Saying a Final Farewell
Everyone had been stunned when they received the news of Christine's death. Erik had felt saddened to lose a woman who had played such an intricate part of who he was. Antoinette had passed several years ago. She had left a sore spot that Erik filled with his children and later his grandchildren.
Antoinette and Christine both had succumbed to death long before their time. Antoinette had still been a woman in her prime. She and Roberto had twenty-five wonderful years together.
Erik had a sudden impulse to return that ring to Christine that he had removed once he had made the mental commitment to pursue Katherine. Erik climbed to the attic to rummage through all the accumulation of discarded things they kept for sentimental reasons.
He found the box he had placed the ring in years ago. He had all but forgotten it until they heard of Christine's passing. Erik picked the ring up with sadness mixed with memories of a sweet young child who became a tender teenager he had devoted himself to promoting and loving.
Erik felt all those old feelings rush through him. Not that he loved Christine in that way any longer but he did have a spot in his heart where he kept the memories of what they had shared. Katherine had never had reason to be jealous of those feelings as Erik had shown her every day his love knew no bounds when it came to her.
Katherine would let her green-eyed monster out once in a while just as Erik did. Those times ended with such passionate couplings it had been a wonder they had not populated a city instead of the six natural children they created and Annie they adopted as their own.
Raoul and Fawn were already in Paris. Raoul had business concerning his estate. He had sent word that the L'Opéra Populaire would be auctioning off many keepsakes to raise money to repair the damage from the recent war, one that still was being waged. Erik did not know how safe it would be to travel but if at all possible he wanted to return to his homeland once more to honor the woman who had given him a reason to be when he needed one the most. American troops had only last month reentered France freeing Erik's homeland from the Germans.
Arrangements were made for the trip to France. The children fussed over them as if they were doddering fools instead of healthy adults. After much reassurance that yes they could manage to travel without mishap, their children conceded to let them go. When, Erik wondered, had his children thought he needed to be coddled? When had they taken on the roll of caretakers? He was still a virile and vibrant man of sixty damn it. He still set Katherine's fires to blazing on occasion. Not as often as when he was a young man but he still had the vibrancy to make her moan and beg for his possession.
Erik and Katherine traveled back to Paris together without their friends. Only Raoul and Fawn would be there with them. The others had sent their condolences with Erik and Katherine but they had not been able to arrange things so that they could make the trip.
Darius and Dove had taken on the running of Katherine's school so they had many responsibilities. Annie now taught in the school while her husband Joshua continued to handle all legal matters for his people. He had begun several prosperous enterprises on the reservation.
Matthew had been persuaded by Annie to go to school to become a doctor. He had used his mother's influence to gain acceptance into the prestigious halls of Harvard Medical School. He had not had an easy time of it as once people learned he was Native American and not from some exotic country they let their prejudice rule how they treated him.
The professors cared not who or what nationality he was. He would be a damn fine doctor one day. He had an aptitude for research. Research was a field that always needed people with intelligence as well as a concern for their fellow beings.
Katherine and Erik had gone to Christine's services although Erik had hid in the shadows. He had been afraid that someone might recall an incident with a masked man when everyone was recalling Christine's life on the day of her burial.
Erik had seen Raoul and Fawn. Raoul had been in his wheelchair. Damn fool had fallen and broken his ankle trying to break a wild mustang. Erik had chided him about trying to recapture his youth. Raoul had reminded Erik that he was a good ten years older than Raoul. Erik had protested that it was more like eight. Katherine and Fawn had aged them both at three or four as that was how old they sometimes acted when in one of their little competitions.
Erik had not wanted to intrude or show himself but he did want to return that ring to its rightful owner. He wanted to leave it as a final thank you for all those years Christine had given him a reason to live. He did not need that ring as a reminder of the woman he had once loved beyond his own life. That passion had gentled into a less intense love. Erik now had the love of perhaps a brother for Christine.
Erik placed the rose on Christine's headstone. He felt sadness that her children and grandchildren would have to go on without her. He felt the most sorrow for Hayden who had collapsed during the service and had to be taken home. He could not bear to lose his wife. His children had gathered around him. Brett had been there with Marianne to aid his cousin. They were more like brothers than cousins. The two men had grown quite close through the years despite an ocean separating them.
Erik did not want to linger once his task had been completed. He had just returned to Katherine when they heard the approach of the motor car.
Raoul stepped out to sit in the wheelchair the nurse held ready for him. The chauffer helped Raoul to sit in the chair. The man retrieved a box from the car. At first Erik could not make it out. When he did he was surprised and pleased to see the music box he had made all those years ago for Christine. He had never given it to her as things had gone downhill before he could. She had seen it of course but he had never gotten around to presenting it to her as Christine had somewhat spoiled his romantic plans by removing his mask.
Raoul got out of the chair to gently place the box on Christine's headstone. He had turned to leave when Erik saw him pause. Evidently Raoul had caught site of the ring and the rose. Raoul glanced around knowing he would see no one unless he wanted to be seen. Raoul raised his hand in silent greeting to his friends. He knew that where Erik was Katherine would not be far behind.
Erik had forgotten they were to hold an auction selling off the collectibles of the once proud Paris Opera House. It had changed names but the grandeur and high standards for entertainment continued.
Erik had come full circle. He had returned to where his life began with the woman who he would end his life with.
Grasping Katherine's hand tightly Erik said with great emotion, "Let us go home Katherine. I want to be home. Elise will be performing her first stage presentation in three weeks. We cannot miss that." Elise was their youngest daughter. There only natural daughter.
And return home they did. Many years of devoted family life and many personal and professional successes were part of the great legacy Erik left behind. His children would continue to conquer all they set out to do. They set the world on fire with music and other artistic endeavors.
The world mourned when it was announced that at the age of eighty-three Erik Fontaine died peacefully in his sleep. A week later his wife, Katherine, lost and bereft followed her husband home to the heavenly choir as she was lost without him. Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren although saddened by the loss could only rejoice that their loved ones would be together in death as they were in life.
So ended the life of The Phantom of the Opera, The Opera Ghost, but above all ended the life of Erik, who molded all these entities into one, Erik Fontaine.
A/N: And so we come to the end of our tale. Hope to hear from all of you if you visit my other stories.