Disclaimer: I do not in any way shape or form own the marvelous musicals entitled "The Phantom of the Opera" and "RENT", nor do I own any of the music, plotlines, and associated characters. (Which means I do NOT own the Tango: Maureen!)

"The Tango: Christine"

((Provided that a few circumstances are changed and everyone is in a whacked-up conspiracy of a future.))

Angel. Once again, she had called him "angel". She'd called him up on the phone and said, "Oh, Angel of Music, Erik, baby! You've got to come down to the lot and-" After that, he really couldn't care to remember much else. He still couldn't get past the 'Angel of Music, Erik, baby' part. All this would have been fine if it weren't for:

Fact A: He was no longer Christine DaƔe's production manager.

AND

Fact B: Christine had dumped him for the rich, pretty boy Vicomte de Chagny, whom he'd never met.

Even so, Erik made the trek from his apartment down to the lot nearby, site of the coming night's protest.

Site of Christine's coming protest.

He kept his gaze down until he walked through the double doors. On the stage was an assortment of sound equipment, and a young man with blonde hair and blue eyes standing in the middle of it all with quite the exhausted and defeated expression on his face. He looked up when he heard Erik approach, after a moment realizing whom the man inevitably was.

"You're Erik?" the young man asked.

"Hello," said Erik with a shrug. He shifted the strap of his messenger bag, and then remembered Christine's vague description of the young man she'd dumped him for. He pointed questioningly to the boy onstage. "Raoul?"

Raoul nodded, and both men waited a moment, allowing for the awkward circumstances of the meeting to sink in. "I told her not to call you," he sang with a semblance of a tune to the words.

Erik climbed the steps up to the stage, setting his bag down out of the way. He followed the tune. "That's Christine, but can I help since I'm here?"

"I've hired an engineer," said Raoul.

"Great!" Being there wasn't exactly the first on Erik's list of places to be anyway. He picked up his bag, slinging it back over his shoulder as he turned right back around and hustled down the stairs. "Well, nice to have-" he began to toss over his shoulder, but was interrupted by the one word he least wished to hear.

"Wait!" Raoul cried. Erik stopped, mid-stride, just as his other foot reached the ground. "He's three hours late."

Sighing exasperatedly, Erik turned right back around, repeating the actions of climbing up onto the stage and setting his messenger back off to the side.

"Christine said that she would be here," Raoul announced, sounding slightly like a lost puppy dog.

"Yeah?" Erik replied, pretending to sound hopeful for a moment. "Don't hold your breath."

Scowling as Erik began expertly tweaking the mixer board, Raoul sang, "The samples won't delay, but the cable-"

Erik held up a silencing hand, stemming the Vicomte's flow of musical words. "There's another way. Say something; anything."

The younger man stepped up to the microphone that was supposed to make one's voice echo around the room. "Test one, two three!"

With a careful eye watching the audio level, Erik shook his head when none of the little lights lit up. "Anything but...that."

Raoul tossed a glare over his shoulder at his girlfriend's ex, one that went unnoticed. The man was too busy attempting to sort out the sound equipment mess. "This is weird," he commented in song instead.

"It's weird," Erik echoed boredly.

"Very weird!"

He obviously likes the sound of his own voice, Erik thought to himself with a roll of his eyes. "Fucking weird," he huffed.

"I'm so mad that I don't know what to do."

Tell me about it, Erik thought as Raoul strolled off the stage.

Raoul continued, "Fighting with microphones, freezing down to my bones, and to top it all off: I'm with you!"

Smiling, Erik knew how the boy felt all too well. He grinned, abandoning the audio mess for a moment and casually sauntering to the top of the steps. "Feel like going insane? Got a fire in your brain, and you're thinking of drinking gasoline?" Not that he thought the Vicomte had any brain to have figuratively on fire, but even so, Erik found matters quite amusing. He marched down the steps as Raoul turned around. The young man seemed rather surprised, as if Erik had named off each feeling on the button.

"As a matter of fact-"

"Vicomte, I know this act!" Erik spread his hands in a gesture resembling that of framing a camera shot. "It's called...the Tango: Christine." He paused with a madman's grin, gauging Raoul's reaction. "The Tango: Christine! It's a dark, dizzy merry-go-round...as she keeps you dangling!" He held his hand in front of Raoul, pretending to dangle a nonexistent item in his face.

"You're wrong!" Raoul proclaimed in obvious denial.

"Your heart she is mangling!"

"It's different with me!" The Vicomte attempted to storm off, but Erik followed his every step.

"And you toss and you turn, 'cause her cold eyes can burn, yet you yearn and you churn and rebound!"

Raoul stopped in his tracks, turning to look at Erik. "I think I know what you mean; the Tango: Christine!"

"Has she ever pouted her lips and called you...pookie?" asked Erik.

Backing up a step in surprise, Raoul raised an eyebrow. "Never!"

"Have you ever doubted a kiss or two?"

His eyes widened, at this. He quite obviously had. "This is...spooky! Did you swoon, when she walked through the door?"

"Every time!" Erik replied with emphasis on each word. "So be...cautious!"

"Did she moon over other boys?" Raoul asked concernedly.

"Besides you? Tons!" Erik huffed, but it was the only talk he knew the fop would completely understand without any explanation whatsoever.

"I'm getting...nauseous!"

Raoul looked back to Erik in slow motion, and Erik did the same, grinning. He actually felt sorry for the boy. Raoul took off and tossed aside his jacket, and Erik did the same with his own, throwing it on top of the Vicomte's. The older of the two mentally shrugged. Why not? He himself was feeling better by the minute. This little trip was quite...enlightening. They moved to stand side-by-side, grabbing each other's hands and expertly beginning to tango. Erik led for a while, and then allowed Raoul to do so, but only for a moment.

"It's hard to do this backwards!" Raoul complained.

"You should try it in heels!" a voice said from the doorway of the lot. It was female, young, and accented, and belonged to none other than Meg Giry. What she was doing there no one knew, but the two men stopped tangoing at once, for right behind Meg was Christine, blatantly making out witha man who happened to be the missing-in-action engineer.

"She cheated!" Raoul cried.

"She cheated!" echoed Erik.

"Christine cheated!"

Erik was enjoying this way too much. "Fucking cheated!"

"I'm defeated; I should give up, right now!"

Meg came in their direction, and Raoul began to tango with her for no apparent reason other than the fact that he wished to lead instead of be led. Erik simply watched. The doors slammed shut and blocked Christine and the engineer from view.

"Got to look on the bright side with all of your might!" Meg tried to reassure Raoul, but it was no use.

"I'd fall for her still, anyhow!" he confessed.

"When you're dancing her dance, you don't stand a chance!" Erik and Raoul told her in perfect harmony. "Her grip on romance makes you fall!"

"So you think 'Might as well...'" said Erik

" 'Dance a tango to hell!'," said Raoul.

" 'At least I'll have tangoed at all!'," the two men sang together. "The Tango: Christine! Gotta dance till your diva is through! You pretend to believe her, 'cause in the end you can't leave her. But the end, it will come; still, you have to play dumb till you're glum and you bum and turn blue!"

The whole time, Erik had been retreating to the stage, where finally he came back to the problem he'd noticed earlier: the microphone in question's cord was unplugged. He casually plugged it in, meanwhile making a big show of messing with some unnecessary buttons. "Why do we love when she's mean?" Erik asked.

"And she can be so obscene!" Raoul let Meg go, tossing a glare to the closed doors before climbing up on the stage.

"Try the mic!" Erik cried.

"My Christine!"

Raoul looked up as '-ine' reverberated around the room.

"Patched!" said Erik triumphantly.

The Vicomte flashed him a smile. "Thanks."

"You know...I feel great now!" announced Erik with a smile as he picked up his bag.

"I feel lousy," pouted Raoul.

The fop's cell phone rang, and he picked it up. "Hello?" He paused. "Honey! We--pookie?" He looked over to Erik. "You've never called me pookie." Erik looked down at the ground with a sheepish grin. "Forget it," said Raoul in a grave tone. "We're patched." He hung up before Christine could say any more.

Erik looked back up at Raoul. "Poo-kie," he said, simply and pointedly.

"Shut up," ordered Raoul, just as simply.

As he strode offstage, Erik sang the three words that summed it all up in harmony with Meg:

"The Tango: Chris-tine!"

THE END!