DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!

RATING: T - Teen (language, adult subject matter)

PAIRINGS: GSR Mentioned... Mostly just Brass

SPOILERS: Through 7X13 Redrum

SUMMARY: Brass has to deal with the aftermath of a case almost gone bad on his own. Mention of Canon GSR. ANGST! Post Ep for 7X13.

A/N: I had some writer's block on my latest Discovery Series fic and my Smut-A-Thon entry, and I finally figured out why… I guess I needed to write some angst.

REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.


The ends justify the means…

"If there's one phrase that could sum up my entire life, that would be it. No matter how rough things got, it was the results that made everything worth it. I may not always like it, and I might lose some friends along the way, but I get results." Brass leaned back in his seat, swirling the golden brown liquid around in his glass. He hated drinking alone, but he knew he was not exactly good company at that moment either. And besides, getting drunk and talking to strangers is a hell of a lot cheaper than a head shrinker.

He raised his glass and signaled for the bartender to bring another round. "Charlie… You ever do something that made everyone you know hate your guts?"

"Just my wife, Jimmy." The man poured two more fingers of liquor into his glass and moved back to the other end of the bar to answer the phone, shaking his head as he left.

"Wife… Yeah, I had one of those…once." Brass ran his right hand over the opposite side of his jaw with his palm and felt the stubble that had appeared overnight. He looked down into the glass and saw a reminder of one of the reasons that little episode in his life had not worked out. "This didn't help… Well, it helped me forget…at the end."

He raised the glass and tipped his head as he said, "To absent friends," before taking another swallow. The smooth liquid went down hot, making him suck in a breath to follow it. "Friends… Huh… I know this guy; we talk, we drink, we work, but other than that, he's a damn stranger. But still, I probably know more about him than anybody else. Can you imagine living like that? Nobody being able to get close enough to ever know you?" He shook his head at the thought. "He's got these walls built up… Real thick, real high. Most of the time, I don't even think he can see over 'em, ya know?"

He inhaled sharply and blew it out through his pursed lips as he thought some more. "Of course, I'm not a real open kind of guy either. Might be why I understand him better than most." He shrugged and took another sip from his glass. "But I gotta keep some distance, ya know… In my line of work, it doesn't pay to get too close."

He drained the last of the bourbon from his glass again and waved it at the bartender. The man reluctantly refilled the glass once more and looked towards the door of the bar as he went back to the other side. "Thanks, Charlie."

"Had a rough one this week…" Brass drew in another swallow of liquor and continued, "Had to lie to some good people, trying to get the bad guy. Unfortunately, some jackass screwed the whole thing up and made us all look bad." He shook his head in disgust. "Normally, it wouldn't bother me, lying to 'em… But this time, I gotta tell ya, it was hard. We could've gotten the guy, if wasn't for that screw up, but in the end we got him because those people I lied to pulled it out for us."

Brass slumped forward to rest his elbows on the bar top. With his attention resting solely on the void of space in front of him, he failed to notice that anyone had entered the bar. He continued to rhapsodize as the bartender had a short conference with the newcomer. "They weren't fooled by our crap… In my heart, I knew they wouldn't be, but we still had to try. This guy was in the wind and we had to do something to get him back." He shook his head and then took another sip from his glass. "That part worked anyway. We got the guy back to town… But if it weren't for those folks down at the lab, we'd have come up empty." He nodded his head at that thought and added, "Too bad they're all convinced I'm a rat at the moment. Of course, that's not a first for me either."

As he drained the last of the bourbon again, Brass pushed the glass across the smooth surface of the bar. He held up his hand and called to Charlie, "Hey, just get me a draft, will ya?"

Charlie finished his conversation with the new patron and moved to pour the man a beer. "Sure thing, Jimmy." As he placed the mug in front of the rumpled and aging detective, he moved the tumbler to the shelf behind the bar and asked, "You gonna be okay?"

Brass nodded without once making eye contact with the man and answered, "As good as I'm gonna get, Charlie, but thanks for askin'."

He stared into the mug for a few minutes, blocking out the rest of the world as he watched the foam fade away and the stray bubbles float to the surface. "I usually sit in my office and share a few drinks with that guy I was talking about… The one with the walls." Brass took a drink from the mug and exhaled the breath he had been holding in when he said. "He's a couple thousand miles away right now. Thick as a brick, that one. Somebody finds a window into his damn walls and he's gotta run off."

Brass chuckled a little at that. "I don't get him sometimes… He's got everything, everything he needs, everything he wants, right in front of him and he runs off to play on a frozen pond with a bunch of pimply faced college kids." He took a long draw from the mug and nearly knocked it over as he fumbled with it back onto the bar. "Damn fool, if you ask me."

The scenery had begun to grow a little fuzzy, and he wondered if the bar had always been that crooked, but it did not deter him from finding the bottom of that glass. However, it did cloud his perception of his surroundings even further, because he failed to notice that he had found an audience for his wild ramblings.

"What is it about some guys, they get everything they ever wanted and suddenly they can't handle any of it? He's got his precious work, his respect… Hell, he's even got friends, though he doesn't treat any of them like he should." Brass raised the glass and sucked the last of the beer from it before he finally slammed it back against the bar, and knocking it over, but never letting it go. "Doesn't he know what a gift he's got?! Doesn't he know how close he's coming to losing it?! Doesn't he know how goddamn special she is?!" That time he did let go of the glass and tried to send it sailing down the bar. However, the person sitting closest to him caught it before it crashed to the floor.

He turned to see where the glass went when the sound of it shattering failed to occur, and found a sympathetic face. Upon seeing those caring eyes staring back at him, he hung his head in shame. He suddenly felt like the biggest hypocrite in the world because of his drunken lapse of judgment.

The glass was set upright and a few bills were slipped to the bartender. The hand on his shoulder told him what was next, even before the words were spoken, "Maybe we should get you home."

Through the haze of his alcohol enhanced pity party, Brass managed to push himself unsteadily from the bar. However, when he stepped down from the stool he lost his balance for a moment and those same hand reached out to keep him from falling to the floor.

As they slowly and clumsily made their way to the front door the bartender called out, "You need any help getting him home?"

"No, I've got it… Thanks for calling, Charlie."

"No problem… Never like seein' the old man on his own, ya know." He watched as the inebriated detective was guided out of the bar.

The car door was held open for him to awkwardly slide into the front seat. "Watch your head, Jim… You can sleep it off on the couch today."

Just when the door was about to close, he pulled his foot inside, but he stiff armed the door at the last second and then reached out for the hand. With eyes clouded by bourbon and filled with so much emotion they nearly spilled over, he said, "He really doesn't deserve any of it…" His resolve faltered for a moment and then he mumbled as he slumped back into the seat, "You don't deserve any of this… Him, me, this mess we live in… You deserve better, kid."

As she closed the door and walked to the driver's side of the car, Sara reached up to wipe the tear from her cheek when she whispered, "I can handle anything, if the ends justify the means."