The next morning Kanade
finished buttoning the last of Zero's shirt and smiled up at him.
"Good luck today." She said. "Come back to me safe alright?"
He nodded before pulling her in for a kiss.
"Try not to get into any trouble while I'm gone alright?" He asked before grabbing his jacket.
"Of course." Kanade said. "Who did you say you will be guarding again?" She asked.
"He is the king of the vampires. I'd rather not say his name..."
'Huh? Why does Zero suddenly feel so sad and angry?'
"You okay?" Kanade asked.
"Yeah, it's nothing. See you later." He said before walking out the door and closing it behind him.
Zero and Kaito walked up to the Kuran estate. The door opened by itself to
reveal Kaname Kuran leaning against the frame. He gestured for the hunters to
come in and they reluctantly did so. Just as Zero passed him Kaname grabbed
hold of his arm making the hunter rigid at the simple touch. The silver haired
boy narrowed his eyes back at him with his jaw clenched.
"I can smell her on you." He hissed before taking in a deep breath, trying his best to stay calm. "You don't remember why you had to drink my blood... do you?" Kaname asked him. "You probably cannot recall many memories and thoughts though."
"Let go." Zero growled and the pureblood did. Zero began to walk off as he said, "My memory loss is a result of my coma... unlike Kanade's." He said as he stopped and gave him a glare. "I do remember that actually. It was to protect Kanade, as was the reason for many of the things I did. But the loss of my other memories will not hinder me from carrying out my duties, I assure you."
“I see... If that's what you say, then I'm counting on you."
"... He's here."
Yuki whispered to herself as she gripped tighter onto the blankets she had
surrounded herself in. "Zero..."
"Yuki." Kaname called out for her as he walked into her room and let out a huff when she tried to hide inside underneath the blankets. "How about showing yourself at the very least."
"No... rather then that lets talk."
"Preparations are nearly complete aren't they?" Yuki asked him, poking her head up.
"And how is it that you can behave so normally? She's so close... don't you want to spend your last few moments with her?"
"I could ask you the same question." He walked up to her side and leaned over her. "You're thinking of turning me human aren't you?" He pulled her into a hug, "I won't let you. Really you are always doing such rash things." The next thing she knew he was carrying her off.
"Wait... where are you...?"
Meanwhile, Kanade walked
along the campus grounds in a daze, trying to muster some kind of memory from
the holes in her past.
'What is missing? Why... why can't I remember such specific things?'
She looked up to find herself by the apple tree she often used to sit at after class.
"I must have wandered here." She whispered to herself.
'I wonder.' She thought as she walked up to the tree and laid her hand on the trunk. 'Why it is that I feel so attached to this place?
Kanade gripped onto the bouquet of flowers she held and took a deep breath
before pushing open the gates to the cemetery. Her eyes met the nearby
tombstone with the familiar name.
Step after step she slowly approached the grave only to stop a few feet away.
"Ichiru." She whispered. "I know... I know you live inside Zero, but... I hope you understand." She took in another sharp breath as she leaned down and placed the bouquet of flowers on top of the stone. “My time with you, Ichiru... although it was short...” She closed her eyes tightly as memories of the time they spent together at the academy flashed before her eyes. “If I had just known then...” She leaned down and lightly touched the headstone. “I’m so sorry, Ichiru…” Her tears began form in her eyes. “Our last words were not even close to a proper goodbye.”
She suddenly felt an unfamiliar presence. She looked back to see a strange man with golden blonde hair and piercing blue eyes smirking at her.
cry so easily Kanade. That isn't like you at all." He said.
"Do I know you?" She could sense he was a pureblood. She wiped her tears away as she stood up and took a step back and he let out a small, dark chuckle.
"I see... he took the liberty to make you forget me as well, I'm not surprised."
'Does he have something to do with the holes in my memory?'
"You snuck out of the academy." Hatori shook his head. "You're always just begging for trouble aren't you?"
"Who are you?" She asked him, the clouds above them began to darken and the wind picked up. He began to chuckle incessantly.
"I see that even without your memories you still react the same way when you see me... I suppose the heart remembers what the mind forgets.... but honestly, I'm not very fond of the ignorant you. It's getting quite boring actually."
"What are you talking about?" She asked him.
"That hunter of yours... I'm not very fond of him either, so I'll give you a few hints." She gritted her teeth at his insult towards Zero as she clutched her hands into fists at her sides and narrowed her eyes. "Apple trees are quite fascinating aren't they? They can live for thousands of years just like us. Think about all the stories they hold with them.” He smirked. "Tell me, Kanade... what's your embodiment?"
"Oh, come on. Don't tell me you've forgotten the basics of what you are as well?" He crossed his arms before rolling his eyes. "Every pureblood has an embodiment which is like their second form. Some believe that many reincarnate into these forms. Mine is a snake and I hear that little girl you often hang around with is a butterfly.”
"... Do you know?"
A smirk tugged at the corner of his lips, "Of course I do."
Suddenly he was gone.
"Have some tea! Don't just keep standing there." Takuma said to Zero
as he poked his head out of the window of the Kuran estate and gestured inside.
"... I'm sorry. I'm not a guest."
"Let me down! There's no need for me to show my face!" Yuki exclaimed from inside as she squirmed in Kaname's arms. "I said no!" He set her down on the couch with a thud.
"I'm sorry Kiriyu. My sister hasn't greeted you although you're our bodyguard."
Yuki calmed down and held her head down.
"There's no need to." Zero said.
"No... it was rude of me." Yuki said as she began to stand up with her head downcast. "Please, take care of my brother." She began to walk off, "lets go Kaname," but he grabbed hold of her arm.
"Since we're here lets have some tea."
'Why... did it become like this?' Yuki thought as she uncomfortably sat on the couch next to Kaname with his arm wrapped around her. She sat awkwardly across from Zero with Takuma sitting beside her as they drank tea.
'It looks as though he is planning to anger me...' She thought as she stared up at Kaname.
She clenched her hands into fists on her lap as she held her head down.
"Why don't you let her go." Zero said, breaking the uncomfortable silence. "It seems as though she's been pretty uncomfortable for awhile now. Don't you like him? ... Or do you not like me?"
"What I dislike is this weird situation!" Yuki exclaimed.
'Fine then Kaname... if you want to be like this, then I have no choice.'
"Mr. Hunter." She said. "Tell me, are you and that dhampire girl doing alright? Is she feeling better?" Kaname tightened his grip around her as a signal for her to stop.
"She's fine." Zero said bluntly.
"Doesn't she have trouble remembering as well?" Yuki asked. Zero narrowed his eyes at Kaname.
"Her situation is different from mine. I'm going back to patrol." He said as he stood up and began to walk off.
"I'd say that her situation isn't all that different." Kaname said. Zero stopped with his back towards him and his hands clenched at his sides.
"What are you implying?" Zero growled.
"Who said I was implying anything? There are holes in her memory as well as yours am I correct?"
Zero ignored him and began to walk off. Kaname pulled Yuki in closer.
He suddenly bit her neck and Zero went on as Yuki's eyes widened.
"...Kaname..." She groaned. Zero stopped in the doorway and glanced back at them. "Kaname!" She cried out as she pushed him off. "Stop dragging him into our problems!" Kaname wiped the blood from his face. Yuki hooked her arms around his neck and buried her face in his chest. "Brother... to think you are doing such things to... don't be so hypocritical! It's fine already. Let her be happy. There is no way we can return things to how it was."
Takuma's eyes widened out of surprise and Zero began to walk off again. Yuki quickly got up on her feet.
"Hunter, please head back. You can't stay in a place like this. That girl is just sitting around waiting for you isn't she?"
"I'm working under the association's orders. She understands my obligations... besides, it'd be our loss if something were to happen to the next parent."
Soon afterwards the castle was attacked and Kaito was injured. Kaname and Zero defended the estate together and were now returning o the academy for safety.
Kanade walked through the front gates of the academy thinking she was undetected until Yagari’s arms suddenly engulfed her.
"Kanade! How dare you sneak out at a time like this!" He said as he tightened his grip around her.
"Huh? What's the matter?" She asked as she tried to pull away. He finally let go when a car drove up and Zero got out, clutching onto Kaito. Kanade's eyes widened. She ran up to him and helped carry the hunter. "What happened?!"
The Chairman ran up.
"We would have been surrounded if we had continued to stay there, so we came here instead." Zero said as he glanced back at the car. Kanade looked back to see Takuma and two unknown vampires get out of the vehicle.
‘The pureblood that Zero was protecting… the king of vampires… the one who is supposed to become the new parent.’
Kanade helped Zero take Kaito to the infirmary before following him to the Chairman’s office.
“He’s fine.” Kanade told the Chairman.
"Chairman, do we really need a new parent... new weapons?" Yuki asked. "To the extent in which we have to sacrifice someone?"
Zero stood by the doorway and Kanade walked over to his side, clutching onto his arm.
"Is something wrong, Zero?" She asked him as she reached for the door handle to leave, but stopped when she sensed someone behind.
She took a step back and suddenly the door swung open. Yori came running in with Yagari standing behind. Yori tackled Yuki into a hug and Kanade cocked her head to the side in confusion.
‘How does Yori know a
Zero watched them intently for a moment before moving out of Kanade’s grip and walking out.
"Huh? Where are you going Zero?" Kanade asked him. She started to follow, but Yagari grabbed hold of her arm.
"He's probably just going to speak with the prisoner. I'd leave him if I were you, you aren't allowed down there anyways."
“Is anything the matter?” Kaname asked as he sat calmly in his cell.
here to tell you that the preparations for he furnace are going well.” Zero
said. ”…You... are you serious about this?"
"To think that I'd be hearing this from you." Kaname said with a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips. "Why did you change your mind and decide to ask me? Shall I explain everything in detail from the beginning?"
'That speaking matter which seems to have lost its passion. That faint smile though he has burnt out.'
"...No it's fine. I get it already, the fact that you are no longer living. You've already made your decision, so don't back out."
"Are you referring to the furnace, or Kanade?"
'They really irritate me!'
"Both! You don't understand! What you should do to really...!"
'I... what did I want to say?' Zero thought as he sat on the windowsill
in his room and Kanade sat on the floor staring up at him. 'The dungeon that
he was staying at... that was the place... It was where Ichiru lost his life...
The place where Ichiru risked his remaining life to tell me his last words.'
"Kanade." He said, breaking the silence.
"Yes?" She asked him.
“After you left us when we were children… things were never the same. Ichiru… he really loved you.”
know… I felt the same about him back then.”
"Do you know what some of his last words were to me?" He asked. "He told me, '”Live on, and fulfill your goal. But in the end uphold the vow we made: protect her at all costs and make her happy.” Tell me… are you... are you happy?"
Kanade looked up at him with a small smile and said, "Of course I am Zero."
His eyes soften as he got down on his knees and moved a piece of hair behind her ear.
"You are such a bad liar."
down her head as she clutched her hands into fits on her lap. There was something
tugging on her heart, something heavy and it seemed to hold her back from
She lifted her head and stared back at him with determined eyes, "I'm not lying. I'm happy with you, Zero."
He pulled her into an embrace and she buried her head in the crook of his neck.
"Please don't lie to yourself Kanade. It hurts just to watch."
"I'm really happy Zero I swear" She clutched onto his shirt. "...being with you... it's all I could ever want. There is just so much going on right now. When this all over... when the parent is replaced and things become calm… I swear things will get better." She lifted her head and pressed her lips against his.
The next night the furnace was hours away from being finished and Yuki was sitting with Kaname in his cell.
"So you were in a place like this." Zero said as he lifted the bars that separated him from Kaname and her. Yuki looked up at him. She was wrapped in Kaname's jacket sitting beside the pureblood. "Come out, you have a guest."
"...No..." Yuki said as she felt a familiar pureblood’s presence. Isaya came into sight and Yuki's eyes widened. She looked over at Kaname. "No! I'm not going!" She cried out. Kaname pulled her into a hug.
"My dear sister.... return to the world filled with light. Even if you forget about me, I will still continue to remember you. You are more suited to be under the sunlight."
Isaya grabbed hold of her and began to drag her outside. She struggled as she screamed out, "That's something for me to decide Kaname!” The pureblood dragged her outside and Zero followed closely behind. “Isaya! Please stop this! I want to stay as a vampire! Now is not the time for me to lose my powers. Everything is happening because of the existence of purebloods.” She looked down as her tears streamed down her face. “It’s not like I’m unrelated to the trigger of everything…” As Zero watched her retaliate against Isaya he began to ask himself more about the lapses in his memory. Everything about this girl seemed familiar… “What I’m saying is… there’s no way I can throw away everything now and escape alone!”
“I’ll excuse myself.” Zero said as he turned and walked away.
“Daughter of Juri and Haruka, thank you.” Isaya said. “To be entrusted with the mission of making you human… I am finally able to end my journey which has long lost its meaning. This is a good ending to the life I thought was meaningless.” He grabbed onto her, about to turn her human, when suddenly Zero pulled her away from him and threw her against a tree. He stared down at her as he tried to understand his emotions. His eyes suddenly widened
Your name is Yuki... the woman I want to protect!"
"You seem to be at loss of what to do... I only remembered what I was missing. You were the one, weren't you, the one who took something precious from me."
"For the time being I will postpone turning you into human. We are re being attacked." Isaya said before walking off.
"I'll go with you!" Yuki exclaimed as she tried to go after him, but Zero grabbed onto her arm and pulled her back.
"I'm taking them back." He grabbed hold of her head and tilted it back so her neck was revealed. He leaned down and bared his fangs. "My memories."
Meanwhile, Kanade sat in the corner of Zero's room with her head down and her knees to her chest.
"Happy." She whispered to herself. "I'm happy."
"You sure don't look it." She looked up and her eyes widened when the man from cemetery stood over her.
"What are you doing here?" She exclaimed.
"Sneaking in was a synch. You guys have such poor security." He chuckled.
"Hel-" She started to scream out. He grabbed onto her and pulled her
into his arms. He stood behind her with his hand covering her mouth.
"What are you so sad about, Kanade?" She struggled in his hold, but it was no use. The room began to shake and the fog from outside began to float in from the open window. “That king is nothing but a sadist. To think this was his idea of saving you. I can’t believe that he got me to do this, his own master.”
"I figured it was Sara who had opened your tomb in
which I sealed you in all those years ago. What will you do now that you are
free from your shackles?" Kaname asked Hatori. It was just after the
party and Hatori had told Kaname the entire truth about his existence.
"I have no purpose anymore but to atone for my sins. Tell me, what can I do."
"I am going to become the next parent and I think it would be best if Kanade go back to her human life without a trace of me in her mind."
"Turn her full human? You do know there is a chance that she will remember absolutely nothing, including her human life from before."
"I understand.” Hatori held his head down as he started to laugh uncontrollably. "What do you feel is so funny about all of this?"
"You are an idiot." He bluntly said as he started to lift his head and smirk. "No matter what seems to happen, she always finds her way back to you. You are so lucky... to be in love... and yet you throw it all away."
"I'm doing this for her." Kaname growled as he narrowed his eyes at the man.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll do what you are asking, not saying I'll like it though."
"I suppose, turning you human is the best way..."
Kanade's eyes widened and she began to struggle harder in his arms, but he was too strong. She then bit into his hand, causing him to let go of her mouth. One of her arms became free and she reached up her skirt for her dagger and stabbed him in the stomach. He started to laugh as he fell to his knees, bleeding.
ran out of her room and outside as fast as she could in fear that Hatori was
following her. She stopped in her tracks when she saw someone standing in front
of the apple tree.
"Aren't you the man who claims to be the new parent?" Kanade asked him. Kaname turned towards her, the wind picked up and the leaves from the apple tree danced in the wind as she met eyes with him. "The vampire king."
"Is that what they are calling me around you?" He said before returning his gaze towards the tree. "...You sense them don't you? The dozens of vampires just outside of the gates, ready for a war."
"I do. I plan to go fight quite soon." She said.
'This doesn't feel like... the first time we've met.'
"I hear the furnace is ready." She said as she walked up to him.
"Yes... I'm quite aware." He said with a small smile as he very carefully brushed his fingers through a strand of her hair that was dancing in the light wind. "It seems that our first meeting, will be our last." He dropped his hand and walked off.
'Strange...' Kanade thought as she brought her hand up to her
chest. 'I feel as if... my heart just skipped a beat.'
She glanced up the tree.
'I wonder... why he came here of all places.'
She glanced down to see something at her feet.
"Huh?" She bent down to pick it up. It was a small book, which must have fallen out of the man's pocket. The title read,
'Star Crossed Lovers'
words echoed in her mind, "Apple
trees are quite fascinating aren't they? They can live for thousands of
years just like us. Think about all the stories they hold with them.”
She flipped through the pages of the book and when she reached the back there was a small pocket sewn to the inside cover. She raised an eyebrow and flipped the book upside down. A small engagement ring fell out and onto the grass. Her eyes widened and she went to pick it up. Her fingers met the gold sparkling jewel and her eyes widened.