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: The required holiday fic. Erik has plans to destroy Raoul's and Christine's Christmas plans. It of course backfires. Or does it?
Word Count: 2,533
A/N: I actually appreciate this fic a lot because it amuses me as far as holiday fics go (barring of course the mistletoe fiasco). I almost missed this week's post because I've been busy. So please forgive any errors.
Story note: Erik always hates how the holiday season brings Raoul and Christine even closer together. He's convinced that only bad things occur when they're together.
From Your Secret Admirer
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Sitting before the mirror, Christine brushed her hair by rote, eyes unfocused as she reviewed the items she had managed to accumulate for the upcoming night. Meg would provide a much needed distraction, one the opera ghost simply would not be able to ignore, and if things went according to plan, she and Raoul would have hours to themselves. No opera ghost to worry about with his constant hovering. It would be perfect.
She was startled out of her thoughts when the bedroom door swung open and shut in quick succession. The mirror revealed Raoul leaning against the door, slightly breathless and clutching something in his hand. Immediately on her feet, she asked, "What has happened?" fearing their evening was already ruined.
Raoul looked at her momentarily confused before waving off her concerns. Grinning, he stated, "You will never guess what has happened."
She had to take a moment to calm herself – both from her initial concern and then the subsequent annoyance at realizing that Raoul really did not look worried as he should have looked had something bad actually occurred. In fact, he seemed rather excited. She amended that thought when he rocked forward onto the balls of his feet before dropping back on his heels. Incredibly excited. Curiosity overshadowed her annoyance. "What has happened?"
"Guess." Raoul bounced on his toes again.
Unamused, Christine intoned, "Raoul."
"I've," he paused for dramatic effect, "a secret admirer." His mouth was open in a wide grin. A wide, expectant grin. He nodded at her, excitement not waning despite her continued unenthusiastic response.
And even though she rolled her eyes, she couldn't help but grin back at him for a moment before schooling her features. "And?" she managed to say flatly.
Finally, Raoul frowned. "And?" he repeated in confusion. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"You have a plethora of secret admirers," she stated as fact. "And not so secret admirers."
Raoul pouted, knowing he could not dispute her statement. Pushing off the door, he thrust his hand forward. "But look."
Her line of sight was filled completely by delicate, curving script before he pulled it far enough away from her face to see the entire paper. She sniffed. "Is that jasmine?"
He was once again grinning, and the hopeful nodding was back. "But look," he pointed, his finger blocking the actual script. "I've held you in the highest regard for quite some time, and though you do not see me now, I hope that I can prove myself worthy of your attentions."
Christine quirked an eyebrow. She glanced down at Raoul's finger before looking at him, rather unsurprised by the distant look in his eyes. "Have you memorized it already?"
Flushing red, he ignored her question. "She is most likely worried about my title as viscount."
"She sounds desperate." Christine scoffed, but almost immediately felt repentant when he looked wounded, affronted for his admirer's sake. She knew the most likely case was that his title was exactly what Raoul's new secret admirer was considering, just not the way he would admit to. The truly confusing thing was that Raoul was usually quite observant when it came to supposed admirers. Although Christine would not quite call it 'observant,' perhaps oblivious to the point that all attempts to garner his attention were forced to be quite… forward – something Raoul found distasteful. No, she knew the way to his heart was with a little intrigue and vulnerability. As though in rebellion for being born into money, he sought to work for every single thing in his life, love included.
A little less condemning, she asked, "What is so different about this one from the others?"
Raoul shrugged, seeming to shrink into himself as he stared longingly at the note. Christine honestly felt badly again; she did not know how he managed to do this to her. In a small voice, he said only slightly petulantly, "It sounded rather sincere." Brows furrowing, he added, "It was brave without being too forceful or arrogant, rather insecure, uncertain." He looked helplessly at her and could only say, "Brave."
Resigned to his newfound fixation, she pat him on the shoulder and gave what she hoped was an encouraging smile. "It is rather brave, Raoul."
His smile was slow in coming, as though he was still gauging her sincerity. Quickly enough though, he was forced to bite his lower lip to contain his smile. "Guess what she sent along with the note."
"There was a gift?"
He nodded vigorously. "For Christmas."
She tried not to look skeptical or sigh. It really was a losing battle. "What was it?"
"Chocolate praline truffles!"
That caught her attention. She hmm'd. "Your favorite."
"A whole box," he exclaimed again. Words overlapping with Christine's own unspoken suspicions, he continued, "Perhaps it is someone we know."
She nodded, mentally reviewing possible suspects.
"The problem is…" he hesitated, "we cannot do –" he looked around and whispered "what we planned to do tonight."
Snapped out of her thoughts, she looked at him in disbelief. "Why?"
He finally relinquished the note to her. She skimmed over the message Raoul had already recited and reached the relevant portion as he stated, "She has set a time to meet." Glancing up from the note, she saw him looking at her hopefully. She narrowed her eyes at him.
"Perhaps tomorrow night?" he suggested.
"We do not know if that can be arranged," she bit out.
He begged, "Please, Christine." He clasped his hands together before him. "Please."
Making him suffer for long moments, she waited before answering begrudgingly. "Fine." She found herself relenting under that gaze much too often. "Go meet your admirer."
Raoul kissed her on the cheek and rushed out, but the door had yet to close before he rushed back in to grab the note. She smiled fondly, watching him leave. Sitting before the mirror again, she resumed brushing her hair. After a moment, she asked, "Do you know who this admirer is?"
There was a long moment before the reply came. "The note and apparent accompanying package was not delivered here." There was a beat. "What plans were cancelled?"
She shrugged. "We were going to celebrate Christmas. Just the two of us." It seemed as though she looked right through the mirror, innocent gaze too practiced. "Are you jealous?"
There was no response and when she was certain she was alone once again, she grinned and rushed out to find Meg to tell her their plans had changed.
It was morning of the next day and Meg was just leaving the room when Raoul came in, feet dragging and head bowed. He did not even respond to Meg's greeting.
Christine went to shut the door as he plopped onto the divan. "Was your admirer not as you had hoped she would be?" she asked cautiously.
He frowned at his shoes. "No." Looking up, he explained, "She never came. I waited the entire evening."
"She did not meet you?" Christine repeated slowly. Her suspicions were growing, but they were forgotten upon seeing Raoul so focused on his misery.
"There was a note when I arrived home though," he added, trying to be optimistic.
He had barely pulled it out of his pocket before she took it from him. "An emergency." They both said at the same time. She barely stopped herself from scoffing before she asked. "What was her gift apology?"
Raoul grinned, looking rather smitten already. "Riding gloves."
This time, she could not help but roll her eyes at his turnabout of emotion. Raoul and his romance problems were taking up too much of their time. It was nearly Christmas. "Are you ready for tonight?" she asked. "I managed to arrange some things."
Raoul looked at her apologetically.
Already knowing that look, she shook her head, glaring at him. "No, Raoul. You promised." She dropped her voice to a harsh whisper, "You said you would help. I need your assistance to finish the surprise before," this she mouthed, "he returns." Loudly again, she said, "You were excited at this prospect as well if you recall. Did you change your mind?"
"No. Of course not." Raoul held up his hands in a calming motion. It didn't placate her as much as the vehemence in his next statement did. "Everyone deserves to celebrate."
"But?" she prompted, already knowing that there was a caveat.
He looked away from her, catching his own reflection in the mirror. "Will the effort even be appreciated?"
Scowling, she raised her voice as she scolded him, "You're being selfish, Raoul. Very selfish." She continued, not caring if Erik did hear of their plans. It was apparently not going to happen regardless. "After he stopped terrorizing the opera house."
"He only stopped because we gave him everything he wanted!" Raoul retorted, getting defensive. "And if you haven't noticed, he hasn't really stopped."
"Only because he wants the attention," Christine said, cryptically.
Raoul's resolve softened. "Can we just… tomorrow?"
"Men!" she huffed before storming off.
Watching her slam the door to her own bedroom, Raoul reluctantly put the note away with a sigh.
Erik smirked. This plan of his was brilliant. Not only were Christine and Raoul now not talking, but his home was safe from any adornment of the festive kind. Christine and Raoul had spent the rest of the day ignoring the other. Actually, Raoul was trying to apologize and Christine was downright ignoring him save for messages delivered via Meg despite the fact that Raoul could very well hear her. Without having to defend his home, Erik had finally been able to do a thorough check of the occupants of the opera house as well as take some fresh air on the roof.
It hadn't been difficult to discover their plot to force him to 'celebrate' the holidays. Christine was quite predictable and he was beginning to think so was the viscount.
It was disgustingly easy to coax Raoul away with the promise of affection. He might not even need the other presents he had purchased as Raoul's false secret admirer considering the scale of their current argument. He had gone through the effort of buying all of Raoul's favorite things. There had been little need for further investigation of such things; the boy was too easy to read. He always saved praline truffles for last, taking an almost lewd amount of time savoring them. Then, there was the fact that he often took the reins of his carriage or simply came on horseback, much to the chagrin of the managers. He always favoured a too sweet, post dinner sherry, and when he was distracted, he would worry the silk scarf between his fingers. And lately, there was the fact that now he knew the way to the roof, he would sneak most mornings to watch the sunrise, punctuating every visit with a longing sigh.
Erik didn't know what he would do with all the extra gifts. Perhaps burn them. He pocketed the note he would send this evening when Raoul was once again left waiting for his non-existent admirer. He froze though, seeing a bare Christmas tree lying on its side and not far from it Raoul. The blond's back was turned to him. He was bedecked with garlands wrapped around his shoulders and waist, ribbon similarly entwined around his chest, several wreaths hanging upon his arms and one crowning him. His attention was focused downward as he stood by the organ.
Erik didn't need to see what he was looking at, a pile of the presents ranging from a painting to alcohol that would have been used to distract and entice Raoul away from decorating his home.
Raoul turned, an off-white silk scarf in his hands. "Erik?"
The boy looked ridiculous, but it was obvious he had come here in hopes of surprising both Christine and him with his efforts.
Erik did the only thing he could think to do. He sneered. "What do you think you are doing here, Vicomte?"
Raoul looked at the scarf before glancing at the organ, more specifically, at the damning sheets of familiar scented paper. Raoul dropped the wreaths carried on his arm to grab one. "Are you…?"
Before he could finish the question, Erik stormed forward, jerking him away from the pile of gifts. The blond tripped over a length of garland, tearing it, but he managed to stay on his feet.
"Do not think I will refrain from killing you," Erik growled, hand tightening on Raoul's too warm wrist.
The scarf fluttered out of Raoul's grasp, landing almost intentionally onto the similarly fallen tree.
"Get out." Erik dragged him further, the wreath dislodging from his head, the garlands and ribbons falling away until Raoul was left with shreds of shrubbery clinging to his clothing and a stray bit of gold red ribbon haphazardly hanging from his hair.
Erik distantly noticed that Raoul still clutched a now-wrinkled blank sheet of the jasmine scented paper in his hand before giving him one last push, shouting, "Get out."
Raoul stumbled several steps away before stopping. He frowned, looked absolutely devastated before turning and running without once looking back.
Erik stood there breathing harshly until he was certain the boy was gone. He turned to look at the abandoned decorations with something close to regret.
The next few days passed uneventfully, Christmas eve arriving sooner than expected. The viscount made no appearance at the opera house and all was quiet once more. Everything was as it once was, as it was supposed to be.
Erik hated it.
Christine had attempted to speak to him several times, but Erik refused to respond and luckily she was more concerned with her argument with Raoul, his subsequent disappearance, and the performance that evening that she did not press it any further although he rather thought she suspected she was not the only reason for Raoul's continued absence.
The fallen tree and adornments remained as they had been the night of Raoul's departure as did the presents he could not quite bring himself to discard now. He had avoided the organ for these past days as well, unable to even lay eyes upon those baubles. His mind had unfortunately been consumed with thoughts of the viscount regardless, so much so that he'd even considered going to the estate when Raoul had failed to show after that second day. However, Erik knew he was entirely justified in his actions and now he could 'celebrate' the holidays by ignoring its very existence and simply enjoying the performance tonight.
He entered Box 5 just as the curtain parted but still managed to miss Christine's entrance. His attention was focused on his seat. Lifting up a small porcelain angel, he scrutinized it before reading the attached note written on a familiar sheet of paper, creases from being mishandled obvious. He schooled his features from the almost relieved grin that was threatening to show. Glancing at the angel again, he realized belatedly that it was meant to be a tree ornament. He pocketed it before re-reading the four words that the note contained and deciding to forego tonight's opera in order to search for a wayward viscount.
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Fic Review: Yay. Although it's not the unabashed fluff we usually get with Christmas fics, all I know is that Christmas breeds the best plotbunnies. Okay, that's sort of a lie, I think angst breeds the best plotbunnies but that's beside the point. Happy Holidays once more and don't forget to download the fanmix.
Oh, what four words did Raoul write? I love you, Erik? Naw. Way too forward. Raoul likes mysteries (as well as being mysterious), remember? Read the title.