Life after the fire at the opera house proved to be far different for Christine, who was married almost immediately after to the Viscomte de Chagny. They had a modest house and lived comfortably just at the edge of his family, hiding themselves just beyond the backbiting and general displeasure that Raoul's siblings showed toward their brother now that he had married a chorus girl.

Sure she was pretty, sure she could sing, but that wasn't enough for them. She didn't come from a high enough status. She was not of their kind.

So though Raoul loved her deeply and though she loved him back, Christine found she had very little to do aside from sitting around looking pretty and waiting for her husband to come back from whatever affairs he needed to take care of during his days. She lived for the nights when they'd travel back into Paris to take in a show. In the earliest days of their marriage that was how they spent every night that they did not spend tangled up in each other in bed.

But as the weeks turned into months and as Christine continued to not fall pregnant with the viscomte's child, he took decidedly less interest in keeping her happy. Christine began to wonder after only four months of marriage if her husband was being unfaithful.

By the time that six months had passed since their wedding, Raoul and Christine no longer shared the same bed. Some nights, this struck her harder than others. Some nights she would wait up all night for Raoul to come home, and many nights he wouldn't.

The mornings after these long nights, he always stumbled through the door, his shirt untucked, his hair a mess, an entire night's worth of drink on his breath. These were the only times he ever wanted to be close to Christine anymore, and these were the times that she would lock herself in her bedroom and dream of a time when she would've had some reprieve.

It wasn't until the morning that he came home so angry drunk that he'd managed to grab her before she could hide herself away that she actually allowed herself to remember the Phantom of the opera, the deformed man who had been her angel of music and her inspiration.

While Raoul touched her and kissed her and messed up her hair and her clothes, Christine thought back to a time when she had been inspired to sing, when she had been compelled to sing. When the urge was so strong and so deep within her that it physically pained her if she wouldn't sing.

The awful smell of Raoul's breath as he panted against her cheek brought her back to the harsh reality. She was in a marriage that made her unhappy. Clearly her husband wasn't happy, though for a few brief moments he seemed quite content as his body tensed over her before he collapsed, unconscious, across his wife. His sleeping face looked so innocent. Christine gently ran her hand through his hair, smoothing it out and pulling it away from his face.

For the first time in months, he looked like the young man she had married. Drunken and passed out, his face held the innocence that it no longer held when he was sober and awake. Christine wished desperately that there was something she could do to garner his favor again, to make him love her the way she still loved him, despite the drunk he had become. She knew that if she could just become pregnant, everything would be better.

Perhaps if I just had a little inspiration, she thought, perhaps if I could just find my angel… As soon as the thought crossed her mind, she shook her head. Her angel would want nothing to do with her. After all, it was he who sent her away with Raoul, he who demanded that she love him in order to save Raoul's life. To him, she was certain that love meant nothing. How could he just toy with her heart like that? She had prepared herself to remain underground with him forever that Raoul could walk away with his life.

And he repaid her love by sending her away. Perhaps that was what he thought she wanted, but perhaps her angel had known. Perhaps he had sent her away as punishment for being unable to accept how he looked. Perhaps…

Christine eventually fell asleep, her husband's body draped across her like a blanket.

When she woke again, she was alone.

Far beneath the busy streets of Paris, a man who looked more like a corpse shuffled slowly through the lower levels of the catacombs. His clothing had once been the height of fashion and finery but now hung in tatters on the man's slight form. His pants and suit jacket were black and filled with holes; his shirt had once been white but now was a murky gray with dark brown stains all down the front.

The man's features were skeletal; not an ounce of fat could be found on his body. The clothes that had once fit him perfectly now hung loose on the man's gaunt frame. Even the porcelain mask that rested on his cheek seemed too big for him now. Still, the rest of his clothing could fall away but he would never remove the mask.

Erik had forgotten what it felt like to not wear the mask. After the fire had spread through his home and through his opera house, he had fled into the catacombs, where he had been met by a group of men, angry with him for endangering so many lives and burning down their livelihood. The men took turns inflicting pain on the pitiful creature, but none thought to remove his mask.

Once they had tired of kicking and striking the man-turned-phantom, Erik had crawled away, barely managing to pull himself along with his arms. The catacombs beneath the city became his new home and his sanctuary, even if he had to fight, lie, and steal just to survive.