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 Sorry I didn't update as quickly as I wanted to but R/L got in the way grrr. Thanks for all those reviews!!! But here it is, please don't freak out in the opening of the chapter trust me! lol.

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Chapter 20

The reckoning

The smell of gunpowder hung in the air, invading her nostrils as she doubled up on the grass in agony as a terrible pain ripped through her lower body. For one hysterical moment, she thought a bullet had struck her, until she felt Madame Giry’s arms around her.

“Do not move child, your babe is coming. We need to get you back to the house,”

Christine tried to turn, but Madame Giry would not let her. “I want Erik, I need to see him…and Raoul,” she cried desperately.

“Please Madame,” said Mme Giry.

Christine struggled against her. “No I won’t go!” she could feel the hysteria building up inside her. “Why won’t you let me see them?” She looked at Mme Giry seeing the unshed tears in her eyes.

Meg came to her side. “Christine its going to be fine, I am here with you. Let the servants carry you back to the carriage,” She said gently.

“I won’t go,” she screamed as she finally gave vent to her emotions.

The two servants that had served as seconds came to help their mistress to her feet. She relaxed in their hold, fooling them into thinking she no longer intended to resist them. They loosened their hold on her because of it. She took the opportunity to wrest herself from their grip and she turned to face the scene before her. What she was not prepared for was the sight of both men, lying motionless, sprawled on the grass. Red blood stained both of their clothing.

“Erik!” her legs no longer co-operated with her as she sank back down to the ground, hiding her face in her hands.

She wiped at the tears that fell, ignoring the increasing pain in her abdomen as she crawled over to where Erik lay. Almost there, her fingers reached out and touched the sleeve of his coat. He looked so pale and still, his mask having fallen off lying on the ground next to him. She picked it up and leaned over to him. She touched his face, it felt cold to her and she recoiled in shock as the truth before her eyes sank into her mind.

Her tears rained down on his face, and ran down his cheeks as she leaned in to kiss his lips before replacing the mask on his face to give him his dignity even in death.

“You can’t be dead,” she took his gloved hand and brushed her cheek against it. “I am having your child; don’t leave me alone in this world without you….Erik…my love…my angel,”

“Arrrgh,” she screamed as another wave of pain hit her.

“Come Christine, we must get you back to the house. Unless you want your child to be born in this field,”

Christine held on to his hand for a moment longer as she looked at her lover. “Until we meet once…more in our utopia of our stories…”

As Madame Giry and a servant led her away, she kept her face turned towards Erik, memorising every detail of him. She looked down at her hand to find it covered with Erik’s blood. She closed her fingers around the stain. She continued to look at him, realising for the first time that she had forgotten her husband. A quick glance in the direction shocked her as she saw him sit up, clutching his side.

Doctor Vallaurio was attending him. The last words she heard as she got into the carriage were the physician talking to Raoul “It is nothing, but a minor flesh wound, the bullet hardly grazed you. You will live,”

The carriage set off, Christine lay back against the cushions of the seat, empty and desolate.

Raoul looked across the field to his fallen opponent. A smile of satisfaction spread across his face at the sight of the inert figure, which soon faded as he noticed a tiny movement, before Erik coughed and his hand flew to his shoulder as he regained consciousness.

Erik looked up at his opponent. “Seems no matter how hard we try monsieur we cannot kill each other after all,”

“So it would seem,” sighed Raoul, in frustrated bitterness.

He looked at Erik calculatingly as an idea came to him. He waited impatiently as the doctor bound his wound before being helped to his feet. Christine thought her lover to be dead. Erik was unaware of the fact that Christine had even been here. The two servants had returned to the house with the others, so Dr Vallaurio was the only other person to know the truth besides him. He had seen the sickening display his wife had performed in front of the help. In her wrongly thinking him dead, she had given him what he had been looking for, a way to be rid of Erik forever.

He watched as the doctor attended to Erik, his bullet had penetrated the phantom’s shoulder and as a result of it, he had lost a considerable amount of blood, but the demon still lived.

“Help me get him back to his home,” said Raoul.

The Phantom looked at Raoul in surprise. “I was sure you were about to order me flogged and driven from your land,” said Erik mockingly. Wincing as the doctor and the Vicomte supported him and helped him back to the summerhouse.

“I will be back to see to you later Monsieur. I must attend to the lady of the house,”

Erik gripped his arm more tightly.

“Why?” he demanded.

“Her child is coming,”

“Christine is having the baby? I must go to her, she needs me,” Said Erik.

He collapsed in Raoul’s arms as the Vicomte and doctor took him to his room. Raoul placed Erik on the bed and looked at the doctor.

“Give him something for the pain…something strong,” he added.

“If you are sure monsieur? Morphine should knock him out for a while. It is probably for the best. That shoulder is going to hurt like the devil once he awakes. After I have attended your wife I will return to remove the bullet,”

The doctor prepared the syringe and carefully removed Erik’s coat and rolled up the sleeve of his shirt to administer the drug. He regained consciousness for a moment, as he felt the sharp sting of the needle penetrate his arm.

“What are you doing to me?” Demanded Erik.

“Putting you out of your misery of course,” smirked Raoul.

“Christine…”

“Christine is my wife,” said Raoul. He turned to the doctor. “Come, we must hasten back to her,”

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

Raoul and the doctor hurried up the drive towards the main house.

“Doctor Vallaurio?”

“Yes?”

“I have a service to ask of you,”

“If there is anything I can help with, you have but to ask. I have been a loyal servant to your family for many years now. I brought you into this world.”

“Yes, well what I need you to do isn’t exactly ethical…I want you to fake my wife’s death and that of her child, or at least write a death certificate for her,”

“I am not sure that I understand you correctly Vicomte,”

“Oh, I think you do. You see that man back at my summerhouse is my wife’s lover. The child you are about to birth is most likely his. He will never leave us alone unless he thinks that Christine is dead. Christine already thinks her lover to be dead, now if he thinks the same he will leave here and let us get on with our lives,”

“I could lose my licence to practise as a doctor monsieur!”

“I would see that you were well compensated. Everyone has their price, name yours,”

Doctor Vallaurio looked at the Vicomte, it was true and he had gaming debts. The money would come in useful for settling them. But it was so wrong; he had seen the love that the couple bore for each other. He sighed deeply. He needed the patronage of the De Chagnys to survive; most of his patients were rustics that paid for treatment with a brace of rabbits or a freshly baked loaf of bread. No, he could not afford to go against the Vicomte.

“I will do it,”

“Thank you,” said Raoul

When Raoul and the doctor burst into the house moments later, there was chaos all around them as servants hurried around for fresh linens. He was met by Madame Giry.

“How is my wife?” He asked.

“She is doing fine Vicomte, Meg and Charlotte are with her now,”

“I will go and see to her,” said the doctor.

“And now all we have to do is wait for the babe to arrive,” sighed Mme Giry.

“I am sure you are experienced in these matters Mme, do you think that it will be long?” asked Raoul.

“Yes, unfortunately I have attended my fair share of births,” said Mme Giry as she thought back to some of the unfortunate chorus girls who over the years had been seduced and left by their lovers and sometimes with more than a broken heart. “She does not have long,”

“Madame, I know that you thought a lot of the phantom, if you wish to no longer remain here with his killer, I would understand,” said Raoul.

Madame Giry’s lips trembled as she took a breath. “So, he is…dead?”

“I wish I could say I am sorry about it, but yes he is,”

Mme Giry swayed in the hallway as she leant against the door for support. She had been Erik’s friend and self-appointed protector for so long, he had almost been like family to her. She kept in the tears that threatened to fall. Christine was already distraught and inconsolable, even in the throes of labour. She had to be strong for Christine. Madame Giry followed Raoul to his bedchamber.

“You have to wait outside Vicomte, childbirth is not a man’s domain,” she told him.

Raoul was about to protest, when the doctor re-emerged from the room.

“We don’t have much time. From what the Vicomtess tells me, she may have been in labour for quite some time,” The doctor looked at Madame Giry. “She is asking for you,”

“Has she not asked for me at all?” asked Raoul.

“I am sorry monsieur, but no,” The doctor shook his head. She had been calling for another man entirely. Her sobs had almost broken his heart to witness. He hated the Vicomte for knowing his weakness and using it against him.

Raoul sat down on a chair in the hallway, still clinging to the faint hope that his wife was inside birthing their child, not her lovers.

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

“Madame, please you must calm yourself,” said the doctor.

“I want to die,”

“Christine think of your child!” said Mme Giry in shocked tones.

“My child is without a father because of Raoul. I hate him. I never want to him again,”

Her words were loud and penetrating enough for her waiting husband to hear them on the other side of the door, but she was past caring.

“Meg?”

“Yes Christine,”

“Will you find out where they…bury…him?” she asked.

“Yes, but Christine lets get your child born first,”

“I want to push,”

“Not yet Madame,” advised the doctor.

She screamed unable to stop nature from taking its course, the doctor rushed to her side. Christine screamed once more.

“You are doing well child, I can see the head. One more,” the Doctor encouraged.

Christine let out another cry and her baby was born into the doctor’s hands.

“Is he okay?” asked Christine.

“How did you know it was a boy?” asked the doctor.

“It is a boy?” asked Christine as tears welled up in her eyes. “Please I need to hold him,”

The doctor cut the cord, wrapped a sheet around the child, and handed him to his mother. Madame Giry smiled at her, through her grief stricken tears.

“Come look at him Mme Giry can you see the boy that Erik once was in the child?” asked Christine as she stared down at her newborn son.

Madame Giry swallowed as she looked down at the child in Christine’s arms She could see the father in the son. He was no De Chagny. From the tiny little cleft in his chin to the pale blue eyes that looked like they might one day be the stormy grey of his father’s. This was Erik’s babe. Oh how happy he would have been to see his likeness in his child. She could not stop the tears from falling down her cheeks.

“He is beautiful Christine, Erik would have been proud,” Mme Giry stroked the soft cheek of the baby. “What will you name him?”

“I wish to call him Erik Jean after two brave men that lost their lives and in whose debt I will be in for the rest of my life,”

Madame Giry smiled at her through her tears.

“You did just fine Madame, there is no reason why you should not make a full recovery,” Doctor Vallaurio assured her, wiping his hands on a towel.

“Christine let me take your child for you and clean him up,”

Christine held her son to her breast. “No, I don’t want to let him go, he is all I have left of…him,”

“Very well I shall heat some water and come back to you. Is that acceptable?” asked Mme Giry, she led Meg from the room sensing that Christine wished to be alone.

Christine nodded as she stroked the baby’s face.

“I will go and speak to your husband,” said the doctor as he also exited the room and left Christine alone with her child.

“Erik Jean,” she whispered. “Your life begins today where your father’s ends. He loved you so much, even though he will never see your sweet face. He used to sing songs for you and tell you stories and whisper to me how much he wanted you…he will watch over you from afar just like my father did for me,” she sighed sadly and began to sing her son the lullaby that Erik had sang to her only the night before.

As she sang, the tears fell down her cheeks and on to her sleeping child. Was it really only last night that he had sang his song to her? Christine felt the hysteria rise up in her again as she remembered Erik’s lifeless body. His coat stained red with his life’s blood.

She stopped mid sentence as the door was flung open and Raoul strode in the room.

“R-Raoul,” she stammered.

Raoul looked at her his eyes wild and his hair unkempt. He still wore the shirt that he had been wearing at the duel, blood stained and dirtied. She held her son closer to her in fear.

“How prettily you blush, like a maid. But we both know differently Christine, don’t we?” he asked.

“Please Raoul, can we have this conversation later. I am so tired,”

Raoul’s eyed raked over her appearance; he saw the pinched look to her face and the deep misery in her eyes. Instead of compassion, he felt triumph that she thought her lover dead.

“How fares your bastard?” he asked her. “By law I could take your child from you and never let you lay eyes on him again, and there would be nothing you could do about it,”

“I would fight you with my last breath before I would let you do that,” said Christine cradling her child protectively.

He smiled at her. “It’s a frightening thought isn’t it, when you fear you may lose your whole world,”

“I already did. You killed my love and any feeling that I might have had left for you with it,” she spat at him.

“You never loved me! Do not pretend otherwise. It was him, it was always him. That night at the opera house you were panting for him like a bitch in heat for the whole of Paris to see!”

“That’s not true,” even her reply sounded false to her ears.

“And then in his lair, you kissed him, not once but twice. You obviously got a taste for it. I felt you turn in my arms to look back at him as I was taking you away from that hellish place, Christine. You wanted him even then! Well my dear there is nowhere else to run. You are mine and you will stay here with me. You will give me another son. This time one of my blood, a De Chagny heir,”

“You cannot mean it! I will never sleep with you again,”

“You will and you will learn to love it. I saw the things that you did with him. Things that any practised whore would blush to perform, I guess my friends had the right of it when they said that actress was just a pretty name for a whore,”

“I hate you! You murderer,”

“Touché my dear, you seem to enjoy the company of murderers so you should not have much difficulty in accepting mine,”

Raoul advanced on the bed and before she knew what he was doing, he snatched the child from her arms. He held him up to look at him.

Christine held out her hands. “Please…don’t hurt him; he is only an innocent babe,”

“Hmmm, I can see your lover in him indeed. Of course without out his father’s blemish or mark,”

Madame Giry re-entered the room. “What is going on here?” she asked as she put the pan of hot water down on the cabinet. “I think you had better give the baby back to me and Christine needs to rest,” said Mme Giry as she held out her hands to Raoul.

Raoul looked at both of the women defiantly for a moment before handing the child to Mme Giry. Christine almost sobbed with relief. Raoul looked at his wife with ill-concealed disgust before striding out of the room and slamming the door behind him.

“Oh, Madame thank you. If you had not arrived I do not know what he would have done,”

“Christine, I am worried for you husband’s sanity. If ever you feel threatened just ring for Meg or me. I will get Charlotte to keep an eye out. She is very loyal to you and can be trusted,”

Christine watched as Madame Giry unwrapped her precious child and cleaned him in the washbowl. He made full use of his lungs and protested at the alien feel of the water.

Christine looked at Mme Giry sadly. “H-how do I go on without him?” she asked, her voice coming out in a pained whisper.

“One day at a time Christine. But you will go on, if not for yourself then the sake of your child,”

Christine sucked in a breath, as Mme Giry had almost mirrored the very same words that Erik had spoken to her in those long summer months they had spent together in the summerhouse.

“He looks so like his father, it is hard to see any of me in my son. I am glad,”

Mme Giry lifted the wailing infant out of the water, dried, and wrapped him in clean linens before placing him on the bed. Christine picked up her son and inhaled the clean soapy scent of him. He would not stop crying, it was as if he knew what a poor fatherless child he was, or maybe that he sensed her grief and shared it.

“We need to see to you now, and your babe will want feeding soon I am sure,”

Christine put her son down while Madame Giry attended her. Afterwards she got back into bed and held her son once more, slipping the nightgown off her shoulder to present him with her breast. He latched onto it greedily.

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

Raoul found the doctor in the hallway, hovering about nervously. He walked towards the older man and held out his hand. The doctor took a piece of paper from his medical bag and handed it to Raoul.

Raoul read it and looked at the doctor with a satisfied look on his face. “Very good Dr Vallaurio, death from massive haemorrhaging and the child was stillborn. I will have funds placed in your bank account within the week, do not breathe a word of this to anyone,”

The Dr scoffed at him. “I will remain silent, but it does not mean that I agree with your methods,”

“I am not asking you to,” replied Raoul. ”Before you leave, I want you to dose up our dear friend with another shot of morphine. I don’t want him knocking at my door before I have accomplished all that I wish to,”

“Very well,” said the doctor eyeing him distastefully, tipping his hat before leaving.

With that, Raoul went in the other direction in search of Madame Giry and Meg. Dismissing disloyal servants was never a pleasant task, but for once, he was looking forward to it with relish.

TBC


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