Kaori didn't know what to do.

Her mind went blank; all she was able to do was watch the girl, who was standing at the door of bathroom with a vicious smile on her lips, her red eyes gleaming dangerously.

Why had she left her stick in the bag? She always took it everywhere!

She was getting careless.

"It was pretty hard to catch you, Kaori-chan~" the unknown vampire said, her voice mocking. "We were getting impatient."

Kaori knew who 'we' meant. It looked like Yuuki-kun was right, they were after her and her brother.

"H-how did you get in?" she was able to mutter, although it took a lot of effort.

She had always wondered what she could do when they come for her and Akira. She always thought that she would be strong and determined, that she would do everything to protect her and her little brother.

But now, she was completely useless and vulnerable, completely at the mercy of the vampire.

"Oh, it was pretty simple to convince the owner of this inn to invite me inside." the girl answered, her tongue running over her lips.

Kaori had a pretty good idea what she had done to the man.

"But enough with this pleasant small talk." the girl said, moving one step inside the bathroom.

Kaori took a step back, while the girl took another in.

It continued until Kaori's back hit the wall. She had no place left to run. Her way to the door was blocked by the vampire.

She knew that it was her end. There was no one to protect her.

She only hoped that Yuuki-kun would protect Akira with all his might. And somewhere inside her mind she knew that he would.

This thought was a small comfort for her.

She screamed when cold hands suddenly pushed her shoulders against the wall and red eyes accompanied by that terrible smile were hovering just in front of her face.

When did she get so close to her?

She had no idea. She had to have been lost in her own world for a moment.

"Itadakimasu~" she heard the whisper in her ear and closed her eyes.

Awaiting teeth to sunk into her skin.

Awaiting the pain.

And the numbness.

=S H I K I=

Natsuno had to admit that Akira was very good, even better than he thought. After all, he was able to put the ball in the goal few times already.

When the ball passed Natsuno's head again, he stopped suddenly.

A cold shiver ran down his neck.

Something was amiss.

"Akira, we have to go." he said suddenly, picking up the ball.

"But why?" the younger boy whined, wanting to play more. He knew that there wouldn't be many chances to do it in the near future.

"Just trust me, we have to go back." Natsuno answered.

He didn't want to scare the boy until he was sure that his worries were correct.

=S H I K I=

Kaori held her breath, waiting.

But the pain never came.

Instead, the cold hands were suddenly ripped from her shoulders and she was free to sink down onto the floor.

She opened her eyes, curious about what was going on.

Relief washed over her when her eyes met the back of a familiar figure who was standing protectively in front of her, looking at the vampire who had been thrown into the opposite wall.

"Yuuki-kun..." she whispered quietly, clutching her robe even closer to herself.

"Are you all right?" he asked, turning his head slightly to her, but his eyes didn't leave the vampire.

"Yes." she answered shortly, knowing that it was enough for him.

She fought with the tears which had started to pool in her eyes.

Natsuno nodded and in a moment, he had the vampire pinned to the wall, in a similar way as to how Kaori had been just a moment ago.

There was fear visible in the red eyes.

"I hope that the rest of your flock will take it as a warning." he whispered to the vampire, quietly, so Kaori wasn't able to hear him. "I'm not going to let you hurt her or her brother."

The vampire girl looked at him from the corner of her eyes.

"Why is she so important to you that you decided to leave your safe place?" she asked, really curious.

"That's for me to know." he answered, before putting the stick in her chest.

The vampire let out a terrible scream before falling silent. When Natsuno let her go, she fell to the ground, unmoving and dead.

Kaori covered her ears the moment the scream started. It was terrible and inhuman.

And it reminded her too much about the things which happened in Sotoba.

And she had tried so hard to forget them.

Natsuno knelt in front of her, watching her carefully.

He knew he had screwed up. He was supposed to protect her and on the first day she was almost killed.

Hearing footsteps behind him he turned around quickly, looking at Akira, whose eyes were traveling from the dead vampire on the floor to his sister, who was still sitting on the floor.

"Akira." Natsuno said, wanting to get the boy's mind from the scene. When his eyes concentrated on him, he continued. "Get you sister some clothes and pack for us. We are moving."

The boy only nodded, and moved from the bathroom to the room.

Natsuno looked back at Kaori. She looked up at him and smiled a little, though it was shaken and forced.

"I'm fine, really. She didn't do anything to me." she said, her voiced slightly choked.

She kicked herself mentally. Why couldn't she be stronger?

"You are not fine." she looked slightly surprised at Natsuno's firm and yet soft voice. "You were holding everything inside for too long, Kaori. I'm sure that what has just happened shocked you a lot. Stop hiding it. I know how you feel." he stopped for a moment and looked her straight in the eyes. "You can let it all go now. You don't need to be strong. I promise that I won't leave you alone from now on. I'll protect you and Akira."

Kaori looked at him for a moment.

There had been too many changes. There was too much going on.

Could she trust him? Could she afford to put her life in his hands?

He had just protected her from being turned into a monster, from being killed.

She wanted to trust him. In his eyes there was nothing but sincerity and honesty.

So she decided that it was worth a shot. She would try to trust him.

That's why she rested her head on his shoulder and cried in his arms.


edited: Dark Akuma Hunter