Disclaimer: I do not own the Phantom of the Opera or any of it's characters.
Armand was nearly thrown to the hard wall of his office, as he fell back upon seeing that where once had lain many scrolls containing the proper blueprints for the Populaire, there remained absolutely nothing but a fine layer of dust which marked where they once had rested.
"Firmin, what is the meaning of this?" Armand hollered, eyeing widely the empty desk top.
"I… I, well I don't know, perhaps, perhaps one of the construction workers came by to look at them."
"THE WORKERS LEFT YESTERDAY YOU MORON!" Armand shouted, and batted Firmin over the head with his own top hat, "It's the work of the Ghost! he's back!"
"He's dead" Firmin declared.
"Of course he's dead… but he's still here, can you not feel his presence?"
The two managers looked over their shoulders, and shook in their expensive shoes at the freakish silence that surrounded them, and both jumped into one another as they found Madam Giry standing in the doorway.
"I can assure you, monsieur's, there is no more Opera Ghost. They two of you act like you are five years old, now straighten up, I must speak with you this instant." She told them, calm and collected. She knew that whatever they were frightened about would certainly have had something to do with the Opera Ghost, but not the same Opera Ghost whom had haunted them before. Perhaps it was the Opera Ghost's wife who frightened them. Giry knew they had not yet been married, but were as good as married nonetheless.
"But…" Armand began, but subsided after receiving Giry's cold glare.
"I've got some rather bad news for the both of you, actually" Giry said, "For the past, Year or so, the two of you have mingled in this office, with the stage hands, and no doubt with my own ballerinas. I am not impressed."
Armand and Firmin stood silent and listened, both eyeing one another as if they didn't know what on earth the woman could be talking about.
"You have not met any management standards I have seen played out in our previous bosses, and it is my rather unfortunate job to tell to you both that you are being fired from the Populaire.
"FIRED!" Firmin stated with fury, "How? That's not possible!"
"Oh it is very possible. Miss Christine Daae has purchased the theatre from the City of Paris with the fortune she was left after the death of her husband, and you are no longer needed." Antoinette explained.
"But who will manage the theatre?" Armand asked.
"Oh, we have someone who will do more than just manage the theatre." Giry said, with a glint in her eye. "Have your bags packed, you have one week to find somewhere else to live." Said the lady, and she left their presence quickly. She had never meant to be so cold towards them, but truly they were a bunch of useless idiots.
"One week?" Armand asked.
"Something is not right here." Firmin stated angrily,
"Let's not bother, huh? We've had some good times here, but perhaps…" He looked around, as if continuing a search for a so-called 'spirit', "It is time to go. We'll find another Opera to manage, and we'll put this place out of business."
"You shouldn't follow" Kristen told Christine, as they stood together in the rotunda, "I have to go back, I did not leave on the best of terms with him."
"Just go, Kristen, I'll be fine here." Christine said, still wondering how this woman could descend so many floors below and be happy. Kristen fled from sight, running down the hallway towards the usual secret passage that she entered through. When she went to pull the trigger that would allow her access, she found that the passage did not yield. Her eyes widened, and her heart began to pound within her chest. She tried it again, it didn't work. What was going on? Instantly her imagination began to torture her, as it usually did, with explanations as to why the contraption was broken. She then turned to look towards the manager's office. There was a passage through there, but Armand and Firmin would be in there right now. The mirror in Christine's old room was broken, and… had Erik broken the door so that Kristen couldn't get back? Perhaps she had finally angered him enough… NO, she told herself, I am the mother of his child, he would never lock me out.
Kristen stood still, and listened. She knew that voice, she knew that whisper. And she also knew the two men who walked towards her down the hallway, the two men who looked like they were about to fall down and cry with fear. They had heard it too. She stood there, not knowing what to do.
"IT'S THE GHOST!" Armand cried. Oh great, Kristen thought. This was not what they needed right now. From the moment they screamed out in horror they began to run , but alas, Firmin dropped the papers he was carrying, and began to whimper.
"Oh for heaven sakes, the both of you! There is no ghost! GET OUT!" Kristen screamed. Armand frowned with large curious eyes. Who the hell was she to treat him like that? Kristen could no longer take it. Erik's behavior would have scared anyone who didn't know who had created the voice, but the fact that the legacy of the ghost would forever plague the theatre, with reference to Erik, hurt her deeply. "You heard me, I know you've both been fired, now leave! Before I kick you out myself." Armand picked up Firmin's paper, and hurried along, and Firmin followed after him, looking back at Kristen as if he'd just seen the Opera Ghost himself.
When the two were gone completely from sight and sound, Kristen looked around her, "Erik, you scared those two more than a child fears the shadows." She said, "Where are you?"
"You told me you wanted the passage changed, so I changed it." He said, appearing from the darkness.
She sighed, "Erik, I'm sorry for the way I left you down there, for my attitude towards everything, I…"
"Kristen, none of this can be blamed on you." Erik told her. She moved into the shadow with him, and fell into his embrace,
"I think the nightmare is finally over," She told him, "The last of the suspicious just left us forever."
"If you're referring to Armand and Firmin, I think they will carry the suspicion wherever they go. My worry, would be that they would carry this story to the press, for anger of being released from employment here."
Kristen frowned, "I suppose that presents a problem, but not one I wish to spend the rest of our days together worrying about. Now show me our new passage so that I can hear the Opera you've been writing." She told him, smiling up at him.
Kristen soon found herself upon the luxurious sofa within the lair, not so far from the Organ. The newest passage way he had taken her through was something of a total mystery, and she was determined now that she would inquire of everything he knew before their child was born! But not now, not as the music that filled the lair consumed her mind completely. This was to be the newest opera? She didn't know if the audience would be able to handle it, when she could barely think straight when the first key was struck.
She watched him from over the back of the sofa, her arms rested atop it's back, and her head rested gently on her arm. His hands landed gracefully over the ivory keys one moment, then forcefully the next, as the music played itself fromPianos to fortes, transforming from one animal, it seemed, to another, conjuring both sadness, joy, and lust from her very being.
Erik hadn't noticed that Kristen had moved from the sofa, to beside him on the bench until he was finished the score. "It's… Genius" She gently whispered, almost afraid to look up to him for the magnificence of what he'd just created.
"It's… for you, Kristen," he said quietly, darkly, everything the song made her feel was portrayed in his voice. The fear she was feeling only made her heart pound harder as she reached up, gently took off the mask he wore, and put her lips to his in what could very well have been the most passionate kiss they'd ever shared together. She parted from him almost gasping for air, then upon looking into his eyes, she nearly cried.
"Erik" she breathed. He stood and lifted her from the bench. She placed her arms around his neck and allowed herself to be carried into the darkness of their bedroom. His music had reduced her to this? He thought. She appeared almost trance-like. It was like a spell. He put her onto the bed, then as she sat, he sat beside her,
"Perhaps you should hear no more of this music until our child is born."
"What? Erik, why? It was beautiful."
"Because of the look in your eyes." he said.
She brought herself to kiss him once more, deeply and passionately, "The look in my eyes is my love for you, not completely for the music."
"You don't know what it does to me to hear you say that." he whispered.
"I love you" She repeated softly, kissing him again, with the music he had only moments ago played flooding back into her thoughts, her embrace to him wouldn't end soon.
"It's finished." Christine said to Madam Giry, "All the papers are signed, Armand and Firmin are gone, you are the new manager, Kristen is to assist you, and Erik is our official composer, I am your lead singer," The young Diva nearly fainted after reciting such a long list of positions without a breath. She couldn't believe how things were unraveling. "And there is an angry letter here from Raoul's family over how the money was spent…" she added with a hint of exhaustion.
"Do not worry, my dear, there was nothing they could do, or can do. You've done an amazing thing for us all, and for yourself as well."
"Are you sure everything will work out? What if people do not attend the first performance?" Christine asked with worry. She had reason to be concerned, after everything that had happened several months earlier.
"Everything will be fine Christine, I assure you, I already have the names of people who wish to reserve seats for opening night."
Christine frowned. "When is opening night? Where is the new opera? What is it called?"
"Opening night is two months from us now, I have our set designers working in the auditorium this minute, and the finished score is-"
"Right here." Kristen said, seeming to appear out of nowhere, and holding out a large folder of paper towards the ballet mistress. "Everything is in these pages. Madam Giry, I assure you, this Opera House has never heard music like this. The audience will be stuck to their seats quite literally when it comes their time to leave."
"You have heard it?" Giry asked the young woman.
"Yes" Kristen replied, "What Erik has put together, it's truly amazing. It's going to attract people from the four corners of the earth. Everyone will want to hear Erik's music."
"You sound quite excited." Giry pointed out.
"Yes, well, he played it for me, I have every right to be."
Christine watched Kristen and Madam Giry. Slowly she came to realize her hands were no longer still, but trembling by her sides. Kristen frowned at the growing fear in Christine's eyes.
"What is wrong?" She asked,
Christine gulped. "His music." She replied quietly, "Is too much for me."
"Nonsense" Kristen said, "If you only listen to it…"
"No" Christine interrupted, her voice growing faint, with the slightest prediction of tears in the back of her throat. She lightly shook her head, "This can never work, I remember the way… Oh God," She put her hand to her mouth, and found a nearby chair to sit on, she was growing weak already, just looking at the papers.
"Kristin, this is not good. We must do something," Giry said.
Kristen thought for minutes on end, watching the young diva sit there like a frightened child. Why on earth was she like this? Still, after everything she'd been through, she was never made stronger because of it. "Erik will teach her the music, until she is capable of singing with it."
Christine looked up, "I frightened." She said.
"I know" Kristen answered, "But like everyone else in this world, you must face your fears."
It wasn't long before Kristen had cleared out the auditorium of everything the set designers had been working on. There was a very large room on the other side of the building where props could be created there, but right now, the production itself had to be worked on, and Kristen thought it best to involve the best possible acoustics for Christine to sing with.
The Reunion between Christine and Erik had been an awkward one to say the least, but Kristen was becoming angered at the two of them for treating the situation as if it would result it the world's demise. They were to be strictly business related to one another, and now, Kristen sat in the front row, watching Christine stand on that empty stage alone, while Erik sat at the grand organ positioned out of the singer's sight, but not out of Kristen's.
"Begin on the next note after the first four beats" Kristen heard Erik instruct her. Christine already knew the words well, and didn't sing as badly as Kristen had predicted after being out of training for so long. As it seemed after this rehearsal, everything would work out fine, until she saw the look in Christine's eyes as one of the darkest parts in the song came upon her. The girl would fall from the stage, she could see it now.
"Erik… Stop" Kristen ordered, and the auditorium was filled once more with silence, and the lingering sound of the lowest octave G, hovering about the three of them. "Christine… are you going to be ok?" Kristen asked.
The girl looked down at Kristen, then over the pipes of the organ, "I'm sorry." She said.
"Focus on your character, focus on the story, try not to trouble yourself with the music behind your lines." Erik said, rather emptily. Kristen raised a brow, she could tell he was disgusted with the mere thought of tuning out the music, but obviously the girl had to, otherwise she would fall flat on her face opening night in front of an audience full of Paris's upper crust. At this thought, Kristen burst out laughing, Erik turned and looked at her through the mask he wore, and through wide surprised yet somehow darkened eyes.
"Sorry," She squealed through her humor, "Please," she let out a slight giggle, "Please continue."
"Pull yourself together, this is not to be made a mockery." He ordered.
Kristen sighed lightly, sitting back and watching him. He was something else, had Christine not been on that cursed stage she would have done a lot more with him than just sit there and listen.
The music started once more, and Kristen closed her eyes, and listened to little miss Daae. It wasn't a wonder that Erik had fallen for that voice, it was beautiful. She sang wonderfully, without a doubt.
It took all evening, but eventually Christine was ready enough to get through the first act without becoming dazed.
"It will take a life time before she gains enough sanity to…"
"It's fine," Kristen said, after the first tedious rehearsal. Christine was gone, and Kristen sat with Erik inside box five once more, the silence surrounding them. "Everything will be fine…oh"
Erik looked at her peculiarly,
"What is it?" He asked her. She smiled at him then, with a hand to her stomach,
"I felt something." she said.
"But you are not so far along."
"I know." She told him, "But I felt something." she repeated warmly, and kissed him gently. "Erik, it's your child, moving." she told him. He smiled at her, and caressed her cheek,
"It's ours." he told her lovingly.
Just as Madam Giry had said, it took a mere two months for everything to be ready, the set, the dancers, the singers, and the audience. It was opening night, and Kristen sat once again in the first row, only this time she tore the program to shreds with her nervousness, and mentally complained about the makeup she had forced herself to wear to cover the burn scars on her forehead so as not to allow anyone in her presence whom she was not trustworthy friends with to see them. It was a shame, but perhaps now she began to understand Erik's constant attachment to his mask. She smiled, somehow she would rather become more like him than make him more like herself. She looked down at her lovely dark red gown, at four months, she could now officially be labeled pregnant at first glimpse, although she knew she still had a long way to go with this child of theirs.
No one knew who it was who sat at the organ and began the first act, for Erik had made it so that he would be enshrouded in shadow from every point of view of the audience. How clever, Kristen thought, she could not even see her beloved, whom she was destined to marry only a week from this very day. They had planned everything, it would be a small wedding, with only him, Kristen, Madam Giry, Meg, and Nadir, who had agreed to return. In one of Meg's letters that she sent, she explained everything, including that Nadir had returned to his position as Daroga, after telling of his situation with Meg, daughter of the woman who saved a very famous assistant to Mazenderan.