A/N: Hello! I hope you enjoy this fic. . .

Disclaimer: Don't own, not making any money!

Ratings: PG

Genre: General

Warnings: Slight morbidity

Main Characters: Erik and Christine

Additional Notes: This fic was one of my entries for Mort Rouge's Spring 2007 fic contest. Enjoy!


Spring Cleaning

Anger and frustration were boiling in my gut as my beautiful angel rushed about my once-quiet house in a frenzy. She was never still for long, flitting always from one task to another. I sat as quietly as I could in my armchair with my eyes fixed resolutely on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. However, it made no difference—I could not concentrate when such a nervous, constant motion filled my house. I could take this torture—what Christine called "spring cleaning"—no longer; I slammed the old leather-bound book shut suddenly. The sound echoed in the dead wintry air of the sitting room.

At the bookshelf, Christine had frozen mid-sweep; the broom was shaking slightly in her small hands and she turned her head ever so much until I could see the profile of her graceful lashes. "E-Erik?" she said quietly. "Is something wrong?"

For a moment I said nothing and merely took in the sight of my living wife. Three months had passed since our small and quiet wedding at the Madeleine and she had changed since then. She was quiet and pale now, and her once-blue eyes had lost their shine and dulled to grey—even her golden curls had faded. Oh, she was still quite beautiful, and I still loved her—perhaps too much.

"Erik?"

I sighed, my anger melting as my mind calmed with the stillness. "Christine, angel, why do you insist on cleaning everything?" She bit her lower lip and resumed sweeping, though at a much more subdued pace than before; I scowled. "Everything is clean, I tell you!"

She flinched and stopped sweeping all together, putting the broom back in its proper place. "I'm sorry," she said. "I shall go clean my trunk—I have many odds and ends that I need to rid myself of." With that small apology, she disappeared into her room—the Louis-Philippe room, as she has not yet consented to my sleep in my tomb. Presently, I heard the sound of rummaging and grew curious despite myself.

I crossed the floor to her room silently, with a sense of black dread. She had left the door open and I could see her; she was sitting on the floor in front of her open trunks, her small white hands carefully removing various objects from the wood and cloth confines and setting them behind her on the floor. I could make out the dull glint of the ring that de Chagny had given her during their "engagement" as well as the letters he had written her. Quaint bonnets and hats rested beneath the vicomte's favors and, beneath the hats, various summer dresses. As I watched, she lifted out an old photo album that had been her father's and gently placed it with the rest, her eyes never leaving the trunks' interior. The way her hands moved, the precision and deliberate slowness, made me think of a surgeon removing entrails. I couldn't help but think that she was systematically dissecting her memories and past, carving away until. . .

"Christine?" She stopped but did not turn. I took a few steps closer, until I was standing beside the pile. "My dear, whatever are you doing?"

"Cleaning."

"Yes, but why are you doing so?"

She shuddered and seemed to shrink into herself. "They are only useless odds and ends," she whispered. "They needn't be kept to clutter up other things."

I winced; she made such a poignantly sad and despairing picture, sitting with her memories scattered about while she slowly, painfully carved out her own heart.

"Stop," I said suddenly, angrily. Her thin shoulders trembled and I knew she was crying. "Stop it! Put it all back and get out!" I was shaking myself now and I could see the truth so clearly.

She turned to me then; the tears in her eyes made my heart ache. "But Erik—"

"No," I said, more calmly. "No, you must leave. I never should have—" I stopped and my gaze softened as I realized she had come to me; I hesitantly fingered her once-golden curls. "You can't live here—I see that now."

Her eyes widened in disbelief. "But Erik! I can't just leave you!"

I laughed bitterly and told her the truth. "Yes you can." I sighed, closing my eyes. "I know that you will forget me, in time. And I know that you will be happy with your vicomte—I am quite certain that he is still waiting for you." She opened her mouth to protest, but I laid a finger to her soft lips—the lips that had once kissed me with love—to silence her. "Now, mademoiselle, do as I say and leave. You know the way." I smiled, fighting back my agony—as she had carved out her heart, I would mine. "Return to the surface," I continued. "Don't worry about your things; I'll send them up to you in a day or two."

I turned then, unable to bear the sight of her blue eyes marred with tears. I moved to leave, but her hand on my cloak stopped me; I could not face her. "Erik—why?"

I swallowed, forcing down the painful knot in my throat as I gestured absently. "Because," I whispered, "I cannot give you what you deserve."

"And what do I deserve?"

I sighed wearily. "I am Winter, Christine; you deserve Spring."


A/N: I hope you liked it; it wasn't my favorite, but I thought I might as well post it. Please, tell me what you thing and review!