Shadow Unit

Case Files

Teasers & Deleted Scenes

Woodbridge, VA, May, 2008

Daniel Brady is lying to his mother.

He lies to his mother once a week, regular as clockwork, and has since he went away to college at the age of eighteen. Oh, the lies have changed over the years; when he was eighteen, he only lied to her about who he dated.

He's never come out to his mother. Not exactly. Because to do that would be to make her lie to his father, and he can't do that to her. (Growing up, he has discovered, mostly means that you have more and better ways to hurt the people you love.) But he thinks she knows. He thinks she figured it out the Sunday after Andre died when she called and he was so hungover he couldn't even manage to tell her it was the flu. She doesn't ask him about his "dates" any more; she asks him about his "friends."

And he saves stories to tell her: stories about Chaz and the way he eats and the crazy things Hafidha wears and little Nikki Lau who's not half Danny's size but has twice his guts. They're good stories, warm stories, and he knows they make his mother feel better.

That's lie number one.

Lie number two is what he doesn't tell her about his job. Which is most of it. FBI, fine. BAU, fine. But WTF? No, thank you. For one thing, he's not supposed to talk about that with civilians. For another thing, he's not sure how she'd take it.

Daniel Brady was brought up Southern Baptist, with the church ladies looking sidelong at his mother because she had a real profession. But she was brought up Pentecostal Baptist--"just this side of the snake-handlers" she says sometimes, and the secret there is that she's not really joking--and he remembers his Grandfather Gilmer, remembers the absolute pants-wetting terror the old man inspired.

Grandfather Gilmer believed in the Devil. He believed the Devil was loose and walking up and down the land. Danny knows exactly what his Grandfather Gilmer would say about the anomaly, and what he's afraid of is that his mother might agree.

What he's even more afraid of is that that might give the anomaly a way in.

And that's lie number three. Because he's lying to protect her, and he thinks she knows that, or guesses it. But she doesn't know why, and it's going to stay that way. He's made Falkner promise, because he knows who has to write the letters. And he didn't tell her why, but he didn't lie about it, either.

Daniel Brady only lies to his mother.