A/N: We're back again. Already. Because this is just too darn fun to write. The second chapter has...

Ominousness. Lots of it. And action too. And fanservice, at the end.

Yes, we gave in and wrote a canon character in. It was fun, though, so it's all good.

So, without further ado, enjoy and review!

Kali and Lasiriyea

Echoes in the Black

The next morning, when Alix shook the last dregs of sleep from herself, the haunting voice remained in her mind. She wondered how much of last night had been real, and how much a dream. For never before in her life had she heard a voice such as his.

Convinced that it had been—more or less—a dream, Alix sighed, rubbed her eyes, and got out of bed. Then flicking about her room, she gathered her pointe shoes, her bouffant skirt, and her bodice. Changing quickly into her clothes, she laced her shoes around her ankles and tied a beautiful bow at the back.

Pleased with her handiwork, Alix quickly tied her hair back into a bun, slipping her snood over it. She paused to glance into the mirror, looking over her angular features, then, satisfied with her appearance, she left the room.

Alix immediately pressed against the wall as La Carlotta swept by, followed by her entourage. The girl peered after them for a moment, then shrugged and turned to continue on her way. As she trotted up the stairs, a voice stopped her. She turned to meet it, smiling at Meg.

"Hello, Meg. Are you looking forward to the show?" Alix asked, smiling at her fellow dancer.

"I am!" Meg exclaimed cheerily. "What about yourself?"

Alix paused, then said, "Yes, I am. I am a bit nervous, though…"

Meg shook her head. "Don't be. You will do fine, Alix."

Alix smiled gratefully, and Meg continued, "Well, I must hurry if I want to finish this errand for mother before class."

Only then did Alix notice the small envelope that Meg carried. As Meg hurried off, Alix paused on the stairs and thought for a moment. Something had almost made sense in her brain, but she was not entirely sure what. Someone jostled her, and the thought was gone.

Alix sighed and darted up the last few steps and into her classroom. Well, almost in her classroom. Madame Hobkins stopped her with a light touch to her shoulder, and Alix looked up at her teacher with some trepidation.

"Mon cherie, I have noticed you have been having some trouble with your emboites. Your turns are crooked, and you do not turn far enough the first revolution. With the performance so close, I do want you to be careful with these. It would be terrible for you to stick out on stage."

Alix nodded vigorously, wide-eyed. "I will work on them, Madame Hobkins, thank you."

"Make sure they are perfect," Madame Hobkins said with a tight smile, walking into the room.

Alix watched her go and sighed. Then she followed her into the room.

Ballet practice was more strenuous than usual, as Madame Hobkins focused on all of their flaws, fearing the performance that was in but a few days. When Alix was finally able to leave the room, she was completely exhausted. She dragged her tired muscles out into the hallway and was about to leave for her room when something caught her eye.

A familiar silver glimmer winked at her, and Alix took a second look. A disgusting, horrifying creature was holding her ring! Her nose crinkled as her face contorted in disgust. The rat ran, and she chased it without a second thought. Alix had to get her ring back! There was no real reason why she needed to retrieve her ring, other than she felt it was important.

Through hallways, up stairs, twisting and winding throughout the Opera House, running through corridors she barely knew and halls she loved to walk down. She was gaining on the rodent with each step, and she was just close enough to reach out and retrieve her ring when her feet betrayed her, sliding out from under her. As her torso slammed against the wooden floor, the rat scampered into a knothole in the corner, chattering in what seemed like triumph, and was gone.

Lifting herself up, her wrist popped loudly, and Alix cringed. She tested the limb, rotating it carefully, and wincing whenever a movement caused it to throb painfully.

"Ça, ce n'est pas bein," she muttered to herself. Alix slowly got to her feet, relieved to find that her feet were unharmed. She scowled darkly at the rat's hole for a long moment, then turned and began to slowly walk back to her room. She muttered darkly under her breath, salaud being the only audible word.

Still grumbling to herself, Alix quickly opened the door to her room and stepped inside. She had just shut it behind her when she paused. Christine was singing. Again. Her grumbling went up a notch at this new horror.

"Bête…chante…au-dessus ma chamber…" she muttered angrily.

She was silenced, however, when a second voice again joined the first, and she recognized it to be the same voice she had heard the night.

She sank down onto the bed, her eyes wide. Her movements were slow and careful. She didn't want to make a sound that might disturb the wonderful singing above her. The duet continued long into the night, and Alix sat up listening to it, entranced by the song. She had completely forgotten about the rat and her ring.

--

Many hours later, Erik looked down at the rat that cleaned itself on the floor. He took a step forward and hissed at it through his teeth. Frightened, the creature ran, revealing the small silver ring it had been carrying. Curiously, Erik bent down and picked it up off the floor.

He inspected it, deemed it a useless trinket, and tossed it carelessly into the lake.

--

Translations:

Mon cherie - My dear

Ça, ce n'est pas bein - This is not good

salaud - dirty rat

Bête - stupid

chante - singing

au-dessus ma chamber - above my room