For this chapter, I used lines from the song "Bless the Child" by Nightwish. I own neither the characters nor the song.

He came across the lake, standing in his boat as he steered it towards her. Behind the mask, she could see his eyes shine with delight. When he reached the shores, he said nothing, but simply held out his hand to guide her into the boat. When they were out on the lake, she heard him whisper behind her. "Your dance still outshines everything I've ever seen. Why did you ever stop?" She closed her eyes. Why had she ceased to dance? And why could he still see into her heart, where she had been asking herself that question since she had found the rose in her room? "You looked as though you were dreaming your future." She laughed. It was a dry, sad little sound. "No, not my future. I relived my past. And yours." She thought of the rose. "Tonight again I witnessed the beauty of the beast." For a while, they drove in silence, each one lost in their own thoughts about past and future. She was thinking about how different her past was from her future: once a glorious ballerina, now the old, strict ballet mistress. But in his thoughts, past and future entwined and eventually became one …

She turned her face to him, her eyes shining with tears. "Where have all the feelings gone? I can't feel anymore. Not love, not happiness. Only grief and despair. Why has all the laughter ceased? We used to laugh so much. What has happened to us?"

They had now reached the lair, and they left the boat.

"I can tell you what happened. We grew old. We withdrew from the stage of life, acting from the backgrounds, hidden from public eyes, our former selves nothing but a shadow looming behind us. Only when we are dead these shadows will spring to life again, and people will remember us the way we were at the top of out lives. They won't remember you as the ballet mistress, but as the greatest ballerina this opera ever had. And they might remember me, if at all, as the mischievous opera host who caused trouble but seldom harm. Time and memories tend to idealise."
"But why am I loved only when I'm gone? And will I be remembered at all? Do you think anybody ever thought of me long enough to make a memory? I'm not too sure about it … in their memories, the person I was is dead. Just as dead as my feelings are. Time is killing me. But I don't want to be dead!" She sank to the ground, sobbing. "I don't want to be dead … but how can I ever feel again?" he knelt down beside her.
"Dance", he whispered. "You will live if you dance. Through your dance, you can feel, and you know it."
She shook her head. "No. through my dance, I can get the old times back for a while, and when I stop, it is worse than it was before." "Then you mustn't stop. Dance, dance all day and all night. Return to the stage if you must, but dance! I was dead as well. When I saw you dance tonight, I felt that I lived again." A dry, hard laugh escaped from her. "It seems so easy the way you're saying it. But I am old. No one in their right mind would let me dance." "You are not old. And I will make them let you dance if they are too daft to see it themselves. You know I have that power." She sighed. "But the question is; given the chance, would I return? Could I stand it to turn back time for a while only to find it gone before I even realised that it was more than a dream? If I return, my friend, I am drinking from a cup that is counting my time." "And you are a fool nit to use your time! The tale I'm telling you here is of the most bitter truth: Time pays us but with earth and dust, and a dark, silent grave. Why do you not want to escape this grave for as long as you can?"

She looked at him, the tears now running freely. "Because I am already lying in it, and returning to the grave after I escaped it for a while would break me. I can't."
"You can't? I'm offering you mankind in a cup to drink from, and you refuse it?" "There is a poison drop in this cup of Man. To drink it is to follow the left hand path." "Is that you final answer?"

She thought for a moment, thought about how easy it would be to return, to cling to this dream he offered her, how natural it had been to dance tonight … and she thought about how horrible it had been to stop and how horrible it would be to wake from her dream to see that it had been but a dream.

She nodded. "Yes. The dead should not yearn for life."
He sat down beside her and put an arm around her shoulder.

"Then we will both be living corpses for the rest of our lives."

Bless The Child

"I was born amidst the purple waterfalls.
I was weak, yet not unblessed.
Dead to the world. Alive for the journey.
One night I dreamt a white rose withering,
a newborn drowning a lifetime loneliness.
I dreamt all my future. Relived my past.
And witnessed the beauty of the beast"

Where have all the feelings gone?
Why has all the laughter ceased?

Why am I loved only when I'm gone?
Gone back in time to bless the child
Think of me long enough to make a memory
Come bless the child one more time

How can I ever feel again?
Given the chance would I return?

I've never felt so alone in my life
As I drank from a cup which was counting my time
There's a poison drop in this cup of Man
To drink it is to follow the left hand path

"Where have all the feelings gone?
Why is the deadliest sin - to love as I loved you?
Now unblessed, homesick in time,
soon to be freed from care, from human pain.
My tale is the most bitter truth:
Time pays us but with earth & dust, and a dark, silent grave.
Remember, my child: Without innocence the cross is only iron,
hope is only an illusion & Ocean Soul's nothing but a name...

The Child bless thee & keep thee forever"