Author's Note: Ok. I've brought the story back. I'm cleaning it up, so I hope to catch all those pesky little typos. I apologize for hastily removing the story, but I felt I had good reason, as some of you know. In this rendition, I will take great care with certain parts; I know some of you have a strong objection to super sex-god Erik. Thankfully, there's not too many of those chapter to work around, and I will find a way to satisfy both sides of said party.

Since the story is completed, I should have frequent updates.

Thank you, to all who have inquired into this story during its absence. Your queries and care is what has made me reconsider and review this story. I promise it's here to stay.

EA

Retribution

Prologue

The sun shone brightly over the freshly dug grave. Only moments ago, a massive crowd bid their final respects to one of the most illustrious figures in all of France, the Philippe Georges Marie Comte de Chagny.

His widow stood by the grave, too numb for tears, her heart beyond the point of suffering -- a part of her buried alongside her husband. They had been married but a year, but she had loved him very well.

Rosalie de Chagny lived a waking nightmare. She recollected the last time she saw her husband alive. He had been in a frenzied state, for his younger brother Raoul had supposedly taken flight with Christine Daae to elope. Philippe opposed the match, and tried to prevent it from being. He never returned.

The following day she received word from Le Commissaire himself. They found Philippe's body lying near a river, the cause of his death asphyxiation. Rumors and suspicions began to circulate, some started by the French authorities -- the most believable one: the brothers sparring over Christine Daae. While many debated the issue, the facts stood. The elder was dead and the younger took flight to the North with his beloved.

Rosalie knew the rumors were false. She felt Raoul's absence at the funeral keenly, it was a noticeable thing and added to the gossip, but she also knew Raoul incapable of such malice. The younger de Chagny was very much like the elder, and both had good and generous hearts. The fabricated explanation was by far the most ridiculous the authorities could give, and the Comtesse resented the time they wasted writing such horrid reports instead of searching for the real killer, who remained at large.

But that Raoul knew the identity of the murderer, Rosalie had no doubt of, for the young lad did not make any effort to clear his name, and when last seen, he had nothing but a haunted, tortured look. When the time was right she would question him, if he could ever be found. Raoul had gone deep into hiding with his young bride.

The moment the pain would cease, if such pain could ever cease, she would look into the matter. The idea of Philippe's demise, such a tragic end for such a noble man, enraged her. The first opportunity she had, she would ardently seek out justice - for justice had abandoned them all.

Rosalie was the last to leave the site, and only did when entreated by one of her sister-in-laws, but before leaving the hallowed spot she knelt on the ground and spoke a whispered promise.

"My love, I will not give up until I have found your murderer. I swear it on my very life."

She sealed her oath with a kiss to the earth.

x-o-x-o-x-o-x-o-x

That night a shadowy figure stole over the graveyard, though his visit was not for reminiscing. The nightly haunts were what one would expect from a ghost. Most everyone believed him dead, except for a handful who swore his existence to secrecy, and they would all rather forget that such a person lived.

He paused over the new grave, instantly recognizing the name carved onto the cold slate. He did not mourn for the man whose life had ended at his very hands. Instead, he mourned for himself, wishing he could trade places with the dead. This dead man had been loved and cared for, no one thought of him, alive as he was, except to wish he had never been born. He continued his walk cursing every breath he took, every steady beat of his strong, cold heart. It seemed death was not destined for him, yet, though he eagerly sought it to end the empty void and loneliness that consumed him.