Disclaimer: I do not own Phantom of the Opera.

Summary: So just how well does Meg know Erik? What kind of past do they have? Meg's POV. Non-romantic E/M pairing. Will also explore the kind of relationship Meg and her mother really have… Part musical-verse, part book-verse.

Bon appetite!

Chapter One:

Some know him as the Phantom of the Opera. Some know him as the Opera Ghost. I know him as Erik, the only father figure I've ever known, my provider, my friend.

♥♥♥

Perhaps I should start from the very beginning. Maman and I had just moved into the newly built Opera House; she was to be the usher of Box 5. Already there were rumors of a ghost, a young man that had been killed by a falling plank during the building of the grand theatre and haunted the place of his untimely death. Within the first month, there had already been several sightings. A shadow passing, a tall man dressed in evening clothes who disappeared as suddenly as he appeared. I was eight, and, even with my overactive imagination, I was very skeptical. Why would a worker have been in eveningwear while working on the construction of the building (I assumed ghosts wore what they wore when they died as they haunted)? And why would he insist that Box 5, my mother's box, belonged to him? There were no records of anyone being killed on the job. No, it had to be something else, and I made it my goal to find out what.

Maman and I had been living here for about six months before the "ghost" made himself known to her. I had been having trouble sleeping, and, as most eight-year-olds would, I sought the comfort of my mother. I knocked softly on the giant door, and, hearing a soft mumble from my mother, cracked it open.

I was shocked, to say the least, to find Maman kneeling on the floor, looking skyward.

"You will cooperate, or you'll find yourself, and your daughter, without a home," a male's voice boomed. What was a man doing talking to Maman like that? And where was he? I couldn't see anyone.

"How could this possibly benefit me?" Maman asked.

The man paused before answering. "I'll allow you to continue to live under my roof. You will be permitted to continue to usher my box. And your daughter," I saw Maman raise her head at this (I must admit, I was also interested; what about myself?), "I've noticed her among the others. She has talent, and with my help, she could become a prima ballerina." (I have to be truthful, I was not the greatest. Granted, I was good, but nothing special)

"Monsieur, with all due respect, I see no reason to trust you…"

"You have no reason to trust me; I'll be quite honest with you, I've committed many crimes, most greater than you could imagine, but would I tell you this if I was planning to harm you?"

"I suppose not," Maman replied.

"I will depend on you to mediate between those incompetent fools with the impudenence to call themselves managers and myself. I believe one good scare should do the trick…"

I didn't hear anything after that. I was running back to my dormitory, blinded with fear. Why would he choose Maman?

I failed to see him until I bumped into him. I gave a muffled cry of fear. Standing before me was none other than the Phantom of the Opera. He was, as the stories told, wearing eveningwear with a long black cape and a hat. His most surprising feature was his face, or rather, the white leather mask covering the entire top half of his face.

I was further shocked when he spoke to me in a gentle voice, "Hello, Marguerite."

How did he know my name? Then I remembered: he's the Phantom of the Opera. He knew everything in relation to the Opera House.

I attempted to respond, but the terror left me speechless.

"Don't be frightened," his voice had a strangely musical quality that instantly put me at ease.

"Now," he began, "would you be obliging enough to tell me what you are doing wandering the halls at such a late hour?"

"I- was going to my mother's suite, because I was having trouble sleeping."

"Well, we simply cannot have our future prima ballerina collapsing from exhaustion during rehearsals, can we?"

I shook my head, and he began steering me toward my dormitory. I found myself in my bed, with the covers tucked underneath my chin, wondering how this was supposed to put me to sleep when a voice filled my head. It's wonderful, soothing tone rang sweetly in my ears, and I fell into a deep sleep.

♥♥♥

As the Phantom's name grew, the number of available seats seemed to decrease. Everyone, it seemed, was hoping for a glimpse of this "Opera Ghost." Erik seized this opportunity to perfect every aspect of the Opera House from the musicians to the performers down to the stable hands. Any person that dared to cause trouble was removed. This only led to him becoming more renowned.

In response to his growing fame, Erik began demanding a salary of 20,000 francs a month. Maman was to deliver it to Box 5 and place it in the Phantom's chair. She never saw him, but whenever she looked back at the chair, the envelope had vanished. She was also to deliver any notes left in his chair to the managers, Debienne and Poligny. In return for her services, he paid her in addition to the salary he demanded the managers pay her. He would also leave her little gifts- flowers, candies, coins- and a note of thanks scrawled in red ink.

I found myself confiding in Erik with increasing frequency and was surprised when he began sharing his dark secrets with me, never sparing me the gruesome details. I was frightened, but Erik was my best friend, and that would not change because of his past.

One tale I found particularly disturbing was of his time spent as an exhibit in a traveling fair. For years, he traveled across the continent with a band of gypsies, and spectators would pay to catch a glimpse of his malformed face. Javert, the man in charge of Erik's exhibit, was a repulsive man, and I saw a glint of hatred in his yellow eyes as he described with elaborate detail the man he most despised.

Erik had a talent for storytelling. He would captivate his audience from the first word and carry them on an emotional whirlwind until he released them with the final sentence. He was a brilliant man whose talents ranged from architecture to music to mathematics to language. His voice, when he sang, was perfection. One would have to hear it to truly understand.

The world, I came to realize, had shunned possibly the greatest man to ever live simply because of his face. His face was a sore point for him. The one time I requested to see what was beneath the mask, he began to shout at me. When he finally calmed down, he stormed away, and though I begged, he refused to speak to me for a week. Erik, as I would soon discover, had an uncontrollable, violent temper that would be ignited by seemingly unimportant things.

For the most part, however, Erik and I got along well, so you can imagine my hurt when his attentions were shifted entirely to Christine Daaé.

♥♥♥

A/N: Not a bad first chapter, huh? Reviews will be much appreciated. Oh, and if you have any better ideas for the title, feel free to share.