Didn't read it over, its utter crap. If you want me to redo it just write me up. Not my best, sorry, wanted to get this done with.

Part 3/3 The funeral

The funeral had been...unbearable. Three hours of people recalling stories of how Ellis made them feel, how they met, what they did together and how they were going to miss him , all that sentimental junk had really done Nick in.

With all these random strangers coming up to the poteum to speak about their fallen hero and how they got to spend time with the soldier made the gambler dare he say, sad. Why did all these people have something good to tell about Ellis? Why were they so lucky to have spend so many years being around him? Making memories with him?

To Nick, it wasn't fair.

He wanted memories of coming home to a husband greeting him after a long day on the job. A husband to talk to when he needed someone there. Ellis to help him take care of their kids when they cried out. Ellis to be there at night to hold.

He wanted Ellis to just be there.

The honoring speech, gun squad, color guard and the singing of Amazing Grace practically killed Nick to sit through.

If it weren't for their country in the first place then Ellis would still be alive and well...with him.

Keith had even shown up to speak about his 'buddy Ellis' and all their fun times back in Savannah that they had.

Nick had tuned him out just like the rest of them.

He felt as though he didn't belong there. He didn't want to come, it hurt too much. The funeral was the end. Nothing ever happened after death. Well, besides Heaven, and Nick knew that Ellis would have absolutely no problem getting into that place. It was he, himself, that the gambler was worried about.

When his time came, Nick knew he couldn't possibly be accepted. With all the horrible things he had done in his past life there was no way any place would accept him. Nothing was as deserving to the gambler than hell. That he knew.

So this was to be the end of his and Ellis' time together. Nick would never see his southerner again, even when he himself died. Nick was to be forever separated from his one and only true love. His soul-mate. For an eternity.

An eternity without the feeling of having the one he loved by his side, never feeling his arms around him again, never being able to hear one of his ridiculous Kieth stories again and never knowing what could have been. Nick was sure that, even if he didn't go to hell when he died, it would still be hell. Because without Ellis', even Heaven is hell with out him in it.

The former gambler didn't want to dwell on the fact that his life would never be the same again. No, the hick had changed him far too much for him to go back to his old way of living. He had changed Nick into the man that he so desperately tried to be on his own, but failed. Now that he experience what it was like to love and to be loved back, the ex-card shark couldn't even begin to think about going back to his old life, a life before Ellis.

It was a closed casket.

Apparently the body was to horribly mangled for civilized people to see.

The atmosphere was thick, heavy. Everyone had been crying. Especially Keith.

He had flown down to be at the funeral, all the way from where he was stationed in San Diego.

Keith looked rough, as though he thought that he was the reason for his best friend's death.

Or at least taking his friend's absence very badly. The funeral was sad indeed. Everyone was morning over their loss. But the funeral itself was beautiful. Very patriotic.

Ellis would have liked it.

After the funeral Nick was confronted by his mother-in-law. She cried on his shoulder for what seemed like hours. Nick didn't know what to do but comfort her, and so he did.

"He loved you..." She whispered as she chocked back another sob.

Nick didn't know how to respond to that. Ellis' mother hated Nick for 'corrupting her little angel', and for her to openly speak and to find solace in the very thing she hated threw Nick off.

"He loved you...d-did yo-ou love m-my son?" The plump women laid her head on Nick's shoulder and began to sob again.

"Yes...I did." Do. Nick began to rub her back in the hopes that she would calm down.

"Then why..." Nick didn't understand what she had meant by that statement and he was about to ask her about it when she began to speak again. "Why did you let him die?"

Nick's eyes widened. How could he have let Ellis die? The former gambler was frozen with shock, not knowing what to say.

The women pushed Nick away from her. " It should have been you..." There was resentment in her eyes and a bitter loathing in her voice. " It should have been you, not my baby. He was pure, and YOU corrupted him! YOU TAINTED HIM!"

Nick felt something stinging in his eyes and he didn't have to wipe his eyes to know that he was crying. What this lady was saying was true, he had let Ellis down. And this realization that he had come to made his heart hurt even worst knowing that other people think the same thing.

Nick could hardly breath. His lungs refused to take in air as he felt as though his entire body has frozen over. It WAS all his fault. It should have been him, not Ellis.

The tears began to fall more freely from Nick's eyes and he began to frantically rubbing the tears from his eyes.

"It should have been you..." Her voice was icy cold as she, too, began to cry, and with her parting words, she left, leaving Nick alone with his guilt.

And after most of the guests left Nick was confronted yet again. This time it was the captain that had signed the letter the gambler had received. He was dressed in his formal military uniform, complete with white gloves, polished shoes, buttoned up green uniform Z.A. crested shirt and white pants.

He placed his hand on the grieving man's shoulder.

"He was a good soldier, son. You should be proud."

Nick looked him straight in the face. "I am proud."

With what seemed like hours talking to Kane, Nick was finally left alone to mourn over the newly filled grave. What was he going to do now? Ellis was all that Nick had, all that he could ever want, and now that he was gone Nick didn't know what to do with himself.

Nick knelt beside the grave and traced his fingers on the cold engraved letters

Ellis Niles

Great soldier, Zombie slayer

Beloved husband

...Good-bye El, I'm sorry...

You were once my one companion...

You were all that mattered...

Two years found Nick standing over the forgotten graves of his three companions. His eyes looked worn and tired, dark bags outlined the sunken eyes that gazed with almost unseeing sight.

The figure did not utter a word as he placed a single piece of paper down on the headstone that sat in between two similar headstones.

The figure sighed heavily. He was so tired.

Just so tired...

...Too many years, fighting back tears...

His eyes began to water. "I miss you." The figure knelt down and traced his hand over the letters on the headstone, mimicking his actions all those years ago.

Wishing you were somehow here again.

Wishing you were somehow near

Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed

Somehow you would be here

The figure slid his hand into the pocket of his stained white suit.

Wishing I could hear your voice again

Knowing that I never would

Dreaming of you won't help me to do

All that you dreamed I could

The figure in white pulled the gun out from its pocket.

Too many years fighting back tears

Why can't the past just die?

Wishing you were somehow here again

Knowing we must say, "Goodbye"

The figure stared at the name of the headstone as it lifted the metallic savior to its head.

"I love you El." Nick closed his eyes, cocking the gun.

No more memories, no more silent tears

No more gazing across the wasted years

Help me say, "Goodbye"

Help me say, "Goodbye"


In the winds,that travel through a little southern valley, a sound is carried. A loud cry of sorrow and pain, flows through the winds, along with a faint, almost phantomed echo, forever embracing the pained cry.

"Goodbye Nick..."

Back at the headstone a paper speckled with blood awaits to be read by the one who can never read it.

My dear Ellis,

I just wanted to apologize. I tried, I truly did, but I cannot live in a world without you in it. It's killing me a little bit each and every day.

Having to wake up without you next to me is heartbreaking.

I feel so empty. So lost.

Everything in our house reminds me of the times that we shared together. All those times you made me laugh and the moments you smiled. if I knew that the last time that I held you was the last time, I would have held you, and never let go.

I always told you that life isn't fair, and I'm so sorry for that El. You were innocent, even when the world threw everything at you. And I'm sorry that I had to always rain on your cheery optimism, but the truth is El, I loved your child like innocence.

I still need you Ellis, so very much. Having you gone is like having a beating heart without the ability to beat, a plane unable to fly, Light without darkness, a soul without a mate.

Without out you Ellis, there can be no me.

Having to go about the days as though losing you wasn't affecting me, is killing me. I can't take this pain anymore.

People pass me by on the streets and don't even spare me a second glance. Some ask if I am ok, and I tell them yes. But El, I can never lie to you. And the truth is that I am not ok.

I'm dying inside.

I can't help but ask myself if somehow this could have been avoided.

I remember the last time I saw you. With your military uniform and your trucker's cap. You seemed so out of place, and we laughed. We laughed because there was nothing else to do but cry. And I knew you wanted to cry El, but you held your head up high. I was so proud, you are strong, even stronger than me. Even though I was laughing, on the inside, I was crying.

I didn't want to give you up, but I knew I had to.

When you left El, I thought my heart was on fire and that fire was made of ice.

I cried then.

Every time you wrote to me in boot-camp you always made sure to reassure me that no matter what, you will not be called 'Home', until it was your time.

Well El, your time was up.

As is mine.

I can't live on this Earth anymore, it's that simple. You changed me El. You changed me into the man that I couldn't possibly be. But you did it, and I am glad. You are so much a part of who I am. I can't live without all of myself, and you took most of me with you after you left.

No matter how much I needed you, Heaven needed you more.

You know El?

I guess Heaven was needing a hero, somebody just like you. Brave enough, to stand up for what you believe, and follow it through.

To the end.

That's the only conclusion that I always come back to. That must be it, Heaven needed someone like you.

No-Not some one like you.

Heaven needed you.

Because believe it or not Ellis, you are a hero, you are my hero.

I don't know where I will end up after I die El, but I know one thing. It's not going to be with you.

I am a sinner and you are an angel, we cannot possibly exist side by side in the place that I have no dough you ended up.

Please forgive me El, for what I am going to do.

I am not going to say Good-bye, Ellis.

Because Good-bye implies leaving.

And even though we may physically part,

You never truly leave me.

You're always in my heart.

No matter what happens, no matter where I end up, I will always love you.

Please don't forget that...

...my hick...