A/N: Set after the events of any version of the story - except Erik (obviously) did not die.
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It is not yet morning, and here in this frozen land far from the heat of the bustling cities, the sun will not be due to rise for hours yet.
He looks around the near-bare room. The walls are intended to be cheery and bright, yet to him seem a cacophony of colours, invoking feelings completely contrary to their intended purpose.
His food is handed to him. It smells of nothing.
It tastes worse.
He only eats half, and discards the rest.
His shoulder-length hair swishes in front of him and he captures a lock of the midnight sleekness in his hand thoughtfully.
He remembers he was offered a haircut before.
Though he has not seen his hair for what seems like years now, he knows the mess it is in.
He releases the lock and combs his fingers through the thin tresses covering his scalp. For the lack of denseness, it takes a surprising amount of time to finally free his hand.
It is smeared with sweat and dirt.
Perhaps even blood.
There is a mirror.
Small, yet sufficient for its purpose.
He has not used it for longer than he is able to remember.
He takes it from the hard wood drawer it is in.
The metallic surface is coated in fine dust. With the edge of the over-sized shirt he hasn't thought to change for days, he wipes away the shroud of dirt. The rising sun is reflected by silver.
What is it that they say in the Bible?
And then there was light.
Inside the mirror, he sees a face.
Once-clean mask smeared with dirt.
Dominated by a pair of dull gold eyes.
He ignores the face. The face, after all, is not the one he wants to see.
He can't find it.
He looks harder.
What is it he searches for?
Does he see his heart?
Does he see his soul?
What do he see?
He throws back his head and laughs. The mirror shatters as it falls to the floor. He ignores it.
He knows that no one will come.
After all, he knows now what they always have.
The reason why no one ever escapes.
The reason why no one tries to escape.
What better prison than one's own mind?
What better prison than one's soul?
The young man standing outside looks nervously over at his friend. The older of the two smiles reassuringly at the new worker.
"Err… Michael…Shouldn't we see what happened?" asks the new worker anxiously.
Michael smiles patronisingly at the barely-adult. It has been so long since he's been in that position; he doesn't quite remember what the uncertainty feels like.
"Don't worry, this happens all the time."
"Why?" asks the new-ling. Michael shrugs.
"Something about the place – there's a reason why all the big criminals are sent here, after all."
Alarm sparks in the listener's eyes, and Michael hurries to reassure him.
"It only happens to them – no guard's gone insane yet."
"They go insane?" The alarm is clearer now.
"According to the boss, they "trap themselves in their own souls" or some shit like that. The way I see it, everything they've done without cracking catches up to them."
The boy sighs.
"So how did you get into this business?" asks Michael.
"My brother Philippe thought I needed some toughening up, if I'm going to inherit."
"The family title and properties."
Michael frowns. "Come to think of it, I've never actually asked your name. What is it?"
"Raoul," answers the young man. "Raoul de Chagny."