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.

Chapter 22

Christine paced the floorboards of her bedroom. Charlotte had been gone too long. With each passing moment the fear that something had happened to her faithful maid, grew. Erik Jean had been fretful for most of the evening and no amount of comfort she offered eased it. Christine wondered if he were sensing her distress in some small way. She thought about the gun she had concealed beneath her pillow. Could she ever use it on another human being and more importantly on Raoul?

Madame Giry’s words came back to her… You would if it came down to your son’s life. Any mother would. If you need to you will find your nerve.

Christine looked down at her tiny child and she knew the answer…that she would defend her baby with the last breath in her body if it were required of her.

She had to find Erik. The fear that he would harm himself in someway if he continued to believe her dead was foremost in her mind. He had said to her on several occasions that he would not want to live without her.

She froze as she heard approaching footsteps, relaxing as they continued past her door and down the hall. She had thought to call out to a servant for aid, but many of the established help were faithful to Raoul. She walked over to the crib to pick up her son, and rocked him gently in her arms as she watched the door.

“Charlotte where are you?” she asked aloud in the now silent room as the baby finally drifted off to sleep.

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

Charlotte trembled in fear as she hid behind the curtains listening to the mad ramblings of the master, punctuated by the occasional burst of hysterical laughter.

“Christine is my wife. Going to make her love me…kill the brat…yes that will make her love me again. She will forget all about him with her bastard under the ground. He must die tonight,”

Charlotte gasped aloud, covering her mouth in horror as he fell silent. She could hear his laboured breathing in the room as he came to a stop in front of the curtains. Charlotte held her breath, her heart pounding in her chest so wildly she was sure he must hear it. She screamed in terror, as the curtains were wrenched open with such force, that they were ripped from the railings.

“Monsieur le Vicomte…I was sent to clean and I..”

“Do not bother to explain yourself. I am beginning to know a liar when I see one. Women are practised deceivers. I know who sent you and why,”

He grabbed a hold of one of her wrists and dragged her over to the desk. He opened a draw, took out a bunch of keys and held them in front of her.

“Please let me go,” sobbed the girl.

Raoul ignored her pleas. “Are these what you seek?” he jangled the keys in her face. Charlotte remained silent. Raoul twisted her arm behind her back.

“Y-yes,” she cried in pain

“Did my wife send you,” he asked twisting her arm a little more.

Charlotte gasped at the renewed pain. “Oui monsieur,” she collapsed on the floor, nursing her arm as he finally released her. She looked up at the Vicomte through her tears. “May I go now?” she sobbed.

Raoul smiled down at her coldly. “Yes you may,” he struck her hard across the cheek, causing her head to reel back and hit the edge of the desk. She felt a sharp sting of pain then nothing.

Raoul dragged her inert form over to the window. He took the corded tiebacks from the curtains and began to bind her arms and legs. He stood back to look at her. Satisfied with his work as he stuffed his pocket-handkerchief in her mouth to silence her when she finally awoke.

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

Erik pushed his horse to the limits of its endurance as he rode it towards the De Chagny estate. He was still absorbing the information that Christine lived and that he was a father. Fear tinged the absolute joy he might have felt at the news that she and their son were alive, fear that he would not be able to reach them before the Vicomte harmed them in some way. He had wanted to squeeze the life out of that lying doctor. Maybe if there had been more time then he would have.

He closed his mind off to the possibilities of what his family might be suffering at the hands of that lunatic at this very moment. Family, a word he had never dreamt of being associated with himself in the same sentence. He ached to hold Christine and know his child. His only regret being that he had allowed Raoul to mislead him in the truth of Christine’s fate. He should have known to never trust the word of that boy whenever to came to the subject of Christine.

His heart contracted with love for his son. That his son shared his affliction of face did nothing to change that love. For he had loved his child with all his heart from the time all those months ago that he had known of its existence. He had always felt the child she had carried in her womb to be his deep down in his soul, which some had doubted he even possessed

His horse thundered through the gates of the estate, frothing from the exertion of their long gallop. Erik carried on riding not to the house, but to his home. Raoul had ordered him shot on sight and he was in no mood to embark on a suicide mission. He reigned in the horse, hardly waiting for it to come to a halt before running into the house.

He took his two pistols, checking they were fully loaded before he tucked them into the waistband of his trousers. He slipped the stiletto dagger into his boot and strapped his sword around his middle. He removed his lasso from the closet and shrugged on his jacket to conceal his arsenal of weapons before he ran back out to his horse.

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

“Hush Erik Jean, your father will come for us,” crooned Christine to her child. But how could he, if he believed them to be dead? Christine still clung to the hope that Erik would not believe the lies her husband had told. It was all she had left at that moment. He had to know they still lived. But hadn’t she been ready herself to believe him dead after seeing him on the field directly after the duel?

Christine heard approaching footsteps again, she tensed as the key rattled in the lock. Charlotte must have found the keys. She lay the baby down in his crib and ran to the doors.

“Charlotte,” she whispered.

She cried out as she was knocked back onto the floor as the door was flung open by her husband. Christine winced in pain as she hit the ground, still tender from childbirth.

Raoul closed and locked the door behind him. “Were you expecting someone else my dear?”

“W-where is Charlotte?” asked Christine fearfully.

“She is safe and sound in the study, where you sent her…for these,” he taunted, holding up the keys to her face.

“You did not harm her?”

“No, she lives, but she won’t be able to go anywhere or report to your lover if that’s what you are thinking of. Yes my love, I know that you know he still lives. I saw the renewed hope in your eyes the moment I entered the room. Why else would you want to escape, but to run to his arms? I was rather enjoying the pain his death brought you,”

“Raoul let me go,” she pleaded quietly.

“Never. I would rather see you and that bastard of yours dead before I would release you to play happy families with him. He is a monster Christine, barely human,”

“Some monsters wear their masks on the inside,” she whispered to herself.

Raoul’s eyes widened as he advanced on her. Christine backed away, falling onto the bed. Raoul straddled her and pinned her arms above her head. He stayed like that for several minutes, just scowling at her. Christine looked back at him with ill-concealed fear. She breathed a sigh of relief as he got off the bed and left her there, before he begun to pace up and down the room muttering to himself, hardly seeming to know she was even there, for which she was grateful.

Erik Jean decided at that moment to cry, Christine trembled as the sound brought Raoul’s attention back to them. She quickly removed the babe from the crib and fastened him to her breast. Raoul watched them with disgust from across the room.

“Do not grow too attached to him. There are many misfortunes that can strike at an infant on his road to adulthood,” sneered Raoul.

“You would not harm him,” said Christine protectively.

“What and who is going to stop me? Do you know what people do with an unwanted litter Christine?”

“N-no,”

“They take the kittens and place them in a sack weighted down with a stone and then they throw them into the river,”

“I would die before I let you harm my son,” she spat back at him.

“That can be arranged. If I can’t have you, then I will make sure no one else can…least of all your abomination of a man,” he smiled at her.

“Please listen to yourself Raoul, you need help. We can get through this; there are doctors who can help you,”

“N-no,” he said uncertainly, before continuing more forcefully. “It is too late for that, this is the only way. With your child dead you will love me again,”

“You dare hurt my baby and anything I might have once felt for you dies with him,”

Raoul spun around on his heels before advancing on Christine as she protectively held her child to her.

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

Erik crept closer to the house, lights blazed from almost every window. He made his way towards where he knew Christine’s bedroom was situated, hoping to gain entrance to it through the balcony windows. His fists clenched as he could hear the raised voices of Raoul and Christine coming from the room. The drapes were drawn across the window, but a tiny gap in them allowed him to see the scene before him.

He could see Christine sitting on the bed holding something, she got up and he saw it was their child. Although he was unable to see his face, he felt a surprising rush of emotion for his son. He heard an angry roar as Raoul lunged at Christine and slapped her hard across the face, sending her and the baby flying backwards onto the bed.

He let out an agonized bellow as he was spurred into action. He tried the door handles, finding them locked, he punched through the pane of glass and tried to unlock it by passing his hand through the broken window, but it still would not open. Erik was past caring that the shards of glass had cut the flesh of his hands to ribbons.

Raoul charged towards the window and flung back the curtains.

“Erik!” Christine cried.

Raoul grinned at him vacantly for a moment, before striding back towards the bed and Christine. Erik picked up one of the stone urns that were either side of the doors and threw it through the window. He felt his shoulder wound tear with the effort, but he did not care, almost out of his own mind with blind panic as he saw Raoul try to wrest the baby from her arms.

Christine screamed as Raoul hit her again, this time she did not get up. Erik jean was wailing at the top of his lungs as Raoul reached for him. The click of a gun being cocked halted his movements.

Erik pulled himself up on the ledge and crawled through the broken glass before dropping to his feet in the room.

“Touch Christine and my son again De Chagny and it will be your last action in this world. I will make you suffer in ways you could only imagine until now,” Erik told him menacingly.

“You think I would want to sully my hands with that mongrel you sired on my wife?” he sneered. “Should have killed it at birth when I had the chance,”

Erik’s hand tightened on the pistol. His trigger finger becoming itchy as he looked at the bane of his existence, nothing would give him greater pleasure than to shoot the Vicomte down in cold blood, so he was no longer a threat to those he loved, but he found he could not do it. He felt an upsurge of pity as he regarded the deranged once great man.

“Step away from the bed,” he commanded him coldly.

Raoul smiled at him with empty eyes before bending over the bed and reaching for the child. Neither he or Erik were prepared for the sound of gunfire as Christine pulled out her hand from under the pillow and shot Raoul at almost point blank range. His eyes widened in surprise as his legs gave way.

“You will not touch my baby,” she whispered to him, the tears falling down her cheeks.

Raoul clutched at his stomach, looking at her again in shocked disbelief. “Christine…”

“Forgive me,” she pleaded, her heart breaking.

Raoul looked at her and smiled as his hand reached out. Christine rose from the bed and walked towards him. His smile turned to laughter as he knocked the branch of candles from the table next to him. They hit the rich Aubusson rug, instantly igniting it. The flames licked along the mat, as they caught the edge of the bed and spread further. Smoke quickly filled the room.

Christine snatched her screaming son from the bed, moving him out of harms way of the fire.

“I will never forgive you, burn in the same hell you flung me into, you and your lover,” he hissed at her.

He groaned, took a deep breath and saw no more as his vacant eyes looked back at her. Christine knelt down and kissed his cheek before gently closing his sightless eyes.

“I am so sorry Raoul,” she whispered.

“We have to get out of here Christine; the fire is spreading quickly,”

Christine tried to shield her son as best she could from the smoke filled room.

“Try Raoul’s coat. He might have the keys in there,”

Erik walked over to the fallen Vicomte and searched his jacket.

“I cannot find them and we cannot go out through the window, it is too dangerous for our son,”

Christine was momentarily arrested by the words our son. “Please there must be a way; surely, God would not be so cruel as to take us when we have only found each other again,”

The sounds of chaos as the household was awoken could already be clearly heard. A bell was rung somewhere in the distance as the servants were evacuated. Erik charged at the thick wooden door. It would not give.

“The gun…try shooting the lock,” suggested Christine.

Erik found the revolver on the bed and pointed it at the door. “Christine get away from the door,”

He fired the gun, but the bullet ricocheted hitting a vase on the mantle, shattering it into a thousand pieces.

“It is no good; we will have to take our chances through the window. Give me our son I will protect him from the broken glass,”

“Christine,” cried a voice through the door.

“Madame Giry?” asked Christine, hardly able to believe her ears. “Please get help we are trapped in here, Raoul is dead and I cannot find the keys to the door,”

“Is Erik with you?” she asked.

“Yes, but the fire is spreading, we don’t have much time,” Christine replied urgently.

Moments later Madame Giry returned. “I have returned with Charlotte’s brother Jacques, stand away from the door while he tries to break it down,”

Erik took Christine in his arms while they waited. The heat in the room intensified as she clung to him in fear.

“If we do not make it out of here I want you to know that I love you, that everything that has happened these last few months has been worth it just to be with you. When I bore your son, I cried for I believed you to be dead and it broke my heart to think you would never look on our child, Erik Jean,”

Erik looked at her, swallowing down the emotion that rose to clog his throat at the mention of his son’s name, but he could not bring himself to look at his child. The fear in his heart too great that he would see the same mark on his son that had brought him such pain and suffering. The Vicomte had told him that the boy shared his deformity and he was terrified to see if it were true. Raoul had lied about so many other things…

If they were to die in this room, then he wanted it to be with the perfect image he had of his child in his head, not the possible reality.

He was brought back from his thoughts as the doors finally gave way and burst open. Erik took Christine’s arm and led her though the smoke filled hallways and out to the fresh air. She checked her son over, by some miracle, he had fallen asleep in all the fuss, but Christine would not be reassured until she could feel his breath on her cheek. She kissed him, and as her tears fell, they made tracks on her son’s soot stained face. She wiped them away as Madame Giry led her to the waiting carriage that she had herself arrived in. Erik followed her, his arm about her at all times.

“Have you seen my sister?” asked Jacques.

“Charlotte!” Christine was ashamed at herself for having forgotten the girl in all the confusion. “Raoul said something about her being in his study,”

“I will assist you,” said Erik.

Most of the servants had abandoned the house and were disappearing into the night leaving the house to burn as the rumour that their employer was dead, spread among their ranks.

“Thank you monsieur,” he nodded gratefully.

“No, do not go! There must be someone else,” she pleaded.

“Have you looked around you? There is no one else,” Erik told her gently.

He swiftly kissed her before running into the burning house with Jacques at his heels. Christine hid her face in Madame Giry’s shoulder while she waited in the agonies of her own hell, for his return.

“There child do not worry, Erik can take care of himself,”

A thought occurred to Christine as she raised her face to look at Madame Giry. “Why won’t Erik look at our son?”

Madame Giry frowned. “I have no idea unless…Oh Christine, have you thought he might be afraid that his son bore his mark?”

“It just never occurred to me. Erik Jean is beautiful, and perfect of face. I never thought he would…”

“When he returns make him look at his son. He needs to do this, maybe Erik Jean can begin to heal some of those wounds that life has inflicted upon him,”

Christine nodded her understanding. She handed the child to Madame Giry as she stepped out of the carriage. She let out an agonised cry as she was just in time to see the roof of the west wing collapse. The study was in the west wing Christine picked up her skirts and begun to run towards the house only to be held back by the strong arms of the carriage driver at Madame Giry’s request.

She fought against the man, collapsing into the damp grass as her legs buckled beneath her. She heard the sound of screaming not sure, where it came from until she realised it was she.

A gentle hand touched her shoulder and she looked up into Madame Giry’s face. “Look Christine,” she urged.

Christine looked up to see Erik walking towards them carrying the limp body of Charlotte in his arms. She managed to get to her feet and ran to run to them.

“Where is Jacques?” she asked.

Erik looked at her. “The ceiling fell in on the study just as we were getting her out, he didn’t make it,”

“Charlotte is she...”

“She is alive, but barely,” said Erik as he placed her inside the carriage.

The moment his arms were empty she launched herself into them. “I thought I had lost you all over again,”

Erik enveloped her tightly in his embrace. “You will never lose me,” He touched his finger to her soot blackened cheek

Both were brought back to the present by the wail of their son from the carriage. Christine left his arms to retrieve Erik Jean from Madame Giry. She gazed on his perfection, illuminated by the carriage lamps.

“Erik come here, I would have you meet your son,”

Erik swallowed; she read the fear in his eyes and she held out her hand to him. He slowly came towards her as he took her hand in his. Christine held up the boy to him. She heard the almost inaudible gasp as it left his lips. The silence dragged on, as she glanced at his face, surprised to see the tears that fell. Christine let go of his hand and passed their infant into his arms.

Erik looked up at her in shock. “He is beautiful…” He could see his likeness in the child as he touched the soft skin of his unblemished cheeks. “So perfect…Raoul, he told me that our child had inherited my mark,”

“You are every bit as beautiful as your son to me,”

Several moments passed as neither of them spoke. Christine studied Erik’s face as he looked down on his son in wonderment. To see this gruff sometimes-violent man cradling his child with all the tenderness in the world, moved her more than any words ever could.

Christine looked down at the ground in shame as she remembered Raoul. “Oh Erik tonight I killed a man. How will I ever live with that?”

Erik gently kissed his son, before looking up at her. “Raoul was mad. He was not altogether responsible for his actions,”

“But I drove him to that madness,”

“It is not true; I caught up with the good doctor tonight. Raoul’s mother died in an institution for the insane. It is in his family’s blood. Our actions may have brought it on, but…”

“But I will have to spend the rest of my life wondering if it were my fault,” Christine finished.

Erik sighed as he took placed an arm about her shoulder. “Welcome to the real world Christine. We all have to live with the consequences of our choices every day of our lives. No one will ever know if we were the cause of Raoul’s descent into madness, but I will not allow you to spend the rest of your life eaten up with guilt for it. You protected your child, that was noble in itself ,” he kissed the top of her head as he led to her to carriage.

She paused for a moment on the step, to look back at the house before getting into it. Erik sat beside her, still holding their son as she rested her head against his shoulder.

She looked at Charlotte as she lay on the seats of the opposite side, still unconscious. Someone would have to tell her the sad news of her brother, but for now, she would let her rest. Madame Giry tapped the roof of the carriage to tell the driver to be on his way and with a lurch, the coach set off.

Erik looked at Christine “Thank you,”

“For what?” she asked.

“For our son and for loving me, the man on the inside,” he replied. “I don’t deserve such happiness for the wicked life I have led,”

“You are due a surfeit of happiness in your joyless life Erik. Do not ever doubt that. I love you,”

Erik leant down to kiss her lips, tasting the smoke from the fire upon them, but paying it no heed. Their son began to cry again and Christine took him from Erik’s arms.

“I think someone is hungry. Trust him to think of food at a time like this,” she replied as she unbuttoned her gown.

Erik watched in awe as their son took nourishment from her body. He smiled at her, she was a natural mother and it warmed him to know that his son would never know the indifference he’d suffered at the hands of his own mother.

“Christine I love you,” he whispered.

Madame Giry smiled to herself. Erik had found his place at last and with that, she hoped he would finally know peace he longed for with the love of Christine and his child to fill his years ahead.

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

A/N I am thinking of leaving it there. If you want an epilogue chapter that will mainly consist of what happened after the dust has settled let me know :)I am perfectly willing to write one. Thanks to everyone who had read and reviewed this story xx


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