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.
An: If you have not read Runaway Guide 1 or you missed any chapters, you can read it on WWOMB. Just scroll down until you come to it.
All my fics are archived here
The door to the conference room opened and Sentinel Jim Ellison stood in the doorway scanning the room with the precision of a laser. He scowled even more than usual when he saw the red headed guide pressed against the back wall.
“The ambulance is here” Jim said, making his way forward, cautious, not wanting to spook the guide in the midst of all the confusion. “General Gibbs wants Red to ride with him and Tony to the hospital.”
Jim knew the Guide had been threatened; he would let her come to him if she needed reassurance. But she didn’t step up to him for comfort, or protection, either of which he’d have offered her without question. He watched her gather her impressive composure and give him a quick nod of greeting. She did not have the appearance of one who had been traumatized or stressed. She was strong and solid. His admiration for her grew.
“Sorry, Gentlemen,” the guide said to the room in general. “Duty calls.” She never took her eyes off the odd group as she walked by. She was intrigued, curious, and she let her empathic abilities absorb what ever the group was broadcasting. They wanted to protect her, and not just the way any sentinel wanted to protect any Guide. For two of them it was personal. She filed away the information but she knew her work wasn’t here with them, not now…not yet.
“Over here, Red,” Gibbs called as soon as she came into view. He was standing next to his Guide who was stretched out flat and being strapped into the ambulance gurney. Tony’s shirt was unbuttoned and Gibb’s hand lay firmly on his guide’s chest monitoring his heart beat by touch as well as sound. Tony, who had insisted on waiting for all the other injured people to be taken care of first, wanted to walk out of the courthouse under his own power. But Gibbs wouldn’t hear of it. So now, he could do nothing but wait, helpless, until Gibbs gave the attendants permission to cart him off to the hospital.
Red walked to them. “May I help?” she asked, hiding her amusement at the rebellious light that gleamed in Tony’s eyes even as he lay still under Gibbs’ hold.
Tony knew the question was a formality that any healer went through before touching a Guide that was not a pack member. “Please do,” he said with a week smile. “My side is throbbing and my head feels like someone is trying to tunnel their way out with a spoon,” he complained.
Blair stood back and watched the red-haired woman move in. He was a strong healer in his own right but he was no comparison to a mind walker. He opened his empathic channels in an attempt to learn what she was doing.
Red lightly laid her hand on Tony’s forehead. Her fingers folded to the contour of his brow. The tips of her fingers came to rest on his left temple, cool and soothing. “You don’t need the pain,” she said and just like that all the ache in Tony’s side and the throbbing in his skull were gone.
“Wow,” he said, “you’re better then a bottle of single malted scotch and a whole case of aspirin.”
“I should hope so,” she giggled, showing him a quirky smile, the same one he always loved to see on her too serious face. She walked along beside the gurney keeping her hand on the guide’s head to channel away his pain.
The ride to the Guide Hospital had been fast and bumpy but they were expecting the general so everything went smoothly. Tony’s wound was cleaned and deemed not serious, though he whined a bit for show. He and Gibbs were quickly assigned a nesting room, a necessity for a visiting sentinel and a wounded guide. Red was surprised when General Gibbs insisted that she join them.
“Tony is going to be fine. You don’t need me any longer.” She told him as soon as Tony stopped grumbling about being forced to ride to their room in a wheelchair.
“We need to talk in private and a nesting room is as private as it gets,” the General told her in his ‘not open for discussion’ voice. He wanted to be next to his guide, that was clear, and her protests were keeping him from that. She gracefully surrendered to his decision.
She had been in many nesting rooms, as a healer, and witnessed many a sentinel, coping and re-bonding, with their injured guide. But they had been strangers, men and women she had never seen before and, would most likely, never see again. This was different, she knew the General and his guide, they sent her Christmas Cards. It just seemed… overly intimate. She sat down at the edge of the nest just far enough away so as not to intrude in their personal space and watched while Gibbs efficiently got Tony settled in, his strong hands fussing as carefully as any mother’s.
When Gibbs was sure Tony was comfortable and sleeping he walked over and sat beside Red. “I’m sorry about what happened to you at the courthouse. Harris will be relieved of duty so you won’t have to worry about him coming after you and hurting you. He crossed over the line today.”
The guide scowled. “I think he probably crossed over the line a long time ago,” she said bluntly. “But he had power and no one was willing to question him or look to hard at what he was doing. They didn’t want him to concentrate on them. I think maybe Sentinel Miller and Sentinel Wall took a chance and looked too close. This legal case was the Alpha Prime’s way of punishing them.”
Gibbs agreed wholeheartedly. “You’re very astute, Red,” he told her. “Harris was not known as a forgiving man. Anyone who spoke against him, or disagreed with him paid a price. He didn’t care that the sundering could have caused brain damage or death. Sentinel Miller has been trying for a year to get enough evidence to have AP Harris removed. But Harris has always been careful and he has friends in very high places. What you did was very brave,” Gibbs said. “Standing up in court like that and refusing to do the sundering. It forced him out in the open. He’ll find his friends have deserted him now.”
“I just did what had to be done,” the slim woman said.
“There are things going on in the Agency right now, dangerous things,” Gibbs said. “These new laws make no sense, I believe they’re more then they appear to be. This crap they are feeding the public is just that, crap. It’s designed to get public support. There have been clues for a while now that there is another sentinel agency, a covert agency. I’ve been trying to get info on it, but I just run into dead ends. I need your help again.”
“What can I do?” Red asked. “I’ve been reassigned to the Department of Guide Proliferation. I’m going to be living in a fertility clinic, I doubt if I will have any access to the out side world.” She didn’t say that she would also be too busy getting and staying pregnant to do much else.
Gibbs lifted his hand and stroked the young woman’s hair. “I know, Red, and I’m sorry. I’d claim you myself, if I didn’t need someone on the inside so much. When this is over…”
“Don’t!” Red said her voice hard and commanding, it made Gibbs startle and he didn’t startle easily. “I know you mean well but you’ll never claim me.” She sighed and her voice softened as she continued. “I know how much you love Tony…I’d be in the way and I would know it, every second I’d know it. It would be a painful way for me and Tony to live and that would make it painful for you. So put away your guilt. What happens to me isn’t your fault. You’ve done more for me than you could ever know just by being my friend. So tell me what you need me to do.”
“You're an extraordinary woman,” Gibbs said with genuine sincerity. “I wish I didn’t have to ask this of you, but you’re the only one I can ask and there is no one I trust more. I need to know if the lab is conducting genetic experiments.”
Red could sense the general was telling the truth. There was no one he trusted more, a few people he trusted as much but no one more then her and Tony. “You want me to be a spy?” There was a note of interest and a flicker of humor in her bright eyes. She was intrigued with the proposal and at the same time it seemed a bit ludicrous.
“I want you to listen, that’s all, just listen. Don’t take any risks; I don’t want you getting hurt. You don’t have to invade anyone’s mind. Listen to what they’re thinking and report back to me if you find anything is going on.”
“How am I supposed to keep in touch? If these people are as dangerous and covert as you say I don’t think they’re going to let me use the phone or e-mail.”
“Is there a Guide or a Sentinel that you’ve healed and have a telepathic connection with, one that you can trust? They can’t block a telepathic message.”
I would have to force my way into their minds, without permission. I won’t do that I’m not a mind rapist. The only other being I have a telepathic connection with is Incacha, an ancient Chopec shaman, long dead.” Red tilted her head, lifted her hand and pointed. “And he is standing right there,” she said in a squeaky and mildly surprised voice.
Gibbs knew that is was not unusual for high rated Guides to see their animal sprit guides so he took the appearance of a dead shaman in stride. “Ask him if he’ll help us.”
Red nodded her head and seemed to be listening and then she turned to Gibbs. “He said he is in touch with Sentinel Ellison’s guide, Blair. He said I should trust his Hive, they were telling me the truth.”
“Telling you the truth?” Gibbs asked. “Ellison and his guide were in the hallway helping with the wounded, they never had a chance to talk to you. I told Graham to watch over you.”
“Graham is part of the Ellison Hive, two of the members said that they knew me in a past life, they kept calling me Willow. One of them was surprised that I didn’t have the memories. They weren’t normal sentinels and guides.”
“What do you mean by ‘not normal’?” Gibbs asked, his interest heightened.
Red gave a sarcastic laugh. “Where do I begin? There were three high-breeds in the room, two sentinels with healing abilities and one they referred to as a guide but he was a sentinel too, I’m sure of it. Spike, one of the Sentinel/healers, eyes turned from blue to yellow in the hallway and he was preternaturally strong. He held off The Alpha Prime until Sentinel Ellison got him cuffed, the other one touched me, I felt his healing energy and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is as strong as the one called Spike, but I got an impression that he was a lot younger then Spike. Spike and his Guide are the ones that claimed to know me in a past life. And your friend Graham…his reaction was off somehow, he wasn’t surprised by any of it. The way he just raised his eyebrows when Xander challenged him was weird. Spike started stroking Xander and purring like a sentinel would do for a stressed guide and Wesley offered Xander his neck to suckle like he would do for a stressed sentinel and Graham didn’t object. The whole thing was very strange. They’ve formed a resistance and they want me safe. They think that these new laws will use me.”
“It looks like this new Hive, that Graham is in, has more to it than meets the eye. I’ll have to meet with Graham before I return to Washington,” Gibbs said, his thoughts racing.
@ Two Days Later @
“Shit!” Gibbs said and threw his coffee cup against the nesting room’s wall.
“Well,” Tony said startled at the sudden outburst. “I guess it’s pretty obvious that you just read something you didn’t like.”
“That’s putting it mildly,” Gibbs said as he dropped the papers he was holding, got up and started pacing and kicking at nesting pillows.”
Tony picked up the report and started to read. “Jesus, this Ethan Rayne guy used electric shock on a guide to develop telepathic hazard detection?”
“Not just any guide. Xander Harris, he carries both the sentinel and guide genes. He was trying to trigger his sentinel abilities. Instead the kid developed hazard detection. He’s like you Tony, he carries both genes and they did that to him.”
“Harris…Is he related to ‘The Harris’?” Tony asked.
“This Rayne guy took a hell of a chance torturing a Harris.”
“The Harris family abandoned Xander, for being a guide.”
“That makes no sense,” Tony said. “Sentinels take care of guides, protect them. They don’t abandon them.”
“The Harris’ are old school, guides are property.” Gibbs said. “Apparently he meant it when he threatened to flog Red”
“So, this Ethan Rayne guy, tell me we’re going to get him.”
“Ellison and Spikeman already did. He was involved with Xander’s kidnapping. They caught him and killed him along with six highly trained, covert ops sentinels.”
“I’d like to read that report,” Tony said.
“Everything is there,” Gibbs said as he sat down and shoved the pile of reports over to Tony. “It answers my questions as to why they’re committed to resistance. They know first hand what these bastards are up to. Red said that Harris’ sentinel abilities are triggered. If the wrong people find out every guide that carries the sentinel gene will be at risk. I have to talk to Graham.”
Gibbs sat in the back of the limo with his guide. Rank had its privileges and requisitioning a limo to take him to and from meetings was one of them. Meeting with the Sentinel Liaison officer for the Cascade area, Detective Ellison, was certainly one of the things that the director of Sentinel Internal Affairs was expected to do. When he talked to Graham on the phone, the captain had refused to give him any information that wasn’t included in the reports. He claimed, and rightly so, that it was Jim Ellison’s pack and the questions should be asked of him. So here he was, traveling to an Alpha Sentinel’s home, in hopes of forging an alliance for the purpose of resistance.
When the limo pulled up in front of the nesting house Gibbs and Tony got out and sent the limo away. Graham and his pack were waiting outside for Gibbs to arrive. “What are you doing out here?” Gibbs asked. “You could have waited for me inside.”
“I forgot to tell you not to sit next to Spike,” Graham said. “Xander gets very possessive of him. If you feel a pull to him sit next to Peter, He’ll channel it away from Spike to him.”
“Graham,” Gibbs said confused. “I haven’t felt any pull like that since I bonded with Tony. “I’m not expecting it now, and certainly not to another sentinel.”
“There’s a lot that is going to surprise you,” Graham said. “Just keep an open mind.”
“Not the closed minded type, Graham.” Gibbs said as he walked toward the front door.
Gibbs sat in the living room holding a half empty bottle of beer. “Interesting history this little group has,” he said after Jim had finished filling him in on the happenings in their pack since it was formed. “So let me go over everything again and make sure I got all this right. Jim and Blair are pretty much normal sentinel and guide, Spike is a Sentinel with healing abilities and he has some non-traditional guide abilities. Xander is a guide that triggered as a sentinel after brain damage caused by the kidnapping. Graham, also felt this guide pull I feel toward Spike. A Chopec Shaman sprit called Incacha, who by the way is also in touch with Red, told you that Spike could ‘teach’ his abilities to Peter so now Peter is a healer sentinel with guide abilities and your two packs have a telepathic link which makes you a hive. Did I get everything?”
“Not quite,” Blair said. “You left out the cross bonding.”
“Ahh, yes,” Gibbs said. “Everyone is bonded to everyone, within their respective packs.”
“Except for Riley,” Graham said. “He’s not cross bonded.”
“Why was he left out?” Gibbs asked. “You claim the cross bonds make you stronger, if that’s true why weaken yourself by leaving Riley out?”
“My guide, my choice,” Graham said.
“That brings us back to you,” Jim said to Gibbs, “We’d like you to join our hive.”
“I appreciate the offer,” Gibbs said. “But I have to go back to Washington, I can’t stay in Cascade. There is too much going on. I can best serve the resistance there.”
“We won’t ask you to stay,” Jim said. “But if you want us to be one of your resistance cells than you’ll need to join our hive. There is too much at risk for us to do this any other way.”
“I don’t have a problem with taking any of you as sentinel brothers,” Gibbs said, “and that includes Xander, but to join the hive we have to create a telepathic link. I don’t see how we could do that.”
“The link comes from Spike and I,” Peter said. “What ever guide we claim has the link along with his sentinel.”
“Your telling me I have to allow my guide to cross bond,” Gibbs said, “you’ve got some nerve and you are way out of line if you think I’m going to order Tony to let some other sentinel claim him. I’ll take all of you for my brothers but no one touches my guide.”
“Tony’s in danger,” Xander said. “He’s like me, isn’t he? He carries both Guide and Sentinel genes. We’re keeping what I am secrete, but we’re no fools it’s not going to stay secrete forever. Once it leaks out what I am, how long do you think it will be before Tony is taken, strapped down to a table and given an overdose of drugs, the same drug that was given to me, just to see if they can trigger him. I survived because Spike healed me. He kept me from having a brain cascade. We need you, and you need us. I don’t like sharing Spike. If you don’t believe that ask Graham. But there are people in the government that think of us as property, so if sharing Spike can stop the bastards I’ll do it.”
“I’m proud of you, Love,” Spike said as he nuzzled Xander’s neck.
“Is this speculation, on your part?” Gibbs asked. “Or is it your hazard detection at work?”
Tears filled Xander’s eyes and his voice cracked as he spoke, but he never broke eye contact with Gibbs. “Hazard detection,” he whispered. Then he turned to Spike and laid his head on his shoulder. “God, I hope I’m wrong.”