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 04. Questions answered and lives change in a matter of hours.

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

Pairing(s): ErikRaoul

A/N: Hello. Welcome to the fourth installment of Time. Been a while, right?

Story note: So they finally kiss. That's great. I didn't very much like the last installment though. It was… rough? I don't know if that's the word I was looking for but reading it again is almost painful. It's a chore and reading should never be a chore. As for rewriting it, I think I may be too lazy to do so, but let me just apologize for it the quality of that writing (it's like first draft work). It's subpar. That's what happens when I rush apparently. Cross your fingers and hope this is better.


Time: Hours



By: Lucifer Rosemaunt



When Erik pulled away from the kiss, Raoul had stared at him for a long moment. Raoul's eyes were wide with disbelief and his mouth ajar. For a moment, Erik thought that he would say something. It was a better reaction than the first time he tried kissing Raoul.

That was until Raoul seemed to come to his senses and once again, pushed Erik away with all his might before running full speed out of the alcove. Erik peeked out of the alcove and watched Raoul run out of the opera house wondering when his dear patron would realize he had a meeting with the managers.

Raoul burst out of the front doors of the opera house before coming to a complete halt. He could not leave just yet. He let out a strangled cry before he realized he was outside. Luckily, he saw no one around to have seen that. Taking several steps away from the opera house, Raoul tried to calm himself down. He had a meeting with the managers soon and he had missed so many already that he could not miss this one. Looking at the doors he had just exited, Raoul decided that waiting inside the opera house was out of the question. He walked to the edge of the stairs and seeing no other choice, descended several steps before sitting down. He would catch the managers before they entered.

Unfortunately, waiting meant having time to think. The last few minutes of his life were almost déjà vu. It was so much like last time except this time what he had thought was simply his imagination had actually happened. It actually happened. Erik kissed him. Raoul pressed his fingers to his lips and feeling some liquid, he looked at his fingers only to see some blood. His tooth had cut the inside of his lip.

Tensing, he glanced behind him when he heard the door open. He relaxed when he saw that it was not the ghost. He tried to calm himself down taking several deep breaths.

He could not believe what had happened. It took every ounce of will in him to not start running back to his home immediately. He found it somewhat imprudent to be waiting by the opera house even though some part of him bitterly knew that Erik was not going to follow him. He had not followed him the other times, so it stood to reason that Erik would not follow him this time even if, the ghost had kissed him. Kissed him in a way that could not have been construed as an accident. It was the furthest thing from an accident than it could have possibly been.

Erik had grabbed his head. This was no ambiguous 'he accidentally leaned forward'. No, Raoul distinctly remembered the feel of Erik's hands on his face. He had felt the cold palms brushing his cheek and the fingers that had brushed against his neck and his ears. Raoul felt warm all of a sudden. Bowing his head into him hands, Raoul tried to push those minute details from his mind. He tried to push the kiss in general out of his mind just so that he could think a little clearer about the situation, but he could not.

It was not as if Raoul had not experienced better kisses than that. Of course, Raoul had kissed other girls and it had been better. It certainly had not been as violent, but this was different. Firstly, Erik was a man. Secondly, well, this kiss had been so different from anything he had ever felt before in his life. This one… lingered. It was as though his body refused to forget it. Kissing Christine had not even felt like this if Raoul could even call what happened a kiss and not Erik attacking him with his lips. Raoul would have found it amusing if he did not think he should be mad at having been taken advantage of.

He just wished he could understand why Erik had done it in the first place. Raoul was fairly certain that Erik still had feelings for Christine. Erik had gotten so angry when they had disappeared just for a few hours together yesterday and moreover, Erik had basically said so himself. Raoul tried to remember his words.

'Christine is back. It is good news, is it not?'

If that was not an admission of Erik's feelings towards Christine and her return, Raoul knew the only way it could have been plainer would be if Erik had looked at him and said, 'I love that Christine has returned. I love her.' And even though Raoul could picture it in his head, he doubted the ghost would ever do anything that bluntly.

Maybe as bluntly as kissing someone? Raoul could not help but wonder, but he pushed that thought aside. There had to be a reason Erik had kissed him. Maybe Erik thought that he was Christine? Raoul proceeded to call himself various names for that thought alone. The ghost was not blind or deaf. He was just… unpredictable, unfathomable, unreasonable in action, thought, and expectations respectively.

Maybe this was Erik's way of playing with his mind. It could be punishment for having taken Christine out without his permission or for missing their meetings even though he had promised. The image of Erik's expression, where his anger had not been enough to hide his concern, that night, which now felt so long ago, came to mind. Raoul remembered why he had made that promise; it was so Erik would not be alone and selfishly, so that Raoul would not be alone either.

If Christine had returned though, Erik would not be alone anymore. They would spend their evenings together. Instead of Erik and Raoul, it would be Erik and Christine like it was supposed to be. Erik and Raoul had simply been an anomaly, a mistake that had occurred simply because Christine had made her own mistake of leaving the opera house. Raoul could be glad for him now that Christine had realized the error of her ways. He was glad for Erik, really. The pain Raoul felt now was only because he would be alone, nothing else.

It still did not explain the kiss.

Maybe Christine had told him something that had made Erik mad at him, but Raoul knew what Erik looked like when he was angry. The Erik inside the opera house that had kissed him was a far cry from angry. Raoul tried to think back to when they had been talking. He just could not concentrate hard enough. The only thing that kept running through his mind was the fact that Erik had kissed him. Intentionally, outright, and rather viciously kissed him.

Suddenly realizing that his meeting with the managers would be inside where Erik could easily follow them and wait for a moment when Raoul was alone, he panicked. Waiting outside was fine, but what could he do so that they would not have the meeting inside. Raoul glanced behind him again. No sign of the ghost anywhere. Raoul could not suppress the sudden feeling of disappointment. Or was it bitterness? He shook his head at his own reactions. He did not like who he was becoming. The rancor he felt was eating him away from the inside. This was not who he was.

If only things were not so confusing.

Erik was not following him even though he had been the one to initiate the kiss. If Erik was not interested in him, then what was the whole point of kissing Raoul?

Raoul wanted to yell in frustration.

"Monsieur Vicomte!" Andre called.

Raoul looked up. Watching them approach him, he had an idea. "Andre. Firmin. I have been thinking." He smiled charmingly as he stood up.

Firmin watched him warily, but Andre only waited expectantly for Raoul to continue.

"You two have been working so hard lately, that I have decided to treat you to breakfast." Raoul ignored the fact that he had already eaten breakfast.

"Our meeting?" Firmin asked.

"Will be discussed amicably during breakfast." Raoul explained. Anything to get away from the opera house. He waited for the managers to respond. He could already tell what Andre's response would be, but Firmin was suspicious of Raoul's motives.

Firmin shrugged, "Breakfast does sound good."

Raoul relaxed a bit.

"Let's catch that carriage before it leaves," Raoul suggested.

The trio left the opera house. Raoul checked over his shoulder one more time before putting the ghost out of his mind completely. He tried not to feel so angry.


Still in the alcove, Erik leaned against the wall and pondered this new development.

If he had not been so smug with himself, Erik would have been felt more cheated about his situation, considering Christine was back, and if he knew Raoul (which he did), Raoul would once again begin to avoid him. He was growing tired of watching Raoul run away from him. It was becoming a bad habit of his. Then again, Erik would not mind working to control that impulse with force if necessary.

He knew he had probably just exacerbated the situation. What else could Erik have done though? Let him go?


Erik's thoughts slowed when he realized that he meant it with a conviction that could rival his once-love for Christine. He had been uncertain at first wondering if his interest in Raoul was truly what he wanted. He realized now that even if he had wanted to, he would not have been able to simply walk away and forget the boy. Erik did not want to let Raoul ever be able to leave him. Not then and not now. How could he possibly regret his decision when he had been able to kiss Raoul?

Erik grinned madly in the darkness. His first kiss tasted of strawberry jam. Licking his lips again, he modified that thought, strawberry jam and a little bit of blood. Erik checked with his tongue to see if he had cut his lip before realizing that it was Raoul's blood not his. He grinned again. He had been able to taste Raoul, and he wanted to do it again maybe next time without the copper tang of his blood though. But the blood had once flowed through Raoul's body and God, Erik wanted to be a part of him like that. He shook his head wondering when this became such a strong obsession.

A part of him could not believe that he had just kissed Raoul like that. He had not meant to, but the boy had been going on about how Erik belonged with Christine. Was the boy so blind to not see that Christine meant nothing to him? Apparently. He wondered why Raoul had not reacted more strongly to the kiss. Erik had thought that Raoul would yell at him and call him disgusting along with several other choice words. It gave him hope that the only thing Raoul had done was run away, even though Erik knew that sometimes running away could just be as painful as hateful words. He just wondered how much he should allow himself to hope. Raoul could have simply been in shock. Erik was loathe to think that the next time he and Raoul met, Raoul would hate him.

Realizing it had already passed the time that the managers' meeting should have started, Erik headed towards the front door when one of the opera house's caretakers walked into the hall. The man looked around confused but saw no one.

Erik glared at the man half-heartedly from his hiding place. He was not too worried. The managers had been complaining every single time Erik saw them in Raoul's absence. They would not miss this meeting simply because they needed more money.

He smirked to himself again. He could not help it. He thought of his first kiss. It had not gone over entirely well considering their teeth had collided, his mask had gotten in the way, and Raoul had been less than a willing partner, but it was Erik's first kiss. Nothing could be that perfect. He looked forward to practicing with Raoul to get better.

Once the main hall was clear once more, Erik headed towards the front door when he saw Christine walking with some of the other ballet dancers. He glared at her and was torn between heading towards the main entrance and dealing with Christine right this instant.

She was the cause of his problems. He did not think Raoul disliked the kissed; he had not been outright disgusted with it. So, if anything, the only competition left was Christine and Raoul's assumption that Erik still wanted her.

Just looking at her angered him. She did not belong in the Opera Populaire. She did not belong with him. And she definitely did not belong anywhere near his Raoul. The only reasonable conclusion would be that getting rid of her would get rid of his problems.

Erik changed his destination and decided that his pursuit of Raoul would have to wait. He trailed her and was even more enraged to see that she felt completely at ease. She had no right to feel that way in his opera house when she knew that he hated her. Christine, his protégé who had been gone for more than half a year who had taken everything he had given to her and left him behind, had come back only to try to take Raoul. His hatred for her could not be more complete.

He knew exactly what she had been doing in her absence. She had left the Opera Populaire to leave him. She sought her own fame moving to another city, finding another life, and changing her name. It had been a little difficult to find information about her, but it had not been impossible. She sang for another audience who loved her and he knew that she would have stayed there. Erik knew she would have if only there had not been that scandal. While Firmin was unscrupulous enough to use all scandals to his benefit, the managers of that other opera house had not known how to use it properly. The little Delilah had slept with the patron. Erik glared at her harder; he would not let the same thing happen here. She had only returned to opera house to hide.

Poor Raoul knew nothing about it. It would not matter. Erik would deal with her before he needed to find out.


End part 01

Word count: 2,430




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

Chapter review: Poor confused Raoul, and let's hope Erik doesn't plan to do something too bad to Christine.

Author review: There's too much thinking in this. More action to come.