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24 March 2014 @ 11:40 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Swimming in the Mire  
Written for numb3rs100 Challenge #464 - Mask

Title: Swimming in the Mire
Pairing/Characters: Don
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 300
Spoilers: Structural Corruption
Summary: Arguing with Charlie in Finn's former office leaves Don agitated on the trip back to LA
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

"Look, you got no idea the daily horrors my job serves up to me. Detached? Yeah, you're right, I'm detached! That's how I function!"

Don's foot hovers antsy over the gas pedal.

One of the few advantages of driving a law enforcement SUV is the ability to drive over 55, but it doesn't exactly work in gridlock traffic.

His fingers tap restlessly on the steering wheel, feeling the need for speed in his agitated state.

He's pissed that after all this time he let Charlie get to him yet again. It's as if his brother has a secondary genius for getting under Don's skin.


It wasn't thrown as an insult, yet Don reacted harshly, reclaiming it as a badge of honor.

Frustration hunches his shoulders, erasing the last of his patience. He flips the siren switch, taking advantage of a brief opening to change lanes and just make the next exit.

He swerves over to the curb abruptly, horns blaring, and shuts the car off once he's out of traffic lanes.

He rakes both hands through his hair then pounds his fists down on the steering wheel.


So what if he has to shut down his feelings to do his job? He's not some automaton; he's still human. He just needs to maintain his mask of detachment to keep himself sane.

Letting out a breath he replays their argument in his mind. As he does an unexpected yet familiar flush of protectiveness hits him with a jolt.

It wasn't anger he was feeling, it was fear.

Charlie's too naïve; he could never survive swimming in the mire that makes Don feel wrong in his own skin as if it's now dirty, tainted.

And if Charlie should fall in, Don's afraid he won't be able to save him.

Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 25th, 2014 07:41 am (UTC)
I confess it took about eight versions to get this drabble to this point. I can't even remember the last time I spent this much time on a drabble much less had someone work to beta many of the versions. I blame it on spring break; I wouldn't have the time to fix it or the energy to care otherwise. Sad, but true. Sadder, it's doubtful that my pending graduation will change anything since grad school looms on an endless horizon. Or at least I hope it does. The only thing more daunting than getting into grad school is facing what I would do if I don't get in. /bites nails/

Opening quote taken from the episode Structural Corruption. I haven't done missing scene fic for a while and it's interesting to have it be for a season one episode after all this time.

Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.


Emma DeMarais

Edited at 2014-03-25 07:46 am (UTC)
Candi: Don and Dad Chessmustangcandi on April 11th, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
The end product was well worth the work you put into it! I love this inner view of Don's mind... from the beginning, not being mad at Charlie but being afraid he wouldn't be able to save him.

Very nicely done. :)