The wind has not allowed the low hum of the SUV's engine and the quick slam of the car door to drift over to Charlie. It carries away the sounds of the muffled steps, and hides the sound of them suddenly stopping. Nothing is heard. When Charlie turns to leave, he nearly walks into a man. With a gasp, heart racing wildly, he looks into his own brother's brown eyes, which have gone strangely soft.

And that is what they continue to do- they stare at eachother. Charlie is just beginning to regain his composure when Don opens his mouth to speak. He doesn't know what to expect- spiteful words, confrontation...what could Don be capable of? He waits for the worst.


This is all he says, but Charlie sees more than he hears, and what he sees is unsettling him. Don has never expressed himself like Charlie and Dad do, so he has been forced to learn how to read Don's eyes for emotion. It was the only thing that was not always masked.

Right now, he sees disbelief- horror. It is now engrained in his memory for many years to come before Don blinks away the feeling. Next thing he knows, Don's now leading him away, towards the black SUV; his hand is resting heavily on his shoulder. Charlie suddenly realizes that he is shaking, probably from the cold, so he shudders, pulling his jacket even closer to him. Then Don opens the passenger door and nudges Charlie inside before closing it again.

Charlie inhales deeply, enjoying the smell of his brother's car. The spicy fragrance radiated from the air freshner, mixing with some sort of citrus perfume- Megan must have been here recently. Yup. There is her leather purse, laying forgotten on the floor in front of the seat. Charlie carefully makes sure his dusty sneakers stay away from her bag- he really would hate to ruin it.

Then Don gets into the car, sighing as he leaned into the leather seat. "Larry called me," he tells his younger brother without looking directly at him. "He said you missed some lecture, and he was worried about you."

With a pang of regret, Charlie recalls his hasty decision to skip the lecture today. Normally, he would have received the privacy he wanted; after all, people naturally assumed if he wasn't with them, he was just busy, so they usually left him alone. However, it wasn't just some lecture; he had been looking forward to attending with Larry for nearly a month, ever since he'd heard about it. Of course Larry was concerned; after all, it was Charlie who had nearly begged him to go in the first place. It wasn't like Charlie to just skip out on something he'd planned out so well- it seems ridiculous now, assuming everyone would forget about him.

"What are you doing here?" asks Don- his voice pulls Charlie out of his thoughts and back to the subject at hand.

Charlie shrugs. He doesn't feel like talking- not to Don, not to anyone. He wants to be alone in his head, not thinking, not doing anything. He wants to exsist, but he doesn't want to bear the pain of exsistance.

Don will never let that happen.

"Windy day," he comments, starting the enginue up. He clearly just wants Charlie to say something, but the mathematician doesn't speak. "Charlie- why chocolate?"


He finally gets his reaction, and Don looks pleased. "You left chocolate by Mom's grave."

"She liked dark chocolate," mumbles Charlie, looking outside instead of at Don. "How long were you there?"

"Long enough," says Don shortly. He doesn't like something, and Charlie can hear it, so he turns his gaze back to Don. After what seems like forever, Don sighs. "Maybe we could get pizza or something tonight. At my place."

Charlie stares at him, and Don meets his stare. "It's your night off-"

"And you haven't been over to my appartment for a while. I just got new paint, you know. Meagan picked it out." Don rolls his eyes slightly, looking slightly exasperated. "C'mon, Charlie, it'll be fun. You need some fun."

Don is right; he does need some fun. So he abandones the argument, and leans back into his own seat, enjoying the heater blowing into his face like a warm wind piercing the chilled air.