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24 January 2008 @ 09:02 am
Sing My Body Electric - 7/8  

Title: Sing My Body Electric
Author: ladygray99
Chapter: 7/8
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. – Who was that and where is Charlie?
Previous chapters: 1 2  4  5  6
Notes: The long awaited much feared sequel to The Modern Man I Sing.   The second part of Whitman ‘verse.  Here there be dragons.
Feedback: I think in a way this was the hardest part for me to write so feedback would be apreceated.
Beta(s):The wonderful riverotter1951 and ri_se tackled this fic, except for the bits I added ten minutes ago.



Part 7

As God Made Him


 Charlie felt like an idiot. The doctors had insisted he stick to loose t-shirts and shorts while he still needed the bandages. After three days most of the cuts had resolved themselves into long thin scabs that made him look like he’d been attacked by a paper shredder. Unfortunately, where the ropes had cut in, some spots were infected and almost all were still a little wet. The doctor said they’d probably all scar. Covered in white bandages he felt like Revenge of the Mummy Goes to the Beach. The cane the physiotherapist insisted on didn’t help the look. Plus there was the smell.

 The elevator dinged open on Don’s floor. Charlie took a deep breath and stepped back into the FBI. He was hardly more than a few steps in when he had the attention of the whole floor.

 ‘Well I always could make an entrance.’

 Charlie walked as briskly as his ankle would let him towards the break room. It was 11am. Don would be pouring coffee. Various agents approached along the way giving smiles and words of welcome. Charlie did his best to remember to smile back. He knocked on the break room door getting Don’s attention as well as David’s and Megan’s.

 “Hey Don.”

 “Charlie! I thought you weren’t getting out ‘till tonight?”

Charlie shrugged.  “It’s amazing what carefully directed abuse and sarcasm can get you.”

 “That’s bad karma.” Don said with a shake of his finger.

 “I figure I’ve got some to burn. I’m here to break my notebooks out of evidence.”

 “Sure. They’re at my desk. Wait here.” Don hurried out and David handed Charlie a cup of coffee.

 “Oh. Thank you.”

 “You look like you could use it.”

 “It’s been days.”

 “How are you doing Charlie?” Megan asked

 Charlie thought about it. “Mainly I’m annoyed. I mean when you guys found me and I said P doesn’t equal NP how sure did I sound?” Megan and David looked at each other. “I mean did I sound like I’d actually done the math or was it more was it more blood loss induced delirium?”

 “You were shaking pretty hard.” David said. “It was kind of hard to tell.”

 Charlie sighed. “Next time I have to remember to ask for a pen.” Charlie looked at the disturbed faces of David and Megan. “Joke guys.”

 “Not funny.” David said.

 Charlie shrugged “Got to laugh.”

 Don came back in and handed Charlie a couple of notepads. Charlie tried to shake off the fingerprint powder that covered them. “Am I going to find this stuff all over my office?”

 “Probably.” Charlie sighed and put the papers in his shoulder bag. “So anything interesting come up while I was out.”

 “Nothing we can’t handle.”

 “You sure? ‘Cause if we’ve got a case..?”

 “No...No...We’re good.”

 Charlie twisted his face into a scowl “I get it. One sadistic nerd and I can’t play in your sandbox anymore.”

 “Hay, Charlie, give yourself a bit of time.”

 “Haven’t you been listening to Larry? Time doesn’t exist.” Charlie spread his arms. “I am now as I ever was and ever will be.” Charlie looked at Don’s confused face, shook his head and headed back to the elevators. Before he could get there the doors opened and Colby stepped out. They stood face to face not saying anything. Charlie could feel every eye in the office bore into his back.

 “I was picking up my notes.” Charlie finally heard himself say.

 “Oh.” Colby said quietly. “Do you need a hand?” he asked.

 “I’ve got it.”

 Colby reached out and gently touched Charlie’s arm.

 “You look better.”

 Charlie looked down at where Colby was touching him.

 “You might not want to do that. I’m still bleeding.” 

 The elevator dinged open again and Charlie hurried past before anything more could be said.

 

 From the other side of the office Megan saw something in Colby’s eyes curl up and die. David turned to Megan.

 “Who was that, and what did he do with our Charlie?” Megan didn’t answer but really wanted to cry.

 ~

 Charlie looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. The shower had done a world of good. He had been able to smell the blood and sweat on himself even under the hospital smells of bleach and antiseptic. He turned examining his body allowing his vanity to cringe at the bald patches and thick red sores.

 ‘At least he liked my pretty face.’ Charlie thought bitterly, the cut on his lip nearly gone already.

 He sat on the closed lid of the toilet and began to rebandage his arms, legs and chest dabbing on the prescription strength wound cream, bringing back the sickly smell of the hospital he’d tried so hard to clean off.

 Charlie managed to get his legs and chest done but his back and arms eluded him. 

 There was a knock at the bathroom door.

 “You ok in there, Charlie?” He heard his dad call out.

 “I’m fine.” He called back

 “Need a hand with anything?”

 Charlie looked at his arms in frustration. “I can’t reach my back to put on the fresh bandages.” Alan opened the door and Charlie quickly tied a towel around his waist.

 “What can I do?” Alan asked. Charlie leaned heavily on the bathroom counter.

 “If you could get my back and arms.” He nodded towards the bandages and wound cream. Alan took the cream and started dabbing it across Charlie’s back. When it hit a spot still half open and infected Charlie felt the white flash of pain. He hissed. It was too soon. He needed the numbers now. He needed the crushing oblivion.

 “I’m sorry.” Alan said hearing the hiss.

 “It’s ok. I’ve felt worse.” Charlie felt his dad run a thumb across an uninjured bit of skin

 “How did you get this scar Charlie?”

 ‘A guy called Frank who had a thing for dull knives.’

 “Fell off my bike into a chain link fence.”

 “And this one?” Alan touched another spot.

 ‘Bar fight after my first Doctoral examination.’

 “Slipped down a hill while hiking. You know me. Two left feet.” Charlie felt his father’s fingers ghost over the bite mark on his shoulder. Charlie quickly slapped his hand over the mark to hide it though it was pointless. It had been just the night before everything happened. Colby had fucked him almost savagely sinking his teeth into the tender flesh then flipped him over and sucked him off so slowly and tenderly it took almost an hour and left Charlie floating in that soft space between life and dreams.

 Charlie looked into the mirror. His own reflection seemed to be in shadow and his father’s face looked haunted and so very sad.

 “Dad, please?” Charlie wasn’t even sure what he was asking for.

 Alan lowered his eyes and quickly and efficiently finished dressing all the wounds before moving on to Charlie’s arms. Charlie turned around and held out both arms. He hoped his dad wouldn’t look past the fresh injuries. The slight scars around his wrists from struggling against a pair of cuffs many years before were usually hidden under a bit of hair but a lot of that was gone and they’d be hard to explain away.

 Alan carefully treated the rest of the wounds without meeting Charlie’s eyes. When Charlie once again felt like an extra from a mummy movie he looked at his father. He couldn’t help thinking that for the first time his father looked old.

 “I’m sorry dad.”

 “For what?”

 “I don’t know. For being me.”

 “No Charlie. Oh God no. You are my son. First. Never be sorry for who you are. Not to anyone. Especially not to me.” Charlie felt himself gently gathered into his father’s arms and began to cry.

 
 
~

 Two days later Charlie went back to CalSci. His students said nothing, only welcomed him back and complained about the extra homework. Colby stood outside of Bradford’s office but didn’t go in.

 ~

 Charlie buttoned the last button on his shirt right under his chin. He pulled on his jacket wincing as the fresh skin on his back and chest pulled a little. He looked into the mirror. The suit covered every sign of injury to his body, his lip had heeled without a mark and a lock of hair easily hid the cut at his hair line. He leaned carefully to the side to make sure he could put his full weight on his injured ankle without limping. It still hurt a bit but it was nothing he couldn’t ignore. He ran a comb over his hair one last time and tried to smile brightly at the reflection.

 “Good as new.” He said brightly to his reflection watching to see if a hint of pain or weakness became visible. There was a knock at the bathroom door.

 “Yeah?”

 “Just wondering if you’re going to be long?” Alan said from the other side.

 “No, just finishing up. Come on in.”

 Alan pushed open the door. “Hay. Where’d the beach bum go?”

 “Come on dad, that look is so out this season. I’m going to see Don.”

 “I think he’s working on a bank case.”

 “I know. I’m going to see if I can help out.” 

 “Are you sure you’re up for it?” Alan asked with a bit of a scowl.

 “Got to get back on the horse. Besides I’m not brain damaged.” Charlie said in what he hoped was a reassuring way. “I’ll see you tonight.” Charlie gave his father a quick kiss on the cheek.

 “Be careful.” Alan said.

 “I promise.”

   ~

  Charlie entered the office with long strides he hoped looked confident. He hoped no one would notice the slight limp, or chalk it up to the weight of his laptop bag. He knocked on the war room door and let himself in. The whole team was there including Don. Charlie leaned on the door frame taking the weight off his ankle but tried to just make it look cool.

 “Hey Charlie, come on in, what’s up?”

 “Just here to see if I can lend a hand.” Charlie gestured to the case boards.

 “No..no..we got it.”

 “Come on Don, carefully executed bank jobs with no discernable pattern to the targets. Professionally executed operations but strangely small amounts of money taken.” Charlie walked up to the map that had each bank marked with a little red dot. “I can tell you already that every bank is equal distance from two other banks except for this one up in Silverlake.”

 Everyone in the room looked at Don. Don looked at Charlie. Charlie knew Don wasn’t buying the nice suit and forced smile. He’d gotten too good at reading him of late. “I’ll tell dad you’re not sharing.” The room laughed. Don relented under the force of peers

 “Sure, fine, have fun.” 

 Megan quickly cleared a spot on a side table for Charlie’s laptop and began feeding him files. “Good to have you back Charlie.” Megan said. Charlie smiled up at her but it felt funny, like it wasn’t really his face smiling.

 “It’s good to be doing something productive.”

 Charlie quickly buried himself in the files. It became obvious that the thefts at each bank were somehow related to other ones in any given area. It was soothing, like a warm bath, the numbers flying from the files, twisting and connecting with each other.

 Charlie suddenly got the feeling that something had changed in his immediate vicinity. He looked around. There was a cup of coffee near his laptop but not so near that he would risk knocking it over. Charlie widened his view despite his fingers still flying over the keys. Also by his laptop was Colby, the rest of the room was empty. Charlie’s fingers halted, he looked up at Colby.

 “Don’t worry. Megan made the coffee.” he said.

 “Thank you. Where is everyone?”

 “Here and there.”

 “Oh.” Charlie took a sip of the coffee. It was perfect.

 “How have you been?” Colby asked.

 Charlie shrugged. “I continue, until I don’t.”

 “You should still be on the cane. That ankle still must hurt.”

 “I don’t mind.” The words came too smoothly to Charlie’s lips. Colby dropped his head.

 “I can’t, Charlie.”

 “I am as god made me.” Charlie said softly.

 “You don’t believe in god.”

 “Then I am as the math dictates.” Colby handed Charlie another file and left the room. Charlie opened the file and dived back into the math. 

 

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Gwaihirilgwaihiril on January 23rd, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Yay! Um, I haven't actually read it yet, but I was so excited to refresh my friends page and see this there! You have seriously got me addicted to this fic.

Okay, off to read it now.
Gwaihirilgwaihiril on January 23rd, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
Charlie's comments when Colby steps out of the elevator - ow, that hurts. I'm really hoping that Don steps in and makes Charlie think about what he's done to Colby. I mean, or someone else, but it seems like Don would do it.
Gwaihirilgwaihiril on January 23rd, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
I'm just going to keep on adding feedback as I think of it, because I keep thinking of different reactions for different sections. Hope you don't mind that I've got at least 3 comments by now...

Anyway. I think you've got great characterizations. It's not just that the characters remain true to their personalities on the show, but that you do a great job showing their personalities. It's the old "show, don't tell" thing teachers always said in middle school. The relationship between Alan and Charlie is obviously strained, as in the dichotomy of what Charlie remembers happening and what he tells Alan happened, but there's still the father-son connection in the way they act and what they say at the end. There's also everything you say when you don't say something - like that little bit that just says " Two days later Charlie went back to CalSci. His students said nothing, only welcomed him back and complained about the extra homework. Colby stood outside of Bradford’s office but didn’t go in." The imagery of Colby is especially powerful. And on that note, I will be full of angst and worry over Colby until the next chapter is posted.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I think Charlie, Alan and Colby are going to be a little strained for a while. Charlie's going to feel guilty about putting a strain on the family but Alan's never going to stop loving him.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Don would but we shall see.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
have fun
(Deleted comment)
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Cool :-)
melissimamelissima on January 23rd, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
You can't break them up! Noooooo
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Do you really think I would break them up?
fredbassettfredbassett on January 23rd, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
It HAS to have a happy ending! PLEASE let it have a happy ending !!

This is just great :)
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
For a given level of happiness.
fredbassettfredbassett on January 23rd, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
Oh noes, you're being cryptic!

OK, I'll settle for them just being together.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
Cryptic is as cryptic does. Don't want to give away too much.
fredbassettfredbassett on January 23rd, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
's alright :) I forgive you for being cryptic, 'cos I've read the rest now, and I'm a happy puppy!
Devo79devo79 on January 23rd, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
You're trying to kill me ain't ya?

Kill me by making me cry myself to death!

Damn you!
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 23rd, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
I made my self cry writing it.
(Anonymous) on January 24th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
This is just so sad. Everyone here is choosing to live a lie (that elephant analogy again) instead of facing the truth because facing the truth is so much harder (at least in the short run). But lies are always harder on us in the end. My heart breaks for everyone, especially Colby. I just want to hold him while he cries (okay, I'd want to just hold him anyway, but I won't go into that).

Twins' Mom
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 25th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
We all want to hold Colby. And yeah the truth is hard to admit even to themselves. They both know they need each other and they both know what it'll take it just hurts.
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 15th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
Oh boys! :(. They need to fix this. This little scene said it all, really: From the other side of the office Megan saw something in Colby’s eyes curl up and die. David turned to Megan.

“Who was that, and what did he do with our Charlie?” Megan didn’t answer but really wanted to cry.


Hopefully, next time Colby will go through Bradford's door instead of just standing outside ::crosses fingers::

Laura.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 15th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
Don't worry. Resolution is on its way.
Erinstarlettmalfoy on February 19th, 2009 11:04 am (UTC)
Ah, I'm rereading this... again, lol. Did I ever mention how I utterly adore the very last bit of dialog in this chapter? I swear, those three lines run through my head at least several times a week.

I am as God made me.
You don't believe in God.
Then I am as the math dictates.


Perfection. Ugh, I'm so jealous of you sometimes!! :P <3
ladygray99ladygray99 on February 19th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm always glad when I can really nail a bit of dialog to the wall.
fractalmoonfractalmoon on November 25th, 2012 05:08 am (UTC)
Repeating the praise for the last three lines. Charlie is just so utterly *Charlie* here, trying to seem invulnerable in public, his flinty independence around Colby, manipulating Don (“I’ll tell dad you’re not sharing.” The room laughed. Don relented under the force of peers.), breaking down with his dad. You write him as a fascinating flawed hero.


ladygray99ladygray99 on November 25th, 2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
I never thought the show went into enough the ways being a genius might have screwed up Charlie and how often he might have been putting on a brave front in the face of things he had not trained for.