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Jason stood one of the many bedrooms in the beach house putting on his Full-Dress uniform. The gloves laying on the dresser to be put on later. With his mind focused on the upcoming ceremony, he hadn’t been talkative, and Sonny had turned his attention to ribbing Clay to pass the time.
“So, Jase,” Ray started, coming over to lean against the wall near where Jason was standing, “how exactly did General O’Neill and his Guide come to be the officiants of your Final Bonding Ceremony?”
Jason decided to let the jacket stay on the hanger until he was ready to put it on. Crossing to the dresser where his gloves lay, Jason picked up the jewelry box where Tony’s Bonding Bracelet lay. Then moving back to where Ray stood watching him, he handed the box to his Beta and best friend, as it would be his responsibility to hold onto it until they were ready for it. On the bed near where Sonny and Clay sat was the Ceremonial Basket that would be given to Tony’s representatives.
The basket held an offering from each of the people that Jason deemed to be closest to him. His choices had been easier than Tony’s, whom he knew had battled for days trying to create his list. Jason was pretty sure that most of his Intended Guide’s struggle had been over Caroline, whom he wanted to include, but wasn’t sure it was appropriate. Despite the fact that she wasn’t a formal member of the family, she’d been around long enough that Tony had developed a close relationship with her, viewing her as something of an older sister, but tried his best to respect the boundaries of her relationship with Patrick.
Since the baskets were things that were sacred to the ceremony, Jason hadn’t been able to discuss it with Tony, so he wasn’t sure what the outcome had been. He only knew that Tony had a Skype meeting with Patrick one evening that he’d gone into all tied up in knots and come out of looking and feeling much more relaxed.
“General O’Neill is a family friend,” Jason offered finally remembering Ray’s question. “He also likes to officiate the bonding ceremonies for his people and apparently has never said no when asked. We are now his people since Bravo Team is officially seconded to Homeworld Security. Plus, Jack and Daniel officiated John and Rodney’s ceremony when they bonded, and Tony really wanted him to do ours. Since I didn’t really care who did it as long as it was done, I didn’t see any reason to say no.”
Eric poked his head into the room and Jason hoped it was finally time. He wasn’t sure how much more waiting his nerves could take. “Ready? It’s time to go. Everyone is here.”
Nodding, Jason put on his coat and then gloves slipping them on. Feeling a hand on his arm, Jason looked back to see Ray watching him with understanding in his eyes. “It’s gonna go fine, Jase. Guy is crazy about you. It’s clear for anyone who looks at you two to see.”
Nodding, Jason accepted slaps to the shoulder before heading out. Ray following with the bracelet slipped into an inner pocket and carrying the basket. Clay and Sonny behind Ray carrying lengths of gold colored cord that would be used in the ceremony both by them and later on Ray.
Stepping outside, Jason moved to stand on the back deck watching as the guests were directed where to stand, each being handed a length of either Navy Blue silk or gold cord similar to what Sonny and Clay had. Looking over to where Tony’s group stood, Jason could see Aiden carrying a similar basket, with Stephen and Logan carrying the lengths of Navy-blue silk that they’d decided on. He could see Aiden talking softly to Tony and found himself wondering if his Intended Guide was as nervous as he was.
After the first ceremony had been completed, their Prospective status shifted to Intended. Jason though was looking forward to being able to just say Sentinel and Guide, because it would mean that Tony was finally his, their families united, and no one would ever be able to separate them.
Jason felt Ray come to stand next to him, brushing his shoulder slightly as he pointed out where Cerberus was standing in place as part of the ring wearing his formal harness that showed off the canine’s own rank and medals. To make sure the ring wasn’t broken, Cerberus was holding one end of gold cord in his mouth, and someone had tied the Navy blue silk to where his lead would normally clip.
Jason hadn’t expected the Belgian Malinois to be included in the ceremony, but Tony had been insistent that he was a part of the Bravo Tribe, and therefore needed to be included. It was a detail that, while it seemed obvious to Tony, had meant a great deal to Brock, and therefore the rest of Bravo.
Once the ring formed leaving only the opening that Jason and Tony as well as their attendants and the two couples acting as parents, the ceremony was ready to start. In Tony’s case Patrick had been an obvious choice, but he was a little surprised to see Caroline standing next to him. For Jason, Eric Blackburn and his wife Betty had been the closest thing he had. He’d tried to get his actual parents to participate hoping that if they did, they’d understand why this was all so important to him.
He’d even taken a couple days to go to Philadelphia to introduce Tony to them to try and change their mind, but in the end both his mother and father had insisted they didn’t belong and therefore wouldn’t attend. While Jason hadn’t exactly been devastated, as he really hadn’t expected anything different, it had hurt, and essentially put an end to any attempt at having a relationship with his parents.
The good news was that both of his siblings had agreed to come. Jason hadn’t expected it, but apparently both of their spouses insisted that it was important they attend. While he was trying not to get his hopes up, Jason hoped that this meant he would be able to have a closer relationship with both his brother and sister. Looking around the circle and seeing them scattered around the circle along with their children helped to relax Jason a little bit.
“It’s time, Jase,” Ray said as Clay and Sonny began moving toward the Navy-Blue carpet that would lead them into the ring. As he moved that direction, Jason could already see Logan waiting to head down the carpet. Clay would go first being the youngest representative of Jason’s Tribe. Unlike wedding ceremonies, the order wasn’t determined by groom and bride. Instead, the order and importance was determined by who represented the existing Pride, if there was one, and who represented the Tribe coming in, if there was one.
Since Tony was part of the existing Pride, and Jason was head of the Bravo Tribe that would be joining the Sheppard Pride, Tony and his representatives would come in last with Tony holding the place of most importance. Therefore, Clay stepped onto the carpet first, still carrying lengths of gold cord, with Logan following holding his own bundle of Navy-blue silk. Sonny came next also carrying gold colored cord, and Stephen following behind him carrying his own blue silk bundle. Finishing up Jason’s attendants would be Ray carrying the Bravo Tribe Ceremonial Basket offering, with Aiden coming in carrying the Sheppard/Paddington Ceremonial Basket.
As they each entered the circle, Daniel Jackson and General Jack O’Neill stood ringing bells around each man as he entered to purify each participant in the sacred ceremony. Daniel purified Tony and his attendance and parents, and Jack purified Jason along with his attendance and parent representatives. Ray’s wife Naima and Tony’s Aunt Olivia Paddington were standing on each side of the opening reading in unison the passage that started the ceremony.
“The Sacred Circle is symbolic of Life and the connection and continuity of all living things made up of the people most important to the Sentinel and Guide who have brought us here. As Jason, Antony and their Spirit Guides enter the Circle, they will be purified using bells, and the allowed to symbolically enter the psionic plane. When they leave, they are reborn as a one person: a bonded Sentinel and Guide and their Spirit Guides two halves of one united whole – not just to each other, but to the family and the community, and they to you.”
As Jason stepped onto the carpet, he felt something brush his hand and looking down noticed that his Spirit Guide Philly had finally popped back in to take his place in the ceremony. As he walked down the aisle, Jason found himself rubbing the larger than normal animal’s fur to calm himself. Pausing at the opening, he let Jack do his purifying as the bell was moved around Jason’s body while ringing it. Jason momentarily closed his eyes taking in the sound of the bell to let it calm and soothe him so that when he entered the ring all that was on his mind was his Guide.
Once Jack was done, Jason followed the path until he was standing in front of Ray, with Jack following him to take his place next to where Daniel would stand facing the couple. When Tony stepped up to face him, Jason didn’t even bother to wait to take his Intended Guide’s hand, as he needed the contact. They’d been separated the night before just after dinner, and Jason hoped that was the last time he had to be away from his Guide for that long.
Logically, he knew it wouldn’t be. Tony wouldn’t always accompany him into the field, or at least that was the plan. Sometimes plans changed though, but that was a matter for another day. Forcing his mind back to the ceremony, Jason offered Tony a shaky smile then turned his attention to Jack and Daniel.
Daniel Jackson smiled understandingly at Jason before he began speaking, starting off the long ceremony. “Jason, what do you provide for this final bonding in offering to the Sheppard and Paddington Prides to represent how you will care for their Guide?”
Jason took a deep breath and turned his eyes back to Tony feeling himself relax as he looked into the gorgeous hazel orbs. “I provide these things to my Guide and home. They are a symbol that I will care for you and love you always. They are a symbol that I will provide, love and protect our family always. As your Sentinel your safety will be my first concern from this point going forward to the ends of the universe and beyond.”
Ray then stepped from behind Jason and moved to stand next to him carrying the basket with their offerings. As he did this, Sonny and Clay stepped up, one on each side of Jason and Tony’s hands weaving lengths of gold cord around their clasped hands. As he watched the cord being woven around their hands, Jason turned his head to look at Ray as he spoke.
“The Bravo Tribe brings the following offering to the Sheppard and Paddington Prides as a sign of our intentions toward their Guide Lt. Commander Antony Sheppard Paddington. From Sentinel Special Warfare Operator First Class Percival Quinn is a bottle of his favorite whiskey to represent the fun and laughter he offers when things are dark and the light is needed the most. From Guide Special Warfare Operator Second Class Clay Spencer is a bullet from his favorite sniper rifle to represent the protection we offer Antony and his Prides no matter what the situation.
“From Sentinel Special Warfare Operator First Class Trent Sawyer is a first aid kit to represent the healing Bravo Tribe offers should we fail to keep Antony or his Prides safe. From Guide Special Warfare Operator First Class Brock Reynolds is a stuffed dog made to look like Bravo Teammate Cerberus to represent the companionship and loyalty Bravo Tribe brings to Antony and his Prides. From Sentinel Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Ray Perry is a book on negotiation and compromise for when Antony and his Prides and Jason and Bravo Tribe need to remember they are no longer two but one.
“From Sentinel Lt Commander Eric Blackburn is a Satellite Phone to show that no matter where Antony or his Prides are Bravo Tribe is no more than a phone call away. From Latent Sentinel Miss Emma Hayes is a book of love poems to represent the love that Jason Hayes and Bravo Team offer Antony and his Prides. Then finally, from Latent Guide Mr. Michael Hayes is a hockey puck because hockey is awesome, and it represents that both Bravo Team and Antony along with his Prides are now a united Team.”
As Sonny and Clay moved back to their places, Jason couldn’t help but be proud of his kids. Their participation in the basket ceremony had been really important to him. He’d told them both to select whatever they thought appropriate and promised that their reasoning would be read by their Uncle Ray exactly as they wrote them. From the grin on Tony’s face, he could tell the love poems and the hockey puck had been well received and their intentions understood by their new Stepdad.
Once Ray was done speaking, the Intended Sentinel looked to General Jack O’Neill as he proceeded with the next part in the ceremony. “Tony, what do you provide for this Final Bonding in offering to the Bravo Tribe to represent how you will care for their Sentinel?”
Aiden now stepped forward as Stephen and Logan began weaving lengths of Navy-blue silk around the gold cords. When Tony spoke, his voice was deeper and huskier than normal and Jason could tell his Intended Guide was as affected as Jason was. “I provide these things to my Sentinel. They are a symbol that I will care for you and love you always. They are a symbol that I will provide, love and protect our family always. As your Guide, your physical and mental health are my first concern now and going forward to the ends of the universe and beyond.”
As Ray had before, it was now Aiden’s turn to list and explain the contents of the basket Tony and his Prides would be offering Jason and Bravo Tribe. “From Sentinel Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Aiden Patrick Sheppard is offered an Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife to represent the protection Antony’s Prides offer Jason and Bravo Tribe. From Sentinel Retired Rear Admiral Patrick Aiden Sheppard is offered keys to the family mansion for Sentinel Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes, Latent Sentinel Miss Emma Hayes, and Latent Guide Mr. Michael Hayes so that they know they will always have a home with the Sheppard Pride.
“From Sentinel Marquess of Longton George Jeffrey Paddington comes legal papers declaring Sentinel Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes, Latent Sentinel Miss Emma Hayes, and Latent Guide Mr. Michael Hayes members of the Paddington Pride to show that protection can be found even when they are away from home. From Sentinel Lt. Colonel Jonathan Patrick Sheppard comes a certificate to a local Sentinel and Guide friendly tattoo parlor along with a copy of the Sheppard Brother tattoo design to show Sentinel Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes that he now has brothers outside of his Bravo Tribe.
“From Guide Retired Senior Chief David Michael Sheppard comes the latest Sheppard Industries GPS Tracking watches for Latent Sentinel Miss Emma Hayes and Latent Guide Mr. Michael Hayes to show that both Prides will keep Jason’s children safe even when he can’t be there to do it himself. From Lord Dr. Stephen Phillip Paddington comes two books on the Sheppard Family and the Paddington Family histories to teach Sentinel Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes, Latent Sentinel Miss Emma Hayes, and Latent Guide Mr. Michael Hayes about the Prides they are joining.
“From Lord Dr. Logan Worthington is a book on Tips for Heathy Relationships to remind Guide Lt. Commander Antony Sheppard Paddington and Sentinel Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes that their pain is now shared between two, not carried as a burden by one. Lastly, from Guide Caroline Schmidt comes Sentinel Master Chief Jason Hayes’ favorite apple bread to remind him that he is not coming to the Sheppard Pride to be Tony’s mate, but as his own person whom the Paddington Tribe vows to treasure as they would any family or Pride member.”
After Stephen and Logan moved back to their places, Jason turned his attention to Jack and Daniel as they spoke. “Sentinel Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Ray Perry and Sentinel Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Aiden Patrick Sheppard you may exchange baskets.”
Jason then turned his head to watch Ray and Aiden swap baskets before moving to stand in their previous positions behind Jason and Aiden. Once done, Jason then turned his gaze back to Tony glad to see his Intended Guide’s eyes as shiny as Jason knew his own were. When Daniel began speaking, Jason held Tony’s gaze as he listened to the officiants read the next part of the ceremony.
“Now you will feel no rain for you will be shelter to each other,” Daniel read followed by Jack.
“Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to each other.”
“Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion to each other,” Daniel continued, once more followed by Jack.
“Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you.”
“Soon you will go to your resting place, to enter into the days of your togetherness.” Jack and Daniel read together and continued on reading the last line in unison.
“May your days be good and long upon the earth. May you never know a day without the other as long as you both live, and once you both leave the earth may your souls find each other on the spirit plane.”
Once they were done, Jason cleared his throat then began reciting the next passage of the ceremony. His voice husky and deep with emotion, and his attention firmly on his Intended Guide. “Above you are the stars, below you are the stones. As time does pass, remember; like a star should your love be constant. Like a stone should your love be firm. Be close, yet not too close. Possess me yet be understanding. Have patience with me; for storms will come, but they will go quickly. Be free in giving of affection and warmth. Make love often and be sensuous toward me. Have no fear and let not the ways of words of the unenlightened give you unease. For all Sentinels of the past, the present, and the future are with you, now and always.”
Once he was done, Jason listened as Tony repeated the passage back to him, the only change being Guides at the end instead of Sentinels. When done, Jack requested that Jason repeat after him, and taking a deep breath he let his focus narrow even further onto his Guide.
“I Sentinel Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes take you Guide Lt. Commander Antony Sheppard Paddington as my Guide. I do solemnly avow my love for you. I will comfort you, keep you, love you, defend you in sickness or in health, in riches or poverty, in sorrow or joy, seeking only to be with you until death parts us. All these things I pledge upon my honor as your Sentinel now and forever.”
Once done, Daniel took over commanding Tony to repeat after him.
“I Guide Lt. Commander Antony Sheppard Paddington take you Sentinel Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes as my Sentinel. I do solemnly avow my love for you. I will comfort you, keep you, love you, defend you in sickness or in health, in riches or poverty, in sorrow or joy, seeking only to be with you until death parts us. All these things I pledge upon my honor as your Guide now and forever.”
At this point, Jason was vaguely of Ray moving forward again, as he noticed Aiden also stepping forward. As Jack began to read, Ray began adding his own gold cord to the ones previously placed around Tony and Jason’s hands. “Now as you Jason and you Antony have consented together in bonding and have pledged yourselves to each other by the giving and the receiving of these bracelets before your family and Community; according to the powers invested in me by the World Sentinel and Guide Council.”
When Jack was done reading, Ray took the bracelet out of his pocket and attached it securely around Tony’s left wrist that had carefully been left free during the wrapping of the cord and silk. Once he was done, he stepped back to Jason’s side and Daniel began speaking as Aiden mirrored Ray’s previous actions only using the Navy-blue silk instead of the cord.
“To All Sentinels and Guides of past, present, and future, protectors and defenders of all life, we give heartfelt thanks for the moment that brought Antony and Jason together in this bonded union bringing two souls together to create one whole being as protector and defender of this Pride and Family.” As Aiden clasped the bracelet of gold and platinum in the shape of ropes woven together around his wrist, Jason dropped his eyes for a moment to admire the jewelry before lifting his eyes back to his Guide’s.
“Antony and Jason, will you join us, please? They also invite everyone watching to join them in the final binding,” Daniel spoke his voice serious and strong as was appropriate for the occasion, and Jack followed his tone equally serious and voice strong.
“Circles have no beginning and have no end, and so in the long and sacred tradition of Sentinel and Guides, bonding bracelets have come to symbolize eternal love and endless union of body, of mind, and of the spirit.”
Jason had been worried about all of the words he had to remember, but somehow now that he was in the moment, the came to him perfectly, and he couldn’t help but wonder if Philly, who was pressed up against his leg, was helping somehow. When Jason spoke, his voice mixed with Tony’s so perfectly it was hard to tell there were two men speaking instead of just one.
“These bracelets are a symbol of our love and faithfulness, and with all that we are, and all that we have, we honor each other, and pledge to each other our love and life. We exchange them to complete this bonding. The two ropes represent a Sentinel and a Guide now coming together, still as individuals but representing one soul. The two-colored metals represent a Sentinel’s Tribe joining a Guide’s Pride. Two formerly separate families becoming one bonded unit.”
When they were done, Daniel and Jack spoke immediately, their voices, like Jason and Tony’s hand, blending together perfectly to sound as if only one man spoke. “May you find life’s joys great, its bitterness sweetened, and your lives enriched by your companionship and love while living in harmony with the earth and the Spirit Plane. We now pronounce that you are Sentinel and Guide. Two men, two Spirit Guides, and One whole being. One Whole Heart. One whole soul. You may now kiss.”
Jason couldn’t help but grin as he leaned forward capturing Tony’s lips, wishing he could wrap his arms around the man that was now officially his Guides in the eyes of their Tribe, their Prides, and the entirety of the world.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
When Tony finally pulled back from his first kiss as a bonded Guide, he saw his little brother waiting with the knife he’d included in the Sheppard/Paddington basket before he began carefully cutting through silk and cords wrapped around their hands. Vaguely, Tony was aware of others surrounding them waiting to give their well wishes and congratulations, but all he could see was Jason. This man, this perfect Sentinel that Tony just knew had been created just for him.
He couldn’t help but think back to those lonely days just after his mother died, and how he’d struggled to believe that he’d ever be anything but lonely. As his hand was free, he couldn’t help but touch the signet ring that his Uncle George had given him that belonged to his mother. The older man had put it on a piece of blue silk like they’d used in the ceremony so that Tony could wear it. Briefly, he looked up toward the sky knowing his mother was looking down on them, and had no doubts of her happiness that her boy had found his Perfect Sentinel.
When he looked back down, Jason was standing there still watching him, as he had been throughout the ceremony as if Tony were the only person in the world. The bond they shared had strengthened during the ceremony to the point where Tony now could feel everything that was Jason and knew his Sentinel could feel everything that was Tony.
“Fuck, I love you,” Jason said intensely as he stepped forward and captured Tony’s face between his hands. “For so long I didn’t think this would happen. I thought I’d somehow missed my chance, and then when Alana divorced me, I thought I didn’t deserve this bond because I’d forsaken it to do what others considered the right thing. I’ll never regret my marriage to her because without it I wouldn’t have Mikey and I’d never wish to give him up. You don’t know though how much it means to me that you waited for me, even without knowing who I was or why.”
“Jason,” Tony breathed as he wrapped his arms around his Sentinel’s neck. He knew people were watching, but also trusted Aiden to keep the crowd back until they were ready for other people to be in their space.
“Don’t you know? You’re everything. There was never any question of waiting, it was just a thing I had to do. My whole life has just been doing what I needed to be the kind of man, the kind of Guide you needed once I found you. To be the kind of man, the kind of Guide my mother would want me to be for you to honor her and what she never had. Love somehow doesn’t seem to be a strong enough word for what I feel for you.
“A part of me can’t help but think it should feel at least a little odd to love you, need you so strongly when we’ve barely known each other for a month, but it isn’t. It’s just as it should be. You and me, your Tribe, and my Prides. Your kids and team and ex-wife mixing with the Sheppards and the Paddingtons into some oddly large international family unit intent on keeping the world safe and kicking ass along the way. There is nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice for you because I know there is nothing you wouldn’t sacrifice for me. Thank you.
“Thank you for giving me a second family. Thank you for giving me two awesome kids I look forward to getting know and hopefully help in at least a small way become the awesome humans they are intended to be. But most of all, thank you for making me whole. Thank you for making my heart whole. Thank you for giving my mother that thing she wanted the most in the world. Just, thank you.”
As Tony pulled back slightly, he saw that Jason’s shiny eyes were now leaking down his face but didn’t care because he knew his were doing the same. Closing his eyes, he let Jason lean in until their foreheads were touching, their hands cupping each other’s faces, and their eyes closed as they just breathed in unison. Two men, two hearts, two souls, two families had become one being, one unit anchored by one Guide and one Sentinel. Two halves that had become one whole.
I write fanfiction for fun. It’s a hobby and a stress relief. I refuse to angst over my writing. What you see is what you get. Errors, plot holes, and all. Thank you for reading my story!