Title: Missing You
Author: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Summary: Drabbles. A timeline on the inattentiveness of a certain ghost.
Warning(s): established relationship
Word Count: some multiple of 100, I presume (x12)
A/N: In the middle of writing this, I wondered if anyone ever checked to make sure each drabble was in fact 100 words each or if we really just take it on faith. Don't worry, they all are (or at least Word tells me they are). It was just a random thought.
This is a birthday fic… belated birthday fic that's kind of angsty and not much of a happy birthday fic with its tone. But hey, Happy Birthday Haru Kinome! :D
Story note: Raoul's stubborn. I am a firm believer of that and his pride.
It's only one day and Raoul should be fine with this temporary separation because he has managed to live two decades without Erik. They've been apart before; it should not even register that he's alone. But it does. The knowledge that he isn't even allowed to visit no matter how quietly, the mere fact that the choice has been taken away from him makes him want to visit all the more. Erik has his art though; he has music that needs to be composed. The thought that Erik can just let 'art' keep him company is less bitter than revelatory.
Time passes quickly enough when Raoul manages to distract himself – he would prefer to use the word 'entertain' but he tries not to lie to himself. The harder he attempts to ignore the lack of interactions with a certain reclusive misanthrope, the more his thoughts linger on afternoons spent listening to music, evenings lazily basking in the freedom to touch each other, and admittedly, days arguing about one thing or another. He should not miss fighting about all the little things, but he does because he always took it to mean that they'd managed to get past the big arguments.
Raoul finds himself in Box 5 more and more; it's the closest he can be to Erik and the only place he can think undisturbed. The ghost's absence has finally been noticed. A collective sigh of relief has been released and cautious rumors of Erik's demise have begun. He expects Christine to be worried about her tutor's absence but discovers instead, that she still receives her voice lessons. Everyone is content. The box seat feels even more of an inadequate substitute for company, but tearing down the curtains from the entrance, Raoul manages to find the slightest bit of relief.
Despite Christine's status as Erik's muse, her lessons have been reduced to once a week. It is the only sign Raoul has that Erik has somehow fallen deeper into his music. It is also the only reason Christine accepts his invitation to leave Paris for a small vacation. She expects to be gone six days. Due to a series of… unfortunate events: inclement weather, a sick horse, and a broken carriage, he keeps her away for fourteen days. She is nearly sick beside herself missing two lessons; he reluctantly sends her back alone before hiding the next three days himself.
The opera house is predictably in turmoil when he returns. He imagines Christine already profusely apologized for their unexpected, 'temporary separation.' Meanwhile, the ghost has emerged from his home only to give a halfhearted, vague threat about the chandelier and the necessity of Christine's presence for the well-being of the entire opera house. The managers, Madame Giry, and even Christine receive notes. He does not. Raoul has one foot in Erik's boat before he calms down long enough to reconsider interrupting him. With a shout, he flings the oar to the middle of the lake. The subsequent splash comforts him.
Raoul is proud he has yet to confront Erik. He has yet to give into the urge to see the other man, but he also cannot bear to see Christine. He considers stealing her away again but knows she would not agree. It is also petty, but he's less mad at himself for such pettiness and more mad at Erik for making him feel this way. Instead, he sits at the shore of the underground lake and strains to hear the music that has stolen Erik from him. The cacophony encourages him to flip the boat and watch it sink.
Raoul spends less time at the opera house than he is accustomed, but even he cannot miss the opening night of the newest opera. Christine has the largest role and she sounds perfect. While the audience is enthralled with her magnificence, Raoul can only think of how well her lessons must be progressing. He does not pay as much attention as he should. After her standing ovation, after the final curtain is drawn and there have been no mishaps, Raoul visits the managers' box and tells them in no uncertain terms that the ghost's salary has from henceforth been terminated.
He hates that he knows the exact number of days that have passed since they last spoke to each other. He remembers their last words and the words that he had been unable to say in response. The words "no," "why," "unacceptable," and phrases "not alone," "pushing me away," and "need interaction" crowd his brain and choke him. He refuses to be the first to break the silence, refuses to be the first to break; so, he goes through the passageways that Erik had so carefully shown him. He springs every trap and trips every wire and alarm he knows.
Christine has her lesson today. When he sneaks down into Erik's home, he avoids thinking how many more times she's seen Erik than he has. On the corner of the organ lies an innocuous pile of sheet music. Moving closer, Raoul sees the top of the pile is half-filled, scribbles and notations so clearly in Erik's penmanship. Markings on a page, Raoul muses, he is less important than ink on paper. It is only because he is resigned to such truths that he does not grab the entire sheaf. A handful of pages and a candle create a beautiful tableau.
Raoul doesn't worry about the destruction he's wrought; he waits for retribution. Erik responds with silence alone and Christine has no helpful news. By her words, her tutor is alive and well; he simply does not care about an abandoned viscount. It is only in the midst of his meticulous plan to burn the wretched organ and music that Raoul realizes he isn't quite himself. He's been reduced to anger and lashing out, and he cannot remember when the cycle began, hardly remembers the whys of being with Erik if he hates more than misses him. All his planning ceases.
Raoul has meant to visit Erik. He knows putting off their meeting will only make matters more difficult, but he's realized that he's been obsessing, revolving life around a single facet, the single fact of loving Erik. At this point, he loves and hates him in equal measures. He maintains a glimmer of hopefulness but knows them to be capable of such poisonous annihilation. The poison in him makes Raoul stay away as they'd agreed. He still wants to burn the organ, burn Erik's compositions, and maybe kidnap Christine again for good measure. Instead, he gives Erik one more day.
The waiting is worst, Raoul knows, because it is an amalgam of uncertainty, doubt, anger, and longing. The interim drags out the worst in him, apathy and vindictiveness. He's examined them as they were together and apart, scrutinized them in every which way. Raoul loves him still, but his standing in Erik's purview reveals the only truth that matters. He cannot wait to mean more to him. He had spent the better part of the year doing so, believing success. Today marks the anniversary of a relationship he does not think exists any longer… that will not exist any longer.
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Fic Review: "I want to write "I miss you" on a rock and throw it at your face so you know how much it hurts to miss you."
Poor Raoul, it's only because you love/miss him so much that you can hold that much resentment. I was iffy at first about Raoul's reaction; I wondered if he shouldn't confront Erik, but really, Erik still sees Christine. Yeah, that's the end of the argument. Erik still visits Christine. Wth, Erik? We all figured out that as far as Erik's concerned the ranking of importance is as follows: 1) ink on paper, 2) Christine, 3) Raoul… argument done. DX
Maybe this is a two-shot.