The sharp pain in his head had come on suddenly like a migraine, but Brendan had never been susceptible to those before today. He groaned and dropped his head into his hand, pulling back when he felt a tickle beneath his nose. Brendan reached up and wipe at his nose with the side of his hand, pulling back to see his hand smeared in blood. His blood.
Looking around the deserted street, he couldn't see anyone but the pain intensified, and he fell to his knees. Around him, his men were looking around in a panic, one of them dropping down beside Brendan, grasping his shoulder in confusion and fear. Brendan couldn't even scream, feeling like his head was being crushed in a vice.
As suddenly as it came on, the pain stopped, and Brendan avoided face-planting the concrete only because of the man still holding firm onto his shoulders. Through blurred vision he looked up and saw two distant figures, standing thirty feet apart yet focused intensely upon each other. One of the figures crumpled to the ground and Brendan could only watch as the other moved towards him. He caught an impression of sandy-blond curls, liquid blue eyes and an unhappy slant to the mouth before his vision faded altogether.
When he awoke, he was in the hospital, and he knew Freya was seated beside him when he heard her speak.
"He's waking up," she said to someone, and it took several attempts for him to open his eyes fully.
Strangely, he wasn't surprised to see Doctor Welles lean over him to check his vitals. Brendan reached up to rub his still aching head.
"You were attacked by a Scanner," Welles stated almost nonchalantly.
"And saved by another," Freya added.
"A Scanner. Someone with both telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Most of them were created by an experimental drug that was supposed to alleviate nausea in pregnancy. It had a particularly nasty side effect on the fetus."
"Most of them."
"Sorry?" Welles looked at Brendan.
"You said, most of them."
"Ah. That's where your savior comes in. Both of his parents were Scanners, and he inherited the ability from them."
It took a while to extract all the details from Welles and Freya, but eventually, Brendan learned that the terrorist cell that he and his team had been tracking, had been using a Scanner as both a watchdog and an executioner--and Brendan had come close to having his head exploded like an overripe melon. Someone higher in the NSA has suspected a rogue Scanner, and Welles had sent along his 'tame' Scanner just in case, just as he had sent Freya to tag along with Brendan under false pretenses that first time.
Brendan winced at the memory, recalling how angry and violated he had felt before he came to know Freya and trust her with his thoughts. Freya reached out and grasped his hand, squeezing it gently, and Brendan knew he'd projected that thought, and sent another to apologize. She squeezed his hand tighter, and smiled. Apology accepted.
"When my telepathic abilities first emerged, I thought I had gone insane. I spent years in a mental institution before Michael took me out of there and showed me how to build walls to keep out all the voices. Scanners experience the same... horror."
Welles continued. "Except they have the ability to strike back at the things hurting them... telekinetically. It's made them very dangerous, and I've been trying to come up with a treatment that will dull the voices until I can teach them how to shield."
"And your pet Scanner is one of these."
Welles grinned. "Actually, David is different from most Scanners. He's far more powerful, and he taught himself how to block out the voices. He's been helping me to help other Scanners. Would you like to meet him?"
"Well, he did save my life."
The door opened and a man stepped into the room. Even though Brendan had been only half conscious at the time, his eidetic memory recalled the blond curls and blue eyes in a handsome face, though this time the lips were curled into a shy smile. Brendan let his eyes take in the rest of the man, from the broad shoulders to the lean hips. Definitely his type.
The smile widened and Brendan swore internally, having forgotten that this man was like Freya, able to read thoughts. Brendan blinked at the impression of warmth inside his head, and saw David's head tilt a fraction, with the smile turning into a smirk. What remained of his headache vanished as if it had never existed, and Brendan knew that David had something to do with it.
"It was nice meeting you, Agent Dean."
"Brendan. And the least you could do is let me buy you dinner.. for saving me."
David's smile grew even wider. "Sure. I'd like that."
Looking back, several years later, Brendan smiled as he let the perfect memories play out in his head, recalling that first dinner followed by their first official date. He recalled the first time they kissed, and the first time David stayed the night. And for every first time, there was a second and a third... and so many more.
And the greatest joy of all was that he finally had an even more amazing use for his own gift of perfect memory, as David lay on the bed beside him and enjoyed those memories too.