Author’s Notes: The eighth story in this alternate universe where Sentinel/Guide Pairs are known.
Warnings: AU, SIP (Series in Progress.)
Disclaimers: As before, as always, not mine. Just borrowed.
For a Male Guide 8:
Putting His Skills To Use
The upshot of the various bits of publicity was that Cascade saw a lot more Sentinels and Guides on its streets. They tended to be tactful, staying back from Blair, and Jim, but crossing their paths as discreetly as possible. The Pair had discussed it, realizing it was inevitable, and decided not to let it bother them unless someone became too importuning.
Inevitably, of course, Blair began to Find matches. The first was a rather out in the open match made between a quite young Sentinel, a very weak, newly online Four and the court reporter at the trial of Professor Kirby Hamilton for his involvement in Blair’s kidnapping by the Army. Evidence gathered by the Major Crimes Pair Unit had been conclusive and strangely easy to find. Hamilton had not ever expected to be exposed and had made no efforts, other than to sell a small, relatively worthless bit of inherited property as a “shield” for the money he’d received. The sale did not hold up to scrutiny.
Mrs. Sara Guttman was thirty nine, happily married, and completely unaware that she was a Guide. As Blair and Jim sat in the courtroom, respectively trying to understand the betrayal of a trusted authority figure and making sure said figure was found appropriately guilty and seriously punished, Blair was distracted by the quiet woman typing on the strange little court reporting machine. He wasn’t sure at first, but something about her kept his attention even when he wanted to follow what was happening on the stand.
When the trial broke for lunch, Jim took his unhappy Guide to a quiet spot in a nearby park to take a break from the emotions of the day. Blair still found it hard to believe that a man he had so looked up to had been so willing and able to contact the Army to, essentially, sell him into what was supposed to be some kind of forced bonding and enforced labor. His voice small and unhappy, Blair finally asked Jim a question that had been in his mind for the past two weeks, “Why do you suppose he hated me that much?”
Jim pulled his Guide closer to him, rubbing one hand soothingly down the other’s side, using touch to soothe his own distress as well as Blair's. “I don’t know, Chief. It doesn’t look like he really needed the money, and he never gave you or anyone the impression that you had done something he wanted to get you for.” Jim paused. “Maybe he’ll actually get on the stand and tell us what he was thinking.”
“He won’t.” Blair said with conviction. “Hamilton has always been clear about his dislike of all things connected with lawyers.”
“Well, he won’t have to see his lawyer in prison if he doesn’t want to,” Jim replied. “I’m only sorry I didn’t meet up with him during our First Week.”
Blair tried to smile in spite of his distress. “I’m glad you didn’t, Jim. I’m glad we had our first week without worrying about him and without you having to do something like that. We had a lovely First Week.” His smile became real and broadened as it always did when he thought about his Sentinel and their Home.
Relieved that the young man was clearly in better spirits, Jim hugged him briefly and then let him go. Suddenly, Blair turned to watch a group playing Frisbee across the Park. “Hey! I knew it!”
Seeing the usual look, Jim laughed. “Guidefinding?”
“Yes. I thought there was something about that court reporter. One of those guys over there is her Sentinel. I’m not sure which one though. He’s barely online, I think, or maybe he’s just a really weak Four. Can you tell?”
Jim placed a grounding hand on Blair’s shoulder and then sent his eyes and nose in the direction of the laughing group. He took even his powerful senses a few long seconds to determine which man was the Sentinel. “The stocky fellow in the green shirt. I think you were right on both counts; he’s newly online, and he’s a really weak Four. Borderline, perhaps.”
Blair looked across and nodded. He could sense it himself now that Jim had pinpointed it for him. “Can we go tell him? I’d like to make someone happy today.”
Jim nodded. This was the outcome of the day Blair really needed. The Sentinel in him needed the professor to go to jail, but Blair needed a different kind of closure, a different kind of happy ending.
The Pair began strolling casually in the direction of the Frisbee players, but Blair couldn’t keep to the sedate pace. He began to move more quickly, his gait bouncing and excited. This was his first real Guidefinding with a truly strange Sentinel. Jim quickened his own pace to keep up, and their now more rapid approached attracted the other Sentinel’s attention.
At first wary, the new Sentinel suddenly took a second look at the younger of the two men heading toward him and his friends. “Oh, please,” he thought. “Let him be coming for me.”
“Hello. Are you…have you come to tell me you…you found my Guide?”
Well, he supposed this was an advantage of being known. He didn’t have to explain why he was here. “Yes! Her name is …” he turned, looking thoughtful. “Hey, Jim, do you remember her name?”
Frowning, Jim shook his head. He didn’t know either. Actually, he was pretty sure no one had wanted or needed to tell them the name of the court reporter. It wasn’t something witnesses or even victims at a trial usually needed to know.
“Um. Sorry.” Blair blushed. “Well, I know where she is. She’s at the courthouse. She’s a court reporter,” Blair smiled then. “Come on. You have to come back with us and meet her.” Suddenly he seemed to remember his manners. “I’m Blair Sandburg, and this is Jim Ellison, my Sentinel.”
Bowing his head briefly to acknowledge the Guide’s Sentinel, he gave the Pair his name. “I’m Taurean Jefferson.”
Court was about to come back to order when the Pair walked back in with the new Sentinel in tow. Mrs. Guttman took one look at them and left her position. All eyes followed her as she moved toward her Sentinel. “Mine?”
The watching crowd was awed. It was not often that Sentinels and Guides found one another. It was even more rare for them to do so in front of such a large group of unrelated witnesses, strangers to both. Reporters who had come to cover the trial were thrilled with this extra side story. Their editors would be so happy with them.
The speedy conclusion of the trial was almost anti-climatic. The defendant was sent off to jail, reporters tried to interview Blair and were warned off by his Sentinel, and Sara and Taurean were whisked away by her stunned family. Rainier University officials stepped into the silence and made lots of soothing noises about their non-involvement in the now notorious kidnapping and their intensive efforts to provide a safe environment for all their students.
“No, no. It doesn’t work that way. And, anyway, I don’t want to."
Jim Ellison had just arrived at Rainier to retrieve his Guide who had spent the day reorganizing his office as he got ready for the upcoming new semester. He had expected the younger man to be waiting for him on one of the benches near the main parking lot. When he didn’t see Blair sitting there, he extended his senses, hearing and scent, to find his Guide, a seeking that caused a Sentinel less effort than breathing.
He picked up the agitated voice and rapid heartbeat almost immediately. Blair was heading toward the lot, but he was not alone. Someone was with him, someone who was distressing him. Without really parking his new truck, Jim exited the vehicle and headed toward the confrontation, ready to lend his support and to end his Guide’s distress.
Seeing him rapidly approaching, Blair broke into a gratifyingly welcoming smile. He turned away from the older woman who had been following him and hastened to Jim’s side. “Please, man,” he said softly, “Let’s just go.”
“Sentinel Ellison? It is Sentinel Ellison?” The older woman had also quickened her pace. “I want to talk to you.” She seemed completely confident that Jim would want to hear what she had to say, not seeming to realize that she had lost any chance for a fair hearing when she upset his Guide.
Seemingly resigned, Blair moved one more step closer to his Sentinel’s side, and then he introduced the two to one another. “Dean Marcia Edwards, this is James Ellison. Jim, this is Dean Edwards.” He sighed. “She wants me to set up some kind of Institute, where Sentinels and Guides can come and meet, here at Rainier.”
Jim immediately understood the problem. This person had found a way, she thought, to make money from Blair’s Guidefinding without any real knowledge either of Blair’s wishes or his actual abilities. Although he had, indeed, matched up all the unbonded Sentinels he had so far met, that did not mean that he would always be able to do so, nor did it mean that the right Guides and Sentinels would be brought together under the circumstances the Dean seemed to be envisioning. He wondered how much money this “Institute” was supposed to make for the University, and if the woman had any ideas of trying to keep any for herself. He wondered if she’d been foolish enough to offer any of that imaginary money to his Guide.