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in the end it's right

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Sometimes he feels like lying still, under the covers, eyes closed. He'll breathe in, soft and slow, and hold his breath for as long as he can, until he starts to see stars and the rushing sound in his ears begins to hurt. Even then he won't gulp in another breath – he'll make himself take it almost painfully slow. Sometimes he thinks he's scared of getting hooked on air, which is fucking crazy because everyone's hooked on air unless they have a motherfucking death wish. He just doesn't let himself have anything too easy. Like, he could be asleep now, if he took another pill. They're in a bottle by his side of the bed. He wouldn't need to move much, just roll over and reach out. But he won't.

He knows exactly why. Johnny's doing better now, one day at a time, but he still can't seem to help himself sometimes. Like addiction's a hill and he's at the steep part and he just keeps slipping backwards. He'll show up high, all over the place, raging and angry like Tunny used to be before he learned it's stupid to get angry at life. Eve will help Tunny with him, make Johnny drink water and sleep it off once he's calm enough to settle down. Tunny doesn't want to go there, messing up all the time and expecting others to help him out, least of all with a baby on the way. He doesn't want to fuck up what he's building, him and his extraordinary girl. And Will.

Will's been with them for months now. He says he's just crashing for a while. Until he gets on his feet, he said, when he showed up at their door with a duffle bag and a hopeful look. And then he looked away awkwardly like everyone does when they say stuff like that. Tunny imagines he'll get used to it eventually. First time it happened it was a nurse back in the hospital – not Eve, she was always smarter than that – and he wanted to throw something, tell them they had no fucking right to feel uncomfortable when he was the one in pain, with a fucking gap where he used to have a leg. Now it isn't so bad. And when it's Will, somehow Tunny doesn't mind, because he knows Will's just off in his own world, saying dumb shit before he thinks. He wouldn't be Will if he weren't like that.

Tunny thinks that when the baby comes, when they can afford it, they'll get someplace bigger. He checked out a duplex on E. 21st Street the other day. It seems weird, wanting to settle in Jingletown, but now he's back here it feels like home. Or maybe it's just Will and Eve who feel like home. Whatever. He's here, they're here, it's working.

Three bedrooms. Will can have his own room then. Tunny doesn't care if he calls himself the renter or keeps on saying he's just crashing – Will's more than just his best friend now. For Eve too. Him and Eve bonded over caring about Tunny, and that's all it was at first for them. But then Tunny'd go out – just around the block for some fresh air – and when he'd come back his girl would be laughing and Will would be smiling.

Soon it wasn't Tunny worrying about leaving Will alone if they went out – Eve insisted that he come too. Not to be an extra arm if Tunny needed someone to lean on, but because she liked Will's company. It was obvious. And Will, well, Tunny knows he still thinks about Heather and his kid, and his truce with Heather's holding, but he gets this look in his eyes when Eve's talking about their baby. It's sort of tender and hopeful and fuck if Tunny knows what else, but he likes seeing it there.

Eve's decided the baby's going to be a girl, although they don't know yet, because she wants another girl in the house. Will says he wants a girl too, and Tunny remembers dreaming about his girl, back in the hospital, how beautiful she was, and he thinks he'd like a baby girl too. The thing is, Will's part of their family now, and Tunny knows he's gonna stick around.

There's a neon sign right opposite their apartment – it flashes on and off, on and off, all night. Eve's bought curtains, but that's as domestic as she gets. She says the nesting instinct will kick in later, when their baby's more than the faintest swelling in her belly. The curtains are still in their wrapping, on the floor somewhere. Tunny forgets about them in the daytime – he only thinks to put them up when it's late and he can't sleep. He'd do it then, but it'd mean balancing on a chair on one leg or strapping his prosthetic on, and that's more trouble that it's worth at 3am. So he opens his eyes and watches the light turn from acid green to yellow to pink through acid green again, or he closes his eyes and everything goes the color of the blood in his eyelids.

The guy in the apartment below is playing his saxophone. He works nights, and Eve says she doesn't think he realizes that other people sleep normal hours. It isn't what's keeping Tunny awake tonight, though; it's just thinking too much, planning the future. It's easier to do it in the dark – he feels like he can make anything happen when he's lying here, Eve by his side. He's gotten this far, so why stop now?

He can hear Will in the next room – the couch creaks when Will moves, and the wall's thin. The couch was roadkill; Tunny scored it at 15th and Solano. He and Will dragged it back and up to the apartment, and they all argued over who should stitch up the tear on the arm. Tunny only suggested Eve because she was a nurse, not because she was a girl, but there was no arguing that with her, so it's duct-taped for now. At least it's long enough for Will to stretch out on. When they get a new place, that's another thing to put on the list, a bed for Will.

Will always seems to know when Tunny can't sleep. He'll pad into their room, his and Eve's, and slip in beside Tunny. There isn't enough room, not really, but that doesn't matter. Tunny would make space for him even if it weren't something he wanted, because it's Will, and they're stronger together. Will still needs him, needs Tunny to remind him that he isn't worthless and unloved and all that fucking shit that he is idiot enough to believe. And Tunny does want it; he wants the feel of two warm bodies beside him, and maybe it's greedy, but he doesn't give a fucking damn.

By the time Will comes in tonight, it's light enough that the sign is fading into daylight, and Tunny's in that half-awake, half-asleep state where he's not sure if he's dreaming. Will's bare feet on the thin carpet don't make much sound, but Tunny pulls out of his doze when Will lifts the comforter and there's a cold draft along Tunny's side.

"Get in quick, asshole," Tunny complains, and Will chuckles, but he presses up against Tunny to make up for the chill, so that's okay.

Tunny slips one arm under Eve so she doesn't get pushed too far over, and because he likes the feel of her, and Will rests his head on Tunny's shoulder the way he always does when he's trying to make himself feel better or Tunny feel better. Doesn't matter which – it works both ways.

Will's hand slides down under the covers, and under the waistband of Tunny's sleep pants. No real purpose to the move – Tunny's too sleepy to get it up, and Will's gonna fall asleep in a minute like he always does – but it's comfortable. Maybe the biggest lesson Tunny's learned in growing up is that comfortable and mundane aren't the same.

Eve shifts in closer, and Tunny slips his hand over her belly. He can smell her shampoo, and Will's hair smells the same, and he loves them both.