Disclaimer: I do not own `Numb3rs´

The stalker

by elessar 73

1. chapter

It comes with roses

Charles Eppes unlocked the door to his office at CalSci-University.

After his last class, which had ended minutes ago, he had decided to finish the gradation of remaining papers left behind on his desk, before he went home.

It was just 5.30 p.m., still early and more than enough time to finish his work.

A smile played around the corner of his mouth, his father had invited his brother Don and his fellow agents to spend the evening together at the Craftman´s house. They havn´t seen each other for quite a while.

All of them were emerged in their work.

He looked forward to see them all, just a little small talk, a couple of beer and a good dinner, almost perfect.

A slight shadow passed over Charlie´s face, he became a little sad, thinking about his girlfriend Amita, who was on a trip to India, to visit her parents and get back in touch with family and friends, to inform them about her work and success in the USA and of course fill them in into the relationship with him.

They both came along very well, Charlie loved spending time with her and he had serious thoughts about moving in together.

When Amita was back, it was time for a decision.

He had to admit, that he really missed her. He missed her soft voice, when she whispers in his ear, her tender embrace, the involuntary contacts, almost everything she did.

He would have done everything to hear her voice right now.

But right now he couldn´t reach her, she was somewhere on the Ganges, enjoying a river cruise with her family from Kanpur to Kalkutta.

He couldn´t stop a smile, ´Leave it Eppes´ he told himself,´ there was work to do and no time for daydreaming´ .

With a sigh he stepped into his office and stopped death in his tracks, he was surrounded by a strange odour making it hard to breath.

Charlie coughed heavy. He didn´t get enough air in his lungs and soon he felt a little dizzy.

He reached out his left arm, searching for support at the doorframe, he closed his eyes, tried to clear his vision which started to get blurry.

After a while he could see clearer again and he noticed that his desk was covered with red roses, his mouth dropped open.

´What was that?´

He frowned, his door was locked ,wasn´t it ?

Who had distribute all those roses?

There was no time for questions, he had to get rid of the flowers and their unbearable scent.

He made it to the window on shaky legs and opened it, leaning a little to the outside, he inhaled deep , filling his lungs with fresh air.

He definite had a problem with roses.

As a child he had developed an allergy to them.

Charlie´s brown eyes grew nearly black with grief, when he remembered that particular day, they spotted the allergy and its after-effect.

His mother Margaret used to have the backyard planted with roses from different species varied in colour and size.

She spent a good part of the day caring for them.

After her marriage with Alan Eppes and the birth of her first son Don, Margaret had from the bottom of her heart decided to be a mother and thought about starting work again partly, when Don was old enough for the kindergarten, but when she became pregnant with Charlie she skipped those plans.

At no time she regretted her decision, but she found out, that she needed something for her own, a place where she could be free.

Charlie with his special gift was a challenge and sometimes it was difficult for her to keep up.

Charlie produced so many questions,his brain never seemed to stop - now and again she needed a break to regain her strength.

And Don, of course, was a challenge of his own, he enjoyed sports and games and more than once he came home, injured and messed up.

Margaret always found a way to master her sons, she loved them more than anything else, but she needed a bit freedom

And that place was her yard, her safe haven.

Charlie felt a sting in his heart, when he reminded that his mother had to surrender her roses because of him.

He was four years old and loved to hang around with his he wasn´t interested in flowers, he just sat on the meadow, a sheet of paper on his lap, a pencil in the hand, writing down numbers.

From time to time he looked up to his mother, smiling at her, when they locked eyes and than he turned towards his numbers again.

When Charlie had finished a sum he called his mother to take a look, his impressive brown eyes spreading out joy and pride.

However, at that significant day,it was just the same.

When he called out to his mother, Margaret stepped to him, glancing over his small shoulder on the sheet of paper.

" That is amazing,Charlie.", she said in her soft voice,tapping his shoulder with one hand.

Charlie´s eyes lit up like a candle, his mother´s praise used to have this effect on him.

Margaret whirled through his dark curly hair.

" You are a genius, sweetheart." And then she handed him a wonderful, yellow rose.

"Thank you, mommy." Charlie was taken aback,he knew how much his mother cared about her roses.

When he gained one, he must be loved very much.

" You deserve it, I´m very proud of you,kiddo."

Charlie beamed and couldn´t think about something to he managed a tender " I love you, mommy." and then he returned to his numbers.

The rose laid beside him in the grass.

Shortly Charlie was engage in his math and didn´t remark when his mother spoke again:" Charlie, I need to go in, Don will be here in about 45 minutes and I need to fix lunch, okay?"

She looked at her son, but he didn´t react, Charlie was lost in thoughts.

She shook her head slightly, ´where will this end?´,and left him in the backyard with his maths.

After a few minutes Charlie began to feel unwell, he lifted his head, his eyes searched for his mother, but he couldn´t find her.

He felt anxiety rising and suddenly it was difficult to breath right.

Rapidly the situation got worse.

His throat seemed to be lace up and he coughed heavy with the intention to clear it and get air in his lungs.

But it didn´t help much, his breathing became ragged.

He didn´t know what to do, he couldn´t breath, he couldn´t scream,he couldn´t move....Charlie was alone. `Where was mommy?´

With a great effort he came to his knees and crawled forward, but he only made a few inches before he collapsed on the ground, slipping into unconsciousness.

Margaret was unaware of what happened in the was engaged in preparing lunch.

She had voted for chicken wings and french fries, something both boys liked.

She fumbled with the chicken when she heard the school bus stopped and running steps approched the front door.

The door flew open and Don entered the house in a run.

" Mommy!", his excited vioce filled the room.

A smile on her face she answered:" In the kitchen, Donnie."

When he arrived she turned around to hug him. " How was your day, so far?"

"Okay.", came the repley in a clipped voice.

Margaret frowned, she knew her son pretty well, usually Don talked nonstop when he came home, his silence now was odd and Margaret had the feeling that

something had happened.

" Donald Alan Eppes," she announced him firm," don´t lie to me."

Don flushed, he wondered how his mother always knew, when something was going on.

" Mmmmhh,", he was stalling, " just a little argument, mom, nothing serious..."

"Donnie!", Margaret wasn´t convinced, but she decided to leave it for later.

She rubbed through his dark hair and Don felt relieved, but he knew for sure, that this conversation wasn´t over.

He figured out, that changing the subject would distract his mother.

" I´m hungry mom, what and when can we eat?"

Margaret stifled a smile.´Really smart, Donnie.´ But she played along.

" A few more minutes, sweetheart, we have chicken wings and french fries."

Don´s face lit up, his favourite food, the day turned out to be pretty good.

He stepped impatiently from one foot to the other. " Mommy...", he pulled at Margaret´s shirt to get her attention, but she ignored him, " I´m really hungry, mommy."

Finally she redeemed him." Go find you brother, he´s in the backyard."

Don turned straight on his heels and dashed through the backdoor into the yard.

He shouted his brother´s name, but Charlie didn´t react upon.

" Oh come on, buddy, it´s lunchtime and I´m starving!"

Don sighed, his nerdy brother could be a pain in the ass, damn it.

Don´s eyes roamed the meadow, looking for a sign of life from his brother.

Suddenly he discovered a mop of dark hair.

Crying out Charlie´s name, he raced toward the motionless figur. Don dropped to his knees and turned Charlie on the back.

Charlie´s eyes were closed and his breathing was ragged and hollow.

Don clapped Charlie´s cheek, trying to wake him up. " Please,open your eyes little one.", he plead, but they remained close.

Don gave up and headed back for the house, calling his mother.

" Mooooommmmyyy, hurry, Charlie won´t wake up, please help!", tears streamed down his face, " Mommy!"

By the sound of Don´s voice Margaret felt cold fear rise inside her heart, the plates and silverware dropped unnoticed to the floor.

She stumbled into the backyard and ran to Charlie on shaky legs.

Don followed her and watched horrified as she dropped beside Charlie and pulled him into a sitting position.

She kissed him on the forehead " Charlie, sweetheart, please wake up."

She searched for a pulse and when she found one, she relaxed a little, she turned her head towards Don. " Donnie, call 9-1-1, you know how to do it right?!"

Don nodded and vanished into the house to make the call.

The ambulance arrived timely to save Charlie´s life.

Charlie had suffered an anaphylacic shock,generated by the roses.

He had to stay in the hospital for several days.

During this time, all the roses had vanished from the yard and were replaced by other flowers.

Because of anti-allergic and therapy Charlie had developed a toleration against the cause of the allergic, but that amount of roses,in a closed room, was too much to bear.

Charlie took a few more deep breaths , prepared himself to turn around and face his problem.

He seized a trash bag, bestowed in a cupboard and began to throw the roses into it.

He worked quick and tried to avoid as much breathing as possible, but soon he noted, that his breathing became ragged again.

But he pushed along, wanted to finish this work.

He was so engaged,that he didn´t remark his brother Don standing in the door and staring with concern at the scene in front of him.

Seeing Charlie surrounded by roses, made Don´s heart clench in fear, he had a good memory of that specific day as well.

" Hey buddy,what the hell is going on?" Don´s voice had an anxious tone, he got near Charlie and pushed him firmly away from the threat.

Charlie sighed with relief, by now he was gasping for air. He stumbled to the window and took a deep breath, but he ended up heavy coughing.

Don looked at him, he realized that his brother was swaying on his feets. Charlie´s face was pale and had an unhealthy tinge of blue around the lips.

Don´s concern grew.

After what seemed to be an eternity all the roses were clear away and Don fanned with his hands to expel the remaining scent.

"Wow...Charlie, what was that?"

Meanwhile Charlie had regained some of his colour, the faint blue had vanished and his breathing was regular again.

He shook his head. " I have no idea....kind of esteem, who knows?"

Charlie tried to degrade the incident, he didn´t want to think about who had break into his office and left the roses.

Don remaind skeptical, it was noticeable in his voice." Charlie, that kind of esteem or what ever it was, can kill you, you aware of that, right."

Charlie paled again, " Of course I know, how can I forget this..... but noone else does..."

Charlie bent his head,the day turned out to be a mess.

´Not f I can help it´, he thought, ´he was so pleased by the prospect of a kind evening, a few roses wouldn´t ruin it.´

Don perceived the sadness, that filled the room, but before he could react Charlie had found his composure and faced Don directly.

"So,what are you doing here, need my help on a case?"

Don was stunned, a minute ago Charlie was near tears and now that, okay, when Charlie didn´t want to talk about it, he could leave it, for now, but they would have to talk about it, later.

A smile crept upon Don´s face." No case, I just came to say ´hello´and pick you up.."

Charlie went back to his desk and took a seat.

" Well..that´s a little unusual, almost an anomaly."

Both brothers smiled, remembering the day Charlie lost a game of chess against their father, because of a little distraction caused by Don and the word `anomaly´ and its spelling.

The mood had brighten extremly and Don relaxed visibly.

´Maybe Charlie was right, and it was nothing serious´... but his instincts told him something else, he would observe the trend and find out what to do.

Don leaned forward and touched Charlie´s shoulder." So come on, let´s get out of here, you can rest at home."

Don was halfway to the door, the trash bag in one hand, when he remarked, that Charlie didn´t follow.

He turned around, finding Charlie still behind his desk.

Don raised his eyebrowns inquiring.

Charlie cleared his throat:" Well, first of all I´m here with my own car, I can drive by myself and secondly I still have work to do, those tests," Charlie pointed to a stack of paper on his desk," need to be assessed."

Don waved his free hand in an attempt to stop Charlie´s oral fluency.

"Oh come on, forget about it, buddy, I guess the work will still be here tomorrow and I drive you back to CalSci in time for your first class. Dad is waiting, and when I´m right, we have his super special lasagne tonight."

Don could nearly taste the tomatosauce and the handmade pasta..... a dream.

By the sight of Don, eyes closed and obviously dreaming of their father´s cooking skills,Charlie delivered," I guess you are right."

He came to his feet, grabbed his backpack and followed his brother.

The two brothers were unaware of the green eyes observing them from the other end of the floor.

The eyes grew dark with hate and contempt, seeing the roses despised in such a way.

In a unconscious motion the woman tighten the grip around her left wrist, driving her fingernails deep into the soft flesh on the inside of her forearm.

She scratched until she felt blood dropping down.

´Eppes will have to learn a lesson, nobody despised her, nobody....Eppes will learn,soon.´

Thank you for reading, I hope you like it so far..

There is a lot more to come...Please review, but be kind...