Disclaimer: None. This book is out of copyright. And as long as I don't mention anything taken by the Really Useful Group, I'm cool.
Author's Note: Alright... No one loves Phantom of the Opera more than I. I have a whole website devoted to my many works of Phan Phic to prove it. But Parsley and I were goofing off one day and, being the theater buffs that we are, this idea just kind of spiraled out of control... If you especially are hardcore about Phantom and take offence to this bit of silliness, we apologize. And if you have any respect for Christine's mental prowess, you may not want to read this. But to the rest of you who love it so much, you don't mind poking fun at it... We hope you find it amusing.
--Angel and Parsley--
DUDE, WHERE'S MY BORDEAUX?
A bit of randomness from Angel Sentier and Lady Parsley
Erik was not sure how the man had found his way, unscathed, through his labyrinth 1) without setting off any alarms, 2) escaping any traps he may have come across, and 3) without a guide or following anyone. The opera house was empty, the theater being dark on Mondays, except for a few staff members. He was even less sure why he had not killed him immediately, once he found him, quite literally, on his doorstep. As though visiting the Opera Ghost were an absolutely everyday occurrence, he'd calmly asked to come inside and talk with him. Even more astounding, with no idea as to the motive behind his actions, Erik had permitted him to do so.
So, that was how the Vicomte de Chagny had ended up seated opposite Erik, a large glass of liquor in one hand and a nearly empty bottle of brandy between them, even if Erik had no idea why.
They'd been talking for quite a while, though, without a clock to hand, Erik really didn't have any idea exactly how long. Predictably, they'd started out talking about Christine, the Vicomte had wanted to know how long Erik had known her, how long he'd been teaching her, they'd discussed their separate intentions, all quite rationally, but the topic had strayed a bit as the brandy bottle had gotten lower and lower.
Erik normally did not imbibe much spirits, being a 'light-weight' had something to do with that and he didn't need any help with his already out-of-control temper. But of course, being French and appreciative of good wine, he did drink about a glass or so per day and possessed quite an extensive wine cellar. He suspected the Vicomte, having grown up in a privileged house, enjoyed a fair amount of wine himself, but Erik doubted he ever drank as much as he had that night. What possessed either one of them to drink that much, he had no clue, but then again, under the circumstances, perhaps that was to be expected.
"You know, I really am glad we're getting all this out in the open," said Raoul as Erik refilled both of their glasses. His speech had started to slur a while ago and his eyes were a bit glassy. If Erik owned a mirror, he probably would have found his own looked much the same way.
"Me, too," said Erik, tossing the bottle over his shoulder. "You must not be such an idiot, after all."
"Thank you," said Raoul with an enormous appreciative smile. "I guess you're not such a bad guy, either."
"What were we talking about?"
Both of them thought hard for a moment. Raoul's lantern seemed to turn on a bit faster. "Christine!"
"That's right." A dreamy look passed across Erik's expression. "She's pretty... but kind of stupid."
"Hey!" He looked indignant. "She's not stupid!"
Erik gave his drinking partner an incredulous look. "She used to think I was an angel. Or her dead father, she never really made up her mind... She is stupid."
He conceded his point with a nod. "Hm. She's pretty, though."
"Yes, yes... She is very pretty."
"She's got a pretty voice, too."
"Very pretty voice. You know I taught her?"
Erik nodded, proudly. "I did."
"You're a really good teacher!" Raoul said.
"Thank you," said Erik.
"Did you teach her because she's pretty?"
Erik pondered this for a moment. "Maybe... It was a long time ago. And you got, uh... her shirt from the ocean because she's pretty?"
"I don't think it was her shirt, I would have remembered that..."
"Long time ago, huh?"
"Yeah, a really long time ago. Must have been about... a couple of years, at least."
"I think it's been longer than that... I've been teaching her for a couple of years."
"Really? What do you teach?"
"Voice, didn't I tell you?"
Erik smiled proudly. "I taught her all she knows... Except for the things she learned from the conservatory. And her father. Although, she thinks that I'm her father sometimes... Maybe that counts as me teaching her, too."
"It probably does, you know how those things go."
"Right," said Erik, although he really wasn't completely sure. "So you've known each other for a really long time, then."
Raoul nodded and tossed back the remainder of the contents in his glass. "Since she was about this big." He held his hand approximately a foot off the floor. "But then we didn't see each other again until she was this big." He held his hand high above his head. "And then we didn't see each other until now. So, there are a couple of little gaps."
"I see," said Erik, also finishing off his glass. "I've been teaching her practically every night and every morning for the past few years... Does that even things out?"
Raoul sent his glass down and counted on his fingers. "Yes... No, wait..." He counted again. "Maybe not."
"Because it seems like I've established this huge relationship with her, and then you waltz in and suddenly the two of you are in love after not seeing each other since she was this big." Erik indicated with his hand the size mentioned.
"Yeah, but you're ugly."
"True... But which is better? Quantity or quality?"
"I don't know... It does kind of seem like your relationship is more meaningful or something... Maybe she really is stupid."
"Maybe... But she's pretty."
"Mm-hmm. Very pretty." Raoul raised his glass in silent toast and gaped at the absence of liquor it contained. "Oh, my God! Someone drank all my brandy!"
"Noooo!" Erik quickly examined his own glass to find his in a similar state. "Someone drank all mine, too!" He drew himself up. "Well, no matter... I've got plenty of wine in my cellar."
"Aren't we already in a cellar?"
Erik paused in the act of rising from his chair. "I guess we are... Good thing you told me. I might have gone down into the wrong one."
Raoul nodded. "That's what I'm here for."
He purposefully strode down to the wine cellar to fetch them some more brandy, and stopped cold in his tracks. A feat in itself, since the floor seemed to be a bit more uneven than usual. "Dieu! Where's my Bordeaux?" He glanced around the cellar, seeing neither the Bordeaux or the Merlot or the brandy.
"I think someone drank them!" called Raoul from the sitting room. "There are empty wine bottles all over your floor, did you know that?"
"Noooo! You mean they made a mess, too? This is inexcuseabibble!"
Raoul snickered. "Did you just say 'inexcoosadiddle?'"
"I most certatainly did not. You must be imagininining things." Erik re-emerged with a large bottle of Cognac. "Well, they didn't get all of it."
Raoul had a decidedly thoughtful look on his face when Erik returned. "You know what?"
"I think I drank it."
"Wait... Didn't you drink it, too?"
Erik thought long and hard for a moment. "You're right! Well, I suppose that's okay, then." He filled up their glasses with the strong liquor and reclaimed his seat.
"Can I ask you something?"
"I don't know... Can you?"
Raoul pondered this. "Yes, I believe so," he answered, finally.
"All right, then go ahead."
"Do you wear the mask all the time?"
"No, not all the time. It's damn hard to sing through. And it gets pretty hot."
"Must be hard to drink through, too," he said, taking a long swallow of Cognac.
Erik nodded. "I use a straw if I want all of it down my throat and not on my shirt."
"You've got some on you now... Maybe you should take that thing off."
"I'm saving it for later."
"Come on... You can't be that ugly."
"You want to bet?"
"Yes," said Raoul, with sudden vigor. "I do! What should we bet?"
Both of them took a long drink while they thought about it.
"I've got it!" said Erik. "If you're wrong, I get to kiss Christine. And if I'm right, Christine gets to kiss me."
Raoul began to nod, then paused. "Wait... Is that right?"
"It sounded all right to me."
"Hold on..." Raoul scrunched up his face in order to think that bet through. "How about, if I'm right, I get to kiss Christine?"
"Well... I don't like that as much as the first one... but all right." Erik set down his glass, after taking another gulp, then untied the laces and brought the mask down to his lap. Raoul brought his hand to his chin, scrutinizing Erik's face with the perusal of an artist.
"Oh, you could cover that up with make-up," he decided finally.
"You think so?"
"Sure," he said, positively. "You're not that bad looking. Here, if I squint one eye and look at you really fast, I can hardly tell there's anything wrong with you." He demonstrated, sloshing some of his drink on his pant leg in the process.
"You are really drunk," said Erik.
"No, I'm not."
"Oh, yes, you are."
"How can I be drunk? Someone drank all your wine."
Stunned by this logic, Erik had no rebuttal. "Well, how many noses am I holding up?"
Raoul's eyebrows drew together. "Shouldn't it be fingers?"
"Did I ask about fingers? How many noses?"
"This is a trick question," said Raoul, pointing a finger in Erik's general direction. "You don't have one! In fact, neither one of you has a nose!"
That answers that question, thought Erik. Out loud, though, he only said, "What's that around your neck?"
He attempted to look at his own neck. "My cravat?"
"It looks like a handkerchief... Really, you ought to stay away from white cravats. It's nearly impossible to keep them clean. Perhaps a gray one, or a nice sage..."
"You really think so?"
Erik nodded. "Yes, sage would bring out your eyes. You have nice eyes, they're really shiny."
"Thank you," said Raoul. "Yours aren't so bad either. They kind of... glow."
"I've been told." Erik shook his head. "I don't like the way this conversation is going... When did it become about your fashion sense and what my eyes look like?"
"I'm not sure... You know, Christine's pretty, too."
"Yes... She's got pretty, shiny eyes."
"She's got a pretty voice, too. Hey, don't you know someone who teaches voice?"
"That would be me."
"Yeah! Hey, maybe you can teach her. She's really very good."
Erik paused. "Didn't we already talk about this?"
Raoul thought for a moment. "Maybe... Didn't I come down here so we could talk about her?"
"I think it was something like that."
"Well, I think I should have her," he said, definitively. "We've already said that she's pretty. I'm pretty, we're both pretty, we should go be pretty together. You should let me have her."
"A very valid point," said Erik. "But Raoul... Can I call you Raoul?"
"Can I call you Raou-Raou?"
"Can I call you Monsieur Squeakers?"
"Yes. Wait... No! Why would you want to call me that?"
Erik shrugged. "It's funny?"
"Well, the answer is still no."
"All right. Raoul... can you sing?"
"Of course I can."
Erik snickered. "No, you can't."
"When have you ever heard me sing?"
"You sing along with the operas."
"No, I don't!"
"Yes, you do."
"I do not!"
"You do, too!"
"I... What are we arguing about again?"
Erik paused to remember. "You sing along with the operas."
"Oh, that's right... Well, then, no. I guess I can't sing."
"See? I can sing, she can sing, I want us to sing together forever. You should let me have her."
"But I've known her for longer."
"No, no, we've already talked about this, I'm definitely sure of it. You met her a long time ago, but you've spent less time with her per capita."
"This is making my head hurt..."
"You need to drink more," said Erik, refilling both glasses.
"Thank you," said Raoul, accepting the offering gladly. "Well, how will we settle this, then? If it pretty much works out evenly between us... In fact, together, we make the perfect man!"
"You think so?"
"Absolutely! You sing, I'm pretty, we're both rich, we've both spent time with her, you might be smarter, but I don't live in a cellar..."
"Damn... It's a shame we can't share her."
"Yes, it's too bad... You don't suppose we should let her choose, do you?"
"Are you ill?" asked Erik, incredulously. "Half the time you can't tell if she's rowing the boat or asleep at the oar! We can't leave such an important decision up to her."
"I guess you're right," said Raoul. After reflecting on this, he spoke up again, "Why do we love her?"
Erik blinked at him. "...she's pretty?"
"Oh, yeah. She's pretty."
"Well, I guess there's only one way to decide," said Erik, finally, as he unsteadily sat up in his seat.
"A fight to the death."
Raoul nodded, resolved. "I suppose so. I had hoped it wouldn't come to that, though. This has been an awfully pleasant meeting."
"I agree," said Erik, amicably.
"We should do this again..." His face fell. "Oh... but I guess we can't."
He shrugged. "It can't be helped. Follow me..."
They both rose from their chairs, finished their drinks, and Raoul followed Erik into the next room. Erik picked up a pair of swords and handed one to the other man.
"Not my preferred weapon," he said. "But I don't suppose you know how to weald a length of catgut, do you?"
"I don't even own a cat," said Raoul.
"I didn't think so..."
"Is my sword supposed to be this dull?" he asked.
"Yes. Now, hold still... All six of you..."
Erik aimed for one of the Raoul's swimming before his vision before everything went black. The next thing, both of them were on the floor, snoring away. What would happen when one or both woke up was anyone's guess...