Numb3rs: Ex Libris

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real places and organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.

Spoilers: nil

A/N: Written for Clue Challenge #3, September 2009, at hurt_don on LiveJournal. Prompts: Who? – Don. What? – Book. Where? – Charlie's office.


With Morris' exit plan stymied Don worried at what might happen next. The gun continued to press firmly against the side of his head as Morris shifted, turning slightly as he surveyed the officers and agents facing him. The SUV was blocked in and thus removed from the equation. David was holding firm and showing no sign of allowing the offender to leave, regardless of the clear threat to the senior agent.

"Give it up, Morris." Don added his own encouragement.

"Shut up." The offender growled into his ear.

"This isn't getting you anywhere." The agent continued. "You are caught."

"Not yet, I'm not." Morris announced after a long moment. "Move."

Pulled backwards by his belt Don was forced to follow, dragged back through the doors and into the building. Morris twisted quickly, kicking the door closed before turning Don around and shoving him back towards the stairs. They were returning to Charlie's office.

Don baulked, grabbing hold of the handrail with one hand as he planted his feet against the steps. The gun shifted and he understood why an instant later as it smashed down onto the junction of his right shoulder and neck. Driven downwards and half stunned it took a moment before he registered the barrel of his gun being ground hard against the back of his neck.

"Get up. I'm not going to give you another chance."

It was all he could do to get his feet under him and keep them there as he was dragged upwards by his collar. They were at the top of the stairs and well on their way back to his brother's office before he could form much in the way of detailed thoughts. The first thing he noticed was his brother struggling with the bolts on the other half of the double door to his office, trying to get it open, the doorway otherwise too narrow to enable him to drag the heavy chair he was chained to through with him. Don remembered Charlie complaining about the stiff bolts and wasn't surprised that despite his suggestion to oil them his brother hadn't gotten around to it.

"Charlie, get back!" Don called out urgently as they approached. "Lock the door!"

"Don't you dare!" Morris countermanded, shoving the agent forward hard enough to force him to stumble and fall virtually at Charlie's feet.

With a groan Don rolled and looked up to see his gun aimed at his brother who looked like nothing so much as a startled rabbit caught in a car's headlights, eyes wide at the sudden turn of events. Somehow he got himself up and planted in front of the gun. "No!"

"Inside, now."

With no choice Don took a step back before turning and following his brother across the office. The door was slammed shut and locked behind them.

"Get back where you belong." The orders continued, the first one aimed at Charlie, the next at the agent. "And you, get down."

Don couldn't hide the sigh of relief as he lowered himself to the floor. It was a miracle that his head hadn't fallen off and his stomach was threatening to add to his discomfort, clenching and very close to rejecting his lunch. He now had a sore shoulder and stiff neck to add to his collection. The sigh turned to another groan as he eased back until he was lying down. He just needed a moment.

"Don?" Charlie's worried voice called.

"I'm okay, Charlie. Do as he says."


"No, Charlie. I'm good. I just need a moment." Even as he said it he knew he couldn't take the moment, he had to get himself upright otherwise Charlie would risk the ire of the offender even more than he had already.

Getting his hands under him and remembering not to make any sudden movement that would either make his head part company with his shoulders or get himself shot he levered himself up far enough to lean back against the end of Charlie's desk. He'd been here before and that thought was enough to ring a small bell in the back of his mind. There was something that he could use. Movement distracted him from his thoughts and he watched as his brother finally shifted, dragging the heavy chair back around the desk and out of his sight, the castors little assistance on the carpet.

The sense of deja-vu was strong as he looked back up at the offender. "So what are you going to do now?"

"I'm thinking. Where's your cell?"

Don pointed to the device which was still where it had landed what felt like forever ago. Using the distraction the agent shifted slighting bringing him within reach of his own target. Reaching out as quickly as he could he pulled it towards him, tucking it away out of sight behind his body. He was just in time as Morris spun suddenly towards him.

"It's on." He accused as he snapped the phone closed. "You called them."

"I told you they weren't here. You could have just walked out." He couldn't resist the dig. It also served to remind Morris that he'd told the truth and this deeper mess was all his own fault. Not that any of that really helped either Charlie or himself all that much. Thankfully, given their position, Morris ignored it.

"That was Sinclair, right?"

No surprise there, Morris had met David a couple of times during the course of the investigation. He also understood what Morris wanted. "Yeah. His number's in there."

Morris scrolled down the menus until he found the listing he wanted. "You should have let me go, I've got both him and his brother up here. … No, you're not talking to anyone. You know what I want. … Yeah? How about when I'm done with them I kick a door down and start in on a classroom? … Hunh, thought you'd listen to that. Call me."

He knew that Morris expected David to be making arrangements to move the circus below, clearing a path that would allow the offender to leave. That wasn't what was happening, David would instead be marshalling their forces and working on several plans, one to ensure Morris didn't go mobile, another to clear the building and the last to get the hostages out safely.

The first plan was already in play. The second though would take time, the evacuation of the building delayed by the need to know exactly where the HT and his hostages were barricaded before they could make a move. David could guess, but Morris hadn't exactly said they were in Charlie's office, hampering their efforts until they were sure. Until then Morris' threat was a good one, the lockdown serving to hold potential hostages in place. In the wake of school shootings Don knew the procedures behind lockdowns but not what security arrangements had been made to strengthen doors and locks to protect students. He had no idea how easy or difficult it would be for Morris to kick in a door. He had to do something before it came to that. His hand closed around the item behind him.

"Give me the phone. Let me talk to Sinclair." Don demanded, trying to push away his physical discomfort so that he could concentrate.

"He wouldn't listen to you before."

"That was before you upped the ante. He will now. But you just take me, not my brother or anyone else."

"You don't get to say what I do."

Don pulled back the hand he'd been holding out for his phone. Despite having no intention of carrying out his offer unless he failed, assuming he survived that failure, he had to make it look good. "That's the deal. Take it or leave it. I can make him give you what you want."

"Do it." Morris decided abruptly, tossing the cell at the agent.

Don snatched for it but his coordination was far enough off that he missed, batting the phone to one side instead of catching it. The gunman reacted automatically turning to pick the phone up and by accident created the opening the agent needed. Don knew he wouldn't get a better chance, Morris was off balance, turned slightly away as he bent over reaching for the phone. Wasting no more time on thought he pushed himself up and in the same motion swung his right hand and the object it held.

The book connected solidly with the back of Morris' head. The offender staggered and went to one knee before starting to bring the gun up. Don struck again, succeeding this time to floor Morris. He nearly followed him down though, staggering as he almost lost his balance but through sheer force of will managed to remain upright. His recovery was just in time to swing again in order to counter the other man's attempt to get up. With a groan Morris fell back, his hand opening and allowing Don's Glock to tumble free. Dropping the book Don took up his weapon and his phone before backing away to give himself a bit of reaction time in case Morris made a move.


"Charlie stay put." He ordered tersely as he flipped the cell open and hit the speed dial. "David, it's me. Charlie's office. I've got him."

Critically assessing Morris Don decided he had the time to move away long enough to flip the lock and pull open Charlie's door before returning to keep the man covered. Digging into his pocket he pulled out his keys and tossed them at his brother. His aim was off, the keys skittering across the desk before landing on the floor but Charlie was able to pick them up. The agent kept his attention on his prisoner as Charlie found the key to the cuffs and released himself. He turned briefly in time to see his brother approaching cuffs in hand and understood what he intended.

"No, Charlie. Stay back." Until David and Colby reached them he wasn't going to allow Charlie to get anywhere near Morris, not even to cuff him. Despite all appearances he wasn't entirely sure that the man wasn't playing possum, waiting for a chance to regain control.

David and Colby rushing into the room guns drawn followed by some LAPD uniforms didn't come too soon for Don. He stepped back as his agents secured Morris and made sure he wasn't carrying any other weapons. Holstering his Glock he bent to pick up the book just as David pulled a now conscious Morris to his feet.

"Take him to booking." Don ordered. They had more than enough evidence for assault and deprivation of liberty if nothing else. They would lay the other charges later.

Charlie rushed over, finally able to get near his brother. He looked him over in concern before finding his attention drawn to the volume in his brother's hands. The abrupt end to the stressful situation had his mind running off on an odd tangent tinged with mild hysteria. "I think you've already booked him."

"Oh, ha-ha." Don retorted sarcastically as David led, or more precisely helped, the groggy man away. "Just like he 'booked' me, right?"

"Well, not quite. He threw it, whereas you held onto it."

"Uh-huh." The book was suddenly heavier than it looked and he dropped it onto the desk top. The cover flipped open as it had landed half across another book and he saw the bookplate. He took a small double-take at the inscription, Ex libris Fleinhardt, wondering what Larry would think of how his book had been used. He sighed and suddenly the strength born of the rush of adrenalin that had carried him through the last few minutes abandoned him.

"Don?" Charlie's voice rose with worry as his older brother suddenly staggered and leant his weight against the desk. He'd seemingly recovered enough to take out Morris but it looked like everything was catching up with him again.

"Don?" The second voice was Colby, rushing in to support his boss reaching him first as he didn't have the bulk of the desk to get around. "What's wrong with him?"

"He got hit in the head a few times." Charlie supplied.

Colby eased Don back onto the couch a few steps away before turning to one of the officers. "Hey, we need some EMTs here."

"Sure thing."

"Colby, I'm fine." Don managed, sitting had definitely helped after the exertion of the last few minutes. "It's just a mild concussion." He found himself hoping that the blows he'd delivered to Morris had put the man into the same condition as he now found himself.

"How about we let the EMTs decide that?"

Waving his hand Don didn't bother arguing. He knew it would be easier that way, besides he really didn't have the energy right at the moment. The EMTs would do their thing and he could go home and rest. Some industrial strength Tylenol would help and he could almost see the box he kept for just such an occasion sitting in his medicine cupboard in his bathroom. The sooner he was home the better. If he played his cards right he'd be able to avoid the trip to hospital, he'd been there far too often lately.

An hour later and he was easing himself back on his bed, blinds drawn to make the room comfortably dark. He could hear Charlie moving about in the living room but he could accept that, being as it was a condition of his being allowed to go home. Charlie had taken pity and after a token argument had agreed that his brother's own bed was far better than the couch he usually ended up on back at the house. A sigh and he felt himself relaxing.

It had been uncomfortably close but somehow he'd managed to survive another gun being pointed at his head. At least Charlie had given up on calculating those odds, happy to accept that Don was able to keep beating them. That Charlie was also a member of that club, having himself been shot at and guns pointed at him, now made that a little easier even if Don was not happy he'd had experienced any of that. His younger brother was getting drawn ever closer to the more violent aspects of his job, this last exposure one of the closest.

Another sigh and he willed the Tylenol to ease away the pounding in his head, it hurt too much to have such deep thoughts. He would work on that tomorrow.


A/N: Not so sure that this fic works all that well. I found the challenge to be, well, a challenge. Once again, I'd like to thank everyone for reading and reviewing. See you all tomorrow with a new fic.