Disclaimer: The characters and plotline of the Phantom of the Opera on which this story is based are – to the best of my knowledge – the property of Gaston Leroux and Andrew Lloyd Webber. No infringement of copyright is intended nor is this story written for profit as I have the greatest respect for their work.

Prologue

The house was old. And everything about it was dark: from the grey stone it was built of to the trees and overgrown garden that kept it isolated and hidden from the road and any curious passers-by. It looked like it hadn't been lived in for decades, never mind years. Had a storm broke instead of there simply being more cloud than blue in the sky, the picture would have been complete.

It was perfect.

Christine turned to Antoinette, this woman whom she had turned to since the death of her mother and who had taken care of her since . . . in the last few months. Antoinette searched her face and saw no signs of disgust or disappointment. Instead she saw something they all thought had been gone for good in those eyes: hope.

She led her young charge the rest of the way up the path and unlocked the front door. Like everything else about the house, it gave off the impression of being old and long unused – but that did not make it any less wonderful. Christine made her way silently inside to the surprisingly large foyer. Everywhere the eye could see dust lay thick and smooth.

Everywhere Christine looked, she saw magic.

As she moved through the rooms on the ground floor, that feeling pervaded. The design was wonderful: a Victorian period house with furnishings to match. The dust made the dark wood on the floor and walls even more so, yet anything less would have detracted from the feel of the place. It had appealed to her sense of style even from the outside. Now, within, she could feel something creeping over her that had almost been forgotten. She reached the entrance hall where she had begun and then turned with a wide-eyed stare to Antoinette and mouthed to her:

"Music."

Antoinette regarded her curiously and was about to question her 'second daughter', but was stopped as Christine raised a finger to her lips almost in reproach and simply gestured to her ear. She moved over to one of the bare walls and ran her hand lovingly over it – never touching it, so the dust remained undisturbed – in an act of seeming reverence.

It clicked.

Christine had always joked that the walls in their house were so saturated with music that even when all else was silent, you could still hear the notes.

Her hand lowered.

Antoinette saw the look on her face and understood. This house was perfect.

This house felt like home.

She only hoped that feeling would last.