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05 February 2009 @ 04:05 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Five Walls Part 2  
Written for numb3rs_newyear 2009
Crossposted to numb3rs_slash


Title: Five Walls
Pairing/Characters: Don/Ian, Charlie, Colby, David
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: Seasons 1-4, Arrow of Time
Summary: Don and Charlie find themselves trapped in a concrete basement cell with little memory of how they might have gotten there
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


"Yes!"

Don opened his eyes to find Charlie pumping his fist in the air and the hook on the ring.

"You did it!"

Charlie put his hands on his hips and gave him a look, his enthusiasm dampened. "You don't have to sound so shocked. I am a good basketball player, you know. I can throw things accurately."

"Buddy, I didn't mean it like that..." Don tried to rise, but even the smallest movement set off a ricochet of pain, so he stayed put. "I'm glad," he said, more conciliatory this time. "I want us out of here and if it can't be me..."

"Quit before you dig yourself deeper," Charlie admonished, preparing to climb up. "Ugh, this chain is hard on the hands," he said after trying to put his weight on the chain and stopping. "You didn't say it hurt."

"Yeah, well, I didn't intend on you feeling it." Don paused a second, watching as Charlie looked at the chain. "It's slippery too, so be careful about winding your legs in it. If you slide down when you're tangled in it..."

"Ow." Charlie winced in empathy. "And you had to do that over and over for two days? Man, why didn't you say anything?"

"I'm fine. I don't know why everyone keeps asking me if I'm okay. I'm fine."

Ian just leaned against the wall of the conference room, staring at Don with his normal enigmatic and amused expression.

"After what I did to you I'm surprised you can walk. You're hurting. People can sense that. You just don't want to admit it because admitting it affected you means admitting weakness."


Don caught himself about to shrug and averted the painful gesture. "I had to do what I had to do."

Charlie stared up at the chain.

"So do I."

With a final deep breath, he grabbed the chain and started climbing. Lighter and a little more nimble than Don, he got up to the level where the belts were still attached and clambered up to sit there.

The wood of the trap door creaked and groaned under his weight and both Charlie and Don stared up at it in equal apprehension.

"That doesn't sound..." Before Don could finish his sentence, the trap door splintered and Charlie plummeted down. "Charlie!"

With an abrupt jerk, Charlie's fall was halted. The trap door - clearly meant to open up - had opened down. With the edges broken off, it had fallen in, but the hinges at the end had held and Charlie was now suspended from the open trapdoor.

"Okay, I'm not going on any amusement park rides for a while," Charlie mumbled. "Not fun." Tentatively he shifted his weight on the belts, but the door held. After a few seconds he ventured to stand up on the belts.

"Be careful!" Don called out.

Standing on the belts Charlie almost made it to the lip of the opening.

"There's another ring on top!" he called down. "If I can use it as a foothold I should be able to climb out!"

"Can you do it? I mean," Don amended, "is there enough room for your foot?"

"I've climbed rocks with smaller footholds, so yeah. It's just awkward because it's a swinging metal ring on a swinging wood door and not something solid."

Gripping the splintered edges of the door, Charlie balanced himself carefully on one foot on the gently swaying belts then pulled his other foot up high, slipping his bare foot into the top ring.

Don held his breath, seeing the chains swing, knowing Charlie didn't have sure footing. One mistake and he could come crashing down to the concrete - same as he had.

With one good push Charlie was up, half his body out of the room.

"There's a ladder!" he cried. "I just have to..."

Don could see him scrambling, trying to get the rest of the way out - clearly not an easy task given his lack of height and short reach of arms. Once again, Don found himself itching to be in his brother's place.

"You okay?"

And then Charlie's legs were gone.

"I'm out! Give me a second..."

"Be careful up there! We don't know for sure..."

"Yes, we do." Charlie stuck his head back in, waving a piece of paper. "It says 'car is outside' and I know Ian's handwriting. I'll be right back!"

Don heard his brother's footfalls disappear into the distance and suddenly felt very alone. Charlie was out - free - and Don was still a prisoner. Trapped might not be the same thing as tortured for Charlie, but to Don, being trapped like this and unable to do anything about it had been one of the worst kinds of torture Ian could devise, far better than any pain threshold testing ever could affect him.

"You left me hanging there - alone and in pain - for almost twelve hours! What the hell were you thinking?"

Ian just kept putting his clothes in his duffle bag, calm as ever as Don paced and railed all over Ian's hotel room.

"I thought you could handle it," Ian said dismissively. "The great Don Eppes faces down killers for breakfast, what's a few hours of solitary confinement in bondage compared to that?"


A few minutes later a small duffle bag was thrown down the opening, then a clanging metal noise announced the lowering of a ladder into the room.

Charlie climbed down, looking pleased with himself.

"I have clothes! They were in the car!"

"Ian left my SUV out there?"

"No, my Prius. The keys were hanging on the back of the door to go outside with another note."

"What did it say?"

"'Everything else is at Don's apartment.'"

"That better include my badge and gun," Don said darkly.

Charlie brought the bag over, opening it up as he crouched down beside him. "First things first..." He pulled out both of their socks and shoes and put Don's on first, then his own, tossing aside the borrowed socks. "Okay..." He pulled a t-shirt over his head and pulled Don's button up shirt out of the bag. "The question is, how do I get this on you without hurting you?"

"The shirt's just part of the problem," Don said, glancing over at the ladder. "If I can't move, how am I going to get up the ladder? I might be stuck here for a while."

Charlie got that look on his face again, only this time he was staring at Don. "Think you can sit up enough to drink?"

"Maybe, why?" Don asked, confused.

"Because few things relax a body like being drunk and one asset we do have here is strong beer."

"You think getting me drunk is the answer to our problems?" Don asked, disbelieving.

"Got a better idea? Hey, it's nature's muscle relaxer! Worst case scenario you pass out and I have to carry you out."

"Ha! Good luck with that!" Don scoffed.

"Well, I could always hogtie you again and lift you out by the hook," Charlie offered, archly.

"Funny. I'll take the beer over door number two."

Charlie got up, putting on his own button up shirt over his t-shirt as he went. He pulled a beer from the trunk and picked up the half a beer Don had abandoned. He headed back over to the shackles and after a few minutes managed to get the top off of the full bottle, bringing them both over to Don and setting them aside.

"Now... We need to get you dressed and get you drunk..."

"I think I might need a drink if we're going to go through with this," Don admitted, trying not to appear too nervous.

Ian opened up the mini-bar in his hotel room and pulled out a handful of hard liquor bottles.

"You're going to need a lot of drinks: two to even get you undressed and three more before you're out of it enough to let me fuck you."


"Could this go any worse?" Don opined.

Charlie sobered, looking down at him. "Yes, and you know it. Come on, if we'd really been kidnapped? With like men with guns and no food and no water? The only thing that might end up permanently damaged from this escapade is your ego."

"Yeah, well. It might just be terminal," Don huffed, displeased.

"I'm considering it just a flesh wound," Charlie joshed, giving Don a little nudge. "I'm going to roll you to get you dressed. You ready?"

"I feel like a baby," Don growled.

"Then stop acting like one," Charlie admonished. "If you want out, this is the way out." Charlie prepped the sleeve of Don's shirt for him. "Arm," he ordered.

Don wordlessly offered up his arm, wincing at the strain of lifting it just a few inches.

"I suppose I should be glad I didn't wear a t-shirt Friday."

"Rolling now..." Charlie rolled him to the left, arranging his shirt under him then put him back down on his back, moving over to roll him onto his right, completing the effort by getting his second sleeve on before letting him lie down again. "Not perfect, but it will do." Charlie bent over him, buttoning him up shirt, head bent over his task until Don put a hand over his brother's.

"Thank you," he said, this time honest and sincere. "Really."

Charlie's mouth quirked up at the edge in a lopsided grin. "You're welcome. I figure you saved my ass so many times in school it's about time I get to return the favor."

Don forced a smile, the reminder of his failure not helping his mood.

"Do I have a jacket in there?" he asked, looking for a distraction as Charlie finished buttoning.

"Yeah, but I was thinking maybe we should just put it over the top of you, not try to struggle to get it on you. What do you think?"

"Over me is fine."

Charlie pulled the jacket out and arranged it over Don's torso. "That should help a little." Setting aside the empty bag, he shifted to position himself behind Don's head, moving the beer within easy reach. "I'm going to have you lean against me," he warned, putting his hands under Don's shoulders to lift him up onto his lap. "It will hurt, but only for a few seconds until I get you propped up."

Don gritted his teeth. "Do it." Charlie settled himself into position and pulled Don into his lap. An exclamation of anguish slipped out despite Don trying to bite it back, but in a second it was over and he was able to focus on breathing his way through the pain.

"I'm sorry," Charlie said, his tone honestly contrite.

"It's okay," Don forced out. "Let's get this going."

Charlie held the bottle to his lips and Don managed a drink, trying not to choke on it.

"Try to relax. This may take a little while."

"It hurts..." Don winced, his body taut with tension.

Ian's cock was buried in his ass - burning him inside, ripping him apart - and Don could barely breathe, clenching his fists at the pain.

"Try to relax," Ian rumbled behind his ear. "The more you tense up, the more it hurts. The only way to get rid of the pain is to let me, let go..."


"You know you could just leave," Don grumbled. "This isn't the only solution."

"Given the choice between getting drunk and having the firemen and EMTs come rescue you?" Charlie huffed. "I'm pretty sure you'd choose this option ten times out of ten." He brought the bottle back up for Don to take another drink. "And I'm not leaving you..."

Don bit back a comment and just focused on drinking instead.

+

"That's the last of it!" Charlie proclaimed as the second bottle was emptied. "How are you feeling?"

"Wish I could say feeling no pain," Don mumbled with a bit of a slur. "Even though that's some serious shit, that German beer. Any thicker it'd be fucking maple syrup!" He laughed at his own joke.

"Two of these beers on an empty stomach..." Charlie marveled. "Hell, I only had one total over the entire course of the day yesterday with food and I still caught a buzz off it. So, you ready to try to stand up?"

This time Don was able to shrug.

"It's going to hurt like a motherfucker anyway, so let's just do it."

"Okay, here goes..." Charlie worked his hands under Don's arms, ready to help lift him up. "On three... One... Two... Three..."

As Charlie lifted, a pained howl rose out of Don unbidden, his body's revolt against the unwanted use of injured muscles. Panting, he finally was on his feet, Charlie at his side, stabilizing him.

"Fuck, that hurt..." Don's face screwed up tight as he grimaced his way through the recovery time.

"Holy fuck..." Don swore.

Ian's rapid-fire pummeling made his thighs sting from the sharp edge of the metal desk he was being driven into, his ass hurt from the brutal force of the thrusts and his cock ache as the tight cockring bit into his tender flesh, keeping him from coming.

"Not enough?" Ian huffed out, fingers shifting from where they dug into Don's shoulders to around his neck. "Let's try something a little more extreme..."


"Just stand still. Don't try to go anywhere just yet. Breathe..." Charlie kept an arm around him and Don couldn't help but lean a little on him. "We won't try for the ladder until you're sure you're ready." Don opened his mouth, but before he could get any words out, Charlie interrupted him. "And I don't want any of your macho crap getting in the way. If you can't do it, we wait. Don't be trying to go up the ladder before you're ready because you'll fall, you'll fall on me and I am not letting you get yourself hurt any further - or me for that matter - just because you can't be patient and accept your limitations right now."

"Yes, Professor," Don said with a drunken chortle. "I won't disobey any laws of physics while you're on duty."

"You're definitely drunk," Charlie said. "That's got to be the second time ever you've called me Professor. Besides, you wouldn't know a law of physics - other than gravity - if it bit you on the ass."

"Gravity bites me on the ass often enough as it is." Don frowned. "Every time I go down in the field. Stupid gravity..."

"So, what do you think?" Charlie said, trying to change the subject. "Ladder or no ladder?"

"I gotta take a piss."

Charlie let out a long sigh. "Well, that should give us data on how well you can walk at least." He helped Don hobble over to the toilet, making sure he was stable standing before turning around to give him some privacy.

When Don was done, he tried to turn around on his own, only to wobble on his feet.

"Shit!"

Charlie was there in a heartbeat, steadying him.

"Whoa there... Let's just stay standing for a minute. We'll worry about that one foot in front of the other thing later." Don tilted against him, letting his eyes droop as they waited. "So," Charlie said softly. "Is this why you drink with others, but only get drunk at home alone?"

"How the hell would you know what I do at home alone?" Don asked, scowling.

"You're in law enforcement. You know there are plenty of kinds of evidence other than eye witness accounts."

"Counting my empties doesn't count," Don grumbled. "I could have had, you know, company."

"Don, I pretty much know all of your friends. Who could you have over at your place that I wouldn't know about?"

"I've never done this before," Don admitted, slipping off the couch to get on his knees.

Ian unzipped his jeans and slid them down enough to free his cock. No underwear of course. He stroked himself, watching Don watch him.

"Doesn't matter. You'll do it because I order you to do it. No questions. No backing out. What I say goes."


"I know people," Don said lamely. "Not like you have any idea how many people I used to bring home. Between girlfriends, of course."

"Really don't want to hear about the women in your life right now," Charlie intoned. "I just want to get you out of here. You ready to give it a try?"

"Sure," Don said. "Can't take the chance I might sober up..."

Don started for the ladder, weaving a little, only able to take small steps or else risk his back giving out. At the base of the ladder Charlie stood behind him, hands on the ladder on each side to pen him in.

"I'll be right behind you. Take your time. Stop if you feel you can't go on."

One rung at a time Don worked his way up, his body screaming in protest only slightly dulled by the alcohol. At the halfway point he paused, resting his forehead against the cool metal.

When he looked up the opening was close, so close, so he steeled himself for one last push.

By the time he cleared the trap door he'd broken a sweat from the strain, muscles clamping, spasming, threatening to fail.

He fell on the floor more than dismounted the ladder, Charlie rushing right behind him.

"It's okay. Just lie down. Rest... You made it..."

As Don stared at the paint peeling on the ceiling of the decrepit building, Charlie ducked back down the ladder, emerging with Don's jacket shoved into the open duffle bag.

"Let me know when you want to try to go for the car," Charlie told him.

"Now."

"But shouldn't you rest a little first? I know that had to be hard..."

"I'm fine. Didn't I say I was fine? I'm fine." Don tried to get up, but couldn't until Charlie lifted him onto his feet. "See? Fine."

"Lean on me," Charlie said, slinging the duffle over his other shoulder and propping Don up along one side.

They exited the building, which looked to be condemned as far as Don could tell, and made their way to Charlie's Prius, parked just a few feet away.

Charlie all but poured him into the passenger seat, even buckling him in despite Don waving his hands away ineffectually.

Before they left, Charlie stood and stared at the building a while.

Don watched him through the windshield, unsure what he could be getting from this moment, then let the exhaustion catch up to him, closing his eyes, letting himself sink into the seat - only distantly hearing Charlie enter, start the engine and begin the trip home.

+

"Why do you keep coming back?"

Ian's fingers dragged across the hair on Don's abdomen, their legs still tangled in sweaty sheets.

"Fishing for compliments?" Don let out a little chuckle, but knew once Ian caught onto a scent he couldn't be deterred.

"What you came to me for? It's clearly not working." Ian propped himself up on his elbow, looking down at Don. "I know I'm strong enough to take control from you, but that's not enough for you to let go. We hook up every time I'm in town, we try something new, you still won't break - you won't submit to me, not completely anyway."

"I do what you order me to do, don't I?" Don said. "And you've had me doing shit I'd never even think of doing. That breathplay? That..." Don shuddered. "People like that shit?"

"People get off on it. Some people anyway. Everything is someone's favorite kink, yes even being flogged. But you're not in this to escape the vanilla closet. You came to me because you knew something needed to give and I honestly thought - and perhaps that was hubris on my part - that I would be the one to break you, make you beg, finally get Don Eppes - uber tight ass - to finally let go."

"Hey, I thought with guys a tight ass was an asset," Don joked.

Ian just rolled his eyes. "So the question stands. Why do you keep coming back when nothing I've tried works? If you're not really getting what you need from me?"

"You could always try more things?" Don offered, trying to sound positive.

"I'm serious." Ian stared him down. "Be honest for once. Why?"

Don let all the air out of his lungs.

"I've tried everything else: sex, alcohol, therapy, religion, hell I even went through some meditation training at Larry's monastery - and no that is not for public knowledge..." Don shot Ian a warning glance. "I'm afraid if you can't help me then there's really nothing left for me to try. I'm just fucked."

"What about Charlie?" Ian asked.

"What about Charlie?" Don echoed.

"Have you tried asking him? To help?"

Don just furrowed his brow at Ian.

"No. I mean, he's Charlie. What could he possibly do?"


"Don... Don..."

A voice cut through the drunken daze that made his head spin round and round. Don heard his name, but couldn't figure out if it was Ian calling to him from his memories or reality coalescing around him in the shape of his brother nudging him.

Charlie.

"Don, we're here. Time to wake up."

Don blinked a few times and the dashboard and windshield of the Prius came into view as well as his apartment parking garage through the windshield.

"Wasn't sleeping, just resting..."

"Do you think you can make it to the elevator?" Charlie asked, concerned.

"How far were we?" Don asked abruptly. "I forgot to see where we were."

"I saved it in my GPS," Charlie said, tapping the unit. "About an hour and twenty minutes away. You can look at it later if you want to see the location. It was off the 14, up in the hills."

Don nodded and it hit him afterwards that small movement hadn't hurt at all. He shifted in his seat to find the pain was still there, just dulled by the remains of the alcohol.

"Okay. Let's go inside."

Don started to open his door, but Charlie was out like a shot, running around the car to help Don out, slipping his arm around Don's waist and taking care of closing the door for him.

"Small steps," he reminded. They made their way to the elevator, to Don's floor and out, but Don put up a hand to halt him, resting, leaning against the wall as the pain swelled, making his muscles scream and his head throb. "Can you stand on your own? I want to go open your door before we get there."

When Don nodded, Charlie ran off. He opened the front door with his own key, then returned - waiting patiently for Don to be ready to start up again.

They made it inside and Don shuffled towards his bedroom, leaving Charlie to close and lock the door behind them.

His first stop was the gun safe. His gun, badge and cuffs were all inside. His wallet, keys, watch and cell phone were on top next to Charlie's wallet, watch and cell phone. Charlie's satchel sat on the floor nearby.

He made his way to the bathroom next, shaking a couple of prescription painkillers into his palm and downing them with some water before pouring out a couple of prescription muscle relaxants and taking them as well.

"Quite the pharmacy," Don said, surveying Ian's toiletries bag, stuffed with prescription bottles.

Ian stopped towel drying his hair long enough to come pluck them out, placing them on the counter as he went.

"Painkiller, painkiller, painkiller, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory... The good stuff - the, shall we say, illicit stuff - isn't in that bag. I carry that where people won't find it. Prescription drugs facilitate some experiences though, so they're worth having handy."


"You okay in there?" Charlie asked from the bedroom.

"Yeah." After quickly brushing his teeth and giving his face a cursory wash with a washcloth, Don hobbled his way out to find Charlie had already pulled down the covers for him on the bed and gotten out some pajama bottoms.

"Let's get you out of those dirty jeans," Charlie said.

"I can undress myself," Don grumbled, unbuttoning his shirt as if to make his point.

Charlie crossed his arms over his chest. "You can barely walk. You going to tell me you can bend over enough to peel off those tight jeans? Or are you just embarrassed to have me around when you take off your underwear? Not like I didn't see you naked plenty of times growing up." Don tossed his dirty shirt in the hamper then glared at Charlie, going no further. "Fine," Charlie said. "I'm going to call Dad to check in then go see what you have to eat. I'm starved and you need to put something other than beer in your stomach."

Charlie was off puttering in the kitchen for at least ten minutes - every one of which Don needed to get his jeans and underwear off. He was frantically trying to work his pajama bottoms on, sitting on the edge of the bed, when Charlie brought a tray in.

"OJ or coffee?" Charlie asked from behind him.

"OJ's fine," Don answered over his shoulder.

He waited until Charlie left to work on pulling up his pajamas, finally getting them on by the time Charlie came back, setting a glass of orange juice on his nightstand then returning to bring him a bagel with cream cheese on a napkin.

"Can I borrow some sweats and a t-shirt?" Charlie asked. "I'd like to change as well."

"Sure, help yourself. There's a clean towel on the back of the bathroom door if you want to take a shower."

Charlie rummaged in Don's drawers, pulling out some sweatpants and a Cal Sci t-shirt he'd given Don as a gift years earlier.

"Be right back." He disappeared into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

Don stared at his food for a while then finally edged over and picked up the bagel. He ate it so fast it felt like he inhaled it.

When Charlie emerged in the change of clothes with damp hair, he got up onto the bed, sitting cross-legged, and proceeded to eat his bagel and drink his juice off the tray.

Don downed his juice in one long series of swallows.

"I kind of want something more," Charlie mused behind him. "How about you?"

"Sure."

Charlie was gone longer this time, returning with a plate of scrambled eggs mixed with cheese and the pitcher of juice, which he used to refill both their glasses.

"Okay, that's more like it," Charlie enthused, cleaning his plate rapidly. "No more MREs for me."

"This is pretty good," Don said.

"It's eggs," Charlie said dismissively. "Put enough butter in the pan, it's hard for stuff not to taste good." He took away Don's suddenly empty plate and glass along with his own dishes, returning in time to see Don try to lie down. "Hey, hold up there!"

"I can handle it."

"Actually I was going to suggest you settling down on your stomach." When Don looked up at him, perplexed, Charlie continued. "I was going to offer to work on your back for you. I figured it might help."

"Thanks," Don said, making the effort to roll over. He waited as Charlie retrieved a bottle of hand lotion from the bathroom, trying not to react when Charlie straddled his thighs.

"You bastard! Get off me!"

Don struggled, but Ian was stronger and held him fast, arms pinned above his head. Ian tsked Don even as he ground down against him.

"Someone needs to teach you a lesson, Eppes... Play with fire, get immolated..."


The lotion was cool against his back, but after Charlie spread a bunch of it around he went to work - first gently then increasing the pressure as the muscles began to loosen up.

"This should hurt more," Charlie mused. "I can't believe you're letting me work your back this hard."

"Took some pills," Don mumbled into his pillow, feeling the effects of the alcohol and the drugs now. "Definitely feeling no pain."

Charlie halted abruptly. "Don, what did you take?" he asked, his voice stern.

"Just some leftover stuff... Prescriptions..."

"Don!" When Don didn't respond, Charlie climbed off and went into the bathroom, returning with all of Don's prescription bottles. "Which ones and how many?" he demanded.

Don squinted at them, having trouble focusing, then pointed at one of two different painkillers and the bottle of muscle relaxants.

"Two of those and two of those."

"Don, you're drunk! You don't mix prescriptions and alcohol!" Charlie went and plucked his cell phone off the gun safe. "I'm calling Dr. Andras to see if I should bring you into the ER."

Don buried his head in his pillow. "Just got home, don't wanna go anywhere."

Charlie took the call into the living room where he couldn't be heard and Don decided to roll over. The room spun hard and he braced himself, unable to escape being drawn into the whirlpool of vertigo. His meal roiled in his stomach, but thankfully stayed put.

"He's on his way," Charlie said, reentering the room. "He said as long as you're breathing okay, conscious and coherent and your hearts not going too fast or too slow I don't have to call 911 for an ambulance." He sat down beside Don and pressed his fingers to Don's wrist to check his pulse. "What's five times five?"

Don made a snort of disgust. "My math skills aren't that pathetic."

"Fine. What's 1,191 times 327?"

"Bastard," Don muttered. "Going to ask me who's president next?"

"No, that only works with an acceptable margin of error outside of election years," Charlie said, letting his wrist go. He stared down at Don, shaking his head. "I can't believe you could be so dense. What were you thinking?"

"Did you miss the part where I was drunk?" Don countered.

Charlie let out a little huff. "Clearly I wasn't watching you closely enough."

"Hey, it's not your job to babysit me!" Don railed, suddenly angry. "I'm the big brother! I'm the one who's supposed to look out for you!"

Charlie put his hands out to Don to try to get him to calm down. "Don, please... You shouldn't get yourself worked up..."

"I'll do whatever the hell I want!" Don shouted. He started to get up, but his head swam badly and he wavered, almost blacking out. Strong hands eased him back down to the pillow. "Something's wrong." The words more fell out of his mouth than were spoken. "Feel weird... Can't..."

"What did you put in my drink?" Don staggered to a chair, almost falling into it.

Ian pulled a small metal flask from somewhere and showed it to him. As Don watched, the colors behind Ian blurred and morphed until he seemed surrounded by a shapeless, formless void - a black hole for Don to fall into.

"Just a little something to make you, shall we say, more compliant? Don't worry, it will wear off... Eventually..."


"Don! Stay with me!"

"Make sure doc knows..." Don finally managed. "First drug... Ian... Probably Rohypnol..."

"Oh god... I forgot!" Charlie exclaimed, aghast. "That takes a while to get out of the system. That could be making this all worse. Damn it!" There was a brisk knock at the door and Charlie rose. "I'll be right back!"

Don's eyes drifted to half-mast then closed, the urge for sleep almost overtaking him, only opening his eyes when the mattress shifted - someone sitting down beside him.

"Hello, Don."

Opening his eyes just enough to see, Don lifted his hand in a gesture that was at its best a minimal wave.

"'Lo, Doc."

"Your brother tells me you had a harrowing experience in the field: being drugged, falling and injuring your back, hitting your head and losing consciousness... But first things first. What can you tell me about the drugs?"

"Probably Rohypnol..."

When Don's voice faded away, Charlie picked up. "That would have been a single dose on Friday - late afternoon or early evening. Past that, he had high alcohol content beer: one on Saturday and two this morning."

"Any food?"

"Friday evening no, Saturday yes, today nothing until he had breakfast about a half hour ago when we got him home. He took two painkillers and two muscle relaxants just before we ate," Charlie added, pointing out the bottles on the nightstand to the doctor. "The aftermath of the drugs and alcohol must have affected his judgment."

"Two and two... My regular after getting hurt," Don said. "Do that a lot..."

"Not uncommon," the doctor said. "If you're used to a particular dosage after injury - and you get injured as often as you probably do in your line of work - then I can imagine it was fairly automatic to come in and take your regular pills without thinking it through."

Don nodded, drowsy. "Autopilot... Yeah..."

The doctor pulled his stethoscope out of his bag and listened to Don's chest.

"Any irregularities in breathing? Any dizziness?"

"Breathing's fine... Room's been spinning," he admitted hesitantly.

"Let's get you on your side." Don rolled over and the doctor examined his back, checking each of his ribs on each side. "Who's the director of the FBI?"

"Robert Mueller."

"Ribs don't seem broken, but we can have you come in for x-rays when you're feeling better to check for cracks." He shined a light in each of Don's eyes in turn. "Name a word with seven letters in it."

Don paused for a few seconds, then chuckled. "Asshole."

The doctor even grinned at that.

"You're probably going to be fine, but we should keep an eye on you just in case. It's possible, even well after the drugs have reached full effect, for condition to degrade."

"Can I sleep? Please?" Don pleaded, already halfway there.

"Yes, you can sleep..."

+

"On your knees."

"Yes, Master."

Charlie, wearing only jeans, dropped to his knees obediently and Don watched as Ian put a black leather collar around his neck.

"You're mine now. I can do anything I want to you."

"Yes, Master."

"I feel like playing..."

Ian opened up his bag and pulled out a handful of leather gear. He attached a set of thigh cuffs to Charlie's legs and cuffed his wrists to them, immobilizing his arms. Next came a bright red ball gag, which Don himself flinched at, but Charlie did not - accepting it without hesitation.

Finally a flogger. This one was different than the one Ian had used on him before: made up of tons of long spaghetti thin strands, almost like a horsetail.

Once Charlie was bound and gagged Ian set about his task, circling him as he struck out with hard lashes, changing directions on a whim: hitting Charlie's back, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach...

His brother's skin pinked quickly then began to redden as Ian started to strike him harder. Don winced with every blow, almost unable to watch.

When he finally forced himself to gaze at his brother's face, Don was shocked to see not a grimace of torturous agony, but sweet blissful contentedness.

That was what he wanted, he thought: to feel like that, to feel that wonderful release - lost far and away from worldly troubles.

"You can have this," a voice said. "If you really want it."

At first he thought the voice was Ian's, but then he looked up and found it was Charlie talking to him, only now he was the one with his hands bound and kneeling on the floor and Charlie was the one with the flogger in his hand.

"I don't understand," Don said.

"Then let me teach you," Charlie replied simply.

The whipping began slowly only instead of feeling pain Don felt as though a hard shell that was covering his body was being cracked and broken away. Each blow freed him from his frozen state a little further and he found himself begging for more, begging to be set free.

Eventually his whole body felt like a shell and as it was destroyed, the light as a whisper soul inside of him floated loose: unencumbered by strife, no longer weighed down by the burden of past mistakes, devoid of self-loathing. All of those things were shaken off and Don - almost immaterial at this point - curled around Charlie's neck only to be petted like a beloved companion animal.

The flogger disappeared and he let himself enjoy the soothing touch of his brother's gentle hands, knowing he was loved and cared for by someone he trusted his very soul to.

The pure joy of it permeated his entire being. He felt a rush of emotion swell up inside him, bursting through in tears of gratitude and great heaving sobs of release.


"Shh... It's okay. It's okay..."

Don woke from his dream to find himself half curled into Charlie's lap, his brother's hands stroking his back and his hair, soothing him as his body was wrenched by uncontrollable sobbing.

Unable to stop himself even if he wanted to, Don kept going, letting himself be purged of everything that had bubbled up within him, everything that had been fighting to get out.

Through it all Charlie made no move to stop him, only held him close and comforted him, the shelter of his arms feeling like the safest place in the world.

When Don finally wore himself out, the tug of sleep beckoned him to return, exhausted by his ordeal. He felt Charlie guide him back under the covers, settling him into his pillow.

"I broke..." Don's thoughts were disjointed in his drowsy state. "In little pieces... Then I was free..."

"Try to rest." The compassionate tone of Charlie's voice was a tonic and he followed it to peace, anchored only by the hand grasping his and the memory of his soul curled up happily, warm and loved.

+

"Yeah, at least a couple of days. I'll have him call you when he's well enough. Thanks, David."

Don's eyes fluttered open as Charlie came back in the room, closing his cell phone.

"Hey..."

"You're awake! Good!" Charlie sat down beside him on the bed. "How do you feel?"

Don took a silent inventory. His back felt achy and sore, his mouth felt like cotton and his head felt like a grade A hangover had taken up residence there for the duration.

But none of that bothered him.

"Pretty good, actually," Don mused, almost surprised to hear himself say it. "How long was I out?"

"You were in and out Sunday evening while Dr. Andras was here with you. You kind of lost it around 10PM - about an hour after he left - then fell back asleep. It's 7:30AM now. I called David to let him know you'd be off work for a while and I called into Cal Sci for myself as well."

"Are you okay?" Don asked, waking up a bit more out of concern.

"I'm fine," Charlie said. "I'm taking off work to look after you." He tugged the covers up over Don as Don fell silent, thoughtful.

"I had a dream..." he began shakily, uncertain how to express himself. "I dreamed about you and Ian only it was me and you and you broke me. You destroyed me and that fixed me." He looked up at Charlie, who looked completely confused. "I know it doesn't make any sense, but after all the times Ian failed with me, whatever you did worked."

Charlie's mouth fell open in surprise. "Ian... You... Please don't tell me..."

Don just let out a long sigh. "It never worked with him. No matter what he tried, he could never reach me."

"Oh, god..." Charlie still looked stunned. "He never let on, he never said..."

"That's not his way. I knew he was involved with lots of people, but I thought he could help me, so I didn't care."

"This just all got so complicated..."

"It's okay," Don assured him, putting his hand over his brother's. "I don't judge you for going to Ian. I think I get it now: what he offered you, why you needed it. But I also know now he can't give me what I need."

"I'm sorry," Charlie said, forlorn. "I feel bad for you."

"Don't," Don said, squeezing his hand. "Because now I know who to go to when I need someone to take care of me."

Charlie's face brightened into a wide delighted grin. "Me."

"Yeah, you, buddy." Don gave him a sincere smile. "Thanks for taking care of me."

"That's what I'm here for," Charlie told him. "Whatever you need."

"I think I might just take you up on that," Don said with a lighthearted wink.

"So what changed?" Charlie asked. "All I know is last night you... Well, you let me in, you let me see you hurting. You let me help."

"I had this dream..." Don's voice trailed off as he slipped into the memory, feeling light again and relishing the absence of all that had been weighing him down.

"What happened in the dream?"

Don just turned to him and smiled.

"I guess you could say the wall came down."

"I don't understand," Charlie said, shaking his head. "But if you don't want to talk about your dream..."

"No," Don said. "I'll tell you the dream."

"You don't have to," Charlie told him.

"It's okay. I want to." Don took a deep breath, seeing nothing but patience and acceptance in Charlie's eyes. "It starts with Ian ordering to your knees only you go willingly, happy to obey..."

+

Although waking up Tuesday morning was easier, it wasn't until Wednesday morning that Don felt well enough to make his way out to the kitchen looking for morning coffee.

As he stepped out of his bedroom, he found Charlie sitting on the couch, staring at the cell phone in his hand.

"Morning."

"You're up! I didn't expect that!" Charlie put down the phone, wiped at his eyes quickly, then stood. "I was going to make the coffee and bring you some."

"That's okay," Don said, putting out a hand to halt him from heading to the kitchen. "What's going on? Is everything all right?"

"Just a phone call," Charlie said dismissively. "Bad news. A student... It's nothing."

He tried to get past Don only to have him stop him with a gentle hand on his arm.

"It's not nothing. I can tell you're upset." Don's hand on his arm slid up to his shoulder, giving it an affectionate squeeze. "Can't be there for you if you don't let me, remember?"

Charlie let out a choked out laugh. "Picked quite a time to make that point, didn't you?" Still, he headed back to the couch at Don's nudge and plopped down, head in his hands, as Don settled himself next to him. "Teresa... She's one of my grad students. Was, I guess. That was Larry letting me know her parents called the school. She was in a car accident over the weekend and... She didn't make it."

"God... I'm really sorry." Don put his arm around his brother and Charlie leaned in, accepting the gesture of solace. "Such a shame to lose someone so young."

"Yeah, she was a sweetheart and so sharp! Larry said her parents flew in from the Philippines and wanted to see me before they flew home to take her..."

"I understand," Don said. "You should go. I'm sure it would mean a lot to them to hear about their daughter's time at Cal Sci from someone who knew her well."

"I just don't know if I can face them!" Charlie rose and began to pace as he grew agitated in his despair. "How can I be strong for two people who just lost their only daughter, a girl who hadn't even hit her mid-twenties yet! It's just all so sad and so senseless!" Don got up and stood watching as Charlie's flailing gestures grew more anguished. "And they're going to expect me to have some great insight into their child. How do I tell them I have hundreds of students? What if I mess up and say the wrong thing, tell them an anecdote about the wrong girl? What if talking to me, seeing her papers, just makes it hurt more for them?"

"Whoa there..." Don finally got in Charlie's path, putting his hands on his biceps to stop him.

Charlie just looked up at him with glassy eyes. "The thing is, I'm going to forget her. It will be as if she never lived. Her math, her papers... They'll all be forgotten. All her hard work... All gone. It's just..." Don could see the grief finally flood in full force and pulled Charlie into his chest, wrapping his arms around him. "It's so unfair..."

"I know, buddy. I know..."

Don rubbed Charlie's back slowly as he felt the tension swell and break in the small body in his arms, feeling his brother's pain as his own, letting his own memories of grief and loss rise up - no longer fighting them back down. Even thoughts of the loss of their mother were allowed to bubble to the surface to be acknowledged, not strangled into submission and kept hidden away.

After a while, Charlie finally pulled back, sniffling, but calmer.

"Sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to lose it on you."

"Anytime," Don said soothingly. "And I get it. The sadness, the outrage at a life taken too early? He rested his hands on Charlie's shoulders. "When I was in Albuquerque they sent me a rookie right out of the Academy: Khali. She was totally green, but good, you know? Great agent instincts, killer interrogation techniques and the best marksman in her class. She had a great future ahead of her."

"This doesn't end well does it?" Charlie asked glumly.

Don shook his head. "Less than six months in she took a shot to the neck and bled out before we could get her to a hospital. Not even in her thirties and her life was over before it had really begun. As the boss I was supposed to speak at her service, but I didn't know what to say! Telling her parents their daughter was dead was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It was the first time for me and it wrecked me. I was the proper agent, doing my job, and then I went home and drank myself into a stupor just to try to forget it all. It didn't work and the rest of the week was hell, but I didn't know how to cope. I couldn't handle the idea that I'd been party to the death of an innocent woman - one who had pledged herself to law enforcement and been put in my care to protect. I... I failed her. And that still haunts me." He took a moment for a breath and tried to brighten, giving Charlie a little shake. "So if you want me to drive into Cal Sci with you, be there when you talk to Teresa's parents, I'm happy to do it."

Charlie looked up at him, a mix of gratitude and confusion on his face.

"You know..." He kind of shook his head a little in disbelief. "When you told me about that dream and all? I thought you were just still whacked out from the drugs and that once you recovered for real that Don Eppes cement wall was going to right back up, stronger than ever."

"Nah," Don said, trying to smile for his brother. "That was one darn good wrecking ball that took it out. And you know what? I think I like the view from here better..." He slung his arm around Charlie's neck and pulled him towards the kitchen. "Come on, I'll make us both some coffee before we go..."

+

"Colby, I need you to run that partial license plate, pronto!"

"Doing it first thing!"

Don strode through the mostly empty bullpen with team in tow, pulling his kevlar vest off after an evening raid.

"I'm taking the damaged hard drive to the tech room to see if they can pull any data off it," David told him.

"Keep me posted!"

Colby pulled over at his desk, David headed to the tech room and Don kept going towards his own desk, tossing his vest aside.

"Eppes..."

Don turned around at the sound of a familiar voice and found Ian walking up behind him.

Without a word, he coldcocked Ian, his full force punch knocking him to the floor.

"Holy shit!" Colby exclaimed, staring from his desk as Ian slowly got up off the floor, wiping a drop of blood from his lip.

Ian stood upright, straightened his jacket and nodded his head in acknowledgment.

"You're welcome."

The reflexive rage that had risen up in Don the instant he'd seen Ian just dissipated all at once.

"You owe me for five sick days," Don growled, annoyed. "And don't get me started on my medical bills."

Ian just nodded, lowering his voice as he came close enough for only Don to hear. "Fair enough. You can have five days of my time in return. And I'll pay for the medical bills. Those weren't part of the plan, or at least as Charlie would say, they were a low probability - an acceptable risk scenario."

Don glanced over at Colby to make sure he wasn't listening, his voice a terse whisper.

"So what was your scenario? What the hell were you thinking dumping us in the middle of nowhere all shackled and bound?"

"Charlie needed to learn what being in prison was really about and you?" Ian cocked his head to the side. "You refused to see the potential solution right in front of your eyes. People would kill to have a family like yours and you were just shunting them aside in order to maintain this idealized self-image: the hero who never needs anything or anyone. Well, guess what? Heroes need people too. I tried to create an environment where Charlie would need you and you would need Charlie. As long as he had a chance to prove himself to you, you'd see him for who he is: a strong, caring, brilliant man with a lot to offer. He loves you, Don. Yes, he worships you, but trust me, he's not ignoring your faults. He doesn't love you despite those faults - he loves you with them. And that was what you really needed. There's your real therapy."

Don nodded thoughtfully. "Not the best way to make your point," he said. "But point made."

"So..." Ian rubbed his sore mouth again. "Any chance you'll join me for a beer to use as painkiller for this?"

"Sorry, not tonight," Don said, smirking. "I promised Charlie I'd go to a memorial service for one of his students and I need to be there for him."

Ian put out his hand and Don shook it.

"Give the Professor my best."

Don paused for a second, looking at Ian, but no memories came up, no ghosts returned to haunt him.

"I will..."

+

The auditorium was nearly full of students and faculty, all bearing the solemn expressions of community grief.

Charlie paced backstage, glancing at the podium set up at the edge of the stage as he passed near it in the wings.

"I don't think I can do this, I can't do this. I can't go out there..."

He came to a stop in front of Don, eyes pleading.

Don took Charlie's face in his hands and made him look at him, his calm a rock compared to the whirlwind of Charlie's emotions. Charlie had been his shelter; now he was ready to be the safe haven his brother could turn to in time of need.

"You can. Whatever you need to get you through? I'm here. But I know you can handle this."

"Dr. Eppes?" A man appeared in the wings. "We're ready to begin. Shall I introduce you now?"

Charlie turned to Don and a look passed between them: solidarity - two together, stronger than either one alone.

Charlie took a deep breath and nodded his head, gaze still locked with his brother's - sharing their strength.

"Yes. I'm ready."

=
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 6th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Confession Part 1
Yes, I am made of fail once again. I blame being sick for not being able to get these Confession posts out in time. I think I wore out what energy I had lately just writing these two behemoths!

The Confession post will be up later for those who care to read it. For now, I'm putting the fic up without it to keep things moving.

Please don't reply to this comment so I can come back and edit it later.

Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.

Thank you,

Emma DeMarais
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 6th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Confession Part 2
Please don't reply to this comment so I can come back and edit it later.

Thank you.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 6th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Confession Part 3
Please don't reply to this comment so I can come back and edit it later.

Thank you.
hear me roarmagisterequitum on February 6th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
I cannot read this at the moment because I have sold my soul to the Devil that is known as Latin.

However, at 11am tomorrow when I am done with classes for the week and I regain temporary custody of my soul, I will be back to read.

=)

And comment.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 6th, 2009 07:41 am (UTC)
You are the most adorable, you know that?

I don't deserve you.

/smishes/
hear me roarmagisterequitum on February 7th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
*hugs*

I try sometimes.

I really enjoyed this one, especially that it is Charlie that had to get them out. Yes, Don is the big brother and it is our duty as the older sibling to take care of our younger ones. However, it is also important to remember that the younger siblings get older and are there to take care of us sometimes.

And Don punching Ian... Whew... Well, I can't say that he didn't deserve it.
Tori Lovelostandalone22 on February 8th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC)
I really like this.
rubynye: Tilly (Hyel)rubynye on February 8th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
Did my email ever show up? Which is NOT "why haven't you written me back?" at all. If anyone understands being busy, I do, and you are so productively busy! I just wanted you to know that I wrote you back about this, as you had invited me to. It just took me awhile. :)

Anyway. I still really enjoy this little adventure Ian put them through. It's... psychological and laced with darkness, but happy and even sweet without being cloying. *beams at you*
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 8th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
It did, sorry. I've just been down and out for a while, thus me being really behind in everything. /sigh/ I just haven't had the frame of mind to get into that topic just yet. Mea culpa.

Hey, are you free for a little bit? Would you be willing to look over a drabble? I could use some advice on it. It's not turning out how I want and it's one I think could be good with some effort.
rubynye: City on a Hillrubynye on February 8th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry to hear you've been bummed! *hugs you warmly*

I can certainly look over a drabble right now. I hope I can produce some useful insights!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 8th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
Well more being sick and tired of being sick and tired. /kicks bad health/ But thank you. /smishes/

I'll send it over. Thank you!
Karen: numb3rs charlie (walk alone)byrons_brain on February 15th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
WOW, this is just amazing, the interaction between brothers is just so perfect!

I really love this story...
Maerhys: π charlie waitsmaerhys on October 13th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
Here via Mel, as she recced this over at numb3rsficfind and the premise intrigued me (is this a kink - Don and Charlie isolated in dark places? - if so it's mine). This is extremely well done. The psychological aspects of BDsM are often sexual but not always and it's so refreshing to read a take on getting what one needs in a non-sexual way (assuming since you didn't list Don and Charlie as a pairing) that is not the second best choice. I love all flavors of Ian, but dark!Ian, when done well like in this, is definitely a favorite. You've created a complex situation with complex characters to carry everything out. This is really lovely from the premise to the execution.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 13th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I feared this one was a bit too esoteric, but I'm glad you saw what I was trying to do with it. That means a lot to me.

I didn't even list Ian/Charlie as a pairing because to me they're not actually one in this fic. There's no sexual component to what Don imagines between them and to me that's kind of what I saw in them. Charlie uses Ian just like that - for transcendent pain, not sex.

I also don't list Don/Charlie as a pairing, but as you surmised, I let it be subtly shaded so those with cest gogggles on could read more into it if they chose to.

Hee@flavors of Ian. He certainly does come in many yummy flavors, but Dark!Ian is just so tasty I keep coming back for more.

Thanks for taking the time to read this long one and thanks for your lovely comment!
lilacs_roseslilacs_roses on December 10th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC)
Five Walls
emmademarais on February 5th, 2009 03:09 pm (local)
Confession Part 3

First, *was* there a part 3 to this?

Second... this was... this was a really great read. I wanted to really hurt Ian for what he'd been doing to Don though (most of the italicized parts). I also thought... what would have happened if Don or Charlie had been killed during this 'prank'?? And a variety of other things.

Needless to say, this was just... really well crafted and done.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 10th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
Re: Five Walls
Not a part three to the fic, but I had a long confession planned for this and for Infinity (my other N3 NY fic), but I was so overwhelmed by the pages of notes I had for both I just couldn't deal with them AND get the fic out. So I let them go, figuring I'd come back and fill them in later, but so few people read my Confessions I kind of let them fall by the wayside. My bad.

It's nice to know this is still getting read every once in a while! It was an odd sell at first (a Don/Ian fic that's got way more Don and Charlie gen in it than actual D/I slash), but I liked how it turned out in the end.

FWIW Part of me wonders if Ian had a hidden camera in the room or at least bugged it so he could listen in and make sure they weren't in dire need of medical attention. I mean, even after Don fell there was nothing wrong with him that required immediate medical attention. It was just when he was stupid enough to mix drugs and pills and alcohol that things went really bad - something Ian couldn't have foreseen.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and comment!