It is not at all strange to the housekeepers that the composer's room is empty, and the patron's door is locked, with the inaudible murmur of voices coming from within. It is, after all, the start of a new day and there are many things the two bachelors have to discuss. It is not the place of a maid to wonder such things, and so the maid lightly raps her knuckles against the Vicomte's door. She listens very carefully as the voices come to a stop, and the floors groan when someone crosses it.
The door cracks, not at all suspiciously, and the handsome tired face of the Vicomte de Chagny appears. It is clear he has not been sleeping, and long dark circles spread from his lower lashes to down near his cheekbones.
"Oh—yes, mamselle?" he steps aside a little, and the door falls naturally with him. There is an outline of a body in the dim background: it is the composer, seated in a chair with his face toward the eastern window.
"M. le Vicomte, there is a very persistent man here to see you. I told him you were still sleeping, but he insisted it was a matter of life and death," she says quietly, and her fingers curl around the tray of hot tea and biscuits she holds between herself and the door. "And I thought perhaps you might want something before—" The maid does not even hear herself scream before the silver tray clatters loudly to the floor, and hot water lashes down the front of her apron, and down around her skirts. She covers her mouth and throws her back to the wall behind her, screaming again at the hideous eyes that have locked with hers.
Erik does not even turn away. He seems annoyed—he has received this reaction before, and does not care for it enough to hide himself from the poor girl. He turns his head even more, only for a moment to truly stare her down, and the irritation seems to fade into a hateful amusement. She does not even see him turn away before Raoul scrambles to catch her. The composer only comes to his feet and leaves his seat by the window quietly, and without contest.
"Please, mamselle, it is flesh! Only flesh---"
The maid feels the Vicomte follow her to crouch on the ground, and gentle fingers pry her hands from her eyes. Through tears—mostly of mortification—she can see his kind, handsome face, and she shakes her head hard.
"I apologize, monsieur, I am so sorry, I didn't mean anything by it, I…" she stammers, and sniffles hard, but he only shushes her gently, and puts a finger to the bow of his lips.
"Did you hurt yourself?" he asks, and the maid shakes her head again. "Good… now, if you are quite all right, would you make us another pot of tea? I will deal with my visitor." The Vicomte stands and pulls her to her feet. She gingerly bends at the waist and begins to pick up her mess, fingering the bits of broken glass. The Vicomte has gone to confront the man at the door. The maid knows it is not her place, but she did not much like the look of the man. Seedy, thin lips, ragged chin and icy blue eyes---she wonders what would bring a man like that to a Vicomte's door. He claimed it was a matter of the utmost importance, and yet his tone had held no urgency. Almost a note of contentment, and distant satisfaction.
When she brings the new tea tray into the Vicomte's room, the composer has returned to stand at the window again. He is looking out, but not into the streets below. It is as if he is waiting for something to change outside his window.
"Your tea, monsieur," she is very quiet when she speaks to him, and the composer will not turn around. He is wearing a long black dressing gown, and it hands off his broad shoulders like a coat on a skeleton. There is a single, silent incline of the dark head.
"Thank you," he murmurs, and makes no mention of the previous incident at the door. It is as if it never happened.
Raoul enters wearily, and catches both their attention. Erik finally turns round with his hands folded behind his back, and the maid realizes she has been holding her breath. He is the portrait of a perfect gentleman, with the face of an unholy monster. "A friend of yours?" he asks, with a detached interest, and Raoul shakes his head.
"Not quite," is his breathy reply, and he glances over at the maid. "Thank you, mamselle. Would you please excuse us?"
"Of course, M. le Vicomte," she scurries out of the room, and does not linger in earshot for long. What she does not hear, or see, is the grave conversation between the two men. It is short, and the words are hardly spoken above a low, resigned whisper. Raoul comes to sit in one of the red velvet chairs beside the bed, and after a moment he lets his head fall into his hands. Pale hair spills between thin, splayed fingers.
"We have to keep running," he finally concludes, and his voice is muffled in his palms. "The man is the square has followed us back here. He is a detective, Erik." The boy has never looked so old as he does now, and props his chin on his knuckles, exhaling softly. "Will this ever come to an end?"
Erik shifts his rigid stance at the window, and the gold light dances on his stoic expression as he slowly approaches Raoul. He stands just over him, arms still folded behind his back, and speaks softly. "You are beginning to see," he murmurs. "The time you have wasted trying to bring me back from death. I am nothing, Vicomte. I am a shadow behind a mask." Raoul's head hangs between his shoulders and he does not fight Erik on the notion. The air between them is heavy, and after a moment Erik uncomfortably moves his hand to rest on the boy's back.
There is not much else to say, or do, and so the Phantom does not speak. Instead he retires to his own room, and wonders if he should flee to Austria. He wonders if the boy would follow him there. He wonders when the boy will finally decide it has come to an end.