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Crime and Punishment

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He fought viciously against the hands that held him tight, gradually dragging him toward the idle car that appeared to be his assailant's ride.

"Stop please! Get off me! What do you want I-I don't have an-mmmph!" a hand cut off his panicked, confused protests, and it made him fight all the harder.

"We'll get to that later, right now though, I need you to be quiet and behave yourself or I'm going to start getting rough." His captor snarled irritably.

Someone opened one of the doors to the back seat and the other man shoved him forward, another pair of arms grabbed him around the waist as he stumbled and the other man quickly forced him into the back seat before sliding in himself, trapping him and slamming the door shut behind him.

"No!! Let me out!" Thomas yelled, throwing a punch at the other man in the back of the vehicle, that was easily stopped in the crowded space.

"Dammit Tozer get his hands under control! For Christ's sake I hired you for a reason!" the man in the driver's seat shouted angrily.

"Please! I don't have any money just let me go.. I-I won't say a word.. I- Hey! Wait! No -nngh let go!!"

He was manhandled into the larger man's, (that he now believed to be called Tozer) lap and strong arms held him tightly as they tried to snatch hold of his wrists.

"No! No please, let me go. I won't tell anyone this even happened!"

"Will someone shut him up? The last thing we need is for cops to show up!" the man in the driver's seat snarled.

Thomas heard a loud shripping noise and his head was yanked backwards by his hair so that a strip of tape could be hastily slapped across his lips stiffling any further protests.

How he fought. He squirmed, threw elbows, even tried to head butt the larger man who held him tight but to no avail. In the end with the combined efforts of Tozer and the second man in the back seat, he was forced to watch helplessly as the two men wrapped several layers of duct tape around his wrists.

He was scared shitless, he had no clue what these men wanted or what they intended to do to him.

Were they going to hold him for ransom?

His family had no money, they'd just buried their mother.

Dear Lord! If that was the case he was a dead man for sure, once they realized he had nothing to offer them.

The mere thought sent him into a frenzy and thrashed and fought against them, a feeling of dread coursing through him.

"Cornelius, this one's wild! Are you sure this is the right guy?!" Tozer yelled at the driver.

"Shut up Sol! Gibson, do something useful will you?"

The man in the passenger's seat huffed a sigh before retrieving a bottle of something out of the glove compartment.

'What are they going to do to me!?'

He watched in quickly escalating panic as the man in the front seat prepared a syringe of God knows what.. probably pois-

"Here, Sol, this should calm him down."

Christ they were going to drug him!!

Screaming incomprehensible pleas, shaking his head desperately while tears ran down his cheeks, he squirmed as the larger of the two men, Tozer, in the back seat restrained him, one hand holding his wrists in a tight vice and the other tangled in his hair yanking his head back to expose his neck.

A quick sting to the sensitive skin before he felt a cold liquid being flushed into him through the tiny opening. That feeling alone made him feel light headed and he sobbed miserably, tears of fright trickled down his cheeks.

He didn't want to die. He had to get back to his family.

It was over quick, the man's hand with the now empty syringe left his skin and the larger man released his hold on his hair, but kept his hands tightly in place.

God the room was spinning... why was this happening? Why him?

"What was that?" Tozer asked the guy who had administered the drug.

"A mild muscle relaxer. He should be easier to handle and more docile if he's smart." the man explained with the hint of a threat.

"Blindfold him. We don't need him knowing where we're going." the man named Cornelius ordered.

Tozer shifted him slightly from where he still held him securely in his arms as he squirmed sluggishly against him.

His entire body felt weak and he found his head felt like it was full of metal, it grew heavier by the minute.

Hopelessness threatened to swallow him whole as a strip of dark fabric was draped across his eyes and tied tight behind his head.

Wiggling pitifully with what little strength he had left he whimpered as a hand reached up to pet his hair.

"You going to behave so we can talk? Or are you going to scream?"

It took a second for his head to register the man's words, but finally he nodded vigorously, hoping cooperation would keep him from beimg harmed.

"Mmnhmph.."

The tape was gently eased from his lips and he gasped softly for breath, his head lying back against the other man's chest as his eyes roved

He couldn't help it he broke down in tears and hysterical hiccups.

"Please... let me go... I-I.. what are you going to do to me?"

"Shh... enough of that or we'll gag you again and take this conversation elsewhere."

They eased him into the seat between the two of them and he rest his head back against it.

The smaller man next to him offered a sympathetic smile and wiped some sweat from his brow.

"I-I don't... my family.. don't 'ave ... any m-money..."

The larger man just chuckled softly.

"That's not why you're here."

Those were the last words he heard before he was struck in the back of the head and everything went black.

Chapter Text

When he awoke he was disoriented, but he was quickly able to realize something was wrong by the way his jaw ached to an almost unbearable degree.

God it hurt, his mouth was full.. too full.. forced open by something large and wide.. spherical in shape and he could feel a constricting tightness where something was keeping it secure behind his head. Was he gagged?

He became vaguely aware of the familar feeling of something. having been inserted inside him, and he wiggled his hips in discomfort.

Looking around, or trying to, he lifted his head off the floor the room spun and his head pulsed painfully.

He was stripped down to his boxers and his wrists were still bound, but not with tape, no that was upgraded to a shiny pair of handcuffs and his ankles were in a similar state.

Someone clearly wanted him to stay put.

Continuing to look around he could make out a table on the far side of the room. A door on the east wall.

He needed to get free. Needed to find a way out of here.

Light flooded the room making him squint as his eyes burned from the sudden brightness.

"Mmph.." he groaned softly ducking his head into his shoulder against the tormenting illumination.

"You're awake. Good." a deep voice spoke to him.

A tall figure entered the room and he squirmed onto his side and managed to roll onto his back, starimg wide eyed, his body trembling as he tried to put his as much distance between this new man as possible, using his bound legs as leverage to scoot himself backward as the man approached him.

As his eyes adjusted to the unexpected light of the room he was able to see the man more clearly.

He was quite tall. Dark brown, almost black, hair tied back into a high ponytail, dark eyes, and he wore a charcoal grey suit.

He was terrified.

Why did these men kidnap him?

"Mmph!" he wanted to go back home to Francis.

"Hush, before I give you a reason to scream."

Thomas stared back to the man, anxiously as his back hit the wall.

"Jopson was it?" the man asked curiously, stopping a few feet away from him.

He continued to stare nervously not making a sound.

"I suggest you cooperate with me boy. Answer me."

Whimpering softly he quickly nodded his head.

His captor smiled at his compliance and nodded hn approval.

"Well, Mr Jopson, my name is James Fitzjames, but you will address me as Sir or Mr Fitzjames in my presence. Do you understand?"

Again he nodded and the man hummed in praise.

"Now, I'm going to take that out, and you will remain silent until you are spoken to. You start carrying on and we're going to have a pronblem. Understand?"

Once more he nodded and James stepped forward to kneel down in front of him, large hands with long slender digits reached for his face, one of them caressed his left cheek causing him to flinch violently.

"Relax." the other man warned with a steely glare.

Those hands moved behind his head, he heard the small chang of a metal buckle and the pressure of the leather strap tighten sharply making him whine in discomfort, before it gave.

Fitzjames pulled back, giving him one last warning look before reaching for the large ball his lips were wrapped tight around.

Nimble fingers eased it from his mouth and he inhaled sharply, gasping for air.

James let the gag fall to hang loosely around his neck.

"What's your full name?" Fitzjames asked.

He worked his sore jaw for a moment before he answered softly, "Thomas Jopson... S-Sir.."

A hand reached out and patted him on the head in praise.

"Good, you learn fast. Now we're going to talk about your employer and lover, Francis Crozier."

Despite the feeling of dread that formed in his gut, a light blush flashed over his face for a few split seconds before he swallowed nervously.

Would these men hurt Francis?

He couldn't take that risk.

"I... I'd rather not..." he whispered.

James frowned and he reached down to the gag hanging around his neck, he shook his head earnestly, staring pleadingly.

"Please! Wait I-I -- no don't please." he sobbed.

Despite his futile struggles James forced the ball back into his mouth secured it tightly, cruelly, behind his head.

James reached into his pocket to mess with something and all at once Thomas felt the object in his ass begin to vibrate, he yelped in surprise, eyes blown wide in shock.

"I think you can piece together what's going to happen to you if you don't do what I tell you."

Thomas whimpered, a blush spreading across his face, eyes filling rapidly with tears of frustration and fright.

"Are you going to talk to me?"

He couldn't.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Francis tapped his fingers impatiently as he sat at his dining room table.

Where the hell was he?

Thomas should have been home by now, he was supposed to be back last night.

He hadn't answered any of his calls or text messages and he had a very bad feeling in his gut.

A knock on his front door caught his attention and he bolted from his chair hurrying over to it.

Quickly unlocking the dead bolt he yanked it open.

"Thomas!?" he gushed hopefully.

That hope diminished almost instantly when he found Edward standing there looking nervous.

Swallowing his unease he cleared his throat, "Did you find him Edward?"

The younger man sighed, shaking his head.

"Helloooooooo nurse!'

Francis turned around at the sound of his customized SMS message notification for his lover.

He near dead sprinted across the room scooping his phone up from the table to see what it said.

It was a media sms, a video attachment.

Tapping on the file he watched as it started to load.

His mouth dropped open in silent anguish as the video showed his lover's badly beaten and tear streaked face, a ball gag filled his mouth to the point Francis wondered how his jaw wasn't dislocated, drool dribbled thick from the corners of his mouth. Beautiful eyes were wide, watching movement fearfully wherever he was.

Thomas was stripped completely naked and was tied to a chair, his legs were tied so they were splayed wide open leaving him exposed, his body was trembling with fright, and all at once he started to wriggle against his restraints, legs quivering as he tried to close them, muffled cries came from him as he shook his head pleadingly.

An unknown arm came into the view at the end a hand held a stun gun, the long rod with the round sphere end was being held threateningly between his splayed legs.

"Last chance. You sure you want to go this direction? All I need is information." a voice he recognized far too well.

Cornelius Hickey he worked for their rivals on the streets. Erebus. Franklin had been trying to get rid of him for years.

Crozier's heart jumped into his stomach as Jopson simply writhed against his bonds.

"Suit yourself."

The metal spherical end of the stun rod was pressed inside his lover's body and he watched a long finger squeeze the handle before Jopson's muffled shrieks of pain rang in his ears.

Chapter Text

In the end he gave them what they wanted. How could he not?

They burned him with cigarettes, they cut him, they beat him and probably broke a few ribs, they violated him with a stun gun.

He was ashamed for breaking like he did, for giving up their hideout location, their drug cooking location, and list of clients, but he couldn't handle their brutality.

Now that he'd given Erebus the information they'd wanted, he wasn't exactly sure what they would do with him now, but he had a horrible feeling his life was going to end soon.

Just as well, Francis trusted him with his secrets, all of the men affiliated with Terror's activities did.

They were all expected to keep quiet if they were stupid and apprehended by the police and interrogated, at this point all of them knew deals weren't worth it, if they'd wait long enough Crozier would get them out of prison as soon as he was able, whether a criminal lawyer or even a jail break.

Here he'd sung like a canary not to cops but to their rivals.

They were going to kill him. He knew it.

It wasn't fair. His family... his father, his poor sisters.. God they just buried his mother last week.

Francis was kind enough to pay for the funeral cost. Of course told his father he'd won the money gambling.

He felt tears welling up in his eyes, his lover had done so much for him and he'd thrown all of it away. He'd fucked everything up. Jeopardized the safety of their clients, his friends, and his lover.

They probably wouldn't even find his corpse. His family would have nothing to bury but memories.

Light flooded his vision as the door on the other side of the room opened, and he instantly started sobbing squirming against the rope that bound his hands before him resting in his lap.

As his eyes adjusted to the light his blood ran cold as two men stood in the doorway.

He recognized Fitzjames at this point, but the other man he had a feeling that was Erebus's leader John Franklin and he froze in absolute astonishment. Few men in Terror's circle had actually seen the man in person, besides Crozier and his right hand man Edward Little.

He was a tall man possibly taller than Francis, rather pudgy, with the male equivalent of resting bitch face. Graying black hair and dark eyes, he wore dark utility trousers and a white plain button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up and Jopson could see a tattoo of an anchor wrapped in a rusted chain on the man's right wrist.

James glanced into the room meeting his horrified eyes.

"So what would you have me do with him, Sir?" Fitzjames asked.

Franklin followed his gaze and frowned.

"Handsome fellow." the older man commented, scanning his features as he sat frozen with overwhelming anxiety.

"He is."

"Pity Francis likes his men so young. Dispose of him, we don't need any loose ends. We're leaving in twenty minutes, you have until then."

Fitzjames nodded his head in agreement, "I'll make sure he's taken care of."

John turned his back to them and disappeared down a small corridor beyond the room they stood in front of.

He watched as Fitzjames brandished a pistol from a holster underneath his suit jacket and joined him, closing the door behind him and locking it.

Warm tears trickled down his sore cheeks, and he shook his head pleadingly.

"Don't... please don't..." he sniffled.

"How badly do you want to live?" the man asked curiously, placing the muzzle of the gun against his cheek.

Thomas's eyes widened in surprise. He wasn't expecting that.

He opened his mouth to speak but found himself gaping, babbling uselessly as his panicked mind tried to put words into sentences.

The taste of cold gun metal on his tongue and filling his mouth certainly made the words appear though.

"Ahck.. nuu! Pls... ait!" he forced out around the barrel of the gun Fitzjames had shoved threateningly between his teeth.

"You tell me how badly you want to live or I'll have no problem nor regrets pulling this trigger. Do you understand me?"

A strangled sob tore its way free from behind the firearm and he tilted his head ever so slightly to indicate a nod.

James removed the hand gun from his mouth and he just broke down, sobbing hysterically as he tried to force his voice to work.

"I-I do! Sir, I do... I-I... my family... just buried my mother...I--" he snapped his jaw shut when the barrel was pressed into the underside of his chin.

"What are you willing to do to convince me to spare you?"

He didn't even think, he didn't even care, he wanted to live.

"A-Anything... please... I-I'll do anything..."

Fitzjames smiled something predatory, that made his heart stop in his chest.

He knew that look and he felt the tears trickling hotly down his cheeks as he nodded in agreement, repeating his earlier statement. "A-Any... anything, S-Sir."

Fitzjames raised the gun and pointed it at him, and he squeezed his eyes closed waiting for death to come to him.

"Good." was all Fitzjames said before he raised the gun and fired.

The gunshot echoed through the small room and Jopson felt his heart stop in fear.

But there was no pain.

Nervously he opened his eyes as the sound of a zipper.

He was still alive?

But...?

There was a bullet hole in the stone floor by his bare feet.

Oh...

A rough calloused hand lifted his chin and he found himself staring at the swollen red tip a raging hard, erection just inches from his face.

"Open your mouth."

Shame burning deep in his gut but willing to do whatever it took to spare his family and Francis, were he to still care about him when he learned of his betrayal, the pain of having to possibly bury his corpse, he reluctantly parted his trembling lips.

"I'm going to untie your hands, you're going to spread those pretty legs of yours and finger yourself while you suck my dick. You're going to give me a show, a believable show mind you, if you're not hard by the time I have to leave, well let's just say Francis will be getting body parts sent to him in a box."

He nodded blinking pale wet eyes as he watched as James lift his bound wrists and begin to untie them.

The ropes fell away and his hands trembled as James pushed the circumcised head of his cock into his mouth before looked down at him expectantly.

"You best show me just how badly you want to live."

With that he took more of the man into his mouth, working his way up the man's length until dark brown pubic hair tickled his nose.

"Keep going."

Remembering his instructions he shuffled his legs apart and lowered his right hand between them, pushing a finger into his body as tears dribbled off his chin.

He hissed around Fitzjames's prick as the digit aggravated his sore passage, still feeling like it alomg with his insides were on fire from the stun rod they'd used on him earlier.

The other man groaned softly pushing his hips forward, deeper into his throat until he gagged as the head of his arousal hit the back of his throat.

"Oh.. I don't see you fucking yourself." he growled lowly.

Whimpering softly, face burning with embarrassment, he inserted a second finger wincing at the pain that shot through his abused body before he began to move them at a slow, gentle, pace.

He swirled his tongue around the hard cock that filled his mouth, bobbing his head back and forth as he stared up at the man's face.

"Ooh.. yeah.. there we go..." James moaned softly, hips thrusting hard against his face.

It was a challenge for him to get him himself roused, there was nothing sensual about this, he was fucking terrified, but he did as he was told, hoping against hope that maybe if he put on the act well enough and gave Fitzjames the best damn blowjob of his life maybe the man would still let him live.

He pulled back, sliding off the tip of the older man's prick with an audible 'pop' before running his tongue across the swollen head, letting the tip of his tongue dip into the top of his urethra before circling to the underswell of those bright red glands.

"Oh good god.." The man growled fisting a hand in the back of his hair.

Thomas took him back into his mouth moaning softly as he did so.

"Did Francis ever tell you about us, Thomas?"

His words made him pause in his task, stopping his head ministrations as he stared up into those leering dark eyes.

"I'll take that as a no."

Francis was involved with this man?

When?

He ran his tongue along the throbbing vein on the underside of Fitzjames's shaft, the man hummed in approval.

"The thing about Francis, is that he likes em young. When you get too old for his tastes he'll discard you."

That had to be a lie. Francis and him had been together for three years now.

James snarled angrily as he tangled two fists into his hair, holding him steady as he thrust himself into his mouth not giving a shit if he was damn near choking him or not.

"Oh.. yeah... mnn.. yes.. you beautiful bitch..." the other man growled, glancing down between the boy's legs, watching how he tried vigorously to stimulate himself. That hand thrusting two fingers inside that tight puckered hole, still rimmed with the slightest of blood from the method used to loosen the man's tongue.

Thomas felt the shame burning far deeper than he knew the humiliated flush upon his face was.

The older man's hips stuttered violently before he came with a choked shout, filling his mouth with his salty white essence and Jopson wanted to gag but he kept him close with his grip on his hair.

Panting he kept the young man around him, feeling that tongue pulse against the underside of his softening penis as he struggled to breath.

"He always took what was mine. Maybe I should keep you. Keep you locked away so I can take what is his however and whenever I see fit."

Jopson couldn't help it, the mere suggestion was enough to break him and he found himself easing off the man's cock and breaking down in a mess of tears and snot

"Please... please S-Sir... no... I-I'm trying..." he pleaded as he worked himself on two twisting digits.

To his surprise a large hand encircled his still working hand, pulling his fingers out and away from his body.

"I'm not worried about that. I think you've already proved to me why Francis would leave myself for a pretty little slut like you, hm?"

His heart fell into his stomach as the older man started to bind his hands again, then grabbed the ball on the gag that still dangled around his neck.

"Mr Fitzjames.. please.. I-I didn't know..."

"Shut up and open your mouth."

He did as he was told and allowed the man to secure the gag back into place.

Fitzjames fished his cellphone, the one they had confiscated from him upon his capture, from his suit jacket.

Jopson watched as the man tinkered on his phone for a few moments before it suddenly rang.

A smug grin formed upon James's face as he answered his phone.

"Ah, my dear Francis it's been too long."

He could faintly hear his lover bellowing at him in a fury.

"Yes. Umhm. Well those are coordinates."

"No not to a body. But I can't guarantee that if you don't hurry."

"Well I hardly think you'll have the opportunity to act upon such threats Francis. He'll be here though."

"Oh you want to talk to him? Well I'm afraid he can't, bit tied up at the moment, you know how this goes."

Thomas winced slightly when Francis started spewing a litany of things he was going to pull out of Fitzjames's body, but the other man just grinned.

"Mhmm.. oh well that would be lovely, isn't that a pity... can't talk got to go. Kisses."

James hung up the phone and set it on the floor between his legs.

"Well, I think our paths will be crossing again, very, very soon Mr Jopson." Fitzjames declared as he tucked himself away and straightened his jacket.

With that the other man walked to the door and left, closing it on the way out without so much as another glance.

Chapter Text

Jopson startled momentarily as the steel door was pushed open about five minutes after Fitzjames had left.

The man was back again.

"I almost forgot, I have one last thing I need to do. Can't make this too easy for you I'm afraid."

Out of his coat pocket he produced a capped syringe and he squirmed against his restraints in response.

Those struggles stopped however when a sharp backhanded slap made contact to his face, and blood gushed forth from his nose.

Instead he just sobbed, shoulders hitching as the needle found his neck, his compliance was met by soft cooes and a large hand that carded fingers through his hair lovingly.

It almost seemed like it was within seconds after his captor slid the needle free of his skin that a sharp wave of dizziness hit him like a ten ton wall.

"Mmmn..." he protested softly head drooping til his chin touched the top of his chest.

Everything was spinning... and soon nothing.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Francis was busy loading his antique Colt when Thomas Blanky squealed the tires to his rickety Oldsmobile to a stop in front of the warehouse the coordinates led them too.

"Bleedin' fucking Christ Thomas!" Francis roared, Irish accent flaring prominently after three or so bullets fell to the floor and rolled about when he lost his grip on them.

"Oh, stop your fuckin' bitching Francis and take this." the surly man grumbled shoving his already loaded Desert Eagle into his hands, and pulling a spare Mag 5 from seemingly nowhere.

"H-How many guns do you have on you?!" Edward stuttered in a bewilderment, switching the safety off his 9 mm as he threw the back seat door open.

"Four. Aye. Don' ask where the forth one fuckin' is."

Francis stepped out of the car as well and Blanky soon joined them as they surveyed the outside of the building.

It was dark no lights at all. There were no cars. No voices.

"Suppose them pissicles are still in there?" Mr Blanky asked.

"Doubt it. We circled this building and the block for that matter, vacant mostly besides the church parking lot." Edward offered after a few moments.

Francis said nothing as he opened the door beside a rusted fire escape ladder. He let his eyes adjust to the darkness before moving in, morning for his two crewmen to be silent.

"Let us make sure it's clear first. They might have just dumped him here."

"Francis, I love Jopson to pieces, I do, but do you really think shoe-kinky Franklin would let him go?"

Crozier glared at the younger man sharply, but there was a tone of reluctant agreement within those blue eyes.

"Aye, Franklin wouldn't let him live, but the man responsible for this is not fucking Franklin, just someone on his payroll with a mind of his own."

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When he woke it was eerily quiet, and the building was darker than it had been before, it was definitely colder and his body shivered slightly.

Clearly it had been several hours since his kidnappers had left him in this abandoned building.

He was in so much pain and he was tired and everything was so fuzzy.

Francis would hate him.

Little... Peglar... Blanky... his friends, they would all hate him.

"Thomas!"

Now he was hearing things.

Probably the effects of whatever Fitzjames dosed him with.

"Thomas, lad if you're here I need you to give me a sign."

His eyes snapped open in shock before quickly welling up with tears upon hearing the voice he never thought he'd hear again.

"Mmph...?"

Glancing around through a disorientated haze he tried to lift his head from where it lay limp against his shoulder, but he couldn't do anything besides get his muscles to twitch.

"Thomas!?" his lover's voice called again.

He got his left foot to move the slightest couple inches and he glanced down at his feet. Tired eyes shifted their gaze to his phone on the ground between his legs.

'Kick. Kick it. Kick it as hard as you can. You can buy a new phone.' he thought quietly.

With everything he had, he tried to get his body to obey, but it just wouldn't.

"Edward check over there. I need to talk with Blanky." he heard Francis somewhere outside the room.

"Yes, sir."

Now. He had to do this now!

Why couldn't he move!?!

He could hear Edward's tennis shoes as he moved just outside the door.

Okay he can't move, but he sure as hell was not staying here

Gathering as much strength as his weary body could allow him he tried to call out, obviously it wouldn't be intelligible with this damn gag damn near breaking his jaw, but any noise was better than nothing.

The footfalls froze abruptly and he took that as a good sign and tried again.

"Mmmph! Mmm!"

"Tom?" Edward's voice reached his ears footsteps approached the door on the other side.

He choked on a sob as he answered the man to the best of his ability, which wasn't much ability at all.

The door knob turned and the thick metal creaked loudly as the other man pushed it open.

Edward stepped in using his phone as a flash light and Jopson had to squint as the light shone on his face.

The older man gaped in horror at the state of him, his hand releasing his phone but he quickly caught it and hurried into the room to help him.

"Oh.. Oh my god. Sir I found him!!" Edward called over his shoulder as he worked on untying his hands.

Two more pairs of heavy hitting footfalls sounded and skid to a halt in the doorway. One pair remained while another came running into the small room in a panic.

Large, warm hands lifted his face, cradling it tenderly while trying to be mindful of the cuts and bruises.

Immediately he saw his lover's blue eyes staring at him with such concern, a wild panic, and the tiniest sliver of relief too horrified by his condition to feel much of it.

"Oh fuck Thomas.. oh lad..." he gushed reaching around behind his head to unfasten the gag that had been keeping him quiet.

Wincing as the strap tightened before the buckle gave he whined loudly. Tears trickled freely down his cheeks as Francis moved his fingers to pluck the large rubber ball from his lips placing a careful hand beneath his chin to help support his jaw as he pulled it free.

He breathed in sharply his nose having been half-clogged with dried blood had made breathing hard and he winced at the pain that shot up his side as a consequence.

Once he had breath he started crying in hysterics, he couldn't help it everything that had happened in the last 72 hours catching up with him like a five ton bull.

"F-Francis... Fran... Francis... I-I'm sorry... so s-so sorry...." he sobbed brokenly.

Edward stiffened at his words a look of alarm crossing his features before he swallowed thickly, pulling his knife out and rising to his feet to work on the ropes that bound his torso to the back of the chair.

Crozier shook his head hushing him insistently as gentle hands wiped tears from his battered cheeks.

"It's alright son... none of us can blame you. I've already got a new place secured for our base of operations."

"T-They hurt me... Francis... that man he... he made me... I-I didn't want to but he was going to... he would have... h-he put a gun in my mouth!" he sobbed hysterically, thick tears and snot mingled with flecks of dried blood dripping off his chin.

Francis grit his teeth seething with rage. It took everything he had in him to focus on what Thomas needed from him right now comfort and reassurance, and to not erupt like an angry hurricane upon the open sea.

Little finished sawing the ropes and both men moved when his weakened drug disoriented body slumped forward, Little gripping the back of his shoulders and Crozier a firm hand against his chest.

It was now that the adrenaline wore off where Edward realized the younger man was stark naked.

Blushing slightly he cleared his throat and seeing as he was the only one of them that had a jacket, he unzipped his hoodie and pulled it off to drape it over Jopson's lap.

Crozier flushed the slightest bit but he did nod his thanks while his lover whispered a tearful "Thank you Edward."

"I'll go see if I have a blanket in my car, or some clothes, might be a tad big on ya son, but they'll have to do for now." Mr Blanky stated before turning to make his way toward the entrance.

"Francis... I-I can't move... drugged me..." Jopson spoke with a voice carrying the edge of panic.

His lover pondered the information before clearing his throat, "If it doesn't wear off in two hours I'm taking you to the hospital."

"N-No! No hospital... I-I want to go home..."

"Shh... it's okay love, we're going to get you out of here. I swear to you that scoundrel will never touch you again."

Chapter Text

"Sir." Little's voice edged with urgency reached his ears from the back seat.

Francis twisted around in the passenger's seat, and found Little unbuckling Jopson's seat belt, pulling the man's torso into his lap, he was feeling at his neck and face with the back of his hands.

Confused, but more so alarmed he turned to Mr Blanky as he drove.

"Thomas pull over."

Mr Blanky looked into the rear view mirror, scanning the passengers in the back seat for a second.

"He alright, son?" he gruffed at Edward as he slowed the car to a stop along the right side of the street.

Francis got out of the car, rounding to the back seat behind him.

He opened the door and leaned over Edward, meeting the man's worried gaze before turning his attention to the man who was both his young lover, and Little's best friend.

From where his head was cradled in the other man's lap Jopson's eyes were open but they just stared blankly unfocused. There was a glassy shine of tears within a sea of pale green, a blood vessel in his left eye had broken painting the whites with a deep crimson blotch. His breathing came in the form haggard wheezes and his teeth were chattering, sweat glistened across his face, neck, and chest.

Edward wiped some sweat from Jopson's brow with the corner of the fleece blanket provided by their crazy driver.

"He's hot... he's getting worse, Sir, I think we need to get him to a hospital... or maybe you can get a hold of Dr McDonald and Harry?"

Crozier swallowed thickly before reaching down a large hand to place on his poor love's face, tilting his head towards him.

He cringed, the man's skin felt like fire.

"Tom?"

Slowly recognition dripped into those exotic eyes, and Francis felt his heart cruelly breaking as his love choked on a miserable sob before uttering softly, 'It hurts' followed by a shuddering breath and a small 'I don't feel good'.

This was bad, more so than he initially thought.

"I know." he croaked softly patting Jopson's shoulder before closing the door and climbing back into the car beside Mr Blanky.

"Sir." Edward called for his attention.

"Mr Blanky you remember where Alex lives right?" Crozier addressed the other man, ignoring Little for the time being.

"Aye. Thinkin' that where the lad needs to go?" Thomas asked, turning in his seat to look at their wounded companion.

Francis was about to respond when Blanky roared a colorful litany of swears.

"Bled straight through the damn blankets e' has, an' all over the seat covers! Jesus fucking Christ! Why didn't you say somethin' you bloody fool!?"

Without a word their surly black market mechanic revved the engine and the tires squealed tore off down the road.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As soon as Mr Blanky had parked the car in the dirt driveway of the large country house that belonged to Alexander McDonald, Francis opened his door and opened Little's.

The other man looked up at him from where he ran comforting hands through Jopson's sweat drenched hair, his big brown eyes were filled with worry.

"Can you carry him, Edward?" he asked softly, trying not to disturb his lover as he dozed quite fitfully in the man's lap.

Little just nodded before turning his attention back to poor Thomas.

Both he and Mr Blanky got out of the car and began makimg their way up the front steps of Dr McDonald's house.

Crozier glanced over at his old friend and heaved a sigh, "Hopefully he won't mind being awakened at two in the morning."

"Wouldn't bloody count on it. I would be."

"Aye, but for God's sake you're always fucking angry." Francis muttered only to get a playful shove as he rang the doorbell.

Edward decided to move now, he shifted his legs in the back seat and lifted his best friend a few inches off his lap.

Upon being moved Jopson's eyes slammed open, dilated pupils made them look a deep gray rather the pale green.

"Nngh... N-No...o.." Thomas's voice came a shrill fevered whine as Little eased him upright.

Edward wiped sweaty fringe aside making a gentle noise at him when the younger man began to fuss.

"F-Francis...? Fran..cis...? N-No..."

Little let him rest against the back seat, making sure he would stay upright before climbing out of the car himself.

Upon leaving the vehicle his friend let out the most heart wrenching noise he'd ever heard from the man, a terrified shriek of 'Don't leave me'.

Quickly he turned back to face the back seat, leaning in and steadying Thomas as he tried to move himself towards him, crying and pleading.

"Shh... its okay Thomas." he reassured, reaching into the back seat and tugging the blanket tighter over his naked body.

"Don't leave... Don't leave me here... E-Edward please..." he carried on, eyes wet and scared, even as Edward slid an arm under his knees and inched him towards him.

"I would never leave you Thomas, you silly sod, your a brother to me." he tried to assure the fevered man.

"Hurt... I-I hurt... s-so.. bad... E-Edward help.. help me..." Jopson sobbed miserably.

"Shh, I know Thomas, I know. We're going to get you some help."

Edward pulled him across the seat before turning him so his friend's legs hung out the side of the vehicle, bare feet jerked in surprise at the feeling of rough gravel beneath them.

"Arms around me Tommy, I'm going to pick you up." he ordered softly.

Sniffling back tears and snot, Jopson raised two long arms up to wrap around his neck and shoulders.

He held onto his best friend as tight as he could while the older man hoisted him up into his broad shouldered arms with a grunt.

Edward adjusted the blanket that had been used to cover him slightly, making sure his privates and anything personal was hidden from view.

Something about this small, kind gesture caused him great upset for some reason because he promptly broke down in a mess of angry despairing sobs. He curled into Edward's chest, hiding his face in the man's neck as his trembling arms clung to him like he were dying.

"Oh.. shh.. shh Tom... it's okay." Edward hushed, he leaned the side of his cheek against Jopson's head affectionately in hopes to ease the poor man's distress.

Turning away from the car and to the house, he adjusted his grip on the younger man before moving forward.

He could see Francis and Mr Blanky ensnared in a discussion with Alex McDonald who stood clad in a hastily thrown on charcoal robe, a pair of light blue boxers and a white shirt, top with black slippers.

Alexander McDonald was a man of average height with blonde hair and blue eyes. In his mid thirties.

"Francis I don't know if this is the best choice..."

"But you've done surgery before, you basically have a whole hospital in your basement." Francis insisted urgently.

"Yes, but those surgeries only lasted a couple hours and had been simple bullet removals... was he shot?"

Edward swallowed nervously as he approached the trio and Thomas let out an agonized sob against the flesh of his neck as each step jostled his poor insides.

"Shh, I'm sorry." he apologized giving the man the slightest, cuddling, squeeze.

Dr McDonald spared a glance in their direction and all but flew down the stoop to meet him. His hands were immediately feeling at Jopson's sweaty forehead and peering into his eyes.

"Good Lord, Francis. He's feverish... and clearly dehydrated, what happened?" he gushed.

Jopson flinched away from his hands, burying his face into Little's neck with a pained, miserable whine.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The first thing McDonald did as he led them into the basement was run to a sink and wash his hands.

Shaking them dry he moved to a cupboard opening it to reveal numerous supplies of various kind.

He pointed Edward towards one of the beds.

"Put him here. We need to get fluids in him immediately."

Edward nodded moving to deposit Jopson on it only for the man to latch on to him tight.

"No.. no... no.. please... no..." The younger man whispered fearfully his teeth chattered between his words.

"Tom you need to let go so he can help you." he insisted.

"I-I don't want you to leave..."

Crozier decided to step in at this point if Edward wasn't getting through to him.

"Tom... my love, you need to let go of Edward. He won't leave, he'll be right here lad."

The younger man eyed him uncertainly through a delirious fog.

"Francis I... W-Who is James Fitzjames...?"

"No one, just some ruffian who works for-"

"Don't you dare lie to me, sir! He said you two were involved!" Jopson shrieked, eyes welling with tears.

Everything in the room seemed to stop, and Mr Blanky cleared his throat awkwardly.

Francis swallowed nervously, taking a deep breath as he combed his fingers through Jopson's hair.

"We were. A long time ago. I promise you love, I will answer any questions you may have as soon as I know you're going to be alright, so how about you let go of Edward, hm?"

Though he was clearly still hesitant, Jopson eased his hold on Little letting him set him down upon the bed as Alex wheeled in a machine pump for an IV.

"Mr Jopson, do you remember me? We've met once before a couple years ago at one of Mr Blanky's unsavoury parties."

The doctor grabbed something off a side table and Thomas flinched in surprise at the feeling of cold metal against his forehead.

Mr Blanky snorted with indignation muttering something along the lines of, "Piss off."

Thomas just blinked his eyes droopy and unfocused.

A small beep came from the hand held device and McDonald pulled it away, checking the small screen.

His mouth dropped open in surprise and he had to force a calm smile onto his face as he addressed the man.

"You're not well son, you've got a nasty fever. At this rate your body is becoming dehydrated." he explained softly dabbing a wet cloth at his brow.

"Tired... Sarah.. m'tired leave me alone..." the boy muttered trying to turn his face away.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"How is he Alex?" Francis asked urgently once the man slid the door closed after he ushered them into the wreckroom that stood before the stairs.

The man moved to a counter where he had made a pot of coffee earlier at the quick swipe of fingers on the brew button as they'd passed it to get Jopson in his 'surgery room'. He shook his head letting out an exhausted sigh.

"Francis, he's in bad shape. He has a fever of 108, he's showing obvious signs of delirium, his body is dehydrated. He's suffered some blunt force trauma, a stab wound to his back shoulder, contusions everywhere, cuts, and cigarette burns on his torso. A blood vessel broke in his left eye... the worst of it is the sheer amount of second degree burns and several large tears on the lining of his rectum." he explained pushing a steaming mug of hot coffee into his hands.

Crozier had paled considerably his hands shook sending dark coffee sloshing onto the floor until Edward carefully plucked the cup from his hands and set it on the counter.

He let Little lead him over to the small table with a few chairs. Edward pulled one out and gently guided him into it. Speaking a couple soft reassurances.

"I won't lie to you. That boy is in a great deal of pain. I'm honestly surprised he hasn't had suffered a seizure or a cardiac episode." Alex explained, worry etched in his handsome face.

"I put him on some antibiotics and a good amount saline through an IV. I also gave him a mild sedative, mind you with the state of him, I couldn't give him very much. His body is very weak and until he's hydrated enough, I can't risk it. His body might not be able to process it."

"Jesus Christ..." Mr Blanky gruffed, hatred dripped from his tone.

"Will he live, sir?" Edward asked softly.

Dr McDonald gave him a regarding look, the uncertainty was clear enough.

"I don't know, son. After I get the details of what happened, I'll have to assess his condition again. Then I'll have to call Dr Goodsir to request his assistance."

"Assistance?" Francis rasped, not quite understanding as the previous information had him reeling still.

"For surgery."

Francis buried his face in his hands, shaking his head slowly in disbelief.

"Surgery? Yer sure that's bloody necessary doc?"

"Yes, Mr Blanky I'm afraid so. I need to fix those tears in his rectum or he still holds high risk for infection... I also think a temporary colostomy might be wise with those burns being present."

Edward swallowed nervously but he nodded before looking at Crozier waiting for his reaction.

Yet the man remained near unreadable and Edward watched as McDonald sat in the chair beside his boss, taking a hand gently between his own.

"Francis, you need to tell me what happened."

The older man nodded taking a deep breath before taking his coffee cup in hand as Little set it on the table in front of him.

"I would assume Franklin had his precious Erebus brutes kidnap him while he was running some errands for me three days ago..." he paused taking a sip of the black liquid.

He was going to kill James for this.

"As for the rest, I don't know. I got a video attachment sent to me from Jopson's number. I had been trying to get a hold of him for almost 24 hours at that point. The video consisted of... well here." Francis whispered pulling his phone from his pocket to find the file.

McDonald took the phone in gentle, long fingered hands and they all saw how the doctor's face went very pale as the sight of Jopson's terrified, tear-stained, and battered face came to view, and his cries muffled by a large rubber ball between cracked and split lips reached his ears.

Edward in his spot from behind McDonald, his mouth fell open in silent horror, this was the first he'd seen of the video as Francis had run out the door so fast, phone in hand and had refused to let him see it.

The camera zoomed out and he could see the extensive damage that had been done to his best friend, how he was tied to a chair in a way that left his arsehole helplessly exposed to the bastards, how pale sweaty thighs strained desperately against the rope that forced him into that shamelessly lewd pose, crying and sobbing as he tried desperately to plead with his captors through head movements and words and screams and terrified sobs that came incomprehensible around the rubber that fitted his mouth.

When both arm and the weapon came into the view of the camera, Edward felt his heart drop into his stomach.

The black padded grip held tightly in an unknown assailant's hand revealed the long metal body of a stun rod with a round jumbo marble sized metal sphere at its tip. A button was pressed on the handle and a few crisp crackling noises sounded as a flicker of electricity ran it's length.

"Last chance. You sure you want to go this direction? All I need is information."

Edward froze.

He knew that voice.

Amidst a hysterical panic Jopson bawled into the gag, yanking against the restraints that held fast with all his strength. His eyes flushed with tears as snot dribbled down his upper lip and the round object secured into his mouth.

"Suit yourself."

As soon as that hand with the weapon moved forward McDonald's now shaking hands set the phone on the table top.

When Jopson's uncontrollable muzzled yet shrill screams of suffering sound he quickly reached down and pressed the power button on Crozier's phone.

Not speaking a word but pulling his 9mm out and making sure it was loaded, Edward quietly turned and ascended the steps, opening the basement door and slamming it as he left.

"Thomas." Francis croaked softly.

"Aye?"

"Go get him before he fucks something up."

Grumbling Mr Blanky gulped down his coffee as he stood up.

"If that miserable son of a bitch breaks my nose 'gain Francis..."

After the other man left Francis met McDonald's worried gaze.

"What do you think his chances are?"

"I won't lie to you Francis, it's not looking good with that fever as it is. The injuries from that brutal assault worry me greatly. I've noted some badly damaged tissue that I'm thinking me and Harry might have to remove along with fixing those tears. With the nature of those wounds and the amount of them, my guess is that the tool was on a high enough setting to make things difficult. He's lucky he didn't go into cardiac arrest."

Crozier licked his lips anxiously.

He didn't like where this was going.

"Chances?" he croaked.

"I... I don't know yet my friend. I'm sorry, I'll go call Harry and have him come right away."

Chapter Text

Thomas had about enough of this shit.

He hadn't caught up to Edward in time to prevent him from getting behind the wheel of the Oldsmobile he'd driven them in.

HIS CAR!!

At least he was fortunate enough to catch him before he pulled out of the gravel driveway, yanking open the passenger's side door and sliding in.

The click of Edward's gun sounded and Blanky froze.

"Don't you dare try to stop me Blanky." Edward snarled his brown eyes were damn near coal black with hateful bloodlust.

Oh the boy was furious lost in an emotional despair that had made him snap.

Eyeing the gun with a glare Thomas huffed, reaching a hand up to swat it out of his face. "Fuck's sake lad, I'm coming with ye, ya bloody sod."

Little relaxed slightly before starting the engine.

Edward was out for blood and wasn't going to let anything stand in the way of it, that was very clear to Thomas. He had no doubt that the younger man would shoot him non-lethally and dump him at a hospital if he tried to stop him.

He'd have to bide his time and wait for the right moment.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

After an hour drive back to London from Essex they had picked up some gear and now here they were at a stop for gas and a pack of cigarettes.

Edward had put his gun in the glove box since a police car had been in the parking lot before he went in.

They were in the checkout line and ironically the officer was in front of them.

Thomas leaned around slightly, getting a look at the man's badge.

"Pack of cigarettes." officer.. Ross, requested, Blanky caught sight of his badge.

The pretty young blonde at the register smiled, "The usual Officer?" she asked reaching for a pack of Camel menthols.

"You know me too well. Maybe this is a sign to quit." the man laughed softly.

Mr Blanky grinned broadly as he chuckled.

"Aye, but quitin's hard as hell Officer."

The man flashed him a grin and laughed in response.

"That, is most certainly is my friend."

Edward shot him an annoyed glare, not liking how friendly he was being with a cop but Blanky ignored it.

The cashier rang him up and the man nodded as he made his way to the door.

"Ma'am. Gentlemen, you all have a nice day."

It didn't take long for them to be out of the small convenience store and Thomas was relieved when he saw the cop car was nowhere to be seen and with how early it was in the morning they were the only ones left in the parking lot.

Now was his chance to prevent the lad from doing something stupid.

Edward was walking in front of him and as he made his way back to the car, the thirty-one year old indulging himself deep into a cigarette.

Once Little got a gun back into his hands Thomas knew he'd have slim chances of getting the stubborn man out of a rampage for revenge.

Without any warning whatsoever he delivered a brutal blow to the back of Edward's head, fuelling as much strength into it as possible in hopes for a swift knockout.

"Arrrrgh!!!" the younger man cried loudly, his hand shooting up to the back of his head as he fell forward onto his hands and knees.

'Well fuck.' he thought quietly, oh the strength of the young and youthful was surprising at the worst of times.

Edward was feeling for a moment but he shot up with a roar of rage and a left hook coming straight at Mr Blanky's face.

Thomas managed to duck underneath his arm and shove him back, but Edward was on him again and when a fist smashed into his nose and he felt cartilage cave in, it just got personal.

‘Francis you Irish son of a bitch! You owe me a damn night on the fucking town!’

He stumbled back one hand over his gushing nose as he glared at the younger man.

“Harrgh! God dammit boy!” he yelled in frustration,

The black market mechanic let out a menacing snarl and charged at Edward with full force ducking underneath another punch to tackle the other man around the waist.

Little may be younger, swifter, and more in shape than he was (well he was a hard core smoker for years, god he loved his tobacco, he had a lot more muscle tone than Little for that matter but the man could easily outrun him by miles, no doubt while he’d be left behind hacking and coughing) but despite this fact the other man was no match for his bulkier stature as it hit him with the force of a bull.

So outmatched for that matter, that the collision sent him staggering back and losing his footing beneath the man’s weight sending both of them toppling to the pavement.

Mr Blanky was absolutely enraged at the broken nose, and straddling his hips he held nothing back delivering a brutal punch to Edward’s face once, twice, and one more for good measure.

Little went still beneath him for a moment, seemingly blacked out from the blow and Thomas remained upon the younger man’s person huffing and puffing from exertion and grumbling in irritation.

He glanced down at the thirty-one year old’s face, the right eye already swelling and darkening, blood streamed from his nose and his split lips dribbled blood down his chin.

Edward was not going to be happy when he woke up, that’s for sure and this was why Thomas was very, very proud of his pickpocket skills.

Grumbling to himself he climbed off the unconscious man and rolled him onto his stomach yanking his hands behind his back, and pulling the handcuffs he’d lifted off the officer in the store during conversation, from his back pocket.

A small groan from the younger man sounded before he suddenly jerked back to life, disoriented and not quite remembering who his scuffle had been with but definitely recognizing only one reason why his hands would be held behind his back, a hand tore free and his elbow swung backward colliding with Thomas’s ribs as hard as he could.

The impact damn near knocked the breath out of him but it did successfully knock him off balance and he fell back on his ass as Edward rolled onto his back scooting backwards slightly.

“Fuckin’ Christ Little I swear if you-” he was cut off when the younger brunette kicked out with a heavy booted foot, the hit clipping him sideways in the jaw and he felt something pop painfully.

“Nngh! Faakk!” he snapped spitting blood onto the concrete.

‘Did that little whore fucking shit just break my damn jaw?! Oh that fucking does it! Fuck you Francis, I ain’t paid enough to take this shit and be nice!’

When Edward went to kick again aiming at his chest Blanky narrowed his eyes, shifting to the side planting his arms behind him to press himself forward, lunging, and tackling the man back to the ground on his back.

Edward’s muscled arms shoved at his chest spitting several creative curses at him as he tried to catch hold of his wrists.

“Get the fuck off me you cock sucking son of a fucking bitch!! I’m going to kill them!”

He struggled with Crozier’s right hand man, both dodging and taking punches and scratches from flailing arms.

As he was about to make a snarky remark he felt a throbbing pain shoot throughout his jaw so he decided to remain silent instead glowering down at Little and catching his left forearm when another punch went flying towards his face.

He did try to be nice.

With three movements he’d yanked the arm out, planted a firm hand on the man’s squirming heaving chest near his shoulder, and pulled.

The sickening popping sound that filled the air was followed by a scream of pain that he quickly used a cut up and blood smeared hand to silence before the cashier inside could hear it and call the cops.

If she hadn’t already.

Little’s eyes were dark, wild, and crazed as he fought and when he felt the man’s mouth open beneath his hand and felt teeth he glared furiously in warning.

“I fuck’n ‘are you!” his threat came out rather impaired.

Definitely broken.

It didn’t stop him though and Thomas howled as the younger man bite down on his hand, refusing to let go until he drew blood.

Mr Blanky delivered a brutal backhanded slap to his face that slammed the other man’s temple onto the concrete with a mild thunk, leaving him dazed for a moment.

He didn’t bother waiting a second longer, he flipped Edward back over and sat down on his lower back grabbing his arms yanking them backwards.

Thomas didn’t even bother to be gentle with the man’s dislocated shoulder nor the choked scream that came from him as he handled it.

“Arrgh! Fuck off! Where did you fucking get these!” Edward shouted, his voiced edging with pain.

“ ‘ifted ‘em.” he sneered down at the man as he struggled against him.

Quickly he clasped one of the silver bracelets around his right wrist before having to pause and grip a handful of hair which he used to hold onto while he slammed his forehead into the pavement to stun him again when he’d started to struggle.

When the man stilled he finished the task of restraining the younger brunette who soon started screaming at him as he squirmed on his belly, glaring at him over his shoulder.

“How dare you! You saw what that bastard did to him!”

“Edward, shu’ it!”

The man continued to spew shit and Thomas glanced up at the gas station window and saw the young woman was on the phone staring at them.

Glaring angrily he took off one of his gloves and stuffing it between the other man’s teeth as a makeshift gag.

“Shu’dit. ‘alm own’.” he snapped.

He had to be quick.

Moving swiftly he moved to open the back seat of the car before returning to Edward and grabbing him roughly by the back of his hoodie dragging him upward and getting his legs beneath him.

Edward still tried to fight him even as he was forced to stand but Thomas marched him towards the car with a firm hand between his shoulder blades.

“ ’et in.”

When the other man pushed back against his hands and tried to slam his uninjured shoulder into his face Thomas snapped, with Edward’s lower leg up flush aginst the car he lifted a steel toed booted foot and landed a punishing kick behind his knee, there was a sickening snap and Little bawled into the gag as his legs gave out and his knees came to rest on the edge of the back seat, his head hanging as he breathed in deeply through his nose.

“ ‘uckin’ ‘id.” Thomas grumbled at the youth, grabbing the back of his hoodie again and shoving him into the back seat he made sure his legs were in the vehicle before closing the door and moving to take his spot in the driver’s seat.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Beep... Beep... Beep...

Francis buried his face in his hands as he sat at the table outside Dr McDonald's work area. Listening to the steady beeping of his lover's beating heart as the machine monitored it.

Two hours it had been two hours since Henry Goodsir, or Harry as he liked to be called, had gotten here and only thirty minutes or so since the two ex-surgeons had begun surgery on poor Thomas.

Apparently they had to wait until the medication that Harry had brought with him upon McDonald's request began to work, something to bring down his fever from what he understood. Alex hadn't felt it wise for him put him under with a fever that had spiked to 110.2°F.

Once it had began to work and it was brought back down to 107.1°F, Dr Goodsir came and informed him that they were going to put him to sleep for surgery.

Jopson was still out of it when he was granted to see him before the brought him under the knife.

An absolute mess, for that matter, his eyes roved and couldn't focus on anything for more than a few seconds.

He babbled about Neptune, asking if Francis remembered to feed him this morning and how pretty the large Newfoundland's dark coat was, and that Francis needed to brush him more.

His poor sweet Thomas.

Edward and Mr Blanky still hadn't returned, it had been almost four hours since they’d disappeared, hell the sun was likely coming up at 6:45 in the morning at this point, and he was starting to get concerned about that.

Almost on cue Francis heard a door open and close from upstairs and the sound of feet stomping across the main floor of the renovated old country house.

Stomping?

Uh oh.

The stomping was accompanied by a loud thud as something was dropped onto the floor…

… though to Francis it sounded more like a body being dropped on the floor.

‘Oh fuckin’ hell can’t those two ever play nice?’ he thought to himself with a grumble.

When the basement door opened the stomping proceeded down the stairs and soon he was staring up at the battered face of his best friend, the bridge of his nose black and blue with dried blood streaking down it. His jaw was bruising and he noticed how he couldn’t close his mouth all the way. Bruises littered his rugged face.

Jesus.

“ ‘ou owe ‘e ‘ig ‘ime ‘ancis. ‘e’s up ‘ere ‘eeds ‘ocdor.’ ”

Francis blinked trying to decipher the words through the man’s impaired speech courtesy of a clearly broken jaw.

“They’re busy Thomas. Jopson’s in surgery right now.” he gruffed with a disapproving glare.

Mr Blanky snorted, trying to work his jaw only to wince.

“Go get him. I’ll try to tend to him as best as I can until they aren’t occupied.”

Grumbling the older man stormed back up the stairs and Francis ran a hand over his face.

What an awful night.

He heard the sound of a body being dragged across the floor and then just heavy footsteps as he imagined Mr Blanky picked Edward up off the floor.

A couple grunts sounded from the top of the stairs and he watched as his old friend indeed carried Little down the stairs, he was equally as bruised and Francis was surprised to see his hands handcuffed behind his back and how his shoulder was turned in an unnatural angle, he was gagged with a glove.

“G-Good Christ Thomas!” he admonished, raising from his chair so fast that it clattered backwards as he met the man at the bottom of the stairs he eased the glove from Edward’s mouth.

“Shu’ eh ‘uck ‘up ‘ackass ‘e a’most ‘ot us ‘rested. ‘uckin ‘ell! I ‘ad a ‘eadache ‘ouldn’t sh’up!” the younger man spat.

Chapter Text

"Edward. You need to calm down, lad." Crozier's voice reached Alex's ears just before he opened the door to the small waiting room like lounge in the entry to his basement.

His heart about stopped when he saw Thomas Blanky sitting at one side of the table, the bridge of his craggy face a dark purple and black with tissue stuffed up his nostrils. The man's jaw was somewhat uneven and one side of it had a bruise in the shape of a boot upon it, his mouth parted slightly clearly unable to keep his jaw closed meaning it was likely broken in some way.

Francis Crozier say at the other end of the table, chair pulled up in front of the one Edward Little sat in, hands secured with handcuffs behind his back. Blood, cuts and bruises on his face. A dislocated shoulder and from the look of it, a broken leg.

Crozier dipped a rag into a bowl of warm saline water and gently cleaned a cut on Edward's eyebrow.

It had been five hours since he'd seen the two former surgeons and he was anxious.

Little had woken up an hour ago and he was royally pissed.

"Fuck that, sir! You saw what that animal did to him! Why... Why didn't you tell us how bad it was!?"

Francis hummed softly as he thought over his words, having to ponder a proper response.

"Of course I did, son. You know how much he means to me, it was you after all who introduced us. Do you remember?"

Edward remained quiet, brooding heavily with anger and hurt at what had been done to his best friend.

"I know he means just as much to you as he does to me, I don't discredit your bond with him Edward, nor do I hold the nature of our relationship above yours just for the sake of intimacy."

Little's brown eyes watered heavily and a couple silent tears trickled down his cheeks.

"As for why I didn't tell you how bad it was, well, I think you know the answer to that my boy."

Edward knew the man was right, he knew he'd of reacted in a similar manner that he did.

Thomas meant so much to him he was like the brother he never had.

"He could have died, sir." he whispered miserably.

Francis just nodded his eyes sad as he gently used the warm cloth to wipe away the stray tears with a pained smile.

"Aye. He could have and I'm afraid he still could, but Dr. McDonald and Dr. Goodsir are in there doing the best that they can for him. We just have to put our faith in them Edward."

"Gentlemen." he finally made his presence known.

Crozier jerked upright looking at him with an intense eagerness. "How is he?"

Alex rubbed the back of his neck nervously, it's true things went better than they'd expected but they weren't out of the woods yet.

"Harry's sewing him up now. We did a temporary colostomy. I'm going to keep him sedated throughout the day while we get his fever down and to get some antibiotics in him."

"What's a colostomy?" Edward asked, his knowledge for medical terminology clearly lacking.

"Essentially it's another way for him to be able to pass waste without risking infection to his injuries. We carefully redirected the flow of it by cutting a hole in the side of the large intestine and directing it to an incision made in the side of his abdomen where waste will collect in a pouch connected to his side." came the familiar voice of Harry Goodsir as he exited the surgery room.

Edward's face had gone rather pale and Blanky muttered something unintelligible.

Alex met Harry's gaze and the man offered a weak smile, "Just about done, I want to wait a little longer on the ventilator-"

He trailed off catching sight of both Little and Mr Blanky.

"Good Lord, both of you look terrible." Harry mumbled.

Alex let out a frustrated sigh as he made his way over to where Crozier sat with Edward.

The Irishman had chosen to continue washing the younger man's battered face as a distraction from Goodsir's explanation.

He was upset and worried understandably.

Either way it was probably wise for them to take a look at the other two men and treat their injuries while Harry was here.

"Francis, his anesthesia should wear off in about a half hour. If you like, I can hold off on putting the sedative in his IV. If you wish to see him."

To his surprise the older man shook his head.

"No. If rest will help him, I'll just stop by tomorrow. I'm debating on what I should tell his father. They just buried Sarah last week."

Dr McDonald straightened himself at this information and a grim expression came across his features.

"She didn't make it then? I had heard about her attempt. Unfortunately the human brain can only last so long without oxygen before brain damage can occur."

Francis nodded wiping some blood away from Edward's lip as the man kept his teary eyes downcast, deep in his thoughts.

"The family blames him in a sense for easing her off her addiction, but none of them wanted to deal with the burden of deciding to keep her alive or to let her go."

"So they let him choose?"

It was more a statement than a question really but Francis nodded either way.

"They know of our relationship, but what they don't know is the line of work. Jopson stays out of Terror's circle for the most part, because I didn't want him to be targeted like this."

" 'ack'ired 'om 'eh 'ooks of i' 'ancis" Thomas spat irritably.

"Will you just hold still? I can't fix this if you're moving your mouth. For goodness sake." Harry's exasperated groan sounded from where he was tending to Mr. Blanky's jaw.

"Go smoke a pipe Thomas." Francis growled.

" oi 'ish." the man grumbled only to get a hush hissed at him.

"Shh!"

"I'm afraid if I tell them about this, the nature of his injuries and lack of being in a hospital might ruin that secrecy."

"You don't have to worry about that, sir." Edward spoke suddenly voice rather solemn.

"What do you mean?" Francis asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Thomas's family want nothing to do with him. He and his father had a very intense argument and Tom told me that his dad actually kicked him out, even after he spent all that time taking care of his mother."

Crozier gaped in surprise, "He told me they went on vacation. That's why he'd been staying with me so much."

Edward nodded slowly he looked guilt stricken for saying anything and that was all Francis needed to understand that Thomas had sworn him to secrecy.

"How long ago was this?"

"Since Sarah's attempt a month ago. He stayed with me for the first three weeks."

Francis scrubbed a hand over his face clearly frustrated that he wasn't aware of his lover's situation to begin with.

"If you don't mind, Alex, I think I will take up your offer see him before you get him pumped full of -"

A loud insistent beeping could be heard from the other side of the door and Dr McDonald bolted towards it with Francis quick on his tail.

Upon entering his work room Dr. McDonald let out a relieved sigh much to Crozier's confusion.

It looked like Jopson was awake already and his hands were straining to lift themselves from the sterile white sheets where two study leather straps kept them pinned down. His neck was lurching upwards and pale eyes were wide in alarm. Francis could hear sounds that resembled someone choking... or panicking... he didn't know which.

"He's fine. I didn't expect him to wake so early so I didn't remove the breathing tube quite yet." the younger man explained moving with brisk strides to the side of the bed.

The doctor switched off the ventilator machine with nimble fingers before leaning over his struggling patient.

"Shh... it's alright son." he reassured the young man, working on the tape that was holding the breathing tube in place.

Francis moved to the bed's other side carefully holding his lover's head still as Alex eased the plastic from his throat.

As soon as he was able the younger man started coughing and sputtering, letting outcan agonized groan as he let his head fall back on the pillow.

Dr McDonald fetched a half filled cup of water and handed it to Francis.

"Slowly, please. I'll check his vitals and leave you two be."

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Once Alex had left the room Francis let out a tired sigh leaning back in the chair the surgeon had brought him.

Jopson was staring idly up at the ceiling, refusing to look at him. Sweat beaded down his forehead and Francis could tell by the tense set of his jaw that he was in a magnitude of pain. He was still groggy, eyes blinking slowly every now and then, but he was aware enough for this conversation.

It wasn't one he was looking forward to.

"What happened, Thomas? How did you-?"

"You, dont get to ask me anything until you answer my questions." Thomas's voice was fiery with anger.

Taken aback the older man leaned forward in his chair heaving a sigh.

"James Fitzjames and I... we were involved once, yes. A long time ago."

Tears of betrayal sparkled in Jopson's eyes and he felt miserable.

"I never spoke of him, not because I wanted to deceive you, but because the memories are painful."

"You.. lied to me..."

Francis said nothing for a long while before finally he broke the silence.

"We met in 2002 and were together for about five years," he paused having to take a breath before he could continue, "Then we were in a car accident in late 2007. He suffered severe injuries and was in a coma for eleven years."

Jopson's eyes softened slightly but he looked away from him, staring once again at the ceiling.

"He came out of it just a couple years ago, but by that time I had already met you Thomas. I didn't think my rejection him would lead him to throwing himself in with Franklin's circus. I certainly didn't think he'd come after you. I'm still trying to figure out how he learned of our relationship, I didn't tell him."

A couple tears trickled down Thomas's face and dripped off his chin. Hurt and frustration building up in him like a fuse.

"He said once I get too old for you... you'll move onto someone else."

Francis was shocked by this and he felt his heart clench painfully as he leaned in to place a gentle kiss on his cheek.

"My dear Tom, that will never happen. Those were the words of a jealous bitter man. I have no intention of ever leaving you."

Jopson swallowed thickly as his lover wiped his tears away with gentle hands, he leaned his cheek into the lingering touch trying to draw some strength from him if he could.

"I was heading to Edward's flat. I'd gotten of work later than usual and while I was walking some guy tried to approach me, I spoke with him briefly but soon I'd started to get a bad feeling about him, so I tried to leave."

Francis leaned forward in his chair.

"What did he look like?"

"Big guy, arms about as wide as my thighs, he had a couple dog tags. Scruffy brown hair and a beard. Looked like a former soldier. They called him Tozer."

His lover nodded in what appeared to be a form of agreement, "Solomon Tozer. He's one of Franklin's brutes, I doubt even Edward would be capable of fighting him off in a fist fight."

"He grabbed me and we fought for a few minutes before he restrained me. He dragged me behind a building and the rest of them were waiting in a car. I fought as hard as I could but they tied me up and drugged me. They wouldn't tell me what they wanted. I didn't even know they were Franklin's men at first."

Francis nodded, and upon noticing how his young love's eyes were drooping sleepily he ran his fingers through his hair.

"I wish you'd of told me you got kicked out."

Sad eyes glanced up at him but he was too tired to argue or protest instead settling for a quiet, "I'm sorry."

He leaned in and kissed those lips gently offering a smile, "I'll let you get some rest. I'll be back tomorrow Thomas."

"I-I love you Francis. I'm... so sorry."

"And I love you Tom, but you have nothing to be sorry for my love, you have done nothing wrong. Now get some sleep."