Too Early

A/N: Well, all you Phantom fans, today officially marks the end of PHANTOM: THE LAS VEGAS SPECTACULAR. Last night was its last show ever! TT_TT I was lucky enough to have parents awesome enough to drive me to Vegas from Southern California just to go see it last month during its final run. Though I was thoroughly depressed that I was unable to get Anthony Crivello's autograph for he was an absolutely fabulous Phantom and really reminded me of Leroux Phantom. He was very powerful and was the perfect age for the role. I cried during the All I Ask of You Reprise. He also adds quite a bit of humor to the role which is really nice to see. If you ever have the chance, look him up on youtube, he is by far one of my favorites. And on that note, here's the new chapter.

Chapter V

Christine's eyes widened. "H-his corpse?"

"Yes, it was found at the shores of the lake under the Opera House the day after you disappeared. We found out from the autopsy that he had been strangled and drowned at the same time. There is no evidence that points to who did it though. Isn't that so bizarre?" Meg explained.

She gulped. "Y-yeah, truly bizarre."

"The strangest part is that a part of his jacket was ripped, the missing piece found in the intersecting sewers that run under the Opera House! Is that not insanity? That means that he was killed here in the Opera House!" she said excitedly, being ever the fan of gossip.

Christine gulped, for she knew exactly who had done it and how. All she wanted to know was why? What could Erik possibly have to gain from Philippe's death? If anything, it was better to keep him alive, due to his disapproval of her and Raoul's love.

A knock on the door snapped her out of her thoughts and Meg out of her actions. She quickly hid the whiskey under the bed before asking who was at the door.

"Who is it?" she asked.

"It is Little Jammes! I was hoping you could help me with the bridesmaids' scene in act three of Der Freischütz before practice," she answered.

"I'm actually in the middle of something right now, but I promise to help you individually during practice," she answered.

"Alright," she called, before walking to her own room, "see you then!"

"So," Christine asked, "you're doing a production of Der Freischütz?"

"Yes, Carlotta is very excited that she has not been harassed out of being the head Prima Donna." She laughed, beginning to wrap Christine's hand.

"I'm curious though- why does she not just ask La Sorelli for help?"

Meg giggled. "Aww, yet another addition to the great scandal." This earned an odd look from Christine. "La Sorelli is out on maternity leave."

Her eyes widened. "Maternity leave?"

"Yes!" she squealed. "With Philippe de Chagny's child! They were having secret excursions together his entire stay here in Paris before he died!"

"My God, and I thought they were just 'on terms'!"

Christine found it absolutely ironic that the man who said having a relationship with a woman of theatre and peasant birth was shameful; was now leaving his legacy with the bastard child of a ballerina.

Meg laughed. "I would say on very good terms. Anyway, it actually works in my favor. Do not get me wrong, La Sorelli is like family to me; but with her out of the picture for the moment, the managers have named me Prima Ballerina! My name's on the poster and at the very top of programs: Der Freischütz, Romeo and Juliet, Barber of Seville… All of them say: starring La Carlotta and Meg Giry! Oh, it truly is a wonderful feeling, Christine!"

"Yes, I know," she stated solemnly, as Meg finished wrapping her hand.

Meg obviously did not recognize the sadness in her tone. "At any rate, it's hard to believe you would give that up just for Raoul de Chagny."

She raised an eyebrow. "You don't think Raoul is worth it?"

"Are you kidding? No! Do not get me wrong, Christine; he's handsome, rich, and pretty much the perfect man for any Frenchwoman. But people like you and me are not just any Frenchwomen. We're performers!" Meg suddenly corrected herself for speaking for them both. "I mean, if it's not your opinion, it is mine at least. Even as just a dancer with, as it seems, just a brief moment of fame compared to the sopranos, I would not give up my limelight and fame for any good catch or title in the world!"

"That is true," Christine said, helping Meg put away the medical supplies.

"But surely you have at least a similar state of mind as me, for you are back here. Is that not the reason?" she asked.

"That is most definitely one of the reasons," she answered.

Suddenly the door to the dressing room opened, causing both Meg and Christine to jump and scream. Mme. Giry stood in the doorway, equally frightened, but by the sheer sudden loudness of the two.

"My God, Meg, why would you-!" She silenced as she noticed the girl next to her daughter.

"Christine Daaé?" she almost screamed, earning hushes from both girls.

"Could you possibly be any louder, Maman?" Meg growled, closing the door behind the elder woman.

"What are you doing here? You disappeared! Everyone thought you to-!"

"Maman, she knows," Meg interrupted. "I already gave her all the details."

"Well, if that's the case, then we have no time to lose. Come, Ms. Daae, you need to speak with the managers right away," Mme. Giry said, grabbing Christine by her wrist and guiding her to the door.

"W-why? About what?" she asked.

"About where you have been, what has happened, and what is to happen," she answered.

"Maman, I believe that is probably the last thing she wants to do right now," Meg piped in.

"That is irrelevant; it is the first thing she must do. Everyone thinks her to be dead, which has left many loose ends untied, and we must figure out what is to be done with them before we take any further actions with any aspect of this Opera House. It is her responsibility as a member, former or otherwise, of this company," she snapped.

Christine sighed. "You are right; I suppose there is no point running from my problems anymore, since I am here."

"Good girl," she said, patting the young soprano's head.

"Yes, good indeed!" Meg said. "I'll just come along with you two and-!"

"No, no, no, no Meg. I do not care how good the gossip is for you and your little friends, this is a personal matter of Ms. Daae's, which in no way concerns you. Besides, you need to be down at the stage in less than five minutes for rehearsal and class; or did you forget your promise you made to your friend, Cecile Jammes?"

Meg, at that moment, cursed her mother's bat-like hearing before storming out the room, tying her raven hair into a smoother, tight bun.

Mme. Giry shook her head disapprovingly, waiting for her daughter to be out of earshot, which was exponentially a greater distance than any other normal girl's hearing range, before saying, "A drama queen that one is; seems that all that goes through her mind is scandal and dance." She looked down at Christine. "Well, let us go then."

While leading Christine down the empty halls, she noticed a strange feeling along her palm. She moved Christine's hand into her vision, observing the bandages wrapped tightly around it. As she looked closer she noticed a darker coloration near the center of her hand that she recognized to be a stain. A blood stain.

"What happened to your hand?" Mme. Giry asked, in a way that sounded like it was obligation as opposed to true concern.

"I fell and lodged a rock up into my palm," she answered.

It wasn't a lie per say.

"I see," Mme. Giry said, not entirely believing her, but not interested enough to argue.

At this point, the two were at the grand staircase, heading to the East wing of the Opera House where the managers' office was located. Several ballerinas and chorus girls were in this particular spot at the time, going through the house doors for rehearsal. Several stopped and stared, whispering to each other things such as, "Is that…?" "No, it can't be…" "Yes, that is definitely her!" "No way-!" This thoroughly irritated Mme. Giry.

"Yes, it is she!" she snapped. "Christine Daaé! Now get to rehearsal!"

The girls quickly hurried through the doors, either out of fear of Mme. Giry, or excitement to tell the others girls of the latest scandal. Christine could already imagine Meg proudly proclaiming her even further knowledge of the situation, and bragging about how much longer she had possessed the information.

Christine didn't even realize that they were already at the Managers' office until Mme. Giry was opening the double doors, revealing the disorganized work-room to her. Richard and Moncharmin, who sat at their individual desks across from each other going over work, looked up at the sudden intrusion. Their eyes widened and they jumped up, almost in unison as they noticed a certain soprano they had thought they'd never see again.

"Ms. Daae-?"

"What on Earth-?"

Neither woman knew who said what, due to their speaking at once.

"Yes, she has returned." Mme. Giry stated the obvious before the managers could. "The reason, I do not know. But, in her return, she has agreed to speak to you about the past events and what action is to be taken in both her career and the general well-being of the Opera House."

"Very well," Moncharmin stated, sitting on the edge of both desks and pointing to the chair in front of him. "Please sit."

"Mme. Giry, if you do not mind, please shut and lock the doors; we do not need any further leaking of information to feed our casts' lust for scandal," Richard said, sitting in his own chair at his side of the desk.

"Of course, sir," both women said, following their individual requests.

"What would you like to know…? Messieurs?" Christine asked, running her hands nervously across her knees.

"Well, let's begin with: where have you been for the last two weeks? There have been few disasters in your absence, but a few nonetheless, and we want to know of your involvement with them," Richard answered.

"Meg Giry told me that the day I went missing, Philippe de Chagny's body was found. I guarantee I had nothing to do with it, Messieurs."

"Well, we assumed that much," Moncharmin said. "He had been dead for at least three days before he was found, so we do not believe that was why you ran away."

"We just want to know where you have been for the last two weeks," Richard piped in.

"We were in hiding at the edge of Paris. We were planning to leave the country soon to elope; we weren't sure exactly where we were to go. We just wanted to leave," Christine said.

"Why did you wait such a great deal of time to leave and not just take the next ship out of here?" asked Richard.

"We had some unfinished business to attend to- ties to cut, things of that sort. Oh! Which reminds me, it would seem since I am here, I should probably give you this directly," she said, pulling an envelope from her bodice, which she had forgotten was ripped; no doubt the managers and Mme. Giry had failed to notice this before, for they now stared at her in shock.

She handed Moncharmin the thick envelope, and he hastily grabbed his letter opener and ripped into it. His eyes widened and he let out a shout of shock as he pulled from the envelope several thousand valued franc notes.

"Since Raoul would no longer be able to be the Opera House's patron, he wanted to make sure the Opera House was well off before he abandoned it. Right there is a total sum of one hundred thousand francs, half of which is to be used to pay off all the damage done by… Him, including replacing the chandelier and replacing any money he has stolen from you."

Moncharmin and Richard obviously did not care the reasoning behind the generous donation; they were too busy celebrating it. Christine had been hesitant to use the word "stealing" when speaking of the Phantom's extortion of a monthly twenty-thousand francs, especially with Mme. Giry in the room, but she could think of no other way of putting it. As she had expected, Mme. Giry shook her head in disapproval.

Neither Christine nor Raoul knew exactly how much Erik had exactly extracted from the managers or if he returned it or not. Either way, they knew it was at least twenty thousand francs and felt the need to tidy up the mess left behind and allow Erik a peaceful death due to his generosity.

"Some of that money was also to be used to make up for you losing one of your lead sopranos, since we were to run away from here, but it would seem now that that money is just an add-on to the half which you are to spend as you see fit," Christine continued.

This halted their celebrating long enough for them to give the young soprano a confused look. Mme. Giry joined in and stared as well. Christine exhaled slowly, building up her strength to say what she knew she needed to say.

"If it is alright with you two, I would very much like to abandon my plans of running away, and stay and sing for the company once more," she said.

xXx

A/N: And chapter five is officially complete! I hope you enjoyed it! ^_^ I'd say cliffhanger but it would seem all my chapters up to this point have been cliffhangers in at least in some form or another. Lol Remember people! Reviews are love! More Reviews= Faster Updates! See you next chapter!