A/N: My first (and most likely sole) song fic, inspired by the song "Perfect Music" from the musical starring David Staller. I'm not positive what year the show premiered, only that it was released on VHS in 1990. I think it's an under-viewed and under-appreciated version. Thanks to Youtube, though, you can watch for yourself! Staller really captures the arrogance and pride of Leroux's Erik, holding himself apart from other men, something that often gets lost in other incarnations of Phantom. Plus, it has the Persian! Credits go to Gaston Leroux and to the musical's creators Bruce Falstein (book), Lawrence Rosen & Paul Shierhorn (music). Many thanks to bee (sparklyscorpion) for her always-helpful beta skills!
He leads me in silence, deeper and deeper below the Opera. When I stumble in the darkness he sweeps me into his arms without a word and I do not protest. No longer focused on where my feet are landing I take the opportunity to look more closely at my surroundings. There is a glow in the distance, and when we near it I can see a room, furnished with a bed, a desk, a pipe organ with sheet music strewn about…so out of place considering where we are, and yet he seems completely at ease.
This is a kingdom, he declares, his home…our home. He calls himself a monster, and when I demand to know if it is true his eyes burn into mine as he asks in a softer voice, "What would you call me?" It is not a confrontation, no, but…something else. He approaches me slowly and kneels at my feet, asking me if I am afraid. When I confess that I am, a little, he goes on to describe not just how human he is, but how far above other men, listing all the great things he has done over the course of his life.
He is a composer, he tells me, who will lift the figure of Don Juan to new heights! He argues for passion, calling it the source of all things beautiful. His Don Juan Triumphant will make a sniveling opera crowd burn, he insists. When I ask him why he has forsaken a world he hopes to inspire with beauty, he responds with a challenge.
Up there is darkness. Up there, insane. Will you live in chaos with the bitter and the plain? Why dwell in shadows? Here the light has shone! We'll leave the world to its madness—we can live in bliss, alone.
I stand still as he reaches a hand towards me, refusing to give in to him just yet. What does he mean? Can he truly expect me to live down here, with him? He speaks of light but as I look around there are only lamps and candles. What bliss is there without the sun and moon?
Here nothing is missing, nothing is gone. Perfect music will go on and on…
He seems to sense my thoughts, assuring me that this world below will be as complete as the one above. He stalks toward me slowly, gently urging me back until my knees hit the organ bench and he motions for me to sit. I stare at his gloved hands, intrigued by the shining white against the muted colors of the room. His gestures are graceful and combined with his voice I feel my resistance begin to slip, if only a little…
Mine is the gift, I'll make you see. All you must do is sing only for me.
But I do! I respond silently in my mind, I do sing only for you…that was our agreement, was it not? He was keeping his own end of the bargain, I realized. During that first encounter in my dressing room he had declared that, in exchange for my devotion, he would give me "perfect music," just as my father had promised the Spirit of Music would do. Was this, then, what he had truly meant?
Singing together, hand in glove. Perfect music leads to perfect love…
And as soon as it began the spell is broken. I shake my head slightly. Love? Is it not enough to be teacher and student? I rise and flee to the other side of the room, crossing my arms over my midsection in a childish attempt to shield myself from what he is asking of me.
I am perfect spirit, imperfect man. You could learn to love me as I swear I truly am!
My hand flutters at the base of my throat at the fervor in his voice. Spirit, yes, that is how I first knew him…but he is most certainly a man of flesh. He had said only that he was whatever I wanted him to be, and it had been my own foolish wish to believe that he was the Spirit of Music my father had promised. And now…now he has stripped away artifice to reveal the truth. His next words, however, make me turn back to him…
I know your terror, I feel your pain. I saw your soul through the mirror, and I saw that we're the same!
His arms are outstretched, pleading yet insistent, willing me to understand. When he moves to caress my cheek I find myself leaning towards him, but he stops before touching me and I realize I have been holding my breath.
Here nothing is missing, nothing is gone. Perfect music will go on and on and on! I'll always love you, I'll never leave. You'll never hunger, you'll never grieve.
It is tempting, the thought of a life without the needs I had known above, without the empty ache left by my father's passing…to never again be left alone in the world… My eyes are fixed on his masked face and at the smile which curls at the corner of his mouth as he sings of the existence he would give me. He is winning, and he knows it as well as I do.
Living forever, hand in glove. Perfect music, perfect love…
He is wearing away at my resistance, and my limbs grow weak even as his every move becomes more controlled. He stands behind me and I let myself lean against him, his hands snaking under my arms to guide me as I sink to the ground. I can sense him above me, his fingers almost on my shoulder, and when I turn back he pulls away suddenly as if I had caught him in the middle of some illicit act.
Forever tender, forever dear. Forever faithful, forever here! I'm always passion, you're always fire. I'll always be your fulfillment, and you'll always be my desire!
He is on his knees beside me, bold once more, his hand hovering just above my gown as he traces the outline of my frame up and down. His movements are smooth and powerful, his visible cheek flushed. I feel like a sacrifice on the altar, worshipped and revered yet mere inches from the immolating flame. Despite my anxiety the heat of his gaze warms me, the feel of his breath on my bare shoulder at the word "fulfillment" sending a shiver through my already-trembling form. He is arrogant, yes, but strangely sincere, and I know that he would keep any promise he made me. The idea is both thrilling and frightening at the same time.
Here nothing is missing, nothing is gone. Perfect music will go on and on and on... Joyous together, hand in glove. Perfect music, perfect love! Living forever, hand in glove!
In a flash he is on his feet, moved as much by his own music as he sought to move me. His expression is one of pure joy and I lift a hand towards him, transfixed. I am nearly lost to him, now. Just as quickly he kneels again, gasping for air, his booming voice quieted to an impassioned murmur.
Perfect music, perfect love...