I've been a fan for quite some time now - but only of the book. I finally saw the stageshow for the first time since I was a very little girl down in Melbourne. Anthony Warlow was amazing! Anyway, the plot bunnies got going and this is the result. It is AU, but it is more based on ALW than anything.

So, I hope you can read and enjoy. Constructive criticism is always very muchly appreciated - if you don't like it, please tell me why.

"Perhaps we would be more comfortable in my office, darling?" he asked, noticing her windswept cheeks. "It is rather chilly out here."

"The park is fine, Erik," she said slowly, but she didn't look at him. In fact, she was looking everywhere else but at him. He let the silence build until she was forced to suck in a deep breath. "I would prefer to talk to you in an environment that you can't control."

"What on earth do you mean by that, Christine?"

The full name, she winced. Of course, she hated the pet names more but the full name usually meant that he was angry. She wasn't terribly afraid of him hurting her – after all, he had claimed to love her, hadn't he? But he was intimidating at the best of times and when he got angry…well, things usually got broken. People usually got hurt. 'But that is exactly why we have to have this talk,' she thought resolutely. 'It is time that he learnt he cannot control everything.'

"You know precisely what I mean, Erik," she said, lifting her head and finally meeting his eyes. "If we were in your office you would have distracted me by now and eventually I would have lost my nerve. You have that ability to manipulate me and I don't like it. I don't like being in a relationship where I am intimidated."

She was afraid that looking into his eyes had been a bad idea, because he was now boring holes into hers. The silence seemed never-ending and she was now wondering whether telling Erik this was a good idea at all. However, he opened his mouth and only one word came out. "Richard."

Of all the things he could have said! "Pardon?"

"Richard. That insolent little puppy has put words into your mouth, hasn't he?" he demanded, searching her face for the truth. All he got was a frown of confusion.

"Apart from you," she shot back, now angry at his assumption that she could not form words for herself, "no-one puts words in my mouth, thank you very much, Erik."

"You say I manipulate you, when Richard is doing the very same thing! Does he not say such things when you run to him to tell him of me?" his voice was controlled, but it was cold.

"Oh, this is ridiculous, Erik. I come to you to talk of our problems and it comes back on me. This always happens. You make me feel guilty for questioning you. I shouldn't feel this way, I shouldn't have to doubt myself at every turn. This relationship isn't healthy, for either of us. I think we should stop seeing each other."

There. She swallowed, and glanced down. Finally, what she had wanted to say for at least a week or so. Their relationship had always been out of the ordinary, after all, Erik was out of the ordinary himself. But she could hardly be in a relationship where she was constantly controlled and manipulated – yes, Erik was a magnificent man. He could be kind, gentle and charming but the other side of Erik was far more terrifying. However, her thoughts were disrupted by a finger underneath her chin, forcing it upwards to meet with those eyes, hypnotising and disastrous as they were.

"Look me in the eyes and say that again, Christine."

Anger forced its way inside her. Steeling herself, she glared directly at him. "I think we should stop seeing each other, Erik."

Oddly enough it was he that broke the contact that time, turning around and clenching his fists. Christine knew he wouldn't take it well – he hated things not being in his control – but she had hoped for some civility. Erik was a gentleman when he wanted to be. But, of all the reactions he could have had, outright refusal had never been one of them. She had, naively it seemed, assumed that he would let her go if she so desired.



"No, I think you're wrong."

"Well that's hardly a surprise, Erik. According to you, you're always right. I'm right, this time, and you know it. This…relationship, it's not healthy."

"Our relationship was fine before Richard came along." The sentence was laced with bitterness. She was not surprised of the jealously, Erik was possessive when it came to belongings.

"This has nothing to do with Richard, Erik, it is – "

"It has everything to do with Richard!" he roared, and despite herself she had to take a step back. Dealing with an angry Erik was liked dealing with an angry tiger who had been cooped up for too long – you gave it plenty and plenty of space. However, he continued in a gentler, but mocking, tone: "After all, darling. Richard does not have to wear a mask."

'Not this again,' she sighed. "For the love of God, Erik, I've told you time and time again that I don't care about the mask. In fact, the only person who seems to obsess about it is you!"

"I wonder why?" he interrupted sarcastically. "Perhaps it is because I am the one who has to live daily with the reminder that I am not perfect?"

"Erik, everyone has to live with the daily reminder that they are not perfect. No-one is perfect. I am not perfect. Richard is not perfect."

"Richard," he spat. "It's all to do with Richard – "

"It's to do with you, Erik."

But he hadn't heard her. "Because Richard is safe, isn't he, Christine? Comforting."

She opened her mouth to retort angrily but, it was true. Richard was all those things and more – he didn't scare her or intimidate her. He was safe, really. He was the complete opposite of Erik. "Enough, Erik. Enough, please. This has to end – we have to end. I'm saying goodbye. I have to."

"Christine – " she shook her head. Their warped relationship had to end for both their sakes. With one final glance, she walked away leaving him standing alone in the cold.

But then again, he was Erik.

He was always alone.

waves hands

"I am the Phantom...you shall review..."

It was worth a try.