Disclaimer: I don't own Numb3rs
There are 9 parts/chapters. Not in order.
Left in the Cold
Metal was cold. It could be hot, it could be a searing, burning inferno that melted his skin to his bones until all that was left were charred remains. But it wasn't. It was cold. Ice cubes stuck to your tongue, the glaciers at the poles, your fingers frozen until it hurt to even keep them still.
He couldn't feel his fingers. Were they curled into fists? Straighten? Did he even have fingers anymore? Maybe they were cut off and the blood was frozen too that's why he wasn't dead yet.
And the only way he could tell he wasn't dead was that his lips could still move, his eyes could still blink, and there was the steady pattern of fog misting from his mouth every few seconds as he breathed.
He moved a little and instantly regretted it as the frozen pain flared and spread through his nerves like cold fire. The seconds breaths turned to ragged panting, he lurched and moaned.
Something sounded, a firework mixed with a crack of lightning. A gunshot that left his ears ringing even if it was so, so far away. He still flinched anyway, sending more cold fire through his body.
"Federal Agents! Drop your weapon and put your hands in the air!... I said drop your weapon!"
More gunshots. Bang! Bang! Bang!
He flinched every time. Wrists and metal clanging against each other, his teeth vibrating, lips cracked and bleeding. Blood froze awhile, sticking to his chin and the side of his head. There was more, but where was the number one question.
And he stopped shivering a while ago. He didn't need anyone to tell him that was bad.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
More gunshots. A firefight. What were they fighting about? Something important if there were guns. And they were Federal Agents.
That was important: Federal Agents. That meant something, something significant. His head throbbed and throbbed with his slow beating heart. He couldn't think, his thoughts too slow and sluggish to process anything.
Nothing followed. Then there were shouts.
A faint "Damnit! Do—!"
His eyes fluttered open, cracking as crystals broke off. Wait, when did he close them? He tried to lick his lips but there was no saliva. It didn't matter, he was so, so tired. He let his head slide over, smacking against the wall. There wasn't even any pain. Everything was numb.
His eyes closed again. Oh wow, everything really was numb. The only way he could tell he closed his eyes was that he couldn't see anything now. He couldn't remember anything second before, during, and after his idea to close his eyes.
Maybe he should answer? It took too much effort, but maybe… Whoever they were sounded really worried. He should really know who they are, shouldn't he? It hurt too much to think.
He didn't flinch, he jumped. He tumbled back against a crate, the small of his back glancing off the corner, and then he slammed into the wall.
"I don—ry agai—."
It was so close. He cried out, his frozen ear drums more or less shattering. Or at least it felt like they shattered like glass. He writhed in pain—finally feeling pain—knocking stiff shoulders against the crates and wall and floor.
"What do yo—?—ve me that!"
The he ceased to move, holding his breath. That was close, that voice was close. Deep and gruff—anger, worry, thinly controlled.
"Don!...Don, answer me!"
He blinked. Don. Don. "D-David?" He croaked, lips cracking and bleeding even more. His voice rasped, sandpaper scraping against the inside of his throat.
No. No. Nonono! David was going the wrong way!
He scrambled to his knees, they stung agains the grounds and ice crystals like shards of glass. "D-David!" He croaked again. He lurched to his feet and stumbled to the door on swollen, bare feet. He fell agains the solid doors, shoulder sliding and something popped as he hit it at just the right angle. "David!" He shouted despite the pain everywhere. "DAVID!"
A cough tore itself out of his throat, ripping as his body attempted to hack out a lung.
And then there was banging. But it wasn't gunshots, it was on the wall. No, it was on the door, the one he was leaning against. He jerked back, wide-eyed. Why was there banging? What was going on?
"Don? Don, you in there?"
Oh, David. FBI. David. Safety.
He grinned faintly, splitting his lips even more. "D-David."
"Don!" David shouted back. "I got him," now he sounded faint. No, don't go. "Freezer 220, west side of the building. Bring Charlie, it's password protected…Don, help's on the way," he was back. "How you doing in there? You okay?"
He would answer, but he suddenly sagged. Don was tired before, but now he was bone-deep exhausted. It took all of his energy just to keep himself from falling flat on his face, he could barely bring himself to say David's name again let along string words together to give a status report.
"Don?" David said urgently. "Answer me, man."
"Ow," was all he said in reply. Only then did he let himself fall flat on his face.
"Charlie. He's running out of time, get the damn door open."
Charlie. Math. His brother. He was talking too fast for Don to follow, he just let his little brother's voice rush over him. How long has it been since he heard him?
There was a beeping. Four beeps. Two. Then six. The door opened with a cliché hiss.
He still couldn't feel his fingers.
David rushed in before the medics could, falling to his knees at his boss' side. He winced at the connection to the frozen ground, but he ignored it in favor of checking over Don. The man was too still, covered in frost, lips blue, eyes closed, breathing shallow, his hands cuffed tightly behind his back. So tightly his wrists were rubbed raw and covered in blood. Don struggled—he struggled a lot.
"Don, wake up." He touched Don shoulder gently. There was blood on his chin and on his head. His face was bruised—dark purple and blue marring the side of his face—an open burn on his forehead. No doubt there were more, but he wasn't going to look for them.
Don shifted and moaned in pain. His eyes cracked open, little slits of fever. "D-David," he murmured, grinning, those crinkles appearing around his eyes. His lips cracked and bled even more.
David smiled back. "Hey, man, you scared us." He motioned for the paramedics and for Colby to continue holding Charlie back. Now was not the time to have a frantic mathematician flitting around.
His boss grunted. "I-It's a t-talent," he stuttered.
The agent-in-charge shook his head before taking the cue from the medic to unlock the cuffs. His face twisted in disgust, they were Don's cuffs. The one's he had on him when he disappeared two days ago. The medic kept Don's arms where they were, putting a little bit too much pressure on.
"Sorry, Agent Eppes," the medic said when aforementioned agent moaned in protest. He loosened his hold. "I can't have you moving your arms after them being in the same position for so long, you'll do more damage than help. Okay," he addressed his co-workers. "Let's get him out of here. We'll raise his temperature gradually," he told David. "His core is probably not critical since he's so coherent and he's cold. Most victims of frostbite and such suffer from hot flashes."
"Don?" Charlie called worriedly.
Don's eyes opened a little wider and a little bit of that panic that was in his eyes when David came in dimmed back. "I'm o-okay, C-Chuck," he rasped back. He started shivering, teeth chattering.
"That's good, Agent Eppes," the medic assured. "Shiver, that's good. Your body's trying to get its homeostasis back up. Shivering will get you warmer. Okay, on the count of three we're going to slide you on the backboard. We're gonna put you sideways until we can move your arms."
On three Don squeezed his eyes shut as they moved him. He cried out when they jostled his shoulder.
"Damn," the medic swore. "Dislocated shoulder." He turned Don's face towards him. "Agent Eppes, I'm going to need you to open your eyes as wide as you can." He flicked his penlight, checking for pupil reaction. "Concussion. Pretty severe. You had quite a beating, didn't you, Agent?"
Don didn't answer. His whole body went lax, head lolling boneless-ly.
Charlie lunged forward. "Don! Don!"
The medic and David swore at the same time. Charlie, lanky mathematician, managed to over power shocked FBI Agent Colby. He ran up to his brother's side, grabbing at him only to be pulled back by Colby again.
"Charlie, stop," said Colby. "Let the professionals handle this."
"He's not breathing!" The medic shouted. He turned Don onto his back despite being hesitant earlier. The need to get Don breathing was more important that his muscles seizing and joints locking. Another paramedic instantly bagged him as the first medic started CPR. "Come on, Agent Eppes."
David moved out of the way, but he couldn't pull his hand away from Don's too cold leg. "Breath, Don."
Charlie ran a hand through his hair, muttering numbers under his breath. Colby wasn't even trying to keep him back anymore, there was no point. The professor wasn't moving.