Title: Wrong Turn
Pairing: none, really; there is Barney/OMC and Barney/OFC, as well as allusions to Barney's feelings for Robin; all friendships/relationships are as they are at the current point in canon
Warnings: non-con, violence, disturbing themes, dark!fic
Summary: Barney's determination to turn over a new leaf is cut short when a terrifying experience changes his life completely. In the wake of an extreme trauma, the group must face their own demons while trying to help Barney recover.
That was Barney’s first clear thought as he gradually drifted back toward consciousness. His head felt strangely heavy, and hurt like someone was attacking the inside of his skull with a jackhammer. His arms felt stiff and sore, and a sharp pain shot through his wrists when he tried to move his hands.
He couldn’t move his hands.
He was lying on his side on soft carpet – and he could feel the texture of that carpet against a disturbingly large amount of his exposed body.
His completely exposed body.
He was naked.
The alarm of that realization was enough to shake him to full awareness.
He tried to open his eyes, but his fear intensified when he realized that he could not. Something was tied over his eyes, leaving him in total darkness. Barney tried again to free his hands, but they were fastened tightly behind his back, and the tingling sparks of pain that accompanied his efforts were discouraging enough to cause him to stop – for the moment.
Think, Stinson… think… What happened last night?
He tried to remember the events of the night before, but the throbbing ache in his head made it difficult to focus.
Robin… I was… with Robin… and… I went outside… I was… talking. With… with Robin? No… not Robin. Amanda. Or… April? Allison. Who’s Allison? She was hot… I remember that. She wanted me to… walk her to her car. Why the hell was I just walking that hot chick out to her car?
Oh, yeah. Robin.
No… can’t get distracted. What happened? I was… with Allison. And then…
Barney felt his heart leap up into his throat as the memory returned to him, vague and blurred with the rapid violence with which it had occurred, but clear enough for him to put the pieces together.
Someone grabbed me… hit me in the head… but… didn’t knock me out. How’d I get knocked out? Is Allison okay? Is she here, maybe? Wait… no, she was… she was smiling…
Despite his disorientation, Barney knew that he had to try to get his bearings, had to try to alleviate the extreme disadvantage at which he had found himself. He tried to sit up, drawing his knees up under him, and using his bound hands to push himself up off the floor, wincing at the pain. His hands tingled as the blood rushed back into them, and he grimaced. He finally managed to reach a half-sitting, half-kneeling position, his back braced against the cool, plaster wall behind him.
Barney’s heart was racing, and he felt sick as he tried to think of a way out of his bizarre dilemma. He tried again to work his wrists free of their restraints – from the feel of them, a pair of metal handcuffs – but they were far too tight.
Hence the pain. Idiot who cuffed me doesn’t know how to use a freakin’ set of handcuffs. Or… knows how to use them… a little too well. Whatever. What the hell happened? Who cuffed me in the first place? And why...
The sound of footsteps on hardwood suddenly broke through the swirling circle of his thoughts, and Barney froze, every nerve on edge, waiting in tense apprehension for the identity of his captor to be made known. The footsteps abruptly broke off, and Barney realized that it was probably because whoever they belonged to had just stepped onto the carpet.
Moments later, a firm but soft, decidedly feminine, hand grasped his chin, jerking his head up sharply. Her voice was low and soft next to his ear, and Barney suppressed a shiver at the subtle menace in her words.
“Hey, baby. Good, you’re awake. I was getting tired of waiting.”
Barney tensed as she crouched in front of him, and he recognized her voice, vaguely familiar from the night before – and one other night which he barely recalled.
“Waiting for what?” he demanded. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? In case you’ve deceived yourself into thinking it is, this isn’t the least bit hot or sexy, Allison. So, the smartest thing you can do right now is untie me and let me go, before I change my mind on the decision I’ve already made not to press charges…”
His defiant words were cut off by a sharp slap across his face, and Barney’s breath caught in his throat. He instinctively flinched when he felt sharp fingernails against his scalp, as Allison grabbed a handful of his hair and jerked his head back. Her voice trembled with anger, and he could feel the warmth of her breath against his face as she snarled his own words back at him with bitter triumph.
“In case you’ve deceived yourself into thinking that you have any control over what happens here… you don’t, Barney. So the smartest thing you can do right now is to just shut up and do as you’re told.”
“You don’t scare me!” he shot back at her with a derisive laugh, though he was unable to mask the slight tremor that had somehow found its way into his voice. “If this is some pathetic attempt at payback for something that happened years ago – which I’ve already apologized for, by the way, and that’s saying something, because I’ve never apologized to a woman for sleeping with her before – it’s not going to work, because…”
His indignant rant died in his throat when he suddenly felt the brush of cold, smooth steel against his cheek. He tried to pull away from the sharp edge of the blade, but Allison’s tight grip on his hair prevented it. She trailed the knife down to his exposed throat, then back up again to his cheek, and Barney’s breath quickened with instinctive panic that he barely managed to repress.
“Scared yet?” she whispered into his ear, and he could feel her smug smile against his skin.
He swallowed hard, shaking his head slightly – unable to back down from the subtle challenge in her tone. “No,” he insisted in a hoarse, trembling whisper that belied the word. “I’m not scared of you.”
A soft, chilling laugh was her response. “You will be, baby. Trust me.”
Barney let out his breath in a shaking sigh of relief as she removed the knife from his cheek, and he heard the soft click as the blade slid back into its handle. Allison’s hand softened in his hair, playing through it slowly in an unsettling parody of affection.
“Have you thought to wonder yet, Barney,” she murmured with quiet amusement, “why we’re even having this conversation? Why we’ve tied you up and blindfolded you… but didn’t bother with a gag?”
He hadn’t wondered – but he was wondering now.
It didn’t take him long to figure it out – and the only answer that made sense settled a hard, cold knot of fear in his stomach. He swallowed hard, willing his voice to steadiness as he quietly replied, with all the ominous, exaggerated drama called for by the words he spoke.
“Because… we’re someplace where no one can hear me scream?”
“Got it in one, baby.” Allison sounded both smug and impressed at once. “You could scream yourself hoarse here, and no one would hear to help you.”
She paused, and Barney winced at the feeling of her fingers tracing his lips, jerking his head away. Allison grasped his hair again, jerking his head back in a gesture of sheer dominance, leaning in close to whisper into his ear.
“And I intend to make you do a lot of screaming before I’m finished with you.” She laughed darkly as she added, “And not the fun kind.”
Barney’s mouth was suddenly dry, and he swallowed hard, trying to keep the panic from his voice. His mind was racing, searching for some way to back her down, some way to get out of this. His thoughts returned to the original lie that had gotten him into this mess, the deception he’d pulled off, with Lily’s help, to get her out of his apartment.
“My wife will miss me, Allison. I told you, I’m a… a changed man. I don’t stay out late anymore. She’s probably already called the police. They’re probably on their way right…”
She slapped him again, and Barney winced as the back of his head hit the wall, increasing the dull ache caused by – whatever it was she’d used to drug him and get him here. He tensed when he felt her hand lock around his throat, pinning him in place. Her voice was soft and chillingly calm.
“Yeah. About that. You’re going to pay for that little deception, honey. I know you lied about being married to get rid of me. In fact… I know all about you, Barney Stinson.” She paused, her voice lowering, becoming unsettlingly intimate. “I know you haven’t changed a bit since that night. You’re still a pathetic little slut who goes home with strangers on a regular basis and makes stupid, reckless decisions all the time. The few friends you have won’t even worry about you disappearing like this. In fact, they probably won’t even think that there might be a problem for days. And when they do… they’ll have no idea where to look for you – if they even want to.”
Barney’s heart sank with the knowledge that she was probably right. Robin had probably assumed that he had changed his mind and gone home with Allison willingly. Ted and Marshall and Lily wouldn’t think anything of it if they didn’t hear from him for a few days. He was trembling now, struggling to maintain control over his own rising fears, but swiftly losing the battle.
“I’m going to make you pay for what you did to me, Barney,” Allison stated softly, cold triumph in her voice. “And I’m going to take all the time I want to do it.”
“Hey, Ted.” Robin frowned as she walked into their apartment, staring down at her open cell phone with troubled eyes. “You haven’t heard from Barney, have you?”
Ted didn’t look up from whatever project he was working on at his desk, didn’t sound the least bit concerned as he shrugged. “Nah, not today.” After a moment of silence, he looked up at her, his brow furrowing to mimic her frown. “Why? Everything okay?”
“Yeah, it’s just… we were at the bar last night, and he said he was going outside for a few minutes, and… didn’t come back.” Robin sighed as she sat down on the couch. “I know that’s not all that unusual for Barney…”
“No, it’s not,” Ted agreed with a short laugh and a sympathetic smile. “He’s probably sleeping it off in some bimbo’s bed right now…”
Robin’s frown deepened, as she was clearly unconvinced. “It’s after ,” she pointed out. “Considering the fact that he usually tries to make his escape before whatever random chick wakes up…”
Ted considered that for a moment, meeting her gaze. “Good point. Then… he’s probably just sleeping it off at his place, you know? I’m sure he’s fine.”
“He’s not answering his phone.”
Robin caught a brief flash of surprise and alarm in Ted’s eyes at that. “You’ve… actually called him?”
She nodded. “Yeah.”
“And he didn’t answer?”
An uneasy grimace twisted Ted’s mouth and he looked away, thoughtful. “That… is strange. He always has his phone with him, and he… he usually answers.” He took out his own phone, speed-dialing Barney’s number and meeting Robin’s eyes solemnly as he waited through two, three… four rings, before the call was diverted to Barney’s voicemail.
“He’s not answering.” His tone was thoughtful, troubled, as he stared down at his own phone. After a moment he seemed to remember himself, looking up at Robin through wide eyes as he hastened to add, “But… I’m sure he’s fine. He’ll call back when he sees that you’ve… that we’ve called. He always does. And then we’ll both feel silly for worrying in the first place.”
“Yeah.” Robin forced a smile, trying to be reassured by Ted’s explanations – but without success. She tried to convince herself, picturing a positive, relieving scenario in her mind. “Yeah. He’ll tell us all about what happened with the girl he was talking to, and we’ll laugh at his crazy story, and then about how stupid we were to be worried in the first place.”
“Exactly,” Ted agreed. “It’ll be fine, Robin. He’s fine. You’ll see.”
Robin fell silent, leaning back on the sofa and opening her cell phone again to compose a text message, hoping that if by chance Barney was still with the girl, still in a situation where he wasn’t able to answer the phone, he might at least respond to a text. She turned on the television and waited impatiently for Barney to respond.
“I’m sorry, Ted. I know I shouldn’t be worried, but… I am.”
Ted looked up, not at all surprised by her words, nodding slowly in agreement. “Me, too, actually… for some insane reason.”
“I need to know he’s all right. I’m going to go by his place, see if he’s there. If he’s not, I… I think I’ll wait for him.” She forced a laugh as she observed, “He can only go so long without changing clothes, and he’s not going to want to stay in the stuff he was wearing last night for long.” She shrugged. “He’s gotta come home sometime.”
Robin had barely made it to the sidewalk when her phone rang. She hurriedly pulled it from her pocket, eagerly scanning the screen – immediately disappointed when it was not Barney calling, but Ted.
But… maybe Barney called Ted…
“Robin, wait up. I’m coming with you.”