Disclaimer: The Phantom of the Opera and all associated characters, plotlines, etc. are not ours. They unfortunately belong to various others.

A note—Before we receive further complaints, this story is a strong Alternate Universe composition. If you are of the belief that Christine was Erik's one and only love and/or that Erik was disfigured from birth and you're not open to other AU possibilities, then this story is probably not for you. It is our prerogative to write this fiction and play off of the source material as we see fit; any comments tearing us apart for doing so will be ignored.

That said, this fiction is a co-write project written by MJ-Skywalker and the lovely Ivy. Please enjoy.

You Know My Name

1. Prologue

It was as if the brightest stars in all the heavens were shattering and raining fire down upon him—that was the only way to describe it. The right side of his face burned, it stung…and yet none of it compared with the ache in his soul.

Erik watched the source of his soul's dull throbbing from afar as she scrambled against the two strong men who held her arms behind her. However much she struggled and strained, feet scuffling uselessly, the poor woman could not manage to break free…though there were flashes when Erik truly believed she'd impossibly obtained her liberty. Her black hair fell around her face, already moist with salty tears, and the sight brought on another torrential downpour that singed his heart black. Never, never had she looked as beautiful as when he knew the betrayal, knew the hurt, knew it all and wanted her still.

He heard a scream. His?...no. He could manage the sting of the liquid that ate at his flesh; his pain tolerance was high. This was her screaming, her yelling her smooth voice hoarse in a feral tone that undoubtedly sent chills down the spines of all who heard—he wouldn't be surprised at all to know that those within a mile radius caught her cries on the hot Mazanderan wind.

If only she knew, he thought, that compared to what she has done to my heart, I feel nothing of hurt in my face.

Her captors winced as her furious shrieks pierced their ears. Seizing the rare opportunity, the woman surreptitiously kicked one man and then the other between the legs, temporarily stunning the two and forcing them to let her go. She leapt forward with all the grace that would bring out monstrous envy in a Western ballerina, sprinting across the distance that separated her from Erik like it was nothing at all.

Her fingers tenderly brushed the left, unmarred side of his face, and on reflex he leaned into the touch. Time, the very universe slowed to a standstill in that brief moment. Nevermind that he resented her and the shocked young man who stared after her—hated him, loathed him, coveted the prince the love that should still be his.

Of this Erik was sure: she still cared for him, the French infidel in this hostile excuse of a kingdom called Persia. He could tell that much by her gentle touch.

The woman's eyes suddenly went wide, and it wasn't until she'd been thrown into a wall that Erik realized the Shah had bodily grabbed her by her by her chemisette and separated them before her knees could touch the ground. She rolled onto her stomach and whimpered in pain, a sound that collectively tore at Erik's blackened heart and made every muscle in his weary body tense apprehensively. Bile rose in his throat, and hatred momentarily colored his vision red.

How dare the man toss her about like a mere doll?

Now it was Erik who fought against the hands that had long kept him on his knees, Erik who growled and perhaps even roared in anger. The shah kicked her with reckless abandon, and more hands seized Erik before he could fly at the shah in his outrage. He'd kill them, he would strangle each and every man whose hand kept him from gouging out the eyes of that imperious fool

The prince whom Erik abhorred so much dove in-between the shah and the woman, throwing up his hands as a shield just as the shah's foot reared back for another blow. Erik's breath caught. Speaking of fools, he mused absently, distractedly. Weakly. Erik saw it in the prince's face, the mad compassion whose only basis could be the boy's love for the woman. The red in his vision faded to a sickly green before all the hues of the world were restored.

Fire fell upon his heart anew, twisting and turning the vital organ in stalwart jealousy. He could feel the woman's eyes upon him, and it only served to feed the flames in his stinging chest. Oh yes, he thought, narrowing his eyes at her coldly, stare at the monster you supposedly loved as your betrothed pleads for your safety. Beg the creature's forgiveness from behind that boy to whom your heart is so carelessly pledged.

The shah muttered something to the daroga of Mazanderan—Erik's one true friend, the very wretch who'd caught and condemned the two of them—and guards snatched the poor woman up and dragged her backward as she wept. With a look, the same ruler silenced her cries, leaving her eyes—bright green with unshed tears—wide in a mix of inner torment and wonderment. He and his son, the prince, began to follow, the former casting a contemptuous look at Erik before ordering the daroga to take the prisoner to the desert and leave him.

All of these strange goings-on meant little to Erik besides their playing out in a dizzyingly slow composition. He heard no words, but he paid heed to the soar of a violin in the last look she cast toward him—was that love? Regret? Relief at what she would soon find in another's arms? He lacked sympathy for her, but he was cut to the core by an arrogant brass choir as the shah ordered him abandoned. He felt no pain; rather, he contemplated the plaintive notes of a single, lonely clarinet as it proposed to him in cloyingly sweet lies the happy, happy life he was to live, alone with his music for eternity…hidden because of his face.

A punishment for loving.

How pathetically poetic, he thought wryly. Oh, how Erik loved her—the piccolo's seemingly insignificant melody trilled and then fell to a slower, sadder note. He loved her, and now he would forever remember this mistake made of his foolish first love.

Reviews are appreciated; this is our long overdue return to Phantom fanfiction.--Until further, Ivy and MJ.