Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 36 of 39

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Raoul froze.

It wasn't surprise or fear that gripped him as he stared across the pier, it was simply the alarm of seeing him again. He felt Philippe's hand grip his shoulder and he turned to glance at his wife, who looked surprised but not at all concerned. When he turned back, both the Phantom and Benoit were looking at him, one with anxiety and the other with something akin to amusement.

He felt acid rise into his throat and he swallowed it painfully away, leaving an uncomfortable sensation in the pit of his stomach. He moved to step towards them but the softness of Christine's hand on his forearm stopped him.

'Benoit,' he said. He had intended for the sound to be warm but it came out as a strangled demand and Benoit's face paled visibly as his grip on the hem of the Phantom's jacket tightened.

The Phantom looked down at the small shape by his side and then back up at Raoul. When he smiled, Raoul gripped the handle of his dagger because it was all he could do to prevent himself from screaming into the night.

Christine's hand was still resting on his arm and he could not decide if he was angry with her or not. He knew he should probably be furious but somehow he could not muster that depth of anger towards her, especially when she stepped in front of him and held her arms out to their son. Though her smile was somewhat forced it still contained the warmth that always emanated from her as she beckoned Benoit towards her.

He stood completely still, either ignoring her or being held back, Raoul could not tell from his vantage.

'I'm not angry,' she said softly but Benoit still did not move and, to Raoul's everlasting dismay, he reached up and grasped onto the Phantom's hand.

Christine stood and sighed.

'Benoit, please come,' Raoul tried, more gently this time. 'It is getting late, it's cold... let's go home.'

The Phantom smiled at him. That smile. That dreadful smile that was neither genuine nor fake, that was unreadable, indefinable and the very sight of it sent Raoul's entire body cold.

'It appears, Vicomte, that the boy is quite happy where he is.'

Raoul's fist clenched involuntarily and under his other hand he could feel the cool shape of the dagger. It took all of his strength, all of his willpower, not to fly at him in that moment. Not to pounce forward and grab hold of him, taking out all the years of buried frustration and anger on the main cause of it. His whole body was tense, from head to toe, but Raoul somehow controlled the rage that burned in his stomach.

'Erik...' Christine's voice broke him from his temper.

The Phantom looked at her.


A deathly silence fell around them as his wife's eyes locked with the man's she called Erik. They stood staring at each other for what could easily have been an eternity before the Phantom looked down at Benoit and said, 'Your mother worries about you.'

Benoit said nothing at first and, for a painful moment, Raoul worried that he might not react at all but then he nodded.

To Raoul's growing wonder the Phantom crouched and said, 'She loves you, you won't forget that will you?'

Benoit shook his head.

'No more tears,' he said, as he stood and turned back to face them. The smile was no longer there but had been replaced by a look of resignation and, if Raoul had not known better, sadness. To Christine he said, 'I am glad I saw you again.'

Raoul felt her body stiffen at his side, braced for what; Raoul did not think he wanted to know.

'Every moment...' he paused as if the words were stuck in his throat and then, finally, said, 'Every moment with you is one that I will treasure for all of my life.'

The words stung Raoul but what was worse was the look on Christine's face, the look of sorrow, the look of longing, a look that no matter how he tried he knew he would never forget. When he glanced back at his brother he suddenly realised that he had known all along, that this was no surprise to him and Raoul's stomach turned with anguish.

He felt sick and the dagger beneath his hand no longer felt a comfort but a burden because no matter what he did with it, it could never change this.

Finally, Christine held out her hands and said, 'Shall we go home darling?'

Benoit nodded his head and managed a smile at his mother. When, instead of walking to them, he looked up at the Phantom it was another knife to Raoul's heart.

'Maybe you could visit me?' Benoit said quietly. 'In France.'

The Phantom reached out and touched Benoit's soft hair but this time his smile was as sincere as Raoul thought he had ever seen.

Benoit added, 'Because I won't be old enough to come for a while... I think.'



The Phantom turned his eyes to Christine, 'I'm not sure I can...' he said as he looked back at Benoit, 'But I will look forward to seeing you. Whenever that is.'

Benoit released his hand and began to walk towards Christine but just when Raoul was about to breathe a sigh of relief, the moment of reprieve was shattered.

Seemingly from nowhere, Jack stepped onto the pier out of the blackness, grasping the blonde woman Raoul had recently met in one hand and a pistol in the other. He threw her at his feet onto the wooden floor and waved the gun towards them all.

Raoul turned just as the Phantom grabbed Benoit by the arm and shifted him behind his body, shielding him from Jack and the wobbling gun.

'Jack...' he said.

'I'm interrupting,' Jack said, his voice strained.

'What are you doing?' the Phantom asked, his eyes suddenly dark and sharp.

'What am I doing?' Jack asked. 'Your little gathering looks far more interesting that anything I am doing.'

Philippe's voice broke through, 'Samantha, are you alright?'

Her eyes gazed up, bloodshot and full of tears, she shook her head.

'Jack what are you thinking?' Philippe asked and it was a credit to his brother that he still couldn't see what a rogue Jack was. Loyal to the end.

'I'm not here to speak to you,' Jack told him and there was no doubt in Raoul's mind that Jack was not joking.

'It doesn't look like your intention is to speak to anyone,' the Phantom interjected, his voice as even and as calm as if he were taking a leisurely stroll. Raoul was amazed at his poise because his own heart was pounding so uncontrollably.

Jack spun towards him, his arm out in front of him, the gun shaking dangerously in his palm.

'I'm tired, Jack,' the Phantom sighed, his hands ensuring that Benoit stayed behind him. 'What is the problem?'

'You mean to tell me that you don't know why I might be upset?'

'I can think of a hundred reasons you might be upset,' the Phantom told him. 'But then I would say that the word upset is rather undervaluing the situation, wouldn't you?'

Jack laughed harshly, 'You and Samantha.'

For a moment Raoul actually thought he saw a flicker of uncertainty cross the Phantom's composed features, the hint of a frown which so quickly disappeared, that it might easily have been imagined.

'What about us?'

Jack laughed again.

A flash of anger lit in the Phantom's eyes, 'I'm getting impatient.'

'I've got the gun,' Jack snapped. 'Better hope I don't get impatient.'

If the words or the pistol bothered the Phantom, Raoul certainly could not tell. The only nerves he could sense were from Jack and from Christine stirring at his side.

'Jack,' she said gently.

He turned his eyes on her but, much to Raoul's relief, left the gun pointing at the Phantom.

'This isn't you,' she said.

'But it is,' Jack said remarkably calmly.

She shook her head, 'Then at least let Benoit leave.'

Jack was quiet.

'He hasn't done anything wrong,' she stressed, her eyes so wide with fear that Raoul reached out and squeezed her hand.

'You're right,' Jack nodded.

'You won't hurt him, will you Jack?' Christine asked and Raoul noticed the slight quiver in her voice.

Jack shook his head.

'Benoit,' she said. His small frame and frightened eyes turned to his mother. 'Go to Uncle Philippe.'

Slowly, Benoit slid out from behind the Phantom, who continued to shield him as he moved away. Once Benoit was free of his shadow he broke into a sprint and leapt into Philippe's grateful arms.

Philippe said to them, 'Let's go.'

Raoul nodded and grabbed Christine's hand, 'His problem isn't with us, right Jack?'

Jack nodded.

'Come Christine.'

To Raoul's dismay, Christine's eyes found the Phantom's across the pier. 'I can't leave,' she said.

The Phantom looked back at her, 'Don't be a fool, Christine.'

'I won't leave you here,' she told him firmly and then turned back to face Raoul, 'Get Benoit home.'

'You must be joking, surely?' Raoul said, incredulous.

She shook her head.


'No, Raoul.'

He sighed and looked over to Philippe. 'Take him home, make sure he is safe. Don't come back. I will see you later.'

His brother's shock was etched into his face and he made no effort to hide it as he said, 'So you're both going to endanger your lives?'


At a loss Philippe pulled Benoit into his body and walked away, leaving them with just one final glance over his shoulder. Raoul attempted to give him a look that told him everything was going to be fine but he must have failed miserably because he did not know that himself. He had no idea what was happening.

'Last chance,' Jack said, reminding them all of the situation they now found themselves in. 'I'll let you go but this is the last time I will offer.'

'I'm staying,' Christine said. 'We can discuss this.'

'You really do love him don't you?' Jack asked her but the question was clearly rhetorical. 'Did you know about Samantha?'

'I don't understand, Jack,' Christine said, honestly.

'They're in love.'

If Christine was surprised by this or even believed it, Raoul could not tell. He had rarely ever seen her like this, her eyes focused, her face completely expressionless. On the outside she was calm and Raoul wondered what was going on in her mind, whether she was as worried as he was.

'If they are in love,' Christine said. 'Then surely they have that right?'

'Don't make me laugh,' Jack snapped, eyes blazing. 'And don't be such a hypocrite.'

'Enough!' the Phantom said, his voice low and booming. Silence fell briefly into the air and they all stood at the impasse, no one dared move nor speak as they quietly weighed their options.

Finally, the Phantom said, 'You're wrong Jack.'

'Don't tell me I'm wrong.'

The Phantom shrugged.

'This is what we're going to do,' Jack said as he reached down and lifted Samantha to her trembling feet. They all stood still and it was only in that moment that Raoul realised that he was holding his breath. 'We're going to play a game.'

'This isn't a game,' Christine said.

Jack turned to her. 'It is what I say it is.'

'What are the rules, Jack?' the Phantom asked, seemingly unfazed by what was happening.

'You get to choose,' Jack told him.

'Choose what?'

'Who lives.'

'And my options?'

'Samantha or Christine,' Jack informed him.

The Phantom smiled.

Raoul's heart sank.

This was no choice for the Phantom, Raoul knew that, and if Jack was thinking straight then he would know it too. This man... this Erik...would sacrifice anything and anyone for Christine, he had done so before and Raoul knew without a second thought that he would do it again. This meant that Samantha was sure to die and, though he would of course choose his wife, he would prefer it if no one died at all.

'I warn you, Jack, you're wrong about this,' the Phantom said.

Raoul grasped Christine's hand and pulled her close to his side.

'He won't kill me,' she whispered.

Raoul glanced at her, 'He has lost his marbles.'

She squeezed his hand.

'Can I ask you a question, Jack?' the Phantom asked.

Jack scowled but nodded.

'How has Christine wronged you?'

'You have wronged me!' Jack told him.

'Then why punish Christine or Samantha?'

'To punish you.'

'I see,' the Phantom shrugged. 'I have no interest in Samantha, I assure you, and Christine is leaving anyway... tomorrow.'

Jack said nothing.

'And so with that in mind... I was just wondering how you were punishing me by hurting them?' the Phantom shrugged. 'I don't want Samantha and Christine is already leaving me.'

Jack seemed to think about it for a moment, 'At least she would be alive.'

'What difference does that make?'

For a moment Jack looked perplexed, his brow furrowed and his eyes darkened, but then he said, 'Fine. I will kill you all.'

'With just the one round?' the Phantom asked.

'I have more...'

'Who will you shoot first?'

Raoul felt his heart racing as Jack shrugged his shoulders, indicating that either he did not know or it did not matter.

'It should be me,' the Phantom said.

'Why?' Jack asked, his eyes fixed onto his adversary. 'I think... I think you should watch Christine die.'

Raoul stepped in front of his wife. Over his dead body.

'It should be me, Jack,' the Phantom said, his voice low... quiet. 'Because if you shoot her first do you honestly think I will let you live long enough to get another bullet from your pocket?'

Jack stared.

'I will snap your neck,' the Phantom explained as he held up his hand and clicked his fingers.

Raoul stood quietly, he could feel his wife's breath on the back of his neck and he wondered how Jack could think that either man would allow Christine to be killed. Despite the pistol, Jack was vastly outnumbered and no matter who he shot he would never be allowed to get another bullet loaded into his gun. Oddly, Raoul wondered why Jack carried such a relic of a pistol around with him when revolvers were so readily available but his question was about to be answered.

'You're an idiot, Jack,' the Phantom told him. Raoul winced at the spark of anger that crossed Jack's face. 'You brought your father's rusty old pistol and thought you could win this.'

Jack glared at him.

'He was right about you,' the Phantom continued to goad. 'The way he treated you... you're proving yourself the fool he always said you were.'

Jack threw Samantha to the floor in a fit of anger and stepped forward, pointing the gun directly at the Phantom's chest. 'Fine, have it your way.' he growled.

Christine leapt out from behind Raoul but he grabbed her hand and pulled her back.

'Jack, don't do this,' she pleaded.

He didn't even turn to face her.

'Please...' she begged, her eyes filling with tears.

'Enough is enough,' Jack said, his hand trembling but Raoul saw in his eyes that there would be no talking him out of this now. His decisions had been made.

'No Jack,' Christine gasped. 'Please... don't...'

Raoul glanced at her and saw the paleness of her cheeks, the tears that poured from her eyes, her clenched fists. He saw the pain carved into her expression, the horror that shaded her eyes, the fear that sent her body rigid. He could see that she was no longer trying to hide how she felt, that all of her emotions, all of the love she felt for him, was out in the open and plain for all to see.

Including Raoul.

'Don't hurt him, Jack,' she appealed. 'You can still walk away.'

The Phantom looked at her, Jack's gun metres away from his chest and yet the only thing he seemed able to think of was Christine.

'Any last words?' Jack asked. Raoul noticed that the shaking had stopped and that the pistol was straight and focused.

The Phantom did not look at him, instead he kept his gaze resting on Christine, their eyes locked together as if there was not another person in the world.

Raoul's heart began to crumble.

'I love you,' the Phantom said.

Christine turned to Jack, 'Please don't do this, Jack,' she cried.

Jack said nothing.

She moved forward and to Raoul's relief the Phantom held up his palm, urging her back and out of harm's way. She stood still, her eyes brimming and hands hanging limply at her side, as if this was simply draining the life from her. Pain shimmered in her breath as she struggled to contain the ragged sobs that racked her body.

A moment of silence fell as she swallowed back her tears, the Phantom's eyes were on her as she composed herself, visibly shaking as she sucked in a long, deep breath.

'I love you,' she whispered.

Raoul's heart finally collapsed.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 36 of 39

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