The evening breeze was cold and if not for the stoic nature of vampires, the Night Class would have been shivering, waiting for Senri and Rima to return with their new classmate. No one had ever actually seen Senri's brother growing up, the answer, whenever asked, was always "Shou's not feeling well. He needs to rest."
When months turned into years, people started to forget about Shou. He becomes nothing more than a name that the eldest vampires refused to speak about. Shou Shiki was nothing more than a soft presence gone unnoticed. That's why the sixteen-year-old held the tail of Senri's coat as they approached.
Senri had no problems with this, he knew his brother wasn't well versed in meeting people - much less kind people who didn't wish harm on him. There was silent judgement oozing out from his fellow peers which caused him to frown, even if Shou wouldn't have it in him to care about what people thought. Maybe asides from Dorm President Kuran that is - the teen was a Pureblood after all.
Senri came to a stop with Rima just beside him. Slender arms slid along Senri's waist before he felt his brother's weight leaning to his right. So Shou had been scared to show his left eye after all.
There was a brief silence as Shou looked over everyone silently, Senri noticed Kaname seemingly studying his twin.
"Wow, you two really are twins," Takuma suddenly spoke up with a light laugh.
"Despite that, it's not hard to tell the difference," Shou suddenly spoke in a teasing tone, his voice was surprisingly light.
That was one of Shou's selling points in the attraction department - his voice. He rarely raised his voice and always used a soothing calm tone that had melted a few peoples hearts in the past. On his bad days, however, there would always be a rasp present in his undertones and his higher pitches almost faded out. Shou had done well to hide this most of the time with years of practice.
"It's nice to finally meet you all. Formally, I'm Shou Shiki, Seneri's twin brother," Shou greeted, resting his chin on his brother's shoulder while hiding his eye.
"Its a pleasure," Kaname started, "Please, take the evening off. You can start classes tomorrow. You two are free to go as well."
"Thank you, Kaname-sama," Shou offered a thankful smile and small bow.
Hanabusa and Ruka seemed displeased with the overly casual attitude Shou had towards the Pureblood but Kaname seemed indifferent towards it. Perhaps the glimmer in his eyes was more than just amusement towards the situation.
Senri guided his brother who had whispered that he'd shut his eyes towards the dorms. Though Shou easily could have worn an eyepatch, he chose not too but was still scared to show his left eye anyways. Rima silently followed behind, not even she had met Shou before today though she had seen his left eye and showed indifference which the twins were thankful for.
When Senri reached his and Takuma's room he noted that there would have to be a later arrangement for Shou as while there were spare rooms, Shou wasn't yet able to risk staying alone in a room without the risk of his health faltering.
Silently, Shou let go of his twin and stretched out causing his bones to pop. With a tired sigh, he ran his hand through his hair pulling out the slight tangles in his auburn locks that were long enough to be tied back. Senri didn't know if his brother grew his hair out because he favoured the style or wished to look different from him. Either way, there was no doubt that both of them had a similar hair colour to that found in a Kuran. Even Shou's left eye held resemblance to his Kuran heritage despite his other eye being a deeper blue-grey than Senri's own eyes.
While Senri was thinking, Shou took a good lock at the stands of hair that rested woven in his fingers. Looking over his shoulder so his crimson eye looked back into Rima's blue eyes which showed her mild discomfort at looking into the endless red.
"Hey, Rima, can I borrow a hair-tie? I'm getting sick of the tangles in my hair," Shou asked, his words could be seen as arrogant.
"I'll go find one for you," Rima nodded, eyeing the mess of hair on the teen.
As Rima left the room, Shou turned to Senri and for the first time in a very long time, Senri could see the nervousness in Shou's eyes.
"Kaname Kuran... our dear cousin," Shou mused, a perplexed look crossing his face, "I don't know how he'll react to me even if he knows our origin."
"I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. He'll probably be more worried about your health than your eyes," Senri mused as he lay on his bed.
"He's a Pureblood though, and I know you trust him as do the others... but the look in his eyes-" "Shou, don't work yourself up," Senri cut Shou off.
"You worry about every vampire you meet, you should relax a bit. Even with your health, you're not a pushover," Senri gave Shou a pointed look.
"Even then, Senri, I suppose it's just my perception," Shou raised a hand to his left eye, "I'm still not sure me being here will be any good."
"That's not a positive way to be speaking," Rima's voice commented as she reappeared having left the door open.
"Rima..." Senri called, trying to get her to drop the topic.
"I got a hair-tie, it's Ruka's seeing as I could only find ribbon," Rima chuckled, "I'm sure she won't notice."
"Thank you," Shou answered and walked over past the window before stopping.
A shiver ran through his body, his attention no longer anywhere near the two in the room. Senri had to explain that this was normal for Shou whenever something only Shou could understand happened. Ranging from minutes to hours, depending on what was happening, Shou would just stand there either unwilling or unable to respond like he could see something no one else could.
Senri would never know how close to the truth he was.
Rima cautiously decided to see if Shou would mind her tying his hair while the two waited for him to come back. When she ran a hand through his hair to no response, Senri told her to go for it as he silently watched her work with his comb and Ruka's hair-tie.
After a few minutes, Rima had tied Shou's now seemingly shoulderblade-length hair into a low ponytail and left his chin-level bangs to frame his face with his middle part mirroring Senri's. The two went between silence and small conversation as they waited for Shou's mind to return to the present.
The craking of a knuckle caught both of their attention when they saw that Shou's right hand had twitch causing his fingers to become claw-like with the points of his fingernails sharpening. There was slightly heavier breathing from Shou that told Senri he was back but unamused with whatever had happened.
"Shou?" Senri called out.
The teen's eyes snapped to the two, despite not glowing red each eye still light up with its respective colour. The odd sight was enchanting yet bone-chilling. Upon seeing the uncertainty in Rima's expression and the worry in Senri's, Shou let his tense posture drop and a small sigh of annoyance to flee his lips.
"Sorry, how long was I gone?" Shou's voice had taken a tone towards a deeper pitch as if he were exhausted.
"No more than ten minutes, I explained what I know to Rima," Senri commented before letting his head fall back against his pillow, "We spent a good majority of the night travelling. Why don't we go to sleep and I'll show you around tomorrow afternoon?"
"It sounds like a good idea," Shou smiled, tilting his head only to notice the hair-tie holding his hair back.
"I did it while you were out," Rima tried to not flush with awkward embarrassment, "I hope that's alright?"
"It's lovely, thank you. Sleep does sound very appealing though," Shou glanced towards his packed bag on the ground.
"I'll leave the two of you to it," Rima said as she got up, "Goodnight, Senri, Shou."
"'Night," both twins chorused, Shou giving an amused grin after.
With the door shut behind Rima, Shou changed into a nightshirt and pants while Senri did the same. With the lights out, both brothers climbed into Senri's bed and Shou curled on his side with his pinky hooked around Senri's. As the events that Shou had just seen hazed to the forefront of his mind, he rested his forehead against Senri's shoulder before closing his eyes.
Unfortunately, this night would be a very long one for the elder twin. Images of a man with almost matching eyes to Shou flicked in his mind, trying to break through the mental wall that took most of Shou's life for him to build.
While the body and majority of the Pureblood's consciousness were in a deep sleep, some lingered to the fabrication of powers that linked Rido's pureblood to that of his son who had taken a heavy dose of his genes including the level of blood purity that his younger twin now lacked.
Shou Shiki was by no means a Pureblood, but he was no normal Aristocrat. With a higher level of pureblood in his veins, he was prone to more powers than what his body was actually capable of containing. This, both Rido and Shou knew and Rido wanted to abuse every aspect of the slowly dying vampire.
Rido had never stopped whispering thoughts into Shou's head whenever the elder vampire could muster the consciousness. While his father had no regard for his wellbeing and used torturous methods to try and break his son's mind, Rido was no fool. Even if he succeeded he couldn't possess his son's body as he wished. It was far too soon for that and even then Shou was becoming mentally braced in such a way he likely could fend Rido from his mind.
That didn't stop the fluctuations of power inside Shou nor did it stop his body from faltering and almost killing him. It didn't stop the Level-E's from being drawn to Shou, it didn't stop his left eye from being too sensitive to be out in sunlight, it didn't stop the memories of night terrors that shook Shou almost every night.
For the duration that Shou was stuck inside his own mess of a mind, Rido's piercing eyes never left his brighter but matching irises.
Whispered threats and ideas pooled in Shou's mind as he stood so broken yet so strong against the underlying impulses and bodily reactions that threatened his restlessly sleeping body. Ever since he lay eyes on Kaname Kuran an ever so slight twang of bloodlust had crept into Shou's soul. It was but one more layer on an already amassing pile of lust and hurt that needed blood to be recovered from.
Shou was just too kind of a soul to take blood from others when he could survive with the pain. Even if blood would ease the aches, the coughing fits, the dizzy spells and even the sudden loss of his temper as well as his control... he couldn't be himself to take blood even if it was all his vampire mind screamed at him to do.
It would be his undoing as much as it had made him the persevered being he was currently.
Shou was dimly aware of a shiver that caused his elongated fangs to clack against his teeth. No doubt the rest of the Night Class was back, Shou could only hope that Takuma wouldn't wake him when he went to bed. The noticeable presence of Kaname alone was enough to keep Shou's inner self desperate for blood, especially the rich pure blood that could help him prolong his life and stop his suffering. Kuran blood was what Rido had wanted him to taste for years after Shou stopped drinking Senri's blood to heal his young body many years ago.
All that Shou could wait for was tomorrow in hopes it would be an easier night.