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Brute Force 10/14

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 Nine
Brute Force Masterlist

***
***


10.


Kenny Jacobson stared at the screen of his laptop and then let his eyes roam through the deserted storehouse on the edge of the industrial area which Connor had chosen as their base. The hall was small, offering just enough room for the van, a table, a couple of chairs, a couch, and a TV. A divided off room which had to have been an office once served as a sleeping area and a tiny storeroom with a heavy metal door was situated in the back. Kenny concentrated on the screen again, nibbling at his thumbnail nervously, and then closed his eyes tiredly. He supported his head on a hand, looking over to Connor and Justin who were talking beside the van. He should probably get out of this as long as he still could. A couple of bank robberies and a shoot-out could be delimited to a lesser punishment if he surrendered and confessed.

It was better than mass murder. Connor could call the next step in his plan what he wanted, but for Kenny, it remained just that. Maybe that was why he didn’t manage to fulfil his part of the deal. Maybe, he subconsciously prevented himself from cracking the password. The irony was that he probably could simply slip away at night and he would be at the next police station within twenty minutes. But at that point his feelings interfered. The same ones that had brought him here in the first place. Connor had told him in prison that he didn’t have to be part of the team. He’d assured him that he wouldn’t be shot during the breakout like the guards and the other prisoners in the transport. They would have gone separate ways. But he owed Connor too much ... and he wanted to stay with him. His train of thought was interrupted when Steve Klein slid his body into his field of vision, leaning against the table.

Kenny raised his chin to look at him.

Steve showed a mean smile. “My offer’s still standing, pretty boy.” He leant forward and Kenny pressed his back against the chair, averting his eyes. “There’s no use in wanting someone who doesn’t want you.” A casual hand landed on Kenny’s thigh. “Or at least the kind of want you little faggots crave.”

“Steve,” Connor interrupted in a firm voice and Kenny sighed in relief. Steve averted his gaze from Kenny to look at their leader. “How often do I have to tell you?” Connor hissed and Steve pulled a face.

“A guy can still ask nicely.” He headed for the microwave which stood next to the TV.

Connor grabbed his arm – he was smaller than Steve and not as muscled, but he still managed to look superior. “Don’t touch the kid.” Steve shook off his hand and left. Kenny smiled gratefully at Connor who stopped next to his chair. “How’s it going?”

Kenny cleared his throat. “Bad. I can’t do it, Connor. Their firewall’s too good. Even if I could crack it, they’d find us immediately.”

Connor supported himself with a hand on Kenny’s chair, leaning towards the screen, and looked at the user interface of the FBI web page thoughtfully. “Well, in that case we have to try it with Eppes, again.” He straightened up, his determination clearly visible. “Locate his cell.”

Kenny nodded. “Okay.”

***

The young woman behind the reception desk of the motel seemed bored and Colby had the suspicion that she stood under the influence of more than a joint. She wound a black curl around her forefinger, looking at the agents while chewing on her gum. The small TV on the reception desk was playing a talk show; the host was discussing the problems in American society. The flyers for fast food restaurants and nightclubs near the motel formed a clear contrast to the walls painted in boring white.

“What can I do for you, hot stuffs?” she asked, sounding as if David and Colby had interrupted her while she was doing something really important.

“We booked a room under the name of Johnson ,” Colby answered.

The woman raised her eyebrows, letting her eyes stray to and fro between Colby and David, and sighed finally. She took a look into her computer. “Room 23. One King sized bed.” The young woman fetched the key from a small basket behind the reception desk, throwing them an amused grin. “On channel 16, we’ve got a big selection of gay porn. Pay per View. And here’s a flyer from one of the nightclubs near the motel, the Lotus Lounge – it comes with the charms of Asia and really cute dancers. And you can get a few toys here at the reception desk like handcuffs -“

“Thank you, we’re fine,” Colby interrupted. He snatched the key and went outside. David followed him with a grin and started to laugh when the door closed. “One King sized bed?” Colby hissed, glancing at David in misery. “I’ll kill Megan as soon as I see her.”

David shrugged. “I don’t think that it’s a bad idea, Colby. The perfect cover story. We won’t be leaving the room very often. Let them think about it what they want.”

Colby just snorted and said, “I’ll go secure the room.” He was satisfied when he realized that Megan had rented the room furthest away from the reception. He secured the little main room with the King sized bed, the little kitchenette and the TV area before he glanced into the bathroom briefly, too. Then he then stepped outside again and nodded to David who had parked the car closer to their room. A giggling, young woman and an older man came from the adjoining room. Colby averted his eyes when he thought he’d recognized one as a judge who was mentioned frequently in the newspaper because of his charity actions. The woman with him was neither his wife nor his daughter and quite certainly not his niece. David waited until the man and the woman had climbed into a sports car and left before he let Charlie get out. “Secured,” Colby said. “I didn’t have time to check the sheets, though. No guarantee as to what’s hiding in there.”

They entered the room and David locked the door while Charlie was looking around. He turned to face the two agents. “So, it seems Megan really hates us,” he said.

Colby shrugged. “It’s not that bad.” He’d already slept in worse rooms.

“You hungry?” David asked. Charlie nodded briefly, sitting down at the small, round table near the kitchenette. He unpacked his laptop. “I’ll go to Burger King. There’s one down the street,” David explained and Colby nodded.

“Sounds great.”

David noted down their orders and left the room. Colby locked the door behind him. He put his hands on his hips and turned to Charlie. “What are you doing?“

Charlie glanced at him. “I need to do some calculations for Larry’s project.” Colby nodded. Charlie continued, “If I could get access to Hill’s file I could work on the case, but I don’t think Don wants me to.”

Colby took one of the chairs and set it down in front of the window, before he sat astride it and peeked through the discoloured yellow curtains which probably had been white once. “He’s just worried.”

Charlie nodded. “I know that he’s worried, but …” He went silent. “I’m not totally helpless,” he continued.

Colby shrugged, keeping an eye on the parking lot. “We’re talking about a team of motivated, previously convicted criminals, Charlie. Don’s just being careful.”

Charlie sighed deeply. “I know.”

***

Connor placed one of the chairs next to Kenny and sat down. “You got something?“

Kenny nodded. “I found out Professor Eppes cell number from CalSci, hacked into some of the GPS systems and located him.” He indicated the screen of the laptop where a satellite picture was shown. “That’s the airport and the professor’s here. I checked the address and there’s a motel on that street. That’s where he’s staying.”

“Good job,” Connor answered. “You and Justin stay here. Steve and I will go get the professor.” Steve nodded at Connor and went over to the van where they kept their weapons. He started to load two Berettas. Kenny nodded in relief when he heard that Connor would be taking Steve along.

Justin got up from the couch that stood in front of the television and put his hands on his hips in dissatisfaction. “You told me we’d be doing bank robberies.”

Connor nodded, shoving the Beretta in his back waistband. “Yeah. Those robberies were the starting point to get the weapons, the hall, the van and the false IDs. And every one of us got a little fee out of it, too. But what I’m planning now can get us more money in less time and with less effort.”

“You want to drag me into a kidnapping. Shit, I’m no kidnapper, man,” Justin answered. Steve and Kenny stopped working on the van and the laptop, looking at Justin. If he’d leave, there’d be only three of them left. The arrest of Brian had already ripped a big hole into the group. If Justin were to go now - their safe expert...

Connor folded his hands behind in his back. “You can leave,” he said calmly. “You already finished your part of the robberies.”

Justin seemed to struggle with himself for a moment, and then he said, “It’s just not worth it.” He took his jacket off the armrest of the old couch and headed for the exit, past Connor. When he was almost at the door, Kenny saw out of the corners of his eyes how Connor drew the Beretta, he’d fastened in his belt at his back, and pointed it at Justin. Kenny jerked, as the shot sounded, and Justin’s lifeless body collapsed on the ground.

Steve didn’t seem to know whether he should shoot at Connor or make a bad comment about the dead man. He finally decided in favour of the latter, “Damn coward!”

“Remove the body,” Connor ordered. “Then we’ll leave.” Kenny observed in shock how Connor put the weapon back into his waistband. He felt sick. Connor turned to face him, noticing his pale face and the rigid look Kenny kept on the dead body of Justin, and said, “That’s business, kid.” He stepped up to him, patted his shoulder and then went to turn the television off. Kenny watched Steve lift Justin up and head towards the cellar with him.

***

Colby was bored. It was getting late and he would be taking over the position at the window from David, soon, so that his partner could catch some sleep. Charlie looked up from the screen of his laptop at David who read a magazine and glanced searchingly out at the parking lot of the motel from time to time. Charlie sighed, supporting his head with a hand. The headaches were only a slight hammering now which he could ignore without problems. The fact that he didn’t have a black board at his disposal, on the other hand, was driving him mad. He could think so much better if he wrote the equations down. And he couldn’t get the fight with Don out of his head. He’d thought that they’d made quite good progress in their relationship, but apparently, he’d been wrong. Colby threw the tattered TV newspaper which came with the room on the bed when his cell rang. He leant back in his armchair, grimacing when a loose spring jabbed into his back.

He glanced at the caller ID before answering. “Granger.”

“Is he good?” Don asked. Colby grinned, knowing that Don would have never asked this question if Charlie had been able to hear it.

“Yeah,” he answered. Then he reported, “Nothing unusual until now. I don’t think they’ve followed us. We paid close attention for any cars that could have been following us.”

“Okay,” Don answered, “we’ve got a visitor from Denver. We know now who those guys are and we’re checking their names to see if they’ve somehow made their presence known in the last few months. Nothing until now. We’re thinking that they’re using false IDs, because we can’t find anything.”

“Well, we knew that they’re not stupid.”

Don made a consenting noise and pleaded, “Just keep your eyes open.”

“Sure,” Colby answered, “Do you want to talk to Charlie?” The professor looked up from his work.

Colby knew that he’d asked the wrong thing when Don was silent. Finally, his supervisor said, “No … just tell him … I want him to listen to you.” That said, he hung up. Colby looked over to Charlie, putting his cell away. Charlie waited for him to say something.

“He said to tell you …” Why did he suddenly feel like somebody trapped in a family quarrel he had nothing to do with? “… That you should be careful.” Charlie sighed, got up and went to the other side of the room, looking through the window into the back garden of the motel. It was an untidy lawn, followed by woods a few hundred feet away. Behind the small forest lay the airport. Colby and David looked at each other. David had told Colby that there’d been an intense fight between the brothers, but Colby had thought it would have been just a small disagreement. Looked as if David was right about the fight’s magnitude. Charlie’s striking silence and the way Don’s voice got strained as soon as he began talking about his brother spoke volumes. Colby watched Charlie staring out the window and got the feeling that he had to say something that would cheer him up. “There’s so much going on in the office … Don didn’t have the time.” David glanced at him in disbelief and Colby shrugged. He’d never been good with words.

Charlie turned around to face him. “I know,” he answered with a fake smile. He turned back to look outside, adding softly, “He always is when he doesn’t want to talk to me.”

***

It wasn’t easy for Charlie to fall asleep, but he managed it. He kept his clothes on since the agents wanted to be prepared for all eventualities. David had taken the other side of the bed while Colby was watching the parking lot. The only light in the room came from the half closed door to the bathroom and the street lamps outside in the parking lot. The muffled light made it easier for Colby to see the area in front of the motel. He looked at his watch, sighed and got up to wake David. While his colleague was getting up, Colby fetched him a cup of coffee from the machine nearby their room. He took the opportunity to let his eyes stray over the parking lot. A couple was leaning against one of the street lamps, kissing passionately, cars were heading for the airport or were coming from it, and otherwise, everything seemed to be quiet. Colby went back to the room. David was already sitting in the kitchen niche at the small table.

“All’s quiet,” Colby said softly, then he explained, “I’m hungry and it just stopped raining. I’ll go to the gas station down the street and fetch us some snacks, before I go to sleep. Maybe I’ll even find breakfast.”

David nodded in consent. “Sounds great.”

“Be right back,” Colby said, taking one of the room keys with him to lock the door from the outside.

***

Connor was watching through the field glasses when Granger woke up Sinclair and left. The two men weren’t much more than shadows in the dimly lit room through the curtains, but he’d learned everything he could about Eppes’ team and he was able to recognize the two agents. The professor was still sleeping. Standing beside Connor, Steve shifted restlessly from one foot to the other. “Damn cold,” he mumbled, supporting himself against a tree. The wood which separated the street in which the motel was situated from the airport was dark. Until a few minutes ago, it had rained strongly and water was still dripping on the waiting men. The van was waiting for them on a side street not far from the motel.

“Just a minute,” Connor said calmingly and he thought he could feel Steve’s mood improving suddenly. “One of them just left.” He put the field glasses in his jacket pocket and headed back to the car with Steven. “You’re bringing the car around while I’m neutralizing the agent. I want you to help me with Eppes, then. I’m going in through the door; you’re coming from the back through the window.”

“I don’t think you’ll need help with the professor,” Steve snorted.

“Well, just in case. When I tried the last time, it didn’t work.”

Steve shrugged. They arrived at the van and Connor fetched his Beretta from the driver’s seat. “Try to come as fast as possible, but keep the lights turned off. I’ll need a few minutes to the motel. Park directly in front of the room and open the back door. We’ll have to leave fast. And try not to hurt Eppes too badly.” Steve nodded and got in the car. Connor approached the motel fast but carefully along the sidewalk. He saw Granger walking away from the motel and away from Connor along the street. He seemed to hurry, so Connor also accelerated his steps and only slowed down when he entered the parking lot of the motel. He acted as if he was rummaging about in his coat pocket for the room key, passing by the room in which the agents had checked in. When he was in front of the door he pressed his body against the wall and drew his weapon. He saw the van coming out of the side street in the light of the street lamps and knew that he had to hurry. He took only a second longer to breathe deeply, and then he shot at the lock and kicked in the door. Motel rooms never were very safe.

He had just started to storm into the room, when Sinclair slammed the damaged door shut again. Charlie sat up, startled, and watched David bracing himself against the door. “Charlie,” he called, “We need to leave! Through the window!” He fired on the motel door and their opponent withdrew. David knew that he’d give them only a couple of seconds of time. Charlie was opening the big window to the back garden when David turned around to him. When suddenly a tall man dressed in black appeared in front of Charlie, grabbing for him, David pulled him back from the window and to himself, backing into a corner of the room. “Behind me. Behind me,” he mumbled and pushed Charlie to the wall, standing in front of him and pointing the weapon at the man who jumped into the room through the window. The door opened and the second intruder entered the room - David immediately recognized him as Connor Hill. He didn’t know who he should aim at. He decided in favour of Hill because he had a weapon. But the second that he needed to make this decision had already been too long. Hill shot at him and David was flung back into Charlie’s body. Pain shot up his shoulder and through his chest and his weapon fell from his hand.

Charlie tried to hold him up, horrified, when he glided to the ground. “David.” But he didn’t get a good hold on him and was pulled to the ground by the agent’s body. If David was honest, he wouldn’t have thought that Charlie would take his weapon and turn it on Hill. His hand was trembling, but Hill nevertheless became careful and stopped. When the other man closed in on Charlie, the professor pointed the weapon at him in warning. But he didn’t stop. The last thing David knew was that Charlie indeed pulled the trigger ... and the last thought that crossed David’s mind was that he wished that the magazine hadn’t been empty. The clicking of the weapon seemed unnaturally loud to Charlie and he pulled the trigger once again.

“No bullets left, Professor,” Hill said in amusement. His companion smiled, walking the last few steps toward Charlie while he still was panic-stricken trying to get the gun to work. When the man grabbed Charlie’s sweatshirt, Charlie tried to hit him on the head with the gun, but his opponent saw the movement coming and grabbed Charlie’s hand tightly. The weapon fell to the ground.

That was when Charlie found his voice. “Help!”

He kicked out when the man pulled him from under David’s body and pressed him to the wall, one of his hands covering Charlie’s mouth. “Shut up.” he hissed. Charlie kicked him in the stomach; however, he regretted the action when it seemed to do nothing than enrage his opponent further who hit Charlie across the face.

“That’s enough!” Connor yelled. “We gotta go.” He headed out of the room and Charlie was dragged with them. Charlie tried to pull himself loose as he was dragged outside, seeing some people at the windows of their rooms watching them. He wondered why nobody did something and hoped that they’d at least called the police. He slumped in captor’s grip, wanting to force his kidnapper to stop, but the taller man didn’t seem to care, because he just wound his arms around Charlie’s hips and pulled him away from the motel. When Charlie heard police sirens, he tried once more to kick his kidnapper but the man was too strong and he pushed Charlie into the van which was parked directly behind the agent’s car. He got in behind Charlie and slid the door shut. For a moment, Charlie couldn’t see anything. Then his eyes got used to the little light which fell through the windshield and the safety net into the back of the car. Charlie heard the other man getting into the front of the car and starting the engine. He desperately threw himself toward the door, but his kidnapper grabbed him around the waist and flung him back into the wall. Charlie’s head slammed against the metal and for a moment everything went black. “Just sedate him,” Connor ordered from the driver’s seat and went so fast into a curve that Charlie tipped over. He saw his kidnapper pulling a rag and a glass bottle out of his coat pocket and started to crawl away from him, but he didn’t get far and pressed his back against the backrest of the front seats. The man seized his leg, dragging Charlie to him before he pressed a knee in Charlie’s stomach and watered the rag with the liquid from the bottle.

Charlie had smelled ether only once in his life before now, but he immediately recognized it. He knew that he couldn’t escape at the moment. And it was clear that he didn’t have a chance against the taller man pushing him to the ground. But maybe, he’d get an opportunity to escape when they stopped again. But not, if he was unconscious by then. He raised his hands. “No, no. Wait. I’m behaving.”

The man’s lips turned up in a sadistic smile. “Yeah! You will.” He pressed the rag on Charlie’s face.

Chapter Eleven
Brute Force Masterlist

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