A/N: This is my first foray into writing for Kaname and Zero and I wouldn't be here at all if it weren't for the kind encouragement of Yengirl. With gentle wheedling and cajoling she convinced me to put pen to paper as it were, and this is the result.
It gave me much pleasure in the writing and I do hope that it gives pleasure in the reading. Reviews would be greatly appreciated. Please note that in this story neither Kaname nor Zero is a vampire and Zero is in the guise of my angelic being as in my previous stories.
Dedicated to Yengirl, as always, with heartfelt thanks.
Chapter One: In the vale of the dark dream.
Kaname pushed his chair back a little from his desk and stretched his arms straight up, moving his head from side to side and groaning as the tight muscles refused to give. He brought his hands back to his face, softly scrubbing them over his cheeks as if to wash away the weariness pressing onto him. Next, he ran long sensitive fingers up into his long silky locks, causing the lights to dance off the shiny rose-coloured highlights of his hair. Finally, he exhaled in soft little gusts, head thrown well back to show his long slender throat, a tiny pulse point flickering beneath his pale skin.
He was tired. Bone…achingly…tired.
Kaname was as tired as one who has lived too long, seen too much and knew that each new moment would only bring more of the same. He was mentally and physically strung out, a hazy fog dully lodged where his normally razor sharp senses dwelt. He snapped shut the lid on his shiny laptop and pushed it fretfully from him, giving it a sour look. That infernal machine claimed too much of his time with endless reports, dry as dust business correspondence, toadying begging letters from those eager to ingratiate themselves and so on and on and endlessly on. His mind gave a twinge of dislike just looking at it and he shut his eyes momentarily seeking relief from his arid grey thoughts.
Dull pangs of hunger slid about the edges of his tired consciousness but he resolutely pushed them away, lacking the motivation to get up to attend to them in any way, shape or form. A fleeting thought skimmed through his head, a tinny little voice seductively suggesting a drink… a shot of Scotch or a glass of red wine... something, a cup of sweet oblivion, a cup to tamp down the feelings that relentlessly surfaced again and again.
An image of a perfect brimming goblet of wine - thick, dark, rich as dragon's blood hovered enticingly before his weary brain for a moment actually drawing a spurt of moisture to his mouth. Resolutely he squashed that thought bitterly acknowledging that there had been too many glasses imbibed on too many nights. Seeking comfort in the alluring, fragrant ruby-red depths of a heavy crystal goblet had been all too frequent of late with fruitless results. After yielding to the soft insistent calls from a long, long series of slim-necked jade bottles over the days, weeks, and months, he had found temporary release from all the thoughts that plagued him but the price was high, too high. How oft had he indulged in that private Bacchanalia, that lonely party for one where the contents of glass after glass found its way down his throat washing away cares, sluicing away that greyness that pressed ever harder into his head? Only to find that fleeting relief an illusion, a momentary halt with the chill probing fingers of darkness always returning to plague him anew, with bitterness rebounding in double measure.
He grimaced at the thought finding no succour there, just a growing distaste with his own weakness swelling into a tightness in his throat and whimpers of self-pity in the depths of his soul just waiting for a chance to overwhelm him. Ugly little sprites of self loathing waiting to cavort with glee, pricking him mercilessly with sharp little tridents reminding him of his troubles and cares over and over again.
There, he acknowledged it. Lonely…it was a small ice-cold word that stalked him at every turn. Kaname was never alone but he was lonely. People surrounded him all day, every day. Business associates, acquaintances, bringers of ideas, papers, coffee, and sycophants from every direction. Even a few friends sprinkled in the mix, a precious few that gave a measure of pleasure to the infrequent days he could steal from his heavy work schedule. Yes, the days could be endured, clicked over in a steady rhythm of sameness with the odd one here and there actually enjoyed. The days rolled on and looked after themselves.
It was the nights that hurt.
It was the nights that brought loneliness in unrelenting abundance.
Nights that followed the same pattern no matter where he was. The long tired walk down endless characterless hallways in anonymous hotels no matter how luxurious or how plush, it all cloyed and grew wearisome, merging into one grey picture. The cold solitary clink of the key into the lock opening a door that showed the same picture to him no matter what city he was in, no matter which country.
A plush carpeted room with rich velvet drapes over windows that looked out onto a cold glittering cityscape utterly devoid of soul. Several strides into the room brought a desk into view, an anonymous repository for his laptop showing no sign of the thousands who had been there before him and doubtless would continue its anonymous service long after he'd gone.
Then there were the beds. They were always soft, opulent and most of all, large. That seemingly endless stretch of either crisp starched linen or the siren seductiveness of silk made no difference to him. It was that wide, wide expanse that sneered at him, reinforcing his aloneness even more with the sight of the plush pillows each adorned with a carefully placed chocolate. Sweet little treats that he automatically swept aside into the waste paper basket instead of delicately unwrapping them and placing tenderly between the lips of a lover, as they were meant.
A walk into the bathroom tastefully decorated in 'hotel bland' would reveal a sparkling clinically clean white tiled space with a clear glass shower door that reflected his pale drawn face back to him. Turning to the white marble basin, he would survey with distaste the accoutrements placed there by an unknown chambermaid who had doubtless been informed that there was only one occupant: a miniature soap and a tiny plastic shampoo single-use bottle artistically arrayed on the crisp cold surface, each little item this time screaming its intention for solo usage. The solitary plush white towelling robe reflected in the mirror, revealed from its hiding place behind the door. The faint ubiquitous scent of pine disinfectant hanging in the air proclaiming sterility was emphasised with the pathetic little paper ribbon across the toilet lid announcing boldly, "sealed for your hygienic safety and convenience."
Kaname would usually scoff at the pathetic sop offered by it all, "hygienic safety and convenience" what the hell was that? Just a fancy way of saying clean, it all amounted to the same thing, just this version cost a lot more. With a last derisive snort he would turn on his heel and head back into the dimly lit bedroom turning his back on the large mirror that revealed far, far more than he cared to see.
The false friendliness of the mini bar fridge would draw him there as it hummed, dispensing the promise of relief of the day's woes. He would open it blankly scanning overpriced packets of nuts, jerky and crisps jostling shoulder to shoulder with scaled down cans of bourbon and cola, miniature one shot bottles of Scotch. Further back a rank of little bottles of wine, red, white or rose-coloured all elegantly labelled, all promising the same thing. "Pick me up and drink me whether straight from my open neck or daintily from your sanitised bathroom tooth glass, it doesn't matter, you will lose yourself here and only add $50 dollars to your room charge."
A small price to pay for the blessing of oblivion.
All of which led him to exactly where he was now, again, trapped in that relentless loop like a hamster on some pointless, endless wheel. His whole existence measured and divided for him by the relentless monster called business that ate his soul little by little, leaving him bereft, devoid and dying in inches.
He just caught himself as the soft sob bubbled up in his chest, appalled at how close it had gotten to escape from his throat. He placed his aching weary head down on his forearms on the desk, soft silken hair falling forwards over his arms revealing the pale vulnerable neck underneath. Gods, he would give anything to ease that ache, that relentless crushing feeling of being utterly alone that given half a chance would leap to life as full blown despair.
Unaware of the tiny keening noises emanating from his throat, he sighed and began to slide into fitful restless sleep.
Next: Chapter Two – Silver moon in the darkness...