Authors Note: Hi! This is my first Phanfic so please go easy on me! Oh, and if you have any suggestions on what should happen next you can write it in a review or e-mail it to me (my e-mail is in my Personal Profile) because I am having trouble figuring out what to write next. You don't know much about Manon yet but when you learn more you could just send me those suggestions. Thanks. Now on with the story!

Summary: A daring and witty young woman finds herself homeless but then discovers shelter in the abandoned Opera Populaire. While running from her dark past she is wounded and saved by the Phantom only to discover she is stranded in his care. ..

Chapter one

The air was cold and hollow that night. The wind barely blew, merely ruffling a few strands from the tight satin ribbon that held the specter's dark hair in place. That evening this specter hid in the shadows cast by one of many large gargoyles on the roof of the Opera Populaire. He crouched at the edge of the roof, one hand wrapped around the leg of the stone statue, ensuring his safety.

His dark eyes cast outwards; The Phantom of the Opera looked out upon Paris, upon its dark empty streets and its black windows. He could see no one about at that hour, except a young lamplighter, wrapped tightly in a scarf and hat, before the abandoned opera house, carefully lighting a lamp with a long pole. He watched the boy without real interest, just blankly staring. It took less than a few minutes for him to light five lamps in the empty square. Then boy quickly trudged into a smaller street, the phantom watching as he lit street lamp after street lamp until he disappeared from sight. The phantom continued to stare bleakly into the darkness for a few more moments. Then closing his eyes and gathering his wits he reminded himself of his place. Grunting, he sat back against the cold stone, resting his arms languidly on bent knees.

I'm getting far too old for this he thought gritting his teeth at the slight aching in his muscles.

The phantom let out a soft growl as his eyes caught sight of the shredding threads on the edges of his cloak. Despite his careful care of what was left of his garments three long years had started to show. It had been three years since that night, three long years since they found his haven in the depths of the opera house, thee long years since they raided it of what was valuable and thee long years since they fled.

The specter's eyes flew to a spot not five yards off. Vivid images flooded into his mind, and songs into his heart.

No more talk of darkness, forget these wide-eyed fears, I'm here, nothing can harm you,
and my words will warm and calm you…

Her eyes were wide and full of warmth as she look at this man. Their eyes never left each other and every movement, every word, expressed their love.

Say you love me every waking moment, turn my head with talk of summertime, say you need me with you now and always, promise me that all you say is true, that's all I ask of you…

As these memories returned, it felt as if an icy iron grip had begun tearing his heart to shreds as it did those years ago. Tears threatened to fall from the Phantom's eyes and a taut heated shout escaped from his throat.

" Laisser quelqu'un tranquille!"(Leave me be!) he cried at the unseen lovers that stood in the distance. He rose to his feet, eyes blazing. " Laisser quelqu'un tranquille!" he roared again.

It was so cold that night, bitter and dark. Though that evening was really no different from every other night on these wretched streets, Manon Moreau could not help feel vulnerable, and she hated feeling vulnerable. Perhaps it was because that bastard, that rat had squealed her out, she thought inwardly. As she trudged, feet dragging on the cobble stone streets, Manon foraged though her mind looking for the worse insults and curses she could call that man who had sold her out just because her rent was late by a day. A day!

One idiotic, damn, hell-of-a da- Manon's thoughts were interrupted.

She stared at the structure before her, a hint of a smile growing at the corner of her lips. It stood towering before her, in the center of a empty plaza. The Opera Populaire. She stood at the foot of its stone staircase that led to six dirty stone columns, and through it a door, heavily boarded up.

It had been many long years since Manon had first set eyes upon the opera house. She had passed it once in her childhood. From a faint memory, she could remember it had been a magnificent site, clean and fashionable. Though she had never been inside she could faintly recall the warm quiet words of her brother,

"One day, I'll take you inside, little one, and you'll see it and be in awe as I was when I first saw it. It's said that there is a

ghost that haunts it, a demon they say, with a monstrous face, but with the voice of an angel."

He gently held her, still a small girl at the time, both of them gazing up at the grand structure, and whispered

"And perhaps… Together, we'll seek this Phantom of the Opera out and ask him to sing for us."

That day never came, Manon remembered bearing her teeth. Shaking her head, she once again looked up at it. This was no longer the opera house she had seen fifteen years ago. It's columns were grimy and ruff, and the doors were heavily boarded up with wood.

However, its unfortunate current state was what one could call a blessing. The opera house could provide some warmth and a place to sleep for Manon who was desperately cold and in need of shelter. She made her way to the large boarded door and putting down her sack, began to pry at the boards. To her great surprise the first one she pulled at gave way immediately and she painfully fell backwards on her rump. Muttering curses under her breath she got up and peered through the open space. She was also surprised to find that the great opera door she had seen before was no longer there, and through the boards she could see… well, nothing at all. It was far too dark. After many minutes Manon had finally pried enough boards to make a large enough space for her to climb though.

As her eyes began to adjust to the darkness she could faintly make that she was in the theater's grand foyer. In the dark, she gazed in wonder at the large curving staircase before her. Above and around her were ornate balconies and provocative statues carved into the walls. Stifling smells of burnt wood and rotting curtains were caught in the air. It would have been magnificent to see the foyer, glowing and gleaming at it's height a few years before. But now the stairs were covered with cobwebs, the marble floors covered with dirt and dust, and the seductive statues menacing in the darkness.

Manon explored the foyer for a few more minutes and then almost blindly made her way up the grand staircase and into the Theater.

She rubbed her arms; it was quiet chilly inside. Yet… it was not only the cold that sent a shiver down her spine. No, it was something else, yet Manon could not quite tell what it was that made her uneasy. She moved forward and into the theater. Opera Populaire's theater would have been as grand as the foyer, perhaps even more. However, Manon could now see a great fire and years of rejection of cleaning had taken its toll it. Many of the seats closer to the stage were black and scorched, obviously from a fire of some sort. As she moved forward she could see that the deep crimson velvet curtains on the stage were tatted and burnt.

All of a sudden, in the corner of her eye, Manon could have sworn on her life that she had seen a fleeting shadow dart from somewhere in the balcony boxes. Her eyes and ears alert she looked around suspiciously. It was only in that moment that she noticed how dark it was inside. She could feel a slight fear fill her stomach as her eyes traveled up into the dark balconies. The sensuous gold-hue figures that entwined themselves around the loge boxes were lusty enough to strike desire into one's body but at that moment, as she gazed up at them, Manon's heart beat not out of longing but out of a growing dread within her.

There is someone else in here, Manon thought frantically. Manon! Stop it! You never did believe in the ghost of the opera house. Do not start now! You are scaring yourself! What would Charles thank of you now? You are not a frightened child. There is no one else in here. Just find a good box to sleep in and you'll be out by morning. Closing her eyes, she steadied her breath and then opened her eyes again. Scanning the seats, Manon picked out an isle seat that was not scorched.

Yet as Manon made her way towards it she heard it… a rustle, barely audible; in the large space of the theater even the most silent of sounds were heard.

"Who is there?" She growled, turning, eyes frantically searching for the assailant.

Manon was growing increasingly cold and was now very aware how dark it was. All the shadows around her seemed to move and rustle.

Still looking for this unseen specter in the gloom, she stopped suddenly, heart beating loudly in her breast and silence ringing horribly in her ears.

And Manon felt it. In the cold air of the theater,

like a searing blade, a warm breath crossed the back of her neck.

( I just added the French: leave me be just for fun. )

Please review and tell me if I made any errors! And please no flames (they scare me); I do accept constructive criticism though. Thanks so Much!