Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to BtVS or The Sentinel.~~~~~
“Wake up, Sandburg, we got to go,” the tall man called out as he thumped on the bedroom door. When he didn't get a response, the banged the door again. “Come on, sport, we got to get out of here. I had a dream, and we got to go now.”
A moment later, a long-haired man stumbled out of the room. “You had a dream? Man, what sort of dream? What's so urgent about it? And what time is it?”
“Doesn't matter what the time is, we got to go now. The animals are at the door, waiting for us.”
With that comment, the younger man started. “Really? Okay, then. Just let me get some clothes on. And you got to tell me the dream,” he called out as he disappeared back into the bedroom.
“Yeah, yeah,” he muttered as he paced and fidgeted with his keys. “Finally,” he grunted when Blair came out, dragging on a jacket. “Lets go.”
Once they were on the way, Blair turned to his friend. “So tell me, this dream. What's it all about?”
Jim clenched his teeth. “I don't know if they were spirit animals like we have, or if they were just representations. It kind of felt, I don't know, weird. Okay, so there's a cheetah leading the way, followed by a wolf. The cheetah sprints ahead, then stops and waits for the wolf. They're here, I'm sure of it,” he added.
“Maybe I should drive,” Blair offered and he held onto the door. Following their spirit animals was not doing Jim's driving anything good, and Blair was only thankful that the streets were so empty at whatever the hell time it was. Having the Sentinel so focussed on something that didn't care about other traffic was not good.
Finally, Jim pulled over and parked the car. Barely had he done so than he was out of the car, and running across the street. Blair hurriedly followed him, worrying about his Sentinel. Jim stopped by a motorcycle carelessly parked near the street corner, and looked around. When Blair caught up to him, Jim suddenly turned, and ran around the corner. Blair followed hurriedly, to find his friend stalking up to a dark-haired man and a fair-haired women.
“Who the hell are you two, and what are you doing here?” Jim shouted.
To Blair's surprise, neither of the strangers seemed intimidated by Jim's aggression. Rather, the woman, some feet further from Jim than the man, turned immediately and almost seemed to stalk forward. When the man, who, startlingly, appeared to have only one eye, saw her walk past him, he swore violently and quickly wrapped his arms around her, lifting her bodily off the ground.
“Call off your guy and do it now,” the stranger shouted as he struggled with the woman.
Blair quickly stepped in front of Jim and started talking to him, trying to calm him down. “Come on, man, don't do this. We don't even know who these people are. This is so not cool. You need to calm down now. I think you set the girl off, and I need you to calm down so he can get his friend to calm down. Come on, big guy, you know you can do this. Just listen to my voice. Come on, Jim, look at me. You don't need to look at them, just look at me. Can you tell me what the animals are doing? Can you talk to me?”
Jim huffed. “I could talk to you if you shut the hell up,” he grunted. He shifted his weight and looked around. “They're just sitting there. They're looking at those two, but they're not doing anything.”
“Do they seem upset?”
“Okay, could it just be that they wanted you to meet these people?”
“They're dangerous. These people are dangerous. They shouldn't be here. What the hell?” Jim demanded as he suddenly focussed on the couple.
Blair looked around to see that the man had taken the women to the ground, where she still struggled against him, twisting and arching her body to free herself. Apart from engulfing her in a bear hug, he had tangled his legs around hers in an effort to prevent her from kicking out, and had buried his head in the crook of her neck so she couldn't head butt him. Then, suddenly, he raised his head, and bit the side of her neck.
Blair gasped at the sight, but the woman instantly stilled. The man didn't let go, though. It was only when she dropped her head that the man finally let go, gently kissing the bite mark. Slowly, he untangled their legs, and then helped her to her feet, paying close attention to her the entire time. When he was satisfied, he finally turned back to Jim and Blair.
“Sorry about that. We've been on the hunt for three weeks, and there hasn't been a lot of sleep. She's a bit … wild at the moment.”
“You bit her,” Blair gasped. “That is so not cool. You don't bite people. How could you do that?”
The dark-haired stranger tilted his head and frowned, as if trying to figure out what to make of him. “I did what it took to calm her down,” he said finally. “I was trying to contain her, and if it had been anyone else, it wouldn't have worked. None of the others would allow themselves to be held like that, and she won't allow anyone else to do that. Maybe one other person,” he added thoughtfully. “Either way, it wasn't working. She was too far gone for anything less to stop her. Would you rather I let her pound your friend here into paste? 'Cause that's what would have happened.”
The shaman looked back at the girl. She was about his height, and probably quite a bit lighter. No way would she pound someone like Jim into paste.
The stranger laughed. “You're totally not seeing it. Don't worry, most people wouldn't.”
“What is she?” Jim growled.
“She's a Hunter,” the stranger answered. He appeared to be about to say more, but she whined softly. He turned back to her and tilted his head, as if asking a question. When she started fidgeting, he just nodded, and she ran off.
“Hey! Where's she going? I need to talk to her,” Jim shouted.
The stranger stepped in front of Jim, and put his hands out. “No. You are not talking to her tonight. For several reasons, not least of which is that she's not exactly good with the speaking at the moment.” He looked back over his shoulder, then turned back to Jim. “Look. We can talk later. Tomorrow. Not now. We have things to hunt, and I seriously doubt you're qualified.” He quickly fished out a business card and handed it over. “Call us tomorrow. Late. She needs to unwind, and so do I. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to finish this.” With that, the man turned, and jogged off down the street.
Jim and Blair followed at a distance, and saw the man reach behind his back for something. Out of apparently nowhere, he pulled a large axe, and held it loose in his hand, still stalking forwards. Jim stopped, and started reaching out with his senses. He identified Blair's heartbeat, and ignored it. Reaching further, he heard the man's calm pulse. Reaching further, he began to hear footsteps, running, approaching. He looked up, sensing they were coming from the rooftops. Suddenly he could smell something, something off, and then he heard something scramble hurriedly down a metal fire escape, to land hard on the ground. The footsteps increased, and someone... something... ran out of an alley.
The creature was odd, weird, and only something like human. Though it had a basic human shape, its face was oddly smooth, with a large jaw sloping almost straight back to its hairless head. Its long arms hung loose from its powerful shoulders, and it moved with a liquid gait towards the stranger. It said something to the stranger, but Jim had never heard the language before, or even anything like it. It sounded nasty, aggressive, yet the man laughed.
“Gods, you think you guys would learn by now, wouldn't you,” the man mocked. Jim knew it was too far for Blair to hear, but he had no problems. “You can't lose her, and you definitely can't kill her. Not your type, anyway. Hell, you're not even that much of a problem for me,” he added as he swung the axe.
The creature jumped back, then turned to run. However, when it turned, it noticed the girl standing there. Jim hadn't noticed her arrival, and sure hadn't heard anything. It began to pant, and ground out something in its strange language. She cocked her head and smiled, then pounced. With one swift move, she wrapped her arm around the creature's neck, and yanked, pulling the head right off the body. Dropping the head to lie beside the body, she began to study her arm, calmly, dispassionately, looking at the blood which stained her sleeve.
The man approached her slowly, talking to her in soft tones. Jim turned up his hearing to listen in, but, unfortunately, he wasn't speaking English, but some other lilting language. She shifted her gaze from her arm to the man, still approaching carefully. Decisively, she stepped over the alien corpse and cupped her hand around his cheek. Jim started forward, until he realised the man had no fear of the woman. Instead, he lowered his head, cradled her head in his hands, and kissed her hard.
Blair blinked. “Well that was... Oh, man, I have no idea what that was. She just ripped his head off, like it was nothing. Oh, man, I think I'm going to be sick. That was not cool. That was so not cool,” he murmured.
Jim was about to respond to his friend, when he noticed the woman had looked up and was staring at them. Before he could do anything, the stranger had turned her head back to look at him. As she focussed on him, Jim noticed her relax. When the stranger was satisfied, he stepped to the side and took her hand. When they got to Jim and Blair, he spoke. “Like I said, call us tomorrow. Late. It's been a long three weeks, and she needs to come down from this. She should be more … sociable tomorrow.”
When Jim looked at her, he noticed she was certainly more relaxed than previously. She was leaning into the man, her arm twined around his, her eyes hooded. He could even hear a soft sound every so often, almost like a sub-vocal purr. Then he looked back to where the corpse had fallen, to see that it had dissolved into a dark jelly-like mass which was slowly spreading across the footpath.
“What the hell?”
The man looked back and grinned. “Oh, yeah. Got to love the dissolvers,” he commented. Turning back to Jim and Blair, he continued. “Tomorrow. We'll talk tomorrow. Okay? Sleep now. Sleep is of the good.”
Jim nodded slowly. “You guys going to be okay to get to wherever you're going?”
The man looked down at the woman and considered. “Yeah. She should be fine to drive. Although I don't really know where we're going. I got someone to arrange something here, since we were pretty sure we'd end up here at either today or tomorrow. If you could lead us to the Marriot, that would be great.”
“Sure. Your bike is near my truck.”
“Lead the way,” the stranger invited.