|What We Think
Author: Pages of Yellow PM
They meet in the laundry room, and Charlie saves his life. He feels a little ungrateful when he later entertains the idea of killing his new friend. Charlie/Ted Friendship. Oneshot. Pre-series.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Drama - Words: 1,852 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-03-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7986828
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Warning for prison stuff, some language, and awkward Ted being awkward. : D
He's in the laundry room folding clothes quietly in the background. One of the only things he's good at (besides making money and stealing it) is being quiet in the background. He's pretty good at blending in. In prison, blending in is a necessary skill.
"Hey," there is a hot breath against his neck, and Ted whirls around, sucking in a gasp, and clutching a towel in his hands. The fabric is scratchy against his palms. "You remember me? You embarrassed me in front of all my friends at lunch. It hurt my feelins, man." That's not quite true. Ramon Garcia, a scrappy gangbanger with crazy eyes and a penchant for stabbing people, cut in line in front of Ted at lunch. When Ted pointed this out and he flubbed it up like he usually does and the guards got involved, Ramon was just a little pissed. But then, in prison, you don't even need a reason to be pissed.
"I, uh, I'm sorry." He says, because really, what else is there to say?
Ramon looks over his shoulder and at the other occupants of the laundry room. They all shuffle out quietly, and Ted feels the sharp point of something pressing against his low spine.
Great. So this is how it would end. Shanked in the laundry room over a spot in the lunch line.
Ted thinks maybe there might be something poetic about that, but can't quite think of what.
He turns, and stumbles away into the wall. Ramon advances with the knife, his eye twitching as he grins. It's the kind of grin one would imagine someone who sliced up five rival gang members would wear.
"L-Look, you don't want to kill me."
"I don't?" Ramon cocks his head and tosses the shank back and forth between his hands. He licks his lips a little.
"No, I, uh, I would be a terribly boring person to kill. Honestly. I'll probably faint from the sight of my own blood before you have the chance to even properly stab me. It'll highly unsatisfying for you. Even I'd be bored with how boring I'd die." Ted knocks the back of his skull to the wall and gives a strange sort of hiccupping laugh.
"Hmm… I think I'll take my chances, amigo." Ted squeezes his eyes shut and knows that they won't even be able to pin his murder on Ramon. He'll just fade away and no one will care that some white collar—
"I wouldn't do that, if I were you."
Ted pops an eye open and sees another guy, leaning on one of the laundry baskets, picking at the threads of the towels.
Ramon laughs and it's a little bit more than unstable. "Oh, yeah? And why would that be?"
"But then again, if I were you then I wouldn't be me and wouldn't be able to know that I would do what I would do if I were you if I were you, so I guess I really would be doing what you are doing if I was you, but I still think you shouldn't." His hair is the color of Cheetos and he smiles, pushing away from the baskets and meandering towards Ramon's outstretched weapon.
Ramon's face pinches up and he says, "Huh?"
"You know Buddha once said, 'All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.'" He smiles, and Ted finally recognizes him. Charles Crews, the cop that went crazy and killed that family. Great. Now he's stuck in a room with two crazy convicts and a knife. It sounds like the opening of a bad joke. He's pretty sure his death is the punch line.
"Do you think that's true, Garcia?" Charles continues. "That we are what we think we are? That would be nice. I think I'm in a nice, peaceful meadow with lots of trees around me. Fruit trees, filled with bananas and apples and pears." His eyes go a little wistful before refocusing. "What about you?"
It takes Ted a full five seconds before he realizes crazy cop is looking at him. He flushes, stuttering, "Um, I-I, uh, I'm on a beach with margaritas and no clothing restrictions."
Charles smiles, and this time it's a tiny bit saner. "What about you Garcia?"
Ramon looks utterly flabbergasted at the entire situation. "What?" He spits out.
Charles smiles that manic smile again. "Where are you Ramon, in your mind? Because you're already there. We're all already where we want to be if we just think of it. Mmm. Smell that Garcia? Apples."
Ramon shakes his head. "Man shut the fuck up." He lunges at Charles, and the shank cuts into Charles' shoulder, but it's shallow and completely superficial. Charles grabs Ramon's arm and brings his knee up, the weapon falling to the ground as Ramon takes a hefty swing at Charles' eye. Charles punches Ramon in the nose in a way that Ted has seen before and he knows that it's broken. Ramon slips to the floor, and makes a wild reach for the shank.
And then there is a loud thud, a small dent in the industrial washers where Ramon's head hit, and a clang as the shank clatters to the ground. Charles props Ramon up against the wall, and pockets the shank.
"He'll be fine. You know in an unconscious state, you're really most at one with your mind. I bet he's in the place that he thinks he is now." Charles looks over at Ted, and smiles.
Ted, because he is a total idiot, blurts, "Are you going to rape me?"
Charles holds his gaze for several beats, and then he grins a highly amused grin. He almost looks as though he's holding back a laugh. "No," he says very slowly, as if explaining something to a child.
Ted entertains the idea of slamming his head against the wall just to escape the awkward tension. Instead, he says, "Just because, I mean, you saved my life. And so now I owe you. And I can't really think of anything I can give you. Unless you're just going to kill me. If so make it quick. Or knock me out first of something. Or just don't kill me. Really I'm probably not worth killing. Not that I think you will. But if you did. Or something." He forces himself to stop the word vomit, and swallow a breath of tainted, sweaty air. Ted takes a step forward and offers his hand. If he's going to die, he'll at least be professional about it. "Sorry. I'm kind of an idiot. Ted Earley."
Charles is smiling that amused smile again, the one that someone smiles when they know the information someone else is digging for. The patronizingly sweet kind that Ted really hates.
Charles takes Ted's hand and shakes; his grip is much stronger than Ted's. "Charlie Crews. Nobody calls me Charles."
"Alright, then, Charlie," Ted says, "nice to meet you I guess."
Charlie's hand is still locking Ted's. "And you." He smiles with at least fifty teeth and that manic gleam is back. He reminds Ted of a shark. A mentally unstable shark. "So what are you in for?"
"Embezzling. But I'm innocent."
Charlie studies him. "No, you're not." He releases Ted's hand, and even though his face is haunted with nasty, terrible demons and he's so obviously not totally sane, there is something unnervingly trustworthy about his eyes.
"No, I'm not." This is the first time he's admitted it out loud, even if it's just a whisper.
"Um, you? What are, uh, you in for?"
"I'm innocent." And Ted'll be damned if Charlie's face doesn't go completely dark and severe, his expression so completely serious and forceful that Ted already almost sorta believes him. He clearly believes himself.
"Right. Of course you are."
His face brightens instantaneously and he smiles again. It's the off-kilter, dangerous one that makes Ted's palms sweat and his heartbeat quicken. It makes Ted nervous because it's the kind of smile that makes him wonder if Charlie is about to hug him or stab him with the shank and leave him to bleed out.
"You seem like a nice guy, Ted. I like you. You know what else I like? Kites. Kites are great, Ted. They're so happy flying in the wind. Would you like to fly, Ted? Wouldn't that be great to fly in the wind? Like a molecule of air. I'm thinking of being a molecule of air—be sure to tell me if I disappear at any moment, Ted. This could be an important discovery."
They walk out of the laundry room together, and Ted just barely controls his urge to smother Charlie's face with a pillow later when they're out in the yard and Charlie is practicing his meditative hums or something.
But if he's being honest with himself, it's only because they don't have pillows in the yard.
God save me from my friends—I can protect myself from my enemies.
Marshall de Villars
Disclaimer: I don't own Life. But I did enjoy watching it's sadly short two seasons. : )
A/N: So, yeah.
I just finished watching all of Life online and I was sad by the short life of the show (heh, punny) and also by the ending. Even though I was glad they tied it up instead of leaving me on a total cliffhanger, it was just a little too neat and yet open ended at once. It left me sort of dissatisfied and 'meh' feeling.
But I love Charlie Crews and Ted and all of the wonderful episodes that made Life such a fun show to watch. Ted is easily one of my favorite characters, as is haunted/crazed/Zen Charlie. I imagine his wobbling reality and Zenness was even bigger while he was in prison and I wanted to be able to write that.
Also, one of my favorite things about the show is the Ted/Charlie friendship. It's so much fun and ridiculous and adorable and I love it so freaking much. : D
Anyway, I hope you liked my little oneshot. As per usual, this is unbeta'd so any and all mistakes are mine - apologies, of course, I try to edit as much as I can, but I know mistakes can slip through unnoticed to me. Please drop a review to let me know what you thought! : )
Thanks again for reading, you fantastic ape (stop yelling - I was channeling my inner Time Lord), you!