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17 September 2012 @ 05:13 pm
Numb3rs Fic: People to See  
Posted to numb3rs_slash

Title: People to See (Sequel to Fish in the Sea)
Series/Universe: Not the Only One
Pairing/Characters: Charlie/Colby
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Judgment Call, Breaking Point
Summary: Charlie seems fine with Penny around but Colby is still worried
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Finding the Craftsman empty after work felt strange to Colby. Charlie and Penny or at least Alan always seemed to be around whenever he got there. This time though the porch light was out and all the interior lights were as well.

Frowning, Colby pulled out his cell phone and pressed the speed dial for Charlie's cell.


"Charlie, it's me," Colby said, only belatedly realizing he might not recognize his voice yet.

"Colby! You still at work?"

"I'm at the house," Colby explained, fighting down a little flush of pleasure at being wrong about Charlie knowing the sound of his voice. "And... You're not."

"Oh, you know me..." Charlie's voice had a lightness too it, almost laughing. "People to see, places to go, a dog to walk... Actually we're on our way back from the park down on Davenport."

"You decided to walk Penny at sundown?" Colby pocketed his keys and headed out the front door to watch for them coming up the street.

"I didn't plan on it, no," Charlie explained. "I just meant to introduce her to a few neighbors and we just ended up chatting for so long – and then the Murphys' kids wanted to play fetch with her... So yeah, we've been out for a while."

"You must be tired then," Colby said, his concern showing through the tone of his voice. As he spoke he reached the sidewalk in front of the house and saw Charlie leading Penny on her leash coming up the street. Her service dog vest was off so they'd certainly been out socializing, though technically she was always working when it came to alerting on Charlie's seizures.

"You know, now that you mention it..."

"Sounds like someone overdid it again." The unmistakeable sound of Charlie's huff just made Colby smile. "Just get home already and I'll take care of dinner for us both."

"I'm on it," Charlie answered. "I just need to take care of this man standing out in front of my house first."

Charlie's joking chuckle was cut off as he hung up but picked up again as he approached where Colby was standing. Penny was already straining slightly on her leash, her tail wagging so hard at the sight of Colby it looked like her entire behind was being wagged.

"Someone's happy to see you," Charlie noted, drawing near. "And the dog is too!" Smiling, he pulled Colby in for a brief yet affectionate kiss just as Penny licked his hand hello.

Colby put one arm around Charlie and used the other to scratch behind Penny's ears.

"I could get used to a homecoming like this," he mused once the kiss ended. His contentment faded a little when he noticed the weariness hidden behind the smile on Charlie's face. "Let's get you inside for some rest, okay?"

"Sounds good to me."

Colby led Charlie indoors, pausing only when they crossed the threshold to unhook and hang up Penny's leash. Almost immediately the black dog nudged hard against Charlie's hand, blocking him from walking further into the house.

"Did Penny just signal?" Colby asked, a rush of panic flooding him.

"Yes, she did." Charlie sounded confused, but went ahead and laid down where he was. The dog laid down flush beside him, laying a protective paw over his torso as she watched him closely.

Colby sat beside him, flustered at his inability to do anything to help.

"Does this mean you're going to have a seizure?" he asked.

"Possibly," Charlie answered, "but possibly not. Penny tends to signal when she senses I'm overtired or stressed out since those are the triggers that can lead to a seizure." He reached out and took Colby's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "It's just a precaution. Besides, not only is she trained to alert, I'm trained to take her seriously every time."

"Absolutely," Colby swore. "If having her prevents a seizure as well as protecting you during and after one..."

Charlie nodded. "You were right – and apparently Penny was too. I did let myself get too tired." He shifted his hand to pet her ebony fur and the dog responded with a hopeful wag of her tail. "She's really something. I'm so glad I have her."

"She's apparently smarter than a genius," Colby teased, trying to lighten the mood. After a minute or two of silence he spoke again. "I'm not sure how long you should stay down, but when you're ready we could get you over to the couch. You can lay down while I make dinner."

"I think I'm ready." Charlie turned his attention to the dog. "Stand!" he commanded and she immediately rose and stood at the ready, her gaze never wavering from him.

Colby put an arm around Charlie's waist and guided him slowly to the living room sofa, Penny at his side for every step. Once Colby settled Charlie in, Penny took up her place right beside him.

"She really loves you," Colby marveled. "I mean she seems to like working in general, but she really cares about you."

"She's amazing." Charlie reached out to pet the dog and she turned into his touch, looking blissful. "I don't know what I did to deserve it, but it's really amazing to experience that kind of love. It makes me wish I'd had a dog like her as a kid. I'd have been a lot less lonely."

Colby paused, memories of his late father and the family dogs – especially his dog, Jake - back in Winchester flitting through his mind like a slide-show. Moments both happy and sad flashed past, bringing with them a wealth of emotions.

"Yeah, I was really glad to be from a dog family. Jake was my best friend growing up." He leaned over and pressed a kiss to Charlie's curls. "Got any preferences for dinner?"

"I don't know. How about a Granger Family specialty?" Charlie asked, gazing up at Colby with fondness shining in his eyes. "You know anything you make I'll like."

"Meat and potatoes it is then," Colby tossed out as he headed for the kitchen. Halting, he turned back. "But if you feel bad at all or if Penny signals again..."

"I'll be sure to be loud enough for you to hear me in the kitchen," Charlie promised, giving him a jovial thumbs up.

Once inside the kitchen though Colby found himself sinking into a chair. Seeing Charlie on the floor had brought up the not so distant past, the event that had led to them coming together: Charlie's first seizure. That panic had been so visceral it was hard to keep his body from reacting even now when he knew Charlie was fine.

Allowing himself a few deep breaths, he calmed himself and then stole a peek back into the living room, just to be sure.

Charlie was reading with a magazine in one hand while his other hand petted Penny. Both looked relaxed and content.

Letting the last of his tension go, Colby swore a silent vow to himself to never let his concern for Charlie's well-being be a source of stress for Charlie and to never – ever – let his guard down enough that Charlie could be hurt.

Not the easiest task, but one he was already on board with one hundred percent.

Opening the refrigerator, Colby found a note from Alan.

'Made pot roast. It just needs heating up. There's apple pie from the bakery too. Please leave some for Don and I. No, there's no vanilla ice cream. I know who ate it all and I know it wasn't the dog. - Dad'

Chuckling to himself Colby pulled the pot roast out and placed it on the counter then busied himself with plates and glasses and cutlery.

Granger family specialties could wait. Colby was more than happy with his new family's food.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 18th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC)

Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? /hides/ I know going back to school really put a damper on my fic output, but I guess it hasn't hit me just how little non-drabble fic has gotten published in the last two years. Mea culpa! I still owe you all the Jake and the census taker story as well. /makes reminder note/

I'm hoping to write at least one more of these in the near future. This one's leading up to the next so they – in my mind at least – form a set like the previous couple did before them.

ChaCo fans – thanks for your patience! And whoever wrote wondering if this series was abandoned? Can I just answer that with a hearty "NOO!" Not abandoned, just like the rest of my series, being postponed for longer than I'd like.


Emma DeMarais
Andreadizzydrea on September 18th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
NOO! You wrote NOO!

I knew you had it in you. And no apologies necessary for slow output. School is way more important in the grand scheme.

Still, I loved this little reminder of why I adore "ChaCo". You've written Colby so sweetly protective that I could barely stand it.

Granger family specialties could wait. Colby was more than happy with his new family's food.

And that...that was just the perfect way to end it. His new family. Makes me want to go back and reread the whole thing, just to keep the good vibes flowing.

Bravo, m'dear!
ladygray99: Colbyladygray99 on September 19th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
It always makes me so happy to see you writing this!. Charlie and Colby are so sweet together here and so is Penny. With both her and Colby taking care of Charlie I'm sure Charlie is going to get through all of this. I just want to cuddle all three of them, you and this fic.
lillyglillyg on October 21st, 2012 08:20 am (UTC)
The end is so cute ^^