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The Professor and the Sniper God

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Charles “Charlie” Epps frowned as he looked down at the paper on his clipboard and then out the window where he had a clear line of sight to the movie theater where a woman had just been shot at. He bit back a groan when he heard footsteps heading his way because he had no doubt that it would be the bane of his existence. He wasn’t sure why but there was something about the sniper Ian Edgerton that made him want to do and/or say things that he normally wouldn’t want to. He didn’t acknowledge the older man and instead kept focused on the paper he was doing calculations on. He needed to figure out why they were all coming out wrong. He was able to pretend the other man wasn’t there up til the man was almost right beside him.

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Ian Edgerton loved his job as a sniper and as a tracker. He loved it because he got to see different places and didn’t have to pay any money out of his own pocket to do so. He hated it because he saw the worse life had to offer a lot of times. He loved it because he got to put people who deserved it behind bars and if they escaped then he tracked them down and either put them back in prison or ended their lives so that they couldn’t hurt anybody else.

He walked into the abandoned building that he knew the serial sniper used and sighed. He really wanted to catch the guy so that nobody else fell to his rifle. He couldn’t help but smirk slightly when he saw Professor Charlie Epps standing near a window and looking at it while doing equations on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard. He sauntered over to him as he let his eyes roam of Charlie’s figure. He had to admit to himself that he found the Professor very attractive. “Hello there, Professor, still figuring the angles?

Charlie looked up and shook his head. “What I’m figuring is the reason why he missed. This shot is way closer than any of the others.

Ian walked over to another window and opened it up. He used his laser light as a pointer once Charlie joined him. “Well, closer doesn’t mean easier. He ran a higher risk of being seen here.

Charlie frowned and bit his lip. “That wouldn’t affect the shot itself would it.

Ian fought back the urge to roll his eyes and looked at Charlie. “Forget about the math for a second. Just look. Try to think like he does. Invisibility is a sniper’s greatest strength. He starts to worry about losing it, his heart rate increases. If he doesn’t know how to hand it, his breathing rhythm gets thrown off.

Breathing rhythm?” Charlie questioned.

Ian huffed. “You’ve never really fired a gun.

Charlie shook his head. “I don’t really believe in them.

This time Ian did roll his eyes. “Believe in them? It’s not like they’re ghosts.

Charlie huffed. “Obviously, that’s not what I meant.

So, you don’t take into account sweat getting into his eyes, or his hands cramping up, or adrenaline twitching the barrel? That’s the difference between an expert’s marksman and a guy who aims at white meat and goes home with a wing.” Ian retorted.

Charlie narrowed his eyes as he stared at Ian in surprise. “A woman got shot today not some animal.

Ian narrowed his own eyes at Charlie. He wanted to make sure that he got his point across because with the way the younger man was talking to him sounded like he was judging not only him but others in the same line of work as him. He may think the Professor was attractive, but he wasn’t about to put up with that from him or anyone else. “I see. So, when I regard her as a technical problem, I’m a sick bastard but when you plug her into an equation, you’re a scientist.

Charlie thought for a second because he hadn’t meant to hurt the other man which he could see that he did somehow, and he wanted to correct that. “No that isn’t what I meant. It just seems like it’s all some kind of sport to you.

Ian shook his head. “It’s not a sport to me at all. I know that it was a woman who was shot and not an animal, but if I don’t keep my mind set in the way it is currently then I or someone else could end up dead and I’m not about to let that happen. Just remember that not everyone can look at the angles like you, Professor, because it could get us killed quicker. It’s my job to put my head inside the mind of a killer. Your brother’s too.” He started to walk away and then called out, “You coming?

Charlie looked out the window once more and then hurried after Ian. He had some things that he wanted to talk to the sniper about. He looked back at his paper and then finally he turned his head to look at Ian as they walked side by side down the hallway. “The pattern of these shootings doesn’t work with my existing equations.

Ian smiled slightly even as he thought quickly. “So, change the equations. How probable is it that you have the right equations but the wrong answers to those equations.”

Charlie groaned as he bit down onto the pen cap as he ran the numbers through his head once more. “It is improbable that I have the right equations but the wrong answers to those equations. I’m starting to think my whole approach is wrong. Like there’s a design in there somewhere but not usually where I’d look for it. What is your thoughts on the shootings so far?”

Ian pulled his sunglasses down just as they were about to exit the building. “I think that the sicko shooting innocent people has a thought to his methodology on how he’s executing the shootings. We just need to figure out what that is so that we can stop him before he kills ago. I also think that your approach is wrong because you don’t know what it is like to shoot a gun so you can’t calculate that into your equations. Until you learn what it feels like to shoot a gun you will never be able to get your predictions right on target.”

“So, what you are saying, is that I need to learn how to shoot a gun?” Charlie finally asked.

Ian nodded. “Numbers may help you, Professor, but until you have actually shot a gun you won’t know how to calculate that into your formulas.”

Charlie sighed. “Feel like teaching me then? Don will put up a fight if I ask him to.”

Ian laughed. “Don does seem rather protective of you, Professor. I’ll tell you what. You buy me dinner and I’ll teach you how to shoot a gun. By the time I finish with you, you will know just how to load and shoot perfectly.”

Charlie blushed slightly even though he tried not to. “It’s a deal then. Should we meet up about seven for dinner and then head to the gun range?”

Ian turned his head away so that the smirk he had on his face wasn’t seen by Charlie. He couldn’t believe how easy it was to get some time alone with the Professor. He saw Terry heading towards them, so he turned back to look at Charlie with a light in his eyes that hadn’t been there before. “It’s a deal then, Professor. Let’s hope that we will actually be able to go to dinner and then the range. I don’t think that the look on Lake’s face is a good one.”

Charlie looked at Terry’s face and bit back a sigh. He really wanted some time to himself because he was sure that the deal he agreed to was actually a date. He couldn’t help but wonder if maybe the sniper felt the same way he was starting to feel about him. He wouldn’t mind exploring something with the older man. He listened to Terry fill them in and made comments of his own but for the life of him when they were on their way back to the FBI building, he couldn’t remember what he or Ian had said in response to what Terry had told them. His mind was on where he could take Ian for dinner because the more he thought about it the more he hoped that it was a date instead of just a trade of services between him and Ian.

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Charlie sighed as he threw his pen down on the table, he was working at in what was called the War Room at the L.A. FBI Headquarters. He looked at the time and decided he had enough time to go back to his office at CalSci to get a little work done before his date with Ian later on that day. He packed his stuff up and then stood up and headed out of the room and to where his brother was at, at his desk. He ignored the fact that Ian was leaning up against his brother’s desk because he knew that if he didn’t that he would just stare at the older man because of how good he looked leaning like that. “Don, I need to get back to CalSci for a bit. I can’t figure out what I’m missing and just sitting here and working on my calculations isn’t helping. Any chance I can get a lift back to the college so I can work in my office for a couple hours?”

Don frowned but nodded. “Yeah, buddy, I’ll get someone to drive you. I’d drive you myself, but there are a couple things I want to check into and for that I need both Terry and David here with me to help do some of the legwork. Edgerton, would you mind taking my brother to CalSci since we’re at a standstill for right now?”

Ian bit back the smirk that threatened to break out on his face because he somehow knew that Charlie didn’t want Don to know that they had a sort of date later that day. “Not a problem at all, Eppes. While I’m out I’m going to stop and get myself a good coffee so that I can stop drinking the stuff that passes as coffee here in the office.”

Don chuckled. “I’ll call you if I need you before you get back.”

Ian nodded. “Come on, Professor, and I’ll drop you at CalSci. I wouldn’t mind seeing your place of actual work. It’s been several years since I’ve been on a college campus and I’ve never been to CalSci.”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “Thank you, Agent Edgerton, a ride would be much appreciated. Don, I’ll call you if I find anything and if I don’t I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Don looked at Charlie with a raised eyebrow. “Do you have plans tonight or something? I was planning on coming by once I’m finished here for the day.”

Charlie shrugged slightly. “I’m not sure if I’m doing something tonight with some of the others from work or not. If I don’t see you tonight, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Don narrowed his eyes but nodded. “Alright, Charlie. Have fun if you do end up doing something with some of your coworkers.”

Charlie smiled at his brother and then followed Ian to the elevator and on it once the doors opened to it. He leaned against the wall and sighed in relief after the elevator doors closed. “I thought for sure he was going to keep questioning me.”

Ian chuckled. “He looked like he wanted to but decided not to. Does he always question you if you go out and do something with your coworkers?”

Charlie looked at Ian with a smile. “I hardly ever go out with my coworkers because some of them prefer going to bars or clubs. I tend to work too hard and too much and when I’m not working I prefer not to be making myself look like an idiot by getting drunk and doing things I wouldn’t do while sober.”

Ian nodded thoughtfully and then led the way to his car once they exited the elevator into the parking garage. “I can understand that, Professor. So, what time should we meet for dinner and the shooting range tonight?”

Charlie thought about it for a few minutes and then once he was in the passenger seat of Ian’s car and buckled in he said, “Would you mind picking me up at seven from CalSci? I think it would be easier to leave from there then me going home and taking the chance of Don being there when you come to pick me up. You can call me Charlie, you know?”

Ian shot a look at Charlie and then looked back out the windshield as he drove out of the parking garage and onto the road. “I don’t mind picking you up from CalSci at all, Charlie. Do you have anywhere specific that you want to go to dinner tonight?”

Charlie smirked as he looked sideways at Ian and pointed at the building his office was in. “I have a place in mind, so I’ll call and make the reservation for 7:30 once I’m in my office. I will tell you that it dressy casual so anything other than jeans. I’m looking forward to dinner and the shooting lessons. My office is on the fourth floor and it’s office number 422.”

Ian grinned as he pulled to a stop in front of the building Charlie had pointed at. “I’ll be here to pick you up at seven or a little before, Charlie. I’m looking forward to dinner and giving you shooting lessons.”

Charlie blushed and after he unbuckled the seat belt he leaned over and kissed Ian on the cheek. “I’ll see you in a couple of hours, Ian.” He quickly opened up his car door and exited the car before Ian could respond to him. He walked into the building and up to his office with a grin on his face. He couldn’t help but smile as he thought about the surprised look that Ian had on his face after he had kissed his cheek. Once in his office he sat at his desk and quickly got to work. He wanted to get as much as he could before his date later so that he wasn’t thinking about work while he was out with Ian. He was excited and really wanted seven to hurry up and get there.

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Ian chuckled once he got over the shock of Charlie kissing his cheek before he had got out of the car. He may have been shocked, but it was a good kind of shock. He really couldn’t wait until his date later with the younger man. He wasn’t sure what it was but there was something that was drawing him towards the other man. He drove out of the CalSci parking lot and towards where he knew a Starbucks was located. He wanted the rest of the day to pass by quickly so that he could go on his date with the Math Professor.

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Don sighed as he threw the pen he had been writing with across his desk. He looked up and saw Terry, David, and Ian looking at him. "We're getting nowhere right now, so unless we get a call out at some point tonight, I'm calling it a night for us. We need to take a break and get a good night's sleep. Anyone up to going out for a drink?"

David and Terry both agreed but Ian said, "I actually have plans this evening with a friend. I'll be here at eight in the morning. Eppes, you know my number if you get a call out tonight."

Don looked at Ian in surprise and raised an eyebrow. "Going anywhere good, Edgerton?"

Ian shrugged his shoulders. "I'm not sure. My friend first texted me that we were going to eat at a Greek restaurant that they know, but I just got a text about twenty minutes ago telling me they changed their mind and we're eating Italian tonight. I really don't mind either way since I plan on hopefully being able to go out to dinner with them again."

Don laughed. "Greek and Italian are both good choices. I won't call you unless I get a call about another sniper shooting. Enjoy your time with your friend since you probably don't get to see the person that often due to your job."

Ian smirked. "This will be my first time out with my friend, so I'm hoping that there will be more times after this one. I'll have my cell on me. You three have fun this evening and don't drink too much!"

Don rolled his eyes. "We won't be having more than one or two drinks so no worry there. I'll see you in the morning, Ian, so have fun."

Ian nodded and left. He was excited about going out to dinner with Charlie and then giving him a shooting lesson. He headed to his hotel so that he could shower and change clothes. Once in his hotel room he took a quick shower and changed into a pair of black slacks and a light blue polo shirt. He had some questions that only the Professor could answer and he was very much looking forward to those answers. He looked at the clock and saw that it was twenty to seven and decided that it was the perfect time to leave to head to get Charlie. He grabbed up his gun that was in its side holster, wallet, keys, and hotel room key and walked out of his hotel room. He made sure that the door to his room locked and then headed to his car for his drive to CalSci.

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Charlie sat back with a sigh in his office chair. Since Ian had dropped him off three hours ago, he had been hard at work grading and trying to work on the Sniper problem. He still had about an hour before Ian would be there to pick him up. He had decided that he wanted to do Italian instead of Greek so he let Ian know that he had changed his mind and got a response back telling him that, that was fine with the older man. He could admit even if only to himself that he was nervous about going out to dinner with the Sniper, but it was a good kind of nervous.

He stood up from his chair and stretched the kinks out of his back and shoulders that he was starting to feel. He walked over to his office door and locked it so that he could change without anyone trying to walk in on him. He grabbed the slacks and shirt that he had in his office and made quick work of changing into them. He was just glad that he had a pair of black slacks and a forest green shirt in his office because he normally didn't keep a spare change of clothes on hand.

Once he was satisfied that his clothes wasn't wrinkled he unlocked his office door and walked back to his desk and sat down. He figured that he might as well do some more work so that he just wouldn't be sitting around worrying about how tonight was going to go with him and Ian. He looked up when he heard his office door open and grinned when he saw Larry standing in the doorway. "What can I do for you, Larry?"

Larry walked into Charlie's office and stood in front of his friend's desk. "You are wearing a different outfit, Charles. Why are you wearing a different outfit?"

Charlie groaned because of course Larry would notice that he had changed clothes. "I have plans this evening, Larry, so I decided to change out of the clothes I wore today. Is there something that you need my help with?"

Larry shook his head and narrowed his eyes as he saw that his best friend was blushing lightly. "You have a date tonight, Charles! I was just coming to see how you were coming along with the work you were doing to help your brother."

Charlie shook his head. "I can't seem to get the equation right for some reason. There is something that I'm not seeing because it isn't adding up to give me a definite answer."

Larry nodded. "You really should try firing a gun or something, my friend. You need to be able to equate the human element into your equation if you want to find the answer that you are seeking. Not everything is just about scientific or mathematic variables."

Charlie smirked slightly. "I did think about that myself without having to have it pointed out to me for once, Larry. Actually, I'll be shooting a gun later tonight, but you are not to tell anyone because I don't need my dad or brother freaking out about the fact that I'm learning how to shoot a gun. I love my dad and Don, but they are way too overprotective of me when it comes to this stuff."

Larry narrowed his eyes and the he laughed as he shook his head. "The only way Don wouldn't know about you learning to shoot a gun is if you went to someone not on his team for lessons. Charles, you went to the sniper expert and asked him to teach you how to shoot a gun. I don't know whether to be shocked or laugh at your sneakiness. I have forgotten that you know how to be sneaky and evasive when you want to be. Very well, I shall leave you on your own for now and I'll see you tomorrow. I will expect a report from you on how well it went for you tonight, Charles."

Charlies rolled his eyes but smiled at his friend and mentor. "I'll be sure to let you know how things went tonight come tomorrow, Larry." He watched his friend leave and then sat back in seat with a chuckle escaping his lips. He had forgotten that Larry would be able to read him like an open book and just how supportive his friend and mentor could be when it came to something that he wanted to learn on his own.

He looked at the clock on his desk and realized that it was almost quarter til seven and knew that Ian would be there soon to pick him up for dinner. He packed everything up that he wanted to take home with him and just finished when a throat was cleared from his office doorway. He turned his head and smiled when he saw Ian standing there. He had to bite his tongue for a second to keep from blurting out that he thought Ian looked hot in the black slacks and sky-blue shirt that the older man was wearing. "Good evening, Ian. If you give me just one minute if that I'll be ready to go."

Ian walked further into Charlie's office and smiled at the younger man. "That is fine, Professor. I know that I'm a few minutes early." He looked around the office and couldn't help but laugh because it was pretty much just what he had pictured Charlie's office would look like in his mind. He looked at Charlie when he felt the other man tap him on the shoulder. "Are you ready, Professor?"

Charlie blushed and nodded. He followed Ian out of his office and then out of CalSci to the man's car all the while trying to get his heartrate back to normal range. There was just something about the way the older man called him Professor that made his thoughts go to places they shouldn't go especially on a first date. Once in the car he looked at Ian with a smirk. "I made reservations for us at Il Fornaio – Cucina Italiana in Beverly Hills. I could have chosen the Pasadena location, but knowing my luck my brother or father would show up there since they do like Italian food. And please call me Charlie like I told you before."

Ian laughed and then smirked. "I could picture that happening, Charlie. I'll try to remember to call you Charlie, but I have to admit that I like calling you Professor. Il Fornaio does have good food so it was a good choice of restaurant. I have eaten there with some of my extended family members in Las Vegas."

Charlie sighed in relief. "I'm glad that I picked a restaurant that you wouldn't mind eating at, Ian. I went through several choices before I decided on Il Fornaio and I chose them because I've eaten there several times with some friends and knew that their food and service was above board."

Ian nodded as he made his way to Beverly Hills. Luckily for him he knew where that particular restaurant was located having drove by it several times in the many times he had been in L.A. "I don't blame you for checking them out before eating and/or after eating there. It is always a good thing to make sure that everything is alright with a particular favorite place to go so that you know you will be safe and/or at least in a familiar place."

Charlie huffed out a laugh. "I got into the habit in college on checking places out if I knew it was going to be a place that I would frequent. It never hurts to vary the way a person does things, but if a person doesn't vary things then it is a good thing to know about a location and things like that."

Ian bit back what he wanted to say because he thought it would be better to talk about over dinner. "I do believe that our dinner conversation will be fun and enlightening, Professor."

Charlie knew exactly what Ian was thinking about and said, "I have to agree with you there, Ian. I'm sure that we both have a lot of questions and observations about one another."

Ian nodded just as he pulled in and parked at the restaurant. "That is true, Charlie."

Charlie laughed and opened up the car door once Ian had shut the car off. He got out and met Ian at the back of the car. He took the hand Ian was holding out to him and let the older man lead him into the restaurant. He couldn't wait for their dinner conversation.

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Charlie smirked at the woman that was doing the hosting duty because he saw the way she eyed Ian up and down. He cleared his throat when she wouldn't look at him and then frowned at her when she finally did look at him. "If you look at your list, I'm pretty sure that you will find a reservation for two under the name Eppes. Also, I don't think that it is polite to eye a person's date up and down like they are a piece of meat."

The woman blushed and then glared at Charlie. She thought she had the upper hand because she wasn't even going to look at the reservation list. "I don't see your name on the list, so you won't be eating here. I can eye anyone I choose too, and I don't see how he can be with you anyways. We don't serve your kind here so kindly leave."

Charlie's eyes flashed with anger even as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. He wasn't going to allow the woman to get away with that. He knew the owner and he knew for a fact that a lot of gay couples ate at the restaurant with no problem. That is one of the reasons that he loved eating at any and all Il Fornaio. Once he had his cell phone in his hand he dialed a number and waited on the person to answer it. "Luca, it's Charlie Eppes. I hate to bother you since I know this is one of your busiest nights, but I'm at your Beverly Hills location and the hostess refuses to take my date and I to a table."

Luca Belmonte swore. "It just happens that I'm at the Beverly Hills location tonight, Charlie, so give me a few minutes and I'll come seat you myself. I'm sorry that Amanda is giving you and your date a problem. You can believe me that after this she won't have a job anymore because you aren't the first person I have heard complain about her and I know that it's because your date happens to be a man since I know you very well."

Charlie laughed. "You would be correct in that, Luca. Ian and I will wait on you off to the right side of the hostess stand. I know that you are normally busy especially on this night, but I didn't want to cause a scene like I could have."

Luca chuckled. "Oh, none of my staff would have batted an eye especially since my restaurants are known to be one of the few restaurants that same sex couples can go on a date at without people giving them a hard time. I'm leaving my office now, Charlie, so I'll be with you within a minute."

Charlie nodded and then put his cell phone back in his pocket after he ended the call. He let Ian guide him over to the right side and finally looked at the woman whose nametag did read Amanda. He smirked at her with narrowed eyes. "Luca is on his way out to seat me personally. It does help that I'm good friends with the owner of this restaurant and the fact that I'm a silent partner."

Ian laughed as he glared at the woman who had paled. He was pissed that the woman had the nerve to try to ruin his date with the Professor. "You really should work on your people skills, lady. It clearly says on the sign on your podium that everyone is welcome here regardless of who they are with. I don't care if you are just jealous that Charlie is here with me because I did see and feel the look you were giving me or if you don't like the fact that he is on a date with me. As my date told you it isn't polite to eye someone like they're a piece of meat when they are clearly here on a date with someone."

He looked her up and down as he sneered at her. "I wouldn't look at you twice even if I wasn't here on a date with someone. I can't stand a woman or a man for that fact who thinks they are God's gift to men and/or women. I prefer someone who is real and doesn't look down on others."

Amanda paled even further but rallied as she contemptuously looked Charlie up and down. She didn't realize that the owner was behind her as she snarled, "Am I to believe that the type of person you would actually date is the geek in front of you? I can't believe that you would rather be with someone like him when I'm more than willing to spend a night with you. I mean look at him and then look at me. You honestly can't be gay!"

Ian's eyes hardened as he wrapped an arm around Charlie's waist when he felt the younger man stiffen in shock and surprise beside him. "I don't give a flying fuck what you think, lady, but what I can tell you is that the man standing beside me is worth a million of you. You aren't as good looking as you seem to think and personally, I think you are ugly on both the outside and inside. I'm not wasting anymore of my precious time on you when I could be spending it with the man that I'm here with and just for your information I'd rather date a dog than ever date you. I happen to think the man I'm here with is one hell of a looker and if he is a geek then yeah, I'd rather date him than your stupid ass."

Charlie couldn't help but chuckle before he stood on his tip toes and kissed Ian's cheek. Once he was back on flat footed ground, he looked over Amanda's shoulder at Luca. "Luca, will you show Ian and me to a table before you deal with your obnoxious employee please? I really would like to get on with my date."

Luca smiled at Charlie and nodded. "I'll be more than happy to seat you, Charlie. I'll come talk to you and your date after you eat your dinner. I'm sorry for the trouble that my employee has caused you and your date."

Charlie shook his head. "It isn't your fault, Luca. After all you and I both know that bigots are everywhere and that sometimes you won't know about a person's bigotry until it slaps you in the face."

Luca sighed. "I know what you mean, Charlie." He turned to look at Amanda and glared. "You will go to my office, Miss Raymond, and after I seat my friend and his date, I'll be in to talk to you about your actions here this evening. Pauline is just waiting on me to give her a signal and she'll be taking over your duties this evening and probably for the foreseeable future."

He stepped back and waited on his soon to be ex hostess to walk past him before he signaled a woman he knew loved to act as hostess. Once she was in place, he then led Charlie and Ian to Charlie's favorite table which he had made sure stayed free once he saw that Charlie had made a reservation. He smiled at Charlie and Ian after they were seated and handed them the menus. "Charlie, you will have your favorite waitress this evening and she'll be out in a few minutes to see if you are ready to order. I'll be back to talk to you and your handsome date before you leave tonight. Enjoy your dinner and once again I'm sorry for what happened."

Charlie rolled his eyes. "I told you that it wasn't your fault, Luca. Now, before you go to deal with that woman I'd like you to meet my date Agent Ian Edgerton. Ian, I'd like you to meet Luca Belmonte whom I have known for close to ten years now."

Ian nodded at the man. "It's nice to meet you, Sir."

Luca waved a hand. "Call me Luca, Ian, because any friend of Charlie's is a friend of mine. I'll let you two get to your date and see you later."

Charlie huffed but laughed as he watched Luca hurry away. He turned to look at Ian with a slight blush on his face. "This is the first time I've ever came here with someone other than work colleagues, so Luca is ecstatic. I'm sorry for what went down, Ian. I wasn't expecting that to happen and I can't believe how she acted."

Ian reached across the table and grabbed Charlie's hands in both of his. "Professor, what happened is in no way your fault or mine. You had every right to call that woman on how she was acting before you even told her we had a reservation. If she had been looking at you like that instead of me, I would have done just what you did because she was being very rude. Now, forget about it because I'd like to enjoy our date and then our shooting lessons."

Charlie grinned. "Deal, Ian. So, how long have you been a sniper?"

Ian laughed. "I joined the Army when I was eighteen and have been a sniper since shortly before my twentieth birthday. A lot of what I did in the Army and even since I discharged from the Army is classified although I have a feeling you would be able to find out because of your security clearance level. How is it that your brother doesn't realize just how high of a security clearance you have, Charlie? As soon as I heard your name from your brother's lips, I knew who you were and some of the stuff that you have been involved in work wise."

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Charlie shrugged. "I never let on to Don that I have done work for several different agencies and/or law enforcement offices. I don't think that it has crossed his mind yet just how high my security clearance must be for me to be able to work with the CDC. I mean I hinted that I have done work in the past for the NSA, but I think he thought that I was kidding and I never corrected him. There is a reason why the Assistant Director of the FBI didn't even bat an eye at me consulting on cases for Don. I also consult on cases for several other teams but once again Don doesn't know or realize that and I think it could be because he doesn't want to know or realize."

He took in a deep breath and let it out. "For several years Don and I didn't talk much and because of that we're not as close as we could or should be, Ian. Don didn't like the fact that I graduated at the same time of his and he hated that he was compare to me a lot of the time when we were younger. I love my brother but until he can actually see me for who I am and not just what I can do I don't think he will ever realize just how much of my life I have spent helping others because of how good I am with numbers."

Ian frowned. "Charlie, I don't think that it is that he hasn't realized just how much of a help you are, but that he doesn't want to because then he will have to admit to himself that he has missed a big piece of your life. Even with just seeing you and Don together today I could tell that he loves you and is very protective of you. If he didn't believe in what you do, then he wouldn't ask for you to help him with his cases. I've heard a lot about the stuff you pull off when you work with a certain group of people."

Charlie blushed but before he could respond their waitress walked up and said, "Hello, my name is Rose, and I'll be your waitress tonight. Are you ready to order or do you need a few minutes yet?"

Ian realized he hadn't looked at his menu yet and quickly did so. Once he knew what he wanted he looked at Charlie. "Are you ready to order, Charlie?"

Charlie smiled at Ian and then Rose. "Good evening, Rose. We will share the Bruschetta Al Pomodora and I will have that followed by the Lasagna Ferrarese please. I will also have a glass of Pepsi."

Rose nodded and then looked at Ian. "What can I get for you, Sir?"

Ian shook his head. "Since Charlie and I will be sharing the Bruschetta I will also have the Lasagna Ferrarese with a Pepsi, please."

Rose nodded again. "Your food should be out within fifteen minutes then. I'll bring the Bruschetta out within five minutes. Enjoy your date."

Charlie snickered. "At least she kept it light on the teasing. I've known Rose for three years now. She was actually a student of mine at one time."

Ian smirked. "So, if I wanted any embarrassing stories about you I just need to ask her then?"

Charlie snorted. "She would probably tell you if you asked. Do you have any family?"

Ian smiled slightly. "I have two brothers, a sister, my mom, dad, and several cousins, aunts, and uncles. We have two big reunions just a year since we're spread all over the place. What about you? Do you have any family other than Don and your father?"

Charlie shrugged his shoulders. "I don't think so, but I don't know for sure. Dad doesn't really talk about his family or even moms family for some reason. I've always wondered if I had aunts, uncles, or cousins out there, but I never pushed the issue with dad. There are times that I wonder if I have other family out there, but I'm content not knowing unless it comes to the point that I need to know if that makes sense. However, I have also thought about looking into if I have other family on my own without having to go to dad. I guess I'm too curious for my own good."

Ian nodded thoughtfully and then laughed slightly. "I can understand your point, Charlie, but if I was in your position I don't think I'd be able to stop myself from pushing the issue on if I have other family out there that I don't know about. Then again with my job profession I'm not one that likes surprises all that much or often. Don't get me wrong I like surprises when it comes from a person I'm seeing as long as that surprise can't come back and bite me in the ass. It's just that I can't take the chance of an unknown family member popping up and causing me problems in any way, shape, or form. If you decide that you want to look into things let me know and I'll do what I can to help you out. I know that you probably don't and won't want to go to Don to look into possible family members if you find any, Charlie, and I don't even need to know you to see that."

Charlie blushed. "I hate having to go to Don about some things because he tends to always have an opinion on what I'm doing or not doing. I really do love Don, but he is always so protective of me that it drives me completely insane. It is almost like he forgets that I lived away from home for several years and that he wasn't around to keep an eye on me or the things I got into on my own if that makes sense. I mean there is a crap load of things that he doesn't know about me and truthfully, I'm glad that he doesn't know just what I got up to in the years that I was away from home. That is one thing I loved about my mom because she never judged me for the things I did or said when she was around. She knew just what I was getting up to and never judged me or looked down on me because of some of the stuff I pulled."

Ian smirked. "I'm guessing that your mom realized that you knew what you were doing and if you didn't then you would learn a lesson from whatever it is you were doing. If I'm not mistaken your security clearance is way higher than your brother's is and I'm not sure how he hasn't realized that because even I knew that before I met you for the first time today. Believe it or not, Professor, several people talk about you and not just in the Bureau. Some of the stuff you have been involved in was risky to your life."

Charlie shrugged but waited on the waitress to put the Bruschetta on the table. "Thank you." He watched her walk away before he turned his head to look back at Ian who was waiting patiently for him to respond. "I know that some of the stuff that I have gotten up to over the years have been risky and not just because the stuff has risked my life, Ian. I got up to what I did because I believed in what I was doing and I'd do it all over again if I was asked. Regardless what some people believe life is not without risk. Don would rather have me safe and not be at risk, but everyone is at risk daily from everyday things because those things can harm a person just as much as anything else."

Ian smiled slightly. "As we have learned with every case that we have had in the past and especially this one it doesn't matter what a person is doing if their time is up then their time is up. I get that Don is protective of you, but I think that he takes it to an extreme which he shouldn't. You could walk across the street and get hit by a car and die just as easy as you could be targeted by someone from the help you've been giving him on his cases. There are no guarantees in life so you have to live it the best way that you can, and I don't think that it is fun to sit by and let life pass you by."

Charlie laughed lightly. "It isn't any fun living life completely safe because then you miss out on some of the best things. So, how did you know that my security clearance is higher than Don's, Ian?"

Ian smirked. "Believe it or not a couple of the cases you have worked on the past is used in a class or two at Quantico now. Well the pieces that aren't classified are used. You have had some interesting cases and/or projects that you have been involved in, Professor, and I have to admit that from what little I knew about you from them that I wanted to get to know you more. I actually jumped at the chance to come out here. When Don requested me for this case, I knew you and I would cross paths. I was actually surprised when you told me that you didn't know how to shoot a rifle or use a gun."

Charlie blushed. "I know how to use a gun, but I have never once fired a rifle. I wanted an excuse more than anything to see you outside of the office and I wasn't sure if you'd say yes if I straight up asked you out on a date. Besides with your job I didn't want to take the chance that if you did happen to like men to out you."

Ian laughed as he shook his head. "Everybody that I work with at the Bureau knows that I'm bi-sexual and if others find out I don't care. I'm not tooting my own horn but there aren't many people who mess with me because of my reputation throughout the Bureau. I really don't give a shit what people think of me because I'm comfortable with the way and who I am if that makes sense. Those that are important to me rather they be friends or family already know everything that they should and/or need to know so I don't care what anyone else thinks of me. If I don't know them then their opinion means jack shit to me and they can take a flying leap off a cliff or bridge for all I care."

Charlie snorted and then laughed. "I can just see you telling somebody that to their face, Ian. Have you in the past told someone that or something close to that before? It's just that the way you said it made me think that you have."

Ian grinned and nodded at Charlie's question and comments. He waited until their waitress put their food down on their table and walked away before he said, "I have told someone that before and I've told several others different variations of what I said to you because some people are just stupid and/or too idiotic to get it the first few times around. People are going to think what they think, Charlie, and you can't make them think something else. The thing you must remember is that you need to be true to yourself and not the way that other people want you to be. You are a grown man so you can do what you want, be with who you want, and be who you want because in reality you are the only one who gets a say in those things. You can't live your life and be someone you're not because all it is going to do is breed hate and there is enough hate in our world."

Charlie thought about what Ian just said to him as he took a bite of his Lasagna Ferrarese and chewed it. He knew that was Ian said was the truth and ran a hand through his hair. "I know that what you said is the truth, Ian, but not everybody thinks like you and even I do for that matter. Some people place others in boxes and/or pedestals and then get pissed when that person doesn't either fit in the box they were placed in or falls off the pedestal they were placed on. My dad knows that I'm bi-sexual but I'm pretty sure that my brother doesn't. I also know and understand that one of these days I'm going to have to sit Don down and explain things to him that I never wanted him to know because I was protecting him or at least trying to protect him. I guess in some ways I'm just like Don because we're both protective of one another."

Ian finished chewing the bite of Lasagna Ferrarese that he had in his mouth and took a sip of his Pepsi. "You and Don love one another, Charlie. There is no doubt in my mind that once you do sit him down and talk that he's going to blow his gasket because you're his kid brother and it's hardwired into him to protect you. He'll be pissed and hurt that you didn't tell him about things. However, once he calms down and thinks about it for a while, he'll understand because he has done the exact same thing you did, and he knows it."

Charlie sighed and ate several bites of his food as he let Ian's words run through his mind. He too knew that Don would be pissed but there was nothing he could about it not that he would if he could. Everything he has done in the past and would probably do in the future has made him the man he was, and he liked who he was. He refused to change for anyone because he knew where that would lead. He has had more than one relationship turn sour because he refused to change who he was or what he did. He looked at Ian and smiled. "I should tell you that I have had more than one relationship go bad because I refused to change who I am and/or how I did things. If I'm working on something I get lost in my head and forget to do things like eat, sleep, and even sometimes shower. I tend to forget things I'm supposed to remember and/or do if I'm working on something that has me enraptured with it. I am who I am for the good or bad of it but I'm happy with who and how I am. Ian, if that is a deal breaker then you need to let me know now. As much as I can be clueless about things a lot of times, I can see myself falling for you given half the chance and I don't want to end up hurt."

Ian sat back in his chair and looked across the table at Charlie. He could see himself falling for the Professor if he let himself. He thought for a couple minutes if he wanted to take the chance and knew that he would regret it if he didn't take the risk. He finished his dinner and then softly smiled at his date. He loved seeing the other man blush. "Professor, if I didn't think that I could handle going out with you I wouldn't have agreed to tonight. You're not the only one who gets lost in their head. I'm away more than I'm home because of my job and I refuse to quit it because I love doing what I do. I love helping others and making sure that people are as safe as they can be. We've both seen and done things that other people haven't, and I honestly think that will make our relationship easier. You have to understand though that there are times I won't be available to go out and/or even talk on the phone because of a job that I'm on or going on. I don't really have a home base and I want us to take this slow even if my mind and body are telling me something different. I propose that we take it from here and see if we can make it work. When I'm not on a job I'll do my best to come to L.A. so that we can go on dates or something. Deal?"

Charlie nodded as he wiped his mouth with the napkin by his plate. "You have yourself a deal, Ian. Now, we have to decide who is paying for dinner tonight so that we can head to the gun range."

Ian laughed and then held his hand out for the check that the waitress had in her hand as she walked up to their table. He smirked at the look on Charlie's face as pulled out his wallet and then put enough money in the folder to cover dinner and a ten-dollar tip for the waitress. He then watched the waitress walk away from them for the last time that night. "You really need to get used to knowing what's going on all around you, Professor. I saw her out of the corner of my eye with what looked like the check in her hand. I'll let you pay for dinner the next time we go out to eat."

Charlie rolled his eyes as he stood up at the same time Ian did. "Yes, you will let me pay next time, Ian. I should have been the one paying for dinner tonight since I asked you out."

Ian shook his head as he placed a hand on Charlie's lower back and guided him out of the restaurant. He didn't care who saw what he did or what they thought about what he did. He liked the feel of Charlie's back under his hand. He liked the feel of Charlie period and he wasn't not going to touch the younger man. He unlocked his car once they were near it and then waited until Charlie opened the passenger side car door before he walked around the car and got in on the driver's side. He knew that Charlie was waiting on him to respond but he wanted to get them on the road first. He started the car and pulled out of the parking spot and then the parking lot before he shot a look at his date and then looked back at the road. "You may have asked me out but I wanted to pay for it, Charlie. We can take turns paying for our dates if you want, but I enjoyed our talk over dinner and wanted to show you that I appreciate that you're willing to give us a try. Now, when we get to the gun range, I want you to follow my exact directions because handling a rifle is different than handling a handgun in a lot of ways."

Charlie nodded. "I agree with everything you said, Ian, and I liked our talk over dinner as well. I appreciate that you are willing to teach me how to shoot a rifle. I really do think that it will help me whatever it is I'm missing in my equation to help us find this guy and stop him before he kills somebody else."

Ian shot a brief look at Charlie and smiled and then looked back at the road once again. He focused on driving and made small talk for the rest of the way to the range. He really couldn't wait to teach Charlie how to shoot a rifle because he had a feeling that there weren't many things that the Math Professor didn't know how to do when it came to his line of work.

Chapter Text

Ian looked around the parking lot after he parked in surprise. "There sure are a lot of people here for this time of evening. I'm surprised that they are as busy as they are."

Charlie shrugged. "If I remember what I read from someone I know in another branch of law enforcement the NCIS team from Quantico and one of the BAU teams is here in L.A. for the next couple of days. I actually have lunch plans tomorrow with Tony which is a good thing because I'm pretty sure by now he needs time decompress from his so-called teammates."

Ian frowned as he got out of the car and walked to the trunk where he kept his rifle. He looked at Charlie with a raised eyebrow as he pulled his rifle and ammo out and shut the trunk back up. "Why do you say it like that, Professor? Do his teammates cause problems or something?"

Charlie sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Tony has more than one degree, but unless you don't go looking into his actual educational background only one degree is registered in the NCIS system because of a lot of undercover work that he does. The degree that is on his computer files is his Physical Education degree and his two teammates look down on him because of that degree. Now, what you need to know is that what I know isn't all from Tony himself but from other people who also work with him even if they aren't on his team which happens to be the MCRT out of NCIS Headquarters. From some of my other sources I know that his junior teammate is constantly throwing up the fact that he has degrees from MIT and John Hopkins in Tony's face. The funny thing is Tony has 3 P.H.D's, 4 Masters, and 2 bachelor's degrees along with his Phys. Ed. Degree and the colleges vary from Ohio State to Harvard to Princeton, to Berkley, and to UCLA."

He snorted. "Tony loves learning, and a lot of his degrees help him in his chosen field and even the degrees that don't help in his chosen field still help him if that makes sense, Ian. I hate that his two teammates treat him like he doesn't know what he's doing when he's smarter than both of them combined. I have finally convinced him at least to stop using his masks at work unless he's undercover. He has an eidetic memory, can read I don't know how many words a minute, and has a high IQ even if he doesn't advertise those things. He graduated early from high school like I did and went straight to college because he didn't want to have to spend time with his sperm donor. Luckily for Tony his trusts funds were worded the way they were, or his father would have stolen his money from him."

Ian's eyes flashed. "Well if your friend happens to be here then we can help him blow off some steam, Charlie. Honestly, by the sound of it his two teammates need their asses kicked and if I see and/or hear them treating him in a way that they shouldn't be I'll be more than happy to kick their asses. Now, are you reading for your shooting lesson?"

Charlie nodded and followed Ian into the shooting range. He signed in with Ian and shot a smirk at the person behind the counter. He then let Ian guide him into the firing range after grabbing the earmuff's so that he wouldn't go deaf. He couldn't help but grin when he saw just who was inside the firing the range. He grabbed Ian's hand without thinking and pulled him over to where two of his best friend's happened to be standing. "Tony! Spencer! I can't believe you are both here."

Tony chuckled as he looked at Charlie and then the man who was standing slightly behind his friend. "Charlie! Now, what in the world are you doing here at a shooting range? I know that you know how to shoot a gun even if you don't like to."

Charlie blushed even as he smirked. "I may know how to shoot a handgun, Tony, but I have no clue how to shoot a rifle so Ian here is going to teach me. Tony, Spencer, I'd like you to meet Agent Ian Edgerton. Ian, meet Agent Tony DiNozzo of NCIS and Agent Spencer Reid of the BAU with the FBI."

Ian nodded at both. "Good to meet you both. Although, I have to admit about knowing about you both from your work and your bosses who I do know. I also happen to know Sam and Callen as well. What are you all doing here?"

Spencer huffed. "We're working on a case together but needed some downtime so Callen and Hanna offered to bring us here so that we could get rid of some tension. Charlie, just why are you wanting to learn how to shoot a rifle? Even I don't know how to shoot a rifle."

Charlie rolled his eyes. "Spence, I love you like a brother, but you can't even shoot a handgun. You really need to let me help you while you're here since Ian is teaching me how to shoot a riffle. As for why I'm wanting to learn I'm working a case with Don and I need to understand the mechanics of sniping."

Tony smirked. "I'll help Spencer out while Edgerton is teaching you, Charlie. So, is he just teaching you how to shoot a rifle or is this an actual date?"

Ian laughed. "I like you, DiNozzo. Charlie and I are on a date which he haggled with me for technically. He wanted me to teach him how to shoot a rifle and threw in dinner. After I agreed we decided that this was a date. We've already been to dinner which is a good thing since we ran into you guys here. He was just telling me that he would be having lunch with you tomorrow. I do have a question for you if you don't mind me asking."

Tony shook his head and smiled. He ignored Tim and Ziva who were moving closer to them along with Sam Hanna, G Callen, Marty Deeks, Kensi Blye, Gibbs, and Hotch. "Ask away, Edgerton. If I don't want to answer, I'll tell you."

Ian nodded because he understood where Tony was coming from. "Are you the same Tony DiNozzo who wrote the paper on different techniques used for shooting a perp after you took down the head mobster in Baltimore?"

Tony blushed slightly. "I am. After I took down Mike Macaluso one of his men decided a week later to try to take me out. Unfortunately for him he has never seen a movie that has people making impossible shots all the time. I ended up taking the man down with a shot that I fired while hanging upside down and I hit exactly where I was aiming at which was between the man's eyes. I wrote the paper after an Agent I met during the takedown of Macaluso asked me to because he thought it would be a good thing to show that there is more than one way to take a shot."

He smirked. "I did enjoy writing that paper and now a lot of Law Enforcement Agencies and Police Precincts use it as required reading when their cadets go through their training. I enjoyed writing about trick shots and shots thought impossible to take. I got into trying impossible shots after I watched several movies that impossible shots were taken in. I always had fun seeing what worked and wouldn't work. I still do it in my free time just because it helps to relax me when I need to unwind. I'm sure that you understand that."

Ian smirked. "I understand completely what you mean, DiNozzo. More often than not you can find me on a firing range when I'm not working just because I find it relaxes me. Any chance while you're here you will have time to do a short class about different shooting techniques? I'm sure that the AD here would love it if you did."

Tony shot a look at Gibbs and once the older man nodded at him, he looked back at Ian. "Let me know when and where and I'll make sure that I show up. I may only be able to do an hour though. It really depends how fast we tie up the case that we're working on. Now, before I let you two get on with your shooting lessons, Charlie, are you doing a class on Applied Mathematics for LEO Dummies anytime soon? I feel the need to lecture a class full of people."

Charlie threw his head back and laughed. "Actually, I have a class scheduled three days from now for just that reason, Tony. Would you like to help teach it?"

Tony grinned. "I'd love to. We've been swamped with back to back cases, so I haven't had time to do one at Georgetown in the last three months. After our case wraps up here, I'm scheduled to take a two-week vacation which I was planning on spending here anyways."

Charlie smiled and then leaned into Ian. "We'd better get this shooting lesson done with, Ian. I'm sure that Tony and Spencer won't mind waiting on us and then we can go get drinks afterwards."

Spencer shook his head. "While we're waiting on you, I'll have Tony give me some pointers. After all he's been wanting to for a long time now, but neither of us have had the time to get together."

Charlie snorted. "I understand how that is, Spence. We'll talk again here in a little bit then."

Ian smirked at Gibbs and Hotch who was looking at Charlie, Tony, and Spencer in surprise. "Come along, Professor, I can't wait to teach you how to shoot a rifle."

Charlie blushed and ignored the laughter behind him as he let Ian lead him over to an open lane. He watched carefully as Ian took his rifle out of its case and set it up. He then put on the earmuffs so that he wouldn't go deaf when firing the rifle. Luckily, he could still hear Ian when he quietly talked him through what to do, when to do it, and finally how to do it. He frowned when he missed the first six shots that he fired and looked up at Ian. "I don't understand what I'm doing wrong."

Ian shook his head and couldn't stop himself from bending down and kissing Charlie. When he pulled back from the kiss he smiled. "Try what is called an empty lung technique. What this means is that you need to breathe slowly to relax. Focus on your target. As you breathe naturally, and you are at complete exhale, pause when your lungs are empty and squeeze the trigger. If you hit the target this time, I'll give you a kiss that will rock your world."

Charlie stuck his tongue out at Ian and then focused back on the target. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He repeated the process twice more before he squeezed the trigger. He couldn't contain a shout of victory when the bullet hit the target right in the bullseye. He handed the rifle to Ian and stood up. He shook his hands out and was surprised to see that they were shaking. He knew why they were shaking so ignored them in favor of looking at Ian with a raised eyebrow. "I do believe you promised me a kiss that would rock my world."

Ian laughed and finished putting his rifle in its case. He then pulled Charlie into his arms and took the younger man's lips in a fierce kiss. He groaned when Charlie's mouth opened under his and thrust his tongue into Charlie's mouth. He deepened the kiss when he heard Charlie moan and only broke the kiss when he could tell that they were both needing to breathe. "Did I rock your world, Professor?"

Charlie gasped out a laugh as he tried to catch his breath. He leaned his head on Ian's chest and relaxed into the older man's body. He sucked in several breaths and then slammed his lips back onto Ian's. He couldn't believe how good it felt to kiss the other man. He only tore his mouth away from Ian's when he needed to breathe again and when the laughter behind him finally registered. He fought back a blush even as he turned and smiled sheepishly at those gathered several feet behind him and Ian. "Oops. I kind of forgot that we weren't alone."

Ian laughed and kissed Charlie once more before he gently pushed him towards Tony and Spencer. He really did enjoy kissing the Professor and couldn't wait to do it again. He quickly made plans with Hotch and Gibbs as where to meet while his date was busy whispering to Tony and Spencer and then he grabbed his date and led him away. "They're joining us at a bar I know of, Professor."

Charlie just nodded and let Ian lead him out of the shooting range and to the car. He was excited that their night wasn't over yet because he really didn't want it to be over.