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!
Sequel to 'H is for Hazardous' and you really do need to read that one first or this one will make no sense.
Charlie raised his hand and knocked on Don's door again. "Don?" he called. "I saw your car in the parking garage, bro. You okay in there?"
"Just a minute," came his brother's muffled voice.
Charlie pressed his ear against the heavy wooden door and listened to the muffled sounds coming from within. With all the thumps and thuds and uttered curses if he didn't know better, he'd think Don was inside fighting off an attacker. "Don?" he called again, his voice sounding as worried as he felt.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!"
Charlie was still trying to interpret the situation when the door swung open, revealing a very disheveled FBI agent. "Uh… hey, Don."
His brother didn't say a word, merely grabbed his wrist and yanked him inside before closing the door with a loud bang. "Help me look," he ordered by way of greeting.
Don scowled as he led Charlie into the living room. "For a four-legged natural disaster."
Charlie couldn't suppress a giggle as he got a look at Don's once immaculate living room. "Doggie life not working out so well?"
"I swear, Charlie, if I even think I hear an 'I told you so' coming out of your mouth…"
"Just… help me look."
Charlie did indeed look, noticing how Don's leather sofa and recliner sported a new designer pattern, apparently decorated by the aforementioned natural disaster. A closer look revealed that Don had tried to patch the chewed pieces of leather with… clear tape? "What did you do to your furniture?"
Don groaned and rolled his eyes. "The kid at the pet store recommended it. Said it kept cats from scratching stuff so he assumed it might keep a dog from chewing it."
"Oh," Charlie managed around a chuckle. "What about something that tastes bad?"
Don glared at the younger man. "Gee, Charlie, why didn't I think of that? I already tried both kinds at the pet store." Don lunged across the sofa as a fur ball streaked by. He missed by a mile and wearily sank his head onto the hardwood floor. "He likes the stuff. I swear to God, he would have eaten it out of the bottle."
"Don't sound so pleased," Don warned him as he climbed to his feet and headed for his bedroom.
"I'm not pleased," Charlie protested. "Just… vindicated."
"Vindicated," Don growled. "I ought to sic Chuckles on you."
It was Charlie's turn to groan. "I can't believe you named your dog that."
Don glanced over his shoulder from the doorway to his bedroom and beamed. "You should be flattered."
"I'm not… Donald."
"That's it," Don snapped as he reached for his belt. "Right after I catch Chuckles…" His eyes widened and he dove into his bedroom, landing with a loud thud followed by complete silence. Charlie waited for his brother to speak and when he hadn't after a minute, he rushed into the bedroom.
"Don? Are you okay?" He froze in place at the sight that greeted him.
"More than okay, Buddy."
Don was lying on his side with his Yorkie curled up against his chest, while being blessed with a thorough series of wet kisses. In return Don was scratching behind the little dog's ears and running his fingers through the silky hair.
"I wish I had a camera," Charlie teased. "I could be rich beyond my wildest dreams."
"Don't let him fool you," Don cautioned him. "He's one hundred percent lean, mean-"
Don sighed in contentment and nodded. "Yeah, something like that." He picked up the dog and set him on the bed. "Mind watching him for a few minutes while I grab a shower?"
Charlie wrinkled his nose. "You sure he won't bite?"
"Not unless you taste like a liver snap." Don grabbed a set of sweats and a towel. "Appreciate it, bro."
Charlie waited until he heard the shower going before easing himself onto the bed. "Hey there, pup. How're you doing?" Chuckles wagged his tail and wormed his way closer to Charlie. "You really are a sweet guy, aren't you?" He reached out and patted the dog's head, smiling when Chuckles pressed his head against his thigh and stretched out along his leg. "Get comfortable, why don't you?"
The dog let out an odd sounding moan of contentment and began beating out a rhythm against Charlie's leg with his tail.
"Just do me a favor, okay? Keep an eye on Don for me. He's a big, tough, FBI agent but he still needs someone, although he'll be the last one to admit it." The dog panted at him. "I think he'll open up to you, though." Charlie found himself scratching Chuckles' belly as he recalled all the statistics he'd read about animals and their owners. It was the parts about relieving stress, loneliness and sadness that had appealed to him and he hoped the little dog would be able to live up to the hype.
He lay back on the bed, surprised when the dog stood and moved up to lie next to him at the head of the bed. "Yeah, Chuckles," he smiled. "I think you're just what Don needs."
They were still curled up, side-by-side, when Don returned from the shower a few minutes later. Upon seeing his little brother fast asleep while snuggling Chuckles, Don smiled. "Now where did I put my camera?"