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Day 11 - Sleepless in Jacksonville

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The problem with sharing a house with five other men, Kelly thought to himself, was that there was never enough space. He'd blundered into the bedroom he shared with Eli only to squint, groan, and spin around on his heel, hoping neither his room-mate nor the owner of the impossibly long, tanned legs he'd caught a glimpse of had noticed him.

Grumbling, he shuffled down the stairs to the sofa. He hadn't even had time to grab his blanket off the bed and he hoped to God that someone had left a quilt down there or something.

He let out a muffled groan when he realised there was already someone on the sofa. Had fucking everyone hooked up tonight except for him? He squinted, trying to focus on the dark, and his eyes caught a glimpse of fair, reddish curls at one end of the sofa.

Nick leaned up on his elbow and rubbed his free hand over his face, smiling slightly when his eyes landed on Kelly.

"You too?"

Kelly just grinned and shrugged. "Just toss me a pillow or something, would you? Didn't even have a chance to grab something to sleep on."

"Fuck that noise," Nick said quietly, sitting up. He started pulling the cushions off the back of the sofa and Kelly ran over to help. Those would definitely be more comfortable than the hardwood floor. There was a moment of confusion when Nick shoved them away with his foot and scooted backwards, pressing himself against the bare spine of the big squashy sofa.

Kelly raised an eyebrow and Nick smiled again, patting the cushion in front of him. Things were definitely looking up. Kelly lowered himself onto the sofa and curled up, his head tucked under Nick's chin as Nick wrapped one strong arm around his waist and pulled the blanket up.

"Better than the floor, huh?" Nick chuckled, his warm breath ruffling Kelly's short hair.

"Well..." Kelly dragged out, his voice teasing. "The floor isn't going to kick me in the middle of a bad dream." He felt Nick stiffen behind him and immediately regretted the joke. God knew they all had nightmares at this point, but Nick's and Ty's were the worst.

Nick relaxed slowly, tugging Kelly tighter against his chest.

"Kels, haven't you noticed by now that when we're stuck bunking together I don't have as many nightmares?"

Kelly blinked and shifted, looking over his shoulder and staring Nick in the eye. "No, actually. I hadn't. That's... kinda weird, isn't it?"

He felt Nick shrugging against him. "I mean, it's not like they're gone entirely. They're just not as bad. And why would it be weird?"

Kelly wasn't sure, really. "Why me?"

"No idea, Doc. But I'm not gonna knock it. Now shut up and let me get some sleep."

Kelly nodded and rolled back onto his side. He felt Nick's breaths even out and slow down as he started to nod off, but Kelly was wide awake now. What did it mean that Nick slept better when he was around? Did it actually mean anything at all, or was Kelly just freaking out for no good reason. He lay there, chewing pensively on his lip, trying to relax.

Eventually, he felt Nick's hand patting his hip slowly. "Kels, relax and stop thinking. It doesn't work when you're all fidgety."

"I am not fidgety." Kelly huffed indignantly, but he knew Nick was right.

"You kind of are." Nick's accent was soft and slurred by his fatigue, and something about the way he said are made Kelly grin. He felt himself relaxing, slow warmth seeping through his body everywhere Nick was brushed up against him.

"Sorry, Nicko. Good night."

"G'night, Kels," Nick mumbled, clearly more asleep than awake by now. Eventually Kelly settled down and nodded off too.


A few nights later found Kelly frustrated and tired, locked out of his bedroom again. He was going to have a serious talk with Eli at some point about shared spaces. At least he had his pillow this time.

As he crept down the stairs, he found himself tingling with an odd sense of anticipation. Maybe tonight wouldn't be too bad either.

His heart jumped slightly in his chest when he saw that the couch was occupied yet again. He felt light, strangely bouncy, but that all deflated when he realised it was Ty curled up there. He couldn't explain why it felt so wrong.

Ty grinned at him, either oblivious to it or ignoring Kelly's minor emotional crisis. He kicked the pillows out of the way and scooted over, nearly identical to Nick's motions of a few nights ago.

"C'mon, Doc. There's plenty of room here if you don't mind cuddling." He winked playfully, and Kelly rolled his eyes, but he did his best to smile and settled down anyway. They were all friends. Brothers, even. Why did the fact that he was curling up with Ty instead of Nick feel so strange all of a sudden?

"You okay, Abbott?" Ty patted his shoulder, his voice heavy with concern. Kelly hadn't realised he was being that transparent. He forced himself to smile.

"Yeah, I'm good. Thanks, Six. This better than the floor. Just don't kick me."

It was surreal, this conversation a strange echo of the one with Nick a few nights ago.

Ty just laughed as he settled down. "Yeah, no promises there."

Kelly wanted to laugh, but he felt strangely hollow and couldn't muster up the energy. He sighed, curling up with his back to Ty, and closed his eyes. No matter how hard he tried, though, sleep never did come that night.