Title: Human Anatomy
Author: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Summary: One word prompts based on body parts, most parts except for the one you really want.
A/N: Trying out a new heading. I usually try to keep it to whatever the first chapter was, but it's starting to annoy me when I have to crosspost to livejournal. Hopefully it'll be easier to read and find what fic you're looking for. I'm not sure how much I like it yet though.
Storynote: I actually don't feel completely dissatisfied with how these two turned out. Not completely.
In an effort to hire the new trombonist that the opera ghost had demanded, Raoul commandeered the managers' office intent on reviewing the necessary documents. Andre and Firmin had been intentionally delaying the process despite having found an exceptional young musician, unwilling to let the ghost think they were doing it because he had ordered them to. It made no sense because obviously, the previous trombonist had been fired almost immediately after they had received the threatening letter. Sometimes, Raoul was certain that the managers were actually quite brilliant because he almost always did their work for them.
Someone cleared their throat, which was odd since Raoul was certain he had locked the door. Looking up from the documents, he frowned. "It is you again." Past the masked man, the door was closed, and he was certain it hadn't been opened.
"Such an astute observation!" Erik nodded in faux eagerness. He leaned on the desk across from the viscount. "Surely the scholars are seeking your audience at every turn."
Raoul hung his head and sighed. "I know…"
Erik raised his hands toward the heavens, "You know something, too?" Quickly, he turned to rifle through the papers on Andre's desk. "I shall mark the date and hour posthaste."
Slamming his hands on the desk, Raoul surged to his feet. The chair skidded back by the force and the sound garnered Erik's attention enough that he ceased his search for a pen. Raoul could feel his face heat up. Through clenched teeth, he said, "I am aware that Christine told you."
"Oh," Erik smirked, "what did she tell me?"
Even the porcelain mask seemed to mock him despite its blankness; the sheer force of the older man's derision managed to influence even inanimate objects. It was still easier to focus on the mask, if only to avoid seeing the obvious pleasure Erik received from his discomfort. He glared and the bridge of his nose wrinkled; Erik grinned wider in response. The older man wanted nothing more than to goad him further just to see that expression.
"Stop mocking me." Raoul barely stifled the urge to stomp his foot. It would have been undignified.
"That shall definitely never happen."
"I know it will never happen!" He shouted, angry at himself for his momentary weakness. Rather, he was angry for all the weaknesses Erik seemed to inspire in him. "I know I shouldn't have these feelings, shouldn't verbalize them much less tell Christine them. But I do and I did and it's too late." He was breathing hard by the end of his outburst. He didn't feel any better for having yelled it though. Ever since learning that he harbored quite the opposite of hatred for the ghost, Erik had been downright insufferable, finding every opportunity to bring it to his attention.
"I did not mean 'never' in regards to that," he said in an uncharacteristically subdued voice.
Annunciating each word, Erik stated, "I will never cease mocking you."
Raoul had almost hoped. He stared at the desk where the documents were currently strewn after his violent motion. He'd given himself a deadline to finish it before the day was out, but now he knew he would have to amend that because he would get no more work done today. He walked around the desk, intent on bypassing Erik to leave the room but the man was quick to block his path. He took a step left and Erik mirrored him; a step to the right garnered the same result. "Surely there are dark corners you could be haunting."
"Wait." Erik held up his hand, head tilted towards the door. Raoul leaned forward in an attempt to locate whatever sound Erik had heard. "Did you hear it?"
Raoul shook his head. He could hear nothing; so, he turned his ear more toward where Erik seemed to be indicating.
"Was that an almost witty comment from our dearest patron?"
Raoul huffed, straightening immediately. "Why must you continually insult my intelligence?"
"Because you have yet to show me any sign of it," Erik replied, arms crossing in front of his chest to mirror Raoul once more. "I must therefore assume that the space between those delicate ears of yours is empty." He reached out and flicked his ear and Raoul twitched, hand immediately coming up to protect it from further abuse. A blush was already forming though.
"I shouldn't have told Christine," Raoul reiterated. It was the only thing he could think to say. Had he not told her, then he would never have had to endure this torture.
Erik shook his head. "That would hardly have mattered. You are entirely too transparent."
Raoul gasped, "You knew already?"
He hadn't, but he didn't voice it. His lip curled in disgust at himself because the blond had been transparent. He shouldn't have needed Christine's gossip to find out, but he had been willfully blind.
Raoul took his silence to mean the affirmative and mistaking his expression to be a reaction to the thought of his affections, he attempted to defend himself, "I tried to stop liking you."
"And that is why I question your intelligence," Erik responded.
"Look." He continued indignantly, "Some of us cannot help the way we feel."
"It's not in the emotions," Erik retorted immediately, "but rather in the execution."
"What would you have had me do?" Raoul asked, desperate for an answer. He had tried everything he could think of to stop his feelings.
"Stop pitying yourself. You have everything in life. You have no right."
Raoul, frustrated that he could do no right with the man, looked away and pouted.
The older man continued, "I would dislike you less if you did something bold. At least then you'll have lived a little despite the outcome."
"So," Raoul stared at a scuff on the floor, mulling over Erik's words. There was a certain bit of wisdom in them, a desperate sort of wisdom that he wouldn't have expected any less from a ghost. "You think me not only stupid, but a coward."
"Yes," Erik answered slowly, "that does make for a concise summary."
Raoul was desperate at the moment. Tired, desperate, it was the same for him right now. He simply knew that he could leave this room frustrated and angry or he could leave this room with at least one exceptional memory even if it was to be his last. Erik was just there, staring at him like for all the world he was daring Raoul to be bold, and he couldn't find a reason to disappoint the masked man. He grabbed his collar and mashed their mouths together. His nose was badly abused by the impact with Erik's mask and they'd banged their teeth in his haste, but Raoul felt the man's lips, chapped as they were, irregular and puffy on the right side, quirk up in a grin just as he pulled away. Shocked at himself but more at the fact that the ghost was smirking at him instead of trying to hang him, he just stood there. Despite the smirk, Raoul thought he saw a bit of surprise as well and he liked to think pleasure, too.
"That," Erik said much too self-satisfied, "is the first intelligent thing you've done since you got here."
o.o brain o.o (wc:1216)
Through slitted eyes, Erik saw the butler take the blanket and picnic basket from Raoul's arms. They had necessarily been taken because the young man was focused entirely on him, very near hovering around him worriedly. His hands would flit towards him in aborted motions, the fear of causing him more pain apparent. It would've been more endearing if Erik could have spared it a second thought.
Once they were in the shelter of the house, he headed directly for the sofa and dropped onto the cushioned seat. Head cradled carefully in his hands, he sighed, grateful that he could now squeeze his eyes shut without having to worry if he would run into something. In his mind's eye, he could see the worried look Raoul was currently giving him. It was the same look that he'd had when the headache had first started. Erik was currently in no condition even to consider trying to assure him that he would be fine given time. His head felt as though it would split open at any moment; he was uncertain if he would be fine.
He pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes, one on the socket and the other on the mask, but the growing pressure at his temples and behind his eyes was not going away. Thinking hurt and yet he could not shut his thoughts as easily as he had his eyes. Even without his eyesight, he could track Raoul's movements through the room. Every footstep and breath was stabbed into his skull as though awareness was a weapon wielded against him vindictively. He wanted to yell at him to stop moving but the act itself would've been more painful than letting Raoul go through the room closing all the curtains. He knew it was for his benefit, but even the rustling of the curtains made him want to cringe.
And then, Raoul was leaving the room, leaving him to suffer alone and pain was joined by indignant anger. It was considerably quiet now, but even the silence was too loud and his supposed lover had abandoned him at the first sign of weakness. He curled tighter over his knees, blaming Raoul entirely for this turn of events and cursing him for his desertion.
Raoul did return shortly, but it was too late. Erik refused to acknowledge him.
The sofa moved slightly when Raoul sat at the edge. "C'mere," he whispered.
Erik pointedly ignored him.
"Really," Raoul placed a hand on his shoulder, "Come here."
Erik lifted his head slowly; he felt as though it would simply flop over without the effort he put in keeping it straight. He barely opened his eyes; the dim light was a godsend compared to the sunlight that had lanced pain through his head.
Raoul coaxed him to lie down so that his head was pillowed on his lap. The new angle was disorienting and made his vision overcompensate and the room spun before he settled on shutting his eyes once more. Still, it felt as though he were tilting, somehow falling head over heels even though he was lying down.
As though he knew Erik was struggling, Raoul suggested, "Lie on your back instead." He put a warm hand on his back, rubbing small circles.
Erik leaned into the touch even as he said warningly, "Raoul." The rest of the threat petered out because that single word had caused a wave of agony to move from the back of his head to his eyes. He tensed, unwilling to move lest it aggravate his head further, though a distant part of him wanted to simply claw at his eyes. The hand on his back continued making small circles. Only when he was fairly certain the pain had plateaud did he let Raoul help him turn. He wouldn't admit that it helped; instead, he covered his face once more, finding the only relief in the added pressure of his hands on his face, in pressing his mask against his face.
"I'm sorry." Raoul's voice was low, not quite a whisper but soft in an obvious effort to be considerate. Fingertips trailed up his throat and into his hair, pressing firmly into his scalp. Erik groaned as his headache eased slightly, almost ready to forgive Raoul for his previous departure. Instead of continuing, those hands were prying his hands off his face. Raoul removed his mask, which earned him another groan, this one displeased, but Erik could do nothing more than mentally curse him.
"Shh." Raoul ran the back of his hand gently down Erik's face as though in apology for having to remove the mask.
A cool damp cloth was placed on Erik's forehead and Raoul began to rub circles on his temples. It was better than the massage on his scalp and Erik melted down onto the couch with a deep exhale. The coldness of the cloth seemed to loosen a band of tension from around his head and Raoul fingers helped keep it at bay. His mind remained blissfully quiet, glad to focus on the feel of Raoul touching him so tenderly.
He was almost drifting off the sleep when Raoul commented softly, "We'll never go on another picnic again."
Erik would have argued the contrary. He had groused the entire time and refused to sit the first five places Raoul had wanted, but when they had finally settled on a location, he had appreciated how excited and pleased had Raoul looked. He liked how the younger man had dressed casually and how he looked beneath the sun, glowing with a light of his own. He loved that despite all the beauty of nature around them, Raoul had only ever looked at him.
They could have a picnic again, he wanted to voice, but the escape from the lingering pain beckoned him and he fell asleep.
o.o temple o.o (wc:977)
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Brain: Erik's kind of a jerk, although I do like him goading Raoul into action (only because he's too much of a coward to make the first move himself). I really kind of like horrible first kisses. It gives them a reason to try again. ;3 (-sigh- This started as a wc:600 ficlet.)
Temple: It's like Erik's allergic to the sun – although I find myself getting migraines when I'm in the sun for any period of time too, so I'm sure living mostly underground or indoors much of his life plays only a small role in the affliction. I was forced to write it completely in Erik's POV because the mixed POV was just awkward.