After much pestering from two lovely ladies, and going along the same stream as one of them (I recommend checking out waxing poetic in Aria) I finally got this one-shot written.

It's um...well...unique in the sense that it allowed me to delve into a style of writing I hadn't tried before; Raoul's perspective and changing tense from past to present as well as other little details.

It's a light mix of different Phantom genres with Leroux and musical more prominent. Mind you, it has an M rating for a reason, but it's no where near "explicit".

Hope you...well...enjoy. Ahem. Also, if you review, please don't give away the ending, thank you.

I can breathe easier now that it is all over.

Life and limb were risked within this deadly triangle of love, and I must say that I came out victorious, but not without some harm on my part. Forever will I feel the furnace of that damnable metallic forest and prison of mirrors. If it hadn't been for some lucky folly of my own, I believe the Persian and I would have been cooked alive. He would have made sure of it simply to have Christine as his own.

He allowed us to leave, though; the monster known as Erik, showing a shred of humanity and, if I dare say, love for the woman he had stolen. He bade her to return, and though I argued against such idiocy, she wouldn't be denied. After all we had both been through I couldn't understand, nor do I think will I ever understand. Nevertheless, we had come to an agreement; I will allow her to return, as long as I am with her. I would not risk her being stolen again by the madman. Three weeks after our escape came the message I had prayed to see:

"Erik is dead."

It had taken a considerable amount of effort to keep my joy from surfacing when I had checked the tribune that morning. Straightening my face, and choking down the utter exuberance, I approached Christine with a morose appearance, delivering the news by word and by text. When she broke down crying, lamenting over her 'dear teacher's' death, it wasn't joy that I felt any longer, nor pity, but anger. How could she find sadness within that...thing's demise! After all 'it' had done to her, to us, she still wept!

Plans for tea were canceled that day, as well as the next days that passed. She had locked herself within her room and refuse to come out other than to dine, and even then I could see the glisten of tears welling in her eyes. I ignored them the best I could, treating her with the same love I still felt regardless of her strange sadness. Though inwardly...inwardly I wished my foolish hand had never delivered the message. Perhaps, with time, her heart would have healed, and spine steeled to find no tears in his death.

When she finally emerged I greeted her with a smile and a kiss, and was surprised when she offered me the same.

"I am ready to return his ring, Raoul," she quietly stated, uncurling her small hand to reveal the bauble within her soft palm. My smile fell. Damn it all! I knew I should have gotten rid of that thing when I first found the chance. Though I knew she'd notice it missing and would frantically search for it until it was found. She had been through so much already...

I agreed, and since I could not get away from my meetings of the day, I informed my cabby to ensure the horses and brougham were prepared for night travel. I returned home, finding her sitting within her boudoir, waiting patiently for me to arrive; the ring securely held within her palm as if releasing it would have her lose it forever.

I ignored the stir of jealousy in my breast and smiled warmly to her, offering her my elbow to begin our travel.

We hardly spoke on the way there. She knew I was brooding at her decision, and I knew she was, again, on the verge of tears. The woman cried entirely too much and, like a fool, I was moved by them, have been moved since the day of fetching her scarf.

I couldn't help the foreboding sense that washed over me when the towering domes of the opera house came into view, a sea green beneath the light of the full moon. The rearing statues and Apollo glistened, the Lyre almost appearing real and ready to play. I heard her breath catch as we turned near Rue Scribe and I could feel her shaking with silent sobs. Sighing heavily I drew her into my arms, embracing her until the brougham came to a stop.

She exited the carriage, and when I came to follow she placed a gloved hand upon my chest, looking up at me imploringly. "Please, Raoul. I must do this alone." I frowned, and parted my lips to speak, but she lifted upon her tip toes to press a kiss to my mouth. "I shan't be gone long, my love."

"What if you become lost?" I pressed, the frown still drawn across my brow.

She smiled, and I saw once again just how she could have attracted that monsters heart. "I know the way. I will be safe. Please, wait for me. I will return in an hours time."

Conceding I lowered back into the brougham and prepared myself to wait for the longest hour in my life. Through the window I watched her as she walked away from the carriage until the cornflower shade of her dress disappeared in the darkness that shrouded the land. Only ten minutes had passed before I began fidgeting, passing my fingers through my hair, stroking them along my mustache.

By twenty I was surprised that I still had a mustache left!

I clicked open my pocket watch for the fifteenth time in just as many minutes, and frowning I looked out of the window again. It was growing close to the time she was supposed to return, and she still wasn't in sight. I was almost frantic with worry, but managed to keep myself attached to the seat. I had to trust her word, and what had I to fear now that the madman was dead?

But was he truly dead? I cursed myself when the question came to my mind, heightening my anxiousness. The tribune wouldn't falsify such information, not when the creature was a wanted thing. Chuckling at my fears, I relaxed within the brougham again.

Within twenty minutes I was up and taking the same path she had. I had to be certain that she was safe, even if I had to go down into the bowels of the cellars myself. There was only one problem; I didn't know where this secreted entrance was. I remember leaving through a series of tunnels to reach the fresh air, but in my desire to be far from the horrid place I hadn't paid attention to where we had exited. Why did I need to? I had no want to return.

I could not say how long I searched the grounds, along the street itself and even within the opera house. It wasn't until I was making my way back to the brougham, determined to prepare a search party, did I notice something from the corner of my eyes.


Her beautiful dress was soiled, undoubtedly from traveling through the dingy depths of the cellars, and she rested tiredly against a marbled pillar, her hair slightly over her smooth face. I approached her swiftly, taking up her hands and she leant forward, resting heavily against me in a soft shudder. She was so cold!

"Oh, Christine," I cried softly in surprise, and curling my arm around her I lead her back outside. Those cellars had to be absolutely freezing at this time of year and she hadn't taken a jacket or shawl with her. Upon seeing our approach, the driver climbed from his seat and gave a curious glance at the clinging form of my beloved. I ensured him that all was well, she was simply tired, and offering no words he nodded, then closed the door behind us once we had sat inside.

The silence was heavier than before, but she leaned into me again as the carriage jarred lightly with the pull of the horses. I took up her hand, pressing a soft kiss to the silken glove and held her fingers between my own to warm them.

The next day I had mentioned us being married soon, just as we had desired. Now with Erik no longer around to control her life, she had the freedom to wed without the fear of angering him. All I received was silence. It had been too soon to question, and I felt disgusted with myself in pressing so swiftly.

"We will wait, then. Perhaps the spring?" I offered softly, pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth.

She only smiled.

The months passed swiftly, surprisingly. My family hardly visited any more; I could tell they were quite disappointed in my choice of a wife. It was my choice, nevertheless, and I wouldn't let their derision sway me from what I wished. My mother claimed I had gone insane, but what would she know about marrying for love instead of status? As cruel as the thought might be, it is the truth.

Christine and I mostly remained to ourselves, but when we did leave the estate I could not help but find warmth in the looks cast our way. Some in surprise at what a beautiful bride she would make, and others in disgust. The latter were usually from women who had attempted to steal away my attention from the stage singer. Because of their failure, they hated both my love and I. I didn't care. I was happy. We were free.

I spoiled her with so many baubles, new dresses and other random articles to make her perfect for me, of course keeping in mind her own wishes. She wasn't just a plain child's doll to be dressed up and paraded. No, she was more special than that to me.

She was of little help in the preparation of the wedding; every decision that was made she either gave a smile to, or dropped her chin in a nod. Typical woman! I simply laughed and told the planner to pick what she felt would be right, then we had our tea for the evening before I placed her to bed and went to my own earlier than usual. The ceremony was to be in a week, and we would need to stock all the energy we had for such an exciting day.

I am not too surprised that only a scant number of people showed up to the wedding. My parents had refused to come, which hurt, though I did not change my decision to marry Christine. A simple opera singer she may be, but I love the woman, and that is all that matters.

The rain is still falling; it hadn't stopped since it began in the middle of the ceremony. The weather kept most people away, and in my stubbornness I didn't wish to change the date again like the Priest insisted. He was getting paid, what should it matter to him?

As I look into the mirror I can see her laying among the sheets of my bed, waiting for me to come to her. She had already been changed into a sleeping gown, one that is a little more revealing than what is normal for such attire. I can feel her eyes upon my back, see them within the reflection of the mirror and I smile, returning the soft one she's giving me.

My fingers skirt over the buttons of my waist coat, and I flush scarlet, embarrassed that she is already prepared for the evening and here I am, still within my wedding attire. I glance up from my shirt and into the mirror, thinking that I heard her chuckle, but she is only smiling. Breathing out slowly, I laugh at myself, shaking my head then continue removing my jacket and my shirt sleeves.

After my shoes are removed, I blow out the lantern, shrouding the room in darkness. I had always been a strapping lad, but knowing that I will be beneath the regard of my wife, it makes me comically nervous. I am bare by time I reach the bed and pull back the covers, and inching close to her, I wrap my arm around her waist, shivering at the cool of her skin and I know I should have closed the window. I go to move, though she shifts closer and the feel of her silky hair keeps me from raising completely from the bed.

Eager to be in my arms she leans closer as I rest down upon the bed again and I oblige, pulling her close and tentatively taking the first kiss since we had gotten home. Enticed by the feel of her mouth and the smooth texture beneath my tongue, I deepen the kiss, pressing my lips firmly. She melts within my arms, her lips becoming malleable beneath my own and I shiver as my hand caresses through her hair then over her back against the silk and lace that makes her gown.

Leading her to her back I urge her to touch me, wanting to feel her fingers against my skin, and raising her wrist, her hand is placed to my side. It slides down to my hip, and behind it a chill inspired by her touch. I rest her to her back, and breaking the kiss I pant a soft breath upon her lips, her jaw and lower.

"My wife. My beautiful wife," I murmur, brushing my lips against the sleek line of her throat, warmed by my heated breath and my fingers begin wandering again, trailing over the soft silk buttons of her gown. In my nervousness and excitement they fumble against them, shaking as one button is released, then the next along the line of her torso.

Murmurs fill my ears, and I shudder with the heated weight of them even as I brush aside the cloth, exposing the slope of her body to me and, with a shaking hand, I glide my palm over the silk-soft curve of her stomach and breast. I can't believe at how sure I seem to be, how controlled my actions almost are, but then I groan as her hand slips from my hip, resting to the bed and I ease her up to help remove the useless gown. Her head drops forward, her lips pressing against my throbbing pulse and I wrap my arms around her, tightly enough to evoke a precious little startled sound from her.

I apologize, loosening my hold and rest her again to the bed. I hadn't hurt her, for her lips are still curled in a lazy smile, one I cannot help but gently kiss. Her arms are wrapped around my neck, heavily weighing along my shoulders, pulling me close to her, and I shift, pressing between her smooth thighs.

"Oh God, Christine," I groan helplessly and she shudders at the shift of my weight. "Do you wish me to continue, I...I don't want to hurt you." My lips press to her cheek and her head turns to the side, exposing more of her neck, yet she doesn't pull away from me. Not even when I begin rocking against her, needing and yearning for the complete feel of her. I pray that she doesn't say 'no.'

A brief flash of lightening strikes the darkened room, illuminating her corn silk hair and pale eyes; glossy and half lidded in pleasure. I shift my hands to her hips and she arches against me. It is all the acceptance I need, and I press into her again, tensing as I nearly lose myself in that first stroke. Consumed by passion, I'm unable to tell if the gasp is mine or her own when I rock firmly and deeply within her, cradled by her all too soft body. Warmed by my attentions, the heat is almost unbearable and I shut my eyes, burying my face into the side of her neck, nearly sobbing from the pleasure of it all.

I don't want to hurt her, but I cannot help the wave of desire that fell over me. She doesn't protest, only rocks with each of my thrusts and lets her head fall back, eyes closing as her arms remain around my neck. Pressing my lips to her throat, I suckle upon the skin, drawing her own unique taste and muffle a soft cry against her.

"Ch-Christine...I ca-can't. I...Oh, God, I love you. I love you, I love you." The words spill freely as I do, until they're a tumble of nonsensical sounds, and my fingers press deeply into her hips. I barely notice the way it gives beneath my desperate grasp; her skin had always been soft and giving to my touch.

Breathing heavily, I chuckle as her arms fall from my shoulders, thumping listlessly against the tangled sheets; exhausted undoubtedly. Wanting to keep her near I press against her a last time and a soft gasp fills the air, followed quickly by a gentle groan. I smile and brush my fingers against the rouge of her flushed cheek. Sighing gently I take her to me again, rolling us to our sides and dust gentle kisses upon her brow, cheek and jaw. My fingers pass through her hair then I ease my head back to look upon her face. As the change of position causes her eyes to reopen, she looks upon me quietly.

She smiles and I smile in return, tucking my face back into her neck.

Though she sinks against me, warm within my arms, I know she's not truly here. She hasn't been here since she went down to visit him again.

Yes ... yes, I remember when I saw her in his lair. So beautiful with a secretive smile upon her lips. A lovely automaton that was only half finished then. A bit of wire frame and waxen features.

But time, money and patience made her whole.

Let people speak; I don't care what they say. She is mine.

My darling wife.

If she could be his ever smiling bride, she could be mine as well.

Yes, Christine is what you think she is. A little dose of Mad!Raoul anyone? Ha!