Author's Note: My own take on the ending of PotO. There are sure to be changes from the Phantom books/story lines, but, like many others, I'm going to abuse my artistic license to mix the stories. I hope you all don't mind. - This takes place towards the end of the torture chamber scene in Susan Kay's Phantom. Please review and tell me if I should keep this thing going!
Disclaimer: I own nothing! runs off to weep
"You're not alone, my angel," Christine almost cooed, her voice wavering from with some emotion that I took as terror. When her fingers were on the lapels of my dress coat, her whisper was suddenly urgent. "Take me! Teach me. . ."
I remember falling into glorious bliss, drowning in euphoria; finding peace in her arms. In that moment, it felt as if our bodies were one, our hearts beating to the same rhythm. The warmth from her body filled me with a happiness that I had never felt in my entire life. And yet I couldn't bring myself to touch her, my arms merely hovering around her, trembling with both fear and passion. Cruel reality embraced me as I jerked away. I felt inebriated, my body suddenly heavy. She smiled slightly and, though the tears still ran down her cheeks, she had stopped crying. I pulled away slowly and walked away a few paces, too stunned for petty words. I didn't know what to do, too numb even to think. I stared at her with the blank expression of a drunk, my breaths coming in ragged gasps as I struggled to keep my feelings reined.
This isn't right, I kept screaming in my mind, this isn't right! But it was what I had wanted, wasn't it? This is what I had demanded of her. It was as if everything I had been planning for, everything I had been hoping for had suddenly shattered once my commands had been met. Hopelessly I walked further away from her, glaring at anything and everything but her. This isn't right. . .
This is what I wanted, wasn't it? Suddenly I began questioning every single decision I had made up until that moment. Here I was, putting myself above petty human emotion, struck-down by feelings of love. Was it really so much to ask to be loved? Worse yet, was it really worth throwing around death threats to be loved?
"No. . ." The word snuck slowly past my lips; it seemed as if standing of my own accord seemed to be out of the question, and I lurched a few paces away to rest against the wall farthest from my wicked torture device. "No, no. . ."
Her hand came slowly to my shoulder; she tugged me gently back to face her, tilting her face up slightly. Suppressing a cry, I could only stare longingly into her tear-stained face. Her eyes were half-closed, lips slightly parted in the smallest of smiles. As much as I tried, I couldn't control myself, the walls I'd set up around my emotions shattering in a second. Eagerly I brought my lips down to meet hers, tentatively wrapping my arms around her. I'd never experienced this peace, this simple joy. Her dark hair curled around my fingers and I could feel her hand on the back of my neck. It's surprising that so much passion could be behind such a small gesture - a touch, a hug. . . a kiss. . .
This time it was her turn to pull away. Her reluctance at breaking our tenuous union was palpable. My heart ached when I looked in her eyes. At the time I refused to believe it, but now it's no longer possible to say that I didn't see the adoration that lit up her beautiful face. Her hand lifted mine to her cheek, and I caressed her skin ruefully, my own eyes glazing over. Her lips began reaching up to meet mine again, but I sadly turned away. Never had I felt such pain and utter agony. . . My fingers brushed her fair skin once more, savoring each precious second. I couldn't stand it. . . I took her into my arms, and held her, rocking back and forth to our own secret music. . .
The spell was broken abruptly. I slowly released her, flipping the switch that would turn-off the lights in the torture chamber. My eyes began to burn, and that familiar lump in my throat began to grow. I let out a trembling breath, trying to keep my emotions in check. I felt her delicate hand on my arm and I turned to look at her one last time. "Christine. . ."
I didn't know what else to say, so I dazedly murmured her name a few more times. Slowly her hand moved and touched my face, which, I half-noticed, was unmasked. Her touch was gentle, timid, warm, and I struggled not to flinch. I was shocked that she wasn't retching at the sight of my deformity. Somewhere in the back of my mind was the usual anger and humiliation and yet. . . I didn't care. I didn't care!
"Christine," I whispered slowly, listening to my own voice as if it were someone else talking. I felt no breath pass my lips as I mouthed, "Christine. . . I love you."
And as quickly as it had arrived, that one perfect moment was over.
I sighed heavily, walking towards Raoul as he entered, realizing yet again what I could never even hope to have, what I could never share with Christine. How could a monster – an ugly thing – even be worthy enough to desire her, much less ever hope to have her love? Among my credits were side-show freak, morphine addict, cowering beast, a murderer. . . It was little wonder that she would choose this perfect man over me. . .
He stood before us, tired and glistening with sweat. I noted darkly how, despite having almost been victim to a torture device that induced suicide, he looked as dashing and handsome as ever. I stiffened, a fresh wave of hate bursting at my heart, but one glance at Christine melted away the ice. I straightened myself slightly and the next few moments flew past. I could barely remember what happened until I joined Raoul's hand with Christine's. I was vaguely aware of the tears rolling down my cheeks, but I couldn't care less. Rambling, I asked foolishly for an invitation for their wedding, knowing damn well that I sounded like a lunatic. Blankly I sent them away and asked Nadir to have tea. . . Silently I berated myself for my idiocy, my ignorance, struggling to keep my composure so as not to upset Christine. Had I watched them leave, I knew I would have died in all forms of the word.
We walked into the kitchen and Nadir shut the door behind him. I stood at the table, steepling my hands on it, with a bowed head. My back faced him and I strained to hear Christine leave. We were both still for a long time, I think, before I dropped into a chair and said softly, "Forgive me, Nadir. . ."
I sensed that he hadn't moved and I imagined the look of disbelief on his face. I heard him making the tea and I folded my hands on the table. Thankfully, he knew well enough not to look at me while I was still unmasked. I didn't need to see, nor did I want to see, that look of restrained horror in his eyes.
"I. . . I understand," he replied after a while, his voice steady despite the tinge of anger in his inflection, as he waited for the water to boil. "I understand."
Of course, I had half expected him to throw a knife at me, or something equally dramatic and violent, and was looking forward to it. I knew however, that he didn't comprehend it all, but I suppose he thought it would make me feel better? I could have laughed had I thought about it at the time. He placed a mug in front of me and took a seat. Eons of silence passed between us, and I could only stare at the liquid in the mug, instinctively keeping my head down. I heard him impatiently tapping the table with his finger tips in a less than steady rhythm. Suddenly he shot up, and I guessed correctly that his frustration had gotten the better of him, his chair clattering as it fell to the floor. "Fool," he whispered, shaking his head. "How can you just sit there? How can you stay silent after what just happened? I told you to leave her and her boy alone. How can you just sit there in silence?"
I looked up, my eyes carefully devoid of emotion. I saw the tiniest flutter of disgust flash through Nadir's eyes when he saw my face but ignored it. "I'm not such a lunatic to not know what I've done," I muttered flatly. "But it's quite clear, Daroga, that you don't understand, despite what you've said. I've lost her; I've lost my angel. . . nothing mattered but her. Whatever I do now will do nothing to change that." Slowly I stood, turning my back to him. "Please. . . if you truly think that you're such a good friend, then leave me in peace."
"Erik. . . I-"
He jumped slightly and he soon replaced the chair he was sitting on onto its four legs. I detachedly watched him storm out and heard the door slam behind him. I remained where I was for a while longer before taking both of the mugs on the table and hurling them at the wall.
Ayesha came, rubbing herself against my legs affectionately, oblivious to the drama that had just taken place only moments before. I stroked her back when she hopped onto my lap. My eyes were locked onto the shards of glass on the floor and, when I regained my senses, I realized indifferently that an hour had passed since Nadir left. I woke Ayesha, who had been contentedly napping on my knee, and walked into the drawing room. I collapsed into the wingback chair, my hand instinctively groping at my chest as a shuddering cry escaped my lips.
"Christine. . ." I wailed, tears flowing freely; my head in my hands, leaning forward on my knees, moaning that name. I experienced such indescribable pain in those fleeting moments. "Why?" I sobbed. "My angel. . . why? Oh, my beautiful angel. . ."
My mind lapsed into a period of self-loathing so powerful that I didn't realize that I had been clawing at my wretched face until I felt the warm blood trickling down my palms and sunken cheeks. I wiped my hands together slowly and strode over to my organ. I sat down on the bench and was soon pounding at the keys, all thoughts of harmony and melody lost to me. So long as it resembled music, it would suffice.
Both my soul and body were lost in the sound, enveloped by the effort of piecing the notes together. I felt as if I was drowning in this temporary elation that the music gave me. Indeed, music is my love. Music would never lie to me, never deceive me. It would never judge the monstrosity that is my face. It would not fall trembling during one of my blind rages. I was safe to offer my life to my music, and it would not deny me its simple pleasures. . .
I realized, suddenly, that I was playing the song that I had composed for her so many months ago. The memory forced itself upon me and I felt the tears begin to return. But despite it all - as my body shuddered from the agony, when my eyes grew sore from mourning - I couldn't bring myself to stop. I found myself reciting the words softly, at first, and then with growing strength:
For your eyes
Will only tell the truth -
And the truth
Isn't what you want to see.
In the dark,
it is easy to pretend
That the truth
Is what it ought to be. . ."
My fingers suddenly stopped, and I sat with my hands poised over the keys. I knew that I couldn't continue. . . I played a few more measures, a bitter smile on my lips:
can make my song take flight -
It's over now - the music of the night. . . ."
(A/N: The song was obviously the Music of the Night from the OLC Highlights of Phantom of the Opera, if you didn't know. Thanks for reading! Please review - criticism is highly welcomed (if not required).)