SURVIVING THE VIRUS

SPOILER: WHOSE WOODS THESE ARE

RATED: PG13 FOR NOW

This is a possible continuation of the episode "Whose Woods These Are"… Adam struggles to find a cure for Shalimar and his feelings as well.  

DISCLAIMER:

Although I wished I owned these characters, alas, they are not mine and they are purely used for my pleasure of writing for them but in no way are they owned by this lowly writer. THESE CHARACTERS ARE OWNED BY TRIBUTE ENTERTAINMENT, ETC…

CHAPTER 1

Adam wiped his weary face and reached for his cup.  As he raised it to his lips, he found it was empty.  Again.  He shook the carafe Emma had brought him before going to bed; it was empty as well.  If he was going to stay awake any longer, he needed more caffeine.  That meant, he needed to go make more tea.  His shoulders slumped from the fatigue he suddenly felt.  He was unsure as to when he last slept, or when he was going to sleep again.  He had to really think hard about standing up before he could do so. 

He paused and glanced at the lone, slim figure on the infirmary bed in the next lab.  The monitors beeped softly in the background and none of the readouts had changed since the last time he checked.  She looked so serene lying there.  He began to nod off, and had to shake himself out of his stupor.  One foot slowly in front of the other was the best he could do as he went in search of more caffeine. 

'Shalimar was going to be all right, thank God!'  That thought alone had sustained him thus far.  Once again, he had been damn lucky.  He was just so grateful lady luck hadn't chosen to be fickle and desert him in his greatest hour of need.  He had been down to just a few combinations of substances that might work against this virus and even fewer minutes to spare. 

He started the tea to brew as the events of the past week came flooding back into his mind.  He had been too late to save Nate...  Nathaniel Block.  One more life he had not been able to save.  One more death to add to the guilt he had been living with every day.  Every day since he found out how his trusted colleagues had perverted his research.  He slammed his hand on the countertop in frustration. 'How many more had to die before he could stop this madness?' He silently cried out in the dark.  No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't stop the deaths. 

Shalimar had become infected while on a mission in the mountains. She had escaped into the woods but Brennan had been able to keep on her trail.  He had hit on what he had thought was the right combination of elements just before leaving Sanctuary to rendezvous with Brennan.  He hated to think what would have happened to Shalimar if they had been just a few minutes later finding her.  He had been able to stabilize her with an antiviral, pulling her back from the brink of death.  He hadn't told the others how extremely close her immune system had been to rejecting the antiviral medications. But he had sensed that they knew… especially Emma.  It was hard to hide anything from an empath. 

After the first few hours of administrating the antiviral medications, Shalimar's vital signs had stabilized. Yet three days later, she was still unconscious.  He had reviewed and re-reviewed all of the data, repeated all the scans and blood work, but could not find the reason for why she remained unconscious.  He didn't want to give her any type of stimulants.  Her system had been through such a massive ordeal as it was.  He didn't want to push it any farther than he had to.  All they could do was watch, wait, and see.

Tears pricked at his eyes.  'He had almost lost her!'  This thought tortured him the most.    He had to take several ragged breaths, and pinched the bridge of his nose while trying to get his emotions under control.  He was always concerned if he would be able to continue to stabilize each of their DNA's as it continues to mutate, but this was the first time he had been truly afraid.  AND, as his small cynical conscious reminded him, Shalimar has no idea about how he really feels about HER.  Over the years, the only feelings he sensed from her were fatherly in nature.  Nothing more; nothing less. 

He, on the other hand, had loved her the first time he has saw her when she pretended to be a lab assistant to Dr. Breedlove.  It was 15 years later, that he met the girl- Shalimar.  Until recently, he hadn't known how he met her as a grownup before he met her as a child. 

Over the years, he had watched her as she grew into the alluring, blonde beauty she had been when they first met.  At first, he kept his feeling hid because she was too young, and each year after that he came up with one rationalization after another to use as an excuse to not tell her how he felt.  Then there was Brennan.  Since joining Mutant X, there had been a palpable, sexual tension in air between them that everyone, but them, had noticed. 

It took a few minutes for the tea to brew and he sank wearily into the nearest chair to wait. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Adam… Adam… Adam," he heard someone calling his name.  He recognized the voice, but it took a few minutes for it to register that it was Emma calling him. 

"Huh… what's wrong… Emma?" he said bewilderedly as he slowly opened his eyes to stare into Emma's concerned ones.

"Nothing is wrong, Adam.  I went to check on Shal, and found it odd that you weren't in the lab.  When I found your room empty, I came looking for you."  She points to the mug still in his hand, and says, "Making more tea?"

Dully, he nodded.  He looked at the clock and saw he had been asleep for over two hours.  That realization shocked his sleep fogged mind to alert.  He started to stand, but Emma pushed him back into the chair.  "I checked on her and she is still out.  All the monitor readings were normal.  You can wait here until I make a fresh pot for you."  She wrinkled her nose as she took a whiff of the now over brewed pot he had started.

He sighed in relief.  "I can't believe I done that?"

Emma poured fresh water in the tea maker and set it to brew.  She came to set next to him at the table.  "I can't believe you hadn't crashed before now.  How long has it been since you had any real sleep?"  She raised her left eyebrow as she stared at him.

"It hasn't been that long ago?" he mumbles as he glances at the clock, "About ten minutes ago," he says with a small laugh.  He had hoped to put her off.

"Adam!" she says, her voice was filled with indignation.  "Adam, remember me… Emma…  telempath that you're talking to." 

'Guess not!'  He knew he shouldn't have said that, but he didn't wanted to be lectured about it. 

"… I know it has been at least two days… maybe, three," she continued.  "I had come to see if I could suggest you get some sleep, and now I am not suggesting, I am ordering you to bed for at least four hours."  She held up her hand to stay off the protested she felt flowing within him, "You aren't going to be any good to her if you are dead on you feet," she waited until he looked at her, "… and you are there now." 

He was indigent.  'Who does she think she is to "order" me to bed?' He thought, before he said to her, "I have too much work to do."  He started to think about what he had to get done.  "I have to make sure the virus doesn't rebound."  He was uncertain if her system could take another assault.   

She reached out and took his hand into hers. She wasn't going to let him put her off.   "I promise I will come get you if any thing changes."  She stared intently into his eyes.  "I promise!" she repeated. 

His shoulders sagged in resignation.  His head knew she was right, but his heart was having a hard time accepting the facts.  Tears flooded his eyes, and he had to struggle to keep them from falling. 

Emma squeezed his hand in reassurance.  She had sensed for a long time how Adam really felt about Shalimar, but out of respect, she had never talked to him about it.  She felt if he wanted to talk about it, he would have to bring it up to her first.

Adam cleared his throat and stood taking his mug over to the counter and filling it.  He took a sip to check the temperature, and then took a long sip as he tried to get his emotions under control.  He knew Emma had to have psonically felt his emotions.  She had to have.  He turned and found her face was devoid of any emotion except concern for him.  He reached into the nearby cabinet, and retrieved another mug, "Two sugars, right?"

"Yeah, thanks," she said.  She could sense that once again he was going to hide his feelings behind that callous, impenetrable wall that he used when someone or something gets too close.  She would just love to know how that wall got built, and how she might help him tear it down for good.  But, tonight was not that time.

He carried the mugs back to the table, and they set there in silence sipping their tea.

When he broke the silence, she almost jumped, "Emma, … We were almost too late."  Anguished filled his voice.  He stared off in the distance.  He drew a ragged breath before continuing, "Just a few more minutes, and…"

Emma reached out and took his cold, slightly trembling hands.  She projected love, understanding, and support towards him.  "The important thing was you weren't, and you won't ever be for any of us."

He continued as if he didn't hear her, "… It was the only antiviral combination I hadn't tried.  The only one." He was racked by a sob, "I came so close to losing her…"

He whispered so low, that at first Emma wasn't sure if he said it, or just thought it.  She reached out, and pulled him into her arms.  For the next few minutes, the only sound in the room was his sobbing.  When he tried to pull away, her embraced tightened and he stopped resisting.  He rested into her embrace.  Telepathically, she sent feelings of safety, reassurance, and most importantly love. 

She had never seen him like this.  She didn't think that any of them had seen him in this light.  He had finally showed true emotion.  She now knew that if anything ever happened to Shalimar, that Adam would be shattered into millions of pieces.  She was very afraid that he would never be able to pick up the pieces of his soul, let alone go on with life.  It was a very sobering realization. 

When his sobs eased, Emma handed him a tissue.  He smiled his gratitude as he wiped his face and blew his nose.  Sheepishly, he grinned a little, but it didn't make it to his eyes.

He stared at his hands, as he took a deep breath, before speaking, "I'm so sorry…"

"You have nothing to be sorry about," she interrupted.  She reached out and lovingly cupped his face.  Gently, she raised his face up until their eyes met.  Tenderly, she said, "I am honored that you felt safe enough to lean on me.  Even if it was just for a little while."

Adam was so grateful she had been there.  He hadn't realized the amount of fear, self-loathing, and some feelings he couldn't put a name to, which had built up in him, and needing to be vented.  It had taken an empath to make a crack in the wall he built to surround his heart. But, he hated to burden Emma with his feelings, since she would have to feel them as deeply as he did.

He searched her face and saw no fear, nor recrimination.  All he saw was… love, and support.  "Thank you, Emma… I really appreciate...I didn't hurt…" Her finger to his lips silenced him as she sensed where he was going with this.

"Adam, I am just fine," she said tenderly. 

He realized this would forever change their relationship.  And, surprisingly, he realized he was okay with that.  He reach out and pulled her close for a hug, and a place a kiss on her head before releasing her.  He smiles at her," Thanks, Emma."

She noticed he didn't look as soul-weary as he did when she woke him.  This time, the twinkle was back in his eyes when he smiled at her.  "You're welcome, Adam," she smiled at him.  "Now, it's time for you to go get a few hours rest.  I will call you at the first sign of change, or if she wakes up."

Once again, she had the look of determination.  Begrudgingly, he agreed.  He did need some sleep so he could sort out his feelings clearly.  He shrugged before he stood, "Okay, I think I will." He said. He stopped to drop a kiss on her head.

"Goodnight, Adam," she said.

Well, this is the end of this chapter…. What do you think???? Like most of writers out there, the best way to help my muse is to comments… Both good and bad as long as they are creative.