THE MAN IN THE GLASS

Disclaimer: Still don't own "Numb3rs" and I'm still playing in their sandbox

Set post "The Janus List." A Colby reflection—no pun intended.

The poem referred to I read in "Dear Abby." Poem title is "The Guy in the Glass," by Dale Wimbrow 1934. Thanks to Jelsemium for correct crediting info:)

He came from five generations of Duty and Honor. He had not been lying when he told her that. Nor had he lied about Idaho or his time in Afghanistan, or the fact that Dwayne had saved his life. For all the lies he had spoken, he told many more truths.

It was the only way any practitioner or espionage could survive. Lace one's lies with a bit of truth so it is hard to discover the lie. Perhaps, as one became more detached, making fewer and fewer emotional connections it was easier to lie.

Former Special Agent Colby Granger had almost reached that point.

It had been at least six hours since Don and David arrested him. Six hours since he confessed to being a spy and negating whatever trust and respect he had left from Don and obliterating what he had with David and Megan.

Megan. Don accused him of leaving her to be killed when he took Naomi during the gunfight. As much as Colby respected Don, his former team leader still failed to realize Megan could take care of herself even with the whole Crystal Hoyle fiasco. Crystal had gotten the drop on Megan and held her hostage. At the time, Megan had been with Larry and may not have been as alert as she usually was. The situation with Naomi had been different. Colby always expected Megan could kick his ass so any would-be-assassin had his work cut out for him. Or her. Also, it helped, he supposed, that they were more or less on equal ground—in the dark and armed.

The accusation stung. It was in that moment and the time before Dwayne was thrown in to the car beside him that he realized fully how far he had fallen. He could have come clean when Dwayne was first arrested. But Don was already pissed off, not that Colby could blame him. Still, of the entire team, Don Eppes was the one he saw himself in the most. At least the best part of what he used to be.

During the Crystal Hoyle case Colby had been worried. Not only about Megan as everyone was, but also about Don. Having Megan held hostage put the team in a total tail-spin and set Don off in a way Colby never witnessed before, yet completely recognized. His leader was at the very small frame of time before one crossed a line that once crossed, it was almost impossible to go back. Colby took a moment to warn Don of this before he called on Edgerton to work Buck over. It pained him to see Don make that decision, but what could he do? Don was lead agent, his boss.

Part of his team. And Colby always trusted his team, even if its members made stupid mistakes, whether they could later be corrected or not.

As for David, Megan, the "Whiz Kid," and even Dr. Fleinhardt and Amita, they were part of his team. His friends. Somehow, with Don included, Colby had allowed them to become close enough to cause him to feel guilt…

Wow. And he once thought only those related to him by blood could make him feel this way.

Oh how wrong he was.

The truth hit him when, in passing, he caught his reflection in a window. A poem an ex-girlfriend liked came to mind. He recalled the gist of it which was ironically—or was it coincidentally?—perfect for his predicament. He managed to recall the last four lines.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years

And get pats on the back as you pass,

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

If you've cheated the man in the glass.

FIN