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Title: Numb3rs don't lie
Author: [info]cat_13145
Pairing: Don/Ian
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: All seasons, all episodes with Ian Edgerton
Summary: Don comes out to his family, Charlie isn't handling it well, and Ian is Ian.
Disclaimer: Author doesn't own the show or the characters and isn't making any profit.
Author's Note: Thanks to my lovely beta, [info]mercilynn mainly for not murdering me when I sent her a second fic less than a month before the closing date and for not getting mad at me for nagging her. Originally posted to [info]numb3rs_newyear for [info]cerealkiller0. Hope she still thinks I'm the coolest author. Thanks and Enjoy!

"Edgerton?"
"It's me."

"Don."

Don leant back against the couch, relaxing instantly as he heard the tenderness in every syllable. He could see Ian, sprawled like a big cat on his bed.

"Did I wake you?"

A snort. "Nah. Just grading papers. My students and I thank you for the interruption." Don smiled; Ian hadn't been happy about the decision to include a written element to his course and even less when he discovered he had to mark them. "What's up?"

"Nothing."

"Eppes." He could hear the snarl in Ian's voice, and sighed.

"I decided to tell them tonight. Figured I better do it, before one of the team let something slip."

"You were the one who hugged me."

"I'd been shot and was on drugs and therefore can't be held responsible for my actions. And you hugged me back."

He could see the smug expression on Ian's face as he said, "Wanted to check you were still alive. Plus, did it or did it not get your team members to stop acting like idiots?"

Don shook his head, a part of him wanting to go down into this normality, but knowing he had to face the truth. "Yeah, well, so I told them at dinner."

He could all but hear Ian nodding.

"And?"

"My dad's okay, in fact, you're invited around for dinner and interrogation next time you're in LA."

A chuckle like dark chocolate came over the phone. "Sounds like fun." Then Ian was serious again. "But?"

"Charlie." Don ran his hand through his hair, trying to figure out a way to describe what had happened at dinner without Ian wanting to kill Charlie. "He wasn't so okay."

In spite of Don's caution in choosing his words and tone, he could still hear the predator growling in Ian's voice as he demanded, "What happened?"

Don sighed. He didn't want to admit, even to himself, how much his brother's reaction had upset him, but Ian somehow or other always managed to get to the heart of the problem.

"He nodded, retreated to the garage while Dad was interrogating me, then turn up at my place about an hour ago, brandishing some papers, declaring that the math said I had it wrong. That I couldn't be gay." He sighed, wishing he could curl up into Ian and hide from the world, rather than just hearing his voice over the phone. "It's all right. I mean, it's Charlie, he'll come around eventually."

He could hear Ian steadying his breathing, forcing himself to be calm, but there was no trace of that in his voice as he asked, "How has the rest of your team handling it?"

Don grimaced. "David was weird for a couple of days, but then he asked me if I was sure about this thing, and just nodded when I said yeah. Colby kept giving me weird looks, but I think he's got his head around it now. Nikki-" he shivered slightly, "-hugged me and said she was glad we'd finally got our heads screwed on straight." He shook his head. "What about you?"

Ian's laugh came down the phone lines. "Don, in terms of crazy shit for the Bureau to give me trouble on, trust me who I sleep with is fairly low on the list." He grimaced. "And the students are all completely terrorized."

"What? It's been what? A week?"

"They should be."

Don leant back, listening as Ian listed the faults of his students, pretending that everything was normal, everything was all right.

***

Ian sat on the bed, breathing deeply, staring at the phone in his hand, seeking the calm he used daily as part of his job.

His instinct, the main thought running though his head, was to hurt the man who had hurt his lover. He knew, though, that would only hurt Don. No matter what fight they were having, Don loved Charlie.

Sighing, he turned his attention back to his papers but realized his mind wasn't on them. Almost unthinkingly, his fingers dialled the numbers.

"Hey, Terri, can you cover for me for a bit?"

*****

Ian remembered Don telling him that certain sects of Judaism thought the name of God to be unpronounceable because it was the sound of breath. Don had rather liked that as a concept, thinking that when you were stressed, when you were running, or in trouble, you'd inadvertently be praying more. If Ian recalled correctly, he'd been more interested in getting Don's shirt off than listening, but somehow that little tidbit of their discussion of religious beliefs, or lack thereof in Ian's case, had stayed with him.

If he was praying more when he was breathing heavily then he was praying like a man possessed as he stormed down the halls of CalSci, barely aware of students jumping out of his way.

Pushing the door to the office open, his eyes fell on the young student who jumped up at his arrival. "Where is he?"

The dark eyes widened, the hands held up in the universal "don't shoot me" stance.

"I don't know." He swallowed. "I can find out?" He moved carefully, edging around the sniper, and then running out of the room.

Unable to stand still, Ian began to pace.

He anticipated this reaction, this response, from Alan, sure. Don had warned him that Alan hadn't been a fan of Don joining the bureau and was unlikely to react well to Don dating an agent of either sex. But Charlie... Both men had been almost convinced he was aware of their relationship, especially by his comments at the jail.

He reached the window and spun around without stopping. This anger in LA felt unnatural.

At Quantico, he and Don had been friends, sure, but it hadn't been until Don called him in on the Sniper Zero Case. He hadn't understood why the case had gotten under his skin. Initially, he thought it was baby Eppes' attitude, but had slowly realized that it was seeing Don.

He turned around at the door. The Crystal Hoyle case had been when he realized they could have something. Don was nearly as protective, as determined to spare others the mess that was their lives as Ian was. That was why he fudged the truth a little in the investigation.

Don hadn't been grateful, but his admission had led to him been invited out for a beer, to talk about it. Eventually, it had led to long conversations similar to the ones they had at Quantico.

It had been a couple of months later, during the rock climber's case, that he realized he was in love, and what he would do for Don. In fact, he'd known that when he wandered into this room, all but kidnapping the professor.

For Ian to admit he needed to help was a big deal.

Don had been extremely surprised at the result, and Ian had got an invitation to the Eppes family home out of it. Don had offered him a lift and it had been on the way there they'd had their first kiss. In spite of himself, Ian grinned. The Eppes brothers were stubborn, but Ian was more so and, as Don had said, he was pretty hard to say no to.

He spun around at the window and changed direction, heading for the desk.

Granger had called him a psychopath in prison, during the Garcia Incident. On a level, he supposed he was correct; he had enjoyed hurting that bitch. But his main anger had been that she had hurt Don with her lies and caged him.

Frustrated, he grabbed some papers off the desk, throwing them on to the floor, and then blinked.

The papers had women's faces on them, and numbers. Slowly, he picked them up.

Terri 7, Kim 8, Megan 6, Robin 8. He raised his eyes at the next one. Amita 4.

Suddenly, he chuckled to himself. Okay, now he understood where Charlie's problem came from.

He had to admit that he was nothing like Don's usual type, well, usual female type. They tended to be petite, vulnerable looking women. He smiled. Charlie just didn't understand why Ian, and the whole issue had been mixed up in a manner only the Eppes family could manage. Still chuckling, he stepped out, dialling a number on his phone.

*****

Amita's arms were folded, always a bad sign.

"Why is Ian Edgerton staked out in your office?"

Charlie shrugged, his eyes on the blackboard. "Perhaps he's bringing a case."

"Really? So why are you hiding in here, rather than running over there like you usually do?" As his attention remained fixed on the board, she sighed. "You owe him an apology. Don too. What your brother did took courage and you..." She shook her head, apparently unable to finish her sentence.

"The math says it's wrong."

Amita's eyes bored into him. "Not everything is about math, Charlie."

*******

"Eppes?"

"It's me."

"Where are you?" Don asked, glancing at a clock. It had to be just after five in Quantico, which meant that Ian should be in class.

"Just outside the FBI buildings here." Ian all but purred into the phone. "Figured as you've done the hard part, you should at least get the reward."

Don leant back against his desk, ignoring the rolled eyes of his team about the grin on his face.
He took a deep breath, mustering his courage. "You want to get the hard part over? Dinner at my Dad's."

"Sure. Should I wait for you at your place?"

Don smiled. "If you do that, we might not make it to dinner."

Ian chuckled. "Fair point. So I'll meet you there."

"Yeah. Do you remember the way or do you need directions...?" he trailed off as Ian laughed.

"I think I can find my own way there, Eppes. I'll see you there."

Don hung up, still smiling.

******

"So, tell me about yourself," Alan said as Ian lined up for his shot.

Dinner at the Eppes house had been all right, surprising him.

They had kept the topics very firmly away from his and Don's relationship, discussing matters as though he was around because he was here on a case. The only hints that anything had changed had been the looks Amita kept throwing Charlie and Don's hand wrapped around his own beneath the table.

After they'd finished eating, Alan had told Don to do the washing up and suggested a game of pool to Ian.

Ian had hoped this meant he escaped the interrogation.

"Not much to tell," he said, carefully sending the ball into the hole. "You know all the important stuff."

He remembered he had once been told that for a wolf to gain admission to another pack, it had to expose its belly to the alpha wolf. He knew for Alan to trust him, he had to show vulnerability. That didn't mean he had to like it.

"Not all." Alan disagreed. "Like where are you from?"

"Minnesota." Ian kept his eyes on the ball as he added, "But I grew up around Chicago."

Alan nodded. "You got family there still?"

Ian forced his attention to remain on the shot, even though he could have probably done it in his sleep, as he replied, "No, my parents died when I was a kid and I grew up in foster care." He potted the ball easily and moved around. "Seven homes in 5 years, then a stint in a Catholic orphanage until I was 17. Then I joined the army."

"Why?"

Despite his internal cursing he could hear the anger in his own voice as he all but snapped, "I was on the streets because it was a hell of a lot better than the alternative. The only other job offer I got was from a pimp and believe me, I was about three days away from taking it when I saw the recruiter." He realized he was yelling and breathed deeply, seeking calmness.

"I'm sorry Mr. Eppes," he said, handing the cue over. "It's just…it's not a period of my life I like talking about." He could see the change in the other man. He had offered his throat and was now accepted.

"I told you. It's Alan." Alan moved around, taking his shot. "So how did you and Don meet?"

Ian smiled, relaxing now that they were back on safe ground. "Second week of term at Quantico. There was a competition going on between some FBI agents and Marine Cadets as to see who could pull off the most daring prank. Our guys decided that stealing the new guy's clothes while he was in the shower would be a good one. I'm walking down the hallway, when suddenly-" he smiled at the memory, "A man crashes into me dressed only in a towel and using language to make a sailor stare."

Alan shook his head as though he didn't believe it. "They'd tried to get me the week before, so I had a good idea who was involved, so I let Don borrow some clothes and tracked down the pranksters before they'd had a chance to complete their work of hanging said clothes on the flag pole." He shrugged. "Couple of weeks later, he helped me out with the course, we went out for a beer and started talking."

Alan nodded. "So how long have you been together?"

"Nearly a year." It felt scary to say that out loud, to acknowledge the amount of time they had been together, especially as he was admitting that Don had been keeping a secret this big from his family for a year.

"But no one knew so, together with people knowing about us, less than a month."

Alan nodded. "So outside of the bureau, what do you do?"

Ian considered it. "I'm a pretty good cook, I enjoy hiking... have to admit I'm not much of a baseball fan."

Alan grinned, lining up his shot. "Yeah, well with the Cubs record, can't say I'm surprised."

"They're due a comeback..." They both laughed.

"So Don's aware you're not a fan."

Ian smiled, what Don called his sphinx smile. "Yeah, he knows. We have a deal. Don watches the game, I watch Don and try to distract him." He shrugged slightly. "We're both happy."

Out of the corner of his eye, he watched as Charlie slunk away. He just hoped Baby Eppes had enough data.

****

"You get what you needed?"

Charlie jumped about a foot in the air and spun around.

"Ian!" The sniper was leaning against a wall, smiling slightly at the data on the board. He looked so guilty that Ian had to fight the desire to laugh. "You were looking for me earlier. At CalSci? Oswald mentioned it, but when I came to my office you weren't there?"

Ian had to admire the kid's ability to give out a barefaced lie, as he was fairly certain that the kid had hid in Amita or Larry's office as he waited for Ian to leave. There was a moment of silence while they gazed at each other before Charlie dropped his eyes.

"Amita says I should apologize to Don."

"Yeah. You should," Ian said flatly.

"And I think I owe you one."

Ian couldn't help it, he started laughing. "Tell you what. You don't tell your brother I was at CalSci today-" he leaned in close. "And I won't tell your lady friend that you ranked her as a four."

"In terms of attractiveness to Don!" The flushed and outraged protest made the laughter bubble up again inside of Ian.

"Somehow, I don't think that'll make a difference."

Ian turned towards the door. "Deal?"

"Deal."

Stepping out of the garage, he nearly ran into Don.

Almost without thinking, Ian grabbed at Don, eager to claim him.

"Want to give your brother some good proof?"

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May 2011

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