A/N: Flashbacks are in Italics.

She was lying on her back with her eyes closed as the soft coils of music wafted towards her ears. She found herself breathing out a gentle sigh as he began to sing. His lovely voice that had always sent shivers of delight up her spine; she had never quite been able to remain in control of her senses when he sang to her. The words were meaningless for she was unable to zero in on the syllables. They were so deliciously timeless that she knew she would be able to listen to them for all eternity. And she hoped that he would never stop. How she longed to remain here with her sentinel for all eternity. She melted into the softness of the bed and allowed the music to take her whither it would.

She ducked in terror, hands grasping at Meg's skirt as she tried to pull her daughter out of the way of the fiery beams that fell from the ceiling. She could still hear Erik's silent bellow of mania that had echoed through the Opera only moments before. She could still see Christine's eyes opening wide in terror as the mask fell to the floor below and the trapdoor swallowed her into oblivion.

The screams of those trapped inside seemed to close in around her as people ran past in a desperate attempt to reach the exits. And now she was running as well, ushering her ballet rats out of the way of the flames as they jabbered away in rapid French.

"Where did he take her?"

"The ownership of the Opera has now changed, Erik." She murmured softly as she curled her arms around her legs and watched him slowly run his fingers over the surface of the organ keys. "What do you think will happen?"

He didn't answer for a long moment. It was only when she gently prodded him on the shoulder that he sighed and looked up at the ceiling. "It might be a stellar opportunity to establish our little protégé. These new owners are bound to be great fools."

"And what makes you so sure of that?"

"Because all businessmen have the final scruple of greed. Once they hear my angel's voice, they will be unable to contain themselves."

"What of our new patron? The Vicomte?"

"He is of no concern to me. There is little he can do to interfere."

"Interfere?"

"Come with me, monsieur. I will take you to him. But remember, keep your hands at the level of your eyes!"

He seemed to have aged a decade in the few days it had been since she had last seen him. No. Not aged. But there was a marked difference about him that frightened her.

It was the way that he sat hunched over his desk, scribbling furiously so that drops of black ink stained his pale skin. It was the way that he gave her an angry waft of his hand when she asked him what the matter was. It was the way that his eyes seemed to gleam with an animal like charm as he looked up at her.

"It is beginning, Madame. And it is nearly over; it will perform to perfection."

And she could see the monstrosity in his face. She knew the object of this passion. And it was all she could do to keep a tear from rolling down her cheek. "Erik…"

They were running now. Running faster than she would have believed possible at her age. Funny the things that happened when you have sufficient motivation.

She had been unable to sort out her feelings towards the young Vicomte. The part of her that sympathized with Erik knew that he was simply getting in the way of something that would ultimately be for Christine's own good. But something within her knew that Erik had abandoned his Antoinette.

Jealousy. It was such a strange feeling, one that she had never quite experienced in this manner. If asked, she probably would have denied it and thought that she was telling the truth. Nevertheless…

She led the Vicomte down the winding staircase that led to the dungeon inhabited by her childhood friend. Her breath sounded labored and she held her gas lamp in front of her worried face. "This is as far as I dare go."

She saw Raoul give the winding staircase a wary look. "Thank you."

Antoinette nodded and watched Raoul dash down the stairs, taking off his jacket as he went. She closed her eyes when she heard the trapdoor open, offering a brief prayer of repentance. 'Forgive me for what I have done.'

Antoinette lifted her black skirts and hurried down the stairs, carefully avoiding the trapdoor. In distance, she could hear many people shouting and chanting together. "Track down this murderer! He must be found!" The angry chanting only spurred her on toward her goal. She shuddered to think what Erik would do if they found him.

"Do you remember the day that we met?" The words slid off his tongue like melted butter as he stroked her silky hand.

"I could never forget." Her laugh blended with his voice in perfect harmony and she gave a sigh of pleasure.

"I cannot believe that you still put up with me after all these years."

Was there anything she could have done to prevent the night's fiasco? Antoinette had known that something would happen tonight, known it in her very being. She had read the opera that Erik had brought with a feeling of dread. Erik had never done anything like it before. He had often asked her to read his compositions and she knew that he was a genius composer. But Don Juan was something so new. Erik had poured his very being into the piece. She should have known that he would try something drastic. Ever since the ownership of the opera house had changed, Erik had been distant. Erik had changed.

"I am impressed with the voice of one of your new rats, Antoinette."

"Oh?"

"Little Christine. With a bit of practice, she could amount to something great." He snuggled up next to her and smiled. "And she will have the best foster parents in the history of the world, Madame."

Then the sight of the man forced her out of her regret. Erik stood alone, head bowed and shoulders slumped dejectedly. He looked up when he heard her enter. She saw tears glistening on his swollen face and it made his disfigurement even more hideous.

"What do you want, Antoinette?"

"Erik,"

"Antoinette, go away."

He stroked her hair with a trembling hand as she tried to talk him out of it. "Erik, you must understand. They are ready for you this time. They'll arrest you and you will hang for your deeds."

But he wouldn't look at her. "Have you no faith, my love?"

"Are you my love? Are you really?" She couldn't stop the words from falling from her lips. All of the confusion and jealousy of the past few days streamed down her cheeks in the form of liquid fire. She hated him and loved him all in one breath. And it was tearing her in two.

"What happened? What happened to Christine?"

"I let her go." She could see him swallow hard. "She deserves better than a monster like me. Christine chose that man. And happiness to them." The bitterness in his voice threatened to open a void in his chest as the lies poured forth.

"How can you doubt me?" He growled at her. "The rest of the world has turned against me! Don't you DARE turn against me too!"

"You don't mean that."

"But it is the truth!" The liquid fire turned to a furnace of pure rage and she threw herself at his chest. She could hear their screams as she denied the awful truth again and again. Her Erik was dead.

"Why have you come?" His face was expressionless as he turned to face her. "You made your feelings known when we parted. You did not come for me. You came for her."

She couldn't deny the truth. She couldn't deny that she had come with the intention of rescuing her little girl. "Erik,"

"NO!" The scream of rage caught her off guard. Erik turned away from her and stormed over to the great organ. "You don't understand. You can't."

"Why must you be so difficult, Antoinette? My feelings toward Christine are my own. They have nothing to do with you."

"They have everything to do with me!"

She followed him, praying for the courage to face him. "Than help me understand! I can help you."

"No one understands. No one cares anymore."

Madame Giry stood defiantly behind him. "Why would I have risked my life to save you from the gypsies if I did not care?" Her face softened. "Erik,"

"I love you!" Yet again, the words spilled from her lips without her consent. Her tearstained face looked up desperately at the man who used to love her too. "Erik, come back to me!"

Tears of fury streamed down his face. She took a step back, cursing the tears that leaked from her own eyes. But it all happened too fast. She suddenly felt the noose pulled tight around her throat. Her hands flew instinctively to her neck; strangled breaths trying to leave her lungs. Her vision swam and a veil of red descended upon the world.

As life began to evaporate from her body, Antoinette realized that she had failed to obey her own fervent cautions. Fear enveloped her. How she wanted to scream to him, scream that she was sorry. Unshed tears glistened in her eyes in a silent plea for mercy. Erik's face remained a mask of horrifying anger. She could hear the strangled gasps trying to leave her throat but the solid strands of the rope silenced her mercilessly.

She tried to speak to him but no words would come out. Erik please! Erik I'm sorry! Please! Don't do this! His face still would not change. Her vision was dimming fast. Life fast dissolved into night.

She was watching him sleep. She had always loved watching him like this. The pain of the man within melted away and his face appeared childlike again. When he was asleep, she could remember the day they had met. The days they had spent as children playing contentedly in the belly of the Opera.

He shifted slightly, a moan escaping from his taught lips as dreams threatened to close in around him. She dared not move to touch him for fear of waking him. But she knelt down next to the bed and, ever so softly, began to sing their favorite lullaby.

"I hear your voice on the wind
And I hear you call out my name.

'Listen, my child,' you say to me
'I am the voice of your history
Be not afraid, come follow me
Answer my call, and I'll set you free.'

I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain.
I am the voice of your hunger and pain.
I am the voice that always is calling you.
I am the voice, I will remain.

I am the voice in the fields when the summer's gone
The dance of the leaves when the autumn winds blow.
Ne'er do I sleep throughout all the cold winter long
I am the force that in springtime will grow.

I am the voice of the past that will always be
Filled with my sorrow and blood in my fields.
I am the voice of the future, bring me your peace
Bring me your peace, and my wounds, they will heal.

I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain.
I am the voice of your hunger and pain.
I am the voice that always is calling you.
I am the voice."

Erik felt her go limp in his arms. He let her drop to the ground, still fuming. Antoinette Giry lay entirely still, her eyes forever locked in a terrified and betrayed expression. Erik stared blindly into her eyes. Murderer and murdered. But only the murderer blinked.

"What have I done?" the words came out in a tight whisper. The whisper morphed into a howl of despair and anguish.

She was dead. Moreover, he killed her. On purpose. Now, he could not understand why. He knelt down next to her and gently closed her eyes. Then he stood and crossed to his desk, visibly trembling with shock. Erik picked up a knife that usually served as his letter opener.

Her eyes were so proud as she presented their daughter to him. His shaking hands begin to stroke her perfect forehead and he pressed the baby's forehead to his lips. Her skin was as smooth as silk and she was beautiful. So beautiful.

His face split into a smile of pure joy as he took her into his arms and held her close. "What will we call her?"

"I was thinking, perhaps, Meg."

"Meg." The name felt so pleasing in his mouth and he began to laugh as the baby opened her eyes and gave a gurgle. "Yes. Meg."

His hands were shaking as he stared at her body. After one final look at the only woman who had ever truly cared for him, he buried the silver knife in his chest. Warm blood flowed freely. Erik staggered and fell next to her, his eyes opened wide with pain and guilt. He gave a final heaving sigh, coughing up blood as he did. His hand found hers and he allowed his body to relax.

Therefore, it was that the phantom of the opera died, hand in hand with Madame Antoinette Giry.

It would not be long before the angry mob, led by Meg Giry, discovered the gruesome scene. They would never know exactly what occurred that night. And that suited these two characters that were notoriously shrouded in mystery.

A/N: The song that Antoinette sings to Erik does not belong to me. But I do own a lovely version of it by Celtic Woman!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!