The first kiss was nothing more than that: a kiss. It was gentle, yet hesitant and unsure, as though he was afraid of rejection. Mia could feel herself relaxing in Erik's arms as she returned his kiss. She couldn't explain it, but somehow this just felt right. Her problems felt miles away, nearly forgotten about. Erik broke the kiss only for a moment to allow them both to take another breath before leaning in again. The second kiss couldn't have been more different than the first. Erik was much more confident and his arm wrapped around her waist, pulling Mia closer to him. This was about passion and desire.
Suddenly the hazy fog Mia was in began to dissipate. She blinked once, twice, three times, slowly coming to her senses. Her heart began to hammer in chest and she began to panic. This wasn't right. Mia pushed herself away, staring at Erik in fear. "What did you do to me?" she demanded.
"Mia," he started softly. "There's nothing to get so worked up about." Already she could feel herself losing control to his hypnotic voice.
"No!" she screamed, clamping her hands over her ears. "Stop it! Whatever you're doing to me, stop it!" Mia backed against the wall, trying to get as far from Erik as physically possible.
He took a step towards her, his hands outstretched as if to show her he wasn't going to hurt her. "Just listen to me Mia."
She shook her head violently and sank to her knees. "I'm never listening to you again!" Mia's head was spinning as she tried to keep herself in check. She stared at her scarred arms for a moment before wildly looking around for something sharp. She was losing control; she needed it back some way, and this was the only way she knew how.
Erik crouched beside the hysterical Mia, taking her hands in his. "You don't have to do that," he said gently. "Believe me Mia; you don't have to cut yourself. Just relax."
"I can't!" she cried. "You don't know what will happen to me! I'll lose control!"
He thought her choice of words was odd, but then again, Mia wasn't acting rationally. "I know you won't hurt yourself," he replied. "Please, just trust me. I can make this all stop, if you just let me help you. But first, I need you to trust me."
Her eyes darted back and forth, searching his face to judge his sincerity. Finally Mia shook her head. "This isn't a matter of trust," she said softly, tears welling up in her eyes. "I already know that you'll keep your word. But there is no way you could possibly help me."
"You don't know that," Erik answered, careful to keep his voice soft, understanding, and ever so slightly still hypnotic. He needed her in a more compliant state if he was ever going to get her back down to his lair without the two of them being discovered. "Just close your eyes and relax." When she still refused, or perhaps was unable to, Erik resorted to using breathing exercises he used to have Christine do. Not only were they good preparation for when she had to hit the highest notes of her range, they were also perfect for dealing with a panic attack that had once been brought on by stage fright. "Breathe in through your nose," Erik ordered. "Exhale through your mouth...breathe in...breathe out..."
After a few minutes of this, Mia closed her eyes in surrender and slumped forward, finally giving in to the lull of his voice. Erik caught her in his arms, and after she remained limp for a few minutes, he held her at arm's length to make sure she was okay. Her eyes were glassy, as if she wasn't really there. This wasn't right. This had never happened Christine. Yes he had hypnotized her, but she had never vacated herself like this. He tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "Mia?"
Just as suddenly, she blinked and was back. But there was something different about the look in her eyes; it was harder, more defiant, like when he had first brought her to the lair. She leaped to her feet, pushing him away. Erik stood as well, but before he could get another word out, Mia slapped him hard across the face. "Don't call me Mia," she hissed. "You haven't earned that right."
He was stunned. Not only had she never objected to him calling her Mia until now, she actually had the audacity to strike him. Erik grabbed her shoulder roughly, feeling the wrath of the Phantom bubbling up inside of him, threatening to break loose. "I wouldn't do that if I were you," he snarled.
"Don't touch me!" Erik saw her hand in motion to hit him again, and the Phantom reacted instantly. He grabbed her wrist, pinned it to the wall behind her, and wrapped his free hand around her throat.
"I told you not to do that," he growled, beginning to squeeze her windpipe. "Now I'm going to make you pay."
"Then kill me," Mia replied viciously. "But I don't fear death. In fact, you'd do us both a favor."
Something about the way Mia said 'us' made Erik think that she wasn't referring to him. His eyes widened in understanding. But...but it wasn't possible. At the same time though, it explained so much: her sudden mood swings, her sudden, blank looks, how she could go from laughing and dancing one moment to a near mental breakdown the next. He loosened his hold on her neck. "Amelia?" he asked cautiously, afraid that he was going to sound as mad as his theory was.
A malicious smile crept across her face. "Took you long enough to figure it out, didn't it?"
Erik stared at her in disbelief and horror as his hand dropped to his side. How could this be? he asked himself. As much as he treated the Phantom as a separate being, Erik knew that the supposed ghost was really just his excuse for when he lost control of his temper. But Mia, Amelia, whatever her name was, had two clear, distinct halves that seemed to act as seperate people. How on earth had she managed to hide this from me?! "What happened to Mia?" he demanded.
"She's gone. I'm in control now."