My Son's Not A Watcher
I always said that if I ever had a son he would be free to choose his path, that he would not be forced to follow the family tradition, that he would not be forced to become a Watcher. I knew those were abstract dreams. I knew from the very beginning that I was meant to have only one child, one daughter, my slayer... and I always knew I was meant to bury her someday.
Funny how wrong a man can be. Now I'm sitting on a plane headed north trying to figure out what I'll do once I land and if I were to be honest with myself I'd have to admit that I'm terrified. I booked this flight on impulse, knowing that if I stopped to think about what I was going to do I'd lose my nerve. Vampires and demons I can handle, a coming apocalypse is not a problem, but this...
It was less than three weeks ago that I received one of the biggest shocks of my life while I was at the Magic Box. I saw a red headed woman walk in. She looked familiar but I couldn't quite place her, not at first. She had come in looking for some candles... it wasn't until I heard her voice that I recognized her and it was even longer before she recognized me. It's hard to say who was more surprised. We hadn't seen each other in over thirty years and I couldn't help but notice that she was still as beautiful as she was at sixteen, perhaps even more so... time has been kind to her.
When we first met she was hitchhiking through Europe, trying to find herself, exploring the world and everything it had to offer. I was a bookish kid who was just beginning to resent his destiny and she was a free spirit. I envied that, it was a freedom I had never known, a freedom I thought I would never know. She was everything I wanted to be and when she called I followed. We only had a couple of days and we both knew it. She was my first love, silly as it sounds. Perhaps that's why I could recognize her over thirty years later when she came into my shop.
We spent hours talking, trying to share a lifetime over a cup of tea, and I hated my secrets more than ever. I hated being reduced to half truths, as I almost always am. She was still as open as I remembered her... or at least she was until she mentioned her son. After that she suddenly clamped up. I wondered about that since it was so completely out of character but I decided not to push it. What we shared had been special for me but after so many years I knew I didn't have the right to ask any questions. It was a wonderful afternoon, and then we parted ways promising to stay in touch yet knowing that we wouldn't.
I don't know what happened then, what made me ask for Willow's help. Perhaps I've spent too many years chasing mysteries to let one get away, perhaps it was some sort of instinct, but for some reason I wanted to know more about Naomi's son and I knew the answers would not be in my dusty volumes but in that infernal machine. It took Willow less than ten minutes to provide me with an answer and when she did she turned my whole world upside down. I could see what it was that Naomi hadn't wanted me to know, what she had kept from me. I may be more comfortable with demons than with numbers but I can count and I knew what her son's date of birth meant.
It took me a couple of days to work through my confusion and my sense of betrayal enough to feel happy about it, even longer to go back to WIllow and ask her to find out everything she could about one Blair Sandburg. I could see she thought it was an odd request, but she didn't ask any questions and she did as she was told. What she came up with was a puzzle. Blair had been a child prodigy, then his career was destroyed when he confessed to academic fraud and finally he had joined the police force where he was working as a detective. There were a couple of things about that story that just didn't add up. First of all his background made the whole notion of academic fraud seem absurd. He was obviously a young man who didn't need to falsify his dissertation, but what I found most disturbing was how could a self confessed fraud go on to become a successful detective in a matter of months. Upon closer scrutiny I found my answers... the fraudulent paper had dealt with tribal guardians, sentinels as some call them. Willow had even managed to get me a copy of that paper and as a Watcher I knew one thing: Every word in that paper was true, so why admit to a non-existent fraud? A photograph of Blair and his partner supplied by a local newspaper was all the explanation I needed.
Blair is a guide, a shaman. He watches over a protector of mankind, a champion, just like I do. He guides him in his fight, just like I do. He deals with mystical forces, just like I do. My son's not a Watcher and yet --in his own, special way-- he is.