Who's a Sentinel?
Chapter Seven - Who’s a Sentinel?
----- Cascade, Washington
Xander called Blair from the road to let him know how far from town they were. This time it was a trip that he enjoyed taking because Spike was along for the ride. They were only hours away.
‘Who knew that he liked the schmaltzy theme parks
,’ he thought looking over to his sleeping companion with a fond smile. The vampire was snoozing in broad daylight because they had conned Angel out of one of his SUVs with necromancer dark glass, specifically made to prevent vampire flambé situations. It wouldn’t do for the CEO of Wolfram & Hart to burn during the much needed schmoozing trips to clients.
‘Big Bone Park was fun, although I don’t think that he should have gone around scaring the kids.
’ His thought had returned to their time in the park. He snickered softly when chanced a glance at the black t-shirt with the saying, I Lost My Yin Big Bone Park
They were planning a round-about trip to Cleveland and then back to L.A. They needed to pick up a couple of the girls from there to supplement the ones going to school and working full-time. It also provided the girls from that Hellmouth to have a vacation of sorts away from there.
“Hello,” Xander said softly answering his cell phone through the Blue-tooth feature.
“Xan,” Blair said. “I just called to find out if you have a place to stay.”
“We do,” Xander said. “I’m not sure if I explained, but I have someone with me who’s extremely photosensitive. We found a place that has a couple of underground rooms that we can block the sun.”
“Will you guys be stopping by tonight,” Blair said. “I really would like to know what you found out.”
“As soon as the sun sets,” Xander said.
“Wonderful,” Blair said. “I’m cooking tonight.”
“We’ll be there,” Xander said. “Just don’t cook anything that requires garlic. He’s allergic to that too.”
“Really,” Blair said with a laugh. “Sounds like he’s a vampire, look we’ll see you when you get here. Drive safely. Bye.”
“Bye,” Xander said.
“You didn’t tell them,” Spike said with his eyes still closed.
“Tell them what,” he asked.
“You didn’t tell them that you’re bringing a vampire with you,” Spike said.
Xander looked away, concentrating on the road. He considered his answer. “You know that Jim is a human with enhanced senses,” he said glancing at the vampire who was nodding. “I guess that I’m kind of testing him to see if he can sense you as a vampire.”
Spike narrowed his eyes and asked, “What if he does?”
“Then I’ll explain it to them,” Xander said. “You don’t have to stick around after that if you don’t feel safe there, but I think that Blair will have more questions for you and he can handle Jim.”
“What do you mean,” the vampire wanted to know.
“Blair’s his Guide,” Xander and then he explained everything that he had been able to find out about the whole Sentinel/Guide issue. It took him up until they reached their hotel.
“I know that we talked about it the first night we hunted, but you didn’t ask that many questions,” Xander said.
“Had more important things to do,” Spike said. “Killing that rock demon and going through his treasure was more fun.”
“I understand,” Xander said. “Let me get the keys to our room and then we can rest for a bit.”
Spike was rubbing his head again at the temples. “That’d be grand pet,” he said with a sigh. “Think your brother can help with these headaches.”
“We’ll see,” Xander said getting out of the vehicle.
He quickly got through the check in and turned down the offer of maid service for the next three days. He did say that he’d pick up clean towels, should he see the maid in the hall. The management was used to such requests and made a note about it in the maid’s service book.
He drove around the back where there was enough shade between the door and the vehicle that he ducked quickly and was down the stairs heading towards their room. They had no choice about the room because the hotel they were in catered to demons with the vampire’s special allergy
and so they had to share.
It wasn’t a problem for either of them, as they were used to it. They rested for a couple of hours before heading to Jim and Blair’s place on Prospect.
Jim was pacing, while Blair was trying to meditate, but Jim’s pacing was throwing off his chi that he couldn’t do it very well and in the end he gave up.
“Jim,” Blair said. “Please will you settle down? They’ll be here shortly.”
“Why couldn’t he just have told you over the phone,” Jim said. “Why does he have to come here, bringing some stranger with him?”
“What’s going on here Jim,” Blair asked. “You’re almost acting like Alex is back in town and we know that she isn’t.” He paused and then said, “Do you think that another sentinel is coming our way? Oh, man can you imagine what that means? That’s, that’s... so not cool.”
“I hear you Chief,” Jim said. “Something feels wrong about this one so I’m not sure it’s a Sentinel. They’re here and so’s...” Before he could even finish his sentence, Blair was at the door welcoming the one-eyed man that they had met several months back. Next to him was another man in a leather jacket and died bleach-blond hair.
“Hey Xander,” Blair said. “Come on in. The both of you are welcome.” That was enough to get Spike in through the door without the normal barrier.
Xander shook his head and said, “Blair what did I tell you about inviting people into your home, especially when they’re a stranger to you.”
“I know, I know,” Blair said holding up his hands. “But it’s you.”
“I could have been vamped,” Xander said. “You wouldn’t have stood a chance, if I was turned.”
“I don’t believe that,” Jim said in a grumbling voice.
“You don’t believe in vamps,” Spike said. “You should.”
“There’s no such thing as vampires,” Jim said. There was something about this man that was off and he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was that was jarring his senses.
“Jim,” Blair said. “Why don’t you go check on the BBQ?” Jim headed out the door, as his roommate said, “You’ll have to forgive him. His senses are bothering him today and we can’t figure out why.”
“Does that happen often,” Xander asked, sitting down on one of the couches in the room.
The vampire joined him, choosing to sit away from the other new humans in the room. His nerves were jangling too and he couldn’t figure it out. He had seen the books that Harris had on Sentinels and for some reason he was beginning to suspect that something had gone wrong with his return. It was only when he was in the presence of Xander that he felt settled or at peace, but only for a short while.
His own personal senses were active enough that he was used to it, but there were days that the whelp had to pull him out of them because he was in too deep. He had never heard of such a thing happening to a vampire before, although, he did recall a time when he had been overwhelmed in the beginning, but he had Dru back then.
“Not too often,” Blair said. “That’s why I’m around. I help to Guide him through the more difficult... Jim what are you doing?”
Jim had come back into the room and grabbed Spike by his collar. He was lifting him up off the ground. In a move too quick to be seen by normal humans, Spike reversed the position and growled. His face hadn’t shifted, but he wanted to. They all noticed the flash of yellow in the blonde’s eyes.
“How can you hold him up?” Blair asked. His partner was a big man.
“Blair,” Xander said. “He’s a vampire.” He turned to Jim and said, “I’m guessing that you finally figured out that he doesn’t have a heart beat.”
Jim nodded with difficulty.
“Spike put him down,” the one-eyed man said going up to the vampire and putting his hand on the brow where the vampire ridges normally appeared. He petted gently drawing the attention away from the violence the vamp wanted to do. “He’s human and needs that little thing called air. Spike, listen to my voice, listen to me, put the man down.”
Slowly Spike exhaled an unneeded breath and put the larger man down. He loosened his grip, but it wasn’t enough for Jim to get into a sound attacking position. However the man was down as asked.
“Spike,” Xander said and the vampire turned his head to look at him. He was jarred back from whatever had been bothering him by the fact that the dark eye-patch was out of place for him. He let the larger man go.
“Har… Xander, please,” Spike said shakily. “Don’ know what’s goin’ on? It’s never been this bad before.”
“Come and lie down,” Xander said sitting down and patting his knee for the vampire to lay down his head. It was a habit that they had recently developed, which helped Spike get his strange senses under control. However this was the first time that Spike basically admitted that there was something wrong.
“Blair can you get my coat, please,” he said. The Shaman did as asked and watched with a deep interest as to how Xander handled the issue of the vampire’s overloaded senses.
Spike’s head was now lying in Xander’s lap and the human’s coat now covered the head that rest there, hiding the sound and light inside a familiar comforting smell. “Easy, take a deep breath and let it out,” he said soothingly. “We’ll figure this out.”
“Does this happen often,” Blair asked. “If he’s what you say he is, doesn’t he have enhanced senses already?”
“Blair,” Jim said. “Are you really going to believe this?”
“Do you sense that he has a human heartbeat or even one at all?” Xander asked.
Jim focussed on the lump hiding under the jacket. “No,” he said shaking his head. “I don’t even see that much of a heat signature coming from him like I do with the rest of us.”
“Easy Jim,” Blair said. “Don’t go too deep.”
“I’m fine,” Jim said. “Aren’t you the least bit concerned that we have someone dangerous here. He attacked me.”
“Only after you attacked him,” Blair pointed out. “He wasn’t doing anything other than sitting there politely.” He did look sheepishly at his roommate and said, “I guess I shouldn’t have invited him in.”
“Don’t worry,” Xander said keeping his tone soft as not to cause any more pain to Spike. “I can do a spell that will dis-invite him. Just be cautious in the future, although I don’t think that you’ll have anything to worry about.”
“Why do you say that?” Jim asked, wondering just what he was supposed to do now. His senses were telling him that he was in the presence of another Sentinel, but this one was apparently a vampire.
“I’ve traveled through a lot of big and small towns during the past two years,” Xander said. “You’re perhaps the only human I’ve met with all five senses that are hyper-active, but I have met loads of people with three and four heightened ones. They were the protectors of their towns and there was next to no demonic activity in those towns either.”
“Really,” Blair said getting interested in this information. “That’s interesting, but what about Spike?”
“He’s different,” Xander said. “Always has been. Do you have any advice for me on how to help him?”
“Sure,” Blair said while Jim set the table. “Get him to pictures dials or knobs and place a value on them, except maybe in his case one to twenty rather than one to ten.”
“I’m guessing that Jim’s dials have a one to ten value because he’s human,” Xander said and he received a nod from Blair. “All right give us a few moments. Oh here, take a look at this.”
He handed the Shaman an envelope that had obviously been opened professionally. He quirked his head and said, “I’ll read that in the kitchen, while you take care of him.”
“Thanks,” Xander said leaning down to whisper to the huddled vampire. “It’s mind over matter Spike. Now please picture a set of dials, wheels, levers, knobs or any mix you like. Just make that you assign one of your senses per device,” he coached.
Blair was letting them be while he read the DNA results showing him that he was not an only child anymore. He had a brother, a sibling, someone who… ‘Is a Guide just like me,
’ he thought looking at the progress that Xander was making with his friend. ‘Jim was right, Xander is a Guide
He turned to look at Jim. He walked over to the man who was having difficulty with the whole vampire situation and his jangling senses. “Jim,” he said. “You are awesome, man.”
Jim looked down at his partner. “Oh yeah,” he said grinning. “How so?”
“You knew that Xander was a Guide the first time we met him,” Blair said. “You also know that Spike is somehow a Sentinel and something else. Also you didn’t call the cops or anyone that you could have come to deal with this.”
“He didn’t attack us when he could have,” Jim said. “I could tell that there was something off, but I can also tell that he needs our help. As long as you’re not planning to be his Guide, then I think I’m going to be fine.”
“Xander’s his Guide,” Blair said with certainty. “Xander’s also my half-brother, have a look at this.” He held out the results of the DNA test proudly.
“How old is he,” Jim asked.
“Same age as me,” Blair said. “Why?”
“He seems younger,” Jim said. Blair only shrugged and walked over to the other two to see how they were doing.
Xander had finally managed to get Spike out from under his jacket. He stood up to go to the washroom, while the vampire made his apologies, well in his own round-about way.
“Oi,” Spike said calling the attention of the other two men in the room. “Look guys, I ain’t one to make apologies to no one. If it weren't for the whelp there I wouldn't be sayin' nothin' to the two of you, but he made a good point. I chose to come here and should have, well you know... and you don't know about vamps either, so I'll cut you some slack. I don't rightly know what's been going on with me own senses." He looked at the two men who had helped him by getting the one-eyed man to do it. "It feels like I'm a newly made vamp. There's no other way to describe it."
Xander came back to join the conversation. "It's true that vampires consider humans to be food," he began to explain a bit of history. "They also tend to be the most human looking of demons that I seen and can fool us, depending on how old they are. The older they are the more devious they are." He paused to think about something and then asked, "You felt like this when you were newly turned?"
"Yeh," Spike said. "Sire's blood mostly calmed it down, but I always used it to me own advantage. Helped get me and Dru out of some tight spots. Though I mostly let her do it with her cards and visions, since she could see the type of thing we needed to get away from."
"What about before you were... um... turned... is that the right term for it?" Blair asked. He received a nod to confirm this information. "Before you were turned, when you were still a human, did you have senses that spiked? Were you able to see things that no human could see or hear things that you knew no human would?"
Spike had been pacing because he needed a cigarette, but the taste of them was no longer fun for him. His sense of taste had changed, but it did make the bagged blood taste horrid, even if it was human blood. He looked up at that question and then paused to think back to the time he had been human.
"Yeh," he said. "There were times when I was but a lad and me mum had just finished making a meal. I knew to come home. She never had to call for me or wait for me to remember to come home. There was a few times that I heard what the neighbours were sayin' an' doin'. I knew it was impossible to hear those particular ones, but I ‘eard ‘em."
"Why was it impossible?" Xander asked.
Spike took an unneeded breath and said, "They were living ten doors down from us, which is about three to four blocks away, in your American terms."
Jim wasn't one for talking and in this particular case he didn't need to because partner was curious enough to ask a lot of questions. He turned to look at the man that was will to travel across the country with a vampire willingly and wondered how they came to be connected. He was also convinced that the man was younger than Blair, at least mentally, if not in reality.
He stood up and did his best to keep at least two of his senses focussed partially on the others, while he made sure that the meal got completed. He was startled when someone asked, "Anything I can do to help?"
Xander had walked up to him and he never sensed it. "Not much to do," Jim said. "You can take these things to the table."
"No problem," Xander said.
"Why aren't you out there with them," Jim asked.
"Topic has changed," Xander said. "Blair is asking about other types of demons and the near apocalypses that we've prevented. You looked a little out of your depth and I know busy work when I see it. I was the king of busy work, so I never had to answer those types of questions. Besides Spike likes to show off his knowledge and he definitely knows more than me about various demons and such."
"Are there really that many different demons in the world," Jim asked. "Do you think that they'd come here?"
"Yes there are many types of demons in this world," Xander said. "There are as many varieties, as there are human cultures. The demons vary in personality and type. There are hunters and then there are the refugees, as I call them. Those are the ones that want to live a peaceful in this dimension because something happened in their own that made it difficult to stay. They blend in with natural abilities or magic and usually try to avoid conflict with humans at all costs."
"How much do you really want to know?" Xander asked with a pointed look. "Humans can turn blind eyes to events around them very quickly and most times it’s in relation to other humans doing bad things because they don't want to be involved. If they see any demon involvement, well it’s worse because humans make up excuses when something unexplained happens. Other dimensions, hell dimensions, are a part of that sightlessness. Do you really want to know?"
"I'm not sure about anything anymore," Jim said. He called the other two to the table. "Let me think about that. Blair can help you Guide your friend, but I don't know what that means in vampire terms. He is going to be long lived, isn't he?"
"That's another matter for another day," Spike said. "I've had a handle on me senses before and I will again."
"I don't want to think about that right now," Xander said at the same time.
"So," Blair said between mouthfuls of a Sentinel and vampire friendly meal, no garlic. "You're truly my half-brother." Xander smiled and got a smile in return. "That can only mean that we have a common parent." The one-eyed man nodded. "Well are you going to tell me?"
"Tell you what," Xander said.
"Did you find your biological father?" Jim asked. "That was your quest when we met you. Have you been able to locate him?"
"Not yet," Xander said. "I've had all the likely suspects tested, although there is one that I can't get tested because the man's dead." He paused and then said, "Well he apparently died during a drug bust, so maybe there's some DNA in evidence. I don't know that I want to know if he was the one because that's just ugh."
"Ugh?" Jim said. Blair chuckled at that and Spike just snorted, keeping his laughter inside.
“My mom couldn’t let him go,” the one-eyed man explained. “She returned to his bed several times, even long after she left her parents and started traveling with Naomi. I still can believe that they both slept with him.
I’m keeping that one on hold until I know the results of the last living man.”
“You should have had them by now,” Jim said.
“I have them here,” Xander said. He pulled out two unopened envelopes and handed one to Blair. “They sent the results at the same time and I can’t tell which is which.”
Blair gulped audibly. “You mean,” he could barely continue. “You knew that the others weren’t related to you before you sent this one in for testing?”
“That’s right,” Xander said looking at the envelope in his hands. “I had a feeling that I should send them together, but I waited for the final test to come back.”
“Well don’t just sit there looking at it,” Spike said. “Open the bloody thing, so’s we can get on with this Sentinel thing.”
“All right,” Xander said. His hands were shaking slightly, but that was nothing to the turmoil in Blair’s mind.
All his life Blair had wondered who his father was. Was he a good man or a bad man? Did he have any gifts of some kind? His answer of who the man is was only an envelope away.
(...i...) I don’t know how the results actually do show up, but I was trying to keep it simple and make it look right and sound like it came from a C.S.I. episode more than something from reality.