Disclaimer- I don't own Mutant X or any of it's characters, I just have fun with them.
Authors note- This is a work in progress to try and explain how Emma could die so...undramatically in 'Into a moonless night'. Slight spoilers for that episode and a few around the end of season two. Reviews make me type faster!
Taking a deep breath, Emma slowly eased her way back into reality, her eyes stopped merely seeing the room and actually began to recognise it and inform her brain of her location. She'd been meditating more and more recently, trying to keep a tight grip on her powerful, but wayward mind. It was like trying to build a dam against a ever rising river, only to find another river flooding from the other side. It was getting harder and harder to block out even the mildest emotions projected by her team-mates. The general public she could block out…usually. But she knew her friends so well it was almost impossible to be near them and not have half an eye on their thoughts, like trying to look at a picture and see only the canvas.
Settling her thoughts back into the physical world, she turned to the door, knowing instinctively who was there already. "Come in."
Surely enough, her friend, her mentor, and so long ago now, her saviour entered the room. Adam always walked as though he was worried the ground might fall in if he trod too heavily. Of course for him, the world had collapsed from under him several times already. He was always expecting it to slip away again.
And judging by the state he was in, it was facing imminent catastrophe again. His mind was like a some cornered animal, he was fighting with himself to even walk in here. Not that anyone else would have been able to tell. He looked perhaps a little weary, but his emotions were reigned in tightly beneath that calm, 'bedside manner' exterior. She could well imagine him as the doctor he had been, delivering good and bad news with the same gentle manner he always used.
And this time the news was very, very bad.
He sat down next to her, his eyes filled with compassion. He looked as though about to speak, then shaking his head, stood again suddenly and turned away from her, staring into empty space.
"Adam?" she stood, trying to get his attention, something was very wrong. "Adam, what's happened? Are the others okay?" he didn't answer, his expression and mind lost somewhere in despair. "Adam!"
He seemed to shake himself, if not out of despair, at least into a more coherent state. "Emma…" her name had never been spoken so sadly before. Nor accompanied by such strong feelings of loss and love. Adam was in almost every way a father to her, and she knew he regarded her as is daughter, like he thought of them all as his children, though for her and Jesse, he had always been more protective than of Shalimar and Brennan. But in recent months, as they'd proved countless times they could look after themselves, those desires to protect them had ebbed.
And now something had brought them back in full force. Adam wanted to save her from something, and it took every ounce of self control to prevent herself simply delving into his mind and uncovering the truth for herself.
"Oh God, Emma…" Adam sat down again abruptly, tapping the bed, "We need to talk."
He wanted to talk. Good. Maybe he'd finally tell her what was going on before she went completely insane. She sat down next to him, forcing herself to calm down outwardly at least. "Adam, please. What's wrong?"
When he still hesitated "Please just tell me!"
He held up a hand to quiet her, some luck "Okay, just…give me a minute."
A pause, the seconds digging into her like knives.
"Do you remember," his words measured out carefully, "why Gabriel Ashlocke died?"
Ashlocke? Oh no…
"He's back?" Wow she sounded calm. Her voice was apparently not in communication with her brain right now. "How?"
But Adam was shaking his head, almost reassuringly, "No, even Gabriel couldn't resurrect himself after his whole genetic structure destabilised."
"Then what..?" her question left unfinished, but they both knew what she was asking.
Adam looked away, staring at the wall. Here it comes.
"A long time ago I realised that the New Mutant Genome was inherently unstable. Nature designed us the way it did for a reason," that wry almost-smile, so far from an expression of joy. He wearily drew a hand across his brow and looked up at her, "the human genetic structure wasn't supposed to be meddled with Emma, Genomex was too rash, we were too rash. New Mutants, they just weren't meant to be." He put his head into his hands, staring at the floor. His despair choking her in its intensity.
"Adam, what are you saying?" she wanted to run away. But a deep cold dread, from her or Adam she wasn't even sure anymore, paralysed her. Adam met her gaze, desolate and deeply sad.
"What I'm saying is, all New Mutants, are facing the same thing Ashlocke did, not on such a grand scale perhaps, not as rapid, but humans weren't meant to change the very building blocks of life. Our genetic framework just can't cope with it." His voice was infinity gentle, like speaking to someone bereaved, "and the more powerful the Mutant, the more rapid the decline. The faster their genetic structure breaks down."
And finally, finally she understood.
"I was able to calculate very precisely how long you all had, I could refine it with each scan." Adam seemed very far away, even his devastating grief could not touch her.
"How long do I have?" Was that her voice? She sounded so young, but she felt ancient, as though she had lived for centuries. Adam was handing her someone, a piece of paper, she looked down. A chuckle escaped her, she shook her head lightly, "thirty-two days." Adam was watching her intently, waiting for her to break down, or maybe to hit him. That was more Shal's style. For herself, emotion numbed her, allowed her no such easy release. Nodding jerkily, "That's not so bad, I was thinking maybe twenty-four hours, but I guess that was would be a little melodramatic." Not allowing herself to hope, she shot at him, "I don't suppose there's any way to fix this?" Already Adam was shaking his head,
"Ever since I realised what would happen I've been trying to find a way, and I'll keep looking, but to find it within a month?" He sighed, "Almost impossible at best." A pause, "And there's something else you should know."
Suddenly desperate for him to leave, "that isn't enough bad news for one day?" Another of his hopeless, and more frightening, helpless glances. "I'm afraid not."
A thought came to her, "Shal, Jesse, Brennan?"
"They have a while yet."
Meeting her gaze, she wasn't sure if her mental powers inadvertently forced him, or the fact she was dying provoked him to do it, but he took the paper from her and scribbled down a few dates. She took it back and almost idly scanned the contents.
"Jesse's next then?" It was hard to imagine. "Shal and Brennan will take it hard. Still…", checking the paper again, "they won't have too long to wait will they? I don't think Shalimar will like being the last one standing. " She shut her eyes, "I'm almost glad I'll be first."
"Emma." His voice was almost pleading, of course, he'd have to watch them all die. His grief was like a flood, drowning her, she couldn't cope with his despair too. "What else was there Adam?" She knew she was being cold, but she urgently needed him to be gone, so she could wallow alone in her misery. Adam too wanted to leave she knew, but his sense of duty…and friendship made him stay.
"You'll remember when Ashlocke died, the destabilising of his genetic structure produced a pretty powerful burst of energy." Of course she remembered, she'd seen the hole in the roof. Cutting a hole through a mountain was a pretty big feat even for the all-powerful Patient Zero. "Well according to my tests, your…death," the word was hard for him to even say, "will produce what I can only describe as a wave of mental distortion." He paused, he hated himself for saying this, and yet she knew he was making himself continue. "It'll effectively render anyone within fifteen square miles unconscious for a while. And anyone…" He paused, he was visibly thinking how to break it to her, "The minds you're most used to connecting with, those you're most familiar with, the energy burst will be directed straight at them, lethally. Not purposely." He continued, seeing her shocked expression perhaps, "But instinctively as you have a connection with them…with us, it'll be as automatic as a drowning person grabbing at their rescuer." His voice softened, "It isn't your fault Emma."
She couldn't deal with this. "Why Adam? Gabriel was far more powerful than me, and his death just made a hole in the roof. Why am I the one who'll kill my friends and cause mass chaos? WHY?"
She was hardly aware she was shouting, she didn't care. It didn't matter Adam was doing his best by her by telling her, didn't matter that without her mutations she'd have died before she was a year old, all that mattered was that she was going to die, and worse, take her friends with her. She collapsed onto the bed suddenly, sobbing helplessly into her pillow. Adam was stroking her hair, trying to comfort her. His mind was a mass of pity and wretched sadness. He wasn't concerned with his own death, he was just regretting hers, regretting the work he did that had caused her, and others, so much pain.
For once it wasn't so important to close her mind off to everyone else. She let his sadness wash over her, somehow making her own seem to diminish. Just for a little while, it was alright to be the scared girl she had been before Adam found her. Just a human being lost in the vastness of the world about her.
To be continued...(review!)