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CONNECT THE DOTS 11/13

Word Count: 28.450
Summary: While helping Don out with a case against the drug lord JM, Charlie gets hit by a car. When it’s becoming clear that the accident was in fact an attack, Don worries for Charlie’s life. A race against the clock begins, loyalties are questioned and Charlie has to fight his very own demons.
Pairing: Charlie/Amita (but only hints – canon pre-relationship)
Rating: PG
Spoiler: Sniper Zero, For better or worse
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Numb3rs and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.

Connect The Dots Masterlist
Chapter 10


11.



“Dad told me that maybe they’ll let you go you the day after tomorrow,“ Don said and stopped the wheelchair in the waiting room of the neurology wing.

Charlie nodded. “Yeah.“

“You think that you’re ready?“

Charlie shrugged and stared out the window into the warm sunny evening. Don pulled a chair closer and sat down next to him. Even in the evening, Los Angeles didn't calm down. The traffic was rumbling by the hospital and on the sidewalks, people were hurrying towards their next objective. The setting sun fell through the window, getting caught in Charlie's hair. Don sighed when he saw the distant, thoughtful expression on the pale face of his brother. “What’s going on, huh?“

Charlie swallowed. “The numbers are gone.“

Don frowned. “What do you mean by that?“

“I can solve every problem you give me but … before, they were just always there.“

Don sighed. “You were in an accident, Charlie. You got hurt. Even your head has its boundaries. Give it time.“

Charlie’s hands gripped the wheelchair’s armrests and he closed his eyes. “But I want to help you, Don. David told me about the case and there are possibilities to work with the data, but I-“

“Hey!“ Don interrupted and put a hand on the back of Charlie's neck, “Hey, calm down, okay? Calm down. The doctor doesn’t want you to get upset.“ He sighed. “Don’t worry about the numbers, okay?“ He smiled. “They’ll be back.“

Charlie looked at him. “I want to help you.“

“I know,“ Don answered, “But I can wait for you to get better.“

“Charlie, forget your damn numbers. Mom needs you.“

Charlie closed his eyes, confused by the memory. The picture of the garage in his parental home flashed in his head, filled blackboards, but it disappeared again before he could get a hold of it.

“Are you okay?“ Don asked. He nodded.

“You okay? Charlie.“ Don didn't sound impatient but worried and Charlie felt his brother's hands pressing him against a car. “He didn’t hit you, right?“ Don asked in alarm and his hands were looking for injuries.

Charlie shook his head and looked up to the Banitec Towers. “I’m just … a little shook up.“


Charlie looked at Don. “Do you enjoy working with me?“

Don raised his eyebrows, surprised by the question. “Yeah,“ he answered finally, “sure.“

Charlie remained sceptical. “Really?“

Don nodded, worried. “What’s going through that head of yours, buddy?“

Charlie avoided his eyes and shook his head. “I don’t know. I’m confused.“

“That’s okay,“ Don said, “Everything’s going to be okay.“ He brushed through Charlie’s hair and smiled.

***

Don rummaged about his pockets, searching his car keys, and looked at his father who was walking the hospital's parking lot mutely beside him. Around them, people got into their cars. The visiting time was officially over and the patients' family members and friends were headed home. Since Charlie was feeling better, Alan had been sent home, too, although he'd wanted to stay with his son. Don could have worked his magic and let Alan stay overnight but he didn't want to. His father looked tired and he needed sleep. Therefore he had suggested to drive him home and to eat with him. Then, he wanted to head for the office and concentrate on the case. Don opened the car. “Get in, Dad. I’m going to make a call,“ he said and Alan nodded tiredly. He got in on the passenger side and closed the door while Don was dialling Megan's office number.

His eyes roamed over the parking lot out of instinct, looking for danger, while he waited for her to pick up. “Megan Reeves,“ she finally said, sounding out of breath.

Don smiled. “Where are you coming from?“

“Break room,“ she answered and he could hear her grin, “As always, you’re right on time, boss.“

He looked to the window of Charlie's room and saw David's shadow moving inside. The conversation with his brother was still echoing in his head.

“Can you do me a favour?“ he asked.

Megan sounded worried. “Sure. What’s up?“

***

Charlie couldn't see Don and David but he heard them. The door to the conference room was left ajar and Don was talking loudly. Terry threw him an assuring smile from her desk and he forced himself to smile back before he clenched his hand in the strap of his bag, focusing on Don.

“What were you thinking?“

“I don’t know,“ David answered, “I made a mistake. He wanted to go there-“

“I don’t care what Charlie wanted, understood? He’s a civilian and in a situation like this one, it’s your responsibility to protect him. The guy could have killed him. Do you understand what that means?“

“Yeah,“ David answered softly.

“I thought you had more sense of responsibility. I know that you’re a newbie on this team but it was your assignment to look after Charlie and you didn’t.“

“I’m sorry, Don.“

“Sorry? If Edgerton hadn’t been there, Charlie would be dead by now!“

Charlie flinched and a couple of heads turned to the conference room. Then, the agents went back to their work. For a moment, it was quiet in the conference room. Then David said, “I’ll pay better attention next time.“

“There won’t be a next time. He’s my little brother and he won’t work for me any more.“

Charlie couldn't react fast enough. Don left the conference room and when he saw Charlie standing at the door, his eyes flashed furiously. He grabbed Charlie's arm and steered him towards the elevators. “What the hell are you doing here? I told you that I don’t wanna see you here anymore.“


There was a knock at the door to Charlie's room and David put his magazine aside. He got up and headed for the door with a hand at his gun. When he opened, Charlie saw a young woman standing outside. David had to know her because he immediately eased his stance. “Hey, what are you doing here?“

She looked at Charlie with sharp, green eyes and spoke with David so softly that he couldn't hear her. Charlie didn't know what to think of it and felt reminded of teachers and professors who had been talking about him while he was calculating. David nodded and turned around to Charlie. “Listen, this is Megan Reeves. She’s in Don’s team, too, and you know her. I’m going to grab a bite.“ He left and Charlie was left alone with Agent Reeves. She smiled and closed the door. Her light brown hair was in a plait and she slid her hands into the pockets of her dark jeans. She seemed to be nice but Charlie didn't know her. He felt overtaxed by all the people he knew.

“Hey, Charlie!“

“Hey!“ he answered.

“I’m Megan,“ she said and sat down next to his bed.

“Charlie?“

He looked up from his laptop.

“Next time you wanna demonstrate something, don’t use my food, okay?“


“I’m a profiler.“

Charlie instinctively shrank back. Megan smiled. “Yeah, that was your reaction when we met for the first time, too.“

“Sorry.“

“Don’t worry about it,“ Megan said earnestly. She took Charlie's hand. “When you were a kid you had to go see therapists,“ she said, “and you hated it.“

Charlie stared at her in surprise.

“You told me that,“ she explained, “Your mother took you out of therapy then and decided that she and your father would be all the support you needed.“ She smiled. “You seem to be better.“

“They’re thinking about letting me go home the day after tomorrow.“

“That’s great,“ Megan said and let go of his hand. She propped her arms on the bed and leant forwards. She suddenly got serious and Charlie suspected that she'd not merely come to see him. “Don’s worried.“

“Why?“ Charlie asked in surprise.

“Because of you.“

Charlie avoided her eyes and Megan sighed. “He told me that you were keeping things from him and your dad.“

“I don’t know …“ Charlie stopped.

Megan waited. When Charlie didn't go on, instead opting to stare at the ceiling, she said, “This conversation could be just between you and me. I’ll tell Don that we talked and that you feel better but that I can’t tell him what we talked about.“

“You know, you've never been really good at keeping secrets. Think about it.”

Charlie closed his eyes. Don’s voice sounded as if he was just kidding but it hurt nonetheless. “I think I did something wrong.“

“What?“ Megan asked cautiously.

“It’s about … my mom and … Don hates me for it.“

“Don doesn’t hate you.“ Megan smiled. “Believe me, Charlie, Don’s as far away from hating you as he can. In fact, as soon as we find the guy who hit you and drove off, I think he’ll tear him apart limb by limb.“

“There are memories of … him yelling at me. Because of mom.“

Megan knew what Charlie was talking about. She didn't know any details but Don had mentioned it casually and she could read people well. “Charlie, that was then.“

“What did I do?“

“Your family should answer that.“

Charlie turned his head away.

“But you can be sure that Don doesn’t hate you. He couldn’t.“

Charlie didn't seem to be convinced, so Megan added, “You should talk to him about it, but he really loves you, okay? You two just … had a rough time.“

“I hate the fact that I don’t remember. I feel like a stranger.“

Megan hesitated for a moment then she gently brushed a hand through Charlie's hair. He permitted the touch.

“You’re not.“

“I never had many friends. I don’t know. Suddenly, there are so many people who know me and I …“ He swallowed. “I don’t know them. I don’t wanna lose them. By saying the wrong thing.“

“You won’t,“ Megan answered and waited until Charlie was looking at her, “That’s what friendship’s about.“

***

The asphalt tore up his jeans and his legs got caught in the bike. The ground was wet and cold and everything hurt. Rain clouds were looming above him and headlights were cutting through the darkness. Somebody was leaning over him. “Damn.“

Charlie groaned and coughed. He tried to turn on his side but his body didn't cooperate. The man beside him grabbed his arm and took the rucksack from him roughly before he let go of Charlie who fell back down to the road. Charlie was confused. Didn't he want to help him?

“Where are they, huh?“ the man asked. Charlie gasped when he tried to stand up and fire shot through his flank..

“There they are,“ the man said. Charlie got to his feet but the other man pushed him and Charlie fell down.

“You were supposed to be dead by now,“ he said. Suddenly, he addressed another person. “Open the trunk.“ He looked down at Charlie who couldn't see his face clearly, fighting against the spots dancing in front of his eyes.

“Bring the baseball bat over here.“


Charlie cried out and wanted to turn away but a sharp pain in his stomach stopped him.

“Charlie,“ Colby said, startled, and switched on the lights. It scared the dangerous shadows out of the room but Charlie didn't seem to notice. He tried frantically to escape from the IV, his dark eyes widened in panic and his breathing too quick. His hands were trembling and he couldn't get a hold on the IV.

“Charlie, you okay?“ Colby gently gripped his arms and forced him to look into his blue eyes. “It was just a dream, okay?“

Charlie's eyes remained unfocused and he kept fighting Colby's hands.

“Stop it, Charlie,“ Colby said.

“Beta 13 48 omega 83,“ Charlie whispered.

“What?“ Colby asked in confusion.

Charlie blinked and suddenly, he was staring at Colby much more clearly. He was still panting but he finally seemed to be awake. “Colby,“ he gasped. His eyes roamed the room and found the cell phone on his bedside table.

He grabbed it and Colby let go of him.

“Charlie,“ he said cautiously and sat down on the bed. Charlie pressed the cell to his ear and looked at Colby helplessly.

“Charlie?“ Don answered, worried.

“I remember the accident.“ Charlie's frightened voice made Don forget the late evening conference with Hitchcock's team. He turned away from the other agents and looked through the glass front of the conference room into the open-plan office where some agents were still working.

“Charlie, you remember? Everything?“

“No,“ Charlie answered.

Hitchcock spoke up. “Eppes, can he identify him?“

Don raised a hand to silence him. His little brother was breathing too fast.

“Charlie, just breathe. Is Colby with you?“

“Yeah. He’s here.“

“Good. Nothing’s gonna happen. Breathe.“ Don listened to Charlie taking a few deeper breaths. “Better?“ he asked.

“Yeah,“ Charlie answered.

“Good,“ Don said, “Did you see the driver?“

“No,“ Charlie answered, “everything’s hazy and … but, Don …“ Charlie took a shaking breath. “Don … he wasn’t alone.“

***

JM was always sounding calm when he picked up the phone. “What’s up?“

“I just heard,“ he said and brushed a hand through his short hair. He looked across the street in front of the FBI building and smiled at a couple passing him on their late night stroll. Reeves and Sinclair were only a couple of meters away, catching some fresh air. He had to act as if he would actually call just his brother. “The professor’s starting to remember.“

JM was silent for a moment. “Are you sure?“

“Very. He can’t identify me, yet, but I don’t know if that will change. I eavesdropped on Eppes and Granger. Looks as if the professor’s getting out the day after tomorrow. I can get to him in his house.“

JM sighed deeply. “Well, see that you do.“

Chapter 12
Connect The Dots Masterlist