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The Next Best Thing by angelskuuipo
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Author's Notes:
Prompt: #86- Gift, monthly theme- Holidays
Authorís Note: Iím stealing Emma DeMaraisís confession post idea, because I kind of feel the need to qualify this story, so please see the note at the end of the fic. Un-betated, any and all mistakes are mine. Written for the Numbers100 LJ community.
Word Count: 275
Written: December 22, 2006


Charlie whimpered as glass shattered downstairs. Don wrapped his arms tighter around his little brother when the voices got louder. This wasn’t how the holidays were supposed to be, at least not according to all the storybooks. It wasn’t like this last year. He didn’t know what their parents were fighting about this time and didn’t really care. He just wished they would stop.

Charlie whimpered again, burying his face in Don’s chest. “Shh, Charlie, it’ll be okay. I’ll protect you,” Don whispered into Charlie’s curls. The eight-year old bit his lip, trying to figure out a way to get Charlie’s mind off the argument going on below them. He scanned Charlie’s room and lit on the perfect thing.

Don unwrapped one arm from the three-year old and reached for the little chalkboard and some chalk. He jostled Charlie a bit and big brown eyes finally peeked out and looked at him trustingly.

“Hey buddy, let’s work on your numbers, okay?”

At first, Charlie just turned back into Don’s chest so Don started writing out numbers on his own. Pretty soon a little hand came out and Don handed over the chalk.

Don watched his baby brother lose himself in the numbers as their parents argued downstairs. When he grew up he was gonna be someone who protected people. He wanted to make things better, so his parents wouldn’t argue all the time. Another glass shattered downstairs, but Charlie didn’t notice. He was in his own little world. Don kissed his brother’s head and held him as he worked. Maybe he couldn’t give Charlie the gift of peace, but this was the next best thing.


Author's Note: I have no idea where this came from. It’s certainly not the happy, happy, joy, joy piece I had planned to write for this prompt.

Consider it an AU look at the boys’ early life. It is canon that Alan and Margaret had some problems when Charlie went to Princeton (I can’t remember which ep it’s in tho), but what if those problems had started much earlier…like say when Charlie’s gifts started manifesting?

Skin Design by Amy

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