Meg is introduced and some history is given.
Mme Megan Giry knew no other life than that which the theatre offered her.
As a child she had grown up in the Paris Opera house with its beautiful dÃ©cor, enchanting stories and dark secrets which had all but enslaved her for the first eighteen years of her life. Even after pursuing her own career for almost fifteen years she had found herself almost unwillingly returning to the place that had nurtured her for so long. Her mother had once told her that the Giry's had a responsibility to this house, something she didn't entirely believe or accept but something she couldn't deny. That responsibility had paled into the shadows though as she had decided to partake in another, one that, at this very moment she was regretting.
Meg grabbed the first ballet girl that twittered past.
"Have they found her yet?" She demanded as she turned to girl towards her.
The petite girl bobbed a curtsey and shook her head.
"No Mme Giry." She spoke with very heavy French. "The people, they are still looking. I will call you if they do."
The ballet mistress patted her on the shoulder.
"Good girl." She encouraged. "Off with you now."
Meg watched her leave before she turned around and studied her surroundings, taken back to the countless times she had to hang around these same corridors, waiting for her practice sessions.
"Where could that accursed child have gone?" She muttered to herself, as she started to recheck all the rooms and corridors in the practice halls. Julianne could've gone anywhere and Meg began to darkly fear that she had managed to pass out of the places where they could find her. The girl had no caution, no patience and no sense of direction.
Meg shook her head to herself and stopped.
Something moved in the corner of her eye... A sense...
"He's here!" She breathed before she could stop herself. "The Phantom... NO! Ann! Ann!"
A strange wild, almost hysterical fear bubbled up within her soul. If he found her... If he did...
The voice sounded as if it came from just around the corner.
"Aunt Meg, I'm here!"
Meg picked up her skirt and sprinted the last few steps. When she rounded the corner she nearly collided with a person standing in front of one of the service doors.
The girl gasped and took two steps back, her back touching the wall behind her.
Her dark hair was a messy array of out of place wisps and soft curls, framing her pale face and making her deep blue eyes seem even wilder as she searched around.
"Julianne..." Meg breathed relieved and stepped closer to the girl. "Where have you been? Are you okay?"
The girl swallowed and took a hesitant step in her direction before she decided against it and rather moved further back against the wall, clutching her arms over her chest. Her clear eyes searched around for the source they would never find.
"I... Took a wrong turn." She managed. "My cane..." Her hand travelled to her face. "I got lost and..."
Meg didn't let her finish as she gasped softly and stepped right up to her. "You're bleeding!" She exclaimed. "Where are you hurt child?" She laid a gentle hand in the crook of her arm.
The girl stiffened and turned her head towards her. She dropped her arms slightly and clenched her left hand.
"I... fell." She said embarrass. "He was going so fast, I couldn't keep up. And then my cane broke..."
She gave a start as she felt Meg's hand tighten around her elbow.
"Who?" The older woman hissed under her breath.
Her ward gasped and almost pulled away from her.
"I don't know!" She exclaimed. "It's not as if I could see him. He didn't do anything, I promise. It was probably the rat catcher."
She felt the grip on her arm relax.
"Of course." Meg said with a shake of her head as she pulled the girl forward and placed an arm around her middle. "How stupid of me. Who else could it be?"
The younger woman didn't seem very convinced as she turned a puzzled look in her direction.
"Who else in deed." She muttered. "Are we going to the chorus practice now?" Her initial fear had vanished and was slowly being replaced by enthusiasm.
Meg barked a dry laugh as she slowly urged her forward.
"Not now we're not." She said sternly. "I have the whole theatre looking for you."
The younger woman's face fell. "But..."
"No buts." Meg's tone was insistent. "We're going to the physician or seamstress to have that hand looked at and then you can go to your room and contemplate the meaning of 'Wait for him here.' I can't believe you left by yourself. Do you know how long it took me to convince these people that they should take you in? They are waiting for you to make a mistake or give them a reason not to keep you here. And, your mother will have my head if she knew that I not only lost you but let you get hurt..."
She got a sniff for her lecture.
"My mother would have your head if she knew that I was here Mme Giry." The girl said dryly and stopped.
Meg found it very ironic that she took the time to look back. She felt sudden cold shivers run down her ward's arm.
"His hands were so cold." The girl spoke almost as if to herself, her voice distracted. "I've never..." She stopped, sensing her companion's unease.
"What is it Aunt Meg?" She hugged herself.
The woman shook her head.
"We should get you to the doctor." She said. "And, Julianne de Changy... You are never to walk around here alone again, is that understood?"
She had been born blind.
Six months into her pregnancy, Madame la Vicomtesse Christine de Changy, formerly Christine Daae got terribly ill with the German measles. She had recovered with no serious ill effects and, even for the first month after their first child's birth the de Changy's had no foretelling of their daughter's fate. It was only after she got older that they began to notice a certain lack in her perception. By her eight-month, four physicians had given the same diagnosis.
Little Julianne Christine de Changy would never see her parents and be limited to exploring the world with her touch and hearing for the rest of her life.
It had not stopped the young vibrant spirit of course. She had a passion for life that, to those who knew her, made her fate even more tragic. She wanted to try and feel everything - never really considering the consequences of her actions. She played with those who accepted her and to date didn't begrudge those who didn't. She could run, ride - to her mother's horror - and later, when they allowed her, keep up with her two siblings who were five and seven years younger than her respectively.
And, twenty year old Julianne had a gift...
"Ouch damn it!"
Ann almost jerked away and covered her face with her one arm. The other was being firmly held down on the table by Mme Giry and the seamstress.
"Don't cuss child." The seamstress reprimanded her. "Do you need more light Monsieur Gaston?"
Doctor Jean Gaston shook his head and glared at the squirming young woman.
"I would advice you to sit still Mademoiselle." He said dryly, but not harshly. "You're only making it worse."
Ann bit her lip and shook her head. With visible effort she tried to relax as she glared in the doctor's direction.
"That is very hard considering that I'm being tortured by a blunt needle... Ich..." She cut off her pained sound and put on a determined face. Despite herself Mme Giry gave her a pitying smile and shared a look with the seamstress.
The physician adjusted his glasses. "Last one." He reassured them as he prepared his last stitch. "Though, just a little observation my young Lady but, judging by the faint marks on your hands you should be use to this by now.
Ann was now sitting very still, beads of sweat on her face. "I don't always look where I'm going." She said lightly.
Mme Giry smiled. "For as long as I've known her," She added in a conversational voice, "young Ann had tried to touch anything that came her way - dangerous or not."
The girl smiled for a moment, her bright blue eyes sparkling to life.
"It was only your luck that you where there when we caught that fox. Anyway, my br..."
She was cut off as Mme Giry coughed suddenly.
Doctor Gaston immediately stopped working on Ann's hand and gave the woman a worried look.
"Mme Giry, how long have you had that cough?"
The woman blinked and blushed.
"I ah... swallowed wrong. It's nothing really." A faint giggle from Ann earned the girl a kick from underneath the table. "It's not my mother's illness."
She hesitated; unconsciously she had breached a subject that she wasn't very comfortable with and tried to avoid at all costs.
The doctor and seamstress gave her a sympathetic look.
"How is your mother?" Dr. Gaston asked gently. "I haven't heard from her in quite sometime." He started to finish with Ann's hand.
Mme Giry made a dismissive gesture. "She's fine." She said. "She's still on her friend's estates, I got a letter from her the other day saying that she was getting tired of all the sunlight."
The seamstress laughed.
"It's because she has spend almost her whole life in this musty, miserable opera house." She said. "You should watch out as well..."
The smaller woman shook her head.
"I can assure you that I'm in perfect health." She said dryly. "Ah! Are we done?"
The doctor nodded and cut his final line. When the two women let go of her arm Ann immediately pulled it back and flexed her fingers.
"Easy now." Dr. Gaston scolded. "You don't want to pull those out - let me bandage it for you."
Ann's mouth twitched as she lightly ran her fingers over the cut. Reluctantly she gave up her hand again. The man raised an eyebrow in her direction and motioned to Mme Giry to pay attention.
"I'm going to give you this ointment with which to clean it at least three times a day." He said. "Also, make sure that she doesn't get the stitches wet. In ten or so days you can come to me to take it out or you can do it yourself."
Showing the bottle to Meg he opened it and spread some ointment over Ann's hand. The girl turned her head interested and sniffed the air.
"Hey, can I see too?" She asked. "I'm the one who's going to put it on after all." She held her free hand out expectantly. The seamstress looked as if she wanted to protest but Mme Giry motioned her to silence, unscrewed the bottle and passed it on to Ann.
The girl ran her hand over its shape and surface before she flipped off the top. Smelling the salve she pulled a face and reached in to feel its texture. She rubbed a little between her fingers and touched it to her tongue. She grimaced immediately and shook her head disgusted. She put the top back on and pushed it in Meg's direction.
"Do you think they found another cane for me yet?" She queried hopefully as the doctor tied the last knot on her hand's bandage.
Ann pulled it back and ran her hand over the material as she kept hopeful eyes in her aunt's direction.
The Ballet Mistress sighed and shook her head. "No." She translated the motion. "Ann, I told you that I'll go look when we're done here okay? You'll have to wait love."
Although the rest didn't see it Meg noticed the soft frustrated sigh that Ann blew out under her breath as she rubbed her free hand over her face. There was still a streak of blood on her cheek where she had done it with her.
The older woman shook her head. She was still furious with the girl but she was sensitive enough to her moods to realize that she was, despite her brave front, still terrified. She was out of her element and now, she didn't even have her cane. She shared a look with the two other people in the room and went over to touch Ann's shoulder.
"Let's go get you cleaned up." She said gently. "And then we'll see what we can do for a cane..."
She was blind.
They let a blind chorus girl into the opera.
And then they allowed her to walk around on her own.
The torches flickered as the shape paced up and down amongst the swirling shadows. One torch flickered out but it flared up again as the shape passed by. Every now and again there was a flash of white amidst the darkness.
The phantom shape turned around and marched over to a table that stood against one of the walls, one of the few pieces of furniture in the cavernous room. He reached down and ran a gloved hand over the object on it. When his hand reached the middle a quick movement snapped the object in half. He held the two pieces of worked reed up to the light and tested their weight and flexibility.
Effective, but not perfect.
With a cry of sudden rage he threw the two objects across the room.
Stop it! Not his problem...
He stared at the place where the broken reeds had fallen.
She had not flinched at his touch - she had almost seemed to welcome it...
For the first time the light of the torches created more than just shadows.
The white bone mask glowed yellow in the darkness.
AN: Okay, that - Ladies and Gentleman, takes care of the first two chapters of this story. I work on the principle of posting a chapter every time I get a review as I don't want to keep on posting chapters in a story that nobody reads. To give you some background, I started this story almost two years ago (three now). It is not yet completed, as my time for writing is very limited. I got inspired to write this after I saw a live performance of Phantom of the Opera. I have always been a fan of the music and, to be privaledged enough to see the full and live Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in my tiny back water country was a blessing beyond belief. I wrote this mainly as an addition to the musical, also using themes from the original book by Gaston Le Roux as well as a few adds from a book called the Phantom of Manhattan by Fredrick Forsyth. The movie came and went, bringing with it the usual chorus of sudden fans who would undoubtedly never have been fortunate enough to see the show. (JOB WELL DONE Joel Schumacher (spelling?) and WELL DONE To Emma Rossum and Gerald Butler.) For that, although I am not normally very supportive of putting musicals (or books ect) on the silver screen, I am truly grateful. What should please be remember by those who have only seen the movie is that this was based on the original musical - which left you with more unanswered questions than the movie did. For instance, Madam Giry's association with the Phantom. I ask for tolerance from the silver screen fans because my story history is not parallel with the movie.
This story is also on fanfiction.net under the same name, for both myself and the story.
Thank you for your tolerance and your patience!