Disclaimer: I don't own Phantom of the Opera, but after nineteen chapters, I think you all knew that somehow. :)

Author's Note: Well, this is it. Despite any claims I may have made prior, the POV has switched to an omniscient third person; sorry. You can at least be sure that there is no cliffhanger waiting at the end of this chapter, and I promise to answer all the questions I have raised of late. Much love and many, many thanks to my reviewers, and I hope you all enjoy this.

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~Epilogue: Five Years Later. . .~

The small apartment on Marchmont Street was full of laughter, the sweet laughter of a happy child. She was just four, this charming sprite, and yet she already showed the marks of great beauty and intelligence. Her long blonde hair cascaded down in soft waves, her deep cerulean eyes shown brightly and, set against her pale, creamy skin, gave her a perfectly angelic countenance. It seemed as though her Mother was telling the truth when she told her admirers that she was raising a miracle.

The real magic was inside the child; a musical prodigy, she learned the intricacies of song at an astounding pace. On her fourth birthday, she was playing Mozart nearly flawlessly. Already, it was being whispered that she would outmatch the iconic composer in skill by her fifth. For her part, however, she remained innocently oblivious. The applause, the praise, the adoration; none of it mattered to her, she was simply Emily Estella Daae, and she needed nothing more than her Mother's love to make her happy.

However, it hadn't always been happy in her small, comfortable home. There were many nights when her Mother's mood had changed abruptly; nights when tears would flow and the proud young woman who Emily saw as a goddess would seem nothing more than a quivering child herself. Usually, the depression would descend as Emily began to play at the upright piano squeezed into a corner of the cluttered, if cozy, sitting room. At first, Emily would try to console her, her tiny lips forming a pout as she begged her Mother to smile once more. It never worked; her Mother would simply pull her into her arms as she continued to weep, rocking her gently to some unheard melody.

The next morning, the smiles would return like clockwork, and Emily would always forget the tears. . .

Her Mother was simply too beautiful when she smiled.

Her Mother, Christine, as her friends called her, was a brilliant study in contrasts. She loved her daughter with a fierce, unwavering devotion that almost bordered on obsession. She went to the ends of the Earth to make her daughter smile, the small apartment was always filled with toys and whatever musical devices the child's curiosity embraced. With her child, she seemed so happy, so protective - it was as if she had nothing else in her world. Yet, there were many secrets hidden in her heart, she carried herself with an aura of dull pain that never quite faded. She always seemed alone crowds, it seemed as if she was wandering the streets of London aimlessly, even when she was going forward with intent. She seemed lost, almost incomplete, clinging to her daughter as her last like to the world. But, then she would sing. . .

Her voice was a shadow of Heaven itself; she sang with all the emotion she dared not express otherwise. It often made quite the enchanting scene, daughter playing dutifully as mother sang in her heart-wrenching soprano. When Christine sang, she seemed fulfilled, as if she had found what was missing and it filled her with a singular confidence. When she fell silent, however, she instantly became listless once more. A tragic cycle, everyone who truly knew her observed, but one that simply seemed unbreakable; a sad fact of life, and nothing more.

Emily lived blissfully in the safety of her Mother's shadow for a very long time; unquestioning, unknowing and unburdened. Until, one day, she observed something that disturbed her.

Something that made her feel confused and alone.

Her friends all had a mother and a father, two parents who loved them instead of one. Emily would go to their homes, see the happiness and affection, the happiness and she was filled with an intense jealousy. It seemed all at once unfair to her that she and her Mother had been denied that bliss, and even if her Mother made her feel loved, she longed to have a Father of her own. Someone to sing her to sleep, and chase the monsters out from under her bed. Yes, she wished for a father; but unlike the fairy tales her Mother told her, no fairy godmother came to answer her unspoken prayers.

It seemed unfair, and her curiosity consumed her; she needed to know why her home was different, why her Mother was so prone to tears and anguish. She needed to know the many secrets that her mother had long since carried in her heart. When she could take it no more, she came to her Mother in the middle of the night, tears in her eyes and a love worn stuffed animal clutched under her arm. "Maman," she sobbed, "I had a bad dream, please wake up. . .Maman?"

"Hush," Christine said gently, pulling her child into her arms, "it's alright now, it will all be alright now. Monsters can't follow you into the real world, in fact. . ."

"Maman," she interrupted, "I did not dream of monsters; I dreamt of a man. He sang to me, and when he sang, you sang too, but you weren't there, Maman, you weren't there!"

Christine turned pale as her daughter spoke, she looked up at the ceiling and sighed, "Emily. . ."

"Maman, why don't I have a Papa like everyone else?" She asked, looking up at her mother in wide-eyed naivety.

Christine stared down in profound anguish, knowing that the moment of truth she had dreaded for five years had finally arrived. "You have a father, my child, a wonderful father," she began with tremulous uncertainty, "but he is with the angels now; he was taken from us before you were born."

"Who took him Maman? That was very unfair!" Emily pouted in childish outrage. Christine closed her eyes tightly.

"It was very unfair," Christine said with conviction, "but, you must not think of him in that way, my child. He was a wonderful man and he is watching over us yet and I know he's very proud of you."

Emily smiled, and hugged her mother impulsively, settling snuggly in her lap. "Tell me more about Papa," she commanded inquisitively.

"He was a great man, a brilliant man. He had an angel's voice even before he was taken to Heaven to be with the angels. His music was powerful, it almost felt alive; just like yours will be someday. He was a scientist, too, a musician, a composer, a scholar. . .he was as perfect as any human, saving you, of course, ma petite."

Emily's cheeks flushed at the compliment, even as she nodded understandingly. "sometimes, I can feel him with us," Christine continued suddenly, "when I sing and you play; it's almost as if he is providing the counterpoint. He shall always be with you, my child, always."

Emily smiled; she no longer felt jealous or upset. Instead, she was proud of her unique family. The other girls might have happy families, but they would never have a beautiful singer Maman and a guardian angel for a Papa. Life would go on from that moment, sweeter than it had before, and never again would Emily's music be lost in a bleak world. Now, and forever, there would always be a light in the darkness.