A hand gently touched his cheek, hesitantly tracing the bruises. A caring touch, not one to cause pain but to relieve it. How long ago had it been since a person had cared? The past was shrouded in a fog making him unsure of the duration of his imprisonment. Only that he could not do what the man wanted. An evil man, with malicious tendencies. The man caused pain to get what he wanted and what he wanted the prisoner could not give. So began the vicious cycle, one that continued day and night. The prisoner allowed near to no sleep or respite. A constant cycle of pain and agony lasting an eternity for the prisoner and bringing enjoyment to the captor. When the prisoner's eyes sagged he was kicked, when he lay down he was burned, a bone broken for a wrong answer. A few hours of silence then more questions and more pain. Soon there was pain, just pain. The thoughts of distant friends and family hanging like ghosts in the corners as he screamed. They were forgotten with only a flickering memory occasionally floating to the surface in his more lucid moments. Memories and the stubbornness to not give in. A protective nature, stronger than the pain and fear. Stronger than the drugs and extreme temperatures. Everything else was buried, buried deep to protect someone, something. The haze again over powered him, unable to hold onto his thoughts, slipping through his fingers as he tried to grasp them. Where was he? Where was the man, his captor? The hand was back, stroking his hair, not grabbing or pulling just touching. A voice spoke from above him. A familiar voice, female voice. There were no females here, only male soldiers with hard fists and sharp knives. But this voice seemed worried, urgency lacing her voice. Something wet fell to his cheek. Water? There was no water here, except the freezing filth the guards threw at him. The moisture slid down his cheek into his lips. Salt stung his crack lips, fighting its way to his swollen tongue. Tears, the water tasted like tears, but he wasn't crying. He would not let the man see him cry, never show weakness, never cry. Then where did the water come from? Working up the courage and strength, he worked his swollen eyelids open, fighting against the crust and protesting muscles. His vision was fuzzy, dark blurs before him but he was unable to understand anything around him. Fear seized him, one of the figures was leaning over him, saying something. Not shouting like the soldiers did, not threateningly calm as the man, but soothing and gentle. A hand touched his cheek again. He flinched away in fear, contact meant pain. The voice began soothingly again, running fingers through his hair. Unruly hair, he remembered it being called once, bed head, his trademark, now matted and crusted with blood and filth. His hand was taken into a firm grasp, firm but gentle, the hand soft and slim under his broken fingers. The touch grounded him further, the haze clearing to the point he could hear the voice clearly, even as a needle bit into his arm once again, the new drug making everything go dark. He hung onto the voice even as the world was black. He trusted this voice, this calming voice, so familiar.
"We've got you, John. We've got you."