Disclaimer: I own nothing of Phantom of the Opera.

Chapter 1: His Only Friends

He sat on the black leather sofa, eyes closed, with a golden drink in a crystal glass. His other hand moved gently in the air, mimicking the melody of Verdi's Requiem as every note escaped the black speakers of the stereo system.

As the soloist began to sing, he flinched, just before his eyes popped open. Grabbing the remote, he shut the noise off, unable to tolerate the voice that was butchering the work of one of the greatest composers that had walked this earth.

"Yet another failure. Will they ever get it right?" he asked as he rose from his seat. Standing in front of the large glass window of his penthouse apartment, he looked up at the night sky, at the honey colored moon, as if waiting for the heavens to answer his question.

Then his golden eyes moved down, down at the miniscule cars below, at the little dots that moved on the sidewalks. An exhausted sigh escaped his lips. He should have been used to it my now. Being alone, that is.

"I was born alone, and I will die alone," he told himself over and over again. Yet every time he looked down at the city, a renewed desire to join society flared in him. If only he were normal. If only he did not have to wear the white mask that covered half his face.

His hand rose to gently touch the leather covering on his face, as if to make sure that the past ten years of his life had not been one horrible nightmare and that in reality his face had been perfect all along. But it was there. Always had been there and always would.

Surgery could not fix it. There was nothing modern science could do to help him. Nothing anyone could do to make him look more of a human than a monster that plagued the dreams of children.

"Mr. Rousseau." The timid voice of his housekeeper broke through his thoughts. Turning around, he saw the young girl at the threshold of the living room, with her hands entwined behind her back Her eyes barely rose to meet his.

"I'm finished sir, unless you need me to get anything else for you."

"No. That will be all Rachel."

The girl turned around and left. Rachel was mortified of him. And she had good reason to. The last three weeks her employer had thrown more glass objects in rage than she cared to remember. He screamed at virtually everyone who walked through his door. But that was nothing compared to the night he almost strangled a man during a heated conversation.

This was the end of the third week, and Rachel had no intentions of returning for a forth. She planed on calling the agency the next day and telling them to place her with another family. She had had enough of Erik Rousseau's temper.

Erik could not believe the girl had lasted that long. Most of his housekeepers quit within the week. He had gone through sixteen thus far. Erik knew that the next morning he would meet his seventeenth housekeeper.

Though he had lived most of his life in solitude, Erik could read people. In one glance he could tell whether one was honest, deceitful or weak. He knew that Rachel was not going to come back. He could not blame her. Having to serve a man with that sort of face and temper…he understood.

Walking over to his full bar, he refilled his glass with scotch. Music and alcohol. They were his only true friends. One filled his heart with passion, while the other erased every ounce of pain that was housed in his body. As long as they were by his side, he would be alright.

"Fuck people," he said out loud as he took another gulp of his drink. The sweet remedy ran down his throat and immediately began to take effect.

"Fuck everything."