General Author's Notes: This is AU, for I haven't seen the sequels to the first ANOES and therefore have no idea as to what happened to Nancy. Also, this isn't too romantic. Yes, it involves the pairing of Freddy/Nancy, but it's more like desire/lust than actual love.

Constructive reviews are always welcome, as I do like to learn from my mistakes. However, flames will be promptly ignored, so don't bother trying.

Disclaimer: I don't own "A Nightmare on Elmstreet," "Phantom of the Opera," or the myth of Hades and Persephone. I am only using them for entertainment purposes only, and do not claim to be making any money off of this.

Point of No Return

(The Thorn and the Rose)

The rose was her favorite flower. It was unlike any other flower, in that it contradicted itself with its beauty, and its danger. Yes, the velvet-like, scarlet petals were elegant in a traditional sense of eloquence, much like old churches. But at the same time, connected by a long, plain stem, were the thorns, the sharp, ugly scars on an otherwise perfect design.

She liked to think it was the romantic inside her. She wanted to believe that she adored roses for simplicity. But a voice deep within told her otherwise. The rose reminded her of him, for he too could be beautiful, or he could be cruel, sharp. She preferred the petals to the thorns, as any woman would. But she knew that, without the thorns, the rose wouldn't be so intriguing, he wouldn't be as interesting.

Nancy Thompson rolled over onto her side, grimacing at the prospect of another sleepless night. She cursed her traitorous thoughts for daring to conjure of him in her mind. She sighed. She had only herself to blame. She was the one who accepted her mother's invitation to come back home and stay for the winter holidays. She was the one who was eager to catch up with old friends, excited to walk down her old street.

And, deep inside, she was curious to see him, the former stranger of her dreams. Did he still exist? Oh, she had no doubts about that. He was immortal, from what she had witnessed. But why in God's name was she so eager to catch a glimpse of him again? He had nearly been the death of her; he had ended the lives of so many of her loved ones.

Morbid curiosity. She scolded herself, knowing the danger behind her desires. All she wanted to do was sleep. That was all. She had no other intentions for that evening, or at least, that's what she told herself.

It was a cold December that lurked behind her windows. Inside, she was comforted by her warm blankets and heated air. She grew weary with each passing sleepless night, for this wouldn't be the first she spent up all night. Her mother began to notice, and she was worried. Nancy passed if off as insomnia, and nothing more. Truthfully, she refused to acknowledge what she knew was preventing her from getting to sleep. Now, all of the fatigue she had battled for the past two days began another assault, this time catching her while she was most vulnerable. Her eyelids grew heavy, and her thoughts became distorted, obscure. Within moments, the darkness had claimed her, as the watchful thorns of the rose smirked in triumph.

It was as if he were Hades watching Persephone frolicking in the open fields, watching her. Nancy. The name that had haunted him for years. She had run as soon as she had been able to, of course. She ran for the big city, immersing herself in the college lifestyle and atmosphere. Freddy knew. He had been watching her the whole time.

Endowed with the powers of the dream world, he was able to, even if he couldn't travel on his own, keep an eye on the most important of his victims. She had defeated him, a feat no other had yet to accomplish in his time. He grew bitter with a starvation for revenge throughout all these years.

But now that he saw her again, an odd sort of stirring overwhelmed his thoughts of extracting the blood from her body. She had grown from an adolescent girl into a woman. It showed in the way she held herself. Watching her return to Springfield, he had noticed a novel dignity in the way she walked. She no longer wore the frumpy trends of her adolescence; now she took a more logical approach to her own sense of style.

But why was he concerned with her? Why was he not envisioning a most gruesome and just reward for her? It was not at all like him to wander too far from the task at hand. Now, it seemed his mind was willing to forget his years of (what he considered) research in favor of a woman who had almost been the end of him.

Like Hades watching Persephone, that's what it was. Something in that girl called out to him. She held a quality within her that he needed to obtain. And like Hades, Freddy Kruger was not going to be stopped.

Nancy opened her eyes to quite a strange sight. She was no longer lying on her bed in the safety of her bedroom, but upon the cold, cruel surface of a…stage? She looked about her to find herself in the most decadent theater she'd ever seen in her life. I must be dreaming. She told herself while gazing around in wonder at the eloquently painted décor of the ceiling.

It certainly didn't look modern to her. No, from what she'd learned in history, the location she currently found herself stranded in looked like something out of the Victorian era.

She stood up, and was greeted with yet another surprise as she discovered that she was wearing a gown. She frowned in disdain. Dresses never were her taste. She found them, despite their feminine loveliness, to be a hassle not worth the outrageous prices they were usually advertised for. She looked down at herself to see that her dress was of the purest white, another factor bothering her. She never liked the color white for clothing. It was usually sheer, see through. Once more, it wasn't a stable color. Nancy liked stability, especially when it came to her closet.

What is going on? It took a few minutes for Nancy to register the only possibility behind this grandiose scene. "Damn." She muttered, knowing that it was Freddy behind all of this. He clearly intended for it to be a game of sorts, seeing how he wasn't present yet. Yes, he wanted Nancy to find her. He would never make it as easy as appearing only seconds after the dream had begun.

Fine, you bastard. If you want to play a game, we'll play a game. With grim determination, Nancy began in a direction to stage left. It was important that she kept her guard up. After all, this stage could be the last thing she'd ever see.

The idea had come to his beckon in a stroke of genius. Yes, he would get what he wanted from his Penelope. But to do so, he would also intertwine the tale of a different love story. He hid beneath his make-shift opera house, waiting. He wondered how long it would take Nancy to figure out the guise of his plans. He knew that the story of the opera singer and the supposed ghost that haunted her was well known. He wondered how long it would take for her to recognize the plot. She wasn't a stupid girl. No, far from it. She had been clever when he'd last seen her in reality, and he was sure that hadn't changed.

Wait. Nancy? Clever? He snorted from behind a mask that covered his entire face. She was a naïve girl who had just gotten lucky. What the hell had he been thinking? He shuddered, wondering just what it was that had come over him. He intended to kill her as soon as possible, if not upon her arrival to the chambers beneath the stage. Strangely, while part of him lusted for this, the majority of him seemed to be holding back.

Perhaps death would be too kind. He mused, determined not to think of the real reason why he didn't want her killed. His garish grin appeared again soon after, as he thought of the myth of Persephone yet again. Torture was right up his alley, so to speak, as long as he didn't tire quickly of it. As long as Nancy stayed in Springfield, and as long as she slept at night, he would have access to her. But she would be returning to college soon enough, no doubt. He knew that she would then be out of his reach. But he could find ways to bind her to him, and he had an idea as to just how he wanted to do it. But first he would need an enchanted object, something appealing to Nancy.

He closed his eyes briefly, and before long, crimson and olive blended together before his mind in the formation of petals and thorns. That was it. The rose would take the part the pomegranate before it had played so well. His smile contorted as his sinister pride settled in. Yes, before she awoke, Freddy would make Nancy Thompson his.

Nancy paused. She wanted to smack herself for thinking so alike to her days as a teenager. She had wanted to, right away, explore, to search. She wanted the game to begin so that its end would arrive quickly. She had been blindsided by her own arrogance. Who was she, to think she could wander about and hope to live? God only knew what Freddy had planned for her.

First things first. She had to figure out the meaning of her surroundings. She had earlier guessed herself to be in some form of a theater from the nineteenth century. She glanced down again at her dress, wondering if its style would be of any help unraveling the mystery around her. At her first glance, she thought it to be plain white. Now, she could see intricate designs embedded within the frills and lace of the gown. Lace bordered the cuffs and bottom of it, making it seem all the more like a nightgown.

This most certainly isn't the style of today. She noted, fingering some of the cloth in her hands curiously. She moved her gaze away to look out at the intimidating figures of red velvet staring back at her. Strange how she was the only person there. But then, it wasn't as strange when she thought of Freddy.

Yes, Freddy. She reluctantly gave voice to thoughts she'd wanted dead and buried. Why was she thinking of him, even after all of these years? Why did she even care if he was still around? She was done with him, done with his madness. He was a murderer, cold-blooded and ruthless. He wanted her dead. Why did this reality seem to have no effect on her curiously wistful thoughts?

She was afraid to say that she didn't hate him. She should have. He killed both her good friends and her boyfriend. And yet there was a part of her calmly explaining that there was reason behind his cruelty, purpose in his abilities. What in the world was wrong with her? She knew better than anyone else that she shouldn't be thinking such thoughts about the man who had left her life in ruins. She wanted to cry in despair, in frustration, but she wasn't about to give him the triumph of watching her tears fall.

Freddy watched her, somewhat in amazement. He couldn't read minds, but he seemed to be gifted at deciphering the emotions he could see behind every foe's eyes. In hers, he was truly stunned by the mixture of distaste, fear, and…attraction? He simply stared. He wasn't expecting anything but hatred from her. What had he done to be spared her spear of hatred? Well, at least the melting pot of emotions gave him somewhat of an advantage. He could use her confusion against her in the cruelest of methods. Somehow, the thought wasn't as appealing as it was several years before.

Was he going soft? How could he want to see his nemesis in anything but pain? He was confused, and he hated it. He hated the lack of control he had over his emotions right now. Hadn't his hormones died the day he became an adult?

No, no. He couldn't be…attracted to Nancy Thompson, could he? The creeping sensation in his stomach alerted him to a very unwanted answer. No, no. It just couldn't be. Then what was the reasoning behind watching her all of those years? He could hardly believe he'd gotten to the point of arguing with himself. He knew he had a purpose in keeping an eye on Nancy. He vowed for revenge. He had been, of course, looking for her weaknesses. He shook, wanting to rid himself of the sensations. No matter what it was about her that sparked a strange sort of longing within him, Freddy promised vengeance. No one made a fool of him and got away unscathed.

But for the moment, he found himself growing more and more impatient. The girl was taking far too long in reaching him. Hell, she'd wake up before he could bind her to him forever. And who knew if she'd fall back within his realm again, now that she was aware of his presence once more? Freddy bared a most unholy grin. Like Hades, he had crafted his plans. And like Persephone, Nancy was the unsuspecting victim.

"Excuse me." A voice as delicate as a child's called out, retracting Nancy from her thoughts. She whirled behind her to find a young girl looking no more than twelve at her side. "Aren't you supposed to be in the dressing chambers, getting ready?"

Nancy was confused. Getting ready for what? But then, reality (or as close as she could get to reality in the dream realm) hit her. Of course. Freddy had become impatient, as he always did. She wasn't surprised, not any more.

"Oh, I apologize, I forgot." Nancy replied, her voice as empty as the stage she stood upon. The little girl beckoned her to follow, and she obeyed. Struggling was no use; it would only make matters worse. She knew that much from her past experiences. No, if she ever hoped to wake up alive, she had to pretend, at least, that she was playing by his rules.

The pair exited the theater into the most marvelous hall Nancy had ever seen. But she had no time to pause and admire the golden artwork. She didn't need to fuel Freddy's anger. Perhaps by deceiving him with her submissiveness, she could in turn gain the element of surprise.

Freddy wasn't that stupid or complacent. As much as she loathed to admit it, Freddy was clever and would soon figure out her guise. Freddy. Why in God's name did that name not compel fear within her? Why was it that excitement stirred upon thinking of it, instead of venomous resentment? Did she lack the ability to hate?

I should hate him, for everything's he done. To me, my family, my friends. She didn't care to pay attention to the route they traveled. She knew it wouldn't matter anyway. Even if she tried to run off in the same direction they had come from, Freddy could always use his powers to stop her. After all, the dream realm was his territory. She imagined his powers would be tenfold, here.

Nancy almost ran into the girl who served as her guide. They had stopped outside a wooden door that, when compared to the rest of this part of the dream world, looked dull and uninviting. She knew that what lay behind the door was far from dull, and twice as unpleasant.

"I'll wait for you, if you want." The girl said, a faux shyness coating her tone sugary sweet. Nancy knew better than that.

"Don't bother." She snapped, her patience all but gone as she realized she had no way out. She had no plan; she had no weapons with which to fight. She was doomed, that, she understood. And that knowledge was all she had, as she turned the knob. Her hands were white with fright and tension, and as she opened the door, she looked down to discover her hands had been shaking.

"Here goes nothing." She tried to reassure herself. The attempt hardly made a difference. She found the semi-darkness of the candle lit room to be more frightening than the dark. At least in the dark, shadows couldn't tempt her with their wicked designs and intimidating features.

Nancy was somewhat startled to find the room was empty. She had been expecting him. Nothingness is what she saw. Confused, but none the more relieved, she entered the room as the door behind her slammed shut. She jumped, almost screaming. That, and the cold, bitter breeze that embraced the room and everything in it, supported her belief of some sort of supernatural presence.

When the haunting melodies of an organ drifted towards her from seemingly nowhere, Nancy did scream. She recognized the music, she knew the scenario. The Phantom of the Opera? She thought. She shouldn't have been so surprised, really. The character of Erik reminded her strongly of Freddy. Perhaps this was why she'd never finished the novel, never bothered attending the Broadway production.

She looked around, almost in awe, until one object in the room held her interest above all others. The tall, golden framed mirror leering at her from the corner looked as if it had seen better days. Within its pool of truth, she saw herself, pale and innocent beneath the gown of Christine Daae. She knew instantly the role of Freddy. It was only too obvious.

She glared harder at the mirror, as if willing it to bring her to him. But why would she want to go to him? Didn't she want to just awake in her nice, warm bed? Of course, that would never happen. Not until he was through with her. She sadly averted her eyes away from the mirror, knowing she had only a few moments left of sacred freedom.

Freddy smirked in grim satisfaction. His spell of fear had worked beautifully, even without his interference. The girl was striking herself with all of the possibilities her mind was conjuring. Of course, that was his reputation's doing. He knew that she saw him as a monster of sorts. He still couldn't understand why she didn't hate him, or why he wasn't as thrilled by the look of fear upon her face.

What was wrong with him? Didn't he want her to fear him? Of course he did. He just didn't know why he wasn't comfortable with the terror so clearly writing across her features.

"Come to me, my angel of music." He called out in a faux timbre. She was ready as she ever would be to face him, he could see that. He revealed himself in the mirror, still dressed as the glorious phantom. "Come to me Christine." He beckoned once more, disposing of the mirror in favor of a doorway, leading to the darkness of his Underworld. He watched as she did as she was told, somewhat disturbed and eager at the look of excitement he thought he saw in her eyes. But his thoughts soon drifted away as the harmony of her screaming met his ears. Soon, she would belong to him.

Nancy screamed as the darkness consumed her. She was falling, and that was her only concern at the moment. "Oh God, please don't let me die!" She pleaded with the ebony air around her, as if it could reach out and catch her. She didn't bother holding back her tears this time. She could care less whether he saw her cry, so long as he allowed her to live.

It seemed an eternity had passed her by as she fell. She didn't truly know the length of her fall, or the exact moment she found herself mysteriously stable upon the solid stone of a cave floor. All she knew was that her end was near, quite possibly, and she was in too much of a frantic state to do much about it.

Her desire to run had grown alarmingly. It swelled over her pessimistic belief that it would be no use, sending adrenaline to her legs as she bolted. There was only one direction she could go, she realized with despair, slowing down as she did so. Towards the garish crimson light glowing at a distance she reluctantly walked. The red sharply put imagery of blood and massacres into her mind.

With every step, she grew closer. Soon, she found herself enveloped in the light, right before the masked face of her greatest enemy and greatest curiosity. With a mockery of a bow, Freddy Kruger shed the garb of Erik in favor of his natural form in greeting.

"Hello, my dear." He sneered, his eyes pinning her to the spot. Though, she couldn't help but noticing a spark of something odd within his predatory stare. Was that concern she saw? She cursed her heart for pounding harder at the thought of his concern. She was certain he could hear it, and she was certain he was enjoying it.

"What the hell do you want with me?" She whispered, unable to yell at him. She wanted to scream at him, curse him for all of the things he'd done to bring misery to her life.

His laugh wasn't quite as sinister as she remembered it. No, his laughter now seemed faded, reluctant. Was she imagining things?

"Everything." He replied, his grin looking plastered on his face. There was something off about the way he spoke, the way he looked at her with…lust?

She shuddered as her knees buckled. Damn him, damn him, damn him! What magic was he working to make her feel like this?

"I owe you nothing." She spat, though even she could tell it was weak. She continued on anyway. "It is you who owe me for all of the lives you've taken. Every important person in my life you murdered. I owe you nothing." She repeated her previous statement, hoping she didn't sound as confused and as lost as she was.

"So you say." He replied, looking eager. Nancy took a step back. She had never seen him like this. "But in truth, it is you who does indeed owe me. You nearly caused the end of my kingdom, my reign."

"Oh, and what a beautiful kingdom it is." She snapped, her hands now on hips. The pressure of her conflicting feelings for the man was eating away at her fear, bit by bit. She felt bolder with each word that she spoke.

"You'll see." Freddy grinned, his smile looking genuine this time. Nancy stood frozen, wondering what he meant by that. And then, before another wave of anger could overcome her, she was in his arms and he had pressed his lips to hers. Her inner voice dragged down what remained of her sanity, thoroughly pleased. Nancy couldn't help but groan in surprise, and then desire. She couldn't deny it any longer. She was past the point of no return. She felt something for Freddy, though God only knew why.

He broke the kiss in what seemed like hours later. Nancy could hardly breathe. Her vision was distorted, blurring everything else except him. "What-" She began to ask, but was interrupted by the thrust of an object into her hand. She looked down and gasped at the sight of the rose in her grasp. It was the most beautiful flower she'd ever seen. It's red seemed even more dramatic than usual, illuminating the soft petals in the darkness. But the stinging sensation alerted her to the thorns, and to Freddy's laughter.

"You belong to me now, Persephone." His glee was audible in every syllable he spoke. "With this rose, you are bound to me by night, wherever you may be. You belong to the dream world by night, forever more."

Before she could even begin to take in what he'd just said, his glittering eyes and everything else within her line of vision began to fade to black. Soon thereafter, she became numb to awareness, to everything that just happened.

Nancy awoke with a startled yelp. Mother of God, was she really awake? Was she truly alive? She looked around at the winter sunlight peering in at her through the windows. Yes, she was home, and yes, she was alive. She grinned to herself. Thank God. It had only been a dream.

That's what she thought, as she picked herself from the bed and stretched. It was a beautiful December morning, and she was on vacation, with no homework or tests to bring her down. She had gone over to her closet and picked out some form of an outfit to wear, tossing it on the bed. She turned to make sure it had all landed properly when she saw…

The blood-red petals, the evergreen stem, and the gruesome thorns, lying innocently across her pillow. Oh, no. Every cheerful feeling she had managed to collect upon waking had now evaporated. Dread gripped her tightly, as Freddy's words from last night ran in a macabre repetition in her head: "With this rose, you are bound to me, wherever you may be. You belong to the dream world by night, forever more."

The rose had once been her favorite flower. The red-stained petals conjured thoughts of romance in her mind, while the thorns provided an interesting contrast. Now, the red spoke to her of blood, horror. The thorns outnumbered the petals, smirking demonically in their victory. The rose had once been beautiful to her. Now, the rose was her prisoner.