Doll Painted Red
The second time Detective Matilda Kirnan saw Blake, it was through a haze of concussion.
A kiss of vampires had been driven out of Mexico, and had moved north-east through Texas and into Missouri, rather than going straight north through New Mexico. They'd hit an apartment building soon after nightfall, and holed up in a pumping station. The Mobile Reserve had assembled, along with Missouri's vampire executioner, Larry Kirkland. The guy didn't look threatening, but he'd come loaded for bear: a pistol, a mini-Uzi Kirnan was sure wasn't legal, and an automatic shotgun. When everyone was assembled, they'd taken the pumping station.
The vampires had already killed the family they'd kidnapped, and had been waiting for the police to enter so they could hit from behind; the vamps had leapt from the roof of the station, and begun to tear apart the uniforms on perimeter. Kirnan had been left outside, and she emptied her magazine into a vamp. It went down, snarling, and Kirnan whirled around, looking for another target as she reloaded. Then something slammed into her shoulder, and she was thrown forward into a car. Her head throbbing with pain, she managed to roll over, and saw the vamp she'd killed limping towards her. It snarled, face flecked with dried blood, and Kirnan scrabbled for her gun. She had dropped it somewhere in the grass, and she couldn't find it. She tried to move, to crawl around the car, but pain stabbed through her ankle. It was twisted, maybe broken.
The vamp was only a few steps away, moving slowly on a left leg that Kirnan saw she had half-ruined. She could taste salt in her mouth, from tears or blood she didn't know, and in that moment she knew she was going to die
. The vamp was looming over her, reaching down. She opened her mouth to scream, even though she knew it would do nothing.
There was a blur of sudden, inhuman motion, and the vamp in front of her was missing a head. Blood was flowing, trickling onto Kirnan's sensible boots, and she stared at the second vamp that had appeared behind the first. It was holding a sword. Were the vamps having a squabble? Then the vamp disappeared, gone in a flash. Kirnan could barely think, but she needed to know what was going on. She wriggled to the side, pain flashing through her ankle, and reached up for the side mirror of the car she was resting against. With that as a handhold, she struggled upright, balancing on her good leg. She stared at the battle going on, lit by headlights.
The rogue kiss had gathered together, fighting like a pack of desperate wolves against two other vampires. The two looked similar, like brothers, moving with practiced grace as they cut the kiss apart with swords. Both sides were stronger and faster than humans, but the brothers were trained, dodging around wild grabs by the rogues and striking back with deadly accuracy, lopping off heads or stabbing deep into the left side of the chest. One of the rogue vamps broke away, running from the two killers, but before the two could respond there was a deep boom
, more felt than heard, and half the runner's head disappeared in a spray of blood. A woman strode into Kirnan's flickering vision, short and pale, a shotgun pressed to her shoulder.
The brothers didn't glance at Blake, but they switched tactics. Now they grabbed the vamps, using leverage to throw the rogues into the open. Boom
, went the shotgun, and soon the rogues were all down. Blake walked over to the scattered bodies, picking her way between them but stepping into pools of blood without care. For the first time Kirnan noticed that Blake wore only a red silk robe, and her hair was wet with water rather than blood. Blake stopped over one of the vamps, lowered the shotgun, and fired it one-handed. Her arm did not move, and her face was unreadable as blood sprayed across her elegant robe.
Then the Mobile Reserve was spilling back out of the pumping station, weapons up, and Blake was standing in front of the two sword-wielding vamps, and Kirnan realised it had only been maybe half a minute since the go order.
Blake had shouted at the Reserve guys, and they had shouted back, and Blake had dropped her shotgun and nodded at the vamps, who dropped their swords. Then Kirkland was there, dark liquid smeared across half his face, and he yelled until the Reserve lowered their weapons. The executioner waked up to Blake, shotgun in one hand, and touched her on the shoulder. Blake said something, and Kirkland shook his head. Both of them sagged a little. Blake and Kirkland exchanged a few more words, and then he nodded and stepped back. Kirkland called to the Reserve, told them to let Blake and her friends go. One of the vamps walked up behind Blake, sword thrust through his belt again, and wrapped his arms around her. She leaned back into the hold, and then both of the vamps lifted off. Kirnan watched the two disappear into the night, and thought only of Blake's face, spattered with blood and not reacting.
Basically, this AU is set with Anita in her mid-thirties, having been drawn more and more into the preternatural community. Her and Richard have stopped hiding what they are, or been exposed, and now live with Jean-Claude. They are a true triumvirate, and have a very shaky relationship with the authorities.