[identity profile] not2bscene.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] wl_fanfiction
Title: The Mask Beneath the Hat Behind the Smile and the Eyes. Chapters 1 - 14
Author: not2bscene
Rating: R for concepts,language and things to come.
Feedback: Ever so greatly appreciated
A/N: I've finally got another chapter for this fic, but since it's been so long, and the chapters are quite short, here's a refresher for you, Chapter 15 to follow



Chapter One

Ryan answered his cell, expecting a pleasant, perhaps naughty conversation.

"Ry" Colin's voice was high pitched, panicky.

"Col? What is it? Are you ok?" Ryan felt his gut clench.

The sound of Colin's voice was usually enough to calm his emotions, fears, even his anger. But today it was nearly unrecognizable.

There was a quality unlike anything he'd ever heard from the one person he trusted most.
something utterly terrifying

"It's Sam, Ry, something's happened." At the mention of his son's name, Ryan felt his heart freeze. "Where is he, Where are you? What's happened?"

"Calm down Ryan," Colin's voice, devoid of all emotion might have been giving directions to a stranger lost on the street.

Then a sound Ryan had never heard before, a cold laughter that was undoubtedly Colin, yet didn't sound like him at all.

This was followed by the most horrifying blood chilling scream. undoubtedly his son..., "Noooooooooo please no, Uncle Col pleasenononono... Dad, help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee." The phone went dead.

^===========================================================================

ChapterTwo

Ryan quickly dialed Colin's Cell. No answer. He dialed again. This time it was picked up but no response.
"COLIN, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON???" Ryan roared into the silent phone. His hands were trembling with rage and fear. Click

Redial. Nothing. Ryan frantically paced like a caged predator. Redial. He tried to clear his mind to think what to do next. Redial. Redial

It seemed unthinkable that Colin would harm any of his children. He'd been an integral part of their lives since they were born. Redial
.
"Alright Ryan, OK. You can come now."

"WHERE... WHERE ARE YOU? FUCK, IS SAM OK? ARE YOU FUCKING OK? ...

"All in good time Ryan, first of all. come alone to ..." The emotionless, dead-sounding voice gave an address in an odd area where the hills were strewn with caves. Adding that this would be a cave with a small entrance shed which had once been part of a brewery.

Ryan wrote down the address had his keys in hand and was driving before he could even think about it.
=================================================================================

Chapter Three

Ryan's car screeched to a halt raising a cloud of dust even as his feet hit the ground. Looking around, he took in the scene. Years of doing improv enabled him to ingest it in its entirety, but everything in him unwilling to accept that this was where his son and his beloved Colin were.

It was evening and the area was deserted. Murky yellow light from a forgotten streetlight fought a losing battle through the gloom. Unseen bugs scuttled and crunched under his feet.

The pitiful shack which was entrance to the cave may once have looked like the shed it was meant to be. Now it was a dirt and filth encrusted hovel leaning slightly askew and the few flakes of paint which remained tenuously attached testified that it probably was once white
.
Ryan resolutely stepped forward, grabbed the door which was hanging by its lower hinge, and absently ripped it from its feeble mooring and tossed it away. He stooped and bent at odd angles to pass through the entry.

"Sam....Col..." he called
.
================================================================================

Chapter Four

As Ryan's eyes adjusted to the dimness he found a single kitchen chair which had a couple of remaining strips of avocado coloured naugahyde and was covered in patches of what could only be both old and fresh, blood.

Other than that, strewn bits of trash and whatnot covering the floor, there was only a small archway, about five feet tall, through which one obviously entered the cave. He compressed his body enough to squeeze through and found himself in a small chamber with a camping lantern mounted on the wall

The air was dank and mouldering, and though he could just barely stand upright now, claustrophobia and terror were making him feel horribly nauseated.

He heard Colin's voice finally, entreating him further into the cave. "Ryan! Back here, Hurry!

Feeling there were no options and breaking out in a clammy sweat, He went further. The cavern actually became more spacious. He followed a small twist, startled to find Colin standing there with ...

==================================================================================

Chapter Five

...to find Colin standing there with a wet suit and scuba gear on and another (extra long) beside him.

"Colin.... what the fuck's going on? Where's Sam? What's fucking wrong with you?"

Colin's brown eyes which had a vacant glaze to them suddenly changed to burning orbs of rage. "What's wrong with ME? WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?"

He stormed forward, Shocking Ryan further, as he found himself shoved forcefully against the cave wall. It was rough and sharp enough that Ryan felt his skin break open in several short slices along his back and right arm
.
Colin had a twisted not-smile on his face now as he glared at Ryan. "What's wrong with me, my dearest Ryan, is what's always been wrong with me. YOU!  Now, if you want to see your precious son while he's still alive, get that gear on and no more stupid questions."

"Col..." Ryan began, trying desperately to find a spark of the man he knew, trusted and loved deeply.

This time Colin was having none of it. He pulled back his fist like a loaded slingshot. The punch delivered to Ryan's chest felled him.

As his body rolled and twisted on the dirt and stone floor, His senses went into overload. Pain, both physical and emotional... Fear... Confusion
.
He heard Colin screaming at him, " Fucking shut up asshole. Don't talk. Just do what I say for a change."

Ryan's eyes focused on some sort of lizard slowly climbing the wall. His back reminded him of how much pain it could cause. Something, bugs, spiders.... whatever immediately began crawling on him, some obviously looking for a meal.

The smells of urine, musty cave, and the coppery scent of blood all vied for dominance within his nose. He tried to ignore and distance himself from them.

Remaining completely silent, he got up and began donning the wet suit
.
===============================================================================

Chapter Six

They walked just a short distance, then came upon a small underground lake. The water was crystal clear and very deep. Deep down, Ryan could see stalagmites reaching toward the surface. A myriad of colors rainbowing in the depths.

Colin indicated Ryan should follow him as he slipped into the water. Which Ryan, who was by now totally in shock, simply did without comment.

Beneath the icy water, Colin took Ryan's hand. He produced from nowhere and held up before Ryan's eyes a page with writing sealed in plastic
.

"Ry, my love, I'm so, so sorry about all of this. we are being very closely watched and listened to. All of our children are being held captive and I'm trying to get us all out alive. Please, just follow my lead and trust me. I am yours always, Col"


As soon as he'd read it, it was gone from sight and Ryan briefly wondered if he'd imagined it. But in truth, he found this scenario much easier to believe,..

Ryan looked up at Colin and through the diving mask beheld those beautiful eyes that he'd fallen for years ago. He knew that he would trust Colin if there were any chance at all what he was saying was truth.

================================================================================

Chapter Seven

Nodding slightly to Colin, Ryan followed him as he began swimming slowly forward and what felt like downward.

Feeling completely mesmerized, both by the extreme duress he was under and loss of any sense of direction. Ryan couldn't have told anyone where they were going. He no longer even knew which was up or down.

Colin now produced a flashlight, motioned Ryan to stay close, and they entered a small cave. It was somewhere about three and a half feet in diameter. Just wide enough for them to swim through with their gear.

The sides (if that's what they were), were rough and his hands and knees continued to accumulate new cuts. Sometimes there was movement under his hand or by his leg. Holding tight to the rapidly fraying threads of his sanity he decided to not think about what that might be.

Ryan was sweating. He idly thought he didn't know that was possible in water, especially this cold. His claustrophobia was off the charts. Blindly following the shadowed figure of Colin displayed in the flashlight's beam.

He wasn't even sure it was Colin any more. It might be anyone... anything... his mind began to taunt him like his older brothers did when he was a young child.

He had to get out of here... HE Had TO!

Oh dear God, the light in front of him was suddenly gone.
he was in complete pitch darkness, underwater.

==================================================================================

Chapter Eight

Ryan closed and opened his eyes, thinking he'd somehow closed them unaware. Still he found himself in complete and utter darkness. Ok... he was breathing air from a tank of unknown quantity, so he couldn't just stop and think. Reaching his arms out to both sides, he got what he hoped were his bearings.

Then he reached out in front trying to find Colin, with no luck. Keeping his right hand to the side and the left one feeling forward, he slowly began to swim again.

His mind was going much faster then he was swimming. Where was Colin? What was Colin? Was anything he'd been told true? He knew he'd heard his son's voice... hadn't he?

His hand to the front suddenly impacted more cave wall! He panicked... he was trapped. He would die... drown, here... never knowing what happened to his family or Colin. No one would ever know what happened to him.

He gave in to the urge and began to sob, choking water around his mouthpiece, when he felt two strong hands grab his, and pull him sideways to the left and then sharply to the right
.
=================================================================================

Chapter Nine

Finally... Ryan could see again, however dimly. He cleared his regulator and tried to regain normal breathing. It was, of course, Colin who held his hand and led him into another area of open water.

They swam to the edge and surfaced. Ryan just stared at Colin for a while trying to digest, to understand all he'd experienced and endured. His friend gave him a look of regret and made a very subtle circular motion on his chest.

Ryan's quick wit kicked in and he recalled this to be sign language for "I'm sorry." They'd learned this on an episode of the show where one of the on-stage guests had been an American sign language interpreter. A nearly un-noticeable half nod was his only response.

They climbed out onto the edge of the small body of water in silence. Colin began removing his diving gear and wet suit, so Ryan followed suit. He took the opportunity to in-obtrusively take in his surroundings.

The water area was like a mezzanine with a small amount of flat surface all around its edge. Several caves of greatly varying sizes and a few small water channels led away from it. There was a large area of flat surface going back several meters, to be met by wall on a good portion.

"This way asshole," Colin spoke disdainfully as he began to walk toward one of the larger caves. "Fuck you and the filthy swamp which spawned you." Ryan growled back as he followed.
==========================================================================

Chapter Ten


They'd reached the end of the tunnel when Colin suddenly whirled around pushing Ryan so he lost his balance and fell. Colin was atop him instantly giving stage punches that were real enough that they'd leave bruises.

"I told you not to call me that anymore. I'm NOT YOUR SWEET COL ANYMORE, get it?"

He leaned in close and only Ryan's ears heard. "Prepare yourself love. This is our hardest show ever."

A single tear slid down his cheek and Ryan had to restrain himself to keep from wiping it away and holding that cherished face in his hands.

Ryan stood, momentarily nonplussed to find Colin pulling his arms behind his back and tying them with some strong and damp rope. He used a ploy known only by the two of them. They'd perfected it years before. As he placed an invisible loop around Ry's long finger, which when maneuvered correctly would release immediately.

He pushed Ryan into the room, quickly whirled him around, and snarked in a mocking voice: "Oh come on, sweetie. I've changed my mind. Give your sweet Col a kiss, eh?" and so saying, pulled their lips together.

Ry so welcomed the familiar touch he nearly lost his hold on the role he needed to be playing. "I'd rather kiss a snake" he rasped, and for just a brief flicker of a moment, Colin glimpsed his Ryan in those green eyes before they resumed the hateful charade.

He turned around, viewed his child's body strapped to some sort of gurney or lab cart. Others of his friends and family were tied up and gagged in various positions. some were naked, some not. Also complete strangers, both child and adult were present.

The most horrifying, if there could be one were the obviously dead bodies strewn about in various stages of decomposition, and crawling with life of the cave.

Ok, he needed to play a role here. but what it could be eluded him at the moment. He whirled to query Colin, but found him now tied and thrown to the ground.

Between these areas of abject horror, there were short stairways going to pedestals which were heavy laden with treasures, beautiful dishes and decorative items, any games imaginable,, toys for a century of children. Sexual toys unthought of as yet.

Huge jewel encrusted pitchers containing anything one could desire to drink, platters, hundreds of perfectly prepared meats, fowl and fish, vegetable prepared in such mouth-watering ways as to be irresistible.

Then his eyes returned to the table where the body of his son lay, blood covered and so still. Tear streaks, dry now, etched their way over his bloodied face. Ryan fell to his knees and began a keening howl...

============================================================================


Chapter Eleven

In a paroxysm of grief, horror and despair, Ryan felt his essence depart and disperse from him. Out and out until it filled, perhaps, the universe.

Slowly he felt himself again. He released his hands from the bindings and stood to his feet. Taking and releasing a great breath, he stepped forward to where his son lay strapped on the table. His long dexterous fingers worked quickly to undo the straps.

He had to cover him. Sam couldn't be left like this. Near his feet, his saw a thick and velvety bathrobe which looked brand new. Ryan dressed him as carefully as one would a newborn.

Laying his hand gently on his son's ravaged face and head, combing his fingers through the tangle of hair, he lost himself briefly in recollections of this boy newly born, as a toddler, starting school...

Gathering Sam up into his arms and just holding him, he became peripherally aware of Colin behind him, sobbing softly. He placed his own cheek against his son's

Some thought in the back of his mind was nagging at him. He allow himself to focus on it for a moment.
Dead bodies are cold, especially in this environment. Sam was not...he was warm.

Ryan lay him down again and watched his chest intently. There was movement! He was breathing.

Sam was alive.

==============================================================


Chapter 12

Ryan gently placed Sam beside Colin. He kissed the boy's forehead then turned to his soul mate and released the bindings on him. "Sam's alive!" he stated joyously, "and so are many of the others."

"Col, I'm not afraid any more. We don't have to hide or whisper. They've given us their worst yet we aren't defeated. Do you know who 'they' are, what's happening...Do you understand any of this?" Colin shook his head in the negative.

"Stay here love, keep Sam warm and safe. I'm going to explore every last corner of this... this, well, here." Colin nodded but grabbed Ryan's hand and drew him back,

When Ryan turned his attention back to Colin, he felt his devotion to the man swell as he saw the pride and affection glowing brightly in his brown eyes. Their lips whispered against each others in unspoken communication of a thousand words.

"First I'll find all those who are alive and bring them here and we'll try to keep them that way. You OK with being the KEEPER OF THE LIVING?" Colin replied to his smirk with a sweet smile.



============================================================================

Chapter 13

The first order was to locate his and Colin's kids. There were several young people bound, gagged and siting against the area of wall. His eye devoured the sight of Mac, her eyes wide as could be starring at him beseechingly as tears continued to flow down her face and into the dirty piece of cloth with which she was gagged.

Moving to her, Ryan released her from the gag and then freed her hands. Her arms were instantly around his neck and he held her as she sobbed against him. " Daddy, Sam, is he.... is he...?"

He's alive Sweetheart. We'll get him to safety. Where's Clair?"

Oh God, Daddy, they brought her somewhere into a back room here. I heard her scream then cry then nothing. I'm so scared. We hafta find her."

"We will Mac, Sam's gong to be fine. Clair's going to too, we all are."

"Oh, Daddy, I forgot, Luke! "

The girl pointed to her right. Ryan quickly picked his way through debris to reach Colin's son. He was tied as Mac had been, but his head hung limply on his chest.

Ryan glanced at Colin who was tending to Sam and held his breath as he reached out to touch Luke's cheek. It was cold and lifeless slightly stiff. Unlike Sam, Ryan reasoned, he would not be revived.

Ryan squeezed his eyes shut tight, tears forcing themselves between the lids. He looked at Mac and shook his head. She began sobbing harder placing the back of her hand to her mouth.

He looked carefully over at Colin, who loved this boy more than life. Colin was looking directly at him now. Their eyes met and communication flowed. Colin must have known already. He had lost more than was bearable.

In that way of silently communicating they had, both men  acknowledged and renewed their commitment firstly to each other, and the to all of these children... all that they found alive here were their's.

===============================================================

ChapterThirteen

Ryan felt rather than heard a stirring of the air, and felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Mac gave a gasp and he was instantly at her side, gathering her into his long and protective fatherly arms.

They turned as one, and Ryan's knees nearly buckled. Only Mac's strength kept him standing. Luke was standing a few feet away smiling Colin's sweet smile which did not reach his eyes.

" Hi, Uncle Ryan, we've been waiting for you."

Mac found her voice first, "Luke, what are you... how... "

"SHUT THE FUCK UP STUPID C***." Luke's voice rasped. " Oh don't worry, Mac baby, I've got plans for you."

Mac felt herself shudder and beside her, Ryan pulled her even tighter to his side, made a choking sound, then found his voice.

"Luke, I've known you since the day you were born and loved you as much as my own. What's happened to you?"

At the this Luke through back his head and gave a gleeful laugh. "Yeah, you've been here and seen me all my life, But now I've reached maturity. My time has come."

His smile now had nothing of Colin in it. "Yessss," Luke hissed, "I am much more my mother's son."
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