Title: The Sound of Silence

Author: FraidyCat

Disclaimer: Own them, I do not. Obe Wan Kanobi, I am not. Beseech thee to read, I do.

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Chapter Ten: The Sum of Two Parts

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Amita stood at the kitchen window and watched him for a while.

She never grew tired of it. Even though it had been two years since he had frightened her so badly, and the fear had faded, it blossomed anew every time he had a headache. When that headache developed into a full-fledged migraine -- as it did every 16 to 24 weeks -- she was apt to burst into tears and call in reinforcements. Reducing his stress level had helped; the migraines came less often, and that was a relief. Still, it was apparent that Ischemic Cerebrovascular Disease was part of their reality for the long haul. It was living with that knowledge, however, that had enabled so many of the changes in their lives. Health was a fragile thing, and life was not for the faint of heart.

When her eyes had taken in enough to make the rest of her hungry, Amita exited the house to join him at the koi pond. At the bottom of the porch she slipped off her shoes, and sighed as she wiggled her toes in the soft grass. Foot coverings were overrated. She padded silently to the pond. Charlie was so still on the bench, she wondered if he was asleep in the late afternoon sun. If he was, she was still tempted to join him; it had been a busy week, and sitting at the koi pond sleeping sounded like a perfect Friday evening to her. As she grew closer, though, she saw his head move slightly. His long eye lashes blinked against his cheek and she knew he was tracking the koi again. She smiled, and stood behind the bench, placing her hands on his shoulders and beginning a massaging action. "Is the striped one still swimming out of pattern?"

Charlie started slightly but relaxed almost immediately at the sound of her voice. "Yes," he mused. "I'm wondering what variables have contributed to the change."

"Perhaps you didn't have enough data to support your original hypothesis," she suggested. "The butterfly koi is still rather new to the pond, and he's different from the others. They probably all sense that, somehow." She giggled. "Maybe they wait until you're not looking and gang up on him in a koi alley under the pond bridge; he's altering his pattern to avoid that as long as possible."

Charlie smiled and patted the surface of the bench next to him in an invitation. "You could be right," he agreed. Then he modified. "At least about the data-gathering. I should have studied him longer; he is a new species to this ecosystem"

Amita moved to sit next to Charlie and leaned her head on his shoulder. "I vote for some more butterfly koi," she offered, even though she had not been asked. "At least one. Everyone should have a mate if at all possible, don't you think?"

He chuckled and shifted a little on the bench, so that he could drape an arm around her shoulders. "Do we have custody of Dad this week?" he suddenly asked.

Amita closed her eyes, settling into his embrace, and yawned. "Yes," she confirmed at length. "He'll be here tomorrow." She laughed. "I still can't believe you and your brother, but at least Alan feels welcome no matter where he is! Really, two grown men fighting over him like that."

Charlie protested. "We don't fight," he responded defensively. "Besides, Don still owes me a week from when you and I went on vacation." Amita laughed again and Charlie continued his line of thought. "Maybe Dad will come early. The weather is so nice, I thought he and I could go to the nursery and get something for the pond garden."

Amita lazily opened her eyes. "Charlie, there is not one remaining square inch of space out here."

"Yes there is," he insisted, peering around the perimeter of the yard. "I'm just not quite sure where it is." She smiled and he changed the subject, resting his free hand on the slight bulge of her belly. "How much longer?"

She rolled her eyes and slapped ineffectively at his hand. "Charlie, do the math. We're in week 13."

He grinned and moved his hand to brush a curl out of his eye. ""Let's see," he began. "If we assume a 40-week gestation period, that means we still have 27 to go. That would be 189 days; 4,536 hours; 272,160 minutes; 16,329,600 seconds." He smiled smugly. "Approximately."

"Show off," she grinned. "Listen, if you really want to spend time in a nursery tomorrow, we still need to create one here. The paint's been in the garage for almost a month."

Charlie groaned. "I know. It's just so much work!"

His whine turned the last word into two syllables and Amita arched an eyebrow. "I'll remember that when it comes time for labor and delivery."

He leaned to kiss the top of her head. "I have no doubt that you will. Dad and I will get started this weekend. Maybe Donnie can come and help; it's his room we're taking over, after all."

"I hardly think he'll mind," Amita said drily. "He does have a three-bedroom condo now. Besides, we'll put all of his things in the small guest room downstairs. I just want the baby upstairs with us."

"I know," he murmured, changing the subject again. "So how was work?"

"Not bad," she decided. "I gave everybody tests today."

"After you've got them graded, I'll enter them into the computer," he offered.

"Thanks," she smiled. "I was actually kind-of counting on that. How about you? How was work?"

"Good," he shrugged. "Hank sent me into Century City."

"Hmmm?" Amita was getting too comfortable for words.

Luckily, Charlie understood her shortcuts. "He doesn't like to go into L.A. proper; he's always afraid he'll run into Garibaldi and kill him with a weed whacker, so I handled one of his entertainment law contracts. They have a really outstanding atrium in the lobby. Billy usually does it, but he's still on jury duty."

Amita yawned again. "I still can't believe the F.B.I. didn't fire Garibaldi two years ago when your search proved that he knew where Hank was all along."

"It was your search," he reminded her. "And frankly, neither can Hank. Can't say Don was all that surprised when Garibaldi found a way to squeak by." He sighed. "It worries me that he has to work with that asshole."

Amita sigh echoed Charlie's. "At least he's up for retirement in another year. And it was your algorithim. Which reminds me..."


"Larry said the Baltimore PD put in an order for a full set of the Investigative Aides DVDs, but we need to have some more of the companion workbooks printed. Plus, he said to remind you to talk to Hank about next Thursday."

"Already done," Charlie assured her. "Billy will be back, and Hank said it's no problem. I can do the lecture in the morning and still be mowing lawns by noon. I'll call the printer Monday."

"When's the last time Millie asked you to come back to CalSci?" Amita asked.

Charlie chuckled. "Let's see...probably when we all had dinner at Don's Tuesday."

Amita smiled and sat up. "Just as long as you're ready for a hard sell the second you hit campus on Thursday. I expect her to threaten you with visions of maternity leave and on-campus day care."

"Duly noted," answered her husband. Charlie stretched, then stood and extended a hand to help Amita off the bench. "I like my life the way it is," he shared as they strolled back toward the house. "Working outside; the occasional guest lecture; a wife who's barefoot and pregnant."

Amita snorted and threw a hard hip his way. "I can't believe you said that!"

"Me neither," he chortled, swinging their clasped hands between them. "It only took me 13 weeks to find the perfect opportunity!"

"More like 88 days," she huffed, smiling in spite of herself.

He leaned in to brush her lips with his own. "2,112 hours," he added as he pulled back. "Which is nothing, in the grand scheme of things. After all, we have forever."

She kept smiling, and prayed that it was true; even as she lived with the truth.

Forever would never be enough.

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The End

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A/N: This little tale is dedicated to all the Amita-lovers out there. I decided a while back that the next multi-chapter I wrote, I would not kill, maim or destory her. (You can rest assured that this will not become a habit.) On a related personal note, that turned out to be easier than I thought. A few years ago the man I was dating at the time had a stroke (apparently I'm a carrier, or something). It was the beginning of the end of our relationship, and I wrote Amita in this story the way I wish I had been.