Worlds fought back. Lines were drawn.
The War began.
20th May 2003
Her name is Anita Blake, and she never, ever wanted to be a diplomat. But that’s the way things had wound up for her ever since the day the portals opened.
Standing there in her nice big office with all the windows blazing bright afternoon sunlight down upon her, Anita stood at the corner of the building and looked across St Louis. Sipping her mug of coffee, she wondered idly just how she’d ever gotten into this damn situation.
Sure, she had the beautiful view, her own staff and the fancy Federal Marshal title, but was it worth all the pain and losses in the last two years? Ever since the Vortex had appeared in California, her life had turned upside down. Both of the respective sides had been dumbfounded by the situation extent in her world.
‘Her’ world? Crap, crap, crap – just when did she fall into the trap of labelling things the way ‘they’ wanted her to? A frown creased her mouth, and she sipped more of the coffee from her penguin mug with the "I shot the sheriff" motto. At least Zerbrowski would never change.
Turning away from the view across St Louis, Anita stretched her legs out on top of her desk, ignoring the piles of paperwork sprawled across and enjoyed the moment. It was nice every now and then to stop, relax and take a moment to enjoy her coffee and look back over the past.
Was it really two years ago, when the walls had fallen, and all the different Earths had started bleeding into each other? Both of the main two sides in The War hadn’t been able to believe their eyes at the way vampires were accepted openly and even had legal protection. Anita snorted slightly into her coffee as she remembered Riley Finn’s open mouthed stare when she’d sat him down and forced him to read the whole casefile of Addison v Clark.
The representative from Wolfram & Hart had been a lot happier when reading it she remembered with distaste. Holland Manners had been practically licking his lips at the prospect. Still as long as the President of Earth-L, as the CWF called them, stayed out of the war, both sides had decided to treat them as a kind of Switzerland during the Second World War; neutral, and full of spies and intrigue.
Which of course made St Louis, as the site of the largest and most stable portal on the whole damn planet, the perfect spot for all the plotting, back stabbing and passing of various information. And her, the defacto Sheriff.
Some of the Combined World Forces hadn’t been able to accept the way things were. Vampires existing openly? Lots of nice targets for people who had had their lives ripped apart. Anita sympathised that much with them anyhow. Still didn’t give them an excuse to try and kill any of Jean-Claude’s people. Fortunately, over the last two years, those kind of events had been occurring less and less as the CWF weeded out the ones that could happily serve here on Earth-L.
Least you knew where you were with them. Barely a trip to see Jean-Claude went by, without seeing at least one Wolfram and Hart snake attempting to cosy up next to the Master of the City. With the loss of a third of his powerbase, Jean-Claude couldn’t simply tell them to get lost himself. Just another one of her many duties she supposed.
When they made her Federal Marshal in charge of St Louis, she’d thought they were nuts then, and frankly, she still thinks that. She is not a diplomat, she is not good at explaining things well to people unless a gun to their head is involved, she doesn’t have the patience for all the legal wranglings that ensue on a daily basis. And yet, somehow she makes it work.
She doesn’t know where it started (but she suspect Zerbrowski of starting it in the first place), but all the muttered ironic "Sheriff’s here" gags that used to greet her when she arrived at various scenes over the last two years, have become tinged with respect now. Sipping her cooling coffee, Anita shook her head and refused to admit that she deserved anything like that.
Yes, she had the big corner office. Yes, she had the full support and backing of the largest remaining shifter pard. Yes, she was getting respect and kudos. Hell, even Dolph was starting to talk to her again. But the price….
Hundreds of people dead around the world due to rogue portals, and the things that emerged from the Vortex. The constant intrigue and continual rising body count from the secret little war being waged here. Ronnie, ripped apart by a Wolfram and Hart vampire. Edward, marching off happily to war. Damian, almost as scarred as Asher now.
Her office suddenly seemed dark, cold and full of shadows. Setting her empty mug of coffee down, Anita shivered in the sunlight.
She’d give this all up in an instant to have Richard back.
Author’s Notes and Timeline