Best Intentions

Disclaimer: Don't own them

AN: This one... I'm still a little unsure about. Tag to Guilt Trip, concerning Charlie's ideas about predicting and preventing crime. One shot exploring ways that could have consequences. Somehow wound up being more of a discussion between Don and Alan though...


"Look, Charlie, you need to give up this idea," Don ran a hand through his hair anxiously.

Charlie's marker squeaked faster across the board, but he did glance up, "I thought you would like this. You'd be able to use it in so many different ways to prevent not just clean up." Don grabbed his wrist, though not harshly, firmly enough to stop him from writing. Charlie shot him a look and tried to twist away, "Knock it off, Don."

"Honestly, you need to let this go. This isn't something that's safe to work on, okay?"

Charlie snorted, "Since when are you telling me what math I can and cannot do? It's not something that's going to be publishable for quite a while yet anyway."

"But still publishable eventually, and word'll get out what you're working on," Don replied, letting go.

"Are you trying to protect me, or your job?" Charlie eyed him; the thought had been growing since Don became more and more against the idea of a model that could predict crime. He turned away and grabbed his laptop bag at the look in Don's eyes, "I need to get to class." He tossed the marker on the table and stormed out.

"Well that went well," Don sighed, sitting on the battered couch and gave the whiteboard a wary glance. He wanted to just take an eraser to the whole thing, but that wouldn't solve the problem.

"Didn't sound like it," Alan said lightly, raising two hands in defense when Don looked over, "I wasn't trying to eavesdrop; I was trying to see what you two wanted for lunch. What's got you two so riled up; you haven't got on each other like that in a while now."

Don gestured at the board, "That."

"Ahh… that," Alan nodded, "I admit, it's not very realistic…"

"Realistic or not, it's going to make people nervous- and it's Charlie working on it. If anyone could make it work…" Don trailed off.

"You're worried about someone wanting to what, stop him working on it?" Alan questioned, wondering where this was coming from.

"This isn't going to bother the average gas station robber," Don sighed, "They don't think much past getting the money. More organized groups though, ones that want to stay one step ahead of authorities, they're gonna pay attention to something that's going to make things harder for them. They'd want to make things harder for Charlie in return, and the time to do that is before the thing gets published."

"Right now though, it's just something he's doing in the garage, no one will even know about it until Charlie's ready," Alan reminded him.

"Yeah, but I do remember some of the hoops Charlie had to jump through before the convergence theory got published, and it'll get out," Don countered.

"You're talking like this is really going to happen sometime soon," Alan sighed.

Don shrugged, "Probably not, but you never know what Chrarlie'll get in his head. I just don't want anything to happen because of it."

"It's not like he's gotten any threats," Alan started, but stopped at Don's sober look, "Right, Donnie?"

Don rubbed the back of his neck, he really hadn't planned on telling Alan that any time soon, but there wasn't a good way to back track now, "There've been a few… Nothing that I think's going anywhere."

"From this, already?" Alan blanched.

Don shook his head, "No, not this. Charlie's getting pretty well known outside of math too now, especially with the book and the publicity stuff. That attracts some weird people some times. I know about some of the letters that got sent when he was a kid."

Alan frowned just a bit, it was something they'd tried hard to keep from the boys, but every so often there was a few letters or requests that were more than a little unnerving.

"Some of that really never stops," Don was continuing, "I know CalSci filters out as much of the weird stuff as they can. I've asked that anything that could be taken as dangerous sounding gets back to me instead of Charlie- he knows, and I'll let him know about anything he needs to be worried about, but there's no point in making him paranoid either. I take it all seriously, Dad."

Alan blew out a breath; this wasn't quite the talk he had been expecting, but then again, he'd never had particularly normal problems with his sons, "I'm glad to hear that. I'm not sure which one of us sounds more like the parent right now though."

Don gave him a half grin, but sobered again slightly, "He's getting more well known, but not in the right places all the time." He stood up abruptly, "I need to get back to work."