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No More Talk of Phantoms or Vicomtes

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"I'm taking Christine away." Meg said, as explanation for her packing up her things.

"Meg, what are you talking about?" Madame Giry demanded.

"She's traumatized!" Meg exclaimed. "Her love has been bartered and bid on and claimed and she has gotten no choice. If she is willing then we will run to a place where no phantoms nor vicomtes can haunt her." Meg turned to get something else and her mother grabbed her arm, forcing her to pause.

"Meg, you know Christine doesn't-" She began in a soft voice.

"I'm perfectly aware, Maman." Meg snapped back, pulling her arm away. "I don't want her love, I want her to be happy. The phantom and the vicomte don't care about her happiness and wellbeing. The phantom wants compassion and a songbird, the vicomte wants a ditzy trophy wife. I just want my friend to be safe." Meg insisted. "The moment that Christine has any doubts we will return."

Madame Giry looked pensive for a moment as Meg finished packing her things. The instructor sighed, looking at her daughter with a fond smile. "You're a good friend, Meg. I believe you." She took Meg's face in her hand and kissed her forehead. "What do you need me to get you for your journey?"

"Enough food to last us a few weeks and a horse." Meg said. "If possible." She quickly added.

Madame Giry nodded. "It'll be done. When are you leaving?" She asked.

"Tonight if Christine agrees." Meg said.

"The poor thing…I can't imagine her disagreeing after all she's been through." Madame Giry sighed.

Christine paced through her room. "Can you believe it Meg?" She demanded. "He wants me to marry him! Does he not understand? It was his proposal that brought about all this hell to begin with!" She lowered herself into a chair, putting her head in her hands. "I can't do it, Meg. I know I promised him, but after all that's happened…"

"Sh…" Meg said softly, kneeling by Christine's side. "It's alright. What if I told you I had a solution?" She took Christine's hand in her own.

Christine raised her eyes to look at her friend. "What do you mean?"

"I've gotten supplies together to leave the city." Meg said slowly, giving Christine time to comprehend what she was suggesting.

"Meg…I couldn't leave. I'm engaged." Christine said.

"Do you love him?" Meg asked, searching Christine's eyes.

"I…I don't know. Nothing makes sense anymore." Christine said, turning her head away from Meg's gaze.

"Do you want to marry him?" Meg asked.

"I…" Christine shook her head. "No, I'm not ready."

"It doesn't have to be forever, Christine." Meg squeezed her hand. "Just until you're ready to return."

"Meg, I don't know about this…" Christine sighed.

"If you want to stay, then you can stay, and I'll be by your side to support you as long as you'd like. I'm just offering another option." Meg said. "You don't have to marry him if you don't want to."

Christine looked down. "I don't know what I want anymore…" She mumbled.

"I understand." Meg said softly. She stood, letting go of Christine's hand. "If you decide you wish to go, I'll be waiting outside the building an hour before midnight with a horse and supplies. If a new day comes and you're not there, I'll return the supplies." Meg started towards the door, but she paused. "Whatever choice you make, I will support you every step of the way. I just want you to be happy." Meg placed a featherlight kiss upon Christine's head. "And if Raoul will make you happy then I wish to be front row at the wedding." She turned once more at left Christine with her thoughts.

Christine didn't really know what to think anymore. She had been through hell and back in the past week and it seemed that Raoul just wanted her to forget it and become a docile housewife. But he loved her. And she loved him. But Erik loved her too, though he showed it in a much different way. Christine did love him, but she couldn't be in love with him. Not after everything he had done. She could forgive him and make her peace with his mistakes, but she could not love him like he wanted.

Raoul was possessive and demanding, and though it was to a much lesser degree than Erik, Christine still wasn't sure she was comfortable with all he asked for. He said that he only wanted her love, but that's not exactly true. He wants her sole undivided attention. He wants a docile housewife that will make him her world. He wants Christine to get over the traumatic experience and just get married after she was almost forced into a marriage with a maniac. Christine may have loved Raoul, but she could not stay with him. So her decision was made.

Christine packed up her things and wrote Raoul a note, explaining why she was leaving. Then she donned her dark cloak and went to where she found Meg, perched on a horse. Meg was wearing a similarly dark cloak, but underneath it she was wearing men's clothing. Meg offered her hand to help Christine onto the horse.

"Are you sure you want to leave?" Meg asked her quietly.

"Positive." Christine nodded.

"Then hold on tight." Meg commanded. Christine wrapped her arms around Meg's torso as the horse started through the streets. Meg's heart raced, whether from the adrenaline of escape or Christine's closeness, she wasn't sure, but it didn't matter. She had more important things to focus on. She had to get Christine out of Paris.

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They rode for hours till the city was out of sight, though it was far from out of mind. It was the only place Meg had ever known, and while Christine had seen other cities it had been so long since then. Leaving the city in such a dramatic and secretive way made Christine nervous. Someone would see them and assume some sort of crime. Perhaps it was a crime, though Christine didn't consider it so. Raoul would certainly send people searching for her. Would she go when they called for her? She couldn't imagine that she would. She wasn't ready to be a housewife. She needed time and space before making such a big decision.

Meg slowed down and stopped the horse in a field, a little outside of a forest. "We should stop for the night." She said. "It's late and the horse needs rest." She explained, dismounting the horse and helping Christine down. "Christine, could you find some sticks or wood for a fire?" Meg asked, removing a bag from the horses back and tying the horse's reigns to a tree.

Christine nodded, walking around the edge of the forest, searching for any stray sticks or anything that could work as kindling. After a moment she returned with a small bundle of sticks in her arms.

Meg smiled up at her. "Thank you." She had taken off her cloak and laid it on the ground near the horse. She took the sticks from Christine and started piling them up. "We don't have any blankets or anything, so I thought we could lay on my cloak and under yours." Meg explained. When they had been younger they had slept beside each other many times, so it wasn't the most outrageous suggestion. Though the idea made Meg's heart skip a beat.

Christine nodded, lowering herself to sit on the cloak. She stayed silent for a moment and watched Meg, who was trying to light a match. "Meg, where are we going?" Christine asked softly.

"Hm?" Meg grunted, having trouble with the match.

Christine huffed, taking the match, quickly striking it against the box and setting it aflame. She handed it back to Meg. "Where are we going?"

Meg tossed the match into the pile of sticks, watching them catch fire. "There's a little village, not too far from here. We'll spend a night there. From there it's on to Orléans. If you want to go further, we'll travel to Toulouse."

"What will we do then?" Christine asked, searching Meg's face for some sort of reassurance.

"Find work, I suppose." Meg shrugged, gazing at the flames. "I only have so much money with me. And we don't know how long we're staying away from the opera house."

"Ah…I see." Christine nodded, sweeping her feet underneath her. "Meg…I'll admit. I'm a bit frightened." Christine looked down at her hands.

"I can understand that." Meg nodded, poking at the fire. "I'm a bit nervous too." She dropped the stick into the fire, scooting back to sit next to Christine. "What exactly are you worried about?"

"Raoul…I'm worried he'll get mad and try to find me." Christine looked down. "I mean…he's nowhere near as frightening as the phantom, but if this upsets him enough I'm really nervous about what he may do…"

Meg looked at Christine, then down at the ground. "Well…if he truly loves you, he'll put your happiness first and let you go."

"I'm afraid of that too…" Christine mumbled, before she looked at Meg's face. "What if He does let me go and he finds someone else to love? What if I spend the rest of my life alone because I was afraid?" Her eyes were wide and her face was pale. It was clear that this was something that truly worried Christine.

Meg let out a sigh, wrapping her arms around Christine's shoulders. "Come on now, Christine. This whole situation started because too many boys fell madly in love with you. Why, with your track record I wouldn't be surprised if you collected a few more before we were done." Meg teased. Christine smiled feebly, clearly unconvinced. "Besides," Meg began softly, looking at Christine fondly. "You can't be alone, because you will always have me." She promised.

Christine's face softened, and she leaned into the embrace. "Thank you, Meg. I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate you."

"You could try." Meg teased, running a hand through Christine's hair. Christine leaned into her touch, sighing contently. The intimacy of it all was about enough to make Meg explode. Her heart grew warm with her fondness for Christine. Christine would never be without suitors. No matter where they went, Meg was certain that men (and probably a few women as well) would throw themselves at Christine's feet to be used as she wished. Of course she would never take them up on their offers, she was too kind to use someone.

"Meg?" Christine asked softly.

"Yes, Christine?"

"Will you tell me a story?"

"A story? What kind of story?"

"Oh, I don't know. A story from your childhood."

"From my childhood? Well…there is one I could tell. Lay down and cover us with your cloak and I'll tell you a story my mother used to tell me." Christine did as Meg asked, so Meg began the story. "Before she came to Paris to dance, my mother lived right on the border of Germany, so she's always had a fondness for their fairy tales. My favorite is called Fundevogal, or Foundling bird."

"Once upon a time there was a woodsman who lived out in the forest with his daughter and their chef. One day when the woodsman was out in the forest he heard crying, there in a fallen bird's nest was a baby boy. He took the boy home and decided to raise him with his daughter, who was about the same age. As they grew the children became best friends and they fell in love. Then one day the girl heard the chef planning to cook and eat the boy. So they escaped into the woods together. The chef sent two men after them, but when the children saw the men they transformed, the boy into a rose and the girl into a rose bush. So the men went back and told the chef that they saw no children."

Christine listened with rapt attention, as Meg continued the story. "The next day the chef sent two more men to look for the children, and this time the boy turned into a…candlestick" The story typically said he turned into a chandelier, but Meg felt it was a bit soon to say that. "And the girl was a cathedral. The next day the chef herself went out into the woods to search for them, and the boy turned to a pond and the girl a duck. But the chef wasn't fooled, so she began to drink up the pond." Christine gasped. "But the girl swam around and pushed the chef into the water and drowned her. After that, the boy and the girl turned back into humans and they lived happily ever after." Meg finished with a smile. "Did you like the story?"

Christine nodded, laying the cloak over Meg's lap and coaxing her to lay down. "Thank You for being my rose bush, Meg." She smiled, sleepily.

Meg returned the smile, feeling her heart race. "Of course."

"Goodnight, Meg." Christine yawned.

"Goodnight." Meg said, though now she was far too awake to sleep.

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Meg woke in only a few hours to a rising sun. Christine had drifted closer to Meg during the night, and now had an arm draped around her waist. She shivered slightly, and moved closer to Meg, who wasn't much warmer, but heat was heat. Meg's face reddened slightly. She looked down at Christine who looked pale. She rested the back of her hand on her forehead to feel her temperature. She was freezing. Meg maneuvered her way out of Christine's grasp, tucking the cloak tighter around her and looking where their fire had been. Meg wouldn't have worried with it, since it was morning, but she wanted Christine to rest easily.

She stood, walking further from the camp, still looking back at Christine every few seconds. Someone could come across them in the woods, someone they knew or didn't…at this point Meg wasn't sure which would be worse. Meg didn't want questions. She didn't want anyone to take Christine against her will. So Meg kept a wary eye on Christine while she gathered up wood.

Meg returned moments later, building another small flame before she crawled back under the makeshift blanket with Christine. She felt her forehead. Not much better, but at least she wasn't visibly shivering anymore.

"Meg?" Christine mumbled sleepily. "I'm cold." She complained softly.

Meg chuckled, feeling her heart melt in her chest. "I'm sorry ma chère, I'm doing the best I can do."

Christine mumbled something scooting closer to Meg. "When do we have to leave?" She asked. Christine and Meg were both used to the strict schedules of the opera house. It was nice to be able to relax for a moment though.

"Whenever you'd like." Meg said. "We can get some breakfast and then we'll be on our way."

Christine seemed thoughtful for a moment. "A few more minutes please." She said with a yawn, closing her eyes again.

Meg smiled, running her fingers through Christine's hair. The ringlets would straighten for a moment before they snapped back to their original curl. After a moment, Christine sighed contentedly. "Must we ever move?" She mumbled.

"I'm afraid so." Meg chuckled, sitting up. "Even if no one found us, we still need food. Besides, what if it rains one day? We'd be soaked with no way to dry off." Meg went over to their bag and she looked through the small bit of food they brought, "Would you like an apple or crackers this morning?" Meg asked.

"Apple." Christine said, sitting up slowly and placing her cloak around her shoulders.

Meg grabbed two apples from her bag and tossed one to Christine. Christine tried to catch it, but she fumbled and it landed in her lap. Christine sighed, picking it up and bringing it to her lips.

Meg focused on her own apple, occasionally glancing to where Christine sat. Her eyes were immediately drawn to her lips, but she then quickly looked away and tried to purge the image from her mind. Looking at her friend like that made her feel like a villain. Every lingering gaze or skipped heart beat made her feel predatory. But she couldn't stop the feelings, even though she tried. She tried to convince herself that there was nothing wrong with them because she would never act on them. But every so often Meg would imagine what it could be like if Christine reciprocated.

Meg and Christine finished their apples. Meg brushed the dirt and grass off of her cloak and stamped out the fire. She untethered the horse from its tree and mounted it. Finally she extended her hand to Christine to help her onto the horse.

And the pair set off again. The path was cleared in the daylight and both of them felt more optimistic about the journey in the warm sun. They spoke little but it was a pleasant silence they shared. After a few hours they stopped by a river to let the horse drink and the girls ate the crackers they had brought for lunch.

"Meg," Christine began, walking to the horse and patting its side. "I love the cities, but the forests are so lovely." She twirled in the sunlight. "I imagine I'd be happy living in the forest."

"A nymph in her habitat." Meg smiled, finishing her cracker. "Away from all the bad men, she lives in a secret society free from men."

Christine looked at Meg with a fond smile, leaning back on a tree. "And she goes and kidnaps unsuspecting girls uncertain of their relationships and whisks them away to a place where they don't have to worry."

"Oh no, not kidnaps." Meg insisted. "The girls all go of free will. They're sick of the shit being forced on them that's not their faults."

Christine's smile faltered slightly and Meg knew what she was thinking off. "Yes well…" The weight of Paris placed on her shoulders against her own freedom. Yet she still felt sympathy for the phantom.

Meg could've said a thousand things in the moment, but she knew none of them would be what Christine wanted or needed to hear. So she kept her mouth shut, despite the bitter taste accumulating there. Meg cleared her throat, breaking eye contact with Christine. "Well uh, we should be going. We want to make it to a tavern before it's too full of travelers." She said with a weak smile, once again mounting the horse. Christine nodded, following suit. But she kept her gaze away from Meg's.

Both girls clearly had things to say to the other, but neither of them knew how to word it or how to say it while avoiding an awkward journey. The silence was tense, but luckily it was soon broken by the outline of a small village in the horizon.

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Meg dropped several francs onto the counter. "I'd like a room, please." She said to the man sitting behind the counter.

The man nodded, glancing at Christine, who was standing behind Meg. "What are you two girls doing traveling out alone?" He asked curiously. He didn't sound particularly accusatory, but the question did make Meg a bit nervous.

"My sister and I were visiting our father in Paris. Now we're returning to our aunt out in the country." Meg said with a smile.

The man returned the smile, handing Meg a key. "Let me show you to your room. Do you have any bags you need me to take?" He asked, walking from behind the desk.

"Our bags were sent ahead of us." Christine piped up. Meg smiled at her quick thinking.

The man nodded again, opening a door to a small, but cozy room. "This is it. We start serving dinner at five if you get hungry and if you need more blankets or anything, don't hesitate to ask."

"Thank you." Meg smiled.

"Thank you very much, sir." Christine chimed in, before walking into the room. "That was quick thinking, Meg." Christine said, falling back onto the bed, and slipping her feet out of her shoes.

"Thank you." Meg smiled bashfully. "You did well too…"

"The only thing I don't really understand is why you said we're sisters." Christine said.

"Sisters is less bizarre than two unrelated girls traveling alone with few supplies." Meg shrugged. "Especially with the way I'm dressed right now. He could've thought I was kidnapping you or that we were lovers or something."

Christine sat up, looking thoughtful for a moment. "I suppose so." She giggled. "You do look like a regular Julie D'Aubigny." D'Aubigny was a famous opera singer, known for her dueling and often scandalous affairs. The dancers back at the opera house shared tales of her escapades on more than one occasion.

Meg gasped. "I would never sleep with a nun! Besides I can't sing. So maybe you're the Aubigny." She stuck her tongue out at Christine.

Christine's laughter died off and a pensive expression took her face. "Okay, you're the dueling Aubigny, I'm the singing one." She nodded.

"And the scandal?" Meg asked, fluttering her eyelashes and stepping towards Christine.

"We can share it." Christine laughed, taking Meg's hands in hers.

Meg laughed too, falling onto the bed beside Christine. Their laughter died down after a moment and the two sat in a comfortable silence, hand in hand.

"I don't think I miss them." Christine said suddenly. "Either of them." Meg stayed silent, staring at the ceiling. She squeezed Christine's hand to encourage her to continue. "I'm happy without them. I think as long as I have a friend, as long as I have you, I'll be alright."

"That's a lot of stake to put on me." Meg said after a moment of absorbing the information.

"I'll find other means of happiness once we settle down, I'm sure." Christine assured her quickly. "I guess I'm just saying I don't regret it. And thank you." She added. "For convincing me and helping me. I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate it." Christine smiled.

Meg returned the smile. "Do you think the other dancers miss us?" She asked curiously.

"They're probably glad we're gone." Christine chuckled. "We were the most talented women there, aside from your mother of course. They're probably leaping at the chance to rise into stardom."

"You're probably right." Meg agreed with a soft laugh. "But they were still our friends." She said. "I'll miss the stories and the gossip on the quiet nights in with them."

"They may miss us then." Christine conceded. "No one could tell the phantom's story as well as you."

"And you always had the best fairy tales." Meg added.

"Émile would teach us about history-"

"And Chantel would talk about the boys she'd known."

Meg and Christine reminisced together about life when things made sense. Before the Phantom and Raoul trounced through Christine's life and left it shattered in pieces like a broken mirror. And like a broken mirror, she could no longer see herself there. That place had stopped acting as her home and more like a prison. A place of torture. She couldn't stay there.

"I wish that maybe I could've performed more." Christine said with a sigh. "I love singing so much."

"You can still perform." Meg insisted. "We just have to stay out of the spotlight for a little bit. Just long enough to get away from them." Meg promised. "Orléans is big enough. It has its own theater. Sure it isn't Paris, but it's safer and calmer."

"That sounds nice." Christine said with a smile and a nod. "I really don't want or need much. I just want a little place where I can sing." She looked pensive for a moment. "Maybe I'll try to compose some of my own songs. What would you say, Meg?"

"Compose your own music?" She raised an eyebrow. "Not to offend, but can you even play an instrument?" Meg asked, confused.

"I can play basics on the piano." Christine said, lifting her chin defensively.

Meg smiled. "I don't know if composing is the right path for you, but you can certainly be a lyricist or help with vocal parts. If there are any composers nearby, I mean."

"You're probably right." Christine sighed, falling back onto the bed. "But I can dream."

"Of course." Meg smiled, fondly. "But no matter what you decide to do, I'm here to support you." She said.

"Thank you, Meg." Christine smiled. "I really appreciate it."

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Meg could never forget the first time she saw someone who loved differently. She was little, about eleven or twelve. She was studying at the Paris Opera house to become a ballerina. Her mother and the other ballerinas all tried to keep a close eye on her, Madame Giry often said that running off alone was dangerous, but that didn't stop Meg. Her favorite place to go had to be the dressing room for the ballerinas, the beautiful dresses, the ornate mirrors, the flowers, and the makeup, it was like a dream.

She had snuck away from her mother for a moment and she had gone to the dressing room. There was a rehearsal going on, so the room was empty. Or at least that's what Meg thought. They were standing in a corner, so Meg almost hadn't noticed them. Meg was so quiet that they hadn't noticed her. It was two women, standing close together, there were smiles on both of their faces. One had cupped the face of the other in her hands.

"I love you, so much." The woman said, leaning in and kissing her partner softly and quickly.

The other woman laughed, batting her hand away. "We're supposed to be rehearsing." She admonished.

"One more kiss." The first woman pleaded with a fond smile. The second complied before taking her hand and starting to pull her out of the room.

Meg saw they were about to leave and she hid, not wanting to be seen away from her mother. She felt like an intruder. She also felt like she had seen something terribly wrong. There was a strong emotion in her chest that she interpreted as some measure of disgust or fear. But behind that was fascination. She was confused and wanted an answer. She needed an answer.

The next night she snuck away from her mother again to the dressing room, this time when the dancers were all there. She approached the one she had seen yesterday. "Uh…mademoiselle Anne?" She said uncertainly. "I have a question for you."

"Of course little miss Giry." Anne smiled, taking a break from applying makeup. "What is it?"

Meg thought of a way to phrase it without drawing the suspicions of the other dancers. "Yesterday I saw you…" She stood on her toes to whisper. "And Mademoiselle Selene."

A look of mild discomfort passed over Anne's face. "Ah…yes. Petite Giry, why don't you take a walk with me." Anne said, taking Meg's hand and leading her out of the room. She took her to a quiet hall, not too far out of anyone's path, but far enough to be secluded. "So…what exactly did you see?" She asked.

"You kissed her." Meg said simply.

Anne looked visibly a bit relieved. "And then what is your question Petite Giry?"

"You love her, but you're both-"

"I know." Anne said. "Romantic love can come in many forms. I love Selene more than I will ever love any man."

"You can just…love a girl?" Meg said curiously.

"Meg, there will come a time that you will discover that the world is filled with attractive people. To me the most beautiful person in the world just so happens to be a woman. And so I love her. There'll come a day where you find someone who is the most beautiful person in the world to you. It doesn't matter whether they're a boy or a girl, you will love them." Anne said. "Does that make sense?" She asked.

Meg nodded. But understanding a concept and experiencing it are two very different things. She understood the idea of it. She began experiencing it about two years later. It had been just a normal day and she was rehearsing with Christine. Christine hadn't said anything or done anything in particularly, she just looked back at Meg and smiled and Meg came to the horrible realization that the most beautiful person in the world was right in front of her. Christine was kind and beautiful and talented and Meg was in love with her.

Meg tried to deny it for a long time, but she couldn't stop herself from loving Christine. Every smile and laugh sent her heart racing, she would hum when she thought no one else was around and Meg's face flushed, and though she tried to stop herself, she stole glances whenever she could.

Meg knew this was bad, but it got abundantly clearer when Christine got her first role.

"Hundreds of men will fall in love with her tonight." Madame Giry predicted, looking at Christine. "I pity the idiot that tries to act on his infatuation."

"What do you mean?" Meg asked out of curiousity and self preservation.

"There is a dangerous man with a dangerous obsession." Madame Giry said, shaking her head. "I've seen him do terrible things and I don't doubt that he'll do more."

Meg should've taken Christine away then and there. She should have warned her. She should have done anything. But she didn't. None of this was her fault, and yet part of her still felt like she was to blame for her inaction. She had to keep her safe now. Christine deserved a life without that sort of stress.

Meg sat across from Christine at a table in the inn. She was zoned out, making and remaking plans for where they were going and what they could do when they got there.

"Meg," Christine said, placing a hand over her friends. "Are you alright? You've been awfully quiet tonight. Besides, you've hardly touched your food." Christine pointed out. "You need to eat."

"I've had a lot on my mind lately, is all." Meg responded, taking a bite out of her bread.

"Is there anything I could help with?" Christine asked.

Meg smiled. "Well…when we get to Orléans, we need to figure out what kind of jobs we want to do." Meg said.

"There are a lot of jobs!" Christine exclaimed. "We could be servants in taverns or nannies or music teachers or we could find nearby theater and perform there." Christine smiled, continuing on with the possibilities of professions they could attempt. And Meg smiled too. Christine was cheerful and besides, she managed to check something off of her to do list.

Chapter Text

"Meg?" Christine said as the pair finished their dinner. "Do you think we could walk around the village a bit before we settle in for the night? I've gotten a bit restless."

Meg smiled wryly. "We've traveled for days to get here and rather than rest, you want to wander around aimlessly? Christine Daae, you are full of eccentricities, aren't you?"

"Please Meg? It doesn't have to be a long walk, I just need to get out of this building and stretch my legs." She said with a winning smile. Meg knew from the beginning that she could not refuse her. So after a few more teasing comments, she relented and the pair went out.

Christine walked down a dark street, Meg following slightly behind her. This was a small town, and only the main road had street lights. The sun had begun to set and it was difficult for either girl to see clearly. Christine had wanted to walk through the village and speak to some of the people there. She was a social person, and while she enjoyed Meg's company, she still enjoyed speaking to others.

Being out in the village made Meg a bit nervous. She was wary and hoped that Christine's socializing wouldn't jeopardize her safety. She was musing through the aspects of their journey when she heard the sound behind them. She could hear a horse or two on the gravel road. She glanced behind them and hurried to Christine, pulling her out of sight of the horse riders and into her arms. Meg's back hit the wall of a building and she had Christine tight in her arms. The world seemed to stop for Meg. She could feel Christine's startled breath through her shirt, Christine's eyes were wide as she raised her gaze to meet Meg's.

Meg's mouth was dry. "Are you alright, Christine?" She asked softly.

Christine cleared her throat, straightening her self out and pulling away from Meg. Her face was red. "Yes, I'm alright, just startled."

Meg could feel her heartbeat in her chest. She was sure her face was almost glowing in the darkness. "Let's go back to the room." She said quickly. "We need to be ready to leave tomorrow."

Christine nodded, and the girls walked slowly back to the inn they were staying at. Neither one of them spoke. Each one was in a state of confusion and alarm. Neither of them felt safe, although it was only a mistake. It was just an inconsiderate rider that hadn't seen them on the road. Still, a feeling of unease had settled over both of them.

Meg walked into the inn and immediately froze. She recognized that voice. Two men were stood at the front desk. "We need a room, just for the night, money isn't an issue, just whatever you have."

Meg reached her hand out to Christine and silently urged her to pull the hood of her cloak over her head. Christine realized the situation and did so, following Meg quickly and quietly up the stairs into their room.

When they arrived in their room, Christine pulled the hood off. "How did he find us so quickly?" She asked. "We've left no real tracks! We've made good time! We've lied to the people we've met along the way!"

"I don't know." Meg said, honestly. "I'm frankly more disappointed that the vicomte chose to pursue you." She sighed, lowering herself to sit on their bed.

"Meg, what will we do?" Christine asked frantically, kneeling in front of her friend. "He can't find us here, he can't!"

"Christine," Meg hushed her, taking her arms and pulling her to her feet. "We will be fine. We have to stay quiet tonight and then we'll leave early tomorrow morning." She assured her. "He can't take you if you don't want to go. I won't let him."

Christine wrapped her arms around Meg's waist, putting her head on her shoulder. "I don't want to go…" She mumbled. "Once I thought that I loved him, but I don't think so anymore. I don't know if I could."

Meg returned the embrace. "It's alright…"

"He used me as bait." Christine said, swallowing. "He put my life in danger. He said he loved me, but he never even believed me when I told him about…"

Meg hushed her again, taking her face in her hands and wiping tears away with her thumbs. "That's not what someone in love would do." She told her. "Christine, I promise you, if it is within my power, I will get you away. Away from the phantom, away from Raoul. You will never have to see them or hear from them again."

"You've already done so much for me." Christine cracked a smile, leaning into Meg's touch. "I don't know how I can ever thank you."

"You can thank me by getting some rest." Meg smiled teasingly. "We have an early morning and a long day ahead of us." She stepped away from Christine, and removed her cloak from her shoulders. "Forget the vicomte for a moment and rest."

Christine nodded. She turned from the bed and hung her own cloak up with Meg's. She and Meg both laid on the bed. Meg closed her eyes and seemed to fall asleep easily, but Christine had a harder time doing so. Something felt different to her. She didn't know what it was or what it could be, but something was different. She pushed back the feeling and closed her eyes.

Chapter Text

Christine did not sleep much that night. Raoul was only a room away. At any moment he may stumble into their room and see her. Christine would hear a noise through the night and her eyes would shoot open. She raised the blanket to cover her face more and she would scoot closer to Meg. She glanced at Meg, who was sleeping peacefully. She understood why could sleep so peacefully, but she could not bring herself to be envious of her friend, who had done so much for her over the past few days.

Christine held back the sudden urge to place a kiss to her friend's forehead. She supposed that the urge was to due to the stress of the day. It made her desperate for affection, giving it or receiving it. Christine gave in slightly to the urge, resting her head on Meg's chest and closing her eyes. She listened to the relaxing rhythm of Meg's heartbeat. Christine thought that if she ever truly fell in love, it would be with someone like Meg. Someone selfless, kind, courageous, clever, and compassionate. Someone that truly cared for her as Meg did.

Christine moved her arm across Meg's stomach in a loose embrace. She opened an eye and glanced up at her friend. Despite having spent so many nights in the same bed as children or more recently on their journey, Christine had never seen Meg like this. She smiled to herself. She doubted that any woman in all of France was more beautiful than Meg.

Meg was well aware of her feelings for Christine. She knew that she was irrevocably in love with her, but she also knew that announcing this feeling could make Christine feel as though she had been betrayed. It could add Meg to the list of people Christine was running from. And that was the last thing that Meg wanted.

But as Meg woke up to find Christine, alseep on her chest. She felt her heart ache so powerfully and she had such a strong desire to confess just how much she cared for her. Meg did not do that though. She gently shook Christine awake, and looked at her with concern. "Christine, are you alright? Did something frighten you?" She asked softly.

"Hm?" Christine hummed as she was roused from her slumber. "Oh, yes." She nodded, disentangling herself from Meg and sitting up. "Last night I kept hearing noises and worried that he might come into the room." She said. "I felt much safer closer to you." She admitted.

Meg felt her face warm significantly and she looked down. "I'm glad I can be of service." She mumbled.

Christine smiled. "You're adorable when you blush." She commented, hopping out of the bed.

That small comment, that Christine likely only meant as a teasing remark, managed to completely stop Meg's heart for a good few seconds. She quickly turned her eyes to Christine and watched as she stretched and prepared herself for the day. And in that moment, Christine unknowingly gave Meg the worst feeling imaginable; a twinge of hope. Meg knew. She knew that Christine did not feel the same about her and yet she couldn't help the fact that her heart was soaring with the comment and the smallest insignificant possibility that maybe Christine could love someone like her. Meg wanted to scream out in frustration.

Christine approached the bed once more, looking at Meg with her wide innocent brown eyes. "Meg, are you alright?" She asked with concern. "If you're not feeling well, we could stay another night. Perhaps we could stay until Raoul leaves." She offered.

"No, we need to keep moving." Meg insisted, swinging her legs over the side of the bed and moving to prepare to leave. "We need to get away from him." She avoided Christine's gaze.

"If you're not feeling well, you shouldn't be traveling." Christine argued, following Meg.

Meg paused. "Christine," She smiled. "I promise you I'm fine. I'll be even better when we can get out of her." She grabbed Christine's cloak and draped it over her shoulder. "You'll need to cover your face as well as you can." She pulled the hood over her head.

"Well, what about you?" Christine asked. "Raoul knows you as well." She pointed out.

"I'll cover my face as well." Meg nodded. "We'll be alright." She promised.

They walked through the inn in silence, arriving at the front desk without any interruptions or even seeing anyone else. Meg rang the bell to alert the innkeeper to their presence. He waddled out from the back room, still in a night shirt. He looked at Meg in surprise. "Leaving so early?"

"I'm afraid so." Meg smiled remorsefully. "Our home is awaiting us."

"Is that so…" The man glanced back at Christine as he took the key from Meg. "You know…a man came in last night looking for a girl not exactly unlike your sister there." He noted.

"Really?" Meg asked, feigning curiousity.

"I'd suppose you wouldn't know anything about that." The man commented. "I rather hope she stays away. I feel that any girl running from a vicomte must have a good reason, right?" He asked with a small twinkle in his eye.

"She must." Meg agreed, her smile becoming more genuine. "Thank you, m'sieur."

"Thank you." Christine echoed with a nod.

"Of course." The man nodded as the girls left the inn and retrieved their horse.

They rode through the town in silence, Christine holding onto Meg from behind. Once they were out Christine felt like she could finally breathe. "That was…frightening." She said softly.

"I was afraid I might lose you." Meg responded. "I'm glad I didn't."

"I'm glad I didn't lose you as well." Christine smiled, burying her face in Meg's back. "Very glad."

Chapter Text

Christine and Meg spent he first few hours of their ride in frightful silence. They feared that any moment they'd hear the sound of Raoul's voice behind them, calling out. Meg kept the horse going at a gallop, trying to get as far away as they could before Raoul left.

The sun rose high in the sky and Meg pulled the horse off of the beaten path. She directed it towards a barely visible road through a forest. "It's a bit out of our way, but it'll get him off of our trail." Meg assured Christine, who had tightened her hold on Meg's waist.

"Alright…" Christine murmured.

"I've been working the horse, so we ought to give it a break soon." Meg said, patting the side of the animal. Christine nodded.

Christine was completely overwhelmed by the affection she felt for Meg that came over her the previous night. She could do nothing but hold her close. The idea that she might have lost her best friend shook her to her core and made Christine afraid to let go of her.

They stopped in a small clearing in the woods. Meg got down and offered a hand to help Christine. "You seem awfully quiet, today." She noticed. "I'm guessing you're still a little worried. Don't be, I'll protect you." She offered a smile.

Christine felt her heart flutter and she simply nodded, her mouth dry. She sat down on the grass. After a sizable moment of silence she spoke. "Meg, do you think you'll ever fall in love or get married?" She asked softly, looking down.

Meg avoided her gaze, petting the horse. "I don't think I'll ever marry." She admitted. "But love…" She smiled sadly. "Thats not something we can help or expect."

"I see…" Christine mumbled.

"I'm not leaving you." Meg assured her, squatting on her haunches to look Christine in the eyes. "Thats not something you ever have to worry about. Even if I fall in love, they'll have to accept that I'm not leaving you. Not until you make me."

"Thank you." Christine smiled slightly. "I don't know if I could ever make you leave."

"Then I will never leave." Meg chuckled, falling onto her bottom besides Christine.

"Good." Christine laughed along with Meg. "I don't know what I'd do without you." She smiled, resting her head on Meg's shoulder. "I'd be miserable."

"You don't have to think about that, because you do have me." Meg responded resting her head against Christine's.

They sat there in perfect comfort for what felt like hours. Meg kissed Christine's forehead, in what seemed to be the most natural thing in the world, but as she stood, she could feel her heart beat into her throat. Christine felt her face flush as she watched Meg stand.

Meg cleared her throat. "Would you be okay if we walked for a bit? I want to keep moving, but we can't overwork our horse." Christine nodded, pushing herself to her feet and dusting off her dress.

They walked through the woods making idle conversation, but something felt strange to Meg. There was something bizarre or different with Christine. Perhaps it was something in the way she held herself or the way she spoke. Maybe it was some change of mind that she couldn't see. Perhaps it was just her own imagination running wild. Meg decided the last one was most likely and shook her head to clear her thoughts.

Christine had been struck by a thought, bizarre and uninvited. Meg had made some minor comment about the beauty of the forest or something to that extent and Christine looked at her and came to the realization that she could love her. It had never been something she had considered and yet know it made almost perfect sense. She could see herself loving Meg so easily and it just seemed natural. It was different from the childish infatuation she had with Raoul or the almost religious devotion to the phantom. It was plain and simple. It was loving someone that cared for her, no caveats, exceptions, or even expectations. Someone that would protect her and stay with her. Someone that listened to her and believed what she said. Loving Meg suddenly made more sense than many of the other occurrences in her life.

Christine glanced across the way at Meg. There was no denying that she was beautiful, long blonde hair and plump pink lips, and legs toned from a lifetime of dancing. Christine's face flushed slightly, as she glanced away. The well fitting men's clothing certainly didn't hurt her appearance.

"Christine? Are you feeling alright?" Meg asked, looking at her friend. "Your face is red." She looked around. "It's not that warm out, but if you need a break we can rest in the shade." She offered.

Christine swallowed. "No, no, I'm fine. We should keep walking." Walking would keep her mind off of the crush she was developing on her friend. At least that's what she hoped.

Meg was concerned about Christine. She was worried that she wasn't feeling well and by pushing herself, she'd make it worse. And making it worse meant that they'd have to stop for a long time or even possibly seek treatment. "Christine, you'd tell me if you needed to rest, right?" Meg asked. "Because I don't want you getting sick or hurt or anything."

Christine felt her heart swell at the concern shown by her friend. She walked closer to Meg and squeezed her hand. "I'll tell you. Thank you for watching out for me." She smiled and Meg's heart stopped for a moment.

Chapter Text

They travelled for several days, resting very rarely. Christine held her recent realization of attraction to Meg close to her chest, almost afraid of what could happen if she told Meg. But in the same vein she had such a strong desire to tell her. There were several close calls where Christine felt especially compelled to spill her heart out to Meg, but she managed to avoid that until they arrived at Orléans.

”What do you think?” Meg asked, lowering herself from the horse as she looked at an inn on the outskirts of the town.

”As long as we’re together, I’m fine.” Christine nodded as Meg tied up their horse and the pair approached the counter.

”Hello.” Meg greeted the woman at the front desk easily. “Me and my friend need a room indefinitely.” She said. “I can pay a few weeks in advance.” She offered a handful of coins.

”Of course.” The woman smiled, eagerly accepting the coins. “Would you be needing two rooms or just the one?”

“One is fine.” Meg assured her. “Also, would you happen to know any jobs that would accept us. We’re both performers, and if that doesn’t help we can do anything else.”

The woman looked thoughtful for a moment. “Well…there is an acting troupe that comes around to perform every once in a while, but I don’t know when they’re supposed to come again. There may be a few shops around town that would take a couple of young ladies like yourselves, maybe the tavern down the road. Although if you were thinking about another profession, I’ll show you the door right now. I won’t be having none of that.” The woman said, casting a suspicious look at the girls.

Christine and Meg were both shocked by the accusation, although Christine was able to shake it off a bit quicker. “I assure you, neither of us had anything of the sort in mind.” She insisted with a frown. “Frankly madame, that’s a bit rude of you to assume.”

”I’m sorry, Miss, but you can’t blame me for being a bit suspicious when your friend is dressed like that.” She gestured to Meg’s trousers and men’s shirt.

Christine’s face grew more frustrated. “Madame, let me explain this to you. We are performers. Meg has been playing boys’ roles for most of her life. But since we have matured, they were about to force her into that other profession. We escaped with what we could and we are just trying to make honest livings.” She said. “May we have our room key?” She said with a frown. “Or should we take our business elsewhere?” Christine said slowly, with an anger that seemed to burn a hole through the woman.

The woman paled and quickly reached for a key. “I’m so sorry miss, I had no idea!”

”Don’t make judgements on people you know nothing about.” Christine snapped, grabbing the key and pulling Meg away quickly.

They walked to their room, Meg in stunned silence. Once they arrived Meg turned to Christine. “That was amazing. How did you get to be such a good liar?” She asked, still in awe of what she had just witnessed.

Christine shrugged. “I’ve always loved stories. And lies are…they’re like stories with a foundation in life.” She sat down on their bed. “Besides, she was being rude. And you told her we were performers.”

”Christine…” Meg sighed.

”Are we going out to look for jobs tonight or can we wait till tomorrow?” Christine asked with a yawn.

”We can wait till tomorrow.” Meg said with a chuckle. “It seems as though you’re pretty tired.”

”A bit.” Christine admitted. They spent a few moments in silence, Meg looking through their few belongings while Christine looked pensively at the ceiling. “Meg…” Christine said in a slow thoughtful manner. “You promised to stay with me until I ask you to leave. Right?”

Meg looked over her shoulder at Christine, visibly a bit puzzled. “Yes…” She paused, laughing slightly. “I won’t let you kick me out now though, that was my money that paid for this room, missy.” Meg teased, turning back to evaluating her bag.

”That’s not why…” Christine let out a barely audible sigh as she fell back onto the bed. Meg paid her no real mind. “Meg.” Christine said.

”What is it, Christine?” Meg asked, amused.

“I love you.” Christine said, moving from the bed, onto the floor beside her friend.

Meg hesitated for a moment, her face flushing with the idea that Christine could mean it in the way Meg felt. She quickly shook this off and smiled awkwardly at Christine. “I don’t know why you made so much fuss about that. You’re my dearest friend, I love you too-“

”No.” Christine huffed, grabbing Meg’s hand and incidentally forcing her to drop her bag to the floor. “That’s not how I meant it.”

Meg felt her face flush and her eyes were wide, but she was certain that Christine didn’t mean that. She swallowed anxiously, unable to escape Christine’s gaze. “How did you mean it then?”

Christine used her other hand to cup Meg’s cheek. “Romantically.” She asserted, gazing steadily into Meg’s eyes.

Meg forced laughter out as she tenderly pushed Christine’s hands away and rose to her feet. “Christine…you can’t be serious.” Her laughter was noticeably forced, uncomfortable, and Christine could see a note of sadness on her face. “It’s not real.” She insisted as Christine rose to her feet, visibly crestfallen. “It’s only because I helped you get out of an unsavory situation. That must be it. Somewhere you think you must owe me or something!” Meg took Christine’s hands in her own and squeezed, silently pleading that she would agree and this would go away. She had always hoped that maybe Christine would have feelings for her, but when the moment arose she was unprepared and afraid.

Christine’s face turned sour as she pulled her hands from Meg’s. “I am serious and frankly Meg, at the moment you sound exactly like Raoul. I know my own emotions. I know what I am feeling. Do not discredit this to some subconscious guilt!”

”Christine…I am so sorry.” Meg said quickly. “I would never mean to try and ignore your emotions. But you must understand where I’m coming from. This is so out of the blue and truth be told, I’m frightened Christine.” Meg grabbed her shoulders, looking at her. “Please, just think about it some more. Make sure this is how you really feel. Then in a week or two if you still have no doubts, tell me. The last thing I want is for you to do something you regret.”

Christine sighed, looking away from Meg. “Fine.” She swallowed, looking back up at her friend. “But will you tell me…do you feel the same way.”

Meg smiled, standing on her toes to kiss Christine’s forehead. “I’ll tell you when you know for sure.”

Chapter Text

Meg hummed to herself, wiping down the counter of the tavern that she had found herself a job in. It was early in the afternoon, so there weren’t many customers in yet. The bell above the door let out a cheerful noise and Meg glanced up. She couldn’t stop the smile that appeared on her face as she saw Christine practically running towards her.

”How was the first run of the show, Christine?” Meg asked softly, not looking up from the counter.

“Absolutely amazing Meg! You must come see us!” Christine grinned, reaching over the counter and grabbing Meg’s hands. “If not for me, then come see Colette. She’s so astounding! And so young too!” She exclaimed. “You must find a way to come.” She practically whined.

Meg laughed, finally bringing her eyes to Christine’s face. “I’m working. We can’t all be big fancy actors.” Christine pouted and Meg rolled her eyes. “I’ll see what I can do.” Christine’s face immediately brightened. “I make no promises though!” She said quickly.

Christine laughed. “It’s alright Meg, I understand. Someone needs to pay for food while I’m out playing make believe.”

”Christine.” Meg scolded lightly. “You’re not ‘playing make believe.’ You’re an actress. If we hadn’t left Paris, there wouldn’t have been a show you weren’t in.”

”I suppose so.” Christine said with a wistful air to her voice.

“If you ever want to go back, we can.” Meg said softly.

”No.” Christine shook her head with a small smile. “I wouldn’t leave you. I couldn’t leave the show. Besides I don’t know if either of them…” She trailed off. “It’s better this way. I’m happy here.” She smiled, taking Meg’s hands in her own. “I’ll see you at home.” She said, turning and walking away.

Meg smiled, watching her friend leave. She loved Christine’s visits. But she always felt that Christine was leaving something out. Omitting some secret distress. At least…it was a secret for a bit, the moments Christine came to visit her in public. When evening fell and they returned to their room, Christine spoke frankly.

”Meg, I still feel the same way and I doubt I’ll feel differently any time soon.” Christine said, frustration tinging her voice.

”Christine, please.” Meg responded. “This is still too soon, you have to think on it more.”

”It’s almost been a month.” Christine huffed. “When will it stop being too soon?” She demanded.

”When you’ve realized this isn’t what you want.” Meg returned. She sat down with a sigh. “Christine, you could have the world. Lead roles at the opera house, a wealthy vicomte with a chalet outside of the city, the sort of life you deserve. Would you really rather spend your life performing in a local theater, staying in a room in an inn with someone you’re not supposed to love?” Meg asked.

”Meg” She began. “You’re right…” She let out a sigh. “I don’t want to stay in this inn with you.” Meg felt her heart fall, but she knew this was for the best. Christine kneeled in front of Meg and took her hands. “I want to save up and buy a little cottage with you.” Christine smiled. Meg let out a snort of laughter as Christine rose to her feet. “Meg…I still don’t know exactly how you feel about me. But I feel like if it was a simple no, you would have told me so by now.” She stepped closer, holding Meg’s face in her hands. “Why won’t you let us be happy?” She asked softly, running her thumbs over Meg’s cheeks.

”Christine…” Meg sighed, leaning into the touch. “We both know it can’t be so simple. I’ve loved you for years, and I’ve always known-“ She was cut off by Christine closing the distance between them and pressing her lips against Meg’s. Christine draped her arms around Meg’s shoulders as she lowered herself so she was more at Meg’s level.

Meg was astounded. Her heart was beating fast in her chest as she desperately tried to commit the moment to memory. Christine pulled away enough so she could see Meg’s face. “Meg.” Christine said softly.

”Yes?” Meg was hardly breathing.

”What did we leave for if not for the chance to actually fall in love?” Christine said.

”Christine.” Meg chuckled, removing Christine’s arms from around her neck and taking her hands in her own. “It’s a romantic thought, but we left for your safety.”

”And now we can’t go back because we’ve found love.” Christine responded, squeezing Meg’s hands. “Meg, if you don’t feel the same, tell me and I will stop. I will never speak of it again.” She promised her. “I love you and I want you to be happy. And if that only happens by leaving you alone, then I’ll stop.”

Meg shook her head, looking down at their hands. “Christine…” She sighed, unsure of what to say. “I-“ She was cut off by a commotion downstairs. They heard loud noises and frenzy, as the people downstairs seemed to prepare. Meg rushed to the stairs, Christine following close behind. “What’s going on?” Meg called down to one of the frantic workers below.

”We just got news that an important customer could be heading our way!” The man responded.

”Yes indeed! One Vicomte de Chagny was seen roaming around town looking for a place to stay for a few days!” The mistress of the inn responded with a cheerful grin, unaware of the distress she was causing. Christine’s face had become a sickly pale as she and Meg rushed back to their room.

Chapter Text

Christine felt such severe anxiety. She immediately turned from the staircase and ran to their room. “We have to leave.” She desperately told Meg. “We have to. I can’t go back. Where can we go?” She asked, starting to gather the few belongings she had acquired. “Where’s the bag? We need to get another bag for our things.” Christine spoke in rapid succession. The room was filled with her panic, and Meg closed the door tight behind her.

Meg quickly walked over to where Christine had sat down on the floor. She knelt down beside her, hiking her skirt up so she was more comfortable. She missed wearing pants. “Christine, Christine,” She said soothingly, reaching out with both hands and coming to cup her face. “Christine, my darling.” She repeated softly, rubbing her thumbs over her cheeks. “We can leave early tomorrow morning.” Meg promised. “Whatever you want. You can stay here and hide and I’ll take care of it.”

”Wait…” Christine muttered. “The troupe. What do I do about the troupe?” She asked, placing her hand over Meg’s. “I don’t want to leave them, Meg. I don’t want to leave the inn.” She closed her eyes, leaning her face into Christine’s hand. “I like it here and it’s not fair that I have to leave. That we have to leave.” She murmured softly.

Meg smiled sadly, placing a gentle kiss on Christine’s forehead. “If he truly loved you, he would let you go.”

”If he truly loved me, he would have read the letter and realized there was no future for us. He wouldn’t have made me risk my life for a chance to catch the phantom. He wouldn’t have doubted me in the first place.” She responded. “I don’t think he loves me.”

Meg let out a sigh, letting go of Christine and sitting beside her. “Tell me what you need me to do Christine. I’ll do it.” She assured her.

”I have no idea where to begin.” Christine sighed, laying back onto the floor.

”So you want to stay.” Meg said thoughtfully, looking down at Christine. “You could hide away from Raoul until he leaves.” She suggested. “Or we could disguise you with costumes from your troupe.”

”What if it’s all a misunderstanding and I could talk to him and convince him to leave.” Christine said with a hint of hope.

”I’d rather not risk it.” Meg admitted. “But…if I wear a cloak to hide my face and find out the room where he stays. I can tell him. Tell him you’re gone far away and that you don’t love him.”

”But then you could get hurt.” Christine frowned, reaching up to touch Meg’s cheek.

Meg smiled, leaning into the touch. “I can take care of myself, Christine. I wouldn’t let Raoul hurt me. I promise.”

Christine sighed, letting her hand fall away from Meg’s face. “I believe you.”

Meg let herself lay beside Christine. She reached and entwined her fingers with Christine’s. After a moment of laying like this, she spoke softly. “Christine?”

”Yes, Meg?” Christine responded, turning her head to look at her friend.

”I know you’re in a stressful situation, and I don’t want to add to it, but you asked me a question before we were distracted. May I answer it?” Meg kept her eyes, locked on the ceiling. Christine could feel her tense beside her.

”Only if you think it’ll make me feel better.” Christine responded, looking back at the ceiling with a sad sort of smile. “If you’re going to try to let me down, I request that you wait. Let me have a few more days in this fantasy.”

”It’s not a fantasy.” Meg said softly, pushing herself up and leaning over Christine. “Christine, I’ve loved you practically since I met you. I was willing to do anything to make you happy. And I still am.” She smiled in a way that was almost grateful. “If I could be responsible for some level of your happiness well…that would be a gift.” She reached down and cupped Christine’s cheek. “If I may?” She requested softly, almost as if it were a plea.

Christine met her half way. The kiss was a relief and a gift. It was a comfort. And even though they had only kissed for a moment before, it felt like it was the most natural thing in the world. All of her worries and fears about Raoul evaporated.

They pulled away and Christine buried her face in Meg’s neck. “Thank you.” She murmured. Her lips brushing against Meg’s skin as she spoke.

”For what?” Meg responded with a soft laugh, running her fingers through Christine's curls.

”Many things.” Christine responded. “For rescuing me, for loving me when I was blind, for protecting me.” She pressed a chaste kiss to Meg’s neck. “I owe you my life and my happiness.”

Meg scoffed. “You owe me nothing. Christine, you’ve made my life rich with adventure and friendship and love. I ask for nothing more. I don’t pretend to be your save all. I don’t want to be your everything. Just love me faithfully and tell me if you change your mind.” She twirled a strand of Christine’s locks around her finger.

“I don’t want to be your everything either.” Christine admitted. “Raoul and Erik…they were overbearing. Obsessive. It was nice for a while, but then it became stressful. Love me, without making me your sole reason for happiness.” She requested.

”Easy.” Meg responded, pressing a kiss to Christine’s nose. “Once everything settles down, I’d like to get in contact with my mother.” She mused after a moment. “Tell her that we’re well. Though I may not tell her where we are. But that we’re alive and happy. After we get Raoul to go away, of course.” She added quickly.

”I hope it is that easy.” Christine said softly.

Chapter Text

Meg had a dark cloak that Christine had borrowed from the troupe in her arms. She carefully walked down the stairs and slipped out the back door. Once she was around back she draped herself in the cloak, pulled the hood down to cover her face, and covered her hands with gloves. Then she entered the inn from the front door. She walked as if she were an elderly woman and she spoke in a low raspy voice.

She approached the mistress of the inn. “I heard…that the Vicomte de Chagny is here looking for his lost love.” She said slowly, sending out a silent prayer that the woman wouldn’t recognize her. “I have news of her for him.”

“I’ll get him at once.” The mistress said quickly, practically sprinting up the stairs.

Meg let out a sigh of relief. Now she just needed to convince Raoul to go. The woman returned with the Vicomte in tow. He looked frantic and suspicious. “You said you knew something of my fiancée.” He said, sparing Meg only a glance. “Tell me then, what is her name?”

”Christine Daae.” Meg responded, her eyes locked on the floor as she hunched over. “One of the most beautiful women in all of France. A tragedy, how she was harassed by that horrid man.”

”You do know.” Raoul said with wide eyes. “How do you know?” He asked, waving off the mistress of the inn.

“When you’ve lived as long as I, you see many things and understand many more.” Meg said, letting herself fall into one of the chairs.

”What is your name, Madame?” He asked, pulling a chair up to sit beside her. “What do you know of my Christine?”

”Call me Marie.” Meg said, a tight lipped frown forming on her face as Raoul mentioned “his Christine.” She took a breath before she spoke again. “Christine passed through this town a month ago. I saw her search the streets so I offered her food and rest.”

”Was she alright?” Raoul asked, his hands over his chest.

”She was frightened. She was running away from a man she called obsessive and overbearing. Who tried to make her marry him and-”

”I told her many times the phantom can harm her no longer!” Raoul exclaimed.

”Not the phantom!” Meg banged her hand on the table. “Now quiet boy. No more interruptions or I will leave you.” She threatened.

”I’m sorry, Madame, I’m just so worried-“

”Don’t be!” Meg huffed. “She is a capable woman. Not the fragile vase you envision her to be. And it was not only the phantom she was running from. She ran from you too.” Meg pointed a finger at his chest. “Your love was selfish and stressful, so she left you a note and ran as far as she could. She may still be running, though I hope she found a suitable place to settle down.”

”My love? Selfish?” Raoul scoffed. “Pray tell me wise woman, what do you know of me, what do you know of my love, what do you know of Christine?”

”More than you could imagine.” Meg responded, adjusting her hood. “You are the sort of man who does not allow a woman to speak her mind. You are the sort of man who must be the only thing in her life. You are the sort of man who uses his fiancée as bait for a murderer.” Megan practically spat the words out. “Your love is selfish, shallow and vain. Tell me, what attracted you to Christine?”


”It was her voice, and her looks was it not?” Meg didn’t even give him a chance to respond. “And I know Christine. She is clever and sweet and so very courageous. She was brave enough to run from a powerful man because she knew she deserved better.”

Raoul did not speak for a tense moment. “If you are not going to tell me where she is, then you are wasting my time and I will have you arrested.” He threatened, his voice low.

Meg took in a quick breath, and turned her head away from Raoul. “She said something about Italy.” She responded. “She’s probably already there if she hasn’t found a place to settle down along the way.”

”Thank you.” Raoul frowned. “I shall leave in the morning.

”Monsieur Vicomte!” Meg interjected quickly, practically jumping to her feet. She then remembered she was old and hunched over again. “Think about the things I said. She does not want to be found. She only wants to be free.”

”I think I know her better than you.” Raoul frowned.

”Whatever you say, Monsieur Vicomte.” Meg shook her head. She watched him storm through the inn back to his room. Then Meg walked out of the inn. She walked around the back and removed the cloak and gloves. She snuck back into the inn and to their rooms.

”Meg Giry?”

”Shit.” She cursed. “Shit.”

”Meg Giry, is that you?” Raoul asked.

”Monsieur Vicomte!” Meg exclaimed in surprise.

”Are you searching for Meg as well?” He asked.

”Yes.” Meg nodded quickly. “Yes. I have been searching for her. I had a lead that she was here.”

”I was told she was heading to Italy.” He said. “You may accompany me if you truly wish?” He offered.

“No, I shouldn’t.” Meg shook her head. “I left without telling my mother. If you have it under control then I should return.” She said.

”Well I leave early tomorrow for Italy, so I suppose this is goodbye, Miss Giry.”

”Goodbye Vicomte.”

Chapter Text

Christine jumped to her feet as Meg entered the room and closed the door softly behind her. “What happened? How did it go?” Christine asked, the anxiety written clearly on her face. Her voice was soft, she was afraid if she spoke too loudly he would hear her.

“It’s alright, Christine.” Meg assured her, taking her hands and bringing them to her lips. “He is leaving tomorrow morning for Italy.”

”Did he know it was you?” Christine asked, looking at their hands.

”No.” Meg shook her head. “He saw me come to the room afterwards, but he doesn’t know you’re here.” She assured her.

Christine closed the distance between them and kissed Meg. She wrapped her arms around her neck. “We’re okay? We’re really okay?”

”Yes.” Meg nodded, touching Christine’s cheek lightly. “We can stay here as long as you’d like.” She kissed Christine’s forehead.

”I choose forever.” Christine murmured. “Perhaps not in this inn, but in this town.” She leaned into Meg’s touch. “In your arms.” She said in a voice so soft Meg almost thought she’d imagined it.

”I love you.” Meg said softly.

”I love you too.” Christine responded. She leaned up again and pressed her lips against Meg’s, gentle and persistent. Meg had never kissed anyone before Christine. She was glad Christine was her first kiss. And her second. And third. Hopefully Christine would be the only person she’d ever kiss like this.

Meg’s hand slid down from Christine’s cheek. It trailed along her neck and sides before finally finding its place on her hip. It felt like her hand belonged on her hip, like every moment led to that hand being on that hip.. Christine swept her tongue over Meg’s lower lip and Meg let out a soft gasp, allowing Christine better access to her mouth.

”It’s still a bit odd to me.” Christine mused between kisses. “You not wearing trousers.” She clarified, moving her attention down to Meg’s neck.

Meg let out a breathy laugh, letting her head fall back. “I’ll wear whatever you’d like me to. I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep you here.” She said, a grin so big it was threatening to split her face. “I love you so much, Christine.” She didn’t know when the words had become so easy. Holding them back had been like holding her breath, but now she could finally breathe deeply and freely.

”I love you too.” Christine leaned back up to kiss Meg again. Christine couldn’t remember a time where she had been happier, more relieved, freer than she felt at that moment. “And I’m so happy.” She touched Meg’s cheek.

”I’m overjoyed.” Meg agreed. They just stood in that embrace for a moment. Each was a bit afraid to let go of the other, that if they did they’d be lost. Each nervous, but excited about what was coming next. But more than all, they were happy and free. Meg kissed Christine again.

Meg’s eyes opened as sunlight streamed through their windows. She looked over at her best friend, the love of her life, Christine. She brushed a curl from her sleeping face and pressed a kiss to her forehead. Meg slipped out of bed and pulled the curtains shut so Christine could sleep a little longer.

She walked through the cottage they had begun to call home. It was better than nice or good, it was perfect. Meg walked to the kitchen and put a loaf of bread she had begun making last night in the stove. She had begun to sit down when there was a knock at the door. She hurriedly tied her dressing gown and went to the door. A smile crossed her face. “Good morning, Charlie.”

Charlie was a little orphan boy, not older than nine, that delivered mail and news to those around town. He was one of Meg’s favorite people to see. “Good morning madamoiselle.” He pronounced the word like mam’selle. He nodded, holding out a letter to her.

”Thank you, Charlie.” Meg nodded. “I’m baking bread. If you can wait for a few minutes, I’ll send you on your way with a warm slice of bread and some cheese.

Charlie paused for a second, nodding. “Yes please. That’d be very nice.” He took his cap into his hands as he stepped into the building.

Meg looked at her mother’s handwriting on the letter and let out a sigh. She looked over her shoulder at the boy. “Charlie, will you be a dear and go get some water from the well out back?” She asked. “Next time I bake sweets I’ll make sure you get extras.” She smiled sweetly.

”You don’t have to do that ma’am.” He smiled. “But I do appreciate it.” He rushed out of the house, leaving Meg with a fond smile on her face.

Meg slipped her finger under the edge of the envelope, opening it. She pulled out the paper, unfolding it, and taking a deep breath. She read over it.

”Dear Meg, I hope you and Christine are well. You are welcome to return to the opera house. Raoul is gone to Italy, searching for Christine. Erik is gone too. Christine will be safe here again. You both will be safe at home. Meg, my dearest, I beg you, please come home.”

Meg grabbed a piece of paper and began the response to her mother, when Charlie returned from the well with a pitcher of water. She put her pen down. “Thank you, Charlie.” She smiled, mussing up his hair. “The bread will be done any moment now.”

Meg pulled the bread out of the stove a few minutes later, cutting a couple of slices off and putting them on a plate. “Let me get you some cheese to go with it.” She smiled, slicing off some cheese and putting it alongside the bread. “Here you go. I’m going to go wake up Christine.”

She walked over to their bed and sat on the edge. She brushed hair away from her face and leaned down to kiss her gently. “Christine.” She said softly, her hand moving to cup her face. She ran her thumb over her cheek. “Good morning, sweetheart.” She said as Christine’s eyes fluttered open.

“Good morning, love.” Christine touched her cheek.

”Charlie’s eating breakfast in the other room.” Meg said softly, leaning in and kissing her gently. “I made fresh bread.”

“Thank you darling.” Christine smiled, rising from the bed and donning her dressing gown. “I’ll be there in a minute.”

Meg went back to the kitchen and fixed plates for herself and Christine. Christine came out a moment later, dressed for the day. “Good morning Charlie.” She smiled, kissing his head. “How are you this morning?” She asked, accepting a plate from Meg.

As they talked, Meg pulled her letter back out. “Maman, I’ve told you before. Christine does not want to go back. I don’t want to go back either. We are so happy here. Although you are welcome to come visit us anytime.” She smiled, looking at Christine and Charlie with fondness. This was everything she had ever wanted. She was so happy.