Disclaimer: In short, I own nothing.

Bold is song lyrics; italics are flashbacks.

Erik's POV:

I was running deftly through the passages in my opera house when I heard her. She was singing, completely oblivious to the tortured form behind the mirror.

I was standing' at the counter

I was waiting' for the change

When I heard that old familiar music start

It was like a lighted match

Had been tossed into my soul

It was like a dam had broken in my heart

I remembered the first time I heard Christine sing:

"Ah! je ris de me voir

si belle en ce miroir,

Ah! je ris de me voir

si belle en ce miroir,

Est-ce toi, Marguerite,

est-ce toi?

Réponds-moi, réponds-moi,

Réponds, réponds, réponds vite!"

It was something like listening to a monotone sing; her voice was completely void of emotion. I began to claw furiously at my ears to drown out the sound, to no avail.

If only I could take that voice and mold it…

"No no no!" She cried in frustration. "It's all wrong!" She fell to her knees and sobbed, her entire tiny frame shaking.

"Oh, papa! Why did you make me believe? Why did you make me believe the Angel of Music? There is no angel! And surely if there were, he wouldn't waste his time on someone as hopeless…"

My heart lurched at the sight of her crumpled form. Then suddenly I had an idea: I could be her angel. Certainly I was as qualified, if not more so, than those fools with the nerve to call themselves tutors.

"Hush now, dear child," I began to coo.

"Angel? Is that really you?" she lifted her head hopefully.

"Yes, it is I." I realized that there was no turning back now.

After taking every detour

Getting' lost and losing' track

So that even if I wanted

I could not find my way back

After driving out the memory

Of the way things might have been

After I'd forgotten all about us

The song remembers when

Why, after all this time, do the memories come flooding back?

I began teaching Christine when she was twelve. Now, at sixteen, I decided she was ready to make her debut.

"Christine," I threw my voice as I always had, making it sound as if I were in the room with her and not behind the mirror.

"Yes, Angel?" she tentatively replied.

"You know the role of Marguerite, am I not mistaken?"

"Yes, Angel," she answered, a puzzled look crossing her delicate features. "But I don't see why it matters; La Carlotta will be singing it at the gala tomorrow night."

"Don't worry about our prima donna; I will take care of her."

"Please don't harm her!" Christine cried out. "If any harm were to befall her on my account, I would not be able to live knowing it was my fault."

How could she be so kind to her enemies? Surely anyone else in her case would thank me, but Christine hadn't. I must have been in the presence of an angel…

We were rolling through the Rockies

We were up above the clouds

When a station out of Jackson played that song

And it seemed to fit the moment

And the moment seemed to freeze

When we turned the music up and sang along

What a triumph! Carlotta had mysteriously come down with a cold, and with no understudy, the management went into chaos. What would those bumbling fools do without their beloved Opera Ghost?

When Christine finally returned to her dressing room, she was met by numerous gifts from admirers. She ignored the gifts and walked to the middle of the room.

"Angel," she called out. When she got no response, she began to call more frantically.

"Angel! Please come to me! Did I not do well? Oh, Angel, please don't do this!"

"Christine," I said when she finally paused to take a breath. "Calm down, dear child. You did well."

She looked up and wiped the tears from her eyes. Her face began to shine; I had never praised her before.

"Oh, Angel," she began, "If only I could see you: see your face. If only I could touch you. But I'm being foolish. You're an angel…"

"You really wish to see me?" She nodded.

Sighing, I pressed the release mechanism on the inside of the mirror and stepped cautiously out. Christine gave a cry of terror.

"You're the Phantom of the Opera!" she sobbed.

"Yes, I am the Opera Ghost. But am I not also your Angel of Music? Am I not the very soul that has been tutoring you for four years?"

She stiffened, but did not attempt to flee.

"Come with me, Christine."

She obeyed, visibly relaxing at the gentle sound of my voice.

I led her down the passage behind the mirror and through the labyrinth leading to my home on the lake. The whole while, we sang a beautiful duet. Our voices soared, blending perfectly.

We sang as we walked. We sang as I rowed across the lake. We sang as I disabled the many traps to my home.

The duet ended only when she entered the house.

"Erik!" she cried in delight. "It's beautiful!" Then she fainted.

And there was a God in Heaven

And the world made perfect sense

We were young and were in love

And we were easy to convince

We were headed straight for Eden

It was just around the bend

And though I have forgotten all about it

The song remembers when

When Christine finally awoke, I had begun working on my opera: Don Juan Triumphant. It would be my greatest work; I had been working on it for the better of twenty years and was nowhere near done. Fortunately for Christine, I was working on a sweet love duet. Some of the movements would be dangerous, possibly even fatal, if she heard them.

Christine wandered into my chambers, almost as if she were in a trance and sat beside me. She began singing along; together, we made music that could move even the coldest of hearts to tears.

When it ended, we sat in silence, reflecting.

"Angel," Christine said timidly, finally breaking the silence.

"There's no use in calling me that anymore; we both know the truth."

"Then what shall I call you?" she asked.

"Erik," I replied simply.

"Erik…" she said softly. "Erik," she repeated more firmly. "Why do you wear the mask?"

She did not say it with contempt or mockery; she said it with a simple curiosity.

"I have a severe deformity," I replied simply.

"May… may I see it? she questioned.

"My dear… I do not think you could handle such a sight…"

"'Poor, stupid Christine!'" she cried in rage. "'You aren't old enough. You are just a foolish little girl! What would you know?' I thought you were different, but I guess you're not!" she spat.

"You are putting words in my mouth, and as you will find, I do not have patients for such occurrences."

"I want to see it!" she cried in the most un-ladylike manner. When I shook my head again and turned back to my music, she angrily stood up and ripped the mask off.

I turned to face her, allowing the full horror of my monstrous face to be seen. She stood in shocked revulsion.

"You wanted to see it!" I cried, quite beyond the realm of reality. "Well, look upon the face of death!" I grabbed her arms with my skeletal hands and began shaking her.

"Stop!" she sobbed. "Erik! Please stop!"

I dropped her arms when I finally came to my senses and fell at her feet, sobbing.

I guess something' must have happened

And we must have said goodbye

And my heart must have been broken

Though I can't recall just why

The song remembers when

Well, for all the miles between us

And for all the time that's passed

You would think I haven't gotten very far

And I hope my hasty heart

Will forgive me just this once

If I stop to wonder how on earth you are

"Oh, Raoul!" I heard Christine cry on the roof nights later. "His face was truly horrid! It haunts my dreams."

"Christine," he replied, "let me take you away from here. Erik is clearly a madman that will stop at nothing. Let me take you far away, somewhere that you will never have to worry again!"

"Oh, Raoul. If only I could. But I cannot leave."

"Why not?" I heard his voice rise in protest. "What hold does this monster have over you?"

"I-I don't know…" she replied thoughtfully.

"Then let me take you away. We could leave Paris… Leave France! We could go to London!"

My heart broke when she agreed. I could not let her go; I would kill the Vicomte if I had to. He was right; I would stop at nothing.

But that's just a lot of water

Underneath a bridge I burned

And there's no use in backtracking'

Around corners I have turned

Still I guess some things we bury

Are just bound to rise again

For even if the whole world has forgotten

The song remembers when

Yeah, and even if the whole world has forgotten

The song remembers when

"Go!" I sobbed. "Leave me!" Christine began to protest, but I silenced her.

It had taken kidnapping her and nearly killing the Vicomte to realize that she belonged above ground, in the world in which that boy could provide for her, take care of her, love her.

As much as it pained me, I let her go. The pain had never gone away; I had just become numb to it. That is, until I heard this girl singing.

All the unbearable pain came flooding back. I knew now that I couldn't live like this any longer.

I stumbled down to my house again and with trembling hand injected a suicidal dose of morphine into my arm.

They say your life flashes before your eyes right before you die… They speak the truth. I see just how worthless my existence has been. My own mother did not love me; I was a thief, a liar, and a murderer. I have killed countless people: Innocent people whose only mistake was crossing my path. I drove a poor man nearly insane before my greatest feat as the infamous Phantom of the Opera.

My greatest accomplishment was Christine and her voice, and I destroyed her too. Those four years when I was simply her Angel of Music were the best years of my life.

Then everything was shattered when I decided that she should know my true identity.

I am beginning to drift further away…

"Erik!" I hear a faraway voice cry. A hand closes over my own skeletal one. I feel her kissing my brow.

"Christine?" I manage to mumble before I slip away into a welcoming oblivion.

A/N: Whoa… that was pretty bad, huh? Anyway, review and please don't flame… after all this is my first attempt at a song fic.