by Laura Picken
Summary: Crossover with The X-Files and sequel to Someone to Watch Over Me. A terrorist group holds the attendees of a major political event hostage, and it's up to Mulder, Scully, Jim, and Blair to save the day.
Yes, folks, this is the long-awaited sequel to Someone to Watch Over Me. Many thanks to Tate for allowing me to continue to use the 'link' concept, and to all those who gave me such great comments on Someone…. If you haven't read that story, don't read this one. You'll probably be hopelessly lost.
Timeline notes: In terms of a timeline, this is a completely alternate universe for The X-Files. After Paper Clip, I consider nothing sacred, at least in terms of this piece. For The Sentinel, this universe branches off after Dead Drop, although I will probably stay more faithful (more or less) to the canon of The Sentinel than the canon of The X-Files. From a fanfic standpoint, I will be borrowing from concepts used in Tate's Remembering the Silences, so you can assume that this story falls some time after that one.
Disclaimer: Jim, Blair, Mulder, Scully and Skinner are not mine. Jim & Blair belong to Pet Fly Productions and Paramount, while Mulder, Scully and Skinner belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox. I'm really only doing this for fun, honest!
Now that I've written the shortest intro of my life, on with the show…
['Tis the season to be jolly? Santa wouldn't be so jolly if he had to sit through something like this.]
Walter Skinner was bored. Very bored. In fact, it took every ounce of military discipline in his being to not fall asleep at the head table during the Director's speech. He hated diplomatic functions with a passion, but when the Director had been asked to speak on the Bureau's anti- terrorism strategies at the Council of Governors' annual year-end law enforcement reception, he insisted that the Assistant Directors attend the reception as well. He did take some comfort, though, in the fact that he didn't have to go through this alone. He leaned over to the attractive redhead sitting next to him, and asked with great candor, "are you as bored as I am, Agent Scully?"
Agent Dana Scully had to stifle a laugh as she leaned over and whispered in reply, "to tears, sir." Truth be told, she hadn't listened to much of the Director's speech either. Her thoughts had wandered, as they often had over the past few months, to her partner. It had been ten months since her partner had developed his 'heightened senses', and since then, their strong partnership had become even stronger and closer. There was more gossip than ever about the idea that they had a 'romantic' relationship between them, but it went much further than a romantic relationship could ever have gone between them. Blair Sandburg had given her several books to read about the Sentinel-Guide relationship, and the more she read about it, the more it seemed natural to think about her partnership with Mulder in that context. She had corresponded regularly with the anthropology student and fellow Guide, and each had become a valuable resource for the other, regularly swapping stories about cases and experiments. He had helped her with anecdotal information about his work with the Cascade Police Department, and she had, in turn, helped Blair to discover more about the physiologically distinguishing characteristics of a Sentinel. She smiled as she remembered Blair's last e-mail - he had found out about several anthropological reference texts in the annals of the Library of Congress, so he talked his partner, Jim Ellison, into going to Washington D.C. for at least part of Blair's winter break, so he would have the opportunity to look at these books, and they would both get a chance to visit Mulder and Scully. The two Sentinels had formed quite a bond over the last ten months, and, where the agents had been initially uneasy about working with the two members of the Cascade Police force, now she and Mulder were looking forward to seeing the two men again.
Applause brought Scully out of her reverie, and she politely joined in the applause as the Director sat down, his speech finally finished.
As the emcee came back up to the podium, he announced, "Thank you, Director. I'm sure we all gained quite a bit of valuable information tonight. It's a shame you won't get the opportunity to use it."
Doors slammed throughout the hall as the waiters revealed themselves to be heavily armed soldiers and moved to cover the exits. The audience began to question each other in confusion, starting to panic before the emcee fired a gun toward the ceiling to silence the crowd. He declared, "I think you all know what is now happening to you. I am in control of this room, and of everyone in it. And just in case anyone decides they want to play hero," he held up a small black box in the hand that was not holding the gun, "this room is wired with enough plastic explosive to blow everyone in this room to California. So please give your guns to the men with the automatic rifles and settle in, folks. We're gonna be here awhile."
Walter Skinner turned his attention away from their captor for just a minute to watch, concerned, as Scully had what appeared to be a seizure, but only for a split second. Then, just as mysteriously, she relaxed, looking still a bit nervous, but also like part of her mind had gone somewhere else.
Halfway across town, Fox Mulder, Dana Scully's partner, who was watching the last half of the Knicks game on ESPN, nearly fell off his couch from a similar seizure, then stood up, barely able to stop himself from screaming, "Scully!" as he grabbed his coat and his gun and ran out of the apartment.
Blair Sandburg collapsed on the bed of their hotel room, completely exhausted. He was grateful beyond words that Jim made the suggestion that they change their reservations and start their vacation two days early. He hated it when Jim had to work on a case involving children. It was only because Jim was able to smell the generous amount of cologne the rapist was wearing that they were able to stop the monster they were going after just before he was about to rape and murder another little girl.
Now, though, he was looking forward to getting in a few extra days of sightseeing while they were in D.C. He briefly watched with amusement the meticulous way Jim was hanging up and putting away the clothes he had brought with him, then grabbed the remote on the night stand and flipped on CNN.
As Mulder reached the Washington Towers hotel, he noticed that there was nothing unusual about the outside appearance of the hotel, and it bothered him. There were no other agents, no camera crews, no police cars, nothing. It seemed like a normal night. So why did he have the feeling that Scully was in immediate danger? And that if he did nothing, that she was going to die? He tried to turn up his hearing, but the chaos of noise coming from the hotel was hard to filter through without Scully there, or at least without having some idea of what he was trying to listen for. He recalled Scully saying that Skinner was forcing her to go to some sort of boring political dinner tonight at the Washington Towers, so he walked toward the hotel, trying to look casual, as he tried to get closer to the conference rooms.
Still keeping a discreet distance, he focused his hearing on the conference room where the dinner was being held, trying to filter things out of his hearing so he could hear his partner's voice in the room. Something caught at the edges of his mind, though, before he could filter it out. He focused on it and realized immediately what it was.
Guns. Lots of them. Semi-automatic rifles by the sound. He focused, letting his sight follow so he could see what his ears were hearing, and he gasped when he saw the terrorists surrounding the room.
His first thought was to try and contact someone at the Bureau, but as he looked around, he realized that somehow, these men had gotten in without attracting much attention, and for some reason, they hadn't seen the need to call attention to themselves just yet. That meant that there was a good chance that he was the only one who knew what was going on in there. Knowing his reputation within the Bureau and, consequently, with the DCPD, there was no chance that either organization was going to believe him. And it wasn't likely that the press would either-not to mention the fact that they would be the group least able to do anything for the people trapped inside that hotel.
He got back in his car, and banged his head against the steering wheel in frustration. [What do I do now?]
One of the waiters walked confidently up to the podium, and delivered his news to the emcee, who was apparently the leader of the group. "All entrances secure, sir. We await further instructions."
The emcee replied, "Good work, soldier. I think it's time we sound the charge!"
He pulled out a digital camera, set it to panoramic view, and took several pictures of the audience, taking his time to make sure his men and their weapons were in clear focus in each picture. He then took out a shotgun and asked, "Mister FBI director sir, would you please stand up?"
As Director Wylen stood up at the head table, the emcee turned to face him and declared, "Jacob Wylen, for the sins you and your organization have committed and for the sins of those who have come before you, may God have mercy on your soul."
Shots rang out, and the Director slumped to the floor, dead. Scully didn't need to look for very long to know that the late FBI director had taken at least one gunshot wound to the head. The emcee turned the dead man over and took several more pictures, then stood up and called for one of his subordinates, "Baker!"
"Yes sir!" was the immediate reply.
The emcee walked over to Baker and handed him the camera, ordering, "distribute these pictures as we had discussed."
"Yes sir!" was the only reply, as Baker took the camera, opened up his computer and two cellular phones, and got to work.
Mulder looked up from the steering wheel of his car, his face pale white with shock. In his mind flashed an image of a very dead Director Wylen, and instinctively, he somehow knew that he was looking through the eyes of his partner. [I don't care what they think of me,] he resolved, [I won't shut up until they at least come over here to check it out.] He started up his car and was about to pull out when he heard the sound of sirens in the distance coming closer to the hotel. "'Bout time," he muttered under his breath. He pulled out and moved his car a discrete distance away, then walked over to the group of patrol cars pulling in. There was no way anyone was going to keep him away from this, but for once in his life, he thought it best to at least try and go through proper channels first.
As Jim Ellison closed his eyes to try to get some rest, he heard the police sirens, and tried to filter them out of his hearing, as he had been able to do to for the television that his Guide was still idly watching. He repeated his newest mantra in his mind, [I'm on vacation, I'm on vacation, I'm on vacation…] It had been quite a while since he had a vacation where he could relax and enjoy himself, and he wasn't about to let anything ruin that.
Any hopes for that relaxing vacation, though, vanished as he heard the sirens stop one block away from the hotel. He went to the window, hoping he could either see or hear something that would let him know what was going on, and preferably, that is was something that he could ignore. [Maybe I can still be on vacation?] he thought, hopefully.
Those hopes were dashed, however, as he heard the "Breaking News" story interruption on CNN.
"CNN has just received word of a hostage crisis in the nation's capital. Less than two hours ago a terrorist organization that calls themselves the "Children of the Burning Heart" stormed the Washington Towers hotel, taking control of a ballroom that was hosting a year-end reception for the Council of Governors. We have unconfirmed reports that the Director of the FBI, Jacob Wylen, who was the keynote speaker for the evening, has been killed by the terrorists. We do not know whether any of the other hostages has been harmed. CNN will keep you informed of further developments in this breaking story. Once again, CNN has just received word…"
Jim ignored the rest of the report as he went to the top of the room's dresser to find his service revolver. He checked the clip, chambered a bullet and removed the safety before slipping the gun in its holster. He then turned to his partner, expecting to have to wake him, but instead he found the younger man lacing up his boots. As Blair finished up he asked his partner, "The Washington Towers is about a block away from here, right? That's what all the sirens were for?"
Jim looked at his partner in surprise for a second before he nodded. Noticing the older man's look, Blair commented, "Jim, I should know you well enough by now to know that you can't hear a news report like that without needing to do something about it. Ready to go?"
Jim accepted the compliment in stride, replying, "yeah chief, let's go."
"Stupid J. Edgar clones," muttered Mulder, "I hope one of them gets eaten by a New Jersey sewer monster." The locals had been helpful enough, and he was able to confirm the death of the Director and the other information the group had released, including their demands. However, when Section Chief Blevins and his team arrived on the scene and found out that Agent Scully was one of the hostages, Blevins took Mulder out of the investigation immediately and pushed toward the growing crowd of spectators, saying something about "conflicts of interest". Mulder knew the whole time, however, that it had less to do with 'conflicts of interest' and more to do with what Blevins really thought of him.
He looked up at the main ballroom's second floor windows, and, cutting through the tinting, he focused in to see his partner, at the head table, whispering something to Assistant Director Skinner. There were two armed men near the table, one on each end. Another man seated at the table was talking on a cellular phone, a revolver nearby. From what he could catch of the conversation, this was the leader of the terrorist group, and he was on the phone with whoever had been drafted into being Federal negotiator. Suddenly, he caught a scent on the wind that he hadn't smelled in almost ten months, and without turning around, he exclaimed, "Blair! Jim! We weren't expecting you for a couple of days."
He turned around to face the Sentinel and his young Guide, both of whom smiled briefly, then Jim, as always, got down to business. "We made it into town a couple of days early, and got here as soon as we heard, Mulder. What's going on?"
Mulder informed them of everything he had seen and heard so far, both from the 'official' side and from his own work. He then pulled the two men over to a spot where they could have a slightly more 'private' conversation, and described the experience with the seizure and the 'images' from his partner. He asked them, "has anything like that ever happened to you guys?"
Jim and Blair looked at each other and shivered, remembering all too well the last experience they had with their 'link', and Blair explained, "Mulder, do you remember when I told you about the 'psychic bond' that Jim and I seem to share that kicks in when either of us is in an extremely life-threatening situation?" As Mulder nodded, Blair continued, "that's what happened when you had what you called that 'split-second seizure'. The link kicked in." A look of realization settled over Blair's face, and he added, "You're probably still linked to Dana right now. See if you can contact her."
"Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax." As Blair slipped into his guide mode, Mulder complied with his instructions. "Put a mental image of Scully in your head. Do you see the link between you?"
Mulder nodded, "It's like a cord that binds the two of us together."
Blair continued, "Think of that cord like a tin can telephone. You just have to direct a thought into that cord to send it to her. Try to get your partner's attention by talking to her through that cord in your mind."
Mulder took another deep breath, then focused on the link. 'Scully?'
At the head table in the Main Ballroom, Scully nearly fell off her chair. She knew, without a doubt, that Mulder was _not_ standing next to her, but she was hearing him as clearly as if he was arguing one of his theories right in front of her. She turned to Skinner and asked him, "did you hear that?"
Scully shook it off, figuring it was just the stress of the situation getting to her. "Nothing sir, I guess I was just hearing things."
Mulder opened his eyes, disappointed. "I don't think she heard me."
Blair shook his head, and laughed as he recalled Dana's initially skeptical response when Mulder's senses first emerged. "Knowing your partner, she probably just didn't believe you. Try it again."
He took another deep breath, and focused again on the link. 'Scully?'
[There it is again,] thought Scully. She didn't want to ask Skinner if he had heard the voice again-one look at his face told her he hadn't heard a thing. [Ah well,] she thought, [if my mind is deciding to play tricks on me, I might as well play along. After all,] she sighed mentally as she looked over at the head of her captors, [it's not like I have anything else to do at the moment.] She directed her thoughts toward the 'Mulder' in her head and asked, 'yes, Mulder?'.
'Wow, you really can hear me!'
'Yes, 'Mulder', I can hear you.'
Down on the street, Mulder winced at the tone in Scully's mind-voice. It was the same tone she used when she felt forced to go along with one of his crazy theories. He 'voiced' the thought, 'you don't believe this is really me, do you, Scully?'
'You mean, do I believe that this is a part of my mind that has gone so crazy from the stress of this situation that I'm hearing Fox Mulder's voice in my head, or do I believe I'm actually communicating telepathically with you?'
'The first one.'
Down on the street, Mulder sighed. It's not like her skeptical side was anything new to him. Normally, he relied on it to ground him, keep him focused on finding concrete proof behind things he knew to be the truth. Now, though, it was going to get in the way. 'What can I do to convince you that I'm really talking to you?'
'I have absolutely no idea.'
'How about if you turn around and look out the window. You'll see me, Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg in the crowd, waving to you.' Out loud, he said to Jim and Blair, "look up at the second floor of the hotel and wave."
Jim and Blair looked at Mulder in confusion, to which he replied, "I'm trying to convince Scully I'm really talking to her. Just follow my lead, okay?"
The two men took the agent at his word, and followed his instructions, waving their arms and yelling "Scully!" at the top of their lungs, eyes focused on the second floor of the hotel.
In the main ballroom, Dana Scully looked to her captors to see if they were looking in her direction, then turned to look out the window…
And saw her partner, Jim Ellison, and Blair Sandburg waving at her, calling her name.
She promptly fainted.