Erik stormed tetchily back toward the torture chamber and glanced through the window to see Sylvie wearing the exact same expression, tapping her foot and furrowing her brow in an attempt to look totally pissed off.

"What's your problem?" Erik asked.

"I'm mad at you, Ewik," Sylvie retorted as if there were others around that she could be mad at.

"Why?" he asked, his hard look softening.

"You don't want me to see my mama. You just want me for yourself!" Sylvie grumbled.

"I assure you, you are much mistaken," Erik jeered. Tears came to the girl's eyes. "I didn't mean it like that!" he added hurriedly, mentally slapping himself for being so harsh. "I do like you. But I'd much rather send you back to your mama where you'll be happy."

"Then why don't you?" Sylvie asked, sniffing and wiping her nose up her arm. Erik hesitated. Dozens of excuses crossed his mind, but for some reason when he looked at this innocent little kid, he couldn't muster a lie.

"Well, you see… Now, you know," he started, stumbling over his words. "That's hard to explain."

"Twy me," Sylvie replied, crossing her arms and raising her eyebrows.

"I don't have to try you," Erik said, shaking his head and remembering that he was supposed to be the one in control.

"Okay!" she said happily, shrugging and automatically forgetting about her anger.

"Really?" Erik asked, warily.

"Oh, yeah!" she whooped. But suddenly, her face fell. "Uh oh."

"Uh oh?" Erik repeated, frightfully. "I don't like the sound of that."

"I hafta go to the bafroom," Sylvie cried.

"What!?" Erik shouted.

"I have to go!" she whined, hopping up and down.

"Why did you drink all your water so fast!" Erik accused.

"Well you gave it to me!" Sylvie accused back, pointing an accusing finger for emphasis in her accusation.

"Now, don't shout!" Erik said in panic, sweating copiously. "Just - hold on a moment!" He rushed from the window and out of view of Sylvie, appearing a few moments later with a stack of newspaper in his hands. He fumbled with the latch and opened the little window with a squeak, shoving the papers through.

"Go on these," Erik instructed, hastily.

"NO!" Sylvie shrieked. "That's what you give to a doggie! I am not a doggie, Ewik!"

"How bad do you have to go?" Erik spat.

"Veeeeewy bad!" she replied through gritted teeth.

"Then go on those," he said.

"I hate you!" Sylvie yelled, venomously.

"Be that as it may!" Erik yelled back.

"I'm not gonna!" Sylvie shouted.

"You're going to!" Erik said, curling his fist, threateningly, "Or it'll be your last potty!"

"Oh deawr, not my last!" the child snapped, sardonically. Erik was taken aback. He'd never seen this side of the child.

"Maybe I should just let you in the house," Erik muttered, flinching slightly.

"That's more like it," Sylvie piped up, smiling cheerfully. Erik was almost frightened of this child's insane mood swings. He could do nothing but bend to her wrath! What strange creature was this seemingly harmless little girl?

"Well!" Sylvie cried, bouncing up and down with vigor.

"All right," Erik said, his voice filled with dread. "Let's just get this over with." He bent down and went about unlocking the hidden door.

"Huwrry up," Sylvie called to him.

"I'm hurrying," Erik muttered, twisting the key in the lock, which sprang open with a click. "Don't worry." He pulled the lock off of the door and twisted the handle, yanking it open. Sylvie tried to run out, but Erik caught her and grabbed her up in a football hold, running to the bathroom and shoving her inside.

"Oof!" Sylvie said as she fell to the ground. "Thanks a lot."

"Just- relieve yourself!" Erik growled, slamming the door in her face.

"Gwouchy," Erik heard Sylvie mutter from inside. "You awe not going to open that door until I'm done!" she added.

"I assure you," Erik hissed. "I won't."

"No peeking."

"Just go!"

"Fine, fine."

Erik heard the girl shuffling around behind the door, then the sound of the toilet bowl being opened and finally Sylvie did her business. She began to hum and tap her short feet on the bowl. There was silence for a few minutes, then the sound of shuffling around some more.

"What are you doing in there?" Erik asked.

"Looking for potty paper," Sylvie called out. "There is none."

"Find some!" Erik grumbled.


Erik hunted throughout his house and opened a linen closet. Various things fell out, but he kicked them back in and retrieved a roll of toilet paper. He went back to the bathroom door and blinked. He didn't know how he was going to get it in there without intruding on the child's privacy.

"I have your paper," he called through the door.

"Give it to me!" Sylvie ordered.

"You won't let me open the door," Erik protested.

"Tear off some," she said, logically. "Then kick it under." Erik did this and heard the child grunt, stretching to reach it from her seat on the toilet. "Thanks," she added.

Erik heard the sound of flushing, the lid slam, and the door soon creaked open.

"Are you quite finished?" Erik asked, glaring down at the happy girl.

"Yep! I went all by myself," Sylvie announced, taking Erik by the hands.

"Your hands are wet, Sylvie," Erik said. "Go dry them on the towel," he reminded her.

"I can't reach the towel," she replied, looking at him innocently.

Erik peered into the bathroom and noticed that the towel was a good four feet up, just under the sink. "Well, then you'll have to-" Erik ended his sentence abruptly and made a double take toward the towel. Which was just under the sink. His eyes widened in fear and he felt as if he were going to cry.

"Sylvie," Erik addressed her slowly, enunciating her name with a careful tone, swallowing loudly. His throat seemed incredibly parched all of a sudden. "How did you wash your hands?"

"Oh! I couldn't wreach the sink. So I rinsed them off in the potty," she said simply.

Going to stay calm, going to stay calm, going to stay calm…

Erik gritted his teeth and held his hands out in front of him as his eyes began to water.

"Ewik? What's wro-" Sylvie started, reaching for his hand again, but was interrupted when Erik shouted, shrilly:

"Don't touch me!" He pulled his hand away and said, trying to keep his temper under control; "Climb onto the counter and scrub your hands profusely! With soap!"

"Okay," Sylvie said, shrugging. She hoisted herself onto the side of the sink with difficulty and turned on the faucet.

"With soap!" Erik repeated.

"I know, I know," she said, glomming on the soap.

"Until your hands are white!" he said. She did as she was told. "Now get off." Sylvie hopped off the counter and stood by the bathroom door, obediently.

"Your turn!" she giggled.

"Shut up!" Erik snarled. You little twat…

He ran the water so that it was scorching hot, steam billowing out of the sink as he ran his fingers under it, sterilizing his hands so well that a layer of skin was peeling off by the time he was through washing them.

"Now-" Erik started, turning to find that Sylvie was no longer standing by the door. "Sylvie?" he called. "Sylvie! You had better not be messing up my house!" He stomped down the hall and checked his bedroom, then the room across from it, his library, his music room, and the Louis-Phillipe room. She was in none of these rooms.

"Sylvie!" Erik called, wandering into the living room. "Syl-" He stopped his shouting suddenly when he saw the little girl, curled up, asleep on his couch. Instead of being disgusted, Erik admitted to himself that she was actually kind of cute while she was dozing, when she wasn't whining or being annoying, or wiping her toilet-water-covered hands all over him.

Instead of making her go back into the torture chamber, Erik sighed and decided not to wake her, grabbing a blanket and tossing it over her little body.

"I'm not going soft," Erik reminded himself, tucking the afghan around her form. "I just wouldn't want her getting a nasty cold and wiping snot all over my furniture."

A/N: Hey, guys! Thanks for all the great reviews! Hope you liked this chapter, and there is more to come. :-D