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Like Mark Twain: A Tale of the Broken Curse

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This story is No. 5 in the series "An Inspired Future". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: In 2004, the most profound curse of all time came to an end. This is how it affected Buffy. Some passions are eternal.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > GeneralEricJablowFR711,069021,45425 Jun 0725 Jun 07Yes
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the title character are the possessions of Joss Whedon and Kuzui Entertainment. The “Historical Abstract” was edited by Bill James.

---

It was the kind of bar that had five television sets, sports paraphernalia on the walls, a restricted clientele, and no mirrors. Four of the sets were tuned to Fox, while the last showed ESPN News with the sound muted.

“A Pilsner.”

“Vodka and O-Pos.”

“On the tab, guys?” The two patrons nodded at the bartender. The bartender smiled; they were good for the money. No one wanted to cross him.

“Thirsty, Brad?”

“Terry, I'm watching the game.” Brad looked 25-years-old. He wasn't. “I can't believe we're going to win; I just want to celebrate. I'm watching, not hunting.”

“Well, I already had my supper, but then, Boston's your team. I'm from Chicago.” Terry looked underage. He definitely wasn't. “I don't know if the Cubs will ever make it.”

“Shh. Seventh-inning stretch.”

“From Creed? He's no singer.”

“So, find him and kill him.”

“Too many crosses.”

---

The game went on. Derek Lowe gave up a single in the bottom of the seventh, but St. Louis did nothing with it. Boston then loaded the bases in the eighth, but St. Louis held them without a run.

“Don't worry, Brad. They won't screw up now. Just six more outs.”

“That's what we thought back in '86.”

“Buckner.”

“I don't blame him; he should never been in the game at that point. But I don't take anything for granted. And we've been around for a long time.”

“Very long. I remember when Bill Veeck planted the ivy at Wrigley. Haven't been to a game in ages; too many day games.”

“They have night games now.”

“They start too early.”

“Yeah. There are domes now.”

“That's not baseball. Besides, the retractable roofs.”

---

St. Louis got a runner to 2nd base in the bottom of the eighth, but Boston kept him there. Boston got a single in the top of the ninth, but did nothing with it. The noise in the bar got louder for a while, but the two friends did not turn their heads away from the TV.

“You know, the last time Boston won the Series just killed me.”

“Let me guess. You were celebrating the win, you got a bit drunk—”

“Next thing I know, I'm clawing my way out of my grave.”

“Your sire liked baseball fans.”

“Well, drunken fans are just so incredibly convenient. I'd hang out in the bars near Fenway, and get my dinner that way.”

“Smart. You were careful?”

“Yeah. No need to scare away my dinner. Strictly ‘catch and release’. I don't go to teen clubs—too druggy.”

“Why did you leave Boston?”

“You didn't hear? A Slayer popped up in Southie six years ago. I'm evil, but I'm smart about it. Let the Master vamps fight the Slayers; I just want to get by.”

“And watch baseball.”

“Hell yeah. Hey—here's my SABR card. I contributed to the latest ‘Historical Abstract.’”

Terry whistled. “Well, you've been around.”

A young woman stepped up next to them. “Nineteen-eighteen, huh. I'm more of an Anaheim fan myself. It's an Angels thing.”

Terry turned to her. “Oh, Judas Priest. It's the Slayer.”

“Keep watching the game. Don't turn around.”

Terry transformed and tried to run, and Buffy Summers grabbed him by the neck and lifted him into the air.

“I told you not to turn around. And Brad, don't move.”

Brad said, “Can we wait just one more half-inning?”

“I guess. What's it going to be, Terry?” Terry snarled, and Buffy slammed a stake into his heart. Terry dusted away. “That's what happens when you break the rules.”

Albert Pujols singled to start the bottom of the ninth, but the next batter made out.

Brad looked at Buffy. He was quite surprised, and he said, “I thought you were dead.”

“That's a long story that you'll never get to hear.”

“Why are you waiting?”

“One of the few things I remember from High School. Mark Twain was born with Halley's Comet in the sky, and he always thought he would die with it in the sky, and that's exactly what happened. I figure it won't do any harm to wait.”

“But the others here?”

“All gone.”

Quietly, the two turned back to the television set. No one was left to disturb them as Edwards struck out, and then Edgar Renteria grounded out to the pitcher to end the game. Brad gave one final yell of “Yeah!” as Buffy watched indulgently.

Brad watched the television screen transfixed, with as much love as a vampire could ever have, as the victorious Red Sox congregated in the infield, as the fans at St. Louis paid tribute, and as the World Series trophy was presented to the winners. Finally, Brad turned to Buffy and said, “Tarry delight, so seldom met.” Buffy nodded, said, “You're not so bad, Brad,” and staked him.

Buffy turned, and walked out.

---

Author's Note: “Tarry delight, so seldom met,” besides its place in the Faust story, is the opening line of the greatest baseball article ever written, Agincourt and After, Roger Angell's New Yorker piece on the 1975 World Series, and the only possible epigraph:


I suddenly remembered all my old absent and distant Sox-afflicted friends (and all the other Red Sox fans, all over New England), and I thought of them — in Brookline, Mass., and Brooklin, Maine; in Beverly Farms and Mashpee and Presque Isle and North Conway and Damriscotta; in Pomfret, Connecticut, and Pomfret, Vermont, in Waland and Providence and Revere and Nashua, and in both the Concords and all five Manchesters; and in Raymond, New Hampshire (where Carlton Fisk lives) and Bellows Falls, Vermont (where Carlton Fisk was born), and I saw all of them dancing and shouting and kissing and leaping about like the fans at Fenway — jumping up and down in their bedrooms and kitchens and living rooms, and in bars and trailers, and even in some boats here and there, I supposed, and on the back-country roads (a lone driver getting the news over the radio and blowing his horn over and over, and finally pulling up and getting out and leaping up and down on the cold macadam, yelling into the night) and all of them, for once at least, utterly joyful and believing in that joy — alight with it.

The End

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