There truly is nothing like the legs of a ballerina, Erik mused to himself as Christine slept beside him. Her head was resting over his shoulder, and one of her legs was draped over his lap. He reached down and stroked her thigh, thinking of the love they had made and recalling her stage debut at the Metropolitan Opera.

Erik had only been returned to his normal life for a little over one week; after giving his full statements and disclosures to the police, he had signed the order that Mama V's be foreclosed. He wasn't sure whether to convert the building into something more productive or to raze the place to the ground completely, banishing even the memory of the club where he'd found the love of his life.

Christine, I do love you...

Once they had awoken from making love on his first night back from the hospital, Christine had insisted on keeping him off his feet, in bed, and under her complete care. Erik had to admit that he had liked being waited on by the beautiful girl, but after a while he grew irritated with her acting as if he couldn't spare the strength to make himself a cup of coffee.

"I can manage, I promise you I'm fine. Christine, I didn't fight my way out of the hospital to be babied by you!" He had snarled.

Christine had shown her own new spirit to that remark, shouting at him that he was too stubborn and too dense to see that she only wanted to help.

They had yelled at each other for a while that day before finally making up. Erik smiled again, thinking of the ways that she had learned to "help" him since his return. There was nothing to separate them now; no secrets standing in their way, no more obligations to ruin what they were trying to build with each other. He stroked her waist. Christine curled closer to him.

We are so perfect together, I don't think I could ever give her up. I will ask her soon...

He sighed contentedly, stretching slightly, pleased not to feel the subtle, stinging pull of his stitches. He had recovered at a wonderful rate; his smaller wounds were nearly healed, though slightly tender, and the main shot in his chest was following suit. Erik glanced down at Christine's soft face and smiled. He was feeling back to his old self already.

"Erik? Erik, come on, wake up." Distantly, he could hear Christine's voice. Erik pulled himself into consciousness, though he was very reluctant. Christine had approached him last night, easily coaxing him into making love- it had been as passionate as it was tender, and left him feeling quite sated. He had no desire to wake up and face the day.

Unless the day includes making love with Christine again...

"Why? Is there something wrong?" He asked groggily, wondering is the dishwasher was leaking onto the floor again. He'd been meaning to get it fixed, but he had been quite busy the past few days, both with Christine and with his recovery.

Erik finally opened his eyes, mildly surprised to see the girl up and already dressed for the day in a pair of tight dark wash jeans and a gauzy pink tunic. Christine shook her head and moved to sit on the bed beside him as he shifted onto his back. "No, everything's fine. I just got off the phone with Raoul. He's finally settled into his new townhouse and he's having his family over tonight for dinner. He invited us, too. Do you feel up for it?" She asked.

Erik smirked and lifted her to sit over his lap. He reared up to kiss her soundly on the lips. Even with the bedcovers and Christine's denim between their bodies, she could still feel his arousal pressed against her. "I'm always up for it," he joked. He smiled and watched as her eyes grew dark. "Erik," she sighed.

Teasing, he lifted her and tossed her onto the center of the bed. Erik rose to stand, stark naked and careless, moving toward the bathroom. "Right. Of course we'll go see your friend, let's go down to the market and pick up a bottle of wine to bring them for dinner."

She stared at his body, transfixed. "Oh, Erik, but what about...?"

"Christine, I'm an old man, are you trying to wear me out?"

She threw a pillow at his retreating back.

"Oh, awesome, you're early," Raoul greeted them at the door. He had chosen an upscale townhouse not far from Philippe, who lived only three blocks away. He admitted them inside and Christine looked around, smiling at the typical young bachelor decor- bare basics with only a hint of thought put into the arrangements. She could hear voices and paused, recognizing the other de Chagnys instantly.

One never forgets their true family.

She swallowed, feeling stronger and instantly more at ease when Erik put his hand on the small of her back. Raoul lead them into his sunken living room where they were greeted by his parents, Philippe and the triplets.

"Oh, Christine it's so wonderful to see you!" Liane, Raoul's mother greeted her. Much like Claudette, Liane was tall, thin, and infinitely chic. Christine felt her throat catch and her eyes fill with tears; this woman had been more of a mother to her than her own mother ever was. She felt awkward and nervous suddenly, but she fell into Liane's arms easily, taking the warmth and familiar scent into herself.

Raoul's father Charles was next. His greeting was not so heartfelt, but there was no less warmth in his eyes when he welcomed her back to the family. The triplets Katie, Tessa and Heather were next, swarming Christine with hugs and kisses, all of them speaking at once.

Erik remained by the doorway with Raoul, giving Christine the space to reunite with the only real family she'd ever known since the death of her father as a young child. He smiled slightly, thinking how happy she was. There was a wide smile on her face and tears were shining in her eyes.

He could do no better for her.

Erik turned to Raoul. "Thank you for inviting us over tonight, Raoul. Look how happy you've made Christine."

The younger man smiled, his eyes on her. "Yes, I guess she finally felt ready to come back to us- look at her, falling right back into her old self with the girls," he said.

Erik glanced over to see Christine and the triplets sitting together on the sofa, apparently gabbing about hair care.

He raised an eyebrow at that. Women!

Raoul's parents came to greet Erik and within an hour it felt as if they all knew each other. There was soft, upbeat music playing and a drink in every hand as the de Chagny dinner party moved into full swing. There had been a bit of slow dancing where Christine and Erik took center stage of the living room, once their dance was over Erik was smarmed by the triplets for a turn and Raoul began to show off his skill with the piano. Even Erik had to admit the boy had talent.

Christine moved over to Raoul. "Thank you so much for this, Raoul. I can't tell you how much it means to me." She said as she hugged him.

Raoul shrugged, adoring her yet knowing that their chance had already passed them by nearly a year ago. He was fine with it, he couldn't ask for a better friend than Christine. "Well, it was no big deal. I thought you might have liked to get back to seeing everyone. I wasn't the only one that missed you when you disappeared last year." He said pointedly.

She glanced at the floor. "I know, Raoul, and I'm-"

The younger man shook his head, "Hey, hey, come on, it's all right. None of that matters anymore. All that matters now is that you're safe and you're happy and...Erik is seriously flirting with all of my sisters!" He said, looking over her shoulder.

Christine turned to follow his eyes. She raised her eyebrows at the sight of Erik on the sofa surrounded by the Weird Sisters, all of them making moon-eyes as he told the story of his shooting. She tried not to laugh as he was obviously enjoying so much of their attention. She moved a little closer to listen in on his tale of heroics.

"...I felt that a rage swept over me, and I jumped through the mirror to attack him. Gunshots rang out all around me, but I could only see him and I knew that if I didn't stop him, no one would," Erik said, seemingly oblivious to Christine watching him. He couldn't help himself, it was such fun to show-boat for the younger girls!

"So what did you do?" Tessa asked him eagerly.

"I grabbed him and nearly killed him! Now, they tell me I was shot but I promise you, I don't remember it happening. I don't remember much of what happened at all that day, to be honest, but I woke up in the hospital days later with what felt like a massive hangover." Erik told them, joking slightly. "When I began discussions with the police after I woke up, they told me I'd nearly crushed his trachea, but once he recovered, he and all of his people would be sent to jail. Justice served, finally," he laughed.

Katie, the brunette, moved closer to him on the sofa. "Were you only shot once?"

Erik shook his head. "No, I was hit in a few other places. My waist and my thigh, but the shot to my chest was the only one to cause any real damage..."

Christine couldn't believe her eyes as she watched Erik flex his arm for the triplets to feel. Obviously the girls' adoration had gone straight to his ego. She had never seen him behave so outlandishly charming, and she had to admit that she was ready to shove Heather aside and take her place in feeling his bicep.

"Put a leash on that guy!" Philippe urged her as he joined them beside the piano.

"Wow, look at him work! We ought to take lessons from this guy," Raoul joked.

Christine rolled her eyes at them. "Relax, boys, he's harmless!"

Philippe shook his head, "No such thing as a harmless man when it comes to my sisters."

Raoul agreed wholeheartedly with his brother.

Christine laughed. "Well, all right, you're so worried they'll fall for him, I'll take him home."

Understandably, Raoul and Phil breathed a sigh of releif.

Erik kissed Christine's shoulder as he moved to stand behind her at the wall of windows. She had been playful with him the entire night, and had grown quiet since returning from the de Chagnys' dinner party. "Mmm, that feels good," she purred as he moved to kiss her neck, moving up to kiss her just behind her ear.

"I hoped it would," he breathed against her. His hands wound their way around her waist, bringing her flush against him.

"You were a hit tonight," she told him in a whisper.

Christine felt rather than heard the deep rumble of his laughter. "You make that sound like a bad thing. I saw you watching me with the girls, you weren't jealous, were you?"

She smiled, even though Erik couldn't see it from his place behind her. "Erik, you know I love you, plus I'm a Scorpio...I'd be jealous if you were flirting with a street sign."

Erik nipped her, the delicate spot where her neck sloped into the curve of her shoulder. "I got carried away with those girls, but it was all harmless, I promise you. I've never been the type to even think of cheating."

Christine turned in his arms until they were face to face. "I know you aren't. Neither am I...but then again you're my first boyfr- ah, man." She said quickly, off his look. Trying not to laugh, she went on, "I had a great time with everyone. It was wonderful to be together like that, like a realy family. They are my family."

Erik nodded, kissing her. "You couldn't have chosen more wonderful people, Christine. Truly. I could see how much they care about you."

She brought her arms closer around him. "I love you, I love you," she sighed quietly while she reached up and removed his mask. She kissed both his cheeks. "Do you want to go to bed?" She asked.

Obviously, Christine didn't intend so sleep.

Erik smiled. "Is that a trick question?" He teased her.

In one quick motion, he swept her into his arms and carried her down the hall.

Hours later, Christine awoke to Erik nuzzling her neck. "Christine, wake up. I need to ask you something."

"Hmm?" She asked, still half-asleep.

It was still pitch black in Erik's bedroom, but she could feel him move atop her, stroking her face. He kissed her cheek. "Christine. We don't have anything to run from any longer, do we?"

"No," she muttered, wishing Erik would just let her go back to sleep.

"So if we went away you wouldn't object?"

It was a struggle, but Christine forced her mind to focus on what he was saying. "Went away? What are you talking about?"

"Well, as I was...indisposed this Christmas and New Year's, I wasn't able to give you a gift. You've already told me not to bother with more jewelry or clothes, but how about something you've never seen before? I've made travel plans for us, Christine. Paris, London, Berlin...then, if you're up for it, we might visit Sydney. The beaches there are beautiful..."

Christine blinked in the darkness. "Are you saying...?"

"That I want to take you away from New York for awhile? Keep you to myself and make love to you in a different city every night? Why, yes, that's exactly what I'm saying." Erih said baldly.

Christine reared up and found his lips with her own. "Oh, God, Erik! You're crazy! You're the weirdest, most impulsive insane man I've ever met!"

He laughed against her. "In this case I'll take that as a compliment. Did I mention, I want you to audition for the opera when we return from our trip? I won't be a judge, of course. That would give you a most unfair advantage, but with your talent and drive I know you will make it."

"'s too much..."

He laughed again. "I hate it when you say that. In my opinion it won't be enough until I've built you a shrine, but I'm sure you'd object to that. Maybe it'll be enough when you're my wife."

She gasped, "What?"

"You don't have to decide now, we don't even have to talk about it. I'm not saying now, but perhaps someday in the future, if you still feel the way you do...well, we are quite good together, don't you think?"

Christine kissed him, the only answer Erik would ever need.

Author's Note: Ah, there's nothing like a happy ending, is there? I had a great time writing this fic, really and truly, it was a lot of fun! I hope that you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!