"Is that what it feels like when you phase?"

No Shal, it's a bed of roses, like eating cake.

What did you think it felt like? Did you think I made it up? Did you think me weak? What do you think 'my body being torn apart' meant?

That's what I want to scream at her and Emma.

"You could at least try!"

Shal said it, but they all thought it.

"Jesse please, we don't have any other choice…."

That one from Emma, with her big eyes, the beaten puppy dog eyes; the ones that I can never say no to.

"Just do it!"

Guess I know where I stand now. I know what Shal thinks of me.

Cowardly Jesse. Conceited Jesse. Selfish Jesse. So full of himself, so concerned about his own safety, that he would never think of taking such a risk. He would never phase the Helix to save us.

The Helix…it's not exactly a six by six section of wall that maybe's like two feet deep! It's the fucking Helix! A 2000 ton plan with five people inside it! It's got millions and millions upon millions of millions molecules that have to stay separated and with in reach of each other. It's got complicated parts that if aren't just so will totally fuck us over. And let's face it; putting a human body back together isn't like fixing a toy doll.

I want to scream at them, at all of them. I want to show them what my insides are doing, to explain that I've never, never, phased anything bigger then a wall before. Explain to them that once, only once, I tried to phase a car and that I was sick for a week afterwards. Shal was the one that found me, guess it slipped her mind. I just want to scream at them, just to scream so maybe I can get some relief from the pain that is spreading through my body.

But I don't. I half fall, half flop into my chair and just sigh. I turn my attention back to the console, fighting the darkness that's calling out. God how I would love to just pass out, but I can't. I have to be awake and focused just incase…

I'm exhausted, my body's done. I can feel it. It's screaming at me, tearing itself apart throbbing in time with the Helix. I'm still connected, weird I know, but I am. I can feel the beauty of the machine working, thousands of parts each performing their job to make it run. I can feel each person on the plane, breathing and their heart beating. It's my safety net, it lets me know if I fucked up and put something back wrong. If the pulse is off, if we're not beating in sync then I messed up and I have to fix it. So far so good, this time.

"Is that what it feels like when you phase?"

No Shal, it's not…you felt nothing, nothing like I do. I kept you whole, I kept you mostly solid so you wouldn't phase away. I'm sure they felt their bodies dissolving but that was nothing compared to what I feel. In order to phase I have to keep everything separated, everything apart so it can all be put back together. It's hard, it's so god damn hard and it hurts…it freaking hurts.

"Is that what it's like when you phase?"

I couldn't explain it if I tried. It's like trying to explain why something makes you laugh. I just can't, but they're waiting, they want an answer. They'll just have to ask Adam, I'm done.

I can feel them watching me, studying me. Shal looking for weakness or my trade mark signs of pain. But this pain, the worst of it, won't show up for awhile, my body's too tired to feel pain just now. She's feeling guilty though and so she has to look, has to make sure…mama lion kicking in.

Brennan's glancing at me every three seconds, big brother and awe set in his face. Bet he's rethinking all the times he's called me useless. No, probably not, I'm always useless to him. I get in the way, or I argue to much, or I just don't belong. We've had this fight so many time…still I can't help but think, "I can do something you can't do, I con do something you can't do…I can save our asses from the danger you put us in."

I can feel Emma in my head, not probing but invading nonetheless. She's trying to sooth the pain, but I don't want her to. I need to feel it, I have to. It keeps me from phasing away. So I build my walls up, using up even more of my strength. I lock them in place and I feel her slam into them and then retreat. She got the message, she's backing off. Maybe latter I'll apologize for the abruptness…then again maybe not.

I can feel fly boy…god I can't even remember his name…I can feel him staring at me. The freak stare. The 'what the hell is that thing,' stare.

God it burns.

"Jess, can you hear me?" Brennan's voice sounds worried, he looks scared too. Wonder why?

I manage to look at him though my body protested. It's yelling at me, demanding sleep and warmth and maybe eventually painkillers. Lots of painkillers.

"Yeah?" I say, and I sound bad even to my own ears.

"How we doing on fuel? We good?"

I stare at the console in front of me, still feeling all the eyes locked on me. It takes my mind a minute to focus on what I need to find, and another minute to understand what I'm seeing. "Yeah, we're good," I say and lose even more of my strength.

I'm not going to make it home.

I can fell Brennan looking at me, studying me. But it wasn't a criticizing gaze; it was one of worry and a little guilt. He knows that this is his fault.

I don't care; I don't have the strength to care. If I think, the pain increases. I can barely stand it as it is. I came the closest to fading away that I ever have. Of just phasing and never solidifying again. My molecules just tore them selves so far apart they almost stayed that way…better not think anymore. Better to just close my eyes and not think.

Hurts more when I think….


Pain explodes through my right side and spreads to the left; little eruptions like shock waves, the calm before the storm. My eyes snap open and if I had the strength, I'd be screaming.

"Jesse," a soft, soothing voice calls again.

It's Adam…we're back at Sanctuary. I look around and the others are standing by the hatch, watching. They're faces a mixture of fear, worry, and guilt.

"Jesse," Adam says again, bringing my attention back o him. "How are you feeling? Are you in pain?"

Am I in pain? Oh am I in pain…. "No," I say, more out of it than before. How did we get to Sanctuary so fast? I just closed my eyes…"No I'm just tired."

Adam doesn't believe me. He's eyes are scanning me and I know he can tell I'm lying. He knows that I'm in a hell of a lot of pain. But he knows how I work. I don't want painkillers right now, I want to sleep it off. But he has to make sure…

"Do you know where you are?" he asks me.

"Home," is all I can say.

"Do you know who I am?"

"The mad scientist in Frankenstein."

That got a smile from him but still, he said, "Try again Jesse."

"Adam Kane," I sigh, closing my eyes. It's really hard work talking.

"You're sure you don't want anything?" What he really means is, 'I know you're stubborn, but you're in pain. And I want to give you something and run tests.'

"No Adam, just let me sleep."

"Alright," he said reluctantly. "Brennan can you…."

"Sure thing Adam," Brennan said as he stepped up to help me.

I heard Shalimar whisper "Be careful when you touch him…" guess she remembered how sensitive my nerves get after all.

I start to get up but find that it's way too hard. Luckily Brennan's there so he can basically carry me.

I give Emma and Shal a small smile, I can't stand the looks on heir faces no matter how pissed I may be at them. I want to ease their fear and guilt, but I don't think I do. Emma smiles back though and Shal gives me a quick, careful kiss. Fly boy gives me a nod; he's not looking at me like a freak anymore. I guess that's a good thing.

Brennan and I head for my room. I stumble a few times, but I make it. Brennan waits until I'm stretched out on the bed. "You need anything?" he asks me as he's heading out.

"Nope, thanks…" I mumble wishing that he would just leave me alone so I can sleep.

"Alright, Adam and I are going to take Morrison back but Shal and Em will be here."

So his name's Morrison…

"Cool," is what I think I say, but I'm already asleep.

There's a knock on my door and I groan because I'd just fallen asleep.

"Jesse?" Emma calls as she comes in.

"What?" I half whine, half grumble, probably mostly snapped.

"How are you doing?"

"I just fell asleep…"

"Yeah, about five hours ago, it's ten."

"Really?" I ask surprised. Didn't feel like it.

"Yeah," she's studying me, but I know that she can't see the pain inside me. I'm still to tired to feel the brunt of it. Soon though…

"Adam and Brennan are back. We're going out, Shal, Bren, and I. Feel like coming?"

Sure Em, I just phased the Helix and five people for the first time and my body's exhausted. Of course I want to go party, just let me change my shirt.

"No thanks Em, you guys go ahead. I just want to sleep."

"You want to eat anything?"

"Just sleep," I mumble as I pull the covers over my head.

Em giggles as she takes the covers from me. "Alright but you're eating the next time you wake up," she says as she tucks me in. She even gives my forehead a kiss.

"Alright mom…" I mumble as I watch her leave. As I fall asleep I wonder why Em came and checked on me instead of Shal.

Something's wrong…very wrong…something's very wrong.

That's all I can make out in the haze, that and the pain.

The pain…oh God the pain….

I feel like I'm being pressed through barbed wire into acid. My skin is burning, my lungs are on fire, my chest is tight, my insides are being torn apart…I think my eyes are open but I can't see and I taste copper in my mouth…there's something warm running into it.

And now it starts…the spasms. First I phase, but my body knows that's a bad thing so to counter it, I mass. But it can't make up its mind what it wants to do more, fade away or stay together.

No more pain or live…

It's coming in ripples now. My legs first, then my stomach and arms and chest…I'm being torn apart. My body is tearing itself apart. My muscles are tightening, I'm shaking, and I can't breath. My body continues to phase…to fade away…I'm going to fade away….

My lungs are burning, I can't get air. Something warm is running down my throat…I'm choking…God I'm suffocating and no one's here! Shal! Where are you?! Shal! Help me! Please, somebody help me! Shalimar!

"Jesse? Jesse are you alright? Oh God Jesse!"

I think it's Emma, but I don't want Emma, I want Shal. Where are you Shal? Why can't you be Shal?

"Hang on Jesse…oh God hang on…Adam…Adam are you there? I'm in Jesse's room…He needs help…I don't know, his powers…Adam hurry he's in pain…he's body's…It's bad Adam, it's really bad…"

I feel her hands push my hair back and stroke my face the best she can with what my body's doing. Poor girl doesn't realize that touch only makes it worse. She's saying something, I can't really understand. All I can hear are my pathetic and desperate attempts to get air and my heart beating.

My back is contorting now and my chest is exploding…God it hurts. Where's Shalimar? She knows what to do, she always does…

It gets worse with every second and it's reaching the point where I can't take it.

I feel Emma's hands in my hair and on my neck. The touch is comforting but it adds to my agony. I want to yell at her to stop, to get off of me. That she's hurting me, that touch is bad.

My door opens and I hear Adam and Brennan entering, but still no Shal. Where is she? God I want to cry, I want to break down sobbing like a four year old who wants their mother.

In a second though it doesn't matter because I've reached my limit and I lose it. My hold on reality, my hold on consciousness, gone. I lose it and I slip into blissful blackness.

I feel like shit.

Imagine that you drunk for three days straight while taking every drug you could get. Then you go cold turkey. Multiply that by ten hundred and you're not even close. I can't move, I can't open my eyes, hell I can barely breath. And I don't even want to try to wake up. Sleep is so much better…OWE! What the hell was that?!

"Normal now…just needs sleep…wait and see…be fine…soon I think…"

Oh great, voices, now I have to wake up.

"Jesse, can you hear me?"

Yeah Adam I can hear you just fine, you don't have to yell. "Adam…"

Oh God, is that really my voice? It doesn't even sound human.

"I'm right here Jesse, right here. Can you open your eyes?"

I don't even bother to try. There's a blackness that's calling me and it's so much warm and fuzzier then here. So I ignore the voice and go to the blackness.

I, after what seems like hours, manage to open my eyes, and instantly regret it. It's bright, way to bright.

"Ugh…" is all I manage.

"Brennan can you get the light…" it's Adam's voice, and I can feel him next to me. "Jess, try again…please…" he asks me, trying to coax me to consciousness.

I groan, but I try again because I know that I need to. So I open my eyes slowly, still not trusting the lights. My head aches, and that's an understatement, my body doesn't even fell like I should be alive. But I some how get my eyes open. I can see Adam next to me, his hand on my shoulder. Brennan and Emma are in front of me, but there's no Shal.

"You scared us," Emma said softly before I could ask about Shal. I can tell by her gaze that I did more then just scare…

"That's an understatement, you…" Brennan started to say but he drifted off, his gaze falling on Adam.

"What Brennan was going to say Jess, is that you died…for about five minutes you were clinically dead," Adam finishes. He knows better then to lie or sugar coat things for me. Blunt is always best.

I hear what he's saying, but I'm so far away that I'm not understanding. The blackness is calling out to me again and I know I don't have much time, so I say the one thing that's on my mind that has been on my mind since this all began, "Where's Shal?"

But the blackness takes me before I get my answer.

Waking up is easier this time. You can divide the cold turkey thing by ten. I'm still in the med lab, still can't move. I don't see anyone…wait snoring…Brennan.

I try to sit up, but all I get is new more improved waves of pain and I fall back. And here's how weak I am, my scream comes out as a moan. But it was still enough to wake Brennan.

"Jesse?" he calls, coming into view.

"Hey…" I say still weak, voice still inhuman. Why the hell does talking have to be so hard?

"Jesse, how you feeling?" he asks me, unsure of what he's suppose to do. Why the hell did they leave him here and where is Shal?

"Shal…" I say, closing my eyes in a vain attempt to stop the world from spinning.

"She'll be back. How are you?

Back? She was here? "Hurt…" is all I can say.

"You want anything, I'll get Adam…" God he has no fucking clue. I'd laugh, if I wasn't in so much pain.

"Shal…" I mumble, again trying to push myself up.

Brennan pushed me back, "Just hang on. Jeez, you two are like a broken record. She went to get some water, she'll be back. We've barely gotten her to leave…"

"Jesse!" I hear her from the door and I open my eyes. "Jesse!" she calls again, tears in her eyes, and she races over to me pushing Brennan out of the way. He doesn't complain and leaves us in peace.

She takes my hand in her's and runs her free hand through my hair and just like that the pain subsides a little. And the fear I had been feeling disappears.

"What happened?"

"Emma found you about two am day before yesterday…"

Day before…?!

"She'd just gotten back…She got a hit off you. God Jess you scared us half to death!" Shal said a sob in her throat.

"Where were you?" I asked her. To me this was the most important question. I had called for her, I had needed her, and she wasn't there. She must have sensed this cause I could see the guilt on her face.

"I was out prowling…I...what I said to you on the Helix…I had no right. I was scared and I should have known…I…God Jesse I'm sorry…you can't imagine how sorry I am…. I was feeling so guiltily and so cowardly, I of all people should understand what you go through when you use your powers. And to be so damn careless…then to come home and find that your powers were out of control…that you couldn't…your heart stopped! You died Jesse! You died and the last thing I said to you was something so fucking heartless…It took Adam twenty minutes to get you stabilized enough to stabilize you!"

I could feel the pain in her voice, the emotion and I knew that every word she said was true. She hadn't abandoned me, she had been trying to figure out away to apologize. That was all I needed to know. I some how manage to squeeze her hand despite the new waves of fatigue.

"Why didn't you let Adam run tests? Why did you have to be stubborn?" she finally asked after a minute or so of silence.

"Because he didn't want us to know he was hurt," Adam said from the doorway. Shalimar sighs and moves to my other side to allow Adam to examine me. "You know Jess, being hurt and being weak are two different things," he tells me. I just stare up at him. "This is going to sound redundant, but how are you? Really?"

I close my eyes and answer, "Sore."

"Wonder why, I'll give you a mild sedative. You cut it close Jesse, really close. Next time…"

"I'll let the missile hit us," I coughed out earning a laugh from Shal and a mock-glare from Adam.

"Next time you come straight to the lab," Adam said. "We can't afford to lose you Jess, not ever," he continues as he inject something into my arm. I fall asleep quickly as my body thankfully goes numb, still in one piece.