|Shall We Play A Game?
Author: FraidyCat PM
Reader-influenced. Bio-terrorism, Charlie whumping and more. Story does not violate TOS as all reviewer suggestions are filtered through a cat.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Family - Charlie E. & Don E. - Chapters: 33 - Words: 97,254 - Reviews: 427 - Favs: 53 - Follows: 37 - Updated: 10-09-08 - Published: 08-06-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4452997
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Shall We Play a Game?
Disclaimer/Invitation: FraidyCat, who casts no aspersions regarding the true ownership of all things "Numb3rs", invites and welcomes reader participation during this story. The first chapter is based on the first four words, which plagued The Cat for days, begging to be written. Each subsequent chapter will be based upon the suggestions and stimuli offered by readers/reviewers. This story may go wherever you decide to take it, should you choose to play with us. FraidyCat reserves the right to pick and choose. For example, slash suggestions will not be considered. Neither will Charlie and/or Don be put to death. This is your opportunity to write without bothering to actually "write" (beyond your brief review/suggestion).
FraidyCat wants to know: Can you come out to play?
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Chapter One: In The Beginning
Charlie tipped over slowly.
His arms flailed momentarily in an attempt to find balance; he made an effort to set the world on its axis again. Unfortunately, the only thing his frantic waving accomplished was to lend a general malaise to the fall. His dark eyes widened in shock and anticipation of the inevitable. That "deer-in-the-headlights" fear was the last thing to keep Don's focus, as Charlie tipped over. Slowly.
The office chair containing his brother finally crashed to the floor, squirting out from under him like toothpaste from a tube. It skidded to a stop just a few inches from Don's legs. Automatically, his eyes were drawn to the approaching furniture and he took a step back just to be safe. The choking sound of suppressed laughter -- from Granger, he was sure -- filled him with both anger and guilt. He redirected his attention to the hapless professor. "Um...you okay there, Buddy?"
Charlie just blinked up at him, trapped on his back like the potato bugs they used to torture in their mother's garden. He appeared to be stunned speechless.
A chuckling Colby brushed past Don and leaned over Charlie, extending a hand. "Dude. Told you not to lean back in the chair like that."
Charlie silently grasped the hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. Don watched him sway as he gained altitude, and narrowed his eyes at his brother's continued silence. "Chuck, did you hit your head?"
Charlie let go of Colby and glowered at Don. "Don't call me that," he whispered.
Don moved around the downed chair to stand closer to Charlie. Close enough to note the increased, shallow respirations. Close enough to casually grasp Charlie's bare arm, under his t-shirt, and twist slightly, woefully aware of the clammy feel to that skin as he did so. "Bruise your elbow?" he asked, tightening his hold just a little. "Maybe you should sit down."
Colby agreed, but not without snark. "Yeah. Preferrably in something without wheels."
Charlie jerked his arm from Don's hold and frowned, taking a halting step toward the conference room table. "I'm not finished showing you what I found, yet."
Don glanced at the patient laptop and sighed. He turned slowly, mimicking Charlie's movements. "Come on. We busted the guy this morning -- this is an unnecessary waste of our time." It had come out harsher than he intended, and his next sentence did not help. "Colby and I were just going to humor you until the pizza was gone."
Charlie's head whipped around so fast his curls created a breeze that Don could feel two feet away. "I beg your pardon," the younger man said in a hurt tone. "I thought this search pattern might help you in other cases." He crossed his arms over his chest defensively and his pained expression became sullen. "Besides, I was up half the night doing this for you. Is it that unreasonable of me to expect you to listen for five minutes?"
Colby held up his hands, palms-out, in mock surrender. Don exhaled in exasperation. "Charlie, we appreciate the effort. Really. But we've already been in here for half-an-hour. I saw David come back from his dentist appointment fifteen minutes ago." He ran a hand over his head, frustrated. "We've got other cases, Charlie."
The color drained from his brother's face, and Don took a step in his direction. "Chuck?" Charlie's eyes rolled toward the back of his head and he began to sink. Don leaped to cover the short distance between them, and managed to grab him, by both arms this time. Charlie was unresponsive, sagging in his grip, and both brothers hit their knees. Charlie's head lolled to the side, and Don moved one hand to support his brother's neck. "Charlie!" he shouted. The arm Don still held was sweaty, and slipping from his grasp. "Charlie!" he called again, moving with him as he slumped into the carpet, desperate to protect Charlie's head.
It happened again, and Don could not stop it. He could only hang on for the ride as Charlie tipped over, slowly.