Raoul struggles to come to terms with his thoughts about Erik.
Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Warnings: Contains indirect, non-explicit references to guilt-ridden sexual fantasies.
Disclaimer: Neither the characters nor the setting belong to me. "Is This Love?" also doesn't belong to me. No profit is being made from this fanfiction.
the Power Ballad in Question: Whitesnake's "Is This Love?"
Written For: "Can't Fight This Feeling: The Power Ballad Slash Ficathon" ficathon on livejournal.
I can't make it on my own
Wasted days, and sleepless nights
An' I can't wait to see you again
Raoul found, having fled Paris and the AcadÃ©mie Nationale de Musique, that somehow he had failed to escape at all. The Opera House haunted his every waking moment, and troubled his dreams. More specifically, it was Erik, Christine's captor, who crept forth from some shadowed recess of Raoul's own mind to plague him. Christine had assured him that the wretch was dead, and his tiny flicker of doubt at her words was a small thing next to his own graver misdeed: night after night Raoul resurrected the fiend, raising him in feverish dreams that he would blush to admit to any living soul. Blush? No, Raoul would gladly die himself before he would confide in anyone the depths of depravity to which his own dreams dragged him, night after night. Each morning he awoke, tangled in the now-sticky bedsheets, and thanked a merciful God that there was no one to witness his shame.
My back's against the wall
I need you by my side
To tell me it's alright
Cos I don't think I can take it anymore
In the evenings, though, he found himself rushing the day's end, eager for the solitude of his bedchamber and the sweet pollution of those dreams. He hurried to his bed as a man should hurry to a lover, and sank willingly into the unhealthy fantasies. In dreams, he ventured a thousand times into the tunnels to confront Erik, only to have the masked lunatic agree to release Christine on one condition: that he, Raoul, would stay in her place, the fiend's captive plaything, subject to an unending variety of intimate, perverse punishments and rewards.
Sometimes Raoul imagined, with mingled terror and shameful excitement, the monster pinning him against the stone walls-in Raoul's dreams Erik was even more monstrously strong than he'd proven himself to be-and that hideous face coming closer, closer, kissing him hungrily. In some dreams the deformed creature unbreeched himself to reveal a monstrously huge, hard cock (Raoul could never settle in his mind whether it, too, would be frightfully deformed, or whether it alone would mimic the perfection of the creature's talent). Erik's erection, in the dreams, was again and again the object of Raoul's defilement; awaking, still throbbing with the last drops of his nightmarish obsession, Raoul shrank from the realization of how joyfully he submitted to being thus debased. Even schoolboys, he told himself scornfully, fought back when made the objects of such use. What kind of man was he, that he longed to be party to the English vice-and with such a thing as Erik!
Is this love that I'm feeling
Is this the love that I've been searching for
Is this love or am I dreaming
This must be love
Cos it's really got a hold on me
A hold on me
Perhaps, he concluded finally, Christine had been right all along in arguing that Erik was a man of heaven as well as of earth. Perhaps the fiend had some higher, finer nature, as disproportionately exalted as his physical form was abased, and it was this angelic aspect which tugged at Raoul's own soul like a magnet. It was a comforting thought, and he clung to it. It was a means of getting through the increasingly-tedious daylight hours when, bereft of his phantom lover, he must converse and carry on as usual, just another glittering piece of society's faÃ§ade.
No wonder Erik had withdrawn from such falsity, retreating into his private realm. No wonder he had chosen the honest lies of the stage, the simple deception of a mask, over this endless, corrupting, soul-destroying pretense. Every word Raoul uttered felt dishonest; every affectionate gesture he forced himself to make to spare the feelings of his pretty wife made him hate himself. And yet there were no words with which he could have begun to explain his own feelings. There was no place in society for what he thought or felt or wanted. He felt furtive and ashamed, as if someone with the power to see inside his heart might discover what lay there, and expose him. Even Christine, the friend of his childhood, now his adoring wife, would surely loathe him if she knew-and it was so unfair, for she herself had felt Erik's power, had been swayed by him, had, perhaps, felt things she would never admit.
I can't stop the feeling
I've been this way before
But, with you I've found the key
To open any door
Only at night did he feel real, honest, true to himself. Only at night were his romantic aspirations and his most base carnal desires united, made part of a seamless whole by his dreams of the soft kisses and lewd demands of an angelic-voiced demon. It was, Raoul thought, almost like being a boy again, in that Edenic nursery state before the awareness of sin, when all desire still seemed good because one wasn't old enough to have been told that it was bad. He slept. He dreamed, and was complete.