Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the series Numb3rs and I'm not making any money from this fic
Summary: Follows Risks. When Colby talks Charlie into helping him on a case Don's unaware of, he risks far more than their own safety
Warning(s): Spoilers for most of the episodes up to the end of season four of Numb3rs; spanking (severe); some violence
Pairing: Don/Colby (slash)
1) Reinstating Trust
2) Coping With Mistakes
3) Ticking off the Boss
Author's Note: A part of me really wants to do a 'tables turned' fic, one where it's Don who messes up and Colby has to help. But Colby's just too good at screwing things up
As Colby studied the computer screen in front of him, he wondered if he should be letting Don know about the case he was working on. No, scratch that. He knew he should have let Don know about this case long before now. But he'd taken this on as a favour to a friend and had promised to keep the details to himself before thinking that he needed to confide in Don.
How long would it take before telling Don things became second nature to him?
Colby's first reaction was to close down the file he was looking at, but any behaviour out of the ordinary would probably make Charlie immediately start analysing why Colby was trying to hide a file. So he left the file open and looked at Charlie. "Hey, Charlie. What are you doing here?"
Charlie gave him a confused look. "Don asked me to come in and help on a case. He didn't tell you?"
"Don doesn't consult with me over everything," Colby replied, without really thinking about it. "Why would you think he'd have told me?"
"Never mind." Charlie grabbed a chair and pulled it up next to Colby, looking at the screen. "So what are you working on?"
"Something for a friend."
"Need some help?" When Colby looked at him, Charlie shrugged. "I'm at a slow patch with work at the moment. Even what Don's called me in for won't take long and he's still putting together some data for me to look at."
Colby hesitated, considering. He was pretty sure that Charlie wouldn't tell Don anything, but he could imagine how Don would react if he discovered that he'd told Charlie and not told his boyfriend the truth. Still, at least he could then tell his friend – absolutely truthfully – that he hadn't involved anyone from the FBI. Pros and cons... but maybe he could figure this out without needing to tell Don anything. "Okay, go ahead." He turned the keyboard towards Charlie and then sat back.
It was always something close to amazing to see Charlie at work. At first, Colby hadn't thought that mathematics could help at all in cases. Even after seeing Charlie at work the first few times, he'd assumed it was just a fluke. Now, of course, he knew better. "I've been trying to go through these phone records and find a number in particular, but it's like looking for a needle in a haystack," he explained. "So far, I haven't been able to find it. I think someone's altered the records."
"Uh-uh." Charlie didn't take his eyes off the screen as he said, "What's the number?"
Colby grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and scribbled down the phone number. He passed the piece of paper to Charlie. "What are you going to do?"
"If the records have been changed, it's possible that the number wasn't just deleted," Charlie explained. "If all calls connected to a particular number were erased, that would leave a discrepancy in the records. It would make more sense to scramble the number – in which case, there would be the same numbers, just in a different order."
Colby frowned. "Isn't that just going to bring up a whole lot of different numbers?"
"And then I'll look for patterns." Charlie continued to type as he spoke to Colby. "What are you looking for anyway?"
Colby hesitated, but since he'd already asked for Charlie's help, it would probably hurt his cause rather than help to keep the rest of it from Charlie. "My friend's been getting calls from a number, but he's already contacted the local police and since the number's not shown up in any of the records, they think he's lying." He shrugged. "I owed him a favour." He hesitated, not sure how to say what he really shouldn't but knew he kind of had to.
"So why aren't we telling Don?" Charlie asked directly.
Oh. Well, that answered that problem. "I sort of promised him I wouldn't tell anyone."
"Don's not going to be happy about that."
"If he says anything to you, just direct him to me." Admittedly, Colby would probably just break and tell Don the truth anyway – but then at least Charlie wouldn't get into trouble with him. If Don had no problems with spanking his boyfriend, Colby expected he'd have no problems doing the same to his brother.
Charlie shook his head. "That's not what I was..."
Colby bit back the swear word that sprang to his lips when he heard Don's voice. He turned to look at his boss, relieved when he saw Charlie close the program down out of the corner of his eye. "Hey, Don."
"What are you doing?" Don stepped closer to them.
"Charlie was just helping me out with an outside project," Colby said quickly before Charlie could speak. "But I'm sure I can get his help later on."
"No, it's fine," Don said. "It can wait for a few minutes. Just come and find me when you're done, okay, Charlie?"
"Sure, Don." Charlie gave his brother a quick smile and then turned back to the computer screen, opening the files up once Don had walked away. "This shouldn't take too long anyway," Charlie said to Colby. "Are you going to track down the owner of the number once we're done here?"
"Something like that," Colby replied without taking his eyes off the screen.
Charlie continued the work in silence and then finally spoke up. "There. It looks like that number was disguised as this one." He tapped the screen. "And it looks like whoever uses the number was calling your friend several times a day."
Maybe it was something that wasn't anything to worry about, but as Colby reached for his phone, he figured it was at least something worth checking out, particularly after someone had gone to all of that trouble of hiding the records. "Thanks, Charlie," he said out loud. "I can take it from here."
"I'll see you soon," Charlie said, before standing up and heading over to Don's office.
Don looked up as the door opened and Charlie came into the office, closing the door behind him. Don stood up and walked round to meet his brother. "All finished?"
Charlie nodded, but didn't quite meet Don's gaze. That wasn't that unusual, but Don could read his younger brother quite well and he had the strongest feeling that Charlie was hiding something from him. "Everything all right?" Charlie didn't look scared, so it couldn't have been that something had upset him before coming to the FBI building. Besides, he'd been acting fine with Colby only moments ago.
Wait... What had Colby been doing? Don had been pleased to see his brother and boyfriend working together, so he hadn't bothered to question either of them about what they were doing. Maybe that was a mistake.
"I didn't do anything."
Don paused and then narrowed his eyes. That was an admission of guilt if he'd ever heard one. "What didn't you do, Charlie?"
Charlie didn't say anything, but his eyes flickered guiltily towards the area where Colby had been sitting only moments before. Don followed the line of his brother's gaze in time to see the agent heading towards the door.
"He was looking at a phone number for a friend," Charlie admitted without Don needing to ask. "I think he was trying to track down whoever the number belonged to."
The case could wait. Don didn't bother wasting any time. "What was the number?" As soon as Charlie told him the number, Don picked up his phone and dialled.
When Colby regained consciousness, it was to find himself in a position that was becoming increasingly familiar. He was on a chair with his hands tied behind his back – although this time, he wasn't on board a ship, but seemed to be in a basement somewhere.
There were men surrounding him – men Colby recognised, including his friend, who'd asked him to check out the number. Colby took a moment or two to realise what must have happened and he groaned, leaning his head back. "Let me guess. You lured me here to take care of some problems. Gambling, money, drink?" Looked like he had another name to cross off his list of friends.
It was getting depressingly short.
"We've got orders from some friends of yours." One of the men, a thickset, heavy one with two missing teeth, stepped forward, staring at Colby. He raised his fist, but before he could strike, the basement door banged open and there was a shout of, "FBI!"
The men in the basement were subdued quickly and Don came over to untie Colby from the chair as the men were taken away. His boyfriend was silent as he loosened the ropes and then helped Colby up before looking at him sternly. "The apartment. Now," he added when Colby opened his mouth to argue.
Colby thought about refusing, but one look at Don's face convinced him that doing so would be very unwise. He nodded without argument and headed up the basement steps, out the door and out of the building. It was bad enough that he'd managed to get himself knocked out because he hadn't been on his guard enough, without Don somehow finding out that he'd kept things from him, although Colby figured he shouldn't be that surprised about the latter.
It was tempting to stick around and see if there was anything he could do to help, but all Colby had to do was think about what Don would say if he came out to find he hadn't left yet. He didn't really want to add direct disobedience to the list of things he'd done wrong.
Colby caught David's eye and lifting a hand, intending to just make a gesture of farewell and then head off. He realised that wouldn't work, however, when David walked quickly over to him, stopping in front of him. "Are you all right?" he asked.
"Define 'all right'." The words slipped out before Colby could stop them.
"Do you need to go to the hospital?"
Colby shook his head. "They didn't get a chance to do anything. Listen, it would be great to stay and chat – but I'm under strict orders to go home."
"Yeah... Don was pretty angry under the worry," David agreed. "I'm guessing you'll be standing at work the next few days."
Colby opened his mouth and then closed it again. Finally, he asked, "How long have you known?"
"I've suspected for a while, but you just confirmed it for me." David smiled at him. "You both hide it pretty well, but you're my partner. I think I know you pretty well by now." He didn't need to add anything about Colby's work as a triple agent. It might have taken a while, but things had finally been fixed between them. And Colby was much more relaxed now that he wasn't leading a secret life and keeping huge secrets from the rest of his team.
"What about the others? Do you know how much they know?"
"About your relationship or about the other thing?" David chuckled softly.
"I guess that's been pretty obvious too, huh?"
"Most noticeable when we found you on that boat," David admitted. "I could tell Don wasn't only frantic to save you because he takes care of the team. I didn't put the pieces together straight away, though – or maybe it was just that I didn't want to put them together, since I was still pretty ticked off with you."
"And were for a while after that." Colby couldn't remember exactly when David and he had resumed his friendship. He supposed it was simply one of those things that had taken time. He risked a glance back over his shoulder, relieved when he saw no sign of Don, and turned back to find David watching him knowingly. "I need to get out of here before Don gets out."
"If he comes out before you've disappeared in the car, I'll delay him," David offered.
"Thanks. I appreciate it." Colby walked swiftly towards his car and got in the driver's side.
Back at the apartment, Colby paused, unsure as to whether Don expected him to get food ready or to just wait. He hadn't said either way, but after a little while of thinking, he decided Don probably wanted him thinking about what he'd done. Wasn't corner time often used in corporal punishment? Don had never told him to actually do corner time, but the last time Colby had lied, he'd made him stay bent over the couch without his clothes on while he went out to the car.
Colby didn't want to remove his clothes, but he did want to show Don that he regretted his actions. Taking a deep breath, he walked over to the corner and stood there, wondering if he'd screwed up too much this time; if Don was going to start seeing him as too much work and give up on him.
Colby wasn't sure how long he'd stood in the corner for until he heard the door open, but it was long enough for him to torture himself with all sorts of possible scenarios. If he wasn't learning from the consequences Don was giving him, why would Don want to stay with him?
Not needing to turn round to see who it was behind him, Colby was hyper-aware of it when Don stepped up behind him. He jerked slightly at the gentle squeeze to his shoulder, but couldn't help a slight groan when the hand travelled further down, relaxing muscles Colby hadn't even realised were tense.
"I thought we'd got past this," Don said softly in Colby's ear.
"I promised..." Colby cut himself off. He wasn't going to give excuses.
"I don't care what you promised to who. You don't keep things from me and you don't enter a dangerous situation without backup. Ever." Don's hand travelled down lower, to Colby's backside. "What were you thinking? That was a rookie mistake. You were lucky we got there before anything happened. What were you thinking?" he repeated.
"I thought it was safe." Which was a weak excuse and Colby knew it.
"It clearly wasn't, was it? I think it's safe to say you've walked right into a severe spanking." Don put his hands on Colby's shoulders and turned him round. "Since you apparently haven't learned yet, this is going to be the worst one yet." He slid his hands down to take Colby's wrists, squeezing gently before moving back and pulling Colby along with him to the sofa.
Colby went without protest, gaining comfort from Don's touch. As he saw the pointer resting on the cushions, his stomach turned over, but he didn't protest as Don sat down and pulled him to stand in front of him. He moved his hands up out of the way as Don undid his trousers and eased them down, before taking hold of Colby's wrists once more and guiding him across his lap.
This position was more unsettling to Colby than bending over the sofa or the desk. The contact with Don during a spanking was always hard to deal with. He couldn't help flinching when he felt Don rest his warm hand on the seat of his boxers.
"This is going to be painful," Don warned. "I'm not holding back this time. I won't bother going over what you did. I think we both know well enough."
Colby stayed quiet, knowing that Don didn't expect a reply. When the first smack landed across his backside, it didn't hurt so much as just sting. The swat on the other side of his backside wasn't any harder, but it was the utter embarrassment of being over Don's knees having his behind slapped that made it worse, in a way.
Don didn't increase the force behind the smacks, but it didn't take long for the heat in Colby's backside to become close to unbearable as Don's hand landed on areas he'd already smacked. And when Don let his hand slip lower so that he could attack Colby's thighs – unprotected by the material of his boxers – Colby couldn't help the soft hisses and gasps of pain.
Colby didn't know long the hand spanking lasted for over his boxers and bare thighs, but by the time Don paused, he was gasping silently at each hard swat and his backside was quite uncomfortably heated.
There was movement from Don, but since his hand rested on Colby's back, Colby didn't attempt to push himself up – though he did wonder what Don was reaching for. When he felt Don's fingers at the waist of his boxers, he stiffened, but didn't attempt to stop Don pushing them down, though he felt more exposed with his backside entirely bare.
The new object wasn't one that Colby had felt before. When Don brought it down hard, though, the sting was more of a thud than the thin line of fire Colby was used to from the pointer. In fact, Colby was pretty sure that it felt like a hairbrush... not that he'd ever been spanked with a hairbrush before.
Colby hissed a breath out, but wasn't given much of a chance to catch his breath as Don continued to smack the brush down all over his bare backside. Colby still didn't know how he could resist being tortured so well, but when it came to being punished by Don, he broke down so quickly. Even now, tears were in his eyes, making them start to water. He knew how disappointed Don was in him and that made him feel even worse somehow.
By the time Don paused, Colby's entire backside – from just below his hips down to the tops of his thighs – felt like it was on fire. The tears were falling down his cheeks and he was close to sobbing even now – though he still knew he had the pointer to go. Still, he managed to gain some comfort from the gentle touches to his back and the soft words from Don.
Finally, after what felt like only a few moments, Don helped Colby up. Instead of bending him over the couch, though, he simply gathered Colby into his arms, rocking him comfortingly.
Colby leaned his head against Don's shoulder, wondering why this spanking seemed so much rougher on him. Maybe it was because he'd been convinced that Don would give up on him – and instead, his boyfriend had simply chosen to punish him. Colby was slowly starting to convince himself that it didn't matter how many times he screwed up – he was never going to be thrown away from Don, or off the team.
"I did think maybe we should try cooking tonight, but now that I've stopped to think about it, I think we'll be better off getting a takeaway," Don said quietly. "How does pizza sound for you?"
Colby shrugged. "I don't care."
"I think you'd better start caring." Don pushed him back a little to look into his eyes. "You know, I have issues when it comes to relationships, but I'm starting to think you make me look like a normal, well-adjusted person. You don't automatically come to me when you need help. Even now that your secret's out, you have issues trusting me."
Colby frowned. "I'm trying to..." His voice trailed off, as he realised he didn't have a single argument against what Don had said.
"I know relationships don't work without trust," Don continued. "But you won't trust me as your boss or your partner. Which makes me think I need to try something else with you."
Colby frowned. "I can't see how that'll help me with learning to trust you..."
"I've noticed a difference in your behaviour after a spanking." Don shrugged. "We've both got to work on this. You got any other ideas?"
Colby opened his mouth, but for some reason, it wasn't that easy to argue with Don. Spankings were painful, but Don made it sound very reasonable – and it was true that telling Don things wasn't second nature to him. Still... even though David knew about this part of his and Don's relationship, Colby couldn't imagine trying to explain to the other agent that he couldn't take a seat at his desk because Don had decided to start giving him maintenance spankings.
"We could try it as an experiment," Don suggested.
"As long as we don't need to get Charlie in on it."
Don chuckled softly. "Somehow, I don't think we need to tell my brother about our relationship." He looked steadily at Colby. "Are you ready to finish this now?"
Colby nodded slowly, getting off Don's lap without being told. When Don stood, he stepped forward and bent over the couch, grasping the top with clenched fingers. Feeling the pointer resting against his backside, he tensed and then made some effort to relax – but couldn't help crying out as the pointer landed directly in the centre of his backside, reigniting the fire from the spanking so far.
The next strike cut directly into the first and Colby gasped, then groaned as two more landed directly on top of each other beneath the first two. Don continued this all the way down to his thighs, leaving Colby shaking and with the tears beginning to fall.
He was expecting the diagonal strikes, but they still came as a bit of a shock and Colby nearly buckled forward as the first one landed. Fortunately, Don waited for him to regain his balance before landing a second diagonal cut – directly on top of the first.
The next two diagonal cuts were in the opposite direction and Colby felt his knees buckle. Before he could fall, however, Don had caught him, settling him on the couch with an arm around him and making sure Colby was lying on his stomach with his head in his lap.
"Sorry," Colby whispered, the tears soaking into Don's trouser leg.
"I know." Don gently let his fingers stroke through Colby's hair.
"Maybe we should play golf sometime," Colby suggested, his eyes closing despite his best efforts to keep them open. "I bet you've got a great swing."
Don's chuckle seemed to reverberate through both of their bodies. "Go to sleep, Colby. It's been a long day."
Colby didn't need any further encouragement, but just as he was falling asleep, he thought he heard Don whisper something he couldn't quite make out.