yup, another Meg/Erik. I told you i was obsessed.

disclaimer: I own nothing.

"Where perception is, there also are pain and pleasure, and where these are, there, of necessity, is desire." – Aristotle


chapter 1

She didn't know what possessed her to run after him, his discarded mask clutched tightly in her hand. But she did. Thankful tonight's had been a trouser role, she ran quickly up the steps, vaulting over items that stood in her path with the sounds of the mob raging behind her, like some grotesque ballet. She stepped over the broken shards of glass and sprinted down the dark, damp hallway he'd disappeared into, experiencing a sense of déjà vu; this wasn't the first time she'd been through a mirror, not knowing what lay ahead of her in the darkness beyond.

She soon slowed down her frenzied pace to a walk. She couldn't see ahead of her and was unsure of her footing; though the ground beneath her was level, she'd heard—and observed, from tonight's earlier performance—something or another about trapdoors…

She felt her cheeks flush at the thought of the performance. God, he'd looked so…so… Well, she'd seen him during the Masquerade at New Year's—who hadn't?—she'd caught glimpses of him in the rafters or in the hallways, but nothing in her memory could compare to the way he'd been tonight. Oh, and his voice… Tonight, his aim had been seduction; and he'd succeeded.

She stopped in mid-stride, her whole body tingling, though with what she was not quite sure. Oh, God, to just find him


He stood, tense as a bowstring, lasso in hand. Someone had followed him; he could hear their loud, clunking footsteps, their seemingly heavy breathing. He waited, patiently, as the footsteps grew louder, closer to where he had concealed himself in a fork in the passage. His long, supple fingers caressed the rope lovingly; whoever had so foolishly chosen to disturb him in his grief would receive the full extent of his wrath, would soon feel his rope around their neck. Tonight, there would be no mercy. Not again.

Suddenly, the footsteps stopped, so close he could almost feel the heat radiating from the intruder's body. The breathing grew ragged. Now. Now was the time to strike.


There was no warning. One minute, she breathed. The next moment, she couldn't. She struggled, but to no avail; soon, all she could think about was the biting on her neck, the searing in her chest as her lungs screamed for oxygen. She saw a pair of eyes, golden, glowing eyes in the darkness, then all went black as she lost consciousness.


Of all the things he'd been prepared for, this wasn't one of them. He'd been expecting a man, one of the drunken, besotted members of the mob, but instead, it was a woman. No; she was practically a girl. Like Christine, his mind prompted.

He panicked. Was she dead? He had to check. He bore down upon her fallen body, quickly working his fingers between his rope and her flesh, finally pulling it off of her. He checked her pulse: by some stroke of luck, she was still alive.

Without a second thought, he hoisted the girl over his shoulder, moving quickly down the hall from whence he had come, not stopping until he reached his safe-haven of the moment, shut behind several secret doors.

He laid her on the cot in the far corner of the small room, examining her by the light of a single candle. She was breathing again, and there was an ugly red welt around her neck from where the rope had left its mark. Her skin was pale, but not so pale as to clash with the long, golden hair that now obscured her face. His gaze wandered, and he took in the sight of her lush curves and ample breast that refused to be hidden by her loose, flowing white shirt. He felt himself stir with remnants of desire from earlier, but pure ice chased away the heat as he turned her head and brushed back a lock of her hair to get a look at her face.

He stared in shock. He knew her! She was one of the ballet rats at the Opera; Marguerite, he believed her name was. Yes, that was it. Marguerite.

This revelation in itself was troubling. But why had she followed him? He refused to believe she'd come of her own accord. Some one had sent her, no doubt.

Dammit, Erik, you should have left her to die. What happened to 'no mercy'?

He left her and retreated into another corner, blowing out the candle, sitting in the darkness and brooding, mourning his loss, cursing his recent spurts of compassion, and listening to the sound of the girl's even breathing.

i sincerely appreciate all comments/questions/constructive criticism/angry shouts and brandishing of fist, but, please, no flames.