Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, have no claim on either Numb3rs or Stargate SG-1. They belong to their respective creators.
“I can’t just leave, you know that!” Professor Charles Eppes huffed as he threw his arms in the air and stalked over to the chalkboard and the equation on it. He picked up a piece of chalk and wrote in a few numbers before noticing the silence behind him. He turned and glared at the blonde haired, blue eyed, Air Force Colonel sitting behind his desk. “Was there something else?” The question was innocent enough but the look of pure frustration etched on his youthful face eluded that it was anything but.
“Oh? And why can’t you leave this time, Charlie?” Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter asked as if she hadn’t heard his last question. One pale eyebrow was raised in expectation.
Charlie turned back to the chalkboard and sighed. “Because I have a life here
, Sam.” He said in a whisper as if he was trying to convince himself more than her.
Sam snorted, a habit she picked up from her former Commanding Officer, the now, Brigadier General, Jack O’Neill. “I can see that.” She said, dryly, sarcastically, as she looked around the messy office. After finishing her survey, she leaned forward, resting her arms on the equally messy desk. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, Charlie. It’s not everyday a civilian gets invited to join the program.”
“You said that the last three times you’ve been here. And are you forgetting that I have
consulted with you on more than one occasion without
moving to Colorado?” Charlie turned away from chalkboard and back to Sam. “I’m perfectly happy here.” He said this with more confidence.
“This is different.” Sam tried to stress but knew she was getting nowhere with the young math genius. She sighed and rubbed her temples. “Why must you be so stubborn?” She groused.
“Because being stubborn is an Eppes family trait.” Agent Don Eppes said as he stepped into the office. He had been surprised to see an Air Force Officer talking to his brother but knew better than to ask him about it. “Agent Don Eppes.” He stopped at the desk and offered his hand, a small smile playing on his lips.
Sam stiffened at the intrusion but relaxed when the newcomer introduced himself. “Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, United States Air Force.” She said as she took his hand and shook it. “Agent Eppes? Any relation to the Professor here?” She questioned, curious.
Don released her hand and chuckled. “Yup, Chuck here is my little brother. Right, buddy?” He glanced over at his curly haired sibling, mischief dancing in his eyes.
Charlie groaned and rolled his eyes. “Why do you insist upon calling me that when you know
I hate it?” He crossed his arms over his chest and waited for an answer.
Raising an eyebrow, Don tilted his head to the side as if to say ‘you answered your own question.’
Fascinated, Sam watched the banter between the two siblings. It was clear that they had a bond between them. A bond that she lacked with her own brother. “Did you need something, Agent?” She really wanted to get back to her discussion with Charlie.
Don’s easy smile faded slightly as he thought to why he was there in his brothers office to begin with. “Actually, I’m here for Charlie’s help.” He turned serious eyes on his brother and handed him a folder that was tucked under his arm. “Here’s the information you asked for.”
“Thanks!” Charlie eagerly took the folder and flipped it open before moving back to the chalkboard and the equation on it. Glancing at the numbers on the single paper contained within the folder, he began to write. “Are you sure this is everything?” He asked without looking away from his work.
“Yeah, I had Megan and Colby go over everything twice. Why? Is something wrong?” Don moved away from the desk and came to rest beside his brother at the chalkboard.
Charlie shook his head and continued to fill numbers into their proper places. Within seconds he had a solution. He stared at the board a moment longer before turning his head to look at his brother. “There’s too much information here, Don.” He said quietly, remembering another case where he said the same thing. “Are you sure the father had nothing to do with his sons kidnapping?”
Don was silent for a moment. “Damn!” He pulled out his cellphone, flipped it open, and punched in Megan’s number. Within seconds he was talking to the only female Agent on his team. “It me. Send Colby and David to pick up Thomas. Yeah, that’s right, the boys father.” He closed his phone with a snap then patted his brother on the back. “I thought there was something fishy about him. Good job.” He started for the door but stopped before exiting. “Pizza tonight?” He threw over his shoulder.
“Pizza sounds great.” Charlie smiled and watched as his brother disappeared out the door. He turned his attention back to Sam, having forgot she was even there. “Sorry about that.” He tossed the folder onto his already jammed desk then flopped into a nearby chair.
Sam eyed the young mathematician. “You consult for the FBI?”
Charlie shrugged and leaned his head back against the chair’s back. “I consult for a lot of government agencies, why?”
“The case you’re working with your brother, what’s it about?” Sam really wanted to know.
“Kidnapping.” Charlie answered after a moment hesitation. “Look, Sam, the offer is amazing but I just can’t accept.”
Sam really wanted to argue but after seeing Charlie interact with his brother, she knew she was preaching to the wrong choir. “I understand.” And she did. “But that doesn’t mean I have to stop trying, does it?” She stood and brushed the wrinkles out of her navy blue skirt.
Charlie chuckled. “Nope. Maybe someday you’ll get lucky and I’ll accept.” His words were teasing but had an underlying seriousness to them.
“That’ll be the day.” Sam said with a genuine smile. “How am I going to break the news to Daniel?” She asked as she headed to the door with him at her side.
“I suspect you’ll find a way.” Charlie answered as he walked with her out of the building and towards her black SUV. “How’s little JC doing.” He asked once they reached her SUV.
Sam groaned. “Growing like a weed. You’re going to be at his birthday party, right? I’ll never hear the end of it if your not.” She warned.
Charlie shook his head. “I tried to warn you that two genius’ having a baby was a bad idea. But did you listen to me?”
“You sound like Jack.” Sam grumped as she pulled the door open and slid into the leather seat. “He still thinks his namesake is really a thirty year old munchkin instead of a three year old toddler.”
“He adores JC and you know it.” Charlie said with a small, fond, smile. “And yes, I’ll be at his birthday party. It’s not everyday my Godson turns four, now is it? Just think, little Jack Charles will soon be twelve and heading off to college.” He teased
Sam smiled and pulled the door shut while rolling down the window. “He’ll be thrilled and so will Daniel. He misses you.” She told him, truthfully, knowing that her husband would kill her if he ever found out that she had told Charlie that. “Twelve?” She asked, skeptically. “I don’t know about that.”
Charlie sighed. “I miss him too. Tell him to stop by if he’s ever in the area. Dad would be thrilled to see him.”
“I’ll tell him.” Sam reached out the window and patted his arm. “Why don’t you bring your father and brother to JC’s birthday party? It would be the perfect time for them to catch up.”
“I’ll ask them but Dad is busy with Millie and Don is always working.” Charlie tilted his head to the side. “Dad’s going to freak when he finds out he’s a grandpa...sort of. I guess foster grandpa would be the correct term.”
Sam rolled her eyes and pulled out of the Cal-Sci parking lot. She couldn’t wait to get back to Colorado so she could tell Daniel the good news. On a whim she fished out her cellphone. “Hey Mark, it’s me. No, nothings wrong. Do I have to have a reason to call my brother other than to say hi?” Her failure in recruiting Charlie, for the fourth time, was forgotten as she thought about home and her family; a family that extended from Colorado to California.