Torture's not quite over yet: there's still the epilogue:
Erik Destler sat comfortably at his organ. It was a rare quiet moment, and he fully intended to take advantage of it. He wrote down a few notes, scribbled out a few more, made notes in the margin. He toyed with the idea of changing keys, and liked it. C sharp minor worked very nicely, didn't it?
He didn't actually play out anything, for fear of ruining the quiet moment.
Something grabbing hold of his leg told him the moment was not destined to last much longer.
"Yes, Eric?" He asked, without looking down. His son was the only one who grabbed his leg on a regular basis.
"Daddy!" A voice squeaked. "I miss you!"
He chuckled. "I'm right here, Eric." He reached down and picked up the three-month old. "Where's your mother?"
The boy giggled, and clung to his father's arm. "Mommy with Violet and Melody!"
"Hmm…aren't you supposed to be asleep?" They both knew the answer to that; Melody was the only one who slept when it was time to.
"Yes, he is." Amme walked in, holding baby Violet in her arms and frowning at her son. She had been the one to name Eric, claiming he looked more like his father than his mother. The Phantom had only agreed if the spelling at least would be changed. He just felt someone who looked like him with the same name would be condemned to the same fate he had, and even the smallest difference would help.
He handed over the boy to her. "Really, Amme. I thought it took normal children longer to walk and talk than three months."
"Maybe for humans," Amme replied, shifting her gripe on the two toddlers. Eric reached out and pulled one of his sister's short blond curls. Violet shrieked. "Enough, Eric. Don't tease your sister." Back to her husband: "But I learned at four weeks. And I was a normal child. I was beginning to worry about these three."
He groaned. Just his luck, his three half-elf children would mature so quickly. "Why did you have to have triplets?"
It was a frequent question; Amme knew better than to get annoyed. "Not my fault."
Again, Erik groaned. Then he said, as Violet got her hair pulled again, "I'll take Eric. I don't think he can sleep, anyways."
"Yeah! Yeah!" Little Eric began tugging on his mother's hair. "No sleep! Help Daddy!"
Amme hesitated, but gave in. "Alright, but you have to be quiet." She handed him back to Erik.
He placed his finger on his lips and smiled at his son. "You heard your mother: we have to be quiet."
Little Eric nodded, and asked, "You play, though?"
Erik laughed. He could already tell his son was musically talented.
His fingers moved softly around the keyboard, creating the music he was currently writing. The toddler's eyes widened, and he tried to bat the keyboard, but his arms weren't long enough.
Erik and Amme had married about two years ago. Since Erik had a price on his head, they had to go to Ahsela, which worked out best anyways: the elves wanted their princess's wedding with them.
The wedding took place in the evening to accommodate the vampires who preferred not to be awake during the day. The only lights came from the moon, stars, and tiny glowing orbs a few talented elves called up—they hovered like fireflies around the roses that decorated the hall.
Kevin was to be Erik's best man, more from a lack of knowing people than from an actual liking of the vampire. In an implicit agreement, they both were on their best behavior when first confronted with the situation, if only for Amme's sake. It was a rather uncomfortable truce.
Christine and Meg were both invited, although it was incredibly awkward on Christine's part. At first they were in shock discovering their friend wasn't actually human, but first Meg, than Christine got over it when the wedding came around. Meg and Amme's friend Veronica were both bridesmaids, and Amme's closest friend, Maria, was the matron of honor.
The day of the wedding had arrived, and it was the most nerve-wracking time of Erik's life. He hadn't seen Amme, who was getting ready, the whole day, either, and that made things worse.
Erik stopped pacing and glanced up. Kevin was standing on the ceiling, something which he discovered annoying the Phantom very much. Of course, that meant he had to do it more.
"Wouldn't you be?" Erik snapped back in respond to the question.
Kevin shrugged and folded his arms. "Voj wolnis. I don't know. I've never actually gone through it, you see, so I couldn't know."
"Oh, very funny." He turned his back on the vampire.
Kevin jumped down; since Erik wasn't looking at him, there was no reason to stay on the ceiling. "Wolel, you know, the worse that could happen is the princess leaving you alter."
"Oh, and that's supposed to be comforting, I suppose?" Erik asked sardonically.
"Ejil joliseli okesim."
Erik, who had been briefed by Amme on some Vempieson before coming, snorted. "It may be the truth, but that doesn't mean you have to say it."
Kevin found, much to his disgust, his primary weapon of irritation had just been snatched away from him by his own ally. He'd have to talk to her about this later.
In a dramatic change of subject, he asked, "Are you going to wear your mask tonight?"
Erik spun around and glared furiously. "Of course I am!"
Kevin, who had correctly predicted that response, shrugged. "Yeah, but I thought the princess prefers you not to wear it."
Erik had had several very colorful versions of "I don't care" formed and ready for use, but he couldn't use them when Amme was the one he'd indirectly be saying it to. "Amme…understands…."
"Of course she does," Kevin smirked, knowing a won battle when he smelt it.
The night came slowly, but it did come. Erik went over his vows over and over and over in his head. They would be said in Elvish, so Amme had also prepped him on the basics and a little more, so he'd actually know what he said and what was being said.
Kevin strolled up to him. "¿Desilo? Ready?"
"Yes and no."
He yawned and ran a hand through his silky hair. "It'll be over soon enough. Then you get the princess all to yourself." He shivered at the thought.
It did, however, cheer Erik up immensely.
"Have you seen her yet?" He asked after a pause.
"Five minutes ago."
"How…" Erik hesitated. "How is she?"
Kevin rolled his eyes. "You sound like you just confessed to murdering her cousin."
"But how is she?" Erik pressed.
"Let me put it this way: she really must have hated her cousin."
"Oh, ha ha."
The queen, Virginia Táralóm strolled down the aisle. "Are we ready yet?"
Erik looked up and gulped; the hall had filled remarkably quickly. Every person had stood the moment Virginia entered, and stared straight at the trio.
"He'd better be," Kevin replied, glaring threateningly at the Phantom.
"Then we shall begin." She nodded to the musicians. Erik thought, rather too critically, that he could have done a much better job at the instruments, but the procession started and his judgmental thoughts were interrupted.
This is happening, he told himself. This is actually happening.
Meg entered wearing a very flattering silver dress. She was pretty, but the tall, beautiful elf next to her outshone the poor girl easily.
This isn't a dream; this is really, actually happening.
Maria then came, dressed in silver as well. Her face looked like it didn't know whether to be laughing or not.
This is real. This is one hundred percent real. There is no way this is a dream…this cannot possibly be real. This is definitely a dream; there's no other explanation for it.
Erik's thoughts changed dramatically the moment Amme entered. Her dress was simple and flowing. The sapphire necklace hung around her pale neck. Her hair was piled into a loose bun with white roses braided into it, making a crown from which the veil fluttered down. A bouquet of red roses she held in her hands, and her face was aglow with joy and excitement.
Erik had thought she was beautiful before, but this was beyond anything he had ever imagined.
"Hey." Amme tapped the Phantom lightly on the shoulder. "You awake?"
Erik started out of his daydreams. "What? Oh, yes—I'm awake."
"Good." She took little Eric, who was not awake, off his lap. "You know, you give a new meaning to the phrase: 'could do something in your sleep.'"
"I was just thinking."
"Your thoughts are fascinating," Amme admitted. "But I never understand them. But please, don't let that stop you from telling them to me."
Then a shy voice whispered, "Daddy?" And Melody toddled in.
"I thought you were asleep, Melody," Amme said fondly.
Melody looked confused for a moment. "But…Daddy needs to say 'night to me. He hasn't yet," she added.
Again, Erik chuckled. "Alright, angel." He picked her up easily, and carried her back to the children's room. "This time you stay here," he whispered, kissing her lightly on her smooth black hair.
"I love you, Daddy," Melody said, curling up under her blanket.
Erik blinked. He had never gotten used to people saying that to him. "…I love you too, angel. Good night."
Beside him, Amme was putting little Eric to bed. She looked up and smiled at him. "Is she asleep?"
Erik glanced down. "Or very good at faking it."
"Hmm…." Amme covered Violet up again; she had kicked all the blankets off. "So, what were you thinking about before?"
He shrugged. "Our wedding."
She looked at him mischievously. "Speaking of which, you know our two year anniversary is tomorrow?"
"Of course." An idea struck him. "Would you like your present now or later?"
Amme held up a ruby necklace she was wearing. "I told you not to get me anything. Not after how much you spent last year."
They began walking: Erik purposely going back to the organ. "I like giving you things. What's wrong with that?"
"You like giving your children things as well," Amme said severely. "You're going to spoil them. And you'll leave me to fix it!"
"They're only three months old. I don't think they're in any danger."
"At the moment," she allowed.
Erik, however, was not going to be sidetracked any longer. "So, do you want your present now?"
"How much did you spend on it?" She asked wearily.
He sat at his organ. "Depends on what you're talking about. No money, if that's worries you."
Amme eyes suddenly widened. "Oh, no!"
"Oh, yes." He grinned evilly.
Amme backed up. "I…think I should check on the children."
Erik raised an eyebrow. Glancing over, he saw Starlight give a cat eye roll. The two of them exchanged conspiratorial looks, and Starlight shot off.
Amme knew perfectly well why she was hurrying away: the Phantom's presents to her tended to make her blush in embarrassment. So she used her children as an excuse to get out of it.
A black shape darted by her, knocking her off balance. Once Amme regained her footing, she discovered something was around her waist, and she couldn't move forward. She glanced down to see a rope trailing from her waist to the other end, which her "loving" husband held.
"You lassoed me?" She asked incredulously.
"Indeed." He grinned again, and started reeling her in.
"I don't believe you!" Amme grumbled, finding herself sitting comfortably on his lap.
"Believe it." He began to play a few notes. "I wrote this specially for you."
"Oh, no!" Amme moaned again, hiding her flaming cheeks in her hands.
"You'll always be a part of my heart
Today, tomorrow, forever
I've know this from the start
And I think you've known it too
One day out of the blue I caught a glimpse of you
And the song is still playing
When I tell you all this, there's no word that's amiss
Amme, it's you
Every time I see you I go through
The strangest kind of feeling
It's the same way for you
I can tell from what I see
Soft as a candle's light shinning in the cold night
It's as solemn as praying
You'll always be a part of my love's beating heart
It's you, Amme"
Amme realized she was crying softly. "Oh," she said again.
Lightly, Erik brushed his lips against her hair. "I love you, Amme Destler, more than anything."
Amme smiled and put her arms around him. Kissing him on the lips, she then said, "I love you, too."
I really couldn't resist putting Kevin in one last time.
Thanks to my brother, again, for writing the song (Erik, you liar!)
Thanks to everyone who's put up with my insanity and read this far
Special thanks to everyone who's reviewed!