asleep on the job

October 4th, Morning, Central City Headquarters.

Denny was glad to have returned to Central and his usual assignments, however much he might complain of boredom in the days to come. East City had been ...an experience. It was a poorer place (as a general rule the people seemed less well off the further East you went, although Denny had never been called upon to venture much further than the outlying suburbs of the sprawling City) but beyond that, the atmosphere was different. He'd missed the bright bustle of Central, streets that he could have navigated blindfold, and friendly people who knew him well.

Of course, it also helped that very few people here had heard about his little incident with a known criminal. Yes, that was definitely a positive. Nothing too much had come of all that, beyond a lot of lectures. Denny still held the same rank, and his pay hadn't been docked either. He guessed the humiliation of it all had been considered punishment enough. God only knew he'd been working hard to make up for it, since, and one day he might actually be able to look Lieutenant Ross in the eye again.

Now here he was, early for the second time in two days. How was that for improving his record? It was a sunny morning and he had half an hour before he was due to report for duty, so the young sergeant had to admit that pausing to enjoy the warmth of the day was a very tempting prospect. Maybe he'd just settle here, at the edge of one of the wide stone steps, and rest his eyes for a minute or two...
sweetness and light

Sept 27th Mid Morning

The young Sergeant stared blankly ahead of him as he made his way through the Military compound to begin work. He was two hours late, but for once it wasn't because he'd overslept.

No, he hadn't slept at all last night, but he had just sat through a two hour lecture from a superior officer in which words like 'neglect of duty' and 'demotion' had been thrown around. If he was lucky the lectures might be the worst of his punishments - and he was certainly due a few more scoldings that day. He wondered if Lieutenant Ross and Lieutenant Colonel Hughes had heard about it yet.

Of course they had, the news was probably all over East City by now. He'd willfully (if unknowingly) aided and abetted a master thief, allowing her to hide out in his dorm room. At which point she repaid him by tying him up and escaping through an alchemically created hole she made in his wall.

It hadn't been the best night of his life, and what was worse was the way his superior officer assumed he had invited the woman back to his dorm with ...ulterior motives.

She had said she was in danger! He was only trying to help!

Ohh, he was an idiot.

Feeling unable to face anyone just yet, and considering that another few minutes tardiness couldn't hurt, Denny made his way into the break room and curled up quietly in a corner, trying to make himself invisible.
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sweetness and light

September 27 - early morning.

If being invited for dinner with Lieutenant Ross had left him walking on air, the latter part of Denny Brosh's night had left him walking rather stiffly. He kept his head down as he walked through the empty early-morning streets of the City, current uniform of tight black pants and a red shirt cropped above the waist hardly the sort of thing he wanted to be seen in. Not by anyone who knew him in his day job, at least.

Regular clients paid more, they bought plush hotel rooms or took him back to their luxury apartments, but the downside was how much they expected from him. He hadn't planned to be returning to the dorms just as dawn broke over the grey buildings. Still, maybe he could get an hours sleep without being too late for duty.

Stopping before the military buildings swam into view, the young soldier glanced around and stepped into the shadow of a building, looking through the bag he carried. The props he'd taken with him the night before were safely stowed away in there, along with a more respectable change of clothes. People would assume he'd been out late drinking, or at some club, just like they always did.

Maria and Lieutenant Colonel Hughes would assume that was why he was falling asleep at his desk. Again.

And Maria...She'd be Lieutenant Ross again today, wouldn't she. As much as he'd like to pretend that their meal together was a date, or that it meant anything at all to his superior officer, he knew he was dreaming.

Still, they were pretty daydreams. In his mind he'd stayed there most of the night, talking, laughing, finishing a bottle of wine. He'd said all sorts of intelligent and witty things to make her smile and then, as he left, she'd kissed him. Only on the cheek. Even in his wildest imaginings he couldn't seem to get more than a kiss on the cheek from a woman he would never deserve.

No decent person would look twice at him once they knew. So Denny tried to be grateful to the men he spent his nights with, at least sometimes they were gentle, and it was almost like someone really wanted him.

Sighing softly he pulled a sweater from his bag, shivering in the morning's chill as he bent to pull it on.