A/N: So I've had a bit of a rewrite. Having looked at some of the criticisms in the reviews (and agreeing with all of them) I decided to make a few alterations. It was pointed out that Erik cries too much, and having read through it again, that's completely true. He's a complete crybaby in this…not what I intended AT ALL. So that's one of the alterations. Also a few people said I need to write more, so chapters have been extended. I've also made other alterations to sentence structure and stuff…just picky things that were annoying me more than anyone else.
However I haven't changed the storyline. Just added and removed bits where necessary. Hope this time round it is slightly better.
Love Will Continue
Chapter One: Give me the gun
"Give me the gun, Meg" he whispered for the third time. He could see she was about to cave, but the gun was still held shakily, uncertainly at her temple. She looked helplessly into his eyes, silently begging him to make everything right again. He gazed back imploringly, pleading with her to see sense. In his eyes, she saw something she had never seen in him before. Was it fear? What had he to fear? She glanced over at the silent onlookers.
There stood Christine, the source of all her recent troubles, with the boy who was equally as problematic as his mother. And yet, as she looked upon their frightened faces, she found could not blame them anymore. Here stood the girl who had been her best friend back when they were children. The girl who had always looked out for her, stood up for her when she had arguments with the other girls in the ballet corps. The girl who had been her sister for all those years. All Christine had done had been to try and protect her family. Meg realised that she herself would have acted no differently had it been her instead of Christine. And here was her child, half hidden behind his mother. He stared at Meg in unbridled fear. A fear she recognised as her own, years ago whenever the opera ghost would haunt the Opera House. Her eyes then fell upon her mother, whose face seemed to scream out of her distress, desperate for her daughter to drop the gun. Meg looked from person to person, seeing only fear and worry in their eyes. Fear and worry for her. She couldn't do this. Everything was wrong.
She looked back at the man who stood before her. Her bottom lip trembled, and her glossy eyes fell to the floor as she let out a tremulous sigh. She fell gently forward into his arms, letting the gun fall from her shaking hand. As it clattered noisily onto the wood of the pier, a wave of relief passed over the Phantom, and he hesitantly wrapped his arms around Meg's quivering frame, as she sobbed into his chest. After a few moments he felt a hand gently squeeze his arm. He turned to see the wearied, exhausted face of Madame Giry, and carefully he prised the weeping girl's arms from his waist, and gently passed her to her mother. Meg and Madame Giry embraced tightly, both lamenting the pain she had suffered.
The phantom stepped away from the pair, and turned to face his onlookers. Christine stood, eyes glistening, gazing into his eyes with a mixture of relief and turmoil evident on her delicate features. Under her arm, she held her young son, gripping his shoulder tightly, pulling him against her side. He looked at the Phantom, fear plain in his bright brown eyes, holding his mother as tightly as she held him.
He reached down to retrieve the gun, which he recognised to be his own, concealing it in his coat. He then stepped toward Christine, stopping just in front of her, mere inches separating them. He reached up timidly, and stroked her cheek with his index finger, as though he were scared to press too much of his own sinful skin against hers, which was pure and untainted. Physical contact had always been so alien to him, that it felt wrong, as though it were forbidden, but the moment his skin touched hers he felt peaceful. She gazed at him lovingly, a gentle, but sad smile on her full lips. She could sense his discomfort in touching her, but she felt that after all these years and disasters, after their trials and misunderstandings, she finally understood him. And she loved him for it. He pressed his entire palm softly to the side of her face. It seemed to fit the curve of her cheek flawlessly, as if it was meant to be. His skin belonged against hers, and his heart belonged to her.
With new found confidence at his revelation, coupled with the fact that she showed no repulsion at the feeling of his hand on her cheek, he tenderly took her hand in his own. With one last glance back at Madame Giry and her daughter, he turned and began to walk away from the pier. Christine grasped his hand tightly and followed him, her other hand firmly within little Gustave's grip. He led them back through Phantasma to the hotel, where he escorted the pair to their room. Christine and Gustave entered, followed nervously by the Phantom.
"Where's Papa? Shouldn't he be here, Mother?" Gustave enquired quietly, throwing wary glances at the Phantom. The man with the frightening face was here and his father was not, and he wasn't sure that he understood why. Christine took a step towards her son, and knelt down before him. She took his hands in hers and looked up into his eyes.
"Gustave," Christine began, unsure of what to tell the boy.
"Is he out drinking again?" Gustave asked quietly. Erik frowned, wondering how many times the Vicomte had been out drinking to provoke such a remark from a ten-year-old boy.
"No, darling," Christine shook her head solemnly. He gazed back at her in confusion, awaiting an explanation.
At length, she decided that he should know the truth, especially now that Raoul was gone. "Gustave, your father…Your real father…" She paused, and slowly turned her head towards the Phantom, who stood uneasily near the door.
"Mother?" Gustave questioned. His mother seemed to be suggesting that the man by the door, Mr Y, was his father. But that couldn't be right, could it?
"Gustave, this is your father." She stated, still staring lovingly at the Phantom. At the boy's extended silence, she turned back to him, worried about how he would react. She was surprised, however, to see him looking at the Phantom, not with confusion or anger, but with silent comprehension, as if he had had some suspicion confirmed. She had always known he was intelligent, just like his father.
Gustave stared into his father's eyes. He had not so much expected to find that this man was in fact his father, but somewhere deep inside, his heart had told him that he was bonded to this man from the moment he met him. The man understood him, and showed him magical, beautiful, wonderful things that he could only have dreamt of seeing. But, then again, there was the man's face. Under that mask was a face of twisted flesh and exposed bone, and even the memory frightened Gustave. But perhaps now that he knew who the man really was it might be different. He needed to see it. To see if it was as terrifying as he remembered it to be.
The Phantom shifted uncomfortably on his feet as Gustave's eyes bore into his own. He feared the boy would hate him, or worse (yet more likely, he felt) run away screaming at any moment. He was astounded when the boy suddenly took a step towards him, followed by another, then another. After a few paces Gustave stood before the Phantom, his head barely reaching the Phantom's chest. He looked apprehensive, yet there was a curiosity glowing in his big brown eyes. As the boy slowly reached his hand up to the mask the Phantom's breathing hitched, his body shaking in nervous trepidation. As a small hand pressed against his mask he fought the urge to recoil and hide himself. Gustave's fingers slid under the edge of the mask and softly pried the white cover from his face, taking with it the wig of smooth, black hair. As the discarded items were dropped to the floor Gustave looked upon his father's face, a mystified look in his eyes, but no trace of fear.
The Phantom was sure that the boy would scream any moment, and he knew that when he did, all his hopes would be crushed. Hopes that at last he had found someone like him, not physically, but in their souls. Hopes that he could have a son who didn't fear him, and could show him the love that he never had the chance to show his own father. Such fragile hopes that could, at any moment, be shattered into millions of pieces. But the boy lifted a trembling hand and held it so that it hovered over the marred flesh on the right side of his father's face. At long last, the boy's hand made gentle contact with the twisted skin, and he held it there without fear or repulsion. The phantom felt the unshed tears in his eyes spill over down both of his cheeks as he let out the breath he had been holding in a short, relieved sigh. His eyes closed, and he lifted his hand to cover his son's, holding Gustave's smooth hand against his cheek. After a few moments the boy retracted his hand and flew forward into the arms of his father. He wrapped his arms tightly around the Phantom's waist.
He knew now that not only did this man, his father, understand and appreciate him, but that his face was not something to be feared, and held so much beauty underneath if only people looked beyond the obvious. The first time he had seen it he had been terrified, repulsed. But somehow it seemed different now. As though, the first time he had seen it, it had been like a sudden burst of intense light shone straight into his eyes after being in darkness for a long time; harsh and unexpected. But now that his eyes had had time to adjust to the light, he saw that it was coming from a single, solitary candle, and all fear and repulsion was gone. He instantly felt drawn to the light of that candle, knowing that so often it had been mistaken for a horrendous consuming fire, burning all who got too close. Yet the candle was just a man, and the man was his father. He suddenly envisioned the life his father must have known. It must have been so lonely, and without love. It did not seem fair. But Gustave knew this man now, and he felt only the unwavering love a son holds for his father. And he knew that his mother loved him too, in a way she had never loved his other father. His other father had never treated him or his mother nicely. He would disappear for days on end, and return smelling of alcohol, often having gambled away any money they might have previously acquired. And he had never shown Gustave much attention, preferring to shut himself away in his study with a bottle of brandy. But he knew somehow that it would all change now. The man before him had already shown Gustave more attention than his other father had in his entire life. And he seemed gentle, especially with Gustave's mother. He was so accustomed to seeing his mother cry, after being shunned and ignored and blamed for things that were not her fault. But this man had shown only love and care for him and his mother, so he clutched onto the phantom's waist to show him he was not afraid.
As his son pressed himself against his chest, all the relief the Phantom had just felt at the boy showing no fear of his face dissipated as it was replaced by panic. Here stood his son within his embrace, and yet he had no idea how to be a father. How did a father act with his son? He stood uncomfortably, his arms sticking out slightly by his sides. He was worried that if he embraced the boy, the dream would shatter and the boy would flee from him. So he just stood, his body rigid and tense. His eyes flickered on spots on the far wall, twitching nervously, when they suddenly made contact with Christine's and stilled. From her eyes flooded a stream of joyful tears, a gentle smile on her lips. Her hands were clasped together below her chin. He gazed at her worriedly, begging her to give him a signal on what he should do. Sensing his insecurity, her smile widened and she nodded reassuringly. He smiled slightly and nodded back, before returning his eyes to the boy, who still clung to him tightly. Timidly, his arms closed around the boys back, and the boy's hold on him tightened. Encouraged by his son's response, he closed his arms tightly around the child and lowered his face to the top of the boy's head. Silent tears spilled from his eyes.
At length, Christine broke their affectionate reverie. "Come along, Gustave. Time for bed." Christine spoke gently to her son. Gustave slowly withdrew from his father's arms and turned to face Christine.
"Yes, mother." He spoke softly, and he walked over and embraced her. He smiled up at her, and she gazed down adoringly at him. "Goodnight, mother" he whispered.
"Goodnight, my darling Gustave" she replied quietly.
He walked over to his bedroom door. On the threshold of his bedroom he turned quickly to look at the Phantom, and said confidently and earnestly "Goodnight, Father."
Taken aback at being called 'father', the Phantom managed only a strained whisper of "Goodnight", before Gustave turned and left the room, closing the door softly behind him. The Phantom stared at the closed door in bewilderment, and whispered "my son".