Chapter Two: The Rescue

"Okay, girls. Let's go through it one more time. Flashlights?"

"Check."

"Costumes?"

"Check."

"Boom box?"


"Check."

"Hedge clippers?"

"Check."

"Okay," Estella said, checking off the last item of the list. "We've got everything. Is everyone ready?"

"Yes," the other Admirers whispered.

The girls were crouched just outside the portcullis surrounding Erik's home, across the underground lake in the depths of the Paris Opera House. Inside, Christine, Erik and Raoul were all singing passionately.

"Wow, listen to him," Lexie whispered. "Good thing that Punjab lasso doesn't damage his voice in the least."

"Eww, it's so damp down here," Rusty groaned. "Why couldn't Erik just live in, say, a secluded mansion…or a castle?"

"Vampires live in castles," Cheryl replied. "And I'm pretty sure Erik doesn't drink blood as a general rule—"

"Guys!" hissed Meg. "We have a handsome hunk of burning vicomte to rescue! Now take your places. When I give the signal, do your stuff."

"Right," replied Katey and Sharon in one voice.

Inside the portcullis, the drama was reaching its height.

"You try my patience," Erik sang. "Make your choice!"

"NOW!" Meg shouted.

Suddenly, a new sound was heard. It sounded suspiciously like twentieth-century tango music. From behind the bars, the outlined figures of several young women appeared, all clad in twenties-style black costumes.

"…the hell?" Christine demanded, turning around.

"My thoughts exactly," Erik replied, following her gaze.

"Fop!"

"Wifebeater!!"

"Is he?!"

"Nuh-uh!"

"Sweetheart!"

"Darling!"

"Has the ballet chorus of the Opera Populaire finally gone insane?" Erik demanded.

The spotlight, guided from an unseen source above, lit the girls fully, and they promptly began to sing.

"It's been a long time coming,

It's been a long time coming,

You might think he's lame

But if you look into his eyes

You know you'd have to do the same!

Raoul's a sweetheart, don't you know

He's totally stolen the show!"

As the chorus began to repeat itself, Erik and Christine stared in amazement. Finally, Erik folded his arms over his chest and glared menacingly at the Admirers. And we all know how scary Erik's glares are.

"You're…Raoul fans?" Erik asked, stepping forward.


The Admirers stopped singing and dancing abruptly, as the music above was cut off.

"Um…well, yeah," answered Julie.

"Fascinating. I didn't think you existed. You've…formed a group, now?"

"Damn straight!" came another voice, from Erik's side of the portcullis.

And then another girl's voice hissed, "Meg!"

Meg groaned. "Oops."

Erik turned around, and smothered a laugh at what he saw. Several young women were dressed completely in black. One was holding a boom box. Meg herself was standing next to Raoul, holding a pair of hedge clippers.

"Might I inquire as to what you're doing?" Erik asked, stepping toward her.

Meg laughed nervously. "Um, y'know, just…clipping the hedges. They got pretty overgrown, and the next thing you know they'll be obscuring traffic."

Christine frowned in confusion. "Erik, you grow hedges down here?"

"No, my dear," Erik replied, closing his eyes briefly. Christine was sweet, bless her, but not always the most perceptive creature in the world. "I believe your lover's fans are simply being facetious."

"Oh."

"I told you that wouldn't work," Estella muttered.

"Does this mean we can change out of these outfits?" Alexis asked from the other side of the portcullis. "They're cute and all, but if the distraction isn't going to work anymore….these tights are incredibly itchy."

"Hear, hear," Julie added. "Plus, this costume's really riding up my—"

"This is all very interesting," Raoul spoke up for the first time. He sounded a little choked. "But I'm still hanging here, and it's a tad less than comfortable, so—"

"Right," Meg replied, and moved forward with the clippers. In another moment, Raoul lay in a heap on the floor. Estella and Katey moved to help him up.

"Raoul, you never told me you had fans," Christine said, looking at her blond-haired lover in surprise.

"I didn't know myself," Raoul confessed, standing with the aid of his Admirers. Meg was looking at him as though a god had descended from the heavens, her eyes literally turning into hearts, a la some lousy anime cartoon.

"Though it's not an entirely unwelcome surprise, to be sure." He smiled at his fans. "Pleased to meet you, ladies."

Meg fainted. Rusty, standing behind her, just barely managed to catch her in time.

"This is all very well," Erik spoke up. "But you are interrupting the most important scene in the story, so please leave…before I get angry." He did his menacing glare thing again.

"Well, that's the thing," Estella replied. "See, we love Raoul. And you have to admit, he did need rescuing."

"That's right," Meg said, suddenly reviving herself. "As leader of the Rabid Admirers of Underrated Lovers, I considered it our duty to interrupt. I mean," she turned to Christine. "Sure, you'll leave with Raoul, but everyone will want you with Erik anyway."

"Says who?" Christine demanded, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Everyone who publishes Phan literature, anyway," Meg continued. "So in all Phan fiction, you'll only leave this hottie anyway. We might as well rescue him ourselves, so that he can be with those who really appreciate him."

"But he's a fop!" Erik replied. "Surely educated women like yourselves should be able to see that!"

"That's just a myth perpetuated by the vast anti-Raoul conspiracy," Katey spoke up. "Sure, he dresses nice, but so do you!"

"Why thank you," Erik replied, flattered.

"No problem. And he's sweet and loyal and caring, and damn it, we love him! Do we really need a reason?"

Out of nowhere, music once again began to play.

"Don't look at me!" Cheryl exclaimed. "The boom box isn't even on!"

Estella shrugged. "Oh well."

Meg grinned at her fellow Admirers. "Shall we, ladies?"

"Okay!"

The Admirers struck a pose, and began to sing.

"No matter what you say

We love our golden boy anyway

We're gonna stand our ground

For that sweet…blond…vicomte!

You can't keep Raoul fans silent forever

No, you can't keep us silent forever, no no…"

"Oh, Lord," muttered Erik. "I believe I get the point, so to speak."

"Personally, I'm flattered," Raoul remarked. "Thank you, ladies."

Meg fainted again, and Raoul caught her this time. He looked thoroughly confused. "Was it something I said?"

"Don't worry about it, honey," Alexis said comfortingly. "She'll be okay."

"I've got some smelling salts," Christine offered, breaking one under Meg's nose. Her eyes opened wide, and she choked.

"Ewww! What is that?"

"Funny you should ask," Christine said, suddenly remembering. "They're Piangi's sweat socks…well, they were before Meg Giry stole them from his drawer and stuck them in the fridge for awhile. As it turns out, they make pretty good smelling salts."

"That's…disgusting," Meg replied…and slowly realized that she was lying in Raoul de Chagny's arms. "Will you marry me?" she asked.

"That's a very kind offer," Raoul replied, helping Meg to stand. "But I'm afraid I love Christine."

Lexie shrugged. "Christine will either leave you for Erik outright, or she'll marry you and spend her life pining for Erik, and making you miserable. And she'll have his child, and you'll have to raise it—"

"What?!" cried Erik and Christine in one voice. Raoul looked too stunned to speak.

"Don't you guys read Phan literature?" Katey asked in astonishment.

Erik pointed toward a large furnace. "I've been using Forsyth and Meadows to heat my house. I've never bothered to read them."

"I thought it seemed awfully warm down here for a subterranean cave," Raoul remarked. "Clever idea."

"Thank you," Erik replied. "But may I ask what exactly we are going to do now? I really was unprepared for so many guests."

Cheryl grinned. "I know! Another random musical number, and then we can all go out for coffee!"

"Yeah, you don't want to mix the two," Estella commented, sliding an arm around Raoul's shoulders. "We tried it before. It wasn't pretty."

The other Admirers flocked around Raoul, and Christine joined them. Erik stood a few feet away, looking forlorn.

"Awww…" Julie ran over to Erik, and pulled him into the group hug. "We love you too, Erik!"

"We love you, Erik!" the Admirers chorused.

Erik blushed, and even his mask seemed to turn scarlet for a moment.

"One more musical number?" Meg suggested.

"Okay!" everyone cried.

Erik waved his hand in the air, and the music began. Instantly, brightly colored neon lights began flashing as a disco ball dropped from the ceiling.

"All the world over, so easy to see

Phans everywhere just wanna be free

Listen, please listen, that's the way it should be

Peace in the Phandom, people got to be free!"

Erik danced to the center of the lair, managing to be elegant even while dancing disco. He spun around, and sang:

"You should see, what a lovely, lovely Phandom this would be

If everyone learned to respect each other!"

Raoul joined him, dancing in perfect synchronization.

"It seems to me such an easy, easy thing this would be

Why can't you and me learn to love one another?"

The Admirers and Christine stepped out, decked out in seventies-style go-go outfits.

Christine blinked. "When did we have time to change?"

"It's a humor fic," Kim replied. "Just go with it."

"Okay."

"All the world over, so easy to see

Phans everywhere just wanna be free

I can't understand it, so simple to me

Phans everywhere just got to be free

Ah, ah, yeah . . . ah, ah, yeah!"

Now it was Christine's turn to sing, as she joined Raoul and Erik in the spotlight.

"If there's a Phan who is down and needs a helping hand

All it takes is you to understand and to pull her through

Seems to me, we got to tap into creativity

And I'll do unto you what you do to me!"

Everyone began moving in perfect unison, as the disco ball made freaky patterns on the cavern floor.

There'll be singin' from the Opera on out to sea

(Out to the sea)

No two ways about it, Phans have to be free

(they got to be free)

This is our opinion, our opinion will be

(ah-ha)

It's a natural situation for a Phan to be free

Oh, what a song's just come over me

Enough to visit the opera, make the Phandom see

We're sick of those clichés, something new is key

Peace in the Phandom, now we want to be free!"

The main cast and the Admirers struck a pose, as confetti rained down from the ceiling.

"God, I love random musical numbers!" Meg shouted.

(A/N: Songs parodied in this chapter are "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago, "Come What May Finale" from Moulin Rouge, and "People Got to Be Free" by the Young Rascals. If we shadows have offended…oh, forget it. This fic is for fun. )