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Title: Killing Two Birds With One Stone
Part 3 of the Drowning Out Your Love Series
Pairing/Characters: Billy/Charlie
Prompt #229 Break
Word Count: 300
Summary: Having not-so-brotherly feelings of unrequited love rarely ends well for anyone.
Spoilers: Takes place immediately after Man Hunt Episode
Warnings: references to incest
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the Numb3rs characters. If I did, the show would be a lot less family friendly.

Author’s Notes: Sequel to Misery Loves Company and Sometimes Love Don’t Feel Like It Should. I want to dedicate this fic to [info]emmademarais and [Bad username or unknown identity: melissima ]as it never would have been completed without their generosity of time and friendship as well as all their advice, guidance, and feedback. I am a lucky lucky girl.




Novelist Amelia Barr once noted, “The fate of love is that it always seems too little or too much.”


Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Charlie is floating, drifting in the hazy world between sleep and wake, when jarred by a staccato knocking, beating in concert with the queasy throbbing inside his head. Momentarily bewildered, he hauls himself upright. His confusion clears at the sight of one very naked Billy sprawled face down over rumpled sheets, a pillow covering his head. Charlie scarcely takes the effort needed to tug on only his jeans before shuffling toward the motel room’s door.  Pulling it open, he winces at the glaring sun and raises a hand to shield his eyes.

He freezes as he stares at Don– a breakfast peace-offering in hand and an easy smile on his lips. The harsh morning light pours in the room, illuminating everything.  Charlie can only watch, stunned, as Don’s smile fades, his sharp eyes cataloging the evidence: Charlie half-dressed, sex-mussed curls, bite marks trailing down his neck. His arms move abortively, battling instinct to cross his bare chest.  Charlie’s face flushes hot with unease as he follows Don’s troubled gaze, drawn deeper into the room. Sitting barely covered amid a bedlam of sheets, Billy looks anguished before dropping his head into his hands.

Everything slows as Charlie realizes they are all caught in a real-time Markov Chain - the confluence of their desires converging at this moment. He is suddenly flooded with the probabilities of this encounter, all the possible outcomes swirling around his brain, hope spiraling out from the center. And just as abruptly, it ebbs and drains away. Charlie pales, stomach churning, as Don’s features harden back to their typical impenetrable state, his stony silence unbroken. Don shoves the bag into Charlie’s hands, grim determination etched in the line of his jaw, and walks stiffly and unwaveringly away, leaving only desolation in his wake. Limbs leaden, Charlie sinks weakly to the floor as the door swings shuts with a final click.


Date: 2009-10-17 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmademarais.livejournal.com
Yay! It's up! Congrats! /throws confetti all over you/

You know, I was just reading 15 Portraits of Despair /much Neil Gaiman Sandman love/ and I feel like this could be a 16th. Charlie and Billy are left so bereft in this - every tiny glimmer of hope dashed in one heartbreaking moment. /cuddles them/ Oh Don, you can be so cruel.

You have some really lovely turns of phrase in here and the resolution of the water imagery with Don's stone imagery turned out wonderfully. It's so hard to believe these were your first fic. Clearly your brain has been telling stories for a long time before you published these three. This amount of talent doesn't come out of the ether nor spring from a brain fully formed like Athena. It's been in you. I'm just grateful to be here for its coming out party.


Date: 2009-10-17 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] t-vos-fics.livejournal.com
OMG, Emma, U just made me mist up. U have a gift for making me act like such a girl. I don't think I can adequately express how touched I am by your comment. But I plan to try. I just can't now as I am already late for picking up my niece from her day at Fall Forum. I just wanted to take a moment to savor your words and send you the biggest hug and kiss. Cause you are both the reason I felt confident enough to actually share my work and partly responsible for why it is good enough to share. /hugs until u can't breathe and kisses cheek/ Thank you again. U will be hearing from me soon. And Happy Birthday Eve!!! :D

Date: 2009-10-17 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmademarais.livejournal.com
/smishes you super hard/

You're such a doll. ♥♥♥

I'll see you on IM later or at the very latest in chat tomorrow.

Travel safe! :-)

Date: 2009-10-17 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] t-vos-fics.livejournal.com
I thought I could not heart you anymore than i already do and then you go and talk about how charlie and billy could be the 16th portrait of despair, which despair, of course, was the entire vibe of what i was trying to somewhat ineptly paint, and suddenly I adore you and your brilliant brain even more. I just love how u can read my words and immediately hit on what's underneath- sometimes even when i fail at being able to express it.

Thank you so much for your lovely lovely compliments. It is kind of ironic that just a few nights ago, Mel and I were discussing how we sometimes end up procrastinating on our fics when we feel uncertain about how to get them from ideas to words to story, and I commented if only we could be more like Emma- She has such a storytelling talent, I bet her stories leap from her brain fully formed (although i am well aware of all the hard work u put into ur fics).....and here you are turning my own words around on me albeit unbeknownst. I think that is the greatest compliment you could have given me cause yes, my brain has been telling stories to me since i was a very young child, much to the chagrin of my parents and teachers. It really feels remarkable to enjoy sharing them with others who are like-minded and gracious after all this time. Thank you for inviting me into your little realm and telling me I belong. That kind of acceptance and encouragement is a very precious gift. :D

Date: 2009-10-17 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmademarais.livejournal.com
Now it's my turn to mist up. /tissues/

I want someone to sketch us that final moment: Billy with his head in his hands, lost, and Charlie, sunk to the floor because his body can bear the devastation no more than his mind can. It is an incredible portrait of real despair and being the angst lover I am it truly speaks to me. I'm not a visual writer (and there's the thing where I wish I could be like you and Mel) but I get that final bit so strongly: your Markov Chain laid out in one tableau where not one or two but three people are irrevocably broken. /sniff/ It hurts so good.

I've said it before and I'm saying it again: I'm incredibly proud to have been given the chance to midwife your first fic into publication. As children we are thrust into a world of stories and as adults we are ripped from it. Imagination is not the sole realm of the young; it feeds one and all, at least those who embrace it. I hope from this point on you don't let anyone try to bar you from the universe of tales. You belong here with us. Pull up a comfy chair - you're going to be here a long wonderful time. :-)

/puts a bow on your gift/

Happy storytelling, my dear.

Date: 2009-10-17 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] t-vos-fics.livejournal.com
If i could draw, yes, that moment would be so striking. I am beyond pleased that that vision resonates so fully with you. /big cheesy grin/ That is everything I was hoping for as the end to this series.

/pulls up her big brown comfy recliner/ Aaaaah. /turns on radio and sings along/ "Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to geeet away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your naaaame, and they're always glad you caaaaame. You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the saaaaaame. You wanna be where everybody knows your naaaaaaame."

Thanks Emma. Just try and get rid of me now. /mwah/!

You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows
your name.

Date: 2009-10-17 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melissima.livejournal.com
Yay! :kermitflail: I'm so happy to see this posted! You've done a fantastic job with this series.

Coop/Charlie is one of my favorite pairings. On top of that? I have a serious narrative kink for elephants (or FBI agents) looming over the bed while people try to connect with each other. You hit that kink squarely here, and delighted me even further by having Billy and Charlie face-to-face with Don in the throes of their morning after. Real time Markov chain indeed! (How I love you for using Manhunt-math for a Coop/Charlie fic, anyway, and this one is perfectly suited! Squee!)

As broken as poor Charlie is by the end here, the one I feel sorriest for is actually Don. He's presented with so many opportunities for love and belonging, he can't accept any of it. :-(

*applauds* ... *tosses roses* Brava my dear!

Date: 2009-10-17 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] t-vos-fics.livejournal.com
Ok, if i had to count the ways i love you, mel (and there are dozens and dozens, your kermitfail would be in the top 10, for reals. Thank you thank you thank you for all your support and encouragement during this series. Ur feedback through my little learning-to-walk phases was what kept me going, knowing that you actually enjoyed the little details of my fic and helping me learn what worked.

Coop/Charlie is like my second OTP and u know full well by now what an angst whore i am, so that this combo works for you? Makes. My. Day. And let me just stop for a mo and smish you for my squee. /smishes and smishes and smishes and pets ur hair/ I love that you enjoyed those little dets. I consider it a compliment of the highest order that the whole mess of fucked-upness hits your kink and made u sad for Don. He is, in fact, the saddest figure of them all cause he just can't let down his shields and let anyone in. Just one question tho cause I am curious: Did the Don in the fic come across as wanting anyone specific to you? Consider it a Rorschauch Test of sorts :)

/smells her roses and bows/ thank you, luv.

Date: 2009-10-17 09:56 pm (UTC)
ext_8730: (π charlie wait)
From: [identity profile] maerhys.livejournal.com
Charlie can only watch, stunned, as Don’s smile fades, his sharp eyes cataloging the evidence: Charlie half-dressed, sex-mussed curls, bite marks trailing down his neck.

This is so well drawn and unbelievably HOT. This hurts all the way around for everyone. I love the angst even as I want Don to grab Charlie and fight for him. *g* Not that there'd be much of a fight. And poor Billy --- I hope he doesn't lose a friend over this.

Wonderful job, m'dear. I really hope you continue this series.

Date: 2009-10-17 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] t-vos-fics.livejournal.com
SQUEE! /bounces in chair/ I am so thrilled that you liked that line. It had several reincarnations, trying to get the right balance between debauched and hungover. The hotness was just bonus cause picturing Charlie that way- guh. but picturing Don scrutinizing every inch of Charlie in that state? UNF. When I stumbled onto that little tableau, I was hoping everyone else would enjoy the fucked up hotness as much as me.

I know I know. Don was a stubborn bastard for this series. I too wanted him being confronted with Charlie or Billy as sexual beings would spurn him into action and claim someone for himself, but instead he just tightened up even more and detached himself from the two people who loved him more than any others anywhere.

And for even more sad news, this is likely the last in the installment. I really did not have a clear picture of where they could go from here other than to Angstville, population 3. If Don was ever going to act on his desires, i think it would have been here when he could have at least acted like a jealous fool. And there is no one else in his life he could confide in really to give him guidance about how to stop shutting the love out of his life. And while i am sure Charlie and Coop had a great time together, i think the despair of the morning after will prevent any further interactions between these two. So nobody gets anybody :( Life, so hard when u r in love with your brother.

Thank you again for your comments!!! I am so very happy you enjoyed the series.

Date: 2009-10-18 03:57 pm (UTC)
ext_8730: (Default)
From: [identity profile] maerhys.livejournal.com
So nobody gets anybody

But sometimes that is how it works and I think that is what makes this series so powerful. I am both happy and sad that there won't be anymore but you're right on with how Don is even more clenched up and if he was going to act it would be about now.

I loved this a lot. I can't wait to see what you write next. ♥

Date: 2009-10-18 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] t-vos-fics.livejournal.com
I loved this a lot. I can't wait to see what you write next. ♥
Thank you so much. It means so much to me that this series connected with you. Now that I have a taste for it, there will be more fic to follow of the eppescest flavor. It's too delish to resist. Thank you again for all of your awesome feedback and support.

Date: 2009-10-30 04:00 pm (UTC)
ext_8730: (Default)
From: [identity profile] maerhys.livejournal.com
★ I recced your fic HERE @ [livejournal.com profile] numb3rsfanrecs. ★

Date: 2009-10-30 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] t-vos-fics.livejournal.com
Shut up! ZOMFG! I can't believe you did that. U r the awesomest of the awesome. Seriously, made of win! U may be able to tell how pleased this makes me. Even if noone else reads it, to know you liked it enough to recommend it to others is one of the loveliest of compliments.
i never think to rec fics but i feel like i should return the favor. i have read your Stockton fic several times now. others should behold its fabulous goodness of eppescest so they know ol' skool Don/Charlie is back in fashion. :D

Date: 2009-10-31 12:26 am (UTC)
ext_8730: (Default)
From: [identity profile] maerhys.livejournal.com
Hee! I did --- keep writing!!!!

& thank you! I love that story lots and can't wait to go back to it for the rest of the series. D/Ch never went out of style for me, and I hope they never do. ♥


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