A Dark Secret Love
Summary:The continuation of Madeleine's story. This has never had a separate title, so I'll just leave it as it is… Done from her point of view again. Madeleine recalls the three days and nights she spent in Paris with her Angel.
Rating: PG, I think. To be safe.
Disclaimer:Erik belongs to Gaston Leroux. The name of Madeleine I actually got from "Phantom" by Susan Kay, but this particular Madeleine belongs to me (would anyone want a schizophrenic Phan with an unhealthy obsession with Erik? Oh wait, that's me…) Finally, the plot is mine.
Author's Notes:Okay, so I wrote this a while after the original and finally got around to typing it up after re-writing for one of my RL friends who was pestering me. No doubt she and the FFN phan community will be pestering me for Part 3 soon as well… Right, I've only been to Paris once in my life on a crappy coach trip, and that was 4 years ago when I was 16, so forgive any discrepancies. Write them off as being the product of the character's diseased mind. (Hopefully, I will be going to Paris proper for my 21st birthday so I'll tweak as appropriate.) I'm still not sure if this counts as 'other woman' fic or 'wish fulfilment' fic. You tell me :) Again, see how many links I've managed to accidentally put in…
Just to clear something up:There seemed to be some confusion with the first part. This is set in modern times! Madeleine is a girl of the twentieth century (at time of writing), and everything she describes happens in her time period. Yes, I know. Erik was around a full century before her. That's the point. She's a crazy lady. :} Further evidence of this will be revealed in further additions, but for now… enjoy!
A Dark Secret Love
I remember very little about my 'ordeal', as the doctor calls it. My teachers will try to make sure it stays that way. However, those memories won't remain permanently embedded in my subconscious, and lately, vague images, voices, songs - they all keep coming back to me in my dreams, and occasionally when I'm awake. I'm constantly tormented by my so-called 'fantasies', but they don't seem to understand… all I want to do is remember…
When you last saw me, I was perfectly happy in my world - our world - and, naturally, I was unable to continue my story. That I regret, for there was much left to tell, and hopefully I will be able to reveal it to you now. For, you see, soon after the teachers realised they couldn't get through to me, the Headmistress, that harpy, employed the assistance of a team of doctors, including one Monsieur Piangez. The good doctor came bearing gifts in the form of an injection, which has the power to shut off the 'rebellious' part of my brain, and brings me slamming back to 'reality'. It is not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination, and I enjoy it less each time. This time, though, I feel I should utilise it to tell you the rest of my tale…
Now, let's see if I remember… ah, yes, the three days in Paris. Our first meeting, that's the first thing I recall… when I knocked on the door to his domain.
It was several degrees colder that I had anticipated when I entered, and the shock of it knocked me out cold. I seem to remember being moved from my semi-conscious and prostrate position on the floor, and I awoke on some sort of couch, covered by a blanket. Soon enough, I realised where I was, and that was when I heard his voice - the Voice - out loud, for the very first time. It was even more captivating and hypnotic than it had been in my head.
"Madeleine?" I looked around in the direction of it, saw nothing, and instantaneously remembered that he was an expert ventriloquist. I shivered involuntarily.
"Why is it so cold?" I asked, hearing movement in another room.
"A minor setback, my dear. You'll grow used to it, with time." Well, I had plenty of that. "Lie down. I'll light the fire."
I obediently snuggled back down under the blanket, putting me head on the satin, feather-filled pillow, and closing my eyes. I heard shuffling behind me, and then suddenly the crackling of a fire. The room heated up, rather too quickly, and a sudden thought raised me, bolt upright, from the couch.
"Isn't this dangerous? We're directly under the Op-" I stopped short when I realised that my companion had fled to a far corner of the room, and was now curled up into a ball - I had taken him quite by surprise! Still, the speed in which he must have moved was abnormally fast. Cautiously, I stood up and walked over, reaching out a hand to touch his bony, shivering shoulders in comfort.
"Don't touch me!" he said. I drew back, but said nothing. "You shouldn't have done that. I'm… not ready." He was attempting to hide his face and being more than successful. "You're not ready."
"Ready? For what?" He did not answer, but trembled even more nervously than before. We must have looked quite a pair - a sixteen-year-old girl, standing tall and headstrong, and a fifty-year-old man, cowering in the corner of his own home like a scolded puppy. "If I promise to lie down again and close my eyes, will you get up?" There was a pause and then a gesture resembling a nod which wracked his whole body. I did as promised… well, almost. I kept one eye open, to see him slowly get up and walk to the other room with his back to me.
What I did next, however, astounds me ever as much now as it did then. I got up, and, I assume out of sheer curiosity, went towards the door. I heard him banging around, searching for something, with frustrated cries of: "Where in Heaven's name did I put it? Oh, to Hell with Spring cleaning if this is what happens!" He was rapidly going into a rage, which I knew wasn't good for him, so I flung open the door and cleared my throat lightly. He spun around and shouted: "What?!" Then he stopped and tensed, fear in his eyes. For the first time, we examined each other…
I promise, if that damn doctor asks me once more to describe my fear, I will kill him. Fear is naturally assumed. Just goes to prove how wrong society can be, I suppose. When I saw his face, my mind ran over one of his previous letters: "…I fear I may cause a disturbance…" Well, that was certainly true, he would definitely cause a 'disturbance', and a delicious one at that! I had images in my mind of all those stupid girls, screaming their pretty, perfectly groomed heads off and running far away, while the two of us laughed. Oh, it would have been glorious!
However, this did not happen, and never would. Instead, we stood for several seconds in absolute silence. Then, he slumped his shoulders, and dropped his head, holding up his hands palm-up in a half-shrug. As if to say: "Now you know…" He stayed in that position, apparently unable to do anything else.
Something caught my eye on the other side of the room and I hurried over, and began to rummage through a chest, producing a white object that I recognised immediately. I walked back to him and placed it into his hand.
"Is this what you're looking for?" I asked, not removing my own hand until I felt the slightest movement of his own.
"Yes. Thank you." There is no easy way to describe how he said those last two words - almost as though I had forgiven him all his earthly sins in one action. He put on the mask then looked at me apologetically. "Madeleine, please forgive me. I have been incredibly… disorganised. This meeting should not have happened in such a manner."
It was obvious he did not enjoy apologising, even if he intended to, but he had made a gallant effort, so, as usual, I forgave him. The silence once again descended upon us, but this time it was welcomed with open arms. The only sound was the crackling of the fire in the other room, and it was both comfortable and comforting, all at once.
So began my three days in Paris… oh, if only we both knew how little time we would have.
The memories of those days are like a complex jigsaw puzzle. The more pieces I find, the more obvious becomes the whole picture. I suppose it's to be expected. It seems a very short time, really, three days… but in Paris, the time seemed to stand still. During the day, he would take me to his private box - number Five - where I would watch temperamental prima donnas, and agile ballet dancers, and, better than both, the little people around us, unaware of our presence even when we were right in front of them. This entertained us for hours - we were so alike in our original and sarcastic sense of humour.
The days were wonderful, but the evenings were the greatest. On the first - how could I have forgotten! - he gave me a tour of the Opéra, which began at his house and ended, by default, on the rooftop. On our journey there, I would say he had grown younger; he moved swiftly through the building and I had trouble keeping up. Although, perhaps it was me who had aged.
At the end of our climb, we had the world at our feet, and it was ours for the taking. He promised to show me it all. We stood side by side in the warm Parisian night, arms outstretched and balancing precariously on the edge of the building, laughing maniacally like two deranged eagles.
On our second day together, we hired a taxi and ordered the driver to follow instructions. We directed the poor little man from the Opéra, around the city, and back again, along every possible avenue. He didn't complain once, thanks to a hefty tip.
After the impromptu tour, we returned to the Roof again, and talked until dawn. Exchanging life stories with a man in his fifties was an interesting experience, and made my trivial stories of school bullies seem completely insignificant.
The doctors say I am making up all of my memories, but if they would look closely at my body and not my brain, they would notice the scar on my hand, where I cut myself in the climb to the roof. Or they might see the piece of fabric attached to a chain around my neck, my only real proof of that final evening. It's all so clear now…
We had watched "Faust" from our usual spot, and it was the matinee performance. One of the songs struck me, so much so that I learnt it later that day in five minutes flat. Singing it together, in perfect harmony, we claimed it as our song.
That night, we walked the streets together, silent. There was a question I had been intending to ask for some time, and as we overlooked the cathedral at Notre Dame from across the Seine, I seized my chance.
"I have a query."
"Whatever your problem, I am certain I can help."
"Not that kind of query. You see, I should like to know if I may call you by your name now."
"Why, my dear?" he laughed, as though the very idea was amusing.
"Because it seems very silly my having to call you 'Sir' all the time."
"Merely a precaution, Madeleine."
"A precaution against what, exactly?"
"Whenever a woman says my name in any capacity, disasters seem to occur." He said this matter-of-factly, as though it was a normal occurrence. He had told me of these 'disasters', and I was well aware that he was being truthful in his words. I was amazed he hadn't been angry or upset by my question, and I left the matter, hoping to tackle it at a later date.
I was never a fearful child; nothing could ever scare me, not even thunder, or spiders, or any of the things girls are meant to be scared of. Having three brothers certainly has it's advantages. However, on that night, all of my courage vanished. When an owl hooted in a nearby tree, I looked around nervously. The River, as it gently lapped nearby, set my nerves on edge, and then, when the storm started, I just couldn't cope. We were sheltered from the worst of the rain by a tree, but as soon as the first thunderclap rang ominously through the sky, I buried my ears under my hands and cried out in terror. My companion was taken aback, unsure of what to do. He spoke to me quietly, as if embarrassed, despite there being nobody else around.
"It's only the weather, child." Child?! How dare he! As if my fear had somehow made me younger! Another offending noise made me rock back and forth, and shake my head as if to shift it from my brain. I only calmed when I found myself being held firmly and eased to the ground, and by the ripping I heard, I assumed (correctly, it transpired), that his cloak had torn in the process.
Still whimpering pathetically as he tried to hold me still, I clung to him and the reality of the situation dawned on me. I was a child in his eyes, and I always would be unless I could prove it… which was just what I was about to do when yet another of those infernal thunderclaps stopped me. It sounded like a drum roll from the very bowels of Hell, and still I clung to him, tighter, only able to softly say: "Help me…"
We sat, cold and wet, until the storm passed, and waited until I had regained enough composure to walk. He took me home and we didn't speak another word.
On the fourth day, I awoke to find him gone, and somewhere deep inside me, I thought that if I sang our song he would return. And that is precisely what I did - I sang it repeatedly, like a mantra, until the words lost all meaning and the tune became nothing more than notes in succession, and there I sat. Singing. Rocking. Waiting.
I was still there when the police and the search party found me.
He left no note, no explanation, no goodbye, but I shall forgive him, because, as I said, I always do. Maybe I'll visit him again someday, if they ever let me go. I'm sure he'd see me under different circumstances, and if I explained my absence.
The doctors are trying to stop any more memories from uprooting. They tell me and each other that they are not real. They make me close my eyes and listen to their ridiculous tapes. Hypnosis tapes, apparently. I've tried to tell them that it doesn't work, but ,of course, they're adamant that it will if I "Try Harder". The story of my life. I shall have it carved on my tombstone I think…
Now I've learnt how to switch between my world and theirs, even though I thought I'd never leave mine. I'm sensible enough to come back to eat and sleep. Of course, the only drawback to the latter is that my dreams are gruesome, in hideous detail of the murder of those around me. It's because of this that I've often made the decision to never come back again… but whenever I do, Monsieur Piangez gives me that injection again. Then, they complain that I'm too much trouble to handle, even when I'm just sitting there…
Is it too much to ask that they just leave me alone?!
If I seem bitter, I won't deny that I am. I never used to be. But he opened my eyes to Humanity's true face - everyone is the same. Nobody truly understands, and they don't want to. They say they do, but when it comes down to it, the truth is the last thing they want to hear. I know what I experienced and they don't want to believe me.
The injection doesn't work any more. I shan't tell them - they wouldn't believe me, or if they did, they'd simply up the dose. It would be pointless.
I feel myself slipping back, down into my mind ,into the darkness and the light, all mingled. It doesn't frighten me any more; now I welcome it. I like it. The Voice is here, his Voice, and it soars with mine, over the heads of those who seek to destroy us, with a message understood only by us. I think I shall stay here, this time. There's nothing left for me now. Nothing.
Nothing at all…