I started working on this a while back, but I could never figure out a good enough ending.
Well, after being in such an artistic mood lately, I've been writing like crazy and decided to finish this one! :P
Hope you like it!
I do not own Numb3rs.
Don sighed in both annoyance and yet contentment as he maneuvered himself once more on the couch he was sitting on, so not to disturb the completely unconscious and slightly snoring from congestion lump snuggled into his side.
Charlie didn't often get sick. Mainly because his body had gotten so used to the constant neglect whenever he started working on an important project or assignment and forgot basically all other instincts regarding his health. His immune system was practically made of Superman. But every once in a while, he would come down with something. And when Charlie got sick, he got sick.
Just yesterday he'd passed out in the middle of explaining an algorithm to Don related to the case they were working on. Not many things scared the older Eppes brother anymore, but that really got his heart going. Having a job like his, he couldn't help but think of the worst case scenarios. Maybe he was drugged. Maybe he'd hurt himself and hadn't told anyone until it got serious. What if it was the beginning stage of some type of cancer, like what their mom had? The possibilities, in his mind at that time, were endless.
And it turned out he'd only caught himself a bad case of the flu. And of course, Charlie's exhaustion was right there to assist in scaring the life out of Don. He was relieved it wasn't something more serious, but he made a mental note to talk to Charlie about the way he took care of himself.
He was glad, but still very much concerned, when his baby brother slept for pretty much the rest of the day after that. He'd only woken up a few times, to go to the bathroom, get a drink, or just mumble fever-induced babble before rolling over and falling back asleep. Don would never say it out loud, but he thought it was kinda cute the way Charlie would look at him all sleepy and confused, oblivious to what he was doing. Yes, his brother was quite good at being adorable at times, even Don had to admit that. He just had that child-like innocence to him.
Charlie didn't, and most likely would never know, how much Don really loved him, and worried about him. Everyday he saw murder scenes and poor souls that had been tortured, beaten, raped and maimed. He'd never thought about it before, but now that his brother was involved in his work, and even before then, he was a potential victim of the very same crimes he saw every day. And now, being so close with the FBI could put him at an even higher risk of becoming a victim of these crimes, every time he involved himself in a case.
Don didn't know what he would do if someone tried to hurt Charlie because of his job. He couldn't imagine himself being talked to by his very own team as the unfortunate family member of a victim. The thought sent cold chills down his spine, and he subconsciously wrapped a protective arm around his little brother's shoulder.
Nothing would ever hurt him. Ever. As long as Don was around, Charlie was safe, and no one would ever take him away.
His lips slowly curled into a small smile, despite the many horrific thoughts brewing in his mind.
'Look at me,' He thought to himself with a lighthearted chuckle. 'Sitting on the couch, snuggled up with my little brother, and worrying about him like a mother.'
He shook his head with another small laugh. 'Oh mom, if you could see me now...'
He looked down at his sleeping brother, clad in a large hoodie and sweatpants, and wondered when exactly he'd become his personal pillow.
He took the day off to make sure his little brother didn't do anymore harm to himself. His team understood, and they knew how hard their little professor overworked himself at times. He'd been Charlie-sitting for an hour and a half now while their father went out to get some groceries and run some errands. They'd been watching movies, both on the opposite sides of the couch, and now suddenly, they were stuck together like magnets.
Charlie hadn't done that since they were kids. When they were younger, Charlie would always sneak into Don's bed when he had a nightmare or when he wasn't feeling lonely and snuggle up to him without him even realizing it. He almost missed those days, way back when. When things were simpler.
He didn't particularly mind it, even when they were kids, at least not when they were alone. He'd hate for someone to walk in randomly and see him and his brother snuggling on the couch, though. How embarrassing would that be? Every manly bone in his body was becoming agitated with the thought.
Still, he couldn't will himself to move him away and disturb his sleep. As completely un-manly as it was, his big brother senses won out, like they always did.
A loud, throaty cough suddenly interrupted his thoughts and the already forgotten movie on the TV screen. He nearly jumped out of his skin as he looked down at the source of the noise.
Charlie groaned and slowly lifted his head from Don's shoulder, his eyes still shut tightly, and put a hand up to his pounding head. Even without opening his eyes he knew he was dizzy, and his entire body ached with fever. He was so disoriented he wasn't even sure where he was.
He dropped his hand in his lap and slowly opened his bleary eyes, attempting to focus them on something to stop the spinning. When it didn't work, he sighed and settled for leaning his head back on the couch cushion and closing his eyes again, unaware of Don's presence, or even that he'd been using him for a pillow for the past half hour.
"Hey buddy, you okay?"
Even without looking, Charlie's jumbled, fever-infected mind could instantly tell who the voice belonged to and he smiled tiredly.
"Just peachy." He managed hoarsely. Just those two words managed to make his throat sore, and he tried to clear it some.
"Need anything? Water? Something to eat?"
Charlie shook his head slowly. His throat hurt, but it was the kind of hurt that water couldn't help. And he didn't think he could stomach any food right now. He was still tired, but he didn't feel like sleeping anymore, even though his whole body ached. He wasn't even sure how long he'd been sleeping, but it felt like forever.
He then noticed how cold he was, despite the large hoodie he was wearing.
"Blanket?" He mumbled softly, willing his eyes to open again. The dizziness had subsided some, and he finally looked beside him at Don through half-lidded eyes.
Don gave him a small smile and put a cool hand to his burning forehead, gently sliding down to his flushed cheek. He involuntarily closed his eyes again, leaning into the cool touch, nearly falling over with his equilibrium impaired by the fever. With a chuckle, Don helped Charlie lay down and headed upstairs to get his blanket from his room.
It took him no longer than two minutes to grab the blanket and some aspirin and head back to Charlie. When he got to the couch, he saw that his baby brother had already fallen back asleep. With a small sigh and a shake of the head, Don draped the blanket over the younger Eppes brother and smiled.
Hey laid the bottle of pills down on the table with a glass of water for when he woke up and gently stroked his hand through Charlie's hair.
Alan hummed as he juggled the groceries in one hand and his house keys in the other. It was a gorgeous day out, and despite his youngest son being terribly sick, he was enjoying his day out. He'd gotten nearly a month's supply of several variations of pills for basically everything, aspirin, decongestants, tylenol, tissues, antiseptics, a thermometer, you name it and he got it.
When he finally got the door open he quickly set the groceries on the table and headed for the living room. That's where his sons were when he'd first left, and he figured that was where they still were. He could hear the TV on, the volume low.
He peered in the doorway, an amused smile spread across his face.
On the couch, Charlie was sprawled out on his stomach, fast asleep, one arm hanging off the side. And on the other side of the couch, Don was squished in between the cushion and Charlie's legs. One of which, were laid out on his lap.
But he didn't seem to mind, considering his head was resting against the back of the couch and was also comfortably fast asleep.