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24 January 2008 @ 07:44 am
Sing My Body Electric - 4/8  

 Title: Sing My Body Electric

Chapter: 4/8
Pairing: Charlie/Colby
Rating: NC-17, FRAO P SC GV
Disclaimer: Belongs to other people, not me.
Warnings/Squicks: Violence, Violent Sex, BDSM, and people talking about their feelings.
Summary: With love comes danger both from without and within. – Colby’s waking nightmare. And Don’s and Larry’s and Alan’s…
Previous chapters: 1  2  3
Notes: Ok everyone.  I’m going to have slightly limited net access then head out of two so I’m posting the rest of this at once.  Plus it should squeeze me under the wire for the Numb3rs awards if anyone thinks this is good enough.  The long awaited much feared sequel to The Modern Man I Sing.   The second part of Whitman ‘verse.  Here there be dragons.
Feedback: Please, Please, please, feedback if anyone has any feelings on this part.
Beta(s):The wonderful riverotter1951 and ri_se tackled this fic, except for the bits I added ten minutes ago.



Part 4

Waking Nightmares


 Charlie was tapping away at the computer as fast as he could when he felt warm hands on his shoulders. He didn’t turn around. He didn’t need to.

 “I’m working on it.” Charlie said.

 “I know.” Colby replied. “Don’t worry. We’ve got two days before this guy strikes again.”

 “It could very well take that long to process everything. This guy is very good and very smart.”

 “I have faith in you being smarter.” Colby whispered in Charlie’s ear.

 Charlie smiled, Colby’s hot breath sending a little shiver though him. “Faith is a subjective thing.”

 “Doesn’t make it not true, at least where you’re concerned.” Colby planed a kiss on top of Charlie’s head. “You bringing that to the office?”

 Charlie shook his head. “Not yet. I need another hour or two on it. You go ahead, tell Don I’m working on it.”

 “You just want me to play messenger boy.”

 “Only if I can see you in UPS shorts.”

 Colby gave a chuckle. “Maybe for your birthday, if you’re very good.”

 “Promises, promises.”

 “Give a call when you’re on your way.” Colby leaned around and gave Charlie a quick peck on the lips before heading out of the office.


 The team was gathered in the war room when Don’s phone rang. He looked at it then flipped it open.


 “Agent Eppes?” Came a voice from the other side.

 “Yes. Who’s this?”

 “Agent Eppes, you’ve been causing me lots of problems of late. So now I’m going to cause you to have problems.” Said the voice.

 Don! No! Don’t let him..!” The sound of Charlie’s voice screaming from the background was quickly cut off as the line went dead. There was a beat of silence as everyone processed what they had just heard. Don tossed his phone to David. “Get that traced, Colby get me search and retrieval, Megan call Larry see if Charlie’s laptop has been taken and get it here. If this is our guy we need whatever Charlie was working on. Get forensics down to CalSci. I want everybody on this!”

 It took mere minutes for every agency from Washington to LA to be put on notice. Charlie Eppes had been taken and the whole city was looking.

 Don paced around the war room. Colby was freakishly still. He had leaned into a corner and was barely breathing, trying to control the terror that was sparking every nerve. David and Megan stood in an opposite corner talking quietly. Everyone was waiting for the kidnapper to call back. This guy, if it was the same guy they’d been hunting for weeks, liked to taunt, liked to play games, according to Megan it was unlikely he’d kill Charlie right off.

 There was a knock at the conference room door. A trim man in a severe cut black suit stood there examining every occupant. “Agent Eppes?” The man said.

 “Yes?” Don jumped forward.

 The man took out an ID. “I’m Martin Sherwood, NSA. I’m Dr. Eppes’ handler.”

 “You’ve heard what’s happened?”

 “Of course and considering the work Dr. Eppes does for us it has been listed as a national security breach.”

 “What?” Don said not quite processing what he’d just heard. “I know Charlie does work for like everybody but...”

 “If an enemy of the state is in possession of Dr. Eppes at this time it is a serious national security breach. Now who has him?”

 Don pointed to the case wall. “This guy, Leacroft, AKA Captain Crunch, old school hacker, turned bank robber, turned general nut job.”

 Sherwood nodded. “I’ll see what info we’ve got on him.”

 “That would have been nice to have six weeks ago.”

 “Agent Eppes, Charlie is a great asset to this country. Find me a location and in ten minutes I can make sure this Leacroft vanishes down a very deep dark NSA rabbit hole for a very long time.” Colby sat up a bit. There was a serious threat in the NSA man’s voice. It very nearly sounded personal, and that was something they tried to beat out of their agents.

 Larry suddenly stumbled into the room. “Don!”

 “Larry, are you ok?”

 “I’m fine, any more word?”

 “No. Not yet.”

 “I’ve got Charles’ laptop off forensics, if he was far enough along in his equations I might be able to finish it.”

 Sherwood stepped forward. “I’m sorry, Martin Sherwood, NSA. I’ll have to confiscate that laptop, it may contain classified information.”

 Larry hugged the laptop and took a step back before rummaging into a pocket. He pulled out a nearly empty wallet and pulled from that a small card which he showed to the agent. “Is this high enough clearance?” Sherwood actually took a step back and looked flustered.

 “Of course...certainly...my apologies Dr. Fleinhardt.” The man actually bowed slightly in an involuntary dip. Don and Colby looked at each other. What kind of clearance did Larry have that could fluster one of the Men in Black?

 Don’s phone rang. He quickly jammed it into the speaker cradle and answered it.


 “Hello, Agent Eppes.” An oily voice purred.

 “Leacroft, where’s Charlie?”

 “So you know my name. Congratulations.”

 “Where’s Charlie?”

 “He’s here.”

 “I want evidence he’s unharmed.”

 “Oh but he’s not unharmed.” The oily voice said. “Though I have to say someone’s beat me to most of it. Someone with a bit of a tooth fetish. You perhaps big brother?”

 “Listen you sick fuck put Charlie on the phone...”

 “You know perhaps I should add to his collection. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a captive audience to my skills.” There was the sound of flesh hitting flesh and Charlie could be heard crying out. There was also a loud snap in the room that sounded like a gun shot. Everyone spun to the noise. Colby was red and shaking, he’d broken off the corner of the table in his hands and didn’t seem to notice. “Here Charlie, talk to your big brother.” Leacroft said.

 “Don, Don.” Charlie’s voice filled the room, the terror in it tangible. “Don’t let him...” there was a sharp sound and Charlie cried out again.

 “Charlie!” Colby yelled.

 “Colby?” Charlie whimpered.

 “P vs. NP, find the proof, in your head, deep as you can, we’re coming to get you.”

 “Oops.” Leacroft said. “Time’s up.” The line went dead.

 “How far did the trace go?” Don called out. An agent poked his head around the corner into the room and shook it. “Shit!” Don spun to Colby. “What the fuck was that Granger!?”

 “If he goes deep enough into the numbers he won’t feel what’s happening to him.” Colby said softly. He looked around the room. Megan and David we’re staring at him jaw’s hanging open. Larry looked puzzled then a light bulb went on and he quickly looked away. Sherwood just looked cold.

 “All right. Larry, set up that computer, Charlie’s tracking algorithm is still our best shot. Everyone else, hit the files, there has to be something we missed, everyone gets sloppy.”

 Larry pulled out the laptop and turned it on.

 “Ok, Charles. What were you doing and where did you put it?”


 Colby was trying to read a file when David and Megan wedged themselves into Colby’s small cubical.

 “How long Colby?” Megan asked. Colby didn’t bother to play dumb.

 “Almost 21 months.”

 David let out a low whistle. “And Don hasn’t tried to kill you yet?”

 “About nine months ago. Pulled his gun and everything.”

 “I don’t blame him. You like playing with fire don’t you?” Colby gave a sharp laugh that could almost be a sob.

 “You guys have got no idea just how hot this fire is.”

 “Don’t want to know.” David said.

 Megan shook her head. “At least when Amita asked me if there was another woman I was telling the truth.”

 “Could you two possibly go away and be productive.” Colby snapped “I’d like to get back the man I’m hopelessly in love with alive and in one piece.”

 David gave him a pat on the shoulder. “It’s ok man. We’ll find him and he’ll be fine.”

 “We might find him but he won’t be fine.”


 The hours crept by. Colby had given up on the file he’d read a dozen times before this went down. He just wanted to have Charlie back. He went looking for Don and Larry instead. Larry was pecking at Charlie’s laptop while Don and Sherwood hovered like black crows. Larry scribbled down a note and went back to typing.

 “Agent Sherwood.” Larry said, “Have you ever heard of an agent called Lorre a project called Aviary?” Larry’s tone was light and conversational but Agent Sherwood stiffened.

 “Only by reputation and rumor.” The agent replied.

 “Lorre was my handler back in the day. My we had fun at times. The Soviets were still a threat, their scientists were defecting right and left, and we were running around feeling like James bond. Well he was Bond, I was Q.” Sherwood actually took a step back.

 “What the hell kind of things were you doing Larry?” Don asked. Larry gave a slight smile.

 “We were trying to save the world Donald. Sometimes I wonder if we should have bothered.”

 The laptop gave an angry beep and Larry thumped the table.

 “What’s wrong?” Colby asked.

 “What’s wrong is that I am not a mathematician, I am a physicist. Charles does the worst of my math for me.”

 “Yeah but you know how Charlie’s brain works. You can work this out.” Don said.

 Larry looked to Don. “Donald, no one knows how Charles’ brain works. At his best there are possibly ten other people on earth who can truly understand the kind of math he does and at least two of those people are insane. Charles could give us an equation to calculate the very name of God and every time you drag him away to do some elementary calculus for you it’s another fleeting day of his genius wasted!” Don took a step forward with the full intent of throttling Larry. Sherwood put out an arm to block him.

 “Touch him and I have to arrest you as a security risk.”

 Don took a couple of deep breaths. “If you can’t finish the equation who can?” Don asked in a disturbingly level tone.

 “Possibly Amita.”

 “Can we get her on the phone?”

 “We can try.”

It didn’t take long before Charlie’s computer was attached to a secure data network and Amita could be heard on the other end of the phone shrieking at Don that Larry should have his hands broken for even thinking that he could finish the equation. Within ten minutes however she had made more progress than Larry who seemed more comfortable letting Amita just bounce the ideas off him. 

The night crept on. Don put a hand on Colby’s shoulder.


 “Don’t tell me to go home Don.”

 “Wouldn’t expect you to. Try to find a chair and close your eyes for ten minutes.”

 “I’ll just have nightmares.”

 “Then wake up to another one, I know. Try anyways.”

 Colby was failing to sleep in the break room when Agent Sherwood came in and began rattling around for coffee. Colby took a closer look at the agent. The perfectly pressed suit was now slightly rumpled and the tie was half undone. The agent’s slick greased back hair was beginning to curl the same way Don’s did when it got too long.

 “Where do you guys keep the sugar?” Sherwood asked.

 “Tin under the sink.”

 Sherwood pulled a tin out from under the little office sink, in that he found a glass jar with a lid screwed on very tightly, in the bottom of the jar was a little sugar.

 “You guys don’t make it easy on yourself do you?”

 “Don’s doctor told him to cut back on the sugar.”

 “So you all have to suffer?”

 “Could be worse, his shrink wanted him to switch to decaf.”

 Sherwood winced and shook about half the remaining sugar into his coffee cup. He took a sip and sighed then looked at Colby.

 “So...um...you and Charlie?”

 Not Dr. Eppes. Interesting.’ Colby thought.

 “Is this an official NSA line of question?” Colby asked. “Because I have fairly high clearance and Charlie’s never told me anything.”

 Sherwood shook his head. “No...no...just...ah...I take it you know about Charlie’s occasional...um...problem.” Colby blinked a few times.

 “Yes. We’re managing it.”

 “Good, good. I know Charlie can be...um... high maintenance at times.”

 “Is there something you want to tell me, Agent Sherwood?” Colby said, not in the mood to dance around.

 “I’m not sure what Charlie might have told you.”

 “About you? Nothing.”

 “Ah. It was just...um...it was just once. He was working on...something. A lot of demand to get it done. He...ah...he made a request of me and was very persuasive.”

 “He can be persuasive can’t he?”

 “Yes.” Sherwood dropped his head and blushed a little. “And...ah...he was appreciative, after.” Colby nodded. He hated hearing about other people Charlie may have been with but he doubted the agent was responsible for the more serious injuries Charlie had sustained. “But it was just once.” Sherwood said quickly noting Colby’s cold look. “And certainly nothing in his file about it.”

 “Well that wouldn’t have been good for either of you.”


 Colby looked at the agent who had walked in originally with such an intimidating, men in black, type presence. Colby realized he actually wasn’t much taller than Charlie and possibly a little younger than him as well.

 “You should have tried for more than once, should have protected him from himself, given him what he needs, you might have found something remarkable.”

 “I was too afraid.”

 “The terror is what lets you know it’s really happening.”

 Don poked his head into the break room. “We’ve got something.” Sherwood and Colby jumped up and followed Don into the command center. Numbers were flashing across the screen of Charlie’s laptop almost too fast to see. Then they stopped and a map of LA appeared with a small section highlighted in red.

 “That’s about three square blocks.” Colby said.

 “Light industrial, warehouses, and some urban loft conversion.” David added.

 “Ok.” Don said. “Let’s get people down there discreetly. Find where they’re hiding. Sherwood, can we borrow a black op team or two?”

 Sherwood gave a smile that made Colby shiver. “With my compliments.” He replied before flipping open a very thin black phone.


 Colby looked at the rescue team. Sherwood had made good on his promise. There was no agency identification on the black tactical gear worn by a group of men Colby didn’t recognize. The helicopter that had dropped them off had been painted stealth black. Behind them was every FBI Agent with tactical training in LA, LAPD SWAT, and even Charlie’s DEA groupies were there, checking over their own weapons. It wasn’t a rescue team, it was an army.

 “Gentleman.” Sherwood said to the team. “This is a rescue operation. Your target is Dr. Charles Eppes.” Sherwood held up Charlie’s file photo “Some of you here may know him. What he does for the FBI is elementary arithmetic compared to what he does for other branches of this government. He is of great value to us. His current physical or mental condition is unknown but we have reason to believe he is still alive and needs to stay that way. Use caution. If he dies due to stupidity not one of us will walk out with a job. Our information states that he may be held by up to twelve suspects, full armament is unknown. Taking prisoners is encouraged but not mandatory.”

 Colby shuddered at the tone in Sherwood’s voice. He almost felt sorry for Leacroft. Almost. He looked over at Don in light tactical gear. The man looked carved of ice he was so still. Colby checked his own gun one last time and prepared to go in.

 A door was kicked open just as the sun began to lighten the sky. Colby tried to block out the sounds of shouts and gunshots. He had one priority. The team spread out across the warehouse. More shots were fired.

 Target acquired. North East corner.’ The call went over the radio. Colby broke into a dead run, Don and Sherwood half steps behind. They pushed through the door of a small internal office. Colby almost died. There was so much blood.

 “We need a medic!” He could vaguely hear Don scream over the radio. One of the ops team had pulled a knife and was slicing away rough hemp ropes, stained bright red with blood where they had cut deep into Charlie’s naked body. Thin knife marks ran down Charlie’s arms and legs. Blood had run across his face and had been left there to dry. As soon as the ropes were gone Colby bundled Charlie into his arms. He could feel Charlie shaking and hear teeth chattering behind split, swollen, lips.

 “I’m here Charlie. It’s ok. I’m here. I’m here.”

 “Colby?” He heard Charlie barely whisper.

 “I’m here, I’m here” Colby couldn’t seem to say anything else. David and Megan rushed in having heard the call. David quickly stripped off his windbreaker and draped it over the naked Charlie. Don stepped close and touched a hand gently to his baby brother’s bruised face.

 “Charlie.” He whispered as if a loud noise would shatter him.

 “Don.” Charlie replied just as softly but tried to reach out a weak hand.

 “We’re here, buddy. You’re safe, we’re here.” Don said taking Charlie’s hand in his.

 “P doesn’t equal NP.” Charlie said then began to shake harder.

 The medics rushed in and took over. Colby could not be persuaded to let go of Charlie however. Even when they put him on the stretcher to take him to the ambulance Colby kept one hand on Charlie’s curly hair. He only took his eyes off Charlie long enough to watch Leacroft get loaded into the back of an unmarked black van and decided to save the warm fuzzy feeling it gave him for later.


Previous  Next


Falcon: made by blacksunl1ghtfalconoflight on January 23rd, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
beautiful and heartbreaking. it is certainly a beauty in the breakdown i look forward to where you go with this series
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
Watch this space, the rest is going up today.
(Deleted comment)
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
issues upon issues and yeah leacroft may as well have signed his own death warrant.
gokuma: Noitra by onsensonggokuma on January 23rd, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Awww, poor Charlie :( It seems that everything bad happens to him. And here I hoped Colby could fixed him a little... Now everything is back to the square one... ;___;
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Charlie might be a little beyond being fixed but remember sometimes to go forward you need to go back.
Gwaihirilgwaihiril on January 23rd, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
Two chapters at once! I love the bit about Larry working with the NSA and having super high clearance, and well, I love a whole lot about this chapter, but I'm too excited to read the next chapter to look for specifics.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
I could just picture Larry super spy running around int he 70's and early 80's :-)
fredbassettfredbassett on January 23rd, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
OMFG this is GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you dear.
irena_adler: Charlie sadirena_adler on January 23rd, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
Is there anyone Charlie hasn't suborned? You'd think by now his predilections would be well known ...
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 24th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
Well Martin was kinda a special case. and really who's going to tell on him.
autumnwriting: colbyautumnwriting on January 24th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
He only took his eyes off Charlie long enough to watch Leacroft get loaded into the back of an unmarked black van and decided to save the warm fuzzy feeling it gave him for later.

That's *fantastic.*

ladygray99ladygray99 on January 25th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :-)
(Anonymous) on January 24th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
Oh man, a completely broken Charlie. And there is no way Alan is not going to find out what Charlie has been up to all these years after he talks with his doctor. I see the sh__ hitting the fan for everyone involved.

And I hope the dark hole Leacroft is going into is VERY deep, indeed. Yeah, for Sherwood.

Twin's Mom
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 25th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
Leacroft spends a lot of time in a deep dark hole on the other side of the planet having unplesent things done to him until he gets taken out and shot in the head and dumped in a ditch. Which is still better than he deserves. And yeah Alan's got some hard truths to deal with.
Icarus Iso: Tribal Tiger - Remixicarus_iso on August 25th, 2008 10:40 am (UTC)
What kind of clearance did Larry have that could fluster one of the Men in Black?

Love that line.

How can something so heartbreaking be so... fantastic! Amita yelling at Larry *snigger*.

Ooh I hope Charlie's okay...
ladygray99ladygray99 on August 25th, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
Well for a given value of OK. He wasn't exactly OK to being with.
(Deleted comment)
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
Don't worry. It'll get better...eventually.
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 15th, 2009 10:13 am (UTC)
Well, looks like one of my predictions about how Charlie and Colby are outed was true. Poor boys, not the best time for them to be found out, or the best manner :(.

Interesting bit of information from Sherwood- I'm glad it led to so many men with guns and orders to show no mercy to Charlie's captors *veg*.

What will the fallout from this be for Charlie, for Colby, for their relationship and the wider family now that the relationship is out. Surely Alan will find out now, too?

ladygray99ladygray99 on January 15th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
Keep an eye on Sherwood. He will return. And yes everyone will find out now.
fractalmoonfractalmoon on November 25th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
I did not suspect that (kidnapping) coming! Love Double-O-Larry. And Colby was so smart here, in his advice to Charlie, and his convo with Sherwood.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 25th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
I didn't suspect the kidnapping coming until I was writing it. I don't remember what it was any more but I do remember I had a very different plot idea when I started this.