Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, they belong to Gaston Leroux, Susan Kay, and/or Andrew Lloyd Webber
Author's Note: I do accept flames, however, I'd like a reason behind them. Blatantly posting a review that says "YOUR FIC SUCKS ASS" is annoying and childish. :D I love reviews and constructive criticism, so feel free to leave any and all.
Oh, and I'd like to thank white-time-ranger for all her support
Trying to sleep
Alone in my bed
Thoughts of the future
Go 'round in my head.
How will I find the love of my own?
A love of a kind that I've never known
- We're Already There; as sung by Hugh Panaro
Turn from Me
She could have sworn it was dead.
At least, she hoped it was dead. It looked dead. They thought it was dead, and only until they saw it make a feeble movement did they realize it wasn't. She didn't scream. Nobody screamed.
Was this some kind of sick joke God Almighty was playing on her?
No…no, no, no…this wasn't the work of the Lord. This was the devil's work, this was. Tears stung her eyes as she studied the horrified looks of the midwife and priest as they peeked into the basinet.
She had seen deformities before; who hadn't? But this child…this child was different. The left half of its face was like a normal infant, but the right half…
The right half of the child's skull was exposed under a thin layer of skin, so thin one could see his tiny blue veins. His irises were mismatched, one deep black, one clear blue. His cheekbone was misshapen and was situated higher than normal, causing his eye to appear sunken in. Half of his horribly malformed forehead presented a groove running from his temple to his jaw, and the thin skin and cartilage on his right side of his nose was grossly distorted and crooked.
"God have mercy…" the midwife choked out, "Christ have mercy…"
"I think it would be wise if I baptized the child at once," the priest urged, "You must give him a name."
Madeleine squeezed her eyes shut, "Name him after yourself. I…I can't think of one."
The priest didn't comment, didn't object, but reached down into the cradle, scooping up the muffled bundle. "I baptize thee Erik," he said, crossing the infant's forehead, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." He then leaned over and situated the child in his mother's arms.
"This is your son. Learn to love him as God does."
Christine sat at the foot of her bed in the small, but cozy dressing room that she called her own. She sighed before slipping on her dance shoes, almost grateful that tonight was the final dress rehearsal before the Opera Popularé's opening night of Charlemeau's Hannibal. Between thinking of pain she was putting her feet through at the terribly long dance scene, and the pain she was putting herself through by listening to La Carlotta Giudicelli's terribly trained singing, she didn't know how many more practices she could attend before she'd lost her mind. As she got up to leave, a soft music filled the room. Violin, she recognized.
The Angel of Music…
She pivoted on the balls of her feet and stepped into the center of the small room. She smiled as she glanced around the room, like she did every time the beautiful violin played. Months had passed since she had first heard it, along with the soft, yet entrancing voice of the master violinist behind the music.
The music stopped.
Her smile faded. "Oh, please don't stop. You know how I love it when you play," she pleaded.
There was a pause before a voice addressed her. "Have you forgotten your lessons, Christine? You are not abandoning your Angel, are you?" the voice asked, a hint of disappointment apparent.
She mentally cursed. Three months after taking lessons with this wonderful teacher every night, and she forgets the one night she'd need his guidance the most. 'That certainly isn't a way to show you're grateful, you stupid girl!'
'Certainly he knows I have rehearsals tonight. He's known about the production for months…hasn't he?'
No, no, no. That's no excuse.
"Forgive me, please. I have dress rehearsals tonight, and through all the commotion and practice, it must have slipped my mind. Please don't be mad, Angel."
Moments passed, and Christine grew uneasy. She let out a sigh of relief as a voice calmed her, "Of course, child. But rest assured, you won't be needing the ballet practice for the performance."
"Oh, you are kind, but my dancing is far from performance rate…"
"And still, I give my word to you, child; you will not need it."
She didn't understand.
She heard a low sigh from somewhere in the room, "You will understand in time, Christine. Go on," the voice urged, "and practice. But, I believe I've secured a much more promising part for you. You shall not be part of the ostensibly tone-deaf chorus much longer."
Christine obeyed his wishes and stepped out of the dressing room a bit confused, but went on ahead to practice. Little did she realize, though, that her Angel was following her every footstep.
"Erik, remove yourself for my sight, will you? I have visitors coming today, and you recall what I told you of other people, do you not?"
She heard the pitter-patter of his bare feet against the tiles die away, and she sighed, turning toward the washboard to finish up the laundry. She was again interrupted when the footsteps returned, followed by a small voice.
She sighed again, not taking her eyes off of her busy work, "Yes, Erik?"
"My…birthday is coming up, isn't it? I heard you and Madame Marie talking."
She gave him a faint smile, "It is, Erik." She felt him grow uneasy, and knew those cursed eyes were keenly fixed on her.
"You know we don't usually celebrate birthdays."
"Alright, alright, but nothing too expensive. Was there something in particular that you were hoping for?" she groaned, defeated. She immediately sensed the change in the atmosphere.
"May I request for anything I want?" he asked.
"If it is not too expensive."
"May I have two of them?"
She blinked, "Why would you need two of the same thing, child?"
"So I could save one for later, Mother. They don't last very long."
She relaxed. He know not to ask too much of her…possibly he was asking for staff paper or a new ink well and quill set?
He shuffled his feet.
"In the name of all that is holy, Erik. What is it that you want?"
He twiddled his thumbs, "I want…I want two…"
"Kisses," he answered, locking his eyes on her figure. His voice wasn't its normal strong, unnerved, state. Instead, it trembled, and his reply was barely more than a whisper. "I want two kisses, Mother. One for now, and one to save for later."
Madeleine's eyes instantly locked with his. She stared at the small, masked face in horror, as if she had just been bitten by the sheer sight of him. "Erik, you must never ask that. Never again, do you understand me?" she scolded. "Never. Do you hear me?"
"Why? There is nothing harmful about a kiss!"
"Never, Erik!" she shouted, "You do not ever ask that of anybody, do you hear me?"
His voice became saturated with fury, "You're yelling at me for telling you what I wanted! You're the one who asked in the first place…you made me ask! And now you're not going to give me my gift! Well, I don't want anything from you! I don't like birthdays! I hate them!" his eyes narrowed and he glared at her with such intense rage.
"I hate you"
Rehearsals were going smoothly, that is, until Monsieur Lefevre showed up with two gentlemen whom nobody in the production seemed to be able to identify. Messr. Reyer, barely visible from down in the orchestra pit, rapped his baton on the side of the stand sharply, obviously frustrated that someone interrupted his dress rehearsal.
"If you do not mind, Messr., I believe I have a rehearsal to run!" he spat.
Lefevre gave him a glare, then directed the two gentlemen across the center stage, through the choruses and dancers who turned their attention toward the two new gentlemen.
"I suppose," he started, "that many of you have heard a great deal of gossip regarding my pending retirement. I am pleased to inform you that these are absolutely true, and these two gentlemen are the new managers who now own the Paris Opera House:" The two gentlemen stepped forward, bowing slightly as each was introduced, "Monsieur Richard Firmin, and Monsieur Giles Andre."
A fit of whispers and questions erupted from the company, and Lefevre inevitably hushed them with a raise of his hand. "Please, ladies and gentlemen, I trust Messrs. Andre and Firmin to run the Opera house as smoothly as I have, and I have full faith that many of you will accept the change for the better."
"What of the Phantom, Monsieur?" one of the young dancers piped.
The two new managers looked at each other. "That wasn't in the job description, was it?" Firmin quietly asked his partner. Andre shook his head and shrugged. Monsieur Lefevre brought his hand up and rubbed his forehead in aggravation, sighing.
"There will be none of that talk, young lady," a woman hushed, "Come. It is the dress rehearsal before opening night, and your ballet isn't near perfect! Back to practice, then!"
Lefevre sighed again, and nodded at the woman, "Thank you, Madame Giry."
He lead the two gentlemen to the side of the stage, before noticing they became intrigued with the now practicing dancers.
"Quite the corps you have here, Monsieur," Firmin commented.
Madame Giry pounded her staff on the wooden floorboards, "Christine Daae! Pay attention!"
"Daae?" Andre questioned, "Any relation to Gustave Daae? The famous violinist?"
Mdm. Giry nodded, "His only child. Orphaned at the age of seven, she came to live in the ballet dormitories. She is like a daughter to me."
"Ah. And the little blonde angel in the front row?"
"My real daughter."
She was beginning to go insane.
That little…monster had disappeared again. Without a trace.
Lord only knew where the hell he was this time; the little magician. She didn't know how he did it, either. She had locked his room, and nailed his window shut. Yet, here she was, standing in the middle of his room in the attic, with him nowhere to be seen. She knew, too, that he was playing tricks with her. She knew that she was there for his amusement; tormenting her had become a pastime of his. Being forever haunted by a ten year old phantom of a boy, she was really starting to doubt her sanity.
"Erik, I swear to Christ, get back here this instant."
She turned her head to look around he room once more, then noticed him sitting on his bed when she turned back again. He grinned at her, knowing full well that she still couldn't figure him out. And his grin grew despite the fact that he knew for certain he was going to be beaten because of it.
She simply couldn't handle him any longer. She couldn't sustain a relationship, couldn't socialize like a normal human being, couldn't even attend mass without being gawked at, hearing murmurs about her and her "Devil's Child." She couldn't hold a steady job, and they were running desperately low on money. She needed him gone.
The following day, she found herself counting two-hundred francs that had just been handed to her, and watched as her son was carried off on the back of a gypsy wagon.
The last thing she saw of him were the daggers that were his mismatched eyes.