((A/N: The usual disclaimers apply. The characters belong to Gaston Leroux/ALW and Joss Whedon, this is not for profit, etc, etc. I saw there weren't any crossovers for my two favorite fictional worlds, so I decided to make one. I feel like this will end up being rather long because I'm combining what was originally meant to be two separate fic ideas into one. Enjoy! (psst and review because it helps me feel encouraged to update faster).))
The night was crisp and the warm neck under Darla's mouth contrasted with the air quite nicely even if she didn't really notice the cool temperature. Her arms clung to the young man in her grasp and those passing by would just assume they were a loving couple embracing. It was Paris after all - the city of love. Darla nearly snorted in amusement at the thought. After a few more moments, the man was completely limp in her arms and there was no more blood in him to quench her thirst. She didn't particularly mind, after all it was only a 'pick me up' that she needed. Darla had much more important things planned for the night aside from feeding. Dropping the dead body amongst some trash behind the Opera House - it seemed she had stumbled upon an unfortunate stagehand - she made her way towards the entrance after wiping her mouth of the evidence of her previous activities. It was hardly proper to move through the crowds of high society with blood smears on her mouth.
The extravagance of the Opera Garnier was exactly what the blonde vampire needed. She was sick of Drusilla doing something insane like kidnapping local children to 'play with' and forcing her and Angelus to relocate with Dru to somewhere far away and much less to Darla's liking. Of course, Angelus found his childe's behavior amusing. Darla begged to differ. Sure, the crazy vampire was amusing for awhile, but taking care of her was grating on Darla's nerves. After their last relocation, Darla had decided she needed a break from the two of them, so she found herself in Paris in search of something to make Angelus reconsider his choice in . . . pets. Surely he'd rid himself of his toy once Darla found her another childe to sire. She'd make him just as powerful, if not more so, than Angelus and he'd certainly feel the stirrings of jealousy. Perhaps she'd wind up liking this childe more anyways. Her string of thoughts distracted her so much, she found herself at the front of the line to enter and hurriedly handed her ticket over on the way inside.
Many pairs of eyes followed her as she walked in and she couldn't keep a small, self satisfied smirk off her face. The stares were due in part to the fact that she was a new face, but it also had to do with her appearance. Her hair was elegantly done up - even after her dinner in the alley - and she was dressed in the latest fashion of nobility. She could easily pass for a comtesse or something similar. As she casually sipped at a glass of wine - red, of course - she felt the women's stares sending daggers into her while the men's were much more interested. A few attempted to approach her, mostly rich and highly unattractive - as if they could win her affections - so she spoke as kindly and uninterested as society dictated she had to, but they seemed to get the message and left after a few exchanges of greeting and comments on the upcoming opera. Darla couldn't remember the name of the opera, but apparently it was some Christine Daae's debut. She didn't particularly care. Darla was only here to scope out potentials for her to sire. From her spot by the grand staircase, Darla was able to pick up on quite a few interesting tidbits from surrounding conversations. Most were idiotic and of no importance to her, but a few perked her interest. One in particular sent a smile to her lips.
"Have you been reading the papers? There's talk of a large number of gruesome murders lately. The police say it's animal attacks! Isn't it terrible?" A woman was exclaiming amongst a group of couples. They all seemed rather intrigued and continued the conversation for quite some time. And they say one person can't make a difference Darla thought in bemusement. She'd only been in Paris for a fortnight and there was already talk of the increased murder rate. Thankfully they're all too stupid to realize these aren't the victims of animal attacks. A loud voice drew her from her thoughts when they asked the guests to find their way to their seats. Darla had purchased a box seat for the night, so she stopped to ask who would be showing her to her seat. The young man seemed embarrassed to admit that the woman who typically showed the guests to their box seats, Madame Giry, was adamantly refusing to escort Darla there, but apparently to make up for the rudeness, the two new managers would escort her instead. They arrived a few moments later, harried and out of breath.
"Pardon the wait, mademoiselle, we weren't expecting our employee to be so unforgivably rude. Hopefully it will not sully your opinion of our opera house," they all glanced around in puzzlement when it sounded as though someone called out my opera house, but upon the realization that was a remarkably strange thought, each of them ignored it. Darla only ignored it reluctantly. "I am Monsieur Andre and this is my associate Monsieur Firman," he introduced themselves to her and they both scrambled to grasp both of her hands at once and kiss them. She crinkled her nose in annoyance, but they were too caught up to notice.
"It's a pleasure, Messieurs," she replied as she withdrew her hands and stealthily wiped them on her dress skirts. "So long as the performance is pleasurable, it's likely I can overlook her impolite behavior and make good on my promise to become a patron here. I've heard you've got the Comte de Chagny and his brother the Vicomte as your main patrons?" Darla had been sure to do her research. It hadn't taken much asking around to learn of the new managers with their new patrons feeding them cash, their Prima Donna walking out for the current performance, and she'd even caught wind of some strange stories about an Opera Ghost that liked to take Box 5 for himself. Obviously this would lead to Darla taking it for herself. She was curious as to who was posing as a phantom, so this was the best way to go about discovering them. It didn't seem like it was too far off from something The Master would do. The only problem was she would have been able to sense his presence if he was tormenting the employees of the Opera Garnier. It was all quite puzzling and added to her desire to remain in Paris. It really was a lovely city. She felt a wonderful sense of victory when she thought of how Angelus must be suffering without her. Surely he was tired of Drusilla now that she was all he had to warm his bed. Her lip curled in disgust before she recalled who was in her presence, then she smoothed out her features to a mask of friendliness. If the managers noticed the brief crack in her facade, they said nothing of it.
"Ah yes you are quite right, mademoiselle. We would gladly accept your patronage. It's so wonderful that a young woman of your status would have such an appreciation for the arts," Andre gushed as he directed her to her box. He ignored the dreadful feeling in the pit of his stomach from giving her the box the so called Phantom of the Opera had strictly prohibited them selling. Firman spotted the Chagnys up ahead entering the box adjacent to Darla's and hurried to all but throw himself at their feet after a few apologies directed at her. She certainly enjoyed all this attention. Andre was about to leave himself, but decided to chat with Darla once they entered her box - much to her annoyance. She wanted to see if there was any truth to this phantom business, and she couldn't very well do it with him there.
"Merci Monsieur Andre," she said with a small nod in his direction. "I believe I can make it from here. Perhaps after the performance we can discuss what my patronage would entail."
"Of course, mademoiselle. Please enjoy the performance! If anything uh . . .strange occurs after the first Act, do not hesitate to find either Firman or myself. We will gladly sort out what might occur." Darla's only response to this was to quirk her eyebrow in interest and take her seat, shutting the door on the annoying manager. It was a shame she couldn't just snap his neck. Passing for human was just so dreadfully boring. At least the same couldn't be said for the actual performance. It wasn't all too interesting compared to what Darla normally did this time of night, but it wasn't the worst thing she'd sat through. What made it all the more interesting was what happened after the first Act. She had been sitting there fully engrossed in the opera when she heard the faintest whisper of clothing moving about and a voice coming from somewhere behind her.
"This is my Box for my use. Leave here at once!" The masculine voice demanded. She sighed in irritation and rolled her eyes.
"You'd do well to remember I don't respond well to demands - especially from someone I can't even see," that last part was actually true. The voice seemed entirely disembodied - which is likely what fueled the tale of the Opera Ghost - but it was much more likely the individual was just especially skilled at throwing their voice. They made a soft surprised sound - as though they weren't accustomed to not being obeyed - before replying in an even more threatening manner.
"Get. Out. NOW!" His voice echoed around inside her box, but the singing on stage was so loud nobody else noticed the noise from Box 5. "Or else you'll regret your decision. Do not test me woman - the Phantom of the Opera is not to be toyed with!" He exclaimed. Darla actually had the nerve to chuckle. The 'Phantom of the Opera' part nearly had her in tears from her laughter.
"I'm far more dangerous than you seem to think, Monsieur," she whipped her hand up to knock away the lasso that she heard moving through the air towards her. It hit the ground with a thunk. "I wouldn't recommend trying that again if you'd like to leave with your life," she threatened with a dangerous edge to her voice. He seemed to pause to reconsider his course of action.
"This is not yet over between us, mademoiselle," was his parting retort before Darla was once again left alone.