One of Light's Twelve Shots of Summer - A Retelling of "The Phantom of the Opera"



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LightUpTheSky452

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The Phantom's Lair, saving Raoul.
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Author’s Note: Okay, some explanations about this story before you guys begin reading it. This is my own retelling of “The Phantom of the Opera” Gaston Leroux novel.

I started this in being inspired by so many talented people doing their own version of this story lately.


Though honestly, this isn’t the first adaptation I started to tell of it—rather, it’s the second—and I began this after I came home, tired, after seeing the new “Jungle Book” movie one night, and wanted to write some Raoul/Christine stuff, but didn’t remember where I’d left off in the other version of this story that I had been writing.


I then decided that I’d just write something new for fun, that I really wouldn’t go anywhere with.


Hahahahaha. How very little I know myself! This story snowballed, snowballed, and snowballed. And despite some of its weirder qualities, I quite like it and may even try to publish it if I still love it when it’s done (as the Leroux novel has been public domain for some time now). -shrugs-


But, yeah: Since I was inspired to write this after seeing “The Jungle Book”, Raoul’s a bit like Mowgli here, in that he was raised by animals in the jungle most of his life and didn’t emerge into actual human civilization until adulthood.


Which is... So very bizarre, I know (though there have been stranger Phantom of the Opera changes, to be sure), but it’s very much not a major plot point in this, I assure you all. And the main reason I did it is for three reasons: A) To set this story apart from the actual book, otherwise I’d just be retelling that exact same story. B) Because I realize it could connect Erik and Roaul in an interesting way—in that they were both sort of shunned by humanity, but both reacted to it so much differently from each other. C) To make Raoul a bit more interesting, and hopefully more likeable, as most people these days hate his character.


So what happened is this: Raoul is the vicomte de Chagny (or Count—if you’re not familiar with that term: the younger brother of the sibling that will succeed to becoming Count, that is), but someone who had a grudge against his noble family kidnapped him when he was a baby, and left him out in the wild to die. Except he very much did not, and it’s very much a Tarzan and/or Jungle Book story with him.


Other differences between this story and its source material are:


That it is modern day.


And perhaps the biggest one is: Raoul and Christine actually weren’t childhood friends/sweethearts in this. In fact, they don’t meet each other until they’re both in their twenties—when Christine ends up needing his help when she’s in the wilderness at one point.


Up to that point, Christine had been at the Opera Garnier in Paris—becoming its lead Prima Donna, as her believed Angel of Music, Erik (also known as the Opera Ghost/Phantom of the Opera, who is really just the deformed human man, Erik—living on the lake beneath the opera house) threatened everyone into giving her roles.


Eventually, Erik ends up taking Christine to his home and telling her the truth (as happens in all versions of this story). And in learning that her believed angel is actually quite the madman, she does the Hades and Persephone thing, of going back and forth between her world (of performing for him) and his, for fear of how he might flip and hurt people if she does not.


Eventually she decides that she can’t handle it anymore, and she runs away.


(She’s also keeping a certain secret.)


After this, Christine ends up meeting Raoul (that I go into more detail about in the actual story here, and I plan to have more flashbacks summarizing pretty much everything I’ve said here later on the fic as well), and after some years of peace they fall in love.


The story pretty much starts when Erik ends up finding Christine again (because he’s yet to have his redemption arc, because Christine left before that could happen) and wants to steal her away again.


This story… is very much a work in progress, and not at all how I want it to be yet (which is why I’m only posting it on this site and nowhere else, and I sort of hate doing that), because at parts you can tell that I was thinking about having them live in America… before backtracking and deciding that they have to be in Paris, etc.


And the story just kind of starts in a random place without much preamble, because this was very much a spur of the moment thing that I didn’t expect to go anywhere. And right now I don’t really have time to change it to a better beginning (hopefully I will be able to eventually, though).


But with all of that said, I hope you all will enjoy my own very bare bones thus far adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.


Thank you all so very much for reading!

Raoul’s PoV

“You’ll have fun bowling with your friends, Raoul,” Christine insisted, kissing the man on the cheek as she said so—and she even took the time to look at herself once in the mirror, that he himself was looking into, as she did this.

It was very much a good thing that Christine had found it within herself to do such a thing, as for far too long she had hated looking at her own reflection—thinking that for him to have preyed upon her, the notorious opera murderer must have seen something horrible about her to attract him.

But now Christine could see something good about herself, it seemed. And as the years passed, Raoul could only pray that this sentiment would only grow to increase.

It hadn’t been for something bad about Christine that the ghost had first loved her he knew, but rather for her beauty, kindness, and light:

It was even a light that could be seen shining through her cinnamon locks, that were a simultaneously bright and dark hair color that Raoul had never seen in anyone else ever before… Not that that was saying much.

Christine had both good and bad sides to herself, like anyone else did, but righteousness always won out in her in the end, and it was always a wonderful sight to see.

And if Christine was finally beginning to see that in herself, then Raoul couldn’t have been more pleased.

“You should still go with me, I think, Christine. It would be… gruel, otherwise?” he tried, straightening his tie some and wondering if he should really be wearing it to partake in some kind of sport.

“Gruel?” Christine replied back to him—cocking her head to the side in a cute way, that reminded the man of all the “anime” things that she had shown him lately.

Raoul idly hoped that the fact that Christine had found time to enjoy these things, meant that she was finally able to find some relief in her life again. Even if it was just by emulating some of those characters that she so clearly revered.

“Oh, Raoul! Did you just combine ‘cool’ and ‘great’ like is done in ‘Mean Girls’? Dearest, ‘gruel’ is not actually a word that means anything remotely close to either of those terms.

“And I hate to be the one to tell you this, because even now—after everything I’ve been through—I wish that fiction had more of a basis in real life, but… something you might see or hear in a movie doesn’t mean that it’s actually done here… yet. Just so you know that.”

The blond frowned at this, though he did his best not to let Christine see. He never wanted her to think that he regretted her or their new life together at all. Nothing could’ve been further from the truth!

And likewise, he certainly didn’t want her to think that she should’ve stayed with that awful man...

So turning around in Christine’s arms then, Raoul was prepared to reassure her with his words about just how much she meant to him, but Christine was having none of that.

Instead, the angel tapped his lips with her index finger to silence him—and to no doubt stop his panic, in realizing just how unfit he was to even be dignified as “human” if he was so ignorant—and then shooed him away with the most heavenly look about her that the man had ever seen.

…

When Raoul got back that night—feeling much too energized for the carbonated drinks he had ingested, apparently known as soda, alongside the very few friends that he had—it was to see Christine eating pizza in a dark room, with the TV blaring in front of her: the only light coming into the place.

“Christine?” Raoul asked then—unable to stop himself, even though he very much knew he was about to put his foot in his mouth by speaking. “Isn’t this- isn’t what you’re doing now pretty much every horror movie set up? Sorry that I have to ask, but I’m really not sure. But if I’m right… Say that Erik wanted to come back-”

“No, Raoul, I’m actually enacting my power over him,” Christine interrupted Raoul with ice in her voice, and her eyes positively blazing—though he knew that it was for her stalker and no one else that she was behaving this way.

Raoul still felt like the slime of the Earth for having questioned her strength, however.

“He’d never come after me in such a situation. It’s too unrealistic—and frankly, cliché—and he is nothing if not proud.”

At the confidence he so clearly saw within Christine, Raoul smiled. He was a little worried about the scenario that they were both in right now—even if he didn’t know Erik at all, and so mayhap Christine was right in thinking he’d never be interested in such a scene—but he sat down on the sofa beside Christine and intertwined his fingers with hers, all the same.

As he did that, he found himself flashing back to something that had happened between Christine and himself: one of the first moments they’d had together when he could actually speak English, that was.

The lion that had raised Raoul—that Raoul had called Bathsheba—had been killed and he’d been beside himself.

And Christine, bless the girl, had invited him over to her house to stay the night (so that she could try and comfort him in his loss), and he’d ended up falling asleep on this very couch—though then it had been spread out like a bed, through a “magic” that Raoul had never known before… A magic that Erik had taught Christine, perhaps?

But after he’d woken up that morning, Christine had had some warm hot cocoa in a mug for him—to try and soothe his raw throat from having stayed up part of the night, crying.

Christine had handed the glass to him—and the two’s fingers had touched—and suddenly the cup was on a side table and they were kissing

Now, back in the present, Christine ended up interrupting Raoul’s reminiscing, when she came over and wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned her cheek against his.

There was tension in the way that she was holding him, and honestly? Raoul couldn’t see how there wouldn’t be, when she’d nearly been held captive underground forever by an insane man.

When Christine had first met Raoul—after having stumbled into the woods, and then getting sick—she had woken up in his hut.

Raoul hadn’t had any ill intentions for Christine at all then, and rather had been trying to heal her, but he understood why she had, of course, assumed the worst at first.

In a lot of ways, she was so unbelievably broken and her trust in others had been shattered.

And even now, when she knew the truth—and even for a long time had known that Raoul was an honorable man—the type of fear and walls that Christine had had just didn’t go away.

…Even if Raoul was perhaps foolishly hoping that it was another emotion entirely—love—that she was feeling, that had her holding him so surely now.

…

The next day, after Raoul and Christine had fallen asleep on the loveseat together, Christine got up to go to her Environmental Science class at school—she again kissed Raoul on the cheek before she left, and Raoul decided then and there that he was going to do everything he could to make Christine happy.

And so he’d eventually go to the manga store and petition them to make a “Disney Princess Enchanted Journey” comic, he decided.

Christine loved that video game and wanted to see it adapted in some way, after all, but he would have to save that idea for later.

The first thing on the agenda now was to work on the video he was editing to get into university with.

Raoul still didn’t understand much about a lot of things, but he at least knew enough to decide that he liked the entertainment media a lot.

He was currently looking at an original story from one of his favorite YouTubers for inspiration—one where a man was curiously wearing a white cowboy hat—when he heard the noise:

Something akin to a rope being dragged along the floor.

If Raoul had thought that Christine had a rat in her apartment, or something like that, he maybe would’ve decided it was just that and let it go. Maybe…

But as it was, Raoul didn’t end up waiting the noise out—not when he knew that he and Christine had a Phantom after them.

The vicomte moved into a crouch—as he had only been too accustomed to doing in the wild—but then he cursed himself, and stood up straight.

If that man was here, all Raoul was really doing was eliminating his chance of being seen from up high, and though that was helpful… It might have been opening the door for even worse things to happen.

Raoul waited for a few long seconds then, but nothing happened. He wasn’t going to risk giving himself away, though.

Remembering the instructions Christine had given to him, on the off-chance that something like this were to ever happen, Raoul ended up going to their neighbor’s house (fortunately, there was just a little walkway that led him right to it), and he stayed with the elderly lady who lived there for a few hours.

As the woman had lived next to Christine for some time now—and trusted her exponentially--she’d given the singer this simple way to get to her, in case she ever ended up falling and needing Christine’s assistance.

Was Raoul hiding from a technical genius, while temporarily rooming with someone who was in much worse shape than he was? Not really.

Rather, he was relying on Christine’s idea that the ghost at least wouldn’t harm children and the elderly, so hopefully they’d both stay out of harm’s way this way.

Raoul did somewhat hate playing the defensive, however, if he was being honest with himself—as he was even unsure about some of Christine’s ideas about the horrible Erik that he’d heard so much about—but if this made Christine happy (or better yet, would even protect her from the Phantom of the Opera if/when she came here looking for him), then Raoul would suck it up and put his jungle fighting expertise on hold for a day.

…

At some point, he ended up in a half-awake state.

It wasn’t fun, because he ended up imagining what might have happened to Christine if he hadn’t found her when she’d gotten malaria that time.

He wouldn’t have been able to help her, would he? And then she probably would’ve died.

And even though Raoul hadn’t known the sweet girl back then, he still felt like he somehow would’ve missed her and never would’ve recovered without her.

But before Raoul could continue in his horrible nightmare any longer, he was woken up by Christine… Who Looked at Mrs. Valérius’ exercise bike that was just in front of him and then back at him.

Raoul pondered then if she had awoken him up so that he might exercise with her on the outlandish, log-like looking thing.

The innocent woman ended up answering Raoul’s inner-thought soon enough—for getting on her knees on the floor (in front of where Raoul was lying down, mind you), she asked him with big puppy-dog eyes:

“Raoul, I was thinking… You know how I told you I like to go to the gym, and to exercise on a bike like this while watching TV there? Well, I’m now thinking about doing so here. Mrs. Valérius won’t mind, if you’re kind enough to come over and watch her knit later, since she likes you... But to get her to allow me to do this… Do you think you could try doing all the work, while holding me in your arms?”

The vicomte laughed at Christine’s odd joke, and then looked over to the kind woman who was watching him behind a pair of owlish glasses. She was currently stitching together the ear pieces from different pairs of spectacles together.

It was really… out there to do such a thing, though Raoul knew that he of all people had no right to judge anybody. Especially since she seemed to be indicating that he should fall in line with Christine’s needs now.

The widow nodded at Raoul once, and then inclined her head in Christine’s direction—as if to tell him to go with her and do that already.

So taking his love’s hands in his own, and pulling her up so that she was sitting beside him again—and not being subjected to him—Raoul began to open his mouth, to tell Christine that he would comply to her “our hearts are connected logic” (that in Christine’s mind, meant that if he used the treadmill to lose weight, it would then be attributed to her, too somehow), but then he finally succeeded in remembering what had gotten him to come to Valérius’ house in the first place.

“Christine, my love, I don’t want you to panic. In fact, I wouldn’t be telling you this at all, if I didn’t think I absolutely needed to, but… I think Erik might have been in your home. I heard… I heard a sound like the Punjab lasso you described, but I encountered nothing after that fact. And yet I still felt the need to come here, like you told me to.”

Raoul trailed off when he noted Christine turn to ice, as she began to mull these things over. Gone was the playful girl from just a moment ago, and in her place was someone with a soul that had once been stolen by someone else.

How Raoul hated that man for what he’d done to Christine!

“You’re sure…” Christine started, keenly peering into his eyes. “Wait. Of course you’re sure. You had to listen for sounds all the time in your life before. Raoul, we need to get out of here… I trust Erik not to hurt our neighbor, if he thinks he can get back into my good graces that way, but we should call the police and tell them to watch over June, just in case.”

“Let’s go, Raoul!” Christine said suddenly, grabbing one of the man’s sleeves and hurrying him along out of the house.

She used a strength that surprised the blond. Not so much so because he’d ever thought she lacked it, but because she actually seemed to be holding back slightly! As if she thought she might hurt people with the power she had normally.

“Christine,” Raoul murmured, just as the both of them made it into the hardwood-floored hall that would lead them to their exit. “Don’t you think you should swiftly sing to our host—err, hostess—to thank her for temporarily allowing us to stay here?”

The former opera star literally skidded to a stop at Raoul’s words—obviously only just considering that possibility now.
The former cub worried for a moment that Christine might’ve been angry at him for his proposal: time was of the essence, after all.

But all she did was a smack a hand to her forehead, turn around—while mentioning for Raoul to hold on for a moment—and sang a few bars to her benefactress.

The woman clapped to the song a little off beat, Raoul could hear, but Christine seemed all the more besotted to her because of it—as her voice became even more powerful as Mrs. Valérius’ attempts got worse and worse.

And then they were taking off again.

But before they got too far into the backyard, Raoul felt a pain in his ankle—and as it gave out beneath him, he crumbled to the ground.

Raoul tried his best to get to his feet, but he knew it was no good.

Being out on his own—out in one of the most dangerous places imaginable—for so long had taught him when his foot was broken, and when he just needed to drag it and get to safety.

And what was more, was that there seemed to be a dart embedded in his leg and he was quickly losing consciousness, despite the fact that he was trying his best to get the sleeping agent out and to remain awake.

“Christine, don’t-”, Raoul began as he reached out for his girlfriend, just as he fell onto his side and his vision turned mostly black.

Raoul had thought he’d seen a mysterious figure moving discreetly throughout the trees; and as a certain swirling cloak had seemed to get only closer to them, Raoul was left just to fear for the love of his life.

Next, Raoul was certain he was hearing Christine mutter with the most strength he’d ever heard in her, “I’ll be fine, Raoul. I’m just going to go talk to Erik and end the problems he’s causing us.”

She patted his shoulder, but Raoul couldn’t see her hand; he could only see the parasites he knew how to deal with all around him, as he fell into nightmares.

…
Christine’s PoV

Christine had to resist the urge to cover Raoul up, or to take him back to her house, as she waited—arms spread—for the monstrous Phantom to kidnap her.

She knew that standing like this, however, would only moreso evoke Erik’s ire. He didn’t see himself as an abductor, after all.

So letting her hands fall to her sides, Christine did what she promised herself she never would again: she sang a beautiful ballad for this most demonic person, and finally he showed up.

But even as he did appear—and just stood still, waiting for her—Christine knew her former Angel well enough to know that he was trying to push her buttons and to get her to self-destruct herself by serenading him, and she wouldn’t give him that pleasure.

Discreetly walking in front of Raoul, to try and hide him from this nightmare, Christine decided to be the strong girl her Angel had always wanted her to be—so she wouldn’t flinch for his face, but love him despite it—but not in the way that he had wanted her to be.

“What do you want, Erik?” Christine began, as she began approaching him while saying this—trying her best to placate him, as it were.

And though she did her best to look like she wasn’t affected by his presence at all, the truth was that Christine was completely terrified. “Why risk showing your face like this, when-”

“Because Erik remembers what you once said about Christians inventing this wonderful holiday of Halloween, dear Christine, and if that’s the case, then he knows they won’t say anything—or raise a hand against him—on this fine day, will they? Or did you lie about that, too?”

Christine gulped at these words and instinctively stopped her stride.

Not so much because she was scared this time, but because she knew all the insults that Erik had just hurled her (and Kirk Cameron, who had originally said that, and her religion’s) way with that one sentence.

He was even saying that she’d been crazy to ever believe her father’s promise to her to begin with, wasn’t he?

Christine was not a violent person by any means, but never before had Christine wanted to hurt Erik more than she did in this one scene with him.

She tried not to let his words get to her, however—or to at least make it look like they hadn’t—as she wordlessly took a step back from him.

She would no longer play into his hand any more than she needed to.

Finally, Christine continued their conversation—as she made the sign of a gun with her right hand and wondered if she could maybe trick Erik into thinking she was really holding a pistol. “You can hardly want my favor, after everything you did to me. And even less so, after you just knocked my fiancé out! So what-”

Erik was walking up to her now—the moonlight that was cresting off of his grotesque face making his appearance all the worse somehow.

The brightness of the moon hid his head completely, making Erik appear to be just a worm—for that was what his neck looked like by itself—wriggling out of a man’s suit.

Christine began to feel deep regret for Erik again. But when she saw the Punjab lasso in his hands, she could no longer hold onto that emotion.

Did he want to slaughter her now—for not quaking in fear in front of the infamous Opera Ghost, when he himself had told her to think of him simply as Erik?

Christine wouldn’t have been surprised.

“Ahh, yes. Your new lover,” Erik drawled the words out into a song-- snapping his lasso once, just like he always did before getting it around many a victim. “One has to wonder about your taste and sanity, Christine. You doubted and were craven when it came to Erik, so how did you feel when you woke up in that beast’s bed? That is how you met, yes? Perhaps Erik is even doing you a favor in having silenced him now.”

He was trying to bait her, Christine knew, but she decided that she wouldn’t let him. If he was going to kill her now, she decided that she at the very least could maintain her dignity beforehand.

So she didn’t think about how when she’d awoken at Raoul’s hut, her skin had been covered in medical ointments he had found—which would’ve made doing the hanky-panky difficult if that had been his intention—and how she’d been covered with blankets to the brim, before he’d shooed her away upon feeling awkward at her awakening.

Later, it had been Christine who had come back to her savior (and not the other way around), and all of that was the exact opposite to Christine’s most recent encounter with this abomination.

She wouldn’t let Erik know just how safe she felt with Raoul; she didn’t want any hate being inflicted onto him for it, because it would just put him in danger.

And there was certainly what had happened with Firmin to consider.

So clenching her hands into fists at her side, Christine tried to act bored and drawled out herself, “What game are you playing here, Erik? You tapped a wire when you came here, by the way, and so the police will be here any minute—long before you can do anything of substance. They’ll unarm you and you’ll be locked in a cage again. Is that what you want? And in this time of terrorists, a girl must know how to defend herself, right? So I could maybe dispatch you before they even get here.”

Honestly, Christine hardly had any idea what she was saying at this point and she regretted it immensely.

And even moreso did Christine despise that she’d just pulled out a pocket knife from her bodice, and was now holding it loosely in her hands.

Threatening Erik was never a good idea—and he must have realized that himself, for he was upon her in a second.

Christine screamed; she couldn’t help it—for all at once there was rope on either side of her and she was being hefted into the air.

Once her shouting stopped—and it seemed like someone else entirely who was starting and stopping doing that at random intervals, certainly not her—and she calmed her breathing no longer saw dots appearing in front of her eyes, Christine could see that Erik had put her on a wooden swing, and now was pushing her on it in the cold night air.

Christine didn’t feel reassured at all by this.

No, she knew he was threatening her with the Punjab lasso, though in a “nice” way—because he clearly wanted her subconscious mind to recognize the danger that she was in and thus submit to him in order to stay safe, but he wanted her conscious to think he was still in love with her through all of this.

It was not lost to Christine, either, that this was maybe also supposed to represent the chandelier he’d sent crashing down—that she’d even worriedly run to him for afterwards, being a stupid child then and thinking that her “Angel” might have been hurt in the commotion, and that hadn’t been the one to cause the disaster to begin with; what an idiot she’d been!—what with the ropes, counterweight of the swing, and twinkling stars above them that all together seemed to emulate exactly that.

“You would never harm me, Christine,” Erik whispered into her ear then, not at all trying to be seductive but seemingly aiming for the gentleness he’d attempted when he’d first told her the truth about himself.

But Christine knew well the madness, cruelty, and bi-polar tendencies of his that belied all of his good intentions.

“Erik remembers what you sang for him, after all. Words can hurt you, and Christine’s never one to want to injure others like she herself has been betrayed so many times.”

Erik seemed to now be recalling a song that Christine had once been obsessed with as a teenager:

One that she’d reluctantly brought to her “Angel”, and had then been surprised to find that he didn’t entirely despise it for being so “juvenile”.

It was a song by the sister group known as “Aly & AJ”, with lyrics such as “Sticks and stones won’t break my soul. Get out of the way, I’m invincible… It’s not your place, honestly.”
…It was a track that still had a special place in Christine’s heart, and she didn’t like the idea that her enemy might still have an inkling that he’d once shared something special with her, at least over that one song.

The rest of their severed bond might have been pure artifice, but both their love for that horrid music’s lyrics hadn’t been.

If Raoul had not woken up right when he did, Christine didn’t know what she might have said to Erik in response in that moment.

Surely, though, she would have said or done something to escape from this poor, unhappy (and terrible, she reminded herself!) man, without a noose being around her neck as she did so.

Perhaps she might have tried to appeal to what was left of his humanity some, by informing him the way that he had her under a microscope now was exactly what he feared the public would one day do to him again?

But Christine would never know just what kind of horror or absolution that might have been triggered between them, if her beloved hadn’t gotten up.

He dashed awake, crawling over to where he no doubt saw her with Erik.

And the fact that he had to drag his bum leg after him—in a very painful looking way, Christine wagered—made her heart break into a million tiny pieces.

And even moreso when she heard him say, seeming completely destroyed, “Christine? Oh no, Christine! Hold on just a second, and I’ll get to you. I promise!”

No doubt he had made the mistake that she had at first—and thought the rope on both her sides was getting ready to hang her—and Christine decided then and there that she wasn’t going to wait even a second longer to let him see the truth.

She ran to Raoul’s side as fast as her feet would carry her—damning the consequences—and wrapped her arms lovingly around her Grass Type, as she often called him, and lifted him to his feet.

Raoul was looking at Christine as she did this—with the most love and awe she’d ever seen aimed her way before, and a loan tear slid down her face at the sight of it.

Christine knew very well what it was to have men love her, but by far Raoul’s adoration for her was the best she’d ever known—beating out even what she’d felt coming from her father before, and that was no easy task.

“Chr- Christine,” Raoul stuttered, using what looked like great effort to stand on his own two feet now, as he held her face in his hands and looked deeply into her eyes. “Are you alright? Tell me that you are. Tell me-”

“Mousier, if you are planning to run off with mademoiselle Daaé again, like it sounds like you are, might Erik offer you a deal? Erik will leave both you and her alone forever… If she comes to sing for Erik one last time.”

At that, Christine angrily shifted away from Raoul—so that she could perhaps face her worst adversary even better—for the Rat Catcher that she had seen a few times on her way to Erik’s hideout before was in front of her now.

His head looked like a glowing face amidst flames.

And though Christine knew that that was all somehow a trick, she didn’t find any comfort in that fact.

She understood, after all, just what Erik was threatening her now.

Raoul growled into the night, and Christine was reminded of when she’d made him laugh for the first time and how he had been completely mystified by that sound.

What she’d heard then—compared to the noise he had just uttered, was not completely different—but this was not the time to be having such random thoughts.

“Mousier,” Raoul responded then, sounding as though he was having a hard time saying the new term for a “gentleman”, that he had never heard before, as French wasn’t his first language. “If you don’t know by now that Christine makes her own decisions, like a zebra separated from its pack and heading into danger—before wisely escaping, perhaps having meant to poke fun at the foolish leopards that had missed their chance the entire time—then I’m afraid you don’t know her very well at all.”

Christine was completely surprised by this. She’d never heard Raoul talk about her in this way before: it was as if he feared that comparing her to the animals that he knew so well—even better than humans—might upset her.

But instead, Christine felt completely honored by his words… even if she didn’t know if she deserved them. She wasn’t wise like Raoul was saying she was, but had instead fallen headfirst into Erik’s dangerous deceptions because she’d missed her father so.

Erik—the poor man’s lips moving to shape a “P” sound, it looked like (perhaps to beg them for his forgiveness, as he’d perhaps just heard the goodness that could exist within humanity through Raoul’s awe-inspiring words, Christine prayed)—ended up moving the muscles of his lips so that they fell further down on his face.

He looked hideous: like a cartoon character with bad animation—trying to get a swig of something to drink, perhaps—and Christine felt horrible for him.

In fact, she was even about to say so—and to apologize to him for absolutely everything—when came his ultimatum:

“Come back to the opera house and sing for Erik one more time, Christine Daaé. He will be good to you, if you do. You can even bring your… pet with you and dote on him, for all your poor, insane Erik cares, but… if you do not come sing for Erik, and do not listen, all of your loved ones will burn alive. Mark the words.”

And after some sort of maneuver, where the entire forest seemed to swell around Christine, both Erik and that other man were gone—as if they’d never even been there at all.

…

When Christine eventually came to, it was to see Raoul leaning over her with a concerned look on his face.

She appeared to be in a hospital? But if that was true… how the heck would Raoul have gotten the two of them here?

But even with her head spinning, the woman leaned forward and gratefully drank down some of the chamomile that was being offered to her.

“My love, I was hoping that you would wake up soon. Here, drink this tea. It will make you fall asleep, and give you pleasant dreams, I’m sure… Instead of what the mushroom hallucinogens he’s been giving you have been doing-”

“Mushroom… hallucinogens? Raoul, what-”

Christine was confused, to say the least. She admitted that it probably wasn’t too big a jump to think that Erik—the creepy, brilliant man that he was—might have found a way to sneak mushrooms into her diet, in order to try and control her—in knowing that his singing could no longer do the trick.

It had never really had that much of an effect on her at all, as she looked back on it. It had only ever served to get her out of her dressing room once, and into the hallway that he had wanted her to go into.

But though Christine had snapped out of it nearly instantly, how she very much wished she could go back in time and stop herself from being bamboozled at all.

“I guess that’s not really what I’m wondering about,” the soprano admitted, as she sat up in the hospital bed with some difficulty, and took the fretting-looking Raoul’s hands into her own. “How did we- how did we get here? How is it that your ankle’s okay?”

It clearly wasn’t the question that Raoul had hoped she’d ask. His countenance looked troubled, and Christine understood exactly why that was, when his sister, Tracey, walked into this room.

Christine absolutely hated that woman, and she assumed that the feeling Raoul had for her was probably even more unpleasant.

She’d… responded to Raoul better than any of the other de Chagny siblings had, when they’d realized that their long-lost, kidnapped little brother had finally shown up on the radar again—in a jungle, of all places—where he’d presumably been taking care of himself all alone, thinking that he was an animal, the entire time.

Tracey thought of Raoul as little more than a pet (shockingly similar to Erik that way), that she’d sometimes entertain if only for a hopefully fun adventure.

So if Raoul had enlisted her help in driving them here, things must’ve been worse than she’d thought, Christine bitterly realized—even while replaying Erik’s ultimatum in her head over and over again.

“Christine, darling,” Tracey said, faking concern as she rushed over to Christine’s bedside and placed a kerchief atop her neck, for a reason that Christine could only begin to guess at.

Raoul, meanwhile, looked completely mortified.

“Not that I’m not glad to see you, dear—and not that I’m not glad to see that you’re okay—but if you keep up this thing with your ghost stories, we might have to rethink letting you—the civilized one—be our long-lost sibling, who is kindly and selflessly marrying peasant Raoul here, of course.”

At that, Raoul had clearly had enough.

He hid it very well, but Christine could tell that he was perturbed, though Christine also suspected that it was moreso himself that Raoul was truly upset with.

“Tracey, if you don’t mind, could you maybe go and get me a tea—no, a coffee—from downstairs? I want to have the entire hospital experience, since—as you say—Christine Daaé might not be up to par to play your sister, and so I might have to be the civilized one instead.”

Tracey—without realizing that Raoul was absolutely heartbroken by her words (and insulting her) and that he really just wanted to speak of Erik now, Christine assumed—left win an approving smile in Raoul’s direction.

But once she was gone, Raoul shut the door, fell into a chair beside Christine, and buried his face into his hands.

“Raoul, if you’re beating yourself up about Erik finding me, don’t. I had no more idea than you did that he might use the Internet. I thought he was too old for that!”

And more than that, Christine had thought he looked down upon the thing—for he had told her once before that he pitied anyone who would toil away their existence on the thing, when they could be making art instead, and yet…

He had approached something that he saw beneath him in order to stalk her again, hadn’t he? It made Christine once more afraid of him, but also somehow more sympathetic.

“And Raoul, it’s amazing you were able to help me with your foot!” Christine Daaé continued on, as she noticed the cast that her fiancé was now sporting, that he must’ve gotten sometime while she’d been unconscious.

Christine quickly saw, though, that she just seemed to be making Raoul even more furious with himself, and when he spoke up next she understood why that was.

“It’s still no excuse, Christine. I used to outsmart the best of animals—the best of them, in order to survive—and now I can’t even watch your back against the one person who gives you night terrors?

“But I- I don’t want to come off feeling sorry for myself, and make your trials even worse than they already are…. So I will end this pity party by saying that what bothers me the most is that I had noticed that we were somehow getting home with more mushrooms than we had meant to buy.

“I had thought that, perhaps, God was just looking out for us and multiplying them with manna—as he did in the story with the loaves of bread and the fish—but I was just someone who let himself get manipulated, in a similar way to how you once were. And how very much I empathize and sympathize with you for it, Christine! Say that you’ll forgive me.”

Christine was somewhat taken aback by all of this. She had known Raoul’s faith was important to him, as her own was to her…

Raoul had always had some knowledge of God about him—as the apostle Paul said that everyone had that knowledge within them, however much they might want to deny it by blotting out that light with darkness; and what Raoul had gone through proved that pretty soundly—and Christine understood that Raoul thought that was the reason he’d never truly been beast-like, despite everything (as God had set apart humans and the lesser-animals, yes?).

Christine even thought that was why she had woken up in his hut, feeling as though she could trust him (though she had tried to squash that idea down, knowing how she had been burnt by Erik before).

But truthfully? Christine had gotten such a sense of humanity and humility from Raoul right at the beginning.

It was not something she had ever felt with Erik, unfortunately, for it had been her fear—in what he might do to other people if she didn’t return to him like she had promised—that had made her return to the house on the lake time and time again, despite what she herself had wanted.

And later, Christine had found herself thinking that it made sense that someone who mocked her faith so—for his own personal gains—would be one of the worst sinners of all.

So, yes: Christine had known how much—well, Christianity—meant to Raoul.

She also was aware of how much they had in common with it, and that it fortunately bound them together so well (as it was meant to), but Christine had never stopped to consider that his belief might be shaken by the awful Phantom of the Opera who had so succeeded in shaking her own, and that they might come to share that together as well.

Christine—as she sat up so that her legs hung over the bed—was about to reach out and try to comfort Raoul about it in some way, but just then Tracey had come back into the room—and so did Christine’s chance disappear with it.

Mayhap it was for the best. Raoul had indicated that he wanted to focus on her, after all. And reluctantly, Christine decided that she’d let him do just that.

“I haven’t… been in the hospital too long, have I? Erik won’t have begun hurting people because I am not meeting his demands right now, will he have?”

And when neither Raoul or Tracey bolted upright, as if having had some sort of epiphany about the matter, Christine took that as her cue that everything was (momentarily) okay, and to continue onwards.

“We need to come up with a plan, for when he goes against his word—and tries to kidnap me, despite saying that he only wants me to sing for him one last time—and I think I have an idea for it.”

So, impressively getting to her feet (and having expertly freed herself from the wires that connected her to the devices before doing even that)—so that it would inspire some confidence in her from Raoul and Tracey—Christine told them exactly what it was.

Truth be told, Christine didn’t have much hope in her plan herself, but she could pretend differently. Couldn’t she?
 

KingdomKey

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First, please don't worry about spoiling me on anything in regards to Phantom of the Opera. I haven't seen it, except maybe in parts a long time ago? xD Anyways, I really like this version of Phantom of the Oprea because, it's fantastic seeing how much Christine has grown after being manipulated by Erik back then. I love the background story about Raoul because, it makes him really likable as a character. I like that he had Christine to lean on as much as she leaned on him. And it's really sweet of them both to support each other as well. What astonishes me is that Erik managed to drug Raoul before he could do anything in time. So seeing Christine confront her stalker/abductor is amazing. Even if she screamed, she's still a whole lot braver than most protagonists are. Furthermore, I wonder what her plan is! I'm dying to know what it'll be! And the modern twist is probably my second favorite part about this story. Is Christine's secret being that she's pregnant? Just a guess on my part. xD So bravo! You wrote this extremely well too. :D
 

LightUpTheSky452

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First, please don't worry about spoiling me on anything in regards to Phantom of the Opera. I haven't seen it, except maybe in parts a long time ago? xD Anyways, I really like this version of Phantom of the Oprea because, it's fantastic seeing how much Christine has grown after being manipulated by Erik back then. I love the background story about Raoul because, it makes him really likable as a character. I like that he had Christine to lean on as much as she leaned on him. And it's really sweet of them both to support each other as well. What astonishes me is that Erik managed to drug Raoul before he could do anything in time. So seeing Christine confront her stalker/abductor is amazing. Even if she screamed, she's still a whole lot braver than most protagonists are. Furthermore, I wonder what her plan is! I'm dying to know what it'll be! And the modern twist is probably my second favorite part about this story. Is Christine's secret being that she's pregnant? Just a guess on my part. xD So bravo! You wrote this extremely well too. :D
Oh my gosh, Cinder. Thank you so very much for reading this and leaving such a review--especially since you don't really know the phandom at all. Gracias.

And I'm glad to hear that you thought I wrote this really well... because I was truly starting to second guess that and almost regretted posting it at all, so you've reassured me so very much by saying that! I needed it, my psychic friend, you.:)

Strong Christine is what I live for, tbh--and that was what I was going for here! One of the reasons I love this story so much, is because in the actual novel Christine was the hero and Raoul was the damsel (and Erik was the villain/anti-villain and anti-hero, that only Christine was evenly matched with).

In fact, the original book has swapped gender roles (where the two men aren't very strong or masculine at all, and are always crying about their lives, whereas Christine just handles everything they throw out her--mostly without a tear--and saves them both in some way), and I just- I adore that. Especially since that (and many of the other things about the narrative) was so unheard of at the time it was written!

And though I like quite a few of the Phantom adaptations, it always saddens me that they don't have that element of the source material in them (though Christine can still be a force to be reckoned with in those, like in the 25th anniversary performance of the musical especially, the flipped gender stereotypes thing, sadly, is still not a thing in them). In fact, we've yet to get a truly Leroux Phantom of the Opera adaptation at all, but here's hoping that we will someday!

And for that reason, whenever I do Phantom of the Opera stuff these days, I try to take all of the stuff from the Leroux version of the story that I LOVED--that hasn't been used yet--and incorporate it my own somehow. IDK.

And I'm glad that you like Raoul and Christine comforting each other! That's something that makes me like their relationship so very much (that I think we see in most versions of the story), and I think they only would have grown stronger and better with each other... despite what some adapters might say.

You'll totally have to wait to see what Christine's secret is, though. I'm not spoiling. But I'm glad that you're guessing, however! It's always so much more fun when readers do that:D

"Bravo, bravo, bravisssimo." So... you actually just used a lyric from the musical without even knowing it when you said "bravo", dear Cinder. Bravo to you for that, my friend. You're a genius. A true genius.

And thanks for everything (and not only this, but for reading my original novel right now; you're seriously the best person ever). -hugs-

I hope that you're doing well!
 
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