by atrum infractus
SUMMARY: Things have changed for Alan. One night and its choices have changed his entire world. The only question is, will he forgive the man responsible for his own son's death?
WARNING: Character death.
Alan Eppes couldn't believe it- nor could anyone else. No one saw it coming- some even doubt the victim saw it coming. But it did come, and it had left the world (at least, the Eppes' world) in a chaotic state that seemed to have no solution.
The few that could bear to look at the newspapers found themselves ignoring the bold headlines, most of which proclaimed "Local FBI Agent Murders Mathematician Brother", and featured a full-length article on the Eppes brothers. Aunt Irene, who loved gathering newspaper clippings with family members in it, was probably having a grand time snipping away at the papers, despite the obvious devestation.
Just a week ago, Alan's home would have been filled with the laughs and teasings of his two grown sons. They would have sat down for dinner together, celebrated another closed case, watched a baseball game...now it was all over. He would never see Charlie alive again, never hear his explanations for the universe...He'd never get another chance to hug his own son, or laugh over his horrible spelling. Charlie was gone, and there was nothing Alan could do to bring him back or rewind time. For the second time in two years, he felt the raw pain of losing a family member that was held dear to him, but this time was different. It almost hurt more because he never got to say good-bye like he did with his wife.
Then there was Don, who laid in another grave, next to Charlie's. Alan's own son...no. His son's brother had killed him in cold-blood, then turned the gun on himself. Alan had always worried for him in a way; all the things he had seen couldn't be drowned away in alcohol. But this was never what he immagined would happen...not in his wildest dreams.
Alan raised his head wearily, expecting to see more people, bearing caseroles- he wouldn't have to cook for several years, with an empty house and a refrigerator filled with these caseroles. Charlie would have loved never having to cook...
But the man standing before him had nothing but a lot of notebooks, a few framed pictures, and a concerned expression. "I hope I'm not interrupting," said Larry, sounding nervous.
"Of course not," said Alan. "Come on in, Larry-"
Alan directed Larry into a chair on the porch where he'd been sitting a majority of that afternoon. Only when they were comfortably sitting did he notice that Larry was holding his son's things.
"Some people were trying to steal his notebooks," explained Larry. "Since the Eppes Convergence Theory was nearly completed...I thought I'd bring them to you for safe keeping."
"I don't want them. I can't understand any of that stuff."
"Just keep them," insisted Larry. "You may be surprised."
Alan agreed to keep them.
"He's gone, isn't he? Both of them..."
"He's not gone," said Larry calmly. "He may not be with us, but he lives on in memories. He always will. And so will Don."
Not for the first time, Alan wondered what memories the two brothers had shared that had lead to this devestation, and he knew Larry was wondering as well. The question loomed over them like a dark cloud.
Later on that evening, Alan flipped through the many notebooks Larry had dropped off earlier. Just as he suspected, the many numbers and symbols meant nothing to him, but some how, it was comforting to see Charlie's scrawl, and to be able to run his fingers over what had essentially been his son's life.
Hours later, probably nearing midnight, Alan had discovered a slim black notebook that he couldn't remember ever seeing Charlie use. He opened it, and naturally, he saw Charlie's handwriting. Not really surprising, considering that these were his things, but what did surprise him was that this was in English. A quick flip through showed that there were no equations, and the only numbers in the whole book were dates- dates that stretched from the day after Margret had died to the very day of his own untimely death.
They were right there, right before him.
Charlie had left him the answers.
A/N: I know this is somewhat out of character for most of you, especially for those who don't believe Don would ever hit Charlie, but there is a reason. Please review and let me know if anything should be changed, or if you hate it...whatever. Just drop me a line.