Major (capital “M”) angst and have tissues at the ready for this story.
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Ian surfaced to consciousness slowly. He registered sensations separately, his mind foggy. Despite the air-conditioned room, warmth surrounded him and that felt good. It took a moment to realized he was warm because the blanket was tucked carefully around him. He wondered at that and figured it was Kane’s doing.
He felt safe, and that was good too. Safe from some of the pain, at least for the moment. Safe because Kane was wrapped tightly around him, arm around his waist and up along his chest. His back was tight against Kane’s front, and his friend was spooning him.
For the first time in a while, he felt rested too. Surprisingly, he didn’t have a headache, wasn’t achy like he was the day before when he woke. He supposed last night’s storm hadn’t been quite as… violent as the previous one.
Ian opened his eyes and blinked into the murky early-morning half-light. He glanced up to see the alarm clock read just after six. Though it was much too early to get out of bed, he wasn’t going to get back to sleep in his current state.
Though wide awake, he really didn’t want to move. It felt good and he was rational and sane enough in that moment to recognize it was okay to want that, okay to appreciate how good it all felt. His gaze drifted around the room and caught the framed picture on the chest of drawers across the room. His breathing hitched a little, but it didn’t send the fist to his gut that he expected it to.
He unconsciously snuggled into Kane a little more at the reaction and the arms around him tightened in response. “Are you okay?” Kane’s quiet voice floated to him.
Ian nodded, not wanting to speak, not wanting to break the tenuous peace he had. Kane moved a hand up to Ian’s shoulder in the attempt to bring him even closer. Ian suspected that a single dust mote couldn’t have worked its way between them. And he didn’t mind, right then, not one bit.
He rubbed his face against the hand, adding to the touch. The need for touch hit him hard and held on almost desperately to this little bit of sanity, little bit of normalcy. He turned his head and dropped a light kiss on Kane’s hand.
The intake of breath was loud—louder than Kane probably wanted it—and Ian opened his mouth to apologize, then stopped. Kane didn’t want apologies, he reminded himself, so he said nothing.
Then Kane tugged gently at his chin and Ian turned his head to look over his shoulder. Kane’s eyes darted from Ian’s to his mouth and back again.
And it hit him that Kane needed comforting, too. Kane needed to know that Ian still cared about him too, still needed him around. Still wanted him around.
Ian had been so busy being angry with himself for his subconscious automatically seeking normalcy, for wanting the mundane that he’d forgotten that Kane needed it too. Yet again Ian was ignoring the living. The pang bit at him and he swallowed. He’d fought so hard against it—his subconscious, the normalcy—that, even if Kane knew it wasn’t directed at him, it still had to hurt, had to make him wonder.
And maybe if they weren’t where they were in that moment, if Ian wasn’t still so fucking fragile, if the big white elephant of Hayden’s death wasn’t taking up so much space. If that wasn’t there, Ian could just say something to Kane that of course Ian cared, that his mental mas wasn’t Kane’s fault. Maybe Ian would even make a joke about it then punch him in the arm for doubting. But it wasn’t the time for that, now.
Ian tugged gently on Kane’s hand and Kane dropped his eyes and frowned when Ian released him. But Ian turned around, and, taking a deep breath and shoving his doubts and grief aside for a few moments, he tangled his legs up with Kane’s, scooted against him again, and looked up.
Kane watched him warily. Ian reached up and pushed a little at the shaggy black hair. “You need a haircut,” he said, and felt a little better when he got an eye roll in response. Then he leaned forward, keeping his eyes on Kane’s so that there was no doubt that Ian knew what he was doing and who he was doing it with, and laid his lips over Kane’s.
Kane closed his eyes and Ian followed. Kane’s lips came alive under his and he nibbled, nipped and tasted. His mouth opened and Ian didn’t hesitate. Their tongues slid along each other’s and Kane let out a quiet moan. The arm Kane had around his waist tightened and brought him a little closer, skin against skin and Ian reveled in the sensation. It had been so long.
They broke apart for air and Ian breathed a quiet, “Kane.” He couldn’t have explained to himself what all was in that one syllable, he just knew it was full of so much. Want, need, fear, grief…
An answering whisper from Kane drifted to him, then their mouths crashed back together. Kane slid his hand along Ian’s back and down to his ass, cupping it. Just that little touch drove Ian crazy. He sucked in a breath and unconsciously rocked into Kane.
Kane squeezed Ian’s ass and he pulled back, eyes fixed on Ian’s. “Ian, do you want…” he started but paused at the look on his friend’s face.
“I… don’t know that I’m ready for that. I just need to touch. Can—God that’s selfish…” He shook his head and looked down.
Kane tilted his chin back up. “No. Let me help. Let me do… something.” Ian just blinked at him, heard the frustration in his voice and frowned. But before Ian could reply, he continued, “God, if you’re worried about me getting worked up, I can go jerk off in the shower. So, don’t. Worry, that is. If you want something, let me give it to you, if I can.”