Disclaimer: Transformative work. So much made up stuff, guys.
A/N: Phantom of the Opera 2004 MOVIE crossover with the Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. I'm being highly selective here with what canon elements I'm using, and for lots of reasons. Fusion, so obviously AU. Some things taken from the original Phantom; backstory, the idea of Raoul having an older brother named Philippe, suchlike. Absolutely a mash-up of what I want and none of what I don't. I make a lot of stuff up, and NO APOLOGY.
Summary: Unrealized potential is still potential; and it tends to manifest in the strangest of ways. A story of music, magic, and missing pieces.
Wakefulness shattered over Raoul mere seconds before strong hands wrapped around his neck. Pressure compressed his throat, clogging the breath in his lungs. Blue eyes snapped open, to meet a furious golden gaze.
Raoul's fingers flew to his throat, heart roaring in his ears as he struggled for breath. A single thought darted free from him on a Gray spear. *Erik!*
No recognition; no response beyond a tightening grip. Blackness fuzzed the edges of his vision, but Raoul didn't bother to call in the Gray. The path he threw himself down was tilted and familiar, dark, with music pounding in on him from all sides. He could barely see where he was going; could barely move for the lack of oxygen, but he knew where he needed to be.
Strength washed from him, but he could feel bare skin still, against his neck; that was all the connection he needed.
Raoul reached with one hand for the Phantom's uncovered cheek, with his mind for the Gray, and yanked.
His next waking was gentler, if barely.
*. . . Philippe?*
"Mother Night, what happened in here?!"
Raoul pushed himself up, and winced. The room was a mess; sheets and pillows strewn over the floor from the force of Erik's temper. The man himself was slumped on the carpet beside Raoul's cot, half-dressed and firmly unconscious.
A glittering spill of silver glass arced against the maroons and black oaks of the throw rug and floorboards before the dresser.
"It must -" Raoul's whisper cracked and fizzled to silence, and he reached a hand up to carefully brush his swollen throat. *It must have been the mirror,* he finished on a Red thread.
Philippe picked up the thought easily. "And you slept through all this? Mother Night, Raoul, I thought that after realizing what you were dealing with you might exercise some sense of self-preservation."
Indignant, the younger brother sat up straight and glared. *I-*
"Slept through the rampages of a Warlord Prince who has spent the better part of his life flirting with the Twisted Kingdom? I can see that." The older man abandoned the doorway where he had firmly shut out a throng of servants roused by the commotion. Glass crunched underfoot as he rounded the end of the master bed where Erik had slept the previous night, making his way to Raoul's cot, tucked off to one side of the room.
Blond brows drew down as Philippe frowned; Raoul's brother twisted on the power from his own Jewels and vanished the broken mirror. "How badly are you hurt?"
Testing the limits of power and injury, Raoul shrugged. *Two days, I think.*
Philippe brushed a hand over Raoul's forehead, pushing long blond strands back from his face. "Leaving me to explain everything, then? Convenient for you. If I didn't know better, I'd say you planned this."
Raoul rolled his eyes. *Yes, a bruised trachea. It's just what I've always wanted.* He kicked free of his own blankets, careful to avoid stepping on his – enemy? patient? – as he rose. *Help me get him back to bed, Philippe?* He called in the Gray.
"Don't," his brother ordered. "I don't want you using Craft near him if you don't have to." Philippe lifted a hand, and Erik's body rose gently, floating to the bed where – harsh words aside – the unconscious man was deposited with care.
*It's not going to -*
"Do I misremember you telling me that you had no idea what was strengthening the tie between you? That it had something to do with pulling him from the Twisted Kingdom, but that it was getting stronger on its own?"
For all he was grown into his title and responsibilities, Raoul couldn't quite meet the sharp blue gaze that was a reflection of their father's.
"Don't. Use. Craft. Not near him. Not unless you must," Philippe ordered. "I'm not taking the chance that Craft is what's binding you tighter together."
Philippe wasn't generally unreasonable; not unless –
*What did you see?* Raoul stepped forward, snagging his brother's sleeve as the older man turned away. *Philippe. This isn't like you. What did you see?*
Raoul's question was met with a straightening of shoulders, and silence.
"Bones piled high on graveyard snow. A white altar. And you." Upon it, his voice said without words.
Surprised, Raoul sat on the edge of the bed, one hand settled thoughtlessly on his patient's wrist, seeking a pulse. *It hasn't reached that point, Philippe. I would know.*
"Would you?" Philippe, long and lean, settled on the other side of the bed; Erik's body lay prone between them. "Nothing like this has ever been recorded in the family archives, Raoul. It's why we undertook this journey to Ebon Askavi in the first place."
Raoul couldn't prevent the arcing of one blond brow. *Really? I thought we were reuniting Erik with his family.*
"Yes, well, that was secondary." Philippe rubbed a hand down his face, exhaustion paling his skin and worries creasing his forehead. Raoul's older brother glanced at the man on the bed. "I wish we had time to allow him to recuperate fully."
Raoul frowned. *I as well.*
But it went unsaid that one did not cancel meetings with the High Lord of Hell.
Saetan leant back in his chair and studied his son. "What do you know of them?"
Mephis shrugged. "A minor aristo family from Dharo. They are pledged to the Province Queen of Gaul, Arielle. Her Consort is Etienne de Chagny. Philippe de Chagny is their older son and First Escort of their Court. I believe I might have met him once at the theatre in Amdarh, some years ago. The younger son, Raoul, is Steward."
"None of which tells me why Philippe de Chagny specifically requested an audience, at the Keep."
Mephis raised a brow. "They are a long way from Dharo."
"More than that, they knew I would be here." Which in itself was curious.
"What did de Chagny say the meeting was about?"
Saetan called in the letter, and passed it to Mephis.
Mephis's eye caught on the address, and lingered there. It was addressed to Saetan SaDiablo, High Lord of Hell – not Steward of the Court of Jaenelle Angelline. It was marked for Ebon Askavi, not the Hall in Dhemlan. Mephis didn't miss the significance.
His son read, and frowned. "Why did you agree to meet them?"
The High Lord of Hell steepled his fingers and gazed at his son. "It's been a long time since I've received a request from someone I have no connection with, in regards to a 'personal matter.'" Many of the smaller courts had been sending queries and trade propositions to their Territory Queens after most of the Shadow Realm had yielded to Witch, but for such a minor court to contact the Steward of Ebon Askavi directly . . .
"You think it might be one of Hekatah's schemes?"
"I don't know what to think." Yet. Saetan's eyes unfocused, gazing into the realm of possibility. "But I want you to look into the situation."
The carriage had pulled to a stop; the man once known as the Phantom rose from his thoughts. He could feel blue eyes on him, the gaze heavy with concern. Prince Raoul de Chagny – his rival turned savior. Christine's betrothed.
Something inside snarled.
He watched the two brothers exchange glances, but they didn't say anything.
I would have heard if they did. Wouldn't I?
He had darker Jewels than both the de Chagnys, but Erik hadn't been cut off from society despite living beneath an opera house. Gaul's Queen had married into an old family, one widely held to be . . . eccentric. For more reasons than their foolhardy stubbornness.
The odd twisting tie, strung between himself and the Prince de Chagny, was proof of that. That every brush of Craft along it wound it tighter was the only thing that kept him from exploring it. Or tearing it apart . . .
But that way led back to the Twisted Kingdom. He knew it.
And still they did not open the door. What is wrong with these –
"What do you know of the High Lord of Hell?" the brother inquired, breaking into his thoughts.
Erik snorted, words a relieving distraction. "He has much power, and little patience. Especially with the likes of you."
"Right," Raoul sighed, voice rasping and harsh. "Philippe is going with you to meet him."
At that, the Phantom stiffened, unable to stop himself from glancing at the young Prince.
"I'm going to the Keep's library," the youngest of them continued softly, not missing the panic in Erik's gaze. "They have more information available than in Gaul. I hope to find something to help you."
*To help us, you mean.* The thought spun out from him on a Sapphire spear before he could rein it in.
But Raoul just nodded.
"Warlord de Chagny."
Philippe bowed the exact distance, acknowledging a Warlord Prince of a darker Jewel. "High Lord." He was sweating, though it only showed in the darkening at the roots of his hair. No amount of control could keep the scent from leaking into his presence – and Philippe de Chagny was controlled.
Saetan SaDiablo was old, even for the long-lived races; a Guardian, Warlord Prince and Black Widow – the strongest man in the realms, matched only by his son Daemon. His psychic scent was almost overwhelming in its potency, the Darkness nearly palpable. The man himself was slim and shorter than Philippe; silver at his temples streaked back into his dark hair. The golden gaze, however, was shockingly familiar.
"And who is your companion, Warlord?"
Erik was stiff at his side, half his face a mask and the other half just as frozen.
Philippe licked his lips. "This is Erik, High Lord."
Erik was frowning.
I'm going to die. And then Raoul is going to kill me. Philippe drove an elbow into Erik's side, and the older Warlord Prince snarled, but inclined his head in a grudging bow.
Philippe chanced a glance and hid his wince; Saetan SaDiablo was not amused. There was a dangerous glint in those golden eyes.
"He is the reason for my visit, High Lord."
"Oh?" Saetan's voice was very soft.
"May I help you?"
Raoul started, hand jerking back from the shelf.
The gaze that met his was dark, but kind. There was something about the man that wasn't . . . quite …
Guardian, his mind supplied.
"No," Raoul found his voice, hoarse as it was, and a moment later, his manners. "Thank you. But I believe I've found the correct section."
"The Healing Arts?" Curiosity tinged the Guardian's voice. His eyes had sharpened with Raoul's first hoarse syllable.
"My Queen requested I research something for her. I made an appointment," Raoul shrugged lightly. The Keep was open to all of the Blood, after all. It was not uncommon for the Blood to come in search of knowledge.
Less common, of course, to come from such a distance as Dharo. His excuse was improbable, but not impossible. And if it was important enough to bring me all that distance, it's important enough that he won't believe any intimations otherwise. All that remained was the extent of the Guardian's respect for a clearly private matter.
"You must be Prince de Chagny," the other nodded.
Surprise flooded him. "You have the advantage over me, Monsieur."
"And the Gallic tongue is still alive and well in that Province. I had wondered." The Guardian smiled, and Raoul carefully did not look for sharp teeth. "You may call me Geoffrey."
"Then I am Raoul," he offered, when no surname seemed forthcoming. "I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Monsieur Geoffrey."
"I as well." Geoffrey paused. "Might I inquire after your health? You do not sound altogether well, Prince."
Raoul resisted reaching for the high collar covering his throat. "A slight ailment, Monsieur; I expect to be fully recovered soon. Thank you for your concern." He grasped for the volume which had piqued his interest prior to Geoffrey's arrival. Raoul could practically feel those dark eyes scanning the cover.
The Guardian cleared his throat softly. "If you are looking for information on the Twisted Kingdom, might I make a suggestion?"
"There are several journals written by Black Widows which give much more depth than many of the Healers' descriptions."
Raoul hesitated, just for the barest moment. "That would indeed be helpful, Monsieur."
Geoffrey nodded. "This way."
They had barely cleared the shelves when a clash of Jewels shook the floor.
Geoffrey slammed into the room, the young Prince at his heels.
There was a young man crumpled against one wall, and the Prince shot to his side. Geoffrey's attention, however, was fixed on the High Lord of Hell, and the Warlord Prince he had thrown a shield around. "Hells be damned, SaDiablo, what -"
Saetan wasn't listening; instead, the High Lord was calmly inspecting a man who raged within the shield, Gray jewels glinting with power. Too calmly. Geoffrey spared the stranger a glance and was momentarily caught in golden eyes. What –
A low groan diverted his attention; the Warlord Prince against the wall was stirring.
"Be still," the younger brother ordered lowly, hands running over the older de Chagny's head, sifting through dirty-blond hair in search of blood or lumps. *Ne bouge pas, Philippe.*
The man behind the shield slid into motionlessness, though his chest heaved with every breath. Geoffrey blinked, and glanced at Saetan, and an idea took root in his mind.
Someone grunted behind him; cloth shifted against stone. "Raoul, be careful," hissed the Warlord de Chagny. "S'il vous plaît."
Geoffrey spared the young Prince a glance as he stepped forward. Sweat darkened blond roots to a light brown.
"High Lord, if I may." And Raoul de Chagny gestured towards the shield.
Geoffrey sucked in a breath, glancing at the Prince's Sapphire jewels.
A frown curled across Saetan's face. "He's on the killing edge, boy."
"With all due respect, High Lord, he's not."
Then he's a very accomplished actor. Geoffrey looked again at those wild golden eyes, so dark; mouth open and face curled in a snarl – he'd seen almost that exact expression before, and sometimes barely believed he had lived through it. Such as it was.
"And what exactly is it you think you can do, other than die?"
The Prince didn't flinch. "Snap him out of it, if I can." Blue eyes glanced between Geoffrey and Saetan. "Lowering the shield will help immensely. He . . . doesn't like being caged."
*Saetan, you can't seriously -*
*Let's see what they do.*
Geoffrey glared, but kept his silence.
"Very well." Saetan raised a hand, and paused as Prince de Chagny took a quick breath. "What?"
"If I may, High Lord -"
"Spit it out, boy."
"My brother, please, High Lord."
Geoffrey watched Saetan pause, pretending to consider. When he nodded, the Prince's relief showed only in the loosening of his shoulders. This time, when Saetan raised his hand, both de Chagnys were silent.
The shield shimmered, dissipating as two more rose in its place – one encompassing Geoffrey and Saetan, the other circling the Warlord Prince across the room, who had pushed to his feet with frustration creasing fine features. Prince de Chagny stepped forward once more, getting within arm's reach of the Warlord Prince flirting with the killing edge. "Le Phantome."
The other man snarled, white teeth flashing. But he didn't move. "Vicomte."
The Prince kept his hands by his sides; for a long moment the room was perfectly still.
Geoffrey frowned. Clothes rustled, ever so slightly, as Warlord de Chagny shifted his weight.
The Phantom charged – one hand forward, the other intercepting Prince de Chagny's raised arm at the wrist, and slamming the slighter man against thick stone with brute physicality rather than any Craft.
"No!" But Warlord de Chagny was looking at them, not his brother who was pinned against the wall with strong fingers digging into his throat.
The Vicomte hung limp, his breath an audible rasp. But he's breathing. *Erik!*
"Keep your hand at the level of your eyes, Vicomte," the Phantom purred.
Geoffrey couldn't hold back a shudder at how familiar that voice had become.
*Poor, unhappy Erik…*
The Phantom jerked as if scalded. Prince de Changy dropped to the floor, cheek pressing to the stone as his arms collapsed beneath him.
With a shout, the Phantom stooped to the stone, flipping the Prince with a gesture and flare of Craft. "Where is she?"
Prince de Chagny only blinked at him.
The Phantom reached out, long fingers fisting in his lapels, and hauled the smaller man upward. "Where is she!"
*Let me see her!*
*Be my guest, sir…*
Geoffrey saw the vicomte's hand shiver out, reaching for the Phantom, and was utterly certain the boy would lose the limb.
Instead, the Prince's hand connected with the Phantom's cheek, and everything stilled.