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27 August 2007 @ 11:58 pm
Numb3rs Fic: The Art of Subterfuge  
Written for eppescest Summer Porn Challenge – The Art of Reckoning
Crossposted to numb3rs_slash


Title: The Art of Subterfuge
Series/Universe: The Art of Subterfuge
Pairing/Characters: Don/Charlie
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: Seasons 1-3
Summary: Don says it's over between them and Charlie disagrees (Post-Ep)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


The Craftsman was almost dark as Don drove up, sleepy with dim golden light in its shuttered eyes.

He opened the door tentatively, minding his footfall on the entry's wood floor in case Charlie had fallen asleep on the couch again.

A muffled clatter and an even more muffled curse word from the kitchen told him his brother was still up.

He headed into the kitchen and almost ran right into Charlie who was on his way out.

"Fuck, Don!" Charlie said, hand on his chest. "You scared the shit out of me!"

"I'm sorry," Don said, honestly penitent. He looked worriedly to where Charlie had backed away, breathing deeply and waiting out the rush of fear induced adrenaline coursing through him.

"It's fine," Charlie managed once he recovered. "I just didn't hear you come in and since Dad and Larry went to bed..."

"Larry's here?" Don asked.

"Yeah, he um..." Charlie paused, chuckling a little. "Poor guy can't bear enclosed spaces after being in a metal can for four months. He wanted to sleep outdoors, but we compromised and I put him in the solarium."

"Good idea."

"Actually, I'm not sure how light a sleeper he is, so why don't you come out to the garage with me? That way we won't have to worry about keeping our voices down."

"Yeah, sure," Don said, lowering his volume.

Charlie grabbed a cup of water and Don pulled a bottle of beer out of the refrigerator before walking out to the garage.

As Charlie headed for the desk to put the water down Don dragged a chair over and sat astride it backwards, draping his arms over the chair back before taking a swig of his beer.

"So Pony..." Charlie said, his back to Don. "He got to see his daughter."

"He did."

"They're still going to execute him though, right? Even though he's a witness to the boy's murder."

"Yes."

"I see."

"How's Amita?" Don asked, brightening his tone as he forced a change of topic.

Charlie turned to face his brother, leaning against the desk. "Fine, I guess," he said with a shrug. "At this point she's resigned to the fact that we'll never get married so she's using our relationship to further her career the same way I use her to keep my security clearance. Got to keep up appearances and all that," he said, his tone bitter with sarcasm.

"You could just come out," Don told him. "You can't be the only gay mathematician."

Charlie shook his head vehemently. "I can't risk it. I know the NSA's risk assessment analytics. Hell, I wrote part of the program that does the assessments! I know being a gay man - particularly one that was ever closeted in adulthood - ranks very high on risk factors like blackmail and it could be enough to keep me off classified projects." His fingers tightened, knuckles whitening, as he gripped the edge of the desk, the stress obvious in his voice. "It could keep me from working with you and... I can't have that. I can't."

"Buddy..." Don soothed, putting his beer aside. "The world wouldn't end if you couldn't do FBI work with me. We'd still be brothers."

Charlie huffed. "Just brothers who fuck?"

Don bit his lip. "Yeah... That's actually what I came to talk to you about. We shouldn't do that anymore, Charlie."

Charlie blinked, clearly surprised. "Since when?"

"Since..." Don scrubbed his face with a hand, stalling. "I mean we messed around on summer vacations when you were home from college and that was okay, I guess. Nobody got hurt. Nobody knew. But now..." He looked at Charlie who stood impatiently waiting for an explanation. "When I moved back you were a wreck over Mom being sick. You needed me and I guess I needed you too. Then she died and it was about the grief then. Then you started working with me and it was about how badly the cases affected you."

"All that is true," Charlie conceded.

"But it's not true any longer," Don said gently. "You aren't shell shocked by the cases anymore. You handle them just fine. Mom's been gone well over a year and..." He paused, taking a deep breath. "I think we need to move on with our lives."

"Well, what you said before, about nobody getting hurt back in college... Nobody's getting hurt now, so why stop?" Charlie's voice had a tinge of hurt to it as he scowled, petulant.

"First off, you're involved with Amita..."

"Moot," Charlie said, waving a hand dismissively. "She's a prop."

"And there's Liz," Don said, looking Charlie in the eye. "I care about her and I want to try to make a go of things with her. I can't do that honestly if we're still..." He floundered, searching for the word, "involved."

"You didn't seem to have a problem with it when you were dating Robin," Charlie scoffed, crossing his arms over his chest.

"And you see how that turned out. She's not stupid. She knew she didn't have my full attention and I could never tell her it wasn't another woman coming between us." Don laid his head on his arms for a moment, letting a few breaths pass before he lifted his head and started anew. "Charlie, you need to find someone you can be with, I mean really be yourself with - not this charade you have going with Amita. You've known you were gay since you were a teenager yet you refuse to entertain the idea of a boyfriend. For God's sake, you're in your thirties! You shouldn't be running from commitment, you should be looking for someone you love."

"Running from commitment? Look who's talking," Charlie muttered bitterly.

"Hey, I'm working on that with my therapist, so at least I'm trying." Don stood and walked over to his brother, rubbing his arm consolingly as he stared at the floor, his expressive face a dark cloud of sorrow and spite. "You need to try too."

"But what if I already have someone I love?" Charlie challenged, lifting his face to lock his gaze with Don's. "What if I don't want to look for anyone else?"

"Buddy..."

"There's no one out there that I'll ever trust, ever love as much as you. How can anything compare? How am I supposed to make a life with a stranger?"

Don shook his head in disbelief. "Charlie, what you and I have, it's not like that."

"Yes it is!" Charlie cried. "I need you! I can only be myself, my real self, when I'm with you. You know all my secrets, all my history. You make me happy. You make me whole. I don't want anybody else, Don. I want you."

Don opened his mouth a few times, but words failed him. His hand, still on Charlie's arm, grounded him as he swayed from the force of the realization.

"You're serious," he said. "You didn't mean for this to be temporary like before in college."

"No," Charlie said quietly. "I wanted you to want me too. The way I wanted you all my life." He slid his hands on either side of Don's waist, drawing him in closer. "And I know you do."

Don let his head hang down, but didn't step away from Charlie's familiar touch.

"It's just not practical," Don lamented. "We can't be out as a couple, neither of us can risk getting caught and after a while the secrecy would eat away at us. It wouldn't work."

"I disagree," Charlie stated firmly. "And you can date Liz as a prop if you want to, but you'll see. She'll never love you like I can and you'll never trust her like you can trust me."

"I can't." Don's voice was barely more than a whisper. "You deserve a normal life - as normal as you can get - the kind you've always wanted, and that's not something we'd have together. I can't keep you from that. I'm sorry."

"Fine." Charlie broke away brusquely and turned his back on his brother. "Just go." As Don turned away to leave, Charlie spoke again, anger roiling in his words. "That's what people do, what you do. You leave me."

"What?" Don stopped and stared at Charlie's back, hunched and taut with tension.

"You left me to go to Quantico. You abandoned me. Then Mom left me and now you're leaving me all over again. I should have known..." With one violent sweep of his arm Charlie cleared the desktop, sending books, papers, a box of tissues and the water cup flying. They clattered to the floor in a wet messy heap, but he paid them no mind. "I should have known!" he yelled.

"Charlie!" Don rushed over and restrained Charlie's flailing arms by wrapping him in a tight bear hug.

"You can't do this to me," Charlie bemoaned, sagging against Don. "You didn't see what it did to me last time you left. I can't handle it, not right now. I'm not ready." His hands clawed at Don's jacket, trying to draw him closer. "Please, don't leave me. Not now. Not yet." He buried his face in Don's chest, his breath coming in desolate heaves.

"It's okay," Don shushed him. "I'm right here. I'm here." He stroked Charlie's hair gently, tilting his own head back to stare heavenward as if for guidance.

"Then you'll stay with me?" Charlie's voice was muffled against his chest and he felt the warmth of his breath and the desperation of his words. He closed his eyes and let out a pained sigh.

"Yes. For now," he added, opening his eyes and looking down at his brother. "But you need to learn to stand on your own, Charlie, to make your own life. You know I'm right."

Charlie lifted his face, eyes glassy, his fear of loss written all of his face. "Just please... Consider that I might be right? Please..."

The unabashed begging startled Don and he stammered his answer. "Okay, I will. I'll... I'll consider it."

"Thank you." Charlie took Don's face in his hands and kissed him, a simple pressing of their lips, but infused with the maelstrom of emotion swirling inside of him. He kissed him again, this time lingering, letting his love show in the tenderness of the kiss. He pulled back and looked into Don's eyes, letting him see that love, letting himself be living proof that his was the right way, the only way. He leaned in and kissed him a third time. This time he let passion infuse the kiss, letting it blossom in himself, feeling it take hold in Don as well as the kiss escalated.

"Charlie..." The name fell from Don's lips half in protest and half in pleasure as Charlie's nimble fingers slipped beneath his shirt, seeking out skin.

"Let me... Please..." Before Don could figure out what Charlie was asking, he'd dropped to his knees and started undoing his belt. In the pause where Don's rational mind struggled against the needs of his body, Charlie got Don's jeans undone. Don's mouth opened in a protest he hadn't thought of yet just as Charlie sucked the head of his cock between his lips.

His hands found the edge of the desk and he steadied himself as his knees weakened. Charlie's tongue swirled over him and the rest of the garage disappeared. All that remained were Don, Charlie and the desk that kept him standing as his brother worshipped him on his knees.

Charlie's hands went back to his hips, this time urging him to movement, inviting Don to fuck his mouth. The suggestion was too tantalizing and within seconds he moved from subtle gyrations of his hips to jerky thrusts as Charlie's hot mouth enveloped him repeatedly.

Eyes screwed tight, he came with a strangled cry. Charlie stroked his thighs and nursed him through the aftershocks until he came back to himself.

Still held up by the desk, just barely, he watched panting as Charlie rose, grabbing a handful of tissues from the box he'd knocked to the floor earlier. He cleaned himself up and tucked his spent cock back into his pants as Don did the same.

"Charlie..."

"Why don't you stay in your old room tonight, this weekend," Charlie said, encircling him loosely in his arms. "You can talk to Larry tomorrow about his time in space. I know he'll be glad for the company."

"Okay," Don said, caving as the pull of sleep beckoned to him. "But we should talk more, you and I. This isn't settled."

"Yeah, yeah," Charlie said quickly, almost dismissively. "But for now? Bed."

Don followed Charlie silently as they went back into the house and up the stairs. Charlie followed Don into his childhood bedroom and closed the door behind him.

"I'm glad you're staying," Charlie said, looking pleased with himself.

"Yeah..." Don mumbled, crashing down hard on the bed, exhaustion catching up to him all at once.

"I'll see you in the morning. I'll make you breakfast if you want."

"Pancakes?" Don teased.

Charlie leaned down and gave him a soft kiss goodnight.

"Only for you, Don," he said. "I'd only make pancakes for you..."

=
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 28th, 2007 08:57 am (UTC)
Confession
I confess I left all four of this month's Eppescest ficathon fic until the last minute. /hangs head/

Technically I started early enough - after my SPN ficathon fic as planned - but downloading and watching the episodes and making notes took up more time than I thought it would.

I had decided to make all four a series since I signed up for the last four episodes in a row from the end of Season 3, but the plot was a difficult one. I decided that Don would break things off in the hopes they'd both go back (or forwards) to a normal life.

Apparently, according to Mel, this is an unusual approach in the fandom. Huh. That explains all the trouble I had with it.

The fic's a mess. Mel talked me through a rewrite many hours ago, but now I don't have time to angst over this for days and I'm pretty well convinced at this point if I did the improvement would be minimal.

So I hope this sets up the series sufficiently and that readers will forgive the rough edges.

I confess I'm half asleep so I'll have to put any real analytical thoughts on this fic into a subsequent post or the Series post.

BTW, if you feel like Charlie was manipulating Don in this fic? You're right. There's more than one kind of subterfuge going on here...

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

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
melissimamelissima on August 28th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
But! I love it! :) I feel so bad for them in this one. I can't wait to read the rest of them. I love Don standing there with his mouth open, completely shocked at what Charlie was thinking. So painful, but so good.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 28th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Well, it didn't turn out quite how we discussed, but it's done and the universe is set. Oddly this is a bit easier than what I had planned so it's making the first sequel pretty easy to write thankfully.

I am glad you like it, hon. Thanks for being my sounding board and so much more.
meluvstonymeluvstony on August 28th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
It was great. I can't wait to read the others. I loved that Charlie said what he honestly felt instead of hiding it
Melly
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 28th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Thank you! If all goes as planned they'll be published one a day through the 30th. I'm working on the sequel Pressure Sway right now.
pinkdoom on August 28th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
I also loved it, and I also can't wait to see what else you come up with!

All that remained were Don, Charlie and the desk that kept him standing as his brother worshipped him on his knees.

I try to leave feedback on at least one particular point or line in the story that hit me, and this line was it for me. I got goosebumps when I read it, and that doesn't happen often. There was something so very powerful about this image, and the fact that, like you said, there's more than just one kind of manipulation going on here. With this line, it's as if Charlie's the submissive one, but I know that's not entirely true because of the way he manipulates Don throughout the story. But besides that...I loved this, and it certainly had an affect on me. :)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 29th, 2007 04:21 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
You're back! Haven't seen you comment for a while and I don't blame you. I owe you a big old response to what I am pretty sure is your last comment. I had planned out this whole big thing about asking you to beta, but then life kicked my ass with moving and all and pretty much all my comments around that time period went by the wayside. Mea culpa.

The line you liked? I almost took out. I worried it might sound trite, but in the end I let it stand.

The sequel is up now and I'm working on the third fic in the series right now. Charlie is even more manipulative in the sequel Pressure Sway, but the one I'm working on now gives us a bit more insight into the Don part of this equation.

So I still will write you that long reply at some point, but know that I postponed it in order to make it thoughtful and long and to attempt to woo you as a possible beta.

So there's flattery in there if you can get past my faux pas. ;-)

Thanks for the great comment. I always like hearing what you have to say.
pinkdoom on August 29th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
I must admit, you've caught me a little flatfooted...I can't even remember what my last comment was! :) And beta...really? That's one heck of an honor to be considered for a beta by such a fantastic writer like yourself...and that's not flattery, it's the truth ;)

And hey, real life, that thing that gets in the way sometimes...it happens. I understand, and like I said, I can't even remember the last comment I left for you--and I feel bad about that because that means I haven't commented on one of your fics in a while.

The line you mention about almost taking out...it's so funny when you get feedback from someone saying they liked a certain line/paragraph/image--what have you, and it was one you were thinking about removing. I've had that happen several times, and it's always funny when it does. You certainly don't expect it. *hugs*
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 29th, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
http://emmademarais.livejournal.com/88624.html?thread=1087536#t1087536

It was when you first came around. I am trying - with Mel's help - to put more detail and imagery into my fic, but it's hard for a dialogue person like myself to write in such an unfamiliar style.

Thus me storing up this huge explanation for that post. I need help.

I wasn't sure if you remembered, but I've found some people do, so I try not to make assumptions. Well, I do assume I'll make time to write said post now that you've shamed me into action. ;-)
pinkdoom on August 30th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
I remember now, thank you! :)

Like I said in that post, I am a detail-whore, and I've done my fair share of betaing, but never in the Numb3rs fandom. I've read a ton, written next to nothing, but never beta'd for this fandom.

There, that's my warning label for my beta services, if you still want them. I'm more than happy to beta for you. *holds hands out* I didn't mean to shame you into anything, lol :) Feel free to email me any time at:

pinkdoom@gmail[dot]com

I check my gmail almost obsessively every day, so I'll definitely answer you from that address. And, again, thank you so much for wanting my help, that's a huge compliment!
irena_adler: Charlie Resistirena_adler on August 29th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Apparently, according to Mel, this is an unusual approach in the fandom.
I could have sworn I've read this approach before, but heck if I know where/when ...
Like to see Charlie as the aggressor and Don trying to be responsible, fits their personalities better IMHO. One nit - you never mention Charlie actually taking himself out of his pants.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 29th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
It didn't *feel* unusual, but Mel reads more than I do by far, so if she thinks so that's fine with me. To be fair, unusual doesn't mean never done, just rarely done, so I'm covered if I'm not the first. ;-)

About your nit, one reason these fic suck (IMHO) is because I didn't pay close attention to POV for a change. It probably wavers between 3rd and Don's and in this case Don didn't notice Charlie doing it - he was rather distracted - so he only realizes that Charlie took care of things himself is when it's over.

I really shouldn't leave my ficathon fic until the last minute. /hangs head/ Bad me...
fredbassettfredbassett on August 28th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
Complex, on several levels, and I very much want to see where this one is going. Thanks for sharing.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 29th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Now that I'm into it I wish I'd set aside more than four days to write and publish it. (My fault for procrastinating then picking a lofty goal. Bah.)

The third fic is shaping up to be more of a look into Don's head so I can safely say it's way different from either of the previous installments - which are nothing alike either.

This seems to be about as unseries as I can get and still call these a series! LOL!
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 29th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you for that wonderful comment. I hope you've seen the first sequel already. The next two will be up as of today and tomorrow barring complications.

I get that people like naive and vulnerable Charlie, but he's a) a genius b) self-absorbed and c) needy so that to me means he's certainly capable of manipulating others into getting his needs met for him. He has no malice, just ego that tells him it's okay to want and to take without much thought wasted on ramifications.

Charlie tells Don to consider that he might be right and that's his way of telling him that he is right but he's nice enough to be patient until Don comes around to his way of thinking. ;-)

I've seen you around LJ but not here on mine, so welcome! Hope you stick around and check out more of the fic. Not sure what fandoms you're into, but there's more than Numb3rs here.
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 29th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's very kind of you to say.

Well, I was curious and did a search in email for comment notifications and didn't find anything earlier. My Friend Of list is chock filled with people who friended me without ever commenting so I've learned to accept that I must have more readers than have ever commented. /shrugs/

I friended you back btw. Cool link for that 9 year old Charlie! Wow! I know someone who graduated from uni at 15, but I don't know for sure at what age he started.
Ticking Chartalan: NUMB3RS charliecutecandescentlines on August 29th, 2007 08:57 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for writing this and posting it up. It was a pleasure to read <33.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 29th, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
A new name! Welcome!

Thank you for taking the time to come check out my fic. The first sequel is already up and two more will follow by end of month so keep an eye out for more!
Nicelyobsessed: charlie sad b&wnicelyobsessed on September 2nd, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Charlie is so desperate, he broke my heart.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 2nd, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
Aww... Don's too. At least it's healed in the end. :-)

I like that icon! What is the text on it, if I might ask?

Thanks for reading the series!
Nicelyobsessed: Doncharlie homenicelyobsessed on September 2nd, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah Don too, pets him, but Charlie's anger and fear killed me.

The text on the icon is a "fake text".
I love your series, Emma thanks for writing it *hugs*
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 2nd, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
Me too, I felt for him all distraught like that.

I'm so glad you like it. Partial credit goes to the comm for making me write episode tags in the first place. When it hit me I could claim the last four episodes of the year I knew that I could use the events of Money for Nothing and The Janus List to make a D/C series despite (and actually because of) the Liz factor.

I just wish I hadn't waited until the last minute to write them. Hehehe