Past the point of no return

BY : spikesbint
Category: M through R > Phantom of the Opera
Dragon prints: 31287
Disclaimer: I do not own The Phantom of the Opera movie(s), nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

A/N: The conflict that I have mentioned in the previous chapters was an actual historical event that occurred late 1870 in Paris. I have used a little artistic licence in drawing out the conflict’s actual length for the purposes of my story as well as some of the circumstances of the battle. I have been remiss in thanking people for the previous reviews so thank you to all those who have reviewed so far. Did I mention that I like them and they make me write faster? LOL.

And to anon reviewer...about Meg...sorry but do we all get every one we fancy in life, just because Meg has the hots for Raoul does not automatically mean she will get him now does it????

Chapter 11

Calling a Truce


In the days that followed her announcement a harmony that she have only dreamt of, settled upon them. Almost daily despatches arrived at the estate from Raoul. He was well and that was enough for her. His letters were brief, giving little away for reasons of security. A lot of the guilt from the double life she was leading lifted in her husband’s absence. It was on warm autumn afternoons such as these, when she lay in Erik’s arms and in his bed that she could imagine they were wed and this was their home and shelter from the outside world.

Meg had been persuaded to stay on and Christine had offered her a formal position as her companion. Things, as they were in Paris were hardly conducive to her friend’s return. If Meg had accepted with more than a little enthusiasm at the idea of remaining here, then Christine had not marked her reaction as anything out of the ordinary than a continued desire for her company.

She smiled in contentment as she rested her head against the curve of his neck. It was still slightly sweat dampened from their recent lovemaking. He kissed the top of her head and sighed, his breath stirring her hair and sending delicious sensations through her whole body.

“Erik?”

“Yes my love,”

“Do you ever think about the future? I mean about what will happen with us?” She asked.

“I think of nothing else…when he returns I intend to go and speak to him about you and I,” he informed her.

“You cannot. As I have told you before, he will kill you. If anything happened to you I could not bear to live,”

Erik smiled against her hair. “Yes you would. You have our child to live for. No matter what happens to us, whether we live or whether we die, that child will be a living breathing evidence of that love. Nothing and no one can change that,” he told her.

“Oh Erik I am scared,”

“Don’t be. As I said, I will always be with you. Only death can part us now,”

Or Raoul she kept the thought to herself not wanting to voice her inner fears any further. She lifted her head to kiss him, trying to dispel the shadow that crossed her heart at that moment.

Erik felt her shiver in his arms and mistaking its reason he drew away and pulled the bedcovers over her.

“There, we can’t have you catching a chill. It would not be good for you or the baby,”

She smiled, warmed by the fact that her welfare was just as important to him as their child’s was. She had heard too much of “It’s not good for the baby” over that last couple of weeks with no mention of her own self being of any importance. It seemed the De Chagny heir was all that mattered to everyone else, she thought resentfully. The rub of it was that the chances of it actually being the De Chagny heir were about as unlikely as someone flying to the moon. She had had relations with her husband for six whole months before returning home and nothing had happened until she had slept with Erik. Which had to count for something did it not?

“Erik tell me again the story where we are the only two people in a world of our making and only love and music reign,” she asked.

Erik laughed softly. “In some ways you are still so much a child, but I will indulge you,”

“Thank you,”

“There was a far away kingdom on some exotic shore, but it was a kingdom like no other for in it dwelt only two beings. The unromantic fairytale monster and his beautiful bride…beauty and the beast were their names,”

“Behave,” she scolded.

He continued “And in this world the two lovers swam in the sea by day and by night they sang such beautiful songs that the moon would weep tears at their loveliness. Nothing could ever harm them for the bonds of love protected them. One day they were blessed with the news that they would have a child. A perfect testimony to their love and happiness, but however there was one dark cloud hanging over their ideal bliss…an evil Machiavellian Vicomte who planned to steal away their unborn child and make it his own,” he finished bitterly

Christine got up from the bed, pulled on her shift and walked over to the shuttered windows.

“My tale is not to your liking? He asked harshly. “Not all fairytales have happy endings Christine,”

She turned round to face him, the tears shining in her eyes. “Why do you do it…be so gentle and tender in one moment and in the next sentence full of anger and hatred?”

Erik rose from the bed. “And that is not what you were thinking only moments ago Christine? That your husband could take what is ours anytime he wished?”

She looked at him as he read the fear in her eyes. Christine often wondered if he had some magical portal into her very soul, for he seemed to know her better than she knew herself. Sometimes it terrified her that he had so much insight to the inner workings of her mind.

“Raoul would not do that. He is not a cruel man,” Christine replied defensively.

“Oh, Christine who knows what evil the most virtuous of men may do in the name of l’amour? I have a feeling your husband would be no different when it came to affairs of the heart,”

She remained silent in the truth of his statement, finding no argument to defend it. He came up behind her, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed the column of her throat.

“Do not seek to tame me Christine. For too long have I lived outside of society’s rules. What care I of them? They made me the monster that I am. My wildness is what stirs you and makes you cry out my name when I possess you. I would do anything for you my love, even kill, but please do not ask me to be more than I am. Only two things matters to me in this world and they are you and our child, both of which, I would defend with my life. The rest of the world can go to hell as far as I am concerned,”

She turned in his embrace and her arms linked behind his neck as she pulled his head down for a kiss. “I love you,” she breathed softly against his lips.

Christine gasped as his fingers tightened possessively around her waist and she rested her head against his chest, listening to the steady beat of his heart. Its rhythm comforted her and went some way to calming her troubled thoughts.

“We must dress. Meg is bound to return at any moment and I would not want to be a further cause of distress to her. Her mother, Madame Giry is a force to be reckoned with,”

“Liar,” she smiled at him to soften her words. She heard his low chuckle as he moved away to retrieve his shirt. “I am sure there is nothing in this world that you fear,”

He stopped momentarily. “In that you are mistaken. There are many things in this world that scare me, not least of which is the idea of ever losing you,”

She swallowed hard at the raw emotion in his voice, before looking away and concentrating on the task of finding her clothes. They dressed and returned to the living room, Christine seated herself in his only armchair and he walked over to the piano and sat down at it. Seeing him there reminded her of their fierce lovemaking in that very same place weeks earlier. By the intense look in his eyes, she could tell that he was thinking of it also.

“Come here,” he commanded, holding out his hand to her.

She walked over to him and took his outstretched hand. He turned around on the stool and lifted the lid on the piano, retrieving some sheet music from a stack of papers that were scattered across its shiny black surface.

“Have you been practising the song I gave you?” he asked.

“When I could. With so many people around me it is hard to find the opportunity as much as I would wish,”

“I will not scold you for having missed a note. Do your best my love,” he urged.

His fingers began to move over the keyboard and he closed his eyes as the music enveloped him in another world far from the harsh realities of the one he dwelt in. Christine sucked in a breath at the beauty of him at that moment before she began to sing softly to the music he played.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Meg neared the summerhouse. She could hear the faint strains of music as she came in close proximity of it. Her friend’s voice as it rang out pure and true. There was something in the sadness of the song that pulled at her own heart and made her more aware of her own helpless plight. Christine had been closer to the mark than she realised when she had accused her of being in love with her husband.

She thought back to the day that she had first seen him, at the Opera Populaire. At initially he had not even noticed Christine, let alone herself. However, after Christine’s performance at the gala, that had all swiftly changed. Then she had had the agony of watching him fall in love with her best friend and almost sister. It had not of course gone unnoticed under the eagle sharp eyes of her mother, whom had informed her that she would only find hurt if she continued down her present path. After all what could a penniless ballet dancer expect from a Vicomte?

People like him only took girls like her for a mistress. They certainly did not marry them. Christine, although also impoverished had the advantage of a famous and admired father, whom had been accepted into the best of houses due to his musical talents. She did not begrudge her friend’s happiness, but it ate away at her, knowing that she was setting up her husband for future agonies, when he discovered her infidelities with the phantom.

If Raoul had chosen her, she would have adored him all the days of her life, but how did you convey that to someone that hardly knew you lived and breathed. Then he had become her friend’s fiancée and then his wife, which had put him forever beyond her reach. She was brought back to the present by the fading notes of their love song.

Meg lifted her hand and knocked on the door.

“One moment,” called Christine’s voice from within.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Erik and Christine continued to look at each other, long after the song had ended. The spell that it had weaved around them, broken only by the sharp knock on the door. She looked at Erik in anguish as the moment of their parting had arrived.

“One moment,” she called out to Meg.

She took his white mask from the nearby table on which it rested and placed it on her lover’s face. He caught her hand, pressed it to his good cheek, and closed his eyes.

“One day there will be no more goodbyes between us,” he told her gruffly.

“In my heart there are none, only time that is passed until we are together again,” she sighed, taking his hand and kissing it before making her way over to the door to admit her friend.

Meg looked at Erik seated across the room from her. He could not help the little smile that crossed his lips as he read the fear in her eyes, which had not lessened on several meetings with him.

“Good day mademoiselle,”

Meg could only nod, in fearfulness of his commanding presence. His smile and the mask only leant more weight to his sinister appearance and infamy. He got up from the stool, walked over to Christine, and took her hands. She glanced self-consciously at her friend and blushed.

“I will wait outside if that is a-agreeable,” stammered Meg as she made to leave. “Do not be much longer for we will be missed at luncheon and we do not want a search party to come looking for us,”

Christine nodded as her friend exited the house. Alone once more, Erik took her in his arms and kissed her as if a starving man taking his first meal in a long time. She responded in kind, as she felt his desperation in the touch of his lips against hers.

“Until we next meet,” she sighed, quickly leaving the room.

He stood there in the dark silence of his home for several long moments after she had vacated it. He breathed in her scent, which slowly began to fade. He drew in a ragged breath and returned to his one solace in the hours without her, his music.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The battle for Paris still raged on many miles from the De Chagny estate, and as it grew in its ferocity letters from Raoul became fewer and further between, but she had learnt to accept it. Sometimes in the still of the night, the far-away rumble of cannon fire would carry even at this distance. It was at these times that she prayed for her husband’s safe return more than anything.

She played with the soft petals of the red rose that she held in her hand. Erik never failed to leave one on her pillow. She would find it each night after she retired to bed whether it had been spent in his arms or not. The very first rose he had given her, after they had made love, she had pressed between the pages of her prayer book. A secret that was only for her when she missed him the most, which was in almost every waking moment she acknowledged. She would take the prayer book to the family chapel and look at his gift while she prayed for her immortal soul and the wickedness in which it was steeped.

She rested her hand on the softly swelling curve of her stomach, now almost in her fifth month of pregnancy. Her condition was more than evident against the thinness of her frame. She sucked in a breath as she felt the child stir within her womb. Christine started as the loud explosion from another cannon reached her ears.

She looked across the park into the darkness, no longer feeling as alone when she saw a dark familiar shape moving in the gloom towards her. She was not afraid, knowing the identity of the interloper before he came fully into view. He walked with the assurance of one who knew he was welcome. The moonlight bathed him, giving him an ethereal look almost as phantom like in his appearance as was his assumed name.

“Erik,” she smiled, walking across the terrace from her bedroom to greet him.

He rested his hands on their child and kissed her hungrily on the lips before taking her arms and leading her towards his home.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Raoul led what was left of his regiment forward, most of the men tired and wounded as they took a last stand against the Prussian army. His sabre was drawn as he charged into the thick of the fight with no thought for his own safety. He held the image of Christine’s sweet face in his mind as he cut down one soldier and then another. There were just too many of them, most of whom fought at his side were no more than boys and rustics with no training in the ways of fighting at all. They were mown down like so many blades of grass before his very eyes.

He wiped away the blood and perspiration that trickled into his eyes, blurring his vision. It was then that he felt the slice of his enemy’s blade as it cut deeply into his back. The white-hot pain burned through him as darkness welcomed him like a friend.

“Christine,” he whispered, his last thoughts were of her before the threatening blackness rushed up to meet him.

TBC


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