Beauty of the Beast
Summary: A Phantom of the Opera/Beauty and the Beast mix that takes place in 19th century France. Erik is a masked stranger secluded in a mystical castle in the forests of France who demands of a poor merchant named Phillippe his youngest daughter, Christine, after Phillippe finds shelter in the castle one night and takes one of Erik's beloved roses. As a price, Erik gives Phillippe the choice of either coming back to die or giving him his daughter Christine. Rated mature for later chapters that will be naughty (as always). A realistic/POTO spin on a classic fairy tale.
Christine looked at her father in utter shock.
"So, what does this mean, Father?"
Phillippe paced the room as he fumbled with his hat nervously.
"It means that I or you must go."
"Why?" Christine asked, still in disbelief.
"I know not. That was the price he declared for the rose."
Christine caressed the soft petals of the blood red rose and smiled sadly. This tiny flower had cost her family everything.
"How could you have let this happen, Papa?" Marie whined from her spot on the sofa. Her tight, blond curls bounced with her as she jumped up.
"It is not Papa's fault, Marie," Christine countered. "He did not purposefully do this."
"But I should have never gone there, nor should I have picked the rose. It was foolish."
Christine got up and walked over to her father so she could hug him. He looked into his tired blue eyes and they held each other close as if they couldn't let each other go.
"I don't blame you, Father," Christine said as she let go. "But I do uphold you to be the man of honor that you are. You made a promise and you will keep it."
"You want me to go, ma cherie?" Phillippe whispered.
"No. I want you to let me go."
The room was filled with a stunned silence before everyone jumped up and began yelling.
Marie and Louise, Christine's twin sisters, both shrieked and shouted as their father yelled back and commanded that Christine would go nowhere. They were all in frenzy, getting upset and arguing over what course they should take. Christine simply waited patiently for all of the upheaval to quiet down.
"There's no need to argue," Christine stated loudly as the shouting dropped a decibel. "I am going to do it."
"Christine, you can't!" Louise exclaimed, her blue eyes twinkling with outrage. "From the way Papa describes that-that animal you will be doomed. What if…? I mean, Christine, he…"
"He told me that if you come in my stead that he'll want you as his wife," her father warned. "Do you understand the implications involved in that? What it will mean?"
Christine looked down, her expression clearly communicating that she did indeed know. It was one of the great fears preying on her.
"Yes, Papa, I know. But no matter who I marry I will have to…"
"You don't understand, child," he interrupted in a shout. He was not a very tall or intimidating man, but he could yell loudly. "He's a beast of man! He's violent and terrifying and could kill you if he wanted!"
Christine lifted her chin in defiance and courage, although her father's words filled her heart with fear.
"I can't let you go, Father," she whispered.
Phillippe sighed resolutely. "I can survive."
"Papa, why not kill the man?" Marie suggested. "Don't even consider this mad proposition! Just murder him in his sleep!"
"I can't, Marie. I cannot kill him. Besides, if I tried I would fail. The man is too strong and too powerful. He would kill me if I tried and then do God knows what."
All the girls shuddered at the thought.
"More of a reason for me to go instead of you, Father. Louise and Marie need you. You provide for this family. Without you how would we survive? You don't need me. I'm expendable."
Phillippe shook his head. "Don't say such things. Each of my daughters is worth my life."
"But is my life worth all of yours? I can't let my sisters starve if you go. What would we do? I could never live knowing one small sacrifice on my part could have saved this family."
"But it's not a small sacrifice," her father said as he knelt before her feet.
She caressed his thinning brown hair lovingly.
"I know, but God will be with me and I don't believe he will truly hurt me."
"If he does…"
"He won't." She squeezed his hands.
Phillippe stroked his beautiful daughter's face and tried not to cry. He could not decide whether to be proud of her bravery or heartbreakingly sad at her decision.
"Why are you so brave, ma cherie?" he asked as one stray tear slid down his bearded face.
Christine smiled. "I'm not brave. I just love you all too much to let you suffer."
As much as Phillippe wanted to argue, he knew he had no choice. Christine was determined, sure in her decision. He knew nothing he could say would change her mind now. She had made her choice.
That night Christine lied on her bed, unable to sleep from the thoughts filling her mind. She had one week before she was expected at the castle, one week until she would be imprisoned and separated from her family. She did not want to think about it but it was all she could think about.
She sensed her father's hovering presence at the door, knowing he was plagued by his thoughts as well.
"What is he like, Father?"
Phillippe slowly walked toward her bed, after having stood and stared at her for some time. He was racked with guilt.
"Tall. He is almost a foot taller than me. And he is big; broad and intimidating. He has a dark, menacing look to him. He wears a permanent scowl along with a strange black mask that covers a quarter of his face."
"A mask? Why does he wear it?" she asked curiously.
He sat down gently on her bed.
"I'm not sure. Who knows what he's hiding."
"Is he really that monstrous-looking?"
Phillippe frowned thoughtfully. "It has more to do with his size that makes him frightening. And he carries himself so…He's like a prowling lion, a hunter. You will see when you meet him."
She quieted, remembering that she would be this stranger's prisoner in a week.
"I confess I am afraid."
"Christine, you don't have to do this."
"I know, Papa, I know. But I am doing this."
"He may never let you come back."
Christine nodded sadly.
"I would advise you to try to escape, but if you did I would have no doubt that he would come after you."
"Like a hunter."
Phillippe grabbed Christine's hands and forced her to look at him.
"listen to me, Christine. I do not know why this man wants you, but he does. When he caught me that day in the garden and realized I had a daughter, a look entered his eye; a look that was determined and unstoppable. I've seen this look in men's eyes before. If he…He will undoubtedly try…"
Phillippe couldn't say the words, they scared him so much. The idea of his young, beautiful daughter being at the mercy of such a cruel man filled his heart with fear and fury. He shook with rage.
But Christine calmed her father's frustration and hugged him, letting him know that she was going to be strong, that she was going to be fine. She did not feel strong or brave, but her father needed her to be. She needed her to be brave.
"Please, sir! Please! I only wanted to bring my beautiful daughter a gift. She simply asked for a rose and when I saw this garden…"
"What?! Stop! What did you say? You have a daughter?"
"Yes, three. But my Christine, the youngest, she asked for this rose."
The dark man raised a single, visible brow. "Young? How young?"
"Why, she's in her seventeenth year."
The man paused a few minutes before saying, "That is a good age; a perfect age. And you said she was beautiful?"
"Very, very beautiful," Phillippe answered warily.
Again, the giant and dark man was quiet, obviously thinking, for a long time, before he spoke again.
"This daughter of yours, I want her."
Phillippe flinched back as if he'd been hit.
"Because you tried to steal my rose, one of my most prized possessions, after I let you stay here for the night and gave you food. For that, you owe me your life. However, instead of your life, I will take your daughter instead."
"For what purpose?"
"To be my wife."
Phillippe felt his heart drop.
"No! Never! I'll never give you her!"
Suddenly, with amazing strength and speed, the huge man grabbed Phillippe and thrust him upward so he was eye level with him. The man's eyes were an intense, furious green that glared with fervent anger.
"You will either bring your daughter to me in one week from tomorrow or you will come yourself and die. If you don't come in a week, I will come find you and your daughter myself."
Phillippe jerked up from bed, awaking with a start, his heart pounding from the terrible recurrence of the day in the garden his mind had replayed. That awful day, a day he wanted to forget forever, was haunting him continuously. Whenever he tried to close his eyes those frightening eyes were staring at him and he could feel the iron grip of the monstrous man that had ruined his and Christine's life.
Dear God, Phillippe did not want to give up his Christine. He adored her more than anything. The thought of her being trapped in that castle with that…that monster made him weep. If he could he would have gone to the castle to die if it meant Christine could stay. But his daughter had taken the brave route. She was going to go through with it. How he wished she wouldn't.