Joan Z and Neichan
When Xander went for Graham, Peter got out of his seat and quickly went to protect Wesley, making sure he stayed down. Riley tried to go to his sentinel but Peter held him back. “Let Jim and Spike handle it,” he whispered in the guide’s ear, his eyes glued on the scene as it played out. He panted, tasting the air, filtering for Spike’s scent and any clue that things had gotten out of the pack’s control. He was thankful that they were in the new house with room to maneuver, in case it came to that, and a private room to take Xander to instead of the tight quarters of the loft apartment. He wasn’t surprised to see Spike’s yellow eyes or the smaller man pick up a struggling, angry Xander and carry him away. He’d seen the yellow eyes before, and knew Spike was stronger then he looked. As soon as Spike and Xander were safely out of the living room he let Riley go to Graham and he pulled Wesley to the front door. A sentinel put in that situation had a choice, fight or bond. He needed to get out of the overwhelming scent of testosterone and pheromones before he reached a point of no return. Peter left the front door open as he stepped out onto the porch. Gulping fresh air, clutching Wesley and fighting for control.
He hoped that fresh air entering the house, would reach the two sentinels in the living room, forestalling a disaster. But the wind was wrong and the open door only served to pull the scent of bonding out of the nest toward the open door, past the two sentinels in the living room.
For Captain Miller, object of the attack, it was already too late, the choice had to be made, fight or bond, and Miller was not the type to bond in front of another sentinel.
“What the hell just happened, Jim?” Graham growled. “That was a sentinel that tried to attack me, not a guide. If that’s the result of cross-bonding I don’t want anything to do with it.” Riley was by Graham’s side trying to pry the sentinel’s fingers from the empty beer bottle. The beer was now a puddle on the floor as Graham had instinctively turned the bottle to use as a weapon against Xander.
“It’s not,” Blair said in his soothing guide voice. “That’s the result of years of abuse and an overdose of drugs, during the abduction, that caused brain damage.” Blair and Jim watched carefully as the sentinel refused to give up his weapon. Riley had no choice. He sank to his knees in the puddle of beer and bowed his head. “Master,” he whispered, for the sentinel’s ears alone. Jim heard the guide clearly.
Graham broke eye contact with Jim and looked at his guide. Riley was in need, the danger had passed and the guide’s whisper was a call that could not be ignored. Graham let the empty bottle drop to the floor as he put his hands in his guide’s hair. The decision had been made. Bond!
“We have a private room,” Blair said.
“Where?” the Captain asked.
Graham looked around the room as he pulled Riley to his feet. He saw Jim and growled a warning. Jim backed up slowly, small non-threatening steps, until his back was pressed against the wall. Graham, satisfied the sentinel was no threat, moved with his guide to follow Blair.
Blair made his way to the spare bedroom. There was no furniture; the pack hadn’t foreseen that the room would be needed so soon. There was only wall-to-wall carpeting, but it beat the back seat of a car with windows anyone could see through.
Blair opened the door and stepped aside to let the sentinel and his guide through. “I’ll bring lube,” he said.
“No, I’m set,” Riley said, as Graham pushed him into the room and slammed the door.
Spike carried Xander into the nesting room and kicked the door shut before putting Xander down. As soon as the guide was free he tore off Spike's shirt and pulled him to the floor of the nest. Xander kissed Spike hard, with an urgent need and Spike responded in kind. He let Xander put him on his back and Xander lay on top, his mouth rooting for a guide gland on Spike’s neck. Frustration set in and Xander growled deep and angry; he was a sentinel lost in a bonding thrall. Spike guided Xander’s head to his chest and finding the small nipple Xander latched on to it, sucking and biting, making it swell. Xander was brutal in his need, Spike moaned with the pleasure pain of it.
“Yes, baby, yes,” Spike mewed as Xander worried the tender bit of flesh between his teeth. “Yours, my Luv, always yours, forever.”
Xander stopped and looked up into yellow eyes. “I want you,” he growled.
“I’m yours to claim, Luv,” Spike said. He grabbed the lube that the pack always kept handy in the nest and squeezed a large dollop onto Xander’s hand.
Xander moved down and took Spike’s hard weeping cock into his mouth. He had given Spike oral pleasure many times but this was different. Now Spike was the submissive as Xander’s mouth ravaged him and his fingers massaged Spike’s hole.
Spike fisted the sheets on either side of him as he lifted his hip and moaned his encouragement. One of Xander’s fingers slipped into Spike and Spike’s hips rose to meet it. Xander’s finger thrust in and out matching the rhythm of his mouth on Spike’s cock. Then two fingers entered Spike.
“Yes Luv, more, please, more. Claim me Luv, please.”
Xander inserted a third finger, scissoring them and stretching his guide for the inevitable penetration and claiming to come.
Blair came back to the living room and found Jim still pressed against the wall. “Are you okay, Jim?”
“Too many pheromones, too much testosterone, need to bond.”
Blair went to Jim and put one arm around the big guy. “Come on, let’s get you to the nest.”
When they got to the nest they froze in the doorway. Xander was on top of Spike. Spike’s legs and arms were wrapped around Xander as Xander thrust into him. Both men knew it would happen eventually. Spike had said as much more than once. But neither expected to witness it.
But this was different somehow. Jim could hear it. The sounds Spike was making were guide sounds. And the scent was not quite right either. Jim opened his mouth and tasted the air. The taste was there, it was the taste of Xander, not Guide taste but Sentinel. Jim had tasted it before but always diluted, now it had come into full bloom and filled the nest. Jim gave a low growl as he watched the scene.
Blair was the first to recover from the sight and he pulled Jim down onto the nest floor and guided him to suckle. Jim gave another low growl and a cursory lick to Blair’s neck but refused to take his eyes from Spike and Blair.
“Jim, it’s okay,” Blair said. “We knew they would do this sooner or later.”
“Xander’s triggered,” Jim said. “He’s a sentinel, I can smell it.”
“Mine,” Xander screamed.
“Yours,” Spike answered at they completed the claiming.
Jim started to move toward the couple, but Blair held him back. “Jim, let them have some time.”
“Can’t do that, Chief. Xander’s a sentinel now. If he wants to stay a member of the pack he has to defer to me as head of the pack. Don’t interfere in sentinel business, Guide.”
“What are you going to do, Jim?”
“Claim my third guide.”
“There isn’t any third guide, I’m your guide.”
“Spike’s a guide, he’s glowing. Xander’s claimed him and now he needs to let me claim him.”
Jim broke away from Blair and moved toward Xander and Spike.
“He’s mine,” Xander said without any of the anger he has shown before the claiming.
“Yes,” Jim said, “and mine. I need to claim him, Xan. I’m head of the pack, you need to let me do this.”
“Doesn’t Spike have a say in this?” Xander asked.
“Xan, it’s okay,” Spike said.
“You’re his sentinel,” Jim said. “I need your permission first.”
“I’m a guide, Jim.” Xander said as he began to stroke Jim’s arm. “Blair, you need to get over here, Jim is in some kind of a weird fugue state.”
“I can’t,” Blair said. “You just triggered. You’re a sentinel now. This is sentinel-to-sentinel business, I can’t get involved.”
“Look at him, Xan, he’s glowing, and Spike’s your guide.”
Xan looked at Spike and saw the glow. “I don’t understand, Spike is a sentinel, he shouldn’t be glowing.”
Spike took Xan into his arms, “It’s okay love. We’ll deal with this, but right now Jim needs to claim me. I know you’re confused, love. Just tell Jim he has your permission to claim me. You have to say the words.”
“You’re going to top him aren’t you?” Xander asked.
“Yes, it’s what I need to do,” Jim said.
“Will you make it beautiful for him?” Xander asked.
“I’ll never disrespect you, Xander,” Jim said, as he removed his clothes. “We’re pack.”
“Sentinel, claim your guide,” Xander said as he looked at Spike and the golden glow that emanated from him.
“I knew it would come to this someday,” Spike said as Jim lay down next to him.
Jim didn’t answer, he just leaned in and began patterning Spike’s body. As soon as he touched Spike he felt the familiar warm healing energy flow through him, but this time it was stronger. Jim moaned and pulled Spike into a passionate kiss. Spike wrapped his arms around Jim and returned the kiss and the two men began to make love.
Xander went to Blair and fell down beside him. “I don’t understand, Blair,” he said. “How can Spike be a guide. He doesn’t have a guide gene.”
“I don’t know,” Blair said. “But it would account for why all the Alpha sentinels are so attracted to him and why he can heal.”
“Are you okay, Blair, with Jim claiming Spike?”
“We’re already family,” Blair said. “This just keeps us in balance.”
“I hope so,” Xander said, “because I need to suckle and Spike doesn’t have a guide gland.”
Blair bared his neck for Xander and for the first time in Xander’s sentinel life he began to purr as he sucked Blair’s neck.
Jim took his time patterning Spike. Instinct had him search Spike’s neck several times, trying to find a guide gland. Jim growled in frustration and Spike would stroke his back and whisper sounds of comfort. Spike’s energy filled Jim and he could feel the bond he had with Spike deepen. When he finally entered Spike everything seemed to click into place and for a brief moment everything was crystal clear. Jim understood, Spike was still his second, unique and beautiful, but he was also a guide, unlike any that had come before him. Then Jim roared out his claim of “mine” and Spike answered, “yours.”
When the claiming was done all four men felt a pull they could not resist and they all came together in the center of the nest. The scents of the claiming mingled together for the two senior sentinels and the energy vibrations filled Blair and Xander. They lay together in silent exhaustion; all closed their eyes and fell into a deep sleep.
As soon as the door slammed shut, Graham pushed Riley to the floor and straddled him, sitting on his belly. “You called me Master in front of another sentinel. I told you never to do that.”
“I’m sorry, Master, it was the only thing I could think of,” Riley replied.
“You knelt in a puddle of beer and you stink like a brewery.”
“I’m sorry, Master. Please forgive me.”
“Forgive you, Riley, is that what you want?”
“No, Master, I want to be punished. It’s been so long.”
“Seventy-nine days, Master.”
Graham ripped open Riley’s shirt. The buttons flew across the room, some tapping the wall like a hard rain. The sentinel bent down and bit Riley’s nipple.
Riley hissed at the pain and his cock became instantly hard. He didn’t know why he enjoyed the pain so much, why he craved it and needed it. He only knew that it somehow cleared his mind and made him a better guide. Graham was an Alpha Sentinel but not inclined to be a slave master. He gave Riley what he needed and rarely rewarded him with more. Graham made it all precious, every moment and he kept it that way. But Graham had rules and the most important one was that they kept the master/slave relationship in the bedroom and very private. Now Riley had called his sentinel Master, in front of another Sentinel and Guide. Riley was determined to make it right, he would find a way to tell Ellison that Graham was only giving him what he needed.
“Can’t punish you right now, I need you too much. But when we get home I’ll give you a spanking, I promise.” Graham reached into Riley’s pocket and pulled out the lube he knew was there and then he got off his guide. “Get up and strip, then get on your knees and spread your cheeks for me. I’m going to take you from behind.”
Riley got up and stripped, unable to keep the smile from his face. He knew that if he begged hard enough the sentinel would make it hurt, just a little. God forgive him. He wanted it so much.
Sentinel Alpha Prime Byron Harris and The Agency of Sentinel Affairs, Director Adrian Donovan walked through the deserted building of Washington Genetics.
“The lab seems complete,” Director Donovan said, running a finger through the dust on the top of a centrifuge.
“Yes, we managed to save all the hardware. The lab is ready to re-open as soon as we can get if staffed,” the Alpha Prime said.
“Good, Byron, you did well with this part of the operation. In three days Senator Blakemore will introduce a bill into congress that will require Sentinels to breed their guides. This bill will pass quickly and quietly and be signed into law by the president. The bill provides for monies to be allocated to reopen this facility. We will provide free artificial insemination to any sentinel who wants it for their Guide as well as a registry for mundane woman who wish to be surrogate mothers. Sentinels and male guides will be required to donate blood and sperm. Female guides will be required to donate blood. Eggs will only be harvested from the female guides if the sentinel does not wish to be burdened with a pregnant female guide. With all the activity going on we will be able to hide any genetic experimentation we wish to do.
“You seem to have things very well thought out.”
“Yes, it does seem to be working out, doesn’t it? However there are those who are quite disappointed in your performance in this area. They feel we should have control of the situation without the cost of this facade. But, I think in the long run that this will be the better outcome. Where there is one there is more, so to speak. This facility, along with the legislation, will give us a chance to find the other guides that carry both the sentinel and guide genes, get them all cataloged, and into special training before they're bonded to a sentinel. Now, about Guide Harris and Sentinel Spikeman…”
“They are being closely monitored, Director, I assure you there will be no more screw-ups.”
“I am sure there won’t be. I want them left alone for now, monitor only. Once the lab is re-opened it should be a simple matter of getting a hold of their genetic material, once it is in our hands we will have free reign.”
“There is one more thing,” the Alpha Prime said. “It’s about Guide Wesley Price. I would like to have him declared unfit and have his bond with Sentinel Peter Wall stripped.”
“What has the guide done?”
“He allowed his sentinel to repeatedly lose focus. If he had been doing his job, Sentinel Spikeman would be working for the Agency and we would have the boy by now.”
“It’s your call, Sentinel, if you think it's necessary.”
“I do. It will serve as an example to other sentinels in The Agency to keep their edge.”
“Yes, I see your point. The more liberal sentinels may protest some of the reforms we want to put in. This example, of what will happen to those unwilling to tow the mark, may be just what we need to nip the protests in the bud. I want you to wait on this until after the mandatory breeding law is past. That way it will also serve as a convenient distraction from the new law as well as an excellent example. Is the guide rated above a 6.5?”
“Yes, he is a 7.8 I believe”
“All the better as an example. I’ll make sure the tribunal is made up of sentinels that are sympathetic with our cause. It will be no problem to disregard the testimony of one incompetent sentinel and I have just the Mind Walker Guide for this, she broke a bond with a level 8.2 less then a year ago.”
“And the guide survived?”
“Yes, there were extenuating circumstances, but...” The director waved his hand as if to brush away a fly.
“She's a very powerful double X guide,” Donavan continued. “All her children will be guides. She's one of the first I would like to breed with this Sentinel Spikeman you’ve told me about, artificial insemination of course. She belongs to the Agency, her parents signed her over to us at age 11, so we have complete control of her as well as unlimited access to her genetic material. A child of hers with a sentinel gene…Imagine the possibilities.”
“If you can get the sentinel gene to trigger,” Byron Harris said.
“There are new breakthroughs every day, it's only a matter of time.”
Blair woke with a start.
“Blair, are you okay?” Jim asked.
“I just had a vision,” Blair said. “Incacha came to me.”
“I hope he gave you some answers,” Jim said.
“He did, but I am not sure you're going to like all of them.” Blair began to untangle himself from the group so he could sit up and stretch.
“Who’s Incacha?” Xander asked, as he too untangled his legs and arms from the group.
“He's a Chopec Shaman, he started coming to Jim and I when we got into exploring the meta-physical side of the sentinel/guide bond.”
“Did he tell you why I'm glowing like a guide?” Spike asked.
“Actually, you’re not exactly glowing like a guide, Jim said. “Your glow is more golden than normal guide glow.”
“Incacha said that Spike is a different kind of Guide, one that's new to this reality.”
“What do you mean, different?” Xander asked.
“Spike doesn’t have a guide gene. All his guide abilities come from the meta-physical. Spike is very flexible. He can switch from being an Alpha Sentinel to being a healer guide seamlessly. He has no problem deferring to Jim as leader of the pack because he doesn’t see it as a weakness, as other sentinels would. He knows it to be his strength. Spike was sent to us because Jim and I had already opened the door to the meta-physical world. Xander's here because he's Spike’s soul mate. He said Spike will be able to act as Xander’s guide and keep him in balance but there will be occasions when his physical sentinel will need a physical guide. He’ll need to bond with me for that. I hope that doesn’t bother you Jim.”
“This whole thing is freaking me out,” Jim said. “We are in deep shit. I hate to think of the consequences if anyone finds out Xander’s sentinel abilities have triggered. Xander’s need to claim you, as a guide, is not on my list of things to worry about. I would not like it if he were to bond with another guide.”
“No, way,” Xander said. “This four way thing is all I can handle, besides I’m not even sure that I have triggered. I can’t hear your heartbeats and I don’t smell anything more then usual.”
“It’s better if your hyper-senses develop slowly,” Spike said. “We can deal with it more easily that way.”
“Or not develop at all,” Xander said. “There's still that small problem of going insane.”
“You’re not going to go insane, Xan,” Spike said. “Incacha told Blair I could keep you balanced. That means no insanity.”
“Spike, I just tried to kill Graham Miller, and I don’t know what will happen when we leave this room, if he tries to touch you again… or some other sentinel tries… Insanity is just too close for comfort.”
Spike looked over at Blair. “I don’t suppose Incacha mentioned anything about that, did he?”
“He did,” Blair said. “But I don’t think you're going to like it. Graham’s soul is at a place where he's ready to take the next step, meaning journeying into the meta-physical. When you shook hands with him Spike, your energy opened previously closed pathways. Now he has a drive for more. He senses your meta-physical guide abilities the same way he can sense any guide. But you’re different. Remember what Jim said, when he comes to me, I can take away his need to bond with Xander but not his need to bond with you. It’s the same with Graham.”
“So what does that mean?” Jim asked, “Do we have to bring him into our pack?”
“No, Incacha said not to do that.” Blair said. “Graham and Peter need to form their own pack.”
“But how will that solve the problem with Graham’s pull to me?” Spike asked.
“Incacha said that you need to make Peter into a conduit for the same energy you channel. Then Graham will transfer his drive to bond to Peter.”
“That’s all well and good, Blair,” Spike said. “But I don’t know how I transfer this meta-physical energy, it just happens, so how am I supposed to teach Peter to do it?”
“Incacha said you need to do a blood bond with Peter. He said Yellow Eyes would understand.”
“There has to be another way, Blair.”
“I don’t think so, Spike. He said it's why you're here. To light the path and bring sentinels to explore their meta-physical side.”
“What’s a blood bond?” Xander asked.
“It’s a healing bond, and then just as the bond locks into place we would have to drink each other’s blood. It is how the demon inside of me procreates.”
“You don’t have a demon inside of you, Spike,” Blair said. “You have a meta-physical being capable of love and healing. There is nothing you can say to convince me that you, or it, is evil.”
“You have no idea what I'm capable of, Blair.”
“We all have a dark side, Blair said. “So your dark side is darker then most, but you have reached a state of balance.”
“Blair’s right, you’ve achieved balance,” Jim said. “As for the pull to claim you as a guide, I know from experience just how strong it is. Blair has no effect on it, so we have no reason to believe that Riley would have any success in relieving Graham’s pull to you. I don’t want to kill Graham but if he makes a challenge…”
“Do you really think it would go that far?” Xander asked.
“I know Graham,” Blair said. “He is usually stoic. Touching Spike like that in front of other sentinels and guides… that was way out of character.”
“So, do you two trust this Incacha guy?” Spike asked.
“With my guide’s life,” Jim pledged.
“And with my immortal soul,” Blair added.
“Well, that’s the best I can ask for,” Spike said. “If Peter agrees, I’ll do the blood bond.”
Peter did not want to go back into the house. He paced up and down the sidewalk, gulping fresh air. His whole body tingled as if he'd been subjected to an electrical shock. His jaw was clenched, his hands fisted. He growled, low and menacingly. Pedestrians stopped and hastily crossed to the other side of the street, keeping an eye on the agitated man as they hurried away.
Wesley paced with him, stroking his sentinel's hand, trying to bring the sentinel's emotions under control. He murmured soothing sounds, keeping his body in contact with his sentinel's, knowing it was necessary, no matter how public the place. His sentinel's needs came first, before propriety, before all other considerations.
Peter could hear what was happening inside the house. He hoped that he would not have to go in and break up a fight between Jim and Graham. The tension between the two sentinels crackled in the air and burned. Two Alpha Sentinels facing off, Jim's territory, but Graham wasn't used to backing down to any civilian. Jim might have once been military, but not any more. And locally, almost no one outranked Graham. Graham growled again, the deep rumble transmitted to Peter's sharpened hearing even out on the busy street.
And then Peter heard it, Riley's soft voice, barely a whisper, but the word was unmistakable.
"Master." Whispered, sweet, filled with tempting devotion, surrender.
Peter felt his blood sing, his heart pump all the harder. His head snapped to glare at the front door. He took a step in that direction. A Guide...sinking to his knees, he heard a soft splash and then a thump as the beer bottle hit the floor.... angrily he shook his head, driving the illicit vision from his mind. He couldn't credit it. Couldn't believe.... He would never do that to a Guide. Never. “No, no, no!”
Wesley could feel the overwhelming fear course through his sentinel and he tugged at Peter’s elbow to stop the move toward the front door. "What is it?" he asked as he wrapped his arms tightly around Peter. "Are they fighting, did they kill…?" His voice trailed off unable to finish the sentence. Had the Sentinels killed each other? Was one of them, or both, lying on the floor dead? Wes felt dread rising up to choke him. "Tell me!" He demanded as he dug in his heels. Until he knew what the new crisis was, he was going to do all he could to keep both of them out of it. If Graham and Jim got into a knock down, drag out...so be it. Peter, if Wes had any say at all, was staying out if it.
"How could I have been so stupid?" Peter said, his voice nearly a wail, his grip dug into Wesley's arms.
Wes felt his skin tighten. God! It couldn't be true. It couldn't. Not Jim, not Graham. What would Blair do, or Riley, without the Sentinels who were the better part of their reason for living? Come to that...what would Wes do if Peter was threatened. If he went in there and.... He held on tighter. He wound his legs through his sentinel's and clung, knowing that Peter would trip if he tried to move. If he tried to get into that house...where two sentinels now lay....
"No, Peter," Wesley said, as he pulled his sentinel's face into his neck. "You did the right thing, you did it to save me." He was frantic, and fought to keep his voice down, even. His wild emotion would escalate Peter. He couldn't let that happen. He had to get back on an even keel. "If they're dead...." he began, his voice hoarse.
"I was going to let him bond with you," Peter said, putting his hands up framing Wes' face. "Oh I am so, so, sorry, I swear I didn't know, love, I didn't know."
Wesley's voice changed to the soothing, command timbre of a working guide, calm, reassuring. "What is it you didn't know, Peter?”
"Riley's a slave guide." Peter said with profound distaste.
Wes stared at him. He blinked. “You mean no one’s dead?” Wesley asked confused.
“Dead? No,” Peter said. “Didn’t you hear me? Riley’s a slave.”
"No, Peter, he can't be, there's no sign of it. He doesn't wear a collar or even an earring, no tattoos to denote ownership and behavior wise, there's no indication either. Graham treats Riley like an equal and demands other sentinels do the same." Wes insisted, wracking his brain for clues that Peter might be correct. He came up blank. "He can't be," he finished lamely.
"I just heard Riley call Graham Master. Not Sentinel, but Master. That’s pretty unambiguous." Peter said, flatly. He turned to look into his Guide's eyes. "Tell me what else that could mean?"
"Maybe it's a game they play,” Wesley said trying to make sense out of what seemed like nonsense. Riley a slave-guide? No. He wasn't going to believe it. Riley didn't act like a slave. Peter shot him a bemused glance.
"That wasn't game time in there, Wes. Riley did what he had to, to keep Graham and Jim from fighting. He had to call Graham Master, to make him drop the beer bottle. I heard him." Peter said, freeing himself from Wes' slackened grip. He had heard it all right. And he had felt the sincerity. He took his Guide's hand, leaned forward and drew in the clean fresh scent of his guide. Letting it fill him, strengthen him. "And I almost let him bond with you." The last was a whisper accompanied by a shudder.
"Peter this doesn't make any sense," Wesley said, even as he arched his neck to give Peter access to the line of his long throat. He saw that there was a little shadow next to the house. If he could maneuver them there, then all of this wouldn't be so public, he thought. "I've met a lot of sentinels in our work and I can sense immediately if they don't respect guides as equals. Graham always treats me with the utmost respect. He listens to all the guides, he's never dismissed them out of hand."
"I know what I heard, Wes." Peter was staunch in his belief. However he was also, like any sensible sentinel, focused on his Guide, especially now, as Wes managed to get them out of sight, and pressed up against the house, in the darkness. Wes continued to murmur as his Sentinel's powerful hands began mapping him, responding to the situation's stress triggers, and seeking comfort, reassurance that his Guide was present and unharmed.
"And I know what I sense, Sentinel. Graham has been the ranking Captain since you transferred to Cascade. We interact almost everyday with him and with Riley. We've been in the field together. I've seen him angry, happy, scared, dog tired and drunk and never have I felt that he had anything but respect for me as a guide. Do you really think they could fool us for so long? All I'm saying is there must be a different interpretation. You heard one word but there is over a year of behavior to counter it."
"Okay, Wes, I’ll give a cautious bow to guide assessment and logic on this one, but I have no intention of letting you cross bond with Graham unless I get a really, really good explanation out of him. Let's go home, baby, I need to bond." Peter ground his hips into this Guide, letting Wes know how true that statement was.
Peter did indeed need to bond, in the worst way.
After the pack's conversation, Blair came out of the nesting room and gently knocked on the spare bedroom's door. He could sense the satisfaction that had replaced the tension and anger from before. The bonding had done its work. Still, it wouldn't hurt to move cautiously, to be extra careful not to step on sensitive, sentinel toes. Blair intentionally softened his stance, his whole body looked softer, less aggressive.
"What is it?" Graham asked, as he lay naked on the carpeted floor with a glowing and contented Riley lying limply next to him. He wanted to smile, to laze around on the floor for as long as he could, longer than the circumstances made practical. The voice of Ellison's Guide came through the closed door, gentle, soothing, properly submissive. Graham felt his whole body relax back into its sense of ease.
"It's Blair, I'm leaving two sets of sweats out here for you and Riley, in case you need them and there are also a couple of towels; if you want to take a shower you can get to the guest bathroom from the bedroom, it's on the right." Blair said, quietly.
"Thanks, Blair, that's very thoughtful of you. I'll have Riley pick them up as soon as you're out of the hallway." Graham, even trusting the other Guide was aware of his volatile state, of how close he'd come to losing it and fighting one of his best friend's pack mates...Graham wasn't going to take a chance.
Riley was going to be the only one to get close to Blair. Graham didn't trust his instincts right now. Not after how he reacted to Xander and Spike. That had turned his whole world on its ear. He, already bonded, had tried, intended, to take another man's second and a fellow sentinel by force if necessary. He wasn’t going to take no for an answer. He had provoked a violent episode through his lack of control. That shouldn’t have happened to him. Certainly not since he became bonded with Riley.
"We'll be in the kitchen, having tea, please join us when you come out, there are things we need to discuss." Blair offered carefully. His whole delivery was soft, unassuming. Leaving it to the Sentinel to decide. He didn't push. Graham felt himself relax further. There was no threat, no demands. The choice was his.
"Thank you," Graham said, surprised in a way to receive the invite. Jim must think it was safe. Jim trusted him to keep it under control. Graham was flattered. "Are you sure it will be safe?"
"As long as you don't touch Spike, Xander will be fine." Graham could hear Blair's bare feet padding softly away.
Bare feet. His skin went hot. Graham looked over at the nude form of his Guide. His groin filled with blood. He was abruptly achingly long and hard. He grit his teeth together.
Bare feet, bare skin. Sweat dewing the curve of his Guide's chest, a chest tipped with tender, bite swollen nipples, beckoning. Riley's upper lip wet, his face flushed, beautifully submissive. A Guide waiting to be claimed. Taken. Graham reached out, down, cupped Riley's soft genitals. Warm, un-aroused, waiting for what Graham wanted, what the sentinel wished. Riley melted into his arms, opened his mouth, and sighed happily. His body was open, inviting, telegraphing his willingness to submit, to give Graham what he needed, all he needed. Willing, so very willing.
Graham felt his control returning. He was still Riley's Master, his Alpha Sentinel; he was still in charge.
And it was time to get up and go face the music. Reluctantly Graham stood, letting go of his Guide's pliant body.
Twenty minutes later Graham walked into the kitchen, Riley, barefoot, a step behind him, a warm welcome presence safely at his back. The sight that greeted them made him stop in his tracks. His hackles rose at the strange sight, a sight that twisted his perceptions of what should be. And wasn't.
Xander sat perched contentedly in Spike's lap but it wasn't the guide who was glowing. It was Spike. Graham's nostrils flared and he caught the scent; he reached behind him and held Riley firmly back. He heard his Guide sniff, no doubt picking up the scent of hot toast, butter, and homemade jam that was laid out on the table. Graham's attention was fixed on something else entirely.
Spike had been claimed as a guide not only by Xander, but by Jim as well, and Spike, a powerful Alpha sentinel sat happily sipping his tea as if were the most natural thing in the world that he should smell of other men's fluids, not they of his.
Graham felt his balls contract, his cheeks instinctively squeezing against assault. No one was putting him on his back! He wasn't playing second to anyone. Captain Graham Miller was an Alpha; he wasn't anyone's Guide. He didn't even try to fight the automatic flash of his teeth. Or the growl that found it's way out of the depths of his chest. Riley stepped up, pressing his entire length against his agitated Sentinel.
Graham's arm shot back again and looped around Riley, then he pushed and Riley ended up on the floor, low, safe. Graham stood erect over him, a sentinel protecting his guide from an unknown situation, the urge barely winning out over the pull to go to Spike. Graham wanted to feel the warm energy, wanted to put Spike on his back, drag up those slim hips and enter him. Graham wanted to feel the heat Spike's touch gave coursing through him, wrapped around his dick. He came so close to taking the other man. So close. Only Riley at his feet stopped him.
"What the hell is going on here, Jim?" Graham asked without taking his eyes from Spike. All his efforts at calm were now as good as tossed out the window.
"What happens here, stays here," Jim said, the warning in his tone subtle but unmistakable. "Sentinel-to-sentinel. Do you agree, Sentinel Miller?"
With a monumental effort Graham pulled his eyes away from the glowing Spike and looked at Jim. Jim had called on him for formal acknowledgement. Why? Frowning he went through the last moments in his memory. Then it hit him.
"Brothers," he said. "It's no one's business but our own." Graham agreed. Besides, he didn't want anyone to know he was losing it, was lusting after another sentinel. He'd be a laughingstock. Ridiculed for his lack of control. A perversion of what a sentinel should be. Should want. Graham defiantly lifted his chin, glared.
Spike, glowing, merely continued sipping his tea and stroking his guide as if the world hadn’t suddenly been turned on its end.
Graham's statement was all Jim needed to satisfy him that nothing said in the kitchen would go beyond those walls, no official reports or unofficial ones, no conversations with anyone other than the people involved. No chance that some regulatory agency would find a reason to investigate.
"Sit down and have some tea," Blair said smoothly, moving up out of his chair and indicating the free ones left for Riley and Graham. He was offering respect, service. He was the graceful Guide, the perfect Guide. Graham felt instantly better. He took a cautious step inside the kitchen.
"Or I could make coffee if you prefer, "Blair offered, his attention focused on Graham. Waiting. Patient. Damn, Ellison was a lucky man.
"Tea will be fine," Graham said without moving, and then looked back at Spike. "There are so many questions I don't know where to begin. Did you lie to me, Jim? Is Spike a guide?" His eyes, his senses were in conflict. His eyes said Guide! on seeing the glow. Then said, Sentinel! on seeing the negligent, assertive posture. Graham smelled Sentinel...and Guide. Smelled the claim. It made him nervous. And aroused him.
"It's a long story, Graham," Jim said, letting a faint touch of weariness enter his voice. "I've called Peter and Wesley, they're on their way back. I'll explain everything as soon as they get here. I'm asking that you keep an open mind. This, all of it, is important, a matter of life and death, literally. And not only for our Guides, but for Spike, for me and for countless other Sentinels and Guides. Just listen. Don't decide without listening to what we have to say. Please."
Graham's brows flew up towards his hairline. Jim Ellison, the epitome of the alpha sentinel, asking for patience. Graham would of course comply. He couldn't refuse. He wasn't that much of an ass, no matter how freaked he was feeling at the moment. But it didn't make him any more comfortable as he took his seat. Riley, sensing it, curled up on the spotless floor at his Sentinel's feet, instead of taking his own chair. Graham's fingers immediately found their way into his thick, shining hair. Winding the smooth, silky locks through restless fingers.
"None of this is making sense, Jim. I feel a strong pull to Spike. I've just bonded with Riley; I shouldn't feel a pull to another guide. Not to mention that Spike is a sentinel, so why am I feeling a guide pull at all? I don't understand any of this." Graham fought to keep his anger out of the question. But the enormity of the wrongness wasn't letting him get back on an even keel.
Spike sighed, "I think we'd better go back to the nest, Xan. It's pretty clear that Sentinel Miller isn't going to be comfortable, or able to concentrate while we're around." He shifted, preparing to stand.
"I think you should answer my questions." Graham commanded. "Before anyone leaves."
Spike stopped moving and fixed the alpha sentinel with his eyes. It was a look that Graham hadn’t seen before, pure predator and it was fixed on him. He gave an involuntary shiver. Riley responded by sneaking a hand up Graham’s leg, stroking skin-to-skin. Xander’s hand began to move against Spike’s chest.
"Graham," Jim said, obviously picking his words carefully. "I know how strong the pull to Spike can be…"
"That's obvious, Jim,” he said not taking his eyes off Spike. “I can smell it." Graham heard the edge of anger in his own tone. "I can smell you on him. I can smell Harris on him.” Graham was the first to break eye contact. He turned his head and looked at his brother sentinel. ”For God's sake, Jim. I know what happened in your nest. I only wish I didn't."
"All right, Graham, I'll give you an overview of what’s happening, but you'll have to listen to it again when Peter gets here." A flush rode Jim's cheeks, and Blair hurried over to put a hand on his Sentinel's shoulder.
"You can start by telling me why Spike is glowing and why I feel this pull." Graham came close to demanding.
"Are you interested in the meta-physical, Graham?" Jim asked, almost absently, his eyes closing as he leaned for an instant into Blair's touch. Then his eyes snapped open, their icy blue depths piercing and hard, startling Graham.
"What? Witchcraft? That 's horseshit and you know it, Ellison," Graham snapped back at him. The two sentinels stared into each other's faces.
"Blair." Jim ordered crisply. "Get their drinks. And let's get this started. Let Peter and Wes in when they get here."
"I thought we were going to talk about Spike?" Graham pushed, not able for some reason to back off as would be prudent. He felt wave after wave of aggression. He ground his teeth together, biting back the next words that wanted out. Words that Jim would have to take as a challenge, Sentinel to Sentinel. A challenge Graham didn't want to utter.
"We are," Jim said, more mildly. "That is exactly what we are talking about, Spike. Now, answer the question."
The eight men sat in the living room. Jim occupied the chair he had taken at the first meeting. Spike, Xander and Blair sat on one sofa, with Graham and Peter on the other, eying each other with a degree of trepidation that hadn't been present last time. Riley and Wesley sat on the floor, Wes at Peter's feet. Riley at Graham's, knowing his Sentinel needed to touch him, and needed equally to have him firmly subordinate.
"So," Peter said when Jim and Blair were through bringing the visitors up to date on the prophetic dream Blair had had, "this shaman, Incacha, said I have to do this blood bond thing with Spike?"
"That's right," Blair said. "In order to make it work with Graham. To be Graham's second and protect Wes."
"Uh huh, I've got just one question. What the hell does it mean? Blood bond? Real blood? I couldn't possibly be lucky enough that you are talking metaphorical blood, could I?” Peter didn't like the idea of it; the concept of cross bonding at all and being a second to another sentinel was bad enough. But drinking blood for the privilege, not even the blood of a pack mate; Spike's blood… Yech! It went against all the instincts he had.
"Simple." Spike said, interrupting. "My blood will make you like me. Which is what has to happen. It's the whole point. Right?"
Xander snarled, and Spike immediately stroked a hand down his side. "No, pet, you promised to be good. I'm yours. All yours. It's just a bit of blood. No dicks, no kissing. Just blood." Xander snarled again, but sounded more subdued and relaxed as Spike licked his hand, nuzzling his wrist and bit gently over the pulse there. Peter, watching, saw all the little hairs along Xander's arm stand to attention. He hid his smile. Yeah, Wes could do that to him with a little nibble in the right place, too. But there were larger issues to deal with now.
"I don't mind taking Spike as a sentinel brother, in fact I would welcome it, he's strong, a good ally, but this blood bond… It just seems… I mean why blood?" Peter again failed to keep the distaste out of his voice. Xander glared over at him, eyes heated.
Graham grunted his agreement. The blood thing...not good.
"Blood gives life," Spike said. It was like teaching kids, better keep it simple and impossible to misunderstand. "It's how the meta-physical part of me multiplies."
Graham and Peter stared at him, eyes narrowed, as if trying to figure out just how nuts he was. Spike fought the urge to roll his eyes. These sentinels were such literalists. Such concrete thinkers. If they couldn't see it, hear it, taste it, or smell it, or pound it into the mattress...it didn't exist, wasn't real. He prayed for patience.
"Is this the only way?" Peter asked after several long minutes, considering what had been said.
"It's the only way to transfer the pull toward Spike that Graham is feeling," Jim said. "The only way, as far as we know, to make it possible for you and Graham to cross bond without challenging each other for supremacy.”
“So aside from this pull thing, I’ll be transferred into a Beta Sentinel?
“Spike’s no Beta,” Graham said.
“Graham’s right,” Jim said. You’ve seen Spike in the field. You know what he can do. He’s stronger for what he is.”
“I know you want it, Peter,” Spike said. “I've felt it since I first met you, it’s different than what Jim and Graham feel. They need what I have to give but you want to be the giver.”
Peter stared at Spike. It was true. He was jealous of what Spike was. He wanted it. But he wanted the sentinel parts. He hadn’t seen the true, fullness of what Spike was. It was a bigger bite then he wanted to chew. He gave a small ironic laugh at his mental pun.
"You've been talking about this from a meta-physical point of view. I think we need to lay out all the more mundane benefits and problems this will cause before we decide," Blair offered. "We know that there is a faction of the government that supports taking procreative and genetic control away from the individual pair bonds. They want the gene that Xander has, the threat assessment gene, and they are willing to alter centuries of law to get control of it. So they can breed it into future generations at will. Use it, and the Guides and Sentinels who have it, as weapons of war."
"What do you mean?" Peter asked, grateful for the change of subject. "I've heard some of what you are saying. But...surely it won't get that out of control. It's just a few people like Byron Harris. Not a government conspiracy." A law? Not simply kidnapping a Guide or two, which was unforgivable enough. But making Sentinels and Guides legally bend to the will of the Nation? That was a huge step up in escalation. Guides and Sentinels, all of them, would become property of the state.
"Ok, let’s start with our situation,” Blair said. “Your whole pack thing was kicked up a notch in urgency because of the threat that the Alpha Prime made against Wesley. So one of the immediate benefits of a cross bond will be that Wesley has a better chance of survival if the crazy bastard makes good on his threat. Any other benefits that you know of?"
Jim turned towards Graham. "I know you've heard of the proposed law, you've always had a talent for finding out these kinds of things."
"Rumors.” Graham admitted reluctantly. "Along the same lines Peter has heard. But nothing about making what they've been doing legal. There are labs, secret genetics labs, but that is a tiny part of what is happening. There aren't enough of them to make an impact. Making it nationwide? Jim are you sure? That sounds...well frankly, insane. No
one will vote it in even if it does get out of committee and to a congressional vote."
Jim thought about what Graham had said, and then he spoke. "I can only tell you what I've learned through sources, including you two, but not limited to you. The Agency has purchased the Washington Genetics Lab. They have enough confidence in their support that they are stepping out in the open. There is going to be a vote; the law will pass. They have managed to buy the votes, somehow. What it means is we can't afford to be weak. We can't afford to be only as strong as we were. We have to be stronger than last year, stronger than we are today. Or we have lost before we begin to fight. As far as the rest..." he shrugged. "My bond with Blair has gotten deeper since the cross bonding. I wouldn't have thought it possible but that's what has happened. It's enhanced all my senses and my control, my thinking. I've lost nothing, and gained...everything."
Xander raised his hand, his glowering look had faded once the serious business was being discussed and Spike was no longer the center of attention, half wedged under the larger guide. "Speaking as a guide here, my two sentinels are different, they give me what I need in different ways. Spike has been healing me and bonding with me, but it wasn't until I re-bonded with Jim that I started glowing again. So I would say that having two different sentinels has benefited me."
Xander took in a deep breath, frowned, and then continued. "I don't remember much about what happened during the kidnapping, fragments mostly, a few words, a face, but I do know this...you better believe it when Jim tells you there are people who will stop at nothing to force you to do what they want to control you. They have the power, they have the will and they believe they have the right to own you, me, all of us. No one is making this up."
Peter and Graham were looking at him assessingly when he finished. His heartbeat was accelerated, but not erratic. He smelled like he believed what he was saying was true. The Sentinels turned their heads in unison, pinning Jim with their eyes.
"On the life of my Guides, it is true, Graham. Xander was kidnapped; the intent was to harvest his genes. Peter was there at the rescue. Whether Xander lived or died was not important to the people who had him. The attempt failed. But there are now even more people who believe they have the right. That Xander, and the Sentinels and Guides who mutate and show new, desirable talents, should be harvested. Their genes used for the benefit of their projects." Jim's eyes fixed on Spike. "Get the letter," he said.
Spike rose and padded over to the locked desk against one wall. He spun the key in the lock and lowered the lid. Then he tapped in the code to open the small safe in the center of the desktop. He pulled out a letter. Looked over at Jim, who nodded. Then Spike walked over and handed the letter to Graham, careful that their fingers didn't
Graham wasted no time. He opened the letter and read it. Wordlessly he handed it off to Peter when he was done, his brow furrowed.
"Read it and weep." Spike muttered. "The bastards have the cheek to tell me to report to their facility and jerk off into a cup for them. Then to lay back like a good little sod and let them stick needles into me. No bloody way."
"Jesus," he said, shaking his head. "They can't...I mean...Jesus...." The first sentence blared in his brain. 'Under penalty of arrest and permanent loss of freedom, Sentinel William Spikeman is hereby compelled to report....'
“The bastard,” Peter said and handed the letter to Wesley. “I swear it’s not my doing, Spike. The Alpha Prime called today and ordered me to stand down on this. He said other things were in the works, but this…”
Xander made an unhappy sound and threw his long arms around Spike, clinging to him. He gave out a little whimper.
"Jesus." Graham whispered again.
“This letter didn’t come from the Agency,” Wesley said. “The paper doesn’t have our water mark and we have our own stamp machine. This letter was mailed from a public post office.”
Graham held out his hand and Wesley handed him back the letter. “You’re right, guide. This is a forgery and that’s not Byron Harris’ signature either.”
“So what does it mean?” Riley asked.
“It means someone else is in the game,” Graham said with a low growl. “And they're not waiting for the Agency to get the upper hand.”
“It means we’re in deep shit,” Peter said. “But who else could be doing this? Another wacko billionaire?”
“Probably another government,” Jim said. “Rayne put Xander up for auction on the international market. Our government just happened to be the high bidder. But that won’t stop another government from trying to steal what they couldn’t buy.”
“You are right, my brother,” Graham said. “We can’t allow this to happen. Jesus, I thought all I needed to deal with was an insane Alpha Prime. He’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
“So,” Jim asked. “Do you need any further convincing or have you made your decision?”
“I’ve made mine,” Graham said. “I think you’re right Jim, we don’t have a choice. We’re stronger together than we are apart.”
“I have a question before I give my answer,” Peter said and looked at Graham. He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. It was a question that needed to be asked. “Is Riley a slave guide?”
Riley startled and looked up at Graham, silently asking for permission to speak. Graham didn’t give it. “Riley is a beta guide. He is submissive. It’s what he is. Like any decent sentinel, I give my guide what he needs.”
“I’m more interested in what you need,” Peter said. “Specifically, what will you need from Wesley?”
“Wesley is not like Riley. If he’s true to himself and happy with the bond, if he continues to be as good a guide as he has been then there is only one thing more that I require, and that would be from both of you. If we’re going to nest together, you need to accept what happens between Riley and I. I can’t take you as my second if your distaste hurts my guide. If you can’t find it in you to accept it then you need to find another sentinel to cross bond with.”
Peter looked at Wesley. “Does that answer satisfy you, Wesley?” he asked. “Can you accept their relationship and be there when they renew their bond?”
“I’m an empath, Peter. If Graham is giving Riley what he needs I won’t pass judgment on them, Graham is a good man and a strong sentinel. He's the only sentinel that entered my mind when we discussed cross bonding. You have the final say, but I’m satisfied that Graham will treat me with respect.”
Peter looked at Spike, “When do we do this?”
Graham had been uneasy when he first arrived at Jim’s home. The group had decided that having Graham present at the ceremony may be problematic and the same for Xander. Spike did not want to leave Xander without a sentinel protector so after some discussion it was decided that Graham, Riley and Blair would stay with Xander at the nest house. Graham was a little reluctant at first. But Peter said he would feel more confident having both Jim and Wesley with him and Xander assured Graham that it was the sentinel’s interest in Spike that caused him to lose control.
Now, Graham silently watched the couple on the sofa. Cataloging every move. He knew that both Blair and Xander were healing guides, but Riley was not a healer so he had not had much opportunity to see healers in action. Both Blair and Xander were shirtless and barefoot. Xander lay with his head in Blair’s lap as Blair ran his fingers through the thick dark hair. It seemed to Graham a very healer guide thing to do, but then Xander turned his head and began licking and rimming Blair’s bellybutton. Blair’s pheromones flared, as if reacting to his sentinel. Graham was a bit squirked by it, but the pheromones won out and he began to feel a need to bond with Riley.
Riley, who sat at Graham feet, grateful that he could be himself in front of the two guides, immediately picked up on his sentinel’s arousal. He turned and looked into Graham’s eyes. “Master?” he asked softly.
“Not now,” Graham said, through gritted teeth, unwilling to shirk his duty and leave the two guides he was entrusted to watch by his brother sentinel, bonding would have to wait.
But Blair, bless him, understood the situation. “Xan,” he said quietly, “I don’t think you should do that right now, Graham is honor bound not to let us out of his sight and I don’t think he’s the type that will be happy about bonding with Riley in front of us.”
Xander blinked up at Blair “Oh,” he said, suddenly understanding the problem. He looked over at Graham, his soft brown eyes, so full of feeling, tenderness and warmth. “I’m sorry,” Xander said, his voice was soft, seductive, a guide’s voice. “I wasn’t thinking. I’m not used…”
Graham’s pants immediately tented. “Just be quiet, Guide!” he interrupted.
Xander looked away. “Okay,” he whispered, as he sat up and pulled Blair’s arm over his shoulder.
Graham gave a soft moan and his fingers tightened in Riley’s hair.
Luckily for Graham the News Magazine they were watching announced the beginning of their segment on Sentinels and the Guide shortage. The distraction was welcome and everyone in the room refocused their attention on the TV.
The program documented Sentinels going into zone comas for lack of a guide and, of even more concern for the public, it talked about several sentinels who had gone rogue and killed civilians due to the need to bond. They even reported bonded guides being kidnapped and the death of a Sentinel General Henry Gideon, Metal of Honor Winner, in one such kidnapping.
“This is a set up,” Blair said, “to get public support behind the laws for mandatory breeding of guides.”
Blair’s comment was confirmed when the reporter ended the program with a plea to The Agency of Sentinel Affairs and Congress to, “take action and protect the public from such outrages.”
Xander mewled and nuzzling his nose into Blair’s neck, he began to suckle. Blair began petting Xander with both hands.
Graham watched the two guides and everything suddenly fell into place. He was filled with a cold burning rage. The boy was meant to be a guide, a healer. Not this disturbing mixture of sentinel and guide. He looked at Blair. “You said they tortured Xander, how?”
“Does it matter?” Blair asked.
Xander’s head came up, his brown eyes so full of pain and determination. “Just stop them,” Xander said. “That’s all that matters. Don’t let them do this to anyone else.”
“You have my word, Guide,” Graham said, his voice firm and every bit the Alpha sentinel. “I will stop them, or die fighting them.”
A full moon shone through Peter’s bedroom window as Spike and Peter stripped down while Jim and Wesley looked on.
“This feels awkward,” Peter said as he and Spike lay down on the bed together.
Peter was nervous, so Spike stroked him and talked to him in a soothing voice. “Just relax, Peter. You’ll be fine.”
Peter tried to smile, but he was pretty sure it looked more like a grimace. "Yes, well, its not like any of this is about love. So, no worries, right? It's just a one-night stand. Except I'll have to see you again." He sounded less at ease than he had meant to, the joke falling flat.
Spike’s eyes turned yellow and his touches filled Peter’s body with warm energy and Spike’s gentle voice filled his mind with comfort. "Love? It is about love. You and me are going to be connected forever," Spike told the other man. He stroked down Peter's arm until he could link their fingers. "Don't worry, we aren't lovers, but there is love for you here." Spike thumped his own chest. "There always will be." He released Peter's hand and ran his fingers back up his body.
“I want to tell you how I came to be the way I am and how I came to be here.” Spike seemed to be looking off into the distance as he spoke. “I was a bad poet in love with a beautiful woman. When I told her my feelings she put me down in the cruelest way possible. I ran into the street, crying, and attracted the attention of a female vampire. She was a seer and she seduced me with words. She asked me if I wanted it and I said I did. I didn’t know it then but to make a childe the victim has to say he or she wants it. Otherwise you’ll just be a minion. But I became her childe.
Peter’s breathing slowed and he closed his eyes and relaxed, enjoying Spike’s voice and touch. His cock grew hard from the pleasure of Spike’s fingers sliding over his body.
“She was quite insane,” Spike continued. “My grandsire had driven her insane before he turned her. I sometimes wonder if that’s why I kept my ability to love. I spent a hundred years with her, fighting and killing and doing things I don’t want to think about. But I also loved her, really loved her and took care of her. She left me after a century together. I was devastated. Most people don’t know this but vampires have a very strong sense of family. Blood calls to blood, they say. A military group caught me and put a behavior modification chip in my head. I couldn’t kill humans anymore, but I found out I could kill demons. I became an ally to the White Hats and fell in love with a vampire slayer. She didn’t love me back. I changed while I had that chip in my head. I saw myself the way the humans saw me. So I went off and fought to get my soul back. Demon trials, I won. A year later an apocalypse needed to be stopped and I gave up my life to stop it.”
"Apocalypse?" Peter murmured, knowing it should be something he was more excited about, something that should get him sitting up and full of questions. But he only wanted to listen to Spike's voice. Feel the man's hands on him.
Peter sighed, he felt contented and safe. As if he were being gently rocked and the voice telling him these fantastical things was slowly, slowly taking him down, to a place where nothing else could touch him, or hurt him. He listened.
“That’s when I was sent here,” Spike said, “to this reality. This life is my reward for saving that world. Xander is my soul mate; he’s also my reward. He hated me in my last life, until I got my soul back, then I saw him for what he was and he began to see me for what I could be, but I didn’t believe I deserved him, so I never pursued him, I think I would have if I had lived, maybe then I could have believed... Here he doesn’t know about the things I’ve done, he's mine and I am all his. Now I have to use this life to make amends for the things I’ve done in my past life. And this is one of the things I can do to make amends.”
Spike’s yellow eyes focused on Peter. “The first day we met I knew you could sense what I am. I could feel that you wanted me. Wanted to be like me. That’s why you asked me to be your second.” Spike kissed Peter gently on the forehead.
Peter opened his eyes. “Yes,” he murmured “I still want you, Sentinel-to-Sentinel.” He closed his eyes again as Spike kissed the bridge of his nose.
“I know,” Spike said, his voice was low and intense and his lips hovered just above Peter’s mouth. “We are going to be closer than that, closer than brothers. You’re going to be my childe, my first in this reality. Do you want it?”
“Oh, yes,” Peter said. Knowing he did. He tilted his head wanting the kiss to drop the fraction of an inch to his lips. He wanted to feel the heat of that mouth on his own. Spike let their mouths touch. It was chaste, but filled with power like being struck by lightning; Peter was stunned. He gasped when Spike pulled back far enough for them
to look into each other's faces.
As Peter watched, Spike's fangs dropped, he let Peter have time to see it, then deliberately raised his arm to his own mouth and bit down. He opened his wrist and then held it to Peter's mouth as he lowered his head into Peter's neck and nuzzled him. Peter gasped, feeling the sharp piercing of his skin as those fangs did their work. Spike gave an approving growl as Peter involuntarily swallowed a mouthful of blood, and he took three swallows from Peter's neck.
Peter’s back arched as the warmth that filled him turned to fire, his erect cock stabbed the air three times, once for each of Spike’s swallows. He drank another gulp of Spike’s blood, quivering, and feeling how Spike now merely rested his lips against his neck in an unmoving kiss. Then Spike lifted Peter’s head a fraction and licked. Peter’s reaction was beyond his control. He arched his throat, his body shuddering, a deep groan found its way out of his chest. With the third swallow of Spike’s blood, his cock erupted and spurt a fountain of cum into the air.
When his vision returned, Spike was leaning over him stroking him soothingly. He had stopped drinking and licked the wound until it sealed over and the bleeding ceased. Like a contented, trusting childe, Peter fell asleep in his sire's arms.
Spike’s yellow eyes looked at Jim. “It’s done; when he wakes he’ll be my childe.”
“How long will that take?” Jim asked. He had not been prepared for the intensity the transfer of Spike's nature would create. He hadn’t realized he would feel the bond between his second and the man Spike still held in his arms. A surge of territoriality shook him. He wanted them both for his own.
“He should wake up at sunset tomorrow. I’m staying with him until he wakes.”
“What about Xander?” Jim said, frowning.
Spike picked up Jim’s real question with no effort at all; he felt it through their link. "I am still your second. That won't change because I have a childe. Peter belongs to another man, not to you or me. Not that way. If Xander needs me, bring him here. I'm not leaving my childe. If he wakes up hungry he'll need to drink from me. I don't want him attacking Wesley."
“He wouldn’t hurt me,” Wesley said, offended at the suggestion. He glared at Spike.
“I doubt if he would kill you but he may wake up confused and I know for sure he will feel abandoned if I’m not here. He may think that drinking from his guide is the thing to do, instead of just sucking pheromones, he may want blood.” Spike smiled. “This is an unknown for me, for all of us. I don’t know whether we will have to redirect his desire for blood to a desire for pheromones.”
Wesley swallowed. “Do you still crave blood?” he asked nervously.
“No,” Spike answered, “not in this reality but I had to use blood to make him so I don’t know what will happen with Peter.”
“Can I lay with him?” Wesley asked.
"Come on then. Get in here and hold your Sentinel," Spike said. “He’ll still need you as much as ever.”
Jim cleared his throat. “I want to get back to the nest and make sure everything is all right.”
“We’re fine now, Jim,” Spike said. “Tell Graham I’ll call him when Peter wakes up.”
The night did not go well for Xander. He was distraught that Spike was not in the nest. His reaction to being without Spike see-sawed between a guide without his sentinel (Pacing and worried) and a sentinel without his guide (growling and angry). Jim and Blair’s inability to calm Xander frustrated both of them. Jim offered to take Xander to Spike, but Xander refused. He didn’t want to risk attacking Peter the way he had Graham. Finally, with a growl, Jim laid Xander on his back and claimed him. Afterward a glowing Xander latched onto Blair’s neck and a few minutes later Xander had Blair on his back, urgently claiming him as his guide for the first time. Jim let Xander’s action play out without interruption. It was odd to watch a sentinel with guide glow claim Blair, but at the same time he could sense Xander’s overwhelming need and he wasn’t about to deny a pack mate. It was only after claiming Blair that Xander calmed and fell into a fitful sleep. Blair held Xander and Jim held them both as they slept.
The next day wasn’t much better for Xander. He paced, growled and paced some more. Jim again offered to take him to Spike and again Xander refused fearing he might lose control. “I have to get through this myself. Spike can’t be with me every minute,” Xander insisted. “He’s made a child, but I’m his mate, his guide and his sentinel. I have to let him come back to me, let him choose me over his childe.”
Blair pulled Xander to him. “Xan, Peter is no threat to you; he's a grown man, there is no child. Graham will claim Peter and keep him for his own. Spike will be back in the nest tonight. You know Spike has to do this for Wesley and you, and all the guides and sentinels that are at risk because of the newly proposed laws. He’s not abandoning you. He would never do that.”
Xander looked up at Blair with pain filled eyes. “Peter is his childe. Blood is how vampires make children, you don’t understand the bond that Peter and Spike have.”
“Spike’s not a vampire, Xander,” Blair said. “He’s a sentinel and a meta-physical guide. He’s your mate and he loves you; he’s devoted to you Xan, I know you can feel it in your bond with him.”
Xander looked down at the floor. “I can feel it and I can feel the bond with Peter, but there's something you don’t know. I lived our past life while I was in the coma and I remember all of it,” he said quietly. “Spike was a vampire. We met in a town called Sunnydale. I hated him. I thought he was a soulless, evil thing. And then he let himself be nearly tortured to death by a hell god, rather than giving up a little girl. All he had to do was give Glorifacus Dawn’s name. What kind of soulless thing goes through horrific pain for a little girl? After Buffy died he fought beside us to keep Sunnydale safe. And when Caleb tried to blind me, Spike saved me. He risked his life to get me out of there. I had never done anything for him, but he came back for me. When he died the whole town collapsed into a giant pit. I stood on the edge grieving for him. I felt as if I was being told Spike was my soul mate and asked if I wanted to be with him in his next life. I said yes.” Xander sighed and looked at Blair. “Spike doesn’t know; I haven’t told him what I saw.”
“It was only a dream,” Blair said, “brought on by the overdose of drugs. None of it was real.”
Jim came over and wrapped his arms around his two guides. “No, Blair, it was real. Spike told us about it at the ceremony.” Jim looked at Xander. “Was Spike sired by a female vampire?” he asked.
“Yes,” Xander said. “Her name was Drucilla, Angelus drove her insane before he turned her.”
“And he said there was another woman, a vampire slayer.”
“Yah, Buffy, she was one of my best friends.”
“Spike said he didn’t realize what you were, Xander, until he got his soul back. He said that if he had lived he would have pursued you. But I also know that you’re right too, Blair. Spike’s not a vampire, not anymore; the two parts of him have merged into one being. However, Peter is his childe, Spike said so.”
Xander returned Jim’s hug. “Spike remembers?” Xander asked.
“I think he can only access the memories when his eyes are yellow,” Jim said. “But he remembers. He said that you’re his reward for saving that other world.”
“Some reward I am,” Xander said with a sarcastic huff. “A possessive half sentinel and a brain damaged guide.”
“Don’t talk like that Xan,” Blair said. “If Spike had to wipe your drool and change your diapers he would still consider himself blessed to have you.”
“I know,” Xan said. “He’s a pit bull when it comes to love. He holds on and won’t let go for anything.”
“Speaking as your sentinel,” Jim said, “I don’t want to hear you doubt yourself again. You’re doing the best you can and it’s a hell of a lot better then some guides I’ve known. No one can ask more of you.”
Xander looked up into Jim’s eyes. “Really?”
“Really,” Jim answered. “You’d know if I were lying, you’d feel it through our bond.”
A tear rolled down Xander’s cheek. “Thank you, I feel better, now,” he said, “knowing that I’m not just a burden to you and that you believe me about the past life stuff. I think I’ll be able to get through the rest of the day okay.”
Jim licked the tear from Xander’s face.
At sunset the next day, Peter awoke, sandwiched between Wesley and Spike.
“What?” he said, confused about being protected. He was an alpha sentinel, a protector; something was amiss.
“It’s okay, childe,” Spike said as Peter tried to wriggle free. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine. What I’m concerned about is why my guide isn’t between us,” Peter said. “You know guides always sleep between the sentinels.”
“Exception to the rule,” Spike explained. “I didn’t know if you would wake up wanting to bite. You hungry?”
“Very,” Peter said, “But I’m not interested in biting you or Wesley for food, if that’s what you think.”
“I’ll go make us some breakfast,” Wesley said. He pulled on some sweats and padded off to the kitchen.
“So did it take?” Peter asked.
“You tell me,” Spike said. “Do you feel different?”
“What I feel is damn good, energized, and surprisingly glad that you’re still here.”
Spike smiled and patted his childe. “That’s the sire-childe bond.”
“So you thought I might want to bite you. Does that mean I have fangs?” Peter asked, putting a finger into his mouth and running it along his teeth.
Spike laughed and pulled Peter’s finger out of his mouth. “The fangs come when you need them. You can’t feel them unless they drop. Now go get some breakfast. I have to call Graham and Jim and let them know you’re awake.”
Graham hung up the phone shaking his head.
“Who was it?” Riley asked.
“Spike. Peter is awake. He also said Peter is a virgin to being claimed and I better keep that in mind when I claim him or he would find a way to make me regret my loss of memory. He said we have to go through the ceremony of introducing a new member into the pack and suggested we hold it in a nesting room at the Guide Hospital. What’s really weird is he kept referring to Peter as his child.”
“Well, he did say it's how the meta-physical being inside of him multiplies.”
“But a child? I don’t know how Peter would take to that. If it were me I’d slug him in the mouth.”
“Then I guess,” Riley said with a laugh, “Spike’s lucky it’s not you. If you’re going to a nesting room then there will be witnesses to the claiming. Are you okay with that?”
“I’m taking him as a second and we're forming a new pack. There are always witness to that ceremony. I can just do the sentinel-to-sentinel bond at the nest and wait to fully claim him when we return home.”
Graham and Riley were waiting in the nesting room at the Guide Hospital when Peter, Wesley and Jim’s pack arrived. Graham stood in the middle of the nest with Riley kneeling behind him. Spike took Peter’s hand as soon as they entered.
Graham’s nostrils flared and he could smell that Blair now carried Xander’s scent as well as Jim and Spike’s. He made fists by his side and continued to open and close them as the little group took places around the perimeter of the nest.
Spike walked forward with Peter on his left and Wesley to Peter’s left. When they got to the center of the nest Graham put his hand behind him in a summons to Riley. Riley rose up from his knees and stepped forward. Graham spoke loud and clear in his best commanding voice. “I am Sentinel Prime Captain Graham Miller and this is my Guide Riley Finn.” Graham tilted Riley’s neck and offered it to Peter.
Peter tasted Riley and then took a step back. “I am Sentinel Prime Peter Wall and this is my guide Wesley.” Peter offered Wesley’s neck to Graham and Graham tasted Wesley, but before Peter and Graham could share the traditional kiss, Spike stepped forward.
“This is my Childe, Sentinel Prime Peter Wall, I offer him to you as your second. Do you accept him?” Spike asked.
Graham was surprised and angered by the question; this was different than the usual ceremony. Who did Spike think he was offering Peter as if Peter was his to give or keep from him? There was nothing Graham could do so he fought back his anger and answered. “In the presence of witnesses I, Sentinel Prime Captain, Graham Miller, accept Sentinel Prime, Peter Wall, child of Sentinel Detective, William Spikeman, as my second.”
It was Spike that stepped forward and put his hands on either side of Graham’s face. Spike’s warm energy immediately flowed through him and Graham felt the now familiar pull to claim Spike for his own. When Spike bent forward for the traditional kiss, Graham wrapped his arms around Spike and pulled him into a passionate kiss. He opened his mouth, pushing his tongue through Spike’s lips. Spike opened his mouth and let Graham taste him. The drive to claim Spike for his own filled Graham and he growled his intent.
And then Peter stepped in and put his hand on Graham’s cheek. Graham felt Peter’s energy surge through him, pure and untainted by another sentinel’s claim. Graham stopped the kiss and turned his head to look into Peter’s eyes. Peter’s energy was chaste and freely offered to him. There was no need to challenge another sentinel and risk death to have it. His hold on Spike loosened and Spike stepped away.
“Peter,” Graham whispered as his hand came up to stroke Peter’s face. More of Peter’s energy surged through him and he pulled Peter into a kiss. This energy was his to claim. He felt it in his soul. His desire for Spike was erased by Peter’s touch and replaced by the desire to make Peter his own. It was matched by Peter’s desire to cement the bond and make Graham his own. Urgency overcame both sentinels and they fell to the floor, the onlookers forgotten.
Peter tore at Graham’s uniform, and then his own, using his new preternatural strength for the first time; in minutes the clothing lay shredded on the nest floor. They rolled together, two sentinels; growling and patterning each other with taste, touch, until Graham’s mouth found Peter’s weeping cock.
Peter pulled Graham’s head away; he was determined to bond as equals before submitting himself for a full claiming. Graham growled and tried to break the iron grip, but he was no match for Peter’s new strength. He’s too strong, a small voice inside of Graham whispered. He plans to take you, lay you on your back and claim you for his own.
“Sentinel-to-Sentinel,” was Peter’s answer to Graham’s struggle.
Graham lifted his head and lust filled eyes looked at Peter; he pushed the illicit thoughts away. “Brothers,” he said in a breathless whisper.
The two men lay together on their side, head to groin, pleasuring each other until they reached mutual orgasm. The Sentinel-to-Sentinel bond was complete.
Neither man wanted to let the other go so they moved to lie in each other’s arms, both softly purring.
Peter’s warm energy continued to flow through Graham and in five minutes he was hard again. “I need you, Peter, I need to claim you now.”
Peter allowed Graham to roll him onto his back. He understood that he needed to be claimed, but he also understood something Graham hadn’t learned yet, that Graham would be his as much as he was Graham’s. It didn’t matter who topped they would be one and belong to each other. Peter lay still, moaning with pleasure as Graham prepared him.
The driving urgency that Graham had felt at Peter’s first touch had calmed. He was immersed in Peter’s warm energy, secure in their new bond. Graham was a proficient and attentive lover and he reassured Peter with words and touches as he stretched his virginal opening.
When Peter was ready Graham hovered over him. The tip of his cock pushed gently at Peter’s opening and he slid in. The act of entering and claiming a strong alpha sentinel made Graham moan with desire for more. “Sentinel,” he said as he slid deeper with each stroke.
Peter began to moan as his sweet spot was rubbed and electric sparks of pleasure coursed through his body. He wrapped his arms and legs around Graham and rose to each thrust. He could feel the bond growing deeper as the pressure to come built. And then, unable to hold back any longer, he came and he began to glow.
Graham felt Peter’s passage contract and the sudden glow appear. “Guide,” he screamed as he felt the deeper bond lock into place.
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