Frictionless
by Julad

Numb3rs, Don/Charlie (incest warning)
1100 words

Thanks to Kaneko, Dira and Terri for the last-possible-minute beta, and Madelyn and her helpers for organising the project! :)



It was inevitable that when Alan moved out, Don would move in. After Don moved in, some other things were inevitable too. 

It wasn't that Don was resisting it. He wasn't. That would be stupid, because if he was resisting it, that would mean there was something to resist. 

There was nothing to resist.

And so when Charlie brushed his palm across Don's waist, Don didn't resist it. When Charlie rested his forehead between Don's shoulder-blades as Don washed up, he didn't resist it. The coy tilt in the corner of Charlie's mouth was perfectly unobjectionable to Don, as was the glint in the corner of his eyes. When Charlie leaned into Don's chest and inhaled deeply against his collarbone, the movement was entirely frictionless. 

He enjoyed living in the house. The furniture was eclectic, new and old, and they put familiar items in unfamiliar places just to see how different it made them. He spent less time at work and more time cooking dinner for the excuse to invite everyone over. They replaced the crumbling moldings downstairs and the carpet upstairs. He cleaned out the koi pond, a herculean labour, and maybe he suspected (or maybe he didn't) that he'd done it just for the chance to turn the hose on Charlie and see him glittering in the sun, laughing.

Of course, Charlie also left dirty plates under the couch and papers on the stove and clothes on the dining room table. Charlie assumed that every interesting problem he saw belonged to him (no matter who might mistakenly believe otherwise), and that problems which were not interesting (like mowing the lawn, for example, or dusting) belonged to people who were not Charlie. Charlie theoretically knew that the world did not revolve around whatever was scribbled on his blackboards, but it sometimes took the intervention of Larry and an astrophysics textbook to make him really understand it. Don had days when he thought his father might have had reasons other than 'embracing this new phase in life' for moving out.

Charlie also behaved irrationally about things like Don not telling Charlie everywhere he was going and Don not letting Charlie do whatever he was doing and Don not taking it well when he had to look for everything he owned in Charlie's bedroom. Charlie had always been irrational about those things, but Don hadn't lived with his brother for twenty years. It hadn't occurred to him that having his own territory had protected him from it, and he was on Charlie's territory now. Still, he'd grown a lot in the intervening two decades, and Charlie had at least come a long way, so it only took two shouting matches and one broken CD player before they worked out a system. Charlie could be a pain in the ass on days of the month that were prime numbers, and Charlie had to respect Don's boundaries on dates that were composite. Charlie always knew, like he knew his own name, whether the date was prime or composite. Don never knew, but from then on he figured that if Charlie was bugging him, the date must be prime, so he let it happen.

Don had cases which ended with three arrests and the entire living room covered in blue, purple, red, orange, yellow and green stickers that wouldn't come off. There were cases where all Don did was keep the data coming, and fetch more coffee while Charlie and Larry and Amita snatched sleep in armchairs. He had weeks when he only saw Charlie in passing; weeks when he rarely made it home even to sleep. 

He learned about axiomatic sets and string theory and swarm intelligence. He called Charlie from highways and airports to hear him talk. He turned down drinks with gorgeous visiting agents because he just wanted to spend his evening at home. He didn't really think about it having anything to do with how Charlie would touch two fingers just below Don's ribcage when he came through the front door; he just knew he had somewhere he'd rather be.

Eventually, inevitably, chalky fingers hooked into the waistband of his pants and drew him close. When Charlie's mouth opened under his, it was soft. If Don was thinking anything, it was that he was grateful to get such a clear signal. It meant he could finally slide his hands into Charlie's hair until it tangled and caught, and maneuver him backwards onto the couch until they were on it, and slide his whole body against Charlie's, and it was perfectly smooth. When they got upstairs, he knew that it would be his bedroom, and he might have even suspected that he'd bought his new bed for the two of them.

He already knew Charlie, and if he'd thought about it (and maybe he had), he'd have known how this would be. Fierce, comfortable, passionate, warm, greedy, exhilarating, easy, taut, real, possessive, right. They'd been this way forever, even if they hadn't been like this. With Charlie's forearm on his stomach, Charlie's hair against his cheekbones, sleep felt like home.

In the morning, when Don looked into the mirror, some part of his mind was a little concerned about what exactly it was he thought he was doing. His reflection looked back at him, unworried. His bones ached less, today, and his jaw felt lighter. There seemed to be fewer lines around his eyes. His skin looked somehow fresh. He turned away from the mirror and stretched until the old tightness in his shoulders was gone entirely, and turned on the shower, humming. 

Charlie had made eggs when he got down to the kitchen, and stole a little kiss as he handed Don a plate. Charlie's lips were a little rougher. The eggs looked good. Morning light flooded through the windows. He took a seat at the table next to Charlie and started eating.

There were a lot of things he needed to think about, but he didn't need to think about them yet. He'd not-thought about it for this long, and everything seemed fine. The only difference was, this morning he felt with a new clarity that the rest of it didn't even matter. Why else did he move in, if not for this?

Charlie had gotten up to fetch coffee, but when he sat down again, he didn't resume eating. "Don," he said, and then paused, like he had to formulate the words into the correct expression. "We're okay, right?"

"Yeah," Don said, and on impulse, leaned into Charlie's chest and inhaled deeply against his collarbone. "We're good."


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