Acceptance

Erik had rushed out of the dining room like the devil was chasing him. He had never felt this much anger and hurt at one time. He went into his room and shut the door behind him. It slammed shut, not that he cared.

He ripped his phone out of his pocket and made the call to Antoinette with his hands shaking from his rage. The phone rang and at the third, the call was picked up.

"Erik? What's going on?" he heard Antoinette's voice on the other side and snapped.

"You lying Delilah!" he roared, pushing his fist out. It hit his hanging mirror, causing it break and fall to the floor. He knew that his hand was bleeding but he ignored it and the pain.

"Erik!" Antoinette replied shocked. "Why would you—?"

"Twenty seven years!" He interrupted. "You knew what my words were this whole time and kept from me!"

There was silence on the other end, the only thing Erik could hear was his own heavy breathing.

"What did they tell you?" the Madame finally asked.

Erik let out a harsh laugh. "It's true then."

"What did they tell you?" Antoinette repeated firmly.

"Oh, that you knew what my words were this entire time, but do not worry, they said you also did it to protect me." Erik answered her bitterly.

"I did." She replied and he snorted.

"Really, I could have handled my words. But did you ever give me that option. NO!" he snarled, his grip on his phone tightening and his injured hand clenched forcefully that it made the cuts bleed more and blood dripped down onto the floor.

"Erik! You couldn't handle your words! That's why you burned them off!" Antoinette shouted in distress.

Erik froze, everything from his body to his mind simply became motionless.

"Explain." He growled out eventually.

He heard Antoinette sighed tiredly over the phone but did as he asked. She told him about spending the night at his house on his birthday because he had asked her to. Her waking up to find him miserable over his words and how his mother taunted him over the next week after because of them. She told him about how she had come back to his house to check up on him only to find him in the process of burning his marks off with a knife he had heated up over the stove.

"When you woke up in the hospital, you did not remember what had happened and I felt no reason to tell you the truth. I lied and told everybody that is was your mother that had done the act and since you had other signs of abuse, they believed me." Antoinette finished.

"You betrayed me." Erik whispered, hurting like he had never felt before. He knew it was because it was Antoinette who had done the betraying.

"I saved you." She replied calmly. "If I was given the option to go back in time to that moment, I wouldn't have changed anything. I did what I had to for you to be taken from that house."

"And my words?" He asked weakly, falling to his knees. His energy from his anger having evaporated, only leaving the pain. "Why did you not tell me later? As I grew up?"

"Because I was scared." His friend confessed gently. "I was scared that if you were to ever find out again, you would have had a similar reaction. I couldn't stand to have you feel that pain again!"

That last part was said loudly and Erik heard her breathe unsteadily over the phone.

He couldn't handle the thought of it being his fault that she was crying.

"Goodbye Antoinette." He whispered.

"Erik—!" she started.

He hung up before she could say anymore.

He stayed there on his knees for he didn't know how long but he felt numb. The anger was long gone, the pain lingered but for the most part he felt nothing.

He blinked and felt tears fall from his eyes. Startled, he raised his non injured hand and touched the rim of his mask.

His hand came away wet.

He took off his mask and wiped the tears away, forcing himself to calm his breathing to something steadier. Once he achieved it he looked down at his phone again.

Making his decision, he dialed another number. The call was picked up on the second ring.

"Hello? Erik, what do you want?" Nadir's voice came from the other end.

"I need your help." Erik stated and told his friend everything.

It took a while, but not once did the older man interrupt, which Erik was grateful for because he was having a hard time as it was getting everything out. When Erik finished, there was a long silence.

Finally, it was broken.

"I hate to say this," Nadir began slowly. "But, my friend, your life sucks."

Erik let out a broken chuckle. "Cannot say I disagree with that at the moment, old friend."

"Look," Nadir continued. "I get why you're upset, I would be too, but I can also understand the Madame's point as well. From the sounds of it, all she wanted was to protect you."

"I know." Erik sighed tiredly. "But it hurts."

"I know it does." The older man soothed. "But give it time. I know you Erik, and you've already forgiven her. She had her reasons, and you accept them. The pain will go away eventually."

"It will take a while." Erik mumbled.

"And I'm sure she'll understand that." Nadir replied. "But tell her she's forgiven. That's the first step for both of you."

Erik didn't say anything and neither did Nadir. They were silent for a couple minutes, allowing Erik to gather his thoughts.

"Ah, Erik. I do have one last question to ask." The older began awkwardly.

The tone made Erik curious. "What?"

"Are those two punks really your soulmates?" Nadir asked as if desperate for Erik to deny everything.

"Yes, I'm positive they are." Erik chuckled. "They had enough evidence to support their claim."

Nadir groaned.

"Don't talk cop to me, it doesn't suit you." he then grumbled. "I can't believe it. You met your soulmates because you just happened to be housesitting their target. Only you."

"I do not know how to interpret that sentence so I'm going to ignore it." Erik countered. He sighed. "Thank you, my friend."

"Anytime." Erik could hear the smirk in Nadir's tone.

They said their goodbyes and he hung up.

Erik immediately called Antoinette back. As it rang, he shifted from his kneeling position and sat on the floor with his legs stretched out. He felt the pricks and needles of his legs waking up.

"Erik?" Antoinette's voice answered the phone cautiously.

"I'm sorry." Erik apologized gently.

There was silence on the other end for a couple moments.

"Why?" Antoinette whispered.

"Because you had your reasons and they were good ones." Erik explained. "It will take me time to stop from feeling completely hurt by your actions but I will do it."

"I'm sorry too." The Madame replied. "It was stupid for me to have kept your words a secret for so long, especially after you became an adult. But I was scared. I'm not using that as an excuse, only a reason. I couldn't bear the thought of you hating me if you were to find out the truth."

"I understand. You are forgiven, my dear Anton." Erik whispered kindly, using the nickname he had given her when they were kids and he couldn't pronounce her full name.

Antoinette let out a choked sound at the nickname and he could tell she was crying again, but this time in relief.

"Thank you, Eir." She replied with his old nickname, which was the first syllable of his name that sounded like 'air.' "What are you going to do about the teens?"

"They probably went to bed. I left them in a bad state. They wouldn't want to see me after that." Erik guessed, looking down at his bloody hand. It didn't look like it needed switches, though that was quite a lot of blood on his floor now.

"I doubt it." Antoinette replied. "They're your soulmates and they just finished telling you that and since you left them angry, they are probably waiting up for you to make sure you are okay."

"Oh, I don't know about that." Erik doubted. He wiggled his injured hand's fingers. It hurt but not enough to indicate fractures or anything broken.

"Twenty bucks says you're wrong." The Madame challenged.

"I'm not sure I want to take that bet as you seem too confident about it." Erik countered.

"Chicken!" Antoinette accused.

"You know that only works on Nadir, not me." Erik grinned when he heard her huff. He stood out from the floor and made his way to his bathroom.

"Fine. But you still have to tell me if I'm right or not." She demanded.

"As my Madame commands." Erik deadpanned. He turned on the light to the bathroom.

Antoinette chuckled. Erik felt some of his pain ease a bit at the sound.

"I'll see you tomorrow." She concluded. "Goodnight Erik."

"Goodnight, Madame." Erik replied and they hung up.

Erik put his phone on the counter and turned the sink faucet. He washed all the blood off his hand and cleaned the cuts. He kept the first aid kit in the linen closet, which was down the hall.

He supposed he would find out if the younger two had stayed up sooner then he thought.

He went back out to his room and took in the mess his floor was with the broken mirror and blood. Sighing, he stepped around the mess, picked up his discarded mask and put it back on. He went out of the bedroom. He was quiet as he made his way to the linen closet.

He was able to open it before he was caught.

"Erik?"

He turned and saw Raoul and Christine poking their heads out from the living room doorway.

"I'm glad I did not take that bet." He mumbled. He pulled the kit out.

"What bet?" Raoul asked the same time Christine stated, "You're hurt!"

Christine rushed over to him and took the kit from his hands. Erik wasn't able to stop his injured hand from recoiling from the exchanged. Christine saw it.

"What did you do?" she frowned in concern, taking his wrist to look at the cuts on his hand.

"The Madame had wanted to make a bet on whether or not the two of you stayed up. You did, so I am glad I did not take the bet." Erik answered Raoul's earlier question then replied to Christine's. "I punched a mirror. Bad idea on my part, but I was not thinking rationally in the moment." Erik explained, letting the younger pull him into the living room.

Raoul pushed off the wall as Christine made Erik sit on the couch for her to get a look at his cuts. She sat down next to him and kept a firm hold on his hand.

"I'll say. Remind me to never piss you off. Apparently you have some temper." Raoul mentioned coming to stand across the coffee table.

"Considering the fact that it was your fault in the first place, I say if you ever make Erik lose his temper towards you, you deserve it." Christine asserted, not looking up from Erik's hand.

"It was an accident!" Raoul protested.

Christine shrugged, not paying the other teen any more mind. She opened the kit and got out medicine.

"It's alright. It turned out for the best that Mr. de Chagny let that information slip." Erik assured. "We talked and, for the most part, have made amends."

"Ha! There you go! I'm in the clear!" Raoul stated triumphantly.

"Yeah, you talked after you punched a mirror." Christine grumbled as she rubbed the medicine into the cuts.

"I am sorry if I had caused either of you trouble." Erik apologized.

"Yeah, this wasn't exactly how I pictured the day to end." Raoul mumbled lightly. "Then again, I didn't think a lot of what has happened today would happen. That's life I guess."

"I'll say. And it was all because Madame Giry threatened to tell Erik about the whole soulmate thing in the first place." Christine added. She finished with the medicine and took out the cloth bandages.

"Yeah, about that…" Raoul started and focused on Erik. "Do you believe us? You kind of left before we finished talking about it."

Erik took note that Raoul's posture had gotten stiff and Christine's hands started to tremble as she wrapped his hand. To put them at ease, he flipped his hand in Christine's grip and grasped one of her hands. He met her eyes for a second then shifted to meet Raoul's.

"I do not see why not. It will be strange for me to see you two as anything but two teens under my care, but that has obviously changed, and my perspective will follow eventually." He answered.

Raoul beamed and Christine accidently squeezed Erik's injured hand in her excitement.

"Ah! The hand." Erik flinched.

Christine let go. "Sorry!"

"It is fine." Erik told her.

"This is awesome!" Raoul exclaimed. "Sure you don't see us that way yet, but we already love you so we'll get you there!"

"Wait, what—?" Erik started, shocked by Raoul's last sentence but was cut off as Raoul leaned down and pressed his lips to his.

Erik froze at the motion. It was a press of lips against lips and it only lasted a couple seconds but when Raoul pulled away grinning, Erik was gawking at him.

"Hey Christine, I think I broke Erik!" Raoul stated gleefully.

"That's not something to be proud of!" Christine hissed.

Erik blinked a couple times, watching Christine scold Raoul while the boy laughed.

"Yes, this is going to take some time to get used to." Erik whispered to himself then smiled.

But he was fine with that.

Well that's that. The ending is now here! You have reached the finish line! I hope that my readers enjoyed and please leave a review with your thoughts. If you enjoyed this one, you might be interested in reading my other POTO works. Don't worry, they are all completed. See ya next time! And you will be seeing me again!