Warnings: Abuse, Violence, Language, general Angstiness. This is not going to be a happy story, guys!

He was so incredibly tired. But he wasn't about to go back to bed either. The stupid nightmares would just keep him up for the rest of the night anyway. He'd rather wander the lonely halls of this huge mansion. He didn't really want to be here, but Aerne had begged him to go on this stupid business trip and he'd agreed. Even though this weekend was Etienne's birthday. He always got nightmares around the important dates of his old life. Usually he'd just go out and try to find a nice piece of ass to fuck and rid himself of the haunting memories. But Aerne had pretty much saved his life and he owed him a great deal. Going on a stupid business trip was the least he could do for his best friend.

All of it was Etienne's fault, really. He had found him dead in their bedroom. Suicide. That was about seven years ago and he still got nightmares. It looked like stumbling upon a dead body in one's very own bedroom could do that to a person. Though, to be fair, he'd had nightmares before Etienne as well. His life was just fucked up.

This mansion was kind of creepy. He hated places like this. It reeked of money. There were expensive-looking paintings everywhere, the furniture was so luxurious one was afraid to use it and the house itself was just way too huge for a single person to live in. Also, something about this place made uneasy tingles run down his spine. It was obviously ancient and somehow it reminded him of the haunted houses in movies. He wouldn't be too surprised to meet a chain-rattling ghost in one of the dark corners. Or maybe he would. He didn't believe in ghosts or anything really, for that matter, but in a place like this he almost wouldn't be shocked.

To make things worse, that business partner of his even had fucking servants! And he didn't seem to be treating them very well, either. They were always quiet, most of them seemed a little too skinny and some were oddly jumpy. He would have to talk to Aerne about the guy when he got back. The man didn't seem like somebody that was worth the trouble. They really weren't that desperate for new business. Their company had been doing well for the past years and they did not need a shady figure like that to ruin their reputation. He just wanted to get out of that place as soon as possible. Tomorrow evening couldn't come soon enough. Well, tonight, to be exact. It was already way past midnight, after all.

By then he had no clue where he was. That was typical. Getting lost inside of a fucking house! He'd ventured pretty far into the depths of this huge place. Looking around, he guessed he'd somehow ended up in the basement. It was rather dark and seemed completely deserted. And pretty dirty. It smelled of old dust and there were cobwebs everywhere. Instead of the expensive marble upstairs, the floor down here was made of packed earth. It looked like nobody had been down here in ages. And most certainly nobody had bothered to clean this place in before then either. He wondered if he should just go back to his room. The owner of the house probably wouldn't approve of his nightly wanderings... But then again it really didn't matter. It didn't look like he would have to deal with that shady business partner again anyway so he could piss him off all he wanted. And truth be told, he sort of liked that thought. He'd always had a somewhat rebellious nature which had, back in the day, earned him quite a few beatings. Plus, he was suddenly incredibly curious. Somehow, this looked like just the place that would hide lots of interesting secrets. What better place to get rid of your dark secrets than the deserted basement of a huge mansion? Nobody would ever come down here and stumble upon them accidentally. His curiosity was definitely raised.

Shit, maybe he really should get more sleep. His mind was starting to play tricks on him. He could have sworn he'd just heard somebody groaning. But how likely was that? It was 3am and nobody in their right mind would be out of bed, much less in a dirty, abandoned basement. Well, except him, of course. But then again, he probably wasn't quite right in his mind, so that didn't really count, did it? He decided to go find out whether he was really starting to hallucinate or if there actually was somebody else down here. Maybe he was right about the ghost thing? Nightly wanderings seemed to do funny things with his imagination. Creepiness be damned, he would prove to himself that he wasn't going crazy.

So he ignored the uneasiness and walked further into the basement. He started to wish he'd brought a torchlight or something. It was getting darker and darker with every step he took. But that was alright, he didn't mind the darkness too much. He'd always had a thing for creepy places and daring himself to do all sorts of stupid things.

He decided to use his mobile as a make-shift torchlight. Sweeping his impromptu flashlight over the vast expanse before him, he couldn't find anything really interesting. In one corner was a heap of old fashioned chandeliers, covered in a thick layer of dust. It looked like a graveyard for all sorts of disgusting insects he really didn't feel like investigating further. On the left wall hung a huge mirror that had gone almost blind with age. Old boxes lay scattered everywhere on the ground. All sorts of apparently long forgotten stuff, but nothing that might be able to groan. Shrugging, he decided to explore the place some more.

The light of his mobile had just barely illuminated the outlines of an arm. Everything was bathed in the sickly green light of the phone, but he couldn't be 100 percent sure if it was a human or just a doll or something. The light didn't reach far enough to see the rest of the body. He was starting to get really worried.

He rushed over to the limp form and crouched down beside it. Yep, definitely a human. A boy, to be exact. A rather pale and skinny boy at that. He leaned over the frail figure to check for breath. He just wished he'd paid better attention during that first aid course he'd taken years ago. As it was, he could only lick the back of his hand and hold it under the boy's nose.

Okay, breath was there. A quick touch to the unconscious boy's wrist revealed that he still had a pulse too. So far so good. But the boy's clothing looked blood stained and his face was badly bruised. And he was burning up. His skin felt unnaturally hot and dry. He couldn't really tell how bad the damage to the boy's face was, it was just too dark. He hoped the stains weren't really blood or that they were at least old ones. And that the phone's light caused the sickly skin tone. Shit. He definitely needed a doctor.

He tried to calm down. He couldn't start panicking now, that wouldn't help either of them. This was way out of his experience. He ran a trembling hand through his hair. When had the shaking started? Taking a few deep breaths, he finally managed to get a grip on his panic.

Should he call for help? But who would he call? Maybe he should just take the boy upstairs and find the owner of this damned place. That guy ought to know who he was and what do with him. But looking at the bruised form in front of him that might not be too good an idea...

Or maybe he should just call Aerne. Aerne had always helped him out. Yeah, that might work. With trembling fingers he dialled the number of his best friend.

Ring. Ring. Ring. "Come on, pick up!" he mumbled nervously.

"Ray? What's up?", came a sleepy grumble from the other end of the line.

"Could you come pick me up, please? It's important." Even his voice was shaking.

"Shit. It's in the middle of the night!"

"I know. I'm sorry, it's an emergency. Please, I need you to pick me up right now. Aerne, please! I'm begging you!" His voice cracked on the last word.

"Alright, fine. I'll be there in half an hour. Don't panic." Aerne still sounded annoyed but he knew he could trust his best friend.

"Thank you so much. You really need to hurry."

He put the phone back in his pocket and closed his eyes. Thank goodness he had Aerne.

He took one last calming breath and gathered the skinny boy in his arms. "Come on, let's get you out of here, honey.", he murmured while gently brushing the sweaty hair out of the boy's eyes.

AN: If you give me a review, I'm going to worship you forever and ever!