AN: Sorry guys for the wait! I was in a major writers block rut with this last chapter (yes, it is the final chapter I finally figured out) but I made it extra long just for you. I hope you like it and thanks for sticking with me this long! Enjoy J
Angel of Grey
Chapter 17: Cure
They made it back to the hotel with little difficulty - Erik was strong enough to carry her without much effort (though he made jokes along the way about how her newfound health had caused some weight gain). When they arrived it was all Meg could do to assure her parents she was all right as Erik cared for her ankle. Madame Giry's eyes gleamed with pride as her daughter went into great detail on the differences between a sprain and a fracture, and how because it was just a light sprain it would heal within a couple days.
Once Meg was taken care of she explained everything to them. They listened intently, and when she finally finished Madame Giry simply hugged her daughter and told her to get some rest. Meg obliged, and as soon as she left the room Madame Giry turned to her husband and asked him to leave. She needed to speak with Erik privately; after all, out of all of them she knew him the best. As soon as he left the room she turned to Erik, her gaze on him intense and probing.
"You do know she loves you." It was not a question.
"I will not stand idly by and watch her get hurt by you over and over again; and I will certainly not allow what happened with Christine to happen with Meg. What assurances can you give me that you've really changed? That she is not merely your newest obsession?"
Erik contemplated it for a moment. How did he know if he had changed? Despite his introspective tendencies, he did not know himself as well as he previously thought; Meg had shown him that. She brought out sides in him he had never encountered before.
"There are no assurances I can give. Except…for you and your husband."
"What exactly do you mean by that?" Madame Giry eyes narrowed slightly
"You were estranged from him, but now you are facing your illness together as if you had been together all along. Who do you have to thank for that, for the most part?"
"Meg." She said quietly.
"She is an extraordinary girl." Erik said simply, "To be able to change stubborn minds like ours." He said with a small chuckle.
She nodded her head, but her eyes were still concerned.
"The chances are still good that you would end up hurting her. You're a broken man, Erik, and she is young and naïve. Perhaps it would be better…if…"
Erik shook his head, and gave her a dark look. Madame Giry knew the conversation was over, so she invited her husband back in. They talked well into the night, discussing many things. When Erik and Meg's father got into details of the potential cure for the advanced stage of their illness Madame Giry excused herself.
She came to Meg's bed and lightly brushed some hair off her cheek.
Meg stirred and awakened, turning to face her mother.
"What is it?" She asked groggily.
"Nothing…just…be careful." Madame Giry said softly.
"I will. You know I've always been cautious."
"You have not" said Madame Giry, a hint of laughter in her voice.
"I have so!" Meg retorted.
"Oh? Remember that cute boy with the dark eyes that -"
"Oh hush mama, that's not fair." Meg huffed, crossing her arms.
"Yes it is, I'm your mother, I always play fair." she said, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
"Suuure." Meg said with a grin
"Goodnight" Madame Giry said, with a kiss to her forehead.
Meg watched her go and sighed. She hadn't actually been asleep when her mother came in, but she thought it was best to feign sleep She didn't want her mother to worry more than she had to. Meg was simply restless anyway, nothing serious.
She got up and walked carefully over to the balcony, staring out into the night. She heard footsteps behind her.
"Hi." She said, without looking up.
"Why aren't you in bed?" He asked as he walked up to her side.
"I'm not sleepy. I wanted to look at the stars. My throbbing ankle feels a little better when I'm upright, take your pick." She replied, looking back into the forest.
He brushed against her as he came beside her and she suppressed a shiver. His contact still had such an effect on her.
"You should be getting rest." He said firmly.
"So should you."
"I wasn't recently on my deathbed."
"That depends on your definition of "deathbed"" Meg said with a smirk.
"You know what I mean" He said, his voice tinged with exasperation.
"Well it was either stare at the ceiling or stare out at the stars. I decided that the stars was a much more likable view." Meg said with a sigh.
"Well…I cannot argue with that." He said, and was silent for a moment as they both looked out into the dark velvet sky.
"Meg?" Erik's voice broke the silence, surprisingly soft and vulnerable.
She turned towards him. His eyes were still gazing at the sky, and she couldn't read what they held.
He hesitated, then asked "Why?"
"Why what?" She asked.
"Why do you love me? After all the horrible things I've said, and done?"
"I don't know." Meg said truthfully, "I just do."
After a moment, she added,
"I want you to be happy."
"After such a life of pain you deserve a little happiness, don't you think?" Meg added, brushing his cheek with her hand.
He grew cold, and stepped away from her.
"What's wrong?" Meg asked.
"So, it is not love, but pity." He muttered darkly.
"Wha-What do you mean?" Meg asked, her mouth agape. How could he jump to such an outrageous conclusion?
"You pity me because my life was hard and solitary. You want to be my 'light', the one who 'fixes' me. This is just some convoluted game to you, isn't it?" He said, his voice tinged with bitterness and accusation.
Each word struck her heart. Why was he saying this?
"Erik, you know that isn't true, it - "
He came towards her and clasped her shoulders hard.
"You can't honestly say that you want me, that you want this!" He roared, ripping off his mask.
Meg stared into his pale blue eyes, glistening with unshed tears of rage and sorrow.
And she slapped him.
The sound echoed across the open night, and through the dark rooms of the hotel suite. Erik did not have time to respond for Meg had captured his lips in a passionate kiss. She held her breath until he responded, his tongue sliding into her mouth, smooth as velvet. He nipped at her bottom lip, and she clutched him tighter, moving to place gentle kisses along his neck.
"Meg…I am sorry…"
She looked back at him. His eyes were just sad now, the raging fire burned out.
"Your mother…thinks it would be better if we would not pursue this. I still think…that I may agree. I don't want to hurt you Meg…"
"Of course she thinks that. She's my mother, it's her job to worry about everything I do. But despite the fact that you're older than me, I'm still an adult and I can make my own decisions. We've already been over this."
Erik knew from the iron in her eyes that there was no possible way he could ever convince her otherwise.
Meg turned to go back to bed, but stopped.
"I won't ever give up. I love you too much to let you go. Call me selfish if you want, but I don't care."
She continued to her room, but two soft hands on her shoulders stopped her. Erik turned Meg to face him and enfolded her into his warm embrace. He bent down and whispered into her ear.
"I will not give up on you, or your parents either. They will get well…and I will love you until the day that I breathe my last."
Meg shivered as his breath tickled her ear, and leaned into him.
"I love you too."
The pale morning light filtered in through the window and Meg groaned.
She hadn't been able to get to sleep for hours after Erik had escorted her to her bed and tucked her in so tightly she swore he was secretly trying to restrain her.
It's probably just because all that laying around in bed before gave me more than enough energy for months she thought to herself. She got up and stretched, sighing as her tense muscles protested. What she needed was a good exercise. If only her ankle would oblige; but the best she could do was a steady walking pace. It was a lot better than it was yesterday, but it still twinged with pain if she put too much weight on it.
She dressed quickly, and walked out of her room and into the main room. A light breeze filled the room from a window. It had to have been opened recently by someone…but all was quiet.
"Is anyone up?" she called out, but no answer. Had they left to get some breakfast? Even so, Erik would not have gone out in broad daylight. Usually this time of the morning he was fast asleep. She checked his room to see his bed ruffled, but not occupied.
Suddenly arms enfolded her from behind, drawing her tightly against an unknown body. She shrieked in surprise and tried to turn, but the grip was firm.
"Good morning to you too" Erik whispered into her ear.
"Erik! Who said that you were allowed to be that quiet?! I swear you're part feline." Meg gasped.
Erik chuckled and let her go.
"They went out to have a nice breakfast in town. So I took the liberty of preparing a breakfast for us as well." He flourished his hand to a beautifully set feast of a breakfast, that she knew could not have been there yet seconds before.
"But how did you-"
"If you knew how, it wouldn't be any fun, now would it?" He said with an enigmatic grin.
She smiled to herself. She was beginning to think that his actions were not optical illusions but that he was simply a supernatural being with the things he pulled off on a regular basis.
She sat down at the table, and placed the napkin on her lap. The meal was mostly silent, peppered with the sort of lighthearted conversation that she had been missing for months now.
After they had cleared away the plates and mess, Erik took her hand and led her to the balcony.
"Close your eyes." he said in a deep and silky voice to which she could do nothing but comply.
She felt him pick her up, and then a breeze ruffling her hair. When she opened her mouth to ask where he was taking her he placed a finger gently against her mouth.
He lay her somewhere soft. She sank down into something, something that smelt of flowers, air, and water all at the same time.
When he did not answer she tentatively opened her eyes, and her senses were overloaded with what she saw.
Glittering rock towered above her on every side but one, which was open to the sun. The sunlight shone off every facet showing different colors of every shade. Below her was a bed of clover and flowers. Directly in front of her water flowed out of the rock and into a small pool.
She crawled forward, and impulsively reached into the water. It was freezing cold, and crystal clear. The pool was filled with small pebbles, smooth and polished from centuries of water flow. She picked one up and felt it, marveling at how even something as rough and strong as rock inevitably gave way to the forces of nature.
A glint caught the corner of her eye, and she turned towards it.
Something was between two rocks, and it shone brightly in the reflected sunlight. She reached towards it and pulled it out of the water. It was ring. Two strands of pure silver were woven together and at the top was a small rose with a ruby nestled in the center.
She began to wonder how something so beautiful could have possibly been discarded in this pool without a single hint of time-induced damage but her thought process was interrupted when something soft brushed against her arm. She turned her head to see a rose petal. She picked it up and drew her fingers against it's velvety surface. Where had that come from?
When she looked up to see from where it could have fallen the sky explode with dozens more, a soft fluttering like thousands of tiny birds filling the air. She stood up, her gaze still skyward, but the source of the rain was not apparent. The petals seemed to come from the sky itself.
She felt the urge to dance, and so she did. The pain in her ankle forgotten, she burst into motion immediately. With petals flowing around her, she danced a dance that she never had before, one more intense than she could have ever before conceived. Soon she was joined by a song and her dance intensified, arms and legs twirling around, the petals already on the ground whirling to life around her as if drawn to her.
Suddenly Erik was there in front of her, almost as if the rose petals had gathered together to form him from nothingness. Still singing he offered her his hand, and she took it. Her voice joined his; and although her voice could not compare to his, and neither could his dancing to hers together they formed as perfect a harmony as any.
When finally they came to a stop the last of the petals were fluttering down from the sky, brushing softly against her face and collecting in her hair. Erik took a petal and brushed it against her cheek. Meg smiled up at him, and for a moment Erik lost his composure. He seemed struck by something.
"What is it?" Meg asked, and he shook his head, a small smile gracing his lips.
"Nothing - just that every time I think I know you, you surprise me with something else. Today, it was your smile."
"What's so surprising about my smile?"
"Today it hides an answer, I can see it just at tips and edges of each curve."
"An answer to what?" She asked, curious. He drew up her hand, the one still holding the ring, and slipped it on her finger.
"To this." He said, his gaze intense.
Meg was silent for a moment; and for a moment Erik had a horrible wrenching doubt. Then, she smiled again.
"Yes." She said simply. Erik took in a sharp breathe, and almost lost his balance. Meg held him tighter, and enjoyed the warm feel of his body against hers.
"Did you really think I would have said no?" She asked him, incredulous. All his previous confidence was now gone. Meg looked into his eyes, and realized with surprise that for the first time she was seeing him without a single mask between him and her. For the first time, she saw his true face. The face of an uncertain boy, wanting to please but expecting nothing but punishment. Wanting nothing more than acceptance but expecting rejection.
"I had thought…"
"Erik." she said firmly, cupping his face in her hands "I love you." she continued, enunciating each word.
Then he broke out into a smile, one so genuine that it brought tears to her face. He picked her up and spun around, then brought her into a tight embrace, sobbing.
"I love you…I love you…" He said over and over again through his tears.
"You silly, why are you crying?" She asked, her own tears mingling with his.
"You are one to talk." He said, his sobs turning to laughter.
"I am not crying." Meg said, wiping her tears away stubbornly.
"Oh? Then that liquid coming out of your eyes is something other than tears?"
"Yes." She said, a coy smile tugging the edges of her lips.
"Well, we'll have to do a study on that." He said very seriously. They were silent for a moment, and then they burst into riotous laughter. All the tension, all the sadness, all the anger, everything that had been building over the past few months broke just then, leaving only relief and joy. They slowly slid to the ground, and Meg lay her head on his chest, holding up her ringed finger to examine it.
"What…what made you decide to…?"
Erik thought back to earlier that morning.
Madame Giry had come to his room, and sat on his bed without bothering to bring in a light. She was silent for a moment, but before Erik could ask her what she wanted, she spoke.
"Erik…I have my doubts, all mothers do. But I want to take back what I suggested earlier. I've been thinking about it all night…and the more I think about it, the more it seems right. She isn't just healing you…you're healing her. I can see such a change in her, she's more confident…much happier."
"Don't joke so early in the morning Madame, it is rude." He said with a dark chuckle.
She either didn't hear him, or pretended not to.
"Will you take care of her always?"
He was silent. What was she getting at?
"Then I give her to you."
"What do you-"
"Hush! This is the hardest thing a mother ever has to do, so you had better be quiet and just agree with me!"
Erik was abashed. What could he say to that?
"I'll be honest; I don't entirely trust you. But Meg does, and I trust her. If you ever hurt her, I swear you will regret it. But somehow, I feel that you will not."
He didn't say anything as she left the room without another word.
That conversation in the dark had been the final confirmation. He would do what he had longed to for so long; it finally felt right.
Meg jabbed him playfully in the side, "Despite your so-called powers of deception you can be a really terrible liar sometimes."
"Only for you, Meg. Only for you."
Meg awoke, her hand draped idly over Erik's bare chest. She snuggled closer to him, enjoying the warmth he radiated.
The next few months had been a blur for Meg as they planned for the wedding and worked feverishly on a cure. So when they finally came to the day that she would become Erik's wife, she could hardly believe it.
They had invited a few people they could trust, and the ceremony was beautiful in it's simplicity. The setting was the same as the place Erik had proposed to her, and again it rained rose petals; only this time white. As they flowed around her, in the arms of the one she loved…that was when it hit her. That she really was getting married. She had almost lost her balance then, and would have toppled over if not for Erik's firm embrace.
Later that night he joked about it, saying his charms were so powerful that she could hardly stand in his presence. She told him it had nothing to do with charm and everything to do with not having a bit of sleep that entire week.
So they had spent their first wedded night exhausted and had simply fallen asleep in each other's arms.
She laughed to herself.
"And what, my dear, is so very funny?" Erik asked, sleep still heavy in his voice.
"Well it's just…last night isn't exactly what I had imagined for my first night as your wife."
"You are the one who fell asleep first I may remind you. I can hardly ravish an unconscious female, no matter how attractive she may be." He said with an eyebrow quirked.
"So, what are you going to do about it?" She prodded.
He rolled over and mocked snoring.
"Hey!" She protested and poked his side. A small chuckle escaped from his mouth, and she realized with a squeal of glee that he was ticklish.
It was over in seconds. She attacked, and before she knew what was happening she was pinned to the bed.
"You cheat." she muttered rebelliously.
"So it's victory when you win, but cheating when I win? How is that fair?" He said, a grin spreading across his face.
"Life just isn't fair." She squirmed in his grasp, "Let me up you beast" She said with a huff.
"Oh? A beast am I?" He drew closer, and his warm breath tickled her ear.
"Now you're really not playing fair." She whined.
"There's more than one way to win." He purred, "and it's so much easier to keep you still if you want to stay still" and with that he nibbled gently on her ear.
Meg suddenly remembered that they were nearly naked (him shirtless and her in a sheer nightgown) as his warm chest brushed against her own. She blushed furiously, and pulled up the blanket between them.
Erik stopped and looked up, puzzled.
"What's wrong?" He asked.
Meg said nothing and Erik inwardly cursed. Did she really find him repulsive after all? He sat up and looked away, the scarred half of his face away from her. He knew it was too good to be true, how could she ever-
His thoughts were interrupted as she murmured something barely audible.
"What was that?" He encouraged.
"It…I-It's just…no one has ever seen me fully naked before. I'm worried that you might…I don't know…"
Erik laughed. He laughed so hard that Meg took on an insulted look and threw a pillow at him.
"It isn't funny!"
"I didn't say it was."
Erik turned to face her, and gently removed the blanket between them. Then slowly he pulled up her nightgown, looking at Meg for permission. Meg finally acquiesced, pulling it over her head.
He looked at her then, with something in his eyes that even she had not yet seen. Meg closed her eyes. His gaze was so intense that she began to tingle all over as if his eyes were burning into her very skin. A moment passed, and all she could hear was his slow and steady breathing.
Then, her body came to life with sensation as she felt his soft, warm skin come against her own. He gently pressed his body to hers, every inch of them touching now with no barriers between them. Meg felt a thrill of excitement when she felt his arousal hot against her, and she forgot her doubts and insecurities. This was the man she loved, the man who loved her. Her husband. She wrapped her arms around him, holding him tight.
"Think of this as just another type of dance." Erik said, his voice low and seductive in her ear. He drew his fingers down her side, and she arched her back to him, soft sounds of need escaping her lips.
When he filled her, and she willingly, eagerly took him in…for the first time in his life Erik felt complete.
Three years later
A brilliantly blonde toddler carefully made his way down the stairs. His momma was probably busy with boring work stuff (as usual) but he wanted to show her the new song he came up with.
He entered the room and saw that momma was with Dada and grandmamma as well. He smiled and ran into grandmamma's arms.
"Hello young one." Madame Giry chuckled, and put him down.
He sat down beside her and waited. Once they finished with their grown-up talk he knew he could show them their song and that Dada would be especially proud.
"What a miracle he is, eh?" Said Madame Giry as the little one busied himself with the nearest toy on the ground.
"Yes" Said Meg with a smile. Once he had been born, Meg had tested the boy for the disease; a precaution on the off chance that it was passed on to him even though Meg had been cured. That was when she found he had produced natural antibodies to the disease, and that had been the key to the cure. It had been almost too late for her father, and he still suffered from some permanent damage of the disease. He took it very well though, saying it was simply retribution for his past actions. Meg did not agree with this sentiment, but if that was what he needed to believe to get through each day, then she wouldn't argue with him.
"So, how is the plan coming along?" Asked Madame Giry, looking to Erik.
"Very well, in fact."
"Plan? What plan?" Asked Meg, getting frustrated at the knowing glances being passed between the two.
"Oh? Do tell." Encouraged Madame Giry.
"Alright Erik, out with it, what have you been up to?" Asked Meg, raising an eyebrow at him.
"Well I have purchased a small health facility, so it's already fully staffed. All it needs is a head doctor." He looked at Meg with a smile.
"Of course, we will have to give you a male name, and dress you up a bit; but I'm sure you will do fantastic."
Meg smiled, and kissed his cheek in gratitude.
"I hope that one day I won't have to dress up." She said.
"If anyone can make that happen, it's you my dear." He replied.
When they fell silent Meg's son perked up.
"Momma, can I sing for everyone?"
She nodded and he stood up, puffing his chest out proudly. As his beautiful refrains filled the air Erik took her hand.
"I love you Meg,"
She lay her head on his shoulder happily.
"I love you, too."
Fin (because I feel fancy saying that)
Well that's all folks! This is actually only the second fan fiction I've ever been able to finish, so I'm super worried that the ending wasn't good enough (I never seem to know how to best end a story) so do tell me what you think!