Let those Eyes Sparkle and Shine

In which three-year-old Arabelle first learns that her eyes make her different, and that not everyone is as tolerant of difference as she's been taught to be. Erik, hoping to ease a hurt soul, sings her a song.

Disclaimer; I own only Arabelle. The song belongs to Disney, and Erik to Leroux, Kay, Webber, and all the others. Although this Erik is Kay-verse.

Arabelle laughed as she swung on the swing. She was small, but she loved the park. Her father didn't always bring her here; it was nearly across town. But when he did, it was a special treat, and Arabelle never wasted a moment.

Erik sat beneath a tree across the grass. So long as he kept an eye on her, Arabelle was in no danger. The park was an open place; he would see any potential dangers from a ways off and be able to intercept if they threatened Arabelle.

He still was not comfortable out in the open like this, but seeing Arabelle so happy was worth it. Whenever he mentioned the park, her round little eyes would sparkle, and her entire face would light up with the most precious of smiles. To hear the high, ringing notes of her childish laughter always brought him such joy, but especially here, because she was so in her own element here, so happy.

He watched as a boy approached. He was no older than Arabelle, and so, Erik relaxed. When several more young ones began to trickle over, Erik smiled. Arabelle was beginning to make friends. How wonderful. He smiled at the thought. Arabelle was not a lonely child, but she'd yet to make any friends here in Bristol.

It was nice to see her coming into her own at last.

But then something happened. Erik was too far away for even his extraordinary hearing to catch what had been said, but suddenly, one of the other children, a boy, fell back, and Arabelle was running to him. She threw herself full force into his arms before he had time to stand, and Erik heard sobbing.

He could not make out what she was saying, and when simply talking to her did not work, he used the power of his voice to force her to calm.

It did not take long. Arabelle, though intelligent and strong-willed, proved incredibly susceptible to her father's voice. In some distant part of him that was not taken up with consoling his baby, Erik was horrified at how vulnerable to him she was. If just the words 'don't cry,' could make her cease in seconds, the wrong words could instruct her to take her own life, or someone else's.

In moments, he had the story. As she told it, Arabelle began to cry again, confused and hurt, and not at all understanding why they were so mean. What was wrong with her eyes? They were just yellow...

"Dear-heart," Erik whispered, remembering when he discovered the truth of why he was different, so many years ago, "people fear the things they don't understand, d'accord? And, very often, that fear turns to hate. And they say mean things."

Round, wet eyes looked up at him from tearstained cheeks.

"But... why are they scared of me? I didn't do anything wrong..."

Erik sighed. He really was no good with this. The last child he'd dealt with, Reza, had never had this problem. He'd been considerably older, for one, and confined to the house and grounds of his father's home. He was not tormented by other children because he had never had contact with them.

But Arabelle was nothing like Reza. She was three years old, impressionable, kind-hearted, and sensitive.

"There is nothing wrong with you, mon coeur," he told her steadily. "And you did nothing wrong. You are simply different than they are. That is not a bad thing," he added when a frown of hurt began to form. "In your case, mon petite amour, that is a good thing. You are special, unique. Never think for one second that there is anything wrong about you."

Sniffling, Arabelle buried her head in Erik's chest. Her small shoulders were still shaking slightly, and Erik realized she would not get over this rejection so easily, even with the influence of his voice.

But he would do anything to comfort her. She was his life and his world. His baby.

Gently, quietly - for her ears alone - he sang.

"Baby mine, don't you cry.
Baby mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
never to part, baby of mine."

He pressed her curls, bringing her closer against his chest, and kissed the top of her irreplaceable, invaluable head.

"Little one, when you play,
don't you mind what they say.
Let those eyes sparkle and shine,
never a tear, baby of mine.

If they knew sweet little you,
they'd end up loving you, too.
All those same people who scold you,
what they'd give, just for the right to hold you.

From your head, down to your toes,
you're not much, goodness knows.
But you're so precious to me,
sure as can be, baby of mine...

"You are a beautiful, precious, special little girl," Erik finished in a whisper; Arabelle had fallen asleep under the comforting spell of his voice and the reassuring words of the song. "Don't you ever let anyone get away with calling you 'freak.'" he breathed into her ear. "You tell them that there is nothing wrong with you; that your eyes are special, beautiful.

"Oh, darling girl..."

Careful not to wake her, Erik stood and brought his baby home, where everyone knew she was special for her difference.

For everyone wondering, I'm almost ready with the next update on 'Angels and Rings'. I just had to write this down when I heard Michael Crawford sing 'Baby Mine' on youtube. It was so beautiful that this popped right into my brain and wouldn't leave til I'd done something with it.

But I'm pleased with it, so, review please! :-)