Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I don't make any money off of them.
A/N: Thanks as always to ritt, the world's best beta and sounding board!
Don wearily opened his front door, stepping inside and turning on the lights when it hit him – something was wrong. Not wrong, maybe, but definitely out of place. His brow furrowed as he concentrated on his surroundings. What was that smell...?
The agent nearly jumped out of his skin, his hand going to the gun on his hip, before he registered that it was his father's voice. "Dad?"
"In the kitchen."
"Okay," Don drew the word out as he cautiously approached his kitchen. ""Don't take this the wrong way, but what are you doing here?"
Alan looked up at his son and gestured at the stove. "Cooking," he stated matter-of-factly. "You are hungry, right?"
"Well," Don fumbled for words. "Yeah, but… why are you here cooking?"
"Oh," Alan smiled and chuckled. "I was hungry, too."
"Dad," Don groaned. "Quit avoiding the subject." Don felt his heart skip a beat. "It's not Charlie, is it? I mean, he's okay?"
"Yes," Alan quickly assured him. "Your brother is just fine. In fact, he's the reason that I'm here."
"He didn't…" Don licked his lips nervously. "He didn't kick you out, did he?"
"No!" Alan laughed. "Well, yes, but just for tonight." Alan winked as he grabbed two plates from the cabinet. "He had a date."
"With Amita?" At Alan's nod, Don broke into a grin. "About time!"
"Look who's talking," Alan teased.
"Hey, he's had a girl under his nose this whole time," Don protested. "I'm still looking."
Alan shook his head as he handed Don the plates. "Right, that must be it. Set the table for us, please."
"Sure," Don agreed, enjoying the comforting warmth his father's presence was giving to the normally barren apartment.
A few minutes later the two men were seated at the small dining table and eating Alan's home made spaghetti. They enjoyed a companionable silence for a few minutes and then Alan spoke up. "How was your day at work?"
Don paused between bites and cocked his head. "Why do you ask?"
"Because I care about you," Alan suggested with a slight eye roll. "I haven't seen much – any – of you at Charlie's this week."
"To be honest, I slept at the office a couple of times," Don admitted.
"Donny," his father chided. "You know you're always welcome with your brother and me."
"I know, Dad. You don't think I take advantage of that enough?" There was hint of laughter in the agent's voice but the words had a nervous quality to them. "I would've thought I'd worn out my welcome by now."
"Don't be ridiculous, Donny," Alan waved his fork in a dismissive gesture. "He hasn't kicked me out."
Don broke into a huge grin. "Until tonight."
"Right," Alan smiled. "But if it means that one of my sons might actually be taking a step forward in the relationship department… Well, you know how happy that makes me."
"I think every living person on this planet knows how happy that makes you," Don ribbed his father. He set his fork down and leaned back in his chair, folded his hands across his stomach and let out a contented sigh. "Dinner was great, Dad. Thanks."
"My pleasure, Donny. In return, you don't mind if I crash here tonight? I seem to recall you saying something about a second room."
"There's no bed in there, Dad. You take my bed and I'll grab the couch."
"No," Alan shook his head. "I couldn't."
"You can," Don assured him. "And you will." He rose and stretched, stifling a yawn. "Let me just grab a quick shower."
"Sure," his father nodded. "I'll watch some TV."
"Okay. See you in a few."
Don exited the bathroom and headed to his dresser to grab a pair of boxers and a tee shirt. He stopped halfway there as he noticed there were clothes laid out on the bed. Don moved closer and frowned as he examined the tee shirt. I thought this was dirty. Did I do laundry last night and just forget?
Shrugging, Don slipped them on and padded into the living room. "Hey, Dad, did you do laundry?"
"Oh," Alan said, trying to feign forgetfulness. "Yeah, I noticed there was enough for a load, so I threw it in. I hope you don't mind."
"Mind?" Don asked. "Are you kidding? Thanks! You didn't have to, you know."
"I had some time to kill while the pasta was boiling," Alan tried to play it off.
Don eyed his living room. "Is that why you swept? And dusted? And took out the trash?" He faced his father and shook his head with a grin on his face. "When I was a kid, how many times did you tell me that you weren't my maid?"
"Not as many as your mother."
"Still," Don replied. "I appreciate all of this, but I don't expect you to do it when you come over. You can just come over to visit."
"I know," his father assured him. "I wanted to, though."
"Thanks," Don said warmly as he plopped down on the couch. Glancing at the TV, his face lit up. "A baseball movie?"
"It looked interesting."
"It is," Don nodded. "There's this guy that goes to play in the majors, only-"
"Donny," Alan cut in with a chuckle.
"How about we watch it together?"
"Oh," Don whispered. "That sounds great, Dad."
The weary agent settled into the cushions and let out a deep breath as the exhaustion started to fade from his body. Funny, I don't remember this couch being so comfortable. He leaned his head back and glued his eyes on the screen. Try as he might to focus on the words being said, he kept picking up on his father's presence – his soft breaths, the occasional squeak of the chair as he shifted his weight, the murmur of laughter as a character in the movie said something funny – and soon found his eyes drifting close. The last sound he was aware of was his father's voice telling him, "Sleep tight."
The next morning Don awoke to an empty apartment. He was still sprawled out on the couch, and there was a note on the coffee table with his name in his father's handwriting.
You were so tired last night and sleeping so soundly that I didn't have the heart to wake you. Since you offered, I slept in your bed. I washed the linens and put them back on. While I was waiting on the washer, I washed the dishes from last night, too. Thanks for letting me stay over.
Don smiled at the love that radiated from the letter. Feeling a sudden need to thank his father, he dialed Charlie's house.
"Hey, Charlie," Don greeted. "Is Dad home?"
"Yeah, but he's upstairs sleeping right now. Do I need to wake him up?"
"No," Don told him. "I'll talk to him later. Hey, how was the date last night?"
"With Amita," Don sighed. Only my genius brother would be so absent-minded-
"I didn't have a date with Amita," Charlie replied. "Who told you I did?"
"I thought Dad said that you kicked him out because you had a date."
"No," Charlie answered in a confused tone. "He told me he was staying over at your place to help you do something with your second room. Said it was empty and it was bugging you."
"Oh," Don whispered.
"Did he help you fix it?"
"Yeah," Don said as he felt the warmth of the previous night filling the apartment once again. "Yeah, he did."