A Promise Kept

Pairing: Jesse / Brennan

Rating: G - hell, even the swearing is kept to the barest of minimums

Status: Complete

Archive: Yes. Just let me know where.

Feedback: Please. Even if just to tell me I'm evil for having done this...

Series/Sequel: Stand alone

Disclaimers: The Mutant X characters belong to Tribune Entertainment, not me. Oddly enough I think this would be something of a huge relief to them.

Summary: Jesse finds hope from a completely unexpected source

Warnings: Death Fic.

Notes: Seriously. I kid you not. This is well and truly a Death Fic. It's not a secret, it doesn't come as a surprise, and he isn't alive at the beginning of it. 'Kay? Fact of life - I've killed Brennan. He's dead at the start and he's still dead at the end. In other words you should only read this if you can deal with it being essentially Brennan-less. Sorry, but, well, it had to be done. Narrated by Jess, self beta'd. And, before I forget, thanks has to go to Nancy for convincing me that this was worthy of posting!


I don't belong here.

I know it and the expressions of those around me tell me they know it too. Not that they make any attempt to look me in the eye. Even the children, the so-called innocents, give me a wide berth. Only the brave ones stare and point.

Today, perhaps even more so than ever, I feel like a freak. Not -- for a change -- because I'm a new mutant but because of the obliterating and numbing grief hanging heavily over me like a shroud. Standing here in the crowded shopping centre it's solely my appearance that sets me apart, not the fact that I'm not like them in ways they couldn't even begin to imagine. Shoppers avoid me simply because I look like I feel. Although I'm not Psionic or gifted with exceptionally good hearing I still know what they're whispering to each other about me.

"Isn't he a little old to be playing at being a goth?"

"Don't stare at the strange man, Billy-Jo. It's not nice to stare."

"Maybe he's ill. My aunt Mavis looked like that when she was at death's door."

"Check out the drug fucked loser. Better get the guards to keep an eye on that one. God knows he looks as though he's in need of a fix. Probably capable of just about anything to get it too. Honestly, the youth of today. Bring back national conscription I say."

The reflection staring back at me in the window of Toys 'R' Us is that of a stranger. Pale. Unshaven. Dark circles under dull, haunted blue eyes. Lank hair hanging limply. Ill fitting black clothing hanging loosely on a too thin frame. Crow or scarecrow. It's a tough call. The past few months have beaten, aged, and all but destroyed me. I'm not even thirty yet I look as though I'm on a fast track to the grave.

I don't blame the people for staring at me though. In their shoes I probably would too.

Coming here was a mistake. A big one. I didn't want to come, didn't want to leave the comforting four walls of my bedroom, but Shalimar insisted. She wouldn't take no for an answer. If I hadn't followed her out of the room she would have carried me. Giving up was easier than arguing. I even let the 'he wouldn't want you to live the rest of your life locked away in here' comment slip by. Again, it was just easier that way. I have no fight left in me. What was left of it disappeared with Brennan's last breath.

Now I simply exist, trapped in a monotonous reality that I neither desire nor appreciate.


It's almost ironic how something so, in a warped and malicious sense, 'normal' defeated him. The disease thrived in his body, loving the new mutant DNA and effortlessly consuming it. Perhaps it's something we've all got to look forward to. Who knows. There was nothing Adam -- *any* of us -- could have done. For all our powers and advanced technology we couldn't save him. By the time Adam had found the cause of Brennan's out of character exhaustion it was already too late. Watching him succumb to the disease was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. To say I felt helpless as he faded away is a hideous understatement.

Not a moment goes by that I don't miss him. Despite our considerable differences he was my soul mate, my everything. I thought we'd be together forever. Since his death the only emotion I've known is grief. I've shed so many tears that I don't think I have any left to give. The concept of pleasure -- of *living* -- has deserted me. As has the ability to smile. I can't sleep without pills and when I do the nightmares make me wish that I hadn't. Although nobody has said anything I know that Emma has had me on suicide watch. Hell, it wouldn't surprise me to learn she's *still* keeping a Psionic eye on me.

They say time heals all wounds but I think they're wrong. Three weeks have passed and I feel exactly the same as I did holding my lover's cold body for the very last time. Empty, lost, without hope. While I wouldn't go so far as to say I harbour a desire to die all I really want is to be left alone. If I happen to fade away because I was left to my own devices then, well, so be it. All being well I'll be in a better place. Needing something, *anything*, I now believe whole-heartedly in there being an afterlife. One day we'll be together again. We have to be. I can't go on without having something to hope for. I just can't.

Sighing, I slouch further down into my -- *Brennan's* -- coat and slowly move away from Toys 'R' Us. I look at my feet as I walk. Everything else hurts too much. The sneering faces, the familiar shops that we used to visit together, the scent of freshly brewed coffee coming from our favourite coffee house, the sound of happy, spirited laughter. It's ironic. I'm surrounded by life yet I feel as though I'm dying inside.

// Shalimar, why did you bring me here, huh? I know you want me to buy a gift for Emma, for her birthday, but why here? Of all the shopping centres you just had to pick the one I always used to come to with Brennan. I thought the pain was bad in my bedroom but, I hate to say it, you've managed to make it just that little bit worse. //

Knowing that she wouldn't have brought me here intentionally to hurt me doesn't help in the slightest. Not that I can really blame her in any way though. By the time I'd dragged my gaze away from the Audi's dashboard we were already pulling into the carpark. Ultimately it's my own fault. I should have been paying more attention instead of sulking. I also should have said something instead of slamming the car door and stalking off. Hindsight always being a kicker, I wish I'd stayed with Shalimar. At least if I was with her I could kid myself that it wasn't me they were all staring at.

Somehow I find myself out the front of Emma's favourite store. Given that it's on a different floor to Toys 'R' Us I have no idea how I managed to get here. Oh well. I'm here now and I suppose that's all that matters. Maddy's is one of those shops filled with pointless and more often than not expensive knick-knack type things that women for some reason love. Brennan and I once had to wait for over an hour for Emma to have her fill of happily browsing. When she came out without having bought anything we teased her all the way back to Sanctuary. It didn't bother her though, she just told us that we were missing the point and, besides, everyone knew men were crap shoppers anyway.

I've barely walked into Maddy's when, materialising out of nowhere, a security guard appears behind me. The expression on his face tells me that he thinks I'm scum and that he'd just love for me to try something. I try to ignore him but it's difficult, what with him dogging my every step, his eyes boring into the back of my head. The overly made up middle-aged woman behind the counter glowers at me as well. I want to ask them both whatever happened to giving the benefit of the doubt but remain silent, my level of discomfort rapidly heading towards breaking point.

Desperate, I spot a display of Swavroski Crystals behind the counter and decide that a couple of them will have to do. My mind made up, I stand at the counter for ten minutes before the woman finally deigns to serve me. When I ask to have a closer look at the crystals she rolls her eyes at the guard and refuses.

"Sorry son, but I don't reckon you'd be able to afford them," she drawls smugly, peering down her nose at me. "Now, if you'd just like to follow Gary here out of the shop I..."

"I'll take one of everything," I interrupt flatly, digging into the pocket of my coat and pulling out a handful of cash. The woman's eyes nearly pop out of her head when I throw it onto the counter before pulling out another handful. Part of me thinks I should be disgusted by my gauche behaviour but I can't really find it in myself to care. It's only money, one of the few things I still have.

If the woman cares where I got the money from she hides it well. If I've stolen it it's not her problem, all she can hear is the cash register singing. Money talks, there's no doubt about it. "Would sir like his purchases gift wrapped?" she asks politely, all sweetness and light now.

"No. In a bag will be fine," I mumble, unable to return her false bonhomie.

She tries to make small talk as she rings up the sale. I ignore her, not even bothering to say thank you as she hands over my change and the bag containing my purchases. Gary the guard looks as though he wants to spit at me as I walk past, the money I just handed over for the pretty and pointless crystals being more than he'd earn in a day. Oh well. Tough. Seems fair to me. Treat people like shit and earn shit in return. What goes around comes around and all that.

Emma's present obtained -- thank God for small mercies -- I decide to head back to the car and wait for Shalimar there. Unless there's a shoe sale on somewhere she shouldn't be much longer. As much as she loves to shop she loves to shop with Emma more and I suspect she'd be missing her shopping buddy. Not that it really matters to me how long she takes. Sitting in the car I can deal with a hell of a lot better than I can being gawked at. Besides, if I close my eyes and concentrate I can imagine that I'm back in my bedroom at Sanctuary. I hope Shal's not too disappointed at the failure of her little attempt to drag me kicking and screaming back into the land of the living. Albeit begrudgingly, I tried. Okay, so I didn't try very hard but, well, at least I got out of the car in the first place. With any luck to her way of thinking that'll at least be a start.

Getting out of the lift, I breathe a sigh of relief at seeing that the car's still where we left it and start to walk towards it. I've barely got a few steps when I see them. Big, blank, and identical in their GSA issue trench coats. I count six without daring to look behind me.


This is not good.

I lack both the energy and inclination to fight. Even if I wanted to take them on I couldn't. I'm too weak and out of condition from my weeks of moping around wallowing in self-pity. I could call Shal on the comlink, of course, but there's no guarantee that she'll be able to get here in time.

Looks like this may just be the end then.

// Bren, if you happen to be around somewhere, looking down on me or whatever, we may be together again well before either of us expected. What will be, will be, yeah? //

Oddly enough, I'm not in the slightest bit scared. I have no idea why. I'm staring capture or possible death in the face and I've never felt calmer.

Completely without warning my hands start to tingle, allowing the bag to slip from my fingers. The agents move in to surround me but I pay them no attention, the tingling in my hands of far more immediate interest. It's not a feeling I've ever experienced before and I don't know what to make of it. It doesn't hurt. If anything, in a way it's kinda comforting, like the sensation I used to feel when Brennan held my hand.


I wonder...

Instinct taking over, I don't pause to think about the impossibility of what I'm about to attempt and bring my hands together. Blue sparks of electricity immediately begin to flare between them and I can feel the dance and flow of the power increasing as it courses through my body. Not expecting it any more than I was, the GSA goons don't stand a chance. More through good luck than actual skill I knock them out one by one, the bolts of electricity shooting out of my hands and hitting its target unerringly.

When they're all down and either unconscious or groaning in a way that indicates they won't be getting up any time soon, my knees buckle and I land in a crumpled, panting heap on the cold concrete floor. Although I thought I had no tears left in me, I'm crying. I'm also, oddly enough, laughing. If the people who'd sneered at me in the centre saw me now they'd no doubt have me carted away. Crying and laughing. Oh yeah. Fucked up waste of space alright.

"Jess! Oh my God! What happened? I was coming up the stairs when I thought I saw arcs of electricity, you know, like the ones Brennan used to be able to produce and... Jess! Are you okay?"

Shopping bags land next to me all of a split second before Shal does. Grabbing me, she draws me to her, hugging me tightly as she scans the area, her gaze lingering on the still smoking GSA agents. "Jess?" Interestingly she sounds even more stunned than she looks.

Struggling into a sitting position, I smile at Shal and slowly bring my hands together. She watches the flickering electricity dancing between my fingertips through wide eyes. "H-how?" she stammers.

My smile broadens, the first true smile to cross my face in far too long. All of a sudden the world doesn't seem like such a relentlessly dark place after all. I may not know the 'how' but I definitely know the 'why'.

"Brennan always promised that he'd never truly leave me, that he'd always have my back."

~ end ~


Created on ... April 29, 2003