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Passive Tense

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Freya McAllister took a deep breath and let it out. "Not really, but …. "

Dr. Wells' mouth quirked up at one corner in that way he had sometimes. "Alright, then. Have you picked a specific person to target for? Someone you know well?"

She nodded, her own mouth curving a little. She knew her "target" well, or as well as he'd let her, anyway, and maybe a bit more than that; they'd been partnered for a good six months now, but he was such a private person in so many ways and she wouldn't invade that privacy without reason or warning. But this would be okay because he knew, she'd told him about the passive telepathy thing and what they were trying for….

"Alright," Wells repeated. "Concentrate. Close your eyes and picture the target and only the target, nothing else. Focus on – " Wells was still talking but Freya wasn't really hearing him anymore as she turned inward and then outward, straining to ignore the sudden babble of a multitude of minds and listen for just one, picturing green eyes under dark, spiky hair, lean strength, faint spice of aftershave, agile thoughts and steel-trap memory, concern, dedication, quirky humor and awkward warmth, all the bits that made up –


Brendan Dean rubbed absently at his left temple for a moment before he laid down the notes he was reading and reached for his sandwich, idly cataloguing the other customers of the café in automatic, ingrained reflex. He wasn't particularly hungry, but he'd pretty much promised Freya that he'd have lunch today, even though she wasn't around to supervise. And I'm eating already. Yeah, I'm a few hours late, but I'm eating, alright? See? Mom? He thought it teasingly at her, even though she wasn't here to pick it up. Why you think I'm on the edge of manorexia, I have no idea. He'd always been like this: wiry, product of a fast metabolism and lots of exercise. Although I gotta admit that it's kinda nice – weird, but nice – to have somebody notice stuff like that. 'Cause that hasn't really happened since -- He shook his head. Don't go there, B, no point.

He swallowed his bite of roast beef and swiss, chasing it with a swig of soda. Okay, so, yeah, maybe he was on the skinny side, but there wasn't much you could do about bone structure, right? He was in good shape, but he was never going to be muscle magazine cover material and he was okay with that. Really. Pumping more iron wasn't going to change the slope of his shoulders, turn him into something like – like, yeah. Him.

The guy was almost Brendan's height, broad shoulders and chest evident under a not-quite-tight brown teeshirt as he pulled off his jacket and dropped across his chair. Not buff, but nicely put together. Khaki pants hinted at a well-shaped ass, the hint confirmed a moment later as the man sat down, fabric pulling tight before disappearing behind the plastic of the chair.

Warmth started low in Brendan's gut and his mouth quirked. No harm in looking, right?

Too-longish brown hair curled against the back of the man's neck. He stood again, giving Brendan another shot of his rear, and moved to the next chair at the table – maybe the one he'd been sitting in was wobbly. Whatever the reason, Brendan now had a perfect view of his profile: thick brows, straight nose, strong jaw that lacked any very close acquaintance with a razor.

Scruffy, Brendan thought. Probably not very –

Then the guy turned his head. His gaze collided with Brendan's and held, sharp and assessing, and even from this distance Brendan could see that his eyes were a bright, clear blue.

The warmth in his gut flared upward, surging into Brendan's chest and halfway up his throat, and he swallowed before he could stop himself. Oh, wow. Christ, he hadn't reacted to a guy like this since – God, stop, don't – good thing Freya isn't here 'cause – crap, Freya, she's working on – fuck.


Freya jerked and snapped her eyes open. Where the warmth of her partner's thoughts had been there was now only the cold, ringing silence of a locked bank vault door.

"Freya." Dr. Wells was in front of her. "Freya."

"Yes," she said, blinking. "Yes, I'm here. I'm, I’m fine." She shook her head slightly and then wished that she hadn't. Brendan. Wow. Okay. That explains a few things.