Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 8 of 38

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The following morning

A weak sun spilled over the streets of Paris. Dark shadows stretched down the boulevards and alleys in the early morning light, and for a deceptively peaceful moment, everything looked as it had back before all of the violence had started. Shop keepers began to open their doors, the smell of rising bread wafted through the air, and beggars and vagabonds crawled out of the darkness...

...Even the opera house seemed to look normal. The sun reflected off of its marble surface, hiding the recent neglect and damage. It was easy to convince oneself that everything in Paris was normal.

It was easy not to notice the stench of blood in the air.

Roman rolled his aching shoulders, trying to relieve the stiffness that was the inevitable result of traveling overnight in a carriage. The Baron's order had left no room for hesitation. He was to ride to Paris immediately, sent to retrieve a certain medicine from a Dr. Herni Starre. He had never seen the man so frantic. Christine's illness had snapped something in him, and he had literally morphed into a different man. The frigid aristocrat had melted into a madman. Roman had seen that sort of insanity before, back in the gypsy camp. It was the same demon that took hold of a husband when his wife was having a difficult birth, caught between the desperate hands of life and death...

Like a husband for a wife...

With an ungentlemanly thud, Roman smack right into a woman walking opposite of him along the streets. His thoughts had taken his mind away from the present.

"A thousand pardons Madame...Mademoiselle." Roman corrected himself when he realized how young she was. Hidden away under her black dress and black bonnet, she looked much older than her age of what was probably sixteen or seventeen...perhaps even younger.

"No apology necessary, Monsieur." She gave him a sad smile, her long blonde locks framing her angelic face...even if it was exceedingly gaunt. The rest of her was thin as well; her dress was literally hanging off of her body. She turned to go, but Roman instantly shot an arm out, remembering his initial purpose in the city. She turned, surprised, but not offended.

"Oui Monsieur?" She looked up at him, at first a bit frightened by his foreign coloring, but put at ease by his fine clothes. Her mother had always scolded her judging men on the manner of their dress, but those warnings flew to the back of her mind. She really had never been one to listen to her mother.

Roman reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a small piece of paper, handing it to the girl. She may have been thin, but her clothes suggested that she was more than just a survivor. She could probably be of use to him.

"Do you know where I could find that particular doctor? I had to leave for Paris immediately and there was know time to investigate an address, only a name."

She took the paper with a small gloved hand and read it allowed.

"Dr. Henri Starre." Her face instantly lit up. "Of course! Dr. Starre! He used to be the physician-in-residence at the Opera before...."

Roman heard the catch in her voice before it silenced. Even he knew all about how the Opera Populaire had been ransacked, its singers and dancers sent scattering at the hands of Commune members looking for a convenient headquarters. It was rumored that labyrinthine tunnels went deep below the buildings surface, and Roman shuddered. What kind of dark and unnatural men would make a subterranean dungeon their home?

The girl quickly dashed away a tear and looked back up at Roman, her eyes hopeful.

"Oui, Monsieur, I can tell you how to get there. Dr. Starre was a confident of my mother's, and I would be happy to see him again. It's been almost a year since..."

She straightened. "That is, of course, if you won't mind me accompanying you to the address. It's only a few blocks down, and in a decidedly lovely part of town, even with all this horrific business with the Commune going on."

Roman politely bowed his head. "I would be honored Mademoiselle. You have the thanks of both me and my Master."

She looked at him, childlike curiosity still apparent in her young features. "Master?"

Roman nodded. "Forgive me, in my rush I...usually my manners are better. I am Roman Majekt, personal valet to his Lordship, Baron Erik Von Alsing."

She gave a corresponding curtsey. "I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Monsieur."

He offered his arm politely and she rested her hand against his elbow as they began their walk.

"My name is Meg Giry."

Erik sat, watching her, his eyes red rimmed from lack of sleep.

He hadn't shut them all night.

Long after the single candle had burned down, he had held Christine in the darkness of the room, his lips never leaving her soft skin as he'd buried his face in her neck, willing her to be alright. Her fever had raged, and eventually had completely overcome her body, so that even dreaming was too much to handle. Her shaking and crying had stopped, and she had collapsed, a dead, dreamless, sleeping weight in his arms.

He thanked God for small mercies.

He watched her now as the sunlight played upon her face. He brushed a loose curl back from her forehead, closing his eyes against the wave of longing that washed over him. Christine's face was still burning up, but at least she seemed peaceful.

She might have been free of her nightmare, but he certainly was not.

His first reaction had been an insane desire to kill Raoul de Chagny. Then he had remembered that the Viscount was, in fact, already dead. His second reaction had been to wish Raoul an eternity in hell fire, and to personally thank the rebels for slitting his vile throat.

But something wasn't right.

For the rest of the night he had sat on the bed with Christine, trying to remember everything that he could about Raoul de Chagny. Handsome, he had thought bitterly. Charming, sophisticated...Erik's animosity grew. Raoul de Chagny had been everything that he wasn't. Handsome, charming, sophisticated...brave. Erik paused for a moment. Brave...He had to admit, the boy had been brave, charging down into his lair after Christine. Stupid, but brave. Kind...He had never heard the Viscount speak down to anybody at the opera house. From the highest members of the upper class to the lowliest of the chorus girls...

His kindness had made him a weak man...but a good one nonetheless.

The admonition made him sick.

Christine's cries rang through his memory. She had been screaming, sobbing that she was in pain, begging Raoul not to hurt her...

Nothing made any sense.

Nothing ever had.

With a quiet curse, he got up and left the room, calling for Magda. He didn't want to be there when Christine woke up, if she woke up. The last thing that he needed her to know was that he had spent the night with her in his arms.

The last thing that she needed to know was that he would gladly do it again.

"What brings you to Paris, Monsieur Majekt?"

Meg Giry smiled. It felt as if it had been an eternity since she had had a pleasant conversation with...anyone. After the sacking of the Opera, she and her mother had retreated to their small town house. They had been unable to escape to England, but her father's family had taken pity on them, thank God, sending as much money as was possible. Meg had never met her father; he was laid to rest months before she was born, but apparently her mother had kept in close contact with her in laws...and thank God for that. Unfortunately, the other girls of the corps de ballet had not been so lucky, and she hadn't seen a single one of them for a couple of months.

Roman peered down at the girl next to him. She looked at him with innocent fascination, and he mused on the fact that she probably thought him an Arab or a Persian. A man from an exotic country with an exotic life. She would probably turn on her heels and run if she knew that he was a gypsy.

Most people would.

"An errand for my Master. One of our servants is sick, and is in need of the expertise of a Parisian physician. You can imagine how difficult it is to find adequate medicine far removed from the city."

Meg nodded.

"Yes, one of my good friends came here with her father when he took ill with consumption. Unfortunately he died before anything could be done for him."

"It's sad really, how sometimes no matter what you do, people can be beyond your help." Roman noticed that Meg's finger's had gone stiff on his arm, and he turned around to face her. "Mademoiselle, are you all right?"

Her eyes were glazed over.


Tears formed under her lashes.

"Mademoiselle?" Roman gently shook her this time, and it snapped Meg back into reality.

"I...I am sorry monsieur. You must forgive me. I am still in mourning for my dear friend, the one who lost her father."

Compassion flooded his face as the young girl burst into tears.

"Forgive me Mademoiselle, your friend is recently passed?"

"Yes," she said, her voice choked with tears. "Executed by those Commune bastards!"

Roman instantly threw his hand over his mouth. "Mademoiselle, I beg you, exercise caution when you speak! These are dangerous times!"

Meg's eyes widened, as if suddenly realizing that she was on a public street where anyone could here her. Nodding in understanding, she lowered her voice to a whisper. "You must excuse my outburst Sir, but you do not know the nature of her death. It was terrible. Literally dragged from her home in the middle of the night with her husband, never to be seen again." Her lip twisted in a mock smile. "All because her name was de Chagny. Who would have ever guessed that she would have been safer with..." she paused. "Well, with anyone"

Roman's interest flared. This girl had known the de Chagny's? Should he ask her about Christine? Surely if she had known the Viscount and Viscountess she would have known their cousin.

"The name sounds familiar. Did the Viscount have a cousin that went by Christine?" He asked the question without revealing any intimate knowledge. The last thing that he wanted to do was endanger Christine.

Meg shook her head. "No, you must be mistaken. The Viscount had no aunts or uncles, so certainly no cousins. Christine was the Viscountess...and like a sister to me, Monsieur." Tears once again cascaded down Meg's face as Roman tried to absorb what he had just learned. It was, of course not. Christine was a common enough name...

"Yes, yes" he replied. "How could I have forgotten? I believe I saw a portrait of her once. Short blonde hair, dark green eyes?"

Meg wrinkled her nose.

"I'm sorry Monsieur but you are again mistaken. Christine had blue eyes, and her hair was very long...chestnut colored."

They walked for another five minutes, nothing punctuating the silence except for the end of Meg's crying. Roman's heart truly broke for the girl. She had obviously loved her friend very much. His own mind was racing...The Viscountess de Chagny had been named Christine...Christine de Chagny..."

"Mademoiselle Giry," he asked with mock curiosity. "If you knew Christine de Chagny, did you know Charles Daae'?" I heard that she might have had some relation to him, and I was very fond of his music."

Of course, Christine's original alias "Daae'" had more than likely been something out of her imagination, but Roman had to at least try and see-"

"No," Meg replied. "I never knew Christine's father."

And then he knew.

"You stayed all night with her?"

It was more of a statement than a question.

Erik looked up from his place on the large chaise. It was early afternoon, and he had still been only able to cat nap. Magda stood in the doorway, looking rather tired herself.

"How is she?" Erik was surprised at the weakness of his own voice.

Magda sighed. "She's...she very ill Sir. Until Roman gets back, really, the best thing that we can do for her is keep her cool and let her sleep. She s"aw the terror pass through his eyes, even if it only lasted for a fraction of a second. "But...but Christine is very young, and more than capable of handling this."

It wasn't the best answer that he could have received, but Erik accepted it as the best news possible nonetheless.

"Does she know that I stayed with her?"

Magda looked queerly at him. The Master looked a fright, the clothes that he had slept in twisted around his frame, his black hair tousled, with only the mask still on straight. A black ring hung ominously under his bloodshot left eye, and she could only assume that it's twin shared the same marking.

"No Sir," she answered swiftly. "She's barely conscious. I doubt she remembers her own name."


Magda walked further into the room, trying her best to quell the fear rising in her.

But she had to know.

"Sir...dare I say, I've come to care for this woman over the past weeks. She's very sweet...hardly a woman, more like a child." Keeping going Magda! She screamed to herself. Don't be afraid! Christine wasn't! With a nervous hiccup, she continued. "I can see it in her eyes, Sir. Something terrible happened to that poor girl...absolutely dreadful...and I, I think...that is to say, well my Lord...I think that you know what, exactly. I don't believe for a moment that she is who she says she is."

Erik looked up. Magda now stood before him, her small hands ringing her apron with her apprehension. He gave a sarcastic smile.

"Now why the bloody hell would you believe that I know anything of any consequence about Chris-Madame de Chagny?"

Magda shut her eyes.

"Because you love her, Sir."


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 8 of 38

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