Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the Latin Mass parts. (Which are, by the way, singularly haunting no matter how they are arranged.) This is a Webber/Leroux mix; therefore Erik is still alive after Christine's death. However, since there is so much less backround to the musical, I've had the Phantom write the Masses that he did in the original.
When he heard, it was snowing.
Erik – the Angel, the Phantom – did not know before anyone else. He had not seen her in almost fifty years. He read it in the paper.
"Christine, the Vicomtess de Chagny, beloved wife and mother, departed from this life Sunday morning."
And it went on, listing her children, her grandchildren, her song, all that she had done. How she would be missed. How she had been loved.
And he gazed out the window of his small, hidden home. She was gone. But then, she had been gone for a very long time. And there was just one thing, one final thing, that he must do.
He rose, and walked, slowly, into his study. There, tucked neatly in a desk drawer, were two manuscripts. He lifted them one out, running his old fingers over the worn, faded pages, and smiled sadly. "You will be heard," he murmured.
The bell rang. A maid answered it, and found only a package on the steps. On it was the name of the Vicomte de Chagny. There was no address.
She frowned, and looked up and down the boulevard. No one was there, so she took the package back inside. She hated to disturb the Vicomte now, so soon after…but perhaps it was important. She took it to the library.
Dear sir, the note inside read.
It would seem ironic to offer my condolences. But nonetheless, I know you loved her, and so I do.
And that was all. Tied with a black ribbon was the score for a requiem mass.
It was a large church, so there were plenty of shadows. He was a little surprised by how few mourners were present. But perhaps the family had needed to do this privately.
The casket, before the altar, was closed. He was glad. She would always be young to him, that way.
He felt much too sentimental.
The organist began to play, softly, as the priest and acolytes processed in. The choir's voices blended together. One, though, one of the grandchildren, was singing as well. Though she had only a fraction of Christine's gift, her voice was sweet and clear. The mass began.
Lord have mercy…
Christ have mercy…
He listened as the liturgy progressed. He had very, very rarely done anything like this before. It was strange, seeing the Vicomte in black, kneeling in prayer, all the family around him. He could see her face in some of them.
This was the first time he had heard any of his work sung this way. There had been Don Juan Triumphant, of course, but that had all been a trap. Now it was sung for what it was.
"Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis..."
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will…
In his shadows, the Phantom laughed softly. He had to wonder, sometimes, why he had written all this. It was not as if he had ever had a chance to believe in God.
"Hoc est Corpus Meum."
This is My Body.
But somehow, he knew. This, a mass, a requiem, was the most fitting way to remember.
"Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, dominus deus sabaoth…"
Holy, holy, holy lord, God of power and might…"
The Our Father began. The chanting – sad, and yet a little hopeful – filled the church.
"Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum…"
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…
He had another mass. The wedding mass. But that one – he had not unfolded its pages in many, many years. And it would never be heard. Once, he had hoped. But this one, at last, had been chosen.
Though he knew it had been chosen very long ago.
"Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis…"
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: have mercy on us…
And she'd thought he was an Angel of Music.
Of course, he reflected, that sort of doctrine would never have passed with a priest. They were very careful, sticking to their counsels and Vulgate and matters like that. He really didn't have a terribly clear idea of it all.
"Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem."
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: grant us peace.
The child, he realized, the one singing: she was crying. Very calmly, not sobbing, just letting the tears fall and swallowing hard between verses.
Then communion, the closing rites, and the final hymn. And suddenly, it was all over. The black-clad mourners drifted from the nave.
The Vicomte was the last to rise. Erik watched him slowly getting to his feet, and walking to the end of the pew. Painfully, he genuflected.
Go, Erik thought. But instead, the old man made his way over to a tiny side chapel, lit only by one candle that flickered behind red glass. Even Erik, who had entered very few churches in his life, knew what it meant – it was the signal of the presence of God.
Or so he had been told.
The Vicomte knelt again, before the tabernacle. Erik could only just see the shaking of his shoulder as he wept before his Lord.
He loved her. And she was happy.
The old, tired shadow nodded gravely to the coffin, and to the bowed back of his ancient rival, and quietly slipped away.
A/N: I really wasn't sure what was going to come out when I started this; thus, I suppose, the ramble-ish-ness. I think this story was partly brought about by the fact that very few fics address the fact that most of the POTO characters are Catholic. But nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed it, and take the time to drop a review.