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20 November 2007 @ 11:13 am
Vignettes - Part 12: Christmas Dinner  
Title: Vignettes - Part 12: Christmas Dinner
Author: ladygray99
Chapter: 12/36
Pairing: Charlie/Colby, Alan, Don
Rating: FRC
Disclaimer: Belongs to many other people, not me
Warnings/Squicks: Math happens a little
Summary: What moments mark a friendship, a love, a marriage, a lifetime?
Previous chapters: Tossing a Football
Notes:  For the purposes of this story I’ve given Colby two brothers and a sister. We’re one third of the way there folks.
Beta(s): The amazing irena_adler long may she write.

Christmas Dinner

It had been almost five years since Colby had made it home for Christmas dinner and he was willing to swear that the family population had doubled. The number of nieces and nephews and cousins he’d never met seemed completely absurd. At the same time, he was willing to swear nothing had changed. His mother looked a little older, his brothers a little harder, his sister a little more tired and yet the game was on TV and the turkey was in the oven, it could have been ten years ago or ten years from now. He looked down to see a small girl of maybe four pulling at his leg. She held up a small writing pad and a pencil.

“Problem?” The little girl asked. Colby looked to his sister, Mary Jo, for clarification.

“Someone taught Katie how to add. Just write two plus two a few times and she’ll go bug someone else.” Colby smiled. Seemed like he was destined to be around math geeks. He wrote 2+5 and was quickly rewarded with a 7.

“Problem!” Katie demanded with a joyful squeak.


15 was written.

“Problem!” Katie demanded again. Colby wrote 576+837 and was not as startled as he should have been when the answer came back as quickly as 2+5.

“Katie, can I show you something?” Katie nodded glad to have found an adult that enjoyed her game. Colby quickly wrote down a series of multiplication questions with the answers and long work so she could see what he did.

She frowned in concentration for a moment then smiled and clapped her hands. “Problem!”

Colby wrote out a dozen multiplication problems on the page using larger and larger numbers. He used the calculator on his phone to check the answers as fast as Katie wrote them. His heart was pounding in his chest and Katie’s smile was lighting up the room. When she was done, Colby got up from the couch taking his niece’s hand in his.

“Mom, I need to use the phone to make a long distance call. I’ll pay you back for it.”

His mother made a vague hand gesture from the kitchen engrossed in turkey basting.

In Pasadena, Charlie jumped, sending a ragged line of chalk across his equations, as Alan knocked on the garage wall to get his attention.

“Phone for you. It’s Agent Granger.” Charlie knew he smiled more than he should have, considering the state of his equation.  Charlie picked up the phone in the living room where Don had just muted the game, probably wondering why one of his agents was calling his brother.

“Hey, there.”

“Hey, Charlie. How are things going?”

“They’re fine, just catching up on some stuff.”

“Great. Look, I need a bit of a favor.”


“I need you to talk to my niece. I showed her how to do basic multiplication about ten minutes ago and she just multiplied four digit numbers together in her head.”

“How old is she?” Charlie asked.



“Could you talk with her and then maybe talk with my sister?”

Listening in, Don and Alan were intrigued by Charlie’s end of the conversation. He was talking math, that wasn’t unusual, what was odd was that he was talking math the way he did when he was little. Basic arithmetic at first and within twenty minutes single variable algebra. From the other side of the phone, they could hear shrieks and giggles from a little girl.

Back at his family’s house, Colby watched in amazement as his little niece’s note pad quickly filled with larger and larger numbers and finally equations involving x. And she seemed so happy, like she’d been tied up and was finally allowed to run. He looked around at his family. The women were in the kitchen finishing dinner. The men were gathered around the TV and the hordes of children seemed almost feral as they ran around the place. Finally, Katie stopped writing and ran to her mother holding out the phone.

“Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy! Problems man wants to talk to you!”

Colby’s sister looked very confused and warily picked up the phone. “Hello?”

In California, Charlie Eppes actually stood up straighter. “Hello, ma’am. My name is Doctor Charles Eppes, I’m a professor of Applied Mathematics at the California Institute of Science. I also consult with the FBI, that’s how I know your brother.”

Don and Alan looked at each other. Charlie seldom pulled out the full name and complete title.

Charlie continued, “I need to talk with you about your daughter, Katie.” Another twenty minutes passed and Charlie finally relaxed.

“Hey Colby… yeah… I know some people out there; I’ll have them get in touch after the holidays.” Charlie laughed at something the other men couldn’t hear. “Well you never know when lightning is gonna strike. But Larry’s working it… Yes… Yes…Well if she can’t afford the private tutors I’m sure I can find someone to work pro bono…she is brilliant… I’ll send my old math primers, they’ll keep her busy for a few months… Ok…My pleasure… I’ll talk to you later”. Charlie cupped his hand over the phone and whispered something. Then “Merry Christmas.” Charlie hung up the phone with a smile and Don who had never been as bright as his brother finally began to clue into something.

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
(Anonymous) on November 19th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)

Sooooo CUTE!!!!!!!!!!

love this story
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 19th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks I wanted Colby with his family but still unable to escape Charlie. (not that he'd want to ;-)
Gwaihirilgwaihiril on November 19th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)

Katie is adorable, and I love that Colby pays attention to her and teaches her while the rest of the family is busy. The conversation between Charlie and Katie is really cute to imagine. I think they need to meet sometime, that would be fabulous. Also, that Don is finally realizing that something is going on between Colby and Charlie.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 19th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
Colby, Charlie, Katie, and Esther (who you haven't met yet) is one of the side stories connected to this that hasn't been written yet. I'm glad you like this and yes Katie is adorable.
fredbassettfredbassett on November 19th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
That was really cute!!!!!!!

And I love the fact that Don is now wising up to what's happening :)

Lovely stuff.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 19th, 2007 11:00 pm (UTC)
I need the cute here to balance out the angust I'm writing in other stories.
Wait 'till tomorrow when Don really wises up.
Devo79devo79 on November 19th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
Damn Don can be soooo slow!
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 19th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
He catches up quick. Denial is just a BIG thing with him.
(Anonymous) on November 19th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
And she seemed so happy, like she’d been tied up and was finally allowed to run.

I love this line.

This is a lovely little fic and I hope we see more of Katie.

ladygray99ladygray99 on November 20th, 2007 04:54 am (UTC)
Not much in this story but she'll be in some side stories I'm working on.
dance_the_codedance_the_code on November 20th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
Fantastic. Wonderous series of vignets. Beautiful ideas.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 20th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
Glad you're liking them. More on the way.
thadythady on November 20th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
This is really cute. :)
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 27th, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC)
Oops. Never replied. Glad I could provide cuteness
athenedeinonychus_1 on November 21st, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
Awwww, sweet. And I loved that last line about Don finally getting a clue.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 21st, 2007 02:20 am (UTC)
*knock knock* Clue-O-Gram calling! :^)
autumnwritingautumnwriting on December 27th, 2007 05:55 am (UTC)
Good stuff!!

And the name Katie must be saved for the special kids, because that's my name too. =D
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 27th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)
All Katie's I've ever known are special.
(no subject) - autumnwriting on December 27th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on December 27th, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - autumnwriting on December 27th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladygray99 on December 27th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - autumnwriting on December 27th, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on March 9th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
And she seemed so happy, like she’d been tied up and was finally allowed to run.


i can totally hear colby making this observation. 100% engaged. 100% amazed. 100% in love... with his niece and his charlie.
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 9th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
I had plans to write more of her but Esther showed up instead and ate most of the cute kid story line. I have a story way down the pipe where Colby has to go home for his mothers funeral and reconnects with Katie a bit.
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 19th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Looks like it's a good job Colby got home this Christmas.

Also: Don Eppes, expert investigator...but not very observant *g*.

ladygray99ladygray99 on January 19th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
Never underestimate Don's powers of denial.
emmatheancienemmatheancien on January 17th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
Problem man XD

And Don is picking up on something, that promess to be intersting :)
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 18th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
Yep, Don is starting to get a clue, finally.
(no subject) - emmatheancien on January 18th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
fractalmoonfractalmoon on October 29th, 2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed your comments about Alan's and Don's perspective on the call.
ladygray99ladygray99 on November 6th, 2012 02:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I thought it would sound weird from their end.