This is it! The long awaited finale. After much agonizing and deliberation I decided to post this without having it beta'd. I'll be on vacation for 2 weeks, and I didn't want this to sit any longer then it already has.

This story has been my laboring project for a long time. I was sad to see it end, but I am happy that I was able to write it to completion. I know there were too many times where I felt like I wouldn't finish it, so seeing the ending is a bittersweet thing. The original idea for this story was a bunch of journal entries, it evolved over time to the story of what happened to the team after the finale through the eyes of Shalimar and Brennan.

I'd like to thank all of my loyal reviewers for all of their help keeping me writing.

Kai0707 - Luv u girl! Thanks for all of your help and support. You have been fantastic. I hope to get working on some story ideas while I'm away so you have more to read. I really hope you like the ending! I promise to keep in-touch too!

Rachel - Luv u babe! Thanks for all of your help and inspiration, plus the late day talks that helped get me in gear to write! You have been a tremendous help and I can't thank you enough! I'll catch up with you soon!

sbfangal - You are another of my loyal reviewers who I owe a huge debt of gratitude to. You have kept at me to keep writing and get the story done. Thank You! I hope you like the ending, and I plan on getting started the next story soon!

lkaplon - Thank you for all of your support. I have really enjoyed your reviews and I look forward to what you think of the ending. Thank you for kicking me in the ass when I needed to get in gear!

LARHIRI - Thank you for the review. I can't say how much it helps me to write when I see new reviewers who love my story. I hope that you enjoy the last chaper!

To all of my other loyal readers: Thank you for the reviews and reading. Please let me know what you think of the story. I really appreciate all of the FB and kind words I have gotten during this story. Thank you for your time!

This won't be posted to my site until I have finished having it beta'd, but hopefully by the time I get back from vacation I will have it ready. The Mature Version will be posted there!

A special thank you to my beautiful beta's during this story - Stephanie, Sara, Rachel and Heather. You guys have made this idea and story possible with all of your help and words. Thank you all!

Here it is, the moment so many of you have been waiting for. I had trouble deciding on how to complete it, so I hope it turned out well and you enjoy the end!

Chapter 27 - Endings and Beginnings

November 22, 2004

I can't believe that I'm writing again. It's been a long time since I even thought about this book. It's been over a year since I've written in it. It was a strange feeling when Shalimar pulled it out of that rucksack and I felt a piece of me slip back into place after being gone so long I'd forgotten it belonged there. Everything that the Dominion stole from me and the life that I was building had left an empty spot that I didn't know I had until I saw this old journal and started paging through it.

Shalimar told me that she read it. I think she felt obligated to tell me after I began to look through it again. I wanted to be mad at her for going through my thoughts and musings, but in the end I realized that maybe she just wanted a piece of me to hang onto. The way I wished that I had something of hers when I was being held by the Dominion.

Moving into Haven felt like I was starting a new chapter. For some reason when I was in my room the tonight I realized that maybe it was time to start writing again. The whole team is beginning a new life. I couldn't help but think that maybe I should start writing some of it down.

I began to read it through for the second time and realized that this was more then a way for me to vent. This was a way for me to remember what I did, and what happened between me and everyone I came in contact with. I was kinda nervous about Shalimar's reactions to the rather explicit entries that I wrote. She is so my girl though. She just told me that I have to make it up to her by showing her just how hot those entries made me feel! Yikes, she is like a beautiful dancing flame and I am just a moth.

I'm never going to be caught saying this out loud, but I miss Sanctuary in a way. It was the first place in a long time that I felt was home. The family that I had been unconsciously missing was found within those walls. After reading through the old entries I remembered how much we had done there and all of the good and the bad that made it its namesake.

Haven is starting to become more habitable every day. We are finding old and new stuff to furnish the place. Our gym is kinda nice too. Shalimar helped me test the mats out. I'm not sure if she will approve of me writing this, but I have to, just because. It's not like I haven't written this stuff before. The only difference is that this time it actually happened.

She walked into the training room as I was on the bench pressing weights. I was a little distracted, but whenever she walks into a room I can usually smell her and feel her. It sounds weird, especially to me. I remember when Shalimar told me about being able to know when I'm around. It was an enigmatic intuition of connection. I never thought that I'd experience it too, but lately I've been noticing her presence more and more.

When she walked into the gym she must have watched me for a good five minutes from the other side of the room while I finished up the sets I was doing. My muscles were aching and burning, but it felt great. I'm finally getting back into a stronger physical form. Those months locked away in those holes had left me a lot weaker then I wanted to believe. It's been three months though and I'm starting to feel more like my old self.

I found myself laying on my back on the bench when I was finally able to breathe out a proper greeting to her. She almost stalked toward me and I felt my declining body heat take a turn and raise a few degrees. The way she moves amazes me sometimes. It is more like watching her flow then walk, almost fluid. She had on a soft green mesh-looking tank with laces that go up the sides with ties on the shoulders, a plunging neckline, and a swath of dark fabric that barely covered her braless breasts. I felt myself getting hotter just watching her. She had on a knee length skirt of the same material and color. It looked really good on her.

I raised my head to ogle at her some more as she stood along side of me then laid a hand on my shoulder to keep me from rising up. She straddled my waist and bent over me so both of our torsos were in-line. Her eyes met mine as she slid her hands up my sides and I was glad that I had taken off my t-shirt earlier. The soft mesh of her shirt tickled my chest and I felt her hands slide inch by sultry inch up my sides.

"I like you all hot and sweaty." She breathed into my ear before tracing the outline with her tongue.

I'd like to say that I held my cool, but that would be a lie. I moaned a little too loudly at the sensations she was arousing in my body. Her weight was pressed on me and I know she felt me hardening beneath her. I bit my lip as she ground herself down on me. I was pretty sure that she wasn't wearing any underwear.

I know I moaned her name somewhere in there as she was nipping, biting, licking down my throat and neck. The woman makes me such a gibbering idiot sometimes that I can't believe I'm the same person who used to be such a whore and never had a woman get to me.

I worked my way up her thigh with my left hand while my right wound its way through her hair and pulled her hard to my mouth. I felt a surge of triumph as she let out a guttural moan and almost purred. She met my ardor and I felt our mouths melding together hard at first, but then getting a little softer and deeper. The fire inside of me had lost none of its edge, but I wanted to last a few moments so I knew I had to slow it down just enough.

"There's no one here, and I told the hologram to give us some time alone." Her voice was barely above a whisper.

I'm glad no one was in Haven after that. Our moans must have echoed off of all the walls in the place. It was passionate and bracing. I felt our bodies merge and slide together. The sweating, moaning, and writhing rushed us into a blissful sensation of completion.

I don't think we moved for the next ten minutes.

Yeah it was that hot.

I think I may need a cold shower now! I have to admit that Shalimar and I have been doing a lot of making up for lost time. It's rare that we spend time alone any more. I don't mind. Tonight she Angel and Lexa are doing some kind of girl's thing. I decided to just hang in my room, and hope that when she gets back she might just come straight in here instead of me sleeping alone. It would be nice to wake up to her. I'm really starting to get used to it.

November 26, 2004

We had our first holiday at Haven. Thanksgiving. It was a new meaning for all of us, and I think for the rest of our lives the holiday will mean more to us then ever before. We are all alive and healthy. We have a new home and a new life. I really have gained a new appreciation for the holiday.

The cooking portion was almost a fiasco, Jesse managed to set a pot on fire, and Lexa and Dominique were bickering about the best way to make the gravy. Shalimar made some candied yams and the turkey, the skin was a little crisp but it was still pretty good. I tried my hand at some mashed potatoes and sadly made a mess. I honestly have never used a mixer before in my life and doubt that I ever will again. I had no idea what that boost button did until I pushed it with the mixer half-way out of the bowl and potatoes went flying.

The food was edible in the end, and we all gained an appreciation for the subtle art of cooking. The experience was more then the food, as good as it was, though. It was all about our make-shift family and the life we had built. The only one missing was Adam, and he was there in our thoughts if not real life.

The hologram or Holo-Adam as we have come to call him (sadly Jesse's suggestion stuck), had avoided the group of us for most of the day. It's odd that it seems to realize the emotions of the people around it. When we are depressed or sad it seems to react like Adam used to. Which on a base-level I guess I can understand because it has Adam's memories and experiences, but it is very disconcerting sometimes to find that I and the others for the most part react as if it is truly Adam we are talking to.

Dominique thinks that she is on the edge of cracking the code to the genetic problems, and thinks that in a few more weeks she will have something more. She refuses to tell us how much time we have left. In a way I don't want to know. Sometimes being ignorant isn't bad, and it has caused me to want to enjoy each day a little more.

We decided to recommence our missions to help other new mutants. We talked about it tonight, and came to the decision that the Dominion will only have the power that we let them have. No more people should have to suffer for their misgivings and mistakes. We fought long and hard before, and I think as a group that we are ready to do it again.

December 9, 2004

Jesse proposed to Lexa! I never thought it would happen, and if it did I wasn't entirely sure she would say yes. He did and she said yes! It was strange to see her with that much happiness on her face.

This came on the tail Dominique's breakthrough on the genetic stabilization. She has cracked the codes, for lack of a better term, of the problematic sequence. In a few weeks she has promised to have analyzed our DNA and figure out what abnormalities she needs to correct.

There is a different life about the place. We all have something to look forward to now. It is a great feeling of relief. It's funny because at the time I didn't even recognize it for a burden until I heard the news. It was a feeling of a new lease on life. That sounds really silly and simplistic now that I'm looking at what I just wrote. To describe the feeling is almost impossible unless you have had Death looming over your shoulder and waiting for it to claim you. Now He's gone. There's always the danger in going on missions. Life has dangers all the time, but… Hell I have no way to describe the relief except to say that I'm looking forward to trying to build a new life.

A life with Shalimar…

Jesse asking Lexa to get married made me think about asking Shal even more then I've contemplated before. Ever since the girls, Beau and Ian saved us from the Dominion I have been thinking more and more about making a life with Shalimar. My emotions were running high and off-kilter when I got back, and I know for the first few weeks I didn't know if I wanted to stay. Falling back into step with everyone has caused me to realize that these people make up my home and family. Dad's gone; he's been MIA since I was seven, presumed dead. Mom died when I was fourteen, and I never knew of any other family. Foster homes were a complete joke; I was out of there before I turned sixteen. Now I have other people that count on me, and I realized that relying on them isn't necessarily a bad thing.

We completed our third mission yesterday. Beau and Angel met us downtown where a mother and daughter were hiding out. Her husband had been led to believe that one of the "clinics" could help both the mother and daughter. They had run away with nothing more then the clothes on their back. Angel had happened upon them trying to steal some food. She set them up in a safe-house that we created. We moved them to the coast. They were scared, but we still have some of the old network of New Mutants that were able to help us relocate them.

It was a simple job all and all, but we have been trying to find out more about these people running these clinics that have started showing up in the past few months. We're pretty sure that they aren't Dominion related, but we're checking around to see what or who is looking for new mutants to experiment on. Lexa and Shal were talking about doing a cover assignment at one of them to find out more. This is stuff we used to do all the time, but unfortunately we no longer have Adam's or the Dominion's contacts to fill us in on anything that could help.

Trying to rebuild the network of underground safe-houses and people willing to help has been slightly daunting. The problems with the Dominion leaked out, and some people are nervous to trust us. I can't blame them. We're also trying to rebuild contacts and sources to help us keep on top of things that are going on. Lexa was joking the other day when she said that we are back to Mutant X 1.0. I really don't think that it is that far from the truth though.

December 14, 2004

I wonder if this is the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that Adam talked to me about that one time. I wonder if he felt the same after he was successful in his missions.

We managed to find out a ton of information on the clinics and the owner. Jesse's in the process of hacking his records and making the authorities aware of some unsavory actions. It will all be planted information, but we decided it would be for the better. The world isn't ready to handle what the man was really doing. Genetic experiments to make slaves for his personal use that were powerful but mindless. Talk about twisted.

Getting nervous before a mission isn't something I usually feel. Shalimar was out on a routine mission, and I had my heart in my throat. I really love her. It's been staring me in the face this whole time. I'd realized it when I was in the hands of the Dominion and I never thought that I'd see her again. Before that I knew that I cared for her a lot, but when I was sitting alone in the cell one night I kept seeing her face.

Shalimar has been a rock for me. I would have bad days and see her or hear her voice, and suddenly I would smile. She makes my world brighter and better. I used to think that some of the other girls made me feel that way. I look back now and see what happened between me and Samantha and the regret that I felt in losing her. Just the thought alone of losing Shalimar hurts a hundred times worse. Of course these thoughts hit me when I was lying on a broken cot in a cell waiting for the Dominion to come back and torture me.

Now I'm back, and she's here with me. I want to marry her. Hell I want to have kids with her. I can't believe I'm thinking about this, but it's not as scary as I once thought. My life isn't complete without her. I think I'm taking Angel with me to ring shop tomorrow. I just hope that Shalimar will say yes.

December 20, 2004

She said yes! I'm looking at her hair cascading down my pillow in golden waves. It's the most beautiful sight. I could stand waking up like this every morning. I don't know why I can't sleep. Maybe I'm too wired with all of the thoughts going through my head.

Dominique was able to stabilize Lexa's, Beau and Angel's DNA. She is working on Shalimar's now, and then mine. She said that Ian is more stable then the rest of us, and he offered to go last. He's a really good guy. I'm glad that we got hooked up with him. Although I think Lexa is ready to keep him and Jesse separated. Apparently the two of them get into total geek-speak conversations for hours. It's funny until you just want a yes or no answer.

Mutant X is slowly getting a cash fund built back up. I'm not sure how, but Jesse and Ian assured us that we would be comfortable for a little while. We all have some money in separate accounts for ourselves too. I spent a good chunk of mine on that ring, but it was worth it.

She really said yes. I know I wrote it already, but I want to jump up on top of the cliff and scream it. I need to get a grip fast. When I had my first Christmas with Mutant X Shalimar took me to the bluff overlooking all of the people in their homes and watching the kids playing in the snow. That has been one of my best memories ever. I wanted to make it hers too.

Three days of trekking through the forest behind Haven and I found the perfect place. The bluff overlooks the outskirts of a small town a few miles from here. I was going to wait for Christmas Eve, but Shalimar was excited about getting the tree. We got on the snowmobile and started riding. I was leaning over her shoulder and giving her directions to where I saw a pretty tree the other day. All the while leading her to the spot on the bluff.

Being busy with the case meant that she wasn't at Haven to keep an eye on me or wonder why I was so busy outside all of the time. I really was looking for a place to pop the question, but I was also trying to keep busy while the girls were on the assignment. It kept me from dwelling on all of the things gone wrong.

We made it out to the bluff and the moon had just risen. The air was crisp and cool, but not completely bitter. Or maybe that was because I felt numb with nerves. We pulled over by the edge, and I got off pulling her hand to have her follow me. We stood on the side of the bluff and I watched her look down on all of the houses. She had this look of longing on her face as she watched some kids have a snowball fight. I just watched as the air puffed out of her lips in wispy clouds, and the way her face shifted as she noticed the different scenes beneath us.

Her face was lit by the moonlight and her hair was glowing. (I think I have been reading too much of the women poets lately. I seem to have caught the romantic bug or something.) Standing on the hill and watching her watch the scenes below was amazing. Finally she asked me why I kept staring at her; she never even moved her head. She just knew. I had so many thoughts and ideas before we left Haven. I wanted it to be just right.

Instead I blurted out, "Marry me?"

Her face twisted into a smirk and she punched my arm. She thought I was kidding. Of course with a delivery like that who could blame her? So I decided to try again before I lost every last nerve I owned and jumped off the edge and buried myself in the snow where hopefully no one would find me until next spring.

Getting down on one knee I pulled the box out of my pocket as she turned away from me to head back to the snowmobile. My hand grabbed hers and pulled her back around to look at me. "Marry me, Shalimar." I think my voice came out just above a whisper. Thank God for feral hearing. I opened the box and showed her the ring. It's more ornate gold work then anything. One heart shaped diamond in the center set in a winding pattern of gold that almost matches her eyes when they go feral.

Seconds ticked past, and I wondered if the throwing myself down the cliff-face was still an option. Her mouth opened and closed a few times and I couldn't hear a word. Guys say that getting married is nerve wracking. No one ever said that this part is terrifying. While I was musing how hard I had to push off to launch just right to go over the edge of the cliff she fell to her knees and grabbed the sides of my face.

Kissing Shalimar has always been a full body experience. I feel it all the way down to my toes, but this time I swore I could feel the individual hairs on my head tingle. I've never been kissed like that before, or maybe I just never was so in tune with the fact that she was kissing me like I was the last person she'd ever see.

Her hoarse 'yes' came out as she broke away from me, but I pulled her into my lap and kissed her again before the 's' was out of her mouth. We stayed like that for a long time.

The tree was a secondary experience, but for some reason it had more laughter and joy then I'd experienced ever before. By the time we got back to Haven everyone was still milling around. I should have known that Angel wasn't going to keep it quiet. The expectant looks were all I needed to know that she had spilled on what I was planning.

I don't mind so much, but I'm glad that Shal said yes or I would have felt like a real idiot. Speaking of which, I think I'm going to return to the arms of my fiancée (never thought I would ever say that) and enjoy a few more hours of sleep.

December 27, 2004

Adam's back!

We don't know how he made it, but we're positive it's him. The Dominion is folding and losing some of its hold. He has struck some kind of bargain with them that he hasn't told us about yet.

He said he is here to stay, and Mutant X lives.


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