Chapter 2

Kaien

The scene looked even worse than he imagined. Spattered and pooled ran the snow scarlet and pink around the front of the house. It even reached to tree line twenty feet from the house. The stench of the blood bath was so powerful not the snow or the smoke from the burning house could lessen it. It made Kaien feel a little queasy despite his experience. Flames had long begun to dwindle on the burning house. By the look of things they were late by two hours at the most.

"It looks like a God damn battlefield. It's bloody everywhere! Did one bloodsucker really do all this?" Yagari questioned scornfully.

"Pipe down and look for anyone still alive will you? Go look in the house. I'll stay out here," Kaien Cross said.

"Sure send me into a burned down building." He stomped off. If there was one thing in the world that made Yagari madder than vampires in general, it was rogue ones.

Their utter disregard for life pissed Kaien off too just not as bad as Yagari.

About ten feet from the house, a dark shape lay sprawled on the reddened snow. At first he thought it was one figure but as he came closer he saw it was two people. A girl and a woman upon closer inspection. By her nearly blue skin the woman had been dead for awhile but the girl still had a little flush of life in her cheeks. Weak breath left and entered into her cold lungs. A nasty cut on her arm still oozed blood. Her left shoulder was completely covered in the dark red stain. Blood coated her skirt as though it'd been dyed red. Her bare legs carried red raw scratches.

It raped her too…

She looked only about fifteen or sixteen perhaps. Long auburn red hair hung tangled and bloody about her shoulders. Kaien took her wrist to feel her pulse. Steady and fairly strong, but her hand was ice. He hurried back to the car for a blanket or jacket, just something to warm her. He left the lantern there beside her and hurried back with the first thing he saw, a long thick dust coat.

He lay the blanket over her and then tried to move her so he could wrap her warmly in it. Her icy fingers clenched to the dead woman's coat. He could only guess the woman was her mother.

"No…M-Mom…d-don't take her…I won't l-leave her...I won't…" the girl murmured.

She took him by surprise, Kaien didn't think she was still conscious.

"Easy sweetheart, it's alright. Your mother's safe. I'm just trying get you warm. It's okay."

Still she didn't let go. Finally being as gentle as he could Kaien pried her fingers open. He pulled her into his lap and wrapped her in the coat as much as he could. Like holding a child he held her against his chest and tried to warm her faster with friction. She started to move a bit. She moved her hand to cover her right side where it stayed clenched.

She must have broken a rib.

Her eyes fluttered a bit.

"You can open your eyes. It's alright, you're safe with me. You can do it."

Slowly her eyes fluttered open, not all the way but as much as she could at least. A startling deep pure blue, like looking into lapis lazuli.

"I'm Kaien Cross, you're safe now. I won't let anything happen to you."

She seemed dazed at first, but then whispered, "My name…is Risu." She closed her eyes again and let her head fall against his chest, then opened them again. "M-Mom…is she…?"

How could he tell an already wounded and beaten girl her mother had died? Luckily, Yagari spared him the decision.

"There's no one in the house, not even a body." His tall dark figure came out of the scorched doorway. "I take it that girl's alive?"

"Her name is Risu," Kaien answered.

"And the woman?"

Kaien shook his head. He tried not to let Risu see but her hand tightening its grip on his jacket gave her away.

He stroked her hair. "I'm sorry, Risu."

"Kaien, did it bite that girl?"

"No it violated her."

"Then let's go before she freezes," he nagged. "I'll get the mother's body."

Kaien rose to his feet lifting Risu with him. She'd closed her eyes again and hid her face in his jacket. He kept her cradled in his arms through the whole car ride back while Yagari drove.

Zero

I hurried out to the hall upon hearing Kaien and Yagari's voices.

"Kaien –" I stopped short.

Cradled like a small child he carried a girl in his arms. Though wrapped in a thick coat I still noticed the entirety of blood covering her pale skin, or what I saw of it anyway. The smell sickened me. She looked about fifteen or sixteen with a small thin frame. Long red auburn hair hung tangled and blood matted around her quivering shoulders. She looked so ashen pale I worried she for her health but her expression reflected not fear of death, just fear of everything else. Her eyes, stunning aqua green, felt like looking in a mirror of my past. Though beautiful, they carried the scars of misery and pain.

"Zero, this is Risu Nokuse. A rogue killed her family this night. I fear the beast went as far as violating her too."

I met those sea green eyes, exhausted and painful, but wide and afraid. Of course she was afraid, no one should expect any better.

"Could you help clean her up while I clear some things up, Zero?"

I nodded and opened my arms to take Risu. She clung to Kaien's jacket with a look of panic when he tried to pass her to me.

"It's okay Risu. Zero is a kind and honest boy. He won't let anything happen to you. You're safe with him," Kaien soothed the girl.

I tried what I hoped looked like a kind smile. I suppose it worked because she calmed down and let me take her from Kaien's arms.

To ruin a girl's innocence like that…even for vampires it was sickenly low. Just thinking what Risu had been through tonight made me want to run with her, protect her from everything she feared, let no one touch her.

I made sure to leave the shower running hot and the door open to warm the bathroom faster. After all, how long had been out alone in all that snow? I set her on the closed toilet seat on a folded towel. Trying hard not to startle or frighten her I worked on removing the blood soiled jacket from her shoulders. Not all the blood was hers my nose told me, but there was just so much of it. Her blue sport skirt and bare thighs were ghastly darkened in browned blood, all hers. The smell and sight both made my throat burn and made me sick, seeing the hard evidence of the pureblood's cruelty. Despite the burning in my throat, I couldn't allow myself to scare her.

She sat and nervously watched as I wiped and dabbed at the blood with a damp warm washcloth. I dabbed gingerly on her neck, where most of the blood caked on, most of that was hers.

As I worked I began to worry whether he had bitten her. What I found was much more demoralizing. She winced a little about half way through.

"Sorry, Risu, didn't mean to hurt you." I hadn't seen the mark until I wiped right on top of it; a long jagged three strike gash along the side of her neck.

I wanted to vomit and punch something at the same time. I gently tilted her head to the side to look closer. It wasn't lethally deep but would most definitely scar permanently. Her arm carried a similar permanent scarring.

Half an hour later, I shut the door behind me to let her shower. I needed to find her bandages anyway. On her arm the cuts weren't exactly matching. It looked more like the rogue had dug his nails into her skin. When I'd gotten far enough away so she wouldn't hear it, I punched the wall as hard as I could, pretending it was the rogue's face.

My anger automatically brought Kaien while I paced rubbing my now sore knuckles.

"How is she?" he asked.

"Take a guess," I spit. "But no, it didn't bite her. She's beat up bad though. The thing clawed her neck open and her arm."

"And you?" Kaien persisted quite irritatingly.

"I can handle it, but that thing…" I hit the wall again, this time with enough force to crack it.

"I'm gonna kill it if it's the last damn thing I do."

"I already have a team on it. Calm down. Risu is safe here, I know you'll look after her."

Kaien's words steeled what I'd already decided. I would keep her safe. No one would harm her again, not while I still drew breath.