Radio Music Hall
Public of all ages, dressed up in their finest clothes and wearing Phantom of the Opera masks, waited in their seats while reading the program. People backstage resembled ants in their colony, running from side to side, making sure actors, singers, musicians, scenario, lights and costumes were all in position.
Everything was ready for the musical to begin. Everything… except the lead soprano.
Leo knocked Who's dressing room's door softly before entering. "Hi. You ready?"
Who was wearing a puffy, pearl grey ball gown; silver jewelry and her hair had been curled and decorated with silver flowers. She didn't have to much makeup on and Leo was glad for that; Who didn't really need the stuff anyway.
"Does it look like I'm ready?" She said with a sigh.
Smiling, Leonardo pulled out a new yin-yang pendant form his pocket; he stepped behind her and slowly put the necklace around her neck.
"Now you're ready" He said, admiring his handiwork.
Who touched the pendant and smiled a little. But her happiness was brief for she had seen the picture of her father placed beside the hand mirror in her drawer.
She took the picture and her eyes turned glassy. "I can't believe he won't be here. All those things I said to him… I shouldn't have been so rude"
"You were just upset," Leo replied. "And I'm sure he's not angry at you"
Who looked at him quizzically. "How do you know that?"
Leo chuckled and pulled her into a hug. "I just know"
"Has anyone seen Cécil?"
Lucile's voice caught Leo and Who's attention; the both of them pressed their ears against the door to listen to the rest of the conversation.
"Hasn't he arrived yet?" Evans asked.
"I don't know! I've been calling him like crazy and he doesn't pick up his phone!" Lucile answered sounding desperate. "We can't start without him!"
"We can't let the public waiting either" Evans replied. "Let Stefano replace him. He's been Phantom and Raoul before; I'm sure he can handle this"
Leo smirked. "Seems like our friend is not in shape for the big concert"
Who smirked back. "I wonder why"
"I'll let the guys know Cécil is not here but we'll stay vigilant."
With that said, Leo lifted his mask a little and planted a kiss on Who's cheek taking the girl totally by surprise.
"Good luck," he said before leaving the dressing room.
Who brought a hand to her cheek and felt her face warmer than usual. "O…k? That was unexpected"
After getting over the shock, she left the dressing room as well.
There was no backing out now; the time had come.
While the musical continued, the Hamato brothers kept their eyes opened for any sign of Cécil; the ninjas had chosen strategic places all over the theater's catwalks, highest platforms and communicated via shell cells.
After analyzing his perimeter for the tenth time now, Leonardo decided it was time to get information from the others as well. Pressing the three-way calling button, Leo contacted his brothers.
"All clear," Don informed.
"Same here," Mikey seconded.
"Nothing but ballerinas in here," Raph commented.
"Aw man! You always get the good spots!" Mikey whined. "Leo, can me and Raph trade places?"
"Focus Mikey!" Leo reprimanded him and went back to his vigilante duties.
He allowed himself to look at the scenario for a few minutes; Who was there with "Raoul", singing the romantic duet. Memories of previous nights came to Leo's mind; he could still feel her touch on his skin and her eyes looking at his like trying to read his soul.
Leo sighed deeply; that had been a magical moment he wished he could experience again anytime soon.
"Hey, Leo" Raph's voice coming from the shell cell interrupted the leader's thoughts. "Do you think he'll come?"
"Well, the first act is about to finish so I don't think-"
"-I'm not talking about Cécil"
Leo understood immediately his red-clad sibling was talking about Dr. D, Who's father.
"Well, I did my best. We just have to wait and see"
Hours passed and the musical was reaching its final songs. The public was pretty pleased with Evans' direction job and with the lead singers' interpretation among other things. Backstage, there were so many theories of Cécil Dubois' whereabouts: maybe he'd been caught in New York City's traffic, caught the flu… returned to Paris? Whichever was the reason, they were still concerned and intrigued of Dubois' absence but with Stefano as his replacement, at least the musical was still perfect.
Who wasn't as tense as she was at the beginning of the musical and neither were the Hamatos. Well, not all the Hamatos.
There was still one taking his job pretty seriously.
"Any sign of Cécil?" Leo asked.
"Not yet" Raph answered from his vigilance spot.
"The play is almost over; when is he going to show up?" Don asked more to himself than to his brothers.
"I don't know you guys, but if he doesn't come at all, I'm ok with that" Mikey commented.
"How about Who's dad, is there any sign of him?"
"No" The three ninjas answered in unison. Leo rubbed his temples in frustration and sighed loudly.
"Easy there, Fearless. He'll be here," Raph said.
"How are you so sure of that? At this point, I'm not even sure myself!" The leader replied.
"Hey, if you can convince me from not going topside… most of the time… then I know for a fact that her old man's gonna be here. Now shut up and listen to your girlfriend"
Leo facepalmed. "She's not-"
"-WE KNOW!" It came the three brother's loud reply from Leo's shell cell.
The curtain fell once more time and the scenario was quickly replaced with tombstones, angel statues and graveyard items for the next scene. Meanwhile in the dressing room, Fiona helped Who fix her makeup and clothing.
"Ok Whoey, you're next! Remember, deep breaths, loosen up your shoulders and keep a straight posture"
"Fiona, I know. You're been telling me that since we started," Who rolled her eyes and chuckled. "What's the next scene again?"
Fiona picked the script and read it out loud. "Christine, torn between her love for Raoul and her gratitude for the Phantom's teaching, visits her father's grave, longing for his guidance."
Who suddenly dropped the bottle of water she was drinking, spluttering a bit of it.
Fiona arched a brow. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing, really"
She lied, there was something wrong indeed. The thought of having to perform hers and her dad's favorite song of this musical-without her dad there to see her- made her heart shrink; every musician knew that emotions took the best of you and if you didn't know how to control them, they would ruin you but nothing could stop the great pain in her soul and in pain, she walked towards the stage.
The curtain rose on. The orchestra began to play. She glanced at the public, her father wasn't there.
'The show must go on,' she thought grimly.
Closing her eyes, she began to sing.
"You were once my one companion,
you were all that mattered.
You were once a friend and father,
then my world was shattered.
Wishing you were somehow here again,
wishing you were somehow near;
sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed
Somehow you would be here…"
So many memories came to her mind and the pain intensified. A knot began to form in her throat and she swallowed it immediately; this wasn't the time for a breakdown, she had to continue.
"Wishing I could hear your voice again,
knowing that I never would.
Dreaming of you won't help me to do
all that you dreamed I could…"
Leonardo sighed deeply and glanced at the public: no sign of Who's dad. He shook his head in disappointment and glanced at his friend; whoever that looked at her could say that was the most realistic sad façade ever seen. But Leo knew this was no acting, the pain was real.
She continued. "Passing bells and sculpted angels,
cold and monumental,
seem, for you, the wrong companions;
you were warm and gentle…"
Tears fought their way out of Who's closed eyes; she knelt slowly, bowed her head while the orchestra played.
"Too many years fighting back tears:
Why can't the past just die?!"
Intense muttering could be heard in the theater forcing Who to open her eyes. More tears trickled down her face but these tears were not of sadness, these were tears of joy.
Walking through the long corridor, there was a very elegant man with no mask unlike the rest of the audience. It was Who's father.
Standing up and making her way down-stage, the girl sang with renewed forces.
"Wishing you were somehow here again,
knowing we must say: 'Goodbye'.
Try to forgive, teach me to live.
Give me the strength to try!"
Who kept walking, her eyes gazing into her father's; not caring about the world around her.
"No more memories, no more silent tears.
No more gazing across the wasted years…"
Father and daughter stood a few inches away from each other and smiled, fresh tears running down their faces. Dr. D leaned forward and sweetly kissed Who's forehead.
With a big smile, the girl finished the song.
"Help me say, 'Goodbye',
help me say… 'Goodbye'!"
By the time the song was over, people had risen from their seats and the theater filled with applauses, whistling and cheering. Up in their vigilance spots, the Hamato brothers applauded and smiled at the tender scene.
In his mind, Leo had only one thought in his mind: Mission accomplished.
Finally the last scene from act 2; everything had gone better than planned and there was no sign of Cécil. At this point, the Hamatos had abandoned their spots and joined Leo in the high catwalk right below the scenario.
"Passarino - Go away for the trap it is set and waits for its prey," The masked tenor recited.
"You have come here
In pursuit of your deepest urge
In pursuit of that wish which till now
Has been silent
I have brought you
That our passions may fuse and merge
In your mind you've already succumbed to me, dropped all defenses
Completely succumbed to me
Now you are here with me
No second thoughts
Suddenly, a cold and familiar breeze hit Who's face. She stared in horror at the man before her eyes. "Cécil…" she whispered.
The tenor smiled at her and approached Who slowly.
"Past the point of no return
No backward glances
Our games of make-believe are at an end.
Past all thought of "if" or "when"
No use resisting
Abandon thought and let the dream descend
What raging FIRE shall flood the soul
What rich desire unlocks it's door
What sweet seduction lies before us?"
Who tried to move but she found herself frozen. Just like the first time. Cécil walked around her like a vulture, looking at her lustfully.
"Past the point of no return
The final threshold
What warm unspoken secrets
Will we learn
Beyond the point of no return?"
Who looked around her, behind her… where was Stefano? Her gaze landed in the public and found him. Cécil had probably arrived in secret and Stefano, not knowing Cécil's real intentions, lent him the disguise and retired from the stage now he was no longer needed.
What was she going to do?
'The show must go on,' she thought. Before singing her part, she gave a brief glance to the place she knew Leo would be observing and yes, the leader noticed her signal.
He gave the order to the others and the ninjas slowly made their way down. Who looked back at Cécil and taking a deep breath, she played along.
"You have brought me
To that moment when words run dry
To that moment when speech disappears
I have come here,
Hardly knowing the reason why
In my mind I've already imagined
Our bodies entwining
Defenseless and silent,
Now I am here with you
No second thoughts
Giving firm steps, Who walked to Cécil's direction.
"Past the point of no return
No going back now
Our passion-play has now at last begun.
Past all thought of right or wrong
One final question:
How long should we two wait before we're one?
When will the blood begin to race
The sleeping bud burst into bloom
When will the flames at last consume us?"
Soprano and tenor were now in the arms of the other; Who remained calmed but deep inside, she was dying of fear. When would he attack? Where did he hide the weapon?
Cécil's hands tightened around her waist pulling her closer.
"Past the point of no return
The final threshold
The bridge is crossed
So stand and watch it burn
We've passed the point of no return…"
The ninjas were now a few meters away; any weird move and they would strike. The orchestra played softly and Cécil stroked Who's cheek lovingly.
"Say you'll share with me
one love, one lifetime;
lead me, save me from my solitude.
Say you want me
with you here, beside you
Anywhere you go
let me go too…"
Who was too focused on the tenor's eyes that she didn't notice the moment Cécil had stopped his caresses and from his cape pulled a silver dagger. Donatello, however, saw the shining blade and threw a shuriken at Cécil's shoulder.
"Christine, that's all I ask of-"
Cécil wasn't able to finish his phrase; the shuriken buried in his flesh and he roared in pain. Who woke up from her trance and pulled away from him but he stopped her. In less than a blink, Cécil twisted the scared girl's arm back, pulled her back to him and pressed the blade against her neck. People in the theater gasped and yelled in shock; Dr. D was about to run to the stage but security forces stopped him and the rest of the public from going up there.
Leonardo and his brothers jumped into action, weapons ready for the kill.
"Let her go, Cécil!" The leader yelled demandingly.
"Cécil, have you gone mad?! Let the girl go and put down that weapon!" Evans yelled from down-stage.
Cécil grinned manically. "This is not your musical anymore, Evans! Now I hold the aces!"
Out of nowhere, a loud scream was heard in the theater and the chandelier's candles fell; their flames consuming everything in their way rapidly. All hell broke loose, people ran away from the place but the shadow blocked all the exits.
"Guys, get these people out of here! I'll take care of Cécil" Leo ordered.
The others jumped off the scenario and ran towards the doors, using their weapons and brute force to open them.
Back on stage, Leo approached Cécil but he was pushed away by a strong wave of air losing one of his swords in the process.
Cécil laughed madly. "Have you forgotten so soon about my beloved Clémentine?"
The shadow attacked again, this time with Leo's own sword. While Leo was distracted, Cécil dragged Who away from the burning scenario, the dagger still pressed against the soft skin.
"Cécil, please, listen to me!" Who pleaded "That ghost, that shadow… that's not Clémentine! It's Claudette LeClaire!"
Cécil turned Who around so she was facing him and grabbed her arms tightly. "What do you know about Claudette?"
At the sound of the name, the shadow turned its head swiftly towards Cécil and Who; never ceasing to attack Leonardo.
"All I know is that if you kill me, it won't be Clémentine you will resurrect; it'll be Claudette"
The tenor's expression was unreadable. His mouth was opened in shock. "What?"
The shadow screamed again and flew towards the dark haired girl with the sword aiming at her head.
Who noticed this and tackled Cécil to the ground. "WATCH OUT!"
Cécil stood up immediately and stared at the shadow in ager. "Look where you point that thing, cher! You could have killed me"
Something unexpected happened: the shadow took a feminine form and for the first time in years showed her true face. "That's exactly the point, my love" She hissed.
Taking advantage of Cécil's distraction, Who ran to Leo's direction; helped him to get up and tried to find a quick escape route, preferably not blocked by fire.
"It's payback time, Cécil! You used me, killed me to bring back your dead whore. Now it's my turn!"
"Don't you dare to insult my bride, you demon!" Cécil growled.
"Your dead bride, Cécil!" Claudette corrected him.
"What have you done with Clémentine? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HER SPIRIT?!"
"Me? It is you who have trapped her! Buried her with your madness and grief… you killed her, Cécil. You killed her again"
"SHUT UP! Mark my words… you shall pay for this!"
Cécil hadn't even finished his threat when he felt himself being lifted by his neck. Claudette laughed while her unnatural powers possessed a rope and tightened more around the tenor's neck. Leonardo ran towards him and, after recuperating his sword, he cut the rope which infuriated Claudette; she waved her hand and sent both Cécil and Leo to the wall again.
Who glanced back at saw blood coming from Cécil and Leo's heads. Just when she ran to help them, Claudette materialized in front of her, arms folded against her ghostly body.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"Claudette, I know what Cécil did to you was despicable but you have to understand, he just wanted his bride back" Who tried to reason with the ghost.
Claudette screamed again, breaking some glasses in the process. "I could've been a better bride and wife! I loved him!" She replied angrily
"And do you think by murdering me or him your soul will finally rest in peace?!" Who asked her accusingly.
Claudette looked at the girl, her frown disappearing. "No…"
Who sighed and smiled at her, Claudette smiled back before disappearing… just to appear at the top of the chandelier holding Cécil's dagger in her ghostly hand.
"… but at least I'll take you all to Hell with me!"
With a dark, loud laugh, Claudette swung the small blade and cut the yet to be-burned ropes. The turtles down-stage and the one semi-conscious upstage looked in horror how the chandelier fell directly to the spot where Who was standing; the latter let out a scream of pure panic before the giant artifact impacted on the wooden floor.
"WHO, NO!" Leo screamed desperately. He jumped up like a spring and ran towards the girl.
To his surprise, it wasn't Who the one under the chandelier.
It was Cécil, who driven by the memories of his past, saw Clémentine standing there and did what he should have done many years ago in Paris.
Claudette screamed again as she slowly began to fade away with the wind; she pulled her ghostly hair in rage and her screams didn't stop until the last bit of her soul vanished forever.
Leo looked at Cécil's unmoving body and noticed that Who lied on her side a few inches away from the now deceased tenor.
The blue-clad ninja knelt beside her and helped her sit up. "Are you ok?"
Who nodded, a trickle of blood coming from her forehead. Shakily, she stood up and hugged Leo tightly, her body trembling with sobs.
A couple of months later.
Who and Leo sat by a couple of beautifully decorated gravestones. Cécil had been buried beside his eternal love, just as he requested in the small testament Who found written in his journal.
"I can't believe he died saving me," she sighed.
"We'll remember his sacrifice and honor his memory. It's the least we can do now" Leo said placing white roses in both graves.
The couple stayed in silence, staring the names engraved in the stone: Cécil Dubois and Clémentine Rousseau. A few minutes later, Leo and Who stood up from their spots on the grass; it was time to go back to the copter.
"Do you think they're finally at peace?" The blue-clad ninja asked out of curiosity.
Who was about to answer when she felt a different breeze caress her face; this was warmer and soothing. She looked at the direction where the breeze came from and only she could see Clémentine and Cécil sharing a loving kiss; then, the couple looked at her and mouthed: 'Thank you'.
Smiling, Who gave the couple a curt nod before they disappeared forever.
"They are" She answered.
Before they left, Who placed two more items on the graves: a lonely blue rose on Clémentine's and The Phantom's mask on Cécil's.
I hope you have enjoyed this crazy fic of mine. I really thank you all for your reviews, they mean a lot to me. And now, there's not more to say but:
HAPPY HALLOWEN EVERYONE!