November 1881 (3 months after the events of POTO)
There had never been a sky quite as deep and dark as that one, Paris was engulfed in it. Not a soul was to be found in the frosty breath of the night. All had retreated to their homes, tucked away from nature's forces yet again. Only a single set of footsteps were echoing across the cobbles as a young woman walked swiftly, determined to get to her destination. She glanced behind every few seconds, as though waiting to be followed or caught, although she needn't have feared for no one came.
The girl turned the final corner of the street she was on, breathing heavily from her excursions and anxieties. Finally she stopped outside an old warehouse that had been boarded up long ago after the owner had died without warning. Cautiously stepping forward, she first peered through a crack in the wooden planks blocking the window, only to be met by complete darkness... And yet her eyes could've sworn there was movement? Perhaps hope was fooling her eyes but never the less she persisted with her search as her eyes shifted to the entrance. She noted that the brass knob on the door looked less dusty than the rest of the exterior... As though it had been in use? She let a smile cross her lips as she took a deep breath before twisting the handle to allow herself entrance. She stepped inside briskly before pulling the door shut once more, banishing the harsh exterior conditions.
The darkness that met her was practically impossible to navigate, but her eyes slowly adjusted. She let her eyes search once more for any signs of humanity, noticing a smoking candle on top of a sheet-covered crate. Curious, the woman stepped forward slowly like a nervous animal. Aloud creak occurred as she stepped on one of the lose floorboards, causing her to wince and stop. A few seconds past as she waited to be caught but nothing happened. Sighing with relief, she persisted to head toward the crate slightly quicker this time and reached out. The wick of the candle was still warm to the touch – she knew it had to be him...
"Christine Daae..." She jumped at the sound of the voice from behind her. He said the words softly and with slight disbelief. "I must admit, I wasn't expecting a visit, especially not from you..." He must have composed himself by now, for these words were spoken with much more strength, like the Phantom she was used to, but the hints of sarcasm were unexpected. She swallowed back her fear before turning to face her maestro once more. He was just as she remembered leaving him that time three months ago, only his mask and wig were both in place to hide the twisted flesh beneath.
"I needed to know you'd gotten away, that you were alive..." Christine's voice was hoarse as she tried to stop gawking at him like he was visiting from beyond the grave. She tried to reach out and touch him but he immediately stepped away.
"Well now you know, so return to your boy at once and forget me as I asked you..." He wouldn't look at her as he spoke in a voice which displayed no emotion. Didn't he care for her anymore?
"Raoul won't miss me just yet," She spoke softly, taking care not to make any sudden movements. It was like the caution one would take when with a wild animal. "I'm not staying with him for tonight. You see, he sent me to a hotel before tomorrow morning..." She closed her eyes to take a deep breath before saying the next few words: "We are to be married tomorrow morning..."
"And what, you came to hand deliver my invitation did you!" He spat the words at her as he stomped to come nose to nose with her. "You thought I'd enjoy the heart-warming ceremony between Christine Daae and her brave young suitor!" Christine was shaking, finding it increasingly hard not to fear his anger. She closed her eyes to try yet again to bury her fright before turning back so as to look him in the eye...
"I came to say goodbye," He had begun to face away but she reached over to gently brush his cheek."I couldn't leave my angel without a word, could I?"
"I'm no angel!" He shrieked, grabbing her wrist and throwing her arm away. He stumbled back to the wall, slamming his fists against it. Christine ran forward and grabbed his shoulders, trying to pull him away; he slammed the wall a few times more before finally stopping. After a deep sigh, he looked up at her with tear-filled eyes. "Why do you care anymore, Christine?" He slumped to sit on a nearby crate, placing his face in his hands which muffled his speech slightly. "Something like me isn't worthy of real love, I'm not even worthy of your pity... Oh, Christine..."
It broke Christine's heart to see him sob like this. She walked over and crouched down beside him, softly resting one hand on his knee while the other rubbed his thigh sympathetically. "You have always been my angel... and nothing in the world will change that," The hand that had been rubbing his thigh reached up for his hand and she lightly pressed a kiss to his knuckles. "And I'll never stop caring... I promise."
She wasn't sure how it happened, but the next thing Christine knew she leant forward and kissed his bloated lips. At first it was gentle and innocent, but the longer it lasted the more passionate and forceful her lips were against his. He stood up quickly, his eyes wide as he looked down at her with a confused expression; "What is Christine doing?"
She pulled herself up next to him, grasping his arms and leaning in to his ear. "What I should've done three months ago..." She leant down slightly and began softly kissing his neck, causing him to shudder in ecstasy. She linked her fingers with his and slowly placed his hands round her waist, never breaking contact from his neck. She let her own hands begin to explore his body, finding the buttons on his shirt; she slowly began to unbutton it before she felt a hand tip her chin up to look up into those beautiful pale blue eyes.
"Christine shouldn't be doing this to a half-faced beast; she is to be married in the morning,"
Christine smiled, her eyes gazing lovingly up at him. "Christine doesn't see a half-faced beast here. She can only see her handsome angel, and right now he's the only one that matters..."
And she meant every word of it. If anyone had brought up the name Raoul De Chagny that night, the young Miss Daae wouldn't have known it. That night she came to know only one man and she made sure to cherish every moment of it...
Erik awoke to the dank, dusty conditions of the old warehouse he'd called home for the past month or so, only to be met by the darkness of the early hours of the morning. It was only when he pushed himself up on his elbows and saw the scars that traced over his anatomy, as well as the naked beauty of his angel that he remembered the previous night...
Panic-stricken, Erik began scrambling about to gather his clothes together whilst trying not to wake Christine. He wouldn't allow her to see him like this, she would surely scream and run away as she had done mere months ago and having his heart broken was something he didn't plan on re-living today. Once he'd found his clothes and pulled them over himself, Erik realised his wig and mask were still missing – the two most crucial items. He easily spotted the jet black artificial hair of his wig thrown on to his make shift table on the opposite side of the room, which he pulled over his exposed skull. A sigh from across the room brought Christine back to the front of his mind as Erik turned to notice her shivering slightly. Grabbing one of the old sheets he had lying around, he walked over to her and wrapped the smooth fabric around her soft flesh; Erik couldn't resist stroking her cheek softly and brushing her chocolate curls away from her peach-coloured lips.
It was then that his gaze wandered to the solid object that lay in her hand – Christine was holding his mask in her grasp. Erik's eyes widened upon the realisation that she must've taken it off last night... And yet here she was, lying on his floor. She hadn't recoiled in horror, she hadn't screamed and she hadn't run away. Perhaps Christine had finally learnt to look beyond the flesh...
But then Erik came back to his senses as he placed his mask back over his face. The face his own mother couldn't love... How was he supposed to believe that Christine loved him now when his own flesh and blood had feared him? He had to face the reality of the situation – last night was a final show of his love to Christine, but she had surely only done any of this out of pity for him... But what wonderful pity it was.
Looking out to notice the sky beginning to lighten, he brushed his hand across the flawless flesh of her face one more time before laying a kiss among her curls. "Farewell, my Christine... Beautiful both outside and within, kind enough to pity a monster..." He smiled before whispering in her ear: "My love shall never die..."
And with that, Erik walked to the doorway and made his way out into the streets of Paris once more, peering at his angel for the final time before eventually pulling the oak door shut...
Christine twisted stiffly as she smiled to herself over the previous night's events; she'd kissed her angel. She'd kissed him and been kissed back. She could still feel the tingle of his malformed lips against her own, the shivers it had sent through her system, the joy she'd felt as they went further than she'd ever gone before...
Last night had made her realise the truth – marrying Raoul would be nothing but a massive mistake. Yes, Raoul was handsome in an obvious sort of way with his dirty blonde curls and hazel eyes, he was rich and well connected, and although he was often travelling he made up for it with romance. Most girls would've given their right arm to be his wife, but now Christine had been intimate with another, she no longer saw the appeal...
Whereas life with her maestro, her angel... She didn't even know his name and yet that was the kind of mystery that drew her towards him. He was so innocent of some aspects in life and yet he'd managed to escape a blood thirsty mob of over fifty different people without a single one of them realising he'd lived. He was a genius, but he was misunderstood... Perhaps if she could show him love, he'd finally be able to leave 'the Phantom' behind him?
Christine yawned as she sat herself up, running her hand through her curls. She blinked in the half-light of the warehouse that convinced her daylight was probably an hour off, not that it mattered. Her plans of returning to Raoul no longer mattered, not now she'd found her real lover... Although as she looked around, Christine soon realised something had to be wrong. It was silent and all of the clothes that had been alongside her's were now gone. She remembered the mask and looked down to find that too had been taken from her hand; there wasn't a trace of him left here...
"Hello!" She called out in desperation as the tears began to well up. "Are you here, my angel! Please!" She stood up and pulled her sheet up with her, rushing about the room in the hopes he'd appear. But it remained silent in the building and nothing stirred... Christine slumped onto the stone floor as she sobbed into the sheet. Hot tears streamed down her cheeks over and over as she tried to accept the truth of what had happened.
Finally she stood up and gathered all her clothing together, slipping all the garments over as quickly as she could; she'd be pushed to make it to the wedding but what choice did she have? As she stood in the doorway and looked around the abandoned room, her eyes settled on the candle she'd first seen last night. Her eyes watered once more at the memories of what they'd shared: "We would've been beautiful..."
And with that she left swiftly, leaving the pain behind...
I promise if you read on then it won't become anything you've read before – my fabulous beta TheAustralianZombie has made sure of that (: Review for posts to continue!