disclaimer: I'm not Gaston Leroux and therefore and own no part of POTO except the plot of this particular 'phan' fiction.

authorette's note: This fic is based on both the 2004 Andrew Lloyd Webber film and the Gaston Leroux novel. The events here taken place in at the end of 1869, during 1870 and beyond! In this story Christine was born in 18 53 and Erik was born in 1841, ( sorry Leroux purists but for this story I felt Erik needed to be a bit younger!). I want to try and keep this fic historically accurate, so please tell me if you spot any terrible mistakes! Thanks! Incidentally, this story is told in Erik's narrative and though it may seem a little slow at first please bear with it. Hope you all enjoy my fic, it's my first so I'm a little nervous! Please read and review, constructive criticism is cool, but random ranting is just plain lame!

Chapter One- His Angel Was Called Back to Heaven

1917, 27th June

Silence. That's all I can hear, stillness and silence everywhere. There's no laughing in the parlour, no running in the corridors, no chatter in the kitchen, no singing in the drawing room, no clattering of plates in the dinning room, no noise or signs of life anywhere. Even the birds have stopped chirping, despite the beautiful weather that today has brought with it. I suppose they know what has happened and are marking their respects in their own way. I'm a great believer in animal's intuition and I'm quite confident in the fact that they can tell that their special human friend, the one who kept the bird table stocked through winter and always looked out for their safety is now quite gone.

I want to call out to the birds, call out to them and tell them that they aren't to worry , for as long as I'm alive I will continue to look out for them as their special friend used to. She'd have wanted that and I must see to everything she would have desired of me, and more.

It's strange, after all that's happened in the last few days I feel quite tranquil and mellow. I'm neither angry nor outrageously distraught although I know that should be. I've been trying to cry, to shout or call out to God in despair; but all I can do is sit down in my chair, at my desk and stare blankly into space.

The children say that I'm in shock and that my emotions will gradually begin to surface but I don't believe that they will. I think that deep in my heart I'm almost happy that she's gone. Simply because now I know that she will be a real angel in heaven and will no longer will I have to see her confined to her bed and shut up like a prisoner in that little room at the end of the corridor, pale as a ghost and in unbearable pain. It's all over and now she can at last be free of all mortal pain and strife.

I must admit that I've been tempted to join her in the afterlife since I awoke and found that she'd gone there, I even took the poker from the fire in my study and placed on my stomach, quite prepared to stab myself. But I stopped. I picked up the cold metal instrument and put it back where I'd found it. I sat down in my chair and shook my head. 'No', I said to myself in a firm voice. She wouldn't have wanted you to do that. She'd have wanted you to join her only when nature intended you to. She'd have wanted you to support the children and the grandchildren, to look after the cats, to ensure that all her affairs are taken care of and she'd do as she'd requested of you, sing her requiem at her funeral.

So I continued to sit in the green leather chair, by my desk in my study. Apparently I sat there for hours without moving, just starring at the wall, I personally wouldn't know. Time seems to be passing by without me noticing. Little Charlie, though he's hardly little anymore came to me this morning to invite me downstairs for breakfast. He informed me that I'd been sitting in the exact same spot for the last fourteen hours and do you know what? Had you asked me I'd have said that barely fourteen minutes had passed since I first sat down. The children have said that my inability to judge spans of time is due to shock but I simply put it down to old age.

I have left my study today. I washed, shaved off the few, sparse hairs that sprout on my chin, changed and wiped any marks off my mask, only to realise that my white mask wasn't quite appropriate for the occasion so I replaced it with my black one. I then had a small breakfast with little Charlie and his older sister. Oddly, the pair seemed most perplexed when I began to talk of the weather and current affairs and they said in a most sombre manner that it was quite acceptable for me to discuss my emotions. To this I replied that I found my toast most dry. I helped tidy the breakfast things and after telling everybody present for the sixth time that I was quite alright and had no feeling or thoughts to discuss, I went back to my study and sat.

It was later in the day when I heard a knock on my door and footsteps approaching my desk. It was Charlie, who had come to inform me that his other siblings had arrived and that I might want to greet them. But I simply shook my head, I thought it better that they had some time alone to think about their mother. Charlie nodded and quietly left the room only to return a few moments later. "Father", he said softly. He approached me and gasped my hand in his. It was hard and dry, the opposite to his mother's. "Father", he continued. "I noticed that you are wearing your mask in the house. Why are you wearing it? You know mother hated to see you covering yourself when it wasn't necessary."

I said nothing to this, I knew full well that I never usually wore my mask amongst family, and I had no reason for wearing it now. But I cared not, it was my face, surely I was allowed to cover it whenever I desired? Charlie respected my silence and after a long pause said in a hushed tone of reverence, "Father, I want you to know that me and everyone else in this family loves you very much and that you are most welcome to join us and talk to us at any time. I understand how hard this is for you, you loved mother very much."

I swallowed. Although I was thankful for his sympathies, I couldn't help feeling that he was treating me as if I were a five year old that needed to have it's had held and tears wiped away. "Charlie, thank you for inviting me downstairs but I'm quite happy where I am, I will join you when I see fit. I appreciate your kind words but I'd rather you talked to your brothers and sisters than to me, and as for your mother," I stopped, I knew what I wanted to say but the words were stuck in my throat. I swallowed again and continued, 'as for your mother, I loved her with all my heart.' With that Charlie nodded and silently left and I was on my own.

That's when I began to write. I placed a sheet of paper in front of myself and picked up my pen, the one my angel had inscribed for me for my sixtieth birthday and began to write. Random words flowed from my pen and I began to remember. Remember all that we'd been through, my angel and I. All that we'd seen, and shared and endured. Our story, our remarkable tale that was ours and ours alone and I realised that it was my duty and mine alone to record it so that the world would be able to know it. So with that I took a deep breath and began to write.

authorette's note: Next chapter we travel back in time and the story begins! Hope you enjoyed this chapter and please, please, please review!