Issues Of Sensitivity

Pairing: Jesse / Brennan

Rating: G (ignoring the odd use of the 'F' word that is...)

Status: Complete

Archive: If you want it, it's all yours!

Feedback: Pretty please!

Series/Sequel: Nope.

Disclaimers: Not mine. Characters belong to Tribune Entertainment. I merely borrow when they're not looking.

Summary: Jess has a bad day... That'll do.

Warnings: None whatsoever.

Notes: Narrated by Jess, self beta'd

Please. Enjoy!


"Sucks to be sensitive, doesn't it," Shalimar murmurs softly, ruffling my hair as I stare, unseeing, at the console in front of me.

"I'm fine," I mutter dismissively, ducking away and absently mindedly smoothing my hair down. "You go on. I just want to check the Helix over."

"Want a hand?" Shal offers, reaching out and quickly, teasingly, ruffling my hair again.

"I think I'm perfectly capable of running a systems check on the Helix myself," I sigh, batting her hand away, well and truly not in the mood for being teased.

"Okay, okay," Shal replies, shaking her head and moving towards the door, "I can tell when I'm not wanted." Pausing, she turns around and gazes at me, her expression solemn. "By the way Jess, crap you're fine."

"I..." My protest dies on my lips as Shalimar' shakes her head again, her eyes narrowing in warning.

"Don't. Remember who you're talking to here," she states quietly. "I *know* you Jess and I know that you're not fine."

"I'll be okay," I murmur, changing tack slightly and hoping it'll be enough to placate Shal. "Honest. I don't need a baby sitter and I don't want to talk about it. It... It was nothing," I continue lamely, shrugging.

"Don't forget Jess, I'm here for you. If you wanna talk or whatever you know where to find me," Shalimar replies, fixing me with one last look before disappearing through the door.

Finally alone, I throw myself into the task of completing a post flight check of the Helix, all the time trying every trick I can think of to keep my mind deliberately blank. It being par for the course for the day though, nothing works and I can't stop thinking about it.

Cold, clinical, and detached logic tells me why she reacted the way she did. While not how I would have reacted I *get* why she did what she did. I do. Despite her son's life being at risk she wanted to protect him from knowing of new mutants. Again, I get that. I even, to an extant anyway, understand why she'd want to hide her own Elemental powers from him. In this world in so many ways, ignorance really is bliss. She wanted his innocence to remain intact. In a way, albeit one far too open to accidental abuse, her motives were noble, pure even.

She didn't have to react the way she did though.

I'm sorry, she just didn't.

If I hadn't massed when I did her son would have become yet another regrettable statistic in the GSA's war against new mutants. It wouldn't even have mattered to them that he himself doesn't share his mother's Elemental genes and is in fact perfectly normal. They -- or more to the point, Eckhart -- wanted her and they were prepared to do whatever it took to get her, even going so far as to threaten the life of an innocent infant. If Shal and I hadn't arrived when we did, one way or the other, it's doubtful she even would have seen her son again.

My cheek's still stinging from where she slapped me, my ears still ringing from the words she spat in my face.

"Fucking freak!"

I thought...


I *know* I did the right thing. I had to save him. And to save him I had to mass. If I hadn't the taser blast would have hit him square in the chest. I...

I saved her son's life and she called me a freak.

It hurts even more coming from a fellow new mutant, from someone who should understand what it's like.

It's not that I expected gratitude -- I did what I had to do, nothing more -- but, still...

She didn't have to react like that. She just didn't.


The sound of Adam's voice coming through my comlink breaks through my reverie and I startle, unsure of how long I've been standing, my hands stuffed in my pockets, in front of the navigation computer.

"Mmm... I'm here."

"Shalimar told me what happened, how Kira reacted."

"It was nothing," I mutter dully. "She didn't want Aaron to have to see a new mutant, that's all."

"You saved her son and she..."

"It doesn't matter, Adam," I interrupt, wanting to have this conversation with Adam even less that I did with Shalimar. "They're both in a safe house now and it's over."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"No. No I don't. There's nothing to talk about."

Adam sighs. "Okay. I want you to come in now though. You've been out there long enough and..."


"And if you'd let me finish I was going to tell you that I want to upload a couple of new patches to the Helix and I need the cockpit free in case something goes wrong."

"Fine. Whatever."

There being no point in arguing, I do as I'm told and slowly leave the comforting solitude of the Helix. Not in the mood for company, I slink inside and make for my room. I'm about halfway there when Emma, her expression one of warmth and compassion, materializes in front of me.

"There's nothing to talk about," I mumble, avoiding her gaze and hoping to deflect the inevitable offer.

"I was going to ask if you wanted to come to Perry's with me and Shal," Emma smiles, closing the distance between us and placing her hand on my shoulder, "that's all."

Yeah. Right.

"Thanks but no thanks," I reply, shaking my head and failing in my attempt to dredge up a wan smile. "Not tonight, Em. I'm not really in the mood."

"If you want, I can help you," Emma offers gently, squeezing my shoulder. "You just have to ask."

"I'll be fine," I murmur, lifting her hand carefully off my shoulder and giving it a quick squeeze before releasing it. "No one has to worry about me, nothing's the matter. I'm... ah... I'm just tired."

"We're here if you need us, don't ever forget it," Emma states, smiling softly as, her piece said, she walks off.

I watch her until she turns around a corner before continuing on to my room. Leaving the light off, I make my way gingerly over to the bed and, crawling onto it, lie down on my back. Gradually my eyes adjust to the darkness and I begin to be able to make out the familiar shapes of my bedroom. Here more than anywhere else I feel at peace. Whatever happens outside these four walls can't touch me in here.

I'm not a solitary person by nature. Having had more than enough of it as a child I'm not even what you'd call overly fond of my own company. I *like* having people around me. This said I also like having my private space, somewhere where I can go and hide, to distance myself from the occasional harshness of reality. For as long as I can remember I've had to have a place where, when it all gets too much for me, I can retreat to. Even when I was young, and my only company was whoever it was my parents were paying to look after me at the time, I still needed the solitude of my treehouse. As alone as I was I still needed to sometimes get away from prying, invasive eyes that always expected more of me than I was capable of giving.

Fact of life - I'm sensitive. Contrary to the opinions of some it's not a disease or an immense failing. I cried for two days when, at the age of six, my goldfish Artoo died. My father yelling at me, calling me a sissy, made me cry even harder. Although it took a few more years, and being on the receiving end of a lot more screaming, I learnt not to cry. Not on the outside anyway.

Never on the outside. I

t's just not worth it. Self-preservation taught me to hide my feelings. If it wasn't my father shouting at me it was a teacher or another student. Although I could never see it I think I had a flashing neon sign on my forehead that said 'hit me' all throughout high school. Frail, scared of my own shadow and terrified of being caught out as a freak, the bully of the week only had to look at me and I'd be handing over my lunch money as quick as my fingers could get it out of my pocket.

I don't know why I'm so sensitive. Emma thinks it's solely because I'm a water sign, that I'd be exactly the same even if I wasn't a new mutant. While knowing next to nothing about astrology, I like her theory. It's almost, in a round about sort of way, gratifyingly normal. I didn't ask to wear my heart on my sleeve any more than I asked to be a new mutant. It's just the way it is, just who I am. I've tried to change, to desensitize myself, but I can't do it. I feel things too keenly, I upset easily, and...

And it's just me.

Kira's reaction upset me and, for no other reason than I can, I'm dwelling on it. Words hurt me more than actions do. They always have. Think they always will too. If I harden myself, if I force myself to turn a blind eye, I'll lose something that is -- despite the negative impact it can have -- an important part of me. Every knock I've taken though, every insult hurled at me, I've always survived. Some hurt more than others, and some I carry with me to this day, but I've never let them beat me. I'm sensitive, not a push over. If people write me off as being over emotional and not worthy of their time then...

Then it's their loss.

I don't *want* to be hard hearted, to be oblivious to the needs and feelings of those I love, or even those I merely encounter. If I want to take on someone's pain, to do whatever I can to help them, then it's my choice. According to Shal I would have made a perfect Psionic, that whoever it was exactly who was playing God with my DNA messed up and 'blessed' me with the wrong abilities. Who knows. She could even be right. I don't know if I could cope with being Telempathic like Emma though. Let's face it, I have enough trouble dealing with my own emotions and confusion as it is without having to deal with those of everyone around me as well.

I'm, current despondent mood aside, happy with who I am though. Most of the time anyway. I'm not perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I like to think I'm a good person. Even if I could I wouldn't change the way I am. I'd rather spend the odd moment wallowing in self-perceived misery every now and again than I would being detached and emotionless. Hey, just call me a sucker. God knows I've been called far worse.

Aaron's alive, the GSA didn't get their devious paws on Kira and her incredibly rare nuclear abilities and, hell, all's well that ends well.

Goddamn it though! She still didn't have to bite my head off. I mean, would she rather have to tell Aaron about new mutants or have to bury her own flesh and blood through misguided ideals?

Sometimes, there's just no help for it, things happen that are harder to cope with than others. Tomorrow will be another day, yeah, but right now I'm hurting. Okay? I admit it. Sue me. Boys *do* cry.

Well, on the inside anyway. Some things are just too ingrained to change.

A knock on the door rousing me slightly, I sigh, not knowing whether I'm feeling up to company yet.

"Jess? I know you're in there. Can I come in?"




"Do you want to be alone?"

Do I?

"No..." I don't. Not any more. "Come in. Please."

I close my eyes as, opening the door, Brennan walks silently into the room. Unlike everyone else he doesn't ask if I'm okay or whether I want to talk. Instead he climbs onto the bed and, gently, lovingly, manhandles me until, stretching his legs around me, he settles behind me, his arms settling instinctively around my waist. I lean against him and place my hands over his, loving how, effortlessly, Brennan knows how to get through to me. He knows that I don't want to talk and respects it unconditionally. Minutes pass in comfortable silence, neither of us feeling the compulsion to speak as my mood begins to slowly lift. As different as we are, being with Brennan never fails to cheer me up. Not having had a lot of experience with it, I think it's called love.

When I do think of something to say I whisper it, hating to break the silence but wanting to share it with Brennan nonetheless. Given how good I'm now feeling he deserves to hear it.

"Shal's wrong, you know... It doesn't suck to be sensitive. Not at all."

Not, thanks to Brennan, when it takes so little to feel so good.

~ end ~