Thanks to everyone who read and to F. Flotsam, charlie7694, and an anonymous reader for reviewing.


Alex had a sudden sensation of being airborne—not a feeling that brought up a lot of good memories for him—but before he had time to panic he impacted something hard enough to knock the wind out of him and send another jolt of pain through his skull. He impacted the concrete, he realized a moment later. That psycho had thrown him out the window.

Said psycho followed an instant later, landing lightly on both feet, and he reached down with one hand to jerk Alex back to his feet. "Hurry up."

"Attached," Alex muttered again as he found himself once again being dragged across the lot, but either Erik didn't hear him or didn't care. Or both. Probably both. Except—

He tried to stop and then nearly ended up on his face again as Erik kept dragging him along. Except now he had just about a perfect opportunity to get away. Well, not quite perfect given the psycho with the death grip on his shoulder, but there were policemen behind them, firemen off to the side…even if he couldn't break Erik's grip, if he kicked and screamed and fought someone was bound to notice. Right?

Okay, yeah, they wouldn't actually hear him over the roar of the fire, and even if they saw him it didn't mean he'd get away, and even if he did get away he still figured they'd be blaming the fire on him given his history. And with his luck they'd decide he was responsible for the drugs too because there were just so many thirteen year old criminal masterminds running around. But was that really worse than—

"Do you want me to knock you unconscious and carry you again?" Erik snapped, rounding on him.

Than that? "No," said with a scowl.

"Then hurry up." Erik didn't try crossing the street, instead dragging him along parallel to it, and when Alex glanced back he didn't see anyone following through the window. The policemen must have had to go back around out the side door of the warehouse. He couldn't decide whether he was upset or not that they still hadn't emerged when Erik took an abrupt turn and dragged him down an alleyway and out of sight of the building.

Erik took a few more sharp turns until Alex was left feeling completely lost—not that that was saying much; he'd never had a very good sense of direction—and then came to a halt so abrupt that Alex nearly stumbled into him.

"What the hell? Do you even know where were going?" Alex rubbed his arm when Erik released him, scanning the streets for something that Alex couldn't make out. "And why are you taking me there, anyway? I already told you that Mr. Harrison isn't going to come looking for me so you might as well just let me go." That was really the best of all possible solutions, now that he thought about it. Then the police wouldn't know he'd been anywhere near the fire, and sure, Alex would be alone, but maybe he could sneak back in at the Harrisons by morning and no one would ever be the wiser. Well, if he could find their place, anyway. And if that didn't work he could always try making it on his own. He wasn't stupid; it wouldn't be easy and all of the million things that could go wrong or could happen to a kid on the streets alone were what had stopped him from running away before, but given the other options how much worse could it get? Okay, yeah, he still kind of wanted to know how Erik had learned to make metal do what he wanted instead of just going off when panicking like it did, but Erik was busy kidnapping him so he probably shouldn't think about that. "You don't know where we're going, do you?" he pressed when Erik continued to look around.

"Be quiet."

Alex scowled. "Make me." As soon as the words were out of his mouth his eyes went wide and he decided that his concussion had to be responsible for way more than just a headache because what kind of idiot said that to a psycho—especially a psycho that he'd just pointed out he wasn't any good to—but oddly enough Erik seemed more amused than anything else. After a moment Alex decided that he would have preferred another reaction. Erik had a lot of teeth.

"Be quiet and hurry up."

As far as Alex could tell Erik still didn't know where they were going so he didn't see how they were supposed to 'hurry up' to get there, but he didn't want to get smiled at again so he scowled and did his best to keep his feet under him as Erik dragged him along.

The warehouse that Erik had kidnapped him to had been only one among a cluster of warehouses, but they'd since entered a maze of narrow streets in a neighborhood that was even worse than the one the Harrisons lived in, and part of Alex really wished he had the old switchblade he'd picked up a few foster homes ago. He'd lost it when he'd been stupid enough to let his social worker catch sight of it, and maybe it was for the best given what he'd seen Erik do with metal, but—

Alex nearly ran into Erik again when Erik made another sharp turn and then stopped abruptly. "What now?"

"Be quiet."

"And hurry up," Alex muttered. He was starting to think that Erik had forgotten every other English phrase out there except those two.

Erik ignored him and glanced around sharply before stepping close to the nearest door and pressed the hand that didn't currently have a death-grip on Alex's shoulder to the door. Something clicked a moment later and Erik pulled the door open and tossed Alex inside.

"Would you stop that?!" He could walk for goodness sake!

Erik stepped in and shut the door behind him, clicking the lock shut again with a wave of his hand.

Alex pushed himself to his feet and rubbed his shoulder. And then the back of his head. He couldn't make out much—he should probably be glad that he hadn't bounced off anything when Erik threw him because he doubted that Erik could either—but it seemed like this was some sort of shop. It definitely wasn't someone's house, anyway.

For a minute Erik was just one more shape in the darkness, albeit the only one muttering in German, but then there was a sudden, harsh flash of light and Alex shielded his eyes. When he lowered his arm he found Erik holding his lighter again, frowning as he scanned the room.

"Warn a guy, would you?" Alex asked.

Erik glared.

"Yeah, yeah, be quiet."

Erik turned away, stalking around the perimeter of the room, and Alex stayed where he was and followed the ball of light with his eyes. At a guess it was some kind of second-hand shop—or possibly third- or fourth-hand given what Alex was looking at—and given the state of the place it was hard to say if it was still in operation or not.

Erik made a satisfied sound shortly after reaching the rear of the shop and then turned back towards Alex, and Alex took an instinctive step backward when he saw the chain in Erik's hands. It wasn't a heavy chain like the one back at the warehouse had been, it probably came from a hanging lamp or something, but that didn't mean that Alex wanted it attached to him. He couldn't bend metal and make it let go.

"Come here."

"No! Stay away from me!" Alex took another step back and then turned and bolted for the door. It wasn't exactly conscious thought, but being alone on the streets suddenly sounded way better than being chained—

The light behind him disappeared and then Erik's hand slammed into the door above his as Alex struggled to turn the deadbolt. "Nein!"

"Let me go! You're not going to chain me up again!" He struggled as best he could, but Erik was already too close for him to put any real weight behind his punches. Some blows were connecting, but nothing that Erik even seemed to notice. The struggling was enough to keep Erik from getting the chain around his wrist, though, and Alex gave up on the punches and hugged his arms to his chest, stomping on Erik's foot at the same time. It might have worked better if Erik wasn't wearing boots. "Let me go!"

"Give me your arm!"

"No!"

Something hard struck Alex in the center of his back, driving him to his knees and making him cry out in pain.