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Numb3rs: Connect the dots 5/13 (Fanfiction)

CONNECT THE DOTS 5/13

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 4


5.



Don ran a frustrated hand through his hair, walking restlessly through Charlie’s room, while Dr. Cummings sat down on the edge of Charlie’s bed. “Do you know what year it is, Charlie?“

The young man glanced uncertainly at Don, then at Alan, Amita and Larry who were standing near the window, looking at him in shock.

“1997?“ Charlie asked uncertainly, causing Don to curse. Charlie looked at him as if he’d been slapped.

“Agent Eppes, please,“ Doctor Cummings said and Don nodded.

“Okay, fine.“

Dr. Cummings jotted something down in Charlie’s file. “We have 2005, Charlie.“

Charlie closed his eyes and shook his head. “That can’t be true.“

“What is the last thing you remember?“ Doctor Cummings asked.

Charlie swallowed, massaging his temples. His hands were shaking. “I don’t know.“

“Try to remember,“ Doctor Cummings encouraged him gently. Charlie looked imploringly at Alan. His father stepped up to him and put a calming hand on Charlie’s shoulder. He himself felt anything but calm. Just like Don, he was shocked, but while his oldest son let everyone see his frustration, Alan was trying to stay calm for Charlie’s sake. His youngest son seemed confused and anxious. He glanced at Amita again and again as if he didn’t know what to think of her and Alan knew that the two hadn’t even met in 1997 yet. Or she had just been one of his many students.

“Mom took a flight to San Francisco to visit Aunt Jill.“ Charlie looked at Alan. “Right?“

Alan shrugged helplessly.

“I … was working on my syllabus and …“ He smiled at Dr. Cummings nervously. “You know, this semester’s the first time I’ll be teaching at CalSci.“ He looked at Don. “You shouldn’t be here. You told Mom that you couldn’t visit before summer.“ His eyes caught Larry’s. “You should be at Princeton and teach.“ Panic crept into his eyes. “If mom’s not in San Francisco, where is she?“

Dr. Cummings got up. “Charlie, I’ll borrow your family for a minute, okay? A nurse will be here soon to give you something to let you sleep.“ She nodded at Charlie and left the room. Alan followed her immediately while Don looked back to Amita and Larry. Larry nodded at him to confirm that they would stay with Charlie. When Don stepped outside and closed the door, a nurse was standing next to Dr. Cummings, receiving orders. She nodded at the doctor and headed for the nurse room. Doctor Cummings led Don and Alan a couple of steps down the corridor. “Charlie’s suffering from a retrograde amnesia.“

Don put his hands on his hips. “He’s remembering us,“ he said.

“A complete amnesia,“ Doctor Cummings explained, “is possible, but most of the time, it’s caused by a psychological trauma. Charlie’s suffering from various physical traumas. Most patients lose the memories of the things that happened immediately before the trauma. That’s why we weren’t alarmed when Charlie couldn’t recall being in an accident. But there are cases, where patients lose their memories of a part of their life. Sometimes weeks, months or – like Charlie – years.“

“How do we make him remember?“ Don asked.

Dr. Cummings shook her head. “It’s not as easy as pushing a button, Agent. You can’t underestimate what an amnesia means. It would be a big help if his mother could come here. He’s asking for her.“

Don turned away and Alan explained, “She’s dead.“

“When did that happen?“ Doctor Cummings asked.

“Almost two years ago. She had cancer.“

“When was it diagnosed?“

Don turned to his father. “Dad, the first time was …“

“1997,“ Alan answered, “She was feeling well after a few rounds of chemo but in 2002, the cancer returned.“

“And I moved back to LA,“ Don nodded.

“Well, it’s not unusual, that amnesia erases traumatic or tormenting memories.“

“What should we do?“ Don asked.

“Don’t force him to remember. Talk to him, but don’t expect him to suddenly remember everything. There’s always a chance that he won’t remember certain things even after you told him. Answer his questions, but don’t do much more than that. He could end up feeling overly overwhelmed.“

“But he will remember, right?“ Alan asked.

“Maybe he will. Maybe not.“

Don snorted.

“Listen,“ Doctor Cummings tried to calm them, “we don’t know much about the human brain. Listen to what I told you. There’s a chance that Charlie will regain his memories.“

“And if he doesn’t?“ Don asked.

***

Amita and Larry were still standing at the window when Don and Alan returned to Charlie’s room. Charlie watched the nurse checking his monitors and took a sleeping pill from her. He swallowed the tablet with a drink of water. Don cleared his throat. “Amita, Larry, could you …“ He didn’t want to chase the two away. But he didn’t want them to be there for the news Don and Alan had to give Charlie either. The two seemed to understand that the family had to have some alone time and nodded. Amita almost looked a little relieved. They bid their goodbyes to Don and Alan, then to Charlie, before they left. The nurse followed them, leaving the Eppes alone. Charlie relaxed a little when they were gone. Don assumed that it was due to Amita. She had to be a foreigner to Charlie and who wanted to have strangers around him who expected one to know them?

Charlie smiled a little. “I think mom was right, then. I shouldn’t ride my bike at night.“

“Yeah,“ Don answered, forcing a smile. He sat down at the end of Charlie’s bed while Alan preferred the chair. “How are you feeling?“ Don asked.

“Confused,“ Charlie answered, “You shouldn’t have come here just on my account.“

“I’m living in LA, Charlie,“ Don answered.

His brother seemed to be surprised. “Oh,“ he said.

Don put a hand on Charlie’s shin. “Besides,“ Don added, “there’s no place I’d rather be.“

He smiled a little and Charlie answered with an insecure smile of his own.

“So …“ He took a breath. “Did I get hit on the head?“

This was a part of Charlie Don knew. Assessing the situation, analytically.

“More than once,“ Alan answered.

“2005,“ Charlie said thoughtfully, “That means that mom’s not in San Francisco.“

Don swallowed, shaking his head. He saw his father closing his eyes and cleared his throat. “Charlie …“ He stopped.

Charlie looked at him questioningly, then to his father. “What?“ he asked, worried. He fixed his look at Alan but Don changed his focus to himself with a touch to Charlie’s hip. He knew that his father couldn’t tell Charlie about his mother’s death. Don breathed deeply. He had told Charlie once, he would be able to do it once again.

His chest nevertheless felt tied up. For a moment, he remembered Charlie standing in the garage almost two years ago - aghast and pale with chalk dust smeared on his black t-shirt and in his dark hair - after Don had told him that Margaret Eppes had passed away.

“Mom’s dead, Charlie.“

His brother looked at him uncomprehendingly. Then, he gasped and pressed his not plastered hand on his lips. “Dead?“ he asked, “But how …“

“She had cancer,“ Don answered. He could see that Charlie was holding back tears with effort. Alan’s hand found its way into Charlie’s hair and he leant on the bed to press a comforting kiss onto Charlie’s forehead.

Charlie apparently wasn’t even aware of him. He blinked and wiped tears from his eyes. “Mom’s not dead.“

“Charlie-“

“I talked to her just yesterday.“

“Charlie-“

“You’re lying.“

Don got up and turned away. Alan got up of his chair and took a seat on the edge of the bed instead.

“Mom’s not dead,“ Charlie said desperately. He stared pleadingly at Alan. “Mom’s not dead, right?“

Alan nodded sadly, brushing a few errant curls out of Charlie’s forehead. “She died. Almost two years ago.“

Charlie sobbed, grabbing for his father and Alan helped him to sit up, pulling him into an embrace. “Shh,“ he said. Don shook his head and left the room abruptly. The door slammed shut behind him and he kicked the wall before he brushed a frustrated and angry hand through his hair.

Hesitantly, a woman spoke up behind him. “Mr. Eppes?“

He turned around to a young nurse who was looking at him with uncertain, blue eyes. She brushed a couple of strands of brown hair from the forehead and smiled. “My name’s Charlotte Wyatt. I’m working in the Emergency Room. I was there when your brother arrived yesterday.“

Don rubbed his forehead. The name Wyatt wasn’t new to him. “You called me,“ he said and Charlotte nodded. Don sighed. “I’m sorry, I’m …“ He shook his head. “What can I do for you?“

She pulled a note out of her scrubs’ breast pocket. “I wanted to give it to you yesterday, but then I got caught up with another patient and it took a while. Your brother told me something in the Emergency Room. I’m not sure what it means but …“ She handed Don the note. “I wrote it down. Sometimes, patients tell something about their attacker or the one who caused the accident. But he was really confused.“

Don enfolded the note.

Beta 13 48 Omega 83

He frowned. “What does that mean?“ he asked.

Charlotte shrugged. “He said it and then he told me to call the FBI. But, as I said, he was confused.“

Don nodded in understanding. “Thanks, though,“ he said, putting the note into his pocket. It had to mean something when Charlie had said it. He would show it to Larry and Amita. Charlotte nodded at him and turned away. Don watched her go until she’d arrived at the elevator, then he straightened his shoulders and went back into Charlie’s room. Alan was still holding his youngest but Charlie was quiet. His head was resting on Alan’s shoulder and he was breathing deeply.

“He’s asleep,“ Alan whispered, “The pill knocked him out a minute ago.“

“It’s better that way,“ Don answered softly and Alan nodded. Don rubbed his forehead. “I’m sorry for just leaving.“

Alan tucked Charlie in, tucking the blanket around his still body. “It’s okay, Donnie.“

“No, dad, it’s not. It’s just … he reacted more emotional than a few years ago. I don’t know …“ He stopped, shrugging.

Alan picked his jacket up off the chair, stepping up to Don. “We should let him sleep.“ He put a hand on Don’s shoulder, steering him towards the door.

***

Colby stared at Don, utterly dumbstruck. “Are you kidding? Nothing?“

Don shook his head and, stirring his coffee, sat at one of the tables in the break room. “The last thing he remembers is preparing his syllabus for his first semester as a professor at CalSci. 1997.“

David sat down opposite him while Colby leant against the bar, shaking his head in disbelieve. David warmed his hands at the cup. “What are you going to do now?“

“The doctor told us this morning that they could treat Charlie medicinal, but she wants to wait with that. His memory might return as soon as his body and his head in particular have recovered from the trauma.“ Don sipped his coffee. “I’ll ask Megan to talk to him. Doctor Cummings thinks that talking to a therapist might be a good idea. Unfortunately, he hates therapy.“

Colby shrugged. “But he knows Megan. That has to be …“ He shook his head. “Don’t. I just found the fault with that idea.“

David rolled his eyes in Colby’s direction with a grin, then he grew serious. “How’s Charlie handling it?“

Don sighed deeply. “Dad’s with him. Charlie’s not doing so good. He’s confused and insecure. As if he’s afraid to say the wrong thing and trigger a verbal landmine, so he doesn’t talk much at all.“

The looks Charlie threw him were worse. Don remembered the state of their relationship in 1997- it had been anything but good. He’d enjoyed the freedom to have found a job he loved. Of not living in his brother’s shadow any more. They had hardly spoken with each other.

The distance had started when they’d attended college. Don had always been too busy to call and, when he called, then usually at a time when Charlie hadn’t been home. Sometimes with the intention to avoid talking to him. He hadn’t been proud of it. But his brother had become a stranger to him during Don’s time with the Stockton Rangers and Princeton. Charlie was wrapped up in his academic world and of course he’d been a success there. Don wasn’t. He’d discovered that he would never become a good player - never good enough for the big games. He’d felt like a failure whenever he spoke with Charlie. Mathematical ideas always had come to Charlie fast like lightning but Princeton had given him a forum and the desire to talk about it with everybody. Don didn’t want to tell him not to talk about mathematics - about the latest feeling of success, the newest interview, the latest theory - therefore he’d preferred to avoid him completely. And this habit had been hard to break when he began working for the FBI. Plus, his job with Fugitive Recovery had put him into a situation where he had been always on the road and the time for private calls had been sparse. He shook his head. “What’s new?“

David answered, “Nothing from the rest areas Charlie gave us. Amita’s been here since an hour, running his numbers a second time. She’s trying to find the five most probable market places for us, because we have to remove our guys from the rest of them.“

Don cursed softly. “Charlie was wrong?“ He couldn’t believe this. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong.

Chapter 6
Connect The Dots Masterlist