Disclaimer: I do not own any characters, except for Dominique le Phantome.
A/N: This is a one-shot based off my story 'The Phantom of the Opera'. It's probably not vital that you read that first, but it would help. This is based when Dominique is about five years old, since a lot of her childhood was missed out in the actual story. So this is a little insight into what happened.
Does It Hurt?
Dominique sat under the piano, watching her father's feet, in their black leather shoes. The delicate piano music that he was playing echoed around her as she traced patterns into the leather with her small finger. Mama was busy in the study, and Dominique found that sort of thing very boring. She was perfectly happy to sit and listen to her father play.
"Papa?" she asked.
"Does it hurt when I touch your feet?"
She crawled out from under the piano and sat on the piano bench beside him, looking up at him. He paused in his playing as she took his left hand and examined it. The long fingers and narrow palm looked enormous in her tiny hands. She ran her fingers over it.
"Does it hurt when I hold your hand?" he smiled slightly.
"No, Dominique, it doesn't hurt."
She reached up and touched his left cheek. The white mask looked at her blankly and she asked,
"Does it hurt to wear your mask, Papa?"
"No. I've worn it for a very long time." He said quietly.
Dominique knew that she was being bad. She wasn't supposed to talk about Papa's mask, Mama had told her so. But Mama was busy, she wouldn't know. So Dominique said,
"Why do you wear a mask, Papa?"
"Because I look different from other people."
"No, you don't." She said frankly. Papa smiled sadly.
"I do underneath the mask."
Dominique stood on the piano bench. Even then, she could only just look Papa in the eye. She peered into his face dubiously.
"Got eyes. Two. Like me." She told him, pointing at his eyes. Papa looked surprised.
"Well… yes, I do."
"Got a mouth. I have a mouth. So does Mama." Dominique said, touching her lip. Papa nodded. Dominique considered him.
"Got a nose." She touched his nose with hers, so their faces were pressed together. Papa smiled and closed his eyes and Dominique slipped her arms around him. Slyly, she reached up as he closed his eyes and curled her fingers around the edge of the mask. Papa gasped as it fell away in her hands and reached for it but Dominique simply smiled.
"See? Like me! Eyes. Nose. Mouth. Ears." She pointed out each feature and Papa smiled gently. Dominique ran a hand over his deformed cheek, saying,
"Like Mama and Me and Uncle Thomas and everyone."
Papa closed his eyes for some time. When he opened them again Dominique saw, to her horror, that there were tears in his eyes. She pulled her hand back quickly.
"Does it hurt, Papa?" she asked fearfully. Papa shook his head.
"No, Dominique. It doesn't hurt anymore."
And then he hugged her tightly. Dominique hugged him back for a little while and then wriggled away. Grown ups always hugged for too long. She sat down on the bench beside him, still holding the white mask in her small hands.
"Sing, please." She asked politely. Papa smiled and began to play as Dominique played with the mask.
Papa looked down at saw her lifting it up to her face. He smiled.
"It's too big for you, Little One."
"Am I different now?" she asked, curiously, peering at him through the eyehole of the mask. Papa smiled down at her.
"No. But you're special."
"Papa special too. You have a mask. Does it hurt when you don't have your mask?" she asked, wondering if she should give it back. Papa considered it.
"It used to. Not anymore. Not with you and your mother with me."
"Oh, good. It's bad to hurt." Dominique said in a wise voice. She grew bored of the mask and put it on top of the piano, starting to play the piano, pressing each key carefully with one hand.