DISCLAIMER: I do not own Mutant X, or any references/songs/etc in this fic. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: As you read it may become apparent that I have only seen most of the third season, and one or two eps of the first two seasons. I apologize for the possible OOCness in advance - 'tis unintentional. I'm also sorry for any typos, and if something doesn't make sense just lemme know and I can explain. Hopefully... been a while since I wrote this.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

There's got to be a morning after...
By Billy Rose



The faint sounds of explosions still rang through the air as the members of Mutant X pushed themselves away from the Dominion.

They were exhausted, broken and lost -both without a place to go and someone to guide them to the next step.

They argued. Stranded without hope, a place to call home or even a place to seek refuge from the retaliation they were sure to receive from what was left of Dominion only added to the tension thick atmosphere.

Pausing to catch their breath while they still had the cover of night, they grew silent, each contemplating what they thought they should do. After a few moments of this silence it was broken by the soft observation of the shorter man with long wavy hair.

"We have no home. No money. We have nothing left..." He paused before he exploded, "And no goddamn idea how to save Adam!" The others were startled by the sudden outburst, momentarily losing their trains of thought. They watched as he stomped over to a wall, frustration and anger laced with complete desperation.

He placed his hand against it while trying to calm himself down. One of the women moved for the first time since they stopped but her approach was halted by the shake of the darker man's head. The message was clear: give him some time. Reluctantly she stayed put while the other molecular regained his composure.

Again it was silent save for the deep breathing of the blonde haired man. A few moments more and he straightened up, facing the rest of the team. Lexa stood across from him, watching him with concerned eyes. Brennan was staring off toward the plume of smoke that showed them just how far away Dominion was. Shalimar just stared at the ground, still lost in thought.

The short man sighed. Someone had to lead. It might as well be him.

"We need a plan." No one besides Lexa seemed to pay him any sort of mind. His jaw clenched before he continued. "We need to think. Get ourselves back together." Shalimar just glanced at him while Brennan just tilted his head sideways to get Jesse in his peripheral view. "There is no way we can help Adam if we don't pull ourselves together." All eyes were on him now.

"So what do you suppose we do?" Shalimar asked absently.

"I don't know..." Jesse's shoulders slumped slightly. Silence weighed heavy on them before Brennan spoke up.

"What can we do? You're right. We have nothing. And there's nothing we can do until that changes." They looked at him startled -both at how defeated he sounded and at the fact that he had a point. Shal stood up and looked at him with a weary expression.

"What... What are you saying Bren?" She forced out.

He gave her an apologetic look before speaking. "I'm saying that until we're ready, maybe we'd be safer if we split up." Shalimar's face held a look of betrayal before she exploded at him.

"How could you even suggest that! I thought that after... I thought we'd be together!"

"And what about Adam? Are we just supposed to leave him with them?" Jesse demanded of Brennan. Lexa remained silent but nodded.

"Jesse... Brennan's right." Her face became pained at the thought of not seeing Jesse -or any of them for that matter -again for years. "If we go in now or even soon, we'll be captured, experimented on and eventually killed. We wouldn't stand a chance."

Shalimar looked up with a resolved look on her face. "Then why are we just standing around? If we're going to run from them we might as well start now." She turned to go but Jesse's cry of, "Wait!" stopped her. She looked at him expectantly.

"Let's make it official then. We all go our own ways. We don't speak, we don't meet, hell we don't even think of each other until we're ready to save Adam and be a team again. Agreed?" He shoved his hand out in front of him. After a few silent moments Brennan stepped up and put his hand on Jesse's.

"Agreed...," he whispered sadly.

"Agreed," Lexa said with a faraway look on her face.

They all turned to Shalimar who still stood away from them.

"C'mon Shal. You know it's for the best...," Lexa pleaded with her. Locking eyes with her Shalimar stepped forward and placed her hand on theirs.

"Agreed." They looked at their hands for a moment before dropping them simultaneously and turning away from Dominion once again. At the first city they found they said their goodbyes -however curt they were -and walked away, all aware that they may never be able to see the others again.


Part 1

It was all but silent in the spacious building. The only real sounds were the constant hum of the fluorescent lights, the occasional clanking of the heater turning itself on, and the quiet sounds of jazz being piped over the speakers throughout the place.

But to Jesse Kilmartin -who now called himself Devon Christophson -this was all just background noise. For the past four years he'd been here re-creating Mutant X from the ground up. It hadn't been easy.

After splitting up in that small town he caught a bus to Baltimore and stayed with friends up there. He got a job a few weeks after that as a computer programmer and was currently one of the four people on the list that could get him a partnership in the firm.

The position didn't matter to him though -nor did the fancy suits, flashy cars or even the seemingly endless stream of babes lined up to hang on his arm. All he cared about was the free use of the company's resources and the handsome salary they paid him.

It would have been a lot more difficult if he had to do it all himself. He never would have gotten as far as he has if it hadn't been for them. He silently thanked Adam for teaching him as well as he did.

The building he was currently owned was an old abandoned looking warehouse outside of town. He had fortified it against all possible attacks -mutant and non mutant alike.

The filthy, broken looking windows were bullet -proofed. The doors sound -proofed and if the off chance of a breaching occurred, steel doors descended from the ceiling. If the intruder got through that a blast proof door rose from the floor, effectively isolating them. Only a moron would try to actually blow it up -they'd only succeed in exploding themselves.

An explosion would also rock against a motion sensor that would immediately trigger a clear, plexi-glass three -inch thick wall to come out of the wall. A closed feed camera would track their progress and once they touched the wall the trap would spring and knockout gas would be released into the sealed off space.

The other traps weren't even necessary as no one had ever gotten past the blast doors but they were still there, ready to be activated at a moments notice.

Jesse also had many exits of escape. All the walls had mild electrical currents running through them to prevent moleculars from phasing through the walls -only one spot didn't have the currents so Jesse could just pass through and be on his merry way. The roof had a loose panel he could work out of the way. There was even a trap door that led to a series of tunnels only he knew the way out of -which was to phase at the right dead end. Phase through the wrong one and you'd have to walk miles through dirt.

Jesse leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. The background noise came to the fore as he focused his hearing. It was too silent in his mind. That didn't matter though.

For the past week he'd been going over everything again and again. Checking booby traps, making back -up copies of files, practicing escape routes, restocking food and water supplies in case of a siege, etc. Glancing around him now he let out a shaky breath before smiling in satisfaction.

'We're ready,' he thought to himself.

He leaned forward and brought up another file on the computer. He faltered slightly before he got his composure back and started it up. A map of the earth shone in a bluish tint across the screen. His index finger hovered tremblingly as second thoughts entered his mind but before he gave into them he clicked the activation button. Instantly red lights flashed on the screen in various parts of the United States.

One shone in California -one of Mutant X had become a teacher in a martial arts dojo there. Another was closer to him in New York City -on of his friends had gone back on bad habits. A third showed his location and he noted gladly that his com -ring blinked in response to the signal.

That was when he noted the other two dots. Frowning, he zoomed the map in further.

One he knew was Lexa -he'd visited often enough to know it was her. But the other... It couldn't be Adam, Jesse knew that much. But then if it wasn't him, who could it be?

The dot began to fade and he scrambled to write down the address before it disappeared completely. He began tapping at the keyboard, trying to get the signal back but it was no use. All he knew about it was that it was near Shalimar, just slightly north.

He shrugged before leaning back again. It would be just another thing to do when the rest of the team arrived to finally rescue Adam. His eyes closed in content as he imagined being a team again while mentally preparing himself for the next step -the blinking had just been a heads -up.

He wrote "Phase one completed: 12:30 am EST. Phase two will begin shortly," before shutting down the computer and grabbing his briefcase. Jesse pulled his keys out of his pocket and unlocked his Jaguar F-Type, tossing his briefcase onto the backseat. Tonight he didn't feel guilty about leaving early -the preparation was finally completed. All he could do now was wait -and getting some sleep before tomorrow's board meeting wasn't a bad idea either.

"Congrats on that promotion Devon. Glad that prick Pete didn't get it," Craig said to Jesse, leaning on him drunkenly as he did so. Jesse laughed at Craig's drunk state.

"Man, weren't you supposed to be the designated driver?" He waved his hand in a dismissive manner and Jesse sighed before slapping Craig on the back. "All right, I'll be the DD tonight. But this time bring a barf bag will ya?" Craig nodded woozily and Jesse knew he'd be getting his car detailed tomorrow.

"Dude dude dude... Check out that honey by the bar, eh? She fiiiiiiiine or what Dev?" Jesse shrugged.

"She's alright I guess."

"Dev man she's totally checkin' you out! Go talk to her man, she wants you bad man."

"Maybe, but that doesn't mean I want her." An image formed in his head of Lexa smiling beautifully at him and he smiled somewhat goofily. Craig wasn't looking so hot all of the sudden and Jesse helped the other man to the bathroom.

'The less in my car the better...,' Jesse thought as his friend heaved into the toilet violently.

"Oh man... I'm never drinking again..." Jesse sighed. He always said that and yet here they were every Saturday night.

"I'd settle for you not drinking for the rest of the weekend Craig." The dark haired man nodded stupidly before opening the door to his apartment and waving goodbye to Jesse.

Jesse hopped down the stairs whistling. He felt like singing aloud actually. Today Step Two would be put into action.

Jesse hummed good-naturedly as he drove, an old song by The Clash caught in his head. He flipped on the radio and sang along with it until he reached the warehouse. He pushed a button under the steering wheel with his knee and the underground garage opened instantly.

Jesse walked through the various passages until he was in the control room. He pulled off his jacket and tossed it onto one of the recliners in a care-free manner.

Jesse pushed the button to start up the computer and flipped his stereo on absently.

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared, and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls

His head bobbed up and down with the tune as the computer continued to boot up. A dialogue box popped up and Jesse entered the password jauntily, hitting a key with every word of the song. The box closed and the desktop showed up.

London calling, now don't look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

The map popped up again and four dots shone this time, the fifth still offline. Jesse sighed but shrugged it off. 'All thinks in due time...'

He tapped a few keys and the satellite zoomed in on the locations. The cursor turned into an hour glass but Jesse didn't mind. It was only doing its job after all.

The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river

Another dialogue box popped up under each location and Jesse wrote down the information. He closed the map and shut down the computer before clicking off the radio.

The molecular walked into the living room area and sat down on the recliner opposite the one he had thrown his jacket on that sat on the other side of the love seat sofa. Lifting the phone from its cradle, he glanced over the information in his hand. He punched the first number in and got an answering machine message.

Hey, you've reached Sparky's Specialty garage. If you leave your name, number and the problem with your vehicle, I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Jesse sighed before leaving a message, "Devon Christophson, 243-555-4132. My problem is.. I've misplaced my Kane. Call me ASAP."

Though Jesse was disappointed he'd missed Brennan he still had high hopes as he dialed the next number. Moments later a male voice answered.

"Serene Dragon Dojo, this is Jared how can I help you?"

"Uh... Hi. Can you tell Shalimar she has a call?"

"Sir I'm afraid we can't page customers unless it's an emergency."

"Oh, she's an instructor though."

"An instructor? I'm sorry sir but none of the instructors here go by that name. Are you sure you've got the right dojo?" Jesse frowned slightly before realizing Shalimar had changed her name.

'Good girl Shal...,' he thought with pride that his 'sister' had made that move.

"Actually, you might be right. What classes you got there? I've been meaning to join something for a while now."

"But mister..."

"Christophson. Devon Christophson."

"Ok. Mr. Christophson, wouldn't you rather join your friend's dojo?"

"Yours is closer. What classes do you have."

"Well... we have Karate, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Tai Chi-"

Jesse jumped at that. He knew Shalimar had often practiced with Emma years ago -maybe she taught it now. "I like that. Could you tell me about the instructor? Don't want to join a class that has one of them 'push push push' types, yanno?" Jesse chuckled lightly at the end and the man laughed out loud.

"Nah, she's great. A real sweetheart. But if you decide to ask her out, don't bother. She might be blonde and hot as hell, but she's got one helluva wild side. Her girlfriend ain't too keen on it either to tell you the truth." The man spoke with such a deep respect for them and Jesse nearly sighed in disappointment.


"Yeah, this cute little redhead. Real sweetheart." The man continued to talk as though he had forgotten he was talking to just a stranger. Jesse smiled at how much the man must like them. "Always stoppin by, helps Callie with demonstrations. It's so cute to see them together..." There was a pause and Jesse could almost see the other guy grinning stupidly before Jesse realized he'd said 'Redhead.'

'Maybe.. No. Shalimar isn't gay. And neither was...' Jesse could barely even think his late friend's name.

"Devon, do you want to sign up today?"

"Nah, but definitely later. Right now I got a meeting to go to. See ya."

"Good by sir."

Jesse hung up and leaned back shell-shocked.

'They couldn't have been together... but...' He thought harder and doubt crept into his mind. 'They were always close... sometimes Shal would mispronounce simple things when Emma would bend over...' Jesse blushed as he remembered the only reason he knew that was because he'd watch Emma too and could pinpoint the exact moment she had screwed up. 'They did Tai Chi together, went shopping together.. When Emma had to help Brennan when he was sick Shalimar had kept her eyes glued to Emma the entire time... worry she had said.. and how Shalimar had overcame her fear of fire to save Emma's life... She'd said... She'd said her fear of losing Emma was greater than her fear of fire... and how she..' Tears formed in Jesse's eyes as he continued. 'How Shal had screamed and cried when Emma had been taken away after she had died...' Even thinking of how Shalimar had sounded then, the heart -wrenching pain, the sorrow. He remembered how she used to cry herself to sleep every night after that and he swallowed back his tears.

Suddenly to Jesse the two of them together just wasn't as farfetched as it had seemed. 'So maybe this Callie is Shalimar, and she has a thing for redheads?' He chuckled before walking back to the computer and flipping his cd back on.

London calling, yes, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
After all this, won't you give me a smile?
London calling

'I'll just get her number the old fashioned way...' He decided to just hack into the employment records of the Serene Dragon Dojo and hopefully catch her when she was home, resolving to call Lexa as soon as he had at least left a message for Shalimar since he already knew where she was. A smile ghosted his lips as he typed in the quiet warehouse, the only company being The Clash from his stereo.


Part 2

Smoke hung heavy in the shady bar as a man wearing a long brown trench coat forged his way through the gruff crowds. He felt uneasy in here, as though any one of these cutthroats would either kill him just to fence the Rolex on his wrist or to pick from his pocket the Gucci wallet that rested within them. He again wondered why he was here before spotting the reason.

Against the back wall, dressed in leather pants and a beautiful silk shirt sat Brennan "The Spark" Mulwray. He appeared on the scene about four years ago and since then had become one of the most successful car thief in New York City. His unique method of taking the most 'secure' vehicles had earned him his nickname. You could ask him to get any car -no matter how electronically protected it was -and he would get it for you for a small percentage of the price it'd bring in.

And that was why he was here. All of the things Steven Coltz had -the money, the fancy apartment, the art collection worthy of a museum. None of it was worth it without the social status to back it up.

That's why he's here after all. He needed the most expensive, rare and over all fast car he could get and the sooner the better.

Approaching the table he nearly bumped into a skinhead playing pool behind him. The skinhead sneered and Steven scuttled towards Mulwray, who had already noticed him coming.

Clearing his throat nervously Steven plopped down onto the booth's leather seat. Brennan raised an amused eyebrow at him before looking out at the crowd once more. This only served to make Steven more nervous. After about five minutes of being ignored like this he stood up to leave.

A hand on his arm halted him and he turned to find it attached to the elemental. He only held on for a moment before shoving Steven roughly away. Steven stumbled, bumping into the skinhead as he did so. The bald man cursed in rage while his buddies howled in laughter.

Steven bolted away quickly, not stopping until he was outside again. He shoved his hands angrily into his pockets but was startled at finding something in his left one. It was a business card.

12:10 -My garage


Steven smiled before puling out his cell phone and calling a cab.

Brennan leaned against the back of his chop shop/garage with a sigh, pulling his jacked around him tighter against the cold wind. The street was deserted and dark, the only light coming from the street lamp overhead.

A loud crash sounded behind him and he turned, telsa coil at the ready. A can rolled into his foot and a stray cat stepped away from the toppled garbage can. Brennan smiled and the electricity faded from his fingers.

"Come here little guy." Brennan crouched down and picked up the skinny black cat with the matted hair. "Let's get you inside where it's warm, ok?"

The cat merely looked at him with hooded golden eyes and Brennan was oddly reminded of Shalimar's wild gaze.

Brennan turned and pushed open the back door of the garage, taking the stairs to his apartment above the place. He set the cat down on the table and it backed away from him with wary eyes. Brennan shrugged in response before returning to his refrigerator and pulling out his coffee cream after discovering he didn't have milk. Setting it down on the counter Bren opened a cupboard and retrieved a bowl. After filling it halfway with the cream he put it in the microwave for about 45 seconds before opening another drawer and fishing out a an opener. When the microwave beeped he pulled the cream out and set it on the counter to cool before opening a cupboard and grabbing a can of tuna. He used the can opener to get the lid off and dumped the contents into another bowl. Brennan glanced and the clock and saw it was almost time to meet the up -and -coming yuppie from the bar. He picked up the bowls and set them in front of the cat before hurrying down the stairs.

He paused to catch his breath and -at exactly 12:10 -pushed the door open, startling the man in the trench coat. Brennan's face became void of emotions as he leaned against the brick wall of the garage. The other man waited patiently while Brennan pulled a cigarette from the pack he kept in his pocket and lit up.

"Want one?" Brennan asked, offering the pack to the other man.

"No, I'm fine." Brennan shrugged.

"Don't blame ya. They're awful -but great for atmosphere." Brennan grinned and the other man laughed weakly.

A few moments later Steven spoke up. "I need you to do something for me." Brennan waited for him to continue. "I can pay whatever you need. Half now, half after you deliver."

Brennan blew out a cloud of smoke in exasperation. "That's a given. What do you need?"

"Uh... Well... You see I'm not very popular on the scene-"

"What. Do. You. Need?" Steven took a deep breath before speaking.

"I need a car that'll get me noticed. Something... Something expensive. And fast." Brennan nodded as if this were expected.

"Anything else?"

"Uh... Well... Preferably red. With a CD changer too."

"I'll find something an if you need red -I'll repaint it for an extra two hundred." Steven nodded eagerly before reaching into his pants pocket and pulling out a business car with his phone number on it.

"Call me when its ready." He turned to go and Brennan cleared his throat loudly. "Oh, right." Reaching into his pocket he pulled out $10,000 and gave it to Brennan. "Half now, half later." Brennan nodded and dropped his cigarette to the ground, crushing it under his shoe.

After Steven was in his cab Brennan made a little fist pumping action and went back into his apartment to find to empty bowls and the cat purring contentedly on the table. Brennan smiled at the sight and made a mental note to take it to the vet and buy it some things -he'd decided to keep it. It'd give him something to think about besides work.

Brennan snatched the hand towel from the counter top and placed it on the cat before walking to his bedroom. He tossed his coat onto a chair before pulling his shirt off and -after smelling it -wrinkled his nose and tossed it into the pile for washing. Brennan then changed into pajama pants and walked sleepily into the bathroom to brush his teeth. The elemental yawned as he climbed under the covers, taking off his com ring and watch as he did so.

He turned to face the nightstand and as he closed his eyes the com -ring in his jewelry dish blinked briefly. His eyes snapped back open and he snatched it up from the dish.

He waited for it to blink again for and a half hour later it still hadn't. Brennan slipped it onto his finger and fell into a sleep of blissful memories with the team.

Street lights flew by on either side of Brennan unnoticed as he deftly navigated the newly acquired Alfa Studie back to his garage. It was painted a dull blue with a torn passenger seat. The car itself needed to be completely cleaned: oil change, detailing, odor removal, etc. Brennan didn't mind though -he'd just up the price.

The car slowed to a crawl as Brennan pulled into the alleyway behind the garage and -after parking to open the door -pulled into the garage. Brennan shut the garage door and flipped on the lights casting a while glow on the room. Brennan walked over to his old CD player and put his Garbage CD on random.

I've got a fever

Come check it and see

There's something burning and rolling in me

We may not last but we'll have fun till it ends

C'mon baby be my bad boyfriend

Brennan smiled as thoughts of Shalimar entered his mind unbidden, summoning the exact image of her to the front of his mind. If he closed his eyes he could almost see her -golden hair, mischievous dark eyes, lithe body... He smiled as he remembered how they'd flirt with each other, how sometimes she'd be smiling and talking to Emma then a look -one he couldn't described any other way besides longing -crossed her face and her and Emma would put more space between them.

I wanna hear you call out my name

I wanna see you burn up in flames

Keep you on ice so I can show all my friends

C'mon baby be my bad boyfriend

He never could figure that out. The way they'd talk to each other all huddled close like that then bolt apart whenever someone saw them like that. He had always assumed it was just Emma, judging from his conversations with her at least.

So ripe so sweet come suck it and see

But watch out Daddy I sting like a bee

I know some tricks I swear will give you the bends

C'mon baby be my bad boyfriend

He and Emma had, years ago, been sitting in the living room watching infomercials and making fun of the over zealous announcers. She'd made another comment that sent Bren into fits of laughter but when he saw she was looking serious he stopped, concerned.

"What is it Emma?" She had just shaken her head but the anxious look in her eyes spoke volumes to the elemental. "C'mon. You can tell me anything Em. I told you about the time I tried to pick up a girl using the Oscar Mayer song on a dare." Emma laughed out loud at that.

"All right... But you have to promise me not to tell, ok? Not a soul."

"I promise."


"Positive." She had turned to face him completely.

"Ok. Ok... And I'm only telling you this because you're my best friend." She had taken several deep, nervous breaths before nodding to herself. "I think... I'm in love." Brennan smiled at her widely.

"So? Who's the lucky guy? Jesse? It's Jesse isn't it?"

"It's... Shalimar." It was whispered so quietly he almost missed it.

"Sh... alimar?" Emma's face grew bright red.

"Yes.. I'm sorry, I know you like her and everything but.... I just can't help it."

"But... I didn't know you were..."

"Bi? It's a common thing for psionics. We can sympathize so well with people we just fall for whoever -no matter what sex they are."

"Huh. Well..." Ema's face became clouded with sadness before Brennan spoke again. "At least I"ll know I'm not the only one with a thing for blondes." I was silent for a moment before they burst out laughing.

My fever's rising you ran into luck

Say what sugar

You wanna get what?

I'm wanna give you one hundred and ten

C'mon baby be my bad boyfriend

Brennan shook his head to clear the thoughts before grabbing his tool box and setting to work on making the car unidentifiable if the authorities stopped in. It hadn't happened before but that didn't mean he could let himself get careless. He was so lost in his work, he didn't hear the phone ringing in his office.

Brennan smiled in satisfaction as he climbed the stairs to his apartment. It was only two hours later but he'd removed the serial numbers from the car, cleaned the junk from the floor, switched license plates and washed the dirt off of it.

The answering machine blinked at him and he sighed in annoyance before pushing the play button.

"Oops! Wrong number!"

The machine beeped and moved on to the next message.

"How much do you cost for a-"

Brennan slapped the next button before heading into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He'd just stuck the brush into his mouth when he heard a vaguely familiar voice fill the room.

"Devon Christophson, 243-555-4132. My problem is.. I've misplaced my Kane. Call me ASAP."

Brennan shrugged it off and resumed brushing his teeth. 'Misplaced his cane? What a nut..' He shook his head at the absurdity of the statement. 'Who calls a car shop about a missing ca-' The toothbrush clattered into the sink as it slipped from his grip.

'No way... It couldn't be...' Brennan replayed the message and wrote down the phone number. He picked up his phone and -after deciding to put off calling 'Devon' to a more reasonable hour -dialed his painter.

"Hey man, got a customer who needs his ride fixed up tomorrow. Come in around 8." Brennan hung up and climbed into his bed, tossing fitfully into sleep.

Brennan sat at his desk staring at the phone in front of him. The boys had gone home for the day having finished the painting and other precautions Brennan had insisted on. Granted, it was only five o' clock, but his crew worked fast. A call had been placed, the client would arrive at nine to pick up the car and be briefed on the rules involved with it. Now all he had to to was call 'Devon' back.

Minutes later Brennan still hadn't moved. 'C'mon, you can do this. Just pick up the phone for starters.' He laughed at himself for the couching attempt and picked up the phone with trembling fingers. Butterflies danced in his stomach in excitement as he dialed the number.

While it rang, he took several deep breaths to calm himself down.

"Hello, Devon speaking." Brennan felt slightly nauseous in his excitement.

"It's me." There was a long pause.
"Brennan? Hey man-" Brenna's apprehension got the better of him and he cut Jesse off.

"When do we meet."

"Uh..." Brennan wanted to apologize upon hearing the hurt in Jesse's voice but didn't. "Well, Shal has to take a flight but you could come now, stay with me in Baltimore. Lexa should arrive after you so I'll show you the new place and everything first, ok?"

"Ok then. Gotta take care of some things and I'll be right there."

After exchanging addresses the elemental hung up. He sat still for a few moments before getting up and ready to get going. He'd leave after getting the money from his client tonight.

The Alfa Studie purred out of the garage quickly and Brennan flipped through the stack of bills in his hand. $2200 was in his pocket and it felt good.

Steven hadn't even blinked when the taller man had slyly upped the price. He was too enthralled with the garnet beauty in front of him.

Brennan walked up the stairs and grabbed his suitcase just inside the door of his apartment. He'd taken care of everything -the boys had been informed, clients put on hold, clothes packed etc. He was just about to go when Boris -which was what he had named the cat -meowed at him expectantly. Brennan walked out the door and dumped his suitcase into the trunk of his '67 Shelby Mustang GT500 before running up the stairs and grabbing him up along with some cat food and water bottles before heading back to the car.


Part 3

Shalimar lay purring with her head resting on and arms wrapped around her lover. A chill breeze blew through the open window and Shalimar felt the woman in her arms shiver. Shalimar smiled and pulled the covers up around her exposed shoulder before planting a kiss on the back of her neck. The other woman smiled in her sleep and Shalimar buried her face in her hair with a smile of her own.

A feeling of contentment washed over Shalimar -every day since they met 4 years ago had been one moment like this after another. Moments where they didn't have to worry, didn't have to think about work, bills or even whether they'd been discovered as new mutants at work. Shalimar felt the other woman snuggle closer to her and she pulled her tightly to her before falling asleep moments later.

Four years ago next week they had met. Shalimar had flown to San Francisco, changed her name to Callie Parks and had gotten a job as a Tai Chi instructor at the dojo a few blocks away from her current apartment. One day a colleague had invited her to lunch and -since her schedule had been once again changed by Barry, who owned the place -she had agreed.

After they were seated and ordered their drinks, Shalimar took to glancing around at the various items covering the walls of the seventies nostalgia diner. "So what's good here?" she asked Brian when she could tear her eyes away from a rather large tribute to the movie Jaws.

"Everything basically. Although I'd be careful with anything too complicated." Shalimar laughed lightly at that and decided to stick to a salad.

The bell over the entrance rung and Shalimar glanced as a familiar laugh reached her ears. A woman had just entered the restaurant with shoulder length and deep reddish color hair along with a shorter, plainer woman dressed in a smart looking suit. Shalimar couldn't take her eyes from the taller woman though. She hadn't felt this way since... She shook the thought from her head.

Her salad arrived just after her drink and since she had already finished it she asked for another. Brian's eyes sparkled at her from across the table.

"What's up with you Cal? You look like you've seen a ghost." He looked behind Shalimar. "Ooooh, that's definitely not Casper but I'd want to be haunted by her any day." He licked his lips slowly and Shalimar shook her head at him.

"Wishful thinking will get you nowhere Bri."

"But she's looking this way -has been since she sat down. She totally digs me." Shalimar turned her head slightly and caught the other woman's gaze. Their eyes burned into each other before Brian started his horrible attempts at flirting with her. Shalimar turned away in embarrassment and started in on her salad. Brian suddenly got the idea that his flirting was paying off and excused himself to talk to the woman. Shalimar rolled her eyes at him and sipped her Long Island ice tea thoughtfully and turned down the waiter's offer of another -she still had a class that afternoon.

Finally Brian came back with a satisfied grin on his face and started devouring his hamburger with gusto. Shal tried not to be too disgusted with him but failed miserably. "Would you like a napkin or would you eat that too?" He looked up at her confused before quickly wiping mayonnaise from his chin and taking a sip of his beer.

"Sorry... Not used to eating with someone."

"I can see why." Shalimar muttered jokingly at him. He smirked self deprecatingly at her before clearing his throat.

"That woman over there, names Selene. Says she'll stop by the dojo for a class one of these days." He smiled proudly. "I always rake in the hotties don't I?" She shook her head at him in slight disbelief.

'Oh what were you thinking? That she was looking at you? Get real. She's straight, you're bi. Get over it.' With these little pep talks it was a wonder why Shal didn't teach the weight loss group.

They stood to leave after a while and, after looking back at Selene, headed back to work. Shalimar didn't expect to see her ever again. The women that Brian usually hit on always made false promises. So it was a shock when -after hitting the showers after a class -Shalimar literally bumped into her. The woman's scent was vaguely familiar, but the smell of her lilac shampoo made Shalimar decide she really didn't know her. Just a coincidence.

"Oh hey, didn't see ya there. Sorry." Shalimar steadied her and as her hand came into contact with Selene's bare elbow a spark of electricity seemed to pass between them. Shalimar's stomach flipped.

"Its ok, my fault." They stood there for a bit more before laughing at themselves. "Oh forgive me, I'm Selene, I'm here to see Brian?" Shal's good mood deflated just a tiny bit.

"Oh yeah, he's finishing up in the multi-purpose room. Down to the end of the hall, turn right and its hard to miss. Big rice paper walls and bamboo floors." She nodded as she listened to Shalimar.

"I saw you today, you were with him at the restaurant. I'm sorry I didn't catch your name."
"It's Callie, Callie Parks. I teach Tai Chi and whatever else they throw at me." Shalimar smiled lopsidedly at her before footsteps sounded a ways down the hall.

"Hey! Didn't expect to see you this soon." Brian smiled widely at Selene as he approached. Shal blanched as the smell of sweat mixed with too-sweet cologne filled her nose.

"I should be going now. Those bills aren't going to pay themselves." Shalimar waved good bye to them before scurrying away from the stink that was Brian. He shrugged and Callie put her hand on his chest as he was going to try flirting again.

"Yanno, I think I'll take a class here. That way I'll be able to see you before you work up a sweat." Her nose wrinkled and he smiled apologetically.

"Hey maybe we can catch some dinner after this? I'll only be a minute in the shower." She nodded after a slight hesitation and he grinned. "Ok, be back in a flash." He ducked into the showers and she wandered to the front desk.

"Hey, I was wondering if I could sign up for something?" The guy behind the desk smiled at her.

"Sure you can. Have anything in mind?"

"Martial arts. The one taught by Brian. And..." She paused for a bit. "Tai Chi."

The weeks passed by blissfully. Shalimar had been -to say the least -surprised when Selene stopped into her class the next week, and even more surprised when she was always the first to volunteer for demonstrations. Surprised -but not disappointed. Selene was hot and the fact that she was letting Shal invade her personal space all the time was a treat Shal reveled in and she always used the opportunity to flirt with her, despite part of her demanding she stop -'This isn't her!'; part of her screaming she was straight, and instead choosing to listen to the part of herself that was telling her to just go for it.

They had become good friends too. They went shopping together, clubbing together. Hell Selene even dragged her along with her and Brian on their dates for some reason. Shalimar didn't mind though. She'd become oddly possessive of the redhead.

After a few more weeks of that Selene showed up at Shalimar's door late one night after a spontaneous date with Brian. She was crying so Shalimar -ignoring the fact that she was only half dressed and half awake -pulled her into her arms immediately, whispering comforting meaningless words into her ear.

She stroked Selene's hair softly and the shorter woman calmed down some. Shalimar still held her and after a while Selene placed a kiss at the base of Shal's neck. The feral stiffened immediately before calming down.

"Selene?" She lifted her head to look at her before kissing Shalimar passionately. After a few endless moments she pulled back, placing kisses on a stunned blonde's jaw. Shalimar found the will to speak as the redhead moved down her neck, pausing to suck lightly on her pulse as she did. "Selene? What about Brian? I thought..." Shalimar cut herself off with a moan as the redhead bit her softly on her collarbone.

"I thought it was obvious Cal. The class," she licked the slightly red spot on Shal's collarbone, "the times we hung out," Shalimar let out another moan as Selene licked her earlobe lightly, "I even took you on our dates to show you nothing was happening." Shal whimpered as Selene pulled away. "But if you don't want me-" Shal cut her off with a demanding kiss.

Needless to say Brian was pissed, but he got over it eventually. He and Shalimar weren't just co workers, they were best friends too. If he lost her he'd be spending many a lunch hour alone.

Shalimar and Selene had decided to go slow -despite the fact that they had already made love many times the night she had broken up with Brian. It was a year before they had moved in together and they had been happy with each other ever since.

The shrill buzzing of an alarm clock shattered the silence and both women groaned as they woke up.

"Morning.." Selene muttered. Shalimar merely grunted a form of greeting making Selene smile at how cute it was too see how grumpy the feral was first thing in the morning.

After going through their morning routine -which consisted of showering followed by arguing the nutritional benefits of pop tarts versus toaster strudel and finally settling on orange juice and cereal -they headed off to work. During their lunch break they'd call the other and they'd either settle for just chatting or meeting for lunch, depending on the day. Today, Brian had gotten arrested for getting into a fight with a barfly at the place he ate at so Shalimar called Selene to tell her she wouldn't be home until later that night. Selene had laughed at Brian's plight, used to the man's annoying nature and the consequences thereof.

So now Shalimar was walking home tiredly, once again missing her motorcycle that was destroyed with Sanctuary and Selene was picking up various magazines she usually left lying around. Selene bent forward to pick up a copy of People when her necklace -which was just a silver chain with a ring on it -fell out from under her shirt. She frowned and went to put it under her shirt when -shock of all shocks -it blinked at her. She froze.


Shalimar began to jog home when rain started to fall from the sky. She raised her hand to cover her eyes and nearly shrieked when it blinked at her. She was so startled she forgot she was standing in the middle of the street until a car honked angrily at her. She rushed to the other side of the street and slowed her pace.

The blinking couldn't have been an accident and she was reminded that she'd never been completely honest with Selene. They'd been together for a long time and she had yet to tell her anything about being a feral, Mutant X, or even about Emma. 'Emma...' That name still tore at her heart and she let a few tears slip out, mixing casually with the rain. Glancing at her watch, she saw it was 9:37 already and she angrily wiped at her eyes before heading home.

Selene hurried into the kitchen. Whoever sent the signal out could trace her on it and that was so not was she needed right then. She opened cupboard after cupboard, drawer after drawer until she found the tin foil. She yanked off her necklace and wrapped it in the foil, hoping that would stop the signal. The door banged open and she sighed in relief when Shalimar burst in, dripping wet.

'I wonder if she got it too...' She shook her head of the thoughts and laughed as Shal shook her head to get the water off her hair.

"Let me get you a towel hun." Shal smiled appreciatively at her with a faraway look in her eyes.

'She must've gotten it too..' When she came back Shalimar pulled Selene to her and kissed her playfully. Selene responded by throwing the towel on Shal's still soaked head and walking off to the bedroom to wait for the feral so they could play for real.

Callie had been distant lately, lost in her thoughts nearly all the time -or so it seemed to Selene anyway. She was worried about the blonde. Cal was edgy, spacey, sometimes even down right rude to people without even meaning to be. Not knowing what else to do, Selene tried to keep her busy but so far it had been a bust.

At the movies she'd look like she was paying attention, watching the screen with mild interest but as soon as something exploded she'd jump a bit. Like she wasn't even there.

When they went shopping Selene made a point to pass up her favorite places -the shoe store she got those killer boots from, the clothing store she usually bought the tight yet comfortable shirts from, even the park they'd usually just wander in on lazy weekend afternoons to enjoy each others company. Nothing seemed to get through to her.

Finally, when she started missing motions in her class, Selene had had enough. She'd already felt guilty for letting it continue like it did but she'd figured at the time that it would just pass like all Callie's moods eventually did. Now though she could see she had assumed wrong.

She stepped into the front room with a determined look on her face and grabbed the remote from the startled blonde, shutting it off as she did so.

"We need to talk."

'Uh oh..' Shalimar plastered a wide smile on her face as she looked up at Selene. She didn't really want to have this talk but knew it would eventually have come sooner or later. Apparently sooner was in Selene's opinion the better choice.

"What about?" They both knew she knew what about but Shalimar had to stall a bit, get her story together so Selene would go easier on her.

"That's what I want to know. These past couple of days you've been so distant honey. What's wrong?" Shalimar felt a twinge of guilt in her gut because she knew that Selene wasn't lying. Ever since her com ring had blinked she'd been lost in memories of the team, her family... Emma.

"Nothing's wrong Sel. I've just got a lot on my mind is all." Internally, Shalimar winced. She could already anticipate the next question Selene would ask.

"What's on your mind then?"

"Just... stuff."

'Nice Shal, real smooth.'

"What 'stuff?'" Selene wouldn't let go and suddenly Shalimar felt the need to go on the defensive, not ready to discuss Emma and the team with Selene just yet.

"Just... things ok? Let it go." It came out harsher than Shalimar had intended and she quickly tried to apologize to Selene as she stood up from the couch. "I'm sorry-"

Selene slammed the door shut on her way out of their place angrily cutting Shalimar's apology off.

Shalimar sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. 'I'm gonna have to tell her...' She laughed ruefully at that. 'How the hell am I supposed to tell her that I'm a mutant? And on top of that, one who fell in love with another mutant who died that isn't her?' Shalimar could practically see the crushed face of Selene as she told her about Emma. 'She might never feel like she adds up to Emma...' Shalimar sighed before punching a pillow angrily and standing up.

'No way she's gonna listen to me any more if I just let her go off angry...' The blonde snatched her coat off of the hook by the door and set off after the redhead, rehearsing apologies as she did so.

Selene dropped angrily onto a park bench, glaring out at the lake in front of her. Talking with Callie about her past had always been like pulling teeth but this time was especially stressful because she knew -just knew -something was going to happen. Soon. She could feel it in the pit of her stomach as she began to relax a bit as the quietness of the park got to her. She didn't know if it would be good or bad, but she knew it would be big.

She sighed feeling like she had overreacted just a bit this time but she couldn't help herself. Every time she tried to get Callie to talk about these things she was shut down almost immediately.

Suddenly strong arms hugged her from behind and a curtain of golden blonde hair entered her peripheral view. Selene leaned back into the embrace and Callie kissed her temple gently. Selene marveled -as always -at how Callie always knew where to find her and the way she could just sneak up on her like that. 'Maybe all that Tai Chi pays off after a while..,' Selene thought with amusement.

"I'm sorry baby... I didn't mean to snap at you...," was murmured into her ear and Selene leaned further into the other woman.

"No, I'm sorry. I over reacted. Its just that-" She sighed again.

"Just what sweetheart?" Callie came around the bench to sit next to her, keeping one arm around her shoulder the whole time.

"Well... Whenever I try to talk to you about this you just won't. Its like.. Like you're ashamed or -or you don't trust me or something." The blonde stiffened slightly. "It hurts Cal..." Callie's arm tightened her hold and Selene felt her place a kiss on her forehead softly.

"It's not that I don't trust you.." Selene heard the hesitation in Callie's voice but didn't press it -this was farther than they'd gotten when talking about this before. "I'm just... Scared." The redhead frowned and glanced up at Callie with a confused look. "I'm not sure you'd still want to be with me if I told you everything." Selene sat up straight and caught Callie's eyes in a piercing gaze.

"You're an idiot." Callie's eyebrows raised slightly at that.

"I'm an idiot?"

"You're an idiot."

"Why, may I ask, am I an idiot?" Callie wore the cutest teasing look on her face and Selene fought the urge to kiss her and forget all about the conversation.

"For thinking I'd leave you for telling me who you are. That's why you're an idiot." Selene glared at Callie playfully as the blonde laughed out loud at that before turning serious.

"So you really want to know-"

"Yes." Callie sighed and pulled Selene up by the hand.

"Then let's go home ok? We'll talk about it there."

So Shalimar told her -everything. Well, Everything but Emma anyway. Selene just sat there completely silent as the feral paced the living room in front of her while she spoke. When she was finally done she paused mid step to wait for Selene to say something.

Selene just watched the blonde fidget under her gaze and Shal felt a big claustrophobic all of the sudden. When Selene snapped out of it Shalimar was startled to say the least.

"That's it?" The blonde blinked at her. "That's what's gotten you upset? Your friends are contacting you to go save the guy you think of as a dad and that's the only thing on your mind? Huh." Selene cocked her head to the side at the bewildered feral.

"Well... yeah."

"And you couldn't tell me why?"

"Well -uh -ya see the thing is-..." Shal tried to explain some more before sighing in defeat -she could never win against Selene, even if it wasn't an argument. "I don't really know. So... you're not freaked about me being a feral?" Selene merely raised her eyebrows at her.

"Are you kidding? It's actually kinda hot..." It was Shal's turn to raise her eyebrows before she leaned down and kissed Selene. The kiss grew more passionate and the blonde soon had Selene pinned on the couch beneath her. Shalimar nibbled on the red head's bottom lip gently which elicited a moan from her.

The feral's hand -which had been resting on Selene's hip -made its way upward until it reached the hem of Selene's shirt and slipped underneath it with practiced ease. Selene giggled slightly as Shal moved her hand up her ribcage slowly before the feral's hand slipped around to rest firmly on the small of Selene's back. Shalimar placed kisses along her jaw as her fingers trailed Selene's spine lightly, eliciting a quiet moan from the woman beneath her.

Her hands traveled back down her girlfriend's spine and she grabbed the hem of her shirt and tugged gently. Selene raised her hands above her head and Shalimar lifted the shirt off before throwing it to the floor, forgetting it just as quickly. Shal moved in again and placed a gentle bite on the shorter woman's pulse point before trailing kisses down her chest, pausing when she was met with the edge of a black lacy bra. The feral caught Selene's eyes and shot her a lop-sided grin. "Have I ever told you how much I love this set?"

"Shalimar..." The blonde's heart soared when she heard Selene say her name -her real name -and she locked eyes with the other woman once again. Her eyes flashed at the emotions clearly displayed there. She opened her mouth to speak -a wide smile gracing her lips as she did -only to be interrupted by the phone going off. They both froze for a moment before Shalimar sighed in defeat and went to answer it. Selene swore a string of pretty colorful words and Shal was all too eager to agree with her suddenly grumpy mood.

"Hello?" The word came out a little edgier than she had wanted but she didn't much care right then.

"...Shalimar?" The blonde stiffened completely and Selene moved to hug her from behind.

"I'll be in the shower, ok?" Shal nodded, thankful that her girlfriend knew her well enough to know she needed to be alone for a bit.

"Jesse?" Shalimar couldn't stop the tears in her eyes from making her voice sound thick. "God Jess... Its really you?" He let out a breathless chuckle on the other end and Shalimar could sympathize with the emotions he was probably feeling right now.

"Sure is Shal. It sure is." She let out a sound somewhere between a sob and a laugh. "Did you get my message? The com ring? Did it blink?" She nodded before realizing he couldn't see her over the phone.

"Yeah, yeah I did. Jesse is it really time? Are we going to really save him?"

"It sure is. Everything's ready. All we need is for you to fly here and we'll get goin'."

"Wow... Ok I'll be there." As he gave her the address to write down the shower turned off and she nearly slapped her forehead. "Wait, there's something... well. Is it ok if I bring someone along? I'm dating... someone... and I'm sure they'll want to tag along yanno, like a vacation?" He paused on the line and Shal could practically hear the wheels turning in his head.

"You want to bring your girlfriend along?" Shal was shocked into silence at that. "I guess it would be ok. Don't know how Brennan will react though to tell you the truth."

"You mean you don't care that... well..."

"That you're dating a girl? Of course not. What kind of big brother would I be if I hated you for being who you are?" Tears fell from Shal's eyes freely now -tears of relief, not pain.

"Thanks Jess..."

"It's nothing Shal. Look I gotta give Lexa a call so I'll see you when you two get here."

"Ok Jess. See ya there then." Selene walked into the room towel drying her hair and noticed Shalimar's radiant smile.

"Whats up honey?"

"Pack up sweetie, we're going to Baltimore."

"What, now?" Shalimar turned to look at her fully and a smile crept to her face as she took in the sight of her girlfriend in nothing but a robe and a confused frown.

"Right now I think we have better things to do..."


Part 4

Lexa groaned out loud as she fell onto her bed face first. It had been a long day. As if running out of the Kodak D-76 she loved wasn't bad enough, several of the models at the photo shoot had gotten food poisoning from the appetizer bar. The agency that owned the studio was already filing a lawsuit with the caterer but the shoot was going to be postponed which meant her schedule would become even more strained than it was.

The bedroom door opened behind her and Jake poked his head in at her. "Rough day at the office?" Lexa mumbled something into her pillow. "What was that?"

She lifted her head off the pillow and turned to look at him. "I said, 'That's an understatement.'" She reburied her head in her pillow while Jake sat on the bed next to her. He placed his hands on her neck and she smiled contentedly as he worked the knots out of her tense shoulders.

Lexa was still a little amazed at how comfortable they were with each other. They'd met years ago and they instantly felt a connection. Jake a tall and muscular with warm brown eyes and pitch black hair. He had the kind of personality many women sought for. That, plus his killer smile and hefty salary didn't hurt either.

"So what happened?"

"Hmm? Oh, right. We tried a new caterer today and nearly five minutes into the shoot everyone rushes off to the bathroom. Every model got food poisoning. Can you believe it? Every single one. And so it's rescheduled now. Then I come home to try and develop the Glamour shoot -and I'm out of developer."

"Totally out?" Lexa nodded. "Wow." She moved to get up but he pushed her down easily. "Ok look Lex, why don't you relax for a bit. I'm going out tonight so I'll pick it up on my way back. Ok?" Lexa flipped over with a teasing grin.

"Goin out huh? With Dooooooooooug?" she sing -songed. He blushed an amusing shade of red before standing up for inspection.

"How do I look?" Lexa nodded approvingly at his outfit and he smiled widely at her. He leaned down and hugged her before heading to the door. "I'll see you later then ok Lex?" She shooed him out playfully before standing up and walking to the bathroom. Inspecting herself in the mirror she sighed at the slightly visible lines under her eyes.

'Maybe I do need a break...' She bent to turn the water on in the bathtub before walking back into the room to gather some bed clothes and a robe and set them on the counter near the sink.

As soon as she had the tub filled she slipped into it, sighing in content. The only time she allowed herself to think these days was in the tub. The quiet atmosphere and warm water would always bathe her in a comforting embrace. Just like being in Jesse's arms always made her feel safe and warm.

She smiled and willingly followed that train of thought. After they had split up in that town she had gone invisible and slipped onto a bus heading for Maine. When she got there she rented a hotel room and got a job as a photographer for a newspaper. Photography was the perfect thing for her to do since she could alter the lighting to get the right shot every time with just a flick of her wrist. She started off at the newspaper but soon she received an offer she ditched it and was hired at Soul, the agency she now worked for.

After some heckling by her boss she decided to look for an apartment -which was how she met Jake. Jake needed a roommate and when they met they just clicked. She had moved in with him soon after that.

About a year later Jesse had breezed into town. He was working with some computer company and needed pictures for some ads. As soon as they saw each other everything came rushing back.

Lexa fought the urge to grab him up and kiss him forever when she saw him, and it was obvious he was doing the same. They had flirted openly though, and on the night before he left to Baltimore she invited him over for dinner. It was perfect -candlelight, wine, the fanciest thing she could think to make for the meal. Then Jake walked in.

Jesse's expression was somewhere between hurt and jealousy. He had stood up abruptly and grabbed his jacket on his way to the door. Jake had stopped him there with a smile and a handshake. The next thing he said broke whatever idea Jesse had gotten into his head.

"Lexa how dare you not tell me how cute this Devon is! I'm positively hurt." He placed a hand on his chest dramatically and Lexa had burst into laughter.

"Sorry Jake. Uh, Jake, this is Devon. Devon, this is Jake, my roommate." Jesse shook his hand and apologized. They'd become good friends ever since.

Suddenly the phone rang and Lexa jumped slightly. She sighed in annoyance before puling the drain plug out of the tub and letting the water swirl down the drain.

'Now what...' A glance at the clock showed it was almost 12:30 and as soon as she dried herself off she slipped into her robe. She moved to answer the phone, cursing whoever was calling silently as she did so.


"Miss Pierce? It's Larry. The models' managers' from today's shoot have decided on next week for the shoot..." Lexa tuned him out when her com -ring blinked.

"Ah, look Harry-"


"-Larry, I'm taking next week off. Personal reasons."

"Oh, I see. Well I'll speak with them to reschedule but I don't think they'll be happy about this."

"I know I know but I've been working around the clock lately and if I don't slow down soon I'll scream." Larry sighed.

"Fine fine, I'll deal with it."

"Thanks Gary."

"It's Lar-" Lexa hung up on him.

'And so it begins...,' she thought absently as she twisted the ring around on her finger. Her and Jesse had spoken often enough for her to know that it'd all be going down soon. She picked the phone back up and set about clearing her schedule for the next week or so.

Lexa sighed happily as she sank into the couch cushions, for once getting to relax instead of constantly worrying about some shoot or other and whether or not the appointments she'd made had been confirmed. It was a rare moment when Lexa could just do absolutely nothing and Lexa intended to indulge in it to the fullest.

She was wearing a rumpled blue jeans and a small beater. Her bare feet poked out from under the flare -legged jeans and she propped them onto the table before picking up her book -The Once and Future King by T. H. White. She opened to where she had left off and turned the lamp down a notch casting a warm glow about the room.

"Someone looks comfy." Lexa nearly jumped a foot when Jake voice shattered the silence she had been enveloped in.

"Looked. As in past tense. You know I hate that Jake." He laughed at her before walking over to the couch and -after moving her legs -sat down with a plop.

"I know but you just look so cute when you're scared Lex!" He leaned over and pinched her cheeks and she smacked him on the arm.

"I hate that too..." She rubbed her cheeks to get the soreness out like she did every time he did that. He plucked the book from her hands and instead of protesting she just sighed in annoyance.

"The Once and Future King, eh? Never heard of it." He handed it back to her after he said that gingerly so as not to lose the page she was on.

"Its about King Arthur and all that. I'm just reading it because you just had to rent X -Men United the other day."

"What does that have to do with anything?" he asked with a frown.

"Thats what he was reading. Magnet man or whatever his name is."

"So why did you feel the need to read it?" She answered him with a glare.

"So what are you doing home tonight? Didn't you have something with Doug?"

"Nah.." Jake sighed wistfully. "He's got a meeting early tomorrow so he had to cancel tonight." Lexa winced in sympathy.

"Meeting my ass..." She patted him on the arm lightly. "Hope for your sake it is a meeting and not him ditchin' you for the night." He nodded sullenly and a silence descended over them.

"So you wanna do something tonight? I mean you've got nothing to do and neither do I. We could hit the movies or something." Jake seemed to perk up at that and a half smile crossed his face.

"Sure Lex, let me get ready ok?" She laughed at him before waving her hand dismissively.

"Take all the time you need."

"Damn, that was kinda cool." Jake exclaimed as they made their way out of the movie theater.

"I know, wasn't it? And here I thought it would be crap." Lexa popped a piece of popcorn into her mouth absently. They'd just gotten done with watching the movie Zathura, the one that was basically a sequel to Jumanji but in space.

"Do you remember the part where the robot comes in?" Jake cracked up laughing at the end and Lexa joined in with him a moment later.

"Yeah that was great." Silence slowly descended on them again as they walked before it was broken by Jake.

"Thanks Lexa. Yanno, for hangin' out with me and all. It's sweet." Lexa smiled before hugging him with one of her arms.

"No problem Jay, it was fun. Isn't that the point of the night? To have fun?" He grinned widely and hugged her back.

"That is was, that it was. Look why don't we go back to the apartment huh? I gotta get some notes together before my staff meeting during lunch tomorrow." Lexa nodded with a slight yawn.

"Yeah ok. I'm kinda beat anyway." He poked her in the arm with a smirk.

"This vacation thing is making you a lazy ass, Lex."

'Oh you haven't seen how active this is all going to become in the near future....,' she thought to herself before poking him too.

"And what about you? I'm not the only one being lazy Mr. Big Shot Executive who makes his assistant do all his typing for him." He looked at her with a slightly defensive mock scowl.

"I can't type well ok? I can never find the home ro-"

"Jake I was joking."

"Oh..." He smiled sheepishly and his hair fell into his eyes. Several girls walked past and kept shooting enviously looks at Lexa and dreamy smiles at Jake. Lexa sighed with a half smile on her face.

"It never fails to amaze me how they flock to you Jake. You should quit your job and become the next 'Hitch.' At least then you could say you learned something when I dragged you to see that movie with me other than how great an ass Will Smith has." Jake smiled cockily at Lexa.

"It was I, Robot I said his ass looked great in. Not Hitch."

"Oh yes, forgive me." Lexa rolled her eyes before grabbing him by the elbow and dragging him back home.

"Lexa, there's a message from your boyfriend."

"Jesse called?" Lexa's face lit up while her stomach twisted in anxiousness.

"No, Carlito your secret Latin lover I know nothing about. Of course Jesse called." Jake walked off muttering with mock annoyance something about her having 'blonde roots.' Lexa just glared at his retreating form but her heart wasn't in it.

Lexa picked the phone up and dialed. After a few moments a groggy 'Hello?' reached her ears and she smiled.

"Hey Jess. You called right?" There was shuffling in the background and Lexa could picture him sitting up in his bed trying to get the lamp on.

"Sure did. Where were ya? Thought you were on vacation or something." The knowing smile was evident in his tone and Lexa smiled softly.

"Jake's date canceled on him at the last minute so I took him to the movies."

"Oh? What'd you see?"


"Zath -what?"

"Zathura. Jumanji in space."

"Oooooh ok. I remember now. So... did your ring blink?" Jesse's voice dropped conspiratorially

"Sure did Jess. Why you think I was on vacation? So I could indulge in the splendors of daytime TV?" She chuckled lightly and he joined in.

"Don't you have cable?"

"Yeah but its not much of an improvement I've found." She sighed. "So when is this going down?"

"As soon as you and Shalimar get here. Brennan's already crashing in the guest room so can stay in my room. Shalimar's getting a hotel room with her- uh. Shal's getting a hotel room." Lexa frowned slightly at his little slip.

"Shalimar's what?" Silence. "Jesse. Is Shal bringing someone?" Jesse's breath released after a few seconds.

"Yes... But I can't tell you who. She wants to make the announcement when we're all together. Don't. Tell. Brennan." The dark haired woman was a little surprised at the order but shrugged it off despite the curiosity.

"Uh.. Ok Jess. My lips are sealed." Lexa interrupted herself with a yawn and Jesse chuckled lightly.

"I guess you're tired, eh? I'll see you when you get here."

"Alright hon, I'll be there soon."


"Bye." He hung up on her and she put the phone back before going through her nighttime routine and going to sleep.


Part 5

Brennan's feet were propped on the coffee table when Jesse came back from his phone call with Lexa. Brennan looked around the apartment and shook his head slowly with a sly grin on his face.

"How much a place like this set you back Jess?" The shorter man shrugged.

"I don't know. The TV itself cost about three grand." He made a gesture at the large plasma screen hanging on the wall. "But if you think this place is pricy, you should see the new Sanctuary." Brennan let out a low whistle at the thought.

The apartment was big -huge even. Classy decorating gave the space a distinct feeling, like you'd expect people over for a cocktail party every night and maids cleaning up after it every day. There was a bar on one side of the room near the pool table and Brennan had already sampled the quality scotch stored there. He swirled his glass absently and Jesse smiled before picking up the remote for the stereo system. Flyleaf poured out of the speakers seconds later.

I will break into your thoughts

With what's written on my heart

I will break, break

"Wanna play pool?" Brennan grinned up at him before rising from the couch.

"I'll break." Jesse nodded with a confident smirk.

"Go ahead, you still won't win."

"You say that like you've been practicing." Brennan raised an eyebrow at him.

I'm so sick, infected with

Where I live

Let me live without this

Empty bliss, selfishness

I'm so sick

I'm so sick

"Maybe I have, maybe I haven't. All I know is you're going down." Brennan laughed loudly and Jesse was glad for that -the elemental had seemed different when he first showed up but now he was getting back to his old self.

"Dream on." Brennan organized the balls in the triangle -lucky 13 first of course -before leaning back to take aim.

If you want more of this

We can push out, sell out, die out

So you'll shut up

And stay sleeping

With my screaming in your itching ears

There was a loud crack sound as the balls split apart. A striped ball fell into the pocket and Brennan smirked.

"So, how is everyone?" The molecular didn't look up from the table when he answered.

"They're fine I guess. Not in jail or dead or anything so as good as can be expected." The dark haired man cocked his head to the side to look at Jesse with a raised eyebrow.

"I suppose you're right..." He shot the cue ball and sunk another striped ball into the corner pocket. "So how's Lexa doing?" Jesse's grin broadened.

I'm so sick, infected with

Where I live

Let me live without this

Empty bliss, selfishness

I'm so sick

I'm so sick

"She's doing great. A photographer now. One of the best yanno?" Jesse added with pride.

"She dating anyone?" Another ball fell into a pocket but Brennan sighed as a solid ball followed it. He stood back from the table as Jesse leaned over it.

"Yeah. Me." Jesse punctuated the last word by hitting a solid into a pocket.

Brennan grinned and slapped him on the shoulder. "Nice man, way to go. Always knew you two would hit it off." That was only partially true. Brennan had known Lexa and Jesse worked well together but he had always half expected the molecular to fall for Emma -not that that would've worked out anyway.

A groan from the smaller man told him it was his turn again.

Hear it, I'm screaming it

You're heeding to it now

Hear it, I'm screaming it

You tremble at this sound

"So uh... What about Shalimar?" the tall man asked casually. Jesse was glad Brennan couldn't see his face because he was pretty sure it resembled the classic 'deer in the headlights' look.

"You'll have to ask her Bren, I don't know myself." Brennan sighed as he missed a ball.

"Think she waited for me?"

'Oh Bren you have no idea how much she didn't wait for you...'

"I dunno man. She seemed pretty pissed off at you when I last saw her."

You sink into my clothes

This invasion makes me feel

Worthless, hopeless, sick

Brennan leaned against the table and hung his head down. "Yeah, I know..." Jesse patted him on the back.

"I'm sure she didn't forget about you Bren, but its been 5 years. If she moved on, I think you should be happy for her." A sigh heaved itself from the taller man.

I'm so sick, infected with

Where I live

Let me live without this

Empty bliss, selfishness

I'm so, I'm so sick

"I guess you're right... But if he's an asshole, I reserve the right to hate him." Jesse chuckled but thankfully Brennan couldn't tell how hollow it was.

"Noted." Jesse sunk the 8 ball with a yawn before placing his poolstick across the table. "I'm gonna hit the sack alright? The girls will be here tomorrow and I don't want to fall asleep on them." The elemental chuckled before placing his own poolstick next to Jesse's.

"I hear that. So I get the guest room then?"

"Yeah, Shal wants to stay in a hotel room and Lexa's staying with me." Brennan grinned slyly at Jesse.

"Again man, way. To. Go!" He wrapped an arm around Jesse's neck and messed up his hair before running off to his room.

"Oh don't think I won't get you back for that Brennan!" the molecular called out as he fixed his hair.

I'm so sick, infected with

Where I live

Let me live without this

Empty bliss, selfishness

I'm so (I'm so)

I'm so sick (I'm so sick)

I'm so (I'm so)

I'm so sick (I'm so sick)

The doorbell rang around 9:30 or so in the morning and Jesse hurried to open it. He paused to check his hair in the mirror and calm down before putting on a million dollar grin and opening it. Lexa was leaning against the wall outside his door, suitcase in hand and a warm smile graced her face.

He ditched all attempts at being smooth and scooped her up in his arms. She giggled before leaning down to kiss him lovingly. He responded in kind before easing her to the ground. He kept his arms around her and when they finally broke the kiss he brought his hand up to trace her cheek gently.

"Hey..." It was whispered but completely audible in the hallway.

"Hey yourself." He picked up her bag and led them into the apartment. A disheveled Brennan was walking out of the guest room but all the sleepiness disappeared when he saw Lexa. His eyes brightened and -forgetting he was in just boxers and a t-shirt -hurried over and hugged her tightly. Jesse laughed and went to put her suitcase in his room.

"Lexa -wow! You look great!"

She looked him up and down with a smirk. "I'd say the same for you but..." She gestured at his sleepclothes and he blushed.

"I would've had time to dress if someone hadn't rang the doorbell at nine in the morning! Do you know what that is my time?"

She pretended to think. "Nine?" He mock scowled at her.

"Lucky guess... Tell Jess I'll be in the shower ok?" She nodded and he walked back into the guest room.

Footsteps approached from behind her and Lexa felt Jesse's arms wrap around her. She leaned into is chest with a sigh and he nuzzled her neck with his face.

"So Shal really moved on huh?" was murmured from the woman and Jesse stiffened slightly.

"You have no idea..." A frown graced her face and she turned in his arms to speak to him but the look on his face clearly said 'be patient' so she hugged him instead. For some reason she had the feeling when the blonde showed up Brennan wouldn't be too happy with it.


Part 6

Shalimar raised her hand to the door but dropped it after a few seconds of deliberation. The feral bit her lip nervously and raised it again -only to drop it to her side. She fiddled with the hem of her shirt absently before raising her hand. She lowered it again. Selene raised an eyebrow at the feral's antics but said nothing, instead opting to shove the blonde into the door the next time she raised her hand. Shalimar stumbled into the door before turning to glare slightly at Selene. The redhead merely shrugged.


"What was that?" Shalimar asked irritated.

"I was bored alright? I'd rather be bored sitting down and having awkward situations with your friends than standing in some hallway Shal." Selene put a hand on her hip in a challenging way and Shalimar's reply was cut off by Jesse open the door. Their eyes lit up as soon as they met and Jesse swept her into a bear hug which the woman returned. Selene hid a small smile as she watched them.

"God Sha- er, Callie..." He had finally noticed Selene watching them and let go of Shalimar finally. He held out a hand to Selene which she shook lightly with a grin. "You must be Selene. Callie's told me so much about you." A raised eyebrow from Selene was directed at Shalimar showing how much the shorter woman didn't believe that in the slightest but she decided to play along anyway.

"All good things I hope." He laughed lightly before waving them in.

"Of course of course! Hey Lexa! Callie and Selene are here!" The dark haired woman stepped out of the kitchen with a soda in hand and smiled. Confusion flashed through her eyes at the names but Jesse -as he was standing behind them as he announced their arrival-started pointing at Shalimar and mouthing 'Callie' at her. Lexa nodded imperceptibly and walked up to give each of them a hug.

"Oh Callie I've missed you! How've you been? And who is this here?" Lexa's warm smile hid the growing unease she felt at this whole new situation.

'Jesse wasn't kidding when he said Brennan wouldn't like this...,' she thought to herself.

"I've been good. Great actually. And this is Selene, my-" At that moment Brennan decided to make an appearance. His skin was slightly flushed from the shower and he was towel drying his hair.

"Shalimar!" He tossed the towel over his shoulder and scooped her up into a tight hug. Shalimar's eyes widened -she'd forgotten about Brennan for a while. She pushed at his shoulders a bit as Selene cocked her head to the side with a curious look on her face, taking the scene in stride as she did so.

Shalimar suddenly felt a wave of gratitude as she saw how calm her girlfriend was being about this before Brennan suddenly pulled away and kissed her full on the mouth. Jesse covered his eyes and Lexa cringed in sympathy -whether for Selene, Brennan or both even she herself couldn't tell. Selene just watched with a thoughtful look on her face.

Shalimar shoved him away after a few shocked seconds and he stumbled slightly. A hurt look flashed across his face as he regained his footing.

"What is it Shal? I thought you'd be happy to see me too..." Shalimar just locked eyes with him for a few seconds before wrapping an arm around Selene's waist and pulling her close.

"Brennan, Lexa. Meet Selene. My girlfriend." Shalimar's defiant gaze met Lexa's warm one and she softened up a little before she saw the dawning of realization on Brennan's face replaced by rage. He stormed into the guest bedroom angrily and Jesse sighed.

"I'll talk to him.." Jesse moved to follow him but Shalimar put a hand on his shoulder to stop his movement.

"No no... I will." She turned to Selene and kissed her lightly. "I'll be right back ok?" The shorter woman nodded and Shalimar walked off towards the guest room. She paused and went back to Jesse and whispered lowly in his ear, "Oh, by the way, you can stop calling me Callie. She knows about everything... but Emma." With that she turned to go back to sort everything out with Brennan.

Jesse was mildly stunned by that but he could understand it. The door to the guest room closed and he turned to Selene. "So uh... you know huh?" She nodded with an amused smirk. "Well, don't I feel stupid." They laughed and Lexa joined in after a second or two.

Brennan paced his room angrily as he thought about Shalimar and that- that woman! He punched the wall next to his bed just as the door opened.

"What'd that wall ever do to you?" His teeth gritted angrily as he spun on her.

"What the hell is your problem!" She was slightly taken aback by that before she snapped out of it.

"What about you? If you're thinking of blaming the fact that I found someone and you didn't you can just forget it!" She shouted back at him before stepping right into his personal space. "It was your idea to split up Brennan, remember that." His eyes flashed in rage at the icy tone in her voice.

"That didn't stop Jesse and Lexa. It wouldn't have stopped us."

"Maybe not but the fact that I went to California might have."

"California! Do you hate me that much!"

"Maybe it wasn't about you! Maybe it was about me for once! Maybe I just had to get away! I couldn't stay here without knowing that Adam was trapped in some godforsaken place and we couldn't do anything to help him!"

"So you left to get away from Adam!" he snarled out at her, not letting go of his rage in the slightest.

"No! Thats not what I-" She threw her hands up and let out a low growl. "I wouldn't have been able to sit still Brennan! I'd have gone in with or without you guys if I had stayed here."

"So? You could have stayed with me! I could have helped you wait. You would never have had to go to California..." He stepped closer to her and put his hands on her arms and she stepped back from him.

"But I'm... I'm glad I did go to California. I never would have met Selene if I hadn't gone and... I care so much about her. I can't imagine what my life would be like without her." He scoweled before turning his back to her.

"I'd have been happier if..." He trailed off in anger and she strained to hear him.

"You'd have been happier if what?" He hesitated before turning his head to the side.

"Did you know Emma was in love with you?" Tears sprung into her eyes but he missed them as he turned away. "She told me. I wouldn't have cared if you had chosen her over me. Hell I'd have been thrilled. But I won't be happy for you with this -this girl who knows absolutely nothing about us, about Mutant X. About the fact the bond we had with each other, or the things we had to fight through. She never had to deal with that and she will never understand and I will never be fully ok with you and this woman when you could have had me or Emma at your side in an instant." He met her gaze evenly over his shoulder so she could see the determination there. "Never Shalimar. Leave."Tears streamed down her face openly and she bit her lip slightly.

"You would have approved of Emma?"

"Yes...Now just get out." He kept his back to her and she wiped her eyes, calming down some before leaving the room.

Jesse laughed at a joke Lexa told with Selene but stopped cold when shouting emanated from the guest bedroom. He looked uncomfortably first at Lexa who winced as the voices rose and fell, then at Selene. He blinked at the calm look on her face.

"So you're not... worried at all?"

"Hmm? Oh about Shalimar and Brennan? No. They're fine." He tilted his head slightly as the shouting continued.

"Huh. Ok then."

A silence descended over the room that wasn't even broken by the shouting of the two mutants in the guest room. Lexa cleared her throat.

"So uh.. how did you two meet?" The redhead smiled before launching into the story, occasionally pausing to let the louder parts of the arguing pass by so she wouldn't try to talk over it. All the while she didn't seem to worry about the fight.

Jesse grew wary of her after a bit, suddenly not knowing if Shalimar telling her everything was the right thing or not. She didn't seem jealous or angry when he kissed her, she's not upset now. He couldn't put his finger on why this was slightly unnerving and he didn't voice his opinion until she left to get a water bottle from the fridge.

"Does she seem... strange, to you?" Lexa raised her eyebrow at him.

"Stranger than a man who can walk through walls and a girl who can turn invisible? No." He blushed a bit.

"What I mean is, she hasn't really reacted at all to Brennan and Shalimar. Not at all."

"Maybe she wants to make a good impression with us Jesse. Did you ever think of that?" He ducked his head in slight embarrassment but he resolved not to let it go. "Now quit being paranoid and give her a chance. She's really nice." She leaned over and kiss him before turning once again to the shouting match.

Selene returned and they picked up their conversation again before the shouting died down. Selene cocked her head to the side and adopted a sad smile. "If you'll excuse me for just a moment." Lexa nodded and Selene walked towards the hallway the guest room was in -just as Shalimar was walking out. In tears. Lexa saw the redhead wrap her arms around the feral and lead her to the bathroom to calm her down -or so Lexa assumed.

"See what I mean? How did she know Shal was upset?" Jesse demanded quietly of Lexa. The dark haired woman shook her head, finally letting a little doubt seep into her opinion of Selene.

"I don't know..." She sighed. "Maybe it was just a coincidence?" Jesse gave her a blank look.

"Or maybe she's not what she seems to be at all..."


Part 7

"Hey sweetie, you ok?" Shalimar smiled sadly as her girlfriend put an arm around her and lead her away from Brennan's room.

"Yeah, I'm fine..." The blonde vaguely registered they were now in the bathroom as Selene shut the door quietly.

"Shal I'm not stupid, we could hear you two shouting and everything." Brown eyes met Selene's warm yet concerned ones and she smiled ruefully.

"Sorry about that, things just got a little out hand..." Selene's hand ran up and down the blonde's arm in a comforting manner and Shalimar began to calm down some.

"It'll be alright... I'm positive if he got to know me he'd like me." An eyebrow was raised in amusement at that and Shal wrapped her arms around Selene's waist.

"Oh you're sure are you?" A nod was received and the feral laughed quietly. "How can you be so sure?"

A Mona Lisa-like smile flitted across Selene's face as she answered. "Trust me honey. I know he will." The mysterious, enigmatic smile left her face as quickly as it appeared as a bright smile took its place. Sadness lingered in Selene's eyes for a moment and the blonde stored that information away for later. "Come on, lets get out there before someone tries to catch us in the act." Shalimar laughed loudly at that and led her out of the room.

Jesse and Lexa sat on the couch in semi silence. Jesse's statement had somewhat surprised Lexa but she couldn't blame him. The redhead did seem awfully in tune with Shalimar, not to mention trusting.

'But does that mean she's hiding something? Or are they just really in love...'

"All I'm saying is, we should keep an eye on her. Something just feels off..."

"You think she's dangerous?" Lexa's eyebrow raised in amusement as the thought of her new friend going ballistic on them shot through her mind and she fought down a giggle as Jesse wouldn't appreciate the humor at that moment.

"Who knows. Maybe. I just want us all to be careful around her. No discussing the plan in front of her, ok?" Lexa sighed in mild annoyance.

"Ok Jess, but I still think you're overreacting-" Shalimar's laughter reached their ears and Lexa smiled in smug triumph. "Could someone who makes her laugh after how sad she looked just a few minutes ago can't be an evil mastermind or something. Just lighten up Jess." Lexa stood up and moved behind the couch to rest her hands on his shoulders. As her hands started to work on the muscles there his head lolled forward and a content smile lit up his face. "Just relax and have a good time hun, thats all I ask."


"Mmmhmmm... get to know her a little bit, put your little suspicions aside for a while, have a good tim-" Jesse interrupted her by grabbing her hand and yanking her down for a smoldering kiss. She was caught so off guard she fell over the edge of the couch and onto his lap which -by his hands readjusting her slightly -he didn't seem to mind in the least.

Brennan remained where he was lying on his bed face up until he heard Shalimar laughing close by. His face twisted in a scowl as it occurred to him that the only reason she might be laughing is because of that -Selene. He stood up and grabbed his jacket and keys. Boris hopped onto his bed and watched him search for his wallet with mild curiosity before mewling at him to get his attention. Brennan stopped mid-step and scratched the cat's ears before looking to see the water dish was empty. Brennan smiled and refilled it. His wallet suddenly appeared in his line of vision on top of the nightstand and he snatched it up. He left the door open on the way out so the Boris could wander freely if he wanted.

The elemental quietly shut the door on his way out of the room and -after slinking past a heated make out session between Lexa and Jesse -stalked out of the apartment and onto the street.

Selene bit her lip as she saw Jesse and Lexa on the couch. Shalimar cleared her throat a few minutes later and the redhead couldn't stop the giggle that left her at the confused and embarrassed expressions on the others' faces.

"Just wanted to let you know we're going to go check in at the hotel now. See you later guys." The feral grabbed Selene's hand and dragged her off to the door.

"Nice meeting you two" was all she got out before the blonde shut the door. The moleculars on the couch stared at the door in silence before resuming their previous activity.

It was late at night when Brennan stumbled back into Jesse's apartment. His clothes reeked of smoke and alcohol and his footsteps rained heavily on the floor. He stopped at the place where the hallway and the kitchen intersected for a moment before deciding he was hungry.

As he rummaged through the fridge the blonde molecular poked his head into the kitchen to see what was up. Upon seeing the drunken elemental he grabbed the pot of cold coffee and poured a glass before steering Brennan into the guest room.

"Eeeeeeeeasy there Bren. Drink this ok?" Brennan accepted the drink without pause and grimaced as the sludge slid down his burning throat. "Want to tell me about it?" Brennan shook his head and Jesse yawned sleepily. "It'll help you feel better."

"No it won't..."

"Yes, it will. Trust me. The longer you hold this inside you the more it'll eat away at you before you just explode." Brennan was silent but stored that away for consideration later. After the coffee was done Jesse took the cup and put it in the kitchen sink. When he returned Brennan had passed out on the bed and the shorter man sighed before returning to his bedroom.

He peeled off the sweatpants he had on and tossed them back on the chair where they'd been thrown them hours ago. As he slipped into the covers Lexa wrapped her arms back around his waist.

"What was that about?..." He smiled at the sleepy tone of voice and kissed her forehead.

"Nothing love, go back to sleep..." She nodded groggily and fell asleep after resting her head on his chest.


Part 8

"So.... you and Brennan...." Selene let the sentence hang in the room and she could see Shalimar tense visibly.

They'd gotten the room around eight the day before. They would have been there sooner but Selene had wanted to do the 'tourist' thing and dragged a reluctant Shalimar along with her. It wasn't that she didn't particularly want to go, she just wanted to sit in the hotel room and think about the things Brennan had said but her girlfriend would have none of it. She had simply glared at the blonde and told her they'd either go wandering about or she'd stay with Shal and force her to watch daytime tv with her. Naturally, the blonde jumped at the chance to sight see.

"What about me and Brennan?" Selene smiled at the pout she knew was on Shal's face even though she couldn't see it.

"You two slept together, right?" If it was possible the blonde's shoulders seemed to tense up even more at that. She hugged the feral from behind and backed them up until they were sitting on the bed.

"I'm sor-OW!" Shal began but the redhead pinched her on the arm and stopped her in her tracks. "What the hell was that for?"

"There's no need to apologize sweetie. What happened happened. It's in the past and as long as it stays that way, I'm ok with it. You should be too." Selene felt moisture on her arms and smiled sadly as she realized the woman in her arms had let a few tears slip out of that emotionless mask she had been wearing. "Don't cry baby..."

"Have I ever told you that I love you?" Shal turned and pushed Selene down onto the bed with a wide smile that was returned by Selene.

"Yes, but I never get tired of hearing it..."

"I love you..." Before Shalimar's lips descended onto hers Selene felt -in the pit of her stomach -that the statement was somehow false. She shook it off almost instantly but later, when Shalimar was sleeping easily beside her, she couldn't stop it from returning full force.

'What does it mean though?...'

Selene had had this feeling before a few times, and every time it got stronger and more clear. She'd had a feeling the day she met Shalimar which made her decide to eat at the same restaurant. She'd had a feeling the day she woke up after a car accident and had known -just known -that as soon as the doctor with the warm smile left her hospital room she'd be ok.

Her feelings -hunches really -were usually right. She did get better, and going to that restaurant was perhaps the wisest decision she'd ever made. So what did this one mean then? When she finally fell asleep it was a fitful one.

The former team was circled around a table in Jesse's living room. Selene was back in the hotel room having decided to avoid pissing Brennan off any more than he already was but that did little to alleviate the tense silence between them. Jesse and Lexa did their best to smooth things out between them but all they succeeded in doing was convince them both to give each other the cold shoulder. Finally the two of them gave up and decided to just ignore the silence.

"So we think we know where the new base of operations is located." After a few beats the seething elemental spoke up.

"You think?"

"Yes. I think I've found it."

"Thinking isn't good enough Jess. We can't just go attacking every place because then they'll move Adam and we'll never see him again."

Shalimar offered a soft grunt in agreement and Lexa rolled her eyes at them. The brunette opened her mouth to speak but Jesse patted her knee and she let out a sigh instead.

"Well this is the facility with the most security around it, ok?" Another few beats passed by and both moleculars were annoyed with their teammates. "Look just trust me ok? Adam is there." The pissed off mutants only nodded in acknowledgment, not wanting to do something weird like say the same thing at the same time even though they ended up doing it anyway.

"Are we splitting up?" They both glared at the other for speaking at the same time and turned to face Jesse more completely.

"Yes we are. I was going to put you two together but since you can't even pretend to act civilly I'm want you," he pointed at Brennan, "to go with Lexa and you're coming with me." Shalimar smiled apologetically while Brennan just shrugged with a muttered "Whatever.."

They discussed their plans about another hour, going over any possible mishap and detail they might have missed from stealthy entrance to the escape plan. As soon as everyone could recite the general plan forwards and backwards Shalimar went back to Selene and Brennan went to the guest room. Lexa and Jesse both leaned back on the couch as soon as they left and let out the breaths they didn't know they were holding.

"So... do you still think this will work?" He shrugged helplessly and she cuddled into his side.

"I have no idea anymore... but I know it better work. For Adam's sake." Lexa nodded against his shoulder and ran her hands up and down his arm absently.

"So this is all going to happen-"

"Tonight." In her anxiousness Shal cut Selene off and the shorter woman had to hold back her amused giggle. "Can you believe it? I mean I never thought it would actually happen. Its surreal and everything yanno? I haven't seen- Why are you giggling?"

Selene burst out laughing at the annoyed look on Shalimar's face. "Honey you were going to start rambling. It's funny in a cute sort of way." Shalimar pouted which caused the redhead to laugh some more.

"So glad I'm so amusing to you..." She sat on the bed with a petulant look on her face and Selene finally stopped laughing.

"Awww poor baby. Is thinking about the big Rambo-esque rescue attempt making you nervous?" The blonde nodded reluctantly. "Well then lets watch some TV then ok?" The feral's eyes widened before she dove on the buttons.

"No! I'll be fine I swear. Don't make me watch Jerry Springer again please!" It was Selene's turn to pout as Shalimar flipped through the channels to find something to watch.

Another hunch settled awfully in Selene's stomach as they moved closer to the movie channels and she knew it would be a bad idea to look through there. As unnerving as it was to have a second hunch in just this one day she knew it was for a reason.

"Honey why don't you just come to bed ok? Take a nap?" Selene scooted back and slid under the covers, patting the space beside her seductively. Shal's head turned to look at her and she unconsciously continued to flip channels -right past one of her favorite movies which happened to run at least two hours long. As Shal flipped the TV off and tossed the already forgotten buttons away and pinned Selene beneath her for a second time in less than 24 hours, the redhead let out the breath she'd been holding before concentrating on the feral again.

The members of Mutant X met once again at Jesse's apartment, Selene now amongst them as Shalimar didn't want her alone in the hotel room for too long. Brennan was once again ignoring them both only pausing in this to glare at Selene heatedly until she locked eyes with him. Every time that happened he seemed to look a little less tense and Jesse was mildly alarmed at that.

Shalimar didn't seem angry in the least with Selene around and that bugged him too. He idly considered the thought that she was being drugged by the redhead but after some thinking -and being smacked in the head by Lexa for bringing it up -made him doubt it.

"Ok we all know what we're do-" Jesse was cut off by three annoyed voices saying "Yes!" and he was mildly amused that Selene winced at the loudness of the word. Just as quickly as he felt that smugness at the fact that she was human he felt ashamed to think it.

"Alright let's go." Lexa tugged Brennan out of the room by the bicep and Jesse waited for Shalimar and Selene to say goodbye to each other.

"Are you sure you're going to be-" The blonde was cut off by Selene placing her finger on her lips.

"Shal. I'll be fine. Just promise me the same." Shalimar kissed Selene passionately and Jesse had to turn away to hide his blush. He cleared his throat after a few moments and they finally came up for air.

"I'll be back baby. I promise." Selene pecked her on the lips quickly before ushering her towards Jesse and the door. He gave her a polite smile before closing the door behind them, not bothering to lock it on the way out.


Part 9

The car ride was silent save the music pouring from the radio. The strains of some old No Doubt song didn't help ease the tension that had settled in the over the group.

Jesse drove with Brennan riding shotgun. Lexa and Shalimar sat in the back with the blonde diagonal her ex. The two moleculars tried to make small talk but with the cold shoulder between their friends and the difficulty of talking to each other between their seats it just kind of dwindled down into more silence.

They had stopped a while ago in a gas station and changed into black clothes to help them hide better. They were all form -fitting yet comfortable and easy to maneuver in.

Jesse turned onto a dirt road and flipped his headlights off. Everyone's thoughts shifted as the adrenaline pumped through them.

Brennan was thinking bitterly that if he died, the only one that would even care would be his stupid cat. Shalimar's thoughts flickered between Selene, Adam, and what his imminent rescue would do to their relationship. Lexa was working to clear her mind with the deep breathing Jake taught her. Jesse's thoughts tried to calm himself down too but he could still feel the weights in his pockets as though they were burning through the material into his skin.

Finally, Jesse pulled off the side of the road and hid the car amongst some bushes facing away from where they had been heading. A few seconds later the were all standing around the front of the car waiting for Jesse to speak. The blonde man pulled the weights from his left pocket and handed everyone one each. They turned over the pendants in their hands, watching them glitter in what little moonlight there was. They were shaped like a large 'X' with an M in the background and seemed to be cast from pewter.

"Your new com -rings. I figured if anyone had logged onto our old signal from Adam's ring they'd be able to hunt us down before we even got near the place. Wear it under you clothes." They all nodded and slipped the necklace on. "You all know what to do?" They nodded and he smiled nervously. "Uh... can I speak with you alone for a second?" Jesse pulled Lexa off to the side leaving Shalimar and Brennan to ignore each other.

"What is it?" He felt butterflies in his stomach as she watched him put his hand into his other pocket.

"Look... I know we'll get out of here and when we do... Lexa -I love you. And I'm not sure what we're doing or where we're going after this but I do know that I want you to be with me wherever we go." He produced a small box from his pocket and the woman let out a small gasp at the sight of it.

"Jesse... are you?"

"Will you marry me Lexa Pierce?" His gaze turned hopeful and she felt tears stream down her face.

"Jesse of course!" She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him full on the lips before pulling back and slipping the ring on. As they walked back hand-in-hand, she admired the ring with quiet awe.

Shalimar and Brennan still refused to talk to each other and both straightened up when the others approached.

"So are we going now or what?" the elemental asked impatiently.

"Yeah, let's do this." Jesse kissed Lexa quickly one last time before joining Shalimar as they walked towards the east entrance of the facility while Lexa and Brennan snuck in to work on the alarm system from the south entrance.

The man's breath floated up into the night air in a white puff as he walked around the compound on his rounds. The suit he wore was itchy and uncomfortable and he again wished he were part of the personal guard of those creepy mad scientist twins. Patrolling the perimeter had always been one of the more boring assignments and he wondered if his application for a promotion had been misplaced or simply ignored.

A sound like a snapping twig sounded to his right and he automatically snapped his MP5K towards the direction of the sound, crouching as he spun to face the darkness of the woods. That was another thing he hated about working the perimeter -if on the off chance there was an attack, he would never see it coming because of the damn trees.

He could feel his adrenaline pumping through his veins with excitement as it occurred to him this might be his big break -stop whoever this was from breaching the compound, be it just some meddling teenagers or a self-righteous nutter, and maybe that application would at least be glanced over.

"Daniels, report." He scrambled for his radio attached with a clip to his shoulder and muttered a quick "Daniels, everything's secure. Going to check out an odd noise. Over."

"Repeat that?"

"I'm going to che..." Daniels trailed off as his radio died on him. He shook it a few times, not understanding how that could have happened when suddenly the gun was knocked from his hands.

Two people appeared in front of him like apparitions or ghosts. One man, one woman, both dark haired. The man was at least six feet tall and the woman was somewhere around 5'5". They were both dressed in black. They both looked ready to party. As Daniels' mind processed that automatically, he brought his hands up, ready to duke it out. The two people merely glanced at each other before the man's hands-

Daniels blinked in astonishment and dropped his hands. The man was holding electricity in his hands! Suddenly Daniels didn't want to party any more and he turned tail on the two intruders all the while thinking, 'Screw the promotion application, I'm turning in my resignation!'

Brennan sighed as the guard turned tail before throwing the telsa coil into his back. The man fell to the ground in a twitching mass and Brennan walked over to make sure he was out before carrying him into the brush next to the woods and covering him up.

They were damn lucky -he had snapped that branch when he was just out of the trees and if it hadn't been for Lexa's quick action they'd have both been riddled by bullets. Thankfully, she did act quickly and they were able to get closer instead of just frying him before his check in time. Damn lucky indeed.

Lexa brought the com -pendant to her lips and whispered their status into it before pointing to an emergency exit underneath a floodlight and camera. Brennan nodded and walked back into the trees before making a run for the door. He pressed himself directly underneath the camera and out of its range of view before pulsing electricity through the door, shorting the alarm. He made a thumbs up motion to where Lexa had been standing but she wasn't there.

He opened the door minutely and held it open for a bit and she whispered a thanks as she brushed past him. He remained outside while she checked to see if the coast was clear. A rap on the window behind him told him it was and he eased inside. He raised his pendant to his lips and whispered, "We've breached. Heading to the control room."

Shalimar and Jesse weren't having such good luck. The guards on their end were all chatting around the door as if they were watching a football game instead of guarding a multi-million dollar facility. The blondes sighed in annoyance as they started talking about how wasted they'd gotten the weekend before. They calmed down a little when Lexa reported in, and when they had gotten Brennan's report they had gotten a little more restless.

With their team in it would only be a few minutes until the alarm was down and they were able to phase through the wall and search for Adam without having to worry about blaring alarms and such. In fact, with the other two in the control room they could tell Shalimar and Jesse exactly where to go and shorten this all up immensely.

Lexa gripped Brennan's arm tightly as they walked through the halls in an effort to keep him invisible with her. Thankfully their shoes hadn't tracked anything and weren't squeaking noticeably so no one was the wiser of their existence.

"It should be just ahead..," was whispered into the elemental's ear and he nodded. "Don't short it though."

They suddenly came upon a heavy looking door blast door and there was no way they could get through it. Brennan was suddenly wishing Jesse had volunteered to come with him instead of Lexa but decided that was an unfair thought -it was after all his fault they had to split like this in the first place.

"Jesse, we can't get through the door."

After a few moments a hushed 'Don't worry' came through the com -pendant and they just waited.

Jesse climbed down the tree carefully while Shalimar walked off to the right having already dropped gracefully to the ground moments ago. Jesse saw her every now and then but he only really knew where she was when she snapped a rather large stick about 20 feet away. All three guards' guns snapped up immediately and though they headed that way Shalimar was already below him. He dropped the remaining few feet and grabbed her hand. Together they phased through the wall and into the building.

Shalimar was a little disoriented after about 20 or so walls but Jesse seemed only concerned in reaching their teammates. The few guards that actually saw them had thought nothing of it other than that they really needed to lay off the Jack Daniels next shift.

By the time they finally found Lexa and Brennan Shalimar nearly collapsed on the floor because of how weak in the knees she felt after being phased for so long. Lexa immediately crouched down next to her and wrapped her in a hug, turning them both invisible in the process, as Jesse and Brennan phased through the blast door. Several long minutes later the doors slid open for the two women and they ushered themselves in quickly.

There were two guards sitting knocked out on the ground off to the side of the control room. Other than them twitching every now and then they were perfectly still. Lexa and Jesse sat at the computer stations with Shalimar and Brennan over their shoulders. Both moleculars' hands moved over the keys so fast they were almost a blur and Brennan was impressed as always at their computer skills. Shalimar was glancing around the monitors with a scrutinizing eye before settling on the view of one hallway with restricted signs posted all around it.

"Could that be it?" Jesse sighed again.

"I'm not going to tell you again Shal: give us a minute ok?" She shrugged nonchalantly but still scanned the room.

"Bingo." Lexa had finally broken through the encryption and was in the floor plans. "It says they're here," she pointed to a large wing of the facility and Shalimar smiled in triumph that she was right.

"Let's get going then."

"Wait Shal, the alarms." She paused then turned impatiently.

"Well, you gonna get rid of them or what?" Brennan glared at her heatedly before starting on the alarm system. After a few minutes, he stood up from his work and nodded. Shalimar grabbed Jesse and led him out of the room. Lexa sighed before grabbing Brennan and doing trailing after them. The four of them walked carefully down the hallways until they came to their first wall.

After a few moments of organizing they all phased right through it and came to a hallway in the shape of a 'T'.

"Which way?" Shalimar listened for a second and more commotion was heard to the left.

"This way." She walked left along the wall a bit before grabbing Lexa's arm and raising her eyebrows meaningfully.

Greg shifted in his seat tensely. Sweat lined his upper lip and he could taste it as his tongue slipped out to wet them. The others were sitting around him just as tense if not more.

"Do you have any threes?"

"Go fish." Greg groaned in annoyance. He didn't even want to play this stupid game in the first place. He'd rather be in the stupid cafeteria or just hiding in the bathroom the entire shift than have to deal with these losers. It was all so unfair.

He drew a card. A three. He grinned as he laid the rest of his cards on the table and stood up. "I win." He walked towards the hallway only to fly back as an invisible force struck him in the face. Greg landed on the card table with his nose gushing blood and the other guards whipped their guns out. Two women appeared around the corner but before they could pull the trigger, the dark haired one rubbed her hands together and formed a blinding flash between them. Guns clattered to the ground and the guards screamed in pain before the blonde knocked them out with a few well-placed punches.

"Come on guys." The guys came around the corner and walked right past the fallen guards. The group placed a hand on Jesse and phased through the door easily. Two guards on the other side were quickly put down by Brennan's telsa coil.

They walked down the hallway and stepped gingerly over the guards. As they turned a corner they could see the other guards down the hallway and jumped back. A spray of bullets slammed into the wall they were previously standing in front of.

"Lexa." Jesse held out his hand to her and she grabbed it. Moments later an invisible and phased couple walked down the hall until they were past the guards who had no idea where they were. As soon as all four guards were almost at Shalimar and Brennan, they unphased. Lexa shot a beam of light through the suit of one and he fell in a heap on the ground. The others whipped around and open fired but Jesse had already massed in front of Lexa, protecting her from the rain of bullets.

Shalimar and Brennan could hear the shooting and ran out to see bullets bouncing off of Jesse but they knew it wouldn't last long. Shalimar walked up, kicked the back of one guard's knees, and grabbed him by the back of the neck as he fell. The guard on his right turned to her but Brennan got him with a telsa coil before he could shoot. Shalimar took the guard she had and slammed his face into the ground, knocking him out instantly.

When there was only one guard left the blonde woman just walked up behind him and tapped his shoulder. When he turned she cold cocked him and he fell in a heap at her feet as well. Jesse unmassed and without a second thought continued down the hallway.

For some reason there were no guards down this one and that made Jesse uneasy. He couldn't help think that this was all just too easy. He pushed the thought aside and phased the team through the door.

Two men stood in front of a model of the genetic code. One had wild white hair and Frito-like fingernails. The other had hair that was darker but with the occasional grey mixed in. It wasn't as long as the Creators', but it looked like it hadn't been cut in months.

"Adam!" They both whipped around in complete surprise.

"Jesse?" Lexa held a beam of light in her hand and pointed it at the Creator.

"He's coming with us." Jesse grabbed the confused Adam by the bicep and dragged him toward the rest of the group. Lexa shot the beam into the communication pad next to the door on the opposite side of the room before grabbing onto Jesse. They all phased and ran through the wall leaving the bewildered Creator behind.

The team leapt through the walls non-stop. Somehow the word got out that they were there and guards kept appearing with guns at the ready to blast them away. All five of them were breathing heavily when they finally made it out and into the woods. They lay on the ground for a few moments to catch their breaths before getting up and haphazardly making their way back to the car.

They crouched next to the road in the bushes as several Hummers drove by and as soon as they were gone they all scurried into Jesse's car. The tires kicked up dirt as they sped off back to the new Sanctuary.

After Jesse had put all the security measures in place they settled into the living room. Shalimar was already asleep in an armchair and Brennan was playing video games in another room of the building. Jesse and Adam were in the lab checking the older man's health out and Lexa was in the kitchen fixing herself some hot cocoa.

"Jesse... I don't know what to say about all this."

"We're sorry we couldn't come sooner Adam. Really. It's just that there was no way we could get you before and-"

"No, listen to me Jesse. I'm glad I was in there as long as I was. Even though I worried about you all every day you have no idea how satisfying it was to be able to work with whatever I needed whenever I needed. I got a lot done there and I've finally found a way to help-" He cut himself off quickly and looked away.

"Help who?"

"No one... We did figure out how to stop the expiration date of mutants from killing them."

"You did? That's fantastic!" Jesse clapped Adam on the shoulder good-naturedly as a slightly edgy feral walked through the doorway.

"Can I call Selene? I can't sleep very well without her..." She was so sleepy she didn't notice Adam's eyes widen slightly at the statement.

"Sure there's a phone in the living room. You know my home number right?" She nodded agitatedly before leaving the room.


"Yeah, her girlfriend... I should not have said that. She should have told you that. Sorry." Jesse rubbed his eyes tiredly. They all felt exhausted from the constant phasing and if he hadn't been practicing over the years they'd all be guinea pigs captured by the Dominion by now.

"Jesse, are you sure this is the right number?" called Shalimar from the living room.

"Yeah why?" She walked in looking slightly worried.

"Because there's no answer." His eyes widened vaguely and Adam watched the entire thing with a curious look on his face. "Jesse I'm worried I want to go get her."


"Now Jesse." Her eyes flashed dangerously and he knew he was on thin ice.

"Alright alright. Adam stay here with Lexa and Brennan, tell them where we've gone ok?" The older man nodded as they left the room.

"Oh no no no no no..." Shalimar jumped over the busted down door of Jesse's apartment without a thought. "Selene!" Jesse carefully stepped over the door as Shalimar rushed down the hall where the bedrooms where. A quick glance around showed him it was no robbery that took place in here: his stereo, TV and rather expensive wine collection were all in tact. Not even a CD was missing.

"Jesse she's not here!" the panic stricken feral announced as she rushed back into the room.

"What do you mean she's not here?"

"She's not here!" She began to hyperventilate and he led her to the couch.

"Relax Shalimar maybe she's-"

"Hello Jesse. Or would you prefer to be called Devon?" They both looked up at the TV where the Creator sat in a chair in the room they took Adam from. "Whichever you prefer, I'm sure you know by now that we have your friend," he gestured behind him with his hand and the camera swung to show an unconscious Selene on an operating table. "I'd say we're even are we not?" Jesse had to restrain Shalimar from planting her foot through the television.

"But I'm sure you realize by now that from my point of view, this isn't what I want. So here's what we do. You give Adam back to us in a meet that will be set up in a few days, and we'll bring back Selene here more or less in tact. You decide." A phone number flashed across the screen and Jesse wrote it down on the back of his hand quickly before the screen faded and Shalimar threw a lamp through it.

After the glass settled on the ground a wracking sob left her throat and she fell to her knees. Jesse picked her up and placed her back on the couch gently.

"Shhh... its ok Shal... she'll be fine."

"No she won't! And it's all my fault!" She sobbed harder.

He rocked her gently and led her from the apartment to his car.

"Oh man...," was muttered from Brennan as Jesse finished filling them in on what had happened. Shalimar was sleeping fitfully on the couch with tears still staining her face and the elemental felt a sudden flash of sympathy for her.

Jesse nodded gravely. "I know."

"What are we going to do?" Lexa asked worriedly.

"What do you think we're going to do? We're going to get her back!" Brennan grabbed his jacket from a chair and stalked out of the room without them.

"Wait Brennan you can't! We're totally not prepared and they'll be expecting us."

"So what you just want to leave her in there? They could kill her. We can't let that happen."

"I thought you didn't even like her."

"That's true but I'm not about to let her die if there's something we can do about it."

He walked out to the garage and started the car up without them but was surprised when it opened and Lexa hopped in next to him.

"You make a good point Bren." He smiled thankfully and she returned it with a warm smile of her own. "Let's go get her back to Shalimar ok?"

The facility was still in chaos somewhat when the dark haired duo arrived. Guards were frantically running everywhere, shouting at their subordinates and scrambling futilely with the alarm system.

Lexa and Brennan approached the southern entrance stealthily and were surprised that the guards posted there before were all off -probably doing their jobs for once. The elemental turned and smiled at Lexa with a cocky grin and after grabbing her hand, pushed the door open and just walked in. They followed the hallways carefully, only stopping to press themselves to the wall as someone walked by, and soon found themselves once again deep in the Dominion but in another part of it. They knew the labs and holding cells were near here from the schematics they'd seen earlier -it was just a matter of which she was in -holding cell or lab?

"Which way?" came the hushed whisper from Lexa and Brennan shrugged only to remember they were invisible.

"Dunno..." They both thought about it for a few moments and the phrase Jesse mentioned -"More or less in tact" -kept popping up in his head. "The labs." Lexa made to protest but thought better of it -it was a 50/50 chance he was right anyway.

They turned left down the hallway and the closer they got the more voices they heard. It wasn't like with Adam when there were no guards around. There had to have been half a dozen guards standing around the door at the end of the hallway alone. With a sickening dread he realized the reason there were no guards on Adam was because they were probably off getting Selene. He pushed it aside, not bothering to dissect why he suddenly felt so protective of the redhead other than guilt at being so rude to her and Shalimar, and pulled Lexa back from the hallway.

"Now what do we do?" he asked her. They paused a few more moments before he felt a tugging on his arm. "What? What is it?" He still couldn't see her but he felt where she was tugging him.

Jerry stood stock still outside the lab doors swelling with pride. He knew this assignment -no matter how easy -was top priority. No one would get by him on his watch -in fact, no one would get in the labs at all. He made sure of that when he picked his team.

His nose began to tingle slightly and he sneezed several times as he breathed in dust. After glancing around to determine where it came from -and to glare at the team for smirking at him -he shrugged it off as nothing and continued to keep a watchful eye out for intruders.

Brennan fell to the ground in a crouch first. After making sure the coast was clear, he motioned up to Lexa in the ceiling to follow him. He caught her bridal style -like they would be crossing a threshold together at some point -and grinned like a daredevil.

He was wary at first of Lexa's plan to use the ceiling and just go right over the guards' heads, but after he saw it held her weight he was pretty sure it was safe. They had both frozen when that guard sneezed but quickly picked up the pace as he brushed it off. Now the hallways were deserted and Lexa grabbed his hand again as they set off down it.

Sounds drew their attention to the right as they approached a fork in the road, and they paused for a moment to listen before trotting quietly down the hallway. As they got farther down the hall, the sound became more and more clear to them -screaming. There were suddenly passing rooms with cut away walls that were closed off with mirrors you could see through -like the view window at a hospital so medical students could learn from watching. Some had mutants housed in them, others were eerily empty and Brennan shrugged it off as he ran.

Several people were gathered around one people in particular taking notes and looking like they'd shit their pants they were so anxious. It didn't take a genius to know what they were watching. Brennan's teeth gritted in anger and only Lexa's hand on his shoulder held him back -literally.

They quietly approached behind the scientists and had a hard time holding back gasps of horror and rage at what they saw. Selene was strapped to a metal table with cords and needles jammed all over her body. Her head lolled to the side and she seemed completely unaware of what was going on around her. Brennan was silently glad Jesse had slipped the feral that valium with the hot cocoa Lexa gave her because if she had seen this the scientists would have been in pieces.

He couldn't take it anymore and zapped the closest three with a telsa coil. They fell mutely to the ground and the others turned with a yelp. Lexa quickly blinded them and Brennan knocked out the remaining lab techs with another coil. He then rammed his shoulder into the door and with a satisfying crack, it opened to him. He was rubbing his slightly sore shoulder when Lexa's hand on his arm made him look at her. Her face was ghostly pale and she raised a shaking hand towards the table.

There, on the table, was Selene. He didn't get it at first but after a few seconds she flickered -actually flickered. For a brief, crazy moment he thought he saw...


He must be insane. That was the only logical explanation for what he saw. Or tired. Phasing did wear him out and all he did when he got back was battle crazy villagers in Jesse's copy of Resident Evil 4. 'Yeah, that has to be it. There's just no way I could have seen her.'

She had already gone back to Selene once Lexa helped her off the table and Brennan suddenly had no idea how there were going to get out of here with her so weak.

"How the hell are we supposed to get out of here? We can't exactly jump through walls and in her state," he gestured at the redhead, "I wouldn't suggest it even if we could."

"I know what you mean. Guess we should have thought this through a bit huh?" She laughed nervously and he picked Selene from her arms easily. "Wait-I have an idea. Stay in here for a while." He nodded and she left quickly.

He leaned back into the table after a while, supporting the groggy Selene -or was it Emma? He couldn't tell and it was freaking him out.

On the one hand, if it was Selene he'd have to have himself committed or at least drugged out of his mind for a few weeks to relieve the stress that caused him to see his best friend. But on the other hand, he'd be rolling on the ground laughing at the irony that Shalimar had actually found her after all and just didn't know it after all this time.

But why didn't she just tell them outright? Why would she keep her identity a secret. That he couldn't figure out. Unless.... Unless maybe -like Adam -she too was being hunted.

'But what about the way she looks? Emma's power was telempathy, not an Illusionist. So it can't be her.'

He nodded slightly to himself and adjusted Selene in his arms wondering where Lexa was with her 'big plan.'

The molecular left Brennan alone with Selene and stalked over to the unconscious scientists. She pulled their lab coats off and searched through the pockets for a while until she found what she was looking for -a key card. As they ran past the lab -cells she noticed a card slot on the side of each one and now that she had a keycard in hand she knew what it was for. She tossed the lab coats to the ground and set off to the first occupied cell. A man with long dark hair, a shaggy beard, and bloodshot eyes stared at her as she approached the glass.

After contemplating for a few moments she decided to just ask him right out. "If I let you out will you help us escape?"

He stood up and warily watched her. "How the hell do I know you're for real?" He backed from the glass as far as he could until he hit the wall, sliding down into a sitting position and Lexa could see his composure slowly cracking as he did so. "You're just trying to trick me! But it won't work! It won't! Never work! I won't scream for you!" He started rocking and the glass was suddenly on fire. Luckily for Lexa the glass had been proofed against the pyromaniac's powers so he couldn't escape or hurt others outside the glass.

He moaned pitifully as his fire died out and she sighed before forming a laser-like beam of light and cutting through the glass. He watched astounded as she stepped through it and stood up slowly.

"You -You're a mutant!" His face lit up but he stayed far away from her. "You're like me! A mutant!"

"Thats right. I'm a mutant too. Now will you help us or not?" His eyes narrowed slightly in suspicion.

"What do you need? What can I offer you? What do you need?" He didn't seem to notice repeating himself again and she didn't see the need in pointing it out.

"A friend of ours was captured but she's just too weak to make it out -you see she's not a mutant and they've been-" She was interrupted by him clapping his hands over his ears and letting out that pitiful moan again.

"She screams! She screams for them. I told her not to! I tried to help her but she screamed! And they smiled! They made her scream more and they smiled more! She pleaded for death but they wouldn't give it to her and so she just screamed and screamed until she was hoarse and then she screamed some more! And they laughed! They laughed and I wept for her! I weep for her... I tried.... help her..." He collapsed to the ground and clutched his knees to his chest as he wept uncontrollably.

Lexa was taken off guard by the out burst before nodding slowly. "...Exactly. She's so weak. But you can help her now. We just need someone to help us with the guards so we can get her out of here. Then we'll help her get better. And you can go free too if you wish. I promise." He walked slowly toward her after nodding.

"All right.." There was determination and a sudden clarity in his voice that made her smile before handing over the key card.

"Ok. You go and get the rest of these people out of their cells and get them to help us too, ok? I'll go tell my friends the good news." He nodded before shuffling past her and down the hallway, clutching the keycard tightly as he did so.

The doors opened behind the guards and they all stiffened and tried to look professional. Moments later several of the guards screamed and dropped their guns while running down the hallway trying to put themselves out. They were on fire. More mutants spilled from the doors of all shapes and sizes: tall, short, thin, fat, pale or red with rage, some had glowing eyes and others had something hovering between their eyes.

The guards had no choice: they ran. The enraged mutants gave chase and were soon upon them and beating them half to death with their own weapons.

As all of this was happening Brennan and Lexa had gone straight at the fork and were hurrying toward the exit again as fast as they could while the others kept the Dominion busy. Guards even ran past them, not really noticing Brennan and Lexa carrying Selene out of the compound -it must have been the lab coats. Lexa had stripped them off the doctors and now all three of them sort of blended into the scenery. The only one who didn't was Selene but the guards must have assumed she was injured in the escape.

They made it out of the facility easily and Brennan picked Selene up in his arms easily as they sprinted into the woods and away from the Dominion.

"Jesse!" The molecular in question looked up at the sound of his name being called and turned from the unconscious Shalimar to the doorway where -miraculously -Brennan stood holding an equally unconscious Selene. He blinked and suddenly felt guilty for not going with if just the two of them had been successful before snapping out of it and leaping to his feet.

"How is she?"

"I don't know man. Hasn't woken up since we got there." Jesse nodded and led Brennan to the medical lab.

"Put her on here." Brennan placed her carefully on the table. "Wheres-?"

"Staying with Shalimar." Jesse nodded in relief and set about his routine of playing doctor with Selene.

Brennan watched him go through the motions without really seeing anything. The elemental was pondering whether to tell Jesse about Selene flickering into Emma. He would either be put away or-

'Who am I kidding? I'll be locked away for good.'

It occured to him that Lexa had seen the same thing but he still didn't know how to bring it up or anything other than to just blurt it out.

"Wheres Adam?"

"Right here." Brennan spun to see Adam standing in the doorway looking slightly pale in the med lab light.

"You mind giving me a hand here?" Adam came in and they both went about hooking Selene up to monitors and running tests on her. After they were done Adam looked down at Selene with the strangest expression on his face before turning and leaving the room quickly. Both the younger men looked after him with confused expressions before Brennan moved closer to Jesse.

"Jesse man, there's something I have to tell you. I saw...." He took a deep breath and glanced around before leaning close to whisper to Jesse. "Emma. I saw her Jess. She's- She might be alive after all!" Jesse backed away with a horror stricken gaze.

"No.. NO! Don't you tell me she was locked up in there! Don't you-"

"Shhh shh no Jess no. She- She's in this room right now." His eyes moved to Selene and both men just stared at her with awe.

"What do you mean Brennan?" the molecular asked quietly.

"She- Selene -flickered. I saw Emma. Clear as day. Ask Lexa, she saw her too." Jesse shook his head.

"Its not possible. I saw her die. I saw it Brennan. It's just not possible-"

"We thought Adam was dead too but he's just fine isn't he-"

"We never saw Adam die! I watched Emma slip away with my own eyes Brennan. Don't feed me this shit." He stalked away from Brennan to gather the results from his tests.

"Jesse... I'm not playing with you. I saw her. I know what you saw and I'm not saying you're a liar or anything but- if Adam came back to us isn't anything possible?" Jesse said nothing and kept his back to the elemental who sighed and left the room.

Part 10

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