Symphony in the Twilight - new update- 1/12/17


Re: Symphony in the Twilight - updated- 12/16/15

Postby Godzuki » Sun Dec 27, 2015 8:26 pm

WynterVivaldi wrote:Merry 4th day of Christmas from Singapore guys :D
I've been unduly absent but nice to be reading these stories again.
In other news, I'm in uni and just came back to these stories for the holidays, ahhhhhh~~~
How I missed them ; w ; I feel old too--


Hi WV, so great to see you again! :wave: You will have a lot of catching up to do, but well worth it! Glad you're back!
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - updated- 12/16/15

Postby honeyphan » Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:58 am

Godzuki wrote:
WynterVivaldi wrote:Merry 4th day of Christmas from Singapore guys :D
I've been unduly absent but nice to be reading these stories again.
In other news, I'm in uni and just came back to these stories for the holidays, ahhhhhh~~~
How I missed them ; w ; I feel old too--


Hi WV, so great to see you again! :wave: You will have a lot of catching up to do, but well worth it! Glad you're back!


Hey WV! Nice to see you again! :hearts:
Well - story still isn't finished -lol - but there is more coming.
I wanted to wait til after Christmas to continue posting- because story is about to go very dark...and I didn't want to post anything too disturbing during the holidays...

And thank you G! Glad you enjoyed the last chapter. :) Remember that happy feeling and cling to it. (muahahaha) ;-)

I'll post the next chapter after New Year's. Or, I guess I could post now...just be prepared. I gave the same warning on fanfiction, and had a few readers tell me that even though they had mentally prepared themselves - they were still unprepared...
So that should prepare you even more. lol

But remember - the darker the conflict, the greater the resolution when it happens (and the joyful/relieved feelings that come from it). ;-) (It's one of the writer's golden rules)
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - updated- 12/16/15

Postby Godzuki » Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:56 pm

honeyphan wrote:I wanted to wait til after Christmas to continue posting- because story is about to go very dark...and I didn't want to post anything too disturbing during the holidays...

And thank you G! Glad you enjoyed the last chapter. :) Remember that happy feeling and cling to it. (muahahaha) ;-)

I'll post the next chapter after New Year's. Or, I guess I could post now...just be prepared. I gave the same warning on fanfiction, and had a few readers tell me that even though they had mentally prepared themselves - they were still unprepared...
So that should prepare you even more. lol
*gulp* just HOW dark you talking? RumBelle dark? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 is just barely and 10 is only read during the day? :o :mrgreen: Thanks for the warning - you are so thoughtful and sweet :hearts:

But remember - the darker the conflict, the greater the resolution when it happens (and the joyful/relieved feelings that come from it). ;-) (It's one of the writer's golden rules)
I will use this sentence as my digital bookmark reminder :mrgreen:
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - updated- 12/16/15

Postby honeyphan » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:44 pm

Godzuki wrote:
honeyphan wrote:I wanted to wait til after Christmas to continue posting- because story is about to go very dark...and I didn't want to post anything too disturbing during the holidays...

And thank you G! Glad you enjoyed the last chapter. :) Remember that happy feeling and cling to it. (muahahaha) ;-)

I'll post the next chapter after New Year's. Or, I guess I could post now...just be prepared. I gave the same warning on fanfiction, and had a few readers tell me that even though they had mentally prepared themselves - they were still unprepared...
So that should prepare you even more. lol
*gulp* just HOW dark you talking? RumBelle dark? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 is just barely and 10 is only read during the day? :o :mrgreen: Thanks for the warning - you are so thoughtful and sweet :hearts:


I haven't caught up on all of RumBelle to answer that - lol - but dark...
scale of 1 - 10 - a 9 perhaps?

At least judging from the reviews I've gotten...
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - updated- 12/16/15

Postby honeyphan » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:22 pm

As promised, with the holidays over, I'll start posting on this again...
here's the next chapter - (be prepared ...)


Unending Night
Chapter LXI


The Phantom regarded his assistant with angry disbelief. Once he left Christine in her dressing room, he immediately located Madame Giry in her office to familiarize himself with recent events. To say he was displeased could not even begin to describe the incredulous rage that engulfed his thoughts in a fiery cloud of vengeance.

"How dare they," he fumed, clenching gloved hands. "They will not succeed, I will see to that…"

"But – what will you do?"

He ignored her nervous query.

"If they think they can hire some blundering idiot to attempt to rewrite my opera, they truly have no knowledge of who they are dealing with."

"These men will not cower in the face of threats," she said grimly.

"Then I shall give them more than threats."

At his ominous tone, she visibly shivered.

"Erik, I beg you, think of what you're doing before you act. Think of Christine. They could use your tactics to manipulate the management against her."

"Not if we continue with the ruse that she and I no longer have any association, that we, as far as they are concerned, despise one another."

Madame sighed in weary reluctance. "I can see no good coming from such a plan."

He began to pace. "You expect me to sit idly by and watch in silence while some inept buffoon destroys my creation that I spent more than three seasons to write and twice that to perfect?! What was the fool's name again – Alucard? And they suppose him to engage in such atrocities here, in my opera house? Perhaps I will have to pay a visit to this false composer…"

"And will you kill the man for what he cannot help?" she whispered. "I overheard the conversation among them, Erik, enough to realize Monsieur Alucard is being forced into this role."

He came to a halt. "How quick you are always to jump to that conclusion, Antoinette." His mockery melted into disgust. "I have no need to bring about his demise. Perhaps I will put the fear of the Ghost into him, so that he might reassess the wisdom of sucking the life out of my opus."

She shook her head. "And I say again, such a measure of retribution will only cause more problems. Believe me, I understand your feelings of disgust and betrayal, but prudent silence is perhaps the wisest course to take at this time…?"

Her hesitant suggestion fanned his wrath to a bitter flame.

"Not while those cretins run this opera!"

He unclenched and clenched his hands, wishing for the empowering feel of catgut against his fingers and at their throats, but he could not fall back on old methods to remove the problem – not with the damnable shadows of the future always there to haunt him and threaten Christine.

"There is one good piece of news I have to share," Madame said, clasping her hands on her desk. "Joseph Buquet has been discharged."

The Phantom snorted. "Good riddance. Why the old managers kept his lazy carcass I could never fathom. The man was rarely at his post when needed, always off spying through peepholes at the ballet rats or drinking himself into a stupor." He drummed up a smile. "What bit of good fortune brought about this needed change?"

"The new management was unhappy with his work. That's all I know."

Those men were imbeciles who did not belong to his world of theater and music - and certainly had no business rewriting his opera! - but at least they had demonstrated some sense. The Phantom would breathe easier knowing that Buquet was no longer an obstacle in the path to his future happiness with Christine.

With the knowledge that Antoinette must return to the chorus, Erik nodded once in parting and hastened through the secret tunnels to continue work on his latest project. He only had three hours before he must return to the area behind the curtains of the stage wing and wait for Christine to be released from practice. While they inhabited the world above, he did not dare leave her alone when she was between rehearsals. On stage, the Giry women would see to it that never was the case, and that ignorant boy had professed concern for her welfare, no matter how unsolicited his aid. In his moronic masquerade as a scene shifter, he would also keep watch during the short time necessary that Erik must remain absent, though the thought galled him.

xXx

From her awkward position sprawled on the sawdust-covered planks, one hand braced against them for support, Christine stared at the advancing stagehand in mounting alarm.

"What do you want?" she asked, the words unnecessary. The lewd look in his eyes told her exactly what he desired to seize from her.

She darted a glance toward the door, frantically questioning if she could haul her bruised body up and flee into the corridor before he could catch her.

There was no choice.

She jumped up and ran.

The agility of her conditioned form outdistanced his overweight insobriety, but just as her heart felt it would burst from relief to escape - with the closed door only several stretches of an arm away - his hand grabbed her hair and yanked viciously, pulling her backward. She screeched, falling to her rear. In terror she looked up at him and scuttled backward, crab-like, on hands and feet.

"Leave me alone," she whispered, fear paralyzing her throat.

"And why should I do that?" he spoke for the first time.

His lecherous gaze dropped to the apex of her thighs where her flimsy costume skirt had ridden up around her hips in her hasty retreat, the strip of linen beneath giving a generous view. She slammed her knees shut.

His laugh was vulgar, his words hoarse with lust. "I know what a bad girl you are, Christine Daae, prancing around in your thin shift late at night, always putting those lovely tits and ass on display – you like to be looked at, don't you? But it doesn't stop there. I know better. You spread your legs wide for the Vicomte's cock and meet the Phantom in dark corners for more of the same …"

"You're a disgusting, filthy piece of vermin," she hissed, the warmth of embarrassment singeing her face, the iciness of dread chilling her heart – had he seen her with Erik? But no, he was fishing, his vulgar comment with regard to Raoul a disgusting lie. He was only toying with her.

By the gleam in his eye and his steady approach, he had much more in mind and perhaps wasn't as drunk as she'd first thought. She whimpered, cringing back, desperately wishing there was a second exit. His stocky build blocked her access to the only door in the room.

"I'm disgusting?" he scorned. "He's the monster! You don't deny you've been with him. You can't… I see things others don't, Christine Daae, I hear things no one knows about…and I've seen what a naughty girl you are…" He advanced a step, his hand moving to stroke himself through his trousers. "In the chapel of all places…"

"SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!" she cried out as loudly as possible, scuttling backward, her shoulders hitting a long wooden box of footwear.

"HELP! HELP!" Joseph Buquet screamed just as loudly, startling her into silence.

His smile in his ratted beard was pure evil. "There's no one to hear you, sweets. Everyone is at rehearsal and will be for the next three hours. Plenty of time to have some fun…"

He pounced so suddenly, she was unprepared. Grabbing her trembling knees in his grimy hands, he pulled them wide, despite her resistance to prevent his intent, and moved his husky form between them.

"I wonder, do you taste as sweet as you look?" he rasped, lowering his thick lips toward her heaving breasts. The overpowering stench of rum and old sweat made her stomach heave and she thought she might vomit.

Desperate, she reached behind and grabbed a slipper, hitting him as hard as she could on the side of the head with the hard leather sole. He reared back in pain, and she grabbed another, this time throwing it at his face. Then another…

"You fucking bitch!" he yelped, drawing his arms up to protect his face.

"You're the monster…!" she cried. "A true beast! Leave me be!"

Her assault made him retreat long enough for her to push herself away from him. She kept the missiles of footwear flying in his direction, to deter him from lunging again and awarding her the ability to escape.

There was no way she could dart around him and to the door, fearful he would grab her. She pulled herself up to stand, using the costumes on the rack and bringing a few off the hangers with her in her panicked efforts.

Her heart beating against her ribs like a frightened caged bird, she flew far into the darkest part of the chamber, and felt her way along the racks when she could no longer see. His taunts followed her as she heard the heavy sounds of his struggle to stand.

"But you like monsters and beasts, don't you?" he called out. "You were the Phantom's whore and everyone knows it…"

In the darkness, her hand made contact with a row of long fur coats of Russian costumes. She slipped between two, working to conceal her body and silence her raspy breathing. If she could stay hidden until someone came looking for her – surely someone would notice her missing from rehearsal and come looking for her! – surely Erik would notice her absence…

Erik.

She closed her eyes, desperately wishing her husband would appear and make this nightmare dissolve.

"…Or do you even know the kind of monster you let slide between your legs?" her pursuer continued in a sinister drawl, lurking and drawing ever closer, like a wild animal seeking prey to devour. "His face is a horror beneath the mask – that's common knowledge. But I know more. I know things about him no one else does. I've heard things no one else has…Did you know I once had a brother? Let me tell you about that vile piece of murdering scum that calls himself the Phantom of the Opera…"

Christine bit the side of her tongue hard so as not to angrily denounce his disparaging words about her Phantom, certain all that Buquet said was a lie. Above all else, she must remain silent and not allow him to goad her into a response. She could not let him find her before help arrived, though she feared the frantic pounding in her ears and her heart could be audibly heard and lead him to where she hid.

To her horror, the hazy luminosity on the low ceiling spread further in her direction. Peeking out of the fur wraps, she noticed that several rows down, where there had been only darkness, the light now softly glowed.

He was setting flame to the unlit lamps along the wall.

Shutting her eyes in paralyzed fear, she burrowed her face into soft fur. Never had she wished for the darkness to envelop her more than at this moment, her old fear of such childishness laughable compared to what she now faced.

xXx

Erik swiftly changed course in the hidden corridor that ran from one end of the opera house to the other, the need to find oil for lubricating the rusted mechanisms on one of his trapdoors a necessity that must wait when remembering only one log of wood remained in his lair. Finding more fuel for the hearth took precedence at the moment, his bride's delight to lounge by the fireside with her husband an enjoyment he shared.

He loved to have Christine burrow into his side on the sofa, to watch the firelight dance with auburn and golden brilliance amid her lustrous dark curls and bathe her porcelain skin with a shimmer of light, to see that same light sparkle in her deep dark eyes turned up to him.

She was his treasure, forever his to adore…

Her effusive response to his morning gift of the sunrise pleased him, more so that she had made it abundantly clear that she preferred his continued presence with her in their bed as opposed to habitually greeting the dawn. He gave a satisfied smirk. Madame Giry had been wrong to believe that Christine would resent her time in his labyrinth beneath the earth. Both Demeter and the blond Apollo had lost their attempt to lure his beautiful Persephone to Daylight, and the Phantom, in his role of Hades, had won.

He forced his mind from vague literary contrasts to pressing domestic matters as he reached the door that exited the north side and pulled the brim of his fedora low.

First he must obtain wood for the fire, then oil and new materials for an additional trapdoor. The chains and pulleys could be secured later from the workroom at the Opera House. And while he was in the city, he should also pay a visit to the old apothecary to replenish his dwindling supplies …

The unexpected sight of a familiar and despised figure crossing his path several feet ahead seized his rapt attention from his internal checklist. The sight of what the woman held, suspended and twirled in front of her face, seized all rational thought in a whirlwind of disbelief that quickly swept into an inferno of searing rage.

In a blur of movement he had the young woman against the wall of the opposite alley and by the throat.

Her eyes flew wide in terror as she took in his half mask and the fury that boiled in his eyes. With no difficulty, he snapped the chain from the thief's numb fingers and lifted what dangled on the end for closer inspection.

He clenched his teeth hard to see he had not been mistaken.

Never had he killed a woman with intent. Never had he loathed a woman more to deal the killing blow. The Khanum had come close to spurring his murderous rage, but nowhere near the level of vengeful hatred this filthy tart ignited with her bullying of his bride.

"Where is Christine?" he seethed, fisting his gloved hand tightly around her rings. "What have you done to her?" He knew his wife would never part with these tokens of his love, would never willfully take them off at any point.

"Y-you're the Phantom," Chantel squeaked through what little air she possessed. He pressed harder against her windpipe and watched her pasty skin achieve a red tinge as blood was trapped and oxygen denied. "I… don't… know!" she rasped, sucking in what scant air she could.

"You lie, as you have always lied, and I will tolerate no more – WHERE IS SHE?!"

She gasped, her eyes fluttering as she began to lose focus. Noting that a figure drew slowly closer from the other side of the alley and watched, though they stood deep in shadows, the Phantom gave her a little shake while bringing his face close to hers.

"Tell me!" he growled low, giving her only enough air that she could.

"The-the cos-tume…room," she croaked, the blood that gathered beneath her skin growing dark, her face tingeing a deathly purple.

"Never come back to the Opera House, mademoiselle. The day you do will be the day you draw your last breath."

The Phantom released the little whore. She slid down the wall to the ground, gasping and coughing. With a rapid swirl of his cloak, he sped across the street and back through the door, dread eating his insides like acid, as to what condition he would find Christine.

xXx

Meg stood in her position onstage, her anxious eyes going to the wings where Christine should be awaiting her cue. It wasn't like her friend to be late, especially now, when their days had so changed and the familiar grew more obscure with the unknown threat the new management created…

Meg could still scarcely believe all of what Christine told her between rehearsals the previous day, upset her mother had hidden yet one more significant truth from her – and Meg had actually quietly stormed into her office and told her so. Once her mind caught up to her body and realized her bold impertinence, she had hesitated in nervous embarrassment but had not backed down. She had a right to know of threats made against them and certainly of Christine's bravery to return, since Meg was a great part of the reason for it. Her mother only offered a grave nod, as if acknowledging her right to be upset, and no more was said.

But the incident served to bolster Meg's resolve to get involved and no longer be consigned as part of the woodwork. So when Charles anxiously motioned her over from the wing once her mother's back was turned to rebuke two dancers, Meg hurried to join him.

"Christine is not at rehearsal yet?" he asked needlessly in clear concern.

"No," Meg eyed her friend suspiciously. "Why do you ask?"

He ran a tense hand through his bright red hair, making it stand on end. An apology shimmered in his green eyes.

"Meg – I'm so sorry. I never meant anyone to get hurt." He shook his head in remorse. "I didn't think she'd carry it this far. I thought it was just a bit of cattiness between females…"

"Who? What 'females'? Charles - what are you trying to say?"

He sucked in his bottom lip with his teeth, nervous and edgy. "If they learn I'm telling you this, they'll kill me – but I swear I never wanted anyone hurt." He lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper, his eyes darting around to ensure no one stood near. "I agreed to spy, for the revolution. Chantel is close with one of the leaders. She got wind of some rings Lysette saw during rehearsal and sent me to search for them – for the cause, she said. But I overheard her earlier – and I don't think it's just about the revolution. My cousin can be vindictive when she's been insulted, and she's had it in for Christine for months…"

The longer he spoke, the less sense he made – but Meg knew enough to be alarmed.

"Charles – stop." She held up her hand. "Just tell me this – is Christine in danger now?"

"Yes – the costume room. Hurry!"

Meg didn't need to be told twice. Without a glance back toward the stage, she took off running down the wing to the backstage corridor. The costume room was a fair distance, on the other side of Christine's dressing room and Maman's office. She wove past two musicians blocking the narrow walkway and arguing over a score, and hurried onward, but soon came across a cleaning woman with rag and pail cleaning spilled paint from the middle of the path. Frustrated at how busy this corridor seemed to be today, again she was forced to slow, when all she wanted was to run.

"Meg?" A hand grabbed her above the elbow. "Is everything alright? I saw your hasty retreat from the stage."

She whirled around, grabbing his arm with both hands. "Oh Raoul, thank heavens you're here. Christine's in trouble…"

No more needed to be said. Without another word of question, Raoul carefully walked with Meg over the large spill and past the cleaning woman, ignoring her hurled invective of the added mess they'd made for her to clean - as both hurried along, tracking paint through the corridor.

xXx


The Phantom cursed legs too restricted in speed, not for the first time wishing for wings to take him where he needed to go. At last he reached the opposite end of the Opera House, quickly slipping through the secret panel near the costume room. The corridor was empty, though at this point he didn't care who saw him – all that was imperative, to reach Christine. In what condition he would find her raked fear through his soul. For Chantel to have been in possession of the rings, he knew that Christine must be hurt – she would have fought tooth and nail to reclaim them and would not let them so easily go.

He entered the large chamber, seeing no one about. Shoes littered the floor, a pile of dresses near them. Then he heard it – a woman softly crying on the distant side of the room.

"Please, don't do this," her frightened voice faintly reached his ears. "P-please h-have mercy…"

The dread terror that squeezed his heart grew more fierce when he realized Christine was not alone, that someone was with her – DARED to harm her…

He silently whisked through the chamber, past piles of costumes that lay scattered here and there in disarray along the floor. Unaware of what he would find, he struggled not to be seen or heard, not until he was ready, the trait inherent to his nature…

Never in his lifetime of pain and abuse had the Phantom known such a violent rush of raw fear and white-hot hatred as when he came upon the scene he knew would haunt his darkest of dreams -

Down the last row of costumes, a man slammed the back of his Angel's head against the wooden wall, one hand fisted in her long curls, while his other hand shoved up hard beneath her hiked up skirts.

"NO!" she cried out in a whimper of pain and terror, her own hands trying to push him away. "P-p-p-please stop..."

In one fierce breath, the Phantom had his lasso in hand. In the next, the Punjab went flying and found its vile mark. The loathsome scum deserved the slowest death of excruciating torture, but to see his beloved fall victim in the defiler's hands enraged him beyond any form of premeditated thought – and he wished for no more than to seize the wretch's existence from this earth as he seized his hands from her body.

With a vicious yank, the Phantom pulled taut the rope, and her attacker fell hard to the floor before him. He pressed the sole of his shoe against the miserable fiend's chest then with another violent pull heard the satisfying crack of bone snapping. His hard gaze took in the identity of her attacker, before his focus immediately went to Christine.

She stared at him with pained eyes of wild shock, before her lids fluttered and she too slumped to the sawdust covered floor.

"Christine!"

The Phantom swiftly covered the distance between them, falling to his knees beside her inert form.

"Christine, my love, open your eyes…" His plea was to no avail.

A fresh surge of rage-darkened grief tore through the Phantom's soul to see her costume bodice torn, indecent, bloody scratches marking her skin. Her face was bruised, her lip bleeding. Hot moisture wet his eyes and he experienced the powerful wish that Buquet was still alive – so he could kill him all over again and give to him a far more ghastly demise for what that beast had done to his gentle Angel.

With trembling fingers the Phantom pulled her bodice back into place and carefully scooped Christine into his arms, lifting her as he stood. His heart quietly breaking, he took several numb steps down the row, never taking his eyes from her still face.

The harsh consequences of those trapped minutes battered against the flimsy defense his stunned mind erected…

He could not pause to consider the full extent of what happened – and he could not dwell on the obscurity of what might have occurred. If he permitted such thoughts, if he allowed them to infiltrate his mind, he would weep from the crushing anguish or bellow out in abandoned rage…

But never would he forget the look of abject horror when she had stared into his eyes, after she watched a man die while staring into hers…

That man…Joseph Buquet.

He refused to think beyond the cur's death, to what that would mean…could not think at all…

The sound of running footsteps brought him from his grim reverie, and he swung his head up in alarm. Trapped between rows of packed clothing – with a solid wall behind and no secret trapdoor through which to escape or shadows to hide, his arms full of his beloved and not free to wield his dagger, his lasso still wound around Buquet's neck – the Phantom desperately considered what to do, at the same time he realized he could do nothing.

The shuddering relief to see Meg race around the corner abruptly churned into wary disgust to see who was with her.

Meg gasped to see Christine battered and unconscious, clutched so closely in the Phantom's arms. Meg's hand flew to her mouth in horrified dismay. The boy moved a step closer to her, putting a hand to her back in support. Her widening eyes went to the body stretched on the ground behind him, near a pile of fur coats, her mouth falling open.

The boy was the first to break the pulsating silence.

"Did he do that to her?" he asked, his words tight.

The Phantom curled his lip in a sneer. "I would never raise a hand of violence against my wife – but I will destroy any who would be so foolish..."

The Vicomte nodded once in curt acknowledgement.

"And you…" The Phantom's voice was hard. "Will you now go against Christine's wishes and seek out the gendarmes to apprehend me?"

The boy grimly looked to the body on the floor then Christine again before lifting his eyes to The Phantom's.

"I will keep your secret."

His quiet response was the least one expected, and the Phantom regarded him with wary surprise. Before he could ask why, a third intruder entered what was left of the fray.

"Mon Dieu," Madame Giry breathed in alarm, pressing a hand to her bosom. "Is she…?"

"Alive," Erik said in great relief tempered with no small amount of bitterness. "I should have never allowed her return."

Madame's stunned gaze went to the ground. "And he is…"

"Dead," Erik intoned carelessly. "If you'll excuse me."

"Erik – no," Antoinette rushed up to block him when he would try to walk away. "This had nothing to do with revolutionists. This was personal. Charles told me of his cousin's plans only moments ago. It was thanks to him we learned of Christine's whereabouts."

Meg made a small sound in her throat, looking troubled. Erik said nothing, the skin around his mouth tightening.

"I must take my wife home, to safety," he clipped out softly. "Will you move aside so that I might pass?"

"Christine needs care," Antoinette insisted, laying a gentle hand on Christine's brow. "A physician to look after her needs…"

"I can tend to her needs."

"You are a musician and a composer and a genius in many things – but you are not a skilled physician."

His words came as swiftly as hers. "I was led to understand the physician employed by the Opera House recently died."

"I can seek out our family physician," the boy broke in, his quiet words startling them both to look his way. "He's still in Paris."

"We have no need of your aid," Erik insisted, ready to charge through the blockade they made and escape to his nearest secret tunnel.

"Christine has always been like a daughter to me," Antoinette continued. "Give her into my care, Erik. I will ensure that no harm comes to her – at least let her stay until a physician can be found. She is in no shape for the long journey to your caverns, and you certainly cannot carry her the entire distance!"

"For Christine, I will do what I must," he stubbornly countered.

"We will take her to the dressing room, and the Vicomte will go for the physician," Madame said as if he'd not spoken.

"Not the dressing room, Maman," Meg said quietly. "The child…"

"Oui, oui, I had forgotten," Madame sighed. "The fewer that know of this the better. My room then."

"And will you ignore my feelings on the matter?" the Phantom said with bare hostility. He shoved his way through. "I'm taking her where she belongs!"

"For Christine," Madame stressed his previous words, "you must let her remain – for a short time only. I will remind you of another time she was not to be moved, and the dangers, and I fear her condition is far worse now then it was then…Please, Erik."

Her stark reminder of his wife's trials, then and now, again brought heated tears to prick the back of his eyes. She had been through a hell no Angel should face, and he would die if he lost her. She had been so fragile then, spirited, but weak … and now …

He grudgingly accepted Antoinette's logic. He would have to leave Christine in her care, for the time needed to secure Cesar for the journey below. Better also to secure a physician, while he went for the horse, though it maddened him to accept help from the boy.

He inhaled a harsh breath through his nostrils and gave a curt nod. "Very well, I will take her to your room, for the physician's consult…"

He began to walk down the row of costumes, stopping and swiftly turning his head to feel her hand clasp his sleeve to stop him.

"You try my patience!" he growled low.

"Erik – think. You cannot go out there, you'll be seen."

"What do you suggest I do then?" he questioned sardonically. "From this chamber, there is no access to…" He briefly glanced at the boy in contempt, "our home," he supplied the substitute words for the secret tunnels he had meant to say.

The Vicomte stepped forward, as if rising to a challenge. "I can take her."

The Phantom tightened his hold on Christine and scowled at the boy. "Not in this lifetime."

"They've been looking for you – do you want them to see, to find you…?" When Madame Giry's deliberate prod failed to bring the needed response, she looked with mild aversion toward the floor and the bloated, blue-tinged face of the former stagehand. "You must take care of him before anyone comes to see. If anyone finds him – like that – they will know you were the cause of his death and will seek retribution. These aren't the old managers…"

Erik took a step back as if to refuse.

"You may join us after you…dispose of matters here," Madame said more gently, trying one last time.

From his arms, Christine softly whimpered as if in pain, seizing the attention of all crowded in the narrow aisle.

"Christine…?" the Phantom said tenderly, every shard of derisive animosity gone from his velvet tone.

Her damp lashes remained closed in her unnatural slumber, two dark crescents fanning pale cheeks, one swollen and bruised purple…Her lip, split, bleeding. And God only knew what other torments she suffered. His heart spasmed in an agony of remorse. He lifted her a little higher, bending and brushing his lips to her fevered brow still dotted with perspiration from her ordeal.

"Take her," he barely managed the words through a tight throat, rapidly blinking back tears and momentarily tightening his hold on her, before reluctantly handing over his precious wife to the last person he thought ever to entrust with her care – his mutual nemesis and unwanted brother. "But if you attempt to keep her from me," his voice remained low, trembling in threat, "if you try to take her away, so help me…"

"I give you my word, I'll watch over her until she can return to you…Erik."

The Phantom flinched at the intentional use of his name as if it was a physical blow, while both Girys regarded the Vicomte with eyes full of curious shock at his unexpected vow. Before anyone could speak, footsteps were heard in the chamber.

"Madame Giry?" the uncertain voice of Jammes came to them. "Are you in here?"

Madame looked at both men. "Quickly, do what you must," she hissed, then pivoted and hurried to the entrance, her words coming back to them as she forestalled the ballet dancer. Their voices soon faded away as they left the room.

The Vicomte also moved to leave, Meg with him.

To let Christine go like this, to let her out of his protective grasp to anyone, especially the boy, felt like sacrilege. Before he could carry her away, The Phantom grabbed his arm hard, forcing him to halt.

"I meant what I said," his gaze once more caressed the wounded face of his bride before lifting to the boy's eyes in sharp warning.

"As do I."

The two erstwhile rivals stared at one another in grim assessment, before the Vicomte gave the slightest of nods. A moment passed before the Phantom offered the briefest nod in return and released his hold. He watched, motionless, until Christine disappeared from sight as Meg and the boy turned the corner with the one object most precious to the Phantom's heart.

He then moved with grim purpose to his task. In two swift moves he withdrew his lasso from the scoundrel's thick neck, coiling it and replacing it within his cloak. He noticed the bloody dark furrows raked across the man's cheek above the beard, the bruises, and inwardly commended Christine for what fight she had given followed by another surge of sorrow that she had been put in such a position in the first place. As he shifted the heavy body to lift it, for the first time his eyes caught sight of the man's trousers – the buttons undone, the penis hanging limp – and a terrible rage again soared through him. With a feral growl, the Phantom delivered several harsh kicks to the corpse's groin, seriously considering a swift castration so that if there was an afterlife, the fiend would go into it a eunuch – before a deadly calm washed through him, enough to invite reason. He was only wasting time, a commodity he did not have in abundance.

The Persians possessed the most macabre and brutal devices of torture, he had added to their repertoire with his twisted genius – and Buquet deserved every one of them. Yet his corpse could feel no pain. And the Phantom struggled to gather his frayed emotions, to dispose of the body where it would never be found and questions could never be raised – so he could quickly return to his wounded Angel.

As he rolled the corpse in the ironic costume cloak of a medieval monk, the largest article on hand, at the back of the Phantom's mind pounded one truth he had wished never to confront but could no longer evade –

– his fear of the future shadows had damnably come to pass, the spirits had again gotten their way. What that would mean, he could only speculate with a wary sort of dread. Yet he felt no remorse for his just execution.

All that mattered was Christine, and that she never be made to suffer again.

xXx

Once Madame Giry tended to the minor emergency for which the young Jammes had sought her out, she hastened to her small bedchamber and the much more urgent crisis that awaited.

Both men were absent, the Vicomte presumably in search of a doctor; the Phantom in search of a grave…and she thought of the gloomy catacombs that stretched far beneath the earth, where she presumed Buquet would find his eternal resting place.

Meg sat on the edge of the bed she had inhabited for weeks and where Christine now lay, still insensible to her surroundings. Her daughter's hand lightly covered her friend's. With a wrench of her heart, Madame noted the torn bodice and skirt, the scrapes and bruises on her face, arms, and legs – good God, even bites covered her neck and shoulder where flesh was revealed. Once before she had seen a young dancer in a similar condition, presumably caused by the same man. She only prayed that Christine had not suffered the extent of that tragic fate…

Meg turned eyes welled up with tears of pain toward her mother. "What kind of monster would do this to her?" she asked, her words hollow.

"The lowest sort…" Madame forced emotion away, sternly gathering cloths she wet with water from the basin. "He can never hurt her again."

Meg gave a stiff nod, wincing as if with a memory. "Charles knew."

Madame's gaze sharpened on her daughter. Gently she cleansed the scratches on Christine's face and the blood from her lip. "You must tell no one, Meg…" Her emphasis on the words made it clear exactly who she must not tell.

"He betrayed my friendship, Maman. He's been spying for them. Had he spoken sooner, Christine might have been spared."

"Had he not spoken at all, Christine could have suffered far worse." A hesitation then tight nod came in response. "It would serve no purpose to tell. The very ones he spies for are those in authority in this opera house, in the city…" She sighed. "Should the Phantom know, he would exert his own brand of punishment, as you have seen."

Meg gave another stoic nod. Her eyes blazed with an understanding and maturity Madame had not witnessed before. "Perhaps it's wrong to say it, but I feel his method of justice did not go undeserved."

Madame did not voice her agreement as she continued to dab the dried blood from Christine's scrapes and small cuts. Thankfully, her injuries appeared shallow, none would produce a scar. She feared those would remain in her soul…

Madame wrung out the cloth, stunned to watch the papered wall suddenly cave inward, and the cloaked figure of the Phantom appear.

She had known he would come, of course, and now knew of the secret entrance, but it was the vulnerable look of a man nearly destroyed that made her gasp and rise from the edge of the bed.

"She has not yet awakened?" he asked, his voice soft but taut with the torments he must be feeling, the known and the unknown, torments that shimmered in his moist eyes as he lifted them her way.

Madame shook her head and watched as he swept into the room, his every movement that of controlled tension trapped within his customary grace as he dropped on one knee beside the bed. He carefully took hold of Christine's hand as though it were made of porcelain and in danger of breaking. Brushing his lips against her fingers, he kept them there a moment before bowing his head to her hand.

"Christine, forgive me…"

The words were barely uttered, the gentlest of whispers, and Madame wasn't sure she truly heard them. But the hurried footsteps in the outside corridor she could not miss. They were followed by an abrupt knock at the door.

"Erik," she cautioned briskly, "you must go - now…"

Stubbornly he resisted and brushed his lips against Christine's knuckles once more, before he stood, never looking away from her face. Finally he tore himself away.

"I will be within the wall."

She never doubted that he would remain, out of sight, and watched as he entered, closing the panel, before she turned the key and admitted the physician, along with Raoul. Again she locked the door.

"I am Dr. Montague," the elderly man spoke and looked toward Christine as he moved toward the bed and laid his black bag on the table. "What happened here?"

"I must ask for complete discretion," Madame said. "Word of this must not spread outside this room."

"Madame, I assure you…" He briefly regarded her with a degree of affront, "I never discuss my cases with those not knowledgeable to the field of medicine." His dark eyes seemed to hold secrets, and Madame hoped that would remain the case.

"Dr. Monatgue is highly skilled and can be trusted," the Vicomte added. "He has been our personal family physician, and delivered three generations of de Chagnys."

Madame gave a curt nod. "She was attacked. We found her, like this…"

The physician frowned, laying a hand against Christine's forehead, then against her neck, feeling for a pulse. His bushy gray brows beetled in as he took note of her wounds and the torn costume dress.

"I shall need to examine her." He looked pointedly at the Vicomte, whose face took on a slight flush.

"I'll wait outside." He hastened from the room.

"Meg," Madame said to her daughter, "Go to the dressing room and bring her back something suitable to wear."

Meg nodded and followed Raoul out the door. Madame locked it behind them.

"I will stay," she said to the doctor's silent question and he nodded, turning to his patient.

He checked her limbs for breakage and swelling, studying her injuries with a practiced eye. He looked to the hem of her torn skirt, sadness touching his expression before a blank mask of professionalism shut out the emotion.

"I must examine her more thoroughly…"

Tightening her lips, Madame nodded and looked to her face.

He raised the hem of her skirts high – and at that moment Christine's eyes flew open.

At the sight of a stranger looking where he had no right, with his soft, plump hands pushing wide her bare knees, Christine let out a bloodcurdling scream.

"Don't touch me!"

Madame Giry hurried forward. "Christine, hush – it's alright –"

She rapidly pushed herself up, her small shoulders hitting the wall, and cowered from Madame's outstretched hand.

"Mademoiselle, I must insist," the man with the dark eyes and full gray beard said.

"NO! I said don't touch me – get away from me!" Kicking her leg up she struck him in the face with her bare heel.

He grabbed his nose, reeling. "Hold her down," he hissed to Madame…

From behind the wall, Erik froze upon hearing his Angel scream – her second terrified cry broke him from his shocked trance, and he stormed into the room, uncaring at the moment who saw him. His first impulse – to choke the life from the man sitting at his wife's feet and holding his nose in pain – shriveled away upon seeing Antoinette try to calm a frantic Christine.

Erik swept to the bed and dropped to the position he recently vacated. Christine's eyes swung to him, the fear swirling in their black pools like a lance driven through his heart. He wished to gather her in his arms but dared not touch her.

Her eyes lost some of the fear but not the panic as she reached for his hand and grabbed it as if she were drowning. Her grip was strong, as if to crush bone.

"Mon Dieu - where did you come from?" the doctor said but Erik paid him no heed.

"There is no need for alarm." Antoinette's voice came tight. "He is her husband."

"Erik," Christine's voice was a squeak, "Don't let him touch me! Don't let him – please! Don't let him, Don't let him …"

The crazed wildness magnified in her eyes, tears streaming down her cheeks. Her mantra became a terrified whine that ended in little panting screams that lashed at what equanimity he yet possessed. She drew back hard, as if to disappear into the wall.

"She's hysterical, I must sedate her."

Dr. Montague quickly opened his bag and pulled out a vial. He uncapped it then gasped when the dark cloaked figure kneeling by the bed turned his way. The doctor took note of the peculiar mask of ivory, concealing only half his features as if to hide not an identity but something more forbidding.

"Give it to me." He held out a black-gloved hand in demand.

The sinister look in the young man's cloudy green eyes boded no refusal, and the doctor obeyed, his mind numb, snagged in a memory of the past, a family's dark secret, one to which he had played an unwitting part. He shook his head to free it of absurd notions. Surely, it could not be. But…if it was….

"Christine." Unaware of anyone or anything but his wife, the Phantom kept his tone gentle but insistent. "You must drink this."

"No…" She shook her head, withdrawing further into herself and shutting her eyes. "I don't want to…"

"Come, Christine, listen to your Angel…listen…"

A soft, lyrical melody drifted from his lips. Her eyes flared open a little in surprise and watched him, then at last calmed and she gave a resigned little nod, like a child. He gently cradled the back of her head, tipping the vial to her lips and watched as she drank the potion. Her eyelids soon grew heavy as he continued to sing, then settled her back on the pillow and turned to the doctor who stared at him with something close to horrified awe.

The Phantom ignored his fixed stare, setting the empty vial in his open bag.

"Do only what must be done – no more than that."

The physician nodded nervously, pulling her skirt back to her ankles. "If I may…" He motioned to the head of the bed.

The Phantom scowled but stood and let him near. "No more than is needed," he reminded the man.

"Erik."

The Phantom swung his attention to Madame Giry who stood across the room and beckoned him.

He glanced at Christine, who lay still in drugged slumber, and impatiently joined Antoinette.

"Let him do his job," she whispered in admonishment. "He has many years practice."

"Is that not what I'm doing?" he snapped.

He watched the physician check her eyes, lifting each lid with his thumb to look. He then slipped his hand to the back of her head, feeling there. Christine whimpered.

"Erik." Antoinette grabbed the edge of his cloak before he could pace back to the bed. "You would not like it if someone was to stare over your shoulder while you composed, would you? Let him work," she repeated.

He hissed in an angry breath, when suddenly a muted sob he could not contain broke forth, captured in his throat.

"How can you ask me to stand here idle while my wife lies there so wounded?" He kept his words low, but each syllable trembled with his grief, and she gave his arm a conciliatory rub.

Her eyes reached out to him in sympathy. "She's alive, Erik. She will be alright…"

Will she? The Phantom winced at the memory of the crazed fear in her eyes. A fear he could have prevented, if only he had reached her sooner…

After an interminable stretch of minutes the physician finally straightened and closed his bag. The Phantom wasted no time in approaching the bed. The elderly man studied him curiously a moment before directing his words to Madame Giry, who came up beside him.

"Her injuries appear minor, though I'm not pleased with that lump on the back of her head. Keep the wounds clean. She needs several days of bed rest. Keep her calm, no strenuous activity whatsoever. A week would not be unfeasible. Send for me if her condition becomes worse."

"Of course. Thank you, Doctor…" Madame escorted him from the room. Once she closed the door and turned the key in the lock she again faced the bed –

– to see the Phantom lift Christine from the mattress.

Madame regarded him in surprise. "You heard what the physician said –"

"Will you try and stop me? To keep her from me?"

Stony determination glittered in his eyes and posed a challenge, while hollow desperation laced his voice in plea. She sighed, her heart hurting for both of them, and shook her head.

"Of course not," she said quietly. "I will be here, if you need me."

The Phantom gave a short nod and whirled away through the secret wall panel with Christine held tightly in his arms.

With a hand that shook, Madame closed the door behind him.

xXx
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - new update- 1/11/16

Postby Godzuki » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:40 pm

Great to have SiiT back! That was a difficult chap to get thru, but the P's true colors shine through here - his first thoughts were of C and how to save her. He was scared that killing JB would make what the spirits said come true but he was so frightened for C's life that he put her above him. I was rocking back and forth while reading this, I couldn't sit still! :ohno:
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - new update- 1/11/16

Postby honeyphan » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:43 pm

Godzuki wrote:Great to have SiiT back! That was a difficult chap to get thru, but the P's true colors shine through here - his first thoughts were of C and how to save her. He was scared that killing JB would make what the spirits said come true but he was so frightened for C's life that he put her above him. I was rocking back and forth while reading this, I couldn't sit still! :ohno:


Thank you, G! :hearts:
Next chapter is also hard, as we get into her POV, and something BIG happens that has been leading to this point throughout story - I'll try and post it tomorrow.
After that, there's just one more chapter of where I have written to that I'll post.

Once I do, should I go back to posting Come to Me, or do you want me to just wait entirely until Symphony is finished?
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - new update- 1/11/16

Postby Godzuki » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:55 pm

honeyphan wrote:
Next chapter is also hard, as we get into her POV, and something BIG happens that has been leading to this point throughout story - I'll try and post it tomorrow.
Try? Try!? "There is no try, only do" - Yoda :hand: You wouldn't disobey Yoda would you? :nono: :mrgreen: BTW, can't wait to hear what you say about SW tomorrow!!!! :yay: I've been dying to talk with you guys about it!

Once I do, should I go back to posting Come to Me, or do you want me to just wait entirely until Symphony is finished?
I would prefer one story at a time so I don't combine/confuse story lines, but If anyone else would also like CtM posted, I'm fine with that. Thank you for asking, you are so sweet! :hearts:
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - new update- 1/28/16

Postby honeyphan » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:29 pm

"Tomorrow" lasted really long. Image

:angel2:


All the sadness of the world
Chapter LXII


Christine's eyes flew open, her dream haunting, her body a receptacle of pain that forced her to remember.

She did not want to remember – she wanted to forget. Dear God, if only to forget…

She was home. In their bed. Safe. From dreams. From attacks.

But the memory would not relent, and her head pounded all the more fiercely the longer she tried to evade that valid moment of darkness…

He had found her. She had fought him, broken free. He had caught her, thrown her against the wall, struck her –

He'd been vicious. Angry. Vengeful.

She closed her eyes and shuddered with the recollection of what made him that way.

Soft and limp, he'd been unable to perform his darkest intent, and in her hysteria to see him in such a state, she had laughed despite her mounting terror or perhaps because of it. She had only ever known and seen her husband's maleness, and the paltry sight of what the stagehand lacked made her laugh in derision, her ridicule infuriating him. Even when he then rubbed his disgusting self against her in a vain attempt at erection, she could only laugh though she wanted to vomit.

She had known love and tenderness beneath Erik's hands; even in their most passionate moments that drew pain from the pleasure he'd given her no more than desire. Beneath her attacker's hands, she experienced degrading torment as he earnestly sought to make her suffer, to make her hurt for her laughter, and he soon brought her to tears while she desperately fought and begged him to stop.

She was eternally grateful he'd been unable to defile her in the manner he wished, but with his abusive hands and teeth he made her pay for her scorn. And with chilling words that belonged to a nightmare, he eviscerated her trust. Her body still throbbed in pain, bruised from both Chantel's attack and his, cut inside and out from his ragged nails.

She felt filthy. Unclean. Revolting. Noticing she still wore the ruined costume, she tore it off and threw it far from her. A pitcher and basin stood nearby, and she grabbed a cloth, wetting it with the icy water. She rubbed the washcloth hard against damaged skin, biting her lips to still the hot tears that sprang to her eyes from the burn, wishing only to remove the feel of his grimy hands that had so harshly violated her.

She rubbed her flesh until it was an angry raw pink and opened up scratches to bleed again then used the cloth brutally between her thighs. Still she could not rid herself of feeling so dirty.

When she'd been sure he would completely destroy her – his eyes had bulged, his skin turning a mottled purple, a thin corded rope incising his throat as his body abruptly flew away from her own. Lightheaded and shaking head to toe from the ordeal, she watched him fall backward to the feet of a dark, cloaked figure…watched the cloaked figure viciously snap his neck…watched the cloaked figure lift crazed eyes still burning with the bloodlust of his kill to her own eyes…

Her attacker's taunting words of earlier stung with the precision of a scorpion's sting, words she did not wish to believe, but must be true…

Dear God, they could not be true.

Erik.

He was absent from their bedchamber but surely would come to check on her soon. Aware of her nakedness, Christine hurried to the wardrobe and pulled out a gray day gown, her most modest one, with a high frilled neck and long sleeves that ended in simple lace flounces midway at her thumbs. She hurried to dress, first slipping on pantalets and chemise, uncaring of the burn this caused to scoured flesh. Seeking as many barriers as she could find to cover her damaged body, she pulled out a shawl of soft ivory wool and wrapped it tight around her shoulders. Sensing his presence, she whirled around.

Erik stood in the entryway, absent of his wig and mask, his hair looking as if he'd stroked restless fingers through it. His eyes were cloudy, bleary from lack of sleep, his expression wary and distant. His entire appearance was disheveled, his shirt partially untucked and billowing out from dark trousers.

He moved an uncertain step toward her and hesitated when she drew back.

She did not desire to be touched, by anyone. But a small part of her desperately wished for his comfort, to be wrapped in his protective embrace, to have his deep velvet voice whisper warmth against her ear in tender reassurances. And she feared that he might now be repulsed by her and think her tainted and impure. She felt she was, so why would he not feel the same? Yet as much as she wanted to know if this was the case, she could not bring herself to ask, could not bear it if it were so…

They stared at one another across the room, their hearts full of what they wished to say but their minds too afraid to cross that boundary and speak it.

The Phantom carefully watched his wounded wife. He noted how she had changed into attire that covered her up to her chin, down the wrist and ankle, noted too how she withdrew from him before he could draw close, and dread pierced his soul.

Did she now fear him?

Recalling her earlier hysteria at the physician's hands, the Phantom dared not reach out to her, not when she was so fragile, and he feared to ask what seemed apparent. Hours earlier, she watched him kill a man in cold blood, and he abhorred that she had been witness to such violence. But it was not just the death of any man –

It was the death of the one whose future shadows caused her to flee from him in terror. A terror she was now demonstrating as he watched her pull her shawl close around her body – though the chamber was much too warm for its need – and regard him like a wary rabbit to a viper.

"You should be resting."

His voice came out strained. Upon hearing it, a film of tears welled in her eyes.

"Christine…?"

She briskly shook her head at his quiet concern and averted her gaze.

"Do you feel well enough to be out of bed?" he asked tentatively, as if dealing with a strange guest in his home. "Would you like something to eat… perhaps some wine to drink?" He added the last when she answered him with silence.

Suddenly she dropped her hands to her sides, balling them into fists, and raised her chin, her manner one of dread determination as she again looked at him, glared at him.

"Tell me of Persia, Erik. Tell me of those three missing years you were absent from the Opera House."

Even in the dim light cast by the single standing candelabra in the room, Christine did not miss how his eyes flared a little wider at her unexpected demand. His face lost color, save for the twisted side which stood out even more, and she saw traces of blood and raw skin there, as if he had torn the wretched mask from his face.

"There is nothing to tell."

She compressed her lips together tightly at his weak words. "And the nightmares – the Daroga you call out to in them – is that also nothing?"

"Yes, of course. Christine, you should rest. The doctor said…"

"I don't give a damn what the doctor said," she bit out softly, taking one incensed step toward him and no more. His eyes narrowed in cautious surprise, but she did not refrain from her objective.

"Ever since I was a child, I gave you my mind blindly. I trusted and believed you to be my Angel of Music. Even after learning of your deceit, I forgave that and trusted you again, gave you all that I am – and still you deceive me!" She shook her head in hurt bitterness. "You, who I worshiped and adored, have become to me a, a – a fallen idol and false friend!"

The earth felt as if it was falling out from under him as he heard her hiss similar words to those her future shadow spoke before she left him for the boy.

Despite such shaky ground, the Phantom grabbed desperately to what solid firmament remained and took a step closer.

"Friend? I am your husband, Christine!"

"And I am your wife! – only you do not trust me as a wife…"

The Phantom had no idea where all this was coming from and decided she must have had a bad dream, to recall and confront him with his nightmare of months ago. It stunned him that after the horror she endured she placed such significance on this bizarre conversation, but it greatly relieved him, since he was in no way prepared to speak of what recently occurred. He needed to tread carefully, hoping to divert the topic and find a way to calm her, to enable her to look at him again with gentle eyes of trust.

"What happened in Persia was a lifetime ago, my dear, nothing worth mentioning. But if you lie down and rest, I will read to you of that kingdom from one of my books, since you seem so infatuated with the land. Or I shall tell you one of its many stories, as I did when you were a child…"

His words trailed away, and his heart clenched at the wounded shine in her eyes right before she closed them.

"Nothing worth mentioning," she dully repeated. "Books and stories…?" She gave a small strangled sob. "Lies! All of it - lies!" Her eyes flew open in accusation. "How many times will you LIE to me, Erik?"

He drew his brows together in nervous irritation, his patience wearing thin, and struggled to remind himself of her fragile state. "I will remind you, my dear, that those stories are fables of pretense, not meant to be real…"

"But reality is supposed to be true – not made up of fiction!"

He shook his head in grim confusion. "What are you saying, Christine?"

"I hid…" She stood taller, drawing her shawl closer around her as if it was a shield. "I might have remained hidden until you came – he had turned, walked away – but then he said something that made me gasp, and – and he heard me."

Her breath faltered. Prickles of ice stung his flesh when he realized she spoke of the attack.

"Christine –"

"No!" she stated with quiet vehemence. "I gave you the chance to speak. Now it's my turn…"

Speechless to see her behave so strangely, he said nothing, only nodded once in curt agreement.

"He taunted me as he searched. About you. I knew about the accidents over the years, but I was so sure all the rest of what he said were lies. He told me he had a brother who worked at the Opera House. And that you killed him."

The Phantom hissed an angry breath that she should have discovered so harsh a revelation. She had been seven at the time. Madame Giry had managed to keep the public's discovery of the body from the youngest ballet rats.

"Is this where I'm to give excuses or show remorse? Because I have none to give…"

He walked closer. She flinched but did not draw back.

"Did he also tell you that Francois Buquet had a perverse fondness for little girls? No? He had his eye on you, Christine. I came upon him in the midst of a vile act he performed as he watched you practice, months after you arrived. He often watched you with lust, you and Meg Giry both, just as his brother Joseph did when you became a woman. It was only a matter of time before he acted out his sick fantasies. I chased him down that night while the Opera House lay sleeping, and his foot became entangled in the ropes. I do not deny that I killed him – and would do so again, to anyone who means you harm. He dangled high above the stage by one leg, and I cut the rope."

He took a step closer until he stood within arms' reach. "I killed both brothers, to keep you safe. Do you now resent me for that?"

She shivered at his quiet words, a gentleness softening her expression and touching her eyes, and for a brief moment, he saw the love shining there.

"No," she whispered.

Encouraged by her response, he lifted his hand to caress her cheek, but before he could make contact, she quickly sidestepped and walked past him. He stood still a moment, his hand motionless in the air, before dropping it and slowly pivoting toward her. She stood by the foot of the bed with her back to him.

"I detest bloodshed for any reason, but I understand why you did it. You have always protected me. And – and I'm grateful. What kind of person would I be to reproach you for an act that twice saved my life …?"

She spoke as though she were questioning herself and not speaking to him at all.

He waited for what more she would say. Again she turned to him. His blood chilled to ice at the hard look that glittered in her eyes, dark as midnight.

"That is not what caused me such tremendous shock that I gave my location away. He said that Francois spied and overheard your conversation with the Daroga in Box Five – and later told him everything that was said. When he spoke of the Daroga – a foreign name I'd never heard until you cried it out in your sleep – I knew then that all he said must be true. How else could he know, unless his brother heard you say –"

The Phantom's eyes fell shut in unequivocal horror, knowing what was coming.

"– that you were court assassin for the Shah of Persia…"

Her meek words struck down to the core of his soul – words he heard as fierce accusation – annihilating all remaining shreds of reason. He wanted to weep aloud or scream to the heavens for the injustice of this fate. She was never to know – it was the one thing he knew she could never forgive.

Upon opening wary eyes to see the chill glassiness in hers, upon feeling her cold distance since he first entered their bedchamber – he now fully understood his present damnation by his virtuous Angel.

Excuses – he could not give when there were none. Mercy – he would never deserve.

"What is it you wish to hear, Christine?" His words came out in a low growl. "What is it you want me to tell you?"

"The truth," she whispered. "For once. All of it."

"The truth," he scoffed bitterly. "Even when the truth can destroy this life we have built together – even then? When the truth can only destroy what happiness we share?"

"Even then."

He blinked in shock. "You cannot mean it."

"I must know, Erik. I can no longer live with the lies!"

He shook his head, desperate to stall the moment of his judgment that had so mercilessly stolen up behind to convict him.

"This should wait. You've had a trying day…"

She winced at the understatement. "I heard all of what he said. Now I want to hear it, from you."

Incensed, he paced away, halted, then paced some more. Again he turned to her. By the steady resolve in her eyes, she would not yield, but it no longer mattered. It was too late to return to the shielding cover of pretense. That fiend had told her – and recalling the extent of their damning conversation the one and only day the Daroga ever visited him in Box Five, the Phantom's heart felt as if it might shatter with resentment and despair.

Her ignorance to his nightmare of darkness no longer the case, a fatalistic sort of desperation swept through him, and he found himself rapidly falling into a familiar downward spiral of self destruction, seeking to cover with careless mockery the terror of losing her, as he now knew he surely would.

"Do you truly wish to hear how I served a madman of the royal court without being unduly coerced?" he whispered, his voice picking up volume as he spoke. "Is that what you want, Christine? To know that in my hatred for humanity, I slaughtered hundreds with my weapons of torture through macabre chambers I created – and still others I have personally killed with my lasso and daggers? Do you wish to hear how I claimed the lives of those pathetic mortals, some who did no more than annoy the sadistic ruler whom I served? Will the TRUTH of how a small child was killed because I refused to bed her as a sacrifice satisfy your need to know more, and how I then went on to become the most feared magician and assassin in all the realm – will that soothe your damnable need for the full disclosure of truth?!"

Hot moisture wet his eyes, distorting his vision, and he blinked it away, barely registering how all the color had drained from her face. His words had gradually grown louder until he was shouting a litany of his detestable crimes, and though he surely laid his grave, he could not seem to stop himself from digging even deeper.

"Is that what you need to make you happy, Christine? To know what a vicious murderer you have joined your life to? To fully understand that I was never the Angel, only a demon? Well then, I confess – I AM THAT MONSTER! The blood of hundreds stains these hands and can never be washed away. I have killed innocents without batting an eye using the most cruel methods of torture I could devise, and I enjoyed it. Is that what you want to hear? How I reveled in their cries of agony, just as I did when I killed that perverse gypsy as a boy …?"

The tears rained down her face as heavily as they wet his own cheeks, and sanity returned too late. Seeing her great distress, appalled by his brutal confession, having omitted the true depth of his feelings in that faraway corner of the devil's paradise, the Phantom ceased with his self diatribe. He covered the distance that seemed endlessly to stretch between them and reached out to her.

"Christine…" he whispered in anguish, needing her forgiveness, for then and now, needing her to understand what could never be understood.

"No!" She jerked back from his fingertips as they brushed her shoulders. "Don't touch me…"

It was the killing blow. With her sharp whisper and anxious eyes that stared at him as if he was now a villain to be feared, the fledgling hope that she might somehow be able to pardon the unpardonable died. Numbly he dropped his empty hands back to his sides, his self hatred far exceeding any animosity she now felt for him.

Her naive curiosity had once more shattered all that was beautiful and good between them, but she was not solely responsible. Oh no…the wretched Fates always demanded their way – had he not learned this again and again? The future shadows twisted the present into what the spirits deemed must be his miserable destiny. The bizarre manner in which she learned his dark secret of Persia proved that beyond all doubt. And by her words, she blamed him for that, too, blamed him for what happened to her in the costume room.

It was clear she despised him, wanted nothing more to do with the despicable creature she had so foolishly married. Eventually she would leave, and her absence would destroy him. But he could do nothing. Nothing. To try and stop her, to keep her in chains to him, even to remain in her life from a distance would be to invite her madness and put her death in motion, as the shadows forewarned, as he had seen those damned shadows play out…

He had dreaded this moment, feared its existence since the night he agreed to remain her teacher, and now that it was thrust upon him with the disastrous outcome expected, the Phantom wanted only to die. He should have known he could never change the future…

Monsters did not deserve happy endings.

But his Angel deserved all the happiness in the world.

He closed his eyes, summoning the will to continue. "And now?" he asked very quietly, surprised he could still speak when his heart felt as if it was being slowly ripped from his body.

"Now, I … I need you to go," she whispered. Her eyes beseeched him to understand what she could not express, but he had turned away with her last words and did not see, staring into the distance. "Please, I –I just need to be alone right now."

He did not look at her again.

"If that is your wish…" His beautiful voice lacked life. His eyes went dull, seeming almost dead, as if a fire had been extinguished from his soul. "I will go."

Christine watched him leave the chamber, his head and shoulders bowed. Her own heart felt as if it lay bleeding with every painful beat inside her body. His despondent manner alarmed her, but she could offer her husband no consolation when she herself knew no peace.

It was all too much. The brutal attack, his morbid confession, needing his touch – so desperately. But afraid, so very afraid to ask – to receive

And sinking to the coverlet she gave in to the wretched tears that had threatened since she woke to find herself safe at home.

Safe…

Her heart mocked the thought.

x

Time trudged onward, though Christine had no idea if it could be counted in minutes or hours. She felt adrift, uncertain of what she wanted or needed. Her thoughts were an opaque cloud of confusion she could not penetrate, the awful revelations and events of the day making her feel as if she would sink deep into an oblivion of heartache, never again to resurface.

Earlier, in Madame Giry's room when she first saw Erik, he had again seemed to her the protective and beloved Angel, singing so sweetly, calming her fears. And she had held on to his hand as desperately as she held to that childhood fallacy, swept back through time where no evil could harm her.

But he was no angel – only a man, and by his admission, one without principals. He had warned her he was dangerous, yes, and she'd always been aware he had no lasting tolerance for mankind, despising most men. But this was so much more than anything imagined. If he wished to kill a thousand men, he would do it. Perhaps he already had …

An assassin. She shuddered at the horrific title and all it entailed. He had murdered without thought, for enjoyment and reward, showing no remorse. With his confession and upon recalling the maddened bloodlust in his eyes when hours ago he killed again –

Her eyes fell shut against the memory.

She did not know how to deal with that or even if she could.

Suddenly she felt confined, closed in. She needed air, space to breathe. Needed to feel the cool wind on her face and find some inkling of peace, if peace still existed...

Restless and wide awake, Christine felt unsure of how long she slept. Her body was bruised, but she often received bruises from falls onstage, especially when learning a new programme, and always danced through the pain as expected. She no longer felt dizzy, her mind no longer in a haze, though her head still ached. But she felt strong and alert enough for the walk above.

Madame Giry once told her she would always be there if Christine needed her. Now, she felt she must speak...

She traded the shawl for her cloak and stepped outside the bedchamber.

"Erik…?" she inquired softly, certain he would not be pleased with or approve of her plan but determined to go through with it regardless.

The chamber remained silent. At a glance she could see it was empty.

Perhaps that was best.

Determined, Christine took the lantern she used for her solitary journeys and hastened to the secret passage with the shortcut. She did not delay, to leave a note. She had no wish to risk another encounter with her husband, not yet ready to speak to him with no idea of what to say. Their last conversation had not gone well at all, and she trembled to recall his vehemence, his disgust and self loathing that had triggered every hissed and shouted word used as a weapon against her faith. In him, in herself, in God, she no longer knew. In all probability Erik would figure out her location as he always did and come for her. Doubtless there would be hell to pay – but Christine did not care.

At the moment she just needed to be away from this place and all its reminders…

…and that included the Opera House.

The urgent realization and her swift decision did not occur until the moment she cracked open the secret door to Madame's office and saw Raoul and Meg sitting there. He had learned of the existence of this hidden passage on the night he confronted Erik about being his brother, so she did not bother to wait for him to leave before making her entrance.

They both looked to where she emerged from the paneled wall, their faces blank in dumbfounded shock.

"Christine?!" Meg gasped.

"My God…" Raoul whispered.

Their responses came simultaneous, and Meg jumped up from her chair. Christine attempted to retreat a step before Meg drew close. If Meg noticed she did not return her relieved hug, she said nothing though her brows drew together in concern.

"Are you…" she hesitated in finishing the statement, perhaps realizing the absurdity of asking if Christine was alright.

Christine gave her a wan smile. "Just a little sore."

"Of course…" Meg blushed and put a gentle hand to her shoulder, frowning when Christine immediately stiffened and pulled slightly back, enough to break contact. Meg dropped her hand away. "But – what are you doing here? I'm surprised your husband allowed it – or does he even know? Did something happen between the two of you?"

"Is your mother not here?" Christine asked, ignoring all questions but the first. "I need to speak with her."

"She's talking with the managers. She should be back within the hour. Sit with us."

Christine did not dare wait that long. "I need your help." She then looked at Raoul. "Yours the most."

"However I can be of service, you have only to ask," he assured her.

Christine's tension eased somewhat and she felt grateful that he was family, the brother she never had but always wanted.

"I need you to secure a carriage from the stables and drive me to my flat. I have one now," she stated dryly when he regarded her with careful consideration. "And I need you to inform your mother of my decision when she returns," she told Meg.

Should Erik come looking for her and not find her, she did not want to cause him further grief or alarm, and now wished she'd taken the time to inform him by letter of her choice.

"Better yet, I'll write a note."

"Christine," Meg said as Christine moved behind Madame's desk, locating quill and blotter. "You cannot stay at the flat alone."

"I need to get away – to, to think. Only for a short time. I'll be alright."

"No. You're not." The connotation of Meg's words made it clear she referred to Christine's current condition, but before Christine could argue, Meg declared, "I'll go with you."

"Your mother would never agree," Christine argued.

"Actually, after the talk we had yesterday, I think she will. I insist. I don't want you to stay there alone."

Christine relented with a halfhearted nod. Meg was being tenacious and Christine no longer cared if she came or not. She had no desire for company, but the thought of complete solitude, while it did provide a measure of dark comfort, made her nervous as well.

Finishing the short letter, she hesitated then began another. Once she stuffed each missive in an envelope and sealed both with wax, she propped them in easy access of being seen. She opened the top drawer and took the key to the flat that she recalled seeing Erik give back to Madame and Madame place in the drawer on the morning of their return.

"I'm ready," she said at last.

Her friends looked at one another then at Christine as though they might yet try to talk her out of it, but said nothing as Christine marched past them and out the door.

Perhaps this was foolish, and a mistake. And she might come to regret such impulsiveness. But right now, this was what she needed...

She only hoped he would understand.

xXx

Antoinette Giry jumped in her chair and winced when the secret door to her office flew open, banging into the wall. Dark and foreboding, the Phantom swept in, his scowl apparent beneath the black mask.

"Where is she?"

Only he could make his voice thunder while keeping the volume so low.

Antoinette glanced at the empty wine bottle, wishing she had replenished her supplies. Between the phantasmal spectre who shunned the greater part of humanity in preference of being a ghost, and her rebellious daughter whose foolish impetuosity nearly got her killed once – she was sure to become an incurable dipsomaniac.

Without a word, she handed him the envelope still propped against the bottle. He froze, his rage in brief suspension as he stared at his name scrawled there, then glared at her incredulously.

"You let her leave?"

"I let her do nothing of the kind, monsieur. My daughter took it upon herself to accompany Christine from the theater while I was in a meeting demanded of me. I only just learned of this."

He dropped his hand with the envelope to his side and began to pace. "They cannot have gone far on foot!"

"No…"

At her hesitation to speak, his eyes impaled her.

"Well? What are you hiding?"

"I received my own note from Christine."

He narrowed his eyes and held out a gloved hand. "Show me."

The idea to refuse did not even register in her mind; nor did she remind him he had his own missive to read.

He plucked the note from her fingers, swiftly unfolding it and scanning the few lines. His face beneath the mask paled, his lips tightening as his eyes returned to the beginning to read again, as if hoping the inked words would somehow alter in their meaning.

"He will watch over her, Erik. He is very aware of the dangers."

"She went with him…"

The words were barely spoken in an audible breath.

"Meg is with her as well," Antoinette reminded.

"She left me and ran to the boy."

Antoinette winced. "With what has happened…" She stopped and changed the direction of her words, anxious to speak but feeling it should be said. "Marie was also distant after she was…attacked. Christine just needs time. She will return, I'm sure of that."

Slowly he shook his head. "The shadows must have their way. Past. Present. Future. In the end, it is always the same..."

She shivered at the dark tone of his whispered thoughts that bordered on madness and sensed he had not heard a word she'd said.

"Maestro…? Perhaps she explained more in your note?"

He looked at her, his eyes distant, as if he did not see her at all, then looked at the missive he held as if just remembering its presence. With fingers that shook he tore through the seal. The mask he wore appeared even darker as his skin grew so pale as to be bloodless.

"Monsieur?"

Without a word, the Phantom slowly crumpled the note in one gloved fist. He turned on his heel and swept back through the secret entrance and into the shadows.

The door shut with a click of finality behind him.

xXx

A/N: uh oh…

After what Christine has been through, still in shock with her mind barely able to process – her reaction and need to escape from ALL that caused her pain is the only thing that realistically made sense…

I have one more chapter written so far...
I'll post it soon. :hearts:


But don't hate me, it's not over yet. Darkest before the dawn and all that… ;-)
Image E/C manip made by me
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Re: Symphony in the Twilight - new update- 1/28/16

Postby Godzuki » Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:36 pm

Thank you for your reassurance! :hugs: but "soon" better mean soon! :nono: :ahno: LOL Your story came at a great time - I have cabin fever from all this snow! :hearts: If there is snow in the next chapter, I am melting it in my mind :rofl:

This chap is reminding me of Susan Kay’s Erik confessing his past to C. IIRC, he didn’t expect her to understand and was surprised that she remained with him. I think she was too shocked to process it, yet ultimately when she had time to think, she chose him and returned. I think what this Erik isn’t realizing is that C needs time; its heartbreaking the misunderstanding between them right now :(
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