A/N- This is my first POTO fic. So be nice! And no beating me up about Erik's age!

I'm fully aware that his age is incorrect. It is written purposefully this way to decrease the awkwardness later in the story.

Ch.1 Empty

Erik looked into the reflection of the small lake that bordered his keep underneath the Opera' Popular in the glorious city of Paris France. The Opera house was never rebuilt after the treacherous fire that ruined all chances of there ever being music and beauty inside its walls again. Soon after it had occurred though, a brigade of French police and even soldiers began picking their way through the remains of the charred music hall. They searched the underground caverns beneath its floors and found that there was a very thick paved wall that had blocked the way to most of the tunnels. Dismissing this they left the Opera house to rot in its singed state. Nobody had set foot their since. Erik, as we know, left the Opera Popular and disappeared into the unknown. Actually he just moved to another area of the dark underground until the police and other curious snoops stopped looking for him. This was pointless though because he had sealed the way in and out to his secret cavern. The real reason he left was because of the connected pain he felt whenever he set eyes on the last place he saw Christine. Even his sheets on his bed still smelled of her.

About a year had passed and he was now back in his old cavern. Despite this he was still not back to his old self. His organ sat in its usual place, only now it was covered in tiny flecks of gray dust. His floor was scattered with page upon page of scribbled out sheet music. And Erik himself had sat every day at the bank of his lake staring at his reflection.

"Face it you monster," he said to his reflection, "the music has run clean out of you. There is no music without love."

Gazing down at his masked persona he tried to remember a time when he was happy. He scowled and slapped the face in the water. He knew what the only thing that made him happy was, and she was never ever coming back.

Erik stood up and sauntered over to his small desk where he kept some old books and papers. He sat down and began to absentmindedly thumb through a pile of old documents which ranged from fictional short stories to architect design blueprints. As we all know, Erik was in fact a genius.

While doing this he came across a small envelope which was addressed to him. The seal had been broken clearly long ago.

Setting down the other papers he slipped the thin yellowed letter out of the envelope. The letter read as follows:

Dear Erik,

I can't really believe that I've been tied up in this fantastic secret for eleven whole years. You have grown into something truly artful…something that I always hoped you would become.

When I first found you on that deep, dark night I knew that I would always want the very best for you. Clearly my wishes came true.

Happy twentieth birthday,

Madame Giry

Erik couldn't help but smile. This had to have been given to him at least three years ago. Mademoiselle Giry had never forgotten one of his birthdays for as long as he had been living here. What a pleasant gentle angel of a woman.

A small frown slowly crept across his face as he recalled the word angel. He stood up and cast the letter aside so that it floated down to the pile that it had once occupied.

In walking over to his bed chambers he caught a glimpse of himself in one of his numerous mirrors. Looking from a side angle he slowly turned to face it so that his entire frame was displayed before him in the glass.

He noted that he was rather to well put together to look twenty-three. His dashing voice sounded much too old for a person his age and that his figure looked more like the body of a man who was in the strapping prime of his early thirties. He was wearing his white tunic shirt with the top slightly opened. His hair was slicked back and his face was shadowed and tired. In fact, everything about him looked tired.

Even the diamond glint of his eyes was missing.

Erik closed his eyes and walked past his sullen reflection with a sigh.

"You really need to pull yourself together you know," Erik thought to himself as he sat silently on his bed.

Actually, he thought, he needed something to pull him out of this state before he went completely mad. Erik had done his very best early on to try not to think of the one that had caused him so mach pain. Now she was only a distant memory. The pain that he felt for the loss of her was kept at bay so well that he hardly ever thought of the love he once had for her.

The only problem was the emptiness. Yes…that ever present place in his heart where first love was torn away from his grasp.

Though Christine was no longer a thought in his mind, he still felt the gaping hole that she left him with. This ever increasing physiological effect was hurting him so much that he couldn't even write a simple aria. Music used to flow from Erik like crystal water flows from a mountain stream.

Not any more.

Erik felt a silver tear stream slowly down his cheek and hit his hand as it fell from his jaw. Even though he knew sleep would help the throb of empty black hole in his heart, he let the darkness take him anyway.