Summary: Charlie is home alone, Alan is away and Don said he was a bit busy. The mathematician just did not know that Don was busy preparing something for him… Brother-fic and Christmas-fic!
Disclaimers: I don't own Numb3rs.
Charlie had not quite expected to celebrate his Christmas in this fashion. He looked dully at the beer bottle before spinning it again. He sat by the kitchen table, having spun the bottle for the last half-hour or so. Normally his head would be spinning with numbers and equations, one thing leading to another, but today his head had been annoyingly empty. He had no work to do at the moment at CalSci, nothing for FBI and his own equations just went in the wrong direction whenever he had attempted to work on them these last few days. Today had been no exception.
He sighed and spun the bottle again, counting how many times it spun before slowing down to a stop. He sighed and let his head fall down onto the table. His father was away, and would not return for days. He had already called Don and asked if the man wanted to join him for dinner, but Don had replied he was a bit busy. Charlie had assumed he had other plans and simply after the normal formalities hung up, and then started his depression. Being home alone on Christmas for the first time was not something he recommended.
He sighed again and got up; might as well eat something and then go to bed. Even if the clock was only six in the evening. Within minutes he had some old food heat up and moved to the living room. He glared at the Christmas tree, its light annoying him and sat down on the couch. He was going to eat his food, go up to bed and go to sleep so that the day was over quicker. He had no wish whatsoever to drown in depression and therefore wished time would move faster.
He finished half of the spaghetti before feeling ill and put the plate down. He looked out the window and saw the Christmas lights, and the neighbours happily strutting around in their homes. He closed his eyes and gradually slid to the left until his body hit the couch. There he curled up and tugged the blanket over him. He was not aware when he fell asleep.
Don looked over his shoulder as he heard laughter across the street. He was not a big fan of Christmas, but once he heard Alan was going away over Christmas and leaving Charlie alone in the house he had decided to give his brother a small Christmas, just the two of them.
He stepped up the stairs leading to the door and felt on it. The door went up without a problem. He stepped inside and kicked his shoes off. He put the bags he had been carrying down onto the floor and said:
There was no answer. Frowning, Don walked further in but did not see his brother.
The nickname would normally bring Charlie right up to Don, and along Charlie the screaming would follow. But not a sound. He scratched his head and went to the living room. He glanced around until he heard soft breathing. His eyes turned to the couch and he went there.
Charlie lay curled up with a blanket covering his frame, his curly hair falling into his face. Don rounded the couch and sat down on his heels in front of his brother. Earlier Charlie had called but Don had not finished with the food, yes for once he was the one cooking, and therefore said he was a bit busy. He suspected his brother had taken it the wrong way and decided the earlier he went to sleep, the quicker the day would be over.
Don shook Charlie's shoulder lightly, and smiled as sleepy eyes opened. Charlie blinked and looked at Don for a few moments, completely disoriented.
"Wake up, buddy," Don said.
"Don? Is this some weird dream or what?"
"Sorry bro, I'm as real as you can get," the older one said and laughed. "Come on; are you hungry?"
He glanced at the half-eaten spaghetti and Charlie yawned.
"Don't eat six days old spaghetti," the younger brother advised. "It tastes funny and you feel sick to your stomach."
"I already know that," Don said. "So, are you still feeling sick to your stomach or still hungry?"
As on cue, Charlie's stomach growled.
"Hungry I guess," Don said as Charlie blushed. "Come on, get up."
"We don't have anything at home," Charlie protested as he was almost lifted up.
"Don't worry; I got the food."
"I have the food," Don repeated.
"You made the food?" Charlie asked slowly.
"Yes, I made the food."
"You made food you eat at Christmas?"
"Yes, I did."
"Donnie… do you have a fever or what?"
"No, I don't have a fever or what," Don said with a mock-glare. "Perfectly fine, and right now starving. Come on, move! To the kitchen."
Bewildered, Charlie let his brother push on him into the direction of the kitchen before Don went to retrieve the bags.
"What did you make?" Charlie asked curiously as he peeked into one of the bags once Don had gotten to the kitchen and put them on the table.
"This and that," Don replied as he swatted Charlie's hands away from the bags. He took one of them and put it on the floor. "That is not food."
"What is it then?"
"Surprise. Now Chuck, can you get me some things so I can heat the stuff up?"
"My name is not Chuck!"
Don looked over at Charlie and chuckled once he saw his brother was half-asleep. Charlie blinked owlishly up at him and Don tightened his arm around the man's shoulder. They sat on the couch and had watched whatever was on the TV for a few hours. It was now almost midnight and most shows did not interest them. On the table was the already done puzzle Don had bought for his brother for fun; finally Charlie had been able to use his brain even if it had nothing to do with math. The man had solved it within a few hours, as it was rather big and the hardest Don could find. He knew Charlie would be able to do any puzzle within a few hours anyway but wanted to have something for his smart brother.
"You want to go to bed?" he asked Charlie and roused the man a bit with a gentle shake.
Charlie's head dropped onto the FBI agent's shoulder and he nodded a bit.
"You need to get up for that," Don reminded.
Charlie made a disapproved noise in the back of his throat but complied. Don rose up as well and chuckled once more as the mathematician rubbed his eyes.
"Come on, let's get you upstairs."
Charlie let Don lead him up and all but fell onto his bed. Don shook his head and moved Charlie to free the sheets. The younger man grabbed his right wrist though and Don looked at him.
"You didn't just come here out of pity, right?" Charlie asked. The older man heard the insecurity in the question and smiled reassuringly.
"No, I didn't come here out of pity buddy. I came here because you're my brother and I wanted to be with my brother at Christmas. Stop being so silly and go to sleep already."
Charlie felt a gently tap against his head from Don's knuckles, and smiled. It had not been such a bad Christmas after all, even without the math.
Short but hopefully nice. Merry Christmas!
Until another time,