A quick one-shot. I was trying to come up with an ending for my first story and this concept stuck with me.

Don spilling his guts to the office shrink.

Mandatory Analysis

Don leaned back in the brown leather recliner and closed his eyes.

"Well, what did you want to talk about Agent Eppes?"

"Oh you know same old, same old. I thought we'd talk again about how my job nearly got my brother killed. I figured it would be nice if we could discuss how my poor judgment landed Charlie in the hospital and how much fun I had hunting down the miserable son of a bitch who hurt him. While we're at it, we can talk, yet again, about how I got myself shot and how I've been sitting on my ass for the past three months waiting for someone to decide that I'm capable of doing my job again. They say it's good to talk about these things."

"Wow……..I must say, I'm impressed. That's the first time you've put it so bluntly. Your choice of words tells me a lot. Something happened. What's changed?"

"Charlie came by my apartment. He never does that. He usually just calls and asks me to come by, or he stops by the office. But……yesterday when I got home, he was just standing there……waiting. It was a big step for him. It's the first time he's been out of the house alone since…...all of this happened."

"Why is that?"

"He just felt vulnerable."

"Did he tell you this?"

"Yeah. We've talked a lot about it. Well, he's talked a lot about it. I've mostly just listened. He's changed so much. Not just from what happened, but before. This was a lot to deal with, but he's bounced back like I never expected. He's not like he used to be. It was like the world in his head was the only thing that was important to him. Just him and his numbers. Now he's found something more. But I didn't see it. I just didn't see it until after……all of this."

"So things have changed?"

"Yeah. He asked me. I told you he would. I'm not sure I handled it quite the way I had planned."

"Do you want to talk about that?"

"I just thought……I didn't realize how hard it would be to get the words out. I've said them a hundred times in my head, but as soon as he asked, I couldn't say it."

"What did you say?"

"Nothing….not at first. I flaked. I wanted to tell him that I was no longer comfortable working with him. I wanted to say that this was a dangerous job and he didn't need to be so closely involved in what I do. I wanted to tell him no."

"You didn't?"

"I really thought I could, but no. I….I didn't. I guess I knew he'd find out…..about the case. It was on the news and he always loved the fraud cases. He says he's sure he can find a pattern in what their doing even though our guys say there isn't one. He wants to help. And I'm sure he can. I positive he can. And it's a good one for him to start over with. But that doesn't mean I want him out there again. Even on something as simple as fraud."

"What did you tell him?"

"I told him that if he thought he was ready to take that step, it wasn't my job to tell him otherwise. And when it was decided that we needed the services of a mathematician, he would still be the first person that I called."

"And did you mean it?"

"Yeah. I did. This didn't happen because he was an FBI consultant. That was how they found out. So it was the first part of it, but the main reason was because he was my brother. An FBI Agents brother yeah, that's who I am...and that's why he was targeted. But I can't change who I am any more than he could change who he is. And this is who he is now. It's become a part of him the same way it's a part of me. You can't just discard that when you find it in yourself."

"That's good. I think we've made a lot of progress here. I understand your physician has released you for field duty. I'm going to do the same. I still think you're dealing with a lot of self loathing and I do believe it would do you some good to come back and see me again, although you are no longer required to."

"Yeah. Maybe it would."

"Next week then?"

Don leaned forward in the recliner and pulled himself to his feet.

"I'll think about it. Thanks Doc."

"Anytime Agent Eppes. That's what I'm here for.