A/N: It's my first phanfic ever, so please be kind to me! After having skulked around here for a couple of months, I was greatly inspired to write my own fanfiction, and so here it is! (I would like to thank in particular, xsilver-galxyx, Louise-Anne, charleygirl, FantomPhan33 and PoE99 for their amazing stories which I have been reading faithfully since I started reading phanfic. Thank you for the inspiration! You may have seen me popping by in reviews, under the name "Hazel". If you happen to be reading my humble story, which I don't suppose you are anyway haha.)

My story may not be the most original fanfic around, what with all the numerous great story ideas out there, but I hope you like it anyway. This story contains my OC, and hopefully you'll like her.

DISCLAIMER (not sure how this is supposed to go but I see it in almost every story, so here goes): I don't own anything, except the baby at this moment. You'll see what I mean when you read on!

Let me know what you think! I would love to hear your comments!

xx Hazel


Chapter 1: The Beginning

Paris, 1880

It was a cold, wintry evening when eighteen-year-old Antoinette Bellamy, a ballerina at the Palais Garnier in Paris, arrived back at the opera house, the basket on her arm full of the dancers' toe slippers she had been sent out to buy, and various other paraphernalia. The day had been cold and blustery, with the winter winds whipping at her face, and Antoinette hurried toward the steps leading to the service doors at the back of the opera house, pulling her worn shawl around her shoulders. Climbing the stairs two at a time in a rather unladylike manner, she hurriedly inserted the key into the door, pushing it open, when she noticed a strange bundle of rags next to the stairs. It was not the presence of the rags that was strange— people were always leaving rubbish behind on the streets— but rather the muffled, keening sounds issuing from the bundle. Antoinette set her basket down on the top step, and cautiously made her way over to the bundle. She bent slightly, and pulled back the top layer of blankets, to reveal a baby's face, screwed up and red with the exertion of crying. It looked to be around two years old. Antoinette gasped and almost lost her balance, stumbling backward. She hurriedly picked the bundle up, cradling it toward her chest with her firm dancer's arms. She looked around, but there was nobody on the streets save for a few poor souls who were striding as fast as they could, scarves wrapped tightly around their necks, in a bid to escape the cold winter air. She contemplated the baby silently. It did not seem possible for her to bring the baby into the opera house, and yet she could not leave it on the doorsteps to freeze to death.

Biting her lip, Antoinette balanced the baby on one arm, and picked up her basket with the other, pushing the door open with her elbow and ducking into the entrance of the employees' hallway. She heaved a sigh of relief when she saw that nobody was about. It would have been difficult explaining the baby at the moment. Rehearsals for a production that she was not part of were underway, and Antoinette hurriedly rushed to the dormitories, where she deposited the basket on her bed. Scooping up the baby in her arms, she sneaked to the kitchen, praying that nobody would see her. The baby was quiet for most of the journey, but it was fussing about restlessly in its swaddling, and Antoinette supposed that the baby was hungry.

Once in the warm kitchen, she set the baby gingerly down onto the table, and started to rummage around the cupboards in the kitchen. Shouldn't there be a bottle somewhere from when Madame Bissette's daughter had her baby and brought the baby over for a couple of days when there was nobody at home to look after it? She opened cupboards randomly, hoping that she would find the baby bottle. When at last the contents of a cupboard at the end of the kitchen revealed what she was looking for, Antoinette grabbed the baby bottle triumphantly, noting that it was dusty from being kept in the cupboard for so long. She ground her teeth in frustration, and started rooting around the cupboards again for a pan in which to boil water. It took a while, but at last the bottle was bobbing around in a pan of boiling water on the stove, and next to it was another pan filled with a little cow's milk that Antoinette had unearthed from the icebox in the kitchen.

She waited for a couple of minutes, and decided that whatever germs that had been on that bottle should have died, before fishing it out of the water gingerly with a cloth wrapped around her hands. She turned off the stove, and let the milk cool for a short while before pouring it into the baby bottle, then hurriedly rinsed the pans and returned them to the cupboard.

"I thought I'm the one who usually has to sneak around the kitchens, Antoinette." A soft voice came from a dark corner of the kitchen and Antoinette yelped in shock, almost dropping the bottle. She turned upon the issuer of the voice, scowling.

It was him. She had not even needed to turn; that melodious voice, soft yet enchanting, could only have belonged to one person. He hid in a corner of the kitchen, the darkness cloaking his thin figure, casting shadows upon his face. Only the white leather of the mask covering half his face shone dully in the little light that the windows at the top of the kitchen let in. His thick black hair, unkempt and unruly, hung across his forehead, and gleaming green eyes shone in the darkness of the kitchen. He was but a boy of twelve, and yet he carried himself proudly, with a bearing suited for aristocracy.

"Hello, Antoinette." He said quietly.

"Erik!" She hissed. "You scared me to death! Whatever are you doing here?"

He lifted the loaf of bread that he had in his hands. It had become something of a habit for Erik to pilfer his own meals from the well stocked pantry in the kitchen whenever Antoinette was too busy with rehearsals to get his meals for him. Antoinette always felt a pang of guilt when he had to do so; she had brought the boy here, supposedly saved him from his previously miserable life, and yet as a ballerina she had little time to spare for him. She nodded, before a piercing cry broke the silence in the kitchen, and Antoinette remembered what she was there for. She hurried back to the table, thanking god that the baby did not seem to have suffered much in the cold, if it could yell at the top of its voice that way. Cradling the baby in her arms, she lifted the bottle to the baby's mouth. It needed no encouragement, and began to suckle on the bottle enthusiastically. Antoinette looked up at Erik, who had a pained expression on his face, no doubt from the loud cry the baby had given only moments ago.

"What is that thing?" He asked hesitantly, gesturing to the baby.

"That thing, as you so put it, is a baby, Erik." Antoinette told him primly.

Voices from just beyond the kitchen startled her, and she looked frantically around the room. There was no way to leave the kitchen without being seen now.

Sensing her distress, Erik sighed and beckoned to her. She followed him to the pantry, where he fumbled around with parts of the wall, until an invisible door swung open in one of the walls. Antoinette gaped at the door. Ten years she had been here at the Palais Garnier, and not a single instance had anybody told her about the existence of such doors. Erik merely raised an eyebrow and waved her forward into the passage. She looked at the dusty, shadowy passage skeptically, but the nearing voices from the passageway outside the kitchen made her rush into the passageway; there was no other choice. Once inside, she thrust her free arm out wildly, trying to discern a solid object she could hold on to. Erik entered behind her, closing the door and sealing off the little light that had streamed in from the pantry windows. Antoinette felt a sense of panic as she was ensconced in the darkness, but the next moment, Erik's hand had closed around her elbow comfortingly.

"It's a straight path from here, Antoinette. I'll keep my hand on your elbow, and guide you. Just keep walking straight and follow my instructions." Antoinette swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded gratefully, knowing Erik could see her. She knew how much Erik despised touch, and she was grateful that he was putting aside his discomfort to guide her.

"Where are we going?" She whispered.

"I discovered an old, unused storage room not far from here. We will not be discovered there." He murmured, putting pressure on her elbow to indicate that she should start moving. She walked forward in small, mincing steps.

"That's good, I don't think the damp fifth cellars will be good for the baby."

His only response was a disbelieving snort.


UPDATE: I've noticed that most people read chapter 1 and then give up on the story... please don't! I promise that it gets much better in the following chapters, though chapter 1 is a little choppy and boring. Please do continue reading! (:

A/N: Well I hope that wasn't too bad to get through! I actually already have chapter 2 in the works, and am working on it right now, so please do review chapter 1 and let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you, and also please feel free to give any constructive criticism; I don't bite. Forgive me for any grammar errors or such things. Also, I know zilch about Paris in 1880 and babies, but I did a little bit of research, so let me know if I missed out anything, or that it's simply impossible for any such thing to have occurred in my story.

Til the next chapter~