It was so predictable. The two of them reacted in the exact same way she had imagined they would.
The boy was begging for his lover's life, the girl was nearly fainting with panic.
He was obviously immensely enjoying himself, despite the absence of his mask, which would normally make him feel a bit uneasy, even when he was alone.
Suddenly, his amused smirk melted into a horrible expression of rage. "Raise your hand to the level of your eyes!" He jumped out at the boy and tied him to the gates with a piece of rope he had quickly pulled out of the water, his eyes on fire. He seemed to have only just realised that the boy had been staring at his face. Now he turned towards the girl. "It is up to you. Be with me, and he is free. Leave me, and he dies. There's no going back now."
She rolled her eyes in annoyance as the two of them tried to talk each other into leaving. A cliché if the ever had been one.
He was now putting a rope around the boy's neck and tightening it constantly, trying to force the girl to make a decision. When the girl broke into tears and finally promised to do anything, she decided to make her entrance.
"Really now. Have I taught you nothing?" She gave her voice an accusing tone while she left her hiding place and walked towards the sobbing heap on the ground. "Always control yourself. A ballerina will still smile when the blood is dripping out of her shoes. I'm very disappointed that you let yourself go like this."
When the girl had first noticed her, the shadow of hope had crept onto her face and left it again as soon as she had seen her face of steel.
"How could you?", the girl gasped. "You knew it all along! How could you do this to me?"
She laughed. "How I could do this? My dear, you're overestimating your own importance. This is not about you. Or him", she added with a scornful glance towards the boy. That seemed too much for him to take, for he cried out in disbelief. "I trusted you! You hear me, I trusted you! You have betrayed us!"
She smiled her airy smile. "Why did I betray you, Monsieur? I promised I would take you here, and here you are."
In the meantime, he had let go of the rope around the boy's neck and came towards her. His expression was playful. "Now that we got this clear, what do you think we should do with them, Mademoiselle la danseuse?"
She feigned thoughtfulness. "I really can't decide. We could of course tell them all about our evil, underhanded plan and then get rid of them. But that would be such a cliché. We could also tell them all about our evil, underhanded plan, blindfold them and let them find their way back upstairs." While she spoke, her smile turned into a scornful smirk. This was turning out to be even more amusing than she had expected, for the two were now positively shaking with fear at the thought of being sent into the endless darkness of the Opera cellars.
"So … where to begin? You see, living down here may be very quiet and undisturbed. But one has to live somehow. And that requires certain financial resources. Those can very conveniently be provided by the Opera management. But how make them realise they should really fulfil the payments?" He was grinning at them with the air of a tiger eyeing a goat. "And this is where the two of you come into play. The young patron, giving a helping hand to raise the money. The skilled singer, an instrument to prove that the Ghost is to be taken seriously. Nothing less, but also nothing more.
Once again we see that money rules the world", he added with a nasty smirk.
The two of them looked thunderstruck. "You mean, you used me?", the girl whispered.
Instead of an answer he went to a dark corner of his lair, rummaged for a while and returned with two pieces of rope and two blindfolds.
His face was now serious, in his eyes there was a strange gleam.
He sought her gaze for some moments and stared at her intensely. When she did not react, she thought she noticed a hint of disappointment in his eyes, but when she looked again, it was gone. He was now approaching the quivering couple with determination.
"The situation is rapidly loosing its excitement, so I think we should get this over with.
Would you care to assist me, Mademoiselle la danseuse?", he called over his shoulder.
She walked towards them, her mind still on the strange look he had given her.
While he carefully tied their hands, she blindfolded the shivering, scared couple.
When they were done, she stepped back. He smirked, obviously greatly enjoying himself. "I will accompany them on some part of their way. I would be honoured if you would wait for my return. Please make yourself at home."
He turned and led the two of them towards the boat. When they had disappeared from sight, she turned and took a seat next to the organ, his favourite place.
While waiting, she began to think again. Why had he not told her about his plans? Maybe he didn't trust her any more. But then, why had he told her so willingly tonight? It just didn't make sense. And why had he looked at her all the time with this laugh in his eyes that seemed to have nothing to do with their little game?
Finally deciding that she didn't want to break her head over these question, she resolved to simply ask him.
Having made this decision, she felt a great deal better and leaned back in her seat to wait for his return.
It took him about twenty minutes to come back. When he reached the shores. He jumped out of the boat with agility and came to her like a boy expecting praise from his mother. "You should have seen them, it was hila-", but when he noticed her stony face, the smile dripped from his face like water. "Is something the matter, Mademoiselle la danseuse?"
"I've been wondering about that ever since I came here. Would you perhaps care to tell me why you decided not to inform me about your little game?"
The amusement that had left his eyes only moments ago slowly crept back into his face. He began to chuckle. She couldn't believe it. What was there to laugh about?
"Mademoiselle, do you remember our favourite childhood game?" She couldn't hide her puzzlement any longer.
"Why of course. We would always set traps for each other and see whether the other one would discover them, but I don't see what –"
All at once, realisation hit her right into the face.
She felt the strong urge to yell at him for fooling her, but managed to get a grip on herself. She took several deep breaths and felt finally able to speak without wanting to rip his head off, though the smile she wore was kind of forced.
"So, you thought it would be a nice laugh to bring chaos upon the Opera only to find out whether I would see through it?"
He gave her a slightly uneasy look. "Well … that was the general idea."
His discomfort appeased her, but she wasn't about to tell him that. Her eyes narrowed. "And it didn't occur to you that you might be overdoing it a bit?" Her voice must have given her away, for he relaxed visibly and gave her a boyish smile. "I was bored." She felt her anger melt and almost against her will she shook her head and muttered "Men!".
"What did you say, Mademoiselle?"
She turned towards the lake. "Oh, I was just wondering whether they will be found. What do you think?"
He came to her side. "Perhaps they will." He looked at her and smiled. "But one never knows."
A/N: So that was that. I hope some of you enjoyed it and that the end wasn't too lame.
Thanks to all those who reviewed, and especially to my bestest friend in the world, ForgottenIceTea, who helped me finish this. I love ya, honey!