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: Let's Rewrite Our History Assumption #3: A truce has been made… for Christine's sake of course.
Word Count: 1,954
Series: Let's Rewrite Our History (The series where anything is fair game, huge assumptions are made, and you simply have to accept them as fact.)
A/N: I don't know what's wrong with me. Batb7 just needs a final edit and I can't get my head into it. :( Have this instead.
Story note: One plotbunny apparently spawned several similar plotbunnies and this came to be. But, it is the year of the rabbit – ahem, year of the plotbunnies ;D – so, it isn't too surprising.
Truces Just Mean I Can't Kill You
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Erik eyed the viscount as he puttered about Christine's room, setting her belongings in their proper place. She must have been in a rush to leave this morning, like every morning actually. The thought that Raoul had been reduced to nothing but a maid was reason enough for Erik to smirk rather openly about this demotion from fiancé. Things had admittedly changed though, especially with the blond before him now. The maid… and chaperone. That second trait was not as humorous, considering how it affected him as well, and it was partly to blame for this change in their dynamic.
Christine had attempted to convince them a truce was necessary. The viscount had readily agreed – Erik assumed it was because of Christine's desire to continue her tutoring sessions. He, on the other hand, had given a rather tacit agreement; he had yet to kill the viscount, which was a feat in itself when the boy seemed to be everywhere all the time. However, Erik had learned that his presence before Christine's tutoring sessions did provide perfect sport for him.
"You missed one." He lazily pointed at a stray scarf. Raoul ignored him, which was well and good for Erik. He knew he had been heard by the obvious way Raoul avoided looking in that direction.
Apparently done with his cleaning for the day, Raoul sat on the settee near the door, a location that was as far as possible from Erik, who was at his normal station by the mirror. Picking up the book he had brought with him, he began to studiously ignore the ghost. The book was actually a new development and in Erik's opinion, a poor attempt to ignore his presence – as though ignoring him was even an option. Christine was due soon, if she hadn't stopped to speak with Meg, which she was apt to do nowadays for some unknown reason.
Erik commented, feigning shock, "I wasn't aware that you could read."
Looking up, Raoul retorted, "I write, too." He regretted it immediately, knowing a response was exactly what the masked man wanted from him. He fixed his eyes on the words before him. He could hardly remember what book he had brought with him much less what the content of the paragraph he was rereading contained. Considering the effort pointless, he turned the page.
"The scrawl you count as writing?" Erik laughed. It was less harsh than it once had been.
That said little though when it had morphed into something singularly more mocking. Every time they were together, the ghost would resort to these taunts. Raoul had to admit that the older man was simply too good at angering him. It was as though Erik was convinced that if he denigrated him enough, Raoul would just suddenly believe his vicious, groundless insults and cutting criticisms.
"I fail to see what Christine sees in you," Erik continued, intently watching the younger man's reactions.
He was uncertain what had drawn him from behind the mirror that first time before Christine had even arrived. Several tutoring sessions had passed within the constraints of the truce. Two main things had changed: one, Erik no longer saw the need to hide behind the mirror to conduct the sessions and two, Raoul had taken to staying in the room with them. In fact, Raoul arrived early every single time to wait for Christine in her room for these tutoring sessions. Erik had not thought of any further plans to kidnap his pupil, but the knowledge that doing such a thing would be quite the challenge now almost made him want to attempt it – if only to lord such triumph over the viscount. But, such an act had no real purpose.
Truthfully, the viscount did nothing that should have warranted his interest, and Erik had continued to ignore him until he realized that he wasn't actually ignoring the blond. Every correction he made, every command he gave, every note that Christine sang was an afterthought to the fact that Raoul rather earnestly watched their interaction, watched them. There had been and still was no judgment in his eyes; beyond the fleeting suspicions, he was generally simply curious and most of the time enthralled. Those blue eyes would be fixed on Christine as she sought the correct pitch and posture; they would be fixed on her beauty, her perfection. The boy adored her with his eyes, adored her so completely and so openly that Erik hated to admit that during these moments with only the two of them, he was forced to speak falsehoods because he could understand why his pupil had fallen for Raoul. He simply could not let the viscount, who was proving to be neither self-conscious nor arrogant, come to realize exactly how much more he had to offer her.
These confrontations however had become something more than making good use of his free time to insult Raoul. The highlight of his days often centered upon just how Raoul would react to his comments, how quickly he could make Raoul lose his composure, and how those blue eyes would suddenly be fixed upon him with such passion that only Christine's arrival could draw him away.
"A mere boy," Erik scoffed, though he could easily see how much a year had changed him, from the way Raoul held himself to the way he spoke and smiled. Though he could not quite remember, he was certain that the boy had even grown taller; his hair had obviously grown longer. He was more confident now and more restrained – or at least, he tried to be.
Raoul stifled the urge to place his hands over his ears. This was a train of thought that the ghost followed often; so often, that Raoul had a retort for each of the arguments and supposed flaws the masked man would enumerate. He held his tongue though, resolved to not let Erik get to him again.
"You are hardly appealing to look at."
I'm not the one who is deformed.
Raoul accidentally wrinkled a page. Immediately loosening his grip, he was certain the action did not go unnoticed though. If he did not know better, he might have said that the ghost added almost gleefully.
"Your nose is crooked."
At least I have a nose.
He didn't know why he so easily gave into such childish taunts. Then again, the ghost had apparently not outgrown such tactics and Raoul was quite ready to rise to the challenge. Unfortunately.
"Your lips are too thin."
And yours are always curled up into a sneer.
Perhaps it was because he found it impossible to remain unmoved. Raoul had no delusions when it came to his looks. He was never lacking in the number of admirers he had, which Philippe always managed to point out to him. More importantly though, Christine never complained and said she loved his appearance. It was enough to have the person he loved to have such a good opinion. The ghost was nothing to him after all, a rival in fact. It was obvious that such sentiments were to be shared between them.
Somehow, Raoul was displeased regardless.
Erik added pointedly, "Your hair is too long to be considered masculine."
I have hair.
And Raoul usually gave into making a derisive noise at that, but this time, thankfully, he managed to control himself. He took a deep breath before turning to the next page even though he knew getting anywhere in this book was impossible by this time.
"You contribute nothing to the opera house."
Except for keeping the doors open despite the constant accidents and paying for your salary of course.
He was almost certain that Erik said these things not because he believed them to be true, so much as he wanted a reaction. At least a part of him hoped that was true. He sat up straighter. Well, someone was going to be quite disappointed today.
Erik stood up, circling around Raoul once before sitting directly beside him on the settee, daring him to look away from the book. Proximity made Raoul want to give in and simply yell back at him. Instead, he distracted himself by wondering what was taking Christine so long. Erik would stop taunting him once she came. In fact, her tutor would forget about him completely and only focus on her. Raoul would simply cease to exist once she came and he hated to admit how much more that annoyed him than the verbal taunts.
"You only seek attention."
Only from the one person who doesn't see me. And that was a new response that he immediately wished he hadn't thought despite the fact that it was a well-worn consideration. Of course he did not need to be here, much less be acknowledged. Christine needn't a chaperone. He truly doubted that Erik would do anything untoward to her and the threat of kidnapping could easily be solved by waiting outside her room since he had long since procured a key. Even if he wanted to be in the room during her lessons, there was no need to be here before her; he could wait outside. He even knew that Erik would be here early, too; yet, he still kept coming without fail. He wondered idly why the ghost even bothered to come out from behind the mirror, but conceded it was probably only to insult him.
Erik continued before Raoul could think further on the subject. "If it weren't for your title, you would be nothing. Who would even care about you? Talentless, unintelligent."
This too was new and enough to make Raoul snap, especially when Erik was moving closer to him with each description. Furious, he looked up only to immediately notice how close they were. That was a challenge in a way, too, so neither moved.
"Why do you insist on spewing such poisonous slanders?" Raoul asked.
"I speak only the truth."
How the ghost managed to say so with such confidence only made Raoul angrier. Rolling his eyes, he mockingly said, "Then continue your monologue upon your throne of lies and delusion. I will not stop you."
Realizing that Raoul had in fact risen above his taunts, Erik decided to raise the stakes of their game. The smirk on his face became a little more foreboding. "If only words were enough," he said pleasantly. From the corner of his eye, Raoul saw the ghost's hand move up, "to slip poison in your ear." He traced the outer shell of his ear and Raoul jerked back, suppressing the shudder at such a teasing touch. Having moved with such force, he fell off the settee. His eyes wide as he stared at the ghost, Raoul fought to catch his breath. He absolutely hated it when Erik made references that showed just how intelligent and cultured he was, when he demonstrated just how charming and alluring he could have been had it not been for his face. He could still feel the ghost's finger tracing his ear.
Not waiting for another attack, Raoul scrambled to his feet with one hand clamped over his ear. Giving Erik a wide berth, he missed seeing the older man frozen in place, leaning forward into the space that Raoul had just vacated and the contemplative expression that was so obvious on the normally guarded man. Instead, Raoul nearly ran Christine over in his haste, leaving her with the barest of apologies and excuses for his departure.
Erik muttered to himself, "Fascinating."
It was only when he noticed Christine looking at him did Erik finally straighten. He shrugged at her disapproving glare.
Looking between him and the hallway Raoul had run through, she scolded, "Stop teasing him."
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Fic Review: Does anyone else get the feeling that Christine intentionally leaves them together?
I think I'm going to blame LND for the whole 'invasion of personal space' kink I'm sort of developing; they need to get close to one another to fight. Obviously.
Still, I'm putting that rather persistent seduction!plotbunny to rest (it spawned three fics after all, that are too similar to each other for my tastes). It's still amusing to me however because it's like Erik's pulling Raoul's pigtails. :D I'm pretty sure he's never seen Raoul blush like that before though – probably never thought that he could get that kind of reaction out of him. XD I like to think in this one neither of them realize they're attracted to the other.