Title: Vignettes - Part 8: Six Digit Prime
Disclaimer: Belongs to many other people, not me
Warnings/Squicks: Drunkness and math
Summary: What moments mark a friendship, a love, a marriage, a lifetime?
Previous chapters: On The Range
Notes: Might not get to post tomorrow so I’m posting tonight.
Beta(s): The amazing irena_adler long may she write.
Six Digit Prime
David was bouncing on the balls of his feet outside the bar when Colby finally showed up.
“Hey man, what’s the emergency?” Colby asked.
“It’s Charlie.” At Colby’s confused look, David continued, “Look, his girl left him or something. He’s shit-faced and trying to pick a fight with a bunch of off-duty cops and he won’t leave.”
“So you called me?”
“He likes you.”
“Why not Don?”
“Believe me if you were him, you would not want your brother to see you this way.”
Colby entered the bar with trepidation. David had not been exaggerating. Charlie was only just standing at the bar, an array of shot glasses in front of him.
“Come on.” He gestured grandly to the people at the bar. “First person who can give me a seven digit prime, I’ll clear their tab, or marry you, whichever you want.” Everyone turned away, trying to ignore the obnoxious drunk. “Ok, six digits, I’ll make it easy. Anyone?”
“139,969.” Colby said loud enough for Charlie to hear. The mathematician spun around so fast he nearly fell over. When he regained his balance, he flung his arms wide.
“Colby! My good friend.” In a breath, Charlie went from happy to depressed, and wrapped his arms around Colby. “My good friend who won’t leave me for some
“You a friend of his?” the bartender asked.
“Yeah. I’ll take him off your hands.”
“Good, I was about to call the cops.”
Colby pulled out his ID. “FBI. He’s with us.” The bar man shook his head sadly, “What’s the damage?” Colby asked.
“He’s been running a tab on credit. Pre-signed. Said he was trying to drink away an engagement ring.”
Colby cringed. “Ok. Add a bottle of tequila to go and cut him off.”
“Sure thing.” The barman handed over the bottle, the card, and a stack of napkins with Charlie’s equations all over it. “I thought they might be important.”
Colby flipped through them not recognizing anything. “If I tell you, I’d have to kill you.” He told the bar tender with a smile.
David and Colby each grabbed one of Charlie’s arms and hauled him out to Colby’s car. Once they had him strapped in and mumbling to himself, David asked, “A six digit prime?”
“Miss Honeyweather. Ninth grade. Five foot two, eyes of blue, and you got to memorize prime numbers for extra credit.” Colby smiled wistfully at the memory.
“And you still remember?”
“Oh, Miss Honeyweather was very inspirational.”
David gave a chuckle. “I bet. You sure you got him?”
“No problem. I’ll take him up to the hills, let him howl at the moon a bit.”
Charlie sat on the rocky ground and leaned against the bumper of Colby’s FBI-issued Ford and drank something from a bottle. He wasn’t sure what. The lights of
Colby watched as Charlie tossed one rock then another. Before long he was on his feet, flinging stones at the vast unfairness of life, a great scream coming from somewhere long ignored. He finally threw the nearly empty bottle and listened to it shatter.
Colby caught Charlie as he fell over and began to cry. He knew this wasn’t his job or his place. It should be Don or even Larry but when you’re the guy who’s there...
Colby rubbed what he hoped were soothing circles on Charlie’s back until the young man passed out.
Alan opened the door at an ungodly hour of the night to find Agent Granger cradling his youngest son awkwardly in his arms.
“Oh my God! What..?
“Shhhhh. He just passed out. Where’s his room?”
“This way.” Alan quickly waved him in and up stairs. “What happened?”
“Pulled him out of the bar, very drunk.”
“I don’t understand." Alan said with a shake of his head. "Charlie doesn’t drink like that.”
“Amita left him.” Colby said gently.
“Yeah, like two weeks ago.”
“Well, I think it finally sunk in.” Colby gently laid Charlie on his bed on his side then grabbed a metal waist basket and put by the bed at easy puking distance.
“Thank you for doing this.”
“Hey, Don’s hauled my sorry drunk ass out of the bar more than once. Least I can do.”
Alan pulled off Charlie’s shoes and put light blanket over his boy. “Can I get you anything?”
“Glass of water would be great.”
The kitchen light seemed unpleasantly harsh after the dark drive from the hills.
“I guess he really had a thing for Amita.”
Alan shrugged. “I think he was more in love with the idea of her.”
Colby nodded, understanding.
"Speaking as someone much older and possibly wiser, he’ll live. He’ll fell like hell in the morning, try to solve that minesweeper thing for a week, then be back on the case.”
“Make sure he eats, he’s looking a little too thin, dear god I just channeled my mother.” Colby said, then looked horrified.
Alan laughed. “Don’t panic ‘till you channel your mother and father simultaneously. That’s when it’s time to throw in the towel, get married, and have kids.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. Hey, can Charlie really hum the entire white album?”