Weirdness Is Genetic
Spoilers: Season 1 of BTVS, Season 1 and Season 2 episode 'Flight' for The Sentinel, Seasons 1-6 and 7 up to 'Fragile Balance' for SG-1. Just pretend that the timing works, folks. *grin*. This starts in June, immediately at the end of 'Flight' and several months post- 'Fragile Balance'
Disclaimer: I do not own anything to do with BTVS, SG-1, or The Sentinel.
Summary: Xander always hoped Tony wasn't his father. Jim never expected to be one. Jon just wants to get through high school without dying of boredom.
Notes: For those who don't know: A Sentinel is a person with all five senses extremely enhanced. They have trouble with the senses, which means spikes (extremely painful overload) or zones (concentrating on one sense to the exclusion of all else). They have what is called a Guide, a person who can help them stay in control through a variety of means. There is a mystical side, too. Sentinels and Guides have 'spirit animals' that show up in prophetic/warning dreams and sometimes in waking life (though only the Sentinel and Guide can see them).
Jim Ellison is an ex-Army Ranger and currently a cop. Blair Sandburg is an anthropology student who is studying Sentinels. In the episode just prior to this fic, Simon (Jim's immediate boss) and his son Darryl got kidnapped and dragged to Peru. Jim and Blair went to rescue them and are currently en-route home.
June 1, Sunnydale, before dawn
Xander sighed as he walked along the sidewalk just outside one of Sunnydale's many cemeteries. Vampire activity had gone way, way down since the Master got staked. It was like all of them decided to abandon the sinking ship like the rats they were. Still, there'd been a few around, and neither he nor Willow had been entirely willing to just let them run around unchecked. Hence the patrolling. Not that Xander was supposed to be patrolling alone, actually, but given the choice between patrolling and staying home just at the moment, Xander'd take the patrolling. Tony had come home roaring drunk and in a mood for a fight. Times like that, it was just safer to make himself absent. He'd learned that one the hard way at a very young age.
He was so distracted by his own admittedly less-than-happy thoughts that he never knew he was in danger until it was entirely too late and his world went black in time with a nasty crack to the head.
June 1, Somewhere over the Pacific
Jim had fallen asleep shortly after they'd taken off out of self-defense. It was either that or go completely insane trying to deal with the sensory-overload-in-a-can that was flying while tired. At least both Simon and Darryl were safe and well. He just wished he'd never had to go back to Peru. Incacha aside, it had not been a fun time in his life.
He was standing in the familiar, humid jungles of Peru, though everything was tinted slightly blue, rather than green. As he stared around in confusion, a massive black jaguar stalked out of the underbrush not five feet away. He jerked back with a curse, going for a gun that he quickly discovered he didn't have. The jaguar chuffed at him, then turned and disappeared once more, and Jim relaxed.
Moments later, it was back again. And again. The fourth time, Jim had the distinct notion the cat was seriously annoyed. It chuffed and growled at him, then circled him and used its not inconsiderable bulk to shove Jim off balance and in the general direction the big cat had disappeared the other times. Jim cursed at it again, but, having moved in that direction, he felt oddly compelled to keep moving.
The jaguar, with a pleased-sounding chuff, took off at something approaching top speed. Weirdly, Jim found himself able to keep up, following the jaguar as it followed a trail only it could detect. How long they kept running, Jim didn't know, but suddenly they reached the end of the jungle, an oddly incongruous neat line of trees that would never happen in nature. Beyond the trees lay something Jim knew was wholly impossible ... the African savannah. He could plainly see zebras, wildebeest, and a variety of antelopes scattered around.
The jaguar raced along the treeline until they reached an oddly thick, tall section of grass that screened everything around them from view, and then pushed through until it reached a bloodied, trampled section. Near the center lay a badly wounded spotted hyena, collapsed on its side, barely breathing. The jaguar sniffed at the hyena, purred roughly and started licking at the wounds in the hyena's side. The hyena let out a low, pained whine, but made no move to defend itself or fend off the jaguar's attentions.
Suddenly, the grass shifted and moved. The jaguar abruptly stopped trying to clean the hyena and straddled it, all its fur standing on end, ears going flat back, snarling and growling murderously as it hunched down as best it could while straddling the injured hyena, preparing to leap at whatever was hidden in the long grass. From a completely different direction came a large wolf, which the jaguar seemingly ignored as it came up to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the jaguar in a similar attitude of defensive, protective wrath. The grass started shaking and Jim caught flickers of movement, brief glimpses of ... something ...
Jim woke with a nearly violent jerk, glancing around sharply, then gave his head a shake. Of course Blair, sitting next to him, noticed.
"You ok, Jim?" He asked.
Jim scowled. "Weird dream."
"Really? What was it about?" Blair asked.
Jim glared at him. "Not really in the mood to talk about it, Chief."
"C'mon man. You about shot out of your seat a couple seconds ago."
The glare clearly wasn't working. Jim sighed. "Fine. I was in the Peruvian jungle, followed a black cat to the African savannah, watched it and a wolf try to protect a hyena from something I couldn't see, then woke up." He rattled off, completely ignoring the tension and sense of danger that had been wrapped around the entire dream.
Blair almost bounced in his seat. "Really? Animal symbolism in dreams is ... "
Jim cut him off. "Not now, Blair. I'm going back to sleep." He promptly closed his eyes and ignored the huff from Blair.
Blair woke him midway through a identical repeat of the dream ... in every detail ... to tell him they were descending.
June 1, Outskirts of L.A., late afternoon
Xander woke with a groan of pain. His entire body hurt. Slowly, painfully, he peeled his eyes open and looked around. He promptly wished he hadn't. He had no idea where he was, but he was in so much trouble. He was lying on the ground, chained by the ankle to a support post in what looked like a basement. That was the good news. The bad news was the huge, hulking, very definitely not human (or anything even close) ... things. There were three of them. They were each close to seven foot tall, had thick, green crocodile-like skin and horns on their heads that reminded him of Darth Maul. Worse, they were built like gorillas, with insanely wide shoulders and overly long, powerful arms that ended in some serious claws.
They were standing face to face, and making quite a racket, which is probably what had roused him from unconsciousness, Xander realized. There seemed to be a lot of gesturing involved as well. Unfortunately, he was not exactly fluent in 'grunt roar gargle' so he had no idea what, if anything, was being said.
Eventually, one of the things came over and damn near ripped Xander's foot off as it unchained him, dragging him to his feet and shaking him, though its attention seemed to be mostly on the other two things. Upright, Xander spotted the door. Sadly, he had no chance of reaching it while Magilla the Crocodile Gorilla was all but crushing his arm in its grip.
June 1, LAX (Los Angeles Airport) Late afternoon
Jim, followed by Blair, Simon and Darryl, was heading for the luggage turnstiles when he spotted something that nearly made him smack his head against the nearest solid object. The same huge black jaguar from his dreams was pacing back and forth in the middle of the hectically busy area, being completely ignored by (and frequently passing right through) the people hurrying back and forth. It was, if anything, even more agitated than it had been in the dream.
"Christ." He snapped, then turned away towards the turnstile with his and Blair's luggage.
"Jim? What's ... oh. Ummm. Jim?"
The sudden jump in Blair's heartrate and the change of tone had Jim whirling around, expecting trouble. He got it. Blair was staring fixedly at the pacing jaguar. Which had been joined by an equally agitated wolf while Jim's back was turned. Jim closed the distance between himself and Blair. "You see them?"
"Yeah man. They're not too happy looking, are they?" Blair asked. "I don't ... do they want us to follow them?"
"Chief, are you hearing yourself?" Jim asked. "They're figments of our imagination, and you want to follow them?"
"Yeah. Yeah. I think we should, man. Something's going on."
"You get to explain it to Simon." Jim told him.
Blair grimaced. "Right. Right. On it." He headed over to Simon and Darryl. Jim just grabbed their suitcases and made a concerted effort to pretend he didn't hear Blair's rapid-fire obfuscating with Simon.
Simon looked exasperated, but he didn't try to stop Jim and Blair from heading off. At least they had two hours until their next flight. Not much time, but who knew, it could be enough, right? Simon and Darryl elected to stay at the airport, so Jim and Blair headed off. The jaguar and wolf dogged their steps to the rental counter, and from there to the rental car. The minute Jim got them out of the LAX's parking lot, the two animals took off in front of the car, racing along ahead of them, pulling speeds no animal shy of a cheetah could manage. The harder Jim floored the gas pedal, the faster the two animals ran. The animals led them north, towards the edge of the city. After a while, they got off the highways and onto normal roads, heading into what looked like a mixed light industrial/low-rent area.
"I don't like this, Sandburg. I don't like it at all." Jim grumbled, glaring around them.
June 1, Outskirts of L.A., late afternoon
Xander quickly found himself playing the part of a hacky-sack. He got pulled, pushed, hit and grabbed painfully as the three creatures ... demons? Yeah. Demons. His life officially sucked ... apparently fought over him and (probably) who got the juiciest bits. Still reeling from getting conked on the head, lord alone knew what else had happened while he was out, (and wasn't that thought just giving him a first-class case of the wiggins), and now suffering what was probably a cracked bone or three from the demons' crushing grips, Xander really couldn't do much of anything to defend himself in the three-way tug of war.
At least, not until one of them decided to try to end the argument in their favor by slashing at him with their claws. Xander screamed in pain and collapsed onto the ground even as the other two flung themselves at the third, instigating a free-for-all brawl. One injured arm clamped across his abdomen, which was bleeding heavily, Xander struggled to crawl away. Fortunately, the demons seemed to be far too distracted with their fight to notice him escaping. Somehow he made it to the door, found stairs beyond it and forced himself to his feet. Up there was ... well, hopefully something better than down here, that was for sure.
Xander half pulled and half crawled himself up the stairs, through the torn-up remains of someone's house, and out into the brightly sunlit street before the blood loss and pain became too much and he collapsed, unconscious, in the middle of the street.
Two blocks away, the jaguar roar and the wolf howled in outrage and both swerved down a side street. Jim twisted the wheel hard to keep with them and glanced ahead to ensure they wouldn't crash into any oncoming cars. He swore violently when he spotted what looked like someone stumbling out of a house and collapsing in the middle of the road.
"Chief ... "
"I am so ahead of you." Blair said, already digging for his phone. His vision might not be as good as Jim's, but at two blocks, it was hard to miss seeing that.
As if they knew their job was done, both jaguar and wolf disappeared, leaving Jim to squeal to a stop mere feet from the collapsed ... oh hell, it was a kid. Teenager from the looks of it. And bleeding like a stuck pig, too. Jim cursed again and jumped out, tearing the trunk open and digging the emergency first aid kit he'd packed against finding Simon and Darryl injured out before hustling to the kid's side.
The kid looked like he'd been worked over by a boxer and a linebacker, bruises and scrapes everywhere, including a nice big goose-egg near his right temple. What worried Jim, once he'd turned the kid (carefully!) onto his back and spotted the source of the blood was ... well, the source of all the blood. Something had clawed the hell out of the kid, damn near eviscerating him. He also stank of ... something Jim couldn't even begin to identify and was too worried about keeping the kid alive until help arrived to worry about.
Blair got off the phone and crouched on the other side of the kid, handing Jim things as he worked to stem the tide of blood. "They're five minutes out." He told Jim.
"Let's hope the kid lasts that long. And call Simon."
"Already did." Blair said. There was no way either one of them were going anywhere until this ... mystery ... was dealt with.
Fortunately, the ambulance (and police) arrived when they said they would. Jim watched as the paramedics loaded the kid into the ambulance and took off at top speed, then turned to deal with his fellow lawmen. It was going to be interesting, explaining how they'd stumbled across this.