Very satisfying and skillfully written story, Sharry. I see the relationship between Joe and Adam just as you do, deeply affected by Adam's surrogate parent role during their youth. Made me think about what a great parent Adam would make. I like how you detailed the way certain scents trigger strong memories and emotions in us ie. the smell of Adam's body (which I'm certain would trigger a strong response in me ;) Also, wanted to say how gratifying it is to see a story where brothers are comfortable with physical intimacy. I think it's important we give men that message. Thanks for the enjoyable read.
Chezza, thank you for your thoughts and feedback! I am encouraged each time I hear that someone else views Adam and Joe's relationship in the same light that I do.
I don't think Adam could have easily avoided a sort of surrogate parenthood with Joe given the difference in their ages. I guess some brothers might have rebelled against accepting that type of role, but I don't see Adam doing that.
I also have complete faith in readers to understand the meaning of familiar scents that we all commonly associate with our loved ones. While I would love to know what Adam's personal scent was like (which would trigger a major response in me as well, and probably why I thought of it), I'm comfortable assuming that it was a part of Joe's long ago memories. Such things are not likely superficial, or anything that we think about routinely. We just know it's there; more like a descriptive piece of our closest relationships - something we can remember and lean on for comfort when we need to.
I think the relationship between these two brothers would have been enduring. (And it was fun to explore a little differently for a little while.) :)