Masquerade

Chapter 5: Double Vision

by Myshawolf (myshawolf at yahoo.com)

General Disclaimer

MW: Hey, Here is chapter 5. The song in here is sung by Sarah Brightman and is called "Figlio Perduto" (Lost Son). There is going to be some romance for Moriarty coming up. Tell me what you think.

Chapter 5: Double Vision

"No thanks to you, Ruelle -- or should I address you more formally as the Count de Chagny?" Erika replied sweetly to the Count.

"Ruelle will do, since we have known each other for a long time." Ruelle smiled charmingly. Moriarty noted that it didn't cover up the glint of hate in his eyes.

"Don't remind me. It's time I wish I could take back. Now if you don't mind I prefer to enjoy my meal and company." Erika dismissed him easily, as if the Count were nothing.

The Count's grin disappeared. Moriarty took note of how coldly he glared at Erika. Erika turned her attention to Moriarty. Her blue eyes blazed with passion when she smiled at him. Moriarty smiled back. He was starting to like her style. Erika reached for her glass when the Count grabbed her wrist and turned her towards him.

"Don't ever dismiss me like that again," the Count growled into her face.

Erika's face went stony real quick. Moriarty was on his feet quickly and ready to grab the foolish count. Suddenly, Erika tossed something into the Count's face. The Count screamed in pain as the substance came in contact with his eyes. Erika rubbed her wrist as she stood next to Moriarty. Balanced between two fingers was a small vial.

"I would suggest, Ruelle, you get to your feet and go to the men's bathroom and wash your eyes out. That substance won't permanently damage anything. However, I can do some permanent damage if you want," Erika promised coldly.

"You will pay," Ruelle vowed as he stumbled to his feet.

"You can't do anything worse than you already have," Erika stated with no emotion in her voice.

Moriarty spoke up for the first time, taking a step towards the temporarily blinded Count, "I strongly suggest you leave now while you can, with dignity -- before I throw you out."

Erika gave him a mischievous grin and a wink, "Thank you, James. You are too kind."

"This isn't the end, Erika. I'll wipe you and your kin off the face of this planet," the Count bellowed before staggering away.

Erika stared hard after the Count. Her fist clenched in front of her. Moriarty watched her closely. Obviously there was bad blood between the Count and Erika's family. Almost as bad as the feud between the Count and the Phantom. Moriarty wondered if Erika was related to the Phantom. He decided he would broach the idea once they were back to their table.

"Shall we?" Moriarty suggested to her. Erika turned and walked back the room. She waited for Moriarty join her before closing the curtains. She turned to see Moriarty standing by his seat waiting for her to sit first. A small smile played around her mouth at the thought of him playing the gentleman again. Elegantly she sat back down and watched Moriarty sit as well. Erika's mind compared his movements to that of a black panther. Sleek and lethal, he was a force to be reckoned with.

"As I was saying before the interruption, I have a proposal for your friend, the Phantom," Moriarty stated. At Erika's nod, he continued, "I would like to form an alliance with him."

Erika raised a brow at this. She thought for a minute before speaking, "What do you have to offer the Phantom?"

"I can give him wealth, power, or a place in my world order when I take over the Earth," Moriarty declared.

"That's not good enough. The Phantom has no need for more money. He has all he needs. Power isn't a necessity either. He rules the Opera House and that's all he really wants. If you mean criminal world connections, well, he won't want them. It'll make it to easy to track him," Erika pointed out. "And pardon my frankness, but you are a long ways off from world domination. He won't bite."

"What would you suggest that I do, Ms. Noir?" Moriarty growled.

Erika smiled, "Research. Find out what the Phantom values the most and try to deliver that. That's my advice to you. I'm sorry if that puts you behind."

Moriarty considered this. He could be a patient man if he had to be. Erika seemed to be willing to help him or give him clues. Maybe he could make one request of her.

"Will you deliver a message to the Phantom for me?" Moriarty asked.

"Of course. What would like me to tell him?"

"Tell him my proposal and that if I can prove his identity, he must accept my proposal."

"And if he refuses?"

"Then I will track him down and convince him through any means necessary," Moriarty promised. "I'm not a violent man, but I will resort to it if it gets me what I want."

"A sentiment shared by all humans," Erika noted, "Where would like him to send his reply?"

"Have him post it in the New London Times classified section. I will look for his response in a few days."

"Very well, I will let him know."

"Now with that out of the way, may ask you one question before we must part ways?"

"You just did." Erika smiled as she gathered her things.

"Are you and the Phantom related?"

Moriarty smirked at her shocked expression as she looked at him. She looked away as she answered.

"We are closer than you will ever know. I will never be able to break away from him as easily as you can a relation," Erika informed him. Moriarty froze as she looked him in the eye and told him, "Ours is bond that can't be broken easily, even by Death."

Moriarty watched silently as Erika stood up and walked over to the drawn curtain. With one hand on the curtains, she turned and shot him a sly smile.

"Besides, he saved my life from the Count," Erika informed him before disappearing behind the curtain.

Moriarty sat there. He knew he should follow her to make sure she was safe from the deranged count. However, he had a feeling she could handle him. He smirked as he remembered her agility with the powder. Wracking his brain, he tried to remember where he seen such speed in a female. Lestrade was fast but this Erika moved like a cheetah or a trained cat, fast and with a special kind of grace. And her eyes -- he knew he had seen her eyes before. But where?

Holmes and Lestrade walked through the darkened cemetery. The ailver moonlight made several of the headstones glow. They both were wearing heavy woolen cloaks to ward against the night air. Beth stayed close to Sherlock's side. Something wasn't right here. She felt Sherlock slip his hand into hers and give it a squeeze. Beth felt a little better.

"So," Sherlock started, "How are you and Chief Inspector Leroux related?"

"We're not." Beth shrugged. "He was my father's best friend since their school days. My father and he worked together for years when I was growing up. He has always been Uncle Etienne since I was little. When Dad died, he came over to help my mother. Raised me and has every summer until I entered The Academy."

Holmes nodded as they walked. "That explains a lot. Now, the Crypt should be straight ahead."

Lestrade smiled. "Good. I never liked cemeteries, especially at night."

"Afraid something is going to jump out at you, my dear Lestrade?" Sherlock smiled at her. His eyes gleamed with a mischievous look. Lestrade smiled in spite of herself and shook her head. She was about to respond when a high pitched scream ripped through the silent night.

The two turned towards the direction of the scream. Without a word, they hurried towards the sound. The Moon shone bright, guiding their way. They stopped at the sight of a figure draped in black. In its hand was a gun. Lestrade pulled out her ioniser and took aim.

"Freeze! This is the police!" Lestrade yelled. The figure turned to them. Its features were hidden by a white mask. One thought entered their mind. It's the Phantom. Lestrade lowered her weapon in shock. The figure turned and ran into the night. Lestrade took off after it.

"Lestrade, stop!" Sherlock shouted as he started after her.

He stopped at the sight of a young woman lying on the ground. He bent over her checking for a pulse and found none. He pulled out a communicator and called Watson. He informed Watson of what had happened and to contact the police. As he put the communicator away, Sherlock felt something was watching him. He turned quickly and stared right into the bright blue eyes of another darkly dressed figure. Sherlock pulled out his cane.

"Who are you?" Sherlock asked. The figure didn't answer or move. Its stared at Sherlock angrily.

"Why are you here?" the figure asked. Sherlock froze when he heard it. It was the same voice that he had heard at the Opera House. The Phantom's voice. Sherlock stared at the Phantom intensely. He could tell that the Phantom wasn't wearing a mask.

"Someone is dead," Sherlock answered.

"Well, Monsieur Holmes, I'd say they are in the right place. But that doesn't answer my question," the Phantom chuckled.

"Inspector Lestrade and I were searching for a crypt," Holmes stated. "She took off after the assailant. You, in fact."

"I can state with great honesty your beautiful companion was not following me." The Phantom frowned, "You'd better hurry, Monsieur Holmes. She may be in grave danger."

Suddenly, Holmes heard Lestrade yell for his help. It sent a chill down Sherlock's spine when he heard it. He turned around, forgetting about the Phantom and raced in Lestrade's direction. The Phantom silently followed, intrigued by this turn of events.

Sounds of a struggle reached Sherlock's ears as he tried to catch up with Lestrade. His pace quickened as he ran down the moonlit path. He stopped to see Lestrade struggling with a bulkier Phantom. The 'Phantom' pushed Lestrade away and glared at Sherlock. Holmes noted that this Phantom's eyes were brown. The 'Phantom' pulled a revolver from his cloak and took aim at Lestrade.

Before Sherlock could move, a silver object flew towards the gun. The two metal objects met and the gun dropped to the ground. The object flew behind Holmes. He knew the other Phantom was behind him.

"Well, it seems I have a twin," the Phantom mused, "I can understand, Monsieur Holmes, how you could mistake us. But I can tell you honestly that man isn't me."

Sherlock smiled at those words as he walked over and helped Lestrade to her feet. Lestrade looked between the two Phantoms, confused. She was about to voice her opinion, but Sherlock silenced her.

The brown-eyed Phantom growled, "You have meddled in my affairs for the last time."

"Is that a threat? I should be the one making them, since you are impersonating me," the blue-eyed Phantom shot back.

"I will destroy you," this Phantom shouted as he jumped towards the other Phantom. Suddenly a bright light flashed, blinding Holmes and Lestrade. When the light dimmed, both Phantoms were gone. Lestrade stood there, shaken. She turned to Holmes.

"What the hell is going on?" she demanded.

"I wish I knew." Holmes sighed. Soon the Paris Police entered the clearing.

The passageway was dark and damp. The sound of footsteps echoed down the passage. The Phantom trudged down the hallways. What a night, it growled. First, the meeting with Moriarty, only to be interrupted by that idiot count who thought the heavens and the earth moved only for him. Then the imposter in the cemetery, trying to commit a crime and have the Phantom blamed for it. Fortunately or unfortunately, Sherlock Holmes was there and could verify that there were two Phantoms present, otherwise the imposter's plan might have worked.

The Phantom growled loudly, "Father, look at this mess you have left me."

No one answered, nor did the Phantom expect anyone to. It continued its trek to its home, exhausted. Tomorrow, it was going to hear it from Nadir over tonight's events. The phantom sighed. Nadir's heart was in the right place, since he was living up to his promise to her father that Nadir would protect the Phantom. Soon it reached the hidden door to its home. Pulling out a rusty key, it opened the door and slipped in, leaving the darkness of the Underground for another night.

Soon an alarm sounded. The Phantom cursed lightly as it strode over to a monitor. It smiled as it watched two intruders prepare to enter the Opera House. Looking down at its clothes, a plan began to hatch in the Phantom's mind. The perfect greeting for two nosy detectives.

Moriarty sat in his chair thinking. Fenwick was out once again trying to find out anything he could on the Phantom. Moriarty turned over the events of the evening over in his mind. His meeting wasn't what he had expected, but he may have gained an ally, at least, in Erika Noir.

Erika was a mystery. She was a friend of the Phantom. Possibly even more if her cryptic statements were any indication of anything. A smile touched Moriarty's lips when he remembered how she handled Ruelle, the Count de Chagny. She was cool, yet full of spirit as she exchanged verbal blows with him. Moriarty could see that she possessed a capable mind and a great cunning. Those were things few women possessed even in this advanced day and age. Moriarty found her charming ways and good manners refreshing. The only other woman worthy of his respect was one who treated him very poorly. Beth Lestrade was a very intelligent woman, but Holmes could have her and her American manners. Erika was... different. Moriarty only had spent one evening with her, yet he could tell she was uncommon.

He would find the Phantom and persuade him to join Moriarty's quest for the world. With the Phantom came Erika. Working with her would definitely be an experience, one Moriarty was looking forward to. Moriarty shook his head. It was best not to get attached. Attachments are weaknesses that he could not afford to have.

A beautiful tune drifted through the auditorium of The Paris Opera House. The haunting sound played on an unseen piano. The music tried to entice the spirits of the past to come out and dance. This sound greeted Sherlock Holmes and Beth Lestrade as they entered the vacant Theater. The lobby was cast in darkness. As they walked through to the stage, Lestrade looked for some sign of movement.

"Are you sure the Phantom will come to us?" Beth asked as her eyes on the picture of Christine Daae.

"He will. We need to establish which one is the real Phantom. The real one would be found here," Sherlock explained, as they walked out of the lobby and into the dark auditorium.

They froze at the sight in front of them. Standing on the stage stood Christine Daae dressed in black; a single light shone on her. Her gaze fell to the wings. She brought her hands to her chest and began to sing. The song had cast a spell over them as they watched in silent as she sang it in Italian.

Muri die vento

(Walls of wind)
Notte e scesa
(Night has fallen)
Padre e figlio sono
(Father and son are)
Insiem
(Together)

Con un cavallo

(With a horse)
Vanno avanti
(They progress)
In questa grande
(Through this intense)
Oscurita.
(Darkness.)

Ma ad un tratto

(But suddenly)
Il bombo trema
(The boy trembles.)
Dalla paura
(With fear)
Freddo si fa.
(It gets cold.)

Christine turned towards them and extended a hand to them. Suddenly the whole house lit up. Holmes put a protective arm around Lestrade as they slowly approach her. Christine smiled sadly as she continued her song.

"Padre, o Padre,

(Father, oh Father)
Tu non hai visto
(Have you not seen)
Re degli elfi?
(The king of the elves?)
Ecolo la."
(There he is.)

"Figlio perduto,

(Lost son)
Vuoi fare un gioco?
(Do you want to play?)
Giota ti porto.
(I bring you joy.)
Vieni con me."
(Come with me.)

Padre, o Padre,

(Father, oh Father,)
Hai gia sentito
(Have you heard)
Cosa mi dice
(What he said)
E che voul' far?
(And what he will do?)

Figlio perduto,

(Lost son,)
Se tu non vieni,
(If you don't come with me,)
Lo usero la forza che ho.
(I'll use my power.)

Padre, o Padre,

(Father, oh Father,)
Re degli elfi!
(It's the king of the elves!)
Mi sta toccando!
(He is touching me!)
Male mi fa!
(He hurts me!)

Beth and Sherlock climbed on the stage. Christine moved away from them as she walked towards the wings. Sherlock noted several differences between her and the girl in the painting. She turned to them and whispered the last verse very softly.

E il bambino

(And the boy)
Con occhi chiusi
(With closed eyes)
Lui non si muove.
(Doesn't move.)
Perso e gia.
(He's already lost.)

Suddenly the light went out, plunging the auditorium into complete darkness. Sherlock grabbed for Beth. Beth felt something grab her and flipped the person on to the stage. She then pinned them. Soon the lights came up. Beth blushed when she realized she'd pinned Sherlock to the ground. A deep chuckle caught their attention. Both turned from where they laid, to see the Phantom standing there.

"Perso e gia," the Phantom sang in his tenor voice. A smile graced his lips. Blue eyes seem to sparkle under the white mask. A black cloak wrapped around his frame.

"You are seeking me, Monsieur Holmes?" the Phantom greeted. "One would think you would have had enough of me this day."

"I wanted to be sure that you are the real Phantom," Holmes answered as he helped Lestrade up, "It will help clear things up for the police greatly."

The Phantom raised an eyebrow. "Thinking of turning me in, Monsieur Holmes? You are welcome to try."

Sherlock shook his head. "I don't think you were the one who committed the murder in the cemetery. You could have easily killed Inspector Lestrade and me if that were the case. I just want you to know we are on the same side."

The Phantom laughed, "Everyone is seeking my alliance tonight. I'll give you a challenge then, Monsieur Holmes. You must be able to deduce who I am before the other who seeks me does. May the race of wits begin."

The lights flickered off and on, revealing that the Phantom had vanished again. Lestrade and Holmes stared at each other. Holmes smiled brightly. He liked nothing more than a good challenge. Lestrade returned the smile; so did she.

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MW: (holds up a katana and a banana): Okay, guys, start hitting that review button or the banana gets it.

Editor's Note: "Figlio Perduto" is an Italian version of "Erl-koenig" (The Elf-King) written by the great German poet Goethe. (And the Canon quotes Goethe. Extra Sherlockian points!)


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