Rated M for violence and trauma - this story is not for children.
This is a Criminal Intent story, crossed over with CSI: NY, and CSI: Miami. I was tempted to include a couple of my other favourite shows, but thought better of it.
Disclaimer: The usual. I do not own the characters of Criminal Intent, or the CSI franchise. I'm making no money out of this whatsoever. Don't sue me, I have no money.
Alex Eames awoke slowly, her body wracked with pain, and protesting at even the slightest movements. She felt like she often did the morning after an especially heavy gym session, only multiplied by ten. Right at that moment, she would have given anything to slip back into the blissful nothingness of sleep, but it seemed that was not going to happen.
She accepted that fact with extreme reluctance. She was awake now, for better or worse. She tried to move, only to shudder at the pain that flared through her skull at the effort. Definitely for worse, she decided ruefully.
With an equal amount of reluctance, she slowly opened her eyes to discover she could see nothing at all. Confusion reigned for a moment before she realised she was blindfolded.
Panic hit at much the same time as the realisation that she was lying on her stomach on a hard, cold surface with her wrists bound tightly behind her back. Her feet were suspended off the floor, her ankles bound and secured to her wrists by a short length of rope. She was effectively tied up in such a way that she had no hope of manoeuvring into a different position, let alone freeing herself.
She shut her eyes, and struggled to regain some semblance of calm. There was duct tape over her mouth, and if she got herself so worked up that she inadvertently blocked off her one remaining option for breathing…
Slowly, with some effort, her breathing eased, and she slumped back against the floor. How the hell had she gotten herself into a position like this? And, more to the point, where was her partner?
Desperate to figure out what had happened, she ran through her last succession of lucid memories. She remembered going with Goren to Ray Mathers' warehouse. It was a weak lead, but all they had. They'd gone inside… She had stopped to look at something, she didn't remember what. Goren had gone on ahead… She remembered hearing a loud, ugly thud and a grunt of pain. She'd drawn her weapon and run around the corner to find Goren unconscious on the floor, blood free-flowing from where his head had been crunched into the wall…
She remembered kneeling by him and reaching for her radio to call for help…
Beyond that, nothing. Her next clear memory was of waking up here… wherever here was… with a headache the likes of which she hadn't suffered since her last hangover.
Eames froze, suddenly sensing movement next to her. With no way to know who or what was there, she opted to stay frozen and silent. Her heart hammered as she waited for some sign that whatever was there was no threat to her. Still, the restless movement continued, as though someone was struggling on the floor…
Abruptly, someone gave a muffled, incoherent cry, and Eames felt her pulse race once more. Despite being unable to understand the garbled sound, she recognised that muffled voice all the same. Bobby…
She cried out in response, anxious to let him know she was right there beside him even though she could make herself no better understood than he. Silence fell, and then she felt his touch. His forehead brushed against hers in a feather-light touch, reassuring her that he understood, and knew she was there.
She moved against him in response, and felt the same coarse material over his eyes. He, too, was blindfolded, and bound the same as she.
Tears of pain and fear filled her eyes as they lay as close together as their bindings allowed. How had they gotten into a situation like this?
Next to her, she felt Goren shift again, and a moment later she heard an odd scraping sound. She lay still, wondering what he was doing, or trying to do. It wasn't until she heard him gasp aloud that she understood. Somehow, he had managed to peel back the tape that had been covering his mouth.
Inwardly, insanely, her first thought was one of irritation. Why the hell couldn't he call her Alex for once? Outwardly, she responded in the only way she could, with a tired moan.
"Hang… Hang on… Gonna try get the… the tape off you…"
She wondered how he thought he was going to accomplish that feat with no hands, and blindfolded, no less. After all, her partner might have been an uncertified genius, but Houdini he wasn't.
There was a shuffling sound, accompanied by strained grunts, and she quickly realised he was trying to get as close to her as possible. After a minute, she felt his breath, hot on her face. Her silent question was answered a moment later when she felt his mouth brushing gently over her cheek, searching for the edge of the tape that covered her mouth.
So help me, Bobby, if you bite me… she thought as his teeth scraped lightly over her skin, looking for a purchase on the tape.
After minutes of discomfort, he finally succeeded in catching the edge of the tape in his teeth and, with a quick rip, it was gone. As Goren had done only minutes before, Eames drew in a long, ragged gasp of air, grateful not to feel half suffocated any longer.
"Thanks," she whispered finally, hoarsely.
"Are you hurt?" he asked in concern, and she couldn't help but notice the slight tremor in his voice. She couldn't fault that. She doubted she could keep her own voice even.
"Don't think so," she answered. "You?"
She almost laughed, wondering if he had a clue just how lousy he was at lying to her. She decided to let it slide, at least until a more appropriate moment.
"Do you remember anything, Bobby?"
"We were at Ray Mathers' warehouse. Something… Someone hit me from behind. I never saw who it was."
Eames felt a rush of disappointment. She had hoped he might have had some idea who their attacker was. Slowly, she recounted her own memories in the hope that something more would come to her.
"I was checking something out… I heard you go down. When I got to you, you were already out cold. I went for my radio to call for help…"
She sucked in a sharp breath as a new face came to her, resurfacing among her hazy memories.
"Ray?" Goren asked, sounding dazed.
"No, not the dead guy, you big dope," she growled. "It was Erik, his brother. He came out of nowhere… hit me with a crowbar, of all things. God, Bobby, what's he planning to do with us?"
I don't know… except… I think we might be going to find out first hand how those five victims were killed."
She didn't respond to that, mainly because she had a sudden, terrifying feeling that he was right.
"Deakins knew where we were," Goren said softly. "He was expecting us back within a couple of hours. Remember, we were supposed to be meeting with Carver? When we don't show, they'll know something's wrong. Deakins will pull out all the stops to find us. We'll be okay."
"Assuming we're even still in the Five Boroughs. Don't you remember what was discovered about the five victims? You should. You were the one who picked up on it."
He knew what she was talking about.
"They died outside the Five Boroughs… In a forest, or wilderness region."
She gave a short, bitter laugh.
"Deakins isn't going to find us. We're probably not even in New York City anymore."
"Be brave," he whispered, but she heard her own fears echoed in his voice. The harsh truth was that she was right. He damn well knew it, and he was just as afraid as she was.