Disclaimer: For the last time…I do not own POTO! Or Before I'm Dead by the kidneythieves.

O KK…here it is! The final chapter! And I'm serious this time!

Graduation day arrived for the seniors, much to everyone's delight, that following Saturday in the football stadium. It was a beautiful day; the light blue sky filled with sunlight and fluffy, white clouds that rolled by as the birds flew between their shadows.

Christine was slightly uncomfortable considering her robe was made of the most heat attracting black fabric one could imagine and passed most of the ceremony by braiding the tassel on her mortarboard over and over again.

Moon hangs around

A blade over my head

Reminds me

What to do before I'm dead

Night consumes light

And all I dread

Reminds me what to do before I'm dead

She paused, however, when a moment of silence was held in honor of Raoul. An empty chair filled with roses served as a reminder of where he would be sitting if he was with them. Several of Raoul's closest friends, including Carlotta, walked slowly up to the podium to collect his diploma during this time. Christine could not help but watch, along with the rest of her classmates, as Carlotta dabbed her eyes with a white handkerchief and returned to her seat, head down and shoulders slumped, clutching Raoul's diploma in her shaking hand.

Any grudge she had against Carlotta disappeared at that moment as she realized how much pain and grief she must be suffering from.

'Maybe she loved him,' she thought to herself giving an encouraging smile to Carlotta who was looking in her direction. Carlotta returned the smile gratefully, tears streaming down her face.

Sun reclines, heats my mind

Reminds me what to leave behind

Light eats night and all I never said

Reminds me what to do before I'm

She waited until Carlotta had looked away to return her gaze to the left in Erik's direction. His form was hunched over, no doubt pouring over a piece of paper writing away on song lyrics. Christine smiled once more and felt a warm sensation rise and bloom in her heart.

To see you

At that moment, their row, the "D" row, rose to file one by one up to the podium to collect their diplomas. Christine's name was called first, she walked across the makeshift podium over to the principal, praying that she didn't trip, to shake his hand and receive her reward for all her hard work in high school.

To touch you

As Christine was just about to have the customary picture of the principal handing her diploma taken, she jumped as someone yelled her name, extremely loud.

She looked around to find the culprit as her eyes settled on Erik, looking directly at her, with a mischievous golden gleam in his eyes. The picture which was finally taken showed Christine looking to the side, a huge smile across her face and her eyes filled with warmth.

Like I love Erik…

The summer passed much like any other, but to Christine, it was the best summer she had had since she was a little girl, when her parents still together and they took family vacations to Florida, jumping the waves at the beach.

Although she did have to get a job at a local fast food restaurant to help pay for her upcoming year at college, much of her spare time was spent with Erik, Meg, Andre, and even Carlotta, with whom she had made peace with. "Mask and Black Rose" performed several times around the area at events, all the while writing new songs and gaining even more popularity.

The time she spent with Erik was what she treasured the most; those nights they had nothing to do but spend it at the park, running around the playground under the stars lived happily in her memories for years to come.

To see you

But all good things eventually come to an end, Christine mused, as the summer drew to a close. She quit her job a week before she was to move into her new dorm room to pack all of her things and spend some extra time with her mother. Faced with the reality that she was no longer going to see her mother everyday, Christine put in an extra effort to be agreeable as to make sure not all memories of home would be of the two of them fighting. Her goal was reached and she finally could say that she had a good relationship with the woman who had given her life.

To touch you

Erik, on the other hand, was still as distant as ever with his father. While Christine had still never met the man, she watched Erik when he thought no one was looking after someone mentioned their crazy parents and realized with a pang to her heart how difficult it must be to not even be able to talk with the one parent he had. She hoped that perhaps one day, his father could just accept Erik, like she and so many other people had.

Epochs fly, reminds me

What I hide, reminds me

The desert skies

Cracks the spies

Reminds me what I never tried

The ocean wide salted red

Reminds me what to do before I'm dead

It was on the day she was to start her new life, Meg, Erik, and Andre by her side, when she could be found sitting on the floor of her partially empty room, engrossed in her laptop, of course.

She had many email addresses, you see, and it took quite a while to check all of them.

As Christine decided, on impulse, to check an email address that she very rarely ever used, in fact she couldn't even remember the last time she had checked it, she received a frightful shock.

Therein her obscure littleinbox among theunnumerable chain letters and junk mail, was a messagefrom Raoul dated the day of their prom.

Her heart suddenly racing painfully fast, she hurriedly double clicked on the email and read began reading as soon as it opened.

Dear Chrissie,

It's me, Raoul. I was just wondering how you were doing and if you were still mad at me...I'm sorry about all the things I did in the past and I miss having you as at LEAST a friend. So if you would reply to this even just to tell me you hate me I would appreciate it. I just think it's stupid that I never get the opportunity to talk to you. If you ever want to meet up around campus or anything just IM me at…well you should remember it. So if you ever want to meet up just call me or send me a message or anything...thanks...

Tears began to fill her eyes as she finished the message. Her temper rose suddenly at the unfairness of it all as she banged her fists against the floor.

"Why did I have to get this message now! Why!"

Christine fell back on the floor, staring up at the white ceiling, waiting for the tears of grief to come.

But they never did.

As the minutes ticked by on her cell phone clock which lay by her head, she became more and more confused.

'Shouldn't I feel, I don't know, bad about this?'

A sudden realization came over her as her eyes flicked over to the open windows, sunlight streaming mercilessly into her room, the birds twittering away happily.

The pain was no longer there!

While his email was very surprising and completely unexpected, the sick shock she had first felt had already subsided, replaced by one of pity, not for herself, but for Carlotta who had lost a friend and, dare she say it, a lover.

Christine stood herself up and walked slowly to one of the open window, smiling as she admired the beautiful late summer's day which seemed to mirror her mood. She leaned out of the window, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath in the fresh air.

It felt good to be alive.

She stood there for a long while, just relishing the moment when a car drove up and parked in the driveway. One blue eye popped open as she heard a car door open and slam shut again.

"Hey beautiful! Are you just going to hang out the window all day or are we doing to get this show on the road!"

To see you

To touch you

To feel you

To tell you

Christine's smiled widened as she recognized the voice to belong to Erik. She looked down to see his smiling face beaming up at her. Her heart caught in her throat as she marveled at his good looks again, not for the last time. He still wore the mask, but the eyes that shone from it radiated nothing but happiness.

"Just a minute, love! Let me get the last of my things!"

After blowing a kiss to Erik, she shut both windows and gathered the few things which lay scattered around her room. At last, she turned again to her laptop, Raoul's message still displayed on the screen.

"Goodbye Raoul, I won't forget the good times…"

And with that, she deleted the email, turned off her laptop, and exited her room, ready to begin a new with the people who loved her.

The sun reclines...remind me

The desert skies...remind me

The ocean wide salted red

Reminds me

What to do before I'm…

The end.

And there it is! Man! I want to cry, but I'm just really happy! I want to thank everyone who has read this phic and given it a chance and ESPECIALLY those who have reviewed! You have no idea how much your nice reviews inspired me to make every chapter better than the last.

I have been asked, or rather told to write a sequel…and honestly I'm not sure at the moment! I know I want to eventually go back and rewrite some things, like adding more details and such, so look out for it on this website! I hope to see all of your smiling faces again! Well, I can imagine that you are smiling when you read it…

As for the song, Before I'm Dead, I just always imagine my Erik and Christine walking off into the sunset together when I listen to this song. So what if I got the idea from Queen of the Damned! It's still a nice thought…

Well…I suppose it's time to say goodbye for now…keep your eyes open for more of my stories!

Love and Peace! Kupo!

P.S. Please review…I'll give you Erik plushies and action figures!