[personal profile] chlorhexidine
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Instinct watched as they were introduced for the first time, a twelve year old human charge, and his twelve year old Guardian, handpicked to be his ideal partner throughout his life, to bring out the best in him, and suppress the worst. She wondered if they'd impressed upon the human boy the seriousness of what he was taking on. A Guardian wasn't a pet, they weren't something you could grow tired of and walk away from, you couldn't ignore them, or forget to feed them.
Her gaze fell to Song, out of the corner of her eye. Rejection had nearly destroyed him. He spent every waking moment clinging to the fragments of his connection to a charge that had gone into their partnership expecting a pet that would be able to look after itself. He'd been abused, and begged for more, anything so he could feel the closeness and happiness of his charge.
It was taboo to be sexual with a Guardian. What happened to Song was why. A human could touch another, sleep with another, get through the sensation of having another physically inside you, or being physically inside them, without emotional baggage. Even when it was their Guardian, it didn't seem to affect a human very much.
For a Guardian, something so intimate generated a feedback loop of intense emotion that they became addicted to. Bonded Guardians would get very tactile with the Guardian of their charge's partner, regardless of gender preferences, purely because of the emotional high. To do something like that with their charge directly was destructive. It was too much for them to handle, impossible to break away from.
Song had become addicted, and fallen in love so hard, so far, that he had lost perspective. He wasn't able to be a real Guardian any more. He couldn't advise her, or help her deal with her emotions when they became destructive, he couldn't point her down the moral high road any more, and as a result he'd been abused more. He had become a means to an end, until she no longer had any use for him, had become disgusted with his need for intimacy, and rejected him.
The boy of twelve, with bright red hair and green eyes, looked solemn, despite his wild hair. The old Guardian, unbonded, who ventured out of their city only for this purpose, took the human's hand, and the Guardian boy's hand. The Guardian boy was the same height, with a serious expression that looked like it belonged on his face, green eyes, and pale hair. He looked as though someone had taken the human, and reversed some features. With their hands placed together, their eyes locked, and she felt the swirl of emotions from them both.
“You shall belong to each other,” the old Guardian said. “You shall share in pain and folly, you shall share in joy and love. You are two halves, and you shall be a whole. It will not always be easy, but together you will face life, and know that there will always be another in this world who will help you, support you, and understand you.”
The air became thick with trepidation, and excitement. She could feel the two pounding hearts of the boys, who had not broken their gaze, but moved to clench each other's hand as if neither wished to let go. She closed her eyes, losing herself in the sense of these two, and their separate sets of emotions. The Guardian was muted, but clear, while the human screamed his feelings to the rooftops and beyond, so loud it was hard to pick a coherent thread from the cacophany.
She could feel the change as the bond was established between them; the Guardian boy became louder, the human quieter, as his emotions were slowly channelled through the Guardian. Deep reading, she realised, that's all it was. The Guardian was taking and examining the contents of his charge's heart, filtering it through his own, until, slowly, they began to pulse back and forth like a heartbeat between them as the Guardian was able to reflect some of himself back to his charge. That pulse slowed, and calmed, until it matched the beat of their hearts.
Instinct opened her eyes again. The human had tears running down his cheeks, and the Guardian reached up and wiped them away with a smile.
“It is done,” the old Guardian said. “This bond will last a lifetime.”
Even Instinct cracked a smile when the boy's reaction to those words was to throw himself forward, wrapping his arms tightly around his new Guardian and hugging him until he could barely breathe. The boy's parents, and their two Guardians were stood to one side, exchanging glances and smiles, and the warmth and affection radiated from them all. The boy led his new Guardian over to them, as the solemn air in the room dissipated, and Instinct realised with a pang that the Guardian would probably never see his own parents again.
“You give up so much to bond with us, don't you?” She said, to Song. She could feel him lost in his memories of his own bonding ceremony, the first time he saw the charge whose name he'd never repeat.
“You become our worlds,” Song said, softly. “It is not much of a sacrifice.”
She considered that with a frown, which only deepened as the old Guardian who had led the ceremony approached her. He'd know what she was, she knew, she'd counted on that. In the background she could hear the new charge excitedly ask his parents, “Can I take him for ice cream?”
She didn't hear the reply, as it was drowned out by the old Guardian's words; “You are an abomination.”
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