Disclaimer: I do not lay any claim to Mutant X or the X Men or any of their characters.

Well, it took a while but our move is over. I thank everyone who stuck with me through the last story and are back for more of my Mutant X world. I may try to write for the world the show exists in but for now I like mine. I hope you do, too.


Chapter 1

Eight months after the explosion at NAXCON and the mission with the X Men to recover Adam, life had certainly changed around Sanctuary. Emma's presence was missed greatly but everyone found a way to deal and move on.

Jesse discovered he was being given an incredible second chance at love and that with the right person, life indeed could go on. He had spent the last eight months getting to know everything there is to know about one Miss Kitty Pryde. They would spend hours talking and laughing. He put many miles on the Helix with his biweekly trips to the mansion. Either he would stay there in the room across from hers or he would fly her back to Sanctuary where she stayed in the guestroom now known as Kitty's room. During the weekdays and their off weekend, they spent much time on a private video link that Jesse set up between their computers. They even had gotten the chance to go on a few minor missions together. Secretly, Adam wanted to get a feel for how their relationship would intermingle with their work. Charles agreed and when the opportunities arose, they were sent, with others from both teams, on missions that weren't too dangerous yet demanding. To the couple's credit, they surpassed expectation and found they made a viable working team. Jesse never forgot the cruel lesson learned when Emma died. He had determined not to take for granted a moment of the precious time he had on this Earth with the people he cared most about.

Adam and Evie were discovering new depths to their love with the expected arrival of their first child. A room next to theirs was transformed into the most adorable nursery. Between this baby's loving parents and the excited aunts and uncles he or she would be living with, the nursery was designed state of the art and stocked with everything a baby could possibly need. Adam was the epitome of the doting expectant father. He cared for Evie to the extreme, making sure she was safe, comfortable and satisfied at every turn. Her health was never really an issue. Her healing abilities kept her from feeling most of the ill affects most mothers-to-be experience. The only things they could not compete with were the insane cravings that would occasionally strike. But then, that's what expectant fathers are for. Adam eagerly strove to satisfy each one, even if it meant going out to find a particular flavor of ice cream in the middle of a cold stormy night.

Working with Charles to train her newly discovered telepathic abilities proved very interesting. While they seemed to develop rapidly, she wasn't without the occasional accidental projection. There was a time, for example, when she felt her nesting instincts very strongly and had the desire to clean and prepare her home for the baby. She awoke in the middle of one night to strange noises and found that Brennan was up to his elbows in soap suds as he tried to explain his sudden need to clean the kitchen. The worst was the morning everyone woke to Jesse's whimpers of pain. He had gotten up in the middle of the night looking for a snack. He ended up making a very large lunchmeat sandwich on which he, out of the blue, decided to dress with horseradish. Never having tasted it before and being very hungry he decided it couldn't hurt. The next morning his face and mouth were red and swollen from an allergic reaction. Evie felt terrible as she confessed that she had gone out specifically the day before to get the horseradish out of a craving and made for herself the same sandwich at lunchtime. Had Evie not been able to heal the reaction to the allergen, Brennan wouldn't have laughed but knowing Jesse would be fine in a matter of minutes, he proceeded to laugh hysterically.

As the end of her term settled upon her, Evie was feeling less happy about being pregnant. Everything was ready for the baby it seemed, except the baby. She was quickly becoming irritable and had to carefully control her projections. On a few occasions, she walked into conversations which seemed to quickly turn into arguments. Realizing she was the culprit, she would try to cool the situations by gently reminding everyone, "Baby's trying to say Hello." On every occasion that did the trick and everyone smiled as they rubbed her protruding belly and returned the greeting.

Shalimar was making discoveries in her own life that roused feelings deeply rooted in her soul. This Friday afternoon, she was feeling particularly aloof. She walked around Sanctuary, not really noticing anything or anyone around her.

Brennan had yet to make any discoveries. Life for him was good and he would not change a thing. Little did he know that his time was quickly approaching. He watched as Shalimar, unnoticing, passed as he opened his arms to her. "Hey, Shal?" he called to her feeling slightly hurt.

"Huh? Oh, hi." Shalimar turned to respond but kept walking.

"Oh, hi?" Brennan was shocked. "Is that all I get?" He walked up to her as she turned back to him. "I've been gone all day. Don't I even get a kiss?"

Shalimar tried to smile and moved into his arms as he hugged her.

"Hey, what's wrong? It's like you're not even here." Brennan held her close.

"It's nothing. I'm just feeling a little out of sorts I guess. Maybe Evie isn't feeling well. I should check on her." She began to move away from him.

"Hold on. I just saw Evie. She's fine." He moved closer to hold her again. "Maybe you need a break. I know that I do. How about if we take the weekend and go away? We could go out to the beach and lay in the sun for awhile. Then I'll take you to a club. We haven't gone clubbing in months." Brennan was pleased that he came up with the perfect getaway for them on the spur of the moment.

Shalimar pushed him away gently. "What are you talking about? We can't leave now. This baby is due anytime."

"I know but Adam will call us to let us know if anything happens." He began rubbing her upper arms softly. "We haven't been alone in a long time." His eyes widened when she pulled away from his touch.

"Now's not the time for this. We have to stay here." Her voice conveyed annoyance at his persistence.

"Evie doesn't need us. She only needs Adam. Don't you think they might like to be alone for a while?" Brennan tried to counter.

"No, I don't. This is a time when she needs her family. I can't believe you want to run out on them." Shalimar folded her arms in front of her.

"Hey, calm down." Brennan had to try a new approach. "I'm not talking desertion, here. I just wanted to take you away for a bit. It would give us some time out and give them some time alone before the baby comes. Wouldn't you want some last minute romantic time before you had to get up every two hours to feed the baby?" Much to his surprise, this tactic backfired.

"You know, that's all you ever think about?" Shalimar turned and threw her hands in the air.

"What?" He was taken completely aback.

"You're only thinking about time alone for sex. You really have no clue what they need right now. They need their family around them. They know that we'll be here to take care of the baby and give them time alone after the baby comes." She was beginning to rant.

"Whoa. Hold on." Brennan put his hands up in surrender. "This isn't about what they need, is it? This is about what you need. I get it. It's a feral thing. That's fine. All you had to do was say so. We'll stay and then when you feel better about it we can go away later." Again he moved to touch her but she pushed his hand away.

All the commotion pulled Adam and Evie from their work in the lab.

"You really don't get it do you." Shalimar yelled as she walked backward away from him. "You think you know me. After all this time you should know me a little better than that. You're right about one thing. I am feral and ferals need their space and they need to hunt. I think a club sounds like a great idea but I'm going alone. Don't wait up for me." She turned and went to her room. The slam of her door echoed through out Sanctuary.

"Fine, I won't," Brennan yelled back as sparks danced around his fists. He turned and repeated her door slamming performance.

"What was that about?" Adam turned to his wife but raised an eyebrow in question as he saw her smile.

"You heard her. She's feral." Evie turned and went back to work leaving Adam in the doorway looking from the now empty hall back to his puzzling wife.

As they resumed their work Jesse came bounding in with a smile that threatened to split his face. "Well, I'm off. Do you need anything before I go? Once I'm there, don't call."

"Oh, that's right," Adam remembered. "You're going to the mansion this weekend."

"And Kitty's coming home," Evie added.

"Yeah, she's supposed to be back in the morning. I want to be there when she gets in." Jesse was brimming with excitement.

"It was only a recon mission, Jess," Adam teased as he winked at his wife, "You'd think she'd been gone for a month." Adam really knew all the details of the mission. He knew that it really had been about a month.

"A month of only being able to get updates from Jean and all she would tell me when I called is that Kitty's ok and she misses me. I can't wait to see her. Please, don't call me unless it's life or death. I have a big weekend planned. Don't expect me back until Monday night."

"Hear that, baby. You can't interrupt Jesse's big weekend." Evie smiled slyly.

"Now, I said LIFE or death." Jesse moved closer and put his hand on Evie's stomach. "You come out whenever you feel like it, baby. Uncle Jesse will be here."

Evie laughed as she playfully hit his shoulder. "Make sure one of your kisses for Kitty is from us."

"I will," he said as he kissed her cheek. "Any messages for the professor?" he asked Adam.

"No. Have a nice time."

Friday afternoon at the mansion was always an excited time. Someone always had some plans for the up coming weekend. This weekend however, excitement gave way to apprehension after Charles got a call from the dean at the college where Kitty and Jubilee had spent the last month. The first call, just over a month ago was to ask help of his friend. There was trouble and mutants seemed to be the target. Four girls and one boy had seemingly dropped off the face of the planet. All were dean's list students and all were secretly mutants.

David Brown, the Dean of Advanced Studies, isn't mutant himself but a friend of Charles Xavier and a supporter of mutants being able to live happy, productive and safe lives. He knows which of his students have special abilities and encourages them as he does all his students to make careful and meaningful life choices. When rumors of mutant harassment began and then five of his students disappeared over a two week period, he ruled out student drop out and knew he needed help. That's when he called Xavier.

"When was the last time they called in?" Cyclops asked as they all sat in the danger room, wondering what the next move should be.

"Jubilee called in on mah watch. It was about 8 o'clock, last night." Rogue reported. "She seemed fine and told me that she and Kitty were invited to a private party that was supposed to be tonight. They accepted the invitation hoping they might finally find out what's been goin' on."

"Sound's like somebody up' the timetable, no?" Gambit was getting angrier by the minute. They were his kid sisters and now he was a worried big brother.

"I know they were feeling that they weren't getting anywhere," Jean added. "Last week they were going to start discretely using their powers, hoping that if they were being watched something would crack."

"I don't like this, Professor. Can't we just go out there and start looking for them?" Iceman had come a long way learning to be patient and mature in the time since he had come to the institute. He was now a very promising young X Man. This time, however, circumstances were overriding his tactical training. Jubilee meant the world to him. Not only had they been out of contact for a month because of the mission but now she was officially missing.

The computer began signaling the arrival of an incoming aircraft. Wolverine moved to the console behind him. "It's the Helix."

"Oh, my." Storm gasped as she worriedly met Wolverine's eyes. "Jesse planned on being here for Kitty's return."

"I will contact him." The professor closed his eyes and directed Jesse to the danger room.

The door slid open and Jesse was taken aback as he walked in. He could feel the worry and sadness in the air.

"Welcome back, Jesse," the professor offered.

Looking from face to face and meeting Bobby's eyes, he hesitated as his light heart suddenly became heavy. "Thank you, Professor. I'm sorry if I --- uh interrupted something."

"Of course not. Please come in and sit down. Tell us, have you been in contact with Shadowcat at all?" he asked.

"No, Sir, not since before she left on this mission. What's happened? She's alright, isn't she?" Worry became evident in his tone.

"The last contact from the girls was last night." Wolverine informed him. "What did she tell you about the mission?"

"Not much. She only said that she was going to a college to do some snooping around. She said there was some harassment going on and they were going in to verify it. I haven't heard anything since."

"We got a call this afternoon from the dean who requested our help. He told us that they didn't show up for classes this morning and weren't in their dorm when he went looking for them. Shadowcat missed her noon check in." Storm's eyes were sad as they met his.

"Well then, why are we sitting here?" Jesse stood abruptly, "Let's go out there and look for them?"

"Thank you. That's what I said." Bobby joined in, feeling justified.

"Gentlemen, please. We cannot just go blindly searching. It would arouse suspicion that could put the lives of now seven people at risk."

"Seven?" Jesse was confused.

"The dean is a friend of Charles," Jean began. "We were asked to investigate when five mutant students went missing at the college."