Okay, so I started this story back in May of 2007. I last updated this story November of 2009. I just now am posting the final chapter in 2012. I am the laziest person alive. I doubt most of you reading this now are the original readers from back when I first started posting this story but if any of you are, I am so sorry. I literally have no excuse other than sheer laziness. But I will admit, I'm actually glad this went down the way it did. I've improved my writing skills quite a lot since I first started this story. This may not be the most uplifting ending, but it's what I feel makes a proper ending to the story. If you don't like it, I apologize, but I can't please everyone. So, without further ado, here's the final (finally) chapter of Danny Phantom of the Opera. I hope you enjoy.
Chapter 24: It's Over Now, the Music of the Night
The Phantom was still hunched over his organ when Danny and Christine arrived. Even without seeing his face, Christine was still mortified just being in her old teacher's presence.
"I still can't believe he's alive," Christine whispered.
"Elixir of life, apparently," Danny said.
Christine watched from behind the stone archway as the Phantom rose from his seat.
"Go talk to him," Danny said.
"About what?" Christine asked.
Danny didn't have an answer. He had been so hell bent on getting Christine there just to be there that he didn't even consider what she would say to the Phantom.
Danny shrugged awkwardly and said: "Not sure. Just…talk to him, I guess. About how you feel…maybe."
Christine rolled her eyes. Danny snorted. "You must have something to say, otherwise you wouldn't have come."
Christine bowed her head and slowly emerged from her hiding place. The Phantom turned and flinched at the sight of her. Danny saw a look in the Phantom's eyes that he had never seen before. The Phantom seemed overwhelmed with joy, sadness, fear. He was paralyzed in Christine's presence.
Christine's lip quivered but she otherwise hid her fear. "I heard you've been looking for me."
The Phantom's knees gave way and he crumbled into himself. "I love you. I've never stopped loving you."
"I see," Christine said. She was hovering over the Phantom and looking down on him. Danny found it an unsettling site. "I thought you had set me free."
"I-," the Phantom was at a loss for words. "I let you be with…him. I let you live your life. I was left alone, with no one. After you died, I was lonelier than ever. I-I wasn't going to die without you! I…" He paused to catch his breath and wipe away a few tears. "So when I found the elixir of life, I took it. I needed to find you again. I needed to be happy!"
"But what if I wasn't happy?" Christine asked. "What if I didn't want you back? That wouldn't be fair to either of us. If I don't love you, I won't be happy, and if I don't love you, you won't be happy."
Danny ran his fingers through his hair and bit his lip. If Christine left, what would the point have been? He would've brought her here for no reason. Nothing would be resolved. This wasn't happening. Danny wanted to intervene, say something. There had to be something he could say to make Christine want to stay with the Phantom, or at least say she loved him, or something.
"What must I do?" the Phantom pleaded. "what must I do to win your love?"
Christine suddenly came down to the Phantom's level. The pathetic look in the Phantom's eyes seemed to melt her fear away.
"What can you do?" It was a serious question. She didn't know. "You can't bring back those you've killed. They may be ghosts, like me, but you can't give them back their lives."
"I'm sorry, Christine," the Phantom said falling to his knees. He reached out to hold her hand, but it was in vein. She was an apparition; he could not touch her. Unlike Danny, she was not able to become tangible.
"I'm sorry," said Christine. "I'm sorry that this is the life you've lived. I'm sorry I can't bring myself to forgive you. I'm sorry I can't give you anything."
She placed her hand on the Phantom's deformed cheek. He couldn't feel it, but knowing her hand was on his face brought him to tears once more. He tried to take her hand again, but couldn't. She began to slip away. She was about to fly away, through the ceiling, when Danny bolted out from his hiding place.
The Phantom and Christine both turned to face him. He was frozen in mid air with his arms outstretched. Danny knew he looked like an idiot, but he didn't care.
"You-you can't leave!" Danny said helplessly. "You just…can't."
Christine began to float down towards him.
"What are you doing here?" the Phantom asked venomously.
"I brought Christine here. I thought that this would make everything better. I really did. I wanted to help!" Danny said running his fingers through his hair again. "Ugh! You can't leave! Not after all this!"
"All this?" Christine asked. She drew closer to Danny and spoke to him barely above a whisper. The ghostly echo in her voice sent shivers up Danny's spine. "What is 'all this'? All you've gone through? I've dealt with him already. Why are really doing this? Do you care, or do you want to be free?"
Danny wrinkled his nose. "I-both. I mean…"
He looked over at the Phantom. Christine had gotten so close to Danny it almost looked like they would kiss. That familiar look of rage appeared in the Phantom's eyes. Danny slowly moved back.
"I don't want this to be it," Danny answered finally. "I don't want everything I've gone through to be meaningless."
"Maybe it hasn't been," Christine said.
"How?" Danny asked. "How does anything he's put me through…"
Danny's voice had risen and the Phantom heard. "I wanted you to bring me Christine!"
Christine turned to face him.
"And you did," the Phantom said. "You did what I asked."
Danny was still not satisfied. What a polarizing character the Phantom was. Danny couldn't get a solid feeling for this man. He had always been able to distinguish whether someone was good or bad just off of their actions. That's how it worked with the ghosts he met. Perhaps this was what he got out of the experience. A challenge. Someone to challenge his perception of good and evil. But was it really that simple? Was that really all he got out of it? It just seemed like an excuse to get out of the labyrinth; to say that he had received something positive out of this experience.
He could still hear frantic screams from above. It sounded like a search was going on looking for him whilst Gerald and Bernard were trying to calm down the audience and assure them that the star of the show would be back soon. Danny wondered how long this had been going on. He needed to get back.
But he couldn't bring himself to leave. He didn't want it to be over. He didn't want to just leave Christine and the Phantom alone. He had to see if anything else would happen between them. After all, Christine hadn't left yet.
"I-Christine. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," the Phantom said. "Are-are you peaceful in death?"
Christine nodded. "It's the most peaceful I've felt in years."
"Where you not happy with…him?" the Phantom asked, hopefully.
"I was," Christine said. Noticing the crestfallen look on the Phantom's face, she added: "It wasn't perfect. But I was happy."
The Phantom nodded with a stiffened face. Christine glided over to the Phantom. The Phantom placed his hands on either side of her cheeks. He gently touched his fingers to her translucent face and even though he could not touch her, he smiled at what was technically contact. They looked into each other's eyes for a long time. Danny put his face in his hands. They all knew what would happen next. The Phantom relished in the moment he had with Christine who was willing enough to smile warmly at him while she was there. And then she kissed him. It was awkward for Danny to watch since her lips seemed to go through the Phantom but he seemed so happy. When the part, Christine asked: "How long does that elixir last?"
"It lasts ten years at a time. By next year, I will need to find another vile," the Phantom said. Danny was disturbed how nonchalant the Phantom said that. It was almost as if he didn't want another vile.
"Perhaps I will see you then. But for now…" Christine began.
"I understand," the Phantom said.
Danny leaned back on the stone archway as Christine rose into the air. Before she left, she went to Danny. "Thank you," was all she said before phasing through the ceiling.
Danny yelped swung his fist into the wall. The Phantom was startled. Danny looked at him. "And you're not mad?" Danny asked.
"I don't understand," the Phantom said.
"SHE LEFT! She left and you're fine! She left and you're not beat up over it? I thought you wanted her back! I thought that's what all this crap was for! WHY AREN'T YOU UPSET?" Danny was shaking violently, his eyes glowing brightly.
The Phantom sat on the floor. He wrapped his arms around his legs and said: "I wanted to see her again. I suppose that's all I really wanted. I wanted to see her smile at me."
"But she doesn't love you!" Danny said through gritted teeth. "That wasn't a real smile! She hates you! You ruined her life!"
The Phantom held back his tears. "I did," he said. "And I admitted it to her. And 'm so sorry for everything I've done."
"Was that before or after you sucked me into this?" Danny asked fiercely.
The Phantom sighed. "After. I kept out of everyone's life before, but I just felt..." he began to shake. "…so lonely. So cripplingly lonely. I wanted her again. I wasn't ready to leave this Earth without her. Without seeing her smile at me. That one day, when I heard her sing in the graveyard. When I saw a flicker of her face there. That-that burning desire came back and I just…everything went wrong. I went wrong. When she first left me…the look in her eyes. When she kissed me…she didn't love me."
"She still doesn't."
"But she did it for me."
"It was out of pity."
"I prefer pity. When she first kissed me, it was to save…him. It wasn't…or maybe it was…" The Phantom looked down at his hideous reflection in the lake.
Maybe she had done it out of pity. Danny remembered the line in the song being "God gave me courage to show you, you are not alone."
"But when she left…when she gave me back the…" the Phantom reached into his vest pocket and produced a wedding ring. The sight of it sent waves of painful memories throughout his frame and he closed his hand around the thing. "At least now…at least now I know she's been happy. That she had felt freedom. That she had time to recover from whatever wounds I had caused her. Before, she was trying to escape from me. Now, she could leave whenever she pleased. And she did. But not before showing me some compassion. Compassion. It didn't have to be love. And if she feels even a little compassion, then maybe when we meet again…
"Maybe she still hates me, but not as much as she did. She knows I'm sorry. She knows I'm pathetic. I'm sorry I brought you into this."
Danny floated down and landed beside the Phantom.
"I shouldn't have brought you here. I shouldn't have put you through this. I shouldn't have killed…"
Danny folded his arms. The Phantom looked so small now. So pathetic. But Danny's heart went out to him. Danny thought back to what the Phantom had said about the elixir.
"Are you going to go on living like this?" Danny asked.
"No," the Phantom said. "It would benefit everyone if I didn't. Besides, my time should have come ages ago." He laughed bitterly. "I saw her smile at me. That's all I wanted. She seems freer now. Happier. She doesn't hate me as much." Danny felt like the Phantom wasn't even holding a conversation with him anymore. He was just talking to himself. He looked up at Danny with his dark blue eyes and said. "I know I was wrong to put you through this, but thank you for everything you've done."
Danny pressed his lips together until they were as white as his hair. "It was rough but…you're welcome."
He extended his hand and the Phantom took it. They didn't shake hands, they just held them. Danny felt an odd understanding of the Phantom. He didn't agree with him, but he felt he understood. He had so much pain in his heart.
"I hope everything works out, y'know, if you ever see Christine again," Danny said, his voice trembling.
"Thank you," the Phantom mouthed the words.
They released each other's hands and Danny looked up at the ceiling. Collecting himself, Danny said: "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a play to finish."
The Phantom chuckled and looked down at his feet. "Break a leg."
Danny gave a small smile, picked up his Phantom mask off the floor, and flew off. He wound up back stage. In the shadows, he reverted back to his human form and put on his mask. He stepped out on stage and whistled. Everyone turned around to see him. Danny took a deep breath:
"Don't worry!" he began. "Crazed fan. Wanted to take my part, y'know? Crazy stuff."
There was an awkward collection of laughter from the remaining audience members.
"But don't worry, he, uh, the police caught him, so it's all good," Danny added quickly.
Danny could see that his family and friends were still there and relived to see he was alright. Gerald and Bernard were equally relived and rushed to the stage. They patted Danny on the back and one of them pulled him into a crushing hug but Danny couldn't tell who it was.
"Bernard, call off the search party," Gerald said and Danny realized it was Bernard who was hugging him once he was released from his grip. "Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats, the show will go on!"
The audience members who were standing sat back down. Danny noticed most of the players were gone, probably having fled. There were still a few ensemble members left, including all the important main characters. Jen rushed onto the stage and hugged Danny. Danny hugged his Christine as Gerald instructed the conductor to go from the top of Don Juan Triumphant. Jen and Danny rushed off stage. The songs wasn't nearly as powerful as the first time the audience heard it due to the dwindled cast.
"So you're alright? He didn't hurt you? Did he really kill Henry?" Jen asked frantically in the wings.
"I'll explain later," Danny said. "You're on." He gave her a gentle nudge and Jen waltzed out on stage.
The rest of the show went on without a hitch. When the final scene came and when Jen kissed him on the cheek (she was older than him and Gerald and Bernard knew better than to let an older woman kiss an under-aged young man on the lips), Danny couldn't help but feel overwhelmed after the events in the labyrinth.
When the show ended, Jen told him it was his most engaging performance. Danny smiled uncomfortably, knowing that his lack of engagement before had stemmed from only learning his lines and not understanding the character enough. That had all changed.
"Danny!" Tucker cried.
He and Sam rushed to Danny in the lobby, Sam holding flowers.
"You did awesome!" Sam said as she and Tucker threw themselves onto Danny to hug him. "Sorry about the crazy fan."
"Yeah, man. Everyone started flipping out! They actually thought that was the real Phantom of the Opera!" Tucker said.
"Danny!" his family rushed to him. Jazz thrust a bouquet of flowers into her brother's arms. Danny felt overwhelmed with all the flowers he was now holding. "You were so good!" Jazz said hugging him.
"You were fabulous, honey! Maddie said pinching Danny's uncovered cheek. Danny had put his mask back on for the bows.
"Yeah, I had no idea you could sing! There were a couple of parts where you went a little flat, but you had such a ghostly, haunting sound to your voice that it sounded great anyway," Jack said.
Ghostly and haunting, huh? So perhaps that's why he was able to sing so well, there was a ghostly moan to his voice that made him sound good. Danny wasn't sure how to feel about that, On one hand it meant that this was an upside to having ghost powers, on the other hand it meant he probably would've sucked at singing had it not been for them.
"So, Danny. What do you think about what Mr. Lancer said?" Tucker asked.
"Wait, what?" Danny asked.
"Remember when he first told us we were doing the play at school. He said he could totally see you playing the Phantom and you didn't know if you should be insulted about it. What do you think of that comment now that you've stepped into the Phantom's shoes?" Tucker asked.
Danny's lower lip jutted out as he thought about it. "I can honestly say I'm a little bit insulted. I haven't had to deal with half the heartache he has," was his answer.
Tucker and Sam gave a look of "Hmm…yeah, okay" and left it at that. Jazz was quick to add: "Plus, you're not a crazy murderer."
Danny smirked. "Yeah, that too."
Somewhere in the crowd of people was Meg. She smiled and nodded at Danny. She passed by Danny, patted him on the back, and said: "Well done." Something in Danny's gut told him she wasn't talking about his performance.
He suddenly felt something hit the back of his head. Whatever it was fell into his hand. It was a rose. A red rose with a black ribbon tied around the stem. Through all the chattering in the lobby, Danny could hear the Phantom's voice: "Bravo, bravo, bravissimo."
Danny looked up and saw a cloaked man make his way back to box five. Danny smiled. "Thank you," he mouthed.
And that's it folks! At last, I have finished this story! It's not perfect, but I promise, despite my laziness with the updating, I put my all into it. I hope you enjoyed and if you have any questions about the story, feel free to ask. Have a wonderful day.