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As the group left the school and headed toward the parking lot and their respective cars, Jim picked up the now-recognizable scent of vampires on the wind. Blair noticed the familiar jaw clench immediately and asked, "Jim? What is it?"
Jim directed his answer not at Blair, but at Buffy. "Do you have any more of those stakes on you?"
Buffy shrugged, "always. Why?" Then she felt the cramps, and knew why he was asking. "Never mind, I just figured it out. Folks, we're about to have company." She distributed stakes to everyone in the group and directed Jim and Blair (the less experienced vampire hunters), "okay guys, remember, if one of these creeps attacks you, aim for the heart." Both men nodded.
A dozen male and female vampires came out of the darkness into the lamplight of the parking lot. Looking at the combined group of adults and teenagers the apparent leader of the group declared, "ooooh, look at these tasty morsels. I'll bet I could get my fill for the evening just drinking from the big guy."
Jim looked at the blond who had just spoken with a look of total disdain on his face. He focused his hearing on her, to look for the exact signature of her heartbeat. Then, following Buffy's lead from the previous night, he asked her, "I'll bet you're the type that likes to play with your food, right?"
She smiled broadly, showing her long fangs, and hissed out, "ohhh yeah."
Using his sight to focus on the exact location where his hearing picked up the heartbeat, Jim threw the stake straight for her heart.
She was dust before she even had a chance to scream.
Buffy replied to her remains, "well then, how 'bout a nice game of catch?" She then complimented him quickly, "nice work," and handed him another stake as the remaining group of vampires closed in around them.
Willow and Xander both knew better than to directly attack the vampires, preferring to let Buffy do her work instead. Tonight, however, the vampires had other ideas, and it was only due to Angel's quick dispatching of three of the vampires that the two Slayerettes were able to get out of the situation with their necks intact.
Buffy, was in rare form. Two vampires tried to hold her down while a third went straight for her throat. Buffy grabbed a stake from the ground with her feet and used the grip the two vampires had on her arms to counter-balance herself just enough to send the stake through the heart of the attacking vampire. Their comrade gone, the two vampires released their hold on the Slayer, letting their guard down just enough that Giles and Jim were able to stake each one through the heart from behind. She accepted both men's assistance in getting up, then pointed to her left in just enough time to allow herself and Giles to stake two more oncoming vampires.
They turned to check on the rest of the group just in time to see Blair hold an oncoming vampire at bay and stake him through the heart. As the dust scattered along the ground, Jim complemented him, "nice work, chief. Where'd you learn that?"
Blair simply smiled. "Sharon's been teaching me a few things, actually."
Jim raised an eyebrow in surprise. He had been trying to get the young anthropologist to take self-defense since they got back from Peru, and the younger man had always refused. Now he knew why. As they watched the young Slayer make quick work of the last two vampires, Blair added, "nothing like having a personal trainer, Jim."
Jim laughed, "I guess not, chief. I guess not."
As each member of the group got their bearings, Jim's protective Sentinel instincts calmed down and he was able to finally understand what had just happened. Vampires really were running rampant in Sunnydale--he and his partner alone had just killed three of them. That meant they were the most likely cause of death in all of the cases they were investigating. [Then, everything these kids told us in the library was the truth,] thought Jim.
The Sentinel was beginning to get a colossal headache.
And his heightened senses, for once, were not the cause.
As Jim and Blair finally climbed into the truck, the young anthropologist was practically bouncing up and down with the excitement of discovery. "Jim, can you believe it? Vampires really exist!" Already Blair was going over every vampire legend he knew, trying to figure out which ones might be true and which ones probably weren't. After this was all over, he knew he _had_ to spend some time interviewing Angel, if only to get all of his questions answered…
Jim interrupted his partner's frenetic ramblings. "Wait a second, chief. We're talking about what is most likely an entire species of bloodthirsty serial killers, and you're acting like we just found the lost city of Atlantis or something. Don't forget, we're in the middle of a murder investigation here. What are we going to tell the families of those kids? 'Oh, I'm sorry ma'am. Your son wasn't murdered by a person. He was murdered by some demon vampire who's most likely been turned to dust by one of his high school classmates who just happens to possess supernatural talents.' "
Blair sighed. [Where have I heard this argument before? Would it have something to do with doing my dissertation on a cop with five heightened senses, by any chance?] But, as always, Jim was right. There was no way they were going to stop _all_ of the killings in Sunnydale now. If they went to Chief Masterson with what they now knew to be the truth, he would either laugh in their faces and tell them _they_ were crazy, or he would think that they were making fun of him, just like the Feds had done.
And as for bringing the killers to 'justice'? Locking them up would do no good. Vampires were immortal and possessed supernatural strength, so a prison wouldn't hold them. Even if you _could_ get someone else to believe that they were what they were, would they be able to handle the fight?
Which led his thoughts to the young girl who had helped them defend themselves tonight. Buffy. [What a name for a kid,] thought Blair, [but then, who am I to talk?] To know that you were the one person in the world with these gifts, and these responsibilities, at her age… He marveled at how well-adjusted she seemed.[Must have something to do with those friends of hers.]
A jolting hand on his shoulder shook him out of his reverie. It was Jim. "You okay, chief? You're not learning to zone out on me, are you?"
Blair smiled. "Let's hope not, Jim. I'd hate to see the look on Simon's face if he had to pull us both out of zone-outs at the same time. Actually, I was just thinking about Buffy."
"The vampire slayer?"
"Yeah. Actually, she reminds me a lot of you."
Jim was curious to hear the explanation to this one. "Really?"
"Yeah, man. See, in a lot of ways, she's like a Sentinel for Sunnydale. Having to protect the tribe, blessed with special abilities to allow her to do her job…"
"Guided by a slightly eccentric bookworm?"
Blair had to smile at the obvious teasing. "Yeah, something like that. Gives me a whole new insight into the paper--maybe Burton's impression of Sentinels was too narrow-minded, and there are different types of Sentinels that he simply hadn't come across…" Remembering the other 'slightly eccentric bookworm' Jim was referring to, he asked, "oh, speaking of Giles, what do you think of that prophecy he showed us?"
As he pulled the truck into the hotel parking lot, Jim replied, "I don't know, chief. In some ways, it sounds like us. I guess we'll find out more tomorrow."
Blair agreed, and the Sentinel and his Guide went to their hotel room to get some much-needed rest after their eventful first day over the Hellmouth.
Under the streets of Sunnydale, a lone figure ran through the tunnels that traversed the city. Fear consumed his features for the first time in centuries. Ra-Fils had assigned him to watch over their new sister, Michelle, and welcome her to the fold when she awoke. It was a badge of honor to be chosen for the assignment, and he took great pride in it, particularly after having welcomed the other two newcomers. So he was horrified to see the humans who made it to her side shortly before she was to awaken. As he hid just outside, looking through a nearby window, he watched helplessly as Michelle, just as she was about to make her first kills, was ruthlessly taken by the Slayer. He had heard of the Slayer, and knew that their great blessing from Ra kept them just out of the reach of her awareness. So how had she known when Michelle was going to wake up? And then he watched as the two humans, the Slayer, and the Slayer's friends destroyed a dozen of their enemies. The large human male sensed the enemy coming before the Slayer did, he was certain of that. But how? No human other than the Slayer was supposed to have the ability to sense vampires--unless...
He doubled his pace until he came to the chamber of Ra-Fils. Once it held the one who was Master over the Hellmouth. Now, his own master awaited him there. He stumbled into the chamber and fell with his face to the ground, declaring, "Oh mighty servant and all-powerful son of the great God Ra, I bring urgent news."
Ra-Fils looked up from his position over the neck of a young college student. "What is news is so urgent that you must interrupt my dinner and risk a stake through your heart?"
The messenger swallowed hard as he replied, "my lord, the Blessed Protector has arrived in Sunnydale."
Ra-Fils threw his head back in laughter. "_This_ is your news?"
"But my Lord, he has allied himself with the Slayer! Together they took out a dozen of our enemies and our new sister!"
Ra-Fils' laughter changed to violent fury in a human's heartbeat. He backhanded the messenger, screaming, "you impudent fool! How could you lead the Blessed Protector straight to one of my children?!?" Before the messenger could get a chance to answer, Ra-Fils pointed to one of his lieutenants standing nearby, who promptly beheaded the foolish messenger.
Ra-Fils finished his dinner and sat back down upon his makeshift throne. "So the Blessed Protector and the Slayer have taken my precious Michelle from me? By the gods, I swear they will pay for what they have done."
It was not a surprise for Blair Sandburg to be awakened by someone loudly knocking on the door to his room. After all, his partner did it all the time in Cascade. He wasn't, however, expecting someone to do it in Sunnydale. He hauled himself out of bed and padded over to the door, squinting at the impact of the bright light on his barely opened eyes.
Before he could get a chance to answer (or even adjust his focus to see who the visitor was), he was greeted by the voice of the hotel manager, who abruptly (and far too cheerfully) announced, "ah, Detective Sandburg, good morning! This fax just came for you. Since I know you and your partner are working on important police work and all, I figured I best get this to you right away." The short, plump man gently slipped several pieces of paper through the open crack of space in the door, then noticed Blair's demeanor and apologized, "oh my goodness, I seem to have woken you up! I am terribly sorry, Detective. You were probably on an all-night stakeout or some other sort of important police business. Well, let me just leave you so you can get your rest. Good day."
And just as quickly as the jolly old man came, he left, leaving a squinting Blair with several pieces of paper in his hand and an extremely confused expression on his face. He dropped the pages on the table next to the door, and looked at the clock, rubbing his eyes. It was 10:00 am. Jim woke up an hour ago, telling Chief Masterson they had worked late on the case and would be in to the station by 11:00. The Sentinel then promptly went right back to sleep, a feat which Blair had been unable to do until about ten minutes before the manager delivered the fax. Since his blurred vision was unable to read the small print of the fax anyway, he decided to try and catch the first shower before Jim woke up. Just as he was about to close the bathroom door he heard the unmistakable rumbling voice of his partner warn him, "don't take too long in there, chief. I need to get in there too."
Despite the warning, Blair seemed to be taking his sweet old time in the shower, so Jim walked over to the table to see what was so important that the hotel manager rushed it right over to their rooms. The fax had a very official-looking coversheet, except for the words "IMPORTANT", "URGENT-PLEASE DELIVER IMMEDIATELY" and "CONFIDENTIAL" scrawled across the top. Jim smiled as he looked at the name of the person sending the fax--Willow Rosenburg. The message on the cover page read:
Hi Blair!
I couldn't sleep, so I started to search for some leads of people who might be new in town. You'll find the list of names and addresses on the next page. You might want to start with the first guy on the list. He just started as the new Assistant Principal at the High School. One thing about Sunnydale is that any really strange occurrence seems to start at the high school and work its way throughout the town from there.
Good luck!
Jim scanned the list and fairly extensive background information that Willow had faxed them. Part of his mind wondered exactly where and how Willow might have obtained this information, then he decided he was probably better off not knowing. He started looking over the information on the school's new Assistant Principal.
Steam clouds billowed from the bathroom as Blair came out in a clean pair of boxers, drying his hair with a towel. Jim lamented, "took you long enough, Sandburg. Any hot water left in California?"
Blair grinned, "ah, but it was definitely worth it, Jim. And yes, there's plenty of hot water left." He noticed that Jim was holding the fax in his hand. "So what is that thing, anyway?"
"Turns out our friendly neighborhood hacker started our work for us last night. She's compiled a pretty extensive list of the new people in town." As Blair walked toward the table and read the background details over Jim's shoulder Jim continued, "she suggested that we start with Sunnydale's new assistant principal, a guy by the name of Judas Filsdera."
As Blair looked again at the name, his jaw dropped. "Jim, do you know French?"
"Actually, no, chief, why do you ask?"
"This guy's last name is French. Translated, it means, Judas, son of Ra."

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