Zero sat bolt upright, clutching at his head as the room swam dizzily in and out of focus.

Where was he? Falling back onto the bed, he reached out blindly with his right hand. It had been so many years, yet the inborn instinct to turn to his loved one for support and comfort still remained intact.

Kanda had always been a light sleeper, and that slight movement caught his eye. He roused from his position in the armchair beside Zero's bed, moving to sit on the luxurious four-poster canopy bed near the satin-cased pillow where the other's silver locks rested.

He felt a light touch on his thigh, and his heart involuntarily warmed at the thought of Zero reaching out to him.

Leaning over, he placed a hand on Zero's forehead, frowning when he felt the temperature.

Just then, the door opened. A girl wearing a light blue dress stepped delicately inside, balancing a tray of soaked towels in her hands. She looked to be about fifteen years old, with bright hazel eyes and honey blonde hair. The girl, probably a servant, was small of stature, wavy tresses flowing past her shoulders to touch the ribbon of the white apron tied around her waist.

She was the one who called Zero her young master.

Their gazes met, and Kanda felt the same intense dislike radiating from her. The room filled with tense silence, each refusing to budge from their respective positions on either side of Zero.

It was as if Zero could sense the discomfort they were in, for he stirred and let out a small pained groan

Immediately, they focused all their attention on the half-conscious teen, who turned to face Kanda before slowly opening his eyes.

Kanda smirked at the death glares he received. Somehow, he felt for Zero. It was rare for him to trust anyone at all, but for some reason, he had unknowingly given Zero his trust. He was such a delightful mass of contradictions…

Stroking the silver strands spread out on the satin pillowcase, Kanda relished the murderous vibes coming off the jealous female, granting one of his blue-moon-only gentle smiles to the dazed boy lying beside him on the bed. He found that he enjoyed staking his claim on Zero, and wondered about the sudden reappearance of his possessive streak.

His smile turned dark as he realized the last time he felt anything even remotely resembling this. Perhaps that was why he was feeling this shitload of emotions yet again, so long after he left. After his betrayal.

Perhaps that was why he kept drawing absurd comparisons between Zero and his Moyashi.

No, not his now. Allen Walker ceased to be his the moment he left the Order to join the Noah.

Troubled by his disturbing train of thought, Kanda abruptly snatched his hand away from its resting position upon Zero's silky hair.

If what he was doing was just finding a replacement for his ex-lover, it was not going to be Zero. In his opinion, nobody deserved to be treated like that, especially not Zero.

Kanda stood up, moving to stand in front of a stunning set of French windows, his brow furrowed in thought as he stared sightlessly at the astounding view of the surrounding landscape. Why was this happening to him again? Didn't he swear not to let such emotions surface again?...

"Mijuuri-san…" Zero rasped. Impatiently, he tried to push away the damp cloth dabbing at his forehead, trying instead to get Kanda's attention.

'"Mijuuri-san, could you please leave us for a moment?"

"But Zero-sama! You're not well! I would prefer to stay here with you…"

The hunter glared, thought the effect was rather weak due to his inability to even sit up straight on his own.

"Just Zero, for God's sake. And I'll be perfectly fine. It's only for a few minutes."

"But Zer— mmph!" Mijuuri protested before a wet towel smacked her full on the face, cutting her off midsentence.

Sending a dirty look at the cheekily grinning youth, she coolly picked up her tray and headed outside, firm in her belief that her young master was led astray by the ponytailed swordsman who carried him home.

She shut the door behind her as she left, knowing that her master was a very private person. He had never seemed so… carefree before, at least not after his brother left. For all she knew, Zero had always been a serious child, Mijuuri wondered if Kanda, she believed that was his name, caused this change in her young master.

A wistful sigh escaped her lips. Zero had never, not even once, smiled at her like that before. Trying vainly to suppress a sharp pang of jealousy, she padded down the drafty corridor, pasting a fake smile on her face. It would not do for Zero to find out about her feelings.

Kanda swiveled around to face him, an unreadable expression on his face as he surveyed the merry visage Zero presented. As soon as the sound of Mijuuri's footsteps faded away, he strode forward, black hair swishing as he bent down to retrieve the offensive piece of cloth.

Holding it at arm's length between his index finger and thumb, he stared at it distastefully before transferring his gaze onto Zero. The raising of an elegant eyebrow totally cracked Zero up, clutching at his sides as waves of contagious mirth racked through his body, resonating through the lavishly decorated bedroom.

Despite his usual impassiveness, Kanda found himself trying to ignore his funny bone, the corners of his lips quirking up in a tiny smile. His attempts at hardening his heart must have failed, because he couldn't help releasing a soft chuckle, which quickly grew into magnificent proportions. He hadn't laughed like that since… what? Five years ago?

Gradually they calmed down, breathing evening out. "What just happened?"

Kanda arched that eyebrow again. "Well, you threw a wet towel smack at the girl's face. Then you fell about laughing like a crazy maniac."

Zero broke into another round of giggles. Really, Kanda was like his personal anti-depressant or something.

"No, I meant with the fighting. And also the fact that I keep fainting around you." The silver-haired teen reverted back to his normal serious tone.

"How the fuck would I know? But he was a great opponent, the first to really challenge me in a long while."

"Of course. He is, after all, the pureblood prince. The future King of Vampires. I was actually wondering how you managed to keep up."

Kanda stiffened. Weren't the fangs and inhumane powers caused by the innocence? No, it was impossible. Everybody knows that creatures like Vampires don't exist.

"What the fuck are you going on about? Everyone knows that vampires are only mythical!"

"You mean you didn't know? Crap…"

"Since I'm so ignorant, why don't you explain?"

Zero was more than a little hurt at his accusing tone, and he lashed out in return, undoing the bloodlust suppressing spell in one quick motion.

Kanda stared at Zero in shock, backing up a step. His eyes… Holy fuck, his eyes were glowing bright crimson!

"Now you know better." He spat, getting out of bed with the same fluid grace Kuran possessed, the bitterness in his tome unmistakable.

They glowered across the bed at each other, animosity and wariness clearly shown in both their gazes. Zero pressed the palm of his left hand against his tattoo again, breathing hard as the all too familiar pain in his chest flared to life.

"Just go. Please."

He dropped his gaze to the floor, ashamed to find his voice husky. Great, not only did he need blood really badly, now even his voice refused to work properly.

He gasped as another wave of bloodlust hit him full on. Shit! Why was the stupid blockhead still standing there? Didn't he say to leave?

Oh God, the sound… the smell…

He could almost taste Kanda's sweet lifeblood; feel it rushing gloriously down his throat, quenching the dreadful thirst that plagued him; taking the throbbing pain in his chest away.

Get him to leave.

That was his last coherent thought in his head before he lunged forward.