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26 October 2014 @ 07:03 pm
The Delicate Brothers – ACT 1 (12/17)  
Title: The Delicate Brothers – ACT 1
Author: ladygray99
Rating: NC17
Chapter12/17
Series: Whitman
Characters/Pairings:Charlie/Colby, Don/OFC, Alan/OFC, Ian/OMC/OFC, Megan/Larry, Tarry Lake, David Sinclair, Matt Li, Millie Finch
Word count:
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 going to be introducing some new OCs over the next few chapters. Remember this is act 1 of 4, I'm setting these people up to be of use later. Please be kind to them.
Beta: None, feel free to point out typos of which there are many I am sure.



Chapter 12

Don looked over the room of fresh faced young men and women the same way he used to look at the green recruits at Quantico. It was his 'I think nothing of you and can make your life a living hell' look. He hadn't been able to break out that look for a while, but after the triumphant return of Millie Finch, Charlie had finally gotten the go ahead and budget to hire a new head TA. It had also been decided that Charlie's life had gotten to a point where he needed a PA to pick up his dry cleaning and things like that.

So the call had gone out; a chance to work with the great Dr. Eppes, strong coding skills, and strong stomach required, applicants will be subject to deep background check.

The top fifteen applicants, most chosen for their technical skills, were now crammed into Charlie's office along with Don, Charlie and Colby.

Don had insisted on being there to look over the applicants since whomever was chosen would be at least indirectly on his team. Colby wanted to be there to weed out anyone that looked like they might fall in love with Charlie or cause problems in general.

Charlie sat on the edge of his desk. He was dressed to kill. Even Don though he looked a little intimidating. Charlie smiled. "Good morning everyone, you are all here to try for the TA job, yes?"

There were general nods all around.

"Good. I'm going to tell you right now this is like no other TA job. For one you will be drawing two salaries. One from the university as my TA and a second from me personally to function as a personal assistant. There will be the grading of papers, and the fetching of coffee, non-fat milk two sugars, there will also be the fetching of dry cleaning and the keeping of an occasionally busy appointment calendar. As I'm sure many of you know I consult extensively for the federal government. Locally most of that is for the Violent Crimes unit of the FBI under my brother Special Agent Don Eppes."

Don gave a shark like smile.

"This means you may get called at three in the morning to come out to a blood splattered crime scene to help me gather data. Or you may be forced to stay awake for 24 hours trying to unravel a domestic terror cell before they poison half the city."

A few of the applicants looked a little uncomfortable.

"Oh, if at any point I mention something you don't think you can handle feel free to leave, it will not be held against you. I go to a fair number of conferences; some of the larger ones will require your attendance as well. I also spend a lot of time in DC. Play your cards right and you may be handing me files in the Oval Office."

Don saw a few of the applicants perk up.

"Speaking of files, at some point that will need to be dealt with."

Charlie pointed to a mass of files, papers and journals that had been slowing building up pretty much since Amita left. It was on the verge of qualifying as a fire hazard. One of the applicants shook his head, picked up his stuff, and left.

"Interesting," Charlie said. "Now I'm sure many of you are thinking 'well, aside from the fun and the money why should I bother?' Well we are in the land of publish or perish so even during months when I'm up to my eyeballs in dismembered bodies and terrorist chatter I need to get papers written up and out the door. I'm not proud." Don snorted. "And I do not mind sharing credit with the person who does the research grunt work, the compiling of data, or frankly even the typing. Having your name next to mine on a major work will look good to any other university or journal when it comes time to strike out on your own. How does that sound to everyone?"

There were general nods all around.

"Good, now it's time for a slide show." Charlie hopped off his desk and turned on a projector while Colby turned off the lights. "I'm going to tell you all this right now; I have gone through a lot of TAs and assistants because they can't handle the criminal investigations, mainly the crime scene photos. You'll all notice trash cans or buckets by your desks. This is if you need to be suddenly sick. Getting sick does not mean you don't get the job. I heaved after seeing my first dead body. It's sort of a rite of passage. The question is whether or not you come back after you get sick. Everybody ready to see what you might need to deal with?"

There were less than enthusiastic nods. Charlie clicked to the first slide. "Dismemberment. Rare but not unheard of."

Don looked at the first slide. It was from a pretty gruesome Russian mob case a few years earlier. Charlie was obviously dragging the most disgusting and disturbing shots he could find to weed out the squeamish. The slide clicked over.

"Disembowelment and left in a car trunk for a week in summer."

Don heard a choking sound and someone sprinted out of the class room. He had to admit that one wasn't really fair. Everyone had gotten sick on that one. But then again pictures don't have smell.

"Burns." Charlie continued on. "It's really the smell you've got to worry about with burns. Sort of an over cooked rancid pork smell."

A young woman in the front row grabbed her bucket and made a run for it. Don could distantly hear the sound of someone being sick in the hall.

"Close range gun shots." A young woman had half her face blown off in the picture.

"Sexual mutilations." Two more ran but the first girl who left came back.

"Stabbings." Don looked at the picture and remembered the guy who stabbed his wife 287 times with a pair of scissors. In the interrogation room Don asked the guy if his arm had gotten tired.

"Hangings." A young man looked away from the picture of the swinging body and quickly left.

"And it must be remembered that trying to catch criminals increases the odds that you yourself may become a victim of a criminal." Charlie switched the slide. This time Don had to look away. It was one of the shots from Charlie's own file, before the doctors had cleaned him up and he looked half dead.

Charlie finished the slide show and turned back on the lights.

Don pointed to a kid in the front row. "You. Out."

"What? I didn't get sick?" The kid objected.

"Yeah, I know. I was watching you. You enjoyed that whole thing. Get out and go get help before you turn into one of the guys I've got to hunt down."

Don saw the kid's eyes flash with a very cold rage before he picked up his stuff and left. Don looked around. There were nine left from the fifteen. Four men and five women. They all looked slightly shaken.

Charlie rubbed his hands together. "Okay, now I probably should have asked this before putting you all through that but does anyone have anything on their records that might make the government unwilling to grant you security clearance? This includes juvenile and expunged records. They have ways of finding out so fess up now."

Three hands very slowly went up. Don pointed to the one closest to him.

"Um..." The young woman fiddled with her pen. "Um... When I was twelve, I... um... I might have tried to hack into the Pentagon on a dare?" Don drew a long breath through his teeth. Charlie smacked his face into his hand. "I didn't get very far, really?"

"That could be a problem but we'll look at the file." Don pointed to the next girl who had raised her hand. "What did you do?"

"Got busted with a joint on my 18th birthday. Wasn't mine but I was holding."

"How big a joint?"

"Pretty small?"

Don thought about it for a bit. "That might slide. We live in a world where the president has admitted to inhaling. So..." Don pointed to the last kid who looked like he could be Colby's baby brother. "And you?"

"Well it's not really me...Um... There's a chance my older brother's Taliban?"

"Excuse me?"

The kid shrugged. "He had a breakdown in 2000, decided to study Arabic in Pakistan, hopped on a plane and the last we heard about him was in 2003 when a bunch of scary looking government dudes showed up with surveillance photos of someone who might have been him running around a mountain somewhere."

Don looked at the kid who looked like your clean cut all American guy next door. "That might be a problem but we'll look at the file." Don didn't want to tell the kid that there was probably no way of getting him anything but the most basic clearance. Certainly nothing high enough to really work with Charlie.

"Okay, anyone else? You've all lived exemplary, squeaky clean lives?" Charlie asked. If there was anything else no one was fessing up to it. "Big brother is watching. They will find out." There was silence. "Well then, moving on. Most of you got to this room by having a very good portfolio of coding skills. Now I do a lot of equations but equations aren't much good to other people if they're just sitting on a chalkboard. What I need is someone who can take my equations and turn them into code, quickly, efficiently, and accurately and sometimes it will be a matter of life and death."

Don was impressed by the cold, hard look Charlie gave the applicants. It was almost as good as his own.

"I see you all have your laptops, have you all downloaded the piece of software I specified?" There were nods all around. "Good. Get out your computers and load up."

There was a quick scrabble for computers while Charlie wrote out a long equation on the boards. It looked familiar.

"There is a serial killer," Charlie said as he wrote. "Brutal, vicious. Every 31 days he snatches a child. He holds them for three days then dumps their mutilated body on park land. He doesn't bother to check to see if his victims are dead from their injuries. It can be argued the lucky ones are."

Don knew what case Charlie was talking about. Not one of his but one in Washington State a couple of years earlier. Charlie had been called after 7 kids were dead or near to it. He had come home after three weeks with a confession and a thousand yard stare.

"The killer follows a very specific pattern." Charlie continued as he wrote. "A girl was taken six hours ago. For another two hours she is alive and unharmed. This expression will give us a map of the most likely places where she is being kept." Charlie put down the last symbol with a flourish. "Go."

All the applicants froze for a second before leaping into a flurry of typing. Charlie paced up and down the rows looking over shoulders. "Quickly, quickly. She's being kept in the dark in an old dog house. She is terrified. Her parents are terrified. Her big brother is barely keeping it together."

Don could see hands begin to shake over keyboards as Charlie turned the screw. "Her name is Jessie. He's going to rape her. She's eleven. She likes soccer and wants to try out for the school play next week. He's going to take off her scalp a bit at a time."

One of the girls slammed her laptop shut, grabbed her bag and hurried out.

"Faster." Charlie snapped.

A young woman with grandmotherly grey hair covering her face raised her hand. Charlie leaned in close. Don couldn't hear was the young woman said but Charlie simply said. "Well, fix it." And went back to pacing.

"Come on, everybody. People are waiting."

Don had the slightly uncomfortably feeling that just maybe Charlie was doing an impression of him.

"We have units on the ground, units in the air, they need this map now!"

There was a beep from a computer and a young man threw his arms up. "Finished Dr. Eppes," he said breathlessly.

"Good," Charlie said. Within the next two minutes all the other applicants finished, the grey haired girl finishing last.

"Okay everybody let's see what you've got." The first applicant turned his laptop around with obvious pride. On his screen was a map of the harbor area with a chunk colored red. "No." The boy's face fell. "Jessie is dead."

The next applicant turned her's around looking grim. She had the same map. "No," Charlie said. "Her parents have gotten divorced."

The next applicant sighed with the same map. "Wrong, her brother has become a meth addict."

Charlie looked at the next four. "No, wrong, wrong and no."

Charlie got to the grey haired girl who had spoken to him. She turned her laptop around. Her map highlighted a section of the Malibu hills. "Yes," Charlie said with a nod. "Jessie has been rescued. She'll need a lot of therapy and will always be a little nervous but mostly she'll be okay. And they caught the bastard with lots of evidence and we'll get a solid conviction. Today you won." Don could barely see the girl's face behind her hair but she looked more embarrassed than anything else. "Why don't you go show everybody why your map looks different?" Charlie gestured to his equation.

The girl stood up and moved quickly to the chalk board. She was about Charlie's height and wearing an over-sized ratty blue sweater that covered any figure she might have and loose jeans that did the same thing. She tentatively picked up a piece of chalk then made two quick marks on the board before scurrying back to her seat. The other seven applicants groaned.

"Everyone see the mistake now?" Charlie asked. Everyone nodded. "I'm not perfect. I fuck up like everyone else. But sometimes if I fuck up people die and I don't like that. If you want to work for me never assume that something is right and never be afraid to tell me you think I'm wrong and never be afraid to speak up if you think you've got a better idea." There were more nods but generally the faces were grim. "All right everyone. You all did pretty well. I threw you a couple of curve balls. Hand in those secondary information forms I emailed you and you'll all be contacted in a week or so."

Each applicant got up and handed Charlie some pieces of paper. The ones who thought they might still have a chance shook his hand and said a word or two. Charlie subtly spun the grey haired girl away from the rest and towards Don.

"Just stay for a sec," Don told her quietly. Don was sure Charlie had made his choice as soon as the girl had raised her hand.

Once the other applicants had left Charlie turned to the girl looking over a few bits of paper. "Edna Mooney? Yes?" The girl nodded, her eyes pretty firmly on the floor. "Do you have a nickname or just Edna?"

"Most people call me Mouse." The girl said softly, her voice barley above that of a mouse squeak.

"Fair enough." Charlie looked over the papers some more. "Says here you're working on your doctorate in combinatorics under Dr. Lim and also serving as his TA?"

"Yes," Mouse replied softly.

"Isn't he going on "Emergency Sabbatical" soon?" Charlie made little air quotes with his fingers.

"The judge said he has to check into rehab by next Wednesday and that's at least sixty days and Dr. Finch doesn't want to see him back until next fall."

"So you're going to need a new thesis adviser as well as a job?"

"Yes."

"That was some pretty nice coding you did. Usually the pressure isn't quite that bad. Interested in working for me, Mouse?"

"That's why I applied." Mouse answered. Don chuckled. Her voice was still soft and her eyes still on the ground but there was a bit of attitude there.

"How do I like my coffee?" Charlie asked.

"Non-fat milk two sugars."

"Cool." Charlie reached out and used one finger to brush her hair from half her face. "I can't use an assistant who's bumping into things. You knock over a vase in the White House and there are these little old ladies that never let you hear the end of it."

Don decided that he was going to have to get the story of how Charlie knew that the next time they got drunk. Mouse, on the other hand, flushed bright red and seemed to curl in on herself, while at the same time trying to shove her long grey hair behind her ears. Don managed to finally get a good look at her. She was kind of cute with washed out grey blue eyes that seemed to go with the grey hair. Her face however didn't really look much over twenty.

Charlie looked at the form again. "You have a full driver's license and a car?"

"Yes."

"Does it actually run?"

"Most days," Mouse answered.

Charlie looked at Don and Colby. "Have you two got any questions?"

"Lakers or Celtics?" Don asked.

Mouse actually looked up. "Kings." Don winced. "I'm from the valley," Mouse said with a shrug.

"That's forgivable."

"Are you seeing anyone?" Colby asked.

Don's jaw dropped.

"Colby!" Charlie snapped.

"I'm asking because this job you're applying for will kill any hint of a social life you may have. You're not going for one nearly full time job you're going for two, plus your thesis."

"I don't do the social thing much. I try to work out a few times a week. That's about it really." Mouse answered carefully. "And I have seven older brothers, so I don't really date."

Charlie gave a low whistle. "You have my sympathies. Do you have any questions for us?"

Mouse looked over her shoulder at the vast pile of files and journals. "What happened to the last person who was in charge of that mess?"

"She fell in love with me, wouldn't put out, and got very upset when she caught me having dinner with my boyfriend. She's now at MIT."

"So the combined weight of all that paper didn't cause a micro tear in the fabric of space and time and suck her into another dimension?"

Charlie grinned. "No, but feel free to spread that rumor. I like it."

~
Don waved Charlie into the war room.

"Hey, Don. Have you got Mouse's clearance yet?"

Don knew those were going to be the first words out of Charlie's mouth. Mouse had spent the previous two weeks chipping away at Charlie's filing and he was eager to bring her onto cases. Don was warming up to her as well. She was painfully shy around any more than two people but beneath that was a rather sardonic wit and she was not above using it to put Charlie in his place.

"She's basically clear except for one little interesting thing I found." Don loaded up a YouTube clip he'd found. In it a young woman with grey hair, obviously Mouse bowed to another woman. A second and two lighting quick blows later the other woman was laid out on a mat. The observing crowd applauded. Charlie's jaw dropped. "As of 18 months ago Mouse was nationally ranked in Ninjutsu."

A smile crawled its way across Charlie's face. "She's a ninja!?"

Don brought up another clip where she laid out her opponent in about three moves. "Yep."

"Oh god, Don, can I keep her? Please?" Charlie put his hands together absolutely begging.

"You just want to tell the other professors that your TA's a ninja."

"Yes. Next time you go to Quantico don't you want to say 'Yeah, I've got this girl who consults for me once in a while, she's a ninja!'?"

Don couldn't help but grin himself. "I'll have to put in her file that she can probably kill with her bare hands. It doesn't look like she's had a match in about a year."

"She's been working on her doctorate for about a year, so that makes sense."

"I found an interview clip of her from ESPN 5 or something and she's blushing and stuttering and she'd just drop kicked ten people."

Charlie replayed the second clip. "Oh Don, tell me I can keep her."

Don patted Charlie on the head. "You can keep her. But I'd be careful about how often you ask her to fetch coffee because she can totally kick your ass."

~
A couple of weeks later Charlie dragged Mouse into the office while the city was reeling from a string of highly professional bank jobs. He was putting up his findings while everyone gathered around.

"Hey everyone, this is Edna Mooney, she lets people call her Mouse but I think we need to come up with something better." Mouse turned bright, bright red and looked like she wanted to vanish into the floor. "She's my new TA, PA, research assistant and will be doing computer coding for me. Mouse," Charlie waved his arm across the room. "This is everybody."

Mouse turned a deeper red and gave a little wave while trying to hide behind her hair.

"Oh and I'd make it a point to be extra nice to her. She's a ninja."

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riverotter1951: Zen rocksriverotter1951 on October 26th, 2014 03:00 pm (UTC)
I really like the scene with Charlie hiring a new TA and PA. Mouse seems like an interesting person with a fascinating back story. I look forward to learning more about her.
ladygray99ladygray99 on April 22nd, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC)
I've developed sooo many OCs for this 'verse if I ever get it finished.