Disclaimer: I don't own The Phantom of the Opera or anything associated with it; Gaston Leroux owns the idea of the novel, and Andrew Lloyd Webber owns the idea of the 2004 movie version, which I am borrowing the characters from this version. I also don't own the rights to Kelly Clarkson's song "Addicted"; the song belongs to her.

By the way, I know that Christine doesn't know Erik's name in the movie, but in this story she does. It's much easier to call him Erik than Phantom all the time.

Like A Drug

She stared at the ceiling, wide awake yet again. Her body was exhausted, but her mind wouldn't let her rest. Too many thoughts of the events that occurred at the opera house ran through her mind. Don Juan Triumphant, the chandelier, the fire, the wedding dress, Raoul coming to rescue her, the fear of him nearly dying; but the thing that stuck out in her mind the most was the kiss. It was a desperate, loving plea to Erik to free Raoul, to beg him not to kill him, to stay with him. However, she felt something when she kissed him. What exactly it was, Christine couldn't place; it was like a spark, like a bolt of electricity; it made her feel alive. It was a beautiful thing, yet it haunted her all the same. All she could think of was Erik; everything that occurred at the opera house centered around Erik. She wanted to be able to be free of him, to live her life without thinking of him every single waking moment, but when she tried to, she just felt like she couldn't move, like she was frozen. All she could ever do was run from him in her thoughts; she may not be able to escape, but she could run forever.

It's like you're a drug,

It's like you're a demon I can't face down,

It's like I'm stuck,

It's like I'm running from you all the time.

Christine rose from the bed, as she did almost every night and sat in the chair next to the window. The darkness outside reminded her so much of Erik; you never knew what was out there until you found it, and you could still be looking.

"That's what I'm doing," she murmured softly. She barely heard her own words because the darkness was so powerful; just like Erik. She was letting the darkness overpower her, just like when Erik had all the power, and he still does. She wrapped her arms tightly around herself, shivering with fear. It was frightening to her, yet thrilling at the same time. The darkness scared her, yet she longed for it, yearned for it to sweep her in its arms and comfort her, murmuring soothing unspoken words in her ear.

She felt like she was betraying Raoul by thinking of Erik like this. They were still engaged, and she knew he was miserable not being married yet, but he respected her, loved her, and explained that he understood perfectly. Christine was thankful that she hadn't made him upset, but she knew they were both miserable. And somehow, that little pang in her heart told her that the reason they were both so miserable was because somewhere, wherever he was, Erik was miserable.

And I know I let you have all the power,

It's like the only company I seek is misery all around.

She stood up from the chair, slowly walking over to the mirror, her feet shuffling on the carpeted floor. The mirror reminded her of Erik as well; she always swore that she could hear Erik gently whispering her name with that musical voice of his. A hand gently reached up and touched the mirror, the coolness of the glass chilling her to the core, startling her. She looked up, barely recognizing the face staring back at her, but then again, she never did. A light purple was under her eyes from all the sleep she'd been losing, ever since the fire; her face was pale and gaunt, making her look like a shadow , a ghost of who she once was; and her frame was smaller than it used to be, from all the sleepless nights and steady decrease of appetite. She was lost in herself, and all because of Erik.

Her breath caught lightly in her throat as she thought about all of these changes, frightened yet again. Her gaze again, a hand covering her heart as it thundered furiously in her ears, reminding her of all these feelings she felt for him. As her gaze rose, she breathed in sharply, seeing Erik in the mirror instead of her. His tall, powerful form, swathed in black, the white half mask on his face a bright contrast from the rest.

"Erik," she breathed softly, touching the mirror again. He, too, raised a hand to meet hers, but when she blinked, all she saw was herself again, looking dazed and confused. She sighed, wishing he'd really been there.

It's like you're a leech,

Sucking the life from me,

It's like I can't breathe,

Without you inside of me.

He had too much power over her; she'd never be able to get rid of his presence. "Why, why, why?" she moaned, holding her hands on the sides of her head, shaking it angrily. "Why can you not leave me alone?" Yet she knew this was her fault as well; if she wasn't so intoxicated by him, by his music, by the air of mystery around him, he would never be able to put her under his spell like he has. And she knew that no matter how hard she tried, he would still linger within her, always following her, slowly driving her to the brink of insanity. But he was such a thrill, a risk, that she knew she could never get rid of him even if she wanted to.

And I know I let you have all the power,

And I realize I'm never gonna quit you over time.

She kneeled on the floor, letting the thoughts storm through her head. Everything was jumbled up right now, and she was having a hard time hanging on, and it was all because of him. Her breath caught yet again, her throat seeming to become smaller. Christine closed her eyes in a desperate attempt to purge her thoughts of Erik. Think of Raoul, you fiancée, she silently thought. Visions of Raoul danced in front of her eyes: him laughing at a small joke Christine made, him softly calling her Little Lotte, him singing to her on the rooftop, and then kissing her. "Anywhere you go, let me go too…"

Suddenly, her mind reeled to Don Juan Triumphant as Erik sang those same to words to her. "Christine, that's all I ask of…", and then, her tearing the mask off of his face, the wig falling off as well. She moaned, realizing he'd invaded her thoughts yet again and got up, walking over to the bed to attempt to get some sleep. A flash of red caught her eye, and she craned her head in that direction to see a red rose sitting on the chiffonier. Her mind whirled back to that day when Raoul handed her that rose, and she remembered her eyes brimming with tears as she accepted it. It was just an ordinary rose, no ribbon whatsoever, but it still would always make her think of Erik. She remembered Raoul questioning if she was all right, and when she insisted she was, he had murmured that she didn't seem like herself these days. And it was still because of Erik.

It's like I can't breathe,

It's like I can't see anything,

Nothing but you,

I'm addicted to you.

It's like I can't think,

Without you interrupting me,

In my thoughts, in my dreams,

You've taken over me,

It's like I'm not me, it's like I'm not me.

It was maddening! Would she be able to get her mind off of Erik? No matter what she did, he still invaded her thoughts. She paced back and forth, at a loss of what to do. She was losing herself within him, and if she wasn't careful, she would drown and never be able to be free. But what could she do? Her defense against him was slipping, and there was nothing left to do but give up, to give herself to him. She slowed her pacing, deciding to be done with this for the night; she walked over to her bed, determined to get some sleep. Her gaze flicked back to the mirror for a moment, and she started as she saw Erik's form in it once again, beckoning her to join him in the everlasting darkness, both the darkness he's accustomed to and the darkness of her mind. Christine cried out, grabbing the nearest thing to her, a hairbrush, off of the night table.

"Leave me alone!" she screamed, hurling the brush at the mirror with all of her might. The brush cracked in the middle of the mirror, sending spider web cracks all along the glass before pieces of it shattered, falling to the ground. Erik's form shattered as well, and in what little was left of the mirror, she could see herself, scared. She leaned against the wall, slowly sinking to the floor as she heard footsteps running towards her room. As she had sunk to the floor, her door burst open, Raoul coming in, his face one of shock and fear as he ran over to her, kneeling down beside her.

"Christine! Are you all right? I heard glass shattering…" he paused, looking in the direction she was intently staring at. She saw his eyes widen as he took in the scene of the shattered mirror, the glass laying on the floor, and the hairbrush in the center of it all. "What happened?" he murmured, turning worried eyes to Christine.

"I'm fine," she muttered, her head falling in shame. "It…it was just a dream that seemed too real; it startled me." At least she was telling the truth. "I threw the brush in shock, and it hit the mirror. I'm sorry, Raoul," she whispered, tears pricking at her eyes. Little did he know that she wasn't only apologizing for breaking the mirror and scaring him; she was also apologizing for giving her heart to another man.

It's like I'm lost,

It's like I'm giving up slowly,

It's like you're a ghost that's haunting me,

Leave me alone.

Raoul wrapped his arms around her, hugging her, comforting her, holding her close to him. "You don't have to apologize," he murmured. "It was an accident, and you were startled. There's nothing to apologize for, Christine." He gently stroked her hair, comforting her in any way he could.

"Are you sure?" she whispered against his chest. She felt safe in his arms, and that relaxed her a bit.

"Yes, Little Lotte. Everything's all right as long as you're safe and unharmed."

"I am."

"Good." He gently pecked her on the lips, showing her that he truly cared for her and was worried about her. "Is there anything else you need?"
Come to me, Christine, a voice in her head spoke. You must give up; you must give in. The voice sounded much like Erik's, but she had a feeling that deep down, it was her own. The only problem was, should she listen to it, or just ignore it? Would finding Erik solve her addiction to him, or would it make her go back for more each time? Either way, he would probably haunt her still, so there was no winning option. Would she change for the better, though, if she went to him, or would it be better if she ignored him?

"Christine?" Raoul's concerned voice snapped her out of her thoughts. "Are you sure you're all right?" She was fine physically, but mentally? Probably not.

"Yes," she spoke, her voice weak. "I just need to go out for some air." She was lying through her teeth, but she needed to solve this here and now. No matter what she did, she'd still lose, though; ignoring him would keep the problem going and finding him would most likely make it worse. The only way she could truly change was if she gave him up completely, and Christine knew that was impossible.

And I know these voices in my head

Are mine alone,

And I know I'll never change my ways,

If I don't give you up now.

She felt him tense as he questioned, "Out? This late at night?" He pulled her away to look at her straight in the eye. "Christine, I really don't think that's a good idea. It's too late for you to be outside."

She gently touched one of his hands in reassurance. "Please, Raoul; I'll be fine. I just need to clear my mind. I just need a little bit of time outside."

Raoul shook his head. "Christine, I don't think you should. If you must, I'll come out with you. I don't want you to be outside on your own; it's not safe."
"Please, Raoul," she begged. "I swear I'll be fine; I'll come right back."

He paused, and she watched as he looked like he was running through the options in his mind. He closed his eyes and sighed deeply before looking at Christine carefully. "Okay, Little Lotte. Just please," he grabbed both of her hands, holding them tightly in his own, "be careful, Christine. The last thing I want to see is you hurt," he paused again, before muttering, "or worse."

She smiled softly at him before kissing him gently on the lips. "Nothing bad will happen to me; I promise." She rose off the floor and grabbed her cloak, tying it around her shoulders. She then gently slipped on some shoes and started to walk out the door.

"Christine." Raoul's voice made her turn back for a minute, and she gasped, unable to breathe as she saw Erik standing there instead of Raoul. She stared, eyes wide open in horror, in shock. "Christine." She blinked, and it was Raoul again.

"Y-yes?" she stammered, still shaken up.

"I love you," he murmured.

"I love you, too," she whispered. She just couldn't tell whether or not these words held any true feelings towards Raoul. She then quickly turned and walked quickly down the stairs to the front door, darting to the direction of the stables. She found the stable boy asleep in the corner, so she just decided to grab one of the horses, not wanting to wake him. Christine found a simple chestnut mare, a white dot in the center of its forehead. Raoul had taught her how to saddle a horse already, so she saddled the horse quickly, but safely. As she mounted the horse, she looked sadly at the window towards Raoul's study. "I'm sorry, Raoul," she said, her voice thick with sadness. Christine then tapped the sides of the horse gently, telling the horse to move forward.

Up in the study, Raoul watched Christine take off on one of the horses; it looked like Destiny. He saw Christine mouth something in his direction. He didn't hear her, but he had a feeling of what she said. "It's all right, Little Lotte; I know." In his hand, he clutched a red rose, the same one that had been lying on Christine's chiffonier.

As she rode, her thoughts darted back and forth between Raoul and Erik, her heart once again torn in two. Her mind flashed back to the last time she was in his lair. Would things have worked out for the better if she had insisted that she stay with him? If she had never removed his mask the first time, would she still be at the opera house being tutored in singing? There were just too many question and not enough answers. Was he even still alive? She remembered the mob had been coming down to the lair; what if he was dead? She choked back a sob at that thought, praying that he was all right.

It's like I can't breathe,

It's like I can't see anything,

Nothing but you,

I'm addicted to you.

It's like I can't think,

Without you interrupting me,

In my thoughts, in my dreams,

You've taken over me

It's like I'm not me, it's like I'm not me.

Finally, she came upon the street she knew so well: the street leading to the opera house. Her thoughts focused solely on Erik, she soon came in front of the opera house and dismounted, walking the horse to the stables in the back. She tied the horse's reins to a pole and filled the bucket handing on the pole with water from the nearby pump. "Here, Destiny," she whispered, gently stroking the horse's nose to soothe it. "I'll be back soon; just stay here." Turning about, she quickly walked in the direction of the front doors of the opera house, still standing, even after the fire. She gently tested to see if they were locked, and when she saw they weren't, she quietly and carefully opened the doors, cautiously stepping inside. Christine eased the doors shut, trying to make as little noise as possible. She felt like a burglar, coming to steal what little was left of the opera house, but the only thing she was stealing back was her own heart, robbed by that masked man named Erik. She lightly ran though the hallway, being careful of any fallen debris from the fire, running that familiar path to the Prima Donna's room with the mirror to Erik's home.

The door was slightly scorched when she came upon it, but it still looked to be in working condition. She tried the door handle and found that it, too, was unlocked. Walking into the room was like a breath of fresh air; nothing in the room had been moved, and she recognized everything. There was a thin layer of dust, but that was the only thing that differed. She walked over and pushed on the mirror, but it didn't budge. She tried to find a gap so she could pull on it, and there was none. She then pushed different spots on the floor, hoping that there was a hidden switch, but there were none to be found.

"Oh, merde," she swore quietly, frustrated with the mirror. It wasn't proper for a young lady to swear, but at this moment, she really didn't care. Her hands quickly worked around the frame for a switch, a lever of some sort, anything to open it. Finally, her finger grazed over a small hole, about the size of a hairpin from the look of it. There were none in her hair, so she scoured the vanity, pulling open a few drawers until she found one. She gently pushed it into the hole, wiggling it a bit until the mirror made a 'clunk' sound as it unlocked. She grabbed the gap between the mirror and the frame and pulled it open enough for her to fit through. She turned back for just a moment and saw that she could see the room from behind the mirror. "I bet that came in handy," she muttered sarcastically, secretly boiling inside.

As she made her way through the catacombs, twisting and turning every which way, she started to question whether or not this was really a good idea. If Erik was alive, would he just turn her away, ordering her to go back to Raoul? Would he truly accept her with open arms, still loving her? What if he wasn't even at the lair; what if he had moved somewhere else? With these thoughts weighing upon her mind, she finally came upon the little lake with the boat, still in the same place Raoul and she had left it. The question was: would she be able to pole across the lake on her own? There was only one way to find out, and that was to try. She unsteadily got in the boat, it gently swaying back and forth in the water as her weight shifted around. The pole was lying in the bottom of the boat, where Raoul had placed it, so she shakily bent over and picked it up. She knew that the water wasn't incredibly deep, but it still scared her to think of turning the boat over and falling in. After a few moments of hesitation, Christine placed the pole in the water and pushed carefully, with enough force to move it but hopefully not enough to tip it over. It moved, and with more ease than Christine thought. All she had to do was steer the boat in the right direction and hope she wouldn't get lost.

Soon, it became a peaceful sort of rhythm for her: dip, push, move it forward, and dip again. The sound of the water gently rocking the boat lulled her, making her somewhat tired. It seemed like forever, but she soon came across the area where the portcullis was lowered. However, as she poled, the pole must have tripped something because it soon started to rise. "This place is full of trapdoors and switches," she murmured in awe. It was incredible to her how one man could have done all of this. The boat lurched slightly as it hit the gravelly ground, knocking Christine off her feet slightly, causing her to stumble. She used the pole to hold her upright, however, before she quietly set it back in the boat again.

Shock flooded her as she saw the damage done to his home. Papers were scattered everywhere, some burned; the organ was smashed here and there; candles and their holders were knocked to the ground, strewn everywhere; and there was glass glittering on the ground, looking to be from some nearby mirrors. "Erik?" she called out, praying for a response. Her gaze darted back and forth, looking for some kind of movement. Christine poked her head in the Louis-Philippe room, the bed made and undamaged, the swan still looking as graceful as ever. A tiny 'ping' made her jump, and her gaze fell to the floor to see the monkey dressed in Persian robes. She entered the room and walked in the direction of the monkey, only to have another door catch her eye. Hesitantly, she walked over and grasped the knob, turning it. It opened with little difficulty, and she opened the door to see a room full of drawing of her, and small models of the theatre around the room. As she looked closer, she realized that the little figures were of her and the rest of the opera cast.

The drawings were what awed her the most, though. The careful eye for detail, the lighting of the pictures; they looked so much like her, she half-expected them to jump off the paper and speak to her. Her fingers gently grazed one of the drawings, careful not to smudge it. The drawing was of her as a child, praying in the chapel. Even then, he'd always been watching over her, caring for her, bringing her voice to its full potential. Was it too late to apologize to him, to ask if he still loved her as much as she'd found that she'd fallen in love with him?

I'm hooked on you,

I need a fix, I can't take it,

Just one more hit, I promise I can deal with it.

I'll handle it, quit it, just one more time, then that's it,

Just a little bit more to get me through this.

She exited the room, quietly closing the door with a soft 'click'. There was another door next to it, and her curiosity was already peaked, so she decided to look in it as well. Her hand grasped the knob again, but this one was locked. Her brow furrowed, wondering why this one door was locked when the rest weren't. However, she didn't have much time to consider as a hand darted out and snapped around her wrist, squeezing to prevent her from trying again.

"I wouldn't recommend that, mademoiselle," a voice snarled, hatred laced into it. "Or should I say, Vicomtesse?" The man to whom the voice belonged stepped out, bringing her wrist closer to his face to inspect the hand. She winced lightly at the power of the grip, the pain throbbing. "However," he muttered, "I see no ring on your finger. Does that mean you haven't married your Vicomte yet; that you haven't fled from the horrors of this opera house and the monster that dwells below it?" His voice rose with each word, his temper showing once more as he unconsciously tightened his grip around Christine's wrist. Finally, she cried out in pain, tears pricking at her eyes.

"Erik, let me go!" she screamed, struggling to release herself from his grip. He looked at her, staring, as though deciding whether or not he should listen to her. "Please," she whispered, feeling afraid once more.

"Let you go?" he repeated, his voice taking an odd tone to it. "Let you go?!" Finally, he released her wrist, almost throwing it back at her before he started to pace furiously. "How can I let you go, my dear," he spat, 'my dear' forming viciously on his tongue, "when you refuse to let me go! You come back here, prowling through my stuff, going in rooms you shouldn't enter at all!"

"I came back to make sure you're okay," she said, standing bravely, trying to remain calm. His temper was most frightening, and once it was unleashed, it was hard to reign back in.

"To make sure I'm dead, you mean," he snarled. "Because may God forbid if you marry your fiancée with a monster still stalking the streets."

"No!" she cried, loosing her calm. "I don't want you to be dead! I came back to see if you were alive! I wanted to see you!" Tears streamed freely down her cheeks as she let loose her emotions.

"Did you come to see if my rotting corpse lay upon the ground, no longer clinging to any form of life?" he continued, completely ignoring her. "Did you have to see that I no longer loved you before you could marry your Vicomte? Since I am not dead, is that what you want to hear, Christine; that I no longer love you?" He turned to her, finally, as she stood there, trembling, tears coursing down her pale face. She meekly opened her mouth to say something, only to have Erik continue on his mad rant.

"I taught you, wrote music, sang with you, loved you, only to have you betray me in front of everyone, exposing my horrendous face to the world! All I wanted was a little love, just to have someone love me for once, instead of turning away in fear and disgust; yet, you could not even give that." He paused, almost in consideration, before continuing. "It's funny how I gave everything for you, and you gave nothing in return."

"I sang for you, and only for you!" she screamed, anger coursing through her veins. "Do you call that nothing?!"

"Yet you wouldn't have been able to sing if it weren't for me! You would be nowhere if it weren't for me! All you do is use someone to get what you want, and then you step on them to get to the much bigger prize! You, Christine Daae, are nothing but a selfish, spoiled brat!" His temper let loose, and at that moment, so did Christine's as she raised her hand and slapped him hard across the face, the 'smack' echoing in the caverns.

She gasped as she realized what she did, immediately regretting her actions. "Mon Dieu, Erik; I'm sorry," she whispered, tears falling again as she clasped one hand over her mouth. His hand reached up to touch his face where the angry, red palm print was. He seemed to be in a bit of shock, surprised that Christine would even do something like that. His face then darkened as he looked at her, seeming to be slightly angry yet again.

"Perhaps I took it too far," he muttered, and Christine realized that it wasn't anger, but anguish, that darkened his features. "My apologies, Christine; I never meant to say that." He turned, starting to melt into the shadows again. "You may go and marry your Vicomte; I shall leave you both alone."

Christine shook her head and sprang forward, grabbing his arm. "No!" she cried. "Please, Erik; I'm begging you to listen to me instead of jumping to your conclusions." He remained silent and unmoving for a few moments before he turned to face her, listening. "Erik, I don't want Raoul anymore; I was childish and fearful when I chose him."

"Fearful of me," he muttered, tensing under her grip.

"Fearful of the things you did," she corrected him. "I was afraid when you killed both Messieurs Buquet and Piangi, and when you and Raoul fought in the cemetery. I know, though, that underneath all of that, there is a caring man that loves music as much as I do. When you were ready to force me to marry you, I was frightened but willing. I was ready to stay with you; didn't you realize that?" Christine looked at him with pleading eyes, hoping he'd seen the reason beneath the kiss.

When he spoke, his voice was slightly gravelly, as though torn between anger and sadness. "You kissed me in order to save the life of your Vicomte; nothing more, nothing less."

Christine smiled slightly, shaking her head. "No, Erik; you're wrong there." She walked in front of him, placing her hands on his shoulders as she reached slightly up on her tiptoes, her face a few inches away from Erik's. He stared at her, confused, before she gently placed her lips on his just like a few weeks ago. She felt the hesitation from him; when she pressed a little more, she felt him kiss back, still with some hesitance, but she could feel the passionate spark once more. Finally, he wrapped his arms around her waist as he lovingly kissed her back, and she felt wetness falling on her face. When she pulled back, breathless, she saw that he was crying again, silent tears, but they still broke her heart.

"Erik, why are you crying?" she whispered, looking at him with concern.

"This has to be a dream," he murmured. "I'm going mad, and you're just an illusion, here to torment me again."

"I'm not an illusion," she declared, drawing back from him, taken aback by his outburst. "And why would I torment you?"

"Because you'll just go back once again to your Vicomte, and you'll leave me alone again; the only company my tortured memories and dreams of you."

She shook her head, resisting the urge to stomp her foot because it would be childish. "No Erik; I'm not an illusion. I'm real! I'm living flesh and blood that breathes and dreams and speaks the same as everyone else! I'm no illusion!" Her cheeks were flushed with the slight fury welling inside of her. When he remained silent, she placed her hands on his shoulders once more so she could look him straight in the eye. "What will it take for you to believe me?" she whispered, her bold chocolate-colored eyes staring into his stormy emerald green ones. She could see all of his emotions running through them: his fear, his anger, his sadness, his jealousy; but most of all, his loneliness.

"Erik, don't you get it?" He looked at her, slightly confused, his tears gone. "I don't want Raoul, and I don't think I ever did. I just wanted safety for my fear of what was going on around me. I don't love Raoul," she whispered. She watched as disbelief flashed through his eyes, a stunned expression coming across his face. "I love you." Once more, she pressed her lips to his to prove a point, and this time, he kissed her back just as passionately as she kissed him. Christine felt the fire boil through her blood as his lips pressed on hers, his arms once again wrapping around her waist.

I'm hooked on you,

I need a fix, I can't take it,

Just one more hit, I promise I can deal with it.

I'll handle it, quit it, just one more time, then that's it,

Just a little bit more to get me through this.

They were both breathless when they pulled apart this time, the love reflecting in each others' eyes. "Christine, do you really mean it? Do you really love me?"

She smiled, nodding, before embracing him. "Yes, Erik; I do mean it." He embraced her back, and she felt his head bury into her hair. Christine was so happy, she could scarcely breathe. It started out bad, but to be where they are now already; it's somewhat a miracle. Already, she could see herself staying with him, if he allowed it. She was still worried that he'd turn her back to Raoul, but for now, she just wanted to hold him and be held.

After a few moments, he gently placed his head on hers and spoke. "What of your engagement to the Vicomte de Chagny? Since you are promised to him, you must go back." She could sense the melancholy in his tone as he spoke, and there was a sad pang in her heart as well. She didn't want to hurt Raoul, but she couldn't stand to lead him on any longer.

"I'll just break off the engagement with him." Her answer was short and simple, and she was sure Raoul would understand.

"Christine, you can't…" Erik started, drawing back to look at her.

"I can," she interrupted. "I know Raoul will understand; he's not someone to hold a grudge over something small."

He shook his head. "It's not small; breaking off an engagement is big news, especially if you're engaged to nobility. Rumors will fly, and more than likely, your name will be ruined." She knew that he was trying to protect her, but she felt like he was turning her away yet again.

"I don't care!" she angrily said. "I don't want to leave you again; I want to stay with you! At this point, I don't give a damn whether or not my name is ruined!" Erik looked at her in shock, and she realized that she had sworn for the second time that night. "I'm sorry," she muttered meekly, her cheeks flaming in embarrassment.

"Are-are you sure?" he stammered, and she could tell that he was a little nervous about all of this. She was a little nervous herself because she knew this was a big step forward in her life, but she was ready, no matter what it held.

"I've never been more sure," she joyfully said, smiling. She thought of how disappointed and sad Raoul would be, but she could only hope he'd find another that would make him happier. Her thoughts flashed back to Erik as she felt him lay his head on hers again, still holding her tightly.

"I don't mean to sound insulting, but I think you've changed, Christine."

"Hmm?" she murmured, pulling her head out from under his to look at him.

He smiled, and she could have sworn that it was his first genuine smile in a long time. "You aren't the same person who left the opera house; you've matured, my dear."

She smiled back. "I don't think it's insulting at all," she whispered, and he gently touched his lips to hers once more.

It's like I can't breathe,

It's like I can't see anything,

Nothing but you, I'm addicted to you.

It's like I can't think,

Without you interrupting me,

In my thoughts, in my dreams,

You've taken over me,

It's like I'm not me, it's like I'm not me.

The next day, Raoul awoke to a servant knocking on the door of his study. He removed himself from the chair he'd been sitting in to wait for Christine and groggily opened the door. The maid, Rosetta, curtsied and handed him a letter, addressed to the Vicomte de Chagny. "Sorry to disturb you, sir, but this arrived for you attached to the horse."

As he took the letter, he questioned, "Has Christine returned?"

Rosetta shook her head. "No, sir; Mademoiselle Daae never returned. It was just the horse that came back."

Raoul frowned deeply as he opened the letter, pulling out the paper inside. His eyes skimmed back and forth over the contents of the paper.

Dearest Raoul,

Please, my childhood friend, forgive me. I had lost my heart when I left the opera house, but when I returned, I found it once again, in the hands of my true beloved. I am afraid that I may have led you on, and I feel horrible for it because that was never my intention at all. With all of the happenings going on at the time, I sought shelter and comfort, and you were the first one to give them to me; I mistook both for love. I had honestly thought that I loved you, but my heart belongs to another man, the one of my dearest angel. I can only hope that time will heal all of your wounds and that you will someday be able to forgive me. I will always be grateful to the little boy who went in to the sea to rescue my red scarf.

Love, Christine, your "Little Lotte"

Raoul sighed as he folded the letter back into the envelope, shutting the door, Rosetta already having scurried away. He spoke to an empty room, the echo of it much like the pain in his now empty heart. "I can never be mad at you, Christine; I understand that you were just following your heart, just like your father used to tell you to do. Your heart will always lead you better than your head ever will. I just hope you're happy with your phantom," he murmured. Gently, he picked up the rose he had laid on his desk and placed the letter on it before putting the rose on top of the letter. The petals seemed to be a little brighter than before, almost as bright as when he first picked the rose for her. "All I ever wanted for you was your happiness." And somewhere, wherever she was, he hoped that she was smiling, and that she was truly happy.

Well, I hope you guys liked the story! Please tell me if the characters seem OOC because I want them to seem as normal as possible. R&R please!