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Blessed Protector 
a Sentinel / Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover
by Laura Picken

Hi all! I know, the concept seems a bit contrived, but I guess you could see this story as an answer to a question seldom asked in the Buffyverse: "What do the police _really_ think about all these unsolved murders in Sunnydale?" Hopefully, this whole thing will make sense when I'm done and we'll have some fun along the way. The folks who've read my work frequently know that I spend most of my time in the Sentinel universe, but this is my first attempt at a BtVS fanfic. Hopefully I can do the kids and Giles justice : ). There's a brief reference to a character from my Sentinel story "Stage Fright", but nothing that should be too confusing to anyone.
 
The inevitable cross-disclaimer: All Sentinel characters belong to Pet Fly and Paramount, all Buffy-related characters belong to Joss Whedon and company. I know you'll never get together and try anything like this for yourselves, so there's no possible way you'd sue me, right? Right? *gulp* Oh, but anybody else is mine.
 
Oh, and for those in the Buffyverse who read this story, I'm following the common trend of naming Ms. Calendar Samantha. Joss Whedon seems to like his 'Net fans a lot more than some other TV types, so maybe he'll get the hint and work it into her character… *cross fingers*
 
Anyway, on with the show...
 
*****
 
As sun-drenched darkness falls
over the cleansed land
demons who walk in daylight
will haunt the Slayer;
destroying those she has been chosen to protect
but forever escaping beyond her reach,
and the land will again
drown in the blood of the lambs.
 
Then a blessed protector
will descend from the clouds;
not of the hunters
yet separate from the hunted.
He is guided by wisdom and innocence
yet bound by duty and destiny.
 
His wisdom will guide them,
his gifts will hold them fast;
forcing the demons
to the Slayer's domain
and bringing the light once more.
 
*****
 
It was a quiet night in Sunnydale.
That alone was enough to make Buffy nervous.
 
She knew better than anyone else that there was no such thing as a quiet night in Sunnydale. Even after she defeated the Master, she still had to fight two, three, sometimes as many as five vampires a night. So a quiet night meant that, hopefully, there was nothing going on, no new prophecies were going to pass, and she could get on with the business of being a normal, average, everyday teenage girl whose greatest worry was about whether or not the boy she liked was going to call her to go out Saturday night.
 
Yeah. Right. And Elvis was a teenage werewolf.
 
Every bone in her body was telling her that a night this quiet meant that something was going to happen. Something not good. Something that, this time, she might not be able to go up against and win.
 
[Okay, time to shake off the morbid thoughts for the evening, Buffy,] she thought, [maybe you should get over to the Bronze and enjoy yourself for once?] She was dressed in her favorite party outfit: black boots, jeans, a white t-shirt, and her prized leather jacket. Xander and Willow, her two best friends, were waiting for her at the Bronze, and she moved quickly and with purpose, even while her mind was lost deep in thought.
 
In fact, her mind was lost so deep in thought that she didn't notice the body lying across the path to her intended destination until she literally stumbled on it. She tumbled into a forward roll and came up ready to fight.
 
Only she felt no cramps.
If a vampire had been there, he was long gone.
 
She turned around and bent down to take a look at the body. She touched the skin, and noticed it was clammy and cold. [Yep, this one's been dead awhile,] she thought. Black hair, brown eyes, was probably Asian -- she tried to see if she recognized the girl, but she couldn't place her. She was around the same age as Buffy, though, so it was a good bet she went to Sunnydale. She turned the girl's head to get a look at her neck, and dropped the head in shock at what she saw. The girl had definitely been fed upon, but if it was a vampire, it was like none she had ever seen before.
 
Where two bite marks would have normally been on the girl's neck, there were three--one perfectly placed in between the marks, and just above them -- like a deadly triangle.
 
She jumped away from the body and ran in the opposite direction of the Bronze.
She was heading, full blast, toward the Sunnydale High School library.
 
*****
 
She ran through the school and burst through the library doors to find her Watcher, a very shocked Rupert Giles sitting at the main table of the library, books open, looking at her as if she _was_ a vampire.
 
Before she could stop to read the expression on Giles' face, though, she blurted out, "Giles, you're never going to believe what just happened! I was heading to the Bronze, all right, 'cause I hadn't sensed any vampires out tonight, and it seemed really quiet, you know? So I thought I could have maybe a normal night hanging out with Willow and Xander for once, you know? Anyway, so I was walking toward the Bronze when I trip over this girl's body! And I look at her, and it looks like a vampire got to her, but there were three bite marks on her neck, Giles! What make three bite marks and sucks blood?!? Do you know, Giles, 'cause I don't have a clue! And why are you staring at me like I was a vampire and I was about to have you for dinner?"
 
Giles composed himself quickly in preparation to calm down the hysterical girl in front of him. "I'm terribly sorry, Buffy. I just wasn't expecting anyone tonight. You simply startled me, that's all. Now, please, just have a seat, take a deep breath, and start from the beginning, all right?"
 
She did as Giles requested, and told him the full story. When she was finished, Giles removed his glasses, as he always did when he was stalling for time, took a deep breath and cleaned the glassed thoroughly before replacing them on his face.
 
Buffy frowned at the use of the now-familiar tactic. "Giles?" What are you thinking?"
 
Instead of answering her, he got up and practically ran for the stacks. Finding the book he was looking for, he brought it back to the table and set it down. He then ran for his dry erase board and placed three dots on it, asking, "Buffy, were the marks on the girl's neck in this fashion?" She nodded. He then connected the three dots from the center out and sat down, opening the book and flipping through its pages. When he found what he was looking for, he leaned back, amazed.
 
Buffy looked at the title of the book, "Ancient Egyptian myths and mythology," and tried to read the pages that Giles had opened to. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a few to many 'technical' terms on the page, so she gave up. "Giles, what's going on?"
 
Giles ran a hand through his hair and sat up, looking at Buffy in shock. "We have a serious problem on our hands, and I haven't the slightest idea how to stop it."
 
Buffy sat down in a chair and stared at her Watcher, confused, as he explained, "you remember the curse that gave Angel back his soul?" Buffy nodded as Giles continued, "there is only one other documented case on record of a group of vampires receiving a similar curse. Only, this one wasn't a curse, it was a blessing."
 
He turned the book around, pointing to a picture that was apparently from a pyramid. It showed what looked to be vampires--only they were pictured as walking, unaffected, in bright sunlight, and on the far right of the picture, there was what looked like the throne of a Pharaoh.
 
As Buffy looked at the picture, Giles went on, "there was a group of slaves in Ancient Egypt that were planning an overthrow against the Pharaoh Tutankhamen. A group of officials loyal to Pharaoh went to assassinate the group one night, but instead stumbled upon a band of six vampires who were feeding on these so-called 'revolutionaries'. Thinking them to be the Pharaoh's guardians, sent from the gods, they fell at the feet of the vampires and worshipped them. This group of vampires liked the adulation so much that they decided not to feed on Pharaoh's officials, and agreed to meet with Pharaoh himself. When they met with Pharaoh, he recognized what they were, but, in return for the help they gave him, he struck a deal: he would find a way to disguise them from all possible enemies, and in return they would leave Egypt and never feed on its people again. In return for the blessing they were given, the group has called themselves the 'Order of Ra' ever since. After they feed, they pierce their victim a third time, so that the mark forms a pyramid shape."
 
Giles concluded, "Well, the blessing must have worked because no one has been recorded as having seen any member of the group since, including your predecessors. The only time you'll know they're around is when bodies like the one you found tonight start popping up."
 
Buffy asked, "but they're still vampires, right? A stake through the heart will still kill them?"
 
Giles nodded, but added, "yes, but you won't be able to use any of your normal means of tracking them. You won't get the cramps, their faces don't change when they feed--they may even be impervious to daylight."
 
Buffy sighed, "then they could be anyone, anywhere in Sunnydale?" Giles nodded.
 
*****
 
"Just consider it a vacation, Jim," Blair tried once more to reassure his partner as waited for their rental car at the San Diego airport. "I mean, what could possibly happen in a place like Sunnydale, California?" He had been working on the older man ever since they were drafted for the Police Exchange Program by Chief Warren. The chief was good friends with the police chief in Sunnydale, and when the California chief asked if they could send their best team to learn from Cascade's finest and Cascade could send their best team to teach Sunnydale's force a thing or two, Warren agreed immediately, shipping his best team (at least on paper), Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg, off to Sunnydale.
 
Jim replied, "I don't know, chief. I just keep getting a bad feeling about this whole thing." From the minute that Simon told him about their impending trip to Sunnydale, he had a feeling that this little 'exchange program' was going to be a lot more than just a 'vacation'. And having Blair continually try to reassure him that it was no big deal either was not helping. The older man found it a bit ironic, actually: when he was in the service, he saw enough to believe that there may be people who actually possessed a 'sixth sense', but his partner, the long-haired, neo-hippie, cultural anthropologist who studies heightened senses for a living, could pass off his 'bad feeling' as no big deal. He could almost chuckle about it.
 
If it weren't for the fact that he was feeling like they were about to dive head first into a war zone. "And what about all that stuff about Sunnydale you got off the Net? About the place being known as the 'Mouth of Hell'?"
 
Blair rolled his eyes. "That was just an expression the Indians used, Jim."
 
"Just remember that the Chief in Sunnydale thinks that you're a cop, so watch your step, okay?" Jim rolled his eyes as they got in the blue Ford pickup for the long drive. The question about the 'Mouth of Hell' was a strategic move, though, because it got Blair off of his 'reassurances' and into a prolonged lecture about the town that went from being known as the 'Mouth of Hell' to its current incarnation as Sunnydale, California.
 
*****
 
Sunnydale Police Chief John Masterson was having a good day so far. First, he got a laugh from the morning newspaper's report that declared Washington, D.C. to be the "murder capital of the world". He had long ago formulated a theory as to why Sunnydale had never been factored into those 'studies' they do: the city was too small, so there were fewer people to kill.
 
If their studies had been accurate, however, Sunnydale would easily be labeled the 'murder capital of the world': sometimes he had to deal with two or three bodies a night. Once in a while, he would see a genuine massacre, sometimes ten or more bodies--usually at that teen club, The Bronze. The cause of death was always the same: exsanguination through two puncture wounds at the base of the neck, right into the jugular vein. It had gotten to the point where he would see the marks and tell the coroner to not even bother with an autopsy, just "write up the usual report".
 
At first he had been frustrated: thinking he had a serial killer on his hands, he called the FBI for help, but they only laughed in his face, calling him things like "Van Helsig" and asking him if he'd ever seen a vampire. After three or four calls, though, he stopped caring and simply left it to the coroner to "tag 'em and bag 'em", now listing what they affectionately called "death by Dracula's kiss" as a major cause of death in Sunnydale, right up there with heart attacks. So hearing another major city being called the "Murder Capital of the World" meant that Sunnydale was still considered the national crime statisticians' 'best kept secret', so to speak.
 
It didn't make it any easier, though, to see some poor high school kid come in with all the life literally sucked out of them. He was relieved to no end to see the number of bodies start to taper off over the past year, but then a bunch of them started coming in with three marks on their necks instead of just two. So he was extremely happy to see his friend Jack Warren come through again, letting him send Mitchell and Smithson to Cascade to see how their Homicide and Major Crimes divisions worked and sending him Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg, who Jack promised had the "best cases solved record in the entire Department". Maybe they had some new insight that would help him find out who was killing these kids.
 
He noticed the two men walking in as he looked up from his desk. [So these two are Ellison and Sandburg? Man, if I paired two guys together like that they'd kill each other within fifteen minutes.] The two men couldn't have been more opposite from each other. One was taller, obviously several years older, and screamed ex-military from the build right down to the haircut. The other was younger, much smaller, and had dark curly hair so long that Masterson could have sworn the kid was born at least ten years too late to truly enjoy the sixties. And the kid's eyes made him think back to something his wife once told him when they were dating, something about the eyes being the window to the soul. [If the eyes are the window to the soul,] he thought, [this kid's eyes are a billboard.]
 
The older man made the introductions as Masterson got up to shake both their hands. "Chief Masterson? I'm Jim Ellison and this is my partner, Blair Sandburg. I was told that you would be expecting us."
 
"Yes, yes," replied Masterson, "have a seat." He motioned for the two men to sit in the chairs in front of his, and returned to his own seat. "Your Chief Warren told me very little about you two besides the fact that the two of you have the best case solved record in your Department." He also knew they thought they were going to be there to teach, but it would probably be better to just get right to the point. "Tell me, Detective Ellison, do you have any experience in dealing with serial killers?"
 
Blair looked at the man in confusion, and it was all Jim could do to keep his face expressionless, although [I knew it!] was repeatedly going through his mind. Out loud he replied, "actually, yes, we do, Chief Masterson. Why do you ask?"
 
Masterson pulled a thick and obviously well-worn file from his desk. As Jim opened the file, he noticed dozens of crime scene photos from a number of different murder scenes. Masterson explained, "exsanguination seems to be as common a cause of death here in Sunnydale as drunk driving. Hundreds of deaths here over the years, all unsolved. Many of the cases date back to before I came on here as Chief five years ago. I tried asking the Feds for help, but all I got back from them were a lot of jokes about arming my men with wooden stakes. I was hoping you two might have some suggestions, you know, give me a fresh insight into the case?"
 
Blair joked, "grab a cross and some garlic and see who runs away?"
 
Jim glared at his partner, who sometimes had the unfortunate habit of saying the wrong thing at precisely the wrong time. He then turned his attention back to the crime scene photos. "When was the latest murder?"
 
"Last night actually," Masterson fished through the more recent files on his desk until he found the one he was looking for, "Michelle Chen, 15 years old. She was a sophomore at the high school, on the track team, and an honor student. Well-liked, but not too popular. The kicker about this one though, is that it follows a pattern that's only been established in the last five or six murders or so."
 
Both Jim and Blair sat up, attentive. "Really?" asked Jim, "What's changed?"
 
Masterson handed both men photos of Michelle's neck. "With the other murders, the blood was drained through two holes in the victims' jugular. Hence, the vampire jokes. With this group of killings, though, there are three holes. Also, all of the other killings happened at night, usually between 10 p.m. and midnight. Michelle's time of death, as well as with the other three-hole killings, was around 6:30 p.m."
 
Blair's eyes grew wide. "In broad daylight?"
 
Masterson nodded. Jim asked, "that means there has to be witnesses, right?"
 
Masterson shook his head. "Unfortunately, no. As far as we know, no one saw a thing."
 
Blair thought out loud, "they're probably afraid of ending up like the other victims."
 
Jim nodded his head in agreement. "If we're going to get anywhere, we need to start asking around. I'd say the best thing would be to go to the High School first."
 
The other two men nodded in agreement, and Blair and Jim left to start the investigation.
 
As the two men left, John Masterson let out a huge sigh of relief. [They may not be able to find out who killed all these people,] he thought, [but maybe, just maybe, we can actually get some answers this time.]

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