Disclaimer: Don't own 'em.
A/N: My decompression Oneshot. Definitely AU.
Seated at the desk, typing, she looked away from the monitor when she heard a sound at the door. Recognizing her visitors instantly, she smiled, somewhat startled at their appearance, but nonetheless thrilled.
She focused on Charlie, first, His hair was about three inches shorter than the way she really liked it. Perhaps if she firmly planted both hands in that hair and pulled with all her might, she could get it the right length again. She was imagining the conditions under which she might end up with both hands firmly planted in that hair, when she heard the lock turn in the knob and her attention was drawn to Don. He had his back to her, checking the door to make sure it was locked.
He really did have quite a nice derriere.
She ruminated for a while…and was startled back to reality when he turned around and the brothers approached her desk.
She lifted her eyebrows. So the boys wanted to be locked in her office with her? Not a problem. She flashed a welcoming smile. "I didn't expect you. Please, sit down."
They did, Charlie nervously in the corner of the leather couch that sat at an "L" angle beside her desk. Don settled in one of the chairs facing the desk, and crossed the foot of one leg over the other knee. He glanced at Charlie and tried to reassure him with his eyes. Then he looked back at her.
He began without preamble. "FraidyCat…this is an intervention."
Certainly hadn't been expecting that.
She leaned back in her chair, and rolled to the side a little so that the monitor wasn't between them. "An intervention? What are you talking about? I stopped drinking years ago. That thing on the cruise a couple of months ago — just a glitch."
"It's not that kind of intervention," Don said.
She was curious, now. "Then what is it?"
"FraidyCat…you're a whumpaholic."
She straightened in her chair. "I beg your pardon?"
Charlie fidgeted a little on the couch, and Don continued to speak for both of them. "I can't let this go on. You're hurting my brother. I'm not sure how much more he can take."
"But…" She wasn't angry. She was genuinely offended. "Why come after me? I'm not the only one. What about AliceI, or dHall? Curtisbrothersfan isn't doing you any favors, either. And Cierra isn't even whumping you on your home territory." She was getting into the argument now. "You know that sparticletam has resurrected Reylott again, right? And…and this last one? Not entirely my fault. I had The Silent Rumble working with me."
Charlie finally spoke, looking horrified. "AliceI? Are you kidding? She tortured us for over a year. You think we're going to be alone in a room with her anytime soon?"
Don nodded, shuddered a little at the thought. "Yeah — and dHall is right in the middle of some pretty dark stuff, man. I don't want to piss her off, right now."
Charlie picked at the leather on the arm of the couch, and wouldn't look at her. "Why did you have to work with someone else? You couldn't have been afraid that you wouldn't do enough damage on your own."
Don looked at his brother fondly. "You really are pretty hard on him, FraidyCat." He looked back at her. "Although I did want to thank you for the broken tibia. A potential career-ender, that was good. And Alan sent some cookies — remind me to give them to you later. He was really pleased with the whole frying pan and gun thing. He says he wishes he had that much fun in every story."
FraidyCat smiled. "What about Colby?" she asked. "He was kind-of low key in this one, but I gotta tell you guys, people really loved The Buddy series."
Don had uncrossed his legs and was leaning forward in the chair a little. "Right, I remember that. Colby walked around for weeks like he was the star of the show, or something. We didn't mention that we were coming today, or I'm sure he would have said something."
Charlie cleared his throat, but Don ignored him.
"Anyway, Fraidy — can I call you Fraidy?"
She smiled and tilted her head in acquiescence.
He blessed her with one of his slow, corner-of-the-mouth-twitches, corners-of-the-eyes-crinkle, smiles. "Fraidy. Can't you give Charlie a break? You've gotta be running out of body parts by now."
"I know I am," muttered Charlie from the corner of the couch.
Still mesmerized by Don's smile, Fraidy Cat leaned forward in her own chair. "You know, I thought so too, but a reviewer reminded me that I haven't done kidneys, yet. I was thinking of putting Charlie on dialysis. Eventually, both kidneys would fail, and he would need a transplant." Her voice became pleading. "You could be the donor, of course…or…OOO!" She turned her attention frantically to the desk, pulling open drawers and trying to find something to write on. Finally, she spotted an electric bill on the floor under the desk and slipped out of the chair to retrieve it. She popped right back up, grabbing a pencil under the chair on the way. Her eyes twinkled at Don before she started scribbling. "You could want to be the donor, but not be a match! Then we have the whole guilt thing going on!"
He looked interested. "Yeah, we've got to milk that guilt thing. Hey, Fraidy — maybe Larry could end up the donor, and I can be jealous, too! You know, 'he's my brother, not yours'. Whaddya think?"
She kept scribbling. "I like it!"
'DON!" Charlie looked at his brother in horror. "DON'T. HELP. HER."
Don looked momentarily startled, looked at Charlie and tried to ground himself. He slid back in his chair and shook his head. When he spoke, his voice was soft, and a little shaky. "I'm sorry, Buddy. I feel like…like she slipped me drugs, or something…"
Charlie looked concerned. "Are you okay?"
Don was still a little shaky, but he waved a hand at Charlie and looked a little angry when he confronted FraidyCat again. "Let's just move on. It's not just the physical. Why can't you give the poor kid a break with women? I've lost count of the ways you get rid of Amita…"
"She takes the greatest pleasure in killing her, I think," interjected Charlie sullenly. "But sometimes she just sends her away." He turned his wounded puppy look on FraidyCat and she nearly melted. "Last time, you did both."
Don nodded in agreement. "But you don't confine yourself to Amita. You've had women leave him for witness protection, had him find out he was in love with my ex-wife, turned a great FBI agent into a miserable shrew the second they got married…you keep giving him happiness and then ripping it away. I think that's harder on him than the ulcer — even the paralysis." He paused, grinned quickly. "I enjoyed that one myself, by the way."
Charlie glared at him. "Not only that, you virtually ignore the core of my existence." Both FraidyCat and Don looked at him, confused.
"What?", FraidyCat finally asked. "You sound a little like Larry."
Charlie sighed. "I have a remarkable brain. I'm a friggin' genius. Yet even when you try to introduce some of that into a plot, you never fully develop it." He ended the thought bitterly. "Not as fully, as, say, a bone marrow transplant, anyway."
Now FraidyCat was a little embarrassed, but she figured she might as well tell him. "Gonna have to get used to that. I failed algebra."
Charlie stared at her in speechless terror.
She nodded in confirmation. "Twice, dude."
Charlie found his voice. "But…numb3rs are everything. We all use math, every day."
Don groaned. "Chuck, if you say that one more freakin' time, I swear…"
A tone sounded from the computer and FraidyCat looked at the screen. "I have another review," she shared. "I love those people. I can always count on luvnumbers to brighten my day."
Don stared at the ceiling and mused, slowly. "I have noticed a lot more intricacies hidden in your writing since I started paying attention to FluffNutter. I wish she would write something. She caught all that stuff about Chekhov, and everything — obviously well-read."
FraidyCat nodded. "I think she may be a teacher." She looked at her watch. "Although I'm not really sure on that. Better not quote me."
Charlie had noticed the watch check, and saw FraidyCat's fingers lightly caressing her keyboard. He was fearful. "What are you going to do?"
She jerked her hand back, and tried to look innocent. "Why…nothing. Nothing, Charlie."