What's Important in Life



Rating: PG-13

Warning(s): Angst, H/C, Language.

Disclaimer: I don't own Numb3rs.

Summary: 13 years, 2 brothers, 1 bullet, 1 argument and 1 choice.


Chapter One: Kidnapped.

Eighteen year old Don Eppes yawned as he laid back on the couch, once again and turned his attention to the ongoing baseball game on tv.

The scores were tied, and the batter was just coming up to the plate.

'Come on, come on, hit it, hit it!' Don thought, as he practically willed the batter to hit the ball.

However, just as the pitcher threw the ball, the front door banged open, allowing his younger brother's voice to filter in, quiet loudly, causing Don to jump and look over.

Hearing the crowds cheering on tv, Don looked over and saw the batter slowly jogging his way around the bases, a home run quite evident.

With a snarl on his face, Don rose up and went up the stairs, following Charlie to his bedroom.

When Charlie entered the room, Don stepped in and shoved his brother, sending Charlie sliding in to the far wall.

"Ow!" Fifteen year old Charlie replied as he picked himself up off the ground, rubbing his arm.

"What was that for?"

"What was that for?!" Don echoed, "You caused me to miss the most perfect home run of the season!"

"You didn't have to look up!" Charlie countered.

Almost then, he shut his mouth, seeing the steam escaping from his brother's ears.

Stomping over to his brother, Don raised his fist and brought it crashing down at the base of his brother's neck, causing Charlie to cry out in pain before he collapsed on to the floor.

"Charlie…Don, stop fighting!" Their mother's voice drifted up to them from the kitchen.

Hearing that, Don backed away and left, but not before saying, "Just try to stay out of my way today….you just try it!"


After two hours, Charlie slowly came down the stairs and entered the kitchen, but he didn't stop there; he went to the back door and opened it, before going outside, heading for the koi pond.

Arriving at the pond, Charlie sat down at the edge and watched the different fish swim around.

As he watched them, small tears came to his eyes and rolled down his cheeks.

He could still feel the wallop that Don had given him, and all the harsh words that Don had spoken to him were now running through his mind, making him feel even worse.

Knowing that he couldn't swim all that well, Charlie contemplated throwing himself in to the pond and letting the water do the dirty work, but he nixed that idea as the one other time he had tried to commit suicide, came to his mind.

He had been five years old and had accidentally knocked over Don's favorite baseball lamp, completely shattering it.

After getting yelled at, and receiving his first slap across the face, Charlie had felt awful.

He had knelt down and grabbed the biggest shard of glass and plunged it in to his small chest without a single thought.

Luckly, his father and mother had entered the room moments later to clean up the mess.

But, that had saved his life, because immediately Margaret dropped the broom and dustpan and ran over to her youngest son, while Alan ran out to bring the car out of the garage.

Their speed in getting Charlie to the hospital, not to mention Charlie's age, was what saved his life that day.

Now, knowing that his mother was close by, probably watching him from the kitchen window, Charlie wasn't going to give her a reason to worry.

Sighing, Charlie wiped the tears from his face as he thought about what to do.

As he sat there, trying to block out Don's voice, the memories kept assaulting him.

'You little bastard! Never use my stuff without permission!' That had earned Charlie a punch in the back.

'It's my turn, you little bitch! Go up to your room!' That had earned Charlie to be thrown to the floor, but it had also caused Don to be grounded as well.

'I don't ever want to see you, and I don't ever want to know you! It would have been better if you had never been born!' Don had said that to him just the other day, and Charlie had been in his room the rest of that day, crying his eyes out.

"Hey Charlie!"

Turning his head, Charlie watched his father come outside.

"Do you want to go shopping with me? Just the two of us?" Alan asked.

Charlie thought about the offer, as different ideas filled his head, and before he knew it, he found himself nodding his head and rising up, following his father out to the car.


"What do ya know…its raining." Alan Eppes remarked as he flicked on the windshield wipers.

Raising his dark hair, Charlie looked at the windshield and watched the wipers scrape the droplets off, as more droplets just took there place.

"You've been awfully quiet this whole trip, Charlie. What's on your mind?" Alan asked, looking at his son.

Shaking his head, Charlie said, "It's nothin' dad."

"Alright, just…I'll listen…if you want to talk." Alan replied.

Nodding his head, Charlie turned back and stared out the window.

It was true, his father was always there if Charlie wanted to talk, but most times he didn't, he just wanted to keep what he was feeling, bottled up inside.

That's what everybody did, right?

By the time Alan arrived at the hardware store to get the first round of shopping done, it was pouring down rain.

Quickly he and Charlie got out of the truck and jogged to the door, but almost immediately after exiting the truck, Charlie slowed down and looked around.

Seeing no approaching vehicles, Charlie sighed and followed his father in to the store.

Shaking the rain from his hair, Charlie followed his father throughout the store, listening to the squeaking shoes of all the customers as they passed them by.

"Ahhh…here we are." Alan said, turning down isle 11 and grabbing some floor cleaner.

"Floor cleaner? We're getting floor cleaner at a hardware store?" Charlie asked, seeing what was in his father's hands.

"Of course. This is the only store where you can find this, and the contractor said use only this on the kitchen floor." Alan replied as he grabbed four bottles and turned around.

"Anything else?" Charlie asked.

"No, not here. We need to stop at Williams and pick up some groceries, though." Alan replied as he walked towards the register.

When he was half way there though, all hell broke loose when four people in black ski masks entered and started shooting up the place.

They shot all of the checkers and the sackers, and they even shot the managers before spreading throughout the store, scaring the heck out of everyone and stealing the money from the customers.

When Charlie first heard the guns, he started shaking, and by the time he saw the gunmen, his knees were practically knocking together with fear.

"Hand over your money pops!" One of the perps said to Alan.

"Over my dead body!" Alan replied confidently as the stared the perp down.

"If you insist!" The perp replied as he pulled the trigger, sending a wave of bullets in to Alan's chest.

Crying out with pain, Alan collapsed to the floor as blood pooled out over his chest and on to the floor.

Leaning over, the perp grabbed Alan's wallet, opened it up and took out what Alan had before stuffing the money in his pocket, and tossing Alan's now empty wallet to the side.

By then, Charlie was practically hyperventilating as he stared down at his father's bloody body.

"Well, well, well…what have we here." The perp said as he looked Charlie over.

The three other perps came around the corner, their pockets filled with cash.

"Come on, we gotta go. The police will be here any minute." A female voice said.

"Just a minute Sandy, just a minute." The perp who had shot Alan, said.

"Jon, look…shoot the kid and lets go!" Sandy said.

"No wait. We can use the kid as leverage…think about it." Jon replied.

"He's got a point Sand." The other perp said.

"Michael!" Sandy said, before she paused and sighed, "Alright…bring him, but at the first sign of trouble, plug him with a few rounds."

Nodding their heads, Jon grabbed Charlie, placing one hand over the boy's mouth and using the other hand to drag him towards and out the back door.

Quickly he shoved Charlie in to the waiting black van before jumping in and slamming the door, as Sandy jumped in to the passenger's front seat.

Then the black van roared off.


Charlie didn't know how long he had been in the van, but a quick glance of his watch told him that he had been traveling for four hours.

"Ha ha ha! That's it! We're out of California!"

Charlie turned his eyes and saw the blond haired, blued eyed Sandy smile as she high-fived the dark haired and dark eyed Michael.

The blond haired, blue eyed and tattoo covered Jon still held his pistol pointed at Charlie.

Swallowing fearfully, Charlie licked his lips before he whispered, "Wha…what are you going to do with me?"

His whisper was so low that Sandy turned her head and asked, "What did you say?"

Licking his lips again, Charlie repeated, "What are you going to do with me?"

"We're gonna keep you for now, boy. And let me make myself clear. You try to run, flag down a police officer or even look at us wrong, and Jon will put a bullet through your skull. You understand?" Sandy said.

Charlie nodded his head before he looked at the gun in Jon's hand.

"So, just behave yourself and you'll be alright kid. Now, just sit back and enjoy the ride." Sandy said, before she turned herself around and settled down in to her seat.