Finding, Keeping, Losing, Weeping 5
Warnings: AU. Xover. Angst. Het (implied). WiP.
Rating: Safe for teens.
Author's Notes: Blair held his press conference to denounce himself and his work, but Simon, Jim, and Megan were not shot, and no one has offered Blair a badge. Post-TSbBS. Spoilers for S2 and other episodes. My apologies for taking so long between postings. If I'd realized this was going to be this slow, I wouldn't have started posting in pieces. In any case, previous parts can be found here: http://brothersinarmsfiction.com/jayed/jayedtsslash.html
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowed.
When the word went out that the Guides would be meeting the Sentinels for lunch, there was a great deal of excitement. All twenty two of the Sentinels were in the prepared dining room, a banquet room separating them from other hotel guests, before the Guides walked in. The air was highly charged, and family members were kept alert, making sure that the Sentinels didn't over-extend themselves. Family members were not as good as Guides, but with training could help head off zone-outs. Zoning was not a good first impression to make.
Lloyd Weston settled himself at parade rest near the door. He was waiting, not for Blair anymore, but for Banks. He could live with an ex-military Guide, a man closer to his own age. Weston would have taken the Shaman, if only to be part of a new Lead Pair, but he knew he wouldn't have liked him much. Strangely, the illogic of his decision to dislike a Guide didn't actually reach his conscious mind. Or maybe that wasn't so strange.
Seeing all the unBonded staring at the door, the Lead Pair decided to ask them all to settle into seats. No sense in startling the Guides with a stampede. "You'll all have a chance to see and talk to them. Settle down, and don't jump them."
Twenty one abashed Sentinels took seats. Weston stayed near the door.
Finally, the moment arrived. The outer doors opened, and a heavenly scent wafted into the room. It was the double-scent of unBonded Guides. A satisfied sigh went across the room. The Bonded Pairs smiled at one another, remembering their moment of Meeting, of recognition. More than one Pair took a moment, just before Blair and Simon crossed the threshhold, for a quick, unobstrusive kiss. Greg Sanders took a moment to brush a gentle hand across the tear that fell from his sensitive Sentinel's eye, turning the movement into a soft caress, smiling as he always did at the continuing evidence that his Sentinel was a big "mushball."
As the Pair came into the room, Blair moved to stand near the Lead Pair. Weston moved to intercept Banks, putting his hand out to catch the taller man's arm. Banks didn't even seem to notice him. He moved smoothly and swiftly and directly forward, heading unerringly for Rosa Gonzalez.
The room stilled as the various interested parties, Bonded, unBonded, and relatives, watched as a Pair came to be.
Simon didn't understand exactly what had happened. He had meant to stay by Blair's side and to go stand near the two men he'd already met, Kenneth Hutchinson and David Starsky, but his feet kept him moving forward. He had looked into the room, and his attention had been caught and held by a lovely dark-haired woman almost in the middle of the room. There was something, something about her that called him unerringly to her side.
As he neared her, his porcupine scuttled past him and took up next to an over-excited sea otter. Calming as the porcupine moved ever closer, the larger animal moved to touch noses gently with the now "flat-quilled" newcomer. The spirits, it seemed, were in approval.
Just as Simon was reaching out his own hands to take those of the waiting woman, a large bird, a great horned owl, flew at the two animals, forcing them to move away from one another. As they tried to regroup under one of the tables, Simon felt a hand on his back, and he turned to see a furious older man standing behind him.
"Banks? I'm Lloyd Weston." He pushed his hand forward, seizing and shaking Simon's hand while Simon was still trying to process the interruption that had broken the woman's sole hold on his attention.
"Yes, I'm Simon Banks," he said, pulling slightly to remove his hand from the tight, tough grip. "Excuse me. I was wanting to meet this lady." He tried to turn back to the enchanting figure of the Hispanic woman, but Weston was not letting him go.
That was enough. Although this was clearly not a case where the Guide needed his Sentinel to protect him, nevertheless it was hard-wired in, and Gonzalez could no more have stopped herself from stepping in between Weston and Banks than she could have flown. Trusting that the situation would keep him from doing anything too foolish, she turned her back on Weston and faced Banks, putting out her own hands to take his, following through on the aborted move.
As their hands touched, they both sighed. A subtle tingle went up each pair of arms, and the two smiled brilliantly at one another. "I don't know much about this," Simon told her, "But I'm sure ready to learn."
"No." Weston interjected. "Damn it. What the hell are you doing with that little girl?" Weston prepared to list all the reasons why Banks should be with him instead when suddenly he found himself being slowly moved back from the possible new Pair by the full weight of the Bonded Pairs in the room. They had all stepped forward to keep the situation from turning ugly. A new Pair was forming, with a room full of knowledgeable witnesses, some disappointed, like Weston himself, but most happy for their companion and peer and hopeful that they, too, could achieve what she appeared to be about to gain: a Guide.
Blair, for his part, was quite stunned. He felt a pull to all the unBonded in the room, but none stood out. His was not to be a "love at first sight" moment, like Simon's apparently was working out to be. Part of him was relieved. Part of him was happy for Simon. Part of him was confused and grief-stricken and confused. "Simon, man, congratulations. Introduce me," he said, moving forward, keeping the Pairs between him and the potential trouble of Weston.
As he spoke, a sigh went around the room as the unBonded Sentinels heard him speak in their presence for the first time. He really was a Shaman. Weston, himself, furious that Banks hadn't given him a chance, listened to Blair speak and suddenly re-evaluated his ideas about this Guide. So, he wasn't to have the powerful man as his Guide, but perhaps he'd settle for the powerful Guide.
Tom and Sabrina, at a look and a nod from their Leaders, took Simon and Rosa from the room. The Bond needed some quiet and privacy. The four retired to Rosa's room and, old hands, Tom and Sabrina prodded the two through a series of important questions. The Bond was partly instinctual, that was true, but there also had to be some compatibility beyond that for the Bondmates to be happy. The major question, of course, was whether or not Simon would be able to see his way to a move to Arizona, to his potential Sentinel's home territory. Although it was not her birthplace, it was where her Senses had come truly alive. She was, in a real sense, the Sentinel of the Grand Canyon.
Half matchmakers, half pre-marriage counselors, Tom and Sabrina spent two hours with the potential, possible, almost Pair, finally leaving them when it was apparent that the basics were not going to be a problem, and after making sure that Simon had some true idea of what a Sentinel would need and want from her Guide. Rosa, as well, was made aware of the things that were important and necessary to Simon. Leon Angelo and Daryl figured prominently in their conversations.
When Tom and Sabrina left, the two shared a leisurely room service meal and then took a walk around the gardens on the hotel grounds. Their conversation covered everything from politics to camping, childhood illnesses to music. They found some surprising points of intersection in their lives and interests and some equally intriguing moments of dissonance. They were forced to disagree about professional sports and ballroom dancing, however, but they decided that they could live with that.
They shared their first kiss just before they separated, reluctantly, to change for dinner. Simon had, via cell phone, gotten them last minute reservations at one of his favorite Seattle restaurants, an elegant and upscale Indian restaurant a few miles from the hotel.
Upon returning to the room to change, Simon realized that he had failed to uphold his original purpose in coming to Seattle. He had left Blair on his own, despite having assured him that he would stand by him. Thus, the absence of his erstwhile charge from the room was somewhat disconcerting. However, he found a voicemail message telling him that Blair had chosen to spend the day with Hutch, learning about being a Shaman-Guide, and considering what he'd learned from the other unBonded over the lunch Simon and Rosa had missed. Thus re-assured, Simon left Blair a note about his own activities and took Rosa to dinner without having to feel guilty.
He never made it back to their room that night. Although most Bondings didn't happen with that kind of speed, it was clear to everyone in their group that the two people who walked into the banquet room for breakfast the next day were a Bonded Pair, and, most likely, well on their way to being husband and wife as well. Spontaneous and enthusiastic applause greeted the new Pair. Acknowledging the good wishes of the crowd, Rosa blushed prettily, and Simon thanked his own dark skin tone from hiding that he, too, was probably "blushing like a bride."
Blair, for his part, was more than happy for Simon, although the situation was quite unbelievable. Simon had come to support him in finding a potential new Sentinel and had instead found one for himself. Although relieved to know that he hadn't kept Simon from a Bond with Jim, he still wondered if perhaps Jim's true Bondmate was Megan.
Further, Blair had found out something that none of his research had told him about Sentinels. All the Bonded Pairs were not merely Sentinel and Guide, they were also spouses, whether legally or not. He thought that perhaps this is what had kept him and Jim from the true Bonding that the others shared, but in talking to and frankly questioning the various Pairs (who had more than encouraged him to ask), he discovered that none of the men in the single sex pairings had ever had a same sex relationship prior to their Bonding. It hadn't mattered. The love they each felt for their Bondmate, however slowly or quickly that Bond had matured, had grown to include a full and satisfying sexual relationship, one that allowed them to share intimately on all levels. A Sentinel could let go during sex with his or her Guide in a way that was impossible with any other partner, and it was during sex that even non-Shaman Guides could touch their Sentinels' minds and hearts, tying the Pairs ever closer.
With the encouragement of the Lead Pair, Blair made a phone call back to Cascade. He invited Megan to the party, explaining his reasons why and, although swearing her to temporary secrecy, letting her know how things had worked for Simon.
What he hadn't expected was for her to extend the invitation. She showed up the next day. With Jim.