Title: A New Phase
Series: Halloween 2012
Author: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Summary: Halloween 2012 special. Erik knows Raoul is hiding something, but what he finds is not at all what he expected.
Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Warning(s): AU, supernatural, quasi-graphic
Word Count: 2,828
A/N: This series just about killed me. Just do not expect anything for Thanksgiving. Also, lame title is lame but it was better than "This is a Halloween Story" which is how it's saved on my computer. :)
Story note: What can I say? Blame Halloween and check the warnings. Also, this is a oneshot. Plotbunnies as always are up for grabs. Just PM me.
There was something off about their new patron; Erik wondered why no one questioned it. He supposed it was all the money that the viscount offered the opera house. The managers would not question him for fear of losing his patronage and the others were simply too awed, too intent on befriending him in an effort to share his wealth.
Erik was not blind to his faults, and more importantly, he was not blind to his suspicious actions. There were marks upon his wrists, and even though he had not been able to see exactly what they were, he did begin to notice that the young man always worried the cuffs of his sleeves, tugging them downward to hide something. Then, there were those times Raoul would be patient and calm, but hardly a day later, he would snap at anyone who had the misfortune to cross his path. And though was loathe to admit it, Erik was certain that the viscount had seen him or at least, noticed his presence. He would turn his head towards his hiding place in an uncanny ability to spot him when Erik was certain he never made a sound. To confuse him further, the young man never brought anyone's attention to him. It had seemed coincidental until it happened several times and he knew the viscount was somehow always aware of his presence. The only reason Erik could explain for his silence was that he was waiting to use it against him when it suited his purposes.
To make matters worse, Christine was enamored with him. She had fallen for his charms too easily, and he was a charmer. So far, the young man kept her at a distance, cordial and friendly but nothing more. Erik had his suspicions that he was simply waiting for the right time to properly court her when they were all least expecting it. Or, there could be something more sinister, and Erik was certain there was something more than the scandal the viscount and a singer would cause. Raoul left the city for several days at least once a month due to supposed visits to his family, but he returned jumpy and looking drawn out and exhausted. The others explained away his fatigue as effects of his constant travels and rumours of rambunctious nephews. However, Erik was certain he had another life, possibly an affair or more plausible, a bastard son he visited at those times.
That scenario was why he was currently loitering by the Chagny estate, having followed the patron home during one of his scheduled visits out of town. A carriage had left carrying several servants with cases stacked atop it. Others had simply walked off into the city. One by one they left, emptying the household, but their Master had not been a part of the mass exodus.
There was so little activity that Erik was certain he must have missed his departure. So, despite the fact that it was earlier than he planned, the sun having not even set yet, he looked for a way to enter the house. All the doors had been locked, the windows sealed, and the silence continued even after he broke a window. There were no candles lit, no fire burning; the house was cold and still. The dying rays of the sun lit it well enough for him to see the ornate furniture and family portraits. A feeling of dread slowly grew as he walked through room after empty room, unhindered because there was no one in the house.
He was startled in the middle of his search of the first floor by a muffled shout. Freezing in place, he waited to hear it again, trying to will the person to scream again. The howl that answered his silent request actually made him wince because it sounded as though someone were being tortured. Erik hastened to follow the sound before it stopped again and was brought to the kitchen in front of the door to a wine cellar. He had ignored it in his first perusal, thinking the heavy silver padlock was simply the viscount's excessive insecurity regarding his wines. Now that he was looking at it more closely, he could see that the heavy wooden door lined and reinforced with silver and metal braces looked obviously out of place here.
The house had fallen into silence once more and Erik could only stare at the door, wondering what lay beyond it. He had not expected this from the seemingly innocuous viscount. The next scream tore from a man's throat, harsh and primal and familiar. Desperate cries soon followed and hysterical babbling from a voice he recognized. He scrambled for the lock pick in his coat pocket, but successfully unlocking the padlock took longer than he would have liked. It was Raoul that was actually the victim here. He was not fond of the man at all, but this seemed rather excessive. He could only think of the several months that had passed before he had thought to follow him now. His mind was racing, trying to figure out what could possibly have happened that would lead the viscount to be locked within his wine cellar and tortured while all his servants left him.
The door swung open, creaking loudly as it swung into darkness. The pained screams stopped for a moment and as Erik started down the stairs a new chant of No's was his response. He did not know what he would find, but as he reached the final step, he did not expect to see a cellar that had been stripped bare of everything so that only a large bare room remained. It was colder here and only a single lantern was lit high on the far wall. It provided enough light to reveal the usually poised and foppish viscount to be half naked in torn clothing. Heavy chains, thick and silver were clamped securely on his wrists and ankles securing him to the ground. The man was near unrecognizable, dirty and hunched over on his knees, head bowed and blond hair in disarray.
Erik started at the voice.
"You have to leave." It sounded painful to speak, but he forced the plea out. His voice was hoarse.
From the screaming, Erik distantly thought.
"Oh, God." Raoul babbled even as he cringed away from him. "Who are you? You have to leave. You cannot stay." And in a burst of anger, he ordered, "Leave! Leave!" sounding so very unlike himself.
Erik was certain that he heard him growl. Curious, he moved closer, an action that did not go unnoticed because Raoul jerked at his chains.
"Run. You must run." He was desperate and pleading again, sounding young and frightened.
What confused him was that it was obvious Raoul was scared for Erik's sake even though it was he that was chained and not because of Erik. He did not know how to react, so he was left staring at him dumbly. The viscount was not a prisoner; his words were contrary to what a victim would say. He was not begging to be freed, but perhaps he had been beaten into submission long ago. Erik was well-acquainted with such tactics.
When Raoul's pleas had dwindled down to near inaudible mumblings to himself, Erik said, settling for civility, "We have never been properly introduced."
At his voice, the viscount jerked against his chains. The lunge was viciously stopped by the chains and Raoul dropped to the unforgiving floor. Erik took an involuntary step back, heart jumping as well. From his position, Raoul should not have been able to move that quickly nor with so much force.
Erik made sure to remain quiet when he moved closer so that he could better hear the muttering.
"The hour. Oh, God. What is the hour?" Raoul shook his head in an obvious effort to clear his mind. He looked up, and Erik could hardly recognize the viscount as this scared man. He renewed his efforts to scare Erik away. "Get out. You are in danger. Leave. Leave. Leave." He brought his hands to his head, shaking it and hiding his face as though closing his eyes could keep the world out. "You must leave, please."
But, Erik had decided upon seeing the once proud viscount literally brought to his knees that he would figure out this mystery. "You do not frighten me," he began, finding the idea that this man could have anything to hide that would frighten him to be ludicrous. He touched his mask, "I have…"
He stopped mid-sentence when the muscles on the man's back seemed to bulge out and Raoul let out a howl of pain. His next breath sounded like a sob as he dropped his head down, dragging his forehead across the floor in his pain. A streak of blood followed the motion.
Erik took an aborted step forward because if he looked closely, the floor around Raoul was littered with blood in various stages of drying. He stopped only when one of Raoul's shoulders dislocated itself, the limb hanging loosely at his side. His skin stretched to accommodate the new position. It was followed quickly by the other shoulder doing the same and more muscle than any body Raoul's size should have filled the gaps, as though some creature were trying to force itself free from beneath his skin. Raoul dropped to his side and he let loose another scream, this one louder, loud enough that Erik covered his ears.
Raoul curled into himself but could not even stay in that position long. He turned onto his belly, trying to get back to his knees but his legs popped right out of their places in his hips and his trousers ripped completely off. Erik could see his pelvis shifting. His limbs were reshaping themselves to some new form and he could only watch in horror as most bones lengthened while some shortened. Raoul had not stopped screaming since the transformation began but it suddenly changed octave, changed tone. Hair began to appear, the same blond as his hair except it became more tawny, brown tinged with gold and there was so much more everywhere. It took a moment for Erik to realize it was not hair so much as it was fur.
The viscount turned again, keeping his face buried into the ground, which did nothing to stifle his screams, but when he threw his head back, his nose began to elongate. His eyes separated, moving up his head and his ears grew points and moved from the side of his face, a face that was not human. His spine stretched, drawing his new legs and arms outward, and with a sickening pop, everything seemed to settle into place. He saw a flick of something behind Raoul and realized it was a tail.
It was no longer the viscount that lowered his head to stare at him, but an unnaturally large wolf, taller than he was standing. Its teeth were too long, muscles too large, and eyes too smart as he scrutinized Erik. It sniffed the air before turning its head in a motion that Erik had seen the viscount do countless times within the opera house, and Erik knew he would never see that motion and not see the wolf again. Eyes that shone obsidian in the near darkness stared at him, but he did not doubt that the wolf was somehow completely Raoul as well. The wolf snuffed at the air once before tossing his head back, letting loose a howl that shook Erik to his bones.
Erik glanced behind him, wondering if that was a call to others of his kind, and he took another step back. He had left the door open. He did not dare move to close it however when the wolf immediately dropped his head and zeroed in on him. There was no warning when he lunged forward, jaws snapping and Erik stumbled back as saliva and hot air hit his face. The chains held firm, dropping the wolf to his belly, and Erik was grateful that the chains had somehow remained on during the transformation. Raoul shook his head, and getting to his feet once more, he growled low in his throat. He snapped at Erik several times before settling down, realizing that it was futile to attack and growing bored of being too far from his prey. He lowered himself, head resting on his paws, eyes tracking every movement Erik made. His tail swished lazily.
And Erik stared at him, taking in every new part of the viscount before him from the large, clawed paws to the long snout with whiskers. He stared until he found that he needed to move; then, he began to pace. He had been right all along. The viscount had a secret and one that would ruin him. It was not a bastard child. It was not a secret affair. It was this. He glanced up at the wolf, who only looked back at him calmly. Tonight was a full moon if he remembered correctly.
No one would believe him. No one would believe that the viscount was this… this… monster.
He stopped walking and Raoul lifted his head, tilting it in confusion for a moment. He met his eyes before gently laying his head back down.
He was an abomination.
It suddenly made sense why he rebuffed Christine's affections now even though he looked to be interested. He was too dangerous in this form; so dangerous that he sent his entire staff away even though it left him helpless in this state. Many things made sense now.
Erik eventually followed suit and lowered himself to the ground, sitting far enough to be safe but closer than could be considered sane when faced with a wolf of that size. But Raoul made no move. He simply continued to watch Erik with eyes that obviously understood too much for the beast he was. He did growl a warning, but it was half-hearted at best. Erik knew what it meant though. If he moved close enough, the beast would not hesitate to kill him.
They spent the night as such, the only sound their breathing and the sporadic sound of the chains when Raoul shifted, restless at times. His ears would turn forward and he would look towards the door, hearing something beyond Erik's abilities. Other times he would growl, for what Erik could only determine was for growling's sake. Many a time, he could not help but feel it was wrong to keep such an incredible creature chained to a cellar floor, but freeing him was never an option. He was well aware that many beautiful things were deadly as well.
It was a calm night, calmer than Erik could remember experiencing in another's company, and he had used the time to consider what to do with the viscount now that he knew his secret. He was so lost in thought that when Raoul suddenly rose to his paws and shuffled backwards, he was quickly on his feet looking around for a threat. The only threat, however, was Raoul. He let out another howl and made another lunge towards Erik, suddenly enraged once more. The intelligence he had seen in his eyes was replaced by a glazed sort of madness as he bucked and began to chew on the chains. In a frenzy, he threw himself forward again and again, tripping himself more often than not and Erik was beginning to think he would injure himself long before the chains gave way. As he fell to the floor once more, he stayed down and the transition back to a man began.
It was no less gruesome than the change to a beast. Little yelps and choked chuffs made way to a coarse human cry as each joint dislocated and bones reshaped and formed anew. Muscles shrunk and his tail receded into his body with one last swish. He twitched and sobbed as the muzzled disappeared and the fur receded to raw, pink skin. Paws became hands that gripped the floor, nails bleeding as he scraped at the cement. And by the end, a naked Raoul laid bonelessly on the ground, chains looking even larger now that they were highlighted by heavy bruising upon his wrists and ankles.
His stomach twitched as he tried to catch his breath. He turned the bare minimum to be able to look at Erik and even that small motion looked as though it took all his effort. He croaked out, "You. Ghost." He did not get much else out before he shuddered and curled up into a ball, tiny moans of pain escaping through chattering teeth.
Erik nodded, staring placidly at the beast who paraded himself as a man. He shrugged off his coat and draped it over the shivering form at his feet. They would talk more later.
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Fic Review: So, that just happened. Werewolves. Yes. :) Honestly, I believe Erik would feel for werewolf!Raoul. I think he just found a kindred spirit. ;3
Now you know what to expect from the Halloween series. Not enough supernatural!AU's in the POTO? Well, here.