A Genomex Carol
Chapter One: Breedlove's Ghost
Look around Sanctuary, bright and modern. No tree has been brought inside. No fire burns below a non-existent chimney. Five stockings are not hung above it. No tinsel adorns the computer monitors. No twinkling lights ruin the feng shui. Its minimalism is entirely untarnished by decoration.
No cookie crumbs litter the floor. No spilled mulled wine has been hastily mopped into a pink stain. The smell of roasting turkey is not in the air. And the sound of laughter certainly cannot be heard.
The Mutant X team sat around in a circle in the dojo in variations of the lotus position.
Brennan knew that his mind was supposed to be empty right now, or at least he was supposed to be letting his thoughts come and go without dwelling on them. But he couldn't stop thinking about egg-nog. His stomach rumbled.
Emma gave him a mental jolt, and he opened his eyes. She was smirking and trying to convey something with eye movement. Brennan raised his eyebrows, not understanding. She closed her eyes, then looked at him again, and then the essence of a soaring eagle filled his mind.
Emma uncrossed her legs and stood, trying not to make a noise.
Adam's eyes opened, and he looked at her critically.
"I need to use the bathroom," she said, walking around the others to the steps.
"You know what, me too," Brennan said, stretching and getting to his feet. "I just didn't wanna disturb anyone."
Emma shot him a look.
"Well guess what? You disturbed us," Jesse said.
"Oh yeah?" Brennan said.
"Guys, settle down," Adam said.
Jesse sighed and shut his eyes again.
Nobody saw Emma and Brennan walk towards somewhere the bathrooms weren't. There was a noise like a car engine starting.
"Hey Adam, that toilet flush doesn't sound right," Shalimar said.
"I'll look at it later. Now focus."
Emma and Brennan looked at each other and laughed as they drove down the private road that led away from Sanctuary. Anyone who drove down it by mistake wondered why the road abruptly stopped in front of a mountain. Which, if closely inspected appeared to have some sort of poorly camouflaged doorway set into it.
"Oh my god, I can't believe Adam celebrates Christmas with two whole days of meditation and fasting!" Emma said.
"I know, right? I thought he was joking," Brennan said, pulling out onto the public highway and putting his foot down on the gas.
"And Shalimar and Jesse just go along with it?"
"Looks like they do," Brennan said, shaking his head.
"I usually like meditating."
"But not for two days straight, right?"
"No way! So, where are we going to go?" Emma asked.
"I don't know about you, but I'm so hungry! I haven't eaten anything since yesterday."
It took them a while because most places were fully reserved on Christmas Eve, but eventually they found a place that could fit them in for Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.
Afterwards, they went to a club. In their hurry to get away they hadn't been able to grab a change of clothes but fortunately they were both already dressed appropriately for the occasion. They stayed until the house lights came on.
"Hey guys, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here," the security guard said, ushering them towards the door.
"But I don't want to go home, I want to dance and have fun!" Emma wailed. "I think I can get him to change his mind." She smiled slyly at Brennan.
"Oh no, Emma. Come on, we can't stay in an empty club."
Emma sighed. "Fine. Gimme the keys."
Brennan put his hand in the pocket of his leather jacket and tossed the keys to Emma. He missed completely and they landed on the sidewalk behind her. She bent to pick them up. "You know, every time you buy a girl a drink you don't have to buy two for yourself."
"Ouch," Brennan said. "Well at least I don't go making a fool of myself on the dance floor when I'm completely sober."
Emma crossed her arms. "I get a lot of compliments about my dancing actually."
They got back to the car and got in. Emma started the engine and sang along to the radio. Brennan closed his eyes. When he opened them again, the streets looked familiar but wrong.
"Hey Emma, this isn't the way back to Sanctuary," he said.
"Where are we going?"
"You'll see," she said with a gleam in her eye.
Brennan's heart lurched as he saw the sprawling art deco monstrosity that was Genomex's headquarters come into view.
"Hey Emma, I like breaking into Genomex as much as any of us, but I don't think right now is the best time," Brennan said, following Emma through the gap in the fence that miraculously never got fixed.
"No Brennan, this is the perfect time. This is literally the only time I can do this."
"What do you mean?"
"But Adam's gonna be so mad. We're lucky he hasn't come looking for us already," Brennan said, looking around as they stepped into the open and scrambled down a grassy hill.
"It'll be worth it, trust me."
Emma looked like she knew where she was going. She led him to one of the smaller buildings near the water and started ascending a set of stairs that led up to a fire escape.
The stairs passed a window on the top level. They both ducked under it, but Brennan couldn't resist peering in.
It was a bedroom. Brennan was startled by the sight of the pale face and hair of Mason Eckhart. He looked small, sleeping with the black quilt pulled up to his chin. Against all rational explanation, he was wearing a black pinstriped nightcap.
Along with a lamp and his glasses, a small stylised metal tree sat on the nightstand.
"Even Eckhart has a Christmas tree and we don't?" Brennan uttered in disbelief.
Emma grabbed his arm and pulled him out of sight of the window to the top of the stairs. They sat down on the top step. Emma was grinning to herself.
"So what are we doing here?" he asked her.
"What? You still haven't figured it out?" she asked. "I'm gonna teach Eckhart a lesson, the way only I can."
"All right, I want in on this."
"Okay," Emma said, holding out her hand.
Brennan just looked at it.
"I'm going into his mind. If you want to come you'll have to hold my hand."
Brennan smirked. "That doesn't sound like telempathy, Emma," he said.
"Are you seriously arguing with me about my own power?" she said, grabbing his hand.
Emma shut her eyes and focused on the swirl of emotions around her. She could feel Brennan's mind beside her. He was feeling both awkward and childishly giddy about holding her hand.
Mason's mind was a sharp contrast. Even internally his emotions were buried, and all she could sense was a determined concentration. He was dreaming.
Emma pulled Brennan along with her into Mason's dream, careful to stay on the edges. Mason was sat opposite Adam at a lab bench. They both looked younger and were playing a game that was a cross between Chess and Snakes and Ladders. Adam was winning.
Concentrating, Emma took on the form of a man she had only ever seen in photographs. Paul Breedlove, ex-Genomex employee and Adam's old mentor.
"Mason Eckhart!" she made Paul say, rattling the chains on his wrists. She wasn't sure what his voice sounded like, so she tried to make it like a character from a book she had once read, deep and heavy, slamming like underground doors.
Mason looked up and then stood, squinting. Adam and the board game went hazy and disappeared when he looked away from them. "Do I know you?" he asked.
"You killed me!" Paul said, rattling the chains again.
Mason raised his eyebrows. "Did I?" he asked. "Who are you?"
"I am Dr Paul Breedlove."
"Ah. I didn't recognise you at first. You didn't look quite like yourself."
"You killed me," Paul repeated.
Mason frowned. "No I didn't."
"Yes you did."
"I didn't kill you. Mr Thorne did."
"Oh. But you ordered him to kill me?" Paul's voice was starting to waver now.
"I didn't. He came up with the idea on his own."
A moment passed where they just looked at each other. Chains creaked.
"Nevertheless!" Paul rallied. "Two more ghosts will visit you before the night is through-" His head snapped from side to side and he appeared to talk to himself. "Three. What do you mean? There's three ghosts. Are you sure? Yes! Haven't you seen Scrooge? Well... You haven't, have you?"
"The 1951 film is my favourite," Mason said.
Paul Breedlove's head snapped back round to the front. "No-one asked you!"
Mason flinched, but quickly recovered. "I recall you liked the Blackadder parody, Paul."
"Yes. Yes I did."
"Remind me, what was your favourite part?" Mason asked, smirking and pacing up and down in front of him.
Emma was stuck for a reply. She mentally turned to Brennan, who was none the wiser. "The part with the snake," she made Paul say eventually. And rattled the chains again for effect.
Mason stopped pacing and stared. He was momentarily lost for words. "The snake," he said slowly.
"Two more ghosts- no, three!"
"Yes, three. There were four ghosts in total," Mason supplied.
"Three ghosts will visit you before the night is through. And they will show you the error of your ways!"
Mason cocked his head to one side. "All right. I'll look forward to it."
With a last rattle of chains, Emma pulled herself and Brennan out of Mason's dream.
Back on the staircase, Brennan shook Emma by the shoulder. "What was that about?" he demanded.
She looked pleased with herself. "Great isn't it? This will show him the error of his ways. Always works in the movies."
"It didn't look like Eckhart was scared by the ghost."
"Oh he was scared for sure. I could tell," Emma said.
Brennan didn't look convinced.
"Brennan! Come on, you gotta help me. What comes next?"
"Have you even seen Scrooge?"
"I saw the muppet version at a friend's house once. A bit of it anyway."
"What? You've seen the movie. You can do the next bit."
"This was your idea," Brennan said, getting up and leaning on the railing of the staircase.
Emma stood up. "Brennan, tell me you've seen it."
"Well, yeah, but I never thought there was gonna be a quiz on it."
"We could wing it."
"I don't think there was a snake in Blackadder, Emma."
"Well I realise that now," she said, looking out over the water. "I should have brought Jesse, he would know this."
I wanted to write a Christmas fic. I also wanted to write something for Mutant X with all of the (season one regular) characters. So here you have it in all its ridiculous glory. My only regret is that I couldn't think of a funny title, so you're gonna have to deal with this.
There will be more before Christmas (probably!)