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: 8/?
Disclaimer, Summary, etc. can be found in Chapter one.
Thanks: As always to Kelsey and Sarah for being great betas.

Joseph Buquet was a dishonest, dirty man. Erik had seen him over the years, forcing himself on the girls, drinking on the job. None of this had been Erik’s business. He could care less what the man did to amuse himself.

When he saw the man peeking into the dorms, it became his business. Buquet had two peepholes, barely visible from inside the dorms themselves. However, if you peaked in from them, one had quite the view.

This only bothered Erik, naturally, because of Christine. Yes, he had seen her undress more times than he could count. But this filthy stagehand had no right to see his angel that way.

So Erik had covered the holes… dozens of times. Every time he covered them, Buquet made new ones.

And in all honesty, knowing the man was out for a night of drinking, Erik merely meant to cover the latest ones before he returned. He hadn’t meant to overhear Christine and Meg Giry’s conversation.

He was glad he did, though!

He’d wept when he’d heard Christine say she thought she was in love with him. He loved her for so long. To know his sentiments were returned was overwhelming.

He instantly regretted acting so horribly to her. He’d been punishing himself for blindly letting her that close and punishing her for her disobedient betrayal. He’d thought she was disgusted by his face, just like everyone else.

It didn’t matter to her, though. She’d said so. She’d told the young Giry that her gasp and fear after removing his mask had been because of the look of fury that crossed his face, not the face itself.

His bliss was shattered when he’d seen Madame Giry enter the room and began warning his beloved of how dangerous he was. He respected her. She’d saved him from the hell of the circus. She’d taken care of him when he’d been ill. She stolen food and clothes for him. She put up with his Opera Ghost antics and was even the one who suggested he demand pay from the manager.

But he would, using any means needed, prevent her from revealing to Christine exactly who he was. He left Buquet’s peepholes and stealthy made his way to one of the side entrances of the dorms.

Madame Giry was murmuring lowly, “Child, he is special, he is a genius. There is no doubt of that. At the same time, he has lived for years below the opera house. He knows nothing of the ways of the world. He knows no morals, for he can all too easily give valid reason his actions. He has…” She looked over at Meg, who had risen from the bed, backing away slowly, staring at him in wonder and fear.

She was pointed shakily, “It’s the Phantom…”

Christine all but jumped from the bed, smiling brightly as she faced him. Madame Giry’s warnings had, thankfully, been lost on her, or forgotten easily by his presence. “Erik,” she sighed, as though his name was a most sacred prayer.

Madame Giry stiffened as she faced him. A look of mild guilt crossed her face. He had been her child the same as Christine, but she would never betray Christine to anyone as she was so ready to do to him.

“I wish to speak with Christine,” he leveled a glare at Madame Giry. “Alone.”

Madame Giry made to speak, but Meg rushed over, putting her hand on her mothers arm and tugged her towards the door. “Did you not want the dancers to rehearse again tonight, Maman?”

The older woman sighed, turning from Erik and Christine to leave, Meg trailing after, eyes fixed on Erik until the door closed after them.

He walked over to Christine. He stood no more than a foot from her. He could see it there in her shining eyes.

She loved him!

How would he bear such happiness, when all he’d ever known was misery?

“Christine,” he took her hands in his, pulling her close. She looked confused, but happy to see him. “Is it true? Do you love me?”

She gasped. “You overheard Meg and me?”


“I’m sorry!” She cried, suddenly. Those weren’t quite the words he’d been expecting. Maybe an excuse for why she’d told Meg she loved him when it wasn’t the truth. Or perhaps that she meant she loved him as a friend. “I know I promised not to tell, but I swear Meg will tell no one. I just…”

“Shhh.” He brought a finger to her lips. “That doesn’t matter. Do you truly think you love me?”

Christine looked away, suddenly nervous, then blushed when she looked back up at him. “I… I hardly know. I feel as if I am.”

“Oh, Christine!” He lifted her hands, kissing them reverently. “Even despite my hideous face?”

“I believe,” she cupped his face with her hands, “that when one is in love, they love the whole of a person. All of their positive and negative attributes.”

Before Erik had the chance to respond beyond a meaningful look, Madame Giry reentered the dorms. “Quickly, you must leave. Monsieur Firmin and Monsieur Andre are on their way here.”

Cursing his luck, Erik took her hands from his face and kissed them again. “I will be waiting for you.”

“I will be there as soon as I can.” Erik reluctantly let go of her and swept out of the room.

Christine was true to her word and came quicker than he’d expected. As it was, however, it was over an hour before she rushed into her dressing room.

He’d been waiting behind the mirror, thinking of how quickly he’d gone from feeling dejection to elation in such a short amount of time.

He could tell during the few lessons he’d condescended to give her, that she was hurting just as much as he. He could hear it in her voice and see it in her wan face. But he couldn’t bear the thought of her rejection so he pushed her away. He had no idea at the time how wrong he’d been.

Never in his wildest fantasies did Christine say she loved him. She’d succumb to him. Let him have her in that very swan bed she so trustingly and innocently slept in. She would let him feast on her glorious body as he longed to. But she’d never, ever uttered those three, little words.

He opened the mirror as she examined herself at her vanity’s mirror. She looked at him nervously as he stepped inside.

“Come, my angel,” he purred, holding open his arms.

With no hesitation, she rushed to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He held her tightly, breathing in her scent.

Christine was shivering. He wasn’t sure if it was from the cold of the night, or something else. He drew his cloak around her.

“Do you love me?” She looked up at him expectantly.

“How could I not?” He lowered his head, feeling her breath on his face. She tilted her head up.

“Erik…” Her voice quivered. Desire was bright in her eyes and reflected his own as well. Before he could stop himself, he pressed his lips to hers, giving them both their first kiss.

Note: It will be some time before 9 or 10 are posted. I’m thinking Monday or Tuesday of next week. Why? I haven’t finished 10 yet and it would be cruel of me to post 9 without at least having 10 off with my betas. I swear you’ll thank me when you see what I have in store for 9. :D ~Nate~

Begin Shameless Pimping: Okay, I have a ficclet I should be posting soonish. It’s kind of sweet and fluffy and of course, E/C. End Shameless Pimping.

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