Title: L is for Louise

Author: FraidyCat

Summary: Answer to alphabet challenge

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em – but wanna cuddle 'em; will put 'em back when I'm through with 'em

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It started like all the others.

First, Aunt Louise just stood over him until he woke up.

When he did, her grim face always frightened him — but always before he uttered a sound, he saw the finger at her lips, warning him to be quiet.

When she was sure he wouldn't speak, she would reach up and remove the hairnet from her permanent.

That's when things got weird.

First, she would use the hairnet to gag him.

Then, while he tasted hairspray, she would start consuming his flesh.

Usually, she entered through his torso. She would just lean over, and take a huge bite. It always reminded him of when he would watch her start to peel an orange.

When she had created a hole, she would sit on the edge of the bed, and reach one withered hand inside.

One-by-one, she would draw his organs out of him. Liver, gall bladder, appendix, kidney, several feet of intestines. He learned to identify them all.

Sometimes he wondered how he could continue to live without them, but then he remembered that she had taken his heart, and his soul, several years earlier, and he lived without them. She took them when he was eight, and the house was full of warmth and relatives and Thanksgiving turkey. She had asked to see his bedroom, and he had been proud to show her. The only child amongst a jungle of adults, he was pleased to be noticed.

At first.

He was surprised when she not only closed the bedroom door behind them, but locked it. He was confused when she began to unbutton his shirt. He was horrified when she leaned down and kissed him; not like an Aunt, but the way he saw his mother and father kiss. He was frightened when she pulled him down onto his own bed.

He was deprived of his heart by the things she did to him there.

He was ripped clean from his soul by her words. She said that no-one would believe him. They would all take her side. They would send him away.

Now, all these years later, he jerked awake after a kidney was drawn out of the hole in his stomach. He didn't cry out. What was the use?

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Charles just grinned a little at Larry's dishevelved appearance. "Another Aunt Louise nightmare? Which was it this time? Flesh-eating or organ harvesting?"

Larry simply shrugged and listened to Charles drone on about the latest case he was helping his brother with.

Damn, smug, kid.

For a nationally-known mathematical prodigy turned full-blown genius, he certainly had a difficult time adding two plus two.

When they had helped the young Indian girl found by the FBI, Larry had told him about the organ harvesting dream.

When Charles began dreaming about his mother, Larry had told him about the flesh-eating.

Amita had been right. When you were part of Charles' world, you were part of Charles' world — he didn't really become part of yours. Everything was all about him. His research, his consulting jobs, his family, his dreams. She had been right to leave.

It was so intellectually stimulating to be around that brain, that Larry tended to accept the tunnel vision. Throw in the excitement of FBI cases, and the comfort of at least standing slightly outside a family unit, and the risk of losing it all if he confronted Charles was too great. So he just shrugged, or played with his hair, his fingers.

He just let things go on as they were.

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He heard the chime indicating a new e-mail and checked the monitor. When he saw that it was from Charles, he almost didn't read it. He was tired, from his lack of sleep the night before. He wasn't in the mood to help Charlie solve another of his problems, real or imagined.

He sighed. Charles would just telephone him, hunt him down. Might as well deal with it now. He clicked open the e-mail.

Larry,

I was in Don's office this afternoon and heard Megan call you and ask you to join her for dinner. From her side of the conversation, it was pretty obvious that you not only refused dinner, but excused yourself for the foreseeable future, because of a suddenly complicated schedule?

I know you, Larry. The only complication to your schedule is Aunt Louise.

Whatever she did to you, you didn't deserve it. It wasn't your fault. I hope that she's dead, because if I ever met her, I would probably try to kill her.

I don't want to see her take more from you than she already has. Please don't give her power over your present, your future. Leave her in the past.

Megan is a wonderful woman. You should spend more time with her; not less.

Don't let fear and regrets do to you what they did to Amita and I.

You have always been a good friend to me. I hope I have been one to you. If I haven't, I apologize — and I ask another chance.

Charlie

Larry stared at the e-mail for a long time.

Perhaps Charles wasn't as self-absorbed as he had thought.

He could see through the window of his office that the winter sun was already setting.

He steeled himself and picked up the receiver of the telephone, punched in a few numbers, and waited.

He began nervously. "Megan? It's Larry." He took a breath, quickly read through the e-mail still open on the screen again. "My schedule has freed-up a great deal. Perhaps you would still be available for dinner?"

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FINIS