To Protect

Summary- A few scenes with Don/Charlie interaction. Mostly fluffy angst.

AN-if anyone wants to, they can use a memory or two as the basis of a new story, if you're plot hunting. Just let me know in advance, and let me know when it's done, so I can read it. Thanks!

Disclaimer- If I owned Numb3rs, do you really think I would've cancelled it? Hell no.


Don was almost six when Charlie was born, and even though Charlie was only a tiny red, raisin-like thing, Don knew right then and there that this was his brother, and that no matter what, he was going to keep him safe. And by the looks of it, Charlie would need all the protection he could get. When Don and his father went to see the baby in the nursery, Charlie was easily the smallest one out of a good thirty babies. And with his already wild, curly black hair, and huge brown eyes, he was clearly going to be, as his father had dared to put it, jailbait. His mother had just about slaughtered him for that. So when Don asked what that meant, she was sure to explain it all to him as best she could. She told him that what his father had meant was that when Charlie grew up, he was going to be very pretty- Don had scowled at this. Boys are not pretty. They are manly, handsome, or, like Susan Wilkes had once told him, sexy. Not pretty- and people, some of them not nice, would want to take Charlie away from his family, even if he didn't want to go. Don set his jaw (as well as an angry five-almost-six year-old can) and very calmly told his mother not to worry. No one was ever going to take Charlie. No one.


It had been five years since Charlie's birth, and much had changed. Don was now eleven, and in the 5th grade. It was the last day of school, and Don had somehow managed to get all A's. His parents were going to be so proud of him, he knew. So proud, that not once would they mention Charlie's doctor's appointment, or try and convince him to talk. They wouldn't coo and applaud when Charlie held up whichever of Don's comics he was using for paper, equations scribbled all over it. For once, it was Don's day. And there was no way he was going to share it with his possibly mute, possibly deaf, possibly autistic, yet somehow brilliant, genius brother. But as soon as Don walked into the house, he knew something was wrong. He could hear muffled voices, and as he carefully placed his backpack on the coffee table, he grabbed the butter knife that was still there for this morning's toast. He peered around the doorway of the kitchen, only to find it empty. The same was true of the dining room, and the bathroom. The last room that was not upstairs or in the garage was Charlie's room. Just as Don was nearing it, there was a loud cry, and the sounds of someone begging. Throwing caution to the wind, he kicked the door open, and froze in shock. His parents were both tied up and gagged on Charlie's bed, staring at the giant… thing that had it's huge hands on little Charlie's shoulders. Charlie was terrified, that much was clear. His bright brown eyes were wide and foggy with tears. His hair huge in damp ringlets, and it was then that Don noticed that his little brother was clad only in a towel, wet, and was shivering. In a haze of anger, Don could only just see as his hand holding the knife came up, and brought the heavy handle down on the man's head, hard. The man dropped like a brick, freeing Charlie. In the time it took Don to untie his parents, Charlie had managed to grab the phone from the hallway, and gave it to their mother. While she was on the phone, and their father was tying up the man, Don held Charlie, who was still shaking. The little boy looked up with tears rolling down his cheeks, brown eyes wide and trusting, and murmured one word.



6 years have now passed. Don and Charlie are juniors in high school, despite the fact that Charlie is only eleven. As soon as the teachers realized Charlie could speak, they set upon figuring what grade he was best suited for. Charlie was only eight when they put him though to 9th grade, and scared to death. In high school he was not only the youngest, but also the smallest, and the smartest. Not exactly a good basis for making friends. The only person who could stand him was Don, and even then, there was an unspoken agreement that Charlie never spoke to his brother during school. So when two of the football team's linebackers approached him at his usual spot in front of the school, he really should have sensed something was up. The guys were both large, easily taller then 6 feet, and Charlie's meager 4 feet, 9 inches just would not cut it. He hardly reacted at all when the blonde one pinned him against the wall, nor when the brunette started commenting on his height, hair… just appearance in general. It wasn't until the comments elevated to mocking touches and lewd whisperings in his ear that he began fighting back. He was never more relieved then he was when he spotted Don walking up the steps, fury in his eyes.

"And just what do you think you're doing?" he hissed. Neither of the boys turned around, assuming it was one of their friends.

"Just havin' a little fun with the minx. Only eleven, but you should hear how he begs, man. Pretends like he doesn't want it but you can-" Don's fist cut off the boy's voice quickly.

"Touch my brother again, and I will end you." Then he scooped Charlie up into his arms and walked away. Charlie buried his face in Don's neck, shaking. Don ran his fingers through Charlie's soft curls, soothing the boy.

"Did those assholes do anything to you?" he asked, helping Charlie into his seat in the car. Charlie shook his head, eyes wide.

"Now I know what she meant." Don sighed, shaking his head. "If anyone ever comes up to you like that, or says anything that scares you, just let me know, okay? I'll keep you safe.


Don wakes to his phone ringing at about four in the morning. Blindly, he grabs it, and answers.

"Whaddya wan'?" He mumbled. Charlie's terrified voice filters though the tinny speakers of the phone.

"Don? Oh God… I don't know what to do! He's gonna hurt me, he said so! " Don sat up sharply, mind cleared.

"Who, Charlie? Who said that?" Charlie sucked in a shuddering breath.

"Steve." His voice is a whisper. Don tensed. Steve. Steve was Charlie's first boyfriend, who, at the wee age of seventeen, was the second youngest student, next to Charlie. He also happened to have major jealousy issues, not to mention bad anger management. Not a good set of traits to be missing when in daily contact with an Eppes.

"Why do you think that, Buddy?" Don pulled out the big guns, knowing his childhood name for Charlie would coax out the answers he needed if he was to help him.

"He told me so. I told him I wanted to wait, that I wasn't ready but…he just… Look, can you please come get me? I don't wanna be alone, and I kinda lost my car keys… again."