AN: A few warnings. This is a more character driven piece than a plot driven piece. Also, this is ANGSTY. I'll say it again, ANGSTY. These characters get very "fraught" and wonder "WHY WHY WHY?!!?", a lot. That's not to say it badly written angst, but it's angst non-the-less. So if that deters you please find something else to read. Other than that, enjoy! The Author(ess?)

Heir to the Opera

Chapter 1

It was wet. The rain seemed to come down sideways in little stinging drops. Erik pulled his hat closer over his eyes so that he could just barely see where he was going. He was anxious to get home. If it wasn't for bi-monthly trips to get food, he'd never leave his house all. He hadn't really left it in ages. He didn't even go to the opera anymore, not even to scare the ballet girls which had once been his favorite pastime - aside from music of course.

The streets of Paris were dimly lit as he took back alley ways to the opera. Anyone else would have been in danger from robbers and murderers but not Erik. Without saying a word his form broadcast waves of warning to all those who had any ideas of attacking him. He was quite safe until he rounded a corner stumbled forward, tripping on something.

Raising his hat from his eyes he looked down and was surprised to see a small boy looking at a broken violin and sobbing. "You broke it! You broke it monsieur! My violin it's broken!" He looked up at Erik his eyes filled with tears.

He shouldn't have cared, he hadn't cared about anything in ages, but the look in the boy's eyes thawed his cold heart slightly. Such passion over a violin, it touched him.

The boy was now looking at the shattered instrument, trying to piece it together, but it was no use. Even if he could have figured out how the pieces went there was nothing to hold them together with. He looked up at Erik again with a lost expression. Erik's heart actually began to beat again.

The boy was dirty, obviously a waif and no home to speak of. But despite unkempt appearance Erik could see he was a beautiful child under the dirt. He had dark curly hair, and large green eyes which shimmered with his tears. He was very very thin from lack of food, and his cheeks were gaunt, but had probably once been full and rosy; or at least they could be.

Slipping his hand under his cloak he pulled out some coins from his purse. Handing them to the boy he said "Here, don't cry anymore. Take this money and buy some food and some clothes."

The boy's eyes widened, "oh Monsieur, truly?" He got up and took the money in his palm, staring at it with wonder, as if they were the only pieces he'd ever seen.

Erik nodded hurriedly, "Yes, yes, take them and use them." The boy looked at him with glee and without warning flew at Erik and wrapped his little arms around Erik's body in a hug.

Taken aback, Erik simply stood there stiffly while this child hugged him in happiness. He then moved away and shooed him off. "There, there, go now, and find some place to sleep."

"Yes Monsieur! I will, God bless you!" Taking his shattered violin he ran off down the streets into the night.

With a slight smile Erik turned towards the opera house. He hadn't smiled in ages, but giving that boy money had genuinely made him feel good. "At least there'll be one less miserable person in Paris tonight." He thought.

Upon arriving home Erik put his hat and cloak by the fire to dry. Reaching to his belt he felt for his purse but found nothing. He looked down and saw an empty space where it should have been. He looked all around him, retraced some steps, even shook out his cloak but still found nothing. The purse was gone.

Confused he thought back to when he'd last had it. He'd had it when he'd given the boy money for the violin, perhaps it had fallen off afterwards on his way to the opera.

Suddenly it came to him in a flash. In his mind he saw the boy hugging him tightly and he realized full well what had happened.

"That little bastard stole my purse!"