Numb3rs - Identity Crisis

Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.

A/N: My own version of an amnesia fic, from a different POV.

-10011-1-10010-1-1000-

She sighed as she unlocked the car and climbed into the driver's seat. She adjusted the position of her holster and other equipment strapped to her belt in order to make herself a little more comfortable. Another day, another job involving someone with an undiagnosed and unacknowledged mental illness. Actually today she'd had two such jobs, one after the other. They never told her it would be like this back at the LA Police Academy. A few hours training and police were expected to be able to solve mental health issues. It was just plain frustrating, trying to help people with only a little more training than the average citizen. But it was the job so she always tried her best.

"Dispatch, this is 260."

"260."

"Dispatch, confirm the code on that last. Mr Morell was having trouble with the voices again. No likelihood to harm himself or others and he has agreed to keep the arguing down." He was arguing with himself, all alone in his unit. He'd told her that the voices wanted to watch Dr Phil while he wanted to watch Oprah. She closed her eyes briefly, neither program particularly appealed to her. She'd managed to convince Morell to keep his arguing to a minimum by suggesting he compromise and watch both, he had picture-in-picture capability on his television anyway.

"Received 260. Have another job when ready."

For a moment she wondered what would happen if she said she wasn't ready. "Go details."

"Attend the corner of Virginia Road and Mill Lane, Pasadena. Informant has located a male person who appears confused wandering around in Lacy Park."

"260 received and proceeding."

And that makes three in a row, she thought in resignation. Of course it could just as easily be a drugged out college kid or an assault victim but the way her luck had run today she just knew it was either someone off their meds or an escaped mental patient.

It took five minutes to negotiate her way through the busy traffic and turn into St Albans. This was a nice area of Los Angeles, large house blocks with nice green gardens. She revised the option of a drugged out college kid, that was less likely in this area even though the university wasn't too far away.

She rolled to a stop near the tennis courts responding to the waved arm of an older man in white tennis clothes. Standing next to him was a younger man, clearly the one she was here for. She booked off with dispatch before climbing out of her black-and-white.

"Good morning, I'm Sarah Landers." She introduced herself as she approached. She stopped a prudent distance away as she quickly looked both men over, a habit that was ingrained and instinctive. Seeing no weapons she relaxed just slightly. No telling where this was going to go just yet.

"Mark Flynn, Officer." The older man stepped forwards, tugging the second man with him. "Found him hanging around the tennis courts watching my wife and I playing. I went to tell him to go somewhere else as he was starting to annoy us but I think there is something wrong with him."

"Okay, Mr Flynn." She turned to have a closer look at the man in question. He was somewhere around thirty years old, dark hair, tall, slender and in good physical health. He was wearing dark jeans and a black t-shirt. Not bad looking, the unbidden thought raced through her mind. She forced her mind to remain professional. The man was looking at her with mild interest but soon looked away and scanned the nearby area as if he was trying to find something. Didn't look too confused to her. "Sir, can you tell me your name?"

Dark brown eyes turned and regarded her. "Morning, Officer. My name is, my name is…" The brown eyes suddenly became panicked. "I can't remember! What's my name? Can you help me? You, …I, … Where am I?"

"Sir, sir. Calm down." She soothed. She revised her assessment, yeah, he was confused. "Sir, my name is Sarah and I'm here to help you, okay?"

The man calmed, taking in her distinctive LAPD uniform and the black-and-white behind her. "You're a police officer. You can help me. Please? I don't know where I am."

"Do you know what city this is?"

"Los Angeles?" It was a definite question, he really wasn't sure.

"That's right. Is there anything in your pockets?"

The man patted at his jeans pockets but came up empty. There were no telltale bulges indicating a wallet or cell phone.

"Sir, do you mind if I give you a quick search?"

"No, not at all. I understand." He raised his arms away from his sides and stood perfectly still as she approached and started patting him down.

Sarah noted the man's actions, he seemed totally comfortable dealing with her and had adopted a classic pose making it easy for her to conduct the search. Either he watched too much television or he was known to police. That could be good or bad. She'd found nothing so far and moved around behind him to check the rear of his waistband and back pockets. This was when she found the injury, a nasty gash to the back of his head. It had bled down the back of his neck and blood was soaked into the black t-shirt. The wound was no longer actively bleeding indicating that it had happened a while ago. That changed things and she revised her initial assessment.

She walked back around to face him again. "Sir, do you know how you got injured?"

"Injured? I'm hurt? Where?" The panic threatened to resurface.

"Calm down. Looks like you've had a knock to the head. You don't remember that?"

A hand came up and started feeling through his hair. His questing fingers encountered the gash and he pulled his fingers back to look at the blood. "I have no idea how that happened."

"Alright, I'm going to call the paramedics for you. How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Three."

"Any blurred or double vision?"

"No. Got a headache though."

"I don't doubt it." She allowed. He obviously retained a sense of humour. "Any allergies?"

"I, I have no idea." He said after a moment's consideration.

"Give me a minute." Sarah turned away slightly as he went back to contemplating his bloodied fingers and activated her radio handset. "260 to dispatch."

"Dispatch."

"Can I have paramedics to my location. I have a male in his thirties with a head injury and apparent amnesia. No ID."

"What is the patient's level of consciousness?"

"Male is fully conscious and responsive."

"Stand-by."

She turned back to the informant. "Mr Flynn, did you see anyone else hanging around the tennis courts this morning?"

"No, Officer. Just him."

"Did you see how he got there?"

Flynn shook his head. "I just looked up and he was there. We played on but he just kept hanging around which was starting to give Michelle the willies. Look, can I go now? My wife is waiting for me."

The informant's details were recorded and he was allowed to go on his way. At that point dispatch called back. Sarah pressed the transmit button. "260, go."

"260, paramedics report they will be delayed in response. Are you able to transport the male to hospital?"

"Received. Stand-by for speedo." Her next words were directed at the man. "Sir, it looks like I'll be taking you up to the hospital."

"Okay." He said, seeming calmer now that someone was taking control to help him.

She opened the back door and helped him climb into the back seat. He may not be an obvious offender but no way was he riding in the front with her. Again she noted the lack of complaint, most non-offenders took umbrage at riding in the back like a criminal. He took it like an everyday thing. Still, he had not shown any indication of aggression or non-compliance. He had a head injury which explained his apparent amnesia. She wouldn't lower her guard around him but until proven otherwise he was a citizen in need of help.

Once he was seated and had buckled up she radioed in and gave the odometer reading before pulling away from the curb. "If you see anything that looks familiar you tell me, okay?" She called through the mesh.

"Yes, Officer. Thank-you."

Twenty minutes later they pulled into a parking bay at the top of the emergency ramp at the hospital. The ambulance spaces were full, confirming that it was a busy day. After helping the man out of the car they went in through the entrance, her code opening the sealed doors. She approached the desk and introduced herself then stopped; she had no name for the man. Oh well, the classic would have to do. "I have a John Doe here, head injury and amnesia."

"Take him to twenty-four." The nurse said after consulting the whiteboard. She filled in the blank space with a dry erase marker. The nurse glanced around at the barely controlled bedlam that was the ER. "You know where the coffee is."

Sarah knew exactly what the nurse meant. She was here for some time yet. Until John Doe was identified she would have to stay with him. "How long?"

"Probably about two hours." The nurse sat back down. "You haven't got anything else planned for your day have you?"

"Nah. I live for this." Sarah replied. They both understood each other.

She directed her charge to the indicated curtained exam room and sat him on the bed. She went to the phone mounted on the wall opposite, leaving the curtain open, and called into dispatch. After explaining the delay she helped herself to the coffee pot located behind the desk a short distance away, all the while watching her newly named John Doe.

"May as well make yourself comfortable, John." She said as she pulled the curtain to when she returned. "We're going to be here a while before the Doctor can see you."

"My name's not John." He said firmly.

"Oh?"

"It starts with 'D' I think."

"'D'? Like 'David' or something?"

He frowned and thought that over. "I know a David. But that's not my name." He said slowly. "I think it's something like Dan?"

"Dan?"

"Yeah, something like that. Sounds like me."

"Okay, Dan it is." Maybe she would get an ID sooner rather than later.

A nurse hurried in and did some basic observations to determine whether or not Dan's head injury bumped him up the order of patients to be seen. The nurse seemed relatively happy with the results and gave Sarah a sympathetic look as he left. She settled down to wait.

-1100-1-10000-100-

Three and a half hours later Sarah was pulling into the parking lot at the station. Dan had not recovered any more of his memory and the Doctor had released him. After a scan and cleaning up the wound he'd stated there was nothing more they could do for him there. She was to monitor him and call paramedics if his condition suddenly went south but other than that he was all hers. At least now back at the station she could get him printed and run him through AFIS. Hopefully he was in the system. Although it would be a shame if he turned out to be an offender, she added to herself.

Dan went through the metal detector without a hitch as she went through the bypass. He followed her directions to the fingerprint room and ten minutes later he was washing the ink off his hands. They were nice hands, she'd noted during the printing process. She kept her unprofessional thoughts to herself watching as he finished and dried off. After dropping the prints into the technician and requesting a rush on the checks Sarah took him up to the dayroom. Finding an unoccupied desk and interview chair she got him seated.

"I have to see my sergeant. Do you want something to drink?" Sarah hadn't given him anything at the hospital whilst waiting for the doctor, they tended to get upset if they decided they wanted to do a procedure but had to delay because the patient had been given fluids.

"Um, coffee?"

"Sure." It was a typical dayroom, along with the assorted odours associated with police work there was the ever present coffee smell wafting through the office. Pouring him a cup she spied the sergeant as he approached from across the room.

"That's your John Doe?" Sergeant Travis asked.

"He thinks his name is Dan." She answered the Shift Supervisor.

"Dan? Nothing else?"

"No. I've just printed him and they're putting a rush on AFIS for me. I'm just about to look over the missing person reports and occurrence logs in case there is something in there."

Travis nodded. "Good luck."

"Yeah." Usually such checks were long and fruitless but it was part of the process and you just never knew. She was pinning her hopes on AFIS, but not everyone was recorded. If that failed the techs would expand their search into other print databases but that just added to the timeframe.

"If you don't have any luck let me know and we'll get Police Media to put his photo out on the news."

"Will do." She headed back over to the desk where she'd parked Dan, gave him his coffee and fired up the computer.

Sarah finished the occurrence logs, no reports of prowlers or suspicious persons matching Dan's description in the Pasadena area for the last twenty-four hours. Logging in to the missing persons database she was just starting her search when there was a disturbance nearby.

"Get off me!" A male voice yelled. "Don't touch me."

Sarah and her charge looked over to see an agitated young man standing beside one of the other desks. An officer was beside him and it looked like the man had jerked his arm out of the officer's hand.

"Then sit down." The officer ordered.

"No. I'm sick of this, every time something happens you lot blame me." The man argued. "I've done nothing wrong."

The officer grabbed at the man's arm and tried to push him down into the chair. "Sit down!"

"Leave me alone." The man flicked his arm free and pushed the officer in the chest.

Not a good move, Sarah thought. She started to her feet as the officer moved in. A second officer, much closer than she was, leapt in to help the first officer a moment later. It was rapidly descending into a brawl, the offender's arms flailing around as the officers attempted to restrain him. One officer got his handcuffs out but a flying arm knocked them away to land on another desk. The other officer started to drag out his cuffs but then it went pear-shaped in a big way.

They were in a grapple when the young man made a sudden move and shoved one of the officers. Sarah was only a few yards away when she, along with the other officers heading in to help froze. The officer that had been shoved away had gone down hard after hitting the corner of a desk and wasn't moving. The other was backing away lifting his hands, his holster empty. The young man had somehow taken his weapon and was now waving it around pointing at each officer in turn.

"No one draw! No one draw or I start shooting!" The offender ordered.

"No one is going to do anything stupid." Sergeant Travis said calmly. He stopped a short distance away and made a quick motion with his hand indicating that the officers should hold positions. Hands were on holstered weapons but the weapons remained secured. "What's your name, son?"

"You know my name." He shouted.

"Tony Ferguson." The disarmed officer supplied.

"Why are you here Tony?" Travis asked.

"They brought me here." The gun was waved wildly at the original two officers. "I've done nothing wrong. This is police harassment. I want to make a complaint."

The sergeant's eyebrows rose. "Son, this is not the way to make a complaint. Give up the gun."

"No! I want out of here."

"Hey dude, so do I."

Sarah turned sharply to see her John Doe, Dan, moving up and speaking to Tony. "Dan, go back to the chair." She ordered. He was her responsibility.

"Shut up. I done nothing wrong either." Dan snapped. "You lot just keep picking on people and expect to get away with it. Right, dude?"

"Yeah, man." Tony agreed. He allowed Dan to move through the semi-circle of cops.

"You took the pig down hard, dude." Dan said his tone full of admiration as he stood over the unconscious officer.

"Heh, liked that huh?"

"Oh, yeah." Dan said.

Sarah watched with a degree of shock as Dan bent over the unconscious officer reaching for the man's holstered firearm. This seemed totally out of character for what she'd seen so far from the amnesiac. With Tony waving his stolen weapon around in agitation there was nothing that any of the officers could do to stop Dan.

"You don't want to get involved in this, Dan." Sergeant Travis warned. "Back away."

"I want out too." Dan repeated as he pushed the release and pulled the officer's gun from the holster. Dan pulled the slide back slightly checking for a round in the breech. He handled the weapon like he knew what he was doing. Tony made no move to stop him, seemingly accepting that he had an ally, a fellow felon backing his play.

A rookie cop suddenly reacted starting to pull his own weapon out. Tony turned away from his new ally and started to yell something when a voice interrupted.

"FBI, freeze!"

Sarah's jaw dropped open as she saw Dan place his purloined weapon against the back of Tony's head. Time froze as everyone held their collective breaths. Tony started to turn but Dan jabbed the weapon forward.

"Drop the gun, now." The authoritative tone was absolute.

It was over in seconds. Tony dropped the gun and was ordered to the floor. No one else moved. Sarah looked to the sergeant for guidance and he nodded.

"Dan?" She'd just spent the last few hours with the amnesiac and had the best chance at negotiating with him.

"You can cuff him now." Dan instructed, stepping back slightly but keeping his weapon aimed at the prone man.

Sarah and the sergeant moved forwards slightly. Travis nodded at her again so she continued. "Dan, put the weapon down."

He cast a measuring glance around as if assessing whether or not they would be able to secure Tony quickly enough. Travis had his cuffs out and was ready. Dan backed away another step and slowly put the weapon onto the nearest desk top. He took two steps away and raised his hands, clasping them behind his head. Now everyone moved, Travis and a second officer secured Tony as she snapped her cuffs on an unresisting Dan. Other officers checked on their unconscious colleague.

"Sarge?" She asked wondering just what had happened, the whole 'FBI freeze!' thing.

He tilted his head towards her desk. "Follow it up."

She pulled at Dan's arm and he obediently went with her back to the desk, taking up his seat again.

"Who are you?" She asked.

"I," He started and looked a little bewildered. "I must be FBI?"

"You haven't remembered anything?"

"Not really." He shrugged. "I think I have something to do with the FBI. It's there, something is there but it's just not coming." The confused look returned. "I'm sorry, I just don't know."

"Alright." Sarah opened up a new program on the computer and typed in a query. She reached for the phone and dialled the number displayed on the screen.

"Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office." The operator answered.

"I have an amnesiac male in custody at headquarters." Sarah explained after introducing herself. "I think he might be connected to your office."

"What is his name?"

"All he can remember is that it is something like Dan. Do you have an Agent Dan there?" The officer could hear a computer keyboard being used in the background as she waited.

"We have an Agent Morton Dan. Can you describe the man you have?"

"Brown hair, brown eyes, slim to proportionate build, Caucasian, approximately…"

"No, not Agent Morton Dan. Stand-by." The FBI operator interrupted. After some more typing the operator's voice came back sounding a little doubtful. "I have an Agent Don Eppes who matches that general description."

"Is he there?"

"The system shows he is in the field. Stand-by, I'll attempt to contact him."

The phone was put on hold. She listened impatiently to recorded messages describing how she could identify a terrorist and what she should do if she suspected someone of plotting against the US.

-100-1111-1110-

"Control to 3695."

Special Agent Don Eppes pulled the radio handset off the hook as he drove his surburban down the busy Los Angeles streets. He'd finished up with the last witness on his list and was on his way back to the office. "3695."

"Location and status."

"Clear and returning to the Field Office."

"Inquiry from LAPD. They have an amnesiac male in custody who they believe is possibly an agent. He has given the name of Dan but does not match the description of Agent Dan."

Don now understood why he was being called. He was the next closest agent by name and obviously description, Agent Dan was of African-American descent. Control was now checking to see if the man was him. Obviously it wasn't but someone had to follow it up. "I can attend. Where is the male being held?"

"LAPD headquarters. Show you en-route, 3695."

"3695 out."

He took the next right and eventually pulled up to the security gate at the side of the LAPD building. He displayed his badge and was allowed through after being given directions to a parking space. Don made his way through the officer's entrance and stopped at one of the duty sergeants. "Special Agent Don Eppes, FBI." He announced pulling out his badge.

"Second floor." The sergeant waved at the elevators before continuing. "Officer Landers is expecting you."

Don stepped out of the lift and was met by a young female officer.

"Agent Eppes?" She stuck out her hand. "Sarah Landers."

"Don. My office said that you had a man here claiming to be an FBI agent?"

"Not exactly," She started. "Come with me, perhaps you'll recognise him." She waved her hand in the direction of a desk a short distance away.

Don saw his brother seated at the desk indicated. The professor was looking around the room but Don realised that something was wrong. It looked like Charlie but didn't at the same time. There was a certain blankness to the expression, the lights were on but Charlie wasn't home. It looked like a stranger in Charlie's body. There was also a bandage wrapped around his head like an oversized tennis headband. Don went with the officer over to the desk. Getting closer he saw something he'd never expected to see, Charlie was in handcuffs.

"Get those cuffs off him." Don demanded suddenly angry, were LAPD handcuffing amnesiacs now? That was taking officer safety just a little too far.

"He's FBI?" The officer asked.

"No. He's my brother. Why is he cuffed?"

The female officer explained the events that led up to his being restrained. His anger evaporated as he understood the reason why Charlie had been cuffed. Don felt his mouth quirk upwards into a smile. 'FBI freeze', indeed. Seemed his brother was having a little identity crisis. The whole thing about claiming his name was 'Dan' became clear. Charlie thought he was 'Don the FBI agent'. He was so going to get mileage out of this later. He watched as the officer worked at his brother's hands.

"Charlie, what happened to you?"

"Charlie? My name is Charlie?" His brother was rubbing at his wrists after the cuffs had been removed and was staring at him as he ran the provided name through his head.

"C'mon, buddy." Don said crouching beside the chair. "This will really be something for your Cognitive Emergence Theory."

The professor blinked and suddenly his expression changed, he now looked like Charlie, no longer blank. "Cognitive Emergence Theory? That's my theory."

"What's your name?" Officer Landers interrupted.

Charlie looked up at her and smiled in relief, he could answer this now. "My name is Charles Edward Eppes."

Landers scribbled that down on a pad. "Who is this?" She waved her hand towards the FBI agent.

"That's Don, my brother. He's FBI."

"Are you FBI?"

The younger man shook his head. "I teach math. I'm a Professor of Math at CalSci."

"Yes, Charlie." Don was relieved as he stood back up. Sometimes, if one was very lucky it just worked like that, give the amnesiac a key and memory could be unlocked that quickly. He rested his hand on his brother's shoulder. "You also consult for me at the FBI, don't forget that."

"Professor Eppes, do you have any idea how you came to be wandering around Lacy Park this morning?"

His brow furrowed as he struggled to remember. "I was in my office grading mid-terms. I wanted to go for a walk, yes that's it, a walk. I remember leaving the office and …" He trailed off, closing his eyes and moving a hand around as if it would help. He looked up at the officer. "I remember the hospital, we were there a long time. Then everything since then but I don't remember leaving the math building."

"That's fine, the doctor said that you might not remember exactly what happened to cause you to loose your memory." Sarah explained. "Do you remember if you took anything with you from the office? Your cell phone or wallet perhaps?"

"I don't know. I normally have my wallet, but I'm not sure."

"He's been known to leave them behind before." Don supplied helpfully. That earned him a familiar look from the younger man. The look of a younger brother used to being teased by the elder. Charlie was back.

The phone on the desk rang and Don waited while the officer took the call.

"Yeah, that's the name he just gave me. … What's that? The NSA?" She said in surprise. Her attention focussed on the ex-amnesiac whilst she listened. "What kind of flag? … Oh, okay. … No, no I don't think that will be necessary, I have the FBI here. … Yeah, thanks."

"Problems?" Don asked.

"He's flagged by the NSA. If his prints are run we are supposed to call them. I thought that since you are here, being FBI and all that, you could call them."

Don looked at his brother. Charlie's prints were in the system for the same reason as Don's; it was part of the process of gaining a security clearance. But he hadn't really ever suspected that his brother would be flagged like this. Then again, considering the top secret consultation work he did for them it kind of made sense.

"They'll be trying to call me." Charlie said.

Don pulled his cell from his pocket and was about to hand it over to his brother when it rang. Startled he nearly dropped it but recovered quickly and put it to his ear. "Eppes."

"This is Agent Trudeaux, NSA. I don't wish to alarm you Agent Eppes, but the LAPD have just run your brother's prints and we are currently unable to raise him." The male voice was firm and straight to the point.

"It's alright." Don interrupted before Trudeaux could continue. "I'm right here with him. He appears to have suffered a head injury which led to temporary amnesia. LAPD found him and were in the process of trying to identify him. He's recovered from the amnesia and, hey, how about I just put him on. Okay?" Don handed the phone over.

"Charlie Eppes." Charlie announced and listened for a few moments. "Oh, okay. Alpha-seven-six-nine-two-seven-one-eight. … Thanks, Agent Trudeaux. … No, I'll be fine, Don's here. … Yes, I'll call tomorrow." He hung up and handed the cell back.

"Well?" Don asked, one eyebrow raised at the whole secret agent code thing that he'd just heard his brother use. "Are you, you?"

"I'm me, Don."

"Yeah, well I want you to be sure about that, Agent Dan."

"I can explain," Charlie started.

Don grinned, yep, Charlie was back. And the mileage had only just started, there was so much more he could get out of this. He turned away. "Officer Landers, we good to go?"

"Sure, Agent Eppes." Sarah nodded. "We'll make a few inquiries and see what we come up with as to how he came to be injured. That is unless you…?"

"No. This is your area. Let me know what you find though, okay?" Don could have stepped in and taken over the investigation on the strength of that invitation but this was the LAPD's case. They had the jurisdiction on this unless something untoward came up.

-1000-1111-1101-101-

A couple of hours later they were relaxing at Charlie's. Don had taken him to their family doctor for another check up, much against Charlie's wishes. After Don pulled rank as the 'senior agent' however the former Agent Dan had given in and submitted.

Officer Landers called from the LAPD. They'd tracked down a witness who'd seen Charlie walking away from CalSci before slipping on a wet concrete path. Charlie had gone down, striking his head on the curb. The witness had approached him but he'd gotten up and said he was fine before walking away. The witness had been reluctant to involve himself further and had turned away when he'd seen a young male run in from nowhere and pick something up. Charlie's wallet. The witness had called out to Charlie but the professor had continued on his way and again the witness was reluctant to get any further involved.

That explained the wound and the missing wallet. The phone was nothing as exciting, Don had solved that earlier by ducking over to Charlie's office after delivering him home to Alan and finding the cell sitting on his brother's desk.

After initially fussing over Charlie, Alan had since retired to the kitchen to cook dinner. The smells emanating from that direction indicated that their father was trying to outdo himself.

"Some agent you turned out to be, huh?" Don said as they sat together on the couch. The news was on but the volume was down low in deference to Charlie's headache. "Slipping on concrete, losing your wallet and not having your cell with you."

"Oh, come on Don. Give it a rest."

"Nah, man. This is important stuff." Don teased. He sobered and eyed Charlie speculatively. "Seriously though bro', that was some brave move you pulled off back at LAPD. I'd never have thought you'd have that in you."

"I didn't." Charlie said eying him back. "I was you, remember?"

END