Pairing(s): Don/Ian, OCs
Rating: I think this one's PG 13, but if you disagree, let me know.
Summary: Pre Series. Don doesn't know Charlie,but how well does Charlie know Don?
Notes/Warnings: Aftermath of volience, I don't think it's too graphic, but higher rating just to be safe.
Beta cerealkiller0 who rules in so many ways
When Don started teaching at Quantico, Alan Eppes had hoped that the stress associated with having a field agent in the family – 3 am phone calls, cross country fights with his chest feeling like it was being crushed – was over.
“What did they say?” Margaret asked, for the thousandth time. Alan sighed.
“That Don had been shot, and that they were taking him to the base hospital.” He said, trying to calm himself by looking at the other passengers.
The red-eye flight to Virginia was crowded, but the only person who caught his attention was an Asian man sitting opposite Charlie, who was busy chatting with the stewardess.
His face was expressionless, but the hands had the armrest in a death grip, his knuckles white. Alan recognised a CBI badge attached to his belt, though he must have surrendered his gun before boarding the flight.
Virtually as soon as Charlie had released the Stewardess (or was it when she had released him?) the young Asian grabbed her, asking how long till they landed.
Poor guy must really hate flying he thought, as he tried to avoid contemplating the idea he might be burying his son.
The hospital waiting room was packed.
Ian had no idea how he’d ended up as agent-in-charge, but that was apparently his role here.
So far, there were two confirmed deaths – both DOA, and one confirmed all right – Sachens, the kid he’d found propping the door. Apparently he’d simply fainted and hit his head. They were keeping him in for observation, but he should be fine.
The rest of Ian’s job here was simply a task of pretending he knew everything was going to be all right, when in truth, he was as much in the dark as they were.
He hated this. He wanted to be out, looking for the son of a bitch who did this. But no, Senior Agent Howard Cream said he was a witness, and that he should remain here where they could find him easily.
Normally, Ian would have ignored him, but Cream had some pretty powerful people backing him up and...
And someone had to be there for Nic.
Her mother was dead, her father had abandoned her and her brother when they were kids, Pavel was probably in Europe, and Kimball...
“Ian!” he spun around at his name. There were only a handful of people in the world who called him that, and two of them were in surgery.
Kimball Cho had been in the same unit as Ian in the army, in fact he’d introduced Cho to Nic when they were home on leave. He definitely hadn’t expected anything to happen between them, but then he’d never expected anything to happen with Don and him either.
Kimball looked distraught, and Ian recognised the signs of a man holding himself together by sheer willpower. He knew that saying his name had nearly taken that control away, and that if Kimball had to ask all the questions he needed answers to, he would break down.
Carefully, Ian pulled Kimball away from the others, and gave him the score. Two bullets in Nic’s chest, including one that had collapsed her lung, and one in her arm that looked like a flesh wound. The bullets had pierced the Kevlar.
Ian thought for a moment that Kimball’s control was going to slip then; he could see his mind going over all the same details of the crime that he had, especially that the guns used had caused two students to bleed out from internal damage created by shattered Kevlar.
He finished by relaying that Nic was still in surgery, and that they wouldn’t know anything for a bit.
The door to the relative’s waiting room opened again and a family group entered – one he recognised from the photos scattered around Don’s room. Slowly, he left Kimball, who barely noticed, and made his way over.
“Mr. Eppes. Agent Edgerton. I’m in charge here.”
“Where is my son?”
“Still in surgery.” Carefully, he explained that Don had three bullets in his chest, but that all seemed to have missed anything vital.
He watched as faces twisted in relief, wishing he could have shown that reaction when he heard that news.
Unfortunately, he knew a lot more than he was telling them.
There were 365 tiles on the ceiling of the ICU, arranged in rows of 10, with half tiles ending where they met the corridor. Across each tile were 24 dots, arranged in 24 rows. That made a total of 576 dots on each tile, 210240 in the room overall.
Charlie had counted the tiles to make sure that was correct, and now he was counting the dots. Because if they all added up right, then the numbers hadn’t deserted him, and there was an explanation for this.
Because statistically, Don should be dead. Three chest shots, which had been aggravated by movement, should have killed him.
The agent in charge of the investigation, Agent Cream, had said that Don been found on the steps of the building, that it had been his presence that alerted them. And that he’d needed two transfusions, before he was stable enough for them to attempt surgery.
Dad hadn’t been happy about Agent Edgerton neglecting to mention that! But Mom had pointed out that maybe Edgerton hadn’t known, or couldn’t tell them or was trying to be kind.
Looking at the man leaning against the wall, Charlie didn’t think he was trying to be kind.
Especially when he said, “It should have been a head shot.”
The words fell in to silence. Kimball knew that Ian didn’t really mean anything by the words, that he was just.... thinking out loud effectively.
“It was obvious they were wearing Kevlar, so why go for the chest?” Ian asked.
“Perhaps he wasn’t a good shot,” Kimball replied, his eyes never leaving Nic’s body. Her chest was barely moving, and he hated seeing the tube thrust down her throat, though rationally he accepted that it was helping her.
“He was good enough to be able to start shooting before either of them could disarm him.”
“Maybe they were just surprised.”
Kimball shot a glance at the young man sitting next to Don Eppes’s bed, and added, “It doesn’t matter. At least he did.”
Ian looked liked he wanted to say more, but he just spun stepping out into the corridor. Slowly, Kimball dared to glance at the kid.
“Ian doesn’t mean anything by it,” he said, softly. “He’s just trying to figure out what happened.”
“Identify anomalies in this?”
Kimball thought for a moment, before remembering what ‘anomalies’ meant. “Yeah.”
“He has a good point.” The young man was talking now. “Statistically, they’re dead.”
Any sympathy Kimball had felt with the young man went out the window.
“Good thing Franklin said that there are lies, dammed lies, and statistics!”
His head hurt.
In fact, finding a part of him that didn’t ache was difficult.
What was his dad doing in here?
“It’s O.K. sweetie. Everything’s going to be O.K.”
He tried to speak, but his lips won’t do what he wants.
Drugged, his brain supplies, but it isn’t as worrying as it should be.
He manages to force his eyes open, though it feels like he’s bench pressing two twenty.
His parents are there. Leaning over, like they’re surprised he’s even awake. Charlie’s there too, smiling over a notebook.
“Just stay with us, Donny. I’m getting a nurse.” His mother’s hand is gripping his tightly, while his father got to his feet.
He turned his head. He can see a body lying in the bed next to him – Nic, with a tube down her throat. Kimball sitting beside her.
And leaning against the wall was Ian, watching.
Ian was the only person in the room behaving normally. His eyes were human eyes, not the sniper eyes they retreated into when something was wrong.
So Don met his gaze, and accepted the reassurance it offered. Everything was going to be O.K.