Disclaimer: Don't own POTO…

A/N: A little horror-ish one-shot so that I don't go totally insane. If you're easily offended, I wouldn't suggest going out of your way to read the gory bits but do please yourselves… Please read and review… it amused me, at least.

Summary: Erik likes beautiful things. He keeps them in his cupboard. Jewels, little pieces of shell…his mother's eyes. But he has never seen anything as beautiful as Christine's heart. And he has just the place for it… next to his other perishables.

Beautiful Things

The heavy oak doors swung open with a loud creak. This was Erik's cupboard in his lair where he kept his beautiful things and he smiled happily as he gazed upon the objects inside the little room, lining the shelves. Every day at the same time, he would open the doors and look upon the beautiful things he had collected over the years. But he would not touch… no, he would not touch.

And he would not enter… You see, Erik was not beautiful like his beautiful things and he could not go into the cupboard with them as that would be blasphemous. No, he was content to just watch… until he wished to add something…

Then, he would find the new beautiful thing that had caught his wandering attention and he would get it down to his lair before retrieving his most beautiful thing to place it on the shelf for him. His most beautiful thing had a name… she was called Christine Daaé and he thought even that was beautiful. She would look at him strangely before doing as he asked and placing the beautiful thing on the shelf with all of the rest of his beautiful things…

Today, he had found a particularly lovely piece of shell on the shore by his lake and he had had to have it in the cupboard with his other beautiful things. Of course, he did not keep his most beautiful thing in the cupboard with the others. No, she was too special… too living… But one day – one day…

"Beautiful Christine," he called from his room. "I have a small task for you, my love…"

"What is it, Angel?" she asked sweetly, joining him by the open cupboard doors.

"I have another object for you to place upon the shelf, my dear." And, he handed her the little piece of shell almost reverently, sure in the knowledge that her delicate little hands would not break it. "It does not match your beauty," he said, chucking her chin affectionately, "but it is pretty, I feel, and I would like very much to watch you put it up."

She looked at him oddly for a moment as he continued to smile at her and she gave in as she always did, making short work of carrying his little piece of shell into the cupboard for him and delicately laying it on a shelf where there was some free space.

"Perfect, my dear," he called from behind her. "You know just how I like things…"

She walked back out and joined him as he shut the doors with another creak and solid thud, locking them after her. She had no idea why he should think she would go in there without his permission, but, she did not wish to ask him. "Is that everything, Angel?"

"Yes," he smiled again, bringing his hand up to rest over her heart, "for today…"


Three weeks later, he decided that he would finally add his pièce de résistance to the collection… It would be his masterpiece, it would be his centrepiece, his most cherished possession… but it would not go in his everyday cupboard with all of the other everyday beautiful things. No, it was too special, too revered – too Christine… He would put it in the special cupboard he kept further down in his maze of tunnels. The one that was colder than the rest of the lair and held all of his more prized objects…

Right now, Erik was approaching his love's room at a fast pace, an eerie sort of smile upon his face. "You look beautiful, my dear," he commented softly, placing his palm against her cheek even as she tried to move away from him. "Oh, you are not talking… well, I still think you are exquisite even if you will not let me hear your beautiful voice."

Christine's eyes were wild with terror as she shrank down in her bed, the gag in her mouth refusing to budge even as she bit at it and struggled. Erik seemed truly unaware of it and the tight rope that was cutting into her wrists unceremoniously. Unaware, even, that he had tied them both himself not an hour before when he had come into her room bearing that unnervingly crooked smile of his and two lengths of dark cloth.

He had wakened her, scaring her half out of her wits at the strange image she woke up to and only confirming in her mind that he was not entirely aware of his actions. She prayed for him in her head, even as she lay there scared at what he might do, how he might hurt her… she prayed that he would not be held accountable for his sins – that he was not aware and so could not be sent to Hell for his terrible actions.

He picked her up showing all of the reverence with which he had handled his other beautiful things and carried her away from her room to a different part of the lair that she had never been to before. "You are being very quiet tonight, Christine… tell me, have I upset you?" he asked, worried that he had done something to offend her. "I love you. Tell me how I can make you talk to me again…"

Even as his conscious was aware and worried that his beloved was not speaking – even as his conscious held a one-sided conversation with her, his subconscious continued to make him walk along the path he was currently taking – open the heavy oak doors he was currently opening, place the woman in his arms down on the stone floor he was currently standing on…

This was his special cupboard… his special cupboard where he kept his 'perishables' in the cold, stark air of the lowest part of the building. This was where he would keep his prized possession… and where he currently kept things Christine, with her gentle disposition, had no business seeing.

There were shelves in this room too – lots and lots of shelves, holding lots and lots of jars, keeping lots and lots of Erik's beautiful things preserved. Christine could have screamed when she saw what was floating in one of the jars – a pair of emerald eyes, bloodshot and bloated, the optic nerves still attached – one eye staring right back at her. She could have vomited, even, as a large pair of hands set themselves upon her, not dissimilar to the one up there on that shelf in the jar. The hands that were on her, however, belonged to Erik in the truest sense of the word and he set about cutting her bodice open with the sharpened knife he was clutching in his left hand.

Christine, of course, struggled for what her life was worth, wriggling to try to break free of him even as his right hand stroked her face in what could have passed as a loving caress had she not been able to see what he was doing with his left hand.

Erik was upset… Christine was not speaking to him and he didn't know why. She wouldn't tell him… and he was almost in tears that she was ignoring him like she was. He wanted to hold her until she broke down and confessed to him what was upsetting her – what he had done to make her angry…

At the same time, Erik's subconscious could no longer decide what part of her he wanted… all of her was beautiful… her eyes, her voice, her heart, her body, her everything… And he wanted all of it – all of her… He held the knifepoint poised at her chest, ready to make a slit big enough to remove the most beautiful part of her…

"Christine, speak to me," Erik cried desperately. "You are not so cruel as to deny me that… I know you. I know how gentle and sweet you are…"

Christine cried harder, at a loss for what to do. Perhaps, if she could just get her gag off, then she could appeal to her Erik – the one who got up a six in the morning to make her breakfast, the one who picked her roses and carnations because he thought she'd like them, the one who was currently frantic that she would not speak to him… the one who loved her.

The knifepoint broke the supple skin of her chest, tearing neatly a line from her collarbone to a point below her breasts. It was not deep yet but Christine could feel the sharp sting ripping down her skin and the warm, sticky liquid seeping out of the wound and across her chest.

"Oh, you are speaking to me, Christine," Erik cried happily, having heard her little squeal. "Oh, how happy you make me…"

Erik could not hear her subsequent squeals over the volume of his own strange, but happy, little noises. He closed his eyes in glee and smiled his strange smile at her though he could not see if she was watching.

He drew the knife back up along the cut and pressed deeper as he sought out the most beautiful thing he would ever own. And then down again…

And right back up…

And down again…

Up and down… up and down… sawing away…

Until his hands were stained with something thick and sticky – something he could not readily get off… One of his hands, in fact, brushed against something else – something soft and misplaced. His eyes snapped open and he saw there before him a length of cloth over his beloved's mouth. It confused him… how had it gotten there… what was it?

He pulled the offending cloth away, terrified as blood slipped out between her lips and pooled at the corners of her mouth. "Oh, Christine," he gasped in shock, snapping back to himself.

"Perhaps… now, you understand…" Christine whispered ever so faintly, choking upon her own blood.

He looked down at her as she coughed and splurted her last… And he smiled…

Picking the now-detached organ up into his hands, his beloved's lifeblood coursing over them, he raised it to his lips and drank, partaking of her as he desperately sought to become one with her. His lips and chin stained red, he took the beautiful thing and placed it in the jar that was waiting for her, already filled with the preserving fluid before placing back on its own shelf where he would never place anything else – it would remain solely for her… his most beautiful thing.

Then, he lifted the rest of his most beautiful thing and wrapped her in a shroud, not conscious enough to ask himself exactly why he had a shroud lying about, before he placed her reverently upon a table near the back of the small room.

He rejoiced… now that he was one with his Christine – with his angel – he was as beautiful as her… he was as precious… as worthy to enter his cupboard as she…

And it was a damned pity that he would never be going back to the main part of his lair again for he would have liked to see his beautiful things again before… before… he wasn't really sure what it was before…

But, he would not be leaving his beloved alone in this room with the perishable beautiful things that scared her so much. No, he would not leave her alone. He loved her and he would never, never leave her…

He could live here, he told himself. In this little room… after all, he kept his perishables here – there would be things to eat at the very least… For, there was nothing more beautiful than his most beautiful thing… she was all he needed.

And he smiled…

© Copyright of CrawfordsBiscuits, December 2005