Hello all!

I'm not really sure where this is going yet...I mean, I have some ideas, but basically this is going to be another phanfic out of the same vein of EC goodness...

For now, let's just call is a retelling, with some twists and changes.

Enjoy!

Nico


Christine couldn't see anything in front of her except for Meg's long blond locks, which had come free from the confines of a tight dancer's bun as the best friends raced up to the roof of the Opera Populaire, giggling despite the curses that were being flung at them by Joseph Buquet.

Together, they burst through the heavy door that separated them from the rant of Joseph. They leaned against the door, laughing and struggling to catch their breath.

"Meg, that was truly horrible," Christine admonished, still laughing.

"Oh poo," Meg replied, waving a hand at Christine. "It's his own fault! He shouldn't have left all those bottles where people can get to them!"

Christine had to agree with that. Meg had been planning on dumping out all of the alcohol Joseph Buquet had hidden haphazardly in his small lighting booth for some time now.

Unfortunately, Joseph had caught her in the middle of her crime, threatening to whip her senseless in his blind rage.

Meg had simply laughed, grabbing Christine's hand and heading to their favorite quiet spot, the roof.

"Your mother is going to murder you," Christine informed her friend, watching as she twirled in precise circles en pointe, her arms stretched as if she intended to embrace the sky.

"She'll get over it," Meg retorted. Christine smiled. It was true. Madame Giry, while firm and intimidating, was no match for the sweet charms of her only child.

The weather was beginning to turn chilly; Christine was painfully aware of the fact that Summer was now officially over and Autumn had come to take its place.

She sat unceremoniously on the base of one of the enormous statues that adorned the roof and began to untie her painfully tight ballet slippers, which had been on her feet for the past 12 hours or so of rehearsals.

"I don't know how you are possibly still dancing," Christine remarked as she watched Meg perform several perfect pirouettes. "My toes are nearly bloody with over-exertion."

"Mine are so calloused I don't even notice," Meg replied. "I've been doing this longer than you," she added with a wink.

Christine couldn't help the slight twinge of jealously that crept up her spine. Meg was, without question, the most gifted dancer in the ballet corps at the Opera Populaire. Whether her talent stemmed from long hours and immediate training with her mother or whether is was simply in her blood, Christine could not be certain, but the undeniable truth of the matter was that Meg would continually outshine anyone who dared to dance in her vicinity, even her very best friend.

Dancing had not been Christine's goal in life. For a time, she was convinced that she would become a composer, as her father was, stunning the world with arias that would make angels weep. Unfortunately, her father had died before he could pass along sufficient information along to his only child, resulting in Christine's basic understanding of the composition process, including her ability to read music, but stopping short of rendering her capable to create.

She had been taking lessons with Madame Giry for just a few months before Charles Daae passed, but the older woman immediately placed herself in the role of Christine's guardian, realizing what a sweet and vulnerable child she was, and all alone in the world.

Dancing alongside of little Meg Giry, who quickly became Christine's dearest friend, was the salve that ultimately protected the wounds Christine bore as the result of her father's death.

She knew it was only a matter of time before the wounds opened up, revealing the unhealed gore that was, in actuality, her shattered soul.


Erik watched as the little Giry girl twirled around like a twit. Of course, he wasn't here to watch Meg. It was Christine who was now drawing him dangerously into the light, forcing him up from the bowels of the Opera House more and more frequently.

His obsessive need to rest his eyes upon her was starting to become too frightening to ignore.

And although he was filled with self-loathing for his creeping, lurking ways, he continued to stalk her, watching her from shadows, longing to become more than just a voice in the darkness.

At first, he was satisfied with merely watching the young woman. She had been nothing more than just another ballet rat when she arrived more than a decade ago, with nothing notably special about her. But as she grew, Erik became more and more interested in everything about her. He found himself scheduling his day around hers, just so he could catch a glimpse of her in the halls as she scurried from her dressing room to the stage, and back again.

But soon, watching no longer satisfied him. He knew that on the eve of her 18th birthday, she would be granted a room of her own, an honor that the silly little ballet rats held in the utmost of importance.

Erik supposed, to them, their own living quarters, no matter how small or dank, signified something far more to the girls…independence…adulthood…freedom.

The very same night Christine had settled into her new room, Erik waited behind an astonishingly lavish two-way mirror, something he himself had set up in the room two days earlier, having heard that the small room was to become Christine Daae's personal living quarters.

He watched as the last of her friends filtered out slowly, hugging her and wishing her a happy birthday. That damned Meg took the longest, obviously jealous that her friend had turned 18 before she had.

"Oh, Christine…you're so lucky to not have to sleep in the ballet quarters anymore!" Meg said, lovingly running her hand over a new comforter that one of the seamstresses had made for Christine.

"You'll be 18 in just three months!" Christine replied, laughing.

The sound struck down Erik's spine like a xylophone.

"Three whole months!" Meg protested dramatically. Then the child looked thoughtful. "Perhaps Mama would let me spend a night or two with you!"

Christine laughed. She had no doubt that Madame Giry would grant such a request.

"Of course, I would have to plan to stay a night when you didn't have a gentleman caller," Meg said suddenly, raising her eyebrow suggestively.

Christine swatted at her friend. "Meg! What a perfectly scandalous thing to say! You know perfectly well that men are not allowed in our quarters…at any time…under any circumstance!"

Meg giggled. "That doesn't stop Mary," she said.

"Mary is…" Christine struggled to find an appropriate adjective for the promiscuous Mary, who was never without a story about her torrid love affairs…stories that were almost certainly untrue but always entertaining. "Mary is different," Christine finished tactfully.

"Mary is a whore," Meg replied.

"Meg!" Christine said, her lips in a perfect "o" of shock.

"It's true!" Meg protested.

Although he was unseen, Erik smirked in agreement. "Whore" was the perfect word to describe Mary Dupont.

Eventually, the interfering Meg departed. Erik watched, feeling like a dirty old man, as Christine flitted about the room, preparing herself for bed. Although she was still steeped in her modest traditions of changing into her nightclothes in such a manner that prevented her from ever being completely nude, Erik averted his eyes until he heard her ease into the old, creaking bed.

For several minutes, Erik remained perfectly still, watching Christine in the dark. Her eyes darted nervously around the room. A single candle remained burning on her nightstand.

It was obvious that she was frightened to spend the night alone.

Without thinking, Erik began to sing, a soft, melodious tune. With his years of practiced ventriloquism, he was able to make it seems as if he was singing right beside her…almost as if he was laying stretched out next to her.

At first, Christine reacted with confusion. Several times she sat up, looking around as if someone had entered her room.

Eventually, she eased back onto her pillows, content to just listen to the soft music.

Erik's heart melted as he watched her eyes slide closed…

A single word escaped her lips…

"Daddy…"

Erik was drawn from his memories as he watched as Meg and Christine slowly left the roof, their giggling voices cut off abruptly by the slam of the rooftop door.

Many subsequent nights had been spent by Erik in quiet appreciation of the beauty that was Christine Daae.

But tonight would be different.

Tonight he would finally reveal himself.