A Dance In The Dark
(SEE DISCLAIMER AT THE END OF THE STORY)
"Say you'll love me every waking moment,
Lead me, save me from my solitude…"
It always started with his voice, his beautiful angel's voice singing songs in her head. That was his promise to her -- that whenever she was afraid, he would be with her and she would always hear him singing to her. It was his voice she heard when she sang on that stage, his song that she sang¸ his spirit that gave her courage and strength.
"Share each day with me, each night, each morning…"
And in those last final days, his song had been filled with such wistfulness, such deep sorrow and despair. In the end, he had asked only one thing of her:
"Say you love me…Chrstine, that's all I ask of you…"
And it was so hard to give.
She was a fool, she knew. She had been such an innocent child, blindly believing that the celestial voice she heard from her mirror was the voice of her Angel of Music. She had imagined that he would be beautiful and perfect, that he would take her up to Heaven, away from this world that had given her so much pain.
But Erik was only a man after all. Erik was simply a fallible, imperfect human being and yet, with all his genius, with all his talent, there was so much he had to give. There was so much beauty in his soul if it hadn't been for the hideousness of his face. He had been reduced to a ghost haunting the Opera House frightening away the chorus girls and stagehands, a dark lord holding court in its underground cellars.
Leroux had gotten so many things wrong in his so-called "Gothic horror" story but there was one thing he did understand. Erik did have "a heart that could have held the empire of the world."
If only she could have treasured that heart when it had been given to her so freely!
"Pitiful creature of darkness,
What kind of life have you known?
God give me courage to show you,
You are not alone.."
She had finally made her choice. But by then, it was much too late.
Later they said that she had been driven by fear. Her fiance's life was being threatened by the mad and hideous Opera Ghost. Of course she would do anything to save her heroic and handsome young lover.
Others said that she was simply driven by pity. And it was that simple, caring human emotion that finally broke through the Phantom's jealous rage.
No one could believe that she could choose a beast over a handsome prince.
But that was exactly what she did.
She loved Erik, her Phantom and Angel of Music. It had taken her a long time to overcome her fear of his face and the darkness in his soul that had frightened her even more than his monstrous countenance. It had taken her a long time to accept that darker side with the gentler part of his nature, the otherself of Erik that truly was her Angel of Music.
But in the end, she won. She chose Erik freely, not out of fear or pity but out of love.
There just wasn't enough time left.
Erik let her go with Raoul though she had wanted to stay at last. As if that single kiss they shared as lovers had never happened, Erik once more assumed the role of a father figure, giving away his most cherished daughter as a bride. And she could not understand why at first. Hadn't he wanted her? Was she always going to be a child to him and not the woman she was in truth?
She had returned to him on the day before her supposed wedding to Raoul, despite Raoul's protests and threats that there would not be a wedding the next day if she went back to the man who had once been her Angel. Erik was dying; he could no longer stay with her. All they had together was one day. Twenty-four hours to cram all that they should have shared in a lifetime.
It was all that she had to hold her when Erik left her behind.
"There was a boy…"
It had taken both of them another lifetime to find each other again.
"A very strange enchanted boy…"
Fate had a strange sense of humor. This time it was Erik who was the innocent and naive one.
"They said he wandered very far, very far,
Over land and sea."
This time, his name was Christian. A writer who could make music out of his words with a typewriter for an instrument as easily as Erik had been able to with his pipe organ or violin.
"A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise, very wise was he…"
He was beautiful now, everything that he should have been and more, now that he no longer needed a mask.
And this time, perhaps as fate's punishment for her, she was the worldly one now. A courtesan made bitter by experience and cynical by nature. A consummate actress who could fulfill every male fantasy while she conveniently divested them of their money. As Satine, it was her turn to rule the underworld here in the Moulin Rouge, with a heart as cold as the diamonds she sang about.
"My gift is my song and this one's for you.."
But that very first time he sang for her, turning his poetry into music, she recognized him. Some part of her that had once been Christine remembered that voice, the voice of the Angel she had loved.
"And you can tell everybody that this is your song…
It may be quite simple but now that it's done,
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind
That I put down in words,
How wonderful life is, now you're in the world…"
And once more, there was a choice she had to make.
And again, she was afraid. This time, it wasn't a hideous face that held her back but the bitterness of her own life. She was no sheltered child now, who had a doting father who fed her fairy tales with happy endings. In this life, she had learned much too early that there were no such things. She had no reason to trust men, not when they had never given her reason to. All she was to them was a paid fantasy, a pretty plaything that they had to pay for. And she wanted to be free of her life at the Moulin Rouge, to be more than just a high-priced whore.
All she needed was the right man -- with the right amount of money.
But she decided to choose him once again. What mattered, he told her was "Just to love and be loved in return." And even as she retorted that "a girl had to eat," she finally believed him. Because it was all that they had ever really needed. No matter what had happened next with lecherous Dukes and scheming managers, she chose him, out of love.
Except that once more, they didn't have time.
They had a single night to forgive each other and to rejoice in what they had. Up there on the stage of the Moulin Rouge, in front of half of Paris - they sang their hearts out. And then, it was her turn to leave him behind.
Another lifetime now. A new face, a new beginning. The Phantom of the Opera was the stuff of Broadway musicals -- how furious Erik would have been to see his life dragged through such melodrama! And Satine of the Moulin Rouge was a script fit for a Hollywood movie.
And of course, she had come back to where everything had started.
The stage of the Paris Opera was empty now. The show was over, the stars, the stagehands and the audience had all gone home. It was easy for her to get up on those boards, to walk confidently to the center of the stage and remember…
As Christine, the naïve girl who had so trustingly believed in Angels and fairy tales:
"Angel of Music, guide and guardian!
Grant to me your glory."
As Satine, the courtesan who believed in nothing but the show and the security of money in her hands:
"…Square-cut or pear-shaped, they don't lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl's best friend!"
Softly, she began to sing a different song:
"Never knew I could feel like this
Like I've never seen the sky before
I want to vanish inside your kiss
Every day I love you more and more.."
It was the song he had written for her, the man who would always be her love - under any name and under any face, masked or not.
"Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing?
Telling me to give you everything."
She began to sway gently to the music, calling for him. A dance, a waltz, lifting her arms to an imaginary partner.
"Seasons may change, winter to spring.
But I love you, until the end of time."
And then, a white-gloved hand took hers.
"Come what may…
Come what may…
I will love you until my dying day."
His voice was as beautiful as she remembered it.
"Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace.
Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste,
It all revolves around you."
They moved gracefully together, dancing in the dark, two lost souls finding each other again after so very long. He sang with her, his angel's voice becoming one with her own.
"And there's no mountain too high, no river too wide
Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side
Storm clouds may gather and stars may collide
But I love you until the end of time…"
"Come what may," he sang to her, once again asking her to make her choice. "Come what may…"
And this time, it was easy to give him her answer, with all her heart.
"I will love you until my dying day."
"Erik," she whispered. He had come to her as she had first known him, the long black cloak over an elegant black evening suit, the hat tilted at a slightly rakish angle and the white mask. She reached up to touch his mask, not caring what lay underneath it and wanting him to know that it did not matter now.
But he stopped her and took it off himself.
Her eyes widened when she recognized the face of her strange, enchanted boy.
The name didn't matter. Here was the man she would love until death and beyond.
"I asked…for just one happy ending," he said with a smile.
Moulin Rouge, its characters and songs are the property of Baz Luhrman, the screen-and-songwriters, composers etc. who gave their efforts to make this truly "spectacular, spectacular" movie. :) The Phantom of the Opera is the property of Gaston Leroux and I've also based this on the reality created by Susan Kay in her totally EXCELLENT novel "Phantom" - the best book there is (next to the original) on Erik. The Phantom songs are the property of Andrew Lloyd Webber who also did one BEAUTIFUL musical on everyone's favorite O.G. No copyright infringement is intended, no profit is being made off this. This is made in appreciation of all these works and it's all done in fun.
'Sides, like everyone else on this site, I'm just a poor hack with no money and plenty of imagination.
Decided to move this fic to the POTO category upon realizing that it just seemed to fit better to me that way. Yes, I have a truly WARPED sense of humor. And no, this is NOT a hint to have Ewan MacGregor play Erik in a Phantom movie (hehe). Like it says in the story, I just picture Ewan as a Christian who's actually a milder, gentler reincarnation of Erik. It's just one of my stranger ideas - go fig.
Erik: Masterpiece of understatment that, Skysong.
Me: Hush, sweetie.
Yes, I know it's mushy. Yes, I know it looks like I have been reading WAAAAY too many romance novels and listening to WAAAY too many mushy songs. What the heck - we need a bit of mush every once in a while. So this is dedicated to Reese, "Adrian/Nuriko," Ryquest & Dex - who patiently put up with me while I am in insane moods like these. Thanks guys.