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

Summary: ErikRaoul slash impending. Time, a 3parts Series. Christine runs away. More like slashy undertone, beginnings?

Warning(s): slash (that's homosexual content for those of you who don't know)

Pairing(s): ErikRaoul

A/N: Hi. It's been a while. A long, long while. I need to work my way back up to long chaptered fics so IF is going to be done when it gets done. Until then, please enjoy this series.

Story note: There's no actual explicit Erik/Raoul in this portion of the series. If you close your eyes and think dirty thoughts then you're close to what my mind is like and you'll see where/when/how the slash will be coming. Enjoy.

As to the time when this story occurs – sometime after they get engaged? I don't know. It fits somewhere in there.

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Time: Beginnings

Part01:Notes

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By: Lucifer Rosemaunt

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Raoul closed his eyes and tried to ignore the beginnings of the headache that was forming. His fingers tightened on the note that he was holding crinkling it further.

He felt as though he should have known better. He should have known that no good news ever traveled by notes between him and the opera house. The first note he had received had been from the opera ghost about Christine's disappearance and it had definitely set the precedent. The subsequent flurry of notes from the managers about every little incident that occurred due to the opera ghost had been as much of a joy as the ghost's note.

This note, he had received rather unsuspectingly. It had been surprisingly calm at the opera house lately. He had been lulled into a false sense of security. He wondered why he could never receive a note from the managers that stated everything was going exceedingly well at the opera house.

This note however. He still could not bring himself to believe the message.

Christine was missing.

Again.

This note had not been sent by the opera ghost however. The lack of the skull seal had possibly been the first component that had placed Raoul in his false sense of security as he opened it. The second component had been the lack of that distinctive writing that Raoul associated with the opera ghost.

The managers were just as clear though. Christine was missing and had been for the past several hours now since daybreak.

Shoving the note into his pocket, Raoul grabbed a jacket and headed out. He did not bother finding a carriage. He mounted his favorite white horse and set him into a gallop towards the opera house.

Raoul did not know what to think. Christine was missing. It did not matter that the note was not sent from the opera ghost. He had to be at the root of Christine's disappearance. The ghost had done it once. Who was to say that he would not do it a second time? But, not to take credit for it the second time seemed rather incongruous.

As though he had been expected, the managers were standing by the front door speaking heatedly with one another when Raoul arrived.

Before he could dismount, Andre asked. "Do you know where she is?"

Raoul tried not to roll his eyes at the question. "I just learned from your letter that she was missing. How could I possibly know where she is?"

"We thought…" Andre wildly gestured with his hands, "maybe…"

"We were wondering if she had perhaps been with you," Firmin said evenly.

Raoul shook his head. "She stayed here like she always does, Monsieur." Raoul resented the implication. He was a gentleman unlike a certain ghost.

Firmin and Andre shared a look. Raoul would have commented on the look if there had not been more important things at hand.

"And the ghost?" Raoul asked instead as he led them into the opera house. Outside was no place to have this conversation. Who knew who was listening? Though the same could be said about inside the opera house.

Firmin frowned, but Andre answered, "No word from him either."

Just then, a large portion of the ballet corps ran screaming out from one of the hallways. Many hid behind the managers. Raoul tried to hide his displeasure at seeing how much enjoyment the two obtained from the girls clinging to them. He stepped away from them just to have space to breathe and calm himself down.

"But, I think he may have just found out." Firmin quipped rather joyfully. Raoul didn't even want to know where his other hand was.

Meg was in the group. She was the only one that Raoul really recognized and only because she was always around Christine. Raoul directed his question at her, "What happened?"

Meg looked at him with wide eyes, but she did not seem to be as excitable as the other girls. She looked around and quietly spoke her answer, "We had been walking towards the stage. Suddenly, a roar seemed to echo through the halls. It had been so sudden. It had sounded like a wild animal had gotten loose in the opera house."

"Or a ghost," one of the other girls chimed in.

Raoul nodded and turned towards the hallway that the girls had just run from. He wondered if the ghost could be faking it or if the yell even had anything to do with Christine's disappearance. He was inclined to believe that the two were somehow connected though. He did not so much as believe in coincidence.

With this new development, he was willing to temporarily consider the ghost innocent of kidnapping Christine this time. Unfortunately, that left Raoul with nothing. The list of suspects had mainly consisted of the opera ghost.

Raoul glanced over his shoulder at the managers who had apparently forgotten their concern for Christine's disappearance.

"Haven't rehearsals started," Raoul commented. Everyone looked towards him. The managers stopped halfway through their fawning and sent the ballet girls away. They cleared their throats and stepped closer to Raoul.

Once they were alone again and Raoul had managed to contain his annoyance, he asked them, "Who else do you think could have kidnapped her?"

After they shared another look, Raoul wondered if he could separate them just to stop them from having those silent conversations in front of him.

"There is no one else," Firmin replied.

"What do you mean?" Raoul looked at him in disbelief, "There must be someone else you can think of."

"Well," Andre explained, "The only ones who were capable of kidnapping her would be you, us, any of the residents here, or the opera ghost."

Firmin added, "Since we've already checked that all of the workers, dancers, and singers are here, and the fact that we wouldn't have kidnapped her, the only people left are you and the opera ghost."

Raoul scoffed. "And fans?"

"There was no forced entry, and if it were a fan…" Firmin let the sentence drift.

Raoul shook his head. "Then what?"

Firmin shrugged, "Then she would have gone willingly."

Willingly? That thought had not even crossed his mind. Christine would not though. They were promised to each other. She had been so excited about the engagement. She could not have left willingly. No. It was true that the note had only stated that she had been missing, but a kidnapping was the only thing that made sense in Raoul's mind.

So, if the managers were correct in their analysis of the situation, it was either him or the opera ghost.

Raoul wondered how he could get a hold of the opera ghost. The ghost was surely still here, which meant that Christine was still here. He decided that if he had to search every inch of this opera house, he would. Saying his intention to do just that, the managers insisted that they come along and ensure that their patron not end up missing as well. They headed down the hallway where he knew the opera ghost had been last.

o.o.o

Erik glared at the Vicomte as the fop and the managers spoke to each other.

He had heard the news this morning that Christine was missing. So caught up in composing, he had not bothered checking on Christine this morning. He had watched her sleep late into the night, and their lessons were not until later. There had been a ruckus when he finally went into the theatre. It did not take long to find out what was wrong. He simply had not believed it. After searching the entire opera house to see if they were correct, he found that he could not deny the fact that Christine was not in his opera house. She had not left by carriage either. Her coat still hung on the peg. No one had seen her leave either.

Christine. His Christine was missing.

The scream that ripped through his throat upon realizing this fact sounded loud even to his own ears. The following screams snapped him out of his stupor though. He had to find Christine. He could not just stand behind the walls of the opera house screaming. The first person that came to mind when thinking of possible kidnappers was the Vicomte.

Following the girls, he smirked when he came upon the Vicomte and the managers. Those girls always seemed to find the managers. Having the Vicomte present was simply perfect. He would not have to send for him.

His gaze immediately focused on the patron. It had to be him. It had to be his fault that his Christine was missing. The fake concern on that face was enough to make Erik want to jump from his hiding place and kill the Vicomte right now.

But, he managed to focus long enough on the words that were spoken. The boy was trying to figure out where she was. The concern on his voice was convincing. It was enough to make Erik falter. He did not think that Raoul could act that well. He was a fop. He could not have that sort of talent, but just as Raoul had come to the conclusion that Christine would not have left by herself, Erik was certain that Christine would not have gone.

It had to be Raoul. It had to be that he was only playing the role of the concerned patron or fiancé, whichever he was willing to admit to today. The boy was hiding something and it was not just their engagement. He could not help but wonder if they had they really been stupid enough to believe that he would not find out.

That was a different problem though. He had to first focus on figuring out how to find Christine right now. How should he approach this? He knew what he wanted. He wanted to go out there and kill the Vicomte. If he did, he might not find Christine. That option would have to wait.

He would first check the Vicomte's estate. Erik had to especially when the Vicomte had provided the perfect opportunity to do so. While Raoul was busy with his futile search of the opera house, Erik would go to his estate and take Christine back.

And if she were not there, Erik would wait for the opportunity to kidnap Raoul and torture him into telling him where he was keeping Christine.

o.o.o

Raoul was exhausted. He had walked so much. He had not realized that the opera house was that large. They had checked every room, every stairway, every attic, and nothing. Raoul had not even found a secret passageway. He was certain that he must have passed hundreds of them, but he could not figure a way to get to the opera ghost.

The second note that Raoul received that evening was, as expected, bad news.

This time it was from the opera ghost demanding that Christine return to his opera house in addition to a threat on his life. It was not so much the message that disturbed him however. It was the fact that he had found the note in the pocket of his nightshirt.

So, the ghost thought him to be the reason for Christine's disappearance. Raoul could not help but feel a little bit of his hope fade at reading the note. He kept doubting his belief that the ghost was the kidnapper. What would the ghost gain by playing this game with him, by pretending that he was not the one who kidnapped Christine if he in fact did?

Raoul was getting too tired to keep worrying. He just wanted to sleep and hopefully wake up to find that it had all been a bad dream.

He considered contacting the managers about the note but he had spent the whole day searching the opera house with them. He did not want to risk having to spend another minute with them. If the ghost sent him a note, then he was certain the managers had received a note similar to this one.

Raoul decided to do one last thing before he slept. Calling for his attendant, Raoul requested that he find several individuals to investigate Christine's disappearance. Raoul specifically told them to search from Paris to beyond.

Raoul hated to consider the fact that if the ghost could not find her, Raoul could not possibly hope to find Christine in that opera house. If she was not in the opera house, he doubted that she would stay in the city.

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End part 01

Word count: 2,099

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

Chapter review: Well, don't you like how the main two suspects are Erik and Raoul for kidnapping Christine? Do they even have private investigators then? Pardon me if that's an anachronism (or for any anachronism you find).

Author review: The words still have some problems coming out smoothly. So excuse how awkward it may seem to start. It has been a while since I'd last written fanfiction. I apologize. I hadn't actually realized how much I missed it.