: Series finale of Buffy. No real spoilers for Anita BlakeDisclaimer
: The Buffyverse belongs to Joss Wheadon et al. AB belongs to Laurell K. Hamilton. I'm only borrowing and will return them at the end of the fic.Summary
: When a Slayer died in Cleveland in the late 80s, her Watcher moved to St. Louis and joined the police force. Years later, he attends a lecture given by the oldest living Slayer and re-lives unwanted memories.Author's Note
: We assume that Zerbrowski is about thirty-six. The Hellmouth was closed a few years ago, just before Addison v. Clark.
Zerbrowski hadn't wanted to go to the lecture at all.
Go on, Dolph said. An afternoon off with pay. The department would even spring for lunch. How often do you get to hear a talk by the West Coast's leading vampire executioner?
So that morning, Zerbrowski had woken up and taken his son's dog for a walk in the rain. He'd gotten home, showered, made himself a cup of coffee, dressed carefully and driven to the conference centre to hear the lecture on recent developments in preternatural forensic methods given by Buffy Summers, vampire executioner for the State of California and federal marshal.
As Zerbrowski settled down in his seat in the auditorium, he wished that he'd called in sick. He no more wanted to sit through an hour with the Slayer-Who-Lived than stick his hand in a blender. As he watched Ms. Summers' smiling face at the lectern, he thought of his own Slayer, and despaired.
He never meant to be a Watcher, even though it was what he was born to.
It was the old man's gig, after all. Although the last name had a distinctly Eastern European bent, the Zerbrowskis had been in England for a little over two hundred years. Zerbrowski's mother, an American, had met the old man while she was at Oxford in the late 1960s. They'd gotten married for some reason and while Zerbrowski had been born in America, he lived for the first couple years of his life in a dingy one-room walk-up in London.
His mother never told him why she left the old man. But just before Zerbrowski's third birthday, she'd packed up her son and moved them both back to Cleveland. She'd gotten married again, and Zerbrowski soon found himself with a bundle of half-siblings. His step-father had been a good guy, decent to his wife's first son. The step-father had stood up for Zerbrowski at his wedding and still came bearing presents to the kids' birthdays.
Zerbrowski hadn't heard from his father until he was seventeen. It had been the eighties, pastel clothes and big hair. Last year of high school, and everything was so wild.
Zerbrowski left school one day to see the old man waiting for him. He looked older, but since all Zerbrowski had seen of the man in fifteen years was an ancient photograph, that was to be expected.
They had gone for a burger. The old man explained he'd been in South America. Zerbrowski hadn't really cared.
What are you going to do after high school? the old man had asked. Zerbrowski shrugged and gave the usual response. College.
The old man offered him an alterative. How would you like to join an organization that helps to protect the world from the darkness?
At first, Zerbrowski was sure it was a rather poor-taste joke. Sure, he knew about vampires and werewolves and magical types. Who didn't? The old man explained that he was part of this organization, the Watchers, who helped the 'chosen one' rid the world of demons.
Almost against his will, Zerbrowski asked who the chosen one was. Bruce Lee?
When his old man told him that the chosen one was invariably a teenage girl, Zerbrowski realized that the man must be insane. He'd stood up a little too quickly and lied about having to get home. He'd remembered to toss a few bills on the table for the burger.
His father hadn't followed him out.~*~