Title: Reality and Reflections
Series Order: 3
Banner Art: None
Word Count: 2,882
Authors Note: Not everything was skittles and beer now that the first hurdle had been conquered. Matter of fact, it was more like being hit with a 2×4. Not fun at all.
Art by Fanarts
“Dr. McKay, thank you for agreeing to this meeting,” Blair said in formal tones. Despite his words, there was a bright grin on his face. He was truly proud of his student.
Rodney returned the grin with one of his own. “Thank you, Dr. Sandburg! How can I be of service?”
Blair felt his face fall into more serious lines as he thinned his shields and contemplated what he had to say. Given who he was talking to, blunt honest was going to be the best policy. “You and John were put together to Bond yesterday, Rodney. We need to talk about what happened and what didn’t happen.”
“But nothing happened! We tried to be careful not to touch or anything!” Rodney protested.
“Nothing happened yesterday because neither of you wanted it to, plus we got someone there in time. But you and John are extremely compatible. To the point where I am certain that on a genetic level, you two are perfect matches for each other.” Blair sighed. “For most anyone else in the program, this would be cause for dancing in the street. For you two, it will be a lot different.”
“Why?” Blair could feel the need in the younger man to know, to understand why his teacher was denying something that every Guide wanted. A Sentinel of their own.
“Because no matter how compatible you and John are, your brains aren’t quiet mature enough to handle everything that a Bonding entails. If you were, you would have been thrown into it when John touched you in the meditation room.” Blair let his regret leak out through his shields. “It may be a year or more before you two are able to successfully support a Bond.”
“A year!” Rodney squeaked. Blair wasn’t going to laugh at him for that, even if it was funny. “What happens if we try to Bond before then?”
Now that wasn’t funny at all. Best to nip that idea in the bud, right now. “If you aren’t ready, you could burn out the channels in your mind that support a Bond. Rodney, I know that you are a powerful, well trained Guide, but there is a reason why we don’t let Sentinels and Guides bond before they are at least eighteen.”
“Burnout? I could burn out?” Rodney looked horrified and Blair felt the flair of it against his shields.
“Rodney. You’re projecting,” Blair said calmly. He knew he had gotten his point across. Rodney was far too well trained for this to have been a planned slip. The feeling of horror stopped and Blair watched as his student took a deep breath and concentrated on quieting his mind.
When Rodney next opened his eyes, he was calm and Blair could see that he had taken the time to actually absorb what he had said, not just react to the words. Good for him. Logic above emotion, for the win.
“So how will you know when we are ready to Bond? As far as I know, there is no reliable way to tell the channels from any other portion of the brain using a CT scan or a MRI,” Rodney asked.
“There isn’t. The only way is for a Bonded Guide to scan you both and confirm that you are ready. That is part of the reason why we were doing guided meditation yesterday. Your channels are just starting to open up and if you try anything now, well. Like I said, burnout,” the older Guide said softly.
Rodney growled lightly in obvious frustration. “So how do I keep from crawling all over John? I mean, let’s be honest here, Dr. Sandburg. If you had been told that you couldn’t have Mr. Ellison, what would you have done?”
“Oh, I think I would have gone a little mad before I could get the okay to Bond. And I expect that you two will be in pretty sad shape by the time we give you permission. But I also expect that you will be sane and unharmed at that point too. And that it will be a lot sooner than a year,” Blair said with a sigh.
“Oh, just a hunch.”
Jim pulled his hearing back from his Guide and looked at the younger Sentinel in front of him. Raising an eyebrow in question, he waited on him to finish digesting the conversation that they had just blatantly listened in on.
While John as working through everything that Blair had brought up, Jim took the time to run an accessing look over the younger man. He was tall for his age and thin, but there were some well trained muscles under the skin and he had felt gun and unarmed combat calluses on his hands. He was alert to any sudden movements around him and yet, he wasn’t always on guard and strung tight. Thinking back on it, Jim had watched John scan he room before he entered and only relaxed when his back was to a corner. He could only conclude that there was some serious training under the kids’ fluffy head. Good. He would need it.
When John refocused on him, Jim could almost feel the burn of the glare as he stared at him. Holding up a conciliatory hand, he tried to cut him off at the pass. “Hey! Don’t blame us, blame biology! This has been known about and proved many times over the last two hundred years. You would be getting the in depth lectures on Bonding this year as soon as you were cleared to go to the mixers here on campus.”
“And for those Sentinels and Guides who do not enter college?” John asked in a carefully controlled voice.
Jim cocked his head as he realized John didn’t know the answer, “You’ve been in college for how long?”
“What does that have to do with anything?” John asked, bewildered.
“Because Prides and the Centers start having introductory classes on Bonding and what it means when their members are around fourteen or so. That way no one is surprised by anything. Did no one mention that you were supposed to go to them?” Jim asked curious.
“No. No one did. Not to me,” John said grimly. “But then again, my father has been very hands on with my training for the last three years or so. To the point where he had be pulled out of my classes at the Center by my home. That would have been right about when I would have started to get training on what to do when I Bonded, right?”
Jim thought over the curriculum of the Sentinel/Guide Centers nationwide. “You’re seventeen, right?”
“Then, yes. You were likely pulled before you would have gotten this information.”Jim said calmly. Inside however, he was putting together a nice warm message to send to the heads of the Pride and Center in John’s natal territory. They had let an Alpha Sentinel out of their hands without verifying his training and it was only the younger man’s innate sense of honor that had kept a tragedy from happening. This was going to cause some interesting waves. He was actually looking forward to talking to them.
“Well, shit,” John said in disgust. Jim could only nod in agreement; there was nothing else to say. “So what’s next?”
“Next?” Jim stared at John and then smiled a bit meanly. “Well, your dad was called in to talk to us since you aren’t emancipated. Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson are going to be talking to him any time now. Wanna listen in?”
John cocked his head to the side as he considered what Jim had suggested. Eyes alight with determination, he nodded. “Yes. And can we ask Sentinel O’Neill to push the conversation in a way to get my dad to talk about why he took me out of classes?”
“Will do, John. Don’t worry. Danny and I can handle your dad,” O’Neill said quietly.
Jim was amused to see the kid start and look in the direction that Jack had spoken from. “You aren’t the only one here who wants to keep an eye on things. The only ones who might be startled are Blair and McKay. And even then, I am betting that Blair will know everything that happens with your dad within fifteen minutes of getting out of his room.”
Jack O’Neill looked at the man sitting across from him and Daniel. Patrick Sheppard was a very wealthy man and he had no problems letting everyone know that fact. From his handmade suit and shoes to a watch that cost more he and Danny made in a year, the man dripped money. Jack wasn’t impressed.
“As I understand it, Mr. Sheppard, John is a fully trained Sentinel and here at Northwestern to complete his Masters degree in Applied Math. Which I have been assured by his advisor that he will get with honors. So I need to ask: What is the problem?” Daniel asked.
Sheppard wasn’t twitching a muscle at answering the Guide’s question and that bothered Jack a bit. Most of the people they dealt with were not used to dealing with S&G pairs. This man was. The question was why?
“John may be a Sentinel, Dr. Jackson, but he is to follow me into the family business. Not this ridiculous desire of his to enter the military. Of course, his Guide will be expected to join John in the family business if he has any head for it,” Sheppard said coldly.
Now that was too much. “Your son, Mr. Sheppard, is a Sentinel. If he chooses to go into the military, that is both his choice and his right. As for his Guide, chances are indeed very good that he will walk beside his Sentinel in all things,” Jack said calmly. After all, McKay was young, fit and above all, a Wolf Guide. There was little chance that he would let his Sentinel out of his sight once they were allowed to Bond.
But the words slid right off Sheppard and it was obvious that he was neither listening nor believed them. Jack could see that this whole session was going to go downhill. When the man opened his mouth again, he was certain. “John knows that he isn’t going to go into the military. If he does, he is cut off.”
Jack could feel the ripple of shock and anger radiating out from his Guide. Daniel was no hot head, but even he had his limits. He heard Daniel take a long, slow breath. “What do you have against your son joining the military?”
The other man’s expression was a mix of arrogance and disdain as he said, “He is a Sheppard. We do not do that type of thing.”
The Bond he shared with Daniel was ablaze with the other man was feeling and then it was gone. Through the miniature storm that moved through the Guide his face never changed and neither did his voice as he calmly refuted the mundane before him. “Mr. Sheppard, John might not need to join the military, that is true. But the instincts and drives of a Sentinel tell him to work to protect the tribe. If that means that your son wants to join the military, then he will be joining the military. There is nothing that you can do to change that.”
Sheppard only raised an eyebrow in a move that practically screamed arrogance. “My son knows he is expected to do what is best for him.”
“Best being decided by you of course?” Daniel asked.
“Jack, watch out. Incoming,” Ellison said.
Jack hummed under his breath, certain that the other Sentinel could hear him. He wasn’t going to do a damn thing. This man had all but tap danced his way into his son’s bad graces and he was just going to sit back and watch the explosion. After all, they had made no secret about calling Sheppard in and if the moron had any clue, he knew what his son was capable of.
The sound of the door bouncing off the wall only startled one person in the room and it wasn’t the S&G pair. He was even more startled at the way that John was looking at him. This wasn’t a seventeen year old college student; this was a Sentinel dealing with a possible threat to his Guide. Oh, well.
Patrick Sheppard was not a man who knuckled under to anyone. Which was why he was perfectly happy to piss off the Alpha Sentinel and Guide pair that were ‘interviewing’ him. After all, their opinions didn’t matter to his lifestyle.
He had gotten used to dealing with Sentinels and Guides on an almost daily basis after he had taken over the training of his oldest son and heir. No Sheppard was going to be mixing with the common rabble while in training. The Center by his main house let everyone who applied in and even worse, his heir might Bond with an unsuitable Guide. No.
When the door to the interview room bounced open and his son stormed in, Patrick mentally ‘tsked’ at the melodrama. Sitting back in his chair, he looked at his heir. “John.”
“I find it amazing what you have managed to get away with concerning me. But no more,” John said quietly. “I am a Sentinel. I am not going to join the family business. I will be out protecting the tribe. As I was meant to. If that bothers you, too damn bad. You have nothing to hold me with anymore.”
The elder Sheppard raised an eyebrow at that statement. “I have your brother and I have your Trust.”
There was a flash of anger in his son’s eyes and then there was nothing. Patrick watched as he signaled the other Sentinel to do nothing when he started to move. Good. He would have preferred it if the pair had left him alone with his son, but since they hadn’t, their silence would have to do. Patrick let his face fall into an inquiring look. He was actually curious to find out what John had to say.
His son took a deep breath and looked at him calmly. “David is just like you, Father. He has no other ambition but to make more money for the family. Use him in your dynastic plans. He’ll enjoy it. As for my Trust from Mom? You might be able to keep it from me until I am eighteen, but no further. I know the terms it was set up under. Thus, you have no hooks to use to keep me in line.”
Impressive. The boy had balls. But in all the wrong ways. “As you will. If you do not want the obligations of being a Sheppard, I will cut you lose. You are no son of mine,” Patrick said in a bored tone. Standing up, he moved around the table he had been sitting at and walked out of the room. Eventually John would come back. After all, despite his now having a Guide, family came first.
Patrick made it out of the building without anyone trying to stop him. What a pity. After getting into his limo, he tapped the direct line to his secretary, “Gladys, put me through to my attorney. I need to change my will. Also get me the file on my son David.”
As he was placed on hold while she transferred him, Patrick Sheppard contemplated his only son’s future. This one would do, he decided.
“So we have a year or so before we can Bond,” Rodney said. He was so not happy with the thought of having to wait. His Sentinel was either growing on him or he was really, really horny. At this point, Rodney was quite certain that his hormones didn’t care one way or another.
“Yup. That is what they are telling me too. But I am thinking that we will get to that magic mature point a bit sooner,” John said from his spot on the floor. The Sentinel had walked into the large sunlit room and staked out a spot in the sunshine. From the way that he was sprawled, Rodney was convinced that his spirit animal was some type of feline. No other animal on earth could take up more space than could be logically explained due to their size.
“Sooner? Do you know something that Professor Sandburg doesn’t?” Rodney asked, his attention grabbed by the pronouncement. When John rolled over onto his stomach and stretched, he could feel his thoughts hiccup and then try and restart.
John was looking at him with knowing eyes, like he could see his brain trying to reboot. Rodney glared at him and tried to ignore his blush. Smirking, John nodded. “I do indeed know something that the Prof doesn’t know. When we are alone like this, you start putting out the same scent that Bonded Guides do when they need to Bond with their Sentinels. It’s faint, but it is there.”
“Really?” Rodney squeaked. He knew that he had. And from the amusement in the other man’s eyes, he was enjoying his reactions way too much.
“Really,” John agreed.