Figlio Perduto

Chapter 4: Lost Angel

by Myshawolf (myshawolf at yahoo.com)
(11/27/03)

General Disclaimer

Nightmare is installing a traffic light, muttering to herself about too many visiting authors and characters running around. Myshawolf walks in with her right hand bandaged.

MW: What are you doing?

NM: I have had with all the traffic around here. So to bring in some order, I'm putting this thing in. What happened to your hand?

MW: Overhead projector and my hand met. It didn't like my hand so it broke. Hurts like hell.

NM: Only you.

MW: Shaddup! Why a traffic light?

NM: I can't scare the shit out of everyone who runs into me. So this will save time.

MW: One problem, Where are you gonna get the electricity to run it?

NM: Good point. I'll borrow from Jaka. She never updates anymore. She won't miss it.

MW: Monty?

NM: He won't mess with me if he knows what is good for him. Besides, I could use either Auron or Haldir as bait. I got to go.

MW: I better warn a few people. *to the readers* Enjoy, guys; I have a muse to contain. On with the show!

Figlio Perduto
Chapter 4 - Lost Angel

Holmes walked down Montague Street the next day. He retraced Wiggins' steps with excellent precision. It was a longshot, but he wanted to try and pick up where Moriarty was headed. He turned over in his head what Wiggins and Erika had told him. As he turned a corner, he came to an Underground entrance. Holmes sighed. He should have known that rats would go into hiding. Not willing to tempt fate since Moriarty had a hefty sum on his head, Holmes decided to contact Fenwick and see if he could pick up the trail. After a quick conversation, Holmes waited for the rogue geneticist to show up.

Holmes watched the activity behind him on Montague Street. It was amazing that all those people were walking in the steps of a madman, unaware of the danger that came out at night. People rushed back and forth to jobs and appointments, oblivious of the darkness around them. Holmes should have been thankful for their ignorance since it made his job easier, but instead he was annoyed. How could these people just ignore the fact that their world was slowly being swallowed by darkness, and people like him and Lestrade were keeping the darkness at bay? They were treated with contempt and scorn until they were needed.

Not everyone was blind to the world around them. The Irregulars grew up seeing the darkness and adapted to it. They survived any way they could while keeping their dignity, their innocence. Holmes saw that and gave them a shove in the right direction, despite Lestrade's protests about putting them in danger. Holmes smiled. He wouldn't let the kids get harmed; after all, they would be his legacy to this new era.

Holmes' thoughts flicked over to another ally in this world, Erika and her network. Erika Noir was born in the darkness, much like her ancestors were. While her great-great-great-great grandfather was cast aside by the world, his children chose to shun it. Holmes could see their reasoning, and respected it. Erika had shown an honor beyond that of anyone that Holmes had ever known. She would stand against evil for the greater good and protect those she loved, even if it darkened her soul a little more. Her treatment of the Count de Chagny and her relationship with Moriarty proved that.

Holmes jumped as he heard someone walking up the steps of the defunct railway ramp. He turned around to see Fenwick walking up the stairs. Fenwick had a worried look on his face. He turned to Holmes when he reached the top stair.

"I followed the trail that Moriarty had left," Fenwick stated simply.

"And where does it lead?" Holmes prompted the henchman.

Fenwick sighed. "It leads to the New Albany Hotel by Regent's Park."

Holmes turned this information over in his head until he realized, "That's where Mademoiselle Noir is staying for the international fundraiser."

"Noir?! She is here?!" Fenwick sputtered with anger. "Does that woman have no sense?"

Holmes smiled his agreement. "I quite concur, but she was sent by her company to represent them. However, an interesting twist is that Moriarty seems to respond to her presence."

Fenwick shook his head. "We can't change it now."

"However, we should express our concerns when we see her tonight. Especially over this recent development."

"Of course. Who knows what trouble that female could find herself in?"

Erika stood on the empty stage with the musical score in her hand. She had just finished up her first practice. She was flattered that everyone there knew her. It seemed her reputation went far. Of course, she got the usual questions about the Phantom, but Erika dodged them with the accuracy of a pro.

Erika looked up at the flies high above her head. If she were home, she would be climbing them in an exercise to stay limber. However, she couldn't here. Sighing she looked back at the score. The Scarlet Pimpernel. It wasn't too bad. In fact, after years of rewrites, it was the closest thing to an opera a musical could get. Several other opera stars felt insulted to be asked to sing something so mainstream. Erika didn't mind it. After all, one couldn't be artsy all the time. Besides, the New London Opera Company had picked it because it was a smash hit last year.

So after an exhausted day of practice, the directors produced a cast list. Erika landed the female lead of Marguerite, wife of Sir Percy Blakeney. Erika could identify with the character. As Marguerite watched her husband slip away from her, Erika watched Moriarty slip away from her. All Erika needed was a Chauvelin to enter the picture with tempting offers and honeyed promises, only to put her friends in danger. Then the stage would be set.

Erika fought back the tears that threatened to spill over. She flung the score away from her. It wasn't fair. For once she was happy, content with her lot. She had found her peace for the first time since that horrible night six years ago. Now some nutcase was slowly taking it away. Erika wanted to fight back but she had no idea where to start. Fate was cruel; Erika'd learned that over her life. She looked over at the discarded musical score and wondered, is this how Marguerite felt as she watched the man she loved slowly disappear behind a mask?

Erika walked over to the book slowly. She knew the pain that Marguerite was feeling and understood her character better than she even knew herself. Bending over, Erika smiled as she saw what song it had landed on. Picking up the book, she ran the melody through her mind.

Walking back out to the stage, she failed to notice the figure watching her from the wings. He wanted to reach out to her, but something stopped him. He knew her. To him she was an angel whose voice could soothe away the pain in his head. Silently he urged her to sing again as she did in Paris. He gave a prayer of thanks as a beautiful sound filled the air.

Like stepping on the air...
So blindly.
I trust you will be there...
To find me.
Like reaching through the blue,
I place my faith in you

Erika moved gracefully across the stage. In her mind, she was singing to her love. She wanted to make this promise to him in person.

I do.
Believe...
 
These tender hearts of ours
May be endlessly na´ve
But we grow strong, if we believe.

The figure moved closer. He knew she was singing about him, to him. He moved to the edge of the wing. He could smell her perfume as she stood only a few feet from him. Yet he stayed in the shadows.

This fragile world of ours
Spins us off into the storm!
Hold on to me and I'll be warm.
 
As roses bend through breeze,
Unbend me
As the rose bends to the sun.

Erika took a step back as she sang the song. Tears spilled from her eyes. One day she hoped to sing this song to James. She prayed for that chance.

And in the darkness, please
Defend me
Two in love become as one.
As waves lean on the sea
My love, come lean on me
I do
Believe in you.

Erika finished the song and found herself flushed. She smiled brightly. This might become the greatest performance in her life. She understood her character perfectly. Wrapping her arms around herself, she thought about how much she wanted James to see it.

Suddenly she heard the sounds of footsteps behind her. Erika turned around to see someone running away. Erika was going to go after the intruder when she heard a young voice call out to her. Erika turned to see Deidre running towards her. Erika gave the girl a smile as she turned around for one last look. No one was there.

"Hey, Miss Noir. Mister 'Olmes asked me to walk you back to Baker Street," Deidre told Erika. "What's wrong?"

Erika turned and smiled at the teen. "Nothing, cherie. Let's go get my things and we can get going."

Deidre walked next to Erika in silence. She couldn't believe her luck in escorting the famous Erika Noir. Tennyson was infatuated with her. Deidre hoped to one day be a lady like her. Even now, Deidre tried to walk like she did, with grace. She stumbled a few times. Deidre looked at Erika in hopes she hadn't seen. Erika was looking ahead as if in another world. Deidre smiled and tried again.

"Your feet are positioned wrong," Erika stated out of the blue, causing Deidre to fall. Erika stopped and offered the girl a hand up.

"Thank you," Deidre said sheepishly as she got up. "How should my feet be?"

"Comfortable," Erika advised the teenage as they walked. "Each person has their own unique grace. One kind isn't better than the other."

"Oh." Deidre sighed, disappointed, and began to walk as she always did.

"Now that's grace." Erika observed, "Natural and easygoing. Much better."

Deidre smiled at Erika. "Thank you."

Erika smiled at the girl brightly. Deidre took a breath. It was now or never.

"What is it like, being on the stage?" Deidre asked quickly.

Erika glanced at Deidre and considered the question before answering, "It's a wonderful feeling, becoming a new character and telling the story through their eyes. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."

Deidre grinned, "I always wanted to be a singer."

"It takes a lot of practice, young lady, and a lot of commitment," Erika informed her. 'It's a hard life. Not all glitz and glory."

"I can do it." Deidre asserted. "If I only have the chance."

Erika shook her head. "You remind me of a chorus singer I knew growing up. Her name was Dulcia and she was from Spain. She was determined to be in the Paris corps d'ballet and she left her family to go to Paris."

"What happened to her?" Deidre piped up.

"She made it to the opera and met a handsome violinist who made her feel at home. She kept working to prove herself to everyone. As time passed, she met a man in a mask. He swept her off her feet with promises to help her be even better. She accepted and began to train with the man in the small hours of the night. During the day she would practice with the troupe and at night with her angel. The violinist expressed concern about her health, since the late practices were starting to take a toll. Dulcia knew she had to take a break, but she was afraid of falling behind. Even her angel was concerned, but she continued on until, during a late night session, she collapsed from exhaustion." Erika spoke as she remembered. Deidre listened intently as Erika continued, "When she woke up she was in a strange bed. Soon she saw the violinist asleep in a chair by the bed and she knew at once that she was working too hard. She realized that it wasn't worth trying to kill herself. If anyone didn't like her style, they could go to hell. She returned to work after a rest and danced more beautifully than she ever did before."

Deidre asked one question that Erika left unanswered, "What about the violinist?"

"She married him, of course, and they had one child -- me." Erika winked as she bounded up the steps to 221b.

Deidre smiled as she watched the singer go up to Holmes' apartment. She turned away, deciding to see if Wiggins had found anything out. A new hope flowed through her heart, knowing that there was someone'd who once walked in her shoes.

Erika walked into the apartment when Watson opened the door. Lestrade was pacing by the fireplace. When she looked up, the hopeful look on her face faded. Erika giggled, understanding how Nadir felt all the times he called James looking for her. Lestrade plastered on a smile as she walked to her friend.

"I'm sorry," Lestrade started, "I was hoping you were Holmes."

"Don't worry about it. I know how Nadir feels when he calls me when I'm expecting James," Erika dismissed as she walked her friend to the chairs. "Now where is Monsieur Holmes?"

"No idea. He told Watson that he had a lead and left before I got here."

"How long have you been waiting?"

"An hour, at least. I lost track after a while," Lestrade said with her voice tinged with worry, "Fenwick was just here. He left with Wiggins and Tennyson to see what the word on the street was. I'm staying here in case he comes back."

"He'll turn up. Your detective is very resourceful." Erika stated gently.

"I hope so. Zed, I hate just standing here doing nothing," Lestrade cursed with frustration.

"Why don't you make us some tea? I'll keep an eye on the vid phone in the meanwhile."

"Okay," Lestrade sighed as she walked to the kitchen. She needed to keep herself busy.

Erika waited until Lestrade was gone before she turned to Watson, "Okay, Doctor, spill it."

"I don't know what you mean, Mademoiselle Noir."

"You know exactly what I mean. I doubt Holmes would leave here with a madman on the loose and after him without some indication where he was going," Erika reasoned. "He may have told you not to tell Lestrade but I'm not Lestrade."

Watson gulped, "I'm not to tell anyone until he sends me the signal. He was going undercover. That's all I can say."

"Fine," Erika sighed. "I suggest you go help Lestrade. I have a call to make."

"I will. Do forgive me, Mademoiselle Noir, but Holmes told me that if any of us show up before he is ready it will put him in great danger and tip our hand."

"I understand."

Watson nodded and walked into the kitchen area. Erika sat down at the desk and punched in the number to Nadir's apartment. Danesh's face popped up. He smiled brightly at seeing her.

"Little sister, how is New London?" Danesh smiled.

"Depressing. I saw him, Danesh. He wasn't totally gone yet," Erika reported, "Could you or Nadir send some of my things over here?"

"Yours, or the other you's things?" Danesh winked.

"The other me's things, and quickly. I don't think we have much time."

"Do you want me and Nadir to come as well?"

Erika shook her head. "Not yet. I will let you know. Thank you, big brother."

"Anything for you, cherie. Be careful," Danesh reminded her.

"I will, Danesh," Erika smiled before hanging up. Erika rested her head in her hands. She wanted this nightmare over with. Suddenly, the vid phone rang. Erika jumped as she answered it. Watson came back into the room with Lestrade. An old man looked at them and stated, "Now, Watson!"

The link closed down before anyone could speak. Erika glared at the robot, who froze in his spot. He turned to Lestrade and stated, "Assistance is required at the New Albany Hotel immediately."

Lestrade ran to the couch and grabbed her ioniser. "Call the Irregulars and have them meet us there. I'm going to kill Holmes when I get my hands on him."

Erika nodded as she stood up. "I'll help you. Why is he at my hotel?"

Lestrade shrugged. "No clue but let's find out. How's your stomach?"

Erika tossed her a confused look as they ran to Lestrade's patrol car. Watson followed closely while he relayed the information to Fenwick and Wiggins. The three took off with Lestrade's lightning quick skills and speed record.

Holmes dodged the punch very easily. Unlike his opponent's, his head was perfectly clear. Moriarty swung at him absently. Holmes noticed the blank look in his archenemy's eyes. It shook Holmes to the core of his soul. No one should look like that. While he was musing, Moriarty landed a hard right that sent Holmes flying. Holmes rolled out of the way of another punch. He looked up for the next move, only to see Fenwick distracting Moriarty away from him. Wiggins helped Holmes up.

"We have to get out of here." Wiggins said.

"We still need a blood sample," Holmes insisted as he leaned on Wiggins and handed the boy a syringe gun. "Hurry before he spots us."

Wiggins nodded and moved closer to the madman, only to have Fenwick be thrown right at him. The two men hit the floor. The gun flew from his hand and slid along the roof. Wiggins pushed Fenwick off him and scrambled toward the gun. He felt a pair of strong arms grab him and lift him up. Wiggins stared in the blank eyes of Moriarty and was suddenly very scared. He looked to see Holmes trying to stand up and Fenwick coughing up blood. Wiggins closed his eyes, braced for the oncoming pain.

Suddenly he hit the ground on his butt. Wiggins opened his eyes to see Moriarty gripping his hand and glaring at Lestrade, who was leveling a charged ioniser at him. Wiggins looked around for the discarded syringe gun. He noticed Erika picking it up. Wiggins was about to move towards her when Wiggins felt someone pull him away. Wiggins looked up to see Fenwick and Holmes gripping his shirt.

"Don't. She has the perfect opportunity," Holmes warned.

Fenwick watched Erika with worried eyes. He was supposed to protect her, but they needed a sample if they were to save Moriarty from Culverton's control. Erika moved silently across the rooftop while Lestrade held Moriarty's attention. Soon she was up close to him. Suddenly, everything seemed to slow down over the next few seconds.

Erika raised the gun and softly pressed it against Moriarty's shirt. Erika closed her eyes as she pulled to the trigger. A small hiss was heard followed by a deafening roar. Before Erika could dodge, Moriarty whirled and hit her with such force that Erika went flying. She pulled the blood sample close to her in order to protect it as she hit the ground and rolled to a stop. Slowly Erika tried to sit up. A sharp pain flew through her body. Closing her eyes, she knew that Culverton had gone too far and swore that she would kill him. Her eyes snapped open when she heard James's voice. The whole roof went silent.

"No," Moriarty whispered as a look of horror swept over his feature, a moment of clarity that he didn't want. "I didn't mean to."

Erika struggled to her feet, ignoring the pain, "James?"

"Forgive me. Please forgive me, Erika. I can't control myself."

"James, we can help you," Erika pleaded. "Fight it long enough that we can get you to a safe place."

"No, I can't. I'm a danger to you," Moriarty repeated as he backed away. "Get away from me, Erika, now. I can't stop the pain."

Suddenly, he gripped his temples in agony. Before anyone could stop him, he jumped from the roof and climbed down the balconies. Erika collapsed to her knees, crying. Was she fighting a losing battle? A pair of arms hugged her close. Erika turned into Fenwick's chest. He patted her head, much like a father to a daughter. For the first time, he realized that he had to take care of her. He looked up at Holmes, who was leaning on Wiggins and Lestrade.

"That bastard will pay for this," he growled at them. The detectives nodded their understanding; no one knew what to say.

MW peeks in: Title was thought of by Angelina 809. Thanks hun. Check her stories and Jaka's when ever that girl updates. See ya this weekend and Happy Thanksgiving.

Editor's note: *happy* The Scarlet Pimpernel credits: music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics and book by Nan Knighton. It's an adaptation of the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel, which was an adaptation of the play The Scarlet Pimpernel, both of which were by the Baroness Orczy. All the Scarlet Pimpernel novels are currently online at Blakeney Manor. Read and enjoy!

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