Chapter 17
A Note

When Eloise had been wheeled into the operating room, Gustave had felt his heart tear into a million pieces. In the hours that she lay unconscious, the surgeons had dug out the bullet that had pierced through her skin, and saved her life. However, she would not wake. No matter how Gustave sang, no matter how Brigitte prayed, no matter how much Raoul apologized for the fate he had brought upon this girl, she lay motionless.

Soon after, Meg had taken Raoul to a rehabilitation centre nearby her home for the help he needed to recover from alcoholism and the state of mind he was in. She herself had gone to this centre in the last few months, praying that this would finally be the thing that saved her from her own mind. Brigitte had gone back to Etienne's house for a week of spending time with his mother for the holidays. It would be Christmas now in a matter of days, and she needed time to forget what she too had done to herself. She had allowed a simple problem with her friend to change her sanity.

Eloise had now been unconscious for three days, making Gustave sit in the room and watch over her as she had no one else. It was his worst nightmare to be out in public without his mask, but no one dared say a thing to him. Gustave didn't see it in himself, but he was turning out to be quite the man, towering over even Raoul. In fact, some of the nurses nearby found themselves commenting on how unfortunate his burn was, for he would have been even more handsome without it. It was of course rude and shallow, but gave Gustave a certain confidence. He realized now that his father's face may have been shocking, as was his, but times were beginning to change. What once was an abomination - was now acceptable.

The sun shone brightly through the hospital window, making Eloise blink as she finally opened her eyes. Her own body felt like a foreign place to her as she began to move again, realizing that her arm was cradled in a sling. Gustave was sleeping soundly on a chair next to her bed, suddenly waking to find Eloise standing in front of him.

"I-" Gustave found himself at a loss for words. What was he to say to her? What was there to say?

Eloise sighed, "I apologize for what happened Gustave," she looked around for any nurses and shut the door to her room. "Why aren't you wearing a mask?"

"It's useless here. Maybe outside though..." He began, chuckling. He embraced Eloise gently; making sure her arm was alright. She felt the colour return to his cheeks as she laid her head upon his shoulder.

"It's over now, isn't it?" She asked, trembling beneath Gustave's touch. Then she bit her tongue, "What about Erik?"

"I don't know – I can't take Raoul's word for it."

"We should look for him." Eloise suggested.

"What about your father?"

Eloise sat down on her bed and smiled, "I only promised myself I'd return in three months. I have another three to go."

"Eloise, where is this going…?" Gustave asked, eyeing her carefully.

"I want to help you search for your father."

Gustave "Would you really?"

"Most definitely." Eloise smiled, suddenly drawing her attention to the door.

"Gustave?" A nurse asked, standing by the doorway with a letter held in her pale hands.

"Yes?" Gustave asked, getting up and taking it from her. A red wax skull sealed the envelope and Gustave exchanged glances with Eloise.

"The Vicomte left this for you upon his departure." She said before leaving. Gustave tore open the envelope, keeping the skull in his vests pocket.

He began to read it out loud, "Dearest Gustave, I have never felt so empty in all my years. After Christine had died, I thought it best to raise you without Raoul. I realize now, that this may have hurt you more than I thought. These, and many other things you'll learn later on in life, are the reasons why I have left you. Do not hate me; I cannot bear to have you think any less of me than you already do. You have truly helped me heal my mind, and I cannot thank you more. I will be at Phantasma if you should ever receive this note and Raoul has not hidden it away. I promise we will be together again someday. I hope you have taken care of yourself." Gustave could feel his heart drop to the bottom of his stomach, "O.G."

Eloise tried to make something out of the abbreviation, "Opera ghost?"

"My father," Gustave corrected, feeling a certain determination come over him.

"You will see him again." Eloise reassured, smiling sadly and suddenly exchanged another glance with Gustave.

They both knew that this was not the end of their journey, at least not until they found Erik, The Phantom of the Opera.

Fin

Authors Note: Thank you to every single person who read, reviewed, favourited and followed my first fanfiction! Especially to judybear236, you're editing has helped me become a much better and careful writer! Perhaps there will even be a sequel... :)