A/N- I was reading the book again, I noticed that Philippe chuckles to himself when Raoul goes right to Christine's dressing room without asking directions and says, "The rogue, the rogue! Those youngsters with their schoolgirl airs! So he's a Chagny after all!" Of course, we all know that things didn't happen quite the way Philippe thought they did, so here's my take on how Raoul came to know where Christine's dressing room was. Leroux-based, duh.


"Come along, Raoul. You only have six months more in splendid Paris! Tonight we shall go to the Opera. I am rather well liked there. La Sorelli, one of the principal dancers, is a good friend of mine."

Raoul shook his head. "I'd rather stay here, thank you."

"And do what?" Philippe demanded. He loved his little brother, of course, but the poor boy was so terribly bashful! "When I was your age, Raoul, I was already quite well-known, at the Opera and elsewhere. You never found me sitting about at home on a beautiful evening! Come with me, now. We are going, and you'll not argue again."

Sighing, Raoul allowed Philippe to escort him to the Chagny carriage. He had no desire to be well known like his older brother. In fact, he did not even wish to remain in Paris for another six months. His thoughts were on the D'Artois expedition of the Article Circle, and whether there were any survivors. It puzzled him that a rescue expedition would be sent so long after the first voyage. If there were survivors, how could they have stayed alive so long in the freezing north? These problems on his mind, Raoul gazed out the windows of the carriage and watched the dirty streets of Paris roll past.

"Here we are," Philippe exclaimed at last. He and Raoul alighted and entered the grand building in the midst of an enormous crowd of the Parisian élite. Philippe slowly made his way to the private box, greeting what seemed to be hundreds of smiling strangers. Raoul was introduced to countless women who seemed disappointed by his quiet innocence.

At last the opera began. Raoul had never been very interested in this kind of music, and he leaned against the wall of the box, watching the actors through half-closed eyes.

A flash of red caught his eye; a violin solo echoed through the grand room. Raoul's eyes flew open, and he started forward. Philippe looked at him with a quiet laugh. "At last," he said to himself, glancing at the ballet rats pirouetting across the stage, "my little brother has discovered the joys of women."

But Raoul's wide blue eyes were focused on only one of these dancers. Even from this distance he recognized the little blonde girl, and his heartbeat drowned out the music. It was Christine.

Raoul did not lean back in his seat again through the entire night. He strained to see the young dancer whenever she was onstage, taking in every move she made as though committing it to memory. Once he thought her little face had turned to him, and he held his breath.

He remembered that summer he had spent at Lannion, and the charming girl he had seen who sang with a celestial voice while her old father played sweet harmonies on his violin. It was a windy day, and when the little girl's scarf was blown into the ocean, Raoul had rushed after it, oblivious to the foaming waves that pushed him backwards. At last his fingers had closed over the scarf, and he returned to the shore where she had kissed his cheek in gratitude. She had laughed and told him that he tasted of salt, and Raoul never forgot the feel of her lips on his skin. He remembered the games they had played that summer, and the stories her father had told of Little Lotte and the Angel of Music. Christine, like Little Lotte, had hair as gold as the sun's rays and a soul as clear and blue as her eyes. Three years later Raoul returned in search of his friend, and when he found her he knew that he would never love another. He remembered gazing out the window of the train, watching Perros slide away from him, Christine's teary eyes the only thing he could see.

When the final curtain fell, Raoul turned to his brother, who was watching him with amusement. "May we go backstage?"

"Of course," Philippe smiled. "But let me talk to Messieurs Debienne and Poligny first."

"I'd like to go now, Philippe," said Raoul, pulling impatiently at his gloves.

"All in good time!"

So they left the box, Raoul glancing furtively in the direction of the stage every few moments as if afraid Christine would come back and he would not see her. Philippe chatted with more strangers, and Raoul tapped his foot.

"Philippe," he said again, interrupting a bald man's speech about La Carlotta, the Spanish diva. "Please?"

"What's the matter?"

"May we go behind the scenes?"

Philippe furrowed his brow. It was a bit unusual for Raoul to be so persistent. "Of course," he said. "Excuse me, monsieur."

Raoul followed his brother through the crowd, nodding impatiently to anyone who greeted them. The thought of seeing Christine again blinded him to everything else.

"Here we are, Raoul. Ah! Sorelli!" A young lady turned to him with a smile. "Good evening, mademoiselle."

"Good evening, my dear count. And who is this?" the lady asked.

"This is my little brother, Raoul," said Philippe. "He was enraptured by your dancing this evening, I believe. He has done nothing but beg me to bring him behind the scenes since the opera ended."

"Really now?"

Raoul nodded politely. "Excuse me, please," he murmured, leaving his brother with the dancer.

"I'm not sure what's gotten into him," Philippe mused when Raoul was out of sight. "He is usually so well-mannered."

Raoul hurried down a hallway, skirting crowds of leaders and dancing-girls with only Christine on his mind. After several turns he was quite lost, and all the corridors he saw seemed to be abandoned. He did not know how much time had passed when he finally saw someone ahead of him. "Pardon me, monsieur," he called. "Monsieur?"

The figure turned, and he saw that it was a foreign man in an astrakhan cap. "Hush, monsieur," the man said softly. "What do you seek?"

"I... do you know where I could find Mademoiselle Christine Daaé?"

The stranger's eyes narrowed. "What do you want with Mademoiselle Daaé?" he asked.

Raoul bit his lip. "We... she is an old friend of mine," he stammered. "Why do you ask? Is it your business?"

"My apologies, monsieur," answered the foreigner, "but you must be careful, especially here." His dark eyes darted about, and he seemed to be listening for something. "No, monsieur, we should not speak of Mademoiselle Daaé here. Follow me."

Baffled, Raoul glanced about the empty corridor. "Why shouldn't we-"

The stranger gestured violently for him to be quiet, then beckoned Raoul follow him. Looking around again, Raoul let the foreigner lead him down several more twisting passages until he stopped beside a door. "This is her dressing room," the foreigner said softly, "but you must not go in now. Come, we will go back to the foyer."

A moment later Raoul was standing beside Philippe again.

"Well, did you find what you were looking for?" his brother asked with a knowing smile. "You were gone long enough."

"No," Raoul answered quietly. "I wasn't looking for anything."

"Well then, we'll be off," the Comte de Chagny said jovially.

Raoul followed him to the carriage and stared glumly out the window as they drove home. "That was fun, wasn't it?" Philippe said lightly. "I should like to go back tomorrow night. Of course, you needn't come."

"I shall," Raoul said. "I'd like to come back tomorrow."

He would return the next day, for he remembered the way to Christine's dressing room. He would come back and find the room, and he would talk to her. The birds and angels would sing assweetly as they had at Perros.

But what if she did not remember him, or no longer loved him? Raoul's shoulders drooped at the thought. He would not speak to her, then. He would return to the Opera, but he would watch Christine from his box and would not bother her. Tomorrow he would find her dressing room, but he would not enter. Someday, perhaps, but not tomorrow. It was too soon.