A/N: Phantom is copyright Gaston Leroux. Much of the dialogue is quotes from his book.

I hated myself. I hated myself for causing her distress, and I hated myself for being so damn overjoyed at her tears. She cried for me, for my well-being, where no one ever had. But it was not for me, not truly, that droplets sprung onto her pale cheeks. No, she sobbed over the loss of her angel, and I was a demon.

I moaned, and my heart pounded as I wracked my mind. I took up the violin, and played as her father would have, in a triumphant cry of life so that she would know she was not alone. She closed her eyes, though tears still streamed down her face, and listened. I sung dominantly, and knew she would obey.

"Come, and believe in me! Those who believe in me will live again!" She stood, her dress swaying lightly as her eyes bore into the mirror that hid me. "Walk! Those who have believed in me cannot die!" She did not hesitate to follow the voice of her angel.

Her calm face and glazy eyes did not register the darkness as I peeled away the mirror. The moment her feet hit the cold stone ground, however, her eyes shot open, and she glanced back, her mouth opening in alarm and shutting again. She twirled around once more before her scream vibrated off the icy walls. Wanting only to reassure her, I stretched my bony hand forward and gently but firmly held her wrist. She screamed again, but knowing I couldn't risk letting her be heard, I draped an arm around her petite waist, and picked her up.

She stopped moving altogether, and for a moment I was afraid I had frightened her to death. The faint tingle of breath on my neck made me shiver, and I pulled her closer, inhaling the glorious scent of her lavender in her curls. I had waited so long for this! To hold her, to have her near me, that she would know me as Erik; the man who loved, adored, and worshipped her.

As I walked, she eventually turned her head to look at me, at the mask that clouded my face. My tearful, unblinking eyes pleaded with her, but she tensed, and I knew she was going to scream. I quickly placed a shaking hand over her mouth, and my flesh met with the smooth texture of her rosy lips. In my own moment of bliss, I scarcely minded the terror in her eyes as her body went limp.

My fingers traced the curves of her beautiful mouth, lingering on the feel of her. I could have easily kissed her then, and her sleeping for would never have known. But she was not mine to kiss, and I did not deserve it.

I walked further on until I came to the fountain imbedded in the wall, with its water gushing out and seeping under the floor. I gently laid Christine down, resting her head on my knees while her curls sprawled out beneath her. She looked so much like an angel that I quivered at the thought of waking her. My yellow eyes pierced and memorized her face, for I knew this moment of peace would be short lived.

I decidedly took a handkerchief from my pocket, and dipped it into the cool water. Ringing it out, I gently dabbed the soft cloth on her forehead. She stirred, but did not open her eyes. I was even more careful as I attended to her, and my heart fluttered when she gave the smallest hint of a smile. But then she did open her eyes, and frowned, making a feeble attempt to push my hands away. I shrank back.

"Who are you?" She asked feebly, for though she realized I was not her angel, I don't think she understood much else. What could I do but sigh?

I whistled softly, and a great white horse came to stand beside me. It lowered its head, and passed its warm breath over my beloved's face. She seemed to calm at this sign of familiarity.

"Cesar!" she murmured, and looked up and me with sincere necessity. I heard her silent plea and gathered her up and placed her on his back, knowing she was too weak to get on by herself. I followed her suit, and once I had secured her in my arms I lightly kicked Cesar's sides, and he trotted down the path without any indication.

Christine gradually relaxed into me as torpor replaced her fear. I relished this moment, wondering if she would ever allow me to hold her when she would know what I was, and what I had done.

We stopped before the lake, and Christine eyed the scene with an emotion between distaste and wonderment. I guided her off Cesar, whose hooves pounded as he ran back up the steps, and into the boat. The lantern that hung off the tip of our tiny vessel reflected the black water and mist. We strayed from the wharf, and though my stokes were even and controlled, my eyes never left her.

When we reached shore, I took her hand in mine, and led her into my drawing room. Her strength and consciousness was returning, and she opened her mouth to scream again before the light flooded her. She eyed my house with a sudden interest, and her gaze rested on the bouquet of Parisian flowers I had placed in the middle. Then she turned to me.

"Do not be afraid, Christine," I told her, "You are in no danger." At first she simply gaped at me, but then her eyes flashed with anger, and she stepped closer and reached for my mask. I dodged her hand, and quickly fixed my earlier statement.

"You are in no danger if you do not touch my mask." She seemed to contemplate me for a moment, her eyes bearing into mine. I shook guiltily and kneeled before her with humble nature I would show to no one else.

She burst into tears, covering her face in her hands. I understood the reason for her sobs, and said gently, almost dejectedly, the words I had been too scared to utter before.

"It's true, Christine. I am not an angel, a spirit, or a ghost. I am Erik."

Her tears increased, and soon she was shaking. "Oh, damn me!" I let out a frustrated cry. "I'm a monster, Christine, I know I am. I've tricked you, and I deserve all your harshest words and hate." I continued, more gently:

"Christine, I did it for love. I-I love you," I whispered, not trusting my voice. I had never said those words to anyone, not in all my years. "You were so lonely Christine, I thought only to help you when I took on the guise of your angel. I beg of you, forgive me!" My breath was strangled now, as I fought to tell her all that was in my heart. I banged my head on the carpet, now level with her bare feet.

"I do not deserve your forgiveness," I wept. She stumbled back, and told me angrily:

"Give me my freedom, or I will only despise you!" I stood, and she stepped away at the sight of my towering form.

"You may have it," I said simply. She looked at me, her beautiful blue eyes round and skeptical. "I will show you the path, so that you may go whenever you please." But I opened my mouth then, and let the lyrics of Desdemona's love song flow through me. My voice filled the room, and seemingly her soul, for she closed her eyes, and she stayed.

She began to sway, and I knew I was lulling her to sleep. I took her in my arms, and led her into her room, the room I had made especially for her. I prayed that she would like it, and find peace with me by the morning.

Well, what did you think? I'll update as soon as I can, but your criticisms or ideas, and reviews in general are really appreciated. Thanks for reading!