True telepaths like Freya, and scanners like David, were deliberately hidden from the public eye. They formed part of the world's worst kept secret, with everyone knowing of their existence but the vast majority fooled into believing telepaths and scanners were charlatans and plot devices used in magic shows and science fiction movies. Whenever someone claimed to be psychic, Michael took an interest but only in so far as to assure himself that they were not what they claimed to be.
Sometimes he discovered that they had an extremely weak telepathic ability, enough to heighten his interest and bring them in for tests at the center. For the most part, Brendan found them amusing. Most of them strutted around as if they were the next evolution of mankind, making silly fingers to the forehead gestures and trying to act as if they were concentrating hard when, to Brendan, they merely looked constipated. Still, regardless of their poor abilities, Brendan was glad he had learned how to raise a wall in his mind--finally--even though the exhaustion from the latest case made it difficult to concentrate. He knew his mental wall would never keep out someone of Freya or David's strength but it was adequate against these weaker telepaths.
The latest was a woman who claimed to be able to make people act unconsciously with just the power of a thought and Brendan had to admit that she seemed stronger than most of the test subjects brought in by Michael, but he knew that might simply be down to his tiredness. He could feel her feeble attempts battering at his wall while she simultaneously batted her eyelashes at him, obviously projecting suggestive thoughts that Brendan had no inclination of receiving or acting upon. Eventually, she gave up the mental battery and sidled up to push between him and David, much to David's astonishment.
"Hey there. I'm Joanne. What's your name?"
Brendan looked over the top of her head to see David's mouth lifting in a grin, and his eye twinkling in amusement. He sent a strong thought David's way, of David sprawled naked across their bed looking well-used and boneless, retrieving the memory from last week when they had stayed in bed all day. Between them, Joanne tensed and for one tiny moment Brendan panicked, thinking he may have just projected that image to the entire room. David's muffled laugh did little to reassure him even though David had been the naked and wanton subject of his careless thought. Instead, David projected an image straight back at Brendan that held such clarity that he could almost believe he was looking into a mirror showing him arching up against David; pupils blow and swollen lips parted as he gasped his way through his climax while David thrust into him. Brendan couldn't hold in a small groan as his body reacted to the images and sense memory.
"Oh my god, I'm doing it!" Joanne shrieked. "I'm totally doing it!"
"Wha..?" Brendan gazed down at her and dropped his wall a fraction in the process. A very clear image of her sucking on his cock had the same effect as being doused with a bucket of cold water. "Fuck!" He slammed his walls up hard, sending a glare across as David folded over in silent hysterics for relaying that image across. "Bastard," he growled under his breath, though without malice. "You can scrub that image later."
David offered up a quick image of his mouth replacing Joanne's around Brendan's cock, along with a promise.
Michael had returned, looking bemused as Joanne continued to crow about her exceptional telepathic skills, unaware that David was the one who had transmitted her lurid thoughts after pulling them from her mind. He looked between Brendan and David before rolling his eyes slightly; Brendan's glare at David must have given something away because, as far as Brendan was aware, Michael wasn't telepathic.
"Miss O'Cairn, perhaps you'd like to follow me to the test room," Michael stated amicably, and he glanced over his shoulder, shaking his head with a good-natured smile on his lips as he led her away, leaving Brendan alone with his lover.
"That wasn't very nice," Brendan murmured low enough for only David to hear, feeling as if he had embarrassed himself enough for one day already. The ghost fingers that stroked along his arm made him sigh. The crooked smile and big blue eyes derailed any annoyance. He simply couldn't stay annoyed with David for long--not when those ghost fingers began to play more intimately with him.
"You...are in incorrigible!"
David leaned in, "And you are irresistible."
"David?" They pulled apart as Michael called out from the end of the room, ignoring the smirk that proved Michael knew exactly what they were doing--or planning on doing. "I would welcome your assistance."
Beside him Joanne was frowning and Brendan wasn't sure whether the devilment came from him or from David but by the time they ended the raw, passionate kiss, Joanne's mouth was hanging open in shock and Michael was laughing softly. Brendan couldn't resist watching David walk away, enjoying the sway of hips and slide of muscle, knowing exactly what that looked like when David was naked. He projected that image now and David grinned back over his shoulder before following Michael out of the main office and into one of the test rooms.
Brendan had a feeling that it was going to be a very long day and sighed as he rubbed at his tired eyes.
David sank into the seat that had been set a little way apart from Joanne's on the same side of the table. A foot-high panel ran the length of the table along the center line to hide the equipment Michael used in his tests. After spending several months at the institute, David knew he was going to be the control for this experiment, ensuring that Michael was projecting the images on the cards faithfully. Usually Freya handled this task if she was around but she had been complaining of a headache earlier. David had eased her pain and she was now sleeping peacefully after a hectic week dealing with a smuggling ring that had been arming terrorists in the United States. David hoped Brendan would take the opportunity to nap too because he could feel that bone-deep exhaustion coming off Brendan in waves.
On the other side of the table, Michael explained the procedure, turning a card, concentrating on it and waiting until both David and Joanne had raised what they thought was the projected card. He didn't need to be a mind reader to known Joanne was not living up to her proclamations as he could deduce that by the growing tightness of disappointment around Michael's mouth. The few images she managed to identify correctly were on the same level as the average statistics for a non-telepath whereas David had identified all 47 cards correctly so far. David probed her mind very carefully but he saw no duplicity. She was simply deluding herself into believing she was reading Michael's mind when all she really was doing was guessing.
Eventually, Michael smiled pleasantly and stopped the test.
"So when would you like me to start working with you?" Joanne asked excitedly.
"I'm sorry, Miss O'Cairn, but I'm afraid you haven't displayed any significant telepathic abilities."
Her mood changed in an instant. "That's a lie. You're just afraid of me...of my ability. You're scared I'll learn all your dirty, little secrets."
"I assure you, Miss O'Cairn, I don't have any worries of that nature...at least, not where you are concerned."
"And what about him? I saw you smiling at him. I saw you watching him when he kissed that other man. You like him. You want him."
Michael raised both eyebrows in shock at the accusation but both of them knew Michael only had eyes for Freya.
"I'm sorry for your disappointment," Michael stated solemnly but David could read the dark thoughts and rage building within her mind as Michael came around to her side of the table to escort her out. He saw her intentions moments before she pulled out the sharp metal nail file, stabbing into her mind before she could stab the file into Michael. It clattered to the floor as, with the power of a single thought, he ordered her to drop the file.
Security arrived at Michael's call and David released his hold on her mind as soon as they had her securely in their grasp. Sharp, familiar thoughts caught at his mind and he was not surprised to see Brendan standing just inside the test room, breathing ragged and with eyes still a little wide from fear and running hard.
"I'm okay," David stated softly, while sending gentle reassurances direct to Brendan.
Brendan relaxed and moved into David's arms, holding him tight for a moment before stepping back. He looked to Michael. "David's going to call it a day now."
Michael nodded, still looking a little shocked. "I think we all will."
The scare had taken the last of Brendan's strength but he refused to crawl into their bed unless David joined him. His limbs felt too heavy and his eyelids were drooping from exhaustion, so his attempt to make good on the sexy promises from earlier brought only a soft laugh from David. Instead, he felt strong arms wrap around his body and gentle thoughts blanket his mind...and as he started to drift off to sleep, safe and secure in David's arms, Brendan knew that this was what he needed right now.
"You can make good on those sexy promises tomorrow," he mumbled as he projected a blow-job back at David, smiling as he heard David's murmured response.
"Oh, I intend to."