Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
: Please don't sue. I don't own *insert fandom name from above*... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: Erik's beginning to think that Raoul chooses to misunderstand the situation.
Warning(s): slash
: ErikRaoul
Word Count: 2,111

A/N: Yeah, I should be working on something else, but I told myself I'd post today and this is what happened.
Story note: Raoul has always been more than a little insecure in my mind. I mean, in a relationship with Erik, how could he not be considering their history?


By: Lucifer Rosemaunt


It should have been just another boring, normal day at the opera house. Though admittedly, 'normal' was never boring in the Opera Populaire.

Erik and Raoul were sitting in Box 5 quietly discussing the new opera as the cast rehearsed on stage. From their position in the partial darkness of the half-illuminated theatre, they were well-hidden. Each was watching the stage, more because their conversation would at times lapse into silence, and from experience, if they were looking at each other during that silence, they'd stare – it suddenly becoming a contest of wills to see who would either look away or break the silence first. They didn't know why it always happened like that, but a lot of time had been wasted in such a manner in the beginning of their relationship, if it could be called one. Or, it could be said that it had been the start of an ever-changing dynamic between them. Erik wasn't quite sure.

It had all started as a simple truce, but nothing was ever simple between them, and it had turned into staring, then touching, and then more. It had been an odd progression, but Erik could find no fault within it. He'd always been a little Machiavellian in that sense.

However, today wasn't normal. Raoul's eyes had strayed from the stage and he was looking rather intently at Erik. After interminable minutes under his scrutiny, during which time Erik refused to fidget, Raoul reached across, his fingertips brushing lightly against Erik's jaw line near his ear. At that, Erik gave him his full attention, foregoing the pretense of watching the performance. He almost shivered at the touch and as it was, he could still feel the ephemeral touch against his skin as though he'd been branded.

He stared at Raoul's hand still uncertain whether he should tell him to stop doing such things – touching him so freely and so often, though not often enough. They didn't hold hands or rest peacefully against each other. Their interactions always borderlined violent and even when it wasn't, there was still that struggle. There were never friendly touches, just never malicious. Not any longer at least. Touch wasn't given freely without intent. So, when Raoul did touch him, it was never enough and that was the problem. Raoul's touch lingered to a point of distraction and at times, he would begin to wonder when the next time Raoul would touch him again. The only time he wasn't concerned with this was when they were sleeping in the same bed and he could touch Raoul however he wanted and direct Raoul's hands to touch him as he wished, but those times were few and far between.

"Where did you get that bruise?" Raoul asked finally, his hand settling on his lap. He was turned slightly in his seat to better look at Erik.

It took Erik a second to comprehend the words Raoul had just spoken. He touched the spot at his jaw that Raoul had touched and realized that he did have a bruise there. His mind reviewed the previous day wondering when he could have gotten a bruise. Then he remembered.

So, he lied, "It must have happened when I was up in the catwalk."

Raoul's eyes narrowed for a second before nodding to himself rather resignedly. Giving a near-silent sigh, Raoul turned his attention back to the stage, though Erik was certain he still had his complete attention. After a pregnant pause, he finally said, "Erik, you needn't keep it a secret." His voice was strained, too even.

"Keep what a secret?" Erik asked innocently enough, but he did stop to wonder why Raoul was acting oddly. He fingered the bruise, pushing against it until the dull ache turned into a sharp pain. It was the only way to erase Raoul's touch so that he could concentrate.

Raoul moved a lot when he was asleep, as though he was still fighting and struggling with Erik even when he wasn't aware of it. It had been a surprise the first time Raoul had slept in Erik's bed when he'd woken as Raoul kicked him off it. By now the few times that Raoul did sleep over, Erik expected the assault. He was not surprised when he woke up from an elbow to his ribs or a kick to his shins. They weren't bad. He had experienced worse in his lifetime, but he did get bruises – bruises that Raoul never saw or questioned.

Erik always woke up earlier than him any way. He woke before Raoul could find him on the floor or find his knee wedged at the base of Erik's spine. He'd simply readjust the younger man to be within his embrace, reveling in the fact that some time near morning, Raoul eventually did settle down. The Vicomte eventually did stop fighting him and Erik couldn't bring himself to regret having been woken up in such a painful manner. In the morning, Raoul woke up none-the-wiser. He would wake up, shrug out of Erik's embrace, and leave.

Knowing Raoul, if he told him about his sleeping habits, he would probably take it as some sort of insult and use it as an excuse to never sleep over again. That idea simply did not sit well with Erik. Raoul barely stayed over as it was.

"That looks like a love-bite," Raoul replied bitterly, staring at the bruise with disdain.

Erik's response was immediate. "A what?"

"It's Christine, isn't it?" Raoul turned away, his voice terse.

"What?" Erik did not even know how this conversation headed in that particular direction.

"I should have…"

"No," Erik cut in sharply, shaking his head and moving to the edge of his seat to better face Raoul, who at this moment refused to look at him.

"I can't keep an eye on you all the time," Raoul turned completely away so that Erik couldn't even see his expression. Erik didn't have to see it to hear the suspicion in Raoul's voice and the reproach aimed not at Erik but at himself, "and she's always around."

"There's nothing there." Erik wondered at Raoul's insecurity. He thought they'd address this already.

As though speaking to himself, Raoul muttered, "And I don't even think she's singing better."

"What does that even have to do…?" Erik almost yelled but caught himself.

"Which means that even though you still have your lessons," Raoul emphasized, "you must be doing something else."

"Wh-? That's absurd. I don't even…" Erik forced himself to take a calming breath just so that he'd be able to speak normally. He was close to losing his temper completely. "Look. I don't know who's telling you these lies."

"It's about the right size," Raoul finally looked at him, but not in his eyes. He stared straight for the bruise on his neck. "And I know I haven't given you that."

Erik wanted to retort that even his sleep, Raoul never left any marks but bruises on him from fists and feet. A love-bite? The closest he'd ever gotten from Raoul was that time the blonde had bitten down on his shoulder to stifle his groans as Erik pounded deeply into him, and that time had drawn blood. "Shut up, Raoul." Erik said more angrily than he meant, but he did manage to silence him. He ignored Raoul's indignant expression. "Christine has nothing to do with the bruise."

Raoul scoffed and looked at him expectantly, patronizing in his patience to hear more.

Though reluctant, Erik saw no other way but to tell the truth. "You hit me in your sleep."

Raoul was silent for a moment before bursting out into mocking laughter. "That's the poorest excuse I've ever heard. You can't even give me the decency of coming up with something better?"

Standing up, he moved to leave, but Erik cut off his exit and pushed him against the wall, the curtain settling against them, hiding them in its shadow. Raoul's laugh would have garnered some attention; even still, no one would go looking. They all knew well enough by now that something was going on between the patron and the opera ghost. Christine even knew. Erik couldn't understand why Raoul didn't, why this thing between them wasn't better, why it even existed when it was obvious they were still somehow enemies.

"Christine means nothing," Erik stated firmly. "That is a bruise."

Raoul didn't respond, simply tilted his head to the side to avoid eye contact. He pressed against the wall to move as far away from Erik as possible.

Glaring, Erik leaned closer, his breath hot against Raoul's throat. Raoul tensed and tried to move away, but Erik held him still. Smirking, he nuzzled the side of Raoul's throat, near his ear. Whispering low, he asked, "What do you think happened?"

They were pressed so close together that Erik felt the shudder that ran through him. He couldn't be sure if it was desire or suppressed anger, though he would guess it was a mix of both.

"Do you think I pulled her into the shadows?"

Raoul managed to get one of his hands free, but Erik was quick to recover, catching it and pinning him back against the wall. His mouth was tantalizingly close to Raoul's ear.

"… Or was it her who pulled me?"

Taking Raoul's earlobe between his teeth, he pulled none-too-gently. It garnered a moan and stronger attempt to break free from his grasp. Raoul's breathing was harsh, his chest heaving with the failed attempts to free himself.

Erik released his earlobe to momentarily suck it. Stopping when Raoul moaned again, his tongue followed a path to Raoul's jaw line. He nipped at the spot he knew to be the corresponding area where his own bruise was. "Do you think I struggled to get away?"

Raoul stopped struggling then. His lips tightly pressed together and brows furrowed. He was breathing heavily through his nose, and he was giving off heat that attracted Erik to draw even closer. His pulse raced beneath the strong hold of Erik's hands.

"What do you want me to say?" Raoul bit out.

Erik hummed as he felt the words vibrate through him. He didn't know exactly what he wanted; it wasn't as though he'd planned this. Raoul had simply been too bothersome to leave alone. He'd needed to teach him a lesson about his loyalties, about what he thought about Raoul's accusation.

"Do you think we got carried away in the throes of passion? Her leaving this mark on me before she screamed in pleasure?" Erik asked instead.

Raoul's hands tightened into fists even though he was already losing feeling in them. He didn't try to break free again though. "No," he admitted.

Good. Erik wanted to say because he could not picture Christine doing such a thing either. He could no longer see them doing anything together any longer. Instead of responding, Erik returned his attention to Raoul's jaw line licking, nipping, sucking until Raoul let out a pitiful whimper and finally pressed forward against him. Erik didn't move, letting Raoul futilely jerk his hips forward seeking more friction.

Erik pulled away slightly to look at what he'd done. He could see the redness on Raoul's jaw line, almost hidden by his hair. In a few hours or in the morning, the bruise would appear. Erik felt some satisfaction in knowing that Raoul would have to hide it.

Raoul was panting, eyes half-lidded as his hands clenched and unclenched. And Erik was tempted, tempted to keep touching, to keep licking and marking. He could feel Raoul's own interest in the situation against his leg, and he was no better off. He knew though, that the second he let go of Raoul's wrist they'd simply return to struggling against each other. They'd push and tug and be seconds away from actual violence. Erik would want to leave more bruises. He could already tell now that the idea was planted in his mind to mark Raoul, to keep marking Raoul as his. It should have been enough to be able to do so, but surprisingly – no, annoyingly – it wasn't enough.

With a growl, Erik released Raoul's wrists before striding away from the box seat and disappearing through a secret panel that Raoul had no means of entering. It wasn't as though Raoul could follow. His legs had buckled with Erik's sudden disappearance. He sat on the floor disoriented and confused, rubbing his wrists as the feeling came back to his hands. His hand was still prickling as he raised it to brush against the love-bite Erik had given him, wondering what exactly was wrong with them.


End ficlet

A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Story Note: BTW, I can just picture Erik's reaction to Raoul saying he didn't think Christine sounded better and it amuses me to no end.

It's supposed to be a one-shot, but I could totally see this one be continued. No promises. I mean really, no promises.