|Becky knows the Opera Ghost is (madeofdeath) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-04-07 16:42:00
What: Discovering the state of his lair.
Where: Paris, the Opera House.
Neil had gone along with Christine's request to stay out of Paris for a while, albeit reluctantly, but keeping Erik on the Vegas side became more and more difficult with each passing day. Most people might not have understood why the madman would want to return to a place where, quite literally, he had nothing, aside from an underground lair and solitude with his music. It wasn't much of a life, but it was all Erik had, and without it he might as well be dead. That was what worried Neil the most; Christine was with Raoul, whether he had a key or not, which meant that tether to the world of the living was dangerously close to snapping. All he had was his stupid music and whatever else he kept down there in his lair; Neil had never given much thought to it. Usually his time spent in Erik's head involved attempting to keep him under control.
Three days passed, without word from Christine, and after the fourth Neil decided that he wasn't going to wait any longer. If she and Erik ran into each other, well, it couldn't be any worse than a showdown between Erik and Raoul.
Neil knew something was wrong a moment before he crossed, but by then it was too late to turn back. The smell of old smoke and burned, charred things filled Erik's nose almost immediately and he staggered backward, coughing violently. Oh, he knew fire, but there was no heat here, no flames that licked at fabric and skin and threatened to burn. Once his coughs ceased he lowered his arm, which had been thrown up instinctively, and stared in dismay at that which had once been his lair, his refuge... his home. The water was cold, lapping at his ankles, a soothing balm from the searing pain that tore through his chest as he looked, and he saw the truth.
It had been destroyed, marred black beyond recognition by flames which must have raged wildly out of control as they consumed all within their path. The underground lake had, fortunately, kept the entire foundation from crumbling down upon itself, and the stone arches still stood-- for now. All his possessions, however, were gone. His compositions, his instruments, all the little projects he'd worked on--the miniature replica of the stage, and the opera house itself, various other sculptures and pieces--were little more than blackened bits of ash scattered about. It was still hard to breathe, smoke and ash lingering in the air, and he knew, then, that he could not stay. To rebuild what he'd lost would be near impossible; the damage was too catastrophic.
Go back. You'll suffocate down here if you stay too long, Erik. Please. Neil's voice went unheeded in the back of his mind, and Erik moved forward, as though lost in a trance, hoping beyond hope that some little trinket of his life might have been left behind. The pressure in his lungs became near unbearable as he searched, but to no avail. Not even his precious little monkey, which he'd crafted as a young child and perfected in later years, had survived.
Without a home to call his own, he had no life. He was nothing. He was the living dead, a walking corpse, and as Erik fell to his knees with a strangled sob he only wanted one thing: true death, the end of pain and loss and loneliness. His cursed existence was no longer a burden he could bear. What did it matter anymore? The Opera House was empty, Christine was gone, and the ghost was no longer wanted. It was far past his time to disappear.
Neil, however, had other plans. Get up, dammit, he snapped. You can't give up, you hear me? Get up.
Erik curled up in response, closing his eyes and breathing the burnt air, in and out, a slow rhythm. There was no one to hear, no one to mock or scorn, yet his tears fell silently, mingling with the gently lapping water all around him. His cries caught in his throat, becoming garbled sounds he thought he might very well choke on. It seemed like an eternity passed, yet still he remained alive, bound to a world he no longer wanted to be part of. Neil's voice continued on and on, though nothing he said seemed to reach him; not until he played his last card in desperation.
You know who did this, Erik, and if you give up and die down here, he'll win. You can't let him win.
"Raoul no longer has his key." Erik's voice was hoarse, and his fingers reached for sheets of smooth paper that were no longer there.
So he lied, or he got a new one. Who else would burn your damn lair down, huh? Not Christine, and not Nadir. No one else is here. If you can't live for yourself, Erik, then live to make that asshole pay for what he did. Neil knew it was a dangerous thing, to encourage his temper, but he had no other choice. If it was a decision between murderous Erik and dead Erik, he'd choose the former. Don't give him the satisfaction of driving you to this, Erik. Please. Get up.
It took nearly a quarter of an hour, but Erik did indeed get up. He surveyed the ruins of his lair one last time before turning and making his way towards one of the exit tunnels with the sluggishness of a man twice his age, marveling at the fact that he could still hear his heartbeat even when he was certain that his heart had been torn from his chest.