Disclaimer: The usual applies...not mine, not making any money.

A/N: I've been trying to decide on an appropriate plot bunny for my next MX fic and inspiration finally struck after reading Adalanta's fic 'The Thoughts Left Behind'. Special thanks goes out to her for giving me the go-ahead for this story, even knowing that it might overlap with her own.


Emma felt drained, her headache pounded in perfect synchronization with the gentle hum of the Double Helix's engines. Keeping her mind totally open to everything and anything for the majority of the day had proven to be more tiring than maintaining her strictly disciplined mental walls. Now that Captain Morrison and the Phased Vibrational Generator were safe, Emma wanted nothing more than to situate herself in a nice quiet, dark corner and withdrawal into her own mind to work on rebuilding her crumbling mental barriers. There was only one thing preventing her from doing just that.

Emma cast a nervous glance towards Jesse. They all had known that phasing the Helix had been hard on him, both mentally and physically, and it would be only a matter of time before the exertion caught up with him. After safely returning Morrison and the PVG, Shalimar had noticed how Jesse had been having obvious trouble keeping his heavy eyelids open and how his concentration had dropped to an all-time low, so she'd offered to take over his duties of monitoring the Helix's computer systems. The fact that Jesse had readily relinquished those duties, gave testament to his exhaustion. Jesse had switched seats with Shalimar and had fallen asleep in a matter of seconds.

Emma inhaled deeply and released a long, slow, steady breath. Jesse hadn't been the only one to overdue it that day. Though she had long suspected that she had had the ability, Emma had never before attempted to use her psionic powers to indiscriminately broadcast anything. At the time, it had seemed like the only option available to her. The rebels had been closing in on their position and there was no way she and Jesse could have defeated them on their own. Emma had taken only a split second to decide what to broadcast and warn Jesse before unleashing the full force of her powers.

Looking back on the situation, Emma was still unable to think of another resolution, but the instant she'd realized the effect it had had on Jesse, she'd wished she could have taken the action back, or at the very least, protected him in some way. When she saw him sprawled out on the ground at her feet, the force of her psionic blast having struck him harder than any physical blow could have, she easily recognized the fear radiating from his liquid blue eyes. But what did he fear? Was it the images and emotions that had assaulted his mind's eye or was it...her?

There had been no time to attempt to smooth things over with Jesse. Whatever the true source of the fear had been, it would have taken far too much time to confront, let alone resolve. Once again, Emma had been faced with a hard decision and, having no time to debate the issues of right and wrong, had acted out of need and instinct. With a simple touch to the side of Jesse's head, Emma had delved into his mind, located the overwhelming fear, and blocked it. She'd wrapped it neatly in a mental 'box' and tucked it into the far recesses of her friend's mind.

The panic in Jesse's eyes had instantly changed to confusion. "Don't what?" he'd asked, eyes still bright with unshed tears and breath still coming in labored gasps. As if instinctively knowing he would get no answer, he'd returned to his work repairing the Helix.

Emma had been weakened as a result of using her powers for the long-range broadcast. The box she had created in Jesse's mind was tenuous at best, and she'd found that she needed to constantly reinforce it. Even as he slept in the chair beside her, Jesse's face contorted and his muscles twitched as his subconscious mind battled the flimsy barrier in an attempt to reclaim the lost memories.

A small moan escaped Jesse's lips as the barrier was weakened enough to allow a sliver of memory to pass. Shalimar's keen feral hearing picked up on the minute sound and she was at the young man's side in an instant.

"Jesse?" she called, a near tangible concern emanating from her as she placed a gentle hand on his stubble-covered cheek. Jesse moaned again and leaned into the welcome touch, but did not wake. Shalimar looked to Emma, a silent plea evident in her soft brown eyes.

Emma understood what the other woman wanted, but she already knew what was wrong with their friend so probing his mind for the answers was unnecessary. "He's fine, Shal." The lie was so smooth and delivered with such conviction that Emma was tempted to allow herself to believe it. "He's just exhausted and..."

Before Emma could finish the explanation, Jesse heaved a great breath, filling his lungs, and massed. Beneath the red marbled effect, indicative of his massed state, the women could see the white-knuckled grip Jesse had on the arms of the chair and the tightly closed eyes and furrowed brow. Shalimar knew the reaction well.

"What's going on?" the feral demanded.

"It's nothing," Emma replied with a slight waver to her voice. "He's just dreaming."

"No he's not," Shalimar proclaimed, her voice rising. "He's scared." She shook his shoulder but Jesse didn't wake.

"It's just a nightmare, Shal. Everyone is scared of nightmares," Emma reasoned. "I'll take care of it."

"It's not as simple as that and you know it!" Shalimar snapped. "He's scared - terrified - of something. I haven't seen him this bad in years." She continued the gentle coaxing with her voice and the soft touches in an attempt to ease her friend out whatever world the nightmare had transported him to. Nothing she did seemed to be working.

"What's going on? Is Jesse alright?" Brennan questioned, momentarily turning his attention away from piloting the Helix.

"He's fine!" Shalimar and Emma spoke at once.

"Well, which is it?" Brennan shouted, concern coloring his voice. "We've still got about twenty minutes until we reach Sanctuary."

Emma shot up from her chair, knelt down in front of Jesse, and placed a hand on each side of his head. She closed her eyes in concentration until a small psionic bubble formed. When her eyes snapped open, the bubble launched towards Jesse and disappeared into his forehead. Almost instantly, the young molecular relaxed and returned to normal density.

"I said I would take care of it." Emma's voice was cold. She returned to her own chair, leaned her head back, and closed her eyes. She didn't see Shalimar's eyes flash or hear her deep, throaty growl.

The remainder of the journey back to Sanctuary passed in tense silence. Shalimar had remained at Jesse's side and had maintained some sort of physical contact with him until she'd finally been forced to return to her own station in order to assist with the landing procedures. Neither Emma nor Jesse had moved. While Jesse's inactivity was born of complete physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, Emma had been forced to direct all of her waning strength towards reinforcing the blocks she had implanted in Jesse's mind.

When the Helix was secured in Sanctuary's hanger, Emma slowly extracted herself from Jesse's mind, giving him a slight mental nudge on the way out to wake him.

"What? Are we home already?" Jesse's tired, raspy voice questioned.

"Yeah, Jess, we're home," Shalimar answered in an amazingly gentle tone. "Are you okay? You had us worried with that nightmare."

Confusion marred his features. "I'm fine. I don't...don't remember any..." The rest of his words were lost as his eyelids drooped and his body attempted to return to sleep.

"Hold on, Jesse." Brennan shook the younger man's shoulder. "I know you're tired, but let's get you to your own bed before you conk out on us again. Okay?"

"Hummm? Uh, yeah..." came the groggy response. With a substantial amount of help from Shalimar, Jesse stepped out of the Helix.

Brennan didn't miss the scathing glare that passed from Shalimar to Emma or the fact that Emma appeared to tired to care. "Come on, Emma." He helped the unresisting woman to stand and led her into Sanctuary.