Disclaimer: Not mine. I am only keeping the fandoms alive in our hearts.
Acknowledgments: Thank you to my beta Kerensa and a special thanks to Neichan whose discussions about character interaction helped me to polish this story.
Xander wrinkled his nose “You do know we stink?” he asked as he pulled on his pants.
“No we don’t,” Spike said. “This is necessary. If we went out there without being marked Jim would be within his right as alpha sentinel to throw us out of the apartment.”
Xander was confused. “Aren’t you an Alpha also?”
“Yes, but that has nothing to do with it. This is Jim’s “den”; he’s the one in charge. I either bow to that or fight him.”
“I hope I can at least wash my hands before I eat,” Xander said hopefully.
Spike laughed. “Hand washing is allowed, Guide.” Then in a more serious voice he added, “but no shoes or socks.”
“What?” Xander asked surprised by the mandate, “Why not?”
Spike ran his fingers through Xander’s hair. “Going barefoot shows we recognize Jim’s dominance.”
“Then why didn’t we take off our shoes as soon as we got here?”
Spike sighed. “That was then, before you triggered all this by asking Blair what it was like to be claimed.”
Xander sighed. “So this is all my fault,” he said hanging his head. “I’m sorry.”
Spike lifted Xander’s chin and looked into his eyes. “Not fault, Pet, consequences. You just triggered some sentinel behavior, is all,” he said in a soothing voice. “This would have had to happen sooner or later so don’t go thinking you did anything wrong. Let’s go wash our hands.”
Spike and Xander walked into the bathroom. That’s when Xander looked in the mirror.
“What is that!?” Xander squealed with fear when he saw himself.
“Guide glow,” Spike said as he wrapped his arms around Xander. “You’ve been claimed, Pet. It makes you glow for awhile.”
“Human beings aren’t supposed to glow,” Xander said. “I look like I’ve got a hundred watt bulb inside me.”
“They didn’t tell you about this at Guide School?” Spike asked wondering why Xander wasn’t better prepared to become a guide.
“I kinda put everything about being claimed out of my head,” Xander said letting his shoulders slump.
“Don’t worry, Pet,” Spike said with an extra hug before letting Xander go. “It will fade away in about an hour.”
“How am I supposed to go out there and face them like this?”
“With your head up and proud,” Spike said. “Besides Blair will be glowing too, I can smell it.”
Spike wrapped his arms around his guide again. “I love you, Xan, and I’m proud of you. You’re a warm, loving and beautiful man.”
“Head up and proud, I guess I can do that,” Xander said. Then in a little boy voice he asked, “will you hold my hand?”
Spike and Xander held hands and walked to the kitchen. Spike was right Blair was glowing, but he busied himself in the kitchen as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
The table was set and the wine had been poured. Jim defused any awkward silences by immediately offering a toast, “to new friends and new beginnings.”
“To new friends,” the other three chimed in.
“I was planning on rare roast beef,” Blair said. “But this has turned out to be more medium well.”
“It’ll be fine, Chief,” Jim said as he gave Blair an affectionate pat on the ass.
Dinner went well and afterward Blair showed slides of his trip to Machu Picchu in Peru.
Everyone went to bed tired but feeling good about Spike and Xander starting their first official day with the Cascade police in the morning.
Jim and Blair got up half an hour earlier than usual to shower together and make breakfast for their guests.
Xander didn’t give Spike any resistance about showering together; he knew everyone expected it.
As soon as their guests were in the shower Jim whispered into Blair’s ear, “I’m going to invoke the ritual today.”
“What ritual?” Blair asked.
Jim looked a bit annoyed with the question. “Welcoming him into the pack.”
“So soon? Don’t you usually wait a week or two for that? Besides you think Spike is hiding something with the school teacher past.”
“I still think he’s hiding something; but I know he’s a damn good man. No point in making him wait.”
“You know?” Blair asked. “It’s not just a gut feeling?”
“He’s knows about you. He told me you must have gone thru hell knowing about the abuse and not being able to do anything about it.”
“He said that?” Blair looked over at the bathroom. “Xander must have told him.”
“Nope, he came across the computer records himself.”
“He never said a word,” Blair said in awe. “The guy likes me, I can feel it, and it never wavered not one bit. I’m a level 9 empath I would know if he were hiding any animosity toward me.”
“So you’re okay with this Chief?”
“Sure, but what about Simon?”
Simon and H can hold off if they want. I’ll make it clear that it’s personal. Spike is going to be my partner at the squad plus he’s bunking here, that gives them an out if they want to take it.” They heard the shower turn off and went back to making breakfast.
Xander and Spike wore the new clothes they had bought the day before. A uniformed officer had retrieved Spike’s car from the barbershop and brought it to Jim’s apartment so Spike and Xander followed Jim to the station. As soon as they arrived Simon called everyone in the bullpen together to introduce them to the new sentinel and his guide.
“Everyone, may I have your attention please,” Simon called. “As you know sentinel Roberts’ guide, Anna is pregnant with twins. They have transferred to Lake View to be near her family. We have been lucky enough to have Sentinel Captain William Spikeman and his guide Xander Harris transfer in effective immediately.”
Jim stepped forward. “I’ve spent some time with Sentinel Spikeman and his guide and I would like to personally welcome him into our ranks.” Jim took Blair’s hand and walked over to Xander and then he leaned in and sniffed Xander’s neck. Blair reached over and gave Xander a reassuring pat on the hand and a big smile.
Spike was surprised, he hadn’t expected to be invited into the pack so soon; but Jim did say it was personal. Maybe he thought it was the best thing to do since they were bunking together. Spike ran his fingers through his guide’s hair. “This is a sentinel rite, Pet. Nothing difficult. Jim just needs to lock us in as part of his pack.”
Spike looked at Jim. “I am Sentinel William Spikeman,” he said in a clear firm voice so that everyone in the bullpen could hear. “This is my guide, Xander.” Spike stood at Xander’s shoulder, put his hands into his hair and tilted his head to fully expose the claiming gland to Jim.
Xander stood impassive as Jim leaned in and gave a firm long lick to his neck. No one other than Spike had ever touched him there. He considered it a private place even a sacred place and now Spike, his sentinel, held his head and offered it to another.
Jim had welcomed other Sentinel’s and their guides into his pack. Every one was unique and yet under it all was the taste of guide; but when he licked Xander he tasted something else familiar, something he recognized but couldn’t name. Then he stood up tall and said, “I am Sentinel Jim Ellison. This is my guide Blair.” He ran his fingers into Blair’s hair and tilted his head to the side exposing Blair’s claiming gland to Spike.
Xander was shocked. He knew what Blair meant to Jim, and Jim was offering Blair’s neck to Spike. It was at that moment that Xander understood the sanctity of the ritual.
Spike looked at Blair’s exposed neck and an odd thought crossed his mind. ‘Sorry Luv, I don’t speak Chinese.’ And then it was gone and Spike took one long hard lick of Blair’s neck. The taste of a guide, not his own, filled Spike’s mouth. When he looked up, Jim took Spike’s face into his hands and then waited for Spike to do the same to him. Then they kissed with open mouths; their tongues dance and mingled the taste of themselves and their guides. Now they were family, now they were pack.
Xander empathic senses absorbed the beauty of what the two men were giving each other; it was a pledge of life and brotherhood beyond anything Xander had ever sensed before, he knew it touched all their souls.
Next Simon stepped forward and sniffed Xander’s neck to signal his willingness to accept them into the fold. Spike looked into Simon’s eyes. He had expected Simon to wait. It was his right to do so. Spike repeated his ceremonial introduction to Simon and once again exposed Xander’s guide gland.
This time Xander understood as Simon licked his neck, he wasn’t being forced to endure an intrusion, this was a form of communion and the guides were the sacrament.
Simon was surprised when he tasted Xander. As elder Sentinel he had done this ritual many times. He knew “guide taste” and he recognized the other familiar taste right away. He wondered if Jim had identified it. He continued with the ritual.
“I am Sentinel Simon Banks,” he said. “This is my guide Tara.”
Tara was a tall voluptuous woman with long sable brown hair and beautiful large hazel eyes. She could see Spike was lost in the ritual. His eyes were the dark sapphire blue of a sentinel in thrall.
Simon let his hand wander to the back of Spike’s head as he kissed him and Spike returned the kiss with equal passion. When the kiss ended Simon whispered, “true brothers,” in a voice so low only the sentinel’s could hear it.”
Spike was so moved by the senior sentinel’s endearment that he momentarily lost his ability to speak and all he could do was look into the big man’s eyes and nod as a tear rolled down his cheek. Simon took Spike’s head into his hands once more and kissed his face, catching the tear, before stepping back and allowing H his turn in the ceremony.
H had watched the ritual closely. He was unsure whether to join in but he was the only other sentinel in Cascade and if he held back until he got to know Spikeman better it could look odd to the mundanes in the office and could cause some friction. Rafe understood what Henri was thinking and leaned over and whispered, “Simon’s welcomed him, and we should too.”
H stepped in and sniffed Xander’s neck and Spike, still lost in his ritual thrall made the introductions and then tilted Xander’s head. H smiled at Xander and whispered, “you’re doing great,” before licking his guide spot. Xander was grateful for the bit of encouragement.
Henri also noticed a second familiar taste but thought it must have come from Simon’s saliva.
“I am Sentinel Henri Brown,” H continued. “This is my guide Rafe.” Spike licked Rafe’s neck and turned to Henri for a kiss. The kiss with Jim had been deeply spiritual; the kiss with Simon was full of passion. Henri’s kiss was one of comfort and abiding friendship. Spike felt everything click into place, as if he had come home. His eye’s turned back to their lapis blue and he ended the kiss with Henri. The ritual was over.
As the sentinels started to return to their desks they came face to face with a five foot four redheaded man dressed in a leather jacket. “This is just a guess,” he said in an absolutely serious voice, “but I would say there’s a new sentinel in town.” He stuck his hand out to Spike. “Daniel Osborn, I let my conscience be my guide.”
Spike took his hand. “The computer genius,” he said. “Sentinel Spikeman, everyone calls me Spike.”
“Everyone calls me Oz.”
“So, what exactly do you guys need?” Oz asked
“I got a notice that some of my guide’s school records were lost in a computer glitch. We need to recover them,” Spike said.
“Who sent the notice and when?”
“The director of the guide school, Booker sent it on Monday.”
“Warren Meers is the I.T. at the school and if he stays true to form Monday is hangover day. We may have a shot of doing this the easy way. Where can I work?”
“You don’t need to go to the school?” Jim asked.
“Not if you bring my alter ego out of retirement, I’ll need about fifteen minutes, we’ll know then, one way or the other.”
“You can work at my station,” Jim said. When Jim got to his desk he sat down and brought up the sentinel registry. He typed in Red Werewolf, Oz’s honorary sentinel name, restored the retired sentinel to active duty and assigned him to the case. Then he gave his seat to Oz.
With a sentinel password Oz could get into any city, county or state computer network. He sat at the computer. “Okay Warren, full moon rising.” Oz’s fingers moved across the keyboard so fast that they were a blur. “Let’s see what you’re up to today.”
An I.T. activity report came on screen. Oz pointed at the screen “We’re in luck. He’s just erased the records for a Xander Harris and he’s partially erasing others to make it look like an accident.” Oz’s fingers began to fly across the board again.
Jim was curious, he trusted Oz but he didn’t always understand him. “How is that lucky,” he asked. “If they’ve already been erased.”
“He’s still covering his tracks, that means the files are still in the trash can. All I have to do is turn your computer into the town dump. Do you care if Warren knows about this?”
“Not unless he can stop you,” Jim said, “He’ll be under arrest ten minutes after I get the file.”
Oz finished typing in the new code and logged out of the Guide School and then he logged into the Fire Department.
“Why are you accessing the Fire Department?” Spike asked.
“Because I like playing computer dominoes,” Oz said in his usual deadpan voice.
“Domino one, fire drill at the Guide School’s computer room. The second domino to fall is the fire alarm that gives Warren 20 second to get out of the room before fire suppressant’s are released. Domino three the school’s computer shuts down causing the trash can to dump all the files it holds onto Jim’s computer. If either of you gentlemen have a problem with that let me know now before I press enter.”
“Go,” Jim said as he picked up the phone and put out a sentinel order of arrest on Warren Meers.
Oz pushed the button and thirty seconds later everyone watched as the files from the guide school computer’s trashcan were downloading onto Jim’s computer as promised.
“You better erase your footprints,” Jim said when the download had finished. “I don’t want to have to hunt down sentinel Werewolf.”
“All taken care of Big Guy,” Oz said, “but thanks for watching my back. Is there anything else you need?”
“I have a computer that was in a fire, any possibility of getting anything off the hard drive.”
“Possible, unless the drive is melted. I’ll need to work at the lab.”
“Sure, I’ll get you set up,” Jim said as he and Oz went to the evidence locker to withdraw Booker’s personal computer.
Spike sat down and began to read Xander’s file. Blair and Xander pulled up a chair and read over his shoulder. The first thing he noticed was a report from Washington Genetics.
What he found surprised him. Xander not only had a guide gene he also carried a dormant sentinel gene. Spike and Blair looked at Xander surprised at what they had read.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Xander said to Spike. “I told you my grandfather and my uncle were sentinels.”
“You didn’t know?” Spike asked.
“How would I know? Rayne never told me if that’s what you mean.”
“Rayne never told you what?” Jim asked as he returned to his desk.
“Xan carries both the sentinel gene and the guide gene,” Blair said.
“That’s what I tasted,” Jim said. “I couldn’t place it during the ceremony but now that you say it…”
“Why don’t I taste it?” Spike asked.
“No basis for comparison, is the most likely reason,” Blair said.
Spike got up from the computer and gave Xander’s guide spot a long hard lick. He swirled the taste around in his mouth. “Guide and sentinel. It’s there I recognize it now.”
“This may be bigger then we thought, we need to let Simon know,” Jim said.
“I know, I recognized it during the ceremony.” Simon said to the two sentinels and their guides. “What interests me is, why that information was kept sealed. It’s well documented that a guide can carry both sets of genes.”
“It must have something to do with the abuse,” Jim said. “What if Rayne was trying to activate Xander’s sentinel gene.”
“That’s not possible,” Blair said. “The guide gene is dominant; the sentinel gene is recessive.”
“I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying,” Simon said. “Can you put that in layman’s terms.”
“Sure, I’ll start from the beginning,” Blair said. “The guide gene is carried on the X chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes so they have twice the possibility of being a guide. The sentinel gene is carried on the Y chromosome. Men have both an X and Y chromosome. Both parents can pass on the guide gene, but only the father can pass on a sentinel gene. Now the sentinel gene is always inactive unless it is triggered somehow. Jim’s was triggered by his time in the jungle. Spike was triggered while in a coma and yours Simon while you were working undercover on that drug bust.
But the thing is the gene can and does sometimes stay inactive for an entire lifetime. In the case of Xander’s father it never triggered. We also know that the guide gene requires no trigger. If you’re born with a guide gene you’ll be a guide. But nature seems to have put in a kind of safety valve. No guide with a sentinel gene has ever become a sentinel. The sentinel gene stays inactive.”
Spike was worried about Xander and took his hand. “Why do you call it a safety valve?” he asked.
“Because a person would probably go insane if he were both,” Xander said.
“That’s an assumption,” Tara said.
“An assumption yes, but a logical one,” Blair said. “A guide has different brain patterns than a mundane; we can bond mentally with our sentinel. We are different physically than a mundane; we have a guide gland in our neck. Our pheromones are different and we’re hard wired to be bi-sexual until we bond then our sexuality gets locked in. A Sentinel’s brain patterns change after the gene is activated. Areas of the brain that weren’t active become active and new pathways are laid down. It’s very possible that a conflict could occur.”
“That wouldn’t necessarily cause insanity,” Tara said. “It could cause traumatic stress disorder, or the person could go into a zone and not be able to get out, or depression.
There are any number of things that could happen.”
“Can anyone think of an upside to having a Sentinel Guide?” Simon asked.
“Maybe Rayne figured that a Sentinel could be his own guide,” Jim said.
“That’s ridiculous,” Tara said. “It’s the bond that stabilizes the Sentinel, they need the link with another human being. It’s not the empathy alone.”
“I agree,” Xander said. “But Rayne wouldn’t know that. He’s a telepath but not an empath; he doesn’t understand empathy at all.”
“We’re missing something,” Spike said as he went through the facts about Xander and then it hit him. Rage at Ethan Rayne along with fear and worry for his guide flooded his emotions.
“Spike,” Xander said as he pulled his sentinel into a hug. “It’s okay I’m here.”
Spike backed out of the hug and put his hands on Xander’s shoulders. “I know what the bastard wants to do, Pet.” Spike looked at Simon then at Jim. “He wants to create a telepathic Sentinel. A sentinel with 6 hyper-senses instead of five.”
“What do you mean?” Simon asked. “How can a Sentinel have 6 hyper-senses?”
“Xander has a high telepathic rating for hazard detection,” Spike said. “That is certainly a sense a sentinel could use.”
“Sure a sentinel could use it,” Xander said. “But what’s the up side for Rayne? I don’t see what he gets out of it. And then there is still the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to function at all.”
“What did you two do during the private tutoring?” Blair asked.
“Okay,” Xander said throwing up his hands, “it was telepathic hazard detection training, or punishment for failure to improve my telepathic abilities; but I still don’t see what he could get out of it.”
“Well it has to be something,” Jim said. “We need to talk to everyone that had anything to do with the school while he was director.”
The rest of the day was spent interrogating Warren Meers and tracking down and interviewing guides that had gone to the school while Ethan Rayne was the director, as well as any teachers and staff. Nothing new was learned and the two sentinels and their guides were weary by the end of shift. No one was in the mood to cook, so Jim and Blair decided to introduce Spike and Xander to their favorite Italian restaurant.
When they got back to the apartment both sentinels were in need of their guide’s comfort. Jim asked Spike to accompany him on his usual nightly rounds of the apartment before the two couples retired to their respective bedrooms to renew their bonds.
Xander, while still a bit nervous, was not unreceptive to Spike’s foreplay and they both found the sounds coming from the loft bedroom arousing. Spike took his time pleasuring his guide and Xander returned each touch and felt fulfilled when Spike moaned in ecstasy.
Jim couldn’t sleep; he could smell the members of his pack nearby but not near enough.
“What’s wrong?” Blair whispered.
“They’re too far away,” Jim whispered back.
“Xan and Spike?”
“Yeah,” Jim said as he swung his feet over the side of the bed and started toward the stairs.
“Wait, Jim, what are you planning to do?”
“Bring them up here.”
Blair jumped out of the bed and caught up with Jim on the stairs. “In our bed?”
“You don’t expect me to ask them to sleep on the floor do you?”
“I didn’t expect you to ask them into our bed, we’re naked, we don’t even own pajamas.”
“I can’t sleep, Chief, I need them close by.”
“You didn’t need them close by last night,” Blair said.
“Last night they weren’t members of my pack, now they are.”
“Xan,” Spike whispered into his guide’s ear when he heard the conversation begin between Blair and Jim, “we have to sleep upstairs.”
“Why, what’s wrong?” Xander asked.
“Jim needs us to sleep upstairs.”
“No way, besides, we’re nude.”
“So are they, Pet, come on.”
“I’m not going out there nude!”
Spike sighed. “Then put some briefs on and come along or I’ll have to carry you.”
“I’m bigger than you are; you’d never get me up the stairs,” Xander said, still not moving off the bed.
Spike growled, bent over, picked up Xander and put him over his shoulder.
Xander started to struggle so Spike had to hold him with both arms. “Jim,” he called, “open the door.”
Jim, who had been pacing outside the guest bedroom waiting for Spike to finish dealing with his guide, reached out and opened the door. He stood aside to let them pass.
“Put me down,” Xander said.
“Xan,” Blair said as Spike headed for the stairs, “unless you want your sentinel to feel the need to claim you once you get upstairs, you should stop struggling.”
Xander stopped struggling and looked in the direction of Blair’s voice. “You’re kidding, right?”
Spike growled and then Jim growled at Xander.
“I think it’s too late, you’ve already triggered a bonding thrall in both of them,” Blair said as Spike began to take the stairs two at a time. “It’s a sentinel thing, you’re endangering the pack and you’re doing it in front of another sentinel and guide.”
Spike growled again as he lay Xander on the bed and climbed on top of him; he found Xander’s guide spot and began to suckle.
“Don’t fight it Xander,” Blair said, “you’re not going to win.”
Jim was equally distressed, as Blair got into the bed Jim climbed in after him and pulled Blair to him. He nuzzled Blair’s neck and began to nibble and suck at his guide spot.
Blair made soft mewling noises of submission as Sentinel Jim ran his hands over his guide in a frenzy of hard touches and answered his guide’s mewling with more growls. Blair knew he would have bruises in the morning.
Xander had never experienced Spike in a full out claiming thrall. Spike’s hands held his head tight as he sucked and nibbled at Xander’s guide gland. Xander could feel his sentinel’s need so he wrapped his arms around him and began stroking his back and imitating the sounds he heard Blair make. Spike answered with a growl but loosened the hold he had on Xander’s head.
Jim grabbed the lube from the bedside table and readied his guide and then left the lube on the bed within Spike’s reach.
The more Spike nibbled and sucked at Xander’s guide gland the more Xander felt as if he were on a merry-go-round. He tried to force his brain to think in a straight line but it wouldn’t co-operate. Finally he could no longer make the mewling sounds and he just clutched at his sentinel with both arms and legs.
That was the signal Spike was waiting for. “You’re mine, Guide,” he growled in a deep baritone Xander had never heard before. “And you will obey.”
The words had meaning to a primal part of Xander’s brain and he heard and felt something click in his mind. All he could do was moan in response.
Spike moved off his guide and rolled him onto his stomach and then he grabbed the lube and readied his guide. He spread a generous amount of lube on his own cock and then pulled Xander up onto all fours and entered him. Spike had never fully entered Xander; he never pushed beyond Xander’s comfort zone. But this was a sentinel in a claiming thrall that had been triggered by a disobedient guide. Sentinel Spike was in charge and all the sentinel knew was that his guide had disobeyed the pack leader and that behavior could not be tolerated. He continued to push into Xander, deeper that he had gone before. He had to show his pack leader he had control of his guide.
Jim entered Blair, The guide moaned as he always did when his sentinel entered him. Jim closed his eyes and concentrated on the pleasure that was being transmitted though his shaft and immerse himself in his bond with Blair.
Xander gasped as he felt Spike slide into him deeper than he ever had before; he could feel Spike’s pubic hair brush against his cheeks and then Spike pulled out and started to thrust in again. Xander tried to hold his head up but it only fell forward. His brain was flooded with Endorphins, Serotonin and Dopamine. He would have fallen over onto his side if Spike were not holding him.
For the third time Spike fully entered his guide and then lifted him up into a kneeling position. He leaned Xander’s head back against his own and held him tight across the chest. “You’re mine guide,” Spike said in the strange deep baritone that was the sentinel voice.
Suddenly Xander felt as if he had been wrapped in a warm blanket. All he knew was his sentinel. He belonged, he was cherished, and somehow he had disappointed his sentinel and forsaken his sacred duty. He cried out in despair and his head fell forward.
Spike lifted his head and pulled it back against his own. “You’re mine guide,” he repeated as he continued to slide in and out of his guide.
“Yours,” Xander breathed.
Spike growled as he came and the sound triggered Jim’s orgasm.
Afterward the four lay together on the king size bed; two guides protected and cherished between two sentinels.