It was Nick who left, but it was Cody's fault. Looking back, Cody freely admits it: all his talk of boats, of sun, of the two of them together fell away to dust in the face of the reality of return. US soil meant family, responsibilities, a career. A life to take up, a son to be, expectations to live up to.

So when Nick bumped his shoulder, asked him "We still headed to California, man?" Cody looked at the pavement instead of at the best friend he'd ever had. Muttered about family, commitments, catching up down the line.

Nick turned his back and walked away, leaving Cody alone in the crowd. Bereft, abandoned, lost. Angry at Nick for leaving him. Angry at himself. Angry at the world for giving him Nick then taking him away, so suddenly, so needlessly.

It didn't take long for Cody to know he couldn't live without Nick. Somewhere between the first terrifying, silent, soulless hour and the end of the third month when, family bedamned, he was on a plane west. To the sun. To Nick. Three short months by East Coast Time; three lifetimes by the clock in Cody's heart.

Finding Nick took another three months, finding him then finding the courage to pick up the phone. Afraid that Nick would leave him once again, that Nick would be different. That Nick wouldn't care.

Nick was different. Cody saw that in a single glance. He was different in the same way Cody was different - afraid, alone, unpartnered. But together again, they were the same. Cody knew it then, knew his destiny was bound with Nick's, just as Nick was bound to him.

Together, they were whole.