Disclaimer: Please don't sue. I don't own POTO... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: ErikRaoul slash. Time, a 3parts Series. Installment 03. There're misunderstandings and one hell of a clarification.
Warning(s): slash (that's homosexual content for those of you who don't know)
A/N: okay. So this series has more than 3 installments. I think all in all there's 7 (even though it's a 3parts series; it's because each installment has 3 parts). Hope that clears that up a bit. 8) Thank you reviewers as well.
Story note: I guess I sort of lied. There was slashiness in Installment 02 and there is some slashiness here, but I don't consider this little dance they're doing around their relationship really full-blown slash yet. Well, maybe.
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Raoul could not get out of the opera house fast enough. He had stumbled more than several times already and he was sure that his shoulder hurt; however, with all the adrenaline coursing through his veins, he felt no pain. He felt confused and frightened, but at least he was pain free.
He passed several people on the streets in his mad dash towards his estate. They looked at him strangely, and Raoul was sure he presented quite a sight as he gripped the torn sleeve in one hand tighter. He did not care though. He just pumped his arms and legs faster. He needed to get away from the opera house and its ghost quickly. In fact, he did not slow down until he reached his front door. He only stopped then because he could not believe that he had actually run the whole distance between the opera house and his home.
He glanced behind him to see if anyone was following. When he was sure no one was coming, he snuck into his own house. His heart was pounding loudly in his chest, and his hands were shaking. The only thing he could really hear was his own harsh breathing. Raoul went directly to his room locking the doors and windows and closing the curtains. He knew the ghost could easily enter his room. Raoul had spent a lot of time in earlier months finding his clothes misplaced and generally missing. Staring at the balcony door, he hoped that Erik would not try to enter now because Raoul did not know what he was going to do if he did show up. When nothing happened, Raoul flopped onto his bed keeping his mind blank as his heart and breathing slowed down. He instantly regretted the action since his shoulder protested, but he ignored that too.
"What just happened?" Raoul asked aloud.
He stared at the ceiling feeling a little light-headed from his sprint back to his estate. He could not believe he was in such good shape that he managed to make it all the way home. He figured it was because he and Erik fought so much.
Raoul winced when he thought of Erik. It made him think of what had almost happened, and that was exactly what he was trying to avoid.
They had almost kissed.
He rolled over to bury his face into his blankets. His hands clenched the material by his head. His heart raced just thinking about it and it felt like butterflies were in his stomach. He could still feel Erik's body leaning against his own, warm and solid. He could still feel Erik's breath as it caressed his face. He could distinctly picture Erik's pained expression as though he were struggling to contain himself.
Raoul moaned and was mortified when he realized that he was getting aroused. He willed his arousal to go away, but he could only think of Erik. Raoul forced himself to think about the political stability of the country, the work that needed to be done around the house, and Carlotta, and when none of those things seemed to work, he thought about the managers. Luckily, they were enough of an annoyance to calm him down.
He realized that he was very close to outright panic. He had never thought of Erik in that way. He had never thought of any man that way. It had to be a mistake, but as his mind drifted back towards the memory, he could feel himself practically relishing the feel of Erik against him. Steering his mind completely away from that moment, Raoul tried to concentrate. This was wrong. So wrong. He could not be attracted to Erik. He was not only a man but, but he was Erik. Oh God, Raoul wondered how disappointed Philippe would be with him if he knew. Raoul could care less about society, but Philippe, his only family, mattered more than anything did.
Raoul felt desperately lost. What was he supposed to do now? He could not be attracted to Erik. It was probably stress, but Raoul had not felt this at ease in years with anybody. It was probably because he had just been robbed and he could not think straight. That had to be it. His shoulder was in pain and the pain was making him hallucinate. That was plausible, right? Except for the fact that he had been injured a lot worse than this wound on his shoulder.
He tried to think of how he reacted to Erik before that encounter. Had he ever felt that way about Erik? There had first been distrust, hatred, and disdain. Then, it had changed or rather evolved because of Christine's disappearance. Then, there had only been trust, companionship, and peace. But no, never that arousal. He had never thought to look at the ghost like that much less feel that way about him. It was not like Erik was that stunning. Okay, maybe he was stunning but he was also deformed, so it could not solely be a physical thing. Raoul winced; perhaps it would be better if it were just a physical attraction. He did not think he could stand the pain of anything deeper.
Sighing, Raoul felt exhausted. This was too confusing and as much as Raoul thought it was wrong, he knew there was probably nothing he could do about it, at least, not for now.
Too tired to even move or think any longer, Raoul closed his eyes and let sleep take him.
Raoul could not find it in himself to return for several days. Admittedly, he could have avoided the opera house for weeks, but the managers had found it odd and requested that he at least show up for meetings.
The respite had been nice.
The morning after when Raoul woke up, he had pushed the incident as far away from his mind as possible. He spent a relaxing day on the estate spending time in the stable and reading several books beneath a tree. It was nice to get away from the opera house, to get away from Meg, and if he was a little lonely and frustrated from avoiding Erik, he ignored the feeling for as long as he could.
When Raoul could not ignore it any longer, he tried to figure out what happened that night. He once again had to come to terms with the fact that he was somewhat attracted to Erik. He did not know what he was going to do about it, but after many hours of arguing with himself, he could at least admit it. Raoul technically did not want to think about what he might do about the attraction.
Then, Raoul would end up wondering if Erik felt the same way. They had almost kissed.
Honestly, Raoul did not think that Erik could possibly feel the same way. Erik so deeply loved Christine that it just did not seem possible. Raoul seemed to ignore the fact that he had claimed his own love towards her as well. But he knew that Christine did not matter to him that much anymore. He could not love someone who had left him without a single warning or good-bye. He was too hurt by her, and given the opportunity, Raoul did not think he was strong enough not to want to hurt her back.
He did not know about Erik though. Sometimes when Erik thought he was asleep, Raoul would watch him. He would have a far-off look in his eyes as he watched Raoul 'sleep'. Raoul knew Erik was thinking of Christine at those times. It was such a wistful expression that Raoul could only imagine Erik was wondering where Christine was. Sometimes Raoul wondered those same things, but he had stopped worrying about Christine a while ago. He had felt bad about it because he would only think of her in passing. Yet, Erik still had those expressions on his face even lately.
Raoul liked to think that they had become friends. He doubted that Erik thought of him as anything more.
So on the evening before his return to the opera house, Raoul had come to the conclusion that he had imagined the whole thing. Erik had not tried to kiss him. He had been angry about Raoul missing their meeting and pushed him against the wall to make a point. Raoul, not having realized his desire for Erik at that point, imagined that Erik was about to lean forward and kiss him.
Raoul laughed at himself. He had overreacted. He needed to speak with Erik about the whole thing and apologize for his behaviour. In all truths, he did not want to keep avoiding him. He missed their meetings and their conversations. Raoul knew it would be difficult to suppress his newfound attraction to Erik, but it was his only option. He never felt at ease unless he was with Erik. Raoul found it almost disgraceful, but he could not deny the truth of that statement.
To keep their friendship, he would learn to forget his attraction.
Erik had not really expected Raoul to come to their meetings after that incident. He had seen and felt the panic Raoul had experienced.
What he had not expected was for Raoul to avoid the opera house completely.
Erik was not sure what had possessed him that night. He had not really been thinking. Raoul had been so compliant and understanding. He had looked up at him so guilelessly and Erik had been so angry with himself for feeling the overwhelming need to protect Raoul – not just protect, but to keep Raoul at his side. He had acted before he realized that he might hurt Raoul's shoulder. Then, Erik had suddenly felt Raoul all too clearly through his clothes. The warmth of the blonde completely suffusing his whole body with a demanding energy that screamed at him to just do something to Raoul and to do it now.
The flood of desire had been almost painful, a sweet sort of pain that Erik wanted to experience over and over again. It had made him want to press harder against Raoul, to hold him tighter, and to close that small distance that had been between them.
And, Erik had been weak enough to give into that desire. Now he was alone and frustrated. He had wanted to chase Raoul, but the realization that he had almost kissed Raoul without even thinking had made him pause. His body had acted of its own accord, but even now that he was thinking, Erik still did not know what he was going to do about his rather uncontrollable desire to have Raoul.
This was the fop he was thinking about. The Vicomte. The patron. But when he had taken a good look at him that night, he had not seen those things. He had seen the person who had taken the foremost important position in his life ever since Christine had gone. It was as if he had seen Raoul for the very first time and he had fallen in love at first sight.
Erik screamed in frustration.
He could not believe that he had just thought that. He did not love Raoul. He just wanted… to kiss him? Erik knew he wanted to do a lot more than just kiss Raoul. He wanted to do what he had seen many stagehands doing to each other when they thought they were alone. He wanted to do what the managers had been doing to those girls. He wanted more than just kissing.
The desire was not that foreign to Erik. He had wanted Christine like that after a while, but he had never had such a hard time controlling those desires. He had been able to think about Christine without becoming aroused. He had even been able to control himself when he had been near her and touched her. One touch from Raoul, of Raoul and Erik had lost all sense of control. One look and Erik had been lost.
It was this dilemma that kept Erik from going over to Raoul's estate. He did not know what he was going to do. He could not scare Raoul away again. He did not want to lose what they had already.
If he was being generous, Raoul was not that bad. He was a good fighter, better than Erik had first given him credit for. He was even smarter than Erik was always claiming. It had been months since Erik had last had a thought to kill the Vicomte and in those same months, he had rather come to enjoy the boy's company. How could he view Raoul as the enemy when he knew the truth? Raoul was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
And that was the problem. There was no way that Raoul would ever want to be with him. Christine had not wanted to be with him, and she had a darkness in her that Erik had easily recognized. But Raoul, no. Raoul was all light and honesty and everything that was good. Erik had no right to love him or to expect anything of him in return.
It was the one thing that Erik could honestly thank Christine for. It was best that Christine had left him, them, earlier than later. He would have hated to see what would have happened had she stayed. He would not have had this relationship with Raoul. He would not have been able to see Raoul for who he really was.
Yet, still just the thought of Christine angered him. Every sign, mention of her existence was torture. Erik had wanted to destroy her very memory. He had not been able to destroy her room completely, but her clothes, her pictures, her letters; everything that she had left behind when she left, Erik had taken and burned. He had erased her existence in the opera house. He had erased her very voice from his mind. It had not been as difficult as he had initially thought it would have been.
That was a partially lie. It had been difficult only because hatred had consumed his very being for a while, for days. It had consumed him even as he fought with Raoul, but with every clash of their swords, their fists, every bruise and wound that was opened, that hatred along with Christine had left him. It had left him with nothing but Raoul.
Now, Erik needed to decide what he should do about Raoul's current desire to avoid him. He knew the first course of action was to suppress his own desire to have Raoul until he somehow found a way for the blonde not to able to run away from him. He needed Raoul to stay by him. If it meant that Erik would have to pretend to see Raoul as nothing more than a sparring partner, then he would find a way to do so. He was good a deception. He had made Christine believe he had been an angel of music for many years. Pretending to just enjoy Raoul's company and nothing more could not be too difficult since he did enjoy Raoul's company. He wondered how long the ruse would hold up before his already tenuous restraint broke.
He found it humorous that he had barely resolved to act the part and he was already reconsidering it. It was the fault of his old tendencies. It was a knee-jerk reaction that told him he should not bother with what Raoul thought about the situation. That part of Erik was telling him to simply kidnap Raoul again and make the boy love him back or deal with the consequences. Raoul would eventually learn to love him back. Erik knew he would not deserve it, but Raoul might pity him enough to try. Erik could picture Raoul's face yesterday as he swore that he would return to their meetings no matter what. He had broken that promise, but once again, Erik knew he was to blame for that.
No, he could not kidnap Raoul again. He had to take things slowly.
It had been days since Raoul had come to the opera house. Erik knew. He had been watching all the entrances consistently. It had given him time to gather his thoughts and determine how he should react when he did see Raoul, but this was getting to be absurd. He was getting impatient. He wanted to see Raoul now. The only reason Erik had not gone to Raoul's estate was because he did not know what he would do if he saw Raoul in his bedroom.
When Raoul finally did return to the opera house, Erik had to restrain himself even though all he wanted to do was go out there and confront him. The sight of the familiar blonde hair and that smile made Erik bite his lip in frustration. He could still feel the boy beneath him, pressed tightly against him. Erik's whole body was tense and his mind was running through several scenarios. He realized after Raoul walked out of sight that he could not react like that when he finally did confront Raoul. Erik had not even known that he could have such a strong reaction of that sort and all Raoul had to do was walk into the opera house. So, he set to desensitizing himself to Raoul's presence by following him around the opera house at all times.
It was easy to follow Raoul. It was not easy to keep himself at bay when everything that Raoul did made him want to touch him. Erik did not know what was wrong with him. He knew he should not react to Raoul's presence so strongly. He should not even be thinking those thoughts about him, but he could not stop them from playing through his mind. He could not fight that sweet pain that made him feel more alive than he thought possible. It was an ache that was not becoming desensitized by Raoul's presence but rather increased with every breath Erik took.
As expected, Raoul left the opera house as soon as possible. He did not go to their meeting, which for once Erik was glad about. His desensitizing program was not working very well. His imagination had only grown more vivid, his restraint in tatters. Erik still tried to control himself. He honestly did. He would not make the same mistake twice; he would not rush things.
Erik had realized there was a flaw in his plans when he saw that Giry girl constantly talking to Raoul. In fact, he was fairly certain that she was following Raoul. Every time the Vicomte stepped into the opera house, she somehow appeared. It was almost admirable the way she could do so. Admirable, if it had not irritated Erik so much. The only thing stopping him from harming her was the fact that she was Madame Giry's daughter, though that would not hold him back for very much longer if she kept touching Raoul.
Erik tried to be patient. He really did try, but he could not wait any longer. He could not watch Raoul one more day and not speak with him. At least, under his ruse he would actually be able to touch Raoul when they were fighting. Oh, how Erik wanted to fight Raoul again. Unfortunately, Erik could not even kidnap Raoul when he first entered the opera house like he used to. Raoul had stopped coming early, and there were always people around him. Raoul simply was not cooperating, nor was anyone else in the opera house.
He was becoming desperate though. He would have to do something drastic if he could not meet with Raoul again.
Raoul could not do it anymore. He could not avoid Erik forever. The first day that Raoul had returned to the opera house, he had had every intention to go to their meeting that night. When he finished his business with the managers, Raoul found himself almost running out of the opera house. He was not ready just yet. Raoul did not think that he could see Erik and not blush. He would not be able to look Erik in the eyes.
In fact, the very thought of Erik made Raoul think of his body pressed against him. It made him think of Erik's warm breath and Raoul would think of his lips. The ones he now so desperately wanted to kiss.
He wished the memory would fade like the pain in his shoulder. He knew he was being foolish. He had already managed to convince himself that he was simply blowing everything out of proportion. That there could be no way that the opera ghost had tried to kiss him and it had been one big misunderstanding. He kept telling himself there was no way that Erik thought of him in such a manner. The words were there playing in his head day and night.
Even with those thoughts and his desire to see Erik, Raoul still kept running away. He was a little hurt that Erik had not tried to initiate their contact, but Raoul knew that he was the true coward. It just meant that Raoul was more dependent on their relationship than Erik was. It should not have hurt to realize that, but Raoul felt foolish for even hoping otherwise. His initial fears that Erik was simply humouring him came to the forefront of his thoughts and Raoul was starting to doubt himself. Before he let that doubt take over completely, Raoul forced himself to wake up early one day and head towards the opera house. He hoped that Erik would see him and talk with him. It would be hard to get in touch with the ghost otherwise.
The second he entered the opera house, Raoul veered left towards the nearest alcove. As much as he believed himself to be alone, he still wanted privacy. If Erik even wanted to talk to him, he did not want their conversation to be in the open. He was also reluctant to meet in their storage room lest Raoul's mind be stuck against that wall with that image in his mind.
Checking over his shoulder to see if anyone had seen him, Raoul was surprised when he turned around and the opera ghost stood there staring at him blankly. Erik could not believe that Raoul had come early. But now that the other was there, he did not know how to begin.
A moment of silence descended.
"We need to talk." They said at the same time.
Raoul grinned, a little relieved. He had not realized he had been so tense, but he now believed things would turn out okay.
He could almost swear that Erik was grinning as well, but one never knew with the ghost if it was amusement or malice. Raoul hoped it was the former.
Erik had never felt so relieved in his life seeing Raoul grin at him like that. He forced himself to remain where he stood however no matter how tempting it was to close the distance between them. He opened his mouth to say something when they both heard footsteps approaching their alcove.
For a second, Raoul's attention turned towards the footsteps. He had not even turned all the way, but he barely caught a glimpse of the ghost leaving out of the corner of his eye. When he turned back to Erik, he was disappointed to find that he was alone. He sighed. They had not even been able to talk.
"Raoul?" A voice called from behind him.
End part 01
Word count: 3,956
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Chapter review: Who is our mystery guest? Right when they finally get the chance to talk, too.
Author review: This felt like the longest chapter to write. Stupid angsty boys.