A/N. This scene was inspired by the last chapter of book 3 of Dianne Duane's wonderful Young Wizzards series, which, it struck me, had certain parallels with the final scene from the ALW version of POTO. It's actually an exerpt from a novel that I think I might take a crack at writing, but I liked it so much that I thought I'd go ahead and post it here for Phans to enjoy. I hope you guys like it! And don't worry, more of Meeting of Eagles will be coming soon I promise. So enjoy and review!
That night, Erika dreamed. She dreamed that she was at Phantom, in one of the middle-distant rows of the orchestra, right in the centre. The theatre was full. And, as Erika watched, she noticed that it seemed to be even fuller than usual. Not that there were more people, for it was filled to capacity. Rather, that the auditorium of the Pantages seemed, somehow, to be filled with more than just people. It seemed, somehow, to hold the whole galaxy – the whole universe – everything. She could feel it, although she could see nothing more than the theatre auditorium and the people. The air of the place seemed full with it – heavy with it. And it was all watching the stage, as she was, waiting to see what would happen with what Erika realized was a mingling of terrible fear and desperate hope. And somehow Erika knew, without knowing how she knew it, that all their fates, and indeed the fates of all that would follow them, depended on what would happen here before them. She didn't perceive all this all at once. It all built itself up gradually as she watched what was happening and looked about her. First the scene on the stage, then the auditorium around her, then that sense of its being full of the whole universe, then the emotions of her fellow watchers.
The scene on stage was a very familiar one. It was the final scene of the show. And yet, it too looked somehow different. There was the Phantom, towering over Christine, and Raoul caught in the noose ready to hang, and the candelabra and the organ and throne. But it all seemed bigger somehow even though the stage was the same size it had always been. The Phantom was not the black-suited figure with which Erika was so familiar, but a huge, towering shadow, terrible and voracious, ready to torture and devour anything to increase its power. Christine shone. There was no other way to put it. True, the bridal gown she wore in this scene was always a pure white of almost blinding proportions. But this time, her gown seemed not merely to brightly reflect the stage-lights, but to shine with an inner radiance that seemed to possess all the light in the universe and all the light beyond. And Raoul? Raoul was somehow the whole world – all of the worlds. He was somehow all of life even while all of life watched the scene from the audience. And the music was different too. The tunes and counterpoints were the same, or were sort of the same. But they were somehow a thousand times richer than Erika had ever heard them before, full of sounds and harmonies far beyond any merely mortal composition no matter how magnificent. And the singers! Their voices were beautiful and terrible. Raoul's voice was full of the warmth, growth and richness of all life. The Phantom's voice was full of sheer power, but dreadful with rage and malice and voracious hunger, and with the pain of countless hurts inflicted on himself in the pursuit of power and the sating of that hunger. But Christine's voice was, in some ways, the most terrible. It was full and rich with uncompromising love as pure and bright as her gown – love, not only for the life for whom she was fighting, but also for the towering, raging shadow whom she fought. And she wasn't fighting him, Erika realized as she listened in awe, but pleading with him. Not in the words she sang, which were the lyrics by Charles Hart with which Erika was so familiar, but with the rich, cosmic, otherworldly harmonies that resonated in and behind her voice. She was pleading with him to let go of and renounce the voracious hunger, and to know again the love of the universe as he once had. Her voice itself seemed to shine as she sang out the final lines of their timeless trio.
"Pitiful creature of darkness, what kind of life have you known? God give me courage to show you you are not alone!"
Christine went forward and embraced the towering shadow, who, after a few moments stunned astonishment, tentatively returned her embrace. It lasted a long time. And then there was silence – a pregnant and terrible silence, in which everything in the universe held it's breath to see what the shadow would do. The pause seemed to last an eternity. And then time began again. The drum-beats, painfully slow at first but slowly picking up pace, began to count time forward as the shadow still stood frozen. And then it moved. Quite suddenly, it moved forward and released Raoul from the noose that held him. Christine ran to Raoul and they embraced. And then the echoes started – terrible, raging, voracious. Their voices were like the shadow's had been, though it now stood quietly, watching Christine and Raoul. And Erika noticed that it was changing. It was weeping as it heard the echoes. And as it wept, it changed. The echoes and the shadow's sobs built together to a terrible crescendo that made Erika want to cry out. And then there was silence again, broken only by the soft weeping of the shadow who still cried as he held Christine's shining wedding-veil.
Christine had left the stage during the song of the terrible echoes, taking Raoul off to safety to be healed from the wounds the shadow had inflicted on him in its rage and hunger. But now she came back. She walked over to the shadow, who now seemed greatly diminished and broken. And as Christine approached him, the shadow sang to her, in a soft, almost timid voice, precious words of love that resonated through the entire auditorium even though they were sung barely above a whisper. She didn't respond, though her radiance seemed to become even brighter. Instead, she held out her hand to him, and he took from it a ring. It was pure, bright gold, with a magnificent onyx set into the band. The gold seemed to blaze with an inner fire just as Christine's gown did, although somehow it's fire was dark rather than bright. And the onyx, which shouldn't even have been visible from as far back as Erika was sitting but which somehow was, was as clear and dark and pure as the night sky between the stars. It seemed to give new life and new strength to the shadow as he took it from her and put it on. He and Christine looked at each other for a long minute before she slowly turned and left the stage, and whatever passed between them was for their minds and hearts alone. Those who watched could get no sense of it except that it was deeply intimate.
Then, as Christine and Raoul's song of love and healing echoed from off-stage, the shadow rose up once more. He faced the front this time, and once more he towered. But now he was utterly changed. He had not gone bright like Christine. He was still dark. But his darkness was now so utterly different as to be unrecognizable from what it had been before. It no longer roiled with ravening, insatiable hunger for pain and power, but was as clear and pure and fresh as the vast blackness of space out of which the stars shone. And his voice, though it still rang with terrible power as he raised it in the final cry of the scene, no longer snarled with rage and pain and insatiable devouring, but rang with joy, and with the same boundless, uncompromising love as Christine's had done. Though where hers had shone bright, his was rich with that beautiful darkness whose splendour now filled the whole auditorium. And though the words he sang were of heartbreak and pain and ending, the rich, otherworldly harmonies that resonated deep in and around his voice rang with hope and the promise of new beginnings. And Erika felt the whole universe rejoice at the transformation of this once terrible enemy into one who would now be a steadfast and mighty friend to all life. Never had any audience given such a cheer of gladness and relief and triumph. It seemed to last forever, and to echo endlessly. And then the scene slowly faded into darkness as the last chords of the music solemnly rose.
Erika woke up somewhat bewildered. She felt oddly disoriented, the way one might when first awakening from deep unconsciousness. And she could still feel faint echoes of the incredible power and beauty and joy of that scene. She looked around. The room still seemed very dark. She pressed her alarm-clock, burying the speaker in her chest so that it's loud speech wouldn't wake up her entire floor. "six-thirty-five A.M." it said in a muffled voice. It would just be pre-dawn outside.
She scrambled out of bed, threw on her warmest housecoat, and went over to her computer. She booted it up, sat down, opened up a fresh Word document, and began as fast as she could to write down the dream as best she could remember it. It was already starting to fade down into her subconscious memory. She put on her Phantom soundtrack, and listened to the final scene to refresh the details in her mind, and was shocked, and somewhat unnerved by how ordinary the voices and instruments now sounded compared to how they'd sounded in that dream-world. But they did at least help her keep the details clear in her mind long enough to get them jotted down, at least as far as she could find words to describe what she had experienced. She saved the document in her journal folder and got up again. She smiled. She was relieved that she'd taken the time to do that. She didn't know why, but she had a feeling that she had just experienced something very important, something that she would need and want to know later. She had always felt power in that scene when she'd seen the show. But never like that! It had never been that raw – that real!