Never Let Them See You Bleed

By QuickenMyEnd

Disclaimer: Don't own Numb3rs, not making any money off this.

Summary: Don's slowly stopped asking for help over the years, but that doesn't mean Alan isn't still trying.

Don pulled a clean shirt over his head, wincing as the movement pulled at the neat row of stitches down his side. He really had to stop doing that. He frowned down at his shirt, he had a feeling he was forgetting something… Oh. It came back to him quickly, the other shirt- now stained beyond use- that he'd been wearing the night before wasn't in a ball near the trash can where he'd dropped it this morning. He checked around his closet, and under the bed, wondering if he'd pushed it there and forgotten in the pain pill induced stupor he'd been in. Shrugging lightly, he went downstairs to see if his prescription was still on the counter. Not seeing it, he poked a head into Alan's room, but found his bed unmade and empty. He didn't hear any sounds coming out of the master bathroom, and so Don trekked back downstairs to see just where he'd gone to this early.

…3 year old Donnie ran up to Alan, sniffling and holding his arm. "I fell." Donnie told him when Alan asked what had happened.

"Let's go get this cleaned up, hm?" Alan gently led him inside and set him on top of the washer wiping off his arm with a nearby washcloth. "There we are," Alan patted it dry, seeing the scratch wasn't bit at all and had already stopped bleeding, "Now what color bandage would you like?"

Donnie picked out a blue one, which Alan carefully (if not lopsidedly) applied. His son grinned and examined it.

"I'm gonna show Derek!" Alan smiled as Donnie scurried back out to the yard once more. He scoffed to himself, and here Margaret had been worried about him managing the play dates while she was out of town…

7 year old Don- he insisted he was too big now to be called Donnie, no matter what his parents tried to say- eyed his two year old brother hovering in the background while Alan carefully cut the leg of the stained jeans off at the knee.

"Quite the scrape there," Alan said lightly, reaching for the bottle of antiseptic, "Do I want to know what you were doing?"

"No," came the quick, sullen reply. Alan suppressed a sigh, he was sure Donnie- Don wasn't scheduled to act like this for another five or six years yet.

"Climbing!" Charlie piped up, helpfully.

"Go count books," Don snapped irritably. Charlie's face fell at the tone, but he scampered off all the same. They'd discovered counting was a good way to keep the rambunctious toddler from getting into too much trouble, although Alan was amused to notice that while he could already count well past a hundred (that couldn't be normal, was it?) the alphabet was tripping him up, despite Margaret's singing and reading. He pulled himself from his wandering thoughts and frowned a bit at Don using that tone on his little brother. He let it slid for the moment, however, instead turning his full attention back to the cut. It was still bleeding some, but as far as he could tell it wasn't very deep. Pfft, and Margaret said he wasn't good with blood…

"Do we have to tell Mom?" Don asked suddenly. Alan looked at him.

"I think she might notice the bandage-" it had taken a larger then normal one to cover the cut effectively, "-and half your pant leg gone, but…" Alan took the scissors again and carefully cut off the other leg, deciding it looked (fairly) even. Don gave him a wide grin.

"Thanks, Dad!" Don hurried off, limping a bit the first few steps, but correcting quickly with the ability to bounce back that only children seem to have. Alan tossed out the jean remnants and wondered how long it would take for Margaret to ask what had happened to the new pants…

…12 year old Don burst in. Alan raised an eyebrow at his appearance. One side of his uniform still covered in dirt, part of his face marred with small scrapes, grinning from ear to ear. "We won!" Alan grinned back.

"Had to slide in?"

Don nodded rapidly, "Got the winning run and everything!"

"I'm sorry we weren't there to see it." Don shrugged a bit.

"Only one game out the season."

"We'll make it to the next one." Don nodded again. "Want me to take a look at those scrapes?" Don shook his head quickly.

"Nah, Dad, I've got it, thanks."

Donnie had stopped coming to his parents with cuts and scrapes long before that, but now slowly hiding the small injuries turned into hiding larger and larger ones. Alan wondered just when Don had deciding glossing over gunshot wounds and the like would keep him from worrying about Don while he was on the job. Alan took a deep breath and tried to shake off the voice that reminded him this time he'd been home, off the clock if not off duty (he wasn't sure Don was every truly off duty anymore). He'd been home, where he should have been safe.

"We need to do this more often," Alan smiled. Don nodded. It was rare that the two of them had alone time, but Charlie was out of town at a convention, and Don's apartment building was being fumigated, so Don had needed a place to crash.

Don started to reply, when he eyed the front door. "You locked up before we left, right?"

"Of course," Alan said, just a touch defensive.

"Wait here, okay?" Don put his hand at his belt before remembering his gun and badge were inside. He swore under his breath softly and went for the front door anyway. The door opened all the way, and Don and the intruder stared at each other.

"Donnie, he's got a knife!"

Don jumped back as the blade swung at his abdomen, he winced as it cut into his skin, but he grabbed the burglar at the wrist and swung him down onto the ground.

"Dad, get my phone off my belt, call 911, then go get my cuffs out of my jacket." Alan quickly did as Don had asked.

"Yes, we need police and an ambulance," Alan was saying, giving Don the cuffs.

"Dad…" Don protested, but Alan merely gave him a look over his glasses and Don quieted.

"Dad..." He'd finally found Alan, though not how he wanted. His father was standing over the open washing machine, the bloody shirt clutched in one hand, bottle of detergent in the other, a vacant look in his eyes. "Here, Dad, give me that. I was going to just throw it out, you don't need to try and wash it." Don reached for it, but Alan didn't let go.

"Let me do this," Alan said quietly. Maybe Don was old enough to take care of himself, and maybe he'd been taken care of himself longer then he should have been, but… Don put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a light squeeze.

"I'll go put some coffee on then, okay?"