Disclaimer: Akihisa Ikeda is the sole owner of Rosario+Vampire and everything related to it.
Chapter 1: Unexpected
Kyoto had been the first to be hit.
Wave after wave of monsters – Ayashi in the common tongue – had overrun the city, taking the humans completely by surprise. And then, all over the world, the barriers between the Monster and Human world had broken down, until the hideous truth was out in the open for all humans to face.
They were not alone in the world.
Death. Destruction. Carnage. Massacre. The war that had ensued had been all of these and much, much more.
Vampires and werewolves, Youku and Succubi; creatures of the darkest night, the stuff of nightmares, they had attacked the humans, intent on finally ending their hidden existence and establishing their superiority over the human world.
The entire planet had been converted to a battlefield. The very tectonic plate of the earth had been shifted thanks to the titanic struggles between human and demon powers – half of Britain had sunk into the ocean. South India had been reduced to rubble by gigantic tidal waves and tsunamis that had rocked the entire subcontinent. The situation in Africa had worsened to such a level that studies had shown that more people were dying every day in the continent than babies were born.
And in the face of insurmountable odds, the unthinkable had happened. Humanity had pushed aside their differences, and finally united as one against a common enemy. Colour and language had been forgotten, the Bible and the Geeta had been laid aside, and men had stood shoulder to shoulder and weathered the storm as one.
And that had spelled the beginning of the end. The ban on Nuclear Warfare had been lifted, but not for use against fellow men, but against the demons who had challenged the very existence of Humanity.
Two years. The War had raged for two years, and millions of humans had lost their lives. Men had been ripped from the comfort of their homes to fight for the InterCountry Alliance, boys had been conscripted from the embrace of their bonnie lovers to fight a war they were far too young to face.
And if the casualties on the human side had been high, the monsters had lost warriors in the order of billions. Unlike humans, who had set aside their differences, the monsters – even the famed S-class ones – could not prevent infighting and dissension amongst their ranks. They had crumbled from within as much as they had been driven back by the humans, until it had all come down to one final battle, with humans marching against the depleted monster army.
A march through Kyoto, the very place it had all begun.
The last of the magnificent warriors had fought their utter hardest to win a fight they knew that they had lost long ago. It rained fire and brimstone that dreadful night. The earth had split open beneath the feet of the army, spitting steam and boiling lava, killing human and Ayashi alike.
And beneath it all, was one last, insidious plan cooked up by the Monsters. The witches had finally joined the side of the Ayashi after a long history of neutrality, and they had made the ultimate toxin, one that would disperse through the air and kill every human who breathed it in.
But it had been a paltry human conscript, fighting for his homeland, who had discovered this nefarious plot when he had stumbled onto their command centre during one of his patrols. Alone and without backup, he had made his stand and taken out his enemies, wielding his weapons with a strength passed down from long ago, when his ancestors had roamed the land and taken on the mantle of Samurai.
It had taken fifteen minutes for backup to arrive, and in those fifteen minutes, the lone soldier had killed twenty-nine demons single-handedly, losing an arm and his left eye in the process.
He had been hailed as a hero later on, when he lay fighting for his life in the hospital. Promotions and awards from all over the world had come hard and fast for him, and he had been given the epithet of 'The Man Who Saved the World.'
This is, of course, not his story.
This is the story of his son, Aono Tsukune.
Tsukune sighed as he finished brushing his teeth, and took a moment to stare into the mirror in front of him. Nondescript features looked back at him – a forgettable face, dull brown eyes, hair that seemed all over the place despite his best efforts. A person would take one glance at him and forget what he looked like the moment he turned away.
He was a person who would never stand out in a crowd, he had realized; far from it. He didn't look like the son of a hero, the man who had single-handedly saved the lives of billions of people across the globe.
"Son?" Speak of the devil, he thought, as he heard a knock on the door and his father's voice ring out.
"I'm ready," he called out in reply, "just a second."
He took another anxious glance at the mirror and then straightened his shoulders, before he twisted the doorknob open and walked out. His father was waiting for him inside his room, looking down intently at something in his hand.
"Tou-san? Father?" he asked, and the older man seemed to come out of his reverie, putting the mysterious object into his pocket.
"Tsukune?" his father asked, his voice strong and unwavering, "come closer, son, let me take a good look at you."
His father had lost one of his eyes in the war; Tsukune would remember being terrified of it when he was younger. However, he had grown used to it over time, until it no longer bothered him; in fact, it was hard for him to ever imagine his father with both eyes.
However, his other eye had been declining in efficiency as well – even the Koji would brush it off anytime his son or wife brought it up, it was evident that he was losing the sight in his lone eye as well.
Tsukune, however, made no move to comment on it as he took a deep breath and walked forward, trying to hold himself as stiffly as he could.
His father's eye roved over him as he approached, taking in the crisp, new white shirt he was wearing, and the green jacket over it. There were no lines or wrinkles on his brown slacks, perfectly pressed and brand new as they were.
Tsukune grew increasingly nervous as the silence stretched between the two of them, feeling the first beads of cold sweat form on his forehead.
Is he displeased in any way? Tsukune wondered, his heart sinking.
Finally, his father smiled, and Tsukune mirrored it with a nervous one of his own without conscious thought.
"My son!" Koji praised, the warmth evident in his voice, "look at you now! Youre all grown up, son, a true man now!"
Tsukune felt pride bubble up in his stomach at his father's words. He had been forever intimidated by his father's status, and had been trying to live up to his legacy and expectations as far back as he could remember.
"Now," said Koji, suddenly lowering his voice, "before your mother comes up to check on us, there's something I want to give you."
Tsukune couldn't hold back a chuckle; War General his father may have been, but it was his mother whose word was law in the Aono household. She ruled over both her men with equal parts compassion and ruthlessness, though the latter would only come out in play when either of her boys was caught in any act of mischief.
Koji reached into his pocket and took out the very thing he had been contemplating, before he pressed it into Tsukune's hand.
Feeling the sensation of cold metal against his hand, Tsukune looked down to find a battered Army Knife in his hand. It was obviously expensive – even though their status had been much elevated after the war, he knew that had always not been the case in their family – and it looked like it had been in his father's possession for a long time.
"My own father gave it to me when I was called up to fight in the Great War," his father told him, making him stiffen in shock. "He told me that I had become a man that day, and he could not be prouder of me."
"I – I can't take this," Tsukune muttered, still reeling from the sheer sentimental value of the thing in his hand.
"Keep it," his father replied firmly but kindly, placing his own hand over Tsukune's palm and closing it in a fist around the knife. "I'll repeat my father's words to you today, son. You're truly starting your journey as a young man today, and I want you to know that I could not have been prouder of you."
"Really?" asked Tsukune, feeling like something heavy had lodged in his throat, making him difficult for it to breathe.
"Really," his father echoed with a smile. "You are everything I could ask for in a son."
"But- but –" Tsukune stuttered, "I'm nothing special. My grades are average, I've never been that good at sports, I'm not that brave..."
"Son. Son." His father repeated, seeing that he was starting to ramble. "You're selling yourself short there. You're polite and well-behaved, and besides, I was never that good with my studies anyway." Tsukune's heart lifted somewhat on hearing those words. "But you managed to get into a good High School, didn't you?"
Tsukune nodded, feeling slightly more confident about the new day after hearing his father's words.
"And son," the older man said, suddenly serious, "I want you to listen to me very, very seriously. Bravery isn't about winning wars or killing people," Tsukune realized with a start that he'd never seen his father look so old, "it is about being afraid but still finding the courage to stand up for those weaker than you, to disregard all your fears to protect the ones you love."
"Being afraid?" Tsukune asked, disbelieving. "Were you afraid during the War?" he asked, and then winced. His father disliked talking about the war, and would be found brooding for hours afterwards when the topic came up.
He was thus naturally surprised when his father graced him with an answer, "I was. Terrified beyond comprehension. But when the time came, I knew that I had to fight to save everything I held dear on this good Earth. One day, you will find the same strength as well."
Tsukune had no answer to that, instead wondering what had caused this philosophical, nostalgic side of his father to surface.
"But that's a matter for another time," his father said, suddenly smiling up at his son again. "For now, all you need to worry about is your grades, making new friends, and working hard in general."
"Right," Tsukune agreed, nodding his head. "I'll make you proud, father."
"Maybe you'll even find a pretty girlfriend to bring home to your mother, eh?"
Tsukune watched with a heavy heart as his house and his parents faded into the horizon, before sinking into the plush leather backseat of the car.
"Chin up, Master Tsukune," old man Chousa told him from behind the wheel, an affectionate smile on his face. "I know it's hard to join a new boarding school, but you'll soon be as right as rain!"
"Thanks, Chousa," Tsukune said with a smile, grateful for the man's attempts to make him feel better.
He relaxed as the city fell away behind him and the scenery of the countryside took its place, vast open fields and gnarled trees rushed past his window.
Time flew by as Tsukune opened one of his books, reading up on the material to be somewhat prepared for his first semester. Getting bored with history after a while – they mostly had to study the Renaissance for the first segment of the year – he closed the book and idly gazed at the name printed on the customized textbook.
The Academy, he wondered, just 'The Academy'. He thought that it was a strange name indeed. Bland, robotic and impersonal – but then again it had been showing great results over the past few years. I wonder what it will be like there.
The miles rolled away as he immersed himself in his daydream, but suddenly –
"Chou," he addressed the chauffer informally, but his voice was still sharp. "Stop the car."
"Master Tsukune?" the old man asked uncertainly, even though he did as he was told.
Tsukune threw the door open and walked out, quickly jogging a few steps to the thing that had caught his attention.
It was a pink-haired girl, clutching her stomach and doubled over next to a bicycle.
"Hey," he asked as he approached her cautiously, "are you alright?"
Her head snapped up and he was treated to the sight of the greenest eyes he had ever seen.
She's beautiful, Tsukune thought with a sharp intake of breath. The girl had a kind, soft face with full, pink lips that were currently quivering in fear as he walked towards her.
"Stay away," she cried, even as she swayed, holding on to the bicycle for support. Her nose twitched almost imperceptibly and her eyes widened as he came closer. "Stay away!" she yelled again.
"I don't mean any harm," Tsukune tried to assure her, holding his arms aloft in the air as a gesture of peace.
"Hu – Boys always mean harm," she countered, her large eyes simmering with anger as she glared at him. She must have had a bad experience before, Tsukune thought, as he came to a halt.
It was kind of cute, he realized with a small blush. Despite her best efforts, the girl was failing pathetically to look threatening; he doubted that she could pull the look off at all.
It was then that he realized that she was wearing the same uniform as him, only that she was dressed in a skirt, and her jacket seemed to barely hold in her –
Tsukune gulped, averting his eyes quickly. She was obviously well-endowed for her age.
"You don't look so well," he commented, sounding concerned despite the strange situation. "Are you going to the Academy as well – I could give you a lift..."
"I don't need it," she spat, even as she swayed dangerously again. "I'll get there myself!"
Tsukune couldn't help but be amused, was the girl crazy?
"You intend to cycle all the way there?" he asked, angering the girl further with his amusement.
"Yeah!" she replied indignantly, before she abruptly fell over in a dead faint.
Tsukune moved with a grace that belied his form – born from years of self-defense lessons his father had put him through for his own safety. After all, the Aono name was well known throughout the world, and Koji could never anticipate what danger lay around the corner for his family.
He managed to get to her just in time before she hit her head on the ground and hut herself. The bicycle, with no one left to hold on to it, fell over onto the ground with a resounding clang – thankfully in the direction opposite to the two of them.
"Master Tsukune?" his driver had left the car and followed him back. "Is that – why are you –"
The man obviously couldn't find a polite way to frame the question; even Tsukune felt a blush creep up on his face as he realized how strange the situation looked. He hefted her slightly, so that she was now resting bridal style against his chest.
"She passed out," he offered weakly by way of explanation, "she's obviously ill and going to the same school as us, might as well give her a lift there."
Chouji smiled before picking the bicycle up and hefting it over his shoulder. "Let's go, then," he said, depositing of it in the boot, "you don't want to be late for your first day, even if there are extenuating circumstances."
Tsukune nodded before he made his way back to the car, trying to ignore the sensation of how the girl felt, pressed up against him.
The girl twitched and moaned, sending inexplicable shivers down his spine. "Smells so good," she mumbled in her sleep, and that only reinforced Tsukune's belief that she wasn't all that sane.
The Academy soon came into view, imposing iron gates blocking their car from entering.
"Name?" Tsukune rolled down the window to find an imposing looking guard staring into the car impassively, mild recognition flittering across his eyes as he looked at Tsukune.
"Aono Tsukune," the boy replied, nervously eyeing the gun strapped to the man's back. Is that real?
The guard's face cleared at once, to be replaced by a wide smile. "Aono-san," he said, "we weren't expecting you so early! It is an honour to have you here at the Academy, please accept my warmest welcome!"
Tsukune barely held back a sigh. Even here, he couldn't escape the shadow of his father. Nevertheless, he had grown accustomed to this booth-licking behaviour of others, so he forced a smile on his face and answered.
"It is an honour to be here," making the guard smile even more widely, "I look forward to learning here."
"Then by all means, make your way inside. Remember to check in at the main desk to get your room number and key – you might even want to freshen up there, because orientation doesn't begin for another couple of hours."
Just my luck, thought Tsukune despondently, before he asked the guard. "Ano, can you please tell me where the Sanatorium is? I found another student on my way here, but she fainted from some illness."
The guard peered inside at Moka's prone form on the seat next to him. "She doesn't look to good," he agreed. "The Sanatorium is on the first floor, Aono-san. Do you want me to take –"
"No, no," said Tsukune at once, remembering his etiquette lessons, "you don't have to trouble yourself, you are needed here at the gate either way."
The guard was positively beaming now, "As you wish, Aono-san! Please make your way inside."
The gates swung open as he spoke, and Tsukune was surprised at the lack of any noise. The machinery must have been very well serviced to work so efficiently.
Those thoughts vanished from his mind as a large Tudor mansion came into view, much larger than his own home in Kyoto. It was an imposing structure, looking out of place in the Japanese country, with stone walls and tall turrets, gargoyles standing sentinel on plinths.
He squared his shoulder and walked in through the front door as his car stopped, heading to the receptionist at the front desk. She was a pretty little thing, with red hair and glasses, through which brown eyes peered up at him curiously.
"I'm a new student," he said, "Aono Tsukune. I'm here for my key and room number, please?"
"Aono-san," her face took on an impressive shade of red, and Tsukune resisted the urge to slap his palm over his face. "Of course, of course, welcome to the Academy. It's an hono –"
"I'm very sorry," Tsukune told her as politely as he could, "but I'm quite tired after a long journey, so I was hoping that I could get to my room quickly –"
The girl, if possible, went a deeper shade of red. "At once, Aono-san," she said, looking up at him with wide eyes for a moment. As he raised his eyebrows, she sprang into action, going through the files in front of her at an impressive speed before she took a key off the rack behind her and handed it to him.
"Room 307," she told him, still sounding flustered, "East Wing, Third Floor. Do you need any directions -?"
"I'll be fine, thanks," Tsukune reassured her. Honestly, could the girl blush any deeper? "There was actually one other thing, actually –"
He outlined the situation with the strange girl he had encountered, but was mildly disheartened to see her droop visibly at his final request.
"Ano, Aono-san," she told him nervously, "you're slightly early. The Sanatorium isn't open yet, the Nurse is yet to arrive..."
"Fine," Tsukune grumbled, "she's pink-haired, green eyes, about this height –" he indicated with his hand, "any idea who she is?"
The girl flipped through the files again, before hefting them onto the desk in front of him. He recognized the photo of the girl at once. "It's her," she confirmed, eyes drifting over the name at the top.
"Akashiya Moka," he murmured, the name rolling fluently off his tongue. The name suited her, he thought idly, strange as it was.
Before he could read any further, though, the file was pulled from under his nose. "She's in the East Wing as well, in the girl's quarters. Second floor, room 206."
"Give me her key, then," Tsukune said, "I'll take her up to her room."
"I'm afraid I can't, Aono-san," the receptionist stuttered, "it's against the school rules for somebody other than the owner of the keys to give it to somebody else. In that case, she is the owner, so I cannot hand it over to you without her permission."
"All right!" Tsukune snapped, losing his temper and startling the receptionist. "I'll take her up to my room until the Nurse arrives and she can be put under her care."
"O- of course," the receptionist said, "But please note that she isn't in your room after 8:30 p.m. because –"
"That's against the school rules," Tsukune ground out.
Tsukune could no longer resist the temptation to take a bath – he hadn't anticipated that he would be so sweaty, having carried the girl up to his room. The entire school seemed to be empty for now, and the deserted halls rubbed him the wrong way somehow.
Seeing that he had enough time and that Moka was showing no signs of making up, he took out a fresh shirt and soap and a towel from his luggage – which had been sent ahead – and made his way into the shower.
Moka awoke slowly with a blinding headache, feeling a crushing weakness permeating every cell of her body.
I've gone too long without blood, she realized weakly, before she realized that she was in some strange location.
She hefted herself up weakly, her arms shaking as she looked around blearily. She was lying on a bed in one corner of an empty room, which looked like a very small apartment. She recognized the crest on the wall.
I'm at the Academy, she realized even as she groaned, her head giving a throb. But how?
'She remembered everything slowly, about the car that had stopped and the boy who had offered to help her.
I passed out, she deduced, he must have brought me here after all.
Even though she was a demon herself, Moka could never dredge up enough anger against humans. True, she disliked them and were even somewhat scared of them, but she was always too soft to actively kill humans like some of the other Ayashi in hiding after the war.
She blushed slightly as she remembered the overpowering aroma of the human, the very memory of it sending a tingling sensation up her nose.
It smelled so sweet, she reminisced, in fact, it was so good it's like I can almost smell it now...
Her nose twitched again as she smelled the air, and Tsukune walked out of the room in nothing but his towel at the same time.
Moka tried to resist, she really did. But the smell of the boy's blood hit her with the force of a wall, and before she knew it, she was bounding across the room, unmindful of the fact that he was clad only in his towel, or the fact that he was backing away rapidly.
Her teeth sank into the soft flesh of his neck, and she couldn't hold back a moan as the rich taste of blood filled her mouth. It was unlike anything she had ever tasted, and she found herself growing warmer as she fed on the liquid.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" before she knew it, she was being pushed away. But she had drunk enough to be back in her senses again, so she managed to catch her balance before she fell over.
She knew she was sunk immediately, he was clutching his neck with one hand and pointing at her with the other.
The lone finger pointing at her seemed to carry the weight of her world behind it, and she winced unconsciously as he opened his mouth and yelled –
"You're a vampire!"
Author's Note: There you go. My very first Rosario+Vampire story, despite the fact that it's one of my favourite mangas. I can't deny that it's slipping a bit now, what with Gyokurou now part of a weird monster which resembles...err, never mind.
Nevertheless, I'm quite excited about this. Reviews, please?