Whatever it Takes

Whatever it Takes

Pairing: Jesse / Brennan

Rating: PG 13 Angst overload

Status: Complete / Stand Alone

Archive: go for it

Feedback: keeps me writing

Disclaimers: Characters belong to Tribune Entertainment. I merely play with them for reasons that may or may not have something to do with my sanity.

Summary: Er... It's angst and we'll just leave it at that, okay?

Notes: Narrated by Brennan. Self beta'd.

Warnings: You may not want to read this if you're in a happy mood... Or... ah... in an 'emotional' frame of mind...


As a child I thought I knew the definition of helpless.

It was something my asshole of a stepfather taught me at an early age. Watching him beat on my mom as though she was little more than his own personal punching bag, his *property* to use and abuse as he alone saw fit, made me feel like a waste of space. As did just sitting there seeing her take it. Everything he dished out at her, fists, insults, *anything*, she just took. She was like my very own battered Energizer Bunny. Nothing could keep her down. Not even fractured or broken bones. Her own pain being something to be pushed aside and ignored, she'd even comfort me, telling me that 'he didn't mean it, that he loved both of us very much', before taking the time to see to her own injuries.

I can remember, at the age of eight, crying myself to sleep in my mother's arms, the smell of the blood dripping out of her split lip filling my senses and causing my stomach to twist and clench as though I was about to throw up. It's a memory that stays with me to this very day.

My stepfather made me feel as though I was good for nothing. I was a freak, a 'stupid little fucker who wouldn't know if his own ass was on fire'. His hatred for me was matched only by mine for him. I didn't care that he didn't want me around. Nor did I care if he wanted to waste his pointless existence swilling beer and watching sport that he'd never be fit enough to play. I cared about his treatment of my mom though. I cared a *lot*. Knowing that I couldn't do anything to help her, that, still scarred by the loss of my real father, she thought she needed a man in her life who she could convince herself loved her (*and* her freak of a son) and wouldn't stand up to him very nearly ate me alive.

Then, when she was sick and the cancer was sucking her even drier than that asshole had, the sense of helplessness was even worse.

First I watched her be treated like shit and then I had to watch her slowly wither away and die.

For years I thought the only thing I was any good at was watching. If it had been an Olympic event I would have had the gold in the bag. I could watch but I couldn't do anything. Helpless. Futile. Pointless. Useless. Couldn't help. Couldn't stop anything. Couldn't do anything.


I thought I knew what it was like to feel helpless.

I thought I could never feel as bad as I did as a small child watching my mother shimmer and then fade away from me.


I was wrong.

What I'm feeling now is worse, a hundred times worse.

I'm older now. Allegedly wiser. As a part of Mutant X I was even beginning to delude myself that I wasn't actually as useless as I'd always accepted. I've helped strangers, people that I doubt I'll ever see again, make the transition into a new and better life.


I can help strangers but not protect and look after those I love. First mom and now...

And now Jess.

The sense of helplessness is now back worse than ever. I'm so numb that I feel as though I'm ensnared in a living nightmare, one that I don't know if I'll ever be able to break free from. Asleep or awake, it doesn't matter; my consciousness is in a constant state of turmoil. If I were to give in and start screaming I doubt I'd ever be able to stop.

I want to scream, to lash out, to rail at the so-called benevolent deities that -- allegedly -- watch over us lesser beings. I want to kill, to make those who made him suffer share his pain. I want to help restore the light in his eyes. I want to take back the past week, to erase it from existence. I want it be that morning last week, the one where eating breakfast in bed quickly became a hell of a lot less interesting than making him squirm and glow under my careful ministrations. I want to take him in my arms and hug him in fun, not in a desperate attempt to soothe him. I want him to smile and for the haunted look in his eyes to disappear. I want things to return to how they were. I want...

I want not to feel so fucking helpless. I want to do more than just running through futile lists of impossible wants in my head.

"Oh God... Jess..."

The words slip softly and unbidden out of my mouth as I walk hesitantly into the bathroom. Arguably -- I *suppose* -- it's better than screaming and banging my head repeatedly against the wall, which is what I immediately feel like doing. Well, either that or just dropping to my knees and crying. God knows it's what instinct is telling me to do.

"C'mon," I murmur haltingly, walking directly into the shower cubicle and, crouching down, gently, incredibly gently, pulling him towards me. The fact that I'm fully dressed doesn't even register. Nor does the fact that the water coming out of showerhead is barely warm, that the heat is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. "It's okay... You're safe now... No one can hurt you here," I babble, sliding down the tiled wall and pulling his crumpled, damaged body closer. He puts up no defence and slumps against me with a soft moan. "It's okay Jess, I'm here... I won't leave you. Everything's going to be okay. I promise."

Dull, far away blue eyes look at me uncomprehendingly. I know him so well that I can read him like a very much loved, familiar book. He doesn't understand any of it. Why they did the things they did to him... Why he's sitting on the floor of the shower... Why I'd want anything to do with him... Why he's hurting so much... Why he feels as though his life is a giant black pit of nothingness... Why the despair is causing him more anguish than the myriad physical injuries that litter his pale, trembling body... Why he just can't make any of it *stop*...

There's scars carved in his flesh that neither time nor anything in Adam's lab will ever cure. Thanks to the sick fuckers who had him we now know that, in a massed state, he's not as impermeable as we all thought he was. The angry red wound on his shoulder being our constant reminder of just how far some are prepared to go in the name of science. I doubt I'll ever be able to decide what was worse, hearing Adam catalogue his injuries or listening to Shalimar keening. The sound of Shal's distress made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and it's something I suspect I'll be able to hear until my dying day. Emma can't even be in the same room as him without starting to cry uncontrollably, the relentless darkness in his head threatening to suck her in. Me, I'm the opposite. I can't bear to be apart from him. If not for Adam insisting I take a break he never would have got in the state he's now in.



Somehow I would have been able to calm him down before he felt as though curling in the foetal position on the floor of the shower was the only option open to him.

Couldn't stop him from being kidnapped. Couldn't get to him before it was too late and the damage had already been done. Can't do anything for him other than be there if he needs me. Can't take away the pain. Can't get through to him that I love him and would do anything in my power to see him whole and well again.


I kiss the top of his head as his fingers reflexively curl around my top, anchoring himself to me. The slowly cooling water is draining my strength but I don't care. Whether I'm actually achieving anything or not, there's nowhere else I'd rather be. So long as he accepts my presence I can kid myself that I'm helping. If he shunned me I honestly don't know what I'd do. Even if he doesn't need me I know I need him. Be it illogical or not, he's my other half.

"Shhh..." I whisper, hugging him carefully so as not to aggravate his injuries. "It'll be okay, Jess... You've gotta believe me... You'll get through this... I... I'm here for you..."

And I won't fail him. Whatever it takes, he'll survive this.

I failed my mother but I won't... *can't*... fail Jess. I've already been a victim of helplessness once and I refuse to succumb again.

Again, whatever it takes. It's not like I have a choice.

"Trust me Jess, I'm in this for the long haul. I won't give up on you."

When our eyes meet and he gives a tiny, almost imperceptible nod, a glimmer of much longed for hope flares deep within me.

Oh yeah. Whatever it takes. Easy.

"We'll get there Jess... We *will*."

~ end ~


Created on ... April 29, 2003