A/N: I originally wrote the beginning of this fiction as a part of my other fic, Angels & Phantoms and the first two chapters run in the same timeline as that story before branching off. Both stories share a few scenes in common, although you'll find the point of view is slightly different. So anyone who read Angels & Phantoms might appreciate the parallels.

But you don't really have to read that one to follow this.

And since I'm playing in the universe of the musical and movie, I get to do what I like with Raoul's family.

Back-Story: Christine has realized that she cannot marry Raoul because she does not love him as a wife should, and she is slowly finding her way back to Erik. The vicomte is suspicious of this, but he cannot bring himself to question her about her true feelings for the phantom.

Summary: After Raoul's dreams of a future with Christine come crashing down, Meg is left to pick of the pieces of his shattered heart. But can she ever escape Christine's shadow? ALW/Movie-verse.

Disclaimer: I own no one but M. LeCleur & M. Ranier. But I do like to play with their minds.


Little Conversations

Over Very Soon

Meg Giry and Raoul de Chagny engaged in their first conversation of any real significance two months after the incident at the Opera Populaire. For anyone who may have been keeping count, the occasion also occurred nearly six weeks after the Vicomte's engagement to Christine Daae had been broken.

For those keeping count, it could also be noted that le Vicomte de Chagny had not been seen in Paris since that unfortunate day. His retreat to the country estate of his parents had served only to inflame the rumors of betrayal and intrigue surrounding the entire affair at the Opera. One would have thought that his return to the very sight would have been a momentous occasion. In fact, it was not.

Most would say that there was nothing remarkable about the day at all...and if anyone thought it odd to see the silent unmoving figure of the young nobleman staring intently at the ravaged Opera, no one commented on it.

No one except Meg Giry. She had been walking towards the Theatre Soliel where she had found a position as a ballerina in the chorus, at her mother's intervention, of course. And if the Opera Populaire wasn't entirely on the way, it was not too great a detour to cause any concern. Meg had found herself passing by from time to time to indulge in her memories.

On this particular day, she was surprised to see the Vicomte standing oblivious to all but the building. At first, she had thought him only reflecting momentarily, and had been certain he would sense her eyes upon him any moment, but he continued to stare unendingly at the abandoned structure. Meg could not help but wonder what thoughts tormented his mind, and she felt a wave of pity for him. And then a maddening irritation crept in at the thought of his inexcusable behavior towards Christine.

Sweet, lovely Christine who had only asked her fiancée for time to be certain of her tormented emotions. Time which Raoul had been unwilling to grant to her. That Christine's turmoil had been born of her deep passion for the Phantom of the Opera did nothing to sway Meg's curious mood.

Drawing a deep breath, Meg stepped closer to the Vicomte. "Pardon, Monsieur le Vicomte."

Raoul turned at the sound of her voice, looking surprised that someone would think to disturb his brooding. Meg took in his drawn features and dull eyes. He nodded and made an attempt at politeness. "Mademoiselle Giry. How good to see you."

"I wish I could say the same, Monsieur." At Raoul's raised eyebrows, Meg silently cursed her phrasing. She had not meant to let her irritation show.

"Excuse me, Mademoiselle?"

Meg shook her head. "I am sorry, Monsieur. I only meant that you look quite unwell. Perhaps it is the air here."

Raoul laughed humorlessly. "Perhaps." He threw one final look at the building and turned his attention back to Meg Giry, and he noticed for the first time that she seemed to be alone. "Forgive my rudeness, Mademoiselle. Are you walking unaccompanied?"

"As you see, sir."

"Then please allow me to escort you to your destination."

Meg hesitated a moment before smiling slightly and taking his offered arm. Raoul started to turn her south, but Meg stopped him. "I am headed to the north, Monsieur."

"Forgive me, I assumed you were headed to the Marseille Boarding House at this hour."

Suddenly his offer to escort her made perfect sense to Meg. He had been hoping to catch a glimpse of Christine. "No, I am headed to the Theatre Soliel. There is a performance tonight and I am in the chorus."

Raoul smiled sincerely then, and Meg felt her heart give a strange little flutter. "Ah, a respectable Theater. I am glad you have found a position so quickly. You are quite talented, if I recall."

The compliment almost made Meg forget her irritation with him. Almost. Still, she found herself smiling back at him. "I'm afraid it was not my talent that secured my position, but my mother's influence. The manager was quite eager to employ an instructor with her credentials."

"I can imagine. Madame Giry is well I hope?"

"Quite well, thank you."

"And does she approve of you walking unescorted through the Paris streets, Mademoiselle?"

Meg arched a delicate brow at him. "Maman has no objection to my traveling to the theater alone. The distance is not far and the evening has not yet turned dark. We always make the return trip together, but Maman must always arrive much earlier than I to work with the prima ballerina."

Raoul seemed to consider this a moment. "Forgive me, Mademoiselle, but would not the distance be even less if you were to walk directly there from the boarding house?"

Meg's cheeks turned a deep rose that Raoul could not help but find fascinating. More fascinating was the discovery that even in embarrassment, Mademoiselle Giry could find a fitting retort. "I find the added exercise does me quite well."

Raoul heard himself chuckle outright, surprised at the sound after so harrowing a time these last months. "Quite well indeed, Mademoiselle."

They walked in silence a moment more, Meg vacillating between irritation and intrigue. She could not quite understand how the Vicomte could be so politely charming towards her when the entire issue of Christine seemed to thicken the very air between them. Finally, unable to bear the silence, Meg found herself broaching the taboo subject. "Monsieur le Vicomte, you must forgive my interference, but you have inquired as to my mother and myself. Have you really no wish to know how Christine is faring?"

Raoul's gait faltered, and Meg nearly stumbled herself as their progress suddenly halted. She faced Raoul and caught her breath slightly at the barely caged anger in his countenance. "Mademoiselle, you well know that Christine has broken our engagement! However she is faring is none of my concern."

Meg's temper sparked, and she pulled her arm from his. "Sir, if your engagement is broken, is it as much through your own doing as hers. Christine asked only for your patience. Such a small thing to grant to the woman you claimed to love."

"Mademoiselle! This conversation is highly improper! But because you seem determined to cast me the villain, allow me to assure you that it was Christine who informed me that she could not become my wife. That her feelings for me were forever tangled with her feelings for him."

Raoul's impassioned statement, and the obvious resentment with which it was spoken, served to infuse Meg with pity for him once again. She shook her head sadly. "Monsieur, do you not see? Christine's confused emotions were precisely why she needed time apart from you. To find herself again. Yet you insisted that she either choose you that moment, or she could not choose you at all. Your ultimatum made you no better than…" Meg did not finish the implication; she did not need to. She watched Raoul's face pale as the meaning of what he had done fully settled upon him. Meg shook her head again. "The theater is only a few meters from here, Monsieur. I will be alright on my own. I thank you for escorting me."

Raoul managed a terse bow. "You are welcome, Mademoiselle."

Meg turned away from him ,and Raoul watched her go. His mind was still reeling with what Meg had said. Christine had used very nearly the same words when she had told him she would not return with him to his estate. So why did hearing them from Meg Giry make him feel so much less righteous?

No! Christine did not want me. I am not the villain in this. Am I?

xXx

It was nearly another two weeks before Meg and Raoul crossed paths once again. And this time, their conversation was immediately preceded a bouquet of flowers which Meg very nearly walked right into. "Oh, pardon Monsieur."

Raoul lowered the bouquet a fraction as he reached out a steadying hand to support Meg's slight stumble. "Ah, Mademoiselle. It is lucky you are far more graceful when you are dancing."

Meg was so stunned to see le Vicomte de Chagny outside her dressing room, that she found herself stuttering a disjointed reply. "Le Vicomte…I…forgive me…I was not watching where I was going."

"It is quite all right. The flowers have survived. They are for you."

"M-me? I…thank you, sir."

"Please, Mademoiselle, these formalities are not necessary. I ask that you call me Raoul."

"Raoul." The familiar name felt strangely foreign on her tongue. What was he doing here?

Raoul grinned. "Very good. Now you will say that I may call you…"

Meg stared dumbfounded at him, thinking he must have truly lost his mind. "Meg. You may call me Meg."

"Meg. Your performance tonight was most enchanting."

"Please mon…Raoul, I had only one brief solo. You need not struggle to find compliments. I assure you I am not in need of them."

"But you should have them nonetheless, Meg. "

"Forgive me, but what exactly has brought you here tonight?"

"An apology, for my behavior when last we met."

Meg blushed in embarrassment. "You've nothing to apologize for, mon…Raoul. If anything, it is I who should apologize."

"No, Meg...you must never apologize for speaking the truth. It is a rare gift to have such…forthrightness."

Meg could not help but laugh. "Thank you for putting it so kindly, Raoul, but I know myself to be rather tactless at times."

"But Meg, there was nothing that you said that I did not deserve."

"But I had no right to speak to you in such a way."

"As Christine's friend, you had every right. And I must thank you."

"Thank me? For what?"

"For opening my eyes. I was such a fool to let Christine go so easily. She wounded my pride, and I struck out at her. Making demands I had no right to make. But you, Meg, have helped me to see the folly of my actions. I have made amends and Christine has forgiven me. For this I will be forever grateful."

Meg felt her heart sink to her stomach. Christine had not mentioned such a thing to her! In fact, her friend had seemed even more to be thinking of Erik. "Are you…has your engagement been renewed?"

Raoul shook his head. "Not as of yet, but I have told Christine that I am willing to allow her whatever time she needs if she will only allow me the privilege of being in her company once again."

"And she has agreed?"

"Yes. Because of you, dear Meg. Your remarkable friendship has restored my happiness."

Raoul kissed her cheek, and Meg felt suddenly ill.

Christine, she thought, I pray you know what you are doing this time.


Well…there you have Chapter One.

Reviews and constructive criticism are welcome. Let me know what you think.