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05 February 2010 @ 11:59 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Other Lives  
Posted to numb3rs_fic

Title: Other Lives
Pairing/Characters: Alan/Margaret, Don/Kim, Charlie/Susan, Margaret/OMC
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Seasons 1-2
Summary: Don imagines a world where his parents didn't divorce (AU)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Don wonders sometimes how things would have been different if his parents had stayed together.

The divorce was hard on all of them and they'd scattered soon afterwards. Don had tried to stay nearby his father, feeling bad about Charlie and his mother moving to the east coast permanently, but Stockton wasn't that close and the house felt so empty with just the two of them there.

He hadn't been surprised when his father sold the Craftsman; it wasn't a home any longer. It was just a big vacant reminder of happier times that were no longer to be.

Charlie bolted once he was of legal age, moving to England despite how cold Cambridge was. Don wondered if he married Susan so quickly because he knew he had a good thing or because he was in denial about how even what seemed like a perfect marriage could end.

Don knows deep down he proposed to Kim for similar reasons. He also borrowed Charlie's pre-nup lawyer because deep down they shared the same cynicism that it wouldn't last no matter how desperately they wanted their parents to be the anomaly and not the rule.

He gets a call from Charlie on his birthday, even though it's the middle of the night in his brother's time zone, but otherwise an occasional email is about all they share anymore. More often it's Susan sending pictures of the twins to Kim who shares photos and stories about their sons in turn.

Both couples plan to fly to Seattle for Alan's 60th birthday next year. Don hasn't seen Charlie since a few years back when Margaret beat cancer. There are definite advantages to having a second husband who's a doctor at the best hospital in New York City, that's for sure.

He can hear Noah and Lucas fighting in the living room and Kim admonishing them. The boys can be a handful, but once they hit school age Kim's adamant that she's going back to work.

Don imagines if his parents stayed together they'd all be one big happy family: Charlie and Susan with the twins and he and Kim and their two boys hanging out at the Craftsman on weekends having barbecues.

There was some physics professor Charlie had once as a freshman - Fleinman maybe? This teacher told him that parallel universes could exist and Don rather likes the idea that somewhere out there the Eppes family still lives in the Craftsman, happily ever after.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 6th, 2010 08:50 am (UTC)
This was written for t_vo0810's prompt at the new Numb3rs comment fic comm n3rs_commentfic. I'm pasting it here verbatim below.

Alan/Margaret and the Eppes Boys, AU, divorce

What would have happened to the Eppes family and their relationships with one another if Alan and Margaret had decided to pursue a divorce due to the troubles they were having with a long distance relationship while Margaret was with Charlie at Princeton for those three years?

I saw that prompt and immediately thought two things: one, that's going to be long to write that and two, damn I have to write it anyway. /glares at T/ Happily I came up with a way to write a short version of it, making Don - in that AU - pensive about a world, like ours, where Alan and Margaret didn't divorce. It's a nice turn on the prompt, IMHO, and I liked how it came out enough to publish it for real.

I found it intriguing that these other lives, while affected negatively by the divorce, also had positive aspects as well. Don and Charlie are both married with children, but they're not close and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon. As a result of her divorce, Margaret beat cancer, but also lost the closeness she once had with her youngest son. Charlie got to go to Princeton, but was so distracted he never bonded with Larry and as a result never gained him as a mentor and lifelong friend.

If you have Netflix, and are intrigued by this idea of diverging lives, consider giving the movie Sliding Doors a look. It's not that good of a movie, and it's got an unsatisfying ending, but the premise is very thought provoking. A woman, Gwyneth Paltrow, either makes her train or she doesn't (the sliding doors close or she slides in just in time, thus the title) and based on that the film divides and follows her life after both occurrences to see what effect missing the train had on her and her relationships and her life in the end. Rather heady stuff...

Personally, I barely caught an important bus when I was very young. I really wish I hadn't, based on the chain of events that catching that bus began. I'd much rather have taken my chances with the missed bus...


Emma DeMarais
t_vo0810t_vo0810 on February 6th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
As always, luv, that's for coming by to support the comm despite how busy you have been. I was secretly delighted that you picked this one as I honestely didn't have a picture in my head of what this AU would look like but was curious nonetheless. Color me amazed that you were able to paint such a complete picture in so few words! I loved that you obviously gave it serious thought- this verse is an alternate but not an evil one. It's not the It's a Wonderful life or Ghost of Christmas Future versions where only bad happened as a result of Alan and Margaret's decision. But instead it's just another reality with good parts and bad parts, a different set of devils if you will. Which brings me to wonder, which devil would our Don or Charlie chose if this was a supernatural story (a la Family Man)? Would he chose his own- a life of closeness with his surviving parent and brother but no mom or a life as a family man with no close ties to either parents or sibling?....Hmmmmm, i think i feel another prompt coming on.....

<3 I heart u so and ur brain- it comes up with the coolest perspectives........
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 6th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was almost cursing over this prompt because it grabbed me by the throat and would not let go, but I'm glad I wrote it. I'm thrilled I kept it short. Hehehe But yeah, I wanted it to be a mix of good and bad, but I also wanted it to be thoughtful as well. How would Charlie's career be different without Larry's guidance? Would Don have gone through with marrying Kim after all if he hadn't had to leave for his mother's illness? Clearly he still played ball then went to the FBI so that much stayed the same, but Charlie never went to Cal Sci. There was no family home in Pasadena to draw him back there, in fact he probably wanted to avoid those memories. Weird, huh? Butterfly wings and all...
rodlox: going to hugrodlox on February 6th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
my main question is this: who teaches Amita?
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 6th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
Kepler. Without Charlie's brilliance to inspire her in the field of mathematics, she sticks with her original vision of astrophysics and gets her PhD in that instead.
rodlox: AUrodlox on February 6th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
a nice counter to the "this is the best of all possible universes" belief. and how don't double-bind thoughts don't match up with canon - which makes it more plausible.

quite enjoyable.

*Memories this*
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 6th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
I don't really understand your comment, but I figured alternate history is your cup of tea so I can see you liking this one.

Thanks for reading.
rodlox: AUrodlox on February 6th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
http://www.uchronia.com used to have a lot of what-if related quotes, such as Voltaire's line from Candide.
(that and the ever-popular "An optimist feels that this is the best of all possible worlds. A pessimist fears that this is true.")

and a double-bind is what you did: changed history, then had Don in the changed history wonder what things would be like if history hadn't changed. it's not easy to write, but you succeeded very well.

you're welcome.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 6th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
I'm familiar with the quote. The phrase "and how don't double-bind thoughts don't match up with canon" was what I didn't get.
rodlox: AUrodlox on February 6th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
yeah, that gets into one of the cliches of AH - which I just clarified.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 7th, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
Ah, so the idea that Don doesn't nail what actual canon is in our world when he wonders. Got it. Thanks for the link.