Actions

Work Header

Wounds

Work Text:

 

"Erik," I cried, "show me your face without fear. I swear that you are the most unhappy and sublime of men, and if Christine Daae shivers looking at you now it is because she is thinking of the splendor of your genius! '"

 

Two black masks smoldered in the fire, casting dark smoke. Christine stared down at her work as her heart hammered in her chest.

Would she truly have the strength to look at him? Could she continue this ruse?

His bedroom door creaked open. She instinctively stepped back towards the wall, clasping her hands in her skirts.

He stepped out into the dining room and turned to look at her. She stiffened her hands into fists, trying to appear resolute even as her knees threatened to buckle.

The electric light illuminated his harsh features. His cheeks were hollow as a skull’s, his lips thin over his slightly-crowded teeth. His eyes had no light in them, not unless he was enraged, then they sparked with red fire. Sometimes, though, in the dark, she swore those same eyes were gold.

That big gaping hole in the center of his face made her stomach turn. It was the most horrible part of him, somehow, that empty space. Needles pricked her skin each time her eyes settled on it.

And across his features, already hideous and sharp, were open wounds, scratched by her own nails. His parchment skin, torn apart in his rage.

“What are you doing, little Christine?” he asked in a gentle voice.

Her tongue turned to lead. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out.

He peeked around her into the fireplace. His eyes widened, and he came over to the flames, still licking at the black leather.

“You burned them,” he breathed.

“I wanted you to know I wasn’t lying,” she finally managed out. “You needn’t hide your face any more… not from me.”

She was surprised by the strength in her own voice. 

He was staring at her with something in his eyes she could not describe. Surprise? Admiration?

He came over to her. She willed herself to remain still, hands balled in her skirts.

His knees sank to the floor, bones crackling. He buried his head in her skirts and sobbed.

“How can you bear it?” he pleaded. “No one has ever done so… Are you certain you are not one of God’s own angels, sent to save me from the fiery pit?”

He pressed a kiss to the hem of her skirts. She sank down to her own knees until she was face-to-face with him, enough to make out those horrible lines on his cheeks, red and waxy.

He bowed his head. She stood back up.

“Let me go fetch something,” she said.

He looked back up at her. His forehead crinkled like parchment, but he released her skirts.

She went back into her room and poured water into her washbasin. Then she put in one of the clean little towels until it was soaked through. There was a little bar of soap on the sink, and she rubbed this along the towel, making a thin ring of soap around the basin.

She returned to the drawing room. He was standing in the corner, one corner of his thin lips tilted upward.

“What is that?” he asked.

She set it on the coffee table and beckoned for him to come over to the sofa. He knelt before it, and she sat down on the hard cushions.

She drew out the wet towel, wringing it out over the bowl. His mouth fell slack as she brought it to his marred cheek, gently pressing it against the wounds.

He choked on a gasp. His whole body shuddered and he shut his eyes. Tears mingled with the soapy water as she dabbed at the hollows of his cheeks, again and again.

His whole body was shaking. She could hardly bear the sight! Had he ever been touched kindly before?

She set aside the towel and he buried his head in her lap, consumed by sobs.

He clung to her like a broken child. Her own eyes flooded as she stared down at the poor man, brought to his knees by an ounce of kindness.

Would he let her go now that she had proven her oath? That she would look upon him without fear Only time would tell. For now, she would comfort him, and she found that, in her heart, it was not all a lie.

He was still a bit her Angel, just broken. And she would try to heal his scars as best she could.