Author's note: My other challenge fic, written for a friend, but she thought it was ok to post here. Anyway, this is Marcus/Erika, but NOT from Hybrid-verse, it has nothing to do with my fanfic Hybrid War. The requirement for this story were angst/comfort, Erika had to be hurt, emotionally or physically or both, and it had to be M/E. Anyway, I think one of the characters acts a bit OOC, but I used him to fit the requirements. Anyway, please review, even if it's no good.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, not even Marcus (who is still played by Stephen Billington in my mind), this is only my version of him. Everyone belongs to Kevin Grevioux, Danny McBride, and Len Wiseman, plus the folks at Sony and wherever. Please do not sue me. Savvy?

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IN SAFE HANDS

Erika watched as the other vampires talked and chatted amongst themselves, waiting for the ceremony to officially begin. Sighing, she snuck away, desperate to be free of the constant chatter that had no meaning or point. She used to be that way.

Until she saw how horrid the war truly was, and how it had taken so many lives unnecessarily. Until its aftermath struck home. She was amazed the covens could ever be so shallow after the loss of two Elders. Certainly they were much more concerned and everyone had become more active and helpful towards the Death Dealers, but still they partied and gathered for no meaning.

Lord Marcus had put the war on hold, saying they needed to have time to regain their strength and gather up everything they needed. Silver nitrate bullets were now becoming common, but so far the last remaining Elder had not given them the go ahead to search for Selene and Michael, and the lycans. It had been over three months now.

Erika was curious of the long wait, though truthfully she was glad for it. Partly for Selene's sake. She did not know why Selene had betrayed the coven, why she had done those things, killed Lord Viktor. But she knew that for Selene to commit those acts, she had to have a bloody good reason to. And attraction could not be all it was, no matter how strongly she cared for Michael, it was not strong enough for her to kill Viktor and abandon her kind. There had to be more.

"Something troubling you?" a familiar, confident voice broke through her thoughts, and Erika looked up to see Lord Marcus walking towards her. "You seemed deeply in thought and, I could not help but notice, almost forlorn."

Erika smiled up at him softly, shaking her head. "No, I'm fine, just tired," she told him as he came over and kissed the tip of her nose. She hated lying to him, but her lover had plenty on his mind already, and she did not want to bring up the subject of Selene's betrayal. "But you are late for a party, my Lord," she mock scolded. Casting aside her musings, she allowed Marcus to take her hand and lead her back to the crowded den.

***

Erika sighed as she entered the large bedroom she and Marcus shared. Being the consort of an Elder certainly had its benefits. As well as times like this, when Marcus would be up during daylight, planning, preparing for the war or for something else. She never really knew.

Suddenly, Erika froze as she realized someone else was in the room. She turned around to find herself face to face with her own, traitorous sire, Kraven. Before she could even open her mouth to scream or call for help, he had pounced, tackling her. She let out a yelp as she hit the ground, his body on top of hers.

Erika tried to get away from the ex-regent, but he quickly grabbed her arms and as she tried to push herself up, he slammed her body back down, almost knocking her unconscious with the force of it. He roughly kissed her, silencing any screams and she desperately struggled to break it, his taste disgusting to her now. Even if he hadn't betrayed the coven, even if he hadn't brushed her off time and time again, even if he hadn't left her for Selene every time, she would still be sick from his touch.

Now that she had fallen in love, that was when he decided to take from her what she had offered him many times before. Now that she had ended the offer of herself to all but her lover, now he was going to take her by force.

Kraven wasted no time getting her wrists above her head and holding them with one hand so that the other could cover her mouth as he parted the forced kiss. He sneered down at her, his naturally dark eyes a pale, icy blue.

"I see you've stepped up in our world," he jeered. "Almost like we've switched places, you're in power, and I am, well," he almost shrugged. "Not on the best of terms with the others."

Erika bit his hand, glaring up at him as he pulled it away, giving her time enough to speak. "You know this is stupid, don't you?" Erika asked with narrowed eyes. "Wait, don't answer. I already know." That earned her a slap from the angry vampire.

"You are going to regret that, whore," he hissed. "How long did it take you to fall out of love with me? Hhm? How long before you threw yourself at Marcus. Who of course is probably just happy that he's getting laid again?"

Erika spat at him then opened her mouth to scream. But Kraven silenced her with his own mouth again, his fangs scraped against her tongue, cutting it. She whimpered in pain, struggling to get away. She could feel his arousal, the hardness pressed against her legs almost making her panic. She tried to knee him, but his legs easily pinned hers down. And apart.

"What's the matter?" he questioned, tone scathing. "I thought this was what you wanted." He then leaned down and bit her lower lip, hard, his hand helping to muffle the yelp she gave. Then it reached down and tore her shirt apart, exposing her torso and chest. "Still aren't wearing a bra, I see," he taunted. "By the way, scream and I will snap your neck."

"Marcus will be back at any moment, and when he gets here you will wish you had been killed by Viktor that night," Erika told him. "And if he finds me dead, you will suffer even more pain then you have already brought upon yourself."

Kraven sneered down at her again. "But I would at least get the satisfaction of killing you and seeing the pain on his face. If he does care as much as you seem to believe." Then he began to knead her breasts roughly, his mouth moving to nip at her flesh, drawing blood in several places.

Erika struggled, whimpering in pain and fighting back tears. She wanted to scream, but she knew Kraven was rabid, more so than the lycans their kind was at war with. He would kill her if she did. She closed her eyes. She thought about simply pretending she was with Marcus, hoping it would help, but that was impossible.

Marcus was never so rough. He was always so gentle, always caring about her own pleasure as well as his. And he never bit her; he had even, for a reason he still did not discuss, taken great pains to keep from biting her, even when she could see his lust to. His hands were soft and wonderful, not like Kraven's, not the harsh, brushing palms pressing against her breasts before moving downward. He reached under her skirt, under her panties and he started to roughly taunt her there.

"Stop, please," she finally begged, unable to hold it back any longer. She knew Kraven would never listen, would only mock her if he acknowledged her pleas at all, but she was desperate, ill at his touch in her most intimate, sensitive part, roughly stroking her.

"Get off her now," came a familiar voice, now cold as ice and hard as steel. Erika silently rejoiced when she heard Marcus. Kraven's grip on her lessened as he looked up and she scrambled away quickly, trying to cover herself as the two vampire males stared at each other.

"Marcus," Kraven hissed.

The Elder merely narrowed his eyes in contempt. Suddenly he was holding Kraven by the throat, his hand holding the bastard nearly two feet off the ground. "You were stupid to come back here," Marcus stated blankly. "But actually touching her, actually thinking of taking her, that was so far beyond moronic, it's pathetic even for you."

Kraven gasped for air while Marcus gripped his throat tighter. Erika watched, frozen in place as Marcus slowly crushed Kraven's throat, blood starting to drip from Kraven's mouth and over Marcus' hand. She was sickened by the gasping sounds Kraven was making as they became gurgling sounds almost, but she was too frightened to say anything, and a part of her wanted Kraven dead.

He had done too much damage to her, and the covens. He deserved to die for what he had tried to do, would have done had Marcus not shown up when he had.

Within moments the ex-regent lie on the floor, his lifeless body crumpled in an almost unnatural position. Marcus stared down at him, seething rage in his icy eyes. He looked over at Erika, her arms wrapped around her chest, covering herself. He came towards her then stopped, looking down at his bloody hand. He looked back at her, his eyes soft and concerned.

"He didn't, he, how far did he get?" Marcus finally managed to ask, hoping that the fact that her skirt was still on meant Kraven had not gotten as far with Erika as he wanted to.

"Not far, he was about to, well, when you got here he was about to get," Erika replied, her eyes looking down. Abruptly she began to cry, and Marcus ran to her, catching her in his arms as her legs gave way. "He was almost there, his hand was already inside, so rough," she whimpered into Marcus chest.

The Elder kneeled to the floor, pulling her to him and rocking her back and forth, whispering to her softly, words of comfort with a soothing tone. "Hush, hush, I know, I know, my Love. But he's gone now, he can never hurt you again, it's all over, I'm here, my Love," he whispered in her ear over and over, kissing her hair every so often.

Erika's sobs began to die down, turning into occasional sniffs as she simply laid against Marcus, secure in his embrace. "It still hurts down there," she told him. "And he didn't even get that far, only his fingers," she went on.

Marcus let her, he knew she needed this. She had to get past this somehow, and he could tell this was her way of trying to. It would still take some time. But he would help her through it as best he could. He stroked her hair, then noticed he had gotten blood on her back and in her hair. Then he noticed it had also gotten on her shoulders, though he could not tell if it was on her chest as well. He stood, picking her up gently.

"Let's clean you up a bit, get you clothed again," he said soothingly, kissing her forehead. She looked up at him, trusting him with her big, beautiful, dark blue eyes. "I promise you, everything will be fine. I'll have Mason take the body away while you dress."

"Don't leave me," she begged, panic crossing her face. "Please, just, don't leave me alone, I don't want to be alone." She clung to him, her arms wrapping around his neck, her head resting on his shoulder. "I don't think I can bare it right now. Just hold me, please."

Marcus nodded, trying to smile softly, hoping trying to calm her. "All right. I'll hold you." He carried her into the bathroom, setting her back on her feet, but he kept one arm comfortingly around her waist, holding her to him while she leaned against him for support, her legs still shaky. He grabbed a washcloth and dampened it after rinsing his own hand, then began to wipe the drying blood off her back, her hair.

Erika shivered as the cold cloth wiped her back, nuzzling into Marcus even more, seeking shelter. She kept replaying what had happened, only it was different in her head. Kraven had gotten a lot further, taking her completely in her mind's eye. She kept seeing what could have been, had Marcus not gotten there in time. She kept seeing what Kraven would have done and it frightened her.

"He wouldn't have stopped," she whispered. "He would have gone as far as he could had he been able to, had you not stopped him," she went on. "He would have, he, he."

"Hush, hush, Erika," Marcus gently instructed. "Yes, he would have raped you, I can only imagine how terrifying that is for you, but," he continued, "he did not get to. And he never will. He's dead, and you don't have to worry anymore about him." He then moved to clean her shoulders, prying her away from him slightly to look at her chest. That was when he saw the marks on her breasts and abdomen. The blood was not from his hands, was not the blood of her would-be rapist that had spilt onto him during the kill.

It was hers. Kraven had bitten her in several places, and the blood was dripping freely. He closed his eyes, silently damning that spineless bastard and wishing he could kill him all over again. He tried to regain his composure, not wanting to terrifying Erika more. Tenderly, slowly, he wiped away the blood from the bite marks.

Erika looked down in shame, a few tears falling again. Now he knew why she was so shaken and weak. Not just because of the trauma, but the blood loss. She felt dirty, carrying Kraven's bite marks all over her upper body.

"I tried to stop him," she spoke softly. "I tried, I tried so hard but he, he was too strong."

Marcus kissed her lips softly, quickly, his lips only brushing against hers so as not to scare her. "I know, I know you must have fought him with everything you had, you're brave and strong and fiery, but he was stronger, bigger, more powerful. But now he's nothing but dead." Gently wiping away the last of the blood, he made certain the bite marks sealed before he washed the blood from the cloth.

"Now, come on to bed," he told her, picking her up tenderly and carrying her back into the bedroom and over to the bed they shared. "Do you, would you prefer I slept on the sofa?" he asked her softly.

Panic flooded her and she vigorously shook her head. "No! No, please, just, hold me still," she pleaded. "I cannot be alone."

Marcus kissed her forehead. "You will never be alone, my Love. I will never let you be, I will be with you into infinity. But I must get someone to dispose of the body," he told her, nodding towards Kraven's corpse. "Or would you prefer it stayed with us for the day?"

"NO!"

"I did not think so," Marcus replied. "Just stay here and I will take it to the nearest Death Dealer and have him throw it out into the sun, just to make certain he is truly dead. Is that acceptable?"

Erika reluctantly nodded. She didn't want to be alone, even for a moment, but she did not want that, thing, left in the room with her either. She watched forlornly as Marcus swiftly picked up the lifeless body and carried it out with none of the gentleness he had shown her.

"I will be right back, Erika," he reassured her as he walked out the door, glancing and smiling at her as he closed it.

"Please hurry," she whispered, curling into a fetal position. She shut her eyes, then quickly opened them again. All she saw was Kraven, lying on top off her, groping her roughly, biting and nipping and sucking savagely. Her fingers traced over the scars, still not completely healed. She shivered and pulled the covers up tightly around herself, curled up into a ball. She stayed that way until Marcus came back, carrying a small packet of blood with him.

"Here, you need to feed," he said, holding it out to her as he sat on the bed. He smiled at her reassuringly and she took it from him, sinking her teeth into the plastic and sucking the blood from it. "Then you need to sleep, I promise not to leave you, but you must sleep," he instructed.

I'll try," she whispered after she finished. "But every time I close my eyes." She looked down, not finishing. Marcus moved to hold her, lying down and bringing her with him. She snuggled into his side, her head lying on his chest.

"I know, Love, I know. Just, try to get some rest, you need it. I'll be here, I'll wake you if you have a nightmare. I'll hold you, I promise."

Erika nodded. "Thank you."

"Shh, just go to sleep," he whispered and kissed her hair again. "Just go to sleep." He whispered those words over and over until he knew she was deep in slumber. Carefully taking his boots off, he then pulled the covers over both of them, smiling as Erika nuzzled into him in her sleep. He knew she would be ok, given time. She was strong, and he would make certain she was safe.