Title: Conspiracies
#: 06. What We Gain
Author: Lucifer Rosemaunt

Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Pairing(s): Erik/Raoul
Summary
: Erik keeping an amnesiac!Raoul company.
Warning(s): naked!Raoul (although that seems to be less a warning a more a come-on. ;3)
Word Count
: 5,922
Rating: T

A/N: Well, this took forever.
Story note: This chapter is purely a fluff chapter. It jumps from moment to important moment. Our regularly scheduled fic with its separate but slightly connected theme will occur in the next (or the next next) chapter during which time will lapse. Time lapsing is good and so is getting back to vignettes. I'm getting there.

o.o.o.o

Raoul waited until the door closed and the click of the lock sounded before placing the tray of food that Madame Giry had brought on the side table. Despite his hunger, he disregarded the spread of fruit, bread, and cheeses in favour of asking Erik, "Why do you hide?"

"I am a ghost" was his immediate response, the words echoing eerily through the room. The statement was less absurd than it should have been, even less so when it was spoken from behind a mirror. But, it was not very much of an answer at all, and Erik knew it. Raoul knew it, too.

Erik had reluctantly revealed the secret passageway when Raoul insisted he know how he had appeared so suddenly when he had first woken. Instead of being wary that such an entry existed, the young man seemed rather excited, and Erik was reminded of dark stories of the North, of adventures a younger Raoul had taken that, between them, only Erik remembered.

"But it is the ballet instructor." Raoul pointed out, "Did you not say she knows who you are?"

Erik finally moved from behind the mirror, the glass sliding to the side, and he could see the quirk of Raoul's lip, revealing that the excitement at such a contraption had yet to disappear. "There are few liberties I take with anyone." He moved to sit on the bed and Raoul wordlessly motioned for him to grab the tray. Obediently, Erik placed the tray on his lap and allowed him to take a grape. "Contrary to what you apparently believe, she and I do not meet weekly to speak over trivialities. The most contact I have with her are through missives."

"Notes?" Raoul mused.

Erik paused, certain he had never used that particular word in his explanations – there was a list of words he actively avoided in fear of triggering unwanted memories. Before he could question him though, Raoul continued.

"So, I am special." He grinned cheekily as he popped another grape into his mouth.

Erik waited for him to continue, knowing that was less a question than it was another one of those observations he was beginning to dread.

"I am allowed to see you." Raoul's smile widened, and looking away, Erik cleared his throat. He looked back when he felt Raoul place a hand on his forearm. "I am allowed to touch you." There was a hint of hesitancy and Erik wanted nothing more than to remove that. What Raoul was saying was the truth. It was too revealing a truth and there, just hanging in the back of Erik's mind was always the expectation that disgust would soon be following his realization.

There was no disgust though, and he would do everything in his power to keep it that way.

"You are special," Erik asserted.

o.o.o

"Mademoiselle Daae!" Raoul gathered the blankets around himself, self-conscious of his state of undress, but he sounded pleased to see her. He looked around the room; his now natural inclination was to look for Erik when he was not by his side. The older man had moved not seconds before Christine knocked to announce herself, but while he did not hide, he did move near across the room to sit by the vanity. Raoul stared at him in confusion.

When he glanced back at Christine, he realized that she was still standing just by the door. "Pardon my manners." He motioned, confusion erased with a smile that made the corners of his eyes crinkle. "Please do sit. This is, after all, your room."

Smiling in response to his high spirits, she sat in the chair by the bed, Erik's chair or what would have been Erik's chair had he not chosen to sit next to him most of the time. Raoul made no move from the confinement of the bed and she wondered if it were because of his state of undress or because of the injuries he had sustained.

"How do you fare?" she asked. He looked like the Raoul she had come to know after their separation, but he felt like the boy she had once known. The odd thing was that she had not realized there had been such a vast difference until now.

"Only some pain remains," he grinned, but his posture and unnatural stillness seemed to belie the truth. "My head no longer aches."

One factor held true though, Raoul was always moving, be it hand gestures, shuffling feet, or squirming in his seat. He would not be sitting calmly in the bed.

"And I hardly remember this," he gestured at the bruising around his neck. A wide band of some horrible shade of pale green and purple overlaid a dark red loop that clearly circled his neck as though the Punjab lasso was still there.

Glancing at the scowl that seemed to be making permanent residence on Erik's face, she knew that Raoul was telling a well-worn lie that he had yet to successfully make him believe.

"All I have been doing lately is eating and sleeping," he continued, not really noticing her distraction because he himself seemed rather distracted by Erik, who was doing a fine job of pointedly not meeting his eyes while still being completely focused on him.

"I will need to stretch out some unused muscles."

It took her some time before she realized that he looked so confused because Erik was sitting so far away.

"I am certain that I shall be making a full recovery soon though."

Between Raoul wanting to call him over and Erik wanting to sit nearer, Christine could hardly control the exasperated sigh that wanted to come out.

"Physically of course," he was babbling by this point, "I am certain the rest will follow."

He punctuated his last statement with a pout, and Christine could not help but grin, almost coo at his obvious dejection at the distance between them. That was an expression she would never have seen Raoul make at Erik had his memory returned. He seemed somehow freer without the past, unfettered by misconceptions and his upbringing, but she wondered if something as drastic as losing his memory was really what it took for him to lower his guard long enough to fall in love with him. Would regaining it make him hate Erik more for what had happened? She feared the answer enough to push such thoughts rather viciously from her mind.

Instead, she considered letting him continue to babble just to see how much longer the feared opera ghost could hold out from ending their misery and simply moving. However, she had someone waiting for her as well, so she interrupted.

"Did Madame Giry bring you food?"

"Oh, yes," Raoul started to nod vigorously but froze suddenly. From the corner of her eye, she saw Erik tense. After a moment, Raoul continued speaking as though nothing had happened even though he held himself as still as possible and his voice was almost imperceptibly strained, "She is quite nice despite how stern she looks. Everyone here is quite hospitable." He might have been able to fool anyone with such control, save for Erik who watched him constantly and Christine who was too familiar with Raoul when he was in pain, but he would not remember that.

It took long moments before Erik relaxed, and Christine could see the effort it took to convince himself not to cross the room to be at Raoul's side. She was reminded why she supported Erik in this; he would be good for Raoul.

Forcing herself to smile, she stifled the urge to tell Raoul there was no need to hide his pain from her. She had seen him suffer and had helped heal him before. The only problem was that she did not think he trusted her enough in this state to believe her. "Yes, well, you are our patron and are quite loved."

He responded to her statement with a tense grin, but it was soon replaced with a familiar easy smile, one that she was beginning to think was false. "Are you not rehearsing with the others?" he asked. "Erik told me that they've chosen such a good one." He directed at said man, who finally relented and met his gaze, "What was it again?"

Christine interjected before he could reply. "Erik?"

The ghost looked away again, but not without first sending a glare Christine's way. He stood up abruptly and checked to make sure the door was locked, even though he had seen Christine do so earlier. Before the accident, Erik had wanted to hear his name spoken by Raoul, but there had never been a time to introduce himself properly. Of course the young man had known his name since Christine used it constantly, but there had never been a time that he had not been Opera Ghost or Phantom to the viscount. Erik received a distinct pleasure at hearing it spoken so easily and Christine knew it. She knew too much.

"Is there…?" Raoul began to ask.

"No. Indeed." She was quick to recover, "I just remembered I came with a message that the managers have requested another visit from the doctor." She did not bother to hide the fact that she was staring at Erik when she relayed the news. It was his reaction that mattered.

"Oh, I…" Raoul was about to respond when Erik spoke over him.

"When?" Erik paced back towards the vanity, turning towards the mirror so that he caught her eyes in the reflection and Raoul could not see his face very well.

Raoul bore the pain it caused to lean forward to try to see his expression but failed. Instead, he was left looking between the two, not sure why he was not involved in a conversation about his own well-being.

"This evening," she replied. The smile from earlier was gone and it seemed as though they were caught in a battle of wills, some subtext and just another conversation that Raoul was not privy to.

"So soon?" Erik asked.

Raoul ventured to say, "I am the patron after all." Neither seemed to hear him. "I do suppose I worried them quite a bit."

Christine wondered if Erik was going to refuse, but he surprised her by simply crossing his arms and glancing over at Raoul.

"Tell them he will be free from eight to nine this evening. No sooner. No later."

Erik's statement had been a clear dismissal and Christine was glad for it. She hated to admit that it was difficult spending time with Raoul like this despite his rather positive attitude. It would be better if he acted completely different from the man she knew. The little discrepancies were so jarring. He was so similar but just different enough to make her uneasy; it was like coaxing her into believing all was well before being rudely reminded that her dearest friend thought her a stranger.

She moved to grasp one of Raoul's hands, holding it between both of her own. "We will speak more tomorrow," she promised.

"I…" Raoul nodded, still a little annoyed and confused by her exchange with Erik, but he found that he could be nothing but polite to her. "Thank you for your visit."

She smiled and kissed him on the cheek, although the act was followed immediately by glancing at the masked man. Raoul frowned once more at the challenge he saw in her expression.

o.o.o

The two men sat against the headboard in a manner that once would have been rather uncomfortable, but in their current state, was anything but. Erik had meticulously placed a battery of pillows against the wood in a manner that he had argued would keep Raoul the most comfortable because of his back. It also necessarily kept them close together in the very center of the bed, but Raoul was not complaining and Erik was fully clothed so nothing untoward could happen. A blanket was still draped around Raoul's shoulders, the ends of which were laid across his lap, keeping his privates well hidden – though Erik found his eyes straying down there anyway. The younger man had turned towards him slightly so that his knee was almost imperceptibly leaning upon Erik's thigh. He doubted that Raoul even realized it even though it was almost all he could think about, save for the hand that Raoul had taken to holding whenever they were near enough and refused to relinquish. The viscount's bare feet peeked out from beneath the blankets; they looked pale in comparison to the black dress pants that Erik wore. He stared at the contrast while Raoul absentmindedly flexed and curled his toes against the blankets. He was too busy staring at Erik's hand and contemplating his next series of questions to notice.

Erik had discovered that surprisingly, though Raoul would gladly listen to what he had to say, he had very little questions of his own. He was content to sit in the silence, completely at ease, read, and doze every now and then, head listing towards him. When a query did cross his mind, they came as a bundle, one question overlapping the next in a series of increasingly unpleasant topics that made Erik wish he would go back to being complacently amnesiac.

"And Mademoiselle Daae?" Raoul asked suddenly, apropos to nothing in particular.

Erik had been expecting the question though. "Was my explanation of her talents and abilities not thorough enough for you, Vicomte?" He had taken to using the title simply to see Raoul crinkle his nose at being called as such. There was no sting in it now, no engendered separation that he had once felt all-too-distinctly. All that remained was some sort of teasing familiarity, especially now that all he could think of the title was Raoul's reaction. His brows had furrowed and eyes narrowed, searching within himself before he concluded rather bluntly, I feel nothing like a viscount.

In response to his question, Raoul scoffed, even as he squeezed his hand, as though that were a chastisement. He did not respond right away though. "It was…" he searched for the proper word, "adequate, but it feels as though you know more and are unwilling to share it."

Erik tensed and the silence that followed was particularly telling. He realized belatedly that he should have known how to respond to such an astute observation. Raoul was full of them. However, Christine would always be a sore topic, regardless of whether Raoul had his memory or not. He simply did not know what to say, and that was yet another thing to bemoan because the younger man seemed to have no problems speaking about her.

"Have you and she…?"

Erik quickly asked, "What would make you think that?" He did not want to know the end of such a question, and it was apparent that Raoul did not have a similar hesitancy towards such topics.

Grinning, Raoul gingerly turned so that he could look at Erik directly. He seemed eager to know, even though the interest did not seem to reach his eyes. They were too serious and it made Erik pause, wondering why he was so curious about them. Before he could give it much thought, Raoul answered him.

"I do believe it is in the way you look at her."

Erik was quick to respond because he could speak the truth in this matter. "I do believe I look at her the same as I look at anyone else." There had been a time when he had wanted her to be more for him, but now, she was but one of the only allies he had.

"As you would look at the managers?" Raoul contested. His disbelief of Erik statement was obvious.

"I look at them as the fools they are," Erik retorted.

After a moment's consideration, Raoul tilted his head as a concession to that fact, but he did not allow himself to be derailed. "You seem quite close."

Erik narrowed his eyes at him, suspicious as to why he was persisting with this line of questioning. "She has been a student and only just recently a confidant."

"She is beautiful," Raoul said. "Have you never considered courting her, for surely she must hold you in high regard as well?" When Erik merely lifted one eyebrow and gestured vaguely at his mask, he quickly defended his statement, "You were her tutor. Why would she not hold you in high regard?"

It came as a flash of inspiration that there was one reason why Raoul could be asking so many questions about Christine, and Erik was not pleased about such prospects.

"And she…" Raoul continued to try to explain.

"You and Christine are nothing more than friends," Erik interrupted, leaving no room for argument. "She is not interested in you or me."

Raoul's complete confusion at his outburst made him reconsider the conclusions he had drawn. He blamed his innate paranoia for bleeding into their conversation, especially when Raoul had one of those contemplative looks that he always dreaded seeing. It meant that Raoul would soon reach a conclusion that Erik was unsure either of them was ready for.

More calmly, he tried to explain, "At one time I may have, but" – and Erik was uncertain how to finish that sentence, how much he should reveal. Raoul did not remember his intentions, and he did not want to overwhelm him so soon. Instead, he settled for as much as the truth he could say, "But, you and I, we are complicated enough for me."

Raoul's hand twitched in his but he did not pull away. He simply moved to lean against the pillows, once again lost in thought.

o.o.o

Erik pulled the blankets up to Raoul's shoulders. The injured man was still sleeping on his stomach. The wounds had scabbed over and the redness had reduced considerably. Raoul adamantly claimed that only some mild discomfort lingered, but Erik was reluctant to believe him since he hardly attempted to move more than necessary even several days after the accident. He said the ointment helped; so, whenever he saw him look uncomfortable, Erik insisted that he reapply it. If his insistence had the added bonus of being able to touch Raoul at least three times a day, it was not intentional.

He did not bother to greet Christine as she entered the room.

"What are you doing?" she whispered, seeing Raoul sleeping.

Turning slowly, Erik regarded her. She looked… happy, happier than he had seen her for years now, even when Raoul had first come to Paris and his opera house. Of course, such happiness was carefully hidden beneath her concern towards Raoul, but she held herself differently these days. He often wondered what had happened to the meek, little chorus girl he had first known.

"To what are you referring?" he asked, curious as to why this question was coming up now.

She crossed her arms and tried to stare him down. It did not work; instead, she moved closer to check on Raoul before taking a seat in front of the mirror. "What are you doing while the rest of us are away?"

Erik took a seat on the edge of the bed, an action that made her eyes widen slightly. It was a bold move. He had kept a certain amount of distance between Raoul and him whenever she was in the room and Christine knew he was making a statement by not doing so now. "The same thing I have been doing since you last asked."

"Keeping him company?" she repeated the phrase he had spoken before. She looked first at the sleeping man then at the ghost, switching several times before making a face and asking, "Truly?" She stared at Raoul, no longer so forcefully suspicious. "Truly?"

"Do you believe me to be a liar?" Erik asked. "Should I not be permitted to spend time with him?" She had made no complaints about it before. He had seen her hesitate several times, but she always seemed to come to the correct decision to leave Raoul in his care.

She shook her head, but it was obvious that she was still surprised. "I know you seek to sway his opinion now." There was no judgment in her voice though. She simply stated it as the fact it was.

"And," he was interested to know, "do you believe I can?"

Shrugging her delicate shoulders, she replied slowly, trying to gather her thoughts, "I do believe it is possible. I simply do not think keeping him company will be enough."

He glared at her openly.

But she would not be swayed in her opinion. By now, she had rather expected him to do something more drastic than nurse Raoul to health and refuse him any company but his own. "It is simply a chance you must take." It was almost endearing how hesitant the ghost was being.

She looked entirely too amused, so much so that he decided to try to turn the tables on her, "You have been around less as of late."

"And you have been trapped here," she crossed her legs and smoothed her skirt, "so my business has finally become my business once more."

Erik could not help but make a face at her confidence. "You have grown quite bold lately."

"It is not lately, dear Angel." She stood up once and ambled over to the other side of the bed. She had planned to place a hand on Raoul's shoulder, but seeing Erik tense at the motion, she settled for touching the blankets on which he lay. "It has been since your eyes have wandered, and I have found that my eyes can wander from my Angel without fear of reprisal."

"You may have fear of that yet if you continue as such." Erik warned. It was true that he was willing to allow some other suitor to take her attentions, but if any of them attempted to take her away from music, then he would have no hesitation in disposing of them. "This beau of yours…"

"Suitor," she corrected.

Erik tried to think of this newest one. He was titled, a baron if he remembered correctly. He not only laughed too loudly, he spoke too sure of himself. He was too enthusiastic and he had little regard for himself or the rumours when it came to Christine. "He is…"

"Very much like Raoul." Christine grinned at him.

Erik looked down at the sleeping viscount. He muttered, "I do not know if that recommends him to me at all."

She laughed knowingly as she walked towards the door. "I know it does." She paused by the door and said contemplatively, "Yet, this one has eyes only for me."

Erik could not ask her what she meant because she had already made her exit.

o.o.o

Erik was pacing once more. Raoul put down the book he was reading. There was a rather large pile of them on the side table. The managers first had the idea, not wanting their patron to become bored with the days confined to the room, and Erik, upon seeing their selection, had scoffed and tossed them out into the hallway before bringing books from his own private collection. He had been pleased to see the Raoul was quite the voracious reader, and more often than not, Erik could convince him to read aloud just so that he could bask in the viscount's voice and relax.

Now was not one of those times though, and Raoul knew it was because he was scheduled to have another meeting with the doctor. Each visit only served to make the older man more restless. It was worse before each appointment.

Seeking to distract him, Raoul caught his arm to stop him. It did not take much to convince him to sit. "You have told me about everyone else." He coaxed Erik to move further onto the bed. "And you refuse to truly speak about us in detail." He grabbed Erik's hand when it seemed as though he was about to move away. "So, tell me about myself."

"Ah." Hearing his question, Erik relaxed against him finally, their shoulders pressed together. "I do not know what to say."

"I think you do." Raoul grinned, "You may want to start with all my positive attributes."

Erik scoffed, but he tried, "You are… strong-willed."

"You mean stubborn," Raoul translated for him and smiled widely at the sidelong glance sent his way.

"Passionate."

Sighing, Raoul nodded to himself. "Emotional, as I feared."

Erik was faster with the next trait. "Trusting."

And so was Raoul. "Naïve."

No matter how accurate they were, Erik narrowed his eyes at his interpretations. Raoul only schooled his features and nonchalantly began to smooth the blankets around his waist. He glanced up at Erik for a second and grinned a little quirk of one side of his lips, mischief and laughter barely contained in his expression.

Erik had never wanted to kiss him more than at that moment.

He quickly cleared his throat and looked away even though he squeezed Raoul's hand in his. "At times," he amended, "a few times mind you, business-minded."

"Oh," Raoul slid his knees up so that he could place an elbow on them, chin cupped in his hand as he replied, "I am both shrewd and naïve. I am quite talented."

Erik turned so that they were better facing each other, so that he could see Raoul so obviously smug with himself, thinking himself so witty and looking absolutely endearing for it. "You are loud and brash."

"Young, then." Raoul looked at him with mock sympathy, "I must be quite a handful."

His immediate answer to that statement was Yes, wonderfully so, but he did not say it. Instead, he asked, "You think yourself quite smart, don't you?"

"Oh, I must be quite wise," Raoul retorted.

It was too much. It was an easy move to slide his hand from Raoul's grasp and grab his wrist, twisting his body and using both his weight and momentum to pin Raoul down onto the bed. Even though the younger man winced at the sudden movement, Erik found he did not feel guilty with him laughing so raucously. Raoul squirmed beneath him but did not attempt to free himself further. Erik did not know what to do next besides stare because he had Raoul's wrists trapped above his head and his body laid out before him. His hair was a mess, and his lips were wet and parted as he tried to catch his breath from laughing. His knees had opened to let Erik rest between them almost too comfortably and only a thin sheet and Erik's clothes separated their groins. He did not know how he had forgotten that Raoul was in fact naked still, but it became the only thing he could think about, save for the urgent need to kiss him. He needed to kiss him now. His eyes were fixed on Raoul's face, searching for a hint of reciprocated desire as he lowered himself slowly.

"Why do I feel as though we've been in this position before?" Raoul asked suddenly and even though it was a mere whisper, it snapped Erik out of his trance.

He scrambled off the bed immediately and avoided looking back on the bed where Raoul laid innocent and confused and absolutely tempting. He had barely calmed himself when he said rather bitterly, "We've never been in that position before."

o.o.o

Raoul was sprawled out on the bed on his stomach, the blankets somewhere at the foot of the bed and even after all the days spent together, Erik could do naught else but enjoy the view. He considered it one of his greater accomplishments that he had convinced Raoul that modesty was unnecessary between them and that it was indeed the healthier option to remain nude so as not to exacerbate his injuries. The viscount was reading aloud, one hand holding the book up, while the other idly traced patterns in the sheets. Every now and then, he would lift his foot only to drop it onto the bed again.

His back was better, considerably better, and Erik was almost willing to spare the doctor's life for his failure with Raoul's memory if not for the success of the healing of his body. They had been assured that there would be no scarring, and Raoul was moving much more freely now. Enough so that Erik was certain he would want to leave this room completely.

"Do you not find it odd?" Erik asked suddenly because he needed to know now before he no longer had a chance to ask.

Raoul lowered the book and turned slightly. "What?"

His nude form was almost enough to make Erik forget about the conversation entirely, but he pressed on. "Me."

Raoul still did not understand, but he guessed, "The mask?"

"No, me." Erik grabbed the sheets and tossed it over Raoul so that he could focus. Taking the hint, Raoul covered himself before sitting up properly, and Erik continued, "Me. I am the Opera Ghost."

Raoul just smiled. "You sound quite the dramatist." There was no sting to his words.

But Erik turned from him, moved to a dark corner and if there was anything Raoul had learned well since waking was that he had the ability to find the darkest corners and brood there for long hours if he was allowed to. Upon waking, if Erik were not by his side, Raoul would usually simply look to some corner of the room to find him.

He was already brooding there now. Raoul knew he should have watched what he said because the older man was so touchy about the mask, about his face. Erik tried so hard to ignore its presence, which made him think too hard upon it and then deny that he was doing so, which made him even more irritable. Raoul also knew that when he said I am the Opera Ghost, the masked man was thinking of all the worst parts of himself. He saw how the managers used the phrase, saw how Christine never referred to him as such and only when Erik was particularly ornery did he call himself the Opera Ghost – that or when he was being unnecessarily dramatic.

Raoul climbed out of bed, the sheets trailing after him. He did not move very far though, not wanting to literally trap Erik in a corner. "I do not find you odd at all. You are," he paused and Erik looked at him in anticipation, "you are you. You have kept me company and" – he shrugged – "you have helped me."

His words seemed to have the opposite effect of coaxing him out. Instead, Erik refused to look at him.

"You are frustrating at times," he admitted, "but I suppose I am as well. And," Raoul frowned. "I do not like when you simply isolate yourself like that."

Erik retorted, "Oh, so you conveniently remember what you do or do not like now?"

There was a heavy pause, and Erik looked as surprised as Raoul felt that he had said that. They often tried to ignore the obvious fact that Raoul still couldnot remember anything; it was easier to pretend that the little world they had created between them was normal if they did. Their world was already crumbling down though.

Taking a deep breath, Raoul was not sure what would come out of his mouth. Some truth was going to reveal itself and he almost did not want to respond at all. "No." All that came though was a simple statement. "But that distinctly makes me uncomfortable."

Erik considered him from his place before moving closer. He moved until he was well in Raoul's personal space, enough that Raoul was almost forced to sit back on the bed. Still, neither made a comment and Raoul knew this was yet another test that Erik was so fond of giving. He reached up, sheet still fisted in his hand to grab Erik's shirt.

The older man nodded. "I will refrain from making you ill at ease."

o.o.o

Christine giggled. She could not help it. Even Erik looked rather pleased with himself even though he was back by the seat in front of the vanity.

Raoul stood up and turned around for her inspection. "I am wearing clothes."

Said clothes were obviously not tailored for him. The sleeves were slightly too long, the cut for someone a little taller. He had not bothered to fasten the first button so the shirt revealed the fading bruising around his neck as well as much of his chest. The trousers hung quite low on his hips, dangerously so and when she glanced at Erik, Christine found that it was not only her eyes that were being drawn to the precarious state of his trousers. He was still barefoot and he was constantly trying to avoid stepping on the hem and jerking his trousers even lower. Christine would be lying if she said she did not want to see that happen at least once.

"And this is an accomplishment?" she teased.

"Oh, truly." Raoul began to roll his sleeves. "I was naked for quite some time. Thankfully, Erik" – he tilted his head towards said man, who was currently lounging in a chair trying to seem indifferent to Raoul's appearance – "was kind enough to assure me that he had not been put out by my lack of clothing and when I insisted, he even let me borrow some of his."

She glanced at the masked man, who was altogether looking too pleased with himself. "I can imagine how accommodating he has been," she deadpanned. "But perhaps he should have brought more than trousers and a white, linen shirt."

Erik shrugged. The blond was lucky that he had even agreed to obtain clothes for him in the first place, much less bothered with the trousers. Giving him clothes meant that they would finally be able to take him away, that the managers had finally decided keeping their patron captive would not go over well once he regained his memory. If he regained his memory. Erik tried not to scowl at the thought.

Christine pointed out, "We could have just as easily sent for your own clothes."

"It," Raoul shook his head, "it would have felt improper to be in another man's clothing."

She wondered at his logic. "And Erik's?"

"I have his permission," he stated proudly.

"He does," Erik intoned. "And you may wear my clothing whenever you like," he assured. "It is a free standing offer."

"So generous." Christine laughed.

"I am known to be generous," Erik retorted.

But it was when Raoul added, "He is," with such simple honesty that Erik hesitated.

Raoul leaving was horrible and necessary, and Erik was tempted to forbid it from happening. He could not dispel the feeling that his departure was not going to end well for him, no matter how little the distance mattered. Erik would not mind spending time at the Chagny estate, but the memories there seemed so much more pressing, more potent, and Erik would be lost to it all.

He saw the look Christine was giving him. She was no longer amused and he did not want her pity, not when he might not need it. Not when it was too soon.

It was too soon.

o.o.o.o

End chapter 06

A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Chapter Review: Finally. Well, something interesting's going to happen in the next chapter. I'm almost sure of it. I kind of like how Christine is on the edge of whether she thinks seducing Raoul at this stage is a good or a bad idea. I mean, Erik should totally go for it, but eh, I'm still not sure.