Remember the terrible girl who is very very bad at updating?? Yeah, I finally got back on here. Since I've been taking this long to update a lot, this probably won't sound any different then all the times I've said it before. But I kinda went on a hiatus with the story. I never really plan out any of these chapters, I just designate a time when I'm not swamped with schoolwork, glue my butt to my computer chair, and tell myself I'm not leaving the spot until I've written another chapter. Most of my chapters (near all of them) are done on an absolute whim, and totally depend on whether I have a couple hours of free time. And apparently, that I don't have much of.

I like being a junior. It's fun. Physics is totally awesome, very easy, much better than that icky nasty Chemistry. Ick. I mean, I'm getting a better grade in Honors Physics than what I was getting in regular Chemistry. That is truly sad.

Pre-calculus is…interesting (cough-cough almost failing it cough-cough). That I can blame my teacher on, though. Apparently there are two pre-calc teachers at my school. According to juniors before me, one of them is awesome, nice, and an overall great teacher. The other is a terrible teacher, hard to understand, and overall evil. And GUESS WHO I GOT?? I now know that the rumors are true…she IS a bad teacher. But she's not evil. She's actually quite nice. It's just going to require a lot of tutoring from her to pass that class. And I know I can do it, it's just that the methods she uses just don't give you enough experience to know what the heck you're doing! Okay, I'm going to stop.

Art History's a blast. It's basically a class that seniors take, so I'm one of the like, five juniors in that class. And the class is full of very very good-looking senior boys. So who would complain?? Surely not I.

And for choir, my class is singing "The Little Drummer Boy" for our Christmas concert!! EEEEE!! We are singing about….seven other Christmas songs, but that one's BY FAR my favorite. Or maybe it's just because my teacher didn't pick the good Christmas songs for us to sing this year.

And guess who I was for Halloween this year!?! CHRISTINE DAAE!!! I actually didn't even look for it, either. I originally wanted to be a princess or something (since I've never been a princess for Halloween…go figure). But I went to this costume renting place (notice: renting, not buying; that's how nice they were! I had to be careful with all the costumes!) and just FOUND a Victorian dress that was labeled "Christine, from Phantom of the Opera". I was pretty freaked. It was made of red satin, really long, with this pearl beaded thing that exposed my back. I loved it. Some long white gloves and a pearly Masquerade mask (complete with little holding stick) finished my little costume. I also put my hair in really tight curlers, so my hair was literally as tight as Christine's was. It was awesome, and all for this costume party my friend had. It was fun. Needless to say, I had Phantom songs stuck in my head nearly the whole night.

Anyway, onto reviews!! Thank you, I do need the encouragement to not procrastinate. You're review surprisingly helped me get more motivated. Yay for you!

TohruHonda777- Thank you! I'm glad you like it. And yes, Pirates is awesome. It's so easy to become obsessed with it, too! I'm surprised I haven't written anything on it.

TTHPfan- My friend likes to say "dude" all the time, so when you said that, I just couldn't stop laughing. And since your birthday is nearing, Happy Early Birthday! I'm going to go NUTS when POTC2 comes out on DVD!! We had "pirate day" during spirit week at our school, and I had loads of fun dressing up as a pirate. I've had the soundtrack to "Wicked" ever since last January, but I still haven't listened to it yet. I just keep getting caught up in other musicals! And all my friends rant and rave about how great "Rent" is. Again, haven't seen that either. I know I know…I'm so deprived…

Smart One- I hope I can read more of your story. And I like that you thought my last chapter was descriptive. I sometimes think I'm either not descriptive enough, or I use too much of it. Meh. Oh well.

D-I-WaRrIa- I love "Angel of Music" too…it's SO one of my favorites…And hey, if I were Kori, I'd love to procrastinate too! I mean how easy is it to choose from two hot guys?! (Well, one isn't supposed to be hot, but we all know he is).

Fan of this Fic- Oh, I completely know what you mean with school. I SO didn't want it to start, even though my school started late (September 5). But if I'm having a bad day (or week), if a story I really like updates, I'm a totally different person. I must confess that I squeal a lot. I make sure nobody else is around to see me grin like an idiot. And your reviews never cease to cheer me up. You always have something complimentary to say besides the overly used "that was really good!!" which is what I hear from my friends. They're not very creative with their words. I hope you get the soundtrack! It's amazing, I just love it!!

GS Dragono- You're so nice!! Your review just made me grin from ear to ear. I hope the finishing of this story will be exceptional at least.

Kayo-the-black-sheep- Oh yay! I can appeal to a Broadway nut!! Although I'm surprised a Broadway fan such as yourself has never seen POTO, but many haven't, so it's not a terrible thing. Gerard Butler is the dude who played the Phantom in the movie! I think he's quite shmexy, myself. And thank you for the kind words, they make me happy!

Chocochip2000- Ha! Your review made me laugh!! Mainly because I just love it when people say "dies". It just gives me this amusing image.

Swimmergirl642- I LOVE Pride and Prejudice with a fiery passion!! Darcy is my LOVE. Well, his real name is Matthew MacFadyen, but Darcy is a much funner word. I also have never seen "Wicked". And I, like you, have the soundtrack. But I, unlike you, haven't listened to it yet. I know, I'm a loser for not even listening to it yet, but I just get so caught up in other musicals, I just have to obsess over them one at a time! I also haven't seen "Lil' Abner", but I have heard of it.

Strodgfrgf- Sadly, I think I just DID end up making you wait as long as last time…oops. Thanks again!

Laurashrub- Well, I did take your advice; I didn't stop my author's notes. But I at least TRIED to make them not take up half the chapter. Well, I failed at that. It's still uber long! Lol. Oh well. And yes, I too am a proud Raul girl…I can see where the Phantom girls come from, but Raul will always be my favorite, as far as who Christine chooses, that is.

Valda- HAHA!! You crack me up and make me feel good at the same time! I must say, I just LOVE your reviews. And the whole "University" thing does make sense, now that you've clarified. But I've never really looked into British money, I actually forgot that they didn't use euros. That shows how wondrously worldly I am. Lol. Out for my blood??? gulps Well I'm certainly glad that I've updated now!

Angel Saiyan 22- Oh thanks! I've finally ended it, so now it'll all be over after this chappie!

Sandy Elric- I feel bad for Richard too, and I'm totally biased with him over the Phantom. I feel so mean to all the people who think that Christine should end up with the Phantom instead.

Okay, did ANYONE who read the book notice the little thing that I added in the last chapter? In the book, the Phantom twists his fingers into Christine's hair, and pulls on it when he screams at her. I snuck that in the last chapter, but I don't think anyone noticed. Oh well. I'm going to add another little tidbit that was in the book in this last chapter also. I'll give an imaginary cookie to whoever can tell me what it is!

Now, I know most of you don't remember, but the character of "Henry" is Hotspot. He has a major reference in this chapter, but I don't want anyone to be like "hey, who's THAT guy??". Also, Speedy is Steven, and Mammoth is Mark. Remember those names; they are going to be used as reference!

The time has come…this…gasp…is the last chapter of my story. cries. And, I'm happy to say that it's not outrageously short like many others! Mainly because I'm wrapping it all up in…a short timeframe. Lol. Let's just say it was longer than I thought it would be. So here it is…

Kori's long hair had lost its curl, and was now naturally pin straight. The red curtain covered her face as she inhaled as deeply as she could. Physical pain was catching up to her. Before she was so lost within the Phantom's words, she had forgotten any sense of bodily hurt. Within the moments that she was left to lie on the ground, the cold and wet air began to come back to her. The blood on her neck had not yet dried. She touched it, stared at the red substance as it trickled down her palm. Her eyes held a certain absence in them. She looked as if she had gone unconscious with her eyes still open.

She was lost in a world of her own. She was confused. Why was she here? What was she doing? Where was she? She touched her wound again, causing more blood to fall onto her fingers. Her eyes fixated on her hand, and she shivered. A soft whisper escaped her, but neither of the men heard. It was as if she didn't know what blood was.

"What happened?" she whispered, "There's…so much of it…"

Her memory suddenly loosened, and her mind came back. She suddenly realized that only a matter of seconds had passed. It had felt like hours. She remembered where she was, what had happened, who was standing before her. As soon as her mind had left her, it came back with immediate knowledge of what she had to do. With a newfound resolution in her deep green eyes, she shakily started to stand.

The demented ghost stared at her expectantly. She did not look at Richard, for fear of what it would do to her motive. She knew her determination would falter and break if she saw his despair one more time. She approached the Phantom slowly but surely, her voice soft and quivering.

"Pitiful creature of darkness,
What kind of life have you known?"

She felt her bravery heighten. She would do it for Richard. So that he could live. It wouldn't matter what happened to her. If she would live a life of darkness and decay, she would still have the solace that Richard would survive; and that he would find someone to love him like she had. She was willing to sacrifice her entire being for him. She knew it wasn't what he wanted, that it would torture him to see her imprisoned forever. But his life was more important than hers. Her voice grew stronger. It was for him.

"God gave me courage to show you
You are not alone..."

Kori's face was inches from that of the Phantom's etched face. She did not look into his eyes. She slowly brought her lips to his and kissed him. For a moment it was empty, she hesitated. But she thought again of Richard, and she deepened it. She kissed him long and full, letting his tongue entwine hers, gorging him in the one desire he killed for all this time. She did not falter again.

At length she parted him. She finally looked into his eyes, and was surprised at what she saw. She expected triumph, tranquility, even a slight sense of joy. But what she saw was pain, realization, and heartbreak. His eyes were now blurred, hazed with a ghostly sheet of unfallen tears. She saw the droplets threaten to flow from his eyes, but he would not let her see it. His lips quivered, and his gaze dropped to the floor, where the tears splattered beneath him.

He turned her around, so that her back faced him. But he held her close to his chest, and his fingers twisted around her elbows. She squeezed her eyes shut, preparing for the worst. He slid one hand down her arm, and embodied her hand with his, entwining their fingers together. His tear-stained face touched her exposed neck from behind. He kissed it, then ran his mouth across her shoulder, then back up again. He looked at her with a deep sense of temptation. His mouth wandered to her ear, but he did not touch it. He bit his lip. He drew back ever so slightly. He couldn't do it. Not when he knew she could never love him. He knew that his lips were Richard's when she kissed them.

She stood stock still, petrified, waiting for his next move. When it did not come, she only stayed where she was; she didn't move. She did not dare assume that he wouldn't do what he intended. She held her breath, and refused to open her eyes.

Her train of thought was cut short when a haunting tune swept down the caved underground. The voice of the mob suddenly rang through the thick air; it was closer than she realized.

"Track down this murderer,
He must be found!"

His lips inched closer and closer to her neck again, but he barely touched them before he abruptly dropped her from his grasp. It was the only way for him to stop his lust from tormenting himself further. She was now dependant on his hold, and since it was the only thing keeping her from falling, she slid helplessly to the ground. Upon reaching the icy floor, she wrapped her bare arms around herself and sobbed quietly. Slow, regretful tears inched down her cheeks. She softly shook as she sat heavily on the spot. The ghost strode from her side.

"Take her,
Forget me,
Forget all of this…"

He grappled at a lighted candle that was standing upon a candelabrum. He took it out, and carried it over to where Richard stood. The poor boy still couldn't control his balance. As the magician approached Richard, his eyes lit up with morbidity. This was it, he thought. The specter neared him, held the lighted candle several inches above Richard's head, and then pulled the candle back.

The instant the candle was removed from above Richard's head, the twisted rope snapped from its midair gibbet. Richard collapsed onto the floor at his instant release. The Phantom reached towards Richard's neck, and he flinched. But the composer merely rolled the twined rope off of Richard's head. As the Phantom quickly put the rope inside his shirt, Richard caught a small glimpse of the end of the noose. It was singed at the tip; burned straight through. "But," Richard thought, "He never touched the fire with the rope, he only held it above my head…"

They heard the mob again, but this time, they could hear individual people. Henry was one of their leaders. He had every reason to be angry, as did the rest of them. But his voice rang out the loudest, and he led them in their fury. His voice, now hot with anger, rang out through the dark chasms, and heated even the coldest waters that awaited them below.

"Who is this monster,
This murdering beast…?"

After a split second of tottering, Richard was able to stand. He limped toward Kori, as the Phantom shrunk from her.

"Leave me alone,
Forget all you've seen…"

"Hunt out this animal
Who runs to ground…"

With Richard's strength slowly returning, he threw his arms around the slumped Kori, who stood dumbfounded as she watched her tormentor free the boy. The musician, however, rambled about, throwing things aside. He turned to the couple, worry in his voice.

"Go now,
Don't let them find you!"

Henry's yells were getting louder. They were much closer now.

"Revenge for Steven!
Revenge for Mark!"

The Phantom pushed them to the secret gate where Richard had entered. He scrambled to the other side of the bank, and pushed the little boat to where they stood.

"Take the boat,
Leave me here,
Go now, don't wait…"

The voices were louder, nearer, all around them. Kori could hear Jinny's voice mixed with their hateful tones.

"Too long he's preyed on us,
But now we know…"

He seemed terrified now, as if he could feel their presence nearing him closer and closer.

"Just take her and go,
Before it's too late!"

Henry was at the head, leading them on. He yelled triumphantly; he knew they were almost there.

"This creature must never go free…"

They were so close…so near…but Kori couldn't see them. They were like ghosts of their own; haunting, screaming, racing to cross over into a world that wasn't theirs.

The Phantom of the Opera is there,
Deep down below…"

Richard picked Kori up and placed her in the boat. He anxiously looked back at the Phantom, who looked like he had almost lost his mind. A word of gratitude tried to escape him, but to no avail. The specter screamed at him in pain.

"Go now!
Go now and leave me!!"

He collapsed. He buried his hands into his dark black hair and sobbed.

The mob was silent. They had reached a dead end. Henry ordered all to be silent, so that they could hear where the perpetrator was, and that they could find him then. But they only became more confused, for they heard nothing; not a sound from where they were.

The Phantom sat on his knees, his eyes itchy from dried tears. He pulled out his stark white mask. He stared mockingly at it, as if it was going to taunt him as well. From out of nowhere, he could hear a soft little melody. The little Persian monkey, sitting upon his barrel organ, was playing his small cymbals in the dark candlelight. The man crawled to the spot in which it sat, and brought the little music box down to him, so that he could see his stolen treasure play.

His eyes began to water again as the familiar melody as it played along its merry tune. It reminded him of her. Of her optimism and her joy. The joy she brought him. His watery eyes slurred his vision, but he stood steadfast. His rough voice was now soft and airy as he slowly sang along with the aged toy.

Paper faces on parade,
Hide your face,
So the world will never find you…"

As if she had appeared out of thin air, he could indistinctly see Kori's shape in front of him. He looked up and cleared his eyes. No, she wasn't a apparition, she was real. She was there. And she looked sad. She held something in her hand.

When he looked at her questioningly, she showed him what she held. It was a ring with diamonds heavily laid upon it. As if on impulse, the composer instantly reached for his pockets, checking them all to make sure they were empty. He was going to give that ring to her when they got married. But why did she have it now? How did she get it?

As if she had read his mind, the young girl answered him.

"You put it on my hand after I kissed you. You wrapped your fingers with mine, and when you let go, the ring was there. You never even realized you had done it."

He was struck dumb. No, he hadn't realized it. He had done it without thinking. When his mind was so clouded with lust and temptation after her acceptance, his subconscious had taken over him. But that didn't explain why she stood before him as she did now. He looked at her, unknowledgeable of what she would do.

The teenager knelt down beside him, put her small hand beneath his chin, and raised his eyes up to hers. Her own tears fought hard not to fall. Her eyes were glassy, but she did not cry. She took his hand and grasped it with her own, this time letting her own fingers link with his. She held his hand for about a minute, pouring her soul out to him with their glazed orbs locked together. When she let go, the ring was in his palm. His tears stayed at the corners of his eyes. He didn't want her to see him cry. She then put her hands on his shoulder, leaned forward, and gave him a soft little kiss on his forehead. As she did, a stray tear fell from her eyes, and dropped upon his face. He gently took her hands as she drew back.

"Kori, I love you…"

Her eyes, now filled to the brim with tears, blinked back at him with remorseful sorrow.

"I cannot," she whispered.

She slowly stood, and the Phantom let go of her hands. She inched away from him, and finally went off to join Richard in the boat. The Phantom watched her go, and tearfully looked on as he saw her embrace the boy with all her heart. She kissed him, she hugged him, and the two then started off on the little boat, with Richard rowing them on.

Kori clung to Richard lovingly as he rowed them away. She did not look back; it would be too hard for her. She loved Richard, but she still cared for the Phantom as a dear friend. To leave any friend is hard to do, but she had to. She embraced the boy she loved, grateful to God that he was alive, and sang softly to him through the misty water. The ghost heard her, and listened intently as she sang.

"Say you'll share with me
One love, one lifetime…
Say the word,
And I will follow you…"

Richard looked back lovingly at her, finally able to show her his love without fear or worry of her life being broken for his sake.

"Share each day with me..."

She replied to him, finishing the sentence that she wanted to say to him for so long.

"Each night…"

He sang with her now, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. She laid her head upon his chest, and closed her eyes tranquilly.

"Each morning…"

The Phantom couldn't take it any longer. He broke out in a maddening wail, and called to her vainly, tears pouring from his eyes.

"You alone
can make my song take flight…"

He took a candlestick in his hand and screamed.

"It's over now,
The music of the night…"

He knocked over the chairs, the tables, beds, everything. Overturned the furniture, broke the glass, smashed the pottery, ripped the hanging cloths. He fell to the ground, clutched a loose rug that laid upon it, and held it to his face as he cried. The tears freefell from his eyes, down his cheeks, into his clothes, through his skin. He buried his hands in his hair and doubled over in racked sobs. She was gone. He loved her with his whole life, and now he could never have her. She would never love him, never share the feelings and emotions that he poured out to her. Never hold his hand, lean her head against his chest, kiss his lips. She was gone…

The mob heard him. They heard his maniacally despaired cry. They followed it, but Jinny was now at its head. She could hear him clearer than they could. She led them further, searching earnestly for her friend.

When she found the entranceway, she yelled frantically to those behind her.

"Guys? GUYS!! I see it! Here it is!"

She scrambled through the gate first, being the nimble ballerina that she was. She splashed through the bank, searching for Kori. Not a soul was in the cavern. They found the overturned furniture, the ripped cloths. Pieces of broken glass littered the ground, but not a trace of the ghost. There was no blood, no sign that Kori had been there.

As the mob began to search the area, Jinny saw something catch her eye. It was a chair, ornately decorated with velvet, satin, and engraved wood. It looked a lot like a throne. But the chair wasn't what drew her to the spot; it was what sat in the velvety cushion. In the seat sat a white mask. A mask that would cover the entire top half of a face, and had a red "X" slashed into its left side. She set it back down. She knew what it was, and who it belonged to.

She looked around the darkened cave, and a tear of realization slid down her face. She suddenly comprehended what despairs had been locked away in this lair, and that in this place there lay secrets that only the darkness knew.

Omigosh. It's really over. Oh dang, I actually finished it!! Whoa. So this is what it feels like to finish a gosh-darn-freaking TWENTY FIVE chapter story. Wow. I feel so…fulfilled!!

I usually don't do this, but I've been talking to some of you through reviews, and I really like you guys! And I'm really going to miss talking to you, so if anyone wants to e-mail me, my e-mail address is written at the top of my profile. And yes, I just put it there. I'm really going to miss you guys! I hope you liked the story!