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22 November 2008 @ 07:31 am
(fic) Whitman - A Woman Waits for Me 2/39  
Title: A Woman Waits for Me
Chapter: 2/39
Author: ladygray99 
Pairing: Charlie/Colby
Summary: When Don’s life slides into the darkness only family will help him find his way out. – Waffles, Tea, and Shrinks.
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2,098
Warning: Discussion of Rape and Suicide
Disclaimer: Numb3rs belongs to other people who are not me. I’m not making any money from this though I wish I were.
Previous Chapters: Part 4 of Whitman ‘verse. 1
Authors Notes: Just so you all know this story is completely written and will post every day. I NEVER post WIPs. If the chapter count goes up it's because a chapter is too large for lj and I've had to split it. As always feedback is my great pleasure in life.
Betas:swingandswirl  and riverotter1951 


Part 2
The Taste of Waffles and Tea

Don opened his eyes to sickly yellow gray LA light coming through the window. He turned his head to find Colby sitting in the chair by the bed, very awake and looking a little perturbed.

“We all have bad nights, Don.” He said. Don closed his eyes wishing he could just drift back to sleep.

“He shouldn’t have been there.” Don said. It was as much of an apology as he could muster.

“No. He shouldn’t have.” Colby looked at him for a long moment. “I’m giving you back some advice. Get your own head together or this is just the crazy leading the crazy.”

Don nodded his head. He felt better in the light of day, but that was the problem. In too few hours the sun would go down and it would be just him and the dark thoughts running circles around and around.

“Get up, take a shower, and get dressed. Charlie is trying to make waffles.”

Don made his way downstairs twenty minutes later to the sound of his dad and Charlie having a friendly disagreement over waffle toppings.

“Hey, guys.” Don said, sitting down at the table. “Did you do all this, Charlie?”

There was an impressive breakfast spread that went way beyond his usual coffee and egg whites.

“I was up early,” Charlie said. “Felt like cooking.” Don didn’t ask if Charlie had slept after he went to bed. He grabbed a waffle and some sliced oranges and drenched both with syrup.

“Charlie’s been puttering around down right domestically the last few weeks. If I didn’t know better I’d say he was expecting.” Alan joked.

“Yeah. I meant to tell you, Dad, I signed up for an experiment in the Biology department, I’m due in seven months.”

Don choked on his waffle as his dad glared at Charlie.

“I’m almost not sure if you’re joking.”

Charlie gave an evil smile. “You’ll find out in seven months, won’t you?”

Alan rolled his eyes. “Don’t tease an old man with no hope for grandkids.”

“Hey!” Don objected. “I could still…”

“Get drunk and stupid with the right woman?”


“I pray nightly.”

Don shook his head and went back to his waffles. He knew the joking was for his dad’s benefit. Before the morning was over he’d have to look his brother in the eye. He looked over at Colby instead, just in time to seem him squeeze lemon into his coffee cup.

“What are you drinking?” Don asked, vaguely horrified.

“Nothing.” Colby said quickly.

“Tea.” Charlie provided with great amusement. “Properly made tea. He even heats up the pot first and swishes it around.” Don raised an eyebrow at Colby.

“What? I cross trained with the SAS for a bit. Scary bastards but they’re big on their tea.”

“Did you also pick up a taste for boiled liver and cricket?”

“No. Just tea in the morning. It’s good for you, unlike the two cups of sugar sitting on your plate.”

Don put a big bit of syrup soaked waffle in him mouth. “Mmmmm. Sugar.” He said with relish.

Alan looked at his watch. “Oh. I’ve got to get to a proposed build site. Thank you for breakfast, Charlie. Be safe, you two.” he said to Don and Colby. Charlie and Don each got a quick pat before Alan rushed out the door.

“Well at least he’s keeping busy.” Don said.

The rest of breakfast was quiet and at the end plates were moved to the kitchen with little discussion. Don finally turned and looked at Charlie.

“Can I have my gun back?” Charlie peered at him with the kind of scrutiny usually reserved for math problems. Don tried to smile but wasn’t sure if it reached his eyes. “I’m okay, Chuck.” He tried to say brightly.

“No you’re not.”

Don’s face fell. “No, I’m not, but I promised.”

Charlie nodded. “Okay.”

Colby took Don’s gun out from under his suit jacket and handed it to Charlie who weighed in carefully in his hands for a long moment before handing it to Don. Don gave it a quick once over. Safety on, clip in, one bullet chambered. He slipped it into his shoulder holster, relaxing at the feel of its solid weight and presence there.

“Thank you.”

Charlie nodded. “Okay you two, off to work.” Charlie made little shooing motions. “I’ll be in my office all day if you need me. Be safe. Try to eat some real food for lunch and dad’s making a chicken for dinner.”

At the door, Don got a hug and a kiss on the cheek, Colby got a hug and a kiss on the lips. Don looked at Colby.

“Are you sure he’s not expecting?”

“Better be mine if he is.” Charlie gave both of them a playful shove out the door and closed it behind them.

‘And so begins another day.’ Don thought.


Don paced Bradford’s office, he sat down, jumped right back up and started pacing again.

“Don, sit down, I’m not chasing you around this place for the next hour.” Don sat. “So why are you here? You said it was an emergency.”

“Well I don’t know if it’s an emergency, emergency, I mean how would you define emergency on a physiological level which in itself can’t really be quantified…”

“Don.” Bradford cut in.

Don winced. “Shit, I sounded like Charlie there.”

“Yeah, and it’s kinda freaking me out. Now take a deep breath and tell me why you made the call this morning.”

Don took a breath. “I made the call because I promised Charlie I would.”

“Okay. Why did Charlie have you promise him that?”

Don took another deep breath. “Because last night he caught me kissing the barrel of my gun.”

Bradford nodded. “I see. Was this a friendly make out session or were you planning on going all the way?”

Don shook his head. “I don’t know.” He sighed.

“Yes, you do.”

“It was a long night, okay? You were a cop, you know about those.”

“Yes I do. Had a few myself, but they don’t happen for no reason.”

“I’d had a long day, a few beers, I got some…some bad information I couldn’t get out of my head, couldn’t sleep. I don’t even remember taking my gun out. I was just staring into space with it when Charlie found me.”

“What was the bad information?”

Don was on his feet again. “I can’t…it’s not mine…it’s about Charlie, and really it’s his…I guess it’s his problem but he doesn’t see it as a problem or at least says he doesn’t…and he’s an adult now and is taking care of himself…”

“What was the information, Don?”

Don seemed to hold his breath for a long moment. “Rachael Wise,” he finally said softly.

“Who’s she?”

“My high school sweetheart, Rachael Wise. Three years together. By senior year, she was captain of the cheerleading team, I was the school’s baseball star, Charlie was our curly haired little shadow. We were the all-American high school dream. Had a bad fight, broke up just before prom senior year.”

“Okay. So what about Rachael Wise?”

Don squeezed his eyes shut. He couldn’t believe he was about to say this out loud, the words were sticking in his throat. He felt bile rise and for a second he actually choked on the taste. “She raped Charlie.”

Bradford let out a slow breath.

“And you just found out?”

Don nodded tightly, eyes still squeezed shut. “We…we were sitting around, having beers, telling stupid embarrassing stories about our first times. Came around to Charlie and he said Rachael Wise, after we’d broken up, before he went to Princeton.”

“Did he say rape?”

“No! He told it like any other stupid embarrassing story to wind up his brother. He was thirteen, Doc, and apparently it was on my sheets as well.”

“Did he understand what was happening at the time?”

Don shook his head, still on his feet. “He couldn’t have. Okay, some guys at thirteen are six foot two and shaving twice a day, Charlie was four foot six. He hadn’t grown an inch since he was eight, and he was skinny. Mom would feed him and he’d never put on an ounce. He was brain and bones and a little baby fat left on his cheeks. Rachael was taller than I was, could have chucked him ten feet in the air. There was no way in hell he could have really known what was going on, could have consented in any way, could have fought her off!” Don suddenly realized he was shouting at the top of his voice, arms flailing about. He sat down hard. “All night. Every time I closed my eyes all I could see was Charlie, so small, and Rachael. Oh god. I loved her. A generation earlier we would have gotten married out of high school instead of breaking up. Just the memory of her got me through some long nights before and now…” Don scrubbed at his eyes, refusing to shed tears for something that didn’t happen to him.

“And now that’s all tainted.” Bradford finished.

“You know what Charlie tried to tell me last night? He tried to tell me it didn’t matter, tried to tell me he was already broken and it was nothing. And I just want to kill her. I want to hunt her down for what she did. If Colby…if Colby had any idea of just how small and innocent Charlie was then he’d be down here spitting tacks with me!”

“I see Agent Granger on Wednesday. I’m sure I’ll hear all about it.”

“And I don’t want to drag it all out into the light because…because Charlie’s happy these days. I mean he was happy before but there was always something a little on edge, now…” Don trailed off.

“If he caught you kissing your gun last night I can guarantee he’s not happy right now. He’s probably worried sick.”

“I know. I got a hell of an evil eye from Granger when I woke up this morning.”

“So you did get some sleep?”

“Yeah. A bit.”

“Okay.” Bradford said with a nod. “I’ve got to ask you this. Don, are you a danger to yourself or anyone else?”

“No.” Don said softly.

“How do you know?”

“I promised Charlie.”

“That’s it?”

“Yes. He took my gun away, he made me swear by god, mom and the math that I wouldn’t do anything to hurt or kill myself. I even drove the speed limit on the way here.”

“And that’s enough?”

Don shook his head and rolled it back, contemplating the ceiling. “Last night I got Charlie. I had never really understood before, the thing between him and Colby, the Arrangement and the Rules, why Charlie needs what he needs. Last night I got it. I couldn’t get the pictures out of my head, horrible images of vague guesses and they wouldn’t go away, and if someone had come up and said we can give you silence and clarity and all we have to do is break your wrists I would have held my arms out and let them do it. These thoughts are like a bad dream I can’t wake up from but for Charlie…Colby told me the numbers crush him, they define him and they crush him. He needs them but can’t make them go away. Oh god, I get that now. When he made me promise, made me swear, the moment the words came out of my mouth he said good and started giving me orders, ‘good to bed, go to sleep, call Bradford in the morning’ and I did. It’s like he wrapped a leash around part of my brain and I don’t mind it being there. I couldn’t put my gun to my head if I tried, because I promised, and he said I couldn’t.”

“Are you strong enough to keep that promise, Don?”

“Yes.” Don looked at his hands pensively. “I know why Charlie’s happy now. He can dance right up to the edge and not fall over because Colby’s got him wrapped up tight and can yank him away from that edge with a word. It must be so freeing in its own way and it must have been so hard for both of them to get there.”

“It was.” Bradford said. “Nearly broke them both.”

Don nodded. “I’m the older brother. I’m supposed to be the strong one. If he’s strong enough to keep his promises, break a lifetime of stupid, destructive patterns, then so am I.”

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fredbassettfredbassett on November 21st, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
Great chapter. I loved the episodes with Bradford and this has captured their flavour perfectly.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 21st, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you. He's gonna show up a couple of more times.
mikes_grrl on November 21st, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
Wonderful chapter, loved Bradford! I like how you play the 'boys' keeping secrets from their father - SO in character, especially since I love how you write Alan (and you know I do); the patter was an aching counterpoint to the real drama going on at that table.

THIS was fantastic:
These thoughts are like a bad dream I can’t wake up from but for Charlie…Colby told me the numbers crush him, they define him and they crush him. He needs them but can’t make them go away. Oh god, I get that now. When he made me promise, made me swear...It’s like he wrapped a leash around part of my brain and I don’t mind it being there.

Which is rather a nice paragraph summary of the entire Whitman story overall, isn't it? PERFECT! lol! And for Don to see that, in the way he saw it...reminds me of that moment when he was hitting his head against the wall and Colby told him to stop, and he DID. Don and Charley are far more alike than not, both brilliant and possessed in their own ways; I'm sure their solutions won't be the same in practice (assume Don finds his solution...I hope!?!?!) but in spirit, certainly.

Oh I am so loving this, hard.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 21st, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
You keep feeding the Don D/s bunny you know that?
mikes_grrl on November 21st, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
Moi? Whatever could you mean????

...huh huh huh...Don D/s...huh huh huh...
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 21st, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
We'll see, we'll see. Just remember Don's het in this so if it goes there it'll be with a chick.
mikes_grrl on November 21st, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
I don't write much het, but I do enjoy reading it.

Bring 'er ON!!!!!

*pokey prod poke*
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 22nd, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
ok, ok. you might find tomorrow interesting. *eg*
twins_m0m on November 21st, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
Great chapter! I loved the layers in this one - light banter on top of the deeper dark feelings. Colby handing back the sage advice was also good. That Don could finally see what Charlie has been going through and the gift that Colby has given to him was very moving. Can us readers hold Don while he works through his demons? And I don't think Charlie has truly come to terms with what Rachael did. I think Freud would agree there was an undercurrent as to why Charlie brought it up after all this time.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 21st, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
I'm sure Don would have nothing against being held right now. And a little more about Charlie and Rachael will be discussed tomorrow. As well as more Don and Charlie brother bonding.
batgurl10batgurl10 on November 22nd, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
Got here, so of course i gave in easily and started reading...lol. ((i have no will power))
Ok, whoah, so much happening. Love how u described the scene with the group just hanging out. cool dialogue, it didnt read stilted. Thats so hard to pull off.
The Charlie rachel thing left me stunned. How cool that Don *got it* saw it for what it was because it was charlie and he wasnt ready for that, couldnt consent. *verry interesting, cant wait for colby to start snooping into old photo albums and come across a pic of 13 yr old charlie...lol.
Dons depression sounded very realistic. cop burn out, ive been in the field and its hard to deal with so much human deviousness without being affected. I really hope though you dont have don turning to a similiar response (the rules, bdsm, etc) as charlie. I think, personally for me , it would test my suspension of belief in the story. Part of what makes Whitman so damn awesome is that its so freaking well written and realistic! Charlies situation is so unique. If Don also fell that way, I think it would loose a lot of that uniqueness. They may be brothers and similiar in many ways, but I think based on the boys on screen--their coping mechanisms are very different...
On the other hand-----OMG FIC! GIVE ME MORE!!!!
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 22nd, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
i swear there's nothing like reading feedback like this to cheer me up. especialy when we're getting trashed in the cricket. better than prozac. I think you're going to find tomorrow interesting. it's going to involve Don testing a couple of things in his own personality.
ninou1ninou1 on November 22nd, 2008 08:42 am (UTC)
Everything's here, brotherly moment, shrink moment. Banter and angst... Really a great balancing.

I hope you're gonna found an editor, you deserve it.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 22nd, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
thanks. glad you're liking this. more brotherly moments and shrinks tomorrow. and ice cream.
boymommytotwo: eppes brosboymommytotwo on November 27th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
i love don. i love his passion, his fear, his raw viseral nature... i'm so looking forward to this brotherly journey. surely it'll be equisite.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 27th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
Re: wow...
I rather love don myself. Hope you enjoy the trip.
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 15th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
Poor Alan, once again oblivious to the drama going on under his nose. Will he find any of it out?

I'm glad Don's doing as Charlie told him and talking to Bradford. Hopefully it will help. I liked Don's explanation/realisation of the Charlie/Colby dynamic and his own new found understanding of how and why it worked now that he'd had a little taste of it.

ladygray99ladygray99 on January 15th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
Alan will find out bits and pieces eventual but the boys are very much in the 'don't upset dad' mindset.
fractalmoonfractalmoon on November 26th, 2012 08:43 am (UTC)
I've only seen one or two Bradford eps, but in my opinion, your Bradford is much better than the one on the show. And loved the part at the end where Don says he gets Charlie now.

ladygray99ladygray99 on December 3rd, 2012 04:20 pm (UTC)
Bradford had a lot of potential but he only got used a few times because Don started getting his head together. I actually rather liked Bradford because on a lot of other cop shows when a character is sent to a department shrink the person they're supposed to talk to always seems to be written very flat, cold, or patronizing and the character storms out. Bradford seemed like someone you could possibly talk to.