Author's Notes: The tenth story in this alternate universe where Pairs are known. Warnings: AU, SIP (Series in Progress). Disclaimers: As before, as always, not mine. Just borrowed. Additional Note: Other stories in the Series can be found here: <http://brothersinarmsfiction.com/jayed/jayedtsgen.html>

For a Male Guide 10: Finding One's Place

Jaye Daver, aka Jayed

EMAIL: Jayed

His relationship with Eli, his favorite professor, never actually recovered after the kidnapping and subsequent rescue. The fact that he had been a suspect was too much for the older man. He'd been hurt, shocked, and dismayed, and, though he knew that the fault didn't lie with Blair, he still couldn't recover his former relationship with the younger scholar.

For Blair, the older man had been mentor and father figure for so long that the loss was potentially devastating. Fortunately, or unfortunately as it turned out, he found a new father figure in his friend's, Daryl's, father, in Simon Banks. The older Banks was accepting and kind, happy to have Blair in his son's life, appreciating how Blair's position helped Daryl to see the value in a good education.

However, Banks was not Blair's father, and so…

On the day when Jim went to the police station, with an eye to joining up, he met with the main members of Simon's department, Major Crimes. There was Rafe, so well-dressed that at first Jim didn't think he was a detective, but rather a visiting politician of some type. There was Henri, known as H, who was wearing a shirt so gaudy that Jim was convinced that everyone associated with it, from designer to wearer, must be color blind. There was Joel, a gentle soul who reminded Jim of a soft-spoken sergeant he'd known in the service. The two were equally likely to drop their wives into the middle of conversations. Finally, there was Megan, who was loud, auburn-haired, and loud. Jim wasn't sure what to make of her. There were a few others, Heinz, Wilmot, and Jill, who waved and said hello, and he got a good ten minute "scoop" from Rhonda. Secretaries always know.

Jim was invited to the next Poker Night. It never occurred to him that the invite didn't include his partner, his Guide. After all, the invitation was to make sure that he had a true chance to get to know these potential colleagues, and the younger man would need to know them all as well.

When they arrived at Simon's house, having walked over in the early evening warmth, Jim held a bag of soda and beer, and Blair carried a covered dish containing a mouth-watering dip he'd made under Jim's rather interested eye. Simon, on the other hand, was a bit taken aback when he saw Blair with Jim.

"Daryl's not home, Blair," he said.

"I know. He told me he was going to his Aunt's for the weekend."

Banks still didn't quite get it. "Well, Daryl always likes to leave when the grown-ups get in the beer."

"That makes sense," Blair said, "Not his social group of choice and age. Wrong tribal rites."

"Yes…so…um…Blair?"

Blair, caught in the act of entering the house under the arm Simon was using to hold the door open, suddenly got it. He wasn't welcome with the adults either. He stood for a moment in silent mortification and then backed out of the doorway.

Jim met Simon's eyes over Blair's head. He wasn't angry, but he was disappointed. Simon was seeing his Guide as a child. He hadn't made incredibly important connection between a working Bonded Sentinel and his Guide. Well, there were other departments and other jobs. Perhaps it was best that this all came out now, before it happened at the Station.

Jim set the bags of drinks on the doorstep and gently took the serving bowl from Blair's arms. He handed the dip to a silent Simon, and then wrapped his arm around Blair's shoulders and turned them toward home. The Pair had come a long way. Neither apologized or thought about staying.

For his part, Simon was both angry and embarrassed. He wasn't sure who to be angry at, however, although he still thought that the kid shouldn't have been brought to an adult Poker Party, especially when he hadn't been invited by the host. Yet, Simon was also a good detective. He got it now. Jim had brought Blair along so that he, too, could meet their potential colleagues. He was forced to wonder if he'd blown it completely. Would the Sentinel want to work for a man who'd hurt his Guide? Probably not. Yet, Simon still could not feel completely in the wrong here. It was Jim who had encouraged both Simon and Daryl to see Blair as Daryl's friend.

Rather than stay in, it being a Friday night and all, Jim and Blair changed clothes and went to the Y for the usual pickup basketball game. Short and young, Blair was quick, agile, and possessed of a wicked jumpshot. Jim specialized in defense. They were always welcome at the game.

As they walked through the doors of the Y, Blair began to look around curiously. There was something…someone. He looked up at Jim who nodded at him. Somewhere in the building was an unBonded female Guide.

Considering all the unBonded Sentinels who still crossed their paths, hoping that the Guidefinder would know their Guides, it seemed prudent to track the young woman down. It proved to be quite easy. She was Ellen, the visiting sister of one of their usual basketball buddies, Ethan.

Jim went to talk to Ethan, and Blair headed straight for Ellen. He found her someone who suspected, but didn't know. Both Sentinel and Guide took some time to answer questions for the excited players and for Ellen herself. The questions were honest and earnest, and so they were answered fully and easily. The basketball players all retired to the nearest diner, skipping the game in favor of a jump right to the post-game coffee and pie.

So, they hadn't met anyone from Major Crimes, but they had met someone who might prove just as important to their lives, the potential half of another Pair.