Title- Don Juan Triumphant
Characters/Pairings- Erik/Christine, Raoul/Christine, just a touch of Erik/Meg
Summary- What if there had been no plot to capture Erik? What if the situation were less desperate and Don Juan Triumphant just... played out to the end? A performance, told in alternating points of view.
A/N- The ever-fabulous suscintilla posed the question as to what on earth kind of role could have required Meg to wear pants for Don Juan. I started pondering it, and ultimately realized that the only possible explanation was that she was singing a trouser role like Cherubino or Octavian- that is, a mezzo singing a teenage boy. All my years of breathless gawping from the balcony of the Lyric Opera paid off, and a story was born. Suscintilla, this one's for you! Thanks for letting me totally steal your plot bunny! (Also, is it weird for you that I just capitalized your penname? *wink*)
"Meg, you're the understudy."
They were brilliant words, Meg thought. She had been earning herself roles in productions since she was fifteen, but they were usually bit parts in the small ensembles, or the parts that got billed absolutely last, if they were mentioned at all. She had a fine voice, and though dancing was her passion, she had to confess that she nurtured a secret hope that someday she'd be able to step from the sidelines and into the light. Her voice was clear and sweet and Meg wanted so very much to sing. When she was made the understudy for the mezzo-soprano's role, she took it as a sign that someone (though whether it was the managers or the Phantom she doubted she'd ever know) thought she could do it. It was a stepping-stone.
This, though, she never expected.
"Meg, you're the understudy. You'll have to take Bernetta's place," Monsieur Renois, the stage director, informed her. It seemed that the mezzo singing Cesarino had been struck with influenza just hours before curtain. Meg thought her entire body might have gone numb, she was so shocked.
"I assume you'll be able to handle it?" he asked haughtily.
She raised her chin to look him straight in the eye (a considerable feat, taking into account M. Renois' staggering height) and told him, "I most certainly will."
"Very good. M. Reyer has already been informed of the change, and an announcement will be made before the curtain rises. We'll still need you to dance the prologue, then a quick costume change for the first act, yes?"
Meg nodded. "I won't let you down."
Renois' usually severe expression softened for a moment and he chucked her under the chin affectionately. "You're a good girl, Marguerite," he said fondly.
Meg began to wonder if perhaps it had been he who had arranged to make her the understudy.
Ubaldo Piangi's lilting tenor swelled through the theatre, and Christine felt her fingers tingle with nervousness.
Pasarino, faithful friend!
Once again recite the plan!
She was so frightened. She felt sure that the Phantom would lay some kind of trap for her here, tonight. It was just too perfect an opportunity for him. With her singing the main role in his opera... how could he resist? Christine had been tempted to share her fears with Raoul, with Madame, with the managers, but she had felt so silly voicing fears she was sure they'd laugh at. She could just imagine what they'd say.
"What can he do in front of a packed audience?"
"That megalomaniac? He would never jeopardize the performance of his own work!"
To be honest, the imaginary rebuttals were something of a comfort to her as well, and so she spoke of her worries only to Meg. Dear, reliable Meg, who listened with sympathetic eyes and a ready embrace, who reassured her that no matter what, she'd always be there to protect her. Christine believed that Meg would do just that; after all, it was Meg who had comforted her on those nights when she would wake screaming from nightmares, and defended her when some of the young men in the corps de ballet would make stinging comments. And tonight, Meg was to step in as Cesarino. She would be onstage, right at hand if Christine needed her.
Yes, this would be alright. She could do this. Hearing her cue, she stepped onto the stage, already drawing breath to begin the recitative. No longer was she Christine Daae. Now she was Aminta, daughter of a much-revered military general and the unknowing object of Don Juan's lust...
Piangi dropped to the ground with a heavy thud, and Erik moved him, quickly and carefully, to a props closet just off-stage where he would remain safely out of sight- and safely locked in- until the performance was over. No need to have the overweight tenor giving the game away too soon.
He had considered punjabbing the man, but feared that the pressure the rope would exert on his throat would permanently damage his vocal chords. Erik had too much respect for the tenor's artistic mastery to risk destroying his voice. A swift blow to the back of the head served his purposes far more directly.
And now he could hear Christine's sweet voice singing the last few bars of the recitative, and this was his entrance...
Raoul's gut clenched as he watched in horror as his fiancée was seduced before his eyes. He knew (hoped) it was all an act, but somehow he still felt the stirs of jealousy. He wasn't certain anyone else had noticed, but he had spotted the change. He hadn't the faintest idea where Piangi had gotten to, but the tall, seductive man with the entrancing voice that seemed caught halfway between a tenor and a baritone was quite obviously not him. There was only one person it could be, only one who would dare...
The Phantom had come to claim his bride.
Raoul wanted to shout, to beg them to stop the performance so he could go to Christine's side and confront the monster, but he feared how the Phantom would react if he tried. He couldn't risk Christine. He wouldn't risk the safety of anyone in this room- who knew what the madman might do?
And so he forced himself to sit back and wait and hope that nothing terrible would occur.
Raoul had been at all the rehearsals. He couldn't stay away, concerned as he was for Christine's safety. He had to acknowledge that the music, though certainly unusual, had such a deep seductive power even the rather portly Piangi was transformed by it into a masculine ideal. The effect it had on this slender, powerful newcomer was stupefying. His stage presence was pervasive and his voice sent thrills through the audience.
The desperate, passionate duet reached a thrilling climax, with Christine's sweet soprano and the rich, complex voice of the other man twining together in perfect unison, their bodies pressed together on the stage, and Raoul wanted to cry because there was no possible way this wasn't real. This passion had to exist between them, and he couldn't see how Christine would resist him, just as her character was powerless under the attentions of Don Juan.
He hated to doubt her. He hated that he wondered just what had happened that night she had sung Elissa, when she had gone down to the monster's lair, but he couldn't stop the doubts. This just proved that, however she might fear him, there was desire in it also; Raoul wanted to shut his eyes to the undeniable truth, splayed on the stage before him in the form of the entwined bodies of his fiancée and her former tutor.
A/N part deux- Originally this was intended to be a oneshot, but then I realized how ridiculously freaking long it was getting, and so it's been split into five parts- The Prologue, Act 1, Act 2, Act 3 and After The Performance- in order to better manage the length and make it less intimidating to my readers. Thanks bunches for any reviews you feel it necessary to leave... ;)