Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 29 of 39

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Christine's treatment of Raoul in the following days had constituted something akin to outright neglect. Deep down she knew that the whole event wasn't entirely his fault and yet she simply could not bring herself to talk to him. She had taken to sleeping in the guest room near the stairs and any attempt at conversation he made with her was met with icy silence.

At times she had opened her mouth to speak to him and then the image of Benoit's tiny, soaking body would fill her mind, putting a stop to any ideas she had of mending the bridge between them. She could feel it crumbling but she felt as though there was little she could do. How she wished that she had someone in America who was a true confidant to her, but with Madame Giry gone, there was no-one she trusted enough with her inner most thoughts.

Over the months she and Raoul had found themselves at odds over his brother and the theatre. She was spending too much time there and what little time she had with Raoul was eaten up by Philippe's antics. They had both tried to make amends and up until the incident with Benoit she still felt that they were strong, even though things had been strained. She could almost understand how Philippe could take priority over her but over Benoit?

It was amazing to her how quickly things could change.

She had not seen much of Jack since he had saved her son's life but whenever she did she had an overwhelming urge to thank him. Jack would simply brush off her gratitude with sounds such as, 'Anyone would do the same,' would they? And, 'It was nothing,' but it was.

Another horrible side effect of what had happened was that she now panicked each and every time Benoit was out of her sight, which made things difficult. She know that she could not spend every waking moment keeping her eyes on him, no matter how hard she tried, and yet she felt that she should. When she was at the theatre she would be gripped in moments of utter dread that she could only overcome by quietly controlling her breathing.

At that moment she could hear Benoit playing his violin in the music room and although Christine felt a twinge of despair every time she thought of the accident, Benoit seemed no worse for the experience.

When the door opened and her husband walked in she felt the usual mixture of confusing emotions. Firstly, she felt disappointment. She was unused to this. Raoul had always been her rock and saviour; there for her when no one else had been. Now that she felt so let down by him she simply did not know how to react to his presence.

The next emotion to surface was usually anger; the anger that he could put Benoit in such danger and, worse still, not even notice until it was too late.

Finally, and somewhat comfortingly, there was still love.

Despite everything, when she saw him, she still felt that familiar twinge of affection that she had always felt whenever he was near. There was a little, tiny flutter on her chest and a moment of forgetful bliss where she felt an urge to smile.

He looked at her and closed the door behind him, 'Can we talk about this?' he asked.

It seemed such a simple question and yet it was loaded. Would talking about it help at that moment? Was she still so angry that she could not hear his words? That her stubbornness would overtake? Could it make things worse?

Slowly she nodded, knowing deep inside that they could not go on ignoring each other. Knowing that after all these years he deserved at least the chance to explain his actions to her.

'I didn't mean to take my eyes off him,' Raoul finally said, after a long period of uncomfortable silence.

She stared up at him as he hovered by the door. 'But you did,'

Raoul sighed and though he suddenly looked drained, he did not sit down, 'I had no idea he had wandered onto the rocks,'

'If you were watching him then you would have,'

'He shouldn't go up there,' Raoul said defensively. 'We told him not to,'

'That doesn't excuse you, Raoul,' she said, angry that he was trying to shift the blame to Benoit.

He shook his head, 'I know, I know, I'm just trying to make sense of it,'

Christine swallowed, 'He likes to explore,'

'He usually listens to us,'

'He is a child,' Christine said. 'Sometimes he forgets where he is, what he is doing, it is our responsibility to make sure…'

'I know,' Raoul said, his voice strained. Finally, he slumped into the chair near the door. 'I forget…'

She stared at him, 'What do you forget?'

Raoul again shook his head and his eyes looked tired when they peered back at her, 'That he is so young,'

Christine did not say anything, though she understood. Benoit was not what most would consider a typical child.

'He is just… he's so grown up sometimes,' Raoul explained, but it wasn't necessary. Christine had had these thoughts before. Benoit was so intelligent, so gifted, so capable that it was hard to believe that he was just nine years old and yet that's what he was. They had to remember that because for every book he could quote there was a scrape on his knee and for every note he played, there were tears at bedtime and nightmares and things that people so young cannot really understand.

Things that young boys need their parents for.

'What were you doing?' she asked him finally. The question had been in her mind since the moment it had happened but since then she had felt unable to voice it. She had felt unable to voice anything to him.

When her eyes searched for his, he turned away, unable to meet her gaze. In that instant she knew what had distracted him and felt a new wave of anger ripple through her.

'Philippe,' she said and he didn't deny it.

'I was finding him a seat…'

Christine rolled her eyes. 'You mean you were helping the drunken fool into a chair so that he didn't fall over?'

Raoul slouched slightly.

'Your brother is an adult,' Christine told him, unable to contain herself now, even though she knew that no amount of shouting or chastising would change what happened.

'I know,' Raoul said and, at least to his credit, he looked ashamed.

'Benoit is not,' Christine finished.

'I know that,' Raoul said, looking up and meeting her gaze. 'Don't you think I know what could have happened?'

Christine stared but could not find the words within her to speak back.

'I am sorry, I am,' Raoul said, his voice cracking under the weight of his guilt. 'I know what I've done, but he is alright, Christine! Can't you see?'

'Yes, I see,' Christine snapped. 'No thanks to you,'

Raoul stared, wounded by her words and immediately she was sorry she had said it.

'I never thanked Jack,' Raoul said and his voice sounded as edgy as she thought she had ever heard it.

'I did,' Christine said.

Raoul stood up and stepped towards the door, 'I can't change it, Christine,'

She swallowed again, her throat as dry as the desert.

'I wish I could,' he said. 'I wish it had never happened but I can't change it,'

'I know,' she managed to say.

'I nearly lost my son,' he said, glancing over his shoulder at her. 'Now I feel like I am losing my wife,'

And with that, he left her alone to wonder how everything had become so distorted.

Rarely did Erik ever feel truly relaxed anyway but the last five days had been the most restless he had felt in years. When Jack had found him, the man had been soaked to the skin and only just able to give a full recollection of what had happened at the de Chagny house.

So worried was Erik about the state of his employee that he started a fire and allowed him to sleep in front of it. He tried to think back but could not recall a single time in his entire life when he had ever done anything even remotely similar.

As Jack had slept fitfully, Erik had sat alone in the drawing room contemplating the information he had been given. He was furious that something terrible had happened to Benoit and even more so because Raoul had not been far from him at the time. Jack had saved Benoit's life and for that Erik believed that he owed him some sort of debt of gratitude.

He planned to repay it.

Jack did not, of course, know that Benoit was Erik's child and yet he had saved the boy anyway. Odd, considering Jack's profession but entirely believable, when you knew as much about him as Erik did.

After waiting nearly a week, he felt as though he could simply wait no longer and had set off on foot along the shore towards the de Chagny house. As he approached he saw that there was only a small lamp burning in the top window and knew instantly that Christine was either home alone or Raoul was sleeping.

It wasn't particularly late but this didn't seem to have any bearing on when the de Chagny brothers slept.

He took up a seat on the bench outside and watched the ocean underneath the rising brightness of the moon, which was taking on a distinctly blue tint. Quietly he sat and waited, listening to the sound of the ocean brushing along the edge of the sandy shore.

He did not wait long.

'I was wondering when you would come,' Christine said but she did not sit next to him. She chose to stand and keep the distance between them.

'I wanted to come immediately,' he told her honestly. 'But assumed that I would not be welcome,'

She stared at him for a moment and he felt the usual tremble in his heart, the one that came every time her eyes were on him. 'He is fine,'

'Yes, Jack told me,'

She turned her face towards the growing moon and it lit the smooth lines of her face with such a gentle hue that for a second he felt breathless.

'He is asleep at the moment,' she said without turning back to him.

'I assumed he would be,'

She wrapped her arms around herself, 'Then you have come to see me,'

He shrugged, 'The boy does not know me,'

She glanced at him, 'I am fine,'

'You are pale,'

She nodded her head slightly, 'Well, I have had a shock,'

Erik said nothing; he simply watched as she stared out over the expanse of the Atlantic. He allowed himself to wonder what she was thinking and he let his eyes linger on the gentle curve where her neck met her shoulder.

'You're always there,' she said and Erik, even with his hearing as sharp as it was, only just caught her words as they were swallowed by the ocean breeze.

She turned to him but her eyes seemed unfocused, 'Jack… if not for you Jack would not have been there,'

'If I had known what was going to happen, I would have been there,'

She smiled, 'Yes, that would have been interesting,'

Slowly she moved towards him and sat on the bench at his side. There was a small gap between them and Christine was careful not to close it, even when she tilted her body towards him.

'I saw you at Madame Giry's funeral,'

He nodded.

'I was the only one who did,'

'Jack did,'

She laughed, 'I think that perhaps he is your protégée,'

Erik did not reply.

'It is strange without her around,' Christine said, her voice quiet.

Erik felt a small, sharp pain in his chest. 'Yes,'

'Where have you been?'

He glanced at her but she was still facing the ocean. 'What do you mean?'

'I have not spoken to you since the day she … she died,'

'I've been busy,' he said and then added, 'Keeping myself busy,'

'Writing music?' she asked and if he had not known better he could have sworn he caught a note of anticipation in her voice.


'Do you?' she asked.

He looked at her and though she did not turn she must have felt him move because she said, 'Write music,'


'And singing…'

'I don't sing, I don't find the time,'

She nodded and said nothing more on the subject. Erik actually felt for a moment that he had actually hurt her but the air around them changed again.

'I should go inside,'

He nodded.

'It's cold,'

Without speaking he removed the cloak from his back and placed it gently around her shoulders, pulling it close around her chin. She took the material from him and as she did, their fingers brushed together and she looked at him.

'I nearly lost him,' she said, her eyes wide and black under the dark sky.

'You didn't,' Erik reminded her but he knew what she was thinking.

Her eyes met his. 'I love him, more than I have ever loved anything,'

'I know,'

He watched as a tear rolled silently down the soft arc of her cheek. 'I had no one to tell, no one to turn to,'

His heart thudded in his chest.

She roughly swiped a second tear away from her face. 'I wanted to see you, can you believe that?'

Again, he said nothing. Whatever he said could not be right, not under these circumstances. His silence was the best he could offer her.

'Raoul… he let me down and Madame Giry is gone, Meg is in France and I have no true friend's here,' she told him. 'So you were the first person to come to mind,'

Abruptly she stood, letting his cloak slip from her shoulders as she moved away from him. 'I need to go inside now,'

Erik stared up at her but did not make a sound as she walked away. When she reached the door to her home she turned to him.

'Do you want to know what the worst thing is?' she asked.

He stood but made no move towards her.

'It is that it wouldn't have mattered one jot if they were here or not,' she said. 'It would not have mattered if I had friend's here, people to talk to, it wouldn't have mattered because I would have still have wanted it to be you,'

He took a step forward but she held her hand up and shook her head, 'You were the only person to never let me down; whenever I needed you, you were there,'

Erik sighed.

'Even now,' she said and left him in the darkness.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 29 of 39

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