Major (capital “M”) angst and have tissues at the ready for this story.
But in trying to hide from the fact of his lover’s death, he’d hurt his best friend, hurt others. The selfishness and shame nearly choked him all over again.
“I’m so sorry, Kane. I know you don’t think I should be, but I am.” He paused to swallow thickly and attempt to clear his throat. He wasn’t very successful, but he spoke again, anyway. “I’m… not okay. I won’t be okay for a while. But… heh… well…heh… I’m… here again.”
He felt more than heard the deep breath Kane took and recognized it for relief. “I missed you,” he whispered.
“I’m sorry. God, so sorry.” He swallowed again and wrapped his arms back around Kane. They lay quietly for a long while. “It hurts. God, it hurts.”
“I know, Ian, I know. I’m so sorry. I wish I could… I wish I could hurt for you.” Kane rubbed his back, dropped kisses on his temple and head, played with his hair, and Ian relaxed bit by tiny little bit.
“Thank you,” Ian whispered.
Kane simply replied with a quiet shushing sound. Ian looked up and dropped a light kiss on his friend. Kane started in surprise then returned it just as lightly.
Oh God. This. When was the last time he’d kissed? Four days. Four days before their anniversary. And that was… two months ago.
The tears started again as he kissed his best friend. Their lips met again and again in nibbles then held in a long slow kiss. Ian’s tongue traced Kane’s bottom lip and Kane opened to him. Their tongues slid along each other’s and one of Kane’s hands tangled in Ian’s hair, holding him closer.
A moment later, they broke apart. Ian’s hands started to wander, to just touch, to… feel, but it was Kane who stopped him. “Ian.”
“Oh God. I’m sorry. You have Kenji. Fuck.” He dropped his head back in shame.
“No. No, that’s not it.” Kane hurried to say. Ian looked up, puzzled. Kane cleared his throat. “First off, I’m… I’m not Hayden. I… can’t fill in for him.”
Ouch. He hadn’t been thinking that. And that reminded him very well that the first time he had his wits about him, he went right to Kane and started kissing him. Hayden was gone barely two months and he was attacking Kane! The shame threatened to choke him again.
“I…” he started, but he had no idea what he was going to say. What he could say? Then something caught his attention. “It’s… not Kenji?”
Kane shook his head. “We’re not… not really boyfriends, so much as just good friends who fuck. We just don’t feel for each other like yo… well, like we thought we were supposed to. So, we don’t much worry about that. But… he told me that if you needed someone…” He let it trail off, but he didn’t need to finish the thought. If Ian needed to fuck, needed something physical, then it was fine with Kenji if Kane did.
That whole thing caused yet another set of emotions Ian wasn’t equipped to detangle in that moment, so he pushed that aside. “Oh,” he said, lamely. “Um. Well, I…” he swallowed again. “I wasn’t thinking that, Kane. Just… just that I missed kissing.” He swallowed again, the tears spilling over once more. “God, how horrible is that? He’s gone two months. I’m… I’m only now really accepting it and I go out and…”
“And what? Accept comfort from the one person closest to you in the world?” Kane asked.
It gave Ian pause. “Oh.” He looked up into Kane’s face, the best that he could in the pre-dawn darkness. He frowned. “I… guess I didn’t… oh hell, I’m just not thinking clearly at all.” He brought one hand up to his temple and started rubbing. The headache was breaking through his confusion. “Fuck,” he finally said in frustration.
Kane wrapped both arms more tightly around him in a hug. Then he moved Ian’s hand aside and began rubbing at the headache. Ian moaned quietly, the pain already receding partially. “Maybe you should just try to get a little more sleep. Thinking and all of that might be easier then,” Kane suggested.
Ian nodded. “Yeah. Will you…” he closed his eyes, annoyed with how he sounded. “Will you keep holding me?” To his annoyance, his voice came out small, almost like a child’s.
“Of course, Ian. I’ll be here for you.” That was a little too close to the promise he’d made – and broken – to Kane, and he felt another stab at that, but his mind was too tired to really deal with it. Exhaustion was pulling him under, the headache and emotional storm finally taking its toll.
“Thanks, Kane,” he managed as his eyes slid closed. He didn’t remember a thing after that.