Never tried this before, but decided, hey, lets give it a go. So here you are. First try at a Phantom of the Opera fanfiction. Set after the end of the movie. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own any of it!!!!!

Night Time

He stared at the grave. Stared until his eyes began to blur once more, filling with the perpetual tears. They always came. The thought of what had so cruelly slipped through his fingers always brought them. This grave, with its delicate engraving of her face, lost now to him, filled him with endless grief. And endless love for what was now gone. His Christine.

Sighing sadly, Raoul turned to leave his beloved once more, and paused. No. It couldn't be. It couldn't be! His eyesight was no longer the best. It wasn't really there. It couldn't be. But it was. Lying beside her gravestone, pristine, as always, lay the rose, its velvetine black ribbon shining softly in the winter's light. At its heart, the harsh sparkle of the diamond ring caught his eye and wrenched his heart with old pain. He was here, returned again.

Raoul, elderly Vicomte de Chagny, turned to his driver and his nurse, and tersely commanded them to leave. They started, looking askance at him, probably wondering if finally the old man had lost his wits. He repeated his command.

"Leave! Now!"

They left. He watched the car pull away, keeping an eye on it until he was sure they had truly gone. Then he turned his searching gaze to the graveyard, waiting, knowing he'd be there. Somewhere.

"Phantom! Show yourself! Phantom!"

And there he was. Stepping calmly from between two tombs, the once Phantom of the Opera came forward to meet him. Raoul stared. Though fifty years had passed since their last meeting, and the Vicomte himself showed the years all too clearly, the man known as Phantom was remarkably unchanged. Black hair was now a steely grey, and swept back into a tail with black ribbon, but the elegant carriage, still impecably dressed in full evening attire, was strong and vibrant as ever. The dark man had lost none of his strength and vitality.

The Phantom walked up to him, strangely unmasked, and laid a hand gently on his shoulder. Raoul started at the familiar contact.

"Vicomte," the Phantom greeted simply.

"Phantom," Raoul replied suspiciously. "May I ask ... how you come to be here?"

The Phantom smiled sadly. "I never left."

Raoul stared at him, and suddenly the tears threatened again. The thought of that, of this man standing over her grave, keeping his vigil, brought home that she was dead. He couldn't even bring himself to be jealous, of the continuing devotion of another man, for the grief burned too bright and too powerful to allow anything else. She was gone, and would never come back.

His legs gave way, and the ground beckoned. The other man caught him, the prodigous strength that had captured Christine now supporting his weakened form. The Phantom swept him up, carrying him gently to his wheelchair. Once, that would have been a great feat, Raoul thought bitterly, but now he was so wasted that a child could have lifted him. The other knelt, depositing him in the seat, and Raoul found himself staring into intense, piercing blue eyes.

"Why are you here?" he whispered, overcome. "Why?"

The Phantom didn't answer, turning instead to look at the grave. At her face, carved in stone. "Do you think she is happy?" he murmured.

Raoul followed his gaze. "Don't you know?" he asked bitterly. The other turned back to him.

"I am, and ever was, a man," the Phantom chastised. "I know nothing of death, or what lies beyond. I am only human. My name is Erik, not Phantom. Not Angel. Wherever she is, I know nothing of it. But I hope ... that she has found her true angel of music. I hope she is happy, and safe. She deserved that, at least."

"Yes," Raoul whispered. "She did. She was ... radient. Always. Even ... even at the end. But you know that."

"Do I?" the Phan ... Erik ... smiled. Raoul smirked back.

"I know you were there. She spoke of the voice. The angel of music who sang to her in the darkness, and gave her rest without pain. The song that lifted her up and made her whole again. You came to her. You sang her to sleep. I heard you, that last night. I watched her, and you sang to her, and she looked so peaceful. So beautiful. She was always ... so beautiful," he whispered.

"I know," Erik replied softly. "I know."

Raoul wept into the silence that followed, softly, as if only to himself. But the Phantom was there, kneeling at his side, the grotesque face softened and given a strange beauty by his grief. Erik was silent as the ghost he had pretended to be, offering no empty condolences, no bitter entreaties. Raoul felt his presence as a great tree at his side, silent and impassive and unwittingly reassuring. How odd, to be given unknowing comfort by the man who should have been his greatest enemy. The man who had almost taken Christine from him, now watching him in pained empathy for her loss.

After a few minutes, Erik looked away, to her grave, and started to hum softly. His hand rested gently at Raoul's elbow, exerting the slightest of pressures. Raoul felt cold, drained, but not empty. Feelings, emotions, welled up inside him, an endless parade of lost passions, and he struggled to halt them, to send them back to wait until some more private moment.

Then Erik sang.

Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation

Darkness stirs and wakes imagination

Silently the senses abandon their defenses

Mesmerised, Raoul found himself helplessly responding, unconsciously obeying and dropping his defenses, allowing the well of emotion to overflow as he never had before, always afraid that as soon as he did, he could never come back and would drown in his grief.

Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor

Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender

He was colder still, outside, while his eyes caught Erik's returning gaze, and the compassion of the monster's face broke something within him.

Turn your face away from the garish light of day

Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light

And listen to the Music of the Night

Raoul gasped. It was becoming harder to breathe, and not only because of the tears he desperately swallowed. His chest rose and fell in quick little bursts, each shallow draught of air an unconscionable effort. Fear woke in him, the old terror, and Raoul knew that at last the grief was swallowing him, with the aid of a ghost's touch. Erik, seeing the comprehension in his eyes, raised the hand from his arm to reveal a syringe, now empty.

Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams

Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before

Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar

A soft, female voice joined the strong, vibrant tones of the phantom, and with a gasp, Raoul saw her. Smiling, radient as always, Christine stood at the Phantom's shoulder, gazing down at him with a gentle love as she joined her voice to Erik's song.

And you'll live as you've never lived before

Erik's eyes were closed, tears falling slowly, burning with a desperate love as he gave her his last offering. Raoul could only guess at his pain as he gave her the only thing he could, sending Raoul to her as once he had set her free to go to him. He could hear her, Raoul realised. Erik's voice embraced hers, joining with hers in the song the way the teacher's voice had once embraced the student's, and the Phantom's had once embraced his love's.

Softly, deftly, music shall caress you

Hear it, feel it, secretly posess you

Open up your mind

Let your fantasies unwind

In this darkness which you know you cannot fight

The darkness of the Music of the Night

The Phantom's eyes opened, burning into his with a desperate ferocity as Raoul felt his heart die in his chest, felt the last stuttered beats, the final flutter of air. The pain in the other's gaze tore at him, the sacrifice made again by a monster while he, the man, had given so little.

Let your mind start a journey to a strange new world

Leave all thoughts of the life you new before

Erik's voice was falling, crushed by emotion and the knowledge that the voice that reached out to his to bridge the gap to bring Raoul home was going to leave soon, leaving him alone once more. Christine's voice surged into the gap, reaching out to pull Raoul forward, his spirit letting go at last of the shell.

Let your soul take you where you long to be

She caught him, held him, her warm embrace as living and vibrant as her smile as she greeted him. Raoul laughed suddenly, stunned by the reality of it, by the realisation that she was here, she was real and his once more. He was complete again, in her presence, free of the grief that bound him to life. Then her eyes turned back, to the figure kneeling before them, grief-filled eyes fixed on the shell that had once been the Vicomte de Chagny, his enemy.

Only then can you ... Erik whispered, broken, and could not finish.

Raoul stared at him, the Phantom of the Opera, strong and passionate, bitter and weary, and desperately, achingly in love. Age and death had finally stolen the Vicomte's righteous anger, and the knowledge of the man's pain was finally paired with understanding, and empathy. Caught, he looked beseechingly to Christine. There had to be some way to even this debt, to make right Erik's sacrifice.

"Angel?" Christine called softly. The Phantom's back stiffened, and he turned wondering eyes to stare at them over his shoulder.

"Christine?" he asked softly.

"Won't you come with us, Angel?" He shook his head, confused, and she smiled back. "Come to me, Angel of Music?" she laughed, and a flicker of humour sparked in his weary gaze. But it slipped away, replaced by wariness as he turned to look at Raoul's spirit. Raoul met his gaze steadily.

"After dispatching me, Monsieur Le Phantom, the least you could do is have the decency to follow," he chastised gravely, but the shadow of a smile played over his now-youthful face. The Phantom smiled grimly.

"I do not think a creature such as I could follow where you shall lead," he said softly.

Christine moved forward, out of Raoul's embracing arms, and held out a ghostly hand to him. "Try," she suggested, equally soft, tenderness in her voice as she sang.

Come to me, Angel of Music.

He stared at her, at Raoul, and at the hand. Then his head bowed, and for a long moment in knelt there in silence. Christine waited patiently, and Raoul joined her, standing at her side. Then Erik raised his head, an infinite sadness in eyes that were rapidly growing dark. Raoul's eyes widened as he saw the blade the Phantom had slipped, silent, into his own heart. Christine cried out, her ghostly arms reaching out to try an embrace the dying Erik, shocked by the quiet violence of his act. Reflexively, Raoul caught her shoulders to hold her back, but she reached out despite him, her arms slipping through the Phantom's body.

And wrapping around his spirit as it hesitantly emerged. Ignoring the empty corpse as it fell, she pulled Erik free. The Phantom's phantom stared at her in mild bewilderment, and she stared back, silent tears in her eyes.

Then Raoul interupted, holding out a hand to help Erik to his feet. The man stood, straightening his evening attire as he came, and thanked Raoul gravely. In response, Raoul slapped him over the back of the head in exasperation. "That was completely unnecessary!" he snapped.

Erik stared, a flash of violence in his eyes, but it faded rapidly. The Phantom, too, had mellowed with age and death. "Lacking a second syringe, I think it was, Vicomte," he returned, wryly. "I apologise if my methods disturbed you."

Raoul shook his head in frustration. "You, monsieur, are an idiot," he commented. Erik raised his chin to glare, when Christine stepped between them, and laid a calming hand on each of their chests. When they both turned slightly to look at her, she simply sighed.

"You are both idiots," she declared pointedly. At their dual stiffening, and the twin expressions of faint shame and affront, though, her demeanor lightened into fondness. "But both my idiots, thankfully. Come. I've being waiting for you both. Erik. Raoul. Lets go home." And she lowered her hands from their chests to catch their hands, and led them away.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

As a nurse, Mme Rosemonde had seen many sad and strange sights. The one that awaited her when she returned to the graveyard, though, was definitely one of the strangest, and for some indefinable reason, also the saddest.

The Vicomte sat slumped back in his chair, eyes open and caught somewhere between an unknowable grief and a fearsome rapture. The creature crumpled at his feet, grotesque features twisted towards the sky, and filled with the greatest sadness she had ever seen, held a connection to him that she couldn't understand. There was no violence in the Vicomte's posture. He had died without fear. It was the monster who bled, who had suffered before he died. Some part of her understood this.

She knew she would never know for sure what had taken place in that graveyard. The Vicomte had grown strange indeed in the last months, his grief combining with his age to make him vunerable and just a touch mad. And the monster ... who knew?

But over the next week, as they buried Raoul de Chagny, and burned the monster's corpse, she couldn't help but wonder.

How great must the monster's love have been, to die violently by his own hand after the Vicomte's death?

And who had he loved?

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Finito. Strange, wasn't it? Sometimes I wonder what lives in my head. Oh well. Done now, and exorcised.

Any thoughts?