Disclaimer: The main characters are not mine, this is an amateur effort written purely for the fun of it, and no money has exchanged hands, and it is not intended to breach the copyright of Paramount and Pet Fly Publication
Thanks to Gail, and Olymn for your help and beta reading.
The Darkness of the Past
The light filtered through the sky light onto the bed below, Jim Ellison was tossing and turning, as in his mind the memories began to form and take shape.
The house was set back in its own grounds, the state of the art security system was on, but the owner knew it was not going to be enough. William Ellison looked at his watch, the Shaman would never arrive in time, the wards he had set on the house had already been breeched once, and now he had run out of time, the sun would be setting soon, and then it would start.
Seated at his desk he looked at the photograph in the silver frame, he was stood with his arms round a stunning raven haired woman, her hand holding his, when that had been taken he, no they had believed they had a life time a head of them, and that had been cruelly taken away.
Now tonight the horror would come, and that horror would have the face of the woman he love, and could now only bring death. William tried to control his breathing and keep calm for everyone's sake. He could not let his fears take control.
William looked up and tried to smile reassuringly at his oldest son, but Jimmy had picked up the increase in heart beat, and change in his scent, the scent of fear, and the words in his head mocked him. Then he realised that Jimmy was still waiting for an answer, there were times like this that he seemed beyond his thirteen years. His son the sentinel, the watchman, the protector; the genes that ran through his body made no allowance for age, the sentinel in the boy knew that a threat was coming, and William saw the subtle shift in Jimmy that showed the sentinel was coming forward.
"It's going to be all right, Jimmy, once this is over we will get on with our lives."
His son crossed the short distance between them and picked up the stake. His eyes had that other worldly look, that showed the sentinel had fully taken over from the boy, the imperative to protect the tribe burning through him. Then went back to take his place in front of his younger brother Stephen.
William looked at his watch again, how had it gone so wrong? Of course it had started three months ago; his business partner, Faulkner, had introduced them to master vampire Michael Grayson, who was also an alchemist of some ability. The man had come into his house, and there he had met Grace. He had swept her off her feet, and an affair had started soon after, he could see that now but at the time had he been blind to it until it was too late. But she had embraced the life of the undead and unlike some had chosen to be turned. Not long after that she had announced that she would be taking her children -- she wanted them to come with her to her new life, and that was the one thing that he could never allow.
He looked at himself in the mirror, one of the few that she hadn't destroyed in her effort to hide her transformation from him, when it had still been in its early stages. He was shocked to see how pale he looked, and how grey his hair had become. He had aged ten years in three months.
All he could do was push his feelings for her to the back of his mind. Hard because he had never stopped loving her, but if it meant protecting his children he would have to do it.
Jim Ellison woke with a start, and looked round, confused. He was standing on the stairs down to the living area of the loft, with a stake in his hand, the one he kept on the bedroom table when he slept.
He shivered, then slowly went down into the kitchen, and opened the top cupboard to collect a tumbler and a bottle of whiskey. He poured out a generous amount, and knocked it back. Sending out his senses he wrapped them round his guide, relaxing into the soft beat of his heart. He deepened them, and could hear the soft puff of breath from his lungs, he tipped his head and breathed deeply, he could smell the warm scent of his guide. Without conscious thought he padded barefoot to the doorway and looked in on his guide. Blair was barely visible under the pile of blankets and pillows that served as his bedding.
Just being near his guide calmed him, with a sigh, he went back to bed, glancing at his clock, he knew that next three hours were going to be an eternity. But he could not afford to fall asleep, because that would bring the dream back.
By the time Blair woke he was already out of the Loft.
Blair Sandburg was seated in his office, his fingers flying over the keyboard. The room was silent except for the rapid fire clicking of the keys, he paused only long enough to lean back and hit the play button on the machine, and the room filled with Chopec music. Then he returned back to his typing.
His life had taken an unexpected change of direction. While sitting out a suspension, he had been drawn to helping a police officer that he first seen when he had been caught up in a police raid on an unlicensed vampire nest.
He had gone as far as to impersonate a doctor to getting in the man -- correction -- the sentinel's room, to try and get him from a zone out.
The resulting few minutes contact had seen the sentinel begin to imprint on him, and from then on the man had refused to let him go. Now he was a guide to sentinel, something he had wanted all his life. Jim Ellison might look a nightmare of all my way or the highway, and god did the guy have loft rules, but there was another side to him that others would not believe. Like when he had travelled three miles out of his way to bring him a waterproof coat, or pick him up when his car broke down at two a.m. in the morning. Ellison was more that just his sentinel, he was fast becoming his best friend, and Blair was surprised by the warm feeling that flooded though him at the thought. For the first time in his life he was not alone.
Blair looked up as the door to his office opened and he shot to his feet, quickly pushing away from the desk and grabbing for the native club by the side of it, as he looked at the two men in front of him.
The smaller of the two looked as if he had heard of the pages of a fashion magazine but had somehow got it all wrong and what should have been sharp looked tacky. The man shook his head slowly.
"Is that any way to greet a friend, Blair? You'd think he didn't want to see us, George."
The man-mountain with the newcomer just nodded, "Not friendly at all."
"What do you want, Barney?" Blair tightened the grip on the club, he did not owe them any money, he had won the last time he played the horses, and so it wasn't debt-collecting time.
Barney picked up one of the masks from the over loaded bookcase and turned it round in his fingers.
"Blair, Blair, you have to see it from our point of view. One minute you're a customer, we're doing business, and now you're a guide to sentinel cop, and we know that there is no such thing as a secret between the two of you."
George tapped the baseball bat in his hand, and the look was pure evil--the man was looking forward to this.
"I'm not going to tell him, Barney. Hell, the guy is that straight he would drag me into holding if he found out 'bout me playing the ponies, let alone the other stuff. Look man, I have too much to lose by blabbing to him."
Barney pulled a packet of cigarettes from his pocket, and flicked them across to Blair, who caught them. "He know about your little habit, Blair, how many packs a day do you get through? Now what would the-- " He broke off as a young student came through the door, she ground to a halt looking at the two men and than at her teacher, her gaze dropped to the blue and white packet in this hand, for a moment she hesitated then catching herself managed to give her message.
"Sorry, Mr Sandburg, I didn't know you were busy," she paused. "You said to tell you when it was class time." Then she added, "Are you okay?"
"Fine, Derry." He smiled to reassure her, then waved her away.
Only when she was gone, did Blair turn to Barney. "Ellison would take me apart if he knew that I had these things. I wouldn't be walking for a month, you get the picture?" He paused then added, "The guy has not got a good side."
The GQ thug nodded, "Just make sure it stays that way. Oh and Sandburg, maybe you should try being a little more submissive to his needs if you get my meaning. I hear that a sentinel who gets a little of the sweet stuff from his guide is easy to handle," he shrugged, "and you never know, we might be able to use Ellison."
Blair put in quickly, "Ellison's that straight they use him as a spirit level, you make a move on him, and you'll be in a body bag."
Barney's head moved in a small nod. "You know him best, just make sure you keep your mouth shut, Sandburg, or your kneecaps might just be a thing of the past, follow me?"
"Yeah, I follow."
When they left Blair sank down onto the chair, and buried his face in his hands. With a shuddering breath he pulled himself together. He pulled open the packet of cigarettes and tugged out one of the white sticks and then lit it up. For a second he looked at the glowing tip of the cigarette and then took a deep lung full of the smoke. Cigarettes had been banned soon after the war, when they had found out that for ghouls and demons the tobacco was like narcotics to ordinary people. As part ghoul he found the tobacco was like a kick-start to his system, it had been those white sticks that had kept him on his feet during the hectic mid term nightmare, and when he had been taking his MA. He pushed the packet into his jacket pocket and collected his notes. He had a lecture to give and it better be a good one. With a last pull on the cigarette he ground it out, and then hid the butt in an empty urn on his desk.
Blair leaned against the lectern and looked round at the sea of faces round him.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Sentinel Studies 101, I will also be taking you for Demonology 101. This course is not a walk in the park and anyone who thinks it is should pick up their books and leave now.
Blair waited a beat. "You will all pass, believe me, but it will because you have worked hard and handed your essays in on time. I will be in my office on Tuesdays been two and six, and Thursdays from eight till ten for any of you that prefer evenings. If you have a problem with an essay, I want to hear from it before you hand in your work. If you don't get the work in on time you better have a good excuse, oh and to members of my class that have their own death certificate that will not count as an excuse."
Then with a grin Blair continued, "Now the riot act has been duly read, we can get onto our course work."
"Our culture took a change of direction during the Second World War. The Nazi government, facing defeat, summed demons from the Dark Side. These began to sweep back the Allied forces, until Samantha D'Arcy, a Professor of Ancient History in Cambridge, England, brought forth the Magic of the Ages.
"She was the first Shaman in the modern sense, and through her, the Allies recruited from the ranks of the demons, vampire, warlocks and witches, anyone that would fight against the Dark Side. It is interesting that some of the beings that we associate with the Dark Side such as Vampires and Werewolves came forward to the side of the Shaman. Some, of course, did not; both sides then became equally balanced.
"It was then that the first of the Sentinels returned. It has been argued that they never went away, but simply were forgotten, and those that came on line, were mistaken for mental illness. But the Shaman brought them forward, and found for them their partners in the guides.
"We will during the course of the syllabus see the development of the sentinels and how they were recruited and trained. We will then move onto the current status. During this year we will have the opportunity to watch testing, and conduct some tests on sentinel members of the faculty who have kindly agreed to be our test subjects.
"Now if you will turn to the first page of your book, Sentinel 101."
Derry hesitated and then went to Dr Warner, her advisor; she knocked on his door, and then peered round the corner. "Dr Warner, can I speak to you, Sir?" She paused then added "It's about Mr Sandburg."
Warner waved her in.
The detectives of Major Crime were giving Jim Ellison a wide berth. While it was generally held that he had mellowed a little since his bonding, he was still hard and unyielding, with a temper that most people wanted to avoid, and today he seemed like a bear with a sore head. The message from the Deans office ordering one Blair Sandburg to attend a disciplinary hearing had arrived by email on Jim Ellison’s desk that morning, and his anger had been building all day. Some one was daring to suggest that they discipline his guide, and that would not be allowed, no one would interfere with their bond.
It was with a collective breath of relief that he finally left for home. Simon Banks, Captain of Major Crimes watched him go, if he did not improve its attitude tomorrow, he was going to have a serious one to one with his sentinel cop.
Three o'clock in the morning and the dream returned.
William Ellison looked across at his youngest son, he was asleep in the deep plush chair, his Winnie-the-Pooh bear clutched to his chest. His eyes tracked back to Jimmy, his throat already had the scars from his own mother's fangs. She had changed so suddenly she had had no control, and her hunger had taken her to try and feed on her eldest son.
Jimmy was pacing back and forward, and then he froze, William started up frightened that he had zoned, but then he spoke, his voice only had a slight tremor. "Mom's coming, I can hear her."
He moved closer to his brother his hand tightening on the stake.
"She's at the door, Dad."
Even as he said it, the door to the study opened, and Grace Ellison walked in the tall willowy blond haired woman walked with the grace of a predator. She had the arrogance of the undead.
"You're looking old, William," there was a sneer to the words, she touched her own hair, it was as dark as the day they had first met. She fixed him with a steely look, "Don't make things harder than they have to be, just give me my sons."
"Our sons," William snapped back, "and the answer is no."
"I can offer them so much more."
"You can only offer them death."
"Jimmy will have what he needs, Grace, he is a sentinel, he will have a guide, but not one of your creatures!" William all but spat the words at her.
"You leave me no choice," she turned and lunged towards the boys, just as her lover, Michael Grayson, came crashing through the window. William only had time to grasp the cross and thrust it to the vampire's face before the hands caught hold of him. The cross burned into the side of his face, and he screamed then threw William away from him, his hands clutching at his seared flesh.
Jim woke gasping for breath and bewildered, he was in his guide's room, the stake raised in his hand, looking down at his guide.
"Oh my god, no!" Jim hurried back to his room, and dropped down onto the bed, threw the stake at the pillow, and buried his face into his hand.
A slightly scratching noise on the skylight made his head snap up, for a moment he just looked up at the night sky, then his eyesight zoomed in and he could see a smeared palm print on the glass. Someone had been up there.
Jim pushed his sense out forming a sensory net round the loft, they reached out and caressed over his guide, before pushing against the edges of his territory. The warm vibration of the wards on the doors and windows reassured him that his territory had not been violated. All was safe.
Whatever had been out there was now gone.
Reluctantly he went back to sleep, leaving his sense on alert.
The dream came back the moment his eyes closed.
Grace pushed past her eldest son, she had known that to get him she would have to get Stephen first, but Jimmy spun using the momentum of the push to turn fast, his reflexes that of the sentinel and no longer the child. He stabbed the stake down into his mothers back even as her fingers grazed her Stephen's arm. She reared up, it had missed her heart but the wood had been steeped in holy water and garlic, and it began to smoke as it burned into her body. She backhanded him, her razor sharp nails clawing across his neck. Then she fled, following her lover out of the window.
William looked across the carnage of the room, Stephen was whimpering, but Jimmy still stood there his eyes burning brightly, the sentinel protecting his tribe.
Blair Sandburg, woke from his sleep, at the sound of his sentinel's voice, it was a voice coloured with fear, more the words of a child rather than a grown man.
Blair took the stairs to the upper bedroom, two at a time, Jim was thrashing in the bed, the night terror refusing to release its hold on him.
"Jim, come on man, you're okay now, everything is okay."
When words failed he leaned over him, and gave him a shake, and recoiled as a fist took him in the face. Blair staggered backwards, his feet catching in the bedding on the floor, and he went down. Jim moved so fast that Blair did not have a chance to do anything other than put a hand up as the stake arched down aiming for his chest.
The stake stopped just short of his body, the blank blue eyes suddenly sparked and recognition, then horror, flooded them, then Jim fell into a void.
As he come out of the void, the breath caught into his throat, Blair was knelt near him, concern on his face. "Easy, Jim, you're going to be all right," his voice was the voice of a guide. He tried not to flinch, as Jim reached up and pulled him down, so that his guide now blanketed him. His arms holding Blair close to him, tucking his head under his chin, as his hand coved over the smaller body, needing to know that his guide was all right.
There was pain in his voice, "I could have hurt you Blair."
Blair tried to ease up, only to be pulled back down and held even tighter.
"You didn't hurt me, Jim, you're my sentinel, and I should never have tried to have woken you that way."
This time Jim eased Blair face up so that they were almost nose-to-nose.
"But I did," it was simple and heart felt.
"This was an accident." He reached down and caught Jim's hand and lie against his face, drawing the powerful fingers over his forehead, and then down across his lips, and jaw, turning his face to maximise the contact.
Now the sentinel could feel the heat of the bruising, his eyes picking out the broken blood vessels, he nearly lost himself as his senses pulled in tightly. Then he came back to the deep-throated roar of the kick ass voice of his bonded guide.
"See, Jim, I'm all right." Blair yawned, his hand dropping to rest on the broad chest that pillowed him, the skin was cold. "We bond now, sentinel, nothing can hurt you in the bond, in the bond we are one." He lowered his head to rest back down on Jim's shoulder, his hand lightly stroking and comforting his sentinel. The connection between them began to burn brightly.
How Jim managed to get to his feet, and maintained his grip on him Blair would often puzzle, but the sheer strength and power of his sentinel was a source of awe, not fear, to him. He knew that although Jim could be formidable, and stoic to the point of giving people frost bite, he would never knowingly harm him.
Even as he pulled the blankets into better order, his sentinel was plastered against him, keeping him within arms reach, then the next thing he knew he was lifted up and laid down on the nest of blankets, and his sentinel was looming over him. Hands running over his face and body, mapping his guide through the ratty t-shirt and sweat pants that he wore as sleeping clothes. Only then did the sentinel lower his head, and then nuzzle at the juncture of his shoulder and throat, taking in his scent. An arm went round him, pulling him into the sentinel's arms. Blair opened his mind fully, pushing out with his empathy to link and join with his chosen one. With a heartfelt sigh, the sentinel's body relaxed as his mind swirled and merged with that of his guide. Blair felt Jim's hand move to rest over his heart, needing to feel his guide's life force, as he locked his senses on him.
The next morning, Blair was at the end of his tether. Jim was shadowing, as he moved round the loft, needing to be close to him, little touch to his shoulder and back. He had been reluctant to let him go. Even know he was stood watching him as he went into Hargrove hall. As if frightened that he would vanish if he left him alone for one minute. Blair made a mental note he had to get to the bottom of this.
The students concentrated on their teacher, he made the dry lectures interesting, and had a wicked sense of humour. The lecture finished they handed in their essays, a few students paused to try and explain their failure to complete all of the points. A few wanted to make appointments to see their teacher later.
Blair dropped them onto the lectern and looked up and grinned, as he saw the man seated at the back of the hall. With a bounce he took the stairs two at a time, heading towards his own sentinel. The man was stretched out in the chair with his eyes closed. Blair hesitated, and opened his mouth to call him, as he put his hand out, only to have Jim's hand wrap round his wrist, holding him.
He answered the question before it was asked "I heard you coming up the stairs, Chief, also you forgot I can track your scent." He glanced at his watch, and then stood up, only then releasing his hold. "And in twenty we have a meeting with your Dean." He added quickly as he heard the increase in the heart rate "Easy, Blair, no one is going to break our bond, I just need to explain to her."
"Er, Jim, she's not the enemy you do know that, I mean you don't have to go on a search and destroy with her."
"Of course I know that," Jim's voice was one of sweet reason, "she just has to understand that I won't stand for any one butting into my bond,"
"Sure Chief." Jim's hand petted his young guide, needing the contact with him. "Just as long as she keeps it civil." It was said with the bite of the fully bonded sentinel.
The meeting never got a chance to take place, before they could reach her office Jim's cell phone rang, and Blair found himself being towed towards the truck, they had a case and the sentinel needed his guide.
Simon waved them into his office in his hand he held an evidence bag, this was found at the body of Vicky Wells; she was an unbonded guide, and just eighteen years old. Her killers had removed her heart -- she was the second guide to die. The first had been another unbonded guide, Rupert Quinn, aged twenty-eight; apparently his powers had been too weak to bond. His heart had also been removed. So far they had kept the press off the case.
The moment the sentinel took the evidence bag and peeled it open, he seemed to freeze up, and began to tumble into a zone out.
Blair steadied the larger man. "Listen to me, Jim, you can hear my voice, you have to follow it back to me, I am your anchor. He caught Jim's hand and pressed it against his throat, "You can feel my pulse, my life force," he stepped right into Jim's space, "and taste my scent," and he breathed into the face of his sentinel.
"What the hell, Sandburg?" Simon came round the desk fast. The sentinel licked his lips, his tongue tasting the scent of his guide, and then his eyes opened, and for a moment he lost his balance, and Blair pulled him close, taking his weight.
Jim shook his head to clear the cobweb from his head, his eyes were fixed on Blair's, "I heard your voice, you called me back." There was wonder in his voice.
Blair's smile was slightly strained, "Comes with the job-description, man." He leaned his head forward and rested it on Jim's shoulder, allowing the sentinel to lower his head to rest it against his, knowing that it as needed, Jim needed to reaffirm their connection, the very thing that had saved his life.
Only then did Blair straighten up, keeping close, as he asked, "What did you zone on?"
But the older man did not want to answer, he just pulled Blair to him, and buried his face against his neck, needing to mask the other's scent with that of his guide. His mind refusing to put a name to the other.
"Okay, big guy, so it was a scent," Blair felt himself being hugged tighter.
"What we're going to do is sit you down and then take you back slowly."
"No." One word said with such emotions that Blair felt it like a blow to the stomach, his barriers were down and he had no defence against his sentinel's emotions.
Jim thrust him back, and for the first time ever Blair saw a look on his sentinel's face that boarder lined to panic, and then Jim was gone, the door swinging from the force of his exit.
"Sandburg," Simon only got as far as his name, and the younger man was already taking off after his sentinel.
Blair looked up and down the corridor, in time to see the door to the fire stairs closing. He pushed past the door carefully and found Jim with his back against the wall, eyes closed as he gained his control.
"Come on, man, we need to talk."
"What this Chief, psycho-babble 101?" The words cut deeply.
"No, Jim, this is your guide, and we need to talk."
"My guide, my keeper, my…" Jim trailed off, as he heard the intake of breath from Blair. He ran a hand over his face. "I am sorry, Blair, really sorry, I shouldn't take it out on you."
"Whose scent is it?" Blair put in gently, not demanding to know the answer, but at the same time knowing that this time Jim would tell him.
"I haven't smelt that scent for at least 25 years, but I would know it anywhere, it's my mother's."
"You said she was dead."
"Living dead, she got turned, and came after us." He paused, and took a deep breath, "looks like she's back."
Blair reached out to him, laying one hand on the sentinel's arm, the other on his shoulder, and then leaned into him. The instinctive response of a sentinel to his guide meant that Jim collected the smaller man in, nestling him against his chest, so that his head rested against Blair's. He tightened his grip as he openly scented him. Needing to feel their connection.
Higher up in the stairwell dark eyes stared down at the Sentinel and Guide, they flashed with barely suppressed anger, as it contemptuously spat one word, "Carnac!" Then turning on its heels the vampire disappeared through the door into the crowded corridors.
Slightly out of breath, Blair looked up, "Bond. We need to bond now."
Blair acted as he spoke, not taking no for an answer. Jim needed this, the man might resist but the sentinel needed to connect with his guide.
The Sentinel tugged out his cell phone as he pinned his guide to the wall with his body, it was like trying to fight an octopus, Blair's hands were everywhere, and he could feel the primal sentinel coming forward, the need to bond was beginning to replace logical thought. The Shaman of the City had called him Panther, that his guide was the Wolf, the two mythical guardians of the city of Cascade. But to achieve all that they could be, they must be ready to embrace the past.
The Panther could smell and heard his bond mate calling to him, but first the detective needed to apologise to his Captain.
Simon scooped his phone up, "Ellison." But before he could say anymore, in back ground, he could hear another voice, its tone, was deeper throated and husky, now commanding, then begging, and with a start he recognised Blair Sandburg.
Then the second voice was muffled, as Jim closed a hand over the speaker, and he heard the words faintly. "Easy, Blair, we bond soon."
"Have to now."
"Blair, don't even thing of doing that, you're my guide."
"Your guide, your territory." Simon had to strain his ears to hear the conversation, his mind told him to ignore it, but curiosity told him he had to keep listening.
Jim came back onto the phone, "I have to see to Sandburg, back in forty."
Then Sandburg must have done something because his usual unflappable detective's voice caught in his throat. "Two hours at the most." Then the phone was put down.
Simon reached into his desk and pulled out the Sentinel textbook, and flicking through the academic tomb he found what he was looking for Sentinel bonding. Settling back he began to read.
Looking up at the knock on his door he saw the bagel lady stood there, and smiled she was something to see; her dark hair and vivid blue eyes sparkled. "Captain Banks, Molly told me you always have a cinnamon bagel, just for you."
//The day is certainly getting better, the woman is stunning.// "Call me Simon."
The woman smiled back, "My name's Grace." She pushed the door closed then all Simon could see was her eyes, and he found himself falling forward into them.
The telephone brought him back to reality. He looked round wildly. He was sure someone had been in here, Simon rubbed at his eyes to try and clear them, it was then he noticed the evidence bag with the ribbon in it was gone.
Later that day.
Rafe looked across that the sentinel and guide pairing and shrugged, he was interested in them; word was that Blair was a ghoul, or demon, but the kid looked normal, and by the looks he was getting from the female staff, none of them took the rumour seriously.
The grad student was reading one of his textbooks, lost in it . Jim was reviewing his case files for the 'Twilight Killer', as the newspapers had dubbed him. Blair lowered the book and then tore the tab of the ice tea he had brought from the bagel lady, and took a drink. The moment it hit the back of his throat he spat it out.
Jims turned and was immediately at his guide's side, Blair was in pain, he grabbed a bottle of water of Rafe's desk, and pushed it into Blair's hand as he gulped it down and then spat it out into the waste paper bin.
Simon was out of his office, as he could hear the commotion in the bullpen.
The sentinel was supporting Blair's head, as he checked his mouth. The inside of his mouth and the back of his throat was raw.
To Rafe he snapped "Get the ice cubes from the fridge now."
"Shallow breaths, kid, you're going to be all right."
He snatched the bag off Rafe, "Okay, Blair, suck on these, it will help your throat." The ice would help keep the swelling down.
They went some way to ease the burning.
Jim picked up the carton, and took a careful sniff of it. Nothing. But he began to turn up the dials on his sense taking them from 8 to 9 then to 10, and he had it.
Blair clawed at this arm, to get his attention. "J I M " the voice was painful.
The sentinel pulled back from the zone out.
"It's garlic, Chief, the stuff is almost odourless and tasteless, the tea is laced with it," He left the words hanging in mid air; someone had gone after his guide. They knew that Blair was a Carnac, and had targeted him. He looked round the bullpen his eyes searching each face for some guilt; blessed protector instinct over rode his suspicion, as he could hear Blair's distress. He needed to get him to hospital. Blair's breathing was getting worse, scooping up his guide, he carried him down his truck, and roared out lights flashing and siren wailing.
Grace Ellison pulled the shades down in the taxi and pressed a note into the driver's hand, and smiled showing her strong white teeth. The Carnac would die and they would get his heart, the final piece to their puzzle.
The doctor at the hospital made no attempt to exclude the sentinel, too many doctors had ended up in ER for pulling that stunt, and he liked all his vital organs the way nature had intended.
Dr Anderson had managed to bring the swelling down and the guide was beginning to breath easier, his throat would be sore for a while, making his voice rough, but he would make a full recovery.
Blair was laid in a hospital bed, he looked pale, but the injections had managed to reduce the swelling and ease his breathing. The sentinel held his guides hand, his fingertips gently stroking the slender fingers, give reassurance.
The doctor peeled off the container and offered it to Blair, "I need you to drink this."
Jim nearly gagged at the smell of blood, it broadsided him, and he had to catch hold of the door to stop falling.
Blair took a sip then spat it out, blood spraying over the bedclothes, as he tried to push it back in the doctor's hands.
A tug of war happened before either of them realised what had happened.
Jim's reaction following on form the blood was violent; he bristled and growled, as he saw what he took to be someone trying to force a poison down the neck of his guide. Blair lunged forward, only just managing to prevent taking header off the bed, as Jim caught him. It was enough to deflect Jim's anger.
"It's all right man, chill out, honest mistake. I am a Carnac, doctor, not a vamp."
"I am quite aware of what you are, young man, you have had a shock to the system, you need to feed and the quickest way for a Carnac to do that is blood."
"No way, I don't hang upside down, I don't wear black, and I don't drink blood."
"Mr Sandburg, whether you like it or not the Carnac is a vampire, and when you're sick you need it." Dr Anderson pushed the glass at him again.
"No." The glass was pushed back at him.
"You need blood," Jim was looking at him disbelief.
"I'll eat kidneys, okay rare kidneys, but I am not drinking that stuff." He looked up at his sentinel needing to know what the man thought.
"I'll back whatever you want, Chief."
"Then get me out of here and home."
The doctor raised an eyebrow, "If you do it will be against medical advice. You need the blood and denial is not going to help you. " He threw his hands up and walked away.
The call came through, and Simon only had time to catch up his jacket and head for the elevator. It was the one that all officers feared. Officer down.
H, Rafe stood back flanking their Captain, waiting for his signal, their guns at the ready, unsure what they would find, the sledgehammer crashed into the door, and the locks splintered. Captain Simon Banks led from the front and he was the first one into the loft. Instinct made him want to rush to his friends side, but first he had to make sure that it was safe, he could not endanger his men, once H and Rafe had fanned out, he moved swiftly to Jim's side.
The Sentinel was laying face down on the carpet, his head twisted to one side and fang marks to this throat. Crumpled across him, was Blair Sandburg, his mouth smeared with blood.
Blair started to wake up with a groan; he tried to lift his head, blinking short-sightedly round him. Then he realised it was Jim, and his cry was heart breaking as he said one word.
"Jim," but before he could check on his sentinel he was caught by the scruff of his sweater by the irate Captain of Major Crimes and thrown away from the unconscious man, only to be caught and pinned by a grim faced Rafe
Blair was struggling violently, trying to pull free. "Have to get to Jim, you have to let me go." He was given a hard shake, then he saw Simon, "Captain Banks, he has to let me get to Jim he needs me." Blair was pleading now. When Simon reached for him, thought it was to help him, but the enraged Captain caught the front of his jacket and pulled him upright onto his toes. So that he could glare down into the Blair's face.
"Blair Sandburg you are under arrest for the attempted murder of Detective James Ellison."
"No way man, no."
"Tell that to some one who cares. Have him put in holding in the Ghoul Section, that's where he belongs."
Rafe tried to protest, he had seen the creatures in the holding cells and throwing Blair into them seemed wrong. But one look at his Captain's face and he shut up, and pulled Blair away. Trying to claim the young man down, stopping him from turning back to the loft and his sentinel.
In the background he could hear the wailing of the ambulance sirens.
Rafe pushed him against the wall, and hissed, "Blair, keep this up and I am going to have to handcuff you, I don't believe you would hurt Jim, but you have to keep calm."
Blair nodded, "Please let me see Jim."
"Not now, Blair, maybe later."
Rafe felt the smaller man slump, his head going down, not looking at anyone was he was led out. The young detective was caught off balance as he suddenly was thrown forward; he managed to catch himself on the side of the car, but by then Blair was already taking to his heels.
Blair skidded round the corner of the street, the yell to stop was ignored, he had to help his sentinel and to do that he had to be free.
Simon was worried and the look on the doctor's face did nothing to help him. Dr Addison was a man that oozed reassurance, but it seemed to be in short supply at the moment.
"Captain, your officer lost two pints of blood in the attack, and from the blood on his face it appears that he might have been made to drink blood himself. When he brought in the Carnac yesterday, I warned him that his guide needed blood, and that there could be a problem." He paused, "I am sorry to see that I have been proved right, it appears the Carnac took the direct route to get his fix." The doctor shook his head, "When will people learn that these creatures can not be trusted, taking one into your home is asking for trouble."
For a moment Simon just looked at him, the doctor was making him uncomfortable-- there was a subtext to his words that the cop in Simon Banks was starting to react to. He pushed it down and asked. "Will he be all right?"
"At the moment he is in a very bad way. The sentinel part of Detective Ellison's mind has closed down, and he is locked in a zone out. We could use chemical kick-starts, but the problem is that zone out can be damaging to the mind. If we force him out we may not get the all the man back. Unless he comes out of it he will die, you need to kill his guide to set him free of the connection, and then we might be able to help him. But then he's a Carnac there is no loss in that."
"The truth, Captain, will set Detective Ellison free, now if you excuse me I have some tests to run."
Simon muttered his thanks, and walked out of the hospital, his mind fixed on one thing only to find that punk guide and stake him.
Blair tugged a cigarette out of the battered packet, and flicked the match alight with his fingernail and then took a deep lung full of the smoke. He could feel his nerves settling down, as he watched the front of the hospital. Blair looked up at the darkening sky, he knew with the instinct of his sire that sunset was coming, and then he would make a move to be united to his sentinel.
Entering the Hospital was easy, almost child's play for a Carnac. He allowed the Vampire side of his nature to come to the fore, and scaled the side of the building like a fly walking up a wall. He pushed his normal fear of heights to the back of his mind, paused once, head cocked to one side, as he opened his mind to find the connection of his sentinel, and was soon on the move again. Blair pressed his face to the window, and looked in, Jim was laid on the bed unmoving; IV's and monitors connected the man to machines.
Blair snarled showing his fangs, as the doctor came in, the syringe in his hands, he allowed some of the drug to come to the top of the needle to push out the air bubbles, and then bent over Jim.
The sentinel suddenly opened his eyes, the normal blue glowed red, he caught the doctor's hand, smashing the syringe into his hand, as his other caught the doctor by the throat, as with one powerful move Jim had pushed himself off the bed and was sat on the edge. His thumb moved and the doctor's body went limp as he pressed a point of nerves, he was dropped onto the bed. As Jim went to the closet and began to dress.
Blair grabbed the top of the window, and then swung back, bringing his feet up, and smashed through the glass, landing on the floor, as he powered up, a blow to the face nearly put him down. Blair lunged and caught hold of his sentinel, his words tumbling over themselves, but the sentinel peeled him off, a heavy fist sent him to the ground, Blair looked up expecting to see his death, as the hand struck, at the last moment, Jim changed the blow, and Blair tumbled towards a black void.
The police in the corridor never stood a chance they had started to come though the door when they heard the glass smash, but the sentinel never even broke stride leaving their unconscious bodies on the ground.
Blair staggered to his feet, using the bed and the doorframe to get out of the room, he bounced off the walls as he tried to follow his sentinel, falling to his knees he saw the Vampire emerge from the darkness and escort Jim away.
A hand dropped onto Blair's shoulder, he looked up at the nurse, and she backed away from him, her mouth was forming one word Ghoul, by then Blair had gotten to his feet and was forcing himself down the fire stairs of the hospital. He had to find Jim, and get him back, failure was not an option.
Captain Simon Banks was leaving the office when the call came through from the hospital Jim Ellison had fled; a nurse had identified the Carnac.
Simon hit the steering wheel with his fist, the Carnac was nothing more than a daylight vampire, he should have gone with his gut instinct the first time he saw the kid and had him staked.
Out in the dark Blair saw the police car pull up, and Simon Banks get out, his ride had arrived.
Simon was in an even fouler mood when he got back into the car, things could not get worse and then they did.
It was then he felt the barrel press against he back of his neck.
"Listen to me Captain, we have to find Jim, and I have to bond with him."
"What's the matter Carnac," he made the name an insult. "Did you lose him did Jim escape from you, because if he did, hell will freeze before I help you find him again."
Desperation coloured Blair's voice, as he pleaded, "I never attacked, Jim, he's my sentinel, my friend." It was then Blair saw one of the police officers outside of the hospital taking an interest in the car.
"Okay, you're taking me home we can talk there." He nudged Simon in the back of the neck again. "And don't try anything, Captain."
The drive was only twenty minutes, but all the time Blair remained on edge, not knowing how long it would be before Simon tried something.
The Captain, pulled up outside of his house. It was then he saw Blair's hand open and a metal cylinder fell to the passenger seat. The next thing Blair was looking down the barrel of a real gun, and the Captains finger was on the trigger.
"I didn't attack Jim, but the person who did is still out there. You have to believe me, I saw them, and it was a male vampire. Look at my face, Jim did that, he would never hurt his own guide, they have done something to him. At least listen to me, you can always kill me later." Somehow the twisted logic of it made sense to Simon.
Blair waited for the answer that could be his execution, if he had been declared a rogue demon, then Banks could kill him without anyone questioning, he could be congratulated for taking out a rabid animal.
The gun lowered, and Simon got out of the car. "This way."
Simon opened the door and waved Blair in first, there was no way he was turning his back on the Carnac, but first he had to lower the ward that would block any supernatural entities from entering his house.
Blair caught hold of the back of one of the chairs, his hand fumbled for the crumbled box of cigarettes in his pocket and he pulled one out. He was still searching for his matchbox when Simon reached out plucked it from his lips and threw it into the bin.
"No one smokes that filth in my house." Then he added, "does Jim know you smoke them."
"He's a sentinel, he destroyed my first packet." Blair shrugged.
"Then that gives another reason for your attacking him, what did he do, threaten to tell the University that you were an addict, that you dealt?"
"I am not an addict, and I don't deal, I only…" He trailed off, this was way too much information. Blair had a chance to tell the truth or lie. "I don't usually smoke, I need to sometimes, it helps, but I wanted Jim to know, I am going to quit. Would not look good if I was caught by Vice. Jim hit the roof, but then went real quiet, said I had done the right thing in telling him. Jim suddenly moved to the balcony, as if he heard something, but when I tried to talk to him, he told me to be quiet, and pulled me behind him. He was trying to protect me. "
"Then someone came through the window. It was a vampire, he vaulted over the wall, and his feet caught Jim in the chest. It threw him across the room. I went after him, when he attacked Jim. I don't remember a lot more than that. There was a woman there; she stopped him when he was going to stake me. He smashed my heard on the ground. Next thing I know you're there saying I attacked my sentinel. I could not, would not do that. The vampire was the one from the hospital."
Simon was listening but he was also looking at Blair, there was nothing false in the kid. He reached a hand out slowly, even so Blair pulled back.
The older man carefully checked the back of his head, finding a large lump.
The kid was in a bad way. "Who did this?"
"Jim, but he was not in his own mind," Blair's eyes fixed on Simon's "and Captain, I would never bite Jim."
Simon would never know why it suddenly became important to calm the kid down, he might not like what he was, but he knew then that Blair had not hurt his friend, he could not. "I know that, kid. The key to it is the woman. What did she look like?"
"Tall, with red hair, and blue eyes, she looked classy, I have been doing some snooping around, and the word in the nests is that Michael Grayson is back with his lover Grace. I saw a picture of Grayson, and it's the guy that attacked us in the Loft. How the hell he got past the wards I don't know. He would have to be invited."
"Grace," Simon started at Blair, for a moment. The woman in the PD, the 'bagel lady' – her name was Grace; suddenly it all came crashing back now. She had taken the evidence bag, and he had forgotten. That face he had seen it before in a silver frame in Jim's home, he had kept in one of the drawers, needing it, but at the same embarrassed by his weakness, her name had been Grace. For a moment he hesitated about taking to the one place he had too, but then, he might just need the Carnac, the kid was an expert in these things, he taught them. "Come on, we have someone to meet."
Simon took them out into the suburbs, and by the look of the houses one of the richer areas.
The gate was to the property was locked, and Simon pressed the speak button on the intercom. "Captain Simon Banks to see William Ellison." The gate opened, and Simon drove in, he saw the look on Blair's face as they approached the house, "I thought the same thing when I saw it, which would have through the Jim lived here."
The door was opened by a small oriental lady, but the moment Blair set foot in the building he was forced to his knees by a power it burned down his back and arms and sucked the air from his lungs he was having trouble breathing.
He only just managed to lift his head, he could see Simon arguing with a man, then his eyes began to grey out, and when the weight was removed he fell to his stomach.
William looked on in disgust as the Captain, bends and helped the demon to its feet.
"And this creature is Jimmy's Guide. How the hell could you let that happen, Simon?"
"The Shaman sponsored the bonding, William, can I say more?"
"That woman! Well, he's not a vamp so what is he?" William put his glasses on and stared at Blair as if he was a rare form of specimen.
"I am a Carnac, and I can speak for myself."
"Feisty isn't he," William raised an eyebrow, not disapprovingly. He liked guts.
Blair tried to ignore him, "The way that hit it was a level 10 ward spell, and you must be expecting trouble, Mr Ellison."
"Grayson and Grace are back." William ignored him and addressed Simon.
"I know, the kid heard it on the grapevine. I am sorry, William, but Jim was attacked and is on the run. Do you have a picture of Grace?"
The older man suddenly looked very sad, he took a frame from the mantelpiece and then with great care handed it to Simon. "I had to have something of her." His love for his former wife was still very obvious.
"Blair," Simon prompted as he showed him the picture.
"That's her, the female vamp."
"Who is she?" his gaze travelled from Simon to William Ellison and back again.
"That's Jim's mother, ever since the killing started on the eighteenth October, I knew that she was back, she wants to bring him over." William put in, barely able to suppress his feelings.
Blair exploded, "You both knew that, and you did not tell me, the very fact that she is in Cascade is the reason that he's had the nightmares. She is calling to him through their blood, the bitch bit him."
"I have it in hand, and it's none of your business." William had recovered from his weakness as he put the picture back, and who was this Carnac to speak to him like that. Before he could open his mouth again.
Blair pulled himself up to full five foot nine, "I am his guide, and the next time you withhold information, I'll take your throat out myself"
"Sandburg," Simon snapped the name but it was too late Blair had moved with the speed of a Carnac and had William by the throat, and lifted him off the floor. His lips pulled back over the long fangs, and his eyes were blood red.
"And mister, nothing will stop me." He read the look, "don't put so much stock on this ward spell you have." Blair dropped him and walked back to the door way, the ward spell this time crackled round him but he remained standing, he put his hands out by his side then brought them up and clapped this hands in front of him. There was a crash like thunder, and the ward spell vanished. "A ward ten, amateur." The cynical sardonic look on his face was alien to be usual open expression. And for the first time Simon knew that he was looking at the future Shaman of the City.
"But when you came in," William put in, his hand at his throat.
"Don't believe all that you see, Mr Ellison, now start talking, and leave nothing out."
"Grace had been back before on Jim's eighteenth birthday, it was the first time the killer struck, it's always the same, human and demon, parts of the bodies removed. But he was in the Army then, and she could not get past the military wards. She returned then on his twenty-eighth birthday, and tomorrow his thirty-eighth birthday."
When he read the look on Simon's face he added, "I am sorry, Simon, it was family, I wanted to take care of it myself." He paused then added, "I have a 783 order from the District Attorney to stake Grace, and all I needed was time."
"Something you no longer have, Mr Ellison." Blair snarled. It made Simon go cold; it was the snarl of the vampire. As he added, "We have to find him, and kill her." He glared at William and then Simon "She will not take what is mine."
Grace was pacing up and down, "Well, is it working?" Her Michael nodded.
"He will hear your call and come, and you will have the power that you want. No one will be able to stand against you, Grace."
"Our power," she leaved over and kissed her lover. Not seeing the look of triumph in his eyes, he had waited twenty-five years for this moment, a drop the ocean for a vampire, but the woman was beginning to grate on his nerves and once he had what he wanted she would go the way of the dust.
The APB on the stolen car from the hospital parking lot, was the one mistake that Michael had made, he had taken it to cover their trail in case some do-gooder saw him taking Ellison away. But the car had been tracked downtown to the old quarter, and now the police were taking up their positions.
Blair was on edge, he could not keep still. They had stopped only long enough for him to collect some books from the loft. His nose was known in them, and when he lowered them he looked paler than normal. "Shit. Simon, I know what she is doing."
"There is a legend connected with sentinels that a sentinel that is turned through the blood of a loved one, say, a mother with her son, will become a Grand Master of their kind. But there is a catch, the female had to complete a ritual, which includes the killing of the guide, and the eating of his heart, that way the sentinel takes on board the heart of his guide, and his power, he will never need a guide again. It's the cycle of eight, she was here when he was eighteen, twenty-eight and now he's almost thirty-eight, the first two times she was stuck, Jim did not have a guide. She must have heard that he was bonded, but with me being a Carnac, she wanted me out of the way. Possibly a quick bond, Jim would need a guide to support him after my death, then the death of that guide. It would be risky, but she has waited as long as she was prepared to.
"We have to kill her to free him, but at the moment he is under her power. "
Simon answered the radio call the car had stopped and Jim had been seen going to a deserted building on Eighth Street.
"We have to go in there, Captain and finish it. A full assault and you could have to fight, Jim, and I can't see him die at our hands."
"So what do we do?"
"You give them what they want -- me."
"You have a plan, Sandburg?"
Blair gave him a quirky smile, "What gave you that idea?" he stepped out of the car, "I am flying by the seat of my pants."
The orders given were straightforward, if they failed, then the assault was to go down, after Blair had told him of what a sentinel vampire was capable, Simon had been silent then added that no one gets out.
Grace watched her eldest son, he was pacing up and down, as the night drew close the more intense and focused he became, the time for the ceremony was coming closer, she just hoped her lover had been able to get to the Carnac. She knew they should have killed him at the loft, but her lover had argued that the heart had to be fresh, and this way at least the police were not looking for them. Then the Carnac had done a runner. If they missed the deadline it would be another ten years before they could try again.
"Hello, Jim." Blair spoke levelly, ignoring the mother, just concentrating on his sentinel. Trusting Simon to take care of Grace if she tried anything.
The Sentinel turned slowly, but when Blair looked into his eyes there was nothing in there, just the emptiness of the zone, the man was not there.
Blair edged closer; the red eyes followed him, he watched as Jim tipped his head, scenting the air.
"You know me, Jim, I am your guide, remember, I know you're in there, your heart and soul."
Grace began to come forward only to be driven back by the cross in Simon's hand.
Jim suddenly looked up, and it was the only warning Blair had before Michael came vertically down from the roof above their heads, he landed behind Blair pulling him down.
The hand that went round his face was bitten into, causing the vampire to lose his grip and for Blair to gain his feet, he was pure Carnac he spat out the rancid blood of the vampire.
Blair pulled the stake from behind his back, and faced down Michael, Simon attention slipped and in the next moment Grace lunged for him, he pulled the cross out pressing it against his breast, with a scream she fell back, her hands clutching her chest, the image of the cross burned into her skin, like a brand.
Michael sidestepped Blair's attack, his knee coming up hard into the smaller man's stomach and his hand gripping into the long hair. He brought his head down as he released the grip on his head, and Blair his mouth and nose bleeding, reeled back. With a cry of triumph the vampire lunged forward, his hands clawing for Blair's throat, then cry changed to one of agony as the stake came down hard into Michael's back, and for a moment his eyes met those of the Carnac, and then his body changed to dust.
Blair looked up at Jim who stood over him, he looked confused, the stake in his hand, all he had known was that he had to destroy the threat to the younger man.
His mother was screeching at him to kill him, to kill the Carnac. Jim raised the stake; the Carnac made no attempt to escape. Through the fog that clouded his mind, the spirit that was truly Jim began to surface. He look a deep breath, and then opened his mouth to taste the air, he knew the scent. Keeping the stake in his hand he knelt down over the still sprawled figure. He reached out with one hand; his fingertips touched the long hair, and then the side of his face.
For a moment his mouth worked and no sound came out, when it did it was shaky. "Blair."
"Yes." That one word was heart felt. Then he was gathered into a rib cracking bear hug. Blair managed to pat Jim's shoulder then slide an arm round his waist, his aches and pains no longer hurt at least for the moment, maybe later, but now sentinel and guide back together.
When Jim lifted his face from the crook of Blair's neck, he was back; he had grounded himself in his guide, now he knew what he had to do.
Grace was making soft moaning noises, when she saw her eldest son; she knew what was going to happen.
"Jimmy, you can't! I am your mother!"
"Mom died over twenty-five years ago, you're just a shadow of her, my mother would never have attacked me."
"I love you, I never stopped loving you," the tears ran down her face.
Grace reached for him, as Blair with a snarl and flash of red eyes was ready to attack. Jim stepped past him, his hand brushing his shoulder, and pulled her into an embrace, his lips pressed a kiss to her cheek, and then Grace's body spasmed as the stake came up, with his Army training, it struck perfectly to kill instantly. For a moment in the last second of life, Jim spoke softly, "Love you, mother."
Grace's body crumbled into dust, leaving Jim standing there. The stake fell from his fingers and clattered onto the floor, as loud to the sentinel as any gunshot.
Blair came up behind him, and laid a hand on his arm, and stood in silence.
Jim was seated on a sofa in the loft, his head in his hands, he had not said a word since he had killed his mother, and hadn't moved since he had been shepherded onto the sofa.
Simon had wanted to stay, but Blair had pushed him out firmly, understanding the mans need to help his friend, but knowing that Jim needed his guide, that only through the bond could Jim find his focus.
On the way back from locking the front door, he dimmed the light, and then put the kettle on, before returning to his sentinel.
Blair put a hand out and laid it lightly on the bowed head, then knelt down so that he was on the same level, and firmly pulled the hands away, "Jim look at me."
The eyes that lifted up to his were misted and grief stricken.
"Jim, you had to do it, through you she has found peace."
"I killed her."
"No, you released her, she died when he brought her over." Waiting a heart beat Blair added. "Tell me what you need."
Jim just shook his head. Rising gracefully Blair stood up, Jim grabbed for his hand.
"It's okay, I am not leaving I am just going to switch the kettle off."
When Blair turned back at the kitchen island, he could see that his sentinel was tracking, him, and knew instinctively what it was, he was frightened that Blair would leave him.
Giving him a reassuring smile, Blair came back and put his hand out, the hand that enclosed it was larger, drawing Jim up, Blair lead him upstairs into their territory.
The hurt would not go away overnight, but the healing would start now.
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