Title: Cause and Effect
Author: N'kala99
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: Don is injured in the line of duty, and Charlie can't handle the results.
Author's Notes: I kind of took some liberties here. I have no idea what their mother's name is or anything like that. My numbers are a little contrived, too. The camera on the episode last Friday got a pretty good shot at Don's license, which helped me draw out possible ages for everyone.

Cause and Effect
Chapter One

In the blink of an eye, Charlie's world fell apart.

One of the remaining gunmen was crouched down behind a tall pillar, taking shots at anything that moved. Cops and federal agents were trying desperately to get closer to the besieged warehouse, using vehicles and walls to shield themselves from the onslaught of bullets. The fire fight had been going on for almost half an hour, with neither side gaining the upper hand. It looked as if a stalemate would happen long before victory.

But no one saw that gunman.

Several more men were shooting their guns from windows and the delivery access doors, hoping to blast their way to an escape. None of the good guys had been hurt yet, and several of the drug smugglers had fallen victim to a well-aimed bullet. Hidden safely in one of the FBI's bulletproof vans that was parked away from the gunfight, Charlie could see his brother leading a few agents closer to the building. They were crouched low; it looked as though no one had seen them yet.

But no one saw that gunman.

The shots continued. More smugglers fell, lessening the deafening blasts. The police were closing in. The fight had turned in their favor, and it looked as if they would soon snatch that elusive victory. Snipers on the building across the street from the warehouse were taking out the remaining shooters at a steady rate. From the van, Charlie watched as Don waved at his team to follow him. He turned and ran, crouched low, straight for the side of the warehouse.

But no one saw that gunman.

Except Charlie.

Don turned to face his team, opening his mouth to say something, but whatever words he had died on his lips as he suddenly jerked to one side. A red stain blossomed on his shoulder, just before his Kevlar vest began. Don gripped his arm and fell to one knee, looking back at the man who had shot him.

The other agents raised their weapons and began to fire, but were driven down to the ground by return fire. Don, gritting his teeth, shouted an order that must have been retreat. A few of the agents backed away behind the safety of dumpsters and cars. Terry Lake, who Charlie couldn't remember seeing as a part of the team, tried to drag Don with her. Don shook her off forcefully.

The rest of the smugglers had been subdued, but Charlie noticed none of it. His wide, fearful eyes were locked firmly on the terrible scene playing out before him.

The gunman was taking careful aim around the pillar, the barrel of his gun pointed right at Don and Terry.

The next few seconds happened in slow motion for Charlie.

The gun fired, a slight flare of light preceding the bullet as it exited the clip and flew towards Don. Charlie watched in absolute horror as Don jerked again, pain exploding on his face. His big brother- the only person he had looked up to in his life, the person Charlie had desperately wanted to be proud of him- slid slowly down to the ground, leaving a trail of thick, red blood on the wall behind him.

Charlie sat completely frozen for a full minute as the shock of what he had just seen sank in. Gasping for breath, he forced himself out of the van onto shaky legs and began to run towards his brother.

Another agent finally took out the gunman, but it was too late. Charlie raced past several officers, dodging cars, and pushed onward towards the scene. Agents and police officers were crowding around Don . . . Charlie couldn't see him now. Their words reached his ears in a jumble, some breaking free into comprehending statements.

"Call the medics!"

"Get the EMTs here now!"

"Officer down."

Officer down. No . . .

A tall, immovable mass suddenly jumped in front of Charlie, catching him before he could force his way through the crowd. Arms wrapped around Charlie and held him still, despite the young genius' thrashing.

"Let me go!" Charlie demanded, his voice breaking into near hysteria. "I want to see my brother! I want to see Don!"

"Charlie, stay back." It was David Sinclair. Charlie barely registered his recognition, so intent was he on finding Don. "We'll take care of him. You need to let us do our job."

"No!" Charlie yelled, struggling harder. "Don! Where is he? Don!"

Through several of the bodies, Charlie could just see a form slumped on the ground. Terry was hovering over it, her hands and cheek stained red. Sensing his eyes, she looked up. Their gazes locked; Charlie's eyes holding denial and fear, Terry's answering with pain and worry.

Charlie stopped struggling abruptly, causing David to loosen his grip in surprise. Charlie backed away, slowly shaking his head.

"No . . . he can't be . . ." Tears rose and spilled onto Charlie's face. A sharp pain stabbed into his stomach, and bile rose into his throat. A million thoughts went through Charlie's head, but only two were foremost on his mind.

Don was dead.

I killed him.

Charlie turned and ran.