A/N: I'm trying to think of an opportunity in Love Never Dies for some major plot explosion in which everything changes… *thinks hard for a little while* aha! *light bulb appears over head… clears throat* What if… Christine had had the guts to tell our poor Phantom that Gustave was his son after Once Upon Another Time?
Christine gently directed her son inside. "Back to bed now, darling," she said, her voice full of gentle motherly affection and authority. The Phantom watched silently, feeling slightly awkward at witnessing a family embrace, as Gustave left the room.
"Such a child… so full of life… so full of you, my Christi-"
"He's yours," she said suddenly, whirling around and biting her lip. Damn, Christine! She thought. Now what have you done?
He's yours…The Phantom, was, for once in his life, at a total loss for words. He opened his mouth, closed it, opened, and closed it again; pursing his deformed lips. When did finally find the words, "What?" they came out hoarse and quiet, and he was bitterly reminded of a time when he was a boy, afraid of the world and it's cruelties.
Christine tried again with a gentler approach. "Gustave… he's not Raoul's son… he's yours."
The Phantom was staring at her. He remembered her ten years ago, all innocence and angelic beauty, and compared that to her now. She was obviously a woman. Her features were more mature, and she seemed to be much older than her years claimed. A lifetime of confusion and despair no child should endure etched into her eyes, and the last ten years of stress, loneliness, and keeping a forbidden secret had aged her.
"My… son," he tried out the word, almost as a question. It felt foreign on his tongue, as if it was never designed to come from his lips that had never been destined to kiss, and yet they had. Christine had given him all he had never dared hope to even posses, and here she was again, giving him a physical symbol of their past. Truly, the best of both worlds, was their… son.
He was startled when he felt a hand on his elbow. Christine was going to say his name, ask him if he was alright? But then she realized, with a pang of embarrassment, she didn't know his name, or even if he had one for that matter. She closed her mouth and looked away from his gaze, letting a sigh escape her full lips.
The Phantom immediately regained his composure, straightening his back and taking one deep, calming breath. "How do you know?" he asked.
Relieved, she visibly relaxed and revealed what she had been hiding for ten years. "Oh! He tells me he hears music; music in his mind. Relentless and never stopping. Coming to him uncontrolled… He said it reminds him of the nighttime… And he lets it play him to sleep. And he composes these beautiful little melodies, he does, ever since he knew what a piano was he hasn't gone a day without touching one." Speaking in a rush, it took a moment for the Phantom to dissect what she had said, as she stood before him, breathing heavily, her eyes wide.
They stood before each other, chest to chest, mere inches apart, for what seemed an eternity.
"He's nowhere to be- Christine?" Raoul walked in, only to witness a black figure scamper out onto the balcony. Having bad experiences with black scampering figures, he was immediately concerned for his wife's wellbeing, and his own marital status.
Without a second thought he rushed out onto the balcony, looking blindly into the darkness. Frustrated at finding himself alone, he looked around, darting behind the doors and banging them against the wall as he moved. Letting out a defeated grunt, he didn't notice the figure clinging to the side of the building as he walked back to his flustered wife.
"You alright?" He request, firmly placing his hand on her forearm and gripping it hard, as if trying to keep her from being snatched away again by that monstrous excuse of a man.
She flinched, but it had nothing to do with how hard he touched her. "Fine," she said, her voice wavering as she pathetically nodded. Slightly reassured, Raoul dropped his arm back to his side.
"Couldn't find a trace of Hammerstein," he announced as he headed toward the direction of the globe storing a supply of brandy that should keep him satisfied for a few minutes, and calm his nameless worry.
"Who?" Raoul gave her a look. "Oh! Yes! Hammerstein…" Christine looked down at her hands as she fiddled with them, trying to find something to distract Raoul from perusing a certain train of thought. At the mention of Hammerstein, a thought entered her mind. "Oh! Raoul, I've had an offer."
Raoul interpreted this as a very different kind of offer, and immediately turned near purple with rage. Christine, as she looked up, noted this and quickly tried a different approach.
"Raoul, not that, of course not that," she was about to add I love you, but decided that would be pushing it a little too much, almost begging him to differ. "Twice Hammerstein's offer, Raoul. Twice,"
Raoul considered. "I see," was all he said as he downed his second glass of brandy and poured another. "What are the conditions? And who is this mysterious man who should seem so desperate for a performance?"
Christine opened her mouth, then closed it, frantically looking around for help. Then she spotted it. Sitting on the grand piano, was a piece of paper. Praying it was a contract, she moved to the piano. Glancing it over, she looked up at her husband and held up the piece of paper.
Raoul strode over and put his half-empty glass of brandy on the piano as he took the contract. Picking up his glass again, he made his way to the couch (A/N: the fainting couches they had. Don't know what they're called, sorry!) and sat down at the edge of it, as he placed the contract and the glass – after taking a sip – on the small table in front of him. Putting his elbows on his knees and his chin on his fists, he read over the conditions.
At the sudden rejection, a stunned Christine watched her husband as he lifted the glass to his lips again. She opened her mouth to protest, but all that came out was a squeak. Raoul looked at her, eyebrows raised.
"Raoul," she began, weary of this man's temper. "Raoul, please don't drink anymore," her voice, capable of producing such glorious sounds, sounded small.
Obliging, Raoul placed the glass back on the table, eyebrows still raised and eyes wide with frustration, lips pursed. With a flourish of his hand to the glass, he looked back up at his wife.
Christine gave him a quick smile that was nothing more than upturned lips, before declaring herself tired and retiring for the night.
As she stepped over the threshold to the master bedroom and shut the door, she let all the air in her lungs escape with a dramatic sigh. Thoroughly resigned at the emotional turmoil of the past half an hour, she sat in front of her dresser and looked at the reflection staring back at her. With robotic hands, she began to unpin her hair, letting one curl cascade down her shoulders at a time. Without thinking she undressed and slipped a nightgown, fully adorned with lace and frills that seemed to scream "Vicomtess!" and finally let her mind wander to her Angel of Music, who, after ten years, had finally sought her out.
Climbing into bed, she tried to imagine how events would unfold in the next few days, with her son's real father now back in her life with full knowledge of Gustave's paternity. Feeling a burn in the back of her eyes from unshed tears, she forced them down and tried to lull herself into sleep by closing her eyes and ceasing her quest at picking out a spark of white in the dark shadows of her bedroom. She knew he wouldn't come. It was hardly proper, after all, a man of no blood relation (or any relation of all for that matter!) sneaking into a married woman's bedroom in the middle of the night. But still her eyes hunted for something she never found.
The sound of Raoul pouring a drink (that no doubt contained alcohol) was finally her undoing. She let the salty tears fall from her eyes, drizzling down her cheeks and landing in her sea of hair, or seeping into the pillow. The only sound was a little whimper from her throat now and then, with the occasional sniffle.
When at last every last drop of water in her body seemed to have exited her eyes, was she finally thoroughly spent and able to succumb to sleep.
A/N: Ok, after re-reading that, it moves a bit too fast in the beginning. Sorry if it seemed like that - it went slower in my head lol.