Final Free Talk:

To all those who thought the previous chapter was the last - my apologies. I had really meant two more chapters when I'd said it, haha. Though I must say that I'd considered ending it just there - no epilogue, no reincarnation scene - because it would've worked, I felt. It left the reader thinking about what would happen because in all honesty, Kanda could've gone either way - living out Rima's will forever and dying naturally, or killing himself regardless.

To tell the truth, I have to say that Kanda's end was something I'm glad I wrote out, if that doesn't sound too bizarre. It was just that, after the way these two were portrayed throughout this fic, I couldn't imagine one really living without the other. Rima would've died, no questions asked, if Kanda had died before her. Kanda, on the other hand, is much more emotionally stronger, and thus it seemed possible he could last three years alone. In the end though, I don't believe he could've survived.

To me, Gold Locks and Silver Keys represents my first fic even though I'd released my RK ones first. GLSK was my first learning experience on this site, where I got my first consistent readers, my first flames, my first criticisms. It's been about a year and a half since I started this, and it's been a long learning time for me. Towards the middle/end, when the updating grew less consistent, my view on this fic changed - I could really see all the flaws I had with this fic, with the character development, with Rima herself and just everything in general. I was tempted to quit, but thought I wouldn't be doing this justice if I just did, because despite all the flaws with this fic and all the gaps, I really enjoyed writing this. It was a journey, and a long one at that. And regardless of everything, I loved writing Rima and her dynamics with Kanda. As this fic grew longer and as their relationship stabilized, I found this fic extremely depressing yet entirely satisfying to write. The relational dynamics in this fic differ so much from DIW or any of my other fics, and I was glad to not have so much drama and focus entirely on impending doom and the concept of "remaining together" towards the end.

I could've gone for a happy ending, twisting it in some way that both of them could've survived and lived happily ever after. But after thinking about it, I realized that it just wasn't plausible. Rima and Kanda could've never left the Order together - it would've taken one of them to die in order for the other to fully detach from the Order. They would've always felt a tie to the Order, the organization that brought them together, and despite the treatment and the hatred within it, they would've kept returning, and in doing so, would've never achieved happiness. It was in that ultimate sense that they were "cursed"; not that they could never be together, but that they could never be happy while doing so.

If I hadn't been so close to finishing this fic over the last few months, I really would've abandoned it after the way the manga turned out. I always felt a need to keep a canon story according to the plot of the original mangaka's, but I know that if I really tried to with this fic, it wouldn't have happened. I would've just stopped entirely. Honestly, I'm glad I didn't. This ending was much more satisfying to me.

I toyed with the idea of reincarnation - I don't really believe in it, and I know it's even less plausible that two people could be reincarnated to be exactly what they were before. made sense. I felt that if Rima and Kanda couldn't be together in one life, they'd just have to wait for another one. And in that other, their lives would be peaceful, and when they finally met, it would be a gravitational pull, much like Rima stated in her previous life: "a loss" when they were separated, "a pull" when they met. And so, it might not be an ending that satisfies others, but I did enjoy making the end at least somewhat bittersweet.

I suppose that is all. I have finally finished this, and can mark this as "complete" with a satisfaction.

To those who have followed this from beginning: thank you. Your support definitely helped me finish this.

So, as one last finale, leave your final musings on your way out. I wish you all the best, and will see you all later on a different stage other than GLSK.

With much love,