Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Word Count: 1,148
Author’s Note: This was written for masked_ball. It was written for echarperouge for her requested prompt:
#39 - A story influenced by (or crossover with) some classic mythology- Roman, Norse, Egyptian, Native American, whatever. You can't use Hades and Persephone, it's been done.
This story is living proof that I should never attempt serious Phantom fic again. Influenced by the Psyche/Eros story as told here. Story title taken from the Vladimir Nabokov quote, “One mercifully hopes there are water nymphs in the Styx.” which inspired this story. Beta'd by: wutendeskind.
Summary: Erik draws parallels between his relationship with Christine and the Roman myth about Psyche and Eros.
Original Link: http://community.livejournal.com/masked
Long ago, there was a woman so beautiful, she put gods to shame. She outshone them, she made them fall in Love with her, and she suffered greatly for it. Gods are not supposed to feel Love, not in the way mortals do, and neither are monsters. But Eros burned with Love once upon a time, and a Phantom who’d never realized he had a heart in his chest did the same for you.
When I first heard of Christine Daae, my interest was entirely malicious. After all, my emotions had always been malicious; no one had ever taught me that feelings could exist without hatred. A girl with a pretty voice, they said, but no good to this world. Dead, flat, wasted at eighteen. Psyche had been a waste, too. No suitors for all that beauty, no Love for all that praise. It took a God to Love her face, it took something inhuman to hear what your voice had to offer. I went to laugh at you, just as Eros went to trick his sweetheart. How sharp the prick of his arrow, the venom nearly killed me when I first heard your voice.
But how to go about such a Love? Mortals were not made to mingle with the Gods. I could sweep you away, give you a fantastic world, but like the beauty that had come two thousand years before you, there was no way to hide what you would one day see. I took you on such a journey, stole horses and bewitched you with music—turned my hell into a castle in the clouds. Life is not all it seems for the Gods. Blessed with genius and music and luxury, humans think they envy those deities. Gods cannot feel, cannot blend with others, cannot share the gifts fate bestowed upon them. Erik and Eros had been given such gifts and the hell of an existence alone was their price. But we lusted, Christine, for what we were not to have. We desired something beautiful in our hells, someone who would smile at what we created.
I had never dared to wonder if such a thing could exist. Did the men laboring in hell bathe with nymphs in the river Styx? Did they end their days with sympathetic little beauties? It hardly seemed possible, how could that be permitted? But how else could one survive such an existence? How could I know you, Christine, and endure without your acceptance?
I made you mine, if only my pupil. I made you happy—oh not now, but once upon a time. It was I who gave you back your art; a voice more beautiful than it had ever been, than any had ever been. And you? You gave me everything. A reason to live, a feeling I am still afraid to name. Happiness is not a concept I ever learned how to accept. Oh, but I came close to believing in it those first three months. I saw you worship the Angel and I understood that foreign concept.
But like jealous sisters once ruined Eros, I was destroyed by the whispers of the chorus girls around you. “Angel,” you said; “Phantom,” they laughed. They killed the Angel, they killed the trust. And your curiosity took you where you should not have gone. Envy Psyche, Christine Daae, who expected to see a monster and found a God. You were given a corpse when you had been promised divinity.
And yet, Psyche still Loved. Psyche pined for that God after he had stranded her, abandoned her, lashed out at her. She suffered through trials the like of which I would never dream to put you through. Happy Eros, her Love endured. I saw the light go out in your eyes when you looked under the mask. I know that it will never return.
Look at the tasks she suffered through Christine. The Gods made her do impossible things: sorting seeds, facing fiery creatures, venturing into hell. She did them, Christine, all of them, because she Loved. I made you a star, an Angel of Music in your own right, I gave you things you had dreamt of but never expected. One thing in return, Christine: be like Psyche. Remember how to Love the Angel you first believed in, forget the man you saw. Separate the two, be my student if not my wife.
No, I have done terrible things and now you are scared of me as well. My Christine, forget Love, but forget hate as well. That would be enough for me. No one was ever soft until you, you cannot stop now. Even after you saw me, was I not your poor, unhappy Erik? But I was a murderer then, too. I was the Phantom then, too. You came back to me, not with Love, but with forgiveness. Forgive, Christine, that is what I am waiting for. Show me that you understand what drove me to this and I will bid you and your boy farewell and wish you a happy marriage.
You were sweet once, childish and eager to please. And I would tell you stories like this one, stories you did not understand at the time but which you by now, I am sure, have realized why I told them to you. Why I told you about Hades and his pretty bride—it was no Angel whispering lullabies. I wish I could tell you this story, too, because the myth ends happily for Eros, and for Psyche as well. Our story will not. You will leave with him and I will die of agony.
I know this as well as I knew when I first went to you that we would never find happiness in this underground prison. You, sad and tired and broken, have no idea. I wish I could tell you, but then how would I know you meant it? It’s been days since we came down here and you have not shown me you forgive me. How can I let you go, willingly lose you, and still have to wonder if you hate me? My little bride, come tell me you are willing to become that and you will never have to.
You’ve come to me now and you’re crying, you look so beautiful when you do. A kiss on the forehead—a simple thing to buy your freedom. Is it freedom you came for, or are you returning to the happy days when you would beg me for a tale? Let me tell you how the story ends. Psyche drinks with the Gods, she becomes a God herself. She dies, in a way, but is reborn to something better. She gets to be with her Angel for eternity. And you? I will let you go now, Christine, and perhaps in some kinder existence, we will one day be angels together.