I don't own Numb3rs. I miss the show greatly though. This is my pathetic attempt at a fanfic for the show. It's not exactly great but I had an inspiration. I'm still working through it too so reviews are a source of weather or not I should continue.
There won't be any pairing slash or otherwise in this. I know. I'm trying something different.
Sorry this took so long to put up.
"Maria," Charlie called gently from the front door.
In her arms was a brown shopping bag filled to the brim with produce and paper towels. She toed the door closed, blowing a stray strand or two of hair from her eyes. She'd struggled to not put down her produce, her back bothering her a bit that day, and had managed to dislodge some of her hair from her neat bun. It was a bit irritating to know that Charlie was probably engrossed into his projects hence why he hadn't come down to her ringing the bell.
The stairs creaked as Charlie skipped down them, his face split in a wide smile, his eyes clouded with thoughts that were running rampant through his head at that moment. She wasn't sure that she liked the mixture of emotions that choked the air in the room as he collected the bag from her arms, murmuring apologies and excuses as he went to take it to the kitchenette.
"What kept you?" she asked as she closed and locked the door. Her coffee colored eyes followed the young man as he began to stash the groceries, his eyes still unfocused. Once everything was put away – the breakable things her highest worry – she decided it was time to get to the bottom of things.
Of course, her daughter had far better timing.
Sheila entered, her bag slamming against eh creaking wood as she rushed to unlock and get and close and relock. Her face was flushed from what looked like exertion but her eyes were like that of a head lighted deer. When the door was completely slammed shut and locked, she spun to face her mother and house guest, leaning heavily against the door like her life depended on it.
"Mom…We have a problem."
News of the message at the CalSci campus spread like wildfire.
Don barely hit the doors before someone else from a completely different part of the building – who only really knew him thanks to his introducing them to Charlie – stopped and asked if 'the rumors were true'. He naturally asked what they'd meant and they amended themselves quickly; they asked had someone left him a message in Charlie's handwriting in Charlie's office?
He'd excused himself.
He hit the campus parking lot and there was already a horde of students hanging about the Mathematics buildings, faces set with worry, interest, fear, and excitement. Charlie was a rock star in his own way and this just proved it all over again to the elder brother as he had to push through the crowd. He had to take at least three camera phones and he bellowed at the students to get a move on and let them do their jobs.
He wasn't all that surprised that he had to duck under CRIME SCENE: DO NOT CROSS tape. He had a feeling that Ian carried a roll or seven in his truck for things just like this – he'd just never seen it before. Reynolds was snapping pictures while Colby collected prints and David and Nikki sat with the professors.
Millie looked like she wanted to flap her arms and start flying. She paced in tight formations, her hands spinning and weaving about as she alternated from biting her nails, talking, and tapping her chin or cheekbones. Larry was sitting, his back slumped a bit. His eyes were wider than usual and they followed his boss about slowly, like an echo. Marshal was sitting next to him, rivaling a deer in the headlights and a steel rod set at a perfect ninety degrees perpendicular from the ground.
Oh great, he thought. I'm beginning to sound like my brother.
Then he caught sight of Amita. She was sitting separately from the others, her eyes wide and confused. She had her hands covering her mouth which he could only imagine what sort of shape it was in. Her elbows were on her knees, one of her legs bouncing a bit. She would shake her head every few seconds, eyes clouding with emotion. He was tempted to go up to her, touch her shoulder, and tell her things would get better.
He couldn't though. He was busy with the fact that there had been some message in his brother's office. Someone had gotten into a locked room where maps and documents on an important case were present. He wanted to take comfort in the fact that nothing had been taken but what was left was about as impressive and worrisome as a missing FBI issue gun.
He took a breath and strode into the room, snapping on a pair of gloves as he went. He schooled his features to look impassive as he glanced about the room. The first thought that popped to his mind was 'cluster fuck' which was quickly followed by 'possibly hidden evidence of a struggle or anything else'. Naturally however, another thought crossed his mind and it stood out over the previous too.
It's like Charlie's playing hide and seek in his office.
Liz stepped up to him, her face screwed up with slight irritation. He was surprised that she looked more rested than she had in the last three days. Then again, possible leads were better than coffee; he'd seen it with Charlie and his hunches, the way his bouncing off the walls became a little crazier or the way he looked like he was about to blow up but he wanted to lead his brother on a line because he had to be dramatic about it.
"If this is a joke," she hissed, "please allow me to hunt down whoever made it."
He tried to not smile. As much as he appreciated the idea that his friends were willing to risk their careers when it came to him or his family being treated like crap or worse. He placed a hand on her shoulder and shook his head. He wasn't going to allow them to lose their jobs over him; even if he did want his brother back.
"I agree with the hope that it's not a joke," Don said softly. He glanced towards his brother's office. It looked exactly the same as ever sure save for the maps and blueprints and files. Again, it was hard to believe that there was nothing missing from the piles. Ian was skimming through the pile again, his eyes narrowed at the mostly undisturbed papers. "I'll talk to you later alright?"
Liz followed his gaze and nodded in understanding. She disappeared through the door, taking the phones from his hands and murmuring that she'd try to talk to the students that were loitering around the door. He stepped past Reynolds and strode for Ian confidently. He wasn't about to show how much this may mean to him even though he could feel the slight spring in his steps.
A lead. We have a lead! Good fucking God, we have a lead!
He wanted to pump his fists and howl with glee at the possibility. He had damn near done so when he'd been called by Ian, heard the breathy claim from the usually stoic hadn't really helped that Ian had sounded almost astonished, almost hopeful. Sure, Ian had sounded urgent but god damn it all, he had a right to!
The handwriting on the board was enough to throw Don back to when he was a kid and had walked into his brother's study area in the living room of the Craftsman house. Papers strewn about, his brother in the middle of it all like a gravitational thing. Charlie used to laugh at him when he said something about gravitational pull, spouting off numbers that blew past Don's head in seconds.
Numbers. Those meant a lot to his brother. It meant a bit to him as well but it was more of a goal – if I catch this many bad guys this year, I get a raise which means I can pay rent – rather than an interestingly shaped anchor that liked to morph and elude him. As much as he loved what numbers went into his job – even the overwhelming odds against him – he couldn't understand how his brother felt about them. It was like it was an eternal mistress who continuously came back to dance with him. When she felt stiffed – or when Charlie reverted into himself – she disappeared and then P vs. NP reared its ugly head.
Don hated that damned problem.
"What have we got?" he asked a bit breathlessly to Ian. He tried to ignore the looks his teammates gave him. He knew their eyes were reflecting his voice perfectly if not more clearly. Ian, thank god, sparred him.
"Your brother's handwriting saying that whatever's on that board is for your eyes only," Ian muttered as he pointed. His hand dropped to his side with an irritated sigh.
"What is it?"
"We left these in a certain pattern when we left," Ian stated, eyes flashing. "It's one that I know for a fact your brother wouldn't have left them in – it was somewhat organized!"
Don had to laugh at that one. His brother did have a talent for spreading things out in a room, effectively turning it into a war zone or a clusterfuck. He glanced at the board and sighed at the numbers again. He couldn't understand them at all but he had a feeling they'd be helpful. He glances back to the blueprints.
"What position were they in?" he asked.
"They were scattered like this," Ian said, waving a hand over the disorganized pile.
It sure looked like something Charlie would have done. Don couldn't recount how many times he'd come across his files scattered when Charlie got his hands on them. They'd be halfway to the wind before Don ever found out Charlie had only gotten through them two hours before his visit and Charlie had already come up with half of the solving problem.
"It looks like he never left," Don mused softly, hoping that only Ian would hear him. Colby and David heard him though; they just went on about their business.
"I've called Walker," Ian growled. "He's going to step up his questioning. Maybe we'll get somewhere in this."
"The question is where it'll lead," Don sighed softly as he glanced over to Reynolds and Colby and David. They were filing things away and whispering findings to each other. He could already see his brother with them.
"Maybe," Ian suggested, "we'll be lead to the holy grail."