AN: I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to the Phandom here. I've been involved in fanfiction in Superman, Harry Potter, Twilight for over 10 years and have read tons of other fics from various areas mainly Star Trek, Star Wars, and Hunger Games. I've been obsessed with Phantom off and on since I saw the musical in Toronto back in 1991 with Colm Wilkinson. I literally fell in love with the music and with the story. Around the same time there was a miniseries with Charles Dance as Erik that I taped and watched over and over again. Imagine my shock when I saw another Phantom musical with the same story line as the miniseries. I went with another phanatic to see the movie in 2004 and we both agreed that Erik was not... Erik. But it still rekindled some of the love I have for the character. Years pass and I find myself watching a 25th anniversary special with my 10 year old music loving son. It was the first time I heard Ramin Kiramloo sing and once again I fell for Erik. I investigated more and discovered Love Never Dies and Phantom by Susan Kay. And then I came to phan fiction. I have found some real gems here in the PotO phandom and don't know how well my take on things will go over, but I simply have to get this out of my head.
Now you know my Phan history. I've read Leroux, but if you are a Leroux purist then my fic isn't for you. This fic is a combination of things. It's MOSTLY a big missing moment from the Kay novel with a tip of the hat to Webber's lyrics. This begins after Erik has set Christine free to marry Raoul. For the record, I do like Raoul. But Erik doesn't and this is his PoV. Please be kind as this is my first Phan Phic. I've been reading a lot and there are some AMAZING ones on here. And if I've posted in the wrong place or used the wrong category, I apologize in advance. I've seen some pretty testy reviews about mislabeled Phics that makes me very nervous to even share this with anyone! But I have to get it out of my head.
Many thanks to Erik'sTrueAngel for the beta read! And to T'eyla Minh for pointing out the Americanisms.
And I promise that my author's notes from here out will not be this long! I just wanted to introduce myself to everyone. I hope you enjoy my take on things.
It's the silence that troubles me. I've lived in darkness for so long that I've come to rely on sound as my main sense. But life is so silent now that it's very nearly deafening.
I made plenty of sound while I was destroying the various bits of clutter that filled this black expanse I referred to as my home. The noise of things breaking, glass shattering, and fabric ripping was so thunderous I expected someone above to hear and come down to look for me. I waited until the opera house was sure to be empty before I went to work on my organ. What once was my favorite place to sit, a place where such beauty had been created, held nothing but tortuous memories for me now.
Only Christine's room went untouched. I couldn't bear to destroy anything that had been hers. I walked in there with the intention of demolishing everything in sight, but found my fingers brushing over the trinkets at her grooming table and fondling the clothing that still smelled of her fragrance. I even lay down in the bed where she had slept and burrowed my hideous face into the pillow that had once cradled her lovely head. It was pure torture to be there knowing she would never again set foot in the room. Yet, I couldn't bring myself to destroy it. I deserved the torture.
Several silent days had passed since the last piece of furniture had been over turned and the last vase shattered. However, there was little rest for the wicked. The seizures that plagued my life in the last year had become nearly a daily nuisance. They grew in severity, wreaking havoc on my already tormented body. I took solace in the fact that my miserable existence would soon come to an end. But there was still one slice of unfinished business which needed resolution.
Nadir was working out all the details for me. I trusted him, which was uncommon for me. Yet, I had no other choice. I could not go to the lawyers myself. My fortune had always been held by my own hands, kept out of the national banks which were subject to failure. Now, I was not only trusting him will my fortune but with Christine's future. Regardless of what that wretched boy had said, I didn't trust that he would always have the means to keep her in the fashion which she deserved. Most importantly, though, was that I wanted the fund in her name and her name only. I may have granted the Vicomte the honor of marrying Christine because I knew it was what she desired, but I would be damned if he would end up with my money as well. It wasn't greed that spawned this in me, but rather my overwhelming need to make certain Christine would always have means to take care of herself. I could guarantee that. The Vicomte could not.
The paperwork will be in tomorrow, and then I will be free. Free from this nightmarish existence. Free from the heartache of loving so deeply and not having that love ever returned. Free from the darkness that has always consumed me. Free from this weakening body. Free from this wretched face.
I often wondered what that would be like – to be normal. What is it like to look at your reflection in the mirror and not feel bile rise in your throat? I would never know, of course. I would at least have the satisfaction of leaving this body behind to rot in the dirt. Once I signed the papers and Christine's future was secured, I would willingly give up the ghost.
No pun intended.
Yet I still had to wait. I chose to spend my last few hours in the one place that still held a trace of beauty for me. I lay in the bed that had been Christine's and imagined her life. She would be the most beautiful bride, even if her husband was a spoiled child. She would give him perfect children. The idea of that horrid boy stealing away her innocence and spilling himself inside her body made me want to vomit. However, Christine would be an adoring, wonderful mother in spite of the obnoxious brat that would father her children. Most importantly, Christine would have a glorious singing career. Thousands of patrons would take delight in the joy the sound her voice would bring to them. Through her voice and her music I would live on in some small way.
As I lay there wishing I could let Death's icy fingers squeeze the life out me, I heard the sound of an Angel in the distance. I had to be imagining things because an Angel had no business in Hell. Yet, there it was; a soft, lilting voice that resonated from Heaven. A sound that made my heart stutter and sent a shiver down my spine. I opened my eyes searching for the source of the sound and found the chamber to be just as dark and empty as ever. However, the sound coming from the other side of the door was unmistakable.
It was a trick. It had to be. Death was teasing me, taunting me, torturing me. What other explanation could there be? In my last moments of life, Death was reminding me of everything I had lost. Of everything that was never ever really mine.
I clawed my way out of the foggy mental state into which I had drifted. My hearing sharpened and honed in on the gentle, feminine pitch teasing at my ear and coming from beyond the door. A low baritone intertwined with the soprano.
Whatever they were debating came to a swift end with Christine rising as the victor. I know this because hers was the last voice I heard before the door opened. It was her shapely figure silhouetted in the doorway. It was her pensive eyes that sought my own through the darkness.
With every step she took towards me my heart rate increased. I blinked several times expecting my vision to clear and for her to vanish from my sight. It wasn't until her smooth, warm hand came to rest on top of mine that I knew for certain I was wide awake and this was not a dream.
"Nadir said you weren't well," she said softly.
I opened my mouth to reply and found that my voice had left me.
She smiled and patted the side of the bed. "May I sit down next to you?"
In answer, I shifted slightly to the side to allow her some room.
"I've missed you. It's been dreadful living every day without you."
I blinked again, certain I hadn't heard her correctly. "That's impossible," I muttered in my confusion.
"Why is it impossible? All this time you have been my teacher, my mentor, my Angel. You found something in me that I didn't know I could possess. I owe you so much. To have that source of inspiration ripped away from me was…" She sighed. "I have felt so empty without your voice guiding me."
Any other man as desperately in love as I was would have been pleased to hear the woman he longed for admit she longed to be with him as well. However, I am no ordinary man. What I heard her say was that I had possessed her and haunted her so completely that she was unable to function normally without my command. She had come here for guidance and instruction. She still needed me to tell her what to do. In fact, I could probably tell her to go and jump off a cliff and she would! A few weeks ago I would have rejoiced in the knowledge that she was so far under my spell. Now, it just made me hate myself even more. I didn't want her to be an automaton. I wanted her to be a woman with her own free will.
"Christine, you cannot rely on me anymore. You must rely on yourself."
"I have," she smiled. "That's why I am here. Don't you see? The whole time I've known you, you've been my guide. You've told me what to sing, and I performed accordingly. You told me what I should do, and I did it. You even told me to leave you, and I left. I did it all in blind obedience without thinking. These past weeks I have been waiting for you to come to me. I've been waiting for you to find me and tell me to return. But you didn't, and I was left stumbling about with Raoul as my guide. It wasn't until he forbade me to bring you the wedding invitation that I knew what I had to do – what I wanted to do."
At the mention of her fiancé's name, I shifted away from her. She had only come here to deliver the invitation, as she had promised. An invitation stating how she would happily marry that imbecilic young man whose only claim over her was his handsome face and worldly title. "He was wise to tell you not to come. Were I him, I wouldn't have allowed you to come either."
"But that's just it. I don't care what you want me to do. I don't care what Raoul wants me to do. It's what I have to do – what my heart needs me to do. That's why I'm here. I had to see you again. I had to make sure you understood the truth."
"And what truth is that?" I asked, bitterly.
After a thunderous moment of silence, she uttered the very last thing I ever thought I would hear fall from her perfect lips.
"That I love you."