Nightmares of Power
Disclaimer:All of the characters in this story belong to whoever owns "Mutant X," and, unfortunately, that's not me. Too bad.
Author's Note:This story takes place immediately after the events in "Power Play," specifically that night after everyone has gone to sleep. It will probably only be two to four chapters long. I'm not quite sure since I haven't finished writing it yet. I've only seen a couple of episodes of the show, and I am now officially hooked. This is my first Mutant X story, so any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. Please, take the time to leave a review, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emma bolted upright in her bed, gasping, the mental scream of terror still echoing through her mind. Grasping her head with both hands, she tried to center herself, isolate herself from the barrage of emotions that swirled about her like a tornado. After a few long seconds, she managed to regain her control, creating a thick mental wall to surround her mind, protecting it from other's thoughts and emotions.
Slowly, she thinned one section of the mental wall, just enough for her to slip out a thin tendril of thought. Someone nearby was terrified, she knew that for sure. But who?
Another mental scream – this one of agony – greeted her probe. This time the mental signature was identifiable, its normal even tone sharp and jagged.
Jesse!she shouted in her mind. With a small cry of alarm, she jumped out of bed, rushing the dozen feet to his bedroom. Bursting through the door, she quickly spotted his writhing figure on the bed, tangled up in his bed sheets, wrestling with them wildly. Barely pausing to flip on the light, she hurried to his side, anxious to help in whatever way possible.
For a split second, she thought he was awake, just disorientated, but as she stepped closer, she realized that he was asleep, caught in the tearing claws of a vicious nightmare. Writhing on the bed, agonized cries escaping his pinched, pale lips, he was completely unresponsive to her words.
"Jesse! Wake up! It's just a nightmare, Jess, wake up! Please!" When her words had no effect on him, she reached out to touch his restless head, flinching at the cool dampness of his skin, frigid beneath a thick coat of sweat. Her eyes widened in fear at the physical symptoms of shock, now noticing how his entire frame shook violently with shudders.
I've got to do something now, or this could get really bad,she thought, heart pounding painfully against her ribs, threatening to burst through her chest.
She closed her eyes in concentration and opened her mind to his, sending out several probes that practically knocked down the paper-thin walls that protected his mind. Once inside, she was all but overwhelmed by Jesse's panicked, frantic thoughts.
Fading,his mind shrieked, his words tinged in red for terror with a tinge of blue for the beginnings of asphyxia. Can't breathe! No! Can't…control. It hurts! Oh, god, it hurts! What's happening to me?! Another mental scream of anguish – Help me! Please! HELP! And then an agonizing tide of pain rolled over her and she couldn't take it anymore, she was drowning, it hurt, it hurt…
She pulled out so abruptly from Jesse's mind that she saw him physically convulse and cry out at the fierce stinging sensation, like a rubber band that has snapped. She froze for a moment, panting and blinking, all of her energy going to block out her friend's tumultuous thoughts and feelings. She'd never encountered a mind full of such agony and fear that she had been unable to remain inside for such a short span of time – literally a few seconds. But what could have caused…?
Oh, god. He's reliving today's mission to Twin Creeks!She watched in horror as Jesse began to partially phase in and out, first his right arm becoming intangible, then, as it returned to normal, his right leg phased out.
"Adam!" she cried into her comm-ring. "Adam, wake up!"
"Emma?" a groggy voice replied after a brief (yet all-too-long) pause. "What's wrong?"
"I'm in Jesse's room. He's completely out of control, phasing in and out! Get in here quick!"
"I'm on my way."
She barely registered the response, focusing instead on her shuddering, writhing teammate. He's panicking, loosing control. If I can't get him to wake up and regain control, he could phase out completely, just like he nearly did earlier today at the Twin Creeks power plant.
As Jesse's phasing grew even more erratic, Emma knew she couldn't afford to wait any longer. She took a deep breath and then opened her mind to his once again, this time maintaining a thin shield between them to lessen the overwhelming emotions that grasped at her. One moment, she was sitting at his bedside, the next, she was kneeling next to him on the hard, cold cement floor of the power plant. His fully phased form curled in on itself in agony, his fists tightly clenched, his body convulsing wildly. Even though she knew it was just a memory, she couldn't suppress the fear that welled up inside her, flowing through her veins like ice water.
"Jesse!" she spoke aloud in his mind, as desperate to contact him now as she had been just hours before during the battle. "Jesse, look at me. Open your eyes and look at me!"
Her words fell on deaf ears. Jesse was so trapped in the moment that he was unable to hear her.
"Jesse, please! Listen to me!" she pleaded. "It's not real, Jess! This is just a dream, a memory from before! This isn't happening! You've got to wake up!"
Finally, the words began to reach him, and he opened wide, terrified blue eyes, still phased, gripping his chest in pain and rolling from side to side on the ground.
"That's it, Jesse! Look at me. Concentrate! This isn't real. None of this is real! You have to wake up!"
He looked up at her, gasping for breath that would not come from lungs that had temporarily disappeared. Help…me! she heard, a faint whisper in her mind, and saw his lips move, trying in vain to speak. Hurts…tired…can't… The words grew fainter even as he thought them, as if his mind were already pulling away, fading into nothing.
"Yes, you can! You can do it! Just take my hand."
No…too…tired. Sorry…Emma.His eyes slid shut, and she knew deep in her heart that she was loosing him.
"I won't let you die!" she screamed at him. Ruthlessly, she threw away her mental shield and pushed harder into his mind, deeper than she'd ever been before, forcefully making him believe that his right hand had become tangible. As his hand returned to normal, she grasped it and squeezed as hard as she could, enough to cause pain. When Jesse's unfocused blue eyes flew open in surprise, she said firmly, "Do you feel that?" She squeezed harder. "That didn't happen before, did it? If this is real, how could that happen?"
His eyes cleared a bit, focusing slightly, and he seemed to fight even harder than before to turn tangible – which was exactly what she did not want him to do. It would use up what little energy he had left.
"No, Jesse! Don't fight! It's not real! You don't have to fight anything! Just take my hand and hold tight."
He clung to her hand as she began to pull him up off of the freezing floor; at the same time, she pushed further into his mind, making his body materialize as they moved upwards. Finally, he was standing, swaying dangerously, and she grabbed one of his arms and placed it over her shoulder so he could lean against her. She looked deeply into his eyes and, seeing the pain and fear in their depths, placed her right hand on his left cheek, concentrated…
And came back into herself just in time to see Jesse's eyes snap open, look into her own for a second, and then roll up into his head, his shuddering body collapsing limply on the bed. Emma watched with bleary eyes as Adam quickly wrapped Jesse's damp, shivering body in a couple of warm blankets, and then hurried out of the room with his unconscious, yet fully tangible, form in his arms. Emma followed only a few seconds later.