Continuing Tales

Love Will Still Remain

A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Sparks

Part 1 of 24

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"Christine, Christine, always Christine!"

A gunshot. A yell. A body dropped to the ground.

Christine gasped, hand at her mouth, and stared down at the man on the ground before her. Meg gave a screech and waved her arm again but Erik was too quick for her, wrestled the gun from her hand and flung it out into the ocean.

Gustave screamed. Christine dropped to her knees, put her hands over the wound and pressed down.

"Don't look, Gustave," she commanded, but Gustave wasn't listening to her – he joined her, kneeling, at Raoul's side. "Raoul," she said, "Raoul, what are you doing here? I thought you'd gone." His blood was warm beneath her fingers – too much blood, far too much of it.

"Had to – had to say goodbye to Gustave," said Raoul, and he lifted a hand to touch Gustave's cheek but couldn't quite manage it. "Christine…" His hand came to rest on hers. "Stop."

"No," she snapped, and realised she was crying. "Gustave, don'look!"

"Christine." Erik had come to kneel beside her, and now he lifted her hands away from her husband's wound. "It's too late. I'm sorry." Christine shook her head, swiped at her wet cheeks angrily but only smeared blood over herself. She wanted to get Gustave away – she knew what it was like, watching a father die, and she didn't want him to see that – but all she could do was kneel and watch, helpless, as Raoul bled out in front of her.

"Gustave," said Raoul, and Gustave knelt forwards, took Raoul's hand. He was crying too, he looked terrified. "Gustave, it's alright," Raoul said, struggling now against the pain. "It's alright. I have to tell you…" He broke off, gasping, and Christine took off her coat, bundled it up and gently lifted his head to rest on it.

"Don't," she said. "Don't try to talk." But Raoul shook his head, clutched Gustave's hand tightly and looked up at him.

"I love you," he said, and Gustave nodded, biting his lip hard as if to keep himself from screaming. "I'm so-sorry I haven't been a better…father to you." He groaned, gasped, and Christine felt Erik move closer to her, felt him put his arm around her in comfort. "I h-have to tell you…"

Erik's fingers tightened on Christine's shoulder; Christine choked back a sob. This wasn't how she'd wanted to tell Gustave, how she'd wanted to break the news to him that his father wasn't his father, that instead he really belonged to a stranger he'd only met the day before.

Raoul was still bleeding, but it was coming slower now, and she was sure that was a bad sign.

"He – he is your father," said Raoul, his voice barely a whisper now. Gustave's eyes were wide; he looked up at Erik, turned to Christine with a stunned expression. "Y-your real f-father," Raoul continued, and Christine closed her eyes, sagged against Erik. "I'm…" Raoul trailed off, his breathing ragged, and Christine opened her eyes again and bent over him, anguished at his pain.

"Raoul, just rest," she urged. "Please, don't…"

But Raoul looked past her, looked up at Erik. "Take care of them," he said, an order more than a request, and Erik nodded.

"I will," he said, and Christine looked at him, looked at the man in the mask who was still, after so many years, so vitally important to her. So much a part of her life in a way that Raoul had never been, could never have been. "Monsieur, I apologise. I never meant for this to happen."

Raoul gave a kind of choking laugh, and Christine almost flinched. "I know," he said after a moment. "I know. But it seems…the rules have changed." He looked at Christine then, looked at her with unfocused eyes, and she blinked away tears. "Christine…forgive me…"

"There's nothing to forgive," she told him. "I am so sorry, Raoul."

"Just…be happy," he murmured, and closed his eyes. "He'll make you happy."

"Raoul. Raoul!" She reached out and shook him a little – hands sticky with his blood, she grasped his coat and shook him. But he was gone. His head slumped to one side on her coat, his eyes were half-closed – she reached out and closed them, left red marks on his eyelids. Gustave was crying, loud messy sobs that echoed across the pier, and somewhere behind her Meg was crying too.

Christine closed her eyes, folded her hands together and prayed. Erik's arm was warm around her, solid and real, and in a moment she would turn to him, would try to let go of her guilt and talk to him and their son, but now she prayed that Raoul would find rest in Heaven as he had never been able to on Earth.


Christine opened her eyes, looked at her son, and held out her arms. He scrambled towards her, almost knocking her over in his haste, and she hugged him, rocked him a little in her lap as if he were a younger child.

"It's going to be alright, Gustave," she assured him. "I promise. I'll make it alright." He hid his face against her and she smoothed his hair, looked up at Erik. "It's going to be alright," she repeated, and wasn't really sure whether she was saying it to Erik or Gustave. Erik nodded at her, touched a hand to her cheek and then stood up, turned to deal with the approaching policemen.

"Mother," said Gustave at last, his voice choked with tears, "is it true? Is – is Mister Y my father?"

"Yes, Gustave," said Christine. She'd lied to him every day, by word and action, for his entire life. It was almost a relief that she no longer had to do so – and she hated herself for thinking that, for feeling relieved when her husband was dead beside her, but she couldn't help it. "Yes. He is your father."

Gustave pulled away from her a little, enough to wipe his cheeks and look up at her. "Is that why Father – why he never –"

"Gustave, Raoul loved you very much," said Christine firmly. "He was your father in every way that matters. I don't want you to ever think otherwise." Gustave nodded slowly, wrapped his arms about himself. He looked lost, and Christine couldn't blame him. She took a deep breath and then eased him off her lap. "Come on, Gustave," she said, standing up and holding her hands out to him. "Come away from…from…" The words caught in her throat.

"Come away," said Erik, who had returned without her realising. He was watching them with something like sympathy, and Christine wanted to reach out to him, wanted him to hold her and promise he would never leave her again.

Gustave stood up, glanced back down at his father's body and gave a shuddering sigh. Then he turned to Erik, looked up at the man he now knew to be his father, and held out his arms. Erik looked at Christine, startled, but she could do nothing but offer him a nod and a weak smile. A moment passed, and Gustave started dropping his arms, disappointed.

But then Erik reached out and picked up his son, lifted him easily into his arms and held him close. Gustave's legs wrapped around his waist, his arms went about Erik's neck, embracing his father as naturally as if he'd been doing it all his life.

Christine wanted to cry again. But a policeman had approached, offered her a blanket and she wrapped it around herself, cold without the coat that still lay bundled under Raoul's head.

"I'm sorry, ma'am," the man said, "but I need to ask you some questions." He gave her what was clearly meant to be a reassuring smile. "Just routine."

"Yes, alright." Christine looked again at Gustave and Erik; they were still and silent, Gustave's head resting on Erik's shoulder. "Alright," she said again, and let the policeman draw her a few steps away.

"I'm sorry for your loss, ma'am," he said. "I'm Sergeant Gellar. Can you tell me what happened?" He pulled a small notebook from his pocket, held a pencil to take down notes.

Christine inhaled, tasted the salty air, and let her breath out slowly. "I had finished performing," she said slowly. "At Mister Y's theatre, in the park. I went to my dressing room. I…" She paused, glanced back at Erik and Gustave. "My husband had left a note," she said, and flushed at the way Gellar looked at her. "Mister Y is a very old friend," she explained. "Raoul wished to give us some time to become reacquainted, and for Erik – Mister Y, I mean – to know Gustave. They have never met."

Gellar nodded, although she could see his suspicions were not quite appeased. "Alright," he said. "What happened then?"

"Gustave wasn't in my dressing room." Christine had to look at him again, just to reassure herself that he was alright, unharmed. "I couldn't find him. He was supposed to wait for me, but…"

"Mister Y said one of his…associates saw Miss Giry taking your son out of the theatre," said Gellar, consulting a small notepad. "We'll take a statement from her later."

Christine pulled the blanket tighter around herself. "We tried to follow them," she said quietly, "but it was crowded. Eventually we caught up with them here. Meg…she had a gun." She closed her eyes for a moment, unable to banish the vision of Meg holding a gun, grasping her child tight and threatening to kill him.

"It's alright," said Gellar. "Take your time."

"I don't know where Raoul came from," Christine said at last. "Meg was…she seemed…" She hesitated to say it, decided after a moment that she couldn't. "She shot at me," she said instead. "But Raoul came from nowhere, he stepped between us and she shot him."

Gellar looked at her for a long moment, and then he nodded. "Alright, ma'am. That's very helpful. I'll need to speak to this…Miss Fleck…but it all seems straightforward." He gestured towards the other policemen. "We've arrested Miss Giry. Seems likely she'll go to the sanatorium after the trial." He paused. "Ma'am, you will need to testify. I understand you were meant to be returning to France in a few days?"

"Yes." Christine pressed a hand to her head, trying to recollect their original plans. "We were to leave next week. I wanted Gustave to see something of New York. This might be his only chance, we have never travelled out of Europe before."

"I'll have to ask you to change those plans, ma'am," said Gellar. "I can contact the shipping line for you, explain the circumstances. They should change your tickets for a later date."

"I can see to that," said Erik. Christine started; she had not heard Erik approach. He still held Gustave in his arms, and she wanted to smile but was very aware of Gellar's judgemental look. "The Comtesse de Chagny is here as my guest," Erik continued, and looked at her. "Christine, you are, of course, both welcome to remain in my hotel," he told her. "And in fact I think we should return, if the Sergeant is finished." He indicated the boy in his arms, and Christine nodded at once.

"Yes," she agreed. "Sergeant, my son is very distressed. And it's late." She looked back at Gellar. "Perhaps if you have more questions we could meet tomorrow. I would like to take my son…away from here."

Gellar looked at the three of them for a moment, and then he nodded. "Alright, ma'am. I'll come by the hotel tomorrow. Say around ten?" He pocketed his notebook. "We'll, uh…we'll take your husband's body to the morgue. We can talk about arrangements tomorrow." He nodded again, tipped his hat, and returned to his colleagues.

"Mother, I want to go home," said Gustave then, and he sounded exhausted, as exhausted as she had ever seen him. She reached out, smoothed his hair, brushed her fingers over Erik's hand and watched as he lifted his head slightly to look at her.

"I know, darling," she said. "I know."

Love Will Still Remain

A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Sparks

Part 1 of 24

     Home     Next >>