Disclaimer: We ALL know that I don't 'The Phantom of the Opera' in any of this forms. Trust me, it's a want I must cope with every day….

Perhaps the whole 'put the phantom in college' thing is a bit overdone, but trust me, this won't be like any of the others. If it is, then you can all flame until I'm just a smoldering pile of ashes on the floor, but wait a few chapters before you gather the torches, okay?

I'm going to base Erik and his past off of the Phantom from the movie, not because I've got anything against the book, (au contraire, in fact), but because I'm not completely finished reading it, and don't want to mess anything up too badly.

Chapter One: Freaky Roommates Ye Be Warned.

It was moving day, and all hell had long since broken loose. The campus was flooded with mini moving vans, crying mothers, and people carrying heavy objects, and Carmen was ashamed to admit that she had brought with her all of the above… and more. Not only was her mother going to pieces before her eyes, but her younger sisters were arguing about the restaurants they would eat at on the way back from campus, and her father was lecturing her (for what must have been the millionth time) about college life, finals, boys, parties, etc…

"…Never drink anything that has been opened out of your sight….." he rambled.

" Yeah, Dad. That's great. You do know I've got this speech memorized, right?" she sighed.

" I don't want you to come home pregnant!" he snapped.

Carmen rolled her eyes. " I won't." she said flatly.

And with that, her father launched into another lecture about drinking, rape, and homework… Her sisters bickered about McDonalds, and her mother rummaged through the rented U-Haul for a Kleenex.

She never been more relieved than when she'd placed the last of her possessions in her dorm, and her parents were deprived of their final excuse not to leave. They'd wanted to meet her roommate, but they hadn't showed up yet, so Carmen was finally able to convince them to start off their drive back to Wisconsin…

Her roommate arrived later that night, or to be more exact, early the next morning, as it was 2 a.m., alone and with even more boxes than Carmen had brought.

" Would you mind waiting 'till a reasonable hour to unpack those?" grumbled Carmen as her roommate, whom she couldn't see in the darkness, started rummaging noisily through the boxes.

" But this is a reasonable hour!" came a voice from the darkness that likened more to a cackle than to an actual voice. "Nighttime is a time of energy and wonder…"

"Not when you've been up all bloody day!"

No response….. More rummaging….. Then a candle's flickering light gave Carmen her first good look of her new roommate. She groaned… her roommate was ghostly pale, with waist-length black hair, tons of black eyeliner, and a set of black… robes?

Great, she was rooming with Morticia Adams!

" Put out the damn candle and go to sleep!" she nearly shouted.

There was no response, save for some humming and chanting. Too tired for a battle, Carmen made an angry noise and tried to block out the noise with her pillow… She would be speaking with the Dean about a room-change, that was certain!

The next morning, Her roommate was gone, as were her possessions. A notice on her night stand told her that her roommate had opted for a private room, so Carmen would have the room to herself at no extra cost!

"Woot! Woot! Do the happy-dance! Do the happy-dance! Happy! Happy! Hap….."

Her little "dance" was interrupted by a loud THUD from her private bathroom (a wonderful commodity included in all of the University's dorms), followed by a clatter and some cursing. When she ran to investigate, she discovered a man tangled in her shower curtains. His attempts to free himself were not at all helped by the long, black cape he wore, but the cape was not the only strange thing about him. Perhaps the strangest thing about him was the white mask that covered half of his otherwise handsome face.

"…..What the hell?" Why couldn't Carmen's father have lectured her on how to deal with strange men in her shower curtains…. Strange men with very colorful vocabularies…

The man jumped backward and tripped into her bathtub when she spoke.

" Who are you?" he demanded.

" I think you should be the one to introduce yourself, as it's my bathroom you've tangled yourself in."

The man gave Carmen a surprised look. " You don't know who I am?" he asked.

" Some geek from the drama department, dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, coming to welcome me to the arts department?" True, the admissions people had said that music majors were welcomed gladly at their campus, but this couldn't possibly be what they'd meant… If they did this to everyone, they'd lose a fortune buying everyone new shower curtains.

Finally disentangling himself, the man stood up, only to hit his head on the showerhead.

"I know nothing of this arts department of which you speak, but I am the Phantom of the Opera." he said, clearly expecting Carmen to make some show of fear.

"You're mental if you think I'm dumb enough to believe you." she said, giving him a look that quite clearly said 'Get out of my bathroom'. "How'd you get in here, anyways? Wasn't my door locked?"

" Fine, don't believe me. I certainly do not need to prove myself to the likes of you. As for my entrance, I don't know how I arrived here, but I do know that I intend on exiting immediately, so stand aside, woman."

Carmen glared at the man. The moron simply wouldn't give up! Even as her favorite literary character of all time, this idiot was not going to get away with speaking to her like that, even if it was in the phantom's character to do so!

Her cheeks flushed in anger, she followed him down the hallway, hoping to find out his dorm, and thus figure out who the hell he was. But to her surprise, he strode out of the heavy front doors of the Victorian-styled dorm building.

Perhaps he was in a fraternity… In which case this was probably a very stupid prank.

No, he was walking away from the frat houses, and crossing the street.

" Hey, brainiac!" she called after him, "That's a red light! You can't cross yet!"

It was no good. He didn't hear her. He just kept walking, head bowed against the morning's wind, oblivious to the oncoming traffic.

"Stop!" she screamed, sprinting after him.

A semi truck's horn blared. The man was going to get hit!


The man's head turned too late. The truck was upon him! Carmen jumped for him, knocking him out of the truck's path. But now, it was her in the semi's path!

She felt the semi upon her, heard the horn's blaring….The two headlights were the last things she saw. Then, everything went black…

When Carmen woke up, she was certain she was flying. Well, her feet weren't touching the ground, that was. Then she realized she was being carried…. On a stretcher? No, stretchers weren't warm and muscular. It was shower curtains man… why was he carrying her? She was dead…. Wasn't she? Only one way to find out, she figured.

"Am I dead?" she asked weakly.

" You'd better not be." the man who claimed to be the phantom replied, "Because if you are, then I'm hearing voices from corpses."

Carmen laughed a little. "Hey, put me down." she commanded.

"No. You need to see a doctor."

She groaned. What had happened to her? Would she be okay? Forcing herself to move, Carmen brought her head up to look at her body. To her great relief, it wasn't mangled in any way, just a few cuts and bruises.

"I'm fine. Just take me back to my dorm."

The man lowered her carefully onto the grass and looked intently upon her. Gently, he raised a finger and tapped her lightly on the forehead. Pain seared from the spot he'd touched.

"Did that hurt?"



What kind of a psycho was this guy!

"Tell me, mademoiselle, what is your name?"

"Carmen…" she groaned, grateful that it was too early in the morning for anyone to be about yet. She just wanted to be let alone right now.

"I'm Erik." he said softly.

"Ha! I knew you weren't really the phantom…"

"We'll talk about that later. Right now, you need to tell me how to get to the erm… I believe you called them dorms."

If Carmen had been fully conscious, she would've hit the manErik. He was still trying to keep up his damn act! Instead of doing so, however, she went along with it and simply directed him back to her room, where he set her down on the futon sofa that was set up below her loft bed.

"Thank you." she said quietly.

" I believe it is I who should thank you. You saved my life."

"You're welcome."

Erik rummaged around in her room until he found her washcloths. "Where could I find some water?" he asked.

Carmen didn't even bother to tell him to drop the act this time. She just told him to use the sink. True he was taking this "Phantom of the Opera" thing way too far, but she had to admit that he was playing the part extremely well. Not once had he forgotten to not know anything the phantom wouldn't have known.

Erik came back with a bowl of water and dabbed lightly at her bruised head.

As he did so, Carmen let a few theatrical tears slide down her cheek. Perhaps she was a music major, but that didn't mean she didn't know how to act.

"Carmen, am I hurting you?"

"No. I'm just so confused…. Please, just tell me the truth. Who are you?"

Sorry that chapter was so long. I should have the next one, which will probably be quite a bit shorter, up in a few days, or even later today, depending on how long it takes before I fall asleep on my keyboard.

P.S I LOVE reviews! hint, hint

P.P.S Just so you know, Carmen's character is based off of a bunch of people, (yes, I am one of those people) and this phic will be Erik/Carmen.

P.P.P.S A pregnant goldfish is called a twit. :D