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25 November 2008 @ 07:15 am
(fic) A Woman Waits for Me 5/39  
Title: A Woman Waits for Me
Chapter
: 5/39
Author: ladygray99 
Pairing: Charlie/Colby
Summary: When Don’s life slides into the darkness only family will help him find his way out. – The return of Ian.
Rating: G
Word Count: 1,495
Warning: None
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 2 3 4
Authors Notes: Now we’re going to play spot the recycled line. Cookies if you can find it. Feedback please.
Betas:swingandswirl and riverotter1951 

 

Part 5
The Sound of a Sparrow

Ian enjoyed the flow of the LA field office. Each office had a flow set by one agent, not necessarily the agent in charge but the pack leader, the Alpha. In LA Don Eppes set the flow, fast but not frantic, motivated and driven but not abused.

“It’s been a while since you’ve been out our way,” Don said, not looking up from his papers.

“Well, you’ve been doing a better job at scaring off the bad guys than the boys back east.”

“Thanks, we try.”

“I would have been out last March but I was dug in deep, time I got out everything seemed cleared up.”

Don got a grim look on his face for a moment. “Well, I’m sure your good thoughts helped.” He flipped through a couple of file sheets, then suddenly seemed to have a thought. “So you haven’t seen Charlie in a while. I mean over a year?”

“Yeah, been about a year and a half, I guess.”

“Oh.” Don said with a slight smirk.

“Why?”

“No reason.” Ian peered at Don with the funny felling that he was being set up for something.

Ian suddenly felt the room shift as surely as if there’d been an earthquake. Someone had entered and the office flow moved in response. Ian looked to the door and blinked. Charlie Eppes strode towards them but it couldn’t be Charlie. Charlie was a man who skittered through life, ducking and weaving, apologizing for being in the way, moving quickly from one safe shadow to another. The man walking towards him didn’t look like he’d skittered in his life. Younger agents stepped quickly out of his path, older agents gave him polite greetings and deference, which he returned. And then there was the suit. Ian was sure a set of threads like that would blow a couple of years’ worth of his clothing allowance. Charlie moved like it was a pair of old jeans and a t-shirt.

“Hey, Don.” Charlie greeted.

“Hey.” Don said, not looking up from the paper.

“Agent Edgerton.” Charlie held out his hand. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been graced with your presence.”

“Too long it seems, Professor Eppes.”

Ian took Charlie’s hand, the grip was stronger than he remembered, more sure.

“Don, I’ll need five to set up?”

“No problem.”

“Ian.” Charlie said with a nod before heading to the war room.

“Where’d he get that suit?” Ian heard himself ask. Though he had about a million questions that was the only one that seemed safe. Don looked up.

“What, that old thing? Downtown, I think.”

Ian tilted his head and watched through the glass as Charlie set up his laptop and cleared a board.

“He looks like an accountant for an Indian crime family.”

~

Ian watched Charlie lecture. ‘Well, the math hasn’t changed any.’

“It’s like this rubber band. It appears to stretch to cover an ever-increasing area but if you turn it sideways you can see it getting thinner and weaker. Sooner or latter if I keep stretching it, it will either break or…” Charlie dropped the band on the table. “Snap back to its original size. These crews seem to be covering larger areas and getting more powerful but really they’re just stretching thinner and thinner. According to my math, within the next week they’re going to have to snap back or risk breaking.”

‘Alpha female,’ was the thought that suddenly popped into Ian’s head. Don was Alpha male, he ordered the hunt, but Charlie was the one in front of the maps, he chose the prey, picked the best place to bring it to ground. His math determined if the pack had something to hunt tonight and they gave him the appropriate focus and attention.

Granger raised a hand. “So what you’re saying is our field variables in the current sets are way too wide and we actually need to be focusing on that initial data set from the first three days?”

“Precisely.” Charlie said.

Ian watched as Agent Granger preened as surely as if Don had given him a punch in the arm and said ‘good job’. And since when does the office grunt know how to use ‘field variable’ in a sentence?

“This,” Charlie brought up a map and a set of grainy surveillance photos “is your crew and the locations of your original crimes. They’ll have to come back here soon, this is where you’re going to find them.”

“Okay.” Don said. “Anything else?”

“That’s it.” Charlie said with a slight nod, giving the pack back to his brother. All eyes swiveled to Don.

“Okay people, looks like time is circular, let’s go back to the beginning and see what we can find.”

Agents filed out of the war room. Granger paused to exchange a few quick words with Charlie before following Don.

Ian stayed watching as Charlie packed up his laptop and papers. He left the equations on the board, a sign he’d been there, that this room was as much his territory as Don’s.

“Something I can help you with, Agent Edgerton?” Charlie said as he snapped his laptop shut.

“Yes, I seem to have lost something, maybe you can help me find it.”

“It depends on what you lost, I suppose.”

“I’ve lost a sparrow.”

Charlie tilted his head. “A sparrow?”

“Yes, see I used to know this sparrow called Charlie Eppes. He was very good at math, but if I questioned that math he’d puff out his chest and hop up and down on his little twig, and peep at me.” Charlie had raised an eyebrow, his face cool and vaguely amused. “I had a bit of a fondness for that sparrow. It was cute listening to him peep. Now there’s a Charlie Eppes in front of me and he seems to be just as good at the math but I have a feeling that if I question his math he’d listen carefully, put honest thought into how my opinion could factor into his equation, and then remove my balls and keep them in a jar on his desk for the amusement of his students.”

Charlie gave an almost sweet smile. “Don’t be ridiculous, Agent Edgerton, a pair like yours would go into my private collection.”

Ian felt himself almost smile back. “Where did that sparrow fly off to?”

Charlie took a couple of long steps towards Ian, pushing just into his personal space. “Maybe the sparrow was a figment of your imagination?”

Ian shook his head slightly. “I don’t think so.”

Charlie took another half step closer and leaned in a bit. “Well, maybe it was a figment of mine.”

Ian had the sudden realization that Charlie was flirting with him. He tried to take a half step back but had been leaning against a table already.

‘Shit.’

Out on the office floor Don looked around for Charlie and sighed when he saw him still in the war room.

“Colby.” Colby looked up from his papers. “Go rescue Ian and tell Charlie I’ve got a question for him.”

Colby looked over to the war room. Edgerton was backed against a table despite Charlie being a good three feet away from him. The body language was obvious. Colby sighed. “He’s just trying to make me crazy.”

“Welcome to the first thirty years of my life.” Don said.

 

Ian looked up as Granger entered the room and walked right up to Charlie. Not around the side, like you would if you were getting a colleague’s attention, but right behind Charlie, stopping only a hairsbreadth away. He put a hand on Charlie’s shoulder. Charlie didn’t look behind him to see who it was. Instead he leaned back just the smallest amount, closing the last physical gap between himself and Granger. Ian saw Charlie’s face and eyes flicker and shift, for a fraction of a second he thought he saw the sparrow again, but then there was something else. Something in his eyes that said ‘mine’ said ‘I own, I am owned’. Ian had noticed the ring Charlie wore on his right hand, but had chalked it up to a fashion statement. Now he noted an identical band on Granger’s finger.

“Hey, Charlie, Don’s got a question.”

“No problem.” Charlie gave Ian a polite nod and walked out of the room.

Ian found himself suddenly on the receiving end of a hard look from Granger. Ian raised both hands slightly. He wasn’t used to rolling over and showing his throat, but this was something he wasn’t going to get anywhere near the middle of, and best if Granger knew that now. Granger gave a slight nod and followed after Charlie.

Ian let out a breath and tried to figure out what parallel dimension he’d slipped into. He resolved that he would drag Reeves or Sinclair aside when this was done and demand an update on the last 18 months of the LA field office because he had apparently missed a lot.

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idle_devilidle_devil on November 24th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
LMAO! That'll teach Ian to stay away for so long! XD
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Yep. He really has some catching up to do. :)
charleseppescharleseppes on November 24th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
Ok. I just have one question. Are Charlie and Colby married or engaged? If they are married, shouldn't the rings go on the left hand or am I completely confusing that up? Otherwise, it's a great story!! Looking forward to the next part.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
neither actually. I guess almost engaged but it's not official. They got the rings after a hard point in their lives as a reminder of what they mean to one another. It's a more personal than official thing.
(no subject) - charleseppes on November 25th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on November 25th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ninou1ninou1 on November 24th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
Now that Ian is here, let's get the party started!!!

More seriously, Colby and Charlie have really grown up, I really like them that way. Good Job
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
oh they're not all grown up quite yet and Ian's going to bring out a couple of things they need to work on.
Devo79devo79 on November 24th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
“He looks like an accountant for an Indian crime family.”

Oh I remember that line from the last part of this series and I still love it =)
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
*gives cookies*

I just had to drag *The Suit* and that line out again.
mikes_grrl on November 24th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
First: I just love this sleek, confidant version of Charlie. He's EARNED those props, and my my my don't they look good on him. mmmMMMmmmMMMmmm

Second: “He looks like an accountant for an Indian crime family.”

Third: Hmmm. Ian. *peers closely* How is HE going to play into this with Don? Because he is. He wouldn't BE here if he wasn't. Now I know you've set Don up as het, that's cool, but if there IS one person Don would both trust and be willing to fight it's Ian. (I shall keep my perverted hopes of a Don/Anne/Ian threesome to myself...*twiddles fingers*...well I'll try, anyway...)

Charlie flirting with Ian? Classic! And I love how you describe Ian's world -- the "flow" of energy in the people around him, who the alphas are (Charlie as alpha female is just DAMN brilliant, spot on, & perfect! yes yes yes he is), and "showing his throat" to Colby because of the politics he picks up there -- are all wonderfully realized.

A very interesting development, indeed! And yeah, what idle_devil said: That'll teach Ian! LOL!
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Yes Ian is back for a reason and to help Don but I'll bet you dollars to donuts it's not going to be how you think. And sorry no threesum in this one but I am considering a Charlie/Colby/Ian/Martin Sherwood foursum in Whitman 5.
(no subject) - tonisimone on November 24th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 11:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - laura_trekkie on January 16th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on January 17th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
That's good. Things are going to go up and down through the story. a little light a little dark. I can't handle going all dark. it feels unnatural.
tonisimonetonisimone on November 24th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
Ian let out a breath and tried to figure out what parallel dimension he'd slipped into.

The Eppes Dimension of course

He resolved that he would drag Reeves or Sinclair aside when this was done and demand an update on the last 18 months of the LA field office because he had apparently missed a lot.

Understatement of the century

great chapter


toni
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 11:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
twins_m0m on November 24th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
He looks like an accountant for an Indian crime family. - Yep, I remember that one! Loved it then, love it now.

Charlie flirting with Ian! Bit dangerous, don't ya think hon. I do like the confident Charlie, though. But driving both Colby and Ian crazy might not be good for his health.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 24th, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC)
yeah. Charlie's pushing the line a little but he's having just a bit too much fun to stop.
constructed by a sociopath in a sweatervest: Shades of Justicekyrdwyn on November 25th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
“He looks like an accountant for an Indian crime family.”

Now, if only they'd give us that visual on the show!

Love this series, even if it can be difficult to read at times (subject matter, not your writing!)
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 25th, 2008 01:47 am (UTC)
Well it was difficult to write at times. glad you're enjoying it. and yeah I think they need to hip Charlie up on the show. He pulls off a really sharp suit so damn well.
Jestana: #s: Edgertonjestana on November 25th, 2008 04:54 am (UTC)
*giggles madly* “He looks like an accountant for an Indian crime family.”

I thought I'd have to search for it, but there it is! *grin*

Oh, I loved Ian's description of Charlie when they first met. This chapter is pure awesomeness.

*bows*
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 25th, 2008 05:04 am (UTC)
Thanks. I thought I should point out just how much of a shift charlie has gone through phisicly and mentaly.
(no subject) - jestana on November 25th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
boymommytotwo: colbyboymommytotwo on November 27th, 2008 12:10 pm (UTC)
it was all miraculous...
ending with:

...
for a fraction of a second he thought he saw the sparrow again, but then there was something else. Something in his eyes that said ‘mine’ said ‘I own, I am owned’.
...

amazing. simply amazing. god, i've missed reading you...
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 27th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
Re: it was all miraculous...
:-) Well my ego as miss being read.
fredbassettfredbassett on November 27th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
Charlie gave an almost sweet smile. “Don’t be ridiculous, Agent Edgerton, a pair like yours would go into my private collection.”

*grins*

“Welcome to the first thirty years of my life.” Don said.

That one creased me up to.

Seeing Edgerton off balance is just gorgeous.

Sorry if I'm not keeping up every day, but I;m trying not to get too far behind. Loving this series!
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 27th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
:) good to hear from you. happy thanksgiving. and yes Ian off balance is fun.
foolartist02: charlie thinking bwfoolartist02 on December 17th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
*giggles*
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 17th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Mia: ianmia_dcwut_09 on December 24th, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
rofl
for once we have an insecure IAN
loved it
had me laughing
it'll teach him to stay away from colby's man
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 24th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
you know it :)
(no subject) - mia_dcwut_09 on December 24th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on December 24th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mia_dcwut_09 on December 24th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on December 24th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mia_dcwut_09 on December 25th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 16th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
Heee, looks like Ian's not the big alpha anymore. It was fun seeing the change of dynamics from an outside viewpoint, someone familiar with the old dynamics, but with enough distance to feel a little overwhelmed by the differences. I particularly enjoyed Ian in this role, because he's so confident about himself and about his ability to read people, and suddenly he finds himself gtting weird signals all over the place and having to rejig his whole opinion about everyone.

I also liked how Ian thinks in terms of pack- alpha male, alpha female, rolling over and showing his throat. It's a metaphor that works :).

Laura.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 17th, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
Ian thinks of himself as a hunter so I always figure he'd think in animal metaphors. particularly wolves.