Figlio Perduto

Chapter 5: Where Are You Now?

by Myshawolf (myshawolf at yahoo.com)
(11/30/03)

General Disclaimer

Nightmare: (walks out with a letter, clears her throat) Ahem. "Dear readers, I'm sorry I'm not here to personally greet you to this latest chapter. Currently I'm at the hospital seeing my new niece Hayley Alexa. She is 8lbs. 7oz. and utterly adorable. I will be back next weekend. Ciao and On with the show. Blessed be, Myshawolf." *Nightmare pales* Dear Creator, there are more of her kind running around. Run, everyone!

Chapter 5- Where Are You Now?

Erika sat up in her bed. Groggily, she took in her surroundings and realized she wasn't in her underground house or the hotel. The room was sparsely decorated but had a Victorian touch to it. Her eyes settled on a deep purple trenchcoat hanging in the corner. James's room. Erika was about to get up when the door opened and Fenwick peeked in.

"Ah, you are awake, mademoiselle," Fenwick smiled as he walked to the bed. "How are you feeling?"

"Okay, I guess. I haven't moved yet," Erika stated dully. "You should be in bed. I saw you coughing up blood."

"My cheek was scraped up. He didn't hit me as hard as he did you," Fenwick explained as he sat by her bedside. "Please don't hold it against him."

"I know who to blame, Monsieur Fenwick," Erika growled as she thought of the coward who was controlling James. "I will kill him."

"Take a number. Right now we need to concentrate on analyzing this." Fenwick produced the blood sample.

"Excellente." Erika grinned. "Then James can kill the bastard."

Fenwick mirrored her grin. "It will take some time. Since your hotel isn't safe, you should stay here."

Erika asked the burning question, "What was he doing there?"

Fenwick rubbed a hand over his face. "We are not sure right now. The Yardie is looking into it. But I would feel better if you were here. I promised him I would keep you safe."

"I can handle myself," Erika added.

"I'm sure you can, but we aren't dealing with a normal man. Did you see the way he jumped from the roof? He has no fear, no inhibitions," Fenwick reminded her.

"I know." Erika sighed. "So now what? We can't hide all the time."

"We won't but we need to stick together." Fenwick sighed, feeling his age as his jaws ached. "Watson will be by to escort you to the theater. I'll take you topside and will meet you there at six. Everyone needs to have someone with them from now on."

Erika nodded from her seat. Fenwick looked over the depressed singer. He knew how she felt. As much as he wanted to maintain a distance between them, he couldn't. Moriarty trusted her, so should he. Fenwick stood up.

"I'll make us some breakfast. Then we can collect your things from the hotel," Fenwick said as he walked to the door. "James would want you here."

Before Erika could thank him, Fenwick left the room. Erika sat in the bed lost in thought, memories. She was going to get James back, somehow.

Lestrade gently wrapped the bandage around Holmes' ribs. She secured the wrapping and was rewarded with a hiss of pain. Lestrade smirked to herself; that should teach him to run off without her. After studying her handiwork and Holmes' naked upper torso, Lestrade decided there wasn't much else she could do.

She tossed a clean shirt at Sherlock who caught it. Holmes hadn't said a word to Lestrade on the way home. He was embarrassed that the girls had to save him, Fenwick, and Wiggins. Sherlock shrugged into the shirt, trying to think of something to say.

"So when are you going to tell me what happened?" Lestrade asked, as she leaned on the dresser opposite from him.

Holmes looked up and realized he was in trouble. "I was following a hunch. Too many people would have drawn too much suspicion. I asked Watson not to tell anyone since everyone would have rushed there before they were really needed."

"I would have waited, Sherlock. I trust you enough to," Lestrade admitted. "But you didn't trust me."

"I do trust you. I didn't want anyone to risk their neck unnecessarily," Holmes protested as he stood up. He winced in pain but steadily he stayed on his feet.

Lestrade walked towards him, wagging her finger at him and growling, "See. If I'd been waiting nearby you wouldn't have to take such a beating. We could have everyone at a hundred percent instead of injured. Zed, Wiggins nearly got killed. Lucky for him Erika and I arrived when we did."

Holmes batted her hand away, growling back, "Fine. Let say you were there waiting. What if Culverton was there and saw you? What if he tried to hurt you and I couldn't stop him because I was busy distracting Moriarty? What then?"

"I can handle it!" Lestrade shouted.

"I can't. If anything happened to you, I couldn't live with the consequences!" Holmes yelled back, then turned away, ashamed he'd raised his voice. "Sorry. I forgot my manners."

Lestrade quieted down as well. 'I shouldn't have pushed. But zed, Holmes, I was worried about you. It didn't help, walking up there and seeing you injured, trying to walk."

Holmes hugged Lestrade close to him. "I'm sorry to worry you. I won't do it again."

"If you do, I get to kill you."

"It's a deal."

On the other side of the door, Watson smiled. It was good that those two made up. He moved away to give the couple some privacy. Maybe something special might result from this misadventure. Watson hummed as he walked into the kitchen.

Moriarty sat on his cot with his head in his hands. He couldn't believe what had happened. He felt lower than dirt. The whole scene played itself over and over again in his head. He couldn't believe he hit her. His gray eyes looked at the wall ahead of him, except that he was watching Erika's body go flying. Moriarty felt his heart sink lower in his chest. Any harder and he could have broken her body in half. The thought made him sick.

Soon the buzzing sound rang in his ears, drilling into his brain. Moriarty closed his eyes against the pain. He had to fight against it. A repeat of what he'd done to Erika couldn't happen again.

Erika gingerly walked through the backstage area. Whoever said the actors couldn't see past their noses had never been to practices for a show. Erika was good at covering her injuries, but she must be slipping. It seemed everyone and their mother knew she was injured and had to ask questions. Erika knew they were being kind to her. She assured everyone the she was fine, having fallen while practicing late last night at a friend's studio. That seemed to satisfy everyone, including the directors.

Erika smiled at a young singer from Beijing. The girl smiled back and came bounding up. Erika took a deep breath. She just wanted to sit for a bit and rest her sore ribs. The girl smiled brightly.

"I heard about your ribs, Madam Noir," the girl said right off the bat.

"It's Mademoiselle, Lea, and call me Erika, for zed's sake. We are equals here." Erika smiled at the young girl.

"Erika. I heard Madame Umberto is trying for your part now you are injured," Lea whispered. "I don't like her. She told me my style wasn't artistic enough."

Erika shook her head. Umberto studied the old form of opera which consisted of volume, not talent. She was old and on her way out, whether she liked it or not. Erika leaned forward and said, "She said that to me when I sang with her in Milan."

Lea giggled. She felt better meeting Erika at this concert. She was afraid of being the only young singer at this show, but was surprised by all the young people there. Erika especially intrigued her, due to the Phantom's reputation.

Erika moved to walk away. Lea waved goodbye and noticed the time. She rushed to the Rehearsal hall. She passed a man who looked lost. Before she could speak, he walked away. Lea shrugged it off and continued on her way.

Erika was waylaid a few more times by well-meaning crew members. She would smile brightly and try to throw off their suspicion with excuses or misleading questions. Eventually, she reached her dressing room. As she went to open the door, a throat cleared, catching her attention. Erika groaned in her head as she turned to face Madame Umberto.

"Well, the little upstart finally got what she deserves," the aging prima sneered.

"Bonjour, Madame. I see your temper and charm hasn't faded a bit." Erika smiled brightly.

"I see the Count de Chagny was right about your mannerisms. It will only be a matter of time before the directors see it." Umberto sniffed at Erika.

Erika's eyes flashed with a light that scared the prima donna. "Really? You are cavorting with a madman, Madame? Fitting, isn't it? No man would touch you in Milan. Only insanity would find someone like you charming. He won't have to drug you to have his way."

"How dare you!" The prima raged at the insult and moved to slap the girl.

Erika caught her wrist and growled, "I'm not the little girl you could bully in Milan, Perdita. I grew up when I went back to Paris. Your friend tried to kill me and he paid with his sanity. Don't make the same mistake for your stupid pride."

Erika let go of the prima donna's wrist. The two women glared at each other, the old trying to keep her territory while the young was proving herself. Finally, Perdita flounced away. Erika waited until she'd gone away a bit before leaning against the door. She'd really need a vacation after all this.

Erika opened her door to the dark dressing room. She slipped in before anyone else come stop her and locked the door. As she turned around, she bumped into someone. Erika backed away and tried to reach for the light switch. A strong hand grabbed her wrists and pulled her toward his body. Erika struggled viciously despite the pain in her side.

Suddenly light flooded the room. Erika closed her eyes against the brightness. She opened her eyes in surprise as the hands let go of her. Moriarty looked down at her in concern. Erika was torn between staying and running. They stared at each other in confusion.

"I'm sorry I hurt you," Moriarty whispered, breaking the silence.

Erika smiled at him gently. "I forgive you, Professor."

Moriarty smiled at her hesitantly. The look she was giving him made his stomach tighten. Before he could say anything else, she was showering him with kisses. Moriarty was shocked by the sudden show of affection. His heart tightened at the sheen of tears in her eyes as she touched his lips.

The few times their lips met, Moriarty felt a spark that raced through his blood as they kissed. It disturbed him that he enjoyed them so much. Maybe a little too much as he began to thirst for more of them.

Reluctantly, he pushed Erika away. Erika looked up at him with confusion clouding her blue eyes. Moriarty began to be assailed by his doubts. This wasn't a good idea. He was going to hurt her again. Gingerly he touched her ribs and she flinched. His mind needed to see that, to see what he did to her when he wasn't in control.

"I shouldn't have come," Moriarty whispered as he moved to leave.

"I won't let you leave me again," Erika warned as she blocked his way.

"I hurt you. By all rights, you should hate me," Moriarty remarked surprise. Didn't she get it? He could kill her.

"I don't hate you. I hate the man who did this to you." Erika spat.

"I was the one who hit you," Moriarty growled, not understanding why she would hate his master.

"Would you have if you'd seen me first before reacting?" Erika asked.

Moriarty opened his mouth to argue, but didn't know what to say. He turned away from her bewitching blue eyes. He didn't know what was going on any more. The buzzing started to return. His master was summoning him. Moriarty knew he had to walk away from the beautiful woman in front of him. How to do it without hurting her more than he already had.

Erika touched his arm, worried for him. Moriarty whirled around with such speed he scooped her up. He looked in her eyes for a moment, and then kissed her hard. Erika reacted before she could even consider his motives. Moriarty kissed her until she was breathless. Erika grew dizzy from lack of air as the kiss continued on.

Just as quickly as he kissed her, he was gone. Erika slid to the ground bonelessly before her mind could register what just happened. When it did, she pulled her knees to her chest. He had too much of a head start to bother with chasing him. Anger quickly over took her self pity. Erika stood up and determinedly got ready for practice. She would prove once and for all that she wasn't going anywhere, no matter who was trying to scare her off. After quickly changing into a pair of sweats and a leotard, Erika left the dressing room.

Culverton walked through the backstage area. That's it; he is so locking the door to the room. He couldn't have his little slave out wandering around for no reason at all. Culverton had a lot of money riding on this project. Everything had to be right.

Culverton heard a door slam. Quickly he ducked behind some crates. Peeking out, he saw the girl from the Opera House walking by. Her cheeks were flushed in temper. Culverton was entranced by her beauty, which her temper seemed to enhance. As she passed, he stepped out in hope she would see him. When she just brushed by, Culverton walked after her, unaware of a pair of gray eyes narrowing on him.

Erika was in high tantrum when someone tapped her shoulder. She whirled around, ready to rip the poor soul apart. The young man stepped back with his hands up in a harmless gesture. Her eyes softened. It wouldn't do to take her anger out on the crew.

"Sorry. I just had a rough encounter with someone I know very well." Erika sighed as she rubbed the space between her eyes.

"That's all right," the man smiled, "Tempers always flare during one these things."

Erika gave him a considering look. "That they do. I don't believe I have met you yet."

"I was just thinking the same thing. I'm called Smithy," he lied.

"Erika. What do you do, Smithy?" Erika asked, suspicious.

"Oh, a little bit of everything. I help make magic. Maybe I could show you a few tricks?" he said smoothly as he took her arm.

Erika shrugged her arm out of his hold, "I don't think so. Now if you'll excuse me, I have practice."

Erika flounced away from him. Culverton watched her go. He would make her his. He turned to continue his search. Culverton rammed into Moriarty who had walked up to him.

"There you are. You can't go wandering off like that!" Culverton scolded him.

Moriarty didn't speak. He was afraid of what he'd say to this man. All he knew was that he didn't like how this man looked at his woman. His breeding was taking a back seat to his more primitive instinct. Right now this man was daring to touch what he considered his, not that he would say it out loud. Deep down he knew that woman, Erika, wouldn't appreciate his line of thinking, but wasn't sure why he was so protective of her.

"Let's go," Culverton commanded as he turned to leave. Moriarty moved, compelled to follow.

Lestrade listened intently to Erika's account of her encounter with both Moriarty and the stranger. Lestrade did not like what she was hearing. First, the break-in at Erika's hotel room, and now strangers at the theater -- not comforting to the detective. In fact, she was relieved that Erika was staying with Fenwick. Lestrade closed her eyes thinking of what they should do.

"Are you sure he wasn't legit?" Beth asked wearily. Holmes was resting in the bedroom from his injuries.

"Positive. He dodged my question about what he does. Plus security is really tight here since this is an international event. Even Moriarty has been spotted around here, although no one is too sure who he is." Erika related, then noticed the Inspector's weariness, "What is wrong, my friend?"

Lestrade looked at Erika, "Since you are back at the hideout, I can tell you this without you freaking too much. In my professional opinion, you are his next target. The purpose could be either his own wants or to cement his control over Moriarty, since you seem to shatter that."

"I don't like either scenario." Erika sighed. Fenwick said something in the background that neither female heard.

"That's all I can think of, for right now. I'll run it by Holmes when he wakes up. I'll take you back to the theater if you want."

"No, I'll stay here and help Dr. Fenwick with the blood sample," Erika declined. "I'm not needed at the theater until tomorrow morning anyway, and then Dr. Fenwick will be escorting me."

"I'll pick you up then. Holmes wants everyone to meet at Baker Street."

"I'll see you then."

The two cut the connection. Lestrade rubbed her temples for a few minutes. She hoped that this case got wrapped up soon. Looking up, she continued to contact her informants for anything new.

Erika turned away from the vid phone and walked to Fenwick's workbench. She had just learned that Fenwick was a doctor, a geneticist, actually. Her respect for the henchman rose quite a bit after learning that. Since they still hadn't figured out what was controlling Moriarty, Erika's talents weren't needed yet.

"Any luck?" Erika asked.

"None," Fenwick replied. "But something isn't right on the cellular level. I just can put my finger on it."

"May I have a go at it?" Erika wondered gently.

Fenwick looked up at her. She was worn out. He could tell for the look in her eyes. However she might be able to spot something he didn't see.

"You may," Fenwick consented, "after you get some rest."

Erika was about to protest when she yawned instead. Grinning sheepishly, she knew he was right. Her emotions had been going up and down all day. The stress had wreaked havoc on her body. Erika agreed to the Doctor's terms and headed to James' room.

Gently, she shut the door so not to disturb Fenwick from his duties. Erika was surprised by this new side of the doctor. She supposed that the side that he usually showed in front of the detectives was only to mislead them. The few times that James would reminisce about his life growing up, he would speak of Fenwick with such respect. The way they treated each other in public was so different, Erika had a hard time believing what was true. Now she was noticing how Fenwick would speak of his son with such pride. Erika knew the feelings were mutual at that point and was happy to finally be accepted by the henchman.

Erika sat on the large bed. Slowly fatigue reared its ugly head and Erika collapsed back onto the mattress. She slipped under the covers and went off to the realm of dreams. Fenwick peeked in to check on the young singer before leaving on some errands.

Moriarty smiled as he hurried to the nearest Underground entrance. Hopefully by hiding the remote, he had bought himself some time until his master called him again. He needed that time to find and question that woman, Erika, about this feeling he had towards her. Deep in his guts, a feeling of anger would grow every time his master would speak of her like she was an object or prize to be had. He wanted to hit his master for talking about her in a perverse way. However, he didn't dare hit him; something always stopped him.

When he reached the Underground entrance, Moriarty hesitated for a moment. How did he know she would be down here, anyway? She could still be at the theater. A part of his mind screamed that he should know where his mate was. Swallowing the doubt, Moriarty descended into the Underground, his kingdom, in search of the answers.

Erika felt someone gently touching her face. It felt good, comforting in the face of all the uncertainty that she faced in the past few hours. Sighing softly, she turned towards the hand stroking her face. Snuggling against it, she was safe for the first time in her life. Groggily, she opened her eyes and wondered if she was still in her dream.

Her blue eyes met a pair of greatly missed gray eyes. A smile graced her lips as she took in his face. He looked lost, confused, and it broke her heart. In an effort to comfort him as he had her, Erika gently touched his face. As her fingers gracefully traced the lines on his face, he closed his eyes. Erika gave a small laugh as she felt his fingers thread the back of her neck. He was always trying to relax her muscles after some of her rougher practices. Erika felt her eyelids droop as she drifted back to sleep.

Moriarty held her for a few moments longer. He was drawn back to her for some odd reason. In his heart, he knew that she was his heart. Silently rebelling against what was controlling him, he vowed to protect her from anything that was out to harm her, including himself. Pressing a tender kiss on her lips, he reluctantly left her side. In his mind he promised to return every night until he could remember what she was to him.

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