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10 February 2010 @ 11:59 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Someplace Safe (The Screaming at the Wind Remix)  
Written for numb3rs100 Holiday Drabble Remixathon - Remix of Someplace Safe Part 1 and Part 2 by ladygray99/Challenges #192 Cabin, #73 Bullet, #82 Feast, #42 Words, #76 Girlfriend, #62 Steam, #174 Blood, #155 Therapy, #100 Tears, #32 Metamorphosis, #145 Storm, #147 Thaw, #5 Fantasy, #172 Skin, #38 Discovery, #152 Forgiveness, #181 Demands, #45 Nature, #149 Faith, #2 Starting Over


Title: Someplace Safe (The Screaming at the Wind Remix)
Pairing/Characters: Charlie/Ian
Rating: R
Word Count: 2000
Spoilers: Seasons 1-3
Summary: Ian helps Charlie escape for a while after a life changing trauma
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


192. Cabin

It all went to hell when they saw the stitches.

He'd been barely holding on since ballistics came back and now amidst the cacophony of voices he felt himself slipping.

"Get me out" he typed in a text message, a hail Mary pass for someone to save him.

And he did. Ian showed up, packed a bag and extracted him with the precision of a military operation. The rest was a blur until he woke up in a foreign bed in a peaceful cabin.

Staggering out, he found Ian and blinked at him.

"Where are we?"

"Someplace safe."


073. Bullet

Ian had a right to know what happened, but the words hadn't come easy: Russians, David's spare gun, one perfect shot that wound up wasn't David's...

He listened without reacting, puttering around the kitchen. Somehow Charlie had known the sniper would be the one person to remain unfazed, the one who'd understand.

Charlie's hands traced the grain of the wooden table, the act oddly mesmerizing, calming. He watched his hands, lethal hands now, as the words flowed out of him.

"I killed a man. How do I go back to how I was?"

"You don't, Charlie. You can't."


082. Feast

Charlie almost broke out into hysterical laughter when Ian put a plate of pasta with butter in front of him: Larry food.

He took a bite or two and when he looked again the plate was empty and another plate appeared. He ate that too and the plate of eggs that came next.

"Letting yourself eat is a good first step," Ian told him and that made Charlie pause.

"Which direction?"

"What?"

"A step in which direction?" His query was an honest one; he really didn't know. "Where do I go now?"

"I don't know."


042. Words

"Try to get some rest," Ian told him, practically tucking him into bed.

"I feel like all I'm doing is resting, which is weird because I haven't done anything to get tired over."

"Exhaustion of the soul is a different kind of tired from exhaustion of the body," Ian said.

Charlie nodded at the wisdom of those words. Exhaustion wasn't incurable. Enough rest and he could recover.

"So you think I'll get over this then?" he asked, the barest hint of hope in his voice.

Ian looked at him, examining him closely from the doorway.

"Yes, I think you will."


076. Girlfriend

"Amita's going to leave me," Charlie pronounced out of nowhere over a plate of morning eggs. "She's probably left me already. She's probably packed up her things and is staying with a friend until she can get her own apartment."

"I'm sorry."

Charlie stared into his coffee mug. "She said I'm not the man she fell in love with anymore."

"Who did she fall in love with?"

Charlie searched his mind for the man he used to be before all the cases inured him to violence, before he fired a fatal shot.

But he was gone.


062. Steam

After working in fluid dynamics as long as he did Charlie saw steam differently from other people.

But this time the plumes of steam didn't make Gaussian plume dispersion equations pop into his head. No math came at all.

He waved his hand though it, being the purposeful Heisenberg factor, but still no numbers.

The only thing in his head was one simple fact, one he couldn't quiet, one he'd never forget.

Ian stood beside the bathtub he was in and Charlie looked over at him with an odd sort of clarity.

"I killed a man."

"I know."


174. Blood

"Why'd you do this?" Ian asked, holding Charlie's arm and examining the stitches Colby had put in.

Charlie thought about how to answer.

I wanted to know what the man I killed felt like as he was dying.

I wanted to punish myself for taking a life.

I wanted to see the blood in hopes it would make the dead part of me feel again.

"I calculated how much blood he lost," he answered, his voice numb. "I calculated it as it was pooling on the floor. I wanted to know what it felt like, that much blood just leaving."


155. Therapy

Charlie didn't want to go outside, as if outside meant facing the world, something he was far from ready to do, but Ian insisted. He called it occupational therapy with a chuckle then shoved him out the front door.

The sun beat down and a slight breeze wafted through the trees. The air Charlie breathed in felt not just clean but cleansing. He took another breath. Being outside wasn't bad. It wasn't the real world, his real world anyway, but it was closer to reality than hiding in the cabin had been.

Another step in whatever direction he was headed.


100. Tears

It woke him with a jolt: a moment of absolute clarity.

He'd known before, but this time it hit him full force, as if he'd been wrapped in cotton earlier and now the sharp edge of truth had sliced through.

He'd taken a human life.

His body wracked with violent sobs, he could barely see Ian lighting a candle in his tear-blurred eyes.

Wordlessly Ian pulled him close and Charlie just let go.

He didn't know why Ian was what he needed right now, but as long as Ian stayed with him, he might just make it through the night.


032. Metamorphosis

The bathroom mirror was small, but Charlie needed to see.

His body felt wrong. His hands grazed across his skin, half expecting it to crack or split at his touch.

He stretched, but he felt a tightness, a sense that his body had changed, was changing, into something else.

Part of him wondered if this was what a snake felt like just before it shed its skin.

The idea of starting over like that appealed to him in an odd way, but then he was sure not even a new skin would remove the taint of murder from his hands.


145. Storm

"That wind is really howling out there."

Howl.

At Ian's statement something snapped in Charlie. An easy numbness had enveloped him, but it hit him: it wasn't protection, it was prison.

He went outside, up the ladder and mounted the roof, bracing himself to face the raging storm.

He took a deep breath, spread his arms wide and let out a scream that came from deep inside him, a primal yell that broke up the shell that had been hardening around him. He screamed until the shell shattered and fell away, until he was raw.

Until he could feel again.


147. Thaw

When he finally came down Ian dragged him inside and wrapped him in furs once he shed his wet clothes, plopping him down in front of the fire as he fussed about like a mother hen.

"Were you trying to get yourself killed out there?" Ian's voice was more concerned than angry and Charlie just chuckled at it all, something loosening up inside him.

"No Ian," he said thoughtfully. His voice was hoarse, but oddly clear and strong, full of the certainty he'd lacked before. He'd crossed a line; he was coming back. "I don't think I was."


005. Fantasy

Every inch of him felt alive; Charlie couldn't remember the last time he felt like that.

Following his instincts, as he had in the storm, he held out his hand to Ian.

"You have me nearly naked, wrapped in furs, in front of a roaring fire." He drew Ian close, knowing he'd understand his intent. "I'm not as unobservant as people think. And you haven't exactly been subtle."

He drew Ian into a kiss, one soft but not tentative.

He didn't know what the future would bring, but tonight, he wanted this. He wanted a human connection. He wanted Ian.


172. Skin

Ian's fingertips on his skin sent off sparks in Charlie's nerve endings, every contact felt and felt completely.

Ian's mouth on him, hot and wet, was a revelation in sensation; Charlie almost felt like he was being touched for the first time.

"Ian," he whispered. "Want to feel you."

Ian undressed rapidly as Charlie watched, hungry for touch, for the experience, welcoming Ian to lay pressed up against him.

Once their naked bodies met, Charlie closed his eyes, reveling in the smooth skin warm under his hands, the body under it vibrantly alive and Ian's rumbling voice breathing his name.


038. Discovery

In bed, by candlelight everything slowed. The air was filled with breathy moans and gasps as they explored each other's bodies in the golden light.

Ian's fingers drew pleasure from Charlie's body effortlessly, his skin crackling with electricity as Ian teased him open.

A final kiss then Ian slid inside, Charlie's breath catching until they were fully joined. His body swamped with ecstasy, he couldn't speak, the moment too blissful for words.

Then Ian started to move and Charlie surrendered his body to him, the two of them in perfect sync as if they always had been and always would.


152. Forgiveness

Words came easily afterwards, all barriers between them gone.

"What are you feeling more guilty about, taking a life or saving your own?" Ian finally asked him. "And if you hadn't taken the shot, if David had been killed, think of the state you'd be in then, not to mention Don, Colby. The only person tearing you up is you. The only person you can apologize to is you and the only person who can forgive you is you."

Charlie let out a long breath. "I'm not there yet."

"I know," Ian soothed. "But you will be."


181. Demands

"What did you tell them?"

Ian looked up at breakfast to find Charlie eyeing him with a kind of clarity that had been missing previously. "Who?"

"Everyone who's been looking for me."

"Who says I told them anything?"

"The fact that no one's stormed down our door in tac gear," Charlie said with a smirk. "You're not the only tracker Don knows."

Ian poured himself more coffee.

"I told them you needed more time."

"Will they give it to me?" Charlie asked.

"Doesn't matter," Ian told him firmly. "I'm giving it to you. We're not leaving here until you're ready."


045. Nature

Charlie had forgotten how much he missed the outdoors until they started spending more time outside the cabin. He'd used to commune with nature, but had gotten too busy with FBI work to allow himself peaceful moments amongst the trees.

Now Ian would press him up against a trunk and kiss him senseless or lay him in the tall grass under the midday sun, their fiery unions wonderfully passionate.

These days he felt wild and free in a way, but he felt more like himself than he had been in a long while.

Only this was the new Charlie: post-mortem.


149. Faith

Ian took the news that it was time to go back better than Charlie thought.

"Reason is my faith, Ian," he explained. "I lost it to emotion, I forgot how to...think. But I'm thinking again now. My mind is beginning to feel like my own again."

"Just as you were." Ian sounded resigned, as if Charlie was going back to exactly how things were before.

"No," Charlie clarified. "I have faith in other things now."

"Things like?"

"Things like screaming at the wind." Charlie drew Ian in for a tender kiss. "And things like this."


002. Starting Over

Charlie stared out the window as Ian pulled up in front of the Craftsman.

"Are you sure you don't want me to come in?" Ian asked.

"Yeah. Got to face the music myself." Charlie turned to him, dreading their parting. "Thank you, Ian."

"Anytime."

"I'll be on summer break in not too long," he offered.

Ian smirked. "I'll check my schedule."

Their final kiss was filled with emotion unspoken yet understood.

Then Charlie headed towards the house without looking back.

He stood at his door, took a deep breath and stepped over the threshold.

=
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on February 11th, 2010 09:47 am (UTC)
Confession
This fic was written for the Holiday Drabble Remixathon at numb3rs100. The original author was ladygray99 whose fic I remixed was Someplace Safe Part 1 and Part 2. (Technically it feels like more of a companion piece, but it still qualifies as a remix. I just think it works much better if someone's read the original previously.)

After egging her on to write tons of her Silk Pillow drabble universe I ended up not remixing any of it. For whatever reason my muse latched on to Someplace Safe despite it being a whopping *20* drabbles long! Gah!

I did take a minimalist's blade to it, cutting back the 20 drabbles from the 300 word originals to 100 words, but past that I kept her original dialog and merely switched the POV to Charlie. That meant a few drabbles had to be almost entirely rewritten from scratch, but I kept the overall story in place. (At least I hope I did!)

I don't think this is in any way better than hers - hers was wonderfully emotional, rich with detail and created a distinct Charlie/Ian universe separate from all others. This is just me enjoying playing in her sandbox. Charlie's POV deserves more than 100 words per, but if readers want that, they're going to have to poke her for it. /evil grin/

I hope you like the remix L and thanks for all your lovely fic at N100 over the years!

Very special thanks to betas melissima and t_vo0810 for their assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
ladygray99ladygray99 on February 11th, 2010 10:36 am (UTC)
Lovely, lovely, lovely. I have the hardest time writing from Charlie's POV so it was really nice to see the inside of his head in this. I really liked steam. It was like he was trying to magically summon the math waving his hands about.
I found it interesting the way you kept the dialogue and wove your own story around it. Truly an act of skill. Thank you for this. :-)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 11th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it! I hadn't planned on remixing quite so many drabbles, but the muse wants what the muse wants, you know? ;-)

I've always really liked this series so it was great to revisit it and an awesome challenge to be in Charlie's head for it after what he went through. I didn't capture the full emotional impact, but I still enjoyed the process.

Thanks!
fredbassettfredbassett on February 12th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
I have read the original, and this stands up to the re-mix very nicely. I like this pairing.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 12th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

It's nice to see you back at my LJ. It's been a while. Hope things are well in your corner of the world.
fredbassettfredbassett on February 13th, 2010 08:52 am (UTC)
Not too bad, thanks :) Hope things are good with you as well.
draoichtanghra on February 12th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC)
I started reading your fiction a couple of months ago, and have been meaning to comment. Then I decided to go back to the start and make sure I didn't miss anything from Numbers, Criminal Minds and The Unit (the only fandoms you write that I follow) before I said anything. The only problem with that was I didn't keep notes of what I really liked and so I can't be very specific about individual stories - sorry. But it does give me a reason to reread :).

However, I can say that I love your writing. You've sent shivers down my spine at times, you so often manage to pack so much into so few words. I am in awe of your talent and hope you keep writing for a long time.

I really enjoyed this set of drabbles. I love the Ian/ Charlie pairing anyway, and liked your variation on the original stories. The two seem to dovetail very neatly and it just felt right.

Thank you for so much reading pleasure over the last few weeks.

magic
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 12th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
Hi Magic and welcome to my LJ!

Thanks so much for delurking to leave me this wonderful comment! You totally made my day with it. I was just bemoaning the fact that I wrote 20 drabbles - made more difficult by virtue of being a remix - and only one person commented other than the author I remixed. I was resigned to this being yet another ignored story so that you for reminding me that low comments doesn't mean low readers. I know there are people out there who read and don't comment, but it can get discouraging to put out fic after fic and get only comments from your two or three close friends.

Yay for you liking The Unit! I'm working on a crossover this month with Numb3rs and the Unit (Mack and Charlie gen) which I think you'll enjoy. I might not write The Unit much, but I'm catching up on the episodes I missed so more to come hopefully.

Anyway, pull up a comfy chair and help yourself to the platter of cookies. I hope you'll stick around a while and pop in from time to time to say hello.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment! It's really appreciated!

P.S. I don't know if you say this, but my fic is organized by tags and Memories. I suggest the Memories as tags don't seem to show all the stories for some reason.
draoichtanghra on February 13th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
You're welcome.

I'm delighted to hear about the Numb3rs/ The Unit crossover, especially if it features Mack, who's my favourite character, and I just know you'll do something worth reading. Any chance of more Unit stuff as well?? Pretty please??

And thanks for the cookies. :D

magic