Disclaimer: Please don't sue. I don't own POTO... All I own is an overactive imagination.

Summary: ErikRaoul slash.

Warning(s): homosexuality (that's what slash is people)

Pairing(s): ErikRaoul

Story note: Okay, this isn't the continuation to UTC, but that one's a little harder for me to write and I've had this idea for some time. I can't seem to make it interesting though when I'm making the outline. The first part's pretty interesting, but after that, it gets a little harder. Let's see how well this works out.

Oh yeah, messed around with the ages some. Really though Gerard Butler's younger than the phantom's supposed to be (hotter too), and since this is sort of movie-verse it shouldn't matter so much. So there's not much age difference between Raoul/Christine and Erik (like 10-14 years… I kind of had to for this intro)


Imaginary Friends

Chapter 01 - Caged


By: Lucifer Rosemaunt


A scrawny teenaged boy who wore a burlap sack over his head huddled in the corner of a cage. Philippe knew that the boy could not be much older than he was. He did not even know what had possessed him to walk into this particular tent. Every moment that he passed in the crowded and noisy tent was a moment too long. Yet something told him to stay. Something told him that he needed to be there to see what was going to happen and why that gypsy had been so insistent that it would be an educational experience.

What education could he learn from this carnival? His parents had taken his younger sisters and his baby brother Raoul to the petting zoo. He had asserted the fact that he was too old to do such childish things, but here in this tent, he was certain he wasn't old enough to see what this "devil's child" looked like. The gypsy had all but taken his money and pushed him inside. He suddenly wished that his family had not decided to stop on their trip home to the ocean at this place.

Raoul, in all his four-year-old glory, had insisted they stop though. Honestly, Philippe could not imagine a two-day journey home with Raoul crying about having missed the carnival. So, the family stopped for the night, and here he was being jostled around by complete strangers, who he would normally yell at and make it very clear that he was wealthy enough to not be pushed around by anyone, but in this place, he had never felt so uncertain of himself.

These people apparently put kids his age into cages, and though he was certain his family would never allow it, the doubt and fear lingered nonetheless. He allowed himself to be pushed a little further away from the cage bars. He could see people pressing in quite close. Philippe knew he did not want to be that close. What if the "devil's child" tried to take his soul? He was old enough to know that it was probably all some ploy and the boy was not actually the devil's child, but his mother had done well to put the fear of God in him.

The owner of the caged boy walked into the cage and began to beat him. Philippe winced since the "devil's child" had nowhere to go. He heard other people laughing and cursing at the boy, but he could not help but feel disgusted at the sight. How could they encourage it? Grabbing the boy one more time, he pulled off the sack that had been covering his face and Philippe stared in horror. Some of the girls that had been pushed forward screamed in terror and pushed their way out of the tent. The older men began to throw various things at him and even spit.

When he finally came out of his stupor, Philippe did not wait to see what was next. He quickly exited the tent deciding that the petting zoo could not be all that bad. He pushed the image of the "devil's child's" face out of his mind. He knew it would haunt him for a while.

He reached the pens and watched as Raoul chased around some ducks thrusting his hand out at their faces, and the sight calmed him down. He did not realize that he had been racing to get there. He was out of breath and the blood was pounding in his ears. He entered the pen and waved to his parents who were watching his two sisters. They were petting a lamb.

He turned around just in time to see Raoul throwing his handful of crumbs at two geese that began to chase him. He squealed in terror and Philippe laughed at the sight of his brother running away from two geese who stood taller than he did. Raoul ran directly into his arms and Philippe lifted him up easily. The geese, seeing their prey being pulled away from them, lost interest and went back to the pile of crumbs that Raoul had thrown.

"Philippe! They're gonna eat me." Raoul wailed in his arms. He buried his head in the crook of Philippe's neck.

Philippe could feel the tears on his skin. He could not help it when he started to laugh. He tried to ignore that his laughter was shaky.

"It's not funny," Raoul pouted.

"I know," he responded shifting Raoul to a better position. He had to admit his brother looked a lot like their mother. His brown hair naturally had blonde highlights and his blue eyes were clear unlike his own which were darker. Raoul still had baby fat, but he was beginning to grow so fast already. Raoul sniffled and hugged him tighter. He was suddenly glad that he had his brother. Philippe walked to his parents, his brother still in his arms. He had to remember that he was not trapped in a cage and that he had a family who cared for him. He could leave that image of the "devil's child" in the cage in that tent.


Scrambling to get the sack back over his head, he glared through the small eye holes at the backs of his last audience. Erik grabbed the monkey toy and cymbals and pressed himself deep into the corner of the cage. He checked his body for the extent of his wounds. They were mostly just bad bruises. Blood was too messy.

The day was almost through. He would not have any more showings or beatings. He would be allowed to hide in the dark carriage with the single tiny barred window. It had little air but it was better than this. It was better than this animal cage. He did not need air if it involved those beatings and people screaming, spitting, and throwing things at him.

His master walked into the tent and he wondered if more people would come already. Instead, another gypsy followed behind him before closing the flap once more. They ignored him and spoke to each other.

The other gypsy began, "I don't know how you do it. I wouldn't want to see that monster everyday. Masked, sure, but not unmasked."

His master laughed maliciously, "I try not to look at the thing myself, but it makes money."


"It would be better to get rid of it completely, but no one wants to buy it," his master commented.

Erik hated being called an it. He was a person, but no one treated him like one. He wanted to be free, but he knew that it would never occur. He would never be able to escape from this cage. He had lost all hope of ever being able to do so.

"I'd be careful," the other gypsy commented seeing the look on his comrade's face, "you've been warned many times before."

Erik's master shrugged trying to look innocent. "What are you talking about? That was in the past."

The other man scoffed, "You better be careful. If anything goes awry, you know this carnival cannot handle another one of your schemes. You will be left alone with that monster without a job."

His master nodded grudgingly and watched as his companion left the tent.

Turning to face Erik, he hit the cage with a wooden stick. "Monster, I may be rid of you yet."

Erik wondered what he meant by that, but he did not care as long as he was set free from his cage.

He continued conversationally as though Erik had responded, "I do believe I saw a Comte's family here."

Erik could practically see the greed in the man's eyes. He knew that if his master obtained enough money, he would be left behind. He wondered if it would be any better than his current position.

"Be ready for your next show," his master smiled a toothy grin, "It may be your last."

Erik pushed himself deeper into the corner. He could only guess what his master was talking about with the Comte's family but he knew two things: (1) the Comte's family would be coming into a bit of trouble and (2) when his master was this excited, the beatings were much worse and the ridicule seemed to increase as well.



End Chapter

Word count: 1,389




A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!

Chapter review: Wow, doesn't bode well for the Comte's family, does it? Umm… yeah, I used Philippe's perspective because Raoul's too young. :o) He'll sort of be in it, sort of not.

Don't know when I'll update next, I'm working on an anthology which is taking up much of my time, but I apparently can't get away from POTO. Good for you readers I guess, right?

Thanks for reading.