Author Notes: Hello, everyone! Thank you again for your marvellous reviews for Hold Me Now. This one shot was written for Valentine's Day; my apologies for posting it a little late. Hope everyone is still in the mood for some romance :D

Appreciation: Thank you to Lovesucks01 for reminding me of something I had left pending, thus paving the way to this one shot. I dedicate it to you all, my loyal readers who have stuck with me for so long and given me much encouragement and love. My muse and I thank you!

Summary: Zero realises there is one final thing he hasn't given Kaname yet and decides it will be the perfect Valentine gift. A Valentine's Day one shot. KxZ. ZxK. COMPLETE.

Rating: 'M'

Disclaimer: Vampire Knight could only and does belong to the great Matsuri Hino.

- Story Start -

For the past two days, Zero hadn't been able to stop thinking of the small red jewellery box inside his dresser drawer and what was inside. Even though he had already made up his mind about it three weeks ago and even though it was something he wanted to give Kaname with all his heart, he was still nervous.

It wasn't the gift per se (even though having it made had cost a bit more than he had anticipated), but what it symbolised that mattered. After giving Kaname his love and his body, and shared with him his home and family, he was now going to give the pureblood the very last thing he owned.

The very thought of doing so made Zero's heart pound. To him, making love was something very personal and intimate, and since he and Kaname were already lovers, everything else should be easy, right? But it wasn't.

Well, he's worth it and you know it, reminded the little voice inside his head. Zero's lips twisted, somewhere between a grin and a grimace. He agreed with his unseen companion. He knew Kaname was worth anything he chose to give. In fact, he could already picture Kaname's reaction in his mind, how the dark eyes would widen and the lips part in wonder, how he would look adoringly at Zero as if he had been given the greatest gift imaginable. After his initial protests, of course – Zero fully expected those as well.

So be it. Tomorrow was Valentine's Day and the perfect opportunity for the gift since it, too, was something borne of love and trust. Zero had already made light, teasing enquires of each of his children and was satisfied they each had their own agenda tomorrow - Yuko was happily adapting to sleepless days and nappy changes so she and Tomi were opting for a quiet dinner at home. Ichiru was taking Hinata out for a romantic dinner and even Isamu hinted that he would be seeing someone.

Their father was thus free to spend this special day with his lover.

- o -

Kaname Kuran had reason to look forward to tomorrow's Valentine's Day. At long last, he had someone to celebrate it with and was determined not to miss out on this special day from now on. He was looking forward to being with Zero, kissing him and telling him how much he loved him. Kaname had gone back to his office this evening to clear his email, but he would leave at lunchtime. Zero had promised to cook a special lunch for him and Kaname couldn't ask for anything more. He wouldn't.

He was living now, living with passion and joy, living with the knowledge that he was both loved and cherished and that he finally had a love to call his own. Such clichéd words, but the truth all the same. He finally had everything he could want, seeing that his lover was a vampire hunter and a male.

It was enough. More than enough. Kaname vowed he would never tempt fate by asking for anything else.

- o -

It was late evening when Zero arrived at Kaname's penthouse apartment. He had only managed to get off work in the afternoon and apologised to a cheerful Akira for making him wait more than an hour. The middle aged driver had smiled, brushing aside his apologies and enquiring if Zero had taken his lunch before starting the drive to the city.

Zero had also made a quick stop at the supermarket. He would rather cook since the alternative was sitting down at a swanky restaurant in a suit, keeping his distance and uttering polite 'Yes, Kaname-sama's'. Not quite his idea of a romantic evening and he wouldn't be able to lay a hand on Kaname the whole time.

Whistling softly, Zero carried the grocery bags into the large, spacious kitchen and started putting the things away. He was just storing the carton of milk in the refrigerator when the doorbell rang. Frowning, he walked out to the hall. The security camera outside was linked to a small screen affixed next to the door, but all he could see was the top of a man's head – human, according to his keen hunter senses - and an enormous bouquet of roses and lilies.

Shaking his head, Zero opened the door and heard an exaggerated sigh of relief.

"Well, someone's finally home!" the delivery man drawled. "Job description said nothin' about having to carry the damned flowers up and down a dozen times. You Kiryuu?"

Zero ignored the man's grumbling and the little voice giggling inside his head. He grabbed the dog eared acknowledgement form and initialed it with a muttered word of thanks. After accepting the bouquet – it was so large it had its own elegant crystal cut vase – he nudged the door shut with his bare foot, his ears feeling rather hot. A father of three grown up children he might be, but he had never gotten flowers before. The sheer size of this bouquet quite floored him.

You don't say, piped up the voice in admiring tone. Zero ignored it and turned around on the spot, wondering where to set the bouquet down. He certainly wasn't going to carry it while he cooked! The nearest available space was the mirrored console table set against the wall, where Kaname usually put his keys and his wallet after coming home. Since the gleaming surface was now bare save for a lacquered box holding tissues, Zero set down the vase and took a step back to admire it. The mirror reflected the flowers, making the exquisite arrangement seem twice as large. Each pink and red rosebud as fresh and perfect as the half dozen tiger lilies nestled amongst them.

Aren't they just beautiful, sighed the voice in a reverent tone. Zero sighed. The lack of a card didn't stop him from knowing who had sent them. It was completely and extravagantly Kaname Kuran, of course. For a moment, past memories surged up in Zero's mind, threatening to undo him. He had bought Yuuki bouquets of roses and daises for each Valentine's Day and their wedding anniversaries - pretty and modest creations that she treasured as much as the showy ones her brother gifted her on her birthday. Zero remembered how her soft brown eyes had filled with happy tears and he nursed the sweet ache in his heart. Reaching out a hand, he gently fingered a pink rosebud.

"Happy Valentine's Day, dearest," he murmured. He made a mental note to take a few blooms to Yuuki's grave when he returned to Cross Academy. Perhaps Kaname would want to come along.

That thought reminded Zero that he needed to start preparing their lunch. With a happier grin on his face, he fished out his hand phone and sent a message to Kaname on his way back to the kitchen – 'Thanks. If you send me flowers next year, I'm not cooking for you.'

Kaname's reply was almost immediate, making Zero chuckle aloud – 'You're welcome. I love you too.'

- o -

Kaname arrived home on the stroke of midnight. He opened his front door and just stood there for a moment, taking deep breaths of the delicious, savoury smells wafting out to greet him, mixed with the heady fragrance of the flowers just a few feet away. He came inside and absently pushed the door closed. Then he blinked when he saw the sheer size of the bouquet – no wonder Zero had threatened him over the phone – and then blinked again when he realised it was just a trick of the mirror.

Then Zero had walked out from the kitchen in T-shirt and shorts, an apron tied around his hips and a wide grin on his face. That was it; Kaname dropped his keys and briefcase, and was kissing his lover in two heartbeats.

"You're good at wasting money, you know that?" Zero muttered against Kaname's mouth, hurriedly washed fingers spearing into dark, silky locks. He ignored the little voice's dark prediction that he wouldn't get a single thing next year if he kept this up.

"It's not wasting when it's for the one I love," Kaname murmured back and happily allowed his tongue to be sucked into Zero's mouth. He could feel Zero's lips turning up in a smile; this was a variation of a familiar theme they never got tired of saying throughout the years.

It was a few minutes before Zero ended things, tipping his head to free his little skull ear ring from Kaname's ardent mouth. He insisted that they both have separate showers while the trout was grilling in the oven. Kaname stopped his protests, guessing that he was in for a feast and that they would both be too full and lazy to shower after eating, or be occupied with other activities that would make showering... redundant.

Since they were dining at home, Kaname insisted that they both don his Valentine's Day gift – a matching set of silk pyjamas. Zero's was black while Kaname's was cream.

Zero's eyebrows shot up at the sight of the beribboned packages, again shaking his head when he saw what was inside. He accepted the gift with thanks, but only after informing Kaname that nothing could be more comfortable than sleeping in a well worn T-shirt and running shorts. Or nothing at all, he amended in a sly tone. He escaped to the guest bathroom before Kaname could voice out the suggestion already dancing on the tip of his tongue.

In less than ten minutes, they were clean, dressed and ready to dine. Kaname was touched to see how much effort Zero had put into tonight, not only in cooking the meal, but also setting the table with vanilla scented candles in silver candleholders, a small centrepiece of daisies and baby's breath, and Yuuki's collection of Wedgewood china and silver cutlery. Kaname had murmured something deprecating about how it felt strange to sit down to such an elegant setting dressed in his pyjamas and chuckled when Zero raised an eyebrow and suggested he add on a bow tie if it would make him feel better.

The seafood-themed lunch was, in Kaname's surely unbiased opinion, sheer perfection. Better than any meal he had ever enjoyed in the most expensive of establishments. They started off with chilled prawn and asparagus salad, continued with crab and lobster stuffed mushroom caps and then enjoyed grilled trout with rosemary and butter, all washed down with a nicely chilled Gamla Sauvignon Blanc. Dessert was coffee for Zero and a velvety, rich chocolate mousse for Kaname.

By the time Kaname scraped up the very last bit of sinful goodness from his glass dish, he really was too full to move. He was also thankful that his pyjama bottoms had a convenient elasticised waistband.

"Would you like seconds?" Zero teased him with a grin, almost slouching in his chair to accommodate his nicely filled stomach.

Wrinkling his nose slightly, Kaname shook his head with a regretful sigh.

"Thanks, Zero, but I've already overeaten as it is," he replied. He fixed Zero with a mock look of annoyance. "If I get fat, it'll be all your fault."

As if, sighed the voice. Zero tilted his head to the side, hoping it would fall out and at the same time, eyeing Kaname intently with half lidded eyes and a knowing smile on his lips. Soon, a blush suffused the pureblood's creamy cheeks. Zero had a lot of adjectives to describe the body under that black silk, but 'fat' was not one of them.

"Hmm, I'll have to check later. You look like you might have gained an ounce or so," he said, keeping his face as straight as he could.

Kaname gave a charming smile, not taking umbrage at all.

"As long as it's not too many. You wouldn't want a portly pureblood in bed, would you?" he teased back, his mood mellow from Zero's presence, the delicious food and the wine.

Eyes gleaming in amusement, Zero tilted his head the other side.

"I'd want you in any way possible, Kaname, and you know it," he said in a low, sensual rasp. His body tightened with anticipation as Kaname visibly shuddered, lips parting and pupils dilating with sudden need.

"Zero..."

It was both a groan and a plea to be taken to bed and ravished thoroughly, accented by a deep, adoring gaze. Zero suppressed his own shiver, going from semi hard to rock hard in two seconds. Now, now, now, chanted the voice, but somehow, Zero managed a mischievous grin and a light tone of voice.

"After I wash up."

- o -

Zero refused to let Kaname help with the dishes, saying he would get them done faster by himself. He shooed Kaname out to the living room and promised the pouting pureblood a kiss as a reward.

It would be a lot more than that, thought Zero to himself as he went to the bedroom some ten minutes later, retrieving something small that he palmed in one hand. By then, Kaname was sleepily watching TV in the living room, one of the throw pillows in his arms, long legs and bare feet tucked under him as he half lay against the cushioned leather armrest.

The sight stopped Zero short, bringing a brief mental image of how Kaname must have looked like as a child. There was something so incredibly kittenish yet deliciously desirable about the way Kaname looked right at that minute, dark hair tumbling onto his shoulders contrasting with the cream of his luxuriant pyjama top, cheek propped on one hand, eyes half closed as if on the verge of sleep.

Zero felt a surge of desire that was both protective and possessive. There was still an awed part of him that couldn't quite believe that this pureblood was his, that he had always been his.

"Zero, what took you so long?" Kaname's voice sounded as sleepy as he looked.

"Not falling asleep on me, I hope," Zero teased with a smile, sidestepping the question adroitly. He went over and sat next to Kaname, the pureblood predictably sitting up to lean against his shoulder instead.

"Busy week..." Kaname's words sounded slightly muffled since he had buried his face in the shoulder of Zero's pyjama top.

Zero's lips curved in a wry smile. He dropped his head and nuzzled his nose in the silky hair, delighting in the gorgeous scent of his lover. Then he slid a hand up and found Kaname's chin, exerting the tiniest bit of pressure. When the dark head lifted immediately, that same awe rippled through Zero again - that he was the one Kaname returned to at the end of the day, that he was the one Kaname looked up to, respected and adored. Such heady power, but luckily for them both, Zero wasn't the sort of person to spread out a blank sheet of paper on the table, say 'Right then' and start plotting world domination.

No, he was merely humbled and grateful that he had been given this wonderful, second chance at love, as wonderful as his first. Mundane little irritants throughout his week, like cocky rookie hunters who thought they knew better than their more experienced seniors, the tiresome paperwork that closed off any hunt involving more than one 'E, all faded away when Zero looked into Kaname's deeply adoring eyes.

"I love you," Zero said quietly. "The past few months..." He shook his head slowly, wonderingly, "...they've been a blessing."

Kaname smiled, eyes attaining a suspicious sheen of moisture.

"You've made them so, Zero," he whispered, his voice catching in his throat. He no longer cared that he almost always seemed to turn into a deliriously happy, quivering wreck around Zero, blushes and tears lurking perilously close to the surface.

"I love you so much," he whispered. He raised his hands, framing Zero's face like the treasure it was and pressed his lips to his lover's. The kiss went on for far longer than either of them had expected. Zero had to consciously keep in mind that there was something he wanted to give Kaname first. He finally and reluctantly ended the kiss, aware of their bodies already displaying obvious signs of arousal.

"Let's make love," Kaname whispered, taking Zero's hand and resting it on his erection. It was already tenting the front of his loose pyjama bottoms, creating a damp circle on the silky material.

Zero groaned, knowing it was a mirror image of his own need. He rubbed his palm on the swollen head, eliciting a gasp from its owner. Making love was always a given with Kaname having that happy, excited sparkle in his eyes.

"Just a minute, Kaname. I – I want to give you something first."

Zero took a deep breath and held his hand out, uncurling his fingers to display the red jewelry box lying on his palm.

"Happy Valentine's Day."

Kaname had wondered if Zero was going to get him something, but he hadn't expected it. Valentine's Day was after all, a mere seven weeks after Christmas and Zero wasn't a sappy romantic like he was. Kaname looked down at the small box in Zero's hand. Then he looked up and saw an indecipherable look in those amethyst eyes, a look he saw only rarely. He knew that Zero was a very honest individual, someone who despised subterfuge and concealment, someone who was forthright and always laid out every card on the table. So that look Zero was wearing now, as if he were hiding something from him, could only mean one thing - this gift was something very, very special.

Kaname picked up the box, his quick mind already going to cufflinks and tie pins. No, it wouldn't be either of those. Zero was a down to earth person, but he wasn't that staid or predictable. That thought made Kaname think of ear studs next. Did Zero want him to pierce his ears? More intrigued than alarmed by the thought, Kaname pictured Seiren and his staff's reaction if he should turn up at the office with pierced ears. With a silent chuckle, he opened the box and had his breath stolen away by the sight of what lay within.

It was a pendant, attached to a chain of fine white gold links.

An inch long, heart shaped crystal pendant, containing within it a minute amount of ruby red liquid. Without having to ask... or scent... or guess, Kaname knew what it was.

Zero's blood. Of course.

Kaname was floored. He literally had no words to express how he felt at that exact moment. To him, this was so much more eloquent than a verbal 'I love you'. Coming from a vampire hunter, from someone who had been turned against his will, this was a gift of trust, something worth waiting an eternity for, let alone a mere two decades. There was absolutely no question of breaking open the pendant to taste its contents. Kaname would be content just wearing it, knowing what lay inside.

Fingers trembling with awe, he lifted out the precious, precious gift from its box. Brown eyes made even more beautiful by a shimmer of tears lifted again to meet amethyst eyes that were no longer inscrutable, but pleased.

"Thank you," Kaname choked out past a throat so tight, it was a wonder he managed to say anything at all.

Zero looked like he wanted to roll his eyes, but Kaname was long past feeling any form of embarrassment. It was a look his beloved reserved especially for him and Kaname considered it his privilege. He kept silent as Zero took the box from him and lifted out the pendant. When Zero stood up and held out his other hand, Kaname took it unhesitatingly.

Zero led him around the sofa to stand in front of the console table in the dimly lit hall. The mirror reflected the huge bouquet there, the gorgeous scent of the flowers bringing a touch of heady romance to their slightly tipsy senses.

Without a word, Kaname gathered his shoulder length hair and lifted it away from the back of his neck, large eyes fixed on the mirror. Zero stood behind him, clasping the chain around his neck. For a moment, their gazes met in the mirror and then they both looked down at the crystal pendant peeking out just above the first button of Kaname's pyjama top.

Zero rested his hands on Kaname's shoulders, squeezing gently before sliding over the cream silk to undo that button, parting the silk so that the entire pendant was visible. Silently, he agreed with the whisper inside his head that it suited Kaname very well indeed.

"This is a symbol, Kaname," he said solemnly, watching a smile flower on those perfect lips.

"Of your love," Kaname murmured. He blinked when Zero shook his head slowly.

"Of my love?"

Zero smiled. He found the tiny crease between Kaname's eyebrows utterly enchanting.

"A symbol of my real gift for you," he clarified.

The words echoed in Kaname's brain, whispering of an unimagined possibility of a gift. With his throat closing up, he swung around to stare at his lover in silence.

Dear God, is Zero saying - offering... no, no, it can't be...

Zero gave a solemn nod of his head as if he could hear those words, ignoring the high pitched shrieking inside his head.

"Life is too short to think of the past, Kaname," he said, his voice trembling just a little bit. "You've told me before that my bite was never painful, that you and Yuuki never minded me from feeding from you both."

The mention of his beloved sister didn't detract from Zero's words at all. Kaname blinked, trying to dispel the moisture that was fast gathering in his eyes.

"We never ever did," he whispered shakily.

Zero took a deep breath and gave a resolute nod.

"Then I want you to prove it to me, Kaname. Bite me."

The pureblood opened his mouth and closed it again. He swallowed. Hard.

"This is your gift?" he whispered past his aching throat, hardly daring to believe. Zero had given him his love, his trust and his body - all of which were already astounding in themselves, but this -

Zero nodded. Now that he had said it out loud, he felt better, the faint fluttering of fear having momentarily lifted. But this wasn't a one off deal. Hell, it wasn't even a deal.

"Not just for tonight, Kaname. But always. Whenever you like."

Kaname licked at his dry lips.

"Is it because you feel... that you owe me?" he asked reluctantly. "Or because you bite me each time I ask? Or –"

A finger laid across his lips stilled the rest of his words. Kaname suffered a pang when Zero nodded his head, but before it could deepen into actual hurt, Zero was speaking again.

"Yes," he said softly, his eyes telegraphing reassurance. "Yes, Kaname. But only because I don't want to be the one taking all the time."

"But –"

"Hush."

A slight lift of those eyebrows had Kaname feeling like he had just been chastened, deepening his blush. Obediently, he held back the rest of his words.

"You've given me your blood for so long and so willingly. I want to do the same for you," Zero said earnestly. He shook his head when Kaname opened his mouth.

"No – let me finish. I know I don't have to. I know you're already happy; so am I. But this is something I want to do, Kaname. We're lovers. We're in a relationship and that means give and take."

He paused for a moment, searching for the right words to say.

Kaname kept silent, his chest heaving with his emotions. He didn't want Zero to feel obliged, he never wanted Zero to feel obliged to him in any way. He didn't care about the value of his pure blood or the taboos of sharing it. As far as he was concerned, it was something that Zero needed, that he wanted, and that was good enough for Kaname. Even if the process of extracting it caused untold pain, he would still give it willingly to his beloved hunter. But since it didn't, since it was one of the most pleasurable and blissful things he knew, it was not even an issue. Kaname thought of it as his right, his privilege and his joy.

"Our relationship..." Zero's eyebrows crinkled as he felt his way through this explanation. "It's not an equal one, Kaname, you know that. There are some things I do more than you, and there are others that you give more than I. But this is something we both can give each other. It's -"

He broke off, frustration crossing his face briefly.

"All this time, I thought it was wrong of me to take from Yuuki and you. That you two had to suffer because I couldn't handle those tablets. But I know now that she never minded, and that you don't either. I want to return the pleasure to you, Kaname. You can bite me. You want to, I know you do. Well, I... I want you to as well. I really want you to."

Zero's eyes burned with emotions as he spoke. His low voice was fierce and soft in turns, yet unhesitatingly earnest, leaving Kaname transfixed.

"This is not about me trying to pay off a debt, Kaname. This is about me giving you something you deserve, because we're lovers. Because you'll enjoy it. Because of what we both are. To withhold my blood from you is just... just wrong. We kiss each other and we love each other. This is just something else we... we can share."

Towards the end, Zero's passionate words had left a pink tinge on his face. Even the voice had stayed silent. Hoping it was impressed for once, Zero kept his gaze on Kaname, standing so still before him, but with tears falling from his eyes.

"Do you understand?" Zero whispered, feeling his eyes smart in return. "Do you know what I'm trying to say?"

Kaname swallowed. Then he nodded and sniffed and nodded again.

"Yes," he choked out. "Oh God, Zero, I love you!"

He threw himself into Zero's arms, too overcome for words. Each time he thought that Zero couldn't surprise him anymore, each time he thought that he couldn't love his hunter anymore than he already did, he was proven wrong.

- o -

"Kaname?"

"... mmm...?"

"Are you asleep?"

"No."

"You sure?"

"I'm talking to you."

Zero chuckled as Kaname lifted his head from his shoulder.

"That's good, because you haven't taken your real gift yet," he teased. Kaname smiled, eyes lighting up.

"Now?"

Now! Shrieked the voice. Zero ignored it and tilted his head to the left, exposing the unmarked side of his neck in silent invitation, lips twitching when Kaname's mouth formed an 'o' of surprise. Then it was his turn to be surprised – Kaname's eyes flashed red as he grabbed Zero and swung them around. The hunter felt his back come up against the wall, the back of his head making even sharper contact with the hard surface.

"Ow."

In an instant, the flash of blood lust was gone from Kaname's face, wiped clean by concern.

"I'm sorry...!"

"No - I'm fine."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, damnit! Just - just do it, Kaname!"

Zero squeezed his eyes shut, trying hard to regulate his breathing. Bite! Bite! Bite! chanted the voice in his head. It was annoying as hell, but he was thankful for the distraction it provided. It almost made him forget his jitters.

Zero had been bitten only twice in his life. The first time was the day he had been turned against his will, when he was only twelve. The day his world fell apart, when his parents were killed and Ichiru had betrayed him. The second time was entirely voluntary. Zero had witnessed the budding romance between Hanabusa Aido and Sayori Wakaba. He had never been impressed by Aido's arrogance, but he respected the blond noble's determination to not bite his girlfriend, a vow he had made in front of Zero, no less. When Zero saw him stick to his vow even though he was injured and starving, he had released the blond from his vow and offered his own blood as a mark of respect. The blond noble was pathetically grateful, having enjoyed a sheltered childhood where starvation was unheard of. His desperate bite was further proof to Zero that a vampire's bite was both painful and unpleasant.

But Yuuki had never behaved like it had hurt, and as for Kaname... a soft smile curved Zero's lips despite of his trepidation. If one could capture Kaname's unbelievably sweet responses in an advertisement, vampires would be spoilt for choice - humans would be lining up for miles, all eagerly quivering with necks bared, hungering to feel fangs in their necks.

In fact, after Kaname had tenderly guided him through being taken for the first time on New Year's eve, Zero knew that his bite would be just as surprising, just as wonderful. He just... he just knew. With that, his fear vanished and the little voice in his head subsided, eagerly waiting.

Zero opened his eyes and met Kaname's gaze with a reassuring smile, ignoring the reddish cast in those chocolate orbs and the long fangs between those parted lips.

"Bite me, Kaname. I trust you."

With steady hands, Zero cupped that perfect face and brought it to the crook of his neck, feeling the swift puffs of warm air on his neck.

"I love you, Zero," Kaname whispered past his aching fangs.

"Love you back," Zero whispered.

And it really was that painless. Zero's eyes closed again, his other senses registering all the delicate nuances of Kaname – the soft kisses pressing against his neck, even softer lips tasting the fluttering of his pulse, a tongue moistening and calming, the fingers unbuttoning his top, the hands slowly sliding up and down his arms and the slender hips pressing playfully against his, reminding him of sweet pleasures to be had later tonight.

And at long last, the gentlest press of ivory into flesh.

Zero didn't realise the exact moment when Kaname pierced his skin. It was only after those careful fangs had gone in halfway that the intrusion registered in his senses along with Kaname's grateful moan.

Zero gasped at the sensation. Just like how Kaname's possession of his body had felt complete instead of invasive, those fangs gave a similar impression. Zero felt connected to the pureblood in a way he never had before. He had known Kaname for almost thirty years, he had respected and liked him and later even fell in love with him, but this – this was different. It was as if he knew Kaname on a deeper, more instinctive level that tied them together, closer than any other act or vow could. He could feel Kaname, feel his gentle spirit and his boundless love, his intrinsic shyness and his longing to be loved for who he was, not what. Zero gasped, reeling from the connection, Kaname's scent now firmly intertwined in his mind with the heady fragrance of roses and lilies coming from the bouquet just a foot away.

Kaname too was reeling, his mouth full of Zero's blood. It tasted of his beloved of course, of his courage, strength, honesty and conviction. It also tasted of himself - the final, vital proof that Zero was his as much as he was Zero's. Kaname continued to draw his beloved's blood with slow, worshipping sips, breathless with delight at the closeness he felt. They had finally bonded, right when he had vowed to himself he would ask for nothing more. Kaname wasn't even aware of the joyful tears sliding down his face or the way his breath was hitching in his throat.

At length, those long fangs slid halfway out, smooth surfaces caressing sensitised flesh and brushing against exposed nerve endings. Zero shuddered again as Kaname whispered, his lips creating a never ending pattern of kisses on the lovingly punctured flesh.

"Now you know, Zero. Now you know why I can't even stand, can't even speak when you feed from me."

"Yes," Zero whispered, chest heaving and limbs weak with pleasure.

But Kaname was still speaking, the words coming out faster now, almost tumbling over one another as if he wanted to get them out as fast as possible so that he could go back to drinking.

"Now you know... why I - why I... those extra Es..."

Or was it because he somehow still felt guilty? Zero frowned and drew back a little, Kaname's fangs automatically leaving his neck. They stared at one another, Kaname not breathing as he saw the confusion in those amethyst eyes slowly changing to comprehension. Still, he did not breathe. Even thought the Zero had already forgiven him, Kaname knew his lover hadn't known the extent of his desperation, why he was willing to stoop so low, driven to do the unthinkable.

At length, Zero nodded, still looking rather stunned.

"Now I know," he murmured. "Oh God, I hadn't realised... all this time, I just didn't want you to feel obliged -"

Kaname shook his head, unaware of how desirable he looked with Zero's blood trickling down the sides of his mouth.

"That's all I need to know," he whispered.

Zero nodded again, a low growl escaping his throat as his eyes morphed crimson.

"Kaname, I... need to -"

"I'm yours, Zero. Always."

"You – you'll take from me as well?"

"Yes... oh, yes!"

They latched onto each other's necks and immediately tumbled into a world where everything was magnified. With eyes reverently closed, they could hear, smell and feel each other like never before. Desire that had earlier pooled in their groins now flowed throughout their bodies, thick and warm, pulling them closer and closer until the only thing on their minds was to join with the other in the most intimate manner possible.

Zero was still pressed up against the wall, pinned between its cool surface and a warm, passionate pureblood in front. Although the fresh intake of pure blood gave him strength, it was negated by the fact that Kaname was also drinking from him.

He now knew why Kaname always behaved so submissively each time Zero took from him. It left him weak, open and vulnerable. The act of drawing blood was meant to be one of asserting control over the other and vampires were programmed to submit and obey the one biting them, especially since purebloods only allowed their mates to take from them. Zero felt the same. It wasn't enough that he was giving Kaname his blood; he wanted to give his body as well. Everything he had especially with the pureblood grinding their hips together, the silky fabric of their pyjamas damp and sticky.

Zero lifted his head, trying to stay upright on his shaky legs.

"Take me, Kaname!" he rasped, trembling hands grasping onto the pureblood's shoulders. "Need you..."

Kaname lifted his head. The sight of Zero, flushed and panting, pleading to be taken was a sight he had never before seen.

"Now?" he whispered, one hand already lifted in the direction of their bedroom.

"Now. Here," Zero panted, his chest heaving. A part of him was reeling at his capitulation. It wasn't that he didn't want Kaname, he did; heck, he loved Kaname. It was just that he had never felt so needy, so helpless. The other part of him didn't care and just wanted Kaname deep inside him, filling him, stroking his insides and rocking into him. He needed Kaname to feel whole and complete.

Kaname set down the lube he had retrieved on the console table next to them, giving Zero a quick kiss of promise. He shed his own pyjamas in the blink of an eye and then started divesting Zero of his, fingers not as steady as he would have liked. He then bent his head, starting at a delicate collarbone and working his way downwards to mouth a stiffened nipple.

Zero tilted his head back with a cry, chest arching upward and fingers spearing into Kaname's hair. He couldn't believe he was acting so... so wanton. He had almost always been in control of their love making sessions and now that his control had scattered to the four winds, he was more than a little scared. Control was something he had fought for and perfected over the years. It was an intrinsic and necessary part of his life.

Whether it was hunting a bloodstained 'E with adrenaline spiking sharply through his body or helping an injured victim seek medical help, Zero always had to take care not to lose himself to blood lust. He had to make sure he never injured any member of the public or his own colleagues, knowing it would only take one careless step to shatter the respect and admiration he had slowly earned over the years. He also had to take care never to lose sight of who he was when he pierced his beloved Yuuki with his fangs, high on her scent and the soft delights of her body.

Now, control was slipping away from him faster than sand through a hole. Instinctively, he tightened his hold on the dark silky locks and pulled, feeling his throbbing nipple emerge from Kaname's succulent mouth with a moist 'pop'.

"K-Kaname, wait...!"

Licking his lips, the pureblood looked up, a small frown pulling his eyebrows together. He thought he had detected a hint of panic in Zero's voice and yes, it was reflected in those eyes. Kaname fought down his desire at once. He had no idea where this was coming from - he wasn't moving aggressively or anything - but Zero's feelings always took first place in importance.

"What is it? Are you all right?"

Now that Kaname had stopped and was actually looking worried, Zero started to feel silly. Oh God, he was behaving like a virgin! You said it, said the disgruntled sounding voice inside his head, sounding as if was speaking through a hand slapped to its face.

Zero knew this wasn't the first time Kaname was going to claim him. In the six weeks since that memorable New Year's eve, there had been a few more delightful situations that he could call to mind. But he had never felt so weak or out of control in any of them.

"I'm fine," he said. "Really, Kaname," he added when he saw the sceptical look in those eyes.

"Do you want to take me instead? You know I don't mind," Kaname replied.

Zero stared at him and slowly shook his head.

"No. I want you to make love to me," he said softly, but clearly.

"But you..." Kaname broke off and bit his lip, his fangs having retracted.

"I know, I asked you to wait," Zero interrupted him. He took another deep breath. "For a moment there, I just felt... lost. I've never really felt like that, like I couldn't stop myself, couldn't hold back. If you wanted to, you could - I mean -"

He broke off and shook his head again, quickly this time. He didn't want any secrets between them, but he didn't know how to end that sentence without offending Kaname. In the end, he needn't have worried. Gentle hands came up to frame his face, chocolate eyes looking at him with love and understanding.

"You have nothing to fear, Zero. I would never hurt you," he said.

Zero flushed with shame. He had seen a glimmer of hurt in those clear eyes and knew that he had put it there.

"I know," he mumbled. "I know, Kaname. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you - oh God, I'm making a mess, aren't I?"

Zero saw the gentle smile form on Kaname's lips and had his answer. Ignoring the annoying presence inside his head which felt like it was nodding vigorously, he took a deep breath and pulled himself together. He slid his arms around Kaname's waist and tugged him closer, loving how the pureblood would never resist, but just follow. They were still aroused now, needy flesh heavy and awaiting resolution.

Zero ignored the instinctive urge to thrust his hips into Kaname's. He looked into his eyes instead, his chest hurting with how much love he felt for this pureblood.

"Do you know how strong you are, Kaname?" he said, trying hard to keep his voice steady and for the most part, failing miserably. "You've held out for my love for so long. You've let me bite you for even longer. You've let me order you around and claim you and you've never said a word of protest."

Zero would have said more, but the distressed sound coming from Kaname stopped him.

"You've never ordered me around," Kaname protested.

Zero shook his head, wanting to get all the words out.

"Each time I fed from you, you've felt weak and powerless to stop me. You probably could, but I know you never would. And you wanted me to take you when you felt so weak... Kaname, didn't you ever feel - "

Again, Zero broke off and swallowed, thinking that he was really made a mess of things this time, if he hadn't earlier. Kaname was now staring at him wide eyed, probably thinking he'd finally gone off his rocker. Then he shook his head.

"The only times I've ever been scared of you, Zero Kiryuu, were when you talked of giving up on life. You know those two periods I mean, I don't want to talk about them. And I was scared when I had to confess my secrets to you one by one. But only of your reaction, Zero. Never of you. I was never scared of you."

"No reason to be," Zero mumbled, making Kaname smile.

"Because of the person you are," he said. "So even when you left me shaking after biting me, I was never afraid of you. In fact..." he paused, giving Zero a shy look from beneath his lashes, "I love having you to claim me when I feel weak."

Zero's eyebrows disappeared into his hairline as the voice squealed and Kaname chuckled, looking suddenly happier than any respectable pureblood should be after such a confession.

"Why?"

"Because I knew I was safe," Kaname said simply. "Because I knew you would take care of me. You would never use me, or take advantage of me, or hurt me in any way. And... it felt good. To know that I was with someone whom I trusted that much."

Another shy look.

"It's not how we are traditionally supposed to behave, I know. We are programmed to despise weakness in ourselves and to take advantage of it in others. But I always knew I was safe with you, Zero. Always. Even when you didn't love me."

Kaname's smile literally took Zero's breath away.

"So trust me on this," he whispered, his eyes shimmering. "Trust me, Zero, I promise you only pleasure.."

Zero's eyes burned and he drew the back of his hand across them.

"Guess you would know, huh?" he teased, voice still shaky.

Kaname smiled again, an even more brilliant one.

"I do know," he agreed happily, leaning forward to suck gently on Zero's lower lip.

"It's OK to feel weak like I do," he whispered.

Zero threw his arms around him, his chest heaving.

"Not weak, Kaname. You're stronger than I am," he choked out. "Each time you behave like you're weak, you're actually stronger than anyone I know..."

Again, tears spilled over from those brown eyes. Zero thumbed them away and kissed Kaname, hearing the soft hitch of the pureblood's breaths. The kiss was slow and sweet and even when it ended, Kaname didn't. He laid a line of kisses along Zero's jaw line, moving slowly towards the accessorised ear.

"Trust me," he whispered.

"Always," Zero gasped. He slid his hands up Kaname's arms and onto his shoulders, pushing him back with gentle pressure.

"Bite me when you take me," he said steadily. "I want to know what it feels like."

And Kaname did, kissing and nibbling Zero's neck as he lifted a muscled leg and coaxed it to curl around his waist. Retrieving the lube, he coated his fingers well and began to stretch Zero's body with skillful fingers, preparing him with painstaking care and kissing him to distraction, happily swallowing each gasp, each moan. At length, Kaname lifted Zero's other leg and felt it curl around his waist as well. With a murmured reassurance, he lowered his head. The long fangs going into him made Zero gasp and the hard length pushing into him made him cry out a second time.

Pinned against the wall with his arms and legs wrapped around Kaname, Zero could do little else but shake in bliss as he was claimed in two places, hardly knowing if he should focus on the skillful mouth at his neck or the hardness filling him. Pleasure was ripping him in two, thrumming through his veins, pleasure on a level he had never felt before. He was suffused, drunk with heat and bliss, his heart pounding in response, urging him to surrender himself completely to his lover.

Crying out hoarsely, Zero tipped his head back, exposing even more of his neck and feeling deliciously open and vulnerable. Oh God, he craved this! He craved Kaname's body filling and stretching him, stroking him inside and out, taking his blood and his body and giving back unimaginable bliss.

Throughout it all, the tiny part of Zero that could still think marvelled at completely Kaname had his own body under control - the tiny sips at his neck remained gentle to the end. But the hard length thrusting into him and the hand gripping his aching erection were satisfyingly ruthless and soon, the delicious havoc Kaname wreaked on Zero's body was too much for bear. Tension had knotted so tightly inside the hunter's stomach that it was almost a cramp. It burst free and Zero convulsed, almost screaming as his seed pulsed out through Kaname's fingers.

Kaname uttered a shuddering groan, Zero's orgasm seeming to echo inside his blood. His tight won control finally shattered at the feel of the tight body spasming hard around him. Kaname dug his fangs in deep, taking half a dozen or so powerful draws of Zero's passion heated blood, driving his hips upwards into the convulsing body in his arms until he reached his own release and filled Zero with warmth.

Kaname's cries were muffled against Zero's neck, but the hunter felt them on his skin and with his heart. He tightened his arms around Kaname's neck, sliding down the wall as the pureblood's legs gave out. They collapsed on the floor, still trembling in each other's arms. They were both overcome by their love making, so much more intense after the completion of their bond.

- o -

Kaname smiled, finding himself in the rather rare position of holding his lover. It was usually Zero who would cradle and soothe him after making love. He pressed kisses on the damp silver hair, content to sit still while he came down from that astounding high. He had thought making love to Zero was astounding before, but it was like a pale shadow compared to the intensity they now felt. He knew that Zero had felt his bliss too, judging from how vocal he had been. They were not just a couple anymore. They were bond mates.

At length, Zero's eyes blinked open slowly. He found himself staring at the heart shaped pendant resting against Kaname's pale skin, chest still rising and falling softly. He reached forward and pressed his lips to the smooth crystal surface, warm from their owner's body heat. Then he looked up, not surprised to find Kaname's eyes on him.

"Looks good on you," Zero commented with a crooked little smile.

"Thank you, Zero," Kaname smiled. He bent down and captured Zero's lips, licking away the traces of his own blood from the hunter's mouth. "Let's go to bed."

Zero unwound his limbs from Kaname and stood up, groaning a bit as he pulled the pureblood to his feet.

"What – you want to sleep already? It's officially Valentine's Day!" he teased.

"Not until you make love to me," Kaname vowed. "It's our first Valentine's Day together, I want to go to sleep with you inside me."

Zero stared at him, the combination of wide, innocent eyes and erotic words making him blush and his body tingle with renewed desire. Then he shook his head and grinned. No, he would never tire of loving Kaname. Never. He pulled tissues from the box on the table to clean himself up and then he turned to Kaname and swung him up in his arms, chuckling softly at the predictable gasp of delight.

- o -

With complete gentleness, Zero laid Kaname on the enormous bed. He intended to worship every inch of the creamy, flushed skin that still retained traces of his passion, starting with that beautiful, perfect mouth. Kaname had other plans though and pulled him down, smiling at the indignant gasp that followed.

"You can kiss me later, Zero," he said in an urgent whisper. "For now, fill me. Please..."

Staring down at him, Zero finally realised something. Each time Kaname claimed his body, he would insist on being taken right after. Completely and adorably Kaname. Shaking his head and hushing the squealing voice inside his head, Zero found another tube of lubricant in the bedside drawer. He squeezed out a generous amount onto his fingers before nestling back between Kaname's pale thighs, stroking the silky skin with his other hand, soothing the quivering muscles underneath.

"Zero," Kaname breathed. He lifted his legs, deliberately resting his ankles on Zero's shoulders, knowing full well this position would allow his lover's fingers to go in deep, exactly what he wanted.

"Inside me, Zero. Hurry," he whispered.

Zero shuddered. He kissed Kaname deeply, stroking their tongues together with one arm curled around the dark head on the pillow and supporting his weight. Slowly, he slid two slicked fingers inside his lover's body, relishing the tightness squeezing his digits together and drinking in the gasp he pulled from Kaname's throat. He gasped in turn as clever fingertips moved from his jaw line to his ears, playing gently with his ear rings before gliding down over his neck, brushing oh so gently over his newly healed bite area.

Kaname then broke off the kiss and mouthed his way to Zero's neck, pressing a reverent kiss onto that sensitised spot. The feel of that madly fluttering pulse there and the memory of that delicious blood drew out his fangs, but he quickly controlled himself, breath sharpening for a moment.

"Have I told you I love you, Zero Kiryuu?" he whispered against Zero's neck.

Zero smiled, the words and the tell tale quiver in that soft voice pushing down the last bit of trepidation he felt at having that hot mouth at his neck, at feeling the momentary brush of fangs.

"You have, but I don't mind hearing it again – unh!"

Kaname's fingers had found his puckered nipples once more and were happily teasing them.

"I love you," he whispered and stiffened as Zero retaliated, wriggling in a third finger. With a cry, Kaname urged his lover to lean up a little, shivering as the motion pushed those fingers deeper into him. He cried out again as they brushed against a very sensitive spot inside, but he was at the right position now to nibble at a reddened nipple, feeling the hunter shiver against him, the hard erection poking into his stomach.

"Need you now," Kaname moaned around Zero's stiffened nipple. He loved the feel of Zero's arousal, but not against his stomach – that wasn't doing either of them any good.

"God, yes," Zero gasped. He slid lower again, deliberately rubbing their leaking lengths against each other, fingers thrusting deeply inside Kaname a few more times before sliding out. Lifting himself on his arms, he looked down at Kaname, dark hair spread out on the white sheets, a smile of pure joy and desire lighting his face. Even with the need pounding through Zero, he took a moment to count his blessings.

Having given Kaname the very last thing he had, Zero felt no regrets at all about being bonded to him. His blood wasn't exactly sacred, but it was now Kaname's. Slowly, Zero sank into the welcoming warmth of his lover, thrilled as always when Kaname tipped his head back with a soft cry.

"I love you," Zero said huskily.

"Love you, too," Kaname breathed. With his legs propped on Zero's shoulders, it felt as if he were being penetrated him all the way to his stomach. Zero had just only entered him and already, Kaname's body was starting to shake, thrown swiftly to the edge of orgasm as he felt not only his pleasure, but his lover's as well.

"Harder, Zero. Please, harder, harder - aahh!" Kaname urged, his voice breaking off with a cry as Zero's thrusts picked up speed and strength. They had made love often enough that Zero was comfortable going faster and just a little rougher than usual, his ears ringing with the delightful proof that Kaname loved it.

The pureblood was gripping his arms, crying out and holding on as Zero crouched over him, his hips jerking them back and forth on the sheets, lower stomach rubbing Kaname's aching erection with delightful intent. It wasn't long before Kaname was screaming in bliss as Zero pushed him over the edge, body jerking helplessly as he expelled his seed. The tight contractions broke Zero's own control and sending spiralling to his own release, shuddering as he emptied himself inside his ecstatic lover, helpless in the throes of bliss.

Once more, they came down from that incredible high with bodies slick, flushed and glowing. A couple of minutes passed before Zero finally slid out from Kaname and flopped onto the damp sheets, pulling the quivering pureblood into his arms. He smiled when Kaname yawned and snuggled back against him, proof that he had been burning the candle at both ends again.

Zero pressed his lips to the damp forehead, his eyes closing in spite of himself. He couldn't believe it had taken him this long to take this final step. Now that they were lovers on a deeper level, their pleasure was doubled. No, tripled, he corrected himself, thoughts growing fuzzy. He was thrice blessed and he would never let himself forget.

It's OK, whispered the little voice in a smug tone. I'll always be here to remind you if you do. Thanks, Zero told it dryly. He supposed that meant he would have to put up with its annoying presence for the rest of his life. Good thing he was used to it by now.

"Go to sleep, Kaname," he whispered. "When you wake up, I'm going to prepare you dinner in bed and then I'm going to make love to you for the rest of the day."

A faint sweet smile touched Kaname's lips as the promising words followed him into repose.

I won't ask for anything else. I already have everything I need right here.

- Story End -

A/N: Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this story, please leave a review :)

The sequel to this is Chocolate Cake and Candid Confessions.