Title: Last Dance
Genre: Drama, Angst
Time line: Sequel to "That Which Tears Us Apart" & "You've Got To Be Kidding"
Summary: Part 3 of an Exciting Triology. Charlie-centric, Brother-centric.
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em – but wanna cuddle 'em.
As soon as Megan pushed open the door, Don knew this was not the sort of bar he frequented, not his usual Friday night hangout. Pulsating Latin music blasted his ears, and he heard Colby behind him. "Great. Dancing with the Stars." But he had lost the bet, and Don owed the two of them. This place was close to the office. The last time they had been here, it was just a bar. Apparently it was under new ownership.
"Beer is beer," Colby continued, pushing Don forward, while Megan turned slightly to pull on his sleeve.
"Come on. I kind of like this music!"
"Too bad David's not here," thought Don. "If he wasn't off on vacation, he never would have let me make such a stupid bet."
The three made their way to the bar and ordered their drinks. Megan was watching the dance floor. "I see a couple leaving," she said, turning back towards Don and speaking directly into his ear so that he could hear her over the music. "Let's go get that table!"
Don grabbed his beer and followed Colby, letting the bigger man act as his blocker. At the table, he sat with his back to the dance floor. Normal conversation was out of the question, so he waited for the lull between songs — not that it was much of a lull. "Remind me never to take the two of you on in a bet again." Before he had even finished, a salsa beat was starting.
"Are you sure?" Colby yelled, staring over Don's head. "Cuz I'm pretty sure you'd lose this one, too."
Don noticed that Megan was looking over his head toward the dance floor also, and her mouth was hanging open. He thought he saw her mouth a "Wow…"
He tracked their eyes and turned in his chair to see what was so fascinating. If Colby hadn't reached out to steady his arm, he would have dropped his beer. He couldn't take his eyes off the dance floor. He felt like he was dreaming. Quick turns and kicks, hip action Don didn't even want to think about, arms wrapped tightly around a shapely brunette, familiar grin…shit. Don hadn't known Charlie could dance like this. In fact, Don hadn't known his little brother could dance at all.
The three FBI agents watched, trying to reconcile the "Whiz Kid" who used algorithims and patterns to help them on cases, with the apparition on the dance floor. Don was so focused on Charlie that he didn't notice, until the music reached its crescendo and he dipped the brunette backwards over his arm, who she was. He was smiling. She was laughing. She was Amita.
Don hadn't seen Amita in over six months. She had run off to India the night before her wedding to Charlie, who had ended up drunk, hurt, and in the hospital with pneumonia. After a long recovery, complicated by the bone marrow stem cell transplant he had endured just 18 months earlier in treatment for leukemia, Charlie had spent three months in Ohio, doing something for NASA at the Glenn Research Center, something Don didn't have high enough security clearance to know about. He had only been home, back to his schedule of teaching, research and consulting, a few months himself. Don hadn't even had time to see him much until this week, when they'd needed Charlie's help on a case.
Her hair was long, again.
Amita was back. Amita was back, and she was dancing with his brother.
This was something he had to think about. In one motion, Don slammed his beer on the table, rose, was halfway to the door. When he got outside, Megan and Colby were behind him. They were both speaking at the same time.
"Did you know…"
Don held up his hand, started digging in his pocket for his keys. "Consider the bet paid," he growled, and headed for his SUV.
He was at Charlie's house by 6 the next morning. He was glad their father, Alan, was out of town. He was in San Diego, with his business partner, looking over a project to see whether or not they wanted to put in a consulting bid. They weren't due back until Tuesday.
He let himself in the back door, headed for the stairs, hoping he wouldn't find anything up there he wasn't ready for. He was trying not to think about that when he heard a startled, "What?", and he looked up to see Charlie halfway down. He was dressed. He was alone. Thank God.
"You scared the crap outta me, Don. What are you doing here at 6 on a Saturday morning?"
Don waited for his brother to reach the bottom of the stairs, followed him into the kitchen. "Sorry. I had to talk to you."
Charlie opened the refrigerator to take out the gallon of milk. He retrieved a glass out of the cupboard. "Want some coffee?" he asked, while he poured. "I could make some."
Don sat at the table and waited for Charlie to join him. "No."
At the one-word answer, Charlie turned, confused. "Is everything all right?"
The second "no" really got Charlie's attention, and he sat down at the table facing Don. His face looked a little green. "Did something happen to Dad?"
Don kicked himself mentally for not thinking that Charlie would jump to that conclusion. "No, no, Buddy, I'm sorry. Didn't mean to scare you."
"Then what is it? Something else with the case? I have plans later, but I was going to do some more work on it this morning."
"Charlie." Now that he was here, Don wasn't quite sure where to start. At the beginning finally seemed like a good idea. "I had to pay up last night, take Megan and Colby out for a beer. I lost a bet earlier this week."
"Doesn't matter. Something about squirrels."
"Stop interrupting me. I'm trying to tell you, we went to that bar down the street from the office. We went to Torino's."
Charlie carefully placed the glass of milk in front of him. For a moment, he was the same color as the glass of milk.
"You saw us?" he finally whispered.
Don didn't think he even had to answer that. He just leaned back in his chair and watched Charlie. At least a full minute passed in silence. Then, a slow smile started to cross Charlie's face.
"She looks good, doesn't she?"
Whatever Don had been expecting Charlie to say, that wasn't it. He leaned forward again. "Charlie," he said, the concern evident in his voice. "Do you know what you're doing? Because if you do, please, tell me. Reassure me."
Charlie didn't answer, and Don felt himself get angry. "You tell me NOW," he said, slamming his hand on the table, and Charlie jumped. "What the hell are you doing?"