As promised, I bring you the LAST chapter of this phic on the date of its second birthday. Cannot believe it has been 2 years since I've first started and I'd like to thank everyone who has been with me on this long ride. :) I love each and every one of you who reviewed, favourited or followed and I'm really grateful for the support. I won't babble on much since I bet you want to read ASAP.

This chapter contains one or two sexual scenes, which have been clearly marked, so you can skip over them if you are not comfortable with that. :)

The world around Erik ceased to exist except for the woman in front of him. It did not matter they were both soaking to the bone from the heavy rain. He felt naked without the protective cover of his mask, completely bare beneath her gaze. All of his hurt and anger dissipated and a new emotion welled up within him...hope. That wretched thing he had not allowed himself to feel for several years now blossomed in his chest the longer she talked. He did not know whether he was still breathing; he heard what she was saying but somehow the words did not fit together in his mind. The whole situation seemed rather surreal to him and he wondered whether he was looking through someone else's eyes, living someone else's life.

There was a lump in his throat as he stared at Christine; she was visibly upset and despite the rain he saw tears gather in her brown eyes, her wet hair clinging to her face and neck. Despite all that, he found her the most beautiful woman he had ever laid his eyes on. What was left of his heart gave a lurch at the words coming from her lips. Did he dare believe her? Did he dare hope that she...she...His head spun as he looked into her imploring eyes following her confession. His own eyes stung and his chest felt tight, he had to blink and swallow to try and get rid of the feeling.

God help him, but he believed her. It was then that he decided; no more lies, no more half-truths, no more hiding or running away. He was going to risk his heart again, even if it had to kill him.

"How can I not?" He choked out, his voice failing him at the admission he had kept inside for so long. He had tried to deny everything after she had left him and he had moved to London. He had tried to tell himself he didn't feel anything for her when she was his escort. In the last few weeks since she appeared on their doorstep it became harder and harder to keep fooling himself. He was not blind; he had noticed how she went out of her way to touch him, to talk with him or simply be in his presence. His head told him not to interpret it other than what it was - a renewal of their friendship. A rumble of thunder brought him from his musings and he found himself gazing into her eyes.

Her lips were parted slightly, her chest heaving as if she had run a mile, her eyes held a glimmer of hope. They stared at one another for a long time and before he could process what was happening, Christine captured his lips with hers with an urgency that took his breath away. Her fingertips brushed each side of his face, gently caressing the bumps and ridges of his deformity and the flawlessness that was his other cheek. He pulled her flush to him and she moaned into his mouth, trailing her hand along his jaw and down his neck, settling at the base of his throat. He pulled away slightly, looking at her almost incredulously. She met his eyes and seemed hesitant, unsure why he had pulled away so suddenly. Erik did not let her wonder for long, he claimed her mouth, marvelling at the way she responded to his every touch.

She kissed him back with a ferocity he did not expect, yet he was not surprised by the inner fire she seemed to possess. He had been a witness to its power every time he stepped on the stage with her and only now he realized he was not the only one who didn't need to pretend during his opera. Now she clung to him fiercely, pressing her body into his as if she wanted to disappear inside him. He kept his arm tight around her while his other hand rose up, delved into her hair and held the back of her neck as he kissed her deeply. Light flashed beneath his closed eyelids and then suddenly there was a loud crack as the lightning struck in the area. He felt rather than heard Christine's squeal as they parted abruptly. He tried to catch his breath and calm his erratic heart from the fright and their heavy kisses. She had gripped his shirt and buried her head in his chest when they were startled by the loud sound of nature.

"We should head inside." Erik said after they had both calmed and glancing up, he could see the storm was not yet at its peak. He reluctantly withdrew from Christine, ignoring her curious gaze as he reached down and picked up his mask. It was wet and dirty from where it lay on the ground in the rain. He took a moment to look at it, feel its weight in his palm, trace over the all the familiar contours with his eyes. He had worn it everyday for more than the last two decades of his life. He swallowed and looked up at Christine. She was watching him patiently, a gentle look full of understanding which brought a lump to his throat. Oh God, how he loved her. He let his hand with the mask drop down to his side and extended his other hand towards her. The answering smile he was rewarded with was so beautiful he could hardly believe it was aimed at him. Trustingly, she placed her delicate hand into his and squeezed tight, as if she was afraid he would run.

After a moment of hesitation, he led them to the garden house. He knew there were things they still needed to talk about and felt that the small house would be better for them and allow for no interruptions. He ushered her in first and then closed the door behind them. He kicked off his boots and Christine followed his example, leaving their wet and dirty shoes near the entrance. They were both dripping water from their clothes and he could see Christine began to shiver.

"You should go change from your wet dress before you catch a chill. I know it is not much but I have some spare clothing in the bedroom."

"Thank you." She gave him a smile and disappeared through the door. He placed the mask on the piano before he crouched down by the fireplace, starting a nice strong fire that would keep them warm throughout the storm. It had not yet reached its crescendo but the wind outside picked up, the rain fell heavy upon the earth which welcomed the water after the few hot and dry weeks. Erik closed the curtains in front of the large windows and shed his own shirt, placing it over an armchair near the fire to let it dry, but not too close as to cause an accident.

He stared into the flames, wondering if the last ten minutes really did happen. Maybe he was hallucinating or maybe he was just dreaming. Yet his heart told him it was real thought he could not quite get his head around the fact that Christine indeed loved him. How? How could such an angel love such a man as he? He did not have a chance to further ponder that question for he felt her eyes on him. He didn't hear the sliding doors as she exited the bedroom but he knew she was there. He turned and his heart gave a throb at the sight of her, his mouth suddenly dry.

Dressed in his black silk robe, she padded to him on bare feet until they stood toe to toe. He wanted to say something but every word stuck to his throat. Was she aware how beautiful she was? Was she aware that the robe was the same one she had briefly worn after they had been intimate the first time? As they stared at each other, he saw what he had wished to see since the night he had let her go. The happiness shone from her eyes, her cheeks were slightly tinged pink and there was a soft smile teasing her lips. She never looked more lovely.

"You cannot be real." Erik blurted out what was on his mind, feeling decidedly foolish the next second. The wide smile he got in return made his heart beat in an irregular pattern.

"I assure you I am real." With that, Christine closed the distance between them and captured his lips in a sweet, slow kiss. He lost himself in her touch and scent, kissing her gently. Then, as if someone had flipped a switch in both of them, their kiss grew deeper and more urgent, and they held each other close. She ran her teeth gently over his bottom lip, sending a bolt of arousal down his spine. She slightly withdrew from his embrace and he wondered what she was doing until her hands rose to the ties of her robe, deftly undid it and let the silk cloth pool at her feet, leaving her gloriously bare for his hungry gaze, yet his eyes never left hers. She invaded his personal space again, pressing her naked body close, the tips of her breasts brushing against his bare chest. Her fingers trailed up over his torso until she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Erik, please make love to me." She whispered against his lips and then gave him a tiny kiss, looking into his eyes. He suppressed a shudder and wrapped his arms around her, his fingers caressing the soft skin of her back as he claimed her mouth in a deep kiss. He could never deny her anything. She responded to his advances with a passion he had known she possessed.

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Her sweet fingers traced the mangled flesh of the right side of his face, along his jaw and down his neck, stopping briefly to gently tease his nipples. He groaned when her hands slid lower, resting at the waistband of his trousers before undoing the button and sliding down the zipper in one fluid motion. He did not expect her uncharacteristic boldness and could only stare at her as she helped to get his trousers and undergarments over his hips, while her mouth peppered his collarbone with small kisses. The knowledge that she desired him was almost too much to bear. He pulled her flush to him, eliciting a moan from both of them when their naked flesh met. The air around them heated and thickened and it didn't have to do anything with the fire roaring in the hearth.

Erik kissed her then, sampling the sweet taste of her, teasing her with soft flicks of his tongue. His hand ran up and down her side and he felt her shiver when his thumb brushed the underside of her breast. His other hand strayed lower, cupping her backside briefly before tracing her thigh, urging her to lift her leg and wrap it around his hip. She complied willingly and he held her firmly under the knee as he lifted her up and carried her over to the fireplace, lowering them both to the ground to the thick soft rug in front of it.

Christine welcomed him in her arms, spreading her legs to accommodate him in the nature cradle of her hips. They both moaned at their closeness and the passion between them grew. He sensed they were both ready but he wanted to take his time, relearn the dips and curves of her body and truly make love to her as he longed to do so for so long. Her sweet moans urged him on as he kissed his way down her lips and jaw over the smooth graceful column of her neck, dipping his tongue into the hollow of her throat, tasting rain on her skin. She arched against him with a wordless moan as he trailed lower, paying special attention to her breasts with his hands, tongue and mouth. She writhed in his arms and softly called out his name. He relished in her responsiveness to his touches as he smoothed his hands down her sides, his lips ghosting across her ribs down to her navel. What was it she had said? That she had wished he had given her a child? Would she want the same thing now as well? His heart raced in his chest and tears stung behind his eyes as he imagined a new life created from their love growing beneath the flesh his lips now skimmed across. How wonderful and yet terrifying thought that was!

Erik heard the slight hitch in her breathing as he drifted lower, opening her legs more with his shoulders as he held onto her hips. His eyes rose to look at her face and found her propped on her elbows, her teeth biting bottom lip, her eyes dark as their brown depths swirled with arousal as she watched him. He returned his attention to what he was doing and lowered her lips to her flesh, drawing out a long moan from her throat. He felt her hand in his hair, gently combing through the black strands and running her fingers across his scalp that made him groan against her. She whimpered and clutched at his hands, trailing her fingers and palms along his wrists and forearms. At that moment he felt her love encompass him completely and for a moment he felt undeserving of the gift she bestowed upon him. He continued to pleasure her, delighted in the little involuntary shudders of her thighs and stomach as she climbed steadily towards release.

"Erik..." His name was carried in a moan as Christine tugged at his wrists and he understood, even if he was most reluctant to stop his ministrations. He brought himself to her eye level and she pulled him in for a deep kiss, her tongue tangling with his in a passionate duel. He was surprised as her hands explored his body with confident strokes, running down his sides, and tracing the scars on his back. There was no pity in her eyes, only love and desire. Their lips met in a searing kiss and he felt her hands on his chest, paying attention to his nipples before trailing downward. Her touch wasn't unsure or hesitant as it had been the first time and she fixed her eyes on his face as her fingers wrapped around him. His breath shortened and he shuddered at the long torturous strokes of her hand.

The storm continued to rage outside but the two people inside the small house were lost in their own world, their bodies heated and beaded with perspiration as the fireplace added to the heat from their passion. Their eyes were locked when he felt her guide him inside her and didn't waver as he held still, his arms trembling from the effort. Her face was a myriad of emotions, her mouth went slack and her soft exhale of pleasure washed over him. He swallowed hard and if he had not believed her before, he did now. Her love for him shone from her eyes, mixing with the desire that matched his. He started to move, slowly at first, not wanting to hurt her but upon looking at her, he needn't have worried. She smiled at him, her expression one of ecstasy. Her breathless moans and wandering hands urged him on but he wanted to draw out their pleasure, make it last as long as he could. He watched in awe as she surrendered herself to him in the most primal way; he could hardly believe he was making love to the woman he loved for so long. He was stunned at the new emotions that stirred inside him, it was so very different. Bedding Sarah was only a temporary way to satiate their needs and although the first time with Christine came close, it could not compare to what he was feeling now.

He dipped his head and kissed her with infinite tenderness, his heart bursting within his chest when he saw her eyes pool with tears at the gesture. She curled her arms around his neck and pulled him to her, deepening the kiss and setting his body on fire. He moved quicker and more urgently, drawing moans from both of them. Christine moved her hips in counterpoint to his and he marvelled at the way she was made to fit against him so perfectly. He could feel her heart beating fast and the telltale flutter of her muscles signalled her impending climax. He drove into her harder and deeper and heard an animalistic groan tangle with his, her head thrown back and her short nails digging into his shoulders. He forced himself to keep his eyes open, to watch the play of emotions on her beautiful face. Eyes open wide, the moan stuck to her throat until a couple of strokes later he felt her find her release, letting out a loud cry. He hissed at the sensation, following her over the edge a few moments later.

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Hearts beating fast, their harsh breaths mingled as they stared at one another in awe before falling into a tight embrace. When at last their hearts calmed he withdrew from her and rolled them over so that she was nestled to his side. He smiled to himself when he felt her curl around him, holding him tight in her warm arms. He looked at Christine, whose head was on his shoulder, a soft happy smile playing upon her lips. He squeezed her tight to him and pressed a kiss to her hair.

"I love you." He whispered, feeling what he could only describe as bliss. She looked up at him with those large brown eyes and smiled, murmuring the same against his lips as she kissed him. Worried that Christine might catch a chill as their bodies cooled off, he let go of her briefly to pick up the blanket that was draped over the sofa and the two small pillows that adorned it. Erik contemplated moving them there but it wouldn't be comfortable for the sofa wasn't wide enough for the both of them and certainly not long enough for them to rest comfortably. He spread the blanket over their naked bodies and gathered her back into his arms. He couldn't help but stare at her; she was so perfect, her cheeks were rosy from their lovemaking, a smile on her lips and a twinkle in her eye as she looked back at him. The knowledge that she loved him just as fiercely as he loved her left him breathless.

The thunder rolled above their heads but neither cared; they made love a couple more times between talking in hushed whispers about everything they had gone through over the years and only succumbed to sleep when it got dark outside and the rain ceased to fall.

As the sun rose above the horizon the next morning, it found Christine propped on her elbow watching her unmasked lover as he slept. Erik looked so youthful and she took the opportunity to trace her eyes over his face, committing to memory every dip and curve, every imperfection of his disfigured side, the flawlessness that was his left side, every wrinkle in the corner of his eyes and around his mouth. He was so very beautiful in the morning light that filtered in through the curtains and she could hardly believe all that had transpired the day before. She could not even begin to express the joy she felt when he had confessed his love for her. It was everything she had ever dreamed of and it did not matter they were getting soaked to the bone.

What had happened afterward made her smile and blush; she had behaved quite wanton but he had not seemed to mind. When they had made love, she had felt finally complete, something she had not felt with Raoul. Then again, she had not loved him as a wife should have and thus had not desired him half as much as Erik. When he gathered her into her arms afterwards, she felt a sense of peace and serenity. They had not been this intimate in London and slept with a void between them but now they had been even reluctant to part.

Emerging from her memories, she smiled and looked at the sleeping man beside her. Even in his slumber he had a protective arm around her body, their legs tangled beneath the warm blanket. Not content with just looking at him, she raised her hand and ever so slightly trailed her fingers along his face, mapping the various textures of his skin. She ran her index finger along his brow, down the slope of his nose, his drooping eyelid, his fuller lower lip and the dip just below it, her touch lingering at the small dimple at his chin. He did not stir, so she continued on her secret exploration of his body. She wanted to know every bit of him, just as he knew hers, and know what pleased him. She blushed slightly and bit her lip, though her fingers continued their quest down his jaw and strong neck and shoulders. She drew the blanket slowly back and the force of her yearning took her by surprise. She withdrew from his embrace, stilling to make sure he would not awaken and then sat by his side, using both of her hands to explore the flesh of his torso, fingers brushing along the lines of firm muscle. She had seen his arousal when she uncovered him and forced herself not to blush at the sight. She remembered the few times she had woken before Raoul only to find him in a similar state. Smiling discreetly, she decided to ignore it for a while and let her hands trail over his stomach, past his hips and the strong sinewy thighs and calves.

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Christine observed his sleeping face and decided she would wake him gently, let him know he was not alone and that yesterday had not been a dream. He slightly moved in his sleep and she took the opportunity to kneel between his legs. Her hands ran back up his legs and fire burned through her veins at the thought of what she was about to do. She gently grasped him in her hand, marvelling at the soft texture yet hardness beneath her fingers as she stroked him. He stirred with a soft moan but did not wake completely. She hid a smile and focused on what she was doing, tightening her hand around him ever so slightly.

She could remember the talks she had overheard in the girls' dormitories back in Opera Populaire when some of the more experienced girls had shared some things with the more curious dancers and chorus members. She had remained off to the side, not wanting to talk about such matters but feeling discreetly curious. What she had overheard caused a furious blush in her cheeks at the time. She remembered how hard it had been to talk with her Angel afterwards, feeling sinful and wicked for imagining him as a mortal, wondering if he would enjoy such act. Now that he was here, perfectly formed flesh and bone beneath her, she wanted to please him, worship his body the way he had done to her.

Bending over him, she used her tongue first, her touch tentative, not wishing to hurt him. She heard him moan but his eyes were still closed. Maybe he thought he was lost in a dream? Emboldened by the thought of him waking up and seeing her like this, she enveloped him with her mouth, following her instincts. Christine heard a groan and a moment later a hand found its way into her brown tresses. She lifted her eyes and found him watching her, though his eyes were still glazed over from his sleep. He moaned her name and licked his lips as she continued to pleasure him. One of her hands trailed over his stomach, caressing his skin on its way up to his heart. He took her hand then, enveloping her in his larger one and holding them to his chest. He groaned again and she enjoyed the tiny involuntary movements of his hips and the shudder of his muscles.

"Christine..." He whimpered and tugged on her hand; she understood his silent message and let him go, climbing up to him and straddling his hips, enjoying the feel of his skin on hers. She bent over him, her hair falling around them like heavy curtain, shielding them from the outside world. She smiled at him then and kissed the tiny dimple on his chin.

"My little temptress..." Erik grinned and ran his hands up her sides until they were once again tangled in her hair and pulled her down for a hungry kiss. Up until that moment she had not realized how aroused she actually was and was surprised at the force of it. She moaned and reached for him again, guiding him inside her flesh. She gasped into his mouth at the contact and hoped it would never stop feeling this way. They moved slowly together in the morning sun rays, savouring every moment. She straightened, looking down at him in adoration as she moved above him. He was not content with simply looking; his hands were everywhere on her, stoking the flames of pleasure even higher. He sat up and maneuvered them so that he was sitting with his back propped on the sofa.

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They embraced each other close until they found release, whispers of love tangling in the minute space between their lips. As their heartbeat settled into normal rhythm, she withdrew from him and turned around, so that she could sit between his legs, resting her head back on his shoulder while he wrapped the blanket around them, enveloping her within his arms.

"Where...where did you learn how to do that?" He asked after a moment of comfortable silence.

"Nowhere. I have never done it before." Christine bit her lip and ducked her head, but the finger tracing her jaw brought her eyes back to his. "Did I please you?" He gave her a kiss and smiled at her.

"Never doubt that, my love." The corners of her mouth stretched upwards and she felt strangely invigorated by the knowledge that her novice touches pleased him. The world around them disappeared for a moment as they kissed, slow and languid. After they parted, she settled back into his arms, sighing in contentment. She did not want to leave their little cocoon of warmth but for the first time since yesterday, thoughts about the world outside filtered into her mind.

"What time is it?" She asked as he smoothed his hands up and down her arms slowly. His touch wasn't meant to arouse but simply to comfort and reassure each other of their feelings.

"Hmmm." He didn't answer at first save for the low hum as he continued the trek with his fingers. She closed her eyes "About half past eight." Her eyes flew back open at his matter-of-fact tone.

"Erik!" She squeaked in panic but he looked at her in confusion. "The theatre! I am supposed to be in rehearsals in half an hour!" He just looked at her calmly. "I understand that being the theatre manager you can go in and out as you please, but I am just a cast member. I'm not dressed and I haven't even had breakfast!"

"Hush." Erik put a finger to her lips to silence her. She kissed the soft pad, bringing a smile to his face. "I can tell them it was me who detained you while we discussed the renewal of your contract. It is something we must discuss later today anyway." He caressed her cheek lovingly with the back of his fingers. "Besides, you're not just anything." He kissed the tip of her nose and she chuckled.

"As you wish, Monsieur. Before we go, I need some breakfast. I am famished." She drew back from his embrace and stood, pushing away her self-consciousness and walked over to the sliding doors of the bedroom. Before she entered, she cast a glance over her shoulder only to catch him staring at her in obvious appreciation.

It didn't take them long to dress and put the house in some semblance of order before they left and headed off to the main house hand in hand. As they expected, Meg and Madame Giry had already had their meal and gone to the theatre, so they ate their breakfast quickly and hailed a carriage. Erik instructed the driver to stop behind the theatre to avoid detection from the other cast and crew. They both knew speculations have been flying around since the premiere of Il Segreto, and even before that when the former members of the Opera Populaire saw that Christine had been hired.

After several heated kisses shared behind the close curtains of the vehicle, they were at the theatre, most reluctant to part. He pulled her into a dark secluded corner and gave her a kiss that made her legs unsteady and her mind thinking of nothing but him. Once he released her with a promise to see her again soon, she darted to her dressing room, sitting at her vanity and trying to cool her flaming cheeks.

"Christine!" She jumped at the sound from the doorway. It seemed her dear friend Meg had developed a bad timing manners as of late. Christine turned and smiled, hoping that her blush had somewhat dissipated. "I thought it was you who I saw running here."

"Good morning, Meg." She greeted casually and started to prepare for the rehearsal. She was already late, so she hurried behind the screen to change into her costume.

"Good morning indeed." Christine decided to ignore the grin she heard in Meg's tone and focused on her dressing. There was a long moment of silence that made her very suspicious until Meg spoke up again. "Well?" She finished with her dress, for it was light and slightly revealing for her character role, and went back to sit at her vanity.

"Well what?" Her friend merely raised an eyebrow. "I am not telling you anything." Meg let out a giggle.

"You don't have to. It's written all over your face. You look thoroughly ravished." Christine flushed bright red and turned her eyes to Meg in shock. The knowing grin on her face unnerved Christine. She swallowed and concluded that Meg was her best friend and therefore could share some things with her.

"How do you even know what that even looks like?" There was a moment of silence as Meg bit her lip and found her pointe shoes all too fascinating. Sudden realization dawned on Christine and her eyes grew wide, her squeak of surprise louder than she intended. "Meg?!"

"Shh!" The ballerina quickly closed the door behind her and moved to lean against her vanity. "Don't tell maman or she will have my hide." Christine watched the happiness and love in her friend's eyes and found she could not judge her for the very same thing she was guilty of. "I am very happy for you both, Christine. I have never doubted Erik's love for you, even after all these years."

"I feel like this cannot be real, that I'm somewhere in Sweden or England just dreaming all of this." Meg gave her an understanding smile, reached down and pinched her hard in the arm, causing a loud yelp from the soprano. She glared at the blonde woman and rubbed the painful spot, but found herself grinning widely.

"See? It is very real, Christine." She offered her hand and smiled. "Come, or Monsieur Reyer will have a fit. We are already late." Hand in hand, they hurried for their rehearsal. Monsieur Reyer seemed to be a little preoccupied by a supplying orchestra member, who did not quite yet manage to master the music. Madame Giry, on the other hand, gave them a stern look as she ushered everyone into their positions. Erik had entrusted her as the stage director and ballet mistress for this production and her cane would often rival Erik's anger.

Christine could not quite meet the woman's eyes but as if sensing her unease, her foster mother pulled her aside after she made the ballerinas practice their routines. The small smile and the warmth in her eyes took Christine by surprise; mere moments ago she had been giving them a glare. She wasted no time with pleasantries and went straight to the point.

"Christine, I just want you to know that I have always prayed that you would find a way to each other. I hoped that maybe you would talk things out after Don Juan but despite that I still sent the Vicomte after you." To Christine's surprise there was guilt written in the older woman's face.

"I never blamed you for anything. You could not have known what I myself was not aware of at the time. Perhaps we had to go through all of that pain so that we could be together now." Madame Giry observed her for a while as if seeing Christine for the first time.

"I've never realized how you've grown." She smoothed her hand down Christine's hair in a fond motherly gesture. "I am so proud of you. And incredibly happy for you both." Christine smiled widely and drew her foster mother into a tight embrace. When they drew apart, the ballet mistress gave her a mock stern glare. "Although I hope you will get married soon, you cannot carry on like this." Christine blushed and bit her lip as the look on Madame Giry's face turned knowing and her lips stretched into a rare smile. "Now off you go." She was ushered back on stage and the rehearsals were in full swing once again.

Few months later

Christine sighed as she rolled from her side to her back again for the fifth time during the night, unable to sleep. She found early on it was impossible for her to fall asleep without Erik at her side ever since they had admitted their feelings to each other a few months ago. Glancing at the clock, she could barely make out the time but knew it was sometime after midnight. Erik was at the theatre, preparing for the second big production of the season. She knew he would come home late tonight, yet could not help missing him and his warmth by her side.

Erik. Her husband.

She smiled. He had proposed on their holiday in Venice under the starry sky on the gondola cruising Venice canals. It had been two weeks after the dernière of Il Segreto and she remembered being thrown into a state of stunned, speechless surprise. She had not expected him to propose so early but had not minded in the slightest, launching into his arms with a loud 'yes' that must have woken up the whole Venice and nearly made them both topple over into the water. There had been no reason for waiting, so the following week they had married in a civil ceremony surrounded by everyone that mattered - the Girys of course, Erik's sister and her son and the Baron and Baroness Marshall. Christine had been a bit disappointed that they could not have a wedding in a church and she could not wear white for him, but Erik had insisted he did not care. She had worn a beautiful ivory dress, much like the one Erik had designed for her back in the Opera and the wedding had been everything she had ever dreamed of.

The bedroom door opening quietly brought her back from her memories. She closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep, so that she could silently observe him through half-closed eyelids. He moved silently, still very much like the Phantom in that regard and started to moved into the adjoining bathroom, emerging moments later clothed in his night clothes. He sat on the bed with his back towards her and she took the opportunity to watch him. He took off his mask and placed it on the bedside table. She smiled inwardly; only recently he had shed the mask when they were alone and though he knew their friends would not mind if he moved about maskless, they did not pressure him and simply waited patiently. Christine was very proud of her husband and grateful that her love showed him he could trust her. She saw him rub his face and sigh softly and she could tell he was tired. Making a decision, she rose on her knees behind him and enveloped him in her arms.

"Did I wake you?" He asked quietly and relaxed in her embrace, bringing her hands to his lips and kissing them reverently.

"No, I couldn't sleep." She felt the tension in his shoulders and automatically began to loosen the knots in his muscles, smiling softly to herself at the tiny moans he was letting out while her fingers worked their magic.

"You should rest."

"I can't sleep very well without you by my side." Erik turned his head to the side to look at her and she smiled at him softly, pressing a tiny kiss to his lips, which stretched a little under her ministrations.

"Good thing I am here then." He murmured against her lips and they both settled under the covers, holding each other close. They kissed languidly for long moments and she watched surprise flutter across his face when he felt what else has been preventing her from sleeping. His palm came to rest on her swollen belly, feeling the exuberant kicks of their child. The sight of the golden band around his finger made her breath catch whenever she looked at it.

He began to stroke the bump lovingly, the first soft notes of the lullaby he used to sing to her when she had been a child floating out of his mouth. The life within her settled and calmed and Christine marvelled at the thought that their child recognized his or her father's voice. She closed her eyes and the golden voice accompanied her dreams as she finally fell asleep.


Thank you all so much for reading!

I have a new POTO fic in the works and the first chapter will hopefully be released soon. Add me to your alert list or just simply visit this category to make sure you don't miss it. It will be named 'Curse of the Mask', a medieval-ish AU, and this is the summary:
"Lady Christine arrives with her father, Duke of Baideanach to Alterwood Castle to marry Raoul, Prince of Glayweth. There she meets his mysterious masked cousin who turns her life upside down. But not everything is as it seems..."