Major (capital “M”) angst and have tissues at the ready for this story.
When they got to the car, Ian got out to let Kenji in the back seat. Kenji stopped and hugged him. “Good to see you,” Kenji said with a small smile.
Ian nodded, understanding what he meant. “Thanks. It’s… good to see you, too.” He tried a watery smile on, but it didn’t want to stay put. He took a deep breath and the second attempt was marginally more successful.
Kenji returned it, then hugged him again before climbing into the Jeep. Once they were settled, Kane pulled out into the street and Ian didn’t pay attention to where Kane went. He wasn’t sure he could bring himself to even worry about it. Then Kenji mentioned something about a television show, and Ian tuned it out. He was just grateful for them filling the silence. In the few moments he’d been aware over the last couple of months, he’d avoided the radio since he wasn’t ready to try that yet. There were just way too many songs that would hurt.
It wasn’t until they’d dropped Kenji off and were on their way home that it really came home to Ian how much he’d managed to let go of for the day. Kane and Kenji had thoroughly drawn him into the discussions, plied him with hamburgers and ice cream and dragged him to an inane comedy where he’d proceeded to actually laugh. And then they’d made plans for the next day to do homework together and watch movies again.
It was almost normal.
And it hurt.
When it sank in just how much he’d forgotten over the course of the day, he wanted to scream. At himself, at them—it didn’t matter. It was irrational, he knew that. And he’d managed to repress the urge to actually do anything with the emotions. But he was mad and he wanted to lash out with it.
How could he forget Hayden? How could he have stopped thinking about the man he’d been so in love with? Even for a few minutes, much less most of the day?
The rational part of his brain spoke up that he was supposed to. That he couldn’t keep holding on to it forever. That he had to go out and lead a normal life. He didn’t want to listen to the rational side of his brain. He’d done a lot in just twenty-four hours, but he wasn’t ready for all of that yet. He wasn’t ready to try to be normal.
So, he was subdued when they got home. Kane had apparently recognized the shift in mood and was giving him space, for which he was grateful. They changed into their pajamas without speaking and crawled onto their bed, again in silence.
But even with a full day and yet more emotional rollercoaster riding, his body wasn’t ready to settle down. And his mind certainly wasn’t calm, so drifting off wasn’t happening yet.
He lay closer to Kane that night. There wasn’t nearly the same amount of space between them as there had been before, but he couldn’t just let go of the idea that he shouldn’t be too close to someone else, even if it was his best friend.
Oh, but he needed Kane. That told him just how much of a ball of confusion and emotion he was and took him right back to having trouble breathing. There was just too much time now, too much quiet. While they’d been out, they’d distracted him, but now… Now, he was thinking, way too much and it was making him insane.
He wanted to roll over and beg his friend to fuck him into the mattress and make him forget again. Or kiss him until all thought was completely obliterated. Or suck his cock until he could think of nothing but pure physical sensation.
And he knew Kane would do it. In a fucking heartbeat.
So he didn’t. He didn’t do any of those things because the mere thought of that only made the hole in his chest want to open wider. He wasn’t supposed to want that stuff with someone else. Regardless of his reasons why.
When Kane put a hand on his hip, he realized he’d been making those sounds again. The same kind of noises he’d been making the night before. Kane’s arm came around his waist and gently pulled him back until they were tight against each other.
Something snapped in him and Ian flipped over and fought. He slapped with his open hands, then balled them into fists and punched. He hit anything he could reach: chest, shoulder, arms. He managed to miss Kane’s head, but just barely. And, of course, Kane didn’t move. “No! No, goddammit! I shouldn’t! It’s not right! I belong to him! Oh fuck…” This last came out sounding as broken as he felt and the fists stopped.
“I’m sorry.” Those two quiet words out of Kane’s mouth undid him completely and he let go again. He let it out, let the tears fall, let the choked sounds escape. He vaguely heard the keening sound, and he curled in on himself more.
And Kane’s arms tightened. “I’m sorry. So sorry, Ian.” The soft sounds, the crooning, the whispered words over and over filled him. The gentle touches on his shoulder, the back rub, the fingers in his hair, soothed him, even against his own wishes.
Because all he could think was that he wanted it to be Hayden.
Another sound, even sharper came out and he finally slapped a hand over his mouth. He didn’t want to hear them anymore, didn’t want to let them out. Didn’t want to make them, but he couldn’t stop.
Kane brushed a hand at the wetness on his face, dropped a light dusting of kisses on his brow and temple, then tightened both arms around him even more. And the voice—the only voice besides Hayden’s in the world that could calm him, that could soothe him—leaked through his pain with the exact sounds he needed to hear.
One part of his brain screamed at him to not be soothed, not be calmed. That he was supposed to cry and rail and scream. He should be angry, he should be hurt. He should fight it all.
But it finally was catching up to him. The day, the roller coaster, the emotional storm. No. He didn’t want to sleep, didn’t want to dream, didn’t want to…
He just didn’t.
But he didn’t have a choice and somewhere in his confused internal rambling, he slipped under.