Love of a family

Summary: Don comes to Charlie's house hoping to crash on the couch. He got something more.

Pairing/s: None. (NO, Charlie is not with Amita. I like her, really, but I don't like them as a couple.)

Warnings: None.

Spoilers: Um, none.

Disclaimers: Does it look like I own Numb3rs? No? Thought so.

-

It was late when Don Epps stopped his car at the driveway to his brother's house. He knew he should not be here, since it was way past midnight and both his brother and father must be asleep. But he did not feel like driving home and he could be quiet. Crashing on the couch was not so comfortable but better than his own cold apartment.

He unlocked the door with the spare key he had been given and walked inside. The lights were off, except one next to the couch. And the person lying in it was the one Don did not expect.

Charlie was lying curled up on the couch, a blanket over his legs and part of his torso and some papers on the table in front of him. The man's curly head was lying on a pillow most likely brought from Charlie's bedroom and his breathing was deep and even. Don chuckled lightly and shrugged his jacket off. Trust Charlie to work all night on some math problem.

He sat down to look at his little brother. The younger man looked tired; he had dark circles under his eyes and his face was a bit pale. Don thought back on the case they had just finished thanks to Charlie's last-minute advice; a serial killer after young girls. They had found him right before he had killed his ninth victim. The young girl was scared but unharmed. Charlie had been pulling several all-nighters because of this case. Don had done so himself, but at least he was free tomorrow; Charlie was not.

He came closer and lightly shook his brother's arm. Charlie's eyes snapped open and Don rubbed the shoulder to calm him down. The younger of the two slowly relaxed again, and drew the blanket higher up.

"Hey buddy," Don said gently. "You should be in bed by now."

"Had to work that out," Charlie mumbled, waving at the papers. Suddenly his stomach growled and they both looked down on it.

"Someone is hungry," Don remarked. Charlie blushed and Don laughed a bit. "Come on, how about some left-over before bed?"

He helped the professor up and Charlie yawned. He steered his brother gently to the kitchen and left him at the counter to rummage through the fridge.

"Dad's pasta," he commented. "Only a day old. Want some?"

"That's fine," Charlie mumbled, rubbing his tired eyes.

"When do you have to go up tomorrow?" Don asked as he heated the food up. For once he did not grab a beer; it was too late so he just poured up two glasses of water. Charlie looked kinda cute with his hair tousled and brow furrowed as he tried to remember. Finally he struck up a finger and said:

"Um… around eleven I think. Yeah, eleven."

"Great; that means you can sleep in a bit."

"Are you gonna sleep here?"

"I thought of borrowing the couch."

"That thing you dare calling couch is uncomfortable."

"You just slept in it, didn't you? Anyway, I got a day off tomorrow so maybe I'll steal yours or dad's bed later."

"Thief."

Don grunted and poked his fork into Charlie's side. The younger man scrambled away, glaring sleepily at him.

"You don't scare me one bit, kiddo," Don said. "Voila, pasta reheated. Dig in."

They ate directly from the plastic cartoon, fighting to get as much as they could from each other. Despite that, they finished only ten minutes later, both satisfied and more tired than before. Charlie wobbled towards the stairs and Don came to help the man up to the second floor.

"Not helpless," Charlie protested but let himself be led up.

"Yeah, but you're so tired you didn't notice where you were going."

Don pushed the covers back from the bed, keeping Charlie upright with one arm. Charlie collapsed on the bed and Don shook his head. He raised an eyebrow and said:

"You're going to sleep in that?"

"M-mm…"

The man removed Charlie's socks and outer shirt anyway, leaving his brother in jeans and a T-shirt. Charlie turned towards him and said:

"You really gonna sleep on the couch?"

"What's up with you and the couch? Yeah, I am."

"Bed's big enough…"

Don stared.

"You're telling me I can crash with you?" he finally asked.

"'S not like I snore or anythin'," Charlie mumbled.

Don shook his head at his brother, but figured the bed was much more comfortable. And it was not like they had never done it before. Just a few months earlier, they both had fallen asleep on a couch in the office during a case. Don had woken up with his brother snuggled into his chest and found he did not mind one bit.

So he placed his gun and phone on the nightstand before easing down behind Charlie. The younger man moved closer so their bodies touched, and released a content sigh. Don shook his head again and murmured:

"You manipulating little genius. You planned this all along didn't you?"

There was nothing but a tired chuckle from Charlie and the hint of a drowsy smile. Don chuckled, tugged the covers up again and laid his head down onto the pillow. He fastened his arm around Charlie's middle, securing his brother to him and then relaxed. He fell asleep within a few minutes.

-

Alan stretched slightly as he walked out from his bedroom only to find Charlie's door open. Normally the math professor shut it so Alan went to check if everything was alright. The sight made him chuckle.

Don had wounded both of his arms around Charlie and had drawn him in close. The curly-haired man was therefore pressed against his brother's body but did not seem to mind. Both were deep asleep.

Alan checked the watch. It was nine in the morning, but he figured he could let them sleep for another hour. They deserved it.

End


My first Numb3rs one-shot so be nice. I'm a sucker for cuddling between the two brothers so I write cuddling stories.

I got a few more ideas of Numb3rs-fics but we'll see if I ever write them down.

Until another time,

Ja,

Tiro