A few days later Alan and Charlie were helping Don – now ten pounds heavier since his talk with Alan – through the door into Charlie's living room. Alan helped Don settle in on the couch while Charlie brought his brother's suitcase inside. Just as he was about to close the door, he saw Megan and Colby pull up. "Hey!" he called out in greeting.
They waved and trotted up the sidewalk. "How's Don?" Megan asked.
"He's great," Charlie grinned. "Still not up to one hundred percent, but he's getting there. You guys want to come in?"
"Yeah," Colby nodded. "We've got some important news to tell you."
Charlie let the two agents in and closed the front door behind them. He followed them into the living room where Don was excitedly talking to his team members. As Charlie stood next to the couch, Megan held up a hand to stop the jovial conversation. "We have some good news," she announced to the whole Eppes family.
"Fire fighters were working on part of the blaze up at Frazier Park, near where we found you," Colby told Don. "They came across two bodies. They were badly burned, but the medical examiner was able to extract DNA for identification." He paused to let that bit of information set in. "The lab positively identified one body as belonging to John Alexander Reiner. Thanks to the Reiners' son, the crime lab was able to perform a reverse paternity test to get an ID on the second body – Jackie Reiner."
Don sat and stared at Colby as his mind tried to process what he'd just been told. "They're dead, Don," Megan gently reiterated. "You're safe now."
Don nodded and bit his lip. He felt a sudden stirring of emotion that threatened to break through his defenses. "That's great work, guys," he told them in a surprisingly strong voice. He didn't want to ask them to leave, but that pesky emotional breakdown seemed to be hurtling toward him.
"I think Don needs to get some rest," Charlie advised the agents. They nodded and said their good-byes to Don and Alan, leaving the Eppes men alone in the house. Charlie cocked his head at his father indicating that he wanted a moment alone with his brother. Alan smiled and clapped Don on the shoulder. "I'm going to grab a shower," he told him. "I'll see you in a bit."
Charlie watched as his father disappeared up the stairs before joining Don on the couch. He propped his elbows on his knees and steepled his fingers against his forehead. "Want to talk about it?"
Don shook his head. "Nothing to talk about."
"I see," Charlie mumbled. "You seem upset by that news."
Don snorted. "Why would I be upset about that? Those people put me through hell. They got what they deserved."
"I agree." Charlie turned his head and studied Don's face. "I didn't mean to imply that you were upset about that. I think maybe that news might have released some other feeling. You have been through quite an ordeal."
"And I survived," Don emphasized. He felt the previous emotion dying down again, and managed to lock it away in his mind with all the other unwanted emotions. He took a cleansing breath and calmed his mind. "I appreciate the offer, Charlie. But there's really nothing to talk about."
Charlie nodded and started to rise from the couch.
"Wait," Don's voice and the hand on Charlie's arm stopped him. He looked at Don expectantly. "I, um, don't know how to say this. Dad told me everything you did to find me. I'm more thankful for that than I can ever tell you."
"That's what brothers are for," Charlie beamed at him.
"Yeah," Don chuckled. "That's what math genius brothers are for." He paused and Charlie took a moment to really study his face. "There's something else, too."
Charlie placed his hand on Don's leg. "Go ahead," he urged.
"One of those nights – when I was really cold and out of it – I had a vision, dream, whatever. Anyway, you came to me and said that you were looking for me. You told me to hang on." Don took a moment to steady his voice. "You put your hand on my cheek and... Well, the cold seemed to disappear for just a moment." Don shook his head and laughed casually. "Crazy, huh?"
"The second night you were gone?" Charlie asked quietly.
"Yeah," Don thought aloud. "Yeah, I think that was it."
"I had a dream that night, too." Don's eyes widened in surprise. "I saw you being held captive and told you I was coming." Charlie had a look of shock on his face. "You looked cold, so I reached out and touched your face..."