May 26th 1882

Erik lifted a hand to his head, rubbing his eyelids and sighing as he tried to stop his mind from racing. This morning he'd risen from his bed expecting a quiet evening in an empty house trying to decide whether or not catching a glimpse of the Vicomtess de Chagny would do him any good – now he sat in that same bed having rescued said lady and the young ballet girl, attacked that fop of a boy she'd married and held the premature infant that was now with Christine in the room downstairs.

Sitting up and reaching for his pocket watch on his bedside table, Erik groaned at the time – a quarter to three in the morning. It must've been about an hour since the house had finally settled down, the Vicomte having left in the doctor's care once told that it was best to be safe and keep him on the ward in case of concussion. He'd listened as the boy argued continuously about leaving his wife before Christine had finally managed to coax the man to go with the promise he'd see her the following day. There'd also been a conversation before Meg and her mother went to bed about the make-shift sling she'd been wearing as a result of their tumble earlier, but the little blonde had insisted that her arm was mended. After that, doors had shut and presumably the household had simultaneously gone to sleep… Excluding himself of course, Erik thought bitterly.

Swinging his legs round to the edge of the bed and shoving his boney feet into his slippers, the man stood and grabbed his black robe from the back of his door as he headed toward the staircase. Erik took care to be as silent as possible, his Phantom days lending him the skill to move as a ghost around the house. As he went toward the kitchen he couldn't help but sneak a look through the crack in the door of the guest room but the moonlight only allowed him to make out the shape of a wicker Moses' basket. He hadn't thought Meg or the maid girl (who incidentally had stayed and was in Christine's old room upstairs) had been carrying such an object upon entering the house earlier, but then again Antoinette always had the most obscure objects stored away that it wouldn't surprise him if she'd produced the object for the girl before retiring to bed.

Forcing himself to look away, Erik moved into the kitchen and set about filling the copper kettle and setting it up to boil. He tried to busy himself by searching out a cup and saucer, trying to find any milk or sugar in spite of the fact he preferred neither in his tea, anything to avoid his thoughts drifting back to the woman who slept peacefully merely a wall away from him. He couldn't help but let his gaze travel to the second door leading from where he stood directly into the bedroom – the same door he'd escaped through earlier – and it would take him directly to Christine…. And the child.

It was now he let his thoughts think of the baby, the little girl who no doubt would be unaware of his existence and this fact caused his heart to twist uncomfortably. Perhaps it was due to his unusual moments of connection with the child throughout the day but Erik found that strangely he felt as drawn to the babe as he was to her mother. Even now he was unconsciously getting closer and closer to that doorway but he stopped himself from reaching out for the door handle. It wouldn't be fair to disturb the young mother, not after the night she'd had.

That's when Erik's finely tuned ears picked up the soft whimpers coming from the room. It was natural the newborn would not sleep the night through, he supposed, but she'd soon settle no doubt. He made to turn back to the kettle when the whimpering became louder and some invisible force halted him in his tracks. Erik knew he shouldn't…

Letting out an exhausted sigh, his lithe figure moved and with skilled fingers he managed to push the door ajar, slip into the dark room and close it all without making a single noise. The distressed cry of the infant seemed to hush at his presence and for a second he considered turning back to the kitchen. But curiosity got the better of him and before he knew it Erik was above the crib looking down at the small swaddled bundle in the crib.

This was his chance to properly study the new born, having had to swiftly abandon his previous attempt on account of the Vicomte. One skeletal finger moved down to ever so softly caress the downy chocolate locks that already adorned the little girl's head before moving leisurely down to stroke the soft skin of Isobel's cheek in interest. Erik's lips turned up slightly as he catalogued all of the features reflecting his Angel that lay in the bed until the smile was quickly wiped off his face by one glaring detail.

The Phantom had finally met the haunting, pale blue eyes looking up at him with innocent curiosity and they were a sight he was all too familiar with; he'd seen them in every mirror, every puddle, every single reflection of himself he'd ever had the misfortune to look upon.

Erik snatched his hand back to his chest as though burnt and began to shake his head in disbelief. Surely it was a coincidence, this wasn't physically possible, and he hadn't even seen Christine in-

Seven months.

Slowly his head turned to look at the figure huddled under the blankets with only a mess of curls visible as they spilled out across the pillow. Seven months since that night together and at last Erik understood why his mind had been so focused on the gestational period – Christine had been carrying his child.

The man forced his eyes back to the ghostly orbs that sparkled as they watched him in ignorant bliss. Now as he looked Isobel over he found the button-nose set in the pale face framed with chestnut ringlets could all be accounted for by her mother but as Erik looked closer he began to note that, even with the roundness of a youthful face, the girl had higher set cheekbones than Christine, more like that of his good side. A closer inspection of the puckering lips allowed him to note they were not the fuller, coral ones of the soprano but rather thinner and paler like his own. His attention to detail even allowed him to note that it was not just the colour but the shape of the eyes that reflected his.

Erik started as the kettle whistled next door and a groan came from the bed. He darted across the room and was back in the kitchen fixing himself the tea, though given his discovery he knew the beverage would have no effect on his insomnia, before he could be noticed. However as he unhurriedly stirred the liquid he listened to Christine in the adjoining room. He heard her stand and pad in the direction of Isobel, who'd resumed her whimpering now he was absent and smiled to himself at the thought his presence had soothed the little thing. As he did so he forgot to focus on the sounds from the connecting bedroom until…

"Erik?" He almost dropped his cup on hearing her voice. Cursing himself for jumping out of his skin, Erik forced himself to turn and face her; he was uncomfortable to see she had Isobel in her arms but tried to keep his gaze off the bundle of blankets. "Are you alright?" Christine questioned, concern marring her features.

Erik took a sip of his tea and swallowed before turning his mouth up in what he knew would look like a pitiful smile. "Perfectly well, thank you."

"You're sure?" She stepped a little further into the kitchen whilst examining his face. "Only your cheeks look a little damp…"

He lifted a hand and found his cheek was indeed wet as she had described, and Erik realized that he must have wept upon regarding the infant. He shrugged at her: "Perhaps the heat of the stove got to me, I hadn't noticed," It was a feeble lie but he hoped she wouldn't probe any further – his heart was beating a mile a minute as it was, being in the same room as his Christine while she cradled their… No, he had to get away now. "I must be heading back to bed now, I only came down to make something to aid with sleep. I apologise, I didn't mean to disturb you."

"Erik," As he made to escape she'd managed to grab his elbow with one hand and although she was only doing so lightly it was enough to freeze him to the spot. "You know you can tell me if there was something wrong?" He visibly flinched at her kind words that had totally missed the mark – that child being his shouldn't have been something wrong. But Erik reasoned with himself, as he turned his head and met that ghostly gaze so like his own, that if Christine had kept this secret… Well, clearly she thought differently.

"You should rest," He managed to tear his eyes from Isobel and looked into the soft green ones of her mother. "No doubt that your husband will be back as soon as possible."

And with that cold reminder of why he had to restrain himself, Erik finally made his way back up the stairs leaving Christine confused at what to make of the unusual interaction. His behavior had been utterly bizarre, even for Erik. Hearing his door close and Isobel starting to fuss in her arms, she went back about her business, left to ponder over the conversation as she returned to her bed and fed her daughter.

Similarly, Erik lay on his bed and left the tea to go cold as he allowed all the revelations of the night to rush through his head. Over and over again he examined the facts but of course each time his brilliant mind only came to the same conclusion:

Isobel was his daughter.

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I'M SO SORRY – I'm such an awful person at updating but my mind goes dead with lack of ideas and I was struggling on where to take this. However like I always say it is never an abandoned story, just always slowly cooking. Been almost 11 months since the last update so I don't know if you'll even remember the story but still I hope you enjoy this chapter! Possibly more to come? I'm kind of stuck on where to take it so feel free to message with any ideas/what you think or want to read :)

Also yaay Erik finally worked it out – I hope that made some of you happy, I personally have been wanting to make him realize for a while but now seemed the right time!