An Angel With Broken Wings

Universe: Charles Dance/Teri Polo version (Based of the YK Phantom)

SUMMARY: My rewrite of the Charles Dance version ending.

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His eyes never left hers as they sang together. As the thunderous applause threatened to deafen them both, his tear-filled eyes were locked to her, conveying love and adoration. Unconsciously, Christine's hand lifted as if to pull him toward her. Equally as unconscious of his actions, Erik leaned toward her out of Box Five.

Very suddenly, a shot rang out, startling the couple from their shared reverie. Someone was shooting at the Phantom. Another shot exploded in the enclosed space of the Opera House and Erik leapt down from Box Five onto the stage. His eyes glowed with supernatural fury as he effortlessly lifted Christine into his arms. The young soprano gladly wrapped her arms around his neck. She was safe with him, though all his actions suggested otherwise, she was safe…

The Phantom carried her off, the screams of the angry and frightened mob disappearing behind them.

"Let her go! For God's sake! Let her go!" Carriere was pleading.

Let me go? Whatever for? She thought to herself. She was safely enfolded in her Angel's wings. She moved her face from where she had hidden it, nestled between his shoulder and throat, and gazed up at him.

They had successfully eluded the gendarmes and the mob until now, but the crowd was closing in. Erik let her down gently so that he could draw his sword to defend himself and his prodigy.

It was indeed a comical sight when the new opera manager created a minor disturbance by sliding down the stairs in a large laundry basket. Unfortunately the next thing to happen was far from amusing.

As they hurried up another flight of steep steps, Erik suddenly lost his balance and careened into the wall. He rested against it for a moment, panting for breath. Sweat beaded on the small portion of forehead she could see, his hair was far from immaculate; but in that moment, Christine realized that she loved him nonetheless. However, now did not seem to be the time to tell him this. Erik's breathing was laboured and he swayed unsteadily as he tried to stand.

"Erik, what's wrong?" she asked, very concerned.

He shook his head vehemently, turning and trying to take her hand to lead her further up the stairs. Christine persisted, moving closer to him and pushing aside his dark cloak. She bit her lip as she saw the blood staining his loose white shirt. Apparently not all the gendarmes were terrible shots.

"Erik-"

"We must keep moving." he said breathily.

"Erik, you're hurt-"

He shook his head irritatedly, grabbing her hand and starting to lead her up the stairs to the roof.

"Must keep moving. They'll kill-"

Christine found herself seizing his shirtfront, pushing him against a wall and standing on her tiptoes to kiss him. He struggled against her for a moment, then his knees turned to water and he seemed to collapse under her. One long hand clutched at the wall, trying to keep himself upright. Indeed, if her mere voice could make him weak with pleasure, this was surely to be expected…

"Erik..?"

The only reply she received was his sobbing intake of breath.

"Erik? Are you alright?"

"No one… No one has ever… Never… I-"

The sounds of the mob grew closer, interrupting their shared emotion. Christine could feel him withdrawing into himself. His eyes hardened and he seized Christine's hand, pulling her with him to the roof.

The cool Paris air hit her in the face as they exited onto the roof.

"Let her go!" Philippe was bawling. "Please! Let her go!"

The rising madness was obvious to Christine as she gazed into her Angel's eyes. Christine was his!

"She sang for me tonight! She's mine!" Erik snarled.

Philippe made a wild grab for Christine, but Erik pushed her behind him and swung his sword in the Comte's direction. Philippe reeled back as Christine let out a scream.

"Erik no! He means you no harm! Erik, please!"

The two men struggled with one another, each one desperately trying to overpower the other. In the end, Erik was the stronger man. He tossed Philippe aside almost effortlessly, watching as the smaller man tumbled over the side of the Opera Populaire roof. Philippe cried out in terror as he realized he was going directly over the edge. At the last moment, the Comte managed to catch hold of the side of the building. He hung there by his fingernails, sweat dripping down his face and trickling down his neck as vertigo set it.

Furious at his apparent failure, Erik swooped down on the terrified Comte. He pried the Comte's fingers from the ledge, madness reddening his vision.

"Erik please! If you love me!" Christine pleaded. "If you love me, please!"

With those words, all of Erik's resolve promptly dissipated. With only a moment's hesitation, his iron grip closed around the Comte's forearm. The Phantom lifted his former victim and deposited him safely onto solid ground. Philippe looked up into the shining eyes of the Phantom. He saw a flicker of compassion. Unwillingly, Philippe realized what kind of life this man must have lived. The younger man gently squeezed his savior's forearm, trying to convey his thanks and his sympathy with a single touch. The Phantom nodded once and released the Comte.

"There he is! We have him surrounded!"

Erik gave Philippe a shove in the direction of Christine. His eyes searched out the nearest route of escape. There was none. He was trapped like a fox in a hunt. He knew if they caught him his fate would be far worse than that of a hunted animal. Forced display of his ruined face, imprisonment, life as a circus freak…

"Don't shoot! I want to take him alive!"

On the lower roof, Carriere's stomach twisted at the Manager's words. He saw his son's panicked evaluation of all possible choices. Erik's eyes sought out his fathers, he stepped up onto the ledge of the upper roof and motioned with his hands. Carriere bit his lip as he realized what his only child was asking of him. Numbly, the old man drew his pistol and leveled it at Erik.

"Carriere! For god's sake! What are you doing man!" came the manager's alarmed voice.

Carriere closed his eyes as his son nodded fiercely and moved aside his cloak to give the old man a better target. A single tear slipped down Gerard Carriere's face as he squeezed the trigger. The shot exploded from the gun and echoed into the cold night air. He opened his eyes in time to see the Phantom clutching in vain at his chest before toppling forward off the roof.

"Erik!"

To Christine it was as if she were watching an angel fall from heaven. She heard the sickening crunch as Erik hit the steel covering of the lower roof. She ran down the steps and rounded the corner in time to see Carriere drawing his son's broken body into his arms and holding him close.

"Get back!" Christine sobbed harshly to the curious crowd of gendarmes and opera workers. "Get back!"

She fell to her knees beside Erik, tears streaming down her face and her hair floating around her hair like a halo.

"Christine…" her Maestro breathed.

"The gods smiled when they imagined you Christine Daaé."

The soprano forced a smile as she crouched closer to him.

"Christine…"

Christine reached forward and tugged gently at the ends of the ribbon holding his mask in place.

"No… No…" he pleaded.

The horrendous scars faded before her loving eyes as she divested him of his lifelong prison. She leaned forward and kissed his lips, looking him directly in the eye as she did so. She then kissed his scarred forehead, brushing back his messy hair and cupping his cheek.

"You are music." she whispered.

"Christine…"

She replaced the mask, and looked up at Carriere. He gave her a sad little smile; had the circumstances been different, he could have been looking as his daughter-in-law. Erik gave a soft sigh, his head slumped onto his father's chest and Carriere had to clutch at the Phantom's limp arm to stop the overpowering tide of sorrow from being released.

Christine felt Philippe's hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, feeling hollow inside. She allowed the Comte to lead her away, looking back to glance at Carriere only once.

There he sat; a man holding the dead body of his son. A sad father holding an angel with broken wings.

…and you are life to me.

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Sufficiently angsty? I hope so. Please review. I'll give you a Phantom cookie.