Title: Eyes of the Jackal

Author: Zeech
Pairing: Erik/Raoul
Phantom Version: a combination of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical/film, elements of Susan Kay's Phantom, and last but most certainly not least, all characters belong to Gaston Leroux.
Rating: R, for some dark material, and sexuality.

The First Day

Raoul cannot see, but he knows he is going to die. The rope that binds him to the iron gate also clutches at his neck, scratching, pulling like demon fingers coaxing the surrender of death. His vision has left him, but he can still hear. He hears her screams echo about the cave, and they spin in a cycle that ever repeats itself: a scream of fear, a sob for mercy, a yell of anger, a sob, a scream. As he is weakened he still struggles against the rope, knowing it will only kill him faster. He is a coward in that, only wishing to stop the sound of her voice in his head.

His only hope lies in whether or not Erik will keep his word, that killing the Vicomte will assure Christine her freedom. What he cannot see, and only hears, is Erik physically carrying the shaking girl around the gate, into the outer sanctum of his hideout so she may not lead a mob back to him. Her bare legs thrash in the water, and the skirts of her bridal gown weigh heavily about them, wet and dragging behind her. She screams, and cries, and tries to claw at him, but Erik is stronger than he seems. He holds her with her back to him, an arm across her chest and her waist. She will not escape until he frees her.

There is no kindness in his face, no signs of humanity or intentions of mercy. Erik can hear the people marching for their justice, and he throws her into the knee deep water, letting the white gown drink the stale water, and wash over Christine like a curse. She stares up at him, horrified, terrified, tear-streaked and betrayed.

"I hate you," she breathes, shudders, repulses. "I hate you, foul, wretched creature of darkness, I hate you!" She reaches up to claw at him, her nails scrabbling the damp flesh beneath his white undershirt, drawing blood. He seizes her wrists, effortlessly. "You are mad!" she desperately rages, sobs. "You ask for pity, but you are mad! Evil, wretched creature!"

Erik returns the stare and is exhausted. He knows that he is mad, he has known for sometime. He squeezes her wrists until she cries hard and sobs, and the little bones all crunch together in unholy chorus. She hates him. She might have loved him, but she hates him now, and hate he can accept. Hate has another face, and that is love, and though he will never see it from his beloved, hate he can accept. Erik releases her, and watches her mewl at his feet.

Somewhere in the dark, Raoul cries out in agony.

"Pray your farewells to the Vicomte," Erik says softly, and turns away. "He might even hear you."