Preview Line: He opened his mouth and spoke those two words that shattered Aido's world forever.
The Stained Marble
"Welcome back, Lord Kaname," Yuuki chirped even before Takuma could properly greet him at the Academy's gates.
Aido gritted his teeth, glaring at the tiny girl who constantly messed up his life. Why was she even here, greeting Kaname upon his arrival back from his two-week "business" trip? The young noble and the rest of the Night Class were lined up at the gates to welcome back the pureblood, but somehow, the disciplinary committee members, Yuuki and Zero, were even closer than the rest of the Night Class.
Aido wanted to rush forward, clutch Yuuki's frail arm, and tell her she had no right to be next to Kaname. But he knew it wasn't her fault for his own jealous thoughts, which were suddenly interrupted as Kaname tenderly turned to her and addressed her.
"Thank you, Yuuki. I'm glad to be back. I brought you a gift," he said and reached out to gently place a shiny object in her small hands.
She squinted and studied the strange object.
"It's a rare rose encased in resin. It blooms once every ten years," he explained sweetly.
"Yuuki," Kaname continued as his voice turned serious, "I need to speak with you later. Please come see me as soon as possible."
Her big brown eyes shot up, looking into Kaname's, and a slight pink flushed across her cheeks. "Um okay. Thank you, Kaname," she said and hugged the encased rose to her chest.
The older vampire smiled lovingly one last time, almost hesitant to leave, but then turned from her, and in the process, brushed past Zero. For a brief moment, Aido's heart quickened. The marks on Zero's neck had already healed, but Kaname's pureblood powers seemed limitless. He couldn't help but wonder if, somehow, the pureblood would know he'd touched the hunter and in more ways than one.
But Kaname barely glanced as he passed Zero. The noble's heart calmed for a minute but then realized Kaname was drawing closer to where he stood. Would Kaname stop and say anything to him? Did he even want him to?
His eyes darted back towards Zero, but the hunter was already placing his arm around Yuuki and walking back in the direction of the Sun Dorms. Again, his eyes focused on that arm wrapped around Yuuki. What had he been thinking getting involved with Zero?
"Hello, Hanabusa." Kaname's sensual voice drifted from his left side, snapping his thoughts back to the present. "Aren't you going to welcome me back?"
The noble looked around and noticed the rest of the Night Class was already gathered behind Kaname and moving towards the Moon Dorms, but he was still standing in the same spot, staring after Zero. He seriously had to get his act together.
"Y-Yes!" he choked out. "Welcome back, Lord Kaname."
He felt an embarrassing flush warm his cheeks, but he ignored it and moved to join the rest of the Night Class. Kaname only gave him a knowing half-smirk, then turned away, and started to lead the group towards the dorms. The blond vampire sighed silently to himself, glad to have avoided the older vampire's harsh interrogation, and began walking next to Kain and Seiren.
However, Kain seemed to think Kaname was still upset with Aido's behavior and proceeded to apologize, explaining that in Kaname's absence Aido hadn't been himself. He wanted to shout at Kain and tell him to shut up, that he was just making it worse, but that in turn would also make it worse.
Of course, it was at that exact moment that Ruka decided to give her two cents regarding the young noble's behavior.
"It was probably because he missed Lord Kaname so much," she added and muffled her condescending laughter.
"Shut up, Ruka!" Aido burst. "You were just as unpleasant to be around while Kaname was gone!"
The pureblood paused at the front door to the Moon Dorms. "Oh, so you did miss me?"
Aido's cheeks flamed beat red as he realized he'd just admitted that he had missed Kaname. Of course the elite vampire already knew this, so the noble huffed, obviously pouting at Kaname's teasing ways. But Kaname just opened the door, and everyone ignored his tantrum as they filed inside.
Aido was the last one to walk in, but he had every intention of storming straight up the stairs and into his bed. Kaname had come back late, or rather early, from his long trip, and the sun was already starting to rise. Yet, just as he reached the top of the staircase, Kaname blocked his path and swiftly grabbed his wrist.
"Come to my room, Hanabusa," he said, but his voice seemed unusually dull and somewhat sad.
Aido gulped. Takuma and Senri were still downstairs in the sitting room, and he knew they'd heard Kaname order him into his room. Did he not care anymore about their relationship being a secret? Or was he about to punish him for what he'd done with Zero? Or perhaps, Kaname was just so stressed from his trip that he didn't care and needed him as a release? Either way, he thought all possibilities sounded bad, even the last one since Kaname would just be using him.
He didn't like the cold feeling from Kaname's hand, or the emotionless gaze as he led him down the hallway. What had happened to him during this so-called "business" trip?
The pureblood opened his door and led Aido inside, but instead of sitting on his bed, he led him over to the small desk with two comfy chairs near the window.
"Have a seat," Kaname said and gestured to the chair across from him, but he avoided the noble's blue eyes.
Aido sat and began to nervously twirl his thumbs. Kaname sighed, leaned his elbow on the table, and ran his fingers through his silky, almond hair.
"Hanabusa," he began and looked up into Aido's expectant gaze.
Kaname's eyes were filled with regret, sorrow, and pain. The young noble had always known he was a fool, but he never, in a million years, would've guessed just how big of an idiot he truly was until that moment. Kaname was breaking up with him well, if he could even call it breaking up.
When his eyes widened with understanding, a tiny bit of relief flooded into those chocolate eyes. Welts of anger, bitterness, and utter agony wreaked havoc on his insides. He wanted to scream like a girl, to pound at Kaname's chest, and to cry. Yet, somehow, all he could do was sit there in numb silence until finally one word tumbled from his mouth.
He had to at least know why. He deserved that much.
Kaname leaned back in his chair, his eyebrows furrowed as if in deep thought, or perhaps, it was pain. He opened his mouth and spoke those two words that shattered Aido's world forever.
Oblivious to his devastating blow, Kaname continued. "I love both you and Yuuki. I didn't expect to fall in love with you as well, but right now, I have to protect her at all costs. Tomorrow, I'll announce that Yuuki is my lover."
"What?!" Aido cried and tried to process Kaname's last statement. "What does that even mean?"
"I wanted you to be the first to know because I honestly care about you. I don't want you to think I'm doing this to purposely hurt you," the pureblood said and tried to reach across the table for his hand.
He quickly tore his hand away from Kaname's grasp and a visible flinch crossed the older vampire's face. Good. That bastard deserved to be hurt. Still, looking at Kaname's pained face didn't make him feel any better.
He scooted out the chair and stood up. He couldn't sit still anymore. He felt like he was suffocating and staring at Kaname wasn't helping. He decided to pace, avoiding Kaname's hurtful gaze and keeping his distance at the same time.
"Then why?" he demanded, after he'd finally regained his composure and his breathing seemed somewhat stable again. "Why are you doing this? You say you love me and care about me, yet you also love Yuuki. How am I supposed to be with you then?"
By the time he'd finished asking his last question, what little control he'd gained seemed to crumble before him as his body shook from fear and uncertainty. He was on the verge of hysterics.
The shield he'd so wonderfully built around his heart while Kaname had been away was suddenly ripped apart. But now that Kaname was standing right in front of him, throwing him away and choosing Yuuki over him, he realized he'd never really had a shield to begin with. That had just been an illusion because now the pain was a thousand times worse: consuming him, squeezing him, drowning him, and pulling him down.
Kaname was beside him in a blink of an eye, wrapping his slender, yet strong pureblood arms around his convulsing shoulders tightly. He buried his face against that familiar scent and warmth and let his tears flow. He didn't want this warmth to ever disappear. He didn't want these arms to ever stop embracing him.
Why? Why did Yuuki have to ruin everything for him?
"Shh, Hanabusa, it'll be all right. I'll still be here for you. We just can't be lovers anymore," Kaname said and tried to console him by softly stroking his golden hair.
He pushed back against that firm chest, stunned. He looked up into Kaname's dark eyes.
"Why not?" he sulked.
The older vampire exhaled heavily. "Because Yuuki will need me more. I'm sorry, but you know, it's not like you've been completely faithful to me, now is it?" Kaname purred and arched one eyebrow inquisitively.
Aido's jaw dropped, having forgotten the whole Zero incident.
"I-I " he stammered and felt himself flush at the memory of that encounter. But then again, he remembered what had triggered those events.
"It was your fault!" he yelled, perhaps a bit too loud because Kaname released his shoulders and stared at him wide-eyed.
"You left after having just fed me your blood," he ranted on. "Did you think there'd be no consequences? The bloodlust overcame me within a week, and I would've fallen to a Level E had it not been for Zero. He let me drink his blood," the noble finished and tried not to think about how delicious that blood had tasted as it melted down his parched throat.
"I see," Kaname said calmly, turned from him, and walked over to the window where the rising sun's rays poked through the velvety curtains.
Aido clenched his fists and tried to bite back his anger. Was that all the bastard had to say? "I see." He'd been through hell and back, and it was all thanks to Kaname, but the pureblood didn't even care. And to top it off, Kaname was now throwing him away.
Still, beyond that blinding rage, he could feel his wounded and bleeding heart. He didn't want to deal with it because if he did, he knew he'd fall to pieces, and he wasn't sure he'd ever be able to get back up again.
So, he held onto his anger as best he could and decided to leave Kaname's room. It didn't seem there was anything else to say, but as he reached the door, the older vampire's voice stopped him.
"Hanabusa," Kaname said, "I don't care if you continue to use Zero for sex and blood, but don't fall in love with him. Remember that your heart belongs to me. I know you will never leave me," he said, tilted his head, and gave him a seductive, yet charming smile.
Any fury he'd been holding onto was instantly snatched away, and his heart throbbed and yearned for Kaname. Damn it!
Reluctantly, he forced his eyes to turn away from that dangerous gaze. He opened the door and stomped out into the hallway. But once he was out in the hallway, the full weight of what had just transpired came crashing down on him like a ton of bricks.
He couldn't think straight. Why was Kaname doing this to him now? He'd assumed he would have more time with Kaname as his lover, but that had turned out to be a foolish dream, indeed. He felt especially idiotic for not seeing this coming. He had known all along that he was just a damn replacement; even Kaname had told him so. So why hadn't he listened?
In a daze, he found himself walking past his room and down the staircase. His vision was already slightly blurred, but he didn't really know where he was going, just that he had to get far away from Kaname. It hurt to be near him and to know that he could no longer have him. He could no longer touch him, no longer have those fangs sink into him, and no longer have his wonderful hands touch him. No longer, no longer, no longer.
He opened the door to the Moon Dorms, and the morning light was blinding against his vampire senses. Yet, his mind was a fogged mess, and the light barely bothered him as he stumbled through the Academy grounds.
When his black shoes clicked against solid concrete, he lifted his head, and to his surprise, he found himself in front of the Sun Dorms. He realized he was on the men's side of the dorms and near Zero's room.
He thought over all possible options and even debated retracing his steps back to the Moon Dorms, but instead, he bravely took a step forward and entered the Sun Dorms. He checked down the hallways, and thankfully, it appeared all the students were still asleep.
He'd never visited Zero's room before but he could already smell him. His delicious scent wafted down from the last door on the right. He walked down the hallway, stopped in front of the door, and listened as his heart raced wildly against his chest.
Aido wasn't sure why he was here in front of the hunter's door, except he didn't want to go back to the Moon Dorms, and Kaname had hurt him deeply. A part of him knew he wanted to be comforted by Zero, but another part of him stubbornly insisted that wasn't why he'd come.
No. He'd only come because he really had nowhere else to go right now, and yes, he wanted to see Zero. He needed to see Zero.
He raised his fist and knocked.