Disclaimer: I don't own Numb3rs or anything related. The only thing I lay claim to is my own twisted ideas.
The repetative sound of the machines echo through this cold room. There accompanied only by Alan's breathing. He's asleep, of course, peacefully dreaming. His hand lays softlyover mine. I know he's smiling despite the fact that my eyes aren't open. There are things you just know when you've been married so long.
A door opens and a greater chill fills the room. I feel a tremor from Alan's hand into mine, but he doesn't lift it. I can feel the movement of my new guest as they cross the room in silence. The nearly silent thud of a lifted chair can be heard as similarily silent footsteps approach the other side of my bed. A familiar sigh escapes as Don looks over at me. Silently I feel him take my other hand.
Using what little strength I have I whisper, " Couldn't get Charlie to come?"
Don jumps back in suprise. His hand pulls away from mine for a moment. He wasn't expecting me to be awake. Afraid he hurt me, he takes my hand again.
" No, he's here," Don replies.
He thinks he can fool me. He always thought he could fool me, even when he was caught red-handed.
" Donnie, you don't have to lie," I tell him, my voice weaker then before.
" I'm not," he replies the hurt evident in his voice.
I don't have the strength to tell him I believe him so I squeeze his hand. His hand tightens on to mine, clinging to me.
" He's just downstairs...in the car," he continues this time angrily.
" Don..." I whisper my voice an echo of what it used to be.
" I know," he answers, " But if he would just...Just get off that stupid math problem."
I sigh loudly. Don stops talking and the machines with Alan fill the void again.
I know Don's anger isn't really against Charlie. Despite whatever he said as a kid, Don always loved being the focus of adoration from his little brother. I have countless pictures of the two as evidence. In every one of them, Charlie's face beams in adoration while Don shows what being a big brother is all about.
No, Don's anger isn't against Charlie. It's against me. Against the disease that I've been carrying. Despite how much he tries to keep himself firm, he needs an outlet. He needs to have something to blame, except the cause itself. It's just his way.
Don grasps my hand with sudden strength. Another draft enters the room, and the distinct smell of chalk wifts through the air. I know it's Charlie.
Most mothers brag about the genius of their children. It's are god-given right after all. Not many mother's can back it though. I can. I've been blessed with a gifted little boy. A little boy who still has a lot of growing to do.
If there was ever a fault in Charlie, I think it's that he can't make himself understood.At least in things not related to mathematics.He doesn't know how to make himself out to the world. A fact that drives Doncrazy at times.Don understands the world, much better then he should, but Charlie doesn't.And I was the only link he had to it. I'm scared for mylittlest man, who isn't really one. I hope he finds someone, anyone, torecreatethe link.
I feel a sudden change come over me. I know my time is short now. As if hit by an electric shock. Alan's head lifts of the bed. His hand slids away from mine and returns again. The feel of the room has changed. It's cold still, but there is something more. Something...
Don feels it to and he clings harder to me. I hear Charlie's feet shuffle uncomfortably. A new-found strength grabs hold of me. I open my eyes and look at my family, my flesh and blood.
Alan looks at me, for a second relief flashes over his face. Then his eyes cloud over as he realizes the truth. Silently he begs me, pleads for me not to go. I squeeze his hand affectionately, mysteriously unable to speak. There are so many things I want to say. So much that it would take a lifetime to finish. I put out my heart in that one touch. My little goodbye.
Don's tender brown eyes carry the same fear. He looks at me lost. I know this is especially difficult for him. He's seen death before, but never like this. Again there are so many things I want to tell him. A lifetime of words. I reach out for him. He leans forward, knowing what I'm trying to do. Silently I stroke his head, comforting him like I did when he had a nightmare. My little goodbye
Charlie watches me do this. His eyes aren't carrying their normally excited luster. They watch fearful and unsure. I look across at him. Our eyes meet. For Charlie I'm at a loss for words. There is so much for him to gain, and so much he's going to lose. All I can do is know what I want him to know and hope my eye and face portray it all. Slowly I see understanding dawn on his face. My little goodbye.
It's to much for all of them right now. Alan stares blankly at me. Everything he wants and needs forever trapped in that stare. Charlie turns as my breathing becomes heavier. Don feels his world collapse. Burying his face in the bed he sobbs while I remain stroking his head.
I don't expect them to take this well. I don't expect them to understand the significance of my little goodbyes. But I know someday they will. Someday this moment will not carry just pain. It will also carry joy. The same joy that they have given me throughout their lives. I reflect on this as sleep passes over me.