Rated: PG-13 (T)
Summary: Erik was dying when he asked Christine to bury him when he died. A year's past, Erik's dead and she hasn't returned. Guilt is only part of her curse. (OneShot). Leroux and movie based.
Disclaimer: I do not and will never own Phantom. It all belongs to Andrew Lloyd "bloody" Webber. Lucky man…
A/N: This little dark piece was inspired by none other than Edgar Allen Poe. Take him and throw in the Phantom soundtrack and you get a crazed story written by a Phangirl. And I would like to dedicate this to everyone who has school starting. It's back again for a long year and don't we all get a little mad longing for summer? I hope you all like and don't forget to review! Comments make me happy!
His Dying Wish
I cannot sleep. I haven't been able to since that tragic night. For the last year I've been haunted by memories. Memories that refused to be buried.
I chuckle dryly at the irony. Buried. That's all he asked of me and I couldn't even fulfill it. I have always seen myself as a trustworthy person, yet why couldn't I comply?
I glanced over my shoulder to find my husband sleeping peacefully. I'm the one plagued by horrors and he sleeps at night with no worries. It wasn't fair. He could put the past behind but I could not. Of course, he's not the one haunted by the burning eyes of a broken man.
I scowled inwardly. It was my dear husband's fault that I cannot have a decent night's rest. Raoul didn't want me to go in fear it would be another of Erik's tricks. Erik…
Closing my eyes, I let his name linger on my cool lips. My Angel…
I felt horrible. The only thing that the poor man was guilty of was caring about me. I didn't deserve his affections and more so as I crushed his hopes with my bare hands.
I gazed intently at them, then, studying the petite white hands that he would treat so delicately. Almost fearing a harsh caress would break them into tiny pieces. It's very surprising that these porcelain-like hands killed that man. What a foolish stupid child I was.
Yet I allowed it.
I had been distraught when news of his death reached me in the l'Epoque. For days I mourned the loss of the man I saw as my tutor and friend. Sweet Raoul understood my feelings and let me shed my tears for respect, though I knew very well he wished I wouldn't. He despised the man deeply but I could never, not my Erik.
To me, he wasn't a monster, madman, or murderer. He was Erik. Simply Erik. Yes he wasn't a Saint but nor was he evil that he and others made him out to be. He possessed a beautiful soul that I witnessed through the beauty of his music and voice.
When my mourning ended, I went to Raoul and reminded him what Erik wanted of me. I owed this to my maestro. I couldn't love him the way he should be, but this I could do. I could bury him with the ring he promised me. It would do for his restless spirit to be at peace.
Raoul refused to let me leave the estate. He worried for my well-being, and despite his endearing protectiveness, I knew this must be done. Erik was counting on me to do him this one last favor. I couldn't back down from it for it would be bad luck.
But Raoul scoffed at the notion. He explained to me I couldn't allow silly superstitions control my life. I listened.
I didn't want Raoul to believe I was a child. I was a grown woman for God's sake. So to prove myself, I stayed. But a small part in me feared what curse might befall on me.
And now I know.
I suffer from nightmares of memories of him. I cannot get him out of my head. And Raoul sleeps like the last year events never took place. Like Erik never forced me to be his bride or he nearly died for my sake.
Of course he's a man. Men can control their feelings better than women. He wouldn't let the ghost of Erik bother him. He was strong and I…
I was weak.
How disappointed my maestro would be to see his student a wilted flower, the burning flame doused for good. He would not be pleased of how I turned out.
I don't blame him.
I'm disappointed with myself but only because I let Raoul keep me back on my word. I love my husband dearly, I do. Though I sometimes question the depths of my feelings for him.
Shouldn't a woman who's in love with her spouse be able to close the door on another man without second thoughts or doubts?
Yet Erik was never far from my mind or heart.
Am I back to that? Am I back to contemplate what man would be best for me? And he's dead. It never would have worked out. He was the night I was the day. He was all that represented mystery and darkness. I represented innocence and light.
Two opposites never meant to be. A love forbidden like the White Rose and Nightingale. Except there will be no red rose born from our union but death and betrayal.
I stared longingly at my husband, wishing that his love would chase away the demons of the night. I'm afraid it hadn't been strong enough I would have liked, but I thought it would be on the rooftop of the Opera Populaire when we had declared our undying love for one another. That had been the first time I verbally betrayed Erik.
God I cannot get him out of my thoughts! Why must he insist on remaining with me after death? Haven't I learned my lesson by now? I know I have yet he persists to lurk in the corners every way I go.
Sighing, I moved away from the window to return to the warm covers of my bed, away from the chill in the air.
Tomorrow night would be better, I reassured. Tomorrow I shall not think of him or my sins.
My problem hasn't faded. Instead, it has become worse than ever.
My misery has spread to Raoul and the household due to my short-temper and grouchiness. I didn't mean to be rude and insufferable, but I lay the blame on Erik. He hasn't left me not for one second.
The other night I heard him sing to me like the old days. It was one of the lullabies my father used to sing when I couldn't sleep. But it didn't have its usual affect over me this time.
I lay awake, hearing that incomparable baritone that gave me such thrills and stirring my blood that no other could. Not even Raoul.
Ashamed of my thoughts, I couldn't look my love in his face the next morn. Feeling guilty and spite towards myself, I snapped at anyone who spoke warm greetings. I couldn't put up with the idle pleasantries. My ghost did not allowed it to my displeasure. And I unwilling obeyed.
Night has come again and once more I cannot sleep. Raoul's up with me doing his best to lure me into that desired slumber. But I stubbornly cannot. I see him in my dreams. I cannot escape try as I might. Raoul doesn't know my suffering and I don't believe I could bear to share my anguish. He might think, "The poor girl child cannot sleep in fear that the bad man would frighten her". How utterly humiliating for a husband to ever think that of his wife. I couldn't live with that. So I kept it to myself.
He has now grown impatient at me. I see it in his face and eyes that he won't get any rest knowing that I'm awake. We fought about it. I didn't care if he slept. Right now I want him to let me be. I'm not a baby that needs constant supervision. If I don't wish to sleep then I won't.
Yet Raoul cannot accept it. He believes I'm being childish. For now it doesn't bother me. I would rather brood in the dark with my ghost hanging over me. At least he doesn't nag me like my husband does.
Raoul's gone to sleep in the guest room down the hall. I sighed. Lately I've been an unbearable handful, though at the moment I don't care.
Raoul's frustrated with me I know it. A couple nights passed and last night we tried to perform our couple expectations.
It had not been enjoyable to me like it used to. While Raoul made love to me, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Erik watching disapprovingly. I could sense his anger at me for loving a handsome man. He probably thinks it's like this every night, most likely the reason why I couldn't fulfill his one request. But he should know better…
I tried to block him out, but his melodious voice mocked me for being a horrible wife. I couldn't properly do my obligations without thinking of another.
Afterwards, I would not let Raoul hold me to relish in the afterglow. For what glow was there for me? I felt nothing. I was hollow and empty inside and out. I had no feelings to bask in.
It had hurt poor Raoul and we slept on our sides so we couldn't see the other. In the morning he couldn't even address me a "good morning".
Perhaps it wasn't that he's so angry about. Since we had been married Raoul was always putting on a happy façade and boasting about the married life to his friends. I truly felt happy in the beginning months. We're young and in love. What more could a girl want?
But it didn't matter what the girl wanted as long as she provided an heir. And I haven't done so.
I always wanted to be a mother, honestly I do, but at the time I didn't want to start a family right away. I wanted to spend time with Raoul for a while before we had children. I told Raoul this before and he agreed. He didn't want to share me so soon so I felt there would be no problem. But as time went on, that whole agreement depleted.
Raoul pressed for a child. And he pressured me into it every night up until Erik's death. I wasn't in the mood to love him like I should and so he relented. Though not entirely pleased about it.
I suppose having a baby now won't be so bad, but I don't feel like I'm ready to carry on those responsibilities. Raoul won't listen. I know he wants to pass his title onto his child. Yet how can I obey my husband when I don't want it?
Again the fault lies with Erik. I know he doesn't want me to have Raoul's child. He still hasn't forgiven my love for taking me away from him, though I daresay I don't expect him to.
Why can't this madness stop? Doesn't he know my guilt? Couldn't that alone be the punishment?
I want to live normally, but I fear that will never come to pass.
That has done it. I don't know what to do anymore. I refuse to let Raoul touch me so how do I get punished? I'm not allowed to visit Meg or Madame.
There was another reason behind this base decision. He still fears Erik lives.
I laugh at the absurdly of his mind! All I wanted was to see my good friends to relieve my stressed mind, but Raoul won't let it. He believes as soon as I arrive at the Populaire I would run down to the underground lair to be with my Angel.
How can I when he's dead? I accepted it. Erik's dead but his ghost lingers by my side as a faithful dog. I must admit I have gotten use to his presence. At least he's now an Angel and not some man hiding behind a mirror. But Raoul won't leave it be. Even if he was alive did he really think that low of me? I would never cheat on my husband. Never. I wouldn't be able to hide that sort of secret even if I tried.
So if I "did" returned to the lair, who would be there anyways? Not a living being that's for sure.
It's laughable really.
Dear heaven above! Raoul! Sweet vulnerable Raoul! My life my husband… he's dead!
I don't know to explain the sudden happening of this horrible news. The last I saw of him was when he went up to bed. The next thing I knew I was being called upon by Raoul's valet exclaiming, "The Vicomte's dead!"
I jumped to my feet and ran up to our room only to be pulled back by the servants. I struggled with them proclaiming I had to see my husband! But alas, they saved me from a disturbing sight of which Raoul was found. He was murdered.
I was ushered then to another room as the valet took off for the police. I tried to go to my room, but Claire (my maid) pinned me down fast and told me this was a matter concerning the men. I went mad. I needed to see him! I needed to know what happened! I wanted to go inside to find it had been a misunderstanding and Raoul was live and well.
When the police arrived, they gave me the strictest of orders not to leave the room until they have cleared the bedroom of the body. I wailed impatiently as they took their time. I had to see Raoul. I must!
But a kind older officer told me it would be best if I didn't see my husband's body at all. It was a brutal murder, something, he claimed in all of his years he never saw before. All he would tell me was that I wouldn't be able to recognize him.
The horrors I imagined what befell him! I couldn't believe it was murder! My light of my life gone forever!
I kept to a state of expressionless as I stayed away. I couldn't feel anything my body went completely numb. I shed no tears nor did I react. I was untouched by the outside world.
All I could think about was my beloved Raoul and the end he had come to. No man deserved that, not my Raoul!
Who could have done such a heinous crime? What purpose was it to send an honest good man six feet under?
And the question that shook me to my very core: Would I endure the same fatal death?
A few weeks passed. The funeral has come and gone leaving Meg, Madame, and myself along with a few servants. The rest I gave a holiday. The mansion was so dark and lonely that when I sent word for my friends I wanted them to stay longer. They understood my grief and did their best to cheer me up.
But it was no use.
Since Raoul's death, the weather has reflected my foul mood— dreary, bleak, and chilly. On the day of his funeral it had been a turbulent howling storm during the service and the burial in the family crypt. When I saw the coffin being forever sealed his death finally struck me and I wept uncontrollably.
I missed him! I truly did. Now the three men that really mattered to me were gone. I didn't have any man I could lean on for support. I had no love to turn to in my dire need.
I did have Meg by my side until I was told a dreadful truth about my husband.
I found her one day in a fit of tears in the gardens. When I asked what was wrong she fell to my feet sobbing about a secret she had kept from me. The guilt was chewing her up inside and finally she told me that since Raoul and I were engaged, she and my devoted husband had been partaking in daily liaisons.
I didn't know what to do once I learned of this, except I coldly turned away from my "friend" and refused to acknowledge her existence as she wept in her piteous guilt. She was no more than a stranger to me.
I was disgusted and outraged that the girl I once called sister and my husband were sleeping together. I never could imagine Raoul doing anything that would hurt me, yet he did and I mourned for the image of my wholesome Prince Charming. He would never bring dishonor to me.
When my anger subsided, my irrational mind took over. I had to be blame for this. I didn't please Raoul like a good wife should so he had to go elsewhere to find his release. Could this have been avoided if I just gave birth in the first place? Would Raoul even be here with me?
I fell deeper into my depression as I envisioned Meg and Raoul together, her taking him to places I could never have crossed as the harlot she became. I was livid to my being and hated myself. It was my doing that this misery fell upon me.
And all because of a memory that continues to haunt me. My fault. My fault. My fault!
The echoing accusation wouldn't leave. I began to see it in the many faces I see everyday; secretly blaming me that he was dead. I couldn't bear the burden no longer. I needed to rid myself from the hurt.
And there was only one way.
My attempt to take my life was foiled by the little Delilah. Meg caught me with Raoul's razor and managed to stop the flow of blood on my wrists before I could pass out. I became furious at her from preventing me this freedom, yet I found some of my pain already gone.
Watching the skin break and the crimson pouring out brought a relief to me than I ever hoped for. All of my worries, fears, and suffers were being drained out like the blood from my veins. It was invigorating.
After this Madame and Meg kept close eyes on me so I wouldn't try another possible suicide. I don't believe I ever will now that I didn't blame myself anymore and Erik never bothered me.
At last I was free from my invisible bonds that bound me to him. I was no longer his slave or student. I was now Christine de Chagny. I was my own person finally.
A month has passed since Raoul's death and my startling revelation. Madame and Meg left to return back to the Populaire once they were satisfied I was back to a sane mind. I was jubilant once more! Death no longer hovered over me or promenaded by my side like it used to. The lively bright girl has returned!
I was reborn and I couldn't be touched by my darker moods anymore. It was exhilarating. I was high on hopes and brand new days.
Ah, to sleep peacefully again! Nighttime was a newfound friend and I wasn't plagued by nightmares.
For the first time in my sordid life I dreamt of goodness and a world untouched by depravity. There was Raoul with a beautiful baby girl in his arms as the three of us danced in the grassy meadow singing merrily. I found my redeemed paradise.
My good feelings continued as two months quickly passed by. I spent my time with friends and I even sought out company with men.
Being a Vicomtess had its perks, as I was both rich and beautiful. It was hard to believe that almost over a year ago this young girl had aged dramatically. My youthfulness faded to be replaced by a solemn gloomy woman, only for it to be restored to its natural bloom. And I didn't waste it.
Men in all ranks of society courted me. The attention filled with me a giddiness I never thought possible. I enjoyed the extravagant outings and expensive presents as many suitors came to my door. I even took up singing once more for their pleasure and entertainment.
Oh the wondrous glorious feeling it was to sing in front of an audience again! I had forgotten what bliss it brought me before despite how rusty my voice had become. But I practiced, nonetheless, and I sang for my darling admirers and they loved me.
Especially the Count Frederick Brigham from Yorkshire.
It had been love at first sight when I attended Lady Tasse's party not long ago. Frederick was visiting France for the summer with his eldest sister, who was good friends with the Tasses. I was asked to sing an aria and when I opened my mouth, I caught Frederick's attention and since then we been inseparable.
He wasn't young or old, rather in his mid-thirties, but was alluringly striking. Frederick possessed such soft, silky mahogany locks that swept down his chin, though always pulled up in a fine ribbon. His eyes were so dark and deep, yet when he was excited they would turn into an intense storm of browns, causing my knees to buckle. He was a tall man, a bit taller than Erik, and he moved with such feline grace and refine elegance. Frederick was brilliant and quite an eloquent speaker.
I loved listening to him speak. His voice was so rich and sweet, like honey, and I never could get enough. Simple and short phrases would be my undoing. I loved Frederick dearly. He was everything my former husband was not. Frederick was married twice before, but both wives had died in childbirth. He never compromised his family name and was very old-fashioned in opinion until I came along.
On our fourth call together we spent the entire afternoon in his bed. I was surprised of my quick assertiveness in our relationship but it had felt so right to be intimate with this man. If someone had told me I would have done this, I would have laughed it off. I never was capable of being so bold with men, yet there I was making love to a stranger I met a few weeks prior.
But I was happy. I had a man in my life who doted upon me and worshipped the very ground I stepped on. I found love.
I smile in my sleep, dreaming of my dearest and what adventures we may partake the next day. Frederick said he had something special he wanted to give me… I hope it's a proposal! Madame Christine Brigham. Countess Brigham.
As my thoughts flittered over my possible new name, an old friend made his appearance.
I awoke with a stir to find Erik standing over my bed. The moonlight shining through made him all the transparent and I quivered. His countenance was downcast and his white mask almost acquired the same expression. Those once lively, burning golden orbs were extinguished and dull. No sparks could be found in his irises.
The very sight brought pity to my own eyes. Here was a man who was proud, arrogant, and in-control now standing defeated. It was unlike anything I ever thought Erik could ever be. Tears sprung to my eyes.
And his mouth opened! Out came a song! The once captivating intoxicating voice that lured me into the basements of the theatre long ago floated around me, creating a warm cocoon over my freezing body. It didn't hit me until after that the words he sang were that of the Dies Irae. The warmth that spread through my limbs was now chilly, as the last time I heard him sing that was the night before Raoul's death.
The sudden realization shook my soul and dread consumed me. What did this mean? Was Frederick going to die? Was Erik that obsessed with me that he would cross over to make sure I would be alone?
My fear quickly morphed to outrage towards the spirit. Why must he ruin everything? Why must he take away my happiness? Couldn't he let me live my life than torture me in Hell? Certainly I must be condemned by now.
Not in my own state of mind and coherency, I began to yell at my Angel of Music. I cursed him and his rotting soul to the deepest bowels of the eternal burning flames for all the torment and pain that he brought me. Then in a flash before my eyes I was standing in the middle of the bedroom, overlooking the scene of Raoul's death.
There he stood, alive and well, preparing for bed when a dark figure came madly in. Laughing shrilly, the figure stabbed my beloved over and over.
Stupefied, I stared at the bloody sight, which my husband was left. The police and servants weren't lying when they said he was unrecognizable.
The good-natured visage was now torn and shredded, one eye was missing and the other was reddened from his blood. His throat slashed multiple times, bright crimson blood dripping onto the bed sheets, completely soaking through. And the knife used was fiercely embedded into his heart.
I couldn't breathe nor scream as I gaped at the massacre. Then the murderer turned.
Finding my voice, I screamed loud and long, hoping that this nightmare will disappear.
Outside I hear the drumming of footsteps and then furious knocks at my door. Shouts were coming through, yet I cannot move from my spot to let them in. Shaking, I gazed at my clammy hands that had taken so much and gave so little. These very hands that killed.
Tossing my head back, I giggled like a banshee. Yes! Yes these hands had killed! And kill they will again! I am the destroyer of life!
Upon my bed I see the corpses of Erik and Raoul. They called my name, begging me to sing for them. And sing I did! I sang and danced for them, our requiem of love and death, the eternal song that has forever bounded the three of us in a triangle of lies, betrayal, and revenge.
It indeed was beautiful like Erik always said it would be.
I sauntered over to Erik and kissed his lips and giddily exclaiming my love for him. I placed the golden ring that he gave to me on his skeletal finger. He has it now. And now I am his living bride that he always wanted me to be. A living wife for a dead husband, not one but two!
I twirled around before I came face-to-face with Raoul's executioner. And what a frightful nasty sight!
Her raven mane was mangled and ruffled, her eyes wild and bloodshot, lips curled manically a brightly red against the sickly white flesh!
I reached for her, successfully gripping her throat, only for her to do the same to me! Gasping for air, we struggled against our ironclad hold as we came closer to the window.
With all of my strength, I shoved her through the glass, but I went with her.
As we fell, I heard the voice of my angel singing the Dies Irae.
You know the drill, go review! Erik is demanding them! Wouldn't want to disappoint him…