Not my favorite Briggs/Charlie Fic I've written, but I thought I'd post it anyway. Hope you like it.
Spoilers: Hair of the Dog
Disclaimer: Not mine
"You could have told me," Charlie said quietly, walking in to Briggs room, closing the door behind her, and sitting down on his bed.
"No," he replied, "I couldn't have." He did not ask what she was talking about. He did not need to. It was no great surprise to him that Mike had come back to Graceland and told the others his secret.
"You can trust me," she told him.
"I know that," he said, not looking at her.
"Then why didn't you tell me?" she asked.
"It would have changed things," he replied a little more sharply than he intended to.
"With them maybe," she bit back, "but not with me."
"It should have changed things," he told her, "we all know the rule. You can't trust a junkie."
"You're not a junkie," she protested.
"I am," he said bitterly, "as much as I know you don't want to hear it."
"You're a heroin addict," she agreed, "but you're not a junkie. You're in control of your life."
"Now you sound like an addict," he told her almost sadly, "We both know that there is no control in addiction. What you have felt these past few days, that's been my life for years now. Does that sound like control to you?"
"No," she admitted quietly. He was right. She did not want to admit that he was a junkie. Still she was determined that he was not going to push her away. Whatever it took, she was going to stand by him, but at the same time she felt helpless, unsure of what she should do, what she could do, to help.
"It's not your fight," he told her, seeming to read her mind.
"Is that why you didn't tell me?" she asked again.
"I didn't tell you because it wasn't your problem to deal with," he replied, "and no one needs something like that in there life, especially not those of us in Graceland. There's too much already."
He looked at her, and this time he really could read her mind because he saw it spelled out on her face: the bewilderment and frustration and a little bit of hurt. That expression got to him in a way only Charlie could, and he gave up a little bit of his defensive wall.
"I thought I could go it alone," he told her, "I convinced myself I could beat it. After all, I'm not the kind of person who gets addicted to drugs right? I was ashamed too, didn't want anyone to know."
"But you couldn't do it alone," she said.
"No," he replied. "Do you remember what you felt like when you woke up?" Charlie nodded. "Now imagine you had been alone, and you found a needle. Would you have done it to make everything feel better again?"
Charlie looked at him considering. "Probably," she admitted finally.
"Exactly," he said, "that's how it all began."
"Is that why you took care of me?" she asked him, after a moment.
He nodded. "I was scared that if you didn't have someone there," he said, "you'd turn out like me."
"There are worse things to be," she said trying to reassure him.
"I can't think of any," he said and the self-loathing in his voice was evident.
Charlie struggled to think of a way to respond. She had always believed she knew Briggs best of anybody, and that was probably still true, but she was beginning to realized she did not know him nearly as well as she thought she did.
"I doesn't matter much now," he pointed out, "the secret's out, and I'll be gone within the week."
"Not necessarily," she told him, "Right now only you, me, and Mike know."
That surprised him, and for the first time since she had entered the room, he turned to look at her. "Mike didn't tell anybody else?" he asked.
"No," she said shaking her head, "He came to me to me, told me what had happened, and asked what he should do. I told him to keep his mouth shut until I talked to you."
"Why'd he come to you?" he asked her.
"I think he wanted some advice, and he thought he could trust my opinion," she said with a shrug, noting Briggs raised eyebrows. "He hasn't figured out yet that everybody at Graceland has demons," she pointed out, "because he doesn't know what mine are he thinks they don't exist."
"Ah," Briggs said nodding. That made sense, and he realized once again just how naive Mike really was. "Do you think somebody sent him out her to investigate me?" he asked her after a moment.
"Do you?" she replied.
"It would make sense," he told her, with another shrug, "He wanted a D.C. job but got sent out here at the last minute. He's been poking his nose places it doesn't belong. He pushed hard to get in on the Bello thing. He's been making covert phone calls, and he tailed me last night."
"Wow," Charlie said, "he's a little unclear on the concept of covert."
"Let's just say the CIA isn't going to be calling him up anytime soon," Briggs said with a small smile, but that quickly faded.
"He's got enough to get you fired?" she asked, "doesn't he."
"I think so," Briggs said shaking his head, "probably even arrested."
"Do you think that will happen?" she asked.
"That all depends of Mike," he reminded her, "and I don' know what he'll do."
"I think he's confused," she told him, "he's caught up in something he doesn't fully understand, and he doesn't know anymore if he's batting for the right team or the wrong one."
He and Charlie looked at each other, both mentally examining years of mission and interactions. So much of themselves, both good and bad, had been formed by their work at Graceland. Briggs did not want to have to leave, and Charlie did not want to see him go.
"If it does come to that," Briggs said, "If he turns me in, I won't tell the house's secrets, or yours. They might get me, but I won't let them have the rest of you."
Charlie reached out and took his hand. Usually they avoided actual physical contact when they were not on a case together, but tonight they both needed it.
"I hope it doesn't come to that," she said quietly.
What did you think? Please review.