Chapter Thirteen

When Raoul woke it was morning. The little boat drifted, rocking gently on the waves. He lay naked in the sunlight; to his embarrassment Dubeau, still clothed, sat, knees drawn to his chin, on his bunk opposite, gazing at him.

Raoul's rectum hurt; he felt unpleasantly dribbly. Uncomfortable, he drew the sheets over himself. "Er, good morning, Dubeau..." he began uneasily. "Think I'll just, uh... morning swim, don't you know..." He moved to arise but Dubeau's voice, cold, stopped him.

"Raoul..."

"Mmm?"

"What is my name?"

"Why, Dubeau, of course..." He trailed away as the edge of a memory trailed across his mind. "That is... wait..."

"Christine," Dubeau hissed.

With a jolt that all but stunned him, Raoul came to his senses. He stared at Dubeau in incomprehension. "Wait- But- Erik? But how-?"

He shifted, and cold wet fluids against his skin brought the reality of the previous night tearing home to him. "You utter bastard!" There were no words to describe his perfidy.

Erik laughed. "Why so upset, Raoul? You seemed perfectly happy last night."

"How dare you? You violated-" Raoul was trembling with rage.

"Did I indeed?" Erik's voice- the voice whispering in his dreams, his nightmares, Raoul realized- was full of suppressed rage, his eyes full of hate. "Tell me, was that before or after you begged me to fuck you harder?"

Raoul was all but white with rage himself. He was so angry he couldn't even form coherent thoughts. To have had Erik, of all people- The man's villainy knew no bounds. "Why?" he managed to grate out.

"Why?" hissed Erik. "Why? Because you never did understand any compassion that anyone ever felt for me! To you I was nothing-- less than an animal; nothing but a mistake to be disposed of as quickly and efficiently as possible. You couldn't even admit the possibility that I might be an actual person! Why, the very idea that Christine might not automatically hate the very idea of me baffled you completely!"

He chuckled, a low, menacing sound. "But you understand now, don't you? You were friends with me, we were companions, gentlemen adventurers together. Lovers, even." He sneered. "Suddenly, I was a person to you. And all I had to do was make you forget my face..."

Raoul had managed to gain control of himself while Erik talked. He was still so furious that he was almost astounded that he wasn't already strangling the wretched creature; but he was also deathly aware of the danger. Erik terrified him. He was utterly, utterly mad, and there was no escape... "How did you manage to do that, by the way?" he asked, his throat tight with the effort to sound natural. "Some sort of mesmerism, I suppose?"

"Indeed," gloated Erik; "Something of the sort. And a few other tricks. But do you want to know the really very fascinating thing about mesmerism, Raoul? The thing that makes it really so very fascinating is that one can't use it to force someone to do something utterly against their nature. You can't force a little girl to kill her kitten with it, for example, unless she was already a very bad sort to begin with.

"You do understand the full implications of that, don't you? Deep inside, some part of you wanted-"

"Stop." Raoul drew a ragged breath, ignoring the monster's lies.

"Charlotte..."

Again, unreasonably, Raoul felt a sudden surge of lust; but knowing who- what 'Dubeau' was instantly turned it to revulsion. He looked at Erik with utter contempt. "What I may or may not have wanted had nothing to do with you," he said. "You had to make me forget who you were to have me even tolerate your presence!"

Erik laughed again. "And yet, Christine tolerated my presence, didn't she? Given the chance to run away, she returned to me, even knowing who I was. Perhaps, in her own way, some small part of her even loved me.

"And you killed her."

"She died of consumption!"

"You killed her!" Erik roared, leaping to his feet. "You knew it ran in her family, and did you take her to the Mediterranean? Did you? No! You could have taken her anywhere, and instead of somewhere warm and dry you took her to bloody Sweden! You stole her from me, and you killed her!"

"I did what she wanted!" Raoul shouted back, also on his feet, nose to nose with Erik. "I tried to get her to go to Nice, but she refused! All she wanted to do was to go home and hide from you!"

With a terrific crack Erik backhanded him and Raoul leaped upon him, fingers grasping for the scrawny neck, fingers squeezing as they wrestled and fought in a horrible parody of the evening before. Erik had a terrible, wiry strength, the strength of madness, but Raoul fought like a man possessed, like a man fighting for his very soul, releasing all the terror, frustration, and rage spawned by the devil back into the hands that were wrapped around his very neck. It took him quite some time before he realized that Erik was no longer moving; he only stopped because his arms were numb and shaking with weariness.

He found himself on the floor, naked, lying on the motionless body, the two of them tangled in the sheets like lovers. Raoul quickly extracted himself and grabbed the frying pan. It was small, but solid, and the nearest thing to a weapon he had to hand.

But Erik lay motionless. Not even the rise and fall of his chest betrayed him. Raoul sat motionless for a long time, staring at him, before he noticed the creature's tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth. He nudged him with his foot; kicked a little harder. Nothing.

Was he dead? How could one tell, really, with someone who looked like that? Raoul carefully reached for a limp wrist and inexpertly tried to take a pulse. Nothing, but was that because there was no pulse to take?

The eyes were glazed, at half mast, staring off to each side; the jaw hung slack. Raoul had only ever seen such on one living person, and he had been deathly ill. The fiend was dead, Raoul was sure of it.

Now what?

Well, he was damned if he was going to leave him there to rot. He could rot indeed for all Raoul cared, but not there. No, over the edge it would have to be, and that meant weights. What did he have that would hold a bloating body down?

A careful search turned up very little. A larger vessel might have had rocks for ballast; but the little steam launch had nothing of the sort; with the weight of the engine she simply didn't need it. In the end Raoul was forced to simply wind the body in his sheets (he didn't fancy sleeping in the fiend's bed, but neither did he want to be rolling about in the remains of his semen, washed or not) and tie it off with rather more of the rope than he would have liked. He had sliced the abdomen open, so that gases would be released as they formed rather than building up; he hoped that the entrails, even wound in the fabric as they were, would attract enough fishes- maybe even sharks- that the body would be consumed long before gases became an issue. With some difficulty- the bastard had been skinny, but tall, and the weight was a dead one- he hauled him up onto one of the benches and thence to the bulwark, and, with a muffled curse consigning him to the depths of Hell, he rolled him overboard.

They drifted along at the same slow pace for a while, the boat- Christine's Revenge, Raoul thought- and the body, until Raoul drew up the sea anchor and fired up the boiler. It had been out for a long time; the water was cold and would take quite some time to heat; but Raoul was in no hurry. He drew up a bucket of water from the other side of the boat and washed as thoroughly as possible, reducing their cake of soap by half by the time he was done, and dressed. The clothes he had been violated in he stuffed into the fire box. It left him with only one change of clothes, but he would rather go naked in the streets than wear them again.

Where to now? He felt that he had all the time in the world; that terrible feeling of doom had at last lifted. But his supplies were limited; he suspected that he would be both grateful for the hard tack and thoroughly sick of fish by the time he struck land. But where was he?

The charts were gone. Raoul rummaged through the cupboard that had held them, finally pulling everything out- but no charts. A scrap of paper caught his eye. On it a halting hand had laboriously printed,

You killed her. You killed her, and you have killed me; but I have killed you!

Raoul crumpled it into a ball and tossed it, too, into the firebox.

He was a sailor. More than that, he was a sailor in the Marine Nationale, and he knew the position of his homeland as he knew the position of his heart. Whistling, he dug through his clothes for a small box and his pocket watch.

Alone on the ocean, but armed with his compass and sextant, Raoul headed for home.

Fin


A/N: I find it tremendously satisfying, on a very basic level, that this lasted for thirteen chapters, and (in my writing program at least) forty-two pages. The numbers, while completely meaningless, feel significant, somehow.

So there you go. My attempt at writing a slashfic while keeping the two characters involved basically correct. Was Erik actually capable of going to such lengths to take revenge? Yes, I think so. Would he have gone so far as rape? Noooo, no, I don't really think so. Oh, I'm sure he's physically capable of it; but I'm not sure he would be emotionally capable of it, of such intimate contact with another living body. But then, rape isn't about intimacy, is it? It's about power and control, and that aspect fits very well, here, I think.

I have had the germs of this idea floating around for quite some while now, triggered by wondering if it was, indeed, possible to get the two men into bed together without violating their characters completely. And I like to think that I have succeeded. Certainly I am very proud of my depiction of Raoul, here. Don't get me wrong, I am staunchly E/C; but really, for all his own faults Raoul was by far the better choice. I love Leroux's Erik to bits, but he's not a healthy choice. And I think I did him justice, more or less, even if I did get the poor boy raped. Sorry, dude.

Originally, the story was going to end with Raoul killing Erik only to find himself alone without charts on an open ocean in a boat he could not run by himself, doomed to a slow death by hunger and thirst by his own murder (however justified) of Erik; but when I came down to it, the thread of the story refused to lie down that way. "Raoul's a damned sailor," it insisted; "He'd know how to navigate by the sun and the stars, and if he had a pocket-watch still set for Paris time he could estimate his longitude and decide whether he would be better off heading back west (which would be most likely; it takes much longer than a few days to cross even half the Atlantic; big steamers used to take the better part of two weeks) or to try and reach the Americas, and if he was also equipped with a sextant, salt pork, hard tack, and a certain amount of water, why, then, there was no reason he shouldn't simply fire up the boiler, set the speed, and steer the tiller for home." Having a second man to control the speed would only matter in the close quarters of a port, not out on the middle of the open ocean.

And so I have done. I hope you have enjoyed my murderous little foray into the world of slashfics. I am still writing, if not as prolifically as before; my creative juices are also supporting a burgeoning Steampunk habit (which so far mostly involves a lot of sewing; you can read about it on my LJ account, which is linked in my profile). But I am still writing so you will eventually see more from me.

-But probably no more slash, because I can't see anywhere else to go with it, for myself. Although I have to admit a certain temptation to writing a "hot lesbian ballerinas" joke-fic, so you maaaay see that some day. We'll see. So far I have the slight urge and no plot and I do kind of need that, so don't hold your breath. ;-)

My thanks to Eden for helping me out with this one and suggesting "Dubeau"'s name. My inability to spell it "Dubeau" instead of "Dubois" is entirely my own. The hell, self? XD Thank the gods for Find/Replace, that's all I can say. Check her out; she paints beauuuutiful pictures!

www. edenbachelder. com

Now, I have a request for you all: I SUCK at summaries. I can NEVER figure out how to sum up the idea of the story in an interesting way that will attract people and lead them to want to check that story out without giving away too much of the plot. And I'm pretty sure that the summary for this particular fic is a particularly egregious example of my lack of ability with summaries (this is why I don't have a Twitter account; seriously, how can I communicate anything in 140 characters? I can barely manage coherent statements in 500 over at YouTube! XD). So I have two questions: First, does anyone have any suggestions for how to update this particular summary to make it more apt? ("Apt to what?" "Quiet, you.") And second, I have it listed as Drama/General. Should I change that "General" to something else? And if so, to what?

Thanks for the help! 3

Oh, and completely off-topic, go check out Pika-la-Cynique's "Girls Next Door" comic series over at DeviantArt if you haven't yet. It's awesome.