Warning(s): m/m, implied incest, spoilers up to the end of season 2, will ignore season
Summary: Truths come to light for Don, Charlie and the rest
Author's Notes: Not currently beta'd
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I am using them without permission. I am making no money from their use
Charlie and Don spent a quiet Saturday afternoon playing basketball and talking about past cases and surprisingly, past relationships. The relationships discussion was Charlie's contribution, as he wanted to get Don's further input on what he should do about Amita.
Don joked with Charlie about how he really couldn't take advice from someone who shied away from one serious relationship after another. After Don's off-hand remark, Charlie stole the ball from his hands and made a lay up shot for the win.
"I think it's time for something cold to drink. You staying or going?" Charlie asked as they walked past the garage to put the basketball away.
"If you've got a beer with my name on it, I'll stay." Don reached out and tugged on a lock of Charlie's hair, as Charlie closed the garage door.
Charlie swatted at Don's hand in annoyance, before he nodded and quirked a smile in response to the question, then shoved Don towards the house. Don was continuously amazed at how well the two of them got along now. That with age and experience came maturity, but still capable of expressing their inner youthfulness. Hence, their weekly competitive basketball games and relaxed teasing. It was nice having this new camaraderie between the two of them, after their early years of growing up having a tinge of envy and bitterness.
They walked into the kitchen and Don asked Charlie what he wanted from the refrigerator as he pulled out his usual bottle of beer.
"Could you get me a tray of ice, I'm just going to have a glass of water." Don reached into the freezer, got the requested item and placed it on the island. He leaned back against the counter afterwards and stopped to look closely at his brother, as the younger man got a glass and filled it with water from the tap. Don often did that now, the observing, when there were moments of peace and quiet, especially when there wasn't a case pressing down on the both of them. He watched as a trickle of sweat ran down from Charlie's hair along the side of his face. He and Charlie were so different in so many ways, especially in their build and looks, but as their dad remarked, still alike in many others, like their stubbornness.
Don had slowly come to the realization over the last few weeks, especially since that situation with the hackers and Russian mafia trying to hit the banks via computer and Koverchenko had threatened Charlie. So Don had tried to take him off the case, because he loved his brother dearly. He would go to any lengths necessary to protect Charlie; even if it meant he had to push his brother away and out of his life, especially his work life.
Don was still trying to understand the depth of his love. He didn't think it was anything beyond brotherly affection, something that had been sparse over their years growing up, when Charlie was recognized as being a math prodigy and invading Don's life during high school. But, at moments like these, when he saw how graceful, intelligent and beautiful his brother was, he had doubts.
He had never before thought of any man as beautiful, so it was even more disturbing to Don that he would think so of this own brother. He had always been a 'ladies man' and this aberration would not change that image he had of himself. He had no leanings towards bisexuality, he firmly told his subconscious mind.
He then shoved all those thoughts back into the shadowed corners where they normally lurked. He knew they would only stay there temporarily and would come out again soon, when he least expected it.
Charlie's sigh of pleasure as he swallowed his ice water jolted Don from his contemplation. The elder Eppes hastily took another sip of his beer to cover his preoccupation.
"So you've got no helpful hints in how I should handle the situation with Amita?"
Don shook his head negatively. "Charlie, I'm really not the best man to ask. Perhaps it would be better to get another woman's opinion. Maybe you could ask Megan, get her insights into the situation or maybe even Dad's or Larry's. Those two seem to be having better success at relationships than I currently am."
With a heavy sigh, Don reached up with his free hand and rubbed at his forehead in weariness. He'd just tried again at a relationship with the lovely attorney, Robin Brooks. While the bedroom activities has been more than great, it was the moments outside of it that hadn't sparkled. Don knew that just having a physical attachment would not be enough and he'd also felt a strange sense of guilt over the entire thing. At the time he had assumed it was because of job preoccupation, but now he could attribute it all to his constant thoughts surrounding his brother.
"Don?" Charlie reached out and touched his brother at the wrist. The action jolted Don from his thoughts once again and in his surprise at the cool, moist touch of fingers that had just been holding a glass of ice water against his warm skin, Don let his fingers flex and his grip loosened around the beer bottle. The bottle made a dull thud against the tile floor causing both brothers to jump in shock.
Don looked down at the brown bottle, and watched – as if almost from a great distance, he felt so removed from the situation – the liquid flow out into a pool of pale amber and foam.
Charlie also watched the floor with a sense of detachment, then looked again at Don with concern. He knew something had been bothering his brother of late, but knew for certain it wasn't a case, so he felt completely lost as to the cause. He slowly moved away from Don and went to clean up the spill; all the while, Don didn't move or shift from his stance. Charlie got down on his knees with a paper towel and a wet sponge and when his presence finally registered in Don't line of sight, the FBI agent jerked back suddenly, as if spooked.
While he cleaned up the mess, Charlie spoke softly to his brother, "I don't know what's bothering you, Don, but if you need some advice," Charlie looked up straight into Don's eyes, "you can ask me. I'm here for you, Donny."
Don stared deep into Charlie's eyes and lost himself, felt himself fall. He knew in that moment with certain clarity that what he felt wasn't just brotherly love, but a love to end all time, and that thought truly frightened him. He was in love with his baby brother.
Barely noticed was the shadow that crossed over Don't countenance, but Charlie saw it appear and leave just as quickly, then watched as Don's face just closed down completely, as if void of all emotion. Charlie's concern for Don escalated. He reached out to his brother once more, but before he could grab a wrist or an arm, Don pulled away and turned to leave.
"I've got to go, Charlie. I'll..." Don turned back for a second, not looking anywhere in Charlie's vicinity, "I'll talk to you later."
Then before Charlie could say anything in response, Don was gone.