luciazephyr: Book of the Still, the time traveler's lifeline (Default)
[personal profile] luciazephyr
Title: Horizon
Fandom: Numb3rs
Characters: Charles Eppes and Lawrence Fleinhardt
Prompt: 2. "I write the lines you want me to; with the words I dare to use."
Word Count: 1040
Rating: PG
Summary: Charlie, Larry, a vacation, and a balcony with an ocean view.
Author Notes: Done entirely without dialogue. Thanks to Miriam, for being patient with all my obvious screw-ups.


He shouldn't have been there, really. The meeting was more for theorists and conjecture. There was no place for a mathematician in this one.

But the resort was in the Bahamas because one of the event organizers was sick of New York and London hostings. The air was different here, more heady than LA's. In California, you couldn't smell the salt in the air like you could here, standing on a hotel balcony overlooking the ocean.

Charlie leaned heavily on the railing, watching the horizon line, seeing the way the dark turned the ocean the same color as the night sky. If not for the flashes of white moonlight reflecting on the waves, you could imagine the world ended where the beach met the black water. The phrase 'ocean of stars' was overused, but now held some appeal.

It was nice to get away, to be allowed to turn off and relax. It felt like he'd been running numbers non-stop for the last two years, ever since he offered his services to Don. The vacation was only for another two days. Charlie sighed, dreading the return to reality and, ironically, to his numbers, to the laws of his world- not that he could stop from the small things, like estimating distances and noticing primes and perfect squares. Right now, the idea of forgetting reality and just contemplating the blending of sky into ocean held a lot of appeal.

Charlie looked behind him when something chill touched his arm: a glass of amber liquid. His knowledge of alcohol was rather limited to beer and some wines. Larry smiled softly, holding out the drink, another in his left hand. Charlie nodded and took it, taking a sip of the liquor, sweet and tart on his tongue.

He thought back to three days ago, when Larry showed up in his office late at night while Charlie wrapped up his consultant's report on the case he'd been working on, the fifth he'd taken without a day's break. Larry poured them both cold iced tea and told him about the seminar he'd be going to, how it was more like a bunch of physicists commandeering a hotel and getting into the sun for a bit. Charlie feigned interest, a bit annoyed Larry would go on about how nice it'd be to go there for the weekend, until Larry told him he'd reserved two plane tickets and one was in Charlie's name.

When Don showed up the next day with another consultant job, Charlie politely told him to shove off, he had a plane to catch.

So he ended up on the fifteenth floor, in a very classy suite with Larry, who was pretending to work, but mostly just reading, listening to jazz, and drawing little model galaxies on his notes. Charlie toured the clientele, surprised at how many different people dragged him to groups of physicists having lunch, being forced to join in the conversation. It was clear that Larry had taught him well- he followed along with the basics easily and could usually keep up with the discussion as it diverged from common knowledge into the more advanced.

One such occasion had Dr. Talin bidding him to come to India with him and work on his equations for locating black holes. Charlie had repeatedly tried to politely turn the wiry bespectacled man down with no avail when a warm hand landed on each of his shoulders and pulled him back, away from Dr. Talin. Larry kindly joked with Talin, claiming Charlie as his personal atomic calculator and telling everyone they needed to go find their own. The room laughed and Charlie felt a nearly forgotten sense of belonging- knowing his companionship with Larry wasn't looked down on like it so often was back home.

Larry leaned on the balcony next to him, staring out, and Charlie wondered if he saw the same illusion. Their shoulders bumped together, and Charlie smiled to himself, and at Larry when he turned to look. There was a question in his eyes, like there had been too often recently. Charlie looked pointedly around the room and sipped more of his drink. Larry blew out a sigh, seeming more loose now.

Charlie turned and leaned his back on the railing, arm stretched out over the cool metal. He closed his eyes and felt Larry toying with his hand- running the pads of his fingers over the tendons on the back of Charlie's hand, turning it over and tracing the lines in his palm, splaying Charlie's fingers randomly, and just absently moving the wrist. It was the hand Charlie most often wrote with and he felt tension being drawn out by the actions. Charlie hummed softly, content, and Larry squeezed his hand, just holding it for a moment.

Charlie downed the rest of his drink, setting the glass on the glass table on the balcony. He tipped his head back, looking up at the black and the yellow glow of the city in the sky. They hadn't spoken for a long while, not since Larry abandoned his own hotel room again to sit in Charlie's and watch the sun set red-gold in the sky.

It was the most peaceful Charlie could ever remember being in his life. The greatest gift Larry gave him was dragging him here, confiscating his laptop and cellphone, and settling him into a suite with room service and a view.

That was the kind of man Larry was; looking for something bigger while everyone else tried to control the smaller; a bit like the ocean/sky, not quite rooted to the ground, but not quite in space yet; taking the cosmos and making it seem to sit in the palm of his hand.

Charlie looked over at Larry, catching him doing the same. Their hands were still linked, and Charlie twined their fingers together and squeezed, a silent thank you. Then he yawned, letting go to bring his hand over his mouth, and Larry chuckled, reclaimed Charlie's hand, and tugged him to the hotel room for sleep. Charlie saw on Larry’s watch how late it was.

Charlie looked back at the view, wanting to burn it into his memory, not sure he'd get a chance like this again.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-05-11 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well written. Charlie needs a vacation!

(no subject)

Date: 2006-05-12 12:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was beautiful! They're so comfortable together and you write that amazingly well.


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