A/N: Eh, not much to say about this one. I made Erik twelve years older than Meg, and that's about it. Both movie and book verse.

Disclaimer: The characters of PotO belong to their respective owners.

Dedicated to: My daddy, who's getting back from Afghanistan on Friday.

Title: Birthdays

Genre: Romance

Rating: PG

Pairings: Erik/Meg

Summary: A one-shot following Meg's birthdays from one year old to twenty.

For her first birthday, the only gift she gets is a new pink ribbon. It is from her mother, because her father doesn't think Meg is important. He wanted a boy, and when Meg was born, he almost went into a fit of depression. But Mme. Giry loves her little Meg, and gives her a new ribbon.
For her second birthday, Meg gets her first pair of ballet flats. She tries to dance in them, but they are too big. When she falls, her mother laughs gently and picks her up. Meg doesn't know where her father is, and she doesn't care. Her mother tells her that her father was gone forever, and she cries a little when she says this, and Meg hugs her mother and tells her that she'll never go away forever, and this only makes Mme. Giry cry harder, and Meg doesn't know why.
For her third birthday, she doesn't receive anything material, but she gets two things. Her ballet flats fit her perfectly, and she is given a spot in the corps de ballet at the Opera House. Meg is excited, and her mother says, with a twinkle in her eye, that Meg will get an "Angel of Music." When Meg asks her mother to explain she just says, 'you will see.'
For her fourth birthday, she doesn't get anything, except she moves into the dormitory with the older girls. She isn't supposed to, she is only four, and the other girls were older, at least five or six. The other girls are nice, at least, but the managers aren't happy. Her mother insisted. Meg doesn't care. But that night she hears a voice. It is the most beautiful voice ever, and she falls in love with it. She doesn't know the owner of the voice, but she loves it anyway.
For her fifth birthday, she meets her best friend. Cecile Jammes is a beauty, and Meg likes her instantly. Cecile has long, auburn hair, a swan-white neck and face, rosy cheeks and bright, blue eyes. They are both dancers, and they were both very good. On the eve of her birthday, they run outside and hide and dance in the dewy grass under the velvet sky. They lie under the stars and talk lazily about how one day, they will be famous dancers, dressed in gorgeous clothes and covered with jewels. And they believe it.
For her sixth birthday, she hears the voice again. She often hears it singing, and it helps lull her to sleep. Tucked safe under her bed are her new ballet slippers. Her mother gave them to her. When she handed them to her daughter, Mme. Giry whispered, 'you'll be a fine dancer someday, Marguerite.' And that makes Meg sad, and she doesn't know why.
For her seventh birthday, Cecile and the other girls make her a necklace. It's a pink ribbon, and hanging on it is a pink jewel. The current Prima Donna, La Carlotta, gave them the jewel. Meg thanks them all, and Carlotta smiles at her and says, "you'll be a Prima Ballerina, someday, Meg." And Meg hugs her, and then she's surprised, because she's hugging the famous La Carlotta. But Carlotta doesn't seem to mind; in fact she hugs Meg back. And that night, she hears the voice again.
For her eighth birthday, she meet the Voice. Her mother takes her deep into the catacombs, and Meg is frightened. She doesn't know she's going to meet the voice. She clings to her mother. Mme. Giry pushes her off, gently. "Stand up straight, Marguerite," she says. "He's not going to hurt you."

"He?" Meg said in response. "Are we going to see Daddy?" And Mme. Giry looked about ready to cry again, but instead she led Meg to a sort of house. A pretty house, next to an underground lake. Inside was a man. It wasn't daddy. He was younger, and handsome, but he wore a mask. He was dressed all in black, and smiled when he saw her.

"And this is the young Marguerite, yes?" He has a soft, velvety voice that is so familiar. And Mme. Giry smiles and pushes Meg forward. He takes her hand and kisses it. Meg smiles and blushes. Then she realizes.

"You're the voice!" She cries.

He laughs, but doesn't say anything.

And that night, as she drifts off to sleep, she hears the voice again, only stronger and more clearly than before.

For her ninth birthday, she doesn't expect much. Her mother can't afford a lot, and her friends only give her the odd gift. But that night, as she went to bed, she finds a rose placed on her pillow. It's beautiful, red and tied with a black ribbon. Attached to the ribbon is a note. To the lovely Marguerite Giry, with love from the O.G. And that night the voice comes again, only now it sings love songs.
For her tenth birthday, Cecile and Meg sneak outside. They run out after practice to watch the rising of the moon. As they lay in the wet grass, the sky turns to gold, then pink and red, red blazing and bright, and then soft, pale yellow. Their hair mingles bright auburn and deep black. They lie together, all while corsets and white tutus and white skirts and while chemises. Meg loves watching the changing colors. Then the sky goes black, and they glow in the white. The moon rises, and they hold their breath and their hands meet. It illuminates the sky and the stars around it dim. And Meg suddenly realizes how small she is, compared to this vast, this glorious sky. And as they go back inside, Cecile hugs Meg and whispers, "happy birthday." And the voice comes again.
For her eleventh birthday, Cecile bakes Meg a cake. It was soft and crumbly and fell apart the second Meg put her fork in it, but it was still good. As they walked back to the dormitories, Meg heard the voice. It was bright and glorious and she tried to find the owner. Her mother told her the voice's name was Erik, and she called to him. Cecile stared at her. "Who are you calling to?" She asks. Meg only shakes her head, and the voice stops. Later, she hears the voice again, softly singing her to sleep.
For her twelfth birthday, she gets the one of the lead roles in Giselle. She dances side-by-side with La Sorelli, the Prima Ballerina. When she's done, she goes to her dormitory early, and she has her first conversation with the Voice. He tells her that she was marvelous, and she will someday be the Prima Ballerina. He tells her that she has great potential. She wants to see the owner of the voice again, and he laughs when she tells him this. He says 'maybe someday.' Then he sings her to sleep.
For her thirteenth birthday, she gets a new pair of flats. Nothing really happens this birthday, although Meg thought something should. She is finally a teenager. She talks to the Voice, and he is kind. She leaves for rehearsal, and that ends their conversation. When she goes to bed, feet bruised and bloodied, she finds a lovely red rose on her pillow. Tied to the black ribbon is a ring. Quietly she thanks to Voice and falls asleep.
For her fourteenth birthday, nothing happens. A new girl, Christine Daaé, comes to the Opera House. She is to sing in the chorus. Ever since Daaé came to the Opera, the Voice visits Meg less and less. When he does visit her, he asks about Mlle. Daaé. Meg tells him all she knows. She feels like the Voice's puppet, finding information he could find himself. She falls asleep without the voice singing to her, and she begins to hate Christine.
For her fifteenth birthday, she gets a heartbreak. The Voice leaves her forever, now going to Mlle. Daaé. She finds out about it after the performance of La Sylphide. She overhears Christine talking to the Voice, and she starts to cry. Everyone wonders about this. Why was Meg Giry crying? She is fifteen and fabulous and rules the world and was the star of the performance and got a standing ovation, so why is she crying? Meg talks only to Little Cecile Jammes. Cecile comforts Meg the only way she can, when she wonders about the mysterious voice.
For her sixteenth birthday, she gets revenge, indirectly. Daaé left Erik, the voice, the only man she ever loved. She went off with a Vicomte de Chagny. Meg is both happy and sad. Happy because she told Erik that Christine would never love him, and sad for the same reason. She went down to the catacombs to see him. She knows the way somehow. There she finds him, and they sit down and talk.
For her sixteenth birthday, she gets a ring. But it's not just any ring. Erik gives her an engagement ring, and they exchange vows of eternal love. That night, they sit on the roof of the Opera House and talk about life, love and everything. When she awakes, she is lying next to him in his bed. She kisses him and leaves.
For her seventeenth birthday, she gets married. It's a small, private ceremony, and there are only a few people there: her mother, Cecile Jammes and a few friends from the Opera House. She looks stunning in her gown of white and gold, with a bouquet of lilies. He holds her hand as they exchange vows, and then they kiss and leave. They leave Paris and the Opera Populaire and promise to return, but they never do. They love each other.
For her eighteenth birthday, she finds out that she is with child. She calls over her mother and Cecile Jammes and they both stay with Meg in her and Erik's little house in the country. Together, they make baby clothes and furnish a new room for the newborn. Erik helps make toys and other things for the child. If it's a girl, they'll name her Ariane and if it's a boy, they will name him Jules. Together, they plan a happy family.
For her nineteenth birthday, she has a beautiful, two month old daughter. Ariane has her black hair and black eyes. Every night, Erik sings Ariane to sleep in the hand-made crib. They both dote on her completely. Meg plans to make Ariane a great Prima Ballerina, but Erik wants her to be a Prima Donna. Then they laugh softly and watch their daughter as she falls asleep.
For her twentieth birthday, she realizes that she has everything. She has a beautiful daughter and a loving husband. She is safe from everything. Erik loves her, she has a daughter, and she plans, from now on, just to let Ariane grow. She wanted an abundance of love as a child, and now she has it. Everything was right.