A/N: This begins a week after The episode with Emma and Tyler ends. Instead of it being Shalimar's dad who shows up it's Brennan's step dad, who's working with Eckart. I guess that means this is AU. Hope you like it. Super sized amounts of credit need to go to my partner on this story- LIZ. She had the original idea and many of the ideas and plot lines in this story came from her. Without her this story would not be getting written.

Chapter 1

Brennan was pleased to see Shalimar working with Adam as he walked into the room. "Adam, I just got off the phone with one of my old "street contacts". They said a guy's been asking around about me. My friend told him I might be at the local bar this afternoon. It's an old haunt of mine and I'll know most of the regulars there so it should be safe for a meet."

"Are you sure?"

"I'll go with him." Shalimar volunteered as she stood up and turned to face the elemental. "Let's take your bike though. It will be good if we do need to leave in a hurry."

"You just want a ride on my bike," accused Brennan with a grin, having planned to ask her to come with him anyway.

"You know it," replied the feral with a grin of her own.

"Alright. You can both go. But call me when you get there. Use a phone, not your COM rings, just to be safe, in case you're being watched." Adam told them before they left.

AN HOUR LATER

As Brennan waited for Shalimar to come back from the phone a redhead walked up to him smiling for all she was worth. He could tell she was more than a little drunk even though it was early afternoon. "What's the naughtiest thing you've ever done?"

Brennan almost groaned, but broke into a smile as he saw Shalimar approaching. "Here she comes now." He answered with a nod toward the beautiful feral.

After glancing over at her "competition" the girl made a face and stomped off for more alcohol.

"What was that about?" Asked Shalimar as she sat down.

"You heard?"

"Feral senses. Includes hearing," Shalimar reminded him.

"Oh. Yeah. She was interested. I wasn't. You saved me. Thanks."

"Anytime," answered Shalimar with a small laugh. "Everything is still quiet back at Sanctuary."

Brennan never replied, distracted by the man walking into the bar. The man walked up to them and stopped.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Brennan asked the man in a flat, almost deadly, tone.

Shalimar tensed up, having never heard that tone from the elemental before. She looked the man over. He was an inch or so shorter than Brennan, but a lot thicker. She figured the bulk had been muscle at one time, but was now fat. Maybe he'd been a football player or wrestler, she thought. He had brown eyes and reddish brown hair. His jeans and a T shirt where obviously old and worn.

"That all you have to say to after all this time?"

"No. But it's the nicest thing I have to say. I don't think you want to hear the other things." He stood and held his hand out to Shal. "Come on, babe. Let's get out of here."

She took his hand and followed him out. They both stopped as they heard the bar door open behind them. "Brennan. I need your help."

Brennan pulled a coin from his pocket as he turned and tossed it to the man. When he spoke his tone was sharp enough to cut glass. "Here. Call someone who gives a damn about what you need. I sure as hell don't. That's all the help you'll get from me. I have other plans for the next few hours." He turned slightly and leered down at the woman by his side to emphasize his meaning, then got on his bike.

Shalimar climbed on behind him. She cursed her wayward thoughts, and reactions. Even knowing that the leer he'd directed at her and the slightly crude reference were an act, her heart had raced at the look and the thought of spending the next few hours in bed making love with Brennan.

Once they were well away from the bar he stopped at a park. Neither said a word as they got off the bike and walked into the park. They found a tree to sit under and the conversation began.

"Sorry about that. I just didn't want him knowing your name or that you're more to me than some girl I picked up in a bar. If he knew how much you meant to me he'd find a way to use you to force me to help him."

Shalimar wanted to pursue the "what she meant to him" thought but knew it wasn't the right time. "It's OK. I understand. Who was that? Are you alright?"

"That was my step dad. Jake."

"You've never really talked about him. I take it you two *don't* get along." She made it a statement, not a question.

"That would be an understatement. I really don't want to go into details right now. I'm to mad at seeing him and his having the nerve to ask me for help. I don't want to take that out on you. Let's head back to Sanctuary. I think we should warn the others. And see if we can find out what he's been up to that he needs my help."

"Let's stay here a little longer. Like you said, you're upset. Walk around the park with me?"

Unable to tell her no he nodded and stood, then held his hand down to her to help her up. They both knew she didn't need the help, but she accepted the gentlemanly gesture; realizing it was, in part, an apology for his earlier, very ungentlemanly, words and actions. They walked in silence, but it was comfortable. Brennan felt calmed by her presence next to him. Once his anger cooled he thought more about the woman at his side. He started wishing that they could carry through on what he'd all but told Jake they would be doing. But as he'd hinted to her, she meant more to him than some girl he'd picked up in a bar. And he wanted a lot more from her than just one wild afternoon. He'd been hoping to tell her that soon, but now with Jake around. . . He wrapped his arm around her waist.

Shalimar said nothing but was glad to have his arm around her. To feel that familiar half protective, half possessive touch. After walking completely around the park the couple got back on Brennan's bike and started home to tell the others what had happened.

X X X X X X X X X

Emma sat alone in her room trying to meditate. She found it hard, distracted by thoughts of recent events. It had been a week since Tyler's death. She missed him, but had come to feel that things had ended as they were meant to. She wasn't sure how she'd have made it through the week without Jesse. He'd been there to hold her when she'd cried, to listen when she'd needed to talk. She'd found herself often reaching out with her powers just to feel his presence. She hadn't been trying to read him, just to know that he was near. The knowledge had a calming effect she knew she was coming to rely on.

He said he was just returning the favor. That she had been there for him when Amanda had been killed. After initial heartless remark at the apartment she'd worked hard to make it up to him and be there for him. She had been sorry that anyone died, but she had felt a surprising sense of relief that the woman was out of Jesse's life. At first she had refused to look to closely into the emotion, not wanting to admit it was jealousy. Eventually she'd admitted to herself that she was jealous and cared about Jesse as more than a friend.

The night before she and Shalimar had ended up having a "girl talk" and Shalimar had promised to help her find away to get Jesse's attention. Emma hoped Shalimar would come up with something soon. Her thoughts were disturbed when she heard Adam walking toward the garage and sensed his worry. She quickly got up and went to follow him.

X X X X X X X X X

Jesse looked down at the papers he held in his hand. They were the phone numbers he'd bragged to Brennan about getting while they where searching for information. It had been a week and he hadn't called any of them. He had really gotten them so he could brag to Brennan, and so that no one would notice anything unusual. Like the fact that he was falling in love with Emma. He knew that working together on the team would make any romantic relationship complicated. Jesse wasn't sure how Adam would react. He knew Shal would be happy for them, especially since it was pretty obvious that she and Bren where interested in each other. Brennan would be happy for the same reason, and probably act like the over- protective-big- brother for Emma.

At first he'd worried that a relationship was forming between the two. But having watched Brennan with Emma and with Shal he'd realized his mistake. Brennan had known Emma the longest and joined Mutant X at the same time, which gave them a close relationship, but it wasn't a romantic one. He'd seen "the look" more and more often lately in Brennan's eyes as he watched Shal, which he was doing more often and more obviously. And the way he treated them was subtly different as well. He was protective of Emma, but more possessive of Shal. No, Brennan wasn't his competition for Emma.

Standing up Jesse threw the numbers in the trash as he left his room deciding some work on the computers might help distract him. Once he logged on he realized his mistake. The first files that came up where the research he had done on Tyler and his group. He wished he could say he was sorry the guy died. And since it hurt Emma he was, he never wanted to see her hurting; but part of him was glad. He knew that if Tyler had stayed around Emma would have eventually left Mutant X to be with him, and he couldn't stand the thought of Emma not being in his life.

Pulling his mind back to the present he quickly deleted the files.