Title: Runaway Guide 2 – The Healing
Author: Joan Z and Neichen
Summary: Xander has been rescued from his kidnappers, but an overdose of a memory-erasing drug has destroyed part of the mental pathways he used as a guide. The four men struggle to make the cross bonding work while trying to heal Xander.
The group suspects that Xander is still in danger from who ever shot down the
Warnings: Group sex, a four-way relationship, Hurt/comfort, explicit M/M sex
Acknowledgments: Thanks to my beta Kerensa and to Neichen for her encouragement.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. I am only keeping the fandom alive in our hearts.
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 had 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. 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.
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 heals. 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 are 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 is no sign of it. He doesn't wear a collar or even an earring, no tattoos to denote ownership and behavior wise, there is 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 the 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 2 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 nipple, 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 happened 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 is 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 am 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 had 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 are 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 is obvious, Jim,” he said not taking his eyes of 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 will 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 is 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."
Thank you for reading, please comment.