Title: Methods of Intolerance
Author: Alice I
Betas: FraidyCat, Serialgal, Oughtaknowbetter, ALEO, dHALL
Spoilers: Robin Hood
Rating: NC 17 for strong content and adult subject matter
Disclaimers: The Numb3rs universe belongs to someone far more clever than me. I'm just playing in thier sandbox. I have no money so don't sue me.
Summary: There are many ways to harbor and show intolerance. Some intolerance manifests itself in narrow mindsets or can even be passed off as tradition while other methods are more openly caustic and even brutal. From the way we, as people, think to the way we act or react can all be classified as various methods of intolerance. This is something that Charlie, Amita and both of their families are about to get a lesson in.
A/N - The first two stories in this series are not necessary background to understand or enjoy this tale but they are referenced. Those first two stories are called 'Faith in Your Partner' and 'Memento Vivere - Remember to Live'
This story was conceived after the remarks that occurred between Charlie and Amita in the episode Robin Hood concerning the differences in their ethnic backgrounds and Amita's father's point of view concerning non Indian men and his daughter.
There is brutality in this story but I assure you that everything that is described within this story is researched fact. This tale is not meant to be disrespectful to the Indian culture, which harbors true beauity, but it's plot does center around the atrocities that are occurring in parts of that country toward women.
The Methods of Intolerance
The day had been long, filled with classes that had nearly doubled in size since his recently published book had made the New York Times Best Sellers list, and Charlie was tired. He sat down heavily at his desk, running a hand through his hair. Amita had just left for her own office to gather up the files she needed to take home. - Home - That was the problem for Charlie. She still had not moved into his house yet, and he doubted that she would until the issue with her father was resolved. It had hurt him to think that this man would reject him because his heritage wasn't suitable in his eyes. Amita had assured him that her father's objections were not based on his being Jewish, but rather the fact that he was not Indian. It was an odd sort of backwards racism that continued to needle him no matter how much he tried to convince himself that he would be able to win the man over and that everything would turn out fine. If he were being totally honest with himself, he had to admit that this situation with her father was a major motivator in his push to get Amita to move in. If she was living with him, then her father might feel that he had no choice in the matter. However, in that respect, Charlie didn't want to be all that honest with himself. He didn't want to look in the mirror and admit to himself that he was employing emotional blackmail on the woman he loved or her father.
Amita's parents were scheduled to arrive in LA in three days, and he was more nervous than he could ever remember being. He had redoubled his efforts to strengthen his right leg so that he could finally be free of the cane that he had been forced to use ever since an aneurysm burst in his brain, nearly killing him, only two months ago. If Amita's father would have a hard time with him not being Indian, then what would he think if he felt the man who wanted to marry his daughter was a cripple? As much as he hated physical therapy sessions, he was adamant about attending every one of them regardless of how hectic his teaching schedule had become. Now, rather than having to use it consistently, Charlie found that he only really needed the cane at the end of a long day of standing in front of classes of students.
He reached into the bottom left drawer of his desk and pulled out the small black felt box that contained the sapphire ring he had purchased for her. The waning light of early evening shown through the window and it bathed the room in a soft glow that glinted off the surface of the blue stone, giving brilliance to its deep cerulean core that seeped into near black at the edges. Then he turned the ring and the light hit it differently, changing the color and making the stone seem alive and vibrant as the shifting brilliance allowed the gazer to peer into its mysterious depths.
Larry stepped into the office as Charlie was looking at the ring and peered over the young man's shoulder. Charlie was so absorbed in his thoughts that he hadn't noticed Larry come in and nearly jumped out of his skin when the physicist spoke. "I take it that is for Amita."
Charlie fumbled with the box and had to scramble to get it before it bounced under the desk and the ring was dislodged and broken. "Larry! Don't sneak up on me like that."
Holding his hands aloft in a gesture of surrender, Larry protested. "I wasn't aware that I was sneaking at all, Charles. I merely inquired as to the destination of that... engagement ring?"
Charlie had rescued the box with the ring intact. He wanted to be careful with it because even though sapphires were very hard stones they were still not nearly as hard as a diamond. In fact, diamonds were approximately four times harder than a sapphire. Charlie quickly looked out through his office door to make sure that Amita was not returning for anything; then he carefully replaced the ring in the bottom drawer of his desk and locked it.
"Yes, Lawrence, if you must know, that is an engagement ring." Charlie got up stretching slightly and winced at the cramping of the muscles in his right leg. He reluctantly reached over to the other side of his desk for the cane that he had come to view as a sort of nemesis. "Amita mentioned to me nearly a year ago that she would never buy a diamond. The diamond trade is a brutal business and she felt that supporting it, by increasing the demand, would be the same as endorsing the atrocities exacted on the African men and women forced to work in the diamond fields."
Larry nodded his head in agreement of the sentiment but seemed to have reservations. "An admirable sentiment, Charles, but how much of the diamond trade these days come from Africa, and do you think that she might make an exception in her thinking when it comes to her own engagement ring?"
Charlie shook his head at his friend. He really did seem to underestimate Amita sometimes. "Her convictions are true, Larry, and she wouldn't waver over something like this. She was all fired up about it when we talked last year." Charlie shook his head and blushed at the confused frown on Larry's face. "No, we didn't talk about engagement rings, Larry. She had seen a movie about the diamond trade and we were just speaking hypothetically. Last year we were in no position to even think about engagement rings, let alone marriage. She was still considering moving to Massachusetts."
Charlie felt a slight chill run up his spine. He was painfully aware of how close he had come to losing her to a position at Harvard. He picked up his satchel and put it on his shoulder before turning toward the door.
"So what about now?"
Charlie paused to turn out the light in his office and looked back at Larry. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I presume that since you have purchased a ring that you are in more of a position to discuss marriage?"
Charlie shrugged slightly as he held the door open, allowing Larry to pass through, before turning and locking it. "I don't know, Larry. I'd like to think so, but..."
"Uh oh. Do I sense discord in paradise?"
"No. No, we're fine. It's her father. She thinks…" He paused, considering the best way to phrase the statement. "She's afraid that he might have an issue with me being… well, with me not being Indian."
Larry refrained from comment, but nodded his head knowingly as he studied his friend's posture and body language closely. He realized that this matter had been bothering the young professor on a deep level for some time. Larry had picked up on a vibe that something was bothering Charlie some time back, but with the aneurysm and his recovery from it, Larry simply assumed that was the cause of any current underlying conflict in the young genius.
They moved off down the hallway and Larry automatically took hold of several books that Charlie was carrying that didn't fit in his satchel. Such had become their evening routine since Charlie's return to campus. Also, Larry found the fact that his young and energetic friend was slower these days was an opportunity to reinforce the concept of conscious walking.
The early evening air was warm, with a hint of Mimosa. Normally, this observation would have brought a smile to Amita Ramanujan's face, because in her youth her backyard had a Mimosa tree covered in bright fragrant pink blossoms. The scent generally served to bring back childhood memories of carefree summer afternoons, but today it only reminded her that her parents would be arriving in three days and she eventually would have to tell her father about Charlie.
Her idea of getting their fathers together seemed like such a brilliant notion when it first occurred to her, but now she was second-guessing herself. Memories of the dreadful argument that she had with her father when she told him she did not intend to honor the prearranged marriage that her parents had set up with Aditi Pankajakshan, a banker from Goa, plagued her and as a result, she had withdrawn from everyone including Charlie. She knew that he wanted her to spend the evening with him. However, she had already resolved herself to stay at home tonight; knowing full well that she had been spending less and less time at Charlie's house the closer her parents' arrival came. She was confident that her mother and father would not try to force her into this pre-arranged marriage with a man that she considered to be 'a total ass'. But the old ways were alive and well and her father was under immense pressure from the Pankajakshan family, especially after Aditi saw a recent picture of her.
With these disturbing thoughts swirling around in her mind, Amita didn't even notice that she was being followed. When she stopped to reach into her purse for her keys, the attack came so swiftly that she was caught completely off guard. A strong arm reached around her neck and pulled her backward. She tried to twist her body around in an attempt to free herself from her attacker, but she had been thrown off balance by the assault. Unable to regain her footing, she felt herself being dragged roughly backwards, away from her car. She opened her mouth to scream, but before she could make a sound, she was hurled violently against the wall of the building next to the parking lot. The air rushed out of her lungs as she hit the brick and mortor like a rag doll. As she tried to catch her breath, her attacker grabbed her shoulder and spun her around, slamming the back of her head into the brick wall with enough force to momentarily blind her.
She tried to scream again, but her attempt to verbalize her fear failed and she realized that a powerful gloved hand was now wrapped around her throat, crushing her larynx and cutting off her air supply. Amita blinked rapidly, trying to clear her vision. A paralyzing wave of stark terror washed over her at the sight of the man standing before her. His deep brown eyes, fired with hatred, glared at her through two holes in the face of a tightly knit black ski mask. Through the wide hole at the bottom of the mask his thick lips separated in a revolting sneer, exposing his teeth, which seemed almost unnaturally white in contrast to the dark material of the mask and the waning light of early evening. Then he leaned forward and spat in her face.
"You have dishonored your family and your body with that filthy bhadkhau Sewwer ki bachi!"
Before Amita could even process what he had just said, her attacker punched her savagely in the midriff. If her air supply hadn't already been cut off as he throttled her, the blow would have knocked the wind out of her. Blackness began to encroach upon the edges of Amita's vision and a renewed sense of panic engulfed her. She had dropped her books, files and bag when she was grabbed from behind, but she still had her keys in her hand. With the practiced ease of a movement done repeatedly, she laced the keys between her fingers. Closing her hand into a tight fist with the ends of the keys poking out between the knuckles she swung desperately at her attacker. The lack of oxygen was robbing her of strength but she managed to connect the blow with his face. Her car's ignition key cut a large slash in his cheek just below his left eye, tearing the socket of the mask in the process.
This enraged the man holding her, and she heard him shriek, "Chinaal kutiyaa!" as he brought his fist around and punched her in the face. The force of the blow snapped her head back and slammed it into the brick wall behind her a second time, causing blinding pain to rip through her head before darkness consumed her and then she felt nothing at all.
Throwing her limp body to the ground, the man swore curses at the unconscious woman as he brought his hand up to his bleeding face. The warm, sticky feel of his own blood only served to fuel his rage and he was about to start kicking her when the sound of laughter brought him back to his senses and he spun around quickly, spotting two students walking along the far side of the parking area. They were immersed in conversation and had not noticed him or the now unconscious professor. Realizing that he had already taken too long to complete his undertaking, he stepped away from Amita and over to a brown van which was parked next to her car. Opening the sliding door on the side of the vehicle, he grabbed a large, metal can with a pour spout from the inside and started to move back toward his victim. As an afterthought, he stepped back up the van, reached into the driver-side window and started the engine before going back to finish his task.
Looming over Amita's unconscious form, he stared at her for several seconds in disgust, and then, once again, spit on her. Tipping the can, he began to pour the liquid within all over her hair and body. Once the can was empty, he looked at her carefully to make sure she wasn't rousing, and noticed the keys she had cut his face with still laced through her fingers. He reached down and took them, then grabbed the can and quickly returned to the van, tossed the items in and slammed the door shut. He glanced back to where the two students had walked by. The area was now vacant, and he checked to make sure that no one else was near. Turning his attention back to the woman lying on the ground, he stepped slowly over to her and pulled a polished silver Zippo from his pocket.
"It is time to pay for your indiscretion, chinaal." He spit on her for a third time, and then opened the lighter, stroking the flame to life.
Please take a moment to stop by my forum Calling All Authors. It is under the general catagory of forums or you can just go to it from my profile. We are growing every day and would love to have more friends come and play with us. Folks from the Numb3rs fandom will recognise many names but all readers and all authors from all fandoms are welcome!