Disclaimer: Still, I own nothing.

Note: My first chapter phic. Seems like a general story now, but it will be a horror story when it is finished. There will be three chapters.

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Chapter 01/03 - Seems So Long

"Erik est Mort", read the newspaper on the bed beside me and Raoul. A seemingly simple statement...to anyone but us.

"Christine...you can't go back! He will take you, that evil monster will take you!"

"How very heartless of you! How would poor Erik hurt me? He is now dead, Raoul!"

"How do you know that this isn't just one of his tricks?"

"Oh Raoul, you never knew him as I did. But he was a very honorable man! He would not use his death as a trap for me. I know he wouldn't! Now...I am going to give his ring back as I promised --- No! You can't stop me! --- I promised him I would, and I am a woman of my word. You wouldn't want an dishonorable woman for a wife, would you? I swear on our love that I will be back by dark...please don't fret!" I glanced at him imploringly through the mirror as I pinned up my blonde curls. Oh dear, sweet Raoul! He worried for me, I know, but couldn't he see that I needed to do this?

"You cry for him, don't you?"

I turn sharply, "What did you say?"

"You cry for him...I hear you...every night you sob and weep in your room for at least an hour every night! Why do you cry for him?"

I don't have an answer. I love Raoul dearly, but he could never understand the relationship between me and my poor Erik. He will only say that he has bewitched me somehow into feeling fondness for my teacher...my friend. No...I can't tell him that I miss my poor Erik, that I miss the music and his lessons...I miss drinking his Russian tea while listening to him tell stories...I even miss his horrible face.

"Oh Raoul, you must be hearing things," I tell him hastily.

"I don't hear things that aren't there!"

"What I do in my own chambers at night is none of your business Raoul!" Oh! I haven't raised my voice to him in many many months...not since that one time at Mamma's house. He looks so shocked...poor, sweet Raoul...

"If...if you must...Christine," he says slowly, "there is nothing that I can do to stop you I guess...but may I at least go with you?"

"No Raoul, I don't think Erik would have liked his rival there at his death. You wouldn't either, were the situations reversed."

He sighs. He knows I am right.

Without another word, I pull black gloves on over my hands; I am still wearing Erik's ring, I haven't taken it off since that last evening at the Opera. I pick up my small black bag that matches my black mourning dress. Oh, God give me strength!

I walk past Raoul and I start my journey to l'Opera Garnier.

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It has only been a few months since I last went through the tunnels under the Opera House, but it seems like an eternity ago. I entered through the Rue Scribe entrance, went across by boat to Erik's house. Now I stood in front of his house, that was more of his tomb and prison than it ever was a home.

I have already started crying. The very thought of me never being able to see him again brings me such sorrow that I haven't felt since my father died. I wipe the wetness from my face before finally opening the door.

Silence.

No organ being played, no angelic voice singing or weeping or claiming love.

Nothing.

I walk in shakily and close the door behind me. I had expected the smell of death, but I can only smell flowers...roses that surround me. Oh Erik, you think of everything, don't you?

Poor Erik...

I set my bag down on the small table by the door and remove my gloves. He said to look for him in his room. Oh Erik, how I do hate your room! With that dreaded coffin in the center...and the violently red walls. It is such a very depressing room. But my room wasn't. You made sure my room was pretty and comfortable.

My poor Erik!

You went through such pains to make me happy didn't you?

I start to look for you, Erik dear. I don't have to look for long, for you are exactly where you said you would be. You are laying in your coffin, but I can't go to you...not yet! The very sight of you makes me fall to the floor crying. No Erik, it isn't because you don't have your mask on. You face holds no horror for me. Just the sight of you dead makes me feel such sadness I never knew possible! You were so powerful, so regal. Kings and shahs would even envy the sheer awe that you inspired in those around you! But now Erik...now you lay there silently. You are so very thin...did you eat at all in the last weeks of your life? You look pale now...the yellow tint gone from your skin. You look as every other man does in death.

You are finally just the same as everyone else, my dear, sweet Erik.

Still sobbing, I start crawling to your coffin. As soon as I reach you I caress your terrible face. You don't really look that horrible you know...I guess I have gotten used to it. Even the coldness of your skin doesn't bother me anymore. You always cherished physical contact with others, especially a kiss. You acted as if kissing my forehead brought you all the joy the world had to offer. Such a simple request, a kiss on the forehead!

I smile at this thought and I kiss you on your cheek before laying beside you in your coffin. It has been so long since I have been near you, my dear Erik...far too long. Raoul will never know if I spend a bit longer here...

My tears have blurred my vision, but I almost believe that you smiled.