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Moonless

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Christine refused to allow herself to ponder the situation. If she did, she knew, positively that her mind would force sense into her body, and she would return to the De Chagny estate, ready to elope with her soon to be husband to some place far, far away from here. 

But right now, she knew that she was abandoning sense in favor of seeing her angel again. She did not want their arguments, Raoul tied with a noose, to be their last shared memory. Christine shook her head. If she thought too deeply, she would leave. She put her head up, and faced him. 

The phantom's lair was far more damask than she recalled, most of the candles burnt out. The once softly lit enclave was instead cold and unwelcoming, almost as much so as the outward appearance of the man she now shared it with. 

The phantom remained in the same suit she had left him in, his mask and wig replaced. His cloak was tied around his neck, hat also in place. Had she come a second later he would have long since vacated the cavern. Likely for good. But the shock of her returning was now evident on his features. 

Christine knew she had to make her intentions clear immediately, to show him her ultimate love before they inevitably parted ways. 

She cleared her throat nervously. “Might we retire, to your bedroom?” 

The visible side of his face flushed red, and Christine almost stopped to wonder if suddenly appearing in the phantom's lair after he thought her gone and attempting… closeness… was such a good idea. The spontaneity of it had to be foolish, right? 

Don’t think, she reminded herself, just do.

Instead of waiting for his stammered reply to make sense, Christine stepped past him, towards the room she had never been here long enough to explore. The door was open, revealing a grand, well-made bed, and bookcases lining the shelves. She knew enough that this would be the first time his bed was ever used for this purpose. 

She heard his hurried footsteps behind her, and the telltale sound of him gripping the doorframe, holding himself upright as he gaped at her. 

“Christine, I’m sorry, but I still cannot be sure if you’re even real-” he gasped. 

As soon as Christine had arrived at Raoul's home, she'd shed the phantom's wedding dress, and the much more modest evening gown she wore now was far easier to slip out of. Her hands only shook slightly as she worked open the buttons. When the phantom realized what she was doing, he became deathly silent behind her back. 

She let the material stream to the wooden floor. Christine turned slowly to face the phantom in the doorway, her hands reaching to find the string of the corset. If the phantom had been red-faced before, now he had the appearance of a man dying of heat, the red that colored his cheeks making it to the tips of his ears, his eyes lidded, his mouth slightly agape. When his mind caught up that she was in her undergarments and was removing them as well he moved to stop her, yet aborted the action, his shaking arm reaching out towards what to him could only be a mirage. 

Now or never Christine. Just do it. It’s the easiest way to get it across to him.

She fumbled a bit with the string, but regained control just enough to remove the cover, and, though she blushed just as hard as the phantom, let it drop to the floor. 

She averted her gaze bashfully, feeling no longer scared or shy. She didn’t know exactly what would happen next, but she’d heard enough promiscuous chatter around the opera house to know that the phantom would be so taken, he should ravish her. The thought of finally having that curiosity fulfilled with a man she knew loved her so filled her with shivering excitement. 

Her hands drifted to the undergarments further below, and she looked up just in time to see the phantom's eyes, glazed over, locked on her bare chest, impossibly wide, roll back into his head. He crumped to the floor a dead weight. 

Christine’s hands went to her mouth. For a few moments she was shocked into stillness. Was he… no, she could make out the gentle rise and fall of his chest under the cloak, even on his pronate form. 

Had he… had he fainted? 

She rushed up to his body, knocking aside his hat and turning his head towards her, and indeed, his eyes were closed shut. 

“Angel!?” she called. He barely stirred. She dug both arms under him, and pulled him over onto his back. He startled groggily when she shook him by the shoulders. “Angel!” 

He rolled towards her, eyes fluttering open slowly. 

“Christine?” he muttered. His eyes fully opened and he was once again made fully aware of her state of undress. His breathing picked up and he flopped a hand over his eyes to preserve her modesty, whatever good that did now. 

The absurdity of it all, her sitting over the dreaded opera ghost almost completely naked, the opera ghost fainting after seeing her nude body, was nearly enough to make her start laughing. 

She didn’t however, instead rising with embarrassment over what had turned out to be an incredibly dreadful experience. She was so foolish. He probably thought her frisky now! She could never face him again. Their final memories of each other would be whatever this had been. Maybe she could convince him she wasn’t actually real before it was too late. 

When she stood her knee brushed against him, and the phantom moaned low in his throat, hand going from covering his eyes to covering his mouth. His other hand, she noticed, had pulled the fabric of his cloak down to cover his crotch. His deep red blush was back in full force along his cheeks. His eyes squeezed shut, then pinched open, taking her in. 

Perhaps this night wouldn’t be as bad as she thought.