Notes: Kale and Trever are mine. Every one else belong to Laurell K. Hamilton. The parts in italics are from page 367 Danse Macabre

"Excuse me." Noel was standing besides us.

We both turned and looked at him. I don't know what he saw on our faces, but he backed up fast until he was out of reach of both of us. "May I approach?"

"No," Auggie said.

"Yes," I said.

We looked at each other.

Noel dropped to all fours. He didn't bow, just dropped to all fours where he was standing. "I don't know what to do; I can't please you both."

"Oh, don't be so stupid." A new voice, a new person, entered. Kale, I believed, his twin right on his heels. His face wore a look of disgust at the entire room, Trever mirroring it. The double look was frightening and I wondered what had roused the normally easy going twin's ire.

He walked straight over to Noel and yanked him bodily up to his feet. "You have absolutely no reason to bow to those two."

"I beg your pardon!" Auggie said, standing up. Trever shot him a deadly look so quickly that Auggie sat right back down.

Trever gave him a pointy smile. "Oh do speak Augustine. Let's hear your miserable excuse on why you have a wounded man sitting here uncared for and ignored. Why you and the others have been talking about some bitchy and stupidly minor thing. And don't tell me it wasn't."

"I have no need to deal with submissive if..." he stopped speaking. Trever's hand was on his throat, squeezing. I didn't even see him move. Pierce and Octavius moved forward to protect their master, but stopped. Kale had stared them down with a very bland look. A look that said bad things would happen if they moved even an inch more. That surprised me. I didn't think the twin's animal to call were lions.

Now that I thought about it, I didn't know what their animal to call was.

"You're being stupid. Don't be. I'm sure you like living." He let Auggie go. Auggie reached up to touch his throat. "Now then. Let's try again. Why have you let an injured man sit on your couch so long and haven't tended to him."

Auggie said nothing. This seemed to please Trever. He passed control over to his brother.

Kale looked me dead in the eye. He still had his hand on Noel who didn't know how to look; frightened, relieved or confused. "Anita," Kale said crisply. "The young men here say that they would like you to mm... test them to see if you'd be compatible with them and not Haven, thus preventing Auggie and his lot taking over the local pride."

He gave me a sweet as summer strawberries smile. A smile that stayed even though his tone turned harsh and cold as a blizzard. "So get over here and test them so that Travis can get help."

The twins looked at me expectantly. I suddenly felt embarrassed, like a child in class who got caught passing notes and now had to go to the front and read it to the entire room. They wouldn't stop staring at me, those green eyes that bore right into me. I glanced at Jean-Claude, but he looked rather subdued. I would say almost cowed. I didn't blame him. Kale and Trever had just smashed right through every bit of vampire protocol, crushed it under their heels and changed the rules with in minutes of their arrival. No one knew how to react.

Hesitantly standing up I walked over to Noel first, him being the closest. He looked at me nervously as Kale whispered something into his ear. His posture changed slightly as Kale stepped way from him. He looked more confident, more determined. I stepped closer and sniffed at him. It was strange. He almost felt like food, but there was something else there that masked it.

It said, you need to choose me. You need to, or else every lion that lives here, every lion that is your ally here will suffer and maybe die and it will be your fault.

I stepped back, feeling almost cowed. "What did you do do him?" I asked Kale.

Kale shrugged. "Just remind him what was at stake, and suggest that he needed to remind you as well."

I looked at Noel again and that utterly determined look on his face, that need, made my lioness curious. Wanting to know more about how food suddenly turned to worthwhile.

"He should do," I announced. I saw Travis give a sigh of relief.

"Excellent," Kale said. "Now that's settled you can get Travis some much needed attention" His expression turned thoughtful. "You know, it says a lot about a man if they're willing to sacrifice their own health for the sake of others. And Auggie, if you even think about attacking me, Trever will shred you so quickly you won't have time to realize what happened."

Turning, I could see Auggie hastily sitting down, Trever wearing an almost giddy smile on his face as if he were hoping that Auggie would attack. Seeing that Auggie wasn't going to, Trever walked back to his twin. "We apologize for interrupting your terribly important squabbling. So we'll let you go back to that now."

Once again I felt like a child being chastised, this time from a parent. It made me glad that the arduer didn't like them at all. I doubt they would have cared enough to stay and help in some sort of strange paradoxical behavior.

As they left, Kale suddenly turned around and focused his look on Nathaniel. "And you, go put some clothes on. This is the twenty first century and you're not some idiot animal running around in the jungle. And while you're at it, cut your hair. Unless you want someone to try and strangle you with or tie you to something. I know Kev has been talking about doing that," he paused, "among other things since he saw your hair. And none of us will stop him if he tries."

Giving us all a far to pleasant smile, he turned to follow his twin.

Hostile Takeover
Hostile Takeover Analysis ~ Fan Fiction ~ The End