Figlio Perduto

Chapter 7-Paradise Lost

by Myshawolf (myshawolf at yahoo.com)
(12/22/03)

General Disclaimer

Myshawolf walks out in a Santa hat and with a notebook, ducks as she passes the traffic light: Hello all. Things are starting to pick up. This chapter is action packed with a lot of twist. No much else I can say since there is a party calling me. Except Read and Review.

Nightmare walks out in a Santa hat as well: We mean it. It's the season of giving so please give us some reviews.

MW: You said it. Nice hat.

Nightmare: back at ya. Can we get back to the party?

MW: Of course. On With The Show!


Erika stirred the next morning, feeling more tired than normal. In all reality, she didn't want to wake up. She'd just had the most marvelous dream that James had returned to her. Granted, Culverton still had control over him in her dreams, but for a moment she had her love back. Erika sighed softly, knowing she couldn't hide in dreamland much longer. She opened her eyes and began to get up. As she moved, her body ached like hell. Erika stopped moving and began to stretch her body out, chasing the cramps from her muscles.

As she flung aside the covers Erika noticed a scrap of fabric on the floor. Silently, she approached it and picked it up. It was one of Moriarty's cravats. Smiling softly, she turned and got dressed. Erika hoped she had the dream again tonight. Somehow she felt complete after having it.

Donning a simple t-shirt and jeans, Erika walked through the fixed door. Fenwick was already working. Erika flashed him a smile and began to work herself. Since she had a break from practice, Erika wanted to take the time to formulate the cure. With any luck they should have it done tonight.

Erika sat in one of the armchairs at 221b Baker Street. Across from her sat Deidre and Tennyson, watching the others fight over the best course of action. Erika smiled at Watson, who handed her a cup of tea. Watson glanced at the others too. They had been arguing for a good hour or more.

"Don't worry, Doctor Watson," Erika smiled up at him, "They'll tire of it soon. I hope Wiggins was able to secure what we need."

"Wiggins is excellent at getting what he needs," Deidre stated with great confidence in her leader.

Erika smiled at the young girl. "I have no doubt. Now how was school for you two today?"

Deidre groaned, "Horrid. My music teacher told me I have no appreciation for the fine arts."

Erika quirked an eyebrow. "Why is that?"

"We are going to see the international production of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I hated that book." Deidre grouched.

"Well, it doesn't mean you don't appreciate the arts." Erika said diplomatically, "Just you know what you like. I do hope you at least go to cheer me on. I'm playing Marguerite."

"Oh, I guess I'll go for you, Miss Noir," Deidre blushed.

Erika and Watson smiled at each other. The room was quiet as the arguing died down. Erika put her cup down and stood up. She pinned the three arguing adults with a gaze that was very close to the Phantom's.

"Can we move on?" Erika asked.

"Yes, we need to get beyond this," Lestrade agreed, "Last night, Erika, we were threatened by Ruelle. I think you need to know."

"I expected as much. He would resurface when he thinks I'm vulnerable," Erika sighed. "We can't worry about that lunatic right now. Concentrate on our task on hand, Moriarty needs us. He is fighting back the control which means Culverton is using a new technology that isn't foolproof. We can still break him of it. But time is short. Doctor Fenwick and I have made a breakthrough."

"His immune system is fighting the invasion which we think is responsible for the moments of clarity. So to help this along, we developed a serum to boost the immune system." Fenwick continued.

"I'm sensing there is a drawback," Holmes remarked.

"It's too strong to give all at once. He has to take in three small doses." Erika answered. "We are going to have to inject it into him not just once but three times. We need to bait him out of hiding at least three times to help."

"How?" Lestrade questioned.

Everyone in the room pondered this point. After a few moments, Deidre raised her hand. The adult turned to her. Deidre gulped as she tried to word it just right.

"Maybe we could use Miss Noir. Moriarty wouldn't hurt her before. Maybe he likes her enough to come for her if she was in trouble," Deidre suggested.

Fenwick smiled at the child's insight, "It could work. Erika is at the forefront of his mind. Even when he did hurt her, he seemed to come to his senses. Erika is the key."

Erika felt her cheeks burn. True, she and James were close, but she wasn't that special. As the others planned she remembered something her father told her once. Erika brushed a tear from her eye. Why did she have to lose every man that she cared about? Only Nadir and Danesh were untouched by this. Her father told her once it was the curse of her lot in life. Erika had dealt well with it until now.

Fenwick gently touched the singer's shoulder. He knew things were taking a toll on her. She needed to rest. Fenwick smiled when Erika looked at him. He motioned it was time to go. Erika nodded and waved goodbye to everyone as they left.

Lestrade and Holmes continued to discuss the plans. They settled a few details when Wiggins burst in to the apartment with the package in his hands. Jacey walked in behind him. She smiled at everyone warmly.

"Sorry he took so long," Jacey apologized, "He ran in to me and brought me dinner."

Wiggins blushed when Jacey revealed why they were late. "Yeah, sorry about that. Did we miss anything?"

A week passed by very quickly. Everyone kept to their daily routines. Erika continued to sing, but began to feel lightheaded after a rehearsals. She figured it was from the lack of sleep she had been having lately. Finally the final day of rehearsal was here and nerves were high.

Erika wearily walked to her dressing room. She was so ready to sleep tonight. Tomorrow's rehearsal didn't start until that afternoon, which she was thankful for. Right now, she just wanted to sleep. She stopped as she reached her dressing room. Something wasn't right. She wasn't sure what but something was out of place.

Cautiously, she entered her dressing room. As she reached for the light, someone grabbed her hand and twisted it around so it was behind her back. Erika opened her mouth to scream when a cloth covered it. A sickly sweet smell took over her senses. Chloroform, Erika realized in a panic. She struggled to get her face away.

Gradually her vision began to blur. Erika tried to hold on long enough to see who her attacker was. As hard as she fought, the darkness seeped into her vision. One thought entered her mind. Help me, James! Erika's whole body went limp in her attacker's grip. Satisfied, he tossed aside the rag and scooped up his prize.

Lestrade waited outside the theater with Holmes. Erika was at least twenty minutes late. Sherlock insisted that they wait to see if rehearsal had run over. Finally, Lestrade had enough and exited the vehicle and stalked towards the front door. Sherlock was at her side in a few seconds.

"You are going to cause a scene if you enter," Sherlock pointed out as they walked in.

"Erika is never late. She is too much of a lady to keep anyone waiting," Lestrade remarked. "Something is wrong."

Holmes wisely kept his mouth shut as they made their way to the backstage area. Holmes noticed how empty it was. Beth was right; something wasn't right. Cautiously they made their way to Erika's dressing room. Holmes turned on the light to find it a mess. Lestrade stood in shock as she saw the note taped to the mirror. Holmes spotted an old rag carelessly tossed in the corner as he knelt to retrieve it. The strong stench of chloroform invaded his sense.

Holmes straightened up and touched Lestrade's arm. "We have a problem."

"I'll call the Yard." Lestrade remarked as she hurried to her cruiser.

Holmes looked around the mess for clues. He noticed that nothing was smashed, only thrown onto the ground. That was odd. Filing that bit of information away he walked to the note. Holmes ripped it down and opened it. After reading the first few lines, he dropped the note and ran to the cruiser. Lestrade had just radioed for backup and entered the theater again when Holmes ran up. Lestrade was about to say something when Holmes grabbed her and dragged her to the floor.

Suddenly the cruiser exploded. In horror, Lestrade watched it become a ball of fire. She turned her face away as the windows shattered from the intense heat. As the fire waned, Sherlock got up with her. They watched the fire, relieved and scared.

"How did you know?" Lestrade whispered.

"The note. It said by the time I finished it, you would be dead. I didn't finish it."

"Do you think Ruelle is behind this?"

"No. He would have kidnapped you and killed Erika. Not the other way around."

"Then who?"

Holmes shook his head, indicating he wasn't sure. All he knew was they would need to call Fenwick and inform him. Holmes stalked back to the dressing room, intent on finding clues that would lead to their lost friend. Lestrade stayed where she was, waiting for backup to show up.

Erika woke up feeling sick to her stomach. She held it in, considering she wasn't sure where she was. She struggled to sit up when her wrists banged against something hard. Erika's senses returned in full force when she realized she was being restrained. Erika pulled on her restraints as if to either test how strong they were or how easily she could pull free. The cuffs that held her were pretty strong and not going to break free anytime soon. Erika pulled herself up and was hit with a wave of dizziness. She tightened her grip on the cuffs as she waited for it to pass.

Erika closed her eyes as the sickness hit her hard. It was a side effect of the chloroform, but that didn't make it any easier. Distantly, footsteps could be heard approaching her. Great the last thing she wanted to do was confront the asshole who brought her here. A door swung open and Erika opened her eyes to see Culverton kneel in front of her. Erika noticed Moriarty hanging back a little looking at her concerned.

Culverton grabbed her chin in anger and forced her to look at him. Erika's blue eyes narrowed at the arrogant man in front of her. She refused to give an inch to any man. Culverton smiled at her, causing Erika's stomach to turn with disgust.

"Miss Noir, It's a pleasure to met you again," Culverton smoozed.

"I wish it was goodbye instead," Erika bit out.

"Now that's no way to talk to a colleague."

"Please spare me the dramatics, Culverton, or should I call you Smithy?" Erika growled viciously. "Either name is too good for you. I know a few better ones."

"Such talk from such a beautiful lady," he tsked. "I expected better."

"What do you want, bātard?" Erika swore at him. If she was going to go down, she would go down fighting.

Culverton's eyes narrowed. "No need to get personal."

"Really? It seems perfect to me," Erika remarked flippantly.

Culverton raised his hand to strike her. Erika didn't flinch and stared at him defiantly. Culverton glared at her and was ready to bring his hand across her cheek. Soon, Culverton discovered his wrist locked in an iron grip. Turning, he saw Moriarty holding his wrist in a vise-like grip. Culverton struggled as Erika watched all this in surprise.

"What do you think you are doing?" Culverton growled at his lackey.

"It's bad form to strike a defenseless lady," Moriarty answered blankly.

Culverton dove his free hand into his pocket and turned up the power in the remote. Moriarty let go of the doctor as pain coursed through his head. Moriarty gripped his head in pain. Distantly he could hear Erika's voice shouting at Culverton to stop. Moriarty tried to focus on her voice. She was in danger; he had to keep his head to help her. Gradually Moriarty's mind went blank and the pain subsided. Erika was watching him with such concern, so engrossed with James' condition she forgot about Culverton. Culverton noticed how shaken she was over what he did to Moriarty; he saw an opening. Taking advantage, he grabbed her by her shirt and pinned her against the wall with his body. Erika hardly could react when he shoved her head against the wall.

"Now that you've seen what I could do, Miss Noir. I suggest you watch your tongue. After all, we wouldn't want you to end up like him, a mindless slave. Be more agreeable to my demands and I'll let you keep your free will," Culverton whispered into her ear before pulling away.

Erika glared at him. Murder was evident in her eyes and expression. Culverton smiled at her in such a way that it made her skin crawl. Before Erika could raise her arms to block, Culverton slapped her with such force Erika's head slammed into the pipe next to her head. She blacked out immediately. Her body slumped down to the ground. Culverton laughed at the helpless singer/chemist.

"That will teach you to defy me," Culverton chuckled before leaving the room.

Moriarty stared at the crumpled form in front of him. Anger boiled deep inside but it had no way to make itself known. Instead, he knelt down and checked her head. Satisfied she was all right, he pulled her up into a more comfortable position. Gently he ran a hand over her hair before leaving the room.

Fenwick paced nervously across Holmes' apartment. Erika had been gone for two days now. The company was postponing the performance until she was found. He was thankful that they were being respectful in that sense. Now they had to find her before anything happens to her.

Fenwick finally collapsed into an armchair. He was a nervous wreck. The promise he made to his son played over and over in his head -- protect Erika. What a wonderful job he had done so far. Fenwick closed his eyes. He hated to admit it, but the singer grew on him.

Glancing out the window Fenwick noticed a single speck of light through the blazing lights of the city. He sat up straighter to get a better look at it. The single star struggled to be seen through the lights. Fenwick smiled when a childish urge emerged. Willing to try anything once, he walked to the window and looked up at the star.

"Protect my children on this night and bring them safely home." Fenwick wished in French.

The star winked in the sky. Fenwick smiled to himself as he continued to pace, unaware that Watson was watching. Watson returned to his cooking. Maybe Fenwick wasn't so bad after all.

There was pain everywhere. Erika tried her damndest to ignore it, block it from her mind. However, every time she moved, the pain made itself known again. Lately, Culverton was visiting her without Moriarty. Obviously after that visit when he rebelled, Culverton felt he was a risk. So Erika endured Culverton's wrath alone when she talked back or rebelled in some way. Not that Erika cared much; after all she had been through worse.

Erika was puzzled by the fact that her body didn't hurt as badly as it should. Granted, she would wake up sick to her stomach. It didn't make much sense since the chloroform should have worn off a long time ago. Erika fought the urge to spill her guts and looked around once again for a way out.

The door creaked open and Erika froze. She hadn't move much from her position that she woke up in. Erika squeezed her eyes shut, hoping that the intruder would think she was asleep and leave. The door shut and soft footsteps reached her ears. Erika nearly jumped when a hand hesitantly touched her cheek.

Erika opened her eyes and looked into James Moriarty's face. He didn't seem concerned that she woke up. Erika leaned her face into his hand. A small smile touched his lip.

"I'm sorry I haven't been here," he whispered, "He has been locking me in."

"Are you all right?" Erika asked, "He put you in a lot of pain."

"Don't worry about me. You are the one he has been hitting," Moriarty remarked as he checked Erika's head. "Anything that hurts or aches?"

"Everywhere," Erika answered truthfully. "Plus I am feeling sick to my stomach whenever I wake up."

Moriarty knew that wasn't good. He needed to get her out of here. Closing his eyes, he came to a decision. Erika watched him, concerned, as he sighed and reached for her cuffs. With a quick yank, the cuffs came free of the pipe. Erika lowered her aching arms and began to massage her upper arms hoping to bring some circulation back into them. James watched her for a few moments.

Erika was dirty and looked ragged from four days of being held captive. Yet she still looked beautiful to James. Her demeanor still spoke of her elegance and confidence. Before James could stop himself, he picked her up and hurried out of the room. Master was out like a light, thanks to James putting a sedative in his drink. Moving quickly he headed to his room. He needed to get her walking so she can escape. Carrying her wasn't an option for fear of Master summoning him back.

Erika placed her head against his shoulder. She felt safe with him. Being with him made the last four days of pain seemed like a nightmare that she had just woken up from. Erika rested one arm by a pocket of her jeans. Her eyes opened wide as she felt a vial. The antidote, she forgot she had it. Fenwick had made her carry a vial in case she saw James again. She looked up at his face as she laid her gently on his small bed. He turned away and went to shut the door.

"Why are you doing this?" Erika asked as she looked at him, "He will hurt you when he finds out."

"I can't stand seeing you in pain," James answered simply as he walked back to the bed, "We haven't much time. You need to get out of here."

"What do you suggest?"

"First we need to get you walking, then we go to the next step," James stated as he pulled her to the edge of the bed.

"Wait!" Erika cried out, "I'll do it if you let me do something for you."

James paused and Erika pulled out the small vial. She unscrewed the cap and handed it to James. James took it uncertainly. Erika sighed and moved closer to him. James fidgeted as she moved closer. He wasn't sure why but she made him nervous.

"It's part of the antidote for your pain," Erika explained, "There are three parts. This is one piece of it. Just drink it."

James nodded and swallowed the bitter liquid. Almost immediately, the humming in his head began to fade. Erika graciously took back the vial and smiled at him. Despite her grimy appearance, her smile was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. James leaned down to kiss her, only to feel something stop him. Something inside him told him, this is not the time. He pulled away and gripped Erika's hand.

Erika seemed slightly disappointed but quickly got over it. Taking a deep breath, she stood up. Her legs ached in deep pain and went out from beneath her. James caught her and held her close. Erika held on to him tightly. She never had cramps like that before.

"It's only your muscles rebelling against no use for four days." James soothed as he laid her on the bed. He moved to her legs and began to massage them through her jeans. Erika closed her eyes as the pain went away. James smiled, "We will try again."

Lestrade sped along the streets. She was still shaken over how well Erika had disappeared or been made to disappear. Four days had passed and no ransom note, nothing. Everyone was worried despite Sherlock's confidence in the fact that Ruelle wasn't responsible. As far as Lestrade was concerned, Erika was still in grave danger.

A thought hit her like a ton of bricks -- what if Culverton took her and she is now under his control? Considering her role is developing an antidote to bots in the first place, she was very vital to making more. Lestrade stopped at a light, her mind still reeling from the disaster that was awaiting them.

That was when Lestrade spotted a small figure standing uncertainly against a pole. Lestrade squinted her eyes, since the figure looked very familiar. When the figure looked up, Lestrade gasped as she locked eyes with sapphire blue eyes. Lestrade put on her lights and zipped over the figure. She jumped out of her cruiser.

"Erika!" Lestrade shouted.

Erika smiled and tried to take a step towards the Inspector. Instead, her legs gave out and Erika fell to the street. Beth ran to her friend's side. Erika looked up at Beth and gave a small smile. She had escaped. She was free from Culverton.

"Inspector," Erika spoke as Beth helped her to the cruiser. Her voice was scratchy from the lack of water for a few days, "Can I have a drink of water?"

"When we get you to Baker Street, you can have as much as you want." Beth smiled. "It's good to have you back."

Erika lay on the couch in Sherlock's foyer. Holmes was sitting in his chair contemplating everything Erika told him. His eyes were shut and his fingers were steeple. Lestrade sat at the computer sending in her report to Grayson and informing the company of her return. Fenwick was busy analyzing her blood to be sure she didn't bring home any unwanted guest in her body.

Erika smiled as Deidre brought her some tea. She accepted it gracefully as possible and took a sip. The warm liquid chased the cold of the factory floor from her blood. Tennyson pulled up with some food from Watson who was busy cooking dinner in the kitchen. Erika smiled at him too. Finally both Holmes and Fenwick sighed and stood at the same time. They glared at each other, causing Erika and Deidre to giggle softly.

Holmes cleared his throat and went first. "I don't think this is the end of Culverton's attempts on you, Erika. He may try again, and soon."

"I know. He wouldn't be happy that I slipped away. Maybe try to humiliate me the next time. He seems to be a control freak and wants everyone to defer to him." Erika added as she sipped her tea.

Lestrade turned from her spot, "Well, the company is glad you are back and doesn't want to risk another kidnapping attempt. They want you to come in on the day of the opening performance and to relax these next two days."

Erika realized something. "He would do it then. What better way to humiliate a performer than during a show. It's the greatest shame, not being able to go on with the show."

Holmes nodded, "We need to be ready. We can't have a repeat of what happened a year ago in Paris."

"Or the Miss New London Pageant," Erika teased. "I don't think the Inspector or you could handle another cast."

The Irregulars laughed at that comment. They knew how miserable of a patient the Inspector could be. Lestrade blushed as she looked to Holmes who was also blushing. Holmes had felt so guilty about Lestrade's injuries that he insisted on taking care of her. Fenwick smiled at the detective's discomfort before clearing his throat. Everyone looked at him.

"I need to talk to Mademoiselle Noir in private for a moment," Fenwick stated solemnly.

Holmes nodded and ushered everyone into the other room. Fenwick waited until everyone was gone before approaching Erika. He sat on the edge of the couch and took her hand.

"I'm infected, aren't I?" Erika whispered, fearing the worst.

Fenwick shook his head and smiled, "You are clean, ma cherie. However, I wanted to ask you about if you and my son ever consummated your relationship."

"I don't think so."

"But you are not sure -- why?"

"About a few weeks ago, I dreamed that we did. It felt so real that he was back and with me, yet it was too good to be true. He couldn't have been back." Erika confessed as a tear slipped down her cheek.

"It may have not been a dream."

"Why do you say that?"

"Erika," Fenwick smiled widely, "you are pregnant."

On to Chapter 8!

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