Hello all, sorry about that last chapter. Hope you don't hate me for too long! Hopefully this final chapter will make up for it =]
Christine's eyes flickered awake, again, from a strange recurring dream. Well, not a recurring dream. More like a dream that slowly begins to progress every time you shut your eyes. It was white, and cloudy, and there was a bench. She sat down, in the silence and waited. Every time she awoke, she wondered in frustration who or what she was waiting for.
Recently, the dream has been yielding more fruitful results. A man had begun appearing in the mists far away. Every time he came closer, and every time she woke up earlier, almost screaming in frustration. She lay in bed for a few minutes, slowing her ragged breaths and calming her mind. She sighed. Is the figure him? Is it…no, she could not think of the name. The name she loved so, and the man behind it. Why did he have to be consumed by this evil? By hatred and anger?
Had it been him with any other history, she could have loved him totally. She sighed again. Even so, she did love him totally, even with the sinister part of his mind poisoning him until it was impossible for him to live. She blinked back a tear, as she remembered his crumpled face as he…jumped. She and her family had run before they had time to retrieve the body. For all she knew, it could still be down there.
Christine shuddered, refusing to think about this anymore. Her mind turned to a less dark past. When her father-in-law had passed on, not long after she returned from the Opera House, he had left everything to her. She still could not understand why, as she had refused to be completely honest with him about what happened down there, which maddened him so. The two children she had rescued from the streets recovered quickly, and were housed with Christine in the great mansion.
News of this spread around the streets spread like wildfire, and desperate mothers would hold their babies through the gates to give them a chance of a better life. Within a year, Christine had changed the old mansion into a bright new orphanage, the best in Paris, in fact!
Christine spent all her time upholding the good standard of the orphanage, ensuring the children got a good education, were fed and watered, kept healthy, and loved. She kept herself busy like this for as long as possible, for if she did not, her mind would always slip back to that tragic evening, all those years ago.
Sixty years. Had it really been so long? The time had flown by so fast, that only when her usual smooth white skin began to wrinkle, and her eyes became tight and faded, did Christine realise the destruction of time. She hurriedly began preparing for…for the end.
She had no heir, she had lived alone, giving all her love and effort willingly to the orphanage. She began searching frantically for Meg, who had drifted silently away from Christine once her mother had died. For twenty years, Meg had avoided seeing her sister, as if it was her fault Madame Giry had died.
The woman had died in a serious amount of pain, and was mad with it by the end. Christine flinched as she recalled Madame Giry writhing in bed, her hair splayed around her and her eyes wild. "Erik has done this! He is punishing me! Help me, it is him! Him! Him!" The Doctor had to use a large sedative to woo her into sleep, and from that she never woke up. At that point Meg had turned to her sister, and glared furiously through her tears. "No, Mama, it is not Erik. It is she who tortured him until his death!"
At that point Meg had fled to the country, never to be seen again by Erik's torturer. Christine twisted with guilt each night, as all the people she had hurt flashed through her mind. Raoul. Erik. Madame Giry. Meg. And now Christine had to make things right before she died.
While searching for an heir to keep the orphanage running, she desperately searched the French countryside for her childhood friend. Christine opened her eyes again, to the dark room she had grown accustomed to over her time in this place. She creaked as she walked herself to the old writing desk opposite the bed. She looked at herself in the mirror.
There. Still the small sparkle in her eyes as she twisted to meet the sunlight glinting through the curtains. Her hair, once brown and curly, had drooped until it waved over her tiny shoulders, a silvery veil ending at the small of her back. Her cheekbones and jaw jutted slightly outwards, and the wrinkles at her eyes were deeper than she recalled. She shook her head slowly and looked away. Taking a pen and paper out of a drawer, she began to write a long note;
Firstly, as I'm sure you're all interested in knowing, is that I have no heir, and evidently I do need one. I have been thinking long and hard, longer and harder than anyone has thought before no doubt, and I have decided to trust my faith in the young Belle Caddalais. She is very wise for her age, respectful while demanding it, and reliable beyond any words can say. I think she will revolutionise this place I have kept my soul in with good grace and a wicked determination.
Secondly, the time has come to arrange my funeral. Let us be clear I want no tears being shed, by friend or foe. I absolutely request joyful music and, well I suppose a party! I would like to be cremated, if that can be arranged, and I would like to be scattered somewhere that has a part of me there still. The Opera Populaire holds many secrets, and my secrets lie there still. Scatter me in the caves below, you will find a great many things there, but I want it to be completely confidential. The public must not know of it. It would break my heart if any of the stories leaked out. If there is no way to get inside, or no one can find it, contact Meg Giry, who is in France somewhere. Keep looking for her, and tell her I am sorry. More sorry than words can say. Plead my forgiveness, so that I can sleep with her blessing.
Finally, a word to everyone who has touched my heart over these seventy six years. My children, who have brought me such joy and such happiness. If only you were all my children, for you are all so special and dear to me. Keep yourselves out of mischief, I will be watching! Also, to my staff, and comrades in this quest for happiness, I thank you for sharing my vision. You will find a reward from me, and I shall smile on all of you.
My dear Raoul, who is still with me. May God keep you well.
And to Erik.
Christine folded the paper in half, wiping the tears from her eyes. She hoped it would mean something to all her friends. She placed the paper on the bedside table, and folded herself onto the mattress. She smiled, for she knew there would be no more sorrow for her. Christine Daee, world renowned Mother Teresa, soprano and heir to the de Chagny fortune, lay back on her deathbed.
The dream took on a different feel this time. She could hear the soaring vocals of a young soprano, and she smiled as she recognised her shivering voice from all those years ago. She looked for the mysterious man in the clouds, and he came, faster this time, and sat down next to her. They stared at each other for a moment, before Raoul broke into a wide smile.
They hugged fiercely, before breaking apart, tears falling from the two sets of eyes. "Oh Raoul, how I've missed you!" Christine wailed, and Raoul laughed softly, stroking her brown-again hair.
"And I you, Mistress Daee, and I you. But we have to talk now." Christine nodded eagerly, resting her hands lightly on his. Raoul looked away, choosing his words carefully. "I love you," he said, and Christine opened her mouth to answer, but he shook his head.
"I know you love me too, but Christine, I know that you love another." Christine closed her mouth, and frowned. She looked down at her hands, before sighing, and lifting her eyes back up to his.
"I'm so sorry, Raoul. It is true. But it is a strange love, and I'm not completely sure it is true! You have to understand my confusion, my sadness."
"I do, love. But I know more than you. It is true, my darling. The love you have for him is true." Christine's eyes began to flow again, and she opened her mouth once again to apologise. While Raoul once again stopped her. "Christine! For the love of God, do not apologise for love! It is something that is planned for you, there's no fault for loving another!" He laughed sadly, and raised Christine's smooth young hands to hold them to his face. "If I have nothing else," he said slowly, thoughtfully, "it is the knowledge that I had you, for one short time."
He kissed each fingertip, and set them down again. He turned his gaze to over her shoulder. Christine followed his line of sight, and heard a far away voice echoing around.
"Madame Daee?" the scullery maid said anxiously. "Madame Daee, are you alright? Help! Someone help! We need a Doctor!" Christine groaned, the vision fading. She opened her eyes slightly, and saw the tear soaked face of Maria, a girl who cleaned up and gave her company when needed. Christine smiled lightly, touching her hands to the girl's face, and then to the folded paper on the desk.
She closed her eyes again, slipping into the dream. She was standing now, in a beautiful white gown, her hair wound up in its ringlets with diamond pins. She searched for a figure, for Raoul had gone. She worried, standing alone as the choir of children crescendo higher and higher. She turned, and was faced with…an angel.
He was beautiful, with no scars or deadness in his face. His eyes shone as he gazed at her, his black hair swept back smoothly. Small notes wound their way out of his mouth, and in her ecstasy, Christine took the descant. When the song ended, they stared at each other for a long moment. "Erik?" Christine began, the wariness from years ago resurfacing. Erik nodded. "Erik, just Erik." Christine smiled, and fell into his embrace, his kiss. She felt his large hands running through her hair, and down her back. She heard people calling her name from far off, but she ignored them, just whispering his name over and over. "Erik, Erik, Erik."
That is what they did for love.