The wind fingered softly through her dark hair, still slightly mussed and tousled from the pillow. The pale, waning moon reflected faintly on lemon colored pajamas patterned with playful images of grinning little chibi puppies. The air was chilly this late on a fall night and her breath fogged on the air, hanging crystalline under the silent stars. Her bare feet pattered softly against the hard, cold stone floor of the terrace.
But Yuki Cross didn't notice. Her eyes were open, but she wasn't seeing. At least, she wasn't seeing reality. The landscape she saw was a bright meadow, full of flowers and gently waving grass that seemed to go on forever. She was still wrapped up in the dream that had taken her out of her bed and led her down here. Yori had stirred when her roommate got out of bed, but she assumed Yuki was going to use the restroom and had immediately fallen back into a deep slumber.
So Yuki wandered unhindered through her dreamscape. She had been prone to sleep walking as a child, but it hadn't happened in years. Ahead of her, she saw Kaname and Zero in the distance. She was trying to catch up with them, but they were so far ahead. She called out after them, but they seemed not to hear, getting steadily farther and farther away. Why wouldn't they wait for her? Yuki moved faster, starting to run across the meadow. The wind was blowing against her and she felt like if she spread her arms she could start to fly... Ahead, the meadow morphed into the edge of a cliff, but it wasn't frightening, it seemed right that it should be there. Yuki didn't slow down, she ran faster, arms spread. The wind was already lifting her, her feet leaving the ground. There were rocks on the edge of the cliff and she bounded up them. Just a little faster, a little farther and she would be soaring into the beautiful summer sky, free as a bird. She could easily catch up with Zero and Kaname then. Wouldn't they be surprised, to see her flying?
She was airborne, soaring, it was a glorious feeling... then suddenly hard slap of wet cold enveloped her, sending a breathtaking shock through her system. The sun and the sky dissolved and she was surrounded by confusing darkness and rushing, pearl-like shapes that bubbled and churned before her eyes. She had no idea where she was or what was happening. It was so cold, she was freezing... Yuki inhaled sharply in surprise and alarm – and water rushed into her lungs. She choked and gagged, unable to breathe as her own momentum sent her plummeting down rapidly into the inky depths. Surreal lights flashed before her eyes as panic clawed through her chest and up the back of her throat.
She was drowning.
Suddenly she struck bottom. There was a sharp flare of pain as her head connected with something hard and then there was no more water, no more meadow, no more anything as blackness swallowed her whole.
A blond head bent over a book, long fingers languidly turning the pages. The night breeze stirred his stylishly unruly locks. Hanabusa Aido lay stretched lazily on his stomach on the grass by the edge of the campus lake. He should be in class, of course, but it was such a waste of his time. They had advanced calculus tonight, and Aido ran circles around most of his fellow Night Class students in that subject. He was so far ahead he was completely bored with the class and he didn't see why he had to sit through it.
Maybe he'd re-join them after second period for the next class, just so the Dorm President didn't get too bent out of shape over him cutting class. The young vampire was still on school grounds and he wasn't going near the Day Students' dorms, so he wasn't breaking any important rules.
Aido had just flipped another page when the faint, distant sound of footsteps drew his attention. At first he thought it might be someone coming to look for him, but he quickly decided the sound and pattern of the steps were all wrong. Someone was running... barefoot, it sounded like, and they weren't heading for him, although they were coming closer. Closer was relative of course, since his extra sharp hearing enabled him to hear things happening quite some distance away, especially when everything was so quiet out like now.
He looked back towards the dark outline of the school buildings and his gaze was drawn up towards the high terrace that overlooked the lake. A small figure was running across the terrace at full tilt, heading straight for the railing overlooking the lake. It took him half a second to recognize Yuki's form at this distance and his eyebrows rose in bemusement. Silly girl, what on earth did she think she was doing? She was going to run right into the railing if she wasn't careful.
Yuki didn't slow down when she neared the edge. She sped up, throwing her arms wide as if they were wings as she bounded up and over the railing in a few quick strides and threw herself off the edge of the terrace.
Aido straightened up in surprise, pushing up to sit as he watched Yuki tumble through the air and into the dark lake with a splash. The water churned for a moment where she had disappeared and then started to still again. Aido frowned slightly. This was a dumb place to be practicing high dives in the middle of the night... and that dive had certainly had no form to it at all, she had merely tumbled recklessly into the water. What the hell was she playing at? Well, if the stupid little human was crazy, it wasn't any of his concern.
Aido glanced towards his book, then back towards the water. The ripples were stilling and evening out. Yuki had not resurfaced. Aido's frown deepened. It wasn't his concern.
But he was slowly pressing to his feet, still watching the spot where she had disappeared. Nothing... Nothing. Not a ripple out of place anywhere in the lake. If she was a vampire, he wouldn't be worried, but she was human, and he didn't think they could hold their breath as long. Darn that dumb little thing... where was she? She was going to drown. Kaname wouldn't like that at all.
Aido stripped off his school tie and jacket, tossing them down onto the grass and starting to work the buttons on his shirt as he headed down the sloping bank towards the water. Still no sign of Yuki, and his quick trot became a run as he neared the edge, dropping his shirt and kicking off his shoes before he dove into the water. Aido could see perfectly well in the dark, so the murky water of the lake hindered his vision only in its distorting density. Damn it was cold... he was really put out that he had to do this. He knew where Yuki had disappeared and he found her swiftly, knifing rapidly through the icy water with quick, sure strokes.
She was floating limply face down near the lakebed, her hair waving like seaweed around her still, pale face. Aido's frown deepened in actual concern. He knew very little about humans and their endurance or lack thereof. Was she already dead? He hoped not! Kaname would kill him. He grabbed the front of Yuki's pajama shirt to pull her to the surface, but was jerked back down again when her body did not follow. He gave a harder tug, but all that happened was the buttons on her shirt ripped and she sunk back down again. She must be stuck on something, that's why she was still down here and hadn't floated back to the top...
Aido searched urgently for how she was trapped. His movements were churning up the mud below them, filling the water with silt and making it harder to see through. Finally he found that her necklace was snagged on something, a rock, a sunken log, he couldn't tell, but it was stuck good. Aido's fingers quickly found the slim chain. Why on earth did she have to wear a necklace with her pajamas anyway? Girls...
He gave the chain a sharp tug. It bit into the side of Yuki's neck and snapped in his hand, freeing her. Aido stuffed the trinket automatically into his pants pocket and grabbed Yuki's shirt and shoulders again, tugging her towards the surface with him. His head broke surface and he pulled hers up too, but she was still limp in his arms. She wasn't breathing.
With speed only a vampire could manage, Aido dragged her swiftly back to shore and tugged her up onto the bank.
"Yuki? Yuki, come on, breathe..." he ordered, giving her a shake and pounding on her slim back, but she wasn't responding. She wasn't breathing and he couldn't find a pulse. Were humans really so fragile...? It kind of frightened him. He held her limp, dripping body from behind, wrapping his arms around her slim waist and sliding them quickly into the proper position for a Heimlich maneuver. Aido jerked hard, but tried not to go too hard... he knew his own strength and didn't want to break her ribs or anything. Water ran into his eyes from his dripping golden hair as he gave another swift compression, trying to force up some of the water she had swallowed.
The maneuver did force water from her limp mouth, but Yuki still wasn't responding. She was deathly cold in Aido's arms. Oddly, Aido found himself actually worried about her now, not just how Kaname would react. Maybe it was just the weird sensation of having such a vulnerable, fragile thing in his arms.
Laying Yuki down and onto her back, Aido knelt over her, straddling her hips and crossing his hands on her chest. He gave several quick chest compressions as he began to administer CPR. To his credit, Aido was trying not to notice that her sopping, ripped pajama shirt had flopped open quite revealingly. He didn't have time to worry about that right now, although in his effort to not look where his eyes were immediately drawn, he did vaguely notice the pattern on the soaked fabric. What the heck were those grinning little gargoyles supposed to be? Dogs? What was she, in elementary school still?
Blood seeped sluggishly down her neck from where the broken necklace had cut into her, mingling with the water that was beaded on her skin. Less visibly, blood also dripped slowly into her hair from the hidden wound on the back of Yuki's head from where she'd struck bottom.
Leaning forward, Aido tipped Yuki's head back, pinching her nose and pressing his mouth to hers as he forced air into her lungs. He was trying hard to ignore the familiar scent of her blood, so very close to his mouth as he breathed for her, straightened up, repeated the chest compressions, and then went back to her mouth. Come on damn it...
Kaname Kuran was lightly tapping his pencil on the open notebook in front of him as he half-listened to the lecture. It wasn't like advanced divergence theorems were exactly riveting subject matter. Especially the very dry way this teacher ran his classes. Kaname knew the man was a genius, all the Night Class teachers had to be very advanced or they wouldn't have anything to offer their exceptionally gifted students, but apparently being good at what he did and being a good teacher were two wildly different things.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Kaname's gaze drifted over to Aido's empty seat once again. It was the third time the younger vampire had cut this class in the past month. He couldn't really blame him; he knew Aido was bored stiff in here. The young aristocrat was gifted in math and sciences. He'd been doing problems like these in Elementary School. But that wasn't a good enough reason to be skipping class so much, it was disrespectful. Kaname would have to say something to him about it; it was his responsibility as Dorm President after all. Besides... if Kaname had to sit through these mind-numbing lectures, so did everyone else.
Kaname froze. He smelled something. He smelled blood.
Kaname's eyes flashed back to Aido's empty seat. No... he wouldn't dare... but he had before.
The pages of the other student's notebooks fluttered slightly and the door opened and shut rapidly. No one actually saw him leave, but all eyes quickly noted that Kaname's seat was now empty.
Aido was relieved when he finally felt Yuki's chest heave spasmodically under his hands and she started coughing and choking as she sucked in shaky breaths. Her eyes were still closed and she was apparently still unconscious, but her autonomous systems seem to have started functioning again. Her heart was beating and she was breathing. She was going to live.
The dripping blond was just straightening up from where he'd been giving Yuki mouth to mouth when he found himself suddenly flying backward. He slammed into the ground hard and found himself faced with the justifiably heart-stopping sight of a seething pureblood glaring down at him. Kaname had one knee pressed hard into Aido's chest and his eyes could have frozen he sun.
Aido literally felt the water on his skin turn to ice as his powers reacted to the sudden surge of terror that shot through him in response to Kaname's incredibly dark aura. Oh crap! Aido realized with a jolt what the situation must have looked like from the outside. He and Yuki were both half naked, her shirt was torn, he was straddling her, lips touching hers... and her neck was bleeding.
Aido was literally too terrified to speak for a moment, his mouth bone dry and his throat seeming to have swollen shut. "K-K-Kaname... it wasn't – wasn't what it looked like, honest!" he pleaded quickly around frozen lips and the intense pressure Kaname's knee was exerting on his breastbone as the pureblood held him pinned. "She fell into the water, I pulled her out – she wasn't breathing!" he babbled urgently.
Kaname's gaze was still hard as granite although he shot a quick, worried look towards where Yuki lay. She seemed to be breathing all right, although it was shallow and labored. She and Aido were both drenched though, no doubt about that at least...
Kaname wasn't quite ready to let go of his wary suspicion just yet. "What was she doing in the water, at this hour of night, in her pajamas, Aido?" he demanded, his voice deceptively soft yet lethal.
Aido swallowed. Oh. He was dead. Completely dead. They might as well hold his funeral now. No way was Kaname going to believe the truth, it was too bizarre. But Aido knew better than to lie to him. The pureblood would be able to tell he was lying, Aido was sure.
"I don't know, honestly I don't, Kaname. She... she jumped off the tower. She went under and didn't come back up again so I went in after her. That's how it happened, I swear!" Aido mumbled miserably. This was turning into a very, very bad night and he was strongly wishing he'd just gone to the bloody class like he was supposed to.
Kaname watched Aido with intense eyes. The story was ridiculous, but he sensed no deception and that puzzled him, because Aido was a rotten liar and he could always tell with him. Besides... Aido was also too smart to have made up a dumb story like that and expect to be believed. Which meant... it might just be the truth.
"She had her arms stretched out, like she thought she was going to fly... maybe she was sleepwalking," Aido added, still babbling a bit. That thought hadn't occurred to him until just now, but it was the only thing that made sense, unless Yuki had intended to commit suicide, which he wasn't about to suggest at the moment.
Kaname frowned. Yuki had been a sleep walker as a child. Chairman Cross had told him several humorous stories about finding her wandering around outside in the middle of the night. He'd started putting deadbolts on the doors after that, high up out of Yuki's reach.
Silently, Kaname rose off of Aido and made his way over to Yuki. He quickly pulled her sopping nightshirt closed and shrugged out of his school jacket, wrapping her up in it as he lifted her tenderly into his arms, face showing deep concern. He could see now, that the blood on her neck was from an abrasion caused by what looked like a chain cutting into her skin – not fangs. Her hair was wet and silt from the lakebed still clung to it. Slowly, he decided Aido was telling him the truth.
A new sensation swept over him. Fear of what might have been. He probably hadn't been able to smell Yuki's blood until after Aido had dragged her up on the shore. He wouldn't have known until too late. He might not have known until they dragged her body out of here tomorrow... or maybe even days later if she had been stuck at the bottom. He would have sat right through class and never known that out in the night, Yuki was silently dying. It was his worst fear. Kaname felt cold and he held the wet body close against him, not caring that her dripping, muddy form was ruining his white uniform. If Aido hadn't been here to see her fall...
Aido had risen slowly back to his feet and was watching Kaname hesitantly as the older vampire gathered Yuki up in his arms. He froze again as Kaname's eyes turned back towards him and the pureblood approached. Kaname held Yuki carefully to his chest with one arm, sliding the other free. Aido flinched, expecting to be struck, but not attempting to move away.
But all Kaname did was reach out and squeeze Aido's shoulder. Kaname's aura had changed perceptibly and it was no longer dark. There was a strange, intense look in his eyes, but it wasn't anger this time, it was a very fierce... gratitude? That was rare enough that Aido just stared at him, speechless and somewhat entranced.
Kaname turned away, carrying Yuki back towards the school and the moment was broken. "Get dressed, Aido, you're going to freeze," he remarked as he trailed away. Right before he disappeared, Kaname paused, glancing back over his shoulder to where the other vampire was still standing on the bank, watching him.
"Oh, and Aido... I'll talk to the headmaster about you placing out of the calculus class. I'm sure I can convince him to just let you take the final exam and be excused from attending any more sessions." Then Kaname and Yuki were gone.
Aido let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding and ran a hand through his dripping, ice-encrusted hair. He smiled wryly as he stooped to pick up his scattered clothing and book. Well... he guessed the night hadn't been a total waste after all. At least he wasn't going to have to suffer through that stupid class anymore.