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


Part 19

Adam slowly sipped the steaming cup of black coffee he held tightly in his hands as he contemplated what he could do. He could tell them, just tell them outright. Or he could try to soften the blow by waiting and thinking of a more delicate way of telling them.

"Hey Adam, why the long face?" Brennan asked as he walked into the room. His hair was sticking up on all ends and Adam smiled inside at the sight of the elemental fresh from another bout with Jesse's video games. He seemed so untroubled these days and with a sigh, Adam knew what he had to do.

"Nothing's wrong Brennan. My mind was just wandering." Brennan nodded and rummaged around the cupboards for a glass.

"Well its wandering into a pretty bad place with how you were nearly scowling at your coffee." Brennan smiled amiably at the scientist and Adam returned it with a warm smile of his own.

"I was just thinking of the Dominion again..." Brennan set a glass on the table with a sigh and turned to Adam.

"Look, you don't have to worry about them every second of the day Adam. Have some fun occasionally. You know," Brennan turned to the fridge and began to search for the orange juice. "Jesse's Playstation has another control paddle," he continued once he pulled his head from the fridge. "You and I could play Need for Speed or something." He poured out the orange juice and shoved the bottle back in the fridge. Brennan sipped the juice with a happy expression on his face.

Adam knew again that he couldn't do it - couldn't break whatever spell had befallen the team to allow them to find pleasure in something as simple as fresh orange juice in the morning. "Maybe I'll take you up on that offer sometime, Bren." Brennan smiled widely at him before leaving the room.

Adam silently berated him self for what he was sure to come but put it aside. He made his bed, now he'd have to lay in it.

Emma woke up late the next day and stretched out lazily. She turned her gaze to the left and saw her roommate had already gone to train or something. Emma yawned and lay in bed for a few more moments before finally getting out of bed. She stumbled sleepily into the bathroom and sighed when she saw her bed hair.

The redhead crossed over to the bathtub and got the water started before going to brush her teeth at the sink. As she brushed, she glanced idly at the tub and nearly jumped a foot when the water ran red. She blinked a few times and the image cleared.

Shakily, she set the toothbrush down and shut the water off before sliding down the wall next to it. This had happened before, though not as vivid. This time she swore it was actually blood, that it was staining the white porcelain of the bathtub. But it wasn't. It was just... 'A vision? But why?' She shook her head to clear the image of blood raining from the faucet before stripping down and getting in the tub.

A while later found Emma wandering around the building. It was big - not huge, but then again it could house the 80 or so people that stayed there and dozen or more that just dropped in for classes. It was a renovated runaway house that TAM had purchased. There were before and after photos on the website that boasted how they turned the cockroach infested dump (that smelled oddly of urine and cinnamon) into a clean, friendly facility that smelled like "progress." Their words, not Emma's.

"Emma!" The redhead turned with a smile at the voice to see her friend Roxie running up to her. "Hey," she said with a pant. Her face was flushed red and her brown hair fell into her eyes in wisps. Roxie had been here almost a year more than Emma. When Emma arrived Roxie volunteered to be her roommate right away and they'd been friends ever since.

"Hey Rox, where's the fire?" The feral glared at Emma playfully.

"I'll have you know that I don't always run just because there's a fire. Sometimes there's a sale at Hot Topic. Like today." Emma smiled and tried to back from Roxie a bit but the feral was persistent. "Come on, you promised. You said, and I quote, 'If you win this bet I'll let you pick out my clothes next time we go shopping.' And you lost. Miserably."

"How was I supposed to know you could eat that many eggs in one sitting? Even Cool-Hand Luke couldn't." The feral grinned wildly.

"But I did. So let's go." She grabbed Emma by the wrist and tugged her from the building.

Brennan wandered into the workout room Jesse had built and stood transfixed as he watched Shalimar let loose on a punching bag. Her moves were so fluid and graceful she could make a ballerina look like a bear in a tutu. He smiled and the gears in his head began to turn.

'Three months is long enough of a wait. She's not vulnerable anymore... no harm in asking her anyway...' He walked up behind her and cleared his throat after a few moments.

She turned around with a slightly flushed face and smiled at him amiably. "Hey Bren."

"Hey Shal..." He paused to collect himself. "I was -you see I was wondering if you and I could maybe go out sometime. On a date," he added to clear up any confusion she might have had. Her mouth formed a perfect 'O' anyway and he could see her looking for a way out of answering. "Look, it's not like we have to go steady, or have a one -nighter or anything. Just... a date." She still looked apprehensive. "If it doesn't work out we can go right back to being friends, ok?" Finally, she began to cave.

"All right..." He nearly grabbed her up and kissed her but decided that would have to wait until he swept her off her feet during the date. "So when?"

He hadn't thought of that. "Uh... tonight. Around 6?" She nodded and grabbed a water bottle from a table nearby.

"Right. 6. Well... I should grab a shower then." She left the room before he could respond, not that he would have. He had plans to make.

"Jesse!" Shalimar burst into Lexa and Jesse's room to find him changing his shirt. It didn't faze her for a second and she shut the door behind her.

"What is it Shal?" He hadn't seen her so nervous in months and it worried him -but any sign that she cared about something was a definite improvement.

"Brennan asked me out. On a date." He stared at her.

"So?" Internally he was cursing Brennan. To Jesse, Shalimar was still hurting over Emma/Selene and it was just trickery to go for her now.

"So? So what am I going to do?" She flopped down onto his bed with a dramatic sigh.

"Uh... get ready?" She glared at him and sat up.

"How am I going to do this Jesse? I don't think I'll be able to be with him and not compare him to -Them." Shalimar had stopped using Emma and Selene's names all together. She seemed to think that if she separated herself from them completely she'd get over them, but Jesse worried that she was just repressing her emotions. Someday she might do something drastic because of it, but thankfully, that would be far off from right now.

He sat down on the bed and put his arm around her. "Look Shalimar... I know how much They mean to you, but everybody needs someone. You've been lonely as hell these past few months and I know aside from his floozies all he has is Boris. Maybe if you open up to him, maybe even come to love him in some way, you'll at the very least be content in life." She nodded sullenly and he stood up, dragging her with him. "The first thing you do for the date is.. take a shower." With that, he shoved her from the room and she smiled as she walked back to her own room.

"So, what do you think? Hot right?" Emma nodded absently as Roxie turned. The feral was dressed in a tight leather miniskirt with fishnet stockings and a baby style t-shirt with the Playboy bunny symbol on it. "You look killer girl!" Roxie nodded in approval of the outfit she had put together for Emma - an off the shoulder black top with a cartoon devil on it with black Doc Martins and a pair of perfectly faded denim jeans. "I'll do your make up and tonight-," she paused for dramatic effect. "We party!" Emma had to laugh at her antics.

"I can't, remember? I promised Tal I'd supervise his sessions again." Roxie sighed in annoyance.

"Work work work. That's all you two do. Why can't you have some fun? Get out sometime, meet new people." Emma shook her head and went back to the dressing room to change into her other outfit. There was a momentary lapse of silence before she heard Roxie ask, "So can I use your shirt tonight?"


Part 20

Brennan smiled contently as he checked himself out in his mirror. His hair had gotten longer in the past few months and currently he slicked it back in a way that made him look sophisticated instead of like a Fonzie wannabe. His shirt was a black silk number with darker black patterns on it and the leather pants he wore fit him wonderfully without restricting motion.

He was slapping on some cologne when Jesse entered his room silently. He turned to look at the molecular through his mirror and smiled at him cheerfully. "Hey Jess, what's up?" Jesse didn't return his smile.

"I heard you're going out with Shalimar tonight." Brennan nodded and suddenly could feel a strange tenseness in the air. Jesse stepped closer to him. "If you break her heart...," Jesse started, "I'll break your face. Got it?" Brennan laughed at him but when Jesse didn't join in he finally turned to him.

"You wouldn't do that to me Jess. We're buds!"

"But Shalimar is like my sister. It's only customary for me to warn you I'll bust your face before the date rather than surprise you after you break her heart." Brennan sighed. He hadn't really had a girl bring him home before so he hadn't known about that particular rite of passage.

"All right. If I break her heart, you'll break my face." Jesse was motionless for a moment before a small smile flitted across his face.

"Good. Your hair is falling." He left the room as Brennan whirled to see a lock of hair had fallen in his face. He gave a frustrated sigh before searching for his hair gel.

"Shalimar, you look fine. Really."

"I'm not sure... I want tonight to be -nice. If I wear the wrong shoes or - something, the whole evening will be ruined." Lexa just raised an eyebrow. "Don't you give me that look. Just-"

"Why don't you just relax? It's just Brennan. We've known him for years Shalimar, there's no need to be nervous." Shalimar sighed in defeat before sitting heavily on her bed.

"I know, I know... Still, I want to have fun tonight. I mean, you guys have been telling me to get out there, try to forget about... Them... and I don't want to be scared off from that just because of one night." Lexa was silent for a while before her shoulders slumped forward at Shalimar's logic. The brunette moved to the closet and looking for something Shalimar would want to wear.

"Are you sure you don't want to come out tonight Em? I promise fun," Roxie asked as she applied her dark red lipstick. Emma smiled but shook her head. Roxie sighed, pressed her lips together, and then smirked at Emma. "Suit yourself. Don't wait up..." Roxie grabbed her sparkly handbag and left the room.

Emma glanced at the clock next to her bed. Eight p.m. Tal's class would be starting soon. The psionic made her way out of her room to the kitchen. Several other people were rummaging around there looking for something to eat -either for class or going out Emma didn't know or care much.

A couple people greeted her with a 'Hey,' others nodded and still others ignored her in favor of digging through the cupboards for Doritos or fruit-roll ups. She went straight to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water and the bowl of grapes before sitting at the island in the middle of the room.

A blonde girl and her boyfriend sat opposite her. The boy stared at the bowl for a second before it started to float slowly over to his side of the table. Emma pretended not to notice and pulled back on it a little -that was another thing she was developing. The telekinesis had started slowly at first and, since it didn't put too much pressure on her mind, she enjoyed using it to do little things around the facility. Like fighting over the bowl of grapes.

The boy frowned in confusion as the bowl simply stopped in midair -Emma had gained control of the telekinesis much quicker than he had because she had already developed control of her first gift. Because the telekinesis was his first gift, he was still struggling with it -especially since he only used it to impress his elemental girlfriend.

He smoothed out his brow and told the girl that he meant to keep it there but Emma could feel him pulling on it with all his might. Suddenly she let go and the bowl flew right into his chest. The girlfriend covered her mouth to suppress her giggles and the boy blushed shyly as he realized what had happened. A grape flew at Emma and hit her on the forehead causing all three of them to laugh more. A loud buzzer spoiled the moment and they all got up to go to Tal's class.

"So how'd you do that?" the guy's girlfriend asked Emma quietly.

"Just did." Emma shrugged and floated the bowl to herself before leaving the room.

Shalimar had no idea what to think about. The date was going. Where? She had no idea. It started off with dinner at a classy restaurant about half an hour away from Sanctuary. The place was dark, candles, violins, the whole spiel. They mostly sat in silence -comfortable for Brennan, boring for Shalimar. He tried several times to engage her in conversation but all they really discussed were missions and the like which of course led her to think about Them.

Movies were a bust. Despite the fact that they both enjoyed much of the same ones, the point in discussing movies was to argue with someone about them. If you both liked them then what's to discuss?

And now they were back in the car. Brennan was driving them somewhere and Shalimar just looked blankly out the window.

"Where are we going?" He smiled like he had some big secret and she found herself instantly annoyed before berating herself -now was the time to cut him some slack, not mentally attack him for every little thing he did that annoyed her.

"You'll see." Shalimar just turned to look out the window again.

Minutes later the feral could feel the bass of a club's sound system getting closer and she cringed. Dinner was survivable but this? No way.

"Brennan, if we're going to a club drop me off here and I'll get a cab." He looked over at her confused.

"What? Why?"

"I have a migraine ok? The dark in the restaurant with the candles really bugged me." He sighed and pulled over. They sat in silence.

"So I guess this is it, huh?" She nodded sadly.

"Yeah. It is." He nodded and grabbed his cell phone from the dashboard. "Here, call Jesse and ask him to pick you up. I'm going to the club." His voice was emotionless and Shal winced. She knew she had hurt him but she really did have a headache and it really was bugging the hell out of her.

She dialed and Jesse told her he'd pick her up from the club soon. After she told Brennan they were once again on their way to the club down the block.

The music pumped just beyond Derek -the club's bouncer - and every time the door opened, the sound was enough to blast you back a few feet. A bored feral that sat on the curb could tell you that much if she wasn't preoccupied trying to decide whether or not to apologize then continue with this 'date.'

"Outta my way, losers!" Shalimar turned with an eyebrow raised as a brunette in devil t-shirt and a leather miniskirt walked right up to the bouncer. She shot the man a coy glance and the formerly stone-faced bouncer pushed open the doors with a smile of his own. People grumbled at the unfairness of it until the bouncer threatened not to let anyone in for the rest of the night simply because he could. Shalimar smirked before a car horn nearly sent her a foot in the air. Jesse had arrived.

Brennan sat at the bar nursing a beer sulkily. He didn't know where he went wrong. Sure, they had been quiet at the restaurant, but he thought she was having fun. Apparently, he had been wrong.

"Rough night?" He turned to see a beautiful brunette woman sit next to him and he smirked.

"You could say that..." He took a swig of his beer. "So, are you a little devil?" Her brow furrowed momentarily before he gestured at her shirt.

"Oh!" She leaned forward until her mouth was near his ear and her breath sent shivers through him. "You bet I am... but I can be an angel if you want..." She bit him on the neck and he smiled widely. Maybe tonight wouldn't suck so much after all.


Part 21

It was early in the morning when the elemental wandered in and Adam was waiting for him by the entrance with a stern look on his face.

"Where have you been Brennan?"

The dark haired man drew himself up like an indignant teenager. "Out."

"Out where?"

"Just... Out. Ok? Out." He pushed past the scientist and rushed to his room. After he ducked inside and let out a relieved breath that Adam hadn't found him, he turned around.

"Uh... Hey Jess." Jesse was glaring at Brennan with the same stern look Adam had had.


"So uh... what you doin here?" Jesse's reply came in the form of a lightning fast punch running into Brennan's face.

"Thats for hurting Shalimar." He picked the other man up by his shirt front and knocked him down again with speed Brennan hadn't been expecting. Again. "And that's for being stupid. Do you realize what you've done? Not only did you blow the date, but you went to the club anyway. Didn't even take her home." He helped the taller man up and shoved a tissue to his bleeding nose. "I assume you went and hooked up with someone right after that right?"

"Ith not li' tha'-"

"It BOLD is like that. Exactly like that. Brennan man," Jesse ran a hand through his hair, "how could you be so stupid? I mean come on. The girl's already hurting and then you do something like this?"

"I'm sorr,' ogay? I'm sorr.'" Jesse was having a hard time not laughing at how funny Brennan sounded right that moment. "I sclewed up an' I'm sorr...'" Jesse sighed before walking into the bathroom. He came back moments later with a wet cloth and placed it over the eye that was rapidly changing colors on Brennan's face.

"Look man, I'm sorry I had to hit you, but I promised. You agreed." He leaned closer to inspect the nose. "I don't think its broke so you'll be fine. See you tomorrow." The door shut behind the cheery molecular.

"'Thee you tomorro...' jerk..." After Brennan got the bleeding to stop he hopped right into bed and fell asleep almost instantly from exhaustion.

When Shalimar woke up the next day she noticed something peculiar in the air -a new scent. The scent wasn't all unpleasant, there was something underlying the sex and sweat of it, something... sweet. She wandered all over the Sanctuary looking for it before she found herself in front of Brennan's room. She didn't even hesitate before barging in.

The smell wasn't Brennan's, that much she knew. The only way she could think of him having it on him in the first place was the sex tinged with the scent but that didn't bother her. She was far too intrigued in the other smell -the completely familiar yet slightly different smell.

Brennan was in the shower and she could hear him humming to himself and started tearing through his room looking for where the smell was coming from. It didn't take her long to find his silk shirt from last night lying on his floor next to the computer chair. That was where the scent was from.

The shower shut off in the bathroom and Shalimar could hear Brennan getting ready to get out. She dropped the shirt and quickly exited the room before he caught her.

As she got closer, her pace slowed. Something wasn't right here. She crept forward slowly and placed her throbbing hands on the windowsill. The people inside were dead. She backed from the window with her shoulders slumped in defeat. This was it. She was done for now.

The evil behind her was closing in quickly. She could hear it slow down, as she didn't move. It took slow, confident steps towards her and grabbed her shoulders roughly. The woman felt tears course down her cheeks as she awaited the inevitable.

She felt herself turned around and slammed against the cabin wall harshly. Her legs hung limply above the ground and her pursuer's eyes gleamed menacingly in the dark.

"Don't be afraid, little one. Let me help you..." Her ears perked up at that. She knew that voice, knew it and now knew to fear it. The enemy trailed its fingers up her throat and she turned her head away from them. The fingers traced over her lips, around her nose, smoothed over her forehead and jaw line before moving back to her throat. Lightning flashed and she moved her gaze down to find herself staring into a pair of familiar eyes before the attacker jerked its hand roughly and she slumped to the ground, dead.

Emma sat up quickly, panting in terror.

'What was that? Who was that?' The dream faded slightly from her minds eye but she knew it would haunt her for weeks. She needed to speak to Tal.

She quickly got out of the bed and got dressed before quietly leaving the room -and her roommate -behind. The redhead found Tal easy enough. Every morning he was outside on the patio doing Tai Chi and practicing to ignore the admiring stares of the other women who lived there.

"Tal!" He nearly fell over he was so startled but he recovered quickly.

"What is it Emma?" He placed his hands on her shoulders once she reached him and she told him all about the dream while he rubbed her back soothingly. "Shhhh... Sh... its over now, ok? It was just a dream..."

"But I knew the voice, I knew it! Which means that... someone I know will betray me..." She looked up at him desperately. "Oh Tal -I -" She started crying again. He was surprised at the amount of emotion she was showing but soon concluded that she was still reeling from the dream she'd had.

"Its ok Emma... Trust me. Why don't you go inside and once I gather my things we'll go for a walk, ok?" She nodded and wiped her eyes before going inside.

As soon as she was through the door Tal plucked a cell phone from his pocket and punched the first speed dial. "She's starting to suspect, awaiting instructions." The clipped tone of his voice left no room for questions and he was readily answered.

"Start bringing her around to the idea, tell her... tell her that you need her help to stop some group thats hunting down mutants. We'll give you the address of the place via a text message in half an hour. Do not give away your position yet Agent. If you compromise this mission, you know what will happen."

"Yes sir. I understand." He hung up the phone and stared where Emma had gone with grim determination. "Boy, do I understand..." He picked up his duffle bag and entered the doors after her.


Part 22

"Are you alone?" The voice was distorted beyond recognition but Adam didn't mind. His contact put himself through many safety precautions for good cause. It was tedious work going through all these procedures but the other man was always dead-on accurate with his information.


"Good. Open the envelope my operative gave you last night."

Adam picked up the manila envelope that had been given him last night while he was at a coffee place. The operative had dropped it into Adam's lap as the scientist sipped his coffee while nonchalantly stuffing it into his coat pocket. Now he held it in his hand and was again surprised by the lightweight of it. He had expected more but anything from the contact would be 100 per cent true and Adam knew it. He ripped it open carefully and pages slid out.

He flipped through pages of observations and the like before his gaze came across a picture of a dark haired man smiling charmingly at a young blonde woman. Attached to the picture was a mug shot.

"The man in the first photo is Tal Gregorovich. Not much is known about him at this time but your hunch is correct -he is on the take. And dangerous. He can project illusions and has some amazing control."

"What does he do there?"

"He trains the younger ones to control their powers, tells them lies about 'cures' that go bad. He brainwashes them and then turns them out to the Dominion. He's been doing this for years, Adam. You have to be careful of him. If your friend is with him she may already be too far gone to recover."

"You don't know her. She wouldn't turn on us." There was a sigh on the other end. The contact knew how stubborn Adam could be at times and it bothered him to no end.

"Fine. Fine. Just be careful."

"I always am."

"The next photo is of a woman, Roxanne Dearhart." Adam flipped to a picture of a beautiful brunette woman laughing joyously with a redhead who had her back to the camera at the time. "She's a feral, wolf to be precise. Her family was murdered years ago when an angry mob came for her after she broke their star quarterback's arm on accident. She's too far gone and dedicated to Titans Among Mortals-"

"Titans Among Mortals?" Adam rolled his eyes.

"Yes. TAM for short. She's usually the one that recruits mutants to TAM and we think she'd be willing to fight to keep it together. She's strong Adam, and vicious. She put one of our men in the hospital because she thought he was a stalker. He's in a coma and might not wake up Adam."

The scientist shook his head. How had Selene even met these people?

"And lastly, the most dangerous of all -your friend. Miss Emma DeLauro." Adam sat up at that.

"What do you mean? I- I-"

"Adam, quiet. As I was saying, Miss DeLauro is in charge of herself again. We don't know how but we think Tal might have helped her with it, which is especially dangerous. It gives her a bond to him that might not be broken."


"You gave us a picture of both and told me the deal. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out Kane." Adam ran a hand through his hair as his mind raced. "Like I was saying, she's perhaps the most dangerous of them all. Her power level is endless as far as we can tell and what's worse is she can nearly control it. We have documented her using an illusionist's power, telempathy, and telekinesis."

Adam felt sick as his contact hung up the phone. There was no denying it now. He had to tell them.

Meanwhile back at TAM headquarters, Tal felt sick as well. Emma was describing the dream to him in so much detail it was like they were actually there. The only detail she missed was who her pursuer was, and for that, Tal was grateful. He had long known who it was and had no idea what Emma would do once she found out herself. Yell, cry, attack - anything could happen with her. She was a wild card to him and any wrong move could set her off. He personally didn't want to be around when that happened.

"..And I know this is going to sound paranoid but -I feel like I know who it is that's following me. In the dream. It was familiar... yet new." She laughed lightly at herself. "That didn't make sense, did it?" He laughed and bumped her shoulder with his.

"Sure didn't. But I think I can understand you. But Emma," he turned her to face him. After making sure she was looking directly at him he said, "It was just a dream. Just remember that."

She shook her head. "No. Someone I know is after me Tal. I have to find out who, and why." She walked away and tossed a 'see ya later' over her shoulder before going towards town. Tal's stomach turned nervously before he made his way toward TAM.

"Adam, can we start already? We have better things to do than sit around here," Lexa muttered, looking pointedly at Brennan and Jesse when she did so.

"No that's ok Adam, please. Take all the time you need." Jesse smiled nervously while shooting a pleading look at the older man.

"We'll begin once Shalimar gets here." Lexa sighed in annoyance while Brennan and Jesse bumped fists -the longer Shalimar took, the less time they'd have to decide on wedding things.

Adam straightened out his papers before moving to his computer and making sure it was ready. He just wanted to run through this and be done with it.

Footsteps hurried down the hall toward them and moments later, a red cheeked feral walked through the door toweling her face of sweat from her work out.

"What's up Adam? I was busy, you know?" She sat down in a chair on the opposite side of the couch Brennan was at and pointedly ignored him.

"Right..." He began to fidget but stopped and continued after taking a deep breath. "There's a group I want you all to know about. It's called 'Titans Among Mortals' or TAM for short." He clicked a remote in his hand, a projector came down from the ceiling, and a picture of the TAM HQ was shown on the wall. "Their deal is that mutants are better than people. That people are giving out 'cures' that not only stop the evolution of powers but actually harm them-"

"It's true though, right?" Everyone turned to Lexa with interest. "At the Dominion they were working on that. A few of the subjects went terribly wrong and they died once they stopped mutating. It was horrible..." Jesse reached over and pulled her into his lap. He placed a kiss on her temple before turning to Adam.

"Sounds to me like they have the right idea Adam. What's the problem?"

"The problem, Jesse, is that the group is run by Dominion. It's not anti-cure at all. In fact, I would say some of the 'subjects' that failed were part of TAM at first as well. TAM brainwashes them against people, then once they're fully on the Dominion's side they hand them over and start with a new batch." He clicked again and a classroom appeared with Tal at the front of it. The people in the class ranged from ages of about 14 to 30 and all were looking attentatively at the front. Tal's hands covered the face of the person from view and Adam hesitated slightly before speaking. "That wasn't even the worst thing."

There was a pause.

"Adam...," Brennan started warily, "what is the worst thing?" The scientist pressed the 'next' button before he could change his mind.

The picture changed and the one who was on the table was now by the window. Her long red hair fluttered with a breeze and a contemplative look was held on her face and in her blue eyes. Shalimar sat perfectly still. Suddenly the smell from before that she didn't know but did came back to her and her eyes flashed in rage.

There wasn't any warning before she lunged at the elemental and grabbed him by the front of his shirt. "Did you sleep with her? Did you?" Jesse tried to pull her off but she swatted his hands away. She then slammed Brennan into a wall and he pried at her fingers frantically. "I said did you?"

"NO! NO I swear!"

"Don't lie to me!" She slammed him again before backing away with tears of rage in her eyes. "How could you..."

"Shalimar... I didn't...," he wheezed. His face twisted as a thought occurred to him. "I... Roxie. She said her name was Roxie... Oh Shalimar, I am so sorry - I didn't know. I swear I didn't know."

Her anger dissipated as she realized if Emma slept with him in another body it was still Emma's decision to do so in the first place. "How could she do this..?" Adam cut the silence that followed short clearing his throat.

"Actually, Roxanne Dearhart actually exists. She's not Emma. You didn't sleep with her. Moving on," he clicked the button and Tal showed up on screen. As Adam continued with his presentation, Shalimar tried to think of how to apologize to Brennan while Brennan tried to will Adam to speed up or let everyone take a break so he could put some ice on his neck. Jesse and Lexa ignored the other two so Adam would at least be talking to someone.

"...and that's pretty much everything. Any questions?"

"No, I think we're good Adam," Jesse offered after a moment.

"Ok then. So what do you guys propose we do?" Shalimar looked up at him startled and a little amused.

"What do you mean? We go get Emma, that's what we do."

"Shalimar... It's not that simple. For all we know she could be one of them-"

"No. We get her," Brennan interrupted. "We all need her back, but Shalimar especially." The elemental turned to the indignant feral. "Face it Shalimar, you've been lost without her. You miss her. You need your girlfriend back, and I need my best friend back."

There was a pause before Shalimar nodded her head in consent.

"He's right... I can't- Now that I know where she is, what kind of danger she could be in... I need her back Adam." Her eyes met the scientists and they stared defiantly at each other. Adam backed down first and ran a hand through his hair.

"All right, all right. Let's get ready then."


Part 23

"Don't be afraid, little one. Let me help you..." Her ears perked up at that. She knew that voice, knew it and now knew to fear it. The enemy trailed its fingers up her throat and she turned her head away from them. The fingers traced over her lips, around her nose, smoothed over her forehead and jaw line before moving back to her throat.

"So perfect... but so flawed..." In the light from the cabin behind her Emma could make out the attacker's face twisting in rage. "We could have fixed you."

Lightning flashed and she moved her gaze down to find herself staring into a pair of familiar eyes before the attacker jerked its hand roughly and she slumped to the ground.

"But now you're just dead," the attacker whispered into a gust of howling wind.

Once again Emma bolted upright in her bed. Roxie was at the mirror applying her mascara and turned a curious glance back to her.

"Hey, you ok?" Concern flashed across the feral's face and she moved to sit next to Emma on the bed. Emma shook her head 'no' and Roxie wrapped an arm around her shoulder comfortingly while Emma spilled about the dream.

The dream had been getting more and more clear every time she had it. Facial features were now implanted in her mind when she woke up but as she fought to see them again they floated away. It didn't help that Tal had to go out of town after she told him yesterday morning while he was training. She'd taken a nap after spilling only to have the dream again.

The eyes that had lined the trees had more detail and Emma could make out at least two females she knew like the back of her hand, and others that just sort of blended together. Shalimar and Roxie were in the trees.

Emma didn't know why she didn't want to go in there, but during the dream it just didn't matter. All that mattered was survival.

A thought flitted through Emma's head before Roxie stood up and went back to the mirror. Emma noticed for the first time how dolled up Roxie was, even for her.

"Hey, where you goin'?" Roxie turned to her with a slight blush.

"I met someone." Emma's eyebrows went up at that. Roxie? Miss 'I hate to be tied down' had found someone?

"Well, what you waiting for? Spill!" Thoughts of the dream disappeared in the back of Emma's mind for the time being and Roxie sat back down on the bed. Emma was somewhat reminded of a slumber party back in middle school by the way Roxie was acting.

"Well, he's cute. Funny, charming... Tall, dark and handsome. Good in bed..." They both giggled at that. "He's an elemental and I met him in the club. I think you'd like him."

"Oh yeah? Whats his name?"

"Brennan." Emma's smile slowly faded as Roxie's eyes sparkled. "Brennan Mulwray. Such a good name, isn't it?" When Emma didn't agree Roxie finally noticed how melancholy she had become. "Em? Whats wrong?"

"Are you sure.. Are you positive that was who he was?" Roxie nodded eagerly but the concerned light in her eyes didn't diminish. "Why? Do you know him?" Roxie gasped slightly. "Is he the one you left behind? Oh Emma-"

"No, no. He was my best friend but I didn't leave him behind. Its just... I hadn't really had time to think of them for a while what with everything thats going on around here." Emma shrugged and forced out a smile. "But I'm glad for you! Brennan's a good guy. He even reads poetry." Roxie's eyebrows lifted and her eyes sparkled dreamily.

"How romantic..." Emma laughed at her friend kindly.

"So when are you to goin' out? Is he picking you up here? Or are you meeting somewhere?" Roxie smirked at the questions.

"Why, wanna talk to him? Because I could call him up and get him to pick me up here."

Emma thought for a second. If she let Brennan see her, her cover was blown. On the other hand, she missed them all so much she was beyond caring for that reason alone.

"Emma? Hellooooo," Roxie called while waving her hands before Emma's face.

"Oh, sorry." Emma quickly collected herself. "Could you call him? I miss him and the others..." Roxie didn't speak but whipped out her phone. Emma smiled nervously as butterflies danced in her stomach.


"Hey sexy." Brennan smiled.

"Hey yourself."

There was a momentary pause before they both said, "I want to ask-" at the same time.

"You go."

"Ok then," Roxie replied. "I was wondering if you could pick me up tonight? My ride's car is in the shop."

Brennan smiled and resisted the urge to pump his fist in the air. "Sure thing, I'll swing by around 6:30 or so, all right?"

"Ok, see you later handsome." He smiled.

"Later beautiful." He closed his cell phone and went back to getting ready.

About 20 minutes later Brennan was in Jesse's car and nearly an hour later he had arrived at the facility. He glanced around as he got out of the car but quickly squashed that instinct.

The place was two stories tall and very well decorated. A well-kept garden was off to the right with a clean looking koi pond in the center of it. He let out a low whistle as he walked inside. He was met with a reception area that wasn't being used as anything but a plant holder.

A few younger people passed by him, the young women checking him out before giggling with their friends about how hot he looked. He stopped them and casually asked where Roxie was and set off to find her after they spilled.

He knocked on her door and his mind turned over possible ideas for tracking Emma down -questions to ask, excuses to make for exploring the place. The door opened and all thoughts ceased as he took in his date.

"Come on in Bren," she said as she rose up to kiss him on the cheek. "I have to find my purse quick but maybe my roommate can keep you busy." He finally turned his dazed stare from Roxie to the woman on the other bed in the room only to feel conflicting emotions run through him.

There sat Emma, his best friend, just as nervous as he was. 'She knew...' He stopped thinking and crossed the room. She stood up as he reached her and he grabbed her up in a heartfelt hug. Roxie snickered at the scene before going into the bathroom. Brennan checked over his shoulder to see if she was still there before putting Emma down and sitting with her on the bed.

"Oh Emma, you have no idea how much I've - we've - missed you." He lowered his voice. "Shalimar wanted to come but Adam's making her stay and settle down. Between you and me, I think he should have let her." Guilt and pain flashed through Emma's eyes.

"Brennan, I'm sor-" Roxie dropped something in the bathroom and Brennan hushed Emma.

"Shhhhh... Look, Adam wanted me to tell you that this place -TAM -it's dangerous. I can't tell you much more right now but you need to know that." Emma looked startled but forced out a smile as Roxie came back from the other room.

"Ready to go?" she asked brightly.

Brennan smiled just as widely back. "Sure am. See you later Em." The redhead nodded with a smile that disappeared as soon as they left. Now what had she gotten herself into?


Part 24

Brennan was still tingling from his latest date with Roxie. Despite what Adam had told him about her being a dangerous woman, he found he enjoyed her company immensely. He was suddenly aware of voices ahead and tensed.

"Adam it isn't fair!" That was Shalimar.

"Sha-" And that was Adam.

"No! No, you won't tell me what to do anymore. I want to go to her and damnit -I will!"

Every time he went on a date and came back, it was the same thing. Shalimar was always seething with rage at Adam but would turn and demand answers of him as soon as he got back. Now, for instance, the feral dropped her argument and dragged him back to her room for what he called 'The Shalimar Inquisition.'

It didn't bother him so much anymore; the only thing that bugged him was the fact that Emma was the same way - 'The Emma Evaluation.' Every time he told Shalimar that, he'd have to spend at least 20 minutes convincing her to stay, telling her that they didn't know enough to take her away yet. They didn't even know where the ringleader - Tal - was at for the past week, which Brennan was silently thankful for. Emma had taken to sharing things with him because of that in the few minutes they had before Roxie was ready to go. Sometimes they met at the movies or something and they'd both be better able to describe their situation with more detail.

Her dreams were becoming more and more frequent, and Emma was convinced something was coming. It was making the psionic paranoid beyond belief about pretty much every little 'omen' she saw and the people she knew she now was beginning to see as the 'enemy.' It was tearing Brennan apart to see her like that and he was frankly running out of ideas to keep her calm.

Adam was no help either. The scientist spent all his time using contacts to get more information on TAM and was rarely available for much else. The hunt for Tal was one of Adam's biggest concerns at the moment and - short of cutting off his hand to get Adam to sew it back on - there wasn't much Brennan could do to get his attention.

Jesse was stressed as well - something you wouldn't know by looking at him. Comforting Shalimar and planning this wedding was seriously taking its toll on him and he had little time to relax anymore it seemed. Brennan sort of got the feeling these days that the usually good-natured buddy of his was silently angry that the elemental was always gone when the trouble started - like the kid who would run from home before his parents would start arguing and only come home when it was over.

Lexa didn't really seem affected at all aside from helping Jesse and Adam with little things. Every now and then she would come to Brennan and ask for advice for the wedding, sometimes she'd help Adam with research or to keep Shalimar busy while Brennan and Jesse were both doing some other thing. She didn't once complain and Brennan was always slightly envious of what a catch Jesse had landed in her.

"Brennan? Are you ignoring me?" He shook his head quickly.

"Sorry, just thinking. What was that again?"

The feral sighed before leaving his room.

The blonde soon found herself pacing in the room that still screamed of her girlfriend.

'It's not fair... he can go to her as he pleases but I can't? It's not fair...' Shalimar moved to her window and glared at the world. 'And why can't I go? Because Adam told me not to...' She looked to see how far off the ground she was. 'As the Bible says, Screw that!' She didn't hesitate a second before her foot was through the screen. It stuck irritably to her leg before she pushed it off and watched it seem to float slowly to the ground. She hit the dirt before it and quickly moved towards the garage and the new motorcycle she stored in it. She couldn't wait anymore - she had to see Emma. Tonight.

"Tell me again how this happened... Tal..." The figure was clouded in shadow but the wild hair was unmistakable.

"I'm not sure, sir. It just sort of came outta left field-"

"You've said that already, Tal. Tell me how you allowed a member of Mutant X to get close to Miss DeLauro." Tal said nothing. "Hmm... I suppose it isn't entirely your fault. I did, after all, call you away at the last moment for an update. And I have kept you here after overhearing DeLauro's dreams." He shook his head wistfully. "She's so close yet she doesn't even know it." His tongue clucked against the roof of his mouth.

"What do you want me to do?"

"What do I want you to do? I want you to tell Dearhart that Mulwray is an enemy spy that works for the people who once captured and tortured Emma. That's what I want you to do."

Tal nodded. "Yes sir." He stood there waiting for a dismissal.

"Quickly Gregorovich. Quickly." Tal nodded again and was gone, thinking of ways to tell Roxie about Brennan as he walked to his car.

Shalimar shut the engine of her motorcycle off before removing her helmet. The night was dark and chilly but the facility before her still had most of its lights on. She slipped her keys into her pocket and, after a moment of thought, walked boldly up to the front door of the place. No one was in the reception area so the feral decided to just take a walk until she found Emma.

After passing the same water bubbler 3 times she finally found the right hallway and padded down it. It didn't take long for her to catch Emma's scent and after she did, she sped up her pace. The blonde licked her lips nervously outside what she assumed was the right door before carefully pushing it open.

Moonlight cascaded in shafts across Emma's face and Shalimar shut the door behind her to keep from waking the sleeping beauty. Shalimar took a step forward only to be instantly slammed against the wall by a previously unseen assailant with angry yellow eyes.

"Who are you and what are you doing here?" was hissed at Shalimar. Roxie. Shal had forgotten about Roxie.

The blonde smacked Roxie's arm off her shoulder and her own eyes flashed in warning to let the other woman know there would be no fooling around. Emma stirred on the bed but they went still and she slid back into sleep. Roxie clapped her hand over Shalimar's mouth and dragged the surprised feral from the room roughly. As soon as they were in the hallway Shalimar jabbed an elbow backwards and Roxie let go with a gasp. They took up fighting positions opposite each other and glared angrily.

"I'll ask again: who are you and what did you think you were gonna do to her, huh?" Shalimar's teeth gritted at the protectiveness in Roxie's voice.

"Fuck you; it's none of your business..." She trailed off as she thought she heard shuffling footsteps behind her but when she turned there was no one there. As soon as her back was turned Roxie attacked, striking her in the stomach then punching her across the face before the other woman had time to react. When she did react however, Shalimar caught Roxie's knee before it hit her in the face and used her sudden advantage to send Roxie to the ground, hard.

"This doesn't concern you, Roxanne." The other feral blinked before lashing her foot at Shalimar with a cry of rage. Shal jumped over her legs but Roxie scissored them back and tripped Shalimar to the ground. They both rolled away from each other and flipped to take up fighting positions again when the door next to them opened. A sleepy eyed psionic poked her head out to see what was going on.

"Roxie? I think it's far too late to be-e!" Emma yelped as Roxie yanked the redhead behind her. "Hey! What -" Emma trailed off as she stared at Shalimar. Shalimar stared back. Roxie blinked.

"Em?" Shalimar took a tentative step forward and Roxie tensed. A hand on the brunette's arm stilled her immediately and she turned her head to look at Emma. Silent communication flowed through them and Roxie cast a warning glance at Shalimar before going back to the room leaving Emma and Shalimar alone in the hallway.

"Oh my god... Shalimar - Is it really you?" Emma reached out a hand and Shalimar grabbed it tightly while stepping closer. They were less than a foot apart now and Emma placed her other hand on Shalimar's cheek. Both women's eyes misted with tears and they silently closed the distance between them with a passionate kiss.

"Shalimar?" Jesse knocked on his friend's door. "Shal? I wanted to know if you'd like to grab something to eat with me while the others are," he pushed open the door and paused, "busy?" He pushed the door open more and his eyes sought out the feral in earnest.

'Maybe she's in the shower?' He quickly pressed his ear to the bathroom door and, when he heard nothing, opened it fully. He cursed under his breath before walking briskly down the hallway to tell Adam that she had gone - most likely to Emma. He cursed again for not being able to tell the feral that security cameras in the airport had spotted Tal earlier.

Jesse checked his watch and - upon seeing the time - began to jog. It had been just under 2 hours since Tal had landed and would most likely already be at TAM now.


Part 25

Tal walked determinedly towards Emma and Roxie's room but stopped dead as he saw the psionic making out with some - woman -in front of the door. His teeth gritted and his face twisted with rage at the site. He didn't hesitate a second when he sent a psi beam at the redhead, effectively knocking her out.

Emma fell limp in Shalimar's arms and the feral began to panic. Tal began to jog towards the room.

"Let her go!" The feral looked up at him confused but held Emma tighter when she recognized him. "I said let her go! Put her down now!" The door next to them opened and Roxie stepped out. She quickly assessed the 'situation' and punched Shalimar in the temple which forced the blonde to fall half on top of Emma.

Roxie shoved Shalimar off of Emma before stooping to scoop the redhead up in her arms. "Emma? Wake up, Emma." Tal finally reached them and took Emma from Roxie.

"You pick up her," he nodded towards Shalimar, "and we'll get them both to the doctor, ok?" Roxie just nodded and handed over Emma. Tal strode quickly off towards the exit of the facility. After Roxie reluctantly picked up Shalimar she followed him and was surprised at the helicopter waiting for them. Her pace slowed down to look at it but Tal yelling for her snapped her out of her daze and she started running towards it.

"Roxie no!" She turned as she reached helicopter at last to see Brennan running towards her. "Get away from there!" Two other people followed behind him and she felt herself tugged into the helicopter.

"Come on, Rox!" It was Tal urging her up that got her going again. She cast one last glance at Brennan - the man she had actually considered 'going steady' with - before her trust and the feeling of obligation to Tal and all he stood for made up her mind.

The helicopter was already in the air before Brennan reached it.

"Damn it!" Brennan screamed as he watched the chopper disappear over the roof of the buildings. Lexa caught up with him and Adam followed behind her a few seconds later.

"Jess, they're heading south in a helicopter," she said loudly into her com-pendant.

"On it." Brennan's hands clenched and unclenched into fists as they waited for Jesse with the Helix 2 - the recently finished new version of the first Helix.

"It's all my fault..." Lexa rubbed up and down his bicep to try and calm him down some.

"Bren, you had no way to know Shal would so something like this. It's not your fault."

"She's right Brennan - it's mine," Adam stated without hesitation. Lexa rolled her eyes.

"How about we stop playing the blame game and get on already?" Jesse yelled in their ears as the Helix lowered to hover beside them. "I've got a lock on them for now but the farther they get the harder it'll be," he informed as they all climbed onto the plane. He pushed a few buttons and the chopper shone in a red-ish light about half a mile away from them.

"Can we catch up to them Jesse?" Lexa asked. He grinned at her.

"Do you really have to ask?" He pushed another button and the door on the plane shut. They were shooting through the air seconds later.

When Shalimar woke up, she didn't know where she was. When she opened her eyes, she had to immediately close them again because of the bright light shining into them.

"Oh, what's the matter? Sleepy? Well, we'll just have to wake you up then, won't we?" Shalimar let out a surprised yelp as ice cold water was splashed onto her. Tiny prickles of pain exploded everywhere the water touched and she was shivering in mere seconds. She bowed her head so her hair would fall into her eyes before attempting to open them again.

"Wh-where am-m I?" Her teeth chattered uncontrollably.

"You're here, and that's all that matters." Tal stepped forward into the light and set his now empty bucket onto the ground. As soon as the feral saw him she found she remembered what had happened.

"Where's Em-ma?" She lunged forward only to find herself restrained.

"Safe. For now, anyway. If you cooperate, nothing will happen to her. If you don't... well - I'm sure you know what we can do." Shalimar froze immediately at the threat. "Good kitty." He smiled a shark's grin before stepping forward. "Now, let's see what makes you...," his hand moved to the left to take the cloth off the top of a small metal table Shalimar had previously overlooked, "tick." Her heart slammed in her chest and her blood ran cold as she looked over the various sharp, metal objects that lined the table before her. She silently screamed at herself for not listening to Adam.


Emma sat up with a gasp. Roxie smiled at her relieved and tried to calm the wild-eyed psionic.

"Emma, it's ok. She's gone-" Roxie cut herself off as Emma grabbed her arm tightly.

"What? Where? Take me to her!" Emma swung her legs off the bed and stood up without waiting for an answer.

"What?" Roxie blinked at her confused. "Emma, she attacked you!"

"No she didn't! I got hit from behind, Roxie. Shalimar was in front of me - you can believe me on that one."

Roxie's mind raced. The only one that was behind her was Tal, and Tal would never hurt Emma - or any of the others for that matter. Roxie shook her head. Her mind then turned to Emma - probably her best friend aside from Tal. One of them had to be lying. But which one?

"Roxie! Where is she?" Roxie shook her head.

"She's here, but I won't take you to her," she offered as a compromise. Emma shot her a hurt and confused look before running from the room. Roxie felt a pain in her head as her subconscious berated her for not helping more as she walked over to the phone on the wall. She punched in the extension for the room she wanted and waited patiently.

"Tal? Emma's escaped. She used her powers on me - I think she's headed to you."

Also meanwhile...

The guard fell to the ground in a heap and Brennan jumped over him quickly. Lexa grabbed the key card from around his neck and shoved it into the door. Brennan forced the door open roughly and Lexa and Jesse followed him quickly.

"Which way, Adam?" Jesse said into his pendant.

"I'm not sure. There are so many hallways.. give me a minute." Brennan made an annoyed sound and started running down the nearest hall to him.


"No! We don't have time!" he yelled back.

"Adam, hurry up will ya?"

"Jesse you know these things take time!"

"Which we don't have..." Lexa said before choosing another hallway and running down it.


"Got it! Take the leftmost hallway guys." Jesse sighed before running down the right hall. Neither of the others had picked it which meant they were officially separated.

Tal had just picked up a particularly mean looking scalpel when the phone rang. Shalimar sighed in relief when he went to answer it.

"What?!" he yelled just moments after picking it up. He sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. "Ok ok. I'll go find her." He hung up angrily and kept his back to her for a few precious seconds that allowed her to slip the scalpel under her arm. It poked at her but she kept the pain off of her face.

"You've lucked out, girl. But when I get back I'll just have to make up for lost time." He moved toward the door and opened it roughly before stalking out.

Once the blonde was sure he was gone she began to work on her bindings with the scalpel. She was halfway through it when the door opened again. She tried to force her hand to break through it but the binding held strong. When she looked up defiantly at the person who came through the door she let out a sigh.

"Shalimar?" Jesse moved forward and began to help her take the bindings off. In minutes they were gone and she was free.

"Where's Emma?" He shook his head to indicate he didn't know and she sighed in agitation. "Let's go get her then."

Lexa slipped into the control room she'd found easily as the guard who had been manning it left. When she saw the room was empty she became visible again and grabbed a chair to wedge in front of the door. A quick scan of the cameras showed Jesse and Shalimar walking down one hallway, and Brennan walking down another. She frantically searched them for a few moment before spotting Emma - and Tal. He was close to her as she stood stock still and he didn't look too happy.

Brennan was closest to her so Lexa told him through the pendant which way to go just as Tal laid his hand on Emma's neck. The molecular silently prayed Brennan was good at following directions.

Emma ran through the corridors blindly. After a few minutes she determined she was truly lost but didn't give up - until she walked into a room occupied by Tal. It was pretty dark in the room but she could see him almost perfectly.

"Hello Emma." He stepped forward into the light and Emma was suddenly reminded of a dark and stormy night - of running from a beast. Her head shook from side to side before stilling completely.

She sent a psi beam at him only to have it go right through him. The room was instantly filled with dozens of him surrounding her in a circle. She couldn't tell which one was him and she turned in circles, panicked.

"Don't be afraid, Emma." She couldn't tell which one said it. The circle stepped forward and her eyes darted between the ones before her. She felt paralyzed with fear as she awaited them to take her. The one directly before her placed his hand on her throat and the others disappeared. The hand trailed over her neck, up her cheek, over her nose and lips.

'This is my dream!' she shouted inside. She knew how that ended and yet couldn't do anything to stop this.

"We could have helped you Emma...." His face twisted and his hand whipped back to her throat. "But now," his grip tightened around her and she felt her airflow cut off, "you're just-" He jerked spasmodically and let go of her before falling to the floor.

As Emma caught her breath she looked up to see her rescuer - Brennan. She ran and threw her arms around his neck and he hugged her back.

"I thought-"

"Shh... it's ok Emma. It's over now. Let's go meet up with the others-" The warning shouted in his ear came to late and he suddenly found himself in a dark jungle. He spun frantically. "This isn't real, this isn't real...," he repeated to himself.

Emma spun to find Tal standing with a maniacal gleam in his eye. "What did you do to him?" she asked as she watched Brennan begin to scream in terror.

"Does it matter? You won't be around to save him anyway." He plucked a knife from his belt an moved towards her. He lunged forward and she leapt to the side but it didn't matter - he'd gotten her across the arm and now she was bleeding freely. He laughed evilly. "It's ok Emma.... It'll all be over soon." He leaned down and held her hands above her head with one of his own. He raised the knife over his head but before he could bring it down into her heart there were two loud bangs.

Blood spattered onto Emma's face as she watched him drop the knife. His grip on her hands slackened as he slumped forward and she pushed him off of her. Blood soaked her hands and she stared at them in a daze before looking to the doorway. Roxanne was there with a 9 mm hanging limply from her hand. It fell as Tal's skin began to grow pale.

Brennan climbed to his feet as he heard Lexa shouting in his ear to get them out of there. He offered Emma his hand and yanked her up on shaky legs. She wobbled over to Roxie and after a moment of hesitation hugged her tightly. He came up behind them and gently guided them out the door.



Hours later they were all situated in the living area of the Sanctuary: Jesse with his arm around Lexa on the couch; Shalimar with both her arms wrapped securely around Emma's waist on one of the chairs and Emma was smiling as she cuddled into the feral's lap; Adam was fidgeting in the back of the room while trying to decide whether to butt in and ask Emma to let him take some tests to make sure she was alright, but the protective gleam in Shalimar's eyes made him rethink that idea; Brennan was leaning against the wall next to Roxie to keep an eye on her.

The brunette feral sighed before walking from the room and Brennan hurried to follow her. Adam took them leaving a cue and left himself. After a moment, Jesse and Lexa bid goodnight to Emma and Shalimar before heading off to bed. The women left in the room laughed when they heard Lexa mention the band options for the wedding before Shalimar scooped Emma up and brought her back to her - their - room.

"Roxie, wait!" The feral stopped but didn't turn to Brennan.

"What is it?"

"Well... where are you going?" he asked, confused. She shrugged.

"I'm not sure, I just can't stay here."

He blinked. "Why not? You're welcome to stay, you heard Adam-"

"I can't stay Brennan!" she cried. "How can I stay in this place when the others need me? They need someone to help them, Brennan, and if TAM is run by Dominion like that guy says, then I need to be there to help them." He bowed his head slightly in a nod and she sighed. "Bren... I'm sorry but - I have to be there for them. I can't just leave them to be snapped up by the Dominion. I wouldn't be able to live here, with you and the others, and be happy knowing they were all carted off to be lab rats." He nodded more noticeably.

"Alright, well, when can I see you again?" There was a long pause before she shrugged.

"I don't know... Taking care of all of them has to be my first priority Brennan. I can't ignore their need for safety, Brennan."

"What are you saying, Roxie?" he asked slowly.

"I'm saying... I have no idea if or when I'll be able to see you Brennan." His jaw clenched rhythmically.

"So you're breaking up with me?" She nodded with tears in her eyes. "Ok... I - I guess I can handle that." She reached up and hugged him tightly before walking quickly away. He stood there watching her until she disappeared through the garage.

Brennan never did see Roxie again. When she went back to TAM, she stayed there. The others and her fought off the Dominion until it finally just threw its hands in the air and gave up. He tried to call her after he heard about that, but as it turned out she had already found someone else to be with. He had moped about the Sanctuary for about a week before finding another girl to date.

Emma and Shalimar had moved out of Sanctuary to get a place of their own not long after Emma came back. They had claimed it was simply because of the lack of space the small room gave them but everybody could tell it was because they felt uncomfortable being 'together' with their friends on either side of them.

Jesse and Lexa soon followed their example, but not before having the most spectacular wedding any of MX had attended.

Adam bought the TAM building from the Dominion so he could spend as much time as possible helping mutants develop and control their abilities without false cures offered by the Dominion.

All in all, they were all happy as a team again, and they lived happily ever after. The end.

The End

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