Author's Note: Like my previous story, this is also a one-shot fic that I wrote for a contest a number of years ago. The version here has been edited since then, and hopefully is better for it. And to all Phans, whether you liked the 2004 film or not: this fic is meant purely for humor purposes, and doesn't necessarily outline my personal thoughts about that film (though some parts come close!)

Disclaimer – I do not own "The Phantom of the Opera" or any of the characters. All characters were inspired by their portrayals in the 2004 film version, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum.

Meg's Discovery

"Christine?" Meg slowly opened the door to the prima donna's dressing room. She noticed several bouquets left by well-wishers after Christine's triumphant gala performance of less than an hour ago, and crossed the threshold into the room. "Christine?" called the young ballet dancer again as she placed the old, brass key to the dressing room on a nightstand. It's a good thing Maman occasionally leaves these keys lying around, she thought.

Suddenly, she noticed something strange. As she walked over to the large mirror, she saw a bright red rose on the floor in front of it. She then looked up, and saw that the mirror was part-way open. A hidden passage? she thought, and slid it open further. Sure enough, her pale reflection vanished and a dark, cavernous passage was revealed. There were several long objects, which looked horribly like human arms holding candelabras, protruding from the walls. Gathering her courage, the blonde dancer cautiously entered the grotto.

"Where is that girl?" Madame Giry furiously paced the foyer of the Opera House. "She was supposed to be at practice!" muttered the ballet mistress, walking up the immense marble staircase and past the scantily clad golden figures which lined the walls. "I do hope she's not getting herself into trouble again . . ." Suddenly, an idea struck her, and she strode quickly toward the dressing rooms, hoping against hope that her hunch would prove to be wrong.

Meg continued down the strange passage. She heard a high, squeaking sound, and looked down. A rat! The dancer shrieked, but knew that she must keep going. What if Christine's down here? she thought wildly. What if the Opera Ghost has her? Suddenly, a hand gripped her shoulder. Meg whipped around quickly, though she was terrified of what she might see. "Maman!" A feeling of relief filled the ballerina, but then Madame Giry began to lead her back the way they came without a word.

"Maman, Christine Daaé is missing!" shouted the young girl.

"I know," replied the old woman gravely. Meg stared.

"What do you mean? What's going on?"

"The Opera Ghost has taken her down to his home. There, he will try to win her heart."

Meg suppressed a snort of disbelief. Christine Daaé fall in love with a madman who, judging by Joseph Buquet's account, looked like a corpse? When there were men a good deal better-looking who lived above ground?

"What if she's in danger?" Meg asked.

"She isn't," replied Madame Giry tersely. "Erik would never harm her, no matter what happened."

"Erik? You know him, then?" asked Meg, her eyes wide with shock. Thinking quickly, she added, "Then you must be curious about what his life is like." Madame Giry stopped trying to lead her daughter out of the passage. She was curious; What had Erik been doing since she had brought him here all those years ago? What kind of home had he made for himself under the cellars of the Opera House?

"All right," the ballet mistress said to her daughter. "Let us go together." They traveled down the passage; at the shore of the lake was a black horse, but they took no notice of it. "I know a way around the lake," Madame Giry whispered. "It's long, but as we have no way of getting across . . ." She led Meg through a hidden door in the cave wall. As they crossed the dark and watery tunnel, they heard what seemed to be very faint singing. They walked further, and after a while, were able to distinguish the words.

"You alone can make my song take flight," Erik softly sang as he lay Christine down gently in a large, swan-shaped bed. He leaned down and caressed her cheek with his gloved hand. "Help me make the music of the night . . ." As he finished the drawn-out final note, the Opera Ghost rose to his full height and lowered the curtain around the bed. Then, after he was sure that the soprano he had fallen in love with was in a deep sleep, he raised the curtain and crept to the foot of the bed . . .

"Oh my God!" shrieked a female voice. Erik jumped, flushed with humiliation, as Christine awoke with a start.

"What on earth were you doing with my stockings?" yelled Christine, spotting them in Erik's hands.

"Erm, I just . . . I thought . . ." Erik stuttered as he hastily hid the stockings behind his back.

"Erik?" Madame Giry stood gaping at the scene before her: The Opera Ghost standing in the middle of a candlelit grotto, stealing stockings from Christine Daaé? What was this madness?

Erik glared at his visitors. "How the hell did you get here? And what business is it of yours if I happen to enjoy stockings?"

Christine stared at him. "What is it with you and stockings, anyway?"

"And why in the world do you have a Christine mannequin?" Meg had evidently discovered one of Erik's darkest secrets.

"Um... I confiscated that from Buquet! Yeah, the dirty old man!" The Opera Ghost chuckled feebly, but stopped as Christine gave him a death glare not unlike the ones he himself was accustomed to shooting at those who displeased him.

"So you aren't madly in love with me?" asked the brunette in her best pouty voice.

"Oh, I think he is, judging by all these nude sketches of you!" called the blonde ballerina's voice.

Christine gasped. "Nude . . . ? You . . . You sick, perverted freak!"

She slapped Erik across his masked face, ignoring his protests of "Wait, it's not like that!" Nobody seemed to hear Meg say, "Um, I was only kidding about the 'nude' part." In exasperation, the Phantom began bashing his head against the pipe organ in the center of his lair, and didn't notice his mask slip off his face.

Meg and Christine screamed in terror as the horrible sight was revealed to them. Madame Giry, on the other hand, seemed to have seen it before, as she didn't even blink. "For God's sake, girls, it's just a sunburn!" Erik yelled indignantly as the ballet mistress rolled her eyes. This did not seem to calm the girls, who ran out through the secret passage by which Meg and Madame Giry had entered.

"Yes, I get that a lot," snarled Erik in response.

The next day, Joseph Buquet and Meg sat in a backstage corridor, frightening the other ballet rats with tales of the Opera Ghost. "Like yellow parchment is his skin," Buquet began, but Meg interrupted him.

"No, he had more of a third-degree sunburn look to him," she corrected, "with a lot of very large zits and a freaky thing going on with his nose and eyelid. And you had better be careful; if he catches you, he'll abduct you, take you down a scary passage filled with rats, and sketch nude pictures of you, and then he'll steal your stockings!" This was met with terrified screams from the other dancers.

Damn, thought Buquet. Her story's even scarier than any of mine were!