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15 July 2008 @ 12:48 am
Numb3rs Fic: Different Paths  
Written for n3_challenge Don Eppes Birthday Challenge
Crossposted to numb3rs_fic

Title: Different Paths
Pairing/Characters: Don, Charlie, Alan
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Season 1
Summary: Don reaches his peak in his third season with the Dodgers (AU)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

"Now batting for the Dodgers, Number 16, third baseman Don Eppes..."

A low roar of cheers and applause rose up from Dodger Stadium as the popular slugger approached home plate.

The Dodgervision video screen showed a close up of Don's face, a study in concentration, focus and determination.

The away team's pitcher stared him down from the mound. Don's batting average preceded him and with a runner already on second base he was a threat to be reckoned with. A double could drive a man in and tie the game. A home run would win it.

The first pitch went wide: low and outside.

From a box seat nearby a curly headed genius was yelling about low and outside statistics.

The second pitch overcompensated and Don had to leap back from the plate to avoid being hit by the pitch.

He stepped out of the batting box, giving himself a moment to swing his bat a little before stepping back to the plate.

Strike one. The die hard fans booed the umpire for the call on the clearly borderline ball.

The next pitch connected, but the ball flew off into the crowd: foul ball.

Don stepped away from the plate again, swung his bat a few times then squared his shoulders and took his position again.

The wind up...

The pitch...

The crack of the bat resonated throughout the stadium followed by the cheers of tens of thousands of fans leaping from their seats as the ball sailed over the right field wall.

Don took off for his victory jog around the bases, lifting his cap to the fans as he followed his teammate in as the game winning run.



"Hey, Pop!"

Don embraced his father, accepting his vigorous pats on the back.

"Home run! My boy won the game! I couldn't be prouder."


"Hey, buddy!" Don stepped forward to embrace his younger brother next. "The NSA let you off duty long enough for a game?"

"Nah, I'm playing hooky," Charlie joshed. "But it was worth it. Man, that was great! You were great!"

"Thanks. I tell you it felt damn good. You know..." He shook his head even as a contented smile graced his face. "I can't imagine doing anything else but playing baseball. There's nothing like knowing where you belong..."

"And being the best at it..." Charlie added.


"To my sons!" Alan said, raising a glass at the dinner table. "One a star Major League baseball player and one a world class mathematician and the NSA's top cryptographer."

Don and Charlie raised their glasses and all three men drank the last of their champagne.

"Can I bring you another bottle, Sir?" the waiter asked Alan.

"That would be excellent," Alan said brightly. "We have a lot to celebrate."

"Yeah, like the City Council unanimously voting to approve your citywide redevelopment plan!" Charlie threw out.

The waiter stopped the passing sommelier. "Another bottle of champagne for Mayor Eppes' table."

Don leaned back in his chair.

"This is the life, isn't it..."

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on July 15th, 2008 07:50 am (UTC)
I confess I forgot it was Don's birthday until I saw admiralandrea's fic for it.

/hangs head/

In penance I wrote this nice little AU so that Don can get to live out his Major League dreams, even if he has to do so in an alternate universe.

The Charlie working for the NSA and Mayor Eppes bits? There just because I liked them. Hehehe

Different paths for everyone I figured, not just Don. It's like a nice big game of what if? What if Don had just a bit more of that special something that makes a player a star? What if Charlie had gotten recruited young by the NSA? What if Alan had taken his activism and city planning skills to the next level and ran for office - and won? (I'd have voted for Mayor Eppes! And I especially like the amusing irony that in this universe it's Agent *Charles* Eppes, not Don...)

So I've now written this challenge twice for Andi's comm. Note to self: Don't forget Charlie's birthday this year... /grins/


Emma DeMarais
Devo79devo79 on July 15th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
Man that is a different path.
I always love reading those kind of short AU.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 17th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
Re: Confession
Thanks! I figured doing one path, do all three!
ladygray99ladygray99 on July 15th, 2008 10:56 am (UTC)
This is my smile for the day. :)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 17th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
I'm glad!
Miamia_dcwut_09 on July 15th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
nice little au fic
loved it
riverotter1951: lily of the valleyriverotter1951 on July 15th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. The twist at the end [Alan as mayor] reminds me of an O. Henry.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 17th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
Wow, that's a comparison I don't deserve, but thank you.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 17th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
andi: Don & Charlie hugadmiralandrea on July 15th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
Yay \0/ I love it! Really fantastic! A wonderfully intriguing AU, especially the alternate paths for Charlie and Alan. I read this with a huge grin all the way through.

Thanks so much for participating! :hugs:
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 17th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
YW! /hugs back/

I'm just glad I caught it in time! I've been so far out in left field I have no clue what's going on on LJ anymore. Argh.

But I <3 supporting my friends' comms so I really wanted to do it for you. :-)
paranoid_womanparanoid_woman on July 15th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, I liked this AU! I could see it all happen, the toast, Don being a baseball player, Charlie working for the NSA... Alan with redevelopment plans!! Yay!

Loved it! :D
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 17th, 2008 05:33 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad I went the extra step and did Charlie and Alan too...
Jelsemium: white tuberosesjelsemium on July 26th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
What a cute story! I liked seeing them all relaxed and happy this way. (Although I confess, I kept expecting something nasty to happen. A mad gunman, a waiter with poisoned wine... But I'm just sick that way.)

Just one thing, about recruiting Charlie at a young age... The NSA didn't exist until after 2001.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 26th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Actually, Homeland Security was created in 2001. The NSA existed well before then. They just weren't well known to the public.

I like surprising people with random angst, but in this case the AU was enough to be different on its own. /shrugs/

Thanks for reading!

Jelsemiumjelsemium on July 26th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
The NSA existed? My bad.

Um, the comment about something nasty happening was supposed to be a joke. Sorry it fell flat.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 26th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
No, I got the joke. It's just that that's exactly the kind of thing I *do* do to people! I wrote a Don fic called Birthday that was exactly that - a nice day and then *wham*. Angstorama!
she studied. she climbed. she wrote.: numb3rs- manhuntloozy on June 24th, 2009 09:19 am (UTC)
Very nice...

I love how you played out the scenarios for all three of the Eppes- men :)
ikeepfishinmytv on October 28th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Wow. This was superbly written.

I am now feeling almost melancholy wondering if they would have been happier off in this life, or whether in the long run, they would have felt a sense of displacement; whether they would have wished to take a gander down the road not traveled?
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 28th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
What a lovely comment! Thank you!

I like to think how happy you are with life has to do with your attitude towards life more than your circumstances. This Don didn't notice he played cops and robbers as a kid and went on believing baseball was his true love. This Charlie found his passion for police work earlier and decided (without the FBI brother to influence him) to head to the alphabet agency where a mathematician would be the most useful.

And this Alan? Without Charlie living at home and working at Cal Sci he had more time for his career and got into politics as a way of effecting real change.

They still lost Margaret so that's always sad, but I like to think they're still them no matter where life leads them.