Requested by aussiesarbear.

characters- Charlie, Colby and Don
setting- Charlie's place after an op.
situation- Charlie is injured during an op. He wants to keep it from Don but Colby tries to convince him to tell Don.
mood- Tense
reference (this is the word)- Trust
required- The injury turns out to be worse than expected and DOn gets angry at not being told. An argument ensues between Don and Colby and Don and Charlie fight. The outcome of the argument is up to you. Lots of angst and tension.

"Stop!"

Charlie looked up from his notebook and froze as he saw a huge, leather clad biker running toward him.

"Stop!"

Charlie barely registered Colby's second yell as his mind calculated the best way to remove himself from the fleeing suspect's path.

"Move, Charlie!"

Charlie did try to heed Colby's warning, pressing himself flat against the side of the SUV, but the desperate biker slammed into him full force. There was an intense pain that shot through Charlie's chest as the suspect bounced off of him and crashed onto the ground. Stars danced in front of the young professor's eyes as he leaned on the vehicle and panted to catch his breath.

"I told you to stop," Charlie heard Colby growl. He watched as the agent bent down and shoved his knee into the small of the biker's back. "I mean, what part of 'FBI, freeze' didn't you understand?" The biker answered with a fairly distinctive obscenity which Colby laughed off. "If I could do that then I wouldn't need a girlfriend, would I?"

Charlie would have laughed at the snark, but he was too busy trying to calm his breathing. He felt a firm hand on his elbow and recognized Colby's voice in his ear. "You okay, Charlie?"

"Fine," he answered, his voice raspy and painful.

"No offense, but you don't sound fine. Let me call in a medic."

"No!" Charlie shouted, wincing as the dull ache in his chest intensified.

"Charlie-"

He emphatically shook his head. "Don will... be mad."

"I'm mad, Charlie. I told you to stay in the car." Colby sighed in frustration. "Why didn't you listen to me?"

"Sitting in car... thirty minutes."

"So you what? Got bored?" Colby demanded. "Thought you'd come out into the action for a little excitement? Don's going to kill you."

"You, too."

"Why me? The agent inquired. "I didn't drag you out of the car."

Charlie took a deep breath and his heart slowed as he started to breathe easier. "You brought me here."

"But you were already with me when Don said to come," Colby protested, although he was afraid Charlie was right about where his boss's anger was going to be directed.

"Should have made me stay in the car."

"By what – handcuffing you?" As Charlie started to speak, the frustrated agent waved him off. "Don't answer that." He sighed again and released his grip on the younger man's elbow. "Don is going to kill me."

"Not if he doesn't know."

"You expect me to not tell him that you were hurt? I'm not crazy!"

"I'm fine," Charlie assured him. "See? I'm back to breathing normally. I just had the wind knocked out of me. I may have a little bruise, but Don won't see me without a shirt on." The professor paused as Colby thoughtfully chewed his lip. "He doesn't have to know."

"Know what?"

Colby and Charlie turned around and saw Don walking around the side of the SUV.

"That the suspect managed to sneak in a punch on Colby," Charlie quickly offered.

"You okay, Granger?" Don asked with concern.

Charlie cringed as Colby gave him a quick glare. "Fine, boss. He just caught me off guard."

Don looked down at the handcuffed suspect lying on the ground. "I may have to rub this one in for a while." He looked back at Charlie, who saw the concern flash across his older brother's face. "You okay, Buddy? You look a little... off."

"Still in shock from watching Colby take a hit," Charlie quipped. "I didn't think anyone would be dumb enough to try that on him. He is a big guy."

'Who's going to kick your butt,' Colby mouthed at Charlie.

"Where were you when you saw it happen, Charlie?"

The younger man knew that Don was subtly trying to ascertain if he'd been in harm's way, but Charlie knew his brother's tricks pretty well after all the cases they'd worked together. "I was in the car. Colby was giving me a ride when you called him to come, so he brought me but told me to stay in the car."

"And you listened?" Don asked in obvious disbelief.

Another curse and a pathetic, angry kick from the biker drew Don's attention away from his little brother. While he dealt with the suspect, Colby leaned into Charlie's space and whispered forcefully, "Tell him."

"No," Charlie angrily whispered back. "I don't want to deal with angry Don right now."

"If you don't then I will."

"You won't either," the younger man challenged. "You're just as scared of him as I am."

"Charlie, I'm telling you – Don needs to know. You're his brother."

"So I know what's best for him – and me. Trust me when I say this – I am making the right decision."

"If this comes back to bite me..." Colby let the threat hang in the air.

"I'm not telling him, so as long as you don't either, we'll both live to see another day."

"Colby!"

"Yeah, Don?"

"Take Charlie where ever you were taking him and then get back to the office, because I am not doing your paperwork for you."

"Sure," Colby nodded. "Meet you there in a little while."

Charlie climbed into the SUV, wincing as the tight ache in his chest returned. He used every last bit of strength he had to keep his breathing even and regular, knowing that Colby would spill the beans if he suspected any injury whatsoever.

"You're sure you're okay?" Colby asked again as he cranked the engine.

Charlie gave him a reassuring grin. "Positive," he lied.

--

"Dad!" Don called as he rushed through the emergency room doors, Colby right on his heels. "What happened?"

"I don't know," Alan wearily sighed as he rose from he uncomfortable waiting room chair. "We were at home cooking dinner, and suddenly Charlie started breathing heavily. He hadn't been doing anything strenuous, so I started to get concerned. He kept trying to tell me nothing was wrong, but then I noticed his lips had started to turn blue, so I called nine-one-one. He'd started to lose consciousness by the time they got there." Alan massaged at the knots of tension in the back of his neck as he suspiciously eyed his oldest son. "The doctor wanted to know if Charlie had been injured lately. He hasn't, right?"

"Of course not," Don snapped, his worry for his brother setting him on edge.

"Hey, Don," Colby said, nervously avoiding Alan's sudden stare. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

Don nodded and led Colby to the other side of the break room. "What's up?"

"Charlie did sort of have an accident today."

"What?" Don exploded in anger, his shout loud enough to draw Alan's attention.

"I know," Colby attempted to placate his boss. "But Charlie said he was fine and definitely seemed fine-"

"Seemed fine?" Don angrily cut him off. "What the hell were you thinking? If there's even a chance that my brother is hurt, you had damn well better call for an ambulance. You got that?"

"I know, Don. I'm sorry."

"What happened?" Don asked in a softer voice, though his tone was still furious.

"The suspect ran into Charlie, knocking him up against the SUV," Colby explained. "I saw Charlie had the wind knocked out of him, but he was doing fine by the time you go there."

"Is this what you two were discussing when I got there?" At Colby's guilty look, Don slammed his fist against the wall. "You can't let him con you like that! He's smart and stubborn and sometimes but, despite that genius, he has no common sense. You can't take your eyes off of him, Granger. And after something happens, he doesn't ever want to get checked out. That's Charlie."

"I understand now," Colby assured him.

"You'd better," Don shot back as he jabbed a finger into the other man's broad chest. "And, if you want to stay here and on my team, you had better tell me whenever Charlie so much as skins his knee." He moved his hand to rest on Colby's shoulder and spoke calmly. "It's all about trust, Colby. If I can't trust you with something as important as my little brother's well being, I definitely can't trust you with anything else. Do you understand?"

"I do. I promise, Don – from now on I will make better decisions."

Don gave the other man a small smile. "Good. Then you've got another chance. Don't let me down, Granger."

"Donny?"

Don looked across the room and saw his father excitedly beckoning him over. "Dad?"

"Charlie's in his room," the older man said happily. "We can go see him now."

Don nodded and glanced back at Colby. "Go on back to the office and finish up the reports for me, please." Colby nodded and started to turn away, but Don grabbed his arm. "Remember – trust."

Colby nodded. "Trust."

--

"Charlie? Can you hear me, son?"

Dad's voice, Charlie thought to himself. Why am I lying down? What... "...Happened?"

"You were injured," his dad told him. He heard a loud exchange of whispers before Alan spoke again. "You were with Colby and he got called to a scene."

Oh no. Don knows. He's going to be so... "...Mad at me?"

"Shh," Alan soothed. "No one's mad at you, son. Open your eyes for me, okay?"

"You sure?" Charlie hesitated, cringing at the loudness of the answering silence. "Don?"

"I'm here."

Charlie's heart sank and the gruffness of the tone, and the fact that he hadn't called him 'Buddy'. Ever since they were kids, that had always been the one sign that Charlie could consistently count on to gage Don's mood. "Mad?"

"No one is-"

"Yeah, Charlie," Don interrupted Alan. "I am actually. Open your eyes and let me know that you're okay, and I'll be happy to rip you a new one."

"Donny!" Alan admonished his oldest son. "He's not well right now."

"He's been well enough to hide his condition, Dad," Don countered. "He ought to be well enough to face what he did."

Charlie dragged his eyes open and stared at his big brother. The ache in his chest was nothing compared to the hurt he felt when he looked into his brother's eyes. There was a flurry of emotions in their brown depths, and Charlie felt light headed as he tried to decipher them all. "I'm sorry," he offered weakly, knowing that it wasn't enough, but not knowing what else he could say.

"Dad, give us a minute, please." Don waited while the older man reluctantly stepped outside the room. "You did so many things wrong today," Don stated calmly. "First was not listening when Colby told you to stay in the car. Second was asking him to lie for you and cover this up. Do you realize that technically, he was going to falsify a report for you? The FBI doesn't put up with stuff like that. I can cut him some slack this first time, but he can't do this again. And neither can you."

"I'm sorry," Charlie said again.

"That's not good enough this time, Charlie. On top of those two things, you asked Colby to lie to me about your injury. That one hurts on a personal level, you know."

"I knew you would over react!" Charlie yelled, sinking back against the mattress as his chest tightened.

"Over react?" Don repeated mockingly. "As in called someone in to check you out? Someone who could have taken a look at you and diagnosed you with a pneumothorax and taken you here in the first place? That kind of over reacting?"

"Don, I'm sorry." Charlie saw the anger was still burning deep within Don's gaze, so he raised his voice to match Don's. "This is partly your fault!"

"Really?" Don sneered. "How in the world do you get that?"

"If you wouldn't over react anytime something might happen to me, I wouldn't have to go through such great lengths to hide it." Charlie scowled at Don and rebelliously crossed his arms across his chest, wincing as he set off another dull ache. "I am a grown man, you know."

Don sighed and sat on the edge of his little brother's hospital bed. "Believe me, I do know that. But that's not what determines how I treat you. It's about trust, Charlie. I have to trust that you will act responsibly on these cases – that means you don't go out and put yourself into danger like you did today."

"I didn't mean to-"

Don raised his hand to stop him. "Let me finish. I also have to be able to trust that when you do make a mistake and are hurt or something else bad comes from it, that you will tell me or Colby or Dad or someone that can get you help." Don placed a hand on Charlie's knee and gave it a light squeeze. "Today you not only violated my trust, but Colby's and Dad's as well. Do you see that?"

"I guess so. I really am sorry, Don."

"I know," the older man nodded. "But it's okay as long as you learn from your mistakes."

"I have," Charlie replied. He fidgeted with the hospital blanket while he slowly met Don's gaze. "Are we okay?"

"We're fine, Buddy," Don said with a twinkle in his eye. "Trust me."

The End