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15 March 2010 @ 09:59 pm
Numb3rs Fic: The First and Last Standoff  
Written for numb3rs100 Challenge #254 – Rip


Title: The First and Last Standoff
Pairing/Characters: Billy, Don
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 300
Spoilers: Man Hunt
Summary: The untold reason why Don stopped working Fugitive Recovery with Billy
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


"Coop! Calm down!"

"Calm down! Calm down?" Billy railed, throwing whatever he could get his hands on, barely noticing the crashing sound that implied he'd thrown a lamp. "A god damn child killer is out there free because I fucked up! Tolles could have snatched another kid already and you want me to calm down?"

"Stop it!" Don wrenched the items from Billy's hands. "Get a hold of yourself! We can pick the trail up in the morning."

"In the morning!" Billy's shouts resonated painfully loud even in his own ears. "After Tolles has taken another kid's life? Destroyed another family? I need to get out there: now!"

"Look at yourself! You're out of control!" Don barked out. "You're no good to anyone in the field right now! No way you're going back out there."

"Report me if you want, but there's no fucking way you're keeping me from going out that door," Billy snapped.

Don moved to physically bar his exit from the motel room.

Billy almost didn't recognize his own hands reaching out through anger glazed eyes. They grappled violently, but Don matched his strength and stood his ground. Billy's first punch whipped Don's head back. His fist yanked Don's shirt, the sound of the fabric ripping oddly loud. A left hook laid Don out on the floor.

Billy's breath came harsh as he watched Don rub at his split lip, stare at the blood on his hand with an expression of utter disbelief, then look up at Billy as if he didn't know him at all.

+

Billy caught Tolles fifteen hours later across from an elementary school, cuffing him as kids poured from the doors to head home.

No more dead children, no more devastated families.

Just an empty motel room as evidence of a partnership destroyed.

=
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
Confession
I confess I abused my privilege as co-mod for this fic and for tonight's mod post.

My only explanation is one entire missed night of sleep.

Very special thanks to betas t_vo0810 and melissima for their assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
Thank you. It went through uncountable rewrites to get it right so I'm glad it works now.
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
Thank you. It had like 8 million endings so I'm pleased that the one that ended up being published fulfilled the original mission.
Glass_Gemglass_gem on March 16th, 2010 05:41 am (UTC)
No more dead children, no more devastated families.

Just an empty motel room as evidence of a partnership destroyed.


Oh no! :(
Billy caught who he was after but lost someone important to him in the process. How very tragic for both of them.

<3
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
Yeah, in the end Don was right: they didn't need to go out that night (and it probably wasn't safe to with Billy in vigilante mode). But Billy wasn't in any condition to listen to logic and he paid the price for his lack of control. Tragic indeed. (Definitely proof I like my angst to be very angsty.)

Thank you for reading and commenting!
Glass_Gemglass_gem on March 16th, 2010 05:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, Don's disbelief that Billy would do such a thing, and then Billy probably realizing the impact of what he did when he returns to an empty motel room, ouch! :(

P.S. I emailed you earlier today. Just wondering if you ever received my email with the other format of the two fics I wanted you to to beta. (No rushing though, :) )
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 09:03 am (UTC)
I did - my apologies for not getting to it yet. I started having some health issues that lead to me missing a night of sleep which lead to me sleeping pretty much an entire night and most of a day so I'm totally off my game and now have about 400 unread emails to slog through once my brain comes back online. /headdesk/

If I don't get back to you tomorrow night feel free to poke me again. I'm out of town tomorrow day, but I should be back in the evening.

Oddly, Don's disbelief was one of the more crucial things to me in this fic and a reason why I didn't post this when I first wrote it almost a week ago. I needed to crystalize that moment where Don's stunned that Billy HIT HIM and MADE HIM BLEED - his partner, the man he entrusts his life to on a daily basis... That Billy could do that just shakes his beliefs to the core. In many ways this is more about Don than Billy and I almost put it in his POV, but to me, the greater challenge was staying in Billy's head and watching Don come to that painful realization far too late to do anything about it. Ouch indeed.

In the longer version, Billy knows his partnership with Don is over for good in that moment. He knows if he leaves at that point Don will most definitely not be there when he gets back. In my mind, Don reports Billy right after he leaves, tells the brass he's off the case, packs up his things and leaves. The next day he submits his request for a transfer out of FR.
t_vo0810t_vo0810 on March 16th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
ooooooh! very nice changes. i have to admit this way is much more powerful and very consistent with canon!Billy. I can see him losing control in his fervor to get his man and Don not feeling like he could trust his partner to think straight and have his back anymore. gah. all it takes is one impulsive act to lose someone's trust or friendship. brava! it strikes even harder this way.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 06:20 am (UTC)
Thanks, hon. I was hoping I finally nailed the original intent (however elusive it was) in this final version. I hate having to publish because I'm out of time for the weekly challenge, but this drabble was like five days old and the clock can only tick so long, even when you're a comm mod, you know? Thanks for making me feel better about it. /hugs/

P.S. Yeah, it takes very little to lose someone's friendship. It's too bad so many people are willing for that friendship to *stay* lost. To me real friends are the ones who understand people are *human* and allow for things to go wrong on both sides and for forgiveness to happen so that good feelings can continue. But I guess too many people relish the bad feelings to want things to ever be fixed. /shakes head in dismay/
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 16th, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
Ouch but brilliant and an unusual take on that moment. Good work.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I seem to have a penchant for Ouch as of late. Hmm... Might also explain why I'm jonesing for more Who We Are. ;-)
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 17th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
I'm working on it. I should be able to give you a big update by the end of the week.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 17th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
Yay! /fuels muse with more chocolate/
SamuelJames: Numb3rs-Don Eppessamueljames on March 16th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
Ouch and yet believable, something like that would damage their trust.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I adore angst and I liked the idea of maybe there being a darker reason why Don gave up FR when he clearly loved the work.
One Part Exuberance; Two Parts Obsession: grab asspenguingal on March 16th, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
*wibbles* Explains Don's almost wariness when Billy comes trotting back into his life in Manhunt. Man, I would love to see a post-script to the ep based on this drabble.

*ouch!* Damn bunnies.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
/offers cookies to combat wibblage/

I would have loved ANY post-script with Billy in canon (though I'd have been pissed if they put him in Pete's role in Friendly Fire) because as much humor and good vibes these two had there clearly was an undercurrent that showed up when things weren't going as well that proved there had been friction in the partnership.

Thanks, hon!
rubynye: Don (by weirdkid624)rubynye on March 16th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
Wow. I was expecting something vivid and dramatic going in, but that was devastating. Wow!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 16th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks, hon. I really wanted something seriously intense for this drabble. It took days of work to get what I wanted, but yeah - devastating is how I saw it too. /hugs you/
draoichtanghra on March 17th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
Emma, that was brilliant! And if you had to suffer for your art, the end result was certainly worth it, at least from the reader's point of view. :D

And as a reward, some virtual chocolate-covered cranberries (or would you prefer a gin & tonic chocolate bar?)

Happy St Patrick's Day from Ireland.

magic
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 17th, 2010 10:35 am (UTC)
Happy St. Patrick's Day to you as well!

I had a cranberry/blackberry/strawberry smoothie with dinner so virtual chocolate-covered cranberries sounds like a lovely way to lure my muse into more fic! Thank you!

Gin and tonic chocolate? That sounds wild! I don't drink, but today probably would be a good day for a virtual Irish coffee with loads of calorie free virtual whipped cream! Hehehe

I'm glad to hear you thought the fic turned out worthy of all I put into it. I may have written hundreds of drabbles, but I don't phone any of them in. Some are just harder premises to execute than others and this one was pretty damn intense.
ALEOaleo_70 on March 17th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
With such a high pressure job I that can only be done well by those who care I can see how this could happen. They have both invested a lot in their partnership and to have that destroyed over a fugitive is very sad indeed.

They were both right but the damage was done and Don left Fugitive Recovery.

Thank-you.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 17th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm always flattered when good authors take time to come read and comment on my fic. You know, I realize you're a long fic author, but we'd love to have stories from you at numb3rs100. Even if our max of 300 words is way too short, we fully encourage drabble series to make longer pieces. ladygray99 has a drabble series that encompasses more than 100 drabbles so definitely not short! I managed a 3000 word N3/SPN crossover made out of 10 300 word drabbles as chapters if you will, so it can be done!

And you've nailed the whole point of this fic: the job is so high pressure (the stakes are a child's life? Seriously!) that Billy cracked and did something stupid and as a result lost his best partner because of a horrible criminal. The tragedy of yet another casualty caused by someone's disregard for human life. I may have to make this part of my personal canon for a while to see if I can get more to show up in this universe. The angst is so compelling, the aftermath can't have been easy.
ALEOaleo_70 on March 18th, 2010 11:35 am (UTC)
Hi.

I've tried my hand at writing a drabble once - http://aleo-70.livejournal.com/9664.html

Not so sure on the success. That one did come to me pretty much as written but generally I find I need to explain, to expand on the detail. I am always amazed at how people such as yourself can contain a story in such a small amount of words. I just keep wanting to fill in the blanks!

To your fic, the aftermath for both Don and Billy will certainly not have been easy. It was bad enough that Don left Fugitive Recovery all together, not simply being assigned a new partner. He was so upset he needed to make a complete break. It would be an additional point of angst for Don that Billy was able to stay in and carry on without him, almost as if he didn't matter...