Middle of the night, and Jay slips out of bed, needing to pee. Hazy, he meanders in that direction, and stubs his toe on something — a shouted curse nearly escapes his lips, but then he realizes he tripped over John’s sneaker. He turns, and looks back into the bed, to espy the young man with his spiky, deep red hair, and the innocent sleep that’s blanketing him in warmth, in the midst of the air-conditioned room.
He stares long enough that it’s his bladder that reminds him to hurry the hell up, and he hops off to the bathroom. Once finished, he gets himself the barest finger of scotch, and drinks it down, moving to the balcony to light a smoke, and think hard.
“He came home,” Jay says to himself softly. “He thinks it’s home.” There are tears in his eyes — tears of joy, he realizes. It was hard, so hard to lose John. So hard to lose someone he’d fallen in love with so completely. Harder still to realize that that young man might never come back. And harder yet to see the boy wearing his face, smiling with his lips, watching with his eyes, standing so damned close, and being so sweet. God, and then to send him off to Amir, to have sex, to learn about pleasure. Jay puts his face in his hands and stifles the brief sob; he’s not quite sure he can come to terms with that, but it’s said and done and it’s no one’s fault but his own. He sent John there; the boy said so, last night. And quite right — if he’s going to make a new life, or recapture his old one, he’ll want his skills, his connections.
But even after all that… this is home. John feels home with Jay and it heals Jay’s heart in a way it desperately needed.
“Home,” Jay says aloud, tasting the word on his lips. He smiles, wiping his eyes, and sighs, contented, a determined feeling settling into his bones. It’s no use mourning for the John that’s gone, when there’s a beautiful, wonderful one here. “I won’t waste this,” Jay tells himself, and stubs out the smoke to head in, lock up, rinse his mouth and crawl right back into bed, pulling the blankets away from where he can lay his skin to John’s. He’ll tuck them in and lay his cheek to John’s shoulder, whispering, “You’re my home. Love you,” as he falls back asleep.