by Valerie Vancollie

valeriev84 at hotmail dot com

Characters: Don, Charlie, Alan, (Larry)

Spoilers: Uncertainty Principle, Structural Corruption, In Plain Sight, Spree, Two Daughters, The Decoy Effect

Note: This fic was written for Moraglee as part of the Purim Treat-a-Thon. Basically, we had to write a fic, or a multi-part fic, for each of the 3 days of posting. We also had to provice 3 images over the course of the 3 days as well. Many thanks to ALEO for betaing it on short notice!

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Numb3rs characters, items or situations. I only lay claim to the original aspects of the fic.

Part III: Charlie: Two Daughters:

Charlie watched sadly as Larry left the room, dejected but also still clearly agitated. Although he felt for his friend, he was unable to comprehend his mentor's attitude. Surely Larry could see that the way he was acting was counterproductive? Getting all agitated and worked up would not help them get Megan back. Yes, what had happened was terrifying, especially in light of Hoyle's killing record so far, and it certainly didn't bode well for Megan, but loosing their heads was not going to get her back. An even temper and a lucid thought process were what he needed right now.

'Right, I'm detached, that's how I function.'

The whisper of Don's words floated back to him out of nowhere like some ghost passing by, sending an icy shock of realization through Charlie. He froze in place as his mind processed exactly what he had said to his elder brother that day and compared it to what Larry had said not moments earlier.

'Because I'm not as detached as you are.'

'Oh, I doubt that.'

It was the exact same thing, Charlie realized. Oh the words were different, but the meaning was the same. Larry now saw him as being as detached from what was happening to Megan as he'd assumed Don had been about Finn. Larry hadn't come right out and said it like he had, but the implication was there even if Larry had handled his explanations far better than he had Don's. Larry knew that he was being irrational, understood it and its implications on Charlie's work. He hadn't been so understanding for Don.

The realization of exactly how much he'd probably hurt his brother made Charlie want to rush out, find Don and apologize for what he'd said then. Even the mere shadow of the same implications from Larry just now had cut him and he could only imagine what his much harsher words had done to his older brother. Don's other words from that same conversation, however, also came back to him and made him pause.

'No, you don't know. Look, Charlie, I'm glad you don't know.'

If he were to bring up the subject now, he'd probably be hurting Don once more as it would mean admitting to how much his work for the FBI had affected him. Although Charlie didn't mind- he loved working together with his brother- he had a feeling Don wouldn't look at it that way. Much as he wished Don wouldn't always try and protect him so, it also never failed to warm him inside, at least once he'd cooled down from the argument that almost inevitably followed such behavior. Not that he'd ever admit it to Don as that would make him unbearable.

Now that he knew that Finn really had committed suicide, Charlie was able to see how irrationally he'd been acting despite his certainty that he wasn't and it caused him to wince. Not only was he ashamed, but it also scared him on some levels. Not because of how much Finn's death had affected him, as he felt he should be affected by death, but because of how unaware of it he'd been. He'd been so sure of the fact that he was maintaining a clear head, not to mention an objective view of the issue. That stung more than anything now. It was also a very painful reminder of what had happened during his mother's illness, for there too he'd deluded himself into believing something absurd and ignoring any and all attempts by others to point out not only the irrationality of his thinking, but also the very limited time he had left with his mother.

If he couldn't trust his own judgment about when he was being emotional to the point of interference, then how was he supposed to know when he was being irrational?


His brother had been there on both occasions and had tried to get him to see that he wasn't acting nearly as rational as he thought he was. Until he'd snapped at him once too often anyway, at which point he'd stormed out on both occasions. Charlie ruthlessly suppressed the guilt and focused in on the other matter. It was true, Don had been aware of his lack of objectivity and was prepared to call him out on it. Now all he had to do was learn to listen to his older brother when he said something in that same vein again instead of rejecting it out of hand.

If Don could rely on his help to solve FBI cases, surely he could rely on Don when it came to seeing how emotions were influencing people.

If you wish to see the graphic I created to go with this part, you can view it here by removing the spaces:
http : / / i619 . photobucket . com / albums / tt279 / schrijver_photos / Irrational . jpg
This collage contains 11 different photos, 9 of them in the background with the 2 Charlies on top of it all.
It was this scene in Two Daughters that really inspired the whole fic. I was instantly struck by how far Charlie had come since Structural Corruption and how the little confrontation was very similar to the one Charlie and Don had then, only with Charlie playing Don and Larry playing Charlie.
True, this exchange was a lot less heated, but it was essentially the same conflict. I've just wanted to do a fic or drabble with Charlie realizing this point for quite a while and with the parameters of the challenge, this fic was the result.