Chapter 1: Captivated By Her
At first the fear of 'The Phantom', a figure of a woman, dressed in black and masked in a half-mask of white, was enough to keep people from crossing her. Then, her enemy dares to cross her. Anger flares and, before she can stop to think she has her revenge. She steals the man's daughter, pledged to be the wife of a local lawman.
The daughter, one Catherine, Katie, Derham, of course, cries horribly for much of the journey. Fear of the Phantom is now sinking in again, her lover had given chase for mere moments before giving in, her father was surely dead and this woman, this Phantom, had stolen her. It would put off many people from having her found. Many would indeed give her up as lost. Phantom ignores her of course, riding on even as she cries. She is aware only that this Phantom will not release her. Then, when she sees the way the Phantom handles her horse, leaving her deposited in a stack of hay as she tends the horses wounds, soothing the animal, fear begins to slip into something else. Phantom, it seems, is not all bad.
The woman stalks to her and drags her behind as they make for her home, the doors slamming both open and shut as they journey through the house. She sees only glimpses of rooms and corridors before she is thrown to a room, a sharp order to 'change' all she has to live with. She is locked in.
The Phantom paces outside the room, she had not expected to feel so much for the girl, woman, she had stolen. The pure fear and panic that still echoed in her thoughts, the pained eyes, stormy as any sea and colored as a sea would be, tortured her a little. She knew that now that she had stolen the woman she had put her squarely in harm's way. She would have to care for her, protect her... perhaps seduce her to bed to keep her safe from other's touches.
Chapter 2: Tattered And Torn
She is let out of her rooms when dinner has been served, the maid-servant sweet but timid and clearly chosen for the same reasons.
She shivers when she joins the Phantom at the table, surprised by the woman's kindness, the distain is still there, the hatred of her father tainting how the Phantom talked and dealt with her and yet, as she watched the Phantom's movements, the slight winces, the tormented eyes staring at her across the table, she can't help but feel something tugging at her.
The silence is deep and painful, she moves alone to the fire, cold and needing warmth, startled by the warmth of the other woman's gaze as she moves closer, a gentle hand at her cheek, wiping further tears from her cheekbone, the touch soft enough to draw a slight gasp of surprise from Katie, she had dreaded tonight, feared that she might be ruined, might be forced into something, and yet there is a struggle being fought in the Phantom's eyes. Hatred for her father is there even now and yet, there is something soft, almost kind, in the Phantom's gaze, the care with which she is drawn to a seat, tucked beneath a blanket beside the fire and tended to, makes it clear she has no real want to harm her.
The Phantom moves away and as the table is cleared, paces again.
Emotions are warring within. Hatred, lust, pain, love, confusion. Everything washes through her until at last she tears the mask from her face, casting it aside with such fierce anger that the woman by the fire looks up.
She moves away before the woman can come to her and yet Katie meets her pace and catches her face in both hands, thumbs stroking over high cheekbones, the glossy misery in the Phantom's eyes drawing a heartfelt sigh from her before she kisses her, softly.
It starts gently and yet by the end Phantom has taken Katie in her arms, drawing her closer, the kiss ever deepening.
Phantom releases her then, stepping away.
"I... I can't..."
The step she takes is again matched, Katie's hand tight at her wrist.
"I cannot go home, Phantom... I am lost. Please... at least stay a while."
Phantom pulls free at first, then turns to look at her.
"I hurt you... frightened you... stole you away... you have no need to be kind to me..."
"Perhaps I... Fear is natural Phantom, you stole me with no warning, but I am not much afraid now... You did not hurt me... merely shocked me..."
Phantom laughs then, a low, angry sound.
"You are innocent in this world Catherine... you know nothing of which you speak."
"I am not a child."
Anger sparks in Katie's voice and Phantom turns to her again, having made to leave, striding across the room to capture her lips in a fierce, spell-binding kiss. The choked sob when Phantom pulls back is heart-felt and heart-breaking.
Chapter 3: Innocent Eyes
The Phantom makes to leave and Katie chases her instantly, catching her before she can lock herself in her rooms. Pushing her way in and only slightly startling when the door locks behind her.
Phantom's anger is almost vibrant and Katie falters.
"Perhaps... but you are no monster..."
"Your father would think me..."
"My father has no idea what you are, human or ghost, foe or phantom... He has no idea of a lot of things..."
"It was you... you left the doors unlocked."
Phantom speaks softly, suddenly sure.
"He would keep me a virgin until I am given to... some man.... I do not... I have never...."
Words die in her throat and Katie instead drags Phantom's hand to her heart, pressing it there, her own over Phantom's own.
The steady beating of two hearts in unison tells Phantom what Katie cannot voice, Phantom's growl is low in her throat even as she captures Katie's lips in a second scorching kiss.
They part for mere moments, Katie more than willing to give herself over to Phantom, finding her back pressed into cool bed-sheets, Phantom's body warm over her as lips, tongue and hands lay claim to her mouth, her hair, her cheeks, the same warm hands slipping lower, Phantom's eyes meeting her own as hands cup and tease at her, first at her, until now untouched, breasts, teasing, taunting her to arch until they move lower still, lips closing tightly over her own to stifle the cry as she tears, Phantom's lips gentle at her cheeks, kissing away tears, the pace ever level until suddenly it is not. She arches, she cries out, she shakes and yet, when she finds release, there is softness in Phantom's touch, gentleness in the way she is curled safely to her side, covered in fresh sheets and sheltered there, soft lips at her hairline as she sleeps.
She is found there next day by her father, who has stormed the castle, Phantom moves on instinct to block his path, sensing his anger and speaking fiercely.
"She gave freely of herself... and I would not have you harm her."
There is silence and then, with a growl, he turns and leaves, turning once in the doorway to withdraw his support for his daughter.
Phantom merely laughs, then, with her father gone, proposes.
She accepts, finding herself pleased she had taken her life in her own hands, even if she would normally have waited to give herself to Phantom as her wife.