The Music Of The Night
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Wheldon, The Mummy belongs to Steven Sommers and The Phantom Of The Opera belongs to Joel Schmacher, Gaston Leroux and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The songs in this story belong to the songwriters who wrote these amazing songs. Please don't sue me, I'm completely and utterly broke and it's for entertainment purposes only.
Timeline: Post-season seven, Buffy, post-The Mummy Returns and during the movie The Phantom Of The Opera.
Author’s Note: This is it, everyone!! The sixteenth and final chapter of The Other Side Of Compassion is finally here!! I would like to thank the people who have read and reviewed this story, you guys rock!!! I dedicate this last chapter to all of you Phans out there who love Erik and wanted him to be happy. Well, this chapter is for you guys!!!. Also, everyone’s favourite blonde-haired vampire (Spike) makes an appearance in this chapter setting the stage for The Other Side Of Courage. I forgot to mention in the previous chapter but the angels speech that Madame Giry gave to Erik was an inspiration from the Disney animated movie The Lion King. Also, two characters from the book Phantom: The Novel Of His Life will appear in both The Other Side Of Courage and The Other Side Of Honor with a Charmed-like twist and will play major roles in the Scooby Gang’s fight against the two Big Bads in both stories. In case you dear readers are curious, here are a few hints:
• Both characters are people in Erik’s life (although, she is in both The Other Side Of Courage and The Other Side Of Honor, it’s not Christine).
• Character#1 was known only as the Persian in the Leroux version of POTO and was given a name in the Susan Kay novel.
• Character#2 was mentioned in chapter 13 of this story (not by name) in the form of a story that Erik told Buffy about his childhood.
If you guys guess who they are correctly, I will give you a cookie. Anyway, on with the story!!! Remember, no flames!! I will ignore them and I don’t have the patience for them.
Pairing(s): Erik/Christine (a little bit), Buffy/Erik, Dawn/Erik (friendship), Raoul/Christine (sorry for those of you who hate Raoul), Willow/Christine/Raoul
Summary: Buffy was brought back by Imhotep and she reunited with Erik, Dawn and Willow. Then they said goodbye to Raoul, Christine and Madame Giry before they returned to the future.
Two days later …
“Hey, Buffy! Wake up!! We’re here!!”
Buffy groaned as she woke up from a deep sleep. It had been nearly two days since she, Willow and Dawn, along with Erik and Imhotep, had returned to the twenty-first century. After patrolling in the area surrounding the Opera Populaire to check for any other demons that would try to finish what the Alga demon had started, the Chosen Trio and the Phantom decided to pack up to return to Los Angeles while Imhotep decided to remain in Paris to experience his new life as a mortal and also to wait for the time when he would have to return to the nineteenth century. After boarding their plane at the airport in Paris, both Buffy and Erik slept for most of the flight.
Buffy smiled when she saw that Erik was still asleep in his seat. God, he’s so cute when he’s sleeping!!! She leaned toward him and kissed him on his forehead. Erik let out a small groan as he woke up and he smiled when he saw Buffy’s face looking at him.
“Hello, my love.” He said softly.
“Hello, yourself.” Buffy said with a smile. “The plane is about to land. In a few minutes, you get to see the sights and smells of Los Angeles a.k.a the City of Angels.”
“A.K.A Demon magnet city.” Dawn said from her seat in front of Erik’s. “Not to mention, you get to meet Giles, Xander and everybody else.”
The smile on Erik’s face vanished at the mention of Giles and he was suddenly nervous. The Phantom knew from what Buffy had told him that the ex-Watcher was extremely protective of both her and Dawn.
~What if he doesn’t accept mine and Elizabeth’s engagement? I love her so much.~
Buffy must’ve sensed his discomfort because she took his hand and squeezed it gently and lovingly.
“Don’t worry about Giles.” She said gently. “Once he realizes what happened and who you are, he’ll accept you. I know Giles. He’s a good man and the only one I gladly call ‘Dad’.”
“I hope so, Elizabeth.” Erik said softly.
As soon as the plane landed on the runway, the Chosen Trio and the Phantom boarded off the plane and walked the door of the airport terminal where Giles, Xander, Faith and the others were waiting. As soon as Buffy saw her Watcher, she ran to him and threw her arms around him in a tight embrace. The ex-Watcher did the same.
“I was so worried about you.” Giles whispered softly with tears in his eyes. “I thought something had happened to you and Dawn and Willow. But when you called two days ago …”
“I know.” Buffy said. Then they pulled away so that she could hug Faith.
“Welcome back, B.” Faith replied. “I was worried sick about you, Red and Dawn. You can imagine how worried everybody was. Half of the Slayers thought you were dead.”
Buffy fought hard not to wince at her sister Slayer’s comment. ~I was for a while after I saved Erik’s life.~
“Well, I’m not. I’m alive and kicking.” She said. Then she reached Xander next.
“Welcome back to the City Of Angels, Buff.” He said with a smile. Then he looked pass her and saw Erik. “And who’s the new guy?”
~Oh, crap! I forgot about Erik!!~ Buffy inwardly groaned and stepped away from Xander to go back to Erik’s side. Here goes nothing.
“Okay, you guys. This man who’s with us. You might know of him from a story told over a century ago and is possibly rewritten. He was known as the Opera Ghost.”
Giles’s eyes nearly popped when he realized what story Buffy was talking about and glanced at Erik with awe, amazement and disbelief.
“Good Lord!!!” he exclaimed. “Buffy, was he …”
“Yes, Giles. He was.” Buffy replied patiently. “But, he’s not the Phantom anymore. Let me, Willow and Dawn explain …”
“I can’t believe Giles actually accepted Erik without question!!!” Dawn exclaimed.
“Yeah,” Willow agreed. “I thought he was going to ask Erik questions about what his intentions were with you.”
“I’m glad he didn’t do that.” Buffy said.
“I just can’t believe that you’re going to marry the guy, B.” Faith replied.
~Me either.~ The Slayer thought to herself. It had been close to three hours since the reunion at the airport. After she explained what had happened to Giles once they arrived at the Hyperion Hotel, he immediately accepted Erik into the Scooby Gang without question which surprised her, Dawn, Willow and everyone else. What surprised the others most of all was the engagement between the Slayer and the former Phantom. There were some protests from Xander about the engagement but he wisely kept his mouth shut after some harsh words from both Erik and Willow.
~It’s going to take some time for Xander to accept Erik. Buffy thought. I just hope he realizes that Erik is not like Angel.~
“I didn’t think that you were the marrying type.” Faith said. “Although, he is pretty good-looking for somebody whose one-third of a face is jacked up.”
Buffy couldn’t help but laugh. “He is.” She said. The girls were so engrossed in their conversation that they didn’t hear the door to their room open or the nearly silent footsteps as Erik crossed from the doorway to where Buffy was standing near the window.
“Talking about me, are you?” His voice breathed in her ear.
Buffy nearly jumped out of her skin upon hearing his voice and she turned around looking very annoyed. Faith also nearly jumped and began muttering colorful curses under her breath when she saw that it was Erik. Willow and Dawn calmed down when they saw him.
“You really should stop doing that.” Buffy said. “Especially in a hotel full of girls who can hear you.”
“Forgive me, my love.” Erik replied. Then he turned to Willow, Dawn and Faith. “Forgive me, Mademoiselles.”
“Apology accepted.” Dawn replied with a smile.
“Me too.” Faith echoed.
“Ditto.” Willow replied with a smile.
Buffy was about to say something when one of the Slayers came to the doorway with a nervous look on her face.
“Buffy, there’s someone here to see you.” She said in an equally nervous voice.
Buffy sighed. “Okay, I’ll be right there.” She said. At that, she, Erik, Dawn, Willow and Faith walked out of the room and down the hall toward the stairs that went down to the lobby. She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw who it was that came to see her.
~How is that possible? I saw him die six months ago back in Sunnydale. Oh, my God!!!~
The blonde-haired vampire looked straight at her with a smile on his face. “Hi, Buffy.” He said. “Good to see you again.”
Buffy ran down the stairs and threw herself in Spike’s arms crying. He held her tightly and as he did, he glanced up at a shocked Dawn, Willow and Faith. But when his eyes were fixed upon Erik’s face, he could tell by the look on the former Phantom’s eyes that he was just as shocked as Dawn, Willow and Faith and getting very possessive and jealous. When he saw the white mask on the right side of Erik’s face, a light went out in Spike’s head and he remembered what Giles told him when he came by the hotel earlier in the day.
~Bloody hell!! That bloke is the Phantom Of The Opera!!! Buffy is marrying him!!~
Then Spike shifted his focus back to Buffy and they pulled away. As he looked at her, he saw that she was looking past him and at Erik and then back onto him again.
“How can you still be alive after …?” Buffy started to ask.
“I was brought back by the PTB.” Spike replied. “Apprently, they decided that my time is not over and they brought me back. But under one condition, I have to work alongside with Peaches and your Watcher just to make sure I don’t go bad again. I was actually part of the search party when you, Red and the Nibblet disappeared in Paris three months ago. Then when Rupert told me that you had come back, I came to see it for myself. He also told me about your finace.”
Suddenly remembering Erik, Buffy looked up at him and saw the anger and jealousy on his face and she kept her gaze with a pleading look in her eyes. ~Please don’t think that I decieved you, Erik. I had no idea that he was alive. I love only you. The love I once felt for Spike died three months ago, I love you so much.~
Spike must’ve sensed what was going on because he said. “If you’re thinking that the Slayer is going to leave you for me, Erik, don’t worry. I can see that she loves only you and won’t betray you like your last girlfriend did.”
Erik was shocked that the blonde-haired vampire knew about Christine’s betrayal and of his relationship with Buffy. “How did you …?
“Rupert told me everything what the Slayer told him about you.” Spike replied. “The only reason I’m not bitchin’ and moanin’ about Buffy being with you is because you deserve her and that you are twice the man than I would ever be to her. You’re better for her than Peaches.”
Erik turned to Dawn with a confused look on his face. “Peaches?”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Angel.” She answered. “Peaches is Spike’s nickname for him. He calls him that all the time.”
Erik nodded and smiled when he saw Dawn roll her eyes. Then he turned back to Spike and Buffy.
“You love Elizabeth, do you not?” Erik asked the vampire.
Spike nodded. “I do.” he said. “Which is why I’m not going to chase after her and try to break you two up or make your life a living hell like Peaches will. Like I said, you are twice the man than I will ever be.”
Erik didn’t know whether to act cold toward Spike or to shake his hand. Making up his mind, he walked down the stairs and entered the lobby of the Hyperion Hotel. Then, he crossed the lobby to where Buffy and Spike were standing. The former Phantom and the blonde-haired vampire glanced at each other for a minute before Spike offered his hand for a handshake. Without hesistation, Erik took his hand and shook it in understanding and respect and as Dawn went down the stairs and threw herself in the vampire’s arms in a tight embrace, Erik felt the hope of heaven and love of a family and new friends.
Two weeks later …
If Buffy ever thought about her wedding, she would picture a simple yet civil wedding with only her family as witnesses. Never in a million years did she dream of getting married in front of a large group of Slayers, her Watcher and close friends. But she was here back in Paris, the city where it all began and she could imagine no perfect place to marry Erik than the roof of the Opera Populaire where she discovered her love for him. She looked up at Willow who, along with Faith and Kennedy, served as a bridesmaid and saw the smile on the Wicca’s face. Then Buffy glanced at Dawn who was her maid of honor and the two sisters shared happy smiles before Buffy shifted her gaze to her beloved fiancé. As they smiled at each other lovingly, the priest began the wedding ceremony.
“Dearly beloved,” The priest said softly. “We are gathered here today to bring together Erik and Elizabeth in holy union in the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Buffy barely paid attention to the priest’s words and thought back to two weeks ago when she, Willow, Dawn and Erik returned to Los Angeles. It took Xander a long while but he had finally screwed the nerve to talk to the former Phantom and after a while, the two men became fast friends. Erik’s relationship with Spike was that of a mutual understanding and after a while, they also became friends.
~That would explain why Erik chose Xander to be his best man and managed to invite Spike as a guest.~
Buffy smiled at the thought and then pulled out of her train of thought when the time came to exchange their vows. Erik was first and he repeated after the priest.
“I, Erik Destler,” Erik said with such love in his voice. “Shall take you, Elizabeth Summers, to be my lawful wedded wife. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, through sickness and in health. I will love you; cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
Then Buffy’s turn came. “I, Elizabeth Summers, shall take you, Erik Destler, to be my lawful wedded husband. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, through sickness and in health. I will love you; cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
The priest smiled at them both then he announced to the crowd. “Both the bride and the groom have both requested to exchange their own vows as well as the traditional ones. Erik will be the first one to exchange his vow. Erik?”
With tears in his eyes, Erik cleared his throat to speak. “Elizabeth, before you came into my life, I was a broken man with no hope of a future or a better life. I was a man whose heart was repeatedly broken, whose spirit was repeatedly shattered and whose soul was twisted into the monster I once was. But then you came into my life and you repaired my broken heart, restored my spirit and my soul. You are the sunshine of my life, the arms that will hold me when I need to be held and the one who give me a shoulder to cry on when I need it. You are my angel of mercy, my miracle and the reason that I want to live. I love you, Elizabeth and as God and everyone here as my witnesses, I vow to continue to love you, support you and be your rock when you need a shoulder to cry on. I love you.”
With tears in her own eyes, Buffy mouthed ‘I love you’ back to Erik and said the vows that she had longed to say for so long. As she started to speak, Erik slid the white gold and diamond wedding ring on her finger.
“Erik, when I met you; I thought that I was crazy enough to love again after Spike’s death. But I did fall in love again this time with you. I’ve loved you the first time I laid eyes on you but it took me a long time to realize it. Despite the deformity on your face, I thought that you were the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. You became my better half, my constant companion and the one who loves me for who I am and who is not afraid of my strength, my life as the Slayer and my destiny. The vow that I’m about to make to you, to God and to everyone who is with us today, is that I will love you till my dying day. I will be your everything. Your best friend, your soulmate and your Angel Of Music. I will never leave you or do you wrong. I will always be at your side. I love you, Erik. Now and forever.”
As Erik sobbed with fierce joy, Buffy took his wedding ring from Shannon, one of the Slayers who volunteered to be the ring bearer, and slid it on his finger. Then she and Erik held hands facing each other with tears running down their faces. The priest smiled at them before he spoke to the waiting crowd.
“By the power invested in me by the city of Paris and in the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I pronounce Erik Charles Destler and Elizabeth Anne Summers husband and wife.”
“You may kiss your bride.” The priest said to Erik with a smile. Without giving it another thought, Erik leaned over and kissed Buffy passionately. She wrapped her arms around his neck as the Slayer and the former Phantom shared their first kiss as husband and wife. The priest then made the announcement to the cheering crowd.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to present to you, Erik and Elizabeth Destler.”
Dawn was sobbing by the time the ceremony ended. Xander and Giles exchanged happy glances before looking back at Buffy and Erik who were looking at each other lovingly. Willow grinned at the happy couple standing before her and thanked the Goddess for their happiness. She also thanked the Powers That Be for bringing Erik into their lives and for giving him what he had wanted all of his life.
~Love and compassion. And someone who could accept him for who he is and not judge him because of his face.~
Willow was pulled out of her thoughts when Xander shouted. “Who’s up for some pictures with the happy couple?” At that point, Dawn gave a squeal of delight and went to stand beside Buffy and Erik. Willow chuckled and shook her head as she joined her friends. Xander stood beside the Wicca while Giles took his place beside Buffy. Amanda, Shannon and Kennedy took their places in front Willow and Xander. Finally, Faith, Robin and Spike stood in front of Erik with smiles on their faces. One of the other Slayers, Dana, adjusted the camera to the right modifications and then as she made sure that everyone would fit into the picture. Once she was satisfied, Dana gave them a thumbs up.
“Everyone say ‘we are family’! Xander shouted.
“WE ARE FAMILY!!!” Everyone including Erik shouted as Dana took the picture. Once the picture was taken, laughter split the air and for the first time in a very long time, Erik felt the happiest that he had ever been in his life. As he shared another kiss with Buffy, he looked at the people around him. Giles, the Watcher who accepted him without question and became a father figure. Xander, the one-eyed carpenter who became the brother he never had. Faith, the other Slayer who became another sister and whose commitment to her life as the Slayer earned her his admiration for her courage and finally, the other Slayers. The young girls who became his students. The ones he had begun to teach how to fight and to express themselves through music.
~I am very lucky. I have what I have always wanted. A loving family. Friends who love me and accept me regardless of my face and a new purpose in life. Thank you, God for finally blessing me with this. Thank you for bringing Elizabeth, Dawn and Willow into my life and for giving me the courage to be the man that I wanted to be. Thank you.~
As he held Buffy in his arms, Erik looked up into the heavens and as tears of joy streamed down his cheeks, he silently thanked Christine for helping him to realize the true nature of love and Dawn and Willow for teaching him the true meaning of family and blood ties. While he had no blood relatives to share his wedding day with, he had a family that was brought together by something just as strong. Love and compassion. He felt lucky to have discovered it during the three months that Buffy, Dawn and Willow had been in his life and happy to share the rest of his life with them as family.
“Thank you, God.” Erik said softly. “Thank you for answering my prayers. For giving me the gift of love and family.” Then he looked down at Buffy who was smiling at him. Through his tears, he smiled at her back, pulled away from her and took her hand.
“Come, my dear.” He said softly and lovingly to her. “Let’s go and celebrate our new life together.”
“Love to, darling husband.” Buffy said just as lovingly. As he walked toward the door to the roof holding his new wife’s hand, Erik poured all of his love for the Slayer into the squeeze of his hand and felt the hope of heaven flow through him. He was looking forward to his new life in the strange new world that he was now in. His old life in the nineteenth century was over and with Buffy, Dawn, Willow and the rest of the Scoobies at his side, Erik was sure that he would have the courage to do what was asked of him and so much more. But most of all, he had friends and family to back up on when he needed them and where they were going was where he wanted to be now and forever.
Three days later …
Buffy woke up suddenly to the sound of music playing outside of the bedroom she and Erik were sleeping in. It had been three days since their wedding and they were now on their honeymoon in Rome which was a place in Europe that Buffy had always dreamed of going. After they arrived in the Italian city, the newlyweds checked into the hotel they were going to stay for the next two weeks and they both requested a room with a piano so that Erik could compose while in Rome.
With a smile, Buffy slipped out of bed and went in search of her husband. She tracked the sound of music to the living room where she found him on the piano obliviously composing a song. Erik must’ve sensed her presence because he stopped playing the piano and he turned to her with a smile on his face.
“Did I wake you, my love?” he asked.
“Not at all.” Buffy replied. “You didn’t wake me at all.”
The smile on Erik’s face grew as he got up from the piano bench and he stood in front of her. His golden eyes never left hers as he took her hand and held it. Then he started to sing to her. It was a song that he had sung to Christine only once during the brief time that he was in love with her but it was a song that he felt that he could sing to Buffy with love and passion.
Heightens each sensenation
And wakes imagination
Suddenly the senses abandon their defenses
Buffy couldn’t help but be transfixed by the angelic sound of her new husband’s voice and she remained where she was standing. At that point, Erik kept on holding her hand and ran his fingers through her hair as he was singing.
Night unfurls it’s splendor
Grasp it, sense it
Tremblous and tender
Turn your face away from the garish light of day
Turn your thoughts from cold, unfeeling light
And listen to the music of the night
The smile that Buffy had on her face when she got out of bed to look for Erik grew into a grin and she closed her eyes and let the power of the song flow through her. She could feel Erik’s strong arms wrap around her body behind her and she let out a groan of pleasure and love. His voice sent a shiver down her spine as he continued to sing to her.
Close your eyes
And surrender to your darkest dreams
Purge all thoughts of the life you knew before
Close your eyes
Let your spirit start to soar
And you’ll live as you’ve never lived before
“Erik.” Buffy whispered softly. “God, I love you so much.”
“I love you, my darling Elizabeth.” Erik said with love and joy in his voice. Then he continued to sing his song while running his hands all over Buffy’s body causing her to groan again in love and pleasure.
Music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it
Secretly possess you
Open up your mind
Let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness that you know
You cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night
~God, I’m so lucky! I’m married to the sweetest, most amazing man on the planet and he’s singing to me. I love it when he sings. He has such an angelic voice. I love him so much.~
That was the only thought that ran through Buffy’s mind as she continued to listen to Erik’s song and feel his hands caressing her body. Then she turned around and caressed his unmasked cheek with her hand as he was singing.
Let your mind start a journey
To a strange new world
Leave all thoughts of the life you knew before
Let your soul take you where you long to be
Only then can you belong to me
“My sweet, darling Elizabeth.” Erik whispered as he felt her lips brush against his unmasked cheek and he continued to caress every inch of her body as he was singing to her. As he was singing, he let the power of his love for his new wife flow through him.
Touch me, trust me
Savour each sensenation
Let the dream begin
Let your darker side give in
To the power of the music that I write
The power of the music of the night
Then suddenly, Erik turned to face Buffy, leaned over and his lips met hers in a passionate kiss. As they were kissing, Buffy wrapped her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss. Then after a few moments, they broke apart and glanced at each other lovingly. Erik scooped Buffy up in his arms and carried her back to the bedroom. Gently, he lowered her onto the bed. As he did, he sang.
You alone can make my song take flight
Help me make the music of the night
As he uttered the last word of his song, Erik laid down beside Buffy and held her hand. They glanced at each other with such love that words were not needed to express how they felt for each other. They remained that way until they both fell asleep. For the next two weeks, Erik and Buffy made love to each other and sang to each other every night until the time came to return to Los Angeles. Some of the Slayers would say that the romance between their leader and the former Phantom was something out of a fairy tale. But Dawn and Willow would say that their romance was something that both fate and destiny had planned from the very beginning. They would also say that Erik got what he had always wanted. Love, compassion and a family.
As Porky Pig would say at the end of a Looney Tunes cartoon, that’s all folks!!! Once again, I’d like to thank those who read and reviewed this story. You guys rock!!!! I just completed the first chapter of The Other Side Of Courage and just started work on chapter 2. I’m not sure when I will post the story up so stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled! Cheers!!!