Author: Ophelia V. Santori PM
An author's and dedicated phan's interpretation of the tragic and desperately beautiful "Ah, Christine!" scene, after the Soprano of the Century's performance for her Angel of Music. One-Shot, Phantom/Christine as always.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Erik & Christine - Words: 3,469 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8028890
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I know. How dare I write this little one-shot when my other pet project fanfic is on hold. But allow me to explain. I watched Love Never Dies and was listening to the soundtrack, and while I was doing homework, this little one-shot just leaped out of my head and onto Microsoft Word. I concieved, wrote, and edited it in literally 20 minutes. So if there's inconsistencies or mistakes, forgive me.
The Ah, Christine! or the After the Performance scene in Love Never Dies has always struck me as particularly tragic. Just because the Phantom and Christine are so happy at last, and together, and all the pain and darkness that has accumulated over the years is finally ready to be made right; and all the wounds they have given each other and sustained in their lives are ready to be healed; and they love each other so much and they think they're finally going to be happy together... which, if you've seen Love Never Dies, makes the whole scene just so painful, even if it is beautiful.
So. The Phantom is Ramin Karimloo, as always will be (after watching Phantom 25 and listening to the Love Never Dies Original London Cast Recording)... and Christine is Sierra Boggess-again, as always. That's just how I pictured it, but if you'd like, I'm sure you could see whoever you wanted in the roles.
And so, let the tragic beauty begin...
She was alone in her dressing room, still shaking from all the feelings the song had given her. The song had encompassed her love, all she had ever felt. The man she loved had written it for her, and she couldn't help her trembling fingers, knowing that the love they shared, their music and their pain and pleasure, would never die. She couldn't help but to tremble at the music that told their story, the story of their love.
She sat before the mirror, trembling with emotion that had been pent up inside her for so many years. She stared down at the necklace she had removed, the beautiful necklace the only man she had ever truly, passionately, ardently loved had given her.
She was so occupied with thoughts of him that she did not hear the lock of the door click behind her.
A crystalline tear rolled defiantly down her cheek, despite how hard she had tried to hold it back. She started to move her hand to brush it away.
But a black-gloved hand reached out and caught her own. Her breath stopped, and another hand reached out to softly press away the tear from her porcelain cheek.
She looked up into his dazzlingly beautiful eyes, losing herself in them.
He stared at her, feeling as if he were finally flying instead of falling through darkness. "Why do you cry, my love?" he said softly, "You know how it pains me to see you cry…"
"I-I-I just…" she couldn't force the words out of her mouth.
He turned her chair to face him, gently lifting Christine out of it and carrying her easily to the recliner he had put in her dressing room. He laid her down on it, then sat beside her, hesitating for a brief moment before opening his arms in a graceful, slow movement and enfolding her in a tender embrace. "Go on and cry, Christine. Go ahead."
Sobbing, she shook her head, leaning against him. "N-no. I'm being stupid and immature."
"Don't say that."
She sat up, desperately trying to calm herself, steadying herself by placing her palms against his chest. His fingers tracing delicious patterns on the fabric of her dress's backing made her quiver with an altogether different kind of emotion, and, almost of their own accord, her fingers curled around his jacket collar and held on tight. She felt more tears drip from her eyes as she squeezed them shut. He buried his face in her hair, breathing seductively into her ear, "Do you have any idea how long I have waited for your voice to sing those words?"
She shuddered in delight, terrified he would stop. For a moment, he did. She sighed, looking up to face him. He stared at her, uncertainty in his eyes. "You chose me," he said, slowly, not sure if he believed it himself.
She nodded, seeing immeasurable sadness in his own eyes. "Yes."
"I deserve you now, Christine," he said, cautiously and wistfully, reaching out and catching and escaped strand of hair with his fingers, "And I'm sorry I left you. I thought it was for the best, but I was so dreadfully wrong and I'm so sorry. You can never imagine…"
She silenced him with a finger on his soft, malformed lips. "Shh," she whispered, "I forgave you a long time ago."
He stared at her, feeling the intensity of their gazes burning through him. His fingers were suddenly at her neck, tracing her pale jawline and her lips. His usually sure musician's fingers trembled now, shaking as the caressed the familiar, longed-for features of his beloved. She fought the urge to swoon, wanting to watch his every move, memorize his face, his grace, the expression in his eyes when he looked at her.
"Please…" she begged.
He looked up, and her eyes spoke to him in a way words never could. He knew exactly what she was begging him for.
And he had never been able to refuse her anything, after all.
He leaned in, slowly, ever so slowly. It was agonizing for them both, but as they stared into each other's eyes, it seemed so very right that it was impossible to stop.
And he kissed her, tenderly at first, but with growing hunger and passion as his admirable, gentlemanly restraint and frightened, reclusive hesitation faltered with the years of pent-up longing, desire, and love.
She wrapped her arms around him, feeling his shaking hands tangle in her hair and shuddering into his mouth. He pulled away from her slightly, breathing hard, and her breathless plea of "No, please…" was cut off as he kissed her harder, more passionately than before, pressing her back against the chaise, his tongue pushing into her mouth and meeting hers. She gasped, digging her fingernails into the back of his coat, trying to bring him still closer to her.
His lips devoured her, claiming her, branding her as his own, and she felt a strange tug and leap in her stomach, one she had not felt in years. Heat pooled between her legs and she slid her hands under his jacket, running her palms up his silk shirt and across his chest.
His harsh exhalation of breath as she did this prepared her for the awful moment of him pulling away from her. She stared into his eyes, seeing his smoldering, consuming gaze and was unable to stop herself from licking her lips, and then blushing.
He smiled, and pulled of his leather gloves, letting them drop to the ground. He ran his thumb over the silk of her lower lip, his gaze utterly transfixed, burning with an emotion that made her heart pound in anticipation, before ducking his head down to press a kiss to it, tug it ever so gently with his teeth.
An electric bolt of pure desire jolted through her, and her hands wildly moved to the dark wig he wore over his natural hair. She dug her fingers into it, not caring that she was loosening it as she met his lips with a passion equal to his own.
He attempted to pull away, to fix the wig, and with a snarl of frustration, she pulled it off. She ignored the shock on his face and pressed a kiss to the top of his head before returning to his lips.
Presently, the great Phantom realized he was shaking. His fingers and hands were shaking from the amount of emotions raging through his body. He would have ignored this, but he quickly realized that he was not the only one who was shaking. He pulled back from Christine long enough to see tears pooling in her eyes and then he pulled her close, pressing kisses to her nose, her forehead, her hair, and lips, murmuring, "Shh, my Christine, my darling, my love, hush. It's alright, I'm here, you're safe. I love you, I'm here. I'll always be here."
"Just like you always have been," she murmured through her sobs, desperately trying to pull herself closer to him, holding him tightly, "There, inside my mind. Inside my heart."
Suddenly, she looked up at him. Slowly, ever so slowly, she reached up and placed a hand over his mask. His eyes watched her, a fear and pain in them that made her face crumple. "Please, my love," she whispered. "Please."
He stared at her for a long time, before finally exhaling and nodding.
She curled her fingers gently underneath the edge of his mask, and he closed his eyes, his hands clenching into fists that trembled with an effort to stay still, to not stop her, repressing the instinctive, protective urge to push her delicate fingers away.
He felt the cool air hit his disfigurement as his only shield against the world he despised was torn away. He shook, and tears leaked out from under his eyelids.
Gentle, cool fingers brushed them away, and a moan suddenly emerged from the back of his throat-a raw, tortured sound that came from deep within. He fought for control, to bring back his formidable facade of power and control.
But he opened his eyes and saw her, leaning towards him, and felt her warm lips press against his deformity, move against his twisted, hideous face as she whispered, "My love..."
His arms suddenly were around her, gripping her to him in a crushing, desperate embrace, and she held him back, offering what small comfort she could, feeling his harsh breathing against the top of her head. His hands were suddenly on either side of her face, his movements jerky and frantic, and he leaned his forehead against hers, holding her to him as if he would never let go. She bit her lip, his pained face so close to hers making her heart ache for him. She placed her hands on either side of his face. He looked at her, whispered in his beautiful, tortured voice "Oh, Christine..."
"I love you," she said, her voice tremulous, "God, my angel, I have loved you for so long, I will always..."
He kissed her again, and again, and again. Eventually he realized tears of his own were joining hers, on their cheeks, adding a bittersweet taste to the kisses they shared.
Eventually, he was simply holding her close, the two of them breathing heavily, her smooth ivory cheek buried against the side of his neck, him holding her in his arms, her hands pressed against the warmth of his chest.
He would have been perfectly happy to hold her like that forever. Keeping her close, feeling his aching heart finally soothed, her warmth and nearness to him bringing him peace at last—peace he had never known. Her fingers moved softly against the silk of his shirt, stroking gently in tiny, but glorious movements. He pulled slightly away from her to bring one of her hands to his mouth and kiss each one of her fingertips. She looked into his eyes, and he met her gaze. It was difficult for him, she knew—he had never liked being stared at. He had always found it difficult to meet her eyes and hold it… And she realized why. Because she could see the utter love and longing and desire and pain and adoration in his eyes as he stared at her, and she smiled at him for his bravery.
She didn't realize that the love in her own gaze was reward enough without her dazzling smile.
He touched her face, his brow furrowing. "We've wasted so much time already," he said, adding in a whisper, "No. I've wasted so much time. I sent you away. And I left you. And all these years I could have spent with you, all these years we could have been so happy. Ten long years, Christine, of dying and being crushed in the darkness with nothing to hold onto but the hope and the faith that you might be happy… but you weren't happy. And it was all a waste."
She moved her hand to hold his against her face, turning her head to press a soft kiss to his palm. "But we're together now, darling. We have each other. And we have Gustave, and that's all that matters."
He moved to kiss her again, and she met his lips joyfully wrapping her arms around him, then suddenly jolted in his arms, stiffening, every muscle in her usually soft body tensing. Her fingernails dug into his shoulders, and she pulled away from him, a look of horror on her face.
"Gustave," she whispered, eyes wide.
He moved his hands to his shoulders. "What about Gustave, my love? What is it?"
She suddenly stood, and he stood with her, his hands clenching into fists as he imagined all the things that could possibly be wrong.
"Gustave! My god, no!"
She looked around the room, her eyes wild. She saw a note and a red rose on a nightstand in the corner of the dressing room. She flew to it, her movements short and panicked. She was aware that he was behind her, and it gave her comfort. She turned momentarily to look at him, and repressed a stab of disappointment to see his mask and wig back in place.
She took a deep breath. There would be time to break down these walls later.
For now, her son was most important. She opened the letter with shaking fingers, and steadied herself before reading it, reaching behind her to clasp his hand with hers.
His warm fingers enveloped hers, holding them gently but firmly, and they steadied her as she read the letter aloud.
My dearest wife,
Little Lotte… I beg you, forgive me.
"Raoul, no…" she whispered. Her poor, dear Raoul. So broken a man he had become, so horribly broken and changed from the sweet, charming, dashing boy she had once known. She gripped her Phantom's hand, tighter, and felt his thumb stroke over her fingers, the gentle touch making her want to sigh and bury herself in him. But she had to be strong, for Gustave.
Little Lotte—Ah, what fools we once were! Long ago, in our youth, in Paris, at the Opera—romantic idiots! Those two people are gone.
Her face crumpled. She had never meant to hurt him. She had only ever wanted her dear friend to be happy. She had broken his heart, and she knew, reading his tired scrawl, that the truth had finally destroyed any hope he could've had.
Now I must go, our choices are made. The opera is done, Christine. It's over. The last notes have been played. May your Angel of Music watch over you now.
Her hand tightened around her Phantom's at the sudden spite in Raoul's words, at the way his pen had dug into the paper.
May he give you all that I wish I'd given you, somehow. Be happy with him, as you were never happy with me.
Yours, in regret,
-Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny
There was nothing after that. She frantically turned it over, but there was no mention of her child. She turned around, and saw the Phantom's stoic gaze, showing her nothing. She felt tears in her eyes, knew what it must seem to him after watching her read her former husband's letter, but was too passionately frantic to think on it. She looked again, frenziedly sorting through the newspapers and sheet music on her dressing table, searching for some note in a child's surprisingly tidy, lovely handwriting. She suppressed the agony that leaped through her at the memory of the ease with which Gustave had mastered writing, and how quickly the normal child's scrawl had become flawless, calligraphic script. She put her hand over her heart, gasping. At the feel of the masked man's steady hands on her shoulders, she tried to calm herself, but found that she couldn't breathe slowly no matter how hard she tried.
"Gustave should be here! He told me he'd be here! I told him to wait for Raoul…" she turned, facing the Phantom, the blood draining from her face. Suddenly, there was as much fear in his eyes as in hers, and he was clasping her hands, his eyes moving over her face with a sort of horrified realization. She shook her head, her voice shaking, "Before he asked me to—Surely he wouldn't...!"
She nearly collapsed into his arms then, but he caught her, steadying her and holding her in his strong arms. She felt his muscles tense, and realized with a jolt of love that it was with protective anger, and, after glimpsing his eyes, she knew he indeed felt the same primal, parental fear she felt.
As he raged, ordering his servants and performers about in the effort to save his own flesh and blood, she saw the beginnings of a talented, but untrained father. He had mastered every art known to man… he would learn to be a father, and a good one. As he had cared for a little lost girl, nearly two decades ago in the Opera House, he would be a great father to Gustave.
And, holding his hand in hers, even beneath her fear, she found herself fiercely sure that everything would be alright. Her angel would find her son, and they would be all together at last, as they always should have been.
He held her, trying to calm her and ease her hysterical, mother's pain as his devoted workers ran off to find Madame Giry.
"What a mother you are, Christine," he said, stroking his hand over her curls and bending down to press his lips to every inch of her face. "A lioness fighting for her cub..." she looked up at him, stark fear in her eyes. His own dark, scintillating eyes searched hers, and he said quietly, "Your father would have been so proud of you."
Her lips trembled, and she nearly sobbed. "He wouldn't! He'd be ashamed of me," her voice broke, and he wrapped his arms around her again, caressing her face, shaking his head. She continued, "Some mother I am, losing her son…What if—what if we cannot find him?"
Her lovely, angelic voice broke again, and he pressed a finger to her lips. "Hush, my darling. Don't give in, don't ever do that. You are so beautiful when you fight for what you love. And it pains me to see you cry, to see you suffer so. I will not allow it."
She leaned into his chest, fighting back tears as she buried her ashamed face into his pristine evening wear. He tipped her chin up with his fingertips, his gentle gaze meeting hers. He smiled lovingly, and she couldn't help but smile back. His smile was such a rare thing. He was so beautiful when she smiled, and her heart ached with love for him.
"It will be alright, my love. I swear it." He said.
In the short moments as they heard the approach of the very angry ballet mistress, accompanied by the colorful Trio, he turned to her, his beautiful gaze tender for fleeting, precious moments, and she saw a swell of love and pride in those short seconds.
He kissed her once more, a desperate, but comforting kiss, one hand holding her jaw gently, caressing her in ways that made her heart swell with love, and her hand touched the side of his neck, tracing his jaw line.
And before he turned to the furious, sputtering Madame Giry and became the fearsome, commanding Mr. Y again, she knew, with a short, tremulous smile, that everything would be alright.
It had to be.
I cry. I'll admit it. I really do. When they're together and so happy, and you just know what's coming... Oh, god. I was inspired by sorrow. I hope you enjoyed this one-shot. Please review, comment, read, favorite, etc. Check out my other stories.
Peace. Love. Phantom for all.
-Ophelia V. S.