A/N: This is a short little ficlet that has a warning - Torture situations and some strong language.

Summary: He wanted out so badly he was willing to do anything.


Words of Survival

Free.

The word stuck in his throat, clogged by the fear that threatened to strangle him. He wanted out so badly that he was willing to do anything, but the chains that held him close to the dank walls in the cell wouldn't let go. He was a prisoner to the sadistic bastard who was standing not five feet from him, holding a cattle prod in one hand and a knife in the other.

Doomed was another word that came to him in the semi-darkness of the room.

He shifted uncomfortably, the manacles around his wrists chafing his skin. His tormentor smiled at the groan that escaped from his parched throat, sending a fresh wave of terror through him when he realized that he was about to experience another bout of torture. That evil jerk enjoyed inflicting pain on others, and the smile always meant agony. His body tensed in preparation of the onslaught, but the pain still overrode all thought as it raced through his body, and he jerked and writhed in the chains, his screams echoing throughout the room.

Agony, he thought, as he panted through the tremors that followed the pain. His tormentor laughed at his discomfort, then paced back and forth in front of him, waving his weapons in a threatening way. He tried not to look at the cattle prod or the knife, hoping that he could regain some of his bravado if he didn't see the weapons of his downfall. But he stared at them anyway, needing to know when they would be put into use again. He hated the helplessness he felt, yet he watched his tormentor in rapt fascination, too afraid to look away.

Fear. How he hated that word. It clouded his thoughts, even now, as he battled against the terror that kept him from fighting back. There was not a whole lot he could do physically, but he had been known to hide his fears with words and snide remarks that kept him sane, and usually kept his enemies on their toes. The words wouldn't come to him anymore. He couldn't find them in the haze of his agony and his terror.

Anger. It prodded at him when his tormentor stopped pacing. The man turned toward him, facing him with evil intent shining clearly in his eyes. Rage at his own helplessness reared up, temporarily chasing away the fear that clung to him as he glared at the man who was intent on torturing him into submission. He would not give in. Not this time.

He steeled himself once again, then gave into his screams as agony pierced through his entire being. He would not give in, he thought with a vengeance when the pain finally stopped, leaving him gasping for breath and feeding on the hatred that fueled his anger. He hung on to those emotions, while taking advantage of the lull to think of a way out. Tremors shot through him again as his muscles protested against the abuse, but he kept his eyes on the man with the weapons. He needed to be aware, needed to be ready when the opportunity came to make a break for it. And it would come soon, he thought, as he fought against the doubts that rose up in his mind. His people would come back for him. They wouldn't leave him behind.

Doubts. They moved in anyway, despite his best efforts to chase them away. His people should have been there for him by now. What was the hold up? He didn't know how much longer he could hold on, and he worried that it would soon be too late. He chanced a glance toward the doorway, then wished he hadn't when his tormentor laughed outright. The laugh added to his doubts, building on them as he realized that his tormentor knew of his desires and was probably planning to use it against him.

"No one will come for you," he was told, the gloating smile turning his insides to jelly. But he stubbornly refused to give in, and he glared up at the jerk, relishing in the thoughts of what he would do if the tables were turned.

Vengeance. He clung to the thoughts and visions of revenge as he made a valiant effort to regain his faith in his people. They would come get him out of this and he would make sure the evil bastard standing in front of him would pay. He didn't get a chance to put too much thought into what he would do if given the opportunity because his entire focus turned inward as he fought off another onslaught of agonizing pain. His struggles were in vain, but he still writhed and twisted in his efforts to free himself.

He sat back against the wall when the torture stopped. His torturer had turned away from him, looking toward the door, and hope sprang up as he thought about what this change of events could mean. Maybe his people were making their way toward saving him. He squirmed a little as he tested the strength of the manacles once again, groaning loudly when the metal scraped across his raw flesh. He jerked back when the flash of a knife blurred his vision, just before a burst of pain blossomed across his chest.

"Silence!"

The warning came a bit too late, he thought, as he looked down to see blood flowing from the wound the blade of the knife had made. But another sound, a low grinding noise somewhere outside the door made him forget about his discomfort. Something, or someone was out there, and his pulse picked up as hope filled his mind. Maybe it was his team coming to save him from what seemed like a lifetime of agony. God, he hoped so.

Hope. Funny how that word could pull a man from even the deepest well of despair. He stared at the door now, all thoughts of pain and the promise of more torture forgotten as hope gave him a possible way out. His tormentor had abandoned him now, moving toward the doorway, while the grinding noise turned into something more sinister. It sounded suspiciously like something was banging on the pipes, even though there were no pipes to be seen. Still, there was definitely someone out there, and he watched with rapt attention as his tormentor opened the door slowly, before peering around the edge to the outside corridor.

Elation brought a weak smile to his face as the man who had tortured him beyond belief suddenly flew back from the door, slamming into the opposite wall with a force that knocked him unconscious. It didn't ease his thirst for vengeance though. The man deserved far worse.

The chains rattled slightly as he squirmed in his efforts to free himself. Now that his tormentor was out like a light, he was going to do his best to get out of there. He ignored the pain that accompanied the scrap of metal against his wrists, briefly wondering why the blood didn't make things easier. He stared at the doorway, a little worried now that no one else stepped through it. His team would have stormed the place. He would have were he in their place, but nobody came in. He glanced nervously at his tormentor, before turning to stare at the door again.

A woman came in at that moment, her gun aimed directly at him, before swinging around and up to make sure there was nobody else in the room that she needed to worry about. He tried to smile at her, happy to see a familiar face, but he was too weary to do more than nod. She sent a curious glance toward his tormentor, who was slumped against the wall, then turned to rush over to him, her eyes sweeping over his body and his injuries.

"Sir?"

Her concern was touching, but all he could think about was his freedom.

"Get me out of these chains," he growled. Two more people entered the room, but he had to get the chains off before it was too late. He struggled against the metal, freezing all efforts when his tormentor groaned loudly. His attempts to free himself then became frantic when he realized that his hopes may be short-lived. "Get them off of me!"

"Okay," she said, her tone soothing. She turned toward the youngest of her companions, who was holding his gun on the bastard against the wall, while his friend worked on tying the fucker's hands behind his back. "See if you can find a key," she said, before turning back to him, a worried expression on her face. "Are you okay?"

He nodded, but couldn't help but glance back over at his tormentor. Experience over the past several days had taught him that the guy would do whatever it took to inflict as much agony as possible. Fear galvanized him to struggle once more to free himself, unwilling to believe that his tormentor would just let him go without a fight. Blood streamed down his arms, as the metal rubbed the wounds raw, but he had to get out.

Panic. It raced through his veins in the form of adrenalin as his tormentor suddenly broke free. His friends all turned their guns toward the maniac, shouting demands that he put down the knife, while priming their weapons to attack if their demands weren't met.

He continued his struggles, a primal urge to get out at all cost pushing him to rely on his own efforts. Let the others deal with that evil son of a bitch. He was not going to let this opportunity pass him by. No longer weakened, he jerked and yanked on the chains, all the while watching the action going on in front of him.

Shots rang out. Loud and echoing throughout the room, and he watched as the knife fell out of his tormentor's hand, just before he fell flat on his face. He waited, wondering if the guy was really dead, worried that this shot at freedom was just a mirage, that he was hallucinating the whole thing. But the key to the locks on his chains was thrust into his friend's hand, and she turned to free him from his prison.

Freedom.

It was there. Right there for him to take hold and run with. He savored the feeling as he sat back against the wall, too tired to do anything else.

Free. Someone grabbed him and pulled him up to stand, his arm thrown across a shoulder, helping him to walk as they made their way to the door. They had to step around the body, and he looked down, sneering at the blood spreading over the floor. Vengeance was no longer an option, but at least that evil bastard was dead. He looked up toward the door, toward fresh air, and allowed his friends to take him out of there.

He was going home.