So sarahofearth got the stone rolling for Charlie Bartlett fics with her story Taste of His Own Medicine, and I have decided to give it a little push. Here it is, kiddies. Another depressing story from yours truly, complete with random what-ifness and a complimentary cliffhanger. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Charlie Bartlett, or anything related to it.

How to Deal

Charlie couldn't see a thing. He could hear Mr. Gardner 'venting' at his innocent toy boats, but he didn't dare look up. No, he was busy burying his face into his shaking hands, brow furrowed in obvious distress.

When dealing with wild creatures, avoid all eye contact...

He could hardly remember how he had gotten into this position, which was odd as he had just entered the house minutes ago. He had a very detailed plan to carry out, too, including coaxing the worries out of his poor ex-principal, then marching him over to the school play where he would make up with his daughter, who would instantly forgive him. And they would live happily ever after. He had it all sorted out.

.. avoid all eye contact, as they may see it as an opening...

Yet here he was now, collapsed in a lawn chair with his head in his hands, his 'poor ex-principal' waving a gun and whining about life. Not to mention reminding Charlie that he was the cause of all the horrible events, and that he was not very pleased with him at the moment. These weren't the most encouraging words coming from a drunken and armed man. It had all seemed so much easier to carry out his ideas as he was pondering what to say in the back of the old taxi he came in.

.. an opening to pounce, or a threat to their well-being...

He didn't dare get up from his seat again. The last thing he wanted was for either of them to get hurt. Who knew what the older man would do next? He was on such an edge that his whole body was shaking. Then again, he looked about ready to collapse. Perhaps he would, and Charlie would be able to breathe again, a task that seemed impossible at the moment. Nonetheless, he had already experienced enough surprises for the day. He wondered if just sitting back in his chair until this ordeal ended would be the best choice. Still, the door was looking pretty good right about now.

Back away slowly, so as not to startle them...

The teen was dragged out of his thoughts by a noise resembling a grunt. He lifted his head with a start, to see Mr. Gardner flap his mouth open and closed, as if about to say something but deciding against it. He rested his gun against his temple, deep in thought. Charlie gripped his arm rests, suspecting and denying what might be about to occur. He was scared, now. Flat out frightened. The man started another word that the younger couldn't hear over the panic ringing loudly in his ears, shutting off any trains of thought. Gardner waggled his finger, rolling his eyes as he stumbled to the front of the porch, overlooking the pool. Charlie's knuckled turned white as he rose from the chair, his eyes wide.

The gun was pointing directly at the man's head.

" Mr. Gardner! Stop!" Charlie cried, pouncing on the other. He reached for the gun, unable to follow his original idea of tackling him to the ground. Instead, he tried vainly and desperately to unbalance him. Unfortunately, Nathan Gardner was much too strong. The weapon was waving wildly in the air, occasionally spraying bullets into the cool blue water beneath them.

" What are you-!" Nathan began, displeased that he could not commit suicide in peace. If he hadn't been so drunk, he would have remembered he couldn't afford to leave everything behind. However, he was, and his only thought on the subject was "screw it". He continued to wrestle over the loaded gun, his common sense drowned in alcohol.

A gunshot rang, filling both of their ears. Two pairs of eyes enlarged, two bodies froze as they realized the damage that had been done. Time seemed to freeze as crimson liquid spilt to the ground, a dark mark blossoming under Charlie's navel. His breath became ragged as he stared at the spot, matching Nathan's as he sobered enough to notice his mistake.

" Ch- Chuck-?"

Charlie was falling, falling endlessly and never stopping. His stomach must have been ripping open from the pain he felt. A distant voice passed him, a distant voice left. And yet again, Charlie could not see a thing.

Do not approach a wild creature, as they are prone to attack.

--

There it is, chapter one. Any kind of review will please me. I'll write a second if I get even one review. Thanks, and see you next time! ... Hopefully.