The Light of Day
A.N.: Sorry if the formating is weird. For some reason, it wouldn't let me upload it in a doc format like usual, so I had to resort to this. I'll try and fix it if I can.
Raoul held Christine to him in the cold October air, the night sky clear of any clouds. The stars watched the pair with intense interest while the pair watched the moon. The moon, in turn, had decided to put on a lovely show of a Lunar Eclipse, and the lack of clouds was making it splendid.
Christine leaned farther back in her husbands arms as she stared up at the sky, a sigh of awe escaping her lips, forming a cloud in the cold night air. Raoul took his gaze from the moon to return it to his wife, who was oblivious to his loving, worshiping stare. Monsieur de Chagny kissed the top of his wife's blonde hair, and she looked up at him, her sapphire eyes sparkling. She smiled at him and raised a cold hand to caress his cheek.
"Br!" he responded, taking her hand in his to warm it. "Your hands are like ice, ma cherie." He rubbed her hands in his and blew his breath on them, until, still smiling, she finally took them back again.
"Merci, mon amour."
"Du rien." And finally, his beloved returned her gaze to the reddening moon.
How calm she looked. How happy, how sweet. Was it only a year ago that he'd seen her at the Masked Ball that late hour, her mask removed, her face worn with fatigue and grief? Let it be ages more! He could not bear the thought of his unhappiness without her then, and of the sleepless nights he'd spent, sick with worry, hate, and love over her. And still he felt the hair on the back of his neck prick and his blood boil at the knowledge that one man had caused it….
All the same, she had not hated him. How could she hate someone that was so ready to kill to be with her. Well, Raoul had been willing to kill. Nay, eager to kill! To kill Erik and carry Christine away, far away from the cellars of the Paris Opera.
But it had been Erik whom nearly did the killing.
Christine had once said that her ears were always full of his sighs, and that she heard and saw him everywhere. She'd confided in him that he filled her with terror. Oh, the terrible demon! What fear he'd inspired.
But Christine could not hate him for it.
"That is fine. I will do the hating," Raoul thought bitterly. He knew Christine would be upset if she knew how much he still despised the Angel of Music. She would beg of him to dwell on it no more. And Raoul would try, for he would do anything she asked of him, no matter how hard and painful it was to himself.
The monster had, in turn, loved Christine, devoutly and passionately, just like Raoul. He was above no method of luring her to him, of being near her. This was the only thing Raoul had in common with his rival: the thought of Christine drove him mad as well.
The touch of her skin, the sound of her voice, the gaze in her eyes. Raoul drowned so easily in her deep, blue eyes. He never felt happier than when they were together, hand in hand, soul to soul. He still remembered those terrible, melancholy days spent moaning and wailing over her. How she had deceived him, this terrible opera wench! It had not turned out to be the case at all, but at the time, it drove him mad with grief, his heart panging mournfully in his chest, wanting only her, and yet hating her at the same time.
"I despise you," he had told her coldly, tears springing to his eyes in that opera box the night of the Masked Ball. Oh, to take the words back again! Pry them from the air and force them back down his throat. Despise Christine? His beloved, his soul, his wife? Never! It simply could not be possible.
It had been a terrible time for all parties concerned. Christine; dragged between worlds in terror, wanting to love, but trying to keep Raoul safe and not love. For Erik; jealously wanting and guarding the woman that had so readily confided in him when she thought him an angel. For Raoul; not understanding how he could continue to love Christine, nor why she could not love him in return. And for Philippe?
Ah, his poor, poor brother. For le Comte de Chagny it had been just as hard. He was such a good older brother. He'd asked no questions, demanded no answers of Raoul when he came home from Christine's abode, heart broken and desolate, merely comforted him. Always taking him to the opera and giving him full use of his private box whenever Raoul pleased. Trying desperately to cheer him with nights on the town and dazzling evenings, though Raoul had been terrible company.
And that night! How could he have possibly blamed Philippe and accused him of dragging his beloved Christine away in the middle of the performance?
"Philippe, I was terrible to you. Forgive me," Monsieur de Chagny miserably thought. He felt his chest tighten, and to chase away his woes, he looked back down at his wonderful wife.
Christine took her exile from Paris and the opera wonderfully. Raoul doubted she could ever return to an opera house, especially the Paris Opera, and retain her sanity. It could not be done. Outwardly, it did not seem that Madame de Chagny had any problems with the past whatsoever. She seemed to have transplanted like the lovely rose she was to her new surroundings, content to spend calm days in her husband's loving embrace. Had Christine de Chagny ever had any unhappiness? Had her husband ever allowed it?
But Raoul could only protect her from evils still to come. The demons of the past that hunted her he could never kill. How many nights had she awoken with a cry of fear and alarm, shivering in a cold sweat? How many times had her frightened pleas in nightmares awoken Raoul so that he roused her as well, to end her terror? How many times, sobbing, had she clung to him in the dark of the night, her whispered cries echoing in his ears?
"Oh, Christine! If I could but keep all the world at bay, and keep you safe from any harm, even the ones that I could not stop!" he prayed within his heart. How he wished it were so!
"Oh, Raoul!" she breathed aloud, awakening him from his contemplations. "Isn't it lovely?"
Raoul did not look up at the sky. His gaze remained with his beloved. "Absolutely," he agreed.
She looked up at him, smiling slyly. "You did not look at the moon. That was what I spoke of."
"Forgive me. I could not tear my eyes from the beauty that I am so lucky to hold."
"You are being too sweet and kind again, Raoul," she said, turning in his arms so that she could rest her head upon his chest.
"Forgive me," he begged again. She could hear the sound of his voice reverberating in his chest, and his steady heart beat made her sleepy.
"Of course," she sighed. "Of course I forgive you, my love." Raoul held her close to him, perfectly happy, superbly content. The terrible memories of the Paris Opera and the phantom that had lurked within it's walls were now forgotten. How could he focus on anything else when
Christine was in his arms?
He adored her. He always would. And she him. Raoul felt as though he would wither and die were her love withheld from him again. He would surely go mad.
He forgot the Opera Ghost. He forgot the torture chamber and the communist's cellar he'd nearly died in. He forgot the pair of eyes he'd shot at in the dark of the night. He forgot his mad grief in trying to find Christine after her abduction. What interest could it be to him, when Christine was in his arms?
He tilted her chin up and kissed her, worshiping her as much as he had the day he'd first kissed her, on the roof of the Paris Opera, underneath Apollo's Lyre. His hands caressed her cheek and his fingers wove into her blonde hair while her arms wrapped around his neck. Finally, he broke the kiss.
"We'd best get you inside. You shouldn't stay out in the cold to long, in your….." he paused, struggling for the right words. "Delicate," he finished, once the word was found, "condition." One of her hands instinctively traveled to her womb, though she was not yet showing. "Of course, my darling." He began to lead her back into the house, pausing to gaze at the red moon once more, before he kissed her again.
"I love you, Christine," he whispered to her in the dark.
"I love you, Raoul," she responded, with all her heart.