Spoilers: "A Breed Apart;" "Past as Prologue" (slight)
Note: Takes place in the hiatus between the season finale and the season premiere.
Author’s Note: It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything for this show, so I apologize if the characters are a little off. This answers that nagging question that was hanging around the back of my mind ever since I saw the premiere: What the hell happened to the budding Brennan/Shalimar relationship?
Summary: In a job where deadly situations are faced daily, is a romantic relationship between two friends viable? Or will they be forced to remain "just friends?"
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Shalimar giggled as Brennan pushed her up against the wall, moaning as his mouth found a sensitive spot on her neck. He began to trail his way downward, moving the fabric of her already low-cut shirt even lower with one hand, as the other moved even further down her body. She let out a soft purr in response, her feral side taking over.
Just as his hand moved below the waistline of her pants, their comrings simultaneously beeped.
"Is it really important?" Shalimar hissed into hers, biting back a moan as Brennan’s mouth did exquisite things to her.
"Yes," Adam replied, annoyance obvious in his voice for having his motives questioned.
"Alright," Shalimar replied dejectedly, sighing as Brennan moved away. He ran a hand through his short, brown hair, obviously attempting to recover his senses. Shalimar did the same, pushing away from the wall and straightening her clothes.
"Leave it to Adam to interrupt us at the most inopportune time," Shalimar sighed unhappily.
"I’ll make it up to you later. Promise," Brennan whispered in her ear, then pulled away and winked at her. Shalimar grinned happily and looped her arm through his, leading him to where the others were gathered.
When the couple entered the meeting area, they saw Emma looking at herself in a compact mirror, her fingers picking up random sections of her hair for observation by her keen eyes.
"Your hair is fine!" Jesse cried in exasperation, receiving a glare from Emma in response.
"I still don’t know if I like the color," she stated matter-of-factly. Jesse let out a groan of frustration; obviously he had been dealing with her uncertainty for quite some time now.
"Oh, come on now, Emma! Would Shalimar ever steer you wrong when it comes to hair color?" Shalimar queried, dislodging herself from Brennan and moving over to where Emma sat, grinning in amusement.
"Exactly!" Shalimar replied happily, snatching the compact out of Emma’s hand. Jesse glared at Shalimar, who had succeeded in doing something he had been unable to accomplish all day.
Adam just shook his head at their antics and cleared his throat to get everyone’s attention. "We’ve been contacted by a New Mutant, Ariana Disson. She’s requested that we put her in the Underground," he said, pulling up a picture of a woman with curly, chestnut hair and sparkling emerald eyes on the monitor before them.
"Why?" Brennan asked, glancing over at Jesse who couldn’t take his eyes off of the picture. He then shifted his gaze to Shalimar, who had her eyes narrowed at him as if daring him to stare too long at the picture.
"Because it appears Ashlocke is targeting her." Adam could feel the tension level among the four increase astronomically.
"Why is she," Emma began, motioning to the woman on the screen, "so interesting to Ashlocke?"
"From what she’s told me, it’s because she’s an archaeologist, specializing in ancient Egypt."
"Why is Ashlocke suddenly interested in ancient Egypt? Wouldn’t he be more interested in her powers, whatever they might be?" Jesse questioned, his curiosity showing on his as well as the faces of the others.
"I don’t know. I’m working on it. And her power is to see into the past; not an incredibly useful one. . .unless you’re an archaeologist," Adam replied truthfully. He sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, the stress he had been under finally manifesting itself physically in the form of a migraine. "I’m sending all of you out, since Ashlocke obviously wants her so bad. You’ll be meeting her at a warehouse on the corner of Cormier and Twentieth. I want you to bring her back here first. I would like to speak to her."
The four nodded and left, heading for the Double Helix and a meeting with an archaeologist.
"What a place for a meeting!" Jesse exclaimed, obviously unhappy with the choice.
"We’ve done tons of meetings in warehouses before. What’s the difference if we do another one?" Emma asked, coming to stand beside him and survey their surroundings.
"Well, it’s just not the kind of place I would have expected an archaeologist to choose," Jesse said in his defense.
"How so?" Brennan asked, doing a quick check over the building and then turning to his friend.
"Well, she’s an archaeologist. I would have expected her to choose a museum or something."
"Too public," Shalimar said, her feral senses on full alert, searching for any kind of threat.
"Not really. It’d be deserted enough to hold a meeting, but there’d be security there in case anything went wrong. We probably wouldn’t even need to fight if any uninvited guests showed up. Security could deal with it," Jesse said, the logic of his words sinking in.
"Still, no fights? No fun," Shalimar said, grinning evilly.
"You’re crazy, you know that?" Emma said, humor shining in her eyes.
Before Shalimar had the chance to reply, the distinctive sound of heels clicking on concrete could be heard.
"She sets up a secret meeting in a warehouse, but she wears high heels?" Jesse commented to himself, but Emma heard him and smacked him on the arm.
"Ow!" he cried out, cradling the injured limb.
"Baby," Emma hissed, grinning broadly when the woman stopped in front of them. "Hello, I’m Emma de Lauro, and this is Jesse Kilmartin, Shalimar Fox, and Brennan Mulwray," she introduced, pointing to each person as she said their name.
"Hello, I’m Ariana Disson," the woman replied, nodding to each member of the team. An uneasy silence fell between them until Brennan finally broke it.
"We were sent by Adam. We understand that you want to be placed in the Underground, but Adam would like further information as to why. He’s asked us to bring you back to Sanctuary, if that’s all right with you," Brennan explained to Ariana, hoping she wouldn’t resist.
"No, no. It’s fine. I don’t mind at all. Just the sooner I’m away from this city, the better," Ariana replied nervously, glancing behind herself quickly, as if expecting the shadows to jump out and abduct her.
Suddenly, Shalimar’s senses went on high alert, as she liked to think of it. "Guys. . ." she said, warning them of the obvious danger. Someone was coming; she could hear them breathing. Three women and two men came into the group’s collective field of vision.
"Damn it," Jesse mumbled, this time not receiving a whack on his arm. This was just what they needed, more interference from Ashlocke’s groupies.
"Hello, Ariana," one of the women said, her bleach-blond hair pulled back into a severe ponytail. Brennan and Shalimar both instinctively moved in front of Ariana, becoming her first line of defense. "Don’t worry, we won’t hurt her. Mr. Ashlocke simply wants some information from her."
Emma cocked an eyebrow at the woman, sensing her ulterior motives. "There’s no way you’re getting Ariana," she said to the blond, confidence radiating from every pore.
The woman in front of them sighed, then motioned for the others to attack. "Such a pity it has to happen this way," she said, then leaped off the ground and landed behind Ariana, grabbing the petite woman around the neck in a chokehold. Emma immediately unleashed a telepathic blast, felling the blonde and releasing Ariana.
Ariana staggered backward, gasping for air. Emma grabbed her elbow and led her out of the building quickly, knowing the others could take care of themselves. She shoved the archaeologist into the Double Helix, belatedly realizing she had forgotten to put a blind patch on her. Adam was going to kill her for this; or at least chew her out for hours. Neither option was too appealing.
Meanwhile, back in the warehouse, Brennan, Jesse, and Shalimar were doing quite well on their own. Brennan quickly shocked one of the goons, sending him sprawling backwards into the cement wall.
"Ouch," Brennan said, wincing at the amount of pain that guy would be in later. Jesse landed a blow to the back of his goon’s head, knocking the guy unconscious.
On the other side of the warehouse, Shalimar was taking care of the two women. After finally knocking them both out, she turned to the other two and grinned.
"Wasn’t that fun?"
"Mm-hmm," Brennan replied, looking her up and down and taking in her appearance. Her skin was glistening in the light from the fine layer of perspiration that covered her body, and he found himself moving towards her.
"Um, I’m gonna go see how Emma and Ariana are doing," Jesse said, sensing the sudden change in his friends’ demeanor, and made a quick escape out the door, already seeing more than he needed to.
Shalimar and Brennan never heard Jesse, nor did they care too. Their attention was focused strictly on each other. That is, until one of the women stood up behind Shalimar. She seemed to be oblivious to the threat behind her, since she focused all her attention on the man in front of her.
"Shal!" Brennan shouted out and started out at a dead run. Shalimar spun around only to be met with the grinning face of one of the girls she had just taken down, except this time the woman was obviously going to use her power, whatever it might be.
Brennan immediately recognized what kind of mutant the woman was, the smell of chemicals invading his nostrils. He reached Shalimar and pushed her out of the way just as a stream of chemicals burst out of the woman’s hand and hit Brennan. The chemicals began to burn at his skin and he could feel them being absorbed into his body.
Shalimar instantly lashed out at the woman, knocking her unconscious once again. She then turned back to her fallen lover, who was groaning in agony on the ground.
"Jesse! Emma!" she shouted into her comring, fighting back her tears as she kneeled beside Brennan’s body. "Come quick. Brennan’s been injured." She gently ran a hand through his hair and began to cry, clinging to him as they carried Brennan into the Double Helix and sped off toward Sanctuary.
Shalimar stared through the glass that surrounded Adam’s laboratory. She watched as Adam quickly purged the chemicals from Brennan’s system, though not without having to resuscitate him once. Both Jesse and Emma had asked if she was all right, but she hadn’t known how to respond, so she didn’t. They would stand with her in silence for a few minutes, then go back to keeping Ariana company, not knowing what to do to help Shalimar.
When Adam was finished, he came out and told her that she couldn’t see him just yet; that he needed his rest. She acquiesced but continued to stand there, staring as his chest rose and fell with each breath.
Adam had come several hours later to suggest she at least lie down. She stubbornly refused, continuing to stare at him through the glass, her mind whirling with thoughts.
The next day, or at least she assumed it was because Adam had changed clothes, Adam had come into the hallway to find her sitting on the floor, leaning against the opposite wall, still watching. Her eyes were red-rimmed from the tears she hadn’t let anyone else see and stubbornly refused to let fall.
"You can see him now," he said quietly, watching as she stood with a speed he didn’t think possible, even for a New Mutant. She took a seat beside his bed and grasped his hand in hers.
Several hours later, when his eyes finally fluttered open, she was still sitting there, hanging onto his hand for dear life. Mechanically, she alerted Adam that Brennan had awoken. She quietly moved out of the way as Adam ran a few tests, then pronounced Brennan in good health, though he would like to keep the younger man there for observation just a bit longer. Adam had then retreated to the den, where he was having a fascinating conversation with Ariana about the Egyptian religious beliefs.
"Shalimar?" Brennan questioned quietly, his gaze landing on her form in the chair beside him.
"Hi," she said weakly, the tears that she had so valiantly held back beginning to fall.
"Oh, hey. Shhh," he whispered, tugging gently on her arm and leading her up next to him, where she began to sob into his warm embrace. After several minutes of her heart-wrenching sobs and his quiet soothings in response, she pulled away and wiped the remaining tears from her eyes.
"I thought I lost you," she whispered quietly, focusing her eyes anywhere but on his.
"Hey, hey," he said quietly, ducking his head down in a comical attempt to meet her eyes. "You didn’t lose me. I’m still right here."
She nodded in response and they sat there in silence for a few minutes, both absorbing the recent events.
"Brennan," Shalimar said quietly, her eyes finally landing squarely on his.
"Yeah?" he asked.
"What you did back there. . . You took a risk for me. You nearly got yourself killed for it. I. . . I can take care of myself. I knew what she was doing, and I was ready to get out of the way and take her down. And then you. . ."
"I know," Brennan said, deflecting his eyes to his hands, which were clasped over hers. "I. . .don’t really know what I was thinking. I wasn’t, I think."
"Exactly!" she said, pulling one of her hands from his grasp and running it through her hair. His brow wrinkled in confusion to her response, not grasping what she was saying.
"Brennan, when we’re around each other, I stop thinking. I mean, I know that you can take care of yourself, but I still want to protect you. I think you did that yesterday as well. And then, when you were injured, the most I could do was crumple to the ground next to you. If there had been more goons, I. . . I don’t know if I would have bothered to fight them." Shalimar stared evenly at him, feeling all the uncertainty she had been dwelling on overnight disappear, knowing that this was the right decision.
Brennan nodded in understanding, finally seeing where this was going. "This isn’t going to work, is it?" he asked solemnly, still not meeting her gaze.
"No. . . I-I don’t think so."
Brennan sighed quietly, then brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it. With tears shining in his eyes, he asked hopefully, "Still friends?"
She smiled sadly at him and wiped at a few errant tears that were streaking their way down her cheeks and nodded. "Still friends."
She slowly extricated her hand from his grasp and leaned down to gently kiss his forehead. "Get well," she whispered, and then exited the room. She leaned heavily against the adjoining wall, feeling her tears begin to come heavier and heavier, until she could barely restrain a sob. She quickly moved to the sanctuary of her room, where she stayed for several hours, despite the proddings of her curious friends.
Brennan simply lay in the lab, holding his tears back for later and ignoring the questions of his friends, wondering how he and Shalimar would ever become "just friends" again.
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