Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world, leave all thoughts of this tale you knew before...

This is a story sequel based on a deeper story I saw in the 2004 movie through symbolism there - To follow, imagine the opera house was an opera kingdom, Erik a an actual ruler there (called king), and the incarnation of Music, Christine his intended queen, and the true "Phantom" an evil spirit out to destroy everyone, through Erik and including Erik. To see why I came up with this, the link to a PotO forum - including hundreds of screencaps, etc, showing symbolism from movie, is in my profile. All of what they did seemed to reveal a deeper story, a high fantasy, including Erik finding his dream with Christine. Not asking you to believe it- just showing where I got the idea to write my story as I did. :)

Yes, my story is different, but sometimes different can be intriguing ...

PLEASE NOTE: you don't have to go to that link to understand my story. I tried to make it clear through backstory, though it is only my interpretation of how it pieced together (using symbolism they did). I'll include at end of some chapters "trivia notes"- showing a bit of symbolism we found, just a small taste, for anyone interested.

My story is sometimes dark, sometimes angsty, sometimes fluff, sometimes light, having many facets to it. E/C pairing, based on characters in movie. All characters have both good and bad traits and have to grow and learn. Some sensuality. M rated for a few chapters. All usual disclaimers apply – I don't own the Phantom, the music, etc, though all original songs are mine.

Please feed my review hunger - it is always appreciated. :) Thanks!


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Chapter I

xXx

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Chriiii-stiiiiine ...

With her heart pounding, Christine halted on the path. Stunned, she glanced over her shoulder then fully turned to look behind her.

The statuaries that crowned the cold graves returned her searching stare, their eyes gray, vacant. The tall iron gates remained closed, as she had left them. Once more the burgeoning flicker of hope died within her. Once more she'd only imagined her deepest desire.

Desolate, she continued along the winding path. A discord of questions clamored for recognition, each seeking command at the forefront of her thoughts:

Why had he not come to her? Why had he not answered her pleas?

Where was he...?

Sometimes, when all stood silent, she thought she heard him beckon to her mind in a whisper, like now. Yet he'd never come forward, and she felt she must be going mad….

One month had passed, and a lonelier four weeks she'd never suffered, apart from those cheerless months without him when she lived at the opera house. Had he not understood her silent message? Did he not see?

But no, he must have known! She had seen him smile, his lip curled at one corner - not with sarcasm, not in contempt, but with awe. Disbelief had glimmered in his moist eyes when she laid her ring in his palm, wrapping his fingers around the band to which she still clung. Unable to speak, she'd held his hand with promise, wanting to stay forever but knowing she must go. The mob had sought her capture as well, and though he had commanded her to leave, she returned to beg him to follow, to stay with her each night and each morning.

It broke her heart to leave him there, so alone, but she thought that he had understood her message when she'd sung to him, answering his earlier proposal on the Don Juan bridge, taking up the words where he had left off. Surely he also understood Raoul's pledge to serve and follow, if the king willed it…a king that reigned over music, no longer in possession of his opera house kingdom, all of it destroyed…but always he would remain her Angel. Not an angel of spirit … but bearing the mortal flesh of man.

She had learned the truth four months ago, and it still staggered her mind.

Her attention lifted to a different angel, one of chill marble and not fiery blood and hard sinew. Its gray, lifeless wingtips were spread wide, its stone hands lifted in supplication. One of few in the cemetery without a veil, it stared at her with empty eyes.

Was her Angel also blind?

She touched the monument's cold stone robe, remembering the heat of skin. Again imagining being held in his strong arms, his heart pounding against her, his hands caressing her body, his breath warm on her neck. The kisses they later shared stunned her, moved her beyond anything she had ever experienced or imagined.

"How could you have doubted me?" she whispered. "I gave you all I had. Even when I felt I could give no more, I never stopped giving, never stopped coming to you when you asked it. Have you so soon forgotten me? Have you…? How could you?" Her last plea came in a tortured whisper.

Moisture dampened her lashes, and Christine brushed the wetness away. She had thought the bitter well inside her soul would have bled dry by now and gave a short laugh devoid of humor at the pitiful wretch she'd become.

She could not feign innocence. No. She, too, tasted her portion of blame. If only she would have approached that night differently instead of pulling his mask away, and damning them both to this bleak existence…

She had failed her Ordeal by Fire when she'd shown preference for him on the Don Juan stage. Withholding nothing, she admitted through covert actions that her Angel would understand that she wanted no part of their conspiracy, that she'd been forced into the horrid test of endurance to determine her innocence or guilt. Despite the danger, at the shock of seeing him walk onstage she'd been unable to refrain from singing what he longed to hear, what she'd yearned to tell him for months. Encouraged, he broke from the opera to propose, pleading for her help in leading him from his dark imprisonment, both of them realizing that though she'd been willing to enter his nighttime world to be with him, it was impossible for her to leave the light.

With her eyes full of tears, she responded so he would know what course he must choose for a union to be possible. She had removed his mask to show that he must emerge from hiding behind the Phantom, the dark spirit that caused such havoc in the opera kingdom, but also she had done it to prod his escape, the soldiers so close with their guns- one standing at their level, near the very edge of the bridge! Her eyes had begged for understanding, but he'd misread her action. Again. Then all pandemonium had broken loose while the dreaded soldiers gave chase.

"Oh, where have you gone, Mon Ange?" she entreated softly, scanning her dismal surroundings. As a last resort she had come here, hoping she might find him, as she had the last time she had visited this eternal dwelling of souls forgotten. Such hopes now seemed foolish. He must have truly forgotten her. But how could he ...?

How could he?

Without him, her music had died. She could no longer sing, no longer wished to. He was her music. Had he not told her she was the same to him? Had he not sung those last parting words that had given her such hope?

Angry with herself, with him, with the world, Christine brushed away another tear.

The essence of music coursed through his veins, his very lifeblood. He had created her into a part of himself and, little by little, his absence drained her of life, of all hope that he would return. At least, those three months without him at the opera house she had known he was there, somewhere hiding, beneath the floors, beyond its walls….

The wind chilled her face. If not for its bite stinging her cheeks, she might think herself dead. As hollow and bleak as the statues that lined her path, or those silenced mortals who lay beneath.

What sins he had committed she had forgiven, though no one else had and he was still prey to the relentless gendarme. Covering her face with her wrap lest she be recognized, she had visited the newsstands daily but no word of the Phantom of the Opera's capture had screamed from the headlines.

A week after the fire, Raoul grudgingly honored her persistent requests to take her to find her Angel. Poor dear Raoul. She never meant to hurt him either.

When they reclaimed the boat used during their escape from the burning theater, and reentered the maze of passages leading deep into its bowels, into the lair, she discovered her Angel had vanished. Mirrors were smashed; shards of glass littered the ground. Nowhere, a sign of life. Even the candles had guttered themselves out, useless puddles of molten wax, and the torch Raoul carried had been their only means to see.

Her despairing gaze had found the music box with the toy monkey holding the cymbals. Such bittersweet torment swept through her now as it had then, again to remember the last time she'd been with her Angel. There, at the foot of the Phoenix bed, he had sat and sadly crooned to his music box like a child. The years had fallen away from his face, his countenance youthful, uncertain. She had never seen him so vulnerable, and her heart twisted again to remember him so utterly broken.

She had watched for some time before he discerned her presence—her gaze feasting upon his lean form, his unmasked face, which had long ceased to be a disturbance. There was so much good in him, so much beauty. She had told him the true distortion deceived his soul, and it had…

In the guise of the Phantom spirit.

With her nails biting into her palms, Christine crossed her arms over her waist. They had both been deceived by that spirit from hell, and she felt foolish for not realizing it sooner. Perhaps if she had, that night would never have occurred, the opera house would still be functional, and she would have her Angel with her again, the same as always.

"No, not the same as always. What's done is done. It needed to be done."

The firm words that she uttered to deaf stone ears felt as empty as her heart. She chanted them often during the bleak hours, trying to find a measure of comfort when the past reared up to haunt and accuse.

Reaching her father's mausoleum, Christine looked up wide stone steps to the gate, remembering another time, not so long ago, that seemed an eternity away. If Raoul had not come charging through this cemetery on the morning she almost reunited with her Angel, where would they be now? Probably as enmeshed in the dark spirit's black net as before, seeking and desiring to be with one another without expectation of ever attaining that hope. If there was any hope left.

The tears helplessly rolled down her cheeks, and she sank to the ground, clutching the upper stair's edge. Pressing her forehead against her sleeve, she shut her eyes.

"Father, help me to live, to want to live." Her plea came out in a hoarse whisper. "I feel so lost without him. Why did you bring us together, if only to tear us apart? The days are endless, and the nights are steeped in misery. I dare not sleep, because if I do, I'll dream - and he'll not be there singing so sweetly to me. Please God, let the past just die if the future must be filled with such terrible emptiness! I cannot bear this cross any longer."

Christine, where is your strength?

The gentle challenge soared through her mind, borne on the wings of heavenly inspiration. Startled into silence to hear an answer, she hesitated with her reply.

"I have no strength left."

You were destined to be a queen. Draw upon what you have learned; do not forsake the Light.

"I have never done that." A twinge of guilt troubled her conscience at the memory of how once, she almost had, and in this very place. She raised her head from her outstretched arm, her words now resolute. "I never shall."

Then rise to your feet. Be strong, be courageous, as your forebears were strong and courageous. Much is expected of you ... Do not lose faith, Christine ... Christine ...

Chriiii ... stiiiine ...

As she moved to stand a lingering fragment of song whispered past on the voice of the wind. Or was it all in her mind? Had she truly gone mad?

She closed her eyes in bittersweet reflection, feeling her body sway with the lyrical whisper. Even if she only imagined this, to hear him again in remembered thought soothed the hollow ache like nothing else could. It was…

No.

This was not her imagination.

She felt his presence, stronger than any night since she'd left him. Her eyes opened wide, her lips parted. Her ears attuned to the beauty of this new, familiar voice, as the last note drew out and played a sweet symphony within her hungering soul.

She turned, hardly daring to believe her dream achieved reality.

Not thirty feet away, near the split tree, a tall figure stood in the obscure mist that swirled around his cloak. A hood concealed his face.

xXx


A/N: Thanks for giving my story a chance! :)

A bit of Trivia from Hidden Plot forum: the actual symbolism (widely accepted definitions from sites and books we looked at) of things we researched into:

Ordeal by Fire ("Raoul, it scares me- don't put me through this ordeal by fire.") - was a true test in historical accounts reserved for members of nobility and high rank (such as a queen would be forced to undertake). It was used to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused- who was made to walk across an area 9 feet in length (approx. size of bridge in PONR) over hot ploughshares (the sharp blades of fire of fire pit beneath bridge in PONR). If they made it through without injury, they were considered innocent; if not, they were guilty.

Masks in symbolism refer to spirits, and it is said the person who wears the mask takes on the personality of the spirit it represents. In theater, a black mask (symbolism) means an evil villain set out to destroy (in this case, phantom spirit) and a white mask (symbolism) means a cruel ruler (how Erik was to all his subjects in opera kingdom).

Cloaks are a symbol of protection. (i.e. the black-lined cloak that suddenly reappeared as Erik walked across bridge though he had tossed it off- also the cloak suddenly changed color of lining from gold (one of king's two colors- the other is red) - to black (Phantom spirit's color) 3 times in movie, when the evil spirit took control -

1) in POTO- "My power over you is stronger yet" (and just for a few lines- this being the only time she showed anxiety, by looking over her shoulder)

2) the entire time he chased and killed Joseph Buquet. When Erik went into that upper room and closed the two doors, the lining had been gold then.

3) when he vowed revenge as he stood atop the statue on roof. Lining was gold before he got there, when he ran to statue- turned to black when it fluttered about him in the wind.

The number 3, in all instances of movie, related to something evil about to occur or the presence of evil there- with 3 candles suddenly lit in a scene (when before those same candles in candelabrum only had 4 or only 1 lit in same scene)- the lyrics used when "3" was stated- i.e.: number of months before he returned (in Masquerade, which was changed in the libretto from 6 months to 3 months for movie- "three months of Elysian peace- and we can breathe at last. No more notes, no more ghost ..."), Act 3- where Christine sang in Hannibal, (other hints of evil were there) and the ballet in "Act 3"- at which time JB was killed... 3 roses changing from black back to red repeatedly during key points of her song during her walk in cemetery, and much, much more.

More trivia to come...

I'd love to hear from you, either about what we found or my story; please review. :)