AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hi, everyone! I'm back with another co-write! This is actually chapter 2 of this story. Chapter one can be found under HelenaF.Lupin's account. The main idea for the story is hers. I created Dane.

It's a Vampire tale. Enjoy! And review when you do, okay? Thanx!

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Chapter 2

Dane easily flipped to the side, avoiding Baxter's sharp fangs. His own were as long as his opponent's and they exploded forward as he gave a low guttural growl. He was dimly aware of gasps and shouts from the crowd. Unsure of just whom they were cheering for, Dane pulled a stake from his boot and palmed it as he straightened. Baxter was still crouched when Dane made a lunge of his own. Baxter was slow to move away and Dane caught his side with the stake. Not his heart, he realized. But he'd weakened the Servant's Lord.

Baxter was breathing hard. He was close enough to whisper words for Dane alone to hear. Most vampires did not have super hearing like many believed. "Finish it," he murmured.

"You could have just given him to me," Dane whispered back.

"You've had to watch him with me, but you've never tasted how sweet his blood or his kisses. For me, it would kill me more then you are about to do," Baxter replied. "Finish it."

Dane felt only a small twinge of guilt as he readied the stake above Baxter's chest. With one more nod to Baxter, he plunged it into the Vampire's heart.

The vampire's eyes dulled as he fell back onto the marble floor. A piercing scream cut the still air, only one kind of scream could have topped the sound of what seemed like an angel's very heart and soul breaking: a mother's cry for her child, that one cry could best it just barely. Artus was on his knees, hugging Baxter's coat to his body, his face buried in it as he cried and sobbed, his body shaking.

Another vampire, only two years turned, knelt beside him. Her hair was short and neon pink, her eyes a vivid blue as she murmured in soft French to the broken Servant. She had been one of the true friends who had no lust for the Siren Servant, she was loyal as she wrapped him in her arms and rocked him. Lily had always been sweet as far as anyone knew, but damn scary when mad. She glared at Dane, but could do nothing.

Dane gave the pink-haired Vampire a baleful look as he watched her comfort his new Servant. He would allow Artus this time to grieve, for he could see that he'd cared deeply for Baxter. But the Siren would be going home with him this night. He now turned his attention to Alexander. Oh, yes. This one would be ever so satisfying to vanquish. All of the times the pure breed had tried to humiliate him in front of his mother at Council meetings came back with blinding clarity. He closed his eyes for a few seconds, conjuring his lessons from way back when. The training he'd had at the hands of his human father ... his vampire-slaying human father. Opening his obsidian eyes, he locked them on the pure breed.

Alexander had stiffened considerably. He had next expected to have to fight Dane. "I...withdraw my challenge." Better to be living then dead. And he was very alive. Born vampires were the few that did have heartbeats. Those bitten and turned were dead by most standards in that they had no heartbeat and were cold when they did not feed. He turned on his heel and exited the room in a fury.

"Artus..." Lily said softly then as the Servant stood.

He looked at Dane and walked toward him slowly. He lifted one hand from the coat and slapped the half breed, and it stung like the fires of hell."May a cross always be where you are," Artus said softly, in a choked voice as he broke into tears again. Lily was at his side, holding him and leading him away from Dane before a fight could happen.

Dane frowned at the insult. In truth he didn't care what the rest thought of him. But he knew he now had a rough road ahead of him with Artus. The Siren left the room without his new Lord, and Dane didn't have the satisfaction of disposing of Alexander, leaving his victory rather hollow. He knew his mother expected him to chase down the Siren and punish him publicly for the insolence. But he wouldn't. Well he remembered the days when the Servants were treated as mere toys. It sickened him. Artus was no toy, and he knew well that Baxter had loved him. Enough to sacrifice his own existence to protect his Servant. Dane would protect the Siren as well. Better, even. Alexander would never touch Artus again. Or he would be disposed of, pure breed or no! Snatching his coat from the floor, he made a small bow to his mother and left the way his Servant did. Artus should never be left unattended for long. Not while Alexander still breathed.

The First High Council woman let out a long breath. One of the other members moved closer to her, a short man with a shockingly nice face, gentle brown eyes and paler brown hair.

"You've been waiting a long time for your son to find a Servant," he whispered.

"Yes." She gave a small smile. "But I wonder ...who will have to survive who?"

Lily led the weeping Artus into one of the studies off of one of the main halls. It was a massive area filled with books and a large red velvet couch before a marble fire place. She set him on the couch and sat next to him.

"Oh, Artus, I'm so sorry! If I could fix this I would. But you need to hold your temper! Dane is not to be tempted. It is the bet of everyone that he'll beat the shit out of you. I just know it! He's not a lover like your Lord Baxter was."

"I know Lily, but I was just so upset," Artus said softly. "I would rather have been given away then watch him die." He drew in a deep breath. "I'm terrified of Dane, but it would have been better to at least know Baxter was alive and not be without him than to have to know he is dead."

Lily let out a sigh. "I know, Artus. Don't worry. I'll be there for you as long as you need me." She offered him a full smile, flashing fangs and all to the room. It made Artus chuckle.

"You need to learn to hide your fangs when you smile," he pointed out.

Few vampires could retract their fangs. She gave him a flat, disgruntled look, but it was a joking face. She stood then, patting the top of his head.

"Maybe Dane will be a good Lord to you. Maybe everyone is wrong."

"Doubtful."

"Give it a chance, what choice do you have? I'm going to go back to the Court and listen out for anything, as per usual. He'll come after you soon, I'm sure. Will you be okay?"

Artus nodded and the vampire smiled.

"Okay, later." She turned on her heel and walked out of the door. Outside she leaned against it and had every intention of waiting for Dane. She had something to say to him.

Dane saw the pink-haired vampire waiting outside the door. He knew Artus was behind that door. And he knew he would have to get through her to collect his Servant. Doubtless, she wanted to warn him not to punish the Siren for his slap. Truthfully, he knew he deserved it. But he also knew he'd had no choice. Damned if he was going to let Alexander ruin the Servant anymore than he already had. Oh, Dane knew without any physical proof that the pure breed had touched Artus. He'd tried to taint the small mortal. It was enough to send a blinding rage through Dane's body. He had to make the Servant see that he would be safer with him than he was with Baxter.

"Lily," he inclined his head. "To what do I owe this ... honor?"

"Don't give me that polite politician shit," she said flatly. She pushed away from the door and pointed a finger in his face. "Now you listen, and you listen damn good. My little Artus is fragile and if I find out he's cried one more time because of you I'll have my Lord Antonio and half the rest of the Court give you to the Slayers!"

Antonio was the vampire who had turned her, and was her husband. She turned on her heal and walked back toward the main ballroom.

Dane watched her stalk off. He wasn't worried about her threat. It was gratifying that his Servant had allies. Taking a deep breath he turned toward the door and slowly opened it. Artus was inside and Dane knew he would have to tread very gently. The Siren had just lost someone special to him. By his new Lord's hand. He slowly approached the small mortal.

"Artus?"

Artus' shoulders convulsed at the sound of his voice. Slowly the Servant looked up at the vampire with a tear stained face. "I will handle Lord Baxter's account affairs, as is my place, before showing them to you."

Baxter had owned a well-off five-star hotel. The top floor, a large flat, had been the vampire's residence. The hotel could be more than a five-star, but he had not wanted it to stand out more than that. Artus was familiar with all the accounts and documents for it. In fact, he was now the sole owner. But through him, Dane owned it all now. Now that Baxter was dead minds would have to be altered so that no one outside of vampiric society questioned it.

"Do as you need to do," Dane murmured. He stopped short of touching the Servant. "I have no intention of taking from you that which is yours."

He wanted to comfort the man but didn't know how. He'd just taken his only source of comfort. How could he begin to build trust so soon?

"But we do need to settle you into your new home," he sighed. "I know you can't believe me yet, but I am sorry to have had to hurt you."

"You didn't have to, he could have killed Alexander and you know it," Artus murmured, his accent thickening with scorn. He pushed to his feet, the coat of his former Lord still in his arms. "By all means, my Lord, lead me away," he said softly. The copper of his eyes had turned to something molten and hot, the cerulean brightening with anger. He could scorch a soul with those eyes. "Or, might I offer, let me attend to these matters tonight to have them out of the way?"

"He couldn't have killed the pure breed and he knew it," Dane replied. "It's why he chose to take my challenge up first. He did it to protect you."

Artus looked away and Dane felt his pain. Yet, he knew letting the Siren attend to the affairs tonight would put him in danger. Alexander wouldn't go quietly. No, he was likely hoping Dane would grant such a request and leave his new Servant unprotected.

"I can't leave you alone with the pure breed running around."

"Very well," Artus said and held his head high and proud, as he was used to doing. He looked down to only those of the Council and to Baxter. Fear had never made him act small to anyone. Had it he would not have gotten his Lord killed just minutes ago.

Dane nodded and walked in front of the Servant. He would have preferred to walk behind him, but the Council was watching, albeit covertly. If he showed any overt indulgence now, it would be viewed as weakness and he would be facing more challenges than just Alexander's. Though he knew he would have no trouble besting those who dared, he also knew the pure breed would take advantage of the distraction.

A few of the vampires who Artus counted as friends had drifted from the main ballroom, giving him small words of comfort as he passed. Lily was standing with Antonio at the exit. Antonio was several inches taller than his wife, his hair shoulder length was dark and curled about his pale face, framing his pale orange brown eyes. The Lord bowed his head to Dane and to Artus.

Artus smiled weakly as Lily touched his arm. "I'll be fine."

"You had best tell Lord Dane that-"

"I can handle it," Artus cut her off.

She nodded and let her husband pull her away, leaving Artus to his own fate.