What You Are 1/?


Title: What You Are
Pairing: Don/Charlie
Rating: NC-17
Beta: meletor_et_al helped me with this one. Thank you so much, love.
Word Count: 9,636
Warnings: Heavy AU, incest
Summary: The deaths of Margaret and Alan change the lives of the Eppes brothers forever. But to what extent?
A/N: My muses attacked me in a dark alley with this one. Out of the blue at work six weeks ago, I typed out the first eight hundred words or so. It spawned from a line I misread, and will hopefully end before it eats me alive any more. It's extremely close to my heart, and I would beg for thoughts, ideas, anything.
n.b. -- this will be a series. :)
Listen to "What You Are" by Dave Matthews Band.

Don was determined to find a way to get Charlie into tactical gear as much as possible. In the office, at their apartment, in the field, whenever the fuck possible. Because Charlie in thigh holsters and a big gun was...well, Jesus. Sex incarnate on legs trying to outsmart you into fucking him senseless. Not like Charlie ever needed to convince him much. After a raid, the adrenaline, God. Sometimes Don couldn't contain himself and dragged Charlie into an alley and made him jerk him off.

Since he'd been assigned to Don's team, Charlie had gotten very good at giving three minute hand jobs.


When he'd been younger, it seemed like Charlie had been destined for great things. Not just great things, unprecedented ideas and revolutionary thoughts. He'd published a major paper at fourteen, graduated Princeton at sixteen, and seemed to be headed on a trail-blazing path.

His father and mother were there for his college graduation. Beaming, almost shocked smiles. Don was just finishing up his junior year of college and hadn't been able to come. All the better, in retrospect. In their rental car on the way to the airport, Margaret and Alan Eppes were killed in a car accident. Head-on collision with a semi, they were pronounced dead on the scene.

Charlie moved back to Los Angeles. His closest living relative was his brother, and so Don moved off campus and back into his childhood home to take care of Charlie. Genius came with a price, and that often caused Charlie to shut down. Don had to force him to eat, to sleep, to shower every now and then. Between midterms and partying, Don managed to juggle caring for his exceptional brother who simply refused to deal.

After Don graduated, a haunted, gaunt Charlie as witness, he spent another year in L.A., working part time as a bartender. "I'll hang you by your toes if you're up when I get home," he half-jokingly told Charlie every night. Most nights Charlie'd be fine, but some...some nights Don would come home and Charlie would be curled up in Don's bed sobbing his heart out. Don would come and sit beside him, stroking his back and his hair trying to calm him. Charlie almost never registered his presence, but always fell asleep once Don was there.


Trying to piece Charlie back together was a challenge. In a lot more ways than the obvious ones. Who knew that dealing with your unstable traumatized little brother made you fall in love with him?

Don didn't know how it happened, and it took him a couple months before it really dawned on him that that was what happened. He was shocked, disgusted, and clueless. He had no idea what to do with this information.

Charlie had changed since he was a gangly kid in high school. He'd grown up, filled out, and was starting to come around. He was eating on his own, smiling more. And with each day, Don was astonished by him. His strength, his penchant for being simultaneously smug and humble, he was...well, perfect.

Except the whole brother thing. Don had no idea what he was going to do.


Playing in the federal league was a great way for Don to just forget. Baseball had always been his refuge, and he was phenomenal at it. Cleanup hitter in high school with a batting average of .833. He loved it, and he loved it when Charlie came and watched.

He loved it even more when he saw scouts in the stands.

"Eppes, is it?"

Don pulled off his batting gloves, stuffing them in his back pocket. "Yeah, who's asking?" The guy was dressed impeccably, suit, black satin tie, expensive shades.

"I'm a scout for the Texas Rangers. You got a minute?"


Don couldn't take it. He couldn't handle Charlie anymore. Charlie was functioning fine, but Don felt boxed in, caged by his need to help his brother but smothered by his desire for independence. One day, Don sat Charlie down.

"Charlie, I need to talk to you." Charlie looked at him and bit his lip, nodding silently.

"Uh, okay Don. What's, um, what's up?" Charlie sucked in his lip, observing as Don began to chew his gum much slower.

"I'm leaving California, Charlie." His brother blinked, clearly not expecting that.


Don knew this wasn't going to be easy, but he steeled himself. He needed to do this before he welshed, before he completely changed his mind. "I'm going to Stockton. There was a scout the other day at the game, you know the federal league I play in." Don took a breath. "I got picked up by the Rangers." Don gave a half smile, eyes thinking about crinkling but deciding it wasn't worth the effort. Charlie perked up a bit at the explanation.

"The Texas Rangers? As in the American League? Major league?" Charlie was stunned, but felt a swell of pride. Don was a damned good second baseman.

"Yeah, well, it's A ball, not too exciting. Shitty pay, but that's the way it goes." Charlie nodded, and Don gave him a critical eye, waiting for it to sink in. He wasn't disappointed.

"So, you're...you're leaving. Leaving here." Charlie rubbed his brow, glancing down at the floor.

"Well, buddy, it's time for me to move on a bit, you know? Branch out, live the dream." Don shook his head. This wasn't going to be easy. Charlie looked up at him slowly, curls making his face hazy.

"Yeah, live the dream. Sure." Charlie nodded erratically, and Don saw it. In that moment, he saw what he was really doing. He was running away, not dealing. Sure, Charlie's display of "not dealing" was more obvious, but Don's was more destructive.


Don packed his things, moved to Stockton, and started off really well. Charlie, who'd always loved baseball, but especially loved the combination of Don and baseball, followed his progress as best he could. He never really heard from Don, a call maybe every other month that lasted ten minutes and sometimes he'd send Charlie an official score card, but that was the extent of their contact.

Charlie was...adrift. He never actually managed to get past what happened to his parents. It was more like he ignored it so he could function. It worked most of the time. Small things no longer set him off. He'd come a long way from crying at the sight of blueprints or the smell of pancakes, but sometimes his mind would just wander away from him. He needed purpose, something to invest himself in. Academic life no longer seemed good enough. Too much time in his own head, too much time within himself.

Math was seductive, that would never change. Possibilities were whispered in his ear, the unknown suddenly easily attainable. But then he'd recall the way the vector curl that he was working with echoed the spirals in his mother's hair, and he'd shut down. Math wasn't safe any more, and that reality frightened him. He was lost.

When he talked to the Army recruiter and he got his background check, Charlie got a carefully astonished look. "What in the world do you want with the army?"



So, Charlie joined the Army. Basic training was hell. He hadn't even told Don where he was going, what he was doing, just that he too was leaving California. Don took it in stride and offered him a "good luck."

Fort Benning, Georgia. After 10 weeks, one hundred thousand minutes of grueling basic, Charlie moved on to AIT, where he was thrust into cryptography and intelligence. After two years of mastering that, he found himself at the NSA under "special circumstances". He became the agency's top cryptanalyst.


Don hadn't talked to his brother in a year. It might've been three. Something like that. Fugitive recovery was insane. You forget what year it is, let alone that you hadn't spoken to what was left of your family in God knows how long. Cooper knew something was bothering him, but smartly ignored it. Verbally, at least.

It was the anniversary of their parents' death. Coop and he were taking a break for a couple days, cooling off and settling down just enough. Don pulled out his old, tiny address book. He looked at the last number he knew for Charlie, and hoped to God he'd be able to get his little brother. Picking up the motel phone, he dialed the number.


Charlie was excited to see his brother after so long, but was a bit reticent. He wasn't sure if he was beginning to regret not telling Don about going into the military. Charlie was in deep, very fucking deep. He had top security clearance and had worked on so many operations he'd lost track a month into it.

Last Don knew, he was thinking of going into teaching.


"You're in Maryland?" Don had sounded surprised, but Charlie knew he told him that he'd left California.

"Yeah, Maryland." Fort Meade. Not like Charlie was going to be that specific.

"Well, I'm in West Virginia." Hunting a poacher turned robber turned killer. Backwoodsy type. Not like Don was going to be that specific.

"Huh, well. I'm-" on leave "-available in eighteen days."
Charlie was still trying to figure how to drop the bomb on the whole army...thing.

"Oh, ok. I'll probably be able to come by." At least this gave him an excuse to end things with Billy. Professionally and...otherwise.

"Great, I'll uh, e-mail you my address." Charlie swallowed thickly. Right, Don was coming.



"You're what?" Don was shocked. Stunned. Hit with a ton of bricks. His little, college-graduate-at-sixteen dorky brother. Army. He was in the army. Currently.

"Army, Don. I'm in the army." Technically, "Headquarters battalion, Fort Belvoir." Charlie reached over and popped the top on Don's beer, slightly amused at Don's blank expression.

"I...army? Jesus, Charlie. What the hell made you go into the army." Don kept staring, incredulous. Charlie's curls were very short.

Charlie shrugged noncommittally. "I just needed something. I don't know, direction." I needed to forget you, and Mom and Dad, he thought. Cryptography was good for him. It let him get lost in advanced math, and his background made damned sure that that's as far as it went.

Don gave him a calculated look. He still couldn't wrap his head around it. His little brother was in the army. Don scrunched his eyes up and blinked them open, settling back onto the couch. "Wow, Chuck. That's pretty...wow." Charlie grinned. He felt that old sense of pride, he'd impressed Donnie. Funny how after all the years and all the time apart that Don could still reduce him to a six-year-old who wanted to live up to his brother's cool factor. Charlie cleared his throat and chugged down some more Pepsi. Don looked over at him and licked his lips slowly. "So, what's your rank?"

"First Lieutenant. Nothing too exciting. I work in army intelligence, mainly." That was enough information for him. Hopefully. Don nodded his head, taking another sip of his beer.

"Yeah, that's not surprising." Don grinned at him. "I can't get over this. Wow." He shook his head, wistful smile on his face. Damn, his little brother was good.


Don told Charlie all about fugitive recovery, and even some of the stuff from his minor league days. They decided to head to a public gun range. There was finally some activity they both excelled at that they could share in. Of course, Charlie couldn't help that when he shot a gun, how he set himself up and how he fired were determined by mathematics, a trick that gave him an edge in Basic. Nonetheless, the brothers still had a healthy competition, enjoying their time together.

Charlie was surprised to learn Don had never fired an M-16. He tended to forget that the rest of the world wasn't really familiar with standard issue military firearms. He let Don fire the gun, grinning at Don's enthusiasm.

"That was great, Charlie. What a fucking gun." Don's hands were shaking and he was as giddy as a school boy. Charlie ducked his head, smiling ear to ear.

"Ah, that's nothing. Not like the M-4, or an SR-25, though the SR-25 is a lot like an M-16, but depending on intended targets and bullet trajectories..." catching the look on Don's face, he cleared his throat and agreed, "Yeah, it's a pretty awesome piece of machinery."


Charlie had changed. What a fucking understatement. His brother had changed after having been in the army, but somehow managed to be the same in all the ways that counted. He was still his little brother, and it was obvious. He still looked up to him, still did his best to impress him no matter what, a tendency Charlie'd always had.

Of course, him being in the army had some obvious physical changes. He was definitely not a lanky little kid. He was a highly trained weapons specialist with intelligence training, and he had the body to match. During his time away, God, Don had managed to let it all slip to the back of his mind. How he'd fallen in love, how he'd run away. What Don did know was that he wanted to stop running.

Of course, running from what, he wasn't exactly sure.

Over dinner, Don brought it up. "I kind of abandoned you, huh?" Charlie looked up at him mid-chew. He swallowed slowly.

"Yeah, a little. Yeah." Charlie set his sandwich down. He gave Don a pointed look. Don, however, wasn't about to explain. At least not fully.

"I just...I needed to figure myself out. But it was stupid and I'm an ass." He bit his lip, trying not to let it all get to his head. Trying not to think that Charlie had joined the fucking army because he ran off like a wuss, trying not to imagine what brilliant, world-changing things Charlie could've done with his genius. "Buddy, I'm sorry. I wish things had been different for you. I guess I just made it worse." Don chewed on his lip.

Charlie wasn't sure what to say. He fidgeted a moment, ducked his head. "Don...it's...I don't blame you for anything. It was a decision I made. And yeah, okay, you leaving wasn't helpful, but you needed to do what you needed to do." Charlie sighed, reaching his hand over and resting it on Don's thigh. "You couldn't take care of me forever, Donnie."

Don looked like a deer caught in headlights. All of a sudden, he froze. His thoughts came to a screeching halt and his entire focus was on Charlie's hand.

"Don?" Charlie's brows furrowed and he smoothed his hand over Don's thigh. Don swallowed and cleared his throat, regaining a bit of control.

"So, are you looking for a roommate?"


Don called Cooper and had a lengthy talk with him. Cooper was off to look for another partner, and Don appeased their bondsman. What little he did have, he figured he could replace. Most of their important things were with their mother's family or in Charlie's apartment. Don made a smooth transition. Living with Charlie was a lot easier this time around. Of course, Charlie would be off at weird hours of the day, sometimes not even coming to the apartment for a week. When he did, he usually stunk to high heaven and collapsed in his bedroom for a day and a half.
Don, meanwhile, worked nights at a bar down the street. He liked it well enough. Observing the patrons was always interesting. Talking and interacting with the sorts of people who frequented Two Step Bar and Grill gave him a new perspective on plain, raw, life. His life was pretty laid back, and that's the way he liked it. It was a nice break after fugitive recovery. Charlie wouldn't stop teasing him. "How's the big, buff bounty hunter doing this morning?" That was his usual morning greeting. Trying to hide his secret pleasure at Charlie's little nickname, Don would complain about it. He'd fire back something about a military grunt only to be retorted by a pronouncement of rank.

"Blah, blah, blah. You're still a little soldier boy, Chuck," Don would tease, eyes crinkling in line with his boyish grin.

"Hey, I've been involved in plenty of classified operations before." Charlie was pretty vague when Don started to get specific about what he wanted to know. That only really meant one thing; that Charlie was involved in something that would probably make Don nervous. After a while, the novelty wore off and Don pretty much let it go.


Life pretty much followed the same pattern for the brothers Eppes over the next two years. Don was convinced he could bartend blindfolded. He'd had a few flings here and there, nothing major. Most of them Charlie didn't even know about. Don tried to ignore that his type tended to be a bit shorter than him and sport dark curls.

He was used to it by now. Charlie would come home in his fatigues and Don would swallow, wait until his brother collapsed somewhere and jerk off in the shower. He didn't think he'd ever get used to the sight of Charlie in his gear.

And he hadn't even seen him in his dress uniform.

Don shook his head, flipping between a couple games on the T.V. He barely registered when Charlie came in.

"Hey Don." Charlie sat down next to him, smiling. Don looked over at him.

"You're not in your fatigues." Charlie grinned.

"Nope. I got an honorable discharge. My enlistment's up." Charlie kept grinning, and Don's jaw dropped.

"That's great, buddy. Wow." Don clapped him on the shoulder, proud grin plastered on his face. "So, now what?"

"I really don't know. But immediately, dinner."


Redundant. Redundant and frustrating and empty. Don attached these words to himself and his life like an identifying disease. Maybe if he slapped on the label, someone would come along and either fix him or shoot him. Hopefully shoot him.

He wasn't sure why he was unhappy. Well. He didn't know what to do about it. His feelings for Charlie had come back with a vengeance. Charlie was...wow. He was strong, yet still naive. Naive in the sense that he still believed that people weren't as fucked up as they were, but didn't let it cloud his judgment. There was always that silent optimism about him. He didn't have that edge that most ex-army types had, and Don was elated by that fact. Charlie was strong, and beautiful, and brilliant, so fucking brilliant it made Don want to go on forever.

But it was the root of all his problems. Charlie was his brother, and it was eating Don alive. He was completely lost with how to handle it, so he just kept on with his life. Charlie gave him funny looks, looks that said "you have a degree, why are you a bartender?"

Don ignored him.


Six shots of vodka, three beers, and a rum and coke. Possibly in that order. Probably not. Don sure as fuck couldn't remember. All he could remember was something about Charlie and the apartment and Charlie.

Mm, Charlie. With the curls, and the military. And all that sexiness. God. What had he been thinking when he'd moved in. He thought he was in love before?


On top of that, Charlie had a point. He had a degree. And he did fugitive recovery. While that made for interesting stories to tell drunk customers, it also made for a colorful resume. Really though, he was tired of being a bartender, of having a lousy job and lousy pay.

Don was miserable, and his only solution was to get as drunk as possible. Of course, this solution turned into a problem as soon as Charlie walked in.

"'Ello Chuck, wha's goin' on?" Don was slurring, barely intelligibly. In his drunken stupor, he had a plan. A very very bad plan. Charlie raised an eyebrow at him, dropping his messenger bag by the door. "Where ya been, buddy? I got us some nice Coors. Or bod, uh, Bud. Can't 'meber." Don rolled his head back on the couch, looking sideways at Charlie. "Why doncha wear your fatigues anymore? I forget." Charlie blinked, giving Don an odd look. He approached him and wrinkled his nose.

"You're drunk," he stated. Don giggled.

"I know, isn't it great." Don was absurdly smashed. Which was the plan. Charlie being there wasn't even bothering him. Actually, it was kind of turning him on. Just his presence was doing that lately. It could also be that he was drunk. He stumbled up, falling a bit. Charlie held Don up, supporting their weight. Don grinned at him stupidly, eyes unfocused and glazed.

"You," he started, pushing at Charlie's chest, "drive me to distraction." His lips fell onto Charlie's, plunking his arms on top of his shoulders. He hummed drunkenly, poking his tongue out lazily to taste. If he'd been sober, he would've been stunned when he was invited in. He groaned, eyes slipping shut and his beer bottle thudded on the carpet.


The first thing Don noticed when he woke up was the taste of decaying garbage that permeated his mouth. He reached up to rub his mouth when pain exploded from the back of his head. He felt like he'd gotten shrapnel to his temples, and he wasn't entirely sure he remembered how to think properly.

The final thing he noticed was that he was naked. Naked in bed with his naked brother. Still, he pried his eyelids open, grunting at the effort. He looked down and cringed. He was coiled around Charlie's back. His hand rested possessively over his brother's waist as if he actually did belong to Don, and that wasn't just a distant drunken fantasy. Don wasn't sure what to do. He was even less sure when Charlie turned into him and nuzzled the hollow of his throat. Don gasped. Charlie murmured in his sleep.

Don squeezed his eyes shut, blocked out the canon fire between his temples, and fell asleep.


I'm sorry I'm not here, there was some stuff I needed to take care of. We can talk tonight.
You run off and your ass will be sorry.


The note was sitting under a glass of water and two aspirins. Don was grateful for the proximity of the medicine and the water. He wasn't especially grateful for the rest of it. Groaning, he rolled onto his stomach. He never noticed how bad the plaster job was in Charlie's room. He'd never stared dumbly at the wall in Charlie's room for ten minutes straight, so he figured that made sense. He squeezed his eyes shut, opening them and counting the seconds until his sight went from gray to normal.

He lost count at three seconds, but stood up anyway. He sludged to the bathroom. He felt so shitty that he was actually able to stare into the mirror as it fogged up. When had he turned on the shower? Who cared. It was on. And hot, his reddened skin informed him. He poked the bar of soap, watched it fall to the floor and slide down to block the drain. The water clouded up fast. Don stared at it as though it had the answers to life's questions. Like why he'd woken up naked with his brother.

Or more importantly, why didn't his brother hate him?


An hour later, after he'd showered and eaten and felt a tad bit human, he thought he had the answer. Or at least a part of the answer. When Charlie had walked in the door, he stalked over to Don and crushed his brother against him. Don was stunned. He buried his face in Charlie's curls after a moment. Charlie kissed his neck lightly and his grip tightened. He bit his lip when Charlie pulled back. His brows knitted in confusion at the guarded expression on Charlie's face. The younger Eppes swallowed and soothed, "That was for encouragement."

A smile flirted with Don's lips.


They ordered pizza. Pepperoni, of course. It wasn't tense, really. It was more expectant, like Charlie kept expecting Don to talk and Don kept expecting Charlie to talk and when neither occurred they were both disappointed.

"Want a refill?" Don held up the Coke bottle and tilted it towards Charlie's glass. Charlie nodded fervently.

"Yeah, yeah that would-- yeah, thanks." Charlie smiled shyly. He finished the pizza and washed it down with the soda. Don watched him for a moment, just staring. He returned to his pizza with a cryptic expression. They cleaned up the mess, which really meant moving the pizza box to the floor and setting the soda bottle next to it. Don wanted to put up his feet. Charlie sat on the edge of the couch and looked over at Don, who was sitting in their ratty easy chair. His hands were clasped and he licked his lips. "I...I don't know how to start. You know?" Don snorted.

"Yeah, I know buddy. I know." He sighed and toyed with his glass, willing it to turn into scotch. Though last night should've taught him the flaw in that idea. Charlie reached over and took it from his hand. He set it on the table and turned his eyes to Don.

"Don, I'm not upset. I'm not bothered, or disgusted, or anything." He took a deep breath and wiped his palms on his thighs. "I'm relieved. I guess. I think." Don blinked. Relieved? Charlie picked up on his confusion. "I'm not the only one doing the wanting around here, Donnie." It was a whisper, but it was enough.

"Charlie..." Don flushed and half-heartedly shrugged. Nonchalance always looked good on him. When Charlie stood up, Don watched him. He was very interested in what he was doing. Charlie stood over him and Don watched his brother's body meld into old army habits. He gulped, thigh twitching. Charlie bent over slowly, like a cat. He hovered above Don, hands on either side of his head.

"I'm going to make this very clear, and I'm only explaining this once. I want you. I want to fuck you, I want to be fucked by you. I want to make love until six in the morning and then do it all over again the next day. This isn't some bullshit thing. It's real, and it's all I've got. And if you can deal with it, then fucking well jump feet first into the whole damn mess with me and we'll be okay." Charlie took in a breath, expression cracking for the first time since he opened his mouth. "If, ah, if you want that like I do. That is." Charlie glanced down. Don just stared stupidly. Shaking his head, he reached up and clamped his hand against Charlie's jaw. His thumb melded against Charlie's cheekbone.

"Oh, hell yes, army kid." He yanked Charlie forward. Their lips clashed, hands grasped, and all they seemed to be doing was trying to get in each other's skin. Charlie'd managed to straddle Don in the cramped space. Don had immediately circled his arms around his brother's waist and dipped his hands into Charlie's back pockets. Teeth nipped, tongues chased, and moans bounced against the walls. All it meant was that Charlie ground down, throwing his head back. Don watched in wonderment. God, he was so damned sexy. The line of his throat was just asking to be sucked, to be marked.

"Fuck, Don," he panted. His lips were swollen. And bleeding just a bit. Don grinned, grinding against his brother's thigh.

"That's the eventual idea," he grunted. Don glanced his hand down Charlie's neck. For at least five minutes, that was Don's favorite part of Charlie's anatomy. That was bound to change. Charlie slowly turned his head down. His lids were heavy, his voice dripping with heat and lust and everything Don expected from a military man who embodied exactly the kind of pure, unadulterated sex Don yearned for.

"Is it?" Charlie was like a cat, an agile cat that pulled him to his feet and crushed his mouth against his to within an inch of his life. Charlie clutched his bicep between his fingers and thumb. His grip bruised. Don kinda liked it. Charlie walked them back, lips still smoldering against Don's. He was crafty, crafty enough to get Don's shirt off just as he got to the point when he forgot shirts even existed. Charlie's shirt was off too, and it was sweet contact. Don groaned, head falling back because his spine just didn't feel like holding it up anymore. Neither did his knees, so he crouched down, licking and kissing Charlie's chest and abs as he went. His hands framed his well taken care of body on the way. Don began to unbutton Charlie's jeans and felt Charlie's hand rest on his shoulder. He glanced up warily at Charlie, just for a moment. Charlie smiled and nodded. He played with Don's spikes and sunk his hand into his hair. He gripped just enough to let Don know it was okay.

Don licked his lips and pulled in a steady breath. His tongue peeked out and agonized its way up the side of Charlie's cock and to the top of his thigh. "Oh, oh God." Charlie's hand flexed. He curled his toes and breathed. Worked on remembering to do that. Don sucked Charlie into his mouth. He worked Charlie's cock in as far as he could, humming mostly. Sucking here and there, experimenting. Sure, he'd given blow jobs before. But never to Charlie. He loved gauging the moans, the tugs. The breaths. He cataloged what his lover liked, and moved on to a different technique.

Don grinned and stopped teasing. He pulled back and looked up at Charlie. Charlie's mouth was parted. His eyes were sliding shut. Not quite closed. Don didn't like that. He wanted to see them squeezed tight in orgasm, and wanted to hear his name screamed in ecstasy. He returned to Charlie's cock with vigor. He knew exactly what to do to make him come as hard and as fast as he could. Nip at the ridge just enough, suck hard and after the "Oh fuck, fuck," start humming. Charlie shouted, "Don, fuck!" He exploded against the back of Don's throat and through the haze of orgasm dragged Don up. Charlie shoved his tongue inside Don's mouth, shuddering and shoving at Don's chest. When Don landed on the bed, Charlie was quick to follow. He pinned Don's arms above his head.

"Jesus Christ, Don. Star in some porn films I need to jerk off to?" Don laughed heartily. Charlie joined him, kissing the middle of his chest. He let Don's wrists free, letting his hands wander.

"Not that I know of, but feel free to let me know if you find any," Don countered back lightly. He took Charlie's hand and kissed his palm. Charlie raised his eyebrows, reading the gesture for what it was. "Only you, Charlie." Charlie studied Don's expression, smile spreading slowly across his face. He ran his hand down Don's chest, stopping above his heart.

"Don't you know it."


Don effectively moved into Charlie's bedroom. They kept the spare comforter on the couch and the stack of pillows in the corner. Mostly for looks. Not like anyone ever stopped by.

Don, of course, stopped his string of women. And men. He was so much happier. He stopped dreading waking up. When Charlie was in bed with him in the mornings, it was unbelievable. He always broke out into a disarming smile, waking Charlie with a kiss, or a blow job. Depended on his mood.

Don started to notice things more. Like Charlie's activities. He left at the most random times, always with his messenger bag. When Don started fishing around, he was shut down immediately. "Don't. You're not going to get anywhere. So don't even try." Don raised his eyebrows when Charlie's dangerous tone manifested in his body language. It was the army body language, so Don knew to trust it and he let it go.


The NSA was pretty intense. Not that Charlie had any problem with intense, or with pressure. But it was starting to wear on him. It was the equivalent of a boring nine-to-five that you had to keep to yourself. Nothing challenged him. Nothing was new. He was getting restless, and beginning to wonder why he chose not to go into academia.

But really, it was best not to think about it.

Charlie packed up his bag. He was more than ready to go home after today. He shook his head and tried to ignore the voice in his head that kept berating him. He shoved his laptop in his bag and glanced up. "Oh, hey Macy." She was a fellow cryptanalyst he'd gotten to know.

"Hello, Charlie. I have that cellular automaton you asked me to set up for you." She handed him a file, smoothing back her overly highlighted hair.

"Oh, thanks. Thank you. That's very helpful." He beamed at her. Shoved that into his bag, slung it over his shoulder. She followed behind him, walking to the parking lot as well. They stepped into the elevator together and she looked over at him.

"So, how's everything going? How's your brother?" She smiled. Again.

"Don's, uh, Don's fine. Good." Charlie cleared his throat and thumbed the strap on his bag.

"Still bar tending?" Macy raised her eyebrows over her black-rimmed glasses.

"Yep." Charlie noted her expression. Her 'nice try but I know something's going on' expression. "He's unhappy. I can tell. He's frustrated." Macy nodded, looking forward again.

"Is he looking for a new job?" Charlie sighed in response.

"Honestly, I have no idea." The elevator doors pinged open and they stepped out, Charlie letting Macy exit first.

"Well, you said he was in fugitive recovery for a while, right? Does he miss the job?" Macy fidgeted with her purse.

"I don't know. Maybe? That would explain his restlessness." Of course, Charlie liked to think that the amazing sex is what kept him from jumping up and returning to fugitive recovery. Charlie coughed.

"You should talk to him." Charlie groaned. Macy tossed him a long suffering look. "If you think he's tired of his job, and not doing anything about it, confront him." She was probably right.


That night, Charlie tried to determine when would be a right time to bring it up. Whatever it was. He was pretty sure bringing it up was worth potentially sacrificing mind-blowing sex, if only for the time being. He was also pretty sure he didn't want to take the risk. He sucked in a breath.
"So, how are things at Two Step?"


"Your bar. You know, where you work." Charlie gave him an off look.

"Oh. Yeah, it's going okay. We keep hearing rumors about new ownership, but there's no way in hell Danny's giving up the place." Don sipped at his Coors. Charlie worked his jaw back and forth absentmindedly. Debating.

Don looked over at him over his beer and smiled around the bottle. Charlie gulped.

Charlie caved.


Don slammed Charlie against the bedroom wall. Well, the bedroom door. Don was pretty sure it was the door. He really didn't care though. His lips were rough against Charlie's smooth ones, tongue thrusting in and out wildly. He couldn't get enough of his little brother tonight. Charlie moaned, Don unbuttoned, and before long they were sprawled over each other on the bed. Charlie rolled Don over and hovered above him. He acquired a calculated look and pinned Don's hands over his head. Don grinned.

"Got something in mind?" Don rotated his hips slowly. A gasp, a moan, and Charlie's expression was glazed over in lust.

"As a matter of fact, I do," Charlie managed around a breathy hush. When Don's hips rotated again, Charlie ground down sensually.

"Oh, God, fuck." Don was certain his downstairs neighbors heard that. He was also certain they assumed he brought home some girl.

Hah. Some girl. Don leaned up and licked, loving the reaction. Charlie shuddered. Don loved fucking up his rhythm. Don pretty much loved anything involving Charlie and the word fucking.

"Don, I need, God, fuck me please." Don loved it when Charlie read his mind. He kissed up Charlie's neck which turned Charlie into a stuttering, shuddering mess. A mess that flopped onto his back and pulled Don against him. Don slid down Charlie's body, slow. Slow and insane. It was a purposeful kind of seduction, tossing up heated glances and Don found new ways to drive Charlie wild.

Once Don had him just where he wanted him, he smoothed his hand across Charlie's stomach. Charlie felt Don's fingers splayed over his hip, and smiled softly. Instantly the room's energy morphed from electric to warm and safe, everything that was just right. Don licked his lips. Their fingers twined together above Charlie's head. It was perfect, slow and steady and it was all the communication they ever needed, ever wanted. Charlie's eyelids fluttered, and Don knew it meant he needed to pick up his pace. Steady became "harder, faster", wordless pleas and staccato breaths.

Charlie's fingers clutched against Don's upper arms, whispered, "Donnie."

Don's thrusts, erratic, "Fuck, Charlie."


Sweaty was a good look on Don. A very good look. Charlie wanted to lick the bead of sweat that had accumulated in the hollow of his brother's throat.

Of course, that required moving.

"You make me lazy," he mumbled into Don's shoulder. He licked the nearest patch of skin. Don shivered and kissed Charlie's curls.

"Mmhm, and how's that?" Don's eyes crinkled, his lips twisted up.

"You just. Do." Charlie figured he could exert the energy required to tilt his head up three and a quarter inches to kiss the base of Don's neck. Maybe even travel the same distance upwards to Don's earlobe. Don moaned.

Yeah, definitely worth it. Never mind that Charlie was stalling. He cleared his throat. Ran his hand down Don's thigh.

Stalling again.

Charlie sat up against the headboard, rearranged the sheet. Don, who'd wound up in a centerfold pose when Charlie had moved, looked at Charlie with a dazed expression. "I...are you happy? With your job, I mean," Charlie blurted. The blurting was due in part to Don's I-just-had-mind-blowing-sex pose.

Don furrowed his eyebrows. "Well, it's a living." Don reached his hand over and stroked his thumb over Charlie's hip bone. "What brought this on?" Blurting random questions was a signal that Charlie'd been mulling over something for a while.

"I don't know, really." That was honest enough. Charlie placed his hand over Don's. Considered kissing his palm, maybe sucking on a few fingers.

Don gave him a pointed look.

"I...Don, you have a degree. You played minor league baseball. I just don't want you to settle." Charlie watched Don intently when he moved and straddled his younger brother. Don kissed his forehead, his cheekbone, his nose, his chin. Oh God, was Don saying something?

"...but don't worry about me, okay? I'll be fine." Charlie groaned, Don sucked on his ear lobe, and Charlie decided he got his point across well enough.


Don sucked up his pride. He bought the local newspaper. Took it home, spread it out over the coffee table. Cleared his throat when he remembered fucking Charlie's brains out on it the night before. He snatched up a red colored pencil and pulled out the classifieds.

He hated that Charlie was right. He also loved that he was. Don stuck the end of the pencil in his mouth, chewed a bit. Circled a few things here and there.

It wasn't that he felt useless. Don just didn't feel as useful as he could be. He'd gotten a pre-law degree at UCLA, played solid ball for a minor league team, went into fugitive recovery and was damn good at it. Being away from Charlie ate at him, frustration with Cooper and his lifestyle had gotten old fast.

Now he was bar tending, and that was all he was doing. It had been a break, something to cool himself off with professionally. But after years of it, he'd had his fill. He needed to find something, he just wasn't sure what.


"Thanks for having me, boys. Who knew Charlie was such a good cook?" Macy grinned over her glass of wine. Don shot Charlie an amused look.

"Hey, a guy's gotta have skills," Charlie answered with a matching grin.

"Yeah, Charlie, you've got skills coming out of your ears," Don added. He stood up, gathered their dishes from the coffee table and floor. "Among other places." Macy snickered when all Charlie responded with were narrowed eyes.

When Don had returned from the kitchen with beers for he and Charlie, Macy cleared her throat. "So, you guys, there's something I've been meaning to tell you. Well, I mentioned to Charlie the other day kinda. I wasn't very clear though." Don and Charlie stared at her. She thinned her lips and rubbed her hands together. "The FBI's had a few openings, and I applied. They, um, they accepted me." Charlie's jaw dropped open. Don's eyebrows shot up.

"Wow, Macy, that's pretty awesome, congratulations!" Don was the first to respond, standing up and giving her a hug. She smiled at him and accepted a matching hug from Charlie.

"Thanks, Don. I appreciate it." She promised to keep in touch, and they sent her home with two kisses on the cheek and the rest of the Merlot.

Don and Charlie had sex on the kitchen floor.


They helped Macy pack two weeks later. Her trip would be short, but it was a trip nonetheless. They opted to go out for dinner, a small Chinese place. Shitty dumplings, but their crab rangoon were decent. They ordered two dozen of them and drank about a gallon of tea.

"You've got some rangoon on you, Chuck." They were walking back to the car after dusk. Charlie narrowed his eyes and looked down, momentarily confused at seeing nothing, then fwack. Don flicked his finger against Charlie's throat. "Nice one, buddy." Charlie shot his head up and glared, which just made Don laugh. Charlie's glare faltered; he loved Don's laugh. "You're so easy," he said, voice suddenly low. Charlie glanced around quickly, not surprised that no one was around. Don was walking backwards the last few yards to the car, so Charlie inched in. Ran his finger beneath Don's lapel.

"Maybe you just like easy," Charlie dropped his head, looked up at Don from beneath his eyelashes. The flicker in Don's eyes was momentary, but enough.

"Maybe I do, but what does that say, huh?" Don grabbed Charlie's finger, wondering how it'd found it's way around one of his belt loops. Charlie had a thing for belt loops. He licked his lips slowly, tugged Charlie's hand up. Don guided Charlie's thumb across his bottom lip. When a groan slipped from between Charlie's lips, Don figured it was a good time to kiss him breathless.

"If I'm easy, and you like easy, then the obvious progression is that you like me, which I'm okay with." Charlie actually was breathless, something that was rare if only because Charlie could outrun a cheetah. Don turned them around, backed Charlie against the car.

"Just 'okay'? Obviously I'm doing something wrong." Don leaned in closed, nicked the skin at the base of Charlie's neck. Charlie gasped, Don smirked, and all was well in the Eppes brothers' world.


Working at the NSA was a lot harder to do without Macy. He hadn't really realized how much a part of his life she was. They collaborated constantly, between them and their separate set of skills they put out some of the best and most critical work in the agency. He missed her, and with her went any enjoyment he got out of his job.

Charlie thought it was probably time for something new. He asked around, read some of the military bulletins and the FBI's law enforcement bulletin, but nothing jumped out at him. He desperately wanted to talk to Don about it, but had no clue how to go about bringing up the NSA without actually talking about the NSA.

For starters, he thought he'd make Don a nice dinner for a change. Don was off on a Friday night and something special was in order. He stopped at the butcher's, dropping more cash than he should've on a few nice New York strip steaks. He got home and got Don's voicemail about being out for a bit. Perfect.

Charlie loved to cook. He didn't do a whole lot of it, and wasn't as good at it as he could be, but he enjoyed it. It was nice to have someone to cook for. He got lost in it, lost track of where he was and what was going on. He was washing the broccoli when a pair of arms drifted around his waist and a chin rested on his shoulder.

"Hey," Don whispered, kissing his neck. Charlie smiled, leaning his head back a fraction.

"Hey brother," Charlie planted a chaste kiss on Don's lips. Hopefully he'd like the food. Really though, it was Don. He'd eat anything.

"What're you making?" Don glanced around the kitchen, eying the steaks. He shot Charlie a surprised look.

"Just some steak. And cheese and broccoli." Don slid his hands away, taking a seat on a bar stool. He loved cheese and broccoli.

Charlie hated it. Don drummed his fingers on the counter top. "Uh-huh."

Charlie looked up, stared at Don. Don stared right back.

"There's, I." Charlie scratched his head. Took a breath. "I'm miserable at my job."

"Miserable bad, or miserable...the other bad." Don reached over and smudged away the very distracting glob of cheese at the corner of Charlie's mouth. Don sat back. Wait a minute, "Since when did you have a job?"

Charlie blinked. "Uh, since forever. Where have you been, where do you think I go all the time?"

"How should I know, I don't wake up 'til three. And by the time I'm actually awake, you're home. And then we're back in bed, so..." Don trailed off suggestively. Charlie gave him a hard look.

"I'm bored. At work. And I don't know what to do." Charlie turned to the stove and stirred the cheese. Don stood and leaned against the doorjamb by the stove, arms crossed. Charlie saw the movement out of the corner of his eye, chose not to look. Looking would be dangerous.

"Look for a new job?"

"It's not as easy as that." Charlie thinned his lips. "It's a highly specialized...thing. I can't just find someone looking for my skills in the paper, Donnie." Don sighed, rested his hand on Charlie's hip. He meandered into his personal space and pressed a kiss to the little spot behind Charlie's ear.

"You'll figure it out."


"So, aside from the stuff with Mark, how's everything else?" Charlie was so elated to hear from Macy. She'd been gone for two weeks.

"Well, training is going really well. I'm learning a lot, even if some of it is a tad...tedious." Charlie could hear her grin through the phone. He smirked.

"Of course. Not the physical stuff though, I imagine you're still in shape."

"Yep, still in shape. It's mostly some of the investigation techniques, the time in the classroom."

"Ah, ok." There was a lull in the conversation, and Charlie's mind wandered. Back to his occupational dilemma. Back to not being able to talk to Don about it because of all the NSA stuff.

All the NSA stuff. Charlie blinked. Of course.

"Hey, Macy. I've been having an, an issue?"


"I'm looking for a new job. I think."

"You are, are you?"

"Yeah, I'm just. I don't know. Too mundane. Too much time in my, in my headspace."

Macy sucked in a breath. She'd had glimmers of Charlie's issues with his past, and she'd had more-than-glimmers of his brilliance, and she knew what he could've done with it but chose not to. "The FBI's looking to train special agents with a background in intelligence. And military." She smiled, unseen. "Just a thought."


Charlie hung up the phone. He'd promised Macy he'd say hello to Don for her.

It had been good to hear from her. And from her ideas.

He pulled out his laptop, brought up the FBI web page. Drumming his fingers against the table, against his thigh.

What did he have to lose? He typed away and had no idea how much time had passed by the time Don leaned over his shoulder and asked what he was doing.

"I'm looking for a new job." Don settled next to him on the couch, beer in hand.

"Uh-huh. Looks more like you found one, buddy." Charlie loved how Don could still call him that while he ran his hand from Charlie's knee to his thigh.

"Well, I'm applying." Charlie swallowed. Don's hand soothed over his hip. Charlie watched Don take a long pull of Heineken from the bottle. He wanted to lick long and slow up the side of that neck. "To the FBI. Um, Macy suggested it." Don choked.

"What? Charlie, that's insane." Don blinked, got up. Wandered into the kitchen, got two more beers. Tossed one to Charlie.



They loaded up the U-Haul themselves. No way could they afford movers. Really though, Quantico wasn't very far from Fort Meade. Macy said they could stay with her until Charlie was settled into the bureau and Don had found a job, which knowing the two of them meant it wouldn't be long.

The lack of sex also proved to be incentive. Charlie breezed through the seventeen week instruction period. His PT exams were all met with someone who had a background in military tactics, and he was quick to pick up on things, and even to improve. He'd always been second best sniper in the battalion, but the instructors at Quantico helped him hone those skills to perfection. Macy and Don were there when he graduated, as proud as a brother/lover and a best friend could get.


Don was back to looking for a job. That was the cover story. Really, he was contemplating some kind of...career. He didn't want to follow the Eppes bandwagon, but FBI. Good idea.

He had the credentials. He didn't want to go to law school. Nor did he want to get back into fugitive recovery where you didn't talk to your brother for months and months and suddenly he's a full grown G.I. The job appealed to him, and that was that. He confronted Charlie about it. Charlie grinned, threw himself at Don, and Don assumed the celebratory blow job was his brother's way of saying "fuck yes" to the notion.

Running a mile a day, followed by a few dozen push ups (Don always lost count somewhere around 32, but Charlie always told him when it was enough) and doubling that after a month, then doubling it again got him in shape.

Sex twice a day was the perfect test of the "get-Don-in-shape" program.


Don loved training at the academy. After three days, he fell in love with the job, and he knew he'd be doing it for a long time to come.

That is, when he didn't feel like screaming back at his instructors, butchering Charlie, or kicking himself repeatedly for coming up with the idea to follow in Charlie's footsteps.

Nonetheless, he graduated the academy with a satisfied smile and two weeks break before he'd be posted somewhere. Charlie and Macy were both at the ceremony, of course, and Charlie insisted they all go out for dinner.

"Who would've thought, huh? The three of us, FBI agents." Charlie grinned, grabbed a piece of bread and began stuffing it in his mouth. Don smirked back, sipping his water.

"Yeah, pretty insane," Don agreed. All Don could think about was how much he wanted to throw Charlie down on the table and do things to him that a brother really shouldn't want to do.

Macy smiled, picking at her salad. "I guess I'm just the government's trendsetter," she commented, garnering a snort from Charlie and a twinkle-eyed grin from Don.


Somehow, Don resisted the urge to pull Charlie into the bathroom and time one of his unbelievable blow jobs. Instead he fumbled with the keys and shoved Charlie against the wall. He kicked the door behind him and shed his coat, gripping at Charlie's lapels and smashing their lips together. Charlie thudded against the wall and gave as good and as reckless as he got. He coiled his leg around Don's, clutching at his brothers shoulders, his hair. Don's hands grasped his hips and down to his thighs, up to his forearms. A tiny growl made its way past Charlie's lips. Flurry of movement, and Don was against the wall. Charlie sucked and nipped across Don's throat aimlessly, wanting more more more.

"God, Charlie, getting enough?" Don's hoarse voice reflected his ravished body. Charlie looked up sharply, lashes lowered, grin spreading slowly. Breath hot against Don's ear.



Agent Fullerton, an FBI instructor at Quantico, was selected to become special agent in charge of the New Haven office in Connecticut. He was so impressed with Macy's background and her performance at the FBI he requested she be transferred along with him.

Don and Charlie helped her move, again. During the tail end of her training, and throughout theirs, the three of them had spent more time together, professionally and socially, than they had anticipated. They all clicked on accident and found the idea of getting split up disconcerting.

The brothers waved at her as she drove away in her U-haul. Again.


The Bureau wanted to see what kind of team siblings made. Don and Charlie were both transferred to Norfolk. They settled in, setting up a routine. Due to their backgrounds and how Charlie was raised, no one thought twice about them still living together.

Except Charlie.

"Donnie, I'm not saying I don't want this. I'm just not sure we can have it."

"Where did this come from? You haven't had any issues before."

"Things change, and I'm not--"

"You're not backing out on me, dammit." Charlie against the wall, Don's eyes on fire. Not without a fight.

"No." Tilted chin, not invitation. Holding his ground. Hazy defiance. Don crashed into Charlie. Lips and tongue and teeth a mess, but the message was loud and clear.


Case after case, Don and Charlie and the rest of their team worked together. Some got solved, but most got lost in the maze of bureaucracy and cold cases. They tried not to beat their heads against the wall, and usually managed.

No one had any idea.

The only thing Charlie did in his spare time was research, find out new things and explore what he could. It was a glimpse of the life he could've had. Professionally, Charlie worked off his knowledge of cyphers and combinatorics. Utilized that knowledge and came up with some new processes, new lines of thinking. Combined with Don's sharp analytic mind and quick thinking, they effectively began to increase their success rate.

Charlie grew less and less worried over time. Arguments and rifts that got resolved and patched up strengthened them. Ensured they could withstand whatever was thrown at them, come hell or high water.

Or, come Los Angeles.

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