Disclaimer: I don't own them , just bring them out to play once in a while
This was meant to be a short, little story but it ran away from me, dragging me along by the neck for the ride.
Don stared at the door. How long had he been here? He was growing weaker by the minute. His ears strained to hear any sound outside . He was alone.
He could barely keep his head up, when not concentrating his chin fell to rest on his chest.
How long had he been here?
The cold that had taken up residence in his body earlier had now migrated to be replaced with a strange numbness, thoughts were hard to keep and focus on. His mind drifted from events earlier in the day, to Charlie , to his mother , to what his Father should cook for dinner.
Don was slumped against the back wall of a dark, damp basement. He'd been left there for use at a later point. Don doubted he had much later left. The basement was full of shelves with stacks of old boxes and paper on. He became curious as to their contents some time ago but the effort to move sent shock waves of pain coursing through his body. Now, he was just too tired to care.
The door was situated up the stairs opposite him. The wooden stairs seemed old and decayed. It was a wonder they hadn't given out with the struggle . He hadn't entered the basement willingly.
How long had he been here?
A small shaft of light bathed his feet but he couldn't feel the warmth. One window in the whole room up and behind him. Too high to reach. He had tried calling for help earlier but that simply invited another beating. He'd succumbed to the fight and agreed to silence. Part of him still wanted to fight. He knew he still had to fight. If his mother could go through what she did and still manage to struggle forward well then so could he, but he was so tired. So tired , so warm. Why was he warm? Don raised his left hand to his forehead. He felt sweat. Was that the damp, the cold, or did he have a fever? Maybe it was fear. If they were going to kill him he wished they would have done it by now. This waiting around wasn't good for his morale. Don allowed a small chuckle to escape him much to the annoyance of his ribs.
How long had he been here? A few hours? A day ? Longer? He'd passed out after the initial beating. That coupled with the gun shot had been too much to take and he'd blissfully drifted off into sleep. He'd dreamt of Charlie and their father, going for a walk to a restaurant. Charlie had been engrossed in his new equation. Something to do with the brain. That's all Don had managed to grasp from the rushed speech he'd had to endure. They'd had steaks, they'd talked and laughed. It all felt so easy. Don had been ready to return to his apartment afterward. Ready for a wind down , enjoying his own company with a beer. He should have accepted his fathers invitation for a coffee. He should have taken every opportunity to spend time with them both. Would he have that chance again? If he survived he'd tell them both he loved them. He'd hug them more. He'd make more time to simply be with them. No cases, no equations. Just family.
How would his father manage without him? He'd survived losing their mother but would he survive losing his son? Would Alan be able to function, to enjoy his life at all after Don's death? Would he focus more of his attention back onto Charlie? Don had been enjoying a share in that attention for the first time in a long time. More and more of Alan's focus turning to Don. Did Charlie mind? He'd never asked him. Charlie, what would Charlie do without him? Would he crumple and fall apart as he did when their mother became ill ? Would he be able to use his growing strength to help Alan get through this? Please say Charlie won't drown in numbers. Please say he'll keep his head above water. Don couldn't leave Charlie. That wasn't fair. He couldn't leave his father. Not without saying goodbye. Telling them how much he loved them and how much he loved being back in LA .Being back home. Where he belonged.
What was in those boxes? Could it be evidence? Don frowned and awkwardly turned his head to the nearest shelf. It was full of paper, books, boxes and covered in dust. Cluttered. His mother liked that . She liked to have all things around her. Even their photographs on the shelf in the dining room had gotten so cluttered that Alan had moved them when his mother was out. She hadn't minded though. It meant there was more room for new ones. Don stared at the shelf. It stretched from the floor to about a foot from the ceiling.
It reached the window.
"You gotta be kidding me" Don chastised himself for being so distracted by the situation that he hadn't focused on his surroundings.
If he could make It up the shelf he could reach the window. Leaning forward Don turned his body, ignoring the many protests and saw that he'd be able to squeeze through. He was sure of it.
With monumental effort Don rolled onto all fours. Panting against the pain of his injuries and the effort. He stayed that way for a few minutes, waiting for the nausea to abate. He rocked back onto his heals and forced himself into a crouched position . With one more look toward his freedom, Don forced himself to stand.
Alan and Charlie waited impatiently in an interrogation room at the FBI head quarters. They'd heard nothing new in almost five hours. Charlie couldn't help but tick off the time in his head with each passing minute. 14 hours , 47 minutes and a few seconds. Too long. His brother had been missing too long.
Where was he?
Charlie looked toward his father. Alan was staring out of the window. Lost in the horizon. The sun was beginning to set and Charlie could see the darkness slowly take over his father's features. He had to be strong. Alan had been so quiet for so long now that Charlie knew he needed to be the rock. The families reliable wall to lean on had disappeared. Gone without a trace. The only lead being a witness who had seen a man shot and bundled into a black van.
A black van , there were so many. How could they find the right one. How could they even know where to start looking.
Where was he? Was he alive? Was he dying of blood loss at this very moment? Charlie closed his eyes against the image which invaded his every nerve. Don was the strong one. He'd make it, he always came out of every thing unscathed. This would be no different. He'd have a slight wound, Charlie knew the odds were slim but he focused on the hope that the gun had simply grazed Don. The shock of being fired upon being the reason he was caught so easily. He'd emerge safe and sound. Smiling at them both and teasing them for their tired and unkempt appearance. They'd tease him back, his father would attempt to tell him off. Then they'd all go back to the family home, Charlie's home , and sit around enjoying each other's company. Each safe and comforted by the knowledge they were together. Don would stay. Charlie would insist. Scratch or no scratch after this he wanted his brother to stay for a while.
Where was he? Numbers bombarded Charlie's brain, from the mundane to the elaborate. All kinds of theories, sequences , algorithms , each one exploding in a wealth of fireworks inside his mind. He saw them all, he watched as the colours collided , each number a separate shade of gray and red. Behind the magnificent array of formula's was his brothers body, slumped in a ditch somewhere. Gray and dirty. Unmoving and hollow.
Charlie rubbed his face with his hands and got up. He needed to walk, to clear his mind.
"Dad, do you want a coffee ?"
"No thanks Charlie "
Charlie squeezed his father's shoulder as he left the room.
Alan had been allowing his mind to drift back to when his boys were small. When Don was a baby he'd barely cried . He always had a reason and whenever his need was met he'd stop crying, gaze into his parents eyes and fall back to sleep. Contented. Charlie had been different. He had cried and screamed and demanded attention. Alan only realised later that they had neglected Don . Charlie being such a demanding baby meant that he held the majority of their attention. Don never complained. He had his baseball , his friends. They had assumed that because he never complained that he was fine. Until he broke the window. Aunt Irene had said the child was acting out, obviously becoming a hooligan. Margaret had defended her son but speaking to Alan afterwards, they both voiced their concerns.
"It's those friends of his, I'm sure they're a bad influence"
"You can't take him away from his friends. We ground him, it's all we can do at the moment"
"Oh Alan why can't he be more like Charlie. He does whatever he's told and he never bothers a soul."
"Well, maybe they both need a little of each other's traits"
"What do you mean by that?"
Alan had regarded his wife carefully. This wasn't an argument to get into yet, not with both boys in the other room.
"Nothing ,I meant nothing"
He'd hold his boy, hold him for so long once they found him. He'd embrace him and run his fingers through his hair. Hold him close and promise that everything would be alright. He'd allow Don to cry into his chest and pull him so close that all those years would be erased.
When was he coming home?
The phone call they'd received at the house in the early hours of the morning had been the call Alan had been dreading ever since the day Don had come home and announced he'd signed up with the FBI. The look on Charlie's face when he'd picked up the phone had told Alan all he needed to know .The colour had drained from his youngest 's face and he'd looked at his father with a helplessness Alan had seen only once before, when the Doctor had informed them that the Chemo hadn't worked. All avenues exhausted. One way to go and no turning back.
When was he coming back? Would he be in one piece? Megan had informed them that an eye witness had heard gunfire and seen a man fitting Don's description fall to the ground. Was he still alive? No, can't think that way. There's always hope, always resolution regardless of the supposed outcome. Alan signed heavily.
The chairs were so uncomfortable that they made his back ache. David had offered to drive them home but neither of them would hear any suggestion of the sort. As soon as the location of Don was discovered they were going along , no arguments. He'd need Alan and Charlie and they would be there for him. Don was always there whenever they needed him. Alan suspected that this was his way of making up for the years of minimal contact when he'd been assigned to Fugitive Recovery. He smiled to himself. They all had guilt.
What a family they made, Charlie guilty for hiding in his numbers during his mothers illness, Don guilty for the years of no contact with his brother, for his time with Fugitive Recovery, running away from himself. Alan frowned at his own guilt. Neglect of Don, too much attention on Charlie. Not being strong enough to put his foot down with Margaret when she had decided that Princeton was the place for Charlie, and that she'd be moving to. It was their way of separating for a time. Thankfully they'd worked through their problems. Margaret realising how much she loved Alan , how much she missed him for the two years she lived away with Charlie. Only seeing Alan and Don on short visits.
When was he coming home? This was too much. Alan stood and stretched, his muscles protesting. He walked out of the room and found Charlie in the small kitchen.
"We need to eat Charlie, lets go and get something then come back"
"I'm not leaving Dad, something might happen. They could find him"
"We'll be two minutes up the street Charlie, Megan will call us and pick us up on the way. Come on, you don't want to collapse at a time when Don needs us the most. "
At Charlie's look of disapproval Alan added,
"No arguments, Charlie, come on"
Megan watched as the two men made their way toward the corridor. The love they all had for each other swelled her heart and she quickly shook her head before the emotion could overtake her.
They needed to find Don. The eye witness had seen a man fitting Don's description being confronted by two armed men dressed in black. Megan hadn't relayed all the information to Charlie or Alan. It didn't seem fair to fuel their worry. The witness claimed to have seen one of the men fire upon Don, the other had been shouting threats at him, the things they were going to do to him. The witness had heard the word punishment, revenge. It had to be linked to the kidnapping case they'd just wrapped up. It all had gone so wrong, so wrong so quickly . David set a coffee on Megan's desk, another on Colby's. The agents had all looked at each other, none allowing the frustration to overtake them. They'd find him. They would. Their FBI family wasn't complete without him. David was going through the Sanderson files, listing the known associates . Colby was on the phone, trying to track down some of the names from David's list. They were all avoiding each others eyes. Megan knew the technique was to stay focused. To work objectively ,but this was Don.She spent the next half hour sorting through more files.She jumped at the sound of her phone ringing .
She spun in her chair and looked at both David and Colby as they walked hurriedly toward her desk.
"Where? Right, we're tracing it right now"