You knew you were a load of trouble. The warm summer breeze was blowing your hair into your face, a soft contrast to the bruising grip on your arms. They had shoved you face first against a brick wall, wrenching your arms behind your back and slipping plastic zip ties around your wrists. The unyielding plastic was cutting into your skin already, a numb feeling spreading throughout your arms. At some point, someone had slipped a blindfold over your eyes, but you weren’t entirely sure when due to the pounding sensation in your head. It was hard to think straight after someone bashed your face into a brick wall a few times. As you were thrown into the back of something, landing with a soft exhale of breath, you wondered how you ended up in that position at all. You had been pulling a late shift at work, trying to finish some paperwork when Barba, of all people, had shown up to speak with Liv. Your boss left long before either one of you. You wished you had left when he did, more than a half hour before you had finally made your way out of the office because then maybe you wouldn’t be in this situation.
After the door slammed shut and you heard a motor startup, you tested the zip ties, pulling just slightly. If you could just get something to put pressure on them--you rolled slightly right into something solid. A soft exhale of breath made you freeze. You weren’t the only in the back of the vehicle, and now that you had your face pressed up against whoever it was, you thought you recognized something. It took you a second, but right as the man started to speak it clicked in your mind. No one else smelled like that. “You think you could get your elbow out of my side,” his voice was dry with humor and surprisingly calm.
“Barba?” you whispered.
“Unfortunately,” he mumbled back. You could feel the vibrations of his voice from deep in his chest, where your face apparently was situated.
“Are you okay? You’re not hurt?” you asked softly.
“A few little scratches,” he whispered, “Nothing permanent. I would certainly like to get out of here though. My arms have fallen asleep,”
“Okay, my phone is in my back pocket,” you said softly, “I can’t reach it, but if I roll over, you might be able to,” You quickly shifted onto your back and then your side so he could try and pull your phone out of your pocket.
“So what took you so long?” he asked jokingly, trying to lighten the mood. You could hear the nervous edge to his voice. He was slowly losing his composure, the humor acting as a defense mechanism to try and mask his emotions.
“Have you been in here since you left the office?” you asked softly. He didn’t answer for a moment, grunting softly as he groped around for your phone, mumbling apologies when he brushed your ass instead. You didn’t answer, ignoring the butterflies in your stomach and scratching them up to your current situation. Finally, you felt him start to pull it out, but it was a slow process and sounded painful as his arms were already bent into a weird position.
“They jumped me halfway down the street. I was looking at my phone and then there were three guys on top of me,” he replied, “Bashed my face into the concrete for my trouble. I think they got blood on my shirt,” he sounded annoyed at that, and you had to laugh.
“I think your stained shirt is the least of our problems,” you whispered, “You have the phone?”
“Yeah,” he murmured. You turned over, trying to get the blindfold off your eyes somehow. You managed to dislodge it enough that you could see your iPhone in Barba’s hand. His fingers looked worryingly white like the blood flow had been cut off a long time ago. You weren’t sure how he had managed to grab your phone at all, much less pull it from your pocket.
“Can you scroll down a little?” you asked softly. His arms tensed, but he managed to do as you asked. “Okay, move your finger down just a little,” He moved it right past, “Too far, up just a tiny bit,” His finger was now hovering over Liv’s name in your contacts. “Okay click,” Now you had a problem. You weren’t sure how he was going to get his fingers to the middle of the screen. It was a stretch to click anything on the side.
“Don’t you have Siri?” he hissed.
“It’s been acting up. I don’t think it’ll work,” you explained. Your phone had been problematic since you got it, acting up and needing fixed multiple times. The latest episode in its saga of torture had been Siri wigging out and randomly calling people or turning things off on your phone. Rafael held down the home button all the same until it made a dinging noise,
“Siri, call Liv,” he said, and the phone started ringing. Your face lit up, but then the sound died down in the background, and oh God, you were definitely stopped. The door swung open right as you heard Liv’s voice filtering out from the speaker,
“What the fuck do you two think you’re doing!?” he exclaimed, stepping on Rafael’s hand so hard that the lawyer let out a scream. He proceeded to crush your phone beneath his foot, tossing the pieces out of the back of the vehicle. You could see the night sky and a road behind you, but you had no idea where you were. It was very dark outside, and the flashlight the man was shining in your face made your head hurt even worse. “Whose phone was that?” he asked, kneeling down beside you, “Huh? Was it yours pretty lady?” he brushed some hair away from your face before grabbed your chin in a painful grasp. You let out a pained sound.
“It was mine,” Rafael’s voice cut through the tense silence, “It was mine,” The man let out a chuckle,
“We can’t have that can we,” he said softly, and you tensed as he pulled out a big knife, fear gripping you. He cut Rafael’s zip ties, setting the knife down and calming you down slightly. The man pressed a knee into Rafael’s back, “I was hoping to get you there in one piece, but you just had to misbehave already,” he whispered, wrenching the lawyer’s arm back, and then in one motion, snapping the bone. Rafael screamed louder than you’d ever heard before. His scream died down into painful gasps, but he quieted himself quickly, only hissing slightly when he was restrained once more. “If I catch you doing anything like that again, I won’t be so kind next time,” you both were silent until the door shut, and then you were quickly shifting into mothering mode. You hated hearing Rafael’s harsh breathing that was picking up again now that you were alone. Knowing he was in pain made you hurt especially because it was to protect you. You tried to ignore the feeling deep in your stomach of intense panic.
“Barba, try to stay calm,” you whispered, “I know it hurts,”
“I’m fine,” he hissed, “No problem. I’m perfectly calm,” You scooted closer to him, managing to get him propped up against you, but you couldn’t do much to help,
“Why would you do that?” you whispered, your voice distorted by tears, “I wish you wouldn’t have,”
“Come on, my mother raised me right,” he whispered, “What kind of man would I be if I let them hurt you? Not when I could help,”
“I don’t need protecting Barba,” you scolded, but after a few minutes of silence, you added a soft, “But, thank you,”
“Don’t mention it,” he murmured, breathing heavily, “We need to get out of here. This was planned. They waited around for you,”
“We’ll figure it out,” you promised, “We have to be patient, find the right time,” The rest of the ride passed with small talk, him telling you about his mother with your prompting of course. You were trying to distract him from the pain, and he liked to talk. You couldn’t say you weren’t interested in his life, he barely spoke about it at work, and now was as good a time as any. When the truck stopped, you both went quiet, and then you were being dragged somewhere. You heard Rafael grunt and then you landed on something semi-soft, and the blindfold was being pulled from your face. You blinked a few times, vision clearing. You were in a dank basement with concrete walls and floors, a dirty mattress below you. There was one little light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and no windows. Barba was laying on his stomach, and his arm was black and blue and incredibly swollen, peeking out from a ripped sleeve. His suit jacket was stained with blood and torn in a few places, his pants scuffed with dirt and his hair was all over the place. There was a man standing there, watching you in a way that made you shiver,
“Welcome to your home for the next few days,” he said in a low voice. He had dark hair and a handsome face, and he looked strong enough to pin Barba easily on his own. “You better rest up, cause it’s gonna be a long day,” he knelt down beside you, taking the zip ties off. You immediately went to start helping Barba, but he stopped you, “No, he stays restrained,”
“But his arm—” the man slapped you so hard you saw stars and felt dizzy,
“He did that to himself. You have bigger things to worry about little lady,” he said as he caressed your cheek before leaving the room. Barba went back to breathing in harsh gasps, and you tried to maneuver him onto his back, but it was too painful. You ran a gentle hand through his hair, trying to calm him down. He was pale and damp with sweat,
“Just breathe Barba, it’s okay,” You whispered.
“I won’t let them hurt you, don’t worry,” he whispered.
“Just relax, I’m not worried,” you lied, wanting to placate him.
“Get some sleep. I’m fine,” he said softly. You shook your head, “Really, I promise. I’ve had worse,”
“Just shush and stay still,” You said. He rolled his eyes.
“Yeah like I was going anywhere,” he mumbled.
“You try and get some sleep, I can’t have you grumpy tomorrow, and we all know how you get without your coffee,” you teased. He laughed at that, but nodded, knowing he had to keep his strength up. He curled up beside you, shutting his eyes. He wasn’t quite asleep, so you started talking to him softly and he relaxed, even more, drifting out of consciousness. You stared at his finally relaxed face and sighed. As you watched his soft features, you couldn’t help but think about how much he had grown to mean to you. You and Barba had been becoming closer and closer lately, spending copious amounts of time together because of cases. He was easy to talk to, and so incredibly intelligent. You had to reign in your wandering mind, focusing on the situation at hand. Barba was in a lot of pain, and who knew what they had planned for you tomorrow. You stood up, looking around to see if there was any possible way out. There were no windows or other doors, one small air vent that neither of you could possibly fit in, and there wasn’t much down there save for the mattress. The door looked solid and you tested the knob cautiously. It was locked. You sighed and returned to the mattress where Barba was still soundly sleeping. He looked exhausted, dark bags under his eyes. You knew he was so busy recently, a case totally taking over every moment he had. Just a few days before, he texted you in a panic at two in the morning, asking where a file was. You had called him and told him to get his ass home and in bed, but you weren’t sure if he’d listened. As you laid there, you thought about your evolving relationship and wondered if those lopsided smirks were just friendly or there was something more gnawing at the handsome attorney. You had been wrestling with the feelings that were bubbling right under the surface and intensifying the more time you spent together, and you hated that you were glad he was the one you were with right now. You, of course, weren’t glad that he was in danger, but you felt safer with him, somehow more calm, and you needed to be clear and level-headed to get out of this situation. You had to believe that you’d find a way to get out. You had to.