See Chapter One for Disclaimer and Spoilers.

A/N; I hope all of you are up on your Numb3rs episodes and various characters on the show. There may be a test after this chapter. Ha Ha.

Thanks for all the reviews. They mean so much.

Body of Work

Chapter Two

Even though Princeton had provided first class tickets for Charlie and his family, sitting still for seven hours had been hard on Don and his leg had stiffened up during the flight home. He was glad to feel the lurch when the landing gear touched the runway at LAX.

He leaned heavily on his cane as they exited the plane and joined the exodus to the baggage claim. Alan went to retrieve his car from long term parking while Don and Charlie collected their luggage. After a small traffic jam as they tried to exit the airport, they were on the freeway heading for Pasadena.

Don sat in the back, elevating his leg on the seat and leaning his back into the door. He knew he was tired. They had boarded the plane at 8:30 am New Jersey time. And they were at the airport two hours before that, which meant they had gotten up while it was still dark outside. With California three hours ahead of Princeton time, it meant they still had a long day ahead of them. He almost wished he had taken the red eye back last night with Larry, Millie and Amita. But Alan had insisted they spend the night and get a good nights rest. Don knew it was more for his benefit, but didn't say anything.

He had taken so many naps on the couch during his recuperation at Charlie's, he had sworn he would never be able to rest there again. But as he leaned his head back against the car window, he knew that was probably where he would spend the rest of the afternoon. Maybe, with luck, they would make it home in time to catch the last of the game and . . .


Don jerked his head up from where it was resting on his chest, and it thumped against the car window. "Ow." he whined and rubbed the spot tenderly.

"Come on, Don. We're home." Charlie had opened the back door of the car by Don's feet and was peering in at his brother. Shit. I must have fallen asleep again. Don righted himself and climbed out, holding tightly to the door frame until his leg agreed to hold his weight.

He started for the trunk of the car to help with the bags but Charlie stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.

"Come on inside, Don. I'll get them later."

Don felt a tug of annoyance that his family was still coddling him, but decided now was not the time to argue. They were all tired. He had learned to pick his fights with Alan and Charlie. He followed them to the door of the Craftsman.

As Alan unlocked the door and began to open it, Don suddenly felt the hairs on the back of his neck tingle. He was pleased to see that he had not lost his sharp instincts during his recovery. Something was wrong.

He grabbed Alan's shoulder to stop him from entering the house and blocked Charlie by stepping in front of him.

Reflexively, he reached for his weapon, which, of course, he didn't have. Even as he cursed under his breath, his brain registered three things; a definite presence in the house, unusual scents, and a loud, oddly familiar sound.

Gun or not, Don was not about to let his father or brother inside until he determined if there was a danger.

"Stay here." he growled, low and firm, knowing Alan and Charlie were not the best at doing what they were told.

He took one cautious step into the open foyer when;


Amita, Millie and Megan emerged from the kitchen, grinning like school girls at a slumber party. David Sinclair and LAPD officer Gary Walker approached from the living room, turning off the hockey game they had been watching.

Don relaxed, slightly puzzled, at the sight of their friends and limped further into the room, allowing Alan and Charlie to brush past him.

He greeted Megan with a light touch on her arm. He smiled at her, and looked around the room. He was touched that they had planned this small gathering at Charlie's house to celebrate his award.

"Hey, guys. This is really nice of you to do for Charlie."

"We didn't." Megan smiled mysteriously.

Before he could question her further, another man entered the room. Ian Edgerton. He had a white chef's hat sitting lopsided on his head and a matching apron tied around his waist, that screamed in big, black, bold lettering to "Kiss the Cook!" He had a bottle of beer in one hand and a pair of meat tongs in the other.

"Great timing, Eppes. Just ready to throw the steaks on the grill."

Don laughed with the others at the sight of the sniper in an apron. Edgerton shot them all a fake injured look that said; "What? Haven't you ever seen a cook before?"

The group moved into the kitchen, which smelled delicious with various recipes simmering on the stove and in the oven, then out the back door to the yard.

Long tables and chairs had been set up in different areas providing small conversation areas. Don's puzzlement over Megan's earlier statement escalated when he saw the guests.

He recognized Karen Fisher first, the witness he and Coop had saved from Timothy McDowd two years ago. He had heard she was now head of pediatric surgery at UCLA.

She was laughing, with another woman, at the antics of a little girl, who was trying to catch a butterfly. With a start, Don realized the woman was one of two bank employees that the Russian mob had kidnapped over a year ago. She had been seven months pregnant then. It must be her little girl they were watching.

But why were they here? Did they even know Charlie?

At one of the tables, Don saw Judge Trelane talking with Erika Hellman. Don fondly remembered the elderly Jewish woman and the impact she had had on him personally, when he and his team investigated the theft of a valuable painting. He would never forget the look on her face as he returned the treasured family heirloom that had been taken by the Nazi's, to her and her grandson.

The judge looked up briefly at Don and nodded his head in acknowledgment. He could see the trace of sadness yet in the judge's eyes. His wife had been murdered two years ago by someone angry over one of the judge's decisions. In the end, Don had tried to help him see that it wasn't his fault, that he had just been doing his job. He had thought long and hard after that case about forming any relationships and possibly going through the same thing.

But, he couldn't remember anytime either one of them had met Charlie.

He watched, stunned, as Alan introduced Millie to Hester Stirling, Matthew Stirling's widow. He had been a friend of Alan's in the 70's while they were working on peaceful antiwar protests. Matt had disappeared and died under a cloud of suspicion and 35 years later Don had cleared his name.

He jumped in surprise when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned and looked into Charlie's warm brown eyes; eyes that danced with unbridled excitement. Then, he noticed his brother wasn't the only one looking at him. Everyone had stopped talking and was gazing at him, some smiling with the same mysterious smile that Megan had given him.

His senses were tingling. Something strange was going on here. He looked again at Charlie, then Alan, but neither one offered an explanation.

Looking out into the yard again, Don saw Jordan Hughs and his wife, Margo, an artist that had been kidnapped by counterfeiters and forced to produce art for the fake currency. Don recalled how the terrified woman was nearly hysterical when he saved her from the warehouse she was held in. Now, she was smiling at him, with intense blue eyes, as she sat beside her husband, who held a sleeping toddler in his arms.

Oswald Kittner had been regaling Daniel Shay with the complexities of fantasy baseball over by the Koi pond, but they both joined the others looking at Don. Daniel's mother, an executive at a powerful energy company, who had planned to testify against some of her fellow employees, had been murdered Looking at Daniel, now, Don saw that the frightened, traumatized boy who had found his mother's body in the foyer of their home, was gone. In two short years he had grown into a tall, handsome, confident young man. He returned Don's look, his mouth turning up slightly at the corners.

None of this was making sense. Why would Daniel return to LA for Charlie?

When he saw Billy Cooper standing beside Edgerton at the grill, Don knew, with certainty that this get together was not to celebrate Charlie's award. Coop respected Charlie as a consultant, and probably liked him as a person, but Don knew the notorious loner wouldn't subject himself to being together with this many people at one time to celebrate the professor's mathematical prowess.

He turned back to his brother, his uncertainty giving way to Charlie's excitement, and he smiled, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "What's this?" he asked hesitantly.

Charlie's arm draped around his shoulder and he said quietly, "This is for you, Don. All of it. It's for you."

"But, my birthday was two months ago." He said, then winced at what was quite possibly the stupidest thing he had ever said. This was obviously not a birthday party. Don just didn't know what it was.

Then he spied the Burdicks. Ethan and Becky Burdick were sitting in chairs that had been placed adjacent to the flower bed. Becky was holding a very small baby. Newborn, Don thought. It was a boy, if the little blue sleeper was any indication. Standing beside Ethan was Emily Burdick. She hadn't changed that much in the two years since Don had taken her from Carl Mittendorf's hands, where she had been held at gunpoint by her kidnapper. She was still petite with a mass of curly hair that framed her cherub-like face. Her large dark eyes, which reminded Don of Charlie's eyes, expressive and bright with intelligence, found him, and she smiled. He returned the smile, remembering how her small body had trembled against him as he had held her in his arms and carried her to his SUV. He had wrapped his FBI jacket around her when he noticed she was shivering. As he drove her home, he spoke calmly to her, watching for any more signs of shock, but by the time he handed her off to her grateful parents, she had stopped trembling. It wasn't until the next day that he realized he had left the jacket with her.

As he watched her rub her baby brother's arm, Don felt a familiar stirring inside that hadn't been there in a long time. The urge to protect her and others like her, the helpless, defenseless victims of violent crime, began as a small burning sensation in his chest that spread quickly throughout his body.

He felt Charlie urge him towards a table in front of them, and he allowed himself to be guided there, his thoughts momentarily suspended, as he again, felt the pressure of all the eyes on him.

"Don, I . . . we have something for you. Here, sit down." Charlie pulled a chair away from a table and Don sat, leaning his cane against his outstretched leg.

Charlie's excitement level was skyrocketing as he took a large wrapped present from David Sinclair and handed it to Don.

Don never liked being the center of attention in a large group. That was Charlie's area. As he felt everyone's eyes on him, he kept his head down, his eyes on the package in his lap.

"I . . . don't. What. . .?"

"Just open it, Don." Megan said quietly.

He tore the paper away slowly and discarded it on the ground.

At first, he didn't know what he was looking at. It was obviously a plaque. Very similar, in fact, to the one Charlie had just received. As he began to scan some of the words that had been etched onto the face of it, his breathing hitched, and the words began to blur. He swallowed hard and blinked his eyes rapidly.

"Read it out loud, Don." Someone behind him said.

He couldn't. He knew that. There was no way he was going to embarrass himself in front of all these people. He looked to Charlie for help, but could tell immediately his brother wouldn't be reading anything out loud either.

"May I?" Hands reached for the plaque and Don released it to Larry, who held it up for everyone to see, then he began to read.

"Be advised, this award, is presented on this day, the 26th of September, 2007, to Special Agent Don Eppes, in honor of his distinguished body of work.

During the first 12 years of his law enforcement career, he has shown great courage in the face of unremitting danger and has been a champion in the cause of justice.

His actions, both individually and team related, have directly contributed to the successful apprehension, conviction, incarceration or termination of some of our society's most nefarious and ruthless criminals. These include, but are not limited to;

13 Terrorists

168 Murderers

15 Serial Killers

27 Kidnappers

58 Bank robbers

21 Counterfeiters

14 Child Molesters

The number of innocent lives saved by his actions is incalculable.

Don Eppes is the embodiment of integrity, honor, dedication and courage.

He makes a difference, everyday.

It is with great humility that we bestow this notice of meritorious achievement to:

Donnie Eppes – a born cop. And a most excellent one.

Don swallowed hard, extremely uncomfortable with the emotions that surged through him. He knew they were evident on his face, in his glistening eyes. He kept his head down, looking at, but not really seeing, the plaque that was in his hands again.

Where is all this courage at now, Eppes?" he wondered.

The silence dragged on and, somehow, he gathered his wits about him, and he looked up once again.

Slowly, carefully, he placed the award on the table in front of him, then using the cane with one hand, and pushing off the edge of the table with the other, he stood up. What he had to say, couldn't be said sitting down.

"Thank you." he began, but had to stop and clear his throat before he could continue. "I don't know if my brother told any of you," he turned and gave Charlie a withering look, "but, I suspect he did. I've been wondering lately if I made the right career choice.. Looking at all of you here today, safe – happy – productive, and knowing I had a little part in that. . .well, maybe I made the right choice after all."

"A very wise man once told me that each individual has a place in this world, and is important to people you may never dream of. That you leave a little bit of yourself every time you meet another person. You have helped me realize where I belong and I hope, today, all of you take with you my gratitude and sincere appreciation for what you have done. It means more to me than you will ever know.

"And, now, if I know my Dad, there's food waiting for us, and lots of it. Please, enjoy yourself, eat. Because if you don't, Charlie and I will be eating leftovers for the next week."

Everyone laughed, but, for an instant, no one moved. Then Daniel Shay began to clap his hands and he was quickly and enthusiastically joined by everyone in the yard.

This was something that had never happened to Don, and he suddenly felt a strong connection to Charlie. A shared experience they had never had before.

He smiled, slightly embarrassed and nodded his acknowledgment, but waved his arms towards the tables overflowing with food that were lined up against the side of the house. After another moment or two of applause, the crowd slowly dispersed and headed in that direction.

When he turned around Don found his brother still standing beside him. He reached out and took Charlie by the elbow and guided him around the side of the house, where they could talk privately.

"Charlie," he began, "how did you manage to put this together? We've been in New Jersey the last four days."

"Dad and I had most of it planned before we left. David and Ian set the tables up. That's why Millie, Amita and Larry came back last night. They helped with the final touches."

Don shook his head slowly. Too much was happening at once to fully comprehend it all.

"You needed to see this, Don." Charlie spoke quietly. "When I called these people to tell them about this, they couldn't say yes fast enough. They all wanted the opportunity to show you how much they appreciate what you did for them. You do make a difference, Don. You and Megan and David and even Colby. No matter what, he still was a damn fine agent."

Don scrubbed his hand over his face, trying to make sense out of the jumbled thoughts racing through his head. "Charlie. Those numbers . . . on the plaque. How did you . . .? Where . . .?"

"Numbers, Don. It's what I do. It's what I am."

Don thought about that. There was no doubt that his brother's life had been dictated by his genius. Even when their parents tried to give Charlie a normal childhood, his natural propensity for math would emerge in the strangest ways. Don could remember 4 year old Charlie, writing out the Fibonacci Sequence in finger paints. He would spend hours lining up matchbox cars in various linear patterns.

Even when Alan and Margaret would take the boys swimming on a hot summer afternoon, they would catch Charlie counting the ripples in the water and calculating how many there would be if Don started running from different locations before jumping in. And he would compare the amount of ripples caused by the splash created by Don's athletic body and his smaller frame. More weight, Donnie, means more mass which translates into greater momentum.

Was it that way for him, too? Had his life been dictated by forces he couldn't explain?

Dad had told him he liked playing cops and robbers, and always being the cop.

And, it seemed that he always took the part of leader in many areas of his life, from captain of the baseball team in high school, to instructor at Quantico, to head of the Albuquerque office.

He always knew right from wrong. Was that ingrained in his personality, his soul? Or was it because of his parents teaching? His mother, after all, was a lawyer. And Alan had certainly not been afraid to let his son know when he crossed the line, and hand down appropriate punishments.

And, God knows, the role of protector was something Don couldn't avoid. Most big brothers spent a certain amount of time helping their younger siblings. But when you have a geeky little brother like Charlie, who was a virtual magnet for bullies, it was almost a full time job.

So, a strong sense of justice, leadership abilities and an experienced protector of the innocent; all of them qualities that would naturally lean toward law enforcement.

He shook off his thoughts and raised his eyes to Charlie again. His brother was smiling at him, a wise and confident smile, as if he knew, somehow, that Don had finally figured it out. He was seeing Charlie in a way he had never seen him before.

"When did you get so smart?" he asked, feeling more like himself than he had in a long time.

Charlie's smile widened and was filled with affection. "I learned a lot from my big brother."

Don shook his head and brushed his hand through his hair. "I don't know, buddy. Sometimes your big brother can be pretty dense. I can't believe I lost track of all of this. Of my life."

Charlie put a hand on his shoulder. "Don, it's only natural that you would question certain things after we found out Colby . . ." he stopped, still unwilling to use the "s" word. ". . .was arrested."

When Don only nodded, Charlie continued. "I have always believed that when one door closes, another one opens. But, sometimes, Don, we focus so long on the closed door that we don't see the one that opens for us. Colby, your injury, they are closed doors now. Hopefully, this whole mess with Colby will straighten itself out and things will return to normal. Until then, Don, look for the open doors.

Don was about to tease Charlie about which one of his doctorates was in philosophy, when his brother's gaze shifted behind Don, his eyebrows lifting and a small crooked smile appeared. Don turned and saw a tall, stunning woman walking slowly towards them. Her long shapely legs were nicely displayed in a short royal blue skirt that hugged her hips and matched the pattern on her blouse. Her long strawberry blond hair framed her face with careless curls that moved as she walked. As she approached them, she smile.

"Hi." she said in a smooth, liquid voice that made Don glad he was a man.

"Hi." he answered, his eyes crinkling at the corners. He didn't know her name, but there was something familiar about her.

She extended her hand to him and her long graceful fingers tightened slightly around his when he reciprocated. "You don't remember me, do you?"

There was something. He couldn't quite recall, but he had the feeling he had looked into those eyes before. He shook his head slowly, "I'm sorry, I . . ."

"Well, I do look a lot different than the last time we met. Duct tape is not my best look."

Sudden realization hit Don and he searched her face, looking for traces of the terrified woman he had found in Lyndsey Fuller's house.

"Ahhhhh, Chandler Yates." he said, then regretted it as her expression clouded. She shook it off quickly, though.

"I'm Alexandra Perry. I never got a chance to thank you."

He had been in the hospital for a day, shaking off the hot shot Yates had injected into the back of his neck. His team had wrapped up the case while he was out of the office. He had read her statement and interview before he signed off on the paperwork, but with Lyndsey admitting her part in Yates' murder spree, and Yates dead, the case was closed and he never saw her again.

Until now.

"Well," he began, smiling slow and as seductive as he could with his little brother looking on. "You can make up for that now. I'm sure there is some cold beer in the house. We could talk, you know. Get to know each other better. It's more private."

She returned his smile, her full lips enticing and suggestive, and nodded in agreement.

As they walked away, Charlie released the breath he had been holding and sighed with undisguised relief.

The whole day had gone just as he had planned.

"Well, Charles, your endeavor to alleviate your brother's melancholy would appear to have been successful." Larry Fleinhart spoke as he came up behind Charlie, Amita following close behind.

"Wait," Amita said suspiciously. "I knew about the award and the party, but, Charlie, are you telling me that you planned for Don and that woman to . . ."

Charlie shook his head rapidly, waving his hands in a gesture that indicated her assumption was incorrect.

"Nothing that structured, obviously. I'm not a match maker." He allowed himself a self-indulgent smile, though and continued. "But, when I went to the FBI's office to check on some of Don's cases and get some address, her name popped up, and I hoped . . ." He trailed off, suddenly uncertain about his intended results regarding his brother and Miss Alexandra Perry. He realized what he was about to say did indeed sound like he was a match maker; or worse.

Quickly throwing off that thought, Charlie smiled and turned to Larry and Amita. "A very wise old Jewish philosopher, who happens to live with me, once said, 'The way to a man's heart is not, as some would say, through his stomach. There is nothing like the attentions of a pretty woman to make a man feel better.'" Charlie looked at his friends and raised one eyebrow, then with a lopsided grin he said, "It works every time."


One month later

"Hey, Dad! Charlie!" Don called out as he entered his brother's house. He had left the FBI office early, hoping to catch them before they had supper.

"Donnie!" Alan came out of the kitchen, wiping his hands on a towel. "I didn't expect to see you tonight. Never mind, I made extra stew, just in case. Charlie should be home any minute and . . ."

Don put a hand out to stop his father. "No. That's alright, Dad. As a matter of fact, I . . ."

Don, himself, was interrupted, then, when Charlie breezed through the doorway, depositing his briefcase on the large round table in the hallway.

"Hey, Don. How's it going?"

"Hey, buddy. I'm glad you're home. I need to talk to you and Dad."

"What's wrong?" Alan asked quickly, studying his oldest son's face. "I knew you went back to work too soon. Are you alright?"

"Yeah, Dad. I'm fine. Come over here. Sit down, will ya?" Don put his hand on his father's shoulder and guided him to the sofa. Charlie followed close behind.

Don paced briefly, then stopped in front of them. "You guys know how much I appreciate what all you've done for me the last couple of months, right? I mean, I have told you so, haven't I?"

Charlie smiled and Alan visibly relaxed, his shoulders losing their tension and he slumped forward slightly. He smiled as well. "Is that all? Yes, Donnie. You don't have to say anything. We know."

Charlie, still smiling, knew this was hard for his brother. Don's "attitude" was not generally "gratitude."

"No, you're wrong, Dad." Don protested. "I do have to say something. And, I thought maybe, this is the best way."

He reached into his jacket and withdrew two small folders. He turned them over, quickly scanned the names printed on the front of each one, then handed the appropriate one to his father and Charlie.

At first, both of them registered puzzlement. Charlie, being the genius, recognized what he was holding an instant before his father. His eyes widened and his mouth opened, but Alan was the first one to actually speak.

Sort of.

"Don. This . . . It's too . . . You can't . . ."

Don's eyes crinkled with amusement at his usually articulate father. "No, it's not and yes, I can."

"But, Don," Charlie tried, his voice squeaky and uneven, "these are tickets for a two week cruise."

"I know what they are, Charlie." he answered dryly, with just a touch of, and they say you're a genius, sarcasm in his voice.

Alan cleared his throat, shook his head, and tried again. "No, Donnie. You don't have to do this. It's not necessary to . . ."

"Dad, I know it's not necessary. It's something I want to do. I know I am not the easiest person to take care of, or even be around, when I'm not feeling great, and I suspect there were times you wanted to throw me out on my ass." He kept talking, even though Alan and Charlie exchanged looks that confirmed the truth of his remarks. "I just thought, now that I'm back to work and everything, maybe two weeks away from all of this was just what you two needed."

"Even so, Don." Alan started, then stopped as his eyes focused on something on the tickets. "Don! These are for Friday! Two days from now. I can't . . ."

Charlie jumped in. "I can't just leave, Don. Not without notice and . . ."

"Stan and I have a consultation next week. It's . . ."

"I have a faculty meeting and Amita needs . . ."

"Whoa, whoa, hold on a second, guys!" Don laughed, holding his hands in the air. "I wasn't alone in this. I had conspirators."

"What?" Alan's and Charlie's voices asked in unison.

"Dad," he began, "Stan has already rescheduled the meeting with those guys from the apartment project and he says he can handle the other deals just fine. In fact, I think he was a little insulted that you wouldn't think he could. And, Charlie, Millie has all your classes covered. Professor Pennington will take notes for you at the meeting, your office hours will be covered by, uh, Professor Daniels, I think, and," he paused, a twinkle in his eyes, and he nodded at the tickets in his brother's hand. "Amita is just fine with this. Trust me."

Charlie looked down again, and when he found the second set of tickets in his folder with Amita's name on them, he gasped. Alan, puzzled, looked at his tickets also, and was stunned to see Mildred Finch's name.

"Don." Alan's voice took on the stern, no nonsense tenor both his sons had experienced many times in their life. "This is ridiculous. You can't afford this. I won't permit it."

Don laid a soothing hand on his father's shoulder. He spoke quietly, with sincere conviction.

"I've discovered something the last two months, Dad. It's not just the medicine, the therapy, or even rest and the right food that leads to complete healing. It's love. Loves cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. We're the lucky ones, Dad. We have it both ways."

He smiled again. "Now, if you two can pull yourselves together," he said, turning his wrist and looking at his watch. "I have reservations at Burke's Steakhouse in 30 minutes. Millie, Amita and Larry will meet us there, and Megan and David will be there by 6."

"Burke's! But, Don, that's so expensive and I already have stew. . ." Alan stopped at the affectionate warning look on his son's face.

Don encircled his father's shoulder with his arm and said, "How do they say that, Dad? Steak supper for friends and family – a few hundred dollars. Cruise tickets for loved ones – uh, a couple thousand dollars. Realizing that I was looking at too many closed doors and not seeing the open ones – priceless."

Alan noticed the meaningful glance between his sons. Whatever had happened between the two of them had certainly been good for both of them. Life had returned to normal in the Eppes house.

"Alright." he surrendered. Then with wide eyes and a comical grin, he added, "Wait. I don't have to cook and I don't have to pay? Let me get my jacket."

Charlie approached his brother and laid a hand on his arm. "This is extremely generous of you, Don. But, I don't understand. Why don't you join us on the cruise?"

Before Don could answer, another thought occurred to the professor. "Isn't your team in Virginia the next few weeks for a refresher course in tactical maneuvers?"

When Don nodded, Charlie continued, "Wait, then with Dad and I gone with Millie and Amita, and your team in Virginia, you'll be here alone."

Don Eppes smiled, a slow, eye crinkling smile and answered. "I didn't say I was going to be alone, buddy."

Normally, remarks like that could role off Charlie's head, quantum entanglements not being his strong suit. It was the strange inflection in his brother's voice that caught his attention, then immediately after that, realization set in.

"Wait a minute. I remember . . . The girl at the party. What was her name? Alexandra?"

Don was still smiling, his eyes bright. "Yeah. Alex." he amended.

"Ooooooh." Charlie cooed, understanding and admiring the implications.

"And you don't have to tell Dad or anything." Don hissed.

"Tell Dad what?" Alan inquired as he returned, shrugging his shoulders to settle his jacket in place.

"Nothing." Don answered quickly. "You ready? Let's go."

Don held the door open and Alan hurried out, followed by Charlie. As Don closed the door behind him, a childish, sing song voice could be heard in the driveway, quietly chanting, "Donnie's got a girlfriend.

Donnie's got a girlfriend."

"Oh, he is so dead."

The end


You noticed, no doubt, that I left Liz Warner out of this story. Not that I don't like her (I really don't, but she seems to be good for Don, and well, everyone needs to release a little stress now and then, don't they?). But, for the purpose of this story, she just wasn't necessary.

For this story I set Don's birthday in 1970. In the episode "Sabotage", his drivers license stated he was born in 1967, but I read an interview where Nick Falacci said it had been a mistake, because Charlie was born in 1975 (reference the pilot episode where he was nearly 30) and there was suppose to be 5 years difference between them.

Before some of you start screaming, I realize that canon on this show is "iffy" at best. It seems like each episode changes what we had assumed from other episodes.

So, I used 1970, added 18 years to determine he graduated from high school in 1988. Then 4 years of college takes him to 1992. I don't think I have ever heard how long he actually played baseball, but since the FBI requires 3 years of professional work experience, I assumed he played minor league for 3 years. That would put him in Quantico in 1995. That would indicate he has been in the FBI for 12 years.

Then, I actually counted through 61 episodes, all three seasons, to determine how many murderers, terrorists, kidnappers, etc. he had to deal with during that time frame. That was a challenge, because sometimes they were both kidnappers and murderers.

I tried to find a monthly average for each crime I used on the plaque, then multiplied that by 12, to get a yearly amount, then by 12 again to see how many - say - murderers he might have dealt with in his time in the FBI. Counting in his 3 or 4 years in Fugitive Recovery, and the fact that he would not necessarily deal with the same type of cases, I subtracted a small amount.

Then, I basically through it all out the window and randomly selected some numb3rs.

I tried, but ultimately, this is still a work of fiction.