Chapter 3

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Taking the day off Eric found himself wondering the quarters he called home for so many centuries with Alan. A bridge in the park Alan loved to sit under, especially when everything was in full bloom. The pond where he would go to think, or as time went on, when he needed to be alone. Unable to handle the sights and push back the memories Eric left for London. He needed a change of scenery.

Walking the streets he avoided the others walking around him. He didn't care to see the mother's walking with their children or the lovers holding hands. His heart still mourned for the one he lost. Centuries had been spent without Alan, before he came into his life, but now he couldn't figure out how he had survived. How he thought he had known happiness. Alan was an amazing person, an incredible partner, friend, and lover. He would never meet anyone like him again, not that he wanted to. The sight of how Alan died came to the front of his mind. It wasn't fair, Alan was a pure hearted soul. He should have died peacefully, in his sleep. Not with the thorns. Not being choked, and in un-measureable amounts of pain and suffering. The society may have cleaned up his house but he still saw the blood soaked sheets, the sweat and tears Alan shed before he said good-bye to this world. A world he loved. Clenching his fists he stopped walking, his blood pressure soared from the thought, from the memory. Why? Why did Alan have to die? And from the thorns no less?! Feeling himself unclench his fists he ran into the first bar he saw and sat down.
"What can I get you?"
"Your strongest."
Having a drink put in front of him he shot it down his throat and slammed the cup down for another.

"Alan! Oh my God!" Seeing Alan on his knees in the kitchen, his hands holding the back the chair for support Eric ran over to him. "What happened? Are you alright?"
"Bed. I need to go to my bed. I need to lie down." Watching him struggle to stand he helped him get back on his feet. Alan had gone pale again, his face plastered with sweat. This happened the other month as well. Why did he have a feeling this led back to a few months ago when Alan said he had felt ill. Together they got Alan comfortable and resting in bed. Eric wanted answers but he seemed too tired right now. Maybe Alan was facing a severe case of exhaustion?

Seeing Alan waking up Eric sat beside him on the bed.
"What is going on with you?"
"I don't want to discuss it but I have an appointment in two days. If you want to come you can." Touching his face he noticed he didn't feel hot and the color had come back in his face. But why didn't he want to talk about it? Was he scared he would get mad at him for allowing his body to overwork itself. And why did he have to see a doctor?

Shooting back another one he told the barkeeper he wanted another. It seemed the more he drank the more the memories hit him. It was doing what he didn't want. Yet he still kept asking for another. Why? Why was he allowing this pain and heartache to continue? Maybe it was working, maybe it was numbing the pain. Or maybe it wasn't the drinking that was bringing the memories, maybe it was the fact that his body didn't want to move, didn't want to try and continue with things, or stop the memories.

"Why are we here Alan?"
"I told you I have a doctor's appointment."
"But here? I mean you couldn't get one back home?"
"Are you coming in or not?" Seeing Alan opening the door to the Undertaker's building Eric followed behind him. Going inside he heard Alan ask gently if anyone was in while he tried not to touch anything. This place always freaked him out. Hearing that creepy laugh from beside him Eric jumped and turned. Undertaker stepped beside Alan from coming out of the shadows.
"Come, let's get started shall we?" Alan followed Undertaker through a door which Eric went into as well. He wasn't leaving Alan alone with him. Alan sat on a table to be looked over. He seemed used to this. Eric wasn't sure what bothered him more, how standard this looked or how he could tell Alan wasn't thrilled he was he joined him. It was obvious he didn't want him to learn what was going on.

Being left alone after getting everything was done Alan looked at the floor from the table and Eric stood there. Stunned wasn't how he felt, neither was betrayed, scared, or angry. He wasn't sure how he felt at the moment.
"How could you hide this from me?"
Alan looked up, met Eric's eyes for only a moment before looking away. "I couldn't tell you. I wanted to but whenever I tried I would find a reason not to. This seemed to be the best way."
"You should have told me from the beginning. Together we could have;"
"Could have what? There is no cure Eric! It's just going to progress and kill me, slow and painfully." Eric saw Alan close his eyes, trying to stay strong through this. Taking his hands out of his pockets Eric went to him and put his arms around him.
"You should have told me so I could help you through this. We are partners Alan; we do everything together, forever. Tell me, when you become pale and,"
"It is. It's the thorns attacking my body from the inside. And you. You don't have to stay. I'll understand." Pulling away Eric took Alan's chin in his hand and forced him to look at him.
"I'll never leave you. I'll always be here for you. Especially when you need me the most." Seeing tears escape Alan's eyes he brought him close again. Alan gripped the back of his shirt as he said "Thank you," through his tears.

Once Alan had composed himself Eric asked him why the Undertaker.
"He has been around since it was first discovered. He has been trying to see if he could find a cure. It may not be a well known disease but it's still out there and harmful."
"Any progress?"

"No, just tips on how to help me manage them."
"You shouldn't be working, should you?"
Dropping his eyes Eric had his answer before Alan said anything.
"No, I shouldn't but I'm careful on the field so it's alright. William has given me the approval."
"Will knows?"
"I had to tell him, as soon as I knew I told him."
"And you didn't tell me."
"I told you I tried!"
"No arguing you two. You'll end up waking the dead." Seeing the Undertaker coming back into the room Alan got up to thank him. And made arrangements to see him in a couple of months. It would be nice to leave this place.

Coming out of his mind Eric noticed about a dozen shot glasses in front of him. He should probably stop. It wasn't doing anything anyway. Paying he left the bar and started walking again. He still wasn't sure where he was going but moving helped. It helped keep his mind on the present instead of going back to the past. As much as he always wanted to remember Alan and the time they spent together he didn't want the memories of when he learned he was sick to be all he thought about. They had so much better times that that. So many memories that were happy. Seeing a shadow overcome him he stopped and looked up. There was that tree Alan loved. It was his favorite spot to hide when he was on a reaping job and had to make sure others didn't see him. Going to the tree he stood under it and looked up. He spotted the branch Alan would stand on to wait.

"Alan, want to head back to the society?" Eric found Alan staring up at a giant oak tree in the middle of a park. It seemed like he didn't hear him, he was lost in his own world.
"Al, you alright?" Putting a hand on his shoulder he felt Alan knock it off as he jumped up to start climbing.
"Alan what are you doing? Should you be doing that?"
"Don't! Don't start protecting me. I want nothing to change so long as my body allows. Want to climb with me?" He yelled as he swung from branch to branch. Not wanting to be far in case he fell, Eric started climbing up. Alan did seem to be as physical and as flexible as he remembered which was good. Though, it wasn't enough to erase the fact that Alan was sick. That he had learned that he was slowly dying. Reaching the branch Alan stopped at they sat together and stared out over the city.
"Nice view huh?"
"Yea. How did you find it?"
"I didn't. I just always wanted to climb it. Today I finally decided to."
"Alan. I can't pretend it's nothing."
"And I'm not asking you too. Just don't treat me differently. That's all I'm asking from you. Just love me the same."
"Always." Taking Alan's hand they sat and watching the city together.

Staring at the tree Eric decided not to climb it. It wouldn't be the same without Alan. Shoving his hands into his pockets he started walking again. The memories had to stop. No, not the memories but the pain that followed. He wanted to remember, he wanted never to forget Alan but the pain in his heart only made the memories harder to handle. He knew what would help, answers. He couldn't get them though. No one had any for him. He wanted to know why there wasn't a cure, why Alan had to contract the thorns to begin with. Why Alan had to die. Stopping in the street he turned and ran back down the road. Maybe someone did have those answers. Maybe he could get the closure he was looking for.

Coming up on the undertakers building he ran inside hoping he was in. He was the one person that knew everything involving the thorns. He was the only one that Alan could turn to for help. Hearing his laughter Eric jumped, every time he was here.
"Now what can I do for you?" Coming out from the shadows Eric saw him in the same dark get up he always wore. With the same grin, the one that said he knew something everyone else didn't.
"Come to heal a broken heart have you? And what makes you think I have those answers you seek?"
"You're the only one that knew about the thorns before Alan contracted them. If people know about them then why is there nothing that can be done?"
"Sit and we shall discuss. Tea, biscuit?"
Pushing it away Eric sat, he would get the answers he sought after. No matter what.


As promised the next chapter. Typing this I realize I have to redo the next one and change the little progress I made on it. But I will get it up! I aim to do so before Sunday! Please review and thanks for your patience! I love you all more than words can express!