A/N: Hey everyone- this is my first phanfic!!!

I have seen the movie (with Gerry Butler.... -swoony sigh- he is THE phantom!!) and read the book by Gaston Leroux which also ROCKS!! Still trying to see the actual show.... its up there on my list of things to do...

But anyway... this story starts two years after the end of the movie- and Erik is still alive, of course!!

And- oh, here's the disclaimer before I forget and someone sues me...

Disclaimer: Sadly, I did not write Phantom of the Opera. Nor did I write the hugely successful musical based on the book. Nor -sob- did I make the movie, featuring Gerry Butler....... Nope... all I own are my OCs (those are the ones you don't recognize). This is the part where I fall on my knees and beg you to do three things: 1)Read 2)Review and 3)Don't sue me!!!!!!

One more note: This is an ErikOC story.... with your standard C-R pairing. I know that these OC stories are not a favorite of everyone, and know that I am all for an ErikChristine pairing. But this story was on my mind.... had to write it.

Please don't flame me, and if you must tell me how bad it is, just be nice about it.

Chapter 1- Learn to Be Lonely

(A Cathedral in Paris)

It was a sunny September morning in Paris, the sun shining down on the cathedral in the middle of the city.

Standing near the entrance to the church was a beautiful young woman in a white wedding gown with a long train, carrying an enormous bouquet of white lilies.

"Are you ready, Christine?" another girl, dressed in a bridesmaid's gown of midnight blue satin asked. The girl's auburn hair was swept up into a fashionable bun.

Christine Daae smiled. "Yes," she said nervously.

The girl in blue gave a small smile, before her escort took her arm gently and lead her down the aisle. Christine smiled after her maid of honor, and moved closer to the door. At the front of the church, she could see Raoul- her love- waiting at the altar for her. It was the day they had dreamt about for many months, the day when they would at last be man and wife.

As the cathedral's organ struck up the wedding march, Christine hesitated for a brief second, as thoughts of the Angel suddenly flooded through her mind, with the force of a raging river, racing toward a waterfall.

Her Angel of Music.

Where was he now, she wondered? Did he still think of her, like she did of him, even though it had been nearly two years since they had parted, on that fateful night in the opera house dungeons? She remembered his voice, the sad, lonely voice that had spoken her name so tenderly and sang to her with such passion. She remembered the way her heart had broken for him when she had left with Raoul in the small boat, vowing to forget him and never return.

She hadn't forgotten.

Not a day had gone by that she hadn't thought of Erik, her angel, the phantom of the Opera.

Think of me

Think of me fondly

When we've said goodbye.....

She took her first steps down the aisle.

She did think of him. She would always think of him.

But he wasn't her Angel any longer.

In the abandoned choir loft, a figure in a dark cloak watched over the wedding ceremony. The figure was a man- tall and well built, in his early thirties or so. The only thing that made him look out of place was the white porcelain mask that covered the right half of his face, from his forehead to his chin, curving slightly so that his lips were still exposed. The left side of the face could be considered handsome; the deep brown eyes that were constantly moving, seeing everything that was transpiring below. They watched everything with a look of sadness. The eyes were framed by dark brown hair that could almost be taken for black. His features were sharp and defined, but still masculine. He listened as the couple on the altar exchanged their vows.

They exchanged rings, smiling happily at the new union, and the bishop celebrating the mass said, "I now pronounce you man and wife."

The young Vicomte leaned his head down and kissed his bride tenderly.

In the loft, the 'angel's' eyes filled with tears. Quietly, so that no one could hear him, he sang softly, "Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime.... say the word and I will follow you......." His shoulders shook suddenly as he held in emotion. "Love me, that's all I asked of you..."

With a heavy heart, he took something out of his cloak.

A single red rose, tied with a black silk ribbon. He looked at it, memories of Christine in his mind, along with thoughts of what might have been if he wasn't such a monster. Then, he dropped the rose from the balcony.

It landed silently by the doors of the church.

No one in the congregation noticed- they were too busy watching the happy couple.

With one last look at his one love, the Angel left the choir loft with a sweep of his black cloak.

As Christine and Raoul made their way down the aisle as the Count and Countess de Chagny, something caught Christine's eye.

A solitary rose, tied with a black ribbon, lying in the doorway.

Her heart fluttered in her chest, and she looked around, wishing she could see her angel one last time. But she saw only smiling faces of well-wishers and family.

Her angel had left her, once and for all.

The wedding celebration took place at a hotel, a block away from the Paris Opera House. The guests lined the street as the carriage carrying the newly weds came clomping down the street. Christine and Raoul stepped out, hand in hand, and walked into the hotel, looking blissfully happy.

"Christine!" she heard someone call her.

Her maid of honor came over to her, escorted by a tall man- a cousin of Raoul's- in a black suit.

"Congratulations, Christine!" said the girl.

"Thank you, Clare. This whole day has been... wonderful... But I feel like I'm walking around in a dream."

"But a good dream, no?" said Clare.

"Yes- the best dream of my life," she said.

Clare smiled at her friend's happiness. She had known Christine since they had been children. If it hadn't been for Christine's father, Clare knew that she would probably still be living in her father's house. She shuddered at the prospect. Her father was... not the nicest of men. He was prone to abusive behavior, and as a child, Clare had been a victim of his temper, until she met Christine and her father. Clare's mother had died while giving birth to her, which had made her the object of her father's hate. He demanded that she stay home all day, working long hours doing anything her father could think of. Clare had grown up uneducated and miserable- hating herself until chance came, and she ran into Christine Daae one day at the market place. The two had become fast friends, and Christine had told her father of Clare's condition. Monsieur Daae had seen to it that Clare be removed from her father's care, and though it was difficult for him, helped to send her to a school in Paris.

But aside from that generosity, Daae had also given Clare a gift which she valued above all else- the gift of music. Like his own daughter, Daae had taught Clare how to sing. The young girl- though her voice was not as good as Christine's- had a beautiful voice, and had strengthened it with lessons from Christine's father.

After his death, Christine and Clare had kept up correspondence with each other- each thinking of the other as a sister.

Christine knew that while Clare always looked happy on the outside, she was still lonely, having no one like Raoul to take care of her.

Christine thought of this as she danced with her new husband, as she watched Clare, sitting in her chair peacefully, but with a sad, faraway look. She knew Clare wanted someone to care for her.... and that's when her idea took wing. For there was someone else whom she knew that wanted someone to be there, wanted a friend in life.

And that someone lived in the depths of the Paris Opera House.

Later that evening, Christine took Clare aside before leaving for her honeymoon.

"What is it, Christine?" Clare asked.

"I spoke with Madame Giry today," Christine began.

"The woman who works at the Opera House?"

Christine nodded. "Yes. She has offered to let you stay there, now that I'll no longer be living in the flat."

After the opera house had been closed for renovations following the disaster, Christine and Clare had shared a small flat in the city. Now though, Christine would be living with Raoul, and didn't want Clare to be alone in that part of Paris.

"At the opera house?" Clare asked, sounding excited.

"Yes," Christine responded; Clare could hear the happiness in her voice, along with some other emotion that Clare wasn't sure of. "If you'd like to."

"I would love to," Clare said. "When-?"

"Madame Giry can take you there tonight, to save you the trip to the flat. You can collect your things tomorrow, when it's light."

"Thank you, Christine."

Christine hugged her. "Its the least I can do," she said. For both of you, she thought silently. She hoped that somehow, they might meet.

"Christine!" called Raoul. "Our carriage awaits, milady," he said romantically.

Christine motioned that she'd be a moment, then turned back to Clare. "I'll miss you, Clare. Take care of yourself." And take care of my angel of music.

"I will. Have fun, Christine."

"I will." The two young women embraced, then Christine went to join Raoul as the guests followed them out to where their carriage awaited to take them away on their honeymoon to the Mediterranean.

Soon after Christine had left, Clare felt another presence appear at her side.

"Clare?" came the sound of an older woman's voice. "I am Madame Giry. We've met before..."

"Yes, Madame, I remember," said Clare. "And I thank you for allowing me to live at the Opera House."

Madame Giry smiled, though she knew the child could not see.

The two of them, along with Meg, Madame Giry's daughter, left the party soon after, heading toward the Opera house down the street. Meg chatted the whole time about all the fun they would have at the house- all the rooms to explore and things to do now that the building was restored.

"And there's always the phantom," Meg said excitedly.

"Meg," said her mother sternly. "You should not speak so."

"But it's true, Mother. Isn't it? You've said so yourself. The phantom gives you his letters, doesn't he?"

"I have been back there for nearly a month, Meg, and have yet to see anything that would lead me to believe that the phantom is there."

"But that doesn't mean he doesn't exist!"

Mme. Giry turned to Claire. "Ignore my daughter. Do not let her stories.... frighten you. I have always said, there is no reason for the phantom to harm you, unless you do something to offend him in some way. He is better off left alone, if he is still there. Now," she said, as they reached the opera house steps, "Meg- I want you to make sure that a room is ready for Clare. I need to show her how to get up to the dormitories."

"Yes Mother," said Meg, and Clare heard the clicking of her heels as she hurried up the stone stairs.

Clare followed Madame Giry up after Meg, toward the dormitories. When they reached the room that had been prepared for Clare, Meg gave her one of her nightgowns to borrow, and showed her where everything was in the room. It was a small room, but comfortable. When Meg had gone, Clare changed into the nightgown and crawled into the bed.

She was asleep in moments.

Down below the opera house though, the 'angel of music' was still awake, finding sleep impossible after the events of the day.

It was done, he thought. Christine could never be his now, no matter how much he wished it to be true. Usually, he was at peace in his solitude, but tonight, he was frustrated. He picked up a piece of stone that had probably fallen from the ancient ceiling and hurled it as hard as he could at the stone cave-like walls, where it shattered. He put a hand over the masked side of his face, sinking slowly to his knees.

It wasn't fair.

None of it was fair.

He looked at his miserable existence, the space that he called home. The broken mirrors, the glass scattered across the floor, the dismal, cold walls that imprisoned him. And then there was his organ and his music. But his songs had been meaningless and cold since that night. He still composed, but his heart wasn't there in his songs as it had once been.

He stood up again, and walked to the boat.

He would find no rest tonight, so he set about to wander the opera house. Through his secret tunnels and passages he went, until he came to The Room. The room where he had first called Christine to him, the mirror that she had seen him first appear to her. He opened the mirror and looked around. The room had clearly not been touched since that night- there was a fine coating of dust over the furniture. The room seemed alive with memory and song...

Flattering child you shall know me

See why in shadow I hide...

"'Look at your face in the mirror

I am there inside'" Erik sang softly. He looked at his own face in the mirror, cursing the mask silently.

Then, unable to bear any more of the memories, he swept back into his secret passage.