Chapter One: No One Would Listen
A/N: Hey everyone!I'm back and am so glad to be writing again! So, anyway, I can't say that this is my first E/C fanfic (Sweet Intoxication has that title) but anyway, I hope it'll be the first really long and detailed and, (miraculously) the first spelling/grammatically correct one!
No, this is NOT a sequel to Sweet Intoxication, sorry. It is an E/C romantic fanfic, but a totally different story. Yes, I'm aware it starts off with Raoul and Christine, but Erik will come in to the story soon enough, so just keep reading and be sure to review and tell me what you thought! Enjoy!
Summary: When Raoul goes mad in his plan to ensnare the Phantom during Don Juan, Christine turns to the Phantom, her angel that she has always trusted, and eventually, begins to fall in love with him... The story starts during "Twist Every Way" as Christine has a difficult time making her choice.
Christine listened to Raoul's ingenious plan carefully in the chapel while burying her hands nervously in the mounds of her black silken skirt spread across her lap, a tiny bit of hope starting to bloom over the fear and anxiety in her mind. Maybe at last this horrible Phantom would finally be captured and she would be free of him forever. But she still worried. It was too big of a risk to take. How did she know she wouldn't be taken down to his lair against her will... or worse?.
"Raoul, I'm so sorry, but I can't possibly do this. It's too frightening. He'll take me again. I know he will. We'll be parted forever. He won't let me go!" she pleaded
Raoul stroked her cheek gently "Christine, I would never let anything happen to you. You mean so much to me, darling. But, don't you understand? The entire plan is dependent on you singing in his opera. It's the only way we're sure we can capture him. It's the only way you'll ever be free!" he exclaimed
She sighed " I know that Raoul. But I just can't go through with this. I'm sorry. I can't do it. I won't do it."
Raoul stood up suddenly "Christine, you must be joking! You know this is the only way we'll ever be rid of him! It's the only way you can ever be free of that demon! Do you remember what happened this morning, in the cemetery, when he almost kidnapped you again? You were lucky I showed up in time to save you! Christine, can't you see? If you don't perform tonight, that sort of thing is going to keep occurring for the rest of your life!" he exclaimed, a wild look clouding over his eyes
She stood up angrily "Raoul, I cannot believe you! I told you, I just can't do it. You don't understand. You have never been down to his lair before. You've never heard him sing before, with his enchanting voice... You weren't there to see that hurt and fear in his eyes when I pulled his mask off, to see that longing for love and compassion underneath his hideous face. He's in love with me, Raoul, and he'll do anything to have me. You can't possibly understand. I'm not going to put myself in danger tonight, especially not so I can betray him, after all he's done for me"
Raoul grabbed her arms tightly, pulling her towards him as she gasped from the pain
"You mean to tell me, after everything I have done for you and all we have been through together, you love that...that deformed monster instead of me?"
She shook her head frantically "Raoul, I never meant that! I just said-"
He glared at her, an ice-cold fury in his eyes that instantly silenced her pleas
"You will perform in that opera tonight and you will help me capture that man! Do you understand?" he said in a low voice
Christine nodded, barely aware of what she was doing. This wasn't her Raoul, the Raoul she had fallen in love with, the man he trusted. It was as if some horrible demon had taken control of him.
He grasped her arms tighter, increasing his iron grip and her pain
"And don't you dare ever say you love that monster! If you can't love me, you won't live to love anyone again! Do you understand?"
Now, she glared back at him
He starred at her
"What did you just say?"
"No. Raoul, what if I do love him? Is that too horrible to believe?" she pleaded with him, tears in her eyes. She was so confused right now. What had the Phantom, her angel, ever done to her that was so horrid that she would need to turn him over to the police tonight? In fact, had he ever really harmed her? He truly hadn't kidnapped her that night so long ago, after her debut, she'd gone willingly. And, except for when she removed his mask, it had been the most magical, unbelievable night of her life. Again in the cemetery, he had never harmed her or done anything at all to her except sing. Raoul had come charging in, sword drawn, ready to protect her. Protect her from what? Her angel's voice? Now that she thought of it, this horrible "Phantom" had never done anything to harm her. He was her angel, always looking out for her, protecting her, guiding her when she had no one else in the world to turn to. Why couldn't Raoul understand why she couldn't just betray him like that?
What if she truly did love him?
Raoul began panting heavily, starring coldly into Christine's eyes straight into her soul. Christine knew she could never escape from that horrible glare, even if she tried.
"Christine, you cannot love him! You love me, remember? You do not love that monster! He is not worthy of your love! He's not even a true man! You can NOT love him!" he screamed, throwing Christine onto the hard, stone floor of the chapel. She felt the throbbing pain in her hip as it collided with the cold ground and her black skirt fly up past her knees, her petticoats and stockings in plain view as she was immodestly sprawled across the floor. Raoul didn't even seem to notice as he paced around the chapel, muttering furiously to himself as if Christine weren't there.
"How can she possibly imagine falling in love with him? She loves me... That's why I have to capture him... He's a danger to her...bewitched her to make her think she loves him. It's not true. It can't be true. Once he's caught tonight, Christine will love me again,... realize what a fool...I'll capture him! He'll be all mine!"
Raoul so was deeply involved with his rapidly evolving plan to capture his rival then, he didn't even notice when Christine forced herself up off the floor and ran up the steps to leave the chapel. Her body was screaming with pain and her skirts had never been heavier as she ran up the flights of stairs. It wasn't until she was safely backstage that she heard Raoul's enraged scream when he realized she had deserted him, making her choice quite clear. She heard him pounding his way up the stairs and began running again, her heart beating wildly and her hair breaking free of its knot. She moved herself through the narrowly twisting hallways, numb with fear. Raoul had gone mad. His desire to capture this Phantom had forced him into an abyss of insanity, and now that she had refused him, there was no telling what he would do to her. She had to hide from him.
Almost ready to cry with relief, she made her way into her dressing room, locking the door behind her as she leaned against it for support while she panted. When she had at last calmed down, she realized who it was she needed, wanted to go to to comfort her, to help her. Almost reverently, she approached the full sized mirror to her right, pausing before she undid the latch and pushed the door to the side. Memories swarmed over her as she made her way through the dim, musty passageway. It looked so dark and frightening as she went through it now, without her angel to guide her. She wondered if she was going the right way.
Finally, the tunnel lead her out of the darkness and into the underground stables. She blinked as her eyes adjusted to the bright afternoon light. Making her way through the mounds of hay and horse stalls, she finally came to the passage she was looking for and descended through the dark, confusing tunnels, finally reaching the lake. Conveniently, the very boat she had ridden in with him all those months ago was floating here now, with the guiding oar laying inside it. She hesitantly stepped into the boat, uncertain of her balance as the boat began swaying suddenly, but finally calmed enough to allow her to bend down (a precarious task while wearing her tight corset) and fetch the oar allowing her to begin making her way to his lair.
She was so upset and confused, it barely seemed like any time at all had passed before she was nearly there. So many thoughts ran through her mind
Why was Raoul so angry with me? He doesn't even understand why I can't do it. He certainly wouldn't do it if he had to make the choice. Has he really gone mad? Was that my fault? Did I drive him to insanity? And what about this Phantom or Angel, or whoever he is right now! Oh god, I can't even think straight anymore. Is he really my Angel? Did Father truly send him to me, or was it just my imagination? Then, who is he? How do I know I'll even find him down here? Oh, what am I supposed to do?
A sweet, low, melodious voice cut through her thoughts. Her mind seemed to go blank as she softly rowed the boat to the shore, listening. It was almost as if she was possessed by her angel's voice, the sad, bitter emotions welled in his voice cutting through her heart like a knife.
No one would listen,
I alone could hear the music.
Then at last a voice in the gloom
Seemed to cry, I hear you,
I hear your fears, your torment and your tears!
She saw my loneliness,
Shared in my emptiness,
No one would listen,
No one but her, heard as the outcast hears…
She could see him, even with his back turned to her, wiping the tears from his eyes, and she could feel the tears welling up in her own eyes as well. He sighed and laid his head in his hands. Christine never wanted that moment to end. The pure, raw emotion in his voice had struck a chord somewhere deep in her soul. She now knew that she had been right: She could never love Raoul as much as she loved her angel at that moment.
She wasn't quite sure how to make her presence known, but it felt so awkward just standing there in the boat, waiting for him to turn around or say something or...anything. So, she did what she thought was best: began singing. Her voice was weak and warbling from all the crying she'd been doing, but she struggled to hold on to the familiar melody
Angel, I hear you
Speak, I listen
Stay by my side, guide me!
He turned around sharply the moment she started her song. No, this couldn't be. His mind had to be deceiving him. It couldn't possibly be real. Was it? Was Christine Daae, his angel, his novice young student, really standing there before him, a vision with her mused brown curls, tear streaked face and ripped silky black skirt, in his gondola, pleading with him? Singing to him? What in heaven's name was she doing?
"Christine" he said softly, his voice betraying him as it cracked with emotion "What are you doing here? Why did you-"
"I couldn't stay away from my angel" she replied softly "My heart wouldn't let me"
He felt the last little shred of strength he had in him shatter when she said that. She had come back, of her own choice. But why?
He strode over to where she stood, offering his arm to help her out of the boat. She took it gratefully, stumbling a bit as she made her way onto the land. He gently led her over to where he had just been sitting, and watched as she collapsed into the chair, her skirt swirling into little black rivers of silken material, her gentle hands resting in her lap. This was all too impossible to be believed.
Indeed, he felt he should be lashing out at her, releasing all the angry, bitter thoughts about her kept hidden for so long, but strangely, he couldn't bring himself to say anything to her. He just stood silently,by her. In fact, she began their conversation.
After a few moments, she sighed and said
"I'm so sorry to intrude like this, so suddenly-"
"No, don't be!" he broke in, feeling foolish as she glanced at him. He knelt down beside her as she continued
"But, Angel, I just didn't know what to do, and I had to warn you!" she exclaimed suddenly
He glanced at her, keeping his amusement at bay
"Warn me? About what, prey tell?" he inquired
"Well, after the little...mishap at the cemetery this morning, Raoul thought of some amazing plan to, well...capture you. They're going to perform your opera next evening, and all the police and everyone will be there. And Raoul figured that, if I was to play Aminta, they were certain you'd attend and I could help them... by turning you in"
"Oh" he said in mock disappointment "So, I suppose you agreed"
She looked sharply at him, the shock evident in her expression
"Heavens no! Do you really think I would do something like that to you? I couldn't! I wouldn't agree to go along with it and-" she stopped, looking at him as a small smile rolled across his face
"What? What is it?"
"Christine" he began, sighing "I already know about all of this. It isn't anything new"
She was amazed "But how? How could you have possibly found out about it?"
He glanced at her "News like that isn't hard to miss when your finance was flouncing about all over the place, proclaiming it to everyone in sight. I've already heard all the details about his 'ingenious' plan by numerous people. The only part I hadn't known about was your decision"
She stood up suddenly "You truly thought I would agree to go along with it? Angel, how could you? Did you really think I would just betray you like that and hand you over to the police? I'm not that heartless and ignorant!" she exclaimed
He was a bit taken aback by her sudden outburst, but tried not to show it as he smoothly stood up and turned his back to her, trying to avoid her eyes.
"Well, presently, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you had agreed."
She looked at him pitifully
"You really think I would do that to you?" After everything you've given me, you thought that was how I'd repay you? Angel, do you really think I would be telling you all of this if I had agreed to his plan?" she asked calmly
He turned around
"Well, no, I suppose you wouldn't be. So, then, why did you come back? Not that I mind of course-" he added hastily- " but I thought you were far too busy swooning over your precious Vicomte" he muttered bitterly
She lowered her eyes to the floor, aware of his ever piercing gaze on her, waiting for a response
Sighing, she softly muttered the words he thought he would never hear her ever say to him
"I'm sorry Angel"
He looked at her more tenderly now
"What did you say?"
"I'm sorry. You were right. I didn't really love Raoul. I thought I did, but I realized I never could have, after today. And I'm sorry for betraying your trust like that. You were always the one who was there to help me and guide me when I was so alone, and I just ignored you for the longest time. I'm sorry" she said as her voice broke before she sank to her knees, crying. She buried her head in her hands, unable to keep the tears in any longer.
He walked over to her silently, awkwardly watching the unbelievable display of her emotion. He never realized that she might have still really cared for him, even during her little infatuation with the Vicomte.
Bending down, he embraced her in his gentle, warm arms and she turned towards him, continuing to cry. He stroked her hair softly, the chestnut curls gliding under his fingers like the sweetest flowers, her silken skirt flowing over her thin, gorgeous legs, the excess fabric spilling over onto his body. He thought he smelled the faintest trace of lavender emerging from her skin, and he almost began crying along with his young love when he realized this wasn't one of his imagined, comforting fantasies. This was reality. Christine really was curled up against him, her body trembling in constant motion with her sobs in his comforting grasp.
"Oh god, I'm so frightened. Please, Angel, I need you. I can't go back up there, I just can't. He'll find me again"
He tilted her head up to face his, while trying to make sense of her frightened ramblings
"Christine, who are you talking about? What's wrong?"
"Raoul" she choked out "He frightened me in...in the chapel when he was screaming at me before he..he" she sobbed, unable to go on
Erik felt his own small sense of panic welling up inside him. What had that ignorant boy done to her to scare her so badly?
He grasped her shoulders tightly "Christine, what did he do to you? Tell me what he did"
She looked up at him through hollow, tear-streaked eyes
"He said that if..if I couldn't love him, I wouldn't live to love anyone else again and then he knocked me to the floor" she whispered
The panic Erik had felt rising up inside him was now replaced by a sense of instant fury. That fool had threatened her life! And then hit her! Well, you did the same a voice hissed in his mind Remember? So long ago, when she just removed your mask, you knocked her too the ground and said far worse things to her
He shook his head, as if physically trying to clear all the unwanted, but true thoughts from it. That wasn't important right now. He'd think about that later.
He was just about to offer to Christine that she was welcome to stay down here with him, if she wanted, when she looked up at him pleadingly and asked
"Oh Angel, I know it's certainly too sudden, and this is extremely imposing, but, would you mind if I stayed down here, just for a short while? I can't... I really can't go back up there again. Would you mind terribly?"
He felt a warm smile spreading across his face
'No, not at all. It would be my pleasure"
He gently helped her up off the floor. Her legs felt so weak after all the running and climbing that she literally fell into his arms. He smiled, still not believing he had been blessed like this.
The Phantom showed Christine a large room she could stay in (he had furnished it with her in mind, always hoping that one day, something of this sort would happen) Before she fell asleep on the large bed, she remembered asking him
He turned in the doorway "Yes Christine? What is it?"
"I've always wondered something about you"
He smirked curiously "What?"
"Do you have a real name"
"Erik. You may call me Erik"