I do not own Vampire Knight. They belong to their respective artist, Matsuri Hino.
This is an alternate universe, so Juri and Haruka are still alive, Rido is married to Shizuka, and Zero and Ichiru are Vampires. All characters are somewhat OOC.
Reviews are welcome, but no flames. I send lowly humans out to get rid of them so they don't hurt my Kaname. :)
WARNING! This story contains yaoi (man-on-man), angst, pregnant/mpreg scenarios, and a bunch of other stuff some people may not like. If this stuff isn't your forte, please back out now. By continuing to read, you forfeit any right to chastise me later.
Pure Blood Love
Kaname Kuran, the beautiful pure-blood son of Juri and Haruka Kuran and heir to the Kuran bloodline, stopped at the small metal-work shop where Akatsuki Kain worked. He sighed softly, wondering whether or not to trust the aristocrat with such a delicate piece of work. It was, after all, an engagement charm.
Akatsuki looked up from his delicate metal-work. "Hey, Kaname. How are you doing?"
"As well as can be." Kaname replied. It was a round-about way of saying 'I hate my pureblood life' without actually saying it. Rumors were flying around that his bride was going to be chosen soon, and he wanted to make his intentions known before then.
"So, what do you need done?" Akatsuki asked. He walked over as Kaname pulled a small pouch out of his pocket. "What is this?"
"I need you to make the engagement charms." Kaname said softly. "I brought the stones and the droplet vials, like you said."
Akatsuki looked at the pieces. "This will take two nights to prepare." he said at length. "Kaname . . ."
"Don't ask." Kaname whispered. "They will not dictate whom I marry."
Akatsuki nodded. "I understand, my lord."
Kaname caught the change in the way Akatsuki addressed him and turned to the door. A small scowl crossed his face when he saw it was his younger sister that stood in the doorway. "Yuki, why are you here?"
"Mother and father have announced your bride." Yuki smiled.
A foreboding feeling crept up Kaname's spine. "Who was it?" he asked, his voice almost a growl.
"Me." Yuki replied, almost beaming with joy. "Now we can stay together forever, Kaname."
Akatsuki swallowed as he tucked the items Kaname had handed him into his pocket. "Congratulations." he said. He turned to Kaname. "My lord, the items you've requested will be ready for you to pick up in two days."
"Thank you, Akatsuki." Kaname returned. "How long is the engagement?" he asked Yuki.
"A week. We are to wed on All Hallow's Eve."
Kaname face-palmed. "Mother chose the date, didn't she?" he asked as they left the metal-work shop.
"Yes." Yuki looked up at her brother. His wine-red eyes seemed sad. "Is something wrong?"
Kaname glanced at her. "I need to go speak to a few people of this. Finish your errand and return home."
"I was told to come get you. Mother says you must be fitted for your suit, and there are the rings to size and have made, and then . . ." Her sentence stopped when Kaname pulled a chain from his pocket. "Kaname . . ."
On the end of the chain hung a Tamer's Charm. It was dangerous to use one near a pureblood.
"So, you know what this is?" Kaname asked.
Yuki nodded. "But, why do you have one?" she asked.
"A hunter dropped it. I need to return it, since his 'pet' can't." Kaname replied. He walked away. "Tell Mother I'll return before sun-up."
Yuki bit her lip, then turned and headed back to the rather lavish estate. Kaname watched her go, then tucked the charm back in his pocket. His first stop was at the home of an apprentice doctor, and the cousin of the metal-worker, Hanabusa Aido. Or rather, the youths who lived in the apartment just below him.
A silver-haired young man answered the door. Kaname knew instantly that it was Ichiru, the younger sibling, mostly from the thread and singular bell that tied his hair back. "Is Zero in?"
Ichiru nodded and let him in. "Hey, Zero! The pureblood's here!"
Zero appeared from his room, dressed in a pair of jeans and an open shirt. "Kaname!" He hurried over and kissed the other Vampire, rubbing his fangs against the other's. He pulled back and looked at Kaname, only to notice the worry in the other's eyes. "What is it?"
"How soon can you be ready to leave?" Kaname asked.
Zero blinked at him. "Whenever. Why? What's wrong, Kaname?"
"My parents have chosen my bride, and it is to be Yuki." Kaname replied. "I refuse to wed her."
Ichiru looked over at him from over his book. "You refuse any match that doesn't have my brother pounding your ass."
Zero growled at him, but stopped when Kaname held him close. "How soon is the date?"
"A week from now." Kaname replied. "We must be gone before then."
Zero nodded. "And how soon will . . ?"
"Two days." Kaname replied. "Till then, I must play the loyal son."
Zero held Kaname close, his hand stroking the fine silken brown locks. "I'll be ready by then, and meet you at the train."
Kaname nodded. "I must inform Hanabusa, as he has seen to the two of us since we started seeing each other."
Zero nodded, reluctant to let his slightly shorter lover walk away. He sighed and looked at Ichiru. "You'll be fine here by yourself, right?"
"Yes, I'll be fine. Bar Kaname and Hanabusa, I doubt anyone knows what you and I truly are, Zero." Ichiru looked up at him. "Send me a post once you and Kaname are set, and I'll come with Hanabusa, alright?"
Zero nodded. "Thank you, Ichiru."
"Kaname, why must you be so difficult to size?" asked Ruka Souen as she measured Kaname's arm again for the umpteenth time.
Kaname chose to ignore the question as he was pricked with another pin. He only rolled his eyes and focused on the clock. This session of pinning and refitting would be over by midnight, and then he could head out into the city.
"Kaname, what do you think of the color scheme chosen?" asked Juri. Her long, wavy hair was tied back in a haphazard clip, somehow still managing to look elegant.
"Whatever." Kaname muttered. "Like my opinion on this whole thing matters, anyway."
Haruka caught his son's exasperated tone. "Kaname, this is your wedding as well. You should have some input into it."
"Why?" Kaname asked. "It'll only result in an argument that eventually forces me into whatever Mother wants, anyway." He rubbed his forehead.
"Aargh!" Ruka growled, grabbing his wrist and straightening out his arm again. "Don't move!"
Kaname rolled his eyes and sighed. "See what I mean?"
Haruka shook his head. He noted the time. "It's midnight. Why don't we take a break?"
Kaname more than happily shed the jacket that he'd been picked and pricked over, heading up to his room.
"Kaname!" Juri called.
"Let him be." said Haruka. "This is stressful for him as well."
Kaname jumped from the window-ledge, landing gracefully to the soft grass below. He'd changed his clothes from the elegant dress-wear to a torn pair of jeans and an old sweater over a t-shirt that could probably have used a wash. Slinging his backpack over his shoulder, Kaname sprinted for the village not that far away.
He came to a stop at Akatsuki's metal-work shop and stepped in. "Akatsuki?"
"Kaname." The other walked over. "So, Hanabusa was right. You are leaving."
The pureblood nodded. "Are they finished?"
"Here." Akatsuki handed him the charms. "Take care, my friend."
Kaname nodded, tucking the charms in his pocket as he headed out towards the train station.
Zero was waiting for him. "Come on, the next train leaves soon."
Kaname nodded and followed Zero onto the train. "Did you bring the marker?"
Zero nodded. "You sure about this?" he asked as he took out the back tattoo pen.
"If I am to walk in the light as you do, we must play at being master and servant. Besides, it's temporary, until we find a place we can settle." Kaname replied. "Oh, Zero." He held out the charm. "This is for you."
Zero gasped. The charm was a wine-red orb atop a double-helix of gold and silver that spun around a small vial that held a droplet of Kaname's blood. "An engagement charm?" he asked. "Kaname, are you asking me . . ."
Kaname nodded. "Zero, will you bind yourself to me and spend eternity as my partner, equal, and lover?"
"Yes, Kaname, I will bind myself to you and spend eternity as your partner, equal, and lover." Zero replied, sliding the necklace over his head to hang perfectly around his neck. He smiled when Kaname produced a similar charm that he wore around his neck. The difference was the orb was a soft orchid purple, and the vial contained a droplet of Zero's blood.
"How far are we going on this train?" Kaname asked.
"Kaname? Kaname, you didn't come down for lunch." called Yuki from the door of her brother's room. "Kaname? Are you alright?"
Haruka came to a stop. "Yuki, what's wrong?"
"Kaname's not answering his room door." Yuki replied. "I'm worried. He still needs to help select the catering, and his suit needs to be finished."
Haruka came over and tested the door. It was locked. Quickly, he headed outside to the gardens below Kaname's window.
"Damn, I was right."
Juri and Yuki came over. "What is it, Haruka?" Juri asked. She looked up and gasped.
Kaname's bedroom window was open.
"He's run off again." Haruka said. "I bet I know where, too."
"Hmm?" Yuki looked at her father. "He probably went over to Akatsuki's shop. He was getting something made and it was going to be ready tonight."
"I'll check there, first, then." said Haruka. "You two return to planning the wedding. I'll bring Kaname back." He walked over to the small metal-work shop. "Akatsuki Kain?"
"Hmm? Yes, Lord Haruka? How may I help you?"
"Was Kaname here?"
"Yes, he was here to pick up an item he'd asked me to make."
"What was it?"
"A double-helix made of gold and silver." the metal-smith replied. He watched Haruka's features carefully.
"Did he say where he was going afterwards?"
"Did you see which way he went?"
"I'm afraid not." Akatsuki replied. "I had another order to fill; for a pair of rings with a rose engraving on them."
Haruka nodded. "I won't waste any more of your time. Good day." He turned and left, thinking. Kaname had already come through and gotten the item he'd asked Akatsuki to make, but hadn't returned home. There were a few places the wayward pureblood may have gone, the first and closest being where Akatsuki's cousin lived and worked.
Zero nudged Kaname, waking the pureblood. "Our stop's next." he said.
Kaname nodded and stood, his neck still stinging from the charm drawn to his flesh. They were near the harbor, and meant to take a boat across the channel, then proceed north into the countryside. Zero's family had owned a cottage out that way, and when his parents had passed on, the cottage had passed to Zero and Ichiru.
In order to hide Kaname's quite noticeable features, Zero had also gone through the meticulous trouble of dying Kaname's lovely brown locks, tipping most of his hair a rather unique and vibrant red, like blood. The handiwork was actually quite good, and Kaname certainly didn't look like the pureblood he used to be. Now he looked more like the owned aristocratic Vampire he was supposed to be playing as in order to get through the checkpoints.
Zero took the chain lead of the collar that Kaname wore and gave a light tug. "Come along." he said, leading Kaname off the train.
A few people stared, but none approached or asked as they walked along towards the ferry. That was when they were stopped.
"Excuse me." said the boarding officer. "We're on the lookout for a run-away pureblood by the name of Kaname Kuran. It's suspected he might be with a human with silver hair, like you. Mind if we check a few things?"
Kaname tugged at his chain, playing at being a somewhat older acquisition of Zero's, shying away from the officer and closer to his 'master'.
Zero gently petted Kaname's head. "It's alright, Ichi." he said soothingly. He looked at the officer. "You're a Vampire?"
"Then here, test my blood." He held out his wrist. "I'm easier to test than my pet, anyway."
The officer carefully punctured Zero's wrist, only to pull back a second later. "I'm sorry, my lord." he said. "I hadn't known."
Zero smiled and turned his wrist to Kaname, who licked the blood lovingly until the wound closed.
"Go right ahead, my lord. And safe journey for your travels."
Kaname sat on the floor at Zero's feet, placing his arms upon his lover's knees and resting his chin on his arms. He looked up at the other in an endearing manner, loving the way the early morning rays danced over Zero's features and showed him in a very defined way.
"It'll be an hour until the boat departs." said Zero. "And another forty-five minutes until it has crossed the channel. Unloading the passengers will take about another hour, so if you need sleep, go ahead and rest."
Kaname smiled softly, not wanting to sleep, but feeling tiredness tug at his eyelids. The drowsiness became greater as Zero began to stroke his hair once more, and he dozed off to sleep.
It seemed like only minutes had passed before Zero woke him again, and they were on their way. The pair departed the ferry boat and headed through the large, bustling town.
"There are more humans here than there were back home." Kaname said. He glanced out the corner of his eye. "We're being followed."
Zero chanced a glance back. "It's the suit from the ferry. He might be on to us."
"What do we do?" Kaname asked.
"This way." Zero led him down several crowded streets before ducking into a bookstore for a while to make sure that they'd lost him. After a while, the pair left the store and boarded a bus headed outside the city in the direction they were headed.
This time, Kaname sat beside Zero. Despite his best efforts to stay awake, Kaname again dozed off. He woke again when they hit a particularly bumpy patch of road just before their stop.
"Sorry I keep falling asleep."
"Don't worry." smiled Zero. He unclipped the chain that led to the collar. "Come on. It's not far from here."
Juri was furious. "He's what?!" she shrieked.
"Juri, calm down. I already asked a few of our associates to keep an eye out for them."
"Them?" Yuki asked.
"Yeah. The human that lives below Hanabusa's place was missing his brother. An avid Tamer's Charm maker, too." Haruka replied. He was angry. "I already tried talking to the brother, but he wouldn't answer."
"Did you get the name of the charm-maker?" Juri asked.
Haruka shook his head. "All I could get was a last name, and it's obviously an alias."
"Really?" Yuki asked. "What was it?"
"Kiryu." Haruka replied.
Yuki bit her lip. "There were two Kiryu in Kaname's classes at school." she said. "Ichiru and Zero."
"You did go to a human school for your last year, so it wouldn't be surprising for you to . . . what?!" Juri asked. "Kaname's classes?"
Yuki nodded. "I can point them out in the yearbook." She retrieved the thick book from the shelf and flipped through the pages. "That's odd."
"What is?" asked Haruka.
"The page with Kaname's class has been torn out." Yuki replied. "Almost like it wasn't even there." She indicated to a small corner that was left of a page.
"Would they be anywhere else in the book?" Haruka asked.
"No. They didn't stand out that much. I only remembered them because Kaname would stand off in a corner with them at lunch break." Yuki sighed. "One of them always had his hair tied up with a red thread that bore a singular bell on it. The other had slightly shorter hair."
"Was there anything else that was unique about them?" Juri asked, trying hard not to get her hopes up.
Yuki thought back to when she'd been in school with Kaname.
Kaname stood off in a corner of the room, watching as the humans went about their meals. Two humans approached him, and Kaname smiled. These two were young, about his equal in age-appearance, with silver hair and orchid-purple eyes. One of them had his hair tied back with a single red thread adorned with a bell then rang softly any time he moved. One of the youths leaned close to Kaname and whispered something in his ear before the trio left the room, the one boy holding Kaname's hand.
"They were really close to Kaname. And their hair was a silvery color."
"Silver hair. Alright, that narrows down the search. I'll inform the search teams." Haruka said. "Don't worry, Yuki. We'll get your brother back."
"It hurts to get these things off almost as much as it does getting it put on." said Kaname as Zero washed the mark off his neck.
"Sorry. Be glad it's not permanent."
"Yeah, I know." Kaname sighed as Zero paused to let the reddened flesh rest, stepping back to admire the marking, or lack thereof.
Kaname looked at him and smiled. "Zero."
Kaname leaned closer and kissed the other. He'd been aching to be near Zero in an intimate way for most of the trip, and now that they were alone, he wanted to finally satisfy that want.
Zero dropped the cloth and wrapped his arms around Kaname's neck. Gently, he nipped at Kaname's lower lip, making the slightly shorter Vampire gasp. His tongue softly caressed Kaname's lips, seeking entrance. Kaname gave willingly, letting Zero taste him thoroughly. He lightly sucked on the soft muscle, wrapping his own tongue around it and sliding into Zero's mouth.
When they parted, a thin slip of saliva trailed between them for a moment. Kaname swallowed and let his hands wander down Zero's chest, slipping his fingers under the edge of the other's shirt. His heart felt like it was beating a thousand times a minute. The sound of the blood rushing to his head.
Images flashed in front of his eyes. A shadow looming over him. A hand on his throat. Someone shaking him.
"Kaname." Zero pulled his lover's chin up so they were looking at each other. He saw the frightened look in those pretty wine-red eyes. "Kaname, it's alright." He held the pureblood Kuran close. "I'll undress myself, alright?"
Kaname swallowed, clinging to Zero. Why was it always like this? Why couldn't he undress Zero without those images flashing through his mind? Slowly, he nodded and sat down on the edge of the bed. He was already without his shirt, since the mark had gone along his neck and left shoulder. Still, he pulled his jeans off before pausing to look at his lover.
Zero smiled and gripped the hem of his t-shirt, lifting it off himself in one motion and tossing it casually to the floor somewhere. His well-defined muscles and tones abs seemed to move fluidly as he stretched, knowing Kaname enjoyed the display. He grinned slightly when he saw the pureblood lick his lips ever so subtly, and proceeded to slide his pants off and leave them on the floor. The growing bulge in Kaname's dark red underwear made Zero smirk in what Kaname thought was the sexiest way ever, and only served to make the hardening member even harder.
Kaname's eyes watched Zero strip, coming to rest on the huge bulge in his partner's banana-hammock. When had Zero started wearing such sexy undergarments? The tip of the other's dick was poking out of the band, red and swollen with need. Shakily, Kaname dropped off the side of the bed and put his hands on Zero's waist.
The elder Kiryu looked down. Just what was Kaname . . . oh. He hissed slightly as Kaname traced one finger up along his aching shaft, the thin fabric the only thing between them. His breathing was already getting a little ragged, and it didn't help when the brunette suddenly pulled the underwear off him, exposing all 7.9 inches of hard flesh at once. He groaned as Kaname gently licked the tip, then kissed it. He put his hand down to stop the pureblood from doing anything more.
Kaname understood and stood, sliding his underwear from his slender hips. He wasn't as well-endowed as Zero, but it was still a rather impressive 7.5 inches that throbbed at his own waist. At Zero's prompting, he knelt over the bed again, resting his head on the soft mattress, his ass in the air for Zero to admire.
And admire it Zero did. He carefully ran his fingers over the barren globes, gently caressing Kaname's ass before giving the left cheek a good smack. The result was a moan from Kaname, and he wiggled his ass a little more, encouraging Zero to strike him again. The other was more than willing to comply, this time striking the right cheek. This repeated three more times before Zero merely stroked the reddened flesh and parted Kaname's ass-cheeks to get a better look at the quivering entrance.
Kaname gasped, turning his head to see what Zero was up to. He so desperately wanted Zero to fuck him, but both parties knew that Kaname was always hard to enter without preparation. He felt the first finger slid into his ass, and he moaned shamelessly. The finger moved back and forth for a few, and then a second one slipped into him. Kaname groaned and rocked back against the fingers, practically fucking himself on them. He felt Zero slide a third into him to try and stretch him before they actually got to doing 'the deed'. He tried to still his body, but the need and want was almost unbearable. He gasped and moaned with reckless abandon as Zero twisted his fingers around inside him, searching for that one spot inside Kaname that would make him shriek with pleasure.
"Zero!" Kaname suddenly shouted, sparks flashing before his eyes.
"Found it." Zero grinned. He pulled his fingers out and looked at Kaname. "Make it gape for me."
Kaname nodded, reaching his own hands back to his entrance and hooking two fingers to either side of his hole. He pulled, forcing his body to remain open while Zero coated his cock with lube. The pain was both agonizing and thrilling.
"You ready?" Zero asked, cupping one of Kaname's ass-cheeks in his hand. The other nodded, pushing his ass back towards Zero.
Zero paused just a little to admire how well Kaname could keep his entrance open after a bit of foreplay before plunging his throbbing cock deep into the pureblood's ass.
Kaname gasped, but waited for Zero to remove his hands before pulling his arms up towards his chest. They stayed that way for a few seconds before Zero pulled almost completely out of Kaname and slammed back in.
"Oh!" Kaname shrieked. He pushed back against Zero's thrusts, desperately wanting his lover. He screamed wildly, throwing his head back and moaning Zero's name.
Zero grinned. He loved it when Kaname writhed beneath him, shrieking like he was some whore. It meant that he'd managed to repress the nightmares that his lover often had, and was doing something Kaname truly loved. And it felt fucking amazing when Kaname would twist around him, clenching and writhing and changing around his dick with his every motion.
In one swift move, Zero gripped Kaname's hair, leaning forward and turning his lover's head so they could kiss. He pushed Kaname so he was lying on his side, gripping his lover's leg and thrusting in sideways.
Kaname moaned wantonly, desperate for Zero's love and affections. He reached an arm up, catching Zero's hand in his as he was turned again so he was on his back.
Zero grinned, giving Kaname's hand a reassuring squeeze before pushing the other's legs back as far as Kaname could bend (which was actually pretty far), pounding his cock faster into his lover. He saw the loving gleam in Kaname's eyes and the other began to shudder and tremble with desire and lust. His hips began to move faster, and he gripped Kaname's throbbing and leaking cock. He moved his hand along the hot shaft, bringing Kaname ever closer to his orgasm.
"Zero!" Kaname gasped, his breathing hitching. He wasn't getting enough air, and was struggling to compensate.
"Kaname!" Zero grunted. The two came together, Kaname all over their chests and the bedding, and Zero deep within his lover.
Kaname lay back on the bed, gasping. It took a while before he was able to get a proper breath again, and longer before he could move.
Zero lay on the bed beside him for a while, wondering if Kaname was going to be alright. He knew his lover would be unable to move for a while, but he worried about whether or not the convulsions would start up or not.
They started. Kaname began to shake and cough, starting to choke on bile in his throat. Zero rolled him over onto his side, holding a towel next to his beloved's mouth as the other heaved for a few minutes, then dropped unconscious.
Zero put the towel in the basket for washing and sat on the bed next to Kaname. Gently, he ran his fingers through the pureblood's hair until he was sure his lover was resting easily. Standing, Zero wrote a quick note to the back of a postcard as he shrugged on a shirt and pants, opting to go commando for this little outing. Placing a light kiss on Kaname's forehead, Zero stepped out and mailed the postcard, hoping Ichiru would get the message encrypted to it.
Ichiru stepped out of his small apartment and looked around. Ever since Zero and Kaname had run off, he'd been watched. He knew that the Kurans were watching him, waiting for him to slip and tell them where the two lovers had run off to. For that reason alone, he had his hair down and was dressed in Zero's old jeans and shirt.
"Excuse me." said Haruka.
Ichiru looked up at him, wondering again how Kaname could possibly have ended up shorter than Zero.
"Would you happen to be Zero?"
Ichiru only tried to brush past in an effort to get to his mailbox. He made it, having to use a little extra strength to get past the taller Kuran.
"I asked a question." Haruka stated.
"M-hm." said Ichiru, retrieving the mail from the box. He turned and headed up towards Hanabusa's office. "Mail call!" he shouted as he knocked.
The blonde doctor poked his head out the doorway. "Hmm?"
"Here. All yours, again." Ichiru reported.
Hanabusa noticed Haruka standing there. "Thanks." He knew that there was probably something in there from Zero with the way Ichiru was acting. They had received a total of seven postcards from Zero over the past two months reporting on how they were doing, but with the way the rest of the Kuran family was watching them, there was no way they could join up with the lovebirds.
He closed the door and sifted through the mail. Several of the letters were for the doctor that worked here with the humans; in fact, there was only one postcard addressed to Ichiru. With a sigh, Hanabusa turned it over to read the message.
A few seconds later, he was down at Ichiru's door, knocking.
"What is it?" Haruka asked. "You look flustered, Doctor."
Hanabusa looked over at the pureblood. "It's a message from someone I treated once, thank-you." he returned sharply, kicking the door.
Ichiru answered, a pack on his back. "Yes?" He knew what was bothering Hanabusa. It was probably something to do with the postcard, and that meant they had to get moving, whether they were being watched or not.
"We need to go." said the doctor. "Yesterday."
Ichiru understood the message and stepped out of the room, locking the door and dropping his keys in the mailbox. This time, he had his hair tied back with the string and bell. He waited a moment for Hanabusa to gather his bags.
"What's wrong?" Haruka asked.
"Like Hanabusa-san probably said, a patient he once treated has most likely requested his aid once again." said Ichiru.
"And why do you tag along with him?" Haruka asked.
"I carry the medical equipment." Ichiru replied. "And I'm a nurse."
Haruka raised an eyebrow. "You're a nurse, and your brother makes Tamer's Charms?"
"Got a problem with that? Some of the people we treat are wounded Vampires. The charms are only fashioned to subdue and calm the patient, not to make them slaves. Once they've been treated, the charm is removed from the vicinity so they can heal. Other times, they're used as a ward to deter Vampires that may have attacked our patient until the healing process has begun." Ichiru looked up at the door where Hanabusa was just coming out. "We have no intention of hurting anyone."
Haruka stepped back to let the pair go. "Interesting." he said as he watched them walk towards the train station. Juri materialized beside him.
"Haruka, are you going to let them just walk away?"
"Of course not. There's already someone following them, and she'll be sure to bring Kaname back to us."
Ichiru took one of the bags from Hanabusa. "We're being followed."
"I noticed." Hanabusa replied. "We get off two stations early and take the bus to a different ferry."
Ichiru nodded. The pair boarded the train and made themselves comfortable in the regular passenger car. He watched as a girl with lavender hair sat a few seats away from them. He looked back at Hanabusa and then over at the girl.
Hanabusa nodded. "They sent Seiren." he whispered.
"So, tell me about the patient." said Ichiru, trying to make it sound like they were on their way to see someone in need of help.
"Apparently, she's exhibiting some unusual symptoms. Fatigue, fainting spells, thirsty all the time." returned Hanabusa. "Her husband said she has almost no energy to do things, and she's been vomiting on occasion."
"Sounds like we have an unusual case." Ichiru stated. "And, um, which ethnicity is she?"
"Fanged." Hanabusa replied. "So is her husband, so the charm you have in your bag goes outside the house."
Ichiru nodded. A ward against other Vampires. That meant that Kaname and Zero were in trouble of being found out. "Can I see the postcard?"
Hanabusa passed it to him as more passengers loaded onto the train car.
Ichiru read the bizarre-looking message on the back. "Found fanged cat. Can Ame be sick? Energy loss and lunch to go with large drink and tiredness, garnished with the occasional involuntary nap. Bring red thread." He smiled slightly, understanding the message. The 'fanged cat' meant there was a Vampire hanging around, so there was probably a ward-charm now marked to a window or two to try and keep them out or away. 'Can Ame be sick?' was actually 'Kaname is sick' in a more subtle way. The strange food order was merely a list of symptoms; Energly loss meant exactly as it sounded. 'Lunch to go' meant he was vomiting, the 'large drink and tiredness' meant he was thirsty a lot and sleeping more, and the 'involuntary nap' was for fainting. As for the red thread, Zero had been referring to Ichiru and the red thread and bell tied in his hair.
By now there were enough passengers that it was hard for them to see Seiren, and hard for her to see them. Perfect time to escape the train. As a few people shifted past, they got up and left their seats, taking the further exit the next time the train stopped.
The pair quickly made their way to the harbor, where they chartered a small boat to get across. They made it with no problems and hurried on their way to catch a bus north into the countryside.
It was about three hours later that they got off, and the sun was just beginning to rise on the horizon. The cottage was down an old, overgrown road, and Ichiru led the way, holding the charm out to ward away any Vampires that might be nearby. It was a radial charm, meaning that all Vampires within the radius were safe, but those outside it would be shocked if they attempted to enter. The only bonus for Kaname and Zero was that they were inside a building; the radius wouldn't affect them while the charm came to encircle it.
Ichiru hung the charm near the door and knocked, whistling a rather distinct tune.
Zero answered the door and motioned for them to come in. He looked around before closing the door and locking it again.
"What is it?" Ichiru asked.
"Kaname's getting worse." said Zero. "He passed out about an hour ago and hasn't woken up."
Hanabusa followed Zero to where Kaname had been lain on the couch. He noted the pureblood's distinctly white pallor and the waver in his breathing. He started with the usual check-up: heart-rate, breathing, blood-pressure. He took notes as he did these, then passed the pad to Ichiru.
"What is it?" Ichiru asked, looking over the notes. "Are you sure these are right?"
Hanabusa nodded. "It could mean he's gotten 'that' part of the Kuran heritage."
"Am I missing something here?" Zero asked as Hanabusa got his sonogram machine out. "Is something wrong with Kaname?"
Ichiru smiled lightly at his brother. "No, as far as we know, nothing is wrong with him. But his purer blood may be showing through."
"What do you . . ?"
"There you are." said Hanabusa. The wand of the sonogram was rather noticeably resting over Kaname's upper pelvis. "Bring him over, Ichiru. He'll want to see this."
Zero swallowed as he followed Ichiru around the couch to where he could see the screen. "Wait a minute. Is that . . ? But, how?"
"His purer Kuran blood." said Hanabusa. "Kaname's actually a more pureblooded pureblood than his parents. Because of this, he was born with the ability to mate and produce offspring. It's even quite possible for him to birth, though the way out is a little . . . harsh."
Zero swallowed, trying to suppress his shock. His beloved Kaname was expecting a child. Three, by the look of things on the sonogram. "How do we tell him?" he asked softly.
"Easiest method would actually be if he woke up now so we could show him." said Hanabusa.
Zero sighed and knelt next to Kaname's pale face. He gently caressed the soft, white cheek for a moment. "Come on, Kaname. Wake up, please."
Kaname shifted slightly, turning towards the gentle caress. He blinked and looked up at Zero. "I fainted again, didn't I?" he whispered. "I'm sorry, Zero."
"It's nothing to be sorry about." Zero whispered back. "Ichiru and Hanabusa are here, and we know what's causing this."
Kaname blinked at him a moment. "Why is my lower stomach wet and gooey?" he asked.
Hanabusa turned the small screen towards him. "That's why." he replied.
Kaname looked at the image, then looked back at Zero. "So . . . the strange flutters . . . it was . . . I . . ." He looked frightened. His shaking hands came up over his face and laced through his hair, and his eyes closed as he began to whimper. Zero held him down before he could start to writhe.
"Calm down, Kaname. It's alright." Zero pried one of his lover's hands away from his face and held him close. "It's alright. He won't hurt you again, Kaname. It's alright."
Kaname clung to him, crying. "I'm scared, Zero. I'm so scared."
Hanabusa cleaned the ultrasound jelly off Kaname and put his equipment away. He turned to Ichiru and gave the silverette a list of items needed. Ichiru nodded, took one of the charms from its place inside a small cabinet, and left the cottage.
"You WHAT?!" Juri shouted at Seiren.
"I'm sorry, my lady." Seiren replied. "I was watching them as best I could, but some people moved between us. When I could see where they were, they had vanished. I checked all the ports, but no-one had seen Hanabusa Aido or the boy with silver hair."
Yuki sighed. Why had Kaname run off, and just before their wedding, too. If it had been because he was nervous, he could have spoken to one of them about it. Yuki was nervous, too. Even more so, now, since her Uncle Rido and Aunt Shizuka were there, dragging her cousin Shiki behind them.
Shiki sighed and sat down on the floor. The boy looked lifeless, like a doll, and did anything they asked of him. His scruffy brown hair fell in his face, but he didn't bother to brush it away. His eyes were unique only to him; one eye was a wine red like Rido, the other was a soft blue, a color neither parent had. While Rido had 'panda eyes' like that, his were a wine red and aqua blue, and Shizuka's eyes were a soft green. The origin of Shiki's mysterious eye color remained what it was; a mystery.
Yuki sighed and walked over to Shiki, kneeling in front of him and brushing his hair back. "You know, you could brush this once in a while."
Shiki looked up at her, his eyes sad. "I don't have a brush." he said softly. "And I'm not allowed to touch mother's."
"Here, I'll brush it." Yuki said. She got up and hurried to her room, coming back with a simple black brush. She worked carefully at the mess of tangled hair, trying not to tug too hard when she came across a particularly tight knot of hair.
Shiki said nothing, wondering why Yuki was being nice to him. He was unworthy of her tender touch, the gentle caresses she seemed to lavish upon him as she bushed his knotted mess of hair. Why was she being so careful with him? His parents were never like this, and yet they claimed to love him.
"There, all done." said Yuki. She placed the hairbrush in his hands. "Now you can brush your hair, ok?"
Shiki looked up at her. "What?"
"I'm giving you that hair-brush. I have lots, so I'm giving you that one so you can keep your hair brushed." Yuki smiled at him. "Come on, let's see if tea's ready."
Shiki swallowed, got up, and followed her, still looking down at the floor. He tucked the hair-brush in his small satchel, hoping he could keep this little treasure.
"You know, people would talk to you more if you looked up a little." said Yuki suddenly. She tilted his chin up. "There. And you need to wear something that actually fits. Those look like your father's clothes."
"They are." said Shiki. He fiddled with his wrist-band, and Yuki saw something.
She grabbed his wrist suddenly and pulled the band off his wrist. "That mark." she said. She looked at Shiki, frightened. "Who tamed you?"
Rido and Shizuka looked over when Yuki asked that. "I'm sorry. What did you say?" asked Rido.
Shiki tried to pull his wrist away, but to no avail. His parents had fed him and let him exercise just enough that he was a weakling, unable to even pull his hand from his cousin's light grip. It frightened him, and he shouted. "STOP IT!"
In that instant, his power showed itself. His hair fluttered around, and his flesh got exceedingly cold. Chains of blood took form as he at last managed to get his hand from Yuki's grip, tearing his flesh on her nails.
"Shiki." said Rido warningly.
"Leave me alone!" Shiki shouted. There was nothing more destructive than a pureblood, and the others backed off.
But the only thing was the blood-chains. There were no cracks, no shattered glass or broken plaster. And one very scared Vampire.
"What happened?" asked Haruka. "If Yuki or Kaname had done that, we'd be having the grand hall fixed."
"Shiki." said Rido. "What was Yuki talking about?"
Shiki pulled away from him, still shaking. One of the blood-chains snapped out and struck Rido, cutting his hand. "Master." he whispered. "Save me." The marking on his wrist glittered for a moment, and then, a hunter appeared.
The purebloods pulled back from the man who had rather suddenly been teleported to the grand hall of the Kuran Estate. But the man merely turned towards Shiki and touched his face. That touch alone calmed the trembling Vampire.
"You marked my son?" Rido snapped.
Shiki got in the way, putting himself in front of the hunter. "Please, don't hurt Yagari." he said. "I asked him."
"What?" Shizuka asked. "You requested to be marked?"
"You can stop acting." said Shiki. "I already know I'm not your son."
"What?" asked Haruka and Juri.
"But, you were pregnant." Juri said. "And then you brought home Shiki."
Shizuka frowned at the panda-eyed Vampire. "It's true, I was pregnant. But then, I discovered that Rido was having an affair, and had gotten the girl pregnant. I went to confront her, talk things out. She attacked me. In the process, she lost her life, and I lost my baby. But the child in her still lived, so I took him, saved him from dying inside her. That's how I got Shiki." She looked at Shiki, tears in her eyes. "I wanted a child bad enough I took something that wasn't mine and made it mine."
Shiki looked at her. "Is that why?" he asked.
"Why what?" asked Haruka.
"Shiki, don't." said Rido.
Yagari put a hand on Shiki's shoulder. "Now is not the time, Senri."
"Senri? But his name is Shiki." said Yuki.
"It's Senri Shiki Kuran." said Shizuka. "I let him keep the name from his mother."
Shiki nodded. "May I come with you this time, master?"
"I think it would be best." said Yagari. "Come, Senri. We'll talk with your parents later."
Shiki followed, turning his wrist slightly so Yuki could see the actual mark on his wrist. A summoning charm to bring one's master.
"Kaname seems resentful." said Hanabusa. "Almost like he hates the children."
"It's not that." said Zero. "He's just trying to suppress some bad memories."
"Bad memories?" asked Ichiru. "Of what?"
"I'm not at liberty to say." Zero replied, taking a drink of his tea. "He'll tell you if he wants to."
"It's my uncle." Kaname said softly, as though answering their question. "I'm afraid of what will happen if he finds us. If anyone finds us."
"What could possibly happen?" Ichiru asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
Kaname shuddered, one hand resting on his lower body where the babies were nestled. His triplets, his children. A tear ran down his face. "I'm afraid they'll die." he said in a bare whisper.
Ichiru went to question further, but a look from Zero quieted him.
"He used me." Kaname said, almost as if knowing what Ichiru was about to ask. "For two years, I was his pet . . .
Rido Kuran grinned at the thin creature that stood there, his arms held to the side by chains, his legs shackled apart by a rod almost as wide as his shoulders. The prisoner was dressed, sort of. His shirt was torn and ragged, and so were the pants, exposing his body in a way that really made Rido want to do naughty things to him. His stomach was swollen and distended, making the image look even better in Rido's eyes.
"You're so lucky your parents left you with me, Kaname." said Rido. "If it was one of the aristocrats, they may try to feed from you. And with your 'condition', that would really be terrible."
Kaname yanked on his chains, trying to get free, but the charm drawn to his neck wouldn't allow for him to use his powers.
Rido smiled, running his claws along Kaname's chest. "Now then, shall we get to work? I want to see what that grotesque body of yours is capable of today." He lowered the chains, forcing Kaname to his knees. Grabbing the frightened pureblood by the hair, he forced Kaname to suck his cock until he blew his load all down the youth's throat.
"You're trembling. Is something the matter?"Rido asked. He walked to Kaname's side and touched the largely swollen belly. "Ah, it's moving."
Kaname whimpered, knowing that his uncle was going to find out why he was in tears, and it wasn't from doing the blow-job.
"What's this? You're bleeding, and leaking fluids. It's coming out, isn't it?" Rido asked almost gleefully. He forced Kaname to hang leaning forward, semi-upright, kneeling on the floor.
The young pureblood began to gasp and cry as the baby within him started to exit. How he wished his uncle wasn't there, that he was safe, at home, with his parents. He even wished for his Aunt Shizuka, who was always gentle with him.
He screamed, knowing it would do him no good anyway as his body stretched to let the young exit him. He choked on the saliva and excess semen in his mouth, coughing and causing himself more pain as the baby was born. He hung there, worn and exhausted as Rido lifted the child from him.
"Ah, so beautiful. She really is a fine specimen, Kaname. Look, boy. Your first child, passed from your own disgusting body. Take a good look, Kaname. This is the only time you'll get to see her."
Kaname did look, wishing for everything his hands were free, that he could touch her and hold her. He lunged and lurched in his chains, screaming and crying as Rido carried the baby away from him.
. . . He knew my parents were returning soon, so he dressed my wounds, took me to a room, and made it appear as if I had done it to myself. My mother and father believed him fully. It was soon after that I ran away from my parents for the first time and met you two."
"You were in bad shape." said Ichiru. "We took you up to see Hanabusa, not knowing that you already knew him, and begged him to attend to your injuries. You clung to Zero, begging him not to let you go, to stay with you."
Kaname nodded. "Zero was like a ray of hope to me. I'd always known I had no attraction to females. I had always thought that I was going to end up in a life of solitude, until I saw Zero."
Zero moved from his place at the table and sat next to Kaname, pulling his pureblood lover close. "I won't let anything happen to you, Kaname." He rested his hand next to Kaname's on the already four-month belly. Two months had passed since Ichiru and Hanabusa's arrival, and still the charms had to be up to ward off anyone that Kaname's family might be sending to find them. He could understand Kaname's reluctance and fears.
Kaname snuggled close to Zero. "You know what my first thought was when I saw you?" he asked.
"No. What was it, because I doubt it matched what I thought about you at the time."
"I thought that I'd found my guardian angel." Kaname whispered. "I had. My angel, lover, and life partner, all in one."
Zero smiled. "I thought that I'd found some poor creature in need of care. An innocent beast in need of a loving hand."
Kaname nuzzled under Zero's chin. "I'm glad you took care of me." he said softly.
Zero gently ran a hand through Kaname's hair. "Lie down and rest." he said. He blinked when Kaname took that as an invitation to snuggle down on his lap and use his legs for a pillow.
"Guess I'm cooking." said Ichiru with a grin.
"It's been six months." said Juri. "And no-one has been able to find them."
Yuki sighed. "You've only been looking in cities. Maybe they went out into the countryside."
"There is that possibility." said Haruka. "I finally managed to get into Kaname's room. Did you know he drew a ward symbol on his door before he left?"
"Oh, that's just great." said Juri. "Did you find anything that might be able to tell us where they went?"
"His diary." answered Haruka. "He keeps mentioning spending time with a Zero Kiryu and the classes they shared. Nothing really interesting, but it got me to thinking."
"About what?" Yuki asked.
"The last name, Kiryu. I did a look up of anyone with that last name."
"What did you find?" Juri wondered.
"Six humans and four Vampires." Haruka replied. "The humans don't even live in our area, but two of the Vampires did. The other two are in Russia, and they're dead."
"Who were they?" Yuki questioned.
"Annabelle and Caleb Kiryu, two purebloods that once lived out in the countryside. They came to live in a village near here after Annabelle became pregnant. There's no record of any children, however, and the pair died a number of years ago."
"So, what now?" asked Yuki.
"We follow the two addresses given. One is for the village they lived in. The other is a postal box they used while out in the country. It's still in effect."
Yuki nodded. "I'll go ask Shiki if he can come with me to check the one out in the country." she smiled. "You and mother can check the other one."
"Good idea. And ask Shiki to bring his 'master' with him. It may prove useful if they're using ward charms." Juri instructed.
Kaname looked out the window. His enlarged belly was making it hard to walk or do anything, but he still managed to do some housecleaning and the laundry. He was falling fairly easily into common life, and if it wasn't for the fact that he was a Vampire, one would have mistaken him for a fair-skinned human. However, his focus wasn't on the beauty of the landscape bathed in the moonlight.
"Kaname?" asked Zero.
"Someone's found us." Kaname replied to the unasked question. "A hunter."
Zero looked over at Ichiru. "Let's go deal with our guest."
"Wait." said Kaname. His eyes scanned the area. "He's got two Vampires with him."
"We'll be gentle." said Ichiru. He took a protection charm from the small cabinet and hung it around his neck. Zero did the same, and the twins stepped outside.
"Who are you?" asked Zero.
"My name is Yagari. I am here on request of Juri and Haruka Kuran to see if their son, Kaname, is here."
"Why would a hunter be looking for a pureblood?" asked Zero.
"Why would two humans protect a Vampire?" Yagari countered.
"Your pets are unique." said Ichiru. His flesh suddenly paled in the moonlight. "A pureblood and an aristocrat. One's marked."
"You're good." said Yagari. He suddenly noticed the change in Ichiru as the younger seemed to vanish and re-appeared behind him. "You're a . . ?"
"Vampire?" Ichiru asked. "Perhaps. Call off your two Vampires, and we'll talk."
"I only own Senri Shiki Kuran, not Yuki."
Zero walked over, his skin paling as he stepped out into the moonlight. "The Lady Kuran and her cousin?" he asked. "Why are they here?"
"They seek Lord Kaname Kuran, who ran away from home five days before his marriage to his sister." Yagari replied. "It is believed he ran this way."
"What makes them believe that?" Ichiru snarled.
"His diary mentioned a Kiryu. When they looked up this last name, four Vampires appeared, all dead. But two of them had borne a child, who wasn't in the registry. This address belonged to them."
"It's children." said Zero. "They had children." He glared at Yagari. "Tell Cross to get out of hiding."
Yagari frowned. "Cross!"
The other man stepped out, his bleach-blonde hair tied back in a thin ponytail, and his weapon over his shoulder. "Sorry, but the Kuran's didn't think you would be able to find them, or get straight answers, so they sent me."
Zero glared at the man, angry at how close he'd gotten to the cottage. "Get away from there." he snapped.
"Why are you so protective of this cottage?" Yagari asked.
Zero glowered at the two hunters. He snarled, baring his fangs.
Ichiru sighed. "It's sad, really." he said, lightly licking Yagari's neck. He grinned as Shiki tried to defend the hunter, only to be bounced back by the ward. "Zero, protect them, then we'll see who may enter."
Zero nodded, stepping into the cottage. Instantly, he noticed that Hanabusa was attending to an unconscious Kaname. "What happened?"
"He was shocked when he recognized the two Vampires outside, and the one hunter got rather close to the window, frightening him. He was hyperventilating and nearly collapsed. I'm afraid if anything more were to happen to shock or frighten him he may go into premature labor at this point." Hanabusa replied. "What are you . . ?"
"It's to protect him." said Zero, placing the charm on Kaname's swollen belly. "None of the outsiders may touch my beloved, or our children."
Kaname moaned softly, turning slightly and looking up at Zero. "Don't let them in, please?"
Zero nodded. "I'll do what I can to send them away, feed them what lies I need to to convince them you aren't here. Just relax, love."
Kaname nodded and watched as Zero left the cottage again.
"Well?" asked Ichiru, still watching as Shiki tested the boundary of the charm.
"None may enter." Zero replied. "Her condition worsened when they arrived, and I fear she may not see the dawn as it is."
"Her? There is a woman living with you?" Cross asked.
"My mate." Zero replied. "She is frail, and this excitement has made her condition worse."
Ichiru understood that Zero wasn't saying this for the others, but to inform him that Kaname was in a bad state at the moment.
"So the postcard that Ichiru and Hanabusa received really was about a sick person?" Yuki asked.
"Yes." Zero replied.
"But, what about Kaname?" Cross asked. "There were eye-witnesses that saw the two of you leaving the station together."
"Kaname and I parted ways once we left the city." Zero replied. "I continued here to my beloved, while Kaname went further."
"Very well." said Yagari, finally released from Ichiru's grasp. "We shall continue on our way, then." The two humans and two Vampire's left as Zero and Ichiru went back into the cottage.
The twins were silent as they drew the curtains, blocking off any light from entering the home.
"What's going on?" asked Hanabusa.
"The Kurans have begun using hunters to try and find Kaname." said Ichiru. "Until the search for him is called off, Kaname can't even look outside."
Kaname nodded. His world was starting to get a lot smaller.
The search for Kaname continued for another two months. When Yuki returned home, it was only because Rido had called for Shiki, and she wasn't going to be alone with the hunters.
"Still nothing?" Juri asked.
Yuki shook her head. "We found the child of Kiryu." she said. "It was the two boys that had classes with Kaname. Zero admitted it himself that they were the children of Annabelle and Caleb Kiryu."
"And what of Kaname?" Haruka asked.
Shiki spoke up. "They lied to us about him having continued on." he said. "I could smell something."
Rido frowned. What was it, Shiki?"
Shiki closed his eyes, trying to recapture the fleeting thoughts. "Kaname. Blood. A smell I've . . . faintly noticed before." He sniffed again, then looked at Shizuka. Everyone knew that she was pregnant, but for Shiki to suddenly glide closer and sniff her was something strange. "A mother's scent." he said softly. "The Kiryu had that scent on him, but it wasn't him." He backed up a bit, thinking. The particular scent he'd smelled off the Kiryu was a little different from how Shizuka smelled, and yet he'd smelled it before.
They were at Rido's estate, which was built over the ruins of an old castle, so part of the basement was a bit unknown. But as Shiki continued to take small sniffs, he caught a scent that was a little too faint for the other pureblood Vampires.
The others had all turned their attention to Yuki and the two hunters, trying to figure out a way to get into the cottage, so none of them noticed Shiki slip off down to the basement, following that scent. He felt his way along the walls, leaving his own scent as a trail to follow back out. He continued deeper and further into the basement, coming to an area made of stone. It was a prison, and the smell was getting stronger. What he found surprised him.
A little girl, maybe only four or five, sat in one of the cells. Her ankle was cuffed, chained to the wall. She wore a men's shirt, and her hair was long and matted with knots. There was evidence of food being brought for her, a stone plate sat nearby, its contents devoured. So, someone knew of this child's existence.
"Hello." said Shiki.
The girl looked up. "Who are you?" she asked. He voice was soft, gentle, and yet frightened.
"My name is Senri Shiki Kuran, but you can call me Shiki. What's your name?"
"I don't have one." the girl replied. "He calls me 'Specemin'."
"Who calls you that?"
"The other man the strange eyes." the girl answered. "Eyes like yours, only meaner."
Rido. Shiki swallowed. His father had been holding this little girl prisoner in the basement. "How long have you been down here?" Shiki asked.
"I've always been down here." the girl said. She blinked as Shiki opened the cell door and walked closer. "What are you doing?"
"I'm taking you out of here." Shiki replied. He paused and sniffed. That smell, the faint one he'd noticed at the cottage. It was on this girl! Quickly, he formed a blood-spike and broke the lock on the girl's ankle, scooped her up, and ran back out of the basement. He had to get back to that cottage!
"Shiki?" Shizuka asked as the boy ran past, something clutched closely in his arms. "Shiki, what's going on?"
The boy stopped, looking around quickly for his father. "I know where Kaname is." he said breathlessly. "Don't tell anyone else. I can get him to talk to me. Just please, don't tell anyone where I am."
"What are you holding?" his mother asked, reaching out to touch it.
Shiki pulled back. "Just trust me. This is important." He turned and headed outside into the moonlight.
Shizuka watched him go with a light sigh, then closed the door. She was going to have to trust Shiki knew what he was doing.
"Kaname, what are you doing?" Zero asked.
The Vampire looked up at him. "Baking." he replied, turning his attention back to the mixing bowl he had in hand.
"I can see that." said Zero. "But what are you baking?"
"A cake." Kaname replied. "I've had a nasty craving for one for three days, so I convinced Ichiru to do the lifting and bending so I could have one."
Zero smiled. Only one month left before Kaname would have their children. Kaname seemed to have this ethereal glow to him, a radiance that made him look almost angelic. Hanabusa had called it 'baby glow' or something like that.
Ichiru looked up from putting the cake in the oven. "What in the world?" he asked, walking over to check what was going on outside.
Zero joined him. "It's Kaname's cousin." he said, peering through the curtain.
"What's he doing back?" Ichiru wondered.
Kaname suddenly looked towards the door. His eyes were wide with fear and surprise, and his breath got a little faster.
"Kaname?" asked Hanabusa.
"Take down the ward." Kaname said softly. He seemed to have a slightly hopeful look in his eyes. "Please, let them inside it."
Ichiru looked at him cautiously. "But, he's going to try to . . ." He paused when Zero put a hand on his shoulder. "Zero?"
"Do it. I've only seen that look in his eyes a few times. Something good is happening with Shiki being here. Let them in."
Ichiru nodded and took a charm down from the cabinet, holding it tight in his hand so it wouldn't activate. He walked over to where Shiki stood, inching closer as though testing the barrier. "It's alright." he said, holding the charm out. "You're allowed in this time." He noticed the child curled into Shiki. "Follow me."
Shiki nodded, holding the girl close and hoping his instincts were right. If they were, then the parental scent would draw the girl to her proper parent.
Ichiru closed his hand over the charm when they reached the door, letting Shiki in as he put the charm away.
Kaname was seated on the couch under a comforter, his legs tucked up under him. He looked over at Shiki, and his breathe quickened.
In his arms, the girl began to squirm, so Shiki put her down. "Go. Find what you're looking for." he said softly.
The girl looked around, then made a bee-line for Kaname. He scooped her up into his arms, tears running down his face.
"Mama." the girl said, snuggling close.
That was how Shiki found out. As the girl leaned over Kaname, the bulge on his front became perfectly outlined. "Kaname." he whispered. "You're her . . . mother?"
"Yeah." said Zero. "Because you know, you can't go back." he added, putting a hand on Shiki's shoulder.
"But how? She's four or five years old. How could Kaname be her mother?"
Kaname looked up at Shiki, his one hand caressing his daughter's hair. "How did you find her? Where was she?"
"In a prison cell, under the estate." Shiki replied. "When we were here last, I caught a scent off Zero Kiryu. A mother's scent. When we were summoned back home, I caught a trace of the same scent, and followed it down into the basement, to the dungeon area. There, I found her, covered in that same scent. I knew her mother was here, so I . . . 'liberated' her and came back as fast as I could."
"Now, to answer your question. The two years I was to stay with your family while my parents went abroad, did you honestly see me?" Kaname asked.
Shiki paused. "No. I only saw Yuki."
Kaname nodded. "I was in that dungeon. Rido used me, and I became pregnant with his child." He paused to stroke the little girl's hair. "This is the child borne to me back then."
Shiki sighed. "My mother is the only one to know I've returned here." he said.
"It's alright." said Kaname. "Aunt Shizuka suspected there was more wrong with me than met the eye when Rido carried my battered body back upstairs and put in a room that hadn't been used. She was the only one I told about the baby, before I met Zero."
"That's why mother let me go without complaint. She knew I had your daughter."
Kaname nodded. He suddenly winced.
"Kaname?" asked Hanabusa.
"Yes, Hanabusa. It happened again." Kaname tilted the little girl's chin up. "Can you stay out here with Shiki for a bit?" he asked, trying not to let the pain show in his voice.
"What's wrong, mommy?" the girl asked.
Zero scooped her up and carried her over to Shiki and Ichiru. "Mommy's having another baby." he said softly. "And you need a bath."
"Bath?" she asked. Still, she obediently went back to Shiki.
"Yeah, it's so you can be clean." said Ichiru. "Clean, just like the new baby."
"Ok." The girl smiled as Ichiru ran the bath water and put bubbles in it for her. She giggled and squiggled and at one point tried to eat a few of the bubbles. She jumped when she heard Kaname scream in agony.
"Mommy." she whimpered.
"It's alright." said Ichiru. "There's a doctor with her to make sure she's alright."
The girl nodded and let them try to brush her wet hair. This was easier said than done, but they got it done, and then washed it with strawberry-scented shampoo. She watched as Ichiru vanished to get the cake out of the oven, then looked at Shiki.
"What?" Shiki asked, rinsing the shampoo out of the girl's hair.
"What color are my eyes?" she asked.
Shiki looked at her. The eye that showed was a pretty wine red color. He brushed her hair back, startled when he saw her other eye. It was half red, half blue. "They're mostly wine red." he replied. "But this one is half blue."
"Is I weird?" she asked.
Shiki shook his head. "No. That eye makes you something rare and precious." he replied, lifting her from the tub and wrapping a towel around her to dry her off. "I wonder what I'm supposed to dress you in?" he muttered.
"Shirt." the girl said.
Ichiru had stepped in just then with a cotton t-shirt. "It's not much, but if we tie it off, it'll make a cute dress." He popped the shirt over her, and she looked at it a moment before looking up at him and smiling.
"Is mommy ok now?" she asked.
"Yeah." Ichiru smiled. "She's a little tired, but you can come see your new brothers and sister."
The girl bounced happily, taking Ichiru's hand and following quietly to where Kaname and Zero were. Zero was holding one of the boys, while Kaname was holding the girl. Hanabusa was holding the other son.
"Wow. Little peoples." said the girl. "They got names?"
"Yeah." Kaname whispered. "You have one, too."
"I do?" the girl asked.
Kaname nodded. "It's Aoihime."
She blinked at him. "I likes it." she said. "So, who are these?"
"That's your first brother, Kain." smiled Zero. "The doctor has the other one, Tora."
"And my sister?" she asked, staring at the babies in turn. She looked up at Kaname as she stopped at the baby in his arms.
"This is Kuroyukihime." Kaname smiled.
"That's a mouthful." Aoihime said bluntly. "Is there a shorter version?"
"Yukihime." said Zero.
Aoihime thought for a moment. "Ok."
"Where did Shiki go?" Yuki asked.
"Hmm?" Rido looked around. "Where is that boy?" he grumbled.
"Shiki went out." said Shizuka as she finished putting the finishing touches to a new quilt. "I saw him leave, but I don't think he could have gone far."
"That boy never wanders far." said Rido. "It's probably the only good thing about him."
Shizuka frowned. While Shiki wasn't her flesh and blood child, she loved that boy and tried to give him what was needed to survive. It was Rido that held her back from truly lavishing her attention on him and making him feel loved and wanted. She sighed and folded the quilt.
"The sun's going to be up in a few hours." said Yuki. "We'd better be heading back home."
"Very well." said Rido. He watched them leave, then headed up to his room. "Shizuka."
"I'll be in the baby's room." she said. She sighed once Rido was away. That child Shiki had been holding. She was a pureblood Kuran. A daughter born from two Kurans mating, and thus a better heir than she could have ever born Rido. But still, why was the child so filthy? A pureblood was to be treasured, adored, and at the right age, flaunted to show that the purebloods still existed. But the girl had looked like she'd been caged, beaten, and had never seen any form of light aside from possibly a candle.
Shizuka stood and walked to the baby room, carrying the quilt with her. If Shiki actually managed to get Kaname to come back, that girl would become Kaname's official heir. As such, then Shizuka's family would need a gift for her on the day she would be presented to the Vampire world. But, what would a child like her want? More importantly, what would she need?
Her eye caught her basket that had various soft yarns in it. Of course. The girl would need a blanket to stay warm. Shizuka picked up the crochet hook and one of the soft yarn colors. A faded pink. Perfect for a little girl.
"Kaname's still exhausted, and it's been three weeks." said Hanabusa. "Something's wrong."
Zero nodded. "He tries to help with the children, but he's so weak, he can't even get out of bed." He smiled at Aoihime as she tried to bottle-feed Yukihime.
"So, what do we do?" Ichiru asked.
"We go back." said Shiki. "There's a doctor that cared for Kaname the first time this happened, when father lied and said he'd put himself in a weakened position. He said Kaname had been starving himself, and had been defiling himself with strange things. That's how he pawned-off the bleeding."
"But to go back would be to put Kaname and Zero in danger!" said Ichiru.
"I know." said Shiki. "But to not return risks Kaname's life."
Hanabusa looked at Zero. "The choice ultimately rests with you, Zero."
Zero looked back into the room where Kaname lay. "As soon as the moon rises, we leave."
The others nodded and packed what was needed. The triplets were nestled together into a stroller, and Aoihime was instructed to hold Shiki's hand. Zero carried Kaname as they headed out, back towards the village home.
Juri answered the door, startled to see Zero standing there holding Kaname. "What happened?" she asked, letting them and their companions in. "Shiki, where have you been?"
"Returning something that was lost." he returned curtly. He caught the scent too late to hide Aoihime, but just early enough to pull her away.
Rido had been over, and had made a grab for the little girl. "Shiki! How dare you steal my slave!"
Shiki glared back at him. "How dare you steal Kaname's daughter." He looked at the girl. "Go, follow your mother and Zero. I'll protect you." He let her go, and she ran for all she was worth to get to Zero and Kaname.
Rido made a lunge for her, but Shiki slashed his face with one of the blood-chains.
The youth glowered, a growl rumbling deep in his throat.
"What's going on?" asked Juri. "Who was that girl?"
Shizuka walked over. "She is Kaname and Rido's daughter." she said. "A child borne from two Kurans committing the forbidden act."
"But Shizuka, it's not uncommon for siblings to have offspring together." said Juri. "Haruka and I are brother and sister."
"True, but forbidden act is for an elder male to mount a younger male of the same family, even if they are uncle and nephew." Shizuka replied. "When Kaname was badly wounded and in need of special care four years ago, it was after that girl had been born."
"Aoihime." said Shiki.
"What?" Rido growled.
"Kaname named her. Her name is Aoihime."
Rido lashed out with his powers, striking Shiki and breaking several of the boys bones, deep gashes and wounds marking his body, and ultimately tossing the kid into the wall.
Shiki moaned softly as he slid down the wall and crumpled to the floor, leaving a streak of blood behind him.
There was a scream from upstairs, and Haruka ran up with Shizuka while Juri tried to calm her brother.
Yuki was standing in the doorway of Kaname's room, her eyes wide with horror.
"What is it, Yuki, dear?" Haruka asked.
"Why, Kaname? Wasn't I good enough for you?!" Yuki shrieked.
"He can't hear you." said Hanabusa as he assisted the other doctor in attending to Kaname.
"Yuki, what is it?" Haruka asked.
"Just look!" Yuki shrieked. She pointed at Zero, who was sitting quite calmly feeding one of the triplets. "Kaname took someone else."
Haruka looked over. There, hanging quite noticeably from Zero's neck, was a Vampire Engagement charm, which boasted Kaname's blood in the small vial.
"You . . ." Haruka started.
"I was the only one he could have loved." Zero stated. "You and Juri, and even Yuki, never listened to him after he stayed with Rido. You never paid attention to the nightmares, the pain he suffered, the terror in his heart. The day he first ran away from you, do you even know where he went?"
"Hanabusa Aido's place." said Yuki.
Ichiru looked over from feeding Tora. "Wrong. He ran to us. Two strangers, and he clung to Zero like he was Kaname's only hope."
"We knew something was wrong, the smell of blood was that thick around him, so we took him to Hanabusa, who lived and worked right above our apartment."
"I attended to his injuries as best I could." Hanabusa continued, handing the doctor another tool. "But I was only in training, so I couldn't do much. My master, however, was quite able to help, since he'd attended to Kaname while at Rido's."
"What happened to him?" Haruka asked.
"Kaname birthed." Shizuka said. "A Vampire with the purest blood is capable of all reproductive functions, thus, they always look male. Rido trapped Kaname in the basement of our home, abused him, and eventually impregnated him, stealing Kaname's daughter when she was born." She looked around. "From the look of things, he's birthed again."
"Yes." said Zero. "He bore my children this time. Kain, Tora, and Kuroyukihime."
"Bastard children." Haruka snarled.
"On the contrary." said Ichiru. He put Tora down in the stroller and walked over, holding his wrist out, not to Haruka or Yuki, but to Shizuka. "Go ahead, Shizuka Hio. Confirm what I am."
Shizuka gently pierced the pale flesh, letting the blood run before she licked the wound. "You are pureblood." she said.
"What?" Yuki asked. "But, you look and act human."
"It's the power of the Kiryu clan." said Zero. "We walk in the sunlight, like humans. We feed in the night, like Vampires."
"I've done what I can." said the doctor. "Hanabusa must stay here to continue attending to him until he is well enough to walk on his own. I'll return once a week to assess his progress."
"Thank you." said Zero.
Once the doctor was gone, Yuki turned and glowered at Zero. "So what am I supposed to do?" she demanded. "I'm Kaname's bride, not you!"
"Really? I see no engagement charm on you." said Ichiru. "All I see is the spoiled brat daughter of the Kuran family, angry that she could tie a leash to her brother's neck and hold him down to her like she always did."
"But . . ." Yuki started.
"When you were five, and both of you fell in the river. You cried and acted like you were mortally wounded, forcing Kaname to carry you back while his own leg was broken. All you had were a few scratches." said Ichiru.
"Ten years old. You forced Kaname into buying you a dress for the night you were to be presented to the Vampire world. He had to use all his savings, and was an embarrassment that night because he had to wear an older suit, instead of a new one as he was supposed to." added Hanabusa.
"Thirteen. You demanded almost all of Shiki and Shizuka's attention, allowing your uncle to imprison and rape your brother for two years." said Zero.
Haruka looked startled. "But . . ."
"Don't defend her." came a whisper. Kaname shifted on the bed. "It's all true."
"But Kaname . . ." Yuki whined.
"I am never going to marry you." Kaname breathed. "I never liked girls. My attraction was always towards men, anyway. I would only make you cry."
"But . . ."
"You've lost this round, Yuki." said Haruka. "I can see it in Kaname's eyes. He never would have gone through with it."
There was shouting downstairs, and Haruka hurried to the steps.
Juri was still struggling to keep Rido from chasing after Kaname and the others. "Kaname's not well, I could see that! Rido, just stay down here!"
"Rido, that's enough!" Haruka shouted, hurrying down to help Juri.
Shiki shifted slightly from where he'd been thrown. His one eye was closed from the blood running down his face, but he could see what was going on. Forcing his battered body to stand, he staggered closer. All the blood he'd lost began to form into whips and chains, hovering around him.
Juri was thrown across the room. It was then that Shiki made his move.
The chains wrapped around Rido, the whips turning into lances and striking Rido in all the right places to render him immobile.
"You don't strike a lady." said Shiki. "You've been nothing but cruel and heartless from the day I was born. I've counted the number of times my mother's been pregnant and you made an 'accident' happen that ended it." His eyes stared at Rido's. "No more. You won't destroy any more lives." A blood-lance came up behind Rido's head. "Good bye, father." The lance shot through, killing the elder Vampire.
Haruka and Juri stared as Rido turned to sand.
Shiki slumped to the floor, too weak to move. The last thing he saw were his aunt and uncle rushing over towards him.
Kaname laughed. It had been a few months since his children were born, since the death of Rido Kuran. The snow was falling, and while the three babies were bundled up, Aoihime was playing in the snow. At the moment, she was throwing snowballs at Yuki and Juri while Ichiru and Zero helped her.
"It's good to hear your laughter again." said Shiki. He stood nearby with Yagari.
"You're leaving?" Kaname asked.
"Yes, but not for long." Shiki replied. "Like Zero, I intend to make Safety Charms for those injured. To do that, I must learn how to craft them from a Hunter."
"Hey, three against two isn't fair!" called Yuki. She giggled as Aoihime tried throwing another snowball and hit Kaname. "But I think we'll survive." she added.
Kaname smiled and brushed the snow off his coat, looking back as Sizuka and her new baby came out to join them. Haruka appeared a moment later. His family, though rather unique, was finally together.