Title: Just Somebody That I Used to Know
Author: Unspoken Tragedy
Rating: PG-13 (just to be safe)
Spoilers: Other than the general ones, none.
Disclaimer: What do I own? A laptop, a subscription to Shojo Beat, the Numb3rs season one DVDs…. Is Don or Charlie on that list? No.
Summery: 'Do you know how hard it is to be your brother, Charlie?'
A/N: Yeah, yeah. I'll get to the other stuff soon. I promise.
Just Somebody That I used to Know
"Charlie." The mathematician in question turned from his work. He blinked. The face before him was entirely unfamiliar, despite his mind knowing that it was his brother. "It's been a while hasn't it?"
Charlie didn't respond.
"Look, I know that-"
"I'm going to have to ask you to leave. This equation needs to be finished as soon as possible and engaging in a conversation right now would only hinder that." Charlie faced his chalkboard, picked up a piece of chalk.
"Buddy." Don's voice seemed desperate. The younger brother started to write. "I'm sorry! How many times do you want to hear me say it?"
Aside from the tapping of chalk, the room was silent. But Charlie could feel the presence of his older brother behind him. He knew he wasn't alone, and until he was there would be no breakthroughs. He continued to write numbers that really didn't mean anything at all.
"Please talk to me, Charlie."
The chalk was placed on its ledge. "What do you want me to say?"
"I know I hurt you."
"It's been five years, Don. Three years no call, no letter, and you think you can come back here and pretend that nothing's changed since you left?" Charlie was looking at his brother now. He watched the older man wince.
"You stopped calling me too-"
"Because you stopped answering!"
Don shifted feet. "I said I was sorry."
Charlie raised an eyebrow. "So you did." He turned away slightly, sighed. "I can't spend my life chasing you, Don. I can't keep pretending that I can hold together our relationship all on my own."
"I don't want to lose my only brother, Charlie."
"Then you should stop running from him! God, Don. I used to wonder what was so wrong with me that even my own brother wanted nothing to do with me." Charlie used his sleeve to erase the last line of numbers on the board.
"There's nothing wrong with you." That was a lie if he'd ever heard one.
The mathematician smiled bitterly. "Then why can't you stand to be around me?"
He heard his brother take a deep breath. Felt the older man move closer, as if to touch him. "Do you know how hard it is to be your brother, Charlie? To know, that no matter what you do, your younger sibling can do it better?
"You think the problem's in you? Well, it is." Charlie was pulled around to face Don. "I never asked to live in your shadow!"
The younger man winced. "You aren't- I don't... We were doing okay."
"You wonder why I run from you? It's the only way I can get any sun! You're the prodigy, the genius. Nothing I ever do could ever compare to what you've already done." Charlie watched the expression on his older brother's face. The anger was combined with an equal amount of sadness and desperation. "When you're gone I can be me and everyone accepts that.
"When I leave, your genius doesn't matter. I get the recognition I deserve and you're just somebody that I used to know." Don's hands dropped from Charlie's shoulders, where he'd been holding him in place. He turned away from his younger brother.
Then, he left. Charlie didn't follow him.
He didn't have to resort to statistics to know that he would never see his brother again.
A/N: Veggies the bunny told me to write this. Veggies is my shiny new plot bunny (he also cleans my computer screen for me).
The title is from a song. I'm not sure who it's by (I found it on one of my sister's burned CD's). Hugs to anyone who can tell me.
This was supposed to turn out differently. Don wasn't cooperating with me, though, and got angry. That jerk. Haha. I still love him.
Reviews give me the warm fuzzies.