A/N: Yes, I know that the play 'Cyrano' did come out in 1897, and I know that when Raoul was fourteen, it was 1874, but it was too good a plot bunny to give up! All the other facts about Cyrano are true, by the way. Also- this is in response to Project Vicomte on the R.A.O.U.L. chat group on Yahoo!
Disclaimer: I do not own Cyrano. I do not own the de Chagney family. If I had, I would be very rich, male, and dead, none of which actually apply to me.
It was the grand opening of the new play, Cyrano de Bergerac. Upon retrospect, the word 'grand' was not really fitting to describe it, as everyone was sure of its failure. The playwright had nearly attacked the set designer for the minimalist set (the set designer was so sure of the failure of the play that he didn't want to spend any more money then was absolutely necessary), and the actor Benoit Constant Coquelin, who was to play the title role of Cyrano, had begged not to get the role the playwright had written for him.
However, the apprehensions of each audience member were soon assuaged, as performance was absolutely spectacular. At the end of the performance, the refined and more then slightly skeptical Parisian audience had given the actors a standing ovation. Ladies' gloves and fans rained down upon the stage like autumn leaves that drift off the trees in every eddy of wind.
Two pairs of gloves and two fans belonged to the lovely de Chagney sisters, up in their private box.
"Bravo!" cried the youngest sister, tossing her fan neatly at the feet of Monsieur Coquelin.
"Yes, bravo!" the eldest sister echoed, discreetly wiping her eyes on the back of her hand. "Bravo, bravo, bravo!"
Their elder brother, Philippe, nodded and clapped loudly. "That was an amazing performance. Such witty dialogue! Did you like it, Raoul?"
The youngest de Chagny, eyes shining slightly, clapped and nodded, but seemed out of touch with reality, lost in the dream-like world of theatre.
The curtain swung shut, the fans and gloves littering the stage like seashells on a beach. After several more moments of clapping, the de Chagny family gathered their belongings and headed out of the box into the cool Parisian night.
Their carriage was waiting, and Philippe gallantly helped his sisters into the carriage before climbing in himself. Raoul, the youngest de Chagny, had lagged behind to see if the actors would bow again. This caused a brief moment of panic for Philippe, until Raoul ran out of the theatre, clutching his hat on his head.
Raoul, blushing slightly with embarrassment, clambered into the carriage and sat himself next to his brother.
"Drive on," Philippe called. The carriage lurched forward, and the occupants adjusted themselves to the steady clop of the horses pulling the carriage.
"Well... that was wonderful," murmured the eldest sister, Juliette, glancing out the window at the dark shadow of the theatre. "Cyrano's love for Roxanne, his devotion to her, his willingness to sacrifice his own happiness for hers...."
"I liked Christian," the youngest sister, Adalie, interjected. "He was not as... verbose as Cyrano, but he had a good heart."
"And a handsome face," Philippe remarked dryly. Adalie blushed, and looked at her gloveless hands, which had become suddenly fascinating.
"I do prefer Cyrano," Juliette reiterated, fingering the lacy end of her sleeve. "So romantic! So eloquent! So..."
"Impetuous," Philippe remarked, equally dryly as before. "You must admit, he did not seem aware of the dangerous positions he put himself in."
The young viscount smiled. "He did. But he got himself out them very cleverly, in an honorable way."
Juliette applauded at the championship of her favorite. "Good job, Raoul. You have excellent taste!" She turned towards her eldest brother with a raised eyebrow. "Well, then, Philippe, if you don't like Cyrano, or Christian, which character did you like?"
"I liked Roxanne, personally," Philippe remarked, reclining elegantly in his seat. "She was very beautiful. But I did enjoy the Comte de Guiche... he was not the villain I expected him to be. He turned out to be a very admirable character."
"You liked the Comte de Guiche, but not Cyrano?" Juliette exclaimed incredulously. "How could you not enjoy Cyrano's performance? Cyrano's innate chivalry and noblesse oblige? His, his... cavalier attitude, his magnificent fighting ability... and his poetic soul?" At the last of Cyrano's good qualities, Juliette sighed romantically and absently placed her hands to her heart.
Adalie smiled at her skirts, smoothing them out self- consciously.
Philippe stifled his laughter, sending an amused glance at Raoul, who looked rather thoughtful.
"Answer me!" Juliette demanded, placing her clenched fists on her hips, and blushing at her previous sentimentality.
"My dear sister," Philippe replied once he had gotten his laughter under control, "I never said that I didn't enjoy Monsieur Coquelin's performance. On the contrary- I though he was one of the best actors I've seen in a long time. I'm just saying that there were some flaws to Monsieur de Bergerac's character, the least of which is his over-large nose."
Juliette looked indignant at this. "Well... so did Roxanne! She was blind to Cyrano's obvious love for her, she didn't even notice when Cyrano and Christian exchanged places underneath her balcony-"
"And Cyrano didn't notice that a day- laborer was about to drop a large log on his head," Philippe interrupted with a raised eyebrow, "I'd say that it was slightly unobservant of Monsieur de Bergerac to not notice the log above his head. He died from that."
Juliette glared at her brother and folded her arms obstinately. "Say what you may, but I still like Cyrano."
"Who really could not see past the end of his own nose," Philippe added, with a soupcon of sarcasm. "Did you note that Roxanne and all of his friends never once commented on his nose in an un-flattering manner?"
"Christian didn't have to worry about that," Adalie murmured.
"He had to worry about his severe shortage of brains," Philippe retorted, with a slight snort of laughter. He glanced at his brother, who was staring out the window. "Well Raoul, what do you think?"
Raoul turned, blinking, apparently snatched away from some glorious daydream or from the cusp of understanding some startling revelation from God during the course of the play. "Sorry, about what?"
Philippe raised an eyebrow. "The play?"
"Oh," Raoul muttered sheepishly, turning back to the window. "I liked it a lot."
"Raoul," Adalie murmured thoughtfully, "you seem to be very distracted this evening, more so then usual. Is there a reason for that?"
Raoul shrugged in a noncommittal manner. "I'm not quite sure. I guess I'm tired."
Juliette tapped a finger against her lower lip. "Does it have anything to do with your recent sojourn to Perros, Raoul?"
Raoul flushed guiltily, but shook his head.
"Don't lie, Raoul," Philippe admonished sternly. "As Catholics, we obey the Ten Commandments, the ninth of which is not to lie."
Raoul looked at the ground shame- facedly, his blush making him look younger then his fourteen years of age. "Yes, it does."
"What were you thinking of?" Adalie prodded softly.
Raoul's blush began to subside somewhat. "My old violin teacher, actually."
"How is he?" Philippe inquired in a conversational tone of voice.
"He's in good health," Raoul replied, brushing a strand of his blond hair out of his clear blue eyes. "He has a cough and seems a bit weak, but he still plays his violin."
"When was the last time you played your violin?" Juliette queried, straightening the lace end of her sleeve.
"Last week, before I left for Perros to see my aunt," Raoul answered truthfully. "Not for very long, though. About a half- hour."
Adalie had been carefully observing Raoul. She seemed to recall that Raoul's old violin teacher had a pretty, blonde- haired blue- eyed daughter about her brother's age.
"Did he not have a daughter?" Juliette remarked suddenly, the amused gleam in her eyes revealing that she had had the same train of thought as her sister. "How was she, Raoul?"
Raoul's blush came back in full force. "She was very well indeed."
"And was she just as pretty as she always was?" Philippe asked dryly, leaning back in his seat.
Raoul nodded, his face a very vibrant crimson, and mumbled, "She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen."
"How romantic!" Juliette murmured, with an involuntary sigh. She made a movement to clasp her hands to her chest, but realized what she was doing and merely crossed her arms.
Adalie was silent, trying to decide if she should disapprove or approve of Raoul's pretty friend.
Philippe didn't pay attention to his sisters, being wrapped up in the memories of his own youth. "Well... you're of the age where young men's fancies turn to romance... and more... earthly pleasures...."
"Philippe!" Raoul cried, his face burning. "That's not very chivalrous!"
Philippe ignored him. "There's nothing to be ashamed of Raoul. I remember my first love...."
Raoul gave a little cry of despair and buried his flushed face in his hands, absolutely mortified that his brother had found out the real reason for his trip to Perros.
"Don't tease him so," Adalie admonished softly, throwing an annoyed glance at the Comte de Chagny.
Philippe smiled, but then suddenly grew serious. "Raoul... it's perfectly fine if you love your violin teacher's daughter, but you must remember that you are the Vicomte de Chagny, and so society has certain obligations of you-"
"One of which is to marry a woman of my own social class or who is wealthy enough to be considered a suitable match," Raoul repeated dully, his voice muffled by his hands. "I know. You told me this last year, Philippe. Don't think I've forgotten."
"That being said," Philippe continued on lightly, "feel free to do anything you want with her, as long as you don't cause a scandal."
Raoul looked up, his blush now fading to a more moderate red that was most becoming. "I wouldn't cause a scandal. That would be un-chivalrous of me. I would never do anything to bring Christine unhappiness or dishonor."
Juliette smiled fondly at her younger brother. "So her name is Christine?"
Raoul's rosy blush seemed permanently affixed to his cheeks. "Yes."
His eldest sister gave another sigh and murmured something that was probably along the lines of 'how romantic!'
With that, the carriage came to a stop, and the footman began unlocking the gate. There was a sound as the gate swung open, and the carriage rolled forward. It halted soon, and the door next to Raoul swung open.
"De Chagny manor, Messieurs and Mesdames," the footman said impassively.
"Merci." Raoul murmured, hopping out of the carriage very gratefully. With the innate courtesy of a true nobleman, he had held out his hand to help his sisters out of the carriage and bowed to his family members before dashing into the manor and up to his room.
Raoul's room was very simply arranged. In one corner of the spacious room were Raoul's wooden desk and chair, as well as a fireplace and his many bookshelves, as Raoul was fond of reading adventure and folk stories. His violin case lay on another table, close to the bookshelves, and a music stand with an open score stood next to that. On the other side of the room were his bed, his closet, and various other items that were necessary for a well- bred Victorian gentleman, such as a wash- stand. The many windows had been closed, and the drapes hung in heavy folds to the floor.
Raoul leaned against the door to the hall, and flung his hat onto his bed. Raoul wandered around his room slightly absently, as if he wanted to do something but wasn't sure what.
Suddenly, he moved to his violin case and pulled the instrument out. Raoul stared at the polished wood of the violin a moment before tuning it, placing it under his chin, and practicing the music on the stand in front of him. Raoul was not very good, as he often messed up his fingering, but after several times through the first page, his music actually began to resemble a Scandinavian tune that he had learned from his old violin tutor. Feeling slightly accomplished, Raoul gently set the violin back in its case, snapped the locks shut, and closed the musical score.
His blue eyes flickered to his desk and he thought briefly of attempting to write poetry, but decided that that was a bad idea and he should abstain from verse. Instead, he sat in one on the divan in front of the fireplace and absently flipped through a copy of The Three Musketeers.
He had barely read the first page he flipped to before putting the novel down and musing.
'Cyrano gave up a lot for love. He gave up his poetry and his one chance at happiness.' Raoul looked at the back of his book. 'D'Artagnan risked his life to save his love. Jesus died because of His love for us.' Raoul chewed his lip thoughtfully. 'I love Christine... so my love would mean nothing if I wasn't prepared to sacrifice for her.'
Raoul shook his head and stood, replacing The Three Musketeers back in the bookshelf.
"I'm being silly," Raoul muttered, jamming the book in-between several of the books his tutors wanted him to read instead of his adventure novels. Raoul had reasoned that since he wanted to be a sailor, he was better off reading adventure novels then other classic works of literature. Though adventure novels probably wouldn't help a sailor any more then a knowledge of Plato, they were vastly more entertaining to Raoul. "I'm a de Chagny. Christine could never be a Vicomtess. Or maybe... that's my sacrifice."
He paused a moment in his endeavors at putting the book away. 'Would I be willing to give up being a Vicomte to marry Christine?' After thinking over it, he decided the answer was definitely, 'yes'. Raoul decided that he would gladly give up his life for Christine's.
That issue resolved, Raoul finished stuffing his book back into the shelf and went over to his bed, under which his hat had fallen. He sat on the edge of his bed and forlornly loosened his cravat.
"I'm too young to be in love," Raoul grumbled. "Oh well. In the opera we saw last week, that girl with my sister's name got married when she was fourteen." Raoul smiled a little at the thought of Christine.
He pulled off his cravat and his smile grew slowly. "To think... if it weren't for an ugly man with a long nose I'd never have known how much I loved the most beautiful woman in the world."