Clinging to Sanity
I used to think that I could deal with strange and unusual but I've just learned that that's a matter of degrees and I think I'm out of my depth here.
When I first arrived in Prospect Ave. I saw a pretty average looking building, in an average looking neighborhood, in an average looking city. I rode an average looking elevator and then I found myself in a place that was anything but average... of course I didn't know that at the time.
I've been friends with Rupert for a few years now. I met him shortly after Ahriman was defeated. I needed some answers both for Mac and for myself... it was a shock to discover that the slayer's mentor is also known as a watcher. Of course, their names and their operatives' titles were just about the only things both councils had in common. For starters Immortal Watchers watch --Slayer Watchers are more like active participants-- and our respective charges are pretty much in opposite ends of the spectrum. I never really appreciated that fact until I arrived here in Cascade. Immortals are usually old --some are even ancient-- and they are sterile so there are rarely any children involved in their lives. Even young Immortals such as Richie --who was not much older than Buffy when he died-- seem aged somehow. Slayers are basically children who are doomed to die and will never have a chance to grow up... or at least they were until very recently, I suspect that's no longer the case.
The thing is that through most of my adult life I've had almost no contact with children. I have nothing against them in small doses but when I arrived here I was somewhat unprepared for Rupert's unruly bunch. They are not what I was expecting of a group of warriors who have averted the apocalypse more than once. They are loud, opinionated, irreverent and certainly not inclined to bouts of brooding but what I found most disturbing is how young they are. I knew this but it hadn't fully registered. I couldn't help but think that if most of them were to come into my bar they would certainly be carded.
They are incredibly young and at times I fear they may have more power than sense. After all, they have defeated a number of demons far worse than Ahriman over the years and that one almost managed to destroy Mac even after it was vanquished... and to this lot I sent the world's oldest Immortal. Once I met them I feared for my life. If I had been in the Old Man's shoes I would have wanted to kill me. They are nice kids but I suspect I'd need a dictionary in order to understand what they mean ninety percent of the time and yet Methos seems to feel right at home. As he says, he's been 'assimilated'... and something in the way he said it --not to mention some of their reactions to that comment-- makes me suspect that there was a hidden meaning there too.
That was another shock, that they would know the Old Man as Methos. When I asked him what happened to Adam Pierson he simply shrugged and told me that he had lasted for about five seconds under their scrutiny... which is disturbing in itself considering that he managed to fool the whole Watchers organization for a good ten years and even now they don't have a clue as to who he really is.
I met Rupert a few years ago and even though we hit it off almost from the start sometimes I'm not entirely sure how he manages to put up with his kids, but he is truly fond of them... and I remember how excited he was when he first met Blair. He has been more successful in establishing a relationship with him than I've been in building some sort of bridges to Amy, though I suspect Blair's nature had a role to play in that. Unlike Amy, Blair was almost eager to welcome his father into his life.
The thing is that I had heard a number of stories about him but I had never met him. I knew he was an anthropologist/cop but up until today I had no idea that he was also a shaman. That was one secret Rupert had never trusted me with. It's strange how --even growing up without knowing anything about his father's job or identity-- Blair managed to end up involved with the supernatural on his own.
Right now I'm wondering how many different forms the supernatural can possibly take and I'm not entirely sure I really want to know. What I've seen and learned today --out of the mouths of babes, in a sense-- has been truly mindboggling. I can hardly believe that only a few years ago I refused to acknowledge the existence of demons and now I'm surrounded by a group of children who have made it their duty to fight them.
It is too much and the truth is that I really need a drink --a stiff one, not a beer-- so I rule out the Old Man's place and opt instead for Rupert's loft. He opens the door, gives me a knowing look and then he hands me a shotglass and a less than half full bottle of Scotch without a word... so he does realize that his kids are enough to drive even the most devout Muslim to drink. I pour myself a shot, look at the tiny glass I hold in my hand and he tells me to go ahead, that he has done it himself more than once. I thank him with my eyes, carefully set the glass back down on the table and I take a big gulp straight from the bottle.