Chapter 11: Meeting of the Minds 2
by Myshawolf (myshawolf at yahoo.com)
Myshawolf is sitting at her computer typing. Nightmare is looking over
her shoulder with her bow and arrows ready.
Nightmare: I can't believe you are filing away Chapter 11.
Lust walks in: What is Mysha doing?
Nightmare: Filing Chapter 11.
Lust: WHAT!? You mean she's broke!
Nightmare: Have you been drinking ambrosia again? Where did you get
Lust: You said she was filing Chapter 11. Chapter 11 means you are
bankrupt a.k.a. broke.
Myshawolf begins to hit her head against the keyboard: I thought I
gave these guys brains.
Nightmare: The order hasn't come in yet. (to Lust) While Mysha is
technically broke, she's not bankrupt. She has just finishing typing
Chapter 11 of Masquerade. Lust no Baka! (Translation from Japanese:
Lust, you are an idiot. *or something like that*) No omelet for you.
MW: On with the show!
Chapter 11: Meeting of the Minds 2
Erika watched in shock as Moriarty gently placed his lips on hers. A
shock went through her body causing her to relax against him. Moriarty
felt her relax and wrapped his free arm around her waist. Erika closed
her eyes and enjoyed the soft kiss. It was tender and spoke of the mutual
respect that they had for each other. Erika nearly protested when she
felt Moriarty move away. She opened her eyes to see him staring over
Paris. Erika looked out as well. The rules were changing again.
She felt a hand brush her cheek. When she looked back, he was gone.
Erika stood on the roof motionless for a few minutes. Gently her
fingers touched her lips and she nearly cried. Why did he do that? Why
did he kiss her? In the distance, the bells of Norte Dame rang out the
time. Erika closed her eyes as she listened to their beautiful melody.
She gazed back at the stars.
"Goodnight, Papa," Erika whispered before leaving the starry night.
Moriarty decided to follow her back to the Phantom's home. As she
moved along the catwalk, Erika sensed she wasn't alone. Glancing over
her shoulder, she could see a figure moving stealthily behind her.
Erika decided to give the intruder a chase like one never had seen
before. She broke into a run down the catwalk. Behind her, she could
hear her pursuer. A sly smile touched her lips as she launched herself
into the ropes high above the stage. She gripped the rope tightly
before sliding down it to the next level of catwalks. Erika landed
gracefully and ran down that catwalk to the next set of ropes.
Moriarty watched her move with a kind of grace he had never seen before.
His eyes, filled with silent admiration, never left her.
Soon she landed on the stage. Moriarty held his breath as she gazed
back up at him. She was sitting on the stage, looking refreshed and
excited. Moriarty was about to hurry down, when he heard an eerie
creaking come from the stage. He looked down to watch Erika slide
below the stage via a trapdoor that opened below her. The stage opened
its mouth and swallowed her up like she was sacrifice to its power
over people. Moriarty frantically hurried down the steps to the stage
He didn't bother to check the stage but hurried to the cellars.
Remembering the advice he had overheard two young members give
Lestrade and Holmes, he brought his hand to the level of his eyes.
Ahead he could hear Erika's laughter echoing in the hallway. He raced
on with a vague feeling he was chasing a ghost. Soon he came to a set
of stairs. He hesitated for a moment before rushing down them and
froze in shock at the sight in front of him.
Spread out before him was a beautiful lake. Its waters gleamed in the
torchlight. Moriarty walked to the water's edge in a trance. His mind
could only think one thought -- the rumors were true. Moriarty stared
out over the lake to see a boat. A woman's voice singing reached his
ears. His eyes focused on the boat; he could make out a figure in
black standing as it steered the boat. It blocked Moriarty's view of
the rest of the boat. So, he had a lake to conquer in order to reach
the Phantom's lair. Moriarty smiled as he turned away. Tonight was
very productive indeed. He gently touched his lips as he thought of
the kiss he shared with Erika. They would need to talk.
The Opera House was bustling the next morning as the stage crew tried
to get the sets and lights ready for that night's performance. Buquet
was shouting out orders left and right. The more experienced stage
hands just rolled their eyes and kept working.
Out towards the front of the stage, the orchestra did a dry runthrough
of the score. Every so often the conductor would stop them to
give directions. Frany sighed after the tenth time and glanced towards the
stage. Krissi was on the stage inspecting the set with Shawn.
Looking up, Krissi stuck her tongue at her friend which Frany returned.
"Frany, pay attention," the conductor scolded before continuing his
In the wings the corps were reviewing dance steps and vocals. Madame
Giry took the dancers through rigorous moves multiple times. She
tapped her cane, keeping time, and every so often would shout out
directions or comments.
"Left, my dancers. Areku, Iara, twirl not jump. Once more, my dancers,"
Madame Giry shouted loudly.
Farther backstage, the makeup and costume crew were repairing
costumes and making sure the right costume and makeup were in the right
rooms. Music flowed from the rehearsal room as the principals
ran through the music before the dress rehearsal. Erika sang with her
heart in the music, taking the breath away from everyone who was
listening. The managers grinned to themselves. Tonight would be a
Nadir prowled around the theater, making sure the exits were secure.
There had been too many late night intruders for his liking. He was
checking the lobby when two shabby-looking young men entered the Opera
House. Nadir walked over to intercept them.
"Can I help you?" Nadir asked firmly, "The Opera House is closed to
the public during rehearsal."
The taller of the two men by a few inches spoke up with a gutter French
dialect, "We are the new swing shift. The Firmins hired us to help
out with tonight's performance."
Nadir cocked an eyebrow at this. "Really? I will have to check with
them. Until then you may wait outside."
Monsieur Firmin shouted as he walked across the lobby, "It is all
right, Nadir. My wife had enough of Buquet's belly-aching and hired
these gentlemen yesterday. I will take them to Buquet. You may
continue your rounds."
Nadir bowed in a way that revealed his Arabian heritage. "Of course,
Nadir walked away, continuing his round of checking for intruders or
possible illegal entrances to the opera. Monsieur Firmin smiled at the
two new techs and motioned that they follow him. The two did so silently
while Monsieur Firmin chatted continuously about the play tonight. The
taller one gave an amused smirk to his companion. His companion smiled
back as they walked along the backstage. Buquet came into view as he
furiously continued to bark out orders. Monsieur Firmin cleared his
throat hoping to catch the man's attention.
"Take a coughdrop, Firmin, if your throat is bothering you," Buquet
snapped as he watched his crew work on the stage.
"I have two new swing shifts for you to boss around," Firmin snapped
Buquet turned around and looked over the two men. "Not bad. What are
The taller one spoke up, "I'm Royce and this is Gaspar. He don't talk
much. Does good work with the ropes."
Buquet consider this information before speaking. "Really? You two
obviously have worked together before. We work in pairs here. So I'll
keep you together. We need more people on the stage level with the
ropes and curtains. You will part of the stage left team with Krissi
and Shawn. They will tell you what to do. Rehearsal is in ten minutes.
Royce shook his head and Buquet nodded his approval before shouting,
"Krissi! Shawn! Get over here!"
The two in question ran up and snapped into a salute, "Aye, aye,
Buquet buried his head into the palm of his hand to hide his smile.
"Show the newbies the ropes."
"Aye, aye, Captain."
The two newbies stifled a laugh when they glanced at Buquet's
Erika left the rehearsal hall later that day. Her body ached but it
was a good ache. As she moved towards her dressing room, she didn't
notice the figure stalking her. Erika slipped into her dressing
room. After she shut the door, someone grabbed her and covered her
mouth. She struggled against her attacker until he spoke.
"Mademoiselle Noir, I'm not here to harm you," Moriarty whispered. "We
need to talk."
Erika relaxed against him and nodded. Yes, they needed to talk.
Moriarty removed his hands when she had completely relaxed. Erika made
no motion to move from her position. Moriarty closed his eyes and
gently cursed at Fate. She belonged to the Phantom and was therefore
beyond his reach. Eventually Erika moved away and motioned that he take
a seat. Moriarty moved to the cot in the corner while Erika sat at the
Erika spoke first, "You wanted to talk?"
"Apologize, really, for last night," Moriarty stated firmly.
"Do you regret what happened?" Erika asked gently as she played with
the makeup tins.
Moriarty remained silent as he thought about what to say. After a
moment, he answered, "No, I don't. I would do it again if I could."
Erika looked at him through the mirror. Her expression was masked when
she questioned his apology, "Then why apologizes if the action wasn't
"Because it wasn't right. You are bound to another. I had no right as
a gentleman to do what I did."
"Yet you still did it," Erika grinned to herself, amused. "In your
thinking about that kiss, did you ever wonder about my reaction? I
will assure you that I do not regret your actions, Professor."
"What are you saying, Mademoiselle?"
"Apology is not accepted," Erika remarked as she stood up and walked
to the mirror. "It was a kiss that I gave freely and will keep close
to my heart until the day I die."
Moriarty stood as well as she walked over by him. He was surprised by
her answer. Her eyes were amused by his reaction as she checked her
costumes for the performance. Moriarty opened his mouth to speak, only
to find her lips kissing his. Before he could fully react, she was
gone from the dressing room. Moriarty walked to the door to find that
she had disappeared once again. A swishing sound was heard behind him.
Moriarty turned to see the Phantom standing by the mirror.
"So we meet at last, Professor," the Phantom smiled.
"Indeed we do." Moriarty smiled as he shut the door. "I have been
trying to find you, Monsieur Phantom."
"So I saw. Erika was worried that you would spring one of my many traps
when you chased us last night."
"Where did she go?"
"She is safe right now. They have been too many eyes on her for her to
remain safe for long. I must thank you for protecting her so far."
"I can honestly say it was my pleasure. May I make a request?"
"I will not join you, Professor, not while the Count lives free." The
Phantom smiled at Moriarty's shocked look, "It's your purpose in being here."
"It seems the rumors don't do you credit."
"They rarely do. Be careful with Erika, Professor, I will not tolerate
her becoming a pawn in this game of wits."
"Are you warning me away from her?"
"No. Merely giving out some good advice." The Phantom smirked as he
dropped two black balls. A moment passed until a thick smoke flowed
out of them. As Moriarty's vision became obscured by the smoke, the
Phantom called out, "Until we meet again, Professor."
Moriarty stumbled out of the smoky dressing room, trying to catch his
breath. He looked up to see a cloaked figure running away. Shaking his
head, Moriarty decided to chase down the Phantom. He hurried after the
MW: Sorry it's shorter than usual but Writer's block has smacked me up
side the head. I'll make up for it next week. I promise. Nightmare has
a few things to say too. Come on out, Mare.
Nightmare walks out and points her bow and arrow at the readers: Okay,
I'm currently under order to 'persuade' people to review not only this
story but Jaka Ray's stuff as well. I can't believe I'm going to say
this title but, the boss is threatening to put me in pink, so the
story is "Ruby Roo Reats Rarerock Roams". So hit this review button,
then go over and hits that one. If everyone cooperates, you'll get to
sleep peacefully tonight. Got it?
On to Chapter 12!
Back to Chapter 10
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