The first day he wakes, he's clutching the pillow in his arms. He feels the soft crinkle, cold and comforting. He smells it, still in sleep, reaching for the smell he will never have again.
Mornings are the worst. At night, he dreams of Reid making love to him, Reid holding his hard cock in his hands, alternately kissing and stroking it to orgasm.
In his dreams, Reid is the most attentive lover in the world.
In his dreams, they go to movies, holding hands all the way. He pays no attention to the movie, instead watching Reid. Reid's face is rapt with attention; his doctor self has arrived to watch the film.
They see the new Resident Evil film, and Luke is quietly delighted to watch Reid leap in his seat as the bullets jump out of the screen.
Reid finds Luke's hand in the darkness, and holds it tightly.
Luke can not resist. He bends over and tickles Reid's earlobe with his tongue.
"Scared, Doctor?" he murmurs.
Reid does not look away from the film, but he shakes his head twice firmly.
"Never," he says smoothly. "I see blood everyday."
Luke nods in understanding, but Reid does not release his hand for the entire film.
In his dreams, they marry in Massachusetts.
It's a small ceremony, attended by Katie, Jacob, Chris, and Lucinda.
Though Lucinda never met Reid, Luke knows she would love him.
She is the one who ties his tie right before the ceremony. Reid fiddled with it for almost fifteen minutes, before Lucinda came to the rescue.
He arrives at the ceremony, flustered and sweating slightly.
Luke can only smirk in delight.
"Ready?" he says softly. His hands ache to touch his fiancee.
Reid lights on Luke's eyes, and he exhales slowly. He has no use for propriety; he pulls to Luke to him and gives him a reassuring smack.
"Ready," he replies.
In his dream, Reid never died.
This one torments Luke the most.
Reid's last day stampedes through his brain.
"Wallet," he whispers.
Even in sleep, Luke's mind skips over watching his boyfriend die; he is fixated instead on the look in Reid's eyes as Luke says he loves him.
Luke knows, feels in his bones, that Reid is about to leave him. He clutches his face in his hands, willing him to stay awake just a moment longer.
He wants so badly to hear Reid say something, anything, before he goes.
"Please, please, please don't leave me." he sobs.
He finds the answer in Reid's eyes, dulled with pain, but still focused on Luke.
The look in Reid's eyes haunts Luke, forces him from sleep night after night.
The caring, the selflessness, the love.
On one such night, he wakes, screaming himself hoarse.
"Reid," the single word. "Reid!" a broken gasp.
He gets out of bed, drenched with sweat.
He stumbles to the bathroom, turns on the light.
He has trouble finding himself in the mirror; who is this pale, sick man?
His hands grasp the mirror, struggling to stay firm.
"Reid," he whimpers. "Why did you leave me?"
Eyes closed, he tries to shut out the bleating in his brain.
"I wanted to kiss you. I've wanted to kiss you for a long time. Luke."
Blue eyes struggle to his forebrain, warm, kind, caring.
"You can't look at me and tell me you don't know who I am."
Eyes he will never see again.
"If I'm gonna put myself out there, fall in love with you, I'm not gonna lose you, you hear me?"
He clenches his jaw in a futile effort to keep his sadness at bay, as his memories overwhelm.
"But I did lose you," he whispers to the empty bathroom. "I did lose you, I did."
He can not stand it anymore.
He leaves the bathroom, trying to run away.
Reid's voice resonates in his ear, like he is standing next to him.
He stumbles downstairs, to the liquor cabinet in the den.
He opens the cabinet, staring hungrily at the nearly full bottle of vodka.
"I can't do this anymore, Reid." he whispers. "I can't live without you."
He reaches inside, grabs the bottle with trembling fingers.
Once he has it on the table, he just stares at it in fascination.
All the panic and anguish has evaporated, leaving him feeling numb and empty.
He curls up on the couch, scrubbing the salty tears off his cheeks.
When he sleeps, Reid holds him close, strong surgeon's hands keeping him tethered to the world. Reid kisses his forehead tenderly, then his eyelids, his nose, and finally his mouth.
Luke moans softly in his sleep, reaching for a phantom.
The next day, Lily finds him asleep next to the vodka.
She doesn't say anything, just takes the bottle away, and locks it back into the cabinet.
"Mom," he says gently. "I didn't -"
"I know, baby." she murmurs. "But just for now, we need to remove temptation."
He nods, eyes red and puffy. His head is foggy, vision blurred.
"Mom," he says. "I felt him. Last night, I felt him with me."
Lily gives Luke a soft smile, and joins him on the couch.
She gathers him into her arms, soft hands stroking his back.
He holds her tightly, closing his eyes. He struggles to hold onto the dream of Reid soothing his tears away. He holds it in his mind, but it floats away, a warm and fleeting touch.
"I never hugged Reid," he whispers into his mother's hair.
Lily murmurs reassuring words, but he is not paying attention.
He opens his eyes, and sees Reid standing a few feet away. Luke can see right through him.
He watches as the translucent Reid strides to him.
Luke hardly reacts; he doesn't want to scare his mother. His breath comes in small spurts.
Reid strokes Luke's cheek with his hand, his touch warm, but alien.
"You have to live for me, Luke." he says, voice cracking slightly. "Take care of yourself, you hear me. I'll see you in about fifty years."
Luke watches as Reid's eyes widen, and contract. His eyes are shimmering with tears.
"You never cried when you were alive," he whispers.
"I also never planned to get hit by a train, and leave the love of my life alone." Reid says wryly. His index finger grazes Luke's lips.
"Just do me a favor, Mr. Snyder." he says softly.
"Anything," Luke answers.
"Eat something, Luke." Reid replies, concern radiating from him. "You look like crap."
Luke's mouth quirks in a faint smile.
"Takes one to know one," he says. "You're the one who's dead."
"You will be soon, if you don't take care of yourself. It's not your time. You have so much to do with your life."
Luke shrugs, and is only faintly surprised to realize that his mother has disappeared.
"I don't want to do it without you," he says adamantly. He stands up the couch, and places his hands on Reid's shoulders.
Reid smiles, and pulls Luke to him by the waistband of his pants.
Reid engulfs Luke in a warm and loving hug.
"But you have to," he says. "I love you, Luke." Reid kisses Luke's forehead, hands wrapped in his hair.
"I love you too," Luke sniffles.
Reid shivers in his arms, and Luke feels the warm, wet tears cascade silently down his face.
"It's time for me to go," Reid murmurs. He stares into Luke's eyes, letting the tears fall freely.
"I'll see you soon," Luke whispers, fighting for reassurance.
Reid leans forward, drawing in Luke's breath with deep, relaxing sighs. He grazes his upper lip against Luke's mouth, yearning to taste him.
"Not soon enough," he says, soft and thready.
Reid brings his mouth to Luke's, easing his tongue inside. It is a tender and loving kiss. It is a kiss of goodbye.
Luke savors the taste of his boyfriend for as long as he can.
Reid slowly fades away, his hand holding Luke's cheek in solace and comfort before finally vanishing.
The next morning, Luke again holds the pillow in his arms.
His cheeks are dry. He kisses the pillow once, before rolling over and burrowing into the covers.
This time, his dreams are no longer a torment. He knows that now he will be able to go on. Reid wants him to move forward.
"I love you. There, I said it."
"I love you too, Reid." Luke murmurs, before slipping into a relaxing sleep.