Part 6

"Emma? Are you all right?"

In the waxing light of the new day that slashed in through the windows, Brennan could make out a pale form lying prone in the middle of a wire cage. He had encountered a single guard on his way in. The minion was currently recovering from a multi-voltage hit to the chest and probably wondering how it was possible to be struck by lightning on a clear night.

Brennan's heart speeded up. Why wasn't she answering? "Emma?"

Her head rose, and he breathed a sigh of relief.

His relief was short-lived, however, when he caught sight of her face. Emma's left cheek was swollen and streaked with dried blood, which trickled from a gash to her temple. The worst were her eyes, filled with lingering pain.

"Shit, Em!"

She flinched at the harsh words, as if they were directed at her. "Sorry," she mumbled through swollen lips.

Brennan frowned. Why was she apologizing? Then it hit him.

"No. No! I'm the one who should be sorry. For not hearing what you were trying to tell me. But it's all right now, Emma. I got you. I'll get you out of here. The others are on their way, you're safe now."

Inwardly, he was cursing at the men who had taken and hurt his friend. If getting Emma out of here had not been his first priority, he would have gone after anyone he could find. And he doubted he'd be able to moderate the amount of electricity he unleashed. Anger fueled the power within, until he thought he could generate enough electricity to light up a dozen metropolises simultaneously.

He looked around for something to cover up her nakedness, and noticed the discarded shirt. He reached for it, then helped her put it back on, buttoning up the top himself when her fingers trembled so violently they couldn't get the buttons to fit.

"Let's get you out of here."

Emma shook her head. "Can't. Governor." She raised a weak hand to indicate the knob in her neck.

Brennan swore again, in silence this time. Lightning danced along his fingers, which itched to take the damn thing out. Except he didn't know what damage it might do to Emma if he sabotaged the subdermal governor with a shot. No, he decided, Adam would have to remove it. He needed the remote control, though, to get Emma home safely.

"Well, well. What an unpleasant surprise."

Brennan's head whipped around at the unexpected voice. He rebuked himself. He'd been so focused on Emma that he failed to obey the first rule of engagement: always check your perimeter.

Emma whimpered at the sight of her tormentor.

Brennan leapt to his feet, making sure he kept himself between Emma and the man to shield her, knowing it wouldn't help much in case the s.o.b. used the subdermal governor's control. Still, it was the best he could do.

With a murderous glare, Brennan brought his hands together. Blue fire danced over his hands.

"Emma, come to me." The stranger's voice was commanding, sure of itself, and Brennan hesitated, suspecting he was missing something but clueless as to what.

Emma got up slowly, and started to walk away from Brennan, toward the door of the cage.


Her face twisted as if with inner turmoil. She didn't look at Brennan; her gaze was focused on the man outside.

"Now, Emma."

"No!" She panted with effort and stopped walking. The man looked surprised.

"You!" He directed his stare at Brennan.

Instantly, Brennan felt cold tentacles wrap themselves around his mind. It was not unlike Emma's gentle excursions into his brain, but much more invasive. He swallowed down nausea at the sudden intrusion.

"Take her out."

Brennan uttered a surprised protest when his body twisted away from the bastard that kidnapped Emma. He watched with alarm how his hand slowly rose, preparing to release the bolt at Emma. Her eyes grew wide. Brennan's muscles quivered as he fought to control them.

All of a sudden, the invisible cord that connected the man with Brennan's mind snapped. The shock was enough for Brennan to lose control of the bolt. It crackled harmlessly across the floor until it exhausted itself.

Emma grunted. Her face was as white as a sheet; tiny beads were popping up on her upper lip and temples. The air around her simmered from the force of her power--the hairs on Brennan's arms rose in response. She was protecting him, but it was costing her. She wouldn't be able to keep it up much longer.

Brennan again generated a fireball. This time, there would be no escape for the kidnapper.

The instant Brennan let go of the power, Emma's shriek echoed through the room. Brennan knew he had made a mistake. The bastard possessed the governor's control, and set it off. Emma collapsed, convulsing in agony.

The bolt hit, and the smell of singed flesh was suddenly strong in the air. Brennan scrunched up his face against the stink. He had never used this much juice on living being before. But damn, did it feel right!

Except, Emma didn't stop screaming. Something was wrong.

Fighting down his panic, Brennan tried to think.

The governor!

Its control must still active and in the 'on'-position.


Brennan was beside the body before it even stopped twitching. Where was the damn thing? He pried open fingers frozen in a death grip. Empty. He dropped the corpse and looked around, searching, cursing that the shadows were so deep inside the building and that his lightning had destroyed his night vision. Behind him, Emma was a heap of writhing, weeping flesh.

Light sparked on some shiny surface. Brennan dove for it, his hand grasping for the small control. Thank God. He didn't bother to get up; he simply flicked the switch to 'off'. Emma's screams faded to whimpers.

He crawled over to her. "I'm sorry, Em." Tears streamed down her face and his eyes grew moist when he saw her in so much pain. "I'm so sorry." He pulled her into his arms and held her while the muscle spasms gradually faded and she grew still, her breathing labored but steady.

* * *

As soon as Jesse and Shalimar arrived, they took her back to the Sanctuary, where Adam quickly removed the subdermal governor before giving Emma a sleeping aid. Sleep, he said, was the best medicine.

Brennan refused to move from her side. She'd never looked lovelier to him, even with the left side of her face swollen and discolored with bruises.

He was dozing in a chair beside her bed when Emma woke at last. Her blue eyes, still dull with tranquilizer residue, nevertheless contemplated him in silence until he felt their weight and looked up to meet them.

"Thank you."

Brennan shook his head. "Don't. Couldn't have done it without you."

A faint smile formed around her lips. "Yeah. I blocked him." Her voice was full of wonder. "I did it. I blocked him."

Brennan grinned. He didn't dare contemplate how close he had come to releasing deadly lightning at her, his friend and teammate. It didn't bear thinking about. "We're a good team, Emma."

Her eyes fluttered shut again as healing sleep claimed her once more. "Yes. A team."