Disclaimer: I don't own Numb3rs or any of the characters. This story is not for profit and no copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 1 – Childhood Flashback

"Charlie? Where are you?"

Charlie's head shot up as he heard his teenaged brother bounding up the stairs two at a time. Charlie hopped down from his chair and darted toward the door, only to be halted by a stern voice.

"Stop!"

Turning around, he faced his new tutor who coolly noted, "I don't recall dismissing you."

"But Don's home!" Charlie exclaimed as if that explained everything. And to Charlie, it did. Math was fun, but he could work on math problems any time. Don wasn't always so available.

"We still have a few minutes left before our time is up. Surely…"

They were interrupted by a voice from the doorway. "Ah, here you are! Come on, Charlie, let's go."

Before Charlie could respond, the tutor stepped between the two boys. "You must be Charlie's older brother."

From the disapproving tone of the man's voice, Don understood his brash entrance was unwelcome and tried to make amends. "Yeah, I'm Don. Sorry for interrupting Charlie's lesson. It's nice to meet you."

Don stuck out a hand to shake, which the man ignored. "I'm Charlie's new tutor, Mr. Taper. We were just in the middle of a lesson on partial derivatives in multi-variable problems. Perhaps you'd care to join us?"

Backing up, Don waved his hands as if to fend off the suggestion. "Ah, no, that's okay. I just wanted to see if Charlie was free to play a little one-on-one before dinner."

Sensing he had the advantage, the tutor pressed on. "No? Not much of a mathematician? Guess you're just the first pancake of the family. Believe me, I've seen it before. Now, if you'll kindly leave us to our work…"

Charlie was about to protest that he wanted to play, when he caught the look on his brother's face. Don couldn't have looked more shocked if he'd been slapped. Confused, he turned to Don asking, "What's that mean, 'the first pancake'?"

Don smiled, but didn't quite meet Charlie's eyes as he answered. "Forget it, buddy. Doesn't matter. You, ah, you finish your math lesson. I'll… see you later."

"Don, wait!" Charlie called after him, but Don continued to rush from the room.

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