Author's note: This was written while on a POTO high, and I remembered someone (Astrik here, thesublimecat at LiveJournal) had requested a Leroux-verse ficlet in a ficlet challenge. So, I finally got it done, she enjoyed and approved it, and now I'm posting it here. Hope you enjoy and please review. Reviews are healthier than drugs, but even more addictive.

Disclaimer: I don't own, but if I remember correctly, the original POTO is open copyright. And if it's not, please, don't sue.


UNTIL DEATH

Sometimes, Erik wondered if he would die before his illusion was shattered. If God would spare him the torment of witnessing the ruin his perfect, little world, built up on lies that sounds sweet to an innocent young woman's ears and his own. After all, this charade couldn't last forever, and Erik didn't have forever, not even close.

Yet he clung to this façade of his, ignoring the voice that told him he would ultimately bring pain to the woman - little more than a girl and still a girl in so many ways - he was supposedly devoted to. He knew that when this time of make believe ended, it would be bitter and sharp for her.

He couldn't stop himself though. He was beyond rational thinking half the time, he was beyond any emotion other than the all consuming love that raged inside him like a blazing fire. All he could feel was the desire for her, the desire for her success, the desire for her to be loved by the world and not just him alone.

But she was his, only his. He had strict rules, her Angel of Music, concerning those of the opposite gender. He was possessive and protective. The world could love her, but only her Angel could have her.

It was selfish and unfair, but was not his own situation? This state of affairs was cruel to him, the fates stacked against him. He was a misshapen being, subhuman and rejected by the world, with his voice that no other mortal could match, except her.

Christine, precious Christine. Innocent and fragile of mind and body. Naïve and tender, a gentle thing he took such cruel advantage of. She filled him with such love, he could not stop himself, he could not think properly. She was pristine and yet she inspired such tainted and twisted fantasies inside the mind of a madman.

Erik watched her through the mirror, watched her brush her hair, watched her prepare for the rehearsal. Their lesson had been ended, and her Angel of Music was supposed to have left. He knew she believed he had left. He knew she believed everything the Angel of Music told her.

She had faith in her Angel.

A faith that Erik, the man and nothing more than a man - though often considered something much less -, was using for his own, selfish desires. Selfish desires that would bring her glory, glory she deserved and, unlike him, could achieve. But he was still abusing the faith she so easily placed in him, and he was haunted by that fact.

He could not stop though. He could not stop himself anymore, he was beyond that point now. He had dragged them both too deep, and for now, he could enjoy his perfect, little world of sweet lies and tender deception.

One day, one day it all would come to an end. One day he would lose Christine, completely, thoroughly, and for eternity. One day it would all come to a halt, and he would be alone, old, nothing but a walking corpse to finally meet that eternal sleep, infinite darkness and blissful ignorance. One day, they both would suffer in so many ways, and in the end, she would be freed of him by death's icy grip.

Until that day, she belonged to him.