Justin turned away from the window, eyes briefly closing in relief. He’d been standing looking out at a neighbor’s house when a flash of movement caught his attention. Moving slightly to one side, he’d been able to see just a small portion of the gate leading into the alley from the back yard and had seen Molly slip through it.
Glen had walked past his door just a short time before he’d seen his sister outside and he had listened with dread as the footsteps had slowed for a second then continued on. Now, he listened for any sounds telling him that Glen had seen his sisters’ escape but the house remained quiet, and for some reason that thought didn’t put him at ease.
As he started back across the room his eyes fell on the canvas and the partially painted face of the woman staring back at him. The Mona Lisa smile seemed to twist into a mocking sneer as sudden, unwanted memories flooded his mind.
...”No, Glen don’t”….a fist connecting with his face and the taste of blood in his mouth….
… “I own you, you stupid little fuck” Glen’s enraged face was close to his “you will do as I say”
…”I won’t….”….the carpet coming up to meet him as he fell to the floor………
…”wrong answer Justin”
Justin slumped heavily in the chair, slightly rocking back and forth as his hands went to his head gripping his hair in tight fists as the memories continued to whirl in his mind. He’d been so excited when Glen had first approached him, thinking that he would be doing some minor restoration on the famous work of art. Then everything had fallen apart when he learned that the work he’d be doing wasn’t restoration but an actual exact copy that Glen planned to sell. Of course he had refused, and that refusal had gotten him the first of several horrible beatings. He remembered trying to curl in on himself as kicks and punches rained down on his body before everything had gone black. He woken up suspended from the ceiling, his arms secured to a metal hook and Glen was beating him with a whip. In an act of self perseveration he’d finally relented and agreed to do the painting, Glen had forced him to start that same day.
Two more beatings followed, one when Glen thought Justin should have been working faster and the third and last one, the one that landed him in the hospital was when he had out rightly refused to finish it. The memories of that kept replaying over and over in his mind as his body began to shake. Then miraculously, his mind switched to other memories, more pleasant memories of gentle kisses and soft touches, Brian holding him in the darkness of the loft and Brian making love to him.
The memories went on and on jumping back and forth between Glen and Brian.
Glen ….. beating him …… degrading him ……. humiliating him ….. hurting him ……..
Brian ….. holding him ……. kissing him …… loving him …… touching him ……
“YOU MOTHER FUCKER!”
With an outraged yell he rose and swept his arm across the small table watching as paint tubes scattered across the floor. The canvas and easel were next; breaking the canvas across his up lifted knee and throwing it across the room, the canvas was followed by pieces of the easel. When he was done, Justin stood in the middle of the room, his chest heaving in exertion as he surveyed the damage.
Glen half drug, half carried Andrew into the bedroom and pushed him onto the bed watching him slowly roll over onto his stomach. He noticed some of the deeper welts on the freckled back had reopened and growled out a warning “don’t fucking bleed on my bed” before walking to the nightstand.
He didn’t bother securing the man to the bed though; he knew that in Andrew’s half starved, weakened state the man wouldn’t be going anywhere. He reached the nightstand and opened the top drawer, pulling out a small, short barreled pistol and turned around, smirking at the wide eyed look in the terrified eyes staring at him. He felt no remorse over what he was about to do, after all, everything that had been done to the red head lay solely on Justin’s shoulders and he intended to make Justin well aware of that fact.
“Soon Andrew, it will be all over soon” he said, setting the gun on the nightstand, enjoying the fearful look on the other man’s bruised face. That look was nearly his undoing as he groaned with sudden lust, nothing made him hotter than knowing he had complete, total control over another, that they would do anything, let him do anything, just to avoid his wrath.
Feeling his cock start to twitch, he decided his plans for Justin and Andrew’s meeting could be put off for a short time as he began to walk slowly to the bed. His hands rose to the buttons on his silk shirt, watching Andrew’s face as the buttons slid through the holes with every step closer to the bed. He was confident that no one knew where Justin was due to his threat against Molly, and he was equally confident that Andrew’s family had stopped looking for him after months of no word from the missing man.
“I think a farewell fuck is in order, don’t you?” Glen said as he shrugged the shirt off his shoulders and watched the muscles in Andrew’s neck tighten.
However, just as he was preparing to reach down and jerk Andrew to his knees he heard a crash from down the hall and whipped his head around to stare at the closed door just as another crash was heard. Molly didn’t have anything in her room that would make that sort of sound but Justin…..His eyes narrowed as a snarl escaped his lips, the painting…...
“That stupid little fuck has no idea who he’s dealing with.”
Andrew closed his eyes as Glen slammed the door open and disappeared down the hall. Hopefully Molly had been able to escape and help for him and Justin would be coming soon.
Justin heard heavy footsteps coming down the hall and stopping right outside his door and watched wearily as Glen flung the wooden panel open and stalked into the room. This wasn’t going to be good he realized and his mind barely had time to register that Glen’s upper body was naked before he was sent flying across the room, landing heavily in a jumbled heap against one wall. Glen was there before he had time to pick himself up and the older man grabbed him by the hair jerking Justin to his feet. Justin didn’t have time to wonder what his next move would be but instead felt a solid blow to the stomach that would have sent him doubling over in pain if not for the fingers still holding firmly to the hair on the top of his head.
“You fucking little prick” Glen’s face was close to his and Justin felt small drops of spittle raining on his face as the other man spat the words out “you will fucking pay for this, Justin, that ten thousand dollars is coming out of your ass.”
Despite himself Justin could help but choke out a laugh “better my ass then in your pocket you son of a bitch.”
Glen’s face took on a pure rage and Justin briefly wondered if his outburst had just gotten him a one way ticket to hell when he noticed Glen eyes change to a more calculating look.
“We’ll just see how Andrew feels about that” Glen announced as he quickly twisted Justin’s arm behind his back and laughed when he heard a loud yelp from the smaller man.
Despite the pain in his arm Justin couldn’t help but wonder…….Andrew? who the fuck is Andrew? as he was propelled out the door and down the hall at a fast pace.
Pete and Brian snuck around the back of the house and into the back yard, trying to stay low and out of sight from the windows. Just as they were easing up to the covered patio they heard Steve’s quiet voice coming through the headsets “in place” Pete looked to the empty house and could see Steve looking down at them from his hiding place on the roof and slightly lifted a hand in acknowledgement.
Then Bill’s voice came through, just as quiet “Molly says there’s a back door leading into the kitchen but he usually keeps it locked.”
Pete reached up and touched the button to activate his microphone “got it covered.”
As they were approaching the back door Pete stopped and turned to Brian “when we get inside, you need to stay right with me, Brian, no matter what you hear or see, got it?”
“Yeah, I got it” Brian answered, grudgingly accepting the fact that Pete was right, if they were going to get Justin and Andrew out of there alive he had to do exactly what his old friend told him to do, after all it wasn’t everyday that the FBI allowed a civilian to actively participate in a hostage situation.
As Steve finished adjusting the scope on the rifle he tried not to think about his brother, without much success. Although Andy was in reality his step brother, Steve didn’t think of it in those terms, Andy was his brother, they had grown up together, gotten into trouble together and when Andy had first come out to their parents at the age of eighteen, Steve had been right there with him, giving him all the moral support he needed. It had taken them both by surprise when their parents had looked at each other and burst out laughing. Their mother had told him “honey, we’ve known that since you were eleven, you could have been born with green skin and purple hair and we’d still love you” then their father had gotten up from his chair and wrapped his arms around the teary eyed teen “you’re our son, and being gay is just a part of who you are, we will always love you, no matter what. I’m damn proud of you” then Steve had been pulled into that embrace himself “damn proud of both my son’s.”
Shaking his head to dislodge the memories, Steve began monitoring the windows through the scope, there would be time to reunite with Andy later, he hoped, right now he had a job to do.
“Bingo, Halbrooks in one of the rooms at the back of the house” Steve announced into the small microphone attached to his ear.
“Is he alone?” came Joshua’s quiet voice. The man was currently standing just outside the front door waiting for the all clear from Steve to go in.
“Looks like it” he answered and watched curiously as Glen removed his shirt……. what the fuck is he doing?
Then he heard Pete’s “We’re in.”
Steve moved the rifle over a bit and focused on what he had found to be the kitchen since he could see the refrigerator through the window and was rewarded a second later when he saw Pete and Brian step into view.
Swinging the rifle back to the bedroom window he was just in time to see Glen jerk the door open and leave the room.
“Shit, find cover, he’s left the room.”
Swinging the rifle back to the kitchen window, he was relived to see that Pete and Brian had disappeared from sight, and then checked the living room knowing that Joshua had slipped through the front door a few moments ago, there was no sign of any of the three men. Satisfied that they had found temporary hiding places Steve again focused on the bedroom window.
“Steve, can you see him?” Pete whispered into the small microphone. He and Brian had ducked into the laundry room when Steve had given the alarm, from his spot behind the door, he couldn’t see Brian who had crawled over the tall laundry hamper between the washer and dryer and was hunched down behind it.
“No” came the whispered reply.
“He’s down the hall, I can hear him talking to someone but I can’t make out what he’s saying” Joshua whispered from his hiding place behind the couch and the wall “sounds like he’s in one of the other bedrooms.”
Just then they heard a loud yell and Pete frantically motioned for Brian to stay put when the brunet shot up from his hiding place.
“Fuck it, Pete that was Justin”
“Stay there, we can’t do anything until we know for sure where he is” Pete demanded.
Just then they heard Steve’s voice again “he’s back in the bedroom now, he has Justin with him.”
He didn’t tell them that Justin had blood trickling down his chin or that the blond was now looking at some point below the window with a look of absolute horror on his youthful face.
Justin stood looking at the bed, not realizing that the look on his face was telling Glen all he needed to know about what was going on in his head. Fuck, if not for the red hair and the spattering of freckles across the young man’s back, it was as if Justin were standing outside his body looking at the beaten shell of the man he’d once been.
“What the fuck” he turned his head to look at Glen “what the fuck did you do?”
Glen gave a low sadistic laugh “I would think that would be obvious, Justin, while you were away Andrew here conveniently took your place.”
Glen grabbed Justin by the back of the neck propelling him closer to the bed “see what you caused Justin, by running away like you did? This your fault you little slut, all of it” and with that he gave Justin a hard shove toward the bed, the blond felt himself being pushed forward and saw the red haired man tense up, gasping in response to the momentary tightening of his muscles. Justin managed to stumble to one side so as not to fall on the injured man’s back, unconsciously keeping himself between Glen and the bed.
“No, not….your fault” came a faint mumble from the bed “don’t believe him.”
“Shut the fuck up, bitch.”
Glen raised his arm, closing his hand into a fist and started to move closer to the bed preparing to deliver a hard right to Andrews’ already bruised ribs when he was surprised to find himself roughly shoved to one side. Stumbling sideways he managed to catch himself on the corner of the nightstand and with a roar he turned and launched himself at Justin.
Pete and Brian had left their hiding spot and after joining Joshua in the living room, they started down the hallway, Pete making sure Brian stayed behind them. Both agents had their guns drawn with the barrels pointing at the ceiling. They had only taken two steps when the sudden sounds of fighting reached them; they all looked at each other then took off at a run toward the open door of the far room, the sounds getting louder with each step and Steve’s urgent voice ringing in their ears.
“GO, GO, GO”
Justin was too busy trying to keep Glen’s fingers from wrapping around his throat while the other man spat obscenities at him that they didn’t hear the three men racing into the room or coming to a shocked stop just inside the doorway.
Justin managed to land a hard right to Glen’s chin sending the other man rolling off him just as a strange voice yelled “FREEZE HALBROOK!”
Justin sat up wiping blood from the corner of his right eye and looked at the door, standing there holding a pistol on Glen was a man he’d never seen before, the man that had been in the house earlier, Glen had called him Joshua, was standing slightly behind him and a bit to one side, also holding a pistol and standing behind them was…….Brian?
“Justin come here” Joshua instructed at the same time motioning with his unoccupied hand. As he started to stand he caught a movement out of the corner of his eye and realized too late that he had inadvertently put himself between Glen and his rescuers.
During the fight with Justin one of them had bumped into the nightstand, knocking Glens’ gun to the floor and as he had rolled away from Justin’s punch he managed to grab the handle and quickly stood, reaching for the blond. Brian watched horrified as Justin was caught from behind and pulled tight against Glen as the other man wrapped an arm across Justin’s upper chest.
“Justin” Brian started around Pete only to be pushed roughly back, it was then Brian found himself looking down the barrel of a pistol.
“Aw, how sweet, lover boy’s come to rescue his little boyfriend” Glen said mockingly, shaking his head “except Justin and I have some unfinished business don’t we sweetheart” he began to slowly maneuver Justin toward the closet, intending to lock both of them both safely in the hidden room.
Pete was paying close attention to the deranged man’s movements and as Glen slowly shuffled into Steve’s line of vision he glanced over the man’s shoulder to see the sniper watching through the scope on the rifle “Turn him loose Halbrook, you have nothing left to gain.”
“Nothing but ten thousand dollars, which until you showed up, I intended to make Justin pay” a semi hysterical cackle rose up from Glen’s lips “and pay and pay and pay.”
Andrew had been watching the confrontation and suddenly realized where Glen was headed and knew that if Glen was able to secure himself and Justin inside the room, the blond was as good as dead.
Pete knew Steve had a clear shot but with Justin being held firmly against Glen’s chest, probably wasn’t taking it for fear of hitting the blond. He and Joshua would somehow have to keep Glen in front of the window and try to get Justin away from the man. Just as he was about to move though, the choice was taken away by the injured man on the bed.
Glen had moved close enough to the bed for Andrew to reach out and grab hold of the man’s pants leg. Glen was momentarily distracted by the movement and looked down, doing two things without realizing it, the hand he held the gun in lowered and he loosened his grip on Justin. The blond saw his chance and took it, twisting out of Glen’s grasp at the same time all hell broke loose.
The next few seconds seemed to go by in slow motion for Brian with several things happening at once. He saw Justin break away from Glen, saw the man turn and start to swing his gun back toward the blond; felt himself being pushed forcibly back into the hall by Joshua at the same time Pete and Joshua dove into the room.
Suddenly two shots rang out, and Justin turned startled blue eyes to his……..and fell to the floor.