Hi there! First off I want to thank anyone who is bothering to read this story. I love POTO, and most of all Erik. I hope this story grabs hold of your enjoyment and encourages you to read on. At this point I am going to try to keep the story Kay based, with a little ALW and Leroux. I also realize that everyone has their own vision of what Erik looks like, but for those of you who are curious to my point of view: The Erik in this Phan phic looks mainly like Gerard Butler (sorry he's too hot not to be) with the Susan Kay based deformity, though for some reason I always picture Erik with half a nose…So that's just so no one gets confused. Also I want to say I own nothing except the character Mia. Please enjoy and please review. Your obedient servant,


Portrait of the Soul

Her heart was pounding all she could see were those eyes staring down at her. The man dressed head to toe in black looking at her, at least he seemed to be, behind the mask. The feel of his leather gloved fingers digging into her arms began to sting. She knew it was not on purpose that man had just helped her, had he not? Her thoughts raced back to how this happened. How had she encountered the man or ghost? This god or demon?

Mia had her own reasons for coming to the opera house on that auditioning day, however unlike the other fighting Prima Donnas she was there to offer a different talent.

"Excuse me?" She asked an older woman, with long auburn braided hair.

Madam Giry who was busy watching the squabbling girls fight for their chance in the lime light turned to her. "The Prima Donna auditions are going on over there." She motioned with her cane.

"Actually, I am here about the opening for the designer? For the sets?" Mia asked feeling awkward that this lady who had suddenly raised her eyebrow at her. "Oh? You are here for the set design job?"

"Yes Madam…"

"Giry, Madam Giry. I am the ballet instructor here. Please come with me…"


"Mademoiselle Mia?"

"Yes." Mia smiled following the woman. " I do not believe we have ever had a woman set designer. I hope you are up for the challenge."

"I am use to receiving criticism from employers for being a woman in such an area. However, I am always up to the challenge of proving them wrong. Are the managers here very…I better not." Mia sighed looking down at her feet as Madam Giry continued to lead her on.

"Old fashion?" Madam Giry helped.

"Sexiest was my first thought, but yes that term would do-oh!" Mia turned slightly avoiding being collided into by a woman who was running out of the opera in tears.

"Must have gotten turned down." Giry sighed. "Are you alright?" She asked continuing to walk.

"Yes. Is it always this hectic?" Mia asked continuing to follow the ballet mistress.

"Not until rehearsals begin. Today we have auditions for a new Prima Donna. Christine Daae our previous star recently eloped so we are without a star currently."

"She sure picked a interesting time to get married. The season has just begun. Did you not just finish a production of Faust?"

"We did. Christine Daae had…her reasons. Here we are Ms. Mia" Giry said opening the manger's door. "M. Richard, M. Moncharmin? This woman is here for her interview."

One of the men, whom Mia assumed was the manager, stood up and walked over. "Madam Giry the Prima Donna auditions are taking place on stage."

"She is here for the set design job."

"I beg your pardon." The other manager asked standing up and walking to face the girl.

"M. Richard, M. Moncharmin? I am Mia Sclar. I brought some sketches if you would care to look at them. I also have a resume from the Opera Talanan in Russia that I use to work for before I came to Paris."

"Talanan?" M. Richard asked, as Mia handed him the resume. "You were the set designer there?"

"Yes Messier." Mia answered watching the managers look at each other.

"Let me see that." M. Moncharmin asked snatching the letter up. "It does not say why you left. Were you dismissed?"

"No Messier. I left on my own, for personal reasons." Mia answered clipping her final words to show she had no intention of going into detail.

"Please understand Mademoiselle, we have no ill feelings about a woman set designer, however it is a lot of work."

"For who?" Mia asked. "As for the hard work of actually building the sets and bringing my designs and ideas to life that is what your stage hands, and scene shifters are for, are they not?" Mia sighed. "Messier. I assure you that my ideas will not only contribute to the opera but also increase its affect. Would the audience have the same feeling if a play like Faust took place on a bare stage with an orange backdrop? I am just asking for a chance." Mia declared digging into her bag and pulling out a folder. "I assure you, you wont be disappointed." With that she handed the managers a few sketches she had made for various production in Russia.

The managers stared at the sketches and handed them back and forth to each other before meeting each other's gaze. "When can you start?"

It had not been easy being the only female designer with an all male stage crew. The new production was coming in a few weeks and things were become more hectic by the hour. After rereading the scenes of the play and speaking to the seamstresses about the costuming it had not taken Mia long to get the designs under way.

Her biggest problem was getting her crew to listen to her. She had handed the main stagehand her sketches along with a very detailed list of instructions of materials and paint colors to be used. So far no one was taking 'the little set designer' as they were calling her seriously. It was around seven o'clock in the evening when the stage crew called it quits and went to their bed, bottle, or women leaving Mia alone.

Frustrated from another day of not being taken seriously she prepared herself to stay late and finish what they would not. "Is it so wrong to want perfection?" Mia asked herself as she continued to paint violet into the 'sky' piece for the scenery. "Why do we need to paint purple in the sky?" The stagehands had frequently asked her.

She just kept asking them about the last time they witnessed an evening sunset that was just plan bright orange.

"Well no sun set is just bright orange Mademoiselle Sclar."

"Then why do you keep painting it that color? We have the paint. Mix some red in there then add blue towards the top to create the violet for a fast approaching night. Surely in your life time you have stopped to watch the sun set." Mia snapped. She hated to lose her temper at work, but they were doing this on purpose. She had to compose herself so they wouldn't get the better of her.

"Well not recently sense you have us here slaving away till nightfall." One stagehand argued. The head stagehand, Theo, elbowed him reminding him that they were talking to a lady, before approaching Mia.

"Listen Mademoiselle, we mean no disrespect, however Rome was not built in a day, right?" He smiled weakly.

"No," Mia sighed. "It wasn't, but it could have been built, destroyed, then rebuilt with in a year if the crew was dedicated enough!"

Regardless to say Mia's outburst didn't help win over the crew considering they left shortly after. Studying the now evening sky that was painted on the scenery Mia gave a satisfied nod. Deciding to go to take a hot bath and go to bed Mia began walking off the stage when out of her peripheral vision she saw something fall. Turning her head she realized a corner of the backdrop had come undone from the rafters of the stage.

Perfection in her work was always important to Mia. Perhaps that was why she climbed the ladder and balanced herself on the catwalk. She began moving slowly on the beam high above the stage holding the corner of the fallen backdrop in her hands. Reaching for the wire to clip the ring attached to the material on Mia thought she saw something else move, something black.

Telling herself she had a long day and her eyes were playing tricks on her Mia continued to reach for the wire, until she realized she was reaching to far. The whole thing happened so fast, but at the same time too slow. Mia felt herself falling; she watched her feet slip off the beams. The feel of gravity pulling at her body as she was pulled down, and then…up.

Mia screamed at first from the falling feeling and then from the tight grip on her arms. Gasping in confusion she turned her head around to see a man dressed from head to foot in black. All that Mia could make out besides the black was a white mask that covered his face from the forehead to just above the lips. Green eyes peered back at her with a gold huge near the pupils. A fire seemed to be inside those eyes, a soul of fire, hidden in those feline like orbs. Mia didn't know what to say. Desperately she tried to move her lips to form a thank you, but nothing came out. She was mesmerized by those eyes.

Just as she had found her voice she heard others rushing into the theatre. The voices were demanding who screamed. Theo the head of her crew who had just been outside the theatre was calling for her. Some other voices were screaming about some sort of ghost. Mia glanced at the man who still had a firm lock on her arms before turning to look at the crowd gathering on stage looking up at her.

"Mademoiselle Sclar? Are you alright?" Theo yelled up. "What are you doing up there?"

'Your job' Mia thought looking back to thank the man who had saved her only to find he was not there. Mia did a circle looking for the man in the mask, almost losing her balance a second time.

"Mademoiselle Sclar, are you mad? Come down here this instant!" Another crewmember called.

"Did the opera ghost attack you?" A chorus girl asked.

"It's the ghost! He's back!" Another one exclaimed.

"Ghost?" Mia mumbled to herself. 'He couldn't have been, I felt him. The grip he had on me was very mortal.'

After climbing down the ladder and explaining that she had been doing her crews job the ballet girls left, and Theo apologized along with promising to have a strong talk with the rest of his men. Mia thanked him for finally coming around and was preparing to leave for that hot bath she promised herself earlier when she heard it. A voice that sent chills down her spine. The voice seemed to whisper softly in her left ear.

"You will do well to take care Mademoiselle Sclar, I would not want my new designer to fall to her death, that would be rather unfortunate indeed." Mia whipped around searching for the voices owner. She expected to see anything: a man, a demon, that man in the mask, but all she saw was nothing. Nothing but the opera house's interior, maybe there really was a ghost.

Thank you once again for reading! All I ask of you is to take two seconds and review. I am paranoid enough to write this considering it is my first Phan phic. I appreciate constructive criticism, but please do realize all flames will be used to light the lamps of the torture chamber. Thank you again and please review if you want to see a second chapter that will have a whole lot of Erik!