Agent Hayes heard someone scream. He tensed, and pushed the hospital room door open, trying to assess the situation before running in guns blazing- metaphorically or literally. Through the gap, he saw Agent Eppes stagger against Dr. Eppes' bed, clutching at his chest. The nurse was holding a syringe, and saying something he couldn't quite hear. In the time it took him to open the door and cross the room, Agent Eppes had already collapsed.

He leveled his gun at the nurse, hoping that he wouldn't have to try to shoot her. He wasn't at all sure he could miss all this equipment and both wounded. All three wounded, if Eppes was down.

As it turned out, he didn't have to. Agent Reeves pulled aside the curtains surrounding her bed, holding a service revolver in her good hand. Without saying anything, she simply shot the other woman in the knee. Reeves viciously kicked the syringe out of her hand, and the woman screamed, holding her hand. She turned, taking in the sight of Eppes lying on the floor. "Aw, hell," she said, and punched the call button. "Get someone in here!" she shouted to Hayes, looking up. He opened the door. "We need help in here! he shouted. Man down!"

When he turned back to the room, he saw the fake nurse moving weakly towards something he couldn't see. "Reeves!" he called, pointing. She'd been checking Agent Eppes. There was a frantic look on her face as she tried to find a pulse. She didn't seem to be having much luck.

Agent Reeves looked over at the nurse. She punched the woman's injured knee once. The woman screamed and stopped moving. Reeves snarled at her. "A wound for a wound, right? Stay down, or, so help me god, I will shoot you in the head." She turned back to him briefly.

Hayes was already on Agent Eppes. No pulse. He tossed his cuffs to Reeves and started chest compressions. He could hear movement above him, but he ignored it. "Don?" he heard a voice call. "Donnie? Oh, god, Donnie?" The voice was frantic, but he ignored it and focused on trying to get Agent Eppes' heart going again.

It was only moments later that a crowd of nurses and doctors flooded into the room, followed by a bunch of LAPD officers.


Charlie and Megan's room was a madhouse when David, Colby and Amita arrived. David pushed through, holding up his badge. The first thing he noticed was Charlie, skin shock-white and eyes wild, screaming and trying to get free of his hospital bed. Two nurses were trying to hold him down. Charlie's bed had been pushed to one side, and there was a swarm of medical personnel in the middle.

The second thing he noticed was Don, on the ground in the middle of that swarm. David just barely caught a glimpse of him, but he could see that they had Don's shirt open, and that he was unconscious. He swore under his breath.

The third thing he noticed was the sound of someone laughing hysterically. In the middle of a second swarm, he saw Dr. Evelyn Coleman, lying in a pool of blood. "I got you, Eppes!" she screamed, still laughing. "The universe cries out for balance, Eppes! You saved your brother, so it took you!"

Charlie suddenly slumped, sobbing, back onto his bed. David assumed that whatever tranq they'd given him had finally taken effect. The nurses looked at each other, sighing their relief, and proceeded to check to make sure that Charlie hadn't hurt himself struggling.

The fourth thing he noticed was Megan, off to the side of the room, sitting, leaning against the wall. There was a gun in her hand, and blood on her legs and hospital gown. He hurried to her side. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Amita going to Charlie and Colby joining another agent guarding over Coleman. Kneeling down, he checked Megan quickly for additional wounds.

"It's not mine," she told him, referring to the blood. "All hers. Don's screaming woke me up, and then I found his gun on the floor next to my bed."

"What happened?" he said. She looked a little shocky. He took her wrist, checking her pulse and her skin temperature.

"I'm alright," she said, drily, taking note of what he was doing. "Just really, really tired. I'm not sure what really happened. I was asleep, and then Don was screaming. I guess she'd managed to inject him with whatever was in that syringe already, and she was talking about that 'justice' stuff again, and she was about to inject Charlie with a syringe. I knew it was her, so I picked up Don's gun and shot her in the knee. I knew he'd be pissed if I let her get away. And then I saw that he was down, with his heart stopped." She closed her eyes. "Hayes there had to do CPR," she pointed at the other agent over by Coleman. "It took them forever to get him started again, but they finally did. Poor Charlie just flipped out, when they couldn't get him going at first. I tried to help, but after he punched me, the nurses told me to keep out of the way."

"Yeah, well," David said, smiling at her, "I think you did enough." He looked around the room. They seemed to be working on transporting Don and Coleman elsewhere. "We'll take it from here, okay?"


"She was a philosophy professor at CalSci," Colby said, wryly. "She had a history of some pretty serious mental illness, and we think she just snapped when her brother died. They found all kinds of weird stuff in her apartment: clippings about Don and Charlie the team, plans for the attacks. Pages and pages of handwritten ranting about balance and justice and the law. Plus, a disturbing quantity of rope. I'm not sure what that was about."

He was sitting next to Charlie's bed. Megan was sitting in a chair next to him, and Amita was sitting on the bed, curled up next to Charlie, her hands running through his hair.

"She had concentrated potassium chloride in the syringes," he continued. "That stuff hurts like a bitch." He shuddered. He would know. "And it took something like 45 seconds to stop Don's heart. Him and Charlie are both pretty lucky that you're such a good shot, Megan."

"He's right, Megan," Charlie said, shakily. He was officially stable, but still pretty weak. "I'm really sorry I hit you, back there."

"It's okay, Charlie," Megan said, gently. "Between the painkillers, and Don- you weren't yourself. Besides-" she grinned at him. "It's not like it hurt. You hit like a girl, Dr. Eppes."

"Hey-" he protested, but Amita kissed him fondly, and then he wasn't thinking about Megan anymore. He heard laughter from the others. He ignored it.


Don came awake feeling as though he'd just been hit in the chest with a truck. He groaned, opening his eyes. The first thing he saw was Charlie, lying in a hospital bed, looking at him intently. Why was Charlie lying in a hospital bed?

Suddenly, it came rushing back. Charlie, in surgery. A pool of blood. Megan, and a woman in a hoodie and mask. A syringe, about to plunge into Charlie's naked chest. "Are you okay, Chuck?" he croaked. "You're okay, right?"

Charlie laughed. "You're the one who almost died just now, Don," He said, quietly. "And don't call me Chuck."

"You must be okay, then," Don said, laughing weakly.

"Well, I still got shot twice," Charlie complained. "And they're still making me blow in the hose. I asked them if you'd get to do the hose thing too, but they said not. I told them it wasn't fair, but they didn't listen to me."

"Did they get her?" Don asked. "She was going to- with the syringe-" Don stopped for a moment. "I couldn't stop her-"

"Megan shot her," Charlie told him. "You woke her up, and she found your gun, and she shot her in the knee and then sat on her."

"Megan," Don said, thoughtfully, "is a badass."

"It's true," Charlie said. After a moment, he spoke again. "I don't know exactly what happened back there, Don, but-" he ground to a halt, as if he wasn't sure what words should come next.

"Just doing my job, Buddy," Don said. "Do you think Kendra will be coming back?" he asked, grinning. "I might need my vitals checked."

Charlie rolled his eyes. "Nope," he said. "It'll be just me and Kendra, while you get to go home with dad and eat green gelatin."

Don laughed, and it made his ribs hurt. "God, it's good to see you," he said. "There was a moment there, when I thought- maybe-"

"Me too," Charlie said, quietly. "But I knew you'd come through for me. I just wish you could have managed to break fewer ribs doing it."

Don smiled. "I'm going to agree with you on that one, Chuck," he said.


A/N: Well, there's that monkey off my back. I hope you've enjoyed it!

I don't know how much more Numb3rs fiction I'm going to write- it seems to require me to know all kinds of things about law enforcement and mathematics and medicine that I don't know. Hopefully I haven't buggered any of that stuff up too badly at any point in this first foray. It's been fun writing this, though, and I've been glad to see that others have found it entertaining as well.