Toby always knew his special ability was there for a reason. Not only had Ray always talked about it like that, but being able to read minds was not normal. He didn’t register on the Guide scale and hadn’t been tested since being dropped off in the system due to Ray’s protection to keep his telepathy a secret.
Guides in Canada that were orphaned were usually required to be placed into the system and later worked for the government in some way. Toby never could concentrate on law and bureaucracy so he was glad he didn’t register on the scale.
Ray had asked for an unofficial meeting with Blair Sandburg throughout the years though and the Guide had frowned at him quite a bit before nodding and turning to Jim for confirmation. Ray had been asked to leave and Toby had grown uneasy.
Being sixteen at the time, he didn’t have much to go on. He could read them but he had sworn to never read anyone. Not that reading people was much fun. He had learned early on that some secrets were better left alone.
Blair had tapped at his temple and given him permission to read his mind, knowing through Jim that Sentinels were close by and listening in since they were in an official Sentinel Guide Center.
//You are a powerful Guide. Even more so than I am. But since North America is fairly big, I guess you rating second until you are bonded and would be my equal could be really helpful. Now, you don’t scream Guide to anyone but us both, which is a protection for you. Your abilities are different from mine but not less weak. I am powerful in empathy, spirit and intuition. You are strong in telepathy, persuading if not influencing others and solving puzzles.//
Toby nodded in understanding what Blair was saying but didn’t quite know until later what this would mean. Puzzles. Solving other people’s problems when their thoughts forced his way past his shields.
Osman being there in his life, helping him and being his sidekick, if Toby thought so. The one true friend that Toby sometimes slipped with and read his thoughts but Osman never thought ill of anything or anyone. He had a simple mind and an honest, good heart. Even telling him about his abilities after the case with the woman and the exploding car, Toby couldn’t detect a hint of worry about being read by Toby. Osman accepted that Toby sometimes couldn’t do anything about reading him much less than Osman could stopped thinking his thoughts.
Absolving the EMS training and riding with Oz the first few years was simply amazing. Their friendship constant and Toby never had a reason to read Oz’ mind to find hidden truths or lies. The accident that passed his shields was changing things in Toby’s plan to stay hidden and Blair’s words with puzzling and being strong in persuading meant making people think and talk about things that Toby needed to know to help those cases he worked on with Charlie.
Charlie. She was a fierce female Sentinel with a great protective streak and would be Toby and his Sentinel’s beta leader if she bound to a Guide. Maybe he should introduce her to Liv.
The Guide doctor who had to fight working in the ER due to her abilities. Thankfully Blair had persuaded the hospital that her abilities were extraordinary to make her patients feel less pain and calm them down. After Liv, more Guides were added to the staff that had similar effect. Most normal people didn’t want to be treated by a Guide without the agreements though. Another reason Toby was glad his Guide status had never made it on paper.
Toby waved briefly to Liv and though they had had a relationship, both knew once their Sentinel was found, it was over. Their combination of friendship and relationship was rather unusual due to them both being Guides though and Toby wondered if his Guide abilities were similar that of a Sentinel’s.
Liv wasn’t the first and last Guide that felt attracted to Toby which was quite unusual because Toby never once mentioned being a Guide and as far as he knew, Liv had to have been told that he was a Guide to even register. He seemed like a mundane but something must tip the Guides off to like him. Maybe it was being an Alpha Guide?
Sadly, Osman was rating fairly low on the whole spectrum so that his Sentinel senses were only that of touch and smell. Very handy when their patient had a fracture and Oz could detect it while Toby could easily rate the pain. Not that Osman knew he was a Guide. Sadly, as close as Oz was Toby’s friend, he wouldn’t rate beta when Toby bonded with his Sentinel.
Having to answer Oz about his gifts were met with surprise and rather funny comments though Toby knew Osman was slightly put off that Toby never told him before. Toby could read those thoughts from him and sighed sadly: “I was told to never tell anyone, Oz. Sandburg and Ellison both told me to keep quiet, they never voiced it.”
“I get it man, self-preservation comes first. No wonder you were able to pull me out of a zone that one time there.” Oz shrugged easily and Toby knew that Osman’s good-natured spirituality helped smooth those ruffled feathers. Osman had hidden his talents as well for a while to finish his training in peace and not be asked to join the military or police.
Toby picked up his beer bottle from next to the chair while relaxing a bit to enjoy the sunset: “I guess. You’re an amazing Sentinel and person, Oz. If I ever know right away someone is a perfect match, I’ll tell you right away.”
“That’s all I ask for,” Osman replied easily and grinned widely.
Working with Charlie opened new doors for Toby though it was frowned upon his methods. Charlie caught on that he had some kind of ability but she figured he was a Sentinel snooping around.
“You would tell me if you’re a Sentinel, right? I don’t get the feeling you are though,” she smiled: “It would help putting them away and making warrants stick.”
Toby looked at her and didn’t reply but she sighed and gave up, changing the topic to their latest case and Toby’s news. He knew he was a bit unfair but Ray’s warning was still in his ears. The few glimpses of memory he had were threatening due to his mother trying to hide the fact that she had that ability. Jumping into the icy river to escape was risky enough. Toby also remembered the terror he had felt and the images of what they would do to him if found out.
Guides with telepathy were rare. Extremely so. Maybe he was the only one that could access any and all thoughts no matter their shields. A bonded pair had primary shields that prevented Toby from accidentally stumbling onto their thoughts but when Toby wanted to get information, those shields were paper-thin. There were only a handful recorded throughout the time with similar abilities.
A telepathic bond between Sentinel and Guide were pretty common. Toby knew most pairs talked or exchanged thoughts, pictures, feelings or expressions between them. Toby could read them. Always.
Telling Charlie that he was a Sentinel when he wasn’t one? Could be dangerous eventually. No, Toby couldn’t tell anyone just yet. Maybe once he found his Sentinel could he be more open simply because his Sentinel caught on.
His Sentinel. An unknown factor. Usually, Sentinel and Guides worked closely together so they could always support the other. Toby couldn’t see himself doing anything else than what he did now; riding with Oz and helping people on the street.
Charlie’s boss was cute and of course Toby knew about their affair. He knew they were Sentinel and Guide but refused to bond because they weren’t a perfect match. Toby respected that and hoped to hell they would find Charlie’s match soon.
“Toby?” Charlie asked and brought him back to the present. He nodded and listened again.
Spike came online when he had been a small child. He couldn’t remember much but his mother always told him it was hard on him and hiding his abilities wasn’t an option. Italy had a rather strict policy regarding young, strong Sentinels and that was removing them from their family and more or less brainwashing them to fit into a Mafia, the government or military.
Not liking their options and having Michelangelo removed from them, they had packed their bags in a hurry and left the country. Canada had been ideal and agreed to let them stay, granting them permanent residence after also testing his abilities and only asking for Spike to attend a few basic seminars and any other he wished.
His dad had found work easily and his mother worked part-time at a restaurant. Spike loved his mother’s food but found himself zone more often than not.
School and chemistry was a dream come true, working with computers came easy and Spike hacked the records in Italy and changed his paperwork to a mere Sentinel of level three. He enjoyed that.
Looking for a Guide, Spike went to Guide-searches but never found someone suitable enough. He wouldn’t bond with anyone less than ideal for him. Not finding a Guide, he gave up and started working for the police. His high adrenaline response was enough to carry him through the highest physical requirements and having a mental ability was found useful in projecting calm thoughts.
Getting into the SRU was not too difficult with Spike’s additional training in handling negotiations with Sentinel and Guides, feral or not. His knowledge of chemicals and bombs with programming was good for the rest.
Ed was a Sentinel of level five, perfect eye-hand coordination, therefore ideal for sniping. He was a strong Sentinel and had his Guide on the job. Greg Parker was his perfect match though both men never indulged physically into their bond. Both men were rather good in their families and happy but Spike just knew they were doomed. Sentinel Guide Pairs almost always ended up together. They were designed to be a perfect match. Settling for less than perfect was hard and could lead to zone outs.
Jules was a level six Sentinel. Extraordinary and like Spike, strong. She could easily be the Alpha of Toronto one day, if her Guide shared her strong abilities.
Having two unbound Sentinels in the team, Wordy was the perfect solution. He was a Guide, level six himself, suitable to get Jules and Spike from a zone. Wordy was like Parker, could project calmness and influence people’s emotions to become more calm. Being a strong Guide, Wordy was often requested by the center to find his Sentinel but so far he hadn’t found his match.
Spike loved his team and hid what he was. Yes, they knew he was a Sentinel but Spike, like in front of every Center after he hacked the paperwork (except Italy), appeared to be a level four. He hid that way, trying to appear less dangerous.
“We do get a new guy today. A Guide. Sam something,” Ed reminded them and Jules was already perking up and looking towards the new guy.
Michelangelo could feel the Guide, rather normal and sadly, not strong enough to make Jules the new Alpha of Toronto. Maybe the beta: “They’re a match,” he whispered and got a nod from Ed, already having figured it from Jules’ reaction.
The rest was history.
Sam was integrated into their team quicker than usual given that Jules had a foot into their pack already and being her Guide, the man was trusted on instinct. Of course Spike was wary given Sam’s background with the military and troubles they always faced in the field was tough. Knowing your Guide or Sentinel was around indicated that any given moment one or the other could flip.
Yes, they were highly trained but no one could predict how a Guide or a Sentinel would behave when their partner was injured. Spike worried since Sam and Jules were the first in his team to have a sexual bond.
Messing up was the default agenda for a new SRU member. Sam did mess up but on the small scale but having made first contact had been just a bout of bad luck.
Spike knew he had strong empathic sense and registered any and all emotions Sam had. He hated monitoring Jules and her new bond but he was worried about possible PTSD if the fellow officer wasn’t stable after having served in war.
Sam saving Spike’s ass from a third shooter he hadn’t noticed due to managing his senses that were focused on covering Greg, Sam threw himself in the way and protected the Sentinel. Mike was thankful that both hadn’t ended up injured and Jules’ feral episode was given seeing that a Sentinel and her own Guide were attacked.
Spike gladly helped Jules with the paperwork and stopped monitoring Sam that accurately.
Not knowing how this all escalated so quickly, Spike knew it was going to be bad. They had done everything they could, evacuate hostages, cleared the adjacent buildings, having Ed on the roof waiting for Scorpion, Babycakes wheeling in…
Greg and Wordy had done all their persuading they could and Spike could feel the last thread of sanity fade. The building would blow soon and Spike was nowhere near the bomb.
The shockwave hit them not ten seconds later, loud, vibrating, dusty and ashes in the sky. All Spike’s senses were pushed to the limit but he fought it off, concentrating on taste of the coffee he had had earlier that day. Thickening his shields triple and storing up mental strength to push through for his pack.
“Anyone need help?” he asked scratchy voice and all but recovering quickly.
He got a surprised look from Wordy who then looked around for Lou, their only mundane member on the team, and Sam was already talking to Jules, bringing her senses down. Ed and Greg were also talking quietly and getting the senses managed though Ed seemed to have troubles reigning in sound. Spike knew only taste could completely bring the other man down but they hadn’t had a bond with kissing included.
Quickly patting his pockets, Spike found a sugar pill and handed it to Ed and Greg who looked at him totally surprised but knew what to do with it anyways.
“How come you didn’t zone?” Wordy asked stunned, patting his shoulder to make sure he was stable.
Spike sighed. He was a strong Sentinel and it took more to zone. Sometimes he simply had bad luck. He shrugged and started organizing things with Wordy and Lou while their team was getting back on their feet. It didn’t take more than half a minute in total since they were tactical response and couldn’t always waste time on getting their senses back. Granted, they only ever zoned when bombs were involved that were only a few meters away.
Wordy threw Ed and Greg a look that meant as much as this isn’t over before they focused back on work. Spike knew this was rather normal given what he had showed them without actually wanting. Only thing worse than staying focused in this environment would have been zoning and dropping all shields, showing his team exactly what he had been hiding.
Later, at their post-mission reports, Greg looked Spike over: “Wordy told me you didn’t zone. Any idea why?” Spike knew why they asked and understood the reasoning but hiding was second nature for now because people killed unwanted Alphas or Sentinels and Guides if they were a political nightmare. Being carde blance and high leveled at that meant trouble.
“Probably because I am used to explosives going off in close proximity,” Spike reasoned: “I sometimes zone when it’s unexpected though.”
Whether they suspected Spike was stronger than they believed or not, Spike couldn’t tell. They might now suspect something though but wouldn’t voice it. They all knew Italy and their politics regarding Sentinels. They would trust the paperwork in the official government channels.
Spike went feral.
He rarely ever did but this time it was Jules that was hurt and Spike could hear the shouts of Wordy, Sam and Greg but all he could think about was getting Jules out of there, away from that man because he was wrong. A Sentinel that never came online due to being crazy and seeing Jules as a threat. He had flipped and caught Jules trying to save some hostages. He had hurt her, shot her in the shoulder, then reached out to grab her and hold her tightly.
Sam was worried and that worry bled over to Spike. The smell of Jules’ blood. His pack, his beta, goddamnit. Sam was too far away still to help, Ed on top of a roof as a sniper, Greg and Wordy covering a different angle.
The man barely saw Spike approaching. When he did, he dropped Jules and Spike slammed into the man, laying fists on him, protecting his pack.
Semi-brain-dead Sentinel or not, the man fought back and knifed Spike in the stomach but was too slow to get his arms up again. Spike’s own knife went straight through his throat.
“MICHELANGELO!” Greg shouted but Spike could only watch the body drop to the floor. Jules was next to him, looking up at him in surprise and Spike knew that they realized what he was. His shields were all over the place, he knew.
“Alpha Prime, I’m okay,” Jules reassured and Spike looked at Sam, a few steps away from his Sentinel in fear Spike would lash out in his need to protect Jules. Spike would never go against his pack or Guide and he nodded at Sam to come closer.
“EMT’s close by. They brought two,” Lou said carefully and Spike looked down at his stomach, barely registering the pain. No, he had turned touch off. He didn’t feel anything.
Somewhere in his mind, he knew it was dangerous to shut off completely.
Wordy’s hand on his shoulder agitated Spike further and his head snapped around to the two arriving ambulances: “Guide.” He gritted out: “Mine.”
Ed, having heard Spike’s words was already running to reach the teams, already knowing the first ambulance wasn’t the Guide and directed them to Jules. Hopefully Spike’s Guide would take Spike to the hospital.
Oz and Toby were just arriving at a scene where the police had secured the area when Toby’s head snapped around and focused on one of the SRU’s member. The second ambulance was right behind them and Toby looked at Oz briefly: “My Sentinel is here.”
Osman’s eyes widened and zoomed in on the standing Sentinel, covered in blood and a dead body at his feet: “That guy?”
Toby nodded and jumped out of the truck before it stopped. A man from SRU already came running but Toby knew what he wanted: “I’m the Guide.”
The man frowned briefly and Toby thinned his primary shield, knowing exactly when Oz and the Sentinel in front of him realized how powerful he was. The Sentinel stepped aside quickly.
Reaching the other man, Toby touched the Sentinel: “I’m Toby Logan and I’m your Guide.”
Spike barely nodded with recognition: “Spike.” He replied and Toby looked amused when Spike’s thoughts went along: //Michelangelo sometimes Mike usually Spike Scarlatti. Damnit I can’t even focus enough to say my name.//
“You’re focused enough for being feral.” Toby replied: “Dial up your touch.”
Following suit, Mike’s touch increased and Toby winced with Mike. The older man looked surprised: “That hurts you?”
“Only because I read you,” Toby replied vaguely: “Concentrate please. I can’t treat you before your senses are stabled. Sight?”
“Is good. So is smell and hearing. Already listen to your heartbeat.” Spike said,
Toby grinned stupidly before leaning closer: “Taste?”
“Not good,” Spike replied: “I could taste the blood. Now, nothing.”
Toby frowned, kissing was too early and not counting the consequences, and took out a small piece of chocolate before giving it to his Sentinel: “Here.”
Spike took it and after a few seconds nodded: “Normal.”
“I’m so glad to finally meet you but sadly, I’ll have to dope you up now.” He nodded at Osman who came closer and passed him the syringe.
When Spike came to, it was to a lot of noise and smell. Thankfully the sheets he was lying under were soft and didn’t cause rashes. He could feel the echo of each stitch he had gotten while under and carefully ghosted over the plaster to feel the uneven rise of the stitches underneath the soft fabric. He loved being a Sentinel sometimes.
Now he just wondered where the hell his Guide was. The man with those brilliant blue eyes, those soft looking black hair and the nice smell though it was layered with medical related chemicals.
The short brush of minds was enough to make Spike realize though, that his Guide was hiding. He was aware of the brief panic his Guide had given off probably without knowing he even had.
Toby Logan was an interesting person for sure. An even more interesting Guide as far as Spike could tell. He tilted his head a bit when he heard a Guide approach: “Hello there, I’m Olivia and I’m your Doc. Are you feeling all right? You were giving off a little bit of emotional pain here.”
Spike thought for a moment: “Yeah, I’m good. Just wondering where my Guide went off to?”
Liv frowned and settled down in the visitors’ chair next to him: “I’m sorry. Toby is a very close friend and I always knew that he was hiding. More than his Guide-gifts. I know he’s out there trying to get rid of his past. More I cannot tell you.”
“That is enough for now. Let him know my team and I are on hand if he needs it.” Spike said slowly and settled back into the pillows: “My verdict?”
The Guide smiled brightly: “Ah, you’re going to be fine. The knife didn’t nick any important arteries or organs so there was no internal bleeding. Add that the blade was rather short and the angle it was in was more underneath your skin than internally. Toby only drugged you because it would be easier on your touch sensory. I patched you up with eight stitches under your skin, the muscles. Those stitches you probably feel for about two weeks and they’re not the one on top and visible. You probably already counted the visible ones.”
“Twelve,” Spike replied with a grin.
“Right. Your stomach muscles are slowly healing on your side but I expect you will recover in two weeks and are able to work your shifts beginning in a week. Thankfully your Sentinel abilities will tell you when you overdo it.”
“Like I’m one to sit about and do nothing,” Spike sighed: “Seriously, where is my Guide?”
Liv tensed then: “I know it’s tough but Toby hid from people that might have killed his mother and brother. He doesn’t know all about his past but he’s trying to keep you save.”
“I’m his Sentinel, Doctor,” Spike replied and sat him, frowning a bit at the hurt: “I will find him right now.”
“Discuss this with your team,” Liv argued: “I cannot in good conscience let you leave.”
“Too bad,” Spike replied: “I’ll sign out DAMA.”
It was then that the whole remaining team walked in, minus Jules –who was in surgery- and Sam rather close by but not too far away from her; Ed and Greg while Wordy and Lou hung back. Ed said harshly: “Spike, you got injured. You will stay here and get healed.”
“My Guide is out there doing god knows what,” Spike replied: “You of all people should know what that’s like.”
“You would be no use to him,” Lou replied sadly: “Injured you would make him more worried.”
Spike sighed annoyed: “Yes and I can’t hack every possible database to find the bad guys?”
Liv looked up: “You can hack databases? Let me call Toby,” she disappeared then on the side.
“Well, this just turned interesting,” Greg mentioned and looked at Spike who was about to move again: “You stay put.”
A few minutes later, a woman, tall and a badge on her belt, came storming in: “Where’s Toby?” she asked demandingly before her eyes focused on Wordy and she looked at him, surprised before Wordy stepped closer: “Sentinel.”
“Guide,” she replied, recognizing him as her own.
Spike grinned: “A fierce protective detective cop? Who would have thought.”
A second later, Spike recognized that not Jules would be his second but that Sentinel-cop. She was stronger than Jules, barely, but Wordy was making her stronger than Sam did Jules. Not that it was wrong to have a softer Guide since it was always the perfect choice for someone.
“My name is Detective Charlie Marks,“ she said: “I’m working with Toby on the off chance that we find his mother and brother.”
“Kevin Wordsworth but everyone calls me Wordy,” he replied to her: “I’m with that guy in the bed that apparently is Toby’s Sentinel.”
“Toby is a Guide!?” she asked surprised: “I always thought he was a Sentinel and hiding behind his shields.”
“You didn’t know he’s the Alpha Guide?” Greg asked, surprised: “We saw him and knew right away.”
“Well, meeting your Sentinel could do that to his shields,” Liv said defensively.
Spike didn’t say anything but could feel Toby coming closer. Not that the other man had been too far away, Spike had sensed him with his partner, the Sentinel he had met in the ambulance.
“Hey,” Toby greeted them all, looking at Spike: “Sorry for leaving you alone…”
“But there are some things you need to deal with first?”
Toby grinned: “Yeah,” he looked around the room, quickly making an assessment of all: “You Sentinels, please do me the favor and check if there is another Sentinel close by that could listen in.”
Osman shook his head negatively but Toby knew his senses were too low. Ed shook his head negatively but Toby’s point of reference would always be Charlie first. Add that she would be his Beta Sentinel while surprisingly Greg would be Beta Guide.
“We’re good,” Charlie spoke out loud.
“As you gathered, I’m an Alpha Prime Guide. Mike is my Sentinel and when I was a kid, I was assessed by Alpha Guide Sandburg to be equal in rank when I would bond. The reason I hid so fiercely is that I always could read thoughts.”
“Like all thoughts?” Wordy asked for clarification.
“Images, feelings, intuitions and just everything. Bonded pairs are protected from me accidentally stumbling over a strong thought because trust me, being assaulted by thoughts is rather hurtful at times. With Spike, I’ll have more protection there.”
“Why are you telling us?” Wordy asked interested because he could sense Liv being unhappy and Osman protective of the secrets. Charlie seemed completely baffled by the revelation.
“Because I only remember a little bit about my past and what I know isn’t that good,” Toby started: “Besides, Spike and I will be bonded soon, you’re his pride, and will be ours,” he took Spike’s hand: “But first, I want my past settled because me being an Alpha Prime will be public knowledge soon.”
“Why don’t you start with what you remember?” Charlie suggested: “We’ll go from there.”
“I remember my mother an I hiding with my baby brother in a trailer park. I noticed people coming closer that had hurtful thoughts and my mother and I, we ran. I jumped into a river with her to escape but we were found again and she dropped me off at Ray’s. Ray is the one who took me in due to my mental abilities and helped me keep it a secret.”
“What about your mother and brother?” Spike asked worriedly.
“I don’t know. I never saw them after that,” Toby admitted: “I just know that my mother was scared enough for her to jump into a river and ordering me to forget my old name. Which sadly, I did.”
“What was your mother’s name?” Charlie asked.
“Maya. Now, finding her will be hard given all the time but I cannot in good conscience let someone be out there that could harm us.” Toby admitted.
Spike indicated Wordy and Toby read the thoughts: //My Computer?//
Wordy handed over a tablet, Spike eagerly taking it and letting Toby’s hand drop. He started typing on the screen and punched in a few codes and search words.
Toby looked around the room, making it a point not to read anyone’s thoughts and finding it hard. He also sensed Mike’s frustration at being close to him but not close enough. His injury was also a problem they would have to face.
Why couldn’t things ever be easy?
“I think I found something,” Spike said and Toby was in his thoughts before he could pull back. Even if Spike was his Sentinel, reading all thoughts was a line he just crossed. Wincing, Toby pulled back and Mike realized what had happened, throwing him a smile: “It’s okay, Toby. So, Maya disappeared around the time Toby Logan showed up. There are not too many people that fit the bill in that time frame that just vanish. Maya always tried to hide before, yes, but faking her death is something different.”
“Faking her death?” Charlie asked: “We were at the bridge and found her car under the snow.”
“It was empty. It shouldn’t be empty if she died there.” Osman agreed.
Spike continued: “Does the name William mean anything to you?” he asked at Toby.
Toby shook his head before something familiar pushed through: “It sounds familiar.”
“That’s your birth name,” Spike explained and showed him his birth record.
“Anything about my mother?” Toby asked, trying to puzzle the pieces in his mind. He hated sitting around idly and he knew he needed to get rid of his past before getting the title of Alpha Prime. If he had been just an Alpha, it wouldn’t matter too much but this, this was just bad with public wide announcement since Alpha Primes were so rare.
Spike continued typing, ignoring his pain until Toby pushed him here and there and Spike’s muscles relaxed more into the bed. The Sentinel shot his Guide a thankful look: “I have the records but she vanished with you. I can only try to hope she chose Logan as a last name as well since she hoped to stay with you. Resulting in finding a woman with that picture.”
Toby looked at the screen and stared at the face of a woman with bright blue eyes. The same he found staring back at him in the mirror. He didn’t even have to ask Spike for confirmation because the other man could also tell she was his mother.
“I don’t know where she is now but I’ll find out,” Spike promised: “And we’ll dig further until we have the ones after you.”
“If we want to catch them, why shouldn’t we trap them? Use Toby’s announcement for our advantage?” Charlie asked simply: “We’re enough to protect him all times and enough to strike when they show up.”
Toby was about to protest but Liv piped up, knowing that Toby would put off bonding with his Sentinel to protect him but in the long run harming him further: “Toby, she’s right. I’m sure not only attacking the Alpha Prime will put a target on them from every possible department but also making it possible for your mother to find you.”
“Once it is a matter of the security of our pride, it will be a matter of the whole states,” Greg agreed: “It would be better to go after them after you’re properly bonded and registered. Of course it is your decision but Spike and you should talk this through alone.”
It was a clear dismissal of everyone on the room, besides that it was early evening already and Spike and Toby really needed to talk privately about how, when and where to bond.
Toby sighed and sat down, staring at his Sentinel: “I’m sorry about all this. Greg is right of course,” he nodded more to himself than Spike: “We need to discuss this together and leaving you alone was a shit thing to do.”
“Given what I got from your history? Cakewalk. I understand you, even if we haven’t bonded yet. I fled my country when I was a kid due to my Alpha status and hacked the files to a low ranking to hide. It’s not like I can relate,” Mike said honestly: “Just don’t do this again with leaving me alone.”
“No, I won’t though we haven’t fully bonded yet.” Toby agreed: “I still think I know you somehow.”
“What do you think of your Beta’s idea?” Spike asked right away: “Would you be willing to accept the help?”
“I would, but I think it is dangerous,” Toby shrugged: “The thing is, we can’t put bonding off much longer but on the other hand we can’t do anything unless you’re healed enough to protect yourself.”
“Don’t worry about me, honestly,” the Sentinel said: “Read my thoughts on the matter and you’ll know.”
“Reading your thoughts is a violation I won’t be doing,” Toby automatically said.
Laughing and holding a hand over his stitches, Spike replied: “Once we’re bonded don’t you think that’s a moot point?”
Toby smiled, his eyes sparkling in amusement: “You think we’ll be so deep connected?”
“You’re a telepath, what do you think? That your abilities fade away or are weaker with me? Think again.”
“Okay, good. I’ll read your thoughts but I think it will trigger the bonding,” Toby admitted: “How about I spring you free?”
“It wasn’t a dangerous wound, just hurtful and Liv did stitch you up. As long as you have your sense of touch up to normal, you should know when you’re overdoing your stitches.” Toby said easily: “Also, I have medical supplies at my place but if you’d rather head to yours?”
“No, yours is good,” Spike said hastily: //I’m still living with my parents, well, in the apartment above their place because it’s easier to take care of them that way. Though my Dad is an ass about my job and I still think he hates me because every time I read him emotionally, he’s disgusted and distant.//
Toby nodded acceptingly, knowing that he probably wouldn’t want to live alone either if he had the choice. Luckily, Osman was living an apartment over and for Toby that was the perfect distance of being alone and still close.
Carefully helping Spike sit up, Toby handed him his uniform that was in tatters but the pants were fine, as were the boots. Toby passed him his jacket and went over to the sign out desk, doing the paperwork quickly but getting a frown when Toby signed the papers from the head nurse. Toby glared back: “He’s my Sentinel.”
That got a nod and they headed outside. Seeing his bike, Toby sighed and headed for the street. Mike frowned: “Toby?”
“That’s my bike, I just can’t take you on it. It would irritate you and hurt you,” Toby headed for the taxis, smiling: “Don’t worry.”
“My bike is still at work,” stumbling a bit due to the anesthetics and holding onto Toby, they took a cab and Toby rattled off his address. The ride was short and easy.
Settling Spike onto Toby’s bed was simple and done after a few minutes: “Take some rest,” Toby ordered: “I’ll prep some dinner. Anything you don’t like?”
“Fake Italian food?” Spike grinned in a reply: “And not too spicy.”
“Yeah, that’s kind of a no-brainer for Sentinels. I am a Guide and trained in medical. What do you think how many patients Oz and I are constantly taking to the hospital that are Sentinels that have gotten the wrong food?”
“A lot I take?”
“Yes, a lot,” Toby grinned: “Sleep, Sentinel.”
Spike closed his eyes, listening to his Guide puttering around, smelling the meat and fresh green salad with cucumber, sweet pepper, and tomatoes. Sometime between the salad dressing being made and the steaks being fried, Spike fell asleep because Spike woke to Toby waking him, helping him up and sitting down on the table for dinner.
“I feel like the last few hours, I think I acted differently than I usually do,” Spike admitted: “Like being different with you around.”
Toby took a sip from his glass, nodding, eyes bright and attentive: “Yeah, I mean, I usually run off to help people but leaving you alone? That wasn’t really me.”
Spike really didn’t think so, from what he had gathered about Toby and the many police reports signed by Charlie where Toby had helped with cases. It said something about the Guide that Spike really did like: “We have all the time now, Toby, to know how we are together. I’m not ignorant enough to know this won’t change us personally.”
“You think it will?” Toby shrugged: “Probably not where it matters.”
“No, probably not.” Spike agreed and leant back in his chair, wincing a little bit when his stitches pulled: “Toby, I’m hurting emotionally. You being close…”
“Not meant to be apart after meeting, are we?” Toby nodded with a hurtful expression on his face: “To be honest, you’re screaming your pain at me.”
Spike knew better than to apologize for his thoughts but followed said thought with hoping they could move this to the bed. Now.
Toby followed the silent command, taking Spike’s hand in his and only briefly wondering how they were bonding now that Spike was still injured but his thoughts screamed at him how he wanted this.
Leaning in, Toby kissed Mike, giving the Sentinel the first real taste of him. Being assaulted with thoughts from his Sentinel was no fun though but Toby knew he couldn’t block his Sentinel now if they wanted to bond. He would have to breath through the images, heed them and work with them.
Sensing Mike’s sweaty and dirty hair, Toby changed their course and remembered that he too had a long working day with different smells and chemicals behind him so better to wash those off before Spike spiked.
“Shower?” Mike caught on but frowned.
“I’m surrounded by a lot of different people all day, Mike. You still have part of the blood of the bad guy on you,” Toby explained: “We need to be us and only us.”
Spike agreed, taking off his cloths but looking at his stitched stomach and the bandage over it. Toby grinned: “You do remember I know what I’m doing around scabs and bruises.”
“Then wrap it up,” Mike indicated where he could smell the medical band aids and stuff from a drawer: “We don’t have all day.”
Being shower-proof not five minutes later, they showered, using Toby’s unperfumed shampoo to get clean and all foreign smells off of them. It didn’t take long before Mike was touching Toby all over, feeling the hair, the soft skin, the muscles and sinews making up his body, the hairline fractures from broken bones, the arteries and veins pumping blood to the heart. It all made up Toby and Spike wanted it all.
Thankfully, Mike had touched his fill in the shower because laying down on the bed with stitches was painful enough, not to mention trying to map out his Guide further. His frustration seemed to be clear to the mind reader because Toby maneuvered them into a position and took over moving, following each thought and need Spike had, helping his Sentinel so much that Mike could weep.
When Spike’s senses were satisfied in always recognizing his Guide, the need became too much, their shields thinning and falling away while also wrapping themselves around each other completely and shielding them from the onslaught of the outside. It was beautiful, suddenly being one, feeling every thought together in a way since Spike really thought this was Toby’s gift. Making them so in sync that coming together was a given.
Falling back on the bed, keeping close and enjoying being together, Spike could actually listen to Toby’s thoughts on his worry, his happiness right now and how those things never lasted long in his book because something usually came along that reminded him of something he didn’t have due to him growing up on the system.
Mike’s arms wrapped around his Guide: //I’m here now, Toby. Our bond is strong thanks to your amazing gift so that we will never be apart. Talking in thoughts to each other is so remarkable that I’m surprised no one does it all the time.//
//That is because other bonded pairs aren’t Alpha level and don’t possess my level of gift. Blair mentioned me being stronger there than he is. I don’t think others have such an easy time talking and sharing thoughts.//
//Something to do with their rating levels?// Spike asked, never much to know about the rankings due to hiding in the online administrations after hacking the databases.
//An Alpha will always be stronger than normal Sentinels and Guides, so yes, it could have something to do with it.// Toby knew he was right. It was unusual to have special abilities though and he wondered if Blair would be interested in another research paper on higher-ranking Sentinel and Guides and their special abilities or living conditions.
It was as if Blair had been listening to Toby’s thoughts –Spike could also detect Toby’s thoughts now and knew about the planned thesis paper – as well because Toby’s phone rang suddenly.
Reaching over to the bedside table was only a short distance but Toby moved as if his extremities were held down by lead: “Yes?”
“Hey Toby, Blair here,” the cheerful vice sounded through the phone: “Congrats on your bonding. How are your shields and who is the lucky Sentinel now stuck in continental leadership with you?”
“Continental?” Spike echoed awed: “Hey there, I’m Spike.”
“Scarlatti!?” Jim’s voice came on suddenly, pretty much taking the phone from Blair: “I never figured you were a match for him.”
Spike looked at Toby, smiling at his Guide while replying: “Well, he’s the perfect match. And I’m sorry, Jim. Hiding was just second nature.”
“We know,” Blair replied: “Italy does have different rules and I bet they would have come after you sooner. Not to mention the other systems if they had gathered you were an Alpha.”
“We’re worried about Toby though,” Spike said: “We formed a strong pride with my SRU team but those people that were after Toby are still out there.”
Jim agreed: “We’re already packed and on our way to come and help you out. There are also a lot of things you need to learn and then there’s the fact that we need to introduce you to a few regional Alphas for coordination.”
“Sounds rather hectic, here I thought we could enjoy our nesting period first,” Toby sighed: “Not that it is much of a period since Spike has gotten himself stabbed.”
“I can just imagine that story and how you two met there, given that Toby is EMS,” Blair laughed lightheartedly: “I hope you’re good Michelangelo?”
“Yes, I’m good, and don’t call me that, it reminds me of my mother and lying naked with my Guide this is not something I want to do right now.”
“And too much information,” Blair fake-shuddered: “We’ll be there in a few hours.”
They hung up and Toby ginned: “He does have a point, Michelangelo. Namely that we have to inform your parents of your bonding before the papers report it and the hunt after me begins.”
Spike sighed and agreed with a few quick thoughts, then actually realizing how tired he was. It was late already, Spike could hear Osman in front of the TV and about falling asleep, having stayed up long enough to know Toby save but thankfully not listening in.
Toby checked Spike’s stitches quickly before nodding and laying down, exhaustion making itself known now that he could relax further.
Waking up to a knocking, Spike turned around, jostling Toby as well and together they woke further. Toby scrambling off the bed quickly, padding towards the door and grabbing a few cloths on the way, hastily pulling them on.
Opening the door, Blair and Jim were already standing there and Toby was surprised he had slept the whole night through: “Hey,”
Jim nodded earnestly while Blair looked smug but it was Jim that spoke first: “Hey there kiddo.”
“Come on in,” he waved them in and indicated a spare room: “Use that one while you’re staying.”
Jim wrinkled his nose then but Toby rolled his eyes: “Your own fault for dropping in here right after bonding with my Sentinel.”
Blair laughed and looked towards where Spike still was but was slower due to the stitches. Jim nodded: “Right. Chief?”
They entered the room Toby had for them, a guest bedroom specially for them. While Toby had grown up in foster homes more, Blair and Jim had taken him in on some occasions whenever they could get away with it to protect his senses and shields from the instability and abuse at those foster homes.
Spike then arrived in the living room, barely managing to take some pants on and no shirt, given that he was on his way to the bathroom anyways. Toby smirked at him and walked over, placing a kiss on his Sentinel’s lips: “Shower?”
Scarlatti smirked: “Please,” then took Toby’s hand and called out to the others: “Jim, Blair? Don’t dare interrupt. Feel free to raid the fridge.”
Toby snorted: “Offering my food in my apartment?”
“The way I see it we’re skipping those weird getting to know you-relationship-steps and jump right into living together. I couldn’t tolerate parting ways with you for a night unless we’re working.”
Toby agreed wholeheartedly. There were a few discussions left they needed to have but barely having completed their bond was taking time to get used to and Jim and Blair in their space, while they were friends, it was also rubbing Spike the wrong way somehow. Thank god they had a room and were keeping out of their way for now.
Showering was over quickly and Toby had covered and inspected the stitches, wrapping his scent around Spike right away and clothing him in one of his t-shirts and pants. It would help Spike with getting over all the things they had to do today.
Blair looked at them sheepishly: “Sorry to crash your nesting period.”
Mike laughed: “No you’re not. But we’re stable enough otherwise you wouldn’t be standing there.”
“What, think you could take me on in a fight?” Jim snorted but Blair raised an eyebrow.
Spike chuckled: “You are an even match adrenaline wise and strength wise. Maybe even hands to hands given your military background and my special training for SRU. But I’m twenty years younger.”
Jim laughed and shook his head in surrender: “I’ll give you that, kid. But know we’re here to teach you quite a lot.”
“Namely the ins and outs of being the Alpha Prime. The monitoring of the whole states and all the Sentinel and Guide Center management and overseeing those.”
“Whoa, wait,” Spike frowned: “I kinda like being in the SRU…”
Jim nodded: “Don’t worry Michelangelo. We will teach you and might ask you to step in and help out every now and then when Blair and I are busy. One day you will be asked to take over our position but until then, you can do your jobs and fly under the radar as much as you like.”
Blair nodded in agreement: “Jim and I are just about fifty years old and after we couldn’t handle the police work we stepped up and took the position. We were foreseen quite a long life so you can do your jobs until you’re ready to settle down.”
Toby smiled: “What, when we’re about seventy years old?”
“Ah, maybe just a few years before that but there about,” Blair agreed: “I don’t think either of you will be able to work your jobs then due to your physical requirements anyways.”
Spike grimaced but knew SRU was a high response unit and eventually all of his team members wouldn’t be able to keep up with younger recruits. It was a given but thinking about that yet was hard to grasp. Toby took his hand in his: “Sound about right and who knows, maybe another Alpha Prime will have stepped up by then.”
Blair nodded in agreement: “You are on to something that could be true.”
Tilting his head, Spike looked at the door: “Oz’ coming over. He’s wondering about you talking to strangers.”
Toby grinned and replied: “Oz doesn’t need a key and is always welcome.”
The man took the cue and entered: “Hey there Toby. And Sentinel Mike and you two.”
Blair’s amusement wasn’t lost on Toby and Spike grinned while Jim frowned: “You are quite low rated?”
Oz winced a bit and shrugged: “I do have the senses for my job where it counts.”
“No doubt about that,” Jim nodded: “I just wondered why you’re rated so low.” He got an elbow in the side from Blair and Blair sighed: “You just had to mention it?”
Oz looked confused for a moment but Blair explained: “Your Guide, a low levelled Guide will have troubles mentally. She’s not crazy but due to her past, cannot handle high stress levels. That is why you’re rather low rated but you also gain strength through the bond mentally to stabilize your Guide as much as she will stabilize you.”
“Do you know who she is? Is she ready to meet me?” Oz asked, completely excited and looking at Toby: “Do you know?”
“No, Oz, I would have told you,” Toby replied and Blair added: “He hasn’t had the training to know those things yet.”
“She will transfer here in a while,” Jim added then: “You will meet her when she’s ready. Give it a few weeks. Toby and Michelangelo will draw all sorts of people closer.”
Toby’s head lifted up: “Which reminds me that I need to set the trap for those guys that took my mother and brother.”
Spike caught on: “And telling my parents before the news hits the paper. We also protect you, that is for sure.”
“Yes, being a helpless Guide and all that,” Toby sighed: “I do think I could kill with my mind.”
Blair’s eyes light up then: “You do? Wow, that is amazing because we have reports of strong Guides feeling that way about being in danger and as a last resort. We do have four documented cases of Guides of all rank lashing out in self defense.”
“Good to know Guides aren’t as helpless as we thought,” Oz nodded happily: “But I still think this isn’t their job to be attacking.”
“Oh no, not at all. We Guides do use empathy mostly and can influence mundanes through that alone but as a last defense making our shields in the minds of someone solid and literally switching someone off? That is rather useful.” Blair explained.
“Nonetheless, finding Toby’s past won’t be easy,” Spike sighed: “And he has a brother out there that we need to find before they find him.”
“You assume his brother and mother are together in hiding?” Jim asked, the cop showing through right away.
Toby shook his head: “I doubt if my mother survived anything that she would have left my brother alone. I cannot be sure of course and he would be just a few years younger than I am and probably not even knowing about me.”
Blair frowned: “I really need to teach you a few things. You did mentally connect with your mother and you might not consciously remember her but I am certain that you would remember her mental feel. You can skim the whole population in a Spirit Walk and find her when she feels familiar.”
“I could do that?” Toby asked, clearly surprised: “Why didn’t you mention this before?”
“This is a risky Spirit Walk given how far you would have to reach and alone you never would have accomplished that on your own without getting lost. You couldn’t possible give me an imprint on what she was feeling to you for me to search her either. Pretty much all I would have done would have been making you angry for not letting you try and getting your hopes up.”
Toby understood the reasoning. He got Blair’s strong protective sense and knew the Guide had been looking out for him even if Toby didn’t completely agree. Spike nudged him on the shoulder: “Plan of attack?”
“We need to tell your parents first, then head over to work and let them know about us. Then we come back here and train with those two and wait for those bad guys to come out and we capture them. After that I can skim their minds easily enough.” Toby suggested.
Spike was anxious on their way over to his parent’s place. He knew no-one had called them in due to his light injury and his team knew not to worry his parents.
His parents that both were Sentinel and Guide themselves and not too low-levelled not to smell blood on him even a day later. Not to mention his sexual bond with his Guide. His father would probably flip.
Toby’s fingers intertwined with his, holding on tight and showing support. He knew his Sentinel was agitated but all the calm Toby tried to project, the Guide didn’t feel himself. Meeting someone’s parents was always a stressful situation. Especially if you basically eloped and gotten married in a blink of an eye.
“Head upstairs first?” Toby asked and indicated his own t-shirt on Spike’s skin. He knew the Sentinel was calmed by his smell but his parents might just react better to the fact that Spike smelled like himself more than he would of Toby.
“No, they need to deal with this. Also, I will move in with you anyways given that I wouldn’t pressure you to live with my parents so close by. A Guide of your capabilities will be stressed by that mentally.”
Toby sighed: “Not that I can really know that but given that I was mostly alone in all my years, you might just be right. I do love the idea of a family but I’m not too sure how to deal with this yet.”
Scarlatti grinned at him: “And that’s why we’re moving into your apartment with only one Sentinel around us that is rating low enough not to spy on us all the time. And he’s your best friend which is very important for a Guide as well. I can reach Ed’s house with a shout and know he’s keeping an eye on me wherever I am.”
“Same at my apartment?” Toby frowned. He didn’t know where the other Sentinel lived but given his twenty-minute drive to Mike’s parents house, it was telltale.
“Yes, we’re actually closer now. Jules does live close by as well. I came to think that given where I was raised that a lot of Sentinels migrated into that area without actually knowing why but feeling the need to be there in case something happened.”
“Neighborhood watch 2.0,” Toby joked but nodded: “The same reason I wouldn’t let Oz too far away and why Liv does live close by as well. I bet if we reference Sentinel and Guide apartments and houses, they would be entirely spread out between us with a few covering the remaining city.”
Spike thought it over: “Interesting theory we should run by Blair. He loves that stuff.”
They got out of the cab and headed to Mike’s front yard, Spike tilting his head telltale while Toby spread out his shields mentally until he had located both. The small touch empathically let Spike’s mother perk up which in turn alerted her Sentinel.
//Here he comes. Be careful, he doesn’t like me much anymore.// Spike projected. Toby frowned: //What happened?//
//I really have no idea. He just hated my choices in life sometime and what I do for a living. I bet having a male Guide won’t sit right with him either. He’s catholic.// Spike replied and hated making excuses on his father’s behalf but Toby should know the truth of what would be happening.
The front door opened then, Mike letting go of Toby’s hand to have free movement rather than being ashamed of holding his hand. His whole stance became more relaxed while Toby noticed he was more alert than ever. You couldn’t spring into action with tense muscles.
“Michelangelo,” his mother greeted him, quickly drawing him into a hug while their father frowned at Toby before glancing at Spike’s middle where the stitches were: “You hurt?”
Spike shrugged: “Stabbed. That man hurt my friend, a fellow Sentinel.”
//Which reminds me we need to check up on her.//
Toby barely nodded that he understood while Michelina patted Spike’s cheek: “I see you finally bonded.”
“And with a fag at that,” the hurtful words of Spike’s father came sharp like a knife itself but Mike ignored it. He nodded at his mother though.
“My Guide is Alpha Prime Toby Logan. He’s the EMT that first responded to my injury.”
Michelina ignored her husband and looked at Toby: “What a handsome young man you are. I am glad Mike as found you though I am baffled that apparently you’ve lived here in Toronto all your life.”
Toby nodded: “Me, too. I honestly didn’t feel Spike before yesterday. It was as if we both were hiding or not ready to be together.”
“Well, I am glad you’re here now to take good care of him. His father will come around eventually, it just wasn’t usual in our home country to bond to a male match. But of course we know that being an Alpha Prime results in strong sexual bonds. I’m glad you are most effective this way. Has anyone shared their thoughts on how strong you might be?”
Looking at his father, Spike replied: “Whole America. Including South-America.”
That brought a sharp look from Michelangelo Sr.: “You really are that strong, son? No wonder they wanted to have you as their pet.”
Michelina nodded worriedly: “If we had stayed in Europe, you never would have found your Guide. What I can sense from your shields is a perfect match.”
“We are a perfect match. Alpha Prime Pair Sandburg and Ellison promised us to teach us how to be responsible for every single Guide and Sentinel on this continent,” Mike agreed: “Sadly, we also have a lot to do and cannot stay long.”
“Ah nonsense. I’m surprised you showed up at all today if you just bonded yesterday.” With that, Michelina gave a fierce hug to her son and looked at Toby, wanting to hug him as well but waiting for Spike to nod at her in approval. He did and Toby was nearly squeezed to death.
Since that had gone over well, Toby and Spike decided to pack a few of Spike’s things that were essential before heading off to the hospital for a visit with Jules who had been kept over night due to her more severe injury from a through and through and the blood loss. Spike slightly regretted that she wasn’t his beta but understood Toby’s friend Charlie just as well.
“Hey there. How are you?” Spike asked, entering her hospital bed with Toby right behind him. He looked at her curiously and checked her over while Toby took her chart and read through it quickly. Sam frowned at Toby then.
“I’m good,” Jules replied and sat up more straight: “Barely even mentioning the scratch.”
Toby smiled and stepped back outside her room, looking around and mentally touching Liv. At least Spike could tell what he was doing.
“Who’s he?” Sam asked with a frown and mistrust and Spike gaped at him: “You can’t tell?”
“Uh, no?” Jules replied for her Guide: “Why?”
“Oh right, you were already in the ambulance when he arrived at the scene,” Spike shrugged: “He’s Toby Logan and my Guide. The Alpha Prime Guide stepping in for Blair eventually.”
“Holy –“ Sam started and cut himself off: “Damn, what did you do to your shields man? I can barely feel you as a Sentinel, much like all the times before but shouldn’t you be more visible with that bond now?”
“One more puzzle that is Toby Logan,” Liv answered and walked into the room, glaring at Toby and quickly taking the chart from his fingers: “Jules here had a through and through and was crashing during surgery but nothing to worry about now. She’s stable now and may be discharged later today.”
“Thank you Olivia,” Spike smiled at her and relaxed a bit next to Jules’ bed. Jules glared at him: “I did tell you I’m fine at the scene.”
“Not like my feral self could process that correctly,” Spike replied hotly. Then watched Liv cornering him and indicating his shirt: “Stitches?”
“Show me,” Liv demanded and there was no denying her. He sighed and pulled up his shirt so she could see the stitches and inspect them carefully: “Not infected and no tearing. Surprising given the raw nature of your Alpha Prime Bond.”
“Are you implying I would hurt my Sentinel?” Toby asked challenging.
“What? No, just that usually Alphas of any kind forget injuries when the bond settles,” she shook her head: “Don’t worry, you are brilliant if you kept him from injuring himself.”
“Charlie not back yet?”
“Oh no, she’s bonding with her Guide now,” Liv explained: “That one of your team?”
“Wordy,” Spike supplied the name: “And they’d be Alphas as well so we can expect a shorter nesting period.”
“Wordy bonded?” Jules asked excited: “Wow that is so cool.”
“Yes and she’s a detective, currently working with me whenever I stumble across a case that needs to be investigated.” Toby shrugged.
“You stumble across cases? Like what?” Sam asked surprised: “You aren’t a detective right?”
“I’m with the EMS and I have a telepathic ability that sometimes strong emotions or stuff penetrate my shields without me wanting them to.” Toby sighed: “We’re thinking it has to do with my Guide gifts.”
“Are you reading us all the time?”
“What? No, I wouldn’t be able to have any thought at all due to the noise and trust me it can be overwhelming so I’m very happy I do have shields and usually can block everything and everyone. Add that I wouldn’t invade someone’s privacy if it isn’t necessary, like when someone has been kidnapped and I need to know where they are. Then I can skim their minds easily and read them like an open book.”
“So we’re protected by our shields?” Jules asked.
“Ah, no. I could theoretically invade your minds easily but your shields prevent me from accidentally hearing one of your thoughts.” Toby explained.
“That could be handy for us,” Sam sighed: “Too bad you’re not a cop.”
“Too bad my Beta Guide refuses to bond with his Sentinel,” Toby added while Spike frowned and touched Toby’s elbow, feeling his frustration: “Toby.”
“I know, sorry. Greg is an amazingly gifted Beta Guide and could theoretically archive the same level of capability if he wasn’t using more than eighty percent of his attention to stable his Sentinel when it should be flawless and barely an effort most of the time.”
Jules frowned: “You mean because they don’t have a sexual bond?”
“Yes.” Toby said right away and Spike nodded: “I noticed it too. I cannot explain it but I was always looking out for Ed with my empathic ability in case he zones. He did zone trice in the last year and not one of us did zone that often.”
Jules nodded while Sam shrugged: “It’s none of my business but I did notice that as well. I find it odd that they’re content like this.”
“They aren’t content,” Toby added: “Deep down they both know it but won’t admit it. Their wives are what I gather from all of you very lovely people but not suitable for them.”
“Ed and Greg broth mentioned to me once that both their wives knew going in someone might replace them and they would never fault someone for it. Ed and Greg don’t want to admit it to themselves though and that is the unhealthy bit about their relationship.” Spike agreed: “Anyways, Jules, we have to head off now since we are on quite a schedule.”
She waved at them with a smile and Toby rounded the corner, already dialing Charlie’s number. When she answered with a snappish voice, Toby chuckled: “How are you settling into your bond, Charlie?”
“Fuck Toby, you have nerves calling me on my nesting day. Shouldn’t you be nesting as well!?”
Spike grinned: //Say hi to Wordy.//
Toby laughed: “Ha, sadly we have an Alpha Prime Pair to entertain that want to train us rather well. We just visited with Spike’s teammate Jules who got shot yesterday and Spike says hi for Wordy. No, I just wanted to check in with you and we proceed with the plan as usual. I think you’re in hearing range for me and Spike and know when something happens.”
“All good Toby. Hi to your Sentinel and thanks for getting injured or else I might not have met my Guide,” she laughed and Wordy said something but it got lost when Charlie hung up the phone.
Spike grinned at him: “Already mothering everyone here.”
Toby glared or tried to but smiled widely: “Guess it’s my nature.”
They stumbled across a Guide right outside the doors to the hospital that looked around searching for something. Toby stopped: “Can I help you with something?”
“Oh, thanks. I’m a new nurse here and I start today but I am rather lost,” she smiled and Toby grinned at her: “I’m Toby and an EMT and if you follow me, I’ll hand you to my friend Liv who is a doctor and I am pretty sure you’re in her department given you’re a Guide and that is rare here.”
“Yes, thank you. I’m Sandy,” she nodded and Toby knew instantly whom Blair had meant when he mentioned Oz’ Guide barely three hours prior.
Spike grinned knowingly as well and watched her and Toby go to Liv and be introduced. Liv was smiling widely at the fellow Guide, the second to be amazing in pain control but mentally not stable enough given her past to be a doctor.
It was surprising that a few events had put into motion that nearly all their friends would be matched up soon.
Quickly walking away then, Toby and Spike returned back to their apartment and were surprised to see Blair and Jim there, having purchased some foods and cooking: “Uh, guys?”
“Oh hello,” Blair grinned: “We were bored and saw your fridge nearly empty and bought some stuff.”
Toby laughed while Spike grinned widely, both were actually starving, having left before having breakfast. A lunch sounded good now.
“Have you decided whether you want a public newspaper like announcement or rather a pride-announcement?” Jim asked hesitantly: “We could publish that you’re Alphas only and leave out the Prime status until you are comfortable enough?”
Spike shrugged uncomfortably: “My first instinct is to not shout it out there but we do need to do so in order to flush the threat out.”
Toby took his Sentinel’s’ hand in his: “I know you don’t want to see me in danger but right now this is the only thing we can do.”
“We only have a few details of what Ray told us back then,” Blair started: “What exactly were you running from?”
“I have no idea. I remember some man and my mother grabbing us and jumping into a river to actually escape. She was scared that it projected enough for me to suppress my whole past and forget my birth name.” Toby sighed: “This is really bad.”
Blair sat down across from them on their table and Jim placed plates with sandwiches in front of them while Blair started: “We could do a spirit walk and unlock your memories. You are very gifted and with both of you we might uncover those blocked memories and connect to your brother mentally. The chances are very high that your brother is a Sentinel or Guide himself.”
“And you think my mental abilities are enough to find him?”
“You’re the Alpha for the whole continent,” Jim snorted like Toby should be aware of those facts and his abilities: “You can cover the whole area.”
“If I remember him,” Toby nodded: “A big if.”
Blair indicated the sandwiches: “First, eat. Then we’ll think about your announcement in the paper. After that, we’ll train you for a few days and do everything to find your brother.”
Toby sighed and did eat. Spike was hungry as well and took two sandwiches right away while Toby laughed. They quietly ate while Toby’s thoughts were with his brother that he didn’t know.
Following Blair and Jim into the spirit walk, both new Alpha Primes were surprised that instead of their usual landscape in their spirit walk, they were in a jungle that was glowing blue. This was unusual in on itself but more so because Spike and Toby’s landscape were a forest and prairie. Their hawk and mountain lion were no-where to be seen.
“Spike?” Toby asked, not seeing a manifestation of his Sentinel around the blue mist. A solid hand settled on his shoulder and Spike appeared next to him: “Here.”
Jim and Blair suddenly appeared there as well and touched the other Guide. Blair then did something mentally that Toby copied in his mind. The mental weight of Blair helped ease the mental block he had on his mind and Toby breathed in a few times, trying to clear his mind and focused on the few memories he did have of his mother Maya and his brother. A name wouldn’t still come to him and Toby got the weird feeling that his baby brother hadn’t had a name yet.
“Don’t worry about his name,” Blair said quietly: “Focus on his mental feeling. You read thoughts and I bet you would read your brother’s thoughts even as an infant. It would be instinctual to a regular Guide and you being one but with a different mental ability, just the same.”
Toby thought back to the small bundle of joy and his blue eyes. He really hoped his brother still had those blue eyes that Toby could recognize. He focused on his baby brother thinking about him and looking at him, then suddenly becoming hungry. Toby was surprised he could remember even that much.
Jim nodded at Spike and Spike hugged Toby close, opening his mental shields wide, following Jim’s and Blair’s example. Toby realized what they were doing now and followed suit. The mental shields wrapped tightly were thinning and suddenly it felt like he was Professor X and sitting in a Cerebro. Blair chuckled and Toby felt a lot of people close by, then further and further away.
“The spiritual plane connects us no matter the distance. This plane bends the distance to appear closer than it actually is. A lot of Sentinel and Guides can come here but not every Guide has the ability to reach for someone else.”
“I don’t want to yank him into the spirit plane while he’s doing random stuff,” Toby explained.
Blair nodded and showed him a mental brush along the mind: “Like this.”
Toby understood and brushed the mind of his brother. Finally, after such a long time, he mentally brushed against his brother. The mental mind was the same, feeling the same but oh so smart and layered underneath shields. Strong shields. Those of a Sentinel and a Guide bonded with him.
The location was clear as well and Toby drew back from the mental connection to his brother and relaxed a bit. Blair whispered surprised: “He’s a strong Sentinel with a strong Guide but not the Alpha.”
“No, he could have been though,” Toby agreed: “If he wanted to he could be. His Guide is ambiguous enough to be an Alpha Guide but I guess New York State has an Alpha.”
Jim agreed: “Yes, they have one but this man could be a Beta to anyone.”
Blair sighed: “Sadly, the spirit walk we did suggest that this won’t be the Alpha’s Beta.”
Toby was looking at him with a frown: “Do you have precognitive abilities?”
“Some,” Blair admitted: “Particularly about big shifts in the community.”
Spike tensed visibly: “Anything we could do to prevent?”
“No, this is nothing we should prevent. It is more like being there and knowing when to be there. Some things cannot be messed with; others can be messed with. You will get the signs and know which ones you can prevent eventually.” Blair said sadly.
“I cannot find my mother,” Toby said quietly: “Does that mean she is dead?”
“Not necessarily,” Blair interrupted: “If she left the continent, you wouldn’t be able to feel her.”
“What about his brother? Can we warn him?” Spike asked protectively: “If he is a fellow Sentinel, he might need to be aware of the danger that might come his way and the danger for his Guide.”
Blair nodded in agreement while Toby became more nervous now: “I wouldn’t know what to say to him.”
“We might not need to meet him but I will have the Alpha of New York be aware of what might happen,” Blair said and dismissed them from the Spirit Walk.
Once they were back, Spike frowned at the time and looked at his stomach that was obviously painful now that he was aware of his body and the position he had been in. Blair looked worriedly at the younger Sentinel and Jim shook his head while Toby touched Spike and helped him move to lay down on the couch and check his bandage and stitches that looked angry red.
“I guess that is that for today,” Jim said quickly: “We spent two hours training you more or less and while Blair and I are here, we’ll check in with the local Sentinel and Guide Centers.”
While Spike laid down on the couch, Toby went to clean up their plates from lunch and waved Blair and Jim goodbye. He then looked at the closed eyes of his Sentinel and went over to his laptop, firing it up and googling his brother.
Mike James Ross. Working at Pearson Specter. Specter, Toby frowned and used his memory of Mike’s shields to his knowledge. Huh, looked like Harvey Specter was his brother’s Guide. Interestingly enough, he could barely find any other reports about either man. This lawfirm clearly knew what they were doing.
Using his new Alpha Status as confirmed by Blair, Toby used his access to the SGCs and looked up both his brother and Guide. He did feel slightly guilty but there was nothing ne could do about his now to know his brother was safe.
Finding that his brother had been adopted and had a grandmother was such a relief that Toby nearly fell out of his chair. Not having to go through foster homes and sate institutions was such a big thing that helped mentally.
His Guide seemed to be a strong personality and rated high end of level seven, which would be Alpha material if the local Alpha wasn’t also State Alpha and a Prime as well. Toby nodded happily at the strong bond that both men had registered and that Mike had brought his Guide online within minutes of meeting.
Startling in surprise when arms wrapped around him from behind, Toby nearly head-butted Spike but laughed quietly. Toby relaxed a second later: “Sorry, not used to having you around yet.”
“No surprise there, its not like we’ve been together less than twenty-four hours.”
“Has it really been that short?” Toby asked surprised. It was quite a lot what they had learned and accomplished so far. Spike rested his head on his shoulder, placing a kiss on his cheek.
“What are you researching?” a glance towards the screen showed the law firm in New York that Spike couldn’t place anywhere.
“My brother and his Guide both work for that company,” Toby shrugged easily: “My brother is well protected as far as I know since there are zero reports of him and the police or him trying to run and hide.”
“That also leaves the problem that he is unaware of a possible threat out there.”
“Maybe. Maybe he just hasn’t gotten the gift. He is a Sentinel after all and while I read that he has an empathic ability, it is rather low.” Toby shrugged: “We’ll have to schedule a meeting with them eventually but not without the paperwork to prove I’m his brother or else he won’t trust me.”
“He’s a smart cookie I guess?” Spike straightened up: “Is this going to be weird you calling me Mike?”
Toby laughed quietly but shook his head: “You’ve always been Spike to me anyways.”
The newspapers brought the announcement of their Alpha Prime status the very next day and both men were secluding in Toby’s apartment, not wanting to face anyone just yet. Charlie had come from her nesting period while Oz had walked across Sandy in the ER and was across the hall, nesting.
Spike’s instinct was to also look out for the Guide and Sentinel since they were rather close and Oz was Toby’s best friend. Spike blushed quite a few times while Toby every now and then got a rather detailed press of Sandy’s emotions across her shields.
Blair and Jim had avoided them for the whole day now as well, seeing how they were fending off the questions of the public about them retiring. Blair seriously didn’t want to retire and Jim would just be bored crazy.
Jules had been released from the hospital as well and had returned to work to accompany Sam though she was under strict orders to not leave their tactical van. Seeing as they were rather short on people, Spike was also on sick-leave but might get called if a Sentinel-related problem would come in.
Otherwise, Toby let Spike relax and make sure that the other wasn’t hurting himself again.
“Have you decided what to do about your brother?” Spike asked carefully: “Talking to him now?”
“No, I won’t do that out of the blue,” Toby sighed: “Furthermore I believe that I could recognize the mind of that man that chased me. Given that I was barely four years old when I was showing up at Ray’s, they might not recognize me at all nowadays.”
“I’m sorry but have you seen the picture of your mother? She has the exact same eyes and with the high resolution picture that had been in the news today? They would recognize you anywhere if they saw her.”
“Maybe but I still want to have the drop on them instead find them on my doorstep,” Toby replied and sat down next to Spike on the couch where he had ordered the other man once again to take rest so that his stitches wouldn’t get torn.
Spike nodded while Toby smiled at him with wide eyes before looking away a bit: “Yes, good idea.”
Jim busted through the door then: “Actually, not too good. We don’t know where they are at all and whom they might be. Connecting to them mentally and knowing whom we’re dealing with is a good idea.”
Toby looked at Blair, who walked out just now and the other man nodded: “Do you need my help?”
“No, I’ll try on my own. Spike and you can’t always help me out and I really don’t want to risk his health with long meditations in uncomfortable positions.” Toby sighed and took a pillow to sit on the floor.
He dived into the spirit plane right away and spent a moment to orientate himself. Surprised to see Charlie and Jules with their Guides there. Wordy, the man he had barely met and Sam.
“Toby, we were just getting to know one another since we’ll be working closely with you,” Charlie greeted Toby: “Wordy decided he would be leaving the SRU to be with me in the detective’s department.”
“That sounds good for you,” Toby commented sincerely and looked at Wordy and Charlie with a smile: “Any news on who will replace Wordy on SRU?”
“Not yet,” Sam replied: “Given that he let us know just early this morning and Ed and Greg are on applications now.”
“Your boss okay with that?” he asked Charlie sincere and she nodded: “Yes, perfectly. We both knew about it.”
Jules then threw in: “We also know about Charlie being your Beta Sentinel. We were quite surprised.”
“Yes, Spike thought it would be Ed but Charlie is actually stronger. You would be next in line, Jules. Greg is Beta Guide though given his strong mental abilities. Next in line would be Liv.”
“Is it always Sentinels and Guides you know that will be your Beta and Gamma?”
Toby shook his head: “Not always. Mostly its because strong Sentinels and Guides tend to be in a pride or pack already and those are usually forming around Alphas. Then it is also a matter of trust. I trust you even if I don’t know you well just because you know my Guide or my friend. This scale is also very high and instinctual. I also cannot know every Alpha there is on this continent when doing my job and even if they will be regional Betas to me as well.”
“So basically Charlie is Alpha Sentinel to Toronto? Whereas some other Alpha Prime Sentinels that cover the US would be the actual Betas?”
“Something like that, yes,” Toby nodded: “You will always be my Beta personally though even if some other Alpha Prime will outrank you.” Toby said sincere: “I doubt that it would shift much unless we’d be moving but for now Spike and I love our jobs just a bit too much to pack up and leave.”
Jules and Sam laughed and faded away from the spirit world, Charlie and Wordy still present but making it known that they wanted to leave as well: “I’ll see you at work when you can’t resist any longer and sneak into other’s brains.”
Toby grinned at her, relieved that he had been able to tell her about his gifts now that he was a Guide and fully bonded at that. The frowns he would have gotten beforehand were just not worth it to tell her before.
Now, focusing on the task he had come here for, Toby relaxed and thought back to the day in the woods and the trailer where he had last seen his mother and brother. Their mental feeling would always be with him but Toby right now wanted and needed to find the bad man that had come after them and had scared Toby quite a lot. That mental imprint was also buried in his memories.
Suddenly smacking into that foul mental imprint made Toby flinch and wrap his shields tighter around himself. He could feel Spike’s shields helping him out and storing up his resolve. It felt amazing to have that kind of backup to his beg and call. A small caress of Spike mentally was enough to make Toby look further into the bad guy’s mind and his location as well as anyone that he was interacting with.
Just as suddenly, the man entered a protected facility and vanished from Toby’s mental reach. Like being blocked somehow. Which shouldn’t actually be possible. There was no barrier that was enough to keep the Spiritual Plane out.
At least, there shouldn’t have been.
Knowing where the compound was, was only helpful to a certain point. They pretty much had zero intel on the place and the blueprints of the city were definitely fake. Spike had hacked – not really hacked, he did have access though he shouldn’t have used it for this – the database and gotten weird results. It was obvious when layering the blueprints across the satellite image that they weren’t matching. That and Toby somehow didn’t believe the walls were only fifteen centimeters thick. If that would have been the case, the Spiritual Plane wouldn’t have been blocked.
Blair, next to the table, was walking up and down, frowning and thinking about the whole point a few times. This was rather weird to shield a complex this tightly and Jim was also puzzled. The former cop’s gut was itching and in return every other gut in the room.
“We need military help,” Ed said eventually: “There is no way we could secure the compound on our own and given what we know, or rather don’t know about this complex, we’d be better of not going in alone. I would recommend teams equally divided by mundane and Sentinel Guide pairs. The reason why is simple that we don’t know whether they have Sentinel and Guide-neutralization technology that is protecting the whole building as it is.”
The whole new pride of Toby and Spike had gathered here, even Sandy and Oz who barely completed their bonding but the urgency was there.
Blair nodded: “Jim and I know quite a few former military personnel and cops that could come to our aid.”
“Know of any mundanes?”
“Not personally but I am sure those others have resources enough to spread out,” Jim answered for his Guide: “the military part will be tricky without telling them why exactly we’re going in.”
“No, it won’t,” Sam piped up: “I know a guy that pretty much disappeared from the grid and I’m positive he’s still around somewhere.”
“I’ll call Torchwood,” Blair added to Jim: “They alone are a force.”
“So once we have the teams, we’ll decide how we go in. Should we scout the area?” Greg asked: “Knowing what we’re seeing so far, it is nothing much to give us info on.”
“I think scouting the area is a waste of time. They would be stupid to ward off the spiritual plane but have a Sentinel walk by and hear someone from the inside?” Charlie shook her head: “I don’t think they would be that careless if they went after gifted people like Toby.”
Greg looked over the schematics: “Torchwood is military and as bad as that sounds, we need them all to attack on this end. They have the means to deal with anything unusual that we cannot figure out like mind readers or manipulators.”
“You think there will be such people?” Charlie asked: “I know Toby here probably isn’t the only one.”
“Very likely or they wouldn’t have closed off the facility for mental and spiritual connections,” Blair said: “They would be able to call for help if the mental blockers weren’t there.”
“Spike, how are your hacking skills?” Ed asked for the tactical advancement they would be having.
Shaking his head, Spike considered his chances: “I could need someone else with hacking skills to get their life feed. Maybe then we have a chance to see some of the interior.”
“Spike and I will continue the training with Jim and Blair maybe we can be of help there. Once the reinforcements are there, we can discuss how we proceed.” Toby said easily: “Making plans now only to have them redrawn when Torchwood gives new intel is just stupid.
“Toby?” Toby’s head came up to focus on his Sentinel: “Yeah?”
“Sam has reached out to the guy he mentioned went into hiding? We found him. He has come here with his Guide and his Beta Sentinel.” Spike said: “We’re supposed to come and meet them in a close by hotel.”
“Sounds good. Sam is doing the introduction?”
“No, he’s with Jules at the hospital. She’s in for a checkup,” Spike replied: “And I should be heading there soon given my stitches and Liv’s mother hen tendencies.”
Toby grinned at his Sentinel and nodded. Yeah, you didn’t ignore Liv when it came to medical knowledge.
Following his Sentinel to their car, Toby spread his mental shield thin to assess the whole area and was surprised when he came across a mental mind of a Guide that was smart and had great technical hacking skills. Seemed like Spike’s help in hacking the compound had arrived. As well as a female Guide that was similar affine to programming and computer language.
“The Guides we’ll be meeting? They’re computer geniuses that probably outsmart you in that department,” Toby warned his Sentinel: “The Sentinels are former CIA and special ops.”
“Wow, where did Sam find those?”
“I have no idea but they’re handy to know,” Toby replied: “We’re still hiding what we are.”
“You’re keeping out shields tight enough?”
“Yes. I don’t want them to know about our Prime status if I can help it,” Toby answered honestly. Hiding was still too ingrained on his surviving that it was hard to shake off.
“That sounds like a plan,” Spike nodded.
Arriving at the hotel was surprising them because it was one of the more expensive places in the city. Not worrying about the security, Toby and Spike headed in. They approached the two men and two females: “You are Sam’s friends?”
“I wouldn’t say friend,” the tall guy with graying hair and military cut said: “But I owed him a favor.”
“I’m Toby Logan, this is my Sentinel Mike Scarlatti,” Toby introduced: “We found a mental and spiritually warded place where we think Guides or people with mental abilities are being kept captive.”
The Guide with glasses and a stiff neck looked at them: “Forgive me, but we already know or else we wouldn’t be here.”
“Yeah, that guy is incredible in hacking computers,” the female Sentinel said while he Guide shook her head and cut into their words: “First things first, the Sentinel is John Reese and his Guide Harold Finch, my Sentinel Sameen Shaw and everyone calls me Root.”
The man with the glasses frowned at her and she shook her head: “Oh c’mon Harold, these are the Alpha Primes, don’t you think they can figure it out on their own if they wanted to? That guy is a mind reader. The Machine told us so herself.”
“Yes, thank you Ms Groves,” Harold said irritated: “We don’t need all our secrets out in the open.”
Toby frowned: “I won’t read you if that is what you’re worried about.”
Spike frowned about something and then seemed to realize what it was: “So you are the guys behind The Machine?”
“You know about it?” Shaw asked surprised.
“Every hacker knows about it even if they don’t fully believe it,” Spike replied: “I noticed some bits on the internet that were changing and I think that was the reason.”
“You were right,” Harold nodded: “We are trying to save innocent lives on our daily basis if the government doesn’t try to kill us and expose us first.”
“The irrelevant list,” Spike nodded: “Like I said, there is talk about that.”
Toby focused on the quiet Sentinel: “Since you know about what is going on, what do you think about this?”
“I think it is important that we get whoever is being held there out,” Reese answered: “If the Machine sent us the data about this op at the same time you discovered it, there is something she wants us to find.”
“But we’re not blindly running after the Machine the whole time,” Shaw threw in: “This time we agreed this is something else.”
“I believe those people were after me when I was a child and might have killed my mother,” Toby admitted.
Harold took his phone and typed a few command lines: “Maya Carlson. She is your mother according to the Machine. You also have a brother?”
Surprised, Toby looked at Harold: “Spike tried hacking the systems but couldn’t find a name.”
“The Machine works differently than a human could,” Harold told him: “Your Sentinel is quite gifted with hacking and programming himself.”
Spike nodded at the compliment being made but he knew as well as Root did that he was a child playing around next to them: “Have you found the brother?”
“Yes, but he’s better off in New York. We’ll keep an eye out on him. He is the Prime’s brother and could be used against you. Add that his position as a lawyer and a good one as that is tricky at that.”
“With a fake degree,” Shaw added: “He never went to law school.”
“Ah, that is already corrected in the computers. He certainly is smart enough for those degrees.” Harold said: “Back to your mother. The Machine reported her to be gifted in mind reading as well. While your brother is a gifted Sentinel with an eidetic memory, he ain’t a mind reader without his Guide’s bond.”
“So the men after me aren’t interested in him?” Toby frowned: “That’s why she gave him away.”
“Yes,” Root answered: “Your mother was captured by those men though and is currently held by them in that mental shielded facility.”
“That is why we’re here,” Shaw said easily: “I heard Sam mentioned that you were planning on going on and needed reinforcements.”
“A group called Torchwood will also come in to help out.”
“Ah, yes,” Harold said: “Captain Jack Harkness and his people. I heard they are flying in from Cardiff as a special request for Blair Sandburg.”
“They are,” Toby nodded: “We figured that non-Guides with mental abilities might fall into their jurisdiction since we didn’t want any official government institution on those people that probably were held captive and tortured.”
“Good thinking, yes,” Harold nodded: “We will fit everyone with a new identity if they wish to.”
That taken care of, Toby let his mind expand and their shield thin a little. Reese was looking at them in surprise, Harold’s mental mind brushed against theirs while Root was doing the same. Shaw frowned but accepted it and nodded. The mental imprint was needed for a Sentinel and Guide to accept them as close pack.
“You consider us your close pack,” Shaw said, surprised: “We barely know each other for a few minutes.”
“Sometimes the mental gift is that, a gift of knowing whom you can trust,” Toby replied easily: “I could need some trusted help in New York City any time. And you did mention keeping an eye out for my brother which his saying a lot.”
“You haven’t met your brother, have you?” Root questioned a second later. Toby shook his head: “We were separated when he was barely three weeks old. I didn’t even remember him having a name.”
Harold nodded and sighed: “You should visit him eventually.”
“I will,” Toby agreed: “but first I want to make sure there is no trail leading to him and the bad guys are unable to reach him. Even if he isn’t as gifted in mind reading as I am, he is a Sentinel.”
“Oh trust us, if he were in danger, the whole pack of New York would be to protect him. Mac Taylor and his Guide Claire are fierce Alphas,” Harold said simply.
That taken care of, Toby and Spike headed off. They were due to another training session with Blair and Jim to always realize when an Alpha Sentinel or Alpha Guide had troubles and was mentally instable. They were to learn how to help them and keep them calm by remote location.
Team Torchwood arrived the following morning and were rather in a good mood. Toshiko Sato was first to greet them with a friendly big smile, followed by her teammate Owen Harper. Those two were the first to react to them in any way. Those were the only mundanes in all their groups and hopefully for some being held captive the ideal reference point if they were afraid of gifted people.
They were quickly followed by Gwen Cooper, the Sentinel that was former police officer and her Guide, her husband Rhys Williams. They were just as friendly in greeting them and getting to know the whole bunch of people that had gathered in the small hotel room that Harold had organized.
Last of the Torchwood team to enter the room and assess them was Ianto Jones and his Guide Jack Harkness. It came as a big surprise that the young man in a suit was the Sentinel, not the loud and attention drawing man that was protective of his team and Earth as well. Maybe it came from doing the job for a long time.
Spike and the New York-team had used the Machine to get information on Torchwood and found out quite a few things, among those the fact that Jack Harkness apparently wasn’t killed easily.
“Good, thank you all for coming,” Toby said and started lead on the whole gathering and introduction part that was happening all around them: “Due to believing that there are people with special abilities being held there that aren’t Guides and Sentinels, we arranged for Torchwood to be there in case they have mundanes that are gifted. They are simply more equipped dealing with any of those. The SRU Team along with Detective Charlie Marks are our legal cops on this ground and the tactical unit with trained members to keep people calm is our advantage. Then we have the hacker group that will be able to shield us from their cameras while the former CIA and special ops members will head in first to make sure we have an easy way in.”
Spike took over: “Once Shaw and Reese have confirmed that our targets are in there, they will give us a signal on the cameras and we will go in, securing the hostages and taking the targets into custody. Please be very careful since we believe that the targets are highly skilled in mental gifts and trained in combat.”
Not giving the teams much time to get to know one another, they headed out to the compound and split into their former teams. Jules was luckily well enough to fall back and secure their retreat while Spike was perfectly fine and would be going in right after Ed and Greg would.
Oz, Sandy, Liv and Toby were staying behind with two ambulances in case anyone was injured.
Root and Harold were hacking and blocking all communications and camera feeds to only let their com signals through. They were also working on taking the mental shield down.
Blair and Jim were going in behind Torchwood accompanied by Charlie, given that they had the usual police training even if that was quite a while ago.
Shaw and Reese were first to report that the shields and blocks were taken down so that the SRU were going in. Torchwood was taking the back exit while quickly searching through the imprisoned people for mundanes, aliens or Guide and Sentinels.
The chaos that resulted was hard to deal with. The now dead bodies of their kidnapper were lying on the floor and the imprisoned people all knew that help was finally here and they would be released.
It was the chaos that allowed Toby to make his way inside instead of waiting outside like promised to his Sentinel but there was no way Toby couldn’t not know what was going on in there and who had made it.
Reese had noticed him coming in and was quickly shadowing him, protecting him as he would his own Guide while the remaining SRU and Spike were busy keeping the two-dozen people calm and organized.
Stumbling over one familiar mind, Toby quickly dropped down next to the girl: “Iris?”
“Toby?” she looked at him in surprise: “I knew it would be you finding us!” she was happy to see him and fell into a hug easily.
“Are you okay? Are you injured?”
“No, all they ever did was test us and torture us so we used our abilities so they could study them,” she said: “A few of us were injured along the way but I mostly healed them when I could. There shouldn’t be anyone left to heal.”
“Thank you,” Toby said: “Is it okay if I leave you alone?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine. Your friends will take care of me?”
“Oh yes they will, don’t worry,” Toby agreed and caught Toshi’s eye who came over: “Toshi, this is Iris. I’ve met her before. She is a brave young woman and a gifted healer.”
“I’ll take care of her for now,” she said quickly: “Owen was looking for you.”
Toby briefly spread out his shields to assess everyone in the building and smacked right into her.
“William?” she called out, obviously having sensed his mental brush against her mind. She was sitting with Shaw and another woman they had rescued.
“Mom?” he asked, surprised to see her brilliant blue eyes settling on him. She had changed from his memory. Of course she had. She had grey streaks in her hair and was just slightly smaller than him. Her smile was genuine though and that was all that mattered.
Wrapping his mother in his arms for the first time since he was four was a relief. Toby quickly read her mind and was surprised that she had been in the car Charlie and he had found. She had escaped those men for twenty something years and was caught just six months before.
Luckily, they didn’t harm any one of the Guides and mentally gifted people in the building as much as Toby had feared.
She leant back, looking at her son and Toby smiled brightly at her, knowing she wasn’t a Guide as he was. It was surprising him that his mental gift might after all be completely separated from his gifts as a Guide.
“I’m so happy to see you,” she said honestly: “I had hoped to keep you out of it, to keep you safe forever. I didn’t want you to grow up in fear.”
Toby nodded, he had gotten that all from the mind-read he had done. They were quickly up to speed, given their telepathic exchange was quicker than speech ever could be. She was honestly surprised and happy about Spike and she was more than happy that her second son was safe even if he would never know of them unless they told him.
“Toby?” Mike asked and drew closer, looking at the blue eyes that matched those of his Guide in the woman: “Maya?”
“Mike,” she replied: “I’m so glad Toby has found a perfect match.”
Spike smiled brightly at her: “Aren’t we all,” he clapped Toby’s shoulder: “Owen wanted to see you.”
Toby looked at his mother but a silent conversation was going on again while Spike got half of it as well. The bond between Spike and him had gotten stronger and he shored up his shield then, keeping his mother out. She was looking at him, startled but Toby shook his head: “He’s my Sentinel, mom. I’ll get to you later.”
Owen was waving at him from somewhere and Toby followed him into a separated room with a lot of files. Those files were medical and Owen indicated Maya’s chart: “I found your mother’s file. They’ve reported your birth as well as your brother’s birth but stated they only found you.”
“They found me?”
“When it hit the papers that you’re a Prime,” Owen added: “They kept track of everyone they ever discovered having abilities of any kind. Since your mother wasn’t reported a Sentinel or Guide, they didn’t think you were one.”
“My brother is a Sentinel,” Toby admitted: “but the paperwork, are they the only people or have they branched out?”
“We haven’t found any other indicators but Toshi was working with the two hacking geniuses,” Owen replied: “Jack and Gwen are handling a few transportations away from here and I’ll be going back to assessing the physical health.”
“Thanks,” Toby nodded and looked at the paperwork in front of him, taking the file and skimming through the pages. It was interesting what they had figured out ever since his mother had come to the place. They had conditioned telepaths that had read her and reported every little detail.
John Reese was next to seek him out: “Shaw and I are done with assessing any threats.”
Toby frowned a bit because why were they referring to him on tactical instead of Spike? Then Toby thought about Spike and found the other man outside with Toby’s mother and talking to Charlie.
“Good, did you get all the perpetrators?” Toby asked.
“We did,” John said: “Harold and I were also discussing your mother.”
“What about her?”
“She should go into hiding as well,” John said carefully: “I know you might want to spend time with her and get to know her but she is still at risk if we missed anyone.”
“I’ll talk to her. Do you have papers for her?”
“Yes, Root was on that when I last checked on her,” Reese admitted: “We will also keep an eye on Mike, as promised, but I also think you shouldn’t meet him and neither should your mother.”
“She doesn’t know anything about him, yet.” Toby admitted.
“Toby?” Blair asked and walked in: “We need to get the Guides settled.”
“I’ll be right out, thanks Blair.” Toby nodded and handed the paper folder of Maya to John: “You’re probably right but I cannot make decisions for anyone.”
Toby made his way outside through the chaos that was around them. He was startled by the mental calmness that was actually surrounding them but strengthened his shields just as much.
Spike was there to see him first, wrapping his arms around the other man: //What’s wrong?//
//I don’t know how I feel about meeting my mother,// Toby admitted: //And knowing that she would stick around if I asked her to.//
//I won’t tell you what to do but keep in mind what we do for a living, how much time we have to sacrifice for Blair and Jim and the danger she might still be in.//
Toby knew Spike would leave it at that and he was glad about that. Toby nodded and headed for Root and Harold that were hacking the systems: “Anything new about a possible second base?”
“We haven’t seen any hints that they were connected to anyone else but I don’t think we got everyone,” Harold said with a sigh: “We’re working on new identities right now even if your police friends aren’t too happy with that but its only the people that were screened to be victims and truly in danger.”
“Everyone is in danger if it gets out that someone else does the same experiments,” Toby argued: “We may not be able to force everyone into going.”
“True,” Harold agreed: “And for that we already are trying to assess our machine and make a blacklist. Of course Root and I will be able to access the list and look for individuals and after that we have a contingency plan and people but they will be mostly secure.”
“Good,” Toby agreed. Maya had been listening in on them and stepped up to Toby: “I won’t be leaving you.”
“I will,” Toby replied: “You know we will be a target for those who hate Sentinels and Guides and I won’t paint a target on your back after you just got freed.”
“You think there are more around,” Maya said somber: “I don’t think there are.”
Toby sighed and found it tricky to reply. He knew keeping Maya around was selfish and he had a brother to think of. He looked at his mother and she nodded: “If you want me to leave you again, I will.”
“It’s not about that-“
“It is, Toby,” she replied, accepting his new name now: “I know what responsibilities will come to you. I will be leaving and keeping in touch discreetly.”
“Thank you,” Toby said: “I don’t want to worry about you and be assured that I can find you mentally if I have to.”
“Have you heard about your brother?” she asked hopefully.
Toby shook his head: “No, I haven’t. I’m sorry.”
Cleaning up the mess of the mental facility was taking rather long, even if they kept the officials out. Blair and Jim were working with all Guides and Sentinels present on fitting the handicapped Guides new identities located around strong Sentinel and Guide packs and Centers where they would be able to get special help.
Torchwood was working on the same level for the gifted humans that simply showed no Sentinel or Guide traits. Harold was refitting identities there as well and it was taking a bit longer for them to find psychiatric help that wouldn’t rat them out.
The cops were still organizing the dead bodies Reese and Shaw had left. They all knew they couldn’t have been left to live, given that all Sentinels had reacted the same way; namely with distress and going feral.
Okay, granted, Reese and Shaw were the first Sentinels inside but the remaining men that were holding the mentally gifted were shooting back and trying to get away.
That was done now. Those that were good enough to leave, were leaving with new identities and a sum of money Harold and Root had gleefully stolen from the bank accounts of their dead men.
SRU team was talking calmly to some of the victims and were slowly getting them to cooperate, at least those that hadn’t so far and those that Toby couldn’t read given that they had mental shields not unlike his.
When nightfall came, they cleaned up the camp and called in other officials to get the bodies taken care off and officially deal with the fallout of the shooting. John had handed over his guns and Harold had made it look like he was an official consultant from the states. The alibi and paperwork would be airtight and given that Sentinels and Guides were involved, it was signed up on but would come to a later hearing.
Toby eventually had to say goodbye to his mother but he knew that she had lived on the run for years to no end and had been tortured mentally so for her it was best to try to learn how to be a normal human being again and needed professional help of having lost her sons to time and Mike to the vast systems of adoption.
If she asked again, he would tell her but he still thought it best that his brother didn’t know about him.
Finally sinking into the couch at home, Spike rested his head on Toby’s lap while Blair and Jim had dropped into the couch adjacent to them. They had simply ordered some food, given that all they had managed upon arriving at Toby’s loft was showering and slipping into their pyjamas.
Blair had all ordered them to take some meditation time but so far they had just relaxed and let the day pass.
“Tomorrow,” Spike said: “we’ll start with the training tomorrow, now that it’s all over.”
Toby kissed Spike on the temple and only perked up when their pizza came.