Chapter 1

Erik held his son and stared at the lifeless body that was once his Christine. He felt tears burning his eyes. How could it have ended this way? How could he not have protected her? His body shook, and his fingers began to quiver with such an anguish and anxiety. He pictured in his mind all that they had been through. He remembered what it was like to hold her in his arms, her skin warm and her hair soft. He remembered the way she loved roses and how she always smelled like them. He remembered Gustave smelled like them, too. Erik took in the feeling of holding his one and only son in his arms. He was all that Erik had now, and due to the deal he had made with Raoul, Erik was all that Gustave had, too.

Panic set in deep as Erik thought of how he was going to explain this to the boy. What would he think? His real father was a crook, and the man Gustave thought was his real father didn't even love him enough to fight for him. Erik buried his face in his son's jacket and squeezed him tighter. He was certain it was hurting the poor boy, but he didn't seem to object. He felt a tear from Gustave fall onto his forehead. Looking up, he cupped his son's cheek, not knowing what to say. It felt like ages as they just stared at one another's tear-soaked cheeks.

Suddenly in the fog, he saw Christine's arm move. He pushed the thought aside. She had been gone for merely a few moments, and he was already hallucinating about her.

But it wasn't a hallucination.

He heard her cough and a pathetic wheezing breath come from her rising and falling chest. He gently pushed Gustave away and ran to her. Blood was trickling out of the side of her mouth, but she wasn't dead as he originally thought she was. No, she must have fainted from the loss of blood. Erik took off his jacket and pressed it into her side as hard as he possibly could. Christine winced from the pain, but Erik had already lost her twice. He knew if he lost her again, he would surely die himself.

At just the right moment, almost like a film, Madame Giry came running down the pier with two doctors by her side and a police man. The doctors took Christine from his arms, despite Erik's protests. He tried to follow them down the pier where they were desperately trying to save her, but the policeman kept holding Erik back. He was spitting questions at Erik, but all he could manage to mutter was the word, "Christine." Once the cop realized there was no point in trying to interrogate him, he let Erik go. The phantom went running down the pier as fast as his legs could carry him as Gustave continued to sit still in awe. He was dazed about what had just happened. His mother was gone, but suddenly, she was back again. It didn't seem possible.

Madame Giry had suddenly forgotten about her grudge with the phantom. Looking at Gustave, she suddenly saw a poor boy who was sitting and watching his mother wither away. Falling to her knees, she scooped the boy's head to her chest. He started to push her away, but as the doctors started pulling out various instruments that no young boy could ever understand, he buried his head in her breast, sobbing. Madame Giry began to mutter a prayer, not to God, but to Christine's father. While Madame Giry wasn't sure where her allegiance lied, she knew one thing was for sure: Christine Daae did not deserve this death.

It seemed like an eternity had passed when suddenly Madame Giry and Gustave saw Erik coming down the pier with something in his arms. Madame Giry stood. She still held Gustave's hand as he hid himself behind her legs.

"Will she be alright?" Madame Giry asked. Erik no longer had the energy to even form words. He simply nodded and motioned for Gustave to follow him who reluctantly did as his father said. Madame Giry started to fall behind, but the icy blue gaze of a once crazed man fell upon her face, warning her otherwise.

"I will go find Meg," she said softly, nodding. Erik gave no response. He held her eyes for a moment before turning away and simply walking into the fog.

Erik took the boy and his mother to his domain. As far as Gustave could tell, it was simple for such an odd man. There were just three rooms - two small bedrooms and a large living area. It had a small kitchen in the corner and a large couch in the living space, but most of it was taken over by an enormous grand piano and six book cases stacked corner to corner full of leather bound notebooks. On one wall, he saw a large oval painting of his mother, hanging over his father's piano. From the ceiling, there hung a small and delicate glass chandelier. On it were little gas lamps that were barely glowing. Gustave wanted to be able to look at everything. All of the dark drew a fiery spark within him, but his conscious betrayed him as he was too concerned about his mother's condition.

He followed Erik into one of the little bedrooms. Erik sternly told Gustave to throw the cushions in the floor and pull back the sheets. The tattered old quilt that covered the bed was no match for its sheets. Gustave ran the palm of his hand up and down the fine dark red silk. While someone else may have thought the color was odd, Gustave could only see the silky shine of the delicate, soft fabric.

As Gustave was studying the sheets, Erik carefully placed Christine in his bed. He propped up a couple of cushions so she would hopefully not feel any pain when she woke up. The doctors had put her under some type of anesthesia so she wouldn't feel the incision that they had to make to get the bullet out. They had said that she would be fine once she recovered, but Erik didn't trust that. He knew Christine was strong, but this was a whole new story.

"Shouldn't we take her to the hospital where the doctors are?" Gustave asked innocently, in his quiet, nervous tone.

Erik shook his head. "Those doctors don't go to a hospital," he replied gently. "They work for me. They'll be here to check on her. Don't worry." Erik looked at Gustave as he ran his hand up and down the sheets. The poor child was exhausted. "Besides," he continued, "aren't these covers nicer than the ones at a hospital?"

Little Gustave nodded and rubbed his eyes, finally filled with some comfort that his mother was alright. Erik went to the other side of the bed and gripped the child's hand. He led Gustave down the hall to the other little bedroom. He lovingly pulled back the covers and scooped up little Gustave before tucking him into the bed. Gustave's eyes were heavy, but he could see that the child was fighting sleep. Erik timidly leaned down and placed kiss on the boy's head, taking in the smell of the roses again. Gustave's eyes fell closed, and he was fast asleep before his father could even step out to the room.

Erik wiped the sweat from his brow and went back to his Christine. As he passed a mirror, he realized for the first time how completely pathetic they looked. Christine was as white as a ghost. The extravagant blue dress that Erik had made for her was completely blood soaked and in shreds from where the doctors had to cut it off in places. Her necklace had been shattered and stepped on somewhere in the park. Her face was covered in dirt, and her right arm was completely covered in blood from elbow to wrist. As Erik walked towards her bedside, he caught a glimpse of himself as well. He was drenched in sweat. His hair was no longer smooth and sleek, and both of his arms were covered in Christine's dried blood, making the white folds of his dress shirt permanently stained. He looked back at Christine. Her chest rose and fell in shallow breaths as her forehead beaded in sweat. She was shivering. Darting to the sink, he went to wet a cool rag and place it on her forehead. Quickly, he went back and washed his own arms and face. He then went to clean Christine's face and the blood off of her arm. Seeing she was still shivering horribly in her sleep, he took his old quilt and pulled it over her shoulders, tucking her in. Exhausted and emotionally drained, Erik pulled a chair to her bedside and stared at her weeping.

When he had finally cried his last tear for her, he rested his head upon her covered arm. He soon fell asleep until morning when he suddenly felt her arm move out from under his head. Jumping at her movement, he reached over and gripped her hand tightly.

"Are you alright, my angel? Is there anything you need? Just ask it, and it is yours," said Erik in his urgent need to know that she was okay.

"I had the most wonderful dream," she muttered, her eyes still lightly closed.

Erik stroked her sweaty cheek with the hand that was not holding hers. "Is that right?" he asked her in the softest tone he could possibly manage. "What was it about, my angel?"

"I dreamt that Erik had rescued me from falling into a black hole. Then he took me into his arms and placed me back in the big grand bed from so long ago."

"You're there," whispered Erik, kissing her hand. "You're safe, and you're there."

Christine's eyes fluttered open. She looked at Erik as he kissed each of her fingers. "So it was you?" she asked. "It wasn't a dream. You're here? You're real?" She had started to get excited when a sharp pain rushed into her side.

Erik quieted her. "Yes, my angel, I'm here. I'm real, and I'll always be so long that you'll have me."

She wore a blissful expression on her face when he said that, but it soon grew dark as he reached out to stroke her hair. "Gustave?" she said, "Where is my Gustave?"

Erik pressed his hands to her shoulders so she wouldn't try to stand. "He's safe. He's sound asleep in the next room."

Christine relaxed and watched Erik's blue eyes. They weren't as cold and harsh as she once remembered. Mostly, she just saw the worry written across his face. She took the hand that he was not holding and grazed it down his left cheek, his face pressing into her touch . Erik strolled to the other side of the bed, and he laid down beside her without a second thought. His shoes were still on and his watch was still in his pocket, but he didn't care. He wrapped one arm around her waist being careful not to harm her wounds, and he twirled her hair around and around again with his other hand. His shoulders tensed as she watched him. A small voice in the back of his mind told him that this beautiful woman didn't want him here and that he was wrong. He half expected her to tell him to go away, but that moment never came. Instead, she quickly fell back into a peaceful sleep, much to his surprise. Erik just stayed there taking in the fact that she was really there in his room in his bed. He did not care what state she was in so long as she was his, and he knew that he was hers.