A/N: Okay, I've heard it from enough people; some who aren't even on FFnet... I get it, you want more! So, I've decided to be generous and put up a what was going to be a few bonus chapters for Two Heartbeats, but is now going to become a series all on its own! So, introducing the
And Then We Kiss
Running, hard and fast against the winter winds that surged forward to knock me off my feet. My breathing was laboured and it hurt, but I forced myself to do it anyway; I was in pain. I couldn't tell exactly where from, but from somewhere, I bled and it felt disgusting. The blood would freeze to my body almost as soon as it could exit, weighing me down. Soon, it was too much for me and I let myself fall into the knee-deep snow, having hardly the strength to pull myself back up. I sat up though, with every stitch of will left in my body concentrated on this simple action. I grasped at my throat, attempting to draw breath through the searing muscles. It was obvious that I wasn't going to last very long like this.
Footsteps behind me became frighteningly loud against the once roaring wind, and everything was silent besides. I turned, and it seemed to take an eternity. I could barely make out the blackened figure as it made its way closer, eyes glowing a bright crimson against the stark grey sky. A Vampire. For some reason I was shaking with fear, and I grasped at the loose shirt that clung to my body, wet with melted snow and sweat; I knew that it would not protect me from that beast in human form, and the thought made tears sting at the corners of my eyes.
What was wrong with me? How could I let this affect me so much?
"There you are, Zero. I was worried about you," a familiar voice sighed, nearing me even further. I realized that it was the Vampire who had been chasing me before. I tried to place the voice, but it eluded me... The Vampire stood directly behind me now, face obscured by blinding darkness. He reached out and touched my shoulder, and I tried to pull away.
"Don't touch me!" I screamed, and he began to laugh. Withdrawing his hand, he knelt behind me, taking my chin in a firm hand. I struggled to escape, but my limbs were bound by some invisible force.
"What's wrong, Zero? Don't you recognize me?" The light shifted and revealed his face. I didn't believe it. I couldn't. Why would he—? "Are you afraid of me?"
I was lost for words. My mouth fell open, but nothing came out and I just stared in shock as he smirked darkly. Finally, he kissed me hard and pulled back forcefully, my bottom lip held between his teeth. It slipped from its prison, and instantly, I reached up to feel it. He stood, dragging me to my feet as well, and pulled something out of his pocket which he fastened around my neck. A collar? "Don't forget," he said, his voice a low, venomous hiss now. "Zero, you belong to me."
I stayed silent.
"Do you understand?"
I nodded, and he frowned hard. I was slow to form words, and they came at barely a whisper. "Yes, Master."
"Perfect." He rubbed my hair and then turned to walk away. "Come along, Zero. Next time you run, I'll kill you."
Fearing death more than the Vampire, I followed, my head bent to stare at the thick snow stained with red. Very soon, the landscape would hold no recollection of this happening. The snow would fill the gaps where we stood and the world would forget what it had never seen.
The Vampire lived in a large home alone with a few maids, and he took me to that place, warmed by a roaring fire. He made me remove all my clothes at the door and wrap a towel around the injury in my side. I held the white cloth there, following him to the bath. He told me that I would repay him for the towel with something precious to me — my brother would be punished.
Ichiru? But he's dead...
He summoned a maid to help me with my bath, and left. Feeling no need to wait, I climbed into the tub full of scorching water and began to wash away the cold of the snowstorm and the blood that froze to my body as a result of it. The water turned nearly black, and I laid back, resting my dizzy head. When I closed my eyes, though, it felt as if the world were shaking around me, and I was trapped in the middle of it. It was an uncomfortable feeling, and it alternated from back and forth to up and down. Slowly, I opened my heavy eyes only to find two dark brown ones staring back at me. I started violently, nearly falling out of the other side of the bathtub. The maid, who looked exactly like Yuuki for an unknown reason, laughed lightly.
"It's alright Zero, it's just me." Slowly, I sat back down in the hot water, frowning. Slowly, she withdrew a washcloth from beside her, dipping it in the water, and reached out. "May I touch you?" she asked, and when I didn't answer, she ran it along my body anyway. Whenever she did something, she asked for permission. I never answered her.
"You need to be more careful around the Master, Zero. He might lose his patience with you again... and I don't want you to suffer Aidou's fate..." Yuuki was talking about when the Master had beheaded the irreverent slave just a few nights prior. I remembered that well, because even though I was a personal slave of the Master, he made me help clean up. I didn't really mind that he had murdered Aidou — it meant that I didn't have to put up with him, and I didn't have to share our Master — but I really didn't want to suffer the same fate as he had; Yuuki was right.
She continued lecturing me on my behaviour until she was satisfied that she had covered everything and that every inch of my body was clean. Finally, she let the water down the drain, and fetched me a thick black towel, explaining that it was because of the colour of the water. I stepped out of the bathtub and allowed her to dry me, to fasten the leather collar back around my neck and shine up the silver nametag with care; currently, my wound was being stitched carefully by her skillful hands.
"You're so lucky," she told me, admiring the way my name sparkled in the light on my personalized collar "Master must really like you if he spends this much money on you."
"I hate him," I said finally, prompting Yuuki to look up at me, almost in shock. She was silent, then asked me to repeat myself. "I hate him. I want to go home."
"We all do, Zero. But this is our home now... I thought you had accepted that. It's been almost nine years..."
I had been in servitude to him for that long? And Ichiru? I asked her about him and she shook her head slowly.
"It's his own fault. If he hadn't tried to save Master's wife from her punishment it never would have happened..." And she told me nothing else. Even if she were about to, I missed it, because my name was called by a low, deep voice that nearly gave me chills. It was... Yagari-sensei?
I stepped out of the bathroom, and into a room with two queen-sized beds, made up with silk bedsheets. There was a straight path between them to the door into the hallway, and there were doors on either side of me. I stared at one of the beds, which had a gold nameplate on a cherrywood headboard bearing my name. The other bed's headboard was identical, except for a worn spot where I could tell there had been a nameplate before. But whose name used to be bolted there with their sealed fate?
"At one point it was Ichiru's," Yuuki explained just as if she had heard my thoughts. I looked down at her. "You and him used to be Master's favourites, you know? After Ichiru tried to protect the Mistress, Master had him locked away in the tower. Until recently Aidou used to sleep there... Don't you remember?"
I did. But, at the same time... I didn't. What was wrong here? What was wrong with me?
"Anyway, you had better go. If Yagari is summoning you then you probably need to get ready for Master's punishment."
"What do you mean?"
"You tried to run, Zero. That is the most unforgiveable offence that anyone can lay against the Master."