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16 July 2010 @ 11:12 pm
Fic: Brother Mine Part 2  
Title: Brother Mine Part 2
Authors: t_vo0810 and melissima
Artist: mustangcandi
Characters: Don Eppes, Charlie Eppes, Gary Walker, Terry Lake, David Sinclair, Billy Cooper, Oswald Kittner, Marshall Penfield, OCs
Genre: Gen
Rating: PG
Warnings: none
Summary: It's the turn of the twentieth century, and Deputy US Marshal Don Eppes is tasked with investigating a series of disappearances in Pasadena. Residents are convinced the disappearances are the work of a local recluse who Don learns is his pale and sickly brother Charlie.
Art: Cover Art, Video



Charlie tried to turn his head and brush away the odd jostling sensation, but he was having trouble getting his numb hands to follow commands. The roaring in his ears made his head throb and his stomach twist. He could hear someone calling him underneath the dull roar, but he didn't want to answer. He wanted to roll over, pull his blankets up, and fall back asleep until his headache was gone.

But that blasted jostling! And the voice was louder now. Charlie opened his mouth to protest, but his throat was parched. He grunted and flailed a little when someone picked him up and laid him on the couch. Charlie tried to sit up, but a strong hand pushed him gently back down.

"Just be still for a second, Charlie. I'll fetch some water from the kitchen."

Charlie grasped at the loose threads of his unraveling thoughts. Don was here. They were arguing. Now he's going to the kitchen for water. Charlie willed his body to move, worry flooding his mind. If Don starts wandering about, he could stumble across Laurance! He struggled to sit up again.

"Ugh." Charlie moaned as his head swam and his stomach lurched from his change of position. Taking in slow breaths through his nose, Charlie felt his skin prickle with cold sweat, heat and chill flowing over him alternately. His body shuddered as he sat up.

"Hey, hey. Take it easy, huh, buddy? Here, take this. Slow easy sips. That's it." The water glass felt wet and cool in his shaky hands as little drops of water splashed over its sides. The water glided down his throat, slowly banishing the dryness and nausea. Even his head felt better after a few swallows, and Don took the almost empty glass from his hands.

"Better now?"

Charlie nodded and then grimaced when his head pounded in response. Forcing his eyes up, he finally met Don's gaze, surprised to see concern there.

"You think you could stand? Why don't we give it a try? Are you still in the same bedroom as when we were kids? Can you make it upstairs?" Don slid an arm around Charlie's waist and pulled him upright.

Charlie'd managed a couple of steps towards the parlor door when he belatedly realized they were headed up to his bedroom. He began to pull away. He needed Don to leave, not take an extended tour through the house. He wasn't certain of where Lawrence had chosen to hide, and this was not the day to be tempting probabilities any further. He'd already had too many statistical anomalies for one day. "Stop, wait," he mumbled.

"Don't worry, lean on me. Let me help you up to bed before I get the doctor."

Charlie tore himself out of Don's grip at the mention of the doctor and steadied himself on the parlor door. "No. No doctors," he croaked. Clearing his throat and taking another long breath, Charlie pushed off from the door and stood straight, trying not to appear wobble. "That won't be necessary. I'm not ill nor do I require a doctor's services. I appreciate your help, but I'm fine now."

"Fine? Hardly. Ten minutes ago I had to scrape you off the floor. You're too pale, too thin, and look like you haven't had a decent night's sleep in weeks. I'll get the doctor and he'll check you out. When he says you're fine, I'll believe it."

"You don't have to believe it. I said I was fine, I just need a little rest and something to eat. Which I will, once you leave. You can go now." Charlie crossed his arms to hide shaking hands and glared instead of speaking further, even as his breath sped up.

"All right then, don't go to bed. Suit yourself. I'm getting the doctor." Don strode back to the table and grabbed his hat.

Charlie strode to the door impulsively, anger fueling a new burst of energy that nettled up his neck and scalp. He sucked in air through his nose, willing his voice not to fail him now. "No, you're not. You don't get to come into my home and force me to do anything, Don. I don't want you here, I don't want a doctor here, and I certainly don't want the sheriff here!"

Adrenaline coursed through his body. He should have let Don leave and then barred his return. He wasn't thinking rationally and had made a crucial mistake. He needed to pull himself together, but he couldn't slow his breathing.

He gasped raggedly, struggling for control, unable to get enough air. His heart thudded, seemed ready to escape his chest. He felt clammy, his body weakened with chill. Could he be dying? Then people would surely come into his home - take Lawrence and corrupt him, warp him into some kind of mechanical soldier - blood on his hands, death at his feet. All because he, the great Dr. Eppestein, was too weak to keep his creations from the world.

Charlie felt Don's strong hands catch him a second time as his knees buckled. He fought Don's grip, wanting to push him away, out the door and slam the door, shoot the bolts. He'd let his guard down. He let Don in. This disaster, like the last, was his fault.

He felt like the room was spinning. A tight band across his chest squeezed the air from his lungs. He tried to take another breath and choked. The harsh gulps of air caught in his throat. He thrashed against the agonizing airlessness, willing his body to breathe, to move, to escape.

A set of brass arms encircled his chest from behind, pulling him easily to his feet. The next moment, Charlie was back on the settee with his torso bent forward, head between his knees. Lawrence rubbed soft, precise circles on his back and murmured in his ear. He concentrated on relaxing his muscles, pulling in slow, shuddering breaths.

Gradually, the words became audible over the babbling in his mind. "That's right, breathe in, 1-2-3, and out 1-2-3. Very good, Charles. Again. Think about the Fibonacci Sequence, count it off in your head. Imagine traveling along its spiral as you count, out of yourself, out into the calm expanse of infinite night. Good, Charles. Yes, your color has returned to a more typical shade of pink..." Larry's voice shifted toward a normal pitch. "He will be fine in a moment."

Charlie felt Lawrence shift back a little, but his hand never ceased its soothing yet precise movements. He sensed someone else shuffling his feet near him, and realized Don was still there. Watching him from his father's chair, judging from the proximity of his feet. Charlie felt his face flush hot under his hands, shame and embarrassment flooding his system. Don had witnessed the whole spell, the complete spectacle he made of himself. Charlie groaned in distress.

"Charlie? Charlie? Are you really sure he's all right now? He doesn't sound all right."

Don sounded almost as unsteady as Charlie felt. He just needed a moment more to breathe before he could open his eyes, look Don in the face. Thank goodness Lawrence was still here. Horror shot through Charlie at that thought, propelling him up and off the couch before he was aware he had even moved. "No, no. Lawrence! What are you doing in here?" he panted. "This is bad. You shouldn't be out here!"

Lawrence stood up and placed his hands on Charlie's shoulders to steady him. "Of course I will leave, if that is what you wish, though I am not sure it is necessary any longer. Charles, you needed my assistance. My programming makes your well-being my first priority, as you are well aware. My safety does not appear at risk now. Please, sit down. As I was explaining to your brother, it is my function to… "

"As you were explaining…Lawrence," Charlie groaned and rubbed his eyes. The see-saw of his emotions today left him wrung out and hollow. He lacked the energy to correct Lawrence with a proper explanation of all the reasons why this was not acceptable. "What exactly have you told him?"

Lawrence paused and gestured to the sofa. Charlie rolled his eyes but dropped heavily onto the cushions again, resting his head on the back with his eyes closed. He still wasn't ready to see Don's face. He didn't know what to expect exactly, but it was unlikely to be good.

"As I was saying, Marshal Eppes, I am Charles' valet. He created me to assist him both in his work and in the maintenance of his home. It is vital to Charles that all of his work, myself included, remain unknown to those who would appropriate it and subvert its purpose. It is for this reason that Charles doesn't allow visitors into his home, including the sheriff, as concealing all of his work would be rather difficult in the event of an inspection."

"And that's why he was upset? Because I was bringing the doctor and the sheriff here? I'm not sure I understand. I get that he wants to hide you, but his reaction was… "

"Stop talking about me like I'm not in the room," Charlie snapped. Pulling himself up straight, he glared at his brother. Don's face was surprisingly neutral, though Charlie could see the tension in his body. "I know you don’t understand. I don't understand these spells myself, can't really explain them. But there is real danger, if news of my work gets out. It's not something I just made up in my head. And while you see the sheriff as some honest lawman doing his job, I see an official of the government. Governments wield their power naively at best and most often, corruptly. So don't just sit there and act like I'm crazy because I want to protect what's mine."

"All right, calm down. Don't get all worked up again." Don looked at him cautiously, assessing Charlie's mental state.

"What? Just say it already." Charlie crossed his arms and lifted his chin.

"Listen, I know you don't want to hear this, but you really don't have a choice. Sheriff Walker is coming tomorrow, and he won't take no for an answer this time. Don't you think it would go better if we found a way to protect your… work and let the sheriff search the place?"

Charlie opened his mouth to make a scathing reply, but Don hushed him immediately.

"Wait and hear me out. I'll help, Charlie. I can see how important this is to you, but if you don't start cooperating the next step is hauling you to town for questioning, while they search your place."

Charlie sucked in a breath, a spike of fear ramming straight into his chest. He looked at Lawrence and then back at Don with worried eyes.

"You said they didn't have a warrant last time. If I know Gary Walker, he'll have corrected that by now. Make no mistake, Walker takes his job seriously. You can dig in your heels and be stubborn, or you can find a solution to this problem that works for everybody. I'll help you best I can."

Charlie considered Don's words carefully, turning them over in his mind. Then, ducking his head, he asked uncertainly, "You'll really help me? You'll be here when they come? You promise?"

Don stood up and seated himself next to Charlie on the settee, squeezing his neck gently until Charlie glanced back up. "I promise. You can trust me."

Charlie nodded his agreement after a small hesitation. Don's hand felt warm and heavy on the back of his neck, and Charlie found himself relaxing into it despite all his concerns. He was just so tired of all this. He didn't have the energy to fight alone anymore.

*

The sun was barely hovering above the horizon by the time Don rode back into town. After spending the entire day helping Charlie conceal all evidence of his work, Don was on his way back to the town jail. He noticed the little old saloon tucked away from view of Main Street. He used to sneak in there for a drink and a peek at the barmaids. Don veered toward the saloon despite the early hour. Typically, he made a point not to drink before he'd completed his day's duties, but today was different. He needed to dull the worry and irritation that had been crackling at the edges of his mind all day. Entering the establishment, he scanned the drinking hall and was glad to find it mostly empty save a couple of ranch hands dusty from driving cattle.

"Well, hey there, Marshal Eppes. We don't usually see you here so early. What can I do for you?" Millie Finch, the proprietress of the saloon, was sitting at the bar, her glasses perched precariously on the point of her nose, a ledger spread out before her. An adding machine was whirring next to her, its brass keys glinting in the light slanting from the half doors.

"I didn't mean to interrupt, Miss Millie. I was on my way to see the sheriff, thought I would stop in for a little refreshment."

"Ahh... Well, then you're lucky!" she pitched her voice conspiratorially low. "You can do both at once. The sheriff's havin' his nightly libation in the private booth under the stairwell. Horace, get the Marshal a…?" She paused, looking expectantly at Don.

"Whiskey, thanks." Don nodded in acknowledgement and made his way to booth under the stairs. "All right if I join you, Sheriff Walker?"

"Eppes. Was wondering when you'd find me. Have a seat." Gary leaned over to signal the bartender, but Millie was already speaking quietly to him and gesturing toward their table. The sheriff smiled as Horace brought over the whole bottle, pouring a glass for Don and topping off Gary's before leaving the bottle. "That Miss Millie is a savvy woman, gifted at reading people, anticipating 'em. She would make a fine law officer." The sheriff lifted his glass in salute, giving a quick wink when Millie glanced over at them.

Don suppressed a smile, witnessing the warm familiarity with which Millie winked back before returning to her work. His eyes fell on the adding machine next to her, clicking in response to her deft fingers punching out numbers on the keys. He watched the gold-painted numbers change, the cylinders rotating constantly, pausing only a fraction of a second before whirling back into motion. It looked like something Charlie would have created when they were children, if he ever had a need for such a thing. Don imagined Charlie's brain was probably already a lot like the machine, all numbers and blur of motion.

Charlie. He had done a lot more than invent an adding machine this time. Don had been amazed as he watched Charlie and Lawrence interact all day. He was so lifelike, so real. He thought he had understood the depth and breath of Charlie's genius before, but he had never imagined him capable of creating something so complex and human-like. And Charlie treated him like he was human, no - like a friend. His only friend. Don might not have understood Charlie's reaction earlier, but it was painfully obvious that he would have succumbed to his own demons long ago if not for Lawrence.

"Sheriff… "

"We're both off-duty, Eppes, at least for the moment. Call me Gary."

"Only if you call me Don, then."

Gary nodded once in agreement and raised his glass. "Here's to a quiet night."

Don raised his glass in toast and then took a sip. "Only for the moment? You do night patrols as well? I thought that was what deputies were for."

Gary snorted in amusement. "He gets the late night patrol, when the saloon and hotels close for the night. I keep an eye on things for the evening when I can. Truth is Deputy Sinclair managed something I never did. He became a family man, a real devoted one too. Never misses a supper if he can help it. Bachelors such as ourselves have no such obligations, eh, Don?"

Don grunted in response and swallowed the rest of his drink before pouring another for himself.

Gary watched him shrewdly, sipping his whiskey and letting the silence linger. Finally, he prompted Don, "Something is obviously on your mind so let's drop this little tea party and get down to it. What do you say?"

Sheriff Walker was good, Don had to give him that. "Terri told you?"

"Which part? That she debriefed you on my investigation without my permission or my only suspect so far is your brother?"

Don narrowed his eyes and leaned forward. "Look, Gary, I know this isn't protocol, but I want in on the investigation."

"Let me tell you how things are. Terry didn't need to tell me a thing. I knew she would mention it to you like I knew who you were the minute you stepped in my town. I make it my business to know everyone and everything that goes on here ever since I arrived years ago. And let me tell you, the notorious Dr. Eppestein came to my attention not long after I got here. That boy gets accused of everything from soured water wells to missing kittens. It took me less than two visits before I realized that boy was mostly harmless - and that's only cause he refused to open the door my first time there. But this town's has it in for him, their own personal scapegoat near as I can tell. Now this thing about the missing young people, it's got the whole town in an uproar - important people, not the yokels looking for an easy blame. That makes my life complicated and I don't like complicated. These suspicions ain't going away, not without some considerable cooperation from your brother. And Don, he is making it awfully difficult to get to the bottom of this whole mess."

"I get it, Sheriff, I do. I can get him to cooperate, but first, I need in on the investigation. You say you made it your business to know about me when I took this post. Well, then you know what kind of reputation I have as a lawman. No one is above the law, not even my brother. My objectivity won't be a problem, but I can't stand by and watch Charlie get railroaded because he's not like everyone else."

"Hmmm. I'll agree with one condition. You work side by side with my deputy and brief him on every aspect. David's a bit of a greenhorn, but a fine lawman. And he knows this community better than most. You do have a good reputation and most people know you grew up here in Pasadena. That will buy you a lot of goodwill as far as the townsfolk are concerned. You're lucky that most folk have no idea the two of you are brothers. But my deputy and I know he's family, and that makes this investigation complicated no matter how objective you think you are."

"I understand your meaning, Gary. I've met Deputy Sinclair. I'll be grateful for his assistance."

The sheriff finished off his drink. "Good. Now that that's settled, I'll be going. See you in the morning. We can go over the details of the investigation and then ride out to Craftsman Manor together."

Don shook his hand. "I appreciate it, Gary. See you tomorrow."

Don polished off his drink soon after Gary had departed and left his money on the table. He checked the time on the town clock as he walked out onto Main Street. He had enough time to make it to the telegram office before it closed. The sheriff was right. Don was going to need a hand working this case and protecting Charlie. David Sinclair might be a good deputy, but Don needed someone seasoned, someone he trusted to keep his objectivity in check and back him up. There was no one he trusted more that his old partner, Billy Cooper. He hoped Billy was game for an extended visit and some small town living.


*

Don arrived at the town jail early the next morning with a renewed sense of determination. He and the sheriff immediately settled down to discuss the details of the ongoing investigation, but Terry had the forethought to arrange a breakfast delivery from the town bakery. Kit strolled in with a basket of delicious smelling breads and pastries as well as a carafe of rich fresh coffee.

"Morning, Terry," Kit greeted, dropping the basket onto her desk. He turned his head to greet the sheriff but faltered when he caught sight of Don. "Oh! Hey, Marshal Eppes. I didn't know you were still in town. Now I understand why you ordered extra, Terry. And here I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some nefarious gunslinger or train robber behind bars."

"You read too many of those dime novels, Kit. Those pulp-paper magazines are filling your head with outrageous stories. You should know better than to believe what you read it them." David smiled as he walked in behind Kit. "Morning, everyone."

"How'd the patrols go last night, Deputy?" Don asked, nodding when the deputy offered him the first cup.

"Well, Pasadena might not be exciting enough to entice gunslingers and train robbers, but we get our fair share of cowboys and miners, looking to blow off some steam and their week's wages. I'm grateful none of them made enough trouble to warrant an arrest last night. The paperwork alone would have kept me busy for the rest of the night."

Gary snorted as he helped himself to some pastries. "These young deputies don't know how good they have it, eh, Eppes?"

Don grinned as he accepted a plate of assorted pastries from the sheriff. "Isn't that the truth? These smell amazing."

"Wait 'til you taste them, Marshal. My grandmother does incredible things with sugar and flour." Kit replied.

"Well, thanks for bringing all this by, Kit. Be sure and tell your grandparents hello for me." Terry smiled expectantly, but Kit nodded vaguely and plopped down on the corner of her desk, facing Don.

"So you're here in like an official capacity, right? A federal investigation. So that could be something like hunting for a fugitive in disguise? He could be hiding out in our little town right now, hoping to evade the authorities, and you have to work quick to prevent him from taking some innocent hostage before he's discovered? Like in Dodge City Desperado? That story was really good." Kit looked hopefully at Don, gesturing animatedly with his hands. "Are your cases like that or are they more like mysteries and sleuthing and such? This one story I read was all about a criminal plot by a greedy industrialist to abduct this scientist inventor, and the whole plan was accidentally discovered by a messenger boy who decoded the cipher telegram. That one is my favorite. It has real ciphers and features The Huge Hunter, Steam-Man of the Prairies."

David placed a hand on Kit's shoulder and guided him out toward the door. "Like I said, Kit, maybe lay off the dime novels and focus more on your work and studies. Life in our little town is nothing like what you read about in those pulp magazines. Try not to let your imagination run away with your good sense."

Kit's face was momentarily crestfallen and then he glanced back up at David, his body vibrating with optimism. "But you will tell me if something exciting happens, right? I mean, if you crack a big case or something? I wouldn't want to miss out hearing about the adventure first-hand."

David shook his head and chuckled. "We'll see, all right?"

"Enjoy the pastries! Good day, Marshal Eppes," Kit gave a small wave as David guided him out and shut the door behind him.

"All right, I think there has been quite enough gum-flappin' for one morning. What do you say we get down to it?" Sheriff Walker dusted off his hands on this pants as David cleared everyone's plates and refilled their coffee cups.

Don nodded in agreement. "If it's okay with you, Sheriff, I would like to hear about the any incidents or events before or around the same time as Jakub Galuski's disappearance. Even if they were unrelated."

"Terry, pull the reports filed for that month and the months before and after. It's as good a place as any to start." Terry, already having a stack of files at the ready on her desk, turned and plucked the top three off the pile.

Don smiled at her anticipation of his request and then silently skimmed over each of the file. He made a displeased grimace when he found Charlie's name listed in a couple of farfetched complaints. Gary hadn't been kidding about people using him as their personal scapegoat. "Did anything stand out to any of you as unusual or atypical for this region during this time period?"

"Nah. Same old, same old as far as I'm concerned. In fact, even the call from Ray Galuski, asking around about boy's whereabouts didn't surprise me much. That boy was known to disappear for a few days and then turn up with some fresh coins burning a hole in his pocket. Most assumed he had found a backroom poker game or easy day job in one of the neighboring towns. Truth is, Jake more likely done run off than anything unlawful happen to him."

"I understand, Sheriff, but I'd still like the opportunity to interview his family and anyone else that had contact with him in the time leading up to his disappearance."

"Sinclair, make the Marshal a potential witness list for interviews. You can ride out with him later today after we're done with the search on Craftsman Manor."

Don's eyes fell on the last entry in the complaint listing for the month prior to Jakub Galuski's departure. "What's this about a disturbance out at the San Gabriel Mine? Ray Galuski is listed as the primary offender."

"Those disturbance calls have been somewhat commonplace over the past year, Don," Terry explained with a sour expression. "Carl McGowan's the owner of the mine. He's been in labor disputes with the miners' union for the past few years. As the demand for coal has increased with the advances in steam technology, McGowan has pushed for a more competitive mining operation. Over the past five years, there has been a steady decreasing amount of pay per ton of coal. The miners have to work longer days without break to make their payload, sometimes with more accidents as a result. Ray organized the labor union about 3 years ago. Whenever cooperation with the union wavers, there tends to be more disturbance calls. Ray likes to call them 'Shows of Might.'"

"What's this McGowan like? Would he be the type of man to want retribution against Ray Galuski for all the rabble-rousing?"

Sheriff Walker leaned forward, his mouth a terse line. "McGowan is a formidable man, Marshal. His company has far-reaching influence and investments. You don't get to be that successful without being a little bit ruthless. That being said, many think of him as a pillar of this community."

"Yeah, a racist, mysogynistic, heartless pillar," Terry mumbled under her breath.

Gary cocked an eyebrow at her and continued. "That may be. Nonetheless, he's pretty friendly with everyone from the state governor to our own little mayor, even has Sunday dinner at the preacher's house once a month. And he has a thumb in the pies of most political and philanthropic endeavors 'round here, like the new construction for the Throop PolyTechnic Institute. All I'm sayin' is tread lightly. It's doubtful McGowan would get his hands dirty in something like kidnapping. And to what end? There hasn't been any demands, any threats against Ray. If McGowan took the Galuski boy as an intimidation tactic, wouldn't someone need to clue Ray in on it?"

"You have a point, Sheriff. But I don't see any harm in asking a few questions. Though it may have to wait until tomorrow. What about the young bride that went missing, what was her name?" Don took the offered files from Terry's hands and began flipping the thin file. "Alice Chen Wright. Not much here."

"Alice was pretty private for the most part, Don. She didn't have any family to speak of and met her husband for the first time on their wedding day." Terry commented, her face purposefully blank.

"A mail order bride, then. That couldn't have been looked on to favorably, especially with her immigrant status."

Terry's back straightened, every line of her body held rigid and proper. "She had a difficult life since coming to the states. Her parents died in a typhoid epidemic back east. She was brought west by a man intent on selling her to the highest bidder. Arranged marriage seemed like a more viable alterative once she realized that scum's plan. She made an honest life here with Bob Wright. They had a real affection for one another. And she held her own at the mine. I don't see her surviving all that misfortune, building a decent life here, and then up and walking away without a word to anyone."

"All right, then. Best to look into her disappearance as well. Get me a list for potential interviews. And Ethan Bloom, what's his story?"

Terry passed over the last set of files. Don noticed from the corner of his eye how Gary squeezed her hand briefly as she dropped it to her side. Terry had never talked much about her past when she first came to town as a barely 15 years old. All she had ever said was that she had been orphaned. And that she was lucky other folk, like Don's mother, had taken a interest in seeing her properly educated. Terry had mentioned more recently that it was Gary, then Deputy of Altadena nearby, who had sent her to Pasadena in the first place. Gary was as close to a father figure as Terry ever had. They apparently differed in opinion about this case though, and it remained a point of contention between them.

David consulted his notes. "Ethan Bloom is a only child of Reverend Roger Bloom. He is an excellent student by all accounts – his teacher said Ethan was advanced for his age, working side by side with students a few years older. Had difficulty fitting in apparently until Jakub Galuski took him under his wing. Most of Jake's friends were miners' kids so they didn't take much of a shine to having Ethan around. Said he and Jake were excited about working together on something called a 'telectroscope', but the boys couldn't tell me what it was. Most agreed that Ethan likely followed Jake out of town – he tended to copy Jake when he could. "

"He's pretty young to take off like that. What'd Rev. Bloom have to say?"

"The good reverend agreed with you, Marshal. Says Ethan was a good boy - never disobedient, never in any serious trouble. He doesn't believe Ethan would've run off and insists he'd have contacted him by now if he had. A lot of the townsfolk agree," Gary replied.

Don detected a note of skepticism. "But you think differently?"

"Ethan was under a lot of pressure from his father. Rev. Bloom wanted him to follow in his footsteps, become a preacher. But his teacher said Ethan had his mind set on studying engineering. Could be he ran off to make his own way. Wouldn't be the first boy 'round here to do so."

Don huffed a quiet laugh. "True, Sheriff. I seem to recall doing something similar myself. All right. That's more than enough to get me started." Don checked the clock on the wall. "David, I'd appreciate it if you'd finish compiling that list for me. It's getting later than I intended. If there's no objection, I'd like to ride out to the manor ahead of you both. I'm hoping Charlie'll be more cooperative if I talk him through what to expect." Don waited for an affirmative nod from the sheriff before rising to get his hat. "If you could give me about an half hour's lead time, I would be most obliged. Thanks for the breakfast, Terry."

"Send him my best." Terry called out.

Don stopped, glancing back and tipped his brim in her direction. "I will, Terry." He did not expect Charlie to return the sentiment. He would be lucky if Charlie let him through the door.
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devon99 on July 22nd, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Aww, I want a 'Larry' all of my own!! I loved how Charlie finally let Don in a little and his little uncertain yet hopeful 'you promise' made me so sad for him. He probably doesnt realise how much he needs his big brother in his life. And lol, Millie the saloon owner with her ledgers made me squee:) So much love for this fic. I'll be back later for the rest.
(Anonymous) on July 23rd, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
Aww, I want a 'Larry' all of my own!! hahahahahahahaha. i love this! because right after i finished my Larry scenes, that is exactly what i told mel! How awesome that you love him too. :D

Your comment is totally made of win! \o/ Yes, as hard as it is for Charlie, Don is the only person he would let in at this point. He totally needs his big brother. And whether Don realizes it or not, he needs Charlie too. Just in a less obvious way. Emma laughed at a couple of spots in my first draft and told me my closet 'cester ways were showing. Hahahahaha. Can't help it even when it's not part of the story. Those boys need each other. What can I say?

Yay for Millie! I only wish she had a bigger part in the fic. I <3 saloon madam!Millie.
Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment! You have made my day! <3
t_vo0810t_vo0810 on July 23rd, 2010 01:04 am (UTC)
this was from me, btw. didn't realize i wasn't signed in. /facepalm/
fractalmoon: black and white fractal imagefractalmoon on November 23rd, 2012 06:27 am (UTC)
Larry's concern for Charlie was touching. And the mechanical cat! I enjoyed how you worked in Oswald Kittner.

And of course Don and Charlie were sweet together. I wonder where they hid all the mechanimals.