|aiden shepard is not (ofmazandaran) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-05-06 12:46:00
|Entry tags:||persian, raoul de chagny|
Who: Raoul and Aiden, and then Liam and Nadir.
What: Aiden is drunk and mad and attempts to bash Raoul's face in.
Where: A park northwest of the strip.
When: Shortly after this.
Warnings/Rating: Violence and swearing.
Irrational anger, self-propelled hate, and a half bottle of Maker’s Mark churned and curdled and grew inside Aiden as he stormed down the sunset-lit strip to the park a little ways northwest of the crowds. In one jacket pocket was his long-owned and rarely-used knife, which he’d only brought along with him out of habit rather than an intent to use, and in the other was a battered paperback copy of The Phantom of the Opera. It was the cheapest, crappiest copy he’d had in the store, grabbed spontaneously while arguing with Raoul when his own half-drunk anger had made him spew what was apparently supposed to be some kind of secret.
They weren’t real. Aiden had thought this was clear. Everyone knew their stories, their lives; everything had been made into fanciful and fictional reproductions and somehow, this had escaped Raoul. Even Nadir had made a slight noise of assent when Aiden first picked up his own older copy of the novel, proving that he at least was intelligent enough to realize he wasn’t supposed to exist. Or something like that - already the burn of the whiskey had turned into a back-of-the-skull buzz, making his thoughts go awry and his walk less even. But nothing could cut through the bright, burning loathing that had put him on this path in the first place.
That fucking arrogant, pompous asshole. Taking control of Liam (not that Aiden really liked Liam much, but that was a fate he wasn’t about to wish on the man), gallivanting around Vegas, being a snide asshole … and then, just when Aiden was ready to assume Liam was just too weak-willed to take control back, the bastard got married. To Christine - to Sam, who Aiden was going to have words with eventually as well. He thought she was stronger. She’d said she would be. Why couldn’t everyone be as effective as he was at keeping control, Aiden thought. Why was he the only one with half an ounce of sense?
In his mind, Nadir was quiet, and this went ignored as Aiden rounded into the park with hell at his heels.
Aiden’s words rang in his thoughts as he took to the streets, foregoing the convenience of a cab in lieu of walking to the park that Aiden had decided upon. The walk gave him time to think, to consider those words. You’re not real. Raoul wasn’t ignorant, not by any stretch of imagination; he knew he was from a book, that his life lived out on pages, but that didn’t mean he was any less real than anyone else. Otherwise, how was he here? Liam had no reason to have a second personality, so one couldn’t even blame the author for his presence.
Yet Aiden thought otherwise. And that was something Raoul couldn’t comprehend. Perhaps marrying Christine here, when he was not himself, was not the best idea, but if they wanted to close the door to Paris forever to them, he was not about to relent and let himself be bowled over. He would have what he wanted, what he deservedone way or another. It’s not as if Liam had any intentions on marrying, so he wasn’t spoiling the other man’s life.
Stepping into the park, Raoul was well put together in grey and white, hardly recognizable as Liam with how thoroughly groomed and dressed he was that afternoon. Pausing within, he glanced about for Aiden, wherever the angry man was.
Where Aiden blended into the shadows of the trees, Liam - Raoul - was obvious in clean clothing and standing under the light of the scattered street lamps. He emerged from the darkness without any subtlety, a clear indication that if this fight was going to go down, it was going to be without any sneaky mentality. Just pure, unbridled rage and fury, bloodlust that didn’t make sense and the grim, hollow satisfaction of a semi-successful victory. He stood at the edge of the pool of light, hands in his pockets, teeth grit and eyes locked on the smug asshole who was causing him so many problems that, by all rights, never should have been his problems in the first place.
“You actually came,” he said, more sarcastic than mocking but nonetheless irritating. “Consider me surprised. I thought you’d be satisfied to sit in your little room somewhere, preening your feathers and thinking you’ve won.” Aiden pulled the battered paperback out of his pocket and threw it at Raoul. “There. Your life, written in lurid detail, made into a fucking musical of all things. You’re Leroux’s and Weber’s creation, not someone born. You’re not even a highly fictionalized version of someone who was real at some point. Not one of you.”
Not Raoul, not Christine, not Erik or Nadir or Meg or Madame Giry or … any of them. Any of the people writing in those journals claiming unearthly origins. Did none of them realize this? Or did it just not matter?
At the sound of Aiden’s voice, he turned in that direction, his expression carefully controlled, unimpressed, particularly as the paperback book was thrown at him. He didn’t bother to try and catch it, letting it hit the ground with a soft ‘thud’, his gaze never leaving Aiden’s face. “You’re so quick to try and classify what I am not. Then explain to me how I am here. Give me a good explanation and perhaps I’ll consider your words.” He stepped closer to him, nose wrinkling at the stink of drink that clung to the man, head canting to the side slightly.
“Though I’ll be surprised if I can find any truth in the words of a common drunkard,” Raoul said moments later, folding his arms across his chest as he steadied him with a long look, challenge in those blue eyes of his that were so piercing.
Insanity. Schizophrenia. DID. Wishful thinking. Forcibly wishful thinking. Science. Magic. Bad luck. The Government. The Illuminati. There were a million different responses he could come up with, reasons that made sense and reasons that didn’t, ones that could be researched and presented with annotations and a bibliography and ones that would come from a last-second hands-in-the-air scream of WHO CARES. Honestly, Aiden couldn’t explain what was happening, which irked him - or, given the buzz of the alcohol, sincerely pissed him off. And now he had Raoul de Chagny of all people facing him down, giving him a disdainful look, being calm and sober and sane while he was struggling to keep his breathing quiet and his hands from creaking into fists.
But Raoul insulted him again, challenged him with a look and a sentence, before he could even open his mouth. And so Aiden threw back his head and fixed Raoul with a wild glare, his own blue eyes almost as intensely piercing but clouded with whiskey and rage.
“Fine,” he snarled. “You want a common drunk? You want to pretend you can go around possessing people like it’s nothing at all? Then let me show you what the fucking consequences are!”
Aiden was not a fighter, really. He had no training or experience except what he saw and read, the former being fairly limited. But he had instinct and he had rage, which made up for that a little, and when he lunged at Raoul it was with a damning intent to do great harm and very little self-preservation.
Whatever Raoul had come here for, it wasn’t for a physical fight with the other man. But he could see the instability in those eyes, and he knew better than to take this moment without some measure of seriousness. “I’m not pretending I can do anything,” Raoul responded before Aiden lunged, his arms unfolding, resting loosely at his sides. “I think it’s quite evident that I can take him over. No pretending, monsieur.”
If Raoul had any measure of concern for Liam, it was impossible to see with how lightly he took the situation and all that was happening. It simply was, in his opinion, and he didn’t believe to be causing any harm to Liam. Whatever happened, the author would surely live with it as he lived with everything. It had been a deal, after all, that he would back off of any verbal attacks on the Opera Ghost, and Raoul was sure that even Liam would see the benefit in his decision and actions.
There was little time to make a decision before Aiden attacked, leaving Raoul to try and dodge before the man who reeked of whiskey and anger could cause him any harm. Raoul was not a trained fighter by any means, but growing up as he did, he had his share of fencing lessons, which was more of a dance than battle, but he used that memory, those years of training, to dodge the first lunge, stepping aside and around. To top it off, he reached out to give a hard shove to Aiden’s back, taking advantage of the man’s drink and his own sobriety.
The lunge was unskilled, and Raoul, with his aristocratic training for duels and honorable fights, definitely had the advantage. With Aiden half-drunk, it put things even worse against him. Raoul’s dodge was flawless and his follow-up shove almost sent Aiden to the ground. Fortunately for Aiden, he managed to stay on his feet, even if he did stagger some distance before turning around and going after Raoul again. It was with less of a run this time, and more of a dedicated, intense stalk: straight at the other man, murder in his eyes, hands already balled into fists.
As soon as he was close enough, he tried to strike Raoul, a punch to the face or the throat. There was no expertise here, because Aiden didn’t box or even watch boxing. He just aimed for the place he wanted to see bruised and falling away from him and lashed out.
For a moment, he thought it was over when Aiden stumbled and nearly fell to the ground. But when Raoul found himself at the receiving end of that murderous stare, he knew this fight (as Aiden had made it) was far from over. At the advance, Raoul started to back up, careful steps that felt the ground behind him, mindful of where he moved to prevent from falling and making a fool of himself. But Aiden had anger to push him forward, where Raoul only had defense, and when the punch flew, he was almost quick enough to dodge it fully, catching the blow on the side of his cheek, hard enough to sting but little more. Immediately, Raoul reached up to push that arm away, stepping away quickly, putting distance between them.
“If you continue to try and attack me, I will call the police upon you,” Raoul warned him, something darker resting in those blue eyes of his.
The threat of the police didn’t seem to have the intended effect. Nadir made a noise of warning, but Aiden ignored him, ignored everything. His knuckles stung with the previous hit, but he wanted to hit again. He didn’t want blood - or did he? It was hard to tell. What he wanted was for Raoul to finally just shut the fuck up and stop making everything so much more complicated than it had to be. Three months ago - that time, right then, was what Aiden wanted to go back to, and at the moment the best path he could see to that eventuality was in getting Raoul unconscious.
He moved forward with surprising speed and feinted another strike to the skull - as his other fist intended to bury itself in Raoul’s stomach. If Aiden could just wind the bastard, beating him into unconsciousness would be simple.
There didn’t be a good way of getting the other man to back down, so Raoul concentrated on simply keeping space between them, those fists way, for he was thoroughly tired of people taking out their frustrations on him. These sort of moments brought no resolution to any of their problems; if they did, everyone would be fighting all of their problems out on the streets like common folk. But that wasn’t how Raoul functioned, nor would it ever be how he functioned.
Stepping back, his focus was on the fist that came towards his head, and so absorbed was he in dodging that blow that he completely missed the other hand; an error on his part, he knew that even before he took the punch full in his stomach. Doubling over, the air pushed out of him, Raoul stumbled backwards, hands immediately coming to cover his stomach, to protect, as he fought to get his air back, diaphragm refusing to cooperate with how it spasmed.
The punch that connected almost felt satisfying even as it hurt his entire arm, and Aiden pulled away just long enough to see Raoul doubled over and wheezing, entirely vulnerable. All he had to do was hit him in the head and see if he went down. And keep doing it, if he didn’t. Until he was unconscious - unmoving … a slow and struggling rise and fall of his chest, an irrational heartbeat, eyes rolling under closed lids - somehow he had to --
As Aiden lifted his fist, wavering both mentally and physically, Nadir struck, and Aiden’s body recoiled.
He gasped hard, and tried to hold on, but the alcohol and the exhaustion made his control slip away, and what was left was Nadir Khan, Daroga of the court of the Shah in Mazandaran. Even through the haze of drunkenness, his mind was unaffected, and he stood straight, taking away Aiden’s usual slouch and bringing himself up to his full height. The rage was gone, replaced by a stern, well-controlled anger and a tinge of disappointment. Not just in Raoul, or in Liam, but in Aiden as well as in himself.
It was high time he took control of things. He had a responsibility here, to keep these people safe. If only he’d kept a hand involved when Aiden suggested the door be welded shut, none of this would have happened.
“I apologize for what harm this may do to you, Vicomte,” he said, and his voice did sound apologetic, “but I trust that it will be temporary at best. I expect you will hold to your agreement, whatever it may be, and I will do what I can to see our door re-opened.”
Though he couldn’t hold back the slight twinge of satisfaction he got when he knocked Raoul on the head again, knowing he would black out for only moments before coming back to himself - or, more ideally, Liam returning. He felt guilty for it, but Raoul had caused such chaos in so short a time, even if it was for love.
He was still struggling for breath, for precious oxygen, so he missed the shift in posture as the Persian took over in place of Aiden. There was just a brief moment, when the man spoke, that Raoul had the presence of mind to lift his eyes towards him, watching the approach and hearing the words. “They are not going to allow our door to be reopened,” Raoul started to say, starting to straighten his own posture, though it was simply in time for Nadir to strike with the control the man always presented.
The blow was sure and firm, causing Raoul to drop to the grassy ground beneath them, limbs and jaw slack as darkness curled around him and dragged him down so quickly.
“They may not,” Nadir said, shoulders dropping now that he was alone among the silence, “but they may have no choice, as well.”
He said nothing for a time, just watching Raoul’s crumpled form lie motionless in the grass. Somewhere inside he could hear Aiden raging, throwing a tantrum at being denied control of his own body, but he was not going to let the man have a chance at murder. Aiden was drunk and stressed nearly to the breaking point and too angry, too embittered by his own self-loathing, to leave to his own devices any more. What little time Nadir would have until the young man sobered up and forcibly wrested control back would have to be used wisely; fortunately, he could start here, by trying to bring Liam back to control.
Unlike Aiden, Nadir didn’t automatically dislike everybody, especially people who had more opportunities than he did. He’d spent his life in deference to royalty, and had grown used to perceived slights and insults; they no longer bothered him as they once might have. Besides which, Liam didn’t seem like a terrible person. He was as much suffering in this as any of them. So was Raoul. So were Samantha and Christine, Neil and Erik … everyone with a pen pressed to the pages of their journals, regardless of which side of the door they were on. What strange force had caused this would be the one to blame.
After a moment he went and picked up the thrown book, tucking it away in one pocket and feeling his fingers brush Aiden’s knife. Nadir grimaced, walked back to the fallen man’s side, and crouched down, gently rolling him onto his side.
“Wake up,” he instructed, knowing that the blow couldn’t have been severe enough to do permanent damage even with Aiden’s haphazard assistance from before. “We must get moving before we’re seen.”
Consciousness came back moments after Nadir had rolled him onto his side, though it came back slowly, his vision bleary as the figure of the other man came into slow focus. He blinked several times as he started to push himself up with one hand, the other coming to press against his head. “Aiden?” he asked, and his confusion was clear in his voice, and it was also clearly evident that the French aristocrat was nowhere to be found at that moment. “What happened? And why-”
Things started to click into place, almost visibly so, and Liam was on his feet moments later, both hands in his hair as he turned a slow circle, taking in the unfamiliar surroundings of the park. Wherever he had been in the week Raoul had taken over, it was clear that he hadn’t been an observer in that situation. “A park. Why am I here with you?” he questioned, turning back towards the other man, those blue eyes of his impossibly wide.
While it was a relief to see that it was Liam who returned, the man’s words gave Nadir pause. He had no recollection of what had happened? No idea that he had been no more than a passenger in his own body as Raoul went about his daily business? Nadir stood still, trying to find an appropriate answer, his face slightly pained and then apologetic. He took hold of Liam’s upper arm and started to pull him out of the park, out of the odd circles of light and into the darkness of the trees.
“Not Aiden,” he said, his voice managing to carry with it mostly Aiden’s American accent but tinged with an unfamiliarity with the language. “Nadir. The Persian, as I am so called by many. You remember nothing of this last week? Nothing you have done, or saw yourself do?”
Whatever was going on, the expressions that came over the other man’s face spoke volumes about how not good it likely was. There was no fight as he was led out of the park, abandoning the light for the shadows, and he could feel his stomach churn with the words that came next. The news that it was the man from the other side of the door that spoke was enough to have him starting, but then there came mention of time. A week. And the very real implication that things had happened he had no control over.
“No, nothing,” Liam said, and there was something close to worry, panic, etching its way onto his face as he turned towards him. “You’re lying, though. You must be. There’s no way an entire week has passed without me knowing. As for what I’ve done?” The Southern drawl to his voice only deepened with his worry, and he reached up, gripping Nadir’s own arm in response. “What are you talking about? What I’ve done?”
Nadir was pulled to a stop when Liam grabbed his arm, and he turned to face the other man, seeing the rising panic and hysteria on Liam’s face. He had to keep him from going wild with fear and fury, but fortunately (for them both, perhaps), Nadir had quite a lot of experience in handling the temporarily deranged.
“I cannot tell you all the details,” he began, “because I don’t know very many of them. You will have to ask others, and particularly that other unconscious within you now, about the fine points. What I can tell you is that for the last week, the young Victome de Chagny has been in control of your body.” That was the hard part. Still with a firm grasp on Liam’s arm, Nadir continued. “Perhaps he - all of us - were granted greater strength with the sealing of our door, or maybe you were weak of mind for one reason or another. Illness or stress.” Or drink, he thought, but didn’t add. “Whether one or both, it gave him an opportunity to wrest control from you.”
Should he tell him about the marriage? No, because that wasn’t his to tell. It was a great burden to place on Samantha, but she was strong … or perhaps Christine was pushing her way through as well. Either way, he wouldn’t speak of it unless she asked him to.
“You should speak with Samantha, and give word to your acquaintance Neil that you’re returned, as well as to any others you know who may have realized something was wrong.” He pulled Liam along again, closer to the bright lights of the strip. “I will ensure that others are told of the dangers of what can happen when such things as this occur. I suggest you take this opportunity to rest, recover, and strengthen your mind against Raoul should he be angry enough to attempt this again.”
Raoul in control of his body. It felt like a nightmare he was waking from, this news that he had no recollection of, this week that had been all but lost to him. The quiet that ensued should have been enough to concern anyone that knew anything about the young man; quiet was not something he was known for. He was a man who was not afraid to speak, and it was when he withdrew that there was something truly wrong. As Nadir continued to talk, to lead him towards the lights that filled the park, Liam gave no struggle, no comment, for it was what Nadir didn’t say that had him truly concerned. There was something else that was not being said, and with everything else that Nadir did say, Liam could tell it was something large.
Swallowing hard, Liam shrugged Nadir’s hand off of him, stepping away several feet as he pushed his hands through his hair again, giving a sharp pull before dropping his arms to his sides once more. “Weak of mind. That’s a very polite way of saying that I’m a pushover, at least when it comes to Raoul. And who’s to say that he won’t do this again? That I won’t wake up tomorrow and be him again? And I’m guessing that I’m the only one who’s been weak enough to have this happen to them. Excellent. Good to know how deficient I am.”
Liam stepped further away, dropping down to sit on a nearby bench, head between his knees as he drew in a great lungful of the night air, trying to calm his thoughts. What wasn’t being said? What did he need to talk to Sam about? Something involving Christine, likely, for that’s the only reason he would talk to Sam. As for Neil, at least he could be assured that Raoul didn’t off the Phantom during the week, but that still left too many other possibilities about other horrible things that could have happened.
It hadn’t been said gently, true, but if Liam wished to jump to being deficient, then Nadir didn’t have time to correct him. Glancing around to make sure they were still truly alone and not being observed, he pushed Aiden’s glasses further up on his nose (an automatic, practiced gesture from the man himself, a body memory that Nadir was almost surprised to find himself doing) and fixed Liam with a steady gaze.
“There’s nothing to say otherwise, unfortunately. Nothing but your own determination. If you outright refuse to let him do such a thing, then he cannot, though he is stubborn.” And forceful, and quite dedicated when it came to certain things such as love. “If you intend to keep your own mind, sir, then you must move swiftly to recuperate and inform people of what has happened. To my knowledge, he has not done anything that will cause you great complications with the law or the public.” The marriage … would be personal. Nadir’s expression didn’t flicker. “I wish you luck.”
Liam did not say anything for a long moment, though after Nadir spoke, he straightened, rubbing a hand down over his face as he looked towards the other man, and all he saw there were things he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to face. Raoul was quiet within, quieter than Liam ever knew him to be, and that was ominous in its own way. “I’ll do my best,” Liam said a moment later as he leaned back against the bench, turning to look back out at the park and the world around them. “You don’t have to stick around. I’m quite sure you have places to be, and I’d really just like to be alone for a while,” Liam said, his voice pitched low. “But thank you. I assume I’ll be in touch with you in the coming days.”
“I hope so.” Nadir watched Liam, his concern for the other man evident on his features. Still, if Liam wished to be left alone, he would comply, though it concerned him to leave a man slightly concussed in the middle of nowhere in the dark of night. “I would suggest you head home very soon, though. Recall that I did strike you.” Twice, to count Aiden’s involvement. “Rest would do you well.”
He hesitated, not quite wanting to leave without so much as another word, but it was clear that Liam had far more on his mind than Nadir could properly address. So he only sighed and offered Liam a brief, faint smile, hands back in the pockets of Aiden’s jacket.
“I will be keeping a close eye on our journals, if you wish to contact me. And if I am not around, even Aiden will likely respond if you ask for him.” Favorably, probably not. But that was just the way some people were. With one last nod of the head, Nadir slowly moved away from Liam, using the memory of Aiden’s half-drunk walk to try and navigate his way through the crowds back to the bookshop.
“No, I don’t recall that you struck me, because I was not myself at the time,” Liam said, ire in his voice despite the concern Nadir expressed, and almost immediately, he felt bad for saying those words. “Sorry, I’m just...” He trailed off, shoulders sinking down as he let out a long sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose against the headache that thrummed at the edges of his mind. Rest would be good. So would a drink, and he just hoped that his roommate wouldn’t ask too many questions that he wasn’t ready to deal with, to answer. He’d contact Sam and the others in the morning, look for an explanation.
“I’ll likely be in touch in tomorrow. Thanks, for...” And he quieted again, not entirely sure what he was thanking the man for. It was hard to know, when there were so many unanswered questions, questions he wasn’t even sure he wanted to ask. “Do have a good night.” And as Nadir walked away, Liam closed his eyes and slouched slightly on the bench, covering his face with his hands.