Title: Pyrophobia

Author: Sarge

E-Mail: Samcwannabe@aol.com

Rating: PG (For now)

Summary: After Eckhart sets a trap for the Mutant X team, Shalimar ends up facing her worst fear, and the team is forced to leave the Mutant X headquarters.

Status: Work in progress.

Disclaimer: They're not mine(Dangit!!)

Author's Notes: I really hope you like it. I'm dedicating this story to my "brother" Nathan. You know who you are! You rule, Nate and I love you!!

PLEASE READ AND REVIEW!! Good or bad.

_____________________________________________________________

"It's all clear," Shalimar announced to her fellow teammates after she finished off the rest of the guards.

"That was quick," Brennan commented as he walked over to her and looked down at the unconscious guards.

"Yeah, I know and it's got me worried," she replied.

"Why?" Jesse asked.

"Because there were only three guards. This is supposed to be a warehouse controlled by Eckhart and he never lacks in security. It just doesn't feel right," she answered as she cautiously glanced around the large building.

"Yeah, you've got a point there. Maybe we should head back to sanctuary and have Adam run a more complete information search on this place," Brennan suggested.

Shalimar shook her head. "No, we're already here. We might as well look the building over, but we should be extra careful."

"Ok. Shal, why don't you and I go check upstairs while Jesse and Emma check down here," Brennan said.

The three nodded in agreement.

"Remember to be careful," Shalimar reminded Jesse and Emma as she followed Brennan up the stairs. She smiled when she got a reply of "Yes Mom" from both of them.

*****

Adam had sent them to this warehouse because he had gotten reports of there being a computer lab there that was secretly hacking into hospital files around the world so they could find any new mutants that had gone to a hospital for treatment. Although, the reports usually only scratched the surface of what was really going on.

*****

"I'll check in here," Brennan declared quietly as he walked into a room.

Shalimar merely nodded as she continued her way down the long hallway.

As he crept around the corner, the room opened up into a wider area and in the middle of it sat several computers.

"Adam, I think I found the lab," he said into his comlink.

"Good, now I need you to take that disk I gave you and insert it into the main computer so I can download all the information they've gotten so far from here at sanctuary," Adam replied. "Where is everyone else?" he asked.

"Jesse and Emma are downstairs checking out everything and Shalimar is down the hall from me, going into each room to make sure we don't miss anything," Brennan answered as he took a disk out of his pocket and slid it into the main computer. He quickly hacked into the computer's mainframe and started downloading the information.

It was then that Adam suddenly exclaimed, "Brennan! Stop the download!!"

Hearing the urgency in Adam voice, Brennan immediately attempted to stop the computer, but it wasn't working.

"It's not stopping, Adam! I'm locked out!"

"Then pull the plug on the computer!" he ordered. "No wai..." Adam was suddenly cut off as the comlink connection died.

"Adam?...Adam?!!" Brennan yelled as quickly located the main plug and with a snap of his arm, he pulled it out. He looked over at the computer screen to see that it had numbers on it counting down from 15...14...13...12...

It's a bomb, he immediately thought to himself as he turned on his heel and ran out of the room.

Reaching the hall, he looked down the end of it to see Shalimar walking toward him.

"SHALIMAR! IT'S A BOMB...RUN!!!!!!" he hollered as he watched a look of panic pass over her face, but then saw it quickly fade. With nothing else he could do, he ran the opposite direction from her.

7...6...5...

Shalimar watched for a second as Brennan ran away from her before she acted. She quickly turned back around and ran.

3...2...1...BOOOOM!!!!

The explosion rocked the whole building.

A stunned Jesse and Emma watched as a large chunk of the wall upstairs was blown away. As the piece came careening towards them, Jesse pushed Emma out of the way and dove on top of her, protecting her from any debris.

Once mostly everything had settled, they looked up to see the building was now on fire.

Fire...FIRE!! Shal is scared to death of fire, Jesse immediately thought to himself as he watched the roaring flames.

"Emma, go outside and wait! I have to go help Shalimar and Brennan," he ordered as he ran toward the stairs.

"JESSE NO! You'll be killed!" Emma said as she ran after him.

"Emma, listen to me. Shalimar is scared to death of fire and she'll need help getting out of here. Now, will you please go wait outside?!!"

Seeing the desperation written across his face, she nodded and then ran out of the building.

Jesse watched to make sure she was outside before he hurried up the stairs.

Shalimar moaned as she came to. Her whole body ached, but nothing compared to her head. It was pounding! Why is it so hot in here? she thought to herself as she sat up, but it was then everything came back to her. A bomb...Brennan yelling...wait a minute, A BOMB!!

She opened her eyes to see that the whole hallway in front of her was engulfed by fire. Her eyes widened as she watched the flames move closer to her. Fire! Oh my God, it's fire! I'm gonna die, I gonna die, she thought as her fear of fire overwhelmed her. Her throat seemed to close and she couldn't breathe. She was getting dizzy. Her heart began to beat so fast that it felt like it was going to explode. As she focused on her fear, all the other pain she was in seemed to dissipate. It was then that she suddenly heard a voice calling out to her.

"Shalimar?!...SHALIMAR?!" It was Brennan. He was standing on the other side of the flames. Then she saw Jesse run up next to him.

"Are you ok?" Jesse asked Brennan as he reached his side.

"Yeah, I'll be fine, but Shalimar isn't moving from where she's sitting and the fire's making its way toward her!" Brennan replied.

"She's afraid," Jesse said as he looked over at Shalimar's frightened face.

"I know. I am too, but she can still make it if she gets up and moves."

"No, she's not just afraid, she's petrified," Brennan gave him a confused look. "She has pyrophobia, the fear of fire. Most ferals have it for some reason. That's why she's not moving. She's scared to death," Jesse finished.

"Oh yeah, I remember her and Adam telling me that once," Brennan said in realization.

"Anyway, we need to get her out of here now or she'll die," Jesse declared as he looked up at the ceiling. The fire consumed wood was about to give way and if they didn't get Shalimar out very soon, it would collapse. If that happened, they'd never get her out.

"SHALIMAR?!" Jesse yelled, but she didn't look at him. She kept on staring at the fire. "SHALIMAR, LOOK AT ME!" he ordered. That caught her attention and she gazed up at him. "Good girl. Now pay attention, Shal. You have to get up and walk towards me."

She shook her head 'no'.

"You have to before this whole place collapses," he said as he covered his nose and mouth with his shirt, trying to make it a little easier to breath.

She shook her head again, saying, "I can't!"

"Yes, you can Shalimar. Just stand up and walk towards me," Jesse replied. He could see that tears were beginning to stream down her face.

"I can't, I can't, I can't," she kept mumbling as she looked away from Jesse and back at the fire.

Jesse glanced over a Brennan, saying, "She's not going to move. I'll have to go over there and get her."

"No Jesse, I'll go." He stopped Jesse from protesting by raising his hand and saying, "Look, you might need to carry her out of here and I'm bigger than you. It will be easier for me to do that. Now, will you just let me go, please?"

Jesse nodded, "Ok fine."

Brennan shot Jesse a grin before he back up and then suddenly took off, jumping through the fire. Reaching the other side, he rushed over to Shalimar and kneeled down beside her. "Shal, look at me." When she finally did, he continued, "We have to get out of here, but I'm going to need your help, ok?"

"I can't, Brennan. I can't," she answered as she shook her head back and forth.

Brennan stopped her from shaking her head again by placing his hands on either sides of her face. Looking intently into her eyes, he said, "You have to. Now, listen to me. There is only one way out and it's through that fire. If we don't go now, this place is going to collapse and we'll die. Now, I need you to get up and go through it with me."

She still kept saying, "I can't."

"Shalimar PLEASE?!!!!" he asked desperately.

"I'm sorry Brennan, but I just can't. Go without me," she replied.

"Like hell I will!" Brennan exclaimed.

She looked up at him, tears still streaming down her face. "I..I just can't go through it, Brennan. Now, either you leave me here or you're going to have to knock me out because there's just no way I can go through that. I'm sorry. I can't."

Seeing that he wasn't going to be able to convince her, he decided to go with her suggestion.

"I'm sorry, Shal," he said.

"For what?" Shalimar asked.

"For this!" he replied as he pulled back his arm and then sent his fist careening into her face, immediately knocking her out. She's going to kill me when she wakes up, he thought to himself as he picked Shalimar up and headed back towards the fire. With a burst of energy, he jumped back through the roaring flames.

"You knocked her out?!" Jesse exclaimed.

Brennan shrugged. "She wouldn't listen," he answered as they both took off down the hall.

Jesse glanced over his shoulder to see the ceiling, where they had been, collapse as the fire continued to consume everything in its tracks.

Emma paced anxiously outside waiting for the others to come out. She was just about to go back in to see what had happened when she saw heard coughing and then out of the smoke, she saw them emerge. Immediately she rushed over, asking, "Is everyone ok?!"

"Well, other than Brennan knocking out Shalimar, I think we're all in pretty good shape," Jesse replied as they all walked over to the car.

"You did what, Brennan?"

"Shal was freaking out and she wouldn't listen Jesse or me, so I did as she asked," Brennan answered.

"She asked you to knock her out?" Emma questioned in an unbelieving tone as they all go into the car. Jesse got in the driver's seat and Emma took the front passenger seat while Brennan laid Shalimar down in the back with him.

"In a way, yes. She said, and I quote, 'Now, either you leave me here or you're going to have knock me out because there's no way I can go through that.' She was of course talking about the fire that had engulfed the hallway in front of us," he said as he gently placed Shalimar's head in his lap and then brushed an errant strand of blonde hair out of her face.

"And you actually took her literally?" Emma quipped as she glanced back at Brennan who merely shrugged.

"So, you want to tell us exactly what happened?" Jesse asked.

"Well, after Shal and I went upstairs, we started checking each room to see if we can find the lab. So, when we came to about the seventh door or so, I told Shalimar that I would check it out while she continued on down the hall. After she agreed, I went into the room and found several computers. I thought it was the lab so I contacted Adam over the comlink and explained to him what I had found. He told me to insert the disk, that he had given us, into the main computer and then start the download process. I did exactly as he said, but that's when he suddenly told me to stop the download. I tried to, but I had been locked out of the system. When I told Adam that, he said to unplug the computer, but in the middle of his sentence the comlink went dead. So, not knowing what to do, I did as Adam had told me. I pulled the plug, but when I looked back up at the computer screen, there were numbers on it counting down from fifteen. I kinda figured that a bomb so I ran out into the hall and told Shalimar to run. I knew if a ran in her direction, neither of us would of made it far enough from the blast to come out of it relatively unscathed, so I took off in the opposite direction of her. That's when the bomb went off. After the initial..boom, I went back to find Shalimar and you know the rest from there, Jesse," Brennan explained.

"Yeah, but I don't," Emma said. "What happened after that?"

Jesse cut in before Brennan could continue. "Well Emma, after you went outside, I ran up the stairs and down the hall. That's when I found Brennan standing next to the fire. When I looked past him, I saw Shalimar sitting on the ground on the other side of the flames, but she refused to move. She was paralyzed with fear."

Hearing that, Emma suddenly nodded her head. "She has pyrophobia, doesn't she?"

"Yeah," Jesse replied.

"I completely forgot about that," she said.

"Well anyway, Brennan and I knew that she wasn't going to move so decided that one of us would have to go over there and get her. We decided that Brennan would go get her. So, he jumped through the fire and went over to her," Jesse explained.

"That's when I tried to convince her to come through the fire with me, but she just kept on saying, 'I can't, I can't.' That's when she... 'suggested' that I knock her out. So, I did. Then I picked her up, jumped back through the fire, and...here we are now, " Brennan said.

"You know she's going to kill you when she wakes up, right?" Jesse joked as he grinned.

Brennan let out a sigh and nodded. "Yeah, yeah, I know."

TO BE CONTINUED...

(I hope ya liked it. PLEASE REVIEW...A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!)