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Pure and Unconditional

By Geziena Anne Mallett

Romance

Chapter 1

"You're the last person I would ever commit to."

"Even if you're like this, I still love you."

The clock ticked the seconds by ever so slowly for the Pureblood King as he sat at his desk. It was ridiculous, vampires weren't meant to notice how fast time flew by. But Kaname still tapped his pen impatiently on the solid dark wood of his working surface, counting the seconds, six…five…four…three…two…one. The clock chimed the first hour of the day and like a well-oiled machine, he filed the papers away neatly, straightened his clothes and swiftly left his office. He counted his footsteps down the hallway, nearly missing his wife on the staircase. He looked up at Yuki who looked downcast.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

Yuki grimaced as she met his gaze.

"Have you found any new information about…Mana?" she asked and Kaname bowed his head.

"It's been four years, Yuki," he said gently and Yuki's lips quiver slightly "I'm beginning to fear the worse."

"Not even from Zero?"

Kaname shook his head. Ever since their little sister had disappeared, their marriage hadn't been as cheerful as it would have been. Yuki's light often dimmed at the worry of Mana's wellbeing. Zero was throwing himself into vampire hunter assignments, anything to find a lead of her location. Kaname glanced at the clock and sighed quietly.

"I have to go, Yuki," he said "I'm not sure when I'll be back."

"You work too hard."

"I will not rest until Mana is safe and sound," Kaname gave her a soft smile "I haven't given up yet."

Yuki rushed down the stairs to throw herself into his arms, hugging him tightly.

"I'm scared," she whispered "What if…?"

"It'll be alright, Yuki," Kaname reassured her "I'm sure it'll be alright."

He gave her a firm squeeze before leaving and stepping into the limo waiting for him outside. He sat back and smiled to himself. He ran a hand through his hair whilst again counting the seconds until he reached his destination.

"What do you think you're doing?!"

"I will take care of you."

It was uncharacteristic of him to look so eager but it was because of what was inside this secluded mansion that made him excited. It may have just been yesterday since he was last here but it still felt like it was too long. Here was where he could cast the cold mask away, here was where he could throw away his worries and here was where he wished to be until judgement day.

"Seiren."

She was at the door at his command when he entered and bowed.

"Kaname-sama."

"What have you been doing today?"

Seiren showed her coloured hands.

"Painting."

Kaname smiled warmly as he hung his jacket, loosened his tie and made his way to the East Conservatory. He stopped at the doorway and took in the beautiful sight. Paint was smudged on the floors, clumsy, coloured fingerprints on the glass walls and canvases of childish images, although improving throughout the years. But what caught Kaname's full attention was the girl of eighteen years old, kneeling in the centre of the chaotic mess with her focus on her paint covered hands. She looked confused, looking from her right red hand to her left blue hand. Kaname watched with adoring eyes as she carefully brought her fingertips together and rubbed them together, making them purple. Her intelligence was growing, she made sure each fingertip was a different shade. She stared at her ring fingers in particular then lifted them to the paper before her, rubbing them in small ovals.

"Mana."

She snapped her hands back and whipped her head over to look at him with wide brown eyes. A snarl was heard along with nails clacking along the white marble floor. A silver wolf, paint smudged into his fur, made himself visible as he walked in between the two siblings. However, upon recognizing his scent, he growled lowly before walking back to Mana to lie against her. Kaname walked over to her as she remained as still as a deer caught in headlights. He crouched beside her, carefully reaching out to push some hair behind her ear.

"What are you painting?" he asked and glanced at the lilac ovals on the paper.

Mana didn't answer as normal, just shrinking away from him. Kaname still smiled and had to gently take her arm to stop her from knocking the easel behind her. He reached out with his other hand to cup her paint covered cheek.

"What a mess," he commented softly, making sure not to startle her any more with any loud noises "Come let's wash the paint off."

Mana let out a whine as he gently tugged her arm, her hands outspread to make sure her ring fingers didn't mix in with the other paint on her hands. Kaname glanced down at her hands then back at the paper.

"Mana, can you speak?"

Mana stared at him, frightened and he sighed.

"It's alright," he cooed "You don't have to speak, you're still learning…"

Mana focused her gaze on the skirt of her paint covered dress as she tried to inch herself out of his grip. Kaname lowered his gaze too, hiding the disappointment of how uncomfortable he made her. He let her arm go and backed away, grabbing a chair to sit in at a distance which she would be comfortable with. Mana stared up at him for a few minutes and Kaname gazed warmly into her eyes, a smile forming on his face. It didn't matter how far he had to be for her to be comfortable, as long as he could watch her and spend time with her. Eventually she went back to rubbing her ring fingers into the small ovals on the paper. Kaname watched as she did this for a few minutes before getting up to gather all the cups in the room. He tilted his head to the side. Was she finished? Did Seiren teach her to clean up after herself? No, she was now lining them up around her paper.

Kaname did a most unforgivable act four years ago. After her cold rejection, he erased all her memories and reduced her mental state into that of an infant's. It was simple, if she wouldn't become his bride, she'll become his charge. Either way, she was completely dependent to him. Kaname expected her to grow up again like she'd done before and grow into the little sister that would unconditionally adore and love him, like Yuki. But no, it wasn't as simple as that. Four years and still, Mana didn't even try to use words to communicate, just little whines, whimpers and gestures. She couldn't walk properly, her walk was more of a limp or a hobble. Her posture was hunched and awkward, not at all like the Mana who always stood proud with her head firmly upright as she handled the fangirl crowds with Yuki and Zero.

Kaname sighed softly, his smile turned sombre once more. He hadn't had a doctor examine Mana yet but he was sure that he may have given the poor girl brain damage. It had been out of a moment of passion to grab her head and manipulate her mind, it wasn't implausible that he had overdone it. He hadn't ever erased so many memories or delved in so deep into a person's mind before to reduce them to a two year old before, even though he'd been as gentle as he could. And when visiting her, he always made sure to make his visits as frequent as possible for her to get used to him and be as tender and caring as a good brother would be to his youngest sister so perhaps she would reciprocate his affections. Nothing, if there was anything that remained of Mana, it was her stubbornness and her artistic talent. In a way, it seemed fair. He'd stripped her of everything apart from her name which she always responded to.

The sound of a paintbrush landing on the floor snapped him out of his reverie and he smiled a little wider as Mana's trembling fingers tried to pick the paintbrush again to make fine strokes of…silver? Kaname looked at the cups around her and saw different shades of grey around her, Seiren behind her with two cans of black and white paint. Kaname was happy for Mana to at least be able to be around Seiren with no complaints, she could trust Seiren to always be there whenever she needed her. As for an extra security measure, Kaname gave her a wolf pup a few weeks after the incident so she would be able to put her trust in him and he'll protect her like her knight… Kaname suddenly narrowed his eyes as Mana kept gently stroking the paper with the brush, dropping it every so often. He let her choose out of a selection of puppies and she went for the silver one. Whenever they were painting, she had a fascination of the colours lilac and silver. And there was the one time when they thought she was speaking, what did she say…?

"…Oh."

Seiren tilted her head at the sound that escaped Mana's lips and anger surged through Kaname.

"Mana, that's enough painting," he said firmly.

For the first time, Mana disobeyed him. She shook her head and began stroking silver streaks above the ovals more urgently.

"Mana, I said that's enough," Kaname said as he stood and Mana whined.

"Mana-sama," Seiren said as she crouched down to touch Mana's back "Let's clear up and you can finish this another time."

Mana whined louder and shook her head more.

"Mana!" Kaname raised his voice slightly and Mana shrunk into Seiren, dropping her paintbrush again.

Seiren cradled her gently as Kaname walked over towards them. Mana watched in despair as the paper was torn up violently by an invisible force and she began shaking. Then she launched into her first tantrum in three years. She managed to tear out of Seiren's comforting grip and threw herself at Kaname who caught her arms tightly, nearly bruising her, and held her at a distance. Her whole face was distorted in agony and anger and it pained him. He should be angry at her, she was thinking of another man around him.

"Mana-sama, please calm down," Seiren said as she held Mana's shoulders.

Mana's claws were out and her fangs were elongated as she attempted to at least leave a mark on her older brother. Kaname sighed sadly as he quickly pressed a hand to her cheek. A flash of violet light and Mana collapsed into his arms. The wolf growled at this as Seiren backed away, her face showing no displeasure as Kaname picked Mana up bridal style, kissing her head dotingly.

"Clean this up," he ordered "I'll clean her up."

Seiren nodded as the wolf followed him closely whilst he carried Mana upstairs. He washed her face, washed her hands then changed her into clean dress. As he cradled her whilst sitting on the loveseat in her room, he stared at the paint covered wolf lying on the rug with narrowed eyes. He would have to find another wolf pup that wasn't silver, whether Mana liked it or not. Anything else that was lilac or silver had to leave the mansion. What confused Kaname was how Mana was recalling Zero. If he damaged her mind to the point where he may have given her irreversible damage, she can't possibly remember him. Gently lying Mana down on the loveseat, he stood and advanced towards the wolf. The wolf growled as he got within grabbing distance then began barking viciously as he grabbed him by the scruff and dragged him out of the room. There was a yelp as Kaname cast him out into the hallway and more barking ensued as Kaname close the doors firmly.

There was a soft moan and Kaname was at Mana's side as she woke up. He hushed her gently as she stared up at him, confused and frightened. He petted her head gently and smiled.

"Will you let me brush your hair?" he whispered as he helped her to sit up "Come on."

Mana whimpered in protest but let him take her hands in his and help her up to her feet. She wobbled with every step towards the vanity, Kaname making sure to keep a hold of her so she wouldn't fall. She sat still as he ran a brush through her long, tangled locks. He admired her for a moment, smiling as he leaned over and kissed her head dotingly.

"I love you, Mana," he murmured "I love you purely and unconditionally."

"You don't need anything but me, Mana."

"Let…go…"

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