Disclaimer: Numb3rs and associated characters are not mine. I make no profit from this fiction.
A/N: So here we go, the sequel to Sniping Equations. Takes place roughly six months or so after the end of that. Many thanks to the lovely Jadvisioness, for her excellent services as Beta – she makes very intelligent comments. Thanks, hon.
No Shooting In The House. Where Ian thinks he might be losing his touch, and goes to drastic measures to get his snark back, inadvertently putting Charlie in danger in the process.
Chapter One: Restless. In which Ian realises that he's been acting out of character.
Ian Edgerton sat in Charlie's garage, quietly drawing, while his lover worked frantically on the blackboards. The clack-clack-clack of the chalk was oddly soothing, and several times Ian fought back a yawn. Eventually he glanced at his watch and decided that enough was enough. They both had classes to teach in the morning.
He put down his sketch-pad and approached Charlie, standing directly behind him. Ian knew that it annoyed the professor, which was exactly why he did it with such frequency. When it didn't seem to get a response this time, Ian wrapped one arm around Charlie's waist and pulled him backwards, using the other hand to confiscate the chalk.
"Hey!" Charlie protested. "I'm right in the middle of a significant line of thought, I need to finish this. Give that back."
"No." Ian smiled smugly, even as Charlie attempted to wriggle out of his grasp. "You have class in the morning. You need to sleep."
"But I'm not tired!" Charlie fought to keep from whining. "I'll sleep, I promise, but I gotta finish this."
"Hmmm," Ian hummed. "I'm sure I can think of something to tire you out."
"Huh? What do you – oh. Oh!" Charlie arched backwards into Ian's touch. "No fair," he whimpered. He heard Ian's chuckle, and could picture his expression clearly. It would be that smug smile he always wore when he got his way.
Abruptly, Ian let go and pulled away, making Charlie stumble as he struggled to regain his bearings. The younger man turned, confused, to look at his lover. The sniper smirked at him, eyes glittering.
"It's a pity you don't want to go to bed, isn't it? Guess I'll just head up by myself then."
Ian and Charlie stood, looking at each other, for about a minute before Charlie cracked. Rushing back to the house, he grabbed Ian's hand on the way past. Laughing, he led the way up to his room, where he was more than happy to let his lover tire him out.
The next morning, Ian woke early as usual. He smiled fondly at the now-familiar sight of Charlie wrapped firmly around him, and began the daily struggle of getting out of bed without waking the brilliant professor. It was no easy task, but Ian always viewed it as a challenge.
Having accomplished it – and the equal challenge of finding his clothes in the chaotic bedroom – he padded down the hall for a shower. His morning routine was finished quickly, and he returned to the bedroom, knowing that he really should wake Charlie now.
As he'd expected, Charlie had rolled over to where Ian had lain all night, and was now cuddling his pillow. Apparently, the professor had a few abandonment issues. At the low chuckle that emerged, Charlie blearily opened his eyes and looked around.
"Good morning, Professor." Ian smiled down at him. "Best get moving, you have class in two hours."
"Two hours?" Charlie yawned. "Plenty of time. Come back to bed."
"No it's not. Because I happen to know that you'll be biking today, and you need to eat properly before you leave. Get moving." Ian turned and left, still smiling to himself. Sure, Charlie would continue to sleep for another twenty minutes or so, but he'd still make it. Somehow, even though Charlie was always in a rush, he still made it on time. It was part of his charm.
Downstairs, Ian sat down at the kitchen counter just as Alan dished up a hot breakfast. The older man had grown used to Ian's presence in the house, even if he didn't necessarily approve of the man's occupation.
"Alan," Ian nodded a greeting. "Smells good."
"Thank you. I'm just glad someone's going to eat it besides me."
Ian smiled as he nodded. Alan really was a great cook, and he enjoyed having access to three square meals a day. The two men ate in companionable silence, before they heard a thump and muffled swearing coming from upstairs.
"Guess he's up," Ian shrugged as he rinsed his plate and put it in the dishwasher. On his way past, he flicked on the coffee pot that had become a permanent fixture since he'd moved in three months ago. Charlie often joked that the sniper had more caffeine in his veins than blood, and that they needed to keep him away from mosquitoes. At which point, Ian would usually pretend to shoot down hyperactive insects, much to Charlie's delight.
Smirking a little to himself, Ian reached into the fridge and picked up the milk, shaking it experimentally.
"Hm. Low on milk." At the comment, Alan groaned.
"I knew I forgot something yesterday!" He sighed. "And I was going to make fried chicken tonight, too."
"Don't worry," Ian shrugged. "I'll get some on the way home tonight."
"Will you?" Alan beamed as Ian nodded. "Thank you Ian, that'll be a great help." He started to head out of the kitchen before pausing. "Stan's coming around to go over some plans for the firm. You haven't left your guns in the living room, have you?"
"No, Sir," Ian couldn't help but smile. "Charlie forbade me from taking them out of their cases."
"Excellent," Alan nodded and left.
Ian finished making the coffee – his black and bitter, Charlie's milky and sweet – then quickly drank his while considering the day ahead. He was taking some promising field agents through an advanced shooting course first up. One of them showed particular promise, and he'd be recommending the boy for sniper training. If he had time after, he'd swing by CalSci for lunch with Charlie, maybe even sit in on the start of his afternoon lecture. After that, he'd head for Don's office, since they were planning a raid for the afternoon.
Hearing the water running for the upstairs shower, Ian smiled and left Charlie's coffee on the counter with a post-it note stuck to it, saying quite simply 'Bang bang, Baby'. He then quickly drained his own mug and collected his keys, ready to head off. It wasn't until he reached his truck that the morning's actions clicked into place, and he stopped with a look of horror on his face.
He'd been… domesticated.