Title: You're Luckier Than You Think

Author: FraidyCat

Disclaimer: It's theirs.

Summary: Larry reflects on Mother's Day. Very brief response to challenge.

Larry stood in the doorway of Charles' office and reflected on the fine lines etched on his friend's face, the dark shadows under his eyes that made him slightly resemble a raccoon. The physicist took his time and made his evaluations. There was little chance Charles was going to look up and acknowledge his prescence. The younger man was thorougly engrossed in the magazine before him on the desk, which Larry recognized as one of the leading mathematics journals in the field. Later, he would have to check his faculty mail for his own copy, if it was that fascinating.

It was always possible that Charles was using the numbers to distract himself. It wouldn't be the first time, and Larry understood that the day before had been difficult for his friend. Mother's Day always was, since the Eppes had lost Margaret. He shook his head slightly. ever-so-minutely . . . annoyed.

He was not entirely unsympathetic. Margaret was an exceptional woman, and she and Charles had been extremely close. In addition, his grief was complicated by the guilt he still felt over the whole "P vs NP" fiasco. He certainly spent a great part of Mother's Day pointlessly flaying himself for losing those last months with her; as if today's regrets could change yesterday's errors.

Larry truly wished that he could enlighten the mathematician, sometimes. He leaned against the door frame and thought of his own mother, long gone. He had loved her, but they had not been particularly close. Her love for him was an accepted fact, but he knew that she never understood him. So few people did, after all . . . . His own mother had been the first in a long line of perplexed, yet polite, individuals in his life.

He sighed, suddenly flashing on Megan's forced cheer yesterday. Larry knew that she missed a close relationship with her mother. Megan's difficulties with her father put the woman in a difficult place, to be sure, but she had made her position clear, over the years. When a choice had to be made, she would come down on the side of her husband before she would stand by her own child. Megan sent the woman a nice card, no doubt, but she wouldn't have phoned. She refused to discuss her pain regarding her parents with Larry, but there were times that he saw it in her eyes. Of course, on major holidays, such as Christmas, Mother's Day . . . but also, sometimes, from something as simple as passing a woman on the street who was clutching a little girl's hand.

His eyes rested on the framed photo of Amita that rested on the corner of the desk, and he frowned. Amita was raised in a very traditional Eastern Indian household -- her parents had even tried to broker her out in an arranged marriage. She did not speak of them often, and he wondered how Mother's Day was experienced by her. Did she even bother with American traditions that her family would neither understand nor appreciate? Perhaps she had not even realized the import of the day, or its impact on Charles. Larry hoped Charles would not hold such a thing against her. She could hardly be expected to miss something she had never possessed.

For a man in possession of one of the greatest minds of his generation, Charles simply did not comprehend the simplest things, sometimes. Larry felt the small tug of annoyance again. Charles should see what an incredible gift he had been given. A mother he was close to, a mother who adored him, sweet memories that would last forever. There were other alternatives in the cosmic fate of life, and as far as Larry was concerned, Charles was luckier than he thought he was.

Not that Larry condoned the concept of chance.

He carefully weighed the odds, deciding that he was in no mood for a post-Mother's Day sulk at this time. He promised himself that he would come back when he could be more supportive and better perform the duties of friendship, and without Charles ever having noticed that he was there, Larry turned and headed for his own office.

Charles would always be his very dear friend, and one of the great mysteries of the universe would ever be Larry's occasional urges to slam him against a wall.

END