[I'm sorry this chapter has taken so long! I've drafted it at least seven times before I wrote a version that felt satisfying. Endings are hard!
Anyway, thanks to everyone who stuck around this far! I hope you enjoy~]
Kaname smelled Zero before he saw him; the sickening sweetness of Aido, and beneath that a subtle spice, a scent that Kaname could pick out even after all this time. His eyes snapped up just in time to see Zero burst through the ballroom doors, a bloody mess covered from head to toe in what could only be Aido's blood, judging by the stench of it. So it was him after all. It figured Zero would be the one to interrupt them; after all, he was the cause of Kaname's sudden craving, and the reason he nearly killed Aido in the process of satisfying it.
The humans in the room stood oblivious, but every vampire had their full attention on Zero – a well-known vampire hunter appearing out of nowhere, covered in vampire blood? Of course he would cause a scene! What was Zero thinking? The whole room was seconds from chaos; all that kept the other vampires from pouncing was a shaky alliance that Zero may or may not have just broken – he hadn't, of course. Kaname had a good idea why Zero was covered in Aido's blood, but no one else knew that. It really looked like Zero had just killed someone.
As if to make matters worse, Zero reached for his gun.
Kaname reacted before anyone else. One moment on the other side of the ballroom, untouched glass of champagne in his hand, and the next he stood directly in front of Zero, hand clasped tightly around his wrist, preventing him from drawing his gun.
Zero flinched and Kaname smiled at the reaction, a private smile; with his back towards the rest of the room, Zero was the only one to see the expression. And oh, was it monstrous.
The other vampires relaxed once they saw their Pure Blood was involved. The only man whose anxiety increased was the one who invited Kaname in the first place. Kaien Cross. Kaname wasn't sure if he should be smug or offended be the ex-hunter's reaction.
Nor did Kaname know what to think when, instead of yielding, Zero yanked his arm away from Kaname's grip and turned away, towards the door. "Follow," he bit out, and though the venom in Zero's voice did not surprise Kaname at all, the utter authority in his tone did.
Interest thoroughly piqued, Kaname followed. Kaname knew the workings of Zero's mind with intimate detail, and this little face of resistance – it was nothing new. Best to make sure Zero didn't forget who gave the orders.
The moment they left the building, Kaname was on him. He grabbed his bloody uniform and pushed him hard into the wall, immediately following with his body and pinning Zero there. The closeness sent his mind into a panic – he swore he wouldn't let this happen, convinced himself that enough time had passed for him to be over it, but… but… Zero's thoughts trailed off, dazed from the blow to his head. All he knew was that he thought he could face Kaname, but he could not.
Kaname gave a frustrated growl – a sound that resonated in Zero's head and shot down his spin, sending a chill through his body – and pulled him forward, only to shove him back into the wall again, harder this time, hard enough to turn Zero's vision into stars. He gasped aloud from the impact, and that might as well have been an invitation as Kaname's lips almost immediately found his, tongue slipping inside and – yes, Zero tasted blood; Aido's blood. Zero's mouth moved with his; he kissed back because damn, if he wasn't hungry. His mouth moved with Kaname's even as the Pure Blood moved to pull away, not for the contact of a kiss – that made Zero's stomach churn – but for the blood. It had been such a long time since Zero had a satisfying meal. Blood tablets could only do so much. Zero was hungry.
But Zero's insistence on continuing the kiss only made Kaname more violent; he grabbed Zero's chin and twisted, forcing his mouth off of his. Zero was left panting, eyes a vibrant, wild shade of red. Kaname could drag out this side of him like it was nothing; the side Zero tried so desperately to drown with blood tablet after blood tablet, disgusting artificial blood he could just barely hold down.
No. Zero shook his head, trying to chase away the hunger-clouded state of his mind. He had a purpose. He needed to focus. He had to –
Kaname tore open the front of his shirt, effectively cutting off Zero's thoughts and once again replacing them with utter panic. His hand came up on instinct, grabbing onto Kaname's bicep, trying desperately to pull him off, nails digging into skin. His efforts received an annoyed hiss from Kaname but nothing more. He continued his exploration of Zero's neck, kissing and nipping but never quite breaking skin; a teasing little dance that had Zero completely on edge, every bit of him tense, so tense he could hardly move.
Kaname bit down.
And like a rope pulled too tight Zero snapped, knee coming up of its own accord and slamming into Kaname' stomach. From actual pain or just from shock, Kaname gasped and stumbled backwards, freeing Zero.
Without a second thought, he reached for his gun, aimed and –
Kaname met his eyes, gave him a look Zero only remembered seeing once before – and then Kaname proceeded to break every one of his ribs. Zero froze on the spot, pinned by Kaname's gaze. His body wouldn't listen, but his mind ran at a million miles per hour, first through everything Kaname ever did to him, and though Zero's fear was riding his body still refused to listen.
But then he thought of Aido, his face smeared with blood, stomach a gaping hole; he thought of Kain, the desperate but gentle way he held his cousin. He thought of the light he used to see in Yuki's eyes, light gone dim as everything she ever believed shattered all around her. He thought of the helplessness Cross spoke of when he didn't think the kids were in ear shot and the tears Yagari so desperately wanted to shed but never did.
If it was just Zero who suffered at Kaname's hand, he would have let it happen – Zero was more than accustomed to silently dealing with pain. But it wasn't just he who hurt. Everyone he ever cared about, people he never expected to care about but did. They screamed and the cried and they bled – all because of that damn Pure Blood.
Zero pulled the trigger.
One shot through Kaname's chest, another through the shoulder – Zero cursed his bad aim, but his hand his shook so badly, his entire body was shaking; it was a miracle he even managed to hit Kaname at all – and then another shot, and another and another, shot after shot until his entire gun was empty. Kaname fell backwards, but the holes in his body could only mean that he still lived, and Zero couldn't accept that.
He reloaded and moved quickly to Kaname's fallen form. Any other vampire would be dead by now. But Kaname was a Pure Blood, and it took more than a few bullets to kill his kind. Zero knew he would not die so easily.
A shot at point blank. That ought to do it.
He stood over Kaname, watching him writhe, blood pooling around him. Kaname liked to see him this way, but for the life of him Zero could not see the appeal. The smell of Kaname's hung heavy in the air, but Zero felt nothing for it; only a sadistic satisfaction at seeing Kaname on the floor, seeing the man who beat and raped and tortured him and god knows who else lying in a pool of his own blood. But hunger? Desire? Zero still felt too sick to eat, and all he desired was to see Kaname dead.
"Hungry?" Zero mocked, recalling all the things Kaname used to say. "You look best like this." Kaname called him beautiful, but Zero could not bring himself to say the same about Kaname, not even in mockery.
Zero took his time, leisurely raising his foot and giving Kaname's ribs a powerful kick. He couldn't tell if the kick broke any bones, but he sure hoped it did. He ended the kick by stepping on Kaname's neck, effectively holding him in place and rendering him incapable of speech. If Kaname really wanted - if he could push through the pain of six anti-vampire bullets lodged in his body - Zero didn't doubt for a second that Kaname could throw him off. But Kaname stayed still, wearing a look of utter shock veiled with arrogance. Did he think Zero couldn't hurt him? Couldn't kill him? Perhaps. But it wouldn't stop him from trying.
A shot at point blank. It had to work.
Zero pulled the trigger.