A/N: Hey all! I know it's been forever, but here it is!!! The last and final chapter of GMAGM plus a little epilouge :). Thank you for sticking through with me all of this time, it's bittersweet for this to all be over, but I hope you like the ending. Review for me for one last time on this one :). Thank you to all of you that have reviewed, know who you are and I appreciate it so much. I wrote this for you guys, so hopefully I didn't dissapoint. Without further ado, I give you the final installment of GMAG :).
Chapter 32: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
"Glad to see you could join my party, Phantom…how rude of you to not bring a gift." Raoul sneered.
"I'm only going to tell you this once DeChangy...release my family at once," Erik practically snarled through gritted teeth. It took all the will power in the world to restrain himself from advancing on Raoul, but Christine and Juliana were so close to Raoul that he feared he would hurt them in the process.
Raoul chuckled darkly and ground the pistol harder into Christine's head and pulling Juliana's hair tighter causing both women to moan in pain, "Oh dear friend, that would be too easy and would spoil the fun game we're about to play. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to politely decline your request."
Raoul chuckled again, and Erik, fueled by rage moved closer to advance on and inflict as much harm as he humanly could to this monster in front of him.
Raoul had the advantage though, he held Christine and Juliana closer to him, deterring Erik from coming any closer, "Ah ah ah, Phantom, we're going to play my game now and their lives depend on your participation so it would behoove you to behave yourself and not do anything to rash seeing how my trigger finger seems to slip every now and then."
"Erik, don't do it mon amour. Take the children and be out of here quickly. Raoul, take me instead, leave Juliana and the rest of the children out of this. It's me you want, and me who needs to answer to you. Please let my family go and you may have me to do what you please." Christine implored, not looking Erik for fear that she wouldn't have the resolve to go through with her plan.
Raoul considered this quickly, it would be harder to carry out his plans with all of the children anyway, and it was her that he wanted so badly, to pay her back for what she had done to him.
"Christine. CHRISTINE! Look at me! Do not do this. LOOK AT ME!" Erik bellowed frantically, as Christine began to silently cry unable to face him.
"Erik, he won't ever stop and I need to know that you and the children are safe. Please, mon amour, please just take them and go before something awful happens." Christine cried softly, hanging her head.
Juliana bagged her mother not to go through with what she was considering, " Maman, please, don't do this. You don't have to do this. Papa! Tell her!"
"SILENCE!" Raoul bellowed, "Take the children and be gone. I believe my work is done here and Christine and I have somewhere to be. It looks like she wanted me after all Phantom, you must not have been able to satisfy her, but after all I can't blame you, for how can a whore ever be satisfied?"
"YOU SON OF A BITCH! GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY WIFE!" Erik snarled. Raoul threw Juliana towards an advancing Erik and ran out the back door dragging Christine behind him.
"NO! MAMAN!" Juliana screamed after her mother and Raoul, crying in her father's warm, safe arms.
"Ma petite, listen to me very carefully. Emma is coming to, take her and go up the ridge to the big oak tree in the middle of the clearing. Uncle Andrew and Nadir will be there. Tell them what happened and have them come get Christophe. Go now! Now, Petite!" Erik said quickly, trying to conceal his rage as he looked at his daughter's cuts and bruises and torn dress. He hugged her hard and as quick as he had embraced her, he was gone, running out the back of the barn to save his wife and forever end the vile creature known as DeChangy.
"You couldn't have followed my plan any better, my dear. You did all of the work too, all I did was sit back and watch the events unfold in my favor. I knew you would give yourself up to save those miserable children and your foul, monstrous husband. And now my plan is working, he will come save you and I will be waiting for him when he does and I will once and for all win!" Raoul exclaimed violently as the horror struck Christine with such intensity she could barely breathe.
"Please, Raoul. Just do with me what you want, leave Erik out of this. I swear, I'll do anything, just please don't hurt him." Christine pleaded, close to breaking down at how badly she had made the situation. How could she have been so naïve? She should have known there was something more that Raoul wanted.
"That is precisely what I am going to do my lovely. You see, I win in two ways: One, the Phantom dies and I am the last face he sees as he realizes he has committed the ultimate failure and two, I get my revenge on you because you'll watch your poor Erik die and be broken for the rest of your days and have me be the one to ravage you every night without protest. I say, I get the best bargain out of this deal, wouldn't you agree?" Raoul laughed coldly as Christine struggled with her bonds and what she had done to them all.
Raoul was taking them further into the garden and finally after what seemed like ages, they came to the middle of the garden labyrinth where a massive fountain stood, and beautiful stone statues laid scattered about with lit lanterns casting a menacing glow over the opening, "Come, we need to have you ready when your angry lover comes to find you." Raoul sneered and drug her into the fountain itself, soaking both of them under the steady little waterfall cascading down. He produced two chains, which he clapped her wrists into and ripped her dress off from the bottom, leaving her in only a chemise ripped up to the mid thigh. Christine gasped at the cool water soaking her skin and struggled against the chains in vain.
"All in good time, my whore, all in good time. Save that struggling for later when we're together. I always like a whore who puts up a fight."
"That's the only way you could get a women to sleep with you, is to knock them unconscious! I feel sorry for you." Christine lashed out, tired of his rants and wanting to hurt him any possible way she could, whether it was mentally or physically if he gave her the chance.
Raoul lost it, he came up to her, soaking himself again as he passed through the waterfall and backhanded her as hard as he could, leaving Christine seeing stars and then nothing but blackness.
Raoul shook his hand off as he passed through the stream of water again to the outside of the fountain. He quickly hid himself behind one of the massive stone statues, in wait for Erik to run into the clearing and see Christine in such a state. He would be so distraught and overcome by emotion that he would falter and then..then He would strike down the Phantom for once and all and claim Christine for his own. He could hardly contain himself, as he lay silent, waiting for his masked nemesis to appear.
"UNCLE ANDREW!" Juliana cried as she struggled to run to him while supporting Emma at the same time. She could see Andrew and Nadir clearly and was becoming increasingly impatient and tired by the second.
The group of men all turned quickly at the sound of Juliana's far off voice. They could see two tiny figures approaching in the darkness.
Andrew and Nadir quickly ran to the two girls, Andrew grabbed Emma up into his arms and ran her back to where Will, Raza, and Carissa were in great hurry. Andrew was frantic as he looked at the all of Emma's wounds; she had a badly bruised eye and several cuts that looked in need of attention. "Papa..I tried to save-
Annette, where is Annet…" Emma whispered groggily before she fell unconscious again, the strain too much for her to handle.
"Quick, Andrew, we must go, Christophe has been badly injured. DeChangy has shot him, we need to go help him before any more damage is done." Nadir said, taking charge.
Juliana and Nadir came running up to the group as Emma went unconscious, and Andrew was panicking even more now, trying to suppress the rage he felt for Raoul DeChangy, "Juliana, is Annette with you?" Andrew asked, shrugging off the shock of what Nadir had just told him.
Juliana looked stunned, she hadn't seen Annette since they were all out on the patio and she remembered that Emma had been with her when they took them away, "No, I haven't even seen her. She's not with you all?" Juliana was now panicking too, where could her cousin be?
"She's not in the house, we checked the entire place," Nadir said quietly, "She must have gotten away or…" Nadir stopped himself short, not willing to let himself go there.
"She had to have gotten away, you should go check on horseback, if she was on foot she couldn't have gotten far in the dark. I will go take care of Christophe." Nadir said quickly, so as not to lose any more time. He had no idea how badly Christophe had been injured, but the way Juliana had described it, it sounded like Nadir didn't have much time to save him.
"Juliana stay here with me and Uncle Nadir and Andrew will take care of everything," Will said sternly to his sister, knowing that both of his parents would not want her running back into danger just as she narrowly escaped it. It did not get past him that neither his father nor his mother had come back with Juliana and Emma. He prayed that everything was alright, but feared the worst and he did not need his sister running off never to be seen again either.
"Will, I can't. Christophe needs me. I'm going with Uncle Nadir." Juliana said defiantly and went to go when she felt her brother's hand grab hold of her wrist firmly.
"Juliana, I am already worried for Maman and Papa, I do not need to worry about you too. Stay here." Will said forcefully, willing her to see his anguish. He already had to take care of Carissa who had been violated and his sister already looked ten times worse than his beloved, with her dress torn in shreds here and there, her hair disheveled, and cuts and bruises as far as the eye could see.
Juliana quickly hugged her brother tightly, reassuring him that everything was going to be fine, "Will, I would not keep you from Carissa. Do not keep me from my beloved. I must go to him, just as you went to her. Take care of her and the baby Will, they need you more." And with that they both understood each other perfectly, and Will realized he would never be able to stop her from going to Christophe; she loved him. So hesitantly, Will ended his embrace and watched as both Juliana and Nadir ran off into the night.
"Will, watch Raza and Carissa, I'm going to find Annette. If I have not arrived back when everyone returns, go back to the manor and I will meet you all there." Andrew said hurriedly as he mounted his horse.
"She's out there Uncle Andrew, I promise you. Annette is a fighter. We'll see you both either here or at the manor. Godspeed and hurry back." Will said before Andrew galloped off to find his little girl.
Annette opened her eyes slowly, not wanting to leave the warmth that was enveloping her. She could hear a fire crackling and sat up to see that she was in a little cozy bedroom, in a house she had never seen before. Before she had a chance to do anything, a young man about 19-20 came into the room with a tray of broth and bread and bandages.
"Well, hello. I'm glad to see you up finally. I brought you some food, I thought you might be hungry after all you look like you've been to Hell and back." The man smiled with worry in his eyes. Annette noticed he was very handsome, with light brown eyes and dark brown hair and that he limped a little as he walked. She idly wondered if it caused him any pain and then put the notion out of her head. She had no idea who this man was or what he was planning to do to her and she had no idea where they even were!
The man noticed Annette's hesitancy and slowly put down the tray next to her and sat down in a chair far away from her to show her that he meant no harm. Annette was too tired to think whether or not the man was going to hurt her or poison her, so she quickly ate all of the broth and winced as she tried to sit up in the bed.
She noticed her clothes were still on, which was a good sign, but she saw how badly Phillippe had ripped them, so she might as well of been naked. She pulled the sheet up over herself and sat back to examine the young man more thoroughly. He seemed nice and safe enough, but she still had no idea where they were or who he was.
"You were the man with the lantern, weren't you?" Annette asked quietly
"Yes, I was out in the clearing when you ran into me and literally fainted in my arms as you are now." The man said, the concern still shining in his eyes, "How did you come to be in such a state Mademoiselle?"
Annette hesitated to say anything, but she looked at his warm brown eyes full of such empathy that she knew he was not going to harm her, "I was kidnapped with my sister and my cousins."
"How did you manage to escape? How many of you are there?"
"There were five of us and I was left alone with an opportunity out," Annette answered, remembering the way Philippe had touched her and almost raped her as she shuddered.
It was obvious to the man that Annette had been through more than she was letting on, he saw how her dress was torn, it was as though she had been attacked, but he figured it would be best to not say anything for fear of frightening her any more.
"What is your name, Mademoiselle?" the man asked quietly.
"Annette Von Pierce. What is your name Monsieur?"
"Luc Revielle, it's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance Annette." Luc smiled kindly and Annette smiled back as she sipped on the water he had brought her.
"Where are we?" Annette asked once she had done eaten everything off the tray and was satisfied with her full stomach.
"About 5 miles from the old Williams manor." Luc said nonchalantly as he rose to come gather the now foodless tray, "If you would permit me, I would like to take care of some of your injuries before they become infected. Some of them are quite ghastly."
Annette was too tired to ponder whether or not Luc was going to drastically change and beat her to pulp instead of care for her, which he had been so painstakingly doing so she shook her head yes for him to precede.
"You can tell me to stop if it makes you too uncomfortable, I promise I will let you alone." Luc said softly, making sure she understood how serious he was.
"Ok, just be gentle, I can feel my face throbbing already," Annette sighed as Luc grabbed some medical supplies off of the tray and grinned at her stuck out bottom lip.
"Of course, m'lady. After this I shall take you home" Luc teased as he began to carefully dab some salve on the cuts on her face, cradling her head gently as he tenderly went about his work. Annette smiled at the tenderness and counted her blessings at how she came to be in the care of such a caring, handsome man.
"Quickly Juliana, hand me my cloak," Nadir and Juliana had just come upon Christophe and Nadir was already assessing the situation at hand. Juliana handed him the cloak and watched as he ripped shreds off of it. Nadir could tell that the bullet had gone straight through Christophe's shoulder blade, so at least it wasn't lodged in him still.
Quickly, Nadir tied the shreds around Christophe's back with Juliana's help and made a makeshift sling to put his arm in. Christophe was stll unconscious, most likely from the pain he must be feeling and Nadir took his smelling salts out of his pants pocket. One quick sweep under Christophe's nose and he was awake coughing from the horrible smell.
"Christophe!" Juliana exclaimed and hugged him fiercely as Christophe winced, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Your shoulder. Come use me and Naidr to stand."
Christophe groaned as he used both of them to stand up, his shoulder felt as though an unquenchable fire was raging through his muscles, "You silly boy, why did you do that?" Juliana chided as he stood upright fully on his own.
"You silly girl, why did you go and get in the way of two men in the middle of a sword fight? What, did you think I was just going to let him hurt you? Oh, Juliana…you silly silly girl." Christophe chastised, "I could have been perfectly healthy right now if you hadn't have been so foolish."
"Foolish?!? I-I..ARGH!" Juliana exclaimed in frustration as she led Christophe up the ridge with Nadir following smiling behind them.
As Nadir listened to the hum of the two young lovers quarrelling, he heard another sound loud and sickeningly clear and Juliana and Christophe stopped as well as they heard it too; it was a gun shot and it rang throughout the silence with all the force of mighty thunder.
Juliana's eyes widened as realization sunk in and she screamed, Nadir looked torn between getting Juliana out of harm's way if it was coming and running to help his friends, and Christophe just looked between the two of them not knowing what exactly was going on but realizing it wasn't good.
"Christophe, take Juliana up the ridge to the big oak tree in the clearing now! Everyone is waiting there. Quickly, quickly!" Nadir urged as he went running the opposite way.
"No! Christophe, I have to go. Maman! Papa! Let me go, I have to go help them!" Juliana protested as Christophe used all of his strength to drag her back up the ridge to the oak tree where Will, Carissa, and Raza were waiting.
"Christophe, mon ami, I'm glad your okay. You just had to get hurt didn't you, you attention monger." Will teased as Christophe and Juliana came trudging up to them.
"Will, how are you. Is Carissa okay?" Christophe asked, looking down at Carissa's still form in Will's lap.
"She's been better, but she's exhausted. As soon as everyone comes back we will go back to the manor and assess things there better." Will said as he stroked Carissa's hair tenderly. All the while, Juliana had been tugging to get away from Christophe's grip but he would not yield.
"Juliana," Christophe whispered in her ear away from Will, "Nadir went to help them. I'm sure everything is okay, I need you to stay here with me ma petite. Please. There's nothing you can do for them now, Nadir will take care of it. Please just sit and let me hold you so I know that you're real. You scared me half to death you know, when he pointed the gun at you I thought I was going to die. Please mon amour, stay with me…" Christophe pleaded as he held Juliana's wrist firmly from letting her go. Finally, she came down and sat with Christophe, hugging him and letting him caress her hair as they prayed for Erik and Christine silently.
Erik ran off as fast as he could out the back of the barn. His rage was the only thing fueling him now, after he had seen his daughter, his niece, his own wife tortured and beaten by Raoul nothing was going to stop him from being merciful. His hand slid to the concealed Punjab lasso in his cloak as he neared the entrance to the gardens. Quickly he looked around and saw the footprints in the mud going into the garden labyrinth.
Erik prayed that his Christine would be alright, there was no telling what this mad man had or hadn't done already and this thought made Erik race even faster. On alert, he came out into the garden clearing after a couple of minutes, seeing the beautiful fountain bubbling away and the stone statues all bathed in the lantern's candlelight. His hand tightened around the deadly rope in his cloak as he silently crept into the shadows of the surrounding hedges. He quickly scanned the area, looking for any movement at all and that's when he saw it; Christine was bound to the fountain itself, soaked to the core, her dress torn off and her chemise in shreds. Erik's blood boiled as he saw that she seemed to be unconscious seeing how the chains were supporting her slumped body. Without thinking, Erik ran to her, through the fountain, soaking himself in the process as he tried to free her from the solid chains, "Christine. My love, wake up. Christine, cherie, mon amour…" Erik soothed as he tried to cover her with his cloak to no avail. Christine began to come to groggily and as she focused on Erik's masked face he saw not a look of relief but a look of horror. Before either Erik or Christine could react, Raoul who had been waiting in the shadows as Erik tried in a vain attempt to free Christine stabbed Erik, in the arm.
"ERIK!" Christine cried as he stumbled away from Christine so she would not get hurt as he killed DeChangy once and for all.
"I knew you would come Phantom, you would never let me have her even though she belongs to me!" Raoul snarled as he also hopped out of the fountain and unsheathed his sword, throwing the little dagger to the side.
"Christine was never yours, she is mine and always will be mine!" Erik bellowed in fury and landed a blow to Raoul with his own sword. The two men fought back and forth their skill matching one another, each one landing a blow and shielding attacks. Christine could barely watch as the two viciously engaged one another, every time Erik almost got swiped by Raoul's sword she felt the nausea rise in her stomach.
Erik landed a blow to Raoul and left him swordless and as he reached for his Punjab lasso, Erik felt the air rush by him as a gunshot rang through his ears. Erik crumpled to the ground and all Raoul could hear as he grinned from ear to ear was the bloodcurdling screams of Christine behind him who had seen Erik fall.
Raoul slowly, cockily walked over to the Phantom and bent down to Erik's level, "I win mon ami. Now let's take off that mask for old time's sake, I want Christine to see how much of a monster you really are one…last….time," And as Raoul went to grab Erik's mask, Erik opened his eyes and impaled Raoul with his own sword.
"I'll see you in Hell before you ever hurt my family again you bastard." Erik quietly seethed as Raoul sputtered and gasped his final breath, falling to the ground, his face one of shock, as the blood pooled around him silently.
"ERIK!" Christine exclaimed from the fountain as Erik stumbled to get up. He ran over to Christine as quickly as he could, with the keys from Raoul's pocket. He expertly unlocked the chains binding her and he grabbed her as tight as he could to him and kissed her with all the passion he had. Christine threw off is mask and cried as he kissed her, touching his face tenderly in love and finally got him off of her long enough to assess his injuries.
"But I thought he had shot you, I saw you go down…I thought, I thought you were dead. Oh my God, Erik..mon amour" Christine cried as she kissed and touched him everywhere just to make sure he was real standing in front of her. Erik turned his arm to her in response.
Erik winced as she touched the side of his arm, and noticed that the bullet had grazed him lightly there, but that it was nothing but a superficial wound.
"Mon ange, I thought I had forever lost you. Why would you do something so foolish? That monster could have done anything you and I could have been too late. I cannot live without you, mon amour, I could have lost you forever! God, Christine, you're so…so…" Erik yelled, scared at what might have been as he was cut off by Christine's deep kiss.
"I was protecting you and the children like a mother should," she replied as she broke the kiss, "You would have done the same thing if you were me." Christine said stubbornly.
"Yes, but…" Erik protested angrily, still upset at how bad Raoul had hurt his beloved and he couldn't have stopped him.
"I'm fine Erik, mon amour, everything is fine." Christine shushed as she kissed him passionately again to keep him from arguing.
Nadir came running in out of breath to the site of the two of them in a heated embrace and Christine with practically nothing on and Raoul laying on the ground several yards away from them both in a pool of his own blood. He cleared his throat and the two of them turned around to see him.
"Is everyone ok? We heard a gunshot." Nadir asked as he watched Erik wrap Christine in his cloak, pick her up bridal style, and walked over to where Nadir stood.
"Yes, Nadir, my friend. We are fine." Erik said as he held Christine closer to him ignoring the pain in his arm from the two wounds.
"And Raoul?" Nadir asked, looking where Raoul lay motionless on the ground.
"Never again will he haunt our lives. The vile scum is dead." Erik hissed as he began to walk out of the garden, Nadir at his side looking over his shoulder at the fallen monster with no sympathy in his eyes.
"How is Christophe and the children?" Christine implored to Nadir as they walked up the ridge, "Is Juliana and the girls alright?"
"Christophe is healing, but he will need to be in bed rest for a few days to heal properly. The bullet went right through him, so it was a clean cut to work with. Juliana an the girls are fine except for some baad bruises and cuts which we will tend to at the manor. Everything is fine except…" Nadir trailed off at the end, hesitant to talk about Annette just yet.
"What Daroga? Everything is fine except for what?" Erik interrogated, his body language becoming tense and his features darkening with slow anger.
"Annette has not been found yet." Nadir said quietly as Christine gasped.
Erik stayed stony silent as they continued to walk toward the oak tree with several figures under it. He knew that Annette would not be in the house, between all of the men, they had searched it entirely, which meant one of two things either she had escaped before they got there or she…NO! Erik would not let himself think about his niece that way.
"Well, we will split up and look for her once we get the girls back to the manor, she must have escaped." Erik said sternly as they reached the rest of the group.
Juliana bolted up and ran to her parents enveloping both of them in huge hug that they each reciprocated warmly, "Ma petite," Christine crooned as she assessed her daughter's injuries. She winced at how much pain it looked like Juliana was in as did Erik.
Christine and Erik then went to Will's side and saw the sleeping Carissa curled up in his lap, her arms around his neck in a comforting embrace, "How is she Will?" Christine asked as Erik bent down closer to examine her.
"She's just in shock. The baby and her should be fine once they've rested. Keep her warm Will, I don't my daughter in law and granddaughter catching a cold." Erik chastised as Christine looked down in shock at the couple.
"Granddaughter?" Christine asked as she looked between the two smiling men and then she smiled brightly at the thought of being a grandmother.
"How do you know it's a girl Papa, it could be a strapping young boy like myself." Will said smiling with pride.
"I hate to disappoint you son, but it's going to be a girl." Erik grinned knowingly and went to ready the horses, his Niece Annette still on his mind. He wanted to get the girls home quickly to go out and search for Annette.
Each couple rode together on a horse into the night towards Blackwood manor, towards home. Towards comfort.
Andrew had been riding for what seemed to be hours as he searched for his daughter in the thick forest surrounding the William's manor property. He was completely despondent, he had come across nothing to give him any hope and he only had so many more routes to comb through. Andrew came to his last route to try and he stumbled upon a little cottage with a fire burning bright inside.
Quickly he stopped and ran to the door, knocking frantically until an older gentleman opened the door with a puzzled look on his face, "Can I help you Monsieur?" the man asked.
"Yes! Yes, my daughter is lost and she is traveling on foot in these woods somewhere and I was wondering if you might have seen her or talked to her at all. Her name is Annette!" Andrew said quickly.
"Sir, a girl by the name of Annette came to us and died before we had a chance to even try and help her. I'm sorry. We buried her not but 20 minutes ago in the local cemetery about half a mile away." The man said gently so as not to upset Andrew even more.
It felt as though a knife had plunged through Andrew's heart and froze inside. He could not breathe and could not think as the man closed the door on him regretfully. Annette was dead?!?! His little girl, his petite ange was gone? But she was so young and had so much to give the world…he couldn't stop crying for his little girl. He mounted his horse once more, for the final time and rode back to Blackwood manor, ready to impart the awful news.
He would never forgive himself for what had happened to her and he would have to live with that for the rest of his life, he could not save his little girl in time.
As he walked up the steps to the main door of the manor he hesitated to try and quell his tears for Meg and the others. With a heavy sigh, he went inside to find everyone and heard commotion in the study.
All of the family was in the study, Meg, Emma, Will, Carissa, Juliana, Christophe, Sophia, Naidr, Raza, Charlotte, Etienne, and Erik and Christine. But Annette was no where to be found and would never be found.
"Where have you been man?" Etienne called and clapped Andrew on the back warmly. Andrew looked like he was about to cry and he was so pale and lifeless, so unlike the real Andrew, that everybody quieted down.
"What is wrong, Andrew?" Meg asked, coming up to her husband and enveloping him in a comforting embrace.
"It's..It's Ann-Annette," Andrew stammered out, willing himself not to breakdown.
"I'm what Papa?"
Andrew's eyes got as big as saucers as he whipped around to the sight behind him, it was his beautiful girl, Annette, all bandaged up and at the side of a strange boy he had never seen before. Andrew was speechless, and so he went to her, picked her up, and hugged her as tight as he could.
Annette laughed and everyone looked at one another confused as to what exactly was gong on, "Hi Papa, I love you too."
"Annette, my darling, oh I saw a man in the woods and he said that he had taken in Annette and that she had died. I thought it was you, oh mon dieu petite, don't do that to me ever again. I thought you were gone…gone," Andrew cried as he kissed his daughter and held her tightly in his arms.
"I'm right here Papa, I'm not gone. You can thank Luc here for that. He saved me Papa." Annette beamed as she looked up at her valiant savior.
"Thank you. Thank you so much for bringing back our daughter and caring for her," Andrew cried as he shook the young man's hand and brought Meg and Emma into the hug with Annette.
The rest of the family watched silently with great big smiles as they all held onto their loved one and thanked God they were all together again.
"Hurry, we need clean towels, now!" Charlotte exclaimed as she ran passed the line of men anxiously waiting for any news at all or any direction thrown at them. Will quickly handed Charlotte several clean towels and she hurriedly went back into the room she came from without another word.
"How long has it been?" Luc asked nervously to an anxious Erik, Andrew, Will, Christophe, Nadir, and Etienne.
"Don't worry, we've all done this before. They've all done this before. Everything is fine. They even have said that Juliana is fine and well be able to see her too." Nadir said with a big grin.
The men heard screams coming from the room and then the heard a baby crying and all slumped with relief. Erik, Luc, and Christophe all jumped up at the same time to go see how the girls were doing.
Christine came out of the room about twenty minutes later and led the men happily into the room. There laid Annette, sweaty from all the exertion holding a baby in her arms tenderly. Luc rushed over to the bed and kissed Annette on the lips and forehead as he stared with awe at his newborn son. "He's beautiful, darling." Said Luc as he smiled at the two loves of his life.
"He looks just like his Papa," Annette smiled and kissed Luc one more time before she handed the baby boy over to him to hold.
Next to Annette in another bed was Juliana who had given birth earlier but because of some complications couldn't be seen right away. She held two baby girls, twins, and Christophe just like Luc ran over and gave her a big kiss. Christophe looked at both of his daughters with such love he felt as though he was going to burst.
"Let me see my granddaughters!" Erik said crankily as he tried to see his daughter with his own eyes to make sure she was okay.
"I told you it was going to be twin girls, that's five for five. I'm never wrong!" Erik gloated as he kissed his daughter on the forehead and looked at his two beautiful perfect granddaughters.
"It's incredible, I don't know how he does it. First with me and Carissa with Callie, then Emma and John with Jack, and Annette and Luc with Marc, and now with you sis and Christophe with Madelyn and Ava. It's a scam I tell you." Will joked smiling.
"It's just a gift he has I suppose, that or he's just lucky." Christine teased
"Five out of five, lucky? I don't think so, that my dear is called pure skill." Erik gloated some more as Juliana handed him Ava and Madelyn.
"Hello, my little beauties. Grandpapa is going to spoil you both rotten," Erik smiled as he handed them to his son in law who was in complete awe of his two daughters.
"Annette, let me see our strong strapping Marc," Erik bellowed as he crossed the room to see the little boy, "He's going to be a strong one, I can tell," Erik smiled as he handed the baby boy back to his parents and looked at his whole family bumbling around all of his grand children either being held or running around and he felt a tremendous surge of happiness. He had come so far from that shadow of a man he once was in the catacombs of the opera and it was all because of one women.
"Hello darling," Christine smiled at her husband of 22 years and kissed him passionately, "How are you this fine afternoon?' she asked, smiling brightly.
"I'm perfect every day, because I have you mon amour," Erik cooed as he kissed Christine's neck softly.
"And I you, well….most of the time," Christine teased as Erik playfully acted hurt.
"We've been through it all, and look at us now, we are happy with children and grandchildren and a beautiful life. I couldn't have asked for anything more, my darling," Christine whispered.
"J'taime Mon amour," Erik whispered back as he kissed the love of his life over and over again.
"Say you'll share with me one love one lifetime-"Erik began
"No, Erik, love me, guard me and guide me not for one lifetime but for all of eternity my love. That's all I ask of you."
Both of them smiled and embraced, the love they share for one another radiating off of their every pore.