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29 November 2008 @ 07:25 am
A Woman Waits for Me 9/39  
Title: A Woman Waits for Me
Chapter
: 9/39
Author: ladygray99 
Pairing: Charlie/Colby
Summary: When Don’s life slides into the darkness only family will help him find his way out. – Don and Charlie have a little chat.
Rating: R
Word Count: 2,164
Warning: discussion of BDSM, drug use and violence
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 5 6 7 8
Authors Notes: Another hard bit to write going into Don and Charlie’s relationship. I’d really like peoples opinions on this bit, especially the voices.
Betas:swingandswirl  and riverotter1951 


 

Part 9
The Smell of Gun Oil

Charlie was doodling, it looked impressive as all hell but Don knew Charlie was just wasting time. It had been long enough that Don could pretty much tell the difference between Charlie actually working and just scribbling out junk.

“Time for a talk, Don?” he asked without even turning around.

“Oh, yes.”

Charlie faced his brother. “And what shall we speak of today?”

“How about this?” Don tossed a case file on the table. Charlie picked it up and started leafing through it. He pulled out the photo of the confession.

“Billy always did have a poetic streak to him.” Charlie said casually. Don’s mind raced, he couldn’t understand how Charlie could be so casual.

“Poetic?”

Charlie pulled the photo of his own equation. “Hunh. I’d forgotten about that,” he said sounding more amused than anything else.

“Charlie!” Don shouted.

“What do you want Don, what do you want to know?” Charlie spread his arms “My life seems to be an open book these days.”

“You were there? I mean...You were in that room?”

“I was in those chains,” Charlie said, calm as anything.

“Damn it! Charlie! How can you just stand there and...”

“And what, Don? Admit that a decade ago my head was really fucked up. That my one real relationship was over, that all my math was crap, and I was more than a little nihilistic?”

Don shook his head as if he could somehow rattle some sense into the situation. “How’d you even end up there?”

“I went looking,” Charlie hissed harshly. “Everyone who was there went looking. We all believed we deserved hell and we all found it.”

“And you just let this guy..?”

“Yes. I was trying to self destruct, Don. You of all people should understand that. I didn’t have the guts to take a knife to my own wrists so I found someone who would get jollies doing it for me.”

Don sat down hard on the couch. “Anne...”

“I don’t know how Anne got there. When she got out I didn’t go back.”

Don looked at Charlie. “But you went other places?”

Charlie shrugged. “I tried to find a better quality of sadistic nut after that, and I was a little more accident prone. It’s amazing how much damage you can do falling off a bike. Hitting a pole, hearing the crack of your own ribs. Plus mom got sick not too long after that. Had to keep my head down.”

Don felt sick. He choked down the waves of nausea that flooded through him. “Anne said you got her out?”

Charlie shook his head. “I don’t know, Don. It was me and it wasn’t me. I haven’t though about that night in years. I almost managed to forget it. I figured Annie was a Jane Doe somewhere. You standing there with her, it’s the only time in my life I almost believed in ghosts.”

“I think she thought the same about you.”

Charlie rubbed his hand over his eyes a few times. “You want to know about that night, Don?”

Don shook his head. “Not really, but...”

“Frank liked to start and end the night with either me or Anne. He liked the way Annie screamed and he liked the way I’d take anything.” Don grit his teeth but said nothing. “I was...recovering in the corner. He’d taken his knives to my back and dislocated two toes… among other things and I was just sitting there thinking about nothing.”

“You let him cut you?”

“What part of self destructive didn’t you get? We were all hoping one day he’d slip and that would be it. Bleed out in a dark hole where no one would ever know how low we’d sunk!” Charlie took a deep breath and composed himself. “Anne was screaming and I was barely hearing it then...I don’t know Don, something in the room snapped. Anne...I looked up and she grabbed the chains, lifted her feet over the height of her head and drove her heel into Frank’s nose. He went down like a rock. It’s amazing it didn’t kill him right there.” Don felt a grim pride and satisfaction in his girlfriend. “Then...Don I swear it wasn’t me in my head. I remember all this like someone else was doing it. I was completely out of my head and yet...I stood up calm as anything, got the keys, got Anne down. I carried her into the hall, found two sheets, wrapped one around her, one around me and walked three miles in bare feet on two dislocated toes with her.”

“Anne said you carried her.”

“Yes. She was 90 pounds if she was an ounce but...I don’t remember her weighing anything at all Don, I don’t remember my toes hurting. They must have, but it’s like I was completely disconnected from my body and someone else was pulling the strings.” Don could see Charlie begin to crack around the edges. “I walked into emergency, I laid her down, I told the admitting nurse everything I knew and when they asked if I was okay I formally refused medical attention and I walked out.”

“What?” Don asked in honest confusion. “What do you mean you walked out? You don’t just walk out of something like that. They don’t let you.”

“Don, I walked out and I ...I blinked and when I opened my eyes from that blink the sun was up, I was sitting in my room in my pajamas, I was clean, my back was bandaged, my toes were wrapped, I was even shaved and to this day I have no clue how I got there. It’s maybe six hours of my life and it’s completely gone. Even if I had managed to get a cab in LA, while naked in a bloody sheet I don’t know how the hell I could have bandaged myself.” Charlie tugged on his own hair in frustration. Don was tempted to tell him to stop but wasn’t sure if hair pulling was in the list of rules. Charlie suddenly crouched down wrapping his arms around his knees.

“What is it, Charlie?”

Charlie’s face collapsed. “It had to have been Mom.” Charlie half sobbed out. Don closed his eyes, doubling over from the sudden twist in his gut. “There’s no one else. She never said a word but...There was no one else it could have been. There’s no one else I would have let...” Charlie scrubbed at his eyes. “She must have looked at me and died inside. I was so fucked up, Don. As bad as I am now, as bad as I was when Colby found me, god my head when I walked out of that place...She must have been so disappointed,” Charlie said softly.

“Mom always said she understood you.” Charlie choked out a sob and sat hard on the floor “Why the hell didn’t you tell someone, Charlie? If you were that fucked up. Larry, me, anyone?”

“You, Don? You would have been the first one to slap me in a straightjacket.”

“Well, you probably needed one.”

Charlie ground his teeth. “We had not spoken in years and I was terrified of you. When Dad said you were coming home I completely panicked, locked myself in my room for three days.”

“What? Why? I’m your brother.”

“No, Don. My brother played baseball and gave me noogies. You...” Charlie sighed. “Do you remember the last time you came home before you took the job in Albuquerque?”

Don shook his head. “No.”

“I do. You were out here hunting someone. We didn’t even know you were in LA. You knocked on the door and thank god Mom and Dad were out for the night. When I opened it you were standing there with two guns strapped to you and blood splattered across your shirt. I panicked and you said ‘oh, don’t worry, it’s not mine.’” Don winced suddenly, having a vague memory of a hunt with Billy that took him out west. “You walked into the house, asked where Mom and Dad were, stole a beer out of the fridge, then said you had a plane to catch. You brought guns into our father’s house! Guns and someone else’s blood and you scared the living shit out of me.”

Don blinked not knowing what to say. “Charlie, I’m...I’m sorry.”

“You weren’t my brother, Don, you were some creature of death inhabiting his body. My brother smelled of grass and dust and glove oil. The thing that walked into the house smelled like gun oil and sick sweat and fear and I don’t know what. When Mom and Dad got back I was still shaking. I told them I’d fallen asleep and had a nightmare and I almost thought it was one except I could still smell the gun oil in the air.”

“I’m sorry buddy. I was...I was kinda in a bad head space in those days.”

“Really?” Charlie said sarcastically. “Guess what, Don, so was I and so were a lot of other people.” Charlie ran his hands through his hair a few times and took some long breaths. “If it makes you feel any better, I never had sex with her.”

Don snorted. “Yeah. A little.”

“I mean she really wasn’t my type.”

“Well, yeah, female.”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “I have a perfectly healthy appreciation for the female form thank you very much, when I say Anne wasn’t my type I mean she looked like walking death. You could count every rib and vertebra on her. I don’t know if she was strung out or wasn’t eating or what. Shaved head, pink eyebrows, looked like she walked out of an alien death camp. The only part I recognized on her were her eyes.”

“She called you Christian?” Don asked.

“Christian Emerson, who could die in a ditch or get caught in a raid and not easily be tracked back to Margaret or Alan or Donald Eppes. I may have been crazy but I wasn’t stupid.”

“I think that’s arguable.”

Charlie rolled his eyes and laid out on the floor. “Any other deep, dark, nasty, secrets of my past you want to dig up tonight, Don? I’m seeing my shrink tomorrow so it would be nice to get this all out of the way at once. That woman isn’t cheap.”

Don shrugged. “I don’t know. Uh…Ever done drugs?”

“Pot, morphine, coke. Mainly coke, I don’t like downers.”

“What! When?”

Charlie stretched “Fluid dynamics. The yachting set is shameless. Tell them you can make their boats go faster and the world is yours. God, I miss that some days.” Charlie sighed.

“You did coke?” Don was in shock.

“In case you haven’t noticed Don, I am occasionally a creature of appetite. I want what I want and I’m not used to getting no for an answer.” Charlie sat up. “Don, have you ever eaten beluga caviar from the inner folds of a gorgeous woman then turned around to drink three hundred dollar champagne from the lips of her equally gorgeous lover?”

Don blinked a few times. “Um...no.”

Charlie heaved a great tragic sigh. “What was I thinking ever giving up fluid dynamics? Oh that’s right, the 90’s ended and the money ran out.”

Don snorted. “Well you don’t seem to be hurting now.”

Charlie let out a long sigh. “I’m a war profiteer, Don. Seriously, September 11th, 2001, 6 a.m. ‘Dr. Eppes, calculate when this will happen again, who will do it, pick the next target.’ Like I’m a fucking crystal ball, and you know what? After all these years I’ve gotten pretty damn good at it.”

Don wagged an accusing finger at Charlie. “Yeah, well, wait ‘till I tell them you’re a cokehead.”

Charlie laughed. “Don, you could tell them I shoot up black tar heroin, fuck sheep, and hold Satanic rituals in the basement of the Pentagon and they’ll let me get away with it. Heck, they’d probably raise my clearance. I am perfectly capable of taking Colby to the White House and introducing him to the entire joint chiefs as my boyfriend and they’ll just shake his hand and say nice to meet you. That’s how bad they need my numbers.”

“That I would actually like to see.”

Charlie gave a sad smile. “Yeah, so would I.” Charlie let out a long sigh. “I like Anne, Don. Even when we were very different people just whispering to each other in the dark...She’s good for you. I haven’t seen you this happy since you were playing ball.”

Don nodded. “Yeah, she...she just makes me happy.”

“Good. Don’t let this fuck that up, Don, it was a long time ago. It was a different life, we were different people, even you. Just because you just found out about something doesn’t mean it happened yesterday.”

“I know.”

“Good.”

“Charlie, if you ever want to self-destruct again, you can tell me now, I can be your brother.”

Charlie gave a thin smile. “I know.”

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ninou1ninou1 on November 28th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
I'm just in pain with Don there. Even if Charlie has gotten past, or apparently gotten past this self destructive period, this still hurt to ear.

I like the fact that every one has told Don not to screw this relationship, and I'm going to add my voice : "Don, don't you dare screewing things with Anne".
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 28th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
He's trying. He really is.
fredbassettfredbassett on November 28th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Helluva chapter!
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 28th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It was hard to write.
Erinstarlettmalfoy on November 28th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
Wow again. I'm quite literally speechless. Well at least that boating vignette makes a whole he'll of a lot more sense now.

Wonderful. Can't wait for the next one! :)
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 28th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
:) I'll take speechless as a good thing. and yeah, charlie went through a bit of a wild child phase.
mikes_grrl on November 29th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
This whole dynamic you've got going is so...so...HEALTHY. *eyes you suspiciously*

There is a lot of dark fucked-uppedness here, yes, but Don and Charlie are talking about it like brothers should and being so reasonable and understanding and...sheesh. I mean really, you could stick "And they all lived happily ever after!" at the end of this chapter, and I would buy it, hook line and sinker.

So what's the deal here? I'm not upset by the healthy good stuff, just so you know, I happen to LIKE healthy good stuff. I just know that there is a lot more story to go and I can't see where you are taking it. Argh! Argh! What are you doing? You are doing something, I know you are! Yes, you! Argh!

ladygray99: CharlieEvilladygray99 on November 29th, 2008 01:10 am (UTC)
\o/ *giggle, snerk*

I think this is possibly the best comment I've gotten. If you think this is healthy wait until tomorrow. It'll set your teeth on edge. And yes drama will happen but I'm a screen writer at heart so I'm following screen writing rules. The first act defines normal until the end of the first act then something dramatic happens to launch people into the second act. This is still the first act. I'm just showing you what it should be before I mess it all up.

*Mwahahahahaha*

Also remember this is just the middle bit of a trilogy. It's like lord of the rings. You'll have to wait until next Christmas to get the last installment.
mikes_grrl on November 29th, 2008 01:18 am (UTC)
I'm patient, despite appearances. heh. But I haven't forgotten your long ago "spoiler" that SOMEONE is going to be dead before the end, here, so my teeth are ALREADY on edge, thank you so very much.

Argh! And I say: ARGH!!!

ladygray99ladygray99 on November 29th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
Yes that's right, a living human will be dead by the end of this. I made one of my betas cry and the other one had to take breaks while editing. Yes, I am evil.
twins_m0m on December 1st, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
Man, every time I read details of Charlie's living hell, I find myself troubled and a bit depressed. I keeping wondering what nightmare he lived through that caused him to want to self-destruct like this. I've had my own share of low points in life, but I never wanted to destroy myself like he did. His mom must have seen signs of it. If she did clean him up, it must have killed a part of her to see her son like that. Trust me, as a parent when your kids hurt, you hurt more. And I wonder just how warped you are to write Charlie's hell so well (LOL). I like how you are bringing parts of the earlier story (the fluid dynamics work/play) into this story as it progresses. It brings good continuity. The conversation between them was well done, very real.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 2nd, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
oh a couple of people messed up charlie really bad. It'll come out in Whitman 5. Rachael was just sort of the tip of the iceberg. Just remember Charlie is getting better. He has Colby and Don now and a good doctor and shrink and a self awareness that his life can be what he wants it to be. As for my own issues, welllllll lets just say they're there.
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 16th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
Painful for Don to hear- Anne and Charlie's destructiveness, how he'd scared Charlie and seemed so alien. Painful for Charlie to tell, too. I'm glad he's seeing his shrink in the morning and I also hope he'll talk to Colby.

Laura.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 17th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
He'll talk to colby a bit. they have joint session with Dr. Anar once a month.
fractalmoonfractalmoon on November 27th, 2012 09:55 am (UTC)
This must have been gut-wrenching to write, but I'm glad you gave us this conversation.

I liked this part because it's so different from Charlie on the show, who chooses a simple life. Who knew he was once such a sybarite?

“In case you haven’t noticed Don, I am occasionally a creature of appetite. I want what I want and I’m not used to getting no for an answer.” Charlie sat up. “Don, have you ever eaten beluga caviar from the inner folds of a gorgeous woman then turned around to drink three hundred dollar champagne from the lips of her equally gorgeous lover?”

Don blinked a few times. “Um...no.”

Charlie heaved a great tragic sigh. “What was I thinking ever giving up fluid dynamics? Oh that’s right, the 90’s ended and the money ran out.”

Even though Charlie seems flippantly OK with his past, realizing that his mother must have cleaned and bandaged him must be a new source of shame that he hasn't had time to process yet. I hope Colby holds him tightly for a long time when he gets home.

Edited at 2012-11-27 09:57 am (UTC)
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 3rd, 2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
Colby will always hold Charlie tight and I think Charlie is like a lot of people who hit bottom, clawed their way back up, then tried to forget. He lets himself casually remember some of the good times and does his best to just block out the bad.