Log in

No account? Create an account
13 October 2014 @ 07:33 am
The Delicate Brothers – ACT 1 (6/17)  
Title: The Delicate Brothers – ACT 1
Author: ladygray99
Rating: NC17
Series: Whitman
Characters/Pairings:Charlie/Colby, Don/OFC, Alan/OFC, Ian/OMC/OFC, Megan/Larry, Tarry Lake, David Sinclair, Matt Li.
Word count: 3,890
Warnings/Spoilers: Threeways, spankings, shaving, sexual discipline, gross descriptions of crime scenes, masturbation, medical stuff related to pregnancy and childbirth, original characters.
Summary: Life progresses, life happens, life perseveres, and life is better with someone by your side.
Notes: Master Notes for Story.
Beta: None, feel free to point out typos of which there are many I am sure.

Chapter 6

Terry Lake looked across the bullpen of the sixth floor of the Los Angeles Federal Building. It was like nothing had changed. Same suits, same ringing phones, same rushing around. She couldn't believe how much she had missed it.

She scanned for anyone she recognized. Mainly Don. She didn't see him but someone spotted her.


Terry blinked a few times. "David?"

David pulled her into a hug. When he let go she reached up and ran her hand over his chin. "When did you get that?"

"Oh, bit after you left I guess."

Terry grinned. "I like it. It makes you look butch."

David rolled his eyes. "Thanks. Now what in the world are you doing out this way?"

"Sort of on vacation. But I've been thinking about a permanent move out west where it's warm, if there's a spot?"

"For you I'm sure we could scrounge up an extra desk. Let me introduce you to the new guys."

Terry was lead over to her old desk. There was a guy sitting at it. Early mid-thirties, good build, slightly nicer than average suit that said maybe family money but the posture said possibly military. There was a woman standing next to him who was perhaps a little older. Her suit said professional G-Girl but the slightly loud jewelery said she was doing it on her terms. There was a roundness under her blouse and Terry was going to guess five to six months pregnant.

"Guy's," David said. "I'd like you to meet Terry Lake, your predecessor in this little slice of the Bureau. Terry, this is Colby Granger and Megan Reeves."

Granger stood up before holding out his hand. Terry quickly bet herself five bucks that he would call her ma'am and probably opened doors for women without thinking about it. "Nice to meet you, ma'am," Granger said.

Reeves held out her hand as well. "It's nice to meet you." Terry quickly nailed down Reeves accent. Upstate New York, private schooling, probably had her sweet sixteen at her father's country club.

"Nice to meet you too," Terry said. Granger had a good military hand shake. Reeves had a reception line handshake but there was muscle underneath it.

"So what brings you back to the old neighborhood?" Reeves asked. Terry didn't believe it was just polite conversation. They were all agents after all.

"Right now just burning a bit of vacation time but I've been getting a little sick of east coast winters, been hearing rumors that LA might need some more manpower soon, so thought I'd drop by, talk to Don, see just how nostalgic I get for my old desk." Terry tapped her desk with her foot.

"Oh, hey, just a sec," Granger reached deep into the top drawer of her old desk and pulled out a troll doll with pink and green hair. "Any chance this is yours?"

Terry laughed. "Yes. My nice gave that to me." Granger handed it over.

"You also left a bag of peanut M&Ms but I kinda ate those."

"Well you can own me." Terry turned to David. "So, is Don around?"

A slightly worried look flashed across David's face and quickly disappeared. "Yeah, he's just chasing something up. Let me make you a cup of coffee."

"That would be great." Terry gave quick nods to Granger and Reeves who went back to work.

In the break room David assembled her cup of coffee just the way she liked it. "You remembered."

"'Course I did." David sat down next to her at the little table. "So. You want to come out here for the weather?"


"Come on, Terry."

Terry took a deep breath. "I'm getting divorced, again."

"I'm sorry."

Terry shrugged. "No one can say I didn't fucking try."

"Well that's true."

"And DC winters suck."

"That is also true."

"And I heard they're going to be putting together a second violent crimes team, thought Don could use the extra man power."

David got that flicker of worry again. "You, uh, you heard Don's married right."

'He thinks I'm back for Don.' Terry thought. 'Well aren't you?' a second little voice in her head said. "Yeah, I heard something about wife, kid."

"Well, you heard right."

"Really?" Terry tried not to sound surprised.

"It's been a few years, Terry. Don's... Well he's got a pretty wife, gorgeous little boy, sees a shrink a couple times a months. Rumor has it he even goes to temple once in a while these days."

Terry wasn't going to quite believe that until she saw it. "Have you checked for a pod?"

David gave a full laugh. "More than once. We call him Don 2.0. You know, upgrade but still a couple of bugs."

"And any bug they can't fix is now a feature." Terry though about it for a bit. "Don's a dad?"

"Yeah, and he got there the hard way. Mattie was two months early, almost lost him a few times, Don took three months off. Had to be dragged out of the hospital to eat or sleep. Was even a rumor at the time that he might not come back, would try to do the full time dad thing."

Now that did sound like Don to Terry. The man could obsess over tiny things so something like his own son would have his undivided attention. "Well," Terry finally said. "I'm glad someone's got their life working."

Terry sipped at her coffee. The LA office did brew a good pot and her last partner could never remember how she liked it. "So, I hear Charlie's still working with you guys?"

"Oh yes, he's got to have well over a hundred cases by now."

"I'll have to brush up on my math if I come back out here."

David got his thinking face for a moment. "You know Colby and I have been partners pretty much since you left and we've been through some shit together. I mean he nearly got us killed his first day but I've got him pretty well broken in by now."

"Taught him everything you know."

"Pretty much. Anyways Don's getting the Bureau to hold off the next team until after the new year 'casue he's really pushing for Megan to head it up and she needs to hatch the kid first." Terry adjusted her estimation of Reeves a bit if Don wanted her as a team leader even while being a new mother. "Thing is I'm going with her and Colby's sticking with Don."

"Not looking forward to breaking in a new partner?"

"Not really, so I was thinking maybe a new old partner would be better over some guy who doesn't know the town and thinks even means random."

Terry grinned. "I get where you're going."

"Be just like the old days, and I already know how you like your coffee."

"Okay. I..." Terry stumbled. I very flash suit walked into her line of site. The suit looked like it should be running a Hollywood studio, or maybe a drug cartel. The fact that the suit was on what appeared to be the body of Charlie Eppes made Terry freeze. "Is that Charlie?"

David looked over his shoulder. "Yep."

Charlie was talking on a cell phone and gesticulating with his free arm. His face was serious. He paused by Terry's old desk and put his hand on Granger's shoulder. He didn't stop talking or even look and Granger and Granger didn't pause in his work or look at Charlie but just momentarily put his free hand over Charlie's. Only then did Charlie move on.

'Interesting,' Terry thought to herself. Charlie turned towards the break room and spotted her through the glass. He gave a broad smile and threw his arms wide for a moment before going back to his phone. He pushed through into the break room still mid conversation.

"... and what part of this conversation makes you think I care?" Charlie tipped his head back and covered his eyes with his free hand. "Look it, call the fucking numbers I gave you and keep calling them again and again and again until you are willing to call me back and say the words, Yes Doctor Eppes you were correct and we can get the resources you need." Without any kind of goodbye Charlie turned off his phone and took a deep breath. He still hadn't uncovered his eyes.

"Should I even ask?" Terry said.

"I have opened my own personal Pandora's Box and am already paying the price." Charlie mumbled. Then as if simply switching on a fresh personality he uncovered his eyes and threw his arms wide. "Hey you."

"Hey." Terry accepted a hug. "What's with the threads?"

"What?" Charlie looked down at the black suit with red silk shirt and black tie he was wearing. "This? I've had this ages."

Terry laughed. "Charlie you hugged me goodbye in jeans and a Metallica t-shirt."

"Well you've been gone a while."

"I guess I have."

Charlie headed for the coffee pot himself. "So what brings you back into our orbit?"

"Thinking about moving back out west."

Terry saw a little flicker of worry on Charlie's face before he smiled. "Really?"

"Don't worry I got the run down. Don 2.0, happy family man, wife, kid, possibly a pod person."

"Who's a pod person?"

Terry whipped around and the man himself was standing in the doorway. "Possibly you."

Don grinned and delivered a quick but warm hug. "Agent Lake, what you doing out here on my turf?" Don asked.

"Well, scouting out old new territory. Heard LA was going to need more people soon, and David was telling me he's gotten too lazy to break in a new partner." David snorted. "And DC weather sucks and there's no good sushi and yeah that's about the shape of things."

"Your husband moving out with you?"

"No, probably not."

Don had the good grace to cringe. "Well no one can say you didn't try."

"Damn strait."

"And, yeah, Megan's gonna need the extra bodies, and it would be good if she didn't have to break everyone in from scratch."

"After the new year I hear?"

"Yep." Don's phone rang. "Eppes? Yeah, sure." Don hung up. "Guess what, you get to meet the wife and kid, they're coming up for lunch."

"Now this I am curious about."

Don just smiled his 'I know something that you don't' smile and went for coffee. Terry was already trying to picture Don the family man within the confines of the office. She knew that people changed and she was expecting some changes, she'd heard rumors that the legendary Don Eppes had gotten married and there were even rumors about a kid but Terry had passed those off as usual rumor mill exaggeration. After all she'd been hearing rumors that the LA office had an idiot savant they kept locked in the basement that could solve cases just by looking at a suspect list.

By the time Don had dosed his coffee with non-fat milk and artificial sweetener there was a woman standing in the break room doorway. She was obviously not a federal agent or any kind of law enforcement, and probably not even a lawyer. She was petite but not in an unnatural underfed way you see so often in LA. She was in jeans with a tank top and over shirt. Before she said anything she lowered the baby she had been holding carefully to the floor. The baby stood with much wobbling.

"Go to your daddy," the woman said.

Don froze. The baby took a hesitant step, then another, the third was a little faster and the next half dozen were practically a run before he fell on his face. The baby was only there for a half second before Don scooped him up and spun him around with much giggling.

"When did he start that?" Don asked his wife in between giving his son kisses.

"Just an hour ago. And he was so very impressed with himself he just insisted that we come up and show you, and bring you lunch."

Don hugged his son close. "Oh, who's my big boy?"

Terry was really trying not to laugh. She had expected that maybe one of the AUSAs had wedged a ring onto Don's finger in a moment of weakness. She had not expected to find him with a civilian, then witness some of the first steps of his son.

Don's wife looked over at her. He was obviously a little too distracted to do introductions. Terry held out her hand. "Terry Lake."

"Anne Eppes." The hand shake Terry got felt professional if a little weary.

"Oh, sorry." Don said quickly. "Anne Terry, Terry Anne. Terry was on the team for a couple of years after I moved back from Albuquerque."

"Ah, nice to meet you," Anne said politely.

"And this is Mathew Alan Charles Eppes," Don said ruffling the hair of the little boy who looked shockingly like him.

"That's a mouth full."

"Blame Charlie."

"I had to put something on the form," Charlie said defensively. "I originally thought Mathew Copernicus Eppes had a nice ring."

"Would have killed you buddy."

"I know."

"Now was something about lunch mentioned?" Don asked.

Terry got herself another cup of coffee and watched as Don did the husband and father thing. Lunch was sandwiches for the adults and chunky apple sauce and Vienna sausages for Mathew, called Mattie by everyone.

The whole thing was amazing to watch. Even as Don tried to spoon apple sauce into his son's mouth Charlie went over some math he had worked out for what must have been their current case. The math sounded far more complicated than what Terry remembered but neither Don nor David seemed to have any trouble keeping up. There even seemed to be a mathematical short hand referencing cases Terry hadn't been there for.

David eventually left to make some calls and Reeves and Granger both came in at different times. Granger and Charlie talked and touched casually, if not overtly. No one seemed to take any note of it and the matching rings they wore seemed to be comfortably in place. Reeves declined the offer to practice feeding a baby but she did hold Mattie for a bit while Charlie tried to feed him Vienna sausages. In the end Charlie ate half the sausages himself.

Finally Don checked his watch and announced that he had to check on a warrant. There was a quick exchange of domestic affections and a promise to be home by six if the warrant didn't come through. He offered Terry a chance to kick in a door if it did.

In the end it was just her and Charlie standing in the break room. Charlie gave her a slightly questioning look.

"I'm still wondering where his pod is, yours too."

Charlie gave an oddly soft smile. "He has a good life now, Terry. And he's fought long and hard for it."

"And you?"

"I fought for Don's good life, too. Still am in a way."

Terry wanted to question that slightly odd statement but had a feeling she wouldn't get an answer. She asked another burning question instead. "Seriously Charlie, why the suit?"

Charlie smirked. "Personal stealth armor."

"I can see you just fine."

"Most people see someone in a suit that obviously costs more than they make in a month they don't look past the suit, don't argue with the suit, and don't wonder what's under the suit. Instead they listen to the suit since anyone who can afford such a suit must already be successful and or powerful."

"That's... slightly profound."

"You've been gone a long time, Terry. I have the White House, the Pentagon, the directors of the FBI, DEA, CIA, NSA, and DHS all on speed dial these days. And do you know who's above all of them on my speed dial list?"


"My tailor."

Don watched as Mattie toddled around the living room. He was secretly rather glad the warrant he needed wasn't coming in for another day. When he saw Mattie take those few steps across the break room he knew he wanted to get home early.

Mattie was still trying to figure out the finer points of his newest trick. He couldn't quite get himself up when he fell. Instead he would crawl over to something and pull himself upright. The baby books had said that this was perfectly normal.

He was slowing down a bit. He'd already had a bath and a bottle and was now just running off a last bit of energy. Don figured he'd fall down and just stay there within the next few minutes. It was a habit of Mattie's, just flopping down anywhere and falling asleep. Anne claimed that he did the exact same thing, he was just better at hitting the bed or the couch.

Mattie tripped over his own feet and started to fuss. "Okay, I think that's bed time." Anne said scooping him up. Mattie settled down almost immediately. Don went ahead and smoothed out the sheets in the crib and turned on the mobile of clouds and stars that played Let It Be.

Anne lay Mattie down and Don slipped the little oxygen and pulse monitor around his foot. He knew it was habitual paranoia at this stage but he wanted Mattie to be strong enough to push himself up and stand up completely on his own before they stopped using it. And he was almost there. Just in the last month he'd started hitting his developmental points without two months of adjusting. And now he was walking.

Don pulled up the little quilt, that was decorated with some sort of mathematical spiral that Don could never remember the name of, and turned out the light. In the soft glow of the little night light he watched as his little boy's eyes fluttered a few times then closed with sleep.

Anne took his hand. "He's getting big," she whispered.

"I know." Don squeezed her hand and they quietly snuck out of the nursery and into the kitchen where the day's dishes still needed to be done.

"So when did you and Terry Lake date?" Anne asked just as Don picked up a scrub brush. He froze and tried to figure out where Anne could have found out about that. Anne laughed at him a little. "She had that Don Eppes ex-girlfriend look."

"There's a look?"

"Yep. They don't check out your ass 'cause they've already seen in and they look at me slightly enviously yet slightly relieved that they're not me."

"Oh." Don had been unaware that anyone was checking out his ass. "Um... Quantico. She was the Quantico girlfriend."

Anne gave a tiny chuckle. "What does Quantico girlfriend mean?"

Don shrugged. "It means our first date was pizza at a laundromat. It means we were both exhausted, physically and mentally. It means I was bitter and still brooding about baseball not working out and we probably would not have dated under any other circumstances but we were both in the same position and just looking for a little escape. Even if it was just a laundromat."

Anne nodded a few times. "Okay."


Anne handed him a bake pan that needed scrubbing. "Okay."

Don took the bake pan with a flood of relief. He felt like he'd just talked his way out of a hostage situation.

"Not to pry into past commitment phobias, but why didn't you stick with any of the fed girls? I mean all the ones I've met have been intelligent, attractive..."

"Not qualities you yourself are lacking," Don said quickly.

"Thank you. However..?"

Don tried to scrape a bit of burnt on something off a pan before turning to Anne. He had spent many years examining his commitment issues and thought maybe he finally had an answer. "I couldn't picture any of them old."

Anne raised an eyebrow. "That makes... no sense."

"Okay, take Liz. Liz was adrenalin. We didn't do romantic dinners we did fire fights, and I can't picture her ever getting old. I can picture her laid out in a flag covered coffin one of these days, but I still can't picture her with a grey hair. Terry; when we were together it was sort of the same. Not adrenalin but she was there in that moment and in my head she's always going to belong to just that moment. I can't picture her romantically outside of it. Same with Kim. She practically came standard issue with the promotion. I had the perfect bureau position, I was on the perfect bureau career track, she would have been the perfect bureau wife if I had stayed but I had to leave and she didn't follow. Nadine? I've known her almost a decade now and I swear to god she has not aged a day, I think she made a deal with someone, it's creepy."

"What about Robin?" Anne asked.

Don cringed a little. "I think Robin was a dress rehearsal for being a real adult, finally, and I think in the end she knew it and that's why she left." Don put down the pan finally and reached out the Anne. "The point is, even at the time, I knew all those women weren't going to follow me past whatever moment I was in. You on the other hand. I can picture you old." Anne rolled her eyes. "That's not a bad thing. I can picture you with grey hair and crow's feet and knobbly knees."

"Hey now."

"But that's okay 'cause I can picture myself with grey hair and more crow's feet and knobbly knees and heart medication and all that old people stuff but it doesn't bug me 'cause I can picture you right there beside me. And I could picture us like that within a month of knowing you and thought it was wonderful."

Anne blushed a little. Don leaned down and kissed her carefully. "That's sweet," she said. "Slightly weird but very sweet."

"I try." Don kissed her again. "Also, none of them would put up with my cooking."

"You're not that bad a cook."

"Tell that to them."

Don walked through the house. It was home but it didn't feel right. There were too many pictures; they covered the walls, people he didn't recognize.

An old woman with grey curls that fell down her back sat at the piano. Her hands moved lightly but slowly over the keys. Don tried to recognize the tune.

There were dark haired children gathered around the table. Don looked over their heads and could see the edge of a large cake.

"It'll be too many," one boy said. "He'll never blow them out."

"I don't think we have enough," said a girl.

A small boy half climbed on the table. "Just put in seven, light the first three and the last one."


"Binary, dummy."

The woman at the piano stopped playing. Don looked at her. She was grey like a ghost. "If you don't hurry it won't matter," she said.

Don woke up and blinked into the dark. In the other room he heard Mattie begin to cry.