Right as Rain

By: Moojuice Nne of the Mayonaisse

Hello! I'm glad you decided to read this. Bienvenidos!

I am the happiest person in the world right now. My friend just got back from her trip to Tampa, Florida, where she went to go see the Phantom of the Opera play! She brought a program, cast descriptions, and cast list for me. She got them signed by Rebecca Pitcher ::Christine::, Patti Davidson Gorbea ::Madame Giry::, and Gary Mauer ::Phantom:: I AM SOOOO HAPPY!!! I love my Sheepchi!! Thanks!

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a Meg/Erik fanfiction. It was really sweet; I forgot the title…you will have to find it yourselves. Sorry! Anyway, I've decided to write an E/M fic, just to see what happens. You guys who know me as an E/C shipper, be patient! I promise this is a good idea! I think it'll be fun.

I hope you enjoy this fanfiction. It takes place about two months after Christine leaves with Raoul. You can probably draw from descriptions what has happened to everyone since then. Please forgive me, but I've never seen pictures of the Opera house, so I'm describing what I think it looks like! Don't flame me, I'm not a history major!

Disclaimer: I can't pay for a bottle of YooHoo. I can't possibly own the rights to POTO, though I would rub it in all of your faces if I did! No, no, just kidding!

Chapter One: High and Dry

Meg's POV

The rain was pouring down from the heated gray sky, sheeting down in cold torrents that seemed to have enough force to knock someone over. The streets were full of dangerously flowing rivers, coursing in every which way and sweeping debris clear of the cobblestones and carrying them perilously into dark alleys. A shaft of lightning split the sky above the silent buildings of Paris; a sharp crack came immediately after, and the ground trembled at the onslaught of the storm. Nobody inhabited the streets; all were safe in their warm homes, sipping tea and sitting in front of a blazing red fire, blissfully aware that they were safe from the terrible storm outside.

All except me, however; it was in these terrifying conditions that I set out from my own little shack in a poor section of Paris, walking briskly past the saggy roofed houses of the slum I resided in, keeping my gaze situated on the road in front of me. I had wrapped myself in my mother's old black coat, in an attempt to keep my thin and torn cotton dress from becoming completely soaked, but as I drew nearer to my destination it became clear that my dress would be completely sodden with or without my mother's coat; the latter had as many holes in it as the stars in the sky. Nevertheless, I kept the shoddy garment wrapped around me; probably to help me gather my wits. The streets were dark and the sky was darker, save for the brief moments when terrible rays of light tore ragged gashes in the thick canopy.

As I came to the dark building I was aiming for, a sharp pang of remembrance stabbed my heart. It was so lonely, so gloomy—such a contrast from the building it had been but a few months before that I hardly recognized it. I looked around me, stunned. People in evening dress used to gather there, I thought, and the lights were always on in the windows above the streets. The doors leading to the lobby were always open, and lush red carpet used to cover the flagstone steps. Now, the front doors were boarded up with heavy planks of wood and police tape surrounded the perimeter, flapping wildly in the wind like thin blond snakes. Tears mixed with the rain streaming down my face, but I impatiently wiped the water away and tiptoed closer to the front doors. Happy voices used to float into the evening atmosphere like drowsy butterflies; professional, crystal voices used to pierce the air triumphantly, and thunderous clapping always followed. Now, there was only the sound of pounding rain and ear-splitting thunder.

I stretched one arm out in front of me and pressed on the planks that barred the front doors. It cracked loudly, but did not budge. I pushed harder, gritting my teeth. I had to get inside. The wood would not comply with me. Frustrated, I made a fist and banged the door repeatedly, shouting profanities at it as if it were a living thing. The wood merely took its beating and paid me no heed. I was tiring quickly: I had just walked a mile from my house in pouring rain and incensed lightning, and both my nerves and my muscles were exhausted. The side of my hand was bleeding from where I struck the wood. Several splinters stuck out of the skin.

Stifling a sob, I withdrew my arm and looked around for another entrance. Most of the lower windows were blocked in the same style of the door—all save one, which was about six feet above the ground. The frame was filled with serrated shards of broken glass. The ledge below the window was littered with more broken glass. No doubt there were more remains of the window below the window on the inside. I wiped my hair away from my eyes and walked cautiously towards the window. Mud squelched under my floppy shoes.

The window was higher up than I expected, but I tried climbing up anyway. However, as soon as I placed my hands on the ledge, broken glass slid into my fingers and palms. I let out a pained yelp and let go, falling into a puddle of greasy water, bits of stained glass showering onto my face. I lifted my hands up and looked at them with horror in my eyes. Thin tendrils of blood slid down my fingers and gathered in my palms as crimson pools. I bit back the urge to call for my mother and stood up again, shrugging the black coat off of my back and throwing it onto the window ledge. I was getting into the Opera House.

I resumed my climb; this time I was able to grope my way up to where I was crouching on the ledge, brushing tiny pieces of glass away from my knees. I had probably put more holes in the coat by now, but at least I was out of the rain. I hopped through the window and landed on the glass below. One of the fragments pierced the thin leather of my boot and slipped into the heel of my foot. I clamped both of my hands onto my mouth to stifle my scream, but the sound rang on the walls anyway. When I took my hands away from my face, I found that my bleeding fingers had made red smudges across my cheeks and lips. More tears gathered in my eyes.

"Mama," I whispered softly, my voice echoing in the vast emptiness of the Opera House. "Mama, help me. I am frightened."

As I expected, I received no answer. Dying people always tell the loved ones they leave behind to remember that they'll be looking down on the ones they love, and will ask Jesus to always protect them. People who are leaving for a better place always lie to you, to pretend that they care enough about you to make you feel better.

I stood up and wrung the dripping water out of my long brown hair, which was matted and dirty and filled with twigs and glass and mud. I shook it out of my eyes and looked around at my surroundings. The carpet I was standing on was sodden with the rain that had blown in from the open window; another rumbling peal of thunder urged me into a limping run away from the window and towards the lobby. Everything was dark and musty; dust rose up from the floors as my feet disturbed the peace. It was so deathly quiet that I could hear my heart beating; I was fairly certain that even my heartbeat was reverberating in this place. Drops of water that still clung to the scraggly ends of my hair fell onto the floor with audible plops.

I approached the doors to the Concert Hall so reverently that I could have been approaching the infant Jesus in his cradle. I gripped the handle of the door lightly and pushed it forwards. The door swung open slowly, creaking slowly and loudly. The scene that met my eyes almost knocked the breath out of me. The Concert Hall was dead. Dust had gathered so thickly on the stage that I could see it from where I stood. The statue that was perilously perched above the stage was dull and formless. The chandelier that hung on a thick chain from the towering ceiling was so coated with cobwebs and dust that the brilliance of its golden bars was made obsolete. Dust and grime covered the red felt chairs, and the once brilliant crimson curtains were now a bloody gray color. Even the air had a blue tint to it, similar to the wisps of fog you see in forests at twilight.

People used to sing on this stage. People used to sit in these chairs. The light that poured from above used to come from that chandelier…but no more.

Blood dripped off of my fingertips and pooled out of my shoe as I stood there in awe. My hands were throbbing. I took a tentative step forwards, bringing my injured foot up quickly as the pressure pushed the glass further in. I put one of my hands on the back of a seat to help balance myself, then continued to limp towards the stage. My other hand strayed towards the pocked of my dress. When my bleeding fingers found the cool, smooth surface of the mask, sudden dread filled me. I really had no clue as to what I was doing. I was only fulfilling the wishes of a dying woman.

I was told to take the Phantom's mask back to the Opera house and deliver it to the house by the Underground Lake. I had taken it from the bench in front of the organ when the mob stormed the Phantom's lair in pursuit of Christine. They were going to kill him, but he slipped through their fingers and was gone. In fact, Christine slipped through their fingers as well—she had eloped with the Viscount Raoul de Chagny. The lair was empty, so the mob retreated back upstairs. Everyone was too tired to continue. The Opera House was shut down; police soured every inch of it in search of any traces of the Opera Ghost; when they found nothing, they left, posting a law that the Opera House would be closed until further notice. The strangest thing about the whole occurrence, though, was that when the mob left the Underground Lake, nobody could remember the way to get back to it. They tried every possible way that could be remembered—all led to dead ends.

By then, my mother and I were living in the slums in Paris; we had no other talent except dancing, and we could not find jobs in any other Opera House anywhere. Then, my mother fell ill, and, having no money in which to buy medicines or hire doctors, I had to watch as she slowly slipped away from me. When she died, our neighbors buried her body in the soft ground behind the church. We had to do this in secret, because we had no money to buy a plot of land. Her grave is unmarked, but I hope she is happy with what we could get for her.

I continued my limping walk down the aisle, looking nervously from side to side at the dead hall. The stage grew bigger before my eyes; before I knew it I was walking up the steps on the side that led to it. The dust muffled the clumsy sound of my feet striking the wood. I walked tentatively towards the center of the stage, breathing slowly and deeply, trying to calm myself down. I took the mask out of my pocket and looked at it. The creamy white porcelain was molded into the general shape of one side of a man's face: a high and broad forehead, straight nose, a thin cheek, rather full lips, a strong jaw line…the cheek of the mask was smeared with the blood oozing out of my fingers. I made no attempt to wipe it away with the tattered hem of my dress.

How was I supposed to do this? I did not have the bravery to go down to the Underground Lake by myself—even when the mob was with me I didn't want to go! I looked at my swollen and bloody hands, and felt the shard of glass in the heel of my foot. I couldn't leave now. So I cleared my throat and raised the mask above my head.

"Phantom of the Opera," I called in a quavering voice. The Hall seemed to tremble with the arrival of a voice. I could see dust fall from the chandelier and float down to rest on the audiences' chairs. "I have your mask! I hope that you will come and take it so I may leave in peace!!"

That was stupid, I thought as I was finished disturbing the absolute silence. I may leave in peace?

"Come and retrieve your mask, o Phantom!"

You're making him sound like a dog.

No answer.

"Please come to me and take back what is yours!"

That was better.

But there was still no answer.

"Fine!!"I cried, stamping my foot down on the dusty stage floor. Droplets of blood leaked out of my shoe and stained the dull wood. A huge cloud of gray powder billowed up and surrounded my body. I started sneezing as the particles floated into my mouth and nose. My foot felt as if it were on fire. I heard a soft clunk, and then a waft of icy cold air brushed against my skin from below.

Suddenly, I fell. I was dropped so quickly that I hardly had time to try and right myself in the air, and I landed heavily on my back. My breath was knocked from my lungs. Dust rained onto me from above and landed in my mouth, eyes, and hair. I lay there, choking, looking up with watery eyes at the small square of dusky light pouring in from above. My brain feebly tried to register what had happened to me. Had I fallen into the middle of the earth from the Opera stage? No, I must have fallen into one of the cellars. Maybe a loose board slipped when I stamped my foot…but no, the opening above me was perfectly square. There were no boards like that on the stage.

The memory of the terrible night when we marched down to the Lake came back to me. Christine had been singing. She was standing in the middle of the stage, and then she…disappeared. I must have fallen through the same hole she did. No, not a hole. A trap door. I got up tentatively, unsure of where I landed and vainly trying to see where I stood. I saw a dull gleam in the corner of my eye and turned my attention to it. The mask! I approached it and picked it up. It hadn't been damaged. I kept my fingers wrapped around its form and looked around nervously. I remembered when Christine unmasked her 'Angel of Music'. I had not seen his face. People said it was horrible, and even described it, but I didn't believe that God would create such a wretched-looking creature. I thought that fear had just made them see things that weren't there. I was starting to see things also, and as shadows flickered before my eyes, I thought I saw the form of a person standing in front of me.

"M…monsieur Phantom?" I asked. My voice was shaking dangerously. I felt close to tears. The darkness was becoming less overwhelming as my eyes adjusted to the complete lack of light, and I could barely see a wall in front of me; to the right, a path, and farther off, a faint gleam. The air was moist.

I began to limp along the path, painfully aware that the glass in my foot was probably damaging the nerves. I kept one of my hands on the mossy stone wall for guidance. The only sound was that of my unsteady footsteps striking the floor. My dress, tattered, torn, and bloody, slapped against my bare knees with each step I took. I repeatedly tugged my mousy waist-length hair behind my ears. The silence was unnerving.

I kept walking, and with each step I took, my heart beat faster, my bleeding fingers tightened around the mask of the Phantom, and the pain in my limbs became more and more excruciating. At one point of my journey, a razor-edged piece of glass that had been caught in my hair fell onto my shoulder and sliced it open. Blood squirted out and splashed onto the flagstones in front of me. But I kept going, and limped for what seemed like miles. I was beginning to see stars from the loss of blood, and the darkness began to creep up from all around me. As I continued my journey down, the air grew colder, and I could dimly see my breath in the dimness.

Suddenly, I was standing on the banks of the Underground Lake. Shapeless forms hung above that water, swaying gently to and fro. I squinted at them until I could recognize the shapes: they were the lanterns that usually were lit to alert people that they were near the water, and one false step could mean falling into dark and unknown depths. Only one of the lanterns was lit—it was at the far side of the Lake, a glowing, warm beacon that pierced the blue gloom that surrounded the area. I looked around for the dock; I saw that it had been destroyed, and only a dejected wooden pole sticking up out of the unmoving water gave evidence that there ever was a dock there. The boat was gone, too.

I squinted through the dense fog that swirled above the surface of the Lake, trying to see any form of life. The far end of the Lake was lost in murkiness; the only possible way I could get to the other end would be to swim, and with my bleeding shoulder and exhausted limbs, I didn't think that possible.

All of a sudden, I realized that there was a thin, thin outcropping of stone lining the walls that enveloped the Lake. It was barely wider than my foot, but it looked like it went all the way to the other side of the Lake. Possibly, just possibly, I could run along this perilous path and make it to the Phantom's house.

It's worth a try, I thought, placing my foot gently on one of the steps, testing my weight. My foot slipped, and I fell with a mighty splash into the water. The freezing cold liquid rushed all around me, constricting my lungs; as I came to the surface I took a deep breath and screamed with all the breath I had in my lungs. The water bit into my wounds and paralyzed my body with pain. I scrabbled at the wet stones with my fingers, desperate for something, anything to grab on to. I was slipping back into the water; it surrounded me, pressed against me, slinking up to my neck, splashing around my chin. I kicked wildly with my frozen legs, trying to boost myself onto the bank not three feet away from my grasp. My rude splashing and screaming had disrupted the silence that had ruled there; now, everything seemed to be alive. Everything else was alive, and I was drowning.

I felt the weight of the mask against my hip and thought wildly, Somebody, help me!!

My strength had failed me completely. My frozen, bleeding fingers could no longer grip the smooth stones lining the sides of the Lake. The gash on my shoulder had stained the waters around me into a murky crimson color. My whole body, from my neck to my feet, was frozen in pain and fear and cold. I let out one more audible sound for help—no words, just the moan of an animal in the vice of death, and let the water take me.

The mask rests comfortably on my hip.

The water constricts my lungs, refusing to let me breathe.

Somebody grabs me around the waist…hauls me up to someplace warm and bright…

My mother smiling at me…

"Meg, you little wench, practice your dance steps…"

This is the end of chapter one. If I made any mistakes in grammar, PLEASE tell me! I hoped you liked this chapter, 'cause there's a whole slew of them after this! Chapter Two will be up VERY shortly!

Much love, you all!