Chapter 4

"Kiryuu-kun, you might not like this, but…" Cross trailed off, thinking of the best way to say what he wanted. Zero looked at him silently and waited. In the end, he couldn't think of any appropriate approach than to say it directly. "You need to also drink blood from other vampires to survive."

Zero looked lost for a while and Cross had to explain what he said. "These vampires will not let you roam free while thirsty. Your seal can only hold out long if you will not drink. Of course, I will not let you drink from Day Class students nor will you let yourself do the same. So I suggest that you drink from other vampires instead."

Zero wanted so much to argue but he remained quiet. He knew the Chairman had a point and he was not so blinded by his ideals that he wouldn't think of something like that. No, drinking the blood of those beasts was just too disturbing on top of being disgusting to him. Perhaps, it was because of the Association that he was even keeping quiet about it. He'd rather die than drink their blood, but the thought of his mission being a failure kept him from arguing.

"Don't take my advice badly, Kiryuu-kun." Cross voiced after a while. Zero remained quiet for a while now and he didn't want to offend or hurt the young hunter.

"I know, but I can't accept it either." He uttered after some thoughts. "I don't want to lose my humanity. I am a hunter, and I will not be anything other than that."

"Kiryuu-kun, you'll die." Cross pointed out directly. He wanted to save Zero but it seemed the hunter himself looked ready to die now. "Please think about it a bit more."

Zero simply shook his head before he tried to stand up. Cross helped him and he also helped Zero sat on a chair beside the table, not the chair where Kaname sat earlier because the young hunter didn't want to sit there.

"Do you want to drink something?" Cross asked as he started to clean the blood on the floor. Zero was about to help but the older male immediately gave him a childish pout. "Kiryuu-kun, I'll do everything!"

"Sorry… and thank you." Zero answered. He was really guilty because he was only sitting while the Chairman cleaned his mess. But he was still too weak and exhausted to actually do any good work so he didn't insist on doing anything anymore. "I'll have milk… if that's alright."

Cross smiled at him in his kindly way and Zero thought that Cross and Yuuki were a lot similar despite not having any blood ties. "Alright! One glass of milk coming up!"

The young hunter couldn't help but feel relaxed at the quiet atmosphere. Cross's back was on him and he was looking at the Chairman quietly. He could hear the sound of the spoon clinking against the glass as the Chairman gently stirred the milk. Zero looked at him and saw that his hair was longer than the young hunter initially thought. It was almost reaching the middle of his back, if it wasn't ponytailed to his left side like that. At times like this, Zero thought that the Chairman looked like a really good father figure. Cross turned around and caught him staring, but he merely smiled at Zero. The latter, embarrassed at having been caught, casually looked down to hide his embarrassment.

Cross looked at the kid in front of him and he couldn't help but feel awful. It hurt him that Zero didn't want to drink any blood coming from the vampires. He wished the kid would realize that his life was worth living, even as a vampire. But he also knew that as a hunter, it's the greatest humiliation to become part of the race which they hunted and hated so much. He was even amazed how Zero could stay calm right now.

He put the glass on the table and Zero silently took it and uttered his gratitude. "Thank you." He sipped his milk and looked at the Chairman again. "Have you told anyone… about me?"

Cross exhaled silently, but Zero's keen sense heard him clearly. "I didn't. Only Kuran-kun and I know your condition. But I guess the whole Night Class students will know once they meet you. Your classes will start tomorrow, by the way. You'll be Yuuki's classmate so you don't have to worry about finding the room or finding a friend. You will also be an official prefect starting tomorrow."

"You mean do what the girl Cross does?" He asked casually and Cross breathed harshly on his nose.

"Call her Yuuki-chan!" He exclaimed with the added stomp of the feet. "Yuuki is so cute and cuddly, and you just called her 'girl Cross'!"

"Alright, I'll call her by her name then." He sighed. He was getting more and more exhausted because of the Chairman's overly excited demeanor.

"By the way, I will buy blood in the blood bank for you so you won't get hungry." Cross said. "I know blood stored in the blood bank is no good. But at least it can satiate some of your thirst…"

"There's no need for that." Zero answered immediately. "I don't want to drink human blood. I'm not a vampire. I'm not one of them."

Cross looked concern for a while. "But–"

"Can I ask a favor, Chairman Cross?" He asked again, not letting Cross speak his mind about the blood thing. When Cross nodded, he continued. "If I become a Level E, please kill me immediately." Cross looked shocked and was about to argue but Zero didn't let him. "I don't want to die at the hands of those vampires. And I don't want to die as a mere beast. So please, kill me immediately when you think I'm losing it. Put a bullet in my head without hesitation. I beg you."

Cross's pained expression was so intense even Zero looked surprised. "You've grown up to be a fine young man, Zero-kun." Zero didn't know why, but the sound of that name sounded so nostalgic for him. He felt like he already heard this man call him that, but he couldn't remember when. "Alright, I'll do that." And the next scene was what tripled Zero's shock. Chairman walked towards him and bent over him. Zero looked up just as Cross hugged him tight. "You've really grown up…"

Zero's eyes widened because he couldn't comprehend what Cross just did. The only hug he could remember came from his mother, father, and Ichiru. Not even Yagari, or Yuzuru, did that to him. And yet, once again, this man just felt so nostalgic for him. He couldn't even find his voice to say anything.

"Chairman?" Both of them almost jumped when they heard Yuuki's voice at the entrance of the kitchen. Cross looked at her and smiled while Zero pretended to drink his milk again.

"Ah, Yuuki!" Cross voiced delightedly as he casually gave Zero a towel to hide the bloodied shirt that he was wearing. "Did patrolling go well?" The young hunter quickly realized why the Chairman gave him a clean towel and he used it to cover his shirt.

"Ah, yes." She smiled, still a little uncertain if she should have interrupted the two. They seemed so busy earlier. "No Day Class student tried to do anything, and no Night Class wandered around the school ground as well."

"Well, that's good to hear." Cross said. "I've prepared dinner, by the way. You two should eat with me."

"Geez, I thought it's my duty to cook tonight, Chairman?" She asked, visibly exhausted from patrolling.

"I want to cook! And please call me 'Papa' when we're alone!" Cross answered childishly. He was pouting at Yuuki and the latter was also doing the same because of annoyance and embarrassment. Zero pretended he couldn't see anything and continued drinking his remaining milk. Yuuki looked at him meaningfully but didn't ask any question even when she saw the towel so he was thankful.

After some more commotions, the three of them were already eating dinner silently. Yuuki, who was used to talking, couldn't help but be conscious of her manners. She didn't want to annoy their guest. No, Zero was not their guest anymore but a fellow student of Cross Academy.

"So, Yuuki." Cross called excitedly. "Zero-kun will be a prefect just like you and will patrol together with you. I hope you help him."

"P-Prefect?" She was surprised, but not necessarily unhappy. Actually, it was the opposite. Patrolling the whole school alone at night was just so tiresome and lonely. But what she was actually surprised about was the fact that the Chairman suddenly called Zero by name and Zero didn't even react to it. It's like many things had happened while she was gone!

"Yes, there will now be two of you!" Cross exclaimed, delight was written all over his face. Zero thought how different he looked from the serious Chairman earlier, just like a totally different person. But it wasn't entirely annoying for him.

Yuuki chuckled and looked at Zero. "Well, good luck working with you! And don't you slack off!" Zero smiled a tad and both Yuuki and Cross looked awed. Zero's face smiling was heavenly. He was, after all, the quiet type whose coldness and aloofness wouldn't go away just because he was in a warm place. Seeing his smile, even if just a small one, was like seeing a once in a lifetime experience.

"I won't." Zero answered. He wasn't the type to actually get serious at something like patrolling a school. But if he was patrolling because it was his duty as a hunter to do so, then that was a different matter. This situation was very productive for his mission right now. He needed to get as much information as he could while he was still himself.

After that, they all ate quietly but with a less tense ambiance. Zero knew his way in the kitchen and he was about to help but Yuuki stopped him. She was still looking at the towel Zero clutching to hide his chest area.

"Kiryuu-san, you shouldn't." She said, focusing on the matter at hand and trying hard to not let her eyes wander on the towel curiously. "I didn't get to prepare dinner, and if I didn't get to wash the dishes too, I'll be really grumpy." She was smiling so Zero knew she was only joking about the last part, but he still heeded.

Cross laughed at her enthusiasm and looked at Zero. "Well, there's always the next time, Zero-kun."

Zero looked at his two new acquaintances for a while before he talked. "Alright, I'll go to my room now." He said as he turned around to leave.

"Ah, Kiryuu-san," Yuuki called from behind him. "Can I just call you 'Zero-kun' too?"

Zero looked behind his right shoulder and saw that Yuuki was being serious. "Whatever." He answered casually and he disappeared into the living room. He heard Cross laugh in the kitchen and knew the two weren't offended by his attitude. It wasn't that he disliked being called like that. He just wasn't used to it so he didn't know what to say.

He reached the staircase and started ascending the stairs. He was about halfway when his chest hurt again. He clutched his towel-covered shirt and tried to breathe slowly, but it was having the opposite effect. His breathing was starting to become ragged and he knew he had to go inside his room before someone else comes out of their room. He searched his pocket for his key, opened the room in an instant, and was at least able to close the door before he totally fell on his knees. He gritted his teeth to prevent himself from screaming. Instead, he crouched on the floor and hugged his knees. The towel was now forgotten and silently lay beside him. He leaned his forehead on his arms and lay there silently for a minute or so.

His throat and his chest felt like burning just as his fangs throbbed with so much yearning and desire. He was thirsty again, what with all the blood he kept on losing without being returned. The feeling was becoming familiar to him now, but he just couldn't get used to it. He couldn't even accept it, let alone the thought of drinking blood. His hunter side would never allow him to even think that way even for a minute.

"Ne, I heard there's a new student coming to class tomorrow."

"Ah, yes. That's Zero-kun."

Zero immediately looked up just as he heard the voices and found he was still alone in his room. The first voice, that of a female's, was unknown to him. But the second voice was definitely Yuuki's. He couldn't see them but he could hear their voices as if they were talking in front of him. He immediately shook his head, thinking he was just hearing things, until the voices resumed.

"The other female students are saying many bad things about you again. The female students always bully you because they think you're the Chairman's favorite and also because you are a prefect. They think you get to see the Night Class students, which they so loved, more than they can."

"Let them be, Kaori. I'm used to it."

Zero tried to cover his ears so he wouldn't hear anything anymore, but it was to no avail. The walls of each room here were much thinner than the ones in the headquarters. Hunters had sensitive senses and they liked their privacy so the walls there were soundproofed. But this infrastructure was only made to accommodate ordinary students. Perhaps he could hear their voices because their room was just beside his.

"Good night, Yuuki."

"Good night, Kaori."

He was only able to somehow relax when he couldn't hear their voices anymore. What was unknown to him was the fact that the walls in the Sun Dorm, just like the headquarters, were all soundproofed because hunter senses were very sensitive and Cross was not your average hunter. He wanted to at least have a more relaxing atmosphere so he made all the walls soundproofed. Second floor was inhabited by male students and the third floor was the one where females had their rooms. The floorings were the ones which were not soundproof so the sound could escape from there. But normal human hearing, or even hunter ones, couldn't hear much because of the thick flooring. It was Zero's vampire hearing that was enabling him to hear the voices of the girls rooming just above his.

Now that he's calmed down, he could once again feel the throbbing pain in his throat. It felt so dry and in need of something he knew very well. If only his situation wasn't so dire, he could at least go out and try to breathe some fresh air. Well, no one said he couldn't do that… It's night anyway… No one would wander in the school grounds…

The school's area, as what he had seen in his mission form, was almost like a huge circle. The inner circle was where the school buildings and grounds were. The outer circle was a forested area encircling the inner circle. On the northern part of the outer circle is where the Moon Dorm was located and the southern area has the Sun Dorm. The east of the outer circle is where the gate is and the western part of the circle has a huge lake where no one really bothered to go. That could be a good place to unwind.

Right now, the Night Class students were in the inner circle, having their classes, and the Day Class students were already asleep in their rooms. And he was sure he wouldn't see anyone in the woods. He was most dangerous in the Sun Dorm, where all the Day Class students slept. If he would leave at night, then the place to go would surely be the place where no one would disturb him and no one would be in danger because of him.

With that determination in mind, he urged himself to stand up and walk from the doorway to the center of the room. He stopped and looked at the mirror on the wall beside his bed. He looked so handsomely pale and still. His eyes were glowing like burning charcoals and he had a very pained expression.

"Am I…" He gritted his teeth. "Am I really not human anymore..? Did I really lose my humanity..?" He opened his mouth as if to argue the depressing thought, but the sight of his protracted fangs made him stop. He really was… not human anymore…

He shook his head as he opened his window and saw the beautiful and serene moon looking down at him from the clear sky. The thunderstorm had ended outside, but it still remained inside him. And it was getting stronger, destroying him and devouring his very existence. He jumped from the second floor window to the ground with so much gracefulness and swiftness he knew he didn't have back before he was turned. He really has changed… His eyes were still burning red when he ran a little northwest, towards the woods with only one thing in mind, to escape from reality… even for just a while. His mission was supposed to be everything but he knew he just couldn't concentrate on it if he was very unstable. And besides, first day of class would be tomorrow anyway, so he could also assume that his mission would officially start tomorrow as well.

He kept running in the dark woods but his senses as a hunter were very keen and they, as a vampire, were much keener now. He followed the smell of water and reached the lake with only little effort, even though the lake was at least two to three hundred meters away from the Sun Dorm. He slowed down shortly before he reached the lake when he thought he smelled something sweet. He knew it wasn't blood but it smelled so good. He followed it and saw, circling the lake was a field of blue roses. He was stunned and also amazed at the beautiful view for a while. It was quiet and the blue roses smelled so sweet. He could look at them forever and still won't get tired of it.

He walked silently towards one of the flowers and touched a petal. It looked and felt very authentic, unlike the dyed blue roses sold in the cities. The soil just beside the lake was damp but from at least a meter away, where the roses started growing, the grasses could be sat on. There were moisture in them but they weren't muddy. Zero sat and leaned on one of the trees at least two meters away from the lake. Virtually, he was well-hidden from other people because of the roses.

He relaxed a little at the thought that no one would find him in that kind of place. He closed his eyes and, with the sweet scent of the roses, he drifted away into the world of his dreams. But instead of the usual dreams he had with Ichiru, the dream he had now was less real and more incomprehensible.

The scent of the blue roses was still very dominant, dominating most of the surrounding's scent. He could only barely smell the water even though he was only two meters away from it. He stood up and found that he was in the same lake where he was before he fell asleep. Now he knew he was dreaming because the lake was at some place far away from school, in some bright and warm place he didn't recognize. The pristine atmosphere was still there but instead of being surrounded by trees, the lake was being surrounded by a meadow. The sun was shining brightly and he was alone in the place, or at least he thought he was because he couldn't see anyone in any direction.

He picked a flower and smelled it as he approached the lake. He sat beside the lake and closed his eyes as he smelled the sweet scent that tickled his senses. It was a kind of place where he couldn't even hope for, especially now that his life would be over soon. He just wished the dream would remain longer.

Suddenly, he felt something warm touched his lips. He opened his eyes and saw two chocolate eyes looking at him with so much warmth and love. It was the kind of which he couldn't even hope for. The person smiled and Zero returned it shyly. The person's lovely smile was enough for Zero's stone-cold stature to melt and his heart to skip a beat. He had just kissed someone in his dream… Or rather, he was just kissed by someone in his own dream. He felt himself blush up to the tips of his ears as the person chuckled and he knew he couldn't hope for anything else than to be with this person…

Only, dreams were sometimes impossible to make into a reality.

The person's lower-half body, Zero noticed, was in the lake and he had to laugh when he saw that. This person was just so lovely. Those long eye lashes and luscious lips, and those pretty chocolate eyes were just so warm and beautiful he couldn't help but hug the person as he leaned on the other's forehead. They stared at each other's eyes for a while, drinking each other's love and basking in their affection for one another.

It was weird indeed. He knew he was acting strange, and he would've shuddered in shock if he was awake. He knew he was acting so free here, like he was not in any mission at all. It was weird… The other weird thing was the fact that Zero knew he had already seen this person in real life. If only the dream could be a reality…

"What's… your name..?" Zero asked, blushing so much. He was kind of embarrassed that they kissed and all but he had yet to know of the person's name. The person smiled and was about to speak when there were suddenly big drops of rain falling down from the sky. Zero looked up but saw clear sky, just as before. He now wondered where the hell the rain was pouring down from. It was very annoying because it was dampening his sense of hearing. He couldn't hear what the person was saying now.

Suddenly, the view started to vanish, like a candle that had reached its end and was flickering its life away. The person probably noticed that the dream was over for Zero and gave him one last gentle kiss. It only took a moment but Zero felt like centuries had passed when their lips parted. It left a tingling feeling on his lips and also on other parts of his body. He liked it more than their first share of kiss, and he would have probably liked the next one more if it weren't for the world vanishing at his feet. There was clear sky just a second ago and now there was only darkness and falling rain…

Big droplets simultaneously dropped down from the branches and leaves of the trees just as he opened his eyes. He was still dazed and thought that he was still inside the dream, until there was a droplet of water that fell down his cheek and forced him to understand that it was now reality, and it was really raining. He must have been sitting down for hours because he felt his body complaining about his position. He felt so much at ease when he shifted in his seat.

"Tch…" He muttered under his breath. "Thank you so much for disturbing my sleep…"

He licked his lips and was stunned when he felt that they were still tingling from the supposed kiss, like the feeling in the dream. His right middle and index fingers unconsciously touched his lips just as he felt himself blush. He couldn't explain the sensation and he didn't know what the hell just happened to him, to suddenly dream of someone he didn't even know. Not to mention that he acted so not like his usual self. And to even kiss her!

He immediately assumed the person was a 'she' because he didn't dare think otherwise. And as he tried to think of the face of the person he was with in that warm place, he realized he couldn't remember. He didn't know what the person looked like or how her voice sounded. But one thing was for sure, the person had lovely chocolate eyes and her smile was very warm and loving. Zero licked his lips before he smiled shyly to himself. What a perverted man he was…

Now that he's calmed down, he realized he had forgotten all about his thirst. His eyes were back to their amethyst color now and his fangs already retracted. He looked around and saw nothing but bushes. The scent of the blue roses was still very dominant in the air, and he thought it was the scent's fault that he dreamed of something so not hunter-like. He stood up, yawned, and stretched to shake the dream off his mind. It would only be a hindrance to his mission if he were to think of things with much lesser importance. If it were him back at the headquarters, he would've treated the thing, love and romance, as nothing but trash and the dream as an annoying dream. But now, now that he knew he had no Association to come back to after the mission, he could see that that feeling was also somehow important. Only, its degree of importance was much, much lesser than his mission.

The rain gradually stopped but Zero wasn't soaking wet that much because he was under the branches and leaves of a tree. The droplets of the rain were bigger under the tree but it wasn't totally pouring down like on the lake where there was no shade at all. He silently watched the lake until the rain stopped. He felt calmer now and more in peace. He didn't want to think of anything else right now, even for just tonight.

There was a sudden change in the air and Zero immediately smelled something else other than the fragrance of the roses. He knew that scent even when he's asleep. It was the scent of the beasts he hunted after all… He leaned on the tree and was about to bring out his Bloody Rose when he realized he didn't have it.

He was shocked for a while because the Bloody Rose hadn't left his side ever since that incident happened ten years ago. And now, he had totally forgotten about its existence. And he realized how that proved that his situation right now was making him all shaky and unbalanced, making him forget something that was practically a part of him. Somehow, he was now even more anxious and fearful of his situation. It felt to him that leaving Bloody Rose behind was like leaving his hunter side, and worse, forgetting about it was like forgetting his identity and humanity. He couldn't allow that… He couldn't allow this situation to steal everything to him… He didn't want anything of his to be stolen… again.

His train of thought was interrupted by the unmistakable approaching scent, vampire scent. His earlier anxiousness was replaced by panic and irritation because he let himself become so wide open and unguarded in the enemies' territory. It was nothing but pure negligence of his mission and also ridiculous stupidity. Right now, he was nothing but practically… dead.

He remained leaning on the tree and unmoving as the presences of vampires, four of them, got nearer and nearer, until he could already hear their voices. There's nothing he could do now but conceal his presence and hope that they weren't strong enough to feel him. He also tried to keep his hunter side at bay because even if they couldn't feel his presence, if they could feel his hatred and killing intent, then his cover was for nothing.

"Kaname-sama said not to do anything, but I still don't like it!" Zero heard a male voice exclaimed.

"Shut up, Hanabusa." Another male voice, huskier and had lower pitch than the other one, answered. "I think I understand where he's coming from."

"And please, Hanabusa, don't do anything that will hurt or offend Kaname-sama anymore." A female's voice added. They were at least four or five meters away from Zero now. He gulped. He could feel that they were not mere Level D or Es, and they were powerful. If they would fight him right now, he would surely die. It's not as if he was afraid to die. It's just that he didn't want to die in vain, and without even starting his would-be last mission.

"Wait," another voice said. It came from the fourth vampire. They all stopped moving and Zero knew it was him that the fourth vampire felt.

"Kaname-sama said not to do anything, Ichijou." The other male vampire said. "Hanabusa, Ruka, let's leave this place."

"I didn't realize hunters like to eavesdrop on people." The vampire named Hanabusa said and Zero knew he was being provoked. He gritted his teeth but he didn't come out. He knew he had to endure it if he wanted his mission to come into completion. It's true that he was kind of eavesdropping anyway. That's basically his mission's definition after all, to eavesdrop and pry on someone else's business, and to deceive them to the end.

"Hanabusa, let's leave." The girl whose name was most likely Ruka spoke. There were some movements. Zero could feel that she was trying to pull her companions away from the place, but they were practically stronger than her.

"Hold on, Ruka." The guy, Ichijou, said. He walked closer to where Zero was and stopped at least three meters away from the tree where the hunter was hiding. "You're Zero Kiryuu, right? We heard about you from Kaname."

Zero breathed slowly as he realized he had no choice but to come out, or else they would think that he was scared of them. He slowly moved from his leaning position and circled the other side of the tree, where he could see all of them. The four vampires were wearing similar white long sleeves that were undoubtedly their uniform. It looked good on them, if only they weren't vampires. The guy named Ichijou, who was closest to Zero, smiled kindly, though the hunter didn't return it. The hunter saw that the four of them weren't wet. He's just the only one who was soaking. Ichijou had blonde hair and emerald eyes. He had a warm presence, not like the other vampires that Zero always encountered in battles. But he was not so idiotic as to easily believe that. Vampires were beasts who fed on human by force or by seduction. It was in their nature to kill and deceive. They're beasts in human skin.

"My name is Takuma Ichijou, the Vice President of Moon Dorm. My three companions here are Ruka Souen, Akatsuki Kain, and Hanabusa Aido. And by the way, there's no need to be so stiff and wary, Zero-kun." Ichijou said, still kindly. "As you've heard, Kaname ordered us not to do anything against you so–"

"Ichijou!" Aido exclaimed. "What do you think you're saying to an enemy?!" Aido, like Takuma, had blonde hair, but his was lighter and he had sapphire blue eyes. He also looked younger than any of them. Zero could see that Aido's nose was twitching.

"Hanabusa, Akatsuki, let's go." The girl Ruka said. She was pleading, but her stony face showed no signs of that. She had waist-length wavy light brown hair and she's very beautiful, though Zero had no interest in anyone whose eyes weren't chocolate in color.

Aido was starting to shiver and Zero had no idea why nor had he any interest to know. But for the sake of his mission, he would try to talk, even with gritted teeth, as Yagari told him. He couldn't help but feel a pang of pain and longing now because he wouldn't be able to be with them anymore. The first thing they would surely do if they saw him was to point a gun on his head or just shoot him mercilessly.

"Your companion is shivering." He answered and the four vampires were surprised for a while. It seemed they didn't expect him to actually talk.

"Ah, don't worry, hunter." The guy Kain, a tall person with auburn hair, smirked. "We can handle ourselves just fine. You should worry about yourself more. It seems he's targeting you. Just look at your chest, saying I'm so delicious."

Zero didn't know for a while what the hell Kain was talking about, until he looked down at his shirt and saw that he hadn't changed clothes from when he threw up blood. Cross tried to wipe the bloods off his shirt and ended up messing it more. His blood, because it was his own, had no effect whatsoever on him. But for vampires, he smelled even better than the blue roses in the surrounding and was more delicious-looking than any food or dish out there. And right now, that guy Aido, was reacting to the scent of his blood.

"Don't worry. I can control my thirst…" Aido finally spoke, and smirked as he looked Zero. "Unlike some lowly and filthy Level Es." Now, Zero thought how he wouldn't question the fact that Aido was really Kain's cousin. His annoyance got the better of him and he finally showed them his hostility. His face was cool earlier, but now, he only wanted nothing but to bury some bullets in the head of these beasts.

"I'm sorry, Zero-kun, we didn't mean to offend you." Takuma apologized, but he knew Aido was just stating the reality, and he also knew Zero would not listen to him or even accept the apology.

"I told you, let's just go." Ruka said to his companions. "Kaname-sama will get angry at us if he knew we're doing this now. And just right after he told us to stay away…"

Actually, all four of them could feel it. They could feel Zero's hunter blood pulling them in. If they stayed any longer, their so-called control would really be put to test. It's not that they were afraid to kill a hunter. It's just that their Leader, Kaname, told them not to do anything to this particular hunter.

"Really, Zero-kun." Takuma's voice turned serious even though he was still very much smiling. "I too think that you're too delicious to resist. So please, don't hang around in strange places at night while you're wounded… and without weapon." Zero's eyes, just like Takuma's three companions', widened at the statement. Zero's shock only lay on the fact that the vampires in front of him immediately knew he had no weapon and thus had no chance to win. They could immediately kill him if they so wanted. So, that Kaname Kuran's power was so vast after all as to make his subjects obey him even without his presence.

The three other vampires' shock, however, came from the fact that Takuma just said that Zero was too delicious to resist. Zero was not a vampire so he didn't know the sensual implications of the words. Vampires were very sensual beings and there were things that normal humans, like what Zero was before, wouldn't understand. The three of them didn't think that Takuma was that kind of a person but they guessed he was just a closet pervert, and every now and then that side of him would come out.

"I wonder what Shiki will say if he heard all about this…" Kain grinned together with Aido. Takuma, who didn't mean any of the sorts of things his three companions thought, didn't understand why the hell Shiki would get angry if he gave a new student a warning to be careful. Ruka only sighed at the situation.

"And one more thing, Zero-kun." Takuma said. Zero only looked at him with nothing but wariness and hostility. "Please don't keep your eyebrows creased, you'll get old sooner."

"Vampires don't age too easily, Takuma." Aido said, and added. "But I guess he's not one of us after all. Level Es have such short lived existence, even shorter than humans' practically short life."

"It's because when you become Level E, you're nothing but a piece of trash waiting to be hunted down and killed, by both vampires and hunters." Kain added in quite a happy tone.

Zero could have felt deep annoyance and anger at their words, but he just stood there unmoving and totally hurt, because he knew very well how right they were. He knew his existence was the lowest of the lowest now, with no chance of escape. There was almost no sand particle on the upper part of his hour glass anymore. What was waiting for him at the end of this mission was his death. Not that he was afraid of it, it was just painful to think that his comrades would see him as nothing but a mere Level E who couldn't think and had no will of his own. He was even more afraid that he would be killed by these vampires before Cross could do what he promised.

That was something he didn't want, to be killed by the race he hated so much.

"I know that." He answered. "I know that better than anyone, so shut up, vampires."

"So you still have the audacity to annoy us, even though you have no weapon." Ruka was the one who answered this time.

Takuma had to sigh because the conversation just wouldn't end. He was about to tell his companions to just let the hunter go when the conversation was really put to a stop. Aido's eyes flared red and he was behind Zero immediately just as the hunter tried to fight him. The two exchanged swift blows, which amazed even Takuma.

"He's a hunter alright." He chuckled. "No Level D is able to keep up with Aido in a fight."

"Well, everything has a first." Kain yawned. "But are you sure you don't want to stop them? Kaname-sama will get angry."

"Aido can't hurt Zero-kun because Kaname ordered him." Takuma started but it was Ruka who continued.

"And Kiryuu cannot kill Hanabusa because he has no weapon right now." She said. "Tch, this is why I keep telling you to leave this place."

After some minutes, Aido was able to go behind Zero again, but this time, Zero wasn't as swift as earlier and Aido caught his arms and jerked them behind him. Zero gritted his teeth because of the pain. He hadn't drunk any blood and he already lost so much of it. The only thing keeping him moving now was his self determination and his mission. If it wasn't for that, Zero would've already succumbed to depression and killed himself. That's why he was not as efficient as Aido in blocking attacks and received cuts and bruises here and there. His reflex was also slower than how he normally moved, and because his partner was not here, he couldn't get into fighting mode at all because of so much anxiety.

Aido's eyes immediately turned redder when he smelled Zero's scent up close. He closed his eyes and sniffed the hair of the hunter's hair down to his neck. Zero, exhausted and troubled, couldn't do anything against the person behind him who kept on harassing him. He wasn't the type to exclaim annoying things to others when in a bind so he kept his mouth shut. It was Aido's three companions who talked.

"Hanabusa, that's enough. Let's go." Ruka called. Now the three of them were only at least two meters away from Aido and Zero. Their eyes widened when Aido licked Zero's neck.

"Oy, stop it!" Zero couldn't help but exclaim while he tried to struggle. But Aido's grip on him was too tight that it hurt even if he didn't struggle at all. Aido's eyes remained red and his body continued to act on instinct as he continued to lick Zero's neck. His fangs were now protruding and it was slightly grazing the hunter's neck. Zero winced at the sensation because he couldn't understand it. He was human when he was first bitten so all his sense told him was that it hurt so much. But now that he's vampire, the fangs on his neck felt kind of pleasurable and he couldn't understand it.

"Stop playing with him, Hanabusa!" Kain exclaimed. He could smell Zero's blood more now because of what his idiot cousin was doing and it was harder to control others when he was fighting hard to control his own urge. Ruka started to step back because she didn't want Kaname to get angry at her, and she was starting to lose control too. Her eyes were now burning red as well, just like Kain's. Takuma couldn't move at all. He wanted to help Zero, but he was afraid he would be the first to bite the hunter if he came too close. His eyes were red as well, but his thirst was still at bay. He wasn't that hungry as well because he just had blood. But hunter's blood was just too intoxicating for vampires that even if he wasn't thirsty yet, he could still feel his mouth watering at the delightful scent.

Normally, the four of them had enormous control and self-restraint, that even when they were with the Day Class students, it didn't matter to them at all. Kaname's blood was the only blood where their control was really put to test, but this was different. This particular hunter's scent and blood was beyond your normal delicious. Cross's blood didn't smell this tasty either. Actually, the word tasty or delicious was an understatement for Zero's blood. It smelled so good it was so mouth-watering. It's intoxicating and it excited them in a lot of ways.

"So this is the reason why he told us to get away from him…" Aido mumbled as his mouth opened wider and his fangs showed. He was about to bite Zero when Ruka yelled at him from where she was.

"Hanabusa! Remember what Kaname-sama ordered us!" She exclaimed. "What he told us earlier was not a mere request! It's an order! Are you defying him, Hanabusa?!"

With this, Aido immediately snapped back to reality and his eyes went back to their blue color. The blood still smelled as appealing as before but his appetite was lost because of Ruka's words. He was a bit unguarded and Zero used that chance to elbow him and escape from his grip.

"Ouch! Hey!" He exclaimed as he rubbed his side. "Damn hunter! Damn Level E!"

"I'm a Level D, not E, you idiot." Zero answered back, a bit calmer than earlier. Takuma sighed in relief as his eyes also turned back to their emerald color. Aido, who was shocked at being called an idiot for the first time in his life, was about to retaliate verbally when Takuma interrupted him.

"Zero-kun, I think it's best for you to return to the Sun Dorm." He said when he noticed that Kain and Ruka's eyes were still glowing red, though they were not moving from their position. "Although it's a bit late, welcome to Cross Academy. We apologize for our earlier behavior, so please don't mention it to Kaname. And, good… uh, night." He smiled before he turned around and put his left arm on Kain's shoulder and his right on Ruka's. He ushered the two to walk away just as Aido followed them behind. The blonde was still annoyed but he still looked behind his shoulder to see if Zero would really not tell. Zero's expression was cool and unreadable. He only hoped that it meant Zero didn't care either way. It meant that at least there's a fifty percent chance Zero wouldn't tell Kaname about what happened this night.




Ren-sama's Note:

Yeah, I know it's a little bit OOC for Zero to dream like that. But a dream is a dream. And he's back to his old self when he woke up anyway. So, please review! ˆoˆ

P.S. Basically, the girl 'Kaori' here is the same girl 'Yori,' Yuuki's bestfriend. Yeah, I know I've kind of thought her name was 'Kaori'… and I've already written a lot to still think of changing it. (I hate editing.) So she's basically 'Yori' with 'Kaori' for a name.