Hey all! I'm baaack! I wrote this fic in response to a challenge made on the Meg/Erik livejournal community. The rules of the challenge are:
Setting: At the masque ball whilst looking for the pair of domino clad young lovers, Erik happens upon a bored looking ballerina, thus encouraging him to ask her to dance...But still looking for C/R of course ;)
Requirements: L!Erik, a kiss (not on the lips of course maybe the back of her hand or forehead.)As L!Erik made a stir in the book masked ball I expect it to be the same in the fic.
Line: He extended a long, pale elegant hand, and felt a prick of excitement when she accepted, placing her tiny, glittered one in his as he lead her down the stairs.

It started out Leroux, and it kind of has ALW influences. I hope you all like it! Please tell me what you think!

Disclaimer: I own nothing that you recognize. Because you all know as well I do that if I had Erik, I would not be online. Ever again. ;)

A slim figure enshrouded in pre-dawn glow moved silently along the empty Parisian street. A solemn church loomed into view and the young woman's pace hastened, though she moved silent as a ghost. Her feet were bare; the white material of her gown ticked her naked ankles. A large black cape sheltered her fail frame from the late winter chill and hid the rest of her elegant ball gown. Soon her quick steps brought her to the impressive oak doors of the church. It creaked open, the first sound of her journey, and she traveled up the aisle, her pale cheeks glowing in the candlelight. Silently she genuflected before the massive crucifix and waited in prayer. Before long her breathing slowed, and her eyes began to droop in sleep instead of reverence before an elderly priest entered the sanctuary. His steps faltered at the sight of this small girl engulfed in smooth velvet and harsh grief. He approached her silently, though she looked up as he came closer, her eyes red from crying and wind.

"Come you for confession, child?" His voice was soft and kind, and the girl couldn't help but smile at it. She made to stand, but what little color in her cheeks left as she grew faint, and she sat down again, drawing concern from the old priest.

"Yes Father. I come for peace and forgiveness. I'm afraid I am quite tired, though and must make my peace here, for the confessional is so far away." The holy man's eyes traveled from the soft-spoken girl to the curtain of the confessional not five feet away. He smiled, taking pity on the poor shivering creature.

"Of course, my dear. I don't believe God will mind." His smile grew even kinder and he stiffly sad beside her, his solemn mask slipping on. She crossed herself swiftly, fear shaking her hand. She spoke quietly, starting her plea with God.

"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned." She looked into the old man's eyes, shocking him with her dead stare. "It has been two weeks since my last confession." The priest nodded, urging her silently to continue, also noting the sense of dead settling around her like the cape draped across her shoulders. She took a deep breath, calming her thoughts and gathering the courage to do this. "I have had…impure thoughts. About a man. A man from the opera house."

"What kind of thoughts?" The young woman blushed, casting her tired eyes downward.

"I couldn't possibly…"

"I see," the priest said slowly and with a sigh. "Well, child, you must pray-"

"Oh, Father, please wait to gibe me my penance until I have told my gravest sin." The old man's eyes narrowed for her voice grew slightly in volume and pitch, sounding frantic and echoing off the walls. He motioned for her to continue, though he could not think of any sin one so young would commit worse than adultery.

"This man, that I have had thoughts about, he came to me tonight at the masked ball." The girl's voice grew faraway as she thought on why she came to the church….

The Opera House was pulsing with food, song, and excitement. Its foyer burst with hundreds of the finest masked creatures, mocking the one mask that watched them all in contempt. Meg, standing at the edge of the dancers waiting for Christine, knew he was there, waiting just as she. Meg had yet to see her friend tonight, though she could not remember what her friend had told her which mask she wore. Meg's dress was elegant, yet simple, a white fabric that caught the flames of the candles surrounding her in a glitter of fairy lights, and the neckline of her gown caught the eye of many a wealthy patrons. She sighed at their drunken behavior, switching her silver mask from one gloved hand to the other. The hours grew longer, and she could not contain her boredom.

Erik, too, was losing his patience. All night he had been waiting for Christine in the shadows of dance hall, his eyes searching for her beautiful face covered by a black domino. He also waited for that sniveling boy who had been grasping at her skirt hem the past weeks to appear so he could endure the full wrath of the Opera's phantom. His searching had so far proved futile, for there were many black dominos, yet he could not find Christine. He had also found himself distracted by the young woman standing almost directly in front of him, though quite a length away, her black hair contrasting beautifully with her snow-white dress. He had not seen her face, yet there was something about her that he recognized. He could tell by the frequents heaving of shoulders with sighs, and the stiffness she reacted each drunken pass with that she grew tired of this display as well.

Suddenly, Erik's eyes moved to the black-clad box-keeper, who seemed to appear out of thin air, as she cut through the light color's of the dancers, a white shawl in her grasp, the edge dusting the floor slightly. The young woman stood straighter, as she too saw the woman heading in their direction and turned quickly, allowing Erik to see her pretty face. It was Meg Giry, the ballet rat who was his biggest supporter. His heart quickened at the sight of her, though he ignored it, and the sight of her low neckline now answered his question of her mother's fury.

Quickly the ballet dancer moved, hoping to be lost in crowd, though she knew her mother would not be swayed. Erik watched this cat and mouse game with detached amusement, before a devious plan formed in his mind. If Christine would not willingly show herself to him, as he believed to do be hiding, waiting for the weeping Vicomte, the he would draw her out with jealousy. Swiftly, Erik donned his mask; the finishing touch to his costume before leaving to make his entrance, with Meg Giry on is arm.

Meg crouched behind a pillar in the corridor by the boxes, braying she lost her mother in the whirl of dancers Meg may not have appreciated the advances the dress attracted, but she would not be coddle like a child. Meg willed her breath to slow, her ears straining for any sound. Suddenly she heard slow footsteps behind her, the plush carpet swallowing the crispness of dress shoes, and her heart sunk. Maman had found her. With the grace of the greatest prima ballerina, Meg stood and turned to face her mother's anger. She gasped in surprises as she found herself under the glare of the Red Death. As his golden eyes bore into hers, she realized that was Erik behind the elaborate mask and she sighed in relief. Neither of them spoke, though all as revealed between them.

He had never noticed the little ballerina before, though she was no longer the little girl who whispered outlandish tales to frightened ballet rats. No, now she was a beautiful woman who attracted the eye of both man and phantom. The thought of other rich men courting this precious jewel coursed jealousy though him. This reaction confused him, and unnerved him. His heart was too full of Christine for him to love any other, yet there was a deeper desire that she wouldn't-or couldn't-fulfill. As he stared into Meg's deep black eyes, he knew that if he wanted her, she would come to him without mirror and light tricks. She would be willing to spend her life with him, and he would let her.

Silently, he extended a long, pale, elegant hand, and felt a prick of excitement when she accepted, placing her tiny glittered one in his as he led her down the stairs. As they descended, the entire room crashed into stunned silence. Meg Giry, on the arm of Red Death? Even Madame Giry's eyes widened in surprise, then narrowed in suspicion. The pair walked into the center of the room, the frightened patrons creating a circle around them. Then, with no music to guide them, they began, as one, a slow waltz.

Meg felt as though she was drowning. Elation, confusion, betrayal, fear, all pulled her under suffocating her, and yet she could not pull away form his touch. She could feel a roomful of eyes boring into her skin hear the thunder of a thousand whispers, but no one's gazed mattered but his, no sound but the soft waltz he hummed, low and seductive into her ear. Meg wanted nothing more than to rip off his mask, kiss his lips and cry triumphantly "See? This is the man I love!" She knew that if she did, he would throw her to the ground and never approach her again.

For an endless moment they whirled on the dance floor, when the elation moving Meg's body faded as Erik's eyes suddenly wrenched from her gaze and latched onto something-someone- else on the other side of the room. She did not need to turn her head to see who it was, for she knew he had caught sight of Christine. The crowd watched in horror as the Red Death leaned down as though to kiss the ballet dancer, though he whispered in her ear instead.

"Go to the torture chamber, I will fetch you." Meg whimpered slightly as he finished his command, before turning on her heel and heading towards the mirrored room. She stopped suddenly as his hand still held hers, she turned in surprise and swiftly he placed a cold kiss on her hand, and she felt as though fire had been placed on that exact spot. Excitement tingled through her entire body as she walked away. The silent crowd that had watched in amazement and fear surged around Erik in awe.

Meg silently mad her way to Erik's favorite pastime: the torture chamber. She knew of its existence only by accident, having pushed too hard on its concealed door. Thankfully she kept her wits about her and did not linger at the door; instead she shut it smartly behind her. She asked her mother about it that same night, to which Mme. Giry took her by the shoulders and warned never to search for that room again. It belonged to the Opera's phantom and he would not save her if she trapped herself inside. Meg realized that she had stumbled upon the one of two doors leading to that room, built for Erik's twisted amusement, giving him two points of access to the room so he would not have to use the trap door made to ensnare wanderers like she. That was also the same night her mother gave in to her daughter's pestering about the ghost whom she catered to and told Meg Erik's sad story. Since that night Meg's mind has been full of imaginings if she ever found herself in Erik's grasp.

Meg hesitated as she approached the spot where she stumbled upon the room of mirrors and pushed against the wall. After a few moments of struggling she gave up hope of finding out Erik's intentions by sending her here, when the wall gave way beneath her hands and before she could grab it to keep it open, it snapped shut, enveloping her in complete darkness. She cried out, and fell to the floor, shivering. It was as though the darkness was smothering her, it was so dense that she could reach out and touch it. For several minutes all she could hear was her own erratic breathing, she could see nothing but the never-ending darkness. Soon her eyes began to adjust and Meg could barely make out the faint outline of the metal tree. If she remembered her mother's tale correctly, a switch could open the door…no, that's not right. A trap door opened when the switch by the tree was pushed. She whimpered again, though louder and more frantic than when she was dancing in Erik's arms.

Meg knew now what else to do but wait, and so she did, curled in a small ball in the middle of the floor. She waited an eternity before another door flew open across the room, Erik's frame lit by the candle in his hand. Quickly she stood, and followed him, curious of his silence and his tense nature. Soon they entered his home, and he set the candle on the mantelpiece before sitting on the sofa across from the bed, and Meg chose one of the wooden chairs opposite it. She did not need to look in the room hidden by the closed door to know that Christine lay in there sleeping, and Meg felt cold jealousy creep through her veins like ice. She said nothing as Erik sat also in silence, his eyes traveling from Meg to the door and back to Meg. The ticking clock soon grew on Meg's nerves and she shifted uncomfortably. Unable to stand the silence anymore, Meg spoke, her voice a whisper.

"Why did you send me here Erik? What is it that you want?" Erik glanced at her sharply when his name left her mouth, then looked away. He seemed determined not to speak, so Meg took the opportunity, knowing if she did not speak now, she would never have this chance again.

"When I was in your arms tonight, I felt peace like I have never known. For months my heart has been full of nothing but you, and I know now that my love can never been returned. My heart broke when you left me to find Christine, and I do not wish to injure it further by withstanding this silence, so if you have nothing to say to me, I will leave." She waited, watching the muscle in his cheek twitch as he stared stonily at the door. Nodding, she swallowed back a sob and stood to leave, determined to take the boat back if she must.

His hand grasping her wrist stopped her steps, and Meg turned to see him standing behind her, his cold breath on his neck. She dared not look in his eyes for fear of what she may see inside them. He spoke, the harshness of his voice causing her to flinch.

"You love me, then? Well, you do not show it well, what with those stories you tell." She looked up into his sneering face, her own anger flaring. She managed to push it down, keeping her voice neutral.

"I admit, I started those rumors out of fear, but when I saw you for the first time, for what you are-"

"A monster?"

"A man. I continued those stories to protect you, all I have done is to protect you from their ignorance and still you run to her!" Meg's voice grew with anger, and she wrenched her arm from his grasp. She tried to turn and leave, but he grabbed her by the shoulders and forced him to face her.

"I have seen the ignorance of men! I can control this opera house without the protection of a ballet rat!" He roared, forcing her to face him, one hand on her chin, the other on her shoulder. "Furthermore, I go to her because she is the one to-" Erik cut short, his rage disappearing behind his slip. Meg latched on to it, defiance blazing within her.

"The one to what? Love you? She is a foolish girl who was seduced by a song and a memory." Erik raised his hand, hoping to scare her into silence by the threat of violence, but she stayed where she was, her eyes boring into his. They stood, centimeters from each other, their heavy breathing masking the sound of the door opening behind them. Slowly Erik brought his hand down, not to slap her face in anger, but to stroke it tenderly. Meg sighed, leaning slightly into his touch. Then, as though time had slowed, Erik brought their faces together, closing the distance between their lips. Meg moaned in joy at the contact, and relished in the feeling of their skin mingling. They both knew at that moment that she loved him, and he her, and there was no doubt that it outlasted his obsession for Christine.

A soft cry broke their kiss, and they turned to see Christine standing in the doorway, pain and anger pouring down her cheeks with her tears and the cape Erik had covered with still around her shoulders. They both stepped away from one another, unsure what to say to console the broken-hearted girl. Neither noticed the small dagger, which she found after reeling at the sight of their passionate embrace, clutched in her small hand.

"You cannot take him from me, he is mine, my angel!" Her voice grew shrill with anger, and her wild eyes landed on Meg with terrible rage. Before either could react, Christine lunged at Meg, the dagger raised high above her. Swiftly she brought it down, the sickening sound of punctured flesh filling the room. Christine staggered back, and Meg gasped, as Erik fell to the ground, the weapon sticking from his abdomen. Meg reached out to catch his head, and she settled it in her lap, the fear of him leaving her consuming her body.

Christine flung herself on top of him, sobbing for forgiveness. Meg pushed her off angrily, wanting nothing more than to slap the girl for her insensate cries. Instead she shoved her again, yelling over the blonde girl's cries.

"Leave! Take the boat and tell no one of this!" Christine nodded, and flew from the room, her weeping echoing behind. Meg turned her attention to Erik, whose breath grew shallow and his eyes duller than before.

"Go…. go and fetch…. the Persian…..He can help me." Meg shook her head, tears dripping down her face.

"Please don't make me leave you." He brought a hand up to gently stroke her face, wiping away a few tears as he did so.

"Don't worry….I won't leave….before this is….over." Meg nodded, not giving time to decipher his cryptic message. She leaned down and placed a small kiss on her lips before rushing from the room in search of the Persian she had seen so many times before but gave no notice to.

"So you see, Father, I had to save her. I had to stab him to save my friend." The old priest sat in shocked silence at the now sobbing girl's tale.

"Have you proof that he is dead?" The girl shook her head, but opened the cape to reveal crimson stains contrasting against her ball gown. He studied her a moment before taking her by the arm and leading her out of the church.

"Go home, burn any evidence of the blood and never speak of this to anyone." Christine began to question him but he cut her off. "My child, you now have to deal with loving the Devil himself. I believe that God will not punish you for love. Go and pray for guidance, not forgiveness." Christine did as the priest said, though she knew that her actions against Meg would never calm Erik's rage. Ever.