Relatives Series Story Seven: Family First

By Jayed (aka Jaye Daver)

EMAIL: Jayed

Author's Notes: Snippet from a Series of stories about a Sentinel and Guide Pair in a world that accepts them and celebrates them as Partners and about the Family they Join. Actually, timewise this snippet should come before Story Six.

Warnings: AU, Xover, Not Too Angsty…

Disclaimers: As before, not mine. Just borrowed.

It was early afternoon, and many of the Family were off enjoying lunch. Having eaten already, Rafe was happily sharing Matt space with his Spouse and his fellow "Reds," when he realized that he knew the two young men talking with Simon and Daryl on the other side of the Matt. Each wore the Brown of Mechanical skills, showing their talents as ground vehicle mechanics and drivers. David Lash and Warren Chapel. They'd been related to his Birth-Family through Blood-ties with his Head and the Family Mechanics. And they'd made his life miserable whenever they'd had the chance.

Charming, when they wanted to be, they'd gotten away with petty annoyances and minor sabotage and hurtful rumors. He couldn't believe they'd shown up here, so far from where they'd all been raised. Why had they come here? Then he realized. They'd somehow followed him, their favorite target was not going to be allowed to get away, even though they'd all supposedly "matured" and moved on.

He watched in real dismay as they passed their papers to Simon and Joel, enjoying a lively conversation, laughing merrily, using all their charm to good effect. They were clearly angling for an invitation.

"No." He didn't realize that he'd spoken. He didn't realize that he'd moved to stand behind Simon's broad shoulders. "No," he said again.

"Cousin," Warren exclaimed, ignoring, or seeming to do so, Rafe's distress. "Tell your Head what good friends we are. Aren't you glad we tracked you down? We're just so sorry we missed your wedding." He paused, smirking slightly as he turned his face away from Simon, "Where is your lovely bride?"

In growing horror, Rafe shook his head. "No," he said again.

Simon took one look over his shoulder at Rafe's face and stood. Clearly something was off here, and there were things the two Mechanics hadn't chosen to share. "I'm sorry," he said, although he realized he probably wasn't. "Family first. Better luck next Matt."

Given the ritual dismissal, used when a potential recruit was deemed unacceptable by any Family member, the two young men should have just moved on. Unused to their prey standing up to them, however, they decided to put up a fight. This Matt had some good buzz, some good-looking women, Rafe's Spouse included, and a Pair. They weren't going to be driven away from the Family they'd assumed would be theirs.

As David opened his mouth to speak, two large dogs appeared on either side of Rafe, growling low in their throats, ears back, teeth bared.

Megan joined the group and put a hand on either dog's back. "Fox! Dingo! Behave." The two dogs sat, but the hair on their backs stayed up, and they continued to stare at the two unwanted petitioners, growling once more each to make their point. As the dogs settled, Rafe reached for Megan's hand, clutching it to his side. Realizing that something had upset him, she moved closer and put her arms around his waist, putting her head on his shoulder.

But Simon had had enough. He looked once more at the two men, now counted as intruders and not potential Family members. They'd not only failed the Family test; they'd failed the dog test. "Once more, boys. Family first. Better luck next Matt." Joel was now on Rafe's other side, and Chris, noting the confrontation, had come to stand with Simon.

Reluctantly, angrily, the two stood and stepped off the Matt, moving through the afternoon crowd.

"I'm sorry, Simon," Rafe began.

"No, son," Joel interrupted, firmly, "Family first. You didn't want them. We don't want them."

"But we do need a Mechanic. Blair won't be able to do it all. He's mostly be with Jim."

"We can contract with another Family if we have to, Rafe. We don't need to have unhappiness in the Family because the cars might need to be fixed." Simon grinned. "Even if you liked them, well, Fox and Dingo got their Family signs first." He turned to Chris, "Good man. Thanks for stepping up."

Chris nodded and returned to his previous discussions with the Family's two newest recruits, Mary, a Brown-badged "handyman," and her young birth-sibling, Casey, who wore Yellow and was planning to work with Rhonda. They'd only gotten their Family signs a few hours earlier and felt a little nervous about intruding yet into serious Family matters, especially as both the Head and Second were right there.

Later that evening, as the Family was once again enjoying the singing of Ezra and Blair, a solitary black man, in an incredibly garish shirt, strolled up and joined right in. His badge was half-Brown and half-Purple, like Blair's.