(Angels and Roses) is my first phantom AU phic, I hope you'll enjoy it.
Almost every chapter in this phic, will be opened with a journal entry piece, in the form of a letter, that Christine had written as a child, when she was around 9,10 years old, in the year 1860, then it jumps to 1867, and she is about 17. However, the story is taking place in the year 1870, as stated in the story, ten years later, so Christine is now twenty years old. Erik is 31 years old.
Chapter One: (The Convent)
July 10, 1860
Dear Angel of Music,
Where are you? I've been praying and praying that you'd come. Why aren't you coming? I hope that you're not angry with me.
Just yesterday Sister Luisa baked a whole tray of chocolate chip cookies. She told me to eat just one but knowing how much I love chocolate chip cookies, I ate the whole tray! I was sent to bed without supper because I had been a bad girl.
I also didn't mean to set the library aflame. I just tripped while entering the library. I was holding the candle in my hand and the books caught fire. Sister Martha was hysterical because she thought that I had been caught in the fire. Later on, she just hugged me and cried. Sister Luisa says it's because I'm really clumsy. Mother Superior said that it wasn't my fault, but I can't help feeling guilty.
I also almost drowned in the lake too, when I went with Sister Renata, berry picking outside the convent walls. She told me to stay away from the slippery edge of the lake but I didn't listen to her. I was too curious and I slipped. But she saved me. I later heard Sister Renata saying to Mother Superior that I had turned her hair grey. I don't know what that means, since she still has brown hair. I guess that she was worried for me. I told them that I was sorry for all the naughty things that I had done.
Angel, please tell papa and mama that I miss them a lot, and that I love them. And please, please, come soon! I'm waiting for you. Papa said that you would come and I know that you will.
I forgot to mention that I'm taking care of the roses in the garden. It's my job now, to water them everyday. They're my roses and I've even named them. Would you like to know their names?
I must go to bed, now. Goodnight, Angel.
The Year 1870
Christine walked solemnly to Mother Superior's office. Sister Mary Catharine, Christine's closest friend, was walking with her. They were both of the same age.
"Don't worry, Christine. I'm sure it's nothing," Mary Catharine said calmly.
"How can you say that? Mother Superior must have found out that I was the one who broke those plates yesterday," Christine said guiltily, all the while looking down at the floor.
Mary Catharine stopped and turned to Christine. Clutching her hand in her own, she said reassuringly, "Oh, Christine, you saw a mouse. That's horrible and you were terrified. That's why you threw the plates away from you and ran out of the kitchen. Mother Superior will understand."
Christine bit her lips, looking remorseful.
"But I was supposed to be cleaning the dishes, Mary, not breaking them," she sighed.
Mary Catharine couldn't help the small chuckle that escaped her lips. Christine frowned.
"It's not funny!"
"You have to admit that it is a bit funny," Catharine replied, her voice filled with laughter.
Christine shook her head in exasperation before a small smile graced her lips in return. Both women resumed walking down the corridor in silence until they reached the door to Mother Superior's office.
"Good luck," Mary Catharine said sympathetically.
"Thanks," Christine whispered back.
Taking a deep breath, preparing herself for the lecture she was about to hear, Christine opened the door and timidly peeked inside.
"Come in, my child," Mother Superior's voice was calm but firm.
Christine slowly walked in and closed the door behind her. She stood still, her hands clutched before her, her head bent down as if she were praying. Mother Superior sighed dramatically before ordering her to come closer and take a seat. Christine obeyed without saying a word. She sat down, all the while looking at her hands folded in her lap.
"Christine, we must talk."
Before Mother Superior even had time to finish her statement, Christine looked up, her big blue eyes locking to Mother Superior's green ones, and she started.
"I'm really sorry about the dishes… I really didn't mean to…it was the mouse…oh, it looked so horrible…I panicked…dropped the dishes…I know I'm a coward…I shouldn't have done it…I'm really sorry" Seeing the exasperated look on Mother Superior's face, Christine bit her lip and stopped rambling.
"Christine, I have a much more important issue to discuss with you."
Mother Superior stopped, rose from her chair and walked to the window. She looked out for a while, admiring God's creation. As she spoke again, her voice was compassionate.
"Christine, there is something very important that I must tell you. Before your father died, he wanted me to give you something."
Christine's heart missed a beat at the mention of her father. Christine still silently mourned her parents' loss. Just talking about her father or mother was really hard for her. Her hands, in her lap, twisted the linen of her simple, unadorned – and suitable for a convent-bred young lady - pink dress, as she forced herself to remain composed.
Mother Superior turned around to face Christine and saw the tears shimmering in her eyes. She sighed.
"I know it's hard for you to talk about your parents."
Christine shook her head, brushing one stray blond curl away from her face and tucking it behind her ear. Trying to appear serene and calm, she looked back at Mother Superior.
"What did my father want me to have?" she asked.
Mother Superior walked back to her desk and sat down. She removed a chain from around her neck that held a small key. She bent down to open one of the locked drawers of her desk and carefully removed a box. It looked like the kind of box that jewelry would be kept in, a plain black square box, and yet it seemed very elegant. Mother Superior placed the box gently on the desk before her. Christine couldn't stop staring at it.
"Your father told me that when you were old enough, you were to have this box. And I believe that the time has come."
Christine's gaze moved from the box to Mother Superior, a mixture of curiosity and grief clouding her expression.
"What's in it?" she asked quietly, her voice trembling slightly.
"I don't know, child. The box can't be opened." With that statement, Mother Superior carefully turned the box so that its front faced Christine.
There was a tiny keyhole at the front. Christine carefully brought her hand to the box and touched its smooth surface. She gently lifted it and brought it closer to her, silently observing its features before placing it back on the desk a few moment's later.
"Where is the key?" she asked curiously.
"I don't know," Mother Superior replied honestly. "But your father told me to tell you this - that the key is in your heart."
Christine frowned. Since when had her father started talking in riddles?
"But I don't understand. He left me here and he said that he would come back. But he never came back. And now I find out that he left this for me with you? Does that mean that he knew he was going to die? Is that why he left me here?" Christine's eyes were glowing with anger and grief and her voice had become louder with the intensity of her emotions.
Christine felt enraged with her father. No matter how illogical that feeling was, she couldn't help it. How dare he leave her like that? She wanted him with her. He was her family.
Mother Superior sighed before taking a deep breath and speaking as compassionately as possible. "Christine, child, I think that it is time you knew the truth. Your father's death was not an accident."
Christine's gaze shifted from angry and grieved to shocked within moments. She didn't say a word. She just silently waited in dread as Mother Superior spoke again.
"At first, we were told it was an accident and that's what we told you. But later on, I learned the truth but kept it to myself to shield you from further grief. The reason your father brought you here was because he wanted you safe and protected. He left you with us and told me to take care of you. He knew that he was going to die. He was murdered not long after he left you with us," Mother Superior stated.
Christine froze, her blood turned to ice. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her eyes were so fogged up with tears, she could barely see in front of her. Her heart seemed to have stopped beating and she had turned as white as a sheet.
"Wh - what do you mean, murdered? My father was just a violinist. Why would anyone want to kill h - him? No…no…I - it doesn't make any sense," Christine's trembling voice was barely above a whisper.
"I don't know, child. But HE knew. Your father knew that his days were numbered. So he left you with us to keep you safe and sound," Mother Superior answered calmly.
Tears started pouring down Christine's cheeks. She frantically wiped them away with her hands. She averted her gaze from Mother Superior, feeling ashamed of her weakness. Mother Superior sighed as she handed Christine a napkin, so she could dry her eyes.
"I didn't mean to cause you more pain, child. But you deserve to know the truth."
Christine had managed to stop the tears from falling and had regained some of her self- composure.
"May I be excused?" she said quietly.
"Not yet, child, there is one more thing I need to tell you."
With fear and trepidation in her heart, Christine braced herself. What more could there be?
Mother Superior continued, "Your guardian is coming to pick you up tomorrow."
"Guardian?" Christine asked in shock. "What guardian?"
"Her name is Madame Valerius. Your father did not want you to spend all your life in this convent."
"But I don't want to leave. I don't know who this woman is. I've never even heard her name before." Christine rose from her chair and rushed over to where Mother Superior was sitting. She knelt down before her, clasping her hands together, her eyes pleading as she begged, "Oh, please, don't make me leave. I love it here. And who's going to take care of my roses? I can't leave my roses!"
Mother Superior rolled her eyes heavenward before looking back at Christine.
"Get up, child. Go back to your seat," she ordered and Christine obeyed.
"Now," Mother Superior continued. "Your father did not want you to stay here all your life. He wanted you to settle down, marry, have children, to see the world outside these convent walls. Stop being so afraid. But remember you will never be alone. You will always have us, if you ever need anything. And I'm sure that Madame Valerius will be an excellent guardian."
"But - " Seeing the look on Mother Superior's face, Christine decided not to argue anymore.
"May I be excused now?" she asked again.
"You may be excused."
Christine rose from the chair, hugging her box to her heart. When she was almost at the door, Mother Superior's voice rang out.
"And remember, child, have faith. God is always with us," she said wisely.
Christine nodded before turning to the door again and leaving. She ran down the hall, all the way to her room. She slammed the door behind her, collapsing on her bed, as bitter tears poured down her cheeks like waterfalls. She cried herself to sleep with the box still hugged tightly to her heart.
A knock resounded on Christine's bedroom door a few hours later. Christine awoke with a start.
"Who is it?" she called out as she propped herself up on her elbows to a semi-sitting position on the bed.
"It's me, Mary Catherine. It's dinnertime. Don't you want to eat?"
"I'm not hungry. You go ahead. Join the others. Tell them that I'm not feeling very well." With that, Christine laid her head back on the pillows.
"Are you ill?" Mary Catharine asked worriedly.
"No, I just have a little headache, that's all." Christine winced at the lie she had just told and silently prayed for forgiveness. She didn't want to discuss what she had discovered about her father's death with anyone. She also didn't have the strength to talk about having to leave yet. She just needed to be alone.
"All right, then," Mary Catharine said hesitantly from behind the closed door before she left.
Christine closed her eyes again. Exhaustion took over and she was lost in a dreamless sleep. She didn't know exactly when it happened, only that it was sometime late at night, when an ear-piercing scream jolted her awake. Christine almost fell off her small bed. Her heart was thundering in her chest. She was terrified as she heard more sounds… more screams. She rushed to the door and opened it a little, peeking outside to see what was happening.
To her shock, the convent had been invaded and the nuns were scattering everywhere.
They ran frightened to the nearest exist as men chased them, yelling obscenities and laughing evilly. Then she noticed that they were drenching the walls of the convent with gasoline. Finally, the horror of it all dawned upon her. These monsters were going to burn the place down!
Christine ran back to her bed and grabbed the box that she had been given from her father. Gathering all her courage, she emerged from her room and ran down the hallway in the other direction. She tried to find the nearest exist, away from those monsters.
"Sister Mary Catharine!" Christine called out as she tried to make her way through the chaos. Frantically, she was trying to find all the others.
"Christine!" Mary Catharine called out to her from the other side of the hall.
As Mary Catharine tried to make her way to Christine, she was suddenly grabbed around the waist from behind by one of those disgusting men. Mary Catharine screamed and fought. Christine screamed too, yelling at the man to let go of her friend, trying to get to Mary.
As she frantically tried to find her way through the chaos, she bumped into one of those horrible men. Christine gasped in shock and took a few steps backward.
The man grinned down at her fiendishly.
"Aren't you the smart one, thinking you could get away?" With that he grabbed her by the arms. She cried out in fear and pain, the box falling from her hands to the ground.
Just as suddenly as he had grabbed her, he let go of her, his eyes widening as if he were in extreme pain before falling face first to the ground. Christine abruptly moved out of his way. A scream gathered in her throat when she saw the knife sticking out of his back. Her hands flew to her heart. She took a few more steps backward, until her back hit the cold wall. She was trembling so badly, she felt her knees buckle beneath her. All the horrific sounds of anguished pleas and screams, all the terrible sights of smoke and fire, as the flames began devouring the convent, started to fade before her eyes. She fell into the arms of the beckoning darkness.
The last thing she saw was a vision of an avenging angel, emerging from the smoke and flames. A masked face, with two blazing golden eyes, looked down at her expressionlessly, catching her in his arms before she hit the floor. He lifted her up to him, effortlessly. And for a moment, she relished his warmth.
"Who are you?" she whispered frailly, her eyes glazed over with fear.
He did not reply but kept his gaze straight ahead. As she helplessly drifted into complete darkness, she wondered if she were in the arms of an angel or a demon… for no mortal could move the way he did… and the flames around them were no match for the fire in his eyes…