Okay, so I just don't like how the movie and play skip to Christine wearing the wedding dress! These are my thoughts on how she ended up in it… Based on the movie version, since I don't know how many people have read the actual book. But I would highly recommend it!

Disclaimer: Andrew Lloyd Webber owns the music, lyrics, and rights to "The Phantom of the Opera," but I would also like to give a nod to Gaston Leroux for inspiring generations of creativity with the writing of one book!


A Willing Prisoner?

Christine gasped for breath as she fell through the air. This was not supposed to happen! She had done everything required of her, but it had all gone wrong. Raoul was somewhere above, and she was sinking into darkness, again a captive of the Phantom.

Or was she truly a prisoner? She had performed his opera, with the intent of lulling him into dropping his defenses, and yet, she had felt something. When her angel had begun to sing, her only thoughts were of Raoul, and how he had promised to protect her from this. But she soon experienced feelings she was too young to understand. She had tried to resist, but the Phantom's voice floated into her mind, and Christine became ensnared by the music. His words washed over her, igniting a blaze in her heart. She had never felt this way before, and so had sung her feelings, unable to fight his pull. For a moment she felt safe in his arms, and forgot all plans of betrayal.

Then the Phantom sang Raoul's song. There was only one way he could have heard it, and fear for her fiancée's life dragged Christine from her near-trance. A trap had indeed been laid, she realized with a shock, but she was the prey. Without thinking, she pulled the Phantom's mask away, tearing a piece of her heart along with it. She looked piteously at the man before her, whose life she had effectively destroyed, and took solace in the knowledge that she would soon be safe in the forgetfulness of Raoul's arms.

But it seemed the Phantom's plans were more intricate than her own. He sprang into action, and just as Christine saw the grand chandelier begin to rock dangerously, she was in his arms again, falling through space…

XXXXX

And now the Phantom was dragging her through the catacombs. Gone were any romantic illusions she had of the damp path they descended. How could I have ever thought this place beautiful? The extent of the Phantom's hold on her was finally beginning to come clear. Everything he had said, what he had done – they were merely to win her trust, to lure her into dropping her defenses. Her whole life, from the age of seven, had been coldly calculated by the man before her. And she let him do it. So desperate had been her grief at losing all she loved, that she had thrown her life away, given it to this monster – the only person left who cared for her. But that was before she had found Raoul again.

Horror clutched her heart as she heard the Phantom cry out of their descent into hell. She tried vainly to grasp onto an outcropping of stone as he pulled her roughly along. She knew this could only end with her death, and she tried frantically to get free, tears spilling from her eyes. He easily overpowered her, dragging her by one arm like a rag doll behind him. I can't stop him! I can't stop him! She fought now to calm her pounding heart, trying not to imagine the terrors that might lay ahead.

"… No compassion anywhere. Christine… why?"

She looked in his eyes and caught a glimpse of humanity there. For a moment, she felt sorry for the fate that had been thrust upon him. She wanted to reassure him, thinking that he might let her go. But the flicker disappeared from his face, and he threw her roughly into the boat. Seeing her chance, Christine tried to dive in the water. The Phantom grabbed her shoulder and pushed her back into the boat, lashing her wrists together and wrapping the loose end of the rope around his palm like a leash.

"Don't… make me hurt you…" he breathed, while shoving off with the pole. Christine knew she was trapped, and ceased to struggle for the moment, trying to calculate her next move. But all she could hear was the Phantom's quiet sobbing, and her mind still ran wildly with nightmares of possibility.

Upon reaching the shore of his lair, he pulled the rope, dragging her to dry ground and up the stairs. He was moving towards one of the mirrors. Christine remembered what lay behind the curtain, and panicked at the thought of the wedding dress. She pretended to trip, and fell to the ground, scraping her elbows and knees – as she was unable to catch herself with bound hands.

The hopelessness of her situation finally overcame her, and Christine started to sob, her body shaking. She shut her eyes tight as she tried to forget about her surroundings, and she curled into fetal position, vainly wiping her tears with the rope around her wrists. A gentle touch shocked her into sitting up. She backed away from the form before her, blurry through her tears.

"Christine… Christine," he gently sang her name. Her breathing steadied as he approached slowly, holding one hand out before him. She lifted both of hers, and he began undoing the knots. When she was free, she hugged her arms to her, rubbing the skin where it had become raw.

She looked at the ruined man before her. His anger still simmered, but had retreated momentarily from the surface. She decided to try and appeal to him one last time, and her gaze softened.

"Angel of music," she sang quietly, "Why this torment?"

The Phantom looked in her eyes, seeming for a moment as a lost child. She leaned toward him, reaching out to touch his face and dry the tears that fell into the scared folds of skin. His breath became ragged, and he lifted a hand to hers, moving it down to rest over his heart.

"My angel," he whispered, and looked for a moment like he might kiss her. She fought to maintain her composure – part of her repulsed, and the other drawn to him. Her eyes widened out of fear from her own emotions, and she drew back an inch, letting her hand fall to her lap. The moment shattered, and the Phantom realized what she had been doing. A snarl returned to his lips.

"The dress," he said coldly. "I want to see you in it."

"Please," she gasped, begging. "Let me go."

He stood and walked around her, cutting off any chance of retreat. He gestured toward the mannequin. "Put it on… now."

Christine nodded in defeat and slowly stood. She gathered up the dress and moved to the Phantom's sleeping quarters, pressing as close as she could to the wall while she changed, determined that he not see her. She pulled the gown over her head, and felt a numbness settle over her mind as it began to shatter. There was no reason to fight anymore. He had won.

It was over.

XXXXX

As Raoul and Christine sailed away from the Phantom's lair, she couldn't help but glance back at the figure on the shrinking shore. She had once called him the man that inspired her voice, but she knew it went much deeper than that. He had made her into the woman her father always dreamed she could become. Beautiful, strong, gifted, and independent. There was no greater gift that the Phantom could have given her.

And she would always love him for that.


Okay… the end! Please review! This is my first Phantom fic!