DISCLAIMER: Mutant X belongs to Tribune, Marvel Comics and I think the WB, now. I don't know, they're not mine so don't sue.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was for Joelle who wanted Emma & Shal being nervous…Or something.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Little Help
By Anne

Emma paced nervously outside the closed door, her feet slowly wearing a path in the cold floor as she moved back and forth. Taking a deep breath, she braced herself and raised her hand to knock. Inches away from connecting, she pulled back and paused.

"I can't do this." She expelled a long breath, reaching up to push her hair behind her ears. "What was I thinking?" She abruptly turned away and started down the opposite way of the corridor.

Coming to stand outside another door, Emma paused once again. This time she was listening to the sounds coming from inside. Deciding it was safe, she knocked lightly.

"Come in."

Emma pushed open the door and entered, shutting it after her. Looking up, she gave Brennan a small smile before plopping down beside him on the bed. "I can't do it." She stated, before burying her face in his pillow.

"What?" Brennan exclaimed, sitting up and putting his book aside. "What do you mean, you can't do it, Em? I thought we discussed this already." He turned the psionic over so he could see her but she pulled the pillow with her as she moved.

"Nope, not doing it. I've changed my mind." Her petulant tone was somewhat muted by the pillow she seemed intent to keep over her face.

Brennan gave the pillow a light tug, half heartedly trying to pull it away from Emma but she held tight. Giving up, he released the fluffy material and leaned back. "Why, Emma? What happened?"

A muffled groan came from beneath the pillow before Emma threw it off and sat up, pushing her body back to lean next to Brennan. "I panicked. That's what happened."

Brennan slipped a comforting arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head. "About what?"

Emma shrugged, the movement jostling the tall Elemental. "Everything, nothing. I don't know." She sighed in frustration.

"Emma..." Brennan said her name soothingly, as if he could help her through that one word alone. "You're scared still."

"Duh." She gave him a look that let him know she was clearly questioning his brain cells at the moment.

Brennan stuck his tongue out at her in a childish move before responding. "I mean, you're still terrified!" He seemed amused by his statement.

Emma rolled her eyes before shooting him a dirty look. "If I didn't like you so much, I'd blast your ass." She informed him, still glaring.

Brennan chuckled before grasping Emma's hands and standing up. "Love you too, Em." He teased, pulling her to her feet and pushing her towards the door.

"I'm not going. I told you I've changed my mind." She replied stubbornly, crossing her arms in a show of defiance.

Brennan gave her a long look before sighing. "Maybe I just want a little privacy. Ever think of that?"

Emma rolled her clear blue eyes once again before throwing herself backwards at Brennan's bed. "Well, you're not getting it."

Brennan eyed her critically from where he was standing and he gave up, sympathizing with the young psionic. He didn't blame her for being scared, not really. He just didn't see what the big deal was. They knew how Shalimar felt. Jesse had informed him and in return, he had informed Emma. It was good news. Or at least, he thought. Apparently, Emma didn't agree with him. Women! They were insane.

Meanwhile, Jesse was leaning back against his headboard, his crystal blue eyes darting back and forth rapidly as he tried to keep track of the blonde feral that was pacing his floor anxiously. As Jesse's head moved back and forth, watching her he couldn't help but compare her to a caged animal. A terrified one at that and that thought made him more than a little concerned for his own safety, seeing as he was the one she was stuck in a room with.

"Shalimar, it's not a big deal." Jesse soothed. A pair of light brown eyes rose to meet his and he flinched noticeably as they sparked with a familiar mutation.

"Easy for you to say." She growled. "I hate you." She added, glaring at him.

"Me?" Jesse's incredulous tone was followed by an arched eyebrow.

She stopped long enough to give him another dirty look, holding it long enough to make him inch over on the bed. "You're the one that suggested the stupid game!"

"You're the one that picked dare." He replied calmly.

"Because I *trusted* you." She retorted, emphasizing the past tense heavily.

Jesse didn't have an answer for that so he stayed silent, choosing instead to close his eyes against the rushing feelings of nausea that were settling in his stomach. "Shal, please stay still. You're making me dizzy." He begged.

Shalimar gave him another glare before she capitulated, throwing herself beside him on the bed. "I can't believe you. I hate you."

"No, you don't. You love me." He teased, getting up and pushing Shal off the bed. She growled loudly before jumping back over the bed and punching him in the chest lightly. "What the hell was that for?"

Jesse groaned in mock pain before giving her a glare. "I'm trying to throw you out." He stated. "Don't you have a dare to accomplish?"

Growling again, Shalimar picked up the closest pillow and smacked him in the face with it. "I hate you." She tossed out over her shoulder, as she stomped out of the room.

Jesse picked his pillow up and tossed it on the bed before jumping up. "Wait, I have to see this!" He chased after her quickly, her low growling doing nothing to stop him from following.

"Alright, Em. You've been hiding in here long enough." Brennan nudged the brunette lying next to him with his elbow. "Come on, a dare is a dare and you accepted it."

Emma pouted, pushing her bottom lip out and giving Brennan her most childish look. "Only because your truth was gross and I refused to answer it."

Brennan shrugged, a small grin tugging the corner of his mouth. "Rules are rules, Em. Let's go."

"There's no time limit on dares!" Emma gave him a funny look before sitting up. "Why are you so concerned with me doing this?"

"Because it's a dare and if you do it, than you win the game." He explained quickly, stumbling over his words.

Emma gave him a suspicious look. "Yeah, right." She tapped the side of his head less than lightly. "You do know I can go in there anytime I like, right?"

Brennan pulled away, reaching up to swat her hand away. "No you can't. Privacy issues, remember? You wouldn't do that." He couldn't help smirking, knowing he was right.

Emma pouted again before rolling her eyes. He was right. She wouldn't violate him like that, even *if* she thought he deserved it.

Brennan waved a hand towards the door, gesturing at her impatiently. "Let's go, Em."


"Emma!" The tall brunette expelled a deep breath before reaching for her hands and tugging her to her feet. "I'll come with you."

"Sure you will." She muttered. "Wouldn't you rather I didn't do this? That way you'd win the game." She pointed out.

Brennan shrugged. "No, I'd rather see you do this. I don't mind doing your cleaning chores for the next month."

Emma narrowed her eyes and formed a small pis-blast. "What is going on?"

"Nothing, Em." Brennan held up his hands and backed up a little. "I swear, I just want you to finish your end of the bargain. That's all."

Emma released a breath, the small puff shuffling her bangs slightly as her power pulled itself back in. "Right." She took a few more deep breaths before opening Brennan's door. "Let's get this over with."

Brennan followed the younger woman out of his room and into the hallway. "Wait, I wanna see this!" He yelled.

Emma stopped just as suddenly causing Brennan to collide into her, slightly smashing his chin on the top of her head.

"Ouch! A little warning next time, huh?" Brennan spit out, rubbing his sore chin.

"You're getting off on this in some gross guy way aren't you?" She accused, turning to face him. "That's why you're so determined to make me do this."

Brennan opened his mouth to protest and than stopped, suddenly thinking that lying to the telempath was not the brightest idea he ever had. "Well, yes but give me a break, Em. You're gorgeous and Shal is gorgeous. Two very sexy women kissing? I can't help but be intrigued." He defended himself with slight nods and a semi serious look on his face.

Emma gave him another look and he flinched slightly. Damn, her and Shalimar both. It was pitiful what those two women could do to him with looks alone.

Taking a breath, he stepped closer to her and placed his hands on her shoulders. "Guyness aside, I want you to do this for yourself. You love her, Emma. She loves you back. It's obvious to all of us except for you two. Think of it this way, if she flips out on you which she won't, you can tell her it was a dare. She knows me. She'll understand." His teasing brought a slight smile to Emma's face and he grinned back, partly relieved. "And if by some chance, you decide to find your courage then you can tell her how you really feel. It'll work out." He promised, giving her shoulders a light squeeze.

She was about to respond when Shalimar came stalking around the corner with Jesse close behind her. Shalimar was growling and muttering what sounded like insults at Jesse and Jesse was just smirking and shaking his head. Shalimar stopped moving the second she saw Emma, causing Jesse to bump into her the same way Emma caused Brennan to stop.

The two women locked gazes and the hallway fell silent. Jesse stepped off to the side, leaning against the wall so he could whisper to Brennan. "What do we do?"

Brennan shrugged, his soft brown eyes shifting back and forth between the feral and the telempath. "Wait?" He offered quietly.

Rolling her eyes and pointedly ignoring the guys' existence, Shal gave Emma a small smile. "Hey Em."

"Hi." Emma stepped a little closer to Shal, hoping her courageous genes would kick in soon.

Shalimar seemed to sense her discomfort. She stepped a little closer to Emma and reached out to touch her hand. "What's wrong?" Her concern for her friend erased any of the irritation she was feeling towards Jesse momentarily.

Emma didn't respond verbally. She just lifted her head, meeting golden brown eyes in a searching stare. After a moment, Emma leaned forward and pressed her lips to Shalimar's. She pulled away just as quickly, turning to punch Brennan in the shoulder before she ran down the hallway.

Brennan's face contorted in pain before he leaned over and smacked Jesse in the head. "Fifty bucks, man. You lost!"

Jesse reached into his back pocket and pulled out the money, placing it in Brennan's outstretched hand. "I can't believe it." He whined. "I really thought I'd win this one."

Brennan laughed. "Told you Emma would do it first." He gloated.

Neither man noticed the angry feral watching them with narrowed eyes. Hearing a low growl, they both glanced at Shalimar.

"Oh, shit." Brennan tried to assume his most innocent expression as he backed away from the advancing feral.

"Run!" Jesse yelled comically, ducking behind Brennan as Shalimar pounced on them.

Brennan moved at the last moment, leaving Jesse wide open for Shalimar's attack. She pinned the molecular to the floor and straddled his waist.

"You two bet on Emma and me?" She asked, a hint of danger lacing the calm tone.

"Um, well Shal..." Jesse flashed her a dazzling smile, his baby blues glinting in feigned innocence. "Not exactly."

"Explain, NOW!" She growled, brown eyes flashing feral.

"Fine." He gave in easily, slightly struggling to sit up. "Brennan dared Emma to kiss you."

Shalimar arched an eyebrow. "Excuse me?" Her head raised just enough to pin the brunette elemental with an amazingly frightening glare.

"Remember our game of truth or dare?" He asked sheepishly. "Well, Brennan and Emma were playing the same one."

Shalimar slid off of Jesse and stalked towards Brennan. The pure fear in his eyes made her smirk as she advanced closer and closer. Brennan backed up another step, feeling the wall behind him. Shalimar was so close, he could feel her breath on his neck and he flinched.

"Does it help any if we point out the fact that you did indeed get kissed by someone that you wanted to kiss you?" Brennan asked hopefully.

Shalimar growled once more, a fist connecting with the elementals chest. Not hard enough to bruise but hard enough to cause momentarily pain.

"No." She hissed, shoving him into the wall for good measure. "I hate you both." She stated, crossing her arms and dropping into a seated position on the floor.

Brennan and Jesse exchanged a look before they both knelt on the floor next to her, one of either side of her.

"Shal?" Jesse reached out a hand, pausing before he touched her. He knew that she didn't really hurt Brennan but even a playful punch from the feral wasn't exactly feather light. "What's wrong?"

Shalimar sighed loudly, laying herself back on the floor. "You guys dared her to kiss me." She sat back up a second later to glare at them both.

Brennan and Jesse once again exchanged looks, this one a mix of confusion and exasperation. They were having trouble following the women's relationship in general. When they added words, it just gave the poor guys a bigger headache. Not used to seeing such a defeated look on the feral's face, Jesse gave her a sympathetic look and scooted closer.

"Why is that a bad thing, Shal? It was what you wanted."

"It was a dare!" She pouted adorably, leaning back again. "She didn't want to do it. You probably gave her a really gross truth, something she couldn't possibly answer so she had no choice but to pick dare."

Brennan exchanged a glance of disbelief with Jesse, wondering how on earth Shal knew that. Shaking his head, he nodded towards Shal and made a gesture to Jesse. Jesse understood and he grabbed one of Shal's arms, sliding his hand underneath her elbow. Brennan did the same on the other side and they both gave her a small tug, pulling her to her feet.

"Are you two stupid? I mean, did you two hit your heads recently?" Brennan asked, frustration and annoyance lacing his gentle tone.

"Excuse me?" Shal snapped, turning to face him.

Brennan ignored the pissed off tone and started gesturing wildly. "She loves you. You love her. For mutants, your instincts are way out of sync."

Shalimar just glared. When Brennan didn't fall for the intimidating routine, she fell back on pouting. Brennan rolled his eyes and turned to Jesse.

"Will you explain things to her in Shal-terms? You've known her longer." Brennan pointed out, knowing Jesse would question why.

Jesse sighed before turning to Shal. "Shal, look, you told me yourself that you're in love with Emma. Emma told Brennan that she loves you. So one of you can be brave and go tell the other one and then live happily ever after."

Shalimar just stood there for a few moments before her mouth fell open. "Emma loves me?" Genuine surprise laced her quiet tone.

Receiving two nods of confirmation, Shal's dumbfounded shock turned into disbelief. "Why didn't you two tell me?" She demanded. "I should kick both of your asses."

The guys exchanged a shocked look of mock anger. "Are you kidding me, Shal?" Brennan asked, shaking his head.

"Yeah, we've only been repeating ourselves daily for the last week." Jesse added. "How is it our fault that you two are stubborn and don't listen?"

Shalimar ignored them, glancing down the hallway where Emma had left them. "I should go talk to her."

"Yes, you should." Two voices chimed in unison.

Shalimar gave them both a brief smile before turning on her heel and heading down the hallway.

"Finally." Jesse breathed out.

Brennan nodded in silent agreement as he watched the feral's retreating back. "Hold that thought, Jess." He warned as he watched Shalimar stop suddenly and turn back around, making her way towards him.

Jesse looked up at his warning, his mouth dropping open in pure shock as Shalimar stopped in front of them. "Are you kidding?" He questioned the blonde.

Shalimar just gave him a dirty look before crossing her arms. "I don't know what to say." She explained guiltily.

Jesse shook his head and threw his hands up in the air. "This one is all yours, Bren. I give up. Cupid is not in my job description."

Brennan snorted at the molecular before giving Shalimar his full attention. "Here's a shot in the dark, how about you open the conversation with I love you?"

Shalimar growled softly, a fist reaching out and connecting with his shoulder. "I don't appreciate the sarcasm."

"I was being serious." Brennan defended, sidestepping the blonde just in case she was struck with a violent urge.

Shalimar stayed silent, mulling over Brennan's advice. Jesse finally gave up, reaching out and grabbing Shal around the waist. He ignored her protests and threats of violence and tossed her over his shoulder. Heading down the hallway, he placed her back on her feet before knocking on Emma's door.

"Good luck." He offered with a grin before running away.

When Emma's door opened and the redhead appeared, she didn't look too surprised to see Shal standing there. She held the door open wider and stepped aside, waving her arm.

Shalimar stepped inside and Emma shut the door after her, moving around the blonde to lean against her desk.

An uncomfortable silence blanketed the room and the two women stood in the middle of it, occasionally looking at one another. Finally, Shalimar let out a deep breath and seated herself on Emma's bed.

"So..." She trailed off uncertainly, not quite sure of what she wanted to say.

Emma lifted her head and met Shal's gaze. "Is this about the kiss?"

Shalimar shook her head no before changing her mind and nodding. Confused, she shrugged. "I don't know, Em."

"It was a dare." Emma offered helplessly.

Shalimar arched an eyebrow, meeting her stare across the room. "Was that the only reason?" She asked, standing up. Depending on Emma's answer, she wanted to be ready to do what needed to be done.

Emma's gaze shifted to the floor before meeting the blonde's gaze again. Shalimar's face was unreadable and the telempath wasn't quite sure on how to answer the feral's question.

Emma's silence was unnerving and Shal wondered briefly if Emma was reading her before answering her question but she quickly dismissed the idea, knowing Emma wouldn't do that to her without her permission. Getting an idea in her head, Shalimar stepped closer to Emma and raised her head to meet her gaze. "Go ahead, Emma. I know you want too."

Emma gave her a curious look before arching an eyebrow. "No." She refused quietly.

"Why?" Shal asked.

Emma shrugged, stepping back and feeling the desk pressing into her. Sitting down on the edge, she fixed her stare on the floor and stayed silent. Shal's surface emotions were confusing. Emma wasn't sure if the feral even knew exactly what she was feeling and Emma didn't quite know if she was ready to find out either.

"Emma." Shalimar's tone pleaded with Emma to look at her, to open up to her. She knew that Emma was scared, she could smell it. She could practically feel it, it was radiating off of Emma in waves. "Emma, look at me."

Emma slowly lifted her head, her baby blue eyes locking on Shal's golden brown orbs. Shalimar stepped closer to her once again, her hands reaching out and setting themselves on Emma's shoulders.

"I'm going to kiss you, Emma."

"Why?" Emma closed her eyes and lifted her head regardless, waiting for the blonde to finish.

"You tell me." Shal whispered before closing the small distance between them and kissing Emma softly.

The kiss was longer than the one in the hallway but just as soft. Shalimar's lips moved over Emma's carefully, setting a slow, gentle pace until Emma began responding. Emma's hands came up to settle on Shal's waist, her fingers curling into the material of Shal's shirt as she pulled her closer.

The kiss ended much too soon in Emma's opinion and she opened her eyes slowly, to see Shalimar's grinning face.

"Well?" Shal asked.

"Hmm?" Emma blinked, wondering if she had missed part of the question. "What?"

"What do I feel, Em?"

Emma rolled her eyes, returning Shalimar's grin before kissing her again. "Why don't you tell me? I didn't get a clear reading."

Shalimar responded to her light kisses before wrapping her arms around the redhead and pulling her close. Putting her lips close to Emma's ear, she kissed the skin softly.

"I love you." She whispered.

Emma smiled wider, her arms encircling Shalimar's small waist. "I love you too."

They kissed again before Shalimar took Emma's hand and lead her out of her bedroom. They entered the common room quietly, both of them exchanging a glance as they caught the tail end of the guys' conversation.

"Dude, fifty bucks says that Shal not only kisses her but tells her how she feels." Jesse was saying.

Brennan shook his head, smirking at Jesse. "You're on, man. Emma will definitely say it first."

Jesse and Brennan both slid the money from their wallets and tossed it on the table.

"Who goes to find out?" Brennan asked.

Jesse snorted, pointing at the brunette. "You! I stuck Shal in front of Emma's door. It's your turn to be in the line of fire."

"Chicken!" Brennan insulted before kicking Jesse in the shin.

Shalimar gave Emma a small smirk before she flipped over the two chairs the boys were occupying. Landing on her feet on the coffee table, Shal picked up the money and stuck her tongue out at both of them.

"You both lose and you're both chickens." Slipping off the table, she stopped in the middle of them to lean down and kiss their cheeks. "But we love you anyways."

Emma smirked, following suit and kissing them both. "We do. Thanks for dinner." She tossed out, taking Shal's hand before they both took off running.

It took the guys a minute to get it but when they did, they jumped up from their chairs, chasing after the girls. Giggles and squeals could be heard through the hallways and Adam shook his head, locking down his lab so he could stay out of harms way. At least, things were right in Sanctuary again and that was all Adam could really ask for.

The End

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