[I saw three ships]
To: rubynye
Fandom: Numb3rs
Threesome: David Sinclair/Colby Granger/Charlie Eppes
Title: Just Beginning
Requested Element: late night conversation
Notes: Author's Note: In order to make my story work. I had to pretend that Charlie and Amita were never together beyond that awkward first date of theirs and flirting. I did so hesitantly, as I dislike when people completely ignore canon relationships and do not address their effect on the fanon relationships. I hope that if you feel the same way about ignoring relationships that you can look past it for just this story.
Summary: The beginning of David, Colby, and Charlie's relationship. It takes football, beer, and a traitor.

The night after David heard Colby's name on the Janus list, he tore his apartment apart.

In less than an hour, the place was hardly recognizable. Couch cushions weren't in the right rooms. Dishes he'd shoved out of the cabinets had shattered against the tile floor, pieces littering the ground. His mattress lay askew in the bed frame. Phones off the hook.

He knew Colby must have bugged him. All the times he was over, all the times he cared.

Lies. All he wanted was information. Not even for himself.

For the goddamn Chinese.

He spent the night, sometimes. Maybe that time he'd been creeping around in the night. Maybe that's when he'd done it.

David took one look at his apartment and walked into the kitchen, hardly caring that broken pieces of his plates tore apart his feet more with every step. It didn't bother him that he'd have to clean up his own blood in the morning.

He swiped a bottle of Jack off a shelf and sunk to the floor.

He didn't bother with a glass.

The next day, David called Charlie. He wasn't even sure why. It just felt like the right thing to do.

"Hello?" he heard Charlie ask uncertainly. He'd called from his home phone number, and Charlie had no idea who was on the other line. He could just hang up now, and no one would be the wiser.

Of course, this was Charlie. He'd look up the number in less than two minutes. No anonymity there.

"Hello?" The voice was more irritated this time.

"Hey, Charlie."

"Oh, David! It's good to hear from you," Charlie said awkwardly, unsure how to act. Don had told him how David had been even more crushed than Charlie himself, and he hadn't seen him since the incident.

"Listen, Charlie," David said carefully, trying his hardest to use his best FBI voice. "I think Granger might have left a bug in my apartment, and I thought you could use some of your magic to help me find it."

"Wouldn't the FBI be of more help than me?"

"I am the FBI, and for stuff like this, we come to you."

"Right," Charlie said, trying to stifle a nervous laugh. "I'll be over as soon as I can."

The first night Charlie was over, David offered him a beer. He took it and went back to the pad of paper that replaced his chalkboards. No room for them in David's apartment. Occasionally, he'd get up, walk across the room or into another, and measure something before turning back to consult his laptop. David had on an old football game on ESPN, but he didn't watch much.

He found himself watching Charlie instead.

The second night Charlie came over, Charlie came to the conclusion that his math couldn't reveal anything about the hidden location of a bug. Privately, he thought that it was because there was no bug, but he didn't tell David that. Charlie began packing up his laptop and tossing papers and pencils into the pockets of his laptop case but stopped when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Well, as long as you're here, might as well watch the game with me, right?" Charlie looked up at him, confused. People invited Don to watch football games with them, not him. People just invited Charlie over when they wanted him to think for them.

"Yeah, okay. You know, baseball has far more intriguing sets of statistical analysis, but the computations involved in determining bowl games are incredibly flawed—"

"Charlie?" David asked, glaring a bit as he handed him another beer. "Shut up."

"Right." Charlie cracked open his beer, and they smiled.

The next week, Charlie found himself at David's apartment for a third time. David had invited him for football. This time, he offered Charlie wine.

By halftime, they'd had too much, already on their second bottle. Everything was funny in that way it only is when you're drunk. Charlie found himself sprawled across the couch, unable or unwilling to move, and David tripped when he stood up from the floor, landing over Charlie.

On the couch. Together.

"You look like you're going to kiss me." David laughed.

"So what if I do?"



"I don't even like football."

All David could do was grin.

All Charlie could do was desperately pretend he wasn't a substitute for Colby.

A little over a month later, David learned that Colby wasn't a traitor.

He even found it in himself to save Colby's life once again. For a split second, it was almost like old times.

Except it wasn't. David never would have let Colby get that close to death before, and their friendship, their love had still been a lie.

It wasn't the same.

The fishing lure had been Charlie's idea, and it had worked. That night, Colby knocked on David's door.

"Colby." David's voice was cold as he faced his old friend, and Colby winced at the sound. Charlie stood up when he heard who was at the door, ready to leave. Charlie wasn't a moron; he'd always known this would be temporary.

"Don't leave." Charlie didn't, moving closer to David. Colby stiffened, confused look spreading across his face until he saw David's eyes. Colby quietly understood, then, and nodded his head in approval towards David. The room was silent for a moment until Colby spoke.

"There's something I've been dying to do." Colby reached up, pulling the light bulb out of fixture over the sink. He produced a bug, and he dropped it on the floor.

The three of them stood in a circle in the middle of David's kitchen, the bug Colby recovered between them. No one had even bothered to turn the light another light.

All three of them stared at it, lying on the ground where Colby had thrown it.

For once, Charlie was the first to react. He may not have been involved in this before, but he was now. He'd cared for Colby before, and he cared for David even more, now. Something had to be done; it had to end. He looked each of them in the eye, raised his foot, and stomped down.

"It's over." They stared at the ground once again, this time at the tiny piece of broken equipment.

"Yeah, it is," David said as he hugged Charlie, grateful that it really was and for all he'd done. Colby was back.

"No," Colby said, startling both of them and joining in their embrace. "It's just beginning."

The three of them hugged in the darkness.