A/N: Thanks for the patience folks, and all the reviews. Here's a new chapter, hope y'all like it!
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“Oooookaaaay,” drawled Jack. He was never going to get used to this spiritual mumbo-jumbo. “Now that zoo-time is over, I guess congratulations are in order.” Jack looked at the two boys, who had returned to their mutual self-absorption after the spirits had disappeared. He stepped up to tap Jon on the shoulder, and abruptly found himself with a face full of snarling Xander.
“MINE!” Xander shouted, thrusting Jon behind him. Then he shoved Jack down on his ass and glared at and the rest of the group, warning them to keep back..
Willow, thinking to calm Xander down, tried to approach him. “It’s okay Xan…” and just as quickly as Jack, she found herself shoved back….by Jon!
“MY Sentinel!” Jon growled.
“Whoa! Okay guys, everyone just back away a bit. The bond is newly formed, and a strong one, and they are a little over-sensitive from the ritual,” Blair explained.
Xander meanwhile, pulled Jon back behind him from where he’d stepped forward to confront Willow. He and Jon shuffled about trying to keep themselves between the rest, in a weird tapdance of possessive protection.
Jack rolled his eyes in exasperation…this was gonna be a long day.
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Blair had managed to herd the boys into the bedroom, to change back into their clothes and ‘commune’ or something. Jack was gonna get some answers. “Sandburg, explanations, now!”
Daniel knew that tone of voice. “Jack-”
“No, Daniel, my quota of freakiness has been reached, the cup of weirdness runneth over, and I want some explanations right the hell now! How long are they gonna be like this? If no one can even get near them, it’s gonna make things pretty damn hard.” He glared at Blair, and Jim growled in warning. “See? Look, they are still like this after how many years?”
Surprising Blair, Jim was the one to answer. “Listen Colonel. It’s pretty obvious that right now the boys are ultra-protective of each other, but that’s natural. Blair told you, the bond is new, they need the closeness, the touch, the contact right now. Also, keep in mind that Xander was without a Guide for some time, and their mutual trauma from the kidnapping. These things have them into what Sandburg calls Blessed Protector mode. It will get better, and then they will become a normal Sentinel-Guide pairing. Make no mistake, they will still be protective of each other, but unless something stresses the bond, such as one of the pairing being in mortal danger or injured, they won’t snap at the slightest touch or approach.”
From somewhere behind him, Jim heard a softly whispered “Oh dear”, along with the sound of a cloth polishing glasses. Jim wondered what he’d said to fluster the man, but didn’t turn around to enquire.
“Right then, folks, let’s do as Jack was about to suggest earlier then, and celebrate. Food’s ready!”
With relief, everyone went through the kitchen and out back once more, to partake of the ‘feast.”
Eventually, Xander and Jon came out to join them, cleaned up and dressed once more (to Jack’s relief and Buffy and Willow’s disappointment.) They sat together on one of the benches, and they stuck close to each other and exchanged light touches on the arms, as if to reassure each that the other was still there. There was a calm content feeling radiating from them both, though. The tenseness was gone, and neither growled if someone approached too closely.
Jack’s crankiness slowly melted away as he observed the pair, and saw that Jim had been right. He could only hope that things would be better from here, Jon deserved some normal in his life. Well, as normal as this Sentinel-Guide thing is, anyways
he sighed to himself.
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Xander threw his and Jon’s bags onto the twin beds in Giles’ spare room, then threw himself onto one of the beds, groaning in relief. “OOOF! Home sweet Hellmouth! Never thought I’d say this but I’m glad to be back. If I never see another airport again, I’ll be a happy Xanman!”
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Harry Maybourne read the files of the cadets he was being sent. Just three for now: Riley Finn, Forrest Gates, Graham Miller. Fresh young faces just out of West Point Academy. Right now, he had orders to have them enrol in UC Sunnydale, and integrate themselves as unobtrusively as possible into Sunnydale proper. They were to observe only at this juncture, as the underground base was only just beginning to be constructed. And wasn’t that a pain and a half, as HE had to oversee the entire project, the construction, requisitioning of supplies, eventual hiring of personnel, filling out Gods-be-damned paperwork in TRIPLICATE… Maybourne sighed. Maybe if he begged, he could go back to spying on Jack; O’Neill was a thorn in his side, but at least the paperwork was minimal.
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