This is oldfashionedromantic and I'm back to my old tricks! I tried new styles but they just didn't work for me. So here we go back to the way I started only slightly less dark.

Prologue-Memories from a Dream

Christine sat bolt-upright in one of the large bedrooms of the De Chagny château, her body covered in a cold sweat and shimmering with water. Her beautiful strawberry –blonde hair felt sticky as she attempted to run her fingers through it, her curls glued to her shoulders and seemingly thicker than usual. She looked around the room with her forget-me-not eyes wide and struggling to see in the dark, searching…searching. Peering painfully for a man not there, her ears were perked up to listen to the sound of his voice, that calm and soothing tenor which had served to lull her to sleep every night. Nothing, the room was as silent as the grave.

It was in that moment that she realized it was nothing more than a dream and she, being the little girl that she was deep inside burst into tears. Beside her, her fiancé snored loudly, a trait she found rather annoying. It was not so much the sound that she abhorred it was just that Raoul was such a heavy sleeper that he never woke up when she had one of her dreams. He almost never woke when she cried in the night over the springtime thunder and lightning. Though he knew she was terribly frightened of them, Erik would have woken immediately and saw to whatever she needed right then and there.

Erik would have battled an entire army and then some just to stop her from being scared. He would have gone outside and squirted the garden-hose at the sky attempting to extinguish the quote on quote 'blasted thing that dared upset his angel.' True he might have gotten struck by lightning and…probably would have died but he would have gone out just the same. Not to mention he would most likely run to the store in the middle of the night and buy every pair of ear-muffs he could find. Erik would throw them at the sky, demanding the whole sky to do his bidding and stop that offensive noise.

The picture of Erik doing these things caused her to giggle out-loud though she tried to muffle it with her hand it got louder. Raoul groaned and draped his arm heavily over her midsection. Christine did not like this really, not that she minded being held by him. She didn't, in fact she usually liked it. Especially on cold nights like this she would sleep in Raoul's arms and feel quite safe. His beautiful sculpted body was always strong and warm and sometimes just watch him sleep, marveling at the beauty of her golden-haired white knight But tonight his arms seemed too hot, looking down at his beautiful face seemed almost…sinful wicked even as though she were committing some infidelity.

It was then the picture of an ugly man in a mask came to mind his raindrop eyes, filled with tears.

His voice…his beautiful voice so shattered as he cried out, "It's over now the music of the night!"

The crash of the broken mirrors rang in her ears even now. Why even now did it make her want to run back to him despite everything he'd done and wipe the pain from her face. She heard the crunching of the broken glass he had no doubt shattered from his pain. His tears as she looked back at him, singing with Raoul the very same words that had shattered his heart the first time. Tears smarted in the young ingénue's eyes and she wiped

"No," she thought, "don't think about Erik…whatever you do, do notthink about him."

Tears began to pour down her face silently as she remembered that horrible night when she had been forced to choose between one man and the other. It was of course a choice she did not want to make because really it was impossible. How did one make such a choice and have a clear conscience afterwards. How could she at the age of sixteen have the power to make someone live or die, to make or break the heart of two men who offered her their undying devotion? But of course she knew who she would pick, it was obvious. As her father used to say when I would get sad over one of his made-up tragic love stories, 'when two men love a woman one will get hurt no matter what.'

Christine did not understand but then no one would have expected her to. After all being seven her mind was full of happy-ever-after with dreams of Princes to sweep her feet into the sunset. She did not understand what he meant and did not understand why anyone needed to be hurt for any reason. Her father had given her that trite answer of 'you will understand when you are older.' Daddy was right as usual. Reality hurt sometimes and sometimes the things one fantasizes about are not to be touched.

Sadly Christine's overindulgent father had never taught her such and Christine now understood when she looked from one man to the other and reached for the switch. She knew what she had to do and as much as it hurt her. Christine knew that to save Raoul she would have to crush his heart, so she turned to look at him with an apologetic look in her blue eyes.

Christine turned the scorpion and turned to Erik trying to force a smile that never met her eyes. Her fiancé let out an anguished cry of, "No! Please Christine just let me die, I beg you!"

Christine shook her head, "I'm sorry," she said and kissed that disgusting face tenderly.

It was a simple gesture but the only one she would ever give him, she tasted the salt of his tears on his cheeks, trickling down his face. The beautiful young woman heard him gasp in the most pained pleasure she had ever heard. Had no one ever touched this pitiful creature with love? It was almost enough to make her feel pity on him, for the briefest of moments she wanted to hold him close and ease those pleading lines from his eyes and mop those tears. Christine would have lost herself in the only beauty he had, such unusual silver eyes. In his pleading adoration it looked as though the moon had been captured in his eyes. Or perhaps the greyness of the rainwater had been sopped up in them. Such beautiful longing eyes

Her reverie was broken by Raoul's sob, "No! Lotte please don't give him your life I can't bear this anymore! Just let me die knowing you are free to live the life you were meant to live!"

She turned to give Erik a pleading look but he did not say a word. She then remembered that he loved her and forced tears causing him to look at her. He seemed puzzled but unsympathetic as his dark triumphant laughter filled the grotto. Erik knew he had won, that Christine would forever be his. Knowing this he bid her one last look in the blue eyes of her lover so beautiful and perfect…so perfect. Erik hated the Vicomte so very much that it was not even funny and most of all he envied the man. Oh the bitterness of jealousy! The Phantom sighed knowing that he with his world of light would have her heart, oh misery which tore at his heart. But perhaps all was not lost…perhaps now he could force her to love him and in time she would love him a little.

He allowed her one last look as a cry of, "please let me say goodbye to him…" she wept.

Erik looked at her noting the resignation in her blue eyes and knew She would do anything…anything if only the monster would have mercy and let her hold her sweetheart one last time. The ingénue stared at him for a moment; awaiting the other's reaction, fearing his wrath should he believe her actions to be nothing more than a ruse. The man made no move save for the slightest twitch of his dark silver eyes and a slight movement of his lips. His thin lifeless lips forming words that she could not catch, she watched him stare for a moment. Hoping he would remain calm by her decision that he would not fall to a black mood.

Erik sucked in a sharp breath that rattled harshly around the hollow underground grotto. The Phantom flexed his right palm, clenching and unclenching his black-gloved fist. With an anguished cry he yanked the lever down that would release the rope around the young lover's neck. Raoul dropped into the ankle-deep water, gasping for breath and rubbing his throat to ease the pulsing throb left by the rope. Christine covered her mouth with the palm of her left hand, while running to the Vicomte, her right arm opened to wrap around him.

The young man gripped her hard and kissed her lips as though he would die if he did not have her lips one last time. Christine was so captured in the familiarity of her betrothed's embrace, for a moment she forgot the presence of the broken-hearted onlooker. Erik turned his head away in respect for the couple, inwardly crushing the pieces of his heart. Christine sighed and returned Raoul's kissed but for a moment was still lost in the sensation of Erik's lips that brushed hers. She pulled away from Raoul, released him and went over to the monster.

"Come here Christine," his voice once so soothing came out in a defeated drone; he cupped her face in his frigid hand as he turned to Raoul. The Phantom met the young man's eyes his own filled with a pitiful resignation "Erik understands now, he knows Vicomte that it is for your sake she does not shy away from his touch. Take her now, take her and go away. But Erik has one last request…" they looked at him, "Erik would like a hug that's all."

The deformed man smiled sadly as she gave him a hug, tentatively returning the gesture. Tears came down his face like the dripping of the leak in his roof, each drip like a solitary tear beating to the rhythm of the dying love she never gave him. Christine, without knowing what she had done had removed his mask again and was touching the skeletal holes in the marred flesh of his face. Erik closed his eyes and pressed her hand to his cheek, not wanting the moment to end. He cried then when he felt her lips brush the spot she had touched.

The pain in Erik's eyes as he let her go, as he had placed the plain gold ring on her finger begging her to return to him just one more time. So that he would not die alone and that her hands and her hands alone would be the one to bury him. Christine had agreed of course, at that point she would have agreed that his cat was a dog in costume if only to get out of there. At that time Christine would have done anything to be in the arms of her beloved Raoul. Happy to escape that underground world where nothing lurked but endless darkness and a madman ruled.

Beautiful voice or no she would not stay with this ugly man…this monster…this freak. Why should she, after all the man had lied to her for nine years, never telling her that he was a man until he thought she would love him. As if she could love a man like that! A lying murderous drug addict who probably meant to kill her the moment he got angry. He was the devil incarnate, a deceiver, a murderer and a man who slept in a coffin. The Phantom indeed, he was no more a Phantom than the Angel of Music. Worst of all was the realization that now she had to grow up. That daddy lied to her and that her angel was nothing more than a story meant to please a dreaming child.

Christine sighed and snuggled into Raoul's arms determined to forget about him and have her fairytale ending in the arms of the man she loved. The man she had always loved and always would. But as it so often happened she began to dream again, as she did every night. And just like always it was the same dream; she was back at the opera in the dressing room she had won from Carlotta on the night of her big debut. She was as beautiful as ever still in her costume from Hannibal and the door opened with a soft click. Raoul would walk in now and reminisce about their childhood and offer to take her out to dinner. Despite her protests about her tutor he refused to take 'no' for his dinner invitation and left to get his top hat.

It was her favorite dream of course but tonight there was something felt wrong. For one Raoul said nothing as he did not advance into the room nor did she hear the quiet thump of his dress-shoes as they waltzed confidently over to her. She turned to see him but found no one there. But she could have sworn that this was the part where her future husband walked in to dazzle her with his boyish good looks and incomparable charm. She looked down and saw on the seat of the other chair a single red rose and she of course picked it up.

Christine was staring at the rose tied with a black silk ribbon from the man that Madame Giry had said was pleased with her. It was indeed a very beautiful and paid no attention to the oncoming guest. Christine had gone through this scenario a thousand times; soon her future husband would walk in and smile at her in his charming, educated way. But when she looked up it seemed that her darling love was changed. Raoul's blonde locks so fluffy and breezy had turned to thin black things draping limply over his head and was as flat as a board. His hands that she had remembered to be smoothly warm and strong were now as cold as ice.

The hands which held her were just as strong but none of the warmth of his hands seeped to her shoulders. Perhaps he had gone out in the spring weather and caught a chill? It was when she looked up and saw no face that she was panicked. Of course, the man had a face, he was not headless but she could not see his face. All she saw was the mask which covered his whole face. As clear and cutting as the moon and the pained silver eyes aglow with fierce possessive love and a sense of longing that would break one's heart if they were not careful.

It was then that it hit her like a good punch to the gut. It was not Raoul but the man she had once called 'angel.' He looked at her with his eyes of the moon and when he sang silently it reverberated in her mind like that of her own dreams. He'll always be there singing songs in her head. He cupped her cheek in his icy hand and she found herself mesmerized by those wolf's-eyes. What he said was as calm as the seaside at summertime but he held that note of mystery. She met his gaze with a look meant to be one of fear and loathing. For surely after all he had done he deserved no sympathy. But all she could do was meet his knowing eyes with a curious sense of wonder.

Erik reached up to make her look at him and spread his arms wide as though he meant to offer her a hug. She rose to her feet compelled to do so by some black magic taken over her. The other did not move save for the slightest twitch of his lips. Then his voice boomed in a tenor no doubt meant to make a rival of the very angels. His voice at first a soft knowing whisper but then rising in words and volume until it filled the room.

"You know his love is not enough…

You know he isn't what you need…

You know you're made of finer stuff…

I think on that we're both agreed…

It's time to leave him in the dust…

It's time be who you should be…

It's time to do now as you must
and set the music in you free.

And music, our music
Will swell and then unwind!
Like two strands of melody
At last entwined.

Fulfill us, complete us
Make us full
Seal our bond forever more
Tonight, for me,
Embrace your destiny!
Let me hear you sing
Once more."

Christine woke again only this time in a fit of tears as she realized that she needed closure more than anything. It was the only way he would no longer haunt her She knew of course that according to the papers that Erik was dead, but then knowing her tutor he had some trick up his sleeve. The beauty looked down at her sleeping lover snoring away wondering if she should write a note for him or not. Deciding against it, because it would break his heart, to the core if he knew what she intended to do this night. Not to mention absolutely forbid it which would- knowing her temperament, as well as her penchant for not obeying orders, mingled with her curiosity… her pull towards Erik (neither one of them were quite certain as to the reason for this) it was indeed a bad combination. A combination would result in a terrible fight. A fight that would certainly result in the end of their engagement of their lives together…

She leaned down and kissed his eyelids tenderly and took one last look at his sleeping face. Then, with silent tears dripping down her pretty face the ingénue tied up her hair in an evening-hood and her too-small fur-lined cloak. The young girl made her way to the De Chagny carriage where she apologetically woke the driver and rode off towards the opera. Why she went back she could not explain the only thing she knew was that she was going back. Back to a world of darkness and a madman who she knew would haunt her forever… whose passion and fury she could not resist…

I decided to repost this and finish it as I am very proud of it. Please review!