The phone rang.
Don groaned, rolling over in bed, checking the time, waiting to see if the caller would hang up. It was 1:30 am, who in their right mind would be calling at such at time, anyway?
Ring...ring...ring! They certainly didn't get that it was 1:30, did they?
He muttered a curse on those without watches, then reached for the phone.
"Eppes." He yawned, and then the voice jerked him awake.
"Whazat? Whoa, Charlie, slow down, you're making no sense. Repeat that, slower this time, ok?"
"Dad's what? Had Nancy over again, yeah, he told me about it yesterday, sorry I forgot to warn you."
"It-it's not that, Don, Dad's been kidnapped."
"What? I-I'll be right there, Charlie-don't touch anything." Don said, placed the phone down and ran out his door; car keys and cell phone in hand. Who in hell would kidnap his father, and why?
"Don, I got here as fast as I could, how's he taking it?" David asked, walking over to his team leader who was staring into the sky, unresponsive.
"Don?" David questioned.
"Not-not good, David. Megan's with him now, trying to calm him down so we can get a statement out of him. The house is trashed, and they left a green candle burning." Don said with a sigh, rubbing the bridge of his nose reflexively.
"You don't think your father is-"
"No, at least not right now. Kidnapping doesn't fit their MO. For now, we're trying to get Charlie to speak coherently and wait for a ransom letter. I just hope Merrick doesn't take me off the Green Candle case."
"He's already told me to tell you that you're off the case, but you'll still be involved a bit. You're the tour-guide for that crew of Brits who're coming, to see if they can help us, 'we'll try to burn this candle at both ends', I believe one of them said."
A faint, fleeting smile crossed Don's face, only to disappear as he remembered the latest attack from the group. He was worried, despite how well he hid it.
The Green Candle cases, as the media'd begun calling them, were all murders, with no connection except that each victim had a green candle burning next to them. There was no connection in the candles. Some were scented, some were beeswax, some you could even buy in a grocery store. Their only link was the color.
That was all they had to go on.
Fifteen people had been murdered, and this was their only connection.
The case was baffling, there was no data, Charlie couldn't even attempt any sort of lead.
"Don-you do realize, you're still in your pajamas, right?" Colby asked, though the laughter in his blue eyes faded at the bleak expression on Don's face. "Don't worry, we'll find him."
"Why are you here, Colby? I told you to make sure the Brits were settled into their hotel." Don barked.
"They are, Don. When I received the call and told them I had to go, they asked if they could come, and see if there was anything our crew might have missed."
"What could our crew miss? I lived in this house for twenty years, for Chrissake!" Don turned away from the two men, raging, then whipped his head around and asked, "And what the hell do you mean they came here?"
"There are many things your crew might miss, Eppes. A newcomer's eyes undirected by one who finds the situation familiar might help in spotting something overlooked."
Don whirled around again at the plain-spoken Boston accent, and froze as he saw a group in front of him.
"Special Agent Gwenifar Holmes, from Washington. Lake is attempting to help your Reeves with your brother." The petite woman extended her hand for him to shake, blue eyes framed by gold glasses. Her hair was short, cropped closer than Terry's had been.
"Lake, you said? Special Agent Terry Lake?"
"Yes, that would be her. And these are Agents James and Molly Evans, from the NCIS in Britain." Gwenifar Holmes smiled, knowing the last part of her statement had fallen on deaf ears. Eppes had only heard that Terry was here before tuning her out. He'd merely nodded at James and Molly before returning to his musings.
Don turned and walked away, unaware of his rudeness, only knowing that he needed to talk to Terry. With things so tough, he had to talk to someone-to vent his feelings without hurting others. He couldn't talk to Charlie; it would only upset him more. Now he couldn't talk to his father since he had been kidnapped. That only really left Terry. She, besides his family, knew him best. It was easy for him to confide in her, they'd been friendly during the Academy, more than friends at one point, so he felt comfortable spilling his worst secrets to her.
"Terry, Megan?" Don asked, striding over to the two women, who were conversing a distance away from Charlie. "Is something wrong?"
"Don, he's blocking us out. It's almost like he's gone into shock, but he hasn't reached for the chalk yet. I remember what you told us happened when your mother died." Terry told him with a sympathetic smile, eyes sending a greeting.
"Yeah, he kept trying to work out that P verses NP, the unsolvable problem." Don replied.
"Yes, and since he hasn't, he's just sitting there, seemingly receptive to our questions, but not answering them, we don't know what to do. Nothing we've said has gotten any response from him." Megan said, and then narrowed her eyes as she spied the Evans, led by Holmes, coming over to them.
"Who are you? This is a crime scene, you shouldn't-" Megan began.
"Reeves, they're with me." Terry said calmly, and gestured to where Charlie was sitting. "Do you three want to give him a shot?"
"Yes. We'll get through to him." Gwenifar replied confidently, walking over and taking one of the vacated folding chairs they had set up on the driveway, having decided to keep Charlie close to the house, in hopes that a ransom call might be made.
"James, how does it go again? Oh, thanks." Gwenifar said, ignoring the incredulous stares delivered at her back as she seemingly got the question answered silently, turning to stare deep into Charlie's unseeing eyes.
"How does she expect to succeed when both of us couldn't?" Megan asked, unconvinced.
"She's special, Reeves, she's our roving psychiatric interrogationer." Terry answered, adding, "Have fun storming the castle, Gwen."
"Think she can do it?" Megan asked, worried.
"It'll take a miracle, Megan. You know how he is." Don answered her, staring as the two Brits doubled up with laughter.
Three million, fourty-one thousand, six hundred and ninety-eight times five hundred and seventy-two is one billion, nine hundred and fifty million, nine hundred and ninteen thousand, two hundred and fifty-six. Divide that by-Charles Edward Eppes!
Charlie blinked, trying to place the voice...boy, Mom must be angry with him to use his full name, she knew he hated when she did that.
Which is why she did it. Good, it seems I have your attention, the voice said.
"Who are you?" He asked.
A friend of your brother. Now could you try to think what you are going to say and not say it until I tell you to, please? The voice asked politely.
O-ok, how come? He asked.
I need you to cooperate with me on something in a minute, and it would look odd if I verbally talked it out with you, the voice explained.
I guess that works...what do you want me to do?
I need you to go back to your memory of when your father was taken. Once there, we'll go through it together. I need you to talk out everything you see there, and answer any questions I may ask you.
Why? You'll have seen it and heard my answer anyway.
Your brother won't believe me unless he hears it for himself, the voice said wryly.
There is that, Don never does believe in anything unless he sees or hears it for himself, Charlie answered, attempting to bring himself back to the memory still fresh in his mind, but blocked off by a steel wall. How can I get through?
You put the wall up; you can take it down, can't you? The voice questioned.
Yes, I guess…but it's hard, it won't come down.
That's because you don't want to see what's behind it, the voice advised, you have to make yourself look behind it, even if it's painful. I'll help you through it, don't worry.
With that, the wall came down, and Charlie was thrown into the memory.
Dad had been wary all day, telling Charlie not to open the blinds at all, and not to leave the house. Charlie wondered what was up, but Dad mentioned Don giving him these instructions; Charlie was just happy that he was allowed to go out to the garage to work on Don's equation, nothing was surfacing and it was driving him crazy. He needed to finish; people, children were getting killed! He barely registered the doorbell when it rang, though he had minutes before looked at the clock, it was one o'clock in the morning. He was surprised Dad hadn't come in and told him to go to bed.
"Charles," He jerked his head as his father called his name. His father never called him Charles, only Charlie.
"Charles, come into the kitchen, please, I need to talk to you," Charlie went in, hesitant. Why would his father be calling him Charles?
He found out as soon as he stepped through the doorway. His father was surrounded by men in black robes, much like those worn by the Death Eaters in the fourth Harry Potter movie that Dad had dragged him to.
"Dad, what's going on?" he asked, stepping forward to get to his father, halting as something was brandished at him. It was a stick, a wand, black as pitch.
"Charles, my dear boy, don't come any closer, unless you want your father to die. We need to ask him something, and he refuses to answer. Perhaps you can help us," One of the masked men said, clipping the words short, "Where does your father keep his wand?"
"What do you mean, his wand? My father's not Wiccan," Charlie said.
"Of course he's not Wiccan, you fool, he's a wizard. Now where does he keep his wand?"
"He's not a wizard either, he's a city planner. What would he need a wand for?"
"Liar! Tell me the truth! Crucio!" The wand held in the man's hand flickered at Charlie, the mathmatician screamed, it felt like his veins were on fire…all his nerves were white-hot with pain.
"Gaahh…Daaahh…HahhhPaaa…Maaaahhh!" He screamed, throat going raw, fell to the floor, and curled up in a ball on the cold tile floor of the kitchen.
"S-stop it! Stop it now!" His father's voice cracked. The pain subsided and Charlie moaned in relief.
"I-I'll get it." Alan sighed, looking more defeated then even after his wife had died. He walked to his desk in the dining room slowly, reaching around his neck and pulling out a golden chain with two items on it. His wedding ring, and a key. Charlie had never seen the key before. His father inserted it into the locked drawer of his desk, and opened it, pulling out a thin box, taking out a long brown wand. As soon as he got it in his hand he turned and shouted, "Stupefy!" His spell missed one of the other men as he ducked, but it exploded a cabinet, sending glass and china shards everywhere. Charlie winced as the flying shards hit him, instinctively staying low to the floor as he would in a gunfight.
"Diffindo!" Alan tried, but the spell missed, bouncing off a mirror, picture frames and finally ending up slashing the ottoman. The mirror and picture frames broke, causing them to fall to the floor.
"Furnunculus!" Boils erupted all over one of the men and he fell to the floor, screaming.
"Diffindo!" The man moved aside in time, causing Alan to slash open the sofa.
"Petrificus Totalus!" Another of the men fell with a floor-shaking thump.
"Imperio." The first man said lazily, striking Alan full in the chest and causing his eyes to glaze over and sweat to run down his face. "That's it, try to fight it, old man. You know you can't." He mocked, smiling as Alan stood ramrod straight, as if awaiting orders. "Good man. Now go pick up Sullivan and Goyle."
Charlie scuttled backwards until he hit the cabinets as the ringleader came closer, his father oblivious to his surroundings.
"Why should I even deal with such a piece of lowlife as you are, Muggle? Malfoy, see to him." The man commanded, and turned away, sneering. The man then went over to Alan and grabbing the arm of the widower, left without a sound into thin air.
"Well now, Eppes, don't fret. You won't be killed...by me at least. I've got other allegiances, and I need a message sent. Give this to the Order, complements of their spy. Gwen, love, tell Harry not to muck it up this time. I'd rather not need to risk having my head on a pike from a Weasley vendetta, again. Here, Eppes, my message." The man, British by his accent, kneeled down beside the frightened professor. He tore his mask off, blond hair falling limply around his face, gray eyes grave. With one hand he opened Charlie's mouth despite clenched teeth, the other stuffed an object in and placed it in where Charlie had lost that molar years ago, when it was pulled and the other never grew in.
"Don't worry about that, mate, you won't feel it once I take my fingers off. Gwen, my darling, to be removed, your DNA must touch it, and no, not just your fingers prying it out this time. He's too good for you to pass up. If I was, which I'm not, of course, I'd do it to him myself, if you get my drift. And here, you lovebirds, the signal." He leaned down, placing an emerald green candle beside Charlie, and lighting it with a flick and mutter of "Incendio," He straightened, removing his hand from Charlie's mouth, and added, "Sorry about this, it needs to be genuine. Stupefy." Charlie's world went black…
He surfaced out of the memory, only to find himself with a mouth thrust on his and a tounge in his mouth, the voice muttering in his head, Draco Lucius Malfoy, you are a perverted soul.
The tounge, instead of tangling with his as the mathmatician half-expected, instead nudged the spot where his molar had once been, and both heard a quiet pop as what ever the object was came out. There, it's out. Sorry about the snog, Eppes. He felt the tounge and lips receding, and blinked his eyes open.
A pair of sheepish blue eyes met him, as he saw multiple figures behind her restraining Don.
"Awake, I see. I've got all I needed, and sorry again, Eppes," The woman said, putting her glasses back on with an apologetic smile.
"That's ok, and it's Charlie, please. Why snog if you're from Boston?" he asked.
"I picked that, and a lot more up from that lot, amongst them that pervert. Shall we explain to your brother the situation; else he tries to murder me?" She asked, adding, "It's Gwenifar, or Gwen, by the way."
"Good by me, Gwen." They turned in their seats to face the sputtering agent.
"What was that for, Holmes? I could have you arrested for sexual harassment!" Don shouted at the petite agent, who replied unfazed, "I wouldn't, if I were you. I was only retrieving evidence. James, it was the lot, and our drop was made. I've got it."
The redheaded man sighed in relief, sagging into his wife's arms. "Now that's a relief. Here I thought the bugger forgot again!"
"No, but it was-" Gwenifar stopped short as she was interrupted.
"What the hell? What do you mean your drop was made? You have a spy in there and didn't bother to tell us?" Don exploded.
"Not exactly, Eppes. Gwen, couldn't it have waited, or-?" James tapped his forehead.
"He knows, James." She said, gesturing to Charlie, "It's their birthright, and civil right to know, and Granger and Terry know already, after all. We need to tell all of them, bloody hell, their chief knows more, and he's a Squib, for Merlin's sake!"
"I guess you're right." The redhead sighed again, sitting down beside his wife and muttering something inaudible. "You'd all better sit down, this may take a while."
"What in God's name are you talking about? My father has been taken by a group of known serial murderers, and you want to have a cozy chit-chat? Let me get the tea for you, for Chrissake!" Don said sarcastically, at the end of his tether.
"Don, sit." Terry ordered, pointing to a chair. "And let them handle the tea."
"Quite right, Ter, you're learning!" Gwenifar told her with a small smile, gesturing with her hand and extremely unworried as a tea set suddenly appeared in front of her.
"Now, to set you straight, we're not magicians or trying to fool you, we're wizards-and witches, sorry, m'dear, sorry, Gwen, witches. One wizard and two witches." James said, quivering under their gaze.
"Two wizards and two witches, I believe you mean, Potter, am I right?" Colby asked as he pulled up a seat.
"Of course, Granger. Sorry."
"P-P-Potter? As in Harry Potter, like the books?" Don asked.
"Exactly." James/Harry answered seriously.
Don just burst out laughing, the sound echoing hollowly.
((A/N: Well, here it is. Like it, or hate it, the second (third?) HP/Numb3rs cross is here. No flames, please. My dialogue goes to heck towards the end...constructive comments welcome! I am for the show an A/Cer, but I'd like to see how this pairing works, comments open for this as well! Reposted, thanks to Augustus, luvnumb3rs and D/T fan.))