Summary: It had happened so fast.
Notes: Oh. My. God. I didn't think I'd ever write this. And yet, here it is. Friends-locked for now because new fandom, new fic, and I have no idea if this is any good.
Warnings: um. angst. and incest.
It had happened so fast.
That was what Don thought later, when he was in his own apartment with a beer and a baseball game and memories that just wouldn't go away.
It shouldn't have happened at all. Ever. But it had, and it had been fast and over before he even really knew what had transpired between them.
Don stared at his beer and glanced at his watch and decided that 7:42pm on Wednesday was officially when his life had gone to hell.
Charlie would appreciate the precision, he thought, before he closed his eyes and groaned.
Oh God, Charlie...
They were in the garage, surrounded by Charlie's blackboards and his books and the ever-present chalk dust. Don privately thought his brother would suffocate if he went too long without inhaling chalk particles; he knew Charlie would wither away if kept from a blackboard.
He'd tried that as a joke, once, when Charlie was little. He'd hidden the chalk to the blackboard in the garage--there was only one, at that point--and he'd waited to see what Charlie did.
Charlie, as it turned out, had methodically taped notebook paper to cover every inch of the blackboard and had stolen their father's pencils so he could still work. The paper had worn through from erasing before Don gave up and put the chalk back.
But that was years ago, and now there were multiple blackboards and boxes of of chalk all over the place. Don wondered if Charlie bought the stuff at Costco or something. He watched Charlie work for a few minutes before walking in. "Nice work," he said quietly, holding out a bottle of beer.
"What--oh, thanks." Charlie grinned and took the bottle. "Kelly get home okay?"
Don nodded. "Safe and sound. She's fine." He took a swig of his own beer and looked at the current incomprehensible scribblings on the board. "That for a class, or a project of your own?" he asked, nodding at it.
"Ah--well, I guess kind of both. I've got a seminar this semester and they're working on..."
The words blurred into so much nonsense, as they always had. Don watched his brother and remembered trying, once, to understand something Charlie was studying. He'd given up after five minutes.
But it made Charlie happy when Don or their father at least pretended an interest, so it was easy for Don to stand there and drink his beer and think about how there was a six-year-old girl at home with her parents tonight who wouldn't have been if it hadn't been for Charlie.
"Are you even listening to me?" Charlie said with a grin, and Don realized he'd zoned out.
"Yeah, well--listening, yes. Understanding, never." Don grinned back. "You really--that was good work on this case," he said again. "I--we all appreciated it."
Charlie shrugged and took a swallow of beer. "Hey, all part of the job description." His tone was light but his eyes weren't, and Don knew Charlie was thinking about the two other girls. The ones they hadn't been able to find in time.
"Hey, Charlie, listen, it's okay." Don stepped forward and clasped his brother's shoulder. "It's okay. We did everything we could."
"Yeah, I know." Charlie smiled a little. "Nothing's perfect and all that. Even me."
"Charlie, hey, no, it's not like that. You--what was it you said? You didn't have enough data?" Don gripped Charlie's shoulder a little more tightly. "We saved Kelly, and there won't be any more."
"I know." Charlie took another swallow of beer and put the bottle down on top of a stack of books. "Just--how do you get used to it, Don?"
Truth was, he didn't know. But he couldn't tell that to Charlie. "You..." Don sighed. "You remember the ones you saved," he said slowly. "Sometimes that's all you can do."
"I can quote you statistics about kidnapping," Charlie said, shaking his head. "You know? I can write you probability equations on kidnappers and on victims and I can tell you all sorts of things--but--" He looked down at the floor. "I can't tell you what it's like to have your child taken away, and I can't tell you what it's like to know she's never coming back, and--I don't want to know, Don, I don't ever want to know how you do this."
Don remembered their mother, how Charlie hid in the garage, scribbling numbers feverishly, over and over, trying to solve an unsolvable problem rather than face the proof that already existed in their house. "Charlie," he said softly, trying to find the words. "Charlie..." He sighed. "C'mere."
He pulled Charlie into a hug; for a moment, Charlie tensed before relaxing into the embrace. "I thought we didn't do hugs," Charlie muttered against his shoulder.
"Don't all rules have exceptions or something?" Don pushed Charlie back a pace, looking at him. "You did good today, okay? Don't think otherwise."
"Yeah. Okay." Charlie picked up his beer again and took a long pull from it. Don watched his Adam's apple move, watched him swallow, and--wait. Why the hell was he watching?
"Anyway, I should go," Don said suddenly. "I just--I wanted to tell you that you did a good job today. And we all appreciate it."
"Megan doesn't want to bite my head off anymore?" Charlie asked lightly.
Don laughed. "No, last I heard she was heading out for a drink with Colby and David."
"Good. That's--that's good." Charlie grinned. "How come you're not with them?"
"Well, you know..." Don shrugged. "Late night, gotta get up early. Figured I'd come by and see how you were doing, if you wanted to watch the game..."
"Oh, right! The game. I don't know--I was kind of trying to get some work done, and--"
"Yeah, it's cool, don't worry about it." Don smiled. "I'll head home, see what's in my fridge."
"Okay." Charlie nodded. "Yeah."
Don turned to go, but something nagged at him. He wasn't sure what, but--"Hey, Charlie," he said, turning around again.
Charlie looked at him with those impossibly huge eyes, and Don couldn't--and--
He had no idea who moved first, or who said anything--if anything was said. But Charlie's hair was soft under his fingers and he tasted like beer and pasta sauce and it was hot and hard and both of them were panting when they drew back.
"Oh my God," Charlie said faintly. "We--that--"
Don stared at him, unable to find a single thing to say.
Charlie stared at him and Don stared back and then they were kissing again, and they fell to the floor in an awkward heap, and Don's wallet was pressing into his hip and Charlie's jeans were rough under Don's hands, and they were frantically trying to get their pants undone now, fast, and their hands fumbled on their cocks and Charlie's hands were on Don's cock and Don's hands were on Charlie's and it was fast and frantic and over before they knew it.
"Oh God," Charlie said when it was done. "I--that--we--" He groaned and rolled over, away from Don.
"It--that--" Don scrambled to his feet, fastening his jeans as hastily as he'd undone them moments earlier. "It's--a whachamacallit. Anomaly."
"Yeah. Yeah." Charlie got to his feet and tucked himself away, zipping up his jeans. "That--yeah."
"I--" Don gestured wordlessly. "Um--yeah. I'll just--"
7:42pm on a Wednesday. He was midway through his third beer, the game was still on, and Don didn't know what was worse: that he'd had sex with his brother, or that he'd enjoyed it.
He wasn't going to think about it. He--it had happened once, it was over, it was never going to happen again, and he and Charlie would both pretend it never existed.
He could do that. He was good at using the data he needed and ignoring the rest. And this was definitely not data he needed.