This fic was purely a product of my muse. It's not very long and is a bit quickly paced. Likely all of the chapters in it will be up within three days. For those of you reading A Summer's Resolution, don't worry. I just needed a bit of a break, but I have most certainly not abandoned it.
Summary: What if, one week before the events of Hannibal, Erik was granted one day of happiness, one day in the light with his Angel? It's mostly a mixture of Susan Kay and AWL's stage production. It's fairly fluffy and my Erik is much less dark than I usually write him; however still heed the angst warning. Finally, I realize this theme has probably been done before, but I hope this comes out differently.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in this story. The Phantom of the Opera belong to Gaston Leroux. Many of the themes belong to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Susan Kay.
Had there ever been a time in his wretched life worth living, it was during these surreal moments when he sat gazing at her through the mirror. He watched as she smoothly stroked the brush through her thick mass of chocolate curls. He watched as she daintily pinched her cheeks, attempting to place a little color into her snow white skin. He watched as she propped her head up in her hand on the dressing table, daydreaming to herself of times long past. The barrier between them was ever so thin, just a sheet of glass that separated night from day. At the same time, he knew, they were worlds apart.
On this particular evening, she was gathering up her scanty chorus girl costume from Hannibal, preparing to go home for the night. Picking up the skirt and ballet shoes into her tiny hands, she let out a soft groan as one of the slippers fell out of her grasp and onto the floor. With a sigh, she bent down and retrieved it. He now noticed that her eyes had dark rings around them and that her shoulders seemed to slump more than usual. Perhaps between their lessons and rehearsals for the upcoming opera, she was being worked too strenuously.
It had been his original intent to leave her alone for the night without a word from her Angel, but, now seeing her in all of her splendor, he could not resist speaking to her. Her sweet voice was like a powerful drug, and he needed to hear it tonight to soothe his mind. "Your singing has been improving immensely in these last several lessons, Christine," his haunting voice sounded throughout the little dressing room. "I am very pleased." A feeling of bliss went through him when her face lit up at the sound of her Angel of Music.
"Angel," she whispered, immediately setting her items down and looking up to the sky. "Thank you. Your kind words mean everything to me."
"I only grant praise where it is warranted, child. I vow that you shall soon find your talent appreciated, not only by myself, but by all of Paris. Of course, there is still much work to be done."
Christine clasped her hands together, her face aglow. "Angel, you are too kind to me. I am only a chorus girl, though. No one shall ever give me such a chance."
There was a short silence. "Concern yourself only with taking your voice to new and expanded heights, Christine. Leave all other matters to me. Have faith in your Angel of Music."
"Yes, Angel. I do." She suddenly lowered her head and gazed around the room, as if sensing the voice was nearer than the heavens. For a second, she looked directly toward the mirror and directly at him. His breath caught in his throat. Surely, she could not know...
Within a moment, though, her eyes wandered back up to the sky, and an expression of peace formed upon her tired face. He spoke again to her, his voice softer. "I shall allow you to rest now, child, for you have much work ahead of you."
"Thank you for your praise," she replied with a dreamy smile. "Good night, Angel."
"Good night, Christine." With one last glance around the room, she gathered up her costume, blew out the gas lamp, and left. The door shut softly behind her, and he was alone again.
Every bone and muscle in his scarred body yearned to reach out and touch her, to feel the warmth of her essence against him. For several months, now, he had watched her, pretending to be an Angel of Music sent from her deceased father. In her state of despair, she had eagerly believed. He soon found that he could touch her through his unusually pleasing voice, and that she could touch him through her angelic one.
It could be no other way, he knew. To reveal himself to her would expose her to a horror that no young girl should ever have to see. The sight of his demonic visage would destroy her for life. It would haunt her every dream. With a sigh, he left the looking glass and returned to the underworld where he belonged.
His head spun as he rowed the small boat back to his underground abode. She was like a lethal sickness, slowly consuming him. For so many years, he had lived contentedly in his solitude with no need of human companionship. On the day that he had heard her reluctantly singing for the Giry child, though, everything had suddenly shattered.
Her voice, though in need of training, was the most beautiful he had ever heard. Her face was that of an angel's. He had longed for her, to tenderly hold and kiss her, and for her to love him in return. How accursed was it to make it this long without giving a damn, only to fall to pieces for one woman? He hated himself for his disgusting desperation...for his pathetic human desires. He was supposed to have been above such things!
Often he had contemplated bringing her down to his world, but what hell would that lead to? Sooner or later she would see behind the mask. He knew that he could not take the disgust in her eyes. He could not take her expression of horror and pity and loathing. He could not bring her down here.
Once in his dark home, Erik collapsed into a black armchair and placed his malformed face into his hands, letting out a long and agonized sigh. The ache inside rose up and threatened to choke him, and a nauseating misery ate at his insides. Just to touch her once! Just to have her look upon him without fear for a moment. Suddenly, he believed that if he could have just one day with her, one day of complete normalcy, he would die in peace. Yes, just to have her in his arms once would be enough to satiate his unquenchable thirst.
It was at this second that he heard it. A soft, surreal voice deep inside the depths of his distorted mind. Would once really be enough? it asked. Would that truly satisfy your desires, my friend?
He froze for a moment. Had he finally gone completely insane? Had she finally driven him to madness? Did it really matter? He answered it. "Yes," he hissed into the dark emptiness. " I shall never ask for more."
And you shall allow her peace? the voice asked.
"Yes!" he hoarsely screamed. "I promise that I shall remove my demonic presence from her life! Just for one day with her in heaven."
Very well it whispered. You shall have from sunrise to sunset and no more, my friend.
Enormous exhaustion overwhelmed him, and Erik collapsed back into the leather chair. A fog of darkness overtook his mind, and he fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.
He awoke many hours later with a stiff back and sore shoulders from sleeping in an awkward position in the armchair. Along with Christine, his age, it seemed, was starting to get to him. Rubbing a hand over his masked face, Erik let out a groan and got up, forgetting the events of last night. He removed the mask and began to splash ice cold water upon his face, trying to clear the haziness from his mind. Suddenly, he sensed that something was somehow different.
As he ran his hands over his face, he realized that he no longer felt the bumps and scars of his mangled flesh. There were no ragged bones jutting out or disgusting lumps of skin. It was smooth flesh, soft and cool to the touch. He suddenly felt a giant protrusion in the middle of his face that had not been there before. It almost felt like a...a...No! It couldn't be.
Erik's heart drummed rapidly in his chest, and he flew to the one mirror that he kept in his entire domain. In one quick jerk, he ripped the red velvet curtain off of it and stared agape at his reflection. It could not be him! It was impossible. It was as he should have been.
His golden flecked eyes stared back from a handsome, strong-jawed face. There was not one blemish upon his entire visage, not a single crimson scar or marking. Indeed, he now had a nose, and one that perfectly fit the contours of his face. And his lips! No longer were they twisted and split but were uniform, thin lines. His dark hair was not sparse and wispy but covered his entire skull. He let out a gasp and stepped backward, wondering if he was in some perverse dream. The floor spun around, and the shadows seemed to close in around him. He crouched to the floor to compose himself and to try to make sense of what he was seeing. Then the words of the night before echoed in his head.
You shall have from sunrise to sunset and no more, my friend.
So this was it then? This strange gift? Whether it was given to him by the hells or the heavens, he did not know. But somehow, it was real. Getting up, he flew to check the clock upon the mantle in the sitting room. It was six in the morning. He exhaled, still not sure if this wasn't a dream. If it truly was not, then he had not missed much time since sunrise. Only one thought pervaded his entire mind, and that was finding Christine. Feeling as though he were floating in a fog, he readied himself to go aboveground.
Placing on his best formal suit, he took great care with his appearance. Out of habit, he reached for his mask before slowly setting it back down. Quickly he ran his hands over his face to make sure that he had not imagined everything. The smooth flesh remained. The nose remained. He let out a sigh of relief.
For one day and one day alone, he would go above ground without that piece of white porcelain. For one day, he would be as a normal man with his Angel. He hurried in his preparation, for every single second had now become precious. Every second was another second away from her. And there were so very few seconds left...