It is a fine day, and she is happy.
There is starily bright sunlight dappled on the sidewalks, and there are birds singing. This is a beauty of familiarity of the woman whose lost coin's been found after careful floor sweeping. This is comfort beyond Parisian streets or the Breton seaside-this is the comfort of her childhood sleeping in barns and bight simple Swedish sunshine.
Some might call it boring, but she knows there are worse things than possible boredom. And what boredom is there here, with busy street markets and constant companionship? She smiles at that thought and turns her head to see her husband.
She is afraid someday he will tell her that he misses the fancy clothing and carriages, that he wishes he were still loitering down Parisian boulevards adorned with silk-decked maidens like ornaments. But he does not. And if she ever mentions her fear, he laughs and asks what would he do with those.
They are simple people, she thinks, and smiles at the thought. After years of Opera glitz gilded over reality, it is a welcome change. No more make-up, no more tightened corsets or painful ballet slippers. No more Erik.
In a way she wanted to feel sorry for him, to pity the eyes of coal, the man of nooses and trap doors, but she knows that his worst evil was not his face but his heart. She knows there was never a question of love, (she could never love someone who wasn't Raoul) but had there been a question of pity? She has forgotten.
He would have killed for her, died for her, but she looks at her darling Raoul and knows that he has lived for her.
Of the two, she thinks living is the greater accomplishment.
He has grown up, accumulated strength into a pillar there for her to lean on, and has gained a fortitude one wouldn't think the pale aristocrat capable of. But he was never an aristocrat; he was always a simple man.
She has come to realize that Erik tried to lean on her, to use her as an escape, and take her strength. Raoul wants to share it. Raoul wanted to grow with her, grow old, grow a life, grow roots for their children in the Swedish ground. Things Erik never wanted.
She thinks more often about her father, her Papa Dae. Her anxious moods come at night, but when Raoul wakes to find her pacing in front of the window, he will pull back into bed and tell her one of Papa's stories.
Had that been why she had trusted Erik's voice? Had he tricked her into a false sense of security lost to her since her father's death? Had his musical, magical voice transported her cheek back on that Swedish hay, where her father had taught her music from his violin case?
Has she choosen the right life, she wonders? Is this man just going to try to pin her up in a corner to look at, or is it possible he can love mutually, give as well as take? Is it really this simple with him, such straight forward love? Could it have been, all the time, that this man was a simple solution for the crowded mass of her former life?
And there he is, still in their bed as she watches the streets outside their window, curled up and content. His head on her pillow, as if wanting her smell even unconsciously in sleep. There is her dear boy, the one who gave up everything for her. He starts to stir as he reaches for her and finds only air.
Maybe, she decides, as she looks at her husband's face in this morning light, it is time to stop wondering because she already knows the answer.
"Christine?" Raoul questions as his rises to take her in his arms, "Are you are alright?"
"Yes, Raoul," She turns her chin up so their lips meet, "I'm alright."
It is a fine day, and she is happy.
AN: Hello there. I've been trying for ages to write a PotO fic, but eventually came up with this. So many "phan" try and rewrite the ending or give Christine and Raoul a different future that it made me think: Hey, what's the matter with the one Leroux gave them?
And besides, I find E/C vile. (Yeah, yeah, take me out and stone me for heresy.)
Please review (it would make my day) and I hope you all have a good day. :)