Disclaimer: Fine. I disclaim.
Summary: Oneshot with a twist. Not what you may expect from tht title.
Charlie slumped at the last desk in the row farthest from the front of the classroom, making himself as small and unobtrusive as possible. Occasionally, he would risk a peek over the shoulder of the football player sitting in front of him. He could tell from the sound waves when the teacher's attention was on another part of the room, and when the risk of discovery was low. He had managed to sneak through the door while the instructor's back was turned, while he was writing his name on the white board, and sitting here had proved to be such an eye-opening experience, Charlie was determined to stay as still and invisible as possible, so that it could last.
The man at the front of the room was...gifted. There was no other word for it. His information was solid, and he was confident in his delivery. He was relaxed, and friendly. Sometimes, the lecture was punctuated with acerbic dry wit, and the students would laugh appreciately. Sometimes, the discourse took on such a tinge of...well, it could only be described as sadness...that Charlie was sure the girls, at least, were wiping at their eyes. Toward the end of the hour, the man smiled and leaned casually against the desk in the front of the room, inviting questions. Hands shot up, making Charlie almost envious. It was obvious from their questions that the students had listened carefully to the presentation, and were actively interested and invested in the subject matter. While his own classes often had enthusiastic students, if he ran the numbers, Charlie was sure that the percentages would be in this guy's favor.
Charlie himself had been fascinated, although he already knew a lot about this material. During the question-and-answer period, he had to stop himself from raising his own hand. The facilitator had managed to make his theme exciting, serious, frightening, powerful, sad, engrossing... Charlie was somewhat flabbergasted.
In all of his life, he had never seen Don this way.
A bell sounded in the high school's halls, and the teenagers actually moaned, complaining about leaving. Desk legs scraped on the floor and feet shuffled. The students slowly streamed toward the door and their next classes, several pausing to shake Don's hand and get in one last word. Charlie knew that this was his opportunity to escape undetected, but he found himself wanting to stay and talk to his brother. He straightened in the seat as the football player blocked his way through the crowd, and when the line of vision was suddenly cleared between himself and Don, Charlie saw his brother imperceptibly stiffen. The action, for some reason, almost broke his heart.
He was staring at the initials carved on the old desk, wondering why, when black dress shoes shined up at him. Charlie lifted his head, and saw that the students were finally all gone. He and Don were alone in the room. He smiled. "The suit was a nice touch. This is how most of them picture an FBI agent."
Don shrugged, hands on his hips. "I didn't know you were here. You were here the whole time?" Charlie nodded silently. Don frowned. "I thought you were recruiting for CalSci, with Millie."
Charlie extricated himself from the desk and stretched his back on the way. "I was, most of the day," he assured his brother. "Millie actually got Larry to stop by for a class, and I didn't want to steal his thunder. Besides, I wanted to see how you were doing. Have you done Career Days before, or something?"
Don's frown deepened and he grew a little defensive. "A couple of times. Back in Albequerque; usually junior agents handle this kind of thing, but Millie and her Prinicipal friend really pushed for me to do it, and Merrick caved. Why? Did it suck?"
Charlie shook his curls adamantly. "What? No, oh no, Don, it was...great. You were incredible. I never knew you were such a, such a, such a teacher! I mean sure, you've always taught me all kinds of things, but..."
Don reddened slightly, tried to suppress a grin and interrupted his brother's rant. "Really? I've taught you things?"
Charlie's mouth hung open. How could Don not know that? "Of course," he answered, confusion in his voice. "When we were kids, you taught me everything. How to throw a baseball. How to swim. How to sneak out of my bedroom window and climb down the tree. How to defend myself against bullies. How to ride a bicycle...God, Don, everything important!"
Don smiled briefly and looked away, his face sad. "We're not kids, anymore, Charlie. That was a long time ago."
"Hey." Charlie waited until Don looked at him again. "Even when we didn't see each other much, I still learned from you. Usually it was because Mom was bragging about something you did, but still..."
Don's eyebrows lifted and an expression of wistfulness flickered over his face. "Mom bragged about me? To you?"
This time Charlie looked away. Don had to know that. He had to know how proud of him everyone had always been. If he didn't, it was certainly time to change that. He swallowed and looked back. "You taught me to respect you in the workplace, and that I could stay alive, that way.. You taught me to let myself have a little fun, and relax occasionally. You taught me how to ask for help. Every day of our lives, you teach me what kind of man I want to be."
Don's eyes misted, then crinkled as a huge smile plastered his face. "Career Day is over," he informed Charlie, draping an arm across his shoulder and steering him toward the door. "I'm free the rest of the day. I'm thinking it's way past time I finally teach you the secrets behind my impressive batting average. Cages?"
"Oh, I know those already," Charlie responded dismissively. "I ran the numbers on your stats years ago, and I detected certain patterns." At the doorway he looked up at Don eagerly and a little mischeviously. "Could you teach me to skydive? I've always wanted to learn that."
Charlie didn't doubt for a second that Don could teach him to skydive.
Don could do anything.