Masquerade

Chapter 1: A Mystery Cometh

by Myshawolf (myshawolf at yahoo.com)

General Disclaimer

A/N: Hi! Iím kind of new to this section. Here is my story. Itís set during the SH22 cartoon. I donít own any of the characters. (There are a few exceptions, but Iím not too sure if copyright laws apply to them. *Shrugs* Oh, well.) Please enjoy and review. Itís the only way that I know if Iím doing anything right.

Chapter 1: A Mystery Cometh

Inspector Beth Lestrade glared at the report on her desk. She had just solved a very frustrating case with Sherlock Holmes. She felt exhausted both mentally and physically. Now her supervisor gave her this file for the New Paris police. Groaning she flipped through the pages scanning the basic information. She froze at the sight of one photograph. It was a little blurry, but she recognized the man in it and saw red. Moriarty.

Lestrade began shifting through the file folder for the report that went with the picture. She grinned when she found the report. She read it thoroughly as to not missing anything information. Satisfied that she didnít miss a thing, she set the report down. She had several questions. Quickly she packed up the file when she realized her shift was over with. She had questions and knew where to go for answers.

Moriarty sat in silence. He didnít expect to spend so much time tracking down one man. Fenwick had assured him that the Paris underground would provide them with the information they desired. He closed his eyes as Bach played in the background. It fitted his mood at the time. This man better be worth the pursuit or Fenwick was in trouble. So all he heard was rumors and childish stories.

He wondered briefly why he was even looking for this man. It wasnít like he needed the competition. Another mad genius trying to run the show would most definitely complicate matters. Maybe Moriarty was intrigued by this manís presence in this futuristic time. After all he supposedly lived during the 19th century as well. The allure of meeting another man from the Victorian age was strong. So he hid in Paris trying to find some clue to the whereabouts of this mysterious man. Well, Fenwick was, anyway.

Speaking of which, Moriarty wondered briefly where his lackey was. He left this afternoon, intent on tracking down the next lead. Moriarty had to admire his lackeyís tenacity on this pursuit. Normally, Fenwick was reluctant to do what Moriarty wanted. However he was very eager to track down this man that his master wanted. Moriarty stood up from his chair and walked to the pile of books he had brought with him. Tomorrow, he would go to the Opera. He would look for any sign of the man there. After all, this man was a supposed music lover and regularly attended the opera. He looked toward the door as he heard footsteps echo down the hallway.

Fenwick meekly walked into the room. He couldnít meet his masterís eyes as he slinked into the room. Moriarty noted his slaveís body language and knew instantly that he had failed. Moriarty select a book and moved back to his chair. Fenwick was alert to Moriartyís movements. So when Moriarty sat down, Fenwick assumed he didnít notice his entrance and gave a blessing for that.

"Another dead end?" Moriarty commented calmly as he opened the book. Fenwick flinched instantly. Master wasnít going to like his news.

"Not exactly," Fenwick responded. Moriarty looked up from his book intrigued by this response and waited for Fenwick to continue. Fenwick gulped and did. "I found the man."

Moriarty smiled. "Excellent. Where is he?"

"In the cemetery," Fenwick whispered, "He was shot dead a few years ago by a count who thought he was doing Paris a favor."

Moriarty was in shock. Fenwick gulped and hurried to his room. Moriarty stared into blank space. He traveled all this way for nothing. The man was dead, and been that way for years. He walked over to Fenwickís hiding spot and pinned the poor man with a heated gaze.

"You learned where he is buried?" Moriarty asked. Fenwick nodded quickly. Moriarty smiled. "Good. You will take me there."

"Ah, Inspector Lestrade. What a nice surprise," Watson greeted as he opened the door and let her in.

"Is Holmes in? I have a case here he may be interested in," Lestrade commented as she walked into the apartment.

Sherlock Holmes looked up from the instrument he was trying to play. At times like this he missed his violin. The instrument Watson had provided for him didnít have the same feeling as his violin did. Grateful for a break, he smiled at his dear friend and stood to greet her.

"My dear Lestrade, to what do I owe the pleasure?" Holmes smiled as he moved to his favorite chair. Lestrade followed his lead and sat down. She pulled out the old file folder.

"This new case I was given. At first it seems to be an old legend that someone was investigating until recently," Lestrade started.

"In Paris," Holmes stated.

"How did you know?"

"Eyes and brains. The tab on that folder is written in French and it refers to the Paris Opera House."

"You must know what legend it refers to, then."

"I have a hunch. Continue, please."

"Very well. The opera house in question has had several mishaps over the past few centuries. Especially when the management was, let say, not what it appeared to be. The mishaps have been around since the place was built. They were intense until in the year 1889 when the whole thing supposedly came to an end," Lestrade recounted. Holmes had his hands steepled together as he listened to her. His mind wandered back to the past and began remembering the events as well.

"The death of the Opera Ghost in an explosion. I remember the articles well enough," Holmes sighed.

"Everything was quiet for several years. Then things started back up again. Apparently during the Nazi invasion of France, The accidents began to take Nazi lives, or at least those who tried to abuse their power in the Opera House. It turned out that several priceless pieces of art were hidden there and the Ghost was protecting them. Afterwards everyone was kind to its presence. The police didnít even bother to track it down. There were a few encounters with the ghost and anyone who tried to capture him met with a most unfortunate accident. No one has ever given a reliable description of the Ghost."

Watson spoke up. "If the police are not interested in catching this ghost, why bother?"

"What are the recent encounters with the Ghost?" Holmes asked. He was intrigued. He never got to work on this particular case in his day.

"A few years ago, a young nobleman was brought in for questioning over a morning duel with another man. He bragged to the officers that he killed the famous Opera Ghost and presented a bloodstained cloak as proof. He claimed he was trying to protect Paris from the demon. He was charged with murder, convicted and..." Lestrade spat out, "freed earlier this year. He only served two years for murder. Zed, thatís wrong."

v"Without a body, Iím surprised he was convicted." At Lestradeís look, Holmes smiled. "You didnít mention it so I conclude there wasnít one."

Lestrade nodded. "That isnít the most recent encounter. A few people at the Opera still claim to see the Ghost high in the rafters. Apparently, people hear piano or violin music during performances."

"Sounds like they need an exorcist, not a detective," Watson added.

"I thought the same thing until I saw this picture." Lestrade pulled out the picture and handed it to Holmes. Holmes studied the picture. A frown touched his lips. Watson looked over his shoulder and gasped.

"Moriarty," Holmes growled. Lestrade nodded.

"That picture was taken two days ago. Word is he looking for the Opera Ghost," Lestrade informed them.

"I wonder why?" Watson murmured.

"I remember the accounts from the survivors of the original ordeal with the Phantom of The Opera. They claimed he was a great mechanical genius, especially with torture devices and disguises," Sherlock stated matter-of-factly.

"Itís impossible that Moriarty is seeking the same man," Lestrade commented.

"What is this Phantomís reputation with the Paris underworld?" Holmes asked.

"Itís not mentioned in the file. Why?" Lestrade asked.

v"I think we need to make a trip to Paris. The answers are there," Holmes remarked as he stood up, "Lestrade, do you think you could make the arrangements?"

"Of course. When should we leave?"

"As soon as possible."

Moriarty walked confidently through the graveyard. Fenwick led the way, but he wasnít as confident. He had grown up listening to the old stories about the dead rising up to protect their final resting place. He felt like he was being watched for every angle. Once or twice, he thought he saw a piece of cloak fly into view. He looked at Moriarty who was alert, yet relaxed. Fenwick felt a bit more confident when they reached the crypt. The name on the door read NOIR.

"This is it, Master," Fenwick smiled. "The Phantomís final resting place."

Moriarty stepped forward and easily pushed open the cryptís door. Fenwick watched scared as his master entered the tomb. He jumped when a voice stated loudly, "No."

He turned to see a figure in black race towards him and threw a punch at his face. Fenwick dodged the punch, but didnít see the kick aimed at his gut. He doubled over in pain. The figure spun around him and landed a shot at the back of Fenwickís neck. Fenwickís vision blurred as he hit the ground and everything went black.

The figure turned away for the fallen Fenwick and approached the crypt. Whoever was in there was going to pay for this indignity.

Moriarty walked into the crypt surprised by the amount of plaques on the wall declaring who was buried there. There must be at least thirty generation of Phantoms buried there. He stepped up to the newest-looking plaque.

Erik Noir VI 2050-2100
A devoted friend, father, and teacher.
You will be greatly missed.

He read the inscription twice. He was defeated, it would seem. The Phantom was really dead, killed by some foolish boy with delusions of grandeur. He would have loved to have met the man. Sounds of fighting reached Moriartyís ears. He turned to see a masked figure cloaked in black enter the tomb. The intruderís features were covered by a black mask that was tied across the bottom of his face. The hood shielded the rest from view. The figure glared daggers at him. Moriarty turned to face this new challenge. The figure pulled something for its cloak -- a pair of kamas.

"Why are you here?" The figure asked softly in its muffled voice.

"I seek the Phantom," Moriarty stated as he moved his hand closer to the ionizer.

"You are in the wrong place. This is a sacred place." The figure glared. "I suggest that you leave."

"Or what?"

"Weíll have to see, then."

"So we shall." Moriarty smiled as he drew his ionizer and fired a shot. The figure deflected the shot with the blade of the kama. It moved to the side as well leaving the door open. Moriarty stepped towards it as he fired another shot. The figure dropped to the ground and charged toward him. It swung the kama towards the ionizer knocking both weapons to the ground. Moriarty caught the figure and spun it close to him.

"Drop your weapon," Moriarty ordered as he twisted the figure's wrist. It yelped, then complied. Moriarty heard the kama clatter on the ground. Satisfied that the figure was harmless to a degree, he pulled down the hood intent on unmasking his assailant. What he got was a shock. Long locks of dark hair spilled from the hood. Moriarty breathed in the scent of jasmine as the hair cascaded down. For a second his guard was down.

That second was all the figure need to get free. The figure spun out of Moriartyís hold. Their eyes met for the briefest of seconds. Moriarty stared into a set of determined sapphire blue eyes. He could swear he could see flecks of gold. Then he felt it, a well placed kick to his gut. He staggered back as the figure raced out of the crypt, grabbing her kamas as she went. Moriarty was convinced that his attacker was a woman. He walked towards the door to see her disappear into the night. In the distance he could hear the sirens from the local police. Fenwick was just coming to and picking himself off of the ground. He noticed Moriartyís arm around his stomach.

"He attacked you, master?" Fenwick observed, "Iíll make sure they pay for it."

"Not a he. That was a she," Moriarty corrected, "Letís go before the police get here."

Fenwick nodded and they hurried back to their hide-out. Along the way, Moriarty mused about who that girl was and what was her connection to The Phantomís crypt. He was wondering if he should stay in Paris a little longer in order to find out.

On to Chapter 2!

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