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Eric stood there, watching the fire burn, the new eternal flame lit for Alan. How he hated funerals, dressed in all black, the playback of their records, and then the burial or more like burning. No bodies were ever buried. How he hated that rule. Alan's body went through enough it shouldn't have to go through more. At least he got to be sent off with Erica's around him, hopefully they reached him.
"God I hope your well." Stuffing his hands into his pockets he walked away looking at the ground. Really not thinking of anything but, what now? What did he do now without Alan? How did he live this eternal life, this hell without his smile, laughter, strength?
Turning the key he opened the door and stepped into Alan's house. He hadn't been home since Alan's passing two days ago. His legs kept bringing him here. Ronald had even brought him his funeral attire earlier today. Closing the door with his foot he shrugged off his jacket. Turning to the coat rack he saw Alan's scythe in the corner. The society would be looking for it soon, it would either be turned into a relic or given to a new recruit. No one would ever be able to handle it the way Alan did. No one was worthy enough for it, to even touch it. Taking his time he made his way into the bedroom. In the doorway he stared at the bed, how there wasn't a single trace that Alan suffered here, that his last breath was here. The society made sure they cleaned up well when they came to collect his body and prepare for today. Stepping in he sat on the edge of the bed to stare at the floor. He felt empty, no not empty, lost. He felt lost. Before Alan he would work, eat, drink, sleep. And now while he felt like hitting a bar he didn't want a drink. Alan changed him so much that even alcohol wasn't desired. There was no amount of alcohol that could sedate this pain he felt. Looking up he saw himself in the mirror that hung on the closet. He always hated that mirror. Alan loved to keep his closet door closed all the time so they would always see themselves in bed when they woke up in the morning. The last thing he wanted to see first thing in the morning was himself. Alan looked cute with bed head, he on the other hand, well he didn't. Staring at himself now he saw the bags under his eyes even with his glasses on. He had trimmed his goatee when he got dressed this morning but he still looked unkempt. His black tie still stood out over his black shirt and pants. He looked miserable. He looked like death, and he was, it was what he did but he never felt it before. Not like this.
Hearing the phone ring he looked away from the mirror and made his way to the kitchen where Alan had the only phone. Lifting it up he brought it to his ear.
"How did you know I was here Ron?"
"I called your house and when you didn't pick up. I figured you might be over there." Ronald sounded worn out as well.
"Did you need something?"
"Wanted to see how you were holding up. I, well, it wasn't hard to see how you, um, at the viewing when they showed back his records and they showed you together."
"If you want to come over its fine Ron."
"Okay." Hanging up Eric sat at the kitchen table and stared at Alan's spot.
"You can't sit there!"
"What, is the chair broken?" Eric stopped as he was trying to sit hearing Alan yell at him.
"Well no, but, you're going to laugh, but, I need to sit there."
"What?" Confused and curious Eric stood up.
"In the morning I sit there, it, I don't know, gives me balance for the day."
"Balance? Al, you are beyond strange." Now laughing Eric grabbed his coffee cup and moved to the chair next to him. "But since it's your house I will comply with your wishes."
"Thank you. I'm sorry for being so strange. Certain things I am so picky with."
"Now I'm curious, my house, same thing?"
"Yes and at work I have to sit in the middle of the table."
"You are too weird. No wonder you don't drink."
Alan started laughing as he put their breakfast in front of them.
Eric shook his head from the memory as there was a knock at the door. Blinking he tried to get the stinging to stop. Standing up he went to the door to let Ron in.
"So, how are you, um, how are you holding up?"
"Alright I guess." Moving back to the kitchen both sat at the table. To them both, ones that had been friends for years, this was awkward.
"Ron, honestly, why try to find me?"
"Oh, well." Ronald fixed his hair while he tried to get the words out. "At the viewing today when they showed us Alan's record there were some private moments with you. I just wanted to see that you were okay."
"I've always hated that, playing back our lives for friends. Private memories should be private. But it showed nothing no one knew about. Hey Ron, I need to thank you."
"Thank me? For what?"
"For doing what I couldn't. What I should have done. Thank you for collecting Alan's soul for me. We were partners I should have done it."
"Eric. It's fine. I had no problem doing it and I'm sure Alan understands. You, well, you just witnessed someone that you cared deeply for die, you're mind wasn't ready to do anything else but mourn."
"Yea I guess."
"I can't believe the society is already trying to figure out what to do with this place and his scythe. It's sick how fast they move on."
"They aren't to get it. Not the house or the scythe. Alan was too good a person to be forgotten about."
"While I agree with you there isn't really anything you can do. I mean unless you move in here they will try to claim in. The only thing you could do is put a claim in that his scythe should become a relic and not recycled."
"I don't know what I'll do yet but I know they won't get it."
Both sat there in silence as they thought about this place and the person it belonged to. It was hard to believe Alan was really dead.
Once Ronald left for the night Eric turned out the kitchen light and went into the living room to sit and try to become tired. Sitting in the recliner he stared at all the books Alan had. He had them all, history, medical, novels, you named it he owned it and probably read it; twice. He always loved to read, he had stopped by more than once to see Alan caught up in something. Closing his eyes he felt his smile from the memory come to his lips. Opening his eyes he stood up, turned the light out and went into the bedroom.
"Hey Alan, can I have your attention for a minute?" Eric stood across from Alan who put a finger up to have him wait a minute as he read on the couch. Finishing the page he put his bookmark in it and closed the book.
"I've been thinking, about the fact that we are always together. What do you think about possibly moving in together?"
"What? Seriously? You think we should live together? But I like my house."
"So then no? You realize you said that rather quickly."
"Well, okay, actually if we were to do that I would rather buy a house with you and sell ours."
"Really? Okay then."
"You know, you said that rather quickly." Smirking Alan stood from the couch and moved towards Eric.
"We would really have to look into this idea more before anything is really decided. But I think it would be great if we lived together. I mean we've been together close to twenty years, about time we did something to show it."
Wrapping his hands around Alan, Eric placed a kiss on his lips.
"My thoughts exactly."
Eric rolled over to stare at Alan's spot. Why did that memory have to come back? It wasn't a bad memory but soon after that everything changed. A part of him wished he had never brought the thought up, though he knew the two events were unrelated.
"Hey Ron, have you seen Alan today?"Eric came up to Ronald who sat at his desk.
"I was going to ask you that. I haven't seen him. Someone said they didn't think he showed up today."
"That's strange. Alan has never taken a sick day."
"I could be wrong. Will probably sent him out early."
"I'll ask him then. Thanks. Oh drinks later?"
Going to Williams office he asked about Alan.
"Alan Humphries isn't here today. He has taken the day off."
"I didn't ask, I did not need to. Now get back to work before you have overtime."
At lunch Eric left the office to head over to Alan's and make sure he was alright. They spent last night together, out for dinner, talking about houses and what they wanted. Alan had been fine then. Coming up on his house he saw someone leaving, it certainly wasn't Alan. What was the Undertaker doing at his house? Waiting for him to be out of sight he ran up to the house and knocked on the door. Alan opened the door surprised to see him there.
"Shouldn't you be at work?"
"You weren't there I wanted to make sure you were okay."
"Oh, well come in." Heading into the kitchen Eric saw a key on the table before Alan snatched it up.
"Since you're here now I'll give this to you now. Here." Sticking his hand out he handed Eric the key he had just seen.
"It's the key to this place. I want you to have it."
"What? Why? I thought we said we were selling it and buying one together."
"I was thinking about it and it's a stupid idea. We should keep things how they are for now. I want you to have this so you can come over whenever."
"What's really going on Alan? Why was the Undertaker here?"
"Nothing. I've just been thinking and feel this is better for now. And I was walking to work when I, I felt ill. He saw me and helped me home. So stop being jealous."
"Alan, what are you hiding?!"
"Drop it! Look, I really don't feel good. I just want to go lie down. Do whatever you want, stay, go, but I need to rest." Turning from Eric he went down the hall and into his bedroom. Realizing he did sound jealous over nothing he shoved Alan's key in his pocket and followed him into the bedroom. Opening the door he saw he was already in bed and under the covers. Climbing in beside him he wrapped his arms around him.
"I'm sorry. For aggravating you. You are looking pale. We'll talk once you're feeling better. Sleep well."
"Thank you." Alan bunched himself closer to Eric's arms as he shut his eyes and fell asleep.
Feeling the sun in his eyes Eric woke up remembering he was alone. Alan would never sleep in his arms again. They would never wake up together, share a meal, share a laugh, share anything. Laying there he thought about going to work, save his mind from the memories yet he couldn't move. He didn't want to, he didn't want to leave and fear Alan's' presence would be gone when he got back. Maybe that's why he kept coming back, because this was Alan's house and so long as it stayed his house then Alan's spirit would be here even if his body wasn't. Alan did like this house.
Thank you everyone for the favorites, the follows, and the reviews. They mean so much to me and keep me going. Hope you enjoyed this chapter and Eric's mind. See you all soon.