Chapter 12: Ruka
I woke up to the sound of water sloshing in time with footsteps. My eyes seemed to be glued shut as I attempted to open them. Finally managing to lift the heavy things, I stared groggily up into the face of my mother.
"Ruka! Oh Ruka, you're awake!" she cried, dropping the glass of water she had been carrying to throw her arms around me. I started as the glass shattered on the wood floor.
"What…what's going on?" I asked, trying to remember how exactly I had gotten here.
"Ruka…do you remember anything?" my mother asked me carefully.
"I…" my voice trailed off as I tried to remember what my mind was so reluctant to recall.
"Best to take it easy, dear. You have been unconscious for three nights," she told me quietly.
"Three…nights?" I repeated, stunned. I looked at my body, trying to look for any signs of sickness or injury that would justify this, but there was nothing there.
"Your skin has healed quite nicely, and your hair is growing back as well," my mother told me reassuringly. "But the burns…they were quite…severe…"
The burns? That meant—
My memory came rushing back in a torrent as if a dam in my mind had been cracked. The night of Hanabusa's Ketsueki Yudo and Kaname's mission for the three of us, leaving the party without permission and making our way to the town where the hunter's society was, about two hours by foot for a vampire away from where our homes were, then waiting for Shiroma to come out of the society.
And then the level E's had attacked us. Hanabusa had fought them and failed, and then seemingly out of nowhere flames had sprung up, consuming the level E's but somehow avoiding me for the most part. I remembered screaming in surprise more than fear as the level E's melted around me. Akatsuki had turned to me, and that was when I saw it. He was completely surrounded by the flames, but it was as if he was immune to them as he stood there looking completely blank yet completely unharmed.
In a flash of instinct I had realized that the flames were his doing. I had to stop him before the entire town was burned down, including the society with the changed records.
After that my memories had become foggy as I inhaled the smoke and the fumes, but I remembered grabbing Hanabusa and being burned yet again. What had happened after that?
"What is it Ruka? Do you remember something?" my mother asked me urgently, laying a hand on my cheek.
As I was about to tell her, something stopped me. I didn't know how much I should tell her. After all, our mission had been a secret. I needed to gauge how much she knew first, I decided.
"Did you…find me somewhere?" I prompted, hoping she would tell me.
"No…your father and I…we realized you were missing from your cousin's party, and we immediately sent out the servants to find you. As they searched, we went to the mansion in order to make sure that you weren't home. We waited for you for many hours, and then…young Lord Kain appeared at our door, carrying you. You were badly burned, and he looked as if he was about to break down, telling us that he had burned you. We brought you here and you've been asleep for three nights now," she told me the story.
My heart lurched. What had happened to Hanabusa and Akatsuki? Were they okay? Was our mission completed?
"There's something else, Ruka," my mother said gravely. Something about her tone made my breath catch.
"Your father…he's…quite angry with Akatsuki," my mother told me, and the way she referred to him without a title made me uneasy.
"What does that—" I began, but a rough voice cut me off.
"I want to speak to our daughter alone," my father said darkly. Seeing his face, my mother quickly made her exit, shooting me one last worried glance before shutting the door.
"What did you think would happen, when you tried to run away from me?"
"Run away? No, I just—"
"You left without warning and just expected that I would allow it," he boomed.
"I'm sorry—" I tried again, desperately hoping his anger would be cast aside.
"Then that boy…that monster...burned you. Marred you." He said viciously.
"No, father, he saved me—"
"Tell me Ruka. What are the chances that you go missing the same night that half the town surrounding the Hunter's Society burns to the ground, and shortly after you turn up being carried by that boy, covered in burn marks?" he said, his voice impossibly low. All I could do was stare wide-eyed at him.
"Answer me!" he bellowed, taking my chin in his hand, forcing me to look him in the eye.
"You've got it wrong father…we weren't…anywhere near there…" I lied.
"Why did you go there?!" he yelled at me again.
"Father, stop this—"
"No matter. I already know," he stared at me, a hard look in his eye, and I felt the cold clutches of fear grip me. If he went after Lord Kaname—
"I see that I have given you far too much freedom. You are no longer allowed to leave this house without permission or an escort," my father growled, completely ignoring what I was trying to tell him.
"What?! Father—!" before I could protest, his hand was on my mouth, silencing me.
"It is now more important than ever that you drink from me Ruka. This blood bond must be maintained so that nothing will be hidden from me again," he said darkly.
Blood bond? What was he talking about?
Suddenly his fangs were in my neck and his greedy gulping filled my ears. I struggled against him, feeling in my very core that something about this was not right. He held me down, unmoving against my strength. Then he sat up.
"Drink," he ordered, and simply shoved his wrist into my mouth, pushing my head down to pierce his skin. As the blood slithered down my throat I felt tears prick at my eyes. Trying to block out the awful scene, I imagined that I was anywhere but here, doing anything but this.
"It is done—" my father said, but his voice caught. Opening my eyes, I looked to see what had stopped him, and what I saw utterly confused me.
We were standing on a beach, the waves rolling in towards us as the moonlight shone on the glassy surface of the water. The stars and the moon shone above us in glorious light. As I realized that this wasn't real, that it was some kind of false vision, the image seemed to sag and drip away before my eyes, and I was back in the room, my father on the bed next to me.
I watched as his vacant eyes came back to the present, and he stared at me.
"What did you do?" he asked me accusingly.
"Nothing…I don't know…" I told him truthfully.
"That was…" he stopped, glaring at me. "It doesn't matter. The bond is forged. You are to stay here, and not leave this room. I will know if you do," he ordered, getting up off of my bed. He walked to the door and shut it quietly as he left, and I was left to sit in silent shock of what had just happened.