Shadow Unit

Case Files

Teasers & Deleted Scenes

J. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, D.C., October 2010

Brady was working late, and so was Daphne. These things happened a little less often than they used to, so she'd been biding her time for a while before the opportunity presented itself.

She appeared beside his desk with a fresh cup of coffee and two homemade sugar cookies, only slightly burned. "Here," she said. "Fuel that brain."

He gave her The Eyebrow. "Keeping in trim?"

"When Chaz goes home, I have to put it somewhere," she said. "So how did it go?"

The other Eyebrow, and a deliberate bite of cookie. "It?"

"Coming out to your parents?"

He washed the cookie down with a sip of coffee. Danny Brady was entirely too well bred to talk with his mouth full, so he successfully bought time by polishing off the rest of the cookie. While he chewed, she could see him going over the past year's worth of conversations, assembling the clues for himself. When he was done, he nodded.

Daphne felt like she'd graduated. A nice thing about their job: sometimes the skill set saved on lengthy explanations.

Except for when you were spectacularly wrong.

"Lousy," he said. "Well, Mom took it okay. She's happy I'm happy. Like that. Dad--" He shrugged. "I might get a deathbed conversion. But I'm not holding my breath."

Daphne, daring greatly, put a hand on his shoulder. She felt the fly-stung flinch ripple through the bull-broad muscle. "Profiling, at its root, relies on the fact that traumatized people are predictable. Or the inverse. That individual patterns of trauma result in predictable pathology."

He snorted. "Thanks for asking."

"Thanks for answering," she said. She let her hand fall. She remembered, briefly, how scary he'd been, way back when.

He gave her a sideways smile and stuck the other cookie in his mouth. A thumbs-up. It's all good.

And it was. Prickly and awkward and tangled up and complicated. But good, as good as it could be, after all.