Summary: Having sacrificed herself during the fight with Glory, Dawn’s new life comes crashing down when memories of former lives start returning.
Dedication: For Sonya aka cissasghost who cracked the fic whip and told me to get writing.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All the Anita Blake ‘verse characters belong to Laurell K Hamilton and Dawn belongs to Joss Whedon.
The emergency room at the St Louis General Hospital was packed to capacity as doctors rushed around separating the seriously injured from those merely in a state of shock. The confusion was compounded by the large numbers of police officers taking preliminary statements as they pieced together what had happened. Humans First’s attack on the Circus of the Damned had caught everyone by surprise. Jurisdictional lines were a little blurred, the sheer number of injured meant that all available cops had been diverted to respond, the target meant that RPIT had been called in, and now with the murmurs of terrorist attack being bandied about, it was only time before the Feds descended.
Anita Blake stood slightly away from the melee. She was furious and trying desperately to push the anger down so she could get back to work. Anita swung around when she heard Zebrowski call her name. For once he was dressed in a suit although the crumpled nature suggested that he had been driving in a hurry. It made a nice change from the pajamas he had been wearing last time they were called to a scene.
“Jesus Anita, what the hell happened tonight? I go out of town for a day and the place goes to hell in a hand basket.”
Anita waved her hand around angrily, “This is what you get when Humans First decides to take objection to the eight o’clock performance at the Circus.”
“Oh shit. How many dead?”
“Who are we counting? The people in ski masks, the performers, or the families in the crowd?”
“Tally them up for me.”
“Six of the terrorists were killed and if the other injured two make it they are going to be getting furry next full moon.” Anita took a certain perverse joy in that. “A couple of the newer vampires were killed, as were one of the Lamia’s guards and two of the performers. If you are looking for good news the best I can do is that the number of casualties from the crowd seem to be fairly small. Lots of cuts and bruises, and messed up pants but from what I’ve gathered there have only been three confirmed dead. Given the weapons the attackers were carrying I was expecting it to be a lot worse.”
“Do you know why the chose the Circus?”
“None of the surviving Humans First members are talking, and their lawyers are keeping it that way. My best guess is that it was an attack on Jean Claude. His schedule is pretty hard to predict but he always shows up to the first night of a new performance.”
“I take it that is going to change.”
Anita clenched her jaw. “Oh yes. When I am done here I’ll head back to the Circus to have a little chat to his security team.”
Zebrowski spared a moment to pity the security team that was about to have the wrath of the Executioner descend on them before drawing back to the situation at hand. “Let’s get to work.”
Two hours later he sought Anita out again. “Anita I need you to work your womanly charms on one of the doctors. There is a young woman that people keep identifying as being in the midst of the action. All I can get out of the nurses is that she is not hurt, but that they are keeping her in for observation.”
“You want me to flirt with the doctor?” Anita’s voice was incredulous.
“I don’t think she swings that way, although that could be why she didn’t respond to my flattery,” Zebrowski mused. “Can’t you work some sisterhood bonding thing with her and get me in to see my witness?”
“If you’re not careful, I am going to tell Katie that you have been flirting with the hospital staff again.”
“She won’t be surprised.”
Anita sighed. “Where’s the doctor, and what’s the witness’s name?”
“Over there, white coat with the short blonde hair, and the one we want is Dawn Anderson.”
“Absolutely not, Marshall Blake.” Doctor Lindsey said firmly. “I understand that you need to get a statement but it will not happen before tomorrow, and even then not without a psychiatrist present. That young girl saw two generations of her family gunned down tonight and her younger brother is not likely to make it through the night. She is in no shape to be interrogated.”
Anita felt slightly ill. “All of the fatalities are from her family?”
“Yes.” Doctor Lindsey’s expressions softened now she had won. “It was her brother’s birthday, and the grandparents had come in from out of town for the celebration. That little girl is completely alone and I won’t have her harassed tonight.”
Anita kept her face expressionless as she stood with Zebrowski watching Jean Claude’s press conference. The leather and silk that made up so much of the Master vampire’s wardrobe had been set aside in favor of a more traditional three piece suit. With the carefully knotted tie obscuring his cross shaped burn, he looked less like a walking advertisement for sex and more like a sober businessman. Anita knew the effect was deliberate. Jean Claude never appeared in public without first deciding on the impression he wanted to create. Today was the upstanding businessman outraged at the senseless attack. … must ask ourselves who the true monsters are, these terrorists have left all semblance of humanity behind when they attacked innocent families…
Anita felt herself starting to zone out. It had been far too long since she had any sleep and her mind kept wandering between visions of comfortable beds and steaming cups of caffeine. … while there is nothing we can do to bring back Miss Anderson’s family, I wanted to do something to minimize the financial difficulties she will have to face in the future. She has been granted a full scholarship to continue her studies at the University of St Louis. This child will have the opportunity to live the life her parents intended…
And there you have it, Anita mused listening to the murmurs of approval. Out of one girl’s personal tragedy, Jean Claude had been able to twist the situation so that his position in the city had been strengthened by good press. She was sure that the papers would be trumpeting the irony of a monster caring more about the future of one of St Louis’ children rather than the extremists who had attacked her family. This was far too good an opportunity for a public relations coup for Jean Claude to pass up. Congratulations Dawn Anderson, in the space of twenty four hours you lost one family and gained another.
End Part One