A/N: A fic that is Eric/Ryan centric because I think their development is so underrated. Inspired by Ryan's reactions in 5x14/5x15, here's a one shot dedicated to the complicated characters.
Story Notes: Set a few weeks after WISC (7x20)
[WARNING: Mentions of kidnapping, torture, whumpage, character death..]
After Eric had been kidnapped, Ryan knew he had to do something. The evidence was still being processed and they didn't have much time. Wolfe knew how brutal the Russians were. But Eric was a high value target. Being the biological offspring of an infamous Russian criminal. Someone had definitely given them classified information like that, and it had to have been someone with access to the employee personnel files. That was something IAB could focus on other than destroying the lab.
Ryan still had the ligature marks around his neck. The bruising on his torso from fracturing two ribs. Stitches on a deep gash on his forehead. A barely visible black eye. And yet still, he had planned something stupid. It'd been only a few weeks since he had been kidnapped by the Russians himself. That was a mess he'd gotten into to protect his friend, and he would do the exact same for Delko if it meant saving him.
So Ryan went out to an open area with lack of people and sent a message to his C.I. within the line of Russian criminals. Wolfe knew what he doing had been completely out of his line of work but it's not like he had a choice. He'd been sent a picture of Eric in a similar method of torture he'd suffered, only he wasn't bleeding yet. A strike in the head.. it could kill him. The bullet fragment is the only thing keeping him alive. That's why Ryan was determined to find him as he knew Eric wouldn't last in there.
Wolfe had set in his phone with the camera on in his parked Hummer. This was a set up for the Russians, but he was actually going to get himself kidnapped. Despite the evidence that hadn't been determined yet.. Ryan had already gotten a few ideas as to where they were going.
The younger man took off his holster and hid his pistol in the waistline of his jeans. One thing he'd learnt while being held hostage was their methods of information seeking. And how they checked their victims. They never checked their backs. He wanted to use that against them, which is why he had his service pistol. Ryan was technically still on duty so everything he did was in good reason and he'd told Horatio that in a letter along with evidence he'd gathered after doing some research into the criminals.
It wasn't long before a van showed up. They'd received a tip off from one of their associates who had been contacted by Ryan's informant friend and decided that free CSI bait was so worth it. The more CSIs they had, the more celebrated they'd be by their boss. One man subdued him with chloroform and restrained him before putting him into the van while the other looked for any hidden cops. "None. Let's go."
Neither of the men removed Ryan of his his credentials, they wanted him to feel the wrath as a police officer too. They heard Ivan had been killed and figured that kidnapping the CSI he had previously taken would be a great way to avenge him. The location they had taken him to was the same place Eric had been left.
When he woke up, he sat sitting beside Delko and they were both tied to a pillar in an old warehouse building. The Cuban had been staring at the younger man ever since he was shoved down next to him. Eric didn't know why he was there, or the reason for it. Two subjects was more risky. He had been assessed Wolfe's only just noticeable injuries. They looked to be from a few weeks back. And that was when they had the evidence blunder. Ryan had disappeared and had messed with the evidence. If nothing had happened, how did he look like he'd already been tortured?
"Why didn't you tell me the truth?" He asked quietly.
Ryan stirred for a bit, before he managed to open his eyes. "Because.. you wouldn't listen.."
"Then why are you here if you're mad at me?"
"..Because you're my partner, Delko. I feel responsible for what happens to you, even if you're difficult." He answered, scanning the room for the nearest windows.
Ryan found the nearest windows were through the door and in the bathroom from what he could see from the reflections through the doorway. It was going to take more than a gun to get them out of this tightly pulled together rope and tape. "What are you doing? Planning to pull a MacGyver?"
"Mmm.. not exactly. I need a plan first."
"You came here on your own accord? How stupid are you?!"
"Stupid enough to care about you." Ryan mumbled.
The two men came in, holding a bit of rope and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. They were amused by what appeared to be the two CSIs arguing. It made their job a whole lot easier. All they had to do was hold them hostage, torture them in return for information.. and if they didn't comply, they'd pay the price. "No need to argue, you'll be hugging each other for dear life soon." Nicolaus, the taller man, said with an evil smirk.
Isaak, the slightly smaller one, grabbed the rope and held it to Eric's neck tightly. Ryan could see how he was being strangled. "Give us the names of corrupt officers." Nicolaus demanded Ryan Wolfe.
"Do your own surveillance, it's not that hard." Ryan retorted, only to receive a heavy pistol whip to the face.
But he didn't react. Instead he just winced and let it go. "I think Ivan's numbed the sense out of this one." Isaak said in anger. Eric was trying to hold on as he could feel himself become woozy. Ryan shuffled forward and kicked Nicolaus's hands off Eric's neck. The Cuban gasped for breathe and Nicolaus was filled with horror that he had been beaten out of his own danger by a young CSI that clearly was the smallest in the room.
"Okay, no more fun and games!" Isaak shouted. The Russians, sick of being played about by Wolfe, deciding to make their statement.
They released Eric from the rope and led him into another room. With Ryan there, they could barely get the jump on the older CSI. Wolfe knew that this was the time he needed to find a way out of the old building. He had so many flashbacks coming back to a place similar to the one he'd been in before. Screaming hopelessly. The endless surges of everlasting pain that made him shudder just thinking about it.
Ryan shook his foot and realized that his pocket knife was in his combat boot. This was the one day he wore combat boots, that he genuinely hadn't been planning to do any kind of hard work. He'd been stuck in the lab because of his injuries and assumed that's how it would be, until he found out about Eric. Then he finally came to terms with how overly conscientious he was.
He could hear Eric's painful cries as he tried to see what he could do about the rope. As long as he could determine the type of rope and the knot used, he'd be more than able to set them free. But it was hard to ignore the sound of such discomfort and agony. Especially after he'd single-handedly admitted that he cared about the older man. It took a situation like this for the youngest CSI to own up to his feelings.. and a stubborn Delko to question things as always.
Eventually he determined the kind of rope. One of the ones from the false kidnapping turned homicide case. He could tell because he'd managed to use the smallest bit of gasoline on the floor and a cracked lighter to see what color the ends showed.
Nicolaus smelt burning and immediately went back to the main part of the warehouse where they'd left Ryan. He saw the burns in the rope and took away the lighter. "You're smarter than I thought Волк.. but burning the rope won't help your friend. Isaak doesn't hesitate to do what Ivan did to you."
"Ivan ended up dead." Ryan said, glancing into the open door to his right.
Nicolaus stamped on the burning material and kicked Wolfe in the gut. "You're lucky that Delektorsky in there isn't willing to let you take the pain, otherwise we probably would've killed you."
The man left him alone again. Ryan sat back against the pillar as he thought about Eric. He wanted to get them both out alive. But to do that, he had to finalize an escape plan and make sure that it would suit the situation. Wolfe came to get Delko and He wasn't leaving without him. Even if Eric hated his guts, he'd still help him. They didn't have the time to go on evidence. Ryan knew he had a chance of getting fired for this. It was high risk, and he had no business doing so.. but he didn't regret his decision.
Now all he needed to do was find a way to get out.
In the other room, Eric was sat against the wall with chains around both his wrists. He was bleeding from rather shallow hit with a metal pipe. He'd had an electric collar wrapped around his neck and had already been kicked, punched and hit several times over as he refused any kind of vital information on the department. As he was hit with the pain of sudden electric charge, he clenched his teeth and made a discontented noise.
He could only have imagine what that guy had done to Ryan. The younger man let him shake him up with broken ribs and open wounds on his body without any form of emotion upon his face, like it didn't hurt. When he'd been deep in the dirt. And now it was his turn. Only for a more personal reason. But he didn't doubt Ryan's intellect, despite him putting himself in harm's way, as he came from a family of overly smart people. Delko had done some digging and realized that his mother was former Mossad. It explained Wolfe's natural reserved nature along with his crazed ideas.
Eric took every beating, still trying to understand why Wolfe would sacrifice his freedom to come and save him. He didn't have to. It'd already been 24 hours and another one wouldn't make a difference. But he couldn't forget what the younger man had said to him in response to him. 'Stupid enough to care about you' was enough for Eric to finally realize how hard Ryan would fight for him, even if he wasn't personally okay.
"Look at me, Delektorsky!" Isaak exclaimed.
The Cuban, beaten and bruised, did his best to raise his hanging head. "Don't hurt.. Wolfe.." He stuttered.
"Волк." Eric repeated, spitting off the blood coming from his busted lip. "You leave him.. out of it."
Isaak smirked. "I didn't know you understood." "..Now you know.." Delko muttered sarcastically. He knew Ryan had done something as soon as he'd smelt gasoline, and burning rope. Nicolaus had gone to see what was going on and he came back an hour or two later with a news paper.
"We need to inform Dimitri."
"Put him back with the kid." Isaak sighed, picking up his phone and leaving to make a phone call.
Nicolaus unchained Eric and took him back to the pillar. He added an extra layer of tape once he'd bound Eric's wrists before leaving to find Isaak. They had to do something about the MDPD catching onto them.
Ryan, having previously been put to sleep by sleeping pills, peered next to him and saw a crap looking Delko. "You look like crap." He muttered with a slight chuckle.
"So do you." Eric remarked quietly, trying to find some form of a comfortable position to sit in.
"I have a plan.. but it's going to take a few hours." Ryan whispered.
"Ok, what is it?"
"When I tell you to run, you grab your badge from that room," He pointed to the room on his right. "..and go."
"Ryan I'm not leaving without you."
"You won't. I just can't explain what I have in mind." Ryan assured him, going silent as the two men entered. "Close your eyes."
Both Wolfe and Delko closed their eyes, pretending to fall asleep. Isaak and Nicolaus came back to find their hostages like that and the shorter one was confused. "I told you to give the sleeping pills to the wolf, not Delektorsky! How can we get our revenge if he's out cold?!"
The Russians disappeared out of the main door and both CSIs opened their eyes. "When you'd figure that out?"
"I've been here for almost 13 hours, I think I've had the time." Ryan said lowly. "..when it gets to night, follow my lead.."
"Ok." Eric replied.
The two sat in silence, both uncomfortable with their injuries. Ryan could feel one of his previously fractured ribs threatening to break again. Eric had blood running down over his eyelid and off his cheek. Both men were itching to get out of there. The daytime soon disappeared and was replaced by the dark of the night, that's when Ryan knew they had their chance.
He lifted up his leg, moving forward slightly, and shook his foot with it in the air. "What the hell-" A pocket knife fell out of Ryan's combat boot and next to him. Wolfe got on his knees and moved the pocket knife to behind his back. He then sat back on his bottom and picked up the knife, flipping it open and began cutting the rope that bound his hands.
Ryan spent five minutes tops cutting his own hands free before he helped his friend. Eric didn't know how he hadn't cut himself doing it so quickly and with not being able to see what was going on, but he went along with it. His wrists were freed at last.
It took slightly longer to cut off the masking tape but once they had, they were no longer bound against their will. Ryan stood up first and pulled the older man up swiftly. He took out his service pistol now it was within reach, creeping to the small room and grabbing Eric's credentials.
Eric attached his shield to his pants and took hold of his own service pistol before they both began running for their lives, shooting at the guards that were guarding the front door. Ryan kicked open the back door and they made a run for it, Eric holding onto Wolfe as he was lacked his usual strength following the kidnapping. The younger man stopped to pick up some pliers and used them to cut the electric collar, then dropping them as they continued running. Escaping the old warehouse district was the best chance they had at getting to safety.
Ryan hadn't been thinking when it happened. He was so set on getting Eric out of there that he hadn't even thought about what it actually meant.
"Can we-" Eric puffed. "Can we stop.. for a sec?"
They'd reached the road just past the warehouse district, so he supposed that one stop wouldn't hurt.
Ryan began looking around for things he could use to set off some kind of message that they were there. Tired, but alive. "Wolfe." Eric said as he got out a bit of rope he'd salvaged from the warehouse. "Yes?" Ryan said, focusing on a box of matches he'd found.
"Why did you get yourself kidnapped just to save me?"
The younger man lit a match and then set fire to the rope, watching as it began to burn up and react with the grass too. "Because I knew I would find you that way. We need to get up now, c'mon man."
Eric nodded. Ryan helped him up and they stood there together as the fire burnt out and police began to arrive. Being saved by his friend and colleague, Eric had learnt a thing or two about Ryan. He saw a side to the young CSI that he'd not seen since the nail accident. Only this time, Ryan was the one saving him.
A Hummer pulled up and out jumped Lieutenant Caine and Detective Tripp. The elder men approached the younger with relief that they'd found them thanks to a small fire. Ryan went with Tripp for questioning about what happened while Horatio talked to Eric about things.
Delko told his boss how he was kidnapped, everything the Russians told him and how things happened with Ryan. Horatio almost didn't believe what he was hearing. That his youngest CSI, the most reserved person he knew, had gone out of his way to find the Cuban and save him from the Russians. Something they probably wouldn't have done as quickly. The evidence hadn't even led anywhere specific enough. Lieutenant Caine knew that IAB would be skeptical of this, but they found Ryan's Hummer with the video that had the two assailants on tape. That was evidence. And it would put them away for good.
Eric glanced over at Ryan, and as did Horatio. "Nobody told me he'd had the same thing happen to him that day. I only found out because the kidnappers kept going on about what Ivan did to him. How did I not see it? He hides pain so well that I didn't even notice it."
"It's in his DNA." Horatio said. "Let's get you to a hospital."
The Cuban couldn't help but wonder what else he had hid if he could patch up so many fatal injuries like that. He'd only had a go at him for hiding evidence, without realizing that he didn't have a choice. These types of criminals would do anything to get what they wanted. Ryan was so emotionally strong that sometimes nobody had any idea how he was feeling on the inside. He said he preferred it that way. The less people that know him well, the better.
He walked with the lieutenant to the ambulance, unable to stop thinking about what might be going on in his life that nobody else knew about. Ryan's strong but nobody can stay that strong forever.
A few weeks later, Eric returned to work. Everybody immediately congratulated him on his return and told him how scared they were for him. Nobody knew that the only reason he'd survived was because of Ryan. And Wolfe was nowhere to be seen. Delko wanted to properly thank him for what he did. If it weren't for him, it was likely he might not have lived through that day.
Night shift had been assessing the case and determined that both Ryan and Eric, as they stated, had been held there and tortured. DNA evidence confirmed.
"How did you make it out? Heard you were found at a roadside..?" Calleigh questioned.
"Yeah.. Ryan helped me." He said, looking around as he tried to find the younger man. But he still was not anywhere to be found. "He set up his phone and got the suspects on video.. but how did he help you though?"
"He got himself kidnapped to save me. That's where he went. He'd taken half the beatings I should've had and I can't even thank him for that." Eric sighed.
Both Natalia and Calleigh raised eyebrows. "Wait.. Ryan saved you? How did he even know where to find you?"
"His informant tipped off the Russians and they took their chance by abducting him. That's how he got to me." He said, in attempt to make it clearer for the two to understand.
Natalia and Calleigh were confused. They had been sure that things had been tense between Eric and Ryan since that case. It had been revealed that Ryan had been kidnapped, explaining all the of things he did that day that had been questionable. He was being threatened after taking the hits for his friend, in attempt to save his friend's little boy. But it wouldn't resolve tension. Ryan never told anyone about it. Like he wanted to confide in someone, but couldn't.
"Delko," Stetler said as he walked up to the CSI.
Eric really didn't want to talk to Stetler. If IAB couldn't notice Ryan's lack of emotional well-being, it was unlikely they would do anything to benefit him. "Where's Wolfe?"
"He's suspended." Rick said flatly.
"Suspended?! Is that some kind of joke?"
"He went against protocol. He's not a detective who can waltz about and play superhero, he's a crime scene investigator. That's not his job. The only reason we're not firing him is because you're an officer—"
Suddenly the room went silent as everybody focused on the screen. Car crash. On the news, an accident was being reported as major incident and called forward any witnesses.
'MAN DIES AFTER DRUNK DRIVER CRASHES INTO HIS CAR..'
"We have lost one of our own." Horatio said solemnly as he joined everybody else.
"Who was the victim in the car crash with the drunk driver?" Someone asked.
"It's Wolfe." Frank answered, looking down at the ground.