Chapter 4 – Race to Neal

WARNING – dark themes

Everything was fuzzy when Neal regained consciousness. He knew instantly that he was in the back of a van. A killer headache pounded behind his eyes, amplified by the loud, harsh voice of Benjamin Collier. Realizing his victim was awake, he stopped shouting at his 'employees' and shot Neal a venomous smile.

"You're awake," he said with mock happiness. "Oh, how I've missed my Neal."

"I am not 'your Neal,'" the younger man said through clenched teeth. Benjamin sharply slapped him, fixing Neal with a stern glare. He would have fought back if his hands weren't tied securely behind him.

"You will not talk back to me like that, little boy," he said. Neal's gut clenched. He hated that pet name. He hated everything Benjamin called him. He hoped Peter would get to him before this insane, perverted criminal could do anything too bad. Neal could deal with the slaps, kicks and hard punches, but there was so much more Benjamin could do. Flashbacks of the sexual abuse he went through made Neal sick to his stomach.

Almost as if the older man could read his thoughts, Benjamin smiled. "Just wait, pet – soon we'll be at the old house. You remember my home, don't you?" At Neal's lack of response, he continued. "I'm not quite sure what the information I was given means, but I know you'll tell me. You have something on you that tracks your whereabouts, correct?"

Neal's heart stopped. There was hope. His pant leg covered the tracking anklet, hiding it from Benjamin's sight. He hoped to God that Peter at least tried to track him and realize that they were on the move.

"Answer me, boy," the man growled. Neal braced himself for whatever Benjamin had in store for him – there was no way he was telling him a thing about the tracking anklet. Furious, the man took off his belt and doubled it over.

"Last chance," he said, his voice cold and threatening. Bracing himself, he watched as Benjamin brought the belt high and bruised every inch of Neal's body.

oOo

Peter ran as fast as his legs would go back to the FBI building.

"Diana!" he shouted the moment the elevator doors opened.

"Yeah boss?"

"Track Neal's anklet immediately," he ordered, grabbing his gun and making calls for back up. There was a chance that they hadn't taken it off yet, and Peter hoped to God that Benjamin hadn't got too far yet. Within seconds Diana had a location, and it was moving.

"All right, everyone that's not doing something monumentally important, with me, now!" Peter shouted to the agents, and immediately most of them were with Peter in the elevator, ready to get their favorite criminal consultant back.

oOo

Neal cried out as the belt bit into his cheek, then his back, then his face again. Benjamin had been at this for at least five minutes. He was so close to tears but he wasn't going to give Collier that pleasure. The man was breathing heavily, obviously exhausted. He tossed his belt and dropped down on his knees, hovering over Neal's face.

"I'll ask you again," he whispered, his lips disgustingly close to Neal's. "Tell me about whatever tracking technology is on you or this will get worse." He paused and chuckled. "For you, anyway."

Neal just glared at him. Even though his every ounce of his self-preservation instincts told him to give in to Benjamin and trust that Peter would find another way, Neal knew that he needed to man up and help Peter in any way he could at the moment.

Benjamin shook his head and sighed. "So stubborn, my beautiful-eyed pet," he mumbled. He stroked Neal's cheek before slapping him again, multiple times before finally stopping to kiss his cheeks.

"We're definitely going to need work on that little attitude of yours," he said thoughtfully, wiping the trickle of blood off Neal's lips. Neal looked at him in horror, terrified that he might have to feel those horrid lips on his again after all these years.

But he didn't. The van suddenly skidded to a stop, and he could hear the voice of an amazing FBI agent outside.

oOo

He could see the van up ahead. Sirens were blaring, people were rushing to get out of our way. Within seconds we had them surrounded, and the driver had no choice but to skid to a stop.

Peter's heart was racing at a million miles an hour. He'd been so afraid that Neal would be taken somewhere he couldn't find him, doomed to endless torture. But he'd been fast enough – he hoped to God that Neal was OK.

"Get out of the van!" he yelled, his gun cocked and loaded, as was everyone else's – they didn't plan on letting anyone escape.

After a few seconds, the driver got out, and was 'cuffed immediately, as was the passenger. Then, slowly, the side door slid open, and Benjamin Collier stepped out, looking extremely upset.

Peter wasted no time going up to the van to get Neal. He climbed in and sat by his CI, looking down at him fondly.

"I knew you'd find me," Neal said quietly, exhausted.

"'Course," the older man assured him. "I'll never, ever give up on you, no matter the circumstances."

Neal grinned, and allowed Peter to help him out of the van. Cutting his bonds, Peter wrapped the younger man in a hug, glad to have the man who he'd come to think of as a brother back in his care - which brought up another situation.

"You should've told me something was going on, Neal," Peter told him sternly.

Neal looked down at his shoes guiltily. "I'm sorry, Peter."

Peter sighed, shaking his head. He wrapped his arm around his CI's shoulders. "We'll discuss this later." Taking a look at Neal's multiple lacerations, he added, "For now, let's go get you cleaned up. I'm sure Elizabeth would be willing to help."

oOo

TBC

I am SO sorry! I was having serious writers block, but I hope this is at least satisfactory. The next chapter will be the last. I have a 'Big, Happy Family' chapter cooking and it will be up soon.

Thank you for bearing with me!

~Rebecca