Alright, this one has the debriefing, but don't worry, I'm not going to write ten pages summarizing everything that's already happened :-)


The next morning, the four of them grabbed a quick breakfast at a café down the block from the hospital, and then Alan and Amita hurried back to Charlie's room. Robin went to the DC branch of the Bureau, and Don went to find the rest of his team, wondering what they had all been up to the day before.

Wright had already bought plane tickets for the team and Charlie to go back to LA – Alan and Amita would have to pay their own way – for 5 days from then, figuring it would be enough time to get Charlie ready to go. Robin had already talked to her boss and gotten herself attached to the case. As many people in her office didn't know that she was dating the victim's brother, it wasn't considered a conflict of interest just yet, and she wanted to keep it that way, at least until it went to trial.

Don called Megan to see where she was, and found that she was at the FBI, so he dropped off his father and Amita at the hospital, then turned around and went to the office. He found the three members of his team in Edgerton's office, putting the finishing touches on their own reports. Megan's wouldn't be quite finished until after she had debriefed Charlie, but that was in a couple hours.

David was going with them to the hospital to get the stitches taken out of his head from the knock Pickering at given him, and Megan was getting her shoulder and rib looked at. Colby mentioned that he had already promised the NCIS team a good lunch, causing his team to stare at him in awe.

"What?" he demanded.

Don was the first to speak through his suppressed laughter. "Colby, you never buy meals, so we're just surprised, that's all," he said, trying hard to keep his smile from showing.

Colby just glared at them before handing his report to Don; David did the same, but he was chuckling. Don accepted them, knowing that he would put them straight in his bags, not wanting to lose them on the trip home.

To Don, it seemed like the time before lunch flew by, and lunch itself dragged. He and Megan were sitting alone at a small sandwich shop, and he was chewing mechanically. Megan seemed to be moving a bit better physically, but she was more pleased that the stitches had been taken out, and was told that her rib was healing nicely. The last was surprising, given how much work she'd done on the case, but she had been over due for some good luck (getting ribs reset wasn't fun).

Megan knew that Don wouldn't want to talk about the case during lunch, so she made sure to keep the conversation flowing about various things with the LA Bureau that Wright had told her about the last time she'd called. They were packing up to leave when Megan's cell rang. She hurried to answer it, seeing that it was the hospital, and spoke quietly for a few moments before hanging up.

"What is it?" he asked, seeing her sag with relief as she flipped the phone closed.

"It was the doctor who has been working with Agent Root. They said that she's doing much better, and they think that she'll be able to be transferred to a regular room by the end of the week," she said, and saw Don nod. No one had really talked about the loss of Agent Harrington, but they all felt it, and they all carried some measure of guilt for it. She knew better than to talk about it, knowing that they would all be debriefed by the psychology staff when they got back, which was standard protocol when an agent died on a case.

"You ready?" Don asked, pulling out the keys. They still had the SUV they had rented, waiting until the last possible second to return it.

Megan nodded. "Are you going to be in the room?" she asked. She had noticed that Don had yet to visit his brother since the big bust, but was NOT about to say anything. She really liked her job, thank you very much!

Don shifted as he opened the door and walked quickly to the car. "It's up to Charlie. If he wants it to just be you in the room, that's fine. If he wants me in there, I'll stay."

Megan kept her mouth shut and got into the car, pulling out the notepad she was bringing with her. It always helped to have a general outline of the events in case the victim became confused or upset, and she wanted to make this as easy as possible. Charlie was a member of the team, regardless of the fact that he wasn't an agent.

Don parked the car, and they headed to the elevator in silence. They were stopped by a nurse before they could walk into Charlie's room. She glared at them in warning. "He's due for another dose of pain medication in an hour and a half," she told them sternly. "You have until then to ask him questions, but then he needs to rest."

The profiler gave her a beaming smile, designed to put the nurse at ease. "Of course, we're going to try and make this as quick as possible," she promised.

The nurse humphed and walked away, muttering about Feds. Megan adjusted her grip on the notepad and gently knocked on the door. Amita opened it and waved them in. "Hey, Megan," she greeted.

"Hey, Amita, Alan," she said, nodding towards the patriarch. "How are you feeling, Charlie?" she asked, seeing him on the bed, watching them.

He tried a smile, but it came out as a grimace. "I'm doing alright. I just want to get this over with," he admitted.

"I understand." She turned to the other two in the room. "I'm sorry, but…"

"Amita, can I buy you a bad cup of coffee?" Alan asked with a nod to Megan. The female professor nodded, and they walked out, closing the door when they left.

Megan pulled a chair closer to Charlie's bed. "Do you want your brother to be in the room while we do this?" she asked quietly.

Charlie had been thinking about that for a while now, and realized part of the reason Don hadn't come to visit. He chose to keep the moment from being as awkward as he could. "Actually, I think I'd rather it just be you and me," he said, tracing numbers on the bedspread."

Don hid his shock well. He had not thought that Charlie wouldn't want him in the room, especially as they hadn't seen each other. He just nodded at the two of them, and hurried to leave the room.

Pulling out a pen, Megan was thinking the same as her boss, but that wasn't what she was there for. "Alright, where would you like to start?" she asked, looking at the first on her list, which was the attack at the pizza place.

Charlie took a deep breath and though back. He couldn't believe that it had only been two weeks ago that he had arrived in DC. "I had just finished dinner with the team from NCIS: Tim, Tony, and Ziva had met me at Papa Don's, and Ziva had asked if I wanted to share a cab with her. I assumed that she wanted to figure out where she knew me from, even though we had only exchanged a few words in Tel Aviv years ago. I was about to hail a cab when I saw a white van come up near us, an someone dressed in black went up behind Ziva. I woke up when they tossed me in the car, though I pretended I was still out. I knew I needed to keep track of all the turns so that I could somehow let you guys know where I was. When they parked, they realized that I was awake, and knocked me out again. The next thing I remember was waking up in an abandoned house, tied to a chair." For the next hour, he told her everything he remembered. It was harder than he had expected, to tell her the methods of torture they had used on him. He made sure, though, to just give the events, not his reaction to them. It was hard enough without admitting to the cold terror he had felt at certain points, and the utter humiliation at others.

His memory of certain events, like when he had been taken from the hospital were fuzzy at best, and he wasn't about to fudge the details, just told it how he remembered.

Megan stayed quiet for most of it. She was experienced enough to know that if she interrupted, it would be hard for the victim to continue. It was difficult, though, because this wasn't some random victim, this was Charlie. She could tell how much effort it was taking to tell her everything, and she was able to see in between the lines to discern the emotions he'd felt.

It didn't take long for her to find out why he hadn't wanted Don in the room: he was ashamed. It wasn't that surprising, given how much time he spent with the team; they were all trained to handle themselves during crises. It seemed like he was struggling not to blur the lines for himself: he was a professor, but he spent more time with federal agents than with other mathematicians. He felt responsible, and didn't want his older brother, whose approval was something he had always worked for, to see him as being weak.

She forced herself to stay in the moment, and continued writing everything he told her, the pen flashing across the notepad in her shorthand she used for interviews. She shifted slightly as she realized that they were at the point that no one else really knew much about. "What happened after I sent Agents Harrington and Root here?" she asked.

Charlie bit his lip. "Nathan said that he would stay in the room, and Alex would be on the door," he said, swallowing past the lump in his throat. "There was a knock on the door, and two men came in, dressed as doctors, saying that they needed to talk to me alone. Nate refused to leave the room, I guess he figured something was wrong. One of them kicked him in the stomach, and the other started pulling me out of the bed. I heard a crack from Agent Harrington," Charlie whispered, going pale as he remembered the details, "and then Alex came in. The one who killed Nate pulled out a gun with a silencer and shot her. The one who'd grabbed me pulled out a syringe, and the next thing I know, I'm in a van, and everyone was yelling. They said that they were handing me over to someone else as leverage, but they wouldn't mind killing me if I caused problems. It was only a few minutes drive from then until we got to the building where you guys were waiting. I spent the time trying to remember everything that I had learned from that FBI training course I went to a couple weeks ago." He finished telling her everything that they already knew, once again keeping out his internal reactions.

When he was finished talking, she pulled out the prepared photo lineups that they had gotten ready the day before, and had him pick out everyone that he could remember. A few of them were easy for Charlie to ID, and he did his best with the others. When they were finished, she put everything into a file and put it on the counter behind her, smiling at him.

"You did really well, Charlie, this helped us a lot," she assured him. She was honestly a bit surprised at how well he'd held his composure throughout all the talking. Putting the folder and pad on the counter behind her, she looked closely at him. Her skills as a profiler came in handy as she studied him: his face was pinched, though that could have been the pain, his hands were shaking slightly, and his eyes were haunted.

"Thanks, Megan," he said quietly, picking at the blanket. "Have you heard when I'll be able to go home?" he asked.

"A few more days," she told him. "We already have tickets to leave, courtesy of the FBI. We just need you to rest up a bit before we leave. Your father has found a physical therapist to help you out, and I heard that Larry took over your classes for the semester, but made sure that you have a couple classes next term."

Charlie just nodded, keeping his head bowed.

Megan thought for a moment, then decided to go for it. She purposefully took off her badge, making sure that he saw her put it with the files. This was going to be a talk between friends, not official. Seeing him look at her, confused, she regarded him seriously.

"If you want, I can put you in touch with a few therapists I know of who can help you when we get home," she offered. Seeing that he was about to object, she stopped him. "I don't want you to answer right now, it's just something to think about. There's no shame in knowing when you need help. I know that I couldn't go through what you did unless I had some help."

He thought about what she said for a few minutes, then nodded. "I'll think about it," he agreed.

"Alright, last thing, since I'm sure the nurse is about to kick me out," she said, and mentally clapped when she saw a genuine smile on his face. "I think you should talk to your brother about this."

That time, Charlie shook his head quickly. "He has enough to deal with right now, I don't want…."

"He's your brother," she interrupted gently. "His first priority will always be you, and you know that. I'm not going to push you on this, but it's something else I want you to think about. He understands better than you think he will, and I know it would be good for both of you." She gave his hand a slight squeeze before standing. "Do you want me to send anyone in?"

Charlie didn't need to think about that. "I'm pretty tired," he confessed. "I think I just want to sleep for a while."

Megan nodded, having expected that. "I'll send the nurse in," she told him, and left. She had to finish her report, but that could wait. She just wanted some company right then to get her mind off everything she had heard, or she would storm the Navy Yard to exact revenge.


I thought about adding a bit more to the end of this chapter, but figured this was as good a place as any to end it. Hopefully the next update will be just a few days, fingers crossed. Feel free to let me know what you thought!

11-15-12

Made a mistake in the debriefing, and it was bothering me, so I fixed it