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)

Pairing(s): ErikRaoul

A/N: Oh yeah, sorry this took so long to post. I didn't write during the weekend.

Story note: Last part of the third installment.

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Time: Ends

Part03:Shock

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By: Lucifer Rosemaunt

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Last time: Christine returned. Raoul believes that Erik wants Christine back and vice versa plus Erik's just pissed off.

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Raoul wanted to try again. He had been debating whether he should even try or just accept his fate, but it came down to a simple fact. Raoul wanted to clear things up between them. He did not want the ghost believing that he was still interested in Christine. He wanted to tell Erik that he could pursue her without his interference. Maybe then, history would not repeat itself.

If he had an ulterior motive, then who could blame him if Raoul just wanted to talk to Erik at least one last time? Who knew when they would be able to speak again? He had to try.

So, Raoul woke up early again and headed towards the opera house. When he arrived, he was disappointed to see Christine the moment he walked into the opera house. She was there waiting for him.

"Raoul!" She jumped up from the steps she had been sitting on and ran to him. Raoul could tell that she was about to hug him, so he began to cough. She stopped short and asked him, "Are you okay?"

Raoul nodded, clearing his throat. "It's nothing. But what are you doing here?"

Christine's bottom lip quivered, but thankfully, she stayed where she stood. "The ghost is mad at me."

Raoul fought the urge to roll his eyes. He could not hide the exasperation in his voice however. "Of course he's angry. You left him. You left us, Christine. I explained it to you yesterday."

Christine grabbed his arm, ignoring his tone of voice. "You don't understand. I had to leave. I was afraid."

"If you were afraid," Raoul tried to pry her away from his arm, "then you shouldn't have returned."

Erik mentally cheered for Raoul. As complacent as the Vicomte was about Christine's return at least, Erik now had proof that Raoul would not just accept Christine back. It was a relief, but not enough assurance. He had watched Raoul's approach and wondered if he should intercept Raoul before he entered the theatre and saw Christine. Erik could not miss the opportunity to eavesdrop in their conversation however. He wanted to know why they had planned to meet this early in the morning.

"But..." she almost began to plead but Meg came running in.

"Christine, Mama's looking for you."

Christine looked torn for a moment before going with Meg.

Raoul frowned when he saw Meg wink at him as she walked away. Erik scowled at the sight. He doubted Mme Giry had called for Christine at all.

His mood lightened when he realized that he now had the opportunity to speak with Raoul. Additionally, Christine would discover just how small roles could be for, as the newspapers had called it this morning, a prodigal prima donna. Erik had sent a note to the managers that Christine would not be placed in any important role. He made certain just how easily replaceable she should be. He knew they would comply. They had wanted her gone in the first place as well. It was a small matter that she returned. The publicity was really what they were looking for. Carlotta though past her prime was better than Christine was. Until another opera singer was found, Carlotta would be good enough.

Once Christine had left, Raoul backtracked from the stairs going towards the entrance. He slipped back into the alcove away from sight. He did not want anyone else to talk to him. At least, no one that kept finding him.

Once in the darkness of the alcove he breathed a sigh of relief.

"So, where'd you two go yesterday?"

Raoul did not even blink at the sound. He simply turned his head at the sound.

Erik was almost impressed.

Raoul had expected Erik to find him. He had not so much expected as hoped that Erik would want to talk to him still. He gave Erik a small smile of relief.

Erik's heart skipped a beat. The smile and the way Raoul's body relaxed after immediately seeing him did not go unnoticed by Erik. There was no way Erik could miss that when he saw the way Raoul's clothes perfectly fit his body or the way he knew that Raoul had eaten something with jam this morning, jam that Erik so desperately wanted to taste for himself.

"Christine and I just walked," Raoul leaned against the wall, not realizing how much opportunity he was giving Erik to just trap him there, "We took a carriage to the plaza not very far from the opera house."

Erik nodded. He had barely heard the words that Raoul spoke. He could only see the way his lips moved and the pink tongue that had darted out to moisten them. Erik shook his head. He was still more interested in what they spoke about not where they went, though it was comforting to know Raoul had not taken her back to his estate.

"She started talking about why she had left." Raoul did not know why he was telling Erik this, but he felt the need to explain. He wanted to make Erik realize that Christine was afraid of him, make him realize that she was not good enough for Erik. "She said she left because she feared for her life."

Erik almost laughed. She had nothing to fear before. It was only now that she had to fear for her life. Coming back would be the worst mistake she ever made, and would ever make again for that matter.

Raoul noticed Erik tense up. Of course it would be hard to hear such a thing. Raoul wondered if Erik still blamed him for what happened. It had been a long time since that accusation, but somewhere inside his mind, Erik could still possibly believe it.

"She was afraid to have to choose between us, but I think," Raoul added. He was a little disturbed by the ghost's reactions. Now that Christine was back, he had been acting differently. Raoul had half expected to be kidnapped once more. This would probably have been the only time that Raoul would not have minded losing half an hour of his day, not if it meant being able to be alone with Erik. But Erik had stayed away, and this was probably how it was going to be from now on. Raoul concluded, "She came back because she chose you."

Erik had to look away from Raoul. He knew why she had come back, had found out before he killed the man who informed him. Knowing why she had come back did not change anything. It was practically the same reason that she had gone, and Erik knew that reason as well. It was not because she had been scared. No. That was a convenient excuse Christine used. The only one who believed that was Raoul, poor Raoul who did not know anything.

It was not as though Erik had kept the truth from Raoul. When he had found out about what Christine had been up to and where Christine had gone, Erik had already hated her. He had already come to terms with the fact that she was gone. However, Raoul had still been talking about her with him and more with the Giry girl. By that time, he had not wanted to go after her; more importantly, he had not wanted Raoul to go after her either.

Confused by Erik's reaction, Raoul could only guess that Erik was mad because Christine had spoken to him first. She did still seem a little clingy, and she was still afraid for her life. But, she came back last night and sent Raoul away just to speak with the ghost. What else could he believe but she wanted to reconnect with Erik?

"She said she was going to try to contact you yesterday," Raoul did not bother to mention the fact that Christine had come running to him this morning, thinking that her life was in danger again. Maybe the ghost had indeed talked with her, and Raoul wondered if that was a good sign. A good sign? A good sign that Christine was still afraid of the ghost, that life might just return to normal in the opera house, or that the ghost was no longer interested in Christine.

He did not know which one he wanted to be true.

Raoul looked closely at Erik. He had begun to depend on him. Over and over again, he came to that conclusion. He depended on Erik as a confidant, a friend. That much was obvious, but did he want it be something more? Was his mind just playing tricks on him and forcing him to love the only person who had given him comfort during Christine's disappearance? Probably. It was the only real explanation. That almost-kiss probably meant nothing. That almost-kiss was just a figment of his imagination.

He gave a small chuckle even though he hated how obviously pained it sounded to him. Erik finally turned back to look at him questioningly. His heart had jumped in his chest when he heard Raoul's laugh. That was not how Raoul laughed. It sounded pained. Erik wondered what Christine's return was doing to Raoul. He had not been acting the same since she came back. He was quiet, subdued. His very vitality seemed to have left him. Erik wanted his Raoul back, the one who had sworn to come back to him every night no matter what happened. Erik wanted that back.

Raoul shook his head at the gaze, shrugging off his concern. "She was adamant in sending me away so that she could speak with you. So, I left."

Erik's eyes narrowed. Christine had sent Raoul away from his domain? The gall of the girl. Raoul had more of a place in this opera house than Christine would ever have.

Raoul tensed at the small gesture. He recognized the look from when they fought. Erik was going to act and Raoul was not sure what action he would take. Did Erik not believe him? It was the truth.

Raoul subtly moved away from Erik looking for any indication of how Erik would attack. He could only slide against the wall though. Raoul realized that he had been so comfortable around Erik that he had trapped himself in a corner.

Trying to keep his voice steady, Raoul attempted to appease him. He tried to add nonchalantly, "I understand now that Christine is back, we won't be meeting anymore."

Erik stepped into Raoul's personal space effectively cutting him off from the exit. He definitely would not have Raoul say that. Raoul was trying to distance himself, and Erik knew not just physically. He would not accept this. Erik did not know why Raoul was trying to do so, but being patient had done nothing to help his case with Raoul. The only thing that keeping his distance and trying to control his urges had done was let Raoul avoid him when the only thing that Erik wanted right now was to be as close as possible to him.

"You want to stop coming at night?" Erik whispered hoarsely. He needed to hear from Raoul's own lips that he was being rejected.

"Well," Raoul flinched and did not know how to respond. He did not know what Erik wanted to hear. "You see…"

Raoul whimpered and closed his eyes. He could smell Erik. It seemed like he could even feel him even though Erik had yet to touch him.

Erik watched Raoul's face redden and his breath grow shorter. Was the boy afraid of him now? He had never been in the past. In fact, this scared and meek Raoul was beginning to annoy Erik. Where was that confidence he had seen all those months and the bravado? Raoul should have smirked at him and told him exactly what was on his mind. He did not know what Christine had done, but this Raoul was more like how Erik had first imagined the Vicomte to be.

"Christine is back," Erik stated as a fact just to see how Raoul would react, "It is good news, is it not?"

Raoul bit his tongue and tried to hide his frown. He hated the bitterness within himself. It was not Christine's fault that everything revolved around her existence.

Raoul refused to open his eyes however. He told himself that he could be strong. He would not hurt Christine for something that was not her doing, and he knew that once he opened his eyes, Erik would be right there. Erik would tempt him with his warm body and taunting eyes. Then, Raoul would sarcastically say something biting about Erik's infatuation with Christine. Raoul would say it because even though he tried to ignore it, he was bitter about Christine's return. He did blame everything on her. He did want her to just leave. Then they would fight because that's what they did. They did not kiss and hug each other. They fought and at least then, Raoul would feel like he was not so trapped anymore. Ever since Christine had come back, he had felt as though he were in chains unable to do anything that he wanted to, but they would fight and they would not care who saw them. Erik would call him a fop and dumb. Raoul would call him ugly and arrogant. And though those words had long since lost their sting, with Christine back, they would hurt and they would mean it. At least Erik might mean his. Raoul could never try to hurt Erik by saying those words to him. Then, one of them would either die or yield. That's how it would happen. That's how Raoul imagined it would happen.

But, no. He would not open his eyes. He would not let Erik realize his bitterness or try to hurt Christine for no reason. He jerkily nodded his agreement as he cursed her in his mind.

Unfortunately, with his eyes closed, Raoul could only sense Erik more. His heart beat faster when Erik exhaled. They were close. He did not need to open his eyes to know that fact. He did not even know if he wanted to run, if he wanted to escape from this spot. As it were, he really had no choice in the matter. Not with Erik determinedly not budging from his spot.

There. Raoul had said it. Well, he had not actually said it, but he had admitted that he was glad Christine was back. Yet, Erik still could not believe that Raoul wanted to end their meetings. Raoul was not even looking at him.

No.

Just no.

Erik would not allow it. So what if Christine had come back? Erik had a choice to make. He could let Raoul go and stop their meetings. He might be able to get over this newfound infatuation with the boy or he could just refuse to let Raoul go. The decision was not difficult to make. Not when the desire had long since taken over his senses. Not when that ache was so strong he could almost feel his body moving of its own accord.

No. Raoul was not allowed to say their meetings were over. He was not allowed to end them.

Reaching up, Erik grabbed Raoul's face roughly. Finally, those blue eyes were focused on him, shocked and confused. He pulled Raoul forward and finished what he had started those days ago.

Erik roughly slammed his lips into Raoul's. He winced as his mask bumped Raoul's nose and their teeth clanked against each others.

But it was Erik's first kiss and he wanted Raoul to understand what exactly he wanted.

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End Installment 03

Word count: 2,613

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

Chapter review: Erik kissed Raoul! Score.

Author review: I only quickly edited this one so please forgive me for my mistakes. I'll probably want to rewrite it later, but I want to go out for my birthday and it's getting late. So, since I also wanted to post this, here it is.