Butterfly Fly Away

AN: If I owned Phantom, Erik would have had the kind of life Anawey wrote for him. Arabelle and Charles belong to her. Events referred to in this story that you don't recognize from Susan Kay come from Anawey's stories "Always and Forever" and "Roses Blooming."

The song "Butterfly Fly Away" belongs to Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus and comes from the Hannah Montana movie. The way Erik walks up and joins her was also inspired by that movie. I changed a couple words here and there to make it fit Erik and Arabelle better, but the changes are few and small. I also left out part at the end. The extended lyrics, the part Erik sings, comes from Billy Ray Cyrus's CD "Back to Tennessee."

For those of you who haven't heard it, you can hear it at /watch?v=W7ouN-dvqZI

XxX
Arabelle Destler was busily writing down a song.

At fifteen, she was no longer a child, and was already in love with a young man. She hated the
thought of the pain it would cause her beloved papa when she finally married, but she knew he would want her to be happy. Still, she would always be his daughter, and never wanted to forget a moment her family had spent together.

Memories, both her own and ones her parents had told her about the time when she was a baby, were being woven together into a song now.

"Composing something new, Belle?" Erik asked, coming up behind his daughter and calling her by his pet name for her. Arabelle looked at him, smiled and nodded.

"What's it about?" Erik asked.

"You," Arabelle told him. Erik blinked in surprise. Arabelle continued, "Me." She smiled. "Us."

Touched, Erik asked, "May I hear it?"

Arabelle grabbed her violin and began to play the opening chords. Turning back to her papa, she said, "I want you to help me with the second verse though. I want this to be something we wrote
together."

Then she began to sing.

"You tucked me in,
Turned out the light.
Kept me safe and sound at night.
Little girls depend on things like that."

Erik's eyes misted as he listened to her.

"You brushed my teeth and combed my hair.
Had to take me everywhere.
You were always there when I look back."

Arabelle couldn't help crying a little as she sang the next part. Her poor papa, not that he would ever want pity, had been hated by most people for so long because of his face. She couldn't even imagine what that must have been like.

Erik hated thinking of those times, but the words of his daughter's song made him think of how quickly she'd understood his loneliness before Christine had come into his life.

When she'd asked why he called her his red rose, he'd given a very brief answer, but she'd understood, even as young as she'd been then.

"You had to spend so long alone,
without a family or a home.
It must have been as hard as it could be."

Erik knew what inspired the words that followed. One night when she was little, Arabelle had had a terrible nightmare of a demon tricking her by stealing her father's mask and taking her mother and her dog, Phantom, away.

Erik had been there for her, and had sung her back to sleep.

"And when I couldn't sleep at night,
scared things wouldn't turn out right,
you would hold my hand and sing to me."

It was a different memory that inspired the refrain. Erik had always had a special lullaby he sang for Arabelle, but he'd sung other songs for her too. One night when he sang her to sleep, he'd made up a song about a butterfly Arabelle had seen in the park when they went out together earlier.

A small part of it was included in this song.

"Caterpillar in the tree, how you wonder who you'll be."

That day, Arabelle had been told once when she wanted to hear stories about when she was little, she'd wanted to fly. Erik had swung her around, letting her believe for a few moments that she was flying as she flapped her arms.

"Can't go far but you can always dream.
Wish you may and wish you might.
Don't you worry; hold on tight.
I promise you there will come a day.
Butterfly, fly away."

"Your turn now, Papa," Arabelle told him, stopping singing.

Erik smiled, thinking of when he'd first seen and held his daughter. It had been such a difficult pregnancy for Christine, and Erik had lived in sheer terror of losing her.

He had gone to his sleeping wife after the birth, and held her hand, crying until he heard Arabelle's musical cry and gone to pick her up. He'd been unmasked, but his daughter had never been troubled by his face, even from that first moment. She actually thought it was special!

"I turned around and you were there," Erik began.
"The two of us make quite a pair."

He'd always loved children. He'd been so attached to Reza, had grieved as deeply as Nadir had when the little boy had died. He'd always emptied his moneybag for the beggar children in Persia. In spite of how the prime minister had treated him, Erik had felt sick to the core over the fate that awaited his children when he'd been assassinated.

And he'd been honored to help Jules educate his children. But he'd never believed he could have a child of his own. Arabelle had truly been an answered prayer in so many ways.

"Papa's little girl was here at last."

Except now, she wasn't little anymore. All too soon she'd be a grown woman.

When had that happened?

"I looked away and back again.
Suddenly you were ten."

Every moment with his family had been treasured. The years had passed so quickly, but each day had been special.

Thanks to his family, Erik's entire life had changed. It was actually thanks to their love that he was living at all now.

But he wouldn't have wanted to go on living alone anyway. Now, instead of entombing himself below the opera house, he had a normal home and people who loved him. Christine too, had changed through loving him.

No longer a fragile child, she had become a strong woman. The shrinking violet had found the courage of the white rose to love the nightingale. And then, when Erik had thought life couldn't possibly be any happier, he'd been blessed again when Charles was born.

"I don't know how we got so far so fast."

Erik had never expected a life like this. He'd done nothing he could think of to deserve such happiness, and he'd certainly never expected a woman would love him and give him children.

"And yet I still don't understand.
It's not anything we planned.
Kind of makes you think it's meant to be."

His thoughts returned to how quickly Arabelle had grown, but he knew of course that all children have to grow up. He'd known that even when he helped her walk when she was a baby, the way he'd done that day she'd said her first word, "Papa."

"I always knew the day would come,
when you'd stop crawling, start to run."

He brushed a lock of hair behind her ear gently.

"Beautiful as beautiful can be."

He sat down at the piano, the music binding him and his daughter in that moment.

He played along with her as they finished their song together, their ethereal voices joining together in perfect harmony that was nothing less than beautiful magic.

"Caterpillar in the tree, how you wonder who you'll be.
Can't go far but you can always dream.
Wish you may and wish you might.
Don't you worry; hold on tight.
I promise you there will come a day.
Butterfly, fly away."

When the song was finished, father and daughter joined in a hug.

"I love you, Papa."

"I love you too, dearest. My red rose."

And both knew that no matter how far the butterfly would fly away, no matter how many years passed, even when Arabelle was a married woman, nothing was ever going to take their bond away from them.

XxX
Say it with me, everyone; AWWW!

Isn't I42write the best? Review and I'll send her everything, because this totally deserves luff. And I42write, if you're ever looking at this, I'm touched, and just might have a new respect for Miley Cyrus.