The title is based off of the replacement of Charlie Sheen on the show. I know he's been through a lot of crazy stuff and all, but Charlie made that show. All of the cast did.
No One Can Replace You
Alan was relaxing at home—his brother's home, rather, but hey, Alan lived here, too—enjoying himself with popcorn and a random movie while he had the house to himself. Charlie had taken Jake out to a Harlem Globetrotters game, leaving less than five minutes ago. Alan didn't have any plans and decided to catch up on a few movies with his few hours of alone time.
But Alan couldn't have been twenty minutes into the movie before receiving a distressing call from his son.
"Hello?" Alan answered his cell phone, not too pleased with the interruption.
"D-Dad!" Jake sounded panicky on the other end of the line.
"Whoa, Jake! What's wrong?"
"Dad…" Alan could faintly hear commotion in the background, a few people shouting, and then a siren.
An ambulance siren.
"Jake! What's going on?" Alan tossed the bag of popcorn aside and rushed to find his shoes. He knew his presence was more than likely needed, whatever was going on.
"M-me and Uncle Charlie," Alan chose to overlook the grammatical error, "stopped at the bank before going to the game and then someone came in a pulled out a gun and demanded money! Everyone ducked and the bank people gave the robber money so he wouldn't hurt anyone!"
"Are you okay? Where's Charlie?" Alan suddenly feared the worst.
"…" Jake paused before answering. "I-I'm fine, but…"
"…U-Uncle Charlie…The robber randomly shot at people before leaving, and…Uncle Charlie got hit protecting me…"
Alan's heart nearly stopped. He was glad that Jake wasn't hurt, but at the cost of his brother being shot instead. Charlie couldn't be…
"Where did he get hit, Jake?" Alan asked urgently.
"I-I think in his chest or close to his stomach, I couldn't tell," Jake answered hesitantly. "He was holding both, and there was blood everywhere…"
"Jake, just calm down," Alan contradicted himself, having a hard enough time following his own advice. His heart was pounding and he felt himself trying to catch his breath for fear of the worst. "Ride in the ambulance with your Uncle Charlie and I'll be at the hospital as soon as possible, okay?"
"Dad…" Jake sounded choked up. "I'm scared…Is Uncle Charlie going to be okay?"
"…" Alan wasn't too sure himself, noting he had no idea the condition Charlie was in, but he couldn't frighten Jake more than he'd already witnessed. "I'm sure he'll be okay. You know your Uncle Charlie's tough!"
"Y-yeah…!" Alan heard Jake sniffle.
"I'll see you in a minute, buddy." Alan said to his son, throwing on his jacket and rushing out the front door.
"Alan…" Judith walked up to Jake and Alan, who were seated in the waiting room.
"Mom!" Jake ran to his mother, who threw her arms around him.
"Oh, Jake! I'm so glad you're not hurt," she said, kissing his forehead.
"B-but Uncle Charlie-!"
"I know…" Judith glanced at Alan. "How is he?"
"Not sure yet," he answered simply. "Still in surgery. Missed his heart. Don't know much else."
Judith noticed Alan's monotone responses and the fact that he didn't answer in complete sentences. He wasn't even looking at her. "W-where's your mother?"
"Vacation. Coming home early."
Judith wasn't too sure on what to say next. Alan looked completely distraught, which was to be expected. His brother was just shot! What else was there to think about?
But more than anything, he protected Jake, and she was beyond thankful. She only hoped for Charlie to make it out of his surgery okay.
"Well, I'm sure the surgery will be awhile," Judith mentioned. "Visiting hours are almost over. Jake, I'll take you home now."
"But Mom, I wanna see Uncle Charlie!" Jake protested.
"I know, but even after his surgery he's going to have to rest for several hours. It might not be a good idea to talk to him so soon. Surely tomorrow would be a better time."
Jake frowned, but knew she was right. "O-okay…" he said sullenly.
"Alan," Judith addressed him, "call me as soon as you know anything else."
"Sure," he replied robotically.
She frowned, but decided not to push it. She began to walk out with Jake before saying, "I hope he comes out okay."
"Mr. Harper. Mr. Harper, hey."
"Wha-?" Alan awoke to someone shaking him. He had accidentally fallen asleep on the couch of the waiting room. "W-what time is it?"
"Almost midnight," Alan blinked and noticed the man in a blood-stained surgical garb in front of him.
"Doctor!" Alan jumped up and grabbed the doctor's shoulders frantically. "Charlie! How is he? Is he okay? Please, doctor!"
"M-Mr. Harper, it's all right!" the doctor answered quickly. "Charlie Harper made it out of the surgery with no problems. The bullet managed to barely miss his heart and luckily didn't tear through anything vital, just muscle. He shall recover in a few weeks."
Alan could feel the relief flood through his whole body. Charlie was okay! He was going to make it.
Alan let go of the doctor's shoulders and reached for his hands, shaking them immensely. "Thank you so much, doctor! M-may I see him?"
"Well, he needs his rest, but if you are to stay here with him, then we'll put you in his room. You can talk for a few minutes, but I would suggest you both get some sleep. You look like you need it as much as he does."
"O-of course!" Alan nodded. "A few minutes is fine!"
"A-Alan…" Alan heard Charlie breath when he entered the room.
"Charlie!" Alan pulled up the lone chair in the small hospital room next to Charlie's bed. "How do you feel?"
"Like I just got shot, and then doctors made an attempt to patch me up." If Charlie was still able to joke, there was no doubt he was fine. Alan smiled at this thought.
"Made an attempt?" Alan questioned his older brother's choice of words.
"Yeah, attempt. It hurts like hell even though they drugged me up. Is that supposed to happen?"
"Maybe the drugs are taking a minute to set in."
"Well, they need to hurry up. All these damn advances in medicine and technology and I still hurt after surgery. Somebody needs to get on this. Maybe I'll file a complaint."
"Charlie, those doctors just saved your life," Alan remarked. "Would you rather be in a little pain now or dead?"
Charlie made a face like he really had to think about that. "Is that a trick question?"
Alan grinned, but Charlie was still debating the question. "Oh, Charlie."
"Where's the kid?"
"It's really late so he left with Judith. He was worried about his Uncle Charlie."
"Yeah, his Uncle Charlie always gave him advice on how to "dodge the bullet" at whatever life threw at him, and yet I ended up taking one literally. Whoever came up with that phrase needs to learn to dodge a bullet himself 'cause I'm coming for him, whoever he is. Or she. Do you think a woman came up with that saying?"
"I don't know." Alan was wondering what kind of drugs the doctors had given Charlie because they may have been the wrong kind. "But you're Jake's hero."
"Aww, I don't want to have to wear the lame tights…"
"You don't have to!" Alan chuckled. "I'm glad you're okay, Charlie."
Charlie gave him a funny look. "…Did they give you funny drugs or something? Are they certified to just aimlessly pass these things out to people? Alan, what have I told you about taking drugs from strangers?"
Alan couldn't help but laugh at everything Charlie said. He was beyond drugged up; there couldn't have been any way that he could feel any pain. Alan was surprised Charlie wasn't knocked out yet.
"Charlie, I'm not on drugs. I am glad that you're okay. I wasn't sure what I would do if you…if something happened to you."
"What do you mean?" Charlie asked absentmindedly, staring at his hands curiously like they were foreign objects or something.
"I would just…miss you a lot. It would be devastating to lose you." Now Alan was staring at his hands, not wanting to look Charlie in the eye.
"You can be really annoying sometimes, and you terrorized me as a kid, and your taste in women is absolutely awful, and you degrade my occupation, and you drink too much, and you make fun of what I wear, and you tell me my taste in women is awful, and you still owe me that one hundred bucks that you gambled away the other night, and I know you hid my library card just so I couldn't check out Pride and Prejudice to show you how great a classic book is, and you stole my iPod and put all those Britney Spears songs on there because you said I'm such a chick that I should listen exclusively to chick music, and I'm pretty sure that you're the one that put that dent in my car when you decided to go drag racing with it with Jake, among other things…"
"But...you wouldn't be my brother if you didn't do those things. Plus, you have your good moments. Like…" Alan paused to think of one. "L-like…um…oh, you let Jake and me move in with you when we had nowhere to live! And then let me move back in when things with Kandi didn't work out… And, of course, I can't forget you protecting Jake… You love him as if he were your own child."
"And I just have to say, altogether…I love you, Charlie. You're my one and only brother," Alan smiled and blushed at his own comment. Did he really just say that? Well, deep down, it was true.
That caught Charlie's attention, and now he was staring at Alan. "What? Really?"
"Oh. Well, spread the love, I guess. I love you, too…" Charlie scratched his chin.
"Y-yeah…" Alan lowered his head, then heard a soft thud. He looked up to see Charlie passed out on the bed, mouth hanging open. Now the drugs had really set in.
"Oh, Charlie…" Alan giggled one last time before leaning his head forward on the bed to rest. "Charlie…"
He fell asleep right next to his brother, safe and sound.