Missing Person, Chapter 2

Disclaimer: The television show "numb3rs" and its characters are never used for profit by poor, little ol' me.

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The three agents rushed into the Huntington Memorial Trauma Center, where they quickly found Alan. He was pacing frantically in the waiting area.

Don approached and offered a quick hug. "Dad, what happened? You said it was something as school?"

Alan tried to smile at Colby and Megan, but failed miserably. "I can't believe I sent that woman cookies."

Megan spoke calmly. "What woman, Alan?"

The eldest Eppes sighed and looked guiltily at his son. "That FraidyCat woman. When you boys tried to talk some sense into her before. I knew it was a serious intervention, and still — I sent damn cookies."

Don's heart thudded in his chest. He tried to reassure his father and get information out of him at the same time. "Dad. it's not your fault. What makes you think FraidyCat is involved?"

A tear dropped from the corner of Alan's eye and he brushed it away angrily. "It has to be her." He appealed to Megan. "You're a profiler, you've read her work. Who else would subject my poor baby to this kind of...overkill?"

Don claimed his attention, again. "What exactly happened, Dad? Why is Charlie in a coma?"

Alan sighed, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans. "They're not sure. Could be any one of a number of things. First, a student in his last class this afternoon started shooting the place up, and Charlie was hit with shrapnel. Then, in all the confusion, two masked men stormed into the lecture hall and dragged him out, in a kidnapping attempt. While he struggled, part of the space station cracked off and crashed to the earth -- something about a completely untrained payload specialist --anyway, it hit all three of them. The two other men were killed, and Charlie was unconscious by the time Amita got to him." Alan looked momentarily confused. "I still don't know why she was the first one there, or why she's out of town now, or whether or not she and my son are bumping toes..."

Don ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "I will kill that lousy fanfic bitch. We tried to tell her this would get out of control. She put everything into one scene!"

Suddenly, he felt Colby's hand on his arm. "Don!", he heard the other agent gasp, and he followed his gaze across the room.

FraidyCat was approaching the group, laptop open, typing with one hand.

Both Eppes and their friends were stunned into silence.

When FraidyCat reached them, she slammed the laptop shut and glared at Don. "I did not do this to your brother," she hissed. "I've been good, lately. Sort-of."

Don tried to take a step toward her, but Colby held him back. "That's not true!", he shouted, and hospital personnel frowned at him. "I got an e-mail from Charlie a couple of days ago. Your silence has been making him nervous, so he designed an algorithim to find out what you've been up to."

She looked bumfoozled. "Really? He can do that?"

Don rolled his eyes. "Of course he can, you idiot! He does it every Friday night at 10, and you know it!"

She shrugged. "Frankly, it's hard for me to follow all that mathspeak."

Colby let go of Don and smiled at FraidyCat. "Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes, when Charlie..."

Megan interruped, tossing a dirty look their way before she looked at Don. "What did Charlie say in the e-mail?"

Don's eyes narrowed as he stared down FraidyCat. "He knows about Howling Thunder."

She paled, and dropped her laptop. Megan suppressed a yelp as it bounced off her foot. FraidyCat backed up a step. "That's not my fault. Talk to The Silent Rumble. It was his idea. Besides, we're not even finished with our first story, yet. Have you seen anything online?"

This time, Colby didn't stop Don, and he took a step forward and poked her in the chest. He stepped back, embarassed, when his index finger sank into flesh remarkably like a marshmallow. He tried to concentrate. "Yeah, well, you're double-whumping him, aren't you? You and Rumble?"

FraidyCat laughed, then screamed, "ASSAULT! POLICE BRUTALITY! HELP!!!", at the top of her voice. While hospital security ran toward them, she lowered her voice and spoke only to the three agents and Alan. "Just wait," she murmured, and her breath smelled of tacos. "You and your precious Charlie just wait. I have not yet begun to whump."

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END (or...BEGINNING?)