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"These Things Do Happen!"

Chapter Text

Enough was enough. No one would touch what was mine anymore. I have been too soft with them, letting them get away with it for too long. I gave them all the chances, but they still didn't consider me worth of any consideration.
Tonight, all would change. Tonight, I would take back what was mine.
"Ayesha! Get out of the couch!"
I stared at him.
"I have some fish for you...", he said in that stupid voice.
Stupid beautiful voice. Maybe some fish would be good.
I jumped to the floor. Maybe I could let him win today. But tomorrow, he would see my rage!

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The scent was strong in the air. It made my insides feel funny. I approached slowly, my hand just barely reaching for...
"Meg Giry! What are you doing here?"
I froze. The cookies were just in my reach, but so far. A idea formed in my mind.
I turned behind fast, and made my best scared face.
"Look! It's there! The Phantom of the Opera!"
My mother looked at the direction I pointed. I quickly took two cookies, and ran from the kitchen.
"Meg Giry!"

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"Are you so sure a small jar would contain me, madame?"
The khanum stared at the man before her, looking him up and down. Everyone else in the room held their breaths for a moment, waiting to see her reaction.
"Perhaps you could show me if I'm mistaken."
Erik smirked at her. She smirked back.
The khanum whispered to one of her servants:
"Please arrange my private chamber. I want everything perfect."
Then, she turned back to Erik.
"Let's see tonight what else you can do besides trifles."

Chapter Text

 "You are late.", the man accused.
The lady sat down, making sure her cloak still covered her face.
"I'm sorry.", she said harshly. "I had to make sure he didn't see me leaving."
"He's still alive?", he asked, uneasy.
"Not for long. He won't be able to deal with this loss."
"And Christine...?"
"Down. I made sure of it."
Meg managed to keep it a secret until now, but she had quite some experience with a gun.
"Good.", Raoul sighed.
Meg took Raoul's glass, and drank from it.
"There's still the child."
"Someone will take care of him, I guess. Maybe your mother."
Meg laughed.
"My mother? She couldn't even care for her own child."
"Well, it's not my problem anymore."
Leaning down, he could see Meg's green eyes under the cloak.
"You are so mean.", she said, in a tone that showed that she was actually enjoying all the thing.
"It serves them well.", Raoul said, showing he felt no regret. "That unfaithful whore and her freak lover."
Meg just nodded. She had learned that a man that felt his honor insulted was capable of anything.
"What are you going to do now?"
"I am going back to France. Do you want to come too?"
"Yes, please. I'm tired of this country."
"Let's go, then. The ship leaves in two hours."

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Christine entered her dressing room, exhausted after a full day of rehearsals. She sat down and sighed.
A sound started, very soft at first. It was a calm melody, first hummed, and then the sweetest voice she ever heard started singing. Christine stood up and walked to the full body mirror in the wall.
She seemed almost hypnotized by the voice. The young singer kept walking until she was mere inches from the mirror. She raised her hand and touched a specific point in its frame.
With a low sound, the mirror opened, revealing a small space in which a man stood.
"Really, Erik? This trick is like 100 years old."
Erik lowered his head.
"How did you know about the secret passage?", he asked.
"I know this theater like the back of my hand.", Christine explained. "Why are you in my dressing room?"
"Well, you see...", Erik looked away. "I was wondering if... maybe we could have some coffee together?"
Christine blinked, and then chuckled.
"Just give me some minutes to get changed. And get out of my dressing room!"

Chapter Text

Melody's first day in America was going well so far. The sights were beautiful, the park was brilliant and Gustave's childhood friends were very kind.
Now, Gustave was taking her to the home he grew in. She was really loving it, that he was sharing with her all these special memories.
Gustave opened the door. It was dark inside, all the curtains and windows shut. A cold breeze blew from outside, and the door slammed shut. Melody couldn't see anything. She reached her hands around, trying to find Gustave.
A cold hand touched her shoulder. It was not Gustave's, she knew his hand, and it was smaller and the fingers were a bit chubbier. She couldn't help but let out a shout.
Suddenly, the lights went back on, and Melody found herself facing a man she never saw before.
"Dad! Could you please don't try to scare everyone I bring home?"

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The temperature was rising quickly. Raoul felt like his body and the whole room were on fire.
"Are you sure this is going to help save Christine?", he asked, a bit impatient.
"Who? Oh, yes, of course, sir.", replied the Persian man, before his lips attacked Raoul's again.
Raoul pulled the Persian closer, his arms the only safe place in the hell of the Opera House cellars. Around them, infinite images of themselves and what they were doing surrounded them.
The Persian lowered his mouth, now licking Raoul's neck. The vicomte moaned. It was his first time having such sensations, and though he knew he had to act as fast as possible to save Christine from the monster, he also secretly wanted this to last some more.
A cold breeze entered. Raoul looked around and saw that one of the mirrors seemed to have opened, revealing a normal looking room. A tall masked man was in front of it, looking down at both man that lied shirtless (the heat was unbearable) on the torture chamber. Raoul could see Christine in the room, her face red.
"My torture chamber is not a brothel, daroga, and I would be thankful if you stopped bringing your... whatever here."
The Persian let out a chuckle, and stood up. With his help, Raoul stood up too, and quickly tried to fix his clothes.
"I can hear every word, every sound from here. Christine is very embarrassed. You both should apologize."
Now Raoul's face got red. Did she hear everything? He tried to look into her eyes with this question, but she avoided his gaze.
"I am sorry, Mademoiselle.", said the Persian. "My friend Erik doesn't get much action, so it makes him really grumpy."
"GET OUT!"

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"Love me, that's all I ask of you."
Christine jumped into Raoul's arms, feeling a happiness she didn't in months. As she kissed him, everything felt right.
Then, a dark figure appeared from the shadows. It moved fast. Christine had no time to grab Raoul's hand before he was pushed.
"What... what have you done?"
The masked figure looked down.
"Don't worry. He won't die... I think."

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 Something seemed off from the start of the seduction scene. Carlotta hadn't see her lover in that costume yet, and from the moment she put her eyes on him, before he stepped on stage, his body seemed somehow... weird. She knew his body very well, surely it would take more than just a dark cloak to make her feel this way.
The feeling only grew bigger once he started singing. No, that was not his voice. That was not Piangi. It seemed no one but Carlotta had realized it. Still, she watched the scene, wanting to see what was going on.
Her instinct was right. The moment Christine pulled his cloak down, and everyone was gasping in shock for seeing the Phantom, Carlotta was already running backstage. She couldn't care less about whatever drama was happening up there, she just wanted to find her man.
"Ubaldo!", she called. "Ubaldo, where are you?"
She got no reply, and fear was starting to hit her. Carlotta stopped, leaning against the corridor wall, tears on her eyes.
"Ubaldo.", she whispered.
A sound. It seemed something was banging against one of the doors. Carlotta ran to it, holding her breath as she opened the door.
There he was, still in his clothes and make up from the past scene. Tied down, a clothe in his mouth. Carlotta had to hold back a scream, before helping him get free.
"Ubaldo!"
"Carlotta, my bunny! He's there! Are you alright?"
"Yes, I am!", she held him, tears now falling. "Did he hurt you?"
"Don't worry, bunny. I am a tough man!"
Screams. They came from stage.
"We have to get out of here, now!", Carlotta said, pulling her beloved to the nearest exit.

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It was already late, but Erik couldn't sleep. He was thinking back at what happened that day. A man was dead, and it was all his fault. Now everything was changed and he had to deal with a new manager and his tone-deaf wife. This was a nightmare.
The sound from above, from the stage, echoed in his hiding place. It was a sound like he never heard before. Silently, Erik took one of the tunnels to the surface, to see who was doing it.
There was a young woman standing on the stage. She was dressed in simple clothes and she was singing. Or at least she thought she was.
Erik sighed. There was no way he could stay there, having to hear Carlotta all day and now this girl at night. No way, he would talk to Gerard the next day. There must be some other sewer for him to live in.

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 "Chris! Chris! Wake up!"
Christine heard Meg's voice, and slowly her conscience came back. What happened? Why did her head hurt so much?
Right, she was singing her audition. That unknown aria, who was the composer again? Something fell, and she was unconscious, and in the back of her mind she could remember parts of the strangest dream.
"Are you okay, Miss?", asked a man, running to stage. He looked in his fifties, a little overweight, his head barely covered by his white hair and a funny looking mustache.
"Yes.", Christine replied, standing up. She still felt a bit dizzy but her head's pain was fading. "How did I do in the audition?"
"Well," the man stuttered. "That was a... a bold choice of song. But you are not quite what we- I mean, maybe... maybe you could try again next season?"

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"Christine?"
Hearing her name, Christine turned around. It couldn't be. That was a voice she never expected to hear again.
Yet, there he was, looking as if not even a day has passed.
"You..."
Erik couldn't believe his eyes.
"What are you doing here?", he asked.
"What are /you/ doing here? I thought you- We all thought you-"
"You thought I was dead?", Erik laughed. "I thought so too for a while."
Christine was speechless. Before she could think of what to say, another voice called her.
"Mother! Mother!", Gustave called, cheerful. Raoul was right behind him.
Seeing who was talking to Christine, he instinctively put one hand on his son's shoulder, and the other held Christine's arm.
Christine felt a shiver. She didn't know how Erik would react. Memories of their last encounter flashed in her mind.
Erik's expression didn't change as he watched the family in front of him.
Gustave noticed that the atmosphere was suddenly tense, but he could not understand what happened to the adults.
"Darling, I think we should get going. It seems like it will rai- Oh."
Meg stood right beside Erik, her eyes growing wide and her mouth opening.
"Meg!", Christine really couldn't believe. How many more surprises were waiting for her in this country?
"Christine! You really came!", Meg greeted, an unsure smile on her face.
"I can't believe. I just met-"
"My husband.", Meg finished her sentence for her. There was some possessiveness in her voice.
"Your what?"
Meg raised her hand, showing her ring. Erik smiled and nodded.
Christine couldn't help but let out a sigh of relief. He moved on. There weren't hard feelings anymore, right? Raoul did not seem as convinced, as he kept his hands on his wife and son.
Gustave was growing impatient. He couldn't hold anymore.
"Mother! Can I have some ice cream?"
"Of course, darling.", Christine replied, turning to her son. Then, back at her old friends. "Congratulations."
"Thank you.", Meg replied.
"You too.", Erik added.
The two families parted ways, knowing they wouldn't met for a while.

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Christine waited, impatient. Every second seemed like an hour. Her heartbeats were fast, and her forehead sweated, and the object felt cold against her fingers. She thought she heard footsteps, but it was only in her mind. She could do nothing but wait until Erik returned.
Her words echoed in her mind. Christine did what she had to do, but as she promised, she didn't think of what it would be like to keep her word. Stay with him. Marry him. Be his living bride. The thought made her shiver, and she had to hold back the tears.
Finally, after an eternity, Erik arrived. Christine did not greet him, she did not walk to him. She stayed in place, hiding it behind her back, preparing herself mentally for what would come.
Erik took slow steps towards her. He looked different. Christine could not see his face but she swore he smiled. Her hand trembled. Could she do it? No, she had to. She had to.
He took her head in his cold hands, raising it. Christine closed her eyes. Slowly, very slowly, he approached his lips to her forehead. Christine let him. Maybe she would regret it later, but there was no other way. She had to do it.
In a fast move, she brought her hand forward, the small knife pointed front, and stabbed his stomach. Christine opened her eyes, a tear threatening to fall. Erik stared at her. A question in his eyes.
She knew it was just a small wound, she knew that if he tried he could take the knife from her. But he didn't. He just stared at her, and it didn't make sense, but Christine could swear he smiled again. She wanted to whisper an apology, but she couldn't.
She took the knife off, and stabbed again. And again. And again. Until Erik fell to his knees, weak. Then she ran as if her life depended on it. It was not true, she knew, she knew that if he wanted to stop her he would already have done it. But she ran, trying to forget what she just did with her own hands.

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"We've passed the point of no return."
As the last notes played, Christine approached her co-star. This was the scene she hated the most: the kiss scene. She tried to avoid it the most she could during rehearsals, but now it was the real thing and she could not escape.
Her hand slipped inside the hood, and she touched his cheeks, bringing his face to hers. Something was not right. Still, Christine pulled him until their lips touched. This was definitely not right. The man she was kissing was not Piangi.
She pulled away and took a step behind, breaking the character, her eyes wide. She could not see any of his face but she was sure he was smiling.
A laugh started echoing. It didn't sound as if it was coming from the stage, but it was. Christine knew it. It was him.
A loud sound. Smoke. He was gone.

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"Lot 665, sold! To the Vicomte de Chagny!"
A maid took the item and gave it to the Vicomte. He watched it with fascinated eyes. It was exactly as described. Every detail. As the next lot was announced, he asked to be taken to his carriage. He got what he wanted already, there was no point in staying longer.

It was a cold afternoon. A strong wind blew as he sat in front of her grave. His poor wife, gone too soon, too young. At least she went peacefully, and painlessly, Raoul liked to think.
He felt a tall shadow from behind.
"Did you get it?"
Raoul smiled. He was impatient, like always. Raoul gave one last caress to the monkey's head, now covered by a fabric to protect it from dust and curious stares.
"Yes."
The other man kneeled down besides Raoul's chair and reached out his hands, waiting for the object. Raoul quickly handed it.
The Vicomte could not see the other's face, covered as it was by layers of clothes, but something in the way his arms moved, his hands touching every inch of the music box, something in that gave away that he was feeling a great happiness for being reunited with this item.
"It still works.", Raoul explained.
The man nodded, before raising his head. Behind clothes and shadows, all that could be seen where his shinning eyes.
"Thank you."
Raoul put a friendly hand on his shoulder.
It was strange. Raoul felt he got much older in the last years, being now trapped on this chair, his hair quickly graying, his sight weaker everyday. But this man, this man that he knew was much older than himself, still had the same imposing figure he had all those years ago. It was like he never aged.
The man stood up, covering the music box again. He turned to the grave, and his shoulders dropped. He reached for something inside his coat. A red rose, with a black ribbon tied to it.
"I hope you can forgive me.", he whispered, his voice soft, full of sadness. Raoul could not say if he was speaking to him, or trying to somehow reach Christine, wherever she was.
The man placed the rose on her grave, and walked away, disappearing between the endless graves and the dying trees.

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Madeleine could not sleep properly that night. She felt she should, that after making her choice a weight would be lift from her and now she should be able to rest. Still, something felt wrong. There was a hard feeling, a bit of fear maybe. She closed her eyes but sleep did not come, and if it did, it lasted only a few seconds.
Finally, Madeleine decided to stand up and maybe drink some warm tea to help her relax. As she walked to the kitchen, she decided to stop by the drawing room and check on her son.
She soon realized Erik was not laying down on the couch anymore.
Her fear raised. A thought of what could be happening started forming, but Madeleine didn't dare to make it into words. She ran upstairs, the hand that held a candle shaking. 'He heard it.', her mind repeated. And she cursed Etienne, her fear and worry now bigger than any admiration she felt for the man.
She opened the door to Erik's room, and a sigh of relief escaped her lips. Hearing the faint sound, he turned to her, and Madeleine could see fear in his eyes.
Erik was sitting on the floor, his hands messing with something she could not see. He had put on a clean mask and a coat. He now stopped whatever he was doing and stared at Madeleine, and he was afraid. And Madeleine remembered painfully that he was still a child, despite his behavior he was still only a child.
She understood what he planned to do, and she thanked God for not being able to sleep. If she had arrived just a little later, maybe it would be too late.
"Erik, you should be resting. You are still hurt.", she said, in the softest voice she could despite all the horrible things that passed through her mind.
Erik didn't react, didn't say a word. Madeleine approached him and helped him stand up. He let himself be moved by her, let her walk him to his bed.
"Are you in pain?", Madeleine asked, removing his coat. He slowly shook his head. She made him lay down.
Madeleine sat on his bed, afraid he would disappear if she took her eyes off him for a moment. Her hands moved to his hair, and started caressing it. She didn't noticed the tears forming in Erik's eyes until she untied the mask and removed it.
"Mother.", the boy whispered. Erik was sure of his plan, was sure that it was the only way for his mother to be happy, that it was for the best for everyone. But seeing her again, having her there just minutes before his departure made him think twice, made him realize he was not ready to go. He was not ready to leave her.
"Yes?", Madeleine replied.
"Please don't send me away.", he was sobbing now. "Please. I promise I will behave, I promise I will be good. Please don't send me to that scary place." Erik didn't know how he could keep this promise. But he really wanted to try, he really wanted to do whatever it took to make his mother happy and still be allowed to be with her.
"I won't.", she replied, her voice almost breaking. "I am not sending you anywhere. We are going to find a better life, together."
"Together.", he repeated.
Madeleine nodded. She leaned down. This was a good time right? She could do it... right?
No, she could not. Looking at his face, she realized she still could not bring herself to touch it. Maybe one day. Soon, she hoped.
"I'm sorry.", Erik said, realizing her hesitation.
"No, I'm sorry.", Madeleine replied, straightening herself. She could feel his disappointment. "Sleep, Erik. You need the rest."
He closed his eyes, but Madeleine didn't left his room. She realized she was too scared of losing her son. She might still be far from a proper mother, but this feeling felt like a start.
Maybe one day she could be. Maybe one day she could kiss her son without hesitation.

Chapter Text

 "Ah, that night."
Christine blinked.
"What night?"
"Don't try to deny it now. That night, before your wedding. You came to where I was hiding and-"
"I didn't do such a thing."
"You did. You came and-"
"I didn't even know you were alive. How could I have gone to you?"
"Christine.", his voice seemed to get angry. How dare she deny the best thing that happened in his whole life?
"I swear on my father's grave. This is the first time I see you after that night in the opera.", Christine insisted, serious.
Erik stared at her eyes. She wouldn't say a lie like this. Still, he was sure that it happened, sure that it wasn't just a dream.
"But you were there. You found me, and in the darkness we... we..."
"Darkness?"
"Yes!", she had to remember. "It was dark. There was no moon in the sky. Just you and me, the darkness, unable to see a thing."
"If you couldn't see, how can you know it was me?"
"Because-!", Erik's first reaction was anger that she would even suggest such a thing. But the idea started growing in his mind and he realized it was a valid point. "Oh shit."

Chapter Text

"Why aren't you the emperor, Erik? Why the hell aren't you the emperor?"
Erik could only roll his eyes. Garnier was clearly drunk, too drunk to think coherently about what he was saying.
Garnier sighed.
It was already dark, and all the other workers had already left. Both men were sitting side by side on a bench. Garnier's hand moved a little closer to Erik's, but Erik not so slowly pulled away.
"You should go home. Your wife must be starting to worry.", Erik said.
Garnier nodded. His head fell to the side, and ended up on Erik's shoulder. Erik realized he was really too drunk to stay out.
"Let's take you home.", he whispered, standing up and helping Garnier. The architect kept his head leaning on Erik's shoulder, while mumbling something about Erik as the emperor.
Erik just focused on avoiding the many obstacles of the construction site. When he realized, Garnier's voice already faded, and his eyes were closed.
Such a fool man, Erik thought. Didn't he think of all the dangers he was suffering by allowing himself to drink until unconsciousness in a dark, empty place, only in company of a monster? Clearly he didn't.
Erik called a cab, and felt Garnier waking up. A strange touch on his neck, an unknown feeling.... was that his lips? Before Erik could understand, the cab arrived, and Garnier parted from him.
"You'd have made a damned good emperor.", he cried. "Do you know that, Erik... a damned good emperor!"
And he entered the cab, leaving a very confused Erik behind.

Chapter Text

A bottle of wine later, the two men were laughing loudly over silly stories. Truth to be told, Anatole drank most of it, but Raoul got drunk more easily, so in the end it was all the same.
"Where do you think Christine is now?", Raoul suddenly asked.
"Probably celebrating her success.", Anatole replied. "Can you believe her?"
"Right? I thought she would want to spend her night with a charming baritone."
"Or with a handsome inspector."
They laughed, as the waiter arrived with another bottle.

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 Erik spent his whole life dreaming of what it would be like to be like a normal person, to live above ground and be able to take a normal walk on the park.
For the first time he was really thankful for living in a hidden place.
It was not that he was unhappy with his current situation, just... he had no idea of what to do. It was too much for him.
The first note was left one morning on box 5. Erik was surprised that he did not see when the dancer left it there. He thought it was a joke. It had to be.
Then another one. And another.
He now stared at a pile of notes, from all the ballet members, a few chorus girls and one tenor. On top, a big one, in fancy paper, soaked in perfume, from La Carlotta. Not any notes, no, all of them love notes. Left to the Opera Ghost.
He really had no idea of what to do.

Chapter Text

Erik started laughing. The Persian held Raoul's hand.
"We have to be careful."
Raoul pulled his hand away.
"What do you suggest? If we don't make this move, he will take her down."
The Persian gave it some thought. Erik stared at him, his yellow eyes shinning as he tried to hold his laugh.
"It's a trap."
Raoul looked at him in shock. The Persian pointed to the pieces of the trap.
"It's a trap, Vicomte. He has led us all along."
Erik started laughing louder.
"Erik, please stop!", Christine cried out. "This is too cruel."
"I am sorry, dearest.", Erik replied, in a tone that was apologetic but still amused.
Raoul wanted to punch that bastard's face, but the Persian held him.
"This won't get us anywhere. If you want him to shut up, we have to beat him in his own game."
"Which you won't ever do.", Erik leaned back on his chair.
"Please, Erik, spare them.", Christine asked.
Erik shook his head.
"Make your move, daroga."
The Persian considered his options, and Raoul watched him, impatient. There seemed to be no way out. Damn Erik, always thinking of everything.
In the end, they decided for the initial idea. Erik laughed louder than before, it was not hard to think it could be heard up there in the opera house.
"Check mate."
Christine showed an embarrassed smile.
"It was a good game."
Raoul knocked all the pieces of the table.
"I am never playing chess with him again!"

Chapter Text

Christine was scared. She could not remember how she got in that situation. She was tied down, and it was dark, and she was afraid of what would happen next.
A light. A female laugh.
"Carlotta?"
The older soprano laughed.
"Comfortable, little flower?"
"What is the meaning of this?"
Carlotta walked to her, the smile never leaving her face.
"You see, I have to make sure no one will steal my role again."
"Your role?", Christine was confused. "The managers gave me a silent part. I won't go near your role."
Carlotta laughed again.
"Those fools are two cowards. Who knows what could make them change their minds?", she caressed Christine's face.
"Then who will play my role?"
Carlotta shrugged.
"Who cares? It's silent anyway."
She took a piece of clothe from her table and used to cover Christine's mouth. Christine realized Carlotta was not playing around about this, and started struggling, but the ropes were tight and now she couldn't even scream.
"Don't worry, little flower.", Carlotta whispered on her ear. Christine shivered. "I will give you a good motivation to be quiet. But later. Now, I have a rehearsal!"