Disclaimer: I don't own Law & Order Criminal Intent or its characters…

Author's note: I had this idea awhile ago, but finally thought I'd try it out. This fic is nonlinear, but hopefully will remain cohesive and understandable. We'll see how it goes, or if I decide to continue fleshing it out and such… (PS Lame title, I know… I couldn't think of a good one…any suggestions?)

Warning: Contains material not suitable for younger or sensitive readers.


Night Two:

Mike entered his apartment but something wasn't right. Someone must have broken in… again…but would the bastard risk such a move? He was bold. Mike had to grant him that. The television in the living room was on. He could see it from where he stood in the main hall of his tiny apartment. There was an image frozen on the screen, blurry because of the poor lighting in addition to the fact that it was a paused tape.

He made his way toward it, like it was the only thing in the universe, curiosity taking him over and putting him on autopilot. The closer he got, the worse he felt. He tried to tell himself it wasn't because there was recognition in the image frozen on the screen. When he was but a few feet away, he was almost positive he knew what, who, the image was. He wanted to stop, turn away, pretend it wasn't real, but he was compelled to continue his slow progression towards it. Maybe if he pushed that button, freed the image from its torturous existence indefinitely suspended upon his TV's screen, it would prove him wrong. It would be something, someone, else. And he would finally be able to let out the breath he had been holding since he recognized the blurred, anguished figure.

A few inches, and there was nothing he could do but push the button. If it was the trigger of the doomsday device, he would not be able to stay his hand, it was not his decision, it was not in his ability to deny the fate of the figure upon the screen to unfold before his very eyes. So he pressed the button. That is to say, his finger pressed the button, and he merely watched it do so, without consciously sending the command from his brain to the appendage.

And the tape played. The figure was freed to tell its horrific tale. He backed up a foot or so, until the image was comprehendible to his eyes and brain again. His worse fears were confirmed, and he found himself continuing to back away from the image in horror, denial.

"Carolyn," he groaned quietly, mournfully, his eyes unable to move from the image of his partner being tortured on the screen before him. There was another figure in the shot with her, dressed in dark clothes, his features mostly obscured. But Mike knew who it was. It could only be one person, the man he would kill, rip apart with his bare hands.

Then the screams started. She had been fighting them, holding her own against the psycho as he beat her, cut her, taunted her, and even when he had begun to rape her. But she broke. He saw it in her eyes. And she screamed. Nothing significant at first, just guttural sounds of pain, but they still made him sick. He wanted to throw up so badly, but it never came. Then the throaty cries turned into open mouth screams, high pitched and visceral. His hands went to his ears. He couldn't stand to hear her pain, her terror. But even with the sounds muffled, the most heart-wrenching cry penetrated his soul. She had cried out for him.

He wanted to break everything in his apartment, jump out a window to his death, strangle every creep he met until he found the one who had done this to his partner, his beautiful Carolyn. Then he would tear the man to pieces. He wouldn't just beat the man to death, he would rip his flesh off his bones, make him suffer to his absolute last breath. He would pay for hurting her. He would pay dearly.

Mike was torn from his vengeful reverie as the image on the TV screen changed. The fucker had finished raping her. He had left the shot briefly, leaving Carolyn laying in a broken heap upon the floor. Then he had returned, and although the tape was dark and the details were generally hard to make out, Mike could not mistake the object in the bastard's hand for anything besides the menacingly shiny blade it was. Having stopped his progression away from the TV screen to fume vengefully, he now resumed to back away from it, faster than before, knowing what was coming next, wanting to be as far from it as possible.

When the fucker pulled Carolyn's hair, raising her to her feet, exposing her neck to the glittering blade, Mike turned away.

What he saw was far worse.

Laying upon the couch behind him, the entire time, was the lifeless body of Carolyn Barek. When his eyes fell upon her, he fell to his knees. He didn't bother checking her vitals. He knew she was dead by her blank glazed eyes staring emptily to the world above her, by her pale sallow skin. And she was cold, so cold.

"No!" he shouted repeatedly. "NO! NO! NO!"


"NO!" Mike shouted as he started awake. Breathing heavily he sat upright in bed. He shivered as the sweat evaporated from his body and he felt feverish from the physical effects of the nightmare. And he never in his life had had a nightmare quite that horrifying before.

Deciding that there was no way he would be able to sleep after that, he got out of bed and made his way to through the dark apartment to the kitchen. A glass of water should help him feel better, or at least replenish all of the water he just sweated out, dreaming that his partner had been tortured and raped and he had been powerless to do anything about it. He took deep breaths before he drank the water down, trying to slow his respiration to normal.

The worst part of the whole thing was that a creep did have his partner. He was powerless to do anything about it. And he had no clue what the bastard was doing to her.

As Mike gulped the water down, something caught his eye.

A piece of paper was taped to one of the cupboards in the kitchen. He didn't remember putting it there. Why would he have? He moved closer to inspect it. It was a photograph, and by the light flowing in through the kitchen window from the streetlamp outside he could tell what the photo was of. It was of Carolyn, her shirt torn open, the beautiful skin of her torso exposed, her gorgeous breasts bare. Her arms were tied behind her back, like the other photos. But this one was slightly different than the ones he had seen before the CSU whisked them away. She was fully conscious in this one and looked directly into the camera, or at its owner.

Mike smiled to himself. The look in her eyes said it all. She was going to be okay. This creep would be sorry he had kidnapped her, sorry he had ever hurt anyone, sorry he had even been born. The pure look of defiance and hatred she was giving the photographer told Mike all the bastard had to do was make one small mistake, one tiny slip-up, and he would regret it until he died, which probably wouldn't be a long period of time, judging by how pissed-off Carolyn looked.

Placing the glass back down in the sink, Mike began to make his way back to bed. He hated sleeping at a time when his partner needed him most, but he was of no use to her dead tired. A thought that was nagging in the back of his mind jumped forward. Why was that picture here? The CSUs could be a little dense at times, but they weren't that absent-minded as to leave obvious evidence behind.

Unfortunately for him, the thought had arrived a fraction too late to spare him the blow he received to the back of the head, and the subsequent unconsciousness that overtook him.

A/N: To Be Continued…or Prequeled… or What Have You…