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Dave was having a nice dream about Christmas morning. He'd awakened
early and gone into his mother's kitchen to start a pot of coffee.
Still a bit groggy, he'd made his way back to the bedroom he was
sharing with Dylan; to make sure Dylan was still asleep. Kneeling by
the bed, Dave had gently brushed Dylan's hair back from the boy's
face, once more giving thanks that Lisa had given him such a precious

Of course, the touch awoke Dylan, who blinked sleepily up at Dave and
then grinned. "It's Christmas! Santa's come!" Dylan threw his arms
around Dave's neck, giving him a hard hug, and then he rushed out of
bed. Dave laughed as Dylan grabbed him by the hand and led him to the
living room where the Christmas Tree stood, the colored lights
blinking merrily in the near darkness of the early morning. Dave
stood back while Dylan rushed the tree and went to his knees, looking
for packages with his name on them.

Grinning, Dave decided to check the weather, and headed for the front
door, knowing it would only take a few moments to run down the short
flight of steps to the front door of the building. Only when he'd
opened the door of his mother's apartment, he'd found himself in the
doorway of a house, and it was snowing outside. The snow hit his
skin, chilling him, and the next thing Dave knew, he was standing on a
snow-covered porch naked.

The dream faded away, but the cold remained, and Dave shivered as he
became aware that he really was naked, and also in a bed, but not
quite 'in it'. Instead, he seemed to be on it, with the covers either
under his body or not on the bed at all. Dave opened his eyes, and he
looked around the room, finding it unfamiliar. He frowned as he went
to move his arms and found them secured to the headboard. And his
displeasure over that discovery turned to a bit of fear as he realized
two other things - his ankles were similarly secured and he was gagged.

Dave's head dropped back to the mattress as his mind went over what
had happened. He had been on his way home when Carter had stopped him
and invited him over for a beer. But there'd been no beer. They'd
had burgers and shakes, and then watched a hockey game, and that was
the last thing that Dave remembered. He shivered once more, but not
from cold this time. This time it was from the fear that was growing
out of the idea that Carter really did know what Dave had done before
- why else would he do something like this to him?

Oh, Dave had always known, deep in his gut, that one day he'd pay for
what he'd done. But he hadn't imagined it happening at Christmas, and
on the night before he was to pick up his son. He couldn't disappoint
Dylan by not showing up, he just couldn't. And Dave had to find some
way to make Carter understand that. Hell, he'd willingly come back
for whatever punishment Carter saw fit to dish out, but he just
couldn't disappoint Dylan. The problem was how to convince Carter of
that? Gagged, Dave couldn't reason with Carter. Damn, damn, damn,
Dave thought. He was screwed. Totally and royally screwed, and it
would be Dylan who would pay the brunt of the price for it.

Dave raised his head from the mattress as he heard a door open, and he
watched as Carter walked into the bedroom. Carter leaned against the
dresser that was opposite the bed and simply stared at Dave. Dave
tried to talk, tried to get Carter to remove the gag, but Carter
ignored him and his struggles to get his hands or feet free. Even
when he'd been 'working' for Steve, Dave had never felt so helpless,
and he let his head drop back to the sheet, feeling defeated. He also
felt very exposed and ashamed under Carter's gaze.

John looked at Dave for a long time, not saying anything. It wasn't
so much that John didn't know what to say, but that he had too much to
say to the other man. He watched as Dave struggled to get free,
listened to the muffles behind the gag, and felt nothing at all over
Dave's predicament. It wasn't until Dave sank against the mattress,
giving up, that John found his voice.

"You're lucky, you know? I could have blindfolded you, and then you'd
be lying there, wondering about every sound you heard. Wondering if I
was about to touch you or hurt you. It's worse, being blindfolded.
Or I could have put a pillowcase over your head, and then not only
would you be unable to see, but with every breath you took, the
material would mold itself against your nose, making you feel as if
you were going to suffocate. Those are some pretty scary feelings."
John shrugged. "Maybe I'll do that later..." Dave's head arose from
the mattress once more, his eyes fearful and questioning. "...and
maybe I won't."

John stepped away from the dresser and sat down on the bed. "I'm
going to be going out for a bit, but I'll be back. Fortunately for
you, I don't have two other people to leave behind, so you'll be
alone." He reached out, his hand hovering over Dave's groin, and then
John quickly moved to lightly hit Dave's shoulder. "I won't be gone

John got to his feet and headed out of the bedroom, ignoring the
noises that Dave was making. He supposed that he should have felt
guilty over leaving Dave alone while bound to the bed, but he didn't.
It wasn't as if he were going to be gone for a long time, John
reasoned. And Dave could see what was going on around him, even if
nothing was happening. John hoped that the time spent alone would
dredge up any sense of guilt that Dave might have over what he'd done,
but he doubted it. Dave had worked with John for months now, and had
never expressed any remorse over anything in his past. John doubted
if Dave would exhibit any remorse now. Oh, he fully expected Dave to
beg to be set free, and to promise just about anything to achieve that
freedom. But promises weren't what John was looking for. He wanted
Dave to feel just as helpless and ashamed as he had felt. He wanted
Dave to feel violated and demeaned. He wanted Dave to be scared. And
John was intending to enjoy each and every moment of watching those
emotions surge through Dave Malucci.


Dave had never been as scared as he was after he heard the door of
Carter's apartment close. He was alone and tied to a bed, helpless if
something should happen. He bit down hard on the gag in his mouth,
hoping that maybe he could use his teeth to cut through it. If he
could, then he could call for help.

And Dave stopped at that thought. If he did call for help, then the
police would be called, and then Carter would be in trouble. Despite
his fear and humiliation, Dave didn't want Carter in any kind of legal
trouble. Carter was only getting him back for what had happened years
ago. If Carter were arrested for this, then Dave would have to
confess to what he'd done back then, and most likely Harry and Ron's
names would come up. They'd all be screwed, Dave knew. His career
would most likely be over, as would Carter's. He somehow didn't think
that Romano would overlook Carter more or less kidnapping a co-worker,
even if he had valid reasons for doing so.

But, God, what if a fire broke out? Or if someone broke in? What if
Carter kept him all night and into the day? Dave could clearly
imagine the look on Dylan's face when he didn't show up. And then
Lisa would try to call him, to see what was going on, because Dave was
never late to pick up Dylan. When she got no answer, Lisa would
worry, Dave knew, and she'd call the police. Again, it would come
down to Carter getting into trouble, and by extension, himself getting
into trouble as well.

There was no way that anyone would win in that situation. Dave simply
had to wait out Carter, try to get the gag removed and then convince
Carter to let him go for Christmas. He'd promise to let Carter string
him up later if he wished, but Dave couldn't miss picking up Dylan.
Dave pulled at the bindings on his wrists, trying once more to get
free, and he looked up at his right wrist to see what was holding him
in place. A necktie? Looking at each limb, Dave saw that Carter had
used neckties all the way around, and Dave was willing to bet that his
gag was a necktie, too. Now, if it had been him, that wouldn't have
happened, because Dave only owned two neckties, one red and one blue.
Now that he thought of it, Dave remembered that Carter had quite a
collection of neckties. Hell, Carter could probably wrap Dave up like
a mummy, using only neckties, and still have plenty leftover.

Dave shivered again. The air in the room was coolish, especially
against bare skin. The wind chose that moment to rattle the
windowpane, and that made Dave shiver even harder. He knew that
Carter had the heat turned on, but right then, he doubted if he was
benefiting from it. He lifted his head to look around for a clock.
Carter had to have been gone for about ten minutes already, Dave
thought. Where was the clock? Carter had to have a clock, how else
would he make it up in time for work each day? He'd moved it from the
room, Dave finally reasoned. Damn him. How could he know how much
time had passed without a clock or being able to see his own watch?

Dave relaxed against the mattress. Of course, Carter didn't want him
to know that, or else he'd have left the clock in the bedroom. Then
again, maybe this wasn't Carter's bedroom. While Carter did tell Dave
that the apartment only had one bedroom, how did Dave know if Carter
was telling the truth? The whole invitation had been a set-up, after
all. Dave's body jumped on the bed as he heard the slamming of the
door, his heart racing from the surprise of the sudden noise, and then
Dave realized that the earlier sound of a closing door had been a
trick. Bastard, he thought, Carter had never left in the first place.
What a sneaking, conniving bastard. How could he trust Carter if the
guy was going to play tricks like that on him? How could he feel safe
if he never knew if Carter was really there or not? It was almost
psychological torture, Dave was sure of that.

And Dave was also sure that he deserved every bit of it.


John felt guilty. And then he felt angry over feeling guilty. He
looked at the items in the small shopping basket, and felt guilty over
buying them, over what he intended to do with them. And the more he
looked at the items, the more guilty he felt, until John had no choice
but to put the items back and leave the drug store.

Once in the Jeep, John simply sat there, as still as if he were made
of stone. But his mind wasn't still. No, his mind never found it
easy to be still. And right then it was concentrating on Dave
Malucci. It was a matter of familiarity, John thought. Back when
Dave and his cohorts had abducted him and did…those things, they
didn't know him. They could act that way because he was a stranger to
them. Although, they did seem to know his name, only the questions
they'd asked him had later made John wonder just what in the Hell had
really been going on.

John knew Dave Malucci. He had to admit that he even liked Dave.
Sure, the guy was a maverick at times, but he was likable. And it was
difficult to do things to someone you liked. At least John was
finding it difficult. Then there were the things he didn't want to
think about. Such as the way he'd gotten hard after he'd stripped
Dave and was able to get a look at his entire body. The muscles that
were often visible on Dave's arms gave promise to a body that matched,
and when John had seen that body, he'd become aroused. And then right
before he'd left the apartment, or rather, right before he pretended
to leave the first time, John had gotten hard at the thought of
touching Dave, which was why he couldn't go through with it.

John turned the key in the ignition, starting the motor, and having
decided that he was pretty fucked up. And Dave Malucci had definitely
had a big hand in making him that way. Or had he? Would John have
responded so easily to what Dave and his buddies had done ten years
ago if there hadn't already been a shred of attraction for males
within him? It was a difficult thing to think about, but something
that John knew he couldn't ignore. Was there more to his failed
relationships than the bad memories from ten years ago? Did he end up
using those memories to cover up the fact that he didn't want to have
a relationship with a woman?

Sighing, John drove back to his apartment, not sure what to think. He
was equally unsure of what to do now. He had planned to do things to
Dave, to pay him back in full for everything. But since he'd wimped
out back at the drug store, John didn't know what he could do to exact
that revenge. This was one of those times when he wished that he and
his grandmother were on better terms, so that he could go over there
and pick her brain. And also get comforted in the process. But, the
rift between them seemed unbreachable, and tonight wasn't the right
time to try to mend things, especially if his grandfather was in town.
John was in no mood for yet another lecture on how he was letting the
rest of the family down just because he wanted to be a doctor.

Once back in the apartment, John sat down on the couch, still unsure
of what to do about Dave. Maybe it was enough to just keep him tied
up overnight, with Dave not knowing what was going to happen? John's
gaze fell on Dave's book bag, and he found himself wondering if Dave
had anything in there that might prove interesting. He brought it
over to the couch, stopping by the chair long enough to grab Dave's
pants as well, so he could go through the pockets. John doubted if
there was anything there that would lead him to Dave's accomplices, or
that would even incriminate Dave in any other way, but he was hoping
to find something that he could use against Dave, even if it was
something small.

It had been a while since Carter'd come back, Dave thought. At least,
he thought it had been a while since he'd heard the door close. Would
Carter come back in to taunt him again? In a way, Dave hoped that he
would, because that would then give him yet another chance to try to
get Carter to remove the gag.

As if on demand, the bedroom door opened and Carter came back into the
room, holding something in his hand. Dave warily regarded Carter as
the man came to a stop by the bed.

"You have a son," Carter said, and he held out his hand toward Dave to
reveal the picture of Dylan that Dave carried in his wallet. A
picture that conveniently had the words 'love you Daddy' written on
the back, along with the date it was taken. Lisa was always good
about making sure that something nice was written on the back of any
picture she sent him of Dylan.

Dave nodded, hoping that Carter would want to hear the story of how
Dylan came about, but Carter merely nodded in return and then walked
out of the room. But he didn't shut the door this time, and Dave felt
that was a good sign. Of course, it was a good sign that Carter
hadn't cut off the lights each time, too. They were small things, but
right then, Dave was holding tightly onto the small things.

Back in the living room, John sat down on the couch and placed the
child's picture on the coffee table, alongside the other things from
Dave's wallet and bag - Dave's driver's license, a library card, the
latest issue of JAMA, and train tickets. One ticket for Dave Malucci
for the next morning, from Chicago to Detroit. And two tickets from
Detroit to New York for later that same day, in the names of Dave and
Dylan Malucci. Dave was taking his son to New York for Christmas.

And John felt sick to his stomach. The kid was cute, and definitely
Dave's. And he looked...normal. The way a kid should look. He was
smiling happily in the photo, with a glint of mischief in his eyes.
And if John kept Dave overnight or longer, than that normal little kid
would miss out on having Christmas with his daddy.

John flopped back against the cushions and ran a hand through his
hair. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He wasn't supposed to be
too weak to go through with what needed to be done. He wasn't
supposed to hurt an innocent party.

"Fuck it," John muttered as he got to his feet. He grabbed his coat
and his keys, and then went back into the bedroom. Dave lifted his
head to look at him, his eyes questioning, but John didn't say anything.

Instead, John went to the other side of the bed, and he undid the tie
that bound Dave's left wrist. "I'm going out. Don't be here when I
get back," John said, and he hoped that his voice wasn't as shaky as
he thought it sounded. Turning quickly around, John went to the door,
and this time he flipped the light switch, sending the bedroom into
darkness. He couldn't make things too easy for Dave, he thought as he
shut the door behind him and then left the apartment. Once in the
Jeep, John drove around, no destination in mind. He knew that Dave
would see his things laid out on the coffee table and would get them
all when he left.

John finally found himself stopping across the street from Kerry
Weaver's house. It had once been his house, too, John thought, until
becoming the head of the department had gone to her head and she'd
kicked him out. Oh, Kerry claimed to have noble reasons for doing
that - that it wouldn't look right. But John was sure that it
wouldn't have mattered to anyone, not since he'd been there for close
to a year. John shook his head as he gazed at the house, remembering
how at home he'd felt when he'd lived there, and wishing that he was
still there.

But, John didn't live there anymore, and no amount of wishing would
undo what had been done. It wouldn't undo Kerry kicking him out, it
wouldn't undo what he'd done to Dave, and it wouldn't undo what Dave
and his friends had done to him so long ago. The only consolation
that John had was that keeping Dave away from his son at Christmas was
not going to be something that he'd later wish he could undo. Letting
Dave go now was the right thing to do, John knew that. He just wished
that he still didn't feel like scum for having abducted Dave in the
first place.

To be continued
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