A/N: So my first VK multi-chaptered story. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Vampire Knight

The early winter wind tickled his nose as it blew, the crunching of frosted leaves irritating him with every step he took. Despite the fact that he had told the Chairman that he'd be fine in just a thin jacket for this mission, the cold was starting to get to Zero, and he stuffed his hands into his pockets and nudged his arms closer to his body.

The mission was to eliminate three level E vampires and one level D. He had gone on many excursions just like this one, so he knew it wouldn't take him any time at all.

Chairman Cross had told him that the vampires were last seen outside of town, near one of the old mills. There were two, and the vampires had taken to the abandoned one facing west, and Zero was grateful for that.

He always hated having to hunt the idiotic vampires in the public eye. One of two things would always happen; one, people would go into a massive frenzy, fleeing with ear-piercing screams and appear even more vulnerable than they already were. It would leave the Association to track down all the civilians to wipe their minds. It was a long and exhausting process, and not everyone had their minds cleared.

The second scenario would be that the amount of pedestrians would be less; however, they would actually become interested. Full-fledged fascinated. Zero didn't understand it, but then again, he was sure that if those girls back at the academy ever figured out the Night Class were a bunch of vampires, they wouldn't take off. Nevertheless, these people would hang around and ask questions, but in the long run, it was easier to wipe their minds of the whole event.

Zero scowled when the bridge came into sight, and then the two mills. The sun was setting, so he knew which one to go to, and he quickly made his way over the wooden bridge and onto the grass, which thankfully for him wasn't littered with leaves.

Using his vampire senses to pinpoint the other creatures, Zero crept up to the decomposing building, his hearing able to pick up on a few voices. Of course they were talking about which side of town to strike next, driven by sheer thirst. He was able to detect where the three level Es were, and he instantly put his focus on finding the level D.

A wind blew through him again as he quietly pulled out the Bloody Rose, the gun familiar in his hand. He didn't bother with disconnecting the chain, as that would make a noise.

Peering through a broken window, Zero was able to make out the three dark figures twitching anxiously inside, and he immediately knew that the level D had some kind of control over them. They were waiting for its command, when to start their killing spree.

Knowing that it would be relatively easy to dispose of these three, Zero without another thought rounded the corner and burst through the shabby wooden doors, taking the three by surprise. They hissed like any other vile vampire, two having sadistic smiles curving their faces into an even more contorted picture.

Wrinkling his nose in disgust as the aroma of days old blood and guts washed over him, Zero held up his weapon, taking no delay in firing. The first two were easy targets and were eliminated on the spot, but the third bounced up with a defending hiss, its bloodlust showing clearly in its eyes.

Moving quickly on his feet, Zero backed up, minding the old machinery as he shuffled around. The vampire was climbing along the rafters, an eager look on its face. Without a thought of what it was about to do or the consequences that would follow, the daemon lunged at him hungrily, and Zero fired instinctively, holding his ground.

Dust blew into his face as the vampire disintegrated on contact. Everything went deadly quiet, and Zero remembered that there was a level D still hiding. He could sense it now, so he moved around carefully, keeping the Bloody Rose out before him as he rounded the dusty machinery in search.

There were a few creaks and another hissing noise, but no physical sign of the despicable vampire. Zero kept his wits about him and was about to call the creature out when something snagged his gun's chain.

He was whipped back since the metal was attached to not only the weapon but his jacket, and Zero found himself pushed face first against one of the aging machines, a strong hand digging into the small of his back. He was able to keep a hand on the gun, but the vampire had grabbed that wrist and twisted it. The chain was pulling into his throat, choking him.

"How delicious you look…" the vampire sneered into his ear, pulling at the chain and making the hunter gasp as his air was becoming limited. The hand in his back kept pushing in, making his bones ache. "I think I might just have you as my meal…vampire blood is so satisfying."

Zero grunted, trying to get some air into his lungs. He knew that only if he were able to maneuver his hand the right way, he could pull the trigger and the bastard would be dead. It had been too long since he had taken that pureblood's blood, and his strength was waning each passing day. The chain was tugged tighter and he coughed.

The vampire must have replaced its hand on his back with its knee as Zero grunted when the daemon grasped his hair and jerked his head sideways, revealing his pale neck.

His vision was starting to go black from the lack of air, and Zero knew he needed to do something in the next second. His only hope would be moving his hand to position the gun properly.

Swallowing harshly as he squeezed his eyes shut, Zero knew that the vampire wouldn't pay his gun any more mind the moment he felt hot breath sweeping over his neck. His fingers twisted rapidly, trying to instruct his wrist to move back a little bit more. His head was starting to feel heavy, and as he pulled the trigger, everything went black as he collapsed to the ground.

Chairman Cross sighed as he signed a couple of papers. It was late afternoon as freezing rain pattered against the window, adding to his ever growing anxiety, and he forced himself not to get up and look outside. He will show up, he kept telling himself. There were four, he probably had to track one or two of them.

However, his self-reassurances didn't do anything to keep his concern for his adopted son at bay. Zero had been gone for two days since he had sent him out on this simple mission. It was just like any other, and it should have been taken care of easily enough since it was just outside of the town.

But Zero had yet to return.

It didn't help that winter break was in a couple days either. Students would notice his absence if he was gone any longer, and they would question. And Yuuki…

She was such a sweet girl. She knew of Zero's hunting, and would be the first to notice this kind of delay. Cross hated to see his adopted daughter so distressed, and if Zero didn't come back soon…

He sighed again, his normally happy-go-lucky mood not even attempting to distract him.

Suddenly, there was a knock on his door, and he straightened in his seat behind his desk. "Come in," he answered, having a good idea of who it was.

Kaname Kuran entered respectfully, his cool façade never failing. He closed the door behind him and walked up to Cross's desk, his hands in his pockets.

"Yuuki's worried," he said calmly, "I take it that Zero isn't back yet?"

Raking a hand through his hair, Cross answered, "No, unfortunately. I don't know what's taking him so long. It should have been an easy mission. He's gone on ones like these many times before. Three level Es and a D, no problem for him."

Kaname merely stood there, but Cross had an inkling he had something to propose.

"Would you like us to search for him?" the pureblood asked, the "us" meaning him and the noble vampires who were attending the academy.

The Chairman had built a bridge with his hands and had set his chin atop them. "If it isn't too much trouble. The sooner he's back, the less my precious Yuuki has to suffer."

Kaname nodded knowingly, but again, Cross had suspicion that he had something else to say. He was proven right.

"However, in exchange for finding him, I would like to have permission to take Kiryuu under my wing over winter break. To teach him how to control his thirst better since there's a limit on how many blood tablets he can take," the pureblood explained. "I'm not always going to be around to control him, and you know as well as I do that he'd hate to take anyone else's."

Cross nodded. "It wouldn't be any good either to keep him locked up in that dungeon every time he's thirsty," he added with a quirk of his lips. He glanced back up at Kaname though, contemplating on whether or not to grant permission. He was sure that once Zero was found – hopefully alive, that is – Yuuki would no doubt want to be with him until she was sure he was okay. But with a pureblood tracking down a level D, Cross knew that it wouldn't be too hard, and if they were lucky, Zero could be back at the academy by tomorrow morning.

Pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose, the Chairman nodded. "Of course. He may not like it, but I suppose he'll have to learn how to control his thirst without you to intervene sooner or later."

Usually it was the other way around, with Aidou knocking on his door. But he knew that the blonde vampire would never be unfaithful to him, no matter how much he despised Kiryuu Zero. The door opened and Aidou made a quick bow as his sleepy face became one of alert obedience.

"Is something wrong, Kaname?" the aristocrat asked a little tiredly, as it was still a little early.

Kaname cut to the chase. "Chairman Cross has asked me to search for Kiryuu. You are to help me."

He knew that under any other circumstances that Aidou would've blanched and refused to help in any way. In this case, the blonde straightened even more and nodded swiftly, not about to disobey him, a pureblood.

"I'll be right out, Kaname," he said before closing the door to fetch his coat and shoes.

Kaname walked downstairs and waited for Aidou by the front doors. None of the other nobles were down yet, but class for them would start in an hour or so. Aidou finally came bounding down the stairs, determined to help him find their enemy.

Chairman Cross had given him the location that he had given Zero, and with any luck, they'd find him there instead of fifty miles away. Fortunately for them, it had stopped raining, but night was quick to blanket the area.

They kept on their toes as they went through the slowly de-energizing town, looking for any sign that Zero might be in some apartment or store. Kaname could only pick up on the scent of Zero meandering through a couple days ago, and it never drifted off.

Crossing the wooden bridge at the end of town and both noticing a stronger scent of the ex-human, Kaname and Aidou took a little precaution as they neared the abandoned and silent mill. They couldn't detect any activity if any other vampires were present, but once they were within a couple feet of the rotting building, they both picked up on the scent of the deceased vampires.

"Three level Es and a D, right?" Aidou questioned. Kaname confirmed with a curt nod as they made their way in. "Well, there's no doubt he got all of them. Do you think he just ran off?" It was an absurd thing to think; running away would be the last thing Kiryuu Zero would do.

They moved silently through and around the machinery, a rather strong scent of blood assaulting their senses. Squinting through the growing darkness, Kaname and Aidou easily spotted Zero.

He was splayed out on his back, unconscious. The Bloody Rose sat in his limp hand, its chain fallen across the hunter's chest. From what they could make out, there was a sign of strangulation as a faint line was pressed into his neck. Zero's head was turned to the side, but the two vampires were able to see that something had cut him, as blood had pooled around his temple.

Without a word, Kaname moved to pick Zero up, intent on bringing him back to the academy.

A/N: O.O So what'cha think? Things'll pick up considerably next chapter. Thanks for reading!