Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Disclaimer: Please don't sue. I don't own *insert fandom name from above*... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: More mistletoe fun. Though definitely not the fun of last Christmas or the one before.
Warning(s): slash
Pairing(s): Erik/Raoul
Word Count: 1,823

A/N: The obligatory Christmas fic.
Story note: A fic in which I hand wave over the reasons why Erik isn't madly obsessed with Christine. I do that for the Christmas stories. They deserve fluff.

o.o.o.o

Deck the Halls
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt

o.o.o.o

Erik hated the holidays. Not even instructing Christine in her voice lessons could dim the fact that all around, people were acting too cheerful. He couldn't ignore their too-loud voices, the garish decorations, and even worse, the horrid singing. Even if he did try to avoid the hallways, using strictly tunnels until he reached Christine's room, he couldn't avoid the Christmas cheer. Christine's room was filled with decorations, and she herself had barely been able to concentrate their last few lessons. He knew from experience that no amount of admonishment helped, though he was still tempted to try.

It was even worse this year. Ever since the Chagny boy had arrived, all his well laid plans had been ruined. And it wasn't even that Raoul had stolen Christine away. No. Despite not having said the words aloud, he acknowledged that Christine had rejected both of them – although Christine always insisted Raoul could not have been rejected; Erik wasn't certain what that meant.

However, he did know that they were bad influences on each other. They were such children, especially during the holidays, and it was worse now that they had managed to find a way down to his home. He surprised himself by being worried for both their sakes, as neither seemed to understand the gravity of traveling through the tunnels and the numerous ways, both natural and manmade, that they could die. It was a relief that he ran into neither of them upon reaching Christine's room.

The lesson progressed better than expected. Christine was calm. There were no interruptions – that he knew both Christine and Raoul conspired to create. She was wholly focused on properly hitting every note. He would have attributed this newfound behaviour on her maturing until it was time to leave and she playfully kissed the mirror and giggled.

"Merry Christmas, Erik. I hope you enjoy your present."

She was out the door before he could question her further.

He expected the worst upon returning to his home, and when he approached one of the inner rooms from a side tunnel, he heard footsteps heading in his direction. From his vantage point, he couldn't see who it was; so he leaned against the rocks to better hide in the shadows and waited. When the intruder turned the corner, Erik quickly grabbed his arm before twisting it behind his back.

Raoul let out a pained yelped, "Erik. It's me. It's me."

Erik didn't loosen his hold. "I know."

"Ow," the Vicomte whined pitifully. "Please let me go."

He reduced the pressure but did not release him. Usually, Raoul never ventured down here by himself, and Erik had a feeling that Christine had been the mastermind behind his newfound bravery. "Raoul," he said, making certain that he was clearly reprimanding him.

Copying his tone, Raoul replied, "Erik." He snickered and Erik twisted his arm more. Raoul was on his toes trying to relieve the strain. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he muttered.

Certain that he had learned his lesson, Erik let him go.

Raoul cradled his arm to his chest. He pouted miserably. "I was just joking."

"Let's go." Seeing Raoul flinch when he reached to physically lead him out of the tunnels, Erik had to admit he felt a little guilty for hurting him. He didn't let it show and continued to place his hand on the younger man's shoulder.

Raoul shrugged it off. "I'm not a child, you know."

Sarcastically, Erik mentally congratulated himself for ruining Raoul's Christmas, but just as quickly, he stifled that thought. "Then, stop behaving as one."

Raoul regarded him with narrowed eyes before grabbing his wrist with his uninjured hand, smiling. "I decorated."

And just like that, he'd been forgiven. Erik wished it were that simple to forgive someone, but he knew that was impossible. However, he let himself be held by the too warm hand. Raoul acted as though it were nothing. Raoul holding his hand was far from nothing though.

Neither Christine nor Raoul seemed to understand that. In fact, Christine was particularly tactile. Had he any hope that her touches could mean something more, he would have gladly accepted them. Instead, he felt a dull ache with the knowledge that as much as she might claim to love him, she could never love him as much he wanted her to.

Raoul, on the other hand, Erik could not yet decipher why he insisted on touching him so. It was all rather innocent. At times, he saw the Vicomte hold Christine's hand and place his hand on her back. Of course Erik had seen it and he'd gone through that jealousy. Even now when he had no hope for Christine and he rather tolerated the boy, he couldn't quash that particular reaction.

However, Raoul had begun to do the same to him: smiling and placing his hand upon his shoulder or sitting close enough that they touched unnecessarily. Whenever he was given the opportunity, Erik would find himself somehow touching the younger man. As much as Erik now consciously tried to avoid those particular opportunities, there were times when Raoul was quicker than him, when he was somehow maneuvered into such a corner that he had no choice but to accept Raoul's solid presence. It was indeed a talent the Vicomte had.

"This is the fifth time," Erik admonished, taking his hand forcibly out of Raoul's grasp. The boy didn't look the least bit daunted. "I will throw these garlands and flowers away like all the others." He noted that besides the garlands and flowers, accents that added too much color in the sitting room, Raoul had brought along miniature Christmas trees, quite a number of those small trees. They were all decorated with ornaments and gold and silver tinsel that caught the light from the candles. Erik was almost impressed. Almost. "Especially the trees."

Raoul pouted at his statement but Erik knew it was just for show. He was having fun at his expense. And that's what Erik had concluded. The boy was teasing him, seeing him as the easy target he was. Raoul was simply lucky that Christine prevented him from doing anything truly harmful. As she had put it, "Should anything happen to Raoul, I will never forgive you."

So, the Vicomte lived. Erik couldn't help but glance at the settee nearby where he kept a spare lasso though. He sneaked that way, intent on at least getting some of his frustration out. He could perhaps get the lasso around Raoul's neck and wait until the boy fell unconscious so that there would be no argument while he was dragged out. When he reached to grab it though, he grabbed air.

Raoul was watching him with a hint of a smile.

Before he could ask anything else, Raoul grabbed his wrist again and dragged him towards the music room. Erik's eyes widened when he saw that even his organ was not spared from gold tinsel and green garland. In fact, it was buried under several trees as well. Jerking his hand free from Raoul's grasp, he ignored the Vicomte as he blathered on about how important the season was and how particularly important traditions and decorating were.

This would not stand. Erik knew he had a lasso by his seat. Searching for it, he again came up empty handed.

He was certain Raoul was grinning at him for more reasons than the horror that was now his home.

And before he could even begin to form a particularly scathing remark, Raoul had appropriated his wrist and pulled Erik again, this time towards the lake. At least when they reached the shore, Raoul willingly released his wrist. As Erik looked at the lake, he pleased to note that there was nothing there.

Raoul quirked his eyebrow and said, "Call down the portcullis."

Erik stared at him, not quite certain what to make of such a request.

"Please?" Raoul had the gall to look at him pleadingly.

Disbelieving that anyone would go through so much trouble and simply to call the Vicomte's bluff, Erik did so. And as the iron lattice structure slowly lowered, he sorely wished he had something other than his bare hands to kill Raoul. Wreaths and ribbons of all different colors, each one more sickeningly brighter than the last. Although, with such limited options, Erik seriously considered killing him with his bare hands, or perhaps one of those gaudy orange ribbons. He just barely held himself back. At least with the lasso, Erik could claim that Raoul had 'accidentally' fallen into a trap – though, admittedly, Christine was more liable to believe Raoul's word than his own.

So, instead of directly voicing his displeasure, he asked, "Where are my lassos?"

This time Raoul smirked. "After the last time," he rubbed his throat absentmindedly with his left hand, "I decided to ensure my continued safety and found a better use for those… death traps."

"What…" Erik glared at him, "did you do with them?"

Raoul pointed up.

Following the direction he pointed, Erik peered through the darkness. Surely enough, Raoul had somehow managed to hang the lasso quite a distance up. In fact, he noticed that there was something caught in the noose. He squinted.

Suddenly, Raoul had a hand on his bicep and was standing closer than Erik was comfortable with. When he didn't move, Raoul grinned but looked completely vulnerable and hesitant at the same time. A sprig of greenery was above them, Erik realized.

And before he could even begin to think of the implications of Raoul not only hanging such a thing but also maneuvering them beneath it, Raoul leaned forward and pressed their lips together chastely. It was a quick peck and he pulled away before Erik had the presence of mind to respond – and Erik did want to respond.

Clearing his throat, Raoul took a step back and looked everywhere but in Erik's direction. So, he was surprised when Erik grabbed his arms this time and pulled him close for a rather sloppy second kiss. As much as Erik wanted to make the kiss last, he didn't try to prolong it knowing that his inexperience was clearly showing.

Raoul didn't push him away or laugh at him though, and when they parted, he only let out a small sigh of relief.

Before he could comment, Erik said tersely, "I'm still going to throw away the decorations and I'm still considering hurting you for my organ and…" he glanced over his shoulder towards the portcullis. "that atrocity."

Raoul didn't even bother to follow his gaze, focusing steadily on Erik's face. This time, instead of grabbing Erik's wrist, Raoul reached for his hand. "Okay." He smiled sweetly, and Erik wondered at the angel standing before him. However, the image was ruined when Raoul grinned impishly. He nodded knowingly, "You had a great deal of lassos lying around."

Erik let himself be dragged away.

o.o.o.o

End ficlet

A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Chapter Review: Tell me why I simply couldn't bring myself to add this sentence during the music room scene, "The boy had touched his organ without his permission." D: