Disclaimer: I own Sophie but none of the other characters.
Sophie glared at the grey sky accusingly. It seemed easy to blame the weather for her bad mood; she muttered a few well chosen, if unorthodox, words before pouring the tea the doctor had demanded.
She didn't even know why she was here. This was all her mother's fault. As if she didn't have better things to do in her summer holiday than work for some crackpot. Why had she volunteered Sophie for this?
A shrill beeping heralded the arrival of a text message. Sophie read it sullenly. Things hadn't been going well with Vincent, her boyfriend, lately. She didn't reply to the text. It could wait. She spooned some sugar into the teacup, splashed in some milk and put it on a tray with a sandwich before making her way through the small, cramped house. This house didn't seem to make sense. None of the doors fitted the frames, all the windows were different sizes and half of the rooms weren't even used. Doctor Leroux just filled them with books and papers and left them to rot.
Sophie stopped outside the office door and knocked, balancing the tray with one hand.
"What is it?" snapped the clipped tone of Doctor Leroux. Sophie rolled her eyes. Who else would it be?
"It's Sophie, Doctor Leroux. I've brought your tea."
"Oh. Well, come on then."
She pushed open the door and stepped into the mayhem that was Doctor Leroux's office. A doctor of what, she wasn't exactly sure. Probably of mess-making abilities. Piles of books stood waist high on the dingy carpet and loose pieces of paper were weighed down by old teacups. Behind the creaking desk, in a dirty old armchair that was wearing thin in places sat a wizened man, his white hair sticking up in directions, wire-rimmed spectacles perched on his nose and constant frown lines creasing his forehead. Sophie manipulated her way to the desk, avoiding the many obstacles and set down the tray, unloading the food and drink. He watched her beadily.
"Anything else, Doctor?" She asked with a weak smile. He was about to reply when the doorbell rang. He left the room, grumbling and Sophie turned to follow him. But as she did, her arm caught on a pile of papers, knocking them to the floor.
Sophie swore and hurried to pick them up, scrambling around on the floor. They were all mixed up! She'd have to sort them in the kitchen, she decided, stuffing them under her jumper and holding the tray in front of her as the front door slammed, signalling Doctor Leroux's return. He glared at her.
"Are you still here?"
"Sorry." She muttered, hurrying past him.
Sophie returned to the kitchen. The sky was overcast, heavy raindrops splattering across the windows. Sophie made sure that the doctor was safely settled in his office before hunching over the kitchen tables, fumbling to shuffle the papers back into order. When the yellowed pages seemed to be straightened, she looked down at the first page, where the single sentence was written in a pretty slanting hand, most unlike that of Doctor Leroux
The Diary of Christine Daae
Sophie turned the first page over, placing it carefully beside the pile as she read the first entry. But it wasn't. Glancing through at the dates, it seemed that someone, presumably Doctor Leroux, had simply taken out excerpts instead of leaving the documents intact. But he had numbered the pages. Sophie carried on, wondering what was special about these particular entries.
July 14th 1870
I am tired of this opera before it has even begun. It is a shameful thing to admit but I cannot stand the trials that La Carlotta inflicts upon everyone involved. Even as I write I can hear her complaining to Monsieur Lefevre.
I wish to sleep but my lesson will be starting soon. I hope the Angel believes that I am making good progress. I do my best, but the Angel is strict and quick to inform me of my faults. But I shall do better. I must do better.
Sophie tries to make sense of the curious contents of the first entry. What was all this about an opera? Who were La Carlotta and Monsieur Lefevre? And what was this Angel business all about? She read on to the next entry which took place some time later.
September 17th 1870
The Angel is, I fear, angry with me. During my lesson tonight he seemed distant and unhappy. I hoped that my voice had improved. But he said nothing than to remind of my breathing control.
It is an unhappy time for both myself and my Angel of Music.
Sophie was about to go to the next page when she noticed a piece of paper clipped to the sheet. It was written in Doctor Leroux's handwriting.
The Angel's plans for Hannibal?
That made as much sense as the rest of it, Sophie decided wryly. But she carried on, reading the next page. It was for two days later.
September 19th 1870
What an odd day it has been. Of course, it is not yet over. As I write this we are preparing for the opening gala of Hannibal. But so many things have happened, the most extraordinary being that I have been asked to sing in La Carlotta's place!
During this morning's rehearsal Monsieur Lefevre announced to us that he is retiring. This in itself was not so shocking, as there have been rumours that such a thing may occur. The new managers seem rather unsure of themselves and were certainly shocked at Carlotta's attitude. Whilst she was performing the aria from Hannibal a screen fell upon her. It was lucky that she was not killed but she, of course, refused to sing tonight and left in quite a temper.
There were many whispers of the Phantom of the Opera. I am not sure whether or not to believe in such a being but Meg does, fervently. But why should she not believe in the Phantom if I can believe in my Angel?
"This girl has issues." Sophie muttered. She carried on with the entry.
In any case, Madame Giry recommended me to the managers and they asked to hear me sing. I did and I believe my Angel was watching over me, for when I had finished they requested that I sing tonight, and I shall.
I don't know if he can hear my prayers now, but I thank the Angel of Music and Father for sending him to me.
The other thing that happened today was that I saw Raoul. Oh, memories! They flood the soul. Just a glimpse of a face in a crowd, the smell of a baking loaf, the solo violin playing and I am taken to those happy childhood days when Raoul and I would play by the sea and around the village when I was just six years of age. They were happy times, truly.
But, to my disappointment, Raoul did not recognise me. I suppose it was foolishness to think he would. After all, it has been more than ten years Raoul will be watching tonight, as the new patron of the Opera Populaire. But now I must prepare for the gala.
I could not bear to disappoint my Angel!
Sophie couldn't help the smile that spread across her face at the girl's obvious excitement. How old was she though? And who was Raoul? Clearly a childhood friend and patron of the Opera. Sophie reached for the next page and then jumped as a roll of thunder echoed around the room and the lights flickered. Thankfully they stayed on.
She should have gone to pick up the empty plate by now, but Sophie was afraid that Doctor Leroux would notice the missing diary and she was eager to read on, now curious about this Angel of Music, not to mention the Phantom of the Opera and the character of Raoul.
Sophie quickly turned over to the next page but before she could begin she heard Doctor Leroux calling her. She winced and hurried out, leaving the diary on the table. He bumped into her in the corridor to his office.
"There you are. Have you seen-" she prepared to run, "-my fountain pen? I was sure that I left it on my desk."
"Did you look in the drawers?" Sophie suggested. He hurried back to his office, muttering vaguely. Sophie sighed. Her mother had a lot to answer for.
She turned back to the kitchen, glancing at her watch. She had a couple of hours before she could leave. That should be enough time to finish the diary and hopefully sneak it back into Doctor Leroux's office before he noticed that it was missing.
She sat at the table and began to read the next entry. She frowned. The writing was rushed and shaky, as though the hand that had written it had trembled all the way through.
October 3rd 1870
This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to write. And yet, I daren't not write it, simply because if I don't I fear I shall go mad.
I saw him. I saw the Angel. Or…
No. I must start at the beginning. After the performance of Hannibal, which was perfect, I returned to my dressing room. Once there Madame Giry gave me a red rose with a black ribbon tied around the stem. My first thought was of Raoul but…Madame said, "He is pleased with you."
It was not Raoul. At the time I wondered if it was the Angel, but how could Madame Giry have known about him? And then I wondered – The Phantom of the Opera?
Sophie stared at the page. OK, who was the Phantom? Was he the Angel? And what kind of ghost/angel left flowers for people? She read on curiously.
I was sitting in my dressing room just a few moments later when the door opened and Raoul, of all people, came in! You can imagine my delight, of course. Meg was correct; he had not seen me earlier on. He invited me out to supper, but of course this is against my Angel's rules so I declined. But Raoul was so insistent and he told me to dress.
As I was changing my clothes I felt a sudden chill come over me. It quite terrified me. I was just about to go to the door when I heard my Angel's voice! Oh, it was a terrifying thing. It echoed all around me in the manner of thunder. I must admit that I was afraid – not of his anger, but of fear that he would leave me. I expressed my fears but he, my Angel, said to look in the mirror.
I did. In truth, I did not know what to expect. What I saw was…it was so strange. As though the mirror had melted away and I was drawn through by a dark figure wearing a half-mask. It was so curious, I was fascinated.
God forgive me, for this was no Angel of Music. Although… when he sang to me, his voice could truly have made the heavens weep with its beauty. We travelled for some it and yet I remember nothing of that journey but his voice.
Our destination was that of a home beneath the opera house. A stranger sight, I have never seen. The spell his voice had worked on me seemed to fade a little and I found myself apprehensive. Who was this man? For a man, it must have been. He was not an Angel.
That knowledge in itself could have broken my heart. The Angel I had prayed to for so many years was nothing more than a man with a mask. Or was he a Phantom? For he was the Phantom of the Opera.
And then he sang to me again and I was awash in the sea of his voice. Such beauty… I was in love with that voice at that moment in time. But what I next witnessed drove all thoughts from my mind, so much to the point that I fainted.
Sophie snorted. God, women were pathetic back then. Passing out at the slightest thing. Well… she had been through a fairly traumatic experience. Wearing a corset. Maybe she was allowed to pass out occasionally, Sophie rationalised.
She continued to read but was interrupted by the beeping of her mobile phone. Vincent again. She really should text him back but she wanted to finish the diary. She turned her phone off, stuffed it into her bag and settled back down.
When I awoke it was the next day. I was still below the opera house. My mind was troubled and I was determined to find out exactly who it was who had brought me here, who had masqueraded as my Angel and deceived me for so many years. I left the room in which he had placed me only to hear music playing. I looked around the cavern that served as his home and saw him sat at a pipe organ.
He turned when he heard me emerge and for the merest moment his eyes met mine before he turned back to his music. Those eyes… I remember them so clearly. All the hurts that anyone had ever experienced was in those eyes. But there was something else as well, something that seemed to appear when he looked at me. Something that could all be called, as shocking as it seems, adoration.
I did not allow myself to ponder on this strange notion. I crossed to him and placed my hand against his unmasked cheek. He reacted most strangely to this. He seemed to relish in the attention I bestowed on him. It seemed to me that he was starved of human touch, as though no creature had ever touched him with kind intent.
And then, oh regret! I pulled his mask from his face!
For the briefest instant time stood absolutely still. The mask was clutched between my trembling fingers and his eyes seemed to widen in horror. Then next moment he had leapt to his feet in such fury that I was afraid and I fell back onto the floor, the mask by side.
He accused. Some of the foulest accusations and names that I was afraid for my safety. And yet, at the same it I felt unbearable guilt at what I had done, that I should have shamed him. I shall never forget the unfiltered anger that emanated from him. And at the same time his immense sorrow.
I had betrayed the man who betrayed me.
He told me that I could never be free. I was so frightened that I could not staunch the tears on my face. When he finally seemed to be at a loss of what to say, had vented all of his anger I returned his mask to him. He put it on and stood, staring down at me. I could not stand; my legs were trembling and could not have supported me.
He informed that he was going out for a short time but would return. I could not move but I managed to speak. I asked him his name, for I could not call him Angel any longer. Not when he was so clearly a man. So he told me his name before he left.
"Erik…" Sophie whispered. The name was foreign to her but it sound strangely comforting. As though she was Christine Daae and was calling for an Angel of Music.
Except that there was no Angel. Christine's sorrow was clear, rising from the yellowed pages of the diary in waves. She mourned for her Angel. Sophie felt rather sorry for her. Trapped underground with a psycho and with no means of escape.
I stayed with Erik for some period of time. A fortnight was spent in the labyrinth beneath the Opera Populaire. I found my heart longing for sunlight, for fresh air. And, I found, for Raoul. But at the same time I was not unbearably miserable during my time there. His music was the sunlight that fed our souls. It was richer and far more exquisite than any of the foods or wines he gave me. He has been working for many years now on an opera by the name of Don Juan Triumphant. I have heard but a little of it, as it is incomplete. What I have heard is truly beautiful. But any joy I may have felt fled at the simple knowledge that beyond that mask lay the face of death.
It is the easiest thing in the world to tell a lie. I did not let Erik know of the fear that his face caused me, not to mention his quick anger. And last night he told me that I may return to the opera house. I discovered that he has told the managers to give me the role of the countess in the Opera Populaire's new production of Il Muto
I returned to the opera house this morning. But I am not to play the countess. I have the silent role of the pageboy. I fear Erik's wrath when he discovers that his instructions have been ignored. Do not misunderstand me, I am not disappointed. To perform in any opera is a fine thing and although I would have loved to have a singing role, I am only afraid because of Erik.
But now I must prepare for the opera. Since my return I have exchanged but a few brief words with Raoul. He will be watching tonight and afterwards we are to meet. I only hope Erik will not be aware of the meeting. For Raoul's safety. I cannot believe that Erik would harm me, but I know that he can be violent.
Oh Erik… what have you suffered to make you so? Poor, unhappy Erik.
Sophie reached quickly for the next page. Surely something would happen. Erik didn't sound like the sort of person who would appreciate being ignored. But… was person the right word? He definitely wasn't an Angel. He wasn't a ghost but he couldn't be a true person. Perhaps he was something else entirely. And how bad had his face been? Back then people were shocked so easily. Was 'death's face' an exaggeration? She found that she was almost morbidly curious about it.
But to her surprise the next page was not dated. There was only one line on it, just six words, scribbled so fearfully and hastily that it was hard to read and ink splattered across the page, as though the pen had slipped.
Dear God, who is this man?
Sophie stared at it. What had happened to make Christine so afraid? What had Erik done? What had happened to them? She pulled over the next page quickly, almost tearing it in her haste.
October 5th 1870
It has been two days since Il Muto. And Erik has killed a man.
I write this in a room at Raoul's home. He brought me to his family's estate to escape the Opera Populaire. I cannot go back there. I am too afraid.
It happened during Il Muto. It was a strange and terrible night. During the first act, everything appeared to be as it always was. But as we performed, Erik's voice echoed around the theatre. The sound of it made my heart race as he demanded to know why his instructions had been ignored. A gasp escaped me and Carlotta instantly took the opportunity to snap at me in her anger.
We began the section again and this time Erik did not interrupt. But the most peculiar thing happened! Carlotta began to croak, like a toad! At first nobody seemed sure of what was happening until Carlotta fled the stage in tears. The managers announced that I would be taking her place and sent me to prepare whilst the ballet was performed.
But Erik, for some reason I do not know, saw fit to strangle one of the stagehands, a man by the name of Joseph Buqet. Buqet has… had always delighted in telling stories of the 'Phantom of the Opera'. Erik dropped his corpse onto the stage, in the middle of the ballet.
I could barely believe it. I knew that Erik could be violent, but to take a life? I was afraid; terrified that he would come for Raoul and myself. I took Raoul to the roof of the Opera Populaire. I believed that Erik would not find us there.
Raoul insisted that I tell him what happened, assuring me that he wanted to keep me safe from harm. So I told him of what had happened below the opera house. Even as I spoke those words, my heart ached for poor Erik. But that pity could not destroy the fact that Erik was a murderer and that he would hurt Raoul, dearest Raoul.
It was a strange night. It began in fear and ended with love. My darling Raoul comforted me on the roof, promised me that he would keep me safe. And he has – he has taken me from that cursed opera house and now we are engaged to be married.
But I cannot dismiss the fear that Erik will find us. So I have asked Raoul to keep the engagement a secret, if only for a short while. Just so that I can make myself believe that no one will harm us. It is easier this way.
I am happy here. But it is a happiness haunted by the tortured face of a man with features of a skull. Why can I not forget him? He cannot harm me here and yet I am still afraid. And not just afraid, but also sad for him.
I hope never to see him again and yet I dread the thought. Why can I not decide on one or the other? I want for nothing here.
Nothing except an Angel of Music.
Sophie stared at the page. Erik had killed, had murdered a man. Poor Christine. Poor Erik. His obsession with Christine had gotten out of control.
"Bet it doesn't have a happy ending." She muttered to the empty kitchen, reaching for the next entry. It was three months later.
January 1st 1871
Tonight Raoul and I will go to the Opera Populaire. We are guests of honour at the celebrations for the New Year, a Masquerade Ball. Raoul tells me that there has been no sign of Erik since Il Muto.
Sophie wondered exactly how stupid the managers were. A crazy guy in a mask running around and they decide to throw a Masquerade Ball. This seemed extraordinarily moronic to her.
We have still not told anyone of our engagement. I know this frustrates Raoul, but is willing to do anything for me. He even informed me that if it was not in my wishes, we would not attend the Masquerade Ball. But I find that I am not afraid anymore and looked forward to the occasion.
"Yeah, sure. But it went absolutely fine without any disruptions." Sophie said sarcastically. She paused, wondering if she had heard Doctor Leroux was coming. But he simply seemed to be shuffling around in his office. She hurriedly turned to the next page.
January 3rd 1871
Erik has once again become a source of fear for me. He attended the Masquerade Ball and made an attempt on Raoul's life. He has finished Don Juan Triumphant. It is to be performed at the Opera Populaire and I am to play the main female role, on his orders.
But that is not all that has happened. Yesterday morning, after the disastrous events at the Masquerade, I felt the need to visit my father's grave at the cemetery. I have always visited him when I am troubled and the desire to go was great.
I left without informing Raoul. I know he would not understand my need and I felt that there was no danger. But when I got to my father's grave I heard a sound that caused my very heart to near cease in its beating.
The sound of father's violin. I would have recognised it anywhere. It played the sweetest melody and I heard singing, the voice of my Angel of Music calling to me. I regret know that I was so foolish as to believe the voice.
For it was, of course, Erik. Who else would it have been?
Sophie sensed a slight bitterness to these words and she couldn't blame Christine. That was twice Erik had tricked her.
I don't know why he did what he did, nor what he hoped to accomplish. But Raoul arrived before Erik could make a move and they fought. I was frozen with terror, for the thought of either of them begin hurt was unbearable.
It confuses me. Why do I care for Erik? For I do care, even after all that has happened, all that he has done. After hurting me and those I care about, for deceiving me by mistreating my poor father's memory.
And yet, I still dread being without him.
In two weeks I perform in Don Juan Triumphant. Raoul insists that I perform, for he will try to lure Erik into a trap. I have no doubt that Erik will come. I dread it and yet I long for it.
But whatever happens, I know that it will be a night in which all things will come to a head. On that night Erik will come for me and I will not be able to run.
But I should be asking myself – would I run even if I could?
Sophie breathed heavily in anticipation. This was it. She was about to find out what happened. She turned the page to see the next entry.
And then her heart sank into a black hole of horror. There was no more. Where were the rest of the diary entries? She flicked through the pages again to make sure it was not muddled in. But no, it was all there. There was no more of the diary.
"That can't be the end." She said aloud in dismay.
She jumped, twisting in her seat to see Doctor Leroux stood in the doorway with a vague smile on his face. Sophie felt rather unsettled. It was the first time he had ever shown a positive emotion of any kind. She picked up the diary nervously.
"I… I was just…"
"Oh, don't start fretting." He said irritably, moving into the kitchen. Far more like him. "I supposed you'd find it interesting."
"I was going to bring it back. I knocked it over and it got muddled, so I was putting it back in order and-"
"Calm yourself. Now tell me, what do you think of our Miss Daae?" He said, taking a seat opposite her.
Sophie sank back into her seat.
"I… I don't know. I feel so sorry for her. Erik was tricking her the whole time."
"Or perhaps he was just giving her what she asked for."
She didn't reply. She hadn't thought about it like that. Doctor Leroux sighed.
"I have spent over twenty years trying to solve the mystery of the Phantom of the Opera."
"You mean… this is true? They really did exist?"
"Oh, it's very much true. The ruins of the Opera Populaire still stand in Paris today." Doctor Leroux said, taking off his glasses and polishing them on a handkerchief before perching them back on the bridge of his nose.
"The ruins? What happened? Why does the diary stop there? What happened during Don Juan Triumphant?" Sophie asked.
Doctor Leroux sighed.
"As I said, I've spent many years trying to solve the mystery. When I found that diary, you can only imagine my delight. Finally, a firsthand account! And yet… the diary ends before the final performance. I've been doing a lot of research, Sophie, and I believe I have a vague outline of what happened."
He settled back in his chair and looked around.
"But first, we need tea. You make it and I'll talk." An hour beforehand, Sophie would have been disgruntled at being ordered around like this, but now she did it hurriedly, desperate to find out what had happened.
Doctor Leroux arched his fingers so they met at the tips as he told the story.
"From what I have found out, Christine Daae did indeed perform in Don Juan Triumphant. Raoul set his trap. Armed guards stood all around the opera house, ready to pounce if the Phantom appeared. And he did, but no one knew. He went onto the stage and performed with Christine. And then he made off with her, mid-performance. He brought the chandelier down on the audience, killing many. The Opera House caught fire and was destroyed."
He paused as the kettle whistled. Sophie hastily poured the hot water into the teapot, fetching cups and spoons as he continued.
"It is my belief that Erik took Christine down to his cellar again, but they were followed by Raoul. What happened there is, unfortunately, a mystery. No one knows what happened and I doubt anyone ever will."
"Did… did they die?" Sophie asked hesitantly as she set milk on the table and sat down. Doctor Leroux sighed.
"I know for certain that Raoul and Christine did not die. Erik, on the other hand… well, no body was found but he was a magnificent illusionist, from what I understand. Perhaps one final trick was played on those who came searching for him. He may have died or he may have escaped. No one will ever know."
Sophie sat, holding her cup her hand, feeling the warmth from the tea. They sat in silence and eventually she said,
"He loved her, didn't he?"
"Erik, you mean? Yes… yes, he did. To the point of obsession. Perhaps if he had been less… less forceful shall we say, she would have loved him too."
"She did love him."
"You think so?" He seemed only half-interested in her opinion. Not through rudeness, but because he didn't feel it was worth debating if they would never know for sure.
"Yes, I do. But she was afraid of him too." Sophie said, rolling the thoughts over in her head.
Doctor Leroux smiled and sipped his tea.
"Well, I certainly wish that I could find out for sure what happened in that cellar. But for now I must simply take this diary and make sure it is kept safe." He gathered up the diary and went to the door. But Sophie stood up quickly.
"What happened to Christine and Raoul?" She asked.
"Oh, they married. Had several children. Lived long and happy lives. Their graves are in Paris, although they lived for a long time here in England. Several of their children lived here as well. Of course, this town is filled with people who have French descendants, myself included."
Sophie nodded and then looked at her watch. Her mother would be here in a moment to collect her. Doctor Leroux seemed to realise it as well.
"If you would care to read anymore documents from my office, you have only to ask, Sophie."
"Thanks Doctor." A car horn beeped over the sound of the rain. Doctor Leroux walked with her to the door.
"Same time tomorrow?" He asked and Sophie nodded with a smile before running out, clutching her coat around her to stop the rain from soaking her.
Doctor Leroux watched as the car disappeared into the rain lashed darkness before closing the door. He looked down at the diary in his hands and smiled. How strange that she should have picked up this document, of all those in his office. Not that he minded particularly. She was a nice girl, that Sophie de Chagny.
A/N: This was a present for a good friend of mine who read all of my phantom stories within two weeks. Sofe, you rock! I hope everyone enjoyed it!