Disclaimer: I do not own anything seen below, blah blah blah.
This is an AU fic, based on what would happen if Raoul found out what it was the Christine truly wanted from life.
All You Ever Wanted
I stare into the fire. The flames leap and dance, almost mocking me in my misery. A glass of whiskey rests in my hand, but I have no energy to bring it to my lips.
My eyes stray over to the doorway. The last place that I saw her. I hadn't expected it. Well, I had. But not so soon. Not yet.
It has only been a few weeks since the Opera Populaire burnt down. It seems like a lifetime ago. I took Christine away from that place, hoping, praying that we would be able to forget all about it. But even as I steered the boat through those cursed waterways, I felt Christine shiver as his voice rang through the air.
I brought her here. To the house I had had prepared for our arrival. Where we could live after we married. I truly believed for a short while that we would be married. And yet that feeling lurked in the back of my mind, telling me it wasn't going to happen.
I think I knew it was coming when the letter arrived this morning. I recognised Marie Giry's handwriting and Christine smiled as she saw it. She had been waiting eagerly for news of her friends. She had read the letter and the look on her face had changed to one of wonder.
I had not asked about the contents of the letter. I didn't want to know. I had hoped that she would be able to leave all of that behind her.
I know now that she never could. She gave him something during her time at the Opera House. Something I could never have. I'm not sure what it was. I'm not sure if it even has a name.
And then, less than an hour ago, I had heard hoof beats coming up the driveway to the house. A carriage. I had been puzzled and had stood at the window, looking at it. I had heard a voice from the doorway.
I had turned and seen her. She was wearing a travelling cloak and clutching a case in her hands. I had looked at her and then closed my eyes.
"Christine, what are you doing?"
"I have to go back Raoul." She had whispered. I had swallowed hard. No tears. No weakness must be shown.
She had looked down and it was then that I realised.
"He's alive, Raoul. He's alive." She had said, so quietly that I had to strain my ears to hear her. She had looked up again, her eyes bright with tears.
"Raoul, I have to go to him. He needs me."
"Christine, I love you." I had told her.
"I know you do. But so does he. And he needs me. You don't."
I had turned away as tears filled my eyes and a lump rose in my throat. Christine had stepped forward but then stopped.
"Raoul, you will love again. You will find someone who will be able to love you entirely, with their whole being. I cannot."
"Christine, please don't do this…"
"I gave Erik a part of me a long time ago. It is not fair that he should have that part of me, and I should try and give myself to you. It's not fair to either of you." She said.
Images of that night flashed in my mind. The rope tightening around my neck, the feeling of desperation that I had struggled so far and so hard only to lose her again. And then she had saved my life.
I fought so hard to free you…
I realised then that she never needed to be freed.
"Christine… that night… you came away with me…" I said.
"I know, Raoul. I love you, you are my childhood friend. But I think that you fell in love with Little Lotte, not Christine. And you will always have Little Lotte. But Christine… the Christine of the Opera Populaire belongs to Erik." She told me softly.
I could not face her. Instead I took a deep breath and did something that was far braver than anything I had done that night, in the Phantom's lair.
"Then… then you must go to him. You must go to him, and love him, and be happy." I said, my face contorting in pain as I spoke those words.
Christine crossed the room and put her hand on my shoulder.
"I love you, Raoul. I truly do."
"But not in the way that I love you." I said softly.
"No… not that way." She had admitted. I turned to her. It was too late to hide my tears.
"Then goodbye, Little Lotte."
"Goodbye, Raoul." She whispered, kissing my cheek. I stood by the window as she went to the door. My eyes followed her and she paused. She looked back at me and smiled softly.
"You will be happy?" I asked.
"Yes. I will be happy."
And then she was gone.
I know now that I could never have fulfilled her life. Could never have given her what she wanted. Because what she wanted was him. His music, his soul… he was willing to give her everything. I could never offer her anything as valuable as that.
I hope that one day I will find someone to love again. And I hope that you, Christine, have all you ever wanted.
A/N: This was just a little idea that was nagging at the back of my mind. I AM an EC supporter but I also quite like Raoul. And since Raoul clearly loves Christine, it makes sense that he would want her to be happy, even if it means letting her go.