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John Sheppard is not your typical Guide and he knows it. He's stoic. Emotionally detached. Unreachable, according to his instructors long ago in Guide School.

He likes it that way.

How can he be the center of someone's storm if he's panicking and crying all the time? Why wait for a rescue if you can do it yourself?

He's 'not a nurturer' and really? that is so much bullshit. Yea, he's a soldier. Yea, he's killed people but aren't Sentinels supposed to be the ultimate soldiers? What soldier doesn't want a partner? Especially one that can fly or drive practically everything?

All of them according to the Sentinel/Guide Center.

He wouldn't even be here if the Sentinel in question hadn't insisted his guide had to be military. And if this wasn't the sentinel's third Guide Search. Rumor has it the guy's a SEAL. That he came online when a mission went wrong. That he's older than most new sentinels.

John takes a deep breath and stomps on his hopes with both feet. Rumors are never right.

He watches the hopeful crowd at the door. Don't they know the statistical likelihood of one of them bonding this guy is infinitely small? That doesn't stop John from keeping his distance so it feels less like rejection when he goes home alone and one of them doesn't.

The door opens to Jim Ellison standing in the entry way. His gaze was intense and its effect on the room immediate. Every conversation stops. All the room's occupants stand, silent and waiting.

James Ellison is fire; hot and intense. He is danger, like a gun with no safety, full auto and of large caliber.

Mundanes complain that Ellison is too wild, too feral. More jungle cat than man. A Spirit Animal in a human suit. They act like the Alpha Sentinel of two continents is an elected position. A popularity contest. It isn't. You fight for it.

Four years ago when the Alpha Pair that had been on top since the 70's decided to retire, every alpha in North and South America converged on Vancouver, Canada. Challenges were fought, not to the death but until the veneer of civilization fell away and true dominance shined.

Jim Ellison hadn't fought. He walked into the challenge hall with only his Beta at his back and the fighting stopped. Two weeks later Cascade, Washington was the Sentinel Capital of the Western Hemisphere.

Jim Ellison moves further into the room, followed quickly by his bonded guide. Blair Sandburg is just as intense as his sentinel but in a different way. Water to Jim's fire. Warm water to sooth the body. Cool water to nourish. Demanding but forgiving. Mentally fluid, agile and fast.

"Thank you for coming. The sentinel you are about to meet is a Jaguar Sentinel. He has been in the Navy approximately 15 years and is an active duty SEAL. He came online in a feral situation but is not considered fragile so, so far, we have foregone genetic testing.  Allow me to introduce Chief Petty Officer Ronon Dex."

The man that steps through the door is a tornado. Ronon is air. Wind. Constant motion. Unbridled freedom. The energy to shape mountains and the fury to tear them down.

The Sentinel's eyes land on John like a blow, shocking and strangely intimate. His regard is total, as if no one else exists.

Ronon starts making his way over.

John should say something. Some personal statistic. Name. Date of birth. Social Security number. 'Hi, I'm John and I like Ferris Wheels.' Anything.

"I don't want a platonic bond." Not that!

The sentinel smirks. He fucking smirks! "Good."

Chapter Text

Jack is a guide.

He had been identified at the end of puberty like so many others. Even then his intuition was fully active, he had a greater-than-average dose of precognition and he could throw around the voice when he absolutely had to but his empathy was shoddy. Hit-and-miss. Unreliable.

Hell, he'd seen his spirit guide before. He saw his lion playing in the sand with Skaara's on the first Abydos mission. He wasn't sure if it was frustrating or fitting that his was scrawny, underfed and maneless thing while Skaara's was big, sleek and a full blown maneater.

Jack is latent.

"What is this?" A strong hand grabs him, touches him. Even through metal gloves and the layers of his battle uniform the touch is intense. Life altering. Jack's world tilts on its axis.

"It's a watch. "

"This is not goa'uld technology. Where are you from?"

Snarking something about Chicago might not be a wise choice but what else can he do? This great, big, hulking arm of the devil is his sentinel. His. The guy's not online and was found on a planet on the opposite side of the galaxy but oh so very, very Jack O'Neill's.

Jack should know. He has touched a lot of sentinels in a lot of ways hoping for that world-tipping moment. The moment that ideally would send him online but didn't. Couldn't? Did this kinda thing work? for aliens and all?

Tall, dark and tasty draws a line through Danny's sand sketch and walks away but Jack can feel him in the back of his mind. Confused, Tasty is confused and frustrated but he locks it down and leaves the over-crowded cell without glancing back at Jack.

Jack huffs, frustrated. Get it together, Jackass, get your people out. He starts to wish Skaara -or Kawalsky- was there but stops himself. Kawalsky is holding base camp with the cavalry and Skaara is laid up, gut shot, in the SGC infirmary.

He didn't bother to hide his smirk. His spirit's son had done so well. With less than a minute of physical contact as Apophis evaluated and rejected Skaara, the youngster had harvested at least three relevant gate addresses and downloaded a god's-eye-view of goa'uld culture and history.

So much vital intelligence Skaara's mind compressed and suppressed it. More came out every time they found the right question. Skaara's guide status insured questions were only asked. Sentinels in the mountain would not tolerate any abuse.

His 'kid' will be safe on Earth, in the mountain, for years.

When Jack sees Tasty again he stands at the top of the stairs surrounded by armored men and slaves in silk. He is so obviously the boss of them. It's pretty great.

Then Jackson loses his shit over some fairy princeling and all Jack can feel, see and hear is the pity pouring off of his sentinel, the sad shake of his metal covered head.

"Kill the rest." Chief Snake's multi-tone voice is cold and hot and strangely happy all at the same time. Like a serial killer.

A spike of pain from the dark form knifes Jack's chest. Civilians run screaming to the back wall. Tasty moves to join the firing squad.

"I can save these people! " Tasty stops, bringing his weapon to bear on Jack. "HELP ME!!"

The pain spikes in his chest, twisting just so before it cuts off and flares into a white phosphorus flare of hope.

"Help me."

"Many have said that,” the thick, chocolate voice is heavy with contempt. Abruptly the sentinel whirls and fires on his own men. "But you are the first I believed could do it."

The guards fall like well-armored dolls. Shoulder to shoulder Jack and Tasty charge the cell door, scattering reinforcements long enough for Jack to blow a hole in the back wall for their escape.

The thud of falling armor pulls Jack's attention back into the room. The sentinel is the only one in the room. He looks frighteningly alone. Lost.

"Hey! Come on."

Black eyes are broken."I have nowhere to go."

"For this, you can stay at my place."

Chapter Text

Rodney isn't sure when he noticed Tyre. Noticed him, noticed him. Like really noticed him. He'd always known the guy was physically there. For as long as Rodney could remember he'd had a Tyre-shaped shadow.

People said they were best friends but, really, how would Rodney know? He doesn't have many friends. He doesn't have patience for most people. Most of the ones he might be willing to give a chance aren't stupid enough to try to get past Tyre.

Until John Sheppard.

John Sheppard the bonded guide from Earth.

The guy could do some really sexy things with numbers. In his head, no less! And Tyre had just let Shep slip right past him. Too busy making calf-eyes at the guy's sentinel.

Not that Ronon Dex wasn't worth a look or three. Even if the guy is as much a seal as Rodney is. Maybe "Seal" is a title? An aquatic mammal an honorific? How stupid.

Fury and fear, both completely foreign to him clench in Rodney's gut.

Sheppard cuts himself off mid-sentence and snaps his attention to the door. Within seconds Tyre and Dex burst into the room carrying enough weapons to end a war.

"Five Hive ships have been spotted. Coming this way." The alien's husky, sexed-out voice doesn't make taking the blow any easier.

Instinctively Rodney reaches out to Tyre, with more than just his hand. As soon as Tyre grasps his physical hand and pulls him close it snaps into place.

A bond.

Built on a lifetime of trust and friendship.

Just like in the sandbox as kids they stand together; Rodney and Tyre, Guardians of Sateda. Now and forever.