Disclaimer: Belongs to many other people, not me
Summary: What moments mark a friendship, a love, a marriage, a lifetime?
Previous chapters: Varsity
Notes: That’s right this is the end. Extensive Notes at the bottom
Beta(s): The great, gorgeous, wonderful, goddess irena_adler.
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Charlie felt Colby’s arms wrap around him.
“You’re being very clingy tonight,” Charlie said.
“Can you blame me? We’re in a room full of people, here to celebrate the wonderfulness that is you. I need to mark my territory.”
Charlie gave a small laugh. “I’m a little gray to be attracting math groupies. I wouldn’t worry.”
“Nonsense, you’re only as old as your research assistant tells you that you are.”
Charlie fingered the heavy medallion around his neck.
“It should have been a Nobel,” Colby said.
“There isn’t a Nobel prize for math.”
“Well, they should have made one.”
“I wouldn’t take Noble’s blood money anyways,” Charlie joked.
Don came up a glass of good Champagne in his hand. “Mind if I butt in?”
Colby took a step back and Don pulled his brother into a hug. “I am so proud of you, Charlie.”
“Thank you, Don.” Charlie gave a bit of a sigh.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
“I just wish…”
“He’s here, Charlie. Mom too, and they’re both just as proud of you as can be.”
Charlie gave his brother another hug. “Thank you.”
Don squinted at the medal. “Presidential Medal of Freedom.” He said. “For mathematical services to the country rendered to damn near everyone who ever asked.”
Charlie shrugged. “What can I say, I’m a math slut. I see a sexy problem, how can I say no?”
Don laughed. “You never told me you were on Project Reflex.”
“You didn’t have the clearance.”
“It was only the biggest simultaneous sting operation in the history of the planet.”
Charlie shrugged again. “The reaction probability equations were interesting to work on, though really not that complicated. I really just had to scale up the same kind of equations I was doing for you all those years.”
Don rolled his eyes. Both of them may have been old enough to be grandfathers but at times Charlie still acted like he was seventeen and playing with model yachts in the koi pond.
“Have you talked to Larry yet?” Don asked. “I haven’t seen him around?”
“Megan took him back to hotel. We talked for a bit.”
“I’m surprised he was able to make it. That hip can’t be in great shape.”
“He told me he would have glued feathers to his arms and flapped here if he had to.”
“That I would have liked to have seen.”
Charlie looked around and saw Esther elbowing her way past senators.
“Hide me,” she pleaded to her fathers.
“Murphy?” Colby asked.
Esther rolled her eyes. “He knows my terms, but he keeps pushing.”
Colby growled to himself. He still quietly blamed Alan and his James Bond novels for Esther’s insistence on being a part time spook. He knew her linguistic abilities were as important to the intelligence community as Charlie’s math was to defense and security, but it was still terrifying the first time his little girl went on a summer ‘research trip’ to ‘study obscure language groups,’ knowing full well she’d probably be in some third world war zone. She’d come back every Fall the first few years full of energy and ideas, then one Fall she came home with a limp, a puckered scar, and a haunted look. Colby had used every contact he still had to track down her handler and break his nose.
“He wants you back in the field?” Charlie asked.
“I told him no more malaria infested hell holes. I am done with that garbage. I want a minimum of three star hotels and drinkable tap water. I am getting too damn old for dysentery.”
Charlie laughed. “How did we raise such a diva?”
“Asks the man who still insists on particular brands of chalk.”
“Most chalk crumbles too much,” Charlie said.
“I know.” Colby gave Charlie a kiss on the head.
A photographer approached. “Can I get a group picture?” the young man asked.
“Sure,” Charlie said.
They all bunched together. Charlie was moved into the center of the group with his husband on one side and daughter on the other. Don squeezed in next to Esther and put his arm around her to lay his hand on his brother’s shoulder. Colby smiled for the camera. The flash bulb went off and he was happy.
‘This is good.’
And they lived happily ever after.
Authors Notes: Thank you everyone for reading this. I’d like to give a big, big thanks to irena_adlerfor taking on a monster of a beta project and insisting every bit get better. Also a big shout out to fredbassett neur0vanity and deinonychus_1 for giving feedback from part one onwards.
I’d like to say this is the longest thing I’ve written, but too many years of liberal arts higher education makes me wander towards epics. For as long as this is it could be five times longer. I easily have ten pages on Larry’s wedding, Esther’s adventures as a spy, entire stories about the OCs especially Philip, Niki, and Stephanie. Not to mention Don, Colby, and Charlie’s adventures in parenthood. I even have an idea to bring Amita back
Every little chunk above is a dribble of a much longer story. Some stuff I didn’t write ‘cause I just didn’t want to put it down. I have Colby confronting his family, the slow and poetic death of Donald the Mad Scottish Poet, Alan’s funeral, plus fights and problems and nightmares all the other things that happen in a long and mostly happy life.
I wasn’t planning on writing more but I have succumbed to public opinion and in a few days after I get all the stories properly linked and on some sort of master index page I’ll post the first extension story.
Thank you for all the support.
Peace, Love and Math,