A/N: Yeahhh...so this is happening. I promise I will be updating Forgive and Forget and A Shot in The Dark within the next couple days. It's just that the last three days I've watched this movie about 9 or 10 times, and I'm listening to the soundtrack as I write this, and I just felt Erik needed a little love. So yeah!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Phantom of the Opera, nor do I own any of its characters.
The Opera Populaire was newly rebuilt, newly reopened, and newly auditioning actors, singers, and dancers. The queue rounding the theatre was a long one, splitting off into three different lines somewhere within the building. After the disaster of four years ago had left the once grand structure in ruin, many in Paris had believed it would be destroyed, removed from everywhere but memory. But then a mysterious benefactor had bought the decrepit building, with promise to return it to former glory. And return it they did. All of Paris spoke of the mystery that was the new owner, for no one had seen him, no one had spoken to him, and no one knew his name. Some had even begun to wonder if the great Opera Ghost had returned, but such ideas remained nothing but rumor.
Standing in the middle of the three lines leading back behind the stage of the opera house, surrounded by giggling and gossiping girls one girl stood, making minuscule gestures to stretch her limbs. She knew she would most likely only possibly find herself a place within the troupe of chorus girls, but to be granted such a place would be opportunity enough. She had heard of the Opera Populaire, and of the great tragedy that had occurred here, but she would not be swayed. After all, the Phantom was dead, burned in the fire, or so the story went. However, an obstacle far more frightening still stood within the building. Madame Giry. As much a source of inspiration as of intimidation, she had regained her previous position as concierge and dance instructor. If young Adrienne Louvier wished to find her place within these walls, she would first need to prove herself, as it appeared some girls ahead of her had failed to do. Time after time some would disappear, but more would come running past, tears falling down their cheeks, which truly did nothing for the girl's confidence.
Suddenly, her name was called, and with a lump in her throat she stepped forward. The theatre itself was vast, and like nothing she had ever seen before. The walls rose high, ornamented with golden sculptures and coming to meet in the middle of the ceiling with a vast new and sparkling chandelier, as the old one had been destroyed. She was only afforded but a moment to take it all in, as the strict voice of Madame Giry broke her from her thoughts. "What is your name?"
Immediately she straightened her posture, looking into the woman's grey blue eyes. "Adrienne Louvier, madame."
"How long have you been dancing, mademoiselle?" She was circling her now, though giving a radius of a few feet.
"All my life. I began to dance as early as I could walk." It was not a lie. From an early age she had been drawn to the world of dance, fumbling about as soon as she could stand, twirling about at the age of five, her father giving her first pair of dancing shoes at ten. Dance was as much a part of her as the air she breathed. She was only ever truly free when she danced.
"You are aware of the piece you will be performing?"
She knew it would be wise to keep her answers short and to the point. Babbling on would get her nowhere except out the door. "Yes."
The older woman nodded, and moved farther away, still circling, but slower this time around. "Maestro." One word, a signal to begin the music to which the girl would dance. And dance she did. A grand jeté here and an arabesque there, her movements were fluid as she propelled her way around the wooden stage, careful to keep relatively to the center.
As the tune came to a close, she fell to the ground, right leg extended arms falling towards her toes as she bent her head, eyes closed as she prayed to god to not let her join the number of weeping girls sitting outside.
"Stand." The woman's voice was curt, her tone neither encouraging or dismissing. Adrienne quickly did as commanded, and though she held her head up, her eyes remained directed down towards her feet, as though a simple glance upward could destroy any chance she may have had.
A figure, hidden in shadow, seated in Box Five, overlooked all of the auditions. No one knew he was there. No one ever did, but as he watched, relatively unintrigued with those that came and went. They were good, but none of them truly grabbed his interest. They were good, but none of them thus far had been great. None had shone bright enough to fully entrap his attention.
Now, however, that began to change. This girl, this young woman who bounded across the stage, caused him to lean forward, still not leaving the safety of the shadows. He watched her every move, noting that every bend and every jump was calculated and concise, but not emotional. There was potential, that was certain, but it had not yet been unlocked. Her nerves were obvious, so much so that it was a surprise they did not interfere with her dancing. Her stance was all but rigid. Antoinette possessed a certain power over the girls that stepped upon that stage. Most would break under the pressure of her gaze, and thus would fumble about, but this girl seemed to take that and used it to her advantage. Curious, he continued to listen, wishing only to gauge the talents of what seemed would be one of the newest members of the ballet troupe.
"Can you sing?" Madame Giry then asked, and the girl seemed to swallow quietly, moving her head in a slight nod.
"Sing these notes, then." She motioned again to the maestro, who progressed through various levels of solfège. The young woman visibly stood straighter, and he listned as she sang, holding out each note as long as instructed, only faltering a handful of times.
As she sang, he took a moment to study her. Dark hair was pulled up into a tight bun, with only a few pieces hanging loose to frame her face. He could not tell the color of her eyes from where he sat, but he could easily see the way she worried at her bottom lip. Her form was generously curved, for a ballerina, though he gave her body only a glance.
Her vocals were admirable, but nowhere near the level of her dancing. She was certainly no Prima Donna, but she had the beginnings of what could one day be a Prima Ballerina. She would need work though, and much of it. Not only that, but the devotion would have to be there. And whether it was or not, only time would tell. Standing, the man moved from his seat and silently exited Box Five. He had seen enough.
Movement somewhere in the corner of her eye drew her gaze up to one of the upper seating areas, but when hazel green eyes focused on Box Five, it stood empty.
"Congratulations, mademoiselle Louvier. Welcome to the Opera Populaire." Adrienne's head snapped back and her eyes fixed on Madame Giry, as if in questioning whether or not the words had actually left her lips or if she had, in her high hopes, simply imagined them. The woman's face held only the faintest of smiles. "You shall be made to live within the dormitories here, therefore bring with you only that which you require."
Her heart leapt, but she kept the joy within, though struggling to keep her composure. Showing herself to be prone to childish behavior would get her nowhere with Madame, a woman who seemed to be all business.
Adrienne had been at the Opera Populaire for little more than a week, rehearsals had thus far proved taxing, but now, as the moon had risen into the sky, and all those residing within the opera house had fallen to sleep, the young woman took a single candle to hand as she crept from the ballerinas' dormitories where slept her fellow dancers to the stage, where she lit only enough candles to make sure she could see, before setting down her own and taking to center stage. Closing her eyes, she imagined an audience, the orchestra playing a slow tune that rose and fell. Humming to herself, she allowed her mind to lose its grip on the world around her, delving into the depths of a fantasy where she would dance and dance until she could do so no longer, until the full audience of the Opera Populaire rose from their seats to applaud her. She let her movements carry her from one end of the stage to the other, oblivious to any who may have been watching her.
Roughly an hour would pass before the girl returned to the dormitories, falling into a peaceful, dreamless sleep, completely unaware of he who had sat witness to her late night performance.
A/N: As always, reviews are appreciated. As previously stated, updates on my other stories will be coming soon, so stay tuned!