This is the sequel to The Quest and takes up the morning after the last chapter of The Quest left off, so think of it more as "Part II" :)

All usual disclaimers apply; I don't own the characters or music, but the original songs are mine. Based solely on the Erik/Christine of 2004 movie (how I perceived them)- but still a high fantasy with Erik as a King of Music and Christine his Queen.

Please note the M rating at the top - it's there for a reason. This story is very explicit at times as far as sex goes, increasing as story progresses- no-holds-barred- so please be warned. There are also other adult situations that warrant the M. With all that said, I give you the first chapter of this story…


Chapter I

How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, "I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit." May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine.
Song of Solomon

Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words.
Robert G. Ingersoll

xXx

.

(Seville, Spain 1871: during the festival of La Feria de Sevilla)

.

Before Christine remembered, she felt.

Indescribable pleasure relaxed every part of her being as though she had been covered in a blanket of soft contentment. As she fully woke to the sound of revelers stirring outside on the streets of the festive city, she wished to banish the dawn and let it forever remain night. Oh, that the stars could lay continual claim to the heavens, so that she could lie with her love in their own Eden, veiled from the intrusive world for all eternity!

Her body lay entwined in warmth, her cheek cradled against it. She lifted her head from her pillow of his chest and looked down upon the sleeping form of her husband. The glow of predawn illumined the walls of the tent, giving her dim light by which to see.

In slumber, the planes of his face were peaceful, beautiful, even the twisted side appeared somehow smoother, and he resembled the Angel that she so often called him. She now knew why he had remained firm in his resolve during their journey these past weeks when passion's flame had ignited between them, and gratitude humbled her. Once, she didn't understand why he drew back. Last night he had taught her. Unsullied by guilt, they had come together in an offering of love, so sweet yet powerful, tears had run from their eyes. A moment's discomfort had not dampened the ecstasy of their union and hours later, when they awoke in the warmth of the velvet night and reached for one another again, she had felt no pain. Nor had there been any awkwardness. Christine smiled in bashful recollection of the many marvels the night had held.

He had been gentle, yet passionate, what she'd always hoped for but more than she'd ever dreamed. An incredible paradise found within her lover's arms…and hers to visit and feast upon whenever she desired.

Blushing at the memory of the intensity of their lovemaking and her responses to him, hesitant at so new a tune taught her, yet bold with the desire to experience it again and learn it well, she ran her fingertips over Erik's lean muscled arm and shoulder. Overwhelmed with love for him, she sang into his mind, using her own words to the melody he crooned to her the night before.

Never once did I imagine ... never once could I have dreamed ... the truth we've found here, beloved ... my Angel, my King ...

She pressed her lips to his warm skin where her head recently lay, allowing her kiss to linger in the dusting of hair clustered there. Her fingers reveled in a slow, feather-light path over the hard planes of his abdomen and stomach.

A thousand words cannot be sung ... nor a thousand lines expressed ... to describe the matchless joy in your arms … and my sweet Music's caress ...

She lifted her head to look upon his face and felt a tremor move through her when she saw his eyes, open and staring at her. Smoky, burning, they held amazement. His lips parted in awe.

With sensual grace she moved toward him as she continued her song in a whisper. "Forever we'll engage in rich secrets of splendor ... surely Heaven extols our love's decree ... " Smiling, she brushed her lips against his, felt his heart pound beneath her breasts. "Forevermore, I am yours, sweet Erik, my King ..." Another kiss, this time running the tip of her tongue along his lip. " … Forevermore, you belong to me ..."

His eyes, heavy-lidded and drowsy, glowed with desire. "Never did I think to hear you sing to me in sleep," he whispered hoarsely, touching his fingers to her parted lips. "Never did I think to hear such sweet words, or to feel your love so strongly."

She kissed his fingertips, then slipped her lips a fraction over one, brushing her tongue along his skin. He gasped and her heart leapt. Of the many things she'd learned, she found that giving him pleasure excited her as much as when he gave it to her.

"The time for 'never' has long passed, Mon Ange. The present is always, and it is here ... with us," she murmured the last as she feathered her parted lips from side to side against his, then slid her tongue past them, deep into the delicious warmth of his mouth.

He growled low in his throat and crushed her to him, his arm wrapping about her back, his other hand entwining in her hair, as he met her languorous kiss with fire and passion. Wide-awake now, he swiftly altered position, rolling with her until she lay pinned beneath him against the pillows.

"Share with me your music again, my King," she whispered, breathless. His heated response made her heart beat wild with anticipation. "Grant to me your majesty."

At her playful smile, his brow arched and his lips curled into the smile she loved so well. "Happily, I will share all that my Queen desires … my fair Christine." As he said the last, his large hand cupped her breast, sweeping a slow path down to her waist and past her hip. She gasped at the trail of tingling fire his fingers left in their wake.

The soft strands of his hair caressed her neck as his parted lips worshiped her sensitive skin in unhurried kisses until at last they brushed over the tender peak of her breast. This time it was she who let out a groan at the pleasure that darted through her and she arched toward him. His tongue and teeth grazed the tight bud and his lips gently suckled. He then laid claim to the other globe, until he had her gasping for breath. His heated mouth rediscovered the secrets of her body, while his artist's fingers played a skillful melody upon her receptive flesh, pulling her down with him into a whirlpool of sweet fire.

She held to him, feeling as if she were drowning in sensations too wondrous to understand, too marvelous to imagine. He gave as much as she could take and he took all that she gave as they taught one another…

The ache within her became unbearable, her need for him great.

"Please…Erik…" She managed to rasp the words out. "I need you ..."

At her hoarse plea, he joined her, sliding deep inside her with one smooth thrust. She whimpered in relief, wrapping her legs around his hips, bringing him in even deeper. Her unfocused gaze met his, her heart aching with the indescribable joy of again being physically one with him ... whole ... complete. She saw the marvel in his own eyes, the disbelief, the tears. Moved beyond words, she laid her hands against his cheeks, the twisted and the smooth, and tenderly swept the moisture away with the pads of her thumbs.

"Forever…" she whispered.

"Oh, Christine…" His hoarse voice shook, his body trembled.

He bent to reclaim her lips as he began to move with her to a symphony they alone could hear. Sweet, seductive, it built within Christine an even greater ache than before, its tempo ever-rising until Erik possessed her every breath with his dark, beautiful chords.

He took her soul higher and higher, whirling within a fiery whirlpool, ever faster, until mindless with ecstasy she clutched his shoulders, crying out as he consumed her – soul, spirit, body. He gasped her name, shuddering, holding tightly to her as his seed flooded her, filling her with his very essence, and her secret walls convulsed around him again and again, greedy for every life-giving drop.

As Christine floated back to earth under the wings of her Angel, she felt her face and body glow and gave a contented smile.

xXx

(somewhere in the south of France)

With a grimace, Raoul studied the remnants of bread and cheese in his saddlebag. He retained no memory of having consumed so much of it, was sure he had not. Did mice inhabit this forest, and had they slipped inside his satchel undetected? Blasted rodents. His food situation was already precarious.

In his haste to leave Whiterose, his mind had been steeped in a painful fog, the result of the remedial brandy he'd imbibed while his aunt had sewn together the wound on his hand. Instead of informing the cook of what to prepare, Raoul had gathered the essentials and slipped away from his aunt's estate before dawn. But he hadn't brought enough, that much was evident.

A vague recollection of his last evening at Whiterose whispered inside his mind. He couldn't remember all of what he'd told his aunt and hoped he hadn't revealed anything of major consequence - chiefly those truths he'd sworn to keep secret involving his mission.

His hand hurt like the devil, and he found that saddling and unsaddling Mephisto had proven almost impossible. Still, he continued his journey, firm in his resolve to locate the Phantom and ensure the beast received the punishment he deserved. Raoul desired to bring Christine back with him to the beautiful estate of Whiterose, where her soul could mend and find peace.

That fiend must have imprisoned her mind with his dark magic for her to leave all she'd known and flee with a murdering fugitive, a deformed one at that. Raoul never truly believed she would give such an escape serious consideration Even as the day of her departure with the Phantom approached, he had hoped she would regain her senses. He had refused to collaborate in the plan Madame Giry concocted, doubtless with that black fiend's help. Over a month ago, with the gendarmes' aid, he had managed to prevent their wedding. But now, after so many weeks had elapsed ...

Raoul ignored the painful words of dark logic that attempted to surface, words he had submerged far below a mask of blameless resolve … he did not wish to hear them, did not dare think them. Along with those words, others remained hidden that he'd sung on that long ago night. Buried deep amid layers of guilt, they stung his conscience when he dwelt on the matter too long or felt unprepared.

But he refused to listen.

As he stood at the precipice of dark reflection, a noise, not whirling from within but coming from without, reached his ears: The rasp of muffled coughing.

Dazed, he scanned the area. Mephisto grazed nearby and as Raoul watched, the stallion gave a little snort. That must have been what he'd heard. Mice didn't cough, and Raoul was the only person in existence for miles. Mice ... a mouse must have burrowed into his food…

Still woozy, knowing he needed sustenance, Raoul, grabbed one of his pistols without the vaguest idea of what he planned to shoot. From a distance, he had spotted boar and red squirrel in the last few days, but he certainly didn't plan to engage in a wild goose chase for either animal. Goose … At Ravenswolf, the de Chagny manor, hunting had been an enjoyable pastime, a sport common among his peers - not a means of securing nourishment needed to stay alive. That's why the gentry employed servants, to care for their lords, who didn't posses enough sense to leave for a journey fully prepared.

Raoul cursed his ineptness. Had he not been in such a stupor, he would have packed all the essentials needed for an extended journey into this godforsaken wilderness, which taunted him through every mile with a sun that blistered, a wind that chafed, and rain that stung.

The morning light now attacked, seeming to slice through his eyes only to stab at his brain. For days he had traveled, desperation the force that drove each step. He had rolled up one of his father's maps, using it as a guide to aid him in plotting the most direct course to Spain. One without detours, or mountains, or rivers so wide and swift they were uncrossable …

He wondered if somehow he had veered off course. Landmarks he'd thought by now to have seen eluded him.

Another cough broke into his infuriated musings. Raoul straightened, alert. This time he knew the sound came from a human source.

He gripped the handle of his pistol, wishing he were as skilled using his left hand in weaponry as he was with his damaged right one.

"Who's there?" he shouted, his tone formidable.

Silence answered, and then a sneeze—muffled, abrupt, as if someone worked hard to cover their presence. The betraying sounds of the intruder came from within the bushes and trees on his left.

"If you choose to remain invisible, I'll shoot now, and ask the cause for your decision later." The seconds ticked past. "Very well…" The metallic click of the pistol he cocked snapped through the air.

"Please, monsieur," a voice rasped. "Don't shoot."

Disbelief needled along Raoul's spine to hear the response. A very youthful one he remembered only too well.

"Show yourself at once!"

The bushes stirred, and a boy's face covered in dirt peeked above the leaves. A battered cap covered the shaggy fair hair. No more than thirteen, if that, he stared at Raoul through wary green eyes.

"You." The word seethed through Raoul's teeth as he faced the rapscallion who'd inflicted his wound.

"S-s'il vous plait, monsieur," the boy stammered. "I mean no harm."

"You are nothing but harm." A thought made him draw his brows together. "How did you get here? You cannot have walked this far and remained so close…" Raoul's jaw hardened. "So, you have now added horse thievery to your cache of crimes?"

"I …I took good care of her."

"Her…YOU STOLE SATURN?" Raoul kept a bare rein on his temper as he stormed toward the lad and grabbed him by the scruff of the collar. Instant pain flamed through Raoul's hand and he broke his hold, wincing.

"Only borrowed, monsieur!"

Raoul scoffed pressing his bandaged hand to his middle. "Where is my horse?"

"She's tied to some trees, not far from here." The boy glanced at Raoul's wrapped hand, then to the ground.

"Get her." Raoul barely bit the words out.

The boy whirled around to scurry away.

"And if you don't return within minutes, I will come after you."

The child ran faster, and Raoul wondered if he again played the fool by allowing the scamp to escape. When Raoul caught him with Christine's ring at Whiterose, he should have withheld mercy and turned him over to the gendarmes. Now what should he do? To tempt fate and send the thief back to Whiterose on Saturn was folly. Raoul would never see his horse again. To send the boy back without a horse would be to sign his death certificate. This many days into nowhere, a lad so scarecrow-thin couldn't possibly survive on foot, would likely lose his way, and despite his anger, Raoul refused to endanger a child. His ability to care for one horse taxed his effort. He doubted he could manage two. Nor would he cease his pursuit to take the boy to the authorities. The nearest village lay days away.

"Damn!" He kicked his saddlebag. The action did little to appease his frustration and only added to it as the remaining bread scattered over the ground.

The blood drained from his head and he pressed his palm against the rough bark of the nearest tree for balance. The ground still wavered. He heard Mephisto whinny, followed by an answering nicker. So, the boy had returned.

Raoul wearily faced him. Neither spoke. The boy's anxious gaze darted to the ground before looking back at Raoul.

"I have brought your horse, monsieur."

"I can see that." His tone remained grim.

"I took good care of her. She liked the sugar I broke from the loaf in the kitchens."

Raoul didn't answer.

"What will you do?" the boy whispered.

"Do?" Raoul pretended ignorance.

The lad's eyes shone with unease. "Will you throw me into prison?"

Raoul held out his right hand for the reins in silent demand. The boy hesitated then surrendered them. At the sudden change of command, Saturn tossed her head and edged back a step. Before Raoul could question what could be wrong with his horse, the reins ran hard over his thin bandage, digging a path of fire along the sewn cut. He cursed and dropped them. The boy stooped to pick them up again.

"I can help you, monsieur Vicomte. I can take care of both horses."

Wisely the boy did not mention Raoul's wound.

"And when my back is turned, what then? Will you seize the opportunity to rob me blind?" Raoul holstered the gun and snatched the reins out of the boy's grasp with his left hand. He led Saturn away. Mephisto whinnied a greeting as the mare joined him.

"I wish only to go to Spain," the boy called after Raoul. "That is all. I won't be a nuisance."

Raoul had long ago arrived at the conclusion that the young scalawag must travel with him; he objected to such company but saw no other recourse.

"I can cook for you; I can find nuts and berries and lay traps and catch hares and squirrels—"

A thought hit Raoul with force and he swung around. "YOU'RE the mouse who stole the bread and cheese from my saddlebag!"

The boy's face washed with crimson. "I was hungry, monsieur."

"You boast of catching game, yet find it necessary to steal from my supplies?"

"I did not wish to lose sight of you. At times you rode so fast." The child coughed. "And I did not wish you to see me."

Raoul took in the threadbare breeches and thin linen shirt. Shoes of questionable quality, worn with holes, encased the boy's small feet. A thin moth-eaten cloak rested over scrawny shoulders.

A hint of wry amusement twisted Raoul's mouth as he wondered just who would be caring for whom.

"If I should allow you to travel with me, I want it made clear that I'm not in favor of this arrangement. You'll keep your distance, and the moment you attempt any tricks or try to steal what's mine, I'll tie you to a tree and leave you there. Are we understood?"

Raoul had no intention of following through with such a threat, but he wanted the boy to realize from the start that he would not be played for a fool, nor so easily duped.

The child's eyes widened with apprehension. "Oui, monsieur."

Satisfied for the moment, Raoul nodded. "You can start putting yourself to good use by finding us something to eat. You left little more than crumbs when you last filched the contents of my saddlebag."

"Oui, monsieur Vicomte," the boy rattled off as he retreated a few steps, his manner both nervous and eager to please. "I saw some berries not far from here. I will get them." He whirled around and shot off like an arrow into the forest.

Alone, Raoul sighed at this new quandary: on a journey he preferred to travel in solitude, he now was encumbered with a young thief. Still lightheaded, he took rest in the shade upon a fallen log, though his chaotic thoughts gave him little reprieve.

He brooded over the last few minutes and retrieved the ring from within the deep pocket of his coat where he'd secured it. Unfolding the linen handkerchief that protected the band, he pulled it from its confines and studied the many facets. A ray from the morning sun slanted through branches and glanced off the ring, striking a blue intensity within the large center crystal, surrounded by a ring of smaller crystals. Mesmerizing, almost hypnotizing, the stones glinted, yet didn't blaze as brightly as Raoul believed they should in such strong light. A peculiar sense of disquiet bristled inside him as he continued to stare at the band…

Foolishness. Absolute and utter foolishness. He shrugged off his unease and pulled the chain that held his onyx cross over his head. Fumbling, he managed to unhook the links, thread one side through the band and refasten it. With his arm across his knee, he held the gold chain looped over two fingers while his thumb twisted the links in a back and forth motion. He watched the sunlight coax dim darts of blue from within the stones as the ring spun in a rapid circle, then counterclockwise, then stopped, to change direction again.

At Whiterose, when he discovered the boy with the ring in his possession, Raoul implied it held special powers, only to frighten the whelp in to giving it back. He, himself, did not believe any ancient legend surrounding the ring, though as a child, he'd sat next to Christine, as enraptured as she, while her father told the strange tale of its mystery. Now, Raoul shunned such fables, thinking them suitable only for children. In an attempt to ward off further absurd premonitions, he slipped the chain over his neck and secreted the ring within his shirt. The band's icy chill against his flesh startled him, but he bore the discomfort. Better that, than to tempt the pickpocket into again taking what wasn't his.

Raoul knew better than to trust the boy's word; and when the scamp acted, Raoul would be prepared.

xXx