Title: Rescues and Dissertations
Series Order: 2
Banner Art: None
Word Count: 5,367
Authors Note: Ask and ye shall receive. Even if it isn’t quite what you had in mind. PG-13
Art by Fanarts
It is a common romantic misconception that all blue-eyed Guides are Wolf Guides. This has been proven to be far from the case. However, it has been shown that every, single Wolf Guide recorded by history has had blue eyes. The reasons for this have never been definitively traced…
It is also interesting to note that not all Wolf Guides are Shaman, but every Shaman who is also a Guide is the cultural equivalent of a Wolf Guide. Each of them are strong, adaptable, sensitive to their environment, capable of looking at the outside of a problem as often as they see the internal structures, plus able to spirit walk at will. The basic list of characteristics of these people is as endless as the people themselves…
But there are several traits that every Wolf Guide and their equivalent have in common: 1: They are always hyper-intelligent, to the point of genius. 2: They are extremely strong willed and more stubborn than any Sentinel they come across…..
A Laypersons Guide to Guides:
What Do Spirit Animals Have To Do With It?
By: Micheal Sehnert
“Tell me, when they did the frontal lobotomy to remove your personality, did they cauterize your common sense too?”
Jack O’Neill had never, ever loved watching his Guide rip someone a new asshole more than he did at this moment. It wasn’t that Daniel Jackson was holding nothing back or that he was reaching deep into his vast and varied vocabulary to find new terms and methods of describing the level of ineptitude that they had found at the Northwestern University Sentinel/Guide Meditation Center. Because he was doing all of that. No, it was because he was just so damn pretty when he got in this mood.
Thankfully the staff of the Center hadn’t been in on the Director’s little foray into kidnapping and possible forced Bondings. Sandburg had quickly called the Assistant Director and gotten the ball rolling to get the kids out of the isolation room they had been stuffed in. And they were kids. Neither were over sixteen if Jack was any type of judge on looks and mannerisms. Almost old enough to Bond, but not quite, not yet. What she had done was considered to be highly dangerous to both Sentinel and Guide.
Thank goodness both boys had realized that something wasn’t right and taken what precautions they could. When the staff had gotten the doors open, the kids had been on opposite sides of the room from each other. Sitting on their hands, facing the walls. An effective way to lessen the temptation and stay unbonded. Because if ever there were two kids who were perfect for each other, it was these two. Jack was not one for believing in destiny or fates or any of that crap, but the kids seemed to fit each other. Hell, they even smelled like a compatible pair. And wasn’t that an odd fact to have noticed.
Tuning back into the ass-reaming that was taking place, Jack saw that the Director was doing a hell of a dazed and confused impression. Sweet. Time to join in. “Dr. Jackson, she obviously was thinking something. And whatever it was, it had to have been a doozy.” Focusing in on the woman before him, Jack let it all hang out. The room suddenly felt a lot smaller. “Was it for money? Did someone pay you to put those two together?”
Nothing. There was no response to that tact. Time to find another one.
“Maybe you wanted to see what would happen if you put a high level Sentinel in with a Guide. Just your luck that they are both young and pretty, right?” That question got a bit of a twitch. And Danny was starting to get the look of a wolf stalking prey. After all, it was a sad fact that even after the best screening in the world, sometimes the monsters got through. Or were born out of what had been good people.
Honey sweet, Daniel spoke his suspicions in a smooth voice, “You wanted the accolade and acclaim that come from being the one person in the world to find the next powerful pair, didn’t you? You’ve wanted that for ages. And when you managed to get word that a powerful Sentinel was transferring to Northwestern University, you felt like it just might happen. Because you knew that Guide McKay was here. After all, every Guide in your territory is registered here and at his age, you have more oversight than most Directors.
“When they both showed up on the same day, you must have been over the moon. Here was your chance to make history! Never mind that if they weren’t compatible, forcing them together might cause traumas that would scar them both for life. But you got lucky. They are extremely compatible and so we can’t charge you with that. Pity.” Danny’s eyes were calm, clear and very merciless as they looked at the other Guide. He never, ever had any forgiveness for those who abused their positions of power. Which was one of the many reasons that Ellison had called them in to deal with this cluster fuck while he and his Guide took care of the kids.
“I know that the last thing on your mind right now has got to be meditation, but you are putting out enough aggression to start fights all over this building. So let’s see if we can get you calmed down and maybe help out your Guide too.”
John Sheppard was not happy to see another Guide come to the door of the room where he was guarding his Guide. This one at least had the right idea and came in with his hands to the sides and eyes down in an effort to appear harmless. The last one had just barged right in and tried to order him to let him at his Guide. John took a deep breath and smiled a bit in satisfaction and disgust. He could still smell the faint tang of piss from when he had snapped at the pushy Guide and caused his bladder to release a bit. Moron.
The other man was looking at him through his lashes and John flicked his glance over him as he extended his senses. Smell was easiest in the room since it was an enclosed space and he had long since cataloged all the scents available to him. The Guide was older than him by about twenty years and was saturated with the scent of a Sentinel, one who he was apparently Bonded to, if the emotion tags on the scents were any indications. Good. Sight had him as being unarmed, but not helpless. There were muscles built from use moving under the other mans skin and yet, he was still putting out the non-aggression vibes and maintaining a non-threatening posture. Impressive.
Since the other man was so obviously Bonded, John wasn’t even going to try to touch him. That would be the height of bad manners, and his teachers would have something to say about that if he tried. The Guides heartbeat was calm and at rest as he stood, waiting for the teen to step aside, which lead right back to scent, since there were no stress markers there either. John took a discrete breath through his mouth and again, all was well. Taste had nothing.
Stepping aside was hard. Harder than anything about being a Sentinel had been yet. He was letting someone he didn’t know into the same area as his Guide and the only reason he wasn’t have a complete and utter hissy fit is that the Guide’s Sentinel was staying away. Unbending enough to try to use his manners, John waved a hand in a sweeping motion, “Come on in. At least you waited to be invited.”
The older man smiled and tilted his head to the side as he studied John. Finally he smiled and nodded, walking into the room where John had been guarding Rodney for the last six hours. “Relax, Sentinel. I just want to make sure that you two are unharmed by this afternoons little drama.”
John shivered as he listened to the Guide’s voice. This was what every example of the technique should be, he thought. Rodney’s head popped up at the other man’s words though and he smiled broadly, “Professor Sandburg! Thank goodness you are here. I have so much to tell you!”
Why couldn’t they understand that she had brought them together because she knew what was best for them?
Mary O’Sullivan was not going to crack open. She would exercise better control over her face and emotions. She would. She knew that she had done nothing wrong. After all, the little Sentinel and Guide were perfectly compatible! And she had brought them together. Surely the Alpha Sentinel Prime and his Guide would see that when they arrived. These two weren’t worth the time to argue with, even if the Guide was coming uncomfortably close to some of her reasons. Humming lightly she turned to stare into space and tried to tune out the incessant carping and needling that the Bonded Pair in front of her were trying to subject her to.
The Sentinel had been a good find she thought. His file had stated that his spirit guide was a Clouded Leopard and they were canny animals, well able to take care of themselves and their partners. As for his looks, if she had been interested in another human being in any meaningful way, she would probably think that he was cute. His recorded abilities were nothing to sneeze at either. The young Sentinel was strong in the use of his senses, well trained too, up to Prime level if she was any judge. The mind under his fuzzy head looked to be decent from his marks at his school, not a pushover at least. Strong mind, strong gift, strong personality. All plusses.
The Guideling was possibly a problem since he wasn’t like the average Guide she saw everyday. He wasn’t soft or accepting, and he didn’t seem to have any problems with being unpleasant towards anyone if his behavior towards Helen, her receptionist was any indication. From his complaints as she had escorted him to the ‘meditation room’ he was intelligent since he seemed to be getting ready for something to do with an advanced degree. Since he was a Wolf Guide, he was a good match in power levels for the feline Sentinel, and with the instinctive loyalty and togetherness that Wolves were known for, well! Any Sentinel of his would be well taken care of. And he would never have had leave to call himself a Wolf Guide if he hadn’t made it through training, so there would be no hitches there.
Absorbed in the dreams of her fortune and fame as a Pair Bonder, Mary O’Sullivan stared into space, lost in her mind. It made so much more sense than the rest of the world. Why couldn’t they see that? She hadn’t harmed anyone!
When Rodney had been found to be a Guide, he had quickly been moved into classes that would assist him in all that he needed to learn. One of which had been a guided meditation class. He had been six. Needless to say, he had napped a lot. But he had eventually learned how to meditate, to calm the swirl of his thoughts and let the stresses of the day leak out and back into the earth.
With Professor Sandburg guiding him into a meditative state, Rodney felt like all his other teachers had been fumblers of the first order. It wasn’t a new feeling either, since he had been trained by the man and the feel of his mind was a comfort that he really needed. When he finally relaxed enough to fall, all he felt was relief.
Coming up out of his meditative state, Rodney could feel the two people in the room with him through his thinned shields. Professor Sandburg was a deeply blue feeling of calm and serenity, with shades of amusement and anger running on the surface. The other person in the room was the Sentinel that he had been introduced to the afternoon before. He was a mass of irritation, anger, need, yearning, fear and lust. Rodney was deeply grateful that the Professor was there to act as a buffer to him.
Opening his eyes, the young Guide looked at the face of his mentor and smiled. The other man’s face was perfectly reflecting his inner feelings. It was… Soothing to know that here, all was well. It had been several years since Rodney had seen the Prof face to face, most of the time, they communicated via email or even through dreams, since the other man was his Shaman as well. For all his cynicism about the rest of the world, Rodney knew deep down to his bones that was more out in the world than hard science. Not that he would ever tell anyone that.
Looking left, he took in the face of the man who was likely to be his Sentinel. And wasn’t that a kick in the pants? He hadn’t even wanted to start looking for a Sentinel until he had his first doctorate and yet, on the eve of getting it, here he was. It was insane. The emotions that were pouring off the other man were scary, heady, and intoxicating. Something in Rodney, something that he had never felt before, woke up and wanted to go to him. Be with him, and nest within him. He unconsciously looked to the left and…
“Not yet, Rodney.”
His eyes snapped back towards the Professor and he tried not to pout in the face of authority. He was getting his doctorate and doctors didn’t pout. Really. “What are you talking about?” he asked.
“You and your Sentinel aren’t going to be able to Bond quiet yet. Not matter what it feels like to you two.” The Professors eyes carried a level of rueful amusement that was bleeding all through to his voice. “You are almost old enough, and mature enough for the Bond to actually hold, you just have to give it a little more time. And don’t you have something to do today?”
Rodney looked at his watch and forgot what he was going to say. There were only a little over two hours before his defense! When the Professor laughed at him, all he could do was blush.
Blair Sandburg was, most of the time, one of the most calmly even tempered people on the planet. He knew this. He had been told this for years, decades even. But walking into the isolation room off the Directors office at his new problem Center, he wasn’t feeling calm, even after his hours of meditation with young Rodney. The mildest thing he could be called was angry. And he had no problem projecting that all over the three people in the room. Jack and Daniel would just have to suffer through it for a few moments while he dealt with things.
His glance flicked over the other two and saw that they weren’t fazed by his behavior. Good. The other person in the room didn’t even react to him though and that was both odd and unusual since he was lighting up the emotional spectrum of the place like no tomorrow. Blair stared at and then through the Center Director for a moment and tilted his head to the side in consideration. “I haven’t seen anyone like this since Alex. How odd.”
He felt his Sentinel stop abruptly at his words, and he took the time to pulse understanding, love and curiosity down their Bond. Alex had not been a good experience for either of them, but she was well past, buried and over. But the sheer internal emptiness of the woman before him reminded him all too strongly of the rogue Sentinel. And that was… Not good.
“Chief? Why does she remind you of Alex?” Jim asked softly, but Blair ignored him.
If he was right, and he really, really didn’t want to be, Mary O’Sullivan was now a problem in all meanings of the word. Blue eyes bright with horrified understanding, Blair stared at the aura he could see hugging the skin of the Director. Thin and dimly colored, it was hard to see compared to the bright and healthy explosions of color coming off of his companions. There were mundane humans in mental institutions who had brighter, more robust auras than this woman. And that was not good for someone who was a known Guide. Not good at all.
But he wasn’t the Unbonded Guide he had been when he had originally met Alex, and he was more than a match for whatever was hiding behind that aura. Shaman trained and a Wolf Guide, Blair knew that he was no pushover in the arena he was entering. Jim, there is something I need to do. Hold on.
And taking a deep breath, Blair took that internal step to the left and out, and entered into a world he normally visited only in his dreams.
Ages, years, decades later he surfaced. Turning his focus inside and then out, Blair looked at the woman in front of him. The aura that had been pale and muddied was muted and now flush with her skin. There had been no other way. And even if it made him physically ill to think of what he had done, it was still the better option. Life always trumped death in his view. Maybe with enough help, someone other than him could help fix what was wrong with her.
“Chief? What in the world was that?” Jim asked. From where everyone was standing, the journey he had taken with Mary had taken little to no time in the real world. That was one of the pitfalls of a spirit walk, sometimes they took forever and yet lasted only minutes outside and others they were fast-forward adventures that took hours to observers. This time seemed to be ages inside and only moments outside. Joy.
Blair pinched the bridge of his nose in an effort to stave off the migraine he could feel building. “Jim, let me get her taken care of and then I will let you know what just happened.” He said quietly. Opening eyes that really wanted to stay shut from strain, Blair looked at the…. Shell of a person in front of him. It took him only moments to reach a decision. Reaching out, he placed the first two fingers of his right hand on her head and murmured, “Sleep.”
Like a doll with cut strings, Mary O’Sullivan closed her eyes and slumped in her chair, completely asleep.
He did it every, single time they went out on something like this. Jim could feel his blood pressure climbing and took a deep breath to control the urge to yell, scream or rant. It wouldn’t help, and it would just make the explanation take longer. Even though he knew better, Jim could still be fooled by how his Guide looked since he was smaller, more delicate and seemed at first glance, to be a pushover compared to himself. It was only on the second or third glance that most people saw the steel that ran through the man like a river. Blair Sandburg was no ones doormat.
Which was how he liked it, Jim had to admit. If his Guide had been that weak, well. He wouldn’t have been his Guide. But that strength, that independence and ability to handle everything could be supremely annoying. Like right now.
“Blair? What in the ever-loving hell was that?” Jim tried not to let the frustration show, but he rarely called his Guide by his first name. It was… It was an indicator of how peeved he was that he was using it now. And thankfully Blair had learned that trait quickly because he was already starting to explain.
“There is something so internally broken in that woman that I am surprised that no one else picked up on it. But damn, she had some good shields, so that might have been the only good thing about this mess. She couldn’t really affect any of the Guides in this facility. It’s like she was rotting from the inside out.”
“Rotten? How so?” Of course Daniel Jackson would latch onto that point, He was as highly trained a Guide as his own, even if he was a decade younger. Bonding to O’Neill had certainly settled the other man down and given him a badly needed focus on life outside of a tomb or a library.
Blair looked at him with overwhelmed eyes, “I have no idea when it happened or what the trigger was, but somewhere along the line, she broke. Instead of supplying a warm and welcoming place for a Sentinel to nest in, she had started to feed off the emotional health of those around her. There are traces of drugs in her mind along with what felt like areas that were blocked off from within and allowed to die. Huge areas are inaccessible.”
“Could she be suffering from some form of a mental illness? I mean, I know that Alzheimer’s presents as a mind that is pockmarked and inaccessible to a Guide. And no one can tell for certain until an MRI is done.” Jack O’Neill commented. Jim sometimes forgot that the other man was just as intelligent as his Guide, he was just the less showy of the two. And he that he had advanced degrees in both Military History and Behavioral Science.
Blair was shaking his head quickly and Jim felt his stomach sink. Not something easy then. “Nope. Sorry man. I wish it was something that simple. Based on what it felt like from the inside, I would say that she has a form of untreated Schizophrenia.”
“Well damn,” blurted Jim. Oh, this was not good.
Blair looked depressed at that and Jim drew him into a hug. Touch always calmed them down faster than words did and Jim would do anything to keep his Guide from being that upset. Blair wrapped his arms around his waist and rested his forehead on his chest and said quietly, “I had to go in and burn out her ability to send and receive in her empathetic centers. She was starting to prey on the people around her like Lash.”
Jim flinched at that name. Alex was just overall bad, but in some ways, Lash had been worse. So, so worse. And that a Director had gotten that bad, had hidden her deterioration from everyone well enough that no one had twigged to it. Well. That was not good.
“So how do we control this?” Good old Jack. Always looking at the fallout of actions that were taken around him. It didn’t hurt any that he was currently a Major in the Air Force and on the short list for a Lt. Colonel slot. Not that Jim would tell him that, but he was.
“Thankfully nothing untoward happened. And the folks who let the kids out are decent and can be trusted to keep their mouths shut. Rodney made it to his defense on time and should be getting ready to defend his dissertation right about now.” Blair said as he turned around in Jim’s arms and looked at his watch. “Sheppard is escorting him there and if he had a tail, it would be twitching all over the place right now.”
John watched the man who was going to be his Guide as he wowed his dissertation defense committee. McKay had spent the two hours leading up to this event muttering to himself and going over the paper and possible questions while getting ready. John had known the other man was smart, but the level of intelligence he was displaying was insane. But he was going to be a big boy and not get eaten alive by jealousy at the thought of his brains.
He was also going to have to work on his bodies distressing habit (could he already have a habit about this?) of popping a woody every time McKay got snippy with someone. It made it difficult to walk and the Guide seemed to enjoy the hell out of being a bastard. Actually it seemed to be a default setting for him.
The head of McKay’s dissertation committee, a Dr. Anderson seemed to be sucking on sour lemons as the other members crawled all over the presentation. “A Study of Extra-Solar Planets and How They Are Formed” was good solid work, from what he could understand. And it was causing some interesting ideas to tease him, the math hovering just out of reach.
John barely restrained himself from reaching over the woman in front of him for her pad of paper. He was not that rude and he could wait. No matter how much his fingers itched to start writing down the math that would expand and explain the point that Rodney had just made. It was obvious that he hadn’t had the right access for the paper to be capable of shattering theories but it was close. A better university or just better access to the latest results from Hubble and Rodney would be breaking totally new ground in his field.
Well one of his fields. Professor Sandburg had let slip that Rodney was putting the finishing touches on a second dissertation. Then there had been the muttered comment about having enough credits to try for a third in a few more years. If he wasn’t pretty secure with his own IQ, John knew that he would have been intimidated by how damn smart his too pretty Guide was.
Oh. Now wasn’t that an interesting point. Ignoring his manners totally, John reached over and took the pad anyway. Stealing the pen out of the woman’s hand, he started to jot down a proof. His Masters was in Applied Mathematics and Rodney was sparking all sorts of interesting ideas. Three pages later, the idea was played out to a possible end that would allow him to stop and pay attention to more than the math gods. It was the work of a moment to separate out his pages, plus a few extra and then he returned the pad to its owner.
Turning his attention back to the presentation, John saw that Rodney was winding down and it looked like most everyone was happy with what they had heard from him. The only one who seemed to have a burr up his ass was Anderson, and he still looked like he was sucking sour lemons. Tilting his head to the right, John watched his Guide’s ass flex as he walked around. It as a pretty ass, but the face was more interesting right now. It was alive with the light of discovery and curiosity and he felt his heart clench. Oh, he was so screwed when it came to his Guide.
“Mister McKay, thank you for a very interesting and thought provoking presentation of your dissertation. We will have a decision for you shortly.” Anderson said. John decided to be a bit underhanded and stretched his senses out to take a read on the man. The man was calm and seemed to actually be in a good mood by his scent pile with a definite overlay of satisfaction. As his Guide started shaking the hands of the other members of his committee, John probed a bit deeper and then sighed in relief. It looked like the sour lemon look was tied to an ulcer that seemed to be in mid-flair-up. Nothing that he would have to handle then. Now all he had to do was wait for Rodney to finish this part and then keep him distracted while they waited for the decision.
Rodney decided that coffee was the elixir of the gods and he was going to be worshiping at its altar for the rest of his life. The first cup that the Sentinel had poured him had gone down quickly and the second was being sipped just a bit slower. He could feel the caffeine spreading through him, sharpening his focus. Wonderful stuff.
“What did you write on the pad that you swiped from Dr. O’Hara?” Rodney asked as he went to fill his cup for the third time. It was decent coffee, but he would have to start looking to see if he could find something better out there. Chicago was a large city and they had to have some decent places to get gourmet products.
Rodney glanced up in time to see the Sentinel smirk at him. He really needed to start remembering the man’s name and stop calling him ‘The Sentinel’. Searching his memory, he thought that he had said it was John while they were in the Center. “Something you said in your dissertation sparked a thought. I needed to get it down before I lost the math for good.”
“Math?” Rodney felt his ears perk up. “What type of math?”
“Applied Mathematics. Specifically a way to take the raw data from multiple ground-based telescopes and clean it up enough to get high-resolution images of small celestial bodies.” John said smugly.
Rodney blinked at the thoughts that were suddenly running through his head. If the Sentinel had really come up with what he said he had… The changes to his field would be literally astronomical. He carefully put the coffee pot back in place and placed his cup on the table. He would not make with the grabby hands. “May I see the math please? You have me curious.” Rodney asked in as calm a voice as he could manage.
“Sure.” John said. “Just as soon as your committee comes back with news.”
“I can see that this is going to be a fun discussion.” Rodney said as he eyed the other man balefully. All John did was smile at him in a way that highlighted how pretty he was. Damn it. “You are enjoying teasing me, aren’t you?”
John shrugged and wagged his head from side to side, “It is fun and a great added benefit to the whole deal, but no. Someone from your committee is walking towards the door.”
“Oh. Right,” Rodney said quietly. A quick turn back to the coffee cup he had put down and it was now back in his hands. Sipping slowly, he stared at the door.
Two minutes and one empty coffee cup later, Dr. Espinoza, the lead Astrophysicist on his committee opened the door. “There you are, Rodney! Ready to hear our decision?”
It took a lot of effort to just place the cup down and not drop it, Rodney realized. Nodding his head at his teacher, he started towards him. “Yes, sir. I am. I’ve been waiting for this day for a while.”
The trip from the lounge to the conference room wasn’t all that long on a normal day, but Rodney was quiet certain that it took a lot less time today. Time was playing tricks on him. When they got into the room, John peeled off to stand by the door and tried to fade into the woodwork. Rodney didn’t have the heart to tell the man that it wasn’t working. He was standing out like, well, like the Sentinel he was. There were a lot of looks being aimed his way and Rodney was trying not to growl at them.
“Mr. McKay.” Rodney jerked his attention off of the little blond tart batting her eyes at his Sentinel and back to the head of his committee, Dr. Anderson. “It is the decision of this committee to award you your doctorate in Astrophysics. Congratulations, Dr. McKay. We are looking forward to great things from you in the future.”
As his hand was shook by each member of his committee, Rodney smiled. He had made it. Dr. M. Rodney McKay.
Life was good.