Disclaimer: I do not own Phantom, blah blah blah. HOWEVER, I do own Corrine and Alec. Please don't kidnap them without permission. ;)
A World With No More Night
Stepping From the Shadows Into The Sunlight
For the life of me, I don't know why I let Corrine talk me into this. I really shouldn't be blaming her. After all, she did bring me out of my old, dark, lonely life and into a world that I'd mostly forgotten. I know why I let her... I love her, and I'd do anything she asked.
I'll never forget the day we moved everything up from the only home I really knew. She had come down to visit, as she did everyday. However, that day I could tell that she was up to something...
"Erik, I have a marvelous idea."
He could tell by her voice that she was partly excited, but yet nervous. He couldn't help but to feel a little nervous himself.
"What is this idea," Erik asked as he pulled her down onto his lap.
Corrine blushed. Erik always found her blushes charming, but he'd never tell her. Instead he plotted on how to get the next blush from her.
"Erik, we're not married yet. Respectable young ladies must refuse such advances," Corrine laughed as she tried to pull herself up from his lap.
After letting her struggle for a while, he let go of his grasp on her.
"Here's my idea," she said as she sat next to him.
Her cheeks were rosy from the struggle, and she was gasping for air.
"I know for a fact that the Opera house is empty. I sent everyone on a month long, well deserved vacation. The only ones that are still here is Mme. Giry, and of course Alec and I. We won't be a problem of course."
"What does this have to do with me?" Erik asked as he raised the eyebrow of his uncovered cheek.
"Well, since everyone's gone, I thought.." Corrine looked down at her hands.
"I thought we could move your things to my parent's old suite. I figured you could get used to walking down the hallways and such without worrying about running into anyone. You'll have a whole month to adjust to your new life before facing anyone."
Erik was startled. He'd never imagine his sweet Corrine would plot anything this horrible.
"Corrine, I can't."
"Yes, you can Erik. As the new owner you must make yourself available. I will be there every min., so will Alec and Madame Giry. You're not alone in this. You'll NEVER be alone again," Corrine leaned over and took Erik's hand.
"That is a promise."
He knew she was right, and how could he refuse her?
"You promise that no one's here?"
Corrine couldn't help but to smile. The simple question made him sound more like a frightened little boy instead of the dreaded Phantom that everyone ran from.
"Yes, Erik. I told everyone that if they weren't out of here by noon, I'd dock 3 weeks of their pay. I never seen so many people rush around so fast in my life," Corrine laughed.
"Corrine, that wasn't very nice."
Corrine laughed even harder.
"That sounds so funny coming from you." Truth is, I'd never be able to dock anyone's pay like that, but threatening does work."
"What about Giry? Are you docking her pay for staying?" Erik laughed
"Of course not. I figured we could use her help. We will need someone to keep an eye on a certain six year old boy. It would make it difficult with him underfoot. We will use her assistance. I explained the idea, and she was more than willing to keep an eye on Alec for us."
"Corrine, I'm still not sure about this, but I do trust you."
Corrine smiled at him.
"Good then, we'll start in the morning. In the meantime why don't you make a list of what you want moved and what you want to leave here."
Erik's head jerked up.
"Leave things here? What do you mean?"
"Don't misunderstand. I thought you might want to leave some things here. I'm sure you'll want a quiet place to go from time to time. Erik, I don't expect you to never come back here. You can come here anytime you want. It can be your 'thinking place.'
Erik felt rather relieved. She wasn't forcing him to turn his back on this place forever. On the contrary she was broadening his horizons. She really and truly understood him, and he loved her even more for it. Yes, knowing he could come here anytime made him feel ready to face this new chapter in his life.
After Corrine left, he took inventory of his things and made two lists; What he wanted to take and what he wanted to leave.
Bright and early the next morning, Corrine jumped out of bed and hurriedly dressed. She put on one of her older dresses that was terribly faded from being washed so much. This dress was so ragged that she only wore it to do heavy cleaning, or had a dirty task facing her. She tied her long, dark hair back with a ribbon, and hurried out to wake Alec.
Alec was already awake and dressed when Corrine arrived.
"Cori, what are we doing today?"
"Well, I'm going to help Erik, and you are going to be a good boy and let Madame Giry watch you."
"But Cori, what if she laughs at me?" Alec whined.
"I promise she won't laugh at you."
"How do you know?"
"Alec, did you know that Madame Giry is the one that found Erik?" Corrine asked as she knelt down to tie his shoe.
"REALLY?" Alec asked in amazement.
"Yes, really. She found him when he was a boy, and brought him here."
"She didn't laugh at him?"
"No, Alec. She didn't laugh at him."
Alec popped his thumb in his mouth and was deep in thought. Corrine was patient enough to wait him out. She figured when he was ready to talk, he would. After a few minutes he spoke.
"If Madame Giry was nice to Erik, MAYBE she'll be nice to me. Right Cori?"
"Yes, Alec," Corrine nodded.
"All right, I'll go," he said as he jumped down from the chair.
When they got to Mme. Giry's door, Alec stopped and grabbed his sister's hand.
"I'm scared Cori."
At that moment the door flew open and Mme Giry stood in front of them. Alec, still holding Corrine's hand, tried to hide behind Corrine. Mme. Giry seeing the boy's shyness, knelt down in front of him.
"Hello Alec. Your sister never told me how adorable you are," She said smiling at the boy.
Alec shyly peeked at her.
"Did you really find Erik when he was a boy?" Alec asked
"Yes, I did. I could tell you the story if you'd like," She said as she held her hand out to the boy.
Alec was still unsure about this woman. A part of him wanted to hear about his hero, but another part wanted to hide from her."
"I just took some cookies out of the oven. If you want you can eat a few as I tell you the story," she continued.
Alec looked up at Corrine.
"Go on Alec. I have a lot of work to do."
Alec hesitantly took Mme. Giry's hand, and slowly returned the woman's smile.
Corrine made sure Alec was safely inside before heading down to Erik.
Erik... That one name always made her heart skip a beat. At first she thought it was just a silly childish thing, until she realized that it was a normal and acceptable reaction.
She made her way to the lake where her boat sat waiting for her.
After he discovered how difficult his boat was for Corrine to maneuver, Erik had made a simple, plainer, and a light weight boat that even Alec could row.
After rowing the boat to the lair, she found Erik with his back to her. He turned when he heard the boat come to a stop. His appearance almost made her laugh out loud. His clothes had seen better days. His shirt and pants both had holes and rips. His face had dirt smudges, and his hair was disheveled. If she hadn't known better, she would've thought some beggar had found his way down here. This was the first time she'd ever seen him in such disarray.
"My lady, pardon my appearance."
She couldn't help it. That simple statement was the last straw. She couldn't stop the laughter.
"I wouldn't laugh mademoiselle. You hardly look any better," he said as he walked up and kissed her.