Tremulous and Tender

BY : NataliaV
Category: M through R > Phantom of the Opera
Dragon prints: 7319
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.

Part: 1/?

Rating: R (may go up to NC-17… I’m naughty like that!)

Summary: Based off the movie… with bits of stuff from the book(s). Raoul doesn’t show up as the patron of the Opera Populaire in the beginning. Christine realizes her angel may not be an angel and sets off to find the truth. Begins after "Angel of Music". Horrible summary, I know. :) Fluffy (generally) E/C! :)

Author Notes: This is a stray from my usual Buffy and X-Men stuff… please bear with me as I go along. I wanted fluffy E/C with minimal angst and I came up with this. Also, this isn’t beta’d… mostly because my usually beta told me I wasn’t going to “drag me into a new fandom… I have a life,” blah-di-blah… love you Daisy! Heh. Anyone willing to volunteer to beta this… that’d be cool… but otherwise… I’ll try and fine-tooth it as best I can.

Disclaimer: The Phantom of the Opera and all other characters belong to Gaston Leroux and the music etc. of the musical/movie belong to Andrew Lloyd Webber and they certainly don’t belong to me.

Feedback: Please and thank you. Flames… welcome-ish. I don’t want “U SUK! I HATE THIS!” kind of flames, though. Thanks. :)

Christine was beaming after her performance. The applause and the flowers... it was all so unexpected. She was so happy; she hardly knew how to act.

Madame Giry entered behind her. She was smiling softly. "You did very well."

Christine smiled, sitting at her vanity. "I was terribly nervous."

Madame Giry moved behind her, smoothing Christine's hair with one hand. She pulled her other from behind her back. She held a deep, red rose, with a black satin ribbon tied around it.

"He is pleased." She placed the rose in front of Christine, looking at her through the mirror for a minute before leaving, shutting the door behind her.

Christine frowned, looking down at the rose. She picked it up and held it to her nose. It smelled wonderful. She sighed. Who was "he"? It was known the "Opera Ghost" usually left his notes with Madame Giry.

Christine assumed the woman was playing along with the joke... which was why Meg was so certain of the Ghosts existence.

"Brava! Brava!" A voice boomed throughout the room. It bounced off the walls... making the location of origin difficult to find. "Bravissima! You were perfect, Christine."

"Angel!" She cried happily. "You saw me?"

"I heard you, my dear. I always hear you."

"I could hardly believe it! I was so nervous and excited. I thought of you... to help ground me."

"Get some rest, Christine. You've had a long day."

"We're not... you're not going to give me a lesson now?"

"No."

Christine pouted. "Oh."

"Tomorrow morning."

"Okay." She perked up. She'd been afraid now that she'd sung that he wouldn't teach her anymore.

"Very well," Christine froze. Normally his voice bounced. This time... it came from one place. The mirror. "Sleep well."

"Good night." She managed to whisper, though her voice and body shook.

It couldn't be...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sleep would not come.

She'd lain there, waiting impatiently as the giggles and gossip died, replaced by light snoring. She slipped out of bed then, carefully tip-toeing around the beds and out of the dorms.

She made her way to her dressing room, stumbling in the dark. She stood in the doorway for a few moments before she worked up the courage to walk in. She tentatively walked over to the mirror.

If what she thought was true... her angel was nothing more than a man. A man who'd betrayed her. A man who'd violated her privacy.

She felt she should be livid. But at the same time...

She stood in front of the mirror. It looked like any other mirror. Any other mirror would be removable. She placed her tiny hands along the frame, feeling for a way to move it.

It seemed to be melded into the wall. Christine felt faint.

If he was not an angel, he was still the one who'd taught her to use her voice properly. He was still the one who'd gently guided her. Who'd sung her to sleep nights she feared she wouldn't sleep. The one who'd listened to her silly dreams and fears.

She slid her hands along the frame, wherever she could reach until her fingers caught on something. It was a tiny, almost indiscernible latch. She pushed it down.

The mirror slid open quietly.

Christine shut her eyes, willing tears back. She peered into the darkness, unable to see a foot beyond her. She went to her vanity and grabbed a candle, lighting it after several failed attempts due to shaking fingers.

She walked into the darkness, the candle lighting only the area around her.

The mirror slowly slid shut behind her. The sound made her jump a little. She turned, looking into her dressing room through the mirror. One standing there could see every inch of her dressing room.

She leaned her head against the cool glass for a moment before turning around and facing the darkness.

Her curiosity was overcoming her fear of the dark. And she had to know... had to meet the man who'd lied so terribly to her. The man who’d inspired her so.

She walked for what seemed like miles down a gentle slope. It ended at a pool of water.

Christine looked around. There was nowhere else to go besides in. It didn't look deep.

She spent some time standing there debating whether to go back or go in. It seemed shallow from what she could see, but it could be deeper in other parts. Or there could be things in the water. And she was only in her nightgown.

Again her curiosity won over her better judgment. Holding the candle tightly, she stepped into the water and began to wade through.

She went with the flow of the water since she really didn't know which way to go. She went along for a few minutes when she saw heavy drapes hanging in the water. She frowned as she was pushed against them by the water. Behind she could feel bars... or a gate.

She fumbled around for an opening in the drapes. She yanked hard when she did and pulled one side open. The other side slid open too.

There was a wrought iron gate in front of her. Beyond was... it was nearly indescribable. It looked like a home in the cavernous darkness. A small boat was docked there. That was how he must travel.

It seemed a much better way of getting around than trudging through the murky water!

Christine opened her mouth to call for him to come and let her in, but no sound would come. Shaking her head, she searched around. For all that it seemed impossible to open, she'd quickly figured that there must be a switch or pulleys to open it... like the latch on the mirror.

She looked along the walls... only to misstep and find it open that way. Whatever it was must be pushed by the pole that guided the boat through the water, she reasoned.

The gate lifted and she quickly made her way to the land, where she collapsed in a fit of fatigue.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christine must have blacked out. She opened her eyes to see she lay still in the edge of the water... which was lapping up and over her feet. Her candle was long gone; washed away or had sunk below.

She shivered as she stood, clasping her arms around her to keep warm. As she walked up, she could see a magnificent organ. The brass was glinting even in the dark. She stumbled along, trying to see if she could find a candle or gas lamp.

She found a candle, but no way to light it. She held it in its heavy holder tightly... as though it would protect her.

She clutched to the walls as she made her way along. She halted when her fingers came into contact with wood. She felt around and found a knob.

Shaking, with tears clinging to her lashes she turned the knob and pushed the door in.

She gasped and backed out of the doorway. A few candles were lit in this room. It held a wardrobe in a corner. A small desk sat on the other side of the room. In the center of the room was a coffin.

"Dear god above..." She whimpered, moving once again into the room. She lit the candle she held with one of the flickering ones. She approached the coffin with growing apprehension.

She should leave. Reasoning told her this. But, she just had to...

She set the candle on the ground and lifted the lid of the coffin up. Inside, dead or sleeping was a man. He appeared to be nude. He had a gleaming, porcelain white mask covering half his face.

Christine let out a small gasp. Was this her angel? He was surely handsome... but... this man... he'd...

She let out a scream when she noticed his eyes were open and fixed on her. She pulled away from the coffin, gasping for air. Something brushed against her leg and she screeched again, jerking backwards only to trip and fall.

She scooted back on the carpeting. A small cream and brown kitten meowed and hissed at her. It hopped on her and scratched at her nightgown and legs.

She scooted back, pushing the demon cat away.

While struggling to get away from the vicious cat, she failed to notice the man climb out of the coffin. The cat noticed first and ran over, rubbing against his legs.

He wasn't nude, as she'd thought. He wore pants... just no shirt. His chest was well muscled, though covered with scars.

Christine stared at him, unable to move or even breathe. The way he towered over her was intimidating.

He opened his mouth to speak, but she gathered her wits and spoke first, "Angel of Music, you deceived me."

Another Note: Part two should be up by Monday, unless I get a few hours family free to post it sooner… so it won’t be a terribly long wait. :)


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