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Brute Force 7/14

Word Count: 45.068
Summary: Banks in L.A. are being robbed apparently at random. The robbers are always a step ahead of the FBI, until Charlie begins working on the case and becomes the gang’s new target.
Characters: Charlie Eppes, Don Eppes, Colby Granger, David Sinclair, Megan Reeves, Larry Fleinhardt, Amita Ramanujan, OCs
Pairing: Charlie/Amita (pre-Ship)
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: None
Setting: Between seasons 1 and 2 - Megan and Colby are already there but they do not know Charlie yet
Warnings: Violence, verbal homophobia
Author's Note: This was actually my first Numb3rs story and was published a long time ago in Germany. I belatedly thought of translating it and here it is.
Feedback: Can’t breathe without it.
Beta: An-Jelly-Ca – thank you!
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.

Chapter Six
Brute Force Masterlist



Brian Wilder lay in a guarded single room of the hospital. Attached to various monitors and infusions, it was easy to mistake him for the victim. Don and Megan knew better. Brian did as well. His dark eyes watched the agents mistrustfully while Megan was getting her memo pad out. Colby had called while they were on their way to the hospital, telling them the robber’s name and criminal history. Wilder was a former prisoner, but in the last few years his record was clean – at least on the surface. No tickets, no other offences since his release. He even had a job.

“Well, it’s clear now why the robbers left the storage room before we arrived, Mr. Wilder. Does your boss know that Jason Cox isn’t your real name?”

Wilder avoided Don’s gaze. “I don’t work there anymore. I changed my name, because I needed the job and he wouldn’t have hired me if he’d known about my past. He never asked.”

Megan nodded in understanding. “Sure. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t question what his clients store either, as long as the cash was coming in regularly. So, you were the early warning system, in case someone started asking tough questions about the storage rooms. A shame that your boss got nervous when we put an ABP out on your van.”

“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. I didn’t warn anybody.”

Don glanced at the infusions and monitors. “Morphine, Mr. Wilder?” he asked, slightly amused. “I hope the nurses cut you off until our interview’s done. We don’t want you to make any mistakes.”

Brian’s face became peevish. “Hours ago. Because the doc told them you wanted to interview me. But I’ve got nothing to tell you.”

“Are you sure?” Don asked. “You were shooting at three federal agents and a civilian while you and your accomplices tried to leave a crime scene. We can connect you to more than eight bank robberies.”

“No, you can’t,” Wilder answered. “You got fingerprints? DNA?”

Megan smiled. “You can’t even imagine what we found, Mr. Wilder.” ‘Nothing,’ she thought to herself. But he didn’t have to know that. The men on the few videos they had couldn’t be ID’d, there were no fingerprints or DNA at the crime scenes. They had only Brian. “Who are your accomplices?”

“Sweetie, I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about,” Brian answered. He turned innocent brown eyes towards Don. “I take a late night walk and, suddenly, there’s a shootout. I wanted to run for my life - you think that I wanted to flee the crime scene.”

“We found a weapon on you,” Don said. “We found bullets of that same weapon spread all around the street.”

“I was just protecting myself,” Brian answered. “I have a right to do that.”

Megan continued. “Mr. Wilder, you’re previously convicted. Theft, muggings …”

Brian sighed. “I had a bad childhood and made mistakes in my life. I did my time. I’ve got a job. I pay taxes.”

“Yeah, at night you’re robbing banks and in the daylight, you’re protecting the storage rooms of your accomplices.”

Brian smiled. “Prove it.” Don and Megan shared a look.


On their way to the elevators, Don cursed. “He knows that we’ve got nothing on him.”

“He’s smart,” Megan confirmed, making way for a male nurse who was pushing a patient’s wheelchair. “And arrogant,” she continued. “He won’t betray his accomplices.”

“They’ve got a deal. He wouldn’t give a damn about them if they hadn’t.” Don pressed the call button for the elevator. Then, he briefly rubbed over the bandage around his thigh which was hidden under the trousers.

“Itchy?” Megan asked in sympathy, pulling her hair back into a braid.

He shrugged. “Sometimes it itches, sometimes it hurts.”

“That’s a good sign – it’s healing,” his partner answered.

Don glanced at her in amusement. “Well, look who’s talking – now you’re all set to become a mom.” Megan laughed.


“And you’re sure that you’re okay?” Amita asked, switching on her laptop before she handed it to Charlie. He briefly glanced towards the kitchen where his father was collecting ingredients for dinner. Alan had declared a new law in the Eppes’ house --contact with a laptop was forbidden to Charlie at all costs. But Amita didn’t know that.

Having given up on asking his father for the garage key, Charlie had simply invited Larry and Amita - and asked Amita to bring her computer. Now, the three scientists were gathered in the warmly lit Eppes’ living room with Shanti. Amita and Larry shared the leather couch while Charlie made himself comfortable in the armchair, his legs resting on a seat stool. Amita and Larry had followed his report on the surveillance gone wrong with interest. Unfortunately, now they showed the same subliminal worry as his father.

“I’m fine,” he assured them, looking at Amita and closing his eyes when he got dizzy – making the lie obvious.

Larry pressed the tips of his fingers together, showing his scepticism. “I don’t know, Charles. You seem to be a bit pale.”

“I’m always pale,” Charlie answered. He opened the program he needed on Amita’s desktop. Amita leant back into the soft cushions which Margaret Eppes had chosen for the couch and then took Shanti out of the stroller, sitting her on her lap. The little girl fidgeted restlessly and started to whine.

“Can I set her down?” Amita asked.

Charlie nodded absent-mindedly. “Sure.” Shanti mumbled a couple of indistinct but obviously approving words as Amita set her down and explored the living room on wobbly legs. Charlie glanced at the pad which lay on the armrest of his chair where he had noted formulas for Don’s case within the last few hours. Alan had noticed the pad and the ballpoint pen but had said nothing about it. Charlie assumed that they had found a silent agreement. “Dad locked me out of the garage,” he explained. “But I need this program to create a couple of maps for Don with new hot zones. Can you print them out tomorrow and bring them to the field office, please? Dad won’t let me out his sight.”

Amita frowned, ignoring his plea. “You’re still working on the case?”

“Sure,” Charlie answered.

“I think your father had a good reason to lock you out of the garage,” Larry said.

Charlie rolled his eyes. “Well … the doctor told me to rest.” He glanced searchingly in the direction of the kitchen, only seeing Shanti toddle towards the dining table. At Amita’s searching look he added sheepishly, “And he told me to avoid monitors.”

Amita looked at him reproachfully. “Charlie.”

“I’m fine,” he replied.

Amita reached out for her computer. “If your father sees you with my laptop, he’ll kill me for sure.”

Charlie held it out of her reach. “I’m fine.”

“Fine,” Larry echoed in a voice Charlie remembered from his time in Princeton when he’d had trouble with other students.

His mentor hadn’t believed him then, either, when Charlie swore that he was fine. “A bit dizzy, maybe,” Charlie admitted, “and I feel a little sick. And I’ve got a small headache.” Which had to be the understatement of the century. He didn’t mention the tiredness which he had fought for hours now. The painkillers made it hard for him to concentrate, but fortunately, he was used to working against the needs of his body and hadn’t given way to sleep. Amita leant across him, trying to grab her laptop again.

“Don’t,” Charlie laughed.

Amita snatched her laptop, snapped the screen shut and held it against her chest firmly, staring pleadingly into Charlie’s eyes. “I think that enough happened already. Please, just rest.”

Charlie saw that she was really worried about him. His smile faded. “I’m fine.”

She rested a hand in his neck. “Please,” she said softly. Charlie closed his eyes when Amita pressed a kiss to his forehead before she sat down again.

“Amita?” Alan called and Charlie could hear him coming from the kitchen into the living room. He turned to face his father. Alan carried Shanti in his arms. “You lost someone?”

Amita smiled, putting the laptop on the couch table, before taking Shanti from Charlie’s father. “In fact, I did,” she said. Shanti giggled merrily, pulling at Amita’s dark hair before reaching for Charlie. Charlie smiled at her. Actually, he was losing the fight against exhaustion. He closed his eyes.

A warm hand touched his forehead and when he looked up; his father was standing above him. “You okay?”

“Tired,” Charlie answered.

“Yeah, the doctor said that might happen.”

Charlie rubbed his eyes and reached for the pad and pen. “Don will be here in a few hours. I just want to …”

Alan shook his head, taking away paper and pen. “You sleep now.”

“I’m not that tired, Dad ,” Charlie answered. Alan cast a long-suffering look at Amita and Larry.

Amita stepped next to Charlie and sat Shanti down on his lap. “Could you just look after her while I’m helping your father with dinner?”

Before Charlie could contradict her, she rushed towards the kitchen. Charlie sighed and shrugged in Shanti’s direction. “Now, she’s gone,” he said. Shanti smiled, then she yawned and crawled up Charlie’s chest where she promptly fell asleep with her head on his shoulder.

Alan chuckled. “Listen to the young lady.” He turned to face Larry. “I know that Amita wanted to stay for dinner, but how about you?”

“Oh …” Larry seemed to think about it. “Actually, nothing speaks against it,” he answered.

“Great.” Alan headed back to the kitchen.

Larry got up. “I’ll also help you with the preparations.” Alan made a point in turning the light off in the living room. It was already dark enough outside for the street lamps to outline the furniture in the living room with their cool glow. A stripe of light came from the kitchen but illuminated the room only a little. Charlie gave up the idea to work on the equations in writing. He tightened his grip around Shanti, deciding to give in. At least he made it look that way. He could do arithmetic in his head while he was waiting for dinner. After the meal, he could write down his ideas. He didn’t get far with his calculations before the painkillers pulled him into a dreamless sleep.


Don entered the house shortly after ten. The living room was lit weakly by a lamp in one of the corners. His father sat on the couch doing a crossword puzzle. Charlie lay sleeping in the armchair, his legs propped on the stool in front of him.

“Hey,” Don said softly.

“Hey, Donnie!” Alan answered and nodded in the direction of the kitchen before he got up and put the crossword puzzle aside.

In the kitchen, Don took a beer from the refrigerator and leant against the waist-high kitchen furniture.

“Hard day?” Alan asked.

“No sign of the robbers,” Don answered. “I’m afraid they’ll be able to hit again before we catch them.”

“You’re prepared, Donnie. You’ll get them eventually,” Alan said confidently.

“They’re smart. And good at what they do,” Don said. He rubbed his forehead and sipped on his beer. “How’s Charlie?”

“In a coma,” Alan joked, showing a smile. “He fell asleep around seven. I didn’t even wake him for dinner. I was so glad that he’s finally getting some rest.” Don nodded in understanding. Alan frowned. “Don, you didn’t ask him for help again after the shoot-out, did you?”

Don shook his head. “He’s hurt, Dad. Of course not. Why would you think that?”

“He’s running the numbers for you, again.”

Don let the words hang in the air for a minute. “I didn’t ask him to do it.”

Alan shrugged. “You know him. He always wants to impress his big brother. And he wants to help you. And he’s asking too much from himself.” Don nodded slowly. When he’d been younger, his father had frequently said the very same to him. Every time, when Charlie had done Don’s homework and Margaret had walked in on them, asking Don to study himself. Or when Alan and Don had argued about Charlie running after his big brother like a puppy in high school. Only ten years old and he’d already gotten into the same classes in the same school as Don. Don had hated it. When Alan had told him at that time that Charlie only wanted Don’s attention, he’d considered it an accusation. As if he’d wanted Charlie’s hero worship at that time. Today, it sounded like a simple observation - and a request.

“I’ll talk to him,” he said.

“Thanks,” his father answered with a sigh. “He isn’t listening to me.”

Don put the empty bottle with the others in the cupboard under the sink. “I’ll bring him to bed and then I’ll catch a little sleep myself.”

“Okay. I’ll lock the doors.”

“See ya tomorrow, Dad.” Don smiled at his father and headed back to the living room and his brother. “Let’s go, buddy,” he said, pulling Charlie upright.

His brother sagged against him. “Ow.”

“Sorry,” Don answered. “Headache?”

“As if Larry’d hit me with his telescope.”

Don chuckled, putting one of Charlie’s arms around his shoulders. “You actually know what that feels like?” Charlie sighed, standing up. They headed for the stairs.

“Well, he did hit me with his telescope once. When he moved to CalSci and set up his office.”

They took the first steps up.

“I’m still wondering if I should have seen it coming or if it’s his fault.”

They arrived upstairs. Charlie rubbed his eyes, and then he looked up to his brother as if he was just noticing that it was him. “Don?”

The agent laughed. “Yeah. Are you telling me you didn’t notice?” He pushed open Charlie’s door with his foot.

“I’ve got news,” Charlie said. He sounded more awake; however, he still clung to Don. “It’s difficult to foresee their next target. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. I’ll try-“

“To get some sleep,” Don interrupted, sitting him down on the bed. “You should rest. Forget the FBI for a couple of days. And CalSci, too.”

Charlie burrowed himself in the covers. “It’s important,” he mumbled.

“That you’re getting better, yeah, I agree,” Don answered.

Charlie pulled up the blankets. He had to admit that he still was quite exhausted despite the deep sleep he’d just awoken from. “I’ll get to work first thing in the morning, Don,” he said softly. His brother rolled his eyes; however, he was content with the fact that Charlie didn’t seem to want to get back to work immediately.

“We’ll talk about that tomorrow, buddy.” He turned the lights off when he left the room. In front of the door he stopped, staring at the opposite wall. Sometimes he really wasn’t sure whether it was right to drag Charlie into his line of work. And sometimes he couldn’t imagine at all how his life would be going if he hadn’t done it. Would he and his brother still avoid every type of contact? Or would they have found another way to reconnect? Don had his doubts about it. He doubted it very much. And therefore he didn’t regret it.


“Two hours, Dad.”

Alan ignored his youngest, concentrating instead on putting the groceries away.

“I just want to get lunch with Larry and attend my office hours. Finals are coming up. The students are getting nervous. I need to attend the office hours in person.”

“Amita can do it.”

“No, Dad, she can’t. There’s Shanti and she … the students need me.” He got up from the kitchen table, proud, when the room didn’t begin to spin. “You see? No puking … no dizziness … I’m fine.”

He smiled at Alan who was looking at him searchingly. “Headache?” his father asked after a while.

Charlie pulled a grimace, knowing that he couldn’t lie about that. “I can take something for it, Dad. And as soon as I get home, I’m lying down and I’ll be sleeping for as long as you want me to. Promise.”

Alan crossed his arms, raising his eyebrows doubtingly. “Doctor’s orders are no stress …“

“There’s no stress. I’ll chat with Larry and I’ll talk to my students. No stress involved.”

“… bright light …“

“I’ll pull the curtains in the office.”

“… no noise …“

“I’m not going to eat in the canteen. Larry will buy lunch and bring it into my office.”

“… no exhausting activity of any kind.”

“I’ll be sitting down the whole time.”

“I’ll pick you up at 2pm.”

“I’ll be coming with you without a word of protest.” He’d do everything his father asked just to be able to leave the house for a couple of hours. Charlie hadn’t spent so much time outside the garage, university or life in general since he’d got detention when he was seven after one of his practical proofs had ended with a flooded basement.

Alan seemed to think about it, but then he sighed in defeat. “Fine.”

Charlie smiled. “Thanks, Dad. You won’t regret it.” He turned around, leaving the kitchen to go and change.

Alan rolled his eyes. “Why do I get the feeling that I’ll do just that?”

Chapter Eight
Brute Force Masterlist

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