Wings of desire (1)

A fanfic inspired by The Phantom of the Opera… I changed some things… and the Phantom himself. If you check the tags, you will understand why. *giggle* I started writing this a long time ago, but now someone requested an update and I decided to keep on writing it. With a clear conscience, because there is no real person involved. *cheers*
As for the title, I apologize… I know it’s stolen… but I couldn’t help it, I like it so much. Titles are my nemesis… I can’t find proper titles for my stories! All the best ones are already taken!
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1.

He stood with his back to it all. Emotions welled up inside his heart, spilling over his closed eyes, burdening his eyelashes with heavy tears.

He could not do it.

Dropping over his bed, he buried his hated face into the soft covers.

The waters of the underworld, his underworld, lay still and dormant under the archways of putrid stone, leaden with moss and slimy rust. Ancient wails echoed between the walls of the tunnel and the perfectly still surface of the water. His wails. His pain. His loneliness.

Doomed to a life of eternal misery, he did not care if he died that day… let them kill him. It would be worth it, if only he could see her again… see her… just once. Really see her. Touch her in her sleep… or while she was awake.

She was still resting in the barge where he left her. Where she lost consciousness, noticing only the edge of his scars under the immaculate white mask. How could he ever reveal himself to her without causing irreparable damage? And yet, he knew he could only leave this earth with the full knowledge that she knew him, body and soul. With his most hidden secret engraved on her soul.

He sat up, dizzy from the pain tormenting him. Glancing over at her resting shape, he felt a tremor of tenderness shoot through him. His one and only Christine… how could he have lived without her closeness? He was nothing without her… she was the soothing breeze on his burning wounds, the bright promise against a dark past. Her mere presence gave him a reason to be… a reason not to stab a knife into his own heart and bid farewell to this accursed, hypocritical world. She was her only reason to live.

Timidly taking a few steps forward, he towered above her puny form. His breath was laboured, and it echoed with the long forgotten cries of pain he had never stopped emitting ever since the underworld had become his refuge. He watched her slender shape hardly fill the silky dress, its lace sleeves as thin and transparent as a spider’s web, the waistline as tempting as the ridge of a mountain for a setting sun: he wanted to set over her, and herald the new day with his warm rays of sheen. Her wrists rested unconsciously by her slim figure, her fingers as delicate as the stems of daisies.

Where is the voice, my Angel… why don’t you sing to me any more?

He started, lifting his gaze to her closed lids. She was still oblivious to the world around her, she could not have spoken to him. And yet-

I want to take away your pain… as you have taken mine.

Watching her motionless cheeks, their creaminess that of just ripened peaches, her lips slightly parted from the shock she had encountered, red as blood, luring him closer against his will, he feared himself… He felt the power building inside his muscles… He wanted to keep her prisoner forever.

Clenching his fists, he slowly stooped over her and picked her up in his callous hands, withholding his breath until he held her safely. He stood straight and powerful, from the corner of his eye noticing his own shadow looming across the dark waters, shimmering over it as soft breezes ruffled its surface. Her weight was sweet in his arms, her feet hardly touching his calves, her fragile arms clumsily reposing in her lap, her head pressed against his chest. Oh, gentle burden of love… He lifted his eyes to the invisible heavens, muffling a cry of joy. He never dreamed he could hold her like that.

Taking slow steps towards his bed to lay her down where she belonged: among silk and lace and soft cushions, he watched her lashes that never moved. She was so deep in a land where no one could hurt her. The land of Dream, where pain was not real, but alas, joy wasn’t, either. He yearned to break her spell and penetrate the thick layers of sleep she was buried under, to spend time with her. In the face of everything unreal. Touching her without a trace, sending shafts of bliss and pain through her without hurting her.

Barely touching the ground he was… his curls [yes! curls! haha] falling into his eyes, hindering him from enjoying the full view of her stunning, angelic beauty. He hurried his steps to reach the bed and rid himself of her weight, however sweet it was, to comb back his hair from his eyes and be able to see her once again.

A strand of her long, honey-hued hair was intruding in his view, covering a precious part of her creamy cheek. He would not have it; he leaned closer and gently swept it away with his shaking hand.

A faint tremor shook her frame and he stepped back, startled, his heart beating so loud he feared the canopy of mossy stone would crumble and bury them both.

Why are you scared of me, my Angel?

His lips moved but no sound came out of them. Her lids were fluttering, she was dreaming. She was walking hand in hand with Sandman, telling Him her secrets, begging Him to keep her there, in a realm of safety.

I’m scared I’ll frighten you… and cause you pain. I’d sooner die than harm you, he whispered in his thoughts, praying that his words would reach her, wherever she was.

He could have sworn she smiled in her dream. His frenzied heart sent streams of tears down his cheek, the taste of salted, painful longing waking him from his muted reverie. He sat down, nay, dropped on the edge of his bed, his weight shaking it, and with it, her soft flesh. His senses caught a scent of lavendar and jasmine, but it may have been his delirious mind shooting non-existing things to his nerves. Perchance his eyes deluded him, too, and she was only unconscious, and her lips had never moved to form a magnanimous smile.

His sharpened hearing noticed a roll of distant thunder through the infinite layers of stone, coming to him from a country of sorrow, one he could never be part of again. He had suffered enough, he was still fighting his memories that tried to capture him in his sleep and drag him to eternal Hell. His mind was struggling to hold its own against the madness that threatened to overcome him daily. Had it not been for her, had he not heard her sing every day for the countless years he had watched her from afar, he would have long succumbed to the powers of Evil.

Turning his attention to her sleeping form, he watched her face from so close he feared the stormy heat of his breath would jerk her out of her peaceful leisure. Her lashes were long and curvy, laden with remnants of a few tiny tears her surprise had made her shed. He had hurt her arm when grabbing her, but it had been the only way. He had to escape, he had to drag her with him. Thinking back now, he knew he should have never shown himself to her… at all. He should have allowed that ridiculous, pampered Raoul to take her, marry her, give her an acceptable life-

NO. His heart thundered with the anger of a storm outside. He hung his head to shade his brewing wrath: he could not make her even sense it. But he could not have Raoul have her. That dumb bastard didn’t know the first thing about loving Christine… the way only he, the Phantom could, despite his horrible past. She needed guidance… Raoul could only guide her to a fancy life of pretence. She craved for a mentor… Raoul had no voice, and he had no brains. He merely liked her looks… but was deeply, callously oblivious to her innermost needs.

He sat hunched over his own shape torn in two by his desires and his reason. He knew he had to let go of her… but he was damned if he would let that nobody get close to her ever again.

He was so deep in the boggles of his thoughts that he didn’t notice her eyelids flutter again.

This time, she did open her eyes and when she saw his large body tower over her, even in a sitting position, she bit her lips from emitting a frightened cry.

With the hidden receptacles of his heart that only resonated with hers, he did hear her.

The eye on his uncovered half of his face was large, dark, and brimming with tears she could not understand. Why was he sad?

-Where am I?

In my heart, he wanted to reply.

-This is my home –he told her instead, swallowing his fear and his tears.

She turned her head to the side, taking in the mouldy walls on which the trembling reflections of water-light danced, the scant but rich furniture he had hauled on his small barge to make his abode more cosy. Then, she turned back at him, seemingly scared to move. Her eyes were pools of fear and uncertainty, but they held his own shattered glance.

-Why did you bring me here? –she asked bravely.

The one question he was not ready to give a reply to. So he turned aside and exhaled, thinking of how he would be able to keep her location a secret. He would have to plough his way through the water, all the way back to where the tunnel forked. Filling the entrance to his home was the only solution, and he would have to do it fast.

-I’m cold –she broke the silence, and he turned his gaze towards her.

-You’re resting on numerous covers that you can use to keep yourself warm –he told her slowly, remembering that maybe she was hungry, too. –Are you hungry?

She nodded. He stood up and walked to his table where a large bowl of grapes, and on a plate, a fresh loaf of bread, a slice of cheese and another of ham awaited their arrival. He had procured them from the kitchen of the theatre when no one was looking. Perhaps the last real meal he would be able to give her.

He placed the food on the bed and sat back down, watching her tear at the bread and the grapes, swallowing after deliberate masticating. She kept looking at him so peacefully it bewildered him.

-Aren’t you scared of me? –he asked despite himself.

-Should I be? –she asked back.

-You should… I’m a horrible being –he replied bitterly.

-You spared my life –she stated the obvious, and pushed the plate and bowl aside to edge closer to him.

-No –he jumped to his feet and turned his back on her. He even closed his eyes lest visions of her should float by to entice him. He had to keep himself away from her… woe to both of them if he didn’t.

When he heard her silk dress touch the floor, he took a step further, clenching his fists and grinding his teeth in helpless anger.

-Why are you scared of me, my Angel?

He brought a hand to his dying heart. He could not take it. It would have to be Death, the dark horseman looming over him from the day he was born. He would have to bring havoc upon himself, be his own ruin, force himself to perish in the murky waters of his underworld.

-I want to take away your pain… like you have taken mine.

He wept without a sound, hurting so much he thought the pain alone should have destroyed him. He had not felt joy, or pain, until he heard her sing… until he saw her face. The joy of seeing Beauty unmarred, the kind he had never encountered, and the pain of knowing she could never be his.

The only way she could take away his pain was by undoing her existence.

But she was blissfully unaware of that, and kept gently pushing closer to him, peeling off the layers of his resistance, one by one.

-Will you tell me your name? –she asked softly, laying a tiny hand on his broad shoulder.

-Joshua –he whispered, his breath caught in his throat, making him sound raucous and scary.

But instead of retreating, the hand stayed, and was soon joined by another on his back.

(tbc)

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