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07 February 2006 @ 12:02 am
Numb3rs Fic: Just Words  
Written for numb3rs100 Challenge #42 - Words

Title: Just Words
Pairing/Characters: Don, Charlie, Margaret, Alan
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 100
Spoilers: None
Summary: Words have the power to shape lives or destroy them
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


"They're just words," Margaret soothes.

Just words.

It's no wonder young Charlie retreats into his world of numbers.

It's safe.

Words hurt...

Numbers don't.



"They're just words," Alan scolds.

Just words that lead to violence.

Don ices his bruised knuckles and doesn't mind the pain.

He saved someone.

Fighting is wrong.

Fighting prejudice is right.



Charlie looks up from the case folder, filled with disturbing photographs of the hateful words the perpetrators spray-painted on the walls of their victims' homes, to see Don waiting for his answer.

"I want to help."

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 7th, 2006 08:08 am (UTC)
Credit for the inspiration goes to the Museum of Tolerance.

Sometimes the intolerant words that are meant to weaken others wind up creating strong advocates in the fight for tolerance.

This fic was not meant to be inflammatory and I hope no one will take it as such.


Emma DeMarais
Amberminttown1 on February 7th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
Not inflammatory in the slightest. These words are, after all, a reality.

This fic is very beautiful.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 8th, 2006 12:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
True, but a sad reality...


Emma DeMarais
Karen: Charlie (Numb3rs)byrons_brain on February 7th, 2006 11:28 am (UTC)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 12th, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
Thank you...
gyen_gaoltosing: The FBI Crewgyen_gaoltosing on February 7th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
Ohh, I love this. The three different pieces and the very last line--I really enjoyed it.

And it comes at a particularly pertinent time for me, since someone just recently spray-painted an apartment complex in my neighborhood. It boggles the mind sometimes.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 12th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC)
Wow, that is mind boggling. I'm sorry to hear it.

I wish we lived in a world where no one could relate to this, where I wouldn't have had to think to write it in the first place, where these sentiments didn't need to be heard...

But we don't.

So for now, I'm sorry it rang true to you but glad you appreciated the piece.


Emma DeMarais
cat_willow (Jan)cat_willow on February 7th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
The words themselves are often meant to be inflammatory, but shining a light on them takes away their power.

I know so many people (mostly young) who use "retard(ed)," and "gay" as though they mean nothing ("That's so gay"? What the hell is that?). Since I've worked with developmentally disabled adults and am bisexual, they mean something to me. I do pop up when I hear these words (and others, although the 2 I mentioned are most common), and I do think it helps people understand what they're really saying and that they are being hurtful.

The new word "phat" came out awhile ago with a *positive* meaning. But I think if the word were spelled "fat," there would be a *huge* outcry b/c that spelling would touch so many people. Interesting how that works.

Love the fic. As usual, so few words....
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 12th, 2006 12:51 am (UTC)
The words themselves are often meant to be inflammatory, but shining a light on them takes away their power.

Not as much as I would like, but reinforcing the idea that they're wrong isn't a bad thing.

I know so many people (mostly young) who use "retard(ed)," and "gay" as though they mean nothing

That's actually why retard made the list. It's more of a kid's taunt (which is why it's part of the Charlie as a child segment) but that doesn't mean it's not powerful in its capacity to cause hurt.

Some use the two words you mentioned casually and some use them as insults which really offends me. I know people involved in both the special education and GLBT communities and it bothers me to hear such things. Sadly, there's only so much third parties can do especially when parents can be such bad role models. (If people only thought about what they said and did in front of kids... They yell a stream of insults when someone cuts them off while driving yet admonish their kids for calling each other stupid? /shakes head/)

I'm not a fan of phat and def because spelling only matters when you read. I'm not saying obese and hearing impaired people should be offended, I just prefer other words that don't have multiple connotations. Actually, I'm more offended when I see stores called things like Sav-Rite. Ugh. The dumbing down continues...

Still, even well meaning supposedly politically correct people fall into the language trap. I was witness to a huge online blowup over the word gyp. One person had no idea it was tied to the term gypsy and another person had Roma ancestry and was highly offended at what they saw as a horrible slur.

I just try to keep my intentions honorable and do the best I can.


Emma DeMarais
cat_willow (Jan)cat_willow on February 12th, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
Still, even well meaning supposedly politically correct people fall into the language trap.

Oh, yeah. It wasn't so long ago that people said "nigger-rigged" and "jewed down" a whole lot! Now some say either "jerry-" or jury-rigged," neither of which makes sense to me, but they are improvements. *g*

And sometimes well-intentioned people go a little too far in determining what's right for other people. "Negro" went to "Black" went to "African-American" because the people the terms refer to wanted the changes. Now everyone wants to call American Indians (admittedly an astonishingly idiotic term to begin with) Native Americans as the new politically correct title. My husband, a cultural anthropologist with a lot of knowledge about our indigenous peoples, laughs at this, because Indians in the contiguous U.S., as a whole, have no desire to change their official identity. The American Indian Movement is extremely powerful and could certainly change their name if they wanted to, but they don't, and neither do most of the citizens. It's a non-issue.

Of course, other issues abound for Am. Indians. It would be nice if better health care, education, etc., could be provided w/o a new sobriquet that the people affected don't even want. *sigh*

Indigenous people north of the cont. U.S., however, are moving to change their distinction to (various) "First Peoples," b/c serious political and economic power fundamentals *are* affected by who originally settled in a region, sometimes thousands of years ago. (Here, we know who was here first and who got screwed.)

OK, end of PSA. *g*

The dumbing down continues...

And now there's a lot of talk about how text messaging is quelling kid's ability to read and write properly. Do some people actually think "R" is a real word? That seems unbelievable to me, but I've overestimated our cultural abilities before.

You not mai best fren: Hurtorlisheart on February 7th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
Here's a word that means a lot.

Perfect. ♥
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 12th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Ahh... Thank you...
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 12th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC)
My Don... /sigh/ What a concept. ;-)

Well my Don (if you ignore the slashy bits) is IMHO a fairly canon Don: protective, honorable, kind and funny. What's not to love?

I'm glad you enjoyed the drabble.


Keylaneverbelonged on February 8th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
/wants to hug Charlie so much/ /ignores memories/ I love this fic. It's great.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 12th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)
/offers virtual Charlie to hug/


Emma DeMarais
Keylaneverbelonged on February 12th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)
/hugs virtual Charlie/

rubynye on October 1st, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Inflammatory? This one is AWESOME.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 1st, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
This is one of my favorite/best/most important drabbles *ever*.

I'm glad you got a chance to read it.
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on May 5th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
Thank you for coming back to read this one!