A/N: This little story used to be the second chapter of Living the Dream. I expanded that story into Angels & Phantoms, and it was really the same story, so I just left this little piece up because I thought it was cute. It fits nicely with both Angels & Phantoms and Little Conversations.


Bedtime Story

"Did they live happily ever after, papa?"

Comte de Chagny smiled indulgently at his daughter. "Do you think they lived happily ever after, Madeline?"

The child's blond brows drew together and she seemed to consider this seriously. Then she surprised her father by shaking her head and exclaiming, "I think she should have chosen the angel."

Raoul gaped at his daughter. It had been a while since he'd told this particular story, but Maddy had always believed in the happily ever after before. "Madeline, you do realize that the angel wasn't really an angel. He did very bad things."

"Yes, papa, but very bad things were done to him, too. And he wouldn't have acted that way if the prince hadn't come along and mucked everything up."

Mucked it up? Raoul shook his head and sighed, thinking this was definitely her mother's influence. "You know, little one, that the prince is supposed to be the hero?"

Madeline's blue eyes sparkled. "Mama says that a maiden shouldn't wait for a prince to rescue her. That she should always know her own mind and make her own choices."

Ah, yes, her mother's influence indeed. And Raoul could not help but smile. "Well, your mama is a very wise woman, Maddy. You should definitely listen to her."

Raoul was rewarded with a delighted smile from his daughter, so like her mother's. He smiled back and bent to kiss her blond head.

"Good night, papa."

"Good night, little one."

Raoul stepped from the room and closed the door quietly, making his way to the room he shared with his wife. A happy grin tilted his mouth at the thought of the beautiful woman he had married. He could scarcely believe it had been nearly thirteen years since that wonderful day. They had come so terribly close to never having known this happiness. Perhaps that was why he had told his children the story of the Opera Ghost. So that he would always remember what he had nearly lost.

Their oldest child, Phillipe, was nearly twelve, and far too old for fairytales now. But Madeline was barely ten, and Raoul found himself rather disappointed at her sudden loss of innocence. Yet, he couldn't be angry for it. Madeline was her mother's daughter, after all, and wise beyond her years.

He found his wife sitting in the corner chair of their bedchamber, reading by the lamplight. He grinned and bent to kiss her cheek. "Interesting reading, my love?"

Her blue eyes gleamed in amusement. "Not as interesting as your story to Madeline, I'm certain."

Raoul's brows rose in surprise. "Eavesdropping, were we?"

The Comtess laid her book aside and stood gracefully, slipping into her husband's arms. "I was simply coming to see what was delaying my husband from joining me in our bed?"

Raoul bent and captured her lips briefly. He would never tire of kissing her. "I suppose I do not need to ask if you overheard your daughter's unfortunate opinion of the handsome prince?" He grunted. "Mucking it all up, indeed."

His wife laughed happily. "It serves you right, Raoul. You know I have never approved of the way you choose to end that story."

"I end it where I thought appropriate for innocent, young ears."

Marguerite de Chagny extricated herself from her husband's arms with a frown. "Raoul, in your version, you live happily ever after with Christine."

Raoul did not let her escape, instead drawing her back into his arms. "No, Meg my love. In my version I most definitely live happily after with you."

Meg arched one delicate blond eyebrow. "I suppose you think that charming line will get you off the hook."

"My dear, I will happily hang from any hook you bait. As you well know by now, the day Christine broke our engagement was the best day of my life, for it led me to you. And if you wish me to tell our children that story, you need only say the words."

Meg's smile was slow and seductive as she wound her arms around her husband's neck. "Perhaps some stories are better left untold."

-Fin-