Phantom of the Opera [Reiner]
Part of the Through Ink and Quill Classics collab hosted by @pleasantanathema
Thanks for letting me contribute! Based on the seminal Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Some of the dialogue is from the songs, so it might be a little strange at some points. I might write a part two with Zeke as Raoul hehe
pairing: phantom of the opera! Reiner x reader
content warning: nsfw, slight obsessive behavior
for once in my life I didn’t make something super yandere
You can watch the full 2004 movie for free on YouTube with ads btw: https://youtu.be/4H_NExjbLa4
The monumental chandelier is the crown jewel of the Marleyan Opera House. Delicate crystal, polished to perfection, glittering under stage lights like the very definition of beauty. When a particularly talented singer performs, the vibrations from their voice send slight tremors to the hanging crystals, giving the illusion that the chandelier is alive. Without a doubt, the chandelier is beautiful, like most chandeliers are, but this one is special. It serves as the perfect distraction for you, when the day to day of work wears you down, when prima donna throws a diva fit, or when your feet ache from a particularly brutal ballet practice.
The opera house is bustling with energy, stagehands running to and fro, musicians scrambling to find their chairs. As a chorus girl, your job is to dance and be pretty, as a moveable piece in the background that helps set the tone. The opera is putting on Hannibal, a more fast paced opera with lavish outfits of burgundy and gold, layers upon layers of fabric laced up tight. The Madame signals the continuation of the rehearsal, starting with the aria. As prima donna Carla begins to trill, the backdrop against the stage comes crashing down sending everyone into a panic.
“He’s here! The Phantom of the Opera!” The chorus girls around you whisper, flying into a tizzy.
A booming voice cuts across the stage, through the hushed whispers. “Now, now, everyone. The phantom of the opera is just a myth.” The new owners of the opera house, Dot Pixis and Darius Zackly come down from the stage balcony, with smiles like grimaces.
“This is outrageous! How could you expect me, the best soprano this opera house has ever seen, to perform on a stage with mistakes such as this!” Prima donna? More like prima diva.
Dot Pixis is the first to try and placate her. “Signora, please. Accidents happen.”
“Well not where I work! I will not be going on stage tonight. This incident has soured my voice.”
“Signora-” with a dramatic whip of her dress, Carla storms off the stage.
“Well aren’t we in a bit of a sticky situation!” Dot Pixis laughs, attention already refocused to the flask in his hand.
“Isn’t there anyone who could sing the part in a pinch?” Mr. Zackly cuts in, getting down to business.
The Madame, the overseer of the chorus girls offers a solution. “Sir, if I may suggest Miss y/n. She has been well taught and can sing the aria.”
“Let’s hear it then, girl. I don’t have all day.”
The blinding lights of the stage expose you to the sold out opera house, packed full of people who have come to hear the new show. After the cadenza, you sing the last note, clear and strong. You’re met with thunderous applause, and you bask in it for a few seconds before getting whisked off the stage. The moment in the sun is gone, and you’ll return to being a chorus girl by tomorrow. As the show concludes and you retreat backstage, you’re immediately accosted by your fellow chorus girl Sasha.
“y/n! Where in the world have you been hiding all that talent? Really, you were perfect! I only wish I knew your secret, who is your great tutor?” She says, words blurring together from the speed and excitement.
After a bit of hesitation, you decide to spill. “Father once spoke of an angel, I used to dream he’d appear. Now as I sing I can sense him, and I know he’s here.”
“You’re saying your dead father sent you an angel of music to train you? What the actual fuck man.”
“Oh hush, let me finish, Sasha.”
“Here in this room he calls me softly, somewhere inside, hiding. Somehow I know he’s always with me; he, the unseen genius.”
“Y/n you must have been dreaming, stories like this can’t come true. Y/n, you're talking in riddles and it's not like you.”
“Angel of music, guide and guardian, pray tell me your glory? Angel of music, hide no longer, come to me strange angel.”
“Who is this angel of music?”
“He’s with me even now.”
Sasha looks at you like you’ve lost your mind. But you know. You hear his whispers in the velvet darkness of night. His presence looms over you, protective. It’s a weight on your back, but it’s also a comfort. She shakes her head and leaves to the banquet, to stuff her face no doubt. As soon as you are alone backstage, he calls you.
“Brava, y/n.” he applauds, voice echoing off the walls.
“Please angel, who are you?”
“Look in the mirror, I am there inside.”
What kind of dramatic cliché is this? There’s no way your angel of music is going to come to you through a mirror. That’s pushing it, even for a supposed angel. Nonetheless, you press a tentative hand against the mirror, and see a cloaked figure behind your shoulder. In the distance you hear something, is that a fucking organ playing? The sound sets into you, and blacks out your consciousness.
In sleep he sang to you, in dreams he came. That voice which calls to you, and speaks your name. And do you dream again? For now you find, the phantom of the opera is there, inside your mind.
You wake up in a boat. In the fucking sewers, no less. To his credit, the man did put up hundreds of candles, so at least he’s making an effort. He asks you to sing for him. Even though he’s right in front of you, steering the boat, his voice still sounds like its faraway. “Sing once again with me, our strange duet.” Honestly you’re a little taken aback by the sudden request, but it’s not exactly a good idea to anger your captor right off the bat.
“Sing for me, my angel of music.” His cadence is calm and patient, gentle even. That just unnerves you more though, as you nervously clear your throat.
He’s there, the phantom of the opera. The whispers of the chorus girls echo through your mind like a warning. This man, your beloved vocal coach, and the biggest mystery of the opera house, must be the phantom of the opera.
“Sing, darling.” The organ sounds louder and louder, and you harmonize with it.
“Sing for me!” he sounds more urgent, more pushy. You sing higher and higher, your throat aching with the effort. He keeps insisting and insisting, pushing you higher and higher, until you hit a perfect high E6. It’d typically be way out of your range, but you suppose the body can do great things under pressure.
The boat slows and stills, coming ashore to a lair, heavily decorated in the Victorian style. The phantom offers you a hand, and guides you off the boat. He introduces himself as Reiner, and the two of you make casual conversation. Just as you’re starting to warm up to him, delicate lace catches your eye. You look to the right, and come face to face with a mannequin painted to look exactly like yourself dressed in a wedding dress. Every last detail, copied verbatim. You’re looking at what you’re going to become. The shock is enough to make you pass out for the second time of the day.
Soft sheets envelop you, and you slowly awaken to Reiner gently tracing your features. He’s singing again, trying to convey his feelings the only way he knows how.
“Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation. Darkness stirs, and wakes imagination. Silently the senses, abandon their defenses.”
“Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor, grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender.”
“Turn your face away, from the garish light of day, turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light. And listen to the music of the night.”
“Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams. Purge you thought 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.”
You lay there entranced, looking up into Reiner’s pleading eyes.
“Softly, deathly, music shall surround you. Hear it, feel it, closing in around you. Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind, In this darkness which you know you cannot fight. The darkness of the music of the night.”
“Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of a life you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be!”
“Only then, can you belong to me. “
“Floating, falling, sweet intoxication. Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation. Let the dream begin, let your darker side give, to the power of the music that I write. The power of the music of the night.”
“You alone can make my song take flight. Help me make the music of the night.”
He decrescendos, words all but gone. His golden eyes, like molten gold, threaten to steal you away. A gentle hand holds yours, fingers entwining in a promise as he kisses you. The feeling of him, of Reiner is so palpable you can taste it. It feels like you’re breathing him in, it feels like he’s yours. You’re completely caught up in the moment, until he presses deeper and his half mask digs uncomfortably into your cheek. Slowly as to not raise suspicion, you place a hand on his mask, while he pulls you closer into his lap. He breaks for air, dazed and in bliss. Curiosity got the better of you and you rip the mask off his face. The spell is broken and Reiner shoves you off his lap, retreating to the shadows. It’s too late. You saw what was under his mask. Half his face is covered in what seems like some sort of armor, hard plates with red sinew peeking out beneath them. It’s not what you were expecting, but to be fair, you have no idea what you were expecting.
“Damn you! You little prying Pandora! Is this what you wanted to see?”
“Curse you! Now you cannot ever be free...”
He kneels to the floor in front of you, holding his head in shame.
“Stranger than you dreamt it, can you even dare to look or bear to think of me? This loathsome gargoyle who burns in hell but secretly yearns for heaven, secretly...”
“Fear can turn to love, you’ll learn to see the man behind the monster. This repulsive carcass, who seems a beast but secretly dreams of beauty, secretly...”
“Oh, y/n… You are my heaven, the only beauty I recognize. Please...”
You overlap your hands on his, tilting his face to look you in the eye, and kiss him. You feel the wetness of his tears, and as your face presses up against his, the tears he’s shedding roll down your cheeks as well.
Your acceptance of him breaks a dam. He floods into you, all at once and much too much to bear. Reiner lifts you on the bed, blanketing you, peppering you with kisses like his life depends on it. A hand shakily trails up your thigh from underneath your dress while the other deliberately pulls down the zipper against your spine.
He gingerly pulls your dress down, and takes a shaky breath before he takes off his cloak. You reach up and pull off his bowtie, then start unbuttoning his waistcoat. As you reach for his dress shirt, his hand comes up to grip your wrist, and tears start falling anew.
“Please… don’t leave me after you see how hideous I really am…”
You purse your lips, and start unbuttoning his dress shirt again, straightening up to kiss his tears away. While you work on that, Reiner slides his belt past the loops on his pants, still tense and bracing himself to be abandoned. Once his clothes are finally off, you understand why he was hesitant. There are patches of armor on his skin, similar to the ones on his face, with the same sinewy muscle fibers showing underneath. Reiner heaves with sobs, shaking and crying, stripped bare and vulnerable for your eyes to see. This poor, poor man. He must have been severely traumatized because of his appearance. Reiner leans in to kiss you once more, and when he realizes you are kissing him back, he collapses forward onto the bed, trapping you in his embrace underneath him. You lock your legs around him, grinding up against his hard cock, letting him feel the wetness of your pussy.
The hands that grip your thighs too hard tremble. More tears gather on your skin, settling in clusters that decorate your stomach. He shifts further down the bed, settling between your thighs. A gentle suction on your clit has you bucking into him on instinct, hands finding a grip in his hair. When he realizes you actually like this, that you actually like him, he abandons all reservations and devours you. His sheer desperation and enthusiasm makes up for any lack of technique. He looks at you with an obsessive gleam in his eyes, with unadulterated exaltation. A finger slides its way into you, and after a while another joins it, scissoring and spreading you wide. The tension builds, and just when you're about to reach your peak he slides his finger out, the absence leaving behind an empty feeling. You whine, tears of frustration pricking at your eyes.
He leans over to kiss you for the umpteenth time and after a brief pause, starts to carefully push his way inside you.
“Reiner…” you whimper, stuck between pain and pleasure as his girthy cock splits you open.
He responds with a revenant whisper, “Don’t worry angel, I’ll take care of you.”
You clench and squirm around him, seeking more stimulation. Reiner takes the hint and snaps his hips deeper into you, before thrusting in and out, carving his way inside you. The head of his cock catches and scrapes your walls, making you shudder. Reiner greedily takes all of you, reaching deeper and further with every movement. On instinct, he pushes your thighs further back into a mating press to reach deeper. The new angle has him hitting that spot deep inside you, the spot that makes your toes curl and your legs shake. He immediately notices the change in reaction, targeting that spot and abusing it over and over. The obscene sound of his balls slapping against you make you feel utterly debauched.
He gives you a salacious grin, pounding into you harder and faster. It hurts a bit when his cock reaches too far in, but the pleasure he gives you overrides everything. He’s making your vision blur and taking you to a higher plane of existence. You’re clamping down on him tight, and you get tighter and tighter as you tense up more and more. Reiner comes crashing down into you and you can’t help but cum all over his cock. In that moment you’re hopped up on ecstasy, screaming and crying from how right it feels. He didn’t have to say a word, but you knew Reiner felt the same. He gives a few more thrusts and you swear you can feel his cock pulsing as it shoots his cum deep inside you. You feel him softening inside you, but to your surprise he doesn’t pull out. Just stays tucked inside you. A wave of exhaustion washes over you and your legs go limp.
You wake up in Reiner’s arms, nestled into his chest. He looks down at you in awe, eyes welling with tears once again.
He strokes your hair and whispers, “Do you regret it?”
“I don’t regret a thing.” you whisper back, and feel his tears again.
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Defending Gabi Braun (sort of)
*Contains spoilers for season 4 and the manga of Attack on Titan*
With the recent airing of the 4th season of Attack on Titan, I've noticed a particular trend within the community, and that is an onslaught of hate and genuine resentment towards one character: Gabi Braun.
First introduced to the audience as a smart, resourceful, and head-strong girl, Gabi quickly became one of the most hated characters among fans when she kills the fandom's most beloved character. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen so much resentment shown towards any fictional character, ever, especially considering she is just 12 years old. So whilst this may be an extremely unpopular opinion, today I want to talk about why Gabi is an interesting and well-written character who does not deserve this level of hatred. (And if you don't hate me by the end of this, consider giving me a follow :D)
Now keep in mind Gabi is a deeply flawed person. She is arrogant, tactless, and has a warped perspective of the world beyond Marley. However, it's not entirely her fault. Just like the rest of her peers, they were raised with false history, manipulated to portray Marley in a positive light. Even Falco had a similar mindset to her's initially. The reason why he came to understand that Eren and the others aren't to blame is that he overheard the conversation between Eren and Reiner, which made him realize that the people of Paradis were also victims of war. But Gabi wasn't present during their conversation so how could she know?
I think a lot of people who are immediately critical of Gabi often overlook the environment she was brought up in. Gabi has been living in a bubble her whole life. Constantly being told that she was the best and her natural talent and skill in fighting shaped her grandiose sense of self. She was brainwashed as a kid to believe that the people of Paradis are devils who deserved to die, so naturally, when she witnesses her friends get killed before her eyes by said people, it would only further reinforce her beliefs. Gabi saw Sasha as a threat and eliminated the threat just like any other soldier would. As an audience, we are biased towards Sasha because we've been following the story of the Survey Corps up until this point, but if we try to look at this situation from a different perspective, what Gabi did was understandable given the circumstances.
And while we're on the topic of Sasha, yes, Gabi landed the final blow, but it was not solely her fault but rather an accumulation of events that lead to her loss. Jean specifically blamed Eren because he made the Survey Corps aid him in his homicidal plan to show up at Marley unannounced. The fault also lies with the Survey Corps, who celebrated too early and lowered their guard in enemy territory, however given Gabi's personality and skillset I believe she would've found another way into the airship had the doors been closed.
It is my opinion that the reason why Gabi is so heavily disliked is that she reflects qualities of ourselves that we may not be the most proud of. Her brashness, arrogance, and ignorance are characteristics many people possess but don't want to admit about themselves. As such, when these traits are presented in a character they find her dislikable.
Some people also believe that the hate towards Gabi may also be attributed to sexism within the anime community. If you think about it, 10-year-old Eren and 12-year-old Gabi are very similar. Both are passionate, impulsive, care deeply for their friends, have suffered great losses, and are seeking revenge. And yet one is called "brave and strong-willed" while the other is "cunning and merciless" and hated so much more. Although there is no substantial evidence to back this claim up, I can see this as a possible reason.
Gabi's upbringing parallels Eren's, who witnesses his mother get eaten by a titan before his eyes and vows to kill every last one of them. However, as the story progresses, we learn that titans were once humans and the reason why they eat people is to regain freedom. His goals then shift, showing change in his character, something Gabi exhibits in the story as well.
Despite her stubbornness, she ultimately realizes that the people of Paradis are no different from her and ends up fighting alongside them against Eren, who becomes the true threat to humanity. She grows as a person and shows remorse for her past mindset, which makes her journey an interesting one to follow along.
In my mind, a good character does not have to be perfect. Heck, they don't even have to be likable. To be honest, if Gabi was someone I meet in real life, I would find her insufferable. However, as a fictional body of work, the complexity of her persona and the growth she shows throughout the series makes her a well-written and interesting character.
With that being said, it is completely understandable to dislike her for certain negative traits she possesses. But antis seem to have a hard time admitting that Gabi has plenty of positive qualities too, including her intelligence, loyalty and determination. Perhaps if they tried to view things from her point of view, they would understand that she is simply misunderstood.
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