Finally got back on this one. My dear Sparkly, I apologize ahead of time. Hope you enjoy. =)


It faded in from black, like the beginning of a movie. But it wasn't gentle. The darkness brought an eruption of pain. Blinding and ruthless, it rippled up his neck and spiked his brain like multiple stabs. Mark came to and winced, opening his mouth to scream.

But it wouldn't open. His lips were pressed together, and he couldn't breathe. Mark was awake in a panic, thrashing with limbs of stone. The tape burned his wrists and he choked, realizing where he was. A chair. Wood, cold. He jolted, testing the strength of his bonds. There was nothing but black surrounding him. And he blinked wildly, trying to grapple with the blazing headache in his neck. It was curling up his spine and strangling his mind. Each breath through his nose wasn't enough, the lack of fresh air constricting his brain, flooding his right eye with agony.

"You awake princess?" He closed his eyes, anger drumming with his pounding skull. Trent. Mocking him from the dark. A light stung through his eyelids.

"Does that hurt?" Boots. Clunking on the floor. Cement. Mark could hear his surroundings. They were enveloped in cement. "It looks like it hurts." He was close, leaning into his face probably. Mark kept his eyes closed, hissing breaths from his nose. Then something tapped his forehead and splitting misery screamed from his skull. With the tape over his mouth, his scream was muffled, but it roared in his ears nonetheless.

"Thought so." Trent chuckled and a shuffle of denim moved around him. "Not so tough without your friends to cover your ass." His eyes flashed open, blue irises blazing as he stared ahead into the room. A single light shone down on his head, illuminating enough of the floor for him to see his surroundings.

"Don't worry, I won't play long." Ice washed over his left shoulder and Mark screamed again, feeling the blood seep through his shirt and dampen the material. His body throbbed with pain at the edge of Trent's knife.

"You almost finished my fun on those stairs, thought you were dead." He laughed lightly, dragging his heels over the floor. "It's funny…" Another flash of cold pain rippled over his other shoulder and Mark fought the sting of tears in his eyes. "…I thought you'd bleed blue." Then Trent's fist connected with the side of Mark's face. Blood poured into his mouth and Mark choked, swallowing the warm liquid with a grimace. "Ya tried to scare me out of my town." Trent hissed in his ear. "Like some kind of royal brat." He circled and loomed over Mark, casting a shadow in the light. Mark glared up at him, wishing he could strangle the life from Trent's eyes.

"I OWN THIS CITY!" He yelled, slapping Mark's face with an open palm. More blood, more throbbing. He could see spots in his eyes, black and white specks darting in his vision. Letting his head fall back, Mark gulped for air. "I've got ya uncles wrapped 'round my pinky and ya motha…." Trent crouched, breathing in face. "I could hit her, fuck her, kill her, and no one would do shit." His fingertips pressed into Mark's temple, shoving his head with a flick of his wrist. "Vin thinks I'm his best friend. This…city...is...mine."

Turning his head, with great difficulty, Mark gave Trent his best stare. It only earned him a laugh and Trent stood, smacking Mark's skull.

"Ya wanna say somethin' ta me, princess?" Another smack and Mark didn't turn away, he kept his gaze steady as Trent circled. "Ya wanna play?" Tugging on his taped wrists, Mark tried to lunge, rock his chair, anything. But Trent only snorted and smacked him again.

"I'm tempted to take off that tape, hear what you're thinkin'." When Mark hissed and fought again, Trent shrugged. "What the hell." He tore the duck tape from his lips quickly, pulling a small wince.

"You're dead." Mark snarled. Trent raised his eyebrows, crossing his arms with an amused grin.

"Oh really?" Continuing to strain on his bindings, Mark inhaled and spit, sending blood and saliva towards his captor. Trent took a step back and wringed his hands, then shot forward and grabbed Mark by the throat. Hissing into his face, Trent squeezed his captive's neck until Mark struggled to breathe. Then he slapped the tape back over his lips.

"I'm gonna let ya in on the little secret." Throwing back Mark's head, Trent stepped away. "I'm gonna kill ya." He circled and laughed. "That's obvious." Mark swallowed a scream, listening with dread as Trent continued. "But first, I'm gonna make you watch." Suddenly, Mark was still. Trent grinned and backed away into the shadow.

Then a blinding light flooded the room, pulling a muted groan from Mark's lips as he clamped his eyes closed. But he blinked rapidly, trying desperately to see in the light. When he could, his heart stopped. Trent let out a laugh, watching Mark's face slacken in horror.

"Ya should see ya face." He snickered. Trent lowered his knife and Mark thrashed wildly, screaming from behind the duck tape. His mother. She was bound with tape, pinned to the wall in another chair. A kitchen chair. He whimpered between screams. They were in their own basement and taped to their own furniture. He'd brought terror into his parent's home. And now his mother was at the end of Trent's blade, her head lulled to the side from unconsciousness.

"She was a hell cat in her day. But dear ol' Scout…" He squatted to look into her face. "…she ain't like she used ta be." With the tip of the knife, he pushed a piece of her hair from her forehead. "I used to think about fuckin' her. Caught her once with ya dad." Then he stopped, snorting softly. "I'm sorry, that's wrong. Chris ain't ya dad." Mark tugged at the tape on his wrists, wishing to interfere. "They'd go at it in the back of his truck. Ya know the one?" Mark dropped his head, closing his eyes to distance himself. Trent was going to humiliate his mother, kill her, and leave Mark in shambles. He wanted to break him.

"Then she went an' fucked Darley. Of all the people." Trent circled back towards him, lifting his jaw with the knife. "It's creepy how much ya look like the bastard. Can't believe no one said anything sooner." Mark clamped on his back teeth, hissing furious breaths from his nose. Then Trent bent over, breathing in his face. "Did ya know she miscarried?" A cold wash of horror flooded Mark's stomach and his eyes fell on his mother's limp form. Trent chuckled and tisked. "So many secrets in this family." He said softly. "She tried havin' Chris' baby when ya first moved here." Standing, he wandered away. "Guess Darley was a better…fit." A sound scuffled on the floor behind Mark and he saw Trent's gaze pass him.

"Uh oh. Daddy's wakin' up." Trent strode up behind Mark's chair and scraped it across the floor, turning so he could see. Chris was loose, unlike his mother, a dark stain spreading on his shoulder and leaking onto the floor in a large pool. "Had ta shoot 'im when he saw me standin' over ya." Trent whispered into his ear. Chris moaned, his legs stirring as he slowly roused. "But he'll last a little while longer." Mark was writhing with agony inside. Chris was pale, his stubble almost black against the grayish skin of his face. He looked like he was on death's doorstep, moving weakly on his side. "So which one dies first, Darley?" Trent purred into Mark's ear. "Who do ya love most?"


Chris' eyes fluttered open, weakly looking around the room. The last thing he remembered was walking in the front door. His mind was twisted up in searing agony. His hand shook as he reached for his shoulder, the source of the pain. It was slick with thick, warm…he shuddered as he realized blood covered his hand. Then he focused on the scene around him, the noise that rang in his ears.

"Come on, Darley. Is it Mommy or Daddy?" Chris moaned as his mind caught up. He'd walked in the front door, arm around his wife's shoulders. They'd pulled up at the same time, smiling but tired from a long day at work. He was looking forward to a long shower and curling up next to Scout in bed. But when the door had opened…

His head swirled with pain and his fingers tingled as they slowly numbed. The blood flowing from his shoulder was draining the energy from his limbs. He forced his eyes open into the glaring bright light, and squinted until he could see.

"Poor Scout." Trent. His voice was familiar, but laced with a hatred Chris had never heard before. He was a friend of the Burnes family. What was happening?

"Ya love Chris over her, huh?" Chris found Mark's figure in a chair. He saw the duck-tape, the struggling hands, and the thrashing shoulders. His son was bound and furiously fighting. Then his eyes settled on the gun. The dark hole at the end of a barrel. Trent's face was blurred from behind the weapon.

"Mark…" His hands felt like lead, sliding across the floor. The boy's face was lined with muffled screams, lurching forward in an attempt to reach him. But the gun was only inches from his face; Chris knew what was coming.

"Shut up." Trent's shoe smashed into his face and he could barely breathe, his body convulsing with pain. He could hear tiny scuffles and his left eye opened, revealing the legs of Mark's chair, inching forward as he pushed it across the floor. He was screaming, furious and crying, tears running down his cheeks over the tape on his mouth. "Never liked ya, fuckin' whimp." Trent circled and lashed out with his foot again, catching Chris in the ribs. "But Mark fuckin' took ya in like a puppy." He said with a snarl. "Then ya married Scout." He snorted and crossed the room. Chris' face fell when he saw his wife. She was bound, like Mark, slumped limply in a chair. The strongest woman he knew, reduced to a sad doll. Trent grabbed her jaw with a hand and looked at her face. "Anybody home, Mommy?" He smacked her cheek a few times and Chris growled, fury and pain wracking him. His legs squirmed beneath him and he focused, trying to find his footing. Trent shrugged, dropping her head.

"Must have hit 'er harder than I thought." He said with a smirk. Turning around, he caught sight of Mark, still inching forward in his chair. Trent sighed. "Well, I'm bored." Trent raised his hand and Chris watched the barrel. He wouldn't let himself scream. That is not how he wanted to go. So he took a deep breath and closed his eyes.


The shot made Mark freeze, his eyes open in shock. Chris went still and his head settled on the floor, sickly silent after such a loud sound. Mark shook with fury but his breaths were choked with sobs. He couldn't process the scene in front of his eyes. Trent raised the gun and put it under his chin.

"This... is your fault." He growled. Then he raised the gun again. Mark pulled, screamed, kicked, rocked, but was helpless as Trent shot his mother. She didn't react, but her body flopped, a spot of red spreading from her chest. He threw his weight forward and his chair finally gave way, tipping over at Trent's feet. His head hit the floor and his knees were pinned under the seat, the joints crying out in pain.

"Up ya go." Trent said with a smirk, flipping Mark's chair so he was facing the ceiling, flat on his back. The man's face was calm, almost happy as he circled around Mark's head. "Ya know…I always wished I could have been the one ta kill Darley." He said quietly, crouching down to tap Mark's forehead with a finger. "And here I am, gettin' my wish. All these years later." Mark tugged and struggled, but his despair finally won, just as Trent's gun flashed.

Then there was nothing.

No light. No sound.

But he was not alone. In the dark, he felt strength. And it led him back. Slowly, like a boat on the sea.

A small twitch in his fingers. A gasp of breath. Mark wheezed, reaching for the fire burning in his chest. But it wasn't fire; it was water. Not water. Blood.

"Mark." A hand, as bloody as his own, reaching out for him. He cried out, clawing at the cement below. Chris. His eyes were open, dimming, but alive. He gave him a small smile. "Mark." With furious kicks of his legs, Mark squirmed to his side. The chair was gone, magically disposed of. And the floor was red. How long had he been lying there? Where was Trent? It didn't matter. Chris' hand was cold as he grasped Mark's.

"Dad." His voice was like sandpaper, hardly understandable. Just watching Chris struggle for air brought tears to his eyes, stinging his cheeks. "I'm sorry." He whimpered, dropping his head to the floor. It was too heavy to hold up. Everything was too heavy. But Chris forced a smile through a grimace of pain.

"I love you." Then he blinked, tears dripping to the blood below. "Scout." He stuttered. Mark rolled his head, looking across the room at his mother's figure. She'd been dropped to the floor, also taken from her chair. Chris' tears flowed as he struggled with the image. The woman he loved, still as death. And he couldn't save her. Mark squeezed his father's hand and watched as he faded.


They weren't the wedding type. She'd banned anything that even resembled a wedding from the room. The judge had been perplexed by their wardrobe; Scout had worn a red cocktail dress, cut just above her knee, black pumps, and her hair had been curled, pulled up into a loose bun. Chris hadn't been able to breathe when he saw her. She took the air straight from his lungs.

According to her demands, Chris had worn his jeans and leather jacket. Hair tossed about after a long day at work, he'd barely been able to scrub the oil from his hands before they'd charged into city hall. But here he was, standing across from the most beautiful woman on earth and marrying her.

"Can I take off my coat now?" Mark whispered, quite loudly, into his ear. Chris smiled, squeezing the child around the shoulders.

"Not yet, big guy." Scout was beaming. He smiled as he remembered her face. The happiest moment of his life. He held on to it, peacefully closing his eyes.


"I'm sorry, Dad." Mark begged for forgiveness as Chris slipped away. Only when the man's hand released his, did he stop whispering the words. Then he closed his eyes, crying silently onto the cement.

I always wished I could have been the one ta kill Darley.

Trent's voice echoed like he'd reappeared in the room. Mark opened his eyes, hearing the taunts once again.

This is your fault.

His body surged with anger, his legs bending slowly beneath him.

So which one dies first, Darley?

With a yell, he pushed through the pain in his chest, using his elbows to bring himself to his knees.

Who do ya love most?

He screamed in agony, crawling over the floor with a snarl on his lips. "Mom." He ground out, sliding towards her. "Mom." It seemed like she lie miles away. Yet he fought for every inch. When he reached her, he ran his hands over her face.

"Wake up." He hissed. But she remained placid.

Poor Scout. Ya love Chris over her, huh?

"Mom." He grunted, lurching for the stairs. "I'll be back." He whispered. To himself, maybe. But he muttered the phrase until he reached the kitchen. Mark used every once of his strength, pulling himself up on the counter.

Then he dialed.

"911 please state your emergency."


*flinches* Sorry. I'm sorry.
As always, love to my faithfuls. Forgive any errors.