Chapter One: The Opera House is sold.

AN: The end part of this chapter is dedicated to my friend Kath, because she inspired me to write that whole section better, with more detail, like a movie in your mind. She writes her Titanic fanfics so well that I can only hope I can be half as good as she is.

"We must sell the opera house. Without Christine, we don't have a show, and Carlotta refuses to perform. We must get as far away as possible from the Phantom of the Opera and set up elsewhere," Firmin said exasperatedly to Andre.

"I shall go then, and tell all of Paris. We will have a buyer by nightfall," Andre said as he put on his coat and walked out the door.

Sure enough, almost ten people came to look at the opera house. Within an hour, eight of those people had left after Andre and Firmin had told them about the Phantom and the events that he caused. The two left were Sarine Toumont and Jonathan Cruse, two competitive friends who shared a passion for opera. Both wanted the opera house, Phantom or not.

"Come on, Jonathan. You have your own opera house AND your own agency. At least let me have this," Sarine begged.

Jonathan smiled, "But my dear, giving up the Paris Opera House would be career suicide."

Sarine walked over to Jonathan, took his hand, and pleaded with her clear turquoise eyes. They weren't a match to Jonathan's soft brown, but she desperately wanted the opera house. Jonathan wanted the opera house so he could have Sarine, the lost love of his life, to star. Her petite body and long, straight brown hair would be new to opera, as well as her powerful voice.

Sarine stared into Jonathan's eyes and pleaded, "Jonathan, I have never wanted anything more than this. If you let me have this one thing, I will be eternally in your debt. Please, Jonathan? Please?"

Jonathan's will collapsed in her pleading stare, forcing him to nod. Sarine gave an excited squeal and hugged him tightly. When she let go, she turned to Andre.

"How much?" she asked happily.

"Four thousand," Andre replied. "That's cheap for a top-notch opera house."

Sarine nodded and gave him the money. As he and Firmin left, Andre handed her the deed. When they were gone, Sarine gave Jonathan another tight hug.

"Thank you! Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!! You are such a dear. May I ask another small favor? Do you know of any lead or chorus girls in your agency?"

"What about you?" Jonathan asked seriously. "You're good enough for lead."

Sarine laughed, "Yeah, right. Seriously, do you have any in mind?"

"None for lead," Jonathan replied thoughtfully. "But I do have chorus girls. Three I can get today."

"Tomorrow if you can. Today I want to look around, then set my bed up in the office and get some sleep," Sarine said, anxious to tour and clean the opera house.

"Wait," Jonathan said. "You're sleeping here? What about the Phantom?"

"He's probably long gone. If he isn't, then why would he bother me?" Sarine asked as she led Jonathan to the door.

"You're in his opera house?" Jonathan said, half jokingly.

Sarine laughed and gave him a hug goodbye. She then closed the door and looked around. It wasn't hard to notice it wasn't 'top-notch', but she knew it wouldn't be. She saw the only showing of 'Don Juan', and saw the phantom cut the chandelier rope. It now lay in pieces on the stage.

I hope that's fixable, Sarine thought.

Looking around, Sarine saw that the only real problem was the chandelier. The rest of the house just needed some fixing up, but mostly a good dusting and cleaning.

"A little dust never hurt anyone," she said, rolling up her sleeves and grabbing a rag from the cleaning closet.

After she wet the rag, Sarine went around the room wiping the dust and dirt off of the statues and singing the opera songs she learned when she was visiting European operas. Sometimes she had to pause and grab a ladder because some of the walls were so high. By the time she finished dusting, it was after midnight and she was exhausted. Since they were dimmed, the gas lights were casting shadows and there was always some noise. As she finished up, Sarine heard a noise from the stage.

"Hello?" she called, jittery in the dark.

When nothing answered, Sarine climbed down the ladder and set the rag on a table. Turning off the gas lights, she lit a candle and climbed onto the stage. As she crossed it, she felt as if something was watching her. Instead of looking around, she walked faster and closed the office door quickly behind her. Using her lone candle, she lit the gas lanterns around the room. Inside the room, there was a couch, a desk, two chairs and a full-length mirror affixed to the wall. Andre and Firmin had shown her the office before they left, so her stuff was already there.

Never one for mirrors, she draped her cloak over it and grabbed the small, ratty blanket off of the back of the couch. She then curled up on the couch, trying in vain to keep the cold out. Almost immediately, she fell asleep, leaving the gas lights on.

An hour later a figure emerged from the shadows. He walked over to Sarine and watched her. In her sleep she shifted, causing the blanket to fall onto the floor. The figure bent down and picked the blanket up, looking at how small and torn it was. He then tossed it aside and draped her in his own oversize cloak. Out of the corner of his eye, he spied her notebook on the desk. On the cover, it had her name embossed in delicate gold calligraphy. He walked over and felt her name with his fingers, as if it were a delicate piece of china.

"Sarine…" he whispered, turning and looking at her.

Laying a red rose on top of the notebook and placing a delicate caress on her cheek, he blew out the gas lamps and melted back into the darkness. Once again he whispered her name.