Disclaimer: I do not own the VK characters
Beta: Her Little Doll
The Midori Incident
Chapter 17: Epilogue
"Good. You're awake,"
Aidou wanted to brush back the soft silvery bangs away from Zero's forehead but since he did not have a death wish, he abstained from doing so. The vampire hunter was stirring up from his deep slumber.
"Fuck," Zero croaked, scrunching his forehead in pain.
"Golly, you've been lying down stupid like the dead and the first thing that came out of your mouth is the 'F' word?" Aidou could not suppress his chuckle.
"What 'F' word? I said fuck," Zero groaned and brought up his right hand over his still closed eyes, shielding them from the pendaflour light."I'm not dead?"
"No, and I missed your temper too by the way."
"Tch... Yeah, whatever," Zero scoffed.
Aidou watched Zero blink his amethyst eyes open. He marveled at how those clear orbs could look so beautiful despite all the hatred and suffering that lurked within the hunter's battered soul. Zero scanned the room warily; his ever cautious hunter instincts were gradually kicking in.
"You're at my house," Aidou gulped and waited for Zero's reaction.
"What?" Zero's alarm was not unexpected. He struggled to sit up on the bed and immediately let out a hiss. The bandaged wound on his left side had not healed properly. Nevertheless, the stubborn silver haired ex-human lifted the covers and swung both of his leg out to the other side of the bed to make his escape.
"Oh, no you don't!" Aidou got up, shot his hand across the single bed and pulled Zero back on it by the scruff of his white cotton pajamas. Zero was sent sprawling back onto the mattress with a painful grunt.
"Oh yes I will. Are you kidnapping me now, princess?"
It had not been easy to convince the hunters at the Association, especially Yagari Touga to leave Zero under his care. The hunters had limited resources when it came to treating an injured vampire and using that fact, Aidou had managed to persuade Cross Kaien. Kuran Yuuki was relieved by the decision but Aidou could not say the same for Kuran Kaname. Although, Kaname had said nothing, Aidou could feel Kaname's apprehension.
"Do you think I'd simply let you go after you said that you love me?" Aidou utilized all of his charms and tried to sound convincing enough to trick the enraged vampire hunter. It worked because Zero had stopped struggling. Zero's glare was replaced by panicked disbelief while his cheeks flamed red. Aidou could not help but flash one of his trademark smiles.
"That was a lie." Zero's blush had crept up all the way to the tips of his ears.
'Too cute.'Aidou decided to tease Zero,"I don't believe you. You called me princess, you said you love me in front of everyone and you saved me. So there, you love me." Aidou faked a playful pout.
"Gaahhh. Stop acting like a dim-witted girl and snap out of it before I have to kill you!"
'Okay, not so cute anymore.'Aidou smiled cheekily and ruffled the top of Zero's head. Much to his surprise Zero accepted his touch without complaint. "Fine... Now can we talk?"
Zero did not hide his relief and exhaled raggedly, "Like I have any other choice. All right, shoot."
"First of all, let me tell you that I brought you here because they are still ironing out this mess. I figured that you'd be safer with me," Aidou emphasized that particular word. They meant, Kuran Kaname, his family and the hunters.
"Tch, safe? Safe with you? And I'm getting out of here right after this conversation." Zero's sarcasm was back.
Zero had moved to sit on the edge of the bed to face Aidou. The hunter's face was partially hidden beneath his longish locks of silver hair but Aidou could not help but notice the gauntness of those pale cheeks. Zero had lost a lot of blood and all he doubted that the artificial blood solution the physician had been giving him during his state of unconsciousness was sufficient to curb with the ex-human's thirst for long.
"Takamiya is right outside that door with Akatsuki," Aidou told him.
Zero ran his fingers through his messy silver hair and huffed indignantly, "Should I feel relieved? Forget it. I'm still getting out of here. Now talk so I can get this over with."
"You ungrateful, stubborn, impudent..." Aidou tried to sound angry but he ended up chuckling instead.
"Don't waste time, princess. What do you want from me?" Zero huffed rudely at the blond.
Aidou rolled his eyes and disdain etched his striking face. "I would like to request for your oath of nondisclosure for the things that we have learned from one another during that incident."
Something sparked behind Zero's eyes. Aidou shifted in his high backed chair as Zero openly studied him. Zero spoke, "You can be rest assured that your secret has no significant value to me but I can't say the same about you. I simply don't trust you,"
Startlingly, Zero's cold words had managed to hurt him. It sliced through his heart like a piece of jagged glass. Aidou bowed his head and summoned his will to face Zero once more but Zero had opened his mouth before Aidou could.
"My words are affecting you," Zero stated. It was not even a question.
Aidou made up his mind and confronted those piercing amethyst again, "They are. It's the damned blood exchange."
Zero stared blankly at him for a few seconds before breaking into the most enthralling smile that Aidou has ever witnessed from the walking, talking, and bad tempered cold chunk of marble. He felt his cheeks smother in pink watching that smile morph into something even stranger. Laughter had come out of that tattooed throat. 'Kiriyu Zero had finally lost his marbles.'
As he waited for Zero to regain his senses, Aidou stared to catalogue Zero physical traits, that exotic shade of silver, his odd amethyst coloured eyes, the piercings on his ears and that ugly black tattoo on the left side of his neck. Instantly he recalled his last encounter with his lord, Kuran Kaname.
It was right after Aidou had brought Zero back to his home. The vampire hunter had been treated for his injuries, mainly for the wound he had sustained on his left side. Aidou had managed to stop Tomohisa just in the nick of time. Zero would have turned to dust if Kaname had punctured the heart. Seiren had appeared and instructed Aidou to follow her. Aidou had left Zero under Kain's watch and went away with Seiren.
She had brought him to one of her family homes. Aidou had never been there and he was surprised to find Kaname waiting for them in the small Japanese rock garden.
"Kaname-sama," Aidou bowed at the pureblood.
Kaname did not acknowledge Aidou's presence; he was standing by a bed of hydrangeas grown under a clump of rustling bamboo. Aidou held his breath when Kaname bent forward to pick one of the tiny flowers growing in one of the purplish clusters and straightened up. He beckoned for Aidou to approach.
"Hydrangeas are rare in this season," Kaname startled him. Aidou was bracing himself for a stern lecture or even a physical punishment. Not a comment on flowers. Kaname ignored Aidou's bewilderment and continued, "They intrigue me, Hanabusa- having an inflorescence with the form but not necessarily the structure of a panicle. They change colors according to the soil alkalinity, sometimes smoked as an intoxicant, despite the danger of illness or even death due to the cyanide," Kaname motioned for Aidou to raise his palm and deposited the flower with light purple petals into it. "Do you know of the hidden virtue of hydrangeas, Aidou Hanabusa?"
Kaname's sudden display of interest in botany bothered him. 'Why plants of all things?' he wondered. Aidou gulped nervously and answered, "No, I do not, Kaname-sama."
Kaname smiled, "A hydrangea has two, very different, sides. It can be gift to express a thank you for understanding, for devotion- it can also signify frigidity and heartlessness."
Aidou immediately remembered Zero and paled. Kaname would not use something as a metaphor unless it bore a significant meaning, his uncharacteristic display of concern towards Zero back at the bunker confirmed something that Aidou had been dreading all this while- that Kuran Kaname did have something towards Kiriyu Zero- and his decision to look after Zero had irked his pure blooded lord.
Aidou closed his fist, accidentally crushing the fragile flower in his panic and dropped to his knees, "I beg for your forgiveness, Kuran-sama. I... "
"I would like to think of you as this bamboo." Kaname pointed at a long bamboo. He was using a plant as a figure of speech again. Aidou was convinced that he was in deep trouble. Kaname's odd behavior scared him.
"You're loyal, steadfast, nurtured to serve us unquestioningly; the purest of our race- strong, flexible but unbreakable like a trustworthy Shinai. You have proven your worth to me by far," Kaname was staring at the clump of bamboo now. "However, even the sturdiest can be swayed and bent especially in the wind, especially if the wind is swirling like a coiling dragon in a thunderous storm. Who could resist a great tempest?"
"Kaname-sama, I..." Aidou was at a loss for words. Kaname gestured for him to stand, face unreadable. Aidou did, then he followed Kaname into the house. It was built like one of those old houses in ancient China. Enclosed courtyards were formed from the intersections of closely spaced buildings and offered small opening to the sky through the roof space from the floor up. Large trimmed logs, were used as load-bearing columns and lateral beams for framing the buildings and supporting the roofs. Aidou followed Kaname silently along the corridors knowing that Seiren was somewhere close, observing their every movement in her vigilant silence.
Moments later, he found himself standing in front of a locked wooden door. Kaname had led him into an underground basement. The air was damp and musty. "Do you know what lies behind this door Hanabusa?" he asked.
Aidou shook his head. Suddenly, he was fearful of the dark-haired pureblood.
"I chose you, Hanabusa. For what lies behind this door is something for which I require a great degree of sacrifice and loyalty. Can I trust you with it?" Kaname turned the knob and waited for Aidou's answer.
"I would give everything in my power to serve you, Kaname-sama." Aidou did not like it at all but his loyalty to Kaname outweighed it all.
The door swung open and Aidou could not believe his eyes. There in the dark, 5ft by 7ft room stood a silver-haired vampire he thought he knew too well. His hands were shackled, attached to a long chain trailing on the concrete floor. The other end was connected to a rusty eyelet embedded in the brick wall. Aidou stared at the gaunt face down to the grey, plain scrub-like clothes the Level-D vampire wore. His logic deduced that the vampire standing before him in the dank, unlighted space was Zero but he did not 'feel' like Zero at all. Besides, he had left Zero back at the mansion so there was no way the unconscious vampire hunter could materialize in there. "Zero?" Aidou was doubtful but he wanted an affirmation.
"Wrong twin," the doppelganger broke into a crooked smile, enjoying his disgraceful reaction. Aidou felt his insides churn. Kaname was standing in silence outside the threshold of the door, studying the situation. Aidou was sure of it, the Level-D standing by the white covered bed was definitely not Zero. 'But he looks exactly like Zero. Unless…' thought Aidou.
"Kiriyu Ichiru?" Aidou looked intently at the black tattoo, the silver earrings, the messy silver mop of hair- all too similar; he remembered Tomohisa. Aidou suspected there must be more to the picture.
"You and Seiren will be responsible to see that his existence is kept secret. You may do anything that you see fit to ensure that he stays put," Kaname had indirectly confirmed Aidou's dread that the vampire was Ichiru.
"I won't impose for long though. The insanity will eat me up unless I take back whatever I have given to Zero, you fools! I'm incomplete!" Ichiru laughed bitterly.
"Aidou will see to that little problem of yours," Kaname shifted his gaze towards Aidou and immediately, Aidou understood- he had Zero's blood in him and Kaname knew. He would have to give it to Ichiru. Aidou realized that he was being punished by his lord.
-End of Flashback-
"What did you do to Tomohisa?" Zero brought Aidou back to the present.
"I gave him a life worse than death." Aidou could not help but smile cynically. 'And do you know that Ichiru is alive?' he wanted to tell Zero but his loyalty to Kaname held him back.
"I don't need riddles," Zero rolled his eyes.
"You're hopeless, you know that?" Aidou punched Zero's thigh, making Zero glare at him dangerously. Surprisingly, Aidou did not feel threatened at all. His attachment to Zero puzzled him. Aidou was sure Zero felt the same because those amethyst eyes had warmed up for a second before they took on to glaring.
"Straight answers," Zero warned.
"I planted your horrendous memories inside his head. He's at the Association now, waiting for a trial but the last time Takamiya checked, he was still not lucid. You can read the report; Takamiya has it," Aidou explained.
"A life worse than death?" Zero sneered. Aidou narrowed his eyes, waiting for some scathing remark to escape from those insolent lips. "I'm not going to thank you, princess."
"Why am I not surprised?" Aidou mumbled and braced his palms on the sides of the chair, hoisting himself up to get away from Zero but Zero grabbed his shoulders and held him still.
"What are we?" Zero's face was blank, open and unreadable. The question shocked Aidou and he blushed. However Aidou understood Zero's meaning. They had accidentally formed a bond and it was throwing them off balance. They would need to reset the boundaries and never overstep them again. "Straight answers," Zero stated his warning again.
"Promise you won't kill me?" Aidou gulped and licked his lips nervously. Zero said nothing but nodded his head reluctantly. "You will stay still and listen and won't utter a single death threat?" Aidou asked again. Zero rolled his eyes and Aidou took it as an affirmative.
Zero was still holding him by his shoulders when Aidou swooped in and meshed their lips together. He could tell that he had caught Zero by surprise because Zero inhaled too sharply and then tried to push him away. He could feel Zero's eyelashes brushing against his cheek when he snaked his hands into the hair at the back of Zero's head and fisted those silver locks roughly. Then Aidou used his body weight to push Zero back onto the bed.
Zero landed with a painful grunt. He couldn't release Aidou's shoulders without failing to keep the blond from crushing his weight on him so Aidou seized the opportunity to part Zero's lips with his mouth, running his tongue against Zero's firmly clamped teeth. Aidou found Zero's sharp canine tooth and he deliberately grazed his own tongue against it. Blood would do the trick and Aidou would cast his morals aside as long as he got what he wanted. It didn't matter if he cheated. The connection was there; all he wanted to do was get Zero to taste him, to admit him and to accept him.
It worked because Zero reeled as soon as the crimson droplets escaped between his teeth. Blood was his weakness and Aidou triumphed over the fact that he could make Zero lose his control. Aidou smiled against Zero's lips as he felt the vampire hunter kiss him back with equal ferocity, nip his lower lip and suck. He shuddered when Zero splayed one of his palms flat against his rapidly beating chest, feeling for his heartbeat. However, Zero froze a few seconds later and broke the kiss.
"Just let go Zero, just this once," Aidou said while staring into Zero's red stained eyes. He could feel Akatsuki's agitation emanating from behind the door but he chose to ignore it. 'This is my moment,'Aidou thought as he rolled to the side and changed their position so that Zero could hover over him on all fours on the bed. He did not care about the potential danger anymore; he would have the alluring silver-haired vampire hunter all to himself. It was like tasting a forbidden fruit and he was sure that Zero felt the same. 'Taboo', 'forbidden', 'wrong', 'not allowed'- he cast them all aside. 'O ruthless, perilous, imperious hate, you cannot thwart the promptings of my soul,' he remembered the line from a poem he had read a long time ago.
"Why are you doing this?" Zero's voice was soft, concerned.
"Following my instincts," Aidou smiled when Zero cocked his head to one side in puzzlement. "You should listen to yours too," he added and pulled Zero's head towards his pulsing neck. Zero's warmth, the soft caress of breath against his skin and the earthy, musky scent clouded his judgment.
Aidou could not read the wistful look that Zero had on his face. It was as if he was trying to commit every detail into his memory and Aidou saw something that resembled a smile ghost on the vampire hunter's lips before Zero spoke to him. "I hate you."
Aidou could not hold back his delighted whimper when Zero ran his hands over every inch of his exposed flesh, his face down to the column of his neck. Then Zero followed those trails with his mouth and tongue, those steady hands moved to pop the top buttons of Aidou's dress shirt and pushed it off the left shoulder. Aidou shuddered at the way Zero's tongue flicked at his neck as he nuzzled him, close enough that he could smell the scent of that glorious silver mane. He could feel Zero's hungry eyes tracing the lines of his clavicle up to his pulsing jugular as he waited for the anticipated rapture. It finally came; Zero licked the skin carefully as if he was afraid that Aidou would break, making Aidou growl impatiently. It was all forgotten as soon as Zero sank his fangs and lapped at the welling blood. The vampire hunter was weak, almost desperate for nourishment but he was holding his thirst back. Aidou did not care, he only wanted pleasure and Zero was giving him just that.
Aidou's bliss ended abruptly because Zero only took a little, nursing the wound close. Aidou was about to protest but Zero silenced him with another kiss, only this time it was surprisingly tender and Aidou could taste his own blood on the invading tongue, brushing against his gums, teasing his palette and dancing with his own tongue. Everything about Zero appeared to be surreal because here he was, Aidou Hanabusa, a Level-B aristocrat, frolicking with Kiriyu Zero, an enemy, possibly one of the most ruthless hunter in the making like they were actually lovers.
"There's an end to everything, senpai," Zero spoke to him, hoisting him up by the shoulders so he could sit up on the bed at Zero's side. Aidou studied Zero openly, wishing that he could simply pluck the details out of Zero's head. He could try but Aidou did not have a death wish so he decided to let Zero speak his mind.
"Are you trying to break up with me?" Aidou faked a pout again and earned an annoyed swat to the back of his head. Aidou hissed and glared at Zero.
"None of this will ever happen again," Zero was serious, he narrowed his eyes and stared back at Aidou.
"Is it because of Kaname-sama?"
"Is that what you were hoping, senpai? No! This has to stop because its plain creepy, weird, bizarre and tad wrong." Zero slammed his fist on the mattress.
"So what are we, Zero? Back to being enemies?"
"Of course," the hunter affirmed.
"That is not possible. Not with this stupid bond thing between us."
"I don't understand a thing about this fucking bond. I don't have to ask you to marry me or something like that right?"
Zero had sounded so innocent that Aidou could not help but to burst out laughing. Zero swatted his head again and Aidou rubbed the spot in mock protest. "Unless the bond is formed between two beings that harbour mutual feelings for one another, there's nothing much to worry about," he explained to Zero.
Zero exhaled in undisguised relief but he asked again, "I can assure you that had never even occurred to me. Harbouring feeling? Tch…Then why are we acting the way we are right now? Given the normal circumstances, I would have slaughtered you. This, these feelings... they're damn confusing."
Aidou took a few seconds to contemplate and he remembered the events of the last 48 hours, Kuran Kaname and his sworn secrecy to keep the knowledge of Ichiru's existence from the world, especially Zero. "Let's blame it on vampire hormones, shall we?"
"So, are we back to being enemies?"
"Frenemies." Aidou grabbed Zero's right hand, planted a sloppy, wet kiss and finished off his cheeky antics with a crazed cackle. He wished he had a camera because Zero's mortified face was simply priceless.
Okay, I have some explanation to do. Her Little Doll edited this chapter for me. Then, I made some changes and uploaded it without telling her about the changes. :p So if you do come across some mistakes, it's my fault. Tsk, tsk, tsk.. My dear beloved beta is nothing but perfection. Luv you Doll!
Btw, I borrowed something from elspethie. I borrowed her concept of the blood bond. There's nothing such as a real blood bond in canon right? Or am I wrong? Elspethie wrote that the 'bond' can only be formed when there's a mutual feeling between both parties. I like this 'concept' better. Thanks dearie! Read her story "A Series of Decisions" and you'll see. Read it, read it, read it.
Thank you for those who had read, reviewed, favourite and put this story on alert. The PMs are great, you guys are great. Really. And I'm sorry for torturing you eyes/brain with my blunders. Soooo sorry..