Title: Beneath All
Rating: R, for sexual content.
She died, alone, on a morning in May. She always told him, since the hour of the escape, that she could not hope to be happy again. Raoul dismissed it, until the morning they found her drifting by the shore of the river, white, and cold, and at odds with death. Raoul had lost her in his arms, sobbing as he had never cried before, cradling his bride's frail, ivory-clad frame to his chest.
He has come to grief, a maddening grief, and not a day has passed since her end that Raoul has faced the world with a sober mind, or body. The servants of the young Vicomte worry. He does not eat, he only drinks what will poison him, and worse, perhaps, the Vicomte can no longer cry. He stews in anger, staring past the empty amber bottles that crowd his Eastern window. Raoul will no longer watch a sunset. He sleeps, hard through sunrise, and his servants whisper amongst themselves, of a growing, dark madness, brought on by a blinding grief.
It does not seem so impossible. Perhaps that explains why he is here, in a hole below the surface of the Earth, in his enemy's bed. On the fine edge of drink and reason, Raoul had sought revenge. He left in the dead night, rapier drawn, hair in pale unruly strands about his chalky, hateful face, and he found his way down to the Phantom's lair. There were harsh words, and blood, on both sides. A standoff. Alcohol, and desperation. A senseless blackness that made Raoul only want to take hold of something, to feel a beating heart, and to know his was not the only one ticking aimless life away. Distantly he knew it was the man he hated, as the Phantom's hard, thick frame smothered his own, and writhed with him as the sticky heat of an August night lingered around them. Landscapes of firm, velvet torsos grazing one another, thighs entangled.
Every candle had been quenched, and only soft, wordless grunts breached the darkness. In a moment of stillness, in the heat of grinding, and the hot gasps for release settled idly over them, Raoul found the Phantom's unmasked face with shaking hands. It was near invisible, shrouded in black, as he imagined his own was. He reached up for a hesitant kiss. Eyes closed, bodies still pressed together in silent need, Raoul felt beneath his un-calloused fingers only the slightest change in texture. The mask lay forgotten in the pillows. He had forgotten himself, and released at the feel of a tongue in his mouth, running over his swollen bottom lip, crushing his own, goading for more. A final thrust, and they had come together, hard.
Raoul lies awake, in the aftermath. Bottles and clothing lay in the red sheets, and Erik's arm circles his waist, almost possessively, as he sleeps. The slope of Raoul's side as it gives into his naked hip brings a scowl to the younger man's face. He has become so thin that he almost appears feminine beside the Phantom of the Opera. In the dim light Raoul could, if he would like, turn beneath Erik's hold and see once and for all the scars Erik bears. He has chosen not to hide his horrors, because Raoul does not matter enough for good impressions. Raoul did not even matter enough to kill.
He knows that when the Phantom awakens there will be war again, and that on both sides these untainted moments will be forgotten. Raoul, as he leans his body back into the sleeping warmth of Erik's protective guard, feeling the other man stir in his slumber and murmur some inaudible word into his hair, realizes he likes the idea less and less. Vengeance has not filled the emptiness of Christine's death. Raoul wonders if they have all gone mad. No reason lies in the sheets between himself and his enemy.