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18 March 2008 @ 01:02 pm
Not Fade Away (13 Drabbles)  

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)
Author: ladygray99
Pairing/Characters: Charlie, Don, Alan, David, Megan, Larry
Rating: FRC
Summary: It began with a little bruise.
Word Count: 100x13
Spoilers: none
Disclaimer: 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.”

Don laughed.




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.”





Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 18th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
First off, brava! Quite a series to take on! Very angsty topic and very well handled. I've read a few where Charlie gets sick, but not in drabble form like this. I like it.

I'm a bit confused by the ending though. I know it's not hhjj, but I'm traditional enough not to want to be still unsettled at the end...

Thanks for writing this and supporting the comm with your fic!
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
See I haven't found any where Charlie gets sick but I haven't really been in the fandom that long. There was a short bit on him get sick in kljoyce's weird not so little story that made this nasty little bunny try to bite my leg off.

As for the ending Charlie gets better and lives happily ever after in whatever way works best for you.
hear me roar: Book Lovemagisterequitum on March 18th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
Wow. This really hit me hard. You've got the desperation, the sorrow, the need to survive and that basic instinct beating the disease.

Wonderful job. The mental image of that last curl sliding down the drain will stick with me for a while.
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
I got hit pretty hard writing it. Woke up in the morning with this nasty little bunny knawing at me. I cried my eyes out writing it. not sure wy.
melissima: Sad Charlie by <lj user=delgaserasca>melissima on March 18th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC)
I really like the dark ambiguity of this story. Brava!
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
thank you.
Devo79devo79 on March 18th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Okay that was just wow! Way to go!

Sad sad story...but written with such hope.

ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
thank you for the wow. this seems to be becoming an ink blot fic. everyone is looking at it differently.
jlm110108jlm110108 on March 18th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC)

That was amazing. My husband died of cancer, and you did a beautiful job conveying the pain, the desperation, the fear, the hope -- all of it!

ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
I'm sorry for your lose. Glad you were able to get something from this fic and you felt I was able to get across the right points.
(Anonymous) on March 18th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
"I cried my eyes out writing it. not sure wy."

Really? You don't know why? We know why, your devoted fans. As Larry said, "Beauty."

ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Thank you, sweetheart. It's nice to know someone is reading and someone cares.
boymommytotwo: numb3rs eppes brosboymommytotwo on March 18th, 2008 09:22 am (UTC)
that was a.m.a.z.i.n.g...

loved don's investment and devotion and exposure with his brother. its sort of being able to _see_ something of which we only ever get comparitive glimpses...

the images of david and colby each taking turns carrying charlie's withering body in their big strong embraces: i still have a tear in my eye...

it doesn't seem as though charlie's happy at the end...? is it that he will live, and don and alan are happy he's not "gone" but that he'll never really be himself again? oh, heart breaking...
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 09:25 am (UTC)
Re: wow...
Charlie will get better. he's just been through a lot and generally feels like crap. which is understandable. getting back to a normal routine and maybe a little therapy will help. Charlie prepped himself for not making it 'cause the math said he wouldn't, now he has and is at a bit of a loose end.
fredbassettfredbassett on March 18th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
I just cried reading this, but I wouldn't un-read it for the world. Beautifully written. Very well done :)
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you love, I cried writing it but had to get it out of my system.
tayla36tayla36 on March 18th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
Oh that was lovely and angsty and sad and uplifting at the end
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 18th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you, dear
(Anonymous) on March 19th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC)
This was poignant, heartbreaking, and yet beautiful. I loved Don helping Charlie to fight on against the cancer. Colby and David lending what little hand they could was nice as well. My father died of lung cancer when I was 18, after only 2 weeks in the hospital. He didn't even get much of a chance to fight.

There are other stories of Charlie becoming sick, mostly on the fanfiction.net website. I have it saved if you'd like a link to it. Irena posts stories there sometimes.

Twins' Mom
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 19th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear about your father.

Glad you found something in the story.

I'll look for some of the other fics but I usually avoid fanfiction.net. it's a bit of an old haunt.
(no subject) - batgurl10 on September 12th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on September 12th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - batgurl10 on September 13th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on September 13th, 2008 11:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - batgurl10 on September 12th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ninou1ninou1 on March 19th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
I get frome drabble to drabble with a sense of dread. Your words are just the good ones. It's sad but it ends good, so I'm good too. I held my breath when I read the one with the gun.

Love Don who takes care of his baby brother, as well as the rest of the team.

ladygray99ladygray99 on March 19th, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
Glad you're good. Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 20th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
Well it was your weirdness that spawned this evil, evil little bunny. :-) (and I should mention I'm neglecting my charlie/colby fics now for a bit of charlie/ian)

And I figure the ending is kinda an ink blot. read into it and get from it what you will.
kilthunterkilthunter on March 2nd, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
As a late stage cancer survivor who beat the odds (less than ten percent make it) this story hit close to home. Hell, it fell on the house!

“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.”

You have done a remarkable job of capturing the thoughts and emotions of a person undergoing aggressive Chemo even though "the odds" suck. I hope this is not from first hand knowledge, but if so...Glad you made it!
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 2nd, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
No first hand knowledge, a bit of second and third hand knowledge. to this day I'm not sure where this bunny came from. I just woke up one morning with it trying to eat my leg off.

I'm glad you beat the big C with a stick and I hope your life is a good one.
msgrahamcrackermsgrahamcracker on March 23rd, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
Saw this on numb3rsficfind and read it this morning. This was an amazing piece of work - haunting, in fact. But the reviews are the real story - so many people, touched by cancer themselves, who give testimony that your words were true and heartbreakingly profound and realistic. Such pain and desperation and hopelessness, but also comfort and love and hope. There's always hope.

I'm glad you let the bunny have his way. This was wonderful.
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 23rd, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
This is an odd piece for me. It's sort of a snapshot of my mental state at that moment in my life. I should have been happy but the misfire of neurons in my brain prevented it. I'd wake up with thoughts like this that would not go away unless I wrote them down or drugged myself up. And I tried to avoid that. I don't think this bunny would come to me now. Not in this sparse form. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.