Disclaimer : Unfortunately I don't own them . But I can play to my hearts content.
Larry pinched the bridge of his nose as he waited for his mathematician friend to gain his bearings.
Twice now he had digressed from the subject only to have Larry bring him full circle back to something resembling the point of his tirade. Larry knew he himself waffled but my could young Charles Eppes talk.
"But Charles, surely if you convert the axis you'd be able to see the result more clearly"
"Larry, if I wanted to see the result more clearly I'd only write the answer. The point Fleinhardt is to see the problem in it's full glory."
"You'll lose them Charles. They are only interested in the destination. Not the journey. They have no time for such digressions into the history of the outcome. Only the outcome itself."
Charlie sighed and sat down on his desk. He gazed at his friend appraisingly. Something was…off.
Larry looked tired. Not drained tired. To be honest Larry had a kick to his step that Charlie hadn't seen before. No, Larry looked happy tired. The kind of tired only bestowed upon those who were living life and lacking in sleep only as a result of their fun.
Something was definitely up with that.
"You ok Larry?"
Larry had been busy looking through Charlie's bowl of candy, he seemed intent on finding a particular colour but couldn't seem to locate his preferred choice.
"I'm fine Charles. Just a little tired"
"So I noticed"
Larry looked up into Charlie's bemused eyes.
"What do you mean by that Charlie?"
"It's just you seem more tired than usual, was just wondering if everything was ok"
"You're right , I have been more tired of late. But my friend, that is only because the wonders of the universe have me up late exploring the new reaches of my mind that such wonders can open up"
Charlie couldn't help but laugh at his friend. Something was definitely up. Larry was being too evasive. He was about to push the issue when a rolled up ball of paper flew through the open door to his office and hit Charlie square on the jaw.
Don walked in, a large smile engulfing his face and clapped his hand on Charlie's shoulder.
"Nice to see that baseball at the weekends is improving your aim brother"
Don smiled at Charlie who was still rubbing his jaw as if he'd been hit by a real baseball and not Don's origami one.
"Hi Don, I trust all is well?"
"Well, almost, there's something I think you two can help us with."
"What is it bro?"
"We found some files on a suspect, has dates and numbers in them. Some of it I sort of recognise"
Don ignored Charlie's smirk and continued on.
"And I think you two could help us decipher what it is we've found"
"Where are the files?"
"Megan has them, she's meeting me here"
Don moved to the dart board and began collecting the darts, as he stepped back to Charlie's table to get a good throw he noticed Larry sitting behind the desk looking very droopy eyed.
"Hey Larry? You ok?"
"What?" Larry looked up suddenly. He'd been lost in his own thoughts. If he was honest he was more tired than he'd been in a long time. He smiled a little to himself.
"Everything all right there Professor?"
Don looked down at him with concern in his eyes.
"He's been acting funny all day Don, take no notice"
Charlie ducked as Larry threw a red candy his way.
"Seriously Larry, you look beat"
"Thank you for your concern Don but I assure you I am absolutely fine"
"Maybe it's a lack of iron then. You know you need to eat some other colours every now and then"
This time a blue candy was launched toward the elder Eppes.
Larry shifted awkwardly in his chair. Truth be told he could do without the scrutiny of the brothers Eppes right now. He was looking forward to the end of the day, going home with a bottle of wine and some fine company.
Megan walked through the door carrying a box of files and one very grubby looking folder.
"Hey Megan" Charlie moved to help her carry the files to the desk.
"My brother left you to carry the box?"
"Hey! Megan insisted on bringing them here in her car. Plus it's equality you know. I have to let her carry the heavy boxes once in a while"
Megan slapped Don on the shoulder as he walked past her to the table
"We wouldn't want you crinkling that shirt now would we Don?"
Don glared as his brother sniggered his way. They both delved into the box and began pulling out files.
Megan walked to the side of the desk by Larry and perched herself on the edge.
"Hey there Professor Fleinhardt . How are you today?"
"I'm very well Agent Reeves. Kind of you to ask. How are you today? Keeping the evil off the streets I trust?"
"You know me Professor, I won't stop until they're all locked up"
"Er, do you two need some time alone or something?"
Charlie smiled at his two friends while helping Don remove more of the files from the box, carefully placing them along the floor in what he hoped was the correct order.
Megan gave Larry a wink once Charlie had turned away, his focus back on the boxes. Larry in turn gave Megan his broadest , most content smile. She resisted the urge to lean forward and squeeze his knee.
She'd save that move for later.
"So, you want us to go through these files and see what we can see"
"So to speak, yes"
"Ok Don, but I have classes this afternoon so it'll have to be tomorrow"
Don sighed heavily and Charlie knew what was coming. He could read his brother so easily now. With every passing day he was able to observe the signs and read his reactions like second nature. His brother's moods came as easily to him as breathing.
Don wanted this done now.
That much was certain.
"Classes? All this afternoon?" Don raised his eyebrows to his brother. Hoping that Charlie did indeed have more time to spare and was only exaggerating.
"Don I have classes starting at one. I won't be finished until five"
"So no chance of looking at these today?"
"Is there an urgency bro?"
"We can't hold the suspect much longer without proof that he's into something big"
Megan leaned forward to catch Charlie's attention.
"Don's right Charlie, we need to know today what this stuff is. If he gets away we may never be able to catch him again"
"This guy that bad?"
"We think so, yes"
"And you have no other proof with which to hold him?"
"No Charlie" Don's voice had taken on the slight edge he always seemed to gain when his brother didn't quite realise the urgency of a situation. Did Charlie think they had all the time in the world? Maybe in his universe he did, but in the real world Don and his team were working against the clock. He sighed heavily again and to his surprise Charlie leaned forward and placed his hand on Don's arm.
"Look , I can have a quick glance now. Maybe with Larry helping we can narrow down what it is you're dealing with. Then later on I can look through more thoroughly?"
"Thanks bro, I'd really appreciate that"
Megan rubbed his arm to emphasise her gratitude. The suspect knew they had nothing substantial on him as yet, he also knew if he could hold out a while longer he'd be set free and could flee the country. That just wasn't going to happen. He'd underestimated their resources. Little did he know that a Math genius and astrophysicist would be going through his careful constructed files. Megan couldn't wait to see the look on his face as she gleefully recounted the contents.
She glanced around at Larry again and caught his quick wink. She turned toward the box and the brothers quickly as a blush engulfed her face. The memories of the previous evening bombarded her mind in an array of happy colours and pleasant emotions.
God she was looking forward to the evening. She was going to relax with a bottle of wine and some fine company.
The brothers were bent over the files on the floor, looking at them intently and discussing the contents in only a way brothers could. By arguing.
"Charlie in English, please!"
"Don in order to understand this you have to go back to the basics"
"Skip the basics, I want to know the outcome only"
"Just as I predicted with the class, so is it true of the FBI Charles"
Charlie ignored Larry and continued pulling files from his brothers interfering hands. Honestly, if he wanted his help then why didn't he leave him alone to go through this without his 'help' . Charlie batted Don's hand away again. Don grabbed another file in defiance and opened it in the middle.
"What the hell?"
"What?" Charlie tried to look over his brothers shoulder.
"I've seen this before, you've explained this before I'm sure"
"Let me see"
Charlie practically snatched the file out of Don's hands. His brother was right. He had seen this before, the equations and diagrams were similar to those used by the hijackers of the toxic material almost a year previous.
As Megan leaned forward to inspect the file in Charlie's hand, Larry walked passed and pinched her butt.
Before she could stop herself Megan jumped.
Don looked around and eyed her quizzically.
"Hey…..erm………..I recognise those too"
Charlie was curious now. Megan seemed to be acting very strange, almost as strange as Larry had been, and was she blushing?
"I…err…. Remember seeing them in an old file. Must be the one you're talking about."
Larry crouched down next to Don and kept his head lowered to the files on the floor to keep the smirk hidden from the brothers. Who knew that antagonising a loved one could be so much fun?
"Charles can I see that please?"
Charlie handed over the file, he eyed Larry but kept quiet. Something was definitely not right with his friend. Larry looked, well, Charlie couldn't quite believe it, but Larry looked, mischievous .
"Everything alright there Larry?"
Larry didn't bother to look up. He had his suspicions that Charlie was onto him. Only he didn't know quite how much or if Charlie suspected the truth. Yet while they were able to keep it quiet they would do. Didn't mean he couldn't have some fun though. Larry was about to think of more things to do to tease his new found companion when one of the sequences from the file leapt out at him like a guard dog on attack. Suddenly he was seeing all kinds of possibilities from the equations, from the diagrams he could see a pattern emerging. His interest peaked further the more he digested the contents. All ideas of cheeky fun evaporated.
Megan watched from the table as Larry's smile turned into a look of complete concentration. She watched as her evening dissolved along with Larry's awareness of all those around him.
"Don I can break these down for you if you need them today"
"Really?" Asked Don hopefully.
"Oh yes Don. See here? This is plan for a high propulsion release mechanism"
Larry continued to explain the plans to the agents. Megan's mind wondered slightly as he began explaining the more complex parts of the diagram. She had so many hopes for the evening. Even though she knew she should be mad with him, even a little hurt as he delved even deeper into the files, she couldn't help but feel a sense of pride and awe. He was such an amazing man. With such a beautiful intellect. Megan didn't appreciate when a man was described as beautiful. But with Larry, she would make an exception.
She watched as he became more animated, even more lost in is explanations. Using his hands more freely to describe his theories. Charlie had joined in by this point and the two bounced off each other with such force that Don had sat back on the floor, a look of utter bewilderment across his features. He was more lost now with both of them trying to explain that he had been when it was just one at a time.
He'd had enough. Don put up his hands, silencing both Professors simultaneously.
"Ok, I get the picture. It's bad. Right?"
"Oh definitely bro"
"Ok then, just give us the cliff notes and Megan and I will be on our way to interrogate the damn suspect. I can't believe he thought he was going to get away with this."
"Well, he didn't realise you had us now did he Don?"
Don smiled at his brother with such affection that Charlie was momentarily lost for words.
"I'll explain it more tonight if you stop by for dinner?"
"That sounds good Charlie. So Larry, will you call me once you know more. I think for now we'll have enough to hold him for at least another day."
"I will Don. I need to break this down to it's bare basics and then I'll call and let you know"
"If you can't get hold of me you know Megan's number right?"
"What?" Larry looked flustered and Megan caught the wink Don had given Charlie.
Oh yeah, they were on their way to being busted. But until then…
"Professor Fleinhardt I'll give you my number before we leave. Just in case you can't get hold of Don. In case he's ironing his shirts or fixing his hair"
"Easy Reeves, I can have you working solely with Colby if you're not careful"
"At least he knows how to make a good cup of tea"
Don smiled at Megan and tried to hide the suspicion he had been feeling for a few days now. He was pretty sure Megan had started seeing someone. He had thought it was Larry but had dismissed the idea when Larry had mentioned how scared he was of women who knew how to handle themselves in a fight. Plus after their previous dinner neither Megan or Larry had mentioned further dates. Both denied the dinner was a date so Don and Charlie had concluded that nothing came of it. But maybe, just maybe they'd been slyly thrown off the scent. Larry seemed more like the sort to appreciate a woman who could take care of herself. Oh yeah, Don was sure Larry wouldn't mind being protected by Megan. But if they were seeing each other then he hoped they never had a fight. Don smirked as he thought about Larry and Megan in a boxing ring. Now that was a thought to keep him smiling for a few hours.
"Everything ok Don?" Megan had seen the smile creep across his features. She gave him less than a week before he asked her if she was seeing Larry. Larry had bet her it would take them another month at least to figure it out. Megan wasn't as hopeful.
She was pretty sure she'd win the bet, and boy did she need a weekend in Palm Springs.
"Ok then, Megan, we'll go back and start the interrogation. Larry you call when you have anything more. Charlie, I'll see you at dinner tonight?"
"Yes you will bro"
"See you later Don, Agent Reeves"
"Bye Larry, see you Charlie"
As Megan moved to walk past Larry he carefully dropped something into her palm. Slightly squeezing her hand as he did so. Megan waved her goodbyes and followed Don out of the door.
Larry turned back to Charlie who was going through another file.
"Charles, don't you have classes in a half hour?"
"Huh? Oh, yes. Although these files are beginning to intrigue me"
"I'll keep them warm for you while you're gone."
"I bet it's not the only thing you'll keep warm"
Larry ignored the younger man and concentrated on the files and controlling his ever increasing blush.
As Megan walked to the car park with Don, ignoring his sideways look and smiles, she rolled the object Larry had given her in her hand. Curiosity was getting the better of her but Don was also becoming all the more attentive to her and Larry. He was definitely too curious for his own good.
As she got into her car, watching as Don pulled away in his SUV, Megan opened up her hand to find a purple candy sitting in her palm.
He'd remembered her favourite colour.