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21 October 2014 @ 08:47 pm
The Delicate Brothers – ACT 1 (11/17)  
Title: The Delicate Brothers – ACT 1
Author: ladygray99
Rating: NC17
Chapter 11/17
Series: Whitman
Characters/Pairings:Charlie/Colby, Don/OFC, Alan/OFC, Ian/OMC/OFC, Megan/Larry, Tarry Lake, David Sinclair, Matt Li.
Word count: 2,451
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. I'm really sorry for not updating every day or answering comments right away, especially the lovely long ones. I want a chance to really sit down and write out proper answers to those comments and life has been a bit busy. Thank you thank you so much though for every tiny scrap of feedback. It makes each day brighter.
Beta: None, feel free to point out typos of which there are many I am sure.



Chapter 11

Alan tapped on the front door of the craftsmen then popped his head in. It felt weird knocking on that door and he still had a key but he also knew that if Charlie and Colby were anything like he and Kathryn they were enjoying the luxury of not having to worry about anyone walking in.

The only person he could see was Agent Sherwood sitting at the dining room table.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Eppes." Agent Sherwood greeted with a quite chipper tone. The agent's jacket was over the back of a chair, his sleeves were neatly rolled up, and spread carefully across the dining table was the Eppes family silver. Most of it was from a set meant for Seder that had been a wedding present, never used. Quite tarnished, Agent Sherwood was polishing away at it and looked to be quite content.

"Um... Agent Sherwood, why are you polishing our silver?"

Agent Sherwood looked down at the cup in his hand. "Doctor Eppes said I could, and it needs to be done."

"That is true." Alan had to admit. Some of the pieces were nearly black. "What are you using?" he asked looking at a cup full of lumpy paste.

"Vinegar and baking soda. If it worked for Mrs. Beeton."

"True." Alan looked around. "Uh, is Charlie around?"

"He's in the garage." Agent Sherwood said going back to his polishing.

"Ah, can I talk to him or would you have to shoot me?"

"Oh, no, NSA agents don't carry weapons for the most part."

"Well that's good to know."

"Some of us have been issued weapons but we'd have to fish them out of our sock drawers before we could shoot anyone with them."

Alan nodded. "That is also good to know."

"We can put people on the no fly list if they cut us off in traffic, however."

Alan wasn't quite sure how to respond to that. "I'll just go talk to Charlie now."

Alan moved reasonably quickly to the garage. For one of the men in black he had slightly mixed feelings about Agent Sherwood. On the one hand he was pretty much the epitome of 'The Man', on the other hand Don had told him Agent Sherwood was probably an orphan and he always looked like he could use a decent home cooked meal or five.

Charlie was working away at a couple of different boards but he seemed relaxed. He took off his headphones as soon as he noticed Alan standing there.

"Hey, Dad. What's up?"

"Charlie, why is your NSA handler polishing the silver?"

"It keeps him busy and out of my hair."

"Polishing the silver?"

Charlie shrugged. "Cleaning makes him happy. In a perfect world I think he would have been born Oscar Wilde's butler. Honestly if I let him loose he'd scrub this place until the top side of the rafters were disinfected."

"That might not be a bad thing."

"I think it would qualify as misuse of a government employee."

"Charlie, you've slept with the man, I think you've already miss used him."

Charlie's jaw dropped along with the chalk he was holding. "How the hell do you know about that!?"

"I'm not an idiot."

Charlie's jaw worked a few times. "Well, yes..." He picked up his chalk. "It was a very long time ago, back when the local office was using the oh so difficult to work with Dr. Eppes to haze trainee agents."

"What would you do to them?" Alan asked with more than a little suspicion.

Charlie gave a dismissive wave. "Oh just tell them they were idiots and try to make them cry."

Alan was not impressed. "You tried to make Agent Sherwood cry?"

"No," Charlie quickly replied. "No," he said again far more gently. "He didn't exactly have the whole Men in Black thing down yet and he was... He was the first government suit who ever bothered to say please and thank you and... He was, fragile." Charlie said softly. "He was like porcelain pretending to be steel. And, kind of tragically smart." Charlie gave his head a little shake. "He's a brilliant intelligence analyst in his own right, he really should be running the whole damn circus, but he didn't go to Yale and wasn't Skull and Bones so he's just wasted babysitting mad scientists and geriatric spooks. Anyways that was all a very long time ago." Alan didn't believe the dismissive tone in Charlie's voice. There was obviously still affection there. "Now was there something particular you wanted or did you just want to give me grief about my past love life?"

"We're two days out from Thanksgiving; I need a final guest list."

"Oh, um... usual suspects. Oswald's picked up a girlfriend for the season so he's going to her place. Millie's going to be at her sister's but I did ask."

"How about Agent Sherwood?"

Charlie shrugged. "Um... You can ask but I don't think he really does the social food thing."

"Social food thing? It's Thanksgiving Charlie."

"He might show if Ian's around."

"Why do you say that?"

Charlie grinned. "Haven't you heard? They've been not dating pretty much since Don's wedding."

Alan was confused. "If they're not dating..?"

"No, see they've been talking, calling, emailing, meeting up for coffee, beer, catching a movie together here and there but they're not dating."

"Ah. Got it." Alan tried to picture Agent Sherwood and Ian actually dating. It was a slightly disturbing image. He and Ian had warmed to each other a bit after he and Kathryn had been together for a few months but that didn't change the fact that Ian was, according to Don and Colby, the scariest guy in the FBI. And Agent Sherwood was not exactly lacking in the scary himself. Despite his impeccable manners, by all accounts he had made the person who had hurt Charlie 'go missing'. The two of them together would be a lot of government scary in one place. Then again Ian's lack of a stable relationship was of great concern to his mother. "Any chance they're going to not, not date and just date?"

Charlie shrugged. "I don't know. I mean I've been doing my best to nudge Martin that direction but honestly he's a little skittish. Plus he's the marring kind and that'll always scare a guy off. If he was smart he'd just pour a couple of beers into Ian, take a nice long ride and deal with the other shit in the morning."

"Charlie!"

"What? Have you looked at the man? If someone had bothered to put bisexual and cheap drunk into his file I would have jumped that ass in like five minutes. I mean..."

Alan was trying to represses his general parental horror. Children, even grown children, do not have sex, even if you know full well that they do. "Charlie, please do not talk about family that way," Alan snapped just trying to get Charlie to stop talking. It worked, for a second.

"Since when is Ian...?"

"I just mean..."

Charlie grinned. "Daaad." Charlie strung out the word. "Are you thinking about maybe asking Kathryn something?"

"I..." Alan fumbled. He had been thinking about it, for a bit now, but there were a lot of feelings that he wasn't sure he was ready to face. "I just meant...." Alan tried again.

Charlie took his hand. "Come on dad, sit down."

They both sat on the old couch. It had been the second piece of furniture he and Margaret had bought together. "I still love your mother, Charlie," Alan said quickly.

"Oh I know that. And you know what, Kathryn knows that too. And no one would ever expect you to stop loving her. Question is do you love Kathryn as well?"

Alan picked at the stitching of the thin blanket that was draped over the couch. "I think I do, I do but... It's not the same."

"Well, why would it be?" He looked up at Charlie. "Let me channel Larry and wax philosophical for a moment. No two humans are the same, no two human brains are the same, even genetic clones will have different brain development do to different experiences, they will have different fingerprints do to blood pressure in the womb, tiny mutations in cellular duplications will mean they will be born slightly genetically different even if they started the same. So if everyone is different on the tiniest level then how can the bond between two people be expected to be the same as the bond between two other people? I love you and mom, I don't love you the same way, never have, you're two different people. Doesn't mean I love one of you more or less, just different. If you love Kathryn differently it doesn't mean you love her more or less than mom, it just means she's a different person and what's more you are a different person than the person you were when you fell in love with mom. It won't be the same. It shouldn't be the same."

"That was actually a little profound." Alan found himself saying after musing over Charlie's words.

"I'm experimenting with a new blend of coffee."

Alan laughed.

"Now I guess, the other question is, if you ask will she say yes?"

Alan felt a bit of heartburn flair up. He used to get that when he was first dating Margaret. "Well, that is a question. I mean she's had plenty of other options over the years and she's still a very lively, attractive woman."

"Yeah, but none of those other guys lasted three months so I think you're doing pretty good."

"True but, I'm not as young as I used to be, I'm pretty set in my ways, what looks I had are long gone and there weren't much of those, plus..."

"Dad, are you kidding me?" Charlie cut in.

"What? It's true."

Charlie put his face in his hand for a moment mumbling under his breath. "Okay," Charlie finally said. "I swear this is on topic, how many guys do you think I've dated for at least, let's say a month?"

Alan went over the list of women he knew Charlie had dated. He didn't think it could be too much more than that. "Five, six?"

"Seventeen. How many men do you think I've slept with?"

"I don't think I want to know," Alan replied quickly still reeling at the thought of seventeen men in Charlie's life that he knew nothing about.

"Fair enough. Let's just say a number greater than seventeen and don't look horrified until you get Don to show you his score card with women. Anyways, do you know what I learned in all that half assed dating and sleeping around?"

"What?" Alan asked carefully.

"Most men are, on some level, assholes," Charlie said bluntly. "And I am so including myself in this. All those daytime women's shows have got it right. A large percentage of guys, at least at some point in their lives, qualify as scum, except for a painfully small percentage that actually qualify as good men." Charlie put his hands on his father's shoulders. "You dad, are a truly good man."

Alan was both flattered and a little horrified. "I have my faults Charlie."

"I didn't say you were a saint, I said you were a good man. Now Kathryn has, at some point, set herself very high standards. She went looking for a good man. Now most women, and gay men, by her age have either settled for something okay that they can live with and maybe try to fix up a bit, or they have completely given up and just keep lots of cats. Kathryn didn't settle and didn't give up. She has sorted through the vast male heap of slime, jerks, weirdos, perverts, and assholes until she found you. A good man."

"Charlie, I..." Alan didn't know what to say.

"And for what it's worth if you do ask, I think she'd say yes. If nothing else you have a proven track record as a solid husband and good father."

"I hardly think the second one matters, Ian's older than you boys."

"Doesn't mean he couldn't use a good father in his life." Alan felt himself start to mist up a bit. "I think most women can recognize a truly good man when they find one. I mean if mom was willing to marry you on your fist date then..."

"What?"

"You proposed on your first date, right?"

"Yes, but she couldn't hear me. There was a fire plane that flew over."

Charlie smiled softly. "No, she heard you. She wanted to say yes but was afraid that you were just teasing her and didn't want to sound desperate."

Alan had a hard time thinking through the shock. "How do you know that?"

Charlie looked a little sheepish. "I... um... I got a little heartbroken my first year at Princeton. She spent a night feeding me ice cream and Oreos and convincing me that there were good men out there, and if there was one for me I'd know him when I saw him, just like she knew you were a good man when you went face first into that mud puddle on that construction site, then covered in mud with your paper work all screwed up you tried to mediate between her and the site manager." Alan wiped his eyes. He'd felt like such an idiot that day. The whole reason he'd tripped was because a goddess had suddenly walked onto the site, and she looked ready to rip someone's head off. "She'd want you to be happy," Charlie said softly.

Alan nodded. "I know."

"Of course, setting aside all this. You might want to talk to Ian first seeing as how he's probably spent every moment of his life trying to protect his mother from afore mentioned jerks, assholes, and male slime, and even if you are a good man Ian still might take a little convincing."

"And how do I do that?" Alan asked.

"I'd go for honesty. Let him read your FBI file if he hasn't already and just lay it all out. That and you can help me get him hooked up with Martin. If he's getting some maybe he'll mellow out a bit."

Alan rolled his eyes. "God, Charlie. When did your mind get crude?"

A Cheshire cat grin crept across Charlie's face. "Do you really want the answer to that?"

"No." Alan answered quickly standing up. "Forget I said anything. I'll let you get back to work and I'll go see if our favorite NSA agent is going to be around for Thanksgiving."


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Devo79devo79 on October 23rd, 2014 01:56 pm (UTC)
I'm really starting to love Martin.
ladygray99ladygray99 on April 22nd, 2015 09:12 pm (UTC)
Martin needs love. Lots of it.