AN: Well, it's the end of the journey…the final chapter. I want to thank all of you who reviewed! You kept me going and gave me ideas on how to make things happen. As far as more stories, I've got a few ideas, but none screaming at me to get written, like this story did (yet!).
They had ridden home in relative silence. Lexa had begun fussing over Jesse almost as soon as they were on the highway. He however, grabbed the car's first aid kit and used the tweezers to remove the bullet from his right arm. Then took another couple minutes to repair more of his injuries, which drained enough of his energy for him to fall asleep easily, saving him from Lexa's diatribe. By they time they arrived back at Sanctuary, it was after 2 am. Katie had left a note saying she had gone back to the mansion. Brennan told Adam that he could have his bed, and the five of them went to sleep. Their bodies needed to recover from the adrenaline rushes. The aftermath of the night's events could wait until the next day.
The next morning – well, almost afternoon – Adam woke before the others and decided to take a self-led tour of the new sanctuary. It had been more than a year since he had been here, and his visits at the Rock had been all too infrequent. He'd just about forgotten about this place over the past year. The location seemed ideal – anyone who knew Jesse knew that he didn't care for his father and would never go home. But Jesse had done it for the team, knowing that they needed a new refuge or else risk falling apart. They had managed to rebuild Sanctuary in only a couple of weeks. And Jesse had solved and embraced a problem that had been haunting him for years. Brennan had been right. He'd been focusing on the preciseness of genetics rather than the volatility of human emotion. Had he done so, and opened up to the others sooner, their fresh eyes and opinions might have led him to a cure sooner. How many new mutants had died because he had been so focused on his own work. He sighed. He couldn't save the ones that had already died, but he was going to do his damnedest to save the rest.
Strolling into the kitchen area Adam encountered one of the objects of his contemplation, mid conversation with someone else.
"So he's dead?"
"Yeah. Are you okay?"
"I don't know. It'll take a while. But given what he did and was planning to do, I don't think the grieving will last very long."
"You knew him a lot better than I did, it'll take longer for you, but I'll be here for you."
"Thanks. You know, speaking of death, we should do something about yours. I talked to David the other day. It shouldn't be too much of a problem to reverse the death certificate."
"So it's David now, huh? Anything your older brother should know?" Jesse teased his sister. His teasing grin faded and seriousness returned. "No, no…I think we should leave things as they are. It's actually proved to be helpful. If anyone does a search on me, they won't find much. Publicly, especially, I think we should leave things as they are. It will help protect Sanctuary's location."
"I can have David find a way to get you your half of the assets. They're rightfully yours."
"If you want. But either way, I know you have my best interests at heart."
There was silence for a moment, and Adam decided it was time to make his presence known. "Hey Jesse," he said, walking all the way into the room. "Is that real coffee?"
Jesse looked up from his conversation with a woman Adam didn't know. "Uh, yeah. Pot's on the counter, help yourself. Everything is pretty much arranged just like at the Rock."
Adam poured himself a cup of coffee. He lifted it to his lips to drink but then paused. "Did you make this?"
Jesse turned around in his seat. "Yeah, so?"
Adam put the cup down and reached for the cream and sugar. Jesse laughed. "It's not that strong!"
"No, no. Not if you're trying to kill an elephant." He finished stirring the coffee and moved over to the table. "Now, Jesse, I don't believe I've met your lovely friend here."
"Adam, this is my sister Katherine Kilmartin. Katie, this is Adam Kane."
"A pleasure, Adam. I've heard a lot about you."
"Nothing good, I'm afraid. I've been rather negligent this past year."
Katie shrugged. "True."
Adam chuckled. "Definitely your sister, Jesse. Honest and blunt. I'm sorry I never met you, Katie. Truth be told, I didn't even know you existed."
"That's understandable. I was born after you cured Jesse's leukemia. From what I understand you weren't able to keep tabs on my family afterward. Then, when Jesse came to live here, he never said anything about me."
Jesse's expression turned sad. "I'm sorry about that Katie. Maybe if I'd said something to someone, things might have turned out different, and we'd never have spent all those years apart."
"Forget it, Jess. We're together now, and that's what counts." Katie put an arm around Jesse's shoulder.
Adam watched the two siblings interact. Obviously Jesse and Katie shared a strong bond, despite the fact that they hadn't seen each other in so many years. Katie was remarkably like Jesse. Honest, forgiving and talented. And already a part of the team, her presence here in sanctuary seemed to indicate.
Adam cleared his throat. "So, Jesse. Looks like you guys got everything set up pretty well."
Jesse turned back to Adam, and his face brightened somewhat. "Yup. The Cave is almost fully operational, but there's still a lot to do."
Jesse shrugged. "The new nickname for this place. It seemed accurate and it kind of stuck."
"Hmm." He took a sip of coffee. "Jesse, I'm curious, how did your genetic structure evolve? If I remember my tests correctly, none of them seemed to have any effect."
"One word Adam: prosoletine."
"A growth hormone…"
"That's right. I cracked your files and found that one test increased my level of prosoletine. I was young enough at the time that it acted like a growth hormone, giving my abilities a little bit of a boost."
"Broke into my files, huh? I hear you also managed to create a back up for Sanctuary's entire system."
Jesse shrugged off the praise. He was actually glad that Adam seemed more interested in his achievements than the genetic information. It seemed Adam was returning to the Adam that he had first known when he came to Sanctuary – a father figure and a friend. "I spent a lot more time at home base during missions while you were gone, Adam. I had to use the time to do something."
Adam listened carefully. He had missed out on Jesse's accomplishments and experiences. What else had he missed out on with Shalimar? With Brennan? With Lexa? He grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl in the center of the table and took a bite. "Hey, Brennan and Shalimar…how long?"
Jesse smiled. "Only a couple of weeks, but I have to admit, I was expecting them to get together a lot sooner. The tension in the room when the two of them were together was just incredible."
Adam grinned. "I'll admit, too, that the thought of them being together crossed my mind a few times. But you and Lexa." He shook his head. "That I never saw coming. The two of you are so different."
"Well, as the old saying goes. Opposites attract. It must be true. I have the feeling that Lexa cared about Jesse a while before they actually got together last week. When I first met her a couple weeks ago, I could just tell. It's a woman thing."
"Oh, I'm sure." Jesse mocked his sister. But he was blushing happily at the thought that Lexa had cared for him for some time. "I really love her. I know she cares about me, and I hope that'll be enough for her to stay."
"Oh, I can guarantee that's enough," said a new voice.
Jesse looked up to see Lexa in the entryway of the kitchen. He stood up from his seat and glided to her side for a kiss. "Yeah?"
"Oh, yeah." Lexa sighed. His kiss still had the ability to make her body relax like nothing else. She would never tire of it. "So, what are you guys up to?"
"Nothing much. Just catching up."
"Ah." Lexa poured a cup of coffee and took a sip. She grimaced. "Jesse, you made the coffee again, didn't you? Katie, I thought we agreed never to let Jesse make the coffee. Ever again."
"Jesse made the coffee? Yeesh. I'll have tea." They looked to the entryway to see Shalimar entered the room, Brennan close behind.
Katie laughed. "So what's next, you guys?"
Brennan leaned against the counter. "Well, we've almost got this place fully taken care of. Right, Jess?"
"Yeah. There's just a little more to be done in medbay and the science lab, but all the essentials are in place."
"We still have to finish the hanger and refit a new Helix. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather fly somewhere than spend hours in those cramped cars." Shalimar stretched, her body responding to the memories of the confining spaces of a car.
Lexa sipped her coffee, now diluted with cream. "And we need to check on the mutant underground. We're going to have a lot of problems, now that the Creator's dead; the Dominion's going to be a mess. We'll probably get rogue scientists and operatives opening shop all over the place."
"And Jesse and I have to get started on finding a real cure for genetic instability. There's a lot of work for us to do."
"Us, Adam? You planning on sticking around?"
"Yeah, Brennan. I am. I made a mistake last time, not trusting you guys with the truth. It's a mistake I don't plan on making ever again."
"Deal. I'm going to hold you to it. What do you say we get started? Jess, you want to help me run through the database and get the network of contacts up and running again?"
"Sure." Jesse stood and moved with Brennan out the door.
The others soon followed suit, having finished their beverages. Adam watched as Lexa and Shalimar moved with Katie into the common room, toward the computer terminals to start work on getting the safehouses up and running again after their brief shutdown. To his left, Brennan had started up the metal staircase, Jesse on the floor just behind him. It almost seemed normal. Well, as normal as Mutant X could get.
His gaze was jerked back to the right when he heard Shalimar screech. "Brennan!"
Brennan paused on the stairs, but didn't come back down. "Yes?" he asked innocently.
"I told you I didn't want to see that poster!"
Lexa's voice quickly followed Shalimar's objection. "I'm on Shal's side with this, Brennan. I don't want to have to spend my down time in the common room staring at that bucket of bolts." Both Lexa and Shalimar had turned on their heels and headed back toward the staircase, eyes full of good-humored anger directed at the electrical elemental.
Jesse, hand on the rail, feet on the floor, knew what the girls were referring to and looked up at Brennan. "When did you have time to put that up?"
Brennan dusted his fingertips across his chest. "Magic. I'm not taking it down, either. It's a classic," he said arrogantly.
Adam watched as Shalimar, Lexa, Katie and Jesse all raised their eyebrows at him. The next second, he heard a brief shout and a thud as Brennan hit the floor. It took him a moment to realize what had happened. Jesse, hand still on the rail, had phased the staircase, sending Brennan to the ground below, where he had landed on his butt.
Jesse stepped over to Brennan and patted him on the shoulder. "Better play nice, Brennan. We've all got to live together."
"I guess you don't like it either."
"No," Jesse attempted to say seriously, but the smile on his face betrayed his amusement.
The others began laughing, and Adam joined them; even Brennan grudgingly smiled. It was nice to have some humor back. They still had a lot of work to do, but they would all do it together.