Title: Not Fade Away (#99 Fight, #102 Confession, #28 Chemistry, #15 Home, #150 Prayer, #140 Generations, #48 Pill, #136 Resemblance, #53 Support, #73 Bullet, #40 Loss, #21 Survival, #2 Starting Over)
Pairing/Characters: Charlie, Don, Alan, David, Megan, Larry
Summary: It began with a little bruise.
Word Count: 100x13
Spoilers: noneDisclaimer: Not Mine
Notes/Warnings: Angst!!!!! Serious here people. Feedback would be welcomed even just to cuss me out a little. Written for numb3rs100 . On some level I blame this on kljoyce
Not Fade Away
Bruise (#99 Fight)
“Would you just get it looked at.” Don shouted.
“It’s a bruise. You act like I’ve never had a bruise before.”
“You haven’t had a bruise that’s lasted three weeks.”
“You’re keeping track of how quickly I heal?”
“I can’t believe we’re fighting about this.” Don waved his arms in the air. “Just go see a damn doctor.”
“So he’ll tell me I have a bruise and a paranoid brother?” Don grabbed Charlie’s wrist, hard but not that hard. “Let go.”
Don let go. Every finger had left a mark where a million capillaries burst under no pressure at all.
Secrets of the Body (#102 Confession)
His body held a secret. The doctor slid needles into him in interrogations of his blood, bones, lymph. They spun the blood, the marrow, the fluids, ran it through their machines of torture until it coughed up a confession no one wanted to hear.
Don got the second hand confession later, following him around like a common criminal whose crime was to drag such a vile thing into the family home again.
Don finally pinned him down in the garage. In the end the confession didn’t even need to be spoken. Not when P vs NP was on every board.
In His Head (#28 Chemistry)
Charlie hadn’t been a big fan of chemistry. Not practical chemistry. The fact that he had to stand on a box to work at the lab tables had something to do with it. The fact that his brother kept hitting on his lab partner had even more to do with it. And he hated the smell, the chemicals harsh where math was clean, just the smell of chalk and paper.
Charlie watched as the chemicals dripped into his arm, changed the very chemistry of his blood. He could feel them burn, the doctor kept saying it was in his head.
A Home Built on Chalk (#15 Home)
They tried to move his bed downstairs when they took him home the second time. He insisted on either his own room or the garage. He was not going to feel out of place in his own house, his own home.
The garage was deemed too cold, too drafty.
They let him keep his room, but truthfully he would have preferred the garage.
They told him to go home where he’d be comfortable. But the math was home, the math was comfortable, the smell of chalk, the sound it made, the slight draft. That had always been his true home.
Rage Against He Who Is I Am (#150 Prayer)
His father prayed in words Charlie didn’t understand. A language he never learned.
“All languages are math.” He had argued at the time.
Charlie had only ever heard his father pray once. He remembered it sounded so sad. These words didn’t sound sad. They came in harsh whispers from his father’s lungs. They were a prayer of rage. Charlie could understand that language. He didn’t pray but if he did he would pray with anger and rage.
He rolled his head to look at his father, who though he was asleep. His body shook with force of rage and prayers.
Bad Evolution (#140 Generations)
“Maybe this is why we never had children, Don. What right do we have to put another generation through this, and another after that?”
“Don’t be stupid, Charlie.”
“How many generations, Don? How many procreated and then withered away? It’s bad evolution, bad for the species. Maybe it’s good that it stops here, stops with me.”
“Charlie, there will be more generations of Eppes and they will be fine, just like you will be fine and I will be fine.”
“Don, I’d be a bastard to do this to another generation, and you’d have to get laid first.”
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine (#48 Pill)
One pill at six so he’d wake up
One at seven so he’d eat.
One at eight to keep down the food because the pill that made him hungry also made him nauseous, especially mixed with the pill he took at six.
A pill at nine for the pain. Sometimes he hid that one under his tongue and placed it like a tooth under his pillow when Don wasn’t looking. He’d save them up so he could take two or three or more at once.
After nine he’d just stop counting, just trust Don to give him the right pills
A Sick Resemblance (#136 Resemblance)
Charlie laughed at the sick resemblance as he looked in the mirror.
He hadn’t laughed as a kid in school in history class when they showed the black and white photos of the walking dead, empty eyes, shaved heads, behind chain link fences.
The mirror let him count every rib, showed him his sunken cheeks, his hollow eyes, and showed him the light, bouncing off his head, the last dark curl washed down the drain.
Charlie laughed at the resemblance and was laughing twenty minutes later when Don lifted him from the floor and the puddle of tears and vomit.
Lives Support (#53 Support)
David didn’t bother trying to get Charlie to stand. Knew he couldn’t or sometimes wouldn’t. David simply picked him up and carried him down the hall, a fraction of his normal weight. Charlie could probably state exactly which fraction.
David carefully handed him to Colby who had just arrived. They took turns giving Don and Alan an hour off here, an hour off there.
Megan would come by, dragging a sad and helpless Larry to read from journals or try to start discussions. It was all the support they could give. It wasn’t enough but it was all they had.
A Sound He Knows (#73 Bullet)
Charlie had crawled from his bed. Found the gun at its place by the door. He drew back the slide quietly, not waking Don, asleep on the couch. There was a bullet in the chamber. It looked oddly small in the dark.
Don awoke to a sound he knew. He jumped and ran to the door. Charlie had slid to the floor.
Charlie looked up at Don and held out his hands. There was a bullet in one hand and a dozen of the tiny white pain pills in the other.
“They’re the same thing. A bullet to the brain.”
Losing when you Always Win (#40 Loss)
“I won’t lose you, Charlie. Not like this.”
“I don’t want to wither away.”
“You’re so close, I can see it.”
“I’m losing. I can feel it.”
“You have never lost anything, ever. You put your mind to any challenge, any game, you always win.”
“We all lose this game in the end, Don. Some just sooner than others.”
“Not this one, not now. I can not lose you, Charlie. I lose you I lose myself, don’t you get that?”
“I’m sorry, Don. I’m just too tired to try to win.”
Don picked up Charlie, held him close. “I’m not.”
Pure Instinct (#21 Survival)
It was an act of survival, Charlie told himself. Not real desire to keep going just a final survival instinct.
He took the pills that made him sick, he swam in the chemicals that burned. He did it because they told him he could survive, might survive.
He’d done the math. The math said don’t bother.
Now it was a mad dash of pure survival, the instinct to run or fight, to put your arms over your head when a wall is crashing down on you and you know there’s no way you’ll survive.
The pure instinct of desperate survival.
What was the Question? (#2 Starting Over)
“You will be fine.” The doctor said over pain so loud Charlie couldn’t hear.
“Do you hear that, buddy?” Don whispered in Charlie’s ear. Charlie didn’t move, couldn’t move. “Do you hear that? You’re going to be fine. You get to walk out of here. Get your life started again.” Charlie moved his lips. Don pressed his ear to his brother lips. They moved again.
“What did he say?” Alan asked.
“That he’ll have to start all over.”
“There’s nothing wrong with starting over. This time you’ll know the answers.”
Charlie’s lips moved again.
“But I don’t know the questions.”