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, sounding board and title giver!
Don Eppes always gets his man.
The thought ran through his head like a mantra as he stalked his current target. He was positioned at the bottom of a large staircase, hidden around the corner just out of sight. He took a deep breath and peered up the staircase relieved when his prey didn't suddenly jump out at him, deciding to take the offensive approach. Don knew his target though – not someone who really liked to take risks. Still, hunting him down wasn't without its complications.
For instance, his prey was smaller than him and lightning quick – able to escape far away before Don could blink. That's why cornering him upstairs – with no viable exits – was such a thrilling and nerve-wracking moment. If Don played his cards right, he'd have another capture under his belt. If he didn't… well there would be a lot to deal with, including the looks from his friends as they shook their heads in disappointment once they'd heard he let his man escape. Nope, not going to let that happen.
Don edged around the corner and stealthily began making his way up the staircase, his body tense and ready for any surprises his target might throw at him. Taking the steps one at a time, holding his breath as he waited to see if each step would creak under his weight and alert his prey, Don finally made it to the top and looked down a long hallway. He didn't let the distance or number of doors faze him – he knew his prey well enough to know where he would be hiding. He crept forward, his feet silent along the floor, as he approached the closed door that was his destination. He held out his hand, letting it hover above the knob as he debated his options.
Fast entry? Grab the knob, turn it and throw the door open, hopefully catching the room's occupant off-guard? Or the slow approach? Gradually turning the doorknob, hoping against hope it didn't squeak or creak, and then slowly easing the door open, again hoping for absolute silence? Don licked his lips as he silently mulled over the two approaches. What the heck, he decided. I like to rip my band-aids off fast, might as well take that same approach in all aspects of life. With a deep breath, Don dropped his hand onto the doorknob, turned and shoved the door open. He burst into the room, his mouth open to announce his presence but quickly clamped it shut and smiled at the sight before him…
There was his little brother, curled up on the bed with his head full of unruly curls sprawled across his notebook as he quietly snored. Don softly crossed to the bed and patted Charlie's shoulder. "Wake up, Buddy."
The smaller child's brown eyes dragged open and he smiled sleepily at his big brother. "Don Eppes gets his man," he mumbled through a yawn. "Just like you always do."
"That's right," the older boy nodded as he sat on the bed. "Might be harder if you didn't always fall asleep in my room though."
"Feels safe," Charlie murmured as he shifted to lie against his brother's leg.
Don smiled and draped his arm across the younger boy's shoulders. "That's good, Buddy. Tutor really wore you out, huh?"
"Yeah, but it was fun. We learned about-"
"Shh, Buddy. It's play time, not learning time. Save that stuff for someone who can understand it."
"You're smart," Charlie insisted as he blinked his eyes to stay awake. "I can teach you."
"I just bet you could. You're going to be a great teacher one day, Charlie."
"What about you?"
"I don't know. I'll figure something out."
The sleepy genius closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around his brother's waist. "You could be a professional hide-and-seeker."
Don laughed softly as he watched his brother fall asleep. "Sure, Buddy. You never know."