Title: What You've Got

Disclaimers: Don't own them. Not making money, just having fun. Author Notes: I'm placing this story in the near future with Eckhart back at Genomax. The title comes from the line "You don't know what you've got until it's gone." Review Please!

PART 1

Shalimar watched in horror as the GSA agents pushed Brennan into the river, then ran after him. She was so focused on trying to see him in the river that she didn't see another GSA agent step out from behind a tree and hit her from behind. Brennan going under the water was the last thing she saw as she fell and her world went dark. She never saw the two agents run into the water and grab Brennan.

Normally Brennan could easily have fought them off, even without his mutant abilities, but the water had weakened him. All he could manage was to get his COM ring off and let it drop to the ground, unseen by the men holding him. He hoped the signal cutting off would tell Adam there was a problem, he also hoped it would let Shalimar and the others know he was alive and not to bother searching the river. They quickly loaded him into the van.

The man who'd knocked Shalimar out moved to pick her up but stopped when he heard their leader speak.

"No. Leave her here. Eckhart wants the Elemental as bait. She needs to take the message back to Adam and Mutant X."

"Message?"

"That we have the Elemental, and they will only get him back if Adam trades himself. It's all on this disk." Having said that he pulled out a small computer disks and threw it to the ground beside the unconscious woman.

Jesse pulled to a stop near where they'd located the signal on Shalimar's COM ring. They'd gotten worried when Brennan's signal had suddenly cut off half an hour earlier. Adam had sent them out to find their teammates.

They quickly found the unconscious feral. Jesse picked up the disc Eckhart had left. Emma gave her friend a gentle telepathic push to help her wake up.

"Shal? You OK?"

"Emma? Yeah, I'm. . . Where's Brennan?"

Jesse walked up and answered her. "Gone. We we're hoping you'd know. What about the New Mutant who needed help you guys were meeting?"

Shalimar closed her eyes and tried to focus through the pain of her headache. Her eyes popped open in fear as the image returned.

"The river!" She struggled to stand, helped by Emma and Jesse. "They forced him into the river! There was no New Mutant. It was an ambush by GSA Agents." She started to walk to the river; her movements became surer and stronger with each step. She stopped as sunlight glinting off metal caught her eye. She stooped down and picked up his COM ring, then sank to her knees.

"Shal, this is a good sign. Think about it. It means they pulled him out of the water."

"Pulled him out, or his body. No way he'd have left his ring if he was alive."

"Unless he left it to tell us he was alive, and not to waste time searching the river. The ring wouldn't have just fallen off. It fit to well; it had to be pulled off. And the GSA guys would NOT have pulled it off and left it. I know you'll hurting, but you need to think with your head right now, not your heart."

Shalimar took a deep breath and tried to focus on what Emma had said. She reached up to the clasp of her necklace and took it off; she then strung it through Brennan's ring and fastened it back around her neck. She slowly stood and turned to her friends.

"Why would they leave me? Why only take him?"

"Maybe this will explain," answered Jesse as he held up the disc he'd noticed near Shalimar. "Let's get back to Sanctuary so Adam can look at this and check you out. You might have a concussion, how's you're head?"

"It hurt's, but that doesn't matter. Let's go."

As Jesse drove back to Sanctuary Emma noticed Shalimar holding the ring and absently running her fingers along the necklace holding it, even without her telepathic abilities she could tell her friend was thinking about Brennan and the necklace.

Shalimar tried to distract herself from the pain in her head by remembering when Brennan had given her the necklace two weeks before. It had been her birthday.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE

Adam was taking them to an upscale restraunt for her birthday and requested they dress up. Shalimar had just finished checking herself in the mirror when she heard the knock on the door. She wasn't surprised, having sensed his approach. "Come on in, Bren."

As Brennan moved into the room she had to stop herself from letting out and appreciative whistle. He was in a very nice suit and gray dress shirt, very unlike his usual style, but didn't seem uncomfortable in it. Shalimar had to admit, to herself, that she personally thought he looked good in anything. "You clean up nicely."

"So do you." Brennan responded as he eyed the elegant red dress Shalimar wore. *Red is definitely her color*, he thought, noticing the way it empesized her blond hair and brown eyes.

Shalimar had chosen the dress hoping Brennan would like it, and from the look he was giving her she figured she'd succeeded. She also noticed he held one hand behind him out of sight. "What ya got?"

"You're birthday present. I know Adam said at the restraunt, but, I thought I'd give it to you now." He explained with a surprisingly shy smile.

He held out a long, thin jewelry box. Shalimar gently took it and opened the lid. She gasped as she saw the beautiful gold necklace inside, then looked up to meet his eyes. "It's beautiful. Thank you. Put it on for me?"

"Sure." As Shalimar turned her back to him he smiled, relieved. He'd been hoping she'd want to wear it tonight. She had lifted her hair to the side and once he'd fastened the clasp he enjoyed the feel of her hair in his hands as he gently moved it back into place.

Shalimar turned and gave him a soft kiss on the lips as she whispered, "Thank you." She went to look in the mirror she pulled him with her. She pretended to check how the necklace looked with the dress, but really enjoyed seeing their joint reflection. Brennan rested his hands on her shoulders and he stared at the reflection.

PRESENT

Jesse parking the car inside Sanctuary brought the feral out of her reverie. Adam was waiting for them. He gave her a gentle hug and guided her towards the Medical area.

When she saw where they were headed she protested. "I'm OK, Adam. We need to work on finding Bren. There was a disc left. We need to find out what's on it."

"Jesse and Emma can do that while I check you out," Adam informed her in a tone that didn't really allow argument.

After Adam gave her a painkiller for her headache and pronounced her otherwise fit they joined Jesse and Emma in the computer area.

"I think you'd better see this, Adam. But you aren't going to like it." Jesse warned as he began the disc.

Mason Eckart's face appeared. "Adam as you no doubt know by now we have your Elemental. I left you Ms. Fox as a . . . gesture of good faith. Mr. Mulrey isn't the one I want, you are; so I propose a trade. Turn yourself in to me and I will release him, refuse and I'll kill him. You have 24 hours to decide." The disc ended.

Emma couldn't help but sense the strong emotions of Adam and Shalimar. Adam was outraged and angry that one of his team had been taken as bait to get to him. Shalimar's hurt and rage were coming off her in waves, but Emma wasn't sure if the other woman was even aware of the hurt she was feeling. Emma also picked up another emotion from her friend, guilt. She realized that the sense of guilt was partly causing the pain, and that Shalimar was not just angry at Eckart, but at herself. "Shal, it's not your fault."

The feral's eyes flashed yellow as she spun on her friend. "Stay out of my head! And if it's not my fault then who's is it? I should have stopped them. I should have seen the guy who got me. It is MY fault. Bren's going to die because of me!"

Adam stepped in to try and calm her. "No one's going to die. We'll get him back."

"You can't trade yourself for him, Adam. I may be angry, but I'm thinking enough to know that, and Brennan wouldn't want you to do that anyway." She spun on her heel and ran for her room.

As Shalimar entered her room a photo on her desk caught her eye. She picked it up and sat on her bed. It was her and Brennan, taken on her birthday. She stared at the happy expressions on their faces and thought about when it was taken.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE

Adam smiled as he watched two of his team walk into the room. Having picked up on the feelings between the two a few weeks before Adam decided to play along. "Why don't I get a picture of just you two while we wait for Emma and Jesse?"

As they moved to stand together in a pose Brennan got an idea, he just hoped Adam would be ready since he couldn't give him any warning, he waited till Adam took the posed picture, just in case.

Shalimar suddenly found herself being dipped, as if in a dance. Her feline reflexes allowed her to go along with it as gracefully as if she'd been expecting it.

After righting Shalimar Brennan looked over at Adam, who's pleased smile told him that Adam had gotten the picture. He was saved from the feral's scolding by the arrival of Jesse and Emma.

After Adam took a few pictures of the four of them he set the camera on a timer and joined them for the last photo.

PRESENT

*Brennan seems to be one of the few people who could catch me off guard*, she smiled slightly at the thought. As she considered that she decided it was because she always felt safe with him, no need to keep her guard up. She knew that whenever he did things like that it would be harmless fun, and she always ended up enjoying it.

She focused on the details. Brennan and herself staring into each others eyes. The camera hadn't caught the mischivious gleam in his eye, but she remembered it. She also remembered the strength in his arms as he'd supported her, then lifted her back to a standing position from the dip. She saw the necklace dangling and shining in the light of the camera's flash. *We looked good together.*

Suddenly the guilt returned to flood her mind, and heart. *Brennan is gone, taken prisoner, and it was my fault. He's always been there for me and I let him down. I might not see him ever again.* That thought made her blood run cold. She tried to picture her life without him and didn't like the view. It was empty and lonely. *I need him in my life; I just need him.* The thought startled her. She was very independent, she hated the idea of needing anyone. But she knew now that she did need him. Desperately.

Shalomar jumped off the bed. *If I need him, then I'll just have to go get him back,* she decided. She quickly went in search of the others. She refused to face the fact that she needed him because she loved him. It would hurt to much.

PART 2

Brennan could feel himself getting weaker. They hadn't put a sub dermal governor on him. Instead they kept a stream of water flowing around his, now bare, feet and sometimes poured water over him. The constant, prolonged exposure was definitely taking a toll on him. He knew that Adam was to smart to make the foolish trade Eckhart wanted and that his friends would be coming for him. To distract himself until then he thought back to Shalimar's birthday party.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE

Brennan had noticed the small dance floor as soon as they'd entered the restraunt. He waited until they'd placed their orders to make his move, then tuned to the beautiful feral next to him and held out his hand. "May I have the first dance with the birthday girl?"

She smiled and placed her hand in his. "The pleasure is all mine."

"Not all." He retorted as he led her from the table.

The three remaining members watched the two dance with different feelings; but all saw how well the two moved together, perfectly in sync and comfortable with each other.

Emma had seen how the two acted with each other, and sensed how they felt for each other. She hoped tonight might help them realize that they loved each other, since she thought they'd be a good match.

Jesse felt a brotherly protectiveness toward Shalimar, but Brennan was his friend so he didn't see any harm in a dance. He had no idea it might be more serious than that.

Adam was pleased with the relationship he saw developing. After Shalimar losing Richard and Brennen's experience with Ashley and Lorna he thought it was a good sign of both of them recovering emotionally. He also thought they would be good for each other.

Brennan and Shalimar weren't noticing much except each other. Brennan had seen one of the men obviously eyeing Shalimar and smirked at the guy, knowing he was the one she was dancing with tonight. He then focused his attention back on the beautiful woman in his arms. Her feline grace made her a natural for any kind of dancing, fast or slow, a fact Brennan liked very much.

Shalimar had to work to keep from purring she was so happy and content. Brennan was one of the few men who could keep up to her on the fast dances when they were at a club, and on slow dances she enjoyed being in his arms, feeling secure and wanted. She smiled up at him, and he returned the look.

PRESENT

He remembered going back to the table and eating, then dancing with Emma while Adam and Jesse had danced with the birthday girl. But the image he held in his mind was Shal smiling up at him again when they'd gone back to dancing with each other. It had felt so right to have her in his arms, to be close to her.

The thought that he wished she was here now crossed his mind and was quickly banished. *No, I'd never wish her in a place like this. I just want to see her,* he admitted to himself. *I want to know she was OK from the blow to her head.* The thought of her being hurt was worse to him than the pain he was feeling. He hated it when she was hurt or in danger. *I guess that's how it is with people you love.* He jerked upright at the thought. *Love? Yes, I do love her. Now I just have to last long enough to tell her.*

His thoughts were disrupted by yet another Genomax Agent entering the room and he glared at him; then prepared himself for what was coming by fixing the image of Shalimar in his mind to focus on and give him strength.

PART 3

The three members of Mutant X looked up as Shalimar joined them.

"So what's the plan?"

"We'll go in early tomorrow morning." Adam answered.

Shalimar took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. Adam noticed this and was pleased. "We can NOT leave him there overnight. We don't know what they're doing to him, except that it is probably VERY painful. We need to get him out NOW!"

Jesse tried to reason with her. "That's what they're expecting. It's safer to wait until morning."

"I don't care if it's safe. Brennan's risked his life for us many times, now it's our turn."

"That's what these two said," Adam informed her. He looked at his three remaining "children" and sighed. "OK. You guys can go get him, but BE CAREFUL. You won't help Brennan by getting caught yourselves. Emma, you have the disc I made?"

"Yes. I'll take care of it."

As the girls both hugged Adam he exchanged a look with Jesse over their heads. Then the three young mutants headed for the Double Helix and Genomax. Once they landed on the roof Jesse phased the roof access door to get them in. They were, unfortunately, all to familiar with where the holding cells were and headed there. Thanks to Emma's psyonic powers and Shalimar's feral senses they were able to avoid the guards and sneak in unnoticed.

Shalimar moved into the lead when they got to the holding areas. She stopped just before a hall branched off. "He's right down there. I can sense him."

After a moment Emma nodded. "There are two guards. I'll knock them out." She stepped around the corner and sent to psychic blasts at the guards, knocking them out cold.

Jesse checked the electronic lock on the door. "Give me a minute and I'll get this open."

"Hurry, I can feel four more guards coming." Emma cautioned.

The feral's eyes flashed yellow and she smiled, but the smile did not promise mercy. "I'll take care of them. Just get that door open."

She was gone down the hall before they could say anything. "This may be a good thing. She needs to work off some serious anger at Genomax Agents right now."Emma tried to reassure Jesse.

The fight did not last long. Even though it was four against one, the Genomax Agents were the one's who felt outnumbered. The part Emma and Jesse could see at the end of the hall was vicious and fast. Shalimar walked back to them with a cat-who-got-the-mouse smirk on her lips.

"Felling better now?" Asked Emma

"You know it. Why don't you just phase the door Jess?"

"Cause I just got it. Sometimes it's nice to do things the normal way." As he spoke he pressed a final key and the door slid open.

Shalimar turned the water off as Jesse phased the cuffs holding Brennan to release him. They supported him as they went back to the door where Emma was waiting. She'd picked up a pile of towels that had been sitting on a table next to the door, left there for the convenience of the Agents if they'd gotten wet. In their place she left a disc Adam had given her; his reply to Eckharts message. In it Adam told Eckhart to leave other people out of their private little war. That if Eckhart wanted him, to come and get him, rather than hide behind Tribunals and games with Adam's team.

Soon all four were back in the Double Helix on their way back to Sancuary.

Emma sat the towels on the back seat across from Brennan then sat in front with Jesse, knowing her friend would want to be near Brennan.

"Let me help you get that wet shirt off, it might help," suggested Shalimar.

"Yeah, thanks." Came Brennan's weak reply.

Shalimar carefully, but quickly, lifted his shirt over his head then picked up a towel and started drying him off, after that was done she traded the wet towel for a new, dry one and worked on his hair, then his bare feet.

"That's all we can do 'til we get to Sancuary. Sorry."

Brennan smiled at her. "It helped. Thanks. I'm feeling better now. How about you? Are you alright? I saw them knock you out."

"Yeah, well, you know me and my hard head."

The two in front joined in the laughter at that as Jesse landed the plane. Shalimar helped Brennan stand and walk off the plane; Adam stood waiting for them.

"It's good to have you back. Let's get you to the Medical area so I can check you out."

"After I stop by my room and get in some dry clothes, Adam. Please?"

"Of course, sorry, I didn't think. Since you're looking a little wet yourself Shalimar, why don't you also change and meet us in medical."

Half an hour later Adam pronounced him well; saying he needed to stay dry and get some sleep so his body could recover fully.

"I'd sleep better in my own room. Is that OK?"

"I don't see why not, as long as you really sleep."

"Don't worry about that. I'm exhausted. It's getting late and I've had a VERY long day."

The others smiled at that comment.

"I'll go with him. Make sure he doesn't fall asleep on the way," volunteered Shalimar as she followed him out.

As Brennan got comfortable in bed, still in the sweat pants and T shirt he'd changed into earlier, Shalimar tried to think of an excuse not to leave.

"Before I forget, I have your COM ring. You dropped it."

"I wanted you to know I'd made it out of the river OK, and NO WAY did I want Eckart getting his hands on one of our rings."

Shalimar sat on the chair near his bed and reached back to take off the necklace. After getting the ring off the necklace she reached for Brennan's hand. She gently put the ring back on his finger then kissed the back of his hand. His eyes were glued to the image of the woman he loved placing a gold ring on his finger. Her soft voice caused him to look up at her face. "Welcome home. Now, if you ever scare me like that again I'll kill you myself."

"It's not like it was my idea, Shal."

"I know, but don't do it again."

"So you were worried about me?"

"Of course I was."

"So will you stay 'til I fall asleep?" He asked.

"Sure." She answered with a smile.

The physical and mental strain of the day where catching up to Brennan and he fell asleep within minutes.

Once she was sure he was deeply asleep Shalimar reached out and laid her hand on his chest, wanting to feel his heartbeat. After a while she leaned over and replaced her hand with her head so she could hear his heartbeat, and be reassured that he really was alive and there with her. The strain of the day was also taking it's toll on her. She felt to tired to even make it to her room; besides which she didn't want to leave Brennan's side. She carefully moved to lie on the bed beside him, leaving her head on his chest. She knew that as a feral she slept lightly and figured she'd wake before he did. The strong, reassuring rhythm of his heart soon put her to sleep.

As Brennan woke up he couldn't be sure he wasn't still dreaming. Waking up with Shalimar in his arms seemed like a dream come true. One of her arms was draped across his stomach and her head still rested above his heart. He began to softly run his hand through her hair. After a few minutes the movement woke her.

She raised her head so she could look at him. "Uh, sorry, I was really tired and. . . I'll go to my own room now." She slowly, reluctantly began to get up. *I don't want to leave, but. . .I don't know if he wants me here, in his bed, even just to sleep.*

He gently pulled her back down. "You're still tired, I see it in your eyes. If you're comfortable, stay." *Please, please stay. I want to go to sleep again so I can wake up with you in my arms again. But I don't want to sleep and miss one minute of the feeling of holding you. Please want to stay, even if it's only to sleep.*

"Thanks," she murmured as she nestled back against him. He quietly let out the breath he'd been holding. After almost half an hour of them both dozing in and out she decided she owed him some sort of better explanation. "Earlier, I was listening to your heartbeat. I was so scared that we'd lost you, that I needed. . . to know you were really alive and OK. While they had you I thought about how my life would be without you, and I didn't like it much. I guess it's true that you don't know what you've got until it's gone. I realized that. . .I need you. I'm sorry I wasn't there when you needed me."

He gave her a quick hug, knowing how hard such an admission was for her. It gave him courage to make an admission of his own. "You were there, in my mind. When it got bad, and I thought I wouldn't make it. . .I thought about you, and it was better, it helped me stay strong. Thank you. I did some thinking too, and I also realized something." He paused and lifted her face so that they were looking at each other. "I love you." Having said that he caught her lips in a long, intense kiss.

"I love you, too. I didn't want to admit it before. I couldn't. Not when I thought I might have lost you. It would have hurt to much. But you're here, and I love you." This time she began the kiss. It was broken by his gasp as she bumped his wrist, which was still sore from the cuffs he'd been in. She immediately pulled back.

"Sorry. You OK?"

"Yes." He said, giving her a quick kiss before continuing. "As much as I'm enjoying this, I think we should stop for now. I'm still not feeling all that great. How's your head?"

"A slight headache, but your distraction technique was working nicely."

He chuckled. "Still, let's get some more rest. We'll have plenty of time for more physical things later, if that's what you want, but right now I just want to enjoy having you with me."

"It is what I want, but right now just being together and more rest sounds good to me," she agreed, nestling into a comfortable position.

Soon they were both sleeping. Happy and secure in each others arms. Content for the moment with the dream they neither know they had until it came true.

THE END