Act 1, Scene 1: From Behind the Mirror
A/N: Hey guys, this is my very first Phantom of the Opera fanfic, so please go easy on me. Basically, the plot is that the Phantom never became the Angel of Music, and kept his distance from Christine, so she became a little obsessed about the Phantom of the Opera.
Erik paused outside the mirror portal, his hand hovered over the latch that would reveal him to the girl on the other side. The weeping waif with long blonde curls and the face of a goddess. The orphan with a voice purer than water and more beautiful than Elysium.
The mourning angel.
The plan should be simple. All Erik had to do was pull the latch, revealing himself to the newly orphaned Christine Daae. He would introduce himself as the mysterious Angel of Music her father had spoken of, and offer his services to her as a tutor. From then on, she would be his personal protege. He would mold that voice of silk into the ultimate epitome of musical genius.
Ignoring the internal voice that urged him to turn back, Erik closed his hand over the latch. He was just about to reveal himself to her, when he heard it.
Christine's beautiful voice rose and danced around the room in an aria that reminded Erik of air.
"Father once spoke of an Angel
I used to dream he'd appear
Now as I sing I can sense him
And I know he's here.
May an angel of music
Guide and Guard me!
Grant me to your glory."
Erik inhaled softly as he heard the pain in the twelve-year-old's voice. He could not do this to her. No, he could not play her for a fool and deceive her for his own devices. It would be too cruel to use her pain against her.
So Erik made a promise, he would watch over this young star from the shadows, and make sure that no harm would come her way.
Yes, he would be her silent guardian.
Her angel of music.
Paris France, 1870, the Opera Populaire
Christine sighed dreamily as she watched Meg and the ballet dancers whirl about the stage. The jewels on their bodices winked under the spotlights, and the strings of their skirts snapped in unison, adding a staccato harmony to the melody of the orchestra. The eyes of all the males gathered in the theater flashed to the skimpy slave- girl costumes like a school of fish, and Christine felt someone staring at her. She shivered uncomfortably under the lusty gaze and moved back a step so that the dancers hid her from the view of anyone not onstage.
The obviously sexual dance complete, Piangi stepped forward once more for yet another off key solo.
"Echemm," Monsieur Gabriel said hurriedly, just as Piangi had opened his mouth to sing. "Everyone, I would like to introduce our new patrons, the Vicomptes DeChagny."
Christine's breath caught in her throat as the two statuesque men stepped onto the stage.
"Raoul," she whispered, while the managers, Debienne and Poligny, crowded around the brothers DeChagny.
Christine had not seen Raoul DeChagny since her childhood in Sweden, when the two would play together. Raoul had always been of the chivalrous sort. In fact, Christine still wore the red scarf he'd swum out to sea to retrieve for her.
She was abruptly pulled from her memories when Meg latched herself on to Christine's arm, tittering away about the new patrons and the new managers, Armand and Firmin.
"And look," Meg whispered viciously, pointing downstage, "La Carlotta's already trying to get into their good graces!"
Christine followed the direction of Meg's finger and registered with a feeling of disgust that Raoul was currently kissing the diva's hand, the top of his head a mere few inches from her exposed bosom.
Christine turned away, blushing a furious red, and chided herself for her uncharitable thoughts. Raoul was not hers, and had not been for years. She would be surprised if he even remembered her name.
"Carlotta is the diva, Meg," she said quietly, "She's already in their good graces."
But Meg was paying her friend no attention, instead she was staring avidly at La Carlotta, and expression of abject horror upon her strong- featured face. "Oh good Lord, she's going to sing the aria."
Christine winced as well, a memory of the last rendition's sharp notes bouncing about her head. "You didn't happen to bring those wax earplugs, did you?" she asked hopefully.
Meg scowled and motioned at her skimpy costume. "Does this look as though it has pockets?"
Christine sighed as La Carlotta's shaky voice echoed about the theater. What a shame, Think of Me really was such a beautiful song. If only they had a talented diva, oh how marvelous is would sound then! She lost herself in the fantasy of the music, La Carlotta's voice fading in her head and being replaced with Christine's own. In the depths of her mind, Christine worked through the song, marking a breath here, a carry over here, and a crescendo there.
Her gaze automatically drifted to Box 5, the only box in the Opera Populaire that was ever empty. Still lost in the aria, Christine absent mindedly roamed the box with her eyes, searching for some glimmer of him, when a hint of movement stopped her.
There he stood.
His tall frame was draped in a black cloak, the hood pulled up over his head and casting his face into shadow. A white porcelain mask obscured the left side of his features. An infuriated scowl graced his lips. His eyes bored into hers.
With a nod of acknowledgement, the Phantom bowed to her, pulled his hood further down on his head, and disappeared into the shadows of the box.
And then, all hell broke loose.
Screams shot through Carlotta's solo, dancers hurried out of the way as the backdrop creaked and shuddered and shook. La Carlotta's voice rose even higher in pitch as she tried to continue the aria, not yet realizing what was happening.
"Christine!" Meg shouted, tugging on her arm, "We must get out of the way!"
Shaking herself from her reverie, Christine allowed her friend to pull her further downstage, before she took control herself and led Meg away from the rapidly falling backdrop.
With a resounding crash, the heavily painted material fell to the stage, narrowly missing the petrified La Carlotta. Christine's dance shoe caught on a stray nail, and she tumbled to the ground, dragging Meg down with her.
The two girls coughed, brushing dust and plaster off of themselves as the theater dissolved into chaos. Shouts were given for Boquet while Armand and Firmin worked to soothe La Carlotta, Phillipe DeChagny and Piangi. Madame Giry immediately threw herself at her daughter, leaving a shocked Christine alone on the floor.
"Are you alright?" someone asked kindly, extending a hand to help her up. Funny, Christine remembered that voice. In fact, it sounded an awful lot like-
Christine? No, it sounded nothing like her own voice, it was obviously a man's!
"Christine, don't you remember me? It's Raoul!"
Raoul?! She looked up immediately, and found herself still being held by her childhood friend, his kind green eyes staring into her own blue ones.
"Raoul!" she cried happily, wrapping her slender arms around his waist and squeezing him lightly.
"I can't believe it's you!" he exclaimed, brushing some of the plaster from her face. "What are you doing at the Opera Populaire, and where's your father? No, first tell me what the bloody hell is going on here."
Christine opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by yet another voice. This one was not kind or warm. It held no fondness, nor gentleness. It was hard and cold, frigid with disapproval, haunting as it echoed around the theater.
She recognized it all too well.
"Welcome, Monsieur, to my theater."
"Who are you?" Raoul demanded harshly, pulling Christine to his side protectively and breaking the fearful silence.
If it were possible, the Phantom's voice grew even colder. "Vicompte, were you not holding one of my chorus girls so close at the moment, you would be punished most harshly. But since you are new to my Opera, I shall forgive your impudence."
Christine shivered at the Phantom's words, silently asking Raoul to keep quiet. For everyone's safety.
"Allow me to introduce myself, my foolish Monsieurs. I am the Opera Ghost, owner of the Opera Populaire. You would do well to heed my instructions. They are enclosed in an envelope upon the stage. Find it."
Everyone on the stage erupted into a flurry of activity, searching the floor for the envelope.
"It's the Phantom of the Opera!" Meg cried, holding the black envelope in the air.
"Very good, Miss Giry," the Phantom said. "Now kindly have your friend, Miss Daae, read it for everyone."
Christine accepted the envelope from Meg's shaky hands numbly, now quite used to the Phantom's letters. He always requested that she read his instructions to everyone. It was almost as if he knew how much it shook her.
"To the new managers," she read, her voice only betraying a hint of the panic she felt. "Welcome to the Opera Populaire. Monsieurs Debienne and Poligny might have informed you, that it is I who is the true director. I the unseen genius."
Christine shuddered slightly and took a deep breath, knowing what was to come. As she continued on, the Phantom's voice joined her own, his silky baritone rising and twisting through the air in a chilling duet.
Christine did not know why this chilled her so. She did not fear the Phantom the way the others did, certainly not like Meg did. In fact, she held a sort of awed respect for him, and abject fascination with him that bordered on obsession.
Perhaps it was because of how he spoke. His inflections upon certain words and the way he drew out certain vowels threaded through her voice smoothly. It felt as if it was not his voice caressing her, but rather his hands.
But still, they read on.
"Box 5 is to be reserved for me at every show. Not one of you shall dare to enter it. I require a payment of two thousand franks each month. Madame Giry shall bring my salary to box 5, as usual."
The new managers stiffened at this, but a horrified look from Christine had them keeping their mouths shut. Bad things happened to those who interrupted the Phantom.
"However, things shall be changing. From now on, all Opera shall be left in Box 5 for me to approve. I am now in charge of all cast decisions, and have the right to change the cast as I see fit. Starting now."
To his credit, Monsieur Gabriel kept his mouth shut, accepting this news with class.
"La Carlotta, you have sullied the hallowed stage of this theater for long enough now. I hereby relieve you of your role in this opera. I suggest using this time to get rid of the frog living in your throat."
Her terror momentarily forgotten, La Carlotta stormed offstage with an indignant screech, leaving a flurry of Italian obscenities in her wake.
"Hold an open audition for the role of Alyssa if you cannot see the beautiful voice hiding under your nose. Keep in mind that I shall be watching this production very closely. Best regards, Monsieur la Phantome."