An insistent pounding woke Alan from his self-pity. With teary eyes, he looked toward the door and got up so he could see who wanted him. He took a quick glance through the peephole: it was Eric on the other side, an angry and confused look on his face.

"Alan, I know you're in there. Let me in." Eric ceased in his pounding so he could be heard.

"I-I can't, Eric. It'd be better if you just left."

"Let me in before I break down this God damned door."

Alan slowly opened the door, which was violently thrown to the side as Eric barged in. He gathered the shorter man into his arms and squeezed him tightly.

"Why did you leave me that note, Alan? Why did you say that you were going to leave everyone you loved? Why, Alan?" Eric began to cry for himself for the first time in his life, not for anyone else.

"I don't want to see you suffer on my behalf. I can't do that to you."

"Nothing is going to make me suffer more than what you told me in the note. Nothing ever will compare. I don't want you to leave me, Alan. I'll go crazy without you."

Alan looked up at Eric's tear-stained face, his lips quivering with the tears he was holding back. He couldn't stand seeing Eric cry. Alan knew he had to make things better, for his heart was in shreds and so was Eric's. He wouldn't tell his love of what he was planning on doing, and just focus on the time they had left together. He had to be strong for whatever time he had left. Alan would not let the rest of his life be ruled by tears and sadness.

"I was flustered when I wrote that, and I didn't know what I was saying. I was just so overwhelmed with the attack...I'm sorry for saying those things, Eric." He reached up and kissed his lover gently on the lips before continuing, "I've come to a decision that I can't live in fear of the Thorns of Death. I can't let it ruin us or the time I have left with you."

Eric let out a single sob and repeatedly began kissing Alan's head. Alan's eyes watered as Eric clung to him, and he let out a deep, shaky sigh of relief as he realized that he would have Eric for the rest of his life.

Fin.