Author's note: Here's a short story I just came up with (meaning 3:50 a.m. my time) after watching the end of The Fountain. I hope you guys like it.

Please review! Also non-members can review my stories, so please take your time!

Finally

The snow creaked under my boots as I ascended the small hill. Flakes were falling softly onto the already white ground and my breath quickened as I came slowly closer. My eyes were fixed on the ground. I paid attention not to slip on the ice that became visible in the cold and never thought that being old meant everything being so hard. It snowed again. Others said it just had, that the year had passed quickly, but to me it seemed to be an eternity since the last winter. My heavy breath was visible in the cold air and I had to stop from time to time to fill my lungs with fresh air again. Yes, being old really sucked. I was still not used to it. Would probably never be…

Finally, I reached your tombstone. With a great effort I knelt down in the snow and wiped the white stuff from your white stone. It still looked new. As if you'd just passed away. But I knew better… We haven't seen each other in decades. All of our friends were dead by now, our children already grown-ups, their children too and the same went for their children. I've watched three generations grow and die. The curse of my healing factor. You always said that it would be great if everyone could heal diseases, if no one had to suffer anymore. But the thing you and others never understood was that this so called "gift" is a curse. I was never ill, that's right. But how would you feel if not all of your children had inherited the healing ability? If you had to watch your babies die after seeing how they were born, holding them when they uttered their first cry, watched them grow and took care of them, just to get to know that they weren't like you? That you would outlive them? Do you know what it felt like to watch them die while you looked still young? What Chuck called a gift, I call a curse, what you called marvelous, I call terrible.

My tired eyes looked at the writing on your tombstone and I smiled. Even if we were separated for more than one hundred years I could still see your face, hear your voice and could tell what you smelled like. It was all there, locked inside my memory forever. And I asked myself if you were here, with us? With your children that still lived and the generations that followed. Did you know that your great-grandson and great-granddaughter were soon becoming parents? That there was a new generation to come? Did you know that your grandson died a few months ago? Were our deceased friends and family with you? Where ever you were now?

I heaved a deep breath and closed my eyes for a moment. I was tired, darlin'. Tired of living, tired of being alone even if our family was here with me. It had never been the same after you passed away. I knew that from that day on I'd died with you. I remained strong for our children. I tried to put them onto the right path so that you would be proud of them. I am. Of all of them. But not being able to see and hear you was killing me more and more with every day that passed. 295 years, darlin'. Over two hundred something without you since you died. I saw many things, too many for my taste. Not only too many deaths and wars, the rise and fall of Apocalypse, the casualties it brought with it… I've seen too much. And when I finally began to age, I asked myself when my time would come; if it was tomorrow or next month. But the great "gift" that every one of you envied me for didn't do me the favor I hoped for.

You knew that if I had the chance to follow you, I'd already done it. But lucky as I was in my life I couldn't even do that. I can't tell you how much I miss and long for you. That I want to see and hold you so badly. Can you tell me when my time would come? For how many days I still have to be alone? Without you? I look at you stone again and reach out to touch it. The surface is cold. As cold as the air and the snow, as cold as the others tell me I'd become. But what do I care? I'm weary and sick of living. Of waiting for death to arrive and release me from this life. Do you know for how much longer I have to come to your grave on the day you died? Will I have to come back here again next year and the year after? Maybe even years after that?

I turn my head to look at the small village we chose to live in. The houses had been rebuilt after the Great War between humans and mutants. Our house was long gone, as you… After your death I had lived at many places, but nothing felt like home. Not without you. Never without you. I knew you knew. My eyes then switched to the stones next to yours. To our children that have already deceased. And again I feel weary. A father should never watch his children die was all I could think. A father was supposed to die first, never the children before him. I still remembered it. Your death, our sons' death. Only our daughter and youngest son are still alive. I know that dying now wouldn't matter. They would take care of the family, of the next generations until their time had come…

I felt more tired than usual today. It was probably the long journey back to your and their tomb that made me feel more weary than usual. I looked back and saw that the next morning would arrive soon. I could already see the sun rising behind the mountains. You always loved to watch sunrise. I can still remember how often we have watched it together on the terrace. I gave a weak smile and turned back again just to feel how my heart made a jump. Every time I'd come to visit you I had hoped to see you but you'd never come. But now I could see you standing underneath the tree, as beautiful and young as I remembered you. Not knowing what to do, I got slowly up and came over to where you stood. The smile on your lips reached the eyes I missed so much and made them appear to be alive. But I knew it couldn't be. "Yer back?" I asked but you shook your head. "Just payin' a visit then?" Of course it was a no once more. I took my time and scanned you from head to toe, memorized everything because I was afraid that if I woke up from this dream that you'd be gone. You've never done this. In all those years in which I'd hoped to see you in my dreams, to be able to talk to you, you've never come. But now you were here. It couldn't be a dream. If it was one than it was too real. I still felt the cold that surrounded me, the soft flakes landing on my cool skin, the wind that came over from the mountains. And it dawned on me. It wasn't a dream. It was real, you were here. You still smiled even if I began to frown. "Is this real?" I asked you like a little boy that had discovered something new and couldn't believe it. You nodded. "But what are ya doin' here, darlin'?" I asked next since I couldn't come up with an answer.

"You know," you replied and hearing your voice again after all this time gave me the feeling of true happiness. It had been too long without you…

"I do?" I asked back and you nodded again. "Enlighten me…"

"I don't have to…," you said and reached out to touch my cheek. I felt it, even if your hand was more than cold. You were real, you really stood here in front of me. "I missed you…"

Smiling while the lump in my throat became even thicker, I tilted my head a bit. "Yeah? How come?" I asked jokingly and this time you gave me a real smile. But I became serious again. "You'll be gone soon again, am I right?" I asked and felt sadness rising within me once more. The same sadness and sorrow I was already feeling for decades…

"No," you replied and shook your head. "I won't."

"So you are back then?" I asked confused. "Coz if, then I'm sorry, darlin', but I need a bit longer to descend that freakin' hill here by now…" I turned and saw that my great-grandson was still waiting at the car. He was a good boy. Almost looked like a mixture of both of us thanks to our strong genes… I wondered what his child would look like…

"You don't have to," you suddenly said and I gave you a frown when my eyes found yours again. Why did you speak in riddles to me? I was tired of them…

"What do ya mean, Jeannie?"

"You know why I am here," was all you said and silence fell upon us for some time.

I began to think hard what the purpose of you being here was, why today and now? You said you weren't back, which meant that I was supposed to leave this hill alone again… No, you said I wouldn't have to descend it… Looking into your eyes again I saw the answer within them. Before I could ask you gave me a nod and smile. "I'm gonna die…," I whispered when the realization came and you nodded once more. Looking back at the young man at the car, I felt you touching my shoulder.

"They'll be fine," you assured me. "All of them…"

My eyes were fixed on the ground for a moment. The last words I said kept on repeating themselves within my head. I was going to die… It was finally over. "I'm gonna die…," I said once more and couldn't help but give a short laugh when I looked back into your eyes. I hadn't cried in years. The last time on your funeral, not even on our children's because I had no tears left back then. But if it had been tears of sorrow then it were now tears of joy. It was finally over, was all I could think. "So's the reaper on holiday?" I managed to say. How could I tell you that I'd hoped it would be you? That I'd see you for the last time before I'd die, that you'd be the last person I'd see at all… I drowned in your eyes when you stepped closer. I wasn't afraid. Not anymore, not after everything I'd seen and been through in my life. I could tell that you knew. Your eyes told me that you knew everything. You had felt my pain and sorrow. I gave my great-grandson one last look and knew he would be all right. You said it. All of them would… I felt your hand touching my cheek, making me look back at you and I saw your tears. And I knew you'd been waiting for this day to come, too… With a last happy smile you leant in to kiss me and I pulled you close, just to close my eyes next and forgot everything around me. You were everything that counted for me. After losing you all those endless and lonely years ago I'd you back and I knew that I wouldn't lose you again. Not anymore, not in this life…

I opened my eyes again and the first thing I saw was the smile you gave me. You were happy, as much as I was. When I looked back again there weren't any mountains or houses, no tombstone or great-grandson anymore. There was nothing but you and me and I stared at my hands in surprise. With a shaky hand I touched my face and carefully traced my features that seemed now, after all those years, unfamiliar. I was young again… Cocking an eyebrow at you, you just flashed me one of your smiles. "I liked my wrinkles," I joked and you took my hand. Not knowing what you were up to I just followed you into this endless nothingness, just to realize that I'd been wrong. It wasn't just you and me. It was everyone. Everyone that we'd cared for, everyone that I'd lost and missed so much after you… I saw their smiles and couldn't help but smile, too. 295 years that I could remember living through, two hundred something without you in which I'd been a shell only, and now I was finally complete again. I was home. Finally…

Okay, what do you guys think? Please review!!!