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CONNECT THE DOTS 10/13

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 9


10.



When Charlie woke up, rain had soaked his clothes and he was shivering. It was still night and the black silhouettes of the trees above him stood out towards the deep blue night sky and the stars. His head was killing him and something didn’t seem to be quite right with his chest. He had no idea what had happened, he just remembered that he’d been on his way home. And he knew that he needed help. He coughed and moved his right hand carefully to his jeans pocket. His palms burned and his left hand felt worse than his right therefore he didn’t move it at all. Charlie fished the cell phone from his pocket with difficulty and dialled Don’s number. Don didn’t answer. Charlie’s chest contracted in panic and his hand trembled while he was pressing the cell to his ear.

Did something happen to Don? Why had nobody told him?

The mailbox finally answered. Charlie swallowed and said softly, “Don? I think I’m in trouble. Please … answer. Please …“ He hung up, stared upwards and realized that the trees had started to spin slowly. He felt sick. He tried to dial 911 but he blacked out.


The moon was shining through the thin curtains into his room and Charlie blinked in the pale light. He had to have fallen asleep during his conversation with David. He sighed deeply.

“You’re awake,“ a man said and Charlie startled, turning his head. A man had got up of a chair in the corner of the room and stepped towards him. He was large and looked muscular. Charlie had no idea who he was. And he suddenly thought of Don’s words - that somebody wanted to see him dead.

And where was David?

In panic, Charlie reached for the call button to summon a nurse, but the man grabbed his wrist. “Hey, it’s okay, it’s me.“

Charlie tried to free his hand and took a deep breath to call for help, but the man clapped a hand over his mouth. “Charlie. I’m Colby from the FBI. Calm down.“

Charlie stared at him doubtfully and Colby let go of his hand to get his ID from his jeans pocket. “See? It’s okay. I’m replacing David.“

Colby clapped his back and grinned. “Good job, Whiz Kid.“

Charlie relaxed a little, clinging to the memory of the friendly touch and the smile on Colby’s face. Colby let him go. “Okay?“ he asked carefully. Charlie nodded. Colby switched on the bedside lamp. “Sorry,“ he said softly, “We should have woken you up when I took over watch, huh?“

Charlie shook his head, regretting the motion a second later, and closed his eyes against the pain.

“Okay. You need something? Pain meds? Should I call the nurse?“

“I’m fine,“ Charlie answered.

“Okay,“ Colby said, shoving his hands into his pockets, “Sorry.“

“It’s okay,“ Charlie answered. He closed his eyes and pressed his cheek into the pillow, his face turned away from Colby.

“Charlie?“ the agent asked uncertainly and the mathematician forced back tears, tried to stifle a sob. Colby had to have seen the twitching of his shoulders because Charlie felt him sitting down on the edge of the bed and touching his shoulder. “Hey, Charlie! You okay?“

Charlie didn’t answer.

“I should call Don.“

“No,“ Charlie answered hastily. He looked up at Colby. “I just hate this,“ he whispered.

“What?“ Colby asked.

“Not being able to … not knowing people … having no memory of my past eight years, it’s as if …“ He stopped.

“Hey,“ Colby said and sighed, “Nobody’s blaming you, you know.“

“I know,“ Charlie answered. Nobody but himself.

***

Don was already waiting for him at the elevators. “Hey, Charlie!“ he said.

“Hey!“

They headed for the conference room. The open-plan office was as always bustling with activity. Phones were ringing, agents were running around with files in their hands and a man was just led into one of the interrogation rooms by an agent.

“Thanks for coming,“ Don said and put an arm around Charlie’s shoulders.

Charlie smiled. “You’re welcome.“

Don sighed. “I should warn you that the other team’s leader – Agent Hitchcock – isn’t convinced by your methods.“

“Okay,“ Charlie said cautiously. They entered the conference room and Charlie nodded at Megan, Colby and David before he looked at the other team. Three young agents were sitting at the large table with Don’s team, two women and a man. One of the women - her red, curly hair reaching over her shoulders, framing a pretty face with large blue eyes - seemed to be young enough to just have come from the academy. The other woman was a little older with shoulder-length, fair hair, the blue eyes serious but kind. The young man had his head propped on a hand, his fingers buried in his fair hair. Behind them, Tom Hitchcock was looming - tall, slim, with dark hair and eyes. He was looking at Charlie with an open frown and the mathematician suddenly felt incompetent and insecure under the intense eyes. He’d had this feeling only one other time, but he and Agent Edgerton had a mutual respect for each other, now. Maybe, he would be able to change Hitchcock’s mind, too.

“How long will this take?“ the agent asked. Maybe not. Don frowned while Charlie was putting down his bag.

“Agent Hitchcock, meet my brother Charlie. Charlie, those two are the Agents Tanja Singer and Sandra Balin. The young man is Agent Simon Mirren.“

Charlie smiled at the three young agents and Sandra returned the smile, tucking her red locks behind her ears. Charlie emphasized the smile in Hitchcock’s direction. “I’m going to listen to the case’s specifics and then I’ll see how I can help you,“ he explained, sitting down next to Megan. He felt her hand on his arm and smiled at her, thanking her for the silent support.

Don remained standing and began the briefing. “ We’re after JM. He is one of the best-known drug bosses of America and especially here in LA. He’s regarded as the most successful head of the organized crime in this area. We have no idea what he looks like. But we know that he’s got a right hand, Freddy Tyson. We’re hunting him for a whole while now, however, we weren’t able to catch him, yet. We also know that JM uses rest areas as trade centres for his large transactions. He sells the drugs to his dealers who sell them to their subordinates - this way, the stuff gets into the clubs and everywhere where drugs are dealt. JM deals everything from heroin up to the new lifestyle drug Lightning which has kept the hospitals on the move for a couple of weeks, now.“

“I read about it,“ Charlie answered.

Colby added, “That stuff’s expensive and is only sold in the hippest clubs. Only a small overdose can kill you. Nevertheless, it’s very popular.“

Megan nodded. “Ten people died in a span of the last three weeks.“

Charlie nodded his understanding and looked at Don. “I could find JM’s market places – those rest areas.“

Don nodded. “I was hoping you could help us catch dirty cops, too. JM’s bribing LAPD cops.“

Charlie grimaced. “That’s a lot of data.“ He rubbed his forehead. “Uh … I have this class about social network analysis and its appliance to real life. I could get some of the students to help me input the data.“

“You’ll get whatever you want,“ Don answered.


Charlie opened his eyes and looked at Larry who was sitting beside him, correcting tests. David was sitting in a corner of the room and read a magazine. Charlie cleared his throat and Larry looked up. He smiled happily. “Charles! Agent Sinclair an I were just discussing if we should wake you up.“

Charlie sat up carefully and grimaced as the suture in his stomach avenged the movement with a sharp pain. David nodded, got up and rolled a wheelchair from the end of the bed to Charlie’s side. “Dr. Cummings wants you to get up and get out of your room for a while. We thought that the snacks in the machine down the hallway are worth to be checked out,“ David suggested and put the brakes on the wheelchair.

“Okay,“ Charlie said.

***

Amita's office was smaller than Charlie's but by far more organized. Don's eyes drifted over the bookshelves and the two blackboards next to the window before he knocked on the doorframe. Amita looked up from her computer screen. “Hey!“ she smiled and Don returned the smile, entering her office.

“I was just getting ready to head over to Charlie,“ the young woman said.

Don stopped in front of her desk and put his hands on his hips. “I was hoping that you could do me a favour.“

“Again?“ she grinned.

Don shrugged. “Charlie was trying to find dirty cops in the LAPD,“ he explained.

Amita nodded. “He told me. I helped with the data. He was working on a pretty complex equation to try and reduce the suspect list.“

“Yeah,“ Don nodded and crossed his arms, “Could you try and finish what he started?“

Amita frowned. Don said, “We interrogated three suspects and we’ve been working the case for weeks, now, but we just can’t get a lead. Even Agent Hitchcock’s ready to use Charlie’s methods. It was his idea. Charlie’s still too weak to do it, so we thought …“

Amita nodded thoughtfully. “I’m going to take a look at the equations but, Don … you should remember that Charlie was putting all he had into them. I’m not him.“

“I know,“ Don answered, “But you’re a very gifted mathematician yourself. Charlie thinks so, too. Give it a try.“

She nodded. “Okay. I’ll look through his notes one more time. Maybe Larry can help me, but I doubt it. Link analysis creeps him out.“

“As long as you give it a try,“ Don said, “The guy who tried to kill Charlie’s still out there.“ He smiled. “I’m going to put an agent on you.“

“Not necessary,“ Amita said.

“You know, my brother would say the same thing,“ Don smiled, “but he would kill me if I didn’t get you the proper security.“ He cleared his throat. “By the way, I think that you should try again.“

She frowned. “What?“

“Dating.“

“Don,“ she sighed, “at the moment, he doesn’t even remember my last name.“

“But he will regain his memory,“ Don said, “And you should try again as soon as he does.“

Amita sighed. But she didn't answer. Don took that as a hint that he'd said enough. “I’ll get going. I’ll send you an agent, okay?“

She nodded and he left.

***

Dr. Cummings was sitting next to Charlie on the edge of the bed, checking his pupils with a small lamp. “The reaction’s good,“ she said and put the lamp into the breast pocket of her coat, “How are you holding up with the pain?“

“It’s okay,“ Charlie said.

“The sutures look good. With a little luck, you will leave us the day after tomorrow.“

Charlie smiled in relief. “That would be great.“

“But,“ Cummings said and looked at him earnestly, “you have to rest. Avoid excitement of any kind. And you have to take the meds we’re going to give you. You’ll get prescriptions for painkillers, too, and you will take them. And if it gets too bad, if you’re feeling sick or dizzy, you come back here, okay?“

Alan, standing in a corner of the room, answered for Charlie. “Understood. I’m going to keep an eye on him.“

Cummings smiled her thanks. “I thought so.“ Then she focused on Charlie. “How are those memories coming?“

He grimaced. “I get flashes sometimes, but they’re really confusing and out of context.“

“Okay,“ Cummings said, “But that’s a good sign.“ She got up. “We’ll talk in the morning. I’ll give you my phone number, just in case, so whenever you think that there’s something wrong, you can call me.“

“Hey, Don! It’s nearly midnight, now. I’m a bit worried because you don’t call me. I’m going home, now. Just call me, okay?“

Charlie closed his eyes and massaged his forehead.

“Dr. Eppes?“

He shook his head. “I’m fine. It’s okay.“

She looked at him sceptically and he smiled in assurance. “Really.“

Rain clouds were looming above him and headlights were cutting through the darkness. Somebody was leaning over him. “Damn.“

***

Amita shook her head in frustration and stepped away from the black board. She leafed through Charlie's notes and tucked her long hair behind her ears. Agent Simon Mirren, who was sitting in a corner of her office, averted the look from the campus outside her window. “Is everything alright?“

She shook her head. “No,“ she said, “something’s wrong. Charlie must’ve made a mistake or …“ She massaged her forehead. “Or he saw something I’m unable to.“

Simon looked at the black board – covered with equations in a beautiful and easily to read writing – and raised his eyebrows. “I’m good with maths, but …“ He shrugged. “That goes way over my head.“

“Charlie tried to find dirty cops with this equation. But he doesn’t seem to have made progress.“

“Maybe there are none,“ Simon said.

“No, that’s not it. There’s something … he was confused. He just stopped calculating and began anew. And he used data I have never seen before.“

Simon squinted his eyes and stared at the equations in concentration. Then he smiled. “No, still don’t get it.“

Amita turned round to her desk and searched the folders she'd taken from Charlie's office: Personal files of policemen, reports of crimes connected to JM ... she sank into her chair. “Something’s missing,“ she said.

Simon had turned back to watch the campus but now, he looked at Amita. “What?“

She shook her head. “Charlie used data I’ve never seen before and that’s neither in those files nor on his laptop. I went through everything repeatedly. Something’s missing.“ She looked at Simon. “Charlie’s always taking his work home with him. Whatever it is that’s missing now, he must’ve had it in his bag when the car hit him.“

Simon nodded his understanding. “Somebody took it.“

Chapter 11
Connect The Dots Masterlist