Title: Runaway Guide
Author: Joan Z
Fandom: Sentinel/BtVS cross over
Pairings/Characters: Spike/Xander, Jim/Blair
Disclaimer: Not mine. I am only keeping the fandoms alive in our hearts.
Acknowledgments: Thank you to my beta Kerensa and a special thanks to Neichan whose discussions about character interaction helped me to polish this story.
Archive: All my fics are archived at:
Summary: After saving the world in season 7 of BtVS, Spike is sent to a Sentinel Universe. There he becomes a sentinel and must find his one true guide and continue working to make amends for his past evil deeds. Except for some vivid snippets, occasional dreams and infrequent sporadic feelings he has no memory of his vampire past.
Prolog to Runaway Guide
(This prolog may also pertain to other Spike as Sentinel fictions.)
The Cosmic Intervention caseworker raced to where she needed to be.
In an alternate universe of the multi-verse Spike laughed as holy flames consumed his vampire body. Then white walls seemed to form around him and he saw a glowing woman standing before him.
“So,” Spike asked, “are you here to inflict eternal torment on me?”
“No,” she said, “I don’t do eternal torment, it’s boring.”
“Then who are you?”
“I am tired of answering the same question every time I visit. I’m going to fix it so you’ll remember me when you see me.” She lifted up her hand and poked Spike in the middle of the forehead; he felt something inside his head click.
“Oh its you,” Spike said, “What do you want this time.”
“I’ve come to arrange for your reward.”
“How about rest in peace?”
“You are an immortal soul, there is no such thing as rest in peace.”
“Buffy went to heaven.”
“She was in a waiting area; do you think The Powers didn’t know what Willow was planning?”
“So there is hell but no heaven?” Spike asked.
“I didn’t say that. Even in heaven there is work to do; hence, no rest in peace. Can we get back to your reward?”
“Can I be human and be with Buffy?”
“I wouldn’t advise that. Angel asked The Powers to turn back the clock when he became human. He was afraid he would end up getting Buffy killed.”
“Angel was human?”
“For twenty-four hours.”
“Lack of imagination is what he has," the case worker said with a scoff. "There were all kinds of options open to him, but nooo, he has to go back to being a vampire with a cursed soul.”
“What kinds of options?” Spike asked.
“I’m not here to talk about what Angel didn’t do, I need to make arrangements for what you want to do.”
“Right, Luv, What are my options?”
“You do not have a lack of imagination, Poet, use it!”
Spike thought for a moment. “I want to be human, with the same mystical powers I had as a vampire.”
“So, you want to be a sentinel.”
“What’s a sentinel?” Spike asked.
“I don’t have time for redundancies,” she said with a glaring look. When Spike didn’t answer she continued with a sigh, “A sentinel is a male human with enhanced senses very similar to a vampire. It is a common choice for champions from other realities to choose it for their reward. Sentinels bond with a guide, who is usually a soul mate. They work protecting the helpless.”
“Then I can keep working on redemption.”
“You’re already redeemed, it’s the amends you need to keep working on.”
“And my soul mate, who is that?” Spike asked.
“You can choose which ever one you like.”
“Was that an earth quake?” Spike asked.
“No the amulet has been called back, I need to get you out of here. I’m sending you to a sentinel universe. Now!”
Runaway Guide Ch1
Spike said good-by to his friends and left the retirement party. He could hear the band playing at the reception down the hall and the guests singing The Bride Feeds the Groom. He tried to dial down his hearing, but only succeeded in turning up his scent dial. He cursed his lack of control and his lack of a guide, as he went to the coatroom and handed the clerk his tag. It was when she handed him his coat that he smelled it. Guide!
“Let me see the coat that was next to mine,” he told the clerk.
“I can’t give it to you without the tag,” she said.
Spike pulled out his badge, identifying him as Sentinel Detective William Spikeman, and the clerk handed him the coat. He inhaled a large whiff. “Guide,” he murmured and turned to walk down the hall toward the wedding reception.
“Hey,” the coatroom clerk yelled. “You can’t take the coat away from here.”
“It belongs to my guide,” Spike said. “I’ll make sure he gets it.”
As he approached the room Spike’s eyes changed from their usual lapis blue to the dark sapphire of a sentinel on a mission. Standing just inside the doorway, Spike tried to pick up his guide’s scent. He was in the room, but the scent was too diluted by the number of guests and their movement around the room for him to get a precise location. He walked over to the nearest table and began sniffing the men.
One of the men at the table took offense, “Hey buddy! What do you think you’re doing?”
Spike pulled out his police badge again. “Do any of you know who this coat belongs to?”
No one knew and the sentinel continued on to the next table. By the time he questioned the fifth table the feel of the room had changed. The laughter and loud conversations had turned to whispers as the information spread that a sentinel was in the room and he was searching for someone.
Alexander Harris looked up and saw that the blonde man with a sentinel’s square jaw, carrying his coat and sniffing men, was only two tables away. He got up quietly. Making sure to stay out of the sentinel’s line of vision, he left the room and walked swiftly to his car. He dug through his pocket for his keys and droped them before he finally got the door opened but he forgot to turn off the alarm. The blaring noise startled him and by the time he got into the car he was shaking so much he had trouble getting the key into the ignition.
Spike was at the empty chair,still strong with his guides scent. He touched it; it was still warm. Hearing the car alarm he knew; his guide was on the run. He ran out the fire exit arriving at the parking lot as Xander pulled away. Spike dialed up his vision and got his plate number.
Xander glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the sentinel looking after him. He knew then that he could not chance going home. He was desperate; He didn’t want to bond with a sentinel. Every adult male he had known in his life, with the exception of the male guides he had met at guide school, had been abusive. He had no intention of becoming the property of a sentinel. “Three days,” he told himself. “Just hold out for three days; by then he’ll know it’s no good and he’ll give up.” He went to an ATM across town and took out the limit of his money and then got on the highway and traveled until midnight. He found a Residence Inn and payed cash for a one night stay.
Spike ran the plates to get his guide’s name and address. He requested Xander’s files from guide school, and then called his apartment complex to make sure someone was there to let him in.
There had to be a reason Xander was running. Guides knew better; a sentinel who had found his ‘one true guide’ didn’t give up just because the guide ran. “One true guide,” he whispered to himself. Yesterday he hadn’t believed in ‘one true guide’; he thought it was just a bunch of hocum made up by mundanes to romanticize the sentinel/guide relationship. Spike pulled up in front of Xanders’s apartment. A maintenance man waited with keys to let him in.
Xander lived in a basement apartment next to the laundry room. Spike could sense something strange about it when he walked in but it took him a moment to put his finger on it. There were no pictures on the wall and no pictures of people anywhere. There was a bookcase full video games, a TV, a VCR, a DVD player, an X-box, a Nintento a computer and a stereo. He looked through the CD collection first. Xander had eclectic taste in music; Spike smiled, so did he. Then he turned on the computer and waited for it to boot up. Spike found that the computer stored Xander’s password so he had no trouble getting into his e-mail. There was nothing personal. Spike signed into the police network and brought up Xander’s Guide School records.
Identified as a potential guide at age 11.
Enrolled in guide school upon graduation from highschool at age 17.
Empathic level: 9.3
Guide has demonstrated healing capabilites.
Spike whistled. The empathic scale went from 0 to 10, anything over an 8.0 was quite rare.
Telepathic level: 8.9/2.7
Guide has demonstrated a high ability, 8.9, for Hazard Perception; however, his telepathic level drops to 2.7 when faced with mundane tasks such as card reading. It is believed this dichotomy developed as a result of his history of abuse.
Spike re-read the last sentence and then looked around the room. It all fell into place. Someone had hurt his guide. Hurt him so badly he no longer had the ability to trust. That’s why no pictures of family and friends were in his apartment; that’s why he ran.
Spike put out an APB on Xander stressing his guide, rather than criminal, status.”
*Do not approach. Monitor and notify Sentinel Detective William Spikeman of guide’s whereabouts.*
He knew no police officer would risk incuring a sentinel’s wrath because of an injured guide.
Next he logged onto the Sentinel/Guide Alliance site and filed an Intention to Bond Certificate and now he was legal. He didn’t have to worry about getting a search warrant for Xander’s financial records; or relying on assumptions that there was already one on file.
When Spike had done everything a detective could do to track a fugitive on the run he went into the bedroom and lay down on the bed. The scent of Xander was strong and he moaned. He wanted him and needed him. He reached out and pulled one of Xander’s pillows to him. He brought his knees up and curled around it in a fetal position. He forced the sentinel within to wait.
Run Away Guide
Spike lay on the bed curled into a fetal position around Xander's bed pillow.
His body ached for his guide. That was something he didn't anticipate, physical pain. He had Xander's scent but he needed to know his feel, his sound and his taste. He wanted to drink him in with his eyes. He needed more than the small picture of him in the guide school records. He moaned as he clutched at the pillow, trying to will it to become the warm body of his guide. He couldn't just lie there; he had to do something.
He got up and started to pace. The detective in him knew the best thing to do was to wait right where he was, but the sentinel in him wanted to run and track his guide, the sentinel wanted to find his guide, drink from him and claim him as his one and only. The detective was more practical. Any information about which way Xander had run would come through the computer. He couldn't leave until he knew where to go.
With an iron will he tried to force the sentinel to calm but the demand for his guide grew and Spike began to tear through the apartment looking for anything that could ease his demanding senses. The bathroom proved to be helpful; he found Xander's toothbrush and stuck it into his mouth. There was a slight taste of toothpaste but the taste of his guide was there, too. He pulled the hair from the hairbrush and rubbed it between his fingers. It was soft and calming. Then he went back to the bedroom; the smell of Guide was strongest there. He curled around the pillow again and clutching it to his body, forced himself to meditate.
The cougar, Spike's animal spirit guide, came after only a few minutes. The blue-eyed cat gave a rumbling growl as it paced back and forth in Spike's meditating mind. Spike's consciousness stood up and followed the golden cat as it ran through the night. It stopping briefly to sniff at an ATM machine and then lopped out onto the highway. The cougar’s long graceful strides sped them along too fast for Spike to read the green exit signs, so he had to be content with counting them as he passed them by. Finally the cougar slowed and padded its way to the back parking lot of a Residence Inn. There it stopped to sniff and rub its cheek against a car Spike recognized as belonging to his guide. The cat walked over to a door and the building dissolved and re-solidified around them. They stood in front of door 227.
"He's in there," Spike said.
Satisfied that his sentinel understood, the cougar began a deep rumbling purr and lay down to guard the door.
Spike came out of his meditation and went to the computer. The pain he had felt was forgotten now that he was taking action to find his guide. He brought up a map of the Interstate and counted the exits along the way until he found the city he was looking for. Then, just to double check, he logged onto the Residence Inn web site and confirmed that the city did indeed have an Inn located in Cascade. He called the Cascade police and after some annoying delays was finally put through to a sleepy Sentinel Liaison Officer, Detective Jim Ellison.
Jim growled as he answered the phone. "It's 3AM, this better be good."
"This is Sentinel Detective William Spikeman of Lake View. I have an APB out on a runaway guide and I have just received an anonymous tip that he is holed up at the Residence Inn in Cascade, room 227. I'm sorry to wake you this early but I was told all Sentinel/Guide police activities have to go through you. I need an officer to confirm the tip."
"Sorry for the gruff greeting, Sentinel Spikeman," Jim said, understanding the urgency in Spikeman’s voice. "Is he your guide?"
"I hold an Intent to Bond Certificate."
"If he's there I'll have an officer pick him up. We can…"
"No!" Spike said. "I don't want him emotionally traumatized. Just confirm his presence and put a boot on his car. With a state police escort I can be there inside an hour. With any luck he'll still be asleep until then."
"I understand you concerns, Sentinel,” Jim said trying to calm the obviously stressed stranger. The last thing he needed was a rouge sentinel in a bonding thrall running around Cascade. “But your guide is a runaway," Jim said. "I'd say he is already going through emotional trauma."
Blair spoke up. "Let me talk to him Jim, traumatized guides and their sentinels are my domain."
Jim was relieved to hand the phone to Blair. If anyone could calm a sentinel on the edge it was Blair.
"Hello, this is Guide Blair Sandburg, I'll be glad to help in any way I can, I've often worked with emotionally stressed guides."
"We're wasting time, Guide Sandburg.” Spike said his impatience growing. “I need to confirm my guide’s presence at the inn."
"Of course we will do that for you, Sentinel. What's your guide's name?"
"Alexander Harris,” Blair repeated. “I know Xander. Hold on, sentinel." Blair looked at Jim, he didn’t bother to cover the phone as he spoke, he wanted the stressed out sentinel on the other end to know exactly how things were being handled. "Get an officer to confirm Xander’s at the inn but make sure he doesn't approach the guide." Then he got back on the phone with Spike. "I'll talk to Xander myself, I can find out what's going on. We knew each other at Guide School. I promise you we'll get to the bottom of this as gently as possible. Can you tell me exactly what happened before he ran?"
Spike felt better as he told the story, something about Guide Sandburg reassured him and he found himself agreeing to let Sandburg talk to his guide. As Blair calmly reassured Spike, Jim came back into the bedroom. "He's there," Jim said. "It's ten minutes from here, we should get going."
"Jim just got confirmation Xander is at the inn," Blair said. "We're heading over there now."
"I'll be there as soon as possible," Spike said and hung up the phone.
"So how do you know this Guide?" Jim asked as they pulled out of the parking space.
"I went to guide school with him," Blair said in an uncharacteristically distance voice.
"So you were friends?"
"What exactly?" Jim asked.
"Rivals, I guess,” Blair sighed, “at least on my part. He's very smart and a highly rated empath."
"You seem spooked by this," Jim said. Jim was concerned. Blair seemed a bit off his game.
"I am, his popping up like this, it's…" Blair's voice trailed off.
"Do you think he came to Cascade because he needs your help?"
"I doubt it,” Blair said shaking his head. “Xander has no reason to think I'd help him."
"Of course you'd help him, Chief, that's what you do."
"Now, yeah," Blair said looking out the truck window. "But not then."
The sadness Blair was exhibiting was more than Jim could bear. He turned into a store parking lot, turned off the truck, and pulled Blair to him. "Tell me now, all of it, or this truck is not moving another inch."
Blair laid his head against Jim's chest. Jim’s warmth was comforting and gave him the strength to look at a part of himself he didn’t like to look at. "When I attended guide school the director was Ethan Rayne. He's telepathic but not empathic. He used to take Xander for private "tutoring". For a long time there were jokes about Xander being the director's favorite. A lot of the students were jealous, including me. I knew Xander was unhappy but I never talked to him about it. We were an unhappy bunch, forced by law to go to guide school, we all had to put our lives on hold until we graduated. I told myself that was why he was so withdrawn and sad."
"The Christmas before graduation some of the students decided to play a practical joke on one of the teachers. He had this beautiful sculpture he kept on display in the classroom. I was elected to hide it. I went to a part of the school that was off limits. That's when I found the sensory deprivation tank. Do you know what that is?"
"I've heard of it," Jim said. "It's a sound-proof tank filled with a high concentration solution of salt water kept exactly at body temperature. When the tank is closed there's no input from any of the five senses, touch, sight, sound, smell or taste, nothing."
"Well a mundane would not want to stay in one for more than 10 minutes, for an empath 10 seconds is too long. I don’t even want to imagine what that kind of isolation must feel like. I hid when I heard Rayne coming. I saw him lock Xander in the tank and leave."
"Do you know how long he left him in there?" Jim asked shocked that anyone would hurt a guide like that.
"No, I didn't want to know. Tutoring sessions lasted for about an hour. I don't know if he was in there all that time. I was too scared to report it. Rayne was a vindictive bastard. The students were all empathic; we all knew what he was. I was afraid I wouldn't be allowed to graduate. I was afraid he would keep me there another year and start giving me “private tutoring”. It kept nagging at me though so after graduation I did report it. Director Rayne resigned. Nothing ever came out about his abuse."
"And you feel guilty for not reporting it sooner?"
"I let it go for six months."
"Not your fault, Chief," Jim said, stroking Blair's hair. "Xander didn't report it either."
"To who? He had no family; he never received mail, no birthday or Christmas cards; he spent every holiday at the school."
"He could have reported it to one of the teachers."
"I think he tried. I remember going to talk to Mr. Freedmen once, when I got to the classroom he was angry with Xander and called him a liar. He accused Xander of
being lazy. He said he didn't want to hear anymore made up stories."
"Still not your fault, Chief. You were a student at the school, the adults were the ones who let Xander down, not you."
Blair sat up and looked into Jim's eyes. "You don't get it, Jim, I knew there was something wrong, I felt it and I let it slide because it was easy and I was jealous."
"Chief, you're the best person I know but you're only human. You were young and scared and you made a mistake, you've learned from it. So now we'll go and help him. We'll make sure he's okay and make sure this Sentinel Spikeman is okay before we turn Xander over to him."
"What if he's not okay?" Blair asked. "What if Spikeman lied and Xander is running because of something Spikeman did?"
Jim started up the truck with a shrug. "Then we'll do whatever it takes."
Blair knocked at the door of room 227. When there was no answer he knocked again and called out. "Xander, it's Blair Sandburg, we went to guide school together. Please open the door. I want to talk to you." There was still no answer. This time he pounded on the door. "Xander, if you don't open the door the police will take it down."
No emotion showed on Xander’s face as he opened the door and looked at Blair. "You've let your hair grow out."
"Yeah, may I come in?"
Xander stepped back and let Blair in and then started to close the door. A very large foot and arm got in the way.
"The door stays open." Jim said.
Xander turned to Blair. "I see you've been claimed,” he said in an exhausted voice as the realization hit him that with a sentinel present he was trapped.
"For two years," Blair said. "The big guy still gets a little over protective at times." Blair turned to Jim. "Jim, I'll be fine."
"The door stays open or I come in.” Jim said in his ‘not open for discussion’ voice. “What will it be?"
Xander gave an ironic laugh. "You can listen through the door anyway so you might as well come in."
Jim stepped in, closed the door behind him and took up a guard position next to it. Xander and Blair sat in the two kitchen chairs, they looked at each other across a small table. Both guides eyes were clearly filled with pain.
"What happened?" Blair asked. "Why did you run?"
"I was at a wedding and a sentinel was holding my coat and sniffing necks," Xander said. "I don't want to become a sentinel's property, so I left."
"You never met Sentinel Spikeman?" Blair asked checking to see if what Spikeman had told him was true.
"Is that his name? No, I never saw him before."
"He'll be here in soon. You'll have to talk to him. Running isn't the answer."
"Not anymore," Xander said. "He'll claim me and that will be the end of it, until he doesn't want me anymore."
"A sentinel needs his guide; he wouldn't just toss you away and besides," Blair said," bonding to a Sentinel is a partnership, not slavery."
"Is that why I have no right to say no to bonding? Is that why we have to live where he wants to live and do the work that he wants to do?"
"I know you've been hurt by what happened to you with your family and at guide school but a…"
"But, but, but," Xander interrupted with a snicker . "Did you know that Rayne's successor Director Booker declared me unfit to bond or to work as a healing guide?"
"There is nothing on your records declaring you unfit," Blair said.
"Nice of them to cover their own ass," Xander said. "If they put it on the written record they would have to say why I'm unfit. I'm surprised they didn't totally erase me, no one would have noticed."
"You're not unfit," Blair said, "and someone would have noticed; I would have noticed."
"You!" Xander said. "Why would you have noticed? We weren't friends, you didn't even like me."
"I'm the one that reported Rayne's abuse," Blair said. "I'm sorry it took me so long. I should have reported him right away, but I was afraid they wouldn't let me graduate."
Xander could sense Blair's overwhelming emotional pain. "Oh, Blair," he said as his empathic priorities kicked in, his concern clearly showed in his voice. "Don't carry that guilt. You were right to wait until after graduation. As long as you were in the school you would have been ignored or worse, punished. I tried twice to report Rayne. The first time I was called a liar and the second time… I may as well have been talking to a wall. Please Blair, let it go, I don't want to be the cause of your pain. It wasn't your fault."
Jim began to like this young man. In spite of his own distress he was willing to comfort Blair. ‘Spikeman’s one lucky Sentinel to have found this guide,’ Jim thought.
"I came here to comfort you," Blair said. "And look who's doing the comforting."
"It's what we do, we're empaths," Xander said, his resignation showing in his voice. He looked down at the table. "So what happens now, the sentinel will be here in a little while."
"We ran a check on him before we came up to talk to you. His abilities manifested a little over a year ago. He was in a bank during a hold-up and saved a kid from getting shot. He was pistol whipped and in a coma for 3 days and when he woke up he had sentinel abilities. He left his job and went into law enforcement. Everything we found out about him says he's a good man."
"What did he do before that?"
"He was an English teacher."
"Wow, from a teacher to a sentinel," Xander said, "that had to be a shock."
Jim's cell phone rang. "Thanks Walters," Jim said into the phone and then hung up.
"Spikeman is on the way up. Walters asked him to wait in the lobby but he wouldn't have it."
"Well," Xander said, "I guess it's good-bye then. Thanks for coming, Blair. That was very kind of you."
"It's not good-bye," Blair said, not wanting Xander to feel abandoned, he reached into his wallet. "Here take my card. If you need to talk, guide to guide or friend to friend, give me a call."
"Do you really think that a sentinel is going to let his male guide talk to another male guide?"
"Of course he will," Blair said. "Take the card. If I don't hear from you, I'll call you."
There was a knock on the door.
"Blair’s right,” Jim said, “If you need a friend or to talk to another guide you call. Are you ready?"
Xander took the card. "I'll never be ready," Xander said. "But open it anyway."
Jim opened the door. Sentinel Detective William Spikeman stood in the hall clutching his guide's pillow.
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