Title: Gods and Their Creations

Characters: No pairing is focused on, but the story centers around Erik, Christine, Raoul and Inspector Arnoux.

Rating: PG-13

Phantom Version: Based off the musical/film

Le Note: This will be told in a series of vignettes. Well, I suppose they're not really vignettes, are they? More like very short chapters. I call them vignettes because I don't intend for this to a long story, more something that can't be ignored, so the only way to properly get it flowing is through vignettes. Not so much a direct and deliberate sequence of events, but subtle events and character insights. Ouch. Anyway, lots of thanks to, again, Kit, for slapping the desk and squeeing with me, as well as contributing to themes and ideas for my ramblings. S'what I get for having a hetero life-mate :D The Phantom is arrested after 'Point of No Return'.

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She was pale, and shaking. The healthy cream of her white skin had drained to the color of a dull paste, and as she sat idly with her legs hanging off the side of the stage she appeared almost an ashen gray. Christine's eyes were dark and almost black in contrast, and when Inspector Luc Arnoux approached her she regarded him with no expression. Fear, or something even more than being frightened lingered there, but nothing else. The Opera House was emptied now; there was nothing more to see.

"Your performance was nothing short of mesmerizing," he began, earning a flicker of a blink, her feather black lashes brushing her cheek and rising to reveal glistening tears. "Mamselle Daae," he said softly, and knelt gently before her. "We have no further questions for you, you may go now." Christine did not move. Shallow, shuddering breaths moved the smooth contours of her shoulders to rise and fall, and Christine's lips twitched, like she might cry. Inspector Arnoux titled his head, and reached out to touch her chin with the tip of his gloved finger, bringing her face to line with his. A veil of cloudy tears gathered at the dark brown of her eyes, and beaded to her lashes. "Mamselle Daae?" he whispered. "Will you be alright?"

Would she be alright? Christine felt her heart pound at the walls of her chest, each thump bringing on a new shudder left over from the hours of tears. Her heart felt as if it might be slowing, tiring with every breath that racked her body. She did not know if she would be alright. In the whole of her life she had never quite felt so wretched. Betrayal was a bitter weight, and it turned her bones to jelly and moved to drag her body limply to the lowest level of the floor. How she kept upright and resolved, not even she knew.

It had been quick, a flash of decision with no time for thought or panic, as the entire trap was meant to be. How she had ever managed to even agree was beyond her. From the first moment he had stepped into character, onto the stage in his own opera in front of the audience he'd hid from his entire life, Christine had feared. Perhaps not the Phantom, perhaps not becoming his prey, but she had feared. And when he began to sing her fear had melted into insensibility, and wanton desire. His movement. His song, his presence, everything that made what he was wrong only made her want to be with him, be part of him.

The Phantom's opera had dug it's hooks inside her, beneath the skin, beneath all else that held her back from him, and once his music had penetrated her there had been no thoughts of turning back. Through the black mask she saw his eyes take her in anger, in raw desire, but above all these, she saw him finish with love. The Phantom – Erik – had given a final plea to be hers, to be wanted, and to be loved by her. Even as she had stripped his mask and revealed him as horrible to the whole of the world, Erik had kept his eyes on her face. With the pitiful love had been acceptance, a slow, quiet acceptance of the horrified cries of the audience, the looks on their faces. An acceptance of what was to come. Vaguely she remembered touching him, tenderly, before the sound returned in a roar from an unsatisfied crowd, and a dozen officers and men trampled up to their level, and tore down the Phantom's opera.

Someone had taken rough hold of her, bruising her arms but telling her it was for her own protection. It was all she remembered, save for bits of the arrest that repeated over and over in a flashing sequence inside her mind. Laughing, hateful faces. Erik, arms twisted behind his back to tear the muscles, pressed against the wooden beams as he was bound. A fist in his dark hair, forcing his head down as he was pushed violently through the crowds. Christine shouted in protest, words she couldn't even hope to remember. It was all wrong, terribly wrong. And it never had to be that way. If God had truly made the world in his image, if he put any of his will into the course of the Earth, Erik might have been anyone else. Loved. At peace. He might have been anyone else.

"Mamselle," Arnoux said again, softly, and Christine seemed to fade back into the world around her. A tear allowed itself to drop, and she quickly reached up to catch the others. Trails stained her cheeks. "Mamselle, will you be alright?"

"No, Monsieur," Christine whispered dryly, slipping her forefinger between her teeth, and averting her distant gaze to a point on the floor. "I will die, I think, before the break in my heart heals." The inspector didn't know how to reply, nor could he understand why she cried for the man they called the Phantom. He'd not yet been to the holding cell to see his men's arrest, and from what Arnoux had heard, the man had haunted the girl, violently for many months. And yet, she thought she might die of grief. He gently touched her shoulder, and came wearily to his feet, turning from her. No more questions, then. It was off to the cell block, to try and cool the swarming madness sweeping through Paris and it's people, for him now.

At the very end of the isle he stopped and watched the girl. Her hands had found her face, and the ballet instructor had black clad arms circling her. She wore no expression, but comfort was plain.

"I took his mask and left him bare," Christine Daae whimpered, her head on the woman's breast. "Before the eyes of the world. There was no reason. I didn't have to," she turned her face away from the blaring lights of the chandelier. "Oh God. Forgive me everything."

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