free will. I want you to work with me in fixing the corruption of the Association, to possibly be the one to head it and lead it as your ancestors did. I want... I want to be able to know that the Association is in good hands."

"And the Council?" He pressed.

Her eyes flickered and her cheek twitched. She had purposefully not mentioned the Council, but it was always going to be there and it was always going to be a problem. "Kaname created the Council with good intentions... The Council corrupted those intentions and made themselves more than they should have been. They do need to be dealt with otherwise it's unlikely that there ever really will be peace of any kind between hunters and vampires. Dealing with them will not be simple, or easy. Kaname already has plans for them it would seem. However," she said quickly, noticing the question in Zero's eyes. "We talked about his plans for you, about how he wishes to use you to kill a pureblood that he can't touch himself and what that would likely do... I know that he says he wishes to create a peaceful world, and perhaps he does. Often times things must become horrifically dire before they change, before people, or vampires, come together. That isn't something we discussed, we had started to but...I.." She trailed off, closing her eyes and releasing a tired, lonely sigh. "I don't know, Zero. There is no set course for what events will take place, it's all just speculation and uncertainty."

"What about Kaname? Yuuki?"

"I honestly don't know. Enough with the questions, though, Zero. I understand your need for answers, but I can't give you all of them when I have so many unanswered questions of my own. There's still so much to learn, to understand, but that will take time. During that time we can search for answers together or we can search for them apart. The decision is truly yours. I would understand if you wanted nothing to do with me. Your life has only gotten more complicated since I arrived and it's likely only going to get more complicated from here on out because of me. I am sorry for that, it was not my intention."

"Obviously," Zero ground out stubbornly, shaking his head and running a hand through his hair in frustration. "You couldn't have known what would happen. No one could have known." Scowling, he shoved himself away from the fence he had been leaning on made his way towards Kana, hands stuffed into his pockets. "You misunderstood what I meant about Kaname and Yuuki. Do you want revenge for Tristan's death?"

"I did, but.. there is no real point in revenge. It's not something Tristan would want. It would only complicate matters, and it's.."

"Not who you are?" Zero asked.

She sighed, nodding. "I need to be getting back. Classes are nearly over."

Zero lightly grasped on to her wrist as she made to turn away and return to the Academy. "We're not done yet," he grunted gruffly.

When she made to pull her wrist free and argue that they were, indeed, done for the time being she caught the look in his eyes. He was conflicted, but there was also a resolve there. And a hunger.

"...No, I suppose we're not."


Hi all! I am so very sorry for the long delay. It has been a very long year for me. I've had a myriad of health issues including one surgery last year and yet another tomorrow. Add in to that work drama, life drama, and just plain ol' drama I've been a little tired and useless.

A very big thank you goes out to Princesa de la Luna for her help with this chapter. Her ideas and her support have been very much appreciated! Thank you, thank you!

I'm sure everyone is noticing that our dear Zero is a bit out of character, I'm hoping that the dialogue between not only he and Kana, but that he's having with himself, helps to explain that. He's dealing with a lot and he realizes he's stubborn, but that doesn't make it easy for the poor guy. The amount of dialogue I felt was important, I've not given a lot of dialogue between these two, really, and I felt it was time they both started answering, asking, more questions.

Anyhow, I have to run. I do hope you enjoyed this long awaited chapter!