- Discussion-Domestic Abuse
- Explicit Sex
Edmundo “Eddie” Diaz fought the urge to cover his nose as he made his way through the smoggy streets of LA to the San Gabriel Keep. It wouldn’t do any good, and was an impulse left over from before he’d come online three years ago, one that he still couldn’t seem to shake no matter how much training he’d had.
And he’d had training. So much training. Coming online in the middle of a combat situation had resulted in a feral episode that had earned him a silver star and saved the lives of all but one of his medical convoy. It was about as traumatic as coming online could have possibly been, and the Army had sent him back home to El Paso for the best Sentinel training money could buy. Including the extra training as a combat medic to use his senses to the best of his abilities in the field. Eddie could pick up dozens of chemical signals from the human body even while being shot at, despite his unbonded state. His control was impeccable, with only the occasional slips expected from an unbounded Sentinel.
Still, none of that training had truly prepared him for the reality of Los Angelos. So much humanity and technology packed into a small, tropical climate was something else entirely. Even with all the extra training he’d received to qualify as a firefighting Sentinel, he didn’t think he’d ever be used to it.
It was with a sigh of relief that he stepped through the first set of doors that lead to the San Gabriel Keep. The doors sealed airtight behind him, and the purified air pumped into the small vestibule was enough to get rid of the worst of the cities’ stench. When he made his way into the building proper, the smell all but disappeared. Eddie felt his shoulders relax as his senses were free of the burden of all the background information that came from living in a city, especially one as heavily populated as Los Angelos. He never really realized exactly how taxing it was until he was in a space where he didn’t have to deal with it. And Keeps across the country were by their very nature the most Sentinel friendly spaces to be found.
With loose shoulders and a sense of ease that had been missing for the past three months, Eddie made his way over to the reception area where a woman sat. A guide, he could tell, though she didn’t appeal to his senses at all. It made sense. A Sentinel in distress who came in would be better handled by a guide than anyone else. Being the receptionist for a Keep was no simple task, and required much more than the usual qualifications. Eddie was willing to bet she had as much training as an ER intake nurse along with conservator training. She would have to hold the line until specialists could be called in. She was a first responder of sorts too, and Eddie wasn’t going to be disrespectful.
“Good morning,” the woman greeted him with a closed mouth smile. One with teeth could be seen as an act of aggression by a particularly [unhinged] sentinel, and Eddie was impressed by this small show of competence. “Welcome to the San Gabriel Keep. I am Guide [name]. What can I help you with today?”
“I’m Sentinel Eddie Diaz,” Eddie answered her. “I was just hired at the local firestation, so I came in to register with this center.”
Eddie had already registered with the center closest to the LAFD academy when he’d first arrived, as they were where the additional Sentinel firefighter trainings were held. He’d held off both on finding a pride and a house until he knew which station he’d end up at. He’d finished his training only a few days earlier, and while Station 6 had pitched him hard, Eddie had gone with the 118. Captain Robert Nash seemed like a solid, dependable sort, and Eddie had liked him at once. And something else, something he couldn’t quite put a name to had insisted that the 118 was the right choice. His first shift would start in forty eight hours, and Eddie was cramming as much housekeeping as possible into the time before his shift started now that he finally knew where he would be stationed.
First on his list? Getting registered at the local center. And then getting a lead on sentinel-friendly housing in the area. Getting the ball rolling on that would be an excellent start.
“Welcome, Sentinel Diaz,” [name] said with a smile. “Now, do you know your Keep ID?”
Eddie rattled off the numbers by rote. Memorizing his new serial number had been one of the first things he’d done. A moment later the light of the monitor reflected in the woman’s eyes changed, and he knew that she had been successful in pulling up his record.
“Edmundo Ramon Diaz?” she said for confirmation, and Eddie nodded his head.
The rest of it was fairly boilerplate. Ensuring that all his contact information was correct., that Christopher was still his dependent Then they reached the parts of the form that needed updating now that he was an active duty firefighter.
“Now, as I’m sure you are aware, disclosure of your status as a sentinel is completely voluntary. No one can compel you to disclose this information. That being said, there are several programs we have with the LAFD specifically, including a Keep Liason who deals with each of the station regarding any specific S&G issues that might come up during the course of your duty, as well as an S&G Union within the LAFD. Are you planning on disclosing your status to the LAFD?”
“I already have,” Eddie answered and [name] shot him another closed-mouth smile as she quickly typed a few notes into his file. “My new captain also knows, and I don’t plan on keeping it from my teammates. Do people really not disclose?”
Eddie thought that was beyond odd. Why wouldn’t you want to make sure that your team knew who you were, knew exactly what tools you had available to help them? Begin online came with a certain status as well, and in the case of the LAFD, a decent bonus pay as an incentive to serve. Not that Eddie had needed one.
“Yes,” she said. “Not everyone is comfortable with their gifts, and so they do their best to ignore them. And there are certainly certain pockets of society where the gifted are still looked at with suspicion. In the end, it is a personal descision.”
Eddie could understand that, he supposed. The Guide rights movement had been in the 1920s, but historically it was still recent enough that he was sure that it still had it’s impact. After all, he himself knew exactly how awful people could be, law be damned.
“To that end, as I’m sure you know, it is illegal to disclose the status of anyone without their permission except in exigent circumstances,” she said, her eyes hard as she looked at him.
Eddie had gotten this lecture before, but it had been as part of larger one on what Sentinels were and were not allowed to do in light of their enhances senses. This particular point hadn’t been hammered in on at all. The emphasis made him hesitant.
Someone in the area had to fall under the umbrella she was talking about. Someone she thought he might come across. Another firefighter at a nearby house?
“I understand,” Eddie said.[name] gave him a bland smile again, her scent now free of the subtle stress markers he hadn’t realized she was putting off before.
“Very good. Now, I see here that you’ve already been through all the required firefighter and EMT extension courses requires for Sentinels, and your signature is up to date. When you arrive at your sation, be sure to ask for the uniform markers that identify you as someone certified to handle Sentinels and Guides, as well as the patch declaring you to be sensitive. I’ll be sure to have copies of that information and your certifications sent to your new firehouse. Which house will you be working in?”
“Station 118,” Eddie answered.
The woman froze for a moment, shooting him a panicked look before she immediately smoothed it over, though her scent betrayed her.
So, the reluctant sensitive was in his station then. Eddie would have to make sure he kept that in mind when he reported for duty in a few days. The last thing he wanted to do was make a mess his first day.
“Station 118, while up to date on it’s certifications, hasn’t had a seminar on working with a Sentinel and Guide in an intimate setting. I’ll have [name] reach out to Captain Nash to schedule a seminar to make sure everyone is up on their Sentinel-Guide interactions. When is your first day?”
“Thursday,” Eddie answered, and her fingers flew over the keyboard as she made a note.
“Very good. We’ll make sure that the seminar happens before your first full shift,” she said.
In Eddie’s experience, those kinds of seminars only happened when either someone in the workplace organized it or someone lodged a complaint. If he’d asked for one, she’d have scheduled it he was sure. But to jump straight to it was odd, especially if they were up to date on their certifications. Unless she was using the first viable excuse she had to make sure that the 118 was trained. For the sake of whoever it was who wasn’t out at the station.
“If you think that’s necessary” was all that Eddie said.
“I do,” she said, and her look made it clear that that was all she would say on the subject. “Was there anything else, Sentinel Diaz?”
“Yes, actually,” Eddie said, taking a deep breath. “I wanted to register for a Guide search.”
It had been three years since Shannon had left him. Three years since he had come online under some of the worst circumstances imaginable and suddenly found himself the single father of a child with CP. And Eddie was tired of being alone. The ache in his chest got worse every day, but each day in LA had been so much worse.
Eddie had come to LA to move on. To start building a life, a family. To do something about that terrible aching in his chest. To have someone to take care of, someone who could help take care of him. He’d been putting it off until he was done with his firefighter training, until he had a sense of exactly who and what he was going to be. But there were firefighters everywhere. He could slot into his Guide’s life, wherever they were, with relative ease. All while still standing on his own two feet.
For the first time since he came online, Eddie felt steady enough on his own, steady enough in himself. The foundtation was strong. Now it was time to work on building something with someone else.