The Locked House
Zero is an artist who recently moved into a family house in a little countryside area. In the middle of the night, he hears the most heart wrenching piano tunes coming from what they called "the locked house", a place where everyone believes is haunted. But what, or who, he finds there is more than just a ghost.
Disclaimer: Vampire Knight does not belong to be in any way, it belongs to Matsuri Hino. I'm just borrowing her characters for a bit.
Warnings: Lack of faith, mystery and Yaoi (in later chapters). AU. Unbeta-ed. All mistakes are my own.
A/N: Hello! I've always wanted to write something like this, and now that I finally have, I hope you enjoy it. Yes, I am still drowning in schoolwork, but it seemed I wouldn't be able to focus until I got this out of my system. For the kind people who follow my work, don't worry, I have not abandoned the rest of my stories, it's just taking a while to write them. –Gets kicked- Drop a review please! I would be very, very happy. I apologize for this chapter being so short.
Kaname had no concept of time.
He had been locked in this room for a very long time, he knew, but because he could only look out of the little window in the door into a dusty hallway, he didn't know exactly how long it had been. He had hoped that his people would come and free him; that they were looking for him.
Perhaps they had forgotten him.
His amber gaze fell on the piano that sat in the corner, dust gathering on its sleek surface. The only parts free of the marks of time were the keys - still relatively clean, however yellowed and slightly crooked.
"So is that all?"
The man in the suit acceded, smiling.
"I'm happy that the Kiryuu family is moving back here; I thought you wouldn't come back after your brother's tragic death. You used to visit only once a year, what made you want to live here?"
Zero sighed, walking over to the window to peer out.
It was getting darker, the trees were now simply black silhouettes against the gray-green landscape.
"This is where I remember him most."
He turned to the man in the suit again, offering a forced smile, and walking him to the door.
Kiryuu Zero was awkward around people.
He didn't particularly like being around them, nor did he like talking to them. He preferred to be alone, in a place where he could actually hear himself think. The same very reason he purchased a house in the middle of seemingly nowhere. His previous studio was in a loft in the heart of the city, where it was noisy with traffic and people and shops. His brother had lived in this place before him, because he was sickly and he needed the fresh air. He relatively liked it in the heart of the city, because he could watch the people and the way they behaved, be immersed in the atmosphere - but he decided he needed a change of pace anyway.
When Ichiru died his heart was crushed.
He had been one of the last to know. Despite being twins, Zero and Ichiru were as different as night and day. Zero was strong and healthy, artistic and easily distracted. Ichiru was weak and sickly, calculative and focused. The complemented each other. They made up for each other's weaknesses. Losing Ichiru was a great blow to Zero's being.
It felt like a part of him was gone.
They told him that Ichiru didn't want him to know how bad the illness had been, only allowing him to drop by once a year, never receiving him when he dropped by unannounced.
He had sunk into self-blame for a while after his sibling's death, cursing himself for not having noticed earlier, for not being there when his twin drew his last breath.
He unpacked the box with his easel and canvases, then dug around a bit for his paints. He didn't bother turning on the lights, it was still light enough to see as he arranged his materials. He had made sure to buy the place already furnished, so he wouldn't need to go through the hassle of furniture shopping. He didn't like wasting time.
Wordlessly, he mixed a violet shade, lightly laying it onto his canvas, before applying a thin layer of gray. He liked working with color, he liked how they could make the viewer feel emotions that didn't need to be spoken.
His art was his way of talking.
He was about to mix in a darker shade of gray when his ears picked up something that he didn't think he would hear.
Well, at least not here.
Soft, melancholic piano music drifted in from the open window, and Zero was taken aback.
He didn't remember hearing music when he came over, but then again he was never allowed to stay the night – so perhaps this was a neighbor that he hadn't been informed about? He ran through the possibilities in his mind.
No, it was impossible, the only building close to this place was but one.
The Locked House.
But it was inexplicable. The house hadn't been inhabited for near fifty years. From what he heard, all the doors are locked, and the windows nailed shut. Certainly, there were the rumors that the place was haunted- by right the place was on land owned by his family and he had never been told more than he needed to know about the place, his family had kept him as far away from it as possible when they were visiting the place as children, before the land was taken over by Ichiru - but Zero didn't believe in such nonsensical things.
No proof, no faith.
He was a practical person, and he attributed the music to someone who had probably snuck into the old house and made it his haven or something, but the piano music was really getting on his nerves. Sure, whatever that reached his ears was absolutely flawless and beautiful save for a few un-tuned keys, but he had come here for quiet, and he wanted to get it.
For tonight though, he decided, he would let the matter slide, because the music was really quite enjoyable despite the sad melody the piece held. He supposed it matched how he was feeling now, so he resumed in his movements, mixing the paint at his own pace, his foot unconsciously tapping to the sound of the piano.
Kaname wanted to die.
He wished he was mortal, who could perish so easily whenever they chose. He envied their fragility. If he had been human, he would have already died of starvation, or gone mad from what they called "cabin fever". He would have killed himself.
But no, he was still here.
In the dark. In a locked room that no one seemed to have the key to. A room that no one remembered. Where were the hunters? Had they forgotten him too?
Was this how he would spend eternity? Forgotten, alone, nothing more than a ghost?
He bowed his head in mock prayer.
No God answered him so long ago, why would they answer him now?
The piano music stopped.
Zero's brush paused as well, and he looked toasted the window, a small frown on his lips.
He hated being half-assed, and that was obviously what the player was, stopping in the middle of a bridge like that! Zero huffed, turning back to his canvas.
A dark, somber forest had appeared under his hand, blue and violet hues and shades accompanied the cool grays, what little light that shone in from the canopy was rendered a sad white tinted with yellow. Just the slightest tint.
Zero stretched, yawning a little and leaning backward to peer at the clock on the wall.
It was already 1? He hadn't realized he spent so much time on the painting, and somewhere at the back of his mind he found it totally acceptable that the piano had stopped now, and he covered his paints and made his way up the stairs for a bath and bed.
The heater was working fine, and so was the sink and everything else. He emerged from the bathroom in a fluffy white bathrobe, toweling his hair dry.
He could see the silhouette of the locked house from his bedroom, and he stood by the window just staring for a little while before he headed over to the cupboard to get his pajamas.
He had decided to use the room his brother used.
It still smelt like him, a strong scent of lavender, so nostalgic. His brother would always smell like lavender, always unhappy that Zero smelt like lilacs – 'weren't we supposed to be twins?' – he would complain. A small smile touched the side of Zero's lips as he imagined his brother lying in the queen sized bed, smirking and beckoning to him to hurry to bed like he always did when they were children.
He threw himself onto the bed quite unceremoniously, taking a deep breath, savoring the scent.
Oh god, he missed him so much.
The locked house was always dark. He didn't know why, because if there was someone who constantly snuck in, wouldn't there be at least some form of light? He had been hearing the piano music around the same time every night, and it had somewhat become part of his life in his new home.
Albeit, it had only been near four days.
He was pretty much done unpacking everything, all that was left was getting used to the place.
He knew the place well enough, having been here once every year since Ichiru had moved in, but the place just seemed so empty. He had been simply a visitor then, but he was a resident now, and the change was painfully new.
Zero stretched, yawning as he turned back to the sizzling pan in front of him, pushing the bacon strips around a bit more. The sunny side up was already on a plate next to the stove, with a little bun that he had bought at the nearest grocery store. He looked out the window – the sun was happily shining down on the earth, illuminating the greenery with a vibrancy that was absolutely stunning. He smiled to himself, sniffling a little. Damned morning sinus.
It was 10 in the morning, and he didn't feel like painting very much today, so he decided he would go outside and do some sketches. It was better than sitting around at home anyway.
He set out at 1230, after breakfast and a shower, in a white cap and polo T-shirt with three-quarter jeans, sketchbook in hand. His pencils and charcoal was strapped to his hip, and he happily made his way into the greenery to the side of his home, towards the locked house.
He had decided during his shower that today would be a good day to just explore.
He found himself immersed in the wonderful ambiance of nature, in which he found his heart was at peace and completely content. He stopped by a small clearing, where he laid down a mat and sat there with his sketchbook propped on his knee, pencil busily scratching on the white paper, lilac eyes taking in everything that came to his attention.
He moved from his spot in an hour and a half, having done enough preparatory sketches to satisfy himself, he journeyed onward, sketching random flowers and plants that caught his eye. He was drawing a particular frog when he heard something coming from the far left, and he turned to look, but when he turned back he cursed softly, as the frog had already hopped on its merry way, denying him a complete sketch.
He sighed in defeat, pocketing his pencil safely, he decided to investigate the source of the noise.
He hadn't realized, but he had reached the side of the Locked House.
It was quiet again, the sky was starting to darken as Zero walked along the security fence that had "No Entry – Private Property" signs, which Zero stubbornly ignored – this was his home, he had the right to wander where he pleased. He reached the gate of the metal fencing, briefly wondering why this place was so well guarded. He managed to find the key amongst the bunch that Ichiru had left him (he had brought it out with him), although it had taken a good ten minutes of standing there and trying each key, he managed to get the gate open.
Once he was in the fence and less than two meters from the porch of the house, he took a good look around.
There didn't seem to be any sign of break in.
So who was playing the piano at night?
He journeyed onto the porch – the door seemed completely normal, with a heavy lock. The door frame, however, was engraved with writing that Zero had never seen in his life; and Zero stared at it in wonder as he opened the door, which was surprisingly, unlocked.
The interior of the house was dusty and rundown, with no light whatsoever, making it hard to see. What little light from the late afternoon that crept in from the sealed windows didn't help very much with visibility, and Zero nearly tripped over a few random things strewn on the floor.
The layout of the house was not unlike the average house, the only thing strange was that it was so dark, and that everything that was in the house seemed to have been left there in a hurry.
Zero jumped; he hadn't been expecting to hear anything, and he looked around in a fluster to try to locate the sound, dismissing it as his own imagination two seconds later.
It was coming from the basement.