A/n: Hello all! I finally wrote an R/C fic. It's about time, isn't it? Yesh.

Anyway...I hope this piece is 'authentic' enough. I'm not certain if things in here actually might happen, but that's whats good about fanfic. I can change it if I want. I think I stayed pretty true to the time...

...and pretty true to the characters! This is a Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera fanfic, so I hope I've stayed true enough to the characters. I think it's the best job I've ever done with it, and considering I'm not good at writing Christine and Raoul, and only fairly good at Erik...

...well, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

This fic is also to help Raoul-bashers see that we Raoul-lovers can like Erik too! We just prefer to see Erik in a more...erm...clearer view, I guess. Hey, if you're really a fan of something, you love all the characters and not just one of them, right? Right?

...okay, shutting up now.

This is a one-shot Raoul/Christine fanfic, with an amazing small amount of Raoul in it (and I'm surprised at the lack of dialogue, considering that it's me). It's also a songfic. The song is 'Strange World', from the CD 'Touch', which is an old Sarah McLachlan CD.

Disclaimers: I do not own the Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux does. I do not own the song 'Strange World', Sarah McLachlan does (at least, Gaston Leroux SHOULD own The Phantom of the Opera, and Sarah McLachlan SHOULD own Strange World).

Enjoy, and please review.

Strange World

Christine sighed, looking over the dark autumn landscape. She rocked back and forth in her chair on the porch, a book lying forgotten on her lap. Her golden hair was tied back by a dark blue ribbon, a ribbon which matched her simple dress. She had grown older, of course. She was no longer the naïve girl that had run into the arms of a childhood friend to hide from the love of a monster.

Three years. It had been three years now since she had left Erik...three years since the experience which had changed her forever. Because of it, she had matured...and had learned to see beyond physical appearance. Because of it she had learned to appreciate simplicity of life, and had learned the difference between true love and obsession.

Had Erik truly loved her? It was something she often wondered. Was it really love, or did he simply think he loved her? How could he know, he who had never known love? Perhaps it was only obsession, or some emotion yet unknown to Christine that he had mistaken for love.

Of course...it could have been love. But it wasn't pure love, not the sort of love Christine wanted. It was far too...intense. He thought her an Angel, a perfect being which could make no mistake. He loved her so much, so intensely that it could be compared to fire, which gave a faint glow in darkness, which gave off a heat that warms you from the cold...but also consumes.

Christine hadn't wanted fire. She had wanted light. Light gave warmth, but it did not consume. Light could destroy any darkness. Though fire could memorize you with its mystery, light lets you see everything...light has no secrets.

And in Raoul she had found light.

Christine's memories turned to the time when she and Raoul had first left Erik. When they had been walking in the countryside, not knowing where to go or what to do next, but grateful that they were at last free of Erik, at last together.


They walked hand-in-hand, watching as leaves gently fell from the trees. They had escaped from the city and now were walking towards the old house Christine had lived in when they had first met.

Rain still clung to trees, and to the grass on which they walked. They were both still shaken at that which had happened that very night...at all that had happened for the last...well, for what seemed an eternity. How long had the tragedy lasted anyway?

Their eyes were locked on the sky, where the stars were beginning to fade as the sun began to rise. Christine's thoughts were not as happy as she thought they should be.

Poor, unhappy Erik! She knew what would become of him now...he had told her. He had told her that he would soon die, and she believed him. He almost didn't deserve it...almost. He had been through so much, a mother that hated and feared him, a father who he never met, a society which never accepted him for his face...for something he had no power over whatsoever. She pitied him...and she had even forgiven him. After all, all he had ever wanted was to be loved. A simple thing that many took for granted...people thought it was what they deserved, after all it was only natural that a parent should love you, only natural to marry one day. He had been denied that simple thing. Christine even suspected that the time she had kissed him on the forehead was the first kiss he had ever received...

But he was, after all, a murderer. He had killed Joseph Buquet, and that poor woman who had been crushed by the chandelier, and who knew how many other souls. After all, did he not have a torture chamber in his house? What sort of person had a torture chamber in their house?

How was it she could hold on to Erik so? Would she ever forget him? Would she ever be able to move on?

We walk without a sound across a barren landscape
Your eyes are twisted down to a dew entrailed ground
We watch the stars as they slowly fade away and in the clearing sky I see
The cold stone face of morning setting in on me

It's a strange world
It's a very strange world that leaves me
Holding on to nothing when there's nothing left to lose


Christine turned her attention to the door as it opened.

"Christine? Are you ready?" Raoul asked. He, too, had matured. He still held his boyish quality, and he still would risk everything for those he loved, but he now, also, had a more open view of the world. He knew now that even those who may seem to be villains might have good in them...in other words, he now knew of the shades of grey. He knew now that even those who seem to be working against you might only want to help you, and to never fire a gun until you know what you are shooting at.

"Yes." Christine said, setting the book aside and standing. She wrapped the white scarf around her neck more and took Raoul's arm. They walked together off the porch and down a small gravel path.

Again, Christine's memories wandered, but this time they wandered to the fortnight she had spent with Erik. How scared she had been...how...outside the world she had felt. After all, Erik never seemed to exactly belong in this world....


Christine sat on the edge of the chair as she watched Erik's hands glide across the black-and-white keys of the piano. How graceful he was...and how mysterious. He always seemed to be thinking of something, but she could never tell exactly what that was. It was as if he belonged to some other world...to some other mystical place that she could never belong to.

She was snapped out of her revere as she heard Erik's angelic voice.

"Christine?" he asked almost eagerly. "Would you like to sing with me?"

Christine nodded, though she wasn't certain if she could sing just then. She felt sick to her stomach...and not just at the sight of his hideous face, but at the thought that-no matter how well she was being treated-she was still a prisoner. His prisoner.

She stood and walked over next to him. She held her hands behind her back as he flipped through the music, and finally selected a piece. She softly listened to the familiar music, and opened her mouth to sing at the proper time. Though her voice was a little shaky at first, she was amazed that it had not broken. She felt her arms shaking from the terror of being so close to him, though she knew he would not harm her.

As he began to sing his part, Christine could not help herself from looking closely at his grotesque face. She regretted burning the mask, though she knew she had to do it.

She was still amazed at how corpse-like his features were. The lack of a nose, the sunken cheeks. She almost marveled over the damp chill of his touch...how could anyone feel like that and still be alive?

And his eyes...his eyes that glow golden, sometimes with the rays of love, and at other times with hellfire. Those eyes that could not see her deceit. Those eyes that saw only what they wished to.

He thought she loved him, or at least cared deeply for him. And though she had to admit, she did feel a sort of pity for him, she knew she could never love this creature which held her hostage.

And yet still...he still believed that she cared for him, perhaps in a more-then-friendly sort of way. At least, that was how it seemed. If he knew she did not love him, would he stop loving her? Would he let her go free, no longer caring, or would he still love her, continue to be obsessed with her?

The song over, Erik pulled out an elegant golden pocket-watch and looked at the time. Seeming satisfied, he replaced the watch and turned to Christine. Christine felt a smile come to her lips, a smile which came from habit, as she had forced herself to smile every time he looked at her.

"I have a surprise for you, Christine..." he said softly.

"Oh?" she asked just as softly.

"Would you care to go on a carriage ride this evening?"

Christine had to stop herself from crying out. She hadn't been out in the real world in what seemed an eternity!

"Yes, Erik. I would love to." She managed to say calmly.

He smiled at her...at least, she thought it was a smile.

She smiled weakly back.

Your touch is cold and damp, the devil's in your eyes
I wonder why I always let you lead me on this way
'cause you see only what you want to see
You feel only as you want to
I am on the outside of your strange world

It's a strange world
It's a very strange world that leaves me
Holding on to nothing when there's nothing left to lose


Christine and Raoul walked slowly down the path. They paused a moment as they reached the garden. Christine wandered through the rose bushes, and soon picked the darkest red rose she could find. It had barely begun blooming, and she almost felt bad about picking it. But, having done so, she and Raoul continued their walk, this time hand-in-hand.

They walked a short ways more to the edge of a cliff, where a single grave rested. The sun was almost finished rising, and warmth came with it.

A few months after his death, Christine had convinced Raoul to go and collect Erik's body and move it to the edge of their property. And it had become a tradition, every year on the anniversary of the last time she had seen Erik alive, to visit his grave as the sun rose.

Christine walked up to the grave and knelt beside it, and placed the rose beside it. She listened to the soft waves of the ocean beneath them for a moment, fighting back tears. No matter how much terror he may have inspired, she had cared for him.

'Why, you love him! Your fear, your terror, those are all just love...and love of the most exquisite kind, the kind which people do not admit even to themselves. The kind that gives you a thrill, when you think of it...' Raoul had said. Perhaps he had been right, in a way. She did love Erik. She always had. Erik was her Angel of Music...

...but Raoul was her savior.

"Mama!" shouted the voice of a two-year-old girl. Christine looked up to see the girl in the arms of her Nurse.

"I'm sorry, Madame, but she wanted to see you..."

"It's alright." Christine said, smiling and standing to take the child from the Nurse's arms. The girl's hair was sparkling in the now-risen sun, and her eyes a blue that matched the sky.

"Mama." The child said.

Raoul walked up next to Christine and looked at her, a little concerned, as he always was this time of year.

"Are you ready to leave?" he asked.

The girl looked over at Raoul and beamed. "Papa." She said as her hair fell into her eyes.

Christine put the child down a moment and knelt in front of her. She pulled the ribbon from her hair and put it in the child's, to keep the hair out of her eyes.

"There you go, Amielle." Christine said, smiling. She picked the child up again as the Nurse began to leave. She looked over at Raoul

"Yes, Raoul. I'm ready."

Raoul smiled and took Christine's hand (the one that was not already occupied with holding a child). They started walking down the path again, walking home, leaving the grave for another year.

We're walking hand in hand, we'll walk this way forever
Our eyes have risen to the water's edge watching with the tides
The stars have fallen to another day and the sun warms our path to
Find the reason leaves us far behind in our strange world

It's a strange world
It's a very strange world that leaves me
Holding on to nothing when there's nothing left to lose