Disclaimer: Please don't sue. I don't own POTO... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: ErikRaoul slash. The fluffier side of uncertainty.
Warning(s): slash (that's homosexual content for those of you who don't know)
A/N: This was supposed to be another holiday fic, but it really doesn't have to be, looking back on it.
Story note: Take the uncertainty seen in Think of Me (another one of my fic), make it less angsty, add major fluff and sweetness and this is what you get. So much fluff you're liable to get diabetes. Really.
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Raoul rushed down the stairs, pulling on his jacket in the process. He checked his cravat and smoothed his shirt down, making sure there weren't any obvious wrinkles. He wanted to look his best. After all, it wasn't every night that he and Erik went out, and this particular outing was simply too important to ruin by looking messy. He didn't even know why he had agreed to this dinner. Christine had invited Erik and Erik had told Raoul about it.
Dinner at the Giry household should have been something informal and relaxing; he was currently dressed in his best clothing. He didn't even want to go into why he needed to look absolutely great just because they were going to see Erik's old object of affection – obsession was more like it. What was he even doing? There had to be a line between being understanding and just plain stupid because Christine was going to flirt with Erik all night and one of these times, Raoul was going to lose to her… again.
He still didn't know why Erik was with him even though Christine had come back into all of their lives. And sometimes, he could see something in Erik's eyes that made him believe that the man wanted to go back to the way things had been before – him being the opera ghost tutoring Christine and Raoul not even in the picture.
Banishing such thoughts from his head, he walked into the sitting room where he knew Erik would be.
"You look like you're comfortable," he stated aloud when he saw Erik sitting in his favorite seat next to the fire, a book in hand. The man had come earlier that evening just for this event. He'd brought extra clothes, but as Raoul approached, he noticed that they were still hung over the sofa.
Erik didn't look up nor did he even bother to respond, though Raoul knew he'd stopped reading. The ghost never truly ignored anyone; he was too paranoid when there was another person in the same room to really do so. If Raoul recalled correctly, he was certain that Christine had something to do with that.
Not expecting an answer, he continued, "We're supposed to be leaving. So once you dress…" They actually needed to leave right now if they wanted to arrive on time. He didn't want to be late or else Christine would certainly use that against him the entire evening. She'd make a snide comment that Raoul would simply smile and shrug off because she and Erik had a special connection that he could never even begin to understand. At least, that's what she'd told him that one time, but the truth was, he believed her. Erik and she had known each other for years. The man hadn't just tutored her; he'd loved, chased, killed for her.
But, why was Erik with him, then? Raoul didn't know. He was just waiting for that one day when the look in Erik's eyes when he thought of Christine turned to comprehension, comprehension that he should give in to her advances, that he was with the wrong person, that Raoul was no Christine.
After all, Erik had looked like he'd wanted to go to this dinner. Raoul just didn't know why he'd been invited. At first, he'd thought it was a good idea, specifically to show Christine that Erik was with him now and there was nothing she could do about that, but he wasn't that sure of Erik's love for him. They'd sort of just fallen into a relationship because Raoul had simply been persistent. Persistence wasn't love and could do nothing to combat against a special connection.
"Erik?" From Raoul's vantage point, he couldn't see his entire face, but Raoul knew that Erik wasn't wearing his mask. The man sort of stopped caring that he saw his face. Raoul always assumed it was because they were more comfortable around each other, because they were home, but that was just an assumption. However, the Giry household might actually be the only other place Erik would go without his mask, barring the ghost's own home of course. He was interested to find out whether Erik would go with the accessory or not. It would be a telling action.
Erik turned slightly and looked Raoul up and down. His expression was neutral and Raoul squirmed at the scrutiny. "What if I said I don't want to go?" Erik asked.
The blonde tilted his head in confusion. He was almost certain this whole dinner was for Erik even though he'd been told that Christine's invitation was to celebrate an anniversary of some sort or something. It had been a private dinner that Raoul was really intruding upon. He frowned again at the fact that he'd been a mere afterthought.
"You?" Raoul narrowed his eyes, "I'd ask if you were well. Are you?"
They stared at each other for a few seconds before Erik looked back down at his book. Raoul didn't know what to do. It was obvious that Erik was displeased. Maybe it was because Erik had only asked because he expected Raoul to say no to the invitation, and now he was ruining everything for Erik and Christine. That would be ironic. He'd only agreed because he'd thought he was doing Erik some sort of favour. Now, he knew that he was doing this for his own selfish needs. He thought he'd been very good about this whole dinner, too. He'd pretended to be interested, excited, whatever emotion he felt was necessary at the time. After all, he wouldn't want to seem jealous of Christine. That might drive Erik further away from him. But now, it made sense. Erik's reticence, well, he had been more reticent than what was usual.
Taking a deep breath, Raoul walked to the fireplace, trying to make up his mind. He stood to the side of the fire and leaned against the mantle just watching the ghost.
He tried his best to take everything in. Maybe it would be the last time that he'd see him like this. He didn't know why, but the sight of Erik simply sitting down in one of his armchairs reading a book made him pause. The red glow of the fire illuminated his features, deformity and all. The fact that Erik looked completely at ease, the normality of the situation was breathtaking. He wanted to keep him like this, wanted this false peacefulness to be their relationship. It was false though. Erik was probably not at ease, was probably thinking about Christine, was probably angry with him.
He could let Erik go though, couldn't he? So what if he loved the man, it was the right thing to do. Christine was back and that changed everything. Whatever he might have imagined to be between them stopped mattering. He could be happy for him for finally getting what he'd wanted for so long.
Erik looked up from his book to see Raoul staring at him with a small smile on his face. He frowned at the blonde. Before he could say anything, Raoul stated, "I don't want to go."
Raoul looked away from him, not wanting to see the joy and relief in his features.
Erik paused, not sure if he heard correctly. He hadn't wanted to go to this dinner in the first place and had only accepted to see how the blonde would react. However, he'd received a less than acceptable reaction from the blonde - he'd actually agreed. More than that though, Raoul had looked rather pleased to hear of the invitation, and Christine had made it more than obvious that she had wanted Erik there for more than just friendship. Did the Vicomte not really care?
The blonde's response had ruined his day completely. He'd been unable to concentrate on anything. In fact, he'd simply opened the book to a random page to look busy while he thought about what he would do about Christine. The only saving point about having to go to the Giry household had been the fact that Raoul would be there and Erik could further try to see if the blonde really didn't care if he and Christine were to have a relationship. Now this? He couldn't believe it.
"I refuse to go," Raoul reiterated.
"Then," Erik decided, hearing the resolve in his voice. If Raoul wanted him to go by himself, then that was what he would do. It was obvious that the blonde wasn't as interested as he'd initially been. It must have all been some sort of game to play while Christine had gone.
Erik stood up and resolutely walked towards the door, just barely able to keep from stomping away. He wasn't dressed yet, but his clothes were good enough. It wasn't as though he was trying to impress anyone. "I'll go by myself."
Raoul clenched his teeth and turned his back completely so that he wouldn't have to watch him leave. He suddenly didn't want to know if the ghost brought his mask or not. He stared intently at the fire, his back stiffening at the outrage he felt. He'd actually expected Erik to say that they'd just spend the night in, but who was he kidding? Erik wouldn't just break his dinner with Christine like that, even if it were for Raoul, especially if it were for him.
So disappointed, Erik was out of the room and down the hall before he stopped himself. He didn't want to eat with Christine; he didn't even want to leave the house.
They never talked about how they felt for each other. Erik scoffed. Why would they have to? But now, he was wishing that Raoul was easier to read, that Raoul had said the words to him that would make this decision on whether to leave or stay easier. He stood uncertainly in the hallway before frowning to himself. Christine or Raoul? It should've been an easy decision, but it wasn't. Not after so long.
Silently making his way back to the sitting room, he looked at the tension in Raoul's posture. Raoul's arms were straight in front of him, gripping the mantle so tightly his knuckles were turning white. His head was bowed.
In a sudden realization, Erik knew that Raoul didn't want him to go either. The anger and disappointment he'd been feeling immediately vanished. It wasn't that Raoul hadn't given him the reaction he'd wanted. It was just that he had hidden it from him.
Smiling to himself, Erik crossed the distance between them, standing right behind Raoul. He placed each of his hands on top of Raoul's, effectively trapping him in place. Raoul's head shot up almost hitting Erik, but Erik's reflexes were quick enough to avoid that collision.
"Erik?" Raoul stopped struggling.
"If you don't want me to go, you'll have to say so," Erik whispered into his ear.
Raoul shuddered and couldn't help himself as he leaned his head back to rest against the ghost's shoulder. He pressed his cheek to Erik's before the words even registered in his head. "I," he swallowed through the lump in his throat. He could admit this, only because he desperately didn't want him to leave. Erik pressed even closer; Raoul pressed back automatically needing to reciprocate. "I don't want you to go."
Erik smirked, surprisingly more relieved to hear the blonde say it aloud. Raoul's hands unclenched from the mantle, and Erik entwined their fingers before proceeding to envelop him in a hug. It felt too nice to have him close. Erik really couldn't help himself. The blonde tried to turn around, but Erik liked the feel of his back pressed tightly against him, so he kept him in place.
"And why?" Erik asked. He wanted to hear it from his mouth.
Raoul frowned at not being able to see Erik's expression, but it was difficult to stay angry or hold anything back from Erik when his embrace felt so natural, so warm. The ghost had just begun to hug him, to invade his personal space in such a possessive manner, and it made Raoul's heart beat erratically in response. This was how they were meant to be together, as close as humanly possible. So he admitted aloud one of his biggest secrets. "I hate Christine. I hate the way she looks at you, smiles at you, talks to you. I hate the way she's always grabbing your arm even though she knows…" he drifted off when Erik tightened his hold on him and began to kiss his cheek and neck just to calm him down. He hadn't even realized his voice had been getting louder.
"Even though she knows," Erik nuzzled him. Christine or Raoul? It was an easy decision. He finished where Raoul had left off, "I love you."
Raoul whimpered at those three words said quietly but with conviction. He wasn't sure he wasn't imagining this all, but he nodded regardless and was rewarded by a nip at his neck.
"I love you, too." He replied and craned his neck to catch the next kiss Erik bestowed on his lips.
Word count: 2,194
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Chapter review: Christine's such a whore, trying to move in on Raoul's territory. Gosh, there's your fluff, another fic that was supposed to be 500 words but turned into more. Weird.