Hello! This is my first phanphic, so we'll see how it goes. Here's another modernday to throw in the bunch. Christine and Erik are about the same age, and Erik is not as…tortured as he usually is portrayed, but his life hasn't been easy.

Summary: Modernday. Erik and Christine grew up together, and when they graduate from high school, they promise to keep in touch, but promises can be broken…until Christine's world falls apart and she runs away from the past, only to find that the past cannot be discarded so easily.

Disclaimer: Obviously I don't own anything, as I'd be wealthy and watching the Broadway show instead of writing this if I did.

"We've really made it…graduation. Where have all the years gone?"

"Christine, Christine…" his lips twitched. "You are complaining like an old hag. It is not very becoming."

Christine sent him a smoldering glower. "I would prefer, if you please, not to be compared to a hag, thank you very much." His response was a light smirk, and her scowl deepened until he burst out laughing at her expression. She gave up—she could never stay annoyed at him for long.

Their teasing was interrupted by the announcer booming, "Christine Daae—honor roll, drum major, honors music and dance student." Christine stepped lightly up to the stage and took her diploma, aware of the applause and cheers in the audience. She turned and walked back to the student body, smiling as her eyes sought out her father, who was cheering heartily in the balcony.

"Erik Lavonne—valedictorian, class president, top music, engineering, foreign language, and math student…" The list continued, mentioning each of his numerous honors and achievements. Christine found herself beaming proudly at her dear friend and music tutor—for, though his age surpassed hers by only a few months, he was likely the most talented musician for hundreds of miles around. At least choosing a career wasn't hard for him, she mused wryly. Though, with his genius and talents, Erik could probably go into anything he wanted.

The principal shook Erik's hand firmly, handing over the diploma and paying no attention to the mask that covered half of Erik's face. The entire town was used to it by now—it was another one of his eccentricities, and, with all of his accomplishments, nobody really cared about what lay below the mask anymore.

Christine blew him a mocking kiss and waved Erik over as he walked from the stage, motioning to an empty chair by hers. A smirk playing about his mouth again, and he bowed gallantly, grasping her hand and raising it to his lips in an equally mocking gesture, drawing giggles from several nearby girls.

Christine rolled her eyes. "Well, Mr. Valedictorian, have fun in Paris on that full scholarship while we die from boredom here in America. Try not to seduce too many girls." This was met with an incredulous snort.

In a more serious tone, she added, "You'll be amazing, I'm sure. You'll land a spot composing for that Opera Populaire in no time. And…" she hesitated, lowering her voice, "…and I'll miss you."

Erik smiled, his mocking attitude softening. "And you enjoy yourself singing at Julliard—a scholarship there is quite an honor. Try not to forget everything that I have stuffed in that cluttered brain of yours." Before Christine could piece together a retort, he gave a devilish grin.

"And you may attract all the boys you wish, so long as you decline all their offers and concentrate on your music."

Christine glared at him. "You know I wouldn't…"

And then the ceremony ended, and Christine left Erik's side to meet with a few friends as they kissed high school goodbye.

"Christine Daae—salutatorian, honor roll, cast member of the Metropolitan Opera. Congratulations!"

She nodded and smiled absently as the dean handed her a diploma, shaking his hand and walking off the stage to a vacant seat in the audience. How different this graduation ceremony was from the one just three years ago, where she had friends who understood her heart and soul, where her future was bright and secure, where her father had sat in the audience, cheering, his face glowing with pride…

Christine shook away the memories—this was no place to break down and cry, like a little girl! No, it was time to move on; had it really been only two months? The days of partying, happiness, of sparkling music swirling in her ears, her fingers dancing gracefully over the ivory keys, her voice soaring to the heavens…those days were a lifetime away now, replaced by the draining, empty loneliness that now permeated her existence.

Around her everyone buzzed with the excitement befitting a group of graduating students on their last day of college, but the incessant whispers served only as a reminder to Christine of how alone she had become. Of course, having completed her courses a year early, she was in fact a year younger than the majority of the students sitting in this auditorium, which certainly did not help her to make friends.

Nobody understood—but that was not a surprise. There was a time when she had someone to whom she could run with her problems, when she was loved and guarded by her best friend, her tutor, her Angel…

Oh, Erik…

Christine set her lips resolutely as they threatened to tremble. This would not do. Erik, too, was a part of the past—and the past must be put behind, to allow room for the future.

The rain poured down upon her head, soaking every inch of her scalp. She pulled her hood up, only to have it blown back again by the wind.

"Ugh, curse it! Home isn't that far, anyway…"

There was a car in the driveway, but that was no surprise—her father often had visitors asking for a private performance or contracting for a concert, for his skills on the violin were world-renowned, and he was a busy man.

But on this day she didn't particularly care for visitors; she had so much to tell him! Her new spot at the Metropolitan Opera as a singer in the upcoming production, her status as salutatorian in her class, the fact that she could graduate a year early—life was good, and she would share her joy with her father this day, visitors or not.

The front door, oddly, was open. "Papa, I'm home! Guess what? I've so much news! Papa?"

She burst into the living room, but it was empty. Undaunted, she flew upstairs to his room, knowing that if he was home, he'd be there. She fumbled with the doorknob in her excitement, but finally managed to get it open.

Something was wrong. Three men in white stood in the room, but they looked nothing like the wealthy callers seeking a private concert, or the well-dressed businessmen looking for a contract. And her father was…

Her eyes widened in horror, and as her vision clouded she could make out a scream coming from somewhere in the distance before she gave in to the comforting darkness and sank away from reality.

Hmm, not too much of a cliffy. So, what'dya think? Good, bad, terrible, ugly…? Leave me a review! Please? -eyes go all big and round and puppy-dog-like- Next chapter will be up soon! I hope.

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