Dedicated to: Deichtine, Brigitta, Goldstranger, Falconwolf3, Aniki19, Animiga, Feline-Feral, Brennan's Angel, lgbabyblu, Lucygoosey, sheba, Snowglory, wolfhorse, koalared, Pietrabob, Raquelle2, Framling, gelf and all those who've been reading my stories. A lot of love went into these stories ( but obviously, not a lot of time, so so sorry about that) but yeah, love drove me to write so...enjoy!!!)

Contains spoilers from 'The Future Revealed', 'No Man Left Behind', 'One Step Closer' and a LOT of AU 'No Exit'.

Brennan inhaled as much air as he could and fired another tesla coil at the hangar door, but it remained stubbornly intact. He dropped his head with a heavy sigh.

Oh well. He kind of expected it anyway. Adam would have considered one of his or any other elemental's tesla coils the pettiest method of attack when talking about fortifying his Sanctuary.

"Come on, Jess, you gonna sit on your ass all day? Think of something, will you?"

A sweaty Jesse glared up from where he was sitting at his equally sweaty teammate. He was cradling his injured arm, which was still stinging from the laser shot Dennett had fired, exhaustion and tension making his face look drawn and haggard.

"What do you want me to do, huh? I've run out of juice. I can see you haven't. Why don't YOU think of something?" he replied tersely.

Brennan frowned. "Hey, you okay, man? You sound-uh-kind of heated."

Jesse resisted the urge to roll his eyes. And the urge to go 'duhhh'. "Well, well, aren't you the King of Obviousland."

"Ok, fine, it's boiling in here but that's no reason to bite my head off." Brennan sounded almost petulant. He fired another tesla coil at the door but this time with much less earnest.

Jesse sighed. "Sorry man." He shook his head, amazed at the rate at which he was losing his cool. When he was supposed to be the more cool-headed one of the two. "My arm hurts."

Brennan eyed the angry red belt-like welt encircling Jesse's arm. "You're gonna need some serious suturing for that."

Jesse shook his head. "Right now some ice would be bliss. This thing burns." He sighed and wearily laid his head down on the floor. Brennan did the same, lying down a few feet away. Jesse closed his eyes. Almost instantly, he wished he hadn't.

'Let's see how long you can last.'

The lunatic's words reverberated in his ears. He couldn't believe how he could have let the guy, a hologram of all things, get the better of him like that. He had phased thousands of times before and he could bet his life that he had phased even more than a minute before.

Like that time when he phased the Helix. It had felt like hours, the unspeakable pain of having his molecules stretched out to invisibly thin fibers of organic matter, but then again, he knew it must have not gone on for more than 50 seconds at most; the hot, fiery missile searing past his face, harmlessly nonetheless.

But he had definitely held on!

Oh and the time when he phased that choker which had actually been a bomb from around that senator's daughter's neck and pried it off before it had a chance to explode-that had felt like the longest ten seconds of his life.

But he had held on!

And now-he had a stinging wound from a laser beam fired by a paralysed cybernetic from a hundred miles away! Shortness of breath, my foot!

I could have done better, he fumed silently. I should have done better. He opened his eyes to see Brennan getting to his feet, obviously restless.

I'm not going to sit around and wait for that crazy Dennett to kill us off, Brennan thought angrily as he paced back and forth across the room.

"98.6 degrees. I can take it," Brennan whispered, more to himself. Perspiration was dripping down his face in rivulets. "You bet I can take it. Shalimar's way hotter than that."

"What?" Jesse looked up.

"Nothing." Brennan threw his hands up, finally giving up. "Jess, can't you like, phase out and walk through these walls and get us some outside help or something?"

Jesse just stared at him as if he were crazy. "Don't you remember the last time I tried to phase through the walls, when Ashlocke locked us out???"

"Oh yeah!" Brennan felt like kicking himself in the head. "You were nearly fried. Sorry man, I forgot." When Ashlocke had taken Adam hostage inside the Sanctuary itself forcing the scientist to come up with a cure for the 'omnipotent' mutant's self-destructing time-bomb his body had become, they had tried to break in, failing miserably at first.

"And besides, even if I could, it'd be thirty feet of solid rock," Jesse shuddered. His greatest fear. Claustrophobic was Jesse's middle name everyone knew that, so Brennan knew better than to push it.

"I hope Shalimar and Lexa are having better luck than we are," Brennan said glumly.

"I hope Brennan and Jesse are having better luck than we are," Shalimar muttered. She punched in the coordinates for the Woodbridge Park Private Hospital into the Helix's navigating system.

Lexa shrugged. "Well, since we have no way of contacting them or even knowing if they're still alive-" She lifted a delicate eyebrow as she felt Shalimar's glare, "-Let's just stick to what we have and hope for the best huh? We'd be lucky to even find this guy's room before he finds out we're on to him."

"He knows that already! He knows we've already figured out who he was when he tried to impersonate Brennan. I have a feeling he's that smart."

Lexa shrugged. "Let's find out if he is," she said grimly as she brought the Helix swooping down onto the roof of the hospital.

"-eventually stop your heart," the holo-Dennett finished gleefully, his ugly smirk marring the angularity of his chiseled, handsome face.

Jesse could no longer speak, his face red as he coughed and coughed, unable to stop. Brennan was staring up at the hologram in horror, oblivious to his friend's predicament.

"Dennett don't do this!"

"You said you wanted to understand how I felt," Dennett spat out bitterly, his pale blue eyes glistening with hatred and long-awaited retribution. "Soon you will." He mockingly gave them a little salute before flickering out of existence, leaving a frighteningly empty space where the holo had stood a few seconds ago. A dreadful reminder to Brennan and Jesse that they were now alone.

Through blurry vision, Jesse could only watch as more and more white smoke billowed out from the vents. He could only imagine the deadly fume enveloping every minute alveolar pustule in his lungs, stabbing his inside like needles, paralyzing his already burning muscles. He was unaware of the gas penetrating his bloodstream directly through the wound on his arm.

His coughing fit intensified, his thundering heart slamming against his sore ribs in time with every violent cough.

"Brennan," he tried to call out, but the pain in his chest was unreal.

He struggled to remain upright, but he could feel himself doubling over more and more with each racking cough. Black spots danced in front of his eyes.

"Brennan," he finally croaked but his strength at last waned completely, and he fell to his knees, slumping forward heavily.

"He's suffocating them!!!" Lexa's face was frozen in a horrified grimace, unable to tear her eyes away from the screen. Jesse was jerking spasmodically as Brennan tried desperately to hold on to him, to revive him. The blond molecular's lips were visibly grey as they opened and closed and opened again as they struggled to breathe some air into Jesse's burning lungs.

"Jesse, hold on!" They could hear Brennan's anxious plea. Lexa's heart began to race and her blood turned cold as ice in her veins when Jesse suddenly and abruptly stopped moving.

Shalimar uttered a cry.

She grabbed the wires attached to Dennett's bald head. "What did you do to them???"

"They're just like me now." His dead stare chilled Shalimar to the bone. And her fury increased.

"They die you die." Shalimar was about to rip the wires off when Lexa's arm snaked out to stop her, saying that Dennett was directly linked to the Sanctuary and that ripping the wires off would mean certain death for their two friends.

Instead, Lexa grabbed the keyboard off the counter, determined to manually override the nerve gas attack. Jesse was dying, and soon Brennan would be too.

Come on, this has to work. Please work.

"Jesse!!!" Brennan shook the molecular harder, but his friend remained frighteningly still and unmoving in his arms. "Jesse, come on!!!"

Jesse's head lolled lifelessly to one side.

Oh God.

Brennan propped Jesse higher up against his shoulder so that the molecular's face was upturned facing his. He noted fearfully his friend's pallid complexion and colorless lips; a definite sign of oxygen deprivation.

"Jess, don't die on me man," he whispered feverishly. He was dimly aware of the sudden rush of moving air around him; something was blowing the smoke away. And he was also increasingly aware of his head clearing more and more with each breath he took.


The oxygen chambers must have reopened. Brennan didn't know how but he knew he had no time to lose.

Brennan pinched Jesse's nose shut, and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; trying not to think about the nonexistent beating of Jesse's heart. He frantically blew more air down Jesse's windpipe, feeling Jesse's chest expand slightly against his body, and then deflating again. It still didn't rise on its own.

Damn. "Come on, Jesse!!!" He yelled.

"Brennan!" Shalimar's frantic voice suddenly burst through the air. The com-link. It was back on.

"Shal, he's not breathing!" Brennan was panicking. He dropped Jesse onto the floor and clumsily scrambled to his knees. He began to pump Jesse's chest. One. Two. Three.

Blow. Brennan blew down Jesse's throat.

One. Two. Three. Blow.

Still no sign of life.

He started the procedure all over again. And again. And again. And again.

He was not giving up. He pressed down hard. And heard something crack.

Dimly, he heard someone cry out over the com-link. Lexa?

Brennan didn't know how long he kept going. He could swear he heard someone sobbing softly.


Come on Jesse.

One. Two. Three. Blow.

Just breathe, Jess. Come on.

Shalimar lit another match. The stink of sulphur burned her nostrils but she inhaled deeply, as if trying to swallow her fear of something so small like the dancing flame of a matchstick. She touched the tip to the wick.

The smell of incense immediately filled the room. The candle soon joined the rest at one corner of her dressing table.

She liked candles. But she hated fire.

Just like she liked danger. The thrill, the rush, the challenge. But she hated it when the danger turned itself around and bit her in the ass, claiming the things she loved and the lives of people she loved.

She had lost Richard.

The heart-shaped candle at the far edge of the table near her jewellery box.

She had lost Emma.

The ivory white dove slowly melting next to her vase of flowers, its flame dancing steadily in the still, thick air.

She had lost Adam.

The long, blue and gold candle placed directly in front of the mirror, brightening her reflection.

She fingered the next candle in her treasure box, the one she hadn't lit up yet.

There are candles in here for everybody, she realized, feeling surprised yet, at the same time, not. It was as if she had known all along, that loss and pain were an essence of her being but had not come to terms with it, had not come to understand it.

The candle she was holding was carved into the shape of a star. A glittering, gold-speckled star.

A single tear unknowingly escaped the corner of her eye and slid down her cheek slowly. She only realized it when she tasted salt on her lips.

Her hands trembled as she struck the match this time. She fought to stop her hand from shaking but still it shook as the tip hissed and burned.

She touched the tip to the wick, her eyes watering even more, blurring her vision.

No. You're not going to cry again. Please, no.

If you cry now, you know you're not going to stop.

Harsh, angry sobs instantly reverberated through the whole room.

If her cries were heard, Jesse didn't show her a sign.

And as the star burned, Shalimar burned too.

The end

Author's notes: Sorry if this short fic doesn't live up to anyone's expectations. Started writing it at 3 o'clock in the morning and finished 2 hours after that so I was kinda stoned. Nevertheless, please R & R!!!