Let me get THIS out of the way...
Disclaimer: Nope! I don't own anything. I don't have the Phantom tied up in my closet or anything, and I definitely didn't threaten that I wouldn't feed him till he takes off that damn mask. :) I only own Mademoiselle Daniele Lefèvre and... anyone else you've never heard of in ya life.
I REALLY shouldn't be starting anything new, but... that's certainly never stopped me before, has it? XD And since this is probably one of the last ones I'll be doing for POTO, why not?
That is it, dear children... ask "why not?" instead of "what if?" I'VE JUST UNLOCKED THE MYSTERY OF LIFE. LOL.
I don't know how I came up with this. I was just all "Hmm, come ON, I want something with Erik..." and then it popped into my head. I thought it was interesting, so I ran with it.
It's kind of a rewrite of one of my older ones that sucked, but it's such a spin-off from the original that I believe the only thing in common is the "note" theme! Well, and Daniele's name was originally in another story I'd written, but that one wasn't all that great either, so I decided to combine the "premise" (if you can call it that...?) of one, and the name from the other. So take that, physics!
Erik: ... Wait... WHAT? WHAT part of your speech is a 'take that' to PHYSICS?
Me: I... I was just wondering that myself. Sorry!
I'm also trying to improve on my dialogue. Because I'm weird, I have some trouble with this period's manner of speaking and keep wanting to put the most ridiculous things in there for people to say. |D
The little mini song she sings at the end is based on the tune of the "Notes!" song Firmin and André sing in the movie. Don't ask me how she knows the tune... she just... does, okay? It's opera, things aren't expected to make sense...
Hope you guys like! :D
I extend to you a warm and inviting welcome to my Opera. At the moment, it is not much, but it is home, non?
Given your lineage I expect you to be as trustworthy as your father, which should be quite the refreshing breath after the previous owners' absolute fumble with management. I assume that you are competent enough to know who I am, and what standard I hold you to. The last two foolish managers were a grave disappointment; I pity you should you not improve the damage they've caused, for I cannot stomach much more disappointment.
I offer a suggestion: have your workers begin removing all those items which have been burned beyond repair or recognition. They will then resume scrubbing and sweeping the ash away, both from the floors and from any objects which can be restored. I will tell you as much as I am capable of what should be done in what order... I have not yet seen your skill and as such I shall be helping you along.
Nor have I seen your face yet. I understand you must be busy, so my curiosity will have to wait. I have, however, heard you voicing your frustrations with the building damages... I doubt you would find it a compliment that your voice carries all the way into the catacombs during these episodes. (It is the mark of a fine singer that the voice carries, but of course it is not as much a fine trait if one is pitching a fit.) You are considerably younger than any previous owners... I can tell you have been exposed to the fine Opera, though you have little experience giving orders and managing the whole of the place.
No matter, because I suspect that you learn quickly. For your sake, I hope that you do so; those who do not become irritating to me. I do so loathe having to repeat myself... please keep that in mind.
My monthly salary of 20,000 francs is due very soon, but... in light of the circumstances, I shall waive the payment until we are operational. You have much to do so that you may meet the payment from now on.
Welcome to the Opera Populaire, and I offer you my sincerest regards.
I remain your obedient servant,
Daniele Lefèvre almost couldn't believe what she was reading. In fact, if she hadn't pinched herself after her second reading of it, she would think it all a fanciful dream, brought on by the excitement of finally having a reason to stay in Paris.
The former owners of the Opera, Messieurs André and Firmin, had been all too glad to hand the building over to her. Thanks to the fire resulting from a chandelier crash the previous month, much of the architecture had been badly damaged. They were more than willing to sell it.
Her father wanted to send for her, hoping she'd have changed her mind about moving south, but Daniele had delayed it for as long as possible. She was desperately hoping for something to make it so she wouldn't have to leave; her family meant much to her, of course, but Paris was where she had grown up. She'd fight down to the last if it meant staying in her birthplace.
She'd written to her father, detailing to him the great intensity of her wish to remain here. She told him of the Opera, and her desire to purchase it... if he would allow her the means to do so. She expressed in the most meticulous and likely garrulous manner exactly what owning the Opera would mean to her, that it would be an honor to follow in her father's footsteps.
She assumed that it took her letter about a month to arrive to her father, so it was two months later when she got her reply. Luckily the Opera hadn't managed to sell yet, or she would have given up and packed her things for Australia. Her father's letter arrived, and she could very nearly hear him speaking to her - a sigh in his voice but a smile on his face, saying, "If it means that much to you, darling..." Enclosed was a bank note for the amount she'd specified, made payable to Messieurs Richard Firmin and Gilles André.
She'd squealed with giddiness when she got it, so it had been fortunate that she was in the privacy of her own home. (Or, at least, the rather small family estate that used to house three people, but now housed only one.) The very next morning she had rushed over to the Opera and made the Messieurs her offer. Clearly they were pleased (and probably had been worried they wouldn't be able to get rid of it), so they did a bit of paperwork and were done with it.
She only had a small band of workers, people she'd found shoe-shining in the streets and such. She'd sent her father another letter, requesting just a bit more money so she could pay them for their work, because in the building's current state, the Opera clearly wasn't going to be bringing in profit soon. She hadn't gotten word yet, but then she could assume her message hadn't even reached him yet.
The one place in the building that had remained mostly intact, besides the ballet dormitory, was the manager's office, though Daniele didn't spend as much time there as she should have, being the manager. She liked being out and working; she wanted to get this beautiful building restored as soon as she could. She wanted to choose operas, and entice patrons, and hire a prima donna, and throw grand parties to celebrate even grander successes. She could only imagine what this lovely place would be capable of once she got it running again.
She hadn't been here but three days, and it seemed things were progressing quite slowly. That was to be expected, it was very early in the project, though it still irritated her because she didn't know what to do to make things work faster. She knew she needed to keep her temper under control, since her workers had taken to being a bit afraid of her thanks to the way she shouted when she got aggravated.
When she came into her office that afternoon, angrily searching for a certain room key, she hadn't expected to see a note on her desk. To her knowledge, nobody should have much business with her... she hadn't publicly announced her purchase of the Opera, nor could her father have corresponded that quickly. Besides - the envelope bore a red wax seal, in the shape of a skull. She had scoffed a bit as she opened it, for if the sender was attempting to intimidate her they would surely be let down. She didn't scare easily.
She wasn't sure what to make of the note's contents. What the devil did "O.G." stand for? She'd heard rumors in the past, about the so-called Phantom of the Opera, but she couldn't have been sure that such a thing even existed. She supposed she could count this as proof, but even if they were one in the same... where did one get "O.G." out of "Phantom of the Opera"?
She contemplated what to do about this, sitting down at her desk and staring at the note. She was rapidly developing a small headache - whoever this was, they got a salary? Of 20,000 francs a month? For doing what, she wondered, however she reconsidered this notion after realizing that they did, in fact, point out ways to improve upon what she was already doing. They also seemed rather polite and eager to work with her... yet there was some awful undertone to the language used. The Messieurs had clearly not been up to snuff for this O.G., perhaps they'd done something that drove André and Firmin to the jittery, paranoid men she'd dealt with earlier.
Who was to say this person might not do the same to her if she failed to produce desirable results? She may have to just perform to her full abilities and hope for the best.
Daniele looked up, from where she was currently resting a hand on her temple to ward off the pulsing that threatened. Standing in the doorway was a woman, dressed in a dark, rich green, a blonde braid over her shoulder. She looked to be at least twice Daniele's age, and Daniele didn't recognize her as a worker. "Bonjour," she greeted, though enthusiasm was absent from her voice. "What can I do for you?"
"Allow me to introduce myself." Taking this as an invite, the woman walked further into the room. Her shoes made no noise on the floor, which was a bit odd. "Madame Antoinette Giry. Before the... incident..." She averted her eyes down to the ground after saying these words. "I was the ballet instructor at the Opera Populaire. Would you have any need for me? Or are you simply rebuilding with a different purpose in mind?"
She shook her head. "Non. I intend to restore the Opera to its former glory, Madame. And I do believe I shall be in need of a ballet instructor, so if you wish to return, I give you nothing but respect and a salary. However," she added, gesturing to the not-yet-cleaned hallway Madame Giry had just come from, "as you can see, it may be months before it will be prepared to reopen. I can send you word when your services are required, if that's alright with you?"
Madame Giry nodded, clasping her hands at her waist. "Merci, Mademoiselle Lefèvre. I appreciate it, for I doubt I could imagine my life without the opera."
"That makes two of us, Madame. And since you have been employed here before, I have a question for you." She leaned forward a bit, brandishing the note in between her first and middle fingers. "Can you tell me anything at all about this... this 'O.G.' person?"
The older woman looked at the piece of parchment, then it looked as though all the color had drained from her face. "He... is still here? I thought... I thought for sure he would have fled."
"So you know of him?" She let the note flutter down to her desk. She hadn't known what to assume by the writing... so then it was a man after all. "If it's not too much to ask, I'd like you to tell me all you know about him. In his words, he 'extends me a warm and inviting welcome to his Opera'. I'd like to be able to make something of this madness."
She watched Madame Giry's face for a moment, as the woman closed and reopened her eyes, taking a long breath. She let it out, not meeting Daniele's eyes. "He is... clearly a genius. A talented musician and composer, Mademoiselle, and he lives here in the Opera."
"Where?" Daniele pressed.
"The catacombs. I can tell you that he does not take kindly to being disturbed."
"Alright." She leaned back, crossing her arms and tossing her hair. "He's been generous enough to inform me of his salary, though he makes an exception as I am not profiting at the moment. How gentlemanly, I must say. Is there anything else you can tell me?"
She shook her head, her eyes shifting briefly to the doorway and then back down to the floor. "I will warn you, whatever else he may be... a genius, a musician, a composer... he is a very troubled man, Mademoiselle Lefèvre, and unstable. You will be best off doing as he tells you. Nothing more and nothing less."
Daniele glanced down at the note, then placed her hand on her head once again. "Thank you, Madame. And, one more thing, s'il vous plait... what on God's green Earth does 'O.G.' stand for? I can't figure anything, for the life of me."
Madame Giry tossed her braid behind her, and for just a moment a flicker of a smile crossed her face. "It stands for 'Opera Ghost', Mademoiselle. The Phantom of the Opera."
"Oui... I thought it was the same person, but I said to myself, 'If that's so, would the initials not read "O.P." for "Opera Phantom"?' In any case, I thank you, Madame." She folded up the note the way it had been in the envelope, and set it aside. "I will be sure to contact you when the Opera is ready for its grand reopening."
"I am happy to be of help." She walked over to the door, and Daniele would have returned to her business if Madame Giry had not turned back again to face her. "Be very careful, oui, Mademoiselle? This Opera houses many secrets... and some of them less than pleasant. I beg you to heed my advice, and keep your hand at the level of your eyes."
The younger woman raised an eyebrow, but simply nodded. "I shall keep that in mind, Madame. Bonne journée."
"Vous aussi, Mademoiselle Lefèvre." With that, the Madame was gone. The only evidence that she'd ever even been there in the first place was the sound of creaking wood beneath her feet as she made her exit.
Daniele drew in a fast breath, then blew it out very slowly. Her eyes drifted to the note again; as much as she wanted to find that blasted key she'd come looking for in the first place, this Opera Ghost business... was far more intriguing. She had to confess that, at least.
She riffled about in the drawers for a moment, until at last she found some parchment, a pen, and some ink. As she set them all in front of her, she couldn't refrain from permitting a chuckle escape her lips. "Opera Ghost..."
She dipped her pen in the ink well, then looked round the room. Why, he could be watching her this very moment, couldn't he? And she'd never have the faintest clue of it. A troubled man, the Madame had said? Perhaps, but clearly also a very clever one as well. He might be anywhere, at any time, watching everything and everyone at different times.
"Dearest Monsieur O.G.," she sang out, taking her pen to the paper, "if you can hear me... Opera Ghost! I shan't quit, but I'll admit... you may make a gracious host!"
AHAHAHAHA SHE'S TOTALLY TEMPTING FATE.
Ahh... anyway, here are just a few French translations, not many uncommon ones in this chapter...
Bonjour = Hello/good day
Non = No
Merci = Thank you
Oui = yes
Bonne journeé = Have a nice day
Vous aussi = You as well (formal version of "you" because they don't know each other that well yet)
I can't believe I actually had to look those up, because I took three freakin' years of French... Then again, been out of practice for two years, so I may be a bit rusty... I didn't know "bonne journeé", but when I saw "vous aussi" I was like... "Hey. Hey, I knew that! Why'd I have to look that up? THAT ONE WAS SO EASY."
... Somewhere my French teacher is crying...
Well, I hope you guys liked, and I hope you liked enough to review!
Thanks for reading! ^^