Disclaimer: I own nothing. All is riff and parody.

Warnings: Deals with the subject of torture, violence and assault. Also, Johann Schmidt is a Nazi and expresses Nazi views. Because he's evil.


And the next day, he lays out his argument in the brisk, commonsense fashion of the British. Schmidt is surprisingly receptive.

"We have the occasional fight, which becomes a little heated," Schmidt says. "But I haven't forced him to do anything. I'm a changed man, Dr. Essex. I want to take Erik with me to Argentina or America, after the war. I want him to learn to love me."

Most of this is a lie, but some of it isn't.

Johann Schmidt sleeps with Erik at night but that is all they do—sleep. Most of the time, neither of them even undress. Johann lays on the bed in his uniform, holding Erik against him. Sometimes he opens his coat, pulling Erik against his shirted chest so that the coat lays over him like a blanket, but that is all.

Erik hates sleeping there, but he has no choice. Refusal would earn terrible reprisals. Instead, he falls asleep thinking of little things he hates about Schmidt: the harsh smell of Schmidt's cologne and the way he breathes shallowly and rapidly in his nightmarish sleep.

It isn't that Schmidt is 'a changed man.' He hasn't graduated from using force, not by any means. But whenever he tries to use force, the same thing happens that happened the very first time: Erik's fear and hatred and anguish become so intense that metal is shorn free from its braces and beats him back. Erik has a minimal conscious control of his powers; but when Schmidt tries to force him, his power explodes. It leaves them both battered and injured. Conquest becomes impossible.

Schmidt has adopted a new ploy. He insists that he wants Erik to fall in love with him, that he craves his company, that he finds sleep difficult without him. He swears that he will take Erik away with him when the war is over.

This strategy is designed to so accustom Erik to Johann that he loses some of his hatred and fear. When that happens, Schmidt knows he will be able to use force—and submit Erik to himself as often as he desires.

He has, of course, underestimated Erik's proud, unbending hatred. There is no amount of compulsory companionship that could lessen Erik's hatred. But Schmidt does not yet realize this.

It might not matter anyway. Schmidt has never had anyone fight him so hard and with such determination. He's never been so attracted to someone. Erik has completely absorbed his romantic attention; he can't imagine wanting anyone else this much. He fully intends to take Erik with him to Argentina or America. They will do this dance of repulsion and attraction all their lives.

Until Erik breaks or Johann is dead.