I said I had another one coming, didn't I? Well, here it is! This one turned out a bit sad... And by 'a bit' I of course mean 'very'. Hopefully other people like sad things as much as I do, heh heh...

Aaaaaanyway, this takes place *after* the current timeline, like a few weeks or something probably (I think that's mentioned). So it's the fuuuutuuuuure, got it? Kay.

Also, yes, this is another songfic. This time the song is Curl Up and Die by Relient K. I actually got the idea for this fic the other day when I was in the car driving home from school in the rain, and this song came on in my car. I wrote the outline like as soon as I got home so I wouldn't forget it, but I didn't have time to actually write the story until tonight. Also, the song lyrics are in bold italics. This turned out a bit longer than I planned, so the lyrics first show up a ways down the page, but I think it works so it's okay.

I also guess I should warn you this DOES have character death. Seriously. Like, right at the beginning. I kind of jump right into it... Do I have a problem? I hope not...

And last but not least, I don't own a thing you see here, except for the idea. Unless that magical leprechaun has been planting ideas in my head again...

(More notes at the bottom, but read first!)

There were many things in life I didn't understand. But at that moment, I couldn't remember any of them, because none were as frightening and confusing as the scene before me.

There was blood. A lot of it. Someone was dead. Two were not. Only one was unharmed. How had it happened? Why? Why had he done this? So many questions, and I wasn't sure if the answers were ones I wanted to hear.

"Yuki…" Ichijo said in surprise, noticing me with wide eyes. His voice was strained as he struggled to speak through the clawed hand gripping his throat. But that was nothing compared to the gaping slice running the length of his torso. Blood everywhere. But why?

"What are you doing here?" his captor asked me calmly, though the dangerous gleam in his eyes betrayed his displeasure. He hadn't been expecting me.

"Kaname…" I finally managed his name. My voice sounded alien, far-off. "Why… What are you…" My confused brain was finding it difficult to form complete sentences, though there was so much I wanted more than anything to say. "He's… your friend… How could you—"

"He tried to stop my killing her," Kaname answered in that same quiet, level voice, gesturing to the body of Sara Shirabuki, which lay on its back a few feet away, slowly fading to dust in the middle of a shallow pool of dark blood. "I can't allow anyone to get in my way."

I shook my head in disbelief, words failing me once more. "Kaname…" Ichijo said instead, teeth gritted in the pain of his struggle for breath. "Stop this… What you're doing is—" His words became a strangled grunt as the hand around his neck tightened.

"I didn't want to involve you, Yuki," Kaname said almost sadly, all but ignoring his choking friend in his grip. "But now that you're here I have no choice. So will you join me?"

The question caught me off guard. Join him? In what? Killing innocents? He'd never explained to me his plan. When he'd disappeared weeks ago he'd left me just as clueless to his intentions as everyone else. If he really wanted me to join him, shouldn't he have told me thoroughly what he was doing? Because from where I stood in that doorway, it seemed like coldblooded murder. And that wasn't something I wanted to be a part of.

"I see you hesitate," he continued when I didn't answer. "Why? Don't you trust me?"

Do I? "I thought I did…" was my answer. I don't think it's what he wanted to hear.

"You said you wanted to be with me. I assumed you loved me. Was that not the truth?"

He was right. I had said that. I had loved him, hadn't I? I guess in truth, I hadn't known that much about him. Was what I was seeing now the real Kaname? This fearsome killer before me?

Did I trust him? I wanted to. Did I love him? I thought I did. But every time lately that I thought about love, just seeing Kaname wasn't enough. Some part of me wanted something else…

"I see," Kaname said finally, seemingly reading my mind. "You still love him. No matter. Once I get rid of him, there will be nothing standing between us, and you can finally join me completely."

"Get rid of…" I repeated absently, my brain still too muddled to think quickly. "Wait… No! Please—Don't hurt him—"

"Run, Yuki," he said to me, almost coldly, the dangerous gleam in his crimson eyes intensifying. He lifted the sword in his right hand, moonlight playing off its blood-stained blade. "Run while you can."

I shouldn't have listened to him. I should have stayed and tried to stop him. But the fear in me was too great that my feet seemed to move on their own, propelling me back out the door and down the dark hallway. I heard movement from the room I'd just vacated, followed by voices.

"Kaname," Ichijo was attempting to reason with his former friend once again. "Look what you're doing! Just tell me—" Suddenly, a mangled scream cut his plea short, accompanied by the sickening sound of metal piercing flesh. A soft thud, and the voices stopped.

Ichijo is dead… He's deadI wanted to scream, to cry, something, anything. I felt like I was about to be violently sick, like I needed to lie down, but still by legs insisted on carrying me as far away from that room as they could. In no time I was outside, dashing down the hill and into the forest. I wanted to stop and catch my breath, but my body continued to move on its own. And I knew what it was thinking.

I have to warn Zero.

I don't like the steps I took
To get to look into your deepest feelings

Kaname wanted to kill Zero, that much was certain. The only other thing I knew for sure was that I couldn't let that happen. I would have to find Zero first and somehow convince him not to fight Kaname. I wouldn't let him be hurt. Not because of me. He'd probably hate me for it, but I didn't care. Even if Zero were to hate me more than anything, it wouldn't change how I felt about him.

It was a while before I finally picked out the familiar scent. My legs had carried me to the cemetery. Ironic… This was where we were last reunited. I didn't have time to dwell on the past, however, as before I knew it I had entered through the gate and begun scouring the area. I had a strange feeling he was here. I just had to find him.

I couldn't tell you how I found Ichiru's grave. But when I did I stopped, noticing with a pang a small bouquet of red roses had been placed beside the name. So he really was here.

I don't like the place I'm in
Headspace within the hardwood and the ceiling

"Zero?" I called out, jogging forward between the maze of gravestones. "Zero!" He was here. I could feel it. I had to find him. I had to warn him. Someone was drawing near, someone who was out for blood. …Well, in a different way than usual.

All of a sudden I felt a hand close over my mouth and a firm grip clasp my left shoulder. I gasped in surprise as a sharp hiss whispered "Shh!" in my ear. Both hands lessened their hold and I spun around to find myself face to face with the very person I'd been so recklessly searching for.

"Zero!" I breathed quietly, glad to have found him at last. He was unharmed, which meant I'd luckily been able to meet him before Kaname did. But he looked worried, almost afraid. It was strange, an expression I'd only ever seen very few times.

"Why did you come here?" he demanded in a harsh whisper. It had been a while since I'd heard his voice, but this wasn't what I was expecting.

"What do you mean?" I asked uncertainly. "I came to warn—"

"It doesn't matter," he interrupted, grabbing my shoulders firmly. "You've got to get out of—" All of a sudden he froze. His eyes shifted to something above my head, and a cold anger filled his features. "Kuran," he said in a low voice, almost like a growl. I jumped in surprised and spun around. Standing a few gravestones away was Kaname, head down and bloody sword gleaming in a cruel stream of moonlight.

'Cause if I'm restless then why do I
I want nothing but to rest my soul

"So," he began in a slow, calm voice—the same I'd heard him use moments before killing his former best friend. "You've come, Yuki. Just watch now. Soon nothing will be left to stand between us."

"Get back, Yuki," Zero said to me, sounding unnerved.

I looked up at him to see him slowly pull his gun from its holster beneath his jacket. "But—Zero… Kaname, he…"

"Look at him." Zero's voice was low, dangerous. A warning. "He's not normal right now. He'll kill you too if you get too close." When I took a better look at Kaname, I noticed that Zero was right. As he raised his head to see us, there was something different about him. His eyes, their normal crimson had deepened to a sickly, blood-colored hue. His face was gaunt, hollow. His hair hung limply at the sides of his face. The only emotion his eyes conveyed was an intense bloodlust, more extreme than any I'd ever seen before. He was not without control of himself, but he had changed in the weeks since I'd last seen him. Still, I didn't want to believe that the Kaname I knew was gone forever, and that what Zero had said was true.

And I don't get this and I know why
You see sometimes things are just beyond control

"No…" I refused instead, shaking my head as Kaname took a step forward and Zero flung his arm out to bar my path. "He wouldn't… This isn't right. I know this isn't—"

"I said get BACK!" Just as Kaname sprang toward us, sword outstretched, Zero lunged sideways, shoving us both to the ground just in time to dodge the attack. Before I could react, he proceeded to grab my arm and force me into hiding behind a taller tombstone before turning out to intercept Kaname. I sat for a moment on the hard dirt, resting my shaking back against the cold stone of the grave that now served my only shield. As my thoughts struggled to catch up with my senses, I was helpless but to listen to the sounds of my two friends battling each other likely to the death. Gunshot after gunshot, metal clanging off stone and occasionally slicing through fabric or skin. Punches, kicks, dirt flying, blood splattering. Cries of pain, two voices blending in heart-rending harmony. It was a horrific symphony of sickening music, and as much as I wanted whatever maestro of death was conducting this concert of madness to raise his baton and signal it to end, the melody continued. And for whatever reason kept me rooted to the frosty ground, I was powerless to stop it.

But I don't mind
But I'm not surprised to find that you do
I'm not surprised to find that you do
I know you do

This wasn't supposed to happen. If only I'd gotten here sooner. I could've gotten Zero away from here. Neither of them would be hurt. None of this would be happening. But no… Kaname would follow us, wouldn't he? Maybe… Maybe I should have joined him when he'd asked. If I had, could I have saved Zero this pain? But what would that have meant for me?

When I finally was able to force myself to stand and stumble out from behind the tombstone, what I found wasn't at all what I'd been expecting. As I looked across the now silent cemetery, I saw nothing. No Kaname, no Zero. No one. But that wasn't to say the evidence of their fight wasn't obvious. Many of the gravestones had been chipped or broken, a lot of them dotted with bullet holes. Clumps of dirt and dead grass were torn up almost every way I turned. The smell of blood was strong and enticing, stone and earth alike stained with the dark, sticky, red liquid. The scent filled my nostrils and made my head spin. Was I hungry? When was the last time I'd fed? Maybe I should… No. No, I had to find Kaname. I had to find Zero. If something had happened to him, it would be all my fault. I had to find them.

I stumbled forward, ignoring the sudden light-headedness that was creeping at the back of my mind. I called their names, but predictably no answer came. Knowing Zero, he probably had tried to steer the battle away from where I'd been hiding. Which meant that they could be anywhere. But I could sense them, smell them. They were still here, somewhere in the cemetery.

As I rounded a bend at last I saw them. They were standing a few yards apart, both panting heavily. Kaname had six or seven bullet wounds in his torso, with numerous others littering his arms and legs. His sword arm hung limply at his side, blade stained a deep crimson, almost as dark in hue as his bloodthirsty eyes. Zero had numerous cuts across his entire body, including a long, wide slice stretching horizontally along his stomach and a deep stab wound in his left shoulder. Blood covered his right eye from a cut somewhere above his hairline. They both looked as though they'd reached their limits, and it was a horrifying sight. I didn't know what to do, what to say, who to run to. But it was then that they noticed my presence.

And I feel fine
But I know the same does not apply to you
I know the same does not apply to you
So I guess that I'll curl up and die too

Zero's eyes widened when he saw me. "Why…" was all he said. Evidently he thought I must have run for it, and I could tell by the look on his face that he'd been hoping I had had the sense to do just that. It was heartbreaking.

I turned to glance at Kaname just as he fell to his knees, his sword dropping from his hand and clanging unpleasantly against a small gathering of rocks. I took a step toward him, momentarily forgetting all I'd seen and heard him do in the past few hours. "Yuki…" he said my name, his voice no longer calm and dangerous, but tired and frail. He held out a hand toward me, willing me to come closer. But when his eyes met mine, their dark intensity brought back to me flashes of our encounter in that room, freezing me where I stood. He'd killed Sara. He'd killed Ichijo. He'd tried to kill Zero. And what was next? Me? I didn't know what to do.

As Kaname's sword hit the ground, Zero seemed to relax a little. Unfortunately resolve had apparently been the only thing keeping him going. He took a few shaky steps backward, tripping over the edge of a gravestone in the process. He fell to the dirt with a sharp, pained grunt, landing on his side between two rows of graves.

"Zero!" I shouted, and once again I found my brain trying to catch up as my feet carried me in a flash to his side. I knelt next to him, placing a tentative hand on his uninjured shoulder. His teeth were gritted in a futile attempt to hide the obvious pain he was in, and his breathing was heavy and irregular. His arm was gripped tightly over the wound on his abdomen. It was painful for me to see him that way, and to be helpless to ease his suffering.

"So…" Kaname's voice finally penetrated the silence. I looked over to see him glaring in my direction through his pained expression. "This is your choice." It wasn't a question, so I didn't answer. My head was slow tonight, but my body, my heart knew what it wanted. It had proven to me that much. And what it wanted wasn't Kaname after all.

Clinging to the remnants of perfection
Like most do after they break it

Slowly, Kaname grasped his sword firmly and rose to his feet. When he looked at me, there was no more love in his gaze. There was only hatred, the desire to kill. But behind that, I thought for a moment I might have seen sadness, regret for the way things had played out. But did that mean he was sorry? I used to trust him, but now I found myself doubting his sincerity.

"Listen to me this time," Zero ordered between breaths, eyeing Kaname warily, "and get out of here. Look at him. He doesn't care about anything anymore. He'll kill you too if you stay. So go!"

"No!" I shouted. "I won't leave you here alone!"

"Then DIE!" Kaname growled, sounding angrier than I'd ever heard him before. I looked up just in time to see him charge straight at me. I wanted to move, but for the millionth time that night my body had other ideas. Just when I thought there was no escaping his blade, I felt something hard slam into my right side, knocking me to the ground and obscuring my sight. An angry yell, a sickening slice, a strained cry, and then silence.

Not knowing which direction's the correct one
Do I discard or remake it?

I didn't want to look. I knew what must have happened, and turning to see would likely only confirm my worst fear. But by now, I should have just stopped trying to control my body altogether, because apparently it was determined to show me exactly what I was afraid I'd see.

Zero was on his knees, hunched slightly forward, the blade of Kaname's sword stuck firmly into his back, its tip protruding menacingly from the center of his chest. His violet eyes were wide and unfocused, his mouth forming soundless words of shock and pain. Each gasping breath seemed like it cost him a great effort, his fingers twitching every few seconds. Kaname was standing still behind him, glaring at his back as blood spread across his jacket from the wound. I watched helplessly as Kaname clucked his tongue in annoyance and yanked the sword out, eliciting another mangled scream of pain from Zero, who cringed horribly before falling hard on the blood-stained dirt.

My voice finally seemed to surface, and the second it did I heard a heart-shattering cry echo from my own throat as I threw myself forward onto the ground, grabbing Zero's arm and pushing him onto his back. His eyes were squeezed shut and his teeth clenched tight, sweat dripping down his face and mixing with the blood from his head wound. He was still alive, but barely.

'Cause if I don't know then I don't know
But I may know someone who knows me more than I

"What a shame," Kaname said in a mockingly sad voice. I turned to glare at him, finally seeing him for the monster that he had become. He had killed before. But this, this was something for which I could never forgive him. As I shifted I spotted Zero's hunter gun, the Bloody Rose, resting on the ground at my feet. Finally allowing my body to take control and my mind to be clear of all thoughts, I picked up the gun firmly in both hands, ignoring the faint burning feeling stretching across my skin as I did so, and rose to my feet, pointing it directly at Kaname.

He looked at the gun and smirked. "Are you going to kill me?" he asked, his tone still sarcastic. He wasn't taking my resolve seriously. But it didn't matter. It would be easier if his guard was down. Besides, I had made up my mind. Zero was dying. And it was all his fault. Whatever happened to me, I would make him pay. It was all that mattered to me right then.

Kaname's smirk had vanished. Maybe he saw my determination, maybe he knew I was serious. Maybe he knew I truly wanted to kill him, right then and there. Whatever he knew, he wouldn't go down without a fight.

This is it, I thought. One move.

Without a second to spare, Kaname charged toward me, sword brandished high. But I stood my ground. There was no running away. I aimed Zero's gun as best I could and before my resolve could waver, I pulled the trigger.

It was all over in a fraction of a second. Kaname had dropped his sword and was backing away, a hand rising to the freshly-carved bullet wound in the center of his forehead.

And if I somehow could rest this soul
Maybe control could find its way back to my life

"What a shame…" he said again, but this time there was no sarcasm in his voice. This time, his words were sincere. There was a real sadness in his eyes, a softness to his features. I almost felt sad myself, as I watched him fall slowly forward onto the dirt, never to rise again. Even as I stood staring at his body, it began to slowly fade, becoming dust in the wind.

I tore my eyes from the sight, letting the gun fall from my hand back to the cemetery floor. In seconds I was back to my knees at Zero's side. He'd stopped panting, his face was more relaxed. I couldn't tell if he was breathing at all or not. But either way, it was too late. I'd failed. I'd let him die. And if it hadn't been for me…

"I told you… you shouldn't have come here…"

I looked up hopefully and finally locked eyes with Zero. I almost smiled for a second, before thinking better of it. "I had to warn you…" I said somewhat weakly. "But I guess… It didn't matter…" I was too late. If only I'd been there sooner. "I'm sorry," I whispered after a moment. "This is my fault. Kaname only came after you now because I…" 'I love you.' Why couldn't I say it? No, I knew why. It wasn't right. It was true, but it wasn't right. I shouldn't love him. I didn't deserve it, when all I ever did was bring him pain. I'd put him through so much, I'd expect nothing less than his hate. If he never forgave me, I can't say I wouldn't understand why.

Well I don't mind
But I'm not surprised to find that you do
You see, I know that I have done all this to you
To you

"You're… crying…"

I looked up and realized he was right. Tears were streaming endlessly down my face, dripping helplessly onto the dirt. I wanted to wipe them away, I didn't deserve to cry, to have him pity me. It was shameful. But I couldn't do it.

"Silly," Zero said with a small, breathy laugh. "I thought I told you… to keep smiling."

And I feel fine
But I know the same does not apply to you
Yeah I know the same does not apply to you
So I guess that I'll curl up and die too

I glanced at him almost in disbelief, to find him offering me a small, kind smile. It was something I almost never saw, and just that one expression said so much to me that he couldn't have put into words if he'd tried. It told me that he wasn't angry with me. He didn't hate me. I don't know if he loved me, but at that moment it didn't matter. He accepted me, he accepted our fates. And that was more than I could have asked for.

Suddenly a fresh wave of pain shot through me and I gasped in discomfort, hunching forward. The deep, fatal wound on my chest which Kaname's sword had dug was finally taking its toll. I felt weak, tired.

Yeah I'll curl up with you
Until I die with you

Unable to keep myself upright any longer, I allowed my body to tip forward until I was instead leaning across Zero's chest, my ear over his heart. Instantly I felt his blood soaking the side of my face and hair. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't be the most comfortable of positions. But at that moment there was nowhere I'd rather be.

"I've missed you…" I said quietly, taking in as much of his scent as I could in what little time the two of us had left.

"Me too." His voice was getting fainter. As I lay there, I listened to the sounds of his slowing heartbeat and shallow breathing. Never had I been this close to him before, and never had I been so content. After a moment, I noticed the skin on his hands losing color, a light, sparkling dust rising ever so slowly from his body.

"You're… fading away…" I realized with a pang of sadness.

Yeah I'll curl up with you
Until I die with you

He didn't answer, only breathed deeply to show he'd heard me. I couldn't see any of my own body, but I suppose I must have been fading as well. I couldn't feel it. I wonder if he could…

"Hey, Zero," I said after a while. "What do you think it's like? To die…" I'd never thought about it before. I'd always thought that Death was simply the end of Life. Life had always been something I'd taken for granted, like most people my age. But Zero was different. He took nothing for granted.

"For us…" he began slowly (I wasn't sure if by 'us' he meant 'vampires,' or simply 'us'), "I think it's like… being free." He sounded tired and weak, but there was a hidden strength in his words, a conviction in his voice.

Free. I didn't have to ask what he meant. Death as freedom… Freedom from pain, from suffering, freedom from all the worries of life, the pains of the past, the possible futures. And most of all, freedom from ourselves. Whether we were conscious beings or not, in death only could we keep from hurting ourselves.

Yeah I'll curl up with you
Until I die with you

I smiled at the thought. "That doesn't sound… so bad…"

"Yeah…" Zero's voice was now barely a whisper, but still I could sense the peace and contentment behind it, for the first time in my life. He sounded… free.

For some reason unknown to me, my eyes travelled to Kaname's body, now almost completely faded away. Had he been glad to finally achieve the freedom of death as well? Somehow, I hoped so.

When I turned my attention back to Zero's heartbeat, I realized that I could no longer hear it. His chest on which my head still lay was very still, and the sound of his breathing above me had silenced.

"Zero?" I was finding it difficult to speak now. My body had gone numb, blocking the pain and instead making me feel tired and weak. No reply came from him, and I realized the truth.

He was gone.

Yeah I'll curl up with you, my baby, yeah my darling
Until I die with you

Tears stung at my eyes, threatening to fall. But instead of welling over, they subsided almost instantly. Zero was gone, which meant that he was free.

"Freedom…" I whispered, considering the word. Had it been the same for everyone we loved who had gone before us? My parents, his parents, my real brother, Ichiru. Even Ichijo. Had they all accepted death as well? Were they out there somewhere, even now?

"Maybe death… really isn't the end…"

I could almost hear Zero's voice saying, 'That's a nice thought.' Then he'd smirk and shake his head. I couldn't help but smile.

Yes… It is a nice thought.

The perfect thought…

Yeah I'll curl up with you
Until I die with you

…to be my last.

A bit more tragic than I originally planned it to be... But hey, for a song called 'Curl Up and Die' I'd say it works, heh heh. I hated to kill Takuma off like right off the bat there (don't really care about Sara... heh), but I needed a death that would have a meaning, yanno? Don't hate me too much, haha.

Also in case you're wondering, a Valkyrie is kind of like an angel of death. They carry the souls of the chosen ones off to the promised land. I like the word in general, and I thought it was a good title for this.

A little tidbit of information, while I was editing this and reading through the ending, the song 'Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa' by Kalafina came on my zune, and I couldn't help but notice how completely perfect it fit with the ending of this. Both the lyrics and the sound (it's kind of haunting, the song, it sounds really sad and cool). Like while I was listening to it, I stopped and pretended like I was watching this story instead of reading it, which this song playing in the background (starting about when Yuki starts crying after she kills Kaname). If just sounded *right*. If you have the time, I'd say it's worth downloading the song and doing the same thing I did. If you're into that like me, haha.

Reviews are love, so drop me some lovin' on your way out! Thanks for reading!