Hello!

I´m Maat, here with a serious one-shot (and that is rare, perhaps a first.) This story is was inspired after reading much POTO fanfiction, especially modern day, and especially those that completely cut out the whole ´Angel of Music´ scenario and start off with the kidnapping. I never found any story where I felt that the character reacted strongly enough to their predicament. To me, waking up in a strange place with the realization that you have been kidnapped by persons unknown would so terrifying that rational thought would be nearly impossible. In so many stories characters react mildly; they often wander out of their rooms and encounter Erik with a vague feeling of ´huh, this kinda sucks.´ They take it so well! So I just wanted to rant my reasons for this to you, to see if you agree with me, or if I come on too strong, or whatever you think. So please let me know, I love reviews and I love hearing what people think.

Of Fear and Self Preservation

It was the fear that woke her.

And still she woke so slowly, so painfully, her head pounding, her tongue thick and mouth dry. It was so hard to pull up from that dark, unnatural sleep, and the muscles around her eyes did not seem strong enough to open them.

She blinked them slowly, as if to make sure that they still worked. Small dots of lights danced in front of her vision for a long moment, swirling with her disorientation. She blinked again, dazed. What had happened?

The images hit her suddenly, ripping her from her stupor. The night, heavy with the scent of rain and the sky still and glassy with no moon; the smooth voice speaking her out of the dark, heavy and almost painful in its beauty, calling her in words she did not understand; the hand on her wrist, cold, cold; the strange smell, heavy, sweet; the darkness…

The room spun as she lurched upward in the bed, breath coming out in short shallow gasps. Everything around her was dark and unfamiliar, and a rush of sickening fear swelled in her stomach, searing her lungs as she fought the urge to scream and scream and scream.

'Where am I? Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God I don't know where I am,' she was hyperventilating now, her breath coming out in sharp wheezing gasps, too shallow, too fast. Her whole body was shaking pathetically, like a tree bending in a storm. The spots returned to her vision.

'I can't pass out, I can't pass out, Oh God I'm going to die.' In that moment she had a certainty of death, and along with it consuming horror and even more terrifying sadness. She was going to be raped and killed. She was never going to see her home, never going to sing on stage, to marry, to walk in the sun or laugh at a joke or lay in bed with rain pounding on the roof, or, or…

Fear pushed the air from her lungs and clawed at her throat until she rolled off the side of the bed and vomited on the floor. Trembling, she pushed her hair back from her face and struggled to breathe, fighting a second wave of nausea that threatened her.

'I have to be coherent,' she told herself. 'I have to live, It can't end like this, I have to live, I…'

The fear was rising again as she suddenly sat up and slid her hand awkwardly over her jeans and crotch, probing gently, searching for pain. 'I would know,' she thought frantically, 'It would hurt, wouldn't it? There would be blood…' She stared down at her pants for a moment and then shaking pushed the covers on the bed aside, not moving from her crouched position.

No blood. No pain. She hadn't been raped…yet.

A sigh of relief worked its way through her lungs as she settled in her position behind the bed, her back to the wall, facing the closed door. Her breathing evened and the urge to vomit slid from her throat back to her stomach. She needed to be clear.

'Maybe, maybe I can escape.' She had heard of stories like that, people chewing through bonds, slipping through windows. 'Maybe, maybe. But if, Oh God if someone's out there, if someone's waiting…'

There was no doubt in her mind that she was in danger. This wasn't a story. People didn't kidnap because they felt like it. Women who were kidnapped were beaten, raped, tortured, killed…

'I can't stay here. I've got to try. I can't let them do that to me. Not me.' She swallowed thickly and swept her eyes over the dark room, seeing for the first time its lush heavy wallpaper and smooth polished wood floor, wide ornate bookshelf and engraved writing desk. They confused her, threw her head deeper into incomprehension. Why, why these things? What was going on? Who had put her here?

'It doesn't matter,' she thought. 'I pray I never find out. I need to get out. I need, I need…'

She needed a weapon. Anything. She needed hope.

Slowly, carefully she pushed her back against the wall and shakingly got to her feet, tottering for a moment like a stumbling colt and awkwardly slamming her hip into the writing desk with a soft whimpered cry of pain. The spots once again danced in front of her eyes. She took slow, even breaths and forced herself out of the panicked frenzy that was building inside of her head and ringing in her ears, a chorus of terrified screams that begged to be let out.

Slowly the room came back into focus but it was still so hopelessly dark, so full of creeping shadows. She steadied herself and searched for a weapon.

On the bookshelf was an ornate vase, but it was heavy and squat and wouldn't swing very well. But there on the desk were two candlesticks that gleamed silver in the darkness with two long ivory candles climbing out of them. She fit one into the palm of her hand and lifted it tentatively. It was heavy and smooth. She took it in both hands and hefted it like a baseball bat, swinging it in a slow arc in the darkness. Fine. It would do.

But now what? She pressed the palm of her hand, cool from the surface of the silver, to her forehead. What if someone was waiting for her just beyond that door? What if he attacked her? Could she hit him? Could she swing this beautiful, heavy piece of silver and watched as it connected with another person's skull? Could she hear the dull crack, watch them as they fell to her feet, leave them there… leave them to die. Could she kill?

'Yes' her mind said before she could even think about it. 'To save myself, to protect myself…I could kill. I will, if I have to.'

But what if there was more than one of them? She only remembered one person taking her, one person in the night, but what if there were more, waiting to hurt her? She couldn't take more than one down.

She clutched the candlestick blindly, realizing fully for the first time that she was not expecting to make it out of this. 'All I can really hope for is to take someone down with me,' she thought. 'I can't…I can't give up without a fight. I can't die like this. Broken. Without dignity. Not like this. I will make my father proud. And…and maybe I will see him again.'

A cry almost escaped her lips again. 'Oh Dad,' she prayed desperately. 'Please help me! Someone, God someone please please help me. Please! I don't want to die!'

She stood waiting, her hands wrapped around the candlestick, knuckles white, as if waiting for an answer to her pleas. The only sound was her harsh breathing.

Sweat dripped down her brow. She had to do it now, before she lost her nerve. She had to walk across the room and open the door. She would have to walk, and turn a knob, and run, and fight, and maybe die, maybe kill. Maybe maybe maybe.

She spotted her sneakers lying neatly by the side of the bed and she sat down to pull them on, keeping a wary eye on the door the entire time. Her hands were shaking so badly that she could barely tie a knot.

Shoes tied and legs ready to run, she grasped the candlestick and stood.

'Just do it,' she told herself. 'Just walk across the room and open the door. I can find an exit. And maybe no one will be there.'

She repeated the words as a mantra as she forced her still trembling legs across the room. 'No one will be there, no one will be there.' She stared at the knob, gleaming a dull brassy color in the darkness. 'No one will be there, no one will be there.' She brushed her fingers against it. It was cold. 'No one will be there, no one will be there.' She grasped the knob; it was large and round and too big for her hand. 'No one will be therenoonewillbetherenoonewill'

She turned it.

The door arced open silently on well oiled hinges as she raised the candlestick in anticipation. The room beyond seemed empty, quiet, lit by softly glowing lamps and cast in shades of black and gold and red. Tentatively she slid out, keeping her back to the wall, letting her eyes sweep the room. Nothing, no one it seemed. She almost laughed, a little hysterical sound that was bubbling the back of her throat. Could she maybe get out of this unscathed?

And then a dark shadow unfurled itself from the far corner of the room and strode toward her, and she, in her dumb horror, just stood there, blank, mystified, terrified.

The tall, thin man in the smooth mask stared down at her from an imposing height, and dimly she wondered how he had gotten so close to her so fast.

"Hello, my dear," he said in that same low, hypnotic voice that she had heard the night before, so perfect. "I see that you have decided to emerge from your room. But what exactly are you planning to do with my candlestick?"

At his last words she seemed to snap back into her body and hefted the silver weapon in front of her. He raised an eyebrow, unconcerned, and she realized then how ridiculous she had been to ever think that she could hurt someone.

So she spoke, in a fast, whispered voice, blurring all of her words together, saying them like a memorized speech. So she begged. Pathetically, painfully, she begged.

"Please please please don't hurt me, you can have anything you want, I'll get you any money you want just please don't hurt me please let me go, I'll give you anything, all my funds, my house, anything, please don't hurt me."

His eyes widened slightly. "I…" he began, staring at the shaking girl before him, her eyes bright and sharp with fear. "I would never hurt you. Never. That's not why you are here."

She was shaking her head as if she couldn't hear him. "Just let me go and I promise that I won't go to the police. Just don't hurt me. Please." She stared at him through thick matted bangs, her eyes pleading.

"I promise you that I do have nor will ever have any intention of hurting you," he said softly. He moved closer and she skittered backward against the wall, darting her eyes back and forth across the room, searching for an exit. "You need to trust me. I'm a friend," he spoke quietly and slowly as if trying to soothe a frightened animal. "You have nothing to fear here."

Her eyes darted back to him. "Then why am I here?" She asked, the desperation cracking her voice.

He frowned under the mask. This was going worse than he had expected. She was terrified to the point of instability, and he realized suddenly that she believed she was going to die.

He couldn't tell her the truth now.

"Because I am lonely," he said hesitantly. "You are someone that I have…admired and I wanted you to…be here with me. For just a little while. Just…to talk. You have a lovely voice, and I wanted you to sing…for me."

She stared at him as if he were speaking an incomprehensible language. "What?" she asked, her voice very small. "I don't understand."

"You will," he sighed. "You will. Just know that you are safe here."

"Can I go?" she asked in that same weak, tired child's voice.

"Not just yet. Soon, though." And he gestured with one long white hand for her to give him the candlestick. "You are safe here. I can assure you that there is no need for violence."

Slowly, and with a sagging of the shoulders that acknowledged defeat she lifted her hand and passed the cool metal object over to him. She couldn't fight him, and maybe the best thing to do was keep calm and not make him angry. She was still so afraid, so tired. She just wanted to sleep.

"Perhaps you should go back to bed," he said softly, and she glanced at him again as if she hadn't heard, trying to read the strange emotion in his eyes, trying to piece together this incomprehensible puzzle, to dissuade this still consuming panic.

She looked at him and asked, "Why?"

She wasn't asking about going back to bed.

It was a question that encompassed everything, every moment of her fear and hate and desperation. It asked for everything that was in his eyes, for all of his reasons, everything that he wanted to tell her, needed to make her understand. It asked everything that he could not answer yet, could not say without scaring her more, without sending her over the edge. But she hardened her voice and asked again.

"Why?"

And he could not answer, could only stare at her and wonder how they got into this mess, hoping that she was not broken, that trust was not impossible. She stared at him with eyes searching for escape, tense with panic and torn with misunderstanding.

She needed to know, but what could he tell her?

And so they stared at each other across the dimly lit room, each lost to their own fears and thoughts, neither daring to make a connection, wondering, wondering if anything could possibly work out, and wondering, wondering, what the next step would be.