A/N: Hello, all! Well, I'm still working on my other fic "Let the Dream Descend", but I decided to take a little break from it for awhile…but I haven't given up on it! This is an idea I've been thinking about doing for quite some time. For now, it's just a one-shot songfic,(using Vanessa Carlton's "Paradise" ) but if there's enough reader interest, I may develop it into a full-length story… (Not nearly as dark as this first chapter, of course!)It all depends on the reviews I get and what you guys think! I hope you enjoy!

Paradise

The candlelight flickered off the shimmering water as the small boat made its way through the labyrinthine tunnels. The walls echoed with the painful cries of a broken man whose very soul had been destroyed mere moments before. "Forgive me…" the girl whispered through her silent tears as they coursed down her pale ivory cheeks. She reached blindly in the darkness for the man at her side, longing for stability…yet she felt no one. All sound disappeared and she was wrapped in a blanket of absolute silence. Lost in a state of panic, she failed to notice a dull pain coursing through her hands. It was only after a drop of warm liquid struck her bare foot that she bothered looking down. A gasp of pain and shock escaped her strangled lungs…for within her palms lay countless shards of porcelain, digging into her tender flesh. This was not the remnants of a shattered mask…but of a soul which she had crushed and killed in a single kiss. "No…" she whispered as warm, crimson pain rushed from her hands and wrists, encasing her arms like a pair of scarlet opera gloves. "NO!"

Christine Daae's eyes snapped open, a mixture of sweat and tears obscuring her vision. Only after focusing her gaze on her husband's sleeping visage did she allow herself a calming breath. Sometimes she feared she would never get used to these disturbing nighttime visions…for they had always been the same... ever since the night she had doomed herself to a lifetime in Hell.

Once upon a year gone by, she saw herself give in…

Every time she closed her eyes, she saw what could have been…

The familiar sting of tears once again prickled the corners of her already-red eyes. Not wanting to wake Raoul from his quiet slumber, Christine buried her face within the folds of the velvety blankets. The pain which had moments earlier shot through her hands now stabbed within her chest, shortening her breath with each sob that escaped her trembling lips. Every night was the same. The same unbearable nightmare, the same suffocating pain, the same endless misery…the same yearning for a blissful death…and the same feeling of hopelessness as she awoke the next morning, alive and well. If only she had the courage to bring herself the release which she so desired.

Well nothing hurts and nothing bleeds when covers tucked in tight…

Funny when the bottom drops how she forgets to fight…to fight…

Knowing that sleep would not come, Christine slipped silently out of bed and tiptoed towards the door, the only sound her nightgown swishing against her slender legs. She soundlessly snuck past the servants' quarters and descended the winding staircase towards the library. After fumbling around for the doorknob, Christine swung the heavy oak door open with a slight creak and made her way inside. Stumbling her way through the darkness, she found the fireplace at the far end of the room and, using a candle she had found in the hall, set the fire ablaze.

The flames flickered across her tear-stained face as she approached Raoul's liquor cabinet. God, she needed a drink! Nearly missing the glass on her first attempt, she finally managed to pour herself a glass of smooth brandy. Christine raised the glass to her lips and took a slow sip, letting the burning liquid course down her dry throat. Sighing, she took a seat by the fire, her glass of liquor hanging loosely from her right hand. A sudden glittering caught her eye and her gaze fell upon the stunning wedding ring which adorned her left hand. Though she wasn't quite sure why, Christine never took the ring off, even while she slept. Maybe it was to remind herself of the empty life she must now lead… Or maybe it simply served a further mockery of what she had become…

And it's one more day in Paradise…

One more day in Paradise…

She turned her attention to the glass in her outstretched hand, the amber liquid gleaming and glowing a brilliant gold. A pair of striking golden eyes seemed to stare at her from the depths of the glass. "Erik!" she cried, releasing her hand. Though the glass did not shatter, its contents bled through the carpet, turning what was once a pale cream a dull gold-brown. Christine held her face in her shaking hands, ignoring the stain on the carpet. Everything reminded her of him. Whether it be a pair of golden eyes watching her in a crowded room or a piece of music he had once played her…not a day passed when she did not think of him. Though each day brought some sort of new torture… a fancy party where she was paraded around like some sort of trophy… or a day spent alone while Raoul was out on "business"…Whatever the case, the simple thought of her Angel was enough to keep her going. He was the only light left in her now blackened heart.

As darkness quickly steals the light that shined within her eyes…

She slowly swallows all her fears and soothes her mind with lies…

Christine lifted her face slowly, her eyes finally resting upon the wedding portrait which lay on the mantle. Raoul's eyes were laughing along with his gleaming smile, his arm firmly around the waist of his new wife. Did he know then what he would become? She tried to find some hint of the distant, controlling husband she now knew so well in those smiling brown eyes. Yet all she saw were the hopes of a happy future with his new bride. "No," she decided, "He never intended to cause me harm." Perhaps this thought could help her forgive him.

The Viscountess's eyes now traveled to meet her own, staring down from the portrait. Her smile was like that of a perfect porcelain doll… false and forced. And her eyes…it was as if Christine were staring at a mirror rather than a year-old portrait. Her eyes held…nothing. Even then…even on what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, she was dead inside. Every day she would put on a show for Parisian society… playing the part of the blushing, obedient bride. Every day was a charade. What was the point of living such a life?

Well all she wants and all she needs are reasons to survive…

A day in which the sun will take her artificial light…her light…

Christine recalled the day of her wedding quite vividly. The only attendees from her side were Madame and Meg Giry… Raoul had invited over 300 guests of his own. The minutes before her walk down the aisle seemed a blur…yet Meg's bright voice still echoed in her mind. "Oh, Christine! Just think – a Viscountess! Isn't it amazing?" The memory almost made her laugh. She too once believed that her marriage would only make her life better. Unfortunately, she was gravely mistaken. Not only was she shown off like a trophy and plagued by nightmares of the past…but a mere touch from her husband was enough to make her sick. Ever since the night of their wedding, Christine found herself feeling dirty and disgusted with herself whenever she kissed, touched, or was intimate with Raoul. Unbeknownst to her husband, Christine would spend hours in the bath, sobbing endlessly and scrubbing her skin until it was raw, hating herself for feeling this way…and for longing the touch of another man…

And it's one more day in Paradise…

One more day in Paradise…

It's one more day in Paradise…

One last chance to feel alright… alright…

Her eyes now traveled to the far left of the mantle where a sliver of metal caught the firelight, creating a flickering dance of lights upon the opposite wall. Rising to her feet slowly, the Viscountess approached the glass display case which held the source of the light… a beautifully ornate dagger engraved with the DeChagny family crest. Her sweaty palms carefully lifted the glass and touched the cool, smooth surface of the dagger. She picked it up with the greatest care, surprised at its heavy weight. Kneeling before the fire like a sinner at the altar, Christine studied the weapon, staring at her puffy red eyes which reflected in the blade.

Surely Erik could no longer be alive… she had destroyed him that night…what reason did he have to live? She brought the blade down upon her left wrist, letting it rest there, shining in the firelight. Yet all the sins she had committed… against herself, her husband, and her Angel… how could the Lord welcome her into his arms? If there was any justice in the world, that is where her Angel now rested… blessed with an eternity of the happiness he so deserved… Perhaps if she prayed hard enough, she would be able to see him again. Christine snapped her eyes shut; the only sound the flickering flames and the beating of her heart. She began to pray…for Erik and for herself… the hand which held the knife quivered in fear as her eyelids were slowly lifted…

Don't pretend to hold it in, just let it out…

Don't pretend to hold it in, just push it out…

Don't you try to hold it in just let it out…

Her trembling hand pressed the cool metal harder upon her perfect ivory skin. She suddenly felt the same pain that often plagued her dreams…like shards of porcelain piercing her skin…yet it was the knife blade, digging into her soft flesh. With a small gasp of pain, Christine withdrew the dagger from her wrist, leaving a trail of warm blood behind it. She had only made a small incision… yet the pain was too much to bear… "Forgive me, Erik… I am a coward!" she cried. Without bothering to return the dagger to its case, Christine fell to the floor, shaking and sobbing. God had cursed her with cowardice… she would never be free.


Don't you try to hold it in…

You hold it in…

After laying there for what seemed like hours, Christine was startled by the chiming of the mantle clock. It was already four o'clock. Surely the servants would we waking soon to start the day. Wiping her eyes as much as she could and trying to stop her wrist's bleeding, the Viscountess made her way towards the stairs, disregarding the lit fire, spilt liquor, and bloodstained carpet. She would come up with an excuse in the morning. As she ascended the winding stairway and glanced up at the portraits of the proud DeChagny line, Christine felt a mixture of pain and fear constrict her chest. The hard, cold eyes of the Viscountesses from years past seemed to stare down at her with pure hate. Was that what she had doomed herself to become? A bitter old woman with no heart? Christine feared that she already knew the answer.

And it's one more day in Paradise…

One more day in Paradise…

It's one more day in Paradise…

One last chance to feel alright…

Christine crept back into the silent bedroom, closing the door behind her with a dull thud. Before slipping beneath the covers, she stared at the pleasant, sleeping face of her husband. Although he was not always the best husband, Christine knew in her heart that he truly loved her…and that thought ate her up inside. He deserved so much better than her… even Erik, whom she loved above all others, deserved better. Yet she could not quench the selfish urge to be in his arms once again… to feel his lips upon hers… Christine sighed with hopelessness and one again slipped between the sheets beside Raoul. Moments after closing her eyes, she started at a feeling of movement next to her. "Are you alright, Christine?" her husband whispered, caressing her hair gently. "You're crying." His wife forced a smile. "Yes, yes… it was just a dream, that's all." With a look of relief, Raoul kissed her forehead softly and wrapped his arms around her. "You're safe with me, darling. I love you." Christine fought back a sob. She bit her lip as silent tears rolled slowly down her face. "I don't deserve your love…" she muttered. "What was that, darling?" Christine lifted her head. Her soft blue eyes were met with a pair of deep brown ones… yet in her mind, she saw herself staring into a pair of bright golden orbs, singing her an intoxicating love song with their powerful gaze. "I said...I love you too." And she meant it…for it was not Raoul she was speaking to, but the Angel she had destroyed so long ago…

Once upon a year gone by, she saw herself give in…

Every time she closed her eyes, she saw what could have been…

A/N: Please review! :)