Hello there,

This is just a short dabble of Christine's thoughts on Erik Destler before actually meeting the man. Hope you all enjoy!

Ever yours,

Soprano in Shadow

What did it mean to love a man who you had never seen before?

Ask Christine Daae that, and she would nonchalantly shrug and change the topic. But despite the fact that she would probably never answer that question, it was one that could be seen as curious, borderline philosophical. It was the sort of question that would be pushed to the back of the mind; something to think about later on, when one was finally alone.

For that was what Christine did. As an assassin, she could use the excuse that it was imperative to have a sold background check on each and every person that she was associated with. As an opera singer, she could claim that researching the composer was imperative tool for getting in character. As a woman, Christine Daae would say that it boiled down to pure curiosity.

But when one crossed the line from curiosity to obsession, how could one tell? For Christine, it was simple: while every other member of the Organization would be spending time relaxing, spending time with loved ones or choosing to do other activities, Miss Christine Daae could be found sitting in her favorite armchair within her flat in London, glass of wine in hand, researching. And what was it that Christine was endlessly researching?

Erik Destler.

Those two words brought together to form the name of a man. Not just any man, but a composer who both frustrated and intrigued the young lyric soprano. Despite her adoptive sister's endless calls to spend time together, Christine would spend her evenings researching the same websites endlessly, combing them until she was certain that there was no recent information released on the mysterious man.

He was an enigma: his birth certificate proved to be less than helpful and his social security number didn't provide any further information—it was as though the man was hiding under a different identity. However that couldn't be the case: otherwise there would be a different name written with each of his published operatic scores. So how does one find a man who doesn't want to be found? This man knew how to cover his tracks well, and Christine wanted to how he could be so difficult for her to find. She had tracked down previous homes and composition research notes, to find…nothing. It was all a dead end.

In the background, orchestral music swelled to a climax as a soprano voice entered, rising with the orchestra. Her voice. Christine wasn't one to boast, and she wasn't playing the same albums that had captured her voice over and over in order to relive those moments of fame. No, she replayed these albums in order to rekindle the feelings she had when she first opened these scores: desire, surprise, sorrow, passion, joy and ultimately love. Enjoying a sip of wine, Christine closed her eyes, enjoying the intricate and complex musical passages that had challenged her a few years ago. To date, she had performed in five of his operas and in a few weeks after a short assignment in Russia, she would begin working on her sixth. Six out of seven operas composed by a still living composer was an accomplishment, right? She believed so.

Christine glanced over to her coffee table where the score of Don Juan Triumphant lay, wondering what it would be like performing this opera. She had received an email from one of her father's friends, Monsieur Reyers, complete with an attached recording of the music found in the opera, plus his own insights on the opera itself. According to Reyers, the work was unconventional, and the tonality and harmonies of the opera inappropriate. Well at least this time it was a happy ending, although Christine wondered what the reason was for that. In the last opera, she had been stabbed repeatedly by the main character who "loved her", in the one before that, Christine had hung herself after hearing that her lover had betrayed her and in another, her character had been so terrified by seeing the man she loved attacked by demons, that she had thrown herself off of a building.

'Either this man was a cynic, or some woman really hurt him earlier in his life,' Christine thought to herself as she began to read through the libretto once more in order to get a better grip on the lovers. 'Or maybe he's lonely,' Christine also considered, feeling a mood of sadness suddenly cast upon her.

No matter what had ever happened throughout each opera, Christine was amazed at the passion that had been placed in each and every one of them. All of them so different, yet still so similar when it boiled down to subtle similarities that bound them all together: excruciating emotional pain, the call of seduction, a bright light within the darkness of each opera and all of the male leads had worn masks as part of their costumes. Yet these opera were what held Christine steadfast within the light of sanity, amidst the confusion, pain and darkness that had crumbled away the remainder of her life. Despite her job as an assassin, these operas had taught her that there was more to her than just being a tool for slaughter; although she brought darkness to some peoples' lives, she had brought light to more through her singing.

He had suffered just like she had, Christine supposed, and this eccentric man lived somewhere in this world. She felt as though in a way, they were two kindred spirits who would at some point intertwine. If—no, when—she ever did have the honor of meeting Mr. Erik Destler, she would tell him how his music had saved her from being swallowed by darkness. Christine was certain he would understand—even if she couldn't delve into details, she wanted him to know what he meant to her. Christine wondered what he would be like, what his attitude towards life was, how his personal experiences had affected the way he composed…she wanted to know everything about him. She felt as though there were some days when she couldn't breathe unless she was able to dig up something new about the composer.

Was this love? Christine doubted that this could be the answer. Interested in the composer? Yes. Impulsively defending him to reporters? Yes. Obsessed? Most certainly. But could an obsession be called love? Could anything be called love? Christine wasn't sure—not after her experience with…him. She saw Mr. Erik Destler as her savior, as her reason for living now, and in repayment Christine was determined to spend the remainder of her life performing in solely his operas. Was that even enough? Was that even an appropriate thing to do? When she sang any piece from his operas, a ball of warmth would settle in her stomach, as her heart fluttered. She knew from Firmin, on of her contacts, and Carlotta, her publicist, that opera houses scattered across the world had all scrambled to bid for her services as a soprano.

But a Mr. E.D.C. had outbid them all, although the initials did not ring a bell. After being requested by the Royal Opera House to perform in her first Erik Destler opera, the anonymous man had basically demanded for her to include the upcoming opera titles between her already hectic schedule of charity conferences, assassinations, public appearances and album recordings. However when Firmin and Carlotta had both complained when it came time to cancel multiple events in order to clear her schedule for these performances, Christine had threatened to quit if they didn't comply with Mr. E.D.C.'s wishes.

And since then, she had been performing exclusively Erik Destler operas. Her soul was sold, and she was entranced. She would never tire of the way her spirit soared; the way her eyes would sparkle and her face would flush from the amount of passion the composer had used; and the way her voice shone like it never had before. Yes, she would continue to sing.

She owned this man her sanity and her life.

And one day she would find and thank him.