The only "Numb3rs" I will ever own will be the DVD sets. I will never own the rights to the show…pity : )

AN: Story is set during S3 "Pandora's Box" and the dialogue is from the episode. And the first line is from S3 "One Hour."

F is for Face To Face

"You'd be surprised at what I know and how I know it."

Dr. Bradford said this to him after mentioning the incident with Buck during the spree killing case. Don always wondered exactly how; as far as he knew only he, Ian Edgerton, and Colby Granger were present when the choice was made. Colby even tried to get him to reconsider. Perhaps, if there had been more time, Don would have but Megan's life had been on the line.

Overall, Don did not regret what happened with Buck, nor did he really regret shooting Crystal Hoyle. Given the exact same circumstances, Don was sure he would take the same actions. The only reason, he concluded, this particular shooting of his raised so many eyebrows was because Ian had been on the case and on the scene and he was a trained sniper.

And he had not taken the shot.

A part of Don always wondered why Ian did not fire. Had he been wrong? Unfortunately Don had not been able to get Ian's take before he took off and they had not been in contact with one another since then.

Now, here they were face to face investigating a plane crash and a forest ranger's murder. There was a tension between them that only they seemed to be aware of; Charlie shook Ian's hand as if there had been no Crystal Hoyle. Then again, why shouldn't he? He hadn't been the one to take the shot with a professionally trained sniper right there! Charlie wasn't the one who had his recent caseload reviewed and he was not the one who received notice to report to a shrink.

Seeing Ian brought up a wave of emotions Don thought he already worked through. The truth was, he needed to talk to Ian, but at the moment all he wanted to do was avoid him, or at least not be alone with him. Not just yet.


The FAA confirmed they wanted Charlie to find out what had been planted in their system. Apparently he had fans in the FAA. While Charlie went to deal with that, Don took that moment to go in to the break-room for some coffee.

Rounding the corner he saw Ian was there, having had the same idea. He was alone. Don stopped short, debating whether to remain or not. Then he decided he needed the caffeine.

Ian had seen him enter and his reaction. He moved to allow Don access and also to give the man space. He knew Don wasn't entirely comfortable with him being there and he knew why. Turning back to face him, Ian told him what he knew Don needed to hear whether he actually wanted to or not. Knowing Don, he did want to know, he just wouldn't admit it.

"Review board called me in on the spree killing case," he said, rather casual.

"Yeah?" Don was getting creamer and sugar for his coffee.

"Figured it was about what we did to Buck. But all they wanted to talk about was you digging Crystal Hoyle." Ian kept his eyes on Don, waiting to see his reaction. The agent didn't say anything; he only looked at Ian and closed the refrigerator door and went back to his coffee. "I told them you had the clearer shot."

Don stirred and turned to look at Ian, gauging whether he was telling the truth. He wanted to believe Ian, but he didn't. After all, he was the sniper. If anyone should have taken the shot at the distance it was, it should have been him.

"Is that true?" Don finally asked.

"I figured you had your reasons."

Don pressed his lips together. Ian's answer was what he had been expecting. The question that remained, however, was one that perhaps he'd never really answer satisfactorily for himself.

Were those reasons enough?