Stray Thoughts

by Angel Ruse

Summary: Ficlet about Brendan Dean, the night before he meets Freya. Oneshot meanderings.

In an otherwise neatly kept apartment where every thing had a logical place, the desk was a mess at this given moment. It was littered with crumpled up napkins, haphazardly strewn files and pens, and an open pizza box. And yet despite all that, Brendan Dean could still see his laptop. Life's little quirks amazed him.

Leaning back in his chair, he lazily watched a nearby curtain shiver from the soft breeze coming from outside. To his credit, he did try to turn his attention back onto the computer where it belonged, but there seemed to be a severe malfunction in the communication between his brain and the muscles in his neck. He did, however, motivate himself enough to both look at the TV and grab another slice of pizza.

Come on, Dean. Get off your ass, he chided himself. It wasn't as if anything was on, anyway. He flipped the channel, looking for anything of remote interest, stopping briefly on a beer commercial with a pretty redhead. Hmm. Beer is good. Now truthfully, he wasn't even looking at the beer, but hey, we can't all be saints. The next channel offered him the distraction of a hockey game, at least.

Brendan sighed, knowing he should be working. Gazal wasn't going to catch himself, unfortunately. But there had to be some sort of karmic loophole for the sick in body. Brendan coughed, making a face as his lungs seized. No, no, no. He was not going to get sick. He might have a cold right now, but that was all it was going to amount to.

A little 'ding' from the computer taunted him with the reality that his aimless mental wandering was at an end, for now. Putting his half-eaten piece of pizza in his mouth for safekeeping, he turned, cleared a few tissues off the keyboard, and navigated towards his inbox. Harper, he thought, opening the newest message. Hey Dean, yadda yadda yadda. Yeah, yeah, Gazal is a bastard and…what?

The pizza dropped out of his mouth, onto his lap, causing him to curse. He peeled it off of his thigh, tossed it into the box, and frowned at the monitor before him. An observer, huh? What the hell do I need an observer for? I swear the man has no faith in me at all. Observer. Observe this. 'Expect her tomorrow', he says. Well fine.

Dean closed the email, leaned his chair back as far as it would go and gazed at the ceiling. Okay, so they were sending someone to observe while he talked to a few people. It was probably just some psych case, anyway, trying to pick apart how the subjects twitched. Well, that was just fine. As long as she didn't watch him twitch, she could analyze to her heart's content.

Some indeterminate few minutes later, Brendan sat up and looked at the file he had open before him. He tried to read, tried to stay the urge to cough that crept up the back of his throat, but in the end he just wasn't feeling it. Dean glanced at the clock, snatched the cough syrup off the desktop and took a swift drink. He wasn't feeling the case. Not like he should be, and that was damn aggravating. He was good at this stuff. That was how he landed this job with the NSA.

Brendan rubbed his temples, feeling a headache coming on. Come on, Dean, don't lose the touch. Maybe a break was in order.

It started to rain, which prompted him to follow that thought through. Getting out of his chair, allowing himself a generous stretch, he shut the window and headed towards the glass door to the terrace to see what the weather portended. The night sky was covered in a blanket of clouds, obscuring the stars. Thunder rolled in quick and lightening shimmered from distant clouds. He shut the door.

Yawning and rubbing his face, Brendan wandered his way towards the bathroom where he gave his face a quick splash, shuffled through the cupboards for some cough drops, and gazed at his face in the mirror as if trying to demand the answers to this case from his mirror image. Heh, if only it worked that way.

He departed the bathroom without the answers and went to set out tomorrow's clothes. Well, they're sending an observer to work on the case, so maybe she can see the connections I can't, he thought, not without a measure of renewed annoyance. He tossed out a black suit, letting it land on the chair in his bedroom, then moved to the hangers holding an array of dress shirts.

Come on, Gazal. You're bound to screw up sometime. Hmm. Yellow, no. Green? He pulled at the pastel colored sleeve, then decided against it. He'll screw up and that's when I'll be there, and that's a promise. Blue? Pink, gee, thanks Mom.

In the end a white shirt hit the chair beside his suit and Brendan hit the couch in the living room with the full intention of taking a tiny nap, then getting back to work. He ached all over. There was no way he was going to get anything done right now, anyway. His eyes felt as if they were closing of their own volition, so he was going to have to settle for listening to the game. He drew a throw over his chilling form, snuggling down into the worn areas of the couch.

Maybe an observer wouldn't be so bad. It wasn't like his case was being taken over. And to tell the truth, he wasn't getting as far on this one as he thought he should be. I'll give it a try. New blood might shake things up, anyway.

He had no idea how true that would be.