She has seen a man killed before her very eyes, but finds herself strangely untroubled by the fact, or by her own role in helping the man's killer escape. Her lack of concern does concern her, somewhat, but honesty compels her to decide that the dead man is no loss to humanity, whereas the boy--the boy is humanity's loss.
Erik, he tells her, is his name, although he will not say how he came to have a name--perhaps he does not know. He is brilliant. She can see as much in the keenness of his eyes and the questions he asks. How does this work? Why is that?
God only knows where he learned to read, or how, but he devours the books she brings him, the newspapers and the librettos and the programs, the sheet music--he consumes it all, absorbs it greedily and is anxious for more.
The music draws him; she finds him in tears once, after a rehearsal, tears of joy. It is the beauty that calls him, as all beauty does. What is more, he is brilliant at music, too, and throws himself into it like he wishes to drown in it. He does not say why, but she thinks that it must be because this is a form of beauty that even he can participate in.
Erik makes the opera his home, discovering and adding to the secret ways, delighted to share some of them with her while keeping others to himself. He carries away cast-off props that shed sequins and flakes of gilt to his own domain in the sub-basements, and revels in making her gasp in surprise when he reveals another marvel he has built or jury-rigged: traps doors and mechanical marvels, a sonata, a passage on violin--myriad wonders that make her despise a world that places too high a value on surfaces.
When Anton abandons her with her waist already starting to thicken, Erik is the one who listens to her woe, and though he says nothing, she takes comfort in knowing that at least he will not abandon her.
And when Anton trips and falls, fifty feet from the flies to the floor below, even though it was his grace and skill on the ropes that had drawn her to him in the first place (he the best man of all for the ropes), she does not betray the killer, happy to be complicit once again.