From the Depths

The first thing he was aware of was pain.

Brendan Dean drew in a faint, shallow breath around the stabbing pain in his stomach. He might have groaned; he wasn't sure.

The second thing he was aware of was a gentle hand resting on his forehead, thumb stroking just over his right eyebrow. Freya? he wondered and then prayed he hadn't said her name out loud. The last thing they needed to do was find out about her and he had to... "Mmnohhh..."

"Brendan? Agent Dean?"

The voice was unfamiliar, and Brendan frowned faintly. It wasn't Freya, and it wasn't one of their 'hosts.' Slowly, he dragged his eyes open and looked up. A slender redhead was standing next to him, wearing a lab coat. A doctor...? Here?

"Where...?" he tried to lift his head; the room spun lazily and his stomach fairly screamed at him and his head dropped back onto the pillow.

"Mercy General, Agent Dean," the redhead replied. "I'm Dr. Johansson, and you're going to be all right."


"Ms. McAlister is out in the waiting room. She's fine," Johansson reassured. It was all Brendan needed to know, for now. He wasn't certain, in this moment, how everything had gone so wrong. Somehow their cover had been blown, that was obvious. Everything else was lost in a haze of dizziness and pain. They must've gotten out but how? Hazel eyes blinked dazedly. "How are you feeling?" Johansson's hand had moved from his forehead; she was taking his pulse.

"Stomach hurts..." Brendan slurred. The doctor shifted again, her hands gently palpating his abdomen. Brendan sucked in a sharp breath despite her gentleness.

"We'll get you something for the pain, just try to rest. You are doing much better than when you were first brought in. Do you remember what happened?"

"Party..." Brendan struggled to put it all together. He and Freya had been undercover at a party.

"Someone spiked your drink. You're lucky your partner out there got you here so quickly; another half hour or so and we wouldn't be having this conversation," Johansson informed him. "I know you don't feel so lucky, but the stomach pains will ease." She reached over and brushed back a wayward strand of dark hair. "Try to rest."

Hazel eyes obediently closed. He was just too exhausted and his stomach ached far too badly to argue. He'd save that for later, when he wanted out of bed. This is the last time...I volunteer for an undercover gig, I swear.

"Don't make promises you can't keep," a soft voice said.


Brendan blinked open his eyes, realized it was nearly dusk. Felt rather than saw the shadowy presence next to him. "How long...?"

"Almost five hours," Freya answered and leaned forward into his line of vision, smiling. "Feeling better?"

"Yeah," Brendan answered tiredly despite having just wakened. "What happened?"

"We were sold out, and I have a pretty good idea who did the selling. I'm going to talk to Harper about it; but for now, all you have to do is get better. Go back to sleep," Freya urged gently. Being a telepath had its advantages at times, and she could tell Brendan still wasn't feeling fantastic, although he apparently was telling the truth about feeling better. No wonder; they had come very close to losing him today.

"'Kay..." Dean agreed and allowed himself to drift, but before he fell asleep totally he was aware of long, thin fingers intertwining with his own.

He knew then, he really was going to be all right.