A/N: This is my favorite story.
Definitely explores that dark side of Erik and Christine's relationship. Everyone always talk about how Raoul was the 'safe' choice, and the good one... Well, who says that Christine was the good one? What if she was a little darker than anyone ever realized? Perhaps that's what made the Phantom so drawn to her... She had a dark soul similar to his own... So, this will be a DARK fic, if you didn't get that already. No fluff. No giggly scenes.
Pure musical here. Think Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Eerie stage lights. Echoes.
This will be rated M for violence and sensuality. However, I am not explicit nor tasteless. I hope you will read and enjoy regardless. I will not change the rating until it has to be changed, so the more people can be exposed to it.
Please review for this. This story is my baby.
Kisses to all.
Christine couldn't rip herself away from his grip. He wrestled her into the boat, his fingers twisting violently in her hair.
She didn't even try to reason with him. She knew it would be pointless.
"You were never very good at making your own decisions." he hissed. "So I shall make one for you!"
Christine braced her hands on the two wooden sides, refusing to be pushed in. But both of Erik's hands thrust her forward with surprising strength, and she crumpled in the front. Face-down, her curls deliberately covering her face, she lay still and didn't move.
She felt Erik step furiously into the boat and propel it forward. He was muttering very fast, so she had to lift her head up slightly to hear him at all.
"Very clever girl, aren't you? I underestimated you. I never thought little Christine would do such a thing to him—especially when she was so completely, exquisitely his—but you had a mind of your own after all, didn't you?"
She stayed on the floor of the boat for what seemed like mere seconds… and then his hand seized the back of her dress and pulled; she let out a little shriek and put her arms forward to catch her fall.
Erik left her on the ground for a moment, his feet walking out of her limited line of sight. She struggled to sit up, but he returned all too quickly, carrying the white wedding dress in his hands.
"Put it on," he ordered.
She stared at him in disbelief. Wear the wedding dress…? But why—he was really going to force her to do this? Was this some final act in his opera, her final role?
But most importantly, if she put the dress on… what came after?
He grew annoyed. "I said, put it on!"
He lifted her up on her feet, where she swayed dramatically. Folding both of her hands over the white material, he shoved her gently away.
"Please…" she whispered, her eyes glazed.
The brief pity that flickered in his eyes vanished when he turned his back to her and paced forward. "I will not look," he replied stately. "But I want it on."
How extraordinary like Erik, to push her and force her to the ground in his temper, and then turn respectfully like a gentlemen when it was a question of her modesty.
She couldn't fight it and she wouldn't cry. This was what he wanted? Very well. She hoped it would cause him pain.
She pulled off her lace dress, ripping off the bell sleeves, taking care not to rip the fragile, pink material. She stood in her bodice, holding out the dress and examining it with a critical eye. Erik would never turn, she knew, but she didn't want him to get impatient. She found the edge of the skirt and slipped it on, but the dress was heavy, much heavier than it looked, and she had to bend over to reach some of the bows and the lace. She stopped curiously at the golden clasp, noting that it was very old-fashioned. She struggled with it, wanting to ask Erik where he had gotten such an old dress in such a fine condition.
It suddenly hit her, while she was pulling on this ancient dress, that Erik honestly wanted to marry her. He truly wanted her to be his wife. He must have been planning this… dreaming of this for months. She was only a small piece in his plot; this was going ahead with her consent, or without it.
Indignation swelled within her, mixed with the injustice of it all, and she said, "You don't even care about me, do you?"
He still did not turn, although he must have known she was decent. "I regret you have that opinion," he replied coolly. "That's the opposite of the point I've been trying to make."
"You never listen," she retorted, her whole mind suddenly flooded with her own white fury. "All you see is what you want! A little bride all for you, is that all you see? Why? Because I could sing? But why me? Why couldn't you just drag anyone down here to play pretend?"
She touched a nerve. He spun around furiously, and even she could recognize that the anger was there to mask the pain.
He seemed to overcome for words, and for a brief moment, she was sorry. Erik was much more sensitive than she'd always pictured, and seeing him so vulnerable and exposed before her stirred something in her heart. At the same time, she was so used to him being confident and powerful, with that slightly arrogant air that controlled her and protected her every move.
But when she turned against him, he became the weak one, and she dominated over him. And it was because he loved her… he had gone foolishly weak with love.
And that, to Christine, seemed terribly unfair. For the both of them.
Attempting to regain his composure, his long fingers closed over both of her wrists and brought her close to his face, so that she could actually feel his breath on her cheek. It frightened her, that he was so close, and she turned her head.
She saw instantly that he credited this as a rejection of his face, and it did nothing to improve his temper.
She tried to scramble away, but he pushed her down and turned away, as if just looking at her was causing him violent, physical pain. Almost drowning in all the lace and cloth piling around her, she recognized her position as one of defeat.
"So, this is it, then?" she asked him. "I'm yours. You are going to go through with this, no matter what I say."
He straightened up and looked at her on the ground. "What can I say, dear?" he said calmly. "I am quite delighted to have my little wife. As if I would ever want anyone else, Christine. I only want you. No one else…" His voice grew very quiet, and he licked his lips. "How can you not understand that? No one else has ever even mattered to Erik. They hated me! And I hated them… They hated me, because of my face…"
He turned and retrieved the lace veil and bouquet from the mirror, and came towards her, almost hypnotically. "If I were handsome, Christine, you would love me! You would, I know you would! We would be perfect, you and I. You need me. And we would be together, and all we would need is our music forever, because that's how we belong. But… my face…"
His face… It always came back to his face. He saw it as his only flaw…
Christine put one hand over her forehead, taking deep, steadying breaths. For the second time that night, Erik took both her arms and pulled her standing. He put the veil over her head, almost frantically, smoothing back her curls with trembling fingers.
"If you were handsome, I still wouldn't want to do this."
He stopped. "But I would be handsome, and we would be perfect."
She hesitated. "Erik," she said slowly, tasting his name on her tongue; she had never called him by his name before, though he had told her when she first came here. "You don't see how this is wrong?"
He laughed and pushed the bouquet in her hands. "The way the world has treated me, the mess God calls my face, your young fiancée, who found you after I had already claimed you… all of that. Isn't that wrong in your eyes?" He laughed, but it was a terrifyingly angry sound. "All the wrongs have been done against me! So I think I am able to slip by on a few things, eh?"
Both of them glared at each other, the asperity in the air swirling and uniting them. It was oddly alluring. It was safe in the cocoon of their tempers.
She looked down at the floor, but he slipped his hand under her chin and forced her to look into his own eyes.
"Look at me, my darling wife!" he whispered, his voice desperate and pleading. "You've always belonged to me, and you know it. Now we will just make it official, hmmm? No one has ever loved Erik before, he so wants to be loved… only be you, Christine, all he ever dreamed of asking for was your love… and he doesn't want it forced…And you say I do not listen. I listen to everything you say. I was there for you, when no one else cared… Can't you do the same thing for me?"
And then he was half-crying, and Christine took a bewildered step back.
His tears seemed to be making him angry. He grabbed her left hand where the little ring was still wrapped around her fourth finger. "Mine, " he said through gritted teeth. "You must belong to me!"
"Don't be so angry," Christine begged, not brave enough to back away again. "Please don't be so angry…"
She could forgive him if only he wasn't so angry. If only he would admit to himself what he was, and simply revealed his feelings, she could relate to him. And she could help him.
But not like this.
He released her instantly, wringing his hands, repentant.
Christine was overwhelmed with emotion. He was asking too much of her, giving her too much to handle. She almost felt that both of their lives depended on her answer: If she said no, would he kill her in his wild anger? Or would he simply die from his own pain?
She reached her arms out to him, to console him, but he hunched away, brining his hand up to his face again.
She felt a stab of annoyance.
"There is no right," Erik growled, and it took Christine a moment to remember what he was talking about. "There is no wrong! Not down here."
His garbled and horrific view of the world and its people brought her to agony. She put one hand over her mouth as if to stifle her cries, and reached her other hand towards him, once again.
He darted back. "Don't touch me!" he warned, his hand now pressed violently against his skin. "I don't want your pity! I am not a pitied creature!" His hand dropped, and a touch of his personality shone through as he stood to full height and told her, "I am a monster! I want to be a monster!"
"No," she said at once. "No, you don't…"
He looked bleakly in the opposite direction. "No pity," he murmured distractedly. "You've shed far too many tears over me, Christine. And I know you. I know it takes much to make you cry. Am I worth that much?"
"I do care for you.," she responded anxiously, dropping the bouquet and veil by her feet and going to stand next to him. "I do."
"I don't need your love," he finally muttered, taking his hand and pressing it into his side, as if he were having difficulty breathing. "Why don't you just… just go, and leave me alone…You're right, I shouldn't be doing this, and I can't force you to do anything… Listen to how my mind changes every minute, Christine! But if you go now, I promise I won't come after you, but if you stay, remember that I'll always be here, and nothing will change." He took a deep breath. "If you go now… you may go. But if you stay… you are mine forever."
Christine's heart broke, right down the middle. She pressed both of her hands to her chest in a symbol of prayer.
She laid her hand lightly on his shoulder. He didn't even seem to notice.
If you love everyone, God, who did you send to love him?
She put one hand against his jaw and turned him with more force than she'd meant to.
She could feel his face on her fingertips, and the trace of his heartbeat under his shoulder; she saw the surprise and hurt in his mismatched grey eyes for the shortest second; and then she brought his face down, and kissed him.
Give me courage…
She felt his shock more than she saw it. She tried to ignore it—she tried to put as much passion… as much love as she possibly could into her embrace. It came easier than she expected… She didn't feel disgusted or burdened. She felt loved, and absorbed… She felt as though she could quite possibly stay here forever, with him not angry or jealous or confused… just loved and complete in his arms.
His lips were still, his hands tight at his sides, and he seemed to be—pulling away? Blankly, she stepped back, taking both of his trembling hands. Unfortunately, he took this moment to wrench himself out of her reach; but when she hesitated, and threw her arms back around him, he gave a little moan of surrender into her mouth and seemed to want nothing more than to meet her lips again.
A man's touch was suprisingly difficult to pull away from. She inhaled him, breathed within him, felt herself safe in the grip of his arms.
The tips of his fingers touched hesitatingly to her waist, and he kissed her back.
Christine felt something open inside of her, a piece of her heart. It hurt, and it felt wrong, like it shouldn't be there. Something remembered Raoul… Poor Raoul. All she wanted was to be with both of them. Because she loved both of them, in their own ways.
But for now, she couldn't bear to be parted from this... this desire.
When she finally released him, she stayed close, her head resting on his shoulder, her hands gripping his collar. His hands were still holding her, very tightly now, as if he, too, couldn't bear to let her go.
She felt his breath against the top of her curls, and she leaned into him and he caught her naturally. They were a perfect fit. Once more, she lightly touched her lips to his, and he closed his eyes and shuddered. His grip grew almost too tight. Posessive.
They both drew back at the same time, their eyes meeting, reflections of shock and awe. Erik reached a trembling hand towards her face, his lips parting in disbelief.
And then a voice broke the silence.
"Christine? Are you alright? Where are you? Christine!"