Title: The Time Has Come
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Mutant X characters, and may occasionally include a few of my own as the work progresses. All but the characters in the show are mine.
Feedback: Guys, I really appreciate your feedback and all of the reviews. This is my first fanfic, and it's been interesting to see it unfold. I hope you guys enjoy it. I really look forward to your comments. Thank you Ambrosia, Megara, Chic, Cand, and the rest of you for reading it and taking the time to share your thoughts on it. I hope you guys aren't disappointed with the ending. : )

Chapter 14: The Gift

                Giving their young friend time to heal, Mutant X diligently left Emma and Jesse alone together in the lab. Brennan went to beat up virtual Genomax agents to help deal with his new feelings towards both Emma and Jesse. Shalimar promised to help him, and so she accompanied the dark haired man whose loyalty and strength had long since attracted her. Adam talked with Gerald in the confines of his office, explaining the underground and their goals to help the children of Genomax. Understanding the guilt his younger colleague immersed himself in over Emma's close call, Adam shared his experiences with Genomax and his own idealistic youthful outlook and mistakes. Unable to excuse his own arrogance in light of placing a once highly valued friend and foster sister in danger, Gerald resolved to make up for his crimes. Assessing the situation, he knew Emma was in a good place, with friends, who cared for her deeply. While their struggles with Genomax and amoral New Mutants often placed her in danger, Gerald recognized that she fought with capable companions who would protect her with their own lives if necessary. In light of this, there was nothing more he could offer her. He could not offer protection and it was obvious she had lost all faith and trust in him, so he decided to leave. A difficult decision, and admittedly a selfish one, Gerald volunteered to accompany Shalimar and Brennan to the grocery store later that day. Preparing to leave with them, he went in search of Emma for one last time.

                Walking into the lab, Gerald smiled at Emma's lighted face as Jesse placed a necklace around her neck. Finished with the clasp, Jesse smiled as Emma turned around and kissed him thoroughly on the lips. Pulling back from the softness of Jesse's lips, Emma felt her throat constrict with emotions threatening to take her over.

                "Thank you Jesse, thank you for being with me then, now and always. I love you." Emma whispered, her joy surpassed in the knowledge that one of her childhood dreams came true. When she later allowed herself to think on those years she spent growing up with her foster family, she realized that in Jesse two of her dreams had come true. He at once was the best friend and confidant she needed and the true love she had longed for. Wiping away a shining tear before it could fall, Jesse looked deep into Emma's eyes and smiled. Overwhelmed with the feelings inside his chest that made it difficult to speak, he just mouthed "I love you" and leaned in to kiss her once again.

                Stepping back slightly to stand in the doorway, Gerald watched the scene before him entranced by the twinkles in the eyes of the lovers. Images of a lonely girl wishing for family, for love, for someone to want her rushed by him. Emma's deepest desires had been fulfilled, and he couldn't bring himself to interrupt her now. Looking at the blonde man kissing her, Gerald reflected on all he had observed and learned about Jesse in the short time he'd been there. His concern for Emma was genuine, and his love for her obvious. From snatches of Brennan and Shalimar's conversation Gerald had discovered that the two had only recently come together. Originally the young man had seen another New Mutant named Amanda. When she met a senseless death, Emma's response to him had been so harsh she seemed unsympathetic, so much of his grief had she felt. Grimacing, Gerald once again filled with grief. The initial mutation in her genes caused the effects of his drug to kick in. The sudden change must have been overwhelming for her after finally gaining some measure of control over her telempathic abilities. After being betrayed by someone she couldn't connect with, Emma resolved to close herself off to everyone. Yet somehow this broken hearted, understanding, and caring man had opened up to her and maintained a connection with her despite her resolve. It amazed Gerald to know that this often quiet, yet extremely powerful young man could so affect Emma when her defenses were at their strongest. Looking at the two now hugging each other, Gerald took it as another sign that they were meant for each other; if only in this time and this place.

                Turning around, Gerald walked out of the lab for the last time. Only a hint of contentment and sadness remained in his wake. Regrouping with Brennan and Shalimar, he joined them on their drive to a distant grocery store to stock up on much needed supplies. As the two New Mutants walked into the store and split up, Gerald turned to the side and began heading down an unknown street. Walking quickly, Gerald looked behind him one last time as he moved to gain distance from the members of Mutant X before they realized he'd left. Focusing on the things he could do to account for his sins, Gerald looked both ways before crossing 8th Avenue, not seeing the speeding taxi turning around the corner. With a thud, Gerald hit the car window of the taxi before rolling off onto the hard cement. Screams and yells were heard as the thirty-three year old looked up, thinking of his younger years with the poor but devoted parents and the sad but full of love Emma. As a tear rolled down his cheek, Gerald sighed one last time before death claimed him.

                Hearing the screams emanating from several blocks down the street, Shalimar's ears perked up as she looked around her. Spotting Brennan but not seeing Gerald, the feral immediately sensed something was wrong. Running out of the store, she ran at break neck speed down the street in time to see a red-faced taxi driver staring at the now deceased scientist identified as the Gerald Emma had known as a child. Stopping in her shock at the tear streaked face of the man dead on the cold cement road, Shalimar didn't move again until Brennan came up behind her and pulled her into a hug. Confused and sad, the blonde didn't protest as Brennan contacted Adam to report the news. Hearing his upset voice, they did as he requested, making sure the body was taken care of so later he could be buried next to his parents. Holding onto each other, neither envied Adam's current position.

                Walking into the lab, Adam turned sad eyes upon Emma and Jesse's happy faces. Looking at Adam's sad face, Emma quickly glanced at Jesse before once again looking at Adam.

                "Adam, what's wrong?" The tone in Emma's voice belied her concern and Jesse just held her close. Looking from Emma to Jesse, Adam sighed. Both understood then that something very serious had happened. "What happened, Adam?" Emma's voice became urgent.

                "There was an accident while Brennan, Shalimar and Gerald went to the grocery store. Gerald was hit head on by a speeding taxi cab. He was killed almost instantly." Having spoken the words, Adam walked over to the nearest chair and sat down roughly. Clinging to Jesse, Emma slumped. Holding onto her, Jesse looked at the young woman who for so long and for so many people had been strong. Concerned that this was more than she could take, Jesse lifted Emma up and gently carried her to his bedroom. Laying her down in his bed, he joined her and hugged her close to his body. Keeping watch, Jesse denied himself sleep as he focused on her breathing. Seeing her eyelids close fully, he saw the tear fall before sleep claimed her. Within minutes rapid eye movement caught his attention and before long he made a silent wish with his heart, Let me be in your dreams Emma. Take my strength, take my love, take all of me.

CHILDHOOD DREAMS

                "Jerry! Jerry!" Emma screamed with delight, happy to see her foster brother back from college. Running up, Emma hugged him tightly. Smiling down at his dark haired sister in spirit, Jerry smiled. One day he would create something to make her dreams come true, but for now he was content to settle for the laughter and joy that filled their time together.

                "Come on Emma, dearest, we have some catching up to do." Gerald walked Emma over to his car and handed her the present he'd bought for her during his trip overseas. Giggling, Emma took the gift eagerly and led Jerry inside the house. Opening the gift, Emma screamed in delight at the beautiful hand painted doll Jerry had picked out for her. Smiling, the two siblings began sharing their adventures in and out of school. Still young, Emma was just beginning to get in trouble. Her new friend, Michelle, also special like her, was full of new ideas and ways to get out of doing things. Gently reprimanding Emma for the many misadventures his parents had related to him, Jerry couldn't quite bring himself to come down hard on his foster sister. The light in her eyes took away any resolve he'd had earlier on the drive home. Now, they instead spent their time together catching up and playing new and wonderful fantasy games together.

                These times remained close to both Emma and Jerry's hearts. They were truly happy then, able to let down their defenses and be themselves. He found that she loved him regardless of his grades or career goals, and she discovered again and again how much he wanted to be with her during his time home. As special as these moments were for the two of them, they both cherished each as if they were their lasts. Making up games to play, Emma shared her desire to do wondrous things, to help people. She even related her most precious dream, the dream of finding true love with someone who was special, kind, strong, and of course! handsome. Laughing at each secret revealed, Jerry thoroughly enjoyed his sister's lust for life, and the hopes and dreams she maintained for the future. He shared his concerns over his own future, how he needed more than anything to make his family proud of him. Smiling up at her sometimes awkward but always kind older brother, Emma just smiled and nodded as if she contained a special knowledge that he didn't. Leaning in, she giggled and whispered. "You are the pride of this family."

ADULT DREAMS

                Looking at the tired but quickly recuperating Emma, Jesse smiled. His relief at her now stable state was evident, even if Emma hadn't been a telempath. Leaning down and hugging the beautiful young woman who possessed his heart, Jesse whispered in her ear "I have something for you." Curious, Emma just smiled and looked at Jesse expectantly. She imagined he would soon follow his statement with a suggestive comment, in true Jesse style, but was pleasantly disappointed when instead he reached down and pulled a box out of his pocket. Looking at it, Emma wondered what it could contain. Glancing up into his eyes she saw no hint there other than a bright twinkle. The crooked smile plastered on his face made her laugh.

                "What is it?" She asked, curiosity getting the best of her. Moving his left hand to the box held by his right, Jesse slowly lifted the top of the box upwards. In the center of the box, shining in all of its glory was a beautiful platinum necklace with a gorgeous tear shaped aquamarine stone hanging from it. "Aaahhh," Emma gasped, her breath taken away by the beauty of the simple but elegant necklace.

                "Emma, I have loved you for a long time now. You're beauty and endless kindness first caught my attention, but your quiet strength and devotion to those you love and those who are innocent stole my heart. I loved you before I found out about the condition that threatened your life, I have loved you through it, and I love you now that it has passed even more. I've wanted to give this to you for a while now. The clear blue of the stone reminds me of the color of your eyes and the purity of your soul." Jesse spoke softly, reaching over to gently take the necklace out of the box. Turning Emma around to carefully place the necklace on her slender neck, neither heard the lab door open. "Please wear this, and know that I, like this necklace, will always be with you for as long as you want me."

                Walking into the lab, Gerald smiled at Emma's lighted face as Jesse placed a necklace around her neck. Finished with the clasp, Jesse smiled as Emma turned around and kissed him thoroughly on the lips. Pulling back from the softness of Jesse's lips, Emma felt her throat constrict with emotions threatening to take her over.

                "Thank you Jesse, thank you for being with me then, now and always. I love you." Emma whispered, her joy surpassed in the knowledge that two of her childhood dreams had come true: Jesse was at once the best friend and confidant she needed and the true love she had longed for. Wiping away a shining tear before it could fall, Jesse looked deep into Emma's eyes and smiled. Overwhelmed with the feelings inside his chest that made it difficult to speak, he just mouthed "I love you" and leaned in to kiss her once again.

                Stepping back slightly to stand in the doorway, Gerald watched the scene before him entranced by the twinkles in the eyes of the lovers. Turning around, Gerald walked out of the lab for the last time. Only a hint of contentment and sadness remained in his wake, drifting slowly towards the enraptured couple. In her happiness, Emma did not pick up on the feelings that moved around her now, trying to entice her senses to acknowledge them. Instead, she focused on the man before her and the limitless love he poured into her.

WAKING DREAMS

                Waking up, Emma yawned before turning to look into Jesse's concerned blue eyes. Smiling, Emma whispered "It's okay" and began sharing her dreams with him. Content and happy, she shared everything with Jesse. Making sure Jesse understood that Emma had been too focused on him to pick up Jerry's presence and feelings, she hugged him when she sensed that he was blaming himself for the man's death. Almost shaking him to pull him out of it, she shared the most wonderful secret she possessed.

                "Thank you Jesse. You're my strength, my heart and soul. You enable me to control my powers like have never been able to before. I no longer pick up feelings and emotions randomly, from every corner of the room, building, or two mile block. Instead, I pick up emotions when I try too, when I need too. You fill me with and give me this strength, thank you." Hugging Jesse, she poured into him relief... joy... love... and in that moment he understood the gift his love for her gave her, the gift of control, the gift of a normal life, the gift of being able to help people without suffering. Suddenly Jesse smiled, and Emma breathed a final sigh of contentment.

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 : ) THE END : )

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