I walked out of Spider-Man 2 going "How can I cross this terrific movie with The Sentinel?"  My muse found a way, and the resulting plot bunny follows.  Needless to say, this is AU, folks. I had to make some changes to make TS work in the Marvel world.  First story in a projected series.

Hunters' Web

By CarolROI

Heart pounding, lungs burning, his racing footsteps echoing from the darkened alley's walls, Blair Sandburg ran for his life. His pursuers had picked up his tail as soon as he'd gotten off the bus at the Port Authority terminal, and he'd only been a few steps ahead of them ever since.

Panic seized him, and he forced it back, his anxious gaze searching for a hiding place, an escape route, or even just somewhere to make a stand, because, by god, he was going to go down fighting. There was no way the Hunters would let him go back to the loose form of house arrest he'd been under for the past year and a half. He'd given them the slip back in Cascade after months of careful planning, and if they knew the true purpose of his trip to New York City, they wouldn't bother with locking him up again. They'd execute him on the spot.

A brief "Sorry, Jim," flashed through his mind. Blair's friend and former partner would kill Blair himself if he knew what he'd done, what he was doing on Jim's behalf. When the Hunters had come for Jim Ellison, pressed him into their service, it had been the promise of Blair's freedom that had made him go somewhat willingly. If Jim knew Blair was jeopardizing what he'd sacrificed to keep…well, there definitely would be no place for Blair to hide.

Skidding around a corner, Blair's heart sank. Dead end. Resigned now to what he had to do, he put his back to the wall, clenching his hands into fists, centering his weight over his feet. If the Hunters thought he'd be an easy capture, they'd find out just how wrong they were.

Seconds later, two black-clad figures rounded the corner. With a yell, Blair launched himself at the closest one.

Peter Parker swung high over the city in his Spider-Man guise, relaxed, but alert for any sign of trouble. Arching his body upward, he stretched out his hand, a web-line shooting from his wrist to attach to a nearby building. A twist of his hips and his swing changed direction, angling him toward 42nd Street. No matter how long he'd been doing this, he still got a thrill every time he took to the air. He had been born for this he was sure.

The sound of a fist meeting flesh and a pained yelp caught his attention. Releasing the web-line mid arc, he hit the side of the building closest to him on all fours, clinging for a moment before scrambling around the corner toward the noise he'd heard.

The sight illuminated by a single security lamp in the alley below him was all too familiar. Two big goons in some kind of para-military gear were beating the stuffing out of a smaller figure. As Spider-Man watched, the victim threw a right cross that rocked back the head of one of his attackers. Well, perhaps they were only trying to beat the crap out of him.

Grinning behind his mask, Spider-Man shot a web-line at one of the attacker's backs and pulled. The man flew toward him, and Peter simply held out his fist, feeling the satisfying crunch as the man's face impacted with it. Quickly wrapping him up and sticking him to the wall, Peter dropped to the ground in time to see the mugging victim snap a foot into the remaining attacker's chin, dropping him like a stone.

He whirled around to face Spider-Man, his hands going up in a defensive pose as Peter got his first good look at him. The man was about Peter's height, dressed in jeans and a leather jacket over a flannel shirt, with long dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. "Easy, buddy," Peter told him, "I'm one of the good guys. You okay?"

Breathing hard, the man nodded. "Yeah, I'm okay. Thanks." He relaxed his guard, but still seemed wary, his gaze darting from one side of the alley to the other.

Spider-Man took a closer look at the man on the ground. He was dressed in black fatigues, a balaclava covering his face, the belt around his waist holding a variety of weapons from a collapsible baton to a stun gun to a nasty looking Sig Sauer. Whoever these guys were, they meant business.

"Hunters," the man said, as if he'd read Peter's mind. "We can't stay here. They travel in packs; these are only the scouts."

What in the hell were Hunters, Peter started to ask, when his spider sense kicked in. He let the sixth sense propel him across the short distance between himself and the other man, carrying them both to the ground behind the metal bulk of a dumpster. "Augh!" Something pierced his shoulder. He yanked it out and found himself holding some kind of dart.

The other man grabbed it out of his hand. "Shit! Sniper! Get out of here!"

Cold…so cold…he could feel the numbness spreading from his shoulder to his arm. "I can't leave you here!"

The man got to his feet, hauling Peter with him. "I can take care of myself. That dart has a paralysis drug on it; you only have a couple minutes to get somewhere safe before it takes you down." He fairly pushed Peter at the wall. "Climb, damn you!"

Spider-Man's mind was whirling, his spider sense screaming, his body becoming sluggish. "I can't--"

"I can handle it!" the man yelled. "I have power, but you can't be here when I use it!"

Clinging to the wall six feet up, Peter looked down at the man, seeing a combination of determination and anger on his face. Barely able to feel his fingertips, he knew the man was right.  He reluctantly began to climb, hating himself for running away.

Blair watched Spider-Man begin a slow climb up the building, hoping that the superhero would be far, far away before the rest of the Hunters arrived. They'd be happy to get Blair in their clutches, but they'd be jumping for joy at the prospect of capturing Spider-Man.

Crouching behind the dumpster out of the sniper's crosshairs, Blair prepared for what he was about to do, throwing open the mental locks that had held his power in check for so many years.

Blair Sandburg was a mutant. Like so many others, his powers had manifested at puberty, and it was only the fact that he'd been studying meditation and mind over emotion since childhood that gave him what little control he had. And now he was about to release that control for the first time in almost a decade. Even Jim Ellison, his closest friend, had no idea what Blair was. Somehow helping Jim with his abilities had seemed more important than a power Blair hadn't used in so long he'd nearly forgotten about it.

But now…now Blair had no choice. Perhaps if it had just been himself in danger, he would have run for it, or given himself up. But Spider-Man was a much bigger prize than Blair would ever be, and he had to protect the other man at all costs. Even if it meant exposing himself as a mutant to the Hunters.

With the chains loosened on his talent, Blair could feel them now, sense the Hunters approach even though their well-trained footsteps made no sound. For a brief moment, Blair wondered if Jim was with them, if he was one of the men searching for him. After all, that's what the Hunters had taken him for, why they had recruited the sentinel; they'd wanted a human bloodhound to track down the evil muties for them.

He pushed that unpleasant thought to the furthest corner of his mind. The Hunters would never send Jim after him; they couldn't afford to let the sentinel know they no longer had a hold over him.

"Come on out, Sandburg," one of the Hunters called to him. "There's no escaping us, you know that."

Blair's lip curled up in a silent snarl. That's what they thought. Throwing open the mental strongbox inside him, he let the monster out.

A wave of pure rage flowed out from Blair in all directions, overwhelming everyone in its path. He heard the cries of the Hunters as they clutched their heads in pain, then there was silence. With an effort, Blair closed the door on his power, locking it away once again.

Breathing hard, he rose to his feet and walked out from behind the dumpster. The four Hunters who'd followed the scouts after him lay sprawled on the ground, unconscious. He'd even managed to knock out the sniper on the building across the street.

A sound behind him made Blair turn and look up. A red and blue blur was falling toward him. It bounced off the lid of the dumpster, then hit the pavement and lay still. "Shit," he said under his breath. This was why he never used his tele-empath ability. It didn't discriminate between the evil and the innocent.

Dropping to one knee beside Spider-Man's body, Blair felt for a pulse. It was strong, but rapid. Great, this was just great. He was running from the Hunters in a strange city, with information on him that would get him killed if they found it. Now he had an unconscious and paralyzed superhero to look after, though hopefully the effects of the drugged dart and his own psychic blast would wear off shortly. "Until then," Blair told Spider-Man, "I guess you're stuck with me."

Taking hold of the man's arm, he raised him to a sitting position and from there Blair maneuvered him onto his shoulders in a fireman's carry. "Oof," he grunted, "You're heavier than you look, man."

Sighing, Blair shifted his burden to a slightly more comfortable position, and trudged off into the night.

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