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Disclaimer: I do not own The Phantom of the Opera, nor do I presume to own anything so brilliant or creative. Hello! Writing fanfiction! XD The Phantom of the Opera belongs to other, more talented people, first and foremost being Gaston Leroux. All songs used in this fic are copyright Andrew Lloyd Webber and The Really Useful Group unless stated otherwise.

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Summary: Demiodetta, called Nym, is born lame but beautiful. To escape society's cruelty, she is sent to live at the rebuilt Opera house, where the magnificent songs she's always hidden reawaken a bitter ghost of the past...Erik. Can the rose be forgiven for its sweet scent or will it be condemned for its thorns?

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Hide Your Face
Chapter One

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Death crept along the battleground like mist along the ground. A black mist, full of pain and darkness, one that grabbed on tight and refused to let go.

"For some reason I get the feeling you aren't going to leave," echoed the voice of the king as he took his queen's hand in his own.She, ebony hair shining, snorted in a rather unladylike way. "You've known me long enough to realize that this doesn't scare me, Pierre."

"Obviously," the man drawled, sheathing his sword in one smooth motion. "But where does that leave you? You should realize that I'd never let you stay."For the first time in a long time, she felt like crying. Her lips tightened and she squeezed her eyes shut.

"Care to take a guess at what I'm going to say next?" he teased, raising his hand to wipe the tears from his love's face.

"I love you, Saffie, and for that very reason I am not going to say goodbye," she guessed, hopes all but residing in what could be their last meeting.His answer caused her face to fall. "My love, you presume too much. You are too much of an asset to the world. I won't allow you to suffer as I have and as others are doing as we speak. He gestured at the flickering shadows that hung over the far wall of the domed building."If you are to...sacrifice yourself as such, then I will be departing this world at your side," Saffron said indignantly, lips tightening once more with emotion.Pierre, known once for keeping his emotions under wraps even in the most intense situations, had to fight the expressions so eager to surface."Oh Saffron, I only wish-"

"Demiodetta Daae?" The voice, French accent obvious, startled Nym out of her reverie and she was forced to look away from the pages of her favorite novel and into the eyes of her new guardian.

"Yes, that's me," Nym replied, closing the book and getting awkwardly to her feet, dragging her left foot against the wall behind her in an attempt to make it easier. Glancing down at her skirts, she felt her face heat up in embarrassment at their dusty state. So much for a good first impression, she thought a little sadly. She should never have sat down on the ground. Looking back on it, Nym had been so caught up in her book that she hadn't stopped to consider the dusty state of the floor before plopping herself down in a tired heap, eyes never leaving the pages. "I'm terribly sorry that I'm so dirty, I had hoped to make a better impression upon you, Madame, but I was so near of the end of my story," she tried to explain quickly, but the silver-haired woman smiled gently and shook her head slightly.

"Your mother wrote to me often of your love of literature, child," she said, and the thought of Mother brought back sad, though brief, memories that soon faded as the Madame continued. "I believe that my own daughter can understand your passion for it, as she feels the same for the ballet. Indeed, I myself feel the same for the ballet." Madame's words made her feel much better and she almost laughed out loud with relief.

Madame gave her an odd smile, head cocked to the side, as she took Nym's hand in her own gloved one. "I'm not sure why I even made to confirm your identity...you so resemble your mother. The likeness is astonishing." She nodded. The ladies that attended her mother when she was still alive had often said the same; even Father had called her Little-Little Lotte at times instead of Nym, a shadow of the nickname Mother had had.

Nym had her mother's curling dark brown hair though her own was cut shorter than Mother's had ever been. The only trait separating her face from her mother's was the distinguishing blue of her eyes, no doubt the same blue her father's had been.

"Yes, Father always said I looked much like Mother," Nym agreed, though she secretly knew that his words had been all but forced. There was little resemblance between them after their faces, as the entire world could tell with the barest glance downward. Unconsciously, she rubbed her bad foot against her calf, almost too caught up in her thoughts to notice how conspicuous her actions were.

Madame must have noticed, for her eyebrows rose a bit. Nym stopped immediately, a little afraid of her reaction, but Madame squeezed her hands warmly and her smile returned. She smiled back as she gestured at the carriage behind her. "Well, shall I accompany you to your new home, Demiodetta?"

"Please, Madame, call me Nym, it's what everyone else does."

"Nym, then." Her eyes crinkled in silent laughter. "Nym, I am Madame Giry and I will be your guardian. Now shall I accompany you to the Opera Populaire, your new home?"

She nodded, suddenly finding it hard to breathe.

Madame Giry, who at first had seemed predictable, proved herself to be otherwise almost immediately after the driver opened the door to the carriage. Nym's visible limp was most often looked upon in disfavor, which of society such as that of Paris she would expect no less, and the driver instantly took it upon himself to give her a rather pitying, ignoring look. Nym was just about to struggle her way up into the carriage when she suddenly found Madame Giry holding her elbow in a rather companionable way she'd never been touched with before. Without a word she helped her up and in.

It was then that Nym's respect for the woman, which had been but a seedling when she had not focused upon her with immediate disgust, sprouted and began to grow. It would grow, she came to learn, even more as the years passed.

The Madame got in as well as soon as she had settled my skirts around her and she proceeded to follow suit. "I must confess, Mademoiselle Nym," she said after signaling out of the window for the man in front to drive. "I am curious enough to inquire as to your health."

For a moment Nym was confused, thinking she meant her lameness, but then she realized to what the Madame was referring. "Oh," she said in surprise, twisting her hands in her scarlet skirts as she always did when she was nervous. Out of habit Nym kept her eyes lowered, unwilling to meet what would probably be another sympathizing gaze. She was tired of pity, well-wished and of the opposite nature alike. "I am fine, thank you."

While the Madame didn't look entirely satisfied with her answer, it was all she was willing to give her. Ever since the death of her mother and father, a pain had appeared in the pit of her heart and had festered all the long days, though few they were. To speak of it, Nym was certain, would only make it worse.

The ride was short; oft though conversation was tempted, she somehow managed to keep quiet. There was a tired look in Madame Giry's eyes that made her wish she could allow her the rest she, as the manager of an opera house's ballet troupe (a job deserving recognition few gave her then and now), undoubtedly needed. So instead Nym spent her time gazing out the carriage's window, avoiding eye contact with any of the people crowding the streets of Paris we drove past on the way.

Nym must have fallen deeper into thought than she'd believed, for the next thing she knew the carriage was pulling to a stop and there was a slight rap at the door. Madame Giry jumped a little and she realized that she had fallen asleep somewhere in the middle of their journey.

Madame Giry opened the door and allowed the driver to help her out into the fresh air before turning around to give Nym a questioning look, as though she were asking if she needed help as well. Despite everything she'd lost in the past month, her dignity was not one of these things.

Somehow she managed to exit on her own though the Madame and driver looked on in something akin to disapproval. She was sorely tempted to glare at the driver, as he'd been no help before, but resisted in the effort to redeem herself in the Madame's eyes. Nym could be as dignified as she wanted, but there was one thing she knew, one of many wise things Mother had told her. 'Do not care what others think of you, but never purposely make enemies either, my dear.'

"Welcome to your new home, Nym," said the Madame as soon as the younger girl was out, gesturing widely and dramatically toward the Opera house. She gasped - she'd been so caught up in other things that she hadn't yet noticed the splendor of the house.

"Magnificent," the young brunette whispered under her breath, clutching her hands together at her breast and then trying to scold herself for acting so awed. "I…I mean, it's so lovely," Nym continued, suddenly unable to draw her gaze away from the golden doors of the building, so intricately and carefully designed to be a passageway into another world, one she expected to be far more wonderful and captivating than the current one. For some reason, Nym felt drawn inexplicably to them. Maybe, just maybe, when she crossed into the threshold of the opera, things wouldn't be so bad. Maybe the bad feelings would go away…?

Madame Giry laughed from beside her new charge. "Wait until you see the inside, my girl," she said, taking her by the elbow once more and leading her up the grand steps toward those magnificent doors.

For the first time in years, Nym was wide eyed as a little girl on Christmas instead of the eighteen-year-old that she truly was. She felt excitement build inside of her. The main hall of the new (and said to be improved) Opera Populaire was famous for being one of the most beautiful rooms in all France. As Madame Giry pushed the doors of the Opera house open, she all but struggled for breath when she finally saw what was to be her new home.

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Please take note that this story was already posted here at FanFictiondotNet under the account nameCindersUponGlass and the title Melodie Fantome. I've since stopped posting on that account and am moving all stories to different accounts. Thanks. :D

Happy Haunting-

- M.T.