Title: Football, Birthdays and Holidays 4-Part 2
Fandom: The Sentinel
Parings: Jim/Blair, Steven/Michael, Rafe/Lee (preslash) William/Daniel (slash)
Summary: Holidays and Birthdays aren’t the only times for surprises.
Beta: By my sister Anna. All remaining errors are mine-with apologies.
Special Note: I want to thank everyone who nominated The Littlest Guide series for two LMFA. It truly means a lot and I thank you. (o:
Football, Birthdays and Holidays 4-Part 2
William desperately wanted another kiss from Daniel. Eyeing the lips inches from him hungrily. He couldn’t take it. He just couldn’t. Not with Steven in the room with them.
“Son?” William whispered, hoarsely.
“I just came in to tell you that Simon says the grill is ready.”
William was afraid to look at his middle son. Afraid what he would see in his eyes. Steven had always seen more than was clear to the naked eye. Now would be no different.
William steadied himself and looked up. Acknowledging the fact it was taking more courage to do than he’d had to use in a long time.
Blue eyes were looking at him curiously. That’s when William realized he was still holding on to Daniel. Slowly and with great reluctance, he let the Shaman go.
“Steven, I was just…”
Steven gave him a huge smile. “I know what you were doing, Dad. You gave me that talk a long time ago, remember?”
William cleared his throat. “Yes. I just…” He ran his hand through his hair. “This is just so embarrassing.”
“Son…” William could feel his face flame.
“Dad.” Steven gave Daniel a heavy glare. “Move. I wanna talk to my Dad.”
“Sorry,” Daniel replied contritely, moving away from William. “Maybe I should just go.”
Steven looked at him. “No. Sit over on the couch. This concerns you, too. Being as Dad was kissin’ you and all.”
“Steven,” William groaned, fighting to keep from burying his head in his hands.
Steven smiled. “Oh, Dad. You should see your face. I’m gonna remember this for years.”
William smiled ruefully at his son. “Me too and not in a good way.”
Steven touched William’s face gently. “I love you, Dad.”
William moved his face into the gentle touch. “I love you too, Son.”
“Nothing will ever change that.”
William met his son’s eyes. “Are you sure?” he asked, worriedly.
Steven nodded. “Yup. I already knew you were human, Dad. I’ve known that for a long time.”
“Mom’s been gone for awhile now.”
William sighed heavily. “Yes.”
“You deserve to be happy, Dad.”
William met his son’s eyes. “Steven…”
“Be happy, Dad.”
“That’s all you have to say?” William asked, in surprise. Not really expecting this kind of response from his very vocal son.
Steven smiled at him mischievously. “I could have a temper tantrum if you like.”
“No. No,” William replied, hastily. “This kind of response is good.”
“And besides I got something to say to Daniel.”
William moaned. “Oh, God.”
“I love you, Dad.” Steven told his father, kissing him on the forehead. William pulled his son toward him, resting his head against Steven’s tummy.
“I love you too, Steven. Thank you.”
“One thing though.”
William looked up meeting Steven twinkling blue eyes. “What?” He asked, warily.
“Nothing besides kissin’ till he gives you a ring. That’s really important.”
William chuckled. “Alright,” He replied, releasing his son. “Will you tell Simon I’ll be right out?”
Daniel froze when Steven turned to glare at him. “Steven. I…” What the hell do you say to an eleven year old who caught you kissing his father?
“Hurt him and you die. Slowly and very, very painfully. That’s all I gotta say.”
“I won’t hurt him. I swear it.”
“Better not,” Steven said making his way to the patio door. “Tomorrow I’ll help you pick a ring, if you want.”
Steven smiled at him in approval. “Cool. See you in a bit.”
“Yes.” When the door closed Daniel turned to look at William. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. Mortified beyond belief, but other than that I feel surprisingly well.”
Daniel knelt in front of William, pulling the trembling man into his arms. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Fine,” William replied against Daniel’s lips. He pulled back slightly. “Remember nothing heavier than kissing till you get me a ring.”
Daniel smiled. “I’ll remember,” He replied chuckling softly, pulling William back toward him.
THE TEACHING GUIDE
“Are you sure that’s all I gotta do?” Lee asked Blair, skeptically.
Blair nodded. “Yups.”
They were sitting on Blair and Jim’s bed as the little Guide gave Lee pointers on how to be the best Guide possible.
“But what if it doesn’t work?”
Steven sat on his bed reading a comic and watching Blair teach Lee. Enjoying the whole thing immensely, but not interfering. Michael was on the other side of the bedroom working with twenty pound barbells. Jim had gone to the kitchen to get cookies and milk with Rafe helping him. Daryl was off with his current girlfriend, Michele.
“So all I gotta do is think bonding and it’ll start the scent?”
Blair nodded. “Yup. Try, it work.”
Lee pushed his hair out of his face. “I hope so, Rafe is starting to get a little antsy cause I can’t do the bonding scent to good.”
“He’s been crying over the stupidest things, too,” Steven said, not looking up.
“The leaf layin’ on the sidewalk all by itself did look a little pitiful.”
“It was a freaking leaf.”
Lee looked over at said leaf, now resting comfortably on a bed made out of a soft washcloth. “Hmm, yeah, but it did look all sad.”
“It was a freaking leaf,” Steven repeated. “He cried for an hour over a freaking leaf.”
Lee shrugged. “What can I say? Maybe, if I was able to do the bonding scent better he wouldn’t act like such a sissy.”
Steven groaned. “Oh, man-do you know what you just did?”
Lee flinched, eyes widening in horror. “Oh. MY. GOD.”
“LEE,” Jim bellowed from downstairs.
“Sorry, sorry. You’re not a sissy. Well, no, that’s not actually true. You are a sissy, but you’re my sissy.”
“LEE,” Jim bellowed again. “NOT HELPING.”
The new Guide gave Steven a sheepish grin. “Oops.”
Steven rolled his eyes. “Sentinels,” he said in disgust. “Biggest babies in the whole world.”
“I love you, Rafe. You are the only Sentinel for me. Sissy or not,” Lee whispered softly, knowing his Sentinel would hear. “Bring me a sandwich when you come back up, please.” He turned back to Blair. “Now you’re sure it’ll work. If it doesn’t work Rafe is going to make us…” Lee rolled his forefinger around his ear.
“I FELT THAT.”
Lee chuckled softly. “You were suppose to, dork.”
“BUT I’M YOU DORK, RIGHT?”
Steven rolled his eyes. “Gag. That’s just so gross.”
Lee smiled at him as he answered his Sentinel. “Yes, my dork.” He turned back to Blair once again. “Okay, so all I gotta do is think bonding scent and it’ll release it?”
“Okay. Let’s give it a try.” Lee closed his eyes, crinkling his nose he thought. *Bonding scent, bonding scent, bonding scent.* After a moment he opened his eyes and looked at Blair. “It’s not working.”
“It work. Try ‘gain.”
“Okay.” Lee closed his eyes. *Bonding scent, bonding scent, bonding scent.*
With his eyes closed he never saw a Sentinel missile come barreling into the room. Steven did, barely saving Blair from being squished as Rafe tackled his Guide, sending them both tumbling over the side of the bed.
Steven looked over at them. Rafe was sniffing happily at Lee’s neck. With Lee’s fingers tangled in Rafe’s hair encouraging the ecstatic snuffing. He looked at the little Guide safe in his arms. “Guess it worked.”
Blair stretched over to look at the Sentinel/Guide pair on the floor. “Yupper, it work.” He gave Steven a huge smile. “I good teacher or what?”
Steven chuckled. “You’re a very good teacher, little brother. Wanna go help Jim with the cookies and milk.”
“Okay let’s go.”
Rafe seemed calmer after that. Though begging Lee to bond him with a frequency that had the new Guide fearing for the skin of his neck. It was already super-sensitive from having a nose digging into it constantly.
He’d taken to hiding from his Sentinel just to get a little peace and get his homework done. Blair had showed him how to hide from his Sentinel. A Guide secret not to be shared with many people. Steven knew because he was asked to hide the little boxes that held the locks of hair that would lead the Sentinel’s to their Guides.
Blair and Lee would hide in another part of the house. Known to them as the Sentinel-free zone. Going there when then needed time alone and to regroup. The two Guides would share secrets, play games and Blair would help Lee with his homework. If Lee thought it was strange that a three year old was helping him with seventh grade homework he never said.
Steven would get the biggest kick out of watching the Sentinels go completely bonkers as they searched in vain for their Guides. Charging around the house, nose high in the air trying to pick up their scent. It never worked. Steven of course knew where the Guides were, but he wasn’t about to tell.
No amount of bribes, threats or whining could get Steven to tell them where Lee and Blair were or where the little boxes were. Jim had even tried the ‘glacier look’ on Steven. Steven had rolled his eyes and told him that look hadn’t worked in months and if he didn’t quit he was going to make him one very sorry Sentinel.
Jim had quickly backed off, knowing better than to test Steven. He had taken to stalking Steven though. Knowing the young Protector would eventually take the Guides a snack. Funny thing that-Lee and Blair weren’t the only ones that could hide their whereabouts. Steven could do it just as easily, much to Jim and Rafe’s extreme annoyance.
“Well, is it my fucking fault you guys are so needy?” Steven asked, the two glaring Sentinel. Waving around a chocolate chip cookie as he sat on the couch enjoying his tenth snack of the day.
“We’re not needy, we’re just emotionally challenged,” Rafe told him.
“That explains why poor Lee’s been needing to put first aid cream on his neck? You sissies are just clingers and don’t want to admit it. Can’t last a day without needing to get bonded and scented.”
“Can to,” Jim told him, angrily.
“Right. Let me take up this oh-so-easy challenge. I’ll bet you a hundred bucks you can’t go twenty-four hours without bugging your Guides,” Steven told them, biting into his cookie.
“A hundred bucks? That could buy me that suit I’ve been eyeing in GQ.” Rafe replied, seriously thinking about it.
“Rafe, you’re in seventh grade. What the hell do you want with a suit?”
“I gotta look good for my Guide.”
Steven shook his head. “Like Lee’s gonna care. You could go around in your underwear all freaking day long, with your hair sticking straight up and no bath for a week and Lee would still think you’re the greatest thing since they invented banana splits.”
Steven watched Rafe get a goofy look on his face. “You think so?”
“Yeah, he’s all goo-goo eyed over you.” Steven stuffed the rest his cookie in his mouth. “Go figure.”
Rafe shook his head. “No. No can do. I want to make my Guide proud of me and that means looking good at all times.”
Steven smiled at him. “Willing then to take up my challenge?”
Rafe’s brown eyes held a sad glint. “Don’t have that kind of money. I really need to get me a job. I can’t even afford to take my Guide to the movies or get him a Wonder Burger.”
“You could always ask Simon or Dad if they know of any jobs for a newly online Sentinel,” Jim suggested. “I could use an extra cash flow as well. The holidays are coming up and like a zillion birthdays I’ve got to buy presents for.”
“Yeah, me, too.”
Jim nodded resolutely. “Okay, then-tomorrow we go looking for a job. Wanna go with us, Steven?”
Steven shook his head. “Hell, no. I got me a job.”
Jim narrowed his eyes at him. “That doesn’t pay anything yet, you twit. How are you going to buy presents with no money? I don’t think the stores take air as currency.”
Steven thought about it. “That’s true. I do have my allowance, but my Christmas and birthday list has doubled. All right I go with you and don’t call me twit. Hey, we should make Dad a birthday party this year. He’s going to be thirty-six after all. He’s got something to celebrate this year him, having a boyfriend and all.”
“How the heck did that happen anyway?” Jim asked, in confusion. One minute his Dad had been alone and the next he had a boyfriend.
Steven shrugged. “Don’t know. As far as I could tell all it took was Daniel kissing him.”
Jim frowned. “I’m not sure I like the sound of that.”
“Oh, please-it’s not as if he goes around letting all the guys that look at him funny, kiss him. He’s not that easy.”
Jim gasped. “You’re talking about our Dad.”
Steven smiled. “Yeah, I think it’s so cool.”
Jim returned the smile. “Yeah, it is. Dad’s got a boyfriend. One that really, really likes him. It really is cool.”
“Did you see the look on his face when Daniel gave him the ring?” Steven asked him, smiling. “I thought Dad was gonna pass out. It was as if no one’s ever given him a ring before.”
Jim thought about it. “I don’t think anyone has. Daniel’s the first. Hey?”
“What?” Steven asked, mouth full of another cookie.
“Did you warn Daniel about not hurting Dad?”
“Yup. If he does, I get him first then you can have what’s left. We’ll bury the body in the backyard. Nobody will ever find him back there.”
“Okay. Hey, gimme a cookie and don’t eat them all.”
Rafe looked up from his magazine. “You guys do know you’re talking about committing homicide, right?”
Steven gave Jim a cookie. “And? Wanna cookie?”
“Yeah, thanks. I just thought I’d remind you. If Daniel does hurt your Dad, the best place to bury the body would be over by the back shed. That way the smell won’t come into the house.”
Steven gave him a cookie. “That’s an idea.”
HOLIDAY’S AND SUCH
A week before Halloween and all was well in his world, William thought to himself. His boys were all doing well and were very healthy. Their grades in school were good and they were caught up from when Jim had been sick and in the hospital.
Now they were at the Autumn Carnival at school. The house was so quiet, eerily quiet with all his boys gone.
“So, alone at last,” he told Daniel, who was currently nibbling on his neck. Having been pinned by the Shaman against the front door the minute William had let him in.
William gasped as a hand came down and cupped him through his pants, gentle stroking him. “Oh.”
“I want you,” Daniel whispered, licking the sensitive skin of his neck.
William moaned when that same hand nimbly opened his zipper. No one had touched him this way in so long. He’d almost forgotten what the touch felt like.
He pulled Daniel closer, seeking his mouth hungrily. He’d been starving for this kind of attention. This kind of heat, this kind of passion for so very long. It felt so good.
“Shh, it’s alright. I’ve got you. Let yourself go. I’ll catch you. I’ll always catch you. Let go, Will. It’s just you and me. Let go.”
William began panting as he struggled to get himself under control, desperate to let go. Unsure which he wanted more. “I…” The hand began a rhythm he couldn’t fight against. He bit Daniel’s shoulder trying to get his shattered breath back, when it was all over.
“Did you like it?” Daniel asked softly, nibbling on his face.
“Yes. Oh, yes.”
Daniel smiled at him. “Want to do it again?”
William smiled at him shakily. “I…yes. I do believe, I would like that very much.”
Daniel took his hand tugging him toward the stair. “Let’s go.”
“Didn’t you have that same costume last year?” Rafe asked Jim.
Rafe frowned at him. “Shows that you don’t have much of an imagination.”
“Yes, I do. I want to be a cop. Right now it’s a costume, later it’ll be for real.”
“Well, I wanna be a cop too, but you don’t see me dressing like that.”
Jim snickered. “No, I see you dressed as Darth Vader.”
“Got a problem with that, Obi Wan?” Rafe wheezed, dramatically.
“No problem. You just don’t sound like Darth Vader,” Jim chuckled.
“I.” wheeze. “Am.” Wheeze. “Trying.” Wheeze. “My best.” Wheeze.
“Quit trying, you’ll never make a good Darth Vader,” Steven replied, pushing Rafe out of the way. “Move it, Wheezie. Better do something about that bad asthma problem before you keel over and die. What would your poor Guide do?” Steven asked, dressed as Batman. Carrying Blair, the cutest Robin the world had ever seen.
“Oh, probably find me another Sentinel in the yellow pages,” Lee replied, dressed as a cowboy, right down to the shiny boots.
Rafe took off his mask. “You would?”
Lee nodded. “Yup, after the proper fifteen minute grieving period.”
Rafe looked down at the ground, before looking up at his Guide. “You’re kidding, right?”
“You’re not kidding?”
Carl dressed as a Sumo wrestler and H as a pirate looked on. Actually all of them looked on, waiting for the explosion of tears the newly online Sentinel was so very prone to.
It didn’t happen. Rafe went to his Guide carefully gathering him in his arms. “You’re going to bond me after this, right?” he asked, nuzzling his nose gently with his.
“Yup,” Lee replied, nuzzling his Sentinel right back.
Rafe gave him a brilliant smile. “Cool. Let’s go get us some candy.”
Three hours later saw them sitting in front of the TV watching a British show Lee had gotten them hooked on.
“So, what’d you say his name was?”
Carl glared at Steven. “I know that you, twit. His real name.”
“From what I understand it’s unpronounceable to us mere humans,” Steven, replied, opening another Tootsie roll.
They’d made a killing in candy again this year. Steven still thought it was cause Blair was the cutest kid on the planet. Everyone always wanted to pinch his cheeks and give him things. It didn’t bother Steven any, it’s gotten them lots of candy too, just by being around him.
Dad had checked it as usual before going into the kitchen with Daniel for coffee and some leftover chocolate cake from dinner.
Steven smiled to himself. He’d never seen his Dad happier. He smiled a lot more and the sad look in his eyes was gone. Dad was truly happy, for the first time since Steven could remember.
“I’m going to get some soda and make popcorn. Does anyone want anything?” Jim asked, getting to his feet.
Everyone gave him their order and Jim left taking H with him to help. While they started watching the second episode of the new season called The End of the World.
When Jim came back his eyes widened in surprise. Blair was sitting in Rafe’s lap crying hysterically. “What happened?”
“We were watching Dr. Who and the Doctor was all upset. We kept watching and then the Doctor told Rose that he was the last Time Lord. There were no more and that even his planet had been destroyed,” Rafe, replied, pulling Blair higher in his arms.
The little Guide turned Jim, bottom lip quivering uncontrollably. “He all alone. No one to take care him.”
“But Blair, he’s got Rose.” Jim told him, softly.
Blair wiped the tears coursing down his face with the back of his hand. “Not same. He just meet Rose. Doctor all alone and berry, berry sad. He…” A wet sniff. “Cry…” Another wet sniff. “and every ‘ting.” The tears started coming faster.
Jim turned to Steven. “Do something.”
Steven looked at him in surprise. “Me? What the hell do you expect me to do?”
“You’re the Protector. Protect.”
“But, Blair it’s just a show. It’s not real.” H told him, softly. It didn’t help as Blair started crying louder.
Jim ran a trembling hand through his hair. “Oh, God. What are we going to do? He’s crying. Blair’s crying.”
“Shh, I know. Don’t panic. Blair, little brother. I know what to do. What if we write a letter and invite him to stay with us?” Jim, Rafe, H, Carl and even Michael turned to look at him as if he’d lost his last remaining marble. Steven looked back. “WHAT? You wanted me to do something. I’m doing it.”
“What’s the matter with you? Where the hell are we going to put him?” Jim hissed.
Carl raised a finger. “Hum, guys?”
“We’ll put him on the outside of Daryl. He’s hardly ever here any way cause of his new girlfriend. Only comes home to sleep and change his clothes.”
Jim nibbled on his bottom lip as he thought about it. “That would work. And the Tardis?”
“Backyard, other side of the pool. Right next to where we’re going to put Daniel if he hurts Dad.”
During this time Blair had quit crying and was quietly watching Jim and Steven, big blue eyes hopeful.
“WHAT?” Steven and Jim yelled back.
“It’s a TV show. Not Real.”
Blair buried his curly head against Rafe’s chest and began sobbing again.
“God-damn it, Carl. I’m going to fucking kill you, slowly,” Steven hissed, angrily. Blair was crying again and Jim was about to start pulling his hair out.
“Well, it is?” Carl said, defensively.
“If you’re not going to help, shut the fuck up. Blair, baby brother-wanna write a letter to The Doctor? We can ask him to come here and stay with us? We’ll take care of him and love him. And then he won’t be alone,” Steven said, softly, rubbing Blair’s tiny back soothingly. After giving Carl another heat-melting glare. “We don’t care what Carl thinks.”
“Really?” Blair asked softly, blue eyes, red-rimmed and still full of tears ready to fall. The saddest sight any of them had ever seen. They all turned to look at Carl accusingly.
“Sorry,” Carl said, remorsefully.
“You should be. Go find some paper and a pen,” Steven told him. Turning to Blair he carefully wiped the tears from his little face with his thumbs. “We’ll, try and make it better, little brother. I promise.”
Blair smiled at him, offering his arms. Steven picked him up and cuddled him close. “I luv you, Stevie.”
Steven patted his back, affectionately. “I love you too, little brother.” He looked over to meet Jim’s eyes.
“Thank you, Steven,” he was told, gratefully.
“No problem. Here’s Carl with the paper and pen. Let’s write the letter so we can mail it tonight. What do you say?” Steven asked Blair, who nodded happily.
Letter mailed and on its way they were now in their room getting ready for bed. “Stevie?” Jim called softly from his bed cuddling his sleeping Guide close.
“Thank you, again. I hate it when Blair cries. I froze. I didn’t know what to do.”
“No problem. Just doing my job.”
Silence for a little while. “Stevie?”
“Can I ask you something? You’re not too tired?”
Steven punched his pillow into a more comfortable shape. “No. Ask?”
“Know how you and Michael are the Protectors and all?”
“What about it?”
“Well, I was kinda wondering, is there a bonding ritual for Sentinel/Guides pairings and the Protectors that take care of them?”
Steven thought about it for a while. “Yeah, there is,” he finally answered.
“Is it as binding as the one for Sentinel and Guides?”
“Yeah, just as unbreakable, too.”
Jim pulled Blair closer. Checking on him with his senses to make sure everything was okay. “Why haven’t we done it?”
“What do you mean?”
Steven pulled his covers up higher. “It’s not time. It’ll be soon though.”
“How can you tell?”
“I just can.”
Jim made himself more comfortable on the bed. “Oh, okay. Stevie?”
“ ‘night, Watchman.”
Thanksgiving was an experience William would treasure always. His house rang with the laughter of his children and friends. Even Naomi and Jacob had been allowed to take part. Currently sitting on the loveseat listening as Blair read to them.
Jim closely watching as was Steven and Michael, but Blair’s family had been allowed back in. Which was a start.
Michael and his father were sitting on the couch watching the football game with Steven sitting at Michael’s feet. Malcolm Bean had given the boys jobs in his barber shop. Jim cashiered, while Steven and Rafe sweep and mopped the floors.
William had never seen the barber shop look so good. It shone, it was so clean. Lee and Blair had jobs as well, theirs was to look cute and draw in the customers. Which William had to admit, they did really well. According to Malcolm, business was booming. He was so proud of his sons, all of them.
Mattie was here as well, helping Sally in the kitchen. Taggart along with his wife Gladys. Rafe’s mother Sarina and father Manny and Rafe’s two brothers Sammy and Julian were here too. Rafe was sitting on the living room floor playing with them. Simon’s and Daryl’s girlfriends Jennifer and Michele had joined them as well.
The only ones that didn’t make it this holiday were Sally’s children much to her disappointment. But William was hoping they’d be able to make it for Christmas.
He turned to smile at Daniel who was quietly watching, a beer in his left hand. “You’ve got a great turn out, Will.”
“Yes, I have. I’m so blessed to have such a great family and group of friends,” William said, fighting back the tears.
Daniel went to stand close to him. “You sure are. And I thank you with all my heart for letting me be a part of this. I love you, William Ellison.”
William blinked in surprise. “Well, I do believe that’s the first time you’ve said that.”
Daniel gave him a small smile. “It is the first time I’ve voiced it, but I hope that I’ve shown you in a million different ways.”
William touched the ring on his left hand. “You have. I love you, too, Daniel Peterson.” Sally came in carrying a huge turkey. William looked out over his family and friends. Raising his voice slightly. “The turkey’s here. Let’s eat.” Laughing softly when Michael and Steven fought to get to the table the fastest.
Christmas was fast approaching. The outside of the house lit by so many lights William would swear it could be seen from outer space. He was enjoying himself immensely as he watched his boys, throwing themselves into the holidays with such abandoned joy.
William sat on the couch drinking hot chocolate as he watched them decorating the huge tree they’d chosen. Daniel sitting close to his side. Close enough to be felt, but not so close as to be inappropriate with a house full of children.
He smiled when he saw Jim and Rafe staring intently at one of the Christmas ornaments. A colorful crystal ball.
“See, look there. You can see all the way to the molecules,” Jim told Rafe, pointing.
“Yeah, you can. That’s so cool. How far do you think we can see in?”
Steven walked into the room the tip of a candy cane hanging haphazardly in his mouth, going over to where they were standing grabbing the ornament out of their hands. “Sissies. Gimme that, before you zone yourselves into the next century,” he said, taking the candy cane out of his mouth. Not even hesitating he kept walking through the living room and up the stairs. Candy cane back in his mouth.
William bit back a chuckle at the stunned look on Jim and Rafe’s faces as they followed Steven’s progress.
“Steven’s something else isn’t he?” Daniel said, taking a sip of his own cocoa.
“That he is. One of a kind. One of a kind.”
Christmas Day dawned bright and early at the Ellison household. The happy gleeful yells of his children waking him from a sound sleep.
He came down the stairs followed by Simon who’d been woken the same way. To find a blizzard of wrapping paper flying all over the living room
“We’re going to be digging out for months,” Simon told him, putting on his glasses to better see the children’s excitement.
William chuckled as he made his way down the stairs. “Yes.” Sitting on the couch to watch.
Steven frowned looking at everything Blair had as then back at his take. “Hey, how come Blair has more stuff?”
Jim looked at him. “Because Blair’s three and he’s suppose to get more stuff.” He replied, going back to helping his little Guide open his presents.
“Does that mean when he’s say-fifteen, he won’t be getting as many presents?”
Jim didn’t even look up. “He’ll be getting just as many or more. I’m saying more, for the simple fact, he’s Blair.”
“Oh. That makes sense. I guess.” Steven looked over at his father. “Hey, Dad-did we wake you?”
William smiled at him. “Yes, but that’s alright I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. Did everyone get what the wanted?” Every youngster in the room nodded their heads happily. “I’m glad.”
“Dad, do you want your presents now? Simon?” Jim asked, holding up a pile of colorfully, if crookedly wrapped presents.
“Yes, I believe I’d like that very much.” William turned to the Doctor. “Simon?”
Simon nodded. “Oh, yeah. I love presents.”
Steven went to sit next to William to watch his Dad open his gifts. Actually all the boys stopped doing what they were doing to watch. Waiting for the special surprise planned just for Lee.
“Whose present should I open first?”
Lee held up his hand shyly. “Mine, please.”
William smiled at him. “Okay. Oh, Lee this is beautiful. How did you know I needed another scarf?” Holding it up for everyone to see.
Lee blushed. “I saw that yours was starting to unravel and I thought you might like a new one.”
“Dragged us through ten stores to find just the right one,” Steven told his Dad. “I thought we’d be hunting for scarves till next Christmas.”
William wrapped it around his neck. “Well, I think it’s perfect. Thank you, Lee.”
Lee gave him a brilliant smile. “You’re welcome, Dad.” Suddenly all color left the young Guide’s face when he realized what he’d just said. “Oh, God. I think I’m going to be sick.”
“No, don’t get sick. Come here, Lee.” William said, softly. Steven moved over to give the Guide room. “I’ve got something extra special for you. Well, I hope you’ll think it’s special anyway.”
Lee looked up at him. “Really?”
“Yes,” William reached into the oversized pocket of his terry cloth robe, pulling out an envelope.
Lee looked at it. “What is it?”
William tucked Lee’s hair behind his ears. “You are now officially my son.”
Steven sat on the coffee table so he could talk to his friend. “Dad’s been working on this for awhile, now. You’re my brother and Blair’s and even dweebie Jim’s. Why you would want him as your brother is beyond me. I’ve been trying to give him away for years, but no one wants to take him,” he said, sadly.
“Hey,” Jim protested from his spot on the floor.
Steven ignored him. “Your Mom’s not coming out of rehab any time soon. Since she’s got other problems besides the drinking one. Kincaid was never officially your step-dad. Your Mom wanted what was best for you and what is best for you is to be an Ellison.”
Lee touched the envelope as if held the most precious thing imaginable inside it. “I’m an Ellison?” It was something he’d wanted with his whole heart, but had been to afraid to ask in case he got told no.
William nodded. “You’re an Ellison now. Lee Brackett Ellison to be exact.” William was treated to one on the most brilliant smiles he’s ever seen in his life.
Lee’s blue eyes became hazy with tears. “I can call you Dad whenever I want? I’ve never had a real Dad before.”
William pulled the trembling young Guide into his arms. “I’d be honored if you called me Dad.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as William hugged his newest son as Lee cried on his official Dad’s shoulder.
After a long moment Steven gently touched Lee. “So how does it feel to be an Ellison?”
Lee turned, but not so that he was that far from his Father. “It feels great,” he said, wiping the tears with the back of his hands.
Suddenly they all rushed toward Lee. “Let’s see,” Rafe said, holding out his hands for the envelope.
Lee looked up at William, eyes shimmering with tears. “Thank you, Dad. This is the best Christmas ever.”
William cupped Lee’s face gently, kissing his forehead. “You’re very welcome, Son.”
After a huge breakfast everyone scattered to play with their gifts or helping clean up before company arrived. William sat at the dining room table enjoying another cup of coffee, looking at the wrecked living room in amusement. When Lee came up to him.
William looked up. “Yes, Son?”
Lee blushed a bright pink. “I…I …just w…want to …say that Iloveyou,” saying that he gave William a quick kiss to the cheek before taking off for parts unknown. Not giving the stunned William a chance to respond.
“Oh,” He replied, quietly, after a moment. Looking toward the general direction Lee had disappeared to.
Daniel came in caring a coffee cup and a donut. “Gotcha’ didn’t he?” he asked, chuckling softly.
“He certainly did.”
Daniel sat next to William. “That was a nice thing you did for Lee.”
“Lee is as much my son as Blair is. They may not be my blood, but I love them as if they were.”
Daniel patted William’s hand. “You’ve got a very caring heart, Will.”
William met Daniel’s eyes, his own filling with tears. “My sons complete my life, Daniel. They are my heart and soul. All of them.”
Daniel pulled him into his arms. “I know.”
ANOTHER YEAR OLDER
Blair’s fourth birthday came and went with a great deal of fanfare. Not that you could tell by looking at him. Blair took all the attention leveled at him with his usual grace and bemused look in his big blue eyes.
It had been a great party, with family and friend all gathered around. Even Naomi and Jacob had been allowed to attend. Both Rafe and Jim watched them like hawks as did Steven and Michael.
The suspicion it seemed would never quite leave, but at least they were allowed to be a part of Blair’s life. Jacob had approached Jim once again with a request to be allowed to teach Blair about his heritage. The young Sentinel had listened quietly, but had not given a yay or nay. And probably wouldn’t for sometime to come.
Everything had gone smoothly for awhile now. Jim had turned thirteen with out a hitch as well. Steven had complained at his own birthday that everything had been going to smoothly. Turning twelve wasn’t suppose to be so boring.
William came down the stairs as he contemplated his life and how happy he was. He hadn’t been this happy since Grace had been alive. He’d missed her and probably would for the rest of his life. Now for the first time since Grace had died he was happy. Truly happy.
Stopping near the kitchen door, he tilted his head to the side as he listened to the voices of his sons coming from the kitchen.
“I really don’t think it’s suppose to be so crooked,” Steven whispered.
“It’s not that crooked,” Jim whispered back. “What do you think Blair?”
“It berry crooked.”
“Maybe we could add some more frosting to make it a little straighter,” Lee whispered.
“I don’t think anything is going to help this cake,” Rafe said, loudly. “I think its dead. I wish Sally hadn’t gone on vacation with her daughter right now, we could really use her help.”
“Shh, Dad’ll hear you,” Steven hissed at him.
“Sorry. What about Mattie? Maybe we could get her to help with the cake,” Rafe said, a little quieter.
“What are you doing?” Daniel asked as he came up to where William was listening.
William gathered the Shaman close. “Shh, my sons are making me a birthday cake and there seems to be some sort of problem with it.”
“Mattie’s visiting her sister in
“No. All we need is for Dad to swallow a toothpick on his birthday and spend the rest of in the emergency room,” Steven replied.
“I don’t think it came out that bad,” Jim said.
“It’s leaning real bad, do you need glasses, Watchman? We need help to fix it. RAFE.”
“Yikes. No need to yell, I’m right here and a Sentinel. I think you just deafed me.”
“Sorry,” Steven replied, not in the least bit sorry. “Do you think your Mom could help us with this sorry excuse of a cake?”
William was chuckling softly against Daniel’s shoulders as he listened. The Shaman taking advantage of the situation by gently stroking William’s hair. “Enjoying you birthday?”
“Yes, breakfast in bed. Cornflakes with bananas, toast, juice and coffee. With all my sons joining me. You should have seen, my bed was covered in cornflake. Blair fed me and managed to wear more than half of it.” William’s eyes were twinkling merrily. “Then lunch at Wonder Burger paid for by my sons. Followed by a trip to the zoo, also paid for by my sons. Where Blair somehow managed to explode the cotton candy bags in the snack bar again. Only this time he managed to get it all over everyone.” By this time William was quietly giggling. “We all came home covered in pink and blue cotton candy. This has been the best birthday I’ve ever had in my life. Now my sons are in the kitchen trying to make me a cake. Could this day get any better?”
“Did you hear something?” Steven asked.
“Dad, talking with Daniel?” Jim replied. “we should just leave the cake the way it is. Dad’ll like it, ‘cause we make it for him.”
Quiet for a little bit as they thought about it. Finally… “Your right. Dad’ll love us no matter what,” Steven said, softly. Bring tears to William’s eyes.
“And I will too,” William whispered back.
“Okay,” Rafe replied. “Do we have everything we need for making his birthday dinner of meatloaf, mash potatoes and corn. And how the heck do you make meatloaf?”
William slid to the floor, carrying Daniel with him, both chuckling softly.
“I think everything went really well, don’t you?” Steven asked Jim as he wiped the counter.
“Not to bad. Considering we didn’t know what the heck we were doing.”
Steven smiled at Jim. “Told you Dad would love us even if the cake was way crooked.”
“Way crooked? It slide off it’s platter onto the table.”
“Yeah, but Dad ate it anyway. Even if he was laughing so hard he could barely eat.” Suddenly Steven went still.
Jim looked at him worriedly. “Steven. Stevie. What is it?”
Steven blinked his eyes. “It’s time.”
“Time. Time for what?”
“Are Simon and Daryl out of the house?”
“Yeah, right after dinner they went to meet their girlfriends. Stevie, what is it? You’re starting to scare me.”
“Dad and Daniel?”
“They went walking. They should be back soon. Stevie, please-tell me what’s wrong?”
Steven turned to look at his brother. “It’s time for the Sentinel/Guide pairings to bond to the Protectors.”
Jim’s eyes widened in surprise. “Are you sure?”
“The others are in the living room. Let’s go.”
Jim went hurriedly into the living room. Making sure everyone was there. Michael took one look at the young Sentinel’s face. “Jim, what’s the matter? Do you need me to call Simon?”
Jim shook his head. “No. Steven says it’s time for the Sentinel/Guides to bond to their Protectors.”
Michael paled. “Are you sure?”
Steven frowned. “Yes. What’s the matter?”
“Am I a Protector? Truly?” Michael asked, paling even further.
“This is a hell of a time to get cold feet?”
“I’m not getting cold feet. I’m questioning my place with you guys. All of you have known each other forever. Do I even belong here?” Michael asked, blue/green eyes darkening to midnight blue in worry.
“You don’t want to marry me any more?” Steven asked, hurt beyond belief by Michael’s words. “Do you want your ring back?”
Michael rose to his feet, tossing the magazine he’s been reading on the coffee table. Going to where Steven stood. “I’ve never wanted anything more in my life than to marry you. I love you, Stevie.”
Steven met his eyes. “Then what’s the problem?”
“My place in this house. Do I even belong here? Am a true Protector?” Michael whispered, finally voicing something that had been bothering him for some time.
Steven moved closer to Michael, placing his head on his muscled chest. Sighing when strong arms came around him. “Have you ever heard of Karma?”
“Yes. Why?” Michael asked, placing his face on top of Steven’s soft hair. Afraid it was going to be the last time he was going to be able to do it.
“You were destined to be with us, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You are a Protector.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Anyone that is to be a part of the bonding will be in this room when it takes place. You would not be here if you weren’t meant to be a part of it. See?” Steven motioned toward the lights, appearing out of thin air. “Fate.”
“Oh. It’s beautiful,” Michael, said in awe.
“Stevie what are we suppose to do?” Jim asked, gathering Blair into his arms quickly.
“Sentinels go to your Guides and wait.”
“Wait. Wait for what?” Rafe asked, pulling Lee into his arms.
“Not everyone who is to be a part of this is here. Ouch. Michael, not so tight. I’m flesh and blood, musclehead.” Steven glared at the body builder when Michael tightened his arms around him.
“Sorry. Who are we waiting for?”
Just then the door opened and William walked in. “Hi, guys. Oh!”
Steven gave him a brilliant smile. “Hey, Dad. We’ve been waiting for you.”
William looked at the swirling colors of lights in astonishment. “You have?” Not really surprised by the lights, nothing to do with his boys surprised him any more. Awed perhaps, but not surprised.
“Yup,” Steven replied, softly.
“Well, this is odd?” he said, running his hands through the lights as they coiled around him. They seemed to really like him.
“Pretty, huh?” Steven asked, softly.
“Very.” It truly was beautiful. “What does this mean?” William asked as he gathered some of the lights in his hands, allowing it to slip through his fingers.
“It means that your special, Dad. We already knew that ‘cause your Dad. But you’re more special than we thought. Go inward. You’ll find all the answers you need.”
William looked over at his sons. No sign of fear in any of their eyes and all of them smiling happily at him. As if they’d just received the best gift of their lives.
William closed his eyes. Steven was right, all the answers were there. He took a deep, steadying breath before he opened his eyes.
He stretched out his left hand, allowing the lights to reach toward his sons, knowing deep in his soul they wouldn’t be harmed. Blair giggled happily as they twirled around him, caressing him gently before moving to Jim. From Jim, they went to Lee, then to Rafe, finally reaching toward Steven and Michael.
“This is our destiny. It’s been our destiny since before we were born. If you weren’t meant to be a part of it. You wouldn’t be here now. It was fated,” Steven told Michael, running his hands through the lights.
“Your Dad?” Michael asked, softly.
Steven looked over at his Father. “Is a part of this. As he has been from the very beginning.”