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27 November 2007 @ 04:00 pm
Numb3rs Fic: The Line  
Posted to numb3rs_slash

Title: The Line
Pairing/Characters: Don/Charlie
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: None
Summary: Don is wound too tight but Charlie knows how to fix him
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Don brings his work home.

He's taut with tension as he walks through the door. His fingers flex, fist, itching to fight this injustice, never off duty. He paces, rails, as he recounts his day for Charlie, almost knocking over a lamp in his agitation.

He can't let go.

Charlie recognizes this, knows when the strained cord is near breaking. He soothes, but words don't make a dent. He tries to touch, but Don shrugs him off, prowling the apartment as if it's a cage he's trapped in until he can return to work in the morning.

It's not hard to bait him.

Charlie knows by now just how to piss Don off, to start an argument that will come to blows: a phrase that can be misinterpreted, a dash of pity and greeting card trite platitudes about how everything will be fine so Don can rip them to shreds.

The first punch is always Charlie's.

It doesn't take much to awaken the teenager inside Don who used to get pissed off at his little brother, but now that he's grown, Don doesn't have to hold back the physical manifestation of his anger. His punches connect and after a while Charlie just takes it, waits until Don's done.

He waits until it's out of his system.

By the time Don catches on the demon's been exorcised. His arms fall to his sides and Charlie finally stops flinching at every movement. He collapses into a chair, burying his face in his hands in shame and sadness.

He can't stop apologizing.

Charlie just fetches the first aid kit and wordlessly mops up blood from a split lip, offers ice for a bruised cheek and applies salve to a thankfully not broken nose. Don takes the kit from him and fixes his brother up the same way, an endless litany of regret on his lips.

They crawl into bed and gingerly entwine.

The ghosts flit about the room, but never reach Don when Charlie's there. He lays with his curly head on Don's chest, fingers drifting across his brother's torso, drawing patterns only he can see, waiting until breathing evens out and a bullet of a different kind is dodged yet again.

His finger skims down the line.

The line bisects Don, runs down the middle of his torso defining his chest, his abs. It splits him into two people: the good son and the sinner, the FBI agent and the illicit lover, the man who saves the world and the man who thinks he cannot be saved.

But Don's wrong.

Every time Don is split in two, Charlie will be there to make him whole again. If he shatters, Charlie will mend. There is no evil he cannot banish with his devotion, with his commitment, with his love. He may use his genius to keep Don safe in the field, but he uses his heart to keep Don safe at home.

With him.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 28th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
Last year I set aside one month as Fic Finishing Month. I had words with my muse about all the partial fic that had been laying fallow for ages and demanded she finish some of them.

After she got done laughing I eventually ended up with six finished fic. Six may sound like nothing given how frequently I post fic, but in my world dead fic tend to stay dead so finishing six dead in the water fic in a month was huge.

But I stupidly forgot to set aside a month this year for fic finishing.

Enter my muse, who enjoys a good bit of irony apparently, who chose NaNo month as my fic finishing month this year, ignoring the fact that I'd *signed up* for NaNo to finish Vice. /headdesk/

I got two old fic finished last week (Mercy and Privacy) and Sunday night got *four* done in one fell swoop (Deep Inside, Thursday 9AM, The Line and In Time of Need: Release). After waiting around all Sunday day for Vice or any fic, she gave me tons as soon as it was time for bed. Evil...

While ITON was a recent partial fic the other three in that group had been started in November of *2006*! Gah! Cold enough for you? ;-)

The Line was supposed to be D/C rough sex, but when I went back to it, it took a decidedly different turn. Instead of fucking as fighting, I just got the fighting. Instead of afterglow, I got first aid. Weird. I didn't fight it though. Any ending to a dead fic beats another line item on my partial fic list. /shrugs/

The funny part is that a number of weeks ago I had looked at my partial fic list (with a little help from my friends) and picked out a shorter sub list of fic that I wanted to focus on finishing before end of year. I worked on a number of them and got quite a few pages done, but didn't finish them.

None of the five super old fic I just finished were on the short list of those I wanted. /grumbles/

Oh, that muse. She's a card, she is...


Emma DeMarais
Cynthia: CD Hurt and Pain by shantalanadevil1trackmind on November 28th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
I really like this: Every time Don is split in two, Charlie will be there to make him whole again. If he shatters, Charlie will mend. There is no evil he cannot banish with his devotion, with his commitment, with his love. He may use his genius to keep Don safe in the field, but he uses his heart to keep Don safe at home.

But highly disagree with the rest of it. Charlie shouldn't just let Don abuse him and that's what he's doing. If Charlie were a woman someone probably would have said something to him by now (one hopes). Physical violence against a partner is never okay.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 28th, 2007 08:18 am (UTC)
Well, the key word is 'let'. Charlie purposefully forces Don into a fight: he eggs him on then throws the first punch. He keeps the fight going long enough to get Don fully engaged then stops bothering to throw punches and lets Don get it out of his system.

An argument can be made that it's Charlie abusing Don, since he's the manipulator. (And dang that gives me deja vu. What fic have I said this about before?)

I've been fascinated in the past by men who use fighting as a perverse sort of therapy - taken to obscene levels by Fight Club. Charlie understands that Don's a physical person and I can see him being willing to fight to work that out. I don't think that it's healthy, but I'm totally okay with ficcing dysfunctional relationships. (Not like incest is totally healthy in the first place.)

If Charlie were a woman he'd never initiate a fight with a physical component. I think that's what I wanted to explore - this different world where two men can have it out with fists in a way a man and a woman never could without it being illegal domestic violence.

In the end it's Don who thinks this is not okay. Charlie clearly accepts it since he keeps doing it and he's very matter of fact about it afterwards.

I'm more disturbed by Charlie's POV than Don's. Don is in a dark place, is provoked, loses it (as planned), stops himself and feels horrible for having lost it.

Charlie's calculated. He plans it, he covertly baits Don, he *hits* his brother to begin the fight then allows the fight to go on knowing how bad Don will feel when it's over.

There's no good here, but I tell dark stories sometimes. This is one of them.
Cynthia1trackmind on November 28th, 2007 08:31 am (UTC)
Oh, I definitely think Charlie's POV (and psyche) is more disturbing here. But I still think it's domestic violence. They aren't sparring, that would be different. Charlie is deliberately letting himself get beat up over and over again. That's he's agreeing to it, instigating it, even, doesn't make it okay. In the long run, I think this would do Don far more harm than good. How can he see himself as a good man if he beats the crap out of his partner, baited or not? Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting the entire burden of stopping this on Don, it's at least as much Charlie's fault.

If Charlie were a woman he'd never initiate a fight with a physical component.

But I think this Charlie would. Yes, he's also a man, but it's also true that he is absolutely no match for Don in a fight. He's lighter, less fit, and untrained in physical combat.

I think this is one of those things when we'll just have to agree to disagree but in my mind they're both very abusive in this relationship and it's absolutely domestic violence, which I'm sure I don't have to tell you also happens among gay partners with the added dimension of shame because they're both men so "he should be able to take it like a man."
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 28th, 2007 08:40 am (UTC)
You're right - this is not okay in any way at all.

I don't think we disagree as much as we have different views on why and how this is all wrong. For us to truly disagree one of us would have to think this is okay and it's definitely not.

I think more of the burden on stopping this falls on Charlie's shoulders because if he never instigated it it would never happen. This Don would never raise a hand to Charlie unprovoked.

The hard part about calling it domestic violence (which it is because it's both domestic and violent) is that there's a lack of a clear abuser and a clear victim. Also if the cops were called neither would press charges. I mean, who would file a complaint against whom? Charlie is smaller yes, but he threw the first punch. The lines of delineation - so clear with a big man beats up a defenseless tiny woman - are blurred.

I think that's why this came out the way it did. It's a complex issue that *doesn't* fit our neat definition of domestic violence and like with Simon Says I like the idea of bringing ugliness that hides on the fringes out into the light for examination and condemnation.

That's what I get for writing Three Red Balls. I had to swing back the other way to counteract all that fluff and fun. ;-)
Cynthia: AC Family by angeliksmall1trackmind on November 28th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
I see what you're saying. I don't know about CA, but here if the cops are called for domestic violence, someone goes to jail. My guess is that they'd take Don since Charlie would be the most visibly damaged. It's not actually up to either one of them whether charges are pressed, that's up to the prosecutor.

I still think Charlie's doing more harm than good. He's teaching Don to deal with his anger and frustration in an unhealthy and destructive fashion. The guilt cycle is terrible and I can see it as the kind of thing that would eventually make him suicidal.
fredbassettfredbassett on November 28th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
I liked the fic, and the discussion here is very interesting. I can certainly see why Schnaucl makes these points and to a large extent I agree, but yes, I spotted how this situation was provoked by Charlie as a means of letting Don get it out of his system, so he is, in effect, consenting to the violence. BUT that raises huge emotional issues, and indeed legal ones, but it's the emotional ones that are relevant here, 'cos as you say, the law won't be involved.

It interests me as well 'cos I wrote a very similar scenario in a Primeval fic (The Devil's Crowll, Part 4, on my fic list), where one character did almost exactly the same for the same reasons, but the violence was of a sexual nature. It provoked some interesting reader reactions, and the actions and reactions from te characters are to an extent still being played out between them now, umpteen fics later.

The thing I like in fandoms like this is when a fic can provoke genuiniely interesting and insightful discussions like this. So well done for dealing with difficult stuff like this.
andi: Don & Charlie hugadmiralandrea on November 28th, 2007 06:10 am (UTC)
ouch! Talk about dysfunctional! And how do they explain the bruises etc??
devorgiladevorgila on November 28th, 2007 08:01 am (UTC)
Dark and Brutal but with just a little dash of hope at the end....
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 28th, 2007 08:22 am (UTC)
Hi there...

I don't think I've seen your username around. If you're new to the fandom then welcome. If you're just new to my LJ then pull up a chair and have some cookies. Make yourself comfortable. /grins/

It's very dark and brutal is a good word for it. The message is supposed to be that Charlie loves Don enough to do anything for him - including bodily harm in the name of mental health.

It's dysfunctional love, but it's a very deep love indeed.

Thanks for coming to read and comment!
(Anonymous) on November 29th, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)

I've been an Eppescest and an Emma fan for awhile but this is my first ever comment :)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 29th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
Well, welcome then! I'm flattered! /smiles/

Comments are where the fun happens so login and join the party!

Pull up a sofa and a few throw pillows. Make yourself comfy and stick around a while. :-)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 28th, 2007 08:19 am (UTC)
They're men. They say they got in a fight and other men just nod in acknowledgment.

It's kind of freaky, the way men seem to accept their own violent natures, but it happens.
fredbassettfredbassett on November 28th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
I have known seveal men over the years who find it easier to have relationships with men for this very reason as it means they can deal with some emotions on a much more basic level. The same may be true of some women, it's just that I have probably come across it less in a female context.
Cynthia: CD Always on my Mind by midnighta1trackmind on November 28th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
They're men. They say they got in a fight and other men just nod in acknowledgment.

If it happened once, maybe, but even a few times a year would raise eyebrows. And I'm sure Colby, David and Megan would be surprised if Charlie was getting hurt and Don never said or did anything about it (which I assume he would if someone else had done it). And what about Alan?
Karen: numb3rs donbyrons_brain on November 28th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
Oh I like the darkness in this one....
(Anonymous) on November 29th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)
This story seems like a much more intimate moment then actual porn. Loved it! Thanks. Kathy
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on November 29th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Hot
Very insightful comment, Kathy!

This is intended to be an intimate peek inside of a dysfunctional relationship, though if you want the porn there's a fic coming up called Lick that was started on the same day as The Line a year ago and also just recently finished that fits that D/C bill. /grins/

Thanks for reading!