Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real places and organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
I offered to go outside and obtain the LAPD negotiator's throw phone. Isaacs allowed me to do so but only after further threatening my brother by pointing his gun at him point blank.
Isaacs said words to the effect: "If you don't come back, I will kill him."
I believed that if I did not return Charlie would be shot. I observed my brother's reaction and he appeared to be afraid for his life.
I went to the door and identified myself before exiting the synagogue. I was immediately taken into custody until my official ID was located. I was then taken to the negotiator where I provided a full briefing of the situation. I also identified where Charlie and Levi were being held on a blueprint showing the layout of the synagogue.
The LAPD negotiator initially refused to allow me to return to the synagogue with the throw phone. Given the threat to Charlie and Levi, Isaacs' demeanor and my belief that Isaacs would carry out his threat I was eventually able to convince the negotiator to allow me to return.
I left my official ID with the negotiator as I believed it possible I would be searched when I went back inside. Isaacs had indicated his dislike of law enforcement and I did not want him to know I was a Federal Agent.
Prior to entering I called out to identify myself to Isaacs in an effort to prevent him shooting at me as I entered. He did not fire and I entered safely.
I immediately looked to the hostages and saw my brother lying on the floor. Levi was sitting over him, cradling his head. Isaacs was standing a few yards away, firearm pointed at them both. Concerned for Charlie's welfare, I increased the speed of my approach down the aisle.
Isaacs ran at me in an aggressive manner, the firearm pointed at me.
I halted, dropping the throw phone so that I could raise my hands. Isaacs pressed the muzzle of his firearm firmly into my throat causing me to gag. As I coughed he took hold of my shirt pulling me towards him.
Isaacs said words to the effect: "They give you a gun?"
I said: "No, I'm unarmed."
Isaacs then pushed me around and shoved me at some seats. Catching my balance against an armrest I felt Isaacs sharply jab the muzzle of the firearm into my back causing pain. He continued to push downwards so I remained bent over. I then felt Isaacs run his left hand over my upper body and then down my legs. He took my wallet from my pocket and I saw him place it into his jacket.
The firearm was removed from my back and I stood. Isaacs then used both hands to roughly shove me down the aisle to the dais.
Without provocation or warning I was struck a heavy blow to my right shoulder at the base of my neck. I felt immediate pain and was propelled forward. Partially stunned I was unable to maintain my footing and fell to land across my brother's lower body.
I remember hearing Levi scream. I was concerned that she was being threatened but I was unable to do anything to help her.
I felt the firearm again being pressed against my back.
Isaacs said: "Stay down."
After a moment the firearm was removed and Isaacs moved away. After several seconds I was able to move and I rolled off my brother. I sat up and saw that Isaacs was moving away up the aisle towards the throw phone.
I then saw that my brother had sat up beside me. I saw that he had blood on his left temple.
Charlie once again put down Don's statement as his left hand went to the dressing on his forehead. He still wasn't sure whether Isaacs had intended the blow as a warning or had been taking out his frustration. All he knew was that he'd done nothing to deserve it, waiting silently after Don had gone outside to collect the throw phone. Isaacs had remained standing menacingly over him as the minutes ticked by. Closing his eyes Charlie could remember everything so clearly.
Don had been gone for far longer than was necessary to simply collect the phone and return. The gunman suddenly shifted, his movements jerky in his agitation as he turned towards them and Charlie couldn't help the flinch away.
"He's taking too long." The gunman complained. "He's not coming back."
Having seen the outside of these situations he could imagine what was happening, the officers would be reluctant to allow his brother to return to being a hostage now that he was out and safe. Knowing Don though, he was confident his brother would do whatever it took to get back in to keep his promise. Much as he didn't want Don in the line of fire he found he wanted him back with him.
He looked up at the strung out gunman trying to decide whether he should counter the statement or remain silent. He decided on reassurance, the less worried the man was the safer he and Ms Levi would be. "He'll be back."
The reaction was not one that he had calculated. He saw the hand pull back and recognised the man's intentions a moment too late. Ducking away didn't help. His eyes teared up at the stinging blow and all he could see was a blinding light that faded to hazy darkness. Aware that some short amount of time had passed he found himself lying on his back as he regained his sight. He lifted his left hand and pressed it against his abused head.
"Shh," Ms Levi's voice urged at his hiss of pain. "He'll hit you again."
Blinking up at the blur that had to be the older woman's face Charlie managed a slight nod. He felt a dry hand grip his wrist and his protective hand was pulled away. There was movement as she bent over him to inspect his head before she pulled back.
"Lie still." She whispered, casting a fearful glance off to the side.
Charlie could barely see her let alone the gunman but he tried to reassure her. "Don will come back."
Ms Levi shook her head. "Not if he's smart."
Charlie caught the hand that had been gently stroking the top of his head just as he realised his head was pillowed on her lap. He tried to shift but her other hand on his shoulder tightened slightly so he lay back. Tightening his grip on her hand in reassurance he spoke from his heart. "He's my brother, he'll be back."
"Brother? I've never seen you before." She responded, surprised at the revelation. She'd earlier nodded in recognition when Don had introduced them, she'd seen him before. Charlie she didn't know.
He found himself hesitant at making his next admission, almost as if it would disappoint the woman. "I don't practice."
There was no disappointment, just a smile. It seemed that having someone to care for was calming her. "That's alright, dear. We each have our own way."
Charlie felt her stiffen suddenly. He tried to lift his head but screwed his eyes shut at the abrupt nausea.
"Stay still. He's back, your brother's back." Her voice was barely above a whisper, the fear back full force.
"I need to see." He insisted, hearing the gunman demand to know if his brother had come back with a gun.
He was finally able to turn his head far enough and get his eyes open in time to see Don shoved against the seats at the side of the aisle. His vision had finally cleared and he watched as the gunman patted his brother down before stealing his wallet. That gave Charlie a bad moment, sure that the man would find Don's FBI ID. His earlier reaction could only lead to him shooting Don out of hand if he found it. Nothing happened as the gunman finished his search and he figured that Don must have ditched it outside. As always his brother was thinking with clarity in this desperate situation they'd found themselves in. He sighed in relief as his brother was shoved down the aisle towards them.
There was no time to shout a warning as Don was given an extra shove and he saw the gunman raise his weapon and bring it down on his older brother's shoulder. Don grunted in pain and Charlie saw his eyes roll up as he collapsed. He barely felt his brother's weight against his legs as he tried to sit up to help him. The gunman's weapon swung and once again Charlie found himself staring down the barrel as Ms Levi screamed behind him. Taking a leaf out of his brother's book he raised his hands as he lay back feeling Ms Levi trembling violently against him.
Favouring him with a sneer the gunman turned the gun back to Don, pushing it into his back.
Charlie heard the snarled order and remained motionless, hands held up until the gunman moved away and Don started to shift. As the man headed up the aisle towards the black pelican case containing the negotiators hardwired phone Charlie also got himself upright. This time the nausea was less and the building didn't spin.
"Charlie?" Don's right hand came up towards the gash on his head.
"I'm okay. What about you?" Charlie asked pulling his head back. As Don's hand dropped away he had a sudden flash of understanding of where Don was coming from when he disregarded his own hurts. Despite the headache and the blood he could feel on the side of his face Charlie knew he wasn't hurt badly, it was Don he was worried about, his brother was already recovering from injuries before this all started and had now been assaulted twice by the gunman.
"I'm fine, Charlie. What did he do to you?"
"He said you were taking too long." Charlie started explaining then saw the look in his brother's face, the guilt. "No! Don, you didn't… It wasn't your fault!"
Shooting a worried glance at the gunman after Charlie's outburst Don turned back. "They didn't want to let me come back. I took too long. I'm sorry."
"He was going to hit your brother no matter what." Ms Levi suddenly said, her voice still barely above a whisper and quavering slightly.
Don immediately looked alarmed, when he'd introduced them earlier he'd only used first names, hiding their relationship. His voice was low and intense. "Does he know that? That we're-?" He added, before cutting off the last word.
"No." Charlie answered. Ashamed that he'd forgotten the older woman in his concern for his brother until she'd spoken he turned to see that aside from a pale face and trembling hands she was unharmed.
"Good. He doesn't need any more ammunition." Don said behind him.
Charlie turned back. "I'm sorry, I let it slip." He felt the need to clarify, silently mouthing an addition to his words so Ms Levi wouldn't know. "Just that."
Don nodded slightly as he got the full message. "It's alright, Charlie. Ms Levi I'm sorry, I just think its best he doesn't know, okay?" He leant forward, reaching out to take the woman's hand across Charlie's lap unconsciously repeating his younger brother's earlier actions.
"I understand." She said softly.
"We're going to get you out of this." Don said as the gunman's voice could be heard starting to speak into the phone. "I spoke to the negotiator, he's going to ask for you to be released first."
She seemed surprised, "But what about-?"
Charlie responded before his brother could. "No, you go first or none of us do." On that he knew he was on the same wavelength as Don, neither of them would be able to accept safety if it meant leaving the woman in danger. They all turned at the raised voice.
"You don't need my name." The man was saying. "And I don't care what yours is. I told you what I wanted."
Charlie shot his brother a confused look.
"A fast car and a hit." Don supplied.
Charlie tried not to be surprised, he'd looked to his brother expecting an answer after all. He'd long ago learnt that Don was easily able to follow more than one conversation when in a crisis. It was during times like these that Don's mind amazed him, able to process information and come to intuitive conclusions far faster than he could analyse.
"A 'hit'?" Ms Levi was confused. This was far from her world.
"I need it." The man was arguing into the phone. "I can't think, I gotta have it!"
Don answered her question. "Drugs. He needs to get high."
"Oh, dear." Now she understood. "That's why he's so," she broke off as she searched for the right word.
"Dangerous." Don supplied.
It wasn't quite the word she was after but she nodded as it fitted well enough. "Will they give it to him?"
"No." Don answered immediately, there would be no negotiation on this point he knew. Demands for drugs, weapons or alcohol were never entertained.
As he spoke the gunman swore, throwing down the phone handset in anger. Don tensed and shifted slightly, moving forward so that once again he would be the one the man would reach first if he came at them.
The gunman yelled something inarticulate at the top of his lungs in apparent frustration then snatched up the handset, the heavy duty phone having been designed for rough treatment had been undamaged. "Get me some crack. Now!"
"Damn." Don responded softly at the identification of the drug.
"Oh, no." Charlie had seen the figures, knew what addiction to crack cocaine could do to a person and how desperate an addict could be to obtain more. There weren't too many ways it could get any worse.
A moment later he found out how wrong he could be. In slow motion Charlie saw the man's gun hand extend, then the flare of fire from the muzzle. As the sound reached him he saw his brother jerk back to fall against him. He felt the spray of something warm and wet against his cheek and realised in horror that Don had just been shot.