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 * Find Part 24 here


* * *

Lunch was somewhat subdued. They’d ended up coming across the same trail that Ian and Hayden had gotten lost on the year before. He’d spent a good five minutes staring at the area he was sure they’d stopped at for lunch and… other activities. It took both Kane and Kenji to get him going again.

And now he was kicking himself for getting so upset about it. “I’m already getting tired of things like that,” he said to the soda can he held.

Kenji just shook his head. “Let it go, Ian. It’s not a big deal. We may not be going through quite what you are, but we understand, at least a little. He was important to us, too. I still have things that hit me wrong.” He gave a half shrug.

Ian looked up at that. “Really?”

“Yeah. We used to watch Next Gen a lot together. If I stumble across it in my channel surfing—especially All Good Things, I go a little crazy—and have to flip past it really quickly. We must have watched that episode a dozen times.” In the following silence, Kenji finished his sandwich and started gathering garbage.

Ian watched the lake ripple as a boat passed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize…”

“Of course you didn’t. And you don’t have to,” Kane said. “Really, Ian. We’re fine with this. Okay?”

Ian looked from one face to the other and was grateful when all he saw was understanding and sympathy. “Okay. I’m… going to take a short walk.” He stood up and brushed himself off, then wandered down to the water’s edge.


“Need to bring him out of that,” Kenji said, nodding toward Ian.

“Well, I know of one absolutely sure way of doing that.” Kane grinned.

Kenji raised an eyebrow at the leer on Kane’s face. “Oh really? You think he’d want to?” Kenji turned to take in Ian’s walk along the beach.

Kane shrugged. “At worst he says no. But I figure if we pull out that bottle we brought along…”

Kenji laughed. “That would probably do it.” Ian picked up a rock and Kenji couldn’t seem to take his eyes off him. “I don’t want him to regret it, though, get pissed at me. Especially with me leaving in a couple of weeks.”

Kane shook his head. “He won’t. Probably welcome the chance to stop thinking.”

“If you’re sure…” Kenji chuckled. “I wonder if we can get him to talk. I’d love to hear this infamous talent he has with words.”

“Oh, I bet you could. And he is talented.” Kane’s eyes unfocused for a moment as he apparently got lost in a memory of that very talent.

“So both you and Hayden have said. He told me about one night when he couldn’t be over at your place. They spent the whole damned night on the phone. I didn’t believe him when he told me just… how much he did.”

“I heard that call. I was on the bottom bunk and Ian was up on his. He didn’t bother trying to keep quiet. If I hadn’t been so turned on, I would have been pissed for being stuck listening to it.” He snorted. “But I was and I took care of it.” He shook his head, looking over to meet Kenji’s gaze and smirked. “Three times.”

“Bullshit.” Kenji said, mouth dropping. “And where was I?”

“We’d just talked about not really being boyfriends then,” Kane said, looking down into his can.

“Oh. Sorry.” Kenji upended his own drink and emptying it.

“Nah. Nothing to be sorry for. Just… Anyway, we’ll find a way to get him to do it for you.” Kane chuckled.

“You are one lucky bastard,” Kenji said, shaking his head.

Kane shrugged. “I suppose. I’d be luckier if we were boyfriends or something. Most of the time, he just comes to me to forget.”


Kane shrugged again. “Nah, not really. He’s my best friend. I don’t love him, so it’s not like it hurts. And hell, I’m not complaining, am I?”

Kenji snickered. “No, guess not. No wonder you haven’t asked me, lately.”

“Hey, I’m sorry. You should have said something,” Kane said, frowning.

Kenji held his hands up. “No big deal. We haven’t exactly had a lot of opportunity with him kind of… you know, waking up. But…” He paused and shrugged, “Well, anyway, I wouldn’t mind getting together a least a couple of times before I leave,” he said with a grin.

Kane nodded, his grin matching Kenji’s. “Of course.”

They both turned and their smiles dropped as they watched Ian skip rocks across the surface of the water. “He’ll be okay,” Kenji said.

“Yeah. He’s already getting there. Some stuff is always going to bother him. But…” Kane trailed off with a half-shrug.

“Right.” Kenji took a deep breath. “Well, let’s swim. I’m already hot,” he said, standing up and toeing his shoes off.

“Yeah, you are,” Kane said, chuckling.

“Aw, dear, you’re just too sweet.” Kenji laughed at Kane’s snort then dropped his jeans, showing off his swimsuit.

“Holy hell, Kenji, could you leave a little to the imagination?” Kane asked, eyeing the Speedo with a raised eyebrow.

Kenji gave a mock flex and laughed even harder. “Jealous?”

Kane snorted, but let his eyes travel over his friend’s body anyway. “Hardly,” he said, dropping his own jeans.

Kenji raised his own eyebrow, causing Kane to grin even wider. “Hello pot, my name’s kettle.” He held out a hand.

Kane just punched him in the shoulder with a laugh and took off for the water. Kenji followed and they both made sure to splash Ian on their way by. Ian sputtered, drenched in his clothes and started stripping. “Bastards! I am so getting you two!” he shouted, struggling out of his wet jeans. Once he was down to his swim trunks, he took off after them.