Disclaimer: Please don't sue me. I don't own POTO, all I own is my laptop and the urge to write for this phandom, haha get it! :D
Title: The Beguiling Beauty Underneath
Author: Chess Keeper
Summary: The Phantom never fell in love with Christine so instead of focusing all of his energy on her, he has been terrorizing the opera house non-stop. Andre and Firmin, in order to appease the O.G provide him a sacrificial lamb. SLASH Raoul/Erik
Warning: Homosexuality, Slash, Violence.
I awoke with a stifled shout. My eyes darted rapidly around the room in a panic. I took a deep breath and slowly my heart rate began decrease.
The image of my hands dripping in blood burned in my mind and I had to blink several times to keep the watering in my eyes from turning to tears. Sluggishly I untangled my sweaty body from underneath the covers. I crawled out of bed, and swiftly lit a candle.
It was dark, too dark for anyone in the house to be up, and for that, I was thankful for that.
The last thing I needed was for the servants to tell my brother Philippe that I was having nightmares again. My cheeks flushed in embarrassment at the mere thought of it. I knew what Philippe would say, I still remember the speech he gave me when I was younger.
"Vicomtes don't wake up screaming; just think what would people say if they knew? What would they think of us? You are not a child any more Raoul, mother and father are dead and you need to get over it and grow up. I am not going to baby you forever; it's time to be a man. Men don't scream like small children."
To Philippe it was all about the family image, it didn't matter to him that I couldn't control my dreams. I had tried to go to bed with happy thought, but It never worked. The things I saw in my dreams would terrify even the hardest of men.
I shook my head; it was no use dwelling on the past. I was a tactile person, and Philippe wasn't. Therefore, in his eyes I was the one who was wrong. I was wrong for wanting physical contact for needing love. The only physical contact Philippe ever gave was to the whores he shared his bed with, and even then it wasn't much.
I pitied any woman who got involved with him.
Checking my watch, I briefly considered trying to go back to sleep, but the thought of what awaited me when I closed my eyes persuaded me to get up and get dressed. I wouldn't dare leave the house so early, Philippe would come looking for me if I didn't make an appearance at breakfast, and that was the last thing I wanted.
It was too early to read, I wasn't going to waste candles just for that. Candles weren't particularly expensive, but whereas Philippe liked to spend lavishly I was more of an economic spender.
I pulled out my violin from underneath my bed. I gently opened the case and cradled the violin in my arms. It was an antique that belonged to my mother before her death, and the only thing left of her. It was my most prized possession.
A smile graced my face as I reminisced of happier times. Filled with a sudden urge to bare my heart via music I let myself go. I freed my mind and my creativity, that had been bottled up for so long, flowed.
I started to play, the music notes just came to me and I created a melodious harmony easily.
Memories flickered across my minds eye. I saw only happy memories and my soul took flight.
I thought of all times my family had vacationed at amazing places like the town-house in the countryside, but the trips to Scotland, and Sweden were my favorite. Sweden was the last family vacation we took. I meet Christine back then. She was so kind back then, so full of love and I was immediately attracted to her because of this.
I was like a moth to a flame, but now, things had changed.
She was the moth now, and I the flame- or more precisely my family name and money. It was obvious that she enjoyed the expensive gifts and the spot light. She was a prima donna after all.
It seemed just days ago that I was taking violin lessons from Christine's father. Those times were much simpler and much happier too. We would spend all day talking about running our own music business, me with my violin, and Christine with her angelic voice. Childish optimism ensnared us.
I finished playing just as the sun started to peek through my windows signaling it was no longer safe to continue. If Philippe heard, he would not hesitate to break my violin.
I made a mental promise to myself; I was going to start playing the violin again. It had been months since I had played and now that I remembered the effect the violin had on me, I wanted to play more often.
In fact, I never wanted to go that long with out playing again. I would play by night so that Philippe would not hear me if I had to.
Once my violin was safely put away, I went downstairs.
Philippe and I meet on our way down to breakfast.
"Good morning brother." I greeted him politely. Philippe smiled and returned the greetings.
We ate in silence and when I stood to leave Philippe called out to me, "Just make sure you are back by dinner time, some important men are coming over and I request your presence here." He smiled up at me but it was just as hollow as ever, despite the obvious fakeness I returned his smile and assured him that I would be home at an acceptable time.
After that, I left the house quickly, thinking only of Christine. She may be annoying and demanding at times but Christine was still an important person to me. Today was a special day at the opera house for her. She finally had a lead role and tonight was her opening debut.
I wanted to do something special just for her, but since I had to be home before dinner that excluded most of my ideas. The best I could come up with was to buy her a bunch of roses and nice necklace.
She had been hinting at the fact that Carlotta had more jewelry than she did, and that she was quite displeased with this idea.
I could hear her exact words, "Raoul I'm trying to be the greatest prima donna this opera house knows, and how can I do that with Carlotta looking better that I do? She prances around with that gaudy pearl necklace, it's disgusting."
Women, I would never understand the need to wear a decorated noose around their necks.
That's all that necklaces were, a decorated shiny noose.
By the time, I had purchased the necklace and the roses, along with somebody to deliver the roses it was already nearing noon.
For lunch I bought an apple and leisurely strolled through town. I stopped at several places. The first place I stopped was at carpenter's shop, this is where I bought a beautiful decorated brush with the intent to also give this to Christine later.
The second place I stopped was for me. I bought a tune up case and a few other things for my violin. The man behind the counter eyed me strangely, but luckily, he didn't seem to know who I was.
Not wanting to go home, I decided to bide my time somewhere else. I picked the library and made myself comfortable their. Before I knew it, the clock was chiming 3:00 and a librarian was telling me that I needed to leave.
After leaving the library, I went straight to the opera house. I walked swiftly through the front doors intent on heading straight to Christine's dressing room where I knew that she would be getting ready for later.
I was stopped mid-stride by Andre and Firmin.
I took a deep breath, resisting the urge to simply walk away ignoring both of them.
"Monsieur Firmin, Monsieur Andre. Good evening to you both, I hope that tonight's show goes off with out an incident." I spoke easily falling into my Vicomte role. "This is Christine's big night."
The manager exchanged nervous looks. My eyebrows shot up, "Do you think-"
Andre interrupted me, "Don't worry Vicomte, the Opera Ghost won't ruin tonight's performance. We have made a… a bargain with the ghost, you see?" He and Firmin exchanged glances again.
I felt out of the loop and I had the urge to inquire about the bargain they had struck, but I remembered if I didn't get to Christine's dressing room soon Madame Giry wouldn't let me speak with her.
I nodded and bid them a farewell.
I found Christine in her dressing room sitting in front of the mirror. I smiled at her and she immediately started talking. I tried to listen, but it was harder than it seemed. My lack of interest must have shown through.
"Raoul are you even listening to me?" Christine asked pilling her long hair into a bun on the back of her head. She checked the mirror and smiled approvingly, then turned and frowned at me.
"Of course darling, you were just telling me the most interesting thing I have heard all day." I replied faking a smile. I honestly didn't actually hear a word that she had said. I was too lost in my own little world.
"You're so sweet Raoul." Christine gushed and continued prattling on about frivolous things.
I was not interested in her jewelry or her new best friend Carlotta, nor would I ever be. I did not speak my mind though, I smiled and nodded instead, but inside I could feel my aggravation rising.
"Raoul you are going to watch my performance, aren't you?" Christine asked turning away from the mirror. He eyed bored holes in mine; I gulped and reassured her that I would be there.
"Of course Christine. I wouldn't miss it for the world." She smiled and it lit up her face, she looked beautiful and I momentarily forgot about Philippe's stern reminder to be home before dinner. I had also forgotten how much Christine annoyed me earlier.
"Wonderful, during the intermission will you meet me backstage?" She asked eyes shining with excitement. I hadn't seen her like this in a long time. She was much more beautiful when she was vibrant and not being petty.
Realization dawned on me and I panicked, my plan was to leave after the first act and later just praise her on how well she opened the show, carefully leaving out the part's I had missed.
I hesitated to agree to meet her. Was facing my brothers wrath worth her happiness?
"Sorry Christine I was just thinking that- that sounds like a wonderful idea. I have something else to give you."
"You do? The roses were lovely by the way. Thank you."
"Yes, I'm must be going now though, I wouldn't want to distract you from preparing for the show." I bid her adieu, kissed her hand politely and added, "I shall give you your gift when I see you later." Then I left.
I went straight home; luck was on my side because Philippe wasn't there.
I put the brush that I had bought for Christine safely in my jacket pocket, and informed a servant that I wished to take a bath. Then I slid my violin tune up case under the bed and made my way to the bathroom.
Once the tub had been filled to the brim with steaming hot water, I stripped down to the nude and got in.
It was not often I was grateful for my family's wealth. Money often brought problems, but the ability to bathe everyday was one thing that I loved about having money, that and the massive library we had. Sinking down in the water, I let myself relax.
When I opened my eyes, again, it was sometime later and the water was chilly. I hastily got out and dried off. Then I quickly dressed in an expensive outfit and readied myself to make an appearance at the Opera.
Leaving the house without a word I quickly signaled the stagecoach to take me to the Opera house. Once I arrived, I ordered Jonathan- my stagecoach, to leave.
It was a lovely night, and I would walk home instead.
He nodded obediently and left. He had a family and it would have been rude to keep him waiting on me.
Unsurprisingly, the Opera Populaire was sold out for Christine's performance. I easily dogged though the crowds to my usual seat. I buried my face into the pamphlet, and to anyone who did not know me it looked as if I was eagerly reading it to discovering who was playing whom. I continued to fake busyness until the lights dimmed and the show began.
Christine's singing was beautiful. There were several times through out the show I felt as If I should jump up on stage and comfort her.
She played her part extremely well.
By the time the first two act were over and the intermission arrived all thoughts of leaving early had slipped out of my mind.
I stood from my seat and excused myself. Then I made my way up backstage to meet with Christine. When I arrived at her dressing room, no one was there. I ran my finger over the brush in my jacket pocket to reassure myself. I took a seat and waited.
Christine would come; she was the one to suggest the idea to begin with.
It was just taking her longer to sneak away. She was the show's star and Madame Giry was bound to keep a constant eye on her.
I waited, and waited. I checked my pocket watch; the second part of the opera would begin in 5 minutes. I sighed forlorn. Either Christine had forgotten about me or she could not slip away. It was almost certain it was the first. This wasn't the first time she had got caught up in the moment and completely forgot about me.
I slowly closed my watch and pocketed it, ready to leave. Since Christine had forgotten about me, I surely was not going to stick around and wallow in my sorrow.
I turned; ready to leave but instead I came face to face with a large chest.
"Excuse me, Monsieur." I apologized trying to slide past him, but he grabbed my shoulder. I looked up at him; he was tall and smiling broadly. I could see his teeth; they were yellow and cooked.
"You'll do just fine." His voice was deep, and I could smell his foul breath. He slammed me up against the wall effectively trapping me. I was about to question him about his rudeness when a rag was pressed harshly against my mouth and nose. I struggled, but his large arms wrapped around me and held me still.
My lungs unwillingly filled with the chemical smell and my vision swam.
I lurched forward and fell.