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10 February 2006 @ 11:32 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Ash and Pines  
Posted to numb3rs_slash


Title: Ash and Pines (Companion to Conflict and Resolutions)
Series/Universe: Conflict and Resolutions
Pairing/Characters: Don/Charlie
Rating: R
Spoilers: Pilot, UP, Vector, Prime Suspect, Judgment Call, Convergence
Summary: The story of Conflict and Resolutions from Charlie's POV
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


"I'll just stay out of your way then."

Charlie closed Don's apartment door quietly behind him. The tiny click the door made when it latched felt like the locking of a prison door - one separating him from his brother. The sentence: life without chance of parole.

Charlie slid down to the ground, sitting with his back against the building. He stared at the door as if silently begging Don to come running after him, to apologize, to take him in his arms and swear that he'd been wrong to hurt him so badly.

The door didn't open.

Charlie had no idea how long he sat there, just that the sinking feeling deep inside him grew rather than subsided. By the time he managed to get up and leave he felt heavy, tired, as if all the joy and energy had been sucked out of him, making it hard to even walk.

He couldn't bring himself to go home for some reason and after floundering, lost, for several hours he wound up on Larry's doorstep.

To his credit, Larry merely blinked at him sleepily a few times then ushered him in, guiding him wordlessly to bed in his spare room.

Charlie was grateful that his friend didn't ask any questions, but knew he wouldn't be able to avoid them the next day.

+

"Just coffee." Charlie put up his hand when Larry offered him some toast.

"You should eat something," Larry cajoled, putting the plate of toast between them on the table.

"I'm not hungry."

"Charles, in all the time I've known you, there are only two reasons why you eschew food." Larry looked off into the distance for a second. "And how odd is it that choosing not to chew food is called eschewing it?" He shook his head and looked at Charlie. "Anyway, you either are too caught up in work to even think to eat or it's trouble with your family. Obviously, it's not the former, else you'd have been far more communicative when you showed up on my doorstep, so I'm guessing it's the latter. Am I correct?"

Charlie stared into his coffee for a while, but gave up on the idea of hoping Larry would let it go. You couldn't wait out a man whose line of work considered a millennium a mere heartbeat in time.

"Don and I got into a fight," he said tersely.

"I see," Larry said quietly. "Is this a 'storm out of the house and not speak to each other for a day or two' fight or a 'long festering sniping at each other that finally erupts into a shouting match' type of situation?"

"How about an 'I no longer have a brother' fight? Or an 'I don't ever want to go home again' fight?"

"Charles..." Larry got up and moved to the other side of the table to sit beside Charlie. "You can't mean that. Your father and brother love you. You have one of the closest families I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I for one have found myself jealous of the Eppes clan on more than one occasion - obviously the loss of your mother not withstanding."

Charlie winced a little at the mention, but tried not to let Larry see.

"Well, things are not always as they seem, Larry," Charlie said sadly. "I just need some time to myself, is that so bad? Is it so wrong for a thirty year old man to want to live away from home?"

"Of course not," Larry said gently. "I'm only questioning your motivation, not your timing."

Charlie looked up at his friend, willing him to just understand and trust him. "Larry, please. I need your help, not your analysis of my personal life. Can I just stay here until I find a place to move to?"

Larry sighed. "You are always welcome here, Charles. Mi casa es su casa. Stay as long as you need." He laid a hand on Charlie's shoulder as he rose. "It just makes me sad, you know?"

Charlie clutched his coffee cup as a wave of grief flowed through him. "Me too," he said quietly.

+

"You're moving out? But Charlie, you bought this house! You love this house!"

Charlie plucked a lamp out of the top of a box one of the movers was carrying as it teetered dangerously near the edge.

"Weren't you the one telling me that it was time I got a place of my own?"

"Well, uh, I just meant..." Alan stammered. "Oh heck, I was just trying to do what was good for you as a father! I never wanted you to leave!"

"Well I am leaving, regardless. I won't be far away; in fact, I'll be closer to school so it'll be really convenient for me to go home for lunch more often. You keep saying that cafeteria food is no good for me."

"Apparently, you're not fond of the food at Larry's either. You only spent a week there and you already look thinner."

"Yeah, well you know Larry and his white food thing. I'll be fine, Dad. I'm a grown man and I can take care of myself."

"I know, it just makes me sad to see you go like this," Alan grumbled. "And your brother's not even here to see you off! I called him..."

"You called him?" Charlie interjected. "Why?"

"Well, his baby brother is finally leaving the nest, don't you think that's a big enough event to warrant his presence?"

Charlie crossed his arms over his chest. "Well, he didn't come, now did he?"

"No, but you know him, he gets tied up with work."

"Yeah, that happens all the time... on Sundays!" Charlie said bitterly.

"Are you two in a fight again?" Alan asked. "Is that why you're moving out? Please tell me this is not some childish reaction to something Don did."

"Childish?" Charlie raised his voice then stopped himself, forcing himself to pace in silence for a moment. "You know what, Dad? Think whatever you want. I don't have time to deal with this right now. I've got to go let the movers into the new place and unpack."

Charlie surveyed his now empty bedroom one last time then headed down the stairs, Alan following close behind.

"Let me help you unpack at least," Alan offered.

"No thanks, Pop. I've got it covered."

Charlie headed for the front door.

"Wait!" Alan called after him. Charlie paused, door open with his hand on the knob. "You haven't given me your new address yet!"

Charlie looked down at the floor for a moment then back up at his father. "You're right, I haven't. If I give it to you, you'll give it to Don and I don't want him coming after me. I'm sorry." He started to close the door behind him, but his father yelled at him.

"Charlie, stop right there!"

Charlie stopped, but didn't look back at his father.

"Whatever is going on with you and your brother, I'm sure it can be fixed."

Charlie shook his head. "No, it really can't. Goodbye, Dad." He shut the door after him and left his father in an empty house filled with questions.

+

The two weeks following the move had been a blur of unpacking and shopping, with Amita's assistance, for all the items he'd once shared with his father. Grateful for her practical nature, Charlie let her come up with list upon list of what he needed and simply blindly paid for whatever she chose, whether it be an ironing board or placemats.

She even volunteered to cook a housewarming meal and Charlie let her, figuring that was the only way he'd see an end to all the fussing over his new living space. Even though she'd sworn, at Charlie's behest, not to tell his family where his new apartment was, she begged him to at least invite his father to the housewarming.

In the end, he'd agreed to invite more people than just her and Larry, but refused to consider inviting his family.

The housewarming was a sedate affair thankfully, and Larry managed to usher the few guests Charlie had allowed out of the apartment at a relatively early hour. Amita loaded the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and left as well, perhaps sensing Charlie didn't really want company.

"Thank you for letting Amita throw you this party, Charles. It meant a lot to her to do this for you."

"Well, I'm glad she's happy," Charlie said, relaxing into his new leather chair. It was nice, but somehow it didn't compare to the wonderful old Stickley chair at home. Home... He shook himself and tried to remember that that house wasn't home any longer.

Larry sat on the couch facing him. "You've been abnormally pensive today. Now I know you've not been in the best of spirits since the night you showed up on my doorstep, but something must have happened today to cause this overt of a shift in your behavior."

"That's one of the things I love about you, Larry," Charlie said with a wry grin. "You can take fifty words to ask the equivalent of 'what's up?'"

"Well, I wasn't aware my inherent eloquence was quite so verbose as that," Larry said. "But if you must reduce it to such abrupt sentiments, then fine. What, in fact, is up?"

Charlie's grin faded as he started to speak. "I got an email today out of the blue."

"From Don?" Larry asked hopefully.

Charlie let out a little sound of disgust. "Hardly. He sent Megan to do his dirty work, to ask me to help out on a case."

"I see," Larry said, steepling his fingers in front of himself. "And are you going to help?"

"I referred Megan to April up in San Francisco."

"Well, Dr. Lennox is a well qualified mathematician, that's for sure. She's not you though."

"I'm sure she'll do fine for them."

"Is that the point though?"

"Larry, if you're trying to make me feel guilty by implying that people might suffer unnecessarily because of my refusal..."

"No, no, no!" Larry interjected. "I was implying no such thing. I was merely suggesting that this request to assist the FBI, albeit through Megan, is really your brother reaching out to you in the only way he knows how."

"In a word, no."

"He does call me once or twice a week you know," Larry said quietly.

"And you don't talk to him, right?" Charlie said, a bit too forcefully.

Larry put his hands up in defense. "Trust me, he only gets the party line from me. I think he must figure he'd hear it in my voice if something was really wrong, else he'd have stopped calling ages ago." Larry looked sadly at his friend. "Charles, it won't be much longer before he does hear it in my voice. I know you. You're not sleeping, you're not eating, you're working too hard... You can't go on like this."

Charlie flashed Larry a dismissive glance and his voice held a note of finality. "I'm fine."

+

Charlie noticed Larry standing at the back of his classroom just before he dismissed the students.

Ignoring his presence for the time being, he moved to his desk, packing up his papers and shoving them in his bag as if he was in a rush.

"Charles, I have to say that was not your best class." Larry's voice was soft and sympathetic, but Charlie wasn't in the mood for it.

"Yeah well, everyone has off days."

"Or weeks, or months, or years..." Larry mused. "We are getting past months at this point and don't think people aren't noticing."

Charlie looked up, his jaw set firmly. "I'm a good teacher."

Larry sat on the edge of Charlie's desk, but had to get right back up when Charlie started walking out of the room. "You are. You're just not as energetic about it as you once were and that makes a difference."

"My students' grades aren't suffering so who cares if I'm bouncing all over the room or not? Maybe I'm more focused this way," Charlie said defensively. "Did you come today just to critique my teaching? Because I get enough of that without you volunteering your help."

"Hey, I just came to ask you to lunch," Larry said, trying to keep his tone light. "I may not have any children, but there's some sort of paternal instinct in me that sees how much weight you've lost and wants to drag you to Pie 'N Burger for a good hearty meal."

"Thanks, but I'm driving home for lunch today."

"Driving? Charles, your apartment is less than a half mile from here!"

"I have some books I want to bring in from home," Charlie lied. "I need my car."

Larry fell silent for a moment. "You know, when you moved I thought I'd see you on your bicycle more, not less. In fact, I don't think I've seen it since you did move."

"It's still in my father's garage. I don't need it anymore."

"Because you can walk home or because you can drive?" Larry asked.

They stepped outside and Charlie headed for the parking lot. "I'll see you later, Larry."

Charlie walked briskly, trying to look like he was in a rush, but more worried that Larry might try to follow him otherwise. By the time he got to his car, he leaned heavily against it, trying to catch his breath and stave off the light-headedness he'd started to almost become accustomed to.

He managed to open the door and drive himself the remaining distance in no time at all. Still feeling woozy, he waited for the building's elevator rather than taking the stairs to the second floor.

Once inside his apartment, he dropped his bag and shed his coat and button up shirt. It really was too warm for more than a t-shirt, but he was afraid of what people would say if they saw how slender his arms had become. He opened his pantry and stared in it a while, before moving to the refrigerator. He stared into the mostly empty space and finally removed a half drunk glass of apple juice from the night before, returning it after only two swallows.

He wandered into his bedroom and kicked off his shoes before flopping onto the bed. He seemed to want to sleep all the time now. It was his only respite and his body seemed to rebel at any sort of extended activity.

He closed his eyes, with the intent of just resting, but the same memory that had been invading his thoughts for months kept coming back.

He undid his jeans and pushed them and his boxers down, moving his hand to his already half hard cock. Once he stopped fighting it, the images came back so much clearer: the weight of Don's body on top of his, the taste of his hot welcoming mouth, the spark of desire when their tongues first met... Charlie stroked his erection, remembering what it had been like, feeling Don hard against him. At least in his fantasy Don didn't turn him away. In his version, they rocked against each other helplessly lost in the incredible friction, Don moaning his name in his ear.

Charlie came fairly quickly and instantly felt disgusted with himself for giving into the fantasy yet again. He fought back a wave of dizziness and stumbled to the bathroom to clean himself up, avoiding his reflection out of habit at this point. He got dressed again, finished the rest of the glass of apple juice and went to go look for books he could bring to his office in case Larry asked about them.

+

The drive up Angeles Crest Highway was supposed to be a relaxing getaway, but once Charlie hit 7,000 feet and saw the entrance to one of his favorite hiking trails, he turned the car around and headed back down the mountain with a heavy heart. Walking any sort of distance was a chore now; hiking was totally out of the question.

Larry had even stopped trying to persuade him to go hiking, replacing those requests with incessant pleading to see a doctor. Charlie had finally resorting to outright lying, telling Larry he had been to the doctor and that the diagnosis was that he had a tapeworm, which explained the sudden and persistent weight loss. Larry seemed doubtful, but had let the matter be, somehow sensing he wasn't going to get anywhere with Charlie if he persisted.

Charlie almost regretted not inviting his friend to come on the drive with him, but he hadn't felt much like company lately, well to be fair, for months now. He knew he was moping, he knew he was pushing away those closest to him, and he knew his father was worried sick about him, especially since Charlie had started avoiding his calls and replying mostly via email. He just couldn't bring himself to be around anyone. The loss of his brother was still too overpowering and he didn't know how to shut off the pain long enough to be social with others.

As he neared the base of the mountain, his cell phone rang. The roads were too winding for him to take his hands off the steering wheel to answer it and it rang several times before he could pull off into the parking lot of a deserted campground.

Afraid the caller would hang up, Charlie answered the phone without looking to see who it was first.

"Hello?"

"Charlie! Nice to hear your voice again!"

Something clenched in Charlie's chest when he recognized Megan's voice.

"Hey, Megan. Nice to hear yours as well," he managed to choke out.

"Yeah, it's been a while," she said, continuing without giving him a chance to interrupt. "Listen, we've got this case and Dr. Lennox can't help us with it. She says the hot zone equations weren't designed for this sort of search pattern and they have to be rewritten to accommodate the new variables in the data set. In short, she sent us back to you. I know you're super busy, and I wouldn't ask, but Charlie, this guy's killed four kids so far and my profile says he's just getting warmed up. If you could see your way to help us out, just this once... It would make a huge difference and maybe even save some innocent lives. What do you say?"

Charlie turned off his car's engine and stared out at the trees in front of him through his windshield.

"I... I'll have to call you back..." Charlie stammered. He closed the phone without another word and tossed it on the passenger seat next to him. He got out of the car, locked it and pocketed his keys before heading over to the campground's trailhead.

He just started walking, slowly, watching the thicket of trees around him grow denser as he went further into the forest.

He eventually got to the point where the trail split into two branches. He leaned up against the signpost there, breathing heavily and trying to wait out the dizzy spell that threatened to overcome him.

He finally lowered himself to the ground and sat there, watching as the late afternoon shadows grew longer.

A child killer. Megan knew his weakness, knew what kind of case he couldn't refuse. But to go back... See Don... The thought put a twist in his gut and he couldn’t bear to consider facing his brother, especially in his own workplace where he was the most powerful.

Maybe he could find a way to pull it off. Perhaps Megan could bring the files to him at Cal Sci. He could do the work in his office or his apartment. Presenting his findings anywhere other than the FBI offices was problematic though.

There had to be a way. He had to help, despite how he felt about his brother.

He stood up and clutched at the signpost as his head swam. He waited for it to clear and became alarmed when it didn't do so. He held on, feeling a bit of a chill pass over him as the sun began to recede behind the hills.

It hit him that if he didn't hurry back it would be dark soon and finding his way back safely without any light would be difficult at best.

Ignoring his light-headedness, he started back in the direction he came, staying close to the edge of the trail so he could put a hand out to a tree trunk from time to time to stabilize himself. Once he'd known the names of all the types of trees: ash, birch, cedar, pine, even sequoia. Now in the fading light they were reduced to ones that would bear his weight and ones that might not as his need for assistance to stay upright became more severe.

By the time he reached the trailhead, it was almost fully dark and he could barely make out the contours of his car, using his remote key fob to set off the flashers so he could be certain where it was.

He was exhausted and collapsed behind the wheel, out of breath and in no condition to even drive himself home.

Night fell around him as he waited for his strength to return to him. Before he started his car, he made one phone call.

"Hello Megan? It's Charlie. I'll help, but I have some conditions..."

+

Charlie fidgeted nervously in the elevator, part from being back in Don's domain and part from his discomfort at Megan's not so subtle stare at his frail appearance.

"You sure I can't get you a bagel or something?" she asked politely.

"I'm fine. I just want to get this briefing over with."

"Sure, sure, but there's time if you want something to eat first."

"I don't," Charlie said, trying not to sound curt but failing.

"He's not here," Megan said kindly. "He's off at a witness interview, I checked."

"Thank you, but I really just want to get you guys up to speed on the multiple hot zones so you can catch this guy. That's what we all want, right?"

"Of course," Megan said.

The elevator opened and she ushered Charlie quickly past Don's empty desk and into the conference room. She helped him start to put up the maps, finally just taking over for him since he was moving so slowly.

"I'll grab the rest of the team and be right back."

Charlie waved her off and lowered himself into a seat.

He felt like hell. Once he'd gotten down off the mountain, he'd waited to bounce back after a long rest, but never seemed to manage it. Everything seemed hard to do. Thankfully the equations had been easy enough to figure out and he'd only needed one late night with the data Megan had brought him to put the necessary hot zone maps together.

As the agents filed in and greeted him, he stayed seated, trying to preserve what little energy he had for the presentation itself.

"Ready when you are, Charlie," Megan said, closing the conference room door behind her.

"Right." Charlie rose, drawing on whatever reserve energy he had left to get through the next few minutes. "Since there has only been one murder in California so far, I had to adjust my calculations to focus on the incidents where he reportedly exposed himself to children near schools. Since there were eleven instances in California, that provided sufficient data, especially when compared to the data from the two other states where murders were committed."

Charlie felt a sharp pain flare up inside him. He put a hand to his chest and paused for a few seconds.

"Is everything all right?" Megan asked quietly, as the other agents looked nervous.

"You know, can I get some water?" Charlie asked. "That would help."

+

Charlie rushed through the presentation, uncertain how long he could manage to stay standing in front of everyone. Once it was over, and the others were on their way out, he was about to head for a chair when Megan came up to him.

"Charlie, I know it's none of my business..." she began.

"Which is why you should stop right there," he countered. "It really isn't. Now, I've done my part, I'd like to leave."

"Charlie, you can't go on like this! Don's a mess and you look like a prisoner of war or a famine victim or something, so this is obviously affecting both of you."

"Megan!" Charlie's temper started to boil over, but he was distracted by another flare of pain. He put a hand to his chest and put out the other to grab the back of a chair as a dizzy spell assailed him.

"Charlie, let me help you." Megan's voice seemed distant and a bit warbled. He felt her reach for him and he stepped back away from her.

"No..." he mumbled. His back hit the wall and his legs gave way beneath him as he slid to the floor.

He was vaguely aware of Megan talking on her cell phone and then yelling, "Don, come quick!"

Charlie shook his head and kept saying "no". Megan just ignored him, busy giving their location to the 911 operator.

Charlie heard a kind of buzzing in his ears and his vision started to blur. He kept thinking if he could get a decent breath he'd feel better, but it seemed too hard to manage. He looked up and saw Don's worried face looking down at him.

"Hey, buddy... Are you okay?"

Charlie stared at him, wondering if this nice caring Don was really his brother or just a pleasant hallucination.

"I don't feel so great," he muttered, rubbing his chest as if it would help dissipate the pain.

"An ambulance is on the way." The voice sounded like Megan's, but Charlie's senses were rapidly failing him.

"I'm sure you'll be fine." Don again, or the person he hoped was Don at least. "You've probably just been working too hard, not taking care of yourself, right?"

Charlie tried to nod but wasn't sure if anyone would notice such a small movement so he answered instead. "Yeah, right..."

"Just relax," a voice said. "We'll have a doctor check you out and you'll be fine."

Relax... Fine... Okay...

Charlie merely let go and let the encroaching darkness finally claim him.

+

Warmth, silence, peace...

Charlie was reluctant to leave it behind, but consciousness kept calling to him - a mere pinprick of light in a dark hallway that drew him forward.

He didn't want to leave the warmth though. He felt as though he was enveloped in Don's arms, safe from all evils, protected, cared for, loved...

Some part of him remembered seeing Don just before and the hope of seeing him again helped bring him back.

"Don?" The word was nothing more than the barest movement of his lips.

"Charlie?" A voice answered.

He fought his way back and finally managed to open his eyes, finding the worried face of his father staring down at him.

"Charlie, can you hear me?"

Charlie nodded slightly, making his father smile.

"You gave me quite a scare! I tell you, I was always afraid I'd get a call from the FBI saying 'your son's been taken to the hospital', but I have to say I was sure it would be about your brother, not you!"

"Where's Don?" Charlie croaked, his voice still weak.

"He, uh, he's not here right now, Charlie. He'll be back soon, I’m sure."

Charlie wilted, convinced it had all been a happy delusion on his part.

"Tired..." he mumbled. "Want to rest..."

"Sure, sure..." His father squeezed his hand. "You rest. I'll be right here when you wake up."

Charlie closed his eyes and turned his head away, hoping he could find his way back into that blissful darkness again, despite the fact he knew it was all a lie.

+

Each time Charlie woke, it got marginally easier to do so. Each time he woke, he found his father hovering over him, smiling in encouragement.

He hadn't asked for Don since the first time he regained consciousness, but his father kept assuring him that he'd just missed his brother and that he had really been there.

Charlie didn't know what to believe and tried to convince himself he didn't care. He felt dead inside and only did what the doctors told him to do in the hopes that they'd let him leave so he could go home and be away from his father's well meaning but painful scrutiny.

"Good, you're awake!" Alan looked up from his crossword puzzle. "I'm stuck on this puzzle anyway." He put it aside and took off his glasses. "How are you feeling today?"

"Tired," Charlie admitted. He scanned the room surreptitiously, but there was no sign that Don had been there, just flowers he didn't recognize from the last time he'd opened his eyes.

"More flowers were delivered while you were asleep," Alan said. "Do you want me to read you the cards?"

"Later," Charlie said.

"Sure, we can do it later."

The door opened and Don walked in carrying two coffee cups.

"Sorry I was gone so long, but after all the horrible vending machine coffee I figured we deserved something resembling real coffee from the cafeteria."

Don headed over to Alan, not even noticing Charlie was awake.

"Don, you're in luck. Your brother just woke up." He took the coffee cup nearest him out of Don's hand since Don seemed to be struck by a sudden paralysis.

"Hey buddy," Don finally managed. "This is a surprise."

Charlie just looked at him, unsure what to say.

Don fumbled but covered quickly, pulling up a chair and sitting down. "Every time I've been by you've been asleep so it's nice to see you awake for a change."

"I get tired easily," Charlie said lamely.

"Well, that's understandable, I guess." Don looked over at his father for some support.

"Oh, I was waiting for you to get back so I could get some help on my crossword puzzle. Now I guess I have two sons who can help me!" Alan looked between the two of them, not oblivious to the tension between them, but hopeful now that they were at least speaking to each other again.

"What's the clue?" Don asked.

"Well, this puzzle's filled with plays on words. The clue is 'planks a lot' as in a plank of wood. It's five letters."

"Cedar," Charlie murmured.

"What's that, you say?" Alan asked.

"Cedar," he repeated, a bit louder. "It's the wood most often used in the planking method of cooking, where foods like fish are cooked on top of wood to absorb the wood's flavor."

"So that's C-E-D-A-R, Pop, not C-E-D-E-R," Don said with a grin.

"I know how to spell the names of trees," Charlie said, a bit sullenly.

"I’m sure you do, as do I," Alan said. "Why don't we do a few more, okay?"

Don glanced over at Charlie, who kept his face purposefully blank.

"Sure, why not?" Don said, turning his eyes to his father instead.

+

Charlie woke up on the couch, uncomfortable from having slept in an awkward position yet again, but still glad to finally be out of the hospital. His eyes opened and the first thing he saw was Don staring back at him.

With no chance of feigning sleep again, he merely looked away, not meeting his brother's gaze.

"Dad wanted me to make sure you had some soup and bread when you woke up."

"I don't feel like eating."

"Isn't that kind of what got you into this position in the first place?" Don chided. "I'll go fix you a tray."

Charlie waited for Don to walk away before he struggled to sit up. He automatically reached for the ever present glass of water beside him, hearing his father's voice repeating the doctor's instructions to drink every time he woke up.

Charlie heard a quiet knock at the front door then soft voices speaking low enough that he couldn't hear what was being said or who had come in.

He was surprised to see Larry enter the room carrying his tray.

"Hello, Charles. Don asked if I could keep an eye on you while he went out for a bit and I told him I'd be happy to, however I doubt I can match his or your father's efficacy in cajoling you to eat more than your body wishes to consume."

"Larry, I don't need a babysitter," Charlie intoned, but smiled anyway, glad to see his friend again.

"No, although a good psychiatrist would not be an inappropriate suggestion, not that you'd listen to such a suggestion..."

"Larry, there's nothing wrong with me. I just overworked myself, that's all."

Larry put the tray down on the coffee table and sat on the edge of the couch beside Charlie.

"Charles, to be perfectly frank, you can say that all you want, but it's not convincing any of us who care about you. We all know something's bothering you. We just can't seem to find a way to help. Whatever this thing with Don is..."

"Who says this is about Don?" Charlie blurted out. "Not everything is about Don!"

"No, not everything, but this is, or to be more precise, this is about your relationship with your brother, am I right?"

Charlie crossed his arms over his chest and looked away.

Larry pulled at his arms gently. "That's your worst tell, Charles. Whenever you're faced with something you want to deny but can't, you always do the same thing. Now, your father and brother aren't here right now. We're alone in the house. You can tell me. You know you can trust me with anything, right?"

"I can't trust you with this," Charlie said softly. "If I tell you..."

"Charles, there's nothing you can tell me that would make me think any less of you."

"Yes, there is."

"Well, okay, if you told me you were secretly a child pornographer I admit I'd have trouble with that, but I know you Charles. You are simply incapable of doing anything bad like that, you're too kindhearted."

"How about considering committing a felony?"

"Okay, that would surprise me, but Charles, I can't help you unless you talk to me. Okay, so maybe I can't promise that I won't think less of you, but I can promise to keep your secret, no matter how heinous you feel it might be."

"Are you sure?"

"Charles, I've held secrets for decades that would likely pale in comparison to what you have to say."

"I doubt that."

"So, will you trust me?"

Larry looked at Charlie's face and could see how much it was hurting him to keep it all inside.

"Please, Charles... You need to talk to someone. This is eating you up inside and it won't stop until you let it out."

Charlie sighed. "You're right. It is eating away at me." He looked up into Larry's sad and caring eyes. "Okay, I'll tell you, but you're not going to like what I have to say."

+

Charlie woke with the remnants of a dream still in his head. Barely awake, he tried to hold on to the last vestiges of it. Larry had been playing psychologist along with Megan and they were both on the verge of telling him what he should do to solve all his problems. All that he could hold on to were the words he knew Larry had spoken in reality after he'd told him the truth.

'Your brother loves you, you can never doubt that.'

Charlie couldn't seem to convince Larry that all he had were doubts.

As he started to come around, the situation he found himself in confused him. He vaguely remembered lying down in his room, but he felt the presence of another person with him on the bed - a body in front of him and an arm around him. Just when he was sure he was still dreaming, he felt a kiss on the top of his head and a tightening of the arm around him.

He looked up and saw that the person was his brother.

Thrown, all he could manage to say was, "Don?"

"I'm right here, buddy," Don said, his voice soft and caring. He reached down and brushed some stray hair away from Charlie's face.

"I... I don't understand." Charlie struggled to convince himself he was indeed awake and this was actually happening.

"Listen to me," Don said softly. "I was wrong. I treated you badly. I lied to you and I rejected you when you were brave enough to face what I couldn't. I never meant those horrible things I said to you. I do want you and I'm so sorry I ever made you think otherwise. I know I don't deserve for you to forgive me, but I miss you and not having you in my life is killing me, just like it's been killing you to stay away from me. Neither of us has to hurt anymore. Please come back to me. Please give me another chance." He kissed Charlie gently on the forehead. "I love you," he whispered. "Please forgive me."

The confession was too much for Charlie to hear all at once and a gasp of pain ripped its way to the surface, releasing all the grief of the last three months with it. He shook uncontrollably, unable to speak.

Don held him closer, stroking his back slowly and patiently.

"If I could take it all back I would in a heartbeat. If I could take the pain away and carry it the rest of my life I would do it. I just don't know how to make it stop hurting for you."

The more he said, the more Charlie hurt and it was almost too much to bear.

Don whispered encouragements to him and seemed to be willing to wait as long as it took for Charlie to recover.

When he thought he could finally speak, he looked up and tried to hold Don's gaze.

"I want so badly to believe you." It wasn't what he wanted to say, planned to say, all those months he fantasized that Don would one day profess his love out of nowhere. It was just the truth.

"I know," Don said, the sadness evident in his voice. "I broke your trust in me and it'll take some time to earn it back. But I promise, I'm for real and I'll do anything in my power to convince you that I'm here for you." Don's hand cupped Charlie's cheek and he relaxed into the soft comfort of the loving gesture. "Let me show you."

Charlie watched as Don moved towards him, as if in slow motion. Then their lips met and everything else melted away.

The first brush of their lips was the confirmation Charlie needed: the proof he'd craved to erase his doubts. When Don's tongue slipped into his mouth, his whole body relaxed into a resounding Yes...

He wrapped his arms around Don, trying to pull him as close as possible. Lost in the pleasure of the kiss, he sighed, flooded with the feeling of love he'd been craving for endless months.

When they finally broke apart, Charlie looked up at Don, amazed. "When? How? What happened?"

"None of that matters now," Don answered. "I got my wake up call when you collapsed and I got some good advice from a friend that confirmed what I already knew in my heart - that nothing was worth losing you over. Nothing was more important than the love we had and that I hope we can have again."

"That we have still," Charlie reminded him. "I never stopped loving you and I know deep down you never did either."

"No, I never did," Don said. "I just convinced myself we were better off apart, that you were safe from me and that was what mattered."

Charlie tried to protest, but Don quieted him with a finger on his lips. "I know. I was stupid and wrong and that's all behind us now. I just want to focus on you now. On us..."

Charlie closed his eyes and reveled in the sensation of Don's hands caressing his bare skin. The memory of their first kiss came back to him and he realized how quickly things had turned sexual between them. Knowing how weak he was, he worried about what might happen next.

"Don, I’m um..." He wasn't really sure how to explain. "We probably shouldn't..."

"Shh..." Don interrupted him. "There's plenty of time for that later. Right now I just want to kiss you and hold you in my arms and help you get healthy again, okay?"

Charlie smiled. "I'd like that."

"Good," Don said. "So your first step is managing to keep some more food down so you can gain back the weight you lost. Think you can do that for me?"

Charlie nodded. "I can now."

"Glad to hear it." They kissed again and Charlie felt surrounded by pure love, as warm and safe and blissful as he'd imagined it in the hospital, only so much better now that he knew it was real.

"Mmm..." Charlie smiled as they finally ended the kiss. "That's a much better cure-all than chicken soup."

Don chuckled. "Well, I'll just have to up your dosage then. But you're not off the hook for the soup. Now you have to eat something for me, can you do that?"

Charlie sat up with Don's help, unable to keep the happy grin off his face.

"I think if you asked me to, I could fly."

+

Charlie left the doctor's exam room and headed back towards the waiting room. He could see Don pacing back and forth long before he reached him.

Don had wanted to come in with him, but Charlie had been adamant about seeing the doctor alone. Don tried to convince him he wanted to be fully involved in his recovery, but Charlie had turned him down flat, saying some things needed to stay private.

In the end, Don had respected his wishes, even though he wasn't happy about it.

As Charlie came walking out - slowly still despite the progress he'd made - Don came alongside him and slipped an arm around his waist, disguising a sign of affection as a show of support.

Charlie leaned into his brother as they walked out to the car.

"So, what did he have to say?"

"I gained six pounds," Charlie said, trying to sound positive.

"Six?" Don said. "That's all?"

"Hey, it was a lot of work gaining those six pounds. If it helps, he was more impressed that I've been able to keep every meal down for almost a week now."

"Well, that is good, I suppose. I was just hoping..."

"Don..." Charlie stopped him for a moment. "It took me three months to screw my body up this badly. It's going to take more than a couple of weeks to fix it."

"I know," Don said, sounding a bit dejected. "It's just that when I see how thin you are, I blame myself. I just want you to be whole again."

"I am whole," Charlie said quietly. "I was broken and you put me back together again, completed me. It's just taking a while for my body to catch up with rest of me, so be patient, okay?"

Don looked like he was going to argue then just smiled. "Okay."

"And stop blaming yourself, while you're at it," Charlie added as they started walking again.

"Fat chance on that one," Don grumbled.

As they approached the passenger side of the car, Charlie suddenly leaned heavily against Don.

"What is it?" Don asked frantically.

"Dizzy..." Charlie murmured. He felt Don's strong arms wrap around him, holding him up while the world spun and then slowly righted itself. "I'm okay, I think. Can we walk a little slower?"

"Sure, buddy. Whatever you need."

Don kept his arms around him and managed to get him the rest of the way to the car, opening the door for him and helping him inside.

Don got in the driver's side and put Charlie's seatbelt on him. "Are you sure I shouldn't just take you back inside?"

"I'm just tired," Charlie said. "It's nothing out of the ordinary. I just want to go home and lie down."

"Okay, I'll get you home, don't worry." Don started up the car and headed out of the parking lot.

A couple of minutes later, Charlie felt another wave of dizziness pass over him. "Can you drive a little slower, please? The fast turns are making me woozy."

"No problem. Just let me know if I need to slow down more."

Charlie closed his eyes and tried to stave off the light-headedness, but it kept getting worse with the motion of the car, not better. Anxious to just get home, he didn't tell Don to slow down even when his speed started creeping back up again.

+

By the time they pulled into the driveway, Charlie was grateful the trip was over since he was worried he might not be able to keep his breakfast down any longer, even though breakfast really was just a small glass of juice when Don wasn't paying attention.

It took him a while to get his seatbelt unlatched and Don had his door open for him by the time he was ready to get out.

Charlie stepped out of the SUV and felt his knees give way beneath him. The world suddenly turned to gray and all that was left was the sensation of his brother's arms around him and Don's voice calling his name.

When he opened his eyes, Don was carrying him inside the house, laying him carefully on the sofa. Charlie could see the abject terror on Don's face and felt bad for frightening him.

"Hey, I'm okay..." he whispered.

Don looked down, saw Charlie's weak smile and pulled him into his arms gratefully. "You scared me," he murmured. "Don't ever do that to me again." He pulled back enough to look into Charlie's eyes, as if he needed confirmation he was still with him, then peppered his face with anxious kisses. "You can't leave me again," he said. "Please don't leave me."

Charlie just smiled and relaxed into his brother's loving embrace, enjoying the kisses even if he was too weak to return them. "I'm yours now," he said reassuringly. "You could never lose me."

"Well, forgive me if I don't want to take any chances," Don said, gazing down at him. "I screwed up really badly once, so I don't want to risk it all by screwing up again."

"You won't," Charlie assured him. "I won't let you."

Don grinned. "Same goes for you. Now are you going to tell me the truth about what you did or did not really have for breakfast, or am I going to have to beat it out of you?" he joked.

"Okay," Charlie admitted reluctantly. "I didn't have any toast. I tried, but I just didn’t have the stomach for it. I did have juice though."

"How many ounces?"

"A small juice glass worth."

"Charlie!"

"I know! I also know you're going to force feed me a big lunch now."

"Not exactly, but I am going to make you something to eat and sit here to make sure you actually eat it."

"Okay."

Don leaned down and kissed him.

"Don?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I eat later?"

"You need to eat now."

"I need to sleep now. Please?"

Charlie looked up at Don, his eyes drooping, feeling the pull of slumber already.

"Sure, but not here." Don slipped his arms beneath Charlie and lifted his slight frame easily, carrying him up the stairs and placing him gently on his bed.

"Stay with me?" Charlie asked quietly.

Don closed and locked the door then came back to the bed.

"Of course, buddy."

Don lay down and wrapped Charlie in his arms. Charlie settled in with a sigh and allowed himself to start to slip away.

"Love you..." he murmured.

"Love you too..."

+

"Donnie!"

"Hey, Dad!"

Charlie glanced out his bedroom window and watched his brother greet his father as his father headed out to his car.

Charlie went back to the paperwork he was reading through in the hopes of finishing it up before Don made it upstairs. He gave up when he realized his attention was elsewhere and was packing up his folders when Don knocked lightly on the partially open door.

"I'm up!" Charlie said, brightly.

"Good, it's the middle of the day, you should be," Don drawled. "I came to drag your lazy ass out for a walk to the park. Doc said you're supposed to be exercising."

Charlie raised an eyebrow at Don. "A walk in the park?"

"Well, it has the added bonus of being a little romantic, so what can I say? I thought you'd go for it."

Charlie smiled. "Sounds wonderful. Let me get my shoes on." He gathered up his folders and put them on his desk. "Dad gone?"

"Yeah," Don said, coming closer.

Charlie met him halfway and they kissed slowly and luxuriously, wrapping their arms around each other, enjoying the contact as their bodies pressed against each other.

"Mmm... I missed that," Don murmured when they finally came up for air.

"So, you made it through a whole week of work without me."

"You too. You holding up okay?"

"I am. I got an extra T.A. to help me out temporarily and I still haven't taken back full control of two of my classes so I'm still easing into it."

"That's good."

"I'm up five more pounds."

"That's even better." Don ran his hands over Charlie's torso. "You feel a lot better. In fact..." he leaned down to whisper in Charlie's ear. "You feel great to me."

"Oh, really?" Charlie teased. "Does that mean you might lift your moratorium?"

"On doing anything more than kissing? It depends. Are you sure you feel up to it?"

"I'm sure."

"Because I still haven't gotten over you collapsing the first time or you fainting in the driveway either."

"I know, but I've been doing well for weeks. Trust me, okay? I may not be perfectly healthy, but I’m certainly up for a walk in the park and then some," he said slyly.

"So, maybe after the park we could spend a quiet evening at my place."

"I like the sound of that," Charlie said with a smile. "There's a few new movies on cable, we could watch one."

"Sure, buddy. Maybe get some takeout. You've got to eat you know?"

"I know. I actually have been craving Chinese, if you can believe it."

"You're craving food period? That's worth celebrating!"

Charlie laughed. "You sound like Dad. I asked him last night if it would be okay if we ordered a pizza for dinner and he almost broke out into applause he was so happy."

"We're just glad to have the old Charlie back."

Charlie wrinkled his nose. "Not the old Charlie. The new and improved one. The happy one."

"Yeah, the happy one," Don echoed, pulling him in for another slow kiss.

"So," Charlie said, once Don released him. "How about that walk in the park you promised?"

"How about those shoes?"

Charlie grinned and put on a pair of athletic shoes. "Ready to go!"

They headed outside and Charlie locked the front door behind him, pocketing his keys.

"Take my arm," Don offered.

"In public?" Charlie asked, glancing around.

"Hey, anyone who knows you knows you've been sick and won't think twice about me helping you around. Anyone who doesn't know you? Well, who cares about them?"

Charlie smiled and looped his arm with his brother's.

They set out at a slow pace and did a full circuit of the nearby park before Charlie pulled Don to sit down on a bench.

"This is nice. Thanks for bringing me out here."

"I'm glad you're enjoying it."

"I miss the sun. I miss hiking."

"Well, we'll have to go together when you're up to it."

"Is that just you wanting to get me alone, far from prying eyes?" Charlie mocked.

"It's me, wanting to share in the things that the person I love, loves."

Charlie smiled and ducked his head down.

Don ran a hand over the curls at the back of Charlie's neck, giving him a shiver even in the warm California sun.

"Don?"

"We don't have to wait until Dad gets back. We can leave him a note letting him know you're going to crash at my place tonight."

Charlie grinned. "Reading my mind?"

"I know you," Don said, his voice low and warm. "I know what you want." He leaned over to whisper in Charlie's ear. "Let me bring you home and show you how well I know what you want."

Charlie drew a quick breath. "Will you look at the time? We should be heading back, shouldn’t we?"

Don laughed. "Yeah."

They both rose and Don slung his arm over Charlie's shoulder. Once they were out of the park and headed home, Charlie slipped an arm around Don's waist.

They walked in close comfort the rest of the way back.

Charlie watched as Don scribbled out a note for their father. 'Stole Charlie for movies and Chinese at my place. If we have a few beers, I'll have him crash at my place so don't panic if we don't come back. I'll take good care of him.'

Don signed it with a large capital 'D', then turned to Charlie.

"Where should we leave it for him to see?"

Charlie smiled. "I've got just the spot for it."

He took the note and walked into the kitchen, placing it right on the refrigerator with a magnet.

"It might not be what you had in mind," he chuckled to himself. "But I did keep my promise."

Don came up behind him and slipped his arms around his waist as he kissed his neck.

"Ready?"

Charlie turned around in his arms and kissed him.

"I'm ready," he replied. "Take me home."

=
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 13th, 2006 10:01 am (UTC)
Confession
My muse just blows me away sometimes.

Not only are Conflict and Resolutions and its companion fic Ash and Pines both 24 pages long, according to Word statistics both fic have exactly 1,117 lines in them. I made no effort to adjust the length of either fic, either in the writing or editing process. What my muse delivered to my fingers to be typed just turned out that way. Amazing...

Ash and Pines came about because beta red_tanger included a note in a tiny font at the end of her beta of Conflict and Resolutions that read, "Charlie's POV?". Two words led to 24 more pages of fic. /sigh/ Truly my muse needs little to no encouragement to write. (Okay, she did just take a three day vacation, but that was an anomaly.) ;-)

The title Ash and Pines comes from the words 'ashen' and 'pining' in Conflict and Resolutions. They're both used to describe Charlie's reaction to the estrangement so once that was tied into the fact that Charlie enjoys hiking in the woods, the shift to Ash and Pines was complete.

Thank you to those who offered encouragement, suggestions and beta reading: byrons_brain, monkeyfun1, melissima, memprime, 1trackmind and red_tanger (for both inspiring the fic and betaing it!)

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
Cassáncassanlynx on February 13th, 2006 10:31 am (UTC)
Oh, this was lovely! I think I enjoyed it even more than the other version. - Especially the last bit. It's so cute that he remembered to put up that promised note. :)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 15th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I like them both, since they tell the same story, but I enjoy reading Ash and Pines much more. Charlie feels everything so deeply it's more engaging to read the story from his POV.

I love including canon elements and twisting them to my own devices. That note on the refrigerator line was so cute, I just had to incorporate it.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
One Part Exuberance; Two Parts Obsession: brothers Eppespenguingal on February 13th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
Okay for real? Best. Fics. Ever.

So touching and moving and sad and hot and I wish I was coherent enough to pull out all the pieces of both fics that I love with all my heart. *gives your muse chocolate*

Lovely lovely lovely work.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 15th, 2006 08:53 pm (UTC)
/hand to chest/
/is honored/

I'm just overwhelmed at your kind words. They mean so much to me.

I slaved over all 48 pages of these two fic and it's killing me that only three people have commented on Ash and Pines. To me, it's arguably the best thing I've published so far on this LJ, but it's been pretty soundly ignored. Seriously, it makes me want to cry. (I know it shouldn't matter to me, but it does. I'm human enough to admit it.)

But having your praise is like having a plethora of comments - so rewarding and fulfilling it helps wipe the hurt away.

Thank you. Oh, and the muse thanks you for the chocolate. She was running low and needed more fuel to finish An Evening's Entertainment. ;-) (Wait until you see what she has in store for Sam and Dean. I think you'll recognize the Cyn/Mags CP influence. /grins/)

Again, my endless gratitude goes out to you...

-Emma
cat_willow (Jan)cat_willow on February 13th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
"I think if you asked me to, I could fly."

I think Charlie will be doing a lot of that now.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 15th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
And I almost took that line out... :-)

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
StrangeSheElfmegcarryn on February 16th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
And I am reminded why I love Numb3rs. Oh the angst and love!
Thanks! I am sure I will read more of your stuff when I get home from work.
Loves
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 16th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This series is one of my favorites. It's chock full of Eppes goodness!

I appreciate you taking the time to read it.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 17th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)
I love a lot about this, and I've told you so, I hope

You tell me every time you offer me beta, so *yes*. And *thank you* for all your great comments. They help out more than you know.

The realism (again, you always manage to get just the right amount of techinicality to make it real but not clinical. His weithloss is another great example of that)

It's a delicate balance, to include enough real world and canon without it being forced. Too much limits the story and too little makes it less believable. I'm glad you think I'm doing a good job of it. /smiles/

This is my best work to date, I think. Took some time to come up with the "Charlie", but once I got that down, the "POV" came by itself (and if anyone can catch that reference, I'll marry said person:)

Oh, that just made me smile... /grins wildly/

Let's see if anyone else notices it.

Thanks,

Emma
The Girl with the Dark Side!scots_rock on February 24th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
ah, finally i can comment on you WHOLE story! ^^ loved it, or better: ADORED it. Charlie's pov was as interesting as Don's, though i think i felt more angst in this one (which is really fine with me! *hehe*) I am soooo saving this to my pc for reading and re-reading it again! XD
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on April 13th, 2006 06:18 am (UTC)
Thank you and thanks again for taking the time to read this *very* long fic. I think a lot of people didn't want to invest the time which is sad, since I think it's one of my better stories.

I prefer Charlie's POV but since I like them both, I created a Word file with the two stories merged in chronological order. The funny thing? Because of the initials (C&R and A&P) the merged file is called CRAP. LOL!

I'm glad you enjoyed this. Thanks again.

-Emma
irena_adler: Don Eppesirena_adler on September 1st, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
Even though I'm not a d/c-er, I enjoyed this series quite a bit. Very sweet!
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 4th, 2006 07:01 am (UTC)
Wow... You're not into D/C yet you read 48 pages of fic? /is awed/

I really think this series is one of my better works, but it got fairly ignored when it first came out. I think it was just too long for people. /sigh/

I'm glad you were willing to take the time to go back into my archive and read this. It makes me happy to think it's not completely forgotten.

Thanks,

Emma
irena_adler: Charlieirena_adler on September 4th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
I'm happy to find good Numb3rs slash of any kind. :) I'm not much into d/c, not as much because it's incest (though I did read a few stories that really icked me out), but because I just don't see it. If you read any of my writing, you'll see that "my" Charlie and "my" Don have a different relationship, which is how I see them. Oh, and if 48 pages is long, I'm in trouble. ;)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 6th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
Well, 48 pages is long for me and IMHO for this fandom.

I didn't see it at first either, but I was intrigued because so many people did that I pushed myself to try to understand.

As long as I realize that the relationship has nothing to do with real life incest I can make it work. I don't ship anyone on Numb3rs, but I write a variety of ships because readers are interested in them. I write het/gen/slash/cest from G to NC-17 so I'm not limited at all. I just seem to get the most response from D/C NC17 fic. /shrugs/

Do you have a particular fic that espouses 'your' Charlie and Don. I don't read much fic (I enjoy writing it more than reading) but I'm curious now what your version is like.

I'm also curious which stories squicked you. I'm rather fascinated by the boundaries of acceptability especially in this genre.

Thanks,

Emma
irena_adler: Heroirena_adler on September 6th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
Maybe that's why I don't get more comments on my fic, it's too long. :/ Then again, it's probably because I don't write d/c ...

I'm not sure what you meant by not "shipping anyone on Numb3rs" -- isn't this story that? Or do you mean that you don't invent the pairings? Or am I showing my ignorance of fan fiction again?

I've written a couple of short Gen stories that show more of "my" Charlie and Don (The Quiet Between and Harvest Nightmare). Also the first two parts of a new slash series (Balancing the Equation) I'm currently writing shows their interaction as I see it. You can find them through the top entry in my journal.

I'm always pretty icked out by non-con, and my definition of what is non-con seems to cover more than other people's. Also, there was one story where Don finds Charlie ritually cutting himself so he takes him to bed. Not the reaction of a caring brother.
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 6th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
The slash fandom seems to be mostly divided into D/C and C/L with all the others being minor pairings. (I was rather amused to see a new David/Colby comm pop up. Not sure how much is going to go on there.)

I'll have to check out your stories when I'm next in a reading mood. At the moment I'm writing a long Numb3rs/Unit crossover with Mack and Charlie. I have a bunch of really long fic in beta including a pairing I've not seen anyone else write: Charlie/PrimeSuspect!Ethan.

As far as shipping goes, when you ship a pairing you support it, advocate it, enjoy it. I don't feel strongly about any pairings on Numb3rs enough to be a shipper for them. That said, just writing gen fic would be boring and I like a challenge, so I mostly write the ships readers enjoy reading. My fic are all over the boards in terms of pairings and I enjoy the variety far more than just focusing on one ship, like you see a lot in the C/L community.

Non-con is a very gray area and I know a lot of people have that squick. I've read that cutting fic you mentioned and IMHO it was poorly written attempt at making a PWP a more serious fic.

I write everything from 100 word drabbles to long fic over 20 pages and I don't get that many comments. IMHO I think a lot of commenting isn't about the fic, it's about how social you are. I'm not very social so I don't get a lot of fun casual commenting going on here. I'm okay with it, but I do wish that more people who friended me actually took the time to tell me why in comments instead of just keeping this odd anonymous connection going. /shrug/ Not my place to say, I just wish I understood.

BTW, I forgot to say I enjoyed the little Sherlock Holmes flashback your name gave me. /smiles/

Thanks,

Emma
irena_adler: Charlie impirena_adler on September 7th, 2006 12:29 am (UTC)
My "Week in Watson" story is 89 pages long single-spaced. *wince*

Thanks for explaining the shipping concept to me. I expect the only "advocating" of a particular pairing I'll be doing is to try and write convincing stories. I do have preferences of course but if it's a good story, I'll take whatever pairing the author proposes. I archive my slash on Makebelieve, and I had to ask the webmaster to add some Numb3rs pairings for some of my stories, since apparantly no one had ever written them ...

There are a few authors in Numb3rs fandom I'm learning to steer away from since they cross the non-con line too often for me. Bummer that they are some of the better authors ...

I try to comment on fic I read because as an author I know how much I crave feedback myself. :)

Glad you recognized my username! Silly me, thinking it was so obvious when I picked it ... ;)
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 14th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)
/catching up on comments/

Obvious only to a niche audience, otherwise it's pretty esoteric. I caught it right off the bat, but as the Word of the Day says today, I'm a bit more *erudite* than the average American. ;-)

I'll have to get around to loading WiW on my PDA. I don't like to read long fic sitting up at my computer. Makes my eyes go bleary.

I used to check out Makebelieve, but the quality was really sketchy so I haven't been in ages. Then again, I haven't been to the 'Pit of Voles' in ages either. Hehehe

I'd be curious about what pairings no one had ever written, unless you mean hadn't only on Makebelieve which I'd buy since it was pretty light in Numb3rs fic when I last saw it in comparison to other archives.

As far as non-con goes, I can say I don't write much of it mostly because I write so bloody much all the percentages tend to be fairly minor. I can tell you if you see me post a fic called Simon Says or one called In His Place, don't read them. They'll for sure trigger your squick.

Past that you shouldn't be too bad off here. I don't do a lot of non-con. /shrug/

Thanks,

Emma
irena_adler: Don Eppesirena_adler on September 14th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
It was on Makebelieve that I asked for the pairings to be added, but I haven't run across anywhere else either David/Colby/Don or (I don't think) David/Charlie. I remember seeing very few Don/Colby ones. I guess I go for the less popular pairings. *shrug*
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 15th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
You know, I wanted to reply with some commentary on my pairing history but honestly, I've written so many fic I can't really remember! /blushes/

I think I've written (well, at least started) 128 Numb3rs fic (not counting crossovers) so I've really lost track of the less obvious pairings. If someone asked me what Charlie/Billy I'd written I'd probably get a blank look on my face and go um.... ;-) (I know I've done at least one because Taking In the Sights was recent and I really liked how it turned out.)

I don't think I have David/Charlie or Don/Colby, but honestly? I'm not sure. I actually wrote some little ficlets for friends when there was a drabble meme going around for kinky fic and I used it to try out some odd pairings, but none of those ficlets are officially published so I'm really not sure.

Note to self: Start keeping track of pairings in fic tracking documents. Hehehe

The truly less popular pairings - the ones we might never see - might be something like this:

David/Larry
Colby/Larry
Alan/Don
Alan/Billy
Alan/Ian
Amita/Alan

See? There are more esoteric pairings!

Then again, someone's written Alan/Larry so I guess nothing it out of bounds. ;-)

-Emma
irena_adler: math as sexirena_adler on September 21st, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
Ouch, ouch, ouch, some of those pairings made my head hurt! Then again, I've seen an Alan/Charlie pairing that was pretty good so I guess anything's possible ...
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 21st, 2006 10:04 pm (UTC)
Seriously?

Well, the foundation of Eppescest is that it's two hot guys so the incest factor is rather ignored.

Father/son isn't like that so the squick factor comes back. That said, while Alan/Don would never work IMHO I can oddly see Alan/Charlie since Charlie's often written to be very needy. Actually Margaret/Charlie would work better for that, but this isn't exactly the fandom for oedipal fic.

I'd like to see the Alan/Charlie if you recall where it is. If you think it was good then I'm intrigued to see how they pulled it off.

Thanks,

Emma
irena_adler: Charlieirena_adler on September 21st, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't say necessarily that it's good but it's not bad. (Though it really needed a beta) It's voyeurism & masturbation.
It's called "I Saw Dad" --
http://www.squidge.org/~peja/cgi-bin/viewstory.php?sid=29575
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 21st, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
Ugh! Seriously, that fic needed way more help than a beta. I hope that person's first language isn't English. There were so many errors in it and it was so immature. /shakes head/

Sorry, but I didn't find anything good about it. It reminds me of why I don't really read there. The overall level of quality is just too low.

The scary part is there's someone on LJ with a similar name who *is* a very talented writer. I'd feel bad for her if anyone mistook this person for her.

Thanks for the link anyway.

-Emma
irena_adler: Charlie Resistirena_adler on September 21st, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC)
I went back and reread it and it was much worse than I remembered. Ah well.
blueberrypera on November 18th, 2016 03:36 pm (UTC)
Little bit of nostalgia
Hi!

I recently got back to this fandom after rewatching the series and I'm surprise by how much good fic I missed back then although I used to read a lot of numb3rs fanficiton.

I don't know if you're even gonna read this, but I just wanted to leave a comment and tell you how much I like this story. I was really touched by how well you portraied them and, although I'm normally not really into D/C I could actually see this. :-)

Bye!