-1Charlie was used to doing things mindlessly--he never thought twice about spending days on end working on his math, or about going to the FBI building to help Don and the team with a new case, or about getting out of a car when he knows there's a sniper in a relatively close proximity to him.
Okay, so maybe he should have thought twice about that last one, but he didn't. Instead, he just let his math lead him where it wanted, like always.
"I'm fine," Charlie reassures his father for what seems like the hundredth time that night. He really isn't fine--he's scared, shaken, and unable to get the numbers out of his head, the numbers that are telling him the probabilities and statistics for his chances of survival in any outcome possible. What he really needs is security and reassurance, not worried glances like the ones his father, Don, and Colby have been shooting him all evening.
The looks actually make him feel worse than the reprimanding yelling he had to endure from his brother.
"Look, I just need some sleep to let my brain wind down. Maybe I can dream up an algorithm to compute how not to cause you guys anymore heart attacks."
"Yeah… you are sounding sort of cranky there, Chuck, a nap'll do you some good," Don teases and ruffles Charlie's curls. While Charlie acts annoyed at the gesture, he's actually glad that Don is agreeing with him.
"What'll do him some good is you not putting his life in danger!" Alan scolds his oldest son, and Don just sighs. He wanders off towards the kitchen, his father trailing behind him and still muttering under his breath.
When they're out of sight, Charlie lets down his already crumbling wall of resolve, and fatigue takes over his features. He holds his hand out to Colby, who has been awfully quiet since the sniper incident. "Bed?" He suggests and in reply gets a nod from Colby.
It isn't until they're both settled comfortably in bed with Colby's arms around Charlie that the mathematician's curiosity finally reaches its peak. He pushes himself up onto his arms to look down at Colby and asks, "Okay, what gives? Why are you being so quiet?"
Colby opens his mouth to reply but lets out a sigh instead. "It's just…" he tries again, "It's just that you could have been killed today, Charlie, and you don't seem affected by it at all."
"Then my poker face must have gotten better because I've been scared to death this entire time," Charlie admits and lets himself fall to the bed. He turns onto his side and looks at Colby as he continues. "I didn't want my dad and Don and you fussing over me… all of you still did, so some good that did. I've never had a real reason to be scared before, you know? And now, today, I played chess with death, and it almost checkmated me."
Charlie scoffs and hits Colby with a pillow. "That's all you have to say?" He asks in disbelief.
"No," Colby answers with a smile and pulls Charlie closer to him, "All I have to say is that you still don't have a reason to be scared."
And there was all the security and reassurance Charlie needed.