Disclaimers: Boys not mine; I just borrow them from time to time when the muse moves me.

Special Thanks to my Beta Queen, Zoe, without whom I'd be doomed to a life of grammatical inaccuracy. Also God bless my beta Ari, who has the kindness and tenacity to ensure that what you read is worthy. Last, but most certainly not least, for my beautiful friend, Heather, who's incredible command of the English language allows her to provide me with individually needed words at a moment's notice.

Thank you to wolfpup for giving my work a great home.

Warnings: H/C, Angst, Smarm, Some violence, and usually a bit of colorful language.

Spoilers: TSbyBS


IMPRINTING

Sam Mallory


His Guide was tainted.

The poison of her touch permeated every pore, his essence absolutely disintegrated in the face of her evil.

This was unacceptable.

Jim's eyes narrowed as his head tipped to the side, his senses reeling.

"What is it, big guy?" Blair intoned, his Guide voice in full active mode.

Jim just twitched and sniffed his Guide again, a low growl emanating from his throat.

Simon and Megan stared at the lumbering detective, their faces masked with confusion.

They watched as Jim's growling continued to grow more fierce as they rode back into town.

Megan sighed heavily. At least Alex Barnes was out of the picture. She had been taken away by the medics to a hospital to await the extradition that surely would follow.

Megan jumped as a particularly dangerous growl sounded from the back of the jeep.

"Oh shit!" Blair cursed as Jim's rational mind seemed to shut down even more and the panther began to take control. Jim nipped at his Guide, bellowing in anguish at what his senses were telling him. "Pull over, Simon, now," Blair hissed, all things overridden by his concern for his Sentinel.

Simon cranked the wheel and stopped at the side of the road as Blair barely waited for the jeep to stop before coaxing his friend from the seat.

"What's wrong with Jim?" Megan whispered, only to be pinned down by an angry animal glare. Flinching, she stepped back before fixing him with a glare of her own.

Blair sighed. "He's gone primitive," he answered distractedly. "This is the Sentinel. Jim's not in control anymore," he finished, his voice trembling minutely.

"We need to go back to the temple. Damnit, why didn't I think of this before," he berated himself, his features twisted with disgust.

Carefully loading the Sentinel back into the jeep, they returned to the place of their nightmares.


Blair carefully settled Jim down on the ground within a deserted room in the temple.

"What is this place?" Megan voiced with quiet reverence.

"I think it's a ritual room. There are pictographs that seem to lead the Guide through a specific ritual. I didn't even think to make sure that Jim would be okay to leave here. You guys go. I've got a lot of work to do," Blair shooed them with quick motions of his hands, then set about making preparations.


Jim's agitation seemed to increase exponentially. If he wasn't sleeping, he was prowling the cavern, snarling at the people he could smell in the other room.

"Calm down, Jim," Blair whispered, his tone directed toward soothing his Sentinel.

Sighing, Blair double checked that he had everything he needed and then beckoned his Sentinel to approach him.

Reaching out with tentative fingers, Jim touched his Guide tenderly.

"What's he doing?" Simon demanded, as he stormed into the room.

Blair glared at the Captain. "Reconnecting. The Sentinel is on high alert. His Guide was separated from him, even if it was his own decision. Add to that the threats Alex made against me and the fact that her scent is probably all over me from the spirit room and it's not hard to see why the Sentinel took over. Now go out and don't come in no matter what you hear," Blair commanded, dismissing any further discussion as he turned back toward Jim.

"Now wait just a damn minute!" Simon exploded; unable to finish when Blair interrupted him.

"Go now. I need to get Jim back. Go!"

Blair turned his full focus back on his Sentinel. "Shhh. It's okay, Jim. Do what you need to do," he gave his permission freely.

Jim turned his full attention toward the Guide blocking out all other stimulus.

Blair continued his sub vocal murmuring, calming the man even further. Reaching toward his best friend, Blair drew Jim's head to the pulse point at his neck and tipped his head back to allow his Sentinel complete access to his bared throat.

The Sentinel growled at the foreign scents contaminating his Guide. Holding his Guide in a gentle but firm place, he began to lick his Guide's neck clean.

His frustration grew as he realized the scent was not that easily washed away. Nudging Blair forward with the top of his head, as a cat would, the Sentinel gently led his Guide to the reflecting pool across the chamber and began to wash him.

Blair, understanding the Sentinel's desire, took over the act, which seemed intimate although he was completely clothed. Blair splashed the clear water over himself several times before the Sentinel was satisfied with his Guide's scent.

Pulling his Guide up from the luminous water, the Sentinel began to imprint his Guide upon his senses.

He brushed his fingertips over the damp, whisker roughened skin of the Guide's face. He then drew his fingers back toward the long, coiled locks of wet hair, smoothing them back. Beginning with the top of Blair's head, the Sentinel ghosted ultra sensitive fingertips over every inch of his head, chest, and limbs to ensure all were free of injury.

Blair closed his eyes, trusting his Sentinel implicitly.

The Sentinel sighed in relief at the physical state of his Guide. He was unharmed and appeared to be completely free of injury barring minor cuts and bruises from his time in the jungle.

Leaning his head forward, he drew a deep breath, bringing the Guide's scent into the innermost chambers of his lungs. He smiled at the purity of his scent and proceeded to unearth every scent his Guide exuded in his relaxed state. Sensing no fear from his Guide, he continued his explorations to ensure his Guide's safety as well as his own sanity.


Simon peeked around the corner to see Blair asleep on the floor, with Jim propped against the wall, knees bent. One arm rested on his knee, whereas his other hand unconsciously toyed with the curls at his fingertips.

Simon approached the sleeping men with trepidation, cursing beneath his breath when he stumbled forward.

"I'm not asleep," Jim announced just above a whisper.

Simon jumped, then settled as he realized that his friend had returned to them.

"You're back," he stated obviously, then rolled his eyes at his predictability.

Jim chuckled softly, shaking his head. "I don't know how he does it, Simon. I can't really remember anything after Alex was led away on that stretcher. I'm almost afraid to find out what happened here," he admitted quietly, his gaze fixed firmly on the exhausted Guide.

"He brought you back. You were... I don't know... primitive. You growled at anybody who got near Blair and he figured out that we needed to get back here pronto," Simon answered thoughtfully.

"He's amazing, Simon. She killed him. Left him for dead. Then I left him too," Jim confessed, his voice tainted with shame.

Simon shook his head. "Yeah, you did," he agreed, causing his friend to flinch. "But, Jim, he came back to you. You called him and he came back. If that isn't a miracle, then I don't know what the hell is."

"I don't understand him, Simon. I pushed him away. Threw him out of his home. Took all he had and nearly destroyed our friendship," Jim sighed, turning away.

"Yeah, but you're missing the meaning here, Jim. Blair's your Guide. He will always be with you. His death taught me that if nothing else," Simon informed the detective.

Blair groaned as he began climbing up through the depths of sleep.

Jim quieted the groaning with a gentle touch, "I'll never leave him either, Simon," he promised as he resumed the soft stroking of Blair's damp hair. "Something happened here. It's like he's in every part of me, my blood brother."

Simon acknowledged this admission silently, words escaping him. "Let me know when you're ready to go," Simon whispered, afraid to break the mystical spell surrounding the chamber.


Three weeks later... in Cascade, Washington.

Blair glanced up as Jim entered the loft. "How was your day?"

Jim scowled as he limped into the kitchen for a cold beer. "Damn suspect had to jump a barbed wire fence," he muttered as he chugged a few swallows.

"Yeah, hurt like hell," Blair responded, absently rubbing his right knee.

Jim stopped suddenly, "You felt it, didn't you? Like you were there?"

Blair nodded as he tried to conceal the limp he was harboring. "I guess we'll need to talk about this, huh?"

"Probably, but not right now, Chief. We knew when we came back that the bond between us had grown stronger. Now we're just seeing it first hand," Jim reminded the young anthropologist.

Blair shook his head amusedly. "One little vacation in the jungle..." he muttered, fading out near the end.

Jim huffed out a laugh. "Funny, Chief. Hope the knee didn't cause you too much trouble."

"Well I did fall on my ass in front of the class, but, hey, shit happens, right," he countered, if not a bit sarcastically.

Jim grimaced in sympathy. "Well, you know what they say, Chief. Be careful what you wish for. Damned if we should have been a little more specific when we wanted the bond to be stronger."

"Ya think?" He asked sarcastically, the smile on his face suffusing his eyes with luminescence.

Raising his bottle to his Guide, Jim toasted, his voice tinged with pride, "To brotherhood."

Blair lifted his bottle to meet that of his Sentinel, clinking the bottles together, he replied proudly, "Damn straight!"

The End