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Story Notes:
- Warning: deals with character death as stated in the Touch Universe Timeline -
Alex sat on a metal bench, one of those designed to repel dirt because of some special new compound they’d discovered five years ago. It wasn’t comfortable, but this way he had the perfect angle to stare out into the street. He didn’t want to look behind him where Lincoln’s apartment had once stood. They had demolished it years ago and put a parking lot on the very spot. In front of Alex though, things where largely the same and even that old coffee shop, the one Alex didn’t remember the name of, continued on albeit with a different name and look.

“Did you mix it like I told you to?” said Lincoln behind him and Alex looked at the Styrofoam cup in his hands. It was warm, the liquid inside felt alive and he inhaled it deeply. The wind was cold, but it didn’t matter.

“Of course I did; you trained me well, Linc,” Alex answered softly as a woman passed him and frowned with a judgmental look in her eyes.

“When are you going home?” Lincoln’s voice fluttered around him and Alex bristled at his hidden meaning.

“I am home,” he shot back, annoyed and yet loving.

Lincoln snorted and Alex felt his hand ghost across his shoulder. “The kids are probably worried, old man.”

Alex had no mind to think about what other people thought, even his children; parents had the right for a time of their own. Didn’t they? “Did you know they tore down Mandy too? Your apartment, the hotel we…” His voice caught and he cleared his throat, “we made love at, remember Linc?”

“Yeah, yeah I remember,” Lincoln answered; his front closed in on Alex’s back, spreading warmth in his otherwise cold body.

“You alright, old timer?” A teenager shouted too loudly from two feet away and Alex looked up at the kid, not wanting to acknowledge the outer world.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Alex told the boy, who shrugged, almost uncaring which was strange because of what he asked, and left on his hovering skateboard.
“I want to do that again.” Alex told him, his Lincoln, the love of his life.

“Out here on a bench? That’s too public even for my tastes,” Lincoln chuckled. Alex couldn’t find humor in it though, not now that he needed him. He needed to celebrate their love together.

“The parking lot, it must have a semi-private spot,” Alex breathed out and struggled to get up. His muscles and bones creaked and sighed from the strain and Alex once again cursed age and everything that came with it. He grabbed his cane a little too firmly and felt Lincoln leave his spot at Alex’s back; it was cold again. Alex made a strangled noise in the back of his throat even though he didn’t want to. Lincoln would laugh at his sentiments, calling him an old romantic fool. How many times was it now that Lincoln had made light fun of his horny and needful state?

Alex covered up his visible need by quickly putting the cup to his lips and drinking his coffee. He really was getting too old for this, but when it came to Lincoln he suspected he never really would be.

“Lead the way then.” Lincoln still sounded amused, which probably meant he wasn’t fooled in the least. Alex could recall times when he’d been more needy than Alex had been, almost tearing the clothes off his body. Alex started to walk towards the parking lot, casting his eyes downwards so he wouldn’t have to look at the abomination that had killed another memory of love; Lincoln’s apartment. He didn’t look behind him to see if Lincoln was following, because he would, of that Alex was certain.

Alex threw the cup away and one of those new garbage androids cleaned it up right out of the garbage bin, turning even the most rundown of places squeaky clean. “Damn machines,” he muttered, intrigued and yet annoyed the thing intruded on him with its whirring and metallic clacking.

“Never thought I’d hear you say that,” Lincoln grinned, or at least sounded like he did, because he still remained behind Alex, hiding from his sight as if it would make their experience more erotic.

“In here, funny man,” Alex said a little out of breath as he’d found a corner that was reasonably secluded. He propped his walking cane against the wall and started to fiddle with his zipper right away. His fingers didn’t obey his command like they used to and he was still so damned cold. He cursed inwardly.

“Going to happen today, Mahone?” Lincoln taunted mercilessly.

“Watch it or I’ll fuck you right here,” Alex shot back when he finally got his dick free and started to stroke it.

“Come here,” Lincoln whispered in his ear and Alex closed his eyes, feeling Lincoln enveloping his back again, his hand going to Alex’s front, grabbing his dick.

“I love you,” he breathed when Lincoln touched him, loved him. Lincoln kissed his neck in response and started to stroke him firmly just like Alex liked it. It didn’t take long for orgasm to course through Alex’s body. It felt good and yet he felt very empty afterwards.

He was on the verge of kneeling carefully so he could suck Lincoln off when he was denied.

“Go home, Alex; remember the promise you made me.”

Alex waved that comment away and fiddled with his zipper again, putting his limp dick away. He wiped his hand on his trousers because he had forgotten to bring tissues. That had never happened to him before. He was weary, bone tired and it was still so cold.

“I don’t want to remember that promise,” he whispered, “I want to remember, I… remember our first Christmas together, Lincoln?”

Lincoln chuckled. “Sure; ignore me.”

“I’m doing anything but.” Alex slid down the wall, his legs no longer capable of keeping him upright. He leaned against the wall, Lincoln no longer at his back, and closed his eyes. “Love me?”

“Always.”

Alex concentrated on his breath because he couldn’t hear Lincoln’s. He pretended they were so in synch that they breathed as one and it made him smile. He sat like that for hundreds of breaths, a lifetime of memories, several lifetimes of lovemaking and bouts of passionate, dirty sex. And then, the breath that was his and Lincoln, they were two. It shocked Alex for he wasn’t prepared to hear it and his eyes shot open as his hands reached out to touch Lincoln, wonderful Lincoln.

“Lincoln?” He asked feebly.

“Christ! Dad?!” Hope, it was Hope. Alex scrambled to look as if he was indeed decent, but realized vaguely that he had zipped up. She was next to him then, her hands all over him. “Why do you keep on doing this?” There were tears in her voice. He sought out her face, his beautiful Hope. She had Lincoln’s passion and Lord, she could curse like him. He reached for her hair, but his fingers couldn’t feel the soft strands.

“You’re our daughter. *Ours*.”

“Daddy, please help me. If you stay here much longer you’ll freeze to death. I can’t deal with you going too.” She sounded really upset.

“Nobody’s gone, everything’s fine.”

“No it’s not and you fucking well know it! Stop playing these games. Dad wouldn’t want you to. Daddy, Dad is gone; he died last month.”

Alex swallowed, pushing back reality in his mind, but it was too strong. He looked away, the familiar tears prickling behind his eyes. “Don’t talk like that.”

“You’re not insane. Pretending he’s here won’t bring him back and this useless fantasy is killing you. Please, Daddy, if you can’t do it for yourself do it for me?”

Alex’s eyes sought out Hope’s again. “I can’t live without him. I can’t be alone like this.” He sobbed once, twice and then it didn’t stop.

Hope tugged him to her chest and started to rock him in her arms. “You still have me. Casey came with me; he’s out at Mandy’s spot, hating every minute of being in Chicago. Vicky’s at home, hoping you’d come back there. Even Adam wanted to pitch in. We all love you.”

“I’m nothing without Lincoln,” Alex whispered tear stricken.

“And we are nothing without you. Promise me you’ll never forget that. Your children, grandchildren, we all need you still no matter how old we are.”

He shook his head. “I don’t want to make any other promise.”

“Come with me, back to the hotel. Casey and I will take care of you. That’s what Dad would have wanted.”

Alex shook still, the cold so real, so unforgiving. His heart broke again now that reality didn’t leave him alone. Lincoln had left him, Lincoln no longer loved him and Alex, Alex had a duty to his family because Lincoln had made… made him.

“Come on, let’s get you up.” Hope pulled back, put the cane in his hand and started to tug him to his feet. Alex hardly found the strength and leaned heavily on her shoulder once he was up. Pins and needles shot up his every limb and he grimaced through his tears. “It’s okay to cry, shhh, it’s okay,” Hope whispered to him and Alex found he couldn’t stay strong. She muttered comforting words in his ear as they stumbled towards her black car. She’s parked it nearby, a lucky coincidence probably, and after five agonizing minutes, Alex sat in the front seat, heating turned up, warming his body in a way he didn’t want to happen. The heat made him more emotional and he put his hands over his eyes.

“Ssshhh.” Hope leaned across him to put seat belt in place and turned on the radio. It was jazz, the song he’d played for Lincoln when he’d shown him their new house in DC. When they’d made love in front of the fire place where no furniture yet stood. Where Alex had brought a basket of food, beer and wine to inaugurate their new beginning. They’d made love in every part of the house before they’d moved in and then some. “You can relive all those memories, Daddy; just tell us about them, we’ll listen. But share it; don’t crawl up and… not like this…”

Hope’s hand landed on his knee and Alex stared at it. If he accepted her offer he’d let Lincoln go for good.

“She’s our kid, Alex; don’t let her suffer like this, come on,” Lincoln rumbled behind him, around him, inside of him.

“I can’t live without you,” Alex muttered and Hope’s thumb drew small circles at the inside of his knee.

“Yeah, you can. You’re doing a crappy job right now, but with a little bit of exercise you can be better at it. You always met challenges head on. Hell, you turned me queer, living without me is nothing compared to that feat.”

Alex chuckled, brokenly, lonely. “Daddy?” Hope asked, afraid, lost.

He covered her hand with his.

“Take me home, honey, and I’ll try, for you.” And Lincoln, he’d try for him too.

Hope smiled through her tears and started the car as Alex listened to the beats of that song, that wonderful song. He hoped he would die soon. Of natural causes of course so nobody could give him slack about that, but he would at least give living a chance as long as Lincoln needed him to, however short his remaining time on earth would be.

THE END