Title: Football, Holidays and Birthdays 4-Part One
Fandom: The Sentinel
Pairing: Jim/Blair, Steven/Michael, Rafe/Lee, William/Daniel (preslash)
Summary: Confrontations, bondings and more changes.
Beta: By my sister Anna. All remaining errors are mine with apologies.
Football, Holidays and Birthdays 4-Part One
Steven turned to looked at Michael. The bodybuilder was watching quietly, a frown on his face.
“Protect Rafe. He’s at his most vulnerable right now and could easily be hurt,” Steven told him softly. “Don’t let anything or anyone near them until you see Rafe pull away from Lee. It’s important, Michael.”
The bodybuilder nodded. “Alright.”
“I don’t know how we’re going to keep the yelling from hurting Rafe,” Steven said, biting his lips anxiously.
“The white noise generators,” Jim told him from the door, hugging Blair close. “You know the ones that Simon got to keeping me from going bonkers when Starsky and Hutch are on their wheels all night.”
“That’ll work,” Steven replied, running out of the bedroom. He came back quickly carrying three of them. “Where do we set them up?” he asked Jim.
“On either side of the door and the third one on your nightstand. That should give them enough protection.”
Steven looked at Rafe and Lee. Rafe still had his head buried against Lee’s neck. Sniffing away happily, hands buried in Lee’s light brown hair, angling the Guide’s head slightly for better access.
Lee’s blue eyes were closed tightly. Arms wrapped around Rafe holding him close. It kinda sounded like Lee was humming a little.
“Is that good enough?” Steven asked, joining Jim and Blair by the door.
“Yeah. It’s good. It won’t be much longer. The blocks look like they’re almost aligned. We could skip the whole confrontational thing. I don’t want to hurt Rafe.”
Steven shook his head. “No. Rafe will be okay. Michael will see to it. We need to deal with this now. We can’t have Naomi hanging over our heads like a dark cloud for the rest of our lives.”
“I don’t wanna run any more,” Jim told Steven, blue eyes pleading for understanding.
“I know you don’t. We’ll deal with this once and for all. Did Jacob bring anyone else we need to be aware of?”
Jim tilted his head to the side. “Daniel Peterson? The Shaman guy.”
“Damn. Sorry, Blair,” Steven replied, noticing that the little Guide’s blue eyes were wide in fear. “Baby brother, do you wanna stay here with Michael, Rafe and Lee? You don’t have to go with us and you might be able to help Rafe if he runs into trouble.”
Blair looked at his Sentinel. “Whatever you wanna do is okay with me, Baby. I just want you safe,” Jim narrowed his eyes. “Rafe’s almost online. He might need your help. What do you wanna do?”
Blair bit his tiny lip as he solemnly contemplated both his Sentinel and Rafe. “I stay. Help, Rafe.”
Jim nodded, carefully placing his little Guide on the floor. He cupped Blair’s pale face. “Listen to me, Baby. Nothing will ever separate us. Not even your Mommy. I’m still hoping that she’ll understand, but if not we’ll still be together no matter what.”
Blair nodded. “Yup. I knows.”
Jim took the little Guide into his arms hugging him close, before releasing him. “Take good care of Lee and Rafe for me until we get back.”
Blair nodded again. “I do.”
The last look Jim had of his Guide was of Blair climbing into Michael’s lap.
“Jacob what have you done?” William asked as he looked over at Naomi and Daniel Peterson. The Shaman, Naomi had brought with her so many month ago in an effort to steal his son.
Jacob a slender man in his early fifty, with Blair’s big blue eyes and curly hair. “I haven’t done anything, Will. Naomi has a right to see her son.”
“Naomi has no rights. She lost those when she tried to steal MY son. MINE. She lost all rights to Blair months ago.
“She is still his mother.”
“No. I ask you politely to leave my house, all of you and not come back.”
Jacob held out a hand. “Please, William, there has to be a way to work this out?”
“No. Take Naomi and Mr. Peterson with you when you leave. You are no longer welcome in my home. Leave.”
“Please, William lets talk about this reasonably,” Jacob urged.
William looked over at Blair’s mother, who was contemplating the floor. “Why? So that while we talk you try and steal my son out the back door. I think not.”
“Will, please…” Jacob started.
Jim stood at the top of the stairs, Steven just behind him. Both looking down at the adults gathered in the living room.
Jacob had found Jim to be a respectful, quiet boy. Always polite, at times extremely so. This time as he stared up the stairs something seemed different. Jim’s blue eyes seemed cold, almost glacier.
It was then Jacob noticed something odd happening. The air around the young Sentinel seemed to blur and shift, when it solidified it left in its wake what Jim was destined to become and it left Jacob stunned speechless.
A man-tall, muscular with unfathomable cold eyes stood staring down at them. He oozed power, confidence and strength of character Jacob had never seen before, in anyone.
“You will not be allowed to take what is mine,” the Sentinel told them, softly.
“W…were not here to take Blair away from you, Jim,” Jacob stuttered.
“Then why are you here,” The Sentinel asked curiously, tilting his head to the side.
“I brought Naomi back from
Those cold eyes turned to the slight redhead staring up at him in fear. “I noticed,” Jim said, with a slight smile. “Why?”
“S…she’s better and would like very much to see her son.”
Jacob blanched at the finality in that tone. “B…but why?”
“She tried to take what is mine.”
Jacob moved up the stairs slowly, cautiously. “She wasn’t in her right mind. She’s better now and would very much like to be a part of Blair’s life as I would.”
Cold, blue eyes followed him as he climbed the stairs. Not in the least bit afraid. Standing above him was no twelve year old boy.
“And why should I allow that, after what she tried?”
“We love Blair.”
Jim left eyebrow went up. “And that is the reason she tried to steal him from me? That is the reason for your deceit?”
“There was no deceit,” Jacob replied, stopping two stairs below the Sentinel.
“And what would you call it? You have not been around Blair in at least a month. You come here bringing Naomi and Daniel Peterson with you. With no prior warning. I would consider it deceit on you part.”
“Y…you ran the last time.”
“I was young then. Not fully into my power. I won’t run again and you still will not see Blair, ever.”
Jacob looked at Steven, who stood just in back of Jim. A steadying hand on the small of the Sentinel back. He blinked as the air around Steven started shifting and blurring the same way it had for the young Sentinel.
In the place of the young boy stood a figure just as imposing as Jim. With hair a shade darker than Jim’s and the same cold, blue eyes. No mercy or sympathy in their cold regard. They would find no solace there.
“You will not be allowed to separate the Guide from his Sentinel,” Steven told Jacob, with total and complete finality.
Jacob ran a shaky hand through his hair. “I don’t want to separate the Guide from the Sentinel. I only want to be a part of his life as does Naomi.” This was something he had not expected, not in his wildest dreams.
Steven murmured something to the Sentinel, to soft for Jacob to hear. Jim nodded. His eyes never leaving Jacob’s face. Studying him closely for many minutes before turning those same cold eyes toward Naomi and finally Daniel Peterson.
“It will be allowed. You are his Grandfather. As Naomi is his Mother. But know this, I am no longer a helpless child at the whim of adults. Try and take him and there won’t be any place safe on this or any other planet for you to hide. And then I will loosen the Protectors, to finish the job. Do we understand each other?”
Jacob had been threatened before, but never with such deadly intent. “Y…yes.”
Those cold eyes turned toward Naomi. “Do we understand each other, Naomi?”
Naomi shivered at the glacier regard of those eyes. “Y…yes.” All she wanted was a chance to prove she’d changed. She wasn’t the same person. She’d gotten better thanks to Daniel and her father now she just had to prove it to Jim and her son. And she fervently hoped it wasn’t too late.
Eyes turned toward Daniel Peterson. “Daniel Peterson. Do we understand each other?”
Daniel looked up meet Jim’s regard steadily. “Understood, Sentinel.”
“Go. We will contact you when you will be allowed your first meeting with Blair.”
“Sentinel, I need to talk to you about teaching Blair the ways of the Shaman,” Daniel said.
“Later. The time is not right. Go.”
As soon as the door closed Steven let out a whoop, dancing around the upper landing happily. “That was so fucking cool,” He said, very much the eleven year old child again.
Jim turned toward him with a tiny smile. “Yeah, huh?” he said, before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he slid to the floor.
The bodybuilder held the tiny Guide close as they watched Rafe nuzzle Lee’s neck.
“So do you think they’re almost done?” he asked Blair.
Blair nodded. “Yup.”
A few minutes later Rafe pulled away from his Guide slowly, reluctantly. “Well, that was intense.”
Lee caressed the side of his Sentinel’s face. “Feel better?’
Rafe moved into the touch, brown eyes closing slightly in pleasure. “Hmm, yes.” Suddenly those brown eyes filled with tear.
“What? What is it?” Lee asked, in alarm.
“You told me I’m cute, but you didn’t say anything about me being dumb.” Rafe’s lower lip started trembling. “You think I’m going to be the dumbest Sentinel on the planet, don’t you,” He started crying in heart-wrenching sobs.
“No. No. I don’t,” Lee said hurriedly. “I don’t think that at all.”
“Yes. You do. I’m too stupid to be your Sentinel. First chance you get you’re going to trade me in for the first nerdy Sentinel you can get you hands on,” Rafe replied, wiping at the tears with the back of his hand.
“No. I’m not.”
“Yes you are.” Rafe continued to cry. Throwing himself on the floor, he curled into a tiny, miserable ball.
Lee turned toward Blair and Michael, the oddest look on his face. “I swear, I’m not.”
“It’s not you. It’s all those now online Sentinelie senses. It’s going to get worse. He’s going to be a royal crybaby,” Michael told him, with a tiny smile.
Lee looked at Blair who nodded his curly head vigorously. “Lots badder. Rafe be BIG, BIG crybaby.”
The new Guide sighed heavily as he contemplated his miserable Sentinel. Shaking his head, he curled himself around Rafe.
“Shh, don’t cry. I’m not going to replace you with a nerd. I’m happy with my cute, but rather dweebie Sentinel. Don’t cry anymore, please. You’re going to get me crying and we’ll drown Michael and Blair. Don’t cry. I like you. You’re my Sentinel. I’m not going to trade you. Not ever.”
Rafe sniffed. “Really?”
“Really,” Lee told his Sentinel, kissing the top of his head.
“You don’t think I’ll make the dumbest Sentinel on the planet?”
“No I don’t. I think you’ll make a mighty, fine Sentinel,” Lee replied, trying to uncurl his Sentinel from the tight ball he was in before he froze that way and they’d have to use a hair dryer to defrost him.
Rafe let his Guide uncurl. “Really?” Sniff. He laid his head trustingly against Lee’s shoulders. “I’m okay?”
“You’re okay,” Lee told him, reaching into the back pocket of his jeans. Pulling out a Kleenex, he gently wiped his Sentinel’s eyes
Rafe sighed deeply. “This is nice,” He said, wrapping arms around Lee happily.
“Yes it is,” Lee replied, gently rocking his no longer miserable Sentinel.
“I’m a dweeb?” Rafe asked, looking up at his Guide, eyes threatening to fill with tears-again.
“Yes, but you’re not a Sentinelie type of dweeb. You’re just a regular kind of dweeb.”
“Oh.” Rafe thought about it a moment. “Regular type of dweeb is okay, I guess.”
Lee rolled his eyes. “Dork. Lay your head back down.”
Lee kept rocking Rafe until he almost had his Sentinel asleep when suddenly…
They all quickly rushed out of the bedroom to find Steven gently cradling Jim in his arms.
“What happened?” Michael asked, rushing over to help Steven with Jim.
“He went into Super Sentinel mode. It was the coolest thing you every saw. And then once Jacob and group left, he keeled over.”
William and Simon joined them on the landing. “Is he alright?” Simon asked, kneeling by Steven and the unconscious Sentinel. “Do we need to get him back to the hospital?”
Blair tilted his head as he contemplated Jim. “Nope. I fix.”
The little Guide placed his left hand in the middle of his Sentinel’s chest and gently pressed in. Jim’s eyes snapped open so fast everyone jumped back slightly.
“Wow! What happened? What am I doing on the floor?” Jim frowned. “And why is everyone staring at me?”
“Do you remember what happened?” William asked, helping him into a sitting position.
“Hmm. I remember coming out of the bedroom. And then…” Jim’s eyes widened. “Oh.”
Steven smiled at him happily. “That’s putting it mildly. My brother the Super Sentinel.”
Jim smiled, shaking his head slightly. “Me? What about you?”
“I’d say.” Jim looked at his Dad and Simon. “I didn’t mean to freak everyone out.”
“You didn’t, son. It was an interesting experience,” William replied, smiling. “And Jacob, Naomi and Daniel Peterson wouldn’t dare try anything with Super Sentinel on duty.”
William’s chuckled. “I’m teasing, Son. You did just fine. Are you okay?”
Jim looked at his little Guide. “I need Blair for a little bit.”
“Okay. Once you’re feeling better, how about we all go out for dinner?” William looked at Rafe and Lee. “And we need to talk to your parents about the special needs of a Sentinel and his Guide.”
Jim pulled Blair into his arms holding him close as his little Guide began releasing scent. He moaned softly as it gently healed the raw nerves exposed by a new power. Not seeing Lee watching them intently.
“Dad, how are Michael and me suppose to take care of Rafe and Lee if they’re half a city away,” Steven asked, moving away slightly to give Jim and Blair room and privacy.
“We’ll work something out,” William replied, moving with Steven. Motioning for the others to follow. “After dinner we’ll talk to Rafe’s parents and Lee’s step-dad.”
“My parents know,” Rafe said, pulling Lee into his arms.
“What’d they say?” Steven asked, curiously. Seeing Lee go into his Sentinel’s arms, unresisting, but he’d never taken his eyes off Jim and Blair as the little Guide healed his Sentinel. A frown creased the new Guide’s forehead as Blair began releasing the bonding scent, causing Jim to keen softly as it always did.
Rafe hadn’t notice that Lee’s attention wasn’t really on him. “She cried. It was a happy sort of crying, I think. I’m not to sure what Dad thinks. I think he’s happy.” The new Sentinel finally noticed new Guide’s distraction. “Are you okay, Lee?”
Lee blinked looking away from Blair and Jim. He cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Yeah, I think so. I’m just trying to get some pointers on being a Guide. I didn’t mean to be snoopy.”
“You’re not being snoopy. But from what I’ve been able to tell being a Guide comes natural,” Jim said, pulling away from Blair slowly, reluctantly.
Lee blanched. “I…it does?”
“Yes. I think so. It does with Blair. Why?”
“I…don’t feel very much like a Guide,” Lee admitted softly. “I don’t think I can even scent like Blair can.”
“You can scent, Lee. It’s very faint. Kinda like strawberries and cream,” Rafe reassured pulling, Lee closer. “it’s really nice.”
“But what if I can’t get it stronger and help you the way Blair does Jim?” Lee looked at the little Guide sitting in Jim’s lap. “Blair, will you help me? I don’t want anything to happen to my Sentinel.”
“Aw! That’s sweet,” Rafe said, smiling broadly.” You really do care about me.”
Lee smiled at him shyly. “Yeah, I care, but you’re still a dweeb.”
Rafe’s smile broadened. “Yeah, huh?” he said, hugging his Guide happily.
Steven rolled his eyes. “Oh, brother. Stop with the mushy stuff and lets go eat.”
They all rose to their feet. “Will you help me, Blair?” Lee asked again, blue eyes hopeful.
Blair nodded his head vigorously. “I help. You be berry good Guide,” He answered as Jim carried him down the stairs.
“You think so?”
“Yuppers. I berry sure.”
The door closed softly in back of them.
TROUBLES AND AJUSTMENTS
Dinner was a pleasant affair as everyone ate and happily talked. William had called Sally from his cell phone and she met them at the restaurant.
William smiled as he looked over the table at his family and their friends. They had decided on Fisherman’s Wharf. A celebration of Jim, Blair and Steven getting out of the hospital and of Rafe going on line and having Lee as his Guide.
He hid a smile as Lee inspected Rafe’s food. He was acting so much like Blair. Rafe watched his Guide exam his food with an odd little smile on his face. He was truly enjoying the attention he was getting from Lee. Relishing it even.
“Do you all Guides act this way?” William asked Simon, who was reaching for a roll.
“Hmm?” Simon looked over to where William indicated, seeing Lee frowning at a small tomato, before he tossing it on the table. Apparently there was something wrong with it. “Yes, it’s normal.”
“Rafe’s enjoying the attention he’s getting from Lee,” William said, smiling as the new Guide hurriedly took a roll Rafe had just picked up, inspected it closely before giving it back. Rafe taking it with a goofy smile on his face.
Simon chuckled. “Yes, he is. Sentinels are an extremely emotional lot. Not to mention sensitive, overly so at times. They need, crave the attention of their Guides. Not really needing anyone else’s.”
“Is that why Jim seems to be aloof at times?”
“I’m thinking snotty, myself.” Steven said, reaching into his father’s salad plate snagging a tiny shrimp.
William smiled at him. “I suppose,” Handing him another shrimp. “that’s another word for it.”
“Yes. Their Guides meet all their emotion requirements and then some. Don’t even think about it young man,” Simon warned Steven off his shrimp with his fork.
Steven smiled at him sheepishly. “Sorry.”
“Hmm,” Simon replied, not in the least bit convinced. Giving Steven a shrimp anyway. Smiling at the grin he was given before Steven popped it in his mouth. “It a unique relationship and it becomes even more so as they get older.”
“Do you mean they’re going to be getting even mushier and snottier?” Steven asked in horror.
Simon chuckled at the look in Steven’s eyes. “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
Steven dropped his head on the table. “Kill me now.”
William rubbed his son’s back soothingly. “You’ll live through it, Son.”
Steven looked up. “But am I going to want to?” he replied as he watched the Rafe pull Lee in to his arms. Uncaring of who saw him and began humming happily and very, very loudly. “Am I really going to want to.” He said again, letting his head hit the table with a dull thud.
Sally had gone on home with Daryl as the rest of the clan went to Lee’s house first to talk to his Step dad about Lee becoming a Guide.
William had known that it wasn’t going to be pleasant. Garrett Kincaid was known to be brash, opinionate and ruthless when it came to getting what he wanted. But he hadn’t expected it to escalate out of control so quickly.
Kincaid had not take the news about Lee becoming a Guide at all well. Threatening to sue the Sentinel Guild and William. After which he’d gone to where Lee watched, blue eyes wide and frightened, slapping him. Sending Lee sailing across the room.
Kincaid stalked menacingly toward where Lee had landed, meaning to do more violence. He never made it as Michael quickly stepped in blocking him.
“You will not get another chance to hurt the Guide. That was the one and only time you will EVER hit Lee,” Michael told him, holding tightly to the arm raised to deal another blow to the trembling, young Guide. “You will not get another chance.”
Jim, Blair in his arms, Steven and Rafe quickly raced toward Lee. Helping him to his feet. Rafe carefully gathering Lee into his arms.
“Are you alright?”
Lee swallowed heavily. “I think so.”
Steven turned to look at Jim. “Check him. Make sure we don’t have to take him to the hospital.”
Jim nodded. “No broken bones. He’s going to have a hell of a shiner on that right eye, though.”
William turned toward Kincaid. “What the hell’s the matter with you?”
“No son of mine will ever be a Guide?”
“Then it’s a good thing I’m not your son. Isn’t it?” Lee asked as Rafe gently touched the spreading bruise on the right side of his Guide’s face, making him flinch.
“Shut the hell up,” Kincaid snarled at the trembling boy.
“Don’t you dare talk to my Guide that way,” Rafe said angrily, when Lee flinched again.
“Get out of my house all of you,” Kincaid told them, still trying to break free of the hold Michael still had on his arm. “Before I call the cops.”
“Call them. We will have you arrested for abuse,” Simon told him. “As it is you’ve lost all right to Lee. He now belongs to the Sentinel Guild and Rafe.”
“The hell you say.”
“Yes, the hell I say. No one is allowed to touch one of our most precious resources without paying a heavy penalty. I run the Guild. I saw you strike a Guide. We all did. I could have you arrested. Lee is now a ward of the Guild. Rafe, Jim, help Lee gather whatever belongings he wants to take with him.”
“No. He takes only what he has on him,” Kincaid hissed.
“As you wish,” William said, angrily. “There’s nothing here I can’t buy for Lee myself. You’ve always been a bastard. Seems things haven’t changed at all. Let’s go.” He told his family.
“The Sentinel Guild lawyers will be in contact with you. From this point on you’re to have no contact with Lee in any way, sharp or form,” Simon told Kincaid.
“Like I’d want to. The boy’s been nothing but trouble since the day I married his mother. Get out.”
Rafe held his trembling Guide in the van as he cried. Blair rubbing Lee’s back soothingly, cooing soft words of comfort.
“Shh, no cry. It be okay. You gots us. We you family now.”
Lee rubbed his eyes with the back of a violently trembling hand. “Really?”
“Yups. We gots lots of room. Share wiff you. Right Jim?”
Jim nodded. “Yup. Right, Dad?”
William turned to look at all the hopeful young faces looking at him. “Yes. We’ve got plenty of room. You can stay with us, Lee.”
“Dad?” Steven frowned slightly. “What about Rafe? He can’t be away from Lee. And we can’t protect them if they’re in a different part of the city,” He said again. Bring up something that was really being to irk him something fierce.
William turned to look at Simon. “Well, Doctor?”
Simon bit down hard on his cigar. “Hmm, we’re going to have to talk to Rafe’s parents see what we can work out.”
“And hope we don’t have another scene like the one we just witnessed,” William replied, starting the van.
Rafe’s parents were nothing like Lee’s step-dad. They quickly ushered the Ellison clan into their modest, but very warm and welcoming home.
Rafe’s mother Sarina, a small woman with a warm, quick smile. The smile vanished when she saw the vivid bruise on Lee’s face.
She gathered the still trembling Guide to her, telling her husband Manny to get her an ice pack. Having three, very active boys it was best to be prepared.
“What happened?” she asked, placing the ice pack gently against Lee’s face. Wincing right along with Lee when the cold came into contact with his hot skin.
“Lee’s step-dad didn’t take to well to Lee being a Guide,” Rafe told her, hovering. Watching his Guide lose himself in his mother’s comforting warmth with a small smile. His mom always made it all better.
“So he hit a little boy?” Rafe’s dad asked, angrily.
“Yes. He didn’t like it that Lee’s my Guide.”
“I think it’s more like ‘a Guide’,” Steven replied.
Lee looked up at Sarina, meeting her dark brown eyes. “Do you hate me, too?” he asked, in a small voice, blue eyes, red-rimmed and very sad.
“You’re going to be a part of my son’s life from now on. I could never hate you,” Sarina replied, kissing Lee’s forehead gently, gathering him close into her arms.
Rafe gave me a ring,” Lee said, showing them his left hand. “Promised to do right by me,” He said, sleepily. Worn out by the trauma he’d just undergone and the warm caring of Sarina’s gentle touch.
“He better,” Manny said, looking at the very nice gold band around the young Guide’s finger. So that’s what Rafe did with the allowance he’d been saving for almost a year. “Or he’ll answer to me.”
“The boy’s been through enough. You treat him right. Or I’ll tan your hide,” Manny growled.
Rafe smiled. His Dad had never tanned his hide his entire life. Disciple being a major talking to and sent to your room to think about the evil of your ways. “Yes, Dad.”
“I mean it,” Manny told him, gathering his Sentinel son into his arms for a warm, loving hug.
“I know,” Rafe replied softly, into his Dad’s shirt. “I’ll do my best for him. I promise.”
“That’s one of the reasons we’re here,” William said watching as Sarina covered Lee with a colorful quilt from the back of the couch. “We need to figure a way to keep the boys together and with in eyesight of their Protectors.”
“Protectors?” Manny asked, frowning slightly.
“Michael and Steven.”
“I made a promise to Rafe that we’d help protect them. The same way we’ll protect Jim and Blair,” Steven told them softly. “We didn’t do that good a job today, otherwise Lee wouldn’t have gotten smacked,” He added sadly, looking at the bruise starting to spread across Lee’s face, guiltily.
“You couldn’t have known,” Jim told him, holding Blair close in his arms.
“The possibility was there, I should have realized that.” Steven looked up at Rafe. “I swear to you it’ll never happen again. On my life, I swear.”
Rafe blinked when he saw Steven’s figure blur. It was quick to quick to be caught by the normal eye, but then Rafe was no longer exactly normal. It showed Rafe exactly who was making the solemn vow. He’d gotten a glimpse of the Protector and it was enough.
“I know, Steven. I trust you. Not only with my life, but with the life of my Guide.”
Steven gave him a brilliant smile. The trust of the Sentinel when it concerned their Guide was not lightly given or taken. “Thank you.”
Rafe smiled at him. Showing his deep dimples. “Welcome.”
William turned back to Sarina and Manny. “We need to keep them together, all of them.”
Rafe’s parents nodded.
Two hours later they were back at home. The two newest members of the Ellison household tangled together, sleeping soundly on Michael’s bed.
Tomorrow they’d go shopping for a bed and for the things Lee would need to start his new life.
Rafe’s parents had been surprisingly understanding. Rafe would live in the Ellison household. Surround by those that could protect him while he was at his most vulnerable. With Rafe’s parents coming to visit as often as they could or Rafe would visit them.
Sarina had cried as she’d helped her eldest son pack. Yet in her heart she knew it was for the best. It didn’t help as she felt her heart breaking as she watched the van pull away from the curb carrying her son to his new life.
“Your family has grown by two more,” Simon told William as they looked over the sleeping boys.
William smiled. He had wanted a big family, he’d just never in his wildest imagination thought it growing to this size and it didn’t bother him one bit.
“Yes, it has. And I couldn’t be happier,” He replied, closing the door.
“Aren’t you done yet?” Michael asked Steven as they moved Rafe and Lee’s bed AGAIN for what felt like the twentieth time.
“Not yet, it’s gotta be just right,” Steven replied, distractedly.
“Why? They’re set up between us. Nothing will get through.”
Steven looked at him as he rearranged the bed again. “There’s too much air coming in from the window.”
Michael sighed. “Come on already. There’s not too much air coming in from the window and if there is they can always close the freaking window.”
“Shut the hell up and help me move the bed.”
Michael sighed, but did as he was order. Rafe and Lee’s bed was right next to Jim and Blair’s. Michael and Steven’s beds taking the outside positions. Nothing was getting through if Steven could help it. Apparently not even air.
“Don’t you think you’re getting anal like Jim?” Michael asked as he watched Steven arranging the pillows.
Steven glared at him. “I’m doing my job, so shut the fuck up.”
Michael gasped, a hand to his chest dramatically. “You cussed. I’m so telling.”
Steven smiled at him. “Blair’s outside with Jim. So you have no fucking prove.”
“Blair will believe me.”
“He will,” Michael insisted. “You know what I think?”
Steven patted the comforter down, finally satisfied. “Nope, but I’m sure your gonna tell me.”
“I think you need an adjustment hug.” With that Michael snagged Steven. Pulling him into his arms.
“Let me go, you freak. I’ve got a lot to do.”
Michael rested his face on top of Steven’s head. Nuzzling the soft hair there. “Nope. You need a hug. Maybe it’ll help with your bad attitude.”
“I don’t have a bad attitude.”
Michael tightened his arms around Steven as he started struggling. “Yes, you do.”
“No I don’t. Let me go, asshole.”
“You’re not going anywhere until that bad attitude of yours changes it ugly ways.”
Steven quit fighting. “Fuck.”
“Nothing.” No other words were spoken as Michael tried to fix Steven, who knew he didn’t need fixing, ‘cause he was positive he wasn’t broken. “Hey?”
“What?” Michael asked, tightening his arms around Steven.
“Ow! Watch it, musclehead, or you’ll break me for reals. When am I getting my ring? Or did you think I’d forgotten?”
Michael loosened his hold slightly. “Sorry. Tonight. There’s something I need to do first.”
Steven tried pulling away to look up at Michael. It wasn’t allowed. So this time Steven gave in gracefully. “What?”
“Just some things,” Michael, hedging.
“Oh. Have I been fixed enough now, so that you’ll let me go?” Steven asked, hopefully.
Silence. “Know what I think?”
“I think you just like hugging little boys, you perv,” Steven told him, hoping that it would make Michael let him go. It didn’t. The steel bands around him tightened.
“No. Not all little boys, just my little boy.”
“Aw! You say the sweetest thing, perv. Wanna let me go now? I think that there’s cookies in the kitchen with my name on them.”
“Did you say something?”
“Nope, not a thing.”
Michael smiled. “That’s what I thought.” He replied, resting his face once again on Steven’s head. He really liked how soft Steven’s hair was. Like velvet. He sighed happily when Steven gave in gracefully. Even returning the hug with one of his own. Just like he knew he would.
After dinner everyone sat around the living room. Not really doing anything, just being a family. Sally sat in her favorite chair crocheting an afghan for Lee and Rafe’s bed. She’d done one for all her boys and now she had two more.
She smiled over at the newest members of the family. Lee and Rafe were cuddling on the couch, right next to Blair and Jim, who were doing the same.
Simon was helping Daryl with his homework. With William reading the newspaper. Steven was drawing in his ever present pad with Michael sitting across from him watching curiously.
“Whatcha drawing, Steven?”
“Blair and Jim,” Came the calm reply. Steven not bothering to look up.
“Can I see?”
Just then the phone rang and Michael got up to answer it. Never seeing the mischievously look in Steven’s blue eyes or when Steven quickly turned the page drawing something hastily on his pad.
“Telemarketer,” Michael said as he turned back. “Okay let me see your drawings,” He told Steven, reaching for the pad.
“Well, what do you think? Did I capture them or what?” Steven asked, showing Michael a sketch of two stick figures. One with a wild mop of curly hair, the other with a deep scowl on his face.
“Hmm, what? Don’t you like them?”
Michael scratched the side of his face, uncomfortably. “Huh, yes. I think their very nice.”
Steven smiled at him brilliantly. “Thanks. I kinda like the way Blair came out. I think I did a very good job on his hair, don’t you?”
Michael was saved from answering when Jim looked up. “Since you’re showing Michael your drawings, I wanna seen them, too. You haven’t let us see what you’ve been sketching.”
Michael moved away again, never seeing the look Steven was giving him or that he’d changed the page again.
“Oh, man, Steven. It’s beautiful. You did-do a great job on Blair’s hair. Can I have it?”
Steven smiled at his brother. “Sure.”
“Thanks. I know exactly where I’m going to hang it,” Jim replied, carefully taking the page Steven gave him.
“Let me see,” William requested. “Oh, Jim’s right. You did a great job on this drawing, son. Can I see your sketch pad?”
“You really like it?” Michael asked William, hesitantly. Confusion clear in his blue-green eyes.
“I sure do. Steven is very talented. What do you think, Simon?” William asked, holding up the sketch pad.
“Oh, yeah. Very nice. What else you got in that sketchpad of yours? Got anything I could hang up in my office?”
“Maybe. Have a look,” Steven offered.
“Thanks,” Simon replied, looking over William’s shoulder. “Oh, this portrait of Jim and Blair is beautiful. Can I have that it?”
Michael was eyeing Steven suspiciously. “Can I look at the first portrait again?” What he saw took his breath away and wasn’t the picture Steven had first shown him.
It was a portrait of Blair and Jim. The love they held for each other clearly visible as they cuddled together. The young Sentinel smiling affectionately at his tiny Guide as Blair played with his fingers. Steven had captured them as no one else even could.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Jim asked, reaching for it.
Michael released it. “It sure is.” He looked over at Steven, blue-green eyes promising retribution.
Steven being Steven and not intimidated in the least, blew him a kiss.
William looked up from the newspaper he was reading. Everyone had either gone to bed or were busy doing other things. So he was by himself in the living room.
“Yes, Michael, is there something I can do for you?” he asked, eyeing the very nervous bodybuilder.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?”
“Of course,” William replied, putting down the paper. “What can I do for you?”
“I need to ask you something every important.”
Michael went to his knees in front of William, startling him. “I would very much like to ask for Steven’s hand.”
“I would very much like to ask for Steven’s hand,” Michael repeated.
William narrowed his eyes as he tried to figure out what the hell Michael was talking about. He gasped when realization hit.
“You want to marry my son?”
Michael nodded his head vigorously, sending curls cascading onto his forehead. “Yes, Sir.”
“Hmm, you do realize that Steven is eleven. Right?”
Michael nodded again, not as vigorously this time. “Yes, Sir. Steven is constantly reminding me about that.”
William smiled. “He would.”
“Yes, Sir,” Michael replied, smiling shyly at William. “I would most humbly ask for his hand. I promise to do right by him and love him with my whole heart, for all times.”
William blinked. “Hmm, Michael, I say again, Steven is eleven.”
“Yes, Sir. I would never do anything unseemly toward your son,” Michael told him sincerely. “And if I tried, Steven would skin me alive.”
William smiled. “Unseemly? And yes he would.”
“Yes, Sir. No, I mean- no, Sir. Never.”
“And what does my son say about this?”
“He had agreed to be my mate,” Michael answered, smiling softly. “But I needed to ask for his hand from the most important person in his life.”
Michael nodded. “Yes, Sir.”
“That’s very nice of you, Michael. And when would this wedding take place.”
Michael thought about it for a moment. “When Steven turns sixteen.”
“And what are you going to do in the meantime?”
Michael looked at him blankly. “Sir?”
“You’re eighteen, Michael.”
“If you don’t mind me asking. What are you going to do until Steven turns sixteen?”
Michael rubbed his nose nervously. “I don’t mind, Sir. You have a right to know. Blair has agreed to help me, the same way he helped Jim.”
“So, that’s what happened?” William said, softly. “I had noticed that Jim had become a lot calmer.”
“Yes, Sir. Blair has agreed to help me, so I can wait for Steven.”
“You’re sure you want to wait?”
Michael nodded. “Yes, Sir. With all my heart.”
“And what if I say no?”
By the look on Michael’s face, he clearly had not planned for that. His already pale face lost even more color. “I…I…”
William patted Michael’s arm. “I’m not saying no, Michael. Don’t go and faint.”
“I love your son, Mr. Ellison.”
Michael met William’s eyes. “Yes, Sir. He may drive me batty most times, but I love him with all my heart and soul.”
William smiled. “That’s all a parent can ask of a prospective partner for one of his children.”
“Sir, are you saying yes?”
“I’m saying yes. I think you’ll make a very, fine partner for my son. Just don’t let him drive you to crazy,” William told, the beaming bodybuilder.
“Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. You’ll never know how much this means to me,” Michael told him, rising to his feet.
“Oh, I think I do,” William said softly as he watched Michael take the stairs two at a time. In a rush to get to Steven.
Jim smiled as he helped Blair on with his pajamas.
“Why are you smiling?” Steven asked, curiously.
“Michael’s coming up the stairs and he’s got something for you.”
Steven put down the towel he was holding. “My ring?”
Jim didn’t answer. He just continued to smile mysteriously. Steven gave him an odd look, before running into the bedroom.
“Where’s my ring?” he asked, launching himself at Michael.
“Oof.” Michael landed on the floor, hard. “Watch it. You might hurt something important.”
Steven straddled the bodybuilder. Leaning back as Michael raised his legs to support him. “Like you’re gonna be needing it any time soon. My ring, please.”
Michael looked up at Steven. “Blair hasn’t fixed me yet,” He said, walking his forefinger and middle finger up Steven’s left leg. Smiling as Steven’s blue eyes got bigger and bigger, the higher the fingers went. “You could be giving me ideas you might not want to carry through at your tender age.”
“Perv,” Steven said, watching in fascination as Michael’s fingers played with the inseam of his jeans. “This is revenge for the stick figure sketch isn’t it?”
“Yup,” Michael replied, smiling brilliantly up at Steven.
The little Guide came bouncing into the bedroom. “Yup?”
“Fix him, please. Before I’m forced to maim him,” Steven requested, yet he didn’t move from on top of the bodybuilder.
Michael watched the little Guide walk toward him. “Steven, wanna get off, so Blair can get to me?”
“Nope. He’s only gotta get to you belly. He can reach and besides you’re my fiancé. I can touch you or sit on you whenever I feel like it.”
“Oh,” Michael said weakly.
“Are you sure you wanna do this?” Steven asked, worriedly as Blair knelt by them.
“Yes. I wanna wait for you. And your Dad already said I could marry you.”
“You asked Dad?”
Michael nodded. “Yeah,” he said, softly. “I couldn’t become part of your life without knowing I had your Dad’s blessing. It wouldn’t be right.”
“And if he had said no?” Michael shrugged, sheepishly. “You are such a dork. Didn’t even think of that did you?” Steven asked, in disgust. “What would you have done? Talk me into running away with you?”
“Would you?” Michael asked, running his finger down Steven’s nose affectionately.
“Yeah, but only long enough for you to marry me. We would’ve had to come back right away. We’ve got a job to do.”
“I know.” Michael turned his head to look at the quietly waiting little Guide. “I’m ready, Blair.”
The little Guide gently placing his hand on Michael’s tummy, very carefully pressing in.
Michael’s eyes widened in astonishment at the odd sense of well-being. “Oh. Wow!” he said, blinking dazedly up at Steven.
“What does it feel like?”
“It’s like being on really, really good drugs.” When Steven narrowed his eyes at him. “Not that I’d know anything about that,” he added, hastily.
“Hmm. You better not know anything about that.”
“I don’t. I heard it somewhere. Truly.”
“Hmm,” Steven replied, not at all convinced.
“Really. My body is my temple. I would never give it anything to hurt or damage it.”
Steven turned to Blair. “Is he telling the truth or are we gonna have to send him to rehab?” Ignoring the small sound of hurt from Michael.
“He tell truth. No need rehab.”
Michael glared up at Steven. “See. And you didn’t believe me. Get off. I don’t think I want to marry you anymore.”
“Sorry. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t spending the rest of my life with someone that was gonna need more help than the Sentinels and Guides under my protection.”
Michael felt his heart skip. “Does that mean if I was on drugs…”
“I’d help you kick it. You think I’d just abandon you after committing? What the hell do you take me for? Some sort of wimp? Sorry, Blair.”
“Oh, Steven-that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me,” Michael said watching Steven turn a bright red. “I think I will marry you after all.”
Steven smiled at him. “As if there was any question, Musclehead. Plus you already got Dad’s permission to marry me. That was real, real nice of you asking him. One thing though, you better start saving your pennies. I don’t come cheap. And I wanna a BIG wedding. Just so you know.”
Michael sat up, careful not to dislodge Steven. “You’re such a jerk.”
“Yup. Now that you’ve been turned off, can I have my ring?”
“Okay, but can I have a hug first.”
Steven gave a long suffering sigh. “I suppose. If you absolutely MUST have one.”
“Yes, please,” Michael told him, carefully wrapping his arms around Steven. “Does this mean I can hug you whenever I want?”
“Yeah, I guess. Just don’t get too carried away by the hugging thing or I might have to hurt you.”
“Okay,” Michael replied, resting his face against the top of Steven’s head with a soft, happy sigh.
They stayed that way for awhile, enjoying the comfort the other gave. Jim had come into the room just as Blair had placed his hand against Michael’s tummy. Now the Sentinel/Guide pair sat next to them, calmly waiting.
Lee and Rafe came in carrying trays with glasses of milk and a huge plate filled with cookies.
“What’s going on?” Rafe asked, laying his tray on the table in the middle of their room.
“Steven and Michael dey bonding,” Blair answered.
“Kinda like a Sentinel/Guide bond?” Rafe asked, offering Jim and Blair a cookie each, before he sat down next to Jim.
“Yup,” Jim said, nibbling on his oatmeal cookie.
“Can you see it like you did with Rafe and me?” Lee asked, sitting next to them.
Jim frowned as he looked at his brother and Michael. “Yeah. Only it’s different. It’s like a rainbow swirling around them. Going through one and into the other. Kinda misty too. It’s really pretty. You should be able to see it too, Rafe.”
Rafe looked at his two friends. “Hmm, I’m not sure. It’s kinda blurry. Like when Steven went Super Protector.”
Jim offered his hand. Rafe took it unquestioningly. “How about now?”
“Oh, yeah,” Rafe replied in awe. “Rainbow colors swirling all around them. It’s beautiful.”
Silently they waited for the bonding to finish taking place. Jim thinking to himself why should Guides and Sentinels be the only ones to bond? Come to think of it, there should be some sort or bonding between Protectors and the Sentinel/Guides they were sworn to protect. He’d have to ask Steven about that later.
Steven opened his eyes. “Why is everybody staring at us?”
“You bonding. Very, very purdy,” Blair told him, crawling into Jim’s lap.
“Yeah. It felt really nice, too,” Steven replied, looking at Michael. “Ring, musclehead.”
Michael sighed unhappily. “Even now, I don’t get any respect,” He said, reaching into his pocket.
Steven snorted. “Oh, please. I wouldn’t want you to get an even more swollen head than you’ve already got. Oh!” Whatever else he’d been about to say was quickly forgotten when he final saw his ring up close. “It’s beautiful,” he whispered, softly.
The bonding had already taken place, the swirling colors Jim and Rafe had seen solidifying into what was to be a life-long bond and just as unbreakable a Sentinel/Guide bonding. Yet receiving tangible proof of that bond meant a great deal to Steven.
“Do you like it?” Michael asked, shyly.
“Oh, yeah. Will you put it on me?”
Michael took the ring out of its little box and very carefully placed it on Steven’s left ring finger. They were mated now. For life and beyond and nothing could change that, not even death.
He watched Steven’s blue eyes fill with tears. His own filling as well. “I love you, Steven,” he said softly. “Very, very much.”
Steven wiped at the tears coursing down his face with the back of his hands. “I know. I love you, too. And if it leaves this room I will hunt down the blabber mouth and kill him, slowly,” He threatened, his smiling brothers and friends.
Steven went willingly. “Oh, yeah.” Pulling away slowly after a few minutes. “Do I smell cookies?”
Rafe smiled. “Yup. Right out of the oven, even.”
The days went quickly filled with school, homework, football and the goings on of a happy family.
Lee fit right in as did Rafe. Rafe not having time to miss his family because they were always visiting, brings Rafe’s little brothers to play with Blair. Who didn’t mind one little bit, now that he didn’t have to put up with Megan and Cassie.
It was another lazy afternoon. Steven sat on the couch next to his Dad drawing in his sketchbook. This time it he was drawing Lee, Blair and Wofie. Both Guides on their stomachs coloring in one of Blair’s coloring books.
Wofie lay on Lee’s back, cleaning himself. His front paw spread wide as he delicately nibbled between his nails. Steven couldn’t have asked for better drawing material. Not that he needed to go hunting for subjects. He had a houseful.
He looked up to see Rafe coming down the stairs a determined look on his face chanting something. As the newly online Sentinel got closer Steven heard what Rafe was saying.
“Heartbeat, heartbeat, heartbeat.”
Going over to where his Guide lay he very, very carefully picked up Wofie. “Sorry, Kitty. I need him more than you do,” He said, carefully placing the cat on the carpeted floor.
Steven chuckled at the annoyed look Wofie gave Rafe before stalking over to Jim. Who was doing his homework at the coffee table. The Sentinel didn’t even look down as he began absently scratching the top of Wofie’s head, when the cat climbed into his lap.
William looked at Steven curiously to see why he was chuckling. Steven pointed to Rafe, who’d unceremoniously flipped Lee onto his back.
“Ow!” Lee said, giving his Sentinel an annoyed look.
“Heartbeat,” Rafe told him as if that explained it all and very carefully went between Lee’s legs to better rest his head against his Guide’s chest. “Ah,” He said, contently, finally getting what he needed.
Lee lay there arms outstretched, stunned. Blinking at the ceiling in blue-eyed incredulity at the liberty his Sentinel’s took with HIS body.
Rafe moved around slightly making himself more comfortable. “Ah,” He said, yet again and with more contentment than before.
Lee looked down at his Sentinel’s head. “What do you think you’re doing?”
Rafe looked up. “Heartbeat.”
“And you had to flip me like a pancake just to hear my heartbeat. Couldn’t you have listened to it from my back? You are a Sentinel and I was doing something.”
Rafe’s frowned. “That would have looked funny.”
Lee rolled his eyes. “And this doesn’t?”
“Not as funny as if I’d laid on you back to hear your heartbeat.”
Lee rolled his eyes again. “Dork.”
Rafe gave Lee a sweet smile. “Love you.”
Steven watched as the annoyance left Lee’s face. “I love you-too, you silly Sentinel.” The new Guide said, softly.
“Gag,” Steven replied, from where he sat. “If I have to put up with all this mushiness for the rest of my life I’m gonna get diabetes before I’m fifteen.”
Lee wrapped his arms around his very, content Sentinel, now purring away happily. “Oh, please. Who was the one cuddling for a good half hour with his intended just this morning?”
Steven moved uncomfortably on the couch. “No idea.”
“Hmm, I’m sure,” Lee replied gathering his Sentinel close.
Just then the doorbell rang. Michael rose from where he sat at Steven’s feet reading a bodybuilding magazine. “I got it.”
Jim tilted his head to the side. “It’s Daniel Peterson.”
“Do we let him in?” Michael asked.
“Yeah, let him in.” Jim replied.
Michael opened the door letting the Shaman in.
THE WOOING OF WILLIAM ELLISON
Daniel Peterson had been allowed into the Ellison household two weeks ago. And it had been a learning experience to be sure.
It was a happy household filled with love and laughter. A lot of love. Freely given and shared. A perfect place for two Sentinel/Guide pairings to grow and thrive.
Daniel thought it a privilege to be allowed into the home after what Naomi and Jacob had tried. He still didn’t know how he’d allowed himself to get got up in their machinations. He was truly lucky he’d been forgiven and was now allowed to take part.
Steven still watched him warily. Not as warily as he had two weeks ago, but the young Protector still didn’t quite trust him. Not that Daniel blamed him.
Daniel sat on the couch across from William Ellison as the children of the household got ready to go swimming.
He watched in fascination as the youngsters jousted and teased one another as they raced back and forth. Wondering what the hell he was doing here? They didn’t need him. They pretty much had it all figured out. Blair was one of the best Guides he’d even seen, even at the tender age of three. Jim gaining confidence in his Sentinel abilities as time went by.
Rafe and Lee were still slightly awkward with one another, but it was getting better as they watched and learned from Jim and Blair.
Then there was Steven and Michael. Especially Steven. He was a force unto himself. Very rarely holding his tongue when it came to the verbal lashings he gave his Sentinel/Guide pairings. His acid tongue tapered by the deep love he held for them and they knew it.
Michael just as much a Protector as Steven calmer about it, yet never thinking twice about using brute strength when it came to protecting his charges.
Daniel blue-green eyes thoughtful as he watched the youngsters racing downing the stairs followed by a calmer Simon. Daniel frowned slightly as he contemplated the Doctor. Simon knew his place in this household and was quite content with it. Daniel wished he knew what that place was. Especially when it came to William.
Daniel looked at William as he promised the Doctor that he’d be out shortly to start the barbeque that was to be their dinner.
When everyone left the room, Daniel cleared his throat. “William?”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course,” William replied, giving Daniel a beautiful smile that brought out two gorgeous dimples. “I can’t guarantee I’ll answer, though.”
“Is there something between you and Simon?” The smile vanished. “I don’t mean offense. I was curious.”
“Do you mean as in a relationship?”
Daniel nodded. “Yes.”
“I suppose we do,” Daniel’s heart sank. “We’re in charge of seven children. Even though Michael is eighteen. In many ways he’s still very much a child. You do tend to get close.”
“A…are you romantically involved?”
William looked at the Shaman. “That’s a bit personal, don’t you think?” he said, frowning.
“I need to know.”
Daniel didn’t answer, didn’t really have to. William’s felt his eyes widen in surprise as he met Daniel’s steady glaze. He gave a tiny gasp as he realized what the Shaman was telling him, without saying a word. What surprised him the most was his response to what he was seeing in Daniel’s beautiful blue-green eyes.
William had always though himself heterosexual. It was a true shock to find out that wasn’t necessarily the case. He watched as Daniel rose, carefully making his way to where he sat.
Daniel knelt in front of William. “Tell me,” He entreated, softly. “I need to know.”
“Simon is involved with a nurse at the
Daniel gave him a brilliant smile. “I’m glad.”
“Why is that?”
Daniel ran his thumb gently over William’s mustache and mouth. Finally cupping the side of his face. “Then, I can do this with no guilt,” He whispered, closing his eyes he met William’s mouth, tenderly coaxing it open with his tongue.
William moaned softly. Pulling the unresisting man to him tightly as he sought Daniel’s mouth hungrily, desperately. Tangling his fingers in Daniel’s hair he deepened the kiss. Never hearing the door to the outside patio open.