Title: The Unexpected Pair
Series Order: 3
Banner Art: None
Word Count: 2,883
Authors Note: A Sentinel and Guide find each other.
Once John touched his Guide, the need to bond surged from the background level it had been for his entire adult life to an overwhelming force that was urging him to grab the Guide and run. Flaring his nostrils wider, he worked to draw in the scent of his Guide, automatically filtering out the background scents of ice, machinery and too many people who hadn’t been bathing regularly. The scent of coffee, chocolate and rich vanilla flowed over John with every breath, soothing the fire of need burning his mind.
Letting go of his Guides hand wasn’t possible right away, and it was taking all John had to not draw his Guide in. Moaning softly, John decided no to fight his instincts and gave in to the need, pulling the man into his embrace. Wrapping his arms around him, John tucked his face into the space where shoulder and neck met and breathed deeply. For a brief, perfect moment, the roar of need in his soul was quiet.
When Rodney touched his Sentinel, he felt the unending pressure that normally beat at his mental shields lessen and finally quiet. For the first time in his life, he knew that he was in the presence of the right Sentinel and because of that he knew that he had to be exuding the pheromones that meant a Guide was receptive to bonding. Watching his Sentinel’s nose flair as he scented him, Rodney sighed in satisfaction. He wasn’t being rejected.
When his Sentinel didn’t release his hand and instead used it to draw him into an embrace, he didn’t fight and allowed himself to be reeled in. Rodney felt strong arms go around him, enfolding him in the aura of his Sentinel keeping the mental signatures of everyone around them at bay. When he felt the slightly scruffy face of his Sentinel tuck itself into his neck, he smiled and relaxed. Rodney knew that after years of being on the outside, he was finally wanted and needed.
When Elizabeth had agreed to lead the expedition to Atlantis, she had made it a point to read the full and complete files on everyone who signed on. When Rodney McKay was brought in she initially thought him to be a rude, loud, and obnoxious individual whose only saving grace was that he really was as smart as he told everyone he was. So it had been a surprise to find out the man who she initially thought was lacking any and all forms of empathy possessed the strongest type humanity had. He was a Guide.
Further reading of his file led her to some informal conclusions on how a Guide could end up with a personality as abrasive as Rodney had. At the time it was discovered that young Rodney was a Guide, he was thirteen and getting ready to enter his senior year of high school. Given his age, genius and ability to attract unwanted attention from official sources, being a Guide set him even further apart from his fellow students. Yet Rodney still managed to graduate on time and at the top of his class, despite the additional classes being a Guide had added to his class schedule. Once he got to college the speed at which he pursued his education continued and he began collecting an impressive number of degrees in astrophysics, engineering and applied mathematics. And those were on top of the courses he needed for his ongoing Guide training.
There were also a number of informal notes tucked into his Guide school files that only made sense after you had been around the man for a while. Notes stating that whatever Sentinel Rodney finally bonded with would have to be very strong both emotionally and mentally as well as being highly intelligent. Because given the man’s IQ, personality, and how strong his gift of empathy was, Rodney would be able to mentally eat a weak Sentinel alive. Or drive them to commit murder. Further reading of his file showed that over the years he had been in college Rodney had gone to every mixer thrown to bring student Guides and Sentinels together. None of them had worked, he had never bonded. Instead he had been rejected by every single Sentinel he had ever come in contact with and that had led to a definite souring of his disposition.
In addition to his abrasive personality there was the fact that Rodney didn’t really like to be touched. Every single Guide Elizabeth had ever met had been tactile to the extreme. They patted, stroked, tapped and in general kept a hand on everyone around them. Rodney rarely touched anyone, and if he had to do so, he tried to do it on areas that were covered with clothes. If he had to touch bare skin, he did it for as brief a time as possible, as if the touch pained him. He was still physical with everyone, still manhandled people out of his way, but only if that was his last choice. However he did touch the machinery he worked with in the same manner that other Guides touched people.
So watching a strange man, who, moments later she identified as being a Sentinel, hold and sniff at Rodney was decidedly odd. And uncomfortable. Because what she was seeing had to be bonding behavior and neither man was bonded by their uniform patches. Clearing her throat gently, Elizabeth tried to get their attention.
Okay. This was not what he had expected when he had tasked Major Sheppard to fly him out to the Antarctic base. Jack had known as soon as he had set foot in McMurdo that there was an unbonded Sentinel living on base, so he had been a bit worried. After meeting the Major, the worry that this younger Sentinel would be interested in his Guide were laid to rest. Daniel and this Sentinel were in no way compatible, thank goodness.
The flight out to the base had been Sentinel smooth and included a short tour of a continent that Jack personally hated, but still could admit was disturbingly beautiful. Well, the trip had been smooth until the drone had been fired and locked onto them. Thanks to some fancy flying, good luck and the drone losing power at the last minute they made it to the base alive. Giving in to the prompting of his instincts, Jack made sure to bring the Major with him when the elevator arrived to take him down to the operations level of the base. Once they reached the ground floor Jack threw an offhand comment out. “Hey. Don’t touch anything,” and after a brief multi-layer chat with Daniel, went to the meeting with his Guide. They had been separated for far too long and he was starting to feel the lack of contact affecting his senses.
Once they got into Daniel’s new office space, Jack took the time to look around. Except for the fact it was bitterly cold and under ice, the space reminded him of Daniel’s office at the SGC, messy and full of books. Settling into his chair he sat back and listened to Daniel as he immediately started to talk about the Ancients. “I figure the Ancients packed up their entire city and left somewhere between five and ten million years ago.”
And being the type of guy who liked to wind his Guide up, Jack gently fired back with, “In their … flying city.” After that salvo, he mostly stopped paying attention. Jack registered the presence of Dr. McKay and Elizabeth, and realized that the astrophysicist was the second Guide he’d sensed in the facility but for once it wasn’t an irritant. Ignoring that piece of data as unimportant, he gazed at Daniel. Oh, he kept a small amount of attention on the topic at hand, enough to respond to the conversation but he really could have cared less. After doing a quick review of what had been said, Jack realized that between the three of them they had used more words than were needed trying to convince him to see things their way. Coming out of his almost zone, Jack couldn’t resist razzing his Guide, “That was a waste of a perfectly good explanation. The answer’s no.”
When the Scottish doctor came barreling into the meeting, yelling for Dr. Weir, Jack could honestly say that he was as surprised as everyone else, after all he hadn’t been paying attention to the environment around him, all of his was focused on his Guide. And when he found his wayward Major sitting in a lit up control chair, he was even more surprised. Thinking over what he had said when they had gotten off the elevator, Jack had to remind Sheppard, “I’m pretty sure that I said don’t touch anything.”
After an impressive and informative version of “Show and Tell” it was time to introduce everyone. When the Major and McKay had touched Jack had felt the flare of BOND had filling the room and it was all he could do to not drag Daniel off to a private room. Clearing his throat, Jack looked over at Daniel and raised one eyebrow in question. Since he was the one who was supposed to be the diplomatic one, he could get the new Pair out of this mess.
Daniel knew through long and bitter experience that he was absent minded with people and obsessive when he was working on something that fascinated him. Thanks to the SGC, he now had an Ancient puzzle that was bringing out both traits in spades. The puzzle that he was currently working on was one of the most interesting, complex and important one that he had ever come across. When he finally managed to trip over the solution, he knew that he had to share with someone. Explaining what he had found to Rodney and Dr. Weir had felt great, and knowing that Jack was on his way felt even better.
Less than an hour later he was trying very hard to not hold his breath as he waited for either the blinding pain of a broken bond or the news that Jack had survived yet again. Once the all clear came he had to go back to his lab to break down and then get his composure back. When he heard that Jack was on his way down, he made sure to be at the elevator. He needed to see for himself that his Sentinel was alive, to feel the pulse of the bond they shared flare in his mind.
Trying to pack as much meaning into his voice as he could, Daniel called out to his best friend and Sentinel, “Jack!” ~I missed you and you are okay!~
“Daniel! Warm welcome,” and turning to zero in on him, Jack stared at him in well banked hunger. They needed to bond, but before they could do that, duty called. There was a briefing that they had to complete.
Shaking his head in negation, Daniel denied being responsible, he didn’t have the gene to activate Ancient technology and Jack knew that. “Wasn’t me. How did you manage to, uh …?”
Smirking slightly, Jack shook his head and gestured at his companion. “Keep my ass from gettin’ blown out of the sky? The exceptional flying of Major John Sheppard. He likes it here.”
A bit more curious about the man who had after all saved the life of his bondmate, Daniel looked at the Major again. Huh. It seemed as if the Major was an unbonded Sentinel. “Exceptional. You like it here?” Taking the shrug as a yes, Daniel let it go. Well, he tried to. He was honestly surprised that there was anyone who actually liked Antarctica. Who liked endless snow, ice and bone chilling cold? Personally Daniel couldn’t see the attraction.
After getting Jack, Dr. Weir and Rodney back into his lab, Daniel took a deep breath and started explaining what the team had found. “Jack, you know that gating to another galaxy requires an enormous amount of power?”
“Yes, I do. Find another way,” came the stubborn answer from General O’Neill. Not Jack, Daniel’s Sentinel, but the guy who had to explain every decision and expenditure to the President, Joint Chiefs and now the IOA.
Wishing he had better news for his bondmate, Daniel shook his head, “There’s no other way.”
Profoundly grateful that Rodney had the information on why they needed to only power source they had, Daniel could only watch as the other Guide used his hands to try to get his point across. “We need the Zero Point Module, General. The, uh, Ancient power source you recovered from Proclarush Taonas and it is what’s now powering the outpost’s defenses. I have since determined that it generates its enormous power from vacuum energy derived from a self-contained region of subspace time.”
Trading information back and forth with Rodney had always been fun. For all the man was an absolute bastard to his staff and humanity in general, he had always treated Daniel well. Some of that was probably due to them both being Guides, and the rest might be because Daniel wasn’t a rival for any unbonded Sentinels in the area. Daniel had been fully bonded to his Sentinel for close to nine years, and Rodney had to subconsciously read him as an ally, not a threat. But that was neither here nor there and he pushed those considerations aside, concentrating on getting one stubborn Brigadier General to agree to the use of Earth’s only Ancient power source to facilitate what was likely to be a one way trip into the great unknown. And it really would be a one way trip if the expedition couldn’t find more ZPM’s waiting for them in Atlantis.
Standing just a few feet away from his Sentinel, he felt Jack’s senses wrap around him like a hug, even as he asked for information that Daniel didn’t have. “You think there are more of these Zed things in Atlantis?”
Basking in the sensation of Jacks undivided attention, Daniel continued talking, trying to get across the wonder and awe that he felt to the other man. He had found Atlantis. Well, he had found the address to where Atlantis should be. “Yes, and who knows what else we could find? This isn’t just some other civilization we’re talking about. These are the gate builders.” Just getting there would be much harder than the SGC or the Expedition had originally thought, and would end up being much more isolated.
Daniel could honestly say that he was glad of the interruption caused when Dr. Beckett ran into his lab. Trying to get General O’Neill (and when Jack was acting like this, that was how Daniel thought of him) to agree to something he didn’t want to do was akin to herding cats. Only harder. Jack knew all the points they were putting forth to convince him, he just didn’t agree with them. Dropping the whole argument in favor of finding out why Carson had run in, Daniel followed the others back to the Chair room.
Sitting in the chair was the Sentinel that had flown Jack in, and he had caused the chair to light up as brightly as it did for Jack. As an impromptu test for the gene, it seemed to show that his was at least as strong as Jack’s, and that he had enough control to not start up anything unexpectedly.
Hearing the voice beside him command, “Major, think about where we are in the solar system,” Daniel glanced over at his fellow Guide in surprise. He had never heard that tone of voice out of him. It was soft, intense and very commanding. It was the voice a Guide used in the presence of his Sentinel.
Then when the two men touched and the feel of bond blazed between them, Daniel looked over at his Sentinel. Time to get these two out of the public eye and somewhere private before things moved beyond a very intense hug. Bonding wasn’t something that ordinary people needed to see, not even the ones from the SGC. “Rodney, Major, you need to take this to a more private area.”
When talking to them didn’t work, he decided to try a more direct approach. Taking a deep breath, Daniel reached forward and touched Rodney on the small of his back, gently nudging the man’s shields to get his attention. Ignoring the low grumbles coming from the Sentinel wrapped around his fellow Guide, Daniel twitched his head toward one of the few private rooms available on the base. When Rodney hummed in agreement and nodded, he turned his attention to the fascinated spectators around them. “There is nothing to see here, folks. Time to get back to work.”
Grabbing Dr. Weir, Carson and his own Sentinel, Daniel decided to set a good example and started back towards his lab. They still needed to get Jack on board with the plan to send the expedition to Atlantis via ZPM. Maybe if Rodney and his ATA positive Sentinel went along that would sway his decision, and then he and Jack could find their own private room and bond….