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.

Thank you to all my very nice reviewers! and for the emails I recived too, it really did inspire me to write quicker :)


The black Knight

Chapter 12

Christine sat up sharply in the bed bathed in sweat, gasping for breath. Erik awoke at her sudden movements, instantly alert as he took a hold of her.

“What is it?” he asked.

She turned to look at him, her face pale in the candlelight. “I had a dreadful nightmare,”

Erik put his arms around her and stroked her hair. “It was but a dream Christine,” he said as he tried to soothe her, feeling her body tremble against his.

She lay back against his chest. “But it seemed so real…it was Raoul,”

Christine felt his body tense beneath her cheek at the mention of her husband’s name.

“What happened?” asked Erik guardedly.

“He was in the dark and lost…he called out my name, but I couldn’t reach him, he just disappeared,”

“I am sure it is nothing, but your piety rearing its ugly head. It happens to all God fearing creatures from time to time,” he replied mockingly.

“But not to you,” Christine said quietly, stung by his answer.

“No not to me, I was godless to start off with. Conscience is a luxury I can ill afford,”

“I can’t shake off the feeling that the dream was a portent of something more ghastly. It was so real Erik,”

Erik sighed to himself as he pulled her closer, sometimes her husband was so tangible it was like there were three of them in their bed instead of two. He was sure that her dream had been little more than the product of an over exhausted mind.

“Go to sleep, I will watch out for you,” Erik replied as he pulled the covers over her.

She took his hand. “Thank you my angel,”

He smiled, it had been so long since she has called him that that he did not realise that he had missed it until that moment.

“Pray for sweet dreams,” he replied.

“Mmm,” she was already half asleep, feeling safe in the circle of his arms.

He was her angel, her angel in a hell of her making. Erik sighed heavily and looked across to the shuttered window; he shivered as if someone had just stepped on his grave. He continued to watch over her until the first streaks of dawn penetrated through the gaps in the windows. Only then did he close his eyes and let sleep take him.

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

“Meg pass me that kettle from the stove and be careful child, use a cloth,” said Madame Giry.

Meg handed it to her, watching as her mother made the coffee. She sighed loudly in the almost silent room.

“What is it? Is there something troubling you?”

“No, not really maman. It’s just that when I took the position of companion here, I actually thought there would be more well…companionship. Christine spends nearly every waking moment with Erik, I hardly see her except at meal times. I feel as if I am just an alibi for her clandestine meetings,”

Madame Giry looked at her daughter shrewdly. “All this melancholy wouldn’t have anything to do with the continued absence of a handsome young Vicomte would it Meg?” she asked sharply.

Meg blushed and looked away. “Of course not mama we have already had that conversation,”

Madame Giry remained unconvinced. “There is only heartache for you down that road. He loves Christine and will do until the last breath leaves his body Meg,”

“Oh mother I know you are right. I should leave here, maybe even leave Paris. There is always need of good ballet dancers at the opera house in Milan,”

“I would miss you terribly Meg, but at least you might find happiness away from the situation,” sighed her mother.

“I will stay until Christine’s child is born, then I will go,” said Meg, resting her hand on her mother’s.

Madame Giry glanced at the clock on her mantelpiece. “Quickly child you must go and get Christine, it is almost six and the servants will be rising soon,”

Meg wrapped a woollen shawl around her to keep out the early morning chills, bidding her mother goodbye and leaving her apartments. As she made her way across the dew dampened grass, she could see a rider coming up the drive towards the house. He passed her at a full gallop; Meg thought nothing of it and continued on her way. It was probably no more than the latest news from the Vicomte She mused to herself as she entered the copse. She was astonished to see Christine already outside the house.

Christine smiled at her friend. “I see you were surprised to find me waiting for you. Erik was asleep and I didn’t want to wake him. He has been up all night,” Meg giggled and Christine’s cheeks flushed. “And not for the reason you think either,” she finished in a self-conscious rush.

“I did wonder at your enthusiasm to be gone. I thought you might want to know that a rider passed me on the way here. He was headed for the house,” Meg informed her.

“Ah, maybe it is news from Raoul. We’d better hurry back to the house. Well as fast as I can hurry these days,” said Christine as she touched her swollen stomach.

Meg tucked her arm through Christine’s and they began their walk back to the house. The same rider passed them again on his departure, touching his hat briefly before he continued on his way.

“He looks a grim fellow,” said Meg, after he had passed.

Christine felt a dread build inside her as her dream came back to her. “Maybe he was a bearer of ill tidings. That would give him little to smile at. I need to get back to the house and find out if all is well with Raoul…I had this dream last night and…never mind,” she said, shaking her head at her own fancifulness.

They were both surprised to be met by Madame Giry as they neared the door to her apartments. She looked pale and tearful, as if holding a great deal of emotion.

“What is it?” asked Christine, almost afraid of the answer.

“Come into the parlour Madame and sit down first,” she replied.

Meg led Christine to a chair and sat down next to her and held her hand as they both waited for the news. Madame Giry handed her an envelope, sealed with a wax seal. It bore the mark of the French army on its stamp. Christine held it, her hands shaking as she broke its seal and took out the piece of paper inside.

There were words, but she could not read them, the lines all fudged together in one big black blur. She passed the letter to Meg in distress.

“Could you read it please?” asked Christine.

Meg squeezed her hand and began to read.

“Vicomtess De Chagny It is with great regret that I have to inform you that your husband the Vicomte De Chagny fell in the final hours of the battle for Paris.

He fought bravely and well and was a hero to the end. Several eyewitnesses from his regiment saw his fall at the hands of an enemy’s sword.

Not wishing to cause you more distress, but we are unable to return the body as there are many casualties and it may take some time before he will be restored to you. I am sorry for your loss,”
Meg finished on a sob.

Christine sat there, her back upright and ramrod straight. Her eyes the only animation in her white face as she focused on a china figurine that rested on the mantelshelf. The quiet sobbing of her friend by her side was almost unintelligible, as she tried to absorb what she had just been told.

“I won’t believe it, I would know if he were dead. I would know in here,” she replied, touching her chest and dashing away angry tears with her hand.

“But Christine they are talking about returning his body,” said Meg.

“But it seems they do not have a body. Look at the letter; it says it will be some time before he is restored to me. Why? If they have a body and the conflict is past and they are making a treaty with Prussia, then why can’t they return it…I mean him,”

Madame Giry walked over to Christine and put her arms around her. “You have to accept the fact that he is gone child,” she said sadly.

Christine struggled in her arms, but Madame Giry held her tightly until all the fight had gone out of her and she wept, her tears so plentiful that they dampened the front of her dress. Finally her tears began to subside and she lifted her tearstained face to look at her would be mother.

“I need to be alone,” she said quietly.

“Madame…”

She snatched the letter from Meg’s hands and Christine held up her hand to silence Madame Giry as she slowly made her way from the room, her movements as slow as an old woman as she closed the door behind her.

Meg looked at her mother. “She is in shock,” her face crumpled as she fell to her knees and sobbed into the seat of the chair she had been sitting on. Madame Giry stroked her daughter’s hair as she poured out all her grief for the fallen Vicomte.

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

Once alone in her room, Christine gave in to the hurt and pain and the soul searing guilt that had been building inside her. This was God’s punishment for her infidelities. He had been too good for her and for that he had been taken from her. But still she would not believe he was gone, not until his body was laid before her eyes and she had seen him for herself. If he were truly gone then she would know it, feel it inside her. Mistakes in battles happened all the time and maybe the witnesses had been mistaken in what they had seen. What if he was hurt somewhere, calling for her? The possibilities were driving her mad.

She knelt at the bedside, her eyes focused on his shaving kit left on the dresser. What had used them would never touch them again. No she would not believe it. The silent scream that built in her head was threatening to spill onto her lips. She took deep breaths to steady herself. She had to remain calm and resolute; she would do neither the baby nor herself any good with all this stress. Christine went over to her armoire and took out her cloak and wrapped it around herself and opened the veranda doors to her bedroom and slipped out of the house unnoticed.

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

Erik rose from the bed and put on his robe. He smiled to himself as he remembered their night together. With the Vicomte away, playing soldiers she had devoted her daylight hours to him as well as the nights and they had fallen into a comfortable pattern, of almost conjugal bliss. How happy their lives might have been had she chosen him.

His fingers tightened on the ties of his robe as the old bitterness he wore as tangibly as his garments flooded back to him. His lips curled into a sneer as he thought of the Vicomte, if he were lucky the Prussians would put a bullet in that pretty head little head of his and then there would be nothing to stop him claiming Christine and their child for his own.

He sighed and walked into the living room, walking over to the small stove in the corner; he lit it and sat back in his chair. He was instantly wary at urgent knocking on his door. He strode over to the small closet and removed his sword, He pulled back the edge of a curtain, and relaxing as he saw it was she.

He put his sword away and walked back over to the door. He was unprepared for the way she flung herself into his arms, as she almost knocked the breath from his body.

“Christine what is it?” he asked as he wrapped his arms around her. He led her to a chair and sat her down, kneeling at her feet as he looked into her red rimmed eyes. “Who has done this to you? I will kill whoever dared to…”

“No, it is Raoul,” she interrupted.

“He has returned?” asked Erik.

Christine shook her head and began to laugh hysterically. Her laughter subsided and she looked at Erik. She handed him the letter she had received and watched for his reaction as he perused the contents.

Hope lifted in his heart; she was free, no longer bound by a marriage she did not want. He could experience no sorrow at the boy’s death. If Christine had come to him for consolation at her husband’s passing, she would not find it here. He could not express sympathy and regret that he did not feel.

He looked at her, placing a finger under her chin, forcing her look at him. “What do you want from me Christine? I am the wrong person to come to with such news that I can only regard with the utmost joy. Do not expect me to shed bitter tears for him with you. I regret not one of my actions in this whole affair. Are you sure it is the sting of grief that moves you to tears or the sting of shame?”

She looked at him as the angry tears he had mocked her for, spilt down her cheeks. His words scored deep into her soul. He was right, she had been wrong to come here, she thought wretchedly as she rose to leave.

“Wait,” he sighed. “Do not leave like this; you came here for a reason. You knew that I would be this way, yet still you came to me. Why?” he asked.

Christine looked at him. “Because I do not believe that he is dead and because I want you to find him for me and bring him home,”

The shocked silence that met her request rang through the room as loudly as any cannon fire could produce, more profound in its prediction. He walked over to her and closed the gap between them. His fingers biting into her forearms, she welcomed the pain, rather than shied away from it. It gave her focus.

“What would you do for me, if I undertook such a task?” he demanded. “Surely the risking of my life for that of a man whom I despise demands some recompense?”

She took a breath, before answering. “If you bring Raoul back to the estate, even if he happens to still be living, then I will leave him and go anywhere with you as you wish,”

Erik crushed her to him. “You would go willingly, leave all this for an uncertain life with me?” he asked fervently.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Then I will do it, not for him, never for him, but for you and us,”

“Thank you,”

Christine sagged against him, in relief. She could not make up for all the wrong she had done to Raoul, he may be dead as she had been told he was, but he deserved this chance at life and Erik would be the one to grant it to him in a strange ironic turn of events. In doing so she had made a pact with the devil, but she had already sold her soul to him long ago, she acknowledged.

He trailed kisses along her throat, and she responded to them, welcoming the sweet oblivion of their mutual desire as she turned her head to kiss him full on the lips. Erik’s hands roamed her body, caressing every inch of her skin. He slowly unbuttoned her gown and it fell to the floor. He took her hand and led her to their bedroom and closed the door behind them.

They lay down on the bed together, a renewed urgency in their lovemaking as she unbelted his robe and parted it, kissing the bare skin of his chest, her tongue circling a hardened nipple as she worked her way down his body until she reached his aching member, encircling it in her hand. She watched his face, still awed by his reactions to her touch.

He allowed her have mastery over his body until he was almost at the brink, and then he gently took her hand and drew her up his body until she was straddling him. He lifted her shift over her head and drank in the site of her body, ripened by the child she carried. He sat forward, kissing her lips and stroking her naked breasts with long agile fingers.

“I need you,” she begged.

She gasped out as he fitted his body to hers and buried himself deep inside her. They rocked together slowly in silence, as their passion built, and their urgency grew, Erik lay back against the sheets, throwing his head back as they both came together. She sat there, still joined to him, tears streaming down her face.

His heart contracted at the sight of her. Her skin still glowing from their lovemaking, her belly swollen with their child, for he considered it his no matter what. She was his natural wife and he her natural husband and he would love the babe for being a part of her.

She smiled at him through her tears, gasping slightly, putting a hand to her stomach.

“What is it?” he asked.

She took one of his hands and placed it on her belly. He looked at her in wonder as he felt the child within her move beneath his hand. He swallowed down the emotion that rose within him. The shadow of their imminent separation hung over them as they lay side by side, looking into each others eyes. Both of them savoured these precious moments in silence more prolific than words they could ever hope to utter.

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

He waited until nightfall preferring his chances of getting into the city under the cover of night. The light faded as the day gave way to night and dusk fell. He primed and readied a pair of pistols, concealing them within his cloak. Christine handed him his sword which he strapped around his lean waist. He took twin daggers and concealed them within his knee cut boots. His final article to stow away within the saddle bags was his most trusted weapon of all, a length of rope knotted in a fashion to bring swift death to who ever was caught in its coils.

He looked at her, a wry smile on his lips as she handed him his mask. “Does not even the black knight have the honour of carrying his lady’s favour into battle?” he asked mockingly.

Christine searched around in her reticule, handing him a white pressed handkerchief. It still bore the stain of his blood from when he had cut his hand on the mirror those few weeks ago, even though it had been washed since. He held it up and traced the initials C.D. It was fitting to him that it was something of hers, not purchased for her by her husband. He took it and tied it around his wrist and concealed it beneath his shirt sleeve.

“Erik, I…” she stopped herself, afraid that if she continued, that she would beg him not to go. But she knew now that even if she did so, she had set something in motion that could not be stopped. It was no longer in her hands. She had set him a quest and given a promise and he would do her bidding.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Nothing…except, I love you,” she reached up on tiptoe and kissed him on the lips.

He kissed her back with an ardent passion of a condemned man taking his last look at the world. He lowered his head and kissed her belly.

“If I should not return…” he began.

Christine placed a finger on his lips. “No, do not say it,” she finished on a sob.

He swiftly placed one more kiss on her lips before mounting his black stallion and galloping off into the night. Christine watched, with the tears falling freely down her cheeks, as her whole world faded into the darkness of night.

TBC


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