Disclaimer: Saw this movie, had to resist bawling my eyes out at the end. Erik! Poor Erik!...so I came home and wrote this. Hope you like it.

Earth hated him. Heaven, it seemed, wanted nothing to do with him. The world as most people knew it was nothing but a bleak despair to him.

So this is how it is to be truly alone.

Loneliness was nothing new for him. This was how it had always been, how it would always be. Human beings saw nothing but for what was before their eyes. They could not see what was in a man's heart, only what was on his face.

Only two. There had been only two there, two that he could trust. Thought he could trust, he amended silently. One of these two had proved to be very untrustworthy indeed, although he couldn't say that he blamed her. It wasn't the fault at all of a young woman in love, one who was unable to control her heart…

Alone, his mind whispered, taunting. Logic told him what his heart would never accept; it was over. She wasn't coming back, not this time. The music, of the night and otherwise, was complete.

Giry had been there since the beginning. No…not the beginning. There had been no one at the start of this pathetic excuse for a life, not even a mother. Only men, angry men, and frightened women. Only pain and screams and laughter.

Then, one night, she was there. There had been no precursor to such pity, to such sorrow for him. She was an angel in his eyes as she watched him that night, watched his "performance". He writhed and screamed as he was beaten just as he had every night…he couldn't recall for how long. Time meant nothing when one was in Hell.

He'd lost a bit of his mind that night, he supposed. Had been losing it for years, but that was the night during which he first snapped. Perhaps it had been because of the coarse way the man had destroyed his toy, as trivial a matter as it seemed. Or perhaps it was Giry herself, her very presence…

No matter what the cause, soon the deed was done, the man was dead, and he was even more alone than he'd ever expected to be. There was blood on his hands, first of many, and no matter of vicious scrubbing would get it out.

She'd taken him then, taken him to this place which he could never again venture from. Boy entered and man had never left. Home.

The opera house.

This was where he'd grown up, alone, but somehow still cared for, on some level. This woman watched him out of the corner of her eye, kept him safe and fed and eventually paid. It was she who had helped spread stories of the "Opera Ghost", of the Phantom that he had inadvertently become. He found that he didn't much mind; he was left to the few things he knew in life. Magic. Masks. And above all, music. Nothing was able to take him away this time, no faces were able to turn so long as his box was kept empty and his home was left undisturbed.

Then she came. She came to the Opera House and ruined everything he had constructed.

One cannot control the mind; obsessions come and go, addictions that are near-impossible to sense or do battle with. That was what young Daae was: an addiction. He hadn't meant for it to escalate as it had, but there she was, thin and tall, a dark-haired angel. He watched her from the shadows as she danced with the other chorus girls, usually in her own little world. Something was eating away at her, he noticed, something that no one else could see.

At this point, he'd been able to tell himself that this was all that would come from the addiction. He would watch her, applaud her, always knowing in the back of his mind that nothing could come from this, that she would always be down there and he would always be here. Alone.

It was then that the madness had started to set in, he guessed. Giry had never called it that; she had always insisted that he was a genius. But what, then, was madness? Simply a spark of intelligence that had been plunged into darkness. No different from the rest of his life, in that respect. He walked through a daily nightmare, caressed only by the shadows into which his life had been dipped. And this girl, this light…

He gave a soft moan and buried his head in his hands, forcing himself to feel the gruesome mask that everyone saw. No one could see his soul, no one would ever care. He was a pitiable thing, he knew that was true, but even someone so pathetic should not have reacted as he had.

Did all men see this? he wondered. Did everyone else see when they were finished with an act that the act was horrendous? Was everyone else forced to relive their terrors or was it only him?

They'd called him the Devil's Child. Hell had spat him out, but it was as if he had never left—this world was nothing but a painted Hell to him. And he wished that someday, it might end, that he might be able to go back to where he had come from, but it seemed to him that it would never be so. Death would never claim him, he was convinced; he would wander this endless night forever.

Christine had pitied him. And what had she gotten from it? Fear. Revulsion.

"I didn't mean to," he whispered, though there was no one around to hear. He was lying to himself; he had meant to. Well, perhaps not at first. At first, when he'd started to follow young Daae, to watch her outside of the theater…when contentment became impossible to find. That was innocent, he remembered; he just wanted to see her, up close and in the light in which he dared not walk.

He'd come to her as her fabled Angel of Music, the being of which her father had spoken. Hearing her sing, helping her perfect her art had been glorious…but it had not been enough. It was never enough.

So he'd taken her down to his home. And he'd sang to her, shown her what was in his heart…what he'd believed was in his heart. And she'd begun to pity him. Maybe even begin to love him.

Then the Vicomte. And the engagement. And the madness progressed beyond a level that even he could not reign in. He watched himself move through the catwalk, killing and behaving like the animal he had always been treated as. More blood was spilt, then even more, and Christine's eyes took to widening in horror at the mere mention of his name. Her hands shook, her body screamed in silent terror…like the Heaven that he'd always sought after, she wanted him gone from her presence.

But he could not control himself. The ache for her was so terrible that he couldn't keep himself from coming to her, from singing to her, from taking her down to this place once more. He'd tried to kill the man she truly loved. He'd tried to take everything for her in a rage of selfishness.

She'd still touched him. Kissed him, so gently and softly, with no trace of disgust or horror. The light caress of her soft hand against his marred cheek was almost more than he could handle. And he'd known.

She belonged in the light. With this man, this Raoul, she could be free, free to laugh and dance and sing and do whatever she pleased. This was what little Christine Daae deserved. She deserved to be out there, in the sun where he could never hope to go…

She'd returned, for the briefest of moments, and for this short time, he'd looked up with hope shining in his eyes. Had she actually chosen the monster over the man? But no, she was looking at him so sadly and before he could say a word she had taken his hand and gently pressed the engagement ring into his palm. Closing his fingers around the jewel and band, she'd offered him one last glance and left. For good this time, and no amount of puppy-dog stares or shoulder-wracking sobs could change that.

He moaned again and felt the tears work a path down a horrifying face. The mirrors were smashed, but he still saw it, the scarred apparition that he had become. Madness was incomplete—it would take him over eventually, he assumed. For now, all he could do was sit and cry.

He was alone. And Heaven would never think of taking him now.