A/N: Happy birthday Tay_21! I won't tell you her prompts until the end, because I don't want to spoil it. This is set sometime after S4 I imagine.

Really hope ya'll like this! Rating will go up to M in the next chapter, or the one after.

Warning: Violence

Chapter 1

Connor was beyond nervous, and as typical with him when he was nervous, he couldn't shut up. Abby was well fed up with him already. It was not the way he'd intended to spend the car ride… talking her ear off and putting her in such a foul mood that she was likely to strangle him at any given moment. Ordinarily she was not bothered by his tendency to talk pretty much in a continuous stream, but even he was beginning to get bothered by the sound of his own voice. The prospect of taking her home to meet his mum was more than a little bit frightening, and he couldn't seem to make himself shut up. To add to that, snow was beginning to fall in thick wet clumps, and Abby's driving left him scrambling for a handhold on more than one occasion.

Abby had been reluctant to meet his mum, and to be honest, ha still wasn't sure if he really wanted them to meet. His mum was a little bit… unusual, but he wanted to do things properly when he asked Abby to marry him, and that meant she should at least meet his mum first. And the asking part… that was important. He'd known for a long time that he wanted to marry her. Assuming she would marry him had been a bit of a misstep; his had mouth moved before his brain filtered the contents. It happened a lot, unfortunately. Like now.

"That big van has been following us for miles. What's the odds they're headed for Blackburn? It would be funny if it was someone I knew, wouldn't it? Like me high school maths teach-"

"Connor, I'm trying to concentrate… the roads are getting worse," Abby said, trying for patient and missing it by a mile.

"Sorry. I'm shutting up now. I'll just let you concentrate on-"


"Sorry," he replied, pressing his lips together.

He was true to his word and managed to keep his thoughts to himself until the snow stated falling so thickly that he could hardly see the road ahead. He wasn't sure how Abby was managing to drive in a straight line. He could still faintly make out taillights, but that was about all.

"Abby? Perhaps you should let me drive, eh?"

Abby's eyes narrowed in a glare, but never left the road, "I'm fine."

Connor chewed his lip and nodded. He reached across the car to rest his hand on the back of her neck, and then begin rubbing her tense shoulders. She gave an appreciative groan and flicked her eyes to meet his and gave him a brief apologetic smile. She was on edge as well, and she hadn't intended to speak to him so harshly. He smiled back at her, always ready to forgive and forget.

Abby and Connor both nearly jumped out of their skin as the little portable anomaly detector went off inside Connor's pocket.

"You brought that along?" Abby asked.

Connor shrugged, "Yeah. Kinda had to so we could get so many days off in a row. I promised we could be recalled if needed, and what with Amy Lim from the research department gone missing, they wanted us to stay in contact."

Abby rolled her eyes, "Did without us for a year, sacked us both, and now we can't be on holiday without getting called back in to work."

"No. We're only to be used if necessary. I told them… oh."

"What?" Abby asked.

"It's right near us." As if on cue, his phone rang.

Abby listened to the one-sided conversation, growing increasingly irritated. They did have to work. She was claiming the hours… she was bloody well getting paid for this. She told Connor to relay how hazardous the roads had gotten. She was not certain they could make it to the site. She was going to have to look for somewhere to pull over to wait for some of the snow to clear out, but they'd check the anomaly out as soon as they could.

Connor hung up the phone and cleared his throat, "They'll send a team, but they want us to get there and lock it since we're so close."

Abby made a noise of disgust, "Lock it? How?"

"In the boot… I-"

"You brought a locking device?"

"Yep. I was planning to make a few modifications if I had time, and I figured if we by chance got called out, it would be good to be able to, um, lock it."

Abby sighed. Some days she missed working somewhere normal where she could go on holiday without bringing work with her.

"What? That's weird. It's gone. Where's it gone?" Connor muttered, a wrinkle forming in between his eyebrows.

"Good!" Abby replied emphatically. She'd not lose sleep over a missing anomaly, although she was not exactly looking forward to meeting Connor's mum. She didn't want to hurt his feelings, so she'd agreed to it. She thought it would be awkward and uncomfortable. She was not the "take home to Mum," type. Well, apparently she was, according to Connor.

She spotted services up ahead. It would do. It looked like this one had restaurant inside, so at least she and Connor could get something to eat whilst they waited for the storm to clear. She shot Connor an irritated glance when he yelped as she turned into the car park. Honestly, he was the most delicate passenger… as if his driving was any better.

Connor unpeeled his fingers from the death grip he'd had on the dash and the door handle and heaved a sigh of relief. The snowstorm had gotten so bad that they couldn't see but a couple of meters out the front windscreen. Connor had been ready to suggest they pull off the M1 to wait it out, and the sight of the shining lights and rows of petrol pumps of motorway services had seemed like a godsend. Connor squinted at the sign printed on a large rock, but couldn't make it out through the snow.

Connor and Abby ducked and ran to try to get inside before they turned into icicles, slipping and sliding as they rushed into the entrance. Abby surveyed the interior, relieved to see an M&S to go with Costa Coffee and Burger King.

"Coffee! I'd about kill for a cappuccino. Want somethin' Abby?"

She nodded absently, "Yeah. Same for me. Then we'll get a bite and ring the ARC to let them know we're stuck."

They settled in for their meal and coffee… at least the coffee was good, if a little watered down. Connor choked at the prices, but it wasn't as if they had much choice. The storm had gotten even worse. Lights flickered off and on intermittently, and neither of their mobiles had a signal. They'd asked to use a land line, but the geeky kid behind the counter said that it had gone out before the mobile signal had.

Abby rested her head on the table after they'd finished eating. She had a horrid headache. She felt like all of the tension in her body had centered at the base of her skull. To top it off, now she'd meet Connor's mum all travel-worn and exhausted. Perfect. She felt her chances of making a good impression slipping away.

Connor slid into the booth next to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, "Lean on me, yeah? I'm softer than the table."

She leaned into him gratefully, accepting his offer of warmth and solace. Connor pressed a kiss to the top of her head and took a moment to enjoy that it was just the two of them again. He'd missed that, more than he realized. He closed his eyes and held her; there were worse ways to wait out a storm.

Evidently, the few other motorists on the road had chosen to stop elsewhere; they were the smart ones. If Connor would have known how dirty and small this station was ahead of time, they would have stopped at the one farther back. He knew for certain they would not have been able to drive any further down the M1, and the weather showed no sign of clearing. He had about given up on the idea of making it the rest of the way home that evening. The older lady behind the counter at the coffee counter had told them that most of the employees had been sent home already. It was just her, the kid behind M&S, and the petrol attendant. Even Burger King had closed. Aside from one pensioner couple sat at the table caddy-corner, the place was empty. It seemed they'd weather the storm together.

The relative calm and quiet was broken as a group of three rough-looking men stormed in through the front door. They surveyed the interior, seeming more as if they were casing the place instead of looking for a table. Abby raised her head from Connor's shoulder and peered at them suspiciously. She traded a glance with Connor, saw her disquiet echoed in his dark eyes. He pulled her a little closer and motioned for her to put her hood up. His jaw hardened as he overheard a portion of their conversation. He wasn't sure what "find him," entailed, but he didn't figure it was a good thing.

One from the group headed off to the petrol counter whilst the other two stood by the fruit stand in the entry and waited. Connor got the feeling that if they attempted to leave, they'd not be let out the door. A scream rang out, quickly cut off. Moments later one of the rough men returned to lock the front door. Connor gripped Abby's hand under the table. They were in trouble.

The group moved to the M&S counter, hassling the young man working there. The kid had been rude and sarcastic, and more concerned with playing with his mobile than taking their order, but Connor had not wanted to see him hurt. One of the men reached up and smacked the kid; Connor imagined the kid had shot his mouth off to the wrong person. Connor narrowed his eyes further, but a warning squeeze from Abby kept his mouth firmly shut. She was right, of course, but he still wanted to tell them to leave the kid alone. The lights flickered again, and then went out completely. Perfect. The emergency lights came on after a brief pause.

The men grew louder, brief snippets of conversation drifting over in their direction. Connor tilted his head to catch a glimpse of what was going on behind him, but he wished he hadn't. The register was open, and one of the burly men had the kid by the throat. The kid was gasping for breath, and he was sure any moment he'd pass out. There was no need for that. The boy was cooperating with them; he looked scared half to death. The lady from the coffee counter was watching in horror, but she made no move to intervene.

"Abby, you've got to get out of here," he murmured. Before he knew what he was doing, he'd slid out of the booth, and was striding towards them.

"Oy! Don't hurt the kid, eh mate?" Connor swallowed hard as the men all turned to face him at once. He smiled nervously, "He'll give ya what you want. We're all stuck here, yeah? Let's just-" Connor's eyes widened as one of the men drew a snub-nosed pistol from under his jacket. He raised his hands in a gesture of surrender, "My mistake. It's nothin' to do with me. I'll just…" he motioned over to where he'd been sitting and begun to back away.

The man with the gun grinned, "Connor Temple… it's got everything to do with you. This is just a bit of fun." He turned to his companion, "Tie the kid and the old bitch up and put them with the other one… somewhere out of the way."

One of his companions, a rather large man with the shaved head and German accent nodded, "I'll stash them in the freezer, Del."

"Put the old couple in there, too."

Connor thought fast; he had no idea what they had planned for them all, but it didn't sound promising, "Look up there," Connor gestured to the ceiling and a round half circle of smoked glass, "Cameras. You'll be caught. Just walk out of here and we'll all forget we saw ya."

All three of the men laughed, "Mate, we came for you… and unless you can beat the price on you and your girlfriend, you're leaving with us," the leader said.

"Leave her out of this. I thought you said it was about me."

The German took a step towards him, "She's a bonus," the men traded a glance, "In more ways than one."

Abby hated the thought of leaving Connor, but they obviously were meant to capture him alive. If she could get away, maybe she could get some help. She hoped Connor had a black box in the boot along with the locking device. If she could get to it, and send a distress signal, the security team would get there as soon as possible. Bad thing was the weather was so nasty; it might be a good long while. Now was her best chance; Connor had drawn their attention.

Abby took off at a dead sprint towards the back of the building. There had to be another exit besides the front door. She faltered as she heard Connor cry out in pain, but made herself keep running. She knew that her being in danger was an Achilles heel to him, and if she could take herself out of the equation he'd fare much better. She was beginning to think she was going to make it when she was grabbed by her hair and bodily slammed to the hard linoleum floor. She tasted blood in her mouth, and she knew her cheek would be bruised but she ignored the pain. She twisted and managed a kick, but it barely grazed her attacker.

He pulled his own gun from the holster under his arm and smiled, "Try me, sweetheart," the man with the German accent threatened.

Abby glared up at him but stayed down. He produced a roll of thin wire from a pocket, "Roll over. Hands together behind your back. Try anything, and I'll put a bullet through your little blonde head."

She gritted her teeth and did as he said, wincing as the wire bit into her wrists. She stood gingerly when he asked her to, and walked back into the restaurant. Connor went wild when he saw her, and rather than struggle to keep hold of him, the head guy simply leveled his gun on Abby.

Connor froze, panting and wild eyed, "If you hurt her, so help me I'll-"

The German chuckled, "You'll what, little man? Bleed on me? I plan to hurt her… and you'll sit and watch, or I'll kill her."

The man in charge, the one he'd called Del nodded his agreement, "You have the blow? We can make this a proper party. We have all the entertainment we need right here."

Connor growled low in his throat, "If you hurt her, you'll pay. I promise you. You'll have to kill me, and I have some very good friends that could kill ya before you could blink. They'll come for ya."

"Oy! George, this one thinks he's well scary," Del chortled, "I think that's a challenge."

Man number three, the quiet one with black close-cropped hair and dead, flat eyes didn't even crack a smile. He narrowed his eyes, balled his left hand into a fist and landed a hard left hook on Connor's jaw. He swore he saw stars, just like in a kid's cartoon. He blinked, trying to clear his eyes and sagged against the man called Del, who was holding him in place. They'd bound his hands behind him as they'd done to Abby, and they'd used loops and loops of fine wire. Pulling at his bonds just caused them to dig into his flesh, and trying to loosen them was pointless.

"Leave him alone," Abby cried out as she saw Connor take a devastating blow.

She reeled as the German man holding her immobile responded with hard slap across her mouth. She bit back her cry of anger and rage; it would just upset Connor, and they'd hurt him worse.

Connor saw it anyway. "Does it make you feel like a big man to hurt women?" he asked scornfully.

"Connor, no!" Abby warned.

The man that slapped her tuned his ire on Connor and punched him in the stomach. Connor did as she'd shown him, tightening his abs to absorb the impact. It still had to hurt. There was nothing he could do against the punch to his face that followed, or the body shot that followed that… this one aimed at his kidneys.

"Ease off on the head," Del ordered, "Client said he needs his brain working."

The German smiled broadly, "You're right. This is like a proper party. Open the girl's shirt. I want to do lines off her tits."

Connor struggled at the words, fury clouding his judgment. The flat-eyed man called George calmly struck him again, and this time when his knees gave way, they let him drop to the floor.

Abby began to fight her captor as he and George moved to lay her down on the floor, but the click of a bullet moving into the chamber of Del's pistol froze her in place. He held the barrel of the gun to Connor's knee. It wouldn't kill him… probably, but he'd be crippled for life. Connor's eyes were wide but she could see he was desperately trying to hide just how scared he was. She could see him trembling, though he'd locked his jaw in a stubborn line and was refusing to beg. She'd not let it happen. She could save him.

Abby closed her eyes and went to that place from her childhood where nothing could touch her. It was easier to find than she would have liked. She stared at the ceiling and left her body whilst her spirit cowered in the dark. She'd promised herself she'd never ever allow herself to be in this position again. For Connor, she'd brave it. She lay passively as her shirt was ripped open, and then her bra. She closed her eyes again tightly and blanked out everything around her.

Connor's mouth was full of blood; he felt like he was choking on it. He could hardly see through his left eye, and his body felt as if he'd been trampled by a herd of Megaraptors. Compared to seeing Abby passively lay down and close her eyes whilst her shirt was ripped down the middle, the pain in his body was nothing. He wished he was someone else in that moment. Someone bigger, stronger… someone that could have gotten Abby out of this. The gun held to him meant nothing to him; he had to stop this.

"Abby!" he screamed, thrashing wildly.


A/N: I know... the gift of birthday cliffie. LOL! *ducks* sorry... I am mostly done with chapter two, if that is any consolation. You know what helps me to write faster? Yep. Reviews. Please feed the muse?