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13 November 2005 @ 12:33 am
Numb3rs Fic: Convergence and Divergence  
Written for numb3rsflashfic Challenge #2 - Convergence

Title: Convergence and Divergence (Sequel to Last Call)
Series/Universe: Last Call
Pairing/Characters: Don, Charlie
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: None
Summary: Don brings a drunken Charlie back to his apartment to sleep it off
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Previous comments are housed at numb3rsflashfic.

Don half led half carried Charlie to his apartment door, only belatedly realizing how difficult it would be to unlock his front door and keep Charlie from dissolving into a drunken puddle on his doorstep.

He propped Charlie up against the wall beside his door, trapping him between his body and the building, as his right hand fumbled with his keys.

Charlie's head flopped forward and his face ended up in the space formed by Don's open shirt collar. Don could feel his brother's breath warm on his skin. He thought he heard him mumble 'Hmm' or perhaps 'Mmm', but Don decided he really didn't need to know which it was.

Once the door was open, he wrapped his arms around Charlie and dragged him inside just enough to close and lock the door behind them. While Don's right hand was busy locking the door, Charlie slipped loose from the left, sliding down Don's body until he sat on the floor leaning against his brother's leg.

"Charlie!" Don groaned out of annoyance. He considered just leaving Charlie there on the floor. He'd done his duty. He'd gotten Charlie home safe, well not home since he didn't want their father to have to deal with the mess that was Charlie drunk. Don wondered if their father had ever seen Charlie plastered or if he'd been too good at covering it up over the years. Charlie didn't drink to excess often but when he did, he tended to go all out which, in some place deep inside him, terrified Don in a manner he never could understand or explain.

Charlie merely wrapped his arms around Don's leg, as if giving it an awkward hug, as he laid his head against Don's hip. "Can't I just stay here? Here is good."

Don growled and hauled Charlie up. "No. I'm throwing your skanky ass in the shower, then you're going to sleep it off." He dragged a stumbling Charlie into his bathroom and helped him undress as the shower warmed up. Charlie leaned in and rested his head on Don's shoulder as Don worked on unbuttoning his shirt. He nestled his face in the crook of Don's neck and murmured, "You always smelled good."

"Well, you stink," Don said more out of disgust than spite. "Come on, take off those jeans and get in the shower."

Charlie finished stripping and stepped carefully into the tub. He leaned heavily against the wall, passively letting the shower spray soak his hair. Don pulled the shower curtain closed and called out, "Don't just stand there! I want to see some serious soap action! Water is not enough!" He heard Charlie drop the bar of soap and curse under his breath as he struggled to keep his balance while he picked it up. Once he could tell by the shadows on the shower curtain that Charlie was actually making an effort to clean himself up, Don left him to try to find something for Charlie to sleep in.

He returned with a t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms. He left them on the counter then hung up Charlie's discarded clothing on the hook on the back of the door. He looked at the curtain and could tell that Charlie was now sitting in the tub with the warm shower raining down over him.

"You clean?" he asked.

"Yeah," came the quiet reply.

"Good." Don reached in and turned the hot water off and the cold water up. He waited for Charlie to screech at the sudden cold, but heard nothing. He waited but Charlie just sat there, huddling in the tub as the icy drops pelted him.

Don pulled back the shower curtain to look and found Charlie was sitting with his arms wrapped around his knees tightly, shivering visibly. Don quickly turned the hot water back on, adjusting it to be hot but not too hot.

"Come on," Don beckoned. "Stand up and warm up so you can get out."

Charlie merely shook his head slightly and stayed where he was.

Don opened his mouth and then closed it again, not finding anything he could say that wouldn't be either annoyed or patronizing or, more likely, both.

He left Charlie in the tub and went about getting ready for bed himself, stripping down to his boxers and tossing his dirty clothes in the hamper.

Belatedly, he realized that their father would probably worry when he found that Charlie had never made it home, so Don dialed directly into his father's cell phone voicemail to leave a message without waking him. As he waited for the greeting to end, he heard the water turn off in the bathroom. A loud noise and a few choice curse words later, Charlie emerged from the bathroom with a towel loosely wrapped around his hips.

Don was about to say something about the clothes in the bathroom, but the voicemail greeting ended and he had to leave his message. "Hey Dad," he began as he watched Charlie fish around in his bureau and pull out a pair of boxers he never wore. "Just wanted to let you know Charlie's going to stay over here tonight. I had a couple beers and I don't think I should try driving him home." Charlie dropped the towel and stepped into the boxers. Suddenly Don had trouble remembering what he was supposed to be saying. "So yeah, Charlie's here for the night. Don't worry. I'll... I'll talk to you later." He hung up the phone as Charlie collapsed on his bed and pulled the covers over himself haphazardly.

Don walked over to Charlie and gave him a nudge. "That's my side of the bed. Move over."

Charlie obediently moved to the other side, turning on his side away from Don.

Don picked up the discarded towel and tossed it on top of the hamper before turning off the lights and getting into bed. He tried to get comfortable and close his eyes, but he simply couldn't do it. He could hear Charlie breathing in the quiet room and that was more than enough to keep him awake.

"You were all amped before," Don said quietly. "You finally sobering up now?"

Charlie was silent for a while before answering. "They didn't want me to stay," he said, the disappointment and loneliness leaking into his tone as he spoke. "When we were done they wanted me to just leave..."

Don frowned in the darkness. He knew Charlie understood the term convergence, perhaps better than anyone he knew. What Don understood though was that Charlie believed that when entities converged they should remain that way - become a constant. Don knew about things diverging. He'd always known. He'd just been unable to teach that to Charlie.

"I'm sorry, buddy," Don told him, suddenly sad for him. "Get some rest. You'll feel better in the morning."

Charlie made a small noise and Don couldn't decide if it was in agreement or not, but Charlie curled up and fell silent so there was nothing more to say.

Don listened to each breath, waiting for them to become regular. He lay there staring at the ceiling in the dark, unable to even consider sleep.

Charlie shifted and repositioned, turning to face him. Don glanced over and watched him sleep for a moment. He seemed agitated, constantly moving, even his expression lacked the normal peace of unconsciousness.

Don went back to staring at the ceiling, trying to ignore the body next to him, but somehow not looking made him even more aware that he wasn't alone.

Shift. Move. Shift. Move.

Charlie's incessant movement and painfully slow migration towards the center of the bed was maddening.

Don clenched his fists for a few seconds, tensing up in frustration before he finally relaxed into the futility of the situation. He moved his pillow closer to the center of the bed and shifted his body over to match it.

Shift. Move. Shift. Move.

It only took Charlie a minute or two to move close enough to encounter the body in his path. Unconsciously, he moved to curl around it, pillowing his head on the chest, wrapping an arm around the torso, sliding a leg over its mate.

Don brushed the damp curls aside and wrapped his arms around Charlie, who settled in against him with a contented smile then fell still. Don's eyes closed and his breathing naturally fell into the same rhythm as his brother's as he joined him in a finally peaceful sleep.

Charlie understood convergence. He knew better than Don that sometimes entities only appear to diverge. The invisible bond between them remains unbroken.

leightheanne on November 14th, 2005 05:29 pm (UTC)
Really enjoyed this fic, you did a great job. Are you going to write a sequel to it by any chance? :)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 15th, 2005 12:23 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

I just posted the sequel, or should I say the *first* sequel, on my LJ. It's called First Thoughts.


Emma DeMarais