A/N: I know, I got distracted again, but I can't help it! This is slightly AU, where Mercedes dies after a few years marriage with Fernand, and there is another girl that Edmond knew before becoming the Count. This is based mostly on the 2002 film with Jim Caviezel (gorgeous guy ;)), but I want to try and add some elements from the book (I've also just finished watching the anime - AMAZING!) Anyway, enjoy, and please, please, PLEASE leave a comment. (but no flames)


Prologue

"Edmond!"

A handsome sailor of about twenty years of age spun at the voice of a delighted ten-year old girl. He couldn't help smiling at the sight of the child. She was a beauty with rich midnight locks curling around her face, her cheeks as rosy as flowers, her smile disarming. Her eyes, those innocent, yet intelligent eyes, were a shade of soft blue that were irresistible.

"Suzette!" Edmond Dantes cried, bracing himself for the attack of the ecstatic child. As she grasped him, he picked her up and twirled her around, causing laughter to bubble from her throat. "How's my little angel?" he grinned, hugging her against his lithe, strong frame.

"I missed you!" she frowned. "Do you have to go away for so long?"

"I'm sorry," he shook his head. "I don't have much say in that."

"Suzette!" the girl's father called, huffing as he strived to catch up to them. "I'm sorry, Edmond. I had no idea she was such a fast runner…"

"It's quite all right, Monsieur Chevalier," Dantes smiled heartily, the wind brushing his hair over his dark brown eyes. "I just came from Monsieur Morrel's office. He's made me captain of the Phareon!"

"Good gracious!" the elder exclaimed, clapping his hands in delight.

"Oh, Edmond!" the girl cried, wrapping her arms around the man's neck. "That's wonderful!" she giggled, kissing his cheek.

"God has certainly been good to you, my friend," Pierre Chevalier smiled, shaking Dantes' hand firmly. "Wait until your father hears…and Mercedes!"

"I was just on my way to tell her now," Edmond grinned yet again.

"You deserve a party, Ed!" Suzette declared.

The man laughed, setting her down. Getting on one knee, he pulled a ring off of his finger and gave it to the girl. "Look, Suzette. I found it on a shore when we pulled in for a night."

The child looked at the simple golden band, a cross engraved at the front. "It's pretty…"

"Keep it," Edmond smiled. "As a present…and a promise of our friendship."

At once, her eyes lit up and she gasped in wonder. "Really? Oh, Ed!" Once more, she grasped the man and planted another kiss on his cheek. "I promise I'll take good care of it!"

"Soon, when I have more money, I'll buy you something special," the newly made captain vowed, brushing a strand of black hair away from the girl's eyes. "What do you want for your birthday?"

Pursing her lips, the girl thought a moment, to her father's amusement. "I want a red rose, with a red ribbon tied around it!" she said at last.

"Is that all?" the man laughed.

"Yes," she nodded solemnly.

"Very well, you shall have your rose," he promised, kissing her forehead. Looking up at her father, he asked, "Where are you staying?"

"We've taken up residence for our stay here at Marseilles at the Mondego house," the elder replied.

"I don't like Fernand," the girl spat furiously.

"Suzette!" Chevalier chastised her.

"He's mean and smells nasty all the time," she frowned. "Why are you friends with him, Edmond?"

"Oh, I know he's a little rough, but he's a good man," Edmond insisted, patting her head.

"All right, Suzette. Let Edmond find his fiancée before it gets dark," Chevalier said, taking his daughter's hand. "Come along now."

"Bye Edmond! See you soon!" Suzette cried, waving goodbye as Edmond smiled and took off running. Little did either of them know what was to come…

~TCOMC~

Suzette awoke to the sound of someone shouting late the next night. Rubbing her eyes, she got out of bed and wandered downstairs to see if her cousin, Fernand Mondego, was drunk and knocking things over. Sneaking her way down, she was surprised to hear Edmond's voice at this hour. Arriving at a set of doors, she peeked through them, her eyes widening at the sight of Fernand turning on Edmond.

"It was YOU?" Edmond shouted in anger. "You turned me in?"

"Wasn't completely my idea," Fernand sneered. "Danglars helped."

Suzette held her breath as she watched them duel, not completely understanding what was going on. She knew that rushing out would only cause trouble, she waited, painfully, watching her friend fall, bleeding at the hand of his own friend.

"WHY? Why in God's name?" Edmond demanded, beaten.

"Because you're the son of a clerk!" Fernand spat. "I'm not supposed to want to be you."

At this, the authorities came in, and at the last moment, Fernand gave Edmond a chess piece. "To remember better times," he said as the men yanked Edmond away.

Suzette wasted no time sneaking off and running out after them, dodging the soldiers. Ignoring their shouts for her to stop, she screamed, "EDMOND!"

His head jerked about and at the sight of the girl, he kicked and wriggled about, trying to free himself. "Suzette!" he cried, freeing one arm.

The girl grasped him, clinging onto him for dear life, kicking and screaming as the soldiers struggled to tear them apart. "Leave him alone!" she screeched. "No! EDMOND!"

At last, they were separated, and as Suzette wept and wailed, all she could see was Dantes' hurt face in her dimmed eyes…

A/N: What do you think? :)