Disclaimer: The main characters are not mine, this is an amateur effort written purely for the fun of it, and no money has exchanged hands, and it is not intended to breach the copyright of Paramount and Pet Fly Publication.
My thanks to Gail and the peanut, and to Connie, and Andrea, without you ladies this would never have been written.
The story follows after Making of a Dark Guide.
Holding a mirror up to the past.
Sentinel and Guide had only just closed a very disturbing case. The pressure on them both had been crushing; the case had ended bloody and violent. The idea that they could just walk away from it without a backward glance had been wishful thinking at best, and Blair had found himself unable to work his way through some of the emotions he had felt.
Blair still woke up in a cold sweat from a night terror; and it was always the same one he was holding Elaine Rackham close only to see her skull explode, seeing the fury on Jim’s face, then realizing that his sentinel had killed her just before she gutted him with a knife.
Jim had saved his life but Blair had felt her life extinguish and the backlash of it had nearly taken him down into death with her. Only the strength that was the Dark Guide had saved him, anchored him, bringing him safely back to the present. But each night he relived the horror, and each night prayed it would go away.
It was two days later that he had seen her, Alex Barnes. At first it was only a fleeting look, a tall, leggy blond, crossing the street in front of him. He had chided himself for being stupid. Alex was dead. He had killed her himself, she was rotting in her grave. The next time was on the steps of Hargrove Hall. She had that same smile on her lips that made him go cold, a smile that promised pain, and her idea of pleasure. After that she dogged his every move near enough to be seen, but too far away for him to get to her before she vanished into the crowd. Blair had taken to carrying a knife to protect himself, anything to prevent her getting her hands on him again. Some how Alex had cheated the grave and was now back to re-claim her Pet.
His night terrors became worse. Elaine’s face would morph into Alex and instead of her dying, she would kill Jim, then in the blood that pooled round his body, she would take him as her guide, forcing his face down into the still cooling body of his sentinel, as she violated his mind, bonding him to her, her slave.
Jim had tried to help his guide, but Blair had shut down, and refused to talk about the nightmares that made him wake up screaming each night. The younger man would just push him away, rejecting the bond that would have comforted him; instead he curled up, rocking himself to sleep. If he bonded Jim would see his memories, and they were worse than anything that happened in the facility. Even Jim would never accept him if he saw those and he would lose everything he had gained. With trembling fingers, Blair pulled out a syringe from the small emergency pack he carried in his backpack and tapped a vein, Jim had been a medic and shown him how to administer an injection in case he started to overload. The drug would help him, it would strengthen his shields. He gave a soft sigh as the drug was injected into his system. It was quick acting, and he felt it re-enforce his own shields locking the memories tightly behind them. He told himself it was only a temporary measure, but as the days passed, he found he was relying more and more on the drug. Anything to hold back the nightmare of Alex Barnes.
It was a state that could not go on for much longer, and it reached a head one cold and blustery night. The fire door along side the loft was banging as the wind swirled up through the stair well. It had the steady regular thump of footsteps, and in Blair’s mind he was no longer in the Loft, but in his cell in the correction facility, lying naked on a freezing floor. He prayed that the footsteps would keep moving, leaving him alone. But like other nights before the door open, and Wilson and his cronies came in, circling him slowly like a pack of vultures.
A scream of terror tore from Blair’s throat as he began to relive the rapes, and the beatings. Wilson was suddenly stood there with Alex, looming over him, her face twisted in pleasure, as he was taken repeatedly. Her voice echoing through his head, “Good Pets please their master, are you pleasing them Pet,” her hands hard and demanding, on his body making him react to her touch, tears of shame streamed down Blair’s face. His body was no longer his. He was owned, and always would be.
Suddenly Blair’s eyes flew open, hands held him, with a cry he struck out, his fist connected with flesh, and they released him, the younger man, twisted away, and landed heavily on the floor as he fell out of bed.
Jim pulled back, he wanted, hell needed to go to his guide, but the sentinel hesitated, Blair was scared, so much so that Jim was nearly choking on the sour smell of fear that poured off the younger man. The haymaker blow that Blair had landed on him, had nearly punched his lights out, which told him just how disorientated his guide was.
“Blair come on Chief, don’t do this,” Jim eased forward, bending so that he was on the same level as his Guide, and put a hand out,” It’s okay, you’re safe now. I won’t let anyone hurt you buddy.”
“Ji m mmm.”
“That’s right, it’s Jim,” the blue eyes that stared at him were wide, the pain and fear plain to see. Now sure that Blair was aware of who he was, the Sentinel took him in his arms, allowing the smaller younger man to climb into his lap, clinging onto him.
Shudders ran through the slighter frame, and Jim held Blair close, one hand round his back, the other supporting the back of his head, as Blair buried his face against his Sentinel’s throat and shoulder.
“Link ,” it was not a suggestion it was a command.
Blair struggled to lower his re-enforced shields, he saw Jim frown slightly as he felt the tremor in the link indicating that something was off kilter with the bond. Then Blair pushed harder through them, and Jim felt the soft caress at the back of his mind that showed that his Guide had linked to him again. For a moment Jim felt fear... no, more like sheer terror, burning through his mind, as Blair’s emotions rolled across the link into him. Then Wilson’s face took shape, in the blurred way of memories, and he felt Blair cling onto him even tighter, like this Blair didn’t have to put into words his nightmares, his Sentinel could see them, not as clearly as he had lived them in his nightmare, but rather the impressions of them. Which resulted in Blair being pulled even closer until he was plastered against Jim’s larger body, and held tightly. As Wilson finally began to fade away, Jim saw Alex; she was like a shadow behind the GDP guard, her sweet scent polluting the air, her red nails dripping with Blair’s blood, as her claws tore his body, marking him as hers. Deep in the Sentinel’s mind Panther spirit guide roared, recognizing a threat to the bond.
Blair came out of the bond, not surprise to find himself in this Sentinel’s bed, in a nest of blankets; the Blessed Protector was out of its cage, and it would not rest until he was satisfied that no harm had come to his Guide. The only danger Blair was in was being over petted. Some time during the bond, Jim had carried him up to his territory.
When Jim turned slightly the light caught his face and for the first time the grad student saw the discoloration on his jaw. “Oh my god,” Blair tried to sit up only to be pushed flat onto the bed, “I hurt you!” He protested, then dropped his eyes submissively, waiting for Jim’s reaction. He didn’t believe that his Sentinel would punish him, it had been an accident, but for an Alpha Male Sentinel, to be assaulted by his Guide, that brought in a whole lot of hardwired responses, and if he had to pay pain for pain, then so be it.
Alex would have put him in hospital. Blair bit his lip where had that come from.
When a hand touched his face, Blair pulled back, expecting a blow, lost for a moment in his memories of a different place and time. But instead the hand gently tilted his face so that he had to look into its owner’s eyes. Blue met blue, the skin around them crinkled as Jim smiled. “You’ve got a good left hook for a pacifist.” Jim rolled onto his side, pulling the blankets over them, before firmly pulling his Guide into his arm, wrapping himself round the smaller man with a satisfied sign. “Where did you learn to throw a punch like that Chief?”
“Would you believe a former golden gloved contender?”
“I would believe anything of you Sandburg” He cuddled his Guide closer, with a soft gasp, Blair realized that his sentinel wanted to bond again, two bonds in one night was unheard of, but with small touches and the way Jim was nuzzling his throat he was making his need known.
Blair wrapped his body and mind round the older man, and give himself over to the bond.
Six o’clock in the morning, and Blair could not sleep. He had woken up after only a few hours rest, and his mind was buzzing. It was with some care that he had eased himself out of bed, and his sentinel’s grasp, Jim had groaned and been near to waking, but after using a little Guide magic, the older man had drifted back into deep sleep again.
Blair leaned against the balcony wall. Ignoring the cold he looked down at the street below. People were just starting to move around, going about their lives, living and loving, free to do whatever they wanted. But, he thought bitterly, he was outside the loop of society, he was a Guide. The genetically evolved partner to a Sentinel, the only anchor to stop the Sentinel getting lost in the whirlpool of their enhanced senses, and that made him a slave or an adored pet, depending on how the Sentinel viewed his or her Guide. Blair shivered against the cold and pulled the sweats around him but still made no effort to come in from the cold.
“Blair,” his Sentinel’s voice sounded hard, and Blair tried not to flinch. Jim must have woken up and was searching for him. The tone of voice had reminded him of another Sentinel, he tried to push his memories of her to the back of his mind, even though he had only been with Jim a very short time, by Sentinel and Guide standards, Jim had looked after him, given him back his life and his career, and he could believe that in Cascade they were making a difference.
But even so Blair still found it hard to believe that it was not going to be snatched away from him and he still lived in fear that one day he would respond to Jim the way he had been trained to by Wilson and Alex Barnes, and then he would see the understanding in the older man’s eyes disappear. Jim would see him for what he really was, and then the dream would be over. James Ellison would not want a filthy little whore for a Guide, and he would be thrown to the sharks, and Jim would get himself a nice little prim and proper GDP Guide, or at least one that was half way sane and would not wake up in the middle of the night screaming. A Guide that didn’t star in Guide Porn films or have obscene web sites that shouted his shame to the rooftops.
It didn’t matter that he had been forced by Wilson to perform, they were still out there, and as Senior Sentinel Prime of Cascade, Jim deserved better than him.
Jim said he was a victim, and when it was said in the bond he could believe him. But the last mission, when Elaine had obsessed on him, didn’t that prove that he must have done something that encouraged them, something that made Wilson and his goons pick on him out of all the Guides at the facility. Alex has seen the same thing in him, saying he had the mind of a genius and the body of a hot slut. Wilson had picked up on that hadn’t he? Now Elaine and her husband, they could not all be wrong. So how could James Ellison see him as anything different?
Without thinking tears ran down his face, maybe if Jim thought of him as a victim, then that is how he could stomach touching him, rather than the reality that he was bonding with correction fodder, a whore, a... his mind conjured up images of what he had done.
He had satisfied three of them at the same time, he had been drugged, but his body had responded, if he had not wanted it, surely it would not have. Or he would have had the guts to kill himself, but he hadn’t, so he must have liked it.
The words began to twist round on themselves, the shame and self-disgust increasing. He was nothing, a worthless Guide, Jim would find out he could do better. That GDP Guide yesterday, she had made it clear that she would bond with him at the drop of a hat, if he rid himself of his tainted Guide.
After all, now Jim was the Senior Sentinel Prime of the Cascade, he needed more than Blair Sandburg.
Blair put a hand on the wall of the balcony and heaved himself up, for a second he paused, the way down was so easy, but Jim….
He closed his eyes; he had to center himself, regaining his feet and the safety of the balcony. He had a Sentinel to serve for as long as the man wanted him. If Jim ever found it all out, all that he had done, and that he had even thought of ending it, Blair shuddered at the damage the Black Op ex-Ranger could do to him.
“Sandburg, get you ass back in bed,” the voice drifted down to him, more urgent than before. Blair stopped dead in his tracks, for a moment all he could see was Alex’s face hovering in front of his, to be replaced by the sneering face of Wilson. “Before you freeze,” Jim added, breaking the spell.
Blair started up the stairs. The young Guide could feel the need to bond, it was being broadcast loud and clear, his socks were soaking wet, and his feet slid on the wooden floor.
Half asleep, Jim had reached out for his Guide only to find a cold place where he should be. This brought the Sentinel fully awake; his Guide could not be cold. The best place for him was in bed until the heating came on again, Blair has very low tolerance for the cold, and could easily go down with a cold or flu. Something in Blair called out to be looked after, and Jim Ellison was not going to fall down on the job. Stretching out his hearing the Sentinel could hear the steady thump of his Guide’s heart. Lifting his head of the pillow Jim scented him, his face frowning as he detected the slight acid scent of fear and distress. Jim called out for him.
There was a small delay, and more concerned Jim called out again. Finally he heard the footsteps on the stair, the tread was heavy as if the weight of the world was resting on the slender shoulders of his Guide. Without even thinking about it he was on his feet and reaching for his Guide.
Blair was looking down at the steps as he climbed the stairs, each step was like a mountain, his mind dark and disturbed, he didn’t see his Sentinel until it was too late, a movement from the corner of his eye, a hand reaching out, he flinched back from the blow his mind told him was coming. He threw his body back, his weight shifting as he placed his foot on the top step, his wet socks giving him no purchase.
With a cry his feet went out from under him and he hit the flight of steps with his body, his head colliding with the top tread.
For Jim everything seemed to slow down, the smaller man falling, then the sickening crack as Blair impacted against the wood. Dropping to his knees the Sentinel called to his Guide.
Working quickly from the knowledge gained as a Medic in the Rangers he began checking for injuries. Letting out a sigh of relief as he realized that Blair was coming around. Wrapping strong arms round the smaller man, he lifted him up and carried him to his bed, easing him down. Catching Blair’s face in his hand he looked into the blue eyes, he could see he was suffering from concussion, and that would mean a trip to the hospital for a complete check up.
“Okay, buddy, I am just going to ring Cascade General and tell them we’re on our way in, I know you don’t like the place but just humor me.” With his thumb he lightly brushed his Guide’s cheek.
Pet Barnes found himself staring into the blue eyes of a man he had never seen before, laid on a bed in a place he could not remember. All his brain could tell him was that he was in pain from his head and body, as if someone had used him as a punching bag. He shifted his gaze down, the man was only wearing boxers and he was in his bed, Pet tried to pull away only to be held more firmly.
The man had said something about a trip to the hospital, about a fall on the stairs. He allowed himself to be lowered against soft pillows, and tried not to flinch as a large hand brushed his cheek, he dipped his barriers slightly and felt concern and affection flood through the narrow breech. Pet pushed them back up again, he had recognized the vibrations coming off the man, and it said only one thing Sentinel, and he was going to be no-ones slave or sex toy. //Because you already are,// the words drifted into his mind mocking him. Then it was too much effort to keep his eyes open and he swirled down into a black void.
A voice insistent and demanding pulled him back; the man was cradling him against his chest, a hand running over his body. Pet tried to strike out. If anything the man held him tighter, “Easy buddy, you’ve got a concussion, the ambulance is on the way.”
Jim was now seriously worried, Blair was looking at him with veiled fear, he could smell it now in waves, and he felt a hand trying to press against his chest as Blair demanded, “Who the fuck are you, and where’s Alex? Back off man, I am not your chew toy.”
When he tried to stop him, Blair began to fight even harder, ranting at him.
“Let me fucking go, I am claimed, and she’ll have your balls if you try and take me.” Blair pulled back, and then his face went pale, his eyes rolled up into his head, and he collapsed, his body motionless in his Sentinel’s arms.
Cascade General Hospital
Department of Sentinel Medicine.
Captain Simon Banks came out of the elevator onto the Sentinel Floor of Cascade General and found Jim Ellison, his friend and lead Detective, leaning against the wall. He looked pissed, and it was not hard to see that the nursing staff was keeping away from him. Jim looked like a poster boy for mean, moody, and lethal; death on two legs. A Sentinel with a hurt Guide was like kicking a tiger in the face, he was only a heartbeat from tearing someone to pieces. And that heartbeat belonged to his Guide, currently being examined in the room next door.
“What happened Jim,” he paused since their return from the mission, Jim had been like a volcano ready to explode, and he was concerned, “I have to ask did you hurt him?” It had happened once and Simon had to know the truth.
The words had only just left his mouth when James Ellison acted, before he could react Simon was caught and thrown against the wall and Ellison was in his face. “You think I could hurt him, he’s...” the Sentinel trailed off. As a man he found it hard to put his emotions into words, as a Sentinel the idea of abusing his Guide was beyond his comprehension; only his deep ingrained respect for his Captain stopped him from striking his accuser down.
As if coming awake from a nightmare, he looked shocked to find he was holding his friend and he let go, stepping back. “Simon I am sorry,” his voice was shaky and he sounded almost lost.
Simon could not think of any words to reassure the man, so he gently patted his shoulder, trying to make him realize that he was not alone.
Doctor Michelle Michaels came out, she had been on the Sentinel floor for the last two years, and was an experienced hand at dealing with Sentinels, but even so something in James Ellison made her shudder when his eyes fixed on her.
“Sentinel Ellison, your Guide is going to be fine, he has a concussion, and bruising to his arms and face where he hit the stairs, he will be okay. Now I would like to keep him here overnight, we will be checking on him every hour, but if there are no complications, you can take him home tomorrow.”
“What about his memory loss, he didn’t know who I was?” Jim trailed off, he was replaying what Blair had said the Loft, that she would do this that she would do that, and the only she he knew was that sadistic bitch Barnes. If that was true he had lost the last two years, and the thought terrified the Sentinel. He forced himself to concentrate on what the doctor was saying.
“If it persists we will do more tests, but I believe that his memory will return as he recovers, I am sure that by tomorrow he will be back to normal. In the meantime, just take things slowly, I thought you might wish to stay the night, so I am having a cot put in the room.”
She chanced a pat on his arm, to reassure him, and then with a nod to both men, went to fill in the chart, and notify the GDP.
The tall man from earlier opened the door and slipped inside, the lights were down, but Pet saw the concern on his face.
“Hi chief, how are you feeling?” He sounded almost friendly.
“Fine man.” Pet gave the answer the man wanted, he was obviously a colleague of Alex’s, so unless he wanted her to finish the job on him, he had better make nice with the guy. . More than likely he had run off at the mouth, and pissed the guy off, and he had hit him, or pushed him and he had taken a fall, it would not have been the first time, he had been hospitized because of a sentinel. But the fact the guy was a Sentinel bothered him, Alex was very possessive about him, and he could not see her liking another Sentinel pawing him. But then, if Alex and this guy were fucking she might let him use Blair, she had brought him into a threesome before now to sweeten the deal, and Alex could turn real nasty if he didn’t play along.
Jim eyes automatically compensated for the lower light level, and he frowned as he reached for his Guide; Blair pulled back, only slightly, but enough for a Sentinel to detect. The doctor might tell him there was nothing to worry about, but he was getting a bad feeling about this.
“Stay there buddy, I’ll get the doctor.” Jim tried to reassure him.
Pet leaned back, “Sure man whatever you want,” he turned slightly on his side as the door opened onto the corridor. His heart jumped and Jim’s head snapped back towards his Guide, his eyes searching for a threat. Finding none he closed the door behind him.
It was Captain Simon Banks, he was sure of that. Pet cursed his bad luck. That was the one cop he didn’t want to meet, the guy was on a personal vendetta to nail him and Alex to the wall. He had to get away, and then he could meet up with Alex at the Drovers Inn, and then connect with this guy if she wanted him to go back.
Plan made, Pet swung his legs off the bed, the floor was ice cold, he suppressed a shudder, and using the wall made his way to the closet. He yanked the door open, sweats, no shoes; he would just have to steal some.
//Oh shit// Pet breathed as he heard the door start to open, quickly he pulled the door closed behind him, and pushed himself in the corner of the closet.
“Doctor, the patient’s gone.” The nurse’s voice muffled as the door closed. Pet pushed the door open and began to dress; he only had minutes before someone came to check on him. His bare feet slapping on the floor, he made it as far as the door to the stairwell.
“Going somewhere Chief?” Pet closed his eyes; he knew the voice, the man was back. Slowly he turned round.
“Sure man, just stretching my legs.”
“With a concussion, pull the other one”; the man jerked his thumb back the way he had come.
Jim was puzzled, why would Blair make a run for it? The answer was simple Blair would not but Pet would. He had to approach the younger man carefully, he remembered all too well how Pet had reacted the first time they had met, he had expected pain, and been surprised when he had not been hurt. He had to remember this was Pet not Blair. Pet’s hand went to his head, and he started to fall forward as his eyes rolled up into his head. Quickly Jim caught hold of his arm, but then the Sentinel roared with pain as his Guide’s knee caught him hard in the groin and Blair tried to pull free.
Pet couldn’t believe the man had fallen for it, the protect the guide crap has proved useful for one, he jumped over the man’s body to get to the fire escape, when a hand clamped round his ankle and his foot was pulled out from under him. He only had time to bring his hands down in time to break his fall, when the man’s weight came down onto his back pinning him down. Pet brought his head back hard trying to smash the back of his head into the sentinel’s face to make him let go but the sentinel was onto that trick, and kept out of the way.
“Get the fuck off me,” Pet was struggling violently, but it was already a lost cause.
Jim was in pain, but still managed to manhandle his guide back to the hospital room, one hand on his shoulder the other twisting his arm behind his back, he ignored the hiss of pain from his guide. The sentinel didn’t even bother with the medical staff and shut the doctors out of the room for the moment. This was between Sentinel and Guide if they knew the truth all they would want to do was put Blair in the psycho ward, and that was not going to happen.
Jim pushed Blair onto the bed and then stepped back quickly allowing the smaller man to pull away from him, wedging himself in the corner furthest away from him. For the first time Jim really examined his guide.
The look on Blair’s face, there had been very real fear there. He had not seem fear like that since they had first met, when he had been hunting a psychotic Sentinel called Alex Barnes.
She had been a stunning 6-foot blond, but sick inside. His Guide had been her slave; though she had never bonded with Blair thank god, she had made him hers in every other way. Sexual and physical abuse had been the normal for him. Blair had never spoken of his time with Alex; his later horror at the hands of Wilson in the Training Facility had been too traumatic for him to handle both at the same time. What if it was returning? That could be the only answer; the fall has some how triggered Blair into the horrors of the past, things that he had never tried to address with his guide. Blair had had counseling sessions about Wilson and his time in the facility, but never about Alex, the core of his troubles, and now it was coming back to bite them in the ass.
Pet had wedged himself into the corner of the bed where it rested against the wall, and stared at the sentinel, the man was on edge he could feel his emotions battering against his shields, anger, fear, and regret, the last puzzled him. He could not understand he didn’t know the man, but something about him was familiar.
“You got a name man.”
The sentinel was pacing up and down, and stopped, he has spoken in a whisper.
“James Ellison, Jim,” the man’s face had taken on a questioning look, as if desperate for him to acknowledge him.
“Do I know you?” the question hung in the air.
The sentinel nodded, “We were working together.”
Pet relaxed fractionally, so he was one of Alex contacts or colleagues, made more sense.
“You fucking her.”
The sentinel took a step forward, and on reflex Pet threw an arm up to protect his head. Stupid to put it that crudely, but if he was not then he might be his way out of this. The guy looked fit, and strong, and was an alpha sentinel, so was more than likely able to protect what was his. But if sex was in the mix then all bets went out of the window.
“No I am not,” the man’s voice was level, he came a little closer, and Pet had no were to go. He forced a smile.
“Then maybe we can deal James,” Pet made his voice drop to the guide tone as he said the man’s name, the seductive tone that no guide could resist, the one that called them to bond, to claim their ownership.
Jim found himself drawn to Blair, the need to bond to claim his guide was becoming stronger, and when Blair called to him, he had to answer.
He closed the distance between them, as the younger man pulled himself up to kneel on the bed, when Jim reached a hand out to touch his face, it was then Jim saw him flinch. Trying to keep his emotions balanced he let his fingers card through the long hair, careful not to brush the injury. His other hand slide round his guide’s waist and he pulled him to him, kneeling on the bed, Blair was the same height as him, and he looked into his guide’s blue eyes, but instead of seeing the trust, and affection, the could see an edge of fear, as if he was waiting for the pain to start. It was then Jim realized that the connection between them was closed; his guide was shutting him out.
Blair or rather Pet was offering his body, but not his mind to him.
Jim started to ease back only to have Pet throw his arms round his neck, and pull him close. “Come on Sentinel, I know what you want, I can surface bond with you, take away that itch, the need.” But behind the words he sensed the panic, Pet was scared, and was clinging onto what he thought was a way out.
As much as Jim wanted to bond, to connect he wouldn’t, could not do that with Blair not like this. He had to keep control, and bring Blair back to him. Firmly he peeled the younger man off him.
“I am going to get he doctor,” he hesitated then added “Pet.”
“Doctor,” Pet spat the word that would mean GDP, he had to get out of there, now way was he going near to the GDP. He gave Jim a hard pushed the sentinel staggered back into the chair and went down on one knee, as Pet tried to escape.
Jim cut his guide off before he could reach the door, and too late saw the chance in balance the roundhouse kick took him in the side of the head, Blair was trying to put him down hard and fast. Only the lightening fast reflexes of the Sentinel saved him from a broken jaw, as he pulled back that fraction of an inch. But even so Jim was spun backward into the wall. The Dark Sentinel turned back to face his errant guide, his eyes never leaving the guide’s face he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and then looked at the blood, the growl started in the base of his throat and rumbled up.
In that second Pet Barnes knew his mistake; the Sentinel he was facing was from the Dark as well. Two Dark Sentinels, he felt so loved, not ! Alex was a Dark Sentinel, and she liked pain, this was would be the same, he knew deep down he would never get out of the room alive if he fought.
“Okay man back off,” he waved a hand at the other man’s face, as the Sentinel daubed his cut lip, he lightened his tone “what do you expect, mauling the merchandise. You want to talk terms, go ahead, remember a mangled Guide is no use to you,” he let the nuance of his voice change to the seductive purr the calmed even Alex at times. “Especially when I can make it so good for you.” Even as he spoke Pet pushed down on his emotions; he could do this, it was nothing that Alex hadn’t taken from him by force, and only difference was that this time he was offering it. But this guy was hard to read. To re-enforce the offer Pet moved closer then dropped gracefully to his hands and knees in the extreme position, his forehead touching the cold floor, his body arching and stretching in perfect form, in the most degrading of Guide positions the one Alex called the fuck me position the only one that she understood.
Jim swallowed hard, the Dark Sentinel inside him approved of the show of submission by his wayward guide, but the man pushed through, he closed his eyes, and made himself calm, he had to some how make Blair understand that he was loved and protected, but how he could do that was a mystery at the moment. All he could do was play the part that Blair had thrust on him.
“So what are you offering Guide?” Jim kept his voice hard.
When Blair didn’t reply to cut back a snarl. “Answer Guide, what are you offering?”
“Control over your senses Sentinel.”
“You think I need that,” he needed to find out how Blair read the situation.
“You’re unbonded, I can help you, perhaps even a full bonding, whatever you want I can give you.”
“You’re that good, Guide?”
“I haven’t had any complaints, in the bond or in the sack.” Pet bit his lip, he should not have said the last part but he had to put his cards on the table, make sure there was no mistake in what he was offering.
Inside Jim felt his heart go cold, that Blair could feel so trapped that he would offer anything to escape from Barnes. All he wanted to do was pull his guide to his feet and wrap him in his arms, and hold him close, make him feel safe. But he knew he couldn’t any sudden movement like would spook his guide even further.
“On you feet Guide.” Jim commanded and was saddened by the way that even still hurting from the fall, Blair got to his feet swiftly, hands were clasped to the small of his back, head hanging down in submission, his long hair forming a veil across his face.
“Alex would not like you making this offer would she?” That, Jim saw, had Blair’s head come up sharply.
The look on his Guide’s face changed as his eyes swept calculatingly over his body, taking in his build. “You look as if you could take care of yourself, a Guide needs a strong Sentinel, one that will protect him.”
Pet stepped close so that he was in the new Dark Sentinel’s space, his eyes never leaving those of the older man, he raised a hand, and raised the palm to his face the base of his hand touching the man’s jaw, his long slender fingers resting lightly on the contours of his face, rolling the hand so that he could inhale his scent. When his wrist was caught, Pet nearly pulled back, had to fight the reaction. The grip was tight but not brutal, he was not out to hurt, when the Sentinel’s free hand went round his waist and pulled him close, Pet leaned into the taller man. Then he rolled his head so that he exposed his throat for him, a simple gesture of submission known throughout the animal world; the beta showing his submission to the dominant Alpha Male. The Sentinel was sniffing at his throat.
“Mark me Sentinel, show Alex where I belong,” Pet hissed the words, trying to goad the sentinel into making the commitment, of claiming him.
Just then the door to the room came flying open and Simon Banks arrived. “Jim what he hell.” He stuttered to a stop when he saw the way the young grad student was in the process of wrapping himself round the older man.
Jim tried to pull back from the almost seductive lure of the guide, his scent was intoxicating, and he knew that Blair was entering the heat of bonding, and every fiber of his being wanted to throw his guide down and bond. It took all his will power to pull back from the need to bond.
Pet was physically pulled from the bonding state, by the Sentinel, at the voice he turned and saw Simon Banks and a GDP Commander, even as the fear took root, he was caught and slung round behind the Sentinel.
As the man used his body as a shield. Pet hung onto him, it was then his hand brushed the man’s back and he felt the gun.
All Pet could think was the Captain was trying to take his new sentinel away from him, and there was no way he was going to let the GDP take him, he jerked the gun from the holster, working the slide, as he stepped clear of the sentinel.
“Just back off Banks,” Pet snarled.
Simon found himself looking down the barrel of Jim’s automatic, the kid’s hands were rock steady, and with a sickening thud he knew that Blair knew how to use it. The fear in the younger man’s eyes was replaced by a cold and calculated look, and he knew that Blair would pull the trigger if either he or his sentinel were threatened.
“Jim we can fix this, just have.”
The sentinel cut across him before he could use his guide’s name, he wasn’t sure how Blair as Pet would react to hearing his real name.
“Stay back Simon just do it.”
Dan tried to ease forward using the tone all GDP where trained to use when dealing with a stung out guide.
Pet ignored him; nothing the GDP could say was of interest.
The armed guide waved the gun towards the closet; “you guys are going to play sardines for a while. DO IT!” The last two words were a command.
The GDP Commander led the way, and once both men were inside Jim pushed a chair against the door, keeping it shut. Not for long, but long enough for them to get away.
He put his hand out for the automatic. “Pet.”
With a smile Blair handed the weapon, over “see man I told you I could look after you, so lets get out of here, I am so not into the GDP or Cops.”
Their getaway vehicle was a old blue and white truck, Pet shook his head, Alex would not be seen dead in this truck, but it seemed to suite the new sentinel, so he piled in and they left with a screech of tires as they pulled away.
The inside of the truck was cold, and Pet wrapped his arms around himself, and tired to settle into the passenger seat, his gaze fell onto a radio. “You’re a cop” his tone was more accusing than questioning.
“I am a cop Barnes, how do you think Alex keeps one step a head of Banks.” Jim chanced a quick look at Blair as he spoke. There was an expression he could not read.
“A dirty cop.”
“Free enterprise Barnes, you should know about that.” The only reply he got was Blair shrugging and turning to look out of the window away from him, somehow disappointed.
“What the hell was that Dan, and don’t tell me that was ordinary Sentinel or guide behavior,” Simon demanded as he kicked the door open.
“Ellison, he was in Blessed Protector, but something is wrong with that pair. Blair, did you see the way he reacted to us, the nurse said he was confused.” Dan Slater mused; but the way he reacted to us was pure fear.
“So if Blair was stuck in some sort of flashback, what would Ellison do, he’s your friend.”
“Help him.” Simon swore, “and play along with him. So what flashback? At this rate we’re going to need a score card to keep up to speed with Blair’s personality changes, Dark Guide, Grad student, Sentinel Guide Prime and..,” Simon halted, “we’re forgetting one, the most important one, the one that would hate cops.” He paused, “Pet Barnes.”
The motel was on the edge of Cascade, they had booked in, and now Blair was laid out on the bed, one arm thrown over his face, his vital signs slowed as he drifted off to sleep.
Getting up, Jim moved outside of their room and pulled out his cell phone.
“Simon.” He had to move the phone away from his ear, as his friend exploded. “Ellison what the hell is you playing at?”
“I should have know,” then he added, “Go on.”
“After his fall when he woke up he was Pet Barnes again, he doesn’t seem to remember the last couple of years, he thinks that she’s out there.” The exasperation in his voice was total. “For gods sake Simon he propositioned me, anything to get me to protect him from her. I need Blair back Simon.”
There was a click on the phone, “Jim, is Dan.”
“Yeah, Dan, sorry about that.”
“No harm no foul,” The GDP Commander paused, “do you feel a connection with him, a bond?”
In the background he could hear Simon breath out one ragged breath of concern.
But Dan sounded coldly professional, and that was what Jim need at that moment. “Right, now don’t panic, you have to bond with him, just like the first time. Claim him”
“You have to be crazy Dan, If I bond with him like this, I could do no end of damage, I am not going to hurt him.”
“Jim does Blair wants to bond.”
There was a long pause, “answer me Jim, does Blair want to bond.”
“Yes,” the one word was drawn out.
“I am not going to say it’s going to be easy, you have to be gentle.”
“What the hell do you think I am going to do, jump on his bones, like…?” Jim spluttered to a halt.
“Of course not, but you have to take it slowly. I don’t know what his mental condition is, but if you can get him to bond, then the part of him that is being suppressed might feel safe enough to come out. Think of this as a seduction.”
“You know what I mean Ellison. You bond slowly, let him set the pace and keep him calm. Pet Barnes was abused. You told me that’s all he’s known in the bond.”
“That bitch never bonded with him,” Jim roared.
“Okay the surface bond, he felt pain and humiliation. It was a perverted bond Jim. You have to show him what a bond can be, no Dark Sentinel, just Jim Ellison. Can you do that?”
Dan was pleased there was no hesitation.
“It’s better you don’t try to move him,” he paused. “When did you last bond?”
“Then his barriers are going to start to give, and if Pet Barnes never bonded he’s not going to realize the danger until it’s too late. So you have to do it now. I am sorry.”
Simon cut across the call, “good luck Jim, and look after the kid.” The Captain allowed his affection for the longhaired grad student to show. He snarled at Dan, “So I like him okay,” but a smile softened his face.
Jim broke the connection and went back inside. Locking the door behind him, for a moment he just looked down at his Guide.
Pet watched him come back into the room, he had seen the man on the cell phone making a call; he was fatalistic, if it was to Alex then he was in serious trouble. If it wasn’t, then maybe he could still make a deal with the Sentinel.
He had risked lowering his barriers a couple of times and all he was getting was a need to bond, but edged to that was concern for him. Which was puzzling. But then who really knew what those Neanderthal throwbacks really thought.
At one time he had thought of them as guardians, then he had realized he was a Guide, and that the Sentinel 101 was a load of bullshit. Today’s Sentinels had none of the nobility of the ancients, just a bunch of sadistic egocentrics, with god complexes and a taste for pain.
He rolled onto his side and watched his latest Master come in. Sure this one seemed okay, and for the love of god he didn’t know why he trusted him on some basic level. If only he could remember how they had met, then he might have a better idea of where he stood.
“Alex will be looking for me, you going to let me call her?”
“Right,” Pet drew the word out slowly.
“You’re mine, remember.”
Jim had been dreading it, he had to have a fall back lie, until Blair was Blair again, the last thing he wanted was for his Guide to try and give him the slip, to get back to a woman that had been rotting in her grave for the last two years.
He watched his Guide for any indication that he was buying the story.
Okay that told him what he wanted to know The Sentinel had accepted the deal, laid claim to him. When he had pulled the automatic on Banks he had soured the cops deal, blown his cover, but instead of being angry the man was still talking about bonding. “You’re going to take me with you, when we blow this pop stand”
“What I claim, I keep.” the Sentinel said, his eyes never leaving Pet’s face.
“Chill man, no need to lose it.” Pet edged away for him, he didn’t like the look in the man’s eyes, he knew he was a Dark Sentinel, and he felt the change in the man, the Dark Sentinel was coming forward and it wanted to play.
He didn’t mind surface bonding with the guy that would still give him away out, for all his promises of a bond; he was not going to shackle himself to a Neanderthal throwback for life. If they bonded he would control it all along the way. If this guy could not keep him safe, and Alex came looking, then he was sure he could talk his way out of it. Every man for himself, after all as long as he wasn’t bonded, Alex might beat him and then fuck him, hand him around to her crew but she wouldn’t kill him. If he fully bonded then he was not only a slave he was a dead man.
“I am not fully bonding with you man, so put him back in his cage and back off.”
“You don’t get a choice kid” There was a throaty growl to the words that was not there before.
“Not good,” Pet muttered to himself, as he looked round for the nearest weapon.
Jim could feel the Dark Sentinel rising inside of him, he had played this game too long, this was nothing he had never done before with Blair, and he launched himself at this Guide.
His caught Blair and pulled him onto the bed, using his greater strength and weight to pin him down, aggressively scenting at his throat, pulling at the neck of the sweat shirt to expose his throat.
Pet screamed, “No,” and began to struggle.
Not a bond, he could not, he had to protect his mother, and his sanity. Through the panic he struck out with his mind, a dagger to the Sentinel’s mind, the larger man roared in pain, and pulled back, his fist lashing out, unable to duck, Pet saw it coming and braced himself.
At the last second the blow missed and hit the pillow, and the Sentinel threw himself away from the Guide, snarling and growling, but refusing to come near him. Pacing up and down like a caged animal
Pet looked towards the door, he didn’t know why the Sentinel had not punished him, but he knew that if he ran the Sentinel would track him down, he was trapped, suddenly his barriers seemed to fracture, he had to fight to keep them up, he could feel his grip on them faltering.
He moaned softly “Help me.”
Immediately the Dark Sentinel was by his side, reaching for him, pulling him firmly to lay against him, arms tucking him close, firm hands petting as the sentinel cooed softly to him, rocking him like a mother would her child. Pet reached out his mind brushing that of the Dark Sentinel, he pulled back as he felt a surge of power, but the sentinel cruelly reined it back, and when Pet reached out again the man allowed the surface bond. To the empathic guide it was like being covered in a warm blanket, and his barriers relaxed, not letting the sentinel in for a true bond, but at the same time, allowing a connection between them.
Slowly he relaxed and his eyes fluttered close, without realizing it he reached out and wrapped a hand around the Sentinel jacket lapel and held tightly.
Jim laid awake as he remembered Blair striking out at him; his Guide had attacked him. He should have felt angry, but the horror that Pet Barnes had felt at being attacked by the Sentinel, forced to bond, had brought Jim up hard and fast.
In the Dark Guide persona Blair had reveled in the physical rough and tumble of the Dark Bond, but what damage had he done to Blair when he dragged him down onto the bed, using his superior strength and weight to pin him down, clawing at his clothes.
Jim closed his eyes, he had forced himself on Blair, and the dominant Alpha had tried to take what it wanted, pinning and pawing his Guide, and Pet Barnes had panicked. Knowing only the violence of Alex’s touch he had been scared enough to actually fight back. His Blair, Jim turned and ran a hand lightly over his Guide’s sleeping face, exhaustion had taken its toll on him.
Did Blair let him do that to him when he was not under the influence of the Dark Guide because be believed it was his duty to service his Sentinel? Because he felt that he owed Jim for saving him from the facility, and for letting him live something of a normal life.
He had felt the bond, he knew Blair’s affection for him was that of a brother, but even so had he, the one person that had sworn to protect his Guide, added to his problems, his fears, by his aggressive bonding.
Could he stop?
The Sentinel looked into his own heart and saw in his head what he had done. But he still knew that as Dark Sentinel and Alpha of the City he could not bond submissively to his Guide, he would always need dominance in the bond. But he could learn, he could, would control the aggression; he owed Blair much more than that.
Now he had to learn how to bond with Pet Barnes, he took with him the knowledge of his bonding with Blair that he had to be gentle, and against his natural nature give Blair some control.
Pet woke to find the Sentinel laid on the bed next to him, he pulled back, his eyes showing his fear, but instead of grabbing him, the Sentinel had just laid there and when he reached a hand out, it was slow, his fingers lightly brushing his hair from his eyes, the pad of the fingers a light caress on skin, when they brushed down his cheek and jaw, Pet leaned into the touch.
Alex had never touched him like that; his eyes had fluttered closed as he reveled in the moment. They flew open, and he rolled off the bed in one quick move, putting the bed between them. “Keep away from me man.”
He held his hands up to the Sentinel, palms out, “Keep back.”
“Bl.., Pet, its okay, I wont hurt you.”
“You, you want to bond, I can feel it.”
Jim knew he had to answer honestly, because he could feel the touch of Blair’s mind, the kid was actually probing him, a talent he had never known that Blair could do, maybe even Blair didn’t realize he could do it on a conscious level.
“Yes, I want to bond with you Pet, to Mark and Claim you so deep that no one is ever going to take you away from me.” Jim could not help it, the words came out with a heat that he had always tried to hide, maybe now was the time to be honest with himself and Blair.
Pet’s breath caught in his throat, the words, and the look in the Sentinel’s eyes when he spoke, he felt as if he was about to implode from the warmth that spread through him, he moved without thought towards the Sentinel, then with a gasp pulled back.
“If I say no.”
Jim didn’t know what to say, he wanted Blair. He was his Guide, and the thought of him running away was intolerable. Blair needed him. Pet might not think he did, but the exhaustion Jim could see was the result of Blair losing his shielding. Pet would not understand what it was, and that made it more dangerous, the kid still thought he was unbonded. The most his Guide had ever managed was 20 hours solo, without bonding, Blair was running towards that deadline, if he didn’t bond with him soon, his Guide would end up in a coma.
“Pet, I would like to say that I could step back and let you go, but I can’t, I need you and I want you, Claimed and Marked, Join your gifts to mine, be my partner.”
“You mean that?” Blair sounded puzzled, but he had edged forward. “You would protect me, Alex she said she would kill my mother if I ever ran.”
“You mum is safe Pet, she will never, NEVER, hurt her.”
Blair shook his head “I am to believe a dirty cop, you’re a Sentinel, how could you.”
“Alex does, and she is a killer,” Jim put in.
His Guide’s mouth opened and closed, “You’re different, I don’t know why.” Pet’s hands wrapped into his hair, and when he looked up there was pain. “Sentinel help me,” Blair crumbled; Jim only just caught him before he hit the floor. Gathering him close he pulled him onto the bed, keeping him in his arms, Blair’s eyes fluttered open, and his mouth opened and closed, as if he was having trouble forming words, “What happened,” he lifted a shaking hand, “B b bond.”
All Pet knew was that his shields had breeched and the emotions of the people in the rooms round him were like acid in his mind, the hooker and her customer, the raw lust on one side and the cold professional indifference. The businessman angry with a lost client, it was never ending.
Fear was running through him; he was begging to bond, to be taken, to be made into a slave. What was the difference; he was Alex pet, so he would be this cop’s slave. Tears filled his eyes and silently ran down his face as he begged for the one thing that would take his life as it was, away from him. But then he remembered what the cop has said, joining their gifts, the man has sounded so sure of himself, of how it would be, was that true?
Did he really have a choice, he would have to put his faith in a higher power, and give himself over to the one thing that he feared and hated the most.
Jim smelled the tears, with the greatest of care he eased them both down, rolling on his side, taking Blair with him, one arm acting as a pillow for his Guide’s head, with his other hand he gently stroked his Guide’s face, knowing that last time it had calmed him down. The misery was like a knife through the Sentinel’s heart, “I will never hurt you Pet, but we will bond now.”
Blair nodded, and then pushed Jim onto his back. Puzzled the Sentinel allowed him to do it, “hey buddy no!” Blair had already stripped off the sweatshirt and his hands were on the elastic waist of his sweat pants when Jim managed to catch his Guide’s hands.
“No Pet, not like that, this is a bond.”
“Alex, she always likes me naked when we bond, she says...” He turned his head away.
Jim squashed his anger. The bitch had perverted the bond. He knew from what Blair had said once that the woman had not been able to bond properly with him, because of the death of her spirit animal, but she had surface bonded, making a connection with him. But it was temporary and would diminish during the day, leaving a void in her, and that had made her angry, feeding her psychotic need for power over the one person she could never take as her Guide.
He saw his Guide flinch, and reined in his emotions, “You don’t have to Pet.”
“I want to bond,” Blair pushed the sweats off and then moved back into Jim’s arms.
“Okay Chief, whatever you want,” he took a deep breath.
Blair slid his arms round him, plastering himself against him, his breath hot on Jim’s neck. Lightly he closed his arms round the smaller man, and then lowered his head and inhaled deeply at this throat. The scent was like a soothing balm. Jim knew that he had to keep control, Blair was in no condition to understand. He expected pain, humiliation, in fact thought it was normal, Jim had to show him that he was treasured and loved.
Pet could not believe it when the Sentinel had stopped him when he was undressing. For a moment he thought it was because he hadn’t put a show on for him, like he did Alex. Alex always said she liked to see the merchandise, wanted him to show her how much a favor she was doing in bonding with a filthy little Guide. If he didn’t do it good enough, she had made sure that he had an audience, her crew has always enjoyed seeing him “educated.” He shuddered, the Sentinel had been testing him telling him that he need not strip, but the man had collected him into his arms readily enough. The emotions coming off him were strangely soothing, almost as if he had bonded before. But Sentinel’s only bond once, everyone knew that.
He could not believe there was no pain, he had expected to be thrown on his back, the larger body pressing him down like last time, forcing him to move against him, like Alex had liked him to, controlling every aspect of his body and mind. But so far the Sentinel had just held him, one hand was carding through his hair, soothing him, and he allowed his body to relax, maybe the Sentinel would not hurt him so badly if he was submissive.
When he had tried to touch the Sentinel, as he whispered Sentinel soft, “I can make it good for you,” the man had almost sadly caught his hand, holding it captured against his chest, “No need for that Pet,” and the hand that had carded his hair so softly had guided his head down on the man’s shoulder so it was tucked under the Sentinel’s chin. He had never felt so protected; the emotions coming off the Sentinel were all that he could have dreamed of. He let his shields fall, and gave himself over to the bonding.
Pet was surprised to feel, as his mind touched the Sentinel’s, it was like coming home, the Sentinel’s mind touched his and he felt it soar with joy, and he let go.
Blair opened his eyes, and yawned. He felt as if he had been put through a wringer. His Sentinel was holding him. A smile touched his lips, it must have been a bad nightmare, and Jim was always overprotective.
Then he blinked, since when did they have that cheesy wallpaper? He looked round him... a motel room? Slowly he tried to ease back, only to be hugged tighter to the Sentinel. “Not losing you Pet, mine.”
“Pet,” Blair said the name and was surprised not to feel the same revulsion run through him, it was then he felt Jim’s hand flex on his hip, the fingers moving like a cat kneading a cover. Blair flushed, his naked hip. “Okay man, you can work this out, you’re naked in bed with your Sentinel, in a motel room.” “Errr JIM.” He gave his Sentinel a shake, the eyes opened, and he felt himself pinned by them.
“Jim, what’s happening?”
“Y e a h, Jim, want to explain this.” He waved a hand at himself and the motel room.
“Duh, who did you think I was,” it resulted in him being pulled that close he was having trouble breathing, but he was more concerned about his Sentinel. “You okay big guy?”
He caught his Guide and pulled him close, the need to bond vibrating through him, the Dark Sentinel demanding that now his Guide was back, that he bond with him. But Jim caught himself; he would not pounce this time.
“You want to bond Jim?” Blair’s face softened, he was not sure what had happened, but bonding would put them back into synch, and the rest could wait until later.
“Sentinel take your Guide.”
“Jim,” puzzled Blair pushed his Sentinel down, trying to get a look at him, he could feel the need to bond, what was Jim playing at?
“I said no, Guide claim your Sentinel.”
Blair’s smile was brilliant, as his long slender fingers cupped his Sentinel’s face and he linked, a feeling of contentment, flooding through his mind and body. Panther curled back into the furthest recess of the Sentinel’s mind. It purred in contentment, a lesson has been learned, and the bonding would be all the better for it. Next to it the Wolf yawned and snuggled closer to the bigger body, the Panther’s head resting on its side.
The receptionist at the desk looked up at the tall leggy blond, and pushed the key across to her, she was not pretty in the classic sense, but she had a striking look to her.
“Your in room 56 Miss Bennett. I hope you like your stay in Cascade.”
“Oh, I am sure I will.” Her smile was like the cat that had eaten the canary.