Spoilers: Shock of The New, I Scream the Body Electric
Adam was ready. He had been waiting in the hangar in dreadful anticipation after Brennan contacted him on their way back to Sanctuary and though very, very relieved that they had found Jesse, he was also very, very worried. Just as soon as the Helix touched the ground, he pushed the stretcher he'd brought with him forward.
Brennan immediately transferred Jesse into his arms, and Adam gently lowered the unconscious molecular onto the stretcher.
"Did you get anything from the DNA markers?" Brennan asked urgently as he helped Adam push the stretcher in. The older man was giving Jesse a once-over inspection; complexion pasty, heart rate dangerously slow, the skin clammy to the touch.
"No," Adam replied, tense. "I've only had time to complete the genetic mapping for her genome, and there was nothing much I could get out of it in such a short time." His forehead furrowed in consternation and anxiety; then Brennan finally realized that Adam was more worried that he wouldn't be able to do anything to save Jesse.
"Don't worry," Brennan reassured him as they wheeled Jesse into the medical. He gestured for Adam to look behind. Adam turned. "We've got something for you."
Shalimar was lugging an unconscious woman over her shoulder, with Emma close behind her. The feral dropped Elaine none too gently onto the floor, not even bothering to lay her down in a chair. Wordlessly she marched toward the locked cabinet in the far corner of the room where they kept all the special equipment. With just one hard pull, she pried it open. After rummaging in it for a few seconds, she found what she was looking for.
She marched back toward the slumped woman and viciously grabbed a fistful of glossy black hair, exposing the smooth skin of Elaine's slender neck. Unfeelingly, Shalimar squeezed the trigger and the roar of the subdermal governor rattled through the entire room. Emma winced.
Adam pretended he didn't see that. "You brought the mutant back with you?" He exclaimed, stunned.
"Uh, yeah." The elemental gathered Jesse up and lifted him onto the bio-bed. "Don't worry. We made sure she was unconscious the whole time. Besides Jesse kicked her ass pretty good back there. Doubt she'll remember much about anything when she comes to."
Stunned, Adam shook his head. "You're going to tell me everything that happened," he ordered. "When this is all over."
Emma went to stand at the foot of the bed and laid a hand on Jesse's forehead. "He feels cold." Adam draped a blanket over his prone body and then started the scanner running.
"This doesn't look good. The cancer's spread to his liver and spleen. And it's still growing," Adam said seriously as he studied the image on the screen.
"No wonder he was in so much pain." Brennan shook his head. He shot a glance at Elaine, who was still slumped unconscious on the floor. Just then a low groan sent Shalimar racing to the bed.
"Jess!" Blue eyes flickered open slowly, and soon, they were darting feverishly from familiar face to another, before finally resting on Adam's. Then they saw it. A weak smile.
"Jesse." In a rare gesture of affection, Adam traced his fingers along Jesse's temple and massaged it gently, his face much brighter than it had been the night before when Jesse was still missing. "How are you feeling?"
"Fi-" Jesse gasped suddenly as he felt the stabs of pain return; he bucked violently in the bed in a silent scream.
Brennan jumped forward and tried to hold him down as his friend writhed for relief that was never going to come.
Jesse's face was a mask of pain. He tried to hide it, but the moan he'd tried to suppress finally slipped its way past his parched lips. Hot, liquid fire scorched his insides, and Jesse had never felt this weak in his whole entire life; he didn't even have the strength to bring his knees up to his chest to relieve his agony. He could only grip Shalimar's hand as he fought tears of pain from springing to his eyes. "It's eating me, Adam. . ."
Shalimar's heart wrenched in sympathy. Her eyes watered. She felt a sudden flood of anger surge through her. Before anyone could stop her, she let go of Jesse's hand and kicked Elaine hard in the ribs.
"Get up," she hissed in anger.
Elaine only looked up at her blankly, dry crusted blood caking on the left side of her face. She sniffed once through her visibly broken nose and looked away, but not before she let Shalimar caught her smirk.
"Get up!!!" Shalimar screamed, kicking her again, this time sending her sprawling across the floor. Elaine propped her elbows against the floor, her long black hair hanging down, concealing her face. When she turned to face Shalimar again, she was grinning savagely, her green eyes dancing with glee.
Jesse whimpered as he tried in vain to ride out the pain, a single tear sliding down his temple in a slow trickle.
Elaine began to laugh. A slow giggle at first, then it escalated to a maniacal cackling that sent chills running down Shalimar's spine, her thin shoulders shaking uncontrollably as her body racked with bouts of laughter.
Emma's eyes darkened. She remained dangerously quiet.
"You-you-" Elaine struggled to get her words out in between guffaws. "You brought me here-" A wheeze. "-you kept me prisoner in this-" She looked up and let out a snorting laugh, "-Sanctuary of yours. . ."
She shook her head. "You'd better treat me nice, Shalimar Fox. I might just save your precious Jesse." Her eyes glinted dangerously, her teeth bared in a malicious grin. "But on second thought, I think I'll just let him die."
Shalimar lunged, but Emma was faster for once, grabbing her friend and pulling her back. Shalimar struggled to wrench her arm free but Emma silenced her with a look.
Elaine took a look at Emma and she abruptly froze. She suddenly remembered who this young woman was from the files, the one with the auburn hair and sharp, cold eyes. She suddenly remembered what she could do. The most powerful psionic Genomex had ever come across. A psionic who can basically coerce anyone into doing anything.
"No!!!!" Elaine tried to scramble to her feet, and scurry past Emma but her terror paralyzed her. Elaine clung to the wall, her chest heaving with exertion as she stared at Emma, fear evident in her eyes. "Don't come near me!!!"
"What's the matter, Elaine? Are you scared of me?" Emma taunted. Her forehead started to glow. "Get up."
"No. . ." Elaine moaned. She desperately clawed at the sliding door, trying to get it to open. "Please don't. . ."
"That's right," Emma sneered. "Beg."
Shalimar, Brennan and Adam were all staring at her in amazement, disbelief.
"Get UP!!!" A psionic blast hit Elaine right in the forehead and abruptly, she climbed to her feet. She couldn't seem to tear her eyes away from Emma's hypnotic gaze.
Emma closed her eyes and concentrated hard, summoning all her strength. Another ball of energy formed on the center of her forehead. Then she let it go, hearing Elaine's cry as it hit her.
When Emma opened her eyes again, Elaine was staring at her blankly, like she didn't know her at all, waiting for her command. She pointed her finger toward the figure lying prone on the bed.
"Heal him. Now," Emma commanded, her voice hard.
Shalimar couldn't believe her eyes as Elaine slowly walked toward Jesse. And stopped as she reached the side of the bed.
"Shal," Emma snapped. "Governor."
"Oh. Right." Shalimar turned to Brennan. "Be my guest."
Brennan shrugged. He forced Elaine's head down and pushed her long mane of hair aside, away from her neck. He zapped the governor. "There," he announced. "Deactivated."
"Do it now, Elaine," Emma ordered. Like a zombie, the black-haired woman leaned down and placed both hands on Jesse's abdomen, who had long since fallen unconscious again. Blue tendrils of energy began to form from her fingers, licking up her forearms. The monitor began to beep, as Jesse's vitals began to plummet. Jesse's eyes flew open.
"Emma," Adam started to say.
"Don't worry, Adam. I've got it under control." Emma stood at the foot of the bed, watching.
Beads of perspiration began to form on Elaine's forehead as she pumped more and more energy inside Jesse, killing the cancerous cells one by one. Jesse moaned and he squirmed, but Brennan held him down.
"Hold still, Jess. Just a little bit more."
"Adam, look!" Shalimar pointed to the screen. "The tumor's shrinking!"
"It's working," Brennan whispered, his face breaking into a smile. Adam stared at the monitor in amazement. Indeed it was. The tumors in Jesse's alimentary canal, liver and spleen were slowly shrinking in size, reducing in mass and density with every flow of energy Elaine pumped into his body.
Finally, at long, long last, they were reduced to nothingness. Jesse had stopped moaning and writhing, and was now staring up at his friends with wonder.
"The pain's gone," he whispered, stunned. For the first time in days, he was free of gut-wrenching, excruciating pain. It was the best feeling in the world.
"Saves you a lot of labwork, doesn't it?" Brennan grinned, winking at Adam. The older man still had not gotten over his shock. But he was grinning as well and he patted Jesse on the shoulder.
Elaine reeled backward, her eyes clearing as the effect of Emma's psionic blast began to die down. "Wha-" She gasped, staring at her hands in horror. What the hell have I done? She looked up and saw Mutant X crowding around the bed excitedly, ecstatic that their friend was going to live. Her thoughts began to clear and the cobwebs were disappearing. Someone did this to me.
"You!!!' She screamed, enraged, pointing at Emma. "You did this to me, you b-" She started to lunge for Emma when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
Elaine didn't even see the fist flying toward her face. A second later, she was knocked out cold once again on the floor.
"Loser," Shalimar growled. "You picked the wrong mutant to mess with."
Emma walked up to her and they wrapped an arm around each other. "Nice job, girl," Shalimar said in admiration, her eyes grateful.
"Jesse, you should eat some more," Shalimar urged. She placed another sashimi onto his plate.
Jesse shook his head in amusement. He put a hand to his stomach. "Guys I'm still healing in here, remember?"
"So? No solid food for a week, you should be craving for more," Emma quipped, and she too, placed another sashimi onto his plate. "It's time to make up for it."
Brennan was busy stuffing his face. "This is totally awesome-I could eat here everyday," he said through a mouthful of shrimp tempura. It was a Saturday night, and the Japanese restaurant was crowded but Adam managed to pull some strings and get them a table. He reached for another tempura. After he finished it, he lifted his bowl of miso soup to his lips and slurped it down.
Jesse watched his friend with a bemused smile on his lips. "Adam, you haven't fed Brennan enough. He's gobbling everything up like the Cookie Monster."
"Cookie Monster?" Brennan lifted an eyebrow.
"Sesame Street," Emma explained with a smile. Adam shook his head and dipped a piece of sushi into the wasabi sauce.
"Yeah, and you eat like a baby." Brennan pointed at Jesse's plate. "You haven't touched a thing. Here give me that." He reached across the table and speared the sashimi with his fork.
"Hey!" Shalimar scolded him good-naturedly. "You're not exactly helping." She leaned her head against Jesse's shoulder contentedly. Adam watched them with a smile. They were very young when he adopted them and now, all grown up, and still they hung around. Then he looked at Brennan and Emma, the latest addition to the family. Silently, Adam offered a prayer for all the wonderful things he'd been blessed with, wonderful people, wonderful children, who would do anything for one another, even die for each other.
Jesse twisted the com-ring around his middle finger absently. "Thanks for keeping this for me."
"You thought you weren't coming back," Shalimar stated, her eyes accusing.
"No. I was." Jesse hesitated. "I mean, I told myself, that. . .if I made it to the end, I would come back. And I did." He looked around the table. At all his friends. "I just didn't expect you to come for me."
Brennan was staring wistfully at his glass of water. "You came back for me when Genomex took me." He raised his eyes. "I was just returning the favor."
Jesse stared at him for a long time. Yeah. He remembered. It was when they first 'recruited' Emma and Brennan. Mutant X had broken into Genomex and Jesse had all his guard uniform on, and boy, he didn't expect Brennan to remember him breaking into the cage where Eckhart had kept all the New Mutants with his bare massed fists, releasing them from captivity.
"You barely knew me then. But you didn't care about that. You came in and saved us all," Brennan continued. "See, I remember that."
A lump rose in Jesse's throat. Emma slid in next to him and snuggled in close, hugging him.
"We're so glad you're okay," she whispered.
"Guys," Jesse croaked, his eyes misting. "Thank you."
A long moment passed before anyone said anything.
"Who's up for some more sake? I know I am," Adam suggested, meeting Jesse's gaze, his eyes gentle. Adam shuddered again for God knew how many times, at the thought of nearly losing him.
Shalimar extricated herself from Jesse's arm, and leaned forward. She smeared a piece of California roll with wasabi and brought the fork to Jesse's lips. "Open wide." Jesse complied. He chewed slowly.
"Tastes good," he mumbled finally. Then, suddenly, unexpectedly, Shalimar leaned in for a full kiss right on his lips. Jesse's eyes went wide. When she finally pulled back, his face was red.
"Wh-what was that for?" He stammered. Brennan only laughed.
"That was for deciding to stay alive," she answered. And then she smacked him on the shoulder. "Now THAT was for almost leaving me." Jesse smiled at his surrogate sister tenderly.
"I would never leave you, Shal." Then he turned toward Emma on his other side. "Don't I get a kiss from you too?"
Emma made a face. "You just ate a piece of roll dripping with wasabi. There's no way I'm going to kiss you." But then she leaned in and kissed him on the right cheek. Then his left cheek. Then lastly his forehead. "There. Three kisses. That should be enough."
Jesse leaned back against his seat, a goofy grin on his face. "I'm in heaven." Then he looked across the table at Brennan, who was staring at him intensely. "Are you going to kiss me too, Brennan?"
"Not a chance," he deadpanned. "I was just wondering what I had to do to get two girls to kiss me all at once."
"Try dying," Jesse answered dryly. "The heroic-death trick always blows them away."
Adam cleared his throat. "Speaking of blowing things away, Jesse-WHAT IN THE WORLD were you thinking?"
"What?" Jesse squeaked.
"You ran off without telling anybody, you took off your com-ring, you built enough explosives to blast the whole world back to the 14th century, you put your own life in danger by facing GS agents all by yourself without back-up-haven't I taught any of you anything about recklessness?"
"Umm. . ." Like a deer caught in the headlights, Jesse sank back into his seat.
"Now, I want you to repeat after me. Do you think you can do that?"
Jesse nodded guiltily. Shalimar and Brennan shared a look of amusement.
"Adam, I'm sorry." Adam's voice was stern, sounding exactly like a father disciplining a ten-year- old.
"Adam, I'm sorry," Jesse repeated in a small voice.
"Adam, I'm sorry for running off on my own-"
"Adam, I'm sorry for running off on your own-"
"No, no, you're supposed to say 'running of on YOUR own'"
"Running of on your own?" Jesse was confused.
"No! Say, on 'my' own!"
"What-I'm sorry for running off on 'your'own?" Jesse echoed, frowning.
Emma giggled. Brennan shook his head, hiding his own smile and went back to eating.
"You pig!" Shalimar threw a piece of fish at him. She laughed.
Adam sighed. "Let's start this all over again. Jesse!"
"Promise you'll never run off like that again. Ever."
"I promise I'll never run off like that again, ever," Jesse said dutifully.
"Promise you'll never blow up any of my safehouses again. Ever."
Brennan was seriously laughing now. Jesse's face went beet-red.
"I promise I'll never blow up any of your safehouses again, Adam. I'm really, really sorry! I was just-"
"Let me finish the sentence Jesse." Adam held up a hand. "Promise me you'll never blow up any of my safehouses ever again unless it is a matter of life and death. Then you have my permission to blow up anything you want."
Jesse's face broke into a grin.
"What happened to you, to all of us, recently, that WAS a matter of life and death," Adam finished, smiling at Jesse fondly.
"Anything I want?" Jesse asked, his face hopeful.
"Except for my new Jag," Adam retorted. Emma laughed out loud. "No matter how jealous you are of it."
The waitress suddenly appeared at their table, bringing more sake.
"I'd like to make a toast," Brennan said, lifting his glass. Everyone did the same. Brennan looked at Jesse. "Jesse, you nearly went away for good but you came back. So this toast is for you."
"To good health."
"To good health!!!" A chorus.
Jesse was the only one who refrained from drinking.
Shalimar frowned. She placed her empty glass on the table. "Jesse?"
Jesse grabbed her glass and filled it up with more sake. He lifted his glass and also hers. And downed them both at one go. When he put them down again, his eyes were wet. "Life-"
He grinned his usual, lop-sided grin. "-is good."
Elaine Perraudin's cold, lifeless body lay in the pod, her eyes dull and empty. Eckhart just stared down at her in disdain as he circled the pods one by one.
All of you failed me.
He stopped next to her pod.
Even you, Ms Perraudin.
And that was where she lay till the end of her life.
Author's Notes: It's finished!!! Finally!!!! Took me more than a year to finish this-but it's been a good year. Thank you to all those who never failed to leave me reviews, they kept me going, really.(Wow, this is like accepting a Grammy!!!) So guys, for the last time (for this story, that is) review your heart out and tell me what you think!!! And send me chocolates!!! And send me Jesse too!!! I love Jesse.