A/N: I'm terribly sorry about the long wait everyone! I've been so busy that I lost track of time! Thankfully I got this little pearl of a chapter written out though! Hope you enjoy it! ^-^


Maki stormed her way past the masses of people that had quickly become the bustling night life of the city. She refused to look up at anyone as she passed, too angry and fearful of what emotions they might accidentally see plastered on her face.

She gently worried her lower lip between her teeth as she pumped her arms back and forth to quicken her pace. She just needed to get home. If her parents asked why she had come back, she'd simply say that she didn't want to talk about it. Her parents respected her enough to allow her a little privacy when it came to her personal life.

"Maki!" Karin's sing song voice called out to her from behind. Maki froze at the sound of her best friend's voice before she lowered her head so her bangs shadowed her eyes from view. Maki heard the sound of twin footsteps, and realized that Karin wasn't alone. Sure enough, Usui was faithfully at Karin's side when they came into Maki's line of vision.

Karin bounced to her side before she quickly dipped her head to try and sneak a peek at Maki's face, "Is everything OK, Maki?"

"Everything's fine," Maki assured her flatly. Maki saw Usui's face falter slightly at her tone, and he looked like he was about to say something, but he remained silent and observed her somberly instead. Thankfully Karin bought it and smiled at her before she linked her arm around Maki's.

"That's good! Now, let's go back to my house! We can take a bath together and I'll tell you all the gossip between Usui and I! You always like hearing about that!" she laughed happily as Usui let out an embarrassed grunt while his face grew steadily redder. Karin tried to tug Maki back towards the direction of the Maaka mansion, but faltered when Maki didn't budge.

"That sounds like fun, but I – I think I'm just going to go home tonight, Karin," Maki replied softly as she gently pulled her arm out from Karin's grip, "I'll see you at school," she added as she continued on her way. Karin didn't argue, but Maki knew that she desperately wanted to stop her.

Karin might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but she had always been able to sense Maki's mood flawlessly, even when she tried to hide it from view.

"Maki..." she heard her friend murmur worriedly after her. It was only when Maki thought Karin had left that she relaxed. Only to jump out of her skin a second later when Karin's body suddenly appeared before her, and she nearly collided with Maki.

Maki shrieked in surprise and rapidly gasped for air as she tried to collect her barrings. Karin merely grinned cheekily at her while Usui gave her an apologetic smile. The taller teenage boy stood a few feet away from Karin, but he had somehow been able to get in front of Maki too.

How had they been able to do that? Maki hadn't even heard their footsteps!

"Let's walk to your house together!" Karin chirped as she bounced happily at the idea.

"Yeah, it'll be fun," Usui assured her kindly. Maki let out a defeated breath before she reluctantly agreed. It would be smarter to have at least someone walking with her, especially when the sun was about to set.

Karin linked arms with both Usui and Maki as she happily began to hum while they walked in unison together. Maki blushed slightly at her energetic behavior, but smiled nonetheless. Karin always seemed to brighten up any situation without fail. Maki only wished that she could be honest to her about Ren, and what had transpired between them.

But even as the admission tickled at the back of her lips, Maki held back. Even though Karin was her best friend, she still worried that Karin would hold her actions against her. She felt that Karin might think Maki had betrayed her for giving in to her brother and allowing him to bite her. Would she resent her for it? Would she push her away?

Sure, Anju hadn't seemed fazed by Maki's admission, but she had already known about it. Karin had no idea...

"Maki?" Karin murmured as Maki blinked out of her thoughts and gazed at her best friend expectedly.

"Yeah?" she asked back when Karin merely stared at her in silence.

"Something is bothering you," Karin pressed before she tightened her hold on Maki's arm. Karin's hand came dangerously close to Ren's bite marks that Maki held her breath and stiffened, already anticipating the pain that was bound to come.

"Maki?" Karin gasped in surprise as she quickly removed her arm like Maki's skin had burned her, "are you hurt? Did I hurt you?" she questioned hurriedly as she gapped helplessly at Maki's arm. Maki held the arm against her chest defensively but shook her head.

"No, my skin is just a little tender..." she replied back softly. Maki noted Usui's eyes widen at her words, but again he remained silent by Karin's side. Did he suspect that she was bitten? Did he know? Suddenly Maki's head was filled with stressed thoughts of Usui spilling everything to Karin that she broke out into a cold sweat.

"Maki! You're sweating! Do you need water, are you going to faint?" Karin pestered her further as she spastically looked around like the answer to her question would be written on some unforeseen sign.

"N – No! I'm fine! I'm just a little sweaty, that's all!" Maki laughed awkwardly as she tried to both comfort her friend and change the subject. Karin seemed less than appeased, but she at least stopped looking around like the city was on fire. Maki let out an inward sigh at how quickly her mood had escalated in such a short time.

"Hey Karin, look! There's that little charm shop you wanted to check out last night!" Usui stated suddenly, catching the vampiress off guard. Karin's eyes widened to the size of saucers as she spotted the brightly lit and very small pink shop with its rounded doors simply beckoning all that passed by to come inside.

"Do you mind if we go in?" Karin asked the two excitedly. Maki smiled before she nodded for her to go ahead, and Usui ushered his girlfriend inside. Maki held back, but was surprised to see Usui pause as well. He smiled at Karin happily from outside as she bounded into the shop like a child with a sweet tooth in a candy store.

When Karin seemed to forget them altogether, too lost in all the adorable merchandise around her, Usui turned to glance at Maki.

"One of the Maaka family members bit you, didn't they?" he asked her flat out. Maki gaped in surprise at his bluntness, but gazed back at him apprehensively. He seemed to take her silence as a wordless confession and held her forest green eyes in his rather terrifying glare.

He had told her, among other students in their class, that he was never purposely glaring at them. His eyes were simply set that way, and he had no control over it. Either way, Maki couldn't suppress the fearful shiver that ran down her body at the intensity of his stare.

"My skin was tender once, too," he began, his words catching Maki's immediate interest as she stood straighter and studied his face as he continued, "after Karin bit me the first time. She had needed blood to stay alive, and I supplied her with mine,"

Maki's eyes widened at his words as she listened intently to what he said next.

"After that day, anyone who tried to touch my neck where she had bitten me brought on a fierce burning sensation. I soon found out that Karin was the only one who could touch that area without it hurting," Usui explained as he continued to hold Maki in his unintentionally dark gaze.

"What did you do?" she couldn't refrain herself from asking. A rather sad smile graced his features as he glanced at the ground for a moment before he returned his eyes to her face.

"I confronted Karin's family about it," he replied, and all Maki could do was stare at him in surprise and awe at his bravery. As if able to read her face easily, he smirked before he acknowledged her wordless compliment with a faint nod.

"What did they say?" Maki asked insistently.

"No one had ever heard of such an occurrence before," Usui shrugged, "they said that many vampires in these modern times never had such a relationship with a human before. They assumed that maybe because we were so close, Karin's bite had a certain power over me. Or perhaps that because she was a blood generator rather than a blood sucker, her bite might have different affects on humans as well,"

"Do you believe that?" Maki asked.

"I did at first," Usui admitted, "but Elda, Karin's grandmother, pulled me aside and told me something else entirely. She said that Karin might have 'marked' me as hers,"

"Marked you?" Maki questioned.

"Yes. Elda said that in her time vampires liked to mark what humans were theirs to ward off other vampires from feasting on or killing them. But there were a few cases where a vampire would mark a human, and the bite inflicted on the human's flesh would become sensitive to the touch of anyone but the vampire that had bitten them. A far stronger 'mark' if you will,"

"Why are you telling me this?" Maki asked back feverishly, suddenly finding that Usui's words were hitting far closer to home than she would have liked. Suddenly, she didn't feel like talking about vampires or marks any longer.

"Because I think you've been marked, like I was," Usui replied sternly, his voice demanding her attention. Maki shut her mouth obediently at his rather harsh tone, and he relaxed slightly before softly murmuring an apology.

"I don't want to scare you," he assured her bashfully, "I just want to help. I felt lost and alone when it happened to me, so I can only imagine how you feel,"

"But how do you know if I was even bitten? I could have simply burned my skin on the stove," Maki replied swiftly, hoping to cast some doubt in Usui's confident eyes. But he didn't buy it. Instead, he merely smiled at her.

"Show me the burn then," he urged gently. Maki blushed slightly at having her own bluff thrown back at her before she hastily looked away.

"Why should I? I don't need to prove anything to you," she snapped back stubbornly. Usui's eyes softened slightly at her harsh words, but he didn't seem to take them to heart.

"That's true, you don't need to prove anything to me," he agreed with a carefree shrug, "I just wanted to offer my support, given that I'm another human you can talk to about vampires, if you need to," he added. Maki blushed again at his offer.

She couldn't deny that she felt a sort of kinship to Usui after he admitted to having similar symptoms after getting bit by a vampire. It wasn't like being bitten by a vampire was a common occurrence that she could just talk to anyone about.

"I'll keep that in mind," Maki muttered, still too proud to thank him for his offer. Usui seemed fine with her answer as a gentle smile softened his rather harsh features.

"That's all I ask," he replied before he glanced into the shop, his eyes shining brightly when he caught sight of Karin, "we should probably go get Karin before she decides to blow her entire week's pay check in that store," he added. Maki nodded and followed Usui into the shop.

Karin barely batted an eye at them as she cooed over a phone charm she found that looked surprisingly similar to the bats that Anju had sent to watch over Maki. Maki stiffened at the thought as she gazed out of the shop, and let out a breath when she spotted the bat trio hanging upside down from one of the thin silver beams situated over the store window.

For some reason, knowing that Anju was looking out for her eased Maki's fidgety spirits. It felt nice to know that she mattered so much to the little vampiress.

"Look, Maki! Isn't this one adorable?" Karin giggled in glee as she held out a bright pink bow charm for Maki to see. Maki nodded her approval at the charm before Karin begged for Usui's approval. He wasn't so easily swayed.

"You have to pay the electric bill this month, Karin," he reminded her, "you don't need to waste your money on an overpriced phone charm," he added as Karin pouted prettily and Usui glanced down at her in surprise before a blush heated his face.

"Save your money. I'll buy it for you," he offered in a muttered whisper.

"But, Usui! You have to save your money too! Your mom is expecting you to help out with the bills. I couldn't let you buy this for me," Karin responded pointedly before she pouted at the charm and reluctantly set it back down where she had initially found it.

Maki watched as her friend struggled to pull herself away from the pile of cute charms, and gave in.

"I'll buy it for you, Karin," she offered happily. Karin glanced back at her in surprise before her eyes grew large.

"Really? That's so nice, but Usui was right, I don't really need it," she replied with the slight shake of her head. Maki's smile merely grew as she tossed her a careless shrug.

"It's fine! I don't have any bills that need to be paid, and I should give you a present for letting me stay with you for these past couple days,"

"Maki..." Karin murmured happily before she suddenly clobbered her. Her arms wrapped around Maki's neck as she pulled her thin frame against her busty one and held her tightly, "I'm so happy that you're my best friend," she cooed as Maki merely waved her off and grabbed the charm Karin had been eying so eagerly.

She hurried to the checkout line and paid the shopkeeper the amount that he asked for. It was a bit overpriced, but the look of sheer joy on Karin's face when Maki presented her with it made the purchase worth while.

"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" she happily chanted as she delicately caressed the bow and doted upon it like it were a living creature. Maki paused as the thought of the little bat charm sparked her interest suddenly.

Hurrying over to the pile where she had last seen it, Maki let out a happy sigh when she found the charm sitting atop the stack. The chibi bat's yellow eyes seemed to idly stare back at her shimmering ones as if it had been expecting her to return for it. She picked up the charm by its black strap before she headed over to pay for it as well. For whatever reason, she couldn't imagine leaving the shop without it.

Karin eyed the charm curiously before she winked approvingly at Maki when she gave the shopkeeper more of her money.

When the group finally decided that it was time to leave, Maki had happily attached her new chibi bat charm to her phone. Karin had also attached her pink bow charm, and proudly showed it off to her other two companions.

Maki laughed at her friend's antics, and for the shortest of moments, had completely forgotten about Ren and their fight. It was only for a moment, though, for in the next she spotted the trio of bats still patiently waiting for them outside of the store.

She eyed them with a smile, hoping that Anju could see through them, and be able to see how much better Maki was feeling.

Unable to help herself, she wiggled her pinkie finger at them in greeting. The bat closest to her shuffled its wings about its body for a moment before it settled down again, sending her its own form of greeting in return. She smiled at it before she hurried after Karin and Usui.


Bridget Brownlick found herself lost in the many streets of the strange city that the Maaka family called home. She angrily blew a stray strand of blonde hair away from her eye as she huffed and puffed her way through the crowd.

She noticed a lot of male oriented stares in her direction in mild interest, somewhat curious as to whether or not she'd come into contact with a human showcasing her blood affinity that night. She had only entered the city a half hour before, and hadn't had much luck, but she also hadn't really been looking, either.

She had had a different agenda in mind. Taking down that vampire hunter that had returned to Japan after so many years. Sinclair, she snarled the name in her mind, utterly disgusted at the thought of a meddlesome vampire hunter trying to tangle in vampire affairs.

"And I could have visited my Renny tonight, if only I didn't have to take care of that fool," she growled angrily under her breath. She kept a low profile as she walked, hoping to take the vampire hunter by surprise if she ran into him. She doubted he would be stupid enough to openly hunt in front of all of these humans, but she might at least be able to follow him into a secluded area...

Her lips curled into a deadly smile at the dark thoughts that filled her mind. Of all of the things she could do to the vampire hunter. Of all the ways she could punish him, body and soul. She had just started picturing the scenario when the screams of a human caught her attention.

"Make way! I must get through! There is a vampire close by!" a young man's voice cried out over the crowd. Bridget's pointed ears pricked up at the sound as she tried to zero in on who was making all the fuss.

A moment later the crowd made room for a young man with blonde hair and blue eyes. Bridget eyed him curiously for a moment, noting how attractive he was for a human. She would have enjoyed eying the handsome boy a little longer if she hadn't noticed his choice of attire.

There, out in the open, was a boy clad in a vampire hunter's uniform.

Bridget held her breath as his blue eyes scanned the crowd, two metal rods in his hands. They twisted and spun in his palms as he glanced around menacingly. Bridget felt her skin crawl as she studied the boy. Could this boy be the vampire hunter that the others were so worried about? She had the desire to chuckle at the idea, but didn't want to draw attention to herself.

She'd simply wait and see if his instruments pointed him in her direction. She, like the rest of the crowd, stood motionless as he waited for his instruments to settle. When they finally stopped moving, and pointed forward, the boy let out a cheer of anticipation.

"I am hot on the vampire's trail! Fear not, civilians! I shall return victorious!" he assured the crowd, most of which didn't seem to really care. Bridget watched the boy bolt into the crowd in hot pursuit of his "vampire."

She snickered lightly to herself at his incompetence as a hunter, but stopped when she caught a familiar scent. Her nostrils flared and her eyes glittered mischievously.

"Oh Renny, it seems you have decided to come to me instead," she purred happily as she pushed her way through the frozen crowd. She no longer cared who stared at her now. She had a delicious vampire to sink her teeth into.


"Here we are!" Maki proclaimed happily as she glanced back at Usui and Karin once they reached her house. The bookstore entrance was locked by now, but Maki always hid a spare key to the back entrance under the rug by the door.

"Thanks for walking me home," she added as her friends nodded.

"It was fun! Thanks again for paying for my charm," Karin giggled as she snuggled the charm against her cheek affectionately. Maki merely smiled back before she noted Usui's rather neutral expression. He pulled a smile when he noticed her staring.

"We'll see you at school, but if you want to stay with me and my family at my house, don't hesitate to ask," Karin added before she clobbered Maki with another fierce hug. The green haired girl merely laughed before she returned the hug just as fiercely.

"Have a good night, and be safe on the way home!" Maki wished them farewell as the couple turned to start walking. Usui looked back for a second longer than Maki deemed appropriate, but noted that he was mouthing something to her.

"Don't forget," his voiceless command both shook as well as settled Maki's nerves when she realized the meaning behind those words. He didn't want her to forget that he'd always be there to help her if she had any questions. She curtly nodded her head to him in return.

Before long the couple was out of sight, and Maki hurried around to the back of her house where she found the spare key. She delicately unlocked the door before shutting it just as softly. She was about to head up the stairs to her room when she noted that a large garbage bag was pressed up against the wall.

"Of course Dad was too lazy to take out the trash," Maki muttered under her breath with a heavy sigh. She tip toed over to the discarded trash bag before she picked it up and tip toed her way back to the door. She gingerly unlocked it before opening the door once more.

Maki balanced the heavy garbage bag against her back as she shut the door behind her, mindful that it was kept unlocked. She walked over to the dumpster at the edge of the alley before she flung the bag into it and made her way back.

"Renny bab – who are you?" a sudden high pitched feminine voice squealed in surprise. Maki whirled around to spot a beautiful petite blonde in a long brown dress standing in the alleyway. A perplexed look screwed up her seemingly flawless features as she studied her closely. Maki visibly gulped before she hastily turned back around and made her way towards the back entrance of her house.

"Don't you dare ignore me!" the woman shrieked angrily before she suddenly appeared before Maki, blocking her path with her tall and elegant figure, "tell me who you are, and why you smell so much like Ren Maaka," she commanded Maki feverishly.

Maki froze in fear as she struggled to compose herself, her own shock at this woman's strange abilities enough to stop her witty tongue cold.

"Speak!" the woman ground out before she grabbed Maki's blouse and forcefully pulled her closer, "speak now or I'll kill you right here, right now," she threatened darkly. Maki gazed into her burning blue eyes before a wave of courage swept through her, and her features relaxed.

"Get your hands off me," Maki ordered flatly, finding it odd that she suddenly felt so calm. She didn't fight it though, and instead found solace in the fact that the woman looked like she had been taken off guard by Maki's change of attitude as well.

"No human orders me around," she seethed as she moved in closer until their faces were only mere inches apart, "Ren Maaka is mine. Whatever connection you have to him, end it now," she hissed.

"There is no connection. There never was," Maki spat back angrily. The woman smiled at her before she threw her head back and laughed.

"Do you take me for a fool?" she smiled at Maki before she hastily grabbed for her wrist and thrust the green bracelet aside, "then explain this!" she commanded hotly, and Maki let out a scream of pain as the woman's fingers gripped the sensitive bite marks on her wrist.

Her fingers leapt off of Maki's wrist like the marks had stung her before her enraged shriek echoed in the alleyway.

"He's marked you as his? How dare he!" she seethed, seemingly more to herself than to Maki, "he's supposed to mark me! I am a full vampire worthy of him! Not some lowly human who can barely protect herself!" she snarled in a rage before her crazed eyes found Maki's once again.

"I know," she giggled suddenly, "I'll just kill you. With you gone, there will be nothing keeping Ren and I apart," she stated giddily before she grabbed Maki's side ponytail and roughly angled her head so that her neck was exposed to her.

Maki shook fearfully against her hold as the woman smiled down at her menacingly, the moonlight casting shadows along her face. Maki watched in horror as the woman's teeth elongated on their own accord before she steadily drew closer to her exposed neck.

Maki shut her eyes the moment she felt her hot breath caress her chilled skin, but let out a gasp of surprise when the pressure she had been exuding on her neck suddenly disappeared. She cautiously cracked one eye open only to see that the woman had been thrown against the wall at the far end of the alley.

She stared out at her in dazed confusion before she spotted a figure standing in front of her. His long legs were covered in a dressy pant suit followed by a bright green dress shirt that loosely hung on the figure's broad shoulders. A head of short silvery hair instantly clicked in Maki's mind as she struggled to stand.

"Don't move," Ren's silky voice commanded, and Maki halted mid-stand before she awkwardly fell back on her butt with a light grunt of surprise.

"What are you doing here?" Maki asked as the vampire continued to keep his back turned to her.

"What do you think I'm doing here? I'm here to save your naïve ass," he growled back impatiently.

"How did you – " she began but paused when Ren gestured to the bats perched on the rooftop above them. The bat trio stared down at Maki from their hanging position, and Maki let out a heavy sigh.

"I kept on eye on you after you left. I couldn't simply let you wander around the city with Sinclair still on the move," he replied. Maki blushed slightly at the realization that the bats she had assumed were Anju's were really Ren's. Her smile and pinkie wiggle greeting came back to mind as her cheeks flushed in embarrassment at the thought that she had been playfully motioning to Ren the entire time.

"If you're still pissed at me for earlier...I'm sorry," Ren grumbled the last part, and had Maki not been hanging on to his every word, she might not have heard it. She smiled slightly at the thought of him apologizing for his actions, but it quickly fell when the woman at the opposite end of the alleyway got back on her feet.

"Ren! How dare you mark a human? I'm supposed to be your one and only," she whined before she moved in on him and wrapped her arms around his waist, "bite me, Ren. Make me yours, right here, right now. Do it in front of your precious human. Show her that marking her means nothing!" the woman urged hopefully, almost gleefully.

"What nonsense are you spouting out now, Bridget? I've already told you, I'm not yours. Why would you go after Maki? Are you that delusional that you think I might love you if you killed her?"

"Renny – what is the meaning of this? You aren't acting like yourself! She's changed you, hasn't she? Don't fret, my love. I shall kill her now, so that she won't have this affect on you any longer," Bridget's voice escalated and softened in an odd symphony of sounds and rhythms that Maki could only conclude that she was insane.

"Enough! I'm tired of this stupid game," Ren seethed, "leave now before I decided to kill you myself,"

Bridget looked at the other vampire like he had grown another head before a smile spread across her face.

"Kill me? Renny baby, you barely escaped with your unlife the last time we 'argued,' how could you possibly have the power to take me down now?" she teased, her own confidence sending shivers down Maki's spine.

"I didn't have my Blood Mate with me the last time," Ren replied surely, and signaled to Maki. Maki blinked in surprise before she glared daggers at Ren. How dare he entangle her in his web of lies? She wasn't going to risk her life on a bluff!

"Blood...Mate...?" Bridget breathed before something akin to fear darkened her features, "that's impossible...You're lying! No vampire has found their Blood Mate! Not since the twenty first century began!" she insisted urgently, as if to convince herself of the fact more so than to her opponents.

"It's true. Maki cannot be touched by another without feeling pain. She belongs to me. Body, mind, and soul,"

"Lies! Lies, I tell you!" Bridget shrieked as she madly shook her head back and forth in denial. Maki felt courage seep into her system at the sight of the vampiress shuddering in fear. She quickly got to her feet and made her way to Ren's side, and confidently wound an arm around his waist.

He turned to glance down at her through hooded lids, but Maki merely hinted for him to play along with the silent pleading of her eyes.

"It's true," Maki stated surely as Bridget gazed back up at the couple, "and as his Blood Mate, I shall do whatever it takes to ensure that he gets all that he needs from me to overpower you," she threatened, and was surprised at how sure her voice sounded.

Bridget's eyes narrowed dangerously at her words, but she kept her mouth sewn shut. With a grunt of annoyance she stood at her full height, easily towering over Maki as she did so, before she disappeared inside a massive group of bats.

"Don't think this is over. Ren will be mine. I'll return when I find a Blood Mate of my own!" Bridget's voice promised menacingly from within the field of bats before they dispersed into the night sky.

When the last of Bridget's bats disappeared, Maki let out a heavy sigh and slouched forward.

"I was so terrified," she admitted before she glanced up at Ren with a wry grin, "good job on the whole 'Blood Mate' bit. She totally fell for it!" she complimented.

"That wasn't a bit," Ren replied as he surveyed her under partially hooded lids. Maki gulped at the sultry tone in his voice before she finally found her voice once again,

"Then what was it? The truth?" Maki asked back quietly. A devilish smile slowly spread across Ren's face before he wound an arm around her waist and playfully tugged her against his front.

"You tell me," he murmured as he inched his face closer to hers. Maki's cheeks flushed at their closeness before she roughly shoved him away, flashing back to what road a similar situation had led them.

"Don't you start that again. I'm still angry about the last time you tried hitting on me," Maki grumbled, but couldn't free herself from his hold. She noted with a slight grimace that his playful smile had faded and he seemed to be studying her gravely instead.

"You're no fun," Ren conceded after a hefty silence had fallen between the two. Maki blinked in surprise at his response before she quickly glared at him.

"What's that have to do with anything? You're the one who tried to play with my emotions, what did you expect? That I'd forgive you and let you continue to tease me? I don't think so!" she huffed.

"I apologized," he pointed out. Maki shut her eyes impatiently before she began shoving at his chest again.

"I don't need this. I wanted to be in my bed and asleep ten minutes ago," she seethed as the vampire growled slightly at her struggles.

"Your bed? Why wouldn't you desire to sleep in mine?"

"Because I know you'd be there,"

"Ouch,"

"Don't play innocent!" she seethed, "Admit it! You'd be teasing me within the first five minutes! I wouldn't be able to sleep a wink!"

"True, but that doesn't mean that I – "

"That's all I need to hear," Maki interrupted him before she crossed her arms over her chest, "now, if you please, I'd like to go to my bed and get at least some sleep,"

"Why would you need sleep when you have me at your disposal?" Ren asked curiously, as if he were truly stumped by the question.

"Ren," Maki grumbled his name impatiently. Ren let out an arrogant sigh before he stared at her in all seriousness for what felt like the first time that night.

"I can't let you go back," he insisted, "Sinclair is still hunting us down, and now that Bridget knows where you live...I can't trust your safety here,"

"My 'safety' isn't any of your concern," Maki bit back.

"It is to me," Maki paused at that, truly taken aback by the tenderness in the vampire's voice. Did he truly mean that? Her heart did a flip flop in her chest at the thought.

"Come back with me. You can sleep in my bed, and I promise not to disturb you for the rest of the evening. At least give me the small reassurance that you'll be safe for another night," Ren added, and Maki could only stare back at him in mild disbelief. He sounded like he actually meant what he said.

A small smirk tugged at the edges of his mouth, as if amused by her surprise.

"Do you promise?" Maki asked as she eyed the silver haired vampire suspiciously. His smirk grew into a grin as he unwound one of his arms to present her with his pinkie finger.

"Pinkie promise," he answered, and the childish words somehow sounded mature coming from his lips. Maki felt another blush coat her cheeks when he wiggled it at her in a similar manner that she had done to the bat she had thought belonged to Anju.

"Alright! I believe you! Just let me lock the back door, and we'll leave," Maki conceded in defeat. Ren was grinning from ear to ear, obviously pleased with himself, as Maki went to reluctantly lock the door and put the key back in its hiding place under the floor mat.

"At least I took the trash out," she muttered under her breath before she felt Ren's arms snake around her waist once more. She sent him a hot glare, which was met with a pearly white grin.

"I'm merely making sure that you're secure," he assured her silkily as he pressed his lips against her ear, "wouldn't want you to lose an arm or leg on the trip back," he purred. Despite her better judgement, Maki shivered against him as her heart beat faster in her chest at the sheer closeness of their bodies.

Choosing to ignore him, while secretly loathing the fact that he just had to be so attractive, they disappeared into a field of bats. Maki shut her eyes out of surprise before they popped open when she felt the weightlessness sensation overtake her suddenly.

The world that had previously been around them had dissipated away, and Maki found herself surrounded by darkness. Ren's arms tightened around her waist slightly, as if sensing her fear, and she relaxed against him. Knowing that he was there, and that she wasn't alone, made the trip slightly less jarring.

A second later the world returned to her, and the couple landed softly on the floor in front of Ren's bedroom. Maki took in the familiar sight of the darkened hallway before she felt Ren remove his arms from around her waist to open the door for her.

"After you," he offered as he stepped back to allow her room to walk inside. Maki nodded before she glanced at Ren worriedly.

"What about your family? I was supposed to talk to them about keeping my memory," she murmured back anxiously. Ren simply smiled before he shook his head.

"Leave them to me. Just sleep for now," he assured her. She smiled slightly at him before she nodded, trusting him to be true to his word. She turned to walk into the bedroom, but faltered slightly before she turned back around and threw her body against him.

She felt him stiffen slightly in surprise at her action before she wound her arms around his waist and held him tightly against her.

"Thank you, for saving me," she murmured timidly against his shirt. She felt him instantly relax against her body before he let out a humorless laugh.

"You're welcome," he replied before he draped one arm around her shoulders and returned the embrace. They soon broke apart before Maki wished him goodnight and disappeared into his room. Ren softly closed the door behind her with the slightest of smiles.


A/N: Done! Well, with this chapter at least! ^-^ Hope everyone liked it!