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Numb3rs: Connect the dots 9/13 (Fanfiction)

CONNECT THE DOTS 9/13

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 8


9.



Alan watched his youngest staring at the chessboard, lost in thought. Charlie always had the same facial expression when something was bothering him. And this particularly depressed face told Alan that it had something to do with Don.

“Charlie?“ he asked finally. He looked up, startled. “It’s your turn,“ Alan said.

Charlie sighed. “Sorry.“

“That’s okay,“ Alan answered, “Are you alright?“

“I was just thinking,“ Charlie answered and smiled uncertainly, “I’m fine.“

“Okay,“ Alan said, not really believing him. Charlie concentrated on the game for moment, taking his turn.

Alan raised an eyebrow. “You’re not focusing,“ he said.

Charlie shrugged. “I’m a bit tired.“

“That’s okay,“ Alan said and smiled, “At least, that way I get to win for once.“ He took his turn. “Donnie will come by later.“

Charlie looked at him and Alan just knew that he’d been right. “What’s wrong, Charlie?“ he asked.

Charlie bit his lip, then he put his head down on the cushion. “I’d like to take a nap.“

“Don’t let me bother you,“ Alan said. He cleared the chessboard away, while Charlie was slowly drifting off. Shaking his head, Alan reached for his newspaper and got down to the crossword puzzle.

***

AD Gerald Wright’s office was set up brightly and friendly. A VanGogh copy hung on the wall behind the large wooden desk and a corner of the tabletop was taken by a bang coloured construct nobody could make sense of. Wright was always telling everyone that it had been handcrafted by his daughter before admitting that he didn’t know what exactly it was, either. Wright himself was a stocky man in his late 40s, always dressed correctly, the short, grey hair always combed properly. Normally, he and Don were getting along just fine. However, when Don closed the door to Wright’s office now, his stomach was in knots.

“Agent Eppes,“ Wright said, signalling him to come closer.

Don sat down in one of the comfy chairs. “You wanted to see me, sir?“ He had a good idea what this talk would be about.

Wright signed off the papers laying on his desk before him, then he clasped his hands on them. “Agent Hitchcock was here. Is it true that you’re accusing him of corruption?“

“Not really,“ Don answered. Wright raised his eyebrows in doubt. “Sir, I just didn’t want anybody to know what I was planning.“

“Have you got any evidence against anyone on the team?“

Don bit his lip. “No,“ he said rather reluctant.

“I understand the pressure you’re under, Agent. It’s a complicated case and your brother’s in hospital. If you think that you can’t handle the case-“

“I can handle the case.“

Wright scrutinized him searchingly. Don nodded in assurance. “I can.“

“Fine,“ Wright said, “Don’t get me wrong, you’re a great agent. I know how difficult Hitchcock can be. But you have to work together.“

Don nodded. “Sure.“

Wright nodded at him. “That’s all for now, Agent Eppes.“

Don got up, turning towards the door.

“Oh, Agent!“ Wright said and Don looked at him questioningly, “Give Charlie my best, okay?“

Don nodded and left the office.

***

When Don came back to his desk, Amita and Larry were already waiting there. Amita was pressing her laptop to her chest and seemed to be worried. Larry was sitting on Don’s chair, his head in his hands. Don knew the gesture as one with which Larry expressed concern. He accelerated his steps. Amita was the first to see Don coming.

“Don!“ She met him halfway.

“Amita, what’s the news?“

“It’s Charlie,“ she said, “That wasn’t an accident.“

Don stared at her in alarm. “And you’re sure about that?“

Colby, David and Megan had gotten attentive and were watching them in concern. Larry got up and slid his hands into the trouser pockets. “You can never be entirely sure where human nature is involved, Don.“

The irritated glance the agent sent him made Larry reconsider his words. “As sure as we can be.“

Don looked at David and Colby. “David, I want you in the hospital ASAP. Colby, you’re relieving him tonight.“

The two men nodded and David took his jacket and left. Megan got up from her chair. “How did you find out?“

Amita nodded towards the briefing room. “We’ll explain,“ she suggested and left to prepare things.

Don nodded at Colby. “Summon Hitchcock’s team.“

Colby frowned. “But-“

“Charlie gets hit by a car while he’s helping us out with a case involving the best known drug lord in LA?“

Colby raised his hands. “I see your point.“

***

The laptop was projecting a picture of the scene of the accident on the wall. It was a total view of the road. It didn’t look like a police photo and Don suspected that Larry or Amita had made it themselves. Neat houses were standing lined up on the right side of the road. A small wooded area which fenced off a park from the road extended next to the sidewalk on the left side. Cars were parked beside the sidewalks. Amita was standing in front of the wall, holding a laser pointer. Larry was sitting around the conference table with Agent Hitchcock’s team, Don, Megan and Colby.

“A car hitting a body does so with a certain amount of force depending on the car’s speed,“ Amita explained, “Thanks to the victim’s position and injuries, we can determine how fast the car hitting him was going and how it hit him.“ She pointed to a place in the middle of the street. “Here, shattered glass was found and the police suspects that the accident happened here.“

Larry explained, “The road’s well-known for speeders. To prevent them from going that fast, the city installed two radar traps just last year – one trap for the right lane and one for the left.“

Amita pointed out one of the radar traps down the road. Larry explained, “One of my students took that photo. She was standing beside the other radar trap.“

Hitchcock raised his hand. “Why are you telling us that?“

Larry rested the fingertips of both his hands together, tapping his chin with his forefingers. “Because there wasn’t anyone speeding in that street that night.“

“Charlie’s injuries imply that he was hit pretty hard. His head injuries are the main reason to suspect that,“ Amita said.

“But that’s a paradox,“ Larry answered, “since the car would have had a speed of roughly 80 miles per hour. In that street, the upper limit is a speed of 30 miles per hour. The accident happened in between those radar traps. The driver couldn’t have had a speed of 80 miles per hour without being caught by the traps. Our calculations say, it’s just impossible.“

Silence descended.

“Okay,“ Don said, slightly confused, “Why wasn’t it an accident?“

Amita crossed her arms. “Because Charlie couldn’t have been hit with more than 50 miles per hour. I think he was still conscious after the accident. And we think that he couldn’t have been flung to where he was found.“ She pointed to the wooded area next to the street. “The force of impact was too small. And those parking cars are in the way. He would have been flung against one of them. In addition, his injuries and his bike show us pretty well how the car hit him and it didn’t hit him from the side but from behind. He should have been found laying on the street. We did simulations. And we can only comprehend one of his head injuries. The one at the back of his head. He must have gotten it when he hit the street. But the other injuries above his eye and the skull fracture on his forehead …“ She shook her head.

Larry explained, “Someone beat him.“

Don made angry fists and pressed one of them against his forehead. “And then he got dragged into the woods,“ he said.

Colby swallowed. “To let him die.“

Tanja asked, “Why didn’t they just shoot him or beat him to death?“

Hitchcock cleared his throat. “They couldn’t shoot him – it wouldn’t look like an accident. They didn’t kill him because they lost their nerves. Or they thought that he was dead.“ He looked at Don. “What did Freddy and Kirk say?“

“Nothing.“

“Hm,“ Hitchcock said, “We suspected that much. JM’s guys are never talking.“

Megan nodded. “Except the officer.“

Hitchcock rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “We should talk to Freddy and Kirk again. Maybe put them both in one room. We should confront them with the accident … attack.“

Don nodded his consent.

***

When Charlie woke up, Alan was gone. Instead, Larry and the young woman with the black long hair were sitting at his bed.

“Charles,“ Larry said. Charlie gave him a smile. Larry had always been a safe haven for him. And now, that his father and his brother were practically strangers to him - and his mother was gone - he felt instinctively that nothing had changed between him and Larry.

The young woman leant forward in her chair. “How are you feeling?“ she asked.

Charlie sighed. “Well, I have morphine, I’m great,“ he tried a joke, but failing miserably when neither Larry nor Amita were laughing. “Sorry,“ Charlie said softly, “Did dad finally go home?“

Larry shook his head. “He’s right outside, talking to Don.“

“He should go home,“ Charlie said. He looked at Amita. “I’m sorry, I …“ He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “What was your name again?“

She smiled a little sadly. “I’m Amita,“ she said.

“Larry’s student?“ Charlie asked.

“No,“ she answered, “I was yours.“ She cleared her throat. “We work together. You were my thesis advisor.“

“Really?“ Charlie asked with a smile, “Am I … any good as a teacher?“

Amita laughed. “Sometimes, you talk too fast,“ she answered. Charlie smiled and noticed a fluttering in his stomach. Amita brushed through her hair, grinning at him with sparkling eyes, and suddenly he remembered something.

Amita had folded her arms around his neck and pressed her body to his. He broke the kiss and pushed her back gently. “Amita …“ He shook his head. “That’s not a good idea. I’m your thesis advisor.“

Amita looked at him with huge dark eyes and Charlie was sorry to reject her. “We can’t.“

“Is that the only reason?“ Amita asked hesitantly as if she didn’t want to know the answer.

Charlie didn’t want to lie. “Yes,“ he said, “a good one.“

Amita sighed. “Okay,“ she said. She smiled. “Good to know. We’ll … just see what the future brings then.“


“Charles?“ Larry asked. The memory vanished as fast as it had come and took its place among his other memories as if it had never been gone. The memories preceding and following it, though, were still blurred or just not there.

“What?“ Charlie asked, confused. He noticed Amita’s worried look upon his face and blushed when, once again, he remembered their kiss.

“How far away from Earth have you been just now?“ Larry asked. Charlie looked at Amita who was staring at him just as curiously as Larry.

“I’ve been nowhere,“ he answered and forced a nervous smile. “I was just … I just thought for a second there that I remembered something.“ He would need more information, though, before he talked with them about his memory. “So, the three of us work together at CalSci. What’s been going on there the last few years?“

***

Alan felt weak and had to lean against the wall of the corridor. Alerted, Don put a hand on his arm. “Dad?“

“Someone tried to kill Charlie?“ he asked, aghast.

David nodded calmingly. “Don’t worry. Charlie will be guarded 24/7 from now on.“

“Dad,“ Don added, “You know that I would never let anything happen to Charlie.“

Alan didn’t seem to realize that he was even there. “How can someone be so cold and just hit my boy with a car?“

“We’ll find whoever did this,“ Don promised. Alan rubbed his forehead. He seemed exhausted, dark rings were under his eyes and Don realized that his father had been in the hospital whenever they’d talked on the phone or he’d been visiting Charlie the last couple of days. When Margaret Eppes had been in hospital, Alan had been the same - constantly at her side – until he’d crashed from exhaustion.

“Dad,“ Don said insistently, “You should go home and lay down. Come in a little later tomorrow. You need your rest. Charlie’s not critical.“

Alan shook his head. “I can’t just leave him alone. He hates hospitals.“

“David will be with him, dad. He’s not going to be alone, okay?“

Alan looked at David and the other man nodded at him. “Colby will take over watch tonight but I’ll be back bright and early, Mr. Eppes.“

Alan was still hesitating, so Don said, “Listen: How about I take you, Amita and Larry out for dinner? Then, I’ll take you home and you’re going to go to bed.“

Alan sighed reluctantly. “Fine.“

“Fine,“ Don repeated with a smile, “Just wait here for a minute. I’ll be right back.“

With David, he entered Charlie’s room. He was relieved to see that Charlie was talking animatedly with Larry and Amita. All three of them were smiling.

“Hey, buddy!“ Don said.

When Charlie looked at him, he became a little more guarded. “Hey!“

Don nodded at David. “This is David Sinclair. He’s on my team. You worked with him a few times, too.“

Charlie nodded at David. “Hi.“

“Amita, Larry,“ Don said, “I told Dad that I would take you out for dinner.“

“Can you make him get some sleep?“ Charlie asked, “He’s here almost 24/7.“

“I will,“ Don said. He looked pointedly at Larry and Amita and the two scientists got up. They said goodbye to Charlie and left. “Bro,“ Don said a little hesitantly and pulled the note that the nurse Charlotte Wyatt had given him from his jeans pocket. He handed it to Charlie. “Do you recognize these?“

“Beta 13 48 Omega 83,“ Charlie read aloud. He frowned and looked up at Don, obviously insecure about what his brother wanted from him. “Should I know this?“

“You said that to one of the nurses in ER.“

“I don’t remember,“ Charlie said.

“Yeah, I thought so,“ Don answered and took the note back.

“Sorry,“ Charlie said.

“Don’t worry about it,“ Don answered with a smile. Then he became serious. “Charlie …“

His brother looked at him.

“You being here,“ Don said, “isn’t because of an accident.“

Charlie frowned. “What?“

“Someone hit you with his car – on purpose.“ Don let the thought sink in.

“What?“ his brother finally asked in confusion, “Why?“

“You were working a big case with us,“ Don explained.

“That’s the reason?“ Charlie asked and stared at Don anxiously, “You think that he …“

“Don’t worry. David will stay with you, okay?“ Don said. Charlie cast an insecure look at the agent and David smiled. “He’s a great agent,“ Don said, “You’re safe with him. You trust him.“ He put a hand on Charlie’s shoulder. “I gotta go now, okay? Don’t worry.“ He pulled a cell phone from his jacket and handed it to Charlie. “Your cell was damaged in the accident. But Amita was able to copy your contacts into this cell. My number’s on speed dial 1, okay? Call me, no matter when, no matter why.“

Charlie was looking at the cell and Don bent his knees slightly to be able to catch his eyes. He had to be sure that Charlie understood him.

“Okay, Charlie?“

His brother nodded slowly. “Okay.“

Don smiled at him and then left with a last nod to David. The agent sighed and sat down on the chair next to Charlie’s bed. Charlie looked at him as if he wasn’t sure that he could trust him and David laughed. “You know, the two of us actually get along great,“ he said.

“Really?“ Charlie asked. David nodded. “How did we meet?“

David leant back in his chair. “Well, I was new on Don’s team …“

Chapter 10
Connect The Dots Masterlist