Author's Note: This is my first fanfiction, so thanks for reading! Hope you'll review and help me progress, too.

Disclaimer: I do not own The Phantom of the Opera books or musical. If I did, the endings would be quite different ;).

The rain beat heavily on Erik's black trench coat, but he hardly felt it. He was returning to his apartment after a full day of classes. He held the grip of his violin case tightly. Music theory's too easy, he thought to himself, the professor's never composed an original piece of work in his life. He lifted his free hand to smooth the long black hair that was matting across his face because of the rain. It was perfect (a/n: his deformities are more inside that out).

It was dark, and Erik regretted that he had decided to walk rather than take his car. He trudged on, the streetlights flickering on and off as he went. It was downtown, and it was dark. The people who walked here were either part of the dark city's nightlife or cops. To be anything else and be here after the sun went down was reckless, and Erik knew this. His hand went into the trench coat pocket, and he felt reassured after feeling its weight.

He was about to pass an alley when he heard a thud, and a suppressed cry. His eyes peered into the darkness, and he could see two figures clamoring over something. He heard a whimper. A girl. He watched as they advanced on her, unconsciously walking towards them. Without a real desire, he was involving himself. The assailants were smug, sure that the girl wouldn't put up any resistance.

"You're a sweet girl, aren't you?" One of them, the taller one, chuckled.

"A real doll." Purred the other. "You won't make any trouble, will you darling'?"

Erik was tempted to leave. The girl was so meek, letting them do as they pleased. She doesn't care, so why should I? He turned to leave when her voice reached his ears.

"Please," she called out, "help me." In the darkness, she saw his silhouette. Her eyes sought his, and he turned. He couldn't see her well, but she was looking at him like he was some savior. He pulled his weapon from his pocket.

"Oh, fuck it," he sighed. He dropped his violin case gently and watched as the two guys turned.

"Hey, what do you want?" The tall one said. He tapped the other's shoulder. "Get rid of him, Joe." The other, Joe, nodded and pulled something out of his pocket. A knife. How dull, Erik thought. He called out to Joe as he came close.

"Your hand at the level of your eyes." Erik moved to meet Joe. The assailant laughed, blade flashing lightly in the darkness.

"What's that mean?" Joe asked, and Erik said nothing. He turned back to his friend. "Hey, Ben, this guy's-" He couldn't finish, as Erik slipped the thin wire past the man's head and tightened it. Erik swept Joe into the darkness and as he dropped the knife and choked for breath, Erik moved his lips to whisper into Joe's ear.

"Nothing can save you now." Erik could feel his motions slowing, Joe's body giving up. "No one can save you-"

"No!" The girl cried out in the darkness. Erik slacked his hold as he turned to see her. He still wasn't close enough to make out features in the dark, but he could tell she was being held tight to the other man and was crying out to him, her free hand reached out to him instead of grasping to free herself. "Please, you're killing him!"

Except, perhaps, her. Erik wondered at her stupidity, hearing her tearful plea, but he released the man, letting his body slump to the ground unconsciously. He looked at the other man. "A deal. Let her go and take your friend, or I'll kill him." He kicked Joe in the side, and the man let out a groan. Erik stared down the tall man. "What will it be?"

The rain and his own heartbeat were the only things Erik could hear as the other man flung the girl down and ran out of the alley without his friend. Erik smirked. A real pal. He heard her stand, and she walked slowly towards him. He could see her better now. She was petite, with long, curly brown hair that shone even in the dark. She wore a light-colored dress, and her pale skin made her dark eyes stand out. Erik's heart continued its heavy beating as she came closer. She's.... She stopped, however, close to Joe. She reached down with her hand, then thought better on it and withdrew it fearfully. She looked up to Erik.

"Is he- did you..." She looked up at him with pleading eyes, and Erik shook his head.

"He's going to have quite a bruise later, though," Erik replied. He watched her stand quickly and come to him, her expression completely changed.

"Thank you..." Her face was nothing but relief as she looked up at him. Before he thought better of it, Erik spoke.

"You're unhurt?" He asked. She shook her head, then inspected him.

"Are you-"

"I'm fine," Erik assured her. "I got him from behind, after all." He was tempted to smile, but kept himself stoic. She walked past him hurriedly and knelt.

"Oh, your violin!" She cried out and reverently picked the case up. Erik turned, suddenly remembering it. He wanted nothing more than to rip the instrument from her hands, but she gently held it to him. "I hope it's not damaged."

He opened the case and inspected the piece. He put it back, satisfied. "It's fine." He took the case back.

"You-you were about to-"

"Go home, Christine. Don't ever tell anyone about this." He turned to leave. Walk away now, Christine. Before I change my mind.

"Wait!" Christine cried. "How-how do you know my name?" She walked behind him, trying to catch up to his quick gait. She placed a hand on his shoulder and made him face her. "Who are you?" Her eyes blazed with the question. He caught her hand and brought her close, his own eyes boring into hers.