Difficult to find a title that hasn't been used.... both the book and the play are full of fantastic phrases that people latch onto for everything... huh. Anyway, a one-or-two(or three)shot on Christine and Erik and possibly Raoul: emotions, relationships, characters. Nothing changed from the story, really, and I'm taking plot points from the book, the musical, and the movie... oh, and also, reviews are so much appreciated as this is my first Phantom fic, and will be responded to with all due haste. Thanks much!

First Encounter

It was all such a long time ago.

That night, she thought she heard her father's voice. It sighed around her room, enveloping her in its quiet mystery. She was so young, just eighteen— old enough to know better, still yet too young to act on the knowledge. Young enough to believe in faeries— old enough to know they would never come to her.

But something did—

Christine—

She started out of the half-comatose state she was in, looked around her wildly. Usually after a show she was vibrant, excited, rosy-cheeked, starry-eyed, vital, alive, awake. It was something in the air that night, she supposed, that had put her in such a reflective, introspective frame of mind— yet she was astounded to hear voices, voices calling her out of her stupor, beckoning her with sheer sound. It was quiet at first, then grew louder, still simply calling her name.

Christine—

She pushed herself to her feet, opened her mouth and cried aloud. "Father!" before she could help herself. There was no answer, the voices ceased abruptly, and she was left desolate and alone. She cried stormily for a few moments, never having felt so bereft, not even when her father died.

Then she felt a gaze on her as sure and certain as a touch, gentle as a kiss.

Slowly she raised her tear-reddened face and looked about her. She could see no one, but could feel a presence more definite than any she had yet known. There was the smell of lightning in the air, and rain, and rose petals.

Her lips trembled but she could not speak.

He spoke for her.

"Child, do not be frightened. I have need of you, your grace, your spirit, your voice, your face—"

She managed to speak— "I am not afraid." Though her voice belied her.

"No, no, I see you are not. You are strong, and brave, and you will give me assistance— lend me your faith, the purity of heart—"

"I give it freely," she said at once. There was no doubt in her mind, nor room for doubt— if it was not her father who spoke, it was the one he had sent. The one he had promised to send if ever he could— her Angel of Music, to cherish and guide her.

He taught her to let her voice be free.

In three short months, she had changed, become abstracted and cautious, no longer quite the same laughing young girl. In odd moments her eyes looked haunted, large and luminous as they were. He was there every night, waiting for her, living so obviously only for her that she was flattered and humbled both. She could not deny him. He was hers, and she his.

Her voice was free.

Her soul was imprisoned.

At the time, she thought it a most fair and usual balance.