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24 March 2010 @ 11:17 pm
Numb3rs Fic: With Deepest Sympathy  
Posted to numb3rs_fic

Title: With Deepest Sympathy
Pairing/Characters: Charlie, Larry
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: None
Summary: Charlie hates getting sympathy cards
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

The sympathy cards sat in a neat stack on the barren dining room table, all fine ivory paper and careful penmanship, completely unopened.

Charlie had been sitting and staring at them, unmoving save for the tension slowly hunching his shoulders, for the better part of a half hour before Larry gently interceded.

"Charles, I realize you would prefer to eliminate or at the very least delay this portion of modern society's ritual of loss, however it is an important step in the grieving process. One must face life without the loved one they lost and that includes acknowledgment of that loss via condolences from those who care about you and your family."

Charlie just continued to stare, fingertips skimming over his family name and the Craftsman's address on the top envelope; the card wasn't even from anyone he knew personally, but he'd at least heard their name mentioned around the courthouse a few times so they didn't qualify as a complete stranger. They just felt like one.

"I don't want to do this," he lamented plainly.

"I know," Larry told him, laying a consoling hand on Charlie's shoulder. "But if you don't your father will eventually find them and feel obligated to handle them all without you and I'm sure you wouldn't want him to shoulder that burden on his own."

"No, he shouldn't have to," Charlie agreed, pensive. "It's been so hard on him..." He ran his finger down the side of the stack, unconsciously counting them by sight out of habit. "It's just... Their words mean nothing to me! They're just a painful reminder that someone I loved died too soon, a fresh stab to the heart while it still hurts so bad that sometimes I feel like I can't even breathe! Nothing anyone can say will make this hurt any less."

"Perhaps not," Larry said sagely, after allowing Charlie a moment to calm slightly, "but you'll never know unless you let them say it. They're grieving too, Charles. It's not too much to ask for you to give them a minute of your time to express that grief in solidarity."

"They can have a minute," Charlie huffed, bitter. "How's a year from next Tuesday? I think I can fit them in then."

Larry removed the top card from the pile, slid Alan's old Arts and Crafts period letter opener into the envelope and sliced it open before placing the opened envelope in Charlie's hand.

"Then just one to start," he urged, persistent. "The rest can wait their turn."

After a long pause, in which it wasn't clear if he would open the card or put it back on the pile, Charlie reluctantly tugged the greeting card within out of the envelope and looked at the front. It had white lilies on it and read 'With Deepest Sympathy' in a script so ornate it was difficult to read.

He took a bracing breath before opening it up, holding it in his lungs as he read the scant text printed inside, filled with generic platitudes, then the handwritten note beneath.

Tears welled fast in his eyes, his throat constricted and his chest ached as his still raw anguish overcame him - the fragile mask of control he'd constructed to get him through the funeral finally shattering.

He all but threw the open card on the table, rejecting it and the reality it held, then retreated up the stairs hastily.

"I can't do this..."

The card was just from some lawyer friend of the family, not even anyone close to them, but some words were too hard to hear from anyone - ever.

'We were so sorry to hear about the tragic death of your brother Don...'

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on March 25th, 2010 06:19 am (UTC)
I write more gen fic than anything, yet since I publish almost all of it to numb3rs100 (and don't crosspost like mad) I doubt many people outside of N100 think of me as a gen author. (Check my memories sometime - the stats don't lie.)

So today I felt like a little low pressure ficcing to see if I'm ready to get back into writing again and I also realized it's been a while since I posted anything to numb3rs_fic. Ergo this short fic, which isn't super unique, but it sated my need for a little ficcage to keep my brain creative while it heals.

I confess it feels weird to publish a fic Mel hasn't read or even seen at all, but I did only decide to write this earlier today and she's got a project due tonight. This wasn't worth interrupting her over it; she'll see it at some point I'm sure.

Very special thanks to beta t_vo0810 for her assistance with this fic.


Emma DeMarais
rubynye on March 25th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
*gently massages your brain*
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 25th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
I have been writing an awful lot of Ouch fic as of late, haven't I? (Not that I've been writing much at all, but still.)

I may need a search and rescue team to come find me and poke me with a spork to get me to write something like humor or crack fic to jolt me out of Ouch mode.

I didn't anticipate others feeling my pain would be quite so literal. Mea culpa.
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 25th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC)
Ouch, but lovely.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 25th, 2010 07:11 am (UTC)
I seem to be infected with the Ouchies as of late. Now I'm feeling bad for putting all my nice readers through all this this month. /offers chocolate in apology/

Dear Muse,

How about some crack fic? You know everyone would really enjoy some Three Red Balls about now. If you've really got to churn out angst how about more Homicide? You've got enough people saying 'Yay Homicide!' so what more do you want?


'Tired of Ouchies' Me
ladygray99ladygray99 on March 25th, 2010 08:32 am (UTC)
Tamannaswingandswirl on March 25th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
I second this! *offers Emma's muse bribe of choice* Muse, sweetheart, won't you lay off the angst for a bit? As brilliant as you are at it, I think poor Emma would love some crack and/or fluff right now...
fredbassettfredbassett on March 25th, 2010 09:51 am (UTC)
I didn't see the ending coming.

That was very well portrayed.
Tamannaswingandswirl on March 25th, 2010 09:52 am (UTC)
OMG. Way to unexpectedly suckerpunch me in the gut, woman. I was totally expecting Alan or Margaret so for it to be Don? Ouch. A good ouch, but still.

SamuelJames: Numb3rs-Charlie Eppessamueljames on March 25th, 2010 11:07 am (UTC)
Poor Charlie and Alan.
Candi: Don and Davidmustangcandi on March 25th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
I completely thought it was going to be Amita. Wow. That last line was a real punch in the gut.

Good to see you ficcing. I've not been around so I think I missed something about why your brain is healing. o_O I am sorry for that. *sends hugs*
rubynye on March 25th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, Charlie. My heart bleeds for him here.
devon99 on March 25th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)

I was hoping it was Amita and they were all 'I'm sorry your wife was eaten by a bear' cards, but no, you killed Donny!!!

t_vo0810t_vo0810 on March 25th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
i heart u so for this comment. seriously. i haven't stopped laughing for 5 mins.

hey emms,
maybe that's the answer to ur crackfic plea! can we have some 'i'm sorry your wife was eaten by bears' fic?

Karen: neverending story princessbyrons_brain on March 26th, 2010 10:03 am (UTC)
::cries:: so lovely!

::snuggles charlie tight::
lilacs_roseslilacs_roses on March 29th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Ah... I think I recall seeing this but, since it had Charlie and Larry and seemed to be a 'ouch' fic, I bypassed it.

However, it's well done Emma :)

Considering what I've been writing, I think the 'ouch' stuff could probably be going around (problems with economy, people so stressed about life and all that). I'd don't know if I could come up with something 'crackish' right now if my life depended on it /wry chuckle.

/huggs hang in there