Numb3rs - Cuckoo
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: The cuckoo muse strikes, apologies to Dreambrother but I appear to have stolen your muse…
Don became aware of a presence in the room. He remained still trying to identify what it was by using all his senses other than sight. Nope, had to open his eyes. He cracked his eyes open to slits to see a figure standing by the foot of his bed. An intruder in his apartment, right in his bedroom no less. He tensed his muscles preparing to explode into action. He calculated the exact distance to the nightstand where his gun lay in its holster and then its position relative to the intruder. He suddenly flung the sheet off and leapt towards the nightstand.
"Oh, no you don't!" The figure stated in a female voice. Her fingers snapped and a keyboard appeared in midair. Some very rapid typing followed and the enter key was pressed with a satisfied flourish.
Don was astounded to see his gun and holster vanish from the nightstand just as he reached it. He stopped, hand outstretched, blinking. "Wha-?"
"Sorry, can't have that. You had a problem with the recoil spring assembly and dropped it off at the armourer for repair before you left work, remember?" She snapped her fingers again and the keyboard vanished back into thin-air.
Don looked to the woman, opening his mouth to deny what she'd said but suddenly he did remember. He had handed the weapon in to be inspected. How had she known?
She looked him up and down appreciatively, he was wearing only boxers. "Nice."
Don glanced down at himself, realising his state of undress. He started to grab for the sheet when he remembered why he was awake in the first place. Besides which, he wasn't shy and what he had to hide was sufficiently hidden at the moment anyway. He dropped the sheet and stood his ground. "Who are you and what the hell are you doing in my bedroom?" Sometimes bluster was an effective weapon, especially when his Glock was unavailable.
"Well you can 'just visit' someone else, somewhere else." The ruffled agent snapped.
"I could. But this is much more fun."
He tried to get a good look at the intruder. He could tell she was slim and about his own age but for some reason he just couldn't seem to be able to fix her description into his mind. She was standing right there, but if anyone were to ask him to describe her he would flounder. It made no sense. He was a trained FBI agent, supposedly able to note and memorise small details. But that ability appeared to have abandoned him.
"So why are you visiting me?" Don finally decided to ask. Neither of them had moved, he could see no weapons and for the moment he actually didn't feel threatened. Something else that made no sense, an intruder in his bedroom in the middle of the night should be setting off all his internal alarms but for the moment it wasn't. He was wary but not unduly alarmed.
"I'm not actually sure. It just seemed the thing to do." The woman said finally. Her head tilted to one side slightly and she smiled. "You looked so peaceful there."
"I was asleep." He sounded a little indignant. How long had she been watching?
"Long enough. I didn't intend to wake you. I should have written in a few beers before you went to sleep." She mused.
"Written in?" Now he was confused. He recalled seeing the keyboard. He shook his head. No, he didn't, he told himself firmly. That would mean he was either hallucinating or still dreaming. It sure didn't feel like a dream and he certainly didn't have a fever.
"Yeah. I write and it happens to you. Just like your gun is in being serviced and not on your nightstand."
Don frowned, it was like there was a second memory trying to resurface. His gun had been there, that was what he'd been reaching for and then it wasn't. He shook his head, something very screwy was going on here. Perhaps his cell phone was the way to go, a quick call to someone down at the nearest mental health facility was obviously in order.
"Now, now. No need to get nasty." The woman said. She snapped her fingers and the keyboard appeared again. "I don't want to have to take care of that as well. The cell phone tower nearest here might crash or you might find them carting you away for a seventy-two hour involuntary assessment instead. On the other hand that does have possibilities…" She trailed off her head tilted to one side as she thought that through.
He looked to the faintly luminescent, slightly translucent keyboard suspended under her fingers. It was stubbornly still there despite his denial of its possibility. The threat of a mental health facility suddenly seemed all too real. Much more of this though and he might call them for himself anyway, but not just yet. He lifted his hands slightly. "Alright. No cell phone." He stopped. How had she known his very thoughts?
"They just kinda appear." She said. "I know what you are thinking and what you are going to do at the same time you do."
"Kind of obvious what I was going to do in this scenario." He replied trying to keep up a confident front. Then added silently, seventy-two.
"'Seventy-two' have some special meaning for you?"
Don's jaw dropped. The number had meant nothing, it was just nonsense added to prove that no-one could know what he was thinking. He came to the realisation that she did know his thoughts. Now what?
"I think I should let you get back to sleep. I really didn't mean to wake you. Your reflexes are just too good." Her hands started moving over the keyboard. "Besides which, you need your rest."
He looked at her carefully, for some reason that worried him. "Why?" The word was drawn out as if he were a little hesitant to ask.
"I'm sure I'll think of something." She replied confidently. She typed a little more then hesitated. "That was why I was here, looking for inspiration. Actually, now that I got you, I want you to let you know something. Whatever happens, whatever I do to you or Charlie or anyone else, you will always survive. You will always come out okay."
He'd stiffened at the mention of his brother. The familiar, confident way in which Charlie's name had been spoken indicated that she knew exactly who he was and Don's relationship with him. He'd held back any comment, not sure if what she'd said had been a threat or not.
"No, not a threat." She said, resuming typing. "Just a promise. I want you to remember that. Actually, I suppose I can't. This whole visit will need to be erased but somewhere deep down, I hope you do remember."
He ran his hand through his mussed up hair. This was not making any sense. "Look, just tell me who you are and what you want. Or get out. Either way is good for me."
"How about both?"
"'Both' is even better."
She put the finishing touches on the last few words and stopped, finger poised above the enter key. She pinned his eyes with her own. "My name is ALEO."
Suddenly he knew. He knew exactly who this person was. A lot of things had happened lately putting him and most recently his entire family into danger. Somewhere in the background he had felt a presence, a guiding force behind what was happening to him. The name forged the connection as if he'd always known it. He took a threatening step forward. He stopped himself abruptly, her finger was still hovering over the enter key on her keyboard. Anything could happen if she pressed it.
"Easy, Don. You're still here in one piece and always will be." The finger started to descend. She looked him up and down one last time and sighed. There were so many other possibilities, but not now. "Much though I'm enjoying being here I think this will have to end now. Time to sleep." The finger pressed the key.
Don rolled over and abruptly woke up. He rubbed his eyes before looking at the glowing numbers on the clock beside his bed. In response to a sudden inexplicable feeling of unease he glanced quickly at the nightstand and was comforted by the sight of his Glock nestled safely in its holster. Beside it was his phone. He glanced around his semi-dark bedroom, enough light shone through his window to enable him to see that it was empty. All was as it should be. He rubbed his eyes again before pulling the sheets back up. What a vivid, and weird, dream. He turned away from the clock, it was still the middle of the night and way too early to contemplate getting up. He closed his eyes and soon his breathing deepened as he sank back into a deep sleep.
She sat back in her chair reading the last few words on the screen. He was asleep and none the wiser. Good.
A few clicks of the mouse and another screen opened. Don was about to get into more trouble…
A/N: A bit off the wall but there is no arguing with the cuckoo muse.