Disclaimer 1: I regret to inform that I do not own anything Numb3rs. Not even the DVD. Yet.
Disclaimer 2: I am my own beta. If there are errors, whoops.
Disclaimer 3: You may very well walk away from this story significantly dumber than when you approached it. It is a senseless, silly waste of time. Despite which, it is the Numb3rs episode that I myself am dying...DYING...to see. As they have yet to accomodate me, I have been forced to fashion my own episode. Enjoy.
Author's note: This is a three-part story. It is already written, I'll just post it in sections. See, I can do chapters. :)
Shot for Shot
Don Eppes checked his watch for what must have been the fifth time in four minutes. Less than an hour now. In fifty-seven short minutes, he'd be heading out of the office for his much-anticipated quarterly weekend off, and damn did he need it. He had big plans for a case of Bud, a bucket of chicken and a double header. That, and a whole lot of…nothing.
He loved his job. Loved it. Loved the idea of always being on the move, of serving and protecting, of bringing down the cretins and bad guys. But it could be trying, both physically and emotionally. They'd just wrapped a big case, one that had been plaguing the department for weeks. And it involved a kid, a little girl, and that was never easy to deal with. Don needed the weekend to forget.
"So Don, you got any big plans for the weekend?" David Sinclair asked as he meandered his way through the office to Don's desk. "Hot date?" he said with a smirk. Don laughed. "Yeah, with the couch. You?" David shook his head. "Nah. Nothing special. Just gonna grab a six-pack and chill." Don nodded. "That's about what I had planned."
"Whatcha have planned?" asked Colby, ambling up with a stack of files in his hand. Don bypassed the question and gestured to the paperwork. "You done?" Colby grinned. "Hell yeah. I am done and out of here. I've been ready for this weekend for weeks." He set the folders on the desk. "So what are your plans?" Don shrugged and leaned back in his chair. "No, no plans really. Just relaxing with a few beers." Colby's face lit up. "Cool idea. Can I come?" Don looked at him. Colby smirked. "I mean, unless you wanted a quiet weekend, just the two of you." David laughed, taking a seat. "Not together Colby. We're gonna grab our own booze and sit in our own houses. Alone." Colby considered this before speaking. "Or," he said, raising a hand, "we could drink all weekend long. Together. That'd be fun, right? Haven't taken a whole weekend to get tanked in awhile. And we could all use it after this one, am I right?" At their skeptical glances, he pushed on. "Oh, come on. Call it team bonding."
"Team bonding? This a gentleman's affair or can the ladies play too?" Megan Reeves inquired as she came up behind Colby, also clutching a stack of files. Colby turned to her smiling. "Oh come on Reeves—you're a lady like I'm a lady." She smiled sweetly. "Why Colby, I had no idea." She turned to Don and David. "So what's going on?" Colby interjected again. "I'm trying to round the boys up for a frat style weekend of togetherness. I could use some back-up." Megan beamed. "Oh yeah? Can we play drinking games? I haven't done that since I was in college." Colby smirked. "What kind of games did you play? Strip poker?" She leveled him. "And what's your game of choice Granger? I peg you as an 'Asshole' fan, myself." He gave her a look of mock appreciation. "That sounds like a challenge. You realize I could out-drink you with my liver tied behind my back?" Megan sneered at him. "Bring it on, tough guy." David, who was watching the exchange with great amusement, turned to Don. "I don't know man. What do you think?"
Don stared at them. What did he think? He thought he saw his quiet weekend alone going down the toilet, that's what he thought. He sighed. Ah, hell. Why not. He could drink alone, or he could drink with his team. Together. He looked at them, giving in.
Charlie Eppes ran a hand through this hair before rising from his desk at CalSci. Done. Finally. He hated midterms. They embodied everything that he hated about the world of academia. Learning should be embraced, cherished—not tested. But until that revolutionary concept made its way across the country, he'd just have to put up with stacks and stacks of exams.
But he was finished now, and he had the whole weekend free of professorial demands. With his father gone on his bi-annual fishing trip with his brother he'd have the whole house to himself. The timing was unfortunate—Amita was in San Diego for a conference, and wasn't coming back until Monday afternoon. It would have proven an ideal weekend for…well, anyway, she was gone, and he'd have to make other use of his time. Maybe he'd work on his Cognitive Emergence Theory. He'd been making an effort to put more focus into his research, tried not to let so many other things get in the way of his own intellectual progress. But Don had brought him in on a rough case, and though his own contributions to it had ceased several days ago, he'd had a little trouble getting back into the swing of things. Since he'd started consulting for the bureau several years before, his experiences with the FBI had been quite an eye-opener to the more undesirable aspects of life. But he could handle it, much better than his brother seemed to think. He knew that Don had taken special care with this one to keep him right on the bubble, as if he'd fall apart at the gross humanity of it all. Not that he had any real desire to get right down to the grit of it, but he wasn't the basket case his brother seemed to think. He'd seen his share of the world, and he'd seen it without his big brother standing behind him and holding him up.
Speaking of Don, Charlie knew that this weekend was his brother's elusive weekend off as well. With his dad out of town it wasn't likely that he'd see much of him anyway—Don didn't usually spend a lot of time at the house when it was just Charlie. Not that he was complaining—he enjoyed his time with his brother on a professional basis, and it was a nice, if somewhat rare, bonus when they'd do things together outside of work. They'd made a lot of progress since their adolescent years, and he didn't take a day of it for granted.
He gathered up his things and headed out, locking his office door behind him. A weekend of theory. That was the plan.
That was the plan.
"So what do you guys think—a little pre-gaming at the bar or straight to the scene?" Colby walked with a bounce in his step, wholly excited at the prospect of a drunken weekend with his team. He didn't drink to excess very often, but hell, every now and then it was just good for the soul. And this was one of those times. And aside from a social drink here and there, they'd never really gone out as a group and just cut loose. Well, except for the time that he and David got tanked at Nico's and almost got thrown out for disorderly conduct. But that's when an FBI badge comes in real handy. But that was just the two of them…he couldn't wait to see Don Eppes plastered. And he would be plastered, if Colby had anything to say about it. That guy needed to loosen up a bit…wound like a drum, that one.
"Let's skip the bar. I'd rather just relax, and that's not easy to do when you're fending off dirty drunk guys all night long," Megan said, crinkling her nose. "I second that," called David, earning a laugh as they headed down the walkway from the FBI building.
Don turned to face them as they headed to their vehicles. "Well, we never decided. Where are we going?" They glanced at each other, and Megan spoke first. "Look, I'd ask you all to my place, but you'll have to give me about a week head start to straighten up a little bit. Not really fit for human habitation right now." Colby held his hands up. "Well my place is spotless, but I have neighbors on both sides, one of whom is a completely unpleasant ninety year old woman who hates me. I don't know how rowdy you all get, but it might not be the best spot." David laughed. "I don't have any running water." They looked at him. "Well, I normally do, but they're replacing the pipes in my apartment. Won't be up and running for another day or so." He looked at Don. "Your place it is." Don thought about that. His apartment wasn't really all that big. And by "not all that big" he meant tiny. It was perfectly sufficient for him, but as far as hosting 3 other people…where the hell would they all sleep? He didn't even have extra pillows.
But he could think of a place that did have extra pillows.
"Hey, what do you think of heading over to Charlie's?" Colby actually jumped a little, and gave out a whoop. "Yes! Whiz Kid hammered! I'm so there Don, so there!" Don smiled, but stopped him. "Hey, I don't even know what he's doing this weekend, so don't get too excited. And I don't even think he'd drink with us. I can't remember the last time he even picked up a beer. But I'm sure he won't mind us crashing there. My dad's gone this week, so he'll probably enjoy the company." They all agreed, and split up—Don and Megan to get the food, Colby and David to get the booze—and planned to meet at Casa Eppes in an hour.
Waving goodbye to Megan and Don, Colby turned to David. "Not gonna drink with us? Like hell."
Charlie was in the zone.
He stared intently at the board in front of him, his headphones blaring at what might be an uncomfortable level for someone else, but the perfect level of escapism for Charlie. His hand flew across the slate, a blur of numbers and symbols that not only made sense to him but exhilarated him. He was on a roll.
Don and Megan pulled into the driveway of Charlie's house just moments ahead of David and Colby. As Don began pulling out bags of chips, pretzels and various other snack foods, Megan reached into the backseat to retrieve the stack of fresh, hot pizzas from Carmine's. "We didn't know what toppings you guys liked, so we got a little of everything," she said, watching as they began to unload. Colby laughed. "That's funny. So did we."
He wasn't kidding. By the time they'd gotten everything into the house, Don was starting to wonder if they were hosting a block party that he didn't know about. They'd bought far more booze than the four of them could ever hope to consume in one weekend, unless a trip to the ER became the grand finale. He shut the door behind Colby, wondering vaguely what he'd gotten himself into.
"Charlie!" He called out to alert his brother to their presence. He'd tried to reach him on the way over but had gotten the machine—his attempts to reach him on his cell had yielded the same result. Don knew that Charlie was coming off of midterm week, so it was possible that he was still on campus. He was pretty sure that his brother would be all right with the intrusion…pretty sure.
"Where's Charlie?" Colby asked, draping his jacket onto a chair in the kitchen. Don was about to respond when he noticed a familiar light on in the garage. He walked across the kitchen and opened the door slowly, grinned at the sight of his brother in his mathematical glory. He held a hand up to his lips, demanding quiet, and snuck in behind him.
The other three glanced at each other, then scurried after him. They weren't missing this.
Don could hear the music raging from his brother's earphones from all the way across the garage. He didn't know why he was creeping across the room—Charlie wouldn't have heard him if he bellowed his name from a bullhorn. He heard his team piling in behind him, took no heed, kept going. He waited until he was less than a foot behind his brother, heard Megan's scolding "Don!" snuffed out by Colby and David's encouragement. He reached his hands out, a grin spreading across his face.
But before he could scare the shit out of him, Charlie turned around. At the unexpected sight someone standing right behind him, Charlie yelled and stumbled backwards, flailing his arms out as he went down. Don, just as shocked as his brother at the turn of events, reached an arm down to grab him. But as the weight of Charlie's body hit the bottom half of the board it swung overhead, flipping on its hinges, and clubbed Don right on the top of his head. He grabbed at it with both hands, abandoning his attempts to help Charlie, who lay in a heap on the dusty floor of the garage.
Charlie ripped his earphones out, his eyes wide and outraged as he struggled to stand. "Jesus Christ Don! What the hell!" Don, till clutching his head, stepped back guiltily, wincing as he hit an especially tender spot. "God Charlie, freak out much? It's not as if I was wielding a knife or anything." Charlie stared at him, flabbergasted, then turned his attention to the raucous crowd at the door.
Colby was literally on his knees, his face red as he gasped for breath between his laughter. Megan clutched the railing for support, and David reached up to wipe tears from his eyes. At the sight of them, Don's frown slowly turned to a smile, and soon he to was laughing at the absurdity of it all. Only Charlie, who'd managed to regain his footing and was absently rubbing his back, didn't quite see the humor.
"That was—the funniest thing—I've ever seen!" Colby said, coughing a bit as he tried to regain control of himself. He caught Charlie's incredulous look and made every effort to stop laughing and be serious, but a sideways glance from Megan had them all in stitches once again. "You're such an asshole Don," he said, putting a hand down to lift himself from the floor. Don stared back innocently. "What? I was just gonna grab his shoulder…he's the one that had a damn panic attack at the sight of me." Charlie scowled at him. "Well, a little warning would be great next time." He reached down to grab his earphones, still blasting The Chemical Brothers at full volume. "What are you guys doing here?"
"We're here," Colby said, before the others could speak, "to get wasted. For the whole weekend. And you're invited. Cause, you know…it's your house." Charlie stared at him. He looked at Don, to confirm, who nodded. "Yeah, pretty much. If it's cool with you." Charlie turned to look at his work on the chalkboard. He'd been making good progress…
He looked back at his brother. "Sounds good," he answered, tossing his music down and following them out to the kitchen, and with a fleeting glance at his math he shut the door.
It did sound good. Screw it.
To be continued...