A/N: This was inspired by TheCresentMoonWriter's Ghostly Crimes (go read it!!). I dedicate this one-shot to her because she is uber-awesome and because she is now going to make that one-shot into a slash story. I think we should all bow to her.

Love Doesn't Die

Ghosts—most people didn't believe in them, but they should have. Ghosts were real, all right. I would know since here I was, still in the house I had died in nearly ten years ago.

Yeah, that was right. I was a ghost.

And contrary to what many would think, being dead wasn't much different from being alive. I mean, besides not aging, not needing food, and not being able to touch something without passing through it, being a ghost was exactly like being human. I still had thoughts like normal people. And I still had my emotions. Just because I was no longer breathing didn't mean I was a mindless, unfeeling zombie. Quite the opposite, actually.

Honestly, I enjoyed being dead. Death was peaceful. But I hadn't always thought so. When I first became a ghost, it had taken a while for me to accept the fact that I was dead. I was only seventeen when I died and my death hadn't exactly been anticipated. One minute I had been asleep and then the next I was staring at my body from across my bedroom.

I never did find out why and how I died, but now I didn't really care. Being a ghost was better than living, I thought. I was stuck looking exactly like I had when I died. And not to sound conceited or anything, but I thought I had looked pretty good...well, you know...despite the fact that I was dead.

There was, however, one thing that made me dislike my ghostly state. It was really lonely. I had no one to talk to—not that I'd be able to talk anyway since I was dead.... Well, I could talk but it was kind of pointless since no one could hear me. Maybe if I found another ghost we could talk, but I was the only spirit haunting this house. I would leave it if I could, except that was another thing about being dead. I was stuck where I died.

And even if I could have left the house, I wouldn't. There was no way I would ever leave now that he was here.

It must be funny to think that a ghost could fall in love, and with a living person, nonetheless. But it wasn't. It was torturous. From the moment he had walked into my house six years ago when his family first moved in, it was like he had trapped my soul in a cage. He had only been ten at the time, but I knew if there were ever a reason for me to want to come back to life, it would be because of him. I had never wanted anything more in my life or death than to be with him. There were no words to describe the connection I felt to him. But from day one I had been completely devoted to him.

I was haunting him. For six years, I followed him around and watched over him as he slept. I knew him better than his own parents. His troubles were mine, and I desperately wished that I could comfort him. But I couldn't no matter how bad I wanted to. He couldn't feel the kisses I pressed to his forehead when he went to sleep. My fingers couldn't wipe away his tears. And he couldn't hear me whisper soothing words to him like I was now.

"My poor Eric," I ran my ghost fingers through his dark hair but all he felt was cold, making him shiver. Frowning, I stopped and watched him cry into his pillow sitting next to him on his bed. "Just remember he'll be leaving soon and then he won't be able to hurt you anymore."

"I hate him!" Eric sobbed and it was times like this that I thought he could hear me. But I knew he couldn't. The living couldn't see or hear the dead.

"Shhh, it's going to be okay." I pressed my lips to his temple in a kiss he wouldn't feel. He sobbed again and my heart that was no longer beating broke. How I wished I could hold him to my chest to give him the love he so desperately needed. But the most I could do for him was touch his cheek gently with my fingers.

Eric stopped sobbing and opened his eyes, looking directly at me in my spot beside him on the bed. But all he saw was empty space. He reached his hand up to the spot on his face where my fingers were. His fingers gripped at mine, but were unable to take a hold of them and I blinked in surprise. Could he feel my touch? And if so, what did that mean?

He dropped his hand back down on the bed with a loud sigh, "Strange..."

I tilted my head to the side and gazed at him. He was in so much emotional pain that even I could feel it. That was part of the connection I had with him. His emotions became mine. He wasn't as alone in his misery as he thought he was. I was there for him and I always would be even if he would never know it.

There was suddenly a loud banging on the bedroom door and both Eric and I jumped up. I looked over at the door then back over at Eric, anxiety taking over me. He was staring at the door with wide, fearful eyes. He knew just as well as I did who was at the door.


Eric winced at the voice, but made no move toward the door. "No!"

"ERIC!" the voice growled, "OPEN THE DOOR OR I'LL DO IT MYSELF!"

"Go away!" Eric shouted. "I don't want to see you! I hate you!"

There was another growl and then the sound of someone throwing their weight against the door. Eric winced again, taking small steps away from the door until he was backed up against the wall. I stayed by his side, keeping my eyes on the door while wishing there was something I could do to protect him. And then there was the crack of the door coming off of its hinges. Eric whimpered as it swung opened, letting his older brother into the room that used to be mine but was now his.

John stormed over to Eric and I watched in horror as the nineteen-year-old's fingers clamped tightly around Eric's throat. "You little piece of shit! You open the door when I tell you to!"

"Let go of me!" Eric choked out, clawing at John's hand but he wouldn't let go. It just made John squeezed his neck tighter.

"And you hate me, huh?" He gave a sinister laugh. "You have no right to hate me! But I have the right to hate you!"

"I never did anything to you!" Eric was crying again, the tears pouring down his cheeks in an endless river. And I was shaking—shaking with fear, with anger, and with panic because I couldn't do anything to make this nightmare stop.

"Oh, no. Of course you didn't!" John said sarcastically, still holding onto his little brother's neck. "You only made my life hell from the moment you were born!"

"I—I didn't—" Eric was struggling to breathe and his eyes were staring into John's, wide with fear.

"Shut up!" John hissed, his knuckles turning white now from how tight he was holding Eric. Eric gasped, his efforts at trying to get John off of him becoming weaker. John grinned at that and leaned forward until his mouth was right next to Eric's ear, "You were always such a pain in the ass—such a problem. And now I'm finally going to get rid of you."

"NO!" I shouted as John constricted his hand as tight as he could around Eric's neck. I lunged at John, but it was no use since I passed right through him. John was killing Eric—my Eric—and I couldn't stop him. All I could was watch as Eric's struggles became more and more futile, until finally, he couldn't fight any longer.

I cried out in despair when I saw the life leave Eric's eyes, his body going limp in John's hand.

John just stared at him for a moment before snatching his hand away, letting Eric's body crumple to the floor. He backed away from it, his breathing sharp and irregular. I looked up at his face to see John's horrified expression as he stared down at his brother's body. And a couple seconds later, he turned and fled from the room without a second glance.

I turned back to Eric—or what had been Eric—and for the first time in the ten years I had been a ghost, I actually felt dead. Being a spirit was no longer worth it. I would feel this excruciating pain for the rest of eternity. I would have gladly died a thousand more deaths than have to deal with the pain of being without my Eric.

"I'm.... dead."

My head snapped in the direction of the familiar voice and I stared in awe. There he was—my Eric—standing several feet away from me, gazing at his body with his head cocked to the side. I watched as he reached a hand up to rub his neck where the hand-shaped bruise would remain forever. And despite the fact that I knew I shouldn't have been happy, I smiled because I hadn't lost Eric. In fact, before now I had never really had him.

"You're a ghost, Eric." I told him, taking a step in his direction. And at the sound of my voice, Eric turned to me looking momentarily surprised. He blinked at me and I smiled because for the first time, Eric could actually see me. "And so am I."

"You're voice..." Eric began, gazing at me curiously but not looking the least bit afraid. "...it sounds familiar, like from a dream."

"Maybe," I grinned. "But this isn't a dream."

"I know." He said, casting a glance back down at his body. I took another step closer to him and he looked up at me, his eyes questioning. "You even look familiar...What's your name?"

"Jeremy." I told him, "And the reason I seem so familiar is because I've been living with you since you moved here."

Eric's eyes brightened and he smiled, "I knew I was being haunted! It always felt like someone was watching me and all those times after John...well, I swore I could feel something cold touch my skin! It was you!"

"Yes," I said and brushed my fingers along his cheek. "I often tried to wipe your tears away."

"Like earlier," He whispered, leaning into my hand. He closed his eyes and put his fingers on top of mine. "But that was the first time it didn't just feel like cold air. It felt just like this. Why was that time different?"

I shook my head, "I don't know."

"Well..." Eric opened his eyes and smiled up at me, "Thank you...thank you for trying to make me feel better. I wish I could have known you were there. There were times I thought someone was...but I wasn't sure."

"There were times I thought you could hear me, but I wasn't sure either." I told him, wrapping my arms securely around him and kissed his temple. "But it doesn't matter anymore because now you have me and we've got the rest of eternity. Eric, I'm here for you forever and I promise that your death will be much better than your life."

Eric pressed himself closer to my chest and whispered, "It already is."