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In his sleep, he looks so peaceful and so sweet. He doesn’t pull at his handcuffs, or flinch, or demand to be let go, or try to bargain with you. Rest brings an innocence, a softness to his face that has you reaching forward to trace his smooth skin. Down cheeks and ghosting over lax pink lips that have the slightest wisps of air drifting over your fingertips. He’s pretty, especially with the contrast of dark red to his blonde hair. Stains in his dark green flannel make it stiff. They move weird when you place a flat palm over his chest to feel it rise and fall. He fascinates you in a way that makes you want to keep him.

He jumps awake with a startled grunt when you unbutton his shirt to feel his clammy chest better. Bright blue eyes blink rapidly, trying to wake up and get away and figure out where he is. Every single time he wakes up, it’s like this. Confusion. Fear. An upheaval of his torso like he wants to throw up on you. He grabs onto the chain of his cuffs so that he has something, anything to hold onto and feel a little less useless.

“Good morning,” you say softly.

“It’s not too late,” he replies, like he so often does. “It’s not too late to get out of this. I’m a cop. If you don’t let me out, they’ll find me and you’ll be dead before you get one foot out the door, you hear me?”

You stare at him until he stops talking, and promptly withdraw your hand. He wilts and sags against the mattress. It hasn’t taken much to figure out how starved for contact he is, how much he’ll do just to be touched. You can give him what everyone else has neglected. He belongs to you, and sooner or later, he’ll understand that. You’re the only one who can give him what he needs. Like the others, only they couldn’t learn to be good. He’s a smart one, he’ll figure it out.

This time when you unbutton his shirt the rest of the way, he lets you. Little scars, some pink and some white, pepper up and down his chest. The raised ones feel weird under your touch, but you don’t mind. More character to him, to his body. He might even be the one that survives. Everything is just right. The blue eyes, the accent, the job, the way he lets you touch him. He’s yours.

The weirdest part is that there’s a fraction of you that doesn’t want to hurt him. You want him to love you and to be good for you. That doesn’t line up with how he keeps looking towards the door over your shoulder that’s been left ajar. No one will see, no one will hear, but if he needs the hope while he adjusts than so be it. Eventually he’ll settle. You’ve done everything he needs for comfort- the mattress is soft and the sheets luxurious, and you exchanged his jeans for sweatpants when you brought him here. Once he can prove he’s good, you’ll uncuff him and let him start walking the house on his own.

“They won’t find you,” you tell him.

“You don’t know that.”

You smile. “They didn’t find the others.”

His eyes go wide and for a second he stops breathing entirely. No bodies were ever found for his brother officers, and there never will be. You’re smarter than the NYPD, than the whole FBI if it comes to that. But it won’t. Because he’s the one who’ll work.