Spoilers: "A Breed Apart;" "Past as Prologue" (slight)
Note: Sequel to Shift in Emotion. You need to read Shift in Emotion first in order to understand this!
Author’s Note: And here I thought I was done writing for Mutant X. This is probably my last piece for this fandom.
Dedication: To all the Mutant X fans out there.
Summary: Brennan and Shalimar tried the romantic relationship, and it had devastating effects. But can they go back to being "just friends?"
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The gentle knocking roused Shalimar from her thoughts, forcing her to look up toward her door. Standing in the frame was the only girl she had been able to label "best friend," Emma.
"Hey," Shalimar said lightly, motioning for Emma to come in. She quickly blinked back the tears that had been lingering on the surface, reminding herself that it had been almost two weeks since her and Brennan had broken up. She should be over it by now, just like she had been with all of her other relationships.
What she wasn’t willing to admit to herself was that her relationship with Brennan hadn’t been the same as the ones before. There was more to it than just sex, sex, and more sex. There were real emotions there. Emotions she’d rather not confront.
"Hey," Emma replied in kind, coming to sit down next to Shalimar on her bed. The cushy mattress sank with the added weight, and new wrinkles were formed in the leopard-print blanket.
The two sat in companionable silence for a few minutes, both relishing the quiet. Their latest mission had brought them in contact with a mutant that could emit a high-pitched shriek. Needless to say, the mutant liked to use it quite often to get people to leave him alone. Emma was almost positive her hearing was permanently damaged.
She glanced over at her friend and immediately noticed the slight moisture marring her cheeks. "Are you all right?" Emma asked, gazing in concern at Shalimar.
"Fine," Shalimar said off-handedly, brushing the tears away from her cheeks with one hand.
"Bullshit," Emma said, glaring at Shalimar, daring her to say she was simply "fine" again.
"Heh. Someone’s putting their backbone to good use. . ." Shalimar quipped. Emma just rolled her eyes at the comment.
"Listen, Shal, you’re gonna have to talk about it sooner or later. Sooner would be preferable, but I can deal with later too. I’m here, okay?" Emma said quietly, grasping Shalimar’s hand in her own, attempting to provide a small amount of comfort to her hurting friend.
"I know. I just. . . I’m not ready yet, okay?" Shalimar said, looking at Emma, tears shining in her eyes.
"I understand," Emma replied. Just then, both their comrings beeped and Adam’s voice could be heard.
"I need everyone to come to the lab for auditory tests. After your recent encounter, I think it might be safe to say there might be some hearing damage."
"We’ll be right there," Emma said into her silver band, the notches of her DNA signature glinting in the light.
Shalimar sighed and stood up, stretching languidly. "Maybe he can get the ringing in my ears to stop," she commented, leading the way out the door.
"Yeah, same here. It’s getting annoying. . ." Emma said, her voice fading down the hallway as they headed to the medical lab.
When the door quietly swooshed open to admit the two women, Adam and the two guys were already waiting for them. The starkly lit room caused both of them to blink a little to adjust. Jesse was currently sitting on one of the beds, a device of some sort held up to his ear by Adam.
"Y’know, I haven’t had any real problems. Why do I have to do this?" Jesse asked, flinching when Adam stuck the instrument into his other ear.
"Because, you were exposed as well. There might be long-term damage that hasn’t made itself known yet. Besides, it’s always better to be safe than sorry," Adam explained patiently to Jesse, a trace of humor entering his voice.
Shalimar glanced around the room, trying to keep her eyes off of Brennan. He, on the other hand, made no such attempts, his eyes landing on Shalimar the instant she walked into the room. He now found himself unable to remove his gaze from her petite frame.
Shalimar was well aware of his scrutiny, and tried not to show how uncomfortable she was with it. She hazarded a glance over at him, and immediately she noticed the hungry look that briefly clouded his eyes. She gulped audibly, remembering how often he had looked at her like that, and what they had ended up doing afterwards.
But they couldn’t do that anymore. It was too risky. They had both said so themselves. So why was it so hard to get over each other?
The rest of the check-up flew by for both them, each too wrapped up in their thoughts to really pay much attention to what was happening around them. Adam had decided that no real long-term damage would be present, but to be sure he gave them all some pills to take every night for two weeks.
Upon the others’ exit, Adam gently grabbed Emma’s elbow and pulled her back into the lab. He glanced at the retreating figures, each going their own way, then leveled his gaze on Emma.
"How are they?" he questioned, his fatherly concern coming through in every word.
"I don’t know. They’re. . .surviving. They both refuse to admit what they really feel toward each other. It’ll be a while before they’re over it," Emma said, glancing down at the ground. She didn’t feel comfortable having to give reports on how her friends were feeling, and it showed in the rigidity of her slender frame.
Adam glanced down as well, sorrow overcoming him at his children’s misery. He gently let go of Emma’s elbow and turned away, back to his studies. Emma stared after him for a minute, then turned to follow the others out.
Brennan rolled over and sighed. The numbers on his alarm clock glared an annoying 2:16. He hadn’t been able to sleep yet, despite having worked out for over an hour earlier. He sat up and stretched, making the decision to run a few laps and hopefully tire himself out.
He quietly closed his door, not wanting to disturb the others, and began his run. After one lap he began to feel the calming that came with running, and he relished it. He increased his speed, forcing his body to move harder and faster.
He could feel his muscles burning, his lungs desperately grabbing for air with each movement. On his twentieth lap he was forced to stop outside of the bedrooms, his arms flailing out slightly from the exhaustive run. He bent over, trying to catch his breath. It was then that he noticed he wasn’t alone.
He glanced up, sweat dripping off of his brow and trickling down his whole body. Shalimar stood before him, wearing a form-fitting red tank top and black pajama pants. Brennan stood up fully, his eyes sweeping over her, taking in her appearance.
Shalimar did the same, slowly moving her gaze over his bare, sweaty chest to his eyes. Both of their eyes had darkened with desire, the want they had been bottling up for the past two weeks spilling over, overtaking both of them.
She suddenly became enraptured with a drop of sweat on his neck. Her eyes followed its slow journey down his neck and onto the hard plane of his chest. She moved closer, fascinated by the little droplet. His already heavy breathing became heavier as she approached. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he knew this was wrong, but he wasn’t listening to that part of his mind at the moment. He was listening to the louder, more insistent one that told him that she was there; that she was real, not a figment of his dreams. And he wanted nothing more but to feel her skin again.
He lifted a hand and let the back of it fall gently on her cheek. She closed her eyes and purred slightly, her feral side taking over. Both of them were breathing deeply now, and for one torrid second their eyes met. Then, their lips crashed together, all the passion and longing came through in that one kiss. He pulled her closer and wrapped his arms around her waist. She snaked one arm around him to cradle the back of his head, her fingers lightly dancing in the short hairs there, pulling him closer to her.
The need for oxygen finally overwhelmed them, and the kiss was broken. She tilted her head to the side, and he accepted the invitation, gently kissing down the soft curve of her neck. She gasped lightly, relishing in the feelings he was eliciting in her.
It was then that she realized what they were doing. She pulled away, slowly, and felt the tears rise in her eyes.
"W-we can’t," she said brokenly, the tears overflowing and spilling onto her cheeks.
"I know," he whispered hoarsely, tears coming to his eyes as well. They gently leaned their foreheads together and allowed their tears to mingle for a few moments. Then, without a word, she stepped back and headed back to her room, leaving him standing there in the hallway, staring after her.
He chuckled lightly, then headed back into his room, knowing full well that he wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight.
Shalimar got back into her bed and curled up in the fetal position beneath the covers. She began to sob quietly, being careful not to alert anyone else in the compound. She wrapped the blanket around her, forming a tight ball at the head of the bed.
She now understood what it was she felt toward Brennan. She knew that, while it hurt now, she could recover from this. It would take time, but it would happen. Her relationship with him wasn’t like any of her previous relationships. She had started to fall for him, and now she’d have to ride the wave of emotions, as it were, before she could fully get over him.
She remained that way for the rest of the night, crying quietly. In the morning, she got up and joined the others for breakfast. She was determined to bring things back to normal, and, from one of the glances she dared to sneak at him, he was too.
They could go back to being just friends, though it would take some work. In the end, though, the benefits would outweigh any of the pain the journey had caused.
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