A/N: Sorry. I know it's been forever. I thought I'd never update this, really. But when I received the Season Three box set for Christmas, I promised myself I'd work on this. I still haven't seen any of Season Four, as I work EVERY Friday night, so I guess I'll have to wait for those to come out on DVD too. P.S. If you put spoilers in a review I won't be happy.

WARNING: There is illegal drug use in this chapter. I upped the rating to M to accommodate for that. If mentions of drug use offend you, stop reading before the italics.


You Gave It All Away

Chapter Two: Gone Too Long Now

"Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true."

- Eric Hoffer

"Times of great calamity and confusion have been productive for the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace. The brightest thunder-bolt is elicited from the darkest storm."

- Charles Caleb Colton


Cain Abrams sat silently at his ancient ebony desk for a long time after the agents had left. He ran a hand through his unruly curls- a nervous habit that he'd all but stomped out. Charlie?

He had wanted to snap at the man. He had kept his composure; he had been well trained in at least that. Didn't anyone know that Charlie was dead? He sighed.

"Mr. Abrams?" A quick glance told him that his secretary had been there for quite some time.

"Yes?"

"Sam Edwards called. He wanted to know if that encryption software was ready."

A pair of brown eyes narrowed at her. "I told him that it would take a couple of days. I have my own business to deal with as well," he hissed.

The pretty blonde flinched away from him. "I explained that to him, sir, but he really wanted to talk with you directly…"

Cain shook his head. "I don't have time for this." He stood and crossed the office.

"I understand, Mr.…"

"Then get him off the phone!" he growled as he passed her to exit the room.

He didn't have to see her nod to know that she complied. She always complied. When he had interviewed Karen Shelton for the job he'd thought her jumpiness was from the regular pre-interview nerves. By now he knew that it was a sort of character trait.

When he had more time, Abrams just had to find a new secretary. "I won't be in tomorrow," he called to the girl over his shoulder, flipping open his cell phone. Speed dial one: Brandon Thomas, his second in command in both businesses. One day he would have to set the man up, get rid of him before he became competition. Maybe this case of the fed's would give him the opportunity.

But as for today, Cain needed him. There was no other who could take up command in his absence so well. "I need you to be in charge," he answered the man's greeting.

"Sure thing, boss." No questions asked.

The curly haired man closed his phone with a snap and left the building before anyone else could interrupt him. Abrams' Antiques was quite successful, specializing in trading items that only the very wealthy could afford. Of course it was just a façade. It was merely a cover for the less legal trading Abrams really specialized in. He was very certain that the FBI only suspected the drug trafficking (as if they could pin anything on him); weapons and insider stock trading were included as well.

As he settled into his hybrid car, Cain did not wonder how he gotten himself so entrenched in this life of crime. No, he knew how he had gotten here.

Charlie had always enjoyed going to the park with his older brother. Even simply watching as Don and the other boys played ball provided great amusement to the six year old. Numbers ran through his head as the baseball bat collided with the ball that moved at x miles per hour which arched into the air in the shape of a parabola…

Sometimes he wondered if Don could see them too as he enjoyed the sport just as much as his little brother.

He wasn't thinking that on this day, though, as he watched the older boy move away from him. After a moment he realized it was deliberate. Charlie knew that Don didn't always like spending time with him. So he slowed down and made to turn around. There was no way he was going to catch his brother this time.

He heard a soft pained moan in the bushes near him and peered into them to see the source.

The eyes that looked back at him were rimmed with red and wild, surrounded by a sallow, too thin face. "Are you okay, sir?" he asked the man. The smell of vomit told him that the guy had been throwing up.

"You-" the man said haltingly. He shook his head as if to clear it, greasy strands of tangled blonde hair falling into his eyes. He looked frightened and confused and Charlie felt for him. "I need help!"

He grabbed for the boy with a grip far stronger than his emaciated form implied. That's when Charlie got a good look at his arms. Bruised and mottled, the veins underneath looked strange. There were dark infected scabs on his arms and even on the hands that gripped him. The child could feel the tremors that seemed like they'd send the man sprawling to the ground. "I lost it," he cried. "They said they'd bring it, but I lost it and I need your help- I'm going to die!"

He flinched away, but the grip was too strong to break. Before he knew what was happening, he was pulled into a house he had never notice until now. It was small and dank and so dirty that he doubted it had been cleaned for weeks. There were syringes on the floor and dirty bent spoons, a shattered mirror and empty beer bottles. The door clicking shut behind them was the worst sound Charlie had ever heard.

The man tossed Charlie aside when he saw a small package on the floor. The boy shuddered when he noticed how close he had been to getting stabbed with one of the needles. Opening it greedily, tears streamed down the skeletal face as he murmured words that the curly haired boy couldn't hear. "Sir?"

He completely ignored the youngest Eppes. He ripped the brown paper to reveal a clear bag with bright white powder in it. In a bizarre type of chemistry experiment, he dipped one of the spoons in the powder scooping up a small pile, melted it with a lighter and injected it into his arm with one of the syringes. This was repeated, the only difference was where he put the needle- his legs, his feet- he just stabbed himself with the syringes over and over, despite Charlie's cries. One, two, three… ten, eleven, twelve…

Then he just stopped. He grinned for a second, then grimaced. "No…" He finally saw his captive again. "You!" he screamed, lunging for the boy. "You did this on purpose… you let me take too much! Demon!"

Charlie scrambled away and the man fell upon the needles and spoons and all the other stuff that littered the floor. "I'm dying. Please, I'm gonna die." He just stared at the man, watched him crawl across the floor then stop moving at all.

Tears were falling down his cheeks and soon they gave way to sobs as he stared at the dead man. He didn't know what to do! He wanted to do something. The cops, when they found him would think Charlie did it… the man himself thought that Charlie had done it.

He shivered as he envisioned a dark jail cell, thick bars separating him from the disappointed looks on his family member's faces. Don would be so mad at him and his mother would cry. His dad would just shake his head in silence. Tears still fell, but he picked himself off the floor.

He had to get out of here. He couldn't let them find him with that man. The bag of powder caught his eye as he backed away from the body. The boy could remember the look that that guy had given it and snatched it as he searched for a back door. 'It must be something important,' Charlie thought as he snuck out the back. Important enough for a man to die for. Something like that could save a boy's life when he's out on the streets.

His steps didn't take him home this time, in fact, that was the last place he wanted to go now that he was responsible for a person's death. They would hate him now and let the cops take him away.

Cain closed his eyes as tears threatened to appear. He was just a child then, far too young to understand that the man (or Robert Samson as he later found out) had killed himself. He didn't even know what the drug was then. He was just a child genius, cocooned in his world filled with numbers and his family, the tutors that encouraged his mental growth and the other children that shrank away from his freakishness. A baby anomaly that was too naïve to realize that he was not responsible for everything and that other's actions were out of his control.

Maybe if he had learned this before he had gone too far to face his family… Maybe Don would have embraced him today. Both brothers would have voiced how great it was to see the other. Charlie would have asked Don how he'd been all this time and his brother would reciprocate.

But he wasn't Charlie anymore.

And Cain needed to protect his own freedom, even if it meant lying to the man who'd been his childhood idol. Yes, he had known where to find his family for quite some time. He knew that his mother passed on and that Don joined the FBI. His father owned a small flat near the beach and had yet to retire.

Yes, Cain knew.

He started the car and turned up the radio to silence his dark thoughts. By the time he pulled into the parking garage of his high-rise apartment the beginning calculations of P vs. NP were filling his head.

Abrams set the alarm as he entered his rooms, tossed the keys to his vehicle on an end table and made a beeline to his other office, the one that was kept all to himself. It was set up as a library, books on several subjects lining the walls. There was no desk, though, in its place a brown suede sofa. Countless clear memo boards stood in awkward angles around the room. Across their surfaces were color-coded equations to which only he understood the key to. He moved over to an empty board and uncapped a light blue pen.

Maybe this would be the time he solved the 'unsolvable' equation.

He doubted it, though.

It was always more about the journey anyway.


TBC

A/N: I hope the drug scene wasn't too hokey. I did research…

I'm trying to keep this as far away from the norm of this sort of story as possible, without making it too unrealistic. BTW: the house of the drug dealer is only blocks away from the Eppes' house.

I have a good idea of where this is going again (which is far different from what it was before, really). So expect more frequent updates.