Comfort is another prequel to Turning His Life Around and happens within a year of Jealousy.

Major (capital “M”) angst and have tissues at the ready for this story.

Find Part 1 here * Find Part 2 here * Find Part 3 here * Find Part 4 here * Find Part 5 here * Find Part 6 here * Find Part 7 here * Find Part 8 here * Find Part 9 here * Find Part 10 here * Find Part 11 here * Find Part 12 here * Find Part 13 here * Find Part 14 here * Find Part 15 here * Find Part 16 here * Find Part 17 here * Find Part 18 here * Find Part 19 here * Find Part 20 here * Find Part 21 here * Find Part 22 here * Find Part 23 here


* * *

I miss him,” Ian said, quietly. They didn’t ask who, didn’t need to. “I feel almost like I’ve… I don’t know, but it bugs me that I haven’t had the time to think about him as much the last couple of weeks.”

“We all miss him,” Kenji said, “but I think it’s okay, that he would want you to worry more about your grades and stuff.”

“I know that—intellectually. It’s easier to think than feel, though.” Ian picked up his stick and started poking into the soft ground with it.

Kane put his arm around Ian. “Who knows a good ghost story?” Kane asked.

Ian chuckled. “Thanks, Kane.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Ian and Kenji laughed and Ian elbowed Kane. “Right.”

They spent the evening making stories up, laughing and generally having a good time and Ian found himself thoroughly enjoying himself. He still paused now and again to wish Hayden was there. And more than once, he had to stop himself from feeling the survivors’ guilt. But he realized he was starting, slowly, to let go more and more.

They finally buried the fire and headed in to the tent to get sleep. Ian had tried to bring a second one so that Kenji and Kane could be alone, but they insisted they neither needed it nor wanted to. The tent they had was plenty big enough for the three of them—though that could have been argued—if they didn’t mind sleeping close, which none of them did. So, the second tent stayed at home and they shared the one they’d brought.

In fact, once they’d gotten comfortable and were moving to settle into sleeping bags, both Kenji and Kane had insisted that Ian lay between them. Ian tried, once more, to argue, but they wouldn’t listen, either of them. He would have sworn that they’d planned it.


When Ian woke the next morning, it was to find himself completely pinned. At first, he couldn’t figure out why he was stuck quite as much as he was. Usually, Kane was wrapped around him from behind or something. But this time, it was more than that. Ian was on his back and staring at the top of the tent.

As consciousness slipped further in, he remembered where he was and glanced down to see not only Kane sprawled over him, but also one of Kenji’s arms and legs thrown over him too. There was a black head on his left shoulder and a brown one on his right, Kenji’s long hair trailing down over his arm which was, he realized, around Kenji. His other arm was around Kane.

He looked back at the ceiling of the tent trying to assimilate the idea of both of them curled up on him. Should he be disturbed? Or turned on?

Turned on won out when he realized a certain part of his anatomy was pinned by someone’s leg. It was, thankfully, still inside his boxers. He lifted his head and looked down again and saw that it was Kenji’s leg on him. He let his head fall back and his gaze went back to the top of the tent. His hands started unconsciously playing with each of the others’ hair and he let his thoughts go to the one person who was never far from his mind.

What would Hayden have thought about this? Well, if he were alive, he’d tell the other two to get their hands off his boyfriend. After laughing at Ian’s predicament.

But he’s not alive and Ian’s breathing hitched again at the thought. He took a deep breath. Hayden would probably say now that Ian should take advantage of it.

Ian checked that. No, Hayden would say that. He’d tell Ian to enjoy it, that he deserved it. He snorted. He couldn’t do much when he wass the one pinned.

“He makes a very comfy body pillow,” Kenji said, his face still laying on Ian’s chest.

“Yes, he does,” Kane agreed. “He’s all warm and shaped just right. And I get to sleep next to him every night.”

“Lucky,” Kenji grumbled. “But at least I can be comfortable with him now.”

“Mmm,” Kane answered. “Just don’t get too used to it. He goes home with me.”

“He has a name. And he’s awake and listening, you know,” Ian said, to cover up his surprise at Kane’s comment. That sounded awfully… possessive. Kane must not have realized what he said. “And you both have scratchy faces,” he grumbled. “Get off.”

The other two laughed and looked up at him. “Body pillows don’t talk,” Kenji said, dropping a kiss on Ian’s cheek.

“Yes, they should be silent,” Kane added, putting his own Ian’s other cheek. “Be a good pillow and stay put,” he chuckled and started to settle back in but Ian smacked him.

“Nope. I’m getting up. Want coffee,” he said, wiggling out from between them. “And my chest is itchy enough now. Later, maybe, when you’ve both shaved.”

They laughed again and the three of them started grabbing for shirts and jeans and shoes. It took a moment, but Ian could finally climb out of the tent. Ian yawned and stumbled over to get the coffee pot and drop it onto the camp stove they’d brought. He didn’t have enough patience to wait for a fire. He focused on grounds and water and didn’t pay attention to the other two.

Until Kane smacked Ian’s butt. “Addict,” Kane said. Ian glared without heat at his friend.

“So, I guess you don’t want any of this, then?” he asked pointedly.

“Well, now…” Kane hedged.

Ian snorted. “Exactly. You’re as bad as me. Shut up and get the cups.”