Author's Note:

Hiii! Yes, I've been on a bit of an absence...forgive me =)? I have finals! Luckily they're ending this week, and I have the whole summer to finish this story! The ending is already in sight. I hate to make everyone wait so long for an Erik-less chapter, but it's not so bad! I promise! Catherine Morland--as odd as it may seem that Raoul is a violinist, he actually played the violin in Leroux. Christine's father taught through that part and you should find it! Shandethe Sanders, your comment made sense in the sense of siblings, but Raoul has lately been treated more like the oldest son, because of his father's death and his sisters are probably either in the process of being engaged or will become married shortly. That's why I don't have much sibling rivalry or things of that nature =)...though I'm sure that it was very much present when he was younger. Olethros, I'll tell you now how old Erik is! I kind of stuck in this time foil around the time Erik would be going to Persia. That would put Erik around 18/19. He isn't as old as he seems to be, really only 4-5 years older than Raoul. What I've really done is set Erik back a little. No Persia. Which might actually be interesting because he actually won't be as twisted as he would be otherwise. A challenge for me! Anyway, any more questions...let me know!! I hope that you guys enjoy this chapter!


The de Chagny estate stood high among the downtown buildings along the river Siene. A bustle of activity lay right outside the double iron gates, within reaching distance, and yet the shouts could not be heard from the chateau's front steps. Rolling gardens formed a grassy slope with stone steps, center fountains with cherubs, and colorful flowers planted strategically at the base of the statues. It was impossible to enter the gates without a key; it was meant to be a refuge, a home, and something seemingly straight from a fairytale--Unobtainable. Occasionally a hunched beggar or street rat would linger outside of the gates and dare to dream about this fantasy world, until they were shooed away by a gardener or another member of the household staff. This sparkling diamond in the midst of the dirt was free from the unwanted trash of Paris, and it stood alone, tall, proud, and unaware of anything beyond its walls. Its occupants lead a rich, sheltered life, separated from reality...distant from anything not of their own pure lineage. It was a nice, blessed existence, and one that darkness could never touch.

A carriage bearing the de Chagny crest stopped in front to allow a rather overweight driver to hop down and unlock the gates. It was afternoon, and the de Chagny's had just returned from church. A clanging of keys and fumbling metal was all it took before the gates were opened and the carriage continued on its path inside. The brilliant white horse was lead around a wide loop, stopping at the front entrance,. Once more the driver stepped down and opened the polished door, mindful of any mud or puddles of water.

Comte Philippe de Chagny was the first to step out, and his graying hair was hidden as he immediately replaced his hat. A stylish cane was held underneath his other arm, and clearly was not entirely necessary...but it added character and looked nice. Thus, it became a useful asset to his charm. Philippe was roughly in his mid-thirties, not quite old enough for gray hair, but it was not from age and it looked good on him. He was handsome, which was a blushing trademark of the de Chagny line, and he knew his younger brother would carry this on without difficulty. Polite and only slightly aloof to general society, Philippe was well respected and well known as the richest, most valuable patron of the Paris Opera.

The Comte turned on his heel and extended a hand to help his two sisters from the carriage. The first gloved hand belonged to Marielle de Chagny, a slight and rather peakish woman who had an annoyingly high laugh she had yet to tame. Her nose was tipped slightly at the end and gave the impression that she always had her head tilted upwards--not completely an illusion, in actuality! The second was the quieter of the two, but otherwise stiff-necked and uptight. Every laugh from Marielle she met with a glare. The second sister, Genevieve, did not tolerate disrespect or mockery towards anything--least of all their lineage.

It was she who turned back to the carriage and spoke in a clipped tone. "Come along, Raoul."

The young Vicomte trudged quietly behind his older siblings. That was not necessarily unusual, but it made Philippe pause with a thoughtful frown as the doors were opened and he shrugged off his coat to the butler.

The two brothers were close, and had been considerably closer since the death of Count Philibert, but they had yet to have "the talk." In truth, Philippe was dreading it--not only the subject matter, but how to bring it up. These past couple days his brother had been different. He couldn't quite place his finger on it, but it was a significant change. Raoul's frequent trips to town made him wonder. At first he was slightly annoyed that his brother refused to be accompanied by the carriage and driver, but Philippe was satisfied to think that he only wanted his freedom, and he respected that. He'd been that young once, and far too long ago.

"Raoul..." Philippe put an arm around his younger brother a bit teasingly, and steered him towards the stairs. "Why don't we have a talk?"

An anxious look passed behind Raoul's eyes, and Philippe smiled knowingly. Poor Raoul! He thought this talk was hard on only him!

Nervous, Raoul's voice was a little softer. "About what?"

"Oh, just for a few minutes. You can spare the time, can't you? Or do you plan on going to town again today? I don't like you there so much, you know...especially without supervision. You might think that you're more than old enough, but you're not even fifteen yet..."


Philippe's study was on the second floor and at the end of a long hallway with red carpeting. Family portraits lined each side of the corridor, many heirs repeating themselves, and neither de Chagny even glanced as they walked past. When he was younger, Raoul would have nightmares about the faces in the paintings...portraits who glared back at them as if to challenge what they would make of themselves...with threat to dominate and become their own legacy...

There was a story in each painting.

The study was lined with books, documents, and old deeds to several estates in their possession. Philippe took a seat behind a carved wooden desk, and Raoul lingered behind the chair, not sitting until his older brother gestured.

"About these town visits..." Philippe leaned back and surveyed Raoul silently, while swiveling his chair from side to side. "What exactly do you find to do there?"

Raoul, obviously uncomfortable, kept his eyes downcast and traced the top of the desk with two fingers. "Nothing, I just look around."

"Look around?"

"At the merchants and the shops and the cafes."

This all sounded relatively harmless to Philippe, and he thought about it for several minutes in silence. No mischief could befall a de Chagny in that part of town--not in the nicer part, at least, and Philippe was certain by the description that it couldn't be the less reputable side. No de Chagny would be associated with that... No, he trusted Raoul to stay away from unfamiliar grounds, or anything dangerous.

The silence was soon broken with Raoul's ever-so-random question: "Can I take violin lessons again?"

Rather startled, Philippe blinked and stared at his brother with unveiled pleasure. "Of course! I didn't think that you liked it! What made you think of this?"

There was a pause, and Raoul continued to stare at the desk. "I heard a street performer...he was really talented."

Philippe scoffed a bit and wondered silently how Raoul could have been amazed by a mere street performer when they attended the Opera every week. But then he smiled again. "Wonderful! I'll find you a tutor."

Finally Raoul looked up at him and shook his head. "I found one already."

"Oh? What's his name?"


"Erik what?"

Frowning a bit, Raoul paused and looked upwards as if trying to remember. "He didn't tell me. I have to go back and arrange things with him tomorrow."

Philippe did not entirely like the idea that Raoul was going to be tutored by a stranger to him...or a stranger in general. "So who is he, exactly?"

"I'll bring him to meet you."

Something about this made him nervous.

Philippe looked at Raoul. He stared at him so steadily and carefully that his brother began to squirm underneath his gaze. Something was wrong here...but...what could he say, really? As a boy, Raoul needed his independence and determination. Besides, these talks distracted Philippe from giving Raoul the real talk. It wouldn't be fair for him to question things so suspiciously.

Besides, if this man couldn't teach, Philippe could always find someone else. Raoul wasn't a hapless violin player, he only needed the right tutor...and then maybe he'd actually be able to show some decent improvement. Of course, Philippe blamed the last teacher for his lack of expertise... After all, Raoul's two years hardly showed.

"Well...if you're sure that the teacher is qualified..."

"He is, Philippe."

Philippe nodded and leaned his head against his hand for a moment. "Well...ask him his price, and we'll set up proper lessons. It isn't as though there is much else to do around here at the moment; I hope this won't interfere with your studies."

A brief look of distaste crossed Raoul's face, but then it quickly disappeared at the disapproval in his brother's eyes. "It won't."

"Good. See that it doesn't. Your governess would not be pleased," Though lately the woman had been all over Philippe for allowing Raoul to go off on his own without her guidance. Philippe was attempting to avoid the issue in every possible way, because he didn't want the governess to be

discharged...but...Raoul was already being babied by his two sisters, and the last thing that Philippe wanted was another woman trailing him like a motherly hen. Eventually he would have to be on his own, and Philippe was certain his small adventures would do him good.

Besides, the merchant markets weren't any more dangerous than they would be if the governess was with him.

But Philippe didn't want to talk about the governess. "You are being careful, aren't you? The streets are dangerous, have to know your boundaries."

"I know..."

Sighing, Philippe sat forward but kept his elbows off the desk. He looked at his brother for another moment in silence, and smiled when he thought of how this felt remarkably similar to talks that he and the Count had shared. Raoul reminded him of himself in many ways, and the Comte found himself smiling even more fondly at his brother, a grin that was received with a quizzical and unsure look.

Finally Philippe laughed a little, successfully in a good mood now that "the talk" was over with. Genevieve would know how serious he actually could be. He wouldn't put it past her or Marielle to be listening outside the door; he'd noticed the meaningful looks that they'd exchanged before he went upstairs with Raoul.

"Well, you don't have to stay here any longer... I've probably bored you long enough with this talk. Go on. Let me know what this teacher says, and don't forget that I do want to meet him."

Raoul nodded obediently and stood, but instead of leaving the room he paused by the arm of the chair and watched Philippe until he noticed and looked up at him again. "I'll probably be going back into town later today."

"Oh. Well, that's all right. Just remember what we talked about."

"I will."

Philippe looked down at his papers again and Raoul left.