Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 38 of 39

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Erik's eyes blinked open at the sound of Christine's agony fuelled scream, 'Raoul!'

They opened just in time to see the moment the bullet impacted Raoul's torso, it threw him backwards and, without thinking, Erik reached out, hooking his arms under Raoul's shoulders and cushioned his fall. He crouched, lowering him to the ground and then he looked over at Jack, fully expecting to see him reloading his blasted pistol, ready to take another shot.

Jack's face was a ghastly white and his jaw hung open, slack with shock as he stared down at the mess he had made. Erik glanced at Raoul, whose eyes were squinting but open, his breathing laboured. When he looked at Christine he felt a sharp pull at his heart.

She stared down at him, at Raoul and then she turned her eyes on Jack. The gun still dangled loosely in his hand but that did not quell Christine's hurt, her anger and much to Erik's surprise she flew forward. She took Jack by surprise as she knocked the gun from his palm and her fists flew at his chest with uncontrolled, unbridled emotion and as her hands connected with his body she shouted words that made no sense as they tangled in the air.

Erik stood.

Jack blinked once. Twice... and then held Christine's arms in his hands, stemming the flow of her punches as her feet began to kick at him, as sobs caught in her throat, as tears spilled from her eyes.

It took Erik only three strides to get to them and in one swift movement he reached out for Christine, pulling her back and to the side. Out of the way. From the corner of his eye he saw her standing alone; calm and then, in horror, turn to face her husband... she froze, staring.

Steadily, Erik picked the gun up from the floor and threw it as hard and as far as he could, with everything he had. He watched the grey object turn black and then disappear into the distance.

The following splash sounded miles away.

Jack cowered.

Erik felt all of the muscles in his body bunch, his hands clench to fists and yet he turned his back because he could no longer bear to look at the man the he had once considered his friend. He could not bear to see his face, to see another mask of betrayal.

'Go Jack.' He told him, without turning. 'If I ever see you again... I will kill you.'

Jack barely hesitated, there was a fraction of a second where silence fell and Erik thought he might not go but soon he was listening as Jack's footsteps pounded along the pier and then disappeared into the distance.

'Erik...' Christine's voice was low and trembling, it was so unfamiliar that he almost questioned whether she had actually spoken at all.

He heard her but dared not turn to look at her. Instead, he walked to Raoul and knelt at his side. The younger man managed to open his eyes, they were watery and red.

'Am I dying?' Raoul asked him, his voice crackling like static.

Erik looked down at him, glanced over the wound, 'Samantha,' he said, turning his head in her direction. She was still hunched in a ball but he had no time to deal with her self pity. 'Go and get help.'

She stared at him, her expression blank.

'Samantha...' his temper jerked and he forced it down.

He felt Raoul's hand grasp his sleeve and tug.

'I am dying.' Raoul said and then swallowed hard. 'I know it.'

Erik was not sure what it was that finally did it but something broke Christine from her daze and as she turned, as if only realising in that moment what had happened, she ran towards them. 'Raoul... Raoul...'

Raoul gasped, 'Don't let her...'

Quickly, Erik stood and as she got closer he reached out and grabbed her before she could get to Raoul. He stood holding her while she screamed her husband's name. 'Let me go...'

'Christine,' he said softly, his hold on her firm and yet careful. She felt delicate in that moment, as if she might break. He wondered if she already had.

'Let... let me see him,' she demanded through her sobs.

'I'm trying to help him,' Erik explained and even to him it sounded odd. 'You need to stay back, give us room.'

She blinked and looked at him as his grip on her body loosened. 'Don't let him die...' she said, quietly.

Erik forced the image of her shattered expression from his mind and knelt back at Raoul's side.

'Is he alright?' Christine whispered and he could feel her standing behind him, he could feel the pain and the confusion that emanated from her.

Erik could not fathom an answer, any words of comfort he might have been able to give her were lost in his throat as Raoul opened his mouth and blood bubbled onto his lips. He glanced at the wound, open and seeping, painful and deathly.

'Erik...' Christine said.

Finally, he turned to look at her. Her eyes were open, wide, in that moment they were full of hope. They were begging him to make everything alright, to fix this god awful mess and to tell her that her husband would survive this.

He shook his head.

'No...' she said. 'No... no... it can't, he can't...'

Erik sighed. 'Go home Christine.'

She pointed, desperate. 'He's breathing.'

Erik opened his mouth to speak but felt Raoul pull at his sleeve again. When he looked down, Raoul's face was grey, 'Don't let her see me.'

Erik turned away and told her, 'There is nothing you can do, Christine,'

'I'm his wife...' she said, as if that made any difference, as if that could save him now.

Erik nodded. 'Benoit needs you to go home.'

Christine stood still, silent.

'I'll do what I can,' Erik assured her but it was a hollow sentiment because there was nothing he could do. He knew that, Raoul knew that... deep down he was sure that Christine knew it too.

'Raoul,' she said. 'I'm going to tuck Benoit in.'

Erik glanced at Raoul and saw a small smile appearing on his lips.

'You'll be home soon...' she nodded telling herself not Raoul. 'I'll see you soon.'

Raoul closed his eyes and managed a small nod of his head.

'I love you,' she said. 'Don't be... don't be too late.'

A tear found its way onto Raoul's cheek.

Raoul had the vague sensation that he was being pulled, like there was a string tied to the middle of his chest and that someone was trying to reel him to his feet. The pain in his torso was starting to dissipate, which was as much of a relief as it was frightening. He could taste blood in his mouth and when he tried to speak there was a horrible gargling feeling at the back of his throat.

He could hear the Phantom... Erik... talking to Christine and he felt a sharp pang of, absurdly, jealousy. Part of him wished that she would come to him so that he could hold her, tell her that he loved her... let her know that he forgave her. That everything he had done in his whole life was for her. The other side, the part of him with some sense of reason left, knew it was best if she did not. That she should not see what he looked like, the pain and the blood, she should remember him as they were.

Whenever he opened his eyes, things looked blurred and it took him long moments to focus his fading vision. It was exasperating because he wanted to see her, one time, before she left. He would have liked her face to be what he had to remember as he died.

Whatever Erik had said to her, it seemed to work because the next sound he heard was Christine's footsteps on the wooden boards getting further away.

The pain returned but this time it was in his heart and it was utterly excruciating.

When he opened his eyes again the hazy vision of a white mask was in his frame. He was sure that Samantha had gone, he was sure it was just the two of them now. Two old enemies. One now the victor...

'Has...' he started to say but he had to swallow blood away. He couldn't quite breathe properly, everything took so much effort. 'Has... she gone?'

The mask tilted to the side. 'Yes.'


Erik cut him off. 'You stupid boy.'

Raoul wasn't surprised by the insult, only that it had not come sooner.

'She had chosen you,' Erik said, angrily. 'She had chosen you again.'

Raoul laughed, it sounded strange and it hurt, but it was a relief to laugh. It meant that he wasn't gone yet. 'You and I both know... that... isn't true.'

He felt a pressure on his chest and assumed that Erik was pressing down on his wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding. He wondered why he was fighting so hard to save him.

'You sent her away.' Raoul managed to say, each word was torture but they were words that needed to be spoken. There was a lot that he needed to say now, a lot that he needed to say to this man.

'She left with you.' Erik reminded him, his voice low and even. It was exactly as he remembered it except for the menace. That was almost all gone and the lack of it made his voice strangely sweet.

'But she...' Raoul took a breath, as best he could, so that he could get his words out. 'She... came back to you.'

Finally, his eyes focused just in time to see the confusion that crossed Erik's face.

'...loves you.' Raoul said, swallowing painfully. 'I know... always...'

'You know.' Erik said and although it didn't sound like a question Raoul knew that, for the first time ever, he had blindsided the Phantom. Oddly, he felt a swell of satisfaction.

'About Benoit.' Raoul gasped, his throat tightening around the words. His vision blurred again.

'She told you.'

'No.' He said as he struggled to shake his head. 'I ... knew. Always knew.'

'Then why...'

Raoul sighed as a coldness began to wash through him. He wasn't sure what was happening but he felt his teeth chatter and his core freeze to a deep an unshakeable cold.

'She...' he began and tried to force his trembling to stop. 'Needs you... not me... always you.'

Erik did not respond.

'Can live without me,' Raoul somehow said. It hurt to think, it hurt to feel but the physical pain was all but gone now. There was just cold. 'But not without you. She... she wouldn't survive.'

Erik coughed, 'How are you feeling?'

'Cold.' Raoul said. 'Tired... had enough... so tired...'

'Not long now.' Erik said and Raoul was amazed at the softness of his tone.

Raoul managed to nod. 'Good.'

Erik began to stand, Raoul could feel him start to move away, and so he reached out and grasped his hand. He blinked moisture away from his eyes and focused on the man he had always known as the Phantom. Erik looked surprised but he knelt back down anyway. Raoul wasn't sure why but he kept Erik's hand grasped in his, thumb by thumb, the grip of brothers.

'You... take care of them.' Raoul told him. 'I will be watching.'

Erik did not respond.

'My turn to... to haunt you.'

Erik smiled.


Erik's grip tightened on his hand. It felt oddly reassuring.

'Always thought I would die at your hand.' Raoul said, with a wry smile. 'Not hanging on... to it.'

Raoul finally allowed his eyes to close, they were too heavy now to keep open. The lids plunged him into a blackness darker than anything he had ever seen before and the pulling sensation in his chest returned but this time warmth replaced the freezing.

Christine's vision appeared in his mind, she was holding Benoit's hand.

He had loved the boy but he had always known of Christine's indiscretion, though it mattered little to him. As hurt as he felt his love for her had always prevailed. Moments of weakness came and went but love lasted a lifetime. He had known all along about his son and though he knew this, Benoit had been his, deep within Raoul's heart, even if not biologically. Christine had been his too, for ten blissful years, and he would not change them for anything.

Not for the world, for his life... no, he would change nothing.

He felt a sharp pain as he tried to breath and realised that no air would come into his lungs but then he felt no pain anymore, no fear, no anxiety... nothing at all.

When he saw his father he knew that it was time.

Comforted that he had lived his life the way he had always wanted to, that he had laughed and cried, that he had worked hard, been brave, that he had loved with all of his heart and that he had died saving another, he held out his palm and accepted his father's outreached hand.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Immokk

Part 38 of 39

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