He looked around the small cluster of people around the grave, and then looked up at the clear sky with a small smile. For all that it felt like the world could not turn on, the sky was bright and sunny, and he knew that little cared who had been interred here today – who had been torn too early from their life.
He felt a hand on his arm, and let himself be pulled away from the grave – perhaps to the car, perhaps in a walk back to the shop or a house – but he cared not. He knew they worried for him, worried that he was still in denial and that he would be in shock later – or was it the reverse? All he knew was that the people he knew watched him with pity and worry – and had been for a while now. And while it was somewhat humiliating that they pitied him, he couldn't bring himself to truly care; for that would mean facing the reality around him.
Whether being immortal was a blessing or a curse - whether it had a purpose in the end or was merely a life of endless torture – the truth remained that he would exist far after any of those he cared for ceased to. He would be there from beginning to end; and, if they were there too, would have to lie every day to others. They could pity him for his insistence until the end that his friend would live – that all would be well – but he knew of no other way to survive.
He blinked and glanced around at the room he found himself in, at the familiar rooms of the antique shop where he had not ventured from recently. Lucas and Hanson had visited often, and Jo had been there nearly every second; but he couldn't help closing his eyes and turning away from the memories of another that had shared the room.
"Henry, we're worried for you."
Slowly, he shed his coat and scarf, running the loop of the material through his hands before carefully hanging it in the closet. "You need not be, Detective."
"Oh? And just why might that be?"
"There is nothing that can harm me for long – you know this."
"And you and I both know that it's only a physical reset button – nothing more."
He slowly turned back to face her. She was so young and beautiful – dark haired and vibrant, and her presence made him want to smile. Yet at the same time, he knew that if she survived the gauntlet of her job as a homicide detective, she would age and one day die – thus was the lot of most people. Certainly, she would be just as beautiful, as young, as vibrant as ever – and he would always see her as such.
They always thought he deluded himself – that he refused to see the reality of mortality that was directly in front of him. The truth was actually a mixture of both. He looked at the people and he saw them aging – saw them steadily marching towards Death's waiting arms; but he also saw them as they once were, young and energetic with all their lives before them.
And perhaps it was a delusion. Perhaps it was simply a dream that he distracted himself with. But if it was, he would never be convinced to give it up – he would prefer to remember them as the strong people they once were, and not the pale forms in the caskets.
She pulled him into a hug, and he stood still.
"Henry, we're all going to be here for you – no matter what you're doing." She released him and stepped back a foot to look into his eyes. "Lucas will leave the morgue to track you down if you try to leave him permanently with Dr. Washington; and Mike wouldn't dream of giving up the perfect sitter and guardian for his kids."
Henry swallowed, and finally straightened up. "And you, Detective?"
She smiled. "Do you think I'd give up my key to so many closed cases, Henry?"
He smiled in response, but it was tight.
The smile dropped from her face and she straightened up. "Henry. You listen to me carefully: I will not let you go. If you leave here, I leave – and if you try to disappear, I will track you down and there are people who would help me. I made a promise, and your stubbornness and imagined guilt will not force me to break it. Do you understand me? Don't you dare try to leave us here – you still have more family here, even if you refuse to admit it." She sighed. "Please don't go, Henry. It feels like I've just started getting to know you."
He breathed in a shuddering breath, turning slightly away from her. "Then you expect me to stay with people and watch them fade away around me, watch all those I care for die?"
She began to answer, but then paused. "Actually, yes, I do." She cut off his shocked retort and pressed on. "I expect you to live with people and to care for them, because that is what helps you to live. I expect you watch people pass on and to hurt, because that means you're still alive. You can say it's a curse, that it would be better if you died or distanced yourself from all of us mortals – but I will never believe that, and I don't think anyone else will either." She lightly poked him on the arm. "Remember how it feels when you lose someone; and then imagine what it would be like to lose someone you were certain would never leave you – and that's what it would be like for us."
He remained turned away from her, and she sighed, raising her hands in surrender.
"Yes, it's selfish of me – but we care too much to let you go. At least wait a little while before doing anything, alright?"
He was silent, and then he turned back to her with a small smile. "It is no surprise Abe liked you when you use his same method of guilting me to win arguments."
"Hey, all's fair when working against an immortal."
He nodded in agreement, and then his smile faded away. "I am...I am sorry..."
"No, no..." She hesitated, and then wrapped her arms tightly around him as he began to sob. "No, you don't need to apologise – he meant too much to you..."
"Don't tell me if you're dying – because I don't want to know. Don't wake me because I'm dreaming where everyone you know never leaves too soon. Don't tell me where the road ends, because I just don't want to know."
AN: Inspired by the lyrics of the song Angels on the Moon by Thriving Ivory. Written before the season one finale. The funeral is Abraham's – and will always be at an undisclosed time because I refuse to consider the series without him. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Gramercy, and God bless you! 5-2-2015
Date for the funeral added much later when I wrote out Henry's timeline to include his future self. Abe was ninety.