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25 February 2009 @ 06:06 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Thermal Break  
Written for numb3rs100 Challenge #200 – Around

Title: Thermal Break
Series/Universe: Thermodynamics
Pairing/Characters: Charlie/Billy, Don
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 200
Spoilers: Man Hunt
Summary: Don comes first. It's understood.
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Thermal Break: elimination of energy

An element of low thermal conductivity placed between materials can eliminate the flow of thermal energy between those materials.


The callous ring of Billy's cell phone slices the sweaty silence after; Don's voice on the other end is a splash of cold water.

Charlie's phone rings next. The master calls. They will obey.

The night air swirls, brings shivers to naked skin. Billy slams the window shut as he passes on the way to a three-minute shower. Don would smell the sex on him in a heartbeat; on Charlie, it won't even register.

He emerges, steam billowing around his towel-clad form, to catch Charlie, dressed, with his hand on the doorknob. His doe eyes are full of apology but blessedly free of regret.

Neither speaks a word. Don comes first. It's understood.

When they convene at the crime scene twenty minutes later, arriving separately, Charlie gets the same perfunctory nod of greeting as everyone else.

This is still the same man whose skin he tasted, the same body that arched under his touch, the same face that contorted in euphoria shouting his name.

But Don stands between them now and Billy knows he always will.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
Gah! I'm glad that's over with!

I don't think I've ever rewritten a drabble series anywhere near as much as I rewrote every one of these four drabbles. And they still didn't turn out how I envisioned - none of them. /sigh/

Chalk this up to yet another experiment...

Thermal Break for the last time utterly shamelessly nicked from Wikipedia.

I confess I forgot until the final draft to remember to make sure the prompt word was in the fic. And lo and behold! Tada! It was already in there! LOL

I admit the ending probably isn't very satisfying, but to me it's realistic. Don was Billy's partner - that's a strong bond, entrusting your life to someone on a daily basis. Don is Charlie's brother and big brother at that, the one he's idolized all his life. No matter what Charlie and Billy might experience together, Don's always going to come first to both of them and that's oddly like having a love triangle: both of their loyalties lie elsewhere and that means the bond they share can never be strong enough on its own to win out.

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


Emma DeMarais
Erinstarlettmalfoy on February 26th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
Oh, I don't know. I think it's ridiculously satisfying! I mean, obviously, not to the 'shippers, but to us angsters... well... yeah. I loved it.

My favorite line, because it was so damn impacting:

Charlie's phone rings next. The master calls. They will obey.

Non-'cest-y love triangle FTW.

Oh, and this is my favorite part of this series. Just so you know. <3
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
LOL at non-cest-y love triangle!

Have you ever seen my Charlie/Billy piece called The Ghost of You? It's them post-Don and all broken. It's really horrible how Don can come between them even after he's gone. /wibble/

I'm surprised you like this part best, but if you like angst? This has it in abundance!

hear me roar: Kahlan - Legend Of The Seekermagisterequitum on February 26th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
Ahhhh. It's true. Don does come first.

A nice ending to this. A fitting ending that's reality.
hear me roarmagisterequitum on February 26th, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
P.s I will try and get to 31 through some number, probably the end? of Virtue tomorrow.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
Yay! That would be awesome, but don't push yourself. 38 and the epilogue is where it ends, so if you're doing it in tens then you can get through in the next push. Be warned though, the end might generate more commentary since at that point you'll know if the threads satisfied or not once each of them got resolved (or as resolved as they are going to be in Virtue) by the end.
hear me roarmagisterequitum on February 26th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
Probably Friday then so that I can give more time to it fully for all the endings and wrapping ups. I sent you the other parts yesterday, so Friday isn't too long of a wait.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
See, this time I know I haven't replied, because it's still in drafts! I had some comments back to you and I'm still futzing with them.

Friday is cool or even the weekend. I'm at your disposal. I have set aside March as Virtue Edit Month (VEM!) so I am promising to myself I get to also start a long fic the same month as a treat (not sure which will win out of all the planned fic/series to continue I have on my to do list).

But yeah, my biggest concern is that the reader not be left a) scratching their head saying WTF? b) cursing my name or c) unsatisfied (although I can live with d) Too much het, not enough slash! complaints LOL).

If we don't catch each other online I'll try to see if I can put words to my questions/concerns about WLVerse Don/Robin so I don't have to deny the muse too long on that front. :-)
hear me roarmagisterequitum on February 26th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
Ahhh. Bring on the comments. I have answers! Or comments back.

I like the sound of VEM!

I doubt anyone will be doing any of those options.

I await that email also. I was thinking today that I am going to have to inform you of somethings that were not going to show up until the Second Arc story with the new characters. Because I have killed some people.

It is never good to deny the Muse. They don't like that.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
Okay, sent!

VEM - the code word for March on the QT. LOL

KILLED? OTHER THAN IAN? /blink blink/

You don't have to reveal anything that you don't want to. I doubt my stories will involve much past Don/Robin talking about Cordelia/Caleb. I think some of what I want to write you'll want to keep for yourself, but we'll see.

Your verse, your rules.

Your verse rules! LOL Yay!
ladygray99ladygray99 on February 26th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
*snuggles them*
nothing worse than having the post coital bliss interrupted.
/thwaps Don/
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
N3 Theme of the Year: Don is a putz.

Though I have to admit after writing all that heat imagery I kind of enjoyed the splash of cold water that was Don. Hehehe

(Though I'd argue what's worse is getting interrupted mid-coitus - in person. LOL)
ladygray99ladygray99 on February 26th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Well Don is a bit of a putz

'I'd argue what's worse is getting interrupted mid-coitus - in person.'

So you're writing that next right? I want to see the look on Don's face. :)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
Actually I already wrote it as a request during n3_slashchat. (We often write fic on the fly in chat and I like to do short ficlets or microfic as presents for people who come to chat.

I'll paste it then delete it so you can see it, since it's Charlie/Ian with Don interrupting. Hehehe
(Deleted comment)
ladygray99ladygray99 on February 26th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
Re: Charlie/Ian and Fishnets
:-) Just made my night.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Re: Charlie/Ian and Fishnets
/dusts hands off/

My work here is done. LOL
The Writing Journal: candygram ; hlsunlesslands on February 26th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
I really loved that bittersweet twist at the end. It felt very authentic, with the relationships at work between each of them and Don, and made my heart hurt a little for Billy and Charlie. Poor dears. Also, just really wonderful imagery and details. Great piece.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 26th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC)
Thank you! I may adore them as a pairing, but I love my angst as well and this was just how it had to end. I hurt for them too, but I console myself with the other wonderful Charlie/Billy universes I've written where Don is *in favor* of said union.
t_vo0810t_vo0810 on February 26th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
I really liked this series of drabbles. You may have felt like you were sweating it out (pun intended :) but it didn't feel the least bit forced. I thought it was hot angsty goodness all the way through and loved the fact that it began with them coming together because of their animalistic primal needs and then pulling away because of their nobility of self-sacrifice to the very person who basically brought them together.

I know who probably want to be finished with this drabble series, but I would love to see some sequels where they couldn't resist being drawn back together..... I am sure there is some metaphor about magnetic forces or gravitational pull or rogue orbits in there somewhere ^_~
Cynthia: CD Catch Me When I Fall by darkangel41611trackmind on February 26th, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
Very nicely done! I particularly like the ending. Whether or not Don and Charlie are together, he's always going to have the first and strongest claim.
fyreflyfyrefly101 on February 26th, 2009 10:06 am (UTC)
The series certainly never felt like you were having trouble writing it. Loved it, although I think this has to be my favourite line of this part:

Don would smell the sex on him in a heartbeat; on Charlie, it won't even register.

Just rings really true of all of them.
devon99 on February 26th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
I really liked this series and this final part was no exception. You didn't find it a satisfying ending? I did. I liked how real and complicated it felt, yet also so simple. Don does come first for the pair, but they're both okay with that, at least for now they are. I liked it, as I said. You didn't try and wrap it up in a tidy bow.
paranoid_womanparanoid_woman on February 27th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
Very true last line! And great language and wording. Really! Especially the end left me all happy about this fic, as I really like bittersweet stories.
Tori Lovelostandalone22 on February 28th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
Great story!
rubynye on March 15th, 2009 01:02 am (UTC)
Awww, guys. This is heartbreaking and true. (And I'm still sniffling from the previous one, too.)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 18th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)
/gives you a tissue/

Thanks, hon.