Erik walked into Christine's dressing room as that night's performance of Faust was to begin in an hour. He entered through the mirror and Christine instantly turned away from the dresser's mirror to give him a large smile.
"Angel." She greeted, taking the single red rose with a black ribbon he offered to her. She pressed the rose to her nose to smell it.
"I still do not understand why you continue to call me such." Erik stated, taking off his hat as Farren went from his shoulder to land next to Nada, who was sitting on the couch.
Christine put the rose down with a grin. "Because you are my angel of music. For now and always."
There was a knock on the door and it opened a second later to reveal Raoul in the doorway. He pushed the door further to walk in, Tyce following behind and going to straight to the couch to be with Farren and Nada. Raoul let the door fall shut behind him.
"How is our diva doing?" Raoul asked with a large smile.
"Great now that both of my lovers are here." Christine replied brightly.
"Please do not call me that." Erik requested with a squint of his eyes.
The younger two gave him twin teasing smiles.
"Still don't like the word 'lover'?" Raoul asked playfully saying 'lover' as a word and title.
"No." Erik confirmed, spinning his hat in his hands. "The word implies a certain action and it is just…" Erik trailed off with a shudder.
Christine laughed and stood up from her bench. She went to the table that had her wig for the performance and began to put it on. She was playing Marguerite, as was her status to play as the prima donna. Two years have passed since the final night of Erik's opera, Don Juan Triumphant, and a lot of things have changed.
After that night, Erik had truly become the phantom of the opera. People, discovering he was actually human, made an effort to hunt him down within his domain. However, Erik used his blood from his wound to stain one of his shirts and cut a small hole in it so that it looked like the bullet had gone in his back and he had slowly bled to death. To make the story, he sent Raoul and Christine back up to the world above to tell the story, taking the shirt with them. They explained that Christine had followed him to capture him and Raoul had followed her to keep her safe. Christine had been able to track the phantom and follow him but when they got to an underground lake she had reached to grab him but had only been able to get his shirt. When he had tried to swim across the lake, he had bled out enough blood to lose conscious and drowned. Raoul had found her as she was coming back and the two of them made their way to the surface where the mob found them and brought them back up. People considered the case closed, and moved on with their lives.
That was until strange things began to happen.
Erik no longer wrote his notes or demand payment—he had saved too much money for such a thing—but he did get to keep box five. Most of what he would have said in a note, he now had Raoul say instead. As a patron of the Opera Populaire, his views were respected. And as such, he made the suggestion to keep box five unoccupied out of respect for the dead. Andre and Firmin were reluctant at first, but Raoul was able to convince them since it was their fault that the mysterious man was dead. Erik played harmless pranks again and not nearly as frequently. It was enough to cause the staff to be fearful when they were alone in the dark, but not enough to have them constantly alert. With his 'death' known to everyone in Paris, more people than ever believed that there was a true ghost in the opera house.
Christine had become the prima donna shortly after Carlotta decided to move to another opera house in Spain. She refused to be placated by Andre and Firmin that time and not a lot of people were sad to see her go, though it was disheartening when she was able to convince Piangi to go with her. The two Italians left and no one has heard from them again. With the lack of a leading soprano, Christine was quickly pulled back into the spotlight again by the two managers and has been the lead since. Because of her performances, the Opera Populaire has prospered and Paris adores her as their star, but she has remained humbled, though Raoul loved to call her his diva to tease her. They have also been able to replace Piangi, while the young baritone did not have a lot of experience, he made up for it with his passion.
Raoul remained patron, though now under his own name instead of his brother's. The Count still gives money, but now so did the Viscount. However, Raoul's money went strictly to the employees' wages rather than the opera house itself, making him loved by all the staff. He was seen almost every day at the Opera Populaire, roaming the corridors during the day yet not seen to leave every time he visits. Those, of course, were the nights he spent in Erik's house down below where Christine would also sneak out of her quarters to visit. Erik kind of regretted showing them the route that Antoinette used to get to him, but the joy on their expressions when he had told them he would show them keeps him from regretting it completely.
Monsieur Andre and Firmin still managed the Opera Populaire but have grown more willing to take suggestions, especially from their esteemed patron, Raoul. Though what they did not know was that ninety percent of the suggestions he made were coming directly from Erik.
Antoinette remained the ballet instructor and the two of them have grown close again. She had slapped him the first time they saw each other when she was finally able to visit him once more using her unblocked route. Erik had not been surprised by the slap but was taken off guard when Antoinette pulled him to her in a hug.
"You go so much as a week without speaking to me again, I will make sure you rot down here!" she had threatened against his chest.
Erik felt his shirt becoming wet where her eyes were and wrapped his arms around her.
"Yes, dear Antoinette. I am sorry." Erik whispered to her.
Meg had a similar reaction, but she did not slap him. Instead she glared at him for a few moments before running into his arms, where she threatened to help her mother make sure he rotted if he disappeared again. Erik had laughed and agreed.
Speaking of Meg, his unofficial niece was now the lead dancer in all of the performances, not that Erik did not see that coming, she took after her mother after all. She also had a number of suiters courting her now, and his Antoinette was having the time of her life driving them away. Meg was fine with her mother's actions. She had told Erik that she made a promise to herself that she would not marry until she felt like she could go on with her life without dancing. Meg then informed him with a smirk that she did not see that happening for a very long time.
"There!" Christine announced with a satisfied grin as she looked in her mirror with her wig on. "All set now!"
"Um, I think I see the hairline a bit too far to the right." Raoul teased and Christine smacked his arm.
"It's fine! Right Erik?"
Erik blinked and looked at the younger two who were waiting for his answer. He had not been paying attention but Christine's wig was a little off and knew that was what the argument was about.
"Well, my dear…" He began but was cut off by Christine's huffed.
"You only call me that when you're going to tell me something I won't like." Christine grumbled as she turned back to the mirror to attempt at fixing her wig.
Erik sighed and went to her. "Allow me."
She was pouting as he fixed the wig for her, making it level and even. Once he was done with the wig, he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers in a short sweet kiss. When he pulled away, she was smiling again.
"Even if your wig fell off in the middle of the opera, you would still be perfect." Erik told her and watched her cheeks turn a charming shade of pink.
Erik did not kiss either of his partners often, most of the time it was them who started it and he was the one who usually ended it. He still did not see the appeal of such gestures but for their sake he participated to make them happy. He did not find the actions repulsive just…not necessary. There were other ways to express one's love though he supposed he could see the appeal at having specific gestures towards ones people are in a relationship with. And Erik had grown to love them as his partners, the younger two's persistence and patience made sure of that. Erik had not believed that he could be loved or feel love in such a way, but there the three of them were. It was a strange relationship, but it worked for them.
The first time he had kiss one of them was when Raoul had been asking him questions trying to figure out what he was not and was fine with doing. They had been in his home with Christine sitting on the couch and Raoul standing behind it, leaning against the back. While Erik had been attempting to work on his music at his organ, it was basically impossible to work under the number of questions the Viscount was asking him.
He appreciated the attempt at learning his boundaries, he did not appreciate at having to answer them while he tried to work.
When Raoul began to ask about kissing, Erik snapped.
He stood up from his bench and made his way over to the other two. Something about his walked must have made some sign towards his mood because Christine cringed against the couch and Raoul tried to back away. However, he did not give the boy time to get away.
He reached out and caught his wrist with one hand and Raoul's chin with his other. He tilted the other's head up at the same time he leaned down. As their lips touched, Erik pressed Raoul into the back of the couch and used the position to keep the younger in place. He opened his mouth and used his tongue to trace the other's lips. Raoul let out sharp gasp and Erik used the opportunity to enter the younger's mouth. It took a second for the shocked Viscount to react but when he did, he fought Erik for dominance and his free hand went to Erik's waist and bunched up his shirt in his hand.
Erik eventually pulled away and Raoul was panting, his eyes wide in arousal and amazement.
"I can, at least, do that." Erik stated as he still held Raoul's chin. "Now, be quiet. I am working."
When he had let go of Raoul, the boy's mouth continued to gap and Christine did not look much better. However, he ignored it and went back to his organ.
They had remained quiet for the rest of the evening…
"Thank you." Christine acknowledged with a spark in her eyes. She made her way to the door as the opera was going to start in a few minutes.
"What I don't get one as well?" Raoul teased, leaning forward as if to steal a kiss.
Thinking quickly, Erik grabbed the rose he gave Christine and pressed it to his lips before tilting it back and pressing it against the Viscount's lips.
Raoul paused at the touch of the petals and gave Erik an amused look. Christine was laughing at the door behind them. Erik shrugged, he had not wanted to do two kisses so close to each other, not at that moment.
"Fine, I'll take this indirect kiss for now but!" Raoul pointed at him with one hand and grabbed his hand that held the rose with the other. "If Christine gets a standing ovation tonight, I want a real kiss!"
Christine always got a standing ovation for her performances.
Christine left the room with Raoul, Tyce and Nada following them and Erik left through the mirror with Farren to make his way to box five.
And we are done! That was the ending folks! Sad that it had come to an end but it was technically a longer wait for me than you considering this story was finished months ago. It was quite the ride and if you enjoyed this one, be sure to check out my other PhofOp stories if you haven't already. I love hearing from my readers, especially at the end so leave me a review. Tell me anything and everything! Hope to see you again in the next story! ;)