Note: My friend and I were in an experimental mood one day and thought up a storyline in which Christine just reeeeeeeeeally pisses off Erik and he shows his violent side. That is the whole premise of this story. So to all you lovers of the kind, gentle, pansy side of Erik: be warned. This story is purely an experiment with an extreme. I wouldn't say it's out of character or impossible, but yes, definitely an extreme... Thank you to The Grasshopper who RPed the role of Christine in this for me.
The Mistake and the Lie
To tell the truth, Christine had been seeing Raoul in secret every day. They kept their rendezvous secret, of course, because if anyone knew, Erik would know. The Phantom was the eyes and ears of the walls of the Opera. It was really very foolish for the two lovers to attempt to meet at all, but ever since Christine had learnt the horrible truth about her angel, Raoul had come to mean a lot more to her. And so far, at least, it seemed they had been successful in keeping their secret. It was not easy, of course; though Erik had been preoccupied lately and Christine was, at this point, in full possession of his trust, the ghost was unpredictable, and even though she and Raoul had devised a regular schedule in which they could safely see each other, it was very often subject to sudden alterations.
It was the need of one such alteration that began this horrifying encounter.
Christine had just returned to her dressing room from an ever-so lovely winter afternoon in the park with her beloved viscount when she remembered, too late to call after him, that she would not be able to meet him until after the performance tomorrow. Erik was coming for her tonight and she had a feeling she would not return to the world above ground until it was just time to change into her costume and apply her makeup. Erik did like to keep her as long as possible when he could...When he was not too busy with all of those important duties.
Actually, Erik would be coming to call her with his enchanted voice at any moment and there was no time to spare. Christine quickly penned a note in which she informed Raoul of the change of plans, gave him all of her love, and wrote her signature of candy hearts (not for the first time) as "Christine de Chagny." It was a sweet jest of affection between the two which she knew would make Raoul smile when he read it.
She then folded letter and sealed it with an invisible kiss, but as she did, remembered the ruby of Raoul's ring on her wedding finger. Yes, she had promised Erik to always wear the plain gold band he had given her, but during her sun and snow filled hours with Raoul, she religiously took the viscount's engagement ring from where she usually hid it on the chain of her crucifix necklace and exchanged it for Erik's on her finger. It was now time to switch the places of the two rings back to where her dark master would have them be. She did this mechanically, without paying the exchange any attention at all, while simultaneously rising to go out of the room and send for a messenger. However, because she was so rushed and distracted, she ended up only accidentally restringing Erik's ring onto the chain and putting Raoul's back on to her finger. But she did not realize she had done this at all.
She allowed herself one moment's pause to force the blush from her cheeks and invite calm into her shaking hands before she reached for the doorknob. It was only thanks to this brief pause that Erik was able to just catch her before she would have successfully left.
He had emerged from the dark roads to the area behind the two-way mirror of the dressing room, the place from which he always viewed his star pupil, and knew that even he himself had arrived late. He saw her right hand turn the doorknob and instantly wondered if she was leaving because he had not been there, so, therefore, he called to her quickly before she could go, speaking even before he touched the mechanism to operate the magic glass. His voice pierced through the walls, straight to her side, "Angel..."
Christine froze. The voice did not startle her, but it made her stop all the same...She slowly turned from the door and, at the same time, folded her left hand over the note she held. She looked directly into the mirror and did her best not to reveal agitation at her inability to complete her task. Her voice was very soft and only stated the obvious:
"I am here, Erik."
The mirror slowly and silently revolved open and the eyes behind the mask of the Phantom looked up from the pale light of the dark lantern on the other side. He extended a hand to her, beckoning her to him from across the room.
"I beg your forgiveness..."
He said it because he had been late, but Christine was not sure what he meant as she had not been there long and was not completely aware of the time. She looked a bit confused as she stepped forward obediently and took his hand. "For what...?"
He drew her close to him as the glass closed them off from the light while keeping his eyes on hers...If she had been leaving, then should she not know for what...? Erik found her confusion a bit odd...Perhaps, then, he thought, she had not been leaving because he was late...So why then had she been going from the room?
"Were you going somewhere?"
Christine looked up at him, taking a brief moment to realize the mistake she had made. She shook her head slowly and spoke hesitantly as she concocted the first excuse that came to mind. "Nowhere of importance, Erik...Only quickly to go...speak to Meg..." She bit her lip. "I have not seen her in a few days..."
Erik looked at her for a moment in silent uncertainty, then let go of her hand and started to lead down the communard's road in direction of his domain. "To speak to Mlle. Giry? At the hour I was to come for you?"
"It was only for a moment..." Christine tried to think quickly as she followed habitually behind him. "Of great importance to her. I did not think it would take long...I am truly sorry..." Christine was, by nature, a horribly incompetent liar...Though, ironically, she had found her skills of deception had been gaining new insight lately. But still, she held her breath in well-founded fear that he would not believe her.
Erik had no reason not to believe her, but he did find it indeed incredibly strange that Christine should want to run out to have a conversation with her girlfriend when she knew more than well that he, her guardian and instructor, would be waiting for her. He stopped walking and turned around to look at his protegee, holding up the lantern so that he could see the details of her angelically lovely face. "Perhaps you should like to go back and say your piece..." he offered, not utterly without suspicion (if only wrought by confusion). "If it is of such importance?"
She lifted her eyes to meet his while biting her tongue for a moment before shaking her head again. She spoke quietly and with less assurance this time, "No...That's all right...Thank you..."
Again, Erik found her response odd...He moved the lantern to shine a little more light on her face and looked at her for another long moment. A silence of wrought tension-And then he simply let the light lower, turned, and continued to lead down the black paths and steps towards his infamous underground lake.
Christine really did try not to sigh too loudly in relief as her interrogator appeared to be satisfied. She only hesitated very briefly then began to follow him again and was thankful that they continued their journey together without another word.
It was only after they were in the boat and Erik had pushed off from the moor and begun to row across the lake that he spoke again. He had taken note of how Christine clutched either side of the boat with both of her little white hands in a fervent grip and had since not let go. Before that, she had also hesitated strangely to take his hand when he offered her aid into the skiff. It was not the hesitation he was accustomed to of her repulsion of physical contact with him...But more along the lines of awkwardness...As if she was momentarily not sure which hand to use...
He asked her with genuine concern, "Is there something weighing on your mind, Christine?"
She turned her eyes quickly to him from where they had been looking out over the water. "Oh...No, Erik...I'm just a little tired...I think that...I may...I would like to lie down for a while...once we arrive." She realized how tense she must appear to him and relaxed one of her hands...But not the one that still clutched her note.
Of course, on Erik's part, logical thinking concluded that something must have happened, one way or another, to make her unusually tired. "Tired?" He sincerely hoped she was not falling ill.
Already Christine was hating having to make up more lies against lies, but she could not think of any other way... "Rehearsal...It's been a bit exhausting lately; that's all."
It did make sense to Erik...Although... "You did very well today."
Christine instantly realized the compliment meant that Erik had been watching. She had to advert her eyes, but managed a faint smile and responded with words that were spoken with only a bit of a tremble, "...Thank you..."
She was not quite sure of just what Erik had seen during the rehearsals today...She knew well enough that there was always a chance he was watching her regardless of where she was...But she had to take that chance...Raoul had to take that chance...If they wanted to see each other...It just was the only way.
"Of course...Though I am not the only one who thought so, am I, Christine?" The question was provoking but still as calm as the leaden waters he continued to row across as they spoke.
Christine looked back to him again, and asked slowly with attempted innocence as she felt her heart give an uneasy lurch, "What do you mean?"
Erik's eyes leveled with hers. "I think you know what I mean."
She lowered her eyes quickly and did not speak a word. She did not know how to respond as she was not sure how much he might have it have been he noticed Raoul in the Opera and only assumed the viscount had watched the rehearsal? Or did he happen to see the titanic bouquet of flowers that had greeted her afterwards? Or was it as bad as the chance that Erik may have seen her leave or arrive with Raoul since then? She knew Erik could not know or suspect anything too drastic as he did not seem at all upset...It was more of a chastising tone of vague warning in which he was speaking...But either way, Christine was certain it was Raoul who he meant.
Erik moored the boat on the edge of the lake once they had reached their destination and continued to speak in the same tone. "I have given to you my trust, Christine. Perhaps you do not comprehend the greatness of such a gesture on my part, but the effort on your part to keep it should really be a much simpler feat." He did not actually suspect her of anything reproachable...But he did think she could be trying a bit harder to assure him of her devotion to him. It was true that he could not expect the piousness that she had for him when he had first taught her, but considering the power he still held, he did not feel he had to accept much less.
Christine stood and moved to get out of the boat quickly. She only nodded obediently in reply simply because she was terrified of saying anything else at the moment. Her whole consciousness was now focused on one goal alone: To get inside Erik's hidden home and to dispose of the treacherous note that felt as if it was burning a revealing hole straight through her clenched and trembling left fist.
Erik finished tying the knot of rope and turned around to focus directly on her. "Do you understand my meaning, Christine?"
She stopped where she stood and looked up at him, then away again immediately when she saw how he was watching her. "Yes, Erik. Of course..."
He moved over to her and, oh so barely touching her, turned her face back to look at him and studied her sea blue eyes, searching there for honesty. She had no choice but to look at him now. Her eyes were wider then ever usual as she tried to look convincing. She did her best to use her puzzlement and confusion to mask her regret and paranoia of discovery. But she could not meet his gaze for long and lowered her gaze soon enough.
Erik was, of course, meticulously evaluating every single minuscule detail of her behavior. He kept the tone of his voice even and unthreatening, yet did not hide the nuance of implication. "I would not want to ever think that you had betrayed my trust, Christine. And I am sure you would not ever want me to think that."
He was continuing to be the perfect gentleman as usual, so the only thing that could explain the fact that Christine now started to actually become tangibly afraid was her guilty conscience.
She shook her head in denial, but her breath had begun to shake just a little as it puffed into the cold lakeside air. "Please...Erik...May I go inside?..."
It was then that Erik's eyes narrowed. He stepped aside as the hidden door in the wall opened behind him. And this time his words had thorns:
"But of course, my dear. Simply dreadful of me to keep you out of doors."