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05 November 2007 @ 10:01 pm
The Modern Man I Sing (fic) FRAO  
Title: The Modern Man I Sing
Author: ladygray99
Chapter: 1/1
Pairing: Charlie/Colby
Rating: NC-17, FRAO P SC GV
Disclaimer: Belongs to other people, not me.
Warnings/Squicks: Oh so many. Violence, Violent Sex, BDSM, and people talking about their feelings.
Summary: Charlie has a secret and Colby wishes he didn’t know.
Previous chapters: none
Notes:  Originally posted on red_gumballs and my own page.  I’ve written a sequel that will have a wider posting and be up in a few days.  If you’ve already read it I’ve done a little parastroka so it may be worth a re-read. I really don’t know what disturbed warped sick twisted part of my brain this crawled out of. It was supposed to be a little hurt comfort fluff. What came out in the end was not even close. Don’t hate me for hurting Charlie, he just takes it so well
Feedback: Feedback makes me very happy and makes my fingers type faster.
Beta(s): riverotter1951





‘The Modern Man I Sing’
By
Lady Gray
 

O YOU whom I often and silently come where you are, that I may be with you;
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


Colby wasn’t that drunk. A couple end of day beers. He could still qualify on the range. Colby knew Charlie couldn’t be that drunk. Okay the man was small but he’d been watching, and he knew from experience Charlie wasn’t a complete light weight and yet…
 
Charlie had been squirrelly all night. He twitched and flinched when someone moved passed him, conversation more fractured than usual. The math was beyond even Charlie’s usually level of un-understandable complexity. Don had just shaken his head.

“He gets in these moods.” He had confided to Colby. “Since he was a kid. Every few months he ends up mumbling equations to himself and walking into walls, it’s like his brain needs a reboot. You know like when you leave your computer on for days and it starts bitching at you.”

“I know what you mean.”
 
Don had left the bar when Charlie had been explaining something about the surface tension of beer. Every so often he’d dip his finger in the beer and draw strange little circles on the bar until someone would walk by and he’d flinch. Colby was fascinated by this flinching and twitching, it was kind of like watching a computer go haywire. Well somebody else’s computer.
 
A guy sat down next to Charlie, a big guy, off duty LAPD knuckle dragger from the looks of him, Marine Corps tattoo proudly on the arm. Colby watched in awe as Charlie suddenly finished his drink, spun around, and began to chat up the big guy. First off, guys don’t chat up guys in cop bars. Second, Charlie had a girl. Third, it was just fucking weird. Colby had enough with the paradigm shifts for the night, slapped a couple of 20’s on the bar and dragged Charlie outside and around to the alley before he could get himself killed.

“What the fuck are you doing Charlie?” Colby hissed.

“I was chatting up a guy in a cop bar, what did it look like I was doing?”

Well, he at least knew that Charlie was aware of his actions. “Are you nuts?”

“What’s the matter? Jealous?” Colby bent his knees so he could look directly into Charlie’s eyes. There was a hard glint there but nothing to suggest drugs.

“That was damn stupid for someone as smart as you.” Charlie didn’t answer. Colby grabbed him by the arms and gave him a quick shake as if he could snap him out of something. Instead Charlie seemed to sigh into the shake and gave Colby a smile.

Colby let go and Charlie’s smile faded. He turned to head back to the street when Colby grabbed him by an arm and snapped him back. The smile quickly returned to Charlie’s face.

“What’s wrong with you Charlie?”

Charlie gave an even bigger smile. “So very many things Agent Granger I couldn’t begin to list them.”

Colby pushed Charlie away with a little more force than intended and the smaller man hit the alley wall. Charlie took a deep breath and pushed back. There was some strength to it but Colby was still a head taller and had a lot more bulk. He tried shaking Charlie again.

“Snap out of it man.”

Instead of pulling back Charlie took a step forward and pressed himself against Colby.

“I can’t.” He whispered, hot breath flowing along Colby’s throat. This time Colby pushed hard. Charlie crashed against the wall and fell onto all fours. Colby heard him giggle. Charlie got up and brushed the gravel from his hands. He walked up to Colby once more. “Want to try that again?” Colby was fucking panicked. There was so much so very wrong about this situation. He grabbed Charlie by the upper arms and held him against the wall. Charlie closed his eyes and hummed. Colby looked down. Charlie was scrapping his already injured palms along the rough brick.

“What are you doing?” Colby asked almost as confused as scared.

“Just clearing my head.”

Colby dropped Charlie and strode towards the alley entrance determined to get out of whatever was going on.  An empty beer can impacted the back of his head. He spun around and looked into the dark. All he could see deep in the alley was the slightest reflection of Charlie’s eyes.

“Leaving so soon Colby? Don’t you want to stay and see how this turns out, after showing all that concern?” Colby walked slowly back into the alley following Charlie’s voice. He felt uncomfortably like he was in a horror move. When he was far into the darkness Charlie stepped out from around a dumpster.

“What do you want, Charlie?”

Charlie smiled. “Make the numbers go away.”

With that Charlie leapt into an attack that caught Colby completely off guard but well honed instincts and reflexes took charge. He easily rebuffed Charlie’s every move, and since Charlie seemed to be anything but a fighter the blows were ineffectual at best. Yet every time he struck Charlie the man smiled or laughed or giggled. Even the groans sounded more of pleasure than pain.

It wasn’t a hard fight but it was enough to get the blood flowing and it kept on going. Every time he knocked Charlie down he crawled back up and kept coming. Colby began to realize that unlike most fights Charlie hadn’t gone for any place vital, instead impacting all his blows on major muscle groups, avoiding joints and soft spots. It was more like he was using Colby as a punching bag.

Minute after minute, blow after blow, Charlie kept coming.  Colby felt his pulse race and he knocked Charlie back with ever increasing force. Charlie landed on a bottle and knocked it against the wall.  It shattered and Charlie got up with blood on his hands.  Colby decided he’d had enough of the insanity and quickly had Charlie face down pinned to the stinking alley floor.

“What the fuck are you doing?” He hissed in Charlie’s ear through the red haze. In response Charlie arched his hips back, rubbing his ass against Colby’s groin. Colby sucked in a breath realizing that he was hard and had been for a while.

“Hurt me.” Charlie gasped out in a desperate cry.

“What?”

Charlie’s legs spread out under Colby’s greater weight. “Hurt me.”

Colby didn’t think. Thought had been abandoned for animal passions. He had one hand on the back of Charlie’s neck pinning his face to the ground. With the other he yanked down Charlie’s pants then his own. A tiny voice in the back of his mind was screaming ‘stupid, stupid, stupid,’ but something horrifying and primal was not listening. “Hurt me.” Charlie begged one more time.

Charlie muffled the screams of unprepared penetration in his own hand yet never said stop, never tried to escape.

Colby came far more quickly than he had in years and as the post fight/orgasm haze cleared he looked down at Charlie.

“Oh fuck!” He jumped up, backing against the far side of the alley, trying not to puke. He couldn’t see much in the darkness but what he saw was enough. Charlie rolled over, stood, and pulled his pants up. Colby had his hand over his mouth and he realized his pants were still around his knees. “Charlie?” He whispered from behind his fingers. He studied Charlie’s face looking for anger, tears, pain, something. The expression he saw was soft and mild and Colby quickly gathered up his own pants.

He took a couple steps closer to Charlie, afraid of what might happen if he got to close. Charlie was studying the palms of his hands with curiosity as if he wasn’t sure how they’d gotten brick dust, glass, and gravel ground into them. Colby steeled his jaw. “Come on. I’m taking you home.”

“I wouldn’t think you’d want to show up on the front porch with me like this.” Charlie held up his hands so the blood trickled down to his wrists. “Big brother wouldn’t like it.”

“No, you’re coming back to my place.”

Charlie quirked an eyebrow at him but made no comment.

~

Colby flipped the lights of his apartment on and pulled Charlie through the door. He gave a quick look around and was struck by how generic looking his apartment seemed. Charlie stood passively in the hall, his eyes still shining, but the twitching that had started the evening was gone.

“Come on.” He pulled Charlie into the bathroom. “Strip down.” Charlie gave a dirty smile and slowly removed his clothes. He hissed as the cloth dragged against fresh abrasions but the smile never faded. Colby tried to avert his eyes when he realized Charlie was still fully erect but didn’t seem to care. He guided Charlie into the plastic shower/tub pod and began washing him. Colby was alarmed as he cataloged the injuries he was responsible for. Bruises, abrasions, a nasty bite he couldn’t remember delivering but could take a wild guess as to when, not to mention the blood and cum staining Charlie’s thighs. He took a deep breath and tried to choke down the bile that rose in his throat.

He found a bottle of antiseptic soap to work into the wash cloth, and some tweezers to remove the glass. Charlie stood spread eagle in the tub as Colby started cleaning the bite on his shoulder. Charlie hissed and hummed at the sting but didn’t seem to mind any more than he had in the alley.

“Why Charlie?” Colby finally asked softly.

“Humm?” Charlie replied obviously not paying much attention to anything but his own body.

“Why?”

“Why what?” Charlie replied almost innocently.

Colby growled under his breath. “Why did you just let me…” He couldn’t find the words. “Why are you letting me hurt you?”

Charlie rolled his head languidly, like he’d just had a good massage.

“It lets me think. Lets me feel.”

“You’re always thinking.”

“About numbers.”

“There’s more?”

Charlie laughed. “I’m never sure. That’s why I have to do this, to find out if there’s anything there but numbers.”

“Do what?” Colby was getting more confused.

“It’s like a flash bulb. For a moment you can’t see anything, then for a bit you can see, but everything’s different, then a bit later it all goes back to normal.” Colby tried not to think about how natural a Charlie explanation sounded in this situation.

“I don’t understand.”

“The pain. My head is full of numbers, they build up, crowd out everything else, suffocate me, but this is a flash bulb. For a moment the numbers go away and I can think and feel like everyone else. I can hear music without thinking about sound waves; I remember bits of poetry and just enjoy the beauty of the words, and the things I feel in that flash...” Colby was glad he couldn’t see Charlie’s face.  He was sure for the first time that night there would be tears. “And after, it takes time for the numbers to build up again.” Charlie leaned his forehead against the shower wall.

Colby ran the wash cloth down Charlie’s lower back and watched as his hips arched when the soap dripped down to the raw, red, hole Colby had left. He felt sick at the sight. He felt he should turn himself into the police for something. If Charlie wanted to accuse him of rape or assault or abuse he didn’t think he’d fight it at that point.

“Charlie, this ain’t normal. I mean this really ain’t normal. I’m guessing you’ve been doing this a while but, shit. I mean what do you do when I’m not here?” Charlie shrugged.

“Find a bar with mean drunks, professionals if I’ve got the cash, gifted armatures.”

“You pick up hookers in this town? For someone with your brains that’s fucking stupid.”

“It’s not about sex, Colby.” Charlie sighed. “It’s just a nice, occasional, side effect.”

Colby felt the anger rise in him again at being roped into Charlie’s weird, personal, warped, headspace. “No, it’s about letting someone beat the shit out of you because you can’t pull your head together!”

Charlie spun around and looked down at where Colby had been crouched cleaning his legs. The look he gave Colby made him feel like a bug. Colby actually dropped his head in shame for his part this madness.

“When my mother died I couldn’t cry.” Charlie said softly. “I tried for weeks. All I could do was calculate; odds of her living as long as she did, odds of her getting sick to begin with, odds of her being put in the wrong grave, odds of her ever living. All numbers, nothing but numbers. After a while I couldn’t even form a sentence to explain the numbers. I drove to Vegas and paid a month’s salary, cash, to a high end dominatrix for three hours of pain just so I could grieve. She gave me four hours; stopped when I begged her to break my arms so I could hurt for months.”

Colby actually felt dizzy at the picture Charlie painted. He’d done the required deviant sexual psychology class at Quantico but this was way out of his field. He didn’t even know if there was a proper name for it. Some form of masochism but for reasons way beyond the usual. He looked up at Charlie’s face, childlike for his thirty plus years. He’d envied Charlie his brain, able to know great secrets of the universe, but at what cost?

“Sometimes I just take a walk on a beautiful day and slip down a hillside.” Charlie said, a dreamy whisper in his voice.

Colby looked closely at Charlie’s body. Under the bathroom fluorescents he could make out scars on scars. Not huge ones, they were the type you get from taking a little fall, spilling something hot in the kitchen, maybe crashing out on your bike, some other minor accident, easily overlooked if you’re a professor always thinking deep thoughts and not watching where you’re going. And yet…

“Turn around Charlie. Let me get you cleaned up.” Colby washed and bandaged each scrape, cut and bite. He even warmed wound cream in his hands, then with a long middle finger worked it gently into Charlie’s ass. Charlie purred and Colby felt ashamed as he felt his own cock twitch at the sound. “Charlie,” He finally said after the silence in the bathroom became unbearable for him. “Next time come to me.” Charlie cocked his hips.

“Enjoyed this did you?”

“You shouldn’t…” Colby struggled with the words. “This is really screwed up and you really need therapy or something but if you need this then you need it and it’s too important to be left to some stranger who doesn’t know...doesn’t know you.” Charlie gave him an odd look as if daring him to do something. Colby brought his hand down with a loud crack across Charlie’s hip. Charlie let out a slight cry and to Colby’s surprise thrust his hips forward and, without a touch, came.

A couple of days latter Charlie was on their new case. There were no weird glances, no strained silences. If it wasn’t for a wash cloth covered in incriminating DNA samples Colby could have convinced himself it was a weird dream. A month went by, then another. Cases came and went. Sometimes Charlie was on them sometimes he wasn’t. Then there was a big case. Charlie had new math for them almost every day. The math got more and more completed until even Charlie could no long explain what he was doing.

“You just have to trust me Don, the numbers work, the numbers are good. It’s all numbers, nothing but numbers.” Don took the results and the team headed out of the room. Colby trailed behind and was able to watch Charlie jab a pencil in his leg and give his head a quick shake.

They caught the bad guys and there was much rejoicing.

Colby was looking forward to an early night when there was a knock at the door. He looked through the peephole to see Charlie’s face. Colby opened the door and found Charlie dressed to kill, or more likely be killed. The jeans were a little too tight and too low. The black t-shirt only served to make his skin look pale, bruiseable. He looked like bait for all the wrong kinds of people.

“Charlie?”

“Can I come in or shall I stand outside and scandalize the neighbors?”

Colby dragged Charlie in and shut the door. Colby had been doing some reading, even posed some very hypothetical questions to Megan. He knew they should be having a long discussion about limits and safe words except Charlie would never use a safe word. ‘Hurt me’ he had said so desperately when he should have said stop. With a head full of numbers crushing every other feeling under their weight he would never say stop. Colby knew it would be up to him to give Charlie enough to blow away the numbers without killing him.

“What do you want?”

“Make the numbers go away.”

Colby nodded. “Go to the living room, pull the blinds and get undressed. I’ll be there in a moment.”

Charlie gave a smile and walked down the hall. Colby ducked into his bedroom, hands already shaking. He grabbed an old heavy leather belt that was smooth; he hoped it wouldn’t leave too many marks. He also grabbed some boot laces, a tube of lube, and some condoms. Charlie might want pain but he wasn’t going to make him bleed again.

Charlie was lounging naked on his couch like some lecherous beast or fallen angel. Colby went to the stereo and flipped to a classical music station.

“Get up, turn around, don’t think about sound waves.” Charlie stood, spread his legs and put his hands behind his head. Colby groaned at the sight. He had never done this, never considered this, especially not with a guy but the thought of Charlie submitting his beautiful body to some stranger, or hooker, or rent boy for punishment was too much.

He brought the belt down across Charlie’s backside with a crack. Charlie gasped, cried out and for a second hummed along with the music. Colby brought the belt down again. Charlie staggered a little but didn’t fall. Colby peered closely at his work. The edges of the belt were leaving lines of tiny welts. Colby took a deep breath to steady himself and began again. He worked methodically down Charlie’s ass and thighs letting each stroke overlap the one before. Charlie whimpered, groaned, hummed and when the radio switched to opera Charlie began to sing after each blow. Just a word or two, just as long as it took for the flash to fade.

Colby could not figure out how Charlie was still standing as he laid stripes along the back of his calf. He could see each muscle twitch under the blows. Finally he stopped, wiping the sweat from his palms on his shirt. Charlie was shaking, head down, eyes closed, half singing snatches of music. Colby put his nails at Charlie’s Achilles tendon and ran them all the way up to his ass. Instead of a scream a pure clean note tore from Charlie throat. Colby wanted to cry at the beauty of the sound.

“Kneel down Charlie.” He said softly. Charlie fell to his knees as if the command drained the strength from his legs. He leaned all the way forward his forehead pressed to the thin utilitarian rug. “Do you want me to stop?” He could see Charlie breathing hard, each breath swelling his whole body. Charlie shook his head. ‘Of course not.’ Colby thought. ‘God only knows what’s going through his head right now that he doesn’t want to let go of.’

He could see faint marks on the shoulder where he had bit Charlie last time. Colby reached down and hauled Charlie up so he was sitting on his heals. He looked at Charlie’s face for the first time that evening, the look that Charlie gave him was one of need not quite fulfilled, just out of reach.

Colby though of taking the belt to Charlie’s chest but didn’t trust his aim enough not to accidentally get him across the throat or face. Instead he pulled out the boot laces and wrapped them tightly around the base of Charlie’s weeping cock, before looping the ends around and between his balls cutting off all chance of cumming. Charlie’s breath came rapid and shallow now but a smile crept along his face. Colby looked down and saw Charlie digging his fingernails into his thighs leaving little red moon shapes. One began to bleed.

“No!” He knocked Charlie’s hands away. “That’s not for you to do anymore.” Charlie looked up at him and Colby took a deep breath. “That’s my job.” Charlie lowered his head and kept on going until his cheek was resting on Colby’s shoe. Once there he let out a long sigh as if a vast burden had just been lifted.

'Oh god oh god oh god.’
Was the mantra running through Colby’s brain. ‘What have a done, what have I said, what have I done?’ Colby pulled his foot away and got undressed. He was ashamed to find himself as hard as he was that first night. With his hands shaking he slipped on the condom and a generous helping of lube then knelt behind Charlie. The lube helped. With a quick thrust he was in, Charlie screaming at the violation yet pushing back sending Colby in deeper.

He wrapped his arms around Charlie’s chest hauling him up until they were pressed against each other. Colby saw the healed bite mark again, leaned in, and bit down on the same spot. This time Charlie whimpered and giggled a little even as he bucked his hips to meet Colby’s every thrust. Colby felt Charlie’s nipples under his fingers and gave them a twist. Charlie clamped down around his cock and Colby came in a blinding flash that cleared everything from his mind.

When his own flash bulb cleared he was laying on top of Charlie, still buried in the smaller man. He jumped up half afraid he crushed him. Charlie rolled over and looked up at him, eyelids heavy with lust, rug burn on his knees. Colby turned up the music. He had no knowledge of music but it sounded like it should be one of the big guys, Beethoven or Mozart or something. Colby lay back down on top of Charlie with all his weight, then snaked a hand between them and pulled out the knot from the boot laces. Charlie groaned and his eyes fluttered back into his head but he didn’t cum. Colby slid down to Charlie’s nipples and bit down hard. Charlie’s hips arched and Colby felt the sticky wetness between them. The cries were drowned out by the music.

~

Colby looked through the peephole of his apartment door then opened it.

“Hey Don. We got…” Colby knew he should have seen the punch coming. For a kinda small guy Don had a hell of a swing. Colby heard his front door shut and lock. He didn’t try to block the second punch that landed him on the floor. This could only be about one thing and he couldn’t help thinking he kinda had it coming. He did object when Don kicked him in the kidneys.

“Ouch! Shit. Don.” Don kicked him again. “Ok. Shit! I can guess what this is about.”

“You can guess?!” Don’s sarcasm was as heavy as the third kick.

“I can explain.” Colby knew he really couldn’t.

“Oh you’re going to explain all right.” Colby caught the foot this time and pulled Don down to the floor with him. On the way down Don pulled his gun.

“Stop. Ok. Stop and I’ll explain. Whatever you want to know I’ll tell you, just don’t shoot me.” He looked across the hall at Don who was practically foaming at the mouth.

“You’ll explain why I followed my little brother here and why he now looks like he’s been in a prison fight!”

Colby hung his head. He had been feeling tactile the other night and every blow and scratch laid on Charlie he’d done with his bare hands. Charlie’s body had glowed bright red afterwards and his eyes had glazed over listening to the last act of Madam Butterfly.

“It’s kind of a favor.”

“A favor?!” Colby scooted down the hall away from Don but didn’t try to get up. This felt like a conversation to be had on the floor.

“It helps him clear his head.”

Don blinked a few times. “What?” Colby put his face in his hands. He wished he could just lay it out clinically like a shrink or something.

“Ok. Look it. Sometimes the numbers get to be too much for Charlie. They clog up his brain. He can’t think about anything else, can’t really feel anything. When he…” Colby swallowed hard “When he hurts. He says it’s like a flash bulb. It clears everything away for a while.”

“And you just happily beat him senseless when he asks?”

“No. Not happily. Every time I feel really weird and it’s not me, but it’s better than what he was doing!”

Don got quiet. “What was he doing?”

“Trying to pick a fight in a cop bar for starters. Kinky personals, rent boys, he told me sometimes he just falls down a hill or something.”

“No way!” Don shook his head. “No way, not Charlie, he’s normal. I mean he’s not normal but he’s not this!”

“Don, you’re the one who told me he gets squirrelly every few months. Needs to reboot his brain. How often did he give the bullies at school an excuse to pummel him? How often has he fallen off his bike? Said he slipped down stairs? I made him go to a doctor, get a full work up, he’s broken every rib and is lucky to still have both kidneys, they cut glass out of his legs that was imbedded there for years, he has scar tissue built up in places he really shouldn’t, and I had nothing to do with any of that! It’s like he’s in an abusive relationship with himself.” Colby finished softly.

Don looked on the verge of tears. “And you’re enabling him.”

“Yes! Shit! Don. The only thing that would stop him from doing this would be a strait jacket and I can’t think of anything that would drive him over the edge faster, then he really wouldn’t be able to get the numbers out of his head. You think I haven’t asked him to get help? Every time I do he freezes me out and I spend the next month terrified that this will be the time we find him broken in a ditch outside of town.”

Colby laid his head back against the wall trying to will the knot in his stomach to go away.  For over a year these thoughts had consumed his nearly every waking moment, he'd been desperate to say them out loud but was as afraid as Charlie to even admit to them. He was sure he was beginning to cry.

“He won’t say stop Don. I’ve tried to get him to do it. Begged him to do it. He won’t say it. Won’t say stop, won’t say no, won’t defend himself. He’d let me break every bone in his body just so he can feel the way everyone else feels and other people don’t get that. And there have been others and they have waited for him to say stop not getting that he won’t and they’ve hurt him in terrible ways.”

Don had his hand clapped over his mouth trying to keep his stomach down, not that he’d eaten all day, he’d been too mad. He wanted to call Colby a filthy liar, drag him in for rape or domestic abuse or something but there was a memory too clear in his head. Charlie little more than five, sitting in the garden hitting his leg over and over with a stick, the skin already raw.

‘What are you doing Charlie?’

‘Making the numbers go away.’

‘Whatever weirdo.’


“Oh, god, oh god, of god.” Don said from beneath his hand. Colby made a noise that was half of a sob, choked down by something else.

“He’s not listening.” Colby whispered to himself. “Did you know he can sing, Don?”

Don shook his head. “Charlie doesn’t sing.”

“There’s these moments between the pain and when the numbers rush back in and it’s like there’s a whole different person who lives in those moments. Sometimes he sings. It’s not like songs. Just notes. Perfect single notes. It’s like the way you imagine angels singing to each other, all meaning in a single sound. I don’t know if he even knows he does it.”

Don tried to pull himself together, be clinical about it. “How long Colby?”

Colby shrugged. “A little over a year.”

“And how is it I didn’t know?”

“Denial.” Don lashed out with a foot and nailed Colby in the shins. “Ouch! Ok. How do you even know now?” A thought hit Colby. “Oh god, does Charlie know you know?”

“No Charlie doesn’t know I know.”

Colby crawled across the hall and grabbed Don. “You can not tell him. I’m serious. It would kill him. He worships the fucking ground you walk on, Don. Do whatever the hell you want to me, my career, just don’t tell him you know. He’d completely meltdown. He’d walk into a Nazi bar with a feather boa and let them kill him.”

Don peeled Colby’s desperate hands off him. “And he’s not already a danger to himself!?”

“I’m controlling it!” Don looked at him. “Ok, this isn’t my thing, but he’s coming here, he’s coming to me and I can give him what he wants and let him do what he does after and he’s safe and I’m not going to do anything permanent to him.”

“Those bite marks look permanent enough. I’m assuming those are yours?”

Colby hung his head again. “How did you even see those?”

Don whacked him up the side of the head. “I’m FBI! He was acting weird a few nights back, said he had a thing, ran into Amita, found out he didn’t have a thing. Followed him here last night. He limps out about five hours latter. Goes home. I let myself in and find him sleeping like a baby in his shorts looking like..!” Don couldn’t even finish the sentence just took another swing at Colby who ducked this time and Don’s fist hit the wall “Ouch.”

“Hey I’m renting. Watch the drywall.” Don gave him a dirty look. “Don, he needs about a million hours of therapy and so do I, and probably so do you.”

“Hey, I’m already dealing with me.”

“It’s a catch-22. Pain is the only thing he’s found that’ll clear out his head when the numbers get to be too much. If he stops within a couple of months he won’t have enough presence of mind to know anything is going wrong. It’s like there’s two of him. Usually they’re in balance. One is Charlie with the numbers. The other is Charlie with everything else. One knows the secrets of the universe, the other lays on my living room floor covered in welts and asks me to read Ginsberg or sings along to Puccini. In the end the numbers are always stronger, they always come back, they have to and...and...I own opera now, Don.” Colby said with a hint of panic in his voice. “Opera and Walt Whitman and I haven’t been on a date since all this started ‘cause I have no idea how I would explain it if any girl found out and I’m terrified of what will happen if I get shot or transferred or hit by a bus. The numbers will build up and crush him and he’ll go off and do something stupid again and I can’t handle the though of some stranger laying hands on him, and he’s too important to lose to some freak so what do I do? Leave a note for the next guy? ‘On top of your regular duties every couple of months you’ll need to beat your boss’s little brother so he can keep his head together but don’t worry he puts out.’” Colby was braced for the fist to his jaw as soon as the words came out of his mouth. He shook his head as Don was shaking his bruised fist “Ok. I deserved that one.”

“You really did.”

“Don, do you feel as sick as I do?”

“Possibly, yes.”

“Don, I care about Charlie. Both Charlies. I’d kill for the inside of his head to function normal but I doubt there’s a drug out there that wouldn’t crush one part of him or another.”

An odd thought fluttered across Don’s mind. “Wait. How can Amita not know about this?”

“They don’t have sex.”

“What!?”

“Didn’t Charlie tell you? She’s a good little Hindu girl or whatever. No sex before marriage. They just make out a lot and she thinks Charlie is the most patient man on the planet.”

Don’s jaw dropped open. He’d never wanted to give consideration to his little brother’s sex life, at least in any real detail, but he had figured Charlie and Amita were doing the horizontal tango. Instead it was Charlie and Colby and in ways Don really, really, really didn’t want to think about.

“And you and Charlie talk about this?”

“When Charlie’s not thinking about numbers he talks about a lot of stuff. It never lasts long. Half an hour maybe, then he’s calculating the way the sound waves bounce around the room. But he tells me stuff. Talks about you a lot, about the people on the staff he likes or doesn’t like. He’s worried the house won’t make it through an earthquake. Little things, you know, that everyone else thinks about, for a little while, it’s like he can focus on stuff that isn’t numbers.”

“What’s he like then?” Don asked softly, knowing he’d never see this bit of his brother for all sorts of reasons.

“He’s…mellow.”

“Mellow?”

“Mellow yellow, Don. He likes opera, Italian and French mainly, beat poets, Walt Whitman, the Smurfs, he likes the way the bark is soft on redwood trees.”

Don laughed. “Why don’t you just get him stoned? It would probably be easier.”

“Tried it.” Don raised an eyebrow. “He got hyper, put all my books in order by page number, tried to explain the math behind minesweeper, cleared out my fridge and passed out.” Don laughed again. “Seriously I might as well have given him speed. He ate my mustard. I didn’t know I had mustard ‘till he ate it.”

Don laughed even harder. That was a mental image of Charlie he could handle. When the laughter finally passed he looked at Colby. The man looked a wreck and there was a definite bruise coming up on his jaw that Colby was gingerly poking at.

“You know Don it’s not always...what you saw, it’s not always like that.” And it wasn’t. Usually a little something once a month, a bit of hair pulling and hard groping in the storage closet was enough to keep Charlie at a nice equilibrium. He had rarely gotten as out of his head as he had that night in the alley, but the other night Charlie had been getting pressure to publish something on Cognitive Emergence, there’d been five cases in four weeks that needed his help, including a nasty serial rapist that had almost shot Don during the arrest, Larry needed numbers crunched, plus it was finals week. Charlie had come to him actually mumbling equations a desperate look in his eyes, like he was about to drown. It had hit the point where there was nothing but numbers, but he couldn’t even focus enough to make them make sense. It had taken an hour just to get basic focus from him, after that it had been another three hours before he began to cry, pouring out the stress and fear of the previous weeks, there had been no sex. After, they hadn’t talked; Colby had just held him while they listened to the last hour of Madam Butterfly.

“I watched him limp out of here Colby.”

Colby shook his head. “We dozed off on the couch, his leg feel asleep, so did my arm.”

Don did a little mental Tetras to figure out how that worked then decided he didn’t want to know. “This is really fucked up. You know that right?”

Colby looked like he might full out cry which was a weird thing for Don to see. “In so many ways, on so many levels. But believe me it was worse Don. We’ve had this Arrangement for a bit now and it works.” Don knew he shouldn’t ask. Knew he should just break Colby’s jaw, have Charlie hauled off to a funny farm, and maybe find a bar for a week or three.

“What arrangement?”

Colby sighed. It had taken a while to work out the Arrangement, and he wasn’t about give Don the more gritty details of it like no blood, no bondage, checkups with a physician every six months, the fact that they’ve never kissed, not to mention the high thread count, Egyptian, white cotton sheets he liked to lay Charlie down across and just watch him sleep after.

“The Arrangement is he comes here. Before he tries to do anything to himself which he’s not allowed to anymore, he comes to me and I take care of it. No more tripping, no falling, no fights, no personals, no hookers, no jabbing himself with pens because he can’t prove that he can control how far he goes. I can, so he comes here. He even has a key so if I can’t be there right away he’s not tempted to wander off somewhere else.”

“And what do you get out of it?”

Colby opened his mouth then closed it, dropping his eyes to the floor. Don sighed. He had always figured he had the family monopoly on fucked up interpersonal relationships, but Charlie had to one up him again by getting into some weird codependent, sadomasochistic thing with one of his agents.

Colby heard a rhythmic thumping sound. He looked up and Don was gently but steadily banging the back of his head against the wall and mumbling to himself. It was too close to a Charlie maneuver and Colby reacted. He grabbed Don’s head in both hands with just enough pressure to make his presence well known.

“Stop.” He said firmly, like he was telling a small child not to eat bugs. Don looked at him and Colby yanked his hands back like he’d grabbed a burning log.

“I mean...I...ah...drywall. Landlord’s a bastard.” Don kept looking at him. Colby was sure he was turning colors and put his head between his knees.

“I need a beer.” Don decided, having suddenly stepped too close to things he hadn’t wanted to know about.

“In the fridge.” Colby mumbled, not raising his head.

“You want one?”

“Sure.”

Don looked at Colby’s fridge finding it as depressing as his own. Six pack, expired milk, desiccated takeout, and an unopened jar of mustard. Don grabbed two beers and went back to the hall. Colby hadn’t risen his face from between his knees, not that Don blamed him. It was kind of on the same level as calling out the wrong girl’s name, though trying to dominate your boss had to add an extra level of pain and humiliation. Don pressed the beer into Colby’s hand and sat back down next to him. Don took a pull of beer. There was a long silence with Don just thinking and Colby trying to die through force of will.

“I think you two should go out.” Don finally said. Colby sat up.

“What?!”

“I don’t mean pick out curtains or anything, but go out for coffee or a movie or something, something out of work and out of here.”

“Um...Don?”

Don took another drink. “I mean he’s my brother but you’re also my agent, and this might be giving Charlie warm fuzzys and psychological balance but you need to get out.”

“I’m okay Don. Really. I have my work and a new found appreciation for opera to keep me company.”

“Bullshit. I’ve seen your fridge and now know all there is to know about your dating life ‘cause it looks just like mine. Either find an understanding girl, and this being LA it really shouldn’t be too hard, or get Charlie to take you out for dinner.”

“You know I think Amita has some secret ancient Indian Kung Fu. I think she could kick my ass.”

“Not my problem.” Don looked at his hand. “You know I have therapy tomorrow and I’m going to have to lie to my shrink about how I hurt my hand and we’ve been working really hard on the whole honesty thing.”

“Just tell him you hit the guy you thought was acting inappropriately towards your brother.”

“Oh god no. That’ll lead to weeks of ‘Do you feel you need to protect your brother?’ ‘Are you homophobic?’ ‘Would you have reacted the same way to a woman?’ I’m not going there.”

“You think you’ve got problems? What am I supposed to tell Megan and David? This is gonna bruise.” Colby pointed at his jaw.

“Tell them a guy sucker punched you.”

Colby sighed. “Okay I’ll talk to Charlie. Maybe we can get coffee after his lecture on Saturday.”

“He has a lecture?”

“Yeah, one of those ‘math for dummies’ talks. You should come, they’re interesting.”

Don gave Colby a hairy eyeball. “You do know that with the exception of me and my dad the only people who go to those talks are ones trying to get into his pants?”

“Is that why half the office shows up?”

“Half the office does not show up!”

“He puts the flyers in the break room. There were more feds than undergrads at the last one, all sitting around trying to pretend they’re civilians. It’s karmic revenge for every nerd we beat up in high school, every girl wants one now.”

“Well you’re still beating up nerds.”

“Only ‘cause he asked nicely.” Colby became aware of the words that had just come out of his mouth and his head was quickly between his knees again. Don sighed again.

“I’d say don’t hurt him but that’s kind of a moot point, but seriously get your own head together as well or this is just the crazy leading the crazy. And try to get him to talk to someone.”

Colby heard Don get up and leave. He finished his beer, went to bed, and tried to sleep.

~

It took nearly half an hour for Charlie to answer all the questions of his adoring fans. Colby hung around the back watching with amusement as Charlie answered the subtle pick up lines as if they were genuine math questions. He actually liked watching Charlie like this. Before the numbers ate the rest of his brain and he could take joy in the fractal symmetry of house plants without obsessing about it. Like this he was bright and seemed to envelop any space he was in.

Charlie looked up and waved. Colby waved back. A small gaggle of women, even a couple he knew from the office that usually didn’t wear skirts that short, gave him a dirty look and dissipated. Colby suddenly felt nervous, this was seriously new waters.

“Hey Colby. How’d you like the lecture?”

“It was good, one of your best.”

“I was worried some of the wave particle stuff went over their heads.”

“You blew up Coke bottles with a million dollar laser. You looked like a James Bond villain. They were riveted.”

“Explosions do go over well.”

Colby rubbed his palms on his jeans. “Say, Charlie. Um...if you haven’t eaten want to grab some lunch?” Charlie looked up.

“Sure, got anyplace in mind?”

“There’s that new Italian place right off campus.”

“Sounds good.” Colby picked up Charlie’s books while he boxed up some props “We can swing by my office and drop these off. Want to walk to lunch; it’s a nice day out?”

“Sure, sounds nice.” Charlie looked up from his notes and smiled at Colby and Colby decided that it was, in fact, a nice day.


FOR him I sing,
(As some perennial tree, out of its roots, the present on the past:)
With time and space I him dilate—and fuse the immortal laws,
To make himself, by them, the law unto himself.
-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
.



 
 
 
 
 
irena_adler: Charlie confused sadirena_adler on November 5th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is serious Charlie whumpage! Very broken Charlie and poor Colby ... Very well done, but I have to say I'm glad it's a oneshot. *g*

If you still need a beta, I'm willing.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 5th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
I know. I'm not sure what deep dark weird but of my brain that bunny crawled out of. I might need to fumigate if too many more spring out. I might take you up on the beta thing. I'm actually working on a sequel but it's got a lot more in the way of talking and working out feeling and soft tender smooches and sappy declarations of love with both the boys getting their heads together a lot more. I also have a sweet 70 page Charlie/Colby life time story that's basically done.
vampishzeus: SGA.John.mostlywhitevampishzeus on November 8th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
This was awesome. I'm totally looking forward to the sequel.

And the upcoming long fic too! There isn't enough Charlie/Colby fic around.

Thanks for writing!
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 8th, 2007 08:47 am (UTC)
Thanks! The sequel is in the works as well as another Charlie/Colby one shot.
omearaleeomearalee on November 8th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
I'm really glad that bunny came along. That's one of the best fics I have run across, in any of my fandoms, in a really long time.

I laughed so hard at the mustard line that I woke my roommate. Quality.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 8th, 2007 08:49 am (UTC)
I'm glad people are liking it. I've know too many single guys with nothing but mustard in the fridge. Sequel is in the works. Fewer laughs but more sweetness.
thady: DIV: Autumnthady on November 8th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
I like this. Charlie's really fucked up. And I like your Colby.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 8th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I know I broke Charlie. I plan to fix him in the sequel. Really. At least a little. *eg*
NV: [n3] colby/charlie // follow youneur0vanity on November 10th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
Awesome fic! It makes so much sense in an absolutely fucked up way. Brava!
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 10th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like it. I'm working on the sequel as we speak. It'll be much longer, have plot, and the boys going through some major stuff together. Stay tuned :-)
tui25: happy treetui25 on December 17th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
This is certainly an interesting fic; I feel a bit ambivalent about BDSM stories, largely because I think most people that are not part of that culture do not really understand it (and I include myself here, I personally just cannot understand the attraction of pain or total dominance or submission) and consequently stories sound just "off". What I like about this one is the voices you gave to all three of them and how they echo their confusion about the whole situation.
I really like your Colbys (not just in this fic but in others as well, keep writing; I'm looking forward to any sequel(s)
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 17th, 2007 05:41 am (UTC)
I know where you're coming from. Many of those stories seem off to me as well. I miss spent a chunk of my youth on the edge of that scene so have an idea of some of the psychology that runs around in the background.

This started as a little h/c fic then quickly became an exercise in sending the characters to dark places and seeing how the claw their way out, or don't. I wanted to put Charlie past 'spank me' and into 'show me the possibility of my own death'. Mid-zones are boarding and static, evolution happens on the raggedy edges.

Sadly they all seemed to break so very well and in such interesting ways it spawned a sequel. It's in beta now. It'll be up some time in January. I'm not sure what it says about my brain but it's a good 70 pages in word and I just outlined the next part and it looks like it'll kiss 100.

I'm glad you like my Colbys, he's wonderfully easy to write for. Thank you for the feedback and the reading. :-)
tayla36tayla36 on January 18th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
Wow.

I realize I'm a little late getting on the bandwagon here. I was just buzzing around my friends journals looking for new stuff to read, and I found this.

This is very powerful. A very f'ed-up Charlie. But you left some room for hope at the end of the story.

Hope you get the sequel done soon
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 18th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
Sequel just got out of beta. Look for it in the next few days. I'll be reposting a spell checked version of this one first. Always glad to get new people over to the dark side.
kabloinko: Charbykabloinko on January 19th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
Yes! I've been hoping and waiting for a sequel ever since I first read this one. Wasn't until I re-read it just now that I realized you wrote it. I loved this fic the first time i read it, and it was just as great to read it again :D And *yay* sequel! \o/
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 19th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Should land tomorrow. The sequel's about 70 pages so it's not getting posted all at once. Glad there's one person excited.
Queen of Useless Knowledge: HIMYMdemarcos_btoast on January 19th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
That was extremely excellent. And a very creative way to showcase the shortcomings that people like Charlie have because they can't cope with their own minds.

I'd ask for more, but I'm kinda scared at the prospect. :D

Once more, excellent work!
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 19th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Oh more is coming. With a little more plot and a little less sex actually.
(no subject) - demarcos_btoast on January 19th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on January 19th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Devo79devo79 on January 19th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
So with your re-posting is that a sign that the next part is up soon?

*Makes big brown puppy eyes*
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 19th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
First part goes up tomorrow.
MoiraiThanatoio: CharlieColby_toldDonmoiraithanatoio on January 19th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
Some strange, dark part of my brain just said "Yes! This is what I've been trying to tell you!" This so perfectly fits the characters I watch every week that it's almost scary.

Brilliant, thank you for sharing.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 19th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading. It's good to know the strange dark part of my brain is shared by someone else.
gokuma: paragokuma on January 19th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
You write about creepy and painful things, but you do it really good.
I'm waiting impatiently for the next part.

*bows*
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 19th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
I thank you for that comment. It is always my hope to make the darkest things readable.
impysh on January 19th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely stunning.

I love the images of Charlie - and how it develops as Colby starts to understand what he needs. The confrontation scene with Don flowed perfectly too and the shifting of focus onto how it's affecting Colby.

Messy, difficult, and with kink too - utterly brilliant.

I'm so glad to hear that there's a sequel in the works...I think I'll just be oer here turning it into an entire 'verse in my head...
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 19th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
it's already an entire 'verse in mine. the sequel is about 70 pages. the sequel to that is at 80 pages and only about a third done. The sequel to that should be shorter but it's only been roughly outlined.
Glad you like it though.
(no subject) - batgurl10 on January 20th, 2008 01:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on January 20th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - batgurl10 on January 20th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on January 20th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - impysh on January 20th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on January 20th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
athenedeinonychus_1 on January 20th, 2008 01:18 am (UTC)
ooooh. I liked. I liked this fic a *lot* (and feel slightly worried about admitting that, but hey, never mind). Dark and screwed up and psychologically broken Charlie is good, but Colby, trying to understand and protect when he's in way over his head is just fantastic.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 20th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
Well if you're worried just remember you seem to be in good company. Glad you liked it.
batgurl10batgurl10 on January 20th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)
OMG woman! this story hit every nerve going down...wow! I loved it. I was just lamenting the serious lack of charlie HC in this fandom last week and now this! YEsssssssssssss!
poor charlie what a unique spin on his genious. Makes perfect sense. I wish the show would touch on some of the eccentric behavior a lot of Super smart people exhibit. charlie is the perfect character for this.

I am so anxiously awaiting the sequel. and another story you say? AWESOME!!!!!!
off to read again....cuz charlie and colby are HOT! :-)
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 20th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
:-) I love gushing feedback like yours. It makes me so happy.