A/N: The Phantom of the Opera is the intellectual property of Gaston Leroux…I only hope he's not spinning in his grave that I've borrowed his story. Many thanks to sparklyscorpion for her support and encouragement!

Erik was certain that Christine Daaé was a gift from the gods, a reward for the years he had spent under the earth slaving away at his music as a blacksmith at the forge. She was a creature of beauty and light, and knowing full well that his ugliness could only repulse her he attempted to woo her with his talents, presenting her with gifts of song.

Though Erik would gladly have spent every hour at her feet adoring her, the draw of his craft was too strong; much of the time he wished to devote to Christine was spent instead at the bellows of the great pipe organ he had constructed. He knew he could not keep her forever with him down below as he worked and so gave her free reign in his Opera above, but with a band of gold on her finger as a symbol of the one to whom she was bound.

Though she had sworn to belong to him only and to renounce all others, Christine was weary of her life with Erik underground. Her golden head could not help but be turned by a handsome young man, a man who was Erik's very opposite in all things. His career in the Navy did not keep him from taking her to supper or out to the Bois de Boulogne as Erik's music did; his face bore a fair mustache instead of the mark of death itself.

Despite his demanding occupation, it did not take Erik so very long to suspect Christine's infidelity. Following her to the roof one evening and hiding himself behind the statue of Apollo, he beheld with his own eyes her deceit. From above he watched her sit in Raoul's arms and cling to the young man, watched as the gold ring slipped unnoticed from her hand.

Anger and despair burned in his skeletal breast. He longed to expose their betrayal to the world and offer them up for judgment, but there was no rope there, no mesh or chain to ensnare the pair—only the sculpted metal strings of Apollo's lyre—and under the open heavens Erik was certain that the gods were laughing at him anyhow.