Summary: 'Get over it'. Charlie had told him that. Don finds that hard to follow.
Warnings: Slight spoilers for the Sniper-episode.
Disclaimers: I don't own Numb3rs.
Don was not quite sure what made him start thinking. After all, it was three in the morning and he really should have gone to sleep. Yet he did not. Instead he sat in the same frozen position he had been in for the last three hours, staring at the soft rise of his brother's chest.
When he first had allowed Charlie working with the FBI, he had been slightly against it. Not that Charlie was not good with his math but… it felt like Don was exposing him to danger and death. When he had accidently mentioned it though for his kid brother when he was slightly drunk, Charlie had kindly hit him over the head and told him to get over it.
And so he had. He practically invited Charlie into the team and the team got along with him very well. But now… Don was regretting it a bit.
He closed his eyes, blinking a bit to get the moisture back on them and pushed away the vivid images. It had been a too close call. The sniper… he had allowed his brother to come to a dangerous scene almost to get his head blown off.
Don felt stupid, very stupid. Exposing a math teacher to that was unacceptable. Exposing Charlie to that was practically forbidden! He had tried to follow Charlie's 'Get over it' but was not so successful when his own thoughts screamed what an idiot he was.
His joints popped as he rose up; he suppressed a small wince and looked at Charlie. The man had fallen asleep after today's ordeals on the couch and seems to have no intentions of getting up. Don had to sleep as well, since he had working in the morning but he could not find himself to leave his brother's side. Not yet. Not when it had been too close for comfort.
He remembered his erratically beating heart as he had seen Charlie get out from the car. The sniper, Nathan Crane, was still at the scene, they all knew that so why had Charlie been there?? The moment he saw his brother, Don had started to run. When the first shot missed Charlie just barely, he was vaguely aware he had shouted at the curly-haired man to get down. Everything went in slow-motion for Don, seeing David grab Charlie and haul him down to the ground.
The next shot that came from another direction, the relaxed expression as Ian Edgerton looked up from the rifle, the calls of the sniper being down. Don had never felt more gratitude to any other person than to Ian in that moment. The man had saved someone's life.
The ride home had been tense, Don gripping the steering wheel too tightly and Charlie hugging his clipboard to his chest. The older of them had felt the younger's eyes on him, peeking through the curls but he had not acknowledged it. He did not know if he had been too angry, too worried or too afraid. Maybe a bit of all three.
He took a comforter from the armchair and spread it over Charlie. The man stirred slightly but did not wake up. Don saw his hands were still shaking. He clasped them together and sat down on the floor, leaning his head back. He could feel Charlie's breath ghosting over his hair once in a while. He made himself comfortable and closed his eyes, trying to block out his thoughts that wanted to send him down to hell.
Charlie woke up, unsure of why. He blearily opened his eyes and moved his head a bit. Okay, ow, that hurt. Sore neck, not good. He hated having a sore neck. He was so not sleeping on the couch again.
He noticed it was probably before dawn since it was still rather dark outside. His hand brushed against something near his head as he had moved it up to rub his eyes. He glanced down.
Well… If Charlie had a sore neck from sleeping on the couch, Don's neck must be killing him. How the man could stay asleep was beyond the younger one.
"Hey, Don, wake up."
Don took a deep intake of breath as Charlie shook him slightly. He gave out a groan as he moved his stiff neck. One of his eyes opened and saw Charlie awake.
"What time is it?" he asked quietly.
"Dunno," Charlie said and squinted to look at the clock. "Four-something."
"Damn… ugh, sleeping sitting is so not comfortable."
"Come on, let's get upstairs."
"Would love to but I don't think I can move."
Charlie huffed and got up carefully. He helped Don up, having some troubles with it and then began pushing the older man towards the stairs. Don grumbled half-heartedly but walked up the stairs with Charlie behind him.
"Where am I going to sleep?" Don suddenly asked. "Didn't dad turn my room to a storage-room?"
"My bed is big enough," Charlie said sleepily. "And he said he was gonna fix it up again, if you wanted to stay overnight sometimes."
"Hn," was Don's long answer.
Charlie fell down first on his bed and began squirming around to get one of the blankets around himself. The sight calmed Don's frayed nerves down instantly and he gently tugged it away from underneath the thin body. He still felt Charlie was a bit too skinny to really feel well, and vowed to make his father give Charlie more food. Or maybe remind the younger man when it was normal time to eat. Charlie had a tendency to forget that.
Don kicked off his shoes and climbed into the bed as well. He watched Charlie get comfortable before relaxing bit by bit. Charlie settled down facing Don and yawned lightly.
"Go to sleep, Chuck."
"Don't call me that," Charlie demanded sleepily. "Donnie."
Don gently cuffed Charlie on the head and smiled. His thoughts had quieted down. Thanks to Charlie. It was always thanks to Charlie that he felt good about his actions, that he felt proud of what he did in his work.
He knew he was going to let Charlie continue. He knew Charlie was going to be exposed to things Don would not like, but he also knew he would always be there to protect Charlie. Always.
Like it, hate it? I was bored, had stomach-ache and came up with that. Strange combination but a rather satisfying result.
Until another time,