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06 July 2008 @ 08:57 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Now or Never  
Posted to numb3rs_slash

Title: Now or Never (Sequel to Chaperone)
Series/Universe: Not the Only One
Pairing/Characters: Charlie/Colby, Don
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Judgment Call, Breaking Point
Summary: Charlie decides to officially end his relationship with Amita
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

"No. Absolutely not."

Don crossed his arms over his chest, adamant, but Charlie was equally stubborn.

"It's not your decision to make," he said, the sharp edge to his tone making Colby - caught sitting between the two brothers - squirm uncomfortably. "It's my life, my house, my phone and yes, my soon to be ex-girlfriend."

Charlie sat in bed, where Alan had installed him after lunch, propped up on pillows with his bedroom phone on top of the comforter. His hand wasn't on it, but his eyes kept going to it throughout his disagreement with his brother.

"Charlie, you had a seizure because you were on the phone with her! You had a second one because of her despite the fact she wasn't even in the room with you! There's no way I'm letting you call her when you just got out of the hospital!"

Amidst the yelling Colby stifled a yawn behind his hand.

Charlie instantly softened as he turned to Colby. "You really should get some sleep. You were up all night."

"I'm good for the moment," Colby said dismissively.

While Charlie's attention was off him Don swooped in and grabbed the phone, pulling the cord from the wall.

"You're not calling Amita and that's final." As Charlie opened his mouth to protest Don also grabbed his cell phone from the nightstand.

"Hey! You can't just take my phones!"

"Watch me!" Don stalked out of the room, letting the door slam a little too hard behind him.

"It's my house," Charlie pouted. "He can't just waltz in..."

"I think he just did," Colby said gently. "Listen, Charlie. Don's not wrong..."

"Oh, you're on his side?" Charlie looked at Colby, surprised.

"No, but he has a point. Contact with Amita gave you the two seizures. He's worried, with good reason statistically speaking," Colby pointed out with a playful smirk, "that it's going to happen again."

"That's what I'm trying to avoid," Charlie said mournfully. "You know she's going to show up at the house any time now and I'm just dreading it. If I break up with her..."

"She might not show up..." Colby finished for him. "Got it. But you still need a plan - a way to ensure she won't rile you up and cause another seizure."

"I don't need a plan," Charlie said, the picture of quiet confidence. "I have you."

Overwhelmed with Charlie's faith in him, Colby merely nodded. He moved to sit on the bed beside him, pulling his cell phone out of his pocket and handing it over to Charlie.

"At the first sign of trouble I'm hanging up for you," he warned, glancing back at the door Don had left through. "And keep it down. I still have to work with your brother and I'd prefer not giving him a reason to put me on a spit and roast me."

Charlie accepted the phone, holding it in his hands as he took a few deep breaths.

"I need to do this," he muttered, more to himself than anything. "It's now or never."

"Do you know what you're going to say?" Colby prompted.

"Yes." Charlie took one last deep breath, opened the phone and dialed. "Amita? It's me. Don't talk, just listen. No, for once just listen because if you don't I'm hanging up the phone." He looked to Colby and put out a hand for him to grasp, which he did with fervor - feeling Charlie's need for a stabilizing force in his tense grip. "I need you to understand something. I don't want you to come to the house. I don't want you to call me. Amita..." He faltered, looking searchingly at Colby who urged him on, moving closer on the bed. "We can't be together anymore. It's not working. I don't think it's been working for a while and I don't think it can be fixed. I don't think I want to try to fix it. We need to go back to where we were good - as friends and co-workers, okay?" He paused, listening for a moment. "I know you feel that way, but it doesn't change the way I feel. I'm sorry, I really am." He halted again, growing more anxious. "Amita, I have to tell you if you don't calm down I'm going to have to hang up the phone."

Colby reached for the phone. "Charlie..."

Charlie pulled back just enough to show he wasn't ready to give it up. "We can talk again, yes, but not until I'm stable, so you'll have to wait." He paused again to listen and the expression on his face was one of frustration mixed with sadness. "I know you want to talk this out, but we can't. I can't. You have to respect that."

Colby beckoned to Charlie to hand over the phone. "That's enough," he whispered. "You shouldn't get too agitated."

Charlie pulled back again, refusing to hand over the phone. "Amita, I'm not trying to hurt you. I'm just trying to be honest and tell you what I need." His voice rose, becoming slightly shrill. "They did not make that up! Nobody is falsely accusing you!"

Colby snatched the phone out of Charlie's hand and spoke into it briefly. "Amita, this is Colby. Charlie can't talk on the phone any longer. He broke up with you. You need to accept that and move on. Don't come to the house or Don or myself will send you away. Goodbye." He snapped the phone closed and turned off the ringer. Without missing a beat he refocused all of his attention on Charlie. "Breathe... Long slow breaths."

Charlie obeyed, taking a moment to let his breathing slow and calm. When he finally spoke his voice was tiny, uncertain. "I did it."

"Yes, you did."

"Why do I feel like such an ogre?" he lamented. "I feel like I convinced her to stay here for me and now I'm just dumping her."

"Hey!" Colby said, shaking him a little to get his full attention. "She's a grown woman, she made her own decisions. Some relationships end. She has to come to terms with the fact that yours did."

Charlie nodded. "So why does it still hurt, even though I'm the one who did the breaking up?" he asked, eyes downcast.

"Because you're a good man and you don't want to hurt anyone," Colby soothed. "Give it time. You'll feel better about it in time."

"How are you so sure?" Charlie asked, settling down on the pillows, a yawn slipping out.

"I'm sure because you did the right thing. And that? Is what helps people sleep at night." He patted the bed as he rose off of it. "Speaking of, you need some rest."

"Oh!" Charlie's eyes popped open. "I'm sorry! I was supposed to make you go home ages ago! You still haven't slept!" He cocked his head towards the door and the hallway beyond it. "The guest room is right across the hall. You're welcome to go crash there if you don't want to risk driving home." He settled back under the covers. "It's your choice, but I know I'd feel better if you stayed."

Colby smiled, ducking his head down a little. "Well, statistically I would be safer not driving on this little sleep."

Charlie's bright grin shone above the dark blue sheets. "You can't argue statistics!" He nodded towards the door. "See you when you wake up."

Colby headed for the door, not bothering to hide his yawn this time. "Okay. Get some rest..."

"Colby?" Charlie's plaintive voice stopped him with his hand on the knob. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," he said kindly. "I'm just glad it's over."

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on July 7th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
Yes! NOO is back!

After Chaperone went over so well the muse apparently decided she liked this series and I got *three* new installments.

These three form a sort of mini-arc of sorts so they went well together. The next grouping is another sort of mini-arc, so hopefully there will be four in the next set.

I'm holding off on putting the fic titles on the Series Post, save the ones that are for sure written, but in case anyone cares this is how the fic in the two mini-arcs will go.

Now or Never, Don't Want to Hear It, Used to be a Victim
Just Don't Know, Never Know, The Words that We Don't Say, What I've Done

I have titles for four more installments after that, but that arc is one that I'm not sure is stopping at four so I'm reserving judgment for now.

That will make 19 installments. And yeah, at that point I'll be *nowhere* near done with this universe. I know this universe is not supposed to be open ended since I'm bound to use the song lyrics as titles, but considering the fact that I've identified about 40 possible titles in the lyrics this may become my longest series ever before I call it over.

Good thing so many of you like Charlie/Colby! (Good thing the Charlie/Colby fans are patient enough to wade through like a dozen gen installments before there's any *real* slash! LOL)


Emma DeMarais
ladygray99ladygray99 on July 7th, 2008 06:06 am (UTC)
As A big Charlie/Colby flag waver I welcome you to the club complete with the funny hat, secret handshake, and really good cookies. I'm glad Charlie took a big breath and did it. Keep going. :-)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 7th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)

/adjusts new hat and nibbles cookies/

Thank you!

I was just saying how weird it was that this Charlie/Colby series is kind of gen for the first oh *dozen* installments, but when there's potentially ~40 installments that at least means this embarrassingly long courtship will pay off eventually. /grins/
ladygray99ladygray99 on July 7th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC)
Us Charlie/Colby fans are a very patient lot. People have been waiting for six months for my next Whitman story and the sharp sticks haven't even come out yet. That and we seem to be a mildly masochistic lot. we *like* slow builds so give us your best like you always do. We'll be waiting.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 7th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC)
For whatever reason - possibly because it's episode related - this fic cleaves enough to canon that I wanted to address Charlie's existing relationship and the fact that neither is out as gay before they start a real relationship. I don't know why, but it just felt right that they grow closer slowly and this develops from friendship growing closer rather than just sexual attraction.

You guys must be patient if I went months without new installments in this and no one hunted me down. ;-) That's cool because I have like two dozen series, some of which people are ready to toss me on a spit for if I don't continue them. Hehehe
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on July 7th, 2008 11:13 am (UTC)
yeah, see, i just think you're a pretty busy lady... i've tried shouting at irena's muse before and it doesn't work. so, if you're telling me _you_ respond to being hunted... watchout, girlfriend... and expect to be hunted... :smootches:
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)

Clearly Irena and I have very different muses!
boymommytotwo: colbyboymommytotwo on July 7th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)
is the happy-muse back? will sharp sticks work?

:runs to the campfire for sharp sticks:

just let me know! please!

ladygray99ladygray99 on July 7th, 2008 11:18 am (UTC)
ummmm....Happy muse is slowly peeking its head out again. I'm not sure sharp sticks will help. I'm trying really hard not to scare it away right now.
harknessgirl: Colbyharknessgirl on July 7th, 2008 10:19 am (UTC)
This is really good.
I am really enjoying the Colby and Charlie relationship, before they actually get together. I believe it will make them stronger in the end.
Cant wait for more and thanks for all these great reads.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm finally enjoying the relationship myself after ages of wondering why so many people liked it so much.
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on July 7th, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)
it feels a little strange to tell someone you're glad they'll be nowhere near done with something... but that's how i feel about you and NOO... :)

:loves and hugs:
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
LOL Strange, but flattering. Thank you. /smiles/

I'm happy it's going to be long and not as upset as I should be at having so much work ahead of me. I think it's partially because I make these installments 3 pages long which is a length I can enjoy writing and not angst over long edit and polish sessions over. They're like potato chip fic. I can toss back a few for a snack and enjoy it, but it's not a huge sit down meal I have to cook and clean up after. ;-)
Devo79devo79 on July 7th, 2008 12:42 pm (UTC)
*Sighs happily*
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
tayla36tayla36 on July 7th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I love this series.
Of course I love any story that gets rid of Amita somehow.

And I like the slow building of the relationship.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Tayla!

Amita's pretty much gone from the series now. If she shows up again (big if) it's only as Charlie's co-worker and in small doses.

I'm relieved so many people like the slow build. I really enjoyed it in A Shift in the Continuum, but I feared everyone else was going to say 'just get to the porn, will you?' LOL
tayla36tayla36 on July 18th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
We just had a discussion about this on another list that I belong to, because an author felt that they had to warn in the header that there was no graphic sex in the fic. That touched off a discussion where another listsib felt that there are some slash readers out there that would only read a story if there was sex.

I think that each of us has our own preference, and while there are certainly people out there that only want to read the sex, there are other's of us, that while we like the sex, it is not necessary for a good story.

I know that when i am reading a story that I have read before, you know, like a long epic story that I have saved on my hd, I will sometimes skip over the sex scenes to get back to the story.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
I like writing a mix. I do a few PWPs, a ton of gen, a decent amount of het relationship fic, a smattering of femslash, and slash ranging from NOO which is essentially gen masquerading as pre-slash to hardcore NC17. I know there are some who *look* for the NC17 rating for hardcore and that's fine, but people who assume slasher=pornster? That's just not so.

I even suggested non-cestficcers give Vice a try despite it having a little Don/Charlie in it. It's a 53,000 word novel and there's only two very short incest sex scenes in it - easily skippable and not critical in the bigger scheme of things. Mostly Vice is a gen novel, but like life it has pairings in it - just not much sex since that's not critical to the plot.

It's too bad that list person felt that way. Assuming people will only appreciate the graphic parts of your writing or only appreciating your writing for the titillation factor feels kind of empty.
Mia: casualtouchesmia_dcwut_09 on July 7th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
sometimes the best charlie/colby fics are all pre-slash
Im so loving this
and no worries
the wait just makes the excitement grow
and welcome to the charlie/colby band wagon.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I like pre-slash because I think any relationship can build slowly, not just het ones.
Miamia_dcwut_09 on July 19th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
thats true
irena_adler: Charlie Colby mindirena_adler on July 7th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
Yay! I think Colby let Charlie talk a bit too long, but it all worked out. Love Don ripping the phone out of Charlie's hands. :)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
I think so too, but Charlie can be stubborn. ;-) Don? He's just more stubborn. Hehehe
nyctophobia76: Charlie Thudnyctophobia76 on July 7th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
Uh...even though there has been no sex, I love, love, love this series! I just found it and even though I really ought to be working, I read the entire thing through twice. I'm so excited that you're writing more, and I can't wait to read it.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
Wow, what a nice compliment! Thank you!

This series is so long term there should be more for a long time to come. Not sure if there will ever be graphic sex in it (I like it PG13) but one assumes if they get together it has to happen some time, right? :-)
(Anonymous) on July 8th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, us C/C fans are a patient lot when the stories are this good. And as for slow build-up, I think it makes the relationship more real and pulls us readers in, in a deeper way. Thanks for continuing this series since I know you're a big Don/Charlie fan.

Twins' Mom
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 18th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
You'll never see this /sigh/ but I'm not the big Don/Charlie fan you assume that I am.
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 27th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
Yay, he did it! I feel bad for Charlie a little, because he doesn't want to hurt Amita and knows that he has. I even feel bad for Amita in my more charitable moments, because it's obviously out of the blue from her side of things. But I'm glad it's done. I liked how Colby was with Charlie. Alan's gone into mothering mode, Don's gone into protective big brother mode and it's easy to understand how Charlie appreciates the sentiment, but could do without the reminders, so it's good that Colby's acting mostly as normal. He's being a little bit more solicitous, but for the most part he's allowing Charlie to just be Charlie.