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 and sounding board!
"Hey Charlie," David greeted his friend. He stopped the swinging punching bag and wiped the sweat from his brow. "What brings you here?"
"Teach me to fight."
David raised an eyebrow. "Come again?"
"I need to learn to fight," Charlie insisted. "At least the basics."
"I see. Tell me, does this have anything to do-"
"With Don lying in a hospital bed? You'd better believe it."
David shook his head and softened his voice. "There's nothing you could have done, Charlie. It was five against one."
"And it would have been five against two if I'd had any clue how to fight."
"And then your father might have two sons in the hospital instead of one," David countered. He immediately regretted his words as Charlie's face fell. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded."
"Sure you did," the professor replied bitterly. "Everyone knows a math geek can't hold his own in a fight." He stepped closer to David and glared at the bigger man. "Of course, if said geek is watching someone beat the life out of his brother, I'd think all bets were off."
"Point taken," David nodded. "But still… Don't you think you should be with Don right now?"
"I just left the hospital," Charlie informed him. "Don woke up, answered a few questions and got a good assessment from the doctor. Bad concussion to go with his cracked ribs and bruised kidney, but no brain damage."
Charlie moved to stand next to the punching bag, lightly running his hand along the leather surface. "I need to do this, David."
"Don would kill me-"
"It's not for Don. I need this so I can move on. So when I see them beating Don in my dreams I can at least do something to stop them there."
David gave him a skeptical look. "And you think learning to fight will do that?"
"Want to learn how to shoot a gun while you're at it? I mean, that would be the best way to stop someone from hurting Don. Just shoot them." He kept his voice deliberately light, hoping it would have desired effect on the young genius.
"I… I don't need to know how to use a gun, David. I mean, Don showed me once and we both decided I might be better off not knowing how."
"Then how is what you're asking me to do now any different?"
Charlie gave the agent a look of complete despair. "I can't ever go through that again. To watch them… to see Don in so much pain… I'd rather die than sit idly by."
"Does Don know how you feel?"
Charlie shrugged. "He just woke up. I haven't exactly had time to go over things with him." He glanced at the ground and shuffled his weight back and forth between his feet. "I think he'd understand."
David smiled. "He might. Tell you what, Charlie, wait and talk to Don. If he thinks it's a good idea then I'll be happy to do it."
Charlie frowned but nodded in agreement.
"Although I'm guessing he'll say no."
"He's too protective of me."
"I meant say no to me teaching you. I'm guessing he'll want to teach you himself."
Charlie's face actually lit up. "That would be good. Of course, we'll still need your help."
David cocked his head. "How's that?"
"Dad is going to want to kill us both if he finds out Don's teaching me to fight."
"You're on your own there," David laughed. "I'd rather go five against one any day of the week than go one on one with your father when it comes to the safety of his sons."
"Witness protection?" Charlie asked hopefully.
"Now that might be a good idea." David laughed as he draped an arm around the younger man's shoulders and escorted him to the door.