Tremulous and Tender

BY : NataliaV
Category: M through R > Phantom of the Opera
Dragon prints: 7330
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: 7/?
Summary, Disclaimer, Etc, can be found in the first chapter.
Thanks: To Kelsey and Sarah for their super-beta-jobs! *bows and kisses feet*
Notes/Whine: First, before anyone asks, yes, I did tweak the lyrics of "The Mirror" for my own purposes. :) Second, I’m home sick today. I’m dying and snotty and my throat hurts and I look scary! Lol. What does this mean for you??? Two chapters instead of one! Don’t you love me???? *wanders off to take drugs and sleep*

Some days had passed since Christine betrayed Erik. “Il Muto’s” rehearsals had gone swimmingly until Carlotta reappeared, demanding the role of Countess. Christine had been bumped to the Pageboy; the silent part. Not that it mattered much to her.

Her heart had not been in her singing since that day. He’d not come to her for lessons and Christine, as much she wanted to, dared not go down to his home.

He’d been so angry with her! Not that she blamed him. He’d told her to leave his mask be.

Damn her indeed! Her curiosity proved to be nothing but trouble.

And his face… oh… it was horrible. She hardly feared him for it, though how could she blame him for something entirely not his fault? At least she assumed that. She did not know what had happened to make his face so.

“Christine!” Meg bounded over excitedly. She was in her “Il Muto” costume as rehearsals had just ended. The first performance was due to start in a few short hours.

“It’s horrible!”

“What is, Meg?”

“They’ve gone and done it! Oh, he’ll be so angry!”

“Who? Meg, what on earth is the matter?” Christine gripped Megs arm, trying to steady and calm her.

“Box Five! Messieurs Firmin and Andre have rented Box Five for tonight’s performance! The Opera Ghost’s box! Something horrible is bound to happen tonight!”

“Erik…” Christine thought. He would be upset. What would his rage make him do? She wondered if he knew she’d been demoted. He’d spent so much time tailoring her voice for the Countess. Would he even care now?

More than ever, she felt she should go down below and try to speak with him, but guilt ate at her. How could she face him again?

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

“Il Muto” was going fine. Christine was nervously waiting for catastrophe to befall the play or La Carlotta.

When she felt his voice resonate throughout the theater, she froze, feeling slightly sick.

“Did I not instruct that Box Five was to be kept empty?”

There were gasps all around. La Carlotta looked mightily annoyed at having her song interrupted.

“He’s here. The Phantom of the Opera,” Meg gasped.

“It’s him…” Christine said, more to herself than anything. Her heart fluttered. She’d missed the sound of his voice… she’d missed him!

“Your part is silent, little toad!” Carlotta spanned, nearly slapping her with her fan.

Christine blushed, giving the diva an apologetic look, before going back to her mark. The opera was quickly resumed.

“Poor fool, he makes me laugh! Ha-ha-ha--” Then of all things to happen, Carlotta croaked. Anytime she would strive to sing the line, the hideous sound would come out.

The stage hands and many of the cast burst into laughter. The audience was roaring, thinking it was a part of the show. Poor Carlotta looked ready to burst into tears before she rushed off stage.

The curtains were quickly drawn. Messieurs Firmin and Andre announced that Christine would take of La Carlotta’s role for the remainder of the performance. After twenty minutes of costume changes, confused dancers, mixed up musicians, and set problems, “Il Muto” continued with Christine in the lead and one of the ballet rats as the Pageboy.

The opera, naturally, went on without a hitch after Carlotta left the stage.

Christine was greatly applauded. Dozens of roses were thrown on stage and bouquet after bouquet filled her dressing room. Even more so then when she sang in Hannibal.

She was given so many compliments; it should have made her head spin. Unfortunately, the one person who mattered was no where to be seen or heard; even if that was his way. No enigmatic roses left with Madame Giry for her. No notes that he seemed so fond of writing. No coming to her mirror as he often did.

She sat there in her dressing room for some time after the performance, after all the excitement had died down and everyone began his or her normal nightly routines. She sat there staring at the mirror.

Wouldn’t he come?

He’d been there. He must have been. Carlotta croaking was no coincidence. He must have heard the woman call her a little toad.

“Angel! I beg you!
Speak - I’ll listen…
stay by my side, guide me!
Angel, my soul was weak –
forgive me . . .
enter at last, Master!”

Tears pricked her eyes. She wished he was on the other side, hearing her. Would it convince him to show himself?

“Angel of Music!
Guide and guardian!
Grant to me your glory!
Angel of Music!
Hide no longer!
Come to me, strange
Angel…”

She sat silently for a moment before the realization that it was in her hands to go down below and beg forgiveness, hit her. She grabbed the cloak he’d given her and put it on. She would beg, she would plead, and she would apologize. Hopefully, he would prove to be as forgiving as she had been when she learned the truth.

Just as she was to walk up to the mirror, she heard him. Relief filled her and she smiled.

“I am your Angel…
Come to me: Angel of Music…”

She rushed to the mirror and flicked the latch. It slid open, revealing Erik on the other side. He stood stiffly, dressed as ever in his formal attire.

“Erik.” She fell to her knees in front of him, just on the threshold between his world and hers. “I’m sorry! Forgive me for being such child. Please, Erik, forgive me.”

She started crying. She’d missed him so terribly. If he didn’t forgive her, she didn’t know what she would do. She clutched at his legs, like a child would, begging their parents not to leave them.

“Erik?” She lifted her tearstained face to look at him.

“Shhh.” Finally he spoke, caressing her hair gently. “I forgive you. I forgive you…”

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

For all that he said he forgave her, he certainly didn’t act it. He was distant and would only give her lessons once or twice a week. He never gave her the opportunity to say she wished to spend the night after those few lessons. He rarely asked her of her day’s trails and tribulations as he had.

She was losing weight and growing pale in her misery. The drastic change in her appearance was not lost on the managers, Madame Giry or Meg.

One evening, after a show, she and Meg overheard the two men speaking of her with Madame Giry.

“Perhaps she is not Prima Donna material… to be buckling so under the pressure.” Monsieur Firmin said.

“Yes, yes. Once Carlotta’s voice is healed, she will resume the lead…”

“Messieurs, you underestimate Mademoiselle Daaé. She is young. Once she adjusts to being in the limelight, once she grows confident in her abilities, she will regain her weight and pallor, I assure you.”

“She had better! A skeletal diva is not the type of diva we want!”

Christine and Meg left for the dorms.

“Christine you have looked… different. Are you ill?”

“I… no… yes… perhaps. Meg…” Christine sat down on her bed. The dorms were empty. It was early still. “I’m terribly confused.”

“Meg sat down next to her and took one of Christine’s hands in hers. “You can tell me anything.”

Christine thought back to Erik. She had promised she would tell no one of him. But… she would burst if she didn’t tell someone; if she didn’t get some guidance. “You mustn’t tell anyone, Meg. Promise me.”

“Of course I promise!”

Christine took a deep breath before telling Meg everything. From the first time Erik spoke to her as the “Angel of Music” to their latest, uncomfortable lesson.

Meg sat, wide eyed and silent once Christine was done. Christine laughed when she finally exclaimed, “That’s so romantic!”

“I suppose it is. What do I do now? I’ve apologized. What more can I do? I miss the way things used to be.”

“Heavens, I don’t know. Perhaps you could buy him a gift? I can forgive and forget anything if I’m given a pretty enough gift. What does he like?”

“He has a vast collection of books. He, of course, loves music.”

“And your voice,” Meg giggled. “Perhaps we could find a song for you to sing him? Or try to write one. He’d be certain to appreciate that, wouldn’t he?”

Christine shook her head. “He’d think it silly. He’s a genius. Nothing I could come up with would do him justice anyhow.”

Meg raised an eyebrow at Christine’s tone. “How… how do you feel about him?”

Christine blushed. “I think… oh, I think I’m in love with him.” And with those words, Christine felt a great weight lifted from her.

“Even despite his face?”

“That hardly matters. He’s beautiful to me.” Christine smirked suddenly, “And, you know, Meg, the half of his face that isn’t scarred is very handsome!”

The two girls dissolved into giggles.

“Do you suppose he feels the same?”

“I… I hadn’t thought of it. Maybe. It would explain a lot. But I can hardly go up to him and ask him if he loves me, now can I?”

“Why not?”

“What if he doesn’t? I don’t know what I would do if he…”

“Who is this man you speak of?” Both girls turned to see Madame Giry in the doorway, before nervously glancing at each other. She shut the door behind her as she entered.

“He is no one. Just a boy I met outside the opera…”

“Lying does not suit you.” She stood in front of Christine, taking her chin in her hand and examining her face. “This does explain much. I had feared it would come to this. Christine, I must tell you, I have cared for Erik since he was a child. The same as I have cared for you. Despite this, you must be made aware of his true character. He is no angel. He is dangerous… and deadly if crossed.”


Review Responses:

Rileywolf133
You got up that early just to read me? Awww. ;) Lol.

You know, every time I see your name, I think of Riley from Buffy. Hahaha… I am way too Buffy obsessed.

Skimbleshanks

I always cry during that part. *sniffles* But, I did say it was ‘supposed to be fluffy, didn’t I? So don’t worry. All will be well.
angelgirl
Doesn’t he just want to make you hug him? :)
Aisling

Okay, you were the first person to review me for this fic. and you wrote something about him or her on their knees, begging forgiveness… I tweaked this part from what it was just because of that… for you! ;)


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