Right Before My Eyes

by Jane Davitt

Blair exhaled and swiped his hair out of his eyes, the sweat dampening his skin making it more of an effort than it should have been.

"Not used to running that fast," he said, chagrined by the rasp of his voice and the fact that his older companion, though breathing quickly, wasn't in anything like as much physical distress. "Sorry about the tripping and screaming."

"Not a problem." It was too dark to appreciate the amused glint in the greenish eyes but Blair knew it was there. He felt a tug of arousal, not for the first time since meeting the man. Older, yes, but the cool self-possession, the English accent, and the quiet, contained strength evident in every movement -- oh, yeah. Blair could dig it. All of it, from the lean body to the books Rupert Giles had allowed him to browse.

The Sunnydale High library had been a revelation. Blair hadn't asked questions about the hallowed hush, unbroken by the intrusion of a single student, though a tall, dark haired boy had popped his head in through the doors, goggled in shock when Blair had smiled at him, and backed away fast. Nor had he asked just why a high school library had such a funky catalogue. Questions might get his access all areas pass revoked and that just wasn't going to happen. He'd got a stack of books to read. Several stacks, as high as his head.

"It makes a difference when you're not just running, but running for your life, doesn't it?" Giles continued.

"They were -- it was -- real?"

Giles smiled again and reached out to brush something from Blair's hair that he devoutly hoped was a leaf and not some of the dust that had filled the air when Giles had -- with his stake -- into the chest -- fangs and that face and those eyes --

"Don't faint on me," Giles said with just a hint of command in his voice, bracing and brisk. "You did very well for your first time, you know."

Blair gestured weakly at the graves around him. "First and last. Not what I'm looking for."

Giles looked disappointed. "Really? They fulfill all your requirements, you know. In fact, in addition to their senses being enhanced, they have incredible strength and immortality." He tossed his stake in the air and caught it neatly. "Well, until they meet a stake or sunlight that is. And Holy Water taken internally can be most effective. You're absolutely certain you wouldn't like to run some tests on one? I'd have to stake it afterwards, of course, but it could prove instructive."

Blair shook his head. Mad dogs and Englishmen… "Sentinels, Giles. I'm looking for Sentinels. They're meant to patrol and protect the people of the tribe, not suck them dry." He summoned an optimistic smile. "I'll know him when I see him. There'll be this connection, you know? I'll feel it."

Giles nodded. "I see your point; they're not really all that interested in protecting anything but their own skins, I'm afraid." He pursed his lips thoughtfully. "You think you'd recognize one, hmm?"

"Are you kidding me? I'm the world expert; sure I will."

"The confidence of youth," Giles said and began to walk back to his car, with Blair plastered close to his side, because Sunnydale was looking scarier by the moment. "So tell me, while you were in the library did a student come in at all? Blonde girl? Pretty in a vacuous sort of way? Miss Summers?"

Blair frowned. "I don't think -- oh, wait. Yeah. I went to get a sandwich and when I came back she was just leaving." Pretty? She'd been stunning, if way too young for him to feel anything but guilty about his involuntary reaction as she'd brushed past him.


"And nothing," Blair said a little too emphatically and thought that he knew why Giles was grinning.

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