Tiochfaidh ár Lá
Disclaimer: Don't own POTO… There isn't anything really in-your-face offensive or explicitly controversial… Perhaps relatively touchy subject matter – but it was the only way I could think of that would sort of force Erik and Christine together – something I had been wanting to write for a while… so, it is rated M for such subject matter not because it's explicit in any way. This story is basically centred on Erik and Christine's ability to handle such a dire situation after it's over… this, after all, is just the prologue.
A/N: Chapter is undergoing some editing, and though it will remain up, a part of it has been cut out to change later.
Prologue: A Dire Situation…
Before today, Erik Wilkes was just a regular teacher with a regular teaching position – well, he was a bloody good teacher, at that – but he was a teacher, no less, and one of many who taught at a regular, if private, secondary school.
Before today, Christine Daaé was just a regular student in her last year of secondary school – the secret and unknowing love of Erik's life, at that – but she was a student, no less, and one of many who attended a regular, if private, secondary school.
There was nothing, however, that was regular about today…
Six men wearing black balaclavas and clutching semi-automatic weapons in their arms paced authoritatively up and down the length of the grand hall, frightening the life out of the six hundred or so students and teachers who were there that day. They had been there for around an hour already and every one of the teachers and pupils was beyond terrified. Many for very different reasons… one student, for instance, was scared that she would find herself on the wrong end of one of their guns, another was scared that she didn't know what they wanted, and another was scared that she would never see her parents again. Christine Daaé was scared that there would be a bloodbath in front of her eyes before the day was out. The music teacher and choirmaster, Erik Wilkes, was terrified that Christine would be harmed in some way. None of them, however, were aware of what exactly would transpire over the course of the next hour or so. Or that it would change forever the lives of Erik and his beloved Christine…
As four of the men went off to stand in a guard's stance by the two sets of double doors, the leader and his second stayed in the front of the room. The former leaned back and half-sat on one of the desks; the latter sat off to his side, trying to look menacing to some of the students nearest him. The leader was his brother and he trusted him more than anyone in the world – so, when he had told him that this would be a good idea and that they could get away without being caught, he had readily agreed.
"Get down on the ground now!" a harsh voice shouted as he and another man, both decked out in black from head to toe, rushed into the room in the middle of a music class.
Erik was baffled by the implausibility of the situation and turned to face his interrupters, quite sure this was all just a sick joke. "What on Earth are–"
"No questions," the first man growled, pointing what looked like a hunting rifle at Erik's chest. "All of you, get down on the ground now before you get yourselves killed."
Erik remembered the training… Evaluate the situation. Could the people be approached or controlled without the use of force? – No. How many individuals were involved? – Two that he knew of. What was their demeanour like? – Well, they were obviously rash. Was negotiation an option? – Not at the moment.
So, what next? he asked himself. He was supposed to isolate the perpetrator from his pupils if he could. However, he didn't imagine that he would have any luck in asking the men to come to another location or if he attempted to dismiss his class. Then, he was supposed to secure the area they were in to prevent other students, staff, or visitors from entering. However, the two men with very large guns were standing between him and the door, so, he could do no such thing. Then he was supposed to evacuate the area – get everyone who could be safely removed from the area out as fast as possible. Unfortunately, though, that was not a possibility. That left him with one option… he got down on the ground next to his students. If he didn't have the responsibility for the lives of twenty-seven teenagers lying with him, then he might have been more inclined to stand his ground. More importantly, if he did not have the responsibility for – or rather, the urge to protect – a certain young soprano with russet curls and big, childlike eyes from these men, then he would have certainly been less submissive. But, as it was, he knew he would have to remain calm and avoid escalating the situation's intensity. "Right, we're going to do this slowly and nobody is going to try and play the hero, are they?" the first man asked, taking a glance around the whole room at all of the terrified students. "Good… now, I want everyone to make their way to grand hall downstairs. Before any of you try any stupid stunts, take into consideration that there are more of us around the building and that we're all armed. I'll go first and I'll be watching you all the way, just as my brother stays until last…"
So, what next? he asked himself. He was supposed to isolate the perpetrator from his pupils if he could. However, he didn't imagine that he would have any luck in asking the men to come to another location or if he attempted to dismiss his class. Then, he was supposed to secure the area they were in to prevent other students, staff, or visitors from entering. However, the two men with very large guns were standing between him and the door, so, he could do no such thing. Then he was supposed to evacuate the area – get everyone who could be safely removed from the area out as fast as possible. Unfortunately, though, that was not a possibility. That left him with one option… he got down on the ground next to his students.
If he didn't have the responsibility for the lives of twenty-seven teenagers lying with him, then he might have been more inclined to stand his ground. More importantly, if he did not have the responsibility for – or rather, the urge to protect – a certain young soprano with russet curls and big, childlike eyes from these men, then he would have certainly been less submissive. But, as it was, he knew he would have to remain calm and avoid escalating the situation's intensity.
"Right, we're going to do this slowly and nobody is going to try and play the hero, are they?" the first man asked, taking a glance around the whole room at all of the terrified students. "Good… now, I want everyone to make their way to grand hall downstairs. Before any of you try any stupid stunts, take into consideration that there are more of us around the building and that we're all armed. I'll go first and I'll be watching you all the way, just as my brother stays until last…"
As the students followed his instructions, all scared out of their wits, Erik remained until the end so that he could check that all of his students had gotten out safely, grabbing Christine's hand before she went out the door to hold the sobbing girl against his chest, away from the armed man until they were the last ones left in the room. Then, he quickly pulled her through the door and in front of him so that he could keep her relatively safe for the time being.
When they got into the grand hall, they were confronted with another four armed men and an already almost full room of students and teachers, who were all subsequently ordered to relinquish their mobiles and anything that could be used as a weapon against the men. There went the last way of them getting help, then. Erik also noticed, with great resignation, that there were six of them, so, there was, therefore, little chance to negotiate. There was no way he'd be able to hold a conversation with these men and he would do nothing to endanger the young woman clinging to his arm desperately as they were ordered to sit where they were on the cold floor. He felt entirely useless… and he was about to feel a whole lot worse before the day was through.
"No doubt, it'll be a while before those bastards get here to try to diffuse the situation…" the leader said, finishing his unnecessary and unwanted explanatory speech to the people he was holding hostage. It would have been clear to anyone what their intentions were, so he might as well have just kept quiet. "Why don't we get some entertainment out of this, ourselves, boys?" he asked his comrades.
"What did you have in mind?" his brother asked, turning towards him briefly.
"Might as well make some use out of them before we blow them up," he laughed, grating on the nerves of everyone in the room. "Sounds like a good idea to me…" He stood up from where he had been leaning against the table behind him and moved towards the other end of the room where everybody was sitting on the floor squashed up against each other in an effort to be as far away from the terrorists as possible. He looked amongst them all, staring at various people every few seconds in an effort to unnerve them.
The teachers were spread randomly throughout the students, having all just sat down as they were when they'd been forced to, and there were not nearly enough of them to have any real influence. Erik was, rather unsurprisingly, right next to Christine the whole time, never letting her out of his sight for a second – she was his first and foremost priority in all of this and he would not endanger her safety for anything… or anyone else. She clung to him desperately as he was the only adult close to her and he swore to himself that no physical harm would come to her while he was her guardian angel, whispering soothing words in her ear. She was such a delicate beauty and he knew she was terrified but he couldn't help having his thoughts drift to her nearness…
As the leader approached them purposefully, drawn by the starkness of the white mask, Erik placed his arm around Christine's waist in a subconscious effort to protect her, holding her against his chest.
"You – what do you teach?"
"Music…" Erik answered guardedly, bringing Christine closer.
"Do you have any favourite students?"
"No…" Erik lied.
"Not even that delicious creature in your lap? If she's not your favourite then you won't mind if she spends some time in the back room with me, will you?" He smiled wickedly when Erik refused to give her up. "I didn't think so… now, don't make me raise my gun to her – I'll ask you again – do you have a favourite?"
"Yes…" Erik said after a pause.
"And it's the girl sitting in your lap…?"
"Tell me… do you have sexual feelings for her?"
Erik was livid – if his first priority was not to protect his love, he would have gotten up and beaten the sick bastard into a pulp. "She is my student – I have no ill intentions towards her…"
"Lovely – but not what I asked you…"
Raoul was appalled. He had been trying to make his way along the floor, unnoticed, towards his girlfriend until that man had asked such ludicrous things of their teacher. Raoul was glad that Mr. Wilkes was there to protect her and he only hoped this line of questioning would not go any further, pausing where he was so that the man would not see him.
The leader got down on his knees on the floor beside Erik and Christine, pulling Christine's head back sharply by her hair and causing her to gasp in pain. He quickly placed a knife to her neck as she cried and watched as the students around them flinched and backed off further into the corner, Erik looking on almost heartbroken. "If I have to ask you everything twice, this girl will end up with a few more lines in her neck than she started with… Now, do you have sexual feelings towards her?"
Erik looked at the pained face of his beloved – her eyes tightly shut and her hand at her head trying to loosen the hold of the man behind her – and he almost broke into tears himself. This was a hell of a way for her to find out how he felt about her and he prayed that it would not totally ruin the chance of them ever having a relationship when she was no longer his student. "Yes," he whispered after a long pause, relieved when the hold on her was released. He brought her to his chest again and pressed her head back into his shoulder, rubbing where she had been hurt ever so gently. For her own part, Christine seemed not to be in tune with what they were saying. In fact, it was as though she hadn't heard them at all – she just clutched him tighter and cried into his offered shoulder.
Raoul, though, was in a state of shock… what the hell had Mr. Wilkes just said?
"Have you done anything with her? You had better tell me the truth first off this time…"
"Do you want to?"
"Yes…" Erik admitted, ashamed, and quite aware that most everyone in the hall could hear him in the otherwise quiet room… not to mention, Christine, whose reaction to that meant everything to him and could very well lead to her never speaking to him again.
"Well, then perhaps I can help you…" he said, grinning wildly. "Don't look at me like that – don't you want to get laid? You'll have more sex than you've ever had in your life…"
He had absolutely no way of knowing how right he was – Erik had never so much as kissed a woman before, having been too insecure and reclusive a person to start a relationship. Besides, he had only just found the woman he loved and she was too young for them to be together yet…
"You've given me the best idea… Right then, sir, put the girl down and get up – we have a job for you… you're going to get to know all of your female students a lot better in the next few hours. If you can last that long…" he laughed in a way that made Erik feel like vomiting and the rest of his class try to keep out of notice as far away from him as possible.
"Absolutely not – you won't last that long? Or, absolutely not – you won't do it?"
"I won't do it…"
"Really…? Then perhaps we'll have to find a way to make you more eager. You have two choices now – do nothing and my friends here will make use of every single one of these girls until the plods arrive… or you can take responsibility and sacrifice just one of these girls…"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"If you do a bit of the old 'how's your father' with one of your students then maybe we'll leave the rest of them alone…" he said, grinning wickedly.
"Perhaps… How about the lovely lass you already are attracted to – and I can see why, let me tell you that…" He smiled again as a further idea came to him and tapped the point of his knife thoughtfully against his trousers. "In fact, yes, I've changed my mind – either you do her or I will… so what's it going to be?"
Erik was disgusted – the bastard who was suggesting such a sickening idea had better be joking. There was no way in the world he was going to fornicate in front of all these people with an unwilling girl whom he happened to love. "You won't bloody touch her," Erik scoffed, standing so that he could look down at the man before him. He kept Christine safely behind him and blocked her completely from the gunman's view.
"If you don't sit down, keep your trap shut and get on with it then I'll shoot you and do it myself," the leader said, irritated, finally raising the barrel of his gun in Erik's general direction.
Christine stood up behind Erik and spoke for the first time since they'd been taken hostage. "Sir, please…" Christine sobbed into his back, her hand grasping his sleeve. Her crying broke him again as he turned to her, embracing her tightly in his arms.
The leader violently pulled Christine away from her teacher and into the centre of the room by her hair. "Fine, then, you've made your choice – I'll do it…"
Seeing her being handled so cruelly, Erik immediately changed his mind and wondered if he would be eating his words soon. "No, stop… I'll do it." He did not want his first time to be with anyone but Christine and he did not want hers to be with anyone but him – it was selfish, he knew, but he supposed she would rather that than be raped by an armed paramilitary who would not be as gentle with her as he would and would not love her as he did. He hoped to God that she would learn to forget and learn to forgive him – he would take no pleasure from her pain and would only do it to save her from the alternative.
"No!" Raoul shouted from his place on the floor, without thinking it through. He would not – could not – let this travesty continue. This was his girlfriend they were talking about – his girlfriend that they were suggesting his teacher have sex with.
"Well, well, well…" the man said, amused. "It gets better… Who the hell are you?"
"I'm her boyfriend," he stated valiantly – perhaps more valiantly than was wise at the moment – as he got up from the floor to stand.
"Her boyfriend, hmm? Wonderful! Why don't you join us over here for an unobstructed view…"
"Don't you dare tell me what I can't do," the man shouted, flinging Christine away from him and into Erik's chest as he approached Raoul. He grasped hold of the boy's head and raised the gun in front of him, having the desired effect of scaring him witless. Satisfied, he plonked Raoul down on the floor next to the still standing Erik and Christine, where the boy sat in a stunned and disgusted silence.
Just as Erik was reluctantly following Christine as she laid down on the cold floor, too afraid to move, he found himself freezing in panic when the leader started speaking again…
"Your mask," he laughed, "take it off."
"Don't you question me! I'm the one holding the gun, don't you forget it, and I want you to take the mask off."
Take his mask off…? He couldn't… they'd all scream, they'd be disgusted… he'd be humiliated in the most degrading way imaginable. The one thing about his life that he could not control would be put on display to be laughed at and he'd never get away from it. Could never get away from it… What would Christine think of him? She'd be terrified, wouldn't she? Disgusted… she'd hate him. He couldn't put her through that… he'd rather die. "No."
"I said, 'no', I won't do it."
"You don't seem to understand me," the man laughed humourlessly, shaking his head. "You don't have a choice. You will take off your mask… 'cause, if you don't, I'll kill her," he stated seriously and to the point to provoke the most honest reaction from Erik.
Of course, he hesitated, but only as long as it took for the armed man to take one threatening step towards Christine, then he was driven by his inability to let his beloved be harmed because of his cowardliness and his shame. He tried to ignore all the people in the room and focused his attention solely on Christine, hoping against hope that she wouldn't scream. "Please, my love," he whispered. "Please, do not be frightened… you must know I would never hurt you."
Christine was terrified beyond belief, though not particularly because of him – in fact, he was all that was making her feel like she might just survive this ordeal. So, it was with great trepidation that she anticipated his next move. What was there to be scared of? Was he really so utterly hideous? She couldn't promise that she wouldn't be disgusted – she already was, in truth – but she could promise not to scream. She really didn't have it in her as it stood. She watched as he hesitantly reached his hand up to his face and paused a single moment more before pulling it away and bowing his head even as he kept staring right into Christine's eyes as she lay beneath him, needing her not to scream.
And she did not scream… and she was not scared – of him, anyway. But she was regrettably and unavoidably shocked. And she, even as she warned herself to hide it, could do nothing but avert her eyes and hope that she had not offended him too much.
For his own part, Erik sighed despairingly. She was so precious, his little angel, and she was trying so hard not to hurt him. What a sweet, sweet child, he mused. How I do not wish to cause her any pain. She should not have to see me like this. She should be surrounded by the beauty she deserves.
"Alright, I'm bored now," the armed man commented from where he had been standing, watching. He was not particularly pleased with the girl's reaction, or lack thereof, and just wanted them to get on with it before he vomited at the hideous sight before him. "Do her or I'll make good of my promise."
Erik slowly brought himself and his beloved closer together, doing absolutely nothing until he could feel the barrel of a gun pressed into his lower back. "I won't make you do this…" he whispered in Christine's ear. "You can tell me to stop right now and I will…"
She shook her head fiercely and held close to him, closing her eyes in shame, even as she tried to block the image of his wretched face out of her mind. "No… I… I would rather you… than he…" She started crying again as Erik got on top of her but she tried her best not to let him see as she knew it would make him feel worse even though it wasn't his fault. He noticed, though, and was, naturally, unable to become aroused as the tears ran down her cheeks, unable as well because of the presence beside him. Thankfully, they were not expected to undress for the act – the gunmen apparently not forcing them to do it for any sexual enjoyment on their parts but merely to cause them utter humiliation – and it would work…
"For God sake, girl, don't be so frigid – help him…"
She was disgusted but did as she was told and he, while he did not want to feel any pleasure in her disgrace, could not help becoming aroused as he was touched for the first time in his life and by the woman he loved with all of his heart.
She cried harder as the act was started and, perhaps thankfully, due in part to the tenseness of the situation and Erik's total lack of experience, it did not last very long. She had managed to blank most of it out of her mind as she imagined singing in some grand opera house one day as the Prima Donna, loved by all… He nuzzled her neck in an effort to comfort her in even the tiniest possible way and felt relieved when she accepted his comfort by tightening her grasp on him. "I love you…" he whispered so only she could hear.
Afterwards and when their clothes were fully back into place between them and Erik had replaced his mask, he pulled himself off of her but held her close still as she buried her face in his shoulder to hide in shame. He stroked her back and brought her off of the cold floor into his lap as their captors laughed and the other teachers and students had their eyes averted from them in some semblance of disgust. Raoul especially was almost in tears. And Erik couldn't believe that the two of them had become one even for such a brief time but he had wished their first taste of intimacy might have been more romantic, to say the least… he had not wanted their first taste of intimacy together to be witnessed by all those other people, who were so unworthy to watch such a union. It was meant to be an experience for the two of them alone to remember… They hadn't even kissed – he was no longer a physical innocent but had still not had his first kiss… he felt rather disappointed in that.
Putting aside his own feelings, he knew that he would have his work cut out for him trying to not let Christine fall into utter despair and depression. He slid back slowly along the floor until his back touched the wall and he and Christine were as far away from the gunmen as possible, out of the central line of vision of everyone else too.
"If you get out of this with your lives, the police'll want to speak to you," one of the gunmen laughed. "You've just admitted to a room full of witnesses that you have sexual feelings for a student and you just fucked her… Not that it lasted very long…"
"Yeah, waste of time, wasn't it?" one of the others added.
"Not to worry, looks like it's time to negotiate…"
Erik was devastated… it could never be a waste of time for him. He despaired at the hard time ahead that would no doubt come… but he was unwilling to let this be the defining moment of their relationship.
© Copyright of CrawfordsBiscuits, November 2005