DISCLAIMER: Mutant X is owned by Tribune Entertainment and I make no money from my fanfiction.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Favor Returned
By Anne Ona Mouse

Ever since that night that Shalimar had introduced her to the world of female intimacy, Emma had been cautiously watching the older woman. She worried about how it would affect their relationship. Slowly, she began to start relaxing.

As Emma sat on one side of the common room couch reading, she heard – no, that wasn't quite true, actually she FELT Shalimar enter the room. It was hard to describe, but the room seemed to start vibrating with a wild, free spirit as pervasive as the smell of Jesse making popcorn. She approached the couch, with a small computer pad in her hand.

"Mind if I join you, honey?" she asked brightly.

"Not at all," Emma replied, patting the couch beside her. She had to smile, there were few people who could get away with calling her `honey', but this was Shalimar, who sounded perfectly natural calling Adam `honey'.

With a fluidity betraying every ounce of her feral genetics, she sat on the couch and twisted around so that her head was using Emma's leg for a pillow and her bare feet were crossed at the ankles, resting on the back of the seat. The move had caused a single strand of blond hair to fall across her face, so Emma reached down and gently brushed it aside. Shalimar smiled up at her and then turned her attention back to the computer pad.

Deeply involved in reading, neither woman noticed Jesse's slightly-too-casual approach until he quickly brought one hand down on top of Shalimar's top foot and massed his arm, effectively trapping her feet against the back of the couch. She gasped for a split second before her eyes flashed a dangerous deep yellow, accompanied by a low guttural growl. "You've got to let go some time, and when you do, you WILL experience pain," she practically hissed. "How much pain, depends on how quickly you let go!"

Jesse smiled down at his helpless victim and un-massed his hand; still trapping her. "Hey, if I'm gonna get a whoopin' I might as well make it worth it," he said with a sinister smile as he slowly reached a finger toward one of the bare feet.

"Jesse," Shalimar warned, "don't you even think about it!"

"Too late," he replied, "I already thought about it!" With that, he ran his fingernail lightly up the bottom of one foot and then the other as Shalimar let out a strange noise that was caught somewhere between a laugh and a scream. Using abdominal muscles that would make any body builder jealous, she pulled herself up and took a swipe at her tormentor. Jesse phased, just in time to avoid the attack, which of course also freed the feet that he had been trapping. Shalimar rolled back and landed on her feet and then launched over the couch after her prey.

Emma snickered and looked back at her book, but her eyes kept reading the same word over and over while she focused on the sounds of the pursuit. She laughed again at the sound of the lab going into lockdown mode, safely protecting Adam and his latest research from the ravages of both feral and molecular. A moment of silence – then Jesse's unmistakable yelp of pain, followed by a desperately repeated "Uncle, Uncle!"

Emma was a little disappointed that Jesse had interrupted such a peaceful scene. Shalimar had always been the most tactile member of the group and Emma admitted to being slightly jealous of her comfort in making physical contact. Since such contact made it harder for the psionic to block out emotions, her physical contact was usually calculated and deliberate.

Other than an increase in casual contact, like the wonderful feeling of Shalimar's head in her lap, the only other reminder of that night was the occasional look that the other woman would give her. It was usually in response to a suggestive comment or story by Jesse or Brennan or a really bad pickup line from someone at the dance clubs. It was hard to describe, but her eyes would literally sparkle and, to Emma, it looked like the very air around her sparkled back.

As Emma lay down to sleep that night, her thoughts kept drifting back to Shalimar. She had been a little rougher on Jesse than normal in addition to sparing with Brennan, working on pressure points and takedowns with Adam and going for a 2 hour run on the beach. Something was definitely going on, but she didn't have that moody expression that she got when she was upset. To anyone else, it looked like she was just playfully burning off steam – a LOT of steam.

She could hear her friend in the bathroom that connected their rooms. Usually Shalimar kept her showers to five minutes or less, mentioning once that it was "a cat thing". Tonight though, she had been in for over fifteen minutes. Emma added it to the list of unusual activities that she could use to explain her concern. Always cautious of not appearing to be `reading' others, she had become very observant of little changes in behavior that she could mention.

Emma bolted upright in bed, cold sweat streaming down her face and an icy chill running down her spine. She felt like a trapped animal, hunted, terrified, trapped. The hairs stood up on the back of her neck as she felt the heavy oppression of a dark predator. Looking around, her room looked peaceful and quiet, the clock showed that it was only 11:30 p.m. ~ Not me, then who? ~ she thought to herself. ~ Shalimar ~ her mind answered definitively.

Taking a short cut through the bathroom, she entered Shalimar's room and saw her friend huddled into a small ball on her bed, shaking and covered with her own cold sweat. "Shalimar?" she called out quietly, standing a safe distance away. "Shalimar!" she repeated a little more loudly. Suddenly, the woman pounced out of bed and into a defensive crouch, eyes glowing in the dim light. Emma continued in a calm voice, "It's okay Shal, it's just me, you're okay."

The woman shook her head as if clearing the dust from her brain and then responded with a look of confusion, "Emma? Oh, god, Emma he was here! He's been dead for months how can he still get to me? There's got to be some way to get him out of my brain – permanently!" With that, she plopped back on the bed and drew her knees up to her chest and buried her face in them.

Emma didn't need to ask who it was; there was only one person who could send this proud lioness cowering into a corner like an abused puppy – Ashlocke. "I thought that the nightmares had stopped." Emma said as she sat beside her friend, gently stroking her hair.

"They had," replied Shalimar, finally looking up at the woman beside her, "maybe its just…because of what's going on right now."

"What is going on right now?" prodded Emma, "I've noticed that you've been a lot more active lately – and for you, that's saying something." Her comment succeeded in lightening the mood just a little.

Shalimar hesitated for a moment, putting her thoughts into words, "Most of the time, I wouldn't trade being a feral for anything, but there's always a trade off. Once or twice a year, well, I guess that it's to be expected…Emma, I'm in heat. Like some stupid cat, yowling in an alley way." She looked up, expecting ridicule, but seeing only concern.

"Damn" replied Emma, "and I go into a full whimper about a little PMS!" With that, she reached over and drew her friend to her in a warm embrace. "Is that why you didn't want to go to the club last night?"

"Yeah, I don't always make the best decisions about guys when my BRAIN is in control. I don't even want to go into some of my, uh, indiscretions when I've been in heat." Shalimar spoke into the sleeve of Emma's baby doll pajamas.

"Maybe I could take your mind off of…him." Emma whispered as she gently put her hand on Shalimar's chin and raised her head so that she could gaze into eyes that were no less beautiful for being tear-stained and bloodshot. Hesitantly, she closed the distance and was relieved that Shalimar responded by closing her eyes and gently reaching up with those beautiful lips.

As their lips met and gently pressed against each other, it was like a heat radiated out of them, banishing the dark chill that Gabriel's memory had left. The kiss became more passionate as they fell back onto the bed in a tangle of arms and legs. Emma soaked in the warmth of their embrace like she would soak in a rare, sunny February day in Seattle.

Emma knew what her friend needed, but she was uncertain about how to help. Shalimar had introduced her so gently to the intimate love between two friends, but she knew that her feline friend would need more than a tender playtime. Emma reached back into her mind and pulled out the images that she had picked up from two women that she had helped in the "Petites" section. With a slight twinge of guilt, she recalled how she had played upon their lust for each other in selling them quite a few outfits.

Still locking her lips tight against Shalimar's, Emma rolled on top and slid her hand up the front of the silky pajamas and started to caress one of the firm, perfect breasts. She was rewarded with a moan and a barely audible "yes!" With that encouragement, Emma slid her other hand up and broke contact with those sugarcoated lips just long enough to slip the pajama tops off.

Unimpeded, Emma moved down and took the second beautiful mound in her mouth as she continued massaging the first. Shalimar arched her head back and grabbed Emma's hair, pulling her closer, grinding her mouth into her heaving breast. Emma was right; this was going to be a little rougher than their previous encounter.

Emma let her hand leisurely follow the curve of Shalimar's body down along her stomach. As she slipped her hand under the pajama bottoms, she drank in the sensation of the cool satin material against the back of her hand and the…cotton. She pulled up to look Shalimar in the eye, unbelievingly, "You even wear those things when you SLEEP?!"

Shalimar just smiled and reached down grabbing the tops of both the pajamas and the underwear and, in a move that Emma was sure violated at least one of the laws of physics, slipped them both off on tossed them onto a nearby chair saying, "There, now it's a mute point!"

"Ah, much better!" Emma replied as she moved her mouth down to give the other breast its fair share of attention. She allowed one hand to roam down and frolic in the soft jungle of curly blond hair until Shalimar spread her legs, inviting her to explore deeper. The moist heat reminded her of the jungle of Bogotá when she had flown with Shalimar, Beau and Angel to pay final respects to the rest of the Dark Star team. Only this time, instead of driving her back into the air-conditioned Double Helix, it beckoned her inward.

She finally slid her fingers down, parting the protective walls. Her fingers were immediately drenched in the hot, slippery juices. Sliding easily around that valley of pleasure, her fingertips slid over Shalimar's swollen clit, causing her to let out a low guttural moan of desire. The overwhelming tension of need and passion was more than Emma could handle with the full body contact. Reluctantly, she pulled away and slid down to the end of the bed.

Emma's nostrils were smothered in the heady perfume of Shalimar's lubricating fluids and she moved her head in. She hesitated a moment, trying to remember what Shalimar had done that had felt so good and wondering what it would taste like. She finally reached down with a delicate kiss, then pulled back and licked the slippery fluid off of her lips. It was sweet, a little salty, but not nearly as strong of flavor as it smelled. She reached down again with more confidence and delved in with her tongue.

Emma spent what seemed like hours playing around, letting her tongue slide deep inside her friend and then up and around the clit. In her mind she pictured a beautiful figure skater performing delicate figure eights in the quiet darkness of a closed skating rink. No pressure, no spectators, able to just revel in the ease of the motion.

"Emma…" Shalimar moaned, bringing her back to the present. Suddenly, Emma realized the level of tension that she had created with her rhythmic wanderings. It was time to move on and finish the job.

Pulling back her head and resting it against Shalimar's inner thigh, she reached her hand up and gently inserted one and then two fingers, exploring deeper than she had been able to with her tongue. As she stroked the inside of the deep shaft with her fingers, she used her thumb to massage little circles around the now throbbing clit. Emma's head pounded with the tension that radiated from the woman next to her and she was sure that she would climax any second.

To her surprise, the tension only grew and a nagging fear grew in the back of Emma's mind; what if she couldn't push her over the edge? The torment and agony were becoming unbearable, so she tightened all of her fingers together and slid her whole hand into that deep gushing well, pushing the tension higher, but still not breaking that invisible barrier between agony and ecstasy. "More…" came Shalimar's desperate whimper.

Emma reached back into her mind and pulled out a memory that had disgusted her at the time. Then, she took a deep breath and, in one quick move, she drove her hand deeper in and forced her hand into a fist against the pounding walls. Shalimar opened her mouth to scream and, for an instant, Emma was filled with dread at the realization that Adam's office was on the other side of a `less-than-soundproof' wall.

She needn't have worried, as the scream never left her throat. Arching up, Shalimar seemed to be frozen in a single moment of pure emotion. Emma watched as she noticed that her friend wasn't even breathing, the only evidence of life being the sweat streaming off of her face and causing her whole body to glisten.

Finally, it was over and Shalimar collapsed on the mattress and Emma felt the exhausted relief wash over them both. She released her fist and let the still throbbing walls expel her hand. Sliding the rest of the way off of the bed, Emma went into the bathroom and washed her hand and dampened the soft pink washcloth. Returning to the bed, she tenderly wiped the sweat from Shalimar's face and then cleaned the remaining juices from between her legs as the woman on the bed smiled, still trying to control her breathing.

After returning the washcloth, Emma came back to pull the covers over the fragile looking woman who was still lying, trembling where she had collapsed. After pulling up the covers, Emma turned to leave, but Shalimar weakly grabbed her arm, "Stay with me?" she pleaded. Emma nodded, removed her nightie and slid under the covers, molding herself to the woman in front of her, enjoying the feel of the warm flesh next to her.

As they both started to drift off to sleep, Shalimar asked in a playful voice, "Now where did a nice, heterosexual girl like you learn a move like that!"

Emma reached forward and whispered into her ear, "Good night, Shal".

The End

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