Disclaimer: I don't own Adventure Inc or any of the characters from the show. I'm not making any money from this, I just really like writing and I loved the show.

A/N: This is one that I've had hanging around for a while, and was inspired to finish over the last couple of days. This is a complete fic. I know that it's short, but in was in response to a challenge offered at gabesadventures in yahoo groups(I haven't spelled that out in a while so I may have gotten it wrong). Aimless was the one who offered the challenge. It took me over a year to finish it, sorry! But babies take up a lot of time. Well enjoy.

Branded

"Why do you wear that thing all the time, anyway?" Mac's voice echoed in his mind as he leaned his elbows on his knees. Dropping his head into hands, he thought about how he should even go about answering her. He knew that she only asked because he refused to let her take it off to treat the bad cut he'd received while repairing the engines, again. He knew that flash in her blue eyes all too well. She was more than just curious. He knew that she wouldn't stop asking until she got an answer that satisfied her. At the time she asked he wasn't sure how to tell her why the thick leather band adorning his wrist was such a part of him, so he never answered her. He merely asked her to bandage the wound as best she could around the wristband.Truthfully he did want to tell her, but he didn't want her to become angry over something that was in the past. He knew that she would. He had become angry over some of the events of her past, granted many of the people behind the events had come back into her life and caused more trouble than he ever wanted to be in. Sharing the story with her would help him to move farther past the pain he'd suffered not that long ago. The band had been his mother's idea. She hated what was under the band more than he did, more than his father, even.

Gabe could feel the last of the day's sunlight beating down against his back as he gingerly began to peel back the tape and gauze Mac'd put on his right arm a few hours ago. The edges of the wound were slightly pink and sore, but no longer bleeding. The nearly four inch cut looked much worse than it was, he thought as he let the soiled bandages fall to the deck of the boat. It would heal. Still staring at his wrist, Gabe thought about what the mark under the band would look like now. He so rarely took the thing off that he'd almost forgotten what it looked like. Slowly he undid the buckles and straps that held the band securely in place. Laying the strip of leather across his leg, Gabe stared at the white skin that was now exposed.

Staring back at him from the paled strip of skin was the mark that he'd been trying nearly ten years to forget. And for a little while he'd managed to remove it, if only in his mind. Gently the fingers of his other hand began to trace the lines of the raised skin. First they traced the M that was in the center of the circle, and then they traced the R that overlapped the M.

"Gabe," a voice said behind him, but he didn't hear it; he just continued to trace the letters that were etched in his skin. "Gabe?" It was louder this time a worried tone carrying through the air.

"Hmm?" He finally responded without looking up from the pale white skin that mocked him.

"Are you all right?" It was Mac. He could feel her blue eyes on his back.

"Not even close, but I'll let you know," he said with a slight smile. Not quite ready to share the mark or the story behind it with her, Gabe reached for the band and started to put it back on.

"You took the bandage off." She seized his slender wrist before he had the chance to even really get the band done up. He watched in horror as her eyes moved past the fresh newly scabbed wound to the small round, slightly raised mark that was dead center of his wrist. Rage and sympathy filled her blue eyes as she realized what the mark was. A brand. Someone had branded him. Locking her eyes with his horror stricken hazel eyes, she let go of his wrist. "Who did this?"

"Don't panic, Mac," he said, once again strapping the leather around his slender wrist, "it was a long time ago."

"I can see that. Who did it?"

"Only if you promise that it stays between us. I don't want Judson treating me like more of a little kid than he already does."

"Scouts honor," she said holding up her hand.

"Which scouts, the boys or the girls?"

"Very funny." She shot him a dirty look and smiled. "On with the story."

"All right. I was a senior in high school . . ."

1996

With quick paces Gabe walked from the stone face of the old building he'd grown to hate. It wasn't his first choice for his high school education, but being who his father was he had no other choice. Hating the school that he'd been attending for the last three and half years was only half the reason why he was walking fast, it was spring break and he had a weeks worth of dates and parties to go to. And tonight was the night that he had a date with none other than Karen Reynolds, only the daughter of his father's political enemy. There was no way that he could resist it. The way that he saw it there were two bonus' to going on a date with her, one was that she was one of the hotter girls in school and the other was that it would royally piss off his dad.Pulling up to the tall iron gate that covered the edge of grounds, Gabe pushed the security button and waited for someone to answer.

"Name?" Barked a voice through the small speaker box.

"Gabriel Patterson." He returned the curtness of the voice.

The gate suddenly buzzed and jumped to life. Not waiting for the gate to fully open Gabe drove through as the massive pieces of iron widened the gap between each other. The closer that his Mustang got to the house the more he noticed that the place was almost too quiet for his liking. Karen had told him that there would be a party going on in the main part of the house but that they would have full use of upstairs.

Parking the car he pushed the feeling of something being wrong to the side.

The warm cool air of spring surrounded him as he crossed the driveway to the pillars of the front porch. With a hesitation he was unfamiliar with Gabe reached his fisted hand out to rap on the ornate oak and leaded glass door. Perhaps Karen was wrong about the day of her father's party, he thought knocking loudly on the solid wood door. Or maybe I am.

Silently the door opened before him. He could feel the sentiment of foreboding return much more strongly as he stared into the darkness that lay beyond the massive oak door. The elaborate marble tiles of the foyer weren't as inviting as he remembered them being from past visits he'd had to this house. He couldn't shake how odd it was that there was no light anywhere to be seen in the house. Not in any of the windows and not from any of the rooms closest to the front door.

"Karen?" he called out into the crisp silence that had greeted him. Wanting to go and at the same time wanting to stay, Gabe took a few tentative steps into the foyer. There was still time to leave if no one were home or if this was some kind of practical joke being played by a political rival of his father. "Hello."

The dark silence greeting his every sound echoed eerily off the marble and empty halls. The black holes that were the surrounding rooms seemed to be watching and waiting for him. He couldn't help but feel foolish and as though he'd been played. Turning sharply, Gabe headed back for the open door and the un-claustrophobic dark of the outside.

Passing by what he remembered to be the living room, Gabe could've sworn that he saw something move in the darkness. Shaking his head, he continued to the door.

Just as he was about step through the threshold and into the safety of the outside the large oak door was slammed shut. "What the hell!" he shouted at the robed figure standing in front of the now closed door. What appeared to be a smile crept across the heavily shadowed face of the hooded figure, as Gabe instinctively took a step in the opposite direction of where the figure stood.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a light in a room somewhere behind him was flicked on, revealing more robed figures to his left. With the light behind him he could see that the figure blocking his only escape route was none other than Karen's father, Mason Reynolds. The smile that adorned the man's face told Gabe that he'd been set up. He was trapped.

"What the hell is going on?" He forced his stiff legs to move him closer to Mason and the front door, his only way out.

"You'll find out soon enough," Mason's cold voice said, giving a nod to someone standing in the shadows behind Gabe.

Just as he willed his legs to take another step toward Mason and his only escape route, Gabe felt thick fingers wrap themselves tightly around his wrists and begin to pull him back. Fear gripped him as the strong force holding him pulled him farther away from the front door and any chance for freedom.

"What the hell's going on!" He demanded as he was dragged toward a small room near the back of the house. "Let go of me!" For a moment Gabe ceased his struggles and shouting as he took in the unfamiliar room. Though he'd only been in the house a couple times before, he didn't remember this room. How'd they keep it hidden? he thought craning his head around as best could to take in the brown painted room. "What the hell?" he whispered spying a butcher's block table near the back wall of the room.

"Tie him down," Mason said coming into the room behind Gabe and his captor.

"Prepare the iron," Gabe vaguely heard someone say. He couldn't tell through his fear who'd said it, though he thought that it could've been Karen.

"Karen?" he questioned softly. Why was she doing this to him? Why was her father doing this to him? Other than being the son of a political rival, what had he done to them? Sure he'd pulled a few harmless pranks, maybe went along with friends when they picked on someone less popular, but he never hurt anyone.

"Relax," Mason said standing over Gabe's now prone form. "I'm not going to kill you." There was that smile again. The one that told Gabe that Mason was up to more than just playing with him.

Biting back his terror and his sudden hatred of Mason Reynolds, Gabe looked his tormentor in the eyes, "I'll remember that when my father has you arrested for kidnapping," he spat at the older man.

"Now, now Gabriel," Mason leaned in closer to Gabe, "your father won't even know what happened." A chill ran down Gabe's spine and he let the shiver roll down, bringing a smile to Mason's already grotesquely cheery face.

"It's ready," a soft voice announced, pulling Mason's attention from Gabe and the table that he'd been attached to.

"His right arm," Mason said turning to face the once again horror striken Gabe.

Swallowing as much fear as he could Gabe chanced a look around Mason to see a petite robed person coming towards him carrying what appeared to be a fireplace poker in it's hand. The brilliant red of the tip of whatever it was was more than enough to make Gabe resume his struggles with the binds he'd been put in. "Whatever you're going to do, don't," Gabe breathed, trying to pull his arm free of the crushing grip that held it out to Mason and the robed figure with the red hot poker as though he were some sort of sacrafice. That had to be it. That had to be what he was, maybe not literally; but in a sense.

"Don't fight it, Gabriel, this will happen weather you accept it or not. It might be easier if you just accept it. There is no one coming to rescue you," Mason's voice was tight as he struggled to keep the iron grip he had on Gabe's arm. Taking advantage of Gabe's momentary lack of hope, Mason took the poker in his free hand and twisting Gabe's arm to expose the tender flesh of the inside of his wrist, he firmly pressed the poker down.

The scream that erupted from the young man's throat, brought a satisfied smile to Mason's face. Ignoring the sickening odor of the searing flesh, Mason pulled the poker back to reveal a three inch circle with an ornate M and R in it's center. Hading the poker off he stared at the angry flesh that was staring back at him. Looking from the wound he'd just inflicted to the pain filled face of Gabe, Mason leaned down once more and whispered in Gabe's ear, "you belong to me, now. You will do as I say."

"If I refuse?" Gabe huffed out, doing his best to control the pain that he was feeling in his wrist.

"You don't want to find out." Quickly Mason stood and let his grip on Gabe's arm go. "Patch him up and get him out of here," he barked at the robed figures as he left.

As quickly as he'd been dragged down the hall and tied to the table, Gabe found himself standing on the front steps of the Reynolds mansion with a newly bandaged wrist.

"That son of a bitch!" Mac said in a rush of anger and relief. "What happened after that?"

"Nothing," He shrugged. "As far as I know Mason Reynolds retired from politics a couple years later and they moved out west somewhere."

"You didn't press charges?" Gabe could tell that her anger was growing.

"He owned most of the police department, Mac." There was nothing that could be done to reprise what'd happened. At least not in the society that he was from. He loved Mac like a sister, but she'd never understand the power that floated around families like his. Power was like a life raft to people like his father and with Mason Reynolds out of the picture, his father was now just as dangerous as Reynolds had been. "Look, Mac, like I said, it was a long time ago," he said, rubbing the band into his wrist a bit to make more comfortable, "Leave it alone." And he was gone.

Fuming at the story of Gabe's branding, Mac decided that he was right. Whatever this Reynolds had wanted with Gabe never happened, leaving her young friend with a terrible scar to remember that he almost was someone's pawn in a deadly political game.

"Hey, Mac," Judson said appearing out of nowhere. "Is everything all right with Gabe, he seemed upset when he went past me a minute ago?"

"Yeah, he just tried to take a chunk out of his hand fixing the engine," she lied smoothly. She knew that he wouldn't really believe her, but she also knew that he wasn't going to press the issue. "I better make sure that it gets bandaged properly."

"You do that," he whispered, picking up the forgotten bandage from the deck. There was more to the story than she was willing to tell him, but he knew that in time she would confide in him. In the end he knew that Gabe's secret wouldn't stay that way. He could wait for the truth to come out, as long as it didn't create a rift in the process.

The End