A/N:As always, thanks to my beta, Le Chat Noir.
Episode 59: The End
It's been forever since I've written in here. I blame technology and my online blog for that, but there are some things I just can't write about online, some things that are too private for other people to see.
Still, I need to get it out somehow.
So much has happened this past year.
I guess I'll start with the night Shay stopped being a threat to us. What to say about him? He was apparently some crazy demon guy (I'm writing that so easily. If someone told me about demons and monsters a few years ago, I wouldn't have believed any of it).
When we got home that night, I tended to Erik's injuries. WhenI was done, I told him I needed to go back up and grab my stuff from the dressing room since Shay had taken me right off the stage - I was currently wearing a lovely medieval peasant's dress, complete with an uncomfortable corset underneath (the wardrobe department's attempt at giving me cleavage I don't normally have).
I saw Erik taking something out of a drawer and placing it in his pocket. I couldn't see what it was, but he walked up to me and asked me if I had meant it.
He was talking about me saying 'yes' when we were leaving Laramie Drive. It was an answer to a question he had asked me a long time ago – to marry him.
The first time he had asked, I was taken aback. Maybe I was just afraid to answer, to make another major decision after I had just made one not more than a few minutes ago in his bed.
But now I could look at him, my poor unhappy Erik, and tell him the answer was yes.
Erik fell to his knees and wrapped his arms around my waist. He promised he would be a good husband. That he'd never give me cause for regret. That he'd always be my Erik.
I never doubted it.
When Erik took that elegant little ring out of his pocket (a simple band embedded with tiny diamonds) I just became a big blubbering mass of girly-ness – runny nose, red eyes, tears running down my face, and all that emotional stuff. My hands were shaking when he put the ring on my finger. So were his. He even dropped it once.
The plan to go back upstairs and get my clothes was soon forgotten, neither of us wanting to separate at the moment. Being that we were both exhausted from what had happened earlier, though, we curled up in his bed and slept - not that we wouldn't have done something else had we the energy.
Wow… writing that made me blush.
I'm not the kind of girl that talks about intimate stuff to other people… but since no one is going to read this but me, I might as well write about how it took us a while to figure everything out in the beginning. I remember Erik actually doing research after the first time: reading books, checking the internet. I even caught him reading something Nadir had given him.
His enthusiasm scared me a little, only because I had never stopped to realize the obvious - my poor Erik had all these needs and desires running through his body for years and had never been able to act on them. And to think, he waited until I was ready. I'm pretty sure he had been ready for years. For all Erik's abnormalities, that's something he seems to have an abundance of energy for. (I think he inherited that from his father, but I would never hold it against him – I benefit too).
But I'm not about to share these details with the girls at the Populaire. I'm not like Meg - she loves to share her private business with Raoul. She sits around with Sorelli and Jammes to compare notes. I, on the other hand, refuse to say anything about Erik and myself. It's just too private.
Unfortunately, Shay knew. It was embarrassing and made me feel sick to hear him talk about things that are so private. He had taken all those memories from Erik's head a while back and felt the need to share it with me the night he stole me from the stage.
He may have known my physical relationship with Erik, but he never understood the emotional one. If it hadn't been for Martine Robichaux, he might have tried to do some of the things he saw in Erik's head, thinking I'd react the same way.
She was another mystery all together. We found out later – after everything was over – that Martine had actually been hired by Gus Leroux, the head of the Hunter's guild. Or rather, that Leroux had offered the better deal compared to Shay, who arrogantly thought she'd be thrilled just to work for him.
As Leroux explained it later, he hired her to take Shay's strength from him bit by bit, day by day. It went on for many months.
In the end, it took her mystical skills (he had tried to take control of my mind, but he had been too weak by then), Erik's physical ability to beat almost anyone in a fight, and Madeline's thieving of Nadir's gun. Without all three, that… thing…would still be walking around. I mean, Erik can put up a heck of a fight, but he doesn't have super-powers.
Erik told me Shay revealed himself to be the first Executioner. Gus had already known he was dangerous, that's why he had to resort to letting the other Hunters think Martine was an enemy. Shay had to drop his guard around her.
Well, I guess it worked. Erik actually had a bit of respect for Leroux resorting to something so sneaky, but he was pretty angry about being left in the dark about Shay's history with the Guild, especially in relation to his own. Since then, Erik has permanently given up being the Executioner.
Words can't express how grateful I am for that. Whether he realizes it or not, his mother had a lot to do with it. I think her actions finally freed Erik from whatever was holding him to his father - and spared him from the blood of another death.
Poor Madeline was a mess for a while, but I think she's ok now. She's had some great counselling from the Guild's psychiatrists and has gone on to marry Nadir – much to Erik's chagrin. It was a simple wedding, nothing too grand or glitzy. Just a small ceremony with a nice rented hall for the reception. They're currently off enjoying a honeymoon cruise.
Erik's relationship with his mom is a bit better than it was. Well, it's civil at least, but I doubt they'll be going on a mother/son picnic any time soon.
As far as everything else goes, it's been quiet here. We still have the usual run-of-the-mill dead things roaming about that need taking care of (I swear, those creatures keep multiplying like rabbits), but Erik and the other Hunters deal with them easily enough and we've been able to move on with our lives.
Speaking of which - a few months ago, Erik took me to see a house. I wasn't sure who lived there, but it was beautiful. The grounds were spacious and well kept. Yes, there were neighbours, but enough space between this house and theirs to allow privacy.
While he led me up that driveway, he told me the house was no more than twenty minutes from the Populaire by car – and showed me the new car in the garage.
OUR garage … with OUR car … in OUR house!
I was speechless.
Even though we didn't have a date for the wedding (and still don't), he wanted me to move in with him. He didn't think the abandoned dormitories beneath the Populaire would be a suitable future home – obviously - so he bought the house as a surprise for me and had it renovated and redesigned to his specifics.
I was worried about leaving Meg in the lurch paying full rent for the apartment, but I soon learned that Raoul was looking to move out of the DeChagny Estate.
He was more than happy to move in with Meg.
In this new home I have with Erik, there's even a room where we can sing together, hang out and read, or just play video games - the kind of stuff we enjoy doing with one another.
Erik still releases music as the anonymous Cam and receives royalty checks, as well as his usual architecture and design jobs, and I'm getting several lead roles at the Populaire. We can more than afford the upkeep of this house.
I was worried about that two months ago.
Carlotta had come back and demanded her old position, as well as special treatment – as if she was doing a favour for André and Firmin by blessing them with her return.
But the 'opera ghost' scared her away soon enough and things returned to normal.
…until I made the mistake of bringing up children to Erik.
What an argument that was! Our worst ever, I think.
Erik blew up. He didn't want to take a chance that a child would be born like him. He reminded me that he was not even fully human, that he looked like a corpse. It was unfair to ever inflict that on a new life.
It drove me to tears.
Erik disappeared into the basement to brood and play that god awful organ he purchased. I remember hearing it through the floors that evening. It was a frightening, angry sound.
That night, though, he finally came to our room. It was three o'clock in the morning.
He reiterated the fact that he did not want a biological child - there was too much of a chance the poor thing would inherit his less desirable traits - but he would be willing to adopt a child in the future if I truly wanted to have one.
Looking into Erik's eyes, seeing his face for what it was, as much as I loved him, loved that skeletal face, that pale scarred body – I finally understood.
Society had never – WOULD never – accept Erik. I had no right to selfishly want a child to share his fate.
So it was decided. If … when… the time came where we both felt the need to extend our family, we would adopt. And to prevent any accidents, Erik planned to take a surgical step to insure no child would ever be born of his genes.
The doctor found out, however, that Mother Nature had already taken care of that for him.
Erik was so relieved that he took me straight to bed the moment we got home from the medical clinic and promised me that when the time came – if we were both ready – we would find a child to raise as our own.
… and that brings us to the here and now.
We've been happily engaged for almost a year now, and I have a promising career ahead of me. We're certainly not ready for children yet.
I'm going to keep my maiden name for the stage. Erik is fine with that since I've been using it all this time. Neither of us wants to risk changing it in case it has a negative effect on my profession (and I don't have the patience to go through all my legal documents and change them either. Stuff like that takes forever).
What does the future hold for us? Who knows? All I can do is see where things lead one day at a time.
Erik and I both have our good days and our bad days, our arguments and our agreements, but we're content and happy - we have a roof over our heads, food on our table, and tentative plans for the wedding and our future.
Considering what Erik's night job entails, I'm sure there will always be unforeseen surprises. It can't be helped.
… but for now, all is well …
My enemies believe they have destroyed me, but alas, I can never truly die. Eternal life is the punishment I was given – trapped forever in my own personal Hell.
I once had a body - but now there is nothing. And that is what I am. That is what I have become: a thinking, feeling 'nothing'.
I have lost. Everything.
…I hate losing…
Extra A/N: Well, this is it. The final E:tVH. Even though I said it at the top, I want to reiterate here – a big huge "thank you" to Le Chat Noir. Without her Beta services, I never would have gotten this far. And I'm not exaggerating.
For those interested, there's a sequel here: http // www. fanfiction. net /s / 2913531 / 1 / (minus the spaces).
Thanks to all my squeers and reviewers and readers for sticking with me through this really long 'fic. I appreciate it!