Title: Shiftless
Series: Halloween 2012
Author: Lucifer Rosemaunt

Summary: Oneshot. There is a wolf in the opera house and Raoul is determined to find out who it is.
Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Pairing(s): Erik/Raoul
Warning(s)
: AU, unabashed fluff
Word Count
: 4,295
Rating: K+

A/N: Man, I feel like I should put up a warning that this is not my usual update schedule. I hardly ever update, truth be told. But Halloween!plotbunnies made me do it. Also, I had tried to edit this fic yesterday and was unable to finish it, which is why I failed in posting a new chapter of Don't Fear the Reaper. You tell me after reading this fic if it was worth it. ;3
Story note: This is my favorite werewolf!plotbunny. Maybe because of all the fluff. Also, this is a oneshot. Plotbunnies as always are up for grabs. Just PM me.

o.o.o.o

The opera house reeked of wolf; Raoul was certain of it. It was so pervasive that he was lucky he could concentrate because all his instincts were screaming at him to seek out the other wolves and confront them. Paris may not be his territory, but for the moment, the opera house was. He simply could not tell if the scent was from a passing pack that was a part of the audience or if there was indeed a resident who belonged to a pack in Paris.

The only reason he had yet to ignore his duties as patron completely and simply investigate was because there were no packs in Paris for a wolf to belong to and since the scent had yet to abate, he reasoned that he had time to suss things out. There were so few werewolves left at all that he had little practice in his human form determining the amount of wolves and the specific duration of time when they had been present.

His brother had said that such abilities would improve with age and if he stayed long enough in human form to train himself. That had been a not-so-subtle directive on Philippe's part for him to remain as the Vicomte de Chagny, patron of the Opera Populaire and not a beta of the Chagny pack while he was in Paris. He had been sent here alone for the sake of said training and ultimately, as a test to see if Philippe could trust him to go out on necessary delegations by himself.

He was going half out of his mind, wanting to track the other wolves, and he knew a part of that was because he had not expected being away from the pack to be this difficult. He was forced to sleep, eat, and work alone. There were people around him, but it was not the same without having his cousins nearby, nephews and nieces underfoot, and his brother lecturing him. He did not even need to see them; their scent alone would have been enough to soothe his mind. He had none of that in Paris, but he refused to fail this test. He had told his brother that he was strong enough to mentally withstand such isolation even when Philippe argued that he was too young.

The trip here as well as the first few days settling in his new home had been fine. He had just not realized how affected he would be when there was actuallyanother wolf with whom he could interact. His skin itched already as it was; he had never lasted this long without shifting. He did not know how his brother, who was often forced to remain in his human form for business meetings out of town, could do it, but he had been told time and again that it was for their safety. They could not risk the chance of being seen. His family was one of the largest packs left of the dying species and with good reason. His brother's rules kept them alive, kept them safe from hunters and rival packs, and kept them together and thriving.

In fact, one of the first things that Raoul had done upon determining the scent was fairly new and strong was to send a letter to Philippe reporting the werewolf activity. He also inquired what he would be able to do. It had been obvious Philippe did not take him seriously when he received word to wait for his brother, who would not be able to make it to Paris for another month.

Raoul could not wait that long. He desperately wanted to meet a wolf that was not also a Chagny even if that desire was tempered with a bit of caution. There had been a few wolves that had crossed their paths before, but they always left before Raoul could speak with them. Philippe was too stern about the territory lines and always claimed that other packs were never to be trusted, especially when alone. It was too dangerous.

Reasoning that one of the major purposes of his presence in Paris was to train his senses, Raoul decided that his brother would be rather proud of him if he figured out the werewolf situation himself. So, at the first opportunity, he went to investigate under the guise of familiarizing himself with the opera house.

His nose was immediately drawn to Christine, but that made no sense since he knew with absolute certainty that she was no wolf. He had known her when they were children and Philippe had met both her and her father. He would have told Raoul if they were wolves, or rather, the Daae's would have been invited to join their pack if they were. She was no wolf; however, the scent was surely concentrated on her.

He wandered from place to place instead because the only other person that made him pause was Madame Giry, but despite her piercing gaze, she gave no other indication of being a werewolf. Because there was no scent in the orchestra or balcony seatings besides that of too many humans, his theory about the wolves having been members of the audience was proven wrong rather quickly. To his dismay, he could smell faint remnants of the wolf's scent in the orchestra pit as well as the stage, the catwalks, the hallways, and suddenly his second theory seemed less absurd and became more and more likely as he continued walking. It was becoming all too clear that this was no passing werewolf. The scent was old, deep, and still present. Raoul could not understand how the scouts who had scoured the city before him could not have realized this pack existed.

He feared that he would have to send another letter to Philippe quickly because a werewolf pack that had the ability to hide in Paris for this long undetected would be dangerous. No pack should have claimed this city as theirs. Paris, it was understood among wolves, was neutral territory because it was too urban for them to live in comfortably. The sheer population of humans guaranteed a higher incidence of hunter-related deaths and the threat of inciting another era of werewolf exterminations.

All alone, he was ashamed to admit that he was a little afraid to confront them. For the sake of having enough information though, he knew that he would have to continue. If he could determine which member of the opera house was the wolf, then that would be enough information to seek out his colleagues and unearth the other wolves in the city. He did not have to confront the entire pack. All he had to do was find one wolf, just one. He steeled himself for the task, all the while bemoaning the fact that he was stuck in his human form. He had brought this upon himself by not waiting for Philippe though and he would see it through.

He ignored all the other locations in the opera house and waited until Christine was at rehearsals so that he could enter her dressing room. He'd had to wait a day, but the wait was worth it because he had needed the time to calm himself. The answers he sought were in her room; he was certain of it.

Sneaking in was easy, and he shut the door behind him, placing a chair beneath the handle to jam it shut. As he expected, the scent was strongest here. He was preparing to go through every corner and every drawer to find a clue that would help him, but the full-length mirror by the bureau stopped him. It was false. There had to be a passageway behind it because he could smell the cooler air.

He checked every inch of that mirror, looking for a way to the other side. Knowing he was so close to solving the mystery of the opera house's wolf made his hands shake slightly as he meticulously searched every edge of the frame for a latch of some sort. It was when he was on his hands and knees, searching for a panel to depress that he froze, realizing that by this point, the other wolf would know that he was close to finding him and as any wolf would do, they would retrieve their pack. Hastily, he pressed against the wood harder, rechecking the areas he had already searched and when the mirror still stayed closed, he slammed his fist against the glass.

It shook. In a move that he would later blame on frustration and lack of foresight and not on panic when he could not find a way to open it, he threw a footstool at the mirror to get to the other side. It was only after he stared into the tunnel with no way to hide the mess such an act created that he regretted his choice.

But he had been correct about the tunnel behind the mirror and the scent was stronger. Needing to find the source before the source found him, Raoul spared the barest of time barricading the dressing room door with more furniture and tossing a blanket over the mirror before rushing into the relative darkness. He was on the right track and it was now more important than ever to find the wolf quickly. He sprinted down the dusty and dank tunnel system, but he was not moving fast enough. His nose was not good enough to pinpoint the wolf and he was getting lost.

Apologizing to Philippe in his head, he shifted mid-stride. His body stretched out, bones shifted, and tail set free. As he shook off the feel of the human form he had been trapped in for more than two weeks, he could not help but let out a joyful yip. He raced deeper and traversed lower into the tunnels, paws pounding against the ground kicking up dust and dirt. The cooler air felt wonderful against his fur and the wolf's scent was so much clearer now. There was something odd about it, but he was so caught up in all the other new smells that he had been missing in his human form that he ignored it.

There was water, a lot of it, beneath the opera house that reminded him a bit of home. He automatically followed the passageways that would lead him to it, forgetting his purpose for a moment until his leg caught on something and he tripped. His chest and belly skidded against the unforgiving ground, rocks imbedding in his skin. When he finally slowed to a stop, he whined pitifully and rolled onto his side, paws kicking at air. He glanced at his hind paw. There was rope.

He scrambled up, lunging to bite at the rope and free himself when it was jerked. His hind leg pulled back and his head flung the opposite direction as he fell to the ground once more. Dizzy from the motion, he let out a high-pitched whine and shook his leg though it did nothing to loosen the rope. He had caught a glimpse of a man but not much else. When he heard a footstep close behind him, he simply froze and wondered if the other pack would have mercy on him. He hoped, though he did not expect it, that it was simply Philippe's paranoia that made him expect the worst. Maybe this pack was friendly and did not mind having another wolf in their territory unannounced, another wolf that had discovered their secret pack. He immediately shifted into his human form, hoping to stall them from attacking. Wolves rarely attacked other wolves in human form. The few they had encountered had taught Raoul that, and though he had never had to attack another werewolf, he could understand why.

It was a good sign that from what he could sense, the man was alone. Briefly but with terrifying alacrity, he wondered if he had not stumbled instead upon a hunter's lair and he was going to be skinned and paraded about as a prize. That thought passed quickly, even though it left him cold with fear, because this close to the other man, even his human nose could tell that he was a wolf. He looked to have stopped mid-motion of dragging Raoul closer to him. His arm was slightly outstretched to pull the rope to himself.

Raoul could not understand why he was staring at him as such. It did give him an opportunity to look at him in return. The strange wolf wore a white porcelain mask that covered half of his face. He looked to be as any other gentleman Raoul would have met in the opera house though his skin was a little pale. It did not take him long to be certain that he was currently staring at the opera ghost. He had not made the connection previously because the ghost's activities sounded nothing like a wolf. He was said to be completely alone and to live within the opera house without any fresh air.

But looking at him now, if Raoul were to guess, the other wolf looked rather surprised at the moment. He did not know if it was going to be a mistake on his part, but he believed that the ghost had not called his pack. In fact, the peculiarity of his scent was hinting at something he had never considered with his assumptions of this wolf and the pack in Paris.

"I scented you," he decided to speak when it became obvious the other man was still not going to, "and I came to find you."

The man narrowed his eyes. "You came to see the monster, viscount."

Taken aback, Raoul immediately shook his head. "Monster? What monster?" He looked up and down the tunnel.

The ghost's suspicions seemed to waver as he continued to look at him.

Taking the chance, Raoul glanced down at his foot and grimaced when upon closer inspection, he saw that a noose was wrapped around it. He looked at the ghost from beneath his lashes. The masked man had not been aiming for his leg when he had thrown that rope. He contemplated whether he could remove it and shift fast enough to dodge an attack. This wolf may be alone but he was dangerous.

"Change," the ghost ordered and he pulled the rope as emphasis.

Raoul grimaced when his bare bottom scraped against the ground. He temporarily put a pause on his plans of escape. "Change into what?" He looked down at his nude form in confusion. His clothes would have been ruined in his haste to shift and find the wolf and he had no spare ones with him. He momentarily chastised himself because having to steal clothes in order to get back home was one of the first things that werewolves were taught to avoid. There were only so many excuses regarding nudity that a person would believe.

He heard the other man's heartbeat pick up but when he looked up, the man was pointedly not looking at him. "I do not…"

"No," he cut him off. "Change back." When he looked at Raoul again, he was glaring fiercely. He motioned vaguely with his hands. "To that other…"

"Oh," Raoul realized what he was asking finally. He just could not understand why. In his current predicament, he decided humoring the other wolf would be best. Then it dawned on him. This was his chance to finally speak to and meet a wolf that was not part of the Chagny pack. Of course he was slightly dangerous and a little odd, but if Raoul was correct, there was no pack coming to kill him.

He replied, "Only if you remove this." He shook his leg and the ghost looked away from him again.

"Do it yourself," he said gruffly.

Raoul could not understand those little skips in his heartbeat, but he paid it no mind as he worked to free his ankle. He tossed the rope away and flexed his foot, waiting for the twinge to fade.

The noose slid away silently and into the ghost's hands. "Now change."

"Shift," Raoul corrected without thinking about it.

He received a look at that, but now that he was free, he did not care that the other man was annoyed with him. He considered leaving but found that he did not want to try to escape. There was a wolf here who wanted to spend more time with him; he was not about to leave. Taking a deep breath, he held the ghost's gaze as he grinned and let the shift happen. Like always, it felt like a good stretch, like escaping from a cage that was several sizes too small, a cage that was his human form. His fur was dark brown almost black on his back that gave way to brown streaked with blond down his sides and standing, he reached Erik mid-chest. His paws still looked a little too big for him.

He sniffed the air and the peculiarity of the scent made sense now, in that Raoul could only smell one distinct scent. He had expected numerous scents in the tunnels because it was unnatural for a wolf to live completely alone for such a long time. The isolation was enough to make anyone mad. They were communal animals. At first, he had thought that because wolves of the same pack had similar enough scents that his human nose had not been able to pick up the slight variations. But, there were no other wolves that visited this one. There was no Paris pack, only this single wolf and Raoul could not stand the thought of leaving him alone any longer. He had barely several weeks alone. He could not even fathom decades, maybe a lifetime of isolation if his suspicions were correct.

His mouth opened into a wolf smile, tongue lolling out as he yipped a hello. Instead of looking excited or interested, the ghost looked stricken, as though seeing Raoul shift had wounded something vital in him.

Raoul decided then and there that this wolf would join their pack. Philippe would understand – after he yelled at Raoul for having been this reckless. With that in mind, he approached him cautiously.

The other man scrutinized him. "Leave," he growled, and he was definitely the wolf because that warning growl was unmistakable and rather impossible to make by a human.

Shaking his head, tawny blond fur settling, Raoul crouched a bit and shuffled towards him undeterred.

"I said leave." His hands tightened on the noose, but he was not backing away. He stood frozen, staring at him and Raoul was sad to think that maybe Erik had never really met another wolf in his life.

Raoul was close enough to cautiously sniff his hand, and feeling rather bold because he was not being attacked, he bumped his head against his fingers. That set the masked man off and he finally pulled away with a snarl.

"Leave and never come back," he warned, holding the noose threateningly, letting the loop drop down so that Raoul could see it.

Now that he was more aware of his presence though, there was no way he was going to let the other man catch him with that noose again. He yipped and butted his leg with his head. The action had taken him by surprise so the responding swipe at his head was easily dodged. He danced away from his hand and the noose.

Getting an idea, he stomped on Erik's foot with his front paw and then took off running down the tunnel. He glanced behind him to make sure the man was indeed following him and with a roar, Erik did. Raoul made sure to keep just within sight. Erik would never catch up unless he shifted and Raoul was eager to see it happen.

He was the fastest of the Chagny pack. He was also the smallest, but he tried to ignore that aspect. He still had a couple more years to grow into his paws. When the footsteps that followed him suddenly stopped, Raoul slowed to a trot then backtracked, ears cocked forward as he listened for the other wolf.

From the shadows, a coal black wolf, nearly twice his size leapt from the shadows and tackled him. Raoul used the momentum and rolled them over to avoid being pinned. He scrambled to his paws and kept the other wolf in front of him. Half the wolf's face was pink, bare of fur, and scarred. A piece of his ear was missing and there were bald spots on his head. His snout looked mangled but the wound looked old. Jaws snapped in his face and Raoul hopped backwards, dodging him.

The other wolf was furious with him. His snarling filled the tunnels, but Raoul only cared that he had managed to make him shift. He lunged forward to bat at him then retreated quickly before any damage could be done. He dipped his head, his rear in the air and tail wagging. The other wolf did not seem to understand the concept of play fighting because he only became more frustrated at the frequency Raoul dodged his attacks and purposefully missed his own.

There was a clumsiness to the black wolf's motions that made Raoul think he had not used his wolf form in a while. He was still caught up in playing when he successfully batted the other wolf's nose. They both froze for a moment and Raoul, sensing his impending doom, turned tail and ran, nails clicking loudly on the ground as he clawed at the ground for more speed. The black wolf was close on his heels. Raoul was blindly turning corners, choosing the tunnels that smelt the most used. He kept glancing behind him to see the rage-induced burst of speed that allowed the other wolf to keep up with him and in one such moment, his paws hit air instead of ground and he went headlong into the river.

The black wolf skidded to a halt at the ledge as Raoul resurfaced, paddling to keep his head out of the water. He quickly shifted back to his human form and coughed out the water from his nose. The other wolf stared at him as he tread water, looking mildly amused and entirely too smug with himself. At least he was not growling anymore and if he were human, Raoul was certain he would be gloating, saying he deserved it.

Raoul gingerly climbed out of the river, unsure if the wolf was going to change moods once more and attack him. Once he did, he realized that standing up, he was short of eye level with the wolf. In fact, Raoul was almost certain that this wolf might be bigger than his brother. He also seemed to be waiting for some sort of reaction from him, but Raoul only continued to watch him.

"You do not have a pack," he started, wringing the water from his hair. "You have never…"

The wolf turned abruptly and began to walk away from him.

"Wait," he pleaded and Erik hesitated. "Join our pack," he offered and it occurred to Raoul belatedly that if the ghost had never seen another wolf before him than hearing that there were even more out there would be a surprise. "I… you should be with us."

When the black wolf began walking again, Raoul shifted forms and cut him off. It was probably not the best of ideas considering their size difference and his inability to further try to convince him but he felt more comfortable facing him in this form. He wanted to force him to interact with his kind, and something had changed between them. Raoul was certain that his anger had left and that he was listening even if he did not like what he heard.

Erik growled lowly, but Raoul, defiant, simply sat down in front of him. They stayed as such, staring, each certain that the other would eventually submit, not realizing that they were equally stubborn. They would have continued to stare, but Raoul was still damp from his swim in the river and instinct forced him to finally give in to the urge to shake the water off himself.

It was only after when he saw the water all over Erik and droplets on the other wolf's face did he realize just what he had done. Erik was silently fuming, contemplating pouncing on him again. Raoul was busy tracking a droplet that was working its way down Erik's muzzle and impulsively, he licked it clean in apology. Taking a chance, he ducked his head and whined as pitifully as he could. He waited, glancing up at him every now and then trying not to be too hopeful. He simply could not tell what the other wolf was thinking, but at least, he no longer looked ready to attack him and that was promising.

Erik nipped him on the shoulder before brushing past him. Raoul sighed, his shoulders sagging and tail dropping between his legs as he stood. He wondered if he should give up on him and wait for Philippe to come; he would know what to do. Maybe the ghost was simply a wolf who did not need a pack.

He turned to watch him leave, but before the ghost disappeared into the darkness, he stopped. Raoul perked up, ears lifting. Erik snuffed, disgruntled with something before he looked at him expectantly. All it took was a tilt of his head and Raoul howled in joy as he followed his lead down further into the tunnels.

o.o.o.o

End ficlet

A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Fic Review: Why is having them as werewolves great? And Raoul's so obviously a puppy. You know when they first met, Erik was all, "Put on some clothes, would you?" This is the last of the werewolf oneshots. Btw, I am now tempted however to search the internet for wolf photos and find a wolf!Raoul and wolf!Erik. Although I will not use my time like that. DX

In head!canon, Erik's sense of smell has been severely damaged because of his deformity and he really didn't realize that wolf!Raoul had in fact been werewolf!Raoul. :) He has never met someone like himself (thinking himself more a freak besides his deformity) and the few times a wolf has come to the opera house, Erik has been unable to sense them. With the climate being what it is among the werewolf community (dog eat dog, lol), none of them tried to search him out and if they did, Erik chased them off. D: So sad for him being so close to finding others like himself and yet being so far. He had spent his entire life thinking he was an abomination and alone.