Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of Phantom of the Opera, except for my own interpretation of how the story should go, and I also (most unfortunately) do not own Josh Groban, or the music/lyrics to "You're Still You" and "For Always".
Summary: This is a oneshot on the point-of-views from both Erik and Christine following the night on the roof of the Populaire and before the masquerade, and how they find their way back to each other despite the betrayal on one another's parts. Enjoy!
The Entwining Thoughts of Angels by: L'Ange d'Amour
The Phantom sat and mused, wondering how he would get Christine to trust him once again. He had never had difficulty in devising plans before, but when it came to matters of the heart, he was quite a novice, having had no previous experience with the concept of love before. Growing up, he was completely shunned by his mother, the only person that he had associated love with, all because of a superficial deformity that was seen as his true identity by the ignorant. All that he had known before Christine was full of hatred and despair, but now, now he had at last seen the light that radiated from her and permeated through even the darkest of souls. He had turned from her before now, choosing only to teach her from within the darkness, afraid and ashamed of what she might see in him besides being her beloved Angel of Music. He knew that it was wrong of him to lie to her, to his true love about being an angel when he was so undeserving of even being compared to the likes of such, when he suffered in his own personal hell when he was not with her. But as he heard her call out to her angel, he felt the adoration and love that he had yearned for since he was a child, yet was never deserving enough to receive. And for that reason, he chose not to reveal his true identity, until he had taught her enough to obtain a leading role in one of the operas. His mind was unceasingly clouded with thoughts of her, and he was no longer able to supress the insatiable desire to always remain at her side, to teach her and to love her for the remainder of his days.
As he began to give Christine voice lessons, he knew from the very beginning that she would be his forever...she had to be, for he knew that he could not live if he didn't hear her angelic voice. She was his sole reason for existance, and with her, he could create music beyond even his wildest dreams. It was as if he was granted a gift from the heavens through her presence, and only through her could he be successful. As he would sing to her in the night, hushing her intense fears, she would sing to emulate his magnificent voice, even though he knew his voice was no where near as beautiful as hers, and each day she sang higher and stronger with a radiance that only the heavens could possibly have bestowed upon her. He gave her praise and continued guidance along with a love beyond compare. Thanks to his infamous reputation as the Opera Ghost and the ability to sway the members of the Opera Populaire, his influence and Christine's voice won her the lead role in the production of "Hannibal", thus removing her from influence of the little ballet rats that only perpetuated the horrible rumors surrounding what was considered to be Erik's "true identity". The performance marked her as a new diva in the musical world, though Erik knew that she would never stoop to the despicable level that prima donnas like Carlotta did just to be the continual center of attention. Christine was much too meek and honorable for that, he knew, and that was what set her apart from all of the other leading singers that the opera had witnessed in the past. The evening of that first performance of "Hannibal" was what finally drove Erik and his acquisitive nature to devise a plan to lure Christine into the catacombs of the opera house, deep into the darkness that had consumed him for far too long. He knew that it was selfish to possess her the way he did, but he needed her to see that he could be more than her beloved Angel of Music, that he could love her unconditionally and tenderly and passionately. And he needed her to realize exactly how much he needed her, how much they needed each other, forever and always. But just as he obtained her trust, he promptly lost it when she removed his mask and he relinquished all of the hatred that had built up inside of him for so long. He accomplished just what he was trying to avoid throughout the process of revealing his true self to her: frightening her to the point where he lost all prospect of regaining her trust. The love that he had for her burned even more intensely when he found that he could not be beside her, and the heartache and betrayal that he felt was beyond measure. Not knowing if he could ever bring himself out of the darkness that was flooding his maimed heart without her, he feverishly tried to devise new plans to bring his love back to him, but unfortunately, an unwavering rush of thoughts plagued his mind, and the only coherent thought in an endless sea of half-developed, lust driven ones was that he must get Christine to trust him once again, to forgive him for his betrayal to her, and to love him as he loved her, so that he could continue to create the ethereal music that his angel lived for.
Erik was seated at his organ with hundreds of sheets of half completed melodies and dozens of delicate red roses strewn about. As he reached for yet another blank sheet of music, one of the roses caught his eye. He examined it closer and found that it was perfect. It was the most perfect rose he had ever seen. After searching and searching for a perfectly proportionate, deep crimson colored rose, he found it to be right in front of him. This was closest physical object that he could compare to his angel, for it was full of beauty, delicacy, grace, love, and perfection. Gently lifting the flower from its resting place, he brought it towards the marred side of his face and caressed the feather soft petals. Tears began to fall from his eyes as flashbacks of the last two weeks came without warning to his already tortured mind, the last being the evening that he spent on top of the roof of the Opera watching Raoul take his Christine away from him. Reaching into his pocket, he removed an intricately designed ring, with a large ruby consisting of the the base and eight perfect diamonds surrounding the larger stone, made of white gold. He gazed at the ring, knowing that if he did not find a way to present the ring to her now, he would lose the only chance that he had to show his undying love for her. Grasping the ring tightly in his hand, he ruffled around the loose papers to find another length of black ribbon, and when he did, he tied the ring to the perfect rose that he had found and balanced it against a painting of Christine inspired by the night that she spent asleep in his lair. Sighing slightly, he turned back to the organ when a sudden thought hit him. At last he knew what he could do...
Running through the darkened corridors of the opera house with the rose clutched in his gloved hand, he entered the chapel where only the faint glow of a lone candle lit the room. He knew that Christine would be coming to pray for her father in a matter of minutes, and then he could show himself to her, make her believe that he wasn't the feared monster of many, but just a man in love, a love deeper than all others. As he positioned himself behind the altar, the music unexpectedly came to him, and he began to sing:
Through the darkness,
I can see your light...
And you will always shine
and I can feel your heart in mine,
your face I've memorized
I idolize just you...
I look up to
everything you are,
in my eyes you do no wrong.
I've loved you for so long
and after all is said and done,
you're still you,
you're still you...
Christine made her way from her dressing room towards the chapel, lost in thought and despair. Ever since Raoul had suddenly reappeared in her life and had professed his love for her, she became more and more uncertain of her future at the opera. He constantly demanded to know her whereabouts during her late night disappearances to destinations unknown, and the more he pursued her, the more introverted she became. She could never tell him that when she disappeared at night, she would journey to Erik's lair, simply watching him from the shadows, softly singing to him as he plummeted into his self created misery. Any subject that concerned her relationship with Raoul was abruptly avoided, and as she considered her hastily accepted engagement to him, she realized how sick it made her feel. She needed to buy herself enough time to decipher her deep and passionate, yet fearful feelings for her angel, Erik, and the safe, admiring feelings for Raoul. Erik had been her angel for so long, and she had learned more than she could have dreamed of from him, and had began to love him with a burning passion that could not be stopped, or so she thought. When Raoul was unexpectedly thrust back into her life, she saw him as a dear friend, and never imagined that it would amount to any more than that. As the horror began to unfold within the opera with Erik's murdering and terror, Christine turned to Raoul during a vulnerable time in which all she sought was safety, but apparently her actions were interpreted at a much deeper level by Raoul. It was easy to say that she loved him, and it was obvious the extent to which he was in love with her, but she could not bring herself to love him any more than one would love a best friend, and as she pondered her decision to become Raoul's betrothed, the only thought that made sense to her to act on that decision was her desire to hurt Erik the way he had hurt her in turning from her. Now she knew that it was a horrible mistake to make, and she had to rectify it. She had betrayed her one true love by turning to Raoul, and lost his trust when she removed his mask the night that she spent in his lair. Burning, naive curiosity was what drove her to remove his mask, and she never imagined what she would would discover. After the initial shock of actually removing the mask, Christine was then driven to fearing Erik as he threw her aside and seemingly reacted with such hatred of her. She never thought that he would be willing to ever teach her again, let alone love her after that experience, so she resorted to being comforted by Raoul.
The more Christine considered her situation as she walked down the dimly lighted halls, the more she began to realize exactly how difficult Raoul would be when discussing their future life together, a life that held no prospect for her to grow musically, in fact, a life completely detached from all that she knew through the opera. Her father had made her promise before he died that she would always sing for him, no matter where her life took her, and she would never break that promise to him. Erik was the only one who understood this, and she knew how much he needed her to sing for him as well. Singing with him made her feel completely whole for the first time in her life, and she needed that to survive. Without him, she would not survive. The deformity that scarred both his face and his soul was invisible to her, for all she saw in him was beauty and love...a love that she longed for. She also knew that this was a love like no other, for it could not even be compared to a father's love. This was a passionate and gentle, deep and immortal, unexplainable love that could only be shared between lost souls that had been united into one. And she had seemingly lost it.
As Christine pondered how she could approach Erik once more and declare her love for him, she found herself outside of the chapel sooner than she had expected, and she frantically tried to rid her thoughts of less than modest situations that she might find herself in with him so that she could concentrate on reverent prayer to her father. As she moved to push the wooden door open, she heard the singing of her Angel, and she froze completely, barely breathing for fear that she might miss the faint words. Listening to the words, she finally realized exactly how much she was loved, and was instantly reaffirmed. While the song was quite unfamiliar to her, some invisible force compelled her to sing, and she did, all the while still unmoving outside the chapel entrance:
You walk past me,
I can feel your pain...
Time changes everything,
one truth always stays the same,
you're still you,
you're still you...
I look up to
everything you are,
in my eyes you do no wrong...
Erik jerked his head upward at the sound of an angel's voice just outside the chapel, and listened with rapture and disbelief at the words that were being expressed by his Christine. He could hear the love and devotion that he had longed for with every note, and sensed the power with which she sang. As he rose from his cramped position behind the altar, he began to sing with his angel, and moved slowly towards the door of the chapel:
And I believe in you,
although you never asked me to,
I will remember you
and what life put you through.
And in this cruel and lonely world
I found one love...
You're still you,
after all you're still you.
When the singing had ended, both were still on opposite sides of the chapel door, but Christine was the first to break the trance that the music had created and softly pushed open the door, finding Erik gazing at her, apparently speechless. Neither moved for what seemed like hours, just simply gazing at each other, looking deep into the other's soul. Erik hesitantly lifted his gloved hand to Christine's rosy cheek, and she caught his hand with her petite one and held on to it for a moment, slightly squeezing it, then brought his hand closer to her chest, slowly removed the black leather glove, and placed his cool hand against her rapidly beating heart. She entwined her fingers with his, and redirected her gaze to his intense eyes. He looked steadily at the ground, hardly believing that he was having any kind of contact with his angel, let alone physical contact, and could not fathom her forwardness with him, but reveled in the warmth of her skin and the beating of her heart for him. Christine brought her free hand up to Erik's face, lifted his chin slightly so that she could make eye contact with him, and moved her hand to touch the cold white mask that he was wearing once again. He moved to stop her from removing the mask, but a hard look of determination on her part made him drop his hand and redirect his stare once more to the ground. As she gently lifted the mask from his face, she brought up her other hand and tilted his head upwards and then took her hand to the disfigured cheek and began to caress it softly and tenderly, never breaking eye contact with him. At this gesture of tenderness and love, Erik completely abandoned his defenses and gave in to feelings that he had not allowed himself to feel since his childhood as he wept softly at the miracle that God had just granted him. Christine watched as her angel began to dissolve into tears and frantically pulled him into an embrace, afraid that he might leave her once again. Erik abruptly snapped back into reality and tightly wrapped his arms around his trembling angel, trying to calm her fears.
"Oh my Christine...you have given me a gift that I will never be worthy of...I, who displayed such hatred and venom towards you, the most perfect angel from the heavens. Raoul truly was a better choice for you, as I have such a darkness in my soul, but I didn't know how to let you go...I couldn't let you go..."
With this being said, Erik dropped his head and closed his eyes, fighting the emotions that were beginning to build up within him. Christine wouldn't allow him to look away from her for long, though, and she gently tilted his head back up to eye level.
"Angel, you have given me more than Raoul could possibly ever offer me: A gift of music that will never die, and a love for one person that is so deep, that it is entwined within my heart and soul. You are my light in a world that has been full of darkness for far too long, and for that I am eternally grateful to you. You must know that you are not the only one who suffers...that life felt as if it would never right itself...until I found you. I will love you until the end of eternity, mon ange..."
It was as if Erik had been raised into the heavens and shown the light of God when Christine expressed her love for him. His eyes widened and tears began to stream steadily down his face, from mere exsultation, and yet, he knew not how to approach her at this point, for he had had so many ideas on how to reveal his love to her before now, but could not remember a single one at that moment. But then he looked at her shining face and felt only warmth and love. He leant down towards her and gently reached for her arms, which she immediately wrapped around him, pulling him close to her, and he stroked her damp cheek and softly kissed her rose shaped mouth. As he lost himself in the feel of her, she closed the gap between them by pressing herself even closer to his still trembling body. With this, Erik deepened the kiss, and he cautiously slid his tongue into her warm and inviting mouth, where hers met his and began to entwine passionately. After some time, the kiss was broken, and as both drew in ragged breaths, they could sense that the connection that had been denied was finally complete. As they gazed at each other, staring straight into the depths of each others' souls, the feeling that their broken lives had at long last been melded into one was now real.
Erik up until this point had all about forgotten the rose and ring that lay abandoned on the stone floor of the chapel, and all the while still gazing at his angel, he bent over to gently pick up the delicate flower. He slowly brought the rose towards his chest, and without uttering a single word, presented it to his beloved Christine. She took it and brushed her fingers along his hand, which in turn sent electric currents coursing through his body. As she glanced down at the ribbon that was tied around the rose, she noticed something glinting in the faint candlelight, and when she examined it closer, saw the intricate ring. Hardly believing her eyes, she untied the ring from the rose and gasped at its beauty, and saw Erik in its design. Without saying anything, she slid the ring on the fourth finger of her left hand, and Erik nearly collapsed with relief and pure adoration of his angel. They both knew at that point that his proposal had been accepted, without the need for any words. Erik took her small hand in his and silently led her out of the chapel, down to the home that would now experience everlasting light.
A song from the soulmates was heard echoing throughout the opera house that night, albeit very soft, but still powerful nonetheless...
I close my eyes You take my hand For always, forever From this day on,
and there in the shadows I see your light
You come to me out of my dreams across
though you may be so many stars away.
I know that our spirits and souls are one,
We've circled the moon and we've touched the sun.
So here we'll stay...
Beyond here and on to eternity...
For always, forever
For us there's no time and no space,
No barrier love won't erase,
Wherever you go
I still know
In my heart you will be
You take my hand For always, forever From this day on,
For always, forever From this day on,
From this day on,
I'm certain that I'll never be alone And for always, forever For always, forever And for always, forever
I know what my heart must have always known...
That love has a power that's all its own.
Now we can fly,
And for always and always
We will go on beyond goodbye...
Beyond here and on to eternity.
For always and ever
You'll be a part of me
A thousand tomorrows may cross the sky
And for always and always
We will go on
And for always, forever
For always, forever
And for always, forever