Its been a while since I uploaded anything here and its probable that nobody missed me but if you did I'm sorry it took me so long.
This story is a one-off focused on Brennan and Shalimar after The Assault. Its just an excuse for me to write about Brennan and Shalimar's feelings about each other, the Dominion, everything really. There will be another one for any Lexa/Jesse fans that focuses entirely on them in the same situation. I'll upload that as soon as possible. And there will be a massive story, already hitting 18 chapters that will be uploaded as soon as I've gotten rid of the incredible writers block that's plaguing me at the moment.
Thanks to Steph for proof reading this for me, I hope the changes are okay.
None of the characters belong to me but thanks to Tribune and Marvel etc. for letting me use them.
Her hand reached up to her face to brush the errant strand of hair that had been tickling her cheek from it. She pushed it back into the mass of blonde waves and curls. She placed her fingers back onto the keypad of the laptop in front of her and they resumed the near incessant typing that had been going on for at least an hour. She leant back against the chair and closed her eyes. They were tired from staring at the glaring light of the computer screen and exhaustion was rushing across her in waves, interrupting her work and causing her mind to think over the past few days. And once she had started thinking about those past few days her mind inevitably found itself travelling even further back to better times. Better times weren't difficult to find given the heinous situations she had been in recently.
She had never found it so hard to write a few sentences explaining her actions. Normally she wouldn't have avoided confrontation but face to face interaction was impossible given her current predicament. Emails weren't really her style, dumping people via them even less so. She would usually have found it amusingly ironic that she could find the words when she needed to talk to someone in person and that on the one occasion on which she got the opportunity to think about what she was saying, she couldn't think of anything. But not a lot was amusing.
'You should get some sleep,' came the deep voice from behind her. She smiled as she recognised the resonant tones. As she heard him walking across the carpeted floor towards her she wiped the grin from her face and turned to look at him. His brown eyes, the ones filled with so much concern stared straight into hers, no embarrassment, no awkwardness.
'I know. I just wanted to finish this first,' she replied, turning back to the screen as he knelt down next to the chair, beside her, a supportive hand resting on her shoulder.
'Mutant X will still be temporarily out of action tomorrow and all the people in the underground will still be without us tomorrow. It won't do any good wearing yourself out over an email.'
'I know, I really do but I don't like leaving them in the dark. That's what happened to us for all those years and I still remember how I felt when everything came out. They don't deserve to have their trust shattered like that.'
She felt his eyes on her and attempted nonchalance without much success. She could hear the sounds of Lexa and Jesse talking next door, both their voices hushed as they slowly drifted into sleep. Shalimar had volunteered to write the mass email to all the members of the new mutant underground. Mutant X was over, finished for now at least and as the longest surviving member of the team it seemed appropriate that she be the one to tell everyone. She was regretting it now; never had she felt quite so ineloquent in her life. But she was determined to finish it all, let them all know what was going on.
He watched as she attempted to find the next word but nothing happened. After everything they had been through that day he was really not surprised that her brain was not working at its full capacity. Sanctuary had been blown up, completely destroyed, as had the Dominion complex. Adam was gone. Their own mortality had rushed out of the background and was now facing them full on. Shalimar was suffering as were they all but unlike the others she seemed completely unwilling to even try and rest. He didn't think he was going to get any sleep that night, just as he didn't think Lexa or Jesse were but the whole process of lying down, he hoped would relax him a little. He wanted to pick her up, sling her over his shoulder and put her on a bed, forcing her to lie down and take a few hours for herself, a few hours where she didn't worry about everyone else. Seeing her in her current state was physically painful for him.
She turned to look down at him, unable to ignore his persistent stare any longer. She loved having him close to her but she knew exactly what he wanted her to do and the unconscious pressure he was placing on her was weighing down on her shoulders, becoming unbearable. She leant her forehead against his and they looked into each others eyes, both of them relishing the silence, especially after all the noise of explosions and shouting that would forever distinguish the past day from every other.
'I'll do the rest thing, but I can't promise sleep.'
He breathed a sigh of relief as he forced his knees to straighten as he stood up. He grabbed her hand and pulled her up from the chair gently. They made their way towards the bed in the room they were currently occupying. They had been forced to clear out the Mutant X bank accounts before the Dominion could do it for them. There had been quite a bit of cash but they were on rations so had only been able to book the room for a few nights. It had a double bed and there was a sitting room linked to it with a sofa bed. It was cheaper than two rooms and they were looking to save as much money as possible. They would need most of it so they could set up shop some time soon without having to rob a bank, which Brennan had very kindly offered to do. Brennan and Shalimar had been given the bed for the first night, Brennan declaring that he would sleep on the floor, ever the gentleman. Truth was, he wasn't quite ready to let the world know about him and Shalimar. It was their big secret and he felt superior to everyone else, knowing something they didn't. He wanted to keep her to himself for a little while longer, and she didn't seem to object.
She sat on the edge of the bed, her muscles giving up on her as the chance of rest and relaxation became more appealing. The butterflies began to build up in her stomach. She would normally never get nervous about meeting a guy she had slept with but with Brennan the whole situation was very different, so much more complicated. She was completely unsure about how to proceed. She loved him, of that she was sure and although they flirted mercilessly and had done since they had first been introduced their relationship had somehow become more innocent. Having sex had opened up this world to them where they could potentially be with each other, they had finally admitted to themselves and each other that they had feelings for each other. It also had something to do with the burgeoning thing between Lexa and Jesse. Neither of them would admit to being completely in love but Shalimar and Brennan could both see it as objective observers. And it had given them this intensely scary opportunity to be a couple. If Jesse and Lexa could fall in love then so could they. But there was always this chance that they had only slept with each other out of the desperation of the moment. They had both needed to feel something other than fear and betrayal and sex had been that something. But what to do now was something that neither of them had thought through quite yet.
She felt the pressure through the mattress as Brennan sat down next to her.
'You want anything to eat, drink?' he offered.
'No, I'm good with the five course meal Lexa forced down my throat as soon as we got here,' Shalimar replied, secretly glad that the food had been made mandatory by the brunette woman. She would probably have collapsed already had it not been for her.
'Okay,' Brennan answered, the unspoken chuckle lingering in his tone. 'I'll go and get an extra pillow and blanket then.'
He looked down at her, her big honest eyes staring straight back at him. He had been thinking exactly the same thing. Why was he planning on sleeping on the floor? It wasn't that, having had sex once they were necessarily obligated to do it again at the next available opportunity, though he secretly hoped that it would eventually be the case. But why were they both so freaked out by the idea of sleeping in the same bed with each other? They didn't have to do anything and why did everything have to suddenly revolve around sex with them anyway? It never had before. They'd flirted like troopers but there had always been an intense friendship between them that had been what truly connected them. Sex hadn't come into it.
'Do you not want me to sleep on the floor?' he asked halteringly.
'I don't know what I want,' she replied after a long pause. And it was true. She didn't know. She wanted to sleep but at the same time she couldn't face closing her eyes for longer than a few seconds. She wanted to be with Brennan but she had no idea where that would lead and that scared her. More than anything she wanted to be back in Sanctuary, her home. She had never been able to sleep anywhere else quite as well. She had never felt so rested as when she got to spend the night in the rock. She wanted it all back, Sanctuary, Adam. She would have happily faced Gabriel Ashlocke if she could have just got rid of the Dominion without the consequences Mutant X were now facing.
'Do you think us sleeping together was a bad idea?' Brennan asked.
'No,' she replied without hesitation. 'Its just that I've never slept with anyone I was friends with before and there's a lot at stake and I'm not sure how this all works,' she continued in a rush, wanting to get it all out before her nerves caught up with her mouth.
Brennan smiled to himself but quickly wiped it away as soon as he saw her looking at him, an indignant look on her face. 'I'm sorry,' he said, 'its just that...that's all you're worried about?'
'Don't make it sound too trivial will you?'
'I didn't mean to offend you,' he answered swiftly. 'I've never done this either. I don't know what to do with this situation. I don't know whether we can still be friends given that not more than twenty four hours have passed since we had sex. I would love to be friends with you but I think I would be kidding myself and you if I said that I didn't want more. But that doesn't mean that we have to be all over each other just because we happen to be sharing a bed,' he finished, immensely glad that he had finally managed to formulate his thoughts into something coherent when it counted.
It was Shalimar's turn to smile, the proud look in Brennan's eyes at having said the right thing bringing laughter to the edge of her lips.
'You think that's funny huh? I'm pouring out my heart to you and you laugh in my face?' he said, mock indignant.
Shalimar couldn't hold it in any longer and a large burst of laughter escaped from her mouth before she was completely overtaken by a fit of giggles. Brennan watched as her cheeks gained a tinge of pink, something that had been sorely lacking before. Eventually she calmed herself down and she sat, breathing heavily, trying to regain her composure.
'So you're sleeping here then?' she said, seriousness returning to her expression.
'Yeah,' he replied quietly.
She turned and lay down on the bed, her head grateful for the support that the pillow was offering her neck. She closed her eyes, the darkness refreshing instead of terrifying and felt him lie down next to her. She could feel him reach across her to the lamp on the bedside table and heard as he switched it off. When she opened her eyes the only visibility came from the thin curtains and the moon that hung high in the pitch black cloudless sky. She lay there, the tension sliding off her body, slipping away from her as she became more relaxed. Just as sleep started to catch up with her she felt his hand, strong and reassuring slip around her own, squeezing it tight. The corners of her mouth rose a little before the blackness that she had previously been so scared of consumed her.