A/N - Agh! Someone asked me to put this up a few days ago but I forgot, orz. T_T I'm horrible. Sorry! Anyway, here it is! Phantom!Francis Bonnefoy. I was thinking about doing this as a chapter series, but I'm not sure how people will like it because it would be more anguish and angst than smut, and let's be honest, we all know people parole FF for smut. There could be some later on in the story, but not for a few chapters. I'll rate this M just in case I get some encouraging reviews and decide to follow through with this one. I'm just not very sure is all.
By the way, I chose random royal names. I know they're not right! XD I know this history is altered! It was necessary for the storyline!
So review for me you bums! Please? All of my consistent readers know how I am about this! I like reviews, NOT FOR POPULARITY, but as a kind of way to see if anyone is interested in reading it. I shouldn't have to waste my time posting things no one will read, I do have a life. xD So review if you want me to do more!
I have been in this house for nearly four hundred years, fearing to leave the entire time. I cannot remember much of the life I led before I lived here. I fear to remember it all because all I feel when I try is an ache deep within my chest. So I only remember bits and pieces… Like a fine glass of Bordeaux, and the touch of a lover's hand on my body. My love for parties and opera. The face of the man I loved so dearly…
I used to try to leave this place, but each time I would fall into the unimaginable darkness and I would always wake up right back in this house. I gave up a long time ago. Now I fear trying because of all the strange noises coming from out there… Loud roaring, like beasts, go by my shuttered windows and weird ringing noises pollute the air. How I long for the sound of horse hooves and the gentle lyre and song of a traveling bard.
I've begun to forget what the sun looks like. Begun to forget the sweet taste of wine on my lips and a lover in my bed. I starve everyday and thirst unconditionally. I suppose I am a little mad now. Deranged from being within the old dusty walls of this home in Paris. Why am I alive? Why am I still here…? The questions give me headaches. And more than once I have tried to end myself, but I do not bleed or choke.
All I can do is sit in this house and hope for heaven or hell to accept me, but it seems that neither are willing to take me in. What happened? What did I do to deserve this torment…
The sun was high and unforgiving on the young Briton as he walked through the Parisian streets, cars whizzing past him left and right. Even for this time of year, which was a muggy July, this weather was unusual. The blonde hated France, and this heat was only serving to magnify that hatred. He knew his inheritance was too great when he'd heard that he'd inherited a mansion. Of course it would be in France! He just wanted to see the damn thing and get it sold already.
He finally stopped at a café, deciding that he either needed to stop for a drink or he would keel-over at any moment. Maybe the heat was a sign to go back to England and forget the whole thing. In fact, while Arthur was not a terribly paranoid man, he was beginning to think that.
"Excusez-moi!" Arthur called out to a waitress, French shaky and on the verge of unrecognizable, "Boissons, s'il vous plait? J-Je m'excuse, mon français n'est pas bon!"
The waitress laughed as she walked over. "What may I get for you?" She asked, speaking clear English with a light French accent. She was a pretty young woman, save for her melting eyeliner and clumpy mascara. It was not a good day to be all dolled up, what with the smoldering sun and incredible humidity.
Arthur's face tinted pink in embarrassment. "Er… Do you have any earl grey tea? I'm a little sick of wine and sodas…" He muttered, running a hand through his hair "And could you help me with directions? I'm looking for this mansion, I'm told it's near Notre-Dame but I've been walking around this area all day and I don't see hair nor tail of it." Arthur complained, tousling his dirty blonde hair as he held out the slip of paper containing the house's address.
The waitress' smile fell. "That house? You want to go there?" She asked upon seeing the address.
Arthur laughed a little. "I was told I would get that reaction. Is the house really in that bad of shape? I recently inherited it after my grandfather passed away. He was always very distant, you see, so I didn't really know the fellow, and I never heard about a Parisian mansion. I was told it is roughly four hundred years old. I think with a bit of money into it, it'll be quite the pretty penny to the market."
"No…! No, no, no! No one in their right mind would buy that house!" The waitress shook her head wildly. "No one wants to even walk near it! When people are a block away they cross the street just to avoid it! The place is haunted." She said adamantly.
Arthur had to chuckle. That was preposterous! Haunted? Ghosts did not, and could not exist. He shook his head. "Please can you just tell me where it is…? I'm not afraid of any imaginary ghosts. I admit, the place may look like a wreck but I refuse to believe that there is a ghost there. It may just look scary. Has anyone considered that, maybe?"
The woman shook her head. "Non, sir, it is haunted! Royal blood was spilled in there! That is enough to bring a curse on it's own! But it was an heir to the throne, Prince Francis the Fifth, killed by his male lover! Rumor says it was the Prince to the English throne, Prince Henri, who was his lover, and that Prince Henri killed our beloved Prince for financial gain! Soon after, it was Prince Henri who married Prince Francis' little sister Princess Marie Antoinette and gained all of France as a territory. God rest poor Prince Francis' soul…" She quickly made a cross on her chest and bowed her head. "My grandfather told me stories about how the doors to that mansion would fly open day or night and a deafening scream would sound from the inside of the house, as if Prince Francis was being murdered all over again. Sometimes people could hear scratching on the doors and pounding on the shutters too, as if he was trying to escape…!"
Arthur's brow furrowed. Odd. He was a direct descendant of King Henri. What if…? He shook his head. That couldn't be true. He'd never heard of such a thing before. "Please, just get me my tea and point me to the house and I'll be on my way… Alright…?" He asked, copping a little attitude. It was too hot for this tomfoolery.
The waitress shook her head, clicking her tongue as she walked away. "I will draw you a map." She said over her shoulder, muttering under her breath something about not being able to help some people.
Arthur rolled his eyes and looked once more at the address on the scrap of paper. God… What a day this had turned out to be…
After his cup of tea and receiving the directions the waitress so begrudgingly gave him, Arthur set off. Surprisingly enough, he had only bee ten minutes off the mark, and that was by foot.
But what he saw made him shiver. People really were avoiding the mansion like the black plague was ready and waiting to charge out through its doors and attack at any given moment. The Brit bit his lip lightly before shaking his head quickly. Ghosts. Ridiculous! Arthur chastised himself for being scared even for a split second.
He began across the street, ignoring the awe-struck gazes he got as he walked straight through the rusted out iron gates and up the crumbling steps to the great porch of the mansion. Arthur sighed. If someone had only taken care of this house, it would be so beautiful, the layout of it was truly something to be admired. It must have taken years to build and perfect what with the lack of good technology back then.
Arthur fumbled with the keys, finally finding the correct one and sliding it into the old lock. He grunted as he tried to turn it. "Bloody hell… Rusted…" He muttered, turning the key harder, until he feared breaking it. When he was finally about to give in and pull the key out, the lock gave way with an eardrum piercing screech, the old fashioned deadbolt sliding back into the unlocked positions after many years. Arthur pulled the key back out and yanked on the door handle a few times, willing the door to open. After a few more good heaves, the door opened with a mighty creak, startling the Briton slightly.
"What a noisy house! I can see I'll have to have all of the handles replaced, and the doors refurnished. Maybe this place isn't worth the money!" Arthur complained, walking into the dark house. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the mini flashlight he had, flicking it on and sighing. "Bloody hell…" He muttered, walking to the nearest window. He heaved it open, shoving the old shutters open and letting some light into the room.
What he saw made his jaw drop. Everything was intact! Velvet chairs, oil paintings, even the ash from the last fire burned in the old mansion. This must have been a parlor room, and a great one by the look of it! Arthur inspected it further, noting that the room was remarkably gorgeous for the time it sat. It was dusty and the air smelled of settlement and possibly even mold, but the walls were still strong as he tapped them and the ceiling was not cracked or even chipping. How was it possible? Arthur gaped a few moments longer before grinning.
"Well the outside looks like shit, but the inside is a gold mine! I could probably sell these things and make enough to repair the house and some!" He laughed, forcing open another set of shutters. "If all the rooms look like this, all I need is a vacuum cleaner and a wiring kit! Priorities set, this house needs electricity before anything else!"
It was then that Arthur felt an odd sensation pricking at his neck… It felt as though… Someone was watching him. He looked around quickly before laughing at himself. "Dear God! I thought I was too old for ghost stories!" He laughed out, eyes landing on an oil painting of a very beautiful blonde man, clad in the violet velvets and silks of royalty.
"Eh… So you're the bugger who died here, are you?" He muttered, taking a few steps closer to it. He ran a finger across the frame, smiling a little at the nostalgic feeling he got in his chest. "You sure were a fit bloke, I hand you that." He bit his lower lip. "They don't make men like you anymore… Pretty faces and such. That's only women now. You do look a little frail though. In a dress, you could probably pass as one… A woman…"
Arthur frowned suddenly. What was he saying? "Agh! Flirting with a painting, how desperate am I?" He smacked his palm against his forehead. "Dead for hundreds of years even!" He muttered. But still… He glanced back at the painting. He felt as though that man's gaze was something… He'd felt before. It gave him the chills, the sense of deja-vu rolling over him in thick clouds. He paused to stare at it a bit longer before heaving a sigh, rolling up his sleeves.
"I'd better get a look at the rest of the house so I get an idea of what I need to do to it…" He muttered, holding up the flashlight again. He began down the hall, looking at the paintings as he went. All appeared to be either of that man or of his family. They all seemed to hold a strong resemblance to each other.
After walking through the halls twists and turns, occasionally stopping to open some shutters, Arthur found himself with a pair of locked doors. He huffed and kicked the base of the door, beginning to look for the skeleton key to the house on his keychain. "Damn locked door…" He muttered, shoving the skeleton key into the hole. He turned it, and with a crisp click the doors were unlocked. Arthur smiled. "Well at least you're not a hard bugger to open. The front door was impossible, I tell you…" He said before turning the aged silver knobs on the double doors. He opened the great doors at the same time, pushing them inwards.
The room was dark, too dark too see, even with the mass light from open windows behind him. Arthur blinked, shining the flashlight into the room. "The hell…?" He muttered, stepping inside slowly. "What's with this place…?" He asked before he heard a buzzing in his flashlight. "Oh blast it!" He shouted, smacking the light as it flickered out. "I knew I should have brought spare batteries!" He complained, turning around to leave. "I'll just have to come back later…"
Arthur froze in place, eyes turning wide. What was that? He whirled around. "W-Who is it? Who's there?" He shouted.
All at once the doors slammed shut behind him and Arthur was trapped in the impenetrable darkness. A scream wretched itself from Arthur's throat, through his parted lips. He began pounding on the door, heart beating so hard he thought it would burst. "No! No! Let me out!" He screamed in a shrill voice. "Dear God! Please let me out! Please!" He felt tears in his eyes, and no sooner did he feel them did they pour down his cheeks, scolding his skin with their heat.
"Help me!" Arthur screamed, clawing at the door until he was sure his fingers bled. "Please help me! Someone!"
"Henri!" The voice called out. Arthur's hair stood up on end. A pair of thin, ice cold arms wrapped around his torso, freezing him to the bone. It was like death itself was embracing him. "Henri, you came back to me…!"
Arthur shook, voice trapped in his chest. This was it. He was going to die. Of all places! This damp, dark, old dusty mansion! His body would be lost forever! He wouldn't even have a burial! He wept silently, shaking hard in the ghostly arms.
"Henri…" The stranger's breath was on his ear, dank and chilling. "Why are you crying…?" Arthur felt bony fingers raise to touch his cheek, wiping some of the tears away. "Has something happened?"
Arthur whimpered at the sensation. "P-Please…" He whispered in a voice that was not suited to any kind of man. "I'm… I'm so scared! What are you? A-Are you here… To collect my soul? Are you d-d-dea-death?" Arthur whimpered. "It's so… D-Dark here…!" He let out a small sob. "I want to go home! Please! I'll do anything! Don't kill me!"
"Kill you…?" The voice seemed genuinely confused. "How could I ever do such a thing? Henry, you're so warm… Do you have a fever? Maybe you should rest in bed… I can light some candles if it'll make you comfortable…"
No sooner said, the room became lit, candelabras of pure silver and gold holding white candles, little orange flames atop them becoming visible to the Briton. The room was decorated for a king, violet silks and velvets hanging left and right, silvers and gold scattered about as if they were nothing but simple ornaments. Arthur had never seen anything so… Beautiful. It momentarily distracted him from his captor… But not long enough.
Arthur began to struggle against the arms, a new found strength coming from just being able to see his surroundings. "Let m-me go! You git!" He thrashed in the ghostly arms. "Let go, I said!"
Immediately the arms untwined and let the Englishman go. Arthur ran across the room to put some distance between him and whoever it was. 'It can't be a ghost! I-It can't be! It's someone playing some kind of trick on me! I'll show him one-four!' Arthur thought before he turned around.
His eyes bugged out and his jaw dropped. Standing before him was the young man painted in all of the portraits around the house, dressed to the T in the finest silk robes, hair worn long and wavy, sexy blue eyes staring straight at Arthur. "Y-You…" Arthur said weakly, knees buckling.
The specter smiled wide at him, eyes reflecting true joy. "Henri, I knew you would come back. I could never forget that face… You're just as energetic as ever as well… But I heard you complementing my looks earlier. I have a pretty face, do I? You should know better than anyone, though, that my body is not at all frail." He gave a suggestive smirk. "I never knew it was your… Wish… To see me in a dress though." He stepped closer, holding out his arms. "I'll try anything once, so you're lucky…"
Arthur trembled hard, not so much at the fact that the ghost was flirting with him, but at the fact that there was a ghost at all. "Y-You're supposed to be dead! You died almost four hundred years ago! So why aren't you de-dead!" He managed to cry out, green eyes wide.
"Dead…" The pale man frowned deeply. "I am dead. So are you, Henri… How could you be here after four hundred years…? Your soul longed for mine and brought you back from your rest. You came here to be with me…" He smiled again. "So come lay down with me… I just want to hold you, Henri…"
"I'm not Henri! That was my grandfather sixteen generations back! My name is Arthur Kirkland! I inherited this house after my grandfather died! I was told it was mine to do with as I wished, but I was never told that I'd have to deal with a pest problem!" He closed his eyes. "You can't exist! You're dead! What's dead is dead! Dead!" He shook his head wildly. "Stay away from me you… You… You…"
"My name is Francis…"
"Francis!" Arthur finished before gasping, opening his eyes again. "I should have never come here! I have to go! Let me leave now!"
Francis closed in, a darker look on his face than before. "I won't permit that." He said, voice lower than before. "I won't permit you to leave me again. Not ever."
"P-Please!" Arthur cried out, fear rising in him again. How could he possibly fight a ghost…?
"I won't let you go!" Francis' eyes flared red for a brief moment, the silk ropes on his body fluttering wildly. "Not again! Henri's soul… It is within you. I can see it."
"W-What?" Arthur's voice raised a few octaves, "My s-soul is my own, not someone else's! S-Stop there, you! Don't come closer!"
"Silence Henri!" Francis shouted, and immediately Arthur's mouth shut, as if by some unknown force. "You belong to me now… Understand…?" Arthur's head nodded, even though he desperately tried to keep it from doing so. "Now come here…" And once again, as Francis ordered, Arthur obeyed, walking closer, legs shaking hard as he tried to resist. But it was no use… He was in Francis' arms soon enough, feeling the cool flesh on his body of a dead person. The feeling made Arthur want to cry.
It wasn't fair! Arthur began to cry again as he felt the French ghost touch his body with his icy hands. Why did he have to suffer? What had he ever done to deserve this? Arthur held in a sob as Francis' dead lips pressed against his own.
"I love you, Henri… I love you… To death…"
(You tell me.)