Author's Note:

Hii. I didn't say anything at the previous chapter, but here I am again… I'm doing this story mostly for the fun of it, so I'm not expecting great reviews or a good number of them…I'm not sure how long this'll be, probably not long, I'm just having fun. So. Please review if you want to, I'd really like it… Oh. And I do NOT consider this a Mary-Sue type thing, even if it is cliche. So please don't accuse me. Thanks.

The alarm was going off.

It was a dull hum at first…and then became a persistent ring that began as an annoyance and grew to be unbearable. The alarm had been turned off for so long that the noise was only vaguely recognizable and foreign to the heavy air around the lake. It had not known sound since the meticulous destruction of Erik's home, and there was not even the hint of an echo. Only the piercing, high-pitched whistle…continuous…never-altering in it's tonal center…deafening…

But time had never been a concept for Erik, or at least not one of much importance. He survived now only because Christine wanted him to. It was her last request of him, and something that he found difficult to refuse and yet so difficult to keep… His home was nearly in ruins. The piano stood intact, but unplayed… and covered in dust. His violin was somewhere in another room…buried among old possessions and carefully shaped glass from her mirrors…facing each other to make odd, small patterns…like a miniature torture chamber…

This amused him.

Erik had not played for nearly six years. Occasionally…and very distantly…he would hear music from above. He could almost pretend that Christine was singing during those times, but he knew her voice too well and knew that it wasn't true…no matter how far away it was…he could never pretend, or he would lose his mind. If any part of it remained…


The voice came so suddenly that it took a moment for him to realize whose voice it was. Never in any of Erik's half dreams and thoughts had he imagined the Vicomte's voice…and yet it came again, clearer than before: "Erik!"

Slowly, Erik rose, and with no particular urgency he left his home on the lake. A slight mist was rising up from the water, but it barely penetrated the darkness.

Not that Erik had a problem seeing in the dark.

The confusion of hearing Raoul's voice instead of Christine's did not deter him for very long. No…he imagined that Christine had forgotten something…or at the very worst she was ill and needed him… though he doubted that. It had to be something of grave importance if she had risked sending Raoul…

The amount of time that had passed was still not occurring to him. It wasn't important…and yet Erik found this to be an extraordinary opportunity. Before he allowed Raoul to go, but now it would be a question of whether he would be able to resist the temptation again…

Before the boy could open his mouth to call once more, Erik interjected.

"You dare to speak my name?"

Raoul visibly jumped and turned towards Erik's voice. His expression was defiant, but his tone was very soft. "I have only come on Christine's behalf…please…"

Something in her name…the sound of it spoken aloud…changed something. "Christine…" For only a moment he allowed Raoul to see his eyes in the darkness, two small flashes of yellow light. "Speak your piece and be done with it."

The look in Raoul's gaze was tired, and for a few moments Erik finally did wonder how many years could possibly have passed.

It took the Vicomte several moments to answer, but finally the words came; strangled and weak: "She is dead, monsieur…"

Something…the same something that had whispered her name to him…now snapped. Without warning, Erik lunged and grabbed Raoul around the neck. His fingers were tight around his throat as he pushed Raoul back against the cellar wall, mercilessly…and his voice was filled with deadly rage as his grip tightened more and more... "No…"

Gasping for breath, Raoul spoke as quickly as he could. Oddly, he did not struggle…he did not appear to have the heart. "It was an accident…she was returning from Perros…the carriage…it overturned…on the bridge…"

Furiously, Erik pushed him away with such violence that he fell hard on the stone floor.

"Wait…" Raoul wheezed once he caught a semblance of breath, and held up one hand to try to stop him.

Erik ignored him. The infamous lasso was in his hand as he approached the terrified Vicomte leisurely…and with obvious intentions…

"There is something else…"

Directly above him now, Erik finally stopped. There was no emotion in his eyes as they stared coldly down. But he did not move. "What else."

Raoul was not a simple man. He knew that if he did not provide a good explanation that there was a good chance of him being dead within seconds. "I am being called away…Christine…Christine made me promise to do this. I brought you something that she wanted to give to you…should anything happen to her…If you come up to the streets with me--"

Erik laughed. "Do you think me a fool? I will go nowhere with you." Death…he would embrace…but not at the Vicomte's hand. If this was a trap…Christine

"All right…then…I will go up and fetch it…and return directly."

There was hollowness in his voice as Erik answered…emptiness. He didn't care. If Raoul brought down the police with him then he would wait for it, and welcome the bullets. "Fine. Get up."

Raoul stumbled to his feet, rubbed his neck, and watched Erik warily. He did not waste another moment, but set off for the Rue Scribe gates at a run. There were ways of getting to the surface without crossing the lake, but Erik did not bother telling him this…and only watched, indifferently, as Raoul swam back across.

He did not think of Christine.

Within fifteen minutes the infernal boy was calling for him from the other side of the lake, and Erik stood before him in less than a minute, startling Raoul so badly that he nearly fell over backwards.

It took Erik a moment to realize that he was now holding something wrapped in thickly that the form wasn't even tangible. "What is this?"

Able to see his enemy now, Raoul met his eyes, almost as if daring him to make another attack. "Christine's daughter…Catherine…"

Erik hardly looked, but was beginning to grow suspicious again. "Why would you bring her here?"

"Christine made me promise…"

Again, Erik laughed, and it was not a pleasant sound. "She made you promise to leave your child with me? Here?"

"She is not mine!" Raoul yelled, irritably, and pulled the blanket back enough for Erik to see the girl's face. It was pale and smooth, but dark hair obscured the rest of her features. She appeared to be deeply asleep, or at least enough to not be roused by Raoul's thoughtless shouting.

A long silence came between the two of them. Erik did not speak, but his lack of perceptible emotion made Raoul even angrier. He had always hoped to be assured that it wasn't possible…that this could not possibly be the child of Christine and...and Erik

Raoul's hand shook as he replaced the cloth, in fear of giving the tiny girl a chill. "Are you satisfied now?"

After another lengthy pause, Erik finally spoke. Appearing unaffected by any of this, his reply was icy, calm, and with the silent threat that Raoul would always be familiar with. "I will leave you an address. If you fail to send her there, I will find you."

And then he was gone.