A/N: I know it's been absolutely forever, and I hope that some of my readers are still out there. This fic isn't abandoned and I will be finishing it soon. I know I haven't updated since Last year, and I feel sooo terrible, and horrible! I really hate when writers seem to forget a story and I'm left wondering if they are ever gonna update…and here I am doing the exact same thing. I hope you guys can forgive me….

Gives you the best "puppy-dog" look I can muster…and lots of cookies!

Chapter Eight: The Hoping

Kaname woke up later that day to find Zero resting beside him. The young hunter had his head on his shoulder as his chest rose and fell in even breaths. Kaname found himself mesmerized by the movements as he curled his arms tighter around Kiryuu and gently nuzzled his neck…unconsciously liking the sappiness radiating from his own being.

At first his feeling for Zero had scared him…and Kaname was never afraid of anything, or anyone. But the ways that Zero's smile…or his laugh…or even his rebellion made his stomach flutter and something pleasant pull on his heart strings…a heart Kaname never knew he had.

Zero shifted a bit in his sleep and sought to get closer to Kaname…once again seeking comfort from whatever dreams and memories plagued him while he slept. Kaname always felt a bit useless at times like these…when he couldn't do anything to abate the horrifying nightmares and all he could do is watch and console as Zero struggled with the haunted memories.

Reluctantly, Kaname got out of bed and placed a gentle kiss on Zero's forehead. He wandered down into the living room to find that Kain, Takuma and Ruka sitting and sipping on dissolved blood tablets.

"Kaname-sama," Ruka greeted instantly and Kain and Takuma nodded in his direction.

"I believe Yagari and the Chairman will be arriving shortly to interrogate the prisoners…" Takuma trailed uncertainly, as they all remembered the children currently locked in their basement. Kaname's face instantly hardened and a sudden rage of blood lust pulsed through his veins as his fangs longed to rip the jugulars from their necks.

The other three vampires must have noticed the dark and dangerous aura radiating from their leader and they instantly shrunk back and kept their mouths shut.

"Here," Takuma said, as he offered a glass of the fake blood to Kaname in an attempt to quell the daring beast within.

Kaname took the glass and downed it in one swallow, "Thank you."

"No problem…and I do also want to rip them to pieces…you are not alone in those respects," Takuma said cheerfully…perhaps a little too cheerfully, and Kain wondered if his friend was having a slight psychotic break. Takuma wasn't really one for violence and confrontation, but today he felt a maddening aura from Takuma, and in all honesty, it bothered the shit out of him.

"Seriously though, what are we going to do with the prisoners…we can't exactly use force…they're just kids," Kain reasoned, although he too felt the familiar urge to kill and maim.

Kaname sighed and sat down in the armchair opposite the antique coffee table. He looked directly at the three younger members.

"I want to make them suffer," he stated.

Kain and Takuma nodded with understanding, but Ruka shook her head and said, "With all due respect Kaname-sama, wouldn't it be wise to bargain with them instead? They are obviously not the main members…We can use them for information. There is no way these twerps were able to capture Kiryuu, at least on their own."

Kaname paused for a moment before answering. He knew that Ruka spoke some truth. He doubted that the kids even knew the complex spells and illusions Zero had experienced. But to bargain with them? No…he was going to make them beg for their lives. They deserved to be punished.

"We will wait for Yagari and Cross. I do not trust myself around the five of them," Kaname said.

As they waited in the living room for the impending visit, Kaname stiffened as he smelt a sweetness only associated with one person…Zero. He was awake…and out of his room. Kaname gracefully got up and all but rushed to see his lover…or soon to be lover anyway.

The young hunter was already on the corridor, his hand bracing the wall gently as he used it to balance his weight in his weakened state.

"Zero?...What are you doing out? You know you are still weak," Kaname spoke softly as he walked closer to the smaller figure and wrapped his arm around his waist.

Zero leaned gratefully into the Kuran's stronger frame and replied, "I am tired of being in bed all the time. I noticed you were gone."

"You need to rest."

"Shit! I am tired of resting! I am tired of sleeping all the time…I am so fucking tired of being tired all the time," Zero half screamed, his body sagging slightly in Kaname's arms…silent tears streaming down his face.

Kaname felt his chest tighten in pain and sadness. He neither had a good response for Zero, nor an alternative to his vulnerable condition. For once in his life, he was absolutely helpless, and he hated it.

Almost immediately, Zero seemed to realize his outburst and apologized, "Ano…Kaname…I am sorry…I am just a little upset is all…"

"Don't apologize. This is not your fault…and honestly, I actually missed your foul mouth," Kaname said…attempting to make the younger smile. Zero felt his lips quirk a bit at Kaname's words as he remembered all the times he had been less than kind in his vernacular against the Pureblood. He actually couldn't remember the last time he had called the bastard a "fucking asshole"- one of his more favourite phrases.

Kaname chest swelled with pride at his attempts which seemed to have succeeded. He took his thumb and gently wiped the tears marring Zero's perfect, delicate face.

"Zero…I do not understand what you are going through, but I am here to help. You know that, right?"

The hunter looked up at the Pureblood and nodded. "I don't feel like going back to bed though, if that's what you were trying to do."

Kaname smiled (not smirk) and replied, "I would very much like you to return to bed," Zero scowled playfully at the words, "but, I know you don't like being cooped up for too long. I can ask Takuma to take you to see Yuuki. I know how much she misses you."

Zero was about to retort that he could meet Yuuki on his own, a bit of his old self flaring up from within his soul, trying to break free from the confinement of memories and anguish.

Kaname could see the emotions passing through Zero's face and he felt the familiar tinges of rebellion from the boy, and if he was a lesser man…or vampire, he would have done a happy dance. But alas…that was not the case, and he conceded to holding on to Zero more tightly than necessary.

More and more of the Zero he knew was coming back, slowly but surely. Zero was too strong…and too much of a fighter to be so easily defeated and he was not going to easily succumb to the pain.

"Seeing Yuuki would be nice, but I am more concerned with the children you and the rest of the vampires picked up yesterday. What are your plans for them?" Zero inquired, and his sudden change in tone alerted Kaname that this was the main reason for Zero getting out of the safe confines of their room…yes folks…THEIR room.

"Zero, you cannot honestly expect me to spare them for what they have done," Kaname spoke firmly, locking his eyes with the lilacs of the hunter. Zero stared defiantly back into his orbs…daring him.

"They are so young, Kaname," Zero retorted.

"That is of little concern to me. They have hurt you. And for that, there is not nearly enough retribution to pay for their mistakes."

Zero's eyes widened at the admission which had fallen so easily from Kanane's lips.

The Pureblood then took Zero's hand which was currently bracing the wall and brought his fingertips to his lips as he kissed them tenderly and softly…a clear contrast to the beast which resided in Kaname's soul.

"Kaname…I-" And the words were lost on the blushing Zero's tongue as Kaname brought his mouth onto the hunter's and nipped playfully at his bottom lip, asking for entry into Zero's warm cavern. Zero parted his lips and moaned as Kaname gently plundered his mouth, the Pureblood's skillful tongue probing and tasting all areas available.

Zero's knees felt weaker with the force of such pleasure…a pleasure he had forgotten existed with such intimacy. He wrapped his arms around Kaname's neck and fingered his hands through his brown locks and kissed with a ferocity he had no idea he possessed.

Kaname seemed to notice as well, and he responded in kind by wrapping his arms around his waist and bringing Zero's slighter frame as close as he could possibly get him. Never before had the Pureblood ever felt this degree of bliss and arousal with anyone in his entire life…and that was long time.

He longed to let his hands roam Zero's body…he longed to touch the most sensitive pasts of his skin and mark every inch of milky flesh as his own. But he stopped himself. He knew that Zero wasn't ready. He had been through too much, and he knew that he couldn't handle this right now.

"Ahem…" Takuma interrupted, a light pink blush gracing his cheeks as his shifted from the couple.

Instinctively, Zero jerked away from Kaname, only to have the Pureblood's firm grasp on his waist pull him back, his chest lightly bumping into the firm one of the older male.

"Takuma…" Kaname growled in annoyance, "is there something you needed…?"

The blond vampire shrunk back considerably, realizing that he had caught his superior in a most compromising position.

"Ah, yes, Kaname-sama. Yagari-san and the Chairman are here for the interrogation. However, they would like to see Zero-kun first," Takuma spoke, forcing himself not to stutter in front of the visibly murderous Pureblood.

"I will be right there. You can escort Yagari and Cross up here," Kaname commanded. Takuma nodded and immediately left.

Zero sighed in relief and Kaname noticed the pretty pink blush gracing his cheeks. Kaname placed his hand on his face and lightly kissed his jaw.

"You should return to your room. Cross and Yagari want to talk to you, and I would prefer there be no other vampires around," Kaname spoke gently, looking into Zero's lilac coloured orbs.

"What are you going to tell Takuma? About us, I mean," Zero asked curiously and perhaps a little worriedly.

"I will tell him the truth, but honestly, it is none of their business who I choose to kiss. There is no reason to worry about the others…I will not allow them to harm you…again," Kaname soothed and his eyes widened when he heard Zero scoff.

"Harm me? Aidou caught me in a moment of vulnerability…and where I thought I was safe. I am not going to make the same mistake twice. I know I can take down your vampire friends, Kaname…at least if I had my gun…and you know it too…" Zero trailed, looking at Kaname's face carefully for any signs of mocking and doubt.

Kaname smiled inwardly. He knew Zero could take down Aidou, or Takuma, and even Kain. He had no doubt about that. He was happy to know that Zero was coming back to them…and very soon…he would be calling them "stupid vampires" and "fucking blood-suckers" all over again. And for some reason, that excited him.

He kissed Zero's hair and replied, "I know. But are you comfortable with them knowing about our relationship? I know Takuma won't say anything, if he wants to live. But the others will start asking questions soon…and I know they are beginning to notice certain things."

"I-I honestly don't know. I guess you can tell them whatever you want…but what about Yuuki.." Zero said suddenly, and a wave of silent anguish went through his heart. Yuuki had liked Kaname from the very start…and he was always sure that Kaname had liked her as well.

"We can tell Yuuki as well…"
"It will crush her. I don't want to hurt her. You knew she liked you Kuran. And I am sure you liked her back. You even admitted that you only helped them find me because Yuuki asked you to…" Zero said, breaking away from Kaname and letting his back lean against the wall for support.

"Zero…I never said I loved her…" Kaname said, his eyes hardening slightly at Zero's sudden questioning and his defensive demeanor. The Pureblood was also very confused; things had been alright just a few moments ago.

"And do you love me?" the hunter asked sharply, boring his gaze into that of the vampire. Kaname said nothing and Zero turned his head away and sighed. And Kaname couldn't help but feel that he had failed a very important test.

"Kaname…maybe we should stop this…whatever this is…" Zero spoke uncertainly, looking up at the vampire.

Kaname's eyes darkened considerably and he felt an uncomfortable tugging in his heart.

"Zero, if this is about Yuuki…"

"YES! This is damn well about Yuuki!" Zero interrupted loudly, his voice rising to an almost harsh level. Kaname frowned at the hunter's outburst…who seemed quite unapologetic.

Just at that moment, Yagari and Cross made their way into the corridor and spotted both Kaname and Zero in a not so compromising position, but both with dark looks on their faces.

"We will continue this later," Kaname said stoically and walked off, leaving the three hunters alone.

Zero said nothing and looked at Kaname's retreating back, feeling somewhat hollow inside.

"My sonnn!" the Chairman squealed in an unmanly fashion and proceeded to glomp Zero thoroughly.

Zero allowed the older male to wrap his arms enthusiastically around him, although he made no movement to hug back.

"Alright Cross…I think that's enough. Let's go somewhere private…we need to talk," Yagari said, sending a rare assuring smile in Zero's direction.

Although Kaname had suggested the use of his room, Zero took them into the Library instead, not too excited to see the bed that he and the Pureblood shared the previous night.

"Zero, it's nice to see you looking better," Yagari said finally, giving the youth a gentle squeeze on his shoulder.

Zero gave a small smile and they sat down on the plush chairs.

"Zero, I know that this may seem too soon, but we wanted to talk to you about the interrogation with the…children…" Cross stated uneasily, noting that this was a sensitive topic.

Zero sighed and nodded. Honestly though, the hunter was unsure about what he was supposed to feel. He actually felt sympathy for the children…who probably didn't know any better…taught to hate by adults they trusted and loved.

But on the other hand, the nightmares and memories still plagued him and there were frequent times when he felt hate and resentment and the familiar urge for revenge raged within him on this occasions.

"Zero, I know this might be tough, but we aren't going to do anything without your permission," Yagari spoke gently but firmly, and Cross nodded furiously right beside him.

Zero looked curiously at them, "Why do you need my permission?"

"Well…this is a very complicated matter. We have tried to make some kind of contact with the children's parents and to no avail (obviously) and you were the one captured and tortured. It's only fair that you have a say in how the proceedings should go," Yagari replied, placing a comforting hand on Zero's knee.

Zero sighed and leaned back on the chair, slouching unceremoniously with a tired air.

"I don't know what to do about these kids, honestly," Zero finally stated, not bothering to glance at his elders.

Cross nodded and looked at Yagari who replied, "We understand. But do you want to be present for the interrogation though? I'm sure Kuran won't mind, and if he did, I don't think I'd care very much."

Zero almost felt like smiling until he remembered the small argument that went down between just a few minutes ago. The silver haired youth had no desire to face Kuran so soon after that incident since he was sure that the Pureblood was absolutely furious with him.

"Kan…I mean, Kuran is conducting the interrogation?" Zero asked, only barely managing to cover up his slip of the tongue.

The older males noticed Zero's slight mistake, but made no move to comment. Instead, Cross spoke, "Yes. Actually, he requested to be there personally."

"He did?"

"Yes," Cross responded whilst observing Zero. Something was going on between the two…it was as clear as night and day.

Yagari also seemed to notice but was unsure whether or not to broach the topic with the young hunter.

"How long do you think the spells they used on you would wear off?" Yagari asked instead, genuinely interested in knowing when Zero would be at his full power.

Zero thought for a moment, almost forgetting the spell placed on his lower back which prevented illness and infections, yet keeping his body weak.

"Actually, I don't know. I can show you the seal and you can see for yourself," Zero replied, grateful to be brought out of his musings about the Pureblood.

He got up with the grace of a cat and lifted his shirt to reveal the seal to both men. Yagari touched it gently with his index finger.

"It looks as though it is fading, and it's not Hunter Magic. It seems to be weakening considerably, especially since you have been feeding on Kuran," Yagari commented and noticed how the boy tensed at the mention of the Pureblood.

"I feel stronger…at least much stronger than a week ago. So I guess we can call that progress," he replied nonchalantly and returned to his seat.

"I see," Cross replied sympathetically. It truly hurt him to see his "son" in such a weak, vulnerable state. Zero was always so strong and steadfast, that it broke his heart to watch him struggle with so many more demons…too many more for someone as young as him.

As much as the both men wanted to inquire about the Pureblood situation, they managed to refrain themselves until Takuma burst into the library.

"Yagari-san! Cross-san! The Kronos have activated Kaname-sama's charm. Ruka, Aidou and Rima have already left to apprehend them!" the blond exclaimed excitedly.

Yagari and Cross were already on their feet.

"Is Kuran with them?" Yagari asked swiftly, already making his way to the door.

"No," Takuma answered slowly, "He wanted to stay and interrogate the kids in case this turns out to be a trap…"

"I see," Cross answered again, "Yagari, go with them. Your skills would prove useful. I would stay here with Kaname and Zero."

Yagari nodded and both hunter and vampire left the library in haste.

Zero simply looked at the empty doorway, a feeling of helplessness washed over him.

Cross touched his shoulder and guided him once again to the chair.

"Zero, I need to know if you want to be present when the interrogation takes place," Cross asked gently, not letting go of Zero's shoulder for a second. Kiryuu had thought about it…he had thought about it long and hard. But he was unsure whether or not it would be the safest thing to do.

He was never one to run away from his problems, but he didn't think he could face those kids. He wasn't afraid…no…he wasn't. He had survived the worst and he knew he was healing, but for the sake of his own sanity, he would rather remember them as the innocent teenagers he hung out with in school.

He would rather remember them as being his friends and Yuuki's friends…he didn't want to remember them as being his enemies, especially when he seemed to have so many already.

Cross seemed to know Zero's answer from the look on Zero's face.

"I will come up and visit you later. You should rest," Cross spoke, and kissed Zero's forehead gently, leaving the hunter alone in the library with his thoughts.

"Kaname-san, what are your plans?" Cross asked as he made his down the graying concrete steps leading to the cold basement.

The Pureblood said nothing because there was nothing to say. He didn't have a plan per se and his mind was still reeling with the argument he and Zero had earlier.

If Cross noticed his lapse, he said nothing and continued on.

The five teenagers were held in a small cell protected with a spell which prevented their escape. One of the boys sneered at their arrival and watched their movements with piercing blue eyes.

The other four said nothing as they observed the three men carefully and with hooded gazes.

"You can release the spell," Kaname commanded Cross and the Principal obediently released the spell.

Cross gently guided the five of them out the cell and made them sit on old, rusting metal chairs in the centre of the room.

Kaname towered over the teenagers and turned his gaze to Sayori Wakaba, the supposed friend of Yuuki and Zero.

"Who are you?" he asked coldly, leveling his stare uncomfortably on her. She said nothing.

"Why did you kidnap Zero?" he asked…no answer.

"Kuran, I don't think we would be getting any answers anytime soon," Cross reasoned, already thinking of a truth spell he may have in his arsenal.

He looked indifferent at the whole exchange, but inside, his soul was filled with turmoil and anguish. Sayori and Nadashiko were students at his school…he was supposed to be their protector and guide…not their interrogator.

Kaname looked at them coldly, dully.

"I don't think they would miss a few fingers," he stated even more frigidly than before.

Everyone stiffened.

Cross looked at Kaname incredulously. He knew that the Pureblood was in a foul mood, and honestly, he wasn't quite sure what Kuran was more upset about: the plot to kill all Vampires…or the kidnapping and torturing of Zero.

"Kaname…I really don't think that's necessary," Cross reasoned uneasily, trying to steer the older male from a road of self-destruction.

"I think it is."

The five adolescents froze and their indifferent looks changed to one of horror as the gravity of the situation cemented itself frightfully within them.

Sayori had been certain that Cross would not allow anything close to physical torture to happen to them because of their age and affiliation with the school. She also had been sure that Cross would eventually let them go.

However, she was growing uneasy with the malicious glint in the Pureblood's eye and the uncertain one in Cross'.

Surely, he will not allow Kaname to hurt them? It went against all his morals and ethics.

"Kaname…think about this. I cannot allow you to harm these children. We will find some other way to get the truth from them. But they will not be losing body parts any time soon," Cross said gently and firmly, hoping that Kaname would at least reconsider his strategy.

Sayori and Nadashiko looked smugly at Kaname, whilst the other boys simply curled their lips in a simple act of triumph.

Cross knew it was a mistake to interrogate the youngsters without some kind of organized strategy.

But when the tracker and charm was activated, they had to move quickly in case it was a trap and everything went to hell. These kids were the only leverage they had at the moment, and they were soo young.

Kaname directed his wine coloured orbs to stare straight into the eyes of the Principal.

"Zero is also a child. He is only seventeen, or maybe you have forgotten? He acts older than his age, but he is still young…and he has been tortured beyond our beliefs and understanding…" Kaname said quietly, letting the words wash over Cross.

Cross felt insulted. Zero was like his son…of course he knew he suffered! He was not stupid. But an eye for an eye was not his way…even if he was raging mad.

"Kaname…" he muttered, not sure what else to say. Of all the hate being spewed between the Hunter and the Pureblood, it seemed as though they had created a bond that Kaname held very close to him. It became even more apparent that Kaname was doing this more out of revenge than for actual information.

It suddenly dawned on him that Kaname didn't care whether these children lived or died…once they had suffered and paid for the sins committed against Zero. Sins he had yet to have any kind of knowledge about.

"Kaname, we are going upstairs. Now." Cross spoke, looking at the Pureblood and moving away from his stance.

Kaname now had an unobtrusive aim and view of the five kids. He itched to hurt, mail and kill. He longed to take Zero's revenge.

"Zero would not want this," Cross told him softly and Kaname tensed. The beautiful image of Zero surfaced in his mind and even though their fight was still in the forefront of his mind, he could not shake how lovely he looked…all fiery and rebellious.

If Zero found out that he had hurt these disgusting cretins, he would never be able to mend their fragile relationship.

"I can compel them to speak the truth," Cross said.

"What?" Kaname asked, being brought out of his musings.

"There is a compulsion spell which was once used by Hunters. It's not really used anymore because there have been cases of brain damage and psychological trauma. It's difficult and risky, but I see no other choice if they do not wish to speak," Kaien said, looking straight into Kuran's eyes. The Pureblood quirked an eyebrow.

There was a sharp intake of breath from one of the boys.

"Brain damage you say?" Kaname asked rhetorically, immediately picking up what Kaien was doing.

"Mhmm. I have done it a few times, but all the prisoners became vegetables…well except for one, he went stark, raving mad and killed himself with a rusty blade. Took him four hours to die. Tragic really."

"Can you do it now?"

"I can…who should go first?"

"Sayori Wakaba."


"Wait! Wait!" Sayori screeched, her eyes widened in fear and horror, the most emotion she had shown all night.

"What?" Kaname bit our harshly, causing all five to flinch.

They said nothing else, but Wakaba was breathing heavily, almost on the verge of hyperventilating.

Cross shook his head and moved closer to the gasping girl and he spoke, "The process is usually painless, but I don't know what your state of mind will be after this. I am sorry. You are giving us no choice." He truly sounded sorry and apologetic and just as he was about to out his fingers on her head, one of the boys screamed.

"Wait! Please! Stop!"

Kaname looked at him, "Is there something you want to tell us?"

The boy breathed in harshly but just as he was about to speak, Nadashiko interrupted.

"Don't tell him anything Yuu! Don't be an idiot!"


"Yuu, listen. We don't want to hurt Sayori, but we will if we have to," Cross said…gently…soothing.

The boy, Yuu, had bright blue hair with black streaks. It reached his shoulders. He even had bright blue eyes as he looked frightfully from Kaname to Cross.

"I can't. This is Sayori," Yuu spoke, more to himself than to anyone in particular.

"Tell us what we want to know, and we will not use the spell on her," Kaname spoke firmly, looking at Yuu with absolute disgust, causing the boy to flinch away.

"O-Ok…I will tell you everything you w-want t-to k-know. Just…don't hurt her…please," He pleaded.

Both men nodded and Cross turned his attention away from Sayori to the blue haired boy.

The others remained silent as they waited for their friend to spill all their secrets.




Aidou, Kain, Yagari and the other vampires dredged their way back to the Academy after a few hours of fighting. Honestly, Yagari was expecting a much more formidable opponent. The kids certainly weren't the main members at all.

Their parents, grandparents and he even had the "pleasure" of meeting Sayori Wakaba's older brother.

They were much more skilled in illusions, magic and spells than in actual combat and weaponry. Yagari, however, had to admit, that without Zero's information, they would have had a much harder time taking them all done.

The Cronos relied on getting into your mental personal space and once they were in, it was almost impossible to get them out.

The only issue right at that moment was Ruka, who was leaning heavily against Aidou and Kain. She let her guard down in a moment of arrogance and the Cronos fed from her mind like a vampire to blood.

It was unnerving to see the once so stoic vampire in a fit of screaming, writhing limbs as she screamed from the images invading her mind.

However, Aidou was able to get to her before any more damage could be done.

The house in the town was a mess. A bloody mess. Aidou and Kain had gone into a rage, killing, slicing and tearing any human flesh they could get their hands on, and for a brief moment, Yagari was actually afraid that they might come after him too.

They had killed everyone. There were no survivors, and from the looks of it, it seemed unlikely that there were any other members.

Ruka didn't seem too battered, and with some blood and rest, she ought to be fine.

Whilst killing humans was not Yagari's forte, these magicians had hurt his pupil almost beyond repair and that was enough to ease any guilt he might have felt.

However, strangely, that wasn't even the main event which highlighted the afternoon.

On the way to Academy, Yagari and the other vampires walked into Kaito Takamiya…or perhaps it was the other way around.

"Sensei," Kaito said gently, moving to hug the older man on the dark road. The young brunette simply quirked an eyebrow at the group of vampires following his former teacher.

"Long story," Yagari sighed and proceeded to walk with his past student, whilst the others followed behind them, trying to allow Ruka to keep up them whilst being supported by the two males.

"I believe I already know this long story," Kaito spoke softly, not looking Touga in the eye.

"Really?" was his disbelieving response.

"I had been tracking the Cronos for a few months…however…I was not aware of Zero's disappearance until about a month ago," Kaito spoke, sounding truly regretful at that piece of information he had lacked.

"You knew about the Cronos and said nothing?" Touga demanded almost angrily.

Kaito paused for a moment and looked apologetic.

"I was tracking them on my own when the Association President's pet, Jin Nakamura, was kidnapped and turned up dead and tortured."

"The President has pets?" Touga asked, a look of utmost disdain on his aging features.

"Only Jin. He was turned a while ago. It was rumoured that he was…the President's…lover…" Kaito trailed uncomfortably.

Yagari simply shook his head, not bothering to dignify that statement with a response he could not think of at the moment.

Kaito continued nevertheless, "There are…were…three other branches of the Cronos. I was not aware that any other Hunter was on this Investigation. I was on my way to discard this group when I realized that you and your band of rag tag vamps beat me to it."

Kaito's lips quirked in a small smile and Yagari smirked as Aidou sputtered behind them.

They walked until they finally reached the welcome gates of the Academy.

"I am here to see Zero…if you don't mind," Kaito stated, not asking for permission.

"He's in the Moon Dorms. He was placed there for care and protection. He is still very weak so watch your mouth," Yagari joked lightly.

Kaito smiled. He remembered how he and Zero butted heads all the time over the most trivial things and they could never get along. However, they were placed on a case together and it was then that they both realized that they worked well together. Rivalry turned into a tentative friendship and then they were close to best friends.

He knew Zero did not make friends easily, and neither did he, but this was a relationship he would always treasure, and it hurt his heart to know that he was not there when Zero needed him the most.

They walked into the Moon Dorms immediately only to be met by an almost giddy Cross and a stoic Kaname in the foyer. Each with a glass of wine in their nimble fingers.

Kaien almost squealed when he saw Kaito walk in with the rest of the vampires. Kaname simply appraised him with his cheery orbs and turned his attention the limping Ruka and the others.

"What happened?"

"We killed all the bastards, that's what happened!" Aidou exclaimed punching the air in excitement.

"I will take Ruka upstairs. She just needs some rest," Kain said and Kaname nodded, barely glancing at the brown haired female.

"I am going to see Zero," Kaito said instantly, not bothering to acknowledge the Pureblood.

"He is asleep," Kaien spoke gently, reaching out to hug the brunette, "You can see him later."

"How are the kids?" Yagari asked, sitting down on the plush sofas.

"We played Good Cop/Bad Cop!" Kaien said excitedly as he explained that he was the "Good Cop" and Kaname was the "Bad Cop."

He also explained that Yuu and his brother Isi, had spilled everything after they threatened to use a compulsion spell and turn Sayori into a living vegetable.

Yagari simply smirked at that. There were no such things as "compulsion" spells, but there truth serums, though they were rare.

"Well, what did they say?"
"There are four branches of the Cronos in total…"

"Dead," Kaito deadpanned.

"Dead?" Kaname repeated.

"I killed the other three factions. It's a long story Pureblood, I am sure Yagari will fill you in," Kaito said condescendingly as he refused to look Kaname.

Kaname said nothing…strangely not feeling insulted at the least. Kaito reminded him of Zero's antics and he found himself not minding it all. He actually found it quite amusing now.

"The children were actually quite knowledgeable. They managed to find out where the Pendle Manuscripts were being held. They knew that Zero was captured, but they did not know what their elders were doing with him," Kaien said softly, knowing that the extent of Zero's torture was a sore subject.

Kaname had filled him in with some of the bare basics, but nothing else, stating that he had promised Zero not to betray his trust. Kaien understood begrudgingly and said that he would wait until Zero was ready to tell him. He was getting even more curious and suspicious about their relationship, but he wasn't going to pry.

His instincts told him that there was a deeper bond between them now, and he was not going to begrudge either of them any happiness they could find.

Kaito rose and proceeded to walk up the stairs.

"I am just going to check on Zero. It's been a while since I saw him. I…won't wake him…I just need to see him…" Kaito trailed gently, his tone going from hostile to affectionate in an instant.

"I would prefer if you do not walk around as though you own these walls," Kaname spoke smoothly, but dangerously.

"I frankly don't give a shit what you prefer. Zero is my friend and I will see him."

The air in the room was tense with thick hostile emotion and Kaien stepped in before things got ugly.

"Kaname, I am sure Kaito has been worried sick. It will placate him just to see Zero. They have been friends for a long time," Cross reasoned gently, nodding to Kaito.

Kaname felt something close to jealousy flare rapidly in his heart. His mind kept telling him that Zero was his, and his alone, and Kaito had no right to demand to see him when he wasn't the one to find him and nurse him back to health.

Sighing and shaking his head, Kaname said, "Don't wake him up. He has had a hard few days."

Kaito's facial expressions softened and he nodded.

Kaname walked towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Yagari asked, "we haven't finished this Cronos business yet, you know."

"I am done. I know where the Manuscript is…and I know what I have to do. You and Cross can take care of the children. I am going to see Yuuki," Kaname answered, and left without waiting for a reply.

"Damn grumpy vampires," Yagari muttered under his breath as he followed Cross into the basement to finish up this Cronos shit.

Read and Review Please! 3

Not proof-read. Simply put together thanks to IamGhostWriter and SHHH