1996-08-16A: Mixed Signals


Jethro_icon.gif Brennan_icon.gif

Scene Title Mixed Signals
Synopsis Jethro goes running and comes across Bones doing paperwork. There's some awkward silence, and some awkward non-silence
Location Hogwarts Grounds
Date Aug 16, 1996
Watch For Nervous Gardener
Logger Jethro

Summer mornings come early this far north, so there are a few hardy souls who take advantage. One such soul is Brennan, seated on a thick blanket under a tree, back braced against the trunk and a bulky-looking laptop on her thighs. At least the technology explains what she's doing in the middle of the woods south of the castle, not very likely the damn thing would work anywhere closer.

It's a slow day for the M-Sec team, so Jethro finds himself running a longer route than he normally would. Wearing a USMMC shirt (charmed to remove the extra M for Muggles) and a pair of sweats, he's well used to the cooler summers here, and the running feels good. He runs past where Brennan sits, then, a few moments later, runs back into view. He circles her tree a couple times, cooling down, and then sits down close enough to her to start a conversation. "Hey. Whatcha doin?"

Brennan isn't thick enough to miss the running Marine, but it's no more than a passing glance - long enough to determine recognition - and then she's back to work before he's even out of sight. The return trip garners only slightly more notice; it's not until he circles the tree that she looks up properly. When she does, it's with a sigh and a hand down one side of her face. "Paperwork." She says it like the word is blue and has only four letters. "That… that lawyer." Harvey Specter is a force of nature. "Every time I see him, it's the beginning of a six month migraine." She drops her chin to read another line before shrugging and looking up toward Jethro. "I believe he intends to drown me in bureaucratic nonsense in the hope that I will buckle underneath it and cease my pursuit of requisitioning an approved firearm."

Brennan's response makes Jethro grin. "Might be what he's doin', yeah. Rule thirteen. Even though, he's a lot more decent than most." His eyes darken for a moment as he considers a couple of the lawyers he's had to deal with over the years, but he returns his attention to her quickly, almost like he's not able to do otherwise. "Told ya I could get ya one if you signed up with us, but it'd take some more training." He understands her wish to have a firearm, but isn't sure she'd handle his 'training' well. Nob — Morgan did, but not many others had. "You had breakfast yet?"

"I don't eat in the mornings," is Brennan's automatic response. "Only water." Then coffee, then food, if her system allows. "What kind of training would that require? I assure you, Agent Gardener, that my mastery of unarmed combat exceeds military requirement." She's actually pretty terrifying on an even playing field, but… "In a world full of wands, such skillsets have very little purpose outside of the supplementary value you have demonstrated through your work with Professor Noble." Noble, not Morgan, and that comes from the woman obsessed with the letter of societal protocol, even if the spirit mostly escapes her.

"Some unarmed combat, yeah, you'd do well at that. Some basic endurance training. You had any of that?" He grunts at her comment about eating, and leans back against the tree he's under. "Don't know about that. Seems the pool gets bigger when you stretch it." By which he means the reservoir of magic inside their cores. "Seems to have worked with Noble." He's been around her long enough that he understands her use of Siobhan's maiden name. He agrees, somewhat, knowing the whole goat-rope of a situation.

Brennan's answer is quiet and - especially for her - oddly subdued. "Only if you are in possession of said pool, Agent Gardener." Hers no longer exists. "And in the interests of scientific accuracy I must respectfully disagree with your assessment. Your work with her may have been instrumental in preparing Professor Noble for the physical side of combat and indeed may have improved her self control in an emotional and social sense, but the increase in magical control has been a direct correlation to the increase of water in her sun's corona following the establishment of the willing bond." Which is probably more than Jethro wants to hear, but this is Brennan; she's never had a good sense for that boundary line.

"Fair enough." Jethro is chastising himself for mentioning the core stuff again, because he knows it's a soft spot for her. However, when she starts talking about the infusion of water magic into her sunlight core, he snorts, and his grin makes him look younger. "Love conquers all?" He can't resist teasing her about it. "I think it mighta been both." He holds firmly to the thought that a better-trained body helps the magic work better. Whether that translates into the wandless stuff, he isn't as sure. He does have his opinions. "You see that kid wandering around the school yesterday?" He probably means Ross.

The trite idiom makes Brennan pull a face. "In point of fact, no. Although some level of affection is helpful in establishing such a bond, it is not a prerequisite to the formation of such. Only uncompelled and informed willingness can establish a proper one. It is why the most noticeable alteration in Siobhan Noble's magic did not occurr until after her return from - " She catches herself almost saying something she shouldn't. " - from her stay with the, ah, wolves." There's something about that she'd meant to ask him, but his question startles her enough to forget. "Kid? But term does not resume for another thirteen days. Why was there a child in the castle?"

Jethro, used to Abby's rambling, and now Brennan's, merely sits and nods through the whole thing. "Glad you got that cleared up for me," he says, jibe light and easy. If she didn't catch his teasing tone, it's not a big deal to him. He shrugs. "Think it was one of the ones who's lost family." He looks away, as he always does when lost family is mentioned. "The Ravenclaw. Guess the castle let him in." He'd asked someone, and it was passed down that Mike had been allowed in by the castle. He wasn't sure about that, but if they trusted it, he was okay. "Probably old refuge laws."

"The attack last month?" Brennan clarifies to be sure. "Two adult casualties, one male, one female, method of demise inconsistent with the group current Ministry insists is responsible?" In other words, 'that case?' "Even with Shepard's insistence, they refuse to acknowledge my findings. That attack was carried out by one individual, the same one who took Professor Noble." But she couldn't tell them that without spilling the beans about the fake werewolf abduction. It made things… difficult.

Jethro grunts. It's his affirmative grunt, and he closes his eyes for a moment, trying to connect things, make sense of what he's heard. "That'd fit, yeah," he comments. He agrees with her, and Jane's been pushing, but … "Bureaucrats. Just as bad as lawyers." Another grunt, this one more grumpy. He looks off to the side, hearing something, then realizing it was something that was supposed to be there, he returns his attention to Brennan. "S' a reason folks call him 'Shadow'." His own voice is pitched a little more quiet than it had been.

With that sentiment, Brennan can - and does - heartily agree. "Both professions serve a valuable function in the day to day mechanisms of modern society, but those who fill said positions have a disturbing lack of understanding when it comes to what is and is not their purview." When he turns, she tenses, though has the good sense (and training) not to follow his gaze. Instead, she looks to him, waiting for the signal that will come one way or another. When he returns to the subject at hand, she can relax. Marginally. "I was under the impression that was a title which he bestowed upon himself. Such monikers invariably say more about an individual's wishes than their reality."

"Well, yeah," Jethro rubs the back of his neck, feeling strangely like he's been dressed down, even if he hasn't. "But there's a reason the name sticks. S' all I'm sayin'." He sighs, and stretches one leg, still carrying some of the excess energy he'd decided to run off. He looks over at her, like he's looking over his reading glasses, intensity and worry, but he says nothing, unwilling to voice the question he really wants to ask.

At first, Brennan is agreeable to the lull into silence, returning the majority of her focus to the clunky machine in her hands and the miles of paperwork it represents. Usually, she tends to focus on any given task to the exclusion of non-essential personnel from her immediate sphere of awareness. Just now, however, she finds it difficult to step entirely away from the fact that she's not alone and looks up once more - just in time to catch her boss' surprisingly intense stare. "Agent Gardener?" There is a pause before she realizes that perhaps some elaboration is required. "Is there something wrong?"

Jethro watches her as she starts to work again, and considers stepping away. However, before he can, she speaks, asking him if something's wrong. "Nah, nothin's wrong. Just thinkin'." It's poor cover and he knows it, but it is cover enough, probably. He pulls his legs closer, readying himself to stand again. "Probably ought to finish my run." He stands slowly, stretching out his limbs.

Brennan nods first, recognizing a dismissal when she hears one. As he bends to pull his legs close, however, she can't help chewing slightly on her lower lip. And before he finishes the stretch, she clears her throat. "If I've… somehow offended, Agent Gardener, I - I apologize." It's awkward and stilted and even she wants to flinch at how weird it sounds, but she swallows thickly and doesn't retract it.

Jethro turns, ready to run off, feeling vaguely unsettled, but he turns back at her words, and crouches again. "Nah. I'm not offended. Saw you tense up and … " It's difficult for him to say, but she's said something, so he will. "Worried." He shrugs a shoulder, trying to pass off the worry as stupid, unfounded. It's not, but it might make it easier to bear.

There's a moment of silence as Brennan tracks back through her movements over the last few minutes; the light goes on behind her eyes sooner than expected and her whole face lights up the way it does when even the simplest puzzles are solved. "Oh! Oh there's no cause to worry. I saw you react to a possible threat - " the sound that had turned out to be nothing special " - and physically readied myself to move quickly if necessary. Truly, I am fine." And accustomed by now to working on a team with him.

Jethro's known Brennan for a whle. He knows she doesn''t lie often, and when she does, she's got Rule Seven down pat. 'always be specific when you lie.' He stays crouched again, nodding, making sure she really is okay for a moment. "You need somethin', whistle, Bones." He stands, stretching again, almost hesitant to leave. "Gonna finish my run. Somebody nearby'll hear it."

That makes her expression go almost comically blank for a beat, leaving her blinking up at him with a slowly dawning confusion. "I am outside the ward sphere but inside the patrol perimeter… I have my equipment and three spare batteries and no other pressing work for the day." She considers it for a moment and then shakes her head, bemused and a little bit awkward as she struggles to regain equilibrium. "I do not know what assistance I could require that would be obtained via a whistle but, er… Thank you?" At least she thinks that's the socially appropriate response here.

A little unsettled himself, Jethro grunts an acknowledgement, waits for a long moment to be sure she's alright, and then turns to run off. On the way out, he cocks his head her direction when another M-Sec man passes by. They exchange a glance, enough for him to make sure they're aware she's here, and that she shouldn't be disturbed, and then he runs on, debating adding even more miles.

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