Genre: Drama, Angst
Time line: Right About Now
Summary: Villains invade FBI headquarters — and someone we know is caught in the crossfire. (Charlie-centric, because he rules.)
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em – but wanna cuddle 'em.
Don sat at his desk with a satisfied sigh. "Thanks for lunch, Charlie."
His brother smiled. "You're welcome. You're coming by the house for your birthday dinner, right?"
Don made a face. "Unfortunately."
"Dad will be happy to hear of your enthusiasm."
Don grinned. "Come on, you know what I mean. It's my 38th birthday, and I'm still having celebratory dinners with my Dad and my brother."
Charlie raised an eyebrow. "You could always change that."
Don reached for the ringing telephone. "Just because you had dinner with Amita on your birthday this year, you think you're the expert. Eppes." He looked up at Charlie. "Sure, I can do better than that. He's here right now. I'll send him down." Don replaced the receiver, reached for the coffee he had picked up on the way back from lunch. "Charlie, you got time to run by digital forensics before you leave? There's a temp working there, and she can't find the log-in for that cross-reference DNA application you designed for them last month. Can you just get her in with your password?"
Charlie looked at his watch. "Of course, I'll stop on my way out. I'm sure she wouldn't be working there without proper clearance?"
Don rolled his eyes. "Just check her ID badge, if you're worried about it. One senior tech is on vacation, another had an emergency appy yesterday, and they're remodeling and moving in pieces to a bigger section of the building. Give her a break."
Charlie looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know, I could give you the password, and you could go down and give her a break…"
Don indicated a stack of files on his desk. "Like you said, it's on your way out. You know where they're hanging, until remodeling is done, right?"
"I'm not sure. I really think you should do it."
Don laughed in spite of himself. "Knock it off, Charlie. Consider it field work, and report back to me if you have to. Ground floor, next to Central Booking."
Charlie shrugged. "All right, all right. I guess I should at least meet her before I try to hook you up with her." He turned for the elevator. "Don't be late for dinner. Dad's probably baking a cake right now."
Don picked up the first file. "Get outta here, Charlie."
When the elevator doors opened, Megan stood to one side to let him in. "I'm going back down," she said. "Just got a call on my cell. Central booking wants to see me."
"That's exactly where I'm going. Almost." Charlie entered the elevator and pushed the button for the ground floor. "Do you know anything about the temp working in digital forensics? Is she single?"
"Charlie!" Megan was surprised. "You're giving up on Amita?"
His smile faltered. "Actually, the probability factor there is not too high, so maybe." He changed the subject. "But this is field work. For Don."
The doors opened and Megan led them out. "Oh, no, I'm not getting involved in that, Charlie. You're on your own."
Charlie laughed. "See you tonight at Don's dinner?"
"Wouldn't miss it. Thanks for inviting me."
Megan turned out of the hallway before Charlie, offering him a wave as he continued on. Moments later, she heard an explosion of gunfire, and she whirled to see armed and masked men entering from every conceivable direction. She wondered vaguely how they got in emergency exit doors supposedly locked from the outside, even as she saw security personnel in the lobby go down, one-by-one, reminding her of dominoes. She unholstered her weapon and crouched behind the nearest desk, sighted on a perp running past her and fired.
Watching him drop, Megan couldn't distinguish all the shots, anymore. Some were coming from other agents, she recognized the sound of the service weapon. Semi-automatic rounds from the assailants peppered her ears. Even over the gunfire, she could still hear the voices of people shouting. She could smell the smoke in the air, raised her head slightly over the desk.
The floor was littered with bodies. Civilians, agency personnel, at least four of the gunmen.
She could hear gunfire coming from farther down the hall. She heard the "Code Black" siren sound throughout the building as she crawled to another desk closer to the door, trying to follow the sound.
Charlie smiled at the temp in digital forensics. He wasn't very experienced at this. He wished ID badges included marital status. "I'm Charlie Eppes," he started, but the tech's eyes widened and focused on something behind him. She screamed, and Charlie heard the unmistakeable sound of gunfire echoing all around him. He turned, confused, thinking he should get back to Megan.
When the round ripped into his thigh, he didn't even feel it.
He just wondered why he was going down, what force had blown him up against the filing cabinets. When he slid into a sitting position on the floor, legs stretched out in front of him, he saw it all at once.
The shooter turning and running back the way he had come.
The burnt hole in his jeans, the blood bubbling through the hole.
The eyes of the dead woman whose outstretched arm he had landed on.
Open, and staring at him.
A third eye between them, that shouldn't be there.
Blood running out of her mouth, her nose, her ears.
He found his own brown ones locked with them. His hand shakily reached out to touch her neck, to check for the pulse he knew wasn't there.
Charlie couldn't stop looking at her, into those eyes.
"K," he whispered, his hand still on her neck, "KE equals MV squared."