The Tenth Muse1andTalithaX

pairing: Jesse/Brennan

rating: NC17

spoilers: everything

archive: sure! just let us know! :o)

website: www.geocities.com/the_tenth_muse1/

summary: Adam wants, Jesse needs...

warnings: MAJOR CHARACTER DEATHS (well, sort of. you'll see after you read it) bad language and sex.

disclaimers: not ours, not making ANY money off this, and we never shall. damn it.


Having been expecting it, doesn't lessen the pain any.

The detached, clinical scientist in me tells me that it's for the best, that there was never any chance of my fantasies becoming reality anyway. Logic tells me that now, now that the faintest glimmer of foolish hope has been pulled out from under my feet, I have to put it behind me once and for all and move on. Common sense tells me to be happy for them, that, more alike than he and I could ever be, they make a good pair. The small part of me that remembers what it feels like to love, and be loved in return, tells me that I should be rejoicing for them; that, ultimately, they deserve it.

My heart however, that neglected and decaying organ pumping lifelessly in my chest, tells me that, despite never having made a move, I've lost. Game, as I've heard them say on a number of occasions, over.

As with so many things in my life though, it's my own fault. I should have said something instead of biding my time and waiting for the right moment. The right moment that, deep down, I knew would never come. Human emotions never having been my forte, there's a reason my field of expertise lies in science, as opposed to psychology.

I should have, perhaps more to the point, confessed my true feelings; if not to him, then at least to myself. Only now, now that it's too late, do I truly realise the extent of my feelings towards him. While it may not have been love, not in the purest sense of the term, I know now that it came close.

Hindsight being a bitch, I should have said something. Instead of convincing myself that it was wrong for me to even think such a thing, I should have bit the proverbial bullet and made a tentative move. Instead of simply thinking about it I should have done it. Carpe Diem.

Should have done this, should have done that.

None of it matters now.

Jesse, without even knowing he was ensnared in a game, has won.

And, to the victor come the spoils, last night he claimed his prize.

Claimed, or was handed on a platter. Either or. The specifics don't really matter. Going by the way they're both glowing this morning, I think it'd be fair to say it was a pretty equal affair.

Truth be told, I don't think I've ever seen either of them so giggly, inanely happy before. Watching them sit side by side at breakfast, I couldn't help but be struck by how, for possibly the first time in far too long, they both looked their age. Our lives constantly in a state flux, I sometimes forget that they're actually younger than they're allowed to let on. Even Shalimar, who was teasing them both relentlessly, causing Jesse to blush and Brennan to smirk, looked younger, more carefree. If Emma had been there too, I have no reason to doubt she would have been caught up on the innocent fun as well.

Feeling old, I didn't interrupt. How could I? If how I was feeling was translated over to my expression, I only would have brought the mood down, and I couldn't have done that. It wouldn't have been fair. My unhappiness is something that I have to keep to myself. Again, it's my own fault. To share it with the others, with *Jesse* in particular, wouldn't be right. I've made my bed and I have to lie in it. Alone.

Brennan and Jesse. Jesse and Brennan.

It's been on the cards ever since Brennan joined the team. I was beginning to think - *hope* - that it was never going to eventuate though. For months they spent more time sniping at each other than they did being civil. There were times when I even played them off against each other. Why, I don't honestly know. At the time I'm sure I had my excuses, my *justifications*, but now I'm just ashamed of myself.

I've known Jesse ever since he was a little boy and to take out my petty jealousies on him quite literally defies common decency. Not even knowing that he'd never have suspected me of intentionally favouring Brennan helps me feel any better about my actions. If either of them ever found out I don't know if I'd be able to live with myself.

Again, none of it matters now. The past is just that: past. Old enough to know better, I had my chance and missed it. If I spend the rest of my life looking at Brennan and daydreaming helplessly about the 'could have beens' then, well, so be it. Mea culpa. It's not like I didn't have over a year or ample opportunity to tell him that, from the very moment I laid eyes on him, I couldn't get him out of my mind. I don't even know what stopped me. I'm usually so forward. Sure there was the age difference to take into consideration, but there had to be more to it than that.

Mentor. Guardian. Leader.

Would it have been taking advantage of my position? Would the concept have offended or, *worse*, disturbed him? Would it have ruined our professional relationship, our *friendship*? Would he have gone along with it solely for 'something to do'? Would it, assuming he felt something for me, even have worked? Would it have affected the team?

As with everything, accepting that I'll never know any of the answers doesn't help.

Watching them hurts; it shouldn't, but it does. Maybe because it's new and so obvious, or maybe it's simply because I'm turning into a bitter and twisted old man, but watching them together like this is literally causing me to *ache*. They're not even doing anything out of the ordinary, just bickering -- like normal -- over who's going to hack into the Genomex computer network, but it still feels as though a giant hand is reaching into my chest cavity and squeezing my heart dry.

Okay, so they're sitting a little closer together, and Brennan has his hand curled around Jesse's thigh, but that's it. To me though, they're rubbing my face in it. Illogical as it is to my scientific and highly analytical self, watching them is actually causing me physical pain.

Falling prey once again to the 'shoulds', I know that I should turn away, retreat, that by standing here, I'm achieving nothing. I don't move though. I can't. Like driving past a car crash, I don't want to look, but I literally can't help myself. Brennan looks so content, his eyes never leaving Jesse, his expression one of uncomplicated happiness. It's a look that suits him, one that I used to, once upon a lifetime ago, hope that I'd be responsible for.

Christ! I feel as though I'm being torn in two. I want so much to be happy for them, to wish them every success, but it's hard. The part of me that's wanted Brennan ever since meeting him wants their budding relationship to crash and burn. Although the thought sickens me, I honestly think if it was anyone other than Jesse that I wouldn't be able to stop myself from interfering. There's just something about unrequited love that makes a person capable of just about anything. It doesn't even matter that they'd end up hurting the person they're supposed to love as they can't see past their selfish, delusional want. It's not even need, just want.

I *want* Brennan. God knows I shouldn't, but I do. His youth, his vitality, his ability to act first and *possibly* think later (something I've never been capable of doing), his beauty… When I'm with Brennan, I'm actually able to remember what it was to be young and idealistic.

Knowing his past as I do though, Jesse *needs* him. To lose someone else, someone so close and important to him, would probably push him over the edge. And not even at my green-eyed worst could I be responsible for that. Harsh as it sounds, I've always considered myself stronger than Jesse. It's something that I just have to make a point of remembering.

Sensing movement beside me, I reluctantly turn around, plastering what I hope to be a suitably impassive expression on my face. Her hair tussled and still in her pyjamas, Emma stares at Brennan and Jesse for a moment before turning to face me, her eyes eerily distant and unfocussed.

My mind immediately brought crashing back to reality, to the here and now, I force myself to concentrate on the young Psionic. "Emma?" I murmur tentatively. "Is everything okay?"

Her unblinking gaze worrying me, I make to place my hand on her arm when, without warning, she places the palm of her right hand on my left temple. I'm still trying to make sense of what's happening when it starts...

… I'm sitting in a deserted cinema, a 3D movie screening for me, and me alone. On screen a brilliantly luminous full moon sits high in a pitch black, starless night sky. Suddenly a large helicopter, its tail branded with the Genomex insignia, looms into view, a massive spotlight mounted to its base cutting a path of light through the blackness. When it flies over what looks for all the world like a huge volcano I know instinctively that the gaping crater is actually all that's left of Stormking Mountain.

Reaching the shore, the helicopter's spotlight illuminates the wreck of the Helix. Embedded nose deep in the sand, it's once shiny exterior all dull and rusted, it looks as though it's been there for years. Veering left, the copter flies low over what's left of the city. Bedraggled people, their appearance more scarecrow that human, scurry away from the light to hide amongst the ruins. Ahead, more choppers patrol, their beams of light arcing across the ghost town and painting it monochrome. Leaving the city behind, the helicopter starts to pass over an abandoned cemetery, all of its tombstones and mausoleums lying in pieces...

… The scene abruptly changing, I'm on the ground of the cemetery, standing behind the ruin of what was once an elaborately carved stone angel. Directly in front of me is a plain, undamaged tombstone. I can't make out the names carved into the marble but, bright against the black, I can clearly see the three silver rings embedded across the top. Wanting to read the names, I'm in the process of taking a hesitant step forward when, literally out of nowhere, two men appear in front of the tombstone. Despite being only able to see their backs, there's no doubt in my mind that the two men are Brennan and Jesse. Jesse crouches in front of the grave, his fingers tracing slowly over the inscription while Brennan stands behind him, his hand placed reassuringly on his lover's shoulder. Then…

… Nothing.

… No images.

… Just a *feeling*, a feeling even stronger than instinct.

… Soul mates… Meant to be… Survivors…

...And then reality. Sanctuary. Normalcy. Present time.

Shalimar yelling something about who ever it was that ate her steak had better replace it if they value their life. Brennan and Jesse hunched over the computer, Jesse laughing at something Brennan's just said. No Emma though.

Did I imagine it? All of it?


There she is, just walking into the room. Hair all mussed up, still in her pyjamas but with life in her eyes. Noticing that I'm watching her, she smiles and makes her way over. "You okay, Adam?" she queries, clearly concerned. "You look as though you've seen a ghost."

"Not a ghost," I murmur, returning her smile as a feeling of peace settles over me. "More a guiding light."

"Sounds better than the dream I just had," Emma mutters, stifling a yawn and closing her hand around my forearm. "And, before you ask, no, there's nothing to talk about. It was just a dream. C'mon though, if you make me a coffee I'll let you share your guiding light theory with me."

"Believe it or not," I reply, a weight lifting off my shoulders as, ironically, the future suddenly seems brighter than it did just a few minutes ago, "I think it's a theory I need to keep to myself."

My smile broadening, I place my hand over Emma's and give it a squeeze. "You're on for the coffee though. God knows I've got better things to do with my time than stand here all day."

It doesn't matter whether what I saw is actually what the future holds or not. All that matters is that I believe it.

And I do. They belong together.

And although the pain and the longing is still there, it helps.

It helps a lot.

* * * *

It's a strange thing for me to be happy. Never really got the hang of it. There's one thing that makes me happy now, though, and that's Jesse. Here we are, eating breakfast and completely satisfied from a night of lovemaking and outstanding sex, and we should be exhausted, right? No chance. I feel like I could take on the world right now and just to prove it, give back at Shalimar everything she's dishing out.

I mean, we were always a team, best friends, watching each other's backs and the whole nine yards. Thing is, I was maybe watching his back a little too close, if you catch my drift. Didn't think he'd ever go for it, though, so I didn't say anything. Then, well, when I caught that look of fear on his face, I had to say something. I know. I was out of control and off balance and pissed off and you name it, I was feeling it. But I never, not in a million years, would have hurt Jesse if my powers hadn't decided to get themselves all out of whack on their own.

So I went up to him last night. I know we cleared things up before, but something was still nagging at me. I tapped on his door and it opened almost right away. He was just dressed in sweats and his hair was wild, so I knew that I'd woken him. So I apologized and moved to leave, but he asked me in. Nothing new there, but once inside, something felt awkward. So again with the apologies, figuring that it couldn't hurt. "I just, I'm sorry, Jess. You know I'd never hurt you on purpose, right?"

He'd grinned at me, that quirky little one that gets me every time, and nodded. "Yeah, Bren, I get that. You've only said it like, a thousand times now."

"I just want to make sure," I'd said, still uncomfortable.

A frown had surfaced and Jesse had asked, "Is something else going on here? Cause, I've got to say, you're acting a little odd, even for you."

"No, nothing else. Just, I wanted to make sure we were good," I'd finished lamely.

Instead of taking my word for it, as he usually did, Jesse squinted at me for a long moment. Then, out of the blue, he wagged a finger at me and accused, "You crashed the Helix!"

It startled a laugh out of me and I'd grinned. "No. I did not crash the Helix."

He'd moved closer, giving me this fake, thoughtful look and mused, "You declawed Shal?"

At that, I'd just snorted, but it died quick enough when he took my hand and brought it up to his lips.

He gave me this really intense look, blue eyes darker than I'd ever seen, and asked, "You love me?"

Just like that, I was trapped. Thing was, I had no desire to escape like I usually did. I pretty much just stared at him like the dork I am and whispered, "Yes."

A brilliant grin lit his face and he grabbed my shirt, hauling me in for a long kiss. Things went pretty damn fast from there, the first time anyhow. Mutual handjobs amidst an eternal, nonstop kiss where we got really well acquainted with each other's tonsils.

I can't possibly remember every detail about last night because there was so much going on, but the big ones are forever etched in my mind. Like how Jesse looks when he comes. Or the shy, content smile he has when I hold him in my arms, all sacked out from multiple orgasms. I have to say, I did damn good last night.

There's only one small sour note to the entire thing and that's Adam. My hand rests on Jesse's thigh as he and Shalimar exchange insults, though he's losing, from the deep blush on his face. In the middle of all this happiness, like a bulwark against a storm, is Adam. I know he wants to be happy for us and God, if he'd only given me a hint of how he felt before I went to Jesse, I'd have been his in a heartbeat.

That's Adam for you, though. Sometimes, it's just too little, too late. And yeah, I could have made my own move, but I didn't have any inkling of how he really felt about me until Jesse and I were sitting together and Adam stopped short at seeing us. The short-lived despair and pain in his eyes had cut right into me, showing and denying me everything that might have been in a mere two or three seconds. I'll give him this, he's a damn good actor, because I honestly never suspected a thing.

Though, really, I can't tell whether or not that's a bad thing.

And now there's Jesse. I couldn't leave him voluntarily unless my own heart was cut out. God, I love them both, but Jesse *needs* me! All the things that he told me in the dark of the morning, all the insecurities and despair he goes through on a regular basis cemented just how much he needs me. I'd held him tight then and promised never to leave him. And I won't, either, not unless Death himself does the job.

Emma toddles into the room, all sleepy and confused, probably at the range of emotions flying at her. For a long moment, she and Adam just look at each other as if silently communing and I frown. Just as I'm about to get their attention, the stare breaks off and Emma yawns hugely. Then she and Adam exchange a few words and Jesse drags my attention back to him and then he drags me literally over to the computer to show me something.

Shalimar shouts something about who ever it was that ate her steak had better replace it if they value their life. Being that I'm the main meat eater in the household aside from Shal, there's a really short list of suspects, so I'd better stop somewhere to get a replacement.

Whatever happened between Emma and Adam seems to have broken through to Adam, though, because the smile he aims at me now is content, if a little sad. Like he knows something that's going to happen. It's a little worrying, but the pain in his eyes has faded a bit, enough to know that he's going to be all right.

In a perfect world, we'd all have the person we want and need, but this isn't a perfect world. How weird to find out that the person I want and need are the same, while I'm the person one man wants, and another needs. I offer Adam a hesitant smile and he returns it.

It helps. It's not the answer to our problems, but it helps a lot.