Xander stopped his pacing abruptly as the mental fog lifted and memory came flooding back. Gun shots, blood, pain! JON! Oh god, is he dead?! No one has said anything, he can’t be dead, he can’t!
Some part of Xander wondered at the freakage over this boy he barely knew, but the rest of him was too busy freaking. The brief respite he’d had from his wonky senses ended, and he crashed to his knees, clutching his head in pain as the sensory overload assaulted him once more. Oh God, not again!
* * *
As the doctor unlocked the door to Xander’s room, he turned to the Sunnydale group and the following Detectives, and cautioned them that they should not stay too long. “He’s calmer now than he was and I don’t want him to get agitated again. That goes double for you, Detectives”
“We understand, Doctor. We just need to see our friend and make sure he’s alright. This has been a very stressful time for all of us,” Giles said.
Blair assured the doctor, on his and Jim’s behalf, “We’ll keep it short for now, but we do need an initial statement.”
The doctor turned back to the room and swore as he saw Xander rocking back and forth on his knees, clutching his head and muttering to himself. He was about to call for the orderlies to restrain him again, when Blair pushed past him into the room and knelt down at Xander’s side.
“Detective! What are you doing? Don’t interfere with my patient!”
Jim held the doctor aside, and tried to spin a plausible explanation they’d used with hospitals in the past when he had been hospitalized in the past. “Let him help, doc. The boy has a condition that causes him certain difficulties and pain related to his senses and he came to Cascade originally because he’d heard of Blair’s meditation techniques that help with this condition.”
“There’s nothing in his charts, what condition, I’m not aware of any such thing…”
“Ah yes, well doctor, that’s part of his medical records from Sunnydale, we hadn’t gotten around to giving his medical history to your people yet…” Giles explained.
Meanwhile, while Willow and Buffy anxiously watched, Blair was bringing Xander down from the sensory spikes. “Ok Xander, I know it hurts. Listen to me and do what I say, ok? I want you to imagine 5 dials, like the volume dial on a radio or an old TV, with settings from 0 to 10, ok? Then label each one with one of your five senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch…..Really picture them, the size, colour, texture, and fix them firmly in your mind. Can you see them? Good, now look at the dial for Sight. Can you tell me how high it’s set right now?”
“9” Xander replied with a moan.
“Ok, that’s too high. Turn the dial down, feel it turning and as it clicks past each number, feel your sight returning to normal, the irises of your eyes shrinking to normal size until there’s no more pain. Where’s the dial now?”
“4” Xander replied.
“Ok, let’s continue.” Blair guided him through the process for his senses of hearing, smell and touch, but left taste alone since it was not spiking, until Xander sighed in relief. Blair helped him to stand up and tried to help him to the bed, but now that the pain had receded, he was having none of it.
“Where’s Jon?” he demanded, advancing on the doctor.
The doctor stepped back, nonplussed. “Who?”
“Jon!” Xander growled. “The other boy, the one shot in the stomach? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HIM?” he shouted, his eyes flashing momentarily green.
Alarmed, Jim stepped in front of the doctor to block the boy, and tried to get in between him and Blair. “Blair, get behind me!”
“Jim, don’t overreact, he’s just-”
“I don’t care, he’s dangerous!”
Buffy pushed her way in between Jim and Xander. She recognized that green flash of the eyes, and was intent on not only protecting them from Xander, but Xander from himself and from this Jim guy. “Giles, do you have that de-possession spell handy?!” Jim and Blair looked at her as if she was demented. She snorted. “What, you can accept ghostly animal spirit guides but not magical possessions?”
Xander growled, “I’m not possessed!”
“Then why are you all GRR?” Buffy asked, baring her teeth and curling one hand in a claw-like manner. “You’re also kinda strong again, like the last time,” she said, as she struggled to hold him.
“I.AM.NOT.POSSESSED!”He is telling the truth.
The Hyena said, appearing in the middle of the room. Looking at Xander, it said Pup, can I not leave you alone for even a moment?
“Eep!” eeped Willow. This time, even she and Giles saw the Hyena. Only the doctor did not.
“Oh look, it’s Xander’s very own Deuce Sex Mackinaw, come to save the day once more,” said Buffy in exasperation. This time everyone looked at her as if she was demented. The Hyena just cackled.
“His what?!” Giles asked, polishing his glasses.
“Deuce Sex Mackinaw: ‘an improbable character or unconvincing event used to resolve a plot.” See, I paid attention in English class! Though what a coat has to do with it, I never understood!”
Blair blinked. “Um, did you mean Deus Ex Machina?”
“That’s what I said!”
“No, you didn’t-”
The doctor, bewildered at the goings-on, looked around at them and commented “You are all crazy, aren’t you; no wonder the boy is a dangerous lunatic…”
A loud whistle pierced the air. Everyone stopped trying to talk at once and all looked at Willow, who had had enough.
“What she said or didn’t say is SO not the issue here, people! Calm down and let’s take things one at a time, shall we?”
“Yes, quite. First order of business…come here doctor.” Giles spoke to the doctor, pulling him to sit on a chair in the corner.
Confused, the doctor complied. Giles took a handful of powder from an inner pocket of his coat, blew it into the doctor’s face, and softly whispered “Oblivio.”
Blair observed this in fascination. Jim felt the hairs on the back of his neck prickling. “What the hell did you do to him?” he demanded.
“Don’t worry, gentleman,” Giles tried to reassure them. “He hasn’t been harmed. He will simply not recall the events in this room. His mind will construct some plausible and harmless memory…It’s a rather useful yet simple spell actually, Watchers have to use it from time to time, when ‘normal’ people cannot handle the supernatural.”
“That’s fascinating, I’d love to learn more, what are Watchers, can I learn to use these spells-”There he goes into geek mode again.
“Chief! Not the time or place for this. You, Mr. Giles, keep your powders to yourself, no messing with our minds!”
“Oh no, Detective Ellison, I wouldn’t dream of it. We are here for your help, after all, and you can hardly help if you don’t know something about what we’re all dealing with.” Nevertheless, he kept his hands out of his pockets, so he wouldn’t alarm the man any further.
Xander continued to struggle with Buffy, and demanded impatiently to be let go. Willow, still in assertive mode, turned to him and shook a finger in his face. “That’s enough from you, mister! You sit down on the bed right now! This is my resolve face, I mean it!”
“But Wills, I have to find J-” he whined, but stopped struggling.
“Resolve face!” she said, pointing to her face.You’d better do as she says pup. She looks determined.
Hyena said, cackling still as he walked up behind her. Xander gave up in defeat and sat on the bed, Buffy hovering beside him in case he bolted.
Willow eeped again. “And-and-you…Mr. Hyena sir” she babbled somewhat nervously “explainwhatyousaid.Hemustbepossessedesallgrrrandstrongandstuff-”As I told the Pup before, the Primal that possessed him is no longer within him, but she left her gifts behind. The increased awareness, certain instincts, better than human strength, speed, stamina and agility. Not quite on the order of a Slayer, but not far below. He has full control of himself.
Blair asked, “So he isn’t a Sentinel then? The senses come from this possession?”I did not say that. It seems the boy has the Sentinel genetic marker, but it would have remained latent. The Primal caused it to become active, and coupled with the gifts She left behind, his senses may match your own Sentinel’s.
“I see. Thank you, honoured spirit, for enlightening us.” I like you, boy. If the Jaguar did not guard his Wolf so fiercely, I’d steal you for my pup.
Jim growled at this. “MY guide!”
Blair just blinked, then stroked Jim’s arm reassuringly. “Hey Jim, it’s cool, I think that was a compliment. You know I’d never leave you.” Addressing the Hyena, he added, “You know better than to upset a bonded Sentinel with the thought of losing his Guide. Especially while in the presence of an unbonded Sentinel.”It was not intended as a threat, my apologies. I grow weary, and must return to the Temple to rest. I will say one thing more. The pup must be reunited with his Guide, soon. Or his mind will succumb and be lost in the void forever.
Xander looked scared at this. “Ok, what’s he talking about? I thought we were coming here for a cure, what’s all this talk about guides?”I’ll leave you to explain to the pup. You know where to go to find the Guide. Be warned, that one is stubborn and will need convincing that he has the gift. Be well pup, and try to stay out of trouble.
The Hyena cackled once more as it faded from view.
“I’m waiting for answers, somebody, please? I really don’t wanna end up in lala land again, especially not permanently!”
Buffy and Willow both hugged him and tried to comfort him. “Oh Xander!” “We won’t let it happen, Xan!”
* * *
As Blair explained to Xander what it meant to be a Sentinel, and how he would need a Guide to function, he thought furiously about the animal spirit’s words. He asked Xander about his experiences during the kidnapping, focusing on his reactions to Jon, while Jim took notes for the police file. I guess that confirms it. The other boy, Jon, is Xander’s Guide. They are going to need to bond.
Xander tried to organize the information he’d just been imparted. “Ok….so if I understand this right, I can’t be cured, I’m gonna be like this forever, ‘cause even if a depossession spell worked on the Primal’s so-called gifts, I am genetically a Sentinel, and magic can’t undo something that is natural.” Willow nodded in agreement at that.
“Ok, so you are a Guide, but although you can help me temporarily, this Sentinel-Guide thing is a one-on-one kind of deal, so I need my own Guide, especially ‘cause Mr. Growly-face over there looks like he’d kill me if I so much as look at you cross-eyed…”
“Correct. Only don’t worry about Jim, he’s just being his cranky alpha-male self, he wouldn’t hurt you,” Blair stated.
Xander let that slide, but glancing at the serious expression on Jim Ellison’s face, he knew better. “Ok then, so, lets go to Guides ‘R US and find me one….no? Ok, look “Guides” up in the Yellow pages, maybe?” Xander asked hopefully.
“Er, no, doesn’t quite work that way, Xander. Just as you have the Sentinel gene, a Guide will have the complementary gene that gives them the empathic abilities to sense their Sentinel’s needs and to guide the Sentinel’s abilities. It’s just as rare as the Sentinel gene.”
“I’m sooo screwed,” Xander moaned despondently.
“Actually, I think I know where we can find your Guide.” Xander’s head snapped up at that, and everyone looked at Blair expectantly.
“Well, who is it man?” Giles demanded.
“I think, judging by what Xander has said of his experiences, and what I’ve observed myself, plus what the hyena had to say-”
“Just spill, already!” Buffy demanded impatiently.
“His Guide is the other boy, Jon O’Neill.”
“Looks like we are taking a trip to Colorado.” Buffy declared decisively.
* * *
AN: Thanks everyone for the reviews and constructive feedback, it’s appreciated and I hope has helped me to shape the story into something enjoyable, hope you liked it.
Stay tuned for the sequel: Jon the Guide !