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: In which, Christine is slightly unhinged, Raoul plays detective and ends up having to humour a ghost, and Erik's attentions are inextricably focused on Raoul. Crack.
Word Count: 1,869
A/N: I know the title doesn't make sense. Leave me alone. I was going to name it 'Life at the Opera House is a Communicable Disease' but I think a story titled that should have a lot of sex in it. And yeah, the title should be more like 'the way of living at the opera house is an epidemic' or 'the state of mind at the opera house is an epidemic' but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Story note: This is a light oneshot that's going to be hashed out (one day in the far future) to be a multi-chaptered fic. It may or may not follow this particular plotline (leaning towards not, since the multi-chaptered fic is more serious), but the general, very general idea will be the same.
Life at the Opera House is an Epidemic
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Raoul wondered about the terror of the opera house. It was like some sort of disease one caught by simply being within the Opera Populaire's walls; sane men and women would think every accident or noise or perfectly logically explainable events were caused by this mysterious being and in order to prevent them from happening, the superstitious group would humour him and bend to the ghost's will, which just so happened to be supplied by notes. Notes. The worst part of it all was that they didn't even realize they'd become sick with the disease.
Even though Raoul himself had requested to meet him, it was purely to uncover this sudden rash of ghostly sightings. As a result, he was reluctantly playing along by following the 'ghost's' orders. As he'd heard numerous times from numerous people already: what the ghost wanted, the ghost received in order to keep peace within the opera house. Raoul rolled his eyes at the thought.
Still, he found himself in an abandoned hallway, humouring that very ghost. His thoughts were turning towards Christine and her angel when a hand clamped over his mouth, and he was suddenly being dragged backwards. There was a rush of cold air and suddenly he was submerged in darkness.
"Don't move. Don't scream. And you will live." A male voice whispered directly by his ear.
Raoul couldn't contain the small whimper that came out. He chided himself for the embarrassing noise and tried to steel himself for this encounter. Honestly, he hadn't actually thought the ghost would appear. In fact, he'd thought a note would simply drop from the ceiling like notes normally did when the ghost was involved. But here he was, and he cursed that his eyes were taking their time adjusting to the dark because completely blind was not a state he wanted to be in right now.
A harsh exhale warmed his neck and Raoul thought he was going to be reprimanded for that brief noise. Instead, the hand tightened around his mouth and he was pulled even closer to the man behind him. How that was possible when he was certain that at some point they'd hit a wall, he didn't know. He was now leaning with his entire weight against this man, or ghost, or man-ghost, behind him.
Raoul had certainly entertained thoughts that the ghost was simply a ruse by some vagrant, and he hated to admit he'd also considered the chance that the opera house might truly be haunted. To everyone else, he kept firm in his stance that it was the former; however, with the cold hand clasping him, he still couldn't tell which one he was more inclined to believe.
The hand that had pressed over his mouth slowly trailed down to rest on his throat. In any other circumstance Raoul would have called such a touch a caress but from this man it felt like a threat. And it had to be a man. For the sake of the rising panic, it had to be. He could feel the rise and fall of a chest. He'd already felt his breath. He had a body.
That was small comfort though.
He stayed completely motionless for what felt like hours before he realized that the other man wasn't going to speak. Or move. Or let him move. He then remembered that he had been the one to request a meeting with the ghost in order to ask several questions. As such, he should be the one to speak. Taking a deep breath, he began to turn but the slightest movement caused that hand on his throat to twitch ever so slightly, and Raoul was certain he'd be choked before he was given permission to actually face the infamous Opera Ghost.
However, the longer Raoul was unsteadily leaning backwards, the more he realized just how awkward this position was. They were entirely too close to each other and when he tried to stand properly, he was firmly held in place.
Raoul narrowed his eyes. This was probably literally a way to keep him off balance, to keep him from focusing on his only chance to interrogate the ghost.
"Who are you?" He tried to sound confident.
"Who do you think I am?" The ghost countered, his voice mocking.
Raoul shivered, the warm breath making him more aware of the chill of the tunnel they were in. And apparently, there were tunnels behind the opera house's walls; it was a curious thing indeed.
"I would have thought the notorious Opera Ghost would be less…" Raoul struggled to find an appropriate word from all the descriptions that were crowding the forefront of his mind at the moment: forthcoming, tactile, alive, sneaky, tall. He didn't want to sound like a fool though, so he settled for "corporeal."
There was a pause when Raoul was certain he was going to be laughed at, but the ghost merely responded, "Yet somehow, I have managed to pull us through the wall."
Whether it was the tone of his voice or the quick exhale that he was certain would have been a laugh from anyone else, Raoul knew hehad managed to amuse the ghost. He realized that was a good thing though, since all the stories he'd ever heard about the ghost involved screaming, crying and bleeding, never amusement. So, as long as those former actions didn't occur, Raoul would be fine – especially since he knew that he would be the one screaming, crying, and bleeding, probably all at the same time.
It took him a moment for the ghost's response to filter through his thoughts. "An impressive feat indeed."
The fingers at his throat stroked his skin lightly and the ghost pressed his cheek against his neck. His breath similarly caressed Raoul, "Impressive indeed." And this time, Raoul could feel a smirk against his skin.
He shuddered and the smirk widened. His brain was blanking, stuttering to make sense of what was occurring.
"And this meeting?" Raoul hoped the ghost didn't hear the unsteadiness of his voice.
"You were the one who sought me out." And, the ghost was obviously pleased by that fact, something Raoul was certain of even though the man had allowed the barest of distance between them again so that he wouldn't be able to feel another smirk.
It didn't seem to matter since the ghost's voice was so expressive and even Raoul's current inability to think properly did nothing to hamper his ability to decipher those aural clues. He tried to stand properly again, only to be pulled more securely against the now warm body behind him. "I," he struggled to find the words, "meant to ask about your current acts of destruction."
Raoul knew he should be struggling or screaming, more likely a combination of the two with an emphasis on struggling. However, he now had incontrovertible evidence that the opera ghost existed, was human, and could be spoken to as a reasonable individual. Well, everything except for that last point, Raoul amended mentally when he considered his current position. But, he could speak to him without reducing the opera house to rubble, and that was the important thing. It was also important that he not anger the man since he still was uncertain if he could overpower him. So far, it had proven futile. As a result, Raoul decided that continuing to humour the ghost was the best course of action, "Are you to make kidnapping a common thing?"
"Do you want me to kidnap you?" The ghost asked; the hand about his waist fisted his jacket.
Swallowing with some difficulty, Raoul shakily asked, "What are you doing right now?"
"And Mademoiselle Daae?"
The ghost tensed at her name and if Raoul had to pinpoint the moment he knew that the ghost had lost his temper, he would have to say it was when his hand tightened around his throat. At his choked gasp though, the ghost immediately loosened his hold and returned to petting him. Raoul decided that particular action was more than acceptable now.
"I did not kidnap her." He spoke through clenched teeth. "Simply returned her after she became lost in my tunnels."
Despite his initial views on the matter, Raoul was loathe to admit that he actually believed the ghost. And with the topic of Christine brought up, he could not help but ask, "Returned by a ghost? Or an angel?"
"That, my dear Vicomte," the ghost moved close enough that his lips actually brushed Raoul's ear, "is for you to decide."
He was propelled forward with unnatural speed and just as quickly as he had gone, he was back in the middle of the hallway. Spinning around, Raoul searched the wall for any signs that it had opened in the first place, but no matter what he did, knocking, tapping, pressing against the wall, nothing happened.
Raoul stood back, contemplating their conversation. That had been an odd parting. But, quite apropos to an odd meeting.
"Raoul!" Christine called, breathless. Raoul looked down the hall. She was in disarray and it was obvious that she must have been running about.
"I've been looking for you." She said when she was closer, "Where have you been?"
Having just uncovered the truth of her 'kidnapping,' he realized that she had lied to him. Moreover, he was certain that he hadn't told her he was coming to visit the opera house today. "How did you know I was here?"
She waved off his comment. "What happened to you? You look flushed." She reached up. Raoul took a step back. Her hand still in the air, she commented suspiciously. "And your hair is a mess."
Raoul frowned and ran a hand through his hair, tugging the ribbon that was now doing little to keep it in place.
Christine grabbed the ribbon from his hand. "A black ribbon? Where did you get this?"
He could only stare at her in shock, not quite certain why she'd nearly shouted the question. Actually, not certain why she'd asked the question at all. It was a ribbon. Did she want to know the store his servant had purchased it from? And how did it pertain to their current conversation?
Then again, Christine had a habit of becoming excitable when it came to the opera ghost – she was a prime example of the disease he'd been thinking about previously – and Raoul knew he did look as though he'd run into him. Lately, he'd been seeing glimpses of such radical changes of behaviour from her in particular but this was the first time it had been this obvious.
Seeing his expression, Christine seemed to realize what she was doing. Self-consciously straightening her skirt, she pocketed the ribbon before saying mildly. "I'm sorry, Raoul. You know the ghost is dangerous. I'm just worried about you."
Raoul smiled at her kindly. Christine was excitable, but she was like everyone else who stepped foot in the opera house. She probably hadn't intentionally lied to him about the opera ghost kidnapping her either; she probably just ascribed a situation she hadn't understood to the ghost. "It's alright, Christine. I know how dangerous the ghost can be."
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Chapter Review: I think somewhere during editing, I started to spork my own fic. The second round of editing, I had to forcibly stop myself from sporking it further. *facepalm I fail at comedy.