Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

I love to read and recently began to read stories dealing with the darker side of imagination. Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson and Stephen King are among the few whom have introduced me into the scarier side of literature. Shirley is the writer who made me afraid to dream at night for fear of nightmares and had me cry at the end of a book. Sure, I have seen the movies but found the written word is far better.

I am hardly as good a writer as those I have mentioned but this is my bid to them all and especially Shirley.

This is a three-way crossover, which includes characters from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', 'Charmed' and my personal faves, 'The Sentinel'. Characters, I do not own and claim no fortune by their usage. I merely added them to the pot and stirred. My Halloween treat to the heroic reader who sees the beauty in reading fiction written by a mere amateur.

Don't fault me for the errors; love me for the attempt.

Slaying The Charmed Sentinel's Guide

by K-Lyn

********************

It waited patiently for the one whom it could possess. It wanted to be free to destroy what stood in its way. It wanted to be respected.

The time had come. Innocence was easily destroyed when left unwatched. Power was easily taken when deceived.

The time was now.

********************

Many say that there are few undiscovered mysteries on this world. All forests have been plundered of their riches, the seas have been scanned and robbed of most of its natural wonders, and space though still vast now holds few secrets. What most have forgotten is that nature and the deities of life produce mysteries that as yet remain undiscovered or even sought out.

There are negatives and positives in every aspect of life. It is the balance and it is necessary. When one side crosses over and threatens the balance then a war is waged and rarely does the side in the wrong win.

Battles of wit, will, love and strength are the battles most popularized by media and man. Battles in the magical world or even the mystical world are the stuff of songs and literature. No less important but ignored because they are deemed intangible.

Those gifted with the understanding of self and the powers of magic and mystics are the true powers in mankind.

Powerful people who know that strength lie not in popularity but in using their gifts to help those around them.

********************

Phoebe was the free spirit in the Halliwell home. She enjoyed life and everything it threw at her. Lately, she had been feeling like the odd man out. Her sisters Prudence and Piper both were successful businesswomen. Women with direction and goals. Neither made Phoebe feel that she was useless, still the youngest of the three sisters couldn't help but wonder why she didn't have a sense of who she was or what she wanted to be.

Of course this wasn't completely true. The three had recently discovered that they were the Charmed Ones, natural born witches with the power and strength to banish the most evil warlocks and demons. Their closeness and love for each other was the basis for their strength to overcome any evil. Phoebe loved the gift granted her and her sisters. Unlike Prudence who was gifted the power of telekinesis or Piper who was gifted with the power to freeze everything around her. Phoebe loved her ability to see the future. It made her feel special and it was confirmation that she was important, that life truly had a purpose for her. Though her sisters took a while to accept what they were - Phoebe embraced it immediately. Witches were cool. Still that was their private and secret world.

Phoebe wanted more. She wanted to feel the same validity in her personal public life. Who was she besides being a witch? If she suddenly became powerless, who would she be?

That's why when the invitation came she decided to go. It was an invitation to do something instead of waiting and wondering who she was or what the future held. It was an invitation to distraction.

The excited young woman piled her things into the car and told her sisters that she was off to visit a friend. It was sort of the truth, but not completely and thus the secret became more thrilling. She was going to meet Blair Sandburg at the train station and then they would get a rental to arrive at the address listed on the invitation.

Phoebe liked Blair. He was also another free spirit just like herself. Blair and she had spent time in California at a self-awareness outing. There, she had also met Naomi, the mother of her new friend. Phoebe had taken a liking to the two immediately. Both seemed to have no strong commitments and didn't care what the world expected of them. Life was great just living the moment.

Of course that was six years ago and things change. Phoebe noted that Blair had stopped traveling, stopped searching for something to quench his insatiable curiosity and his e-mails were littered with comments about a 'Jim'. A man her friend seemed to consider a family member. It seemed the wanderer had found his place in the world.

She felt happy for Blair. Something had always seemed to be missing from his life nomadic life. Of course romance, education and expeditions aside; she couldn't put her finger on what it was exactly. Lately his e-mails seemed to project the feelings of a man who had found his true calling in life. Blair knew who he was and where he belonged.

When Phoebe had heard rumors about her old friend being kicked out of the University for some sort of nonsense, she ignored the obviously untrue story. Blair always succeeded no matter what the odds and Phoebe simply didn't consider anything else. The guy always landed on his feet much like her did and the young woman couldn't wait to see him again. The invitation didn't mention that friends of the guest were excluded so this was a good way to catch up with an old friend and do something different. It the host didn't like any additional guest Blair and she would do something else. No big deal.

********************

Prudence as usual was standing next to Phoebe giving her the list of do's and don'ts. "Now Phoebe remember to call when you arrive at your friends and be careful. There are warlock's everywhere."

Piper sighed at the motherly ways of the eldest sister as she joined the other two on the driveway. "Oh Prudence really! Look Phoebe just have fun - just not too much. Okay?"

Phoebe laughed. "I love you guys and I promise to call." The three hugged.

As Phoebe drove away she waved goodbye to her little family. The power of three was a strong force. Sisters and the love they had for each other were even more special.

********************

Rupert Giles was suffering from the 'empty nest syndrome'; his charge, one Buffy Summers was going off to college, meeting people, and, well, maturing into a fine young lady. Giles had watched as the young teen blossomed from being the chosen one, a Vampire Slayer, to being a lady in charge of her future as well as quite the defender of humanity.

Giles, being her watcher and instructor, had helped her as much as possible but that was then and now she was an adult. Now she didn't need any help. The feeling of depression Rupert was suffering from was preposterous - really. The young lady in question was hardly his child. She had been his student and now had moved on. Time had changed. It seemed his ability to guide the young Vampire Slayer was now a dying art.

The invitation arrived early that day. An invitation to view a world of historical value and to enjoy the past. Giles felt an old familiar stirring. Hill House had had quite a history back in its earlier existence. Once the home of a wealthy man whose name was Hugh Crane, the place was a showcase of power and wealth. Later is was discovered that the man harmed children in very ugly ways. The place was considered haunted. Several suicides had been committed there and it was said that the house was a tomb of souls.

As time went one the home had been used as a hotel, which went belly-up three years later, used as a school for architects which didn't go well when two students disappeared and were never located, used as a casino which did well for six years, until the place was forced closed due to the fact that people were stealing some of the interior décor. Art protected by the historical society that allowed the use of the place to pay for its constant upkeep. Now it stood unused and its host, Mr. Chester Bentley, decided to involve people with interesting backgrounds to visit the place for a week. 'Come and view the past in the present. Discover architectal and historical artifacts freely. The house is yours to do with as you please. Our only request is that you leave it as you found it.'

Suddenly Giles was filled with the curiosity of a scholar and a feeling to just go and be himself - with no responsibilities and no schedules. The idea of doing something normal suddenly seemed so very enticing. The Brit found himself wonderfully riddled with excitement. Time to explore the world abroad and perhaps discover something about himself.

He quickly packed. He left word with Buffy and her friends, Willow and Xander as to his sudden departure and when he would return. Giles, of course lied and told them a sick friend was in need of his assistance and that he would return two weeks from now, if not sooner. Proprieties must be kept.

Buffy could handle herself and her network of friends was also quite reliable should the occasion need their assistance. After all, that was the reason he needed to leave wasn't it? Lately, it seemed that the need for his advice or even his input during any situation grew less and less.

He needed to get past this. It was the way of a teacher and student. After all, Buffy was the first Vampire Slayer to live past sixteen years of age and she was changing. There were no guidelines on what a Watcher needed to do after a Slayer matured, if anything at all.

Now Giles needed to find his place in the world and hopefully a little time away might just do the trick. If not, well, he at least got away for a while.

********************

Blair Sandburg was once a man of who lived in academia. He reveled in learning about ancient societies and the cycle of life. He also became fascinated in the idea that certain individuals had the gift of heightened senses. An ability that enabled men to protect their tribe - a Sentinel. Blair had decided to delve into this idea and formulate his thesis based on it. He never thought he'd meet an actual Sentinel but secretly wished to.

Fate granted the young scholar his wish. He met one Detective James Ellison of the Cascade Police Department who was gifted with this very talent. They had started out as two men seeking answers along the same path and ended up two very close friends - family. Lately though the two seemed to be drifting apart. Jim went as far as to question Sandburg's loyalty when the research on Ellison's Sentinel abilities was accidentally exposed by Blair's mother, Naomi, to the media. Ellison believed it was Sandburg's desire to get rich quick and to hell with the detective and their friendship. Blair tried to talk to convince the man that this was not the case but Ellison was not a talker, he was a doer and he chose to turn his back on the younger man.

The young scholar sacrificed his career to prove his loyalty to the Sentinel and attested that he never wanted harm to come to his friend. In doing so, he was asked to leave the university and not allowed to complete the requirements needed for him to become a true anthropologist. In return the men and women of Cascade P.D. offered Blair a future as a legitimate detective.

With no other choice to be made and determined to stay at James Ellison's side the young man attended the Police Academy. Blair excelled in all classes at the Police Academy and scored quite high on the range. Self-defense proved to be a bit difficult but the determined young man didn't quit and eventually he succeeded in this as well. However, when it came to carrying a weapon to use against another human being, Blair couldn't do it. Eventually he realized that being a detective was not in his future. Still Capt. Simon Banks had been prepared for this, he was after all a very good observer himself, and had spoken with the Chief of Police who in turn discussed ideas with the Mayor. A title was then created for Blair Sandburg and now he was an Official Consultant and, thanks to several classes funded by the city, he was also a Profiler. Det. Sandburg was now a true member of the Cascade Police. Weapons were optional. Most importantly he remained James Ellison's Guide - a position he wanted most of all.

Blair was comfortable with his current occupational status but wondered if, in the middle of all of these new career changes, had he lost the man he was inside. Was he who he wanted to be or did he give so much up to become Jim's Guide that he lost who he was at heart?

When his old fried Phoebe called with the mention of an escape from the realities of work, Blair had to jump at the chance. It had been a while since he had been away and Jim often said that he too needed time for himself. So when he told his friend about the opportunity to go away for a while, the two agreed it was a good idea. Even Capt. Banks endorsed the idea mostly because the youngest member of the Major Crimes Unit seemed to need time off. Jim would spend some time fishing with his brother Steven, who was pleased at the unexpected invite, and Blair with a friend he hadn't seen since he and his mother last traveled together. Blair packed his backpack and was soon prepared to leave.

Ellison, as usual, was waiting in the kitchen with his final round of questions and rules. "Chief what is the name of this girl you're meeting?"

Blair sighed. Jim was not the type of man who suffered from amnesia and seemed to think that if the 'story' changed one iota, then it would be time to stop this outing before his Guide even thought about leaving.

With exaggerated patience, Blair repeated the information. "Her name is Phoebe Halliwell, I placed her home number on the fridge. She has two other sisters, whose names I also placed on the fridge. The address to this house in the hills is also on the fridge." The younger man picked up his backpack. "Now, I am carrying my fully charged cell phone, I have my wallet, I will call when I get there and I will be careful."

Ellison frowned at the attitude but decided to say nothing about it. "Chief, I just want to make sure you'll be okay. You know how trouble just seems to find you not to mention what happens when you and a young woman get involved."

"Thanks for making me feel all warm and fuzzy big guy." He smiled at the pained look that comment got him. "I really do appreciate your caring about me. Hey, uh, if you want you can come with me you are more than welcome?"

Ellison held up his hands. "No way. I will not be a spectator in the Blair Sandburg romance saga besides this sounds like a self-awareness thing and I'd feel better dodging bullets."

Blair nodded and the placed his hands on his hips. After all two can play at the blessed protector game. "Well?”

Ellison sighed. "I'm not going to."

Blair dropped his backpack on the floor and crossed his arms. "You don't meet with Steven until the end of this week. Now come on I did it now it's your turn."

Ellison rolled his eyes and tried another tact. "You're going to be late."

"Jim."

"Really. Your friend will be upset."

"Jim I swear man..."

"Alright. Alright. I will not go out on any stakeouts without back-up, I will be careful to maintain my dials at a manageable level and I promise not to eat at Wonder Burgers more than four times in the next two weeks. There satisfied?"

Blair pursed his lips and grinned. "Wonder Burger - three times. Got it?"

Ellison chuckled. "Come on kid I'll wait out front for the cab with you."

Ten minutes later, as Blair's cab drove away, the younger man smiled - grateful for having a friend in James Ellison. A man whose trust was something worth fighting for. Jim was the special one, the gifted one and someone Blair wanted to always have respect from.

********************

Phoebe spotted Blair immediately and ran to join him. "Oh my god look at you?"

Blair laughed at the warm body clung to him. "You like it?"

Phoebe looked at him admiringly. "When did you do it?"

Blair chuckled. "Half an hour ago. I felt the need to change so a haircut seemed in order. I swear I almost jumped out of the seat twice but well, if I don't like it, I can always grow it back."

Phoebe smiled. "You are even more handsome than ever. Hey. Did you save me some?"

Blair laughed at the fact that women were a strange but wonderful part of nature. The reasons why a woman took hair and kept was something he'd have to research some day. "Sure and some for my mom. She will absolutely go crazy when she finds out I cut my hair. I think she hoped I would never shorten it but I figure if John Mellencamp and Lenny Kravitz can do it..."

Phoebe took the braid of hair Blair gave her and kissed him on the cheek. She then placed it into her purse. "It has been a long time. How's Naomi? I heard from her when she was last in Cascade. She told me you had become a detective, which by the way is a surprise but way cool. Then she told me that you were against the whole gun thing and became a consultant. Again, way cool how you maintained you principles and individuality."

Blair shrugged as the two headed into the train. "Well, that pretty much covers it. I am Jim's partner and I enjoy what I do to help others."

Phoebe tilted her head. "Come on kiddo, I saw the news coverage and I know when you're lying. This Sentinel thing was real wasn't it? I mean this was important to you. Too important for you to fake right?"

Blair gave her a weary smile. "Hey I thought we were escaping the realities of our lives for a while."

Phoebe winced. "Sorry." She reached over and hugged the handsome man now seated beside her in their designated car and suddenly her mind filled with a vision of Blair in complete pain and beside him was another figure. Both looking ahead.

"Hey Phoebe? You okay? Phoebe?" Blair saw her jump and then freeze, almost like Jim did when he zoned.

Phoebe looked deep into the blue eyes that gazed at her. "Blair whatever you do, don't touch the mirror with the golden man."

Blair frowned and smiled at the strange comment. "Okay. I won't."

Phoebe suddenly became nervous. Should she call her sisters? Would they be mad when they found out where she was? No I can handle this. I am a charmed one, right?

Two hours and many shared stories later the two friends became comfortable and fell asleep.

Blair drifted off into a dream where Alex Barnes was stalking him in a large house. There were doors everywhere but each time Blair opened one he had been turned around and was once again face to face with the female murderess. All the while she kept screaming at him, telling him that he had cheated death once but never again. This time she would finish the job.

Blair felt more terrified than ever before. He knew that there was one person who could help him . He called for Jim and heard the man answer back. In the background of his mind he kept hearing Jim angry, asking him to leave, telling him that he couldn't trust him. Blair felt as though he couldn't breath. "Jim?"

Phoebe woke to find Blair beside her on the seat writhing in the throes a very horrible nightmare. "Blair come on wake up - it's just a nightmare."

Blair woke with a start. "Oh man that was creepy." He stood and took deep breaths. "Sorry."

Phoebe stood to join him. "Something you want to talk about?"

Blair smiled sadly. "Sometime maybe but not right now - thanks."

Just than the door to their car opened and a rather good looking older man joined them. "Oh pardon me. I don't wish to be a bother but I believe I share this car as well."

Blair and Phoebe smiled. Blair being the first to extend his hand decided to make the introductions. "Hello my name is Blair Sandburg and this is Phoebe Halliwell, please have a seat. You're not disturbing anything."

"Oh, well, thank you. My name is Rupert Giles."

Giles stared hard at Sandburg. "Sandburg, Sandburg, wait aren't you the young researcher who spent time in Peru on a recent discovery of an ancient temple."

Blair blushed at the sudden notoriety. "Why - yes."

Giles laughed. "I must say that must have been quite an adventure."

Blair looked away. "You have no idea."

Giles looked at Phoebe. "Sorry, it has been a while since I've met a man who has been out there involved with the art of discovery."

Phoebe smiled. "That's okay Blair has always been quite the adventurer."

Blair blushed. "Hey enough about me. What about this house we're going to? The invitation said something about discovering release from the pressures of the past."

Giles sat up straight. "I say, are the two of you heading to Hill House?"

Blair and Phoebe looked at each other and both nodded. Phoebe went to sit beside Giles. "You too?"

Giles nodded. "Well this is most fortuitous."

An hour later the three stretched and prepared to exit the train. The would soon embark on their own adventure in ten minutes.

Blair was grinning from ear to ear. "If you two don't mind, I'm going to give my roommate a call he tends to get upset if I don't let him know how things are going."

Phoebe smiled knowingly. "Oooh, if you don't mind, I'd like to let my sisters know that I arrived as well."

Giles smiled, it was strange to meet two such responsible young adults and rather refreshing as well.

********************

"Ellison."

"Hey Jim, just calling in to let you know that I will be arriving at the station in like five minutes and I met up with Phoebe."

"Great."

"What's the matter? Something happen?"

"I had just convinced Simon to give me the next few days off and then I get a call from my brother. Seems Steven had to pull out, some corporate take-over or something. Guess I'll just putter around here."

"Oh I'm sorry to hear that but, hey, if you want you can still come and join me."

"Nah, thanks for the offer I really appreciate it. Just keep out of trouble and call me when you've arrived at the place you're staying at."

"Okay but just in case I left you a copy of the invitation on my dresser and directions to the house."

"Thanks Chief, I'll keep that in mind - talk to you later."

"Jim? Take care of yourself and remember 'back-up'."

********************

"Hello -- Halliwell residence.

"Piper?"

"Hey, I'm heading towards the station and Blair let me use his phone to call."

"Phoebe where exactly are you staying? Piper says you never told her, said you told me, which you didn't."

Phoebe suddenly didn't like the tone she heard. "Ahhh."

"Phoebe??"

"Oh, okay, it's called Hill House."

"Hold on."

Phoebe got a bad feeling about the sudden stall. Her feelings were soon validated. "Damn it Phoebe, that house is haunted. What the hell were you thinking?"

"Uhhhhh. Look Piper you're breaking up. I gotta go. Bye."

********************

The three exited the train and rented one car to take them to the house. Blair was excited; he had heard that the house had a large library, which contained several old texts from the past. Texts carefully preserved.

Giles found himself feeling rather giddy. His two companions, though younger, were quite fascinating. Blair and Phoebe were lovers of life. Both had boundless energy and thankfully neither had anything to do with mystic rituals and demonic struggles. True, Giles had heard rumors that Hill House was once haunted but that was many calm years ago and the young Eleanor may have been just a myth.

Phoebe was feeling unbelievably happy. Yes, that was the word. Here she was, on the way to an adventure, traveling with two rather good-looking men and, well, feeling mischievous because she was officially a runaway. Sure, she knew she would have to face the consequences when she returned home but for now she was free.

********************

Blair was elected driver since, well Phoebe had a tendency to get distracted while driving and Giles was accustomed to driving on the other side of the road. Normally the young TA was a passenger and proud to be elected the designated the driver for this excursion.

The day started to get gloomy and Blair found himself smirking as he remembered his mantra, 'Wet and cold is not my world.' Blair wondered what Jim was doing now and if he had gone to work instead of enjoying some time off. Idly Blair wondered what Jim had done before the two had met. Blair was outgoing. There were museums, art fairs, markets, seminars, movies, etc. For Jim it was work, eat, sleep, clean the already immaculate loft and the occasional fishing/camping trips. The man simply didn't get out with people enough. Blair made it his mission to change this and so far he was succeeding.

He noticed that the road had shifted from paved to gravel and winced as the rocks pounded against the rental. Boy am I glad I didn't drive my car. He smiled as he imagined Jim equally pleased that his truck had been spared the abuse.

Phoebe leaned over the front seats and smiled. "Hey you guys think that's where we're headed?"

Giles looked out the car window and noticed a rather pristine mansion looming in the distance. "I say that is a rather large building."

Blair chuckled. "Jeez large is a huge understatement. That is just plain monstrous."

It took the three travelers forty-five minutes to arrive at the gate to the ever growing in size, estate. The front gate was electric and opened the moment they neared it. They were expected.

Blair parked the car just outside the driveway and the three headed inward. The whole time he noticed how quiet it was. Too quiet.

Giles looked up and noted that the sky was about to shift into what might be quite a downpour. "We had better head indoors. The sky looks about to open up."

Phoebe laughed. "God Rupert, I love the way you speak."

Blair grabbed his bags, made certain everyone had they belongings and then locked the car. He looked around and wondered if anyone had ever been brave enough to attempt looting the place. It just seemed so spooky.

As if far away, he heard Phoebe call to him and he hesitated because at the very same moment in time Blair heard his animal spirit howl in the distance, almost as though it refused to enter this place with him. He turned and shook his head; it was all in his imagination. It had to be.

********************

Capt. Banks insisted that the pensive Det. Ellison go home. Things were slow and Ellison did have a large amount of free time that was, as of yet, unused and the way he made the others feel nervous around him, well it seemed a good idea he go home. So with great reluctance Ellison was forced to go home.

Naturally, there was always something that needed to be done around the loft. Handyman work was thus elected.

Ellison decided to strip the varnish off of a bedside table that Sandburg had found to replace the one that was destroyed the last time the loft had an unwanted visitor. He had been at it for an hour and a half and decided to get himself a cold beer. As he stood and stretched, his senses immediately sought out a particular sound and came up empty. Sandburg was not home. Suddenly everything went dark, he heard a wolf cry in the distance and then he saw Blair reaching for him - he tried to reach towards his friend, alarmed at the desperate look the other had on his face and then the vision vanished leaving Ellison on the floor, sweating, and feeling nervous. Something was wrong.

He immediately went downstairs and tried to reach Sandburg on his cellphone. The phone rang but no one answered. He was about to call the number Sandburg left for the Halliwells and decided against it. He figured it would be in the best interest of all, if he not panic people unnecessarily. Still, something was wrong, he knew this and he wouldn't be convinced otherwise. Not until he saw Blair. Something in their bond seemed strong enough to cause a vision and a vision he promised himself he would never again ignore. Leaving the Sentinel needing to connect with his Shaman.

After the decision was made, the rest was easy. He grabbed a few things and the first aid kit. He called Captain Banks and informed him that he was leaving town. He didn't elaborate because the captain just wouldn't understand. Only Sandburg would.

********************

Phoebe was entranced by the vastness of the house, every corner was decorated and gilded, every object carefully selected and created to suit become a part of the large house. Objects that, if removed made no sense anywhere else. It was one gigantic art piece. The hallways that seemed to lead off into infinity and the ceiling seemed determined to reach beyond the earth's atmosphere. Everything was perfectly preserved. Almost like one large, elegant and very overwhelming time capsule.

"Well, hello all and welcome to Hill House. My name is Chester Bentley. You must be Rupert Giles and you, Phoebe Halliwell but I don't believe I know you."

Blair stepped forward. "I'm sorry Mr. Bentley, my name is Blair Sandburg, I was invited by Miss Halliwell. Of course if you'd prefer I leave... "

Bentley smiled like a Cheshire cat who had found a rather large piece of cheese and Blair found himself thinking that the guy looked like Tim Curry. "Hardly Mr. Sandburg, Blair, as you can very well see Hill House is hardly suffering from a lack of vacancies. I simply like to know whom I have within these hollowed halls."

Phoebe nodded. "Hollowed is an understatement. This is so vast and it seems almost gigantic and just a bit lonely."

Giles was suddenly overwhelmed by a strange feeling of foreboding. Someone needed help. He felt compelled to stay and seek out the cause of this feeling but something even deeper inside wanted him to leave. "I say, Mr. Bentley do you live here?"

"Oh yes. Don't let this old house scare you off. It's big but comfortable. I have been able to research a great deal for my fictional novels. Life here is quiet and very comfortable."

Blair looked away. "Seems more like a gilded cage." He hadn't meant to say that out loud but he felt weak. He failed to notice the concerned looks directed towards him.

Phoebe watched, as Blair seemed to become paler as time passed. It almost seemed as though the house had been draining his energy. In fact, she began to feel the same way. Like everything around her sucked the joy from her heart and replaced it with a great sense of depression.

Bentley seemed oblivious to the reactions around him. Quite the opposite. He, instead, seemed positively giddy and smiled brightly at the new visitors. "Let me show you to your rooms and then, after you have had a chance to unpack, I will take you on a tour. Dinner will be served promptly at 6 - clean-up at 7:30. Breakfast is at 9, clean-up at 10:30 - Lunch we fend for ourselves. A, Ms. Crane stops in to prepare the meals and leaves immediately after clean-up. I've rarely seen her but I imagine if you are curious enough, you could catch her on the way out."

Phoebe grumbled. "If I had to clean here, I'd leave quickly too."

Blair smirked at the comment and whispered. "And never return."

Bentley placed a hand on Blair's shoulder and grinned. "Blair there is nothing to fear about this house. Nothing at all. In fact it seems to suit you."

Giles kept looking at the host with growing distrust. Bentley seemed to focus intently on the young Blair Sandburg and Blair seemed to cringe from the man's touch. He decided to keep a watchful eye on the young TA.

********************

Each person was shown to his or her room. Each was assigned a room the size of a large dance hall. A 'dance hall' equipped with everything they would ever need. The windows looked out across the courtyard and toward large hills that seemed to rise high enough to prevent the sun from shining in. Blair couldn't figure out why he felt suddenly calm. His emotions were definitely goofing on him. He reached for his cellphone and was met with a disappointing buzzing sound. The hills were apparently blocking the frequency. It was almost as though they guarded the house against visitors of any kind.

Placing the uncooperative phone into his backpack, Blair proceeded to unpack and smiled at the good natured way he dealt with this situation. He decided that the gloomy house deserved some cheer. He put on a festive vest he had packed and burned some sage to rid the room of negative vibes. Time to see what Phoebe had planned. He could always count on Phoebe to be more adventurous and equally cheery. Blair paused at the doorway leading into the hall and again he thought he heard a wolf cry from outside but shrugged it off. Here the wolf didn't matter.

No one noticed that the sage Blair had left to burn disintegrated into ash the moment he exited the room.

Phoebe braided the hair that Blair gave her and created a choker out of it. The Book of Shadows, which held spells and incantations, had mentioned that wearing something of someone you care for could help strengthen his aura. Phoebe couldn't forget the vision she received when she hugged Blair and hoped his fate had changed for the better. After all, the man in the vision with Blair was nowhere to be found and that had to be good. Right?

The tour was fascinating. The house had an immense library, an equally vast history and immediately captured the rapt scholarly attention of Giles and Sandburg. The dressing room that had originally belonged to the owner's two wives captured Phoebe's imagination. So many gowns and jewelry, how did a woman decide what to wear?

The solarium was an odd part of the tour. A garden without sunlight was simply a graveyard for nature to die in. The smell of dank soil and a feeling of death made this area someplace to avoid. The sitting room was roughly the size of a banquet hall and had an immense fireplace that could warm the downtown Cascade area. Artwork was strewn on every wall. The room was gold and maroon. It was warm and beautiful.

Next on the tour was the nursery that contained several cribs and hand made toys to rival any collector. Hill House exuded its wealth but still it lacked a great deal in warmth. The place was intimidating and cold.

Dinner came and went. The three were exhausted but feeling more at ease in the house; proving once again that one feared the unknown. After the long tour, the house didn't seem so vast - now it just seemed huge and though they were all tired they were even more curious.

Blair was the first to wander. The house seemed to invite him to discover its secrets and being an anthropologist he loved to discover things. Phoebe, who had noticed how withdrawn Blair had become was a bit worried for her old friend and decided to stick close by. Just in case.

Giles watched Bentley with mildly disguised suspicion. The host seemed oblivious to the scrutiny of the British man. Instead, he seemed overtly eager to follow Phoebe and Blair and even more eager to answer any questions the young TA had about his surroundings.

The time passed without notice and it was soon early morning. Blair seemed to weaken under the strange hosts' intense presence, becoming ill looking in appearance but either unconcerned or unaware of his condition. Giles noted that Phoebe had also become more concerned for the younger man and looked to him for answers.

The young woman seemed to feel his eyes on her and met his gaze as she motioned for him to join her in a far corner. "Giles, is it me or does Blair look sicker than he is letting on?"

Giles glanced at the young lady and nodded. "Phoebe I have observed peculiar things in my life and what I am about to suggest is going to sound, well ludicrous but..."

Phoebe interrupted him. "It's like the house is sucking the energy from Blair."

Startled, Giles looked at the young women with surprise in his eyes. "Quite."

Phoebe wished for the first time that her sisters were here. 'The power of three.'

********************

Piper wiggled in the tight economy sized car that Prudence was able to rent. The ride to the haunted house, as she and her sister called it, was gloomy and getting gloomier every passing moment. The closer they got to their destination the worse the storm seemed to get. Almost as though nature were trying to prevent them from going any further. Piper wished sometimes that she could freeze all of time, not just things around her. Just so she could get were she needed to without getting wet or harmed. She did not have the power to control time and had to deal with that fact.

Prudence hardly spoke as she navigated the slick road. She was furious at her youngest sister. Didn't she understand that all they had in the world were each other? Nothing else mattered. Nothing. Somehow she was going to get that across the Phoebe.

The storm continued to get worse when the rental started down the gravel road leading to the house. Eventually the two Halliwells were forced to park off the side of the road. The weather became too dangerous to navigate in and the two were forced to wait it out.

So very close. So very far.

********************

Ellison was getting frustrated, it had taken him longer than he thought to get a helicopter ride out to this area and after procuring a Ford Explorer rental, the weather had turned for the worse. For most it would have been difficult to travel in. But for a Sentinel on high 'Blessed Protector' mode, the weather was just a nuisance. He was almost at his destination when he noticed a car containing two females parked along the side of the gravel road.

He stopped his vehicle to see if they needed assistance. Ever the cop and always willing to help those in need. He stepped out of the truck and knocked on the driver side window.

Piper placed her hand on her sister's shoulder. "He could be an axe murderer."

Prudence looked at the chiseled features gazing into her vehicle and smiled. "Well if he is one, it wouldn't be too bad to take him down." She opened the window slightly. "Hi, my name is Prudence and this is my sister Piper. Uh, are you headed to Hill House?"

Ellison smiled at the axe murderer joke but cleared his throat to disguise his chuckle. "Yes. As a matter of fact I am, my name is James Ellison. Look, I'd hate to leave the two of you out here alone. I haven't seen a vehicle in all the time I've been on this road. Would you two like a lift? I promise to keep the axe under my seat."

Prudence laughed. "Well Mr. Ellison as long as you promise. Then I'll keep my shotgun in my purse."

The two sisters grabbed their belongings, Piper still a bit hesitant, and joined Ellison in his truck. Prudence looked him over, he seemed strong, like a cop and a cop who was worried about something. "You visiting a relative up there?"

Ellison nodded. "Meeting someone actually. My friend - Blair Sandburg. He asked me to join him if I had an opportunity and, well, it seems I am available."

Prudence smiled. "Oh my god. You mean Phoebe's friend Blair?"

Ellison looked at her and smiled warmly. "Yes. Oh, you must be the Halliwells - sisters of Phoebe?"

Prudence leaned into the seat and looked out the window. "Yes we are. Two very angry sisters who had no idea she was coming to a place so far out of reach and potentially dangerous."

Ellison glanced back at the road. "Usually it's Sandburg who comes up with stunts like this. This time he left me everything I needed to find him. He didn't mention any danger however." Ellison left out his dream.

Prudence sighed. "Seems Piper discovered that the house has a reputation. It is said to be haunted with the lives of several people who, at one time or another, lived or visited the place. In any case I am sure Phoebe left that information out of Blair's invitation. She tends to see things a bit differently."

Ellison sighed. "Sandburg was like that but he's changed a bit. Not much but enough."

Prudence laughed. "Well if you've got a secret regarding this change, then please I would really like to know it."

Piper frowned as Ellison drove the truck further into the darkness. "How is it you can see through this pea soup? We had difficulty just finding the side of the road."

Jim winced and wished Sandburg was present. It seemed hard for Ellison to dream up lies. The kid was a natural at it. "I am a detective, and, well it's just something I've overcome while on the job."

Piper looked over at Prudence and smirked. "So you're a cop, huh?"

Prudence gave her sister a warning glance and Piper giggled. Pru's track records with cops and romance never seemed to be a good one.

********************

Phoebe was looking out of her room window when she noticed the lights coming from a vehicle headed towards Hill House. Curious as always, she immediately pulled on her robe and ran to see who was joining them. Hopefully the more the merrier.

As the car approached the gate Ellison noticed that the gate was electrified and locked. Just as he was about to step out to see what he could do to rectify the matter the gates opened. Piper smiled. "Piece of cake, right Pru?"

Prudence gave her sister a warning glance. "Someone must have seen us from inside the house."

Ellison nodded. It did seem reasonable. After all how else could the gates have opened for them?

As they neared the rather monstrous house all three passengers became lost in their own thoughts. The place seemed to require a moment of respect and fear.

Blair woke from a nightmare drenched in sweat. Someone was chasing him, the person called to him, begged for him to accept death. Just as Blair turned to face his tormentor, he woke.

He stood to go to the washroom and it was then that the room seemed to start spinning. He tried to close his eyes when he heard someone call to him. "Blair accept death, embrace life." Blair tried to make it back to his bed but it too seemed to pull away from him. He couldn't breathe. "Jim?!?" Blair collapsed.

********************

Ellison didn't like the feel of Hill House. Something wanted him here. Something desperate and hungry. Prudence was about to knock on the nine-foot door when it opened. "Pru? Piper?"

The three sisters hugged each other. "God, how did you guys find me?"

Piper smirked. "We're sisters, something you keep forgetting."

Ellison smiled at the happy meeting and glanced inside the large manor while extending his hearing in search of his guide.

Phoebe stared at the tall man in surprise. "He ... he

Prudence turned around and stared at the man who now seemed focused on something or someone inside the large house. "Jim?!?"

Ellison took off in the direction of the voice that called to his soul and the heartbeat that seemed to be slowing.

Piper, Prudence and Phoebe followed close behind. Phoebe, now certain that this was the man in her vision, the man who would try to kill Blair and she knew that an innocent needed protecting.

Ellison arrived outside his friend's room and pounded on the door. "Sandburg open up. It's Jim. Chief?"

Prudence placed her hand on the detective's. "How do you know this is his room?"

Phoebe interrupted her sister and ignored the curious question. "Pru, Blair was kinda pale, we need to get inside."

Pru nodded and focused on the door. The doors opened seemingly on their own. Ellison didn't think he reacted.

Blair was on the floor and as pale as the moon. With his newly cut hair he looked like a small child. "Chief. My God Blair?"

Blair opened his eyes. "Jim?"

Ellison lifted his friend and placed him on the nearby bed. Piper came beside the man with a damp cloth she retrieved from the basin beside the bed, Phoebe went to get Giles and Prudence opened a window to air out the stale air within.

Ellison glanced at his friend and then at Phoebe who had returned minutes later. "What the hell is wrong with him? If he was sick why didn't you call a doctor? Why the hell did you let him get so bad?"

Prudence stepped in front of her sister. "Hey Jim back off." She turned to Phoebe. "What is going on here?'

It was Giles, who had entered the room behind Phoebe who answered. "Sir, the phones are dead, our host is no where to be found and until recently neither Ms. Halliwell nor I thought that Blair was this ill."

Ellison looked at the English man and then at Pru. "He tends to hide his illness. I apologize for yelling.” He sighed out of exasperation. "Look, I need to get him out of here and now."

Just then an eerie giggle came from the bed. "Welcome my friends. Welcome to the end."

Ellison looked towards his friend. The voice was eerie and made his soul cringe. "Chief?"

Again Blair giggled. "No my dear guardian, I am no longer that person, the name is Oliver Deats and you all were brought here to witness my resurgence onto this world."

Ellison froze in place, the Halliwells gathered into a tight circle and Giles moved forward. "You are a demon."

'Oliver' stood, his face pale, the eyes which once shined brightly with life were now were ablaze with cold hatred, "Well, we all have our little secrets don't we my dear Ripper. Perhaps I should do the introductions. Secrets are such a bother anyway. Let's get them out of the way shall we?"

He sat up and smiled wickedly. "First we have Mr. James Ellison, detective by day, Sentinel by night. He can hear, see and smell better than any living creature on earth. He, who is a freak of nature. Weak without the aid of his guide. His Guide was Blair Sandburg, an educated man, who had sacrificed his future to enable Ellison aka ‘the freak' to exist safely and undiscovered. A sacrifice that disturbed Blair Sandburg so much that it easily enabled me to take what is rightfully mine. He was uncertain about who he is so I decided that I should give him direction. All so very easy. Now his body, his life and his soul are mine to do with as I see fit."

Oliver paused. He stood and turned his gaze from the stunned James Ellison and then moved towards the sisters. "Ahh but where are my manners? Oh yes, I remember. Next we have the very beautiful trio of sisters, the Halliwells, Prudence, Piper and Phoebe, witches and very strong ones at that. Each gifted with the power to destroy evil and dispel the worst of the worst. Each also weak in their own way. Phoebe was almost mine to take but she has strength in her love for her siblings. No less strong than the love a Guide has for his Sentinel but the years together made it harder to break. Love. Positively sickening."

Oliver stretched his hand out and all three Halliwells were lifted off of the ground. Made to hover two feet in the air. "I could snap your necks and that would be the end of the three of you." With that he dropped his arm and the three fell to the floor. Too weak to stand or respond to the threat they remained silent.

Ellison stepped up and shook his friend by the shoulders. "Let him go. Damn you."

Oliver smiled and then responded tauntingly. "Even now he calls for you. My God, his faith in you is stronger than any I have ever met. Thankfully so is his doubt about his place in this world. He will weaken in time."

Ellison didn't release his hold. "Chief please fight him. I believe in you. Your place is here."

Suddenly, it was Blair who looked into his friend's eyes and he who spoke. "Jim please run. You're not safe here." Oliver seemed to weaken; his control was slipping but the struggle inside continued.

Giles stepped beside Ellison. "Oliver, you are weak because Blair is strong. He will not let you harm us."

'Oliver' recovered. "I simply will destroy his friend here and he will no longer care what happens to anything or anyone."

Giles shoved Ellison away from the possessed man. Ellison tried to return to his friend when he was pulled from the room by three determined women.

'Oliver' moved forward when Prudence glanced his direction and the door to the bedroom closed and blocked the man from following the five.

"I will find you all and you each will die." Oliver shouted angrily.

Ellison tried to return to the room and was again pulled from the doors. Giles stepped in front of the distressed man. "Please sir, we must go somewhere and talk about this."

Phoebe placed her hand on the large man and suddenly she was fused with another vision - Blair was dying and Jim was the person responsible. Tears were in the stoic man's eyes. Jim had been the man in the vision she had earlier.

Prudence pulled her sister aside and was quickly joined by Piper as well. Phoebe whispered. "Ellison is going to kill his friend."

Ellison whirled on the three. His hearing working stronger than ever. "What the hell are you saying?"

Giles silenced the three. "Not here."

********************

Oliver tried to open the door with his mind. A trick he had done many times before but, with the other still struggling, he'd have to wait. It had been so very long since he had been a part of this world. So very long since he had felt warmth and, oh, so very long since he had felt anything.

The mind within kept calling for the 'Jim' person. "Soon my young caregiver. Soon he will be ours and then it will be over.

He lifted off of the ground and then disappeared. His was learning to use his power in this world. Soon he would be stronger.

He appeared in the garden and smiled at the once home to his evil deeds. Here he lured many a victim. Here the plants kept the secrets and once bathed in the fresh blood.

The room glowed a dark and deep maroon color. Then suddenly it was alive with roses and daisies. "I like this. You have so much energy. I will swim within your strength and carry it with me into his body. There I will be powerful.” Oliver heard the other cry out but laughed. A man of power cares little about who he destroys.

********************

Giles sat on a plush chair in the sitting room, the sisters on a nearby couch and Ellison paced near the door. "Why the hell are we here? Blair is-is dying. His heartbeat is irregular. He needs help."

Giles glanced at the man. "So it is true you are a Sentinel and he is your Watcher."

Ellison looked away then decided that he didn't give a rat's ass about his damn secret. He cared about his friend and the need to protect and care for the welfare of the younger man outweighed everything else. "Not watcher, guide. He is, first and foremost, my friend, a brother so to speak. I want him out of this place. He needs to be somewhere safe and standing here in this room is not helping him."

"Perhaps." Giles ignored the man for a moment. "You three are the Charmed Ones, yes?"

Phoebe smiled realizing that secrets were no longer worth guarding and a bit happy to share. "Yeah we are. We each know the other's secrets but yours. What are you?"

Giles smiled, grateful master Oliver did not elaborate on his once infamous surname. "I am a Watcher, much like Mr. Sandburg. My charge in this instance is a Vampire Slayer."

Ellison looked away in frustration. "Look I don't have time for a new episode on the Sci-Fi channel. Let's just say we all believe that each of us has special talents. How does that help Blair?"

Giles looked at the agitated man but continued with the information he felt important to share. "Sentinels and their Watchers are said to be bonded in life, for an eternity. You need him as much as he needs you."

Ellison closed his eyes hoping to keep his anger a bay while the passive man addressed him. "Blair, he, we, prefer the term Guide and, yes, the bond is strong between us."

Prudence moved to stand beside the distraught Sentinel and placed her hand on his. "We will save him."

Ellison smiled at her determination, she seemed special - all three sisters did, like Blair. He added a vow to the assurance. "Or I shall die trying."

Phoebe smiled. "He told me once that you were his family. That 'you' mattered. Jim, I know that Blair is fighting this thing. He is not a quitter"

Piper walked over to Giles. "Why Blair? Of all of us he seems the least gifted?"

Giles smiled. "To be a Sentinel's Guide it is said that one must be extremely wise, free-spirited and have an innocent soul. They are pure of heart. Some Guides, in history, have been altered to become other than pure but it is the fault of the Sentinels that causes this. Guides assist their Sentinels with their focus and their talents, Sentinels protect the citizens around him but it is my belief that the Sentinel feels the most protective over the Guide. It is the Sentinels way of life that can influence the life of the other and it is the Guide who enables the Sentinel to exist."

Ellison turned toward the door. "He's calling for me."

Prudence focused on a chair and moved it with her mind to block Ellison from opening the door.

Ellison looked at her in shock. "You did that."

Piper waved her hand and everyone froze. She walked up to her older sister. "What are you doing?”

"I trust him."

Phoebe looked at the hostile looking man and spoke softly. "He will murder Blair. I saw it."

Pru looked at the two and spoke. "He loves Blair like a brother. I can tell. I trust him guys. Please, I don't know why but I am telling you these two men are the innocents and we are here to protect them."

Piper shook her head. "He is good looking."

Phoebe smiled. "He is but Blair is a great kisser."

"Phoebe!!!”

She giggled and then sobered. "All right we protect them both but remember Blair needs us most of all."

Prun nodded. "Agreed."

Piper lifted her hands. "Sometimes I wish you guys could just meet an ordinary man to fall in love with. Someone like Leo." She waived and unfroze the two other men. Both oblivious to what had just happened.

Phoebe smiled and then resumed the conversation the detective. "We're witches. I see visions, Pru can move things with her mind and Piper can freeze things." She placed a hand on the tall man and seemingly calmed him. "We want to help. Blair is my friend too."

Piper sighed. "And we work best together. A point my younger sister seems to continually have difficulty working with."

"Youth is the playground of childish behaviors my dear Piper." Giles ignored the angry look he received from Phoebe and looked about the sitting room. "By the way, has anyone seen Bentley?"

Phoebe looked at the questioning gazes from her sisters. "He's the guy who invited us here. Said it would be an adventure of historical interest and a way to step into the past. At first it seemed so true. The place is covered with historical riches. Blair loved the library the most, said there was a great deal of helpful data there. He said there was an answer to everything in it if you'd only use your eyes."

Ellison tensed and moved closer to the chair blocking the exit. Giles noticed the movement and went to stand beside him. "Jim what is it?"

Ellison moved the chair aside and again approached the door. "I have to go to him. I have to help him."

Prudence stepped in front of the detective. "Please Jim, I have seen something similar to this. Right now Blair is fighting the control over his body and his mind. But he is not in danger. If this Oliver personality has his way and kills you, how do you think it will affect Blair and his struggle for control?"

Phoebe stood beside her sister marveling in the strength and calm they shared when faced with darkness. "Jim, I was once under the control of an evil spooky type. He tried to make me kill my sisters. I almost succeeded."

Piper joined the others and smiled as she placed a hand on Phoebe's shoulder. "But you didn't and we fought it together." Prudence turned and smiled at Ellison. "And together we will save your friend."

Giles cleared his throat. "Well I suggest that we all adjourn to the library. Perhaps amongst all the decimated tree life kept within it, there is a book regarding this situation."

Ellison looked at the four people in front of him, grateful for the assistance and nodded. "I'll maintain surveillance."

Prudence placed a hand on Jim's elbow. "No one walks alone. You and I will stand watch together."

Prudence turned towards the others. "When we get there, Phoebe, you and Giles do the research and Piper you stand guard inside the library. Just in case."

Ellison gave her a wry smile. "A lady who takes charge. My kind of woman."

Prudence smirked. "Watch it Jim, it sounds like you like it."

Jim and Pru walked out of the room first followed by Phoebe and Giles and a watchful Piper.

********************

Blair curled up and hugged his ... Wait. I only have my mind, no limbs, just' Again, he heard his voice call out for Jim and cursed his inability to stop the sound. The young profiler knew that this 'presence' this Oliver wanted to harm his friend and also knew it was his job to stop him.

He 'stood' and tried to make his body shut down. Tried to stop the voice. It was useless. He was in a coffin and no matter how hard he clawed at the lid; no one could hear him scream. "Damn you let me out of here."

"You wanted to know if you were still the man you once were."

"Shut up."

"You sacrificed so very much. You are such a saint."

"Stop it. That is not how I feel."

"You know what they do to saints?"

"Please I want out."

"They canonize them. Saint Blair." Oliver laughed. "The first saint to live in hell."

********************

The moment they entered the library, Jim froze and motioned for the rest to stop. Giles placed his hand on Ellison's shoulder. "What do you hear?"

Ellison tilted his head. "Someone is in there and I think they're unconscious."

Prudence nodded. "Piper?"

Piper stood beside her sister and nodded. "Ready whenever you are."

The doors flung open and the five people looked inside. Phoebe brushed past them. "It's Mr. Bentley."

Giles walked over and took the man's pulse. Ellison closed the door behind them and turned in astonishment at the size and contents of the library. "My God this is tremendous. Sandburg would love this place."

Phoebe frowned. "How are we to find anything in this place?"

Giles smiled. "Simple, we find the secret compartment which holds the texts we seek." Giles paused. "Come now, you ladies must keep your Book of Shadows in a secretive place."

Phoebe stepped forward. "How do you know ...?"

Prudence stopped her from further commentary. "Alright enough with the divulging of secrets. Giles, please get started. Blair can't stay present forever and I don't want him springing up on us when we are unprepared."

Giles smiled at the lady who wasted no time. "Quite."

Piper noticed Bentley coming around. "Jim?"

Ellison strode up to the chair the man was slumped in. "Come on wake up."

Bentley jumped at the harsh voice. "Who the hell are you?"

"A friend of Blair Sandburg's."

Bentley grinned. "Oliver did it. Didn't he?"

Ellison grabbed the man by his shirt collar and pulled him to his feet. "Start talking. Who is Oliver Deats? Why did he take Blair?"

Bentley laughed. "He wants the pair, he wants both. He wants to have the power of the Sentinel and the abilities of the Shaman." Bentley laughed uncontrollably. "You are the other. You caused the Shaman to doubt his place here on this plane and because of this your bond has suffered a strain. Oliver waited for just such a pair and Blair was delivered gift-wrapped as they say. Phoebe was simply the messenger."

Prudence stepped up. "Why are you here?"

"I have been forced to live in this damn house for 300 years simply because I dared to poke fun at it. Condemned to live a hell on this earth. Eternal life was my wish - eternal loneliness was my punishment. Now I shall get my freedom at your expense."

Giles came over. "Ladies and Gentlemen I believe I have found it."

Ellison turned to Bentley and struck him in the jaw, the man was out. "Jaw of glass. Thought so."

Giles ignored the unnecessary act of violence and looked the book over. "Phoebe located the book under the chair in the corner."

Phoebe smiled at the sudden attention. "Hey, it's where I would hide something, in plain sight but not."

Prudence and Piper shook their heads, Phoebe was, after all, the most cunning of the three. "So what do we have to do?"

"We must vanquish the spirit to a prison of glass. Forever looking in and forever locked out. We need to bind the body here and force the spirit out."

Giles paused: "We need something of Blair's, something near to his heart, we need the three of you to read the incantation at the appropriate moment, while I bind the spirit."

Ellison shook his head in disbelief. "If anyone had told me that I was going to be casting spells, with three witches while in a haunted house, well..."

Giles looked at the concerned man. "We will free him."

********************

Blair was trapped in a hellish nightmare. Voices spoke to him about a better life, freedom to be whatever he chose, and eternal life. The young Guide was not swayed, none of these things mattered.

Then the gentle man was guided through the past, shown the murders of children, raped, beaten, sodomized, and tortured. He was shown child after child and forced to see the acts of violence in graphic detail. To hear their screams of terror. To see the carnage of death was simply too much to bear and being made to feel their despair was unacceptable. Blair tried to force his mind away and was met with resistance... wanted death, but the voice wanted more. It wanted Blair's soul and without resistance. The monster hunted for his friends and Blair fought to keep them from harm. Slowly he was weakening and despaired at the battle slowly lost.

He was being sealed behind a brick wall and the cement was drying. "Please let me go. Please."

********************

Ellison walked towards the sound of the rapidly beating heart. The plan was for him to lure Oliver out into the open. The rest would be handled by Giles and the ladies.

Jim entered the large study and distractedly marveled at the gilded walls and paintings. The trappings of a rich and devious life.

Oliver stepped out from behind a statue. The light that usually shone from the expressive eyes, now seemed long gone. The eyes were dark, almost black and the face that always seemed a bit mischievous and highly intelligent now twisted with an angry expression. "So you think you can come here and lure me from this world with some childish plan? Think that I could be tricked to returning back from the hell I had been forced to exist in? You fool."

The door behind Jim, though eight feet in height and made of solid oak, slammed with the ease of a feather blown by a strong wind. The detective remained unfazed by the act. To much had happened tonight to have him reacted at such a minor thing. He faced the man before him. A man, whose body was now inhabited by a demon or sorts, found the strength to fight again. "Release him."

Oliver laughed as he approached the other and reached up to touch Ellison's face. "So strong and handsome. So weak and lonely. I must have both of you. Your death will release his soul and I will be able to exist once again, in your body. In your strong and gifted body. I will have it all."

The mind inside the body screamed. "Never. No more killing."

Oliver raised both his hands and Ellison was lifted high into the air. Suddenly Oliver swayed and spoke to the angry third party from within. "Not now damn you."

Oliver stumbled and Ellison was slowly lowered to the ground - unharmed. Dark blue caring eyes met those of the stoic cop. "Jim please, he has killed so many, please don't let him win."

The door swung open and Piper froze Blair. Ellison was stunned. His friend stood in place, still and almost, as though he was a statue. Phoebe ran to the motionless guide. "I bind you from doing further harm to you and others." She then hurriedly tied a braid of hair around Blair's neck. The gift had now bcome a weapon.

Pru stepped up followed by Giles who was pushing a large floor mirror ahead of him. A mirror which was decorated with a golden man on top and surrounded with the faces of small children looking into the mirror. Giles adjusted the mirror and then took the book and handed it to Phoebe. "No matter what happens, repeat the words three times."

Ellison went to stand beside Phoebe. "He's coming around."

Pru lifted the body from the ground and held it in the air.

Phoebe read. "Horror from the past, the future is not for you to live, I sentence you to eternity inside the looking glass."

Oliver recovered movement and shrieked in terror as he tried in vain to remove the choker round his neck. His body involuntarily moved towards the mirror.

"Jim please help me. I don't want to die."

Ellison turned away from the unbelievable sight, fighting the emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. Giles stepped up to the figure held in the air. "Blair embrace death."

Ellison spun around. "Nooo."

"Horror from the past, the future is not for you to live, I sentence you to eternity inside the looking glass."

Oliver/Blair's body was slowly being pulled into the mirror. Prudence, no longer in control of the young man's body, slumped to the ground in exhaustion. Piper ran to her side.

Jim ran to reach for his friend just as Oliver/Blair were sucked into the mirror.

"Horror from the past, the future is not for you to live, I sentence you to eternity inside the looking glass."

Ellison reached out to his friend who was trapped in the mirror. The younger man's face suddenly transformed into a face with barely contained anger. "I will have you both." He pulled at the detective's arm.

James Ellison had once lived a solitary life. No friends, no family and he was content. Never knowing the value of time-shared with others until the day came where he was faced with a problem, his senses, and he had no one to turn to. Not desiring to become either a burden or to be studied as a freak of nature. James Ellison considered suicide. It was then, that very moment where it could have gone either way for James Ellison, that Blair Sandburg entered his life. As unexpected as sun shining on a rainy day and like the sun he opened Jim's dark world to the warmth of brotherhood and love. The younger man had shared his knowledge of Jim's condition and never once treated as a freak. He was accepted and he was cared about.

Jim would have died with the younger man and never looked back. "Jim, Jim, please let me go. Don't let him win. We cannot allow this horror on earth." The voice didn't come from the hostile body trying to pull him into the mirror, but from within his mind. "Jim, please. Free my soul and protect the tribe. Please my friend. Please?"

The Sentinel responded to his need to protect the tribe and the need to free his Guide's soul. Later he would do the honorable thing. A Sentinel never lives without his Guide. It was the way. Jim jerked out of the strong grip of the younger man and pulled the large book held by Giles and smashed the mirror into thousands of pieces.

Phoebe had seen it coming and for the first time, she knew it had to be done. The innocent had to be sacrificed. "Oh, Blair." Tears blurred the horrible truth from her.

Giles stepped up to the shattered pieces of glass and spoke the final words. "You are hereby condemned to a hell you have created. A hell of you own design. Forever looking upon what will never be yours."

Ellison turned on the man. "Please stop. I-I don't feel him anymore. Just stop." The Sentinel could no longer smell, hear or see his Guide. His world was empty. He stepped up and looked down at the shattered glass that littered the floor. His enhanced vision saw his own reflection on each piece. It was the face of a Sentinel who had allowed the death of his Guide. Ancient laws, laws no longer known by modern man but still just as powerful, demanded he join the other in death. He was a true Sentinel and after he made sure the others were safe, he would abide by those ancient laws.

The detective stepped away from the shattered glass and looked at the others. Suddenly the room shook as a loud scream came from all around the five people, then everything stilled. Light from the early morning sun streamed into the room, which hadn't seen light in decades. Ellison looked to the place where the broken pieces of the looking glass laid and saw his friend standing in its place. "J-Jim? What happened?"

Jim brushed past everyone and pulled his guide into a bear hug. "God Chief, ghosts, aliens and demons. I think it's time we go hide in the hills somewhere. Somewhere that no one knows about." He released his friend and smiled at the sight of his living Guide. Blair returned the smile as he leaned heavily against the older man. The others crowded around the pair but stayed out of reach. Ellison would have no other touch his Guide. No more interference.

Seconds later the younger man had fallen asleep within the embrace of his Sentinel. Ellison carefully lifted the man and addressed the others. "I don't know about the rest of you but I think we should leave right now. Something tells me this 'house' is not too happy with us in it."

Giles nodded. "I will gather Mr. Sandburg's things as well as my own and meet you outside."

"Be careful. I don't sense anything but after what we've been though, there could still be danger here."

"You're quite right. I will be careful."

Piper followed Phoebe and Pru followed Giles. The house seemed at peace for the moment but none of its inhabitants wanted to test the validity of that thought.

Piper paused and looked at the vast front room. All the riches anyone could ask for and yet the place felt so lonely. It hungered for more and had been denied. "Evil never wins and you are such a sore loser." Her sisters called her to join them and just as she turned a chair moved in front of her. She smiled. "I know who I am and there is nothing you can offer me to give my life to you. Nothing."

Giles collected the younger man's things and paused as he heard a whispered voice call out to him. He heard the voice again. He pulled the metallic item from the nightstand and with the ease of a vampire slayer he turned and flung the letter opener/dagger at the wooden carving. He returned to what he was doing and then exited.

Wood doesn't breathe but this one, which had been shaped as an older man, moaned in sorrow. Evil had failed a third time.

********************

Ellison carried his friend to the truck and carefully eased him into the backseat. "Chief? I'll get you to a hospital and have you checked out."

Blair opened his eyes and looked past his friend to the figure storming towards them. "Jim look out."

The detective retrieved his gun from under the driver's seat where he had left it thinking it was safe, and aimed. "Stop right there or I will shoot."

Bentley was furious. "I will not live here forever. You bastard, I will not live here forever."

He took aim, prepared to shoot when, unexpectedly, Blair placed his hand on that of his friend's. "Jim, don't, he's dying."

Ellison turned back and noticed that Bentley aged before his eyes; each step the host took aged the man more and more. Then unexpectedly he collapsed and died. The wind swirled around the body and then it vanished.

Giles stepped up and frowned. "I must say, I thought only vampires died that way."

Phoebe laughed. "Nah, demons do it as well. We think it's kind of them to clean up after themselves."

An exhausted Sandburg looked at the three. "Witches, Vampires, and I. Oh my."

Giles, Pru and Piper joined him and laughed.

Prudence noticed the care which Ellison took to make sure Blair was comfortable and safe. She smiled; the man had a warm heart. "I think it would be best if I drive. Piper with Giles can drive Sandburg's rental. Then Giles can drive our car back to the station. Phoebe you can be shotgun and when we get home we are going to have a long talk."

The stoic man suddenly smiled. "A woman who handles details as well. I think I like this."

Prudence grinned at the compliment. "Careful Jim, you are liking this a bit too much."

Ellison relaxed, Blair was safe and, well, Pru had bewitching eyes.

********************

Two days later - at a Hotel near the train station.

Blair had cornered Giles and Phoebe. For three hours he questioned and harassed the two. What are vampires like? What's it like to be a witch? Is there a text on how to be a Sentinel's Guide? Do they have organizations for Shaman? Can witches read minds?

Piper was able to escape under the guise that it would be better to take their belongings to the train station early.

Meanwhile, Jim and Prudence got acquainted. Both marveled at their similarities. Family came first, then work and then, if at all possible - fun. Both would go to the ends of the earth for their family. Pru admired Jim's way of considering Blair his brother - family. Something she noted that neither one took for granted. Giles mentioned that it was part of the Sentinel thing but something told Pru that it had more to do with the men and their friendship. Pru understood what it was like to be different from everyone around you and she also knew how valuable it was to have someone in your life that ignored the difference and instead helped you face it. Knowing you won't ever feel completely ostracized from the world was comforting and valued. Special.

Ellison marveled at Pru's acceptance regarding his gifts, she was a special person. Even the fact that she was a witch, a Charmed One, who was placed on this earth to protect innocents from harm, seemed to make him admire her more. It seemed that the world was comprised with people who had secret gifts that enabled them to battle the evil out there. It made him feel glad he wasn't alone in this battle. They exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Both promised to meet again preferably away from gunmen and demons.

********************

Giles arrived in Sunnydale and was promptly greeted by a rather uptight and extremely agitated Buffy Summers, "It's about time you returned. Do you have any idea what it is like to want to talk to your Watcher about the latest in Demonic visitations and, like, have no one but Xander to speak with?"

Giles laughed. He was beginning to miss Blair Sandburg and his incredible enthusiasm. Then he realized that Buffy had the exact same enthusiasm. Lovers of life and protectors of the light. "I brought you some soap from the Hotel Crescent Moon."

Buffy paused. "Great maybe I can use it on this creep. He smells like the toilets at a stadium."

Giles laughed again. He understood his place in the world. He was a watcher and a surrogate father to the young lady and that was a great honor but he was also a teacher and a student. Life was packed with lessons and he was enjoying each and every lesson. For now that was all he needed; that, and a rather large dictionary to enable him to decode some of the frightfully strange things that were being said to him by the angry young Slayer.

********************

Phoebe entered her room and sighed. She was no closer to finding out who she was but decided that she had been right about one thing. The trip had been adventurous.

She paused as she looked at the picture Jim had given her of her old friend. It had been taken when he graduated from the academy. There were several men; Blair's mother and a red haired woman surrounded the graduate. It was strange but in Blair's presence they all seemed to glow.

Secretly she envied her friend and wondered when she would be loved by so many. Then remembered the last moments the two shared before going off to their corner of the world. It was a bit of insight that she found herself considering repeatedly. "It doesn't matter what you become Phoebe career-wise or otherwise it's more important to know who you were inside and that you have the support of family to help you through it."

It was advise that rang true because just after returning home, Pru told Phoebe that time would give her a future but for now both Piper and Pru didn't want her to feel that she needed to run away for answers. The power of three could tackle any issue and family is where you go when you need help. Those warm words made Phoebe feel safe and warm inside, where it mattered.

The young woman again smiled, Blair was one smart cookie, and a great kisser too. She quickly jotted down a reminder to call Blair next Sunday and conference in Naomi. Maybe her sisters would join in. It would be fun.

Friends and family - that's what it was all about. That and a little demonic butt kicking action - once in a while.

********************

Jim waited until his roommate had unpacked and was fed. He figured this was going to take a while and wanted the kid to be comfortable and focused. Sandburg had seemed better than before but Ellison wasn't going to come away from this discussion until he knew where Sandburg stood.

"Chief we need to talk."

Blair looked at his friend and frowned, "What's up Jim? Your senses alright?"

Ellison smirked at the never-ending concern the other had for him. "Senses are fine, Chief. It's my friend that concerns me."

Blair scooted forward. "Which friend?"

The detective sighed. "You are the most intelligent man I know but when it comes to yourself you can be so dense. I am talking about you, Chief."

Blair was stunned. "Me? I'm fine. A little freaked about not remembering the whole possession thing but I'm okay."

Jim discovered, with the help of Mr. Giles, that Oliver Deats had destroyed many in his lifetime. He killed for the pleasure of viewing another's pain. The monster had almost taken one more innocent but thankfully failed. Ellison decided that Blair didn't need to remember any of this. It was better this way.

Ellison stood and began to pace. "I'm not talking about that trip to the house of horrors which you will never go to again. It's about the sacrifices you've made. About the work you've been forced to do with me. I need to know if you're all right with all of this. That working with me is something you really want to do, not something I somehow forced you to take on. If not, I want you to find what it is that makes you happy and I need for you to know that if you want help in, say, working things out with the University or anywhere else, I'll be there."

"You would do that for me?"

Jim sighed. "Like I said - dense." He moved to sit next to his friend, "We've said it before, this partnership goes both ways. Please Blair let me help you if I can. I don't want you regretting the sacrifices you've made. I want you to be happy."

"Jim, really, everything is fine. Look, you know that discovering a Sentinel was always my dream. Then I met you - my holy grail." The older man smiled at the remembered words from so long ago. "As time goes by, working with you, I discovered I enjoyed helping people and, though I had no idea this is where I'd end up, I like what I do. Without the gun thing, of course. Those solved, and thank the gods for that; I have every intention of completing my doctors in anthropology. In fact, I have already spoken with several professors who support my return and I have a meeting scheduled next month to face the board in protest of how this whole thing was handled. Hopefully I will get reinstated. Then I can work something out with the department. Hell another title won't hurt the budget right?"

Jim looked away feeling slightly disappointed that the kid had once again proceeded with moving on and once again he was on the outside looking in. "So you don't need my help."

Blair placed his hand on his friend's knee. "Now look who's dense. Look, when I go to meet with the board, I am allowed a couple of visitors for support. Mom will most likely be out of town and, well, you are the only other person I'd like to be there for me. You're family big guy and it will help me feel better knowing someone I respect is there pulling for me."

Ellison was elated. The anthropologist was back and this time he'd have back-up. "That I can do."

Blair stood and went to the window facing the balcony and looking out on the city of Cascade. "I don't consider what I've done so far - a sacrifice. Please believe that. Oliver was messed up, a monster who thrived on hurting others and the things he said, at least the parts Phoebe told me he said, were just not true. I would tell you if I couldn't handle this career. I do what I do because, well, I can't be any other way."

Ellison joined his friend at the window. "What you've done so far, in the name of friendship, is more than I deserve. I have failed to trust you completely when it mattered the most and you deserve the opposite." He looked at his friend and prayed the day would never come where he'd have to witness the death of such a precious life again. Twice was too much. "I never meant to hurt you Chief, I just..."

Blair smiled. "As long as you never turn you back on me ever again, well then, I can handle anything you throw my way."

"I promise." Jim closed his eyes and reached out to pull his friend into a tight hug. "You know Chief someday I hope I find out what it was that I did to get a friend in you."

Blair chuckled. "You're special. Simple."

Ellison released the smaller man but kept both hands on others neck with his thumbs rubbing Blair's chin. "No one is more special than you kid. Don't ever forget that."

Blair looked away and smiled.

Ellison pulled the suddenly quiet man with him as he headed back towards the couch. "How about we watch a movie?"

"Jim?"

The detective sat on the couch and was soon joined by his friend. "Yeah Chief?"

"Thanks."

"Anytime - remember that." Jim leaned back and felt all the tension in his body fade. The kid was the most special aspect of his life. If tomorrow his senses left him and he lost his job, he'd be all right. His light was there to guide him. His soul had a keeper and the knowledge of that made Ellison feel content. Now if he could only protect the kid from evil, then things would be perfect.

"Hey Jim did you and Pru - you know?"

Ellison looked at his friend and laughed, "I never kiss and tell."

Blair smirked. "Can you imagine a child with a Sentinel for a dad and a witch for a mother? I mean to be able to fight the battles on both fronts, the mystical as well as the present day life. Maybe I could call Phoebe and ask her some questions. It would be an interesting concept. Oh, hey, what about you and this Vampire Slayer. You know Giles ... "

"Marriage, now there is a concept.” Ellison wondered if do-gooders were supposed to marry. It seemed improbable. When did they have the time?

"Say, did you know that Giles is also a master ... "

The kid was rambling again and the Sentinel enjoyed the feeling of contentment that surrounded him. Things were as they should be. His Guide, his home and all was safe. Life was perfect.

********************

He entered the large home and smiled greedily. The curious invitation had been stolen from a young priest whom he had robbed at the bus station. The young idiot tried to fight and paid for his stupidity. The body had been stuffed into a large trash bin and by now had probably been discovered. He didn't care. He had no one to rat out his whereabouts and used his available time to inquire about the large house mentioned in the invitation.

It was strange to find a gas station attendant who was so informed about his destination but that didn't matter, he too was dead and now laid inside the station septic tank.

Having discovered the reputation of the large house and the fact that it was said to have more wealth inside than Fort Knox, he decided it was definitely worth the lives of that stupid priest and the guy at the station.

He walked through the large warehouse of riches and smiled. He had a plan, kill the caretaker and maid, and then take it all. Unbeknownst to the man, the house had plans of its own. It needed another host. There were others within waiting for a chance to exist on the other realm. Perhaps this new host would be more cunning than Bentley.

Once again the evil presence discovered a reason to feel pleased and the house prepared for another chapter in its ever-growing history. 'Step into to the parlor' ... it whispered. Convict Dawson Quinn had no idea what fate had in mind for him.

His sentence? Eternal life with no chance for parole.

Happy Halloween All !!!!!!!!!!!

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