It's the new year, and I figured the first thing I should do is finish up this story, so presenting...

The finale!

I don't even think that's spelled right...

Thank you SO MUCH to all the great reviewers: Crimson Black, RavenSis, caresse345, shattered-hearts-602, cartoonfire, cartoonstar, FairieAngelx3o, BerryDrops, Koriand'r Grayson, Royal Blue, XxNightfirexX, final frost bite fantasy, milkshakelvr, Hidden x Eclipse, lilacprincessmay, Black Raven 13, SuPeR HyPeR chick 101, TerraBB4eva, Xx-Clueless-Dummii-xX, BeautiiQueen, jcyz, RoseXxxXThorn, Satine's Voice, ByE ByE RobIn, Kory Anders Grayson, moonlitsfantasy, Toran of Raysed, Star-Robin, so not telling, 4ever Singing, SaoirseWaveglow, TAUT13, SuperJGirl5, Moondragonheart, chaylorfan, Crazy Sugar Girl, Scriblez, Starsoffire, CERTiFiED02, Lexanna Fable, Ariel34652, gothchik18, CutchieBear, lilsexyprincess, and Strombreaker...WHOA that's almost as long as this chapter, lol! You guys are the best!

Disclaimer: I own nothing below...


"Hey, Kori."

Kori's breath caught in her throat for a second. She didn't know what to say, or what to do. Suddenly she wished she could just disappear into the ground, or maybe just start running. Fast. Away from here. But she held her ground.

"You wanted to say something?" she asked, folding her arms in front of her chest. The letter in her hand crinkled, sounding unbelieveably loud in the silence that followed. Richard scratched the back of his head, nodding.

"Yeah. Do you want to come in?" he asked quietly. Kori shook her head. "Right. Um...I just wanted to...talk." Kori waited. "Listen, Kor, I don't want--I mean, I do want...well, what I'm trying to say is..."

"Are you going to say it, or is this a complete waste of my time?" Kori said, surprised at how cold her voice sounded. Sure she was mad at him, but...

Richard was very obviously thinking along the same lines. He scowled for a second, but stayed far too calm to appease Kori's anger. "Yeah, I am. I wanted to say that I'm really, really sorry, Kori. I don't know what I was thinking, breaking up with you and dating Babs. But if you could forgive me..." he pleaded.

"And if this happens again? Am I supposed to keep forgiving you? I gave you chance after chance in the beginning of this summer. Why would you deserve another one?" ori retorted, pleading in her own way.

"Because I love you."

Again, she was speechless. But she caught on quickly. "No you don't. You don't, or you wouldn't have--" She turned away, but Richard grabbed her arm, forcing her to face him.

"Yes I do, Kori, I think I'd know that. Please, Kor. I want us again. This entire summer has been a disaster. I was supposed to spend it with you. I didn't. That's no question. But can't we start now?" He hugged her close, and Kori almost gave in. "Be my girlfriend again, Kori?"


Flashback

"My God, Dick," Karen breathed, tucking Kori's damp hair behind her ear. Kori moaned in her feverish sleep, twisting around violently. "Look at her."

"I know," said Richard grimly. What else was there to say? Not much, when Babs was in the room. Thankfully, though, his girlfriend exited right then to take a bathroom break. Richard wet another rag to put on Kori's forehead.

"I'm surprised you can think straight at a time like this, considering you've probably caused this entire mess," Rachel pointed out calmly. Richard hated it when she was right. Especially at a time like this. But Rachel was never one to sugar-coat anything.

"Stop it, Rachel," Karen hissed over the snores of Vic and Gar, "Now's not the time."

Rachel frowned. "Does it matter? You both know it. I know I've told you what Kori said you meant to her, Dick. Everything. Tell me, what reason is there for anyone to fight when their whole world is gone?" She got up. "You may well have killed her, Dick."

"Rachel!" screeched Karen. Vic stirred and hugged Gar, sucking his thumb. Rachel just shook her head and left to get something to eat.

It made sense to Richard, as suddenly as a blow to his brain. Whatever that fortune teller had written so long ago still rang out in his head. He'd never been one of the superstitious type, but in some insane way, it all fit together. What if Kori died today? That gypsy lady was right. He'd die inside. And it would all be his fault.

End Flashback

But she hadn't. She'd pulled through. And whatever that lady had said meant that she'd come back to him now, right? That's all that kept him going, the knowledge that this would turn out. It would. No question. Because if the first part had come true, then the second had to, too, right?

"Be my girlfriend again?" he asked hopefully.

Kori was considering it, and that was definitely a good sign. She wouldn't flat out refuse him. She really looked like she was about to say yes...Richard 's spirits soared.

"No." They plummeted again.

"What?"

"I said no," Kori answered, and he thought he could detect a hint of sadness in her monotonous tone. "You broke my heart into pieces, Dick, and you expect me to give it back like that? I'm not a fallback, just because your relationship with Babs didn't work out. This isn't going to happen again, and I'm going to make sure of it."

Richard's eyes widened and he paled considerably. This couldn't be happening. Didn't she know how much she meant to him? Kori turned and walked out the door. "Kori, wait!" He reached for her again, but she threw back the dirtiest look she'd ever given him, and he didn't say anything more. Not even while they all packed, or while they checked out of the hotel and separated from Xavier's group (with many phone-number exchangings) or the entire way home, or the rest of the day, did a single word come out of his mouth.

Heartbroken was an understatement.


Don't you hate it when authors do this? When they leave all those loose ends and NO PROMISE for a sequel that ties them up? Call me a hypocrite, but I hate it too...

Sorry about that stupid fortune teller thing. I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I wrote it, and it was a really dumb part of the story. This was all I could think of. Again, I'm sorry...I hope you all forgive me for it, I'm sure there were worse parts of this story, but that was probably the most prominent...thank you to shattered-hearts-602 for the (almost) help on it, though :)

And also, thank you again to all the great reviewers! Over 300 reviews, that's more than any story I've had so far!!!!!!!!!!

--HPFan1994