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29 July 2009 @ 03:42 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Virtue - Parts 11 and 12  


Title: Virtue - Parts 11 and 12
Series/Universe: Vice / Virtue
Pairing/Characters: See Series Post
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4
Summary: Don and Kim head out to Don's society birthday party at Code knowing they are in rogue sniper Ian's crosshairs (AU)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ



Saturday, 7/14/07 - Day

"Oh! There's another little gift on top of the box!"

Millie grinned gleefully as she directed Don to the top of the birthday present box he'd just opened.

"Hmm..." Don turned over the small flat box in his hand. "Too thin for chocolates..."

"Open it!" Sandra urged. "This one's a practical present."

"Shh!" Millie scolded. "Don't give it away!" She turned to Don. "It's just something that might come in handy on the island."

"Now who's giving it away?" Sandra said, nudging her.

Don tore off the wrapping paper and let out a jovial laugh. "Oh, nice!"

Charlie leaned in and read off the box. "'Ultra-Violet Sun Exposure Warning Card.' Very cool!" He gave Don a playful shove. "Don't want you red as a lobster your first week of retirement on the island!"

"Hey, you've got the same genes, so watch your own skin!" Don tossed back with a smirk. "Thank you," he said to Sandra and Millie. "This will come in very handy."

"You're welcome," Sandra answered for both of them.

"I guess I'm last," Liz piped up. She pulled a bottle of wine and a card out of the tote bag at her feet and passed them down the brunch table to Don who accepted them with a gracious nod.

"You didn't have to," he said.

"Well, it's never a bad idea to bribe the boss - even if he is the outgoing one," she demurred to Megan who nodded in acknowledgment. "And technically the gift, the one in the card anyway, can work for both of you."

Don examined the label on the wine bottle. "Oh, very nice! As much as I'd like to keep this bottle as an investment I am sorely tempted to drink it." He turned back to her with a smile. "Thank you."

"Don't thank me until you've opened the real present," she said, cocking her head towards the envelope.

Don put the wine bottle aside and opened the card, his eyes widening in surprise. "Liz... Seriously, this is... I've been trying for years!"

"What is it?" Megan asked.

"An introduction to Yves Darien," Don marveled.

"Who is this Yves Darien?" Marco asked as Terry's expression of awe matched Don's.

"Only the owner of the best courier service in the world," Terry explained. "He's known for never failing to deliver a package. Nothing's ever been lost or stolen - ever."

"You could send the Hope Diamond," Megan continued. "And feel certain it would arrive intact, no matter what."

"And they're discreet," Liz added. "Client information is guarded as carefully as the items they transport. No leaks, period."

"I had heard he refuses all new business," Charlie added, "unless it's by personal introduction from an existing trusted client."

"So I'll introduce Don and Megan," Liz said. "You'll still need to undergo the same scrutiny as any new client - which, trust me, is pretty rigorous - but it's worth it. I figure since the list of people who know where Don and Charlie are retiring to needs to stay small, using Yves' service might be a way of transporting things to them while keeping the secret."

"Thank you," Don said, his expression and tone sincere. "This is an excellent gift."

"You're welcome."

"So does the boss reference mean you've decided to accept our offer?" Megan asked.

Liz glanced around the table, smiling. "I've seen what you guys are really like and you're like this..." She gestured around to them. "You really are like a family, so yes. I want in. I'm accepting your offer."

"A toast!" Marco held up his glass and the rest of the table followed suit. "To old friends leaving..." He nodded to Don, Kim and Charlie at the head of the table. "To new friends joining us." He tipped his glass towards Kit, Gabriel and Alex. "To those rising to the occasion..." He moved his glass around to gesture to Megan, Millie, Suzanne and finally Terry beside him. "To my comrades in arms." He saluted David, Colby and finally Antoine. "And finally to the newest member of our family." Everyone raised their glass to Liz. "Welcome!" he said. "Health and happiness to us all! Salute!"

"Salud!" Gabriel echoed.

"Santé!" Antoine threw out.

"Room at the table for everyone," Don said, raising his glass one last time with a contented smile.

+

"Charlie?"

Don tapped at the door to Charlie's suite and entered when he heard his brother beckon.

"Come on in."

He opened the door to find Charlie staring at an array of suits on his bed plus two more held up by one of the maids.

"Yeah, pack those two," Charlie directed. "The rest can go back in the closet." Don sat in a nearby chair and waited for the maid to finish, glancing at Charlie so he understood they needed to speak in private. "We can finish packing later," Charlie told her when she emerged from his walk-in closet. With a nod she departed and Charlie closed the door behind her. "So what's up?"

"I sent copies of the newspaper clippings we found at Edgerton's apartment over to William and Karen to analyze, to give us their professional opinion as shrinks."

"And?"

"They got back to me. Given his past behavior and his current status, they say he's escalating into dangerous territory. He won't be satisfied with seeing us behind bars anymore." Don leaned forward. "Buddy, they think he's ready to hurt us - for real."

As Don watched, Charlie's expression shifted, a malicious grimace marring his handsome features. "That fucking bastard. That's it. I'm going to find him and put a bullet in his head."

The transition from calm to roiling rage was startling and Don stood abruptly, taking hold of Charlie by his biceps, softening his voice.

"Hey, hey... It's okay... Don't talk like that. Megan's taking care of it, don't worry." He could feel the tension radiating from Charlie as he subtly struggled against his brother's hold. Comprehension dawned and Don ducked down to get Charlie's attention. "Have you been taking your meds? Please tell me you haven't skipped any doses."

Charlie brusquely pulled out of Don's grasp. "This asshole is planning to kill us! I think I'm allowed to get angry!"

Don just stared after him then turned and walked into Charlie's bathroom. It only took a minute or so to check the timestamps on the access log of the digital lock. When he returned his face was crestfallen. "Charlie, no... You promised."

"So I forgot a few times," Charlie said dismissively. "I haven't been sleeping. It throws off my routine."

Don went to Charlie again, putting his hands on his shoulders cautiously. "Look at me, please." When Charlie begrudgingly looked up, Don continued. "You can't play with this. It can't be half-assed. You remember what Dr. Fisher said at our last retreat in January? She altered your meds for you, but she told you you couldn't miss any or you'd have to go back on the higher dosages."

"I don't like the higher dose," Charlie grumbled. "I can't think clearly."

"I know, but..."

"No buts..." Charlie wrestled out of Don's reach again. "I'm a grown man. I don't need you to babysit me. I can make my own decisions or did you forget already that I managed to land Edgerton in jail without any help from you?"

Don looked at him sadly. "I only want what's best for you. We're so close to being able to leave. Just promise me you won't try anything yourself. You know we can't risk you going to prison - I can't risk you going to prison. It would be the end of both of us." His voice softened. "Please."

"I'm going to talk to Megan," Charlie pronounced. "There's got to be some way for my math to help predict his actions, to get to him before he can get to us."

He made for the door, but Don blocked his way. "Okay! But please. First? Go take your meds. For me," he added, pleading with his eyes.

"Fine." Charlie disappeared into the bathroom and Don edged closer, listened for the sound of the secure medicine cabinet lock being disengaged and the cabinet being open and shut, then moved back away to where he had been standing. Charlie emerged a minute later. "Done."

"Thank you," Don said patiently. "Now promise me you won't try to take matters into your own hands."

"Forget it," Charlie said, brushing past him on his way out. "Not when you won't promise me the same thing yourself." He turned to look back at Don expectantly, but Don could say nothing in reply. "Didn't think so." Charlie turned and walked out, leaving his worried brother behind.

+

"Colby's installing the extra cameras outside Code now and hooking them into Charlie's facial recognition software."

Megan stood up from the conference room table, accepted a clipboard from Matt, skimmed then signed the document on it, then sent him back out of the conference room without a word. "That's one upgrade handled then," she said, turning back to David's presentation. "How is the new server cluster working?"

"Much better," David said, looking up from the large-scale printouts detailing Code's security. "We've got the scans down from minutes to seconds. It's still going to be hard with so many people outside the club, but once we get Don and Charlie inside they'll be safe."

"And Kim," Megan reminded him. "Edgerton's got it in for her too."

"I know," David said. "I guess I already think of her and Don as one unit, you know?"

"Speaking of units," Megan said. "Who did you end up inviting to the party tonight? Claudia or Olivia?"

"Olivia got to go to the party on the yacht," David said. "Since Claudia couldn't go to that one - not being in with us yet - she gets to go to this one. Besides, this is the party for outsiders to impress them right? Not like Don really enjoys celebrating his birthday."

"No, but he put on a good face for the new people today at brunch," Megan mused. "I mean, I know Gabriel and Liz know about his parents, but I doubt they really put the month they died together with the month Don was born, you know?"

"I'll take them aside if you want," David offered. "I know Don won't be here for his next birthday, but I know I'd feel weird everyone else knowing but me."

"Go ahead, but wait until after the party tonight. Tonight is about making Code look legit in front of as many important people as possible. No prostitution, no gambling, nothing illicit. All Code staff know the VIP rooms are not to be used for regular activities."

"It's too bad Don has to spend his birthday party working."

"At least his actual birthday falls on Sunday this year," Megan said. "He'll get to have a nice quiet dinner at the mansion and then let it go." She paused for a moment. "I think he's really looking forward to leaving for the retreat on Monday."

"Can't blame him," David huffed. "If I had a psycho ex-cop painting a target on my back I'd want to get the hell out of Dodge too!"

"I just wish he'd reconsider and take Kim," Megan said. "I feel bad for her stuck at the mansion for two weeks without him."

"At least she's safe here," David offered.

"Speaking of safe..." Megan returned her attentions to the printouts, pulling out one showing elevations of the surrounding neighborhood. "Charlie gave me the results of his equations just before you came in. Now we need to see about making that math useful."

"If it works?" David said. "I'll never make fun of math again."

"If it works?" Megan said. "This might all be over tonight."

"Hey," David warned. "Be careful what you say. If it doesn't work? This may all be over tonight, but not in the way we want..."

+

"I get why you turned your birthday party into a society event." Kim's voice floated out into the bedroom from the walk-in closet. "It's a business function, not a personal one. I understand how it brings in new business and helps the company look strictly legit in the eyes of the media. But whose idea was it to make it formal?"

"I suppose it was a way of convincing the upper crust to attend. Red carpet, photographers, invitation only... People like to attend exclusive events. They want to feel like they're special." Don checked his tuxedo and accessories laid out on his valet, and went to select a set of cufflinks from his armoire. "Did you decide on platinum for jewelry tonight?" he asked. "I need to pick out cufflinks."

"Yes," Kim called back. "How about the platinum, onyx and diamond set?"

"Okay." Don checked the box as he pulled them out of his jewelry case then selected a watch from a separate case before closing up the armoire and putting the items on his valet next to his black bowtie. "Are you wearing your hair up? I liked how you wore it to last year's party."

"I don't even remember how I wore it." Kim came out of the closet, dressed in only her undergarments: a low cut bustier bra and matching delicate panties, both deep purple to match her gown. She drew her hair up into a loose bun and showed it to him. "Was it like this? Or tighter, like this?" She made her hair into an impromptu French twist as he walked over to her.

"The first one," he said. She put her hair back up again the same as she had the first time only to have him pull some tendrils out by her face. "Only you had some loose by your face and one long bit loose down your back. I liked that."

"I can do that," she agreed, letting her hair fall down. Don moved in close, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her to him. "You know if we start something we're going to risk running late for the party," she chided even as she slid her hands up his broad chest.

"It's my birthday," Don scoffed, eyes crinkling up as he smiled down at her. "Make 'em wait." She wrapped her arms around his neck and they came together for a kiss, Don's hands skimming over her back and down over her lace covered derriere. "Better yet, let's blow it off - stay in."

Kim pulled back, suddenly serious. "Don, I get that you're worried about me, about Charlie, but hiding in the house isn't the answer. There's being careful and there's letting Edgerton rule our lives. We only have to get from the limo to Code and back - that's it."

"He's a military trained sniper," Don countered.

"And there's a bullet proof awning over the carport," Kim countered. "You saw David's security plans. He's got it all covered. No more than three seconds from car to door. We can do it. Besides..." She leaned in close and rubbed her hips into his. "You can't dress me up all pretty in that beautiful gown and not take me out," she purred, tantalizing him.

"So..." He bent down to kiss her neck. "Did you get this fearless because you carry a gun, or did you wind up carrying a gun because you're fearless?"

Kim arched her neck as his mouth trailed down towards her cleavage, briefly brushing against the necklace that held his ring. "Ooh, do I detect a girls with guns kink? Do I have to wear a pearl handled snub nosed revolver in a thigh holster under my gown to turn you on?" she taunted.

Don just groaned. "You're killing me here, you know that right?" He backed her up towards an armchair and lowered her to sit in it, kneeling between her legs. "I'm half tempted to buy you that gun now just to use in the bedroom." His hand slid inside one cup of her bra, thumbing over the nipple before slipping her breast free to lave it with his tongue.

"Now who's killing who?" Kim asked, her voice breathy with excitement.

"I'm just getting started," he teased. He moved down to drag his lips across her belly and plant a kiss at her tan line near her hipbone. He moved the triangle of fabric of her bikini underwear aside with his fingers and lowered his mouth, sliding his tongue in, seeking to make her squirm.

Her manicured nails scrabbled at the short hairs at the back of his head as he tongued her, delighting in the feel of her body writhing under his control.

As he filled her with his fingers, her delicious little moans filled his ears, hips bucking as her body demanded more.

"Don..." The one word was plea enough so he reached down to quickly free himself from his clothes then positioned himself between her legs, pulling her to the edge of the chair and impaling her on his stiff cock.

They both went taut at the shock of sensation, gasping and grabbing at each other until Don recovered enough to thrust into her, slipping a hand between them to keep her on the edge.

He watched her flail beneath him, uncontrolled for that one brief moment, a rush going through him at the sight and the thought that he'd done this to her, he'd stripped away everything between them and left her laid bare for his eyes, his body to claim as his own.

She tightened her arms and legs around him, eyes tight shut, mouth open as helpless pants were forced out of her with each powerful thrust.

Unexpectedly she pulled herself up and met him mouth to mouth for a rough and profoundly dirty kiss, so hot and demanding he lost all sense and surrendered.

Without thought or planning they clicked, coming together in one final motion, climaxing in one breath shared in two mouths, skin afire, crackling with the electricity of their simultaneous crescendo.

They collapsed, half on and half off the chair, gasping and laughing, giddy with a rush of euphoria in the aftermath.

"Well," Kim finally managed. "It's a good thing I decided to hold off giving you your main birthday present until tomorrow."

"Oh?" Don said, lifting his head lazily to gaze down at her, brushing a sweaty tendril aside from her face.

"Yeah..." She tipped her face up for a languid kiss. "Because you've already unwrapped tonight's present."

+

Everett looked up from inspecting his tuxedo to beckon Dennis into the room.

"Not ready to get dressed yet?" he scolded. "The ball begins in only a couple of hours!"

"Oh, my tuxedo is ready same as yours," Dennis said, settling himself into the leather armchair across from Everett once the older man sat first. "I'm just finishing up a few errands and thought I'd come by and give you a bit of news in person."

"About my favorite new project?" Everett asked with a sly smile. "How is he doing anyway?"

"Apparently he's smarter than I thought. When we helped him evade the trackers at my office I of course planted one of our own trackers on him after the sweep."

"And you said it was working fine."

"Oh, the tracker is working fine. It's apparently just not on the target any longer."

Everett let out an amused laugh. "Can't con the con man," he mused aloud. "So how did we not figure this out earlier?"

"Our surveillance reports had said he was hunkered down in a motel room. He ordered all his meals in but kept his curtains shut so while they could see he was in there they couldn't tell what he was doing. Ends up he found a guy who looked a lot like him and paid him to stay in the motel. Once the team got a closer look they found out it wasn't him and questioned the gentleman extensively. Apparently all he knows is some guy who looked a lot like him found him in a bar, paid him to come in through the bathroom window of a motel and live there without leaving for two weeks. Gave him money to order in and gave him strict orders not to let himself be seen clearly at the door or window."

"Interesting..." Everett steepled his fingers in front of him. "Go on..."

"He didn't know anymore. He said he was told it was for a divorce case so the guy assumed the man who paid him just wanted to be able to see his mistress without the wife finding out."

"Still, no great loss," Everett said. "I mean, he's no danger to us off the grid and he makes our competition very nervous. Well!" He stood and Dennis followed suit. "I have a charity ball to put on tonight!"

"You think you'll get a decent turn out this year?" Dennis asked.

"There are always enough philanthropists to show up for a party like this," Everett said. "But enough people in my target demographic were, shall we say, put out by our competition's recent closures that I think this will be a good year for the ball and a bad year for a certain birthday party."

"Whose idea was it to make it formal?" Dennis asked.

"It had to be formal," Everett said, almost affronted. "I can't have the Eppes Brothers showing me up. If theirs is formal," he ran his fingers over the white bowtie of his tuxedo, "mine is even more so."

+


Saturday, 7/14/07 - Night

Another limousine, another plastic too thin harlot in a flashy gown on the arm of another rich fat cat in a monkey suit.

Ian watched them all parade in front of his rifle scope with distaste. These were the very same people who could have changed his life, but chose to turn their attention to the Eppes Brothers instead. Like this party, it was socially beneficial to be seen doing it. No one wanted to help out a mixed race teenage orphan of blue-collar parents when they had nice white Jewish boys from a respectable middle class family they could be photographed with instead. He'd never been on the cover of a magazine, but hadn't his need been greater? Charlie was a fucking genius. Not like any university in the world wouldn't have found a way to let him in with a full ride. Don inherited all the family money and the insurance. Ian's parents had nothing but debt to leave him. He didn't even get his dad's junker car since it was totaled in the wreck.

It would be so easy to pick a few off, unaware as they all were, but he stayed focused - waiting for his real target. If he was lucky, Don and Charlie would arrive together. He was fast enough to get off two shots. If not, well at least Don was likely to be there with Kim.

He'd been fooled by her - his spy, his whore. He'd honestly believed she wanted to take him down.

He should have known better; women were always the downfall of men.

He resettled himself, uncomfortable lying in the dirt, propped up a little on his duffle bag. It had taken a long time to find a viable spot to shoot from. The canopy over the red carpet had seriously limited his options. This area was too exposed, too close to the winding hilltop road behind him and nowhere near as dark as he'd like given all the lights on the nearby houses, but no one in the Eppes clan had been leaving the estate as of late, so if he wanted his shot anytime soon? It was tonight.

He fought back restlessness and returned his focus to the scope as another limousine drove up. He went still, ready to take his shot as a woman in a purple gown exited the car.

The bleat of a police siren, practically right on top of him, gave him a jolt that threw him out of his focus. Looking around frantically he saw a black and white start to pull over.

He bounded up, shoved his gun into the duffle and set off at a run, dashing through the underbrush to where he'd hidden his car just down the road.

Flashlight beams hit the ground right where he'd been just seconds earlier.

By the time he turned the key in his ignition he was swearing under his breath, peeling out and heading down the hill as fast as he could.

He'd been so close, so sure of success, he'd been cocky and forgotten one thing.

The law wasn't on his side anymore.

+

"Happy Birthday, Don!"

"Councilman Jackson! Thank you! And thank you for coming!"

Don shook the politician's hand on his way through the club, accepting greetings and well wishes with Kim on his arm.

"LA City Councilmembers?" Kim whispered in his ear. "I don't remember there being politicians at the party last year."

"Actually the mayor's over there," Don whispered back, turning Kim slightly so she'd spot him to their side. "We'll get to him shortly. And last year I think Megan handled most of the politicians. We needed her to start being more recognizable to them. I schmoozed them myself while you were talking John Mayer's ear off. Speaking of musicians..." He looked up to greet a slender young blonde woman. "Skylar! Glad you could make it!"

"Wouldn't miss it!" She gave Don an air kiss on the cheek. "Save me a dance later!"

"Skylar Wyatt!" Kim marveled once they were past her. "Not bad!"

"You doubted I was well connected?" Don mocked offense at which Kim gave him a playful swat on the arm. "You should be nice to me," he taunted. "It is my birthday."

"Not until tomorrow," she reminded him. "But since this is a business function I'll be on my best behavior."

"At least until we get to my VIP suite upstairs," Don murmured in her ear, following it up with a playful wink. "Ah! Senator Tallman! How great to see you again..." He spotted Megan at the edge of the room standing near the doorway to the back offices. "Would you excuse me?" He gave Kim a meaningful look as he departed and she nodded subtly in understanding.

He followed Megan back to Alex's empty office and shut the door behind them.

"Charlie's equations worked," Megan said abruptly. "Edgerton was there. Gary sent black and whites to the top sniping locations Charlie mathematically figured out and the officers saw him with a sniper rifle. He ran off and got away before they could catch him though."

"And Darby?"

"She put trackers on every car parked within a half mile, which wasn't that many, so she's got him. She's on her motorcycle following the pickup truck he's using now that his sedan's compromised."

"Good. I feel better knowing where he is."

"So relax and enjoy your party. He's taken care of."

"Not much chance of that," Don scoffed. "The idea that we couldn't get out of the limousine until we were sure he'd been scared off? I'm not going to relax after that sort of start to the evening. Still, I need to go rescue Kim from Senator Tallman."

"And I need to schmooze the mayor," Megan said, following him to the door. "Back to work."

"Hey," Don said, forcing a weak smile. "Next year it's your birthday you're going to have to work on!"

"Oh god..." Megan said as it hit her. "I will have to do this party on my birthday, won't I?"

"Just look at the upside," Don told her. "Think of how much it will piss Tuttle off that he's got to throw two big charity balls a year to compete with us since he certainly can't cancel the one he's got this time every year to change it to your birthday. It would be too obvious!"

"He'll have to suffer through two stuffy white tie balls while we have a great time at a hot club?" Megan nodded to herself, pleased. "That might almost be worth it..."

"And hey," Don said, opening the door. "You get to have your birthday party at E. So that should really show him up!"

Megan brightened. "Now that," she said, wearing a triumphant smirk, "will be totally worth it."

+

"Gabriel, seriously. Stop fiddling with your watch."

Colby looked at his new co-worker over his drink with an amused smirk.

"I'm trying!" Gabriel said, tearing his hand away from the watch. "It just feels wrong. I miss my own watch," he admitted.

"I promise, my techs are top notch. Give them a little time and they'll figure out how to fit a tracker into your favorite watch. But for now, you needed one for tonight and that's a very expensive LaCroix Swiss watch so I think it will do for one evening."

"Which makes me wonder, why put a tracker in an expensive watch? If someone mugs me won't that be the first thing they take?"

"The trackers aren't meant to keep you from getting mugged," Colby explained, moving in close so their conversation wouldn't be overheard despite the music from the dance floor. "They're meant to help recover you if you're kidnapped. If you get mugged? Give them the damn watch. We can replace that. It's you we care about."

"Thus the tracker and the security and the bodyguards," Gabriel intoned. "I know. It's just different from what I'm used to."

"You get used to it and really, feeling safe at home makes a big difference. So..." He gave Gabriel a friendly nudge. "You looking forward to spending your first night in your new apartment?"

Gabriel's face lit up. "I may not have all my furniture in yet, but the view! I was almost late to the party enjoying the sunset!"

"Trust me, the sunsets are best from the roof. We'll have to get Megan to let us up there soon, maybe have a barbecue now that we're all staffed up."

"I think I'm going to like working with Liz," Gabriel mused, tapping his foot as a new song began. "And Alex, she seems nice. Very efficient."

"I like Alex and Liz is a great catch, same as you. I still can't believe they got both of you to come on board."

"Why?" Gabriel asked, forehead creased in curiosity.

"Well, neither of you had that much of a history in," Colby cleared his throat, "shall we say, entertainment?"

Gabriel chuckled. "Maybe not much, but it's hard to be in this business and not have to deal with people's vices."

"I hear that!" Colby raised his glass. "To vices - what I like to call job security!"

"To the pleasure seekers," Gabriel said, raising his glass as well. "May they never run out of money."

They clinked glasses and drank.

"So..." Gabriel cocked his head towards the dance floor. "What do you say to a dance?"

Colby put his glass aside with a crooked grin.

"I say yes."

+

"Whoo! It is hot out there!"

Claudia fanned herself as she and David left the dance floor and headed over to the bar.

"Enjoying yourself?" he asked, accepting two glasses of champagne and handing one to her.

"Do you have to ask?" She took a sip and smiled blissfully. "Oh, that's just lovely!"

"Yeah, Don brings out the good stuff for this party. No expense spared."

"How come you never told me you work for Eppes Enterprises?" Claudia asked, smacking him with her evening bag in mock anger.

David shrugged. "I don't know. I guess your job just seemed so impressive, so important, it didn't feel like much to say I worked for a company that owns restaurants and nightclubs."

"Hey, everybody dies, not everybody gets to go to a shindig like this," Claudia told him. "If you can't enjoy life then what's it for? Nothing like being surrounded by death to remind you to live for the day."

"Carpe diem," David said, clinking their glasses.

"Carpe noctem," Claudia corrected. "And I definitely plan on seizing this night." She moved in close to David and accepted a kiss from him. "In fact you look so good in that tux we might not make it till closing time." She ran a hand up under his lapel and over his chest seductively.

"Your chariot awaits," David said gallantly. "Whenever you're ready I'll have the limo come around. In fact, if you want, we can take a little tour around town in it before I take you home. There are some nice views of city lights I'm sure would look even better from a limo."

"Ooh!" Claudia snuggled in closer. "I like that idea."

David glanced over her head and saw Olivia on the dance floor looking back at him. He couldn't see who she was dancing with, but she looked stunning in her deep red backless gown and stilettos.

He swallowed hard and made himself look away, turning his attention back to the woman in his arms.

"Whenever you're ready to leave you just let me know and we'll go. Whenever you're ready..."

+

While Don's job was to schmooze the important people in the city, Charlie's was to charm the young and hip - to make them think Code was the place to be despite the scattering of gray hairs at the party.

He'd zeroed in on Brett Chandler as a key target and managed to seduce him to come to the party, so keeping him dancing in full view of all the partygoers was a job, but not an unenjoyable one, especially given how good Brett looked in a tuxedo.

Skylar Wyatt danced by with Dante Baker and Charlie interrupted them to share a quick air kiss with her. He saw a photographer's bulb flash and knew that shot would be a good one - probably all over the Internet before he woke up the next morning.

Megan had said there was no way one person could replace him and she hadn't just meant it as a compliment. She'd promoted Suzanne to handle CFO duties, which mostly meant their legitimate businesses and real estate holdings. Kit had been brought on board to handle the illicit math, high-end oddsmaking and the like. Yet there was no one he could think of in the organization who could take over this: keeping the hip quotient up.

His eyes cast over the dance floor, taking in the array of singers, musicians, actors and celebutantes that kept Code showing up on the radar.

Then his eye landed on a pair of men dancing he recognized: Colby and Gabriel.

Charlie had long since become inured to Colby's good looks and great body, having taken ample advantage of them in the past, but Gabriel... He'd undone his bowtie and opened up his shirt just enough to show a hint of chest and people around him were noticing appreciatively: men and women.

Gabriel was perfect: great looking, still in his twenties, enough of an unknown quantity to be tantalizing yet known enough to have a decent circle of friends already amongst the trendy crowd.

Charlie made a note to mention this to Megan before turning his attention back to Brett. He grabbed the actor by his tuxedo jacket and dragged him in for an abrupt and lewd kiss.

Brett was stunned, but responded immediately and avidly, definitely loosened up by copious amounts of champagne.

Another flash.

That picture was definitely going to be all over the Internet, probably within the hour.

Mission accomplished.

"Charlie!"

Amita danced over with Josh Ryan who was clearly drunk and had his hands all over her.

"Yeah?" he yelled back over the music.

"Thank you for the flowers. They're beautiful."

Charlie gave her an annoyed glance, confused.

"I didn't send you any flowers..."

He shook it off and went back to dancing with Brett. It wasn't hard work, but someone had to do it.

+
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on July 29th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
Confession
Please see the Virtue Series Post for information on this Series and for the Parts 11/12 Confession.

Information on the Viceworld universe can be found in the Vice Series Post.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
t_vo0810t_vo0810 on July 30th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
Yea!! It's really starting to ramp up on the drama now! I liked so many different parts of this. My fav would be the Don and Charlie moment about Edgerton and about the meds. I always have had a kink for the Don-duck-down-to-get-Charlie's-eye-contact move. Whenever that happens in canon, my heart clenches. It's just so sweet and endearing. And I have been marinating on what Charlie's mystery condition could be. I have some familiarity with psychiatric conditions but even still, this one is a mystery to me. There are so many factors to consider, like the traumautic event and his fugue-like states in canon, and his volatile mood shifts in this part, as well as the complaint about his meds making his thinking muddy. I am leaning towards one particular diagnosis but i didn't want to say which in case that spoils it for someone else reading the comments. U've got me thinking though-it's a great addition to the whole intrigue/angst mood you have for this particular series.

Another thought i keep having too is that you (as the author) have mentioned Don's fear regarding Charlie serving prison time at least 3 times now (maybe 4). Now, I don't know much but I know foreshadowing when I see it and now you have got me really really really nervous for poor Charlie and Don. Esp considering that Charlie is now med noncompliant (did he really take his meds when he went in the bathroom? Cause that is the tricky part of mental conditions- a lot of people will continue to skip their meds even if they only "accidently" missed a couple of doses because their condition kicks in and screws with their judgement.)

Can I just say how much I loved the sniper math voodoo being used against Ian this way?! That was such a wonderful use of canon. I just loved it! And you gave us some wonderful little nuggets regarding why Edgerton has such a hard-on for the Eppes. Loved it all!

Oh and one more question about Charlie's condition- Is Don and the docs the only ones who know? Or do the others know to be on the look out for Charlie's quick-changing moods and temper as well?

Nice little quick interaction at the end to reinforce Amita's confusion and subsequent spurning by Charlie regarding the flowers. Everything is really starting to add up nicely.

/sigh/ what will i do with my next virtue-free 5 days???? hmmm- that sounds kind of naughty now that i think of it but i totally didn't mean it that way :)

ps- no worries about the late posting yesterday. it just means i get a double dose on Weds! Glad to hear you met you SPN bigbang deadline! Congrats!! you amaze me! I will check out your SPN posting too when you are ready. :)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 30th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
Long response part 1 because I can't shut up apparently ;-)
Yay! I was looking forward to you reading this one!

Here's my commentary on your lovely lovely comment! /smishes it and you/

Yea!! It's really starting to ramp up on the drama now!

I was waiting for you to see this one because Ian having them in his crosshairs is *very* dramatic. Saved by Charlie's math voodoo though! Whew! And Darby's got him under surveillance again, but you know that safety can't last. I did want something dramatic and dangerous to happen before Don and Charlie go away on their two week retreat because those two weeks won't have them being shot at for certain, so I had to ramp up the adrenaline once before we get into that part. No worries. If you're patient, plenty of big drama left to come. I do solemnly swear that someone's going to the hospital in this story. /grins/

My fav would be the Don and Charlie moment about Edgerton and about the meds. I always have had a kink for the Don-duck-down-to-get-Charlie's-eye-contact move.

I adore that in canon too! I can't overuse it, but it fit just right here.

And I have been marinating on what Charlie's mystery condition could be. I have some familiarity with psychiatric conditions but even still, this one is a mystery to me. There are so many factors to consider, like the traumautic event and his fugue-like states in canon, and his volatile mood shifts in this part, as well as the complaint about his meds making his thinking muddy. I am leaning towards one particular diagnosis but i didn't want to say which in case that spoils it for someone else reading the comments. U've got me thinking though-it's a great addition to the whole intrigue/angst mood you have for this particular series.

I don't think I ever made his diagnosis clear, mostly because it's old hat for Don and his doctors at this point, but it will be addressed in detail in the prequels.

Another thought i keep having too is that you (as the author) have mentioned Don's fear regarding Charlie serving prison time at least 3 times now (maybe 4).

There's an event in a prequel where I don't want to spoil things, but it results in Don having nightmares of Charlie being raped by a man (actually men plural) - which you know is going to happen if he winds up in prison. He's way too puny to defend himself against other murderers. The one thing Don cannot live with is Charlie being hurt and him not being able to save him. Prison? Is pretty much the ideal scenario for Don's version of hell. It's also the reason that while Don is allowed to top Charlie no one else is - Charlie tops everyone else he's with but Don.

Now, I don't know much but I know foreshadowing when I see it and now you have got me really really really nervous for poor Charlie and Don. Esp considering that Charlie is now med noncompliant (did he really take his meds when he went in the bathroom? Cause that is the tricky part of mental conditions- a lot of people will continue to skip their meds even if they only "accidently" missed a couple of doses because their condition kicks in and screws with their judgement.)

Yes, it's big time foreshadowing. Sadly, Charlie does not suddenly become perfect with his meds and there are always consequences. And for the record, yes he did take his meds in the bathroom. He's being honest - losing sleep over that time of year is throwing off his meds routine. He's not skipping doses on purpose, but having skipped them he's less interested in being compliant than he should be.

(cont.)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 30th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Long response part 2
Can I just say how much I loved the sniper math voodoo being used against Ian this way?! That was such a wonderful use of canon. I just loved it! And you gave us some wonderful little nuggets regarding why Edgerton has such a hard-on for the Eppes.

I thought that might help a bit, the insight into Ian's perspective, and yes, I totally enjoyed using the canon that way. Hehehe

Oh and one more question about Charlie's condition- Is Don and the docs the only ones who know? Or do the others know to be on the look out for Charlie's quick-changing moods and temper as well?

As far as I've thought it out, upper management knows and their friends at the retreat, but past that it's not widely publicized. I mean, if it got out, don't you think Tuttle would try to use it against them?

Nice little quick interaction at the end to reinforce Amita's confusion and subsequent spurning by Charlie regarding the flowers. Everything is really starting to add up nicely.

I'm glad you think so! It's finally rolling along nicely and once they get back from the retreat things ramp up pretty nicely and then we're rolling towards the end. We're actually about a third of the way through now in terms of parts, amazingly enough. I just checked and 41K of 98K (it's growing!) is up so far. I have at least one scene I want to expand and one I want to try to add (because more Matt/Kit is adorkable) but things are moving right along!

/sigh/ what will i do with my next virtue-free 5 days???? hmmm- that sounds kind of naughty now that i think of it but i totally didn't mean it that way :)

ROFLMAO Oh, I love that! Virtue-free days! Yes, go forth and be naughty! Enjoy yourself! Vices exist for a reason. ;-)

Glad to hear you met you SPN bigbang deadline! Congrats!! you amaze me! I will check out your SPN posting too when you are ready. :)

It's up already. Because Virtue was scheduled for the 28th (my assigned SPN posting date) I had to put it on the 24th and 25th. (I privated those posts and only unlocked them on the 28th.) So you're welcome to read it any time. It's 21K so a good long read, but I think it's worth it. I will probably put up an FYI post tomorrow about it since no one got to see it on their Friends pages since it was backdated.

/gives you more cookies to hold you until next week/

Thanks again for your support of Virtue!
ladygray99ladygray99 on July 30th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
Sorry I haven't been commenting as much as I should but can I just say "Uh...Charlie, skipping your meds is a BAD idea." And I speak from experience on this one. Though it sounds like maybe Edgerton should be taking them instead. Can we say issues?
riverotter1951: Firestarriverotter1951 on July 30th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
This is great. I love the way you interweave other characters from the tv series and ViceWorld as well. The little touches that enhance this world reminds me of its depth and fullness.