Summary: AU. The consequences and responsibilities of ownership. Very dark. Very intense. Not a nice sentinel/guide story. I don't want you to read this with the wrong expectations. Lots of hurt, no comfort. This is not our Jim. Torture is described. You are warned.
Rating: R for adult situations.
Disclaimer: All characters, places, and objects from The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly Productions, UPN, and Paramount. All stories are written with the love of the show in mind. No money is being made. All stories are property of the author.
Blair huddled cold and miserable in the alley. A stack of old discarded wooden pallets the only shelter from the cold driving rain. He was wet through to the skin, and boneshaking chills rattled his teeth. He realized distantly that he was nearly hypothermic. He'd only been running since this morning. He knew he couldn't run much longer, but there wasn't any other choice. What was he going to do?
His scattered, terrified thoughts focused on his first meeting with Ellison. He had tried to lose the sentinel but that was nearly an impossible task. He was a doctoral candidate in anthropology, with a minor in sentinel studies. He knew sentinel attributes too well. And he was scared.
His body absently rocked as he remembered that the day had started so well. His mentor, Prof. Eli Stoddard, had offered him a place on his expedition to Borneo. All he had to do was say yes and the position was his. It was a dream come true to work with the renowned researcher.
But a bomb threat at the University had evicted him from his office. There were cops everywhere. And one of them was unbonded Sentinel Detective James Ellison. His empathy told him exactly when the sentinel's attention locked on him.
It was normal for an unbonded sentinel to take notice of a guide, an empath. Normal sentinels had an instinctive reflex to protect any guide, and to treat the guides with respect and dignity. Pairs who bonded had worked miracles during rescues, against the criminal element, in the medical field and other arenas. The public was duly thankful for their protection and had granted their own legal protections in gratitude.
But as Blair's empathy flared he realized this wasn't a normal sentinel.
Blair watched as the sentinel spoke with Captains Banks and Taggert. Their gazes fell questioningly on the grad student, taking in his nervous stance and cataloging his description for future use if needed. The one named Banks nodded assent to the sentinel who then strode toward Blair. The Captains turned to the other detectives to continue their investigation.
Blair's panic almost made him flee then, but he didn't dare. He knew the cop had pretended to have questions for him about the bomb threat. He was affiliated with the University. They had a right to question him. He knew that his own behavior, his own panic had drawn their attention, and the detectives could identify him. He knew he should have run, but they would have caught him in minutes, if not less.
The sentinel strode quickly to him and stood too close. Ellison stared at the grad student with a hunger that Blair could feel with his empathy. He saw Ellison's nostrils flare as he sniffed the scent of him, but with the other cops around he refrained from touching him then. It left Blair trembling and terrified. Then Ellison herded him past the other detectives and into an unused office for the questioning.
There wasn't even a pretense.
“Guide, you will come with me,” Ellison commanded.
“What?” said a startled Blair.
“You're unbonded, guide. Your empathy rating must certainly be high enough to know that I'm unbonded as well. Don't play games with your sentinel,” Ellison smugly asserted.
Blair hurriedly tried to pull open his backpack, “I'm unbonded because I've chosen that status. I travel a great deal in my field of study. It's documented on my papers. All you have to do is look.”
“I have chosen you to be my guide. Your papers won't stand up legally and you know it. The Eminent Domain Amendment was broadened by the justice system to include the acquisition of a guide by an Alpha Sentinel in need, who serves in a public capacity. You see, Chief, I don't have to wait for a slacker guide to ALLOW me to bond. You're mine, guide. You have no legal recourse. No defense. You'd better get used to the idea, and quickly, for the sake of your sentinel.”
Ellison had slowly and steadily backed Blair into the corner farthest from the door. He didn't hesitate to touch the guide now; his guide. Ellison felt the trembling as he ran fingertips over any exposed skin, ghosting them over eyelashes and slipping them teasingly through the ends of his curls. He bent slightly to sniff the smaller man. Then he forced himself back a bit. He still had some control over his actions and he went on with his instructions to his guide.
“As soon as I'm out of here, I'll tell my Captain that I'm requesting bonding leave with my new guide. I'll take you to my place to finalize the bond. You'll go with me now to gather your personal items and then there won't be any need to return to the University or wherever you called home. Come here guide . . . .” As Ellison spoke those last words the backpack that Blair had unconsciously been using as a shield, was torn from his hands and tossed into a corner.
Blair was in trouble; big trouble. He hadn't wanted to use the sage but he'd made a grab for it when the sentinel had reached for his backpack. When he released the spice the cop was nearly overwhelmed by it, but unfortunately the cop still managed to yell out to the others to stop Blair. It was only because he knew Rainier University so well that he had managed to escape the maze of offices, lecture halls, research labs, storage rooms and all their connecting corridors both above and below ground level.
But had he escaped, or only delayed capture?
Blair woke abruptly in the alley to a stranglehold on his throat. It proved a futile struggle to get breath in or out and the blackness of the alley began to deepen. A silent terrifying nightmare descended on the guide as the darkness centered on a fiercely triumphant face.
Blair awoke, dazed and reeling from exposure and the near strangulation. He shivered in his soaked clothing. He heard vague sounds above. Upstairs? His heart beat flutteringly and then stabilized at a dangerously rapid rate. He felt the need in Ellison. The sentinel waited with absolute certainty of possession.
Blair tried to make plans, but a whimper escaped when he realized he was handcuffed to the banister. He had to escape. The sentinel wanted a guide, but would subvert the guide's life to his own purposes. There was no future for him with this sentinel. Ellison was a feral creature. A throwback. And an Alpha Sentinel was a nightmare for his guide.
It was a state worse than slavery. Worse than being a pet. Because a guide was a living, breathing, thinking, feeling entity. Born to be a companion and partner, a brother of the heart and soul.
In this future he would be proscribed from all things human. Like work. Travel. Creative endeavor. Education. Friendship. Love. He would be possessed in all senses, physically and emotionally. Even his thoughts would never be his own again once the bond was forged. All activity would be denied unless it placed him beside the sentinel.
He had to get away.
This couldn't be happening.
This was a fate far worse than death.
Ellison moved down the stairs with a feline grace. Stalking his captive with a smug arrogance. He knew there was no escape. He drew nearer to his prey and emitted a slow, rumbling growl of pleasure. The guide is mine. Ellison laughed outright at the guide's determined expression. He would learn.
Blair didn't know what to expect exactly. He'd studied the bonding of normal sentinels and guides. He knew he'd have to wait for an opportunity to fight. Blair knew he wouldn't have a chance in a true fight with this man. But he wouldn't make it easy for him either. He made ready to scream for his life.
Blair woke from another choke hold dazed and breathless. He thought he hadn't been out long, but the whisper of a breeze revealed his nakedness. Ellison had stripped him and tied him with his feet barely able to balance his weight on the floor. Looking up he could see Ellison putting the final knot in the rope. He panicked again, struggling with fury and stark fear when he felt the choke chain around his neck.
Ellison smiled. He eyed his guide's struggles with amusement. He would wait for fatigue to begin to wear him down. His covert ops training was . . . useful. The army had taught him how to acquire and properly care for valuable tools.
Ellison strode purposefully forward to stand very close. He sniffed the guide's neck. Then he slowly ran his hands over his possession, inspecting his property. Investigating every strand of hair. Inspecting every fold of skin, dipping his fingers into the guide's mouth, around his eyes, ears, down his torso, between his legs, not stopping till even the whorls on his toes were memorized. Handling the guide's body not impersonally, for it did belong to him now, but not sexually either. It left the guide trembling and gasping in his panic. Standing, the sentinel lifted his fingers toward his own mouth flicking tongue to fingertips. He looked the terrified guide in his eyes and chuckled. He bent forward to whisper in his ear, “It could have been easy, but you ran. My guide will never run again.”
The sentinel walked into the kitchen and drew some warm water and gathered soap and towels. He proceeded to slowly wash his guide from head to toe, again frightening the young man with his intimate touches. And so Blair endured the imprinting of sound, sight, touch, taste and smell by the sentinel. Smiling, Ellison adjusted the chain, “Hush. I'm going upstairs now. Behave yourself. And don't make a mess on the floor.” He did a slow turn and went upstairs.
It took a moment for Blair to realize what the sentinel meant. And he had to go, bad. What would Ellison do if he couldn't hold it?
Blair struggled through the night. There was no way he could sleep. He knew the sentinel would have no problem though, and he silently cursed him. When he let him go to the bathroom he'd be waiting for an opportunity. But the pain from his bladder had him whimpering by the time the sun came up.
Blair was almost relieved when Ellison appeared at the top of the stairs. The chain was loosened but Blair wasn't allowed to break his silence. He'd attempted to speak but the sentinel wrapped his hand around his throat and tightened his fingers. Blair got the message.
Ellison sniffed and touched his guide as he did before, running his fingertips heavily over his overfull bladder. The guide whimpered but stopped at Ellison's glare. Ellison went to run water for a bath and to make coffee; knowing the running water would be a torture for his guide. When the sentinel came back he had a package that sent the guide into silent hysterics. But the sentinel calmly proceeded to take care of his guide's problem. Ellison was pleased that his medic training was useful in caring for the guide. He caressed his guide as he removed the tube, closing his hand to still the pained whisper.
Ellison then gathered the guide's possessions where he could witness their disposition. He started a fire in the fireplace and proceeded to slowly destroy papers, momentoes, photographs, letters, journals. The guides' clothing was shredded, glasses and laptop shattered. What wouldn't burn completely he gathered into trash bags for disposal. The guide's fury burned in his eyes, but that was expected and would be dealt with soon. He would soon understand the message; that he would have no use for these things anymore.
Ellison's campaign to break the guide's spirit continued. The guide was punished for any sound with the hard grip he came to fear so quickly. Never allowing him to sleep for more than a few minutes. Only giving him fluids to keep his blood sugar and his electrolytes balanced. No solid food. Positions were seldom changed, so that muscles cramped, joints stiffened and fatigue drove the guide's defenses and sanity to the edge.
The sentinel continued to move about his home as necessity dictated for mundane daily chores. The only change was to include caring for the guide and preparing him to accept the bond without resistance.
Blair tried to endure as the painful proceedings of the first morning were repeated daily, with featherlight touches followed by intimate washings. But there was one attack that would bring Blair to the brink. Ellison had mapped his body and on the second day he began an insanity producing game of tickle. The pitiless attacks left Blair trembling with quickly stifled laughter that soon morphed into something else. Blair's heart raced. His muscles stained trying to evade the light touches. Maddening touches, that went on literally for hours. Blair's arms, strung above his head, didn't allow the great gulping breaths that his body needed. His vision would gray out and he'd return to consciousness to another of Ellison's attacks on another part of his anatomy with the same results. He wanted to scream, but every time he drew breath to do so the sentinel seemed to know and clamped his hand around his throat until his struggle for breath stopped. He'd then awake again to the nightmare that went on and on till Ellison tired of his relentless game and left Blair to his silent sobs and tears. Then Ellison would wash his guide again to remove sweat, tears, and the blood that trailed from torn wrists.
Breaking a guide was easy. It just took a little time.
In a matter of days the guide ceased to try to scream. He wouldn't have been heard anyway. With the repeated near strangulations Ellison had deliberately damaged his vocal cords until the guide could only manage a hoarse whisper of sound, just loud enough for a sentinel to hear.
His guide's reactions to the touches dwindled to nothing during the following week as his mind withdrew from the torment. When those ghosting touches failed to produce responses, then pressure points were employed to good effect, with the guide eventually retreating from this pain too, reacting only with twitches and jerks as the pain overwhelmed him.
With no defenses left, no endurance left, the guide was easy prey. No solid food. No sleep. Pain, fear and torture his daily routine. Gone was home, family, sense of self . . . hope. The last wall fell and the sentinel sensed the moment when his guide's mind fractured. With all his skills the sentinel had bent his guide to his will. Then he claimed him as his own.
The sentinel woke from a restful sleep, stretching and reveling in the warmth coming from the skylight. Pushing his blankets aside he let his hand reach down to graze the cool skin of guide beside the bed. It was curled tightly, naked on a thin rug, at hand for the sentinel's convenience.
Caring for guide had become part of the sentinel's daily routine. He felt it was time well used, for it allowed him to ground his senses for the coming day. He washed guide before breakfast. A liquid health drink was handed to it for nourishment. It was all guide's hands could manage now. Since it's duties didn't require dexterity, the sentinel saw no reason to prevent guide's hands from curling and withering from the nerve and muscle damage. Another drink was packed for it's lunch.
The sentinel hummed to himself as he readied to return to his work. His Captain had been understanding of his need for down time to connect properly with guide. The sentinel was elated at the strength and control he'd gained. He was anxious to put his gift to work for his tribe. The only problem was an unsettling emptiness where he connected to guide. Well, it was a small price to pay.
The Sentinel dressed guide in dull, if proper, attire and ran his hands through the tiny curls on guide's head. He liked the feel of the curls, he wouldn't cut it shorter.
The Sentinel checked his mail before he left, with guide close behind him. Ellison greeted his neighbors cheerfully. They wondered at the emaciated, silent young man who shadowed him so closely whom Ellison had failed to introduce.
As he walked to his desk to start up his computer, Ellison nodded to the Captain who was talking to the other detectives in the bullpen. It felt good to be back. Looking up Ellison noticed guide standing at the front of his desk. “Guide, stand there, beside the desk, until I need you.” He glared at guide for this infraction, even though it was it's first day with it's sentinel, then Ellison's gaze slid back to his work.
It gave no flicker of fear. It gave no nod of agreement. There was no wavering of focus. Guide stood as directed; a still and silent guardian for <SENTINEL>.
Ellison became aware of the quiet in the bullpen. He looked up at his
staring, horrified colleagues. Turning to Simon he asked, “Is something wrong Captain?”
Definition from WordWeb:
eminent domain - the right of the state to take private property for public use. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States requires that just compensation be made.