: Any Given Tuesday Author
: Mhalachai~*~Chapter Thirteen
Four days after the full moon, Dawn carefully read over the typed statement she had dictated to the police about the night of Noah's arrest, and signed her name at the bottom.
"Excellent," Zerbrowski said, placing the statement in the folder. "Filing charges on your attack makes for a perfect day." He closed the folder and considered it. "I need one of those big red 'Case Closed' stamps."
"No one ever really used those," Dawn said, sitting back in the uncomfortable chair by Zerbrowski's desk. She looked a hell of a lot better than she had on the night Zerbrowski stopped by Anita's house with the Etruscan translation. "I hear you cracked another big case yesterday?"
"Indeed, with your help," Zerbrowski said with a smile. "Thanks to your speedy translation, we figured out who would be trying to buy the artifacts from the vampire exhibition. It's all wrapped up nicely."
Dawn smiled back at Zerbrowski, then looked at her hands, clenched in her lap. "So what happens to Noah now?"
Zerbrowski straightened the file on his desk before he answered. "Callahan got him a good lawyer, and the surgery got out the silver knife tip lodged against his rib. He should recover in time, and if anyone can get him a light sentence, it's that lawyer."
Dawn nodded, her eyes unfocusing for a moment.
"Are you okay with that?" Zerbrowski said.
"Not really," Dawn confessed. "They still won't tell me who Chimera was, or what Corey may have done to piss him off so much. I've been thinking, about all the stuff Corey and I did, and it didn't hurt, you know, to think about all the good she did." Dawn raised her eyes to Zerbrowski, determination written on her face. "But Anita said she wouldn't let Noah near me again."
"Good," Zerbrowski said. "I didn't thank you, for saving my life by distracting Noah, that night."
Dawn quirked up the corner of her mouth in a half-smile. "Maybe I just wanted to smash a chair over the bastard's back," she said.
"Right." Zerbrowski leaned closer to Dawn, and spoke quietly in the loud bustle of the police station. "So, what was it like? Changing into a wereleopard?"
"Very... very strange," Dawn said. "Like nothing I ever felt before. I can't even figure out how to explain it to myself, let alone you or Buffy."
"You talked to your sister?"
"Yeah," Dawn said, smiling for real this time. "She called yesterday. Xander spilled the beans, like I knew he was going to.... but she wasn't mad. She wanted to know how I was, and stuff."
"What did you tell her?"
"That I was going to be okay," Dawn said. "I mean, it's not the life I thought I'd be living, but it's a life."
Zerbrowski smiled. How long had it taken him, after Enid died, to come to that realization? It might have been after Andy was born, when Zerbrowski watched Katie rocking their son to sleep. So many years, so much pain and also happiness, but so much still to live for.
Arnet breezed past Zerbrowski's desk. "We just got a call, need to head out," she said urgently.
"Of course," Zerbrowski grumbled. He stood up, pulling on his jacket. "I suppose I'll see you around, Summers."
Dawn stood as well. "Probably, I'm sticking around town."
"Right." Zerbrowski turned to follow Arnet, but whirled back around as something occurred to him. "Hey, Katie's having a birthday party next month. Why don't you come and bring Anita? Callahan, too, if he's talking to Anita any more."
"He's doing more than talking to her," Dawn said. "But really? Do you think Katie would want me to come?"
"One hundred percent," Zerbrowski said. He and Katie were working past their problems, which didn't really have as much to do with Dawn as Zerbrowski first thought.
"Zerbrowski!" Dolph shouted from the depths of the station.
Zerbrowski grinned conspiratorially at Dawn. "See you later."
"Bye," Dawn called after Zerbrowski.
And so it went, Zerbrowski reflected as he pelted down the hall. Solve one crime, no matter how big or small, and two more fall in your lap.
At least sometimes, and against all odds, the good guys won. The End