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We Could Feel This Quiet With Each Other

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A few months after Tyler moved to the city and got a job, a guy started joining him on his row in the bus. It was always the first stop after Tyler's, and he'd be wearing a band shirt with the same dark jeans and shoes, plus a beanie. Not to forget the earbuds that were always plugged into his ears and phone. Tyler never heard music coming from them, but never questioned it.

There'd been times where he wanted to talk to the guy, but he figured that if he always had earbuds in, then he wouldn't want to talk to anybody. Tyler stuck to looking out the window with a bag full of work assignments on his lap, and the stranger with yellow hair stuck to constantly looking at his phone screen. His phone was off most of the time.

He never knew if he was supposed to take offense to it. Of course, he himself had his moments of pretending to be on his phone in public, but it was never blatantly. The guy who sat next to him must have wanted to make it obvious that he didn't want interaction at all.

The guy was a stranger, but one Tyler couldn't help but wonder about. It may have been the yellow hair, his nose piercing, or the fact that he chose the seat next to Tyler's to sit in, but Tyler wanted to know more. Like, if the guy was quiet like that all the time, or if he had a group of friends who he was so bubbly around. If he let his ears breathe from the music that Tyler always fails to hear buzzing. What his name was, if he was from a local area.

But Tyler would never ask, just so he wouldn't bother the guy. He liked the routine of having the guy sit next to him five out of seven days of the week, and if he messed that up because he couldn't hold his tongue, he'd kick himself constantly.

The guy got off where he did as well, right in front of his work building. The bus stopped and he watched as the yellow haired man practically raced off of the bus, Tyler following at a much slower pace.

"Here's your cappuccino, Tyguy," Patrick's voice sounded around Tyler as soon as his shoes touched the sidewalk. Tyler happily took the coffee given to him and sipped on it, walking into the glass building with Patrick, "Do you have the forms printed out that Dallon wanted?"

"Of course. Why are you asking?" Tyler furrowed his brows, pulling his messenger bag around the front of him so he could double check his forms.

"Our boss is very pissed today. I think someone must have bitten his dick off after one night at the bar," Patrick snickered. Tyler watched his friend wink at Pete as they passed the assistant's cubicle area and rolled his eyes, "I'm not saying that he's pissed at anyone specifically, but if you don't hand in those forms today, he'll probably lay you off."

Tyler frowned after Patrick told him that. They got in the elevator and Tyler pressed the button for their floor, that being the second one. Usually they took the stairs, but Tyler refused to end up spilling coffee on his brand new, white button up.

"Not if I'm his favorite employee," Tyler mentioned.

"You aren't his favorite employee, Brendon is," Patrick chuckled, "Unfortunately, Brendon's on three day leave, not paid. Today, he thought he could get out of trouble for not doing his work by making his way in to the glorious package of Dallon Weekes, but instead got a big fat rejection."

The doors opened up and both of them walked to Dallon's office. Tyler knocked on the open door just as Dallon slammed his phone down on the receiver. Tyler handed his coffee to Patrick and entered. Dallon looked up at him and Tyler gave a tight smile, fishing out the forms and handed them to Dallon.

"Here are the forms you asked for, Mr. Weekes. It's the font and size you asked for and everything," Tyler confirmed. He held his hands together behind himself, watching Dallon's eyes as they drifted along the paper and demonstrations for their newest project.

"You haven't asked me if anything's wrong with the paper. Are you that confident in your work, Mr. Joseph?" Dallon asked, eyebrow raised towards Tyler. Tyler's eyes widened and he quickly nodded out of a slight panic. Dallon grinned and stored the papers in his top desk drawer, "Good. The demonstrations are perfect. You might just become my new favorite employee."

"Thank you, Mr. Weekes," Tyler smiled gratefully, his chest deflating with relief. Dallon nodded and shooed him away, leaving him to nothing but turn around on his heels and walk towards Patrick who was ghosting outside the door.

"Close the door, Tyler," Dallon instructed lastly. Tyler squeaked out a ' Yes, Sir. ' and quickly shut the door. He took his coffee back from Patrick and slumped against the wall beside Dallon's door. Patrick gave him a thumbs up and an encouraging smile. Tyler couldn't help but smile back, because Patrick had one of the nicest smiles ever.

"This kind of work is my specialty, even though I wish I could work upfront instead of behind the scenes. I don't know why I get so nervous right before I have to present it to our boss," Tyler mumbled. He closed his eyes and felt himself being pulled away from the wall, and opened them again to let himself be dragged to his tiny office.

"I don't know why either. You're amazing with instruments and know them inside out. Writing a paper on them is nothing for someone like you," Patrick said as they walked, "Did you know that they finally found someone to help operate on the keyboards?

"Yes. They're coming in next week, aren't they?" Tyler asked, huffing when Patrick nodded, "I could be taking that position. Dallon knows I'm qualified, especially with pianos, and yet he's keeping me in a tiny, plain office while all the fun happens five floors up."

Tyler finished up his coffee, angrily tossing the cup in the trash bin. Patrick looked at his friend with sympathy, but Tyler tried ignoring it. He leaned against his desk while Patrick stood at the doorway, and then turned away to greet someone walking towards the office.

"Hey Patrick, Tyler," Pete waved, standing close to Patrick. Tyler gave a tired wave and mumbled a greeting back. He watched as their other friend whispered something to Patrick who smiled and nodded, then saw Pete walk away right after.

Pete had been an assistant way before Tyler ever got a job there, but one of the first few things Tyler had noticed was how him and Patrick acted around each other. They were like little kids scared to get booboos from each other, but it was a bit too cute for them being adults.

"Have you two gone on a date yet?" Tyler asked curiously, rolling the sleeves on his shirt to his elbows and unbuttoning his grey vest, "It's almost sickening, seeing an assistant and employee get giggly in the workplace, but I guess I can make an exception with how cute you two are."

"We went on a coffee date a few days ago, but it was more like hanging out," Patrick shrugged, "I think I'd be fine if we didn't go past being friends, or at least going on dates. I don't want us to get serious and then ruin it by telling him I don't want anything to do with sex."

Tyler scoffed, "If he ditches you for something you can't help, then he isn't worth it," Tyler's expression turned soft after speaking once, then admitted his thoughts truthfully, hoping to give Patrick more faith in the guy he liked, "But just to put this out there, I think Pete's better than that."

"Yeah…I do too!" Patrick fumbled with the ends of his cardigan sleeves and smiled while looking down at his feet. His head popped back up to look at Tyler, and his mouth opened with more words to spring from it again, "Do you have someone you're interested in? I don't wanna talk about my life the entire time."

Tyler shook his head, "I don't have time for relationships right now. I'm still new to the city, since I only go from home to here, and then stay home on the weekends. I can't possibly find time to date someone when I've had to eat delivery most of the time."

"Maybe we should have a weekend where we go out and do something fun!" Patrick hummed, "I don't really like bars, but we could go to one if you wanted, or do mini golf or go to the best park in the city. There's a lot here, and I can't let you miss out on all of it just because of work."

Tyler thought about Patrick's offer. He wanted to do more than what he had been doing, but every Saturday he was tired from work, and then on Sundays he had to go to bed early. If he had someone who was willing to make his weekend fun for once, instead of watching Jeopardy reruns, then he'd take it.

"I think I'd enjoy that, Patrick," Tyler agreed.


 

After a rush to get his notebooks and phone tucked into his messenger bag, Tyler got to the bus stop that was a little to the left of his apartment. His tardy morning was obvious from his shirt that was buttoned, having mismatched the slots so one end was longer than the other. A few strands of hair were sticking up among the fluffy mess on top of his head as well. And to top off his attire, his socks were red and entirely visible between the cut off of his shoes and jeans.

When the bus came up, Tyler got out his change and dumped it into the coin slot. He then took his usual seat and rested his bag on his lap and looked out the window. Getting to the next street felt almost too fast, probably since Tyler wished things would slow down for today. He was soon being joined by the yellow haired stranger, who once again had his earbuds in.

They made eye contact for a split second as the guy was sitting down, but the yellow haired one quickly looked away. Tyler didn't blame him, he probably looked as bad as it could get. He wasn't sure why his alarm didn't go off on time, he never changed the settings since he had first set it. The world just wanted to fuck with him, apparently.

At one point, before his stop, he had heard quiet giggling. He looked to his right and saw brown eyes directed towards him, and a small smile on the guy's face.

He's laughing at my hair.

As soon as Tyler noticed him, the guy quit chuckling and looked back to his phone, that was surprisingly on this time. He was playing a match three game. Tyler didn't know if he wanted to sigh or grin, because he looked and felt disheveled, but it got a reaction out of the stranger next to him.

As their stop arrived, both of them got off and Tyler went over to Patrick who had their coffees. Despite Patrick talking to him, Tyler watched the yellow haired guy go into their building. His eyebrows furrowed, but he eventually put his attention on Patrick.

"-Earth to Tyler," Patrick called out, "I was thinking of inviting Pete with us to go on our fun night. Would that be okay? You could invite someone else, if you wanted, or I could for you," He winked.

Tyler took his coffee and had Patrick follow him inside. The guy was no where in sight now, so Tyler carried on to the elevator in conversation, "Inviting Pete is fine. I don't really have anybody to invite other than you two, but since you and him are going anyways, then I have nobody."

Patrick frowned at his pitiful tone, "You need to talk to more people in the company. There's some pretty cool people here."

"I talk to Dallon and Brendon," Tyler muttered.

"Dallon's our cranky boss, he doesn't count. And you talked to Brendon once, two days ago, and it was on appregio motions," The ginger sighed. The elevator dinged and the two walked out, heading to the office area, "Not to mention that it only lasted for one minute. Because there's not much to talked about on a note that loops constantly."

"It was a good conversation," Tyler pouted, digging out his keys to unlock his door. Patrick sat on the very cushioned chair across from his office one, which Tyler took, and then gave the brunet a sour look. Tyler grunted, "From one passionate pianist to another, it was actually a fun conversation."

"I don't care how it was, Tyler. You need more friends. I'm not trying to be rude, but you'll find it harder than not to live in a big city with just one or two friends," Patrick argued, slowly scooting to the edge of his seat,

Tyler had found it very boring without a lot of friends, but he had managed so far. He thought he didn't need any friends, as little long as he kept on top of his job and eventually got bigger and better paychecks. He wasn't even expecting to have Patrick as a friend, but the ginger was so persistent to befriend him in the first place.

"Fine. If you want me to make more friends, then invite a fourth person to the fun night. As long as it isn't Jon from the fourth floor," Tyler caved in, glaring at his friend as he grinned and clapped his hands together a couple of times in excitement.

"I'll make you proud of my decisions!"

"You better. Now leave, please. I have math to do," Tyler mumbled, waving his hand. Patrick giggled and left the room, leaving Tyler to his thoughts. He was supposed to help plan the designs of their next work after the one they're currently on, but now he's just been left to feel lost.

Had the way he'd been living for the past twelve years not been suitable for human beings? Aside from Patrick, working alone had been something he'd grown accustomed to. Hence, why after 7th grade, he homeschooled. Sometimes people became too much for him, which is why everyone he knew, and himself, and been shocked at the offer to work at the company he worked for now. It had been a dream of his, the city living part, not so much.

Thing is, it's not that he couldn't make friends, because social anxiety wasn't really him, it's just that he didn't want to.

Later on, at some point, Tyler had come out of the restroom, still wiping his slightly damp hands on his jeans. He had thought to fix up his shirt in there, and tried wetting his hair to look a bit more normal. It didn't work too well, but he stopped getting weird looks afterwards.

As he leaned over to drink water from the fountain, he saw bright yellow in the corner of his eye. He shot up and looked at the guy who hadn't noticed him yet, since he was looking down at a piece of paper. Tyler thought about saying something before the guy walked past him, but he seemed so enveloped into what he was reading.

Tyler sighed and watched the guy go down the stairs, then went back to his office.

~~



Tyler's morning, two days later, had gone a bit better. He wasn't late, his shirt was properly buttoned with the accompaniment of a yellow blazer, and his hair was brushed and fluffed neatly.

Getting on the bus, he took out his change and dumped it in the slot, then went to his usual seat. He pulled his messenger bag into his lap and pulled out a sandwich bag with two halves of a ham and cheese sandwich that he fixed quick smart.

Tyler wasn't a hungry in the morning kind of person, though, so he closed the bag with one half in it just as the bus stopped next. His seat buddy made his appearance and directly went to the seat next to his. Instead of white earbuds, they were black now with aliens on them.

Tyler watched as the guy closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the seat, making sure his snapback was tilted down as to not interfere with resting. Tyler peeked at his prominent Adam's apple, taking notice of it bobbing each time the guy swallowed.

He heard a growling sound from next to him, and the brunet suddenly looked down at his sandwich. He picked the bag up and hesitantly nudged the guy, who slowly opened his eyes and raised his eyebrow at the brunet, and then saw the sandwich. The guy frowned and shook his head.

"You sound hungrier than I feel. Take it," Tyler mumbled, practically waving the sandwich in the guy's face, until he took it with a quiet 'thanks'.

They didn't talk anymore afterwards, but Tyler watched him from the corner of his eye as he tore into the sandwich half. Tyler smiled and kept his eyes to his lap until their stop came up.

Both of them got up in sync, but the yellow haired one got off faster than Tyler. Patrick hadn't been outside to greet Tyler, probably because it had started raining, so he rushed inside the building himself. His ginger friend wasn't in the main lobby either, leading him to confusion on what he was supposed to be doing that morning. He went over to the front desk and asked one of the assistants to pull up his tab.

"Tyler Joseph?" She asked, clicking on his name after Tyler confirmed. Her tongue stuck out a big as she read through, and then she got out of focus and smiled at Tyler, "Mr. Weekes has an important assignment for you. He wants you to report to his office."

"Of course," Tyler muttered, "Thanks," He said before turning around and jogging to and up the stairs. He found Pete in his cubicle, which Patrick tended to hang around, yet he wasn't there. If Tyler hadn't found Patrick before getting to Dallon's office, then he'd ask Pete about their friend's whereabouts.

He adjusted his messenger bag as he reached his boss' office, then walked in. There, was Patrick and the yellow haired guy he had been sitting by earlier. His spot was left in between the two, and he nodded to Patrick as a greeting.

"I was starting to think you wouldn't make it today," Dallon hummed rudely, raising an eyebrow at Tyler.

Tyler shook his head, "I just had to find out where I needed to go today, Sir," Tyler explained promptly, which was to the likeness of Dallon. He still had no clue why the other guy was here, he didn't even know that they worked in the same building. To be honest, Tyler wished that they didn't work together, because it's not a favorite thing of his to see people from small parts of his life turn into big parts.

"As two of you know, Brendon's been going outside of the digital field and working on putting our newest adaption together by hand," Dallon began, "It's proven to be tough trying to do it on his own, so I decided to give him some help. I thought you three would like to help out by doing more than just typing up forms and instructions. Though, I've hired one of you specifically for this job."

Tyler grinned, nodding instantly, "Yes! I've been wanting to be a part of this for the longest time," He exclaimed ecstatically. Apparently the guy to his left had plenty of significance in this kind of work as well, having been selected with him and Patrick.

"Yeah, well, don't make me regret putting you there," Dallon said plainly, but ended up smiling at them all, "You won't have to move offices or anything, but take things you'll need throughout the day. Now get out of my sight and go to the fifth floor," Their boss demanded, to which all obeyed.

When they got into the hall, Patrick squeaked and hugged Tyler tightly. Tyler giggled and hugged back, feeling somewhat disappointed as he watched the other guy go on to the elevator.

"We made it up there, Ty!" Patrick cheered, then pulled back from their embrace, "I won't be able to work around Pete that much anymore, but we can meet up outside of work if needed."

"Have you spoken to him about going further in your relationship?" Tyler asked, both guys making their way to the elevator as they had what they needed in their bag and pockets, "Because as someone watching you drag this out from the sidelines, it's agony in its entirety."

Patrick pressed the button on the wall and held his notebooks to his chest tightly. He bit on his lip and rushed into the elevator when the doors opened, Tyler following, "No. I understand that it's bothering you, hell, it's bothering me too, but I can't help the fact that I'm fucking nervous out of my mind."

"We already went over the fact that he'd definitely be okay with you being asexual," Tyler sighed sadly, looking at his friend with sympathetic eyes. Patrick lightly rolled his eyes and looked at the doors, ready for them to open up so they could leave the tiny box.

"Yeah, well, reassurance from others doesn't exactly clear my mind-"

"Patrick?" Tyler interrupted.

Patrick huffed, "What?"

"Pete accepts that kind of stuff, but do you ?" Tyler asked quietly, "Not being sexually attracted to anybody is perfectly fine, you don't have to think of yourself as some broken-"

The doors opened before Tyler was done, and Patrick gave Tyler a tight smile before rushing through the darkened hallway. Tyler stepped out after him, but stayed in front of the doors. He looked around the floor he hadn't been on yet in awe. Pretty much everything was black, except the doors. The doors were silver, and the windows were tinted just dark enough that barely any light, aside from the fluorescently colored lights lining the ceiling, would come through. It was a huge contrast from the white and grey second floor, and Tyler loved it.

The brunet tried remembering where Patrick had gone, but he figured that the only way to go was to the end of the hall. All other doors had been closed except for one that was around a right corner. Faint music was coming from inside the room, and Tyler took caution walking into it. The room was just as dark as the hall, but with white furniture and yellow lights. There, he found Patrick, Brendon, and the yellow haired guy around a table. All of them looked towards him as he made his way to them, and he stood on the opposite end of Patrick.

"Of course, keyboards are electric whereas actual pianos are not, but you were brought up here because you're specially skilled with technology. A lot goes into these, such as making sure each key fits with the octaves next to them, and each knob and button does as it's supposed to," Brendon introduced their project to them, "As of now, I'm still putting this thing together in my head, so there's not much you can do right now other than what I say."

The three of them nodded when Brendon looked at them one by one, "I don't want to sound like a stern boss such as Dallon, but he gave me you guys when I didn't need you just yet. But use this time to have some fucking fun because I'm the one with all the work as of now," He chuckled, then gave everyone a thumbs up and went over to a desk with multiple monitors on it.

All of them went their separate ways, relaxing on different chairs and not making up any kind of conversation. The only thing any of them could hear was the music playing through the room, and the music coming from Brendon's headphones.

Tyler sighed, wishing the day would be over already.

It wasn't until the next week that things started picking up. Patrick didn't want to talk to him for a while, but then the ginger seemed to miss his friend after five days. Brendon had finally got the main idea and structure in his head, and all of them were able to start working on their project. As for the yellow haired guy, Tyler, obviously, still hadn't gotten a name, nor talked to him after the sandwich deal.

When Patrick interacted with him again, Tyler received a hug from behind with Patrick's face stuffed against his back. The brunet had grinned and turned around to give his friend a proper hug. Both of them apologized to each other, then talked on as if there was never a pause in their daily conversations.

They had decided that their Saturday night out would happen this week, and Patrick informed him that his date had already been picked, but he wouldn't get to know who it was until they met that night.

After their discussion, they had made their way into the lounge (work area) and began working on their assigned areas. The way the room had been set, there was always a shelf between Tyler and the other guy. He had Patrick with him on their side, but it kindly bothered Tyler not being able to see his co worker.

Tyler and Patrick were in charge of putting together the switches and options, while Brendon and the other guy were working on key notes and their sounds. The brunet was happily thinking over dual and split key buttons, then Brendon stopped them for a second.

"I'm gonna go grab food for the four of us. Patrick, come and help me, and Tyler, can you help Josh out?" Brendon asked, flashing all of them a smile and waving goodbye when Tyler nodded.

Tyler smiled lightly at the new information. Josh . He went over to Josh's side, seeing the same earplugs in his ears as always. They ended up on different sides of the table while Tyler had headphones on to create the different tones and put them in order.

Eventually, he looked over to Josh who had his phone out and was drumming his fingers against his leg, but his earbuds had come out. Tyler furrowed his eyebrows and took his headphones off, "Shouldn't you be doing the work Brendon assigned you?" He asked, confused.

Josh wouldn't look at him or even answer him though, which agitated Tyler, "Hey, Josh, answer me. Should you not be working instead of doing nothing?" He repeated, in a tone slightly aggravated than before. There was still no reaction from the other guy, though, so Tyler glared and stood up, "Are you deaf or something?"

He walked over to Josh and angrily tapped his shoulder. Josh lightly jumped and looked to Tyler, going to pull out his earbuds, only to realize they had fallen out, "What?" The yellow haired one asked after his moment of embarrassment, Tyler could tell from by the way his cheeks reddened.

"I asked if you're deaf. But thanks for making it obvious that you're ignoring me since your earbuds even fell out. What the hell's your problem, man?" Tyler asked in offense, "We've exchanged less than ten words between each other before, yet I'm bad enough that you don't want to talk to me?"

"Can... Can you talk slower?"

Does this guy need a hearing aid or something?

"I asked," Tyler spoke mockingly slow, "if you're deaf."

Josh raised an eyebrow and stood up from his seat, only being an inch taller than Tyler, yet more intimidating somehow. He squinted his eyes as he looked down at Tyler, "If you'd really like to know, I am. I wear earbuds all the time so people like you won't talk to me, because if I don't and they talk to me, and I don't answer them, they get all pissy just like you."

Tyler was the one with a hot face now, wishing he hadn't gotten so mad in the first place, "How did you know what I just said, then?" He asked dumbly.

Josh rolled his eyes and snickered, falling back in his seat as Tyler stood in front of him like a curious child, "I read lips, sweetheart," He moved his mouth more as to emphasize his statement, but all it did was make Tyler feel even more stupid.

Tyler nodded and slugged back to his seat, hoping Patrick and Brendon wouldn't take much longer. That was not how he was hoping his first talk with Josh would go.

~~



Tyler and Josh hadn't talked since that embarrassing conversation between them. Brendon and Patrick got stuck in a long line, unfortunately, but Tyler was grateful when they came back. The rest of the week dragged on, but Saturday eventually came.

Tyler met up with Pete and Patrick at a mini golf place, silently cursing himself for choosing mini golf because of the cooling temperatures making their way into the city.

"Is it just going to be the three of us now?" Tyler asked curiously, not wanting to inwardly celebrate too early.

Patrick shook his head, much to Tyler's dismay, "No. He's just running a bit late, I guess. I got a message from a while ago saying he'd still show up, so," Patrick hummed and shrugged. It didn't take Tyler long to notice that Patrick and Pete had their hands locked together between them.

"What's his name?" Tyler asked.

"Jo-" Pete started, but Patrick hit his side and Pete grunted.

"You'll know him when you see him. Please do not hate me," Patrick grimaced, looking past Tyler to an oncoming figure. Tyler furrowed his brows and looked behind, just as the familiar guy with yellow hair was walking down the street.

Tyler's happy expression deflated, and he turned back to a grinning Pete and a slightly regretful looking Patrick, who still had a smile on his face, "I know you didn't have a good start with the guy, but he can't be that grumpy all the time. You just started unnecessary business," Patrick said.

"It looked like he was ignoring me..." Tyler frowned in defense, taking a deep breath in as Josh walked up beside him, stopping while they weren't even a pinky's length apart.

"Even if you argued at first, Josh is my friend too. Just be nice and he'll be nice back. He's like a bumblebee," Pete chirped as Patrick said hi to Josh.

"Sorry I was late. I couldn't find my phone," Josh excused, seeming genuinely apologetic. He looked over to Tyler as the brunet pulled his navy blue sweater sleeves over his hands. Tyler noticed Josh looking at him, and hesitantly reciprocated, gulping as Josh gave him a once over.

Pete and Patrick smirked at the two, and silently began to walk towards the stand to pay for a club and ball. Josh glanced towards the couple in front of them, scratching behind his neck as he sighed, "I never caught your name."

"Maybe because I didn't give it to you," Tyler snorted, taking a step back when realizing the lack of space between them, "I'm Tyler."

"Josh," The yellow haired one said politely.

"I know. I'm not the deaf one around here," Tyler was being an asshole and he knew that. He kept digging a hole deeper for himself unintentionally, the wrong words to Josh just kept flowing out, though.

Josh scoffed and started walking towards the stand that Pete and Patrick were talking by, "I think I should be the asshole because of what happened last week, but apparently not," He shrugged, not bothering to look back at the brunet.

Tyler huffed and tried blocking out Josh, which proved to be almost impossible. Every time Tyler got a bad hit, Josh would laugh at him. It wasn't fair that Josh got almost all hole in ones while Tyler kept missing, he just wanted to mute Josh from the entire experience.

While Josh was going on his turn, Tyler stood in between Pete and Patrick. Patrick nudged the brunet with a sly smile, "Having a good night?"

"No, Josh keeps laughing at me whenever I have a bad go. It's pissing me off, he's pissing me off," Tyler muttered, his eyes admiring the tattoo behind Josh's ear, and the way his leather jacket fit against his arms. His mind was differing in thoughts, though.

"But that's what makes it cute," Pete pipes up, "He's been checking you out, you've been checking him out-"

"Okay, no," Tyler gagged. Josh had finished and was waiting on him, so he walked away from Pete and Patrick and had his turn. He finally got a hole in one.

Later on, after mini golf, they went to dinner at Olive Garden. Tyler had eventually gotten frustrated enough with golf that he just gave up near the end, while the others laughed at him. Now he was angrily munching on breadsticks while seated next to Josh and in front of Pete. He was aware of the fact that Josh was still watching him like a hawk.

"I think Tyler and I are realizing that work on the fifth floor is not as luxurious as it seems," Patrick chuckled lightly, but exasperation was in his tone, and Tyler couldn't help but relate to what Patrick was feeling, "Dallon's too obsessed with having everything made by hand, so it's not like we can use robots to put everything together. Brendon said there's only a few exceptions, but we're not even close to reaching those."

Tyler swallowed the remaining bread in his mouth and sat up straighter, joining the conversation, "Not only that, but Brendon isn't as fun as I thought he'd be to work with. Yeah, sure, he's trying to get with the boss, but when it comes to him doing actual work, he takes it so seriously that he can't take a joke."

"Maybe getting that suspension for trying to fuck with Dallon changed him a bit. I know I'd be embarrassed as hell if that happened to me," Pete snorted.

The three of them heard a bang against the table, and they all looked towards Josh. He had his jaw locked as he looked at all of them with the smallest hint of a glare.

"Have any of you thought that Brendon just wants to impress Dallon and the others around him?" Josh asked in defense of Brendon, "Maybe that mishap did change him, but have any of you considered that maybe it was a good thing? Stop bashing on him; the more time you spend slacking off, the more you get bitched at for it," When saying that, Josh stared at Tyler during the last of it.

Tyler scoffed and slouched in his seat, grabbing another breadstick and making solid eye contact with Josh. He waved the breadstick in the yellow haired one's face and sharply clenched his teeth against the tip and ripped it off. Josh's eyes widened a little, though all he did was sigh and drum his fingers against the table.

"I'm... uh—I'm gonna go to the restroom," Patrick mumbled after watching the two in front of him have a silent argument, scooting his seat back and quickly walking away.

"Can I have a refill please?" Pete asked quietly when the waiter came over.

Tyler shook his head and scooted his own chair back, "I'm going outside for a bit, I'll be back soon."

The brunet rushed outside to the front door, and then stood on the edge of the walk path that separated into a parking lot. He crossed his arms to increase the warmth coming from the wool covering his arms, but still felt goosebumps rise on his exposed collar bones and neck. His eyes followed his visible breath in the cold air and blinked each time it disappeared, already missing the warm weather.

He didn't look when a shadow fell next to his, he already knew who it was by the shoes. Josh had his hands in the pockets of his jacket and let out a yawn as he balanced one foot on the other. It looked like a nervous habit you'd pick up as a kid.

"You seemed like a nice person each day on the bus. If we were to ever talk, I didn't want it to end up the way that it did," Josh spoke up. It was the icebreaker that lead to Tyler turning towards him slowly, "I'm sure you're a nice guy, but you've been an asshole to me for something I can't help."

Tyler wondered why Josh copied his actions by turning as well, only to remember that Josh needed to be able to read his lips, "I've only been that way because I didn't want to accept the fact that I was the one in the wrong. I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to offend you or hurt you in any way."

Josh smirked, "Offend me? Hurt me? I'm not a fragile child just because I'm deaf. I can fight my own fights and I could break you in half if I wanted to. But I think I like you, so I'm not going to," He said, taking in the sight of Tyler visibly shivered and gulped.

"Th-thanks I guess," Tyler sputtered, bringing in his arms a little tighter.

Josh looked down at his jacket and took his hands out of the pockets, "You're still cold. You should, um, take my jacket," He offered, already shrugging off his jacket.

Tyler shook his head, "I'm warm enough, Josh. Plus, we should go back inside soon," He insisted, fumbling for the right words to say even as Josh put his hands on his shoulders and turned him around, only to hold the leather jacket behind Tyler for him to put his arms through. Tyler held the end of his sweater sleeves as he did so, instantly feeling warmer with the jacket.

Josh was now only equipped with a long sleeved black shirt, which made Tyler feel bad. The yellow haired one lead them back inside a bit after though, and Tyler's cheeks went hot and red when getting back to the table. He knew that Pete and Patrick realized that the jacket he was wearing was not his.

"Good talk?" Pete asked with raised eyebrows. Tyler nodded, shyly smiling towards Josh who was sipping on his drink and was oblivious to the brunet glancing at him.

"I can smell love in the air," Patrick cringed, pretending to vomit, "Can you believe they acted like they hated each other three hours ago?"

"Can you believe that you and Pete haven't admitted you both want to date each other yet? The love in the air is between you and Pete, I'm afraid," Tyler retorted, grabbing Josh's wrist as he scooted back out of his chair, Josh quickly following with a confused expression, "Have fun on your date, boys."

Tyler and Josh left the embarrassed and awkward guys behind and went back outside, this time, walking onto the street and in the direction of their apartments. The streets weren't very busy, an occasional drunk couple here and there, or people making out against glass windows. They easily glided along in silence, side by side, which made Tyler both happy and anxious.

"I know this isn't high school anymore, but sex in public is kind of gross," Josh scrunched his nose as they passed a guy who had his hand who knows where, and a girl who was moaning. Tyler quietly giggled, accidentally bumping into his possibly new friend. He tugged on Josh's shirt sleeve to make the yellow haired one look at him.

"Some people are into that sort of thing, I'm not gonna judge," Tyler laughed, feeling loopy just from how tired he was. But Josh was making things fun for him, so the tired plus fun equaled him acting like a dumbass.

"What, are you into exhibitionism?" Josh asked jokingly.

Tyler shrugged, "I'm not opposed to it, we'll say," He grinned, putting his hands in the pockets of Josh's jacket and walking ahead of the dumbfounded one.

They eventually got to Tyler's apartment, and they stood at the main door, not saying a word for a certain amount of time. Tyler gasped lightly and went to take off the jacket, but a hand stopped him from doing so.

"Keep it," Josh commanded, eyes half lidded as his eyes went over Tyler's collar bones and neck. The skin had always been covered by button ups before, and to see a change was nice.

"But you still have to walk to your apartment. You need this more than I do," Tyler pouted, suddenly feeling small in the roomy jacket as Josh had no shame in obviously letting his eyes gander over him, "I-I have plenty of other jackets to feel warm in at my place."

"And now you have one more. I have plenty at mine too," Josh smiled at him and began to pull out his earbuds out to tuck them in his ears, "If you feel so bad about keeping it, just give it to me on Monday."

"Okay," Tyler nodded, "Uh, bye, Josh," He mumbled.

"See ya, Ty," And then Josh was walking away and Tyler was walking inside. He pressed the elevator button for his floor and stepped in.

He's glad that he kept the jacket for the night. He ended up sleeping with it on, only because it was warmer than any of his other clothes and blankets.

~~



PATRICK 11:13 AM

Here's Josh's #. Make good use of it ;)



Tyler blinked at his messages between him and Patrick. He saved the number in his contacts without letting Patrick know.

TYLER 11:14 AM

What am I supposed to do with this?

 

PATRICK 11:14 AM

Message him and ask him to hang out duh



TYLER 11:14 AM


I barely know the guy



PATRICK 11:15 AM

Yet you guys became best friends last night?



Tyler grunted and shut off his phone, then rolled out of bed onto his wooden floor. He waited for an abyss to take him into oblivion with his sheets tangled around him, but it never came. It was the first Sunday in a while that he didn't feel drained and already upset about going back to work, because last night was the first Saturday that he had had fun on since he moved.

His phone kept vibrating against his nightstand, leading him to groan and reach for his phone again. He sat up on the floor when seeing most of the messages from the new contact in his phone.

BUMBLEBEE 11:22 AM

Hi! It's Josh from work... and the bus. I have yellow hair?


BUMBLEBEE 11:23 AM

Patrick gave me your number and then a winky

face which was kinda weird but???? So I'm not a stalker

or anything like I didn't look up your number lol

BUMBLEBEE 11:23 AM

Have I made this weird? Sorry, you're probably

still asleep with how drowsy you were last night.



Tyler chuckled at the dorky messages, taking his time to read over all of them twice. When he first saw Josh, he pictured a tough personality with a fire in his heart and someone who enjoyed packing punches to bad people, considering how bulky his arms were. In reality, Josh is one of the nerdiest people Tyler may know of.

TYLER 11:27 AM

I wasn't asleep but I'm definitely still

tired haha! Don't worry, Patrick gave me

your number too.

The text bubble popped up almost immediately.

BUMBLEBEE 11:27 AM

Oh?



TYLER 11:27 AM


Yeah. I saved it, but I didn't message you

in case you weren't in the mood to talk or anything

BUMBLEBEE 11:28 AM

Usually I'm not if it's a person I don't know,
but

if you're in my contacts then I'm fine with talking



Tyler put his phone down in his lap and smiled. He finally decided that it was time for him to get up, which he did, only moving to on top of his bed again.

TYLER 11:29 AM

Oh okay. Thanks I guess :) So... did you

want anything other than to say you had

my number?

BUMBLEBEE 11:29 AM

Yeah! I meant to ask if you'd like to hang out today?

Unless you were just planning on staying in

TYLER 11:29 AM

I had no plans actually. We can hang out!

Did you have anywhere in mind?

~~



They met in the middle at a large coffee shop with an upstairs to it. Tyler got to enjoy the soft, 80's synth music playing while Josh was lead to adoring the way the bright colors of the coffee shop blended together, rather than bled together.

Tyler had his glove covered hands wrapped around a hot chocolate, whereas Josh was sipping his cold coffee through a straw. The brunet had no idea how his new acquaintance could stand drinking cold coffee while it was cold itself outside, but that was something else to admire.

Josh had been the one to strike up their conversations, which Tyler had been wanting to do himself, but Josh would only ever look at him while he talked. Josh wouldn't be able to know what he was saying if he didn't look at him, and it frustrated Tyler to no end. All they had talked about was work and mini golf, and Tyler didn't mind, because he definitely wanted to learn about Josh in the workplace aspect, but he wanted to be able to communicate on his end properly as well.

There were moments where Tyler wished they hadn't met up. The fire that was on the past day had fizzled out since they were no longer in a cycle of teasing or arguing at each other. Their eyes continued to flicker towards one another, but Josh's never lingered enough for Tyler to even part his lips.

The silence was awkward for Tyler, of course. Josh was probably used to silence by now, having no choice but to be, but maybe the thought of knowing that he had someone to talk to but wasn't doing so, was bothering him as well. The brunet just wanted to scream for Josh to talk to him, but Tyler could practically say or do anything because this stupid guy wouldn't pay attention to him.

It wasn't until Tyler had sipped his hot chocolate and some fluff covered the side of his mouth. Josh swallowed and grabbed a napkin and dabbed at the spot on Tyler's face. Instead of being shock stricken, Tyler took his chance with Josh's focus on him again.

"Why are you working at an instrumental design company if you're deaf?" Tyler blurted. He could sense Josh's off-put behavior of Josh's question, and despite that, he didn't stop there, "Isn't it hard to be talented musically if you can't hear?"

Josh narrowed his eyes at Tyler, "Believe it or not, some people aren't born deaf. I learned how to play drums, trumpet, and piano before my musical hindrance -I guess- took place," He smart mouthed, crossing his arms, "Do you think that we're not capable of doing as much just because we lack one sense? I've lost my hearing, not my head, so I can do just as much as the next guy."

Tyler raised his arms his defense and frowned at Josh, who was coming off too harsh, but maybe Tyler just had a stupid question, "I didn't mean to sound rude or anything, man. I just wanted to know how you ended up where. Sorry, I swear I don't try to be problematic on purpose."

A calm aura suddenly came from Josh as his body loosened up from the tension recently built up in it. His arms uncrossed and he pulled his jacket sleeves over his hands, "God, Tyler... I know I said something along the lines of it not being easy to offend me, but I might be wrong. I should stop taking everything from you in a wrong way. I should be the one apologizing."

"No, no!" Tyler shook his head with a soft smile on his face, "I-I get it, it's partially my fault that things have started out like this. I have a big mouth, I guess," He babbled, bringing a smile to Josh's face as well.

Josh tilted his head downward so he was looking at his lap, and then his smile turned into a grin as he looked at an innocent looking Tyler, who was holding himself close together, coming off smaller than he does in the workplace.

"If your original question was how I can still do what I do while deaf, it's because I had memorized those three instruments inside and out. I felt defeated when what happened happened, but I couldn't let that hop in the way of my passions. So, I landed a job here and get to be around what I love for until I either get fired, or decide to quit."

Tyler watched as Josh's eyes lit up when mentioning the instruments he played, and wish he'd paid more attention to Josh before at work. He always thought the guy was slacking off, but he was probably more determined to get things done and ready that anyone else in that building. It made Tyler so happy to hear Josh's excitement in his words.


"Now, pretty boy, I have a question for you," Josh stated. Red and pink mixed together on Tyler's cheeks, giving Josh two more colors to adore the sight of. Tyler's colors reminded him of autumn, but his personality reminded him of spring, "Have you dated any boys or girls in the past?"

Tyler gulped, hands being squeezed between his legs as he became too curious to why Josh would have asked such a thing. But he nodded nonetheless, giving his answer, "A boy while I was a teenager, a-and a girl when I was twenty. Why?"

"So you're not straight?" Josh asked once more.

Tyler furrowed his eyebrows and tucked in on himself even more, "I'm not. Are you? Straight, I mean."

Josh grinned at him, "Far from it."


 

It had been expected for Patrick to hound Tyler with questions about the previous day, but that didn't mean that Tyler was any more prepared for it.

"What do you mean it wasn't all that great?" Patrick questioned. Tyler didn't want his best friend to be let down in any way, considering the ginger just wanted Tyler to make more friends. But even the bus ride to their office was awkward between him and Josh.

Tyler, feeling slightly annoyed, jabbed the elevator button for their floor and leaned against the wall to face Patrick, "We barely talked, and when we did, it got personal. It was uncomfortable for me, dunno about him though. He probably gets off on awkward silences and conversations," Tyler huffed.

Patrick frowned at his friend, "You're still being rude to him, even when he's not here. Just because the meet up kind of went down the wrong path doesn't mean that you have to be a jerk about it," The ginger argued gently, jumping when the elevator dinged and the doors opened.

Both of them stepped out into the hall and made no move forward to the end of the hall, where Tyler knew Josh would be.

"I'm treating him like I would anybody else. Don't try putting a different context on my words, Patrick," Tyler glared.

Patrick wasn't having it, scoffing and shaking his head, "You're my friend, Ty, you really are. And since you're my good friend, I need to let you know that you're being a dick to Josh because he's a little different from you," He put a hand on the brunet' shoulder and squeezed gently, "That, is one of the lowest things to do as a human."

Tyler furrowed his eyebrows, "You think I'm different around him because he's deaf? Him being deaf has nothing to do with it!"

"Did it take you a while to accept the fact that you're gay?" Patrick asked quickly, continuing right after Tyler shook his head, "Then why is it taking so long to accept that not everybody is flawless?"

"What the hell? Come on-"

"What are you guys doing? Josh and I need help," Brendon stood halfway down the hall, looking at both of them with a curious expression. Both guys sighed and walked past Brendon, except for Tyler, because Brendon took ahold of the brunet's arm and kept him close, "If there's going to be a problem between you and Josh, just because you don't like something about him, I'll make sure that Dallon puts you back downstairs," Brendon muttered.

Tyler lowered his head and shook it, "I don't plan on talking to him anymore unless I have to. Doing so just seems to only aggravate at least one person in the room," He swallowed down his pride and tried to do the same with the guilt held on his tongue.

"Josh is a good guy, Tyler," Brendon sighed, "I guess if that's what it'll take to get this project done, though, then so be it. I'll keep you both on different sides of the room."

Then Tyler was walking back with Brendon, watching as the ebony haired one went over to Josh's side while he sat next to Patrick. His friend kept sending glances, but he would ignore them and turn the music through his headphones up. Today was another reason as to why he never believed in a lucky Monday.

Each day from then on, he'd sit at the back of the bus with his head down whenever Josh came on. He'd watch as Josh would keep his head hung low with his earbuds in, yet turn his head every now and then like he expected Tyler to show up and sit by him. Tyler never did.

The messages on his phone stopped after a few days. The fact that the two saw each other at work occasionally, even working in the same room, made it worse. Josh would easily know that Tyler was ignoring him, and it made Tyler feel so fucking bad. He convinced himself that the text messages and the upset looks meant nothing to him deep down, that Josh didn't really care either. They only knew each other a fair amount just so they could save themselves from silence, which became inevitable too, sooner or later.

(Tuesday.

JOSH 9:20 AM

How come you didn't sit in your usual spot

on the bus today?

JOSH 9:21 AM

I couldn't even see you. Did you miss the bus?

JOSH 9:24 AM

See you at work then!



Wednesday.



JOSH 9:03 AM

Will I see you today? Hopefully you haven't

missed the bus

JOSH 9:19 AM

Why are you sitting all the way back there? Is that

where you were yesterday?

JOSH 9:21 AM

See you at work.

JOSH 8:05 PM

Are you doing okay?



Thursday.



JOSH 9:27 AM

Idk what I did Tyler, what the fuck did I possibly do?

We hung out TWICE. Every time I look at you

during work, suddenly something small is more

important than saying just a plain 'hi' to me.

JOSH 9:28 AM

Did I say or do something last Sunday or Saturday?

Because I'm pretty much clueless to this point.

Shouldn't I be the one ignoring you?

JOSH 12:44 PM


You said you didn't mean to be problematic. You've

surpassed that Tyler, I think you're full of shit.

JOSH 12:45 PM

I didn't mean that. I'm sorry.

JOSH 12:46 PM

I don't care if you don't talk to me, I just wish I knew

why. Was it something I said, something you said?

Is it cause I'm deaf? I dunno. If things keep on like

this, then I guess I'll never know.



Friday, there were no texts.)

Both guys were acting differently because of the situation. Josh was only acting differently because of Tyler, and Tyler hated it. He wished he never talked to Josh, then neither of them would have felt like they needed to do something. Not to mention, Pete, Patrick, Brendon, and even Dallon had caught on. Brendon already knew why and what was happening, but he didn't want it to end up as it did.

One day, Tyler had been called into Dallon's office. When the brunet entered, Patrick was in there with a guilty expression. He already knew what was up, and the fact that Patrick talked to their boss about it only irritated Tyler.

"Tyler, is there something going on between you and Josh?" Dallon asked, looking at Tyler boredly through his glasses lenses, "Not romantically, but something that could affect both of your work performances?"

"No, sir," Tyler mumbled.

"Yes there is!" Patrick exclaimed almost despairingly, "You're getting more frustrated when you can't do something right the first or second time, Josh keeps zoning out in the middle of working. Both of you are sore to even be around for me and Brendon."

Tyler practically fell into one of the chairs, feeling defeated after Patrick's outburst in front of Dallon. Except, Dallon didn't look mad or displeased with either of them. Tyler was waiting for an explicit choice of words to come out in a somber tone, but they never did.

"Be glad that I'm a fairly generous boss. I don't want you in my workplace if you're going to decrease the quality of our work as a team, so I'm giving you a week off to figure out what the hell you're going to do to fix all of this," Dallon said monotonously.

Tyler was baffled, but nodded slowly, "Thanks, boss," He mumbled lowly, dismissing himself from the room and building.


 



During his time off, Tyler decided to learn how to cook stuff beyond sandwiches and the boxed mac 'n' cheese. He also went throughout the city a little more to see what he had been missing out on. Not once, though, did he ever figure out how to fix what happened. He didn't want to go up to Josh and just apologize because that'd be shitty, and he knew that Josh wouldn't accept it. He didn't want to draw it out any longer, though.

He went to multiple pet stores, looking into getting a cat, or just something relaxed. He'd have to get a pet sitter, which surely he could find someone in a big city. When he was home, it would be so lonely, and Tyler was tired of feeling the same way each night.

Occasional texts between him and Patrick kept up, even some from Pete. Josh never tried messaging him anymore, and Tyler couldn't blame him. He wondered how everybody was doing without him, probably better, but he didn't want to believe that.

On the Wednesday of his week off, a specific call came from Patrick that left Tyler with one of the worst feelings in his stomach. He was watching Friends while eating spaghetti, and his phone had started buzzing against the table. He read the caller ID and answered almost instantly.

"Hey Pat-"

"Tyler, Josh is in the hospital," Patrick interrupted urgently. Tyler's lips parted and his fork clanked against the rim of his bowl. He quickly put the bowl on the coffee table and sat up properly, "I'm not there yet, and won't be able to for a while, but Pete is. They were hanging out and Pete went inside a fast food to use the restroom, and when he came back out, Josh wasn't there—"

All the time while Patrick was explaining to Tyler how Pete found Josh severely beaten up in the closest alleyway, Tyler was slipping on a pair of sandals as fast as he could and unknowingly Josh's jacket. He asked Patrick which hospital, and as soon as he was given directions, he was on his way.

He probably looked like New York's biggest weirdo walking into the hospital, with sweatpants, sandals, a blue shirt, and a leather jacket on.  He didn't care though, he cared more about Josh's condition.

When he got to the front desk, a blonde lady was behind the computer, and her blue eyes became directed towards him, "How may I help you?" She asked with a soft smile on her face.

"I'm here to see Josh Dun," He said, fingers tapping against the desk as he tried looking for the elevators. He jumped when feeling a hand on his back, only to sigh in relief when seeing it was Pete.

"Are you a family member?" She asked calmly, despite being able to note Tyler's state of urgency.

"No—"

"He's Josh's boyfriend, can that count for something?" Pete begged on Tyler's behalf.

The blonde bit her bottom lip and looked between the two sadly, shaking her head hesitantly, "Only loved ones are available for visiting, I'm afraid. If you were married, then I could, but I'm sorry."

"He hasn't talked about his family much and I've never been one to push him into telling me. Can you not see if you can look them up and call them? He really needs someone in there with him," Tyler gulped, and he felt his heart rate speeding up by the second. He didn't want Josh to wake up alone and beaten, not knowing what was going on.

"I-I can try, honey, but—" She blew a puff of hair out and clicked her mouse a few times, "I'll allow you for now while I try and look up family. I'll try and be there as soon as possible, but his room number is 41B on the second floor and to the right."

"Thank you so much," Tyler flashed her a quick smile and ran for the elevators, waiting impatiently for the doors to open. When he got to the second floor, his eyes didnt blink once while trying to find 41B. Josh's door was closed, but Tyler gave a quick knock and entered, only to see a sleeping Josh.

Tubes were hooked up to him along with needles in his inner elbow and the top of his hand. Tyler couldn't tell where the bruises stopped and where they began, for one of Josh's eyes had been swollen half shut and the other was bruised. His upper lip was split and dried blood was on the side of his head. A cast had been wrapped around his left leg as well.

Tyler sat in the chair and couldn't help but cry a little at the sight. Josh looked so dead, even though he was breathing. Tyler had never seen anything like the tan skin that had gone pale so instantly, or the purple bruises covering Josh. He pondered on why someone would even want to hurt Josh like this.

The confusion settled even more when Tyler didn't even know if Josh was just asleep or if he wasn't to wake up for a long time. He wished he knew so many things that he didn't have access to knowing, and that added onto the pent up frustration that he'd built onto himself the past two weeks.

A knock sounded on the other side of the door, and the nurse from before came in with a file that Tyler supposed he wouldn't be able to see. The blonde entered quietly and stood on the opposite side of where Tyler sat, and looked down at the file.

"I couldn't contact Josh's parents, or any of his family. I would say why, but I think that should be Mr. Dun's job. Sorry about that," She smiled sadly and held the files close to her chest again, "My name is Jenna, if you need me. I should be here for the rest of the night."

"Thanks, I'm, uh, Tyler," The brunet said, looking over to Josh afterwards, "Do-do you know what all happened? Like injuries?"

Jenna nodded slowly, "Multiple contusions to the face and torso, some along his arms from trying to escape the attacker's grip. A head injury from being thrown to the ground, a puncture wound located around the stomach, and a major fracture in the left leg," She informed, keeping her eyes on the sleeping patient as well.

Tyler knew that she felt remorse about the situation. The puncture wound had been news to Tyler, since he couldn't see under Josh's gown. He gasped shakily and rested his head against his palms, feeling so bad about something that he couldn't have even stopped.

"You weren't with him at the time, you couldn't have stopped this. Please don't beat yourself up over this, Tyler," Jenna assured quietly, "I really need to go back to my desk, but again, just call for Jenna Black if you need me."

Tyler nodded and watched as she left, then slumped in his seat. He listened to the quiet yet annoying beep of the heart rate machine, and did so until his own eyes closed and he fell into a slumber.

~~



There was a shuffling around Tyler that woke him up. His eyes opened, blinking a few times to see that the sun was beginning to rise.

A warmth enveloped him almost instantly, and he suddenly paid attention to the warm blanket that was now covering him. Jenna was seen smiling down at him, and Tyler figured that this was her kind act before she left.

"Thank you," Tyler whispered croakily, wiping away the gunk around his eyes and yawning, "Is it alright if I stay for the rest of the day?" He asked.

"Of course. Since he's stable, they'll be allowing friends for visiting as well. Your other friend who was here and reported the accident has been waiting all night too, so he'll probably come up soon," Jenna said, looking at Tyler and then to the table beside his chair, "Poor thing, I forgot to get you a drink! Is sprite okay?"

When Tyler nodded, she left the room with a promise to be back soon. The brunet took this time to observe Josh again, who didn't look any better than the day before. He couldn't understand, himself, how or why he was even here and caring so much. He hurt Josh mentally and emotionally before this even happened, and now he's at the hospital because someone else hurt him much more differently. If Josh were to wake up and see him by the bed right now, he'd probably shoo Tyler away in an instant.

Maybe he just wanted to soak up the time he could have with Josh without one of them making another feel stressed or confused. Tyler couldn't understand how their friendship, if it was even that, functioned at all. It was so messed up when it never had to be.

Thanks to me.

"Thanks for looking after him since I couldn't," Pete greeted with kind words as he walked into the room. Tyler mumbled a quiet 'you're welcome' and kept waiting for Jenna to come back, "I would've claimed to be Josh's boyfriend, but I don't think we'd look good together," Pete snorted.

"And you think that me and him do?" Tyler inquired with a tiny smirk.

Jenna made her appearance once again with a cup of sprite with a straw. She handed it to him quickly and then said hi to Pete who she hadn't noticed until she stepped away from Tyler, "My shift ended, um, about thirty minutes ago, but I thought I'd stay and help you guys out for a little longer."

"You're probably really tired, Jenna. Go home and sleep so you're not falling asleep at your desk next time," Tyler chuckled, "We can get help from another nurse if we need."

"If you say so," Jenna sighed, nodding as a goodbye to both guys and smiling at Josh's still sleeping figure. She left the room and closed the door fully, leaving Tyler and Pete to silence with faint talking of the nurses from the outside.

"I swear, that was one of the most horrific things I've ever seen," Pete said, his quiet tone bouncing off of the walls to create an increased volume, "Finding someone you care about beaten up and bleeding, laying in an alley, all alone because you had to go and do something else? I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. I thought Josh was a goner."

"But he's not. He's alive now because you got to him in time," Tyler tried to make Pete feel better, but at the same time, he couldn't empathize in any way or understand. He didn't want to be able to do so, if he had seen Josh the way Pete had, he probably would've felt broken inside himself.

Tears began to stream down Pete's face as he watched his friend who was hooked up to multiple tubes, breath in a calm pattern, "Can you really count this as alive? He looks like he hasn't gotten sun in years, half of his hair is covered in dried blood, he's bruised to no end, and we don't know when he'll wake up.

"That's just enough of a chance to be dead as it is to be alive," Pete sniffled.

Tyler placed the blanket on the chair he was sitting in previously, and went over to Pete to comfort the guy. He pulled Pete into a hug, Pete accepting instantly and holding on tight to Tyler's jacket. The brunet furrowed his eyebrows when Pete kept rubbing over the jacket, and then pulled away.

"This is Josh's jacket," Pete piped up, confused. Then he realized what must have happened the night back at Olive Garden, and he began to grin, "I wish you two weren't such assholes to each other, because you really could come off as boyfriends if you did."

"Can we not..." Tyler mumbled, a blush settling on his slightly squishy cheeks. He held onto the edges of the jacket sleeves with his hands and shied away from Pete again, "Did you know Josh before he started working at Weekes Intelligence?" Asked Tyler, to get off of the topic he so much wanted to avoid.

"Yeah. We met in high school and kept contact the best that we could afterwards. Our friendship got a bit rusty at times, and now we're trying to mend it up a little. We're still like best friends, though," Pete explained softly, walking closer to Josh and placing his hand on Josh's tattooed arm.

"Oh," Tyler squeaked out, "Cool."

"So, Tyler, you can understand why I might get defensive of Josh when you're treating him in a way he doesn't deserve. And you will understand why I am so pissed at you for being the cause of Josh calling me three nights in a row, asking me about why he had to be one of the people in the world to go deaf. Believe me, if you weren't both mine and Patrick's friend, I would not feel the slightest bit comforted with the fact that you're here right now."

"I'm sorry. When he wakes up— I'll try and be a better friend to him. I'll take care of him like he'll be needing and I'll apologize for what I've done," Tyler claimed, gently resting the tips of his fingers against Josh's clear fore arm. His eyes caught one of Josh's tattoos that said 'MOM' and frowned.

"I'll be taking care of him. No offense, but you guys still don't know each other that well, and I was the one who found him," Pete reasoned, and Tyler would have accepted, but he was stubborn and liked having things his way.

"I'm already on PTO, and I think Dallon's been feeling sorry for both me and Josh. If you're on paid leave too, taking care of him, then that's just wasted money on less work being done on our keyboards," The brunet grinned internally when Pete went through it inside his head, and then sighed.

"He wakes up, we'll see what he wants, okay?" Pete huffed, leaving Tyler to smile in satisfaction and nod.

As the day went on, Tyler and Pete both stayed in the bedside chairs. Patrick had visited once and stayed for a while, having also gotten the two some vending machine snacks.  The ginger knew that him and Pete probably weren't going to go and get food themselves, being as stubborn and concerned as they were, and he didn't want his friends to starve.

Patrick left just as the sun started going down, claiming he wanted to be home before dark and wanted to be driving before the sun was able to clip the bottom of his visor. It only made Tyler think about how he'd need to go back home at some point, take a shower and change clothes. Selfish motivations consumed him, though, for he wanted to be by Josh's side when the yellow haired one woke up. He wanted to see those mocha eyes before anyone else.

"Hey, Tyler, I can't really ask you to stay all night but..." Pete sighed, "I have family coming over tomorrow and I need to clean up my house. I'll try and be back in the morning for a bit, but then they'll be there that afternoon. Can we switch out the day after?"

And Tyler agreed, because he wouldn't have left either way. He watched as Pete bid his goodbyes to him and Josh before leaving, then slumped in his chair and stared at the unconscious one out of the two.

Jenna returned at nine that night to begin her ten hour shift. She'd clocked in already, but other people were at the desk so she made it her business to come back to Josh's room to check up on the both of them. She'd greeted Tyler before switching out Josh's IV fluids, then sat down in the chair Pete had been earlier.

"Have any of the other nurses told you anything about his state?" Jenna asked, the slightest hint of a smile on her face. Tyler wanted to say that he saw excitement in her by the way her eyes gleamed, but he shook his head, "Your boyfriend should wake up before the week ends."

Tyler grinned in shock, feeling relief wash over him. He knew that Pete and Patrick would be happy as well, but he didn't know whether to tell them the good news now or later, "That's great, but what about his injuries? When will he be able to discharge?"

"That's for Dr. Williams to decide once Josh wakes up. Since you're only his boyfriend, discharge may be delayed for more recovery time, but she may decide to let you take care of Josh afterwards if you're capable," Jenna explained, then stood up and walked over to Tyler and gave him a hug, "I need to go back downstairs now, but as I said, call me if you need me."

Tyler had almost thanked her again, but knew she'd probably go on about how he's thanked her enough. Tyler's so glad that it was her he first went to, because she's gone out of her way to help them. Now it was just a waiting game for Josh to wake up so they could get out of here.

He wondered if Josh was dreaming, good or bad. Maybe Josh could hear all of the conversations that they're having, if maybe at some point he had tried to respond. Thinking about if he had a part in any of Josh dreams, despite holding no significance to the guy.

Tyler stood up and stepped to directly by the bed. He placed both of his hands on the side guard and kindly hovered over Josh, "I could've been important to you and I just threw it away. I know why I did that, Josh, and the reason was so stupid. Maybe if I hadn't, you would've been with me and not gotten beaten up in some alley," Tyler muttered sadly, moving his right hand to Josh's upper arm and slowly pushing up the gown sleeves to see fingerprint induced bruises, "I didn't want me ignoring you to end up so bad, but I thought it would help both of us focus on our jobs. It only made me want to to focus on you even more."

"If I were to look after you once you get out of the hospital, God, I'd hope it wouldn't piss you off. I want you to get better —even if it's with Pete—, and once you do, we can try this whole getting to know each other thing again," Tyler lightly smiled wanting to touch Josh's usually soft hair, but refrained from doing so due to the greasy and bloody state of it.

His eyes darted down to Josh's hands when he thought he saw movement, and he was right, almost laughing when seeing Josh's thumb move. He looked back to Josh's face and chuckled, "Also, the workers here think we're boyfriends, so if you can hear this, please don't get mad when you wake up."

~~



"Wake up, sleepyhead, I brought food."

Tyler groaned, his back beginning to stiffen up from the uncomfortable hospital chair. His eyes opened to see a blurry Patrick and Pete behind him, and then when his vision cleared up, he happily took the sausage biscuit and coffee from his friend.

"Thanks. I'm starving," Tyler grumbled, biting down on his food instantly, almost moaning in delight. Hospital food isn't the greatest, and vending machine snacks got tiring, so he lacked food in his own stomach.

"You would have known I'd be bringing the food if you had looked at my texts last night," Patrick hummed, smirking jokingly at Tyler.

"My phone died yesterday afternoon, and I don't have my charger with me," Tyler excused, taking the last bite of his food and crumbling up the paper. He had remembered where the bin was by now, and tossed the paper over Josh's legs and by Patrick and Pete, the sound of the bag rustling was his signal that he made it in.

Patrick made a 'tsk' sound and scooted to the edge of his seat, "I have a charger in my car, I can just go back down and get it. I think I left my phone in there too. Pete, come with me. I'll be back with a charger!"

"Wait, what?" Pete squeaked, wrist being grabbed by Patrick and then was dragged out of the room.

Tyler picked up his coffee and took a sip, cringing when not tasting enough sugar in it. He set it back down on the table and scrunched his lips to the side, wondering if he should leave Josh alone to get sugar packets, or just have Patrick get them on their way up. He decided he didn't want his coffee the slightest bit cold by the time he could drink it, so he headed down to the cafeteria with a ghost promise to be back soon.

He grew impatient with the slow elevator, and practically ran to the cafeteria. He went to the closest unoccupied table and took all of the yellow sugar packets from it, stuffed them in his jacket pocket, and ran back to the elevator. Surely Patrick and Pete wouldn't take too long on just getting two items from the car, but he knew that the parking lot was quite a distance away from the hospital itself.

When he got to the doorway of Josh's room, he froze when seeing Josh's eyes open and his fingers trying to move around. He quickly stepped back, bumping into Patrick who had just come around with Pete -both having messy hair-, and called for a nurse.

"He's awake! He woke up! Hurry!" Tyler had exclaimed, watching as two nurses rushed in to check up on him. All three men standing outside went back in, standing by the opposite wall of Josh while the nurses asked him questions and shined a light in his mouth and his eyes. Tyler could tell that Josh was getting frustrated with having a hard time reading their lips as a light shined in his eyes.

"Is—is he okay? Can he go home?" Tyler asked.

The nurse who was using the light to shine in Josh's eyes turned towards them and shrugged, "I don't see why not. But that's up to the doctor."

"Can you go get him?" Pete asked rudely, just wanting to be given the overall result of all of this. He was tired, and was expecting Josh to go home with him, while Tyler was feeling the same way and expecting the same thing.

"I'm a she, thank you," A lady in a white coat came into the room as the nurses exited. Josh was still in a recovery daze whilst Pete, Patrick, and Tyler watched the doctor intently, "My name's Dr. Williams, and I will be the one to give a proper check up scan and determine if Mr. Dun here needs to stay, or will be in stable enough care to leave," The flaming red haired doctor stated, shaking both men's hands.

"Hi, um, I'm Tyler, this is Patrick, and this is Pete.. How long will he have to stay if he can't go home?" The brunet so desperately wanted Josh in his own time, out of pure selfishness and to support Josh. He couldn't tell which reason outweighed the other, but tried convincing himself it was the latter.

Dr. Williams looked behind her to exam Josh briefly, then turned back to Tyler, "I'd say three weeks with extended physical therapy."

Tyler tried paying no mind to the confused yellow haired one lying in the bed as Dr. Williams furrowed her eyebrows and asked Tyler a question, "Who are you to the patient here?"

Tyler's brown eyes darted to Josh whose eyes were half shut, but half widened with interest in what was happening in his perspective, and then flashed back to Dr. Williams, "I'm his boyfriend of three years. I'd like to think that he'd be in the best of care with me."

Pete scoffed, "I'm his best friend since high school," and Pete's eyes narrowed, anything but subtly communicating with a sharp glint that Tyler was pushing his luck with this lie.

Meanwhile, Josh could barely comprehend what was happening, but saw what Tyler had said, or a good portion of it. He wanted to speak out against it, but his energy was still lacking, unfortunately.

"Let me examine my patient before a war breaks out between you two. I'll have to ask you to leave the room for a bit, please."

All of them obeyed, going out, shutting the door behind them, and leaning against the wall outside Josh's door. Patrick had his arms crossed and an angry pout settled on his features, and wouldn't spare either of the other two a glance.

Tyler prodded his tongue in his cheek as to not say something despicable to Pete, because they may be in a disagreement with how things could possibly work out with Josh, but they were still good friends. Tyler didn't want to mess something up because he couldn't hold his tongue.

"Patrick," Pete sighed quietly, "you can't blame me for wanting Josh to be in good hands after his discharge."

"It's a stupid fucking thing to get riled up for, especially against a friend. And who's great idea was it to say Tyler was his boyfriend?! You both are being selfish pricks right now," Patrick retorted back quietly but harshly, walking off to his right to a lounge area, Pete following in tow trying to apologize.

Guilty eyes watched both of them, Tyler feeling even worse than he did before. He slid to the floor and leaned his head back against the wall until the door eventually opened. Then he made his way back to his feet and crossed his arms as Dr. Williams gave him a quick and small smile. He tried finding a trace of good or bad news in her expression, but he was unable to tell.

"I had Josh give me a background check of you to see if his boyfriend was suitable enough to take care of him. I'll need you to sign some release forms and then we'll get him a wheelchair and hopefully have him checked out soon enough," She informed, seeming unaffected by Tyler's growing happiness, "A nurse will come by with the forms and then give you the dates and times of Josh's physical therapy appointments as well."

"Thanks a lot for this," Tyler said genuinely.

"In reality, he should be staying at least another week, but I trust you. Don't bring him back with more injuries any time soon or else discharge won't be so easy," Dr. Williams chuckled, patting Tyler's arm and then walked away.

Tyler went back into the room and faced Josh who seemed to be smiling. The yellow haired one was much more awake and aware of his surroundings, which made Tyler feel nervous as he overthought the things that could happen.

"Thanks for deciding to look after me, boyfriend. You must have an odd way of saying 'I like you' to someone. In fact, you don't even say anything to them at all, or look at them beforehand. Maybe you should work on your mating skills, Tyler," Josh scowled, all of his words bitter and his tone laced with malice.

There it was, the thing Tyler was dreading, "It was the only way I could get in instantly. Believe me, if they had gotten ahold of your family, I wouldn't have lied. Well, Pete lied for me, actually. You should be blaming him for this, not me."

"How come you're the one taking me home? Aside from the fact that I agreed to it, why are you so keen on having me leave with you and not Pete?" Josh questioned, still not happy with the brunet in front of him, who had his hands in his pockets and bleeding gums from biting on them too hard.

"I feel bad for ignoring you. I wanted to do this as an apology," Tyler regrettably excused.

"Isn't it funny how when someone lands in hospital, gets horribly injured, or dies, everyone who ever did something they regret to that person, comes crawling back for a too late apology? They're not sorry for what they did, they're sorry that they couldn't milk out their victim's suffering like they had planned."

Tyler frowned, "I'm not trying to make you a victim of anything or suffer, Josh. I know that I shouldn't have ignored you, and trust me, I hate that it came to this for me to say sorry. I just didn't know what to do, because people at work were getting frustrated with our mutual behavior and it was affecting our own work."

"Everything would've been fine had you not ignored me. You just didn't want to be around the deaf guy," Josh muttered, quieting down when the nurse with the release forms came in, and leaving no time for Tyler to defend himself.

Tyler knew that Patrick would have to be their ride to Josh's, and that that ride would be an painfully awkward, tension filled one. He signed the forms with mixed feelings of dread and a hope for things to heal quickly.

~~



Josh was in the backseat while Tyler and Patrick stayed up front. With an occasional peek, Tyler watched as Josh went from wide awake to dozed out within ten minutes. It gave time for the other two to talk about the elephant in the room -car- without Josh being suspicious of their conversation.

"I know you don't approve of this still, but I promise that this will have a good outcome," Tyler assured his friend, looking over to the stone faced ginger whose eyes were entirely set on the road.

"Are you saying this to me? Or are you saying it to yourself?" Patrick smiled lightly, tilting his head and letting his kindly happy demeanor fade away, "Tyler, have you even convinced yourself that all of this was a good idea? You're still in hot blood with Josh, may I remind you.

"I mean, I appreciate the fact that the both you and Pete wanted to take care of Josh— not how you managed it, but yeah. Thing is, is that, now that you're the one in charge of making sure Josh makes a full recovery, you need to know what you're doing. Don't expect him to be the happy guy you knew before you decided to be an idiot, at least not until he gets better."

"I know, I know. This is going to be a very testing moment in my life, so I guess I'm trying to relieve myself of some dark thoughts about how this could turn out, too," Tyler sighed.

The buildings outside of the window went from being small, brick houses connected to double story houses that had their own yards. Tyler furrowed his brows, because if Josh lived in this area slightly away from the street houses, then why not get his own car instead of walking a long ways to get to an even farther bus stop?

"Do you know what happened to Josh's family?" Tyler asked as he saw a family with two little kids walk out into their yard and to their car. Observing was easy considering Patrick began driving at a slow speed.

"No. Pete probably would know, though. You could ask him," Patrick said.

Tyler tugged on his hair lightly and shut his eyes, "No, forget it. I shouldn't have asked something so personal about Josh. I guess if Josh wants to tell me then he will."

Not much longer after, they pulled into a driveway that led to a blue painted house with grey brick foundation. Tyler looked at it, still confused on why Josh would live in this area. Nonetheless, the house looked homey and welcoming from the outside, it's just not something he pictured Josh living in.

"He lives in a two-story? This'll be fun," Tyler scowled, opened his door and putting one foot out onto the ground. He turned his head to give Patrick a tight smile, and then dug in his pocket to take out his house keys, "Thanks for the help, Pat. It doesn't have to be today, but would you mind getting some of my clothes and bringing them back here some time soon?"

Patrick hummed an affirmative and took the keys, then let Tyler take a wheelchair out of the trunk, wake Josh up, then lift the sluggish man out of the car, "You were asleep for like, two days, and you're still not fully awake?" Tyler muttered mainly to himself, sitting Josh down in the wheelchair. He waved to Patrick as he was pulling out, then started pushing his way to the porch.

Josh rested his elbow against the arm rest and then leaned his head against his hand, "I don't need this stupid chair just for a fracture. This thing is basically useless in my house, you can't even get onto the porch with it," Josh huffed.

Tyler was about to stand in front of Josh and argue with him, but realized that he was actually right. The brunet would be zero to one with the wheelchair if he tried moving it anywhere in the house, so he went ahead and held onto Josh as the yellow haired one made an effort to stand out of the chair and walk. Tyler was already ready to put duct tape over Josh's mouth because of how he kept muttering whines about the cast on his leg.

When he got Josh propped against wall, he went back down to fold up the chair and lay it on the porch. After everything would get settled with him and Josh, he'd move it into the garage and take it out if needed. He stood in the middle, looking at the door and began to ponder on how he would get inside if the doors were locked. Josh seemed to notice what he was in thought about and snickered, taking two keys out of his back pocket.

"You act like I sneak through my own window every night," Josh said, tossing the keys to Tyler who unlocked the door, "At least that's something I could do. I can't do shit with this cast and bandage around my stomach, now."

Slim fingers belonging to Tyler turned Josh's head towards his and made the yellow haired one's eyes focus on his lips, "Three weeks of physical therapy and this will all be healed. You'll be back to normal in no time," with no reply from Josh.

Tyler brought Josh inside and shut the door behind them. He gave Josh a once-over, and by the looks of his still stale, bloodied hair and head, he'd need to shower tonight.

"We have to make a compromise here, Josh," Tyler started, gritting his teeth in dread and avoiding looking into Josh's eyes that glimmered with curiosity. The brunet looked back up, and mainly paid attention to the dark orange strands of hair that were normally yellow, "You need to bathe, but you can't get the cast wet and your arms will ache if you use them too much."

"Oh hell no," Josh scoffed, banging his head against the wall behind him, wincing and going to reach his hand up to where he began to hurt, then whined when his arm throbbed, "I don't care about my hair, we can just wait until I'm healed."

"Well I do. I'll make it a bubble bath so I don't have to look at your junk any. Three weeks is too long a ways away to wait for a shower, especially when you're bloody and smell bad," Tyler spoke like a mother would, except with the figure of an adult man with a soft voice held with sharp edges. And it would've been weird for Tyler to be Josh's mom, since he kind of thinks Josh is hot.

"Are you gonna wipe my ass too and brush my teeth?" Words spat out like venom made Tyler roll his eyes with a twinge of hurt. To some extent, Josh's arguments would make Tyler's sensitive ass begin to tear up.

"Walk upstairs," Tyler wavered, lips quivering lightly, not noticed by Josh.

"What?" Josh questioned.

"Walk up the stairs, Josh. You can go to your room, take your clothes off and put on your pajamas, or do whatever the hell you want. And tomorrow, you can go to work with your dirty hair, hands, feet, then come back home and do jumping jacks," Tyler began quietly, his voice raising to a yell halfway through with the more frustrated he grew, "Surely if your ego and pride are still in tact, then the rest of you can work just as well. Otherwise, I'll stay and we'll get through this together."

Josh stood dumbfounded and defeated, whilst Tyler felt his capability to stand up against Josh coming back. He watched as Josh slumped against the wall rather than standing tall, and nodded at Tyler, "The bathroom's upstairs, second door on the left."

Which is how Tyler ended up putting on a warm bath filled with bubbles. Josh sat on the toilet lid and quietly hummed what sounded like a sad song, in Tyler's opinion. They fell into their roles with no communication, and it worked best for them it seemed. Tyler thought about it for a bit, and supposed that maybe Josh enjoyed when talking wasn't involved that much.

The awkward part came along and both men weren't looking forward to it. Tyler helped Josh stand with help of leaning against the sink and began to undress the injured one. He managed to pull the shirt over Josh's head first and then pull the sleeves downwards, which offered only a few groans of pain for Josh. The worst part of it for Tyler, had to have been taking Josh's torso wrap off to see the stab wound. It didn't seem too deep since it was already healing pretty good, but it was still a sore to look at.

A taunting silence ran throughout the room as Tyler pulled the ties loose on Josh's sweatpants and yanked them down, over the cast. All that was left was Josh's boxers.

"Just...just turn around okay? It'll hurt but I can take them off myself," Josh said quietly, a soft tinge of pink spreading across his cheekbones.

Tyler shook his head, insisting, "No—I'll just close my eyes. I have to help you inside the bath anyways."

"What if you accidentally touch my dick?" Josh bit his lip and asked nervously.

"If your words are anything to go by, then you don't like me very well right now. Surely your will power is strong enough to not get a boner if my hand grazes down there, man."

"I don't like you right now because of the lack of words you had for me. Ironic, huh? And I do! It's just been a while..."

Tyler grunted and hooked his fingers around the band of Josh's underwear, "I'm trying to take your underwear off, not give you a boner, anyways. I will most likely not touch you inappropriately."

Josh muttered a 'Fine' and the two went on with it. Tyler's eyes shut and he tugged the boxers down Josh's legs as quick as he could without hurting the other, and then had Josh step out of the legs of the boxers, helping lift the one in the cast. When the brunet stood back up, he stared at Josh's face while grabbing onto his forearms.

"You're going to put your good leg into the tub first and then lower yourself. After that, we'll leave your left leg out of the tub," Tyler instructed, waiting for consent from Josh. Josh held onto Tyler the best he could and managed to sit in the bathtub without wetting his cast, and made sure that the bubbles covered him properly before telling Tyler that he was good.

"I still can't tell if not having Pete take care of me was a good idea or not. I know you and me were already on paid leave, but you can be just so aggravating," Josh sighed while Tyler poured water over his head and began to squirt shampoo in his hand.

"I thought you weren't easily offended," Tyler smirked, mixing the shampoo through Josh's hair. He was a little happy inside when seeing the yellow begin to fully pop again, "Did you lie to me to impress me?"

"Maybe I did. But I thought you were kind of cute," Josh admitted, the statement causing Tyler to pause his actions for a second, "Not like it matters now, though. I guess I got the wrong message from what you were giving. What happened to bring me here has still bruised me mentally and emotionally a bit, too."

Tyler rinsed out Josh's hair from the suds and folded his arms against the side of the tub, "You know that once the doctor sees that you're better, you'll have to try and identify these people to the police right?" He commiserated.

"I'm not better, so I don't want to think about it again. Living through it already sucked enough," Josh spat menacingly, telling Tyler that he didn't need to press on the topic any longer. When the brunet got back to massaging conditioner into Josh's hair and scalp, Josh calmed down, "I'm sorry."

"It-it's okay, Josh. I can't understand what you're going through, but I'm here to help you get stronger from it," Tyler gave a soft smile and finished washing Josh's hair, "Your yellow's back. I missed it," He chimed.

Josh even smiled at what Tyler had told him firstly. The brunet's words made Josh feel more comforted in the fact that Tyler would be with him for the next two or three weeks, even though he was angry about it earlier. Then he ran his fingers through his soaked hair and chuckled.

"I missed it too."

~~



"Pete, oh."

Pete stood at Josh's doorstep with Tyler's duffle bag filled with clothes and toiletries. Tyler gratefully took his bag, though he still looked at Pete in confusion as to why he was here and not Patrick.

"Patrick thought it would be good if I brought your stuff, considering I was such a jerk at the hospital," Pete's voice cascaded out with his next puff of air, hands tucking into his black denim pockets, and occasionally rocking onto the heels of his feet.

Tyler's eyes widened in a slight bout of realization. He nodded and stood aside for Pete to come in, then shut the door behind them, "Yeah! Uh, thanks for doing this, even though you were forced to. I get this was mostly just to see Josh, probably, but I'll take this time to apologize to you. Being kind of selfish is practically in my blood, especially when it comes to people, and it's not something I'm proud of, but I can't help it at times. So, sorry."

"Don't worry about it anymore. In the end, you're the one who Josh decided to come home with. As long as you don't fuck things up, we'll be good," Pete grinned and pat Tyler's shoulder harshly, but with a friendly chuckle, "But yeah, where is Josh?"

Tyler looked towards the stairs and then back to Pete, "He's asleep at the moment, but I mean, you can wait for him to wake up. I can fix up some coffee?"

"You don't have to. I already called in late to work, but I don't want to be too late," Pete sighed, giving Tyler a small wave and turned towards the door to go and open it.

Tyler latched his hand onto Pete's shoulder almost instantly, stopping the black haired one from leaving, "I... can you tell me some things about Josh that might come in handy to know?"

Pete frowned, "That's really his kind of thing to tell you."

"No! Nothing too personal, just like, tips for living with him for a while," Tyler excused, "—stuff to talk to him about."

"Oh, sure!" Pete piped, pulling Tyler over to the couch in the baby blue and tan themed living room. Tyler sat down on the opposite side of the couch from Pete and looked at his friend with wide, curious eyes.

"He's a major fan of Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, and lego games, but not lego movies. His favorite bands were Misterwives, Journey, The Go-Go's, and Blink-182. He played every high school sport at some point, and even made it onto the girls volleyball team once."

The previous fact made Tyler smile a bit. The more he thought about it, the more it made sense that someone like Josh would be either lucky enough, or persistent enough to get on a team of the opposite sex.

"He can also play the drums and trumpet, or could. I haven't heard him play any since we were sixteen," Pete shrugged as if it wasn't that big of a deal to him. Tyler felt a little crushed with that, because going deaf must have changed an awful lot for Josh, so much to the point that he may have quit most of his hobbies and activities.

"...You may have found this one out already, but Josh doesn't like to talk unless he feels like he really has to. If he doesn't talk to you for the entire day and is around you the whole time, then he's probably more comfortable than stiff with you. He's always been like that, though, so nothing's really changed there."

Tyler nodded and looked down at his lap where his hands were tapping against, "Did it change him a lot? Did it ever hurt him more than he's let on, even now?" Quietly and hushed, he asked.

"How could it not have, honestly?" Pete mumbled sadly, "He stopped going to school because he faked being sick so much, just to stay in bed all day. Everything he participated in, he was kicked out of for his absence. Josh used to be so popular, but all of his friends, except for me, left him. He was medically diagnosed with anxiety, and he never got a diagnosis or help for the depression, but know it was there. Eventually, Josh dropped out of school in his junior year."

Turning more towards Pete in interest, Tyler asked another question, "If he basically flunked high school, then how did he end up with a career so great as the one he has now?"

Pete grinned all of a sudden and seemed to have let the happy aura flood over him again, "When he was twenty, he retook the last two years of high school online. Then he went to college for four years, and took on an extended education, which put on an extra three years. He didn't become qualified for his current job until last year, but only joined this year because he didn't feel ready beforehand."

"He may still go to a dark place time to time, but he's gotten so much better and has picked himself up off of the ground after each and every push. Admittedly, Josh is one of the strongest people I know," Pete finished, his grin falling into a small smile, but Tyler thought it held so much significance.

"Maybe we can just ask Dr. Williams to switch places... this might not be my place to intrude," Tyler eventually spoke in all seriousness. Who was he to get in between two best friends who may have thought the world of each other?

"Tyler," Pete narrowed his eyes, "you might be a nuisance at first, but afterwards, you're like the cherry on top version of a person. Josh won't be annoyed at you forever, and since you already know what I've just told you, it might not hurt for him to get close to someone aside from me."

"You've never discriminated him, which is something I've already done," Tyler stood up and walked away from the couch and away from Pete, "I know I shouldn't keep bringing it up, but if I've learned to be that kind of person, then how can I learn to be anything better now? I'll just keep messing up and making Josh feel like shit. You won't do that, you make Josh happy," He fretted, biting on his gums so hard that they bled, his habits pulling through once more.

"Josh let you come into his home and wanted you to be the one to help him. When the week's done with, he'll have already seen past what you did. If this, right now, is anything to go by, I'd say that he's impressed with how determined you are to right your wrongs," Pete reasoned, standing as well and walking to where Tyler had strayed to.

"Don't bring yourself down constantly for this stuff. You can grow out of bad habits, Tyler, and I think Josh is going to help you with that."

Tyler leaned against the wall with no more words to be spoken. Pete flashed him a comforting smile and made his departure from the house. Not moving until the front door shut, Tyler pouted the tiniest bit and decided to go upstairs to check on Josh.

The tattooed man was laying on his bed like a starfish, staring up at the ceiling. Tyler slowly walked in and went unnoticed by Josh until his knees hit the bed. His eyes followed as Josh turned his head to look at him, but the yellow haired one's blank expression didn't falter.

"If I had known you were awake, I would've brought you down to say hi to Pete," Tyler said quietly, knowing he didn't need to speak normal volume or louder.

"I don't want to talk to him anyways," Josh muttered, turning back to look at the ceiling again, "I don't think you realize all that you're capable of, until your capabilities are snatched away from you. It's messed up how unknowingly we are to take granted of everything."

As hard as it was, Tyler wouldn't talk when Josh wasn't looking at him. He would go ignored, and would just end up frustrating his own self.

"There are people better off than I am, and they'll probably always stay that way. But for some reason, God seems to keep knocking down the people who are already five feet below. Is that what natural selection has really come to?" Josh snickers bitterly, looking back at Tyler.

The brunet wanted to say the right words, but he also figured that this may have been a low point for Josh, one of the ones Pete had talked about before. He didn't want to push any buttons that would have set Josh even more.

So Tyler gulped and shook his head, "There are other people out there who even have it worse than you. Whoever hurt you like this, could have killed you, but you're here now and you're alive. Most people don't get that lucky, so before you throw yourself a pity party, please acknowledge that you're better off than many others."

Josh had no reply, and silence rang throughout the room as it always seemed to do. Tyler spoke again, "Just...just text me if you need me for anything. I'll be downstairs and cooking dinner, I guess," He said, and walked out of the room.

For two days straight after then, Josh would only text Tyler if he wanted down the stairs, which was rare. Josh's crutches had eventually come in, and Tyler tried to protest the use of them since it caused Josh's stab wound to hurt, but Josh would fight back with stubbornness. Tyler began to get fed up with Josh's snotty behavior, the yellow haired one not even bothering to eat dinner downstairs with him.

Tyler had no idea how many plates or bowls Josh had stored in his room before he realized where all of the ceramics had been disappearing to.

"Shouldn't he be glad that he's not dead? I don't understand, and when I don't understand something, it frustrates me even more," Tyler grunted into the cellphone speaker whilst leaning against the kitchen island, "He was pretty decent when we first arrived, and then after that day, he turned into a... an honest to God bitch."

"Listen, Tyler..." Jenna whispered, considering she was in one of the stalls in the hospital's restroom, "he might be depressed. Usually after someone goes through what he did, their adrenaline can still be flowing through their body. Once that adrenaline wears off, their body basically wakes up and realizes what happened."

The line was silent before Jenna spoke up again. What she asked made Tyler freeze up, for some reason, not all that stunned, "You and Josh aren't really boyfriends, are you?"

Tyler sighed, "No, we're not. Otherwise we probably wouldn't be having this conversation, and I'd be able to help him out better than this."

"I believe in you! There has to be something inside of you that can help Josh recover mentally, so don't doubt that. And maybe Josh thinks so too, considering he chose you to look after him," Jenna encouraged sweetly with newfound pep in her tone, "Theeeeen, you two might be able to see how good the both of you look together. You seriously had me fooled for a little while there."

Tyler chuckled at Jenna and shook his head, "Thanks for the chat, Jenna."

"Anytime. Oh. Uh... someone just came into the restroom so... bye Tyler!" Jenna whispered for the last time and hung up. Tyler sighed once more when he exited the call screen.

JOSH 2:43 PM

I'm hungry.



Tyler briefly read the message that had just popped up, then left his phone on the kitchen counter as he walked upstairs. When he made his way into Josh's room, the latter seemed surprised for Tyler's sudden appearance, and without any food.

Tyler grabbed Josh's crutches from the side of the bed and held them while looking at Josh with expectant eyes. Josh moved from his half laying down position to sitting up straight, and frowned. Tyler reached the crutches out to Josh and grumbled internally while Josh wasn't so quiet on his end.

"How do I walk down stairs in crutches?" Josh scoffed.

Tyler made sure Josh was out of bed before leaving the room and walking to the staircase. Josh slowly followed after and went in front of Tyler when the brunet gestured for him to go on ahead. Unknowingly to Josh, Tyler was holding onto the back of his flannel shirt the entire time as Josh made his way down with faint struggle. Luckily the steps were fairly wide.

"I've tried being nice, I've let you treat me like shit. I know you're going through a hard time, but I can't help you if you refuse to accept it the soft way," Tyler said to himself when they fully got down the staircase.

"I feel like you're talking behind my back," Josh grumbled, letting Tyler in front of him again and lead them into the kitchen. Josh sat in a chair at the dining table whilst Tyler went to the freezer to get pizza rolls out, "Why am I dunsta-downstir-down— why am I here?" Josh fumbled his words and ducked his head in frustration when he couldn't properly pronounce 'downstairs'.

Tyler watched him go into slight distress, lips lightly parting as he realized that Josh must have forgotten how that word was pronounced. Josh's hands balled up into fists as he sighed and then looked back to Tyler.

"I want to be in my room. I-I can't properly walk around in these stupid crutches anyways," Josh croaked quietly, tugging at his hair.

Tyler couldn't let it go on anymore.

"Do you want to get better? I'm not doing this so you'll get mad at me or yourself, I'm doing this so you can get better faster and get rid of your crutches! I know you're depressed over what happened, and yeah, I have depression too, but our lives aren't going to stop for it. Time will keep going no matter what, and staying in bed all day isn't going to help you improve at all!"

"Don't make it sound like just because you have depression too, means that you know what I'm going through!" Josh argued.

Tyler glared and shook his head, not even intending to sound like that was his insight on this entire deal, "I'm not! You're putting words in my mouth that aren't even there to begin with!"

"Was I putting words in your mouth when I guessed that you were ignoring me because I was deaf? Because I was too quiet and awkward for your liking?" Josh yelled, standing up from his seat shakily. Tyler took a step forward when Josh's leg looked ready to give out, but Josh stopped him, "Don't touch me! I'm mad at you!"

"Ugh, Josh, that isn't the point!" Tyler protested desperately, "What I'm saying is, is you can't keep hiding yourself away from me. I want to help you out with how you feel, but I can't do this if you don't try either. I'm tired of only talking to you over a screen for two messages, when I'm just a story away. When I said I had depression too, I didn't—I didn't mean for it to come out the way it did... I just thought you'd prefer having someone you could relate too."

"You... you make me feel like I don't have to be in a completely different place to miss someone," Tyler said, embarrassed after admitting that. Josh cooled down a bit and let himself sit back down with strain, Tyler didn't want to bush any boundaries to help him just yet.

"I'm not hungry anymore," Josh mumbled, crossing his arms. Tyler thought he saw the yellow head's eyes gloss over, but couldn't be too sure, "I want to go back to my room."

Josh got his crutches and began to help himself to and up the stairs while Tyler listened to his quiet grunts. Tyler lastly put the pizza rolls back in the freezer, slamming the door shut and going to the living room to spend another day hated by Josh.

~~



When Tyler woke up the next day, he heard more grunting before his eyes even bothered to open. He almost fell back to sleep before he felt a warm, minty breath fan over his face. He scrunched his nose and opened his eyes, rubbing the sleep out of them.

"You've been sleeping on the couch?" Josh asked, sitting on his coffee table, hunched over so he was closer to Tyler.

Tyler sat upright quickly, ignoring Josh's question, "Don't slouch! Your wound could open up again," He worried, reaching to push Josh into good posture. He could have sworn he saw the other one smirk the slightest bit, but didn't push his hopes very far.

"I'm fine, Tyler. You know I have a guest bedroom, right?" Josh asked,  raising his eyebrow, having spoken in a smart alec tone that made Tyler feel a mix of weak in the knees, and mildly annoyed.

"You mean the one you oh so kindly said I could sleep in?" Tyler scowled, "Oh wait, you didn't. I'm perfectly fine on this couch, this nice couch that you were somehow able to afford. You got rich parents?"

Josh frowned but nodded, "They didn't help me out with any of this. I worked hard for this without their help."

Tyler pouted mockingly, "So mommy and daddy didn't try to buy your love? Or did you not inherit a business meant to be handed down to you, and then got in the family tree bad books?"

Even though it should have hurt his feelings, Josh snickered and kicked Tyler's shin lightly, "You're so very far from being right, but it's cute that you're trying to assume stuff about me," Josh hummed, tilting his head upward so he was looked at Tyler with half lidded eyes, "What about you? Were you a trophy son or that kid in class pictures who always sat in the middle bleachers to go unnoticed by so many people?"

Tyler's tongue swiped over his chapped lips as Josh's gaze made his chest feel a bit tight, maybe his sweatpants too.

"Neither. I don't think I ever tried to be anything except Tyler," Where the brunet hadn't attended high school, he never knew where he was supposed to fit. He wasn't present in a youth group or on a sports team aside from a group of boys who usually joined him in playing basketball at the park, "but, I don't think I can say that I even know what I am right now."

Clicking his tongue, Josh kept his eyes on Tyler, "I think you're very hard to get along with. You know, I actually make an effort to come down here, putting my protestant feelings aside, only for you to make a snarky comment at me and put us into another argument."

"Maybe I need to ask Patrick how to win my way into Tyler Joseph's good books," Josh chuckled, leaning closer with each word and punching Tyler's side, having been rewarded by an abrupt giggle from the brunet, "Do I pinch his love handles until he's out of breath from laughing too hard? Do I whisk him away with a poem where the words fall straight out of my ass along with my heart?"

"'His mocha eyes were so bright when the sun shined upon them, which meant they were more sensitive to light, just as my nose was sensitive to how good he smelled—'"

Never again did Tyler want to hear such a thing come from Josh's mouth. The over-exaggerated, attempt of a love poem had Tyler doubled over in his seat until he was able to cover Josh's mouth with his palm. Josh had his own bursts of giggles soothing through the gaps between Tyler's thin fingers.

Surely, small butterflies had been fluttering in Tyler's tummy whilst listening to Josh's reaction.

"Thank you for coming down here. And, uh, I guess offering the guest room to me. I guess I'll start sleeping in there from now on," Tyler scratched his head when the fluffy atmosphere had disappeared, "What would you like for breakfast?" He asked, standing up and heading towards the kitchen.

Josh had struggled to get his boot out of the tiny valley between his table and the couch, but eventually hobbled along with his crutches to one of the bar stools, "I have some eggs in the fridge. I don't really like eggs unless they're turned into an omelette or scrambled, but it's whatever you want."

"You're weird," Tyler had hummed, only remembering that Josh couldn't hear him after he said it, with his back turned to the one at the island. His body froze for a second, as he was silently swearing to himself for being so stupid all of the time.

It was a good thing Josh was distracted by his phone, because Tyler didn't want him to have asked him about why his body suddenly locked up. So, getting over it, Tyler went ahead and got eggs out.

While he was scrambling the eggs in the skillet, his phone started ringing. He grabbed it from the counter and answered it.

"Hello?"

"Hey Tyler!" Patrick greeted with such happiness, it almost made Tyler ask what was up, "How are things going?"

Tyler smiled softly, holding the phone between his ear and shoulder, "I think things are starting to look up.

He peeked behind to look at Josh for a split second, still glued to his phone, and then spoke to Patrick again, "Would you and Pete like to come over? I'm sure Josh would be happy to see the both of you."

Thing was, Tyler's glance wasn't a split second. It was more like five seconds, and a newfound fondness flashing through his so-called, mocha eyes. And Josh had caught a glimpse of it, feeling a bit weirdly, as in, feeling like Tyler was definitely suppose to be in his life at this moment. Possibly for the rest of it, hopefully.

Josh was so happy about that, and so was Tyler.

Chapter Text

Time off from work had been extended for both Tyler and Josh, although they'd have to hand in some paper work to Dallon. The two obviously were on leave for good reasons, but Dallon insisted that a doctors excuse would be needed so that the main head above him would know that their boss wasn't just letting them off for fun.

Physical therapy had started for Josh as well. In the week and a half that Tyler had been helping Josh, they no longer needed to wrap a bandage around Josh's torso. The only remnant of the incident was the nasty scar from the knife, and the ever so present cast locked around Josh's calf.

As of now, Tyler was sitting in the physical therapist's room, watching as she helped Josh balance himself between two bars. The brunet hadn't understood why Josh would need this, considering the cast should have done the healing itself, but he remembered that Josh's chemical balance wasn't evened out due to the incident, so they had to work on everything else.

PETE 3:05 PM

Are you guys back from physio yet?



TYLER 3:06 PM

*image attached*

Nope

PETE 3:06 PM

I still think it's stupid. Give him a couple more weeks at

home, he could make the same improvement for a cheaper

cost

PATRICK 3:07 PM

Honey stop being so bitter over Josh's treatment

TYLER 3:07 PM

Honey???¿

PETE 3:08 PM

You're not my mom Pat. And yah

PATRICK 3:08 PM

No but I am your boyfriend which is pretty close

TYLER 3:08 PM

That day Josh woke up, you fuckers went to

Patrick's car for the charger just so you could

make out didn't you

PATRICK 3:09 PM

......

PETE 3:09 PM

I told you it was too obvious

PATRICK 3:09 PM

Shut up

TYLER 3:09 PM

Goodbye

"Who ya talking to?" Josh asked, hobbling over to him with a sweaty forehead. There was actually sweat all down his arms as well, it being very obvious with Josh wearing a muscle shirt. Tyler would have been gawking if he didn't have some concerns of his own from the therapist having Josh work so hard.

"Pete and Patrick. Did you know they're a thing now?" Tyler informed as he stood, taking Josh's crutches and handing them to him. He also took a dry rag and dabbed it against Josh's face like a mother would, chuckling when Josh rolled his eyes.

"You said Patrick and Pete?" Josh questioned slowly, having not quite caught what Tyler said. Tyler nodded, but said nothing else so Josh left it.

They gathered their things and checked out of the hospital floor, then went to the elevators. After they got to the first floor and were halfway to the exit, a loud yet smooth voice called out to Tyler.

"Hey, Tyler!"

Tyler turned around, having to lightly grab ahold of Josh's elbow to stop him from going on ahead. The brunet grinned as he saw Jenna run around the circular desk and make her way through the break in between counters. She came over to them in a quick pace, greeting them both with a bright smile.

"I thought you were the night shift, Jenna," Tyler quirked an eyebrow, but still smiling at the girl in front of him.

"I had to fill in for someone! First I was morning shift, but then I became afternoon for today. I totally could've gotten more sleep than what I did," She giggled, eyes crinkling in the corners and her blonde hair bobbled in its ponytail, "So, how is everything going with him now?" She asked, eyes pointed to Josh as she said that.

Tyler took time to look to his right to Josh. It was only then that he noticed the slightly sour look on Josh's face, much different from when it was them walking out. More importantly, Josh seemed to be making it his job not to look at them at all.

"It got better. We don't argue anymore, just the occasional nagging when we do something another doesn't like," Tyler replied, his time hopefully showing how thankful he was, "We had a talk, more-so one sided on my end, but we did, and then the next day started out rough, but we managed."

Jenna nodded proudly, starting to take subtle steps back, "I'm so glad things started looking up. Though, I have to get back to work, and I think someone's a little jealous that you were talking to me. Bye Tyler, bye Josh!"

Tyler furrowed his eyebrows while looking at Josh, seeing Josh only look towards him once Jenna walked away. He began their walk outside once more.

~~



"Can we play Mario Kart?" Josh asked after they had gotten into more comfortable clothes. Tyler gave a thumbs up, starting up the gaming console and handing both controllers to Josh.

Tyler had made plans to go back to his apartment to check up on the place tomorrow, even though Patrick had been doing that for him. He felt tired of having his friends do the work for him when Josh was able to be on his own for a decent amount of time now. He also wondered when he should go back to work, and hopefully Brendon wouldn't be pissed.

Another thing Tyler wanted to do, was learn how to speak sign language. He wasn't sure if Josh knew, but surely he did. Reading lips can seem to only work for so long.

Popping a squat on the coffee table in front of Josh, Tyler made sure Josh was looking at him, "I'm going to get us some snacks, drinks, and a blanket. We'll have a cozy night since you did so good in therapy," He chirped.

"You make it sound like I'm a child who only does good things for rewards," Josh snorted, bringing both legs up onto the coffee table, on either side of Tyler.

Tyler pouted, "That's not true, Josh. You resemble a puppy way more than a child," to which Josh responded with his over dramatic frown. Tyler chuckled and pat Josh's good leg, "Puppies are way better than kids, take it as a compliment."

The brunet got up and brought his legs over Josh's, then made his way to the kitchen. He threw a bag of popcorn in the microwave and took out two bottles of coke and root beer from the fridge. The race upstairs took his breath away a little, panting as he made his way to the blanket closet and took out the fluffiest one. When he poured the popcorn into a big bowl, he took all of his items and placed them around him and Josh.

Josh had already picked his character, apparently Yoshi, and was waiting on Tyler. Tyler picked Mario (he never lost as Mario, and didn't plan to). When it came to choosing the track, there came some dispute.

"I wanna do Coconut Mall," Josh petitioned, pressing buttons until he was one click away from selecting the track.

Tyler took the controller from him and put it onto Rainbow Road. When Josh scrunched up his nose and faced him, Tyler shook his head, "Coconut Mall is one of the easiest courses. At least put up a fight," He scoffed.

"Yoshi Falls," Josh glared.

"Ghost Valley," Tyler retaliated.

Josh slouched back in his seat with a huff, "Rainbow Road it is."

Tyler smirked and selected Rainbow Road before giving the controller to Josh. He prayed that Josh's neighbours were out, or had headphones on, at least. They yelled and screamed so much during the race that it sounded like they were either being murdered or doing something sinful.

Apparently it was time for Tyler to reap what he sowed. How he hadn't put dents in his controller from his hard grip, was beyond him. He let Josh beat him on Rainbow Road after being so confident in himself to win. It had been such a long time since Tyler lost Mario Kart, and he hated that it had to be to someone who he just spewed all of his cockiness out to.

"...Maybe if you chose Coconut Mall, you know, the easiest course, as you said, we wouldn't be here right now," Josh whispered. He was trying to keep his laughter in, looking at Tyler's angry expression, "T-Tyler—" He giggled, "I really wasn't expecting to get a bullet in third place, trust me... I thought you were still long gone."

Tyler reached to the popcorn between them and grabbed a handful, only to throw it at Josh. Josh's laughing cut out instantly, and the brunet saw him sit up and go to grab his crutches. Tyler's eyes widened and he shot up, running to the edge of the living room. Josh stood at the other end of the room, picking out pieces of popcorn that had hung in his yellow strands, and staring at Tyler with narrowed eyes.

"It was just popcorn, chill," Tyler squeaked, backing out into the hallway when Josh started advancing towards him, "You literally could have eaten it, like, I just helped you out technically. You didn't have to pick from the bowl."

Josh was unresponsive, expression wise and vocally wise. Tyler's back hit the wall by the entrance of the kitchen eventually, and Josh tossed his crutches on the floor, taking the short stride in front of Tyler with a limp. He closed in on Tyler, arms on either side of the brunet while Tyler's breathing paused for a solid three seconds.

"Someone needs to knock you into your place every now and then," Josh grunted, locking his jaw in place while gritting his teeth. His thigh (of his good leg) slotted between Tyler's legs and Tyler bunched up Josh's light blue shirt between his fingers.

You can knock me up all you want—

His phone started ringing and vibrating. Josh hadn't realized, but Tyler inwardly frowned as Planetary (GO!) started playing from his pocket. He held up a finger to Josh and took his phone out, and answered it without checking the ID.

"Hello?" He said warily.

"Is this Mr. Dun's caretaker? Tyler Joseph?"

"Uh, yeah, that's me," Tyler confirmed, frowning when Josh backed away to his crutches, then went back to the couch, "May I ask who's calling?"

"NYPD Precinct. We need Mr. Dun to come in on a scheduled date to give us details about his attacker or attackers," The lady said over the phone, and Tyler sighed quietly, not audible to the lady, "We understand that he may not be in stable condition still, so we're looking into scheduling it in at least a two weeks time?"

"O-oh, that's fine. But, why is the NYPD involved? How come it's not a smaller department?" Tyler asked curiously.

"Because we're concerned that Josh's incident was related to others that were similar, except the other incidents, the victims had died."

A gasp escaped Tyler, he lightly banged his head against the wall as he kept his eyes solely trained on Josh, who was playing a solo race. Josh, who shouldn't be alive. Josh, who got so lucky without even realizing. Josh, who Tyler thanks the lucky stars that he's able to watch enjoy a video game right now.

"Can-can I call back to schedule a date?" Tyler whispered politely.

The lady hummed an affirmative, "Of course, Mr. Joseph. We will be expecting a call by this Tuesday, though."

"I'll try to call soon enough. Thank you for this, though," Tyler thanked, telling the lady to have a nice day before they hung up. Tyler tucked his phone back in his pocket and took time to slide against the wall until he was crouching.

"Hey, Tyler, I'm gonna take a bath— are you alright?" Josh asked as soon as he looked over and saw Tyler curled in on himself against the wall. He stood up and limped over, not bothering with his crutches this time, just wanting to be next to Tyler.

Tyler stood and took Josh's hand in his, leading them up the stairs to go to the upstairs bathroom since it was larger. He put the bath on for Josh and left to get another set of clothes while Josh undressed. The clothes he had picked out were so soft and smelled so nice, and he pressed his fingers into the fabrics a little too harshly, not wanting to know what it would be like if Josh was never able to wear these clothes again. It came so close to being that way.

Josh was already in the tub by the time Tyler came back. He placed the clothes on the closed toilet lid and stood, facing the mirror on the wall between the tub and toilet. Josh wasn't paying attention to him, so he raveled in that time to daze out for a second longer. Once he had, he turned to hastily leave.

"Where are you going?" Josh asked.

Tyler turned around and walked closer to Josh, "I'm giving you your privacy. You're getting better and more capable of handling yourself again, so," He shrugged, getting ready to turn and leave again. Josh's voice stopped him yet again, though, and Tyler hated that he wouldn't let himself leave without another word.

"I'll need help getting out. My leg is still broken," Josh commented, sounding like he was smirking, Tyler sighed and looked down, only to see that Josh really was smirking. Until, his smirk turned into a disappointed frown, "Did something bad happen over that phone call?"

Tyler got on his knees next to Josh on the outside of the tub. He folded his arms on top of it and rested his chin on his overlapped hands, "We need to make an appointment for you to identify your attacker. We have until this Tuesday to schedule."

With a tilt of his head, Josh furrowed his eyebrows and looked at Tyler funnily, "That's all?"

Tyler thought about saying the rest, but he didn't want Josh to worry at the moment, or at all. He didn't want Josh to know that he was hoped to have been killed that night, and that it was a related crime. The truth would have to come out some time, but Tyler didn't want it to be now.

"Yeah," Tyler mumbled, gulping when Josh chuckled and threaded his fingers through Tyler's hair.

"There's no need to be such a mess over that. It'll be fine. I know I didn't like the thought of it before, but I'm good now. This'll be over before you know it!" Josh exclaimed with so much enthusiasm that it made Tyler want to grin, but he couldn't. Josh seemed to shy away a little bit after, and kept a small smile in tact, "As long as you stay here with me, that is."

Tyler reciprocated the shyness and smile, "I wouldn't just up and leave. I'll be here until you want me to leave."

They looked at each other without saying anything, Tyler even bit his lip, unknowingly to him until he bit hard enough to wince. Josh leaned forward over the edge of the tub to be closer to Tyler and used his thumb to swipe over the brunet's cheek.

"I could keep you here forever, then. You'd lose your apartment and your job with those words," Josh grinned, "I'm not that mean though. I won't stay in your hair for too much longer," but Tyler wanted Josh's fingers to brush through his hair until the soft sensation stopped tingling through his veins.

"Speaking of going places, I was going to go check up on my apartment tomorrow. I can't have Patrick keep doing that for me," Tyler hummed, leaning into Josh's touch that landed back into the fluffy brown tufts of his, "And once you're mostly better, I'd like to go back to work."

"You know that Dallon won't like that; me being alone, I mean. You have to remember that the guy may be our boss, but he still has a soft spot for us," Josh brought up, as if he was refusing the idea of Tyler going back to work so soon.

Tyler rolled his eyes, and Josh began to scrub body wash over himself. Once Josh was fully clean, Tyler stood up.

"Can you help me out of here now? I'm turning into a prune now," Josh lifted his arms up and Tyler grabbed onto his hands. It still hurt Josh to put too much pressure onto his bad leg, so he quickly swung his right leg over the tub and onto the floor.

Tyler kept his eyes upwards and handed Josh a towel, squeaking when Josh shook his head like a dog, splattering water all over Tyler. Tyler huffed and left the room to the sound of Josh cackling.

"He really is a fucking puppy."


 

Sign Language for Beginners.

The most recent google search in his history, that was.

The constant pushing of buttons came from right next to him on the couch. Josh was stuck on a mission in Legend of Zelda, and had the tip of his tongue poking out from between his lips. It was oddly cute, Tyler thought, but he tried his hardest to focus on his new study.

There was no way he'd be able to learn all of it so fast, but he wanted to start out simple. Different languages had never been Tyler's thing, he barely passed Spanish 1 with a C, which to him, wasn't good at all. Though with playing piano, Tyler hoped he'd be better with his fingers.

In a few hours, he'd go off to his apartment for a bit and make sure everything was the way he left it. Maybe go out for a coffee and bring one to Josh, since coffee made Josh wired and happy. The lone thought of leaving Josh on his own didn't settle well with Tyler, all of a sudden, though. What if Josh managed to get himself hurt and had no way of contacting help?

He pulled his phone over from the side table and shot a quick text to Jenna.

TYLER 12:04 PM

Are you able to look after Josh for a few hours

for me today? Ive got to do some outside chores

JENNA 12:05 PM

Sure! Wouldn't be the first time. What's the address?

"Stop thinking so hard over there. It's hurting my brain," Josh groaned, game paused and controller set on the coffee table.

Tyler quirked his eyebrow, half shutting his laptop lid and placing it on the coffee table as well, "Not sure how that can happen, but okay," He said, "I know you're gonna ask what I'm thinking about."

Josh nodded, "Yep. What is it?"

"Since I'll be out for a little while today, I kind of had an idea. I know it might not seem that great to you, but I'm having a hard time trying to convince myself to leave you here alone," Tyler cringed slightly, watching Josh nod with seemingly each passing syllable, "Do you remember the blonde from the hospital? I was thinking of maybehavingherlookafteryou."

"That was way too fast for me to catch onto. The girl? I remember her somewhat, I guess. What about her?" Josh frowned.

"She can look after you while I'm out," Tyler proposed, trying to muster up a smile, "She helped out a lot while you were in hospital, and I have yet to give her something in return, but I will after this."

Josh's frown only got deeper, and he instantly shook his head, putting the controller down. He tilted so he was kindly facing Tyler, and began to protest, "Why her? Of all people?"

"What's wrong with Jenna?" Tyler lightly snapped, baffled as to why Josh seemed to take offense to his suggestion, "She won't bother you, she's just like me, and only wants the best for you."

"No, she only wants in your pants. Did you even notice how she was looking at you at the hospital?" Josh scowled, glaring at Tyler and crossing his arms. He knew his jealousy and stubbornness was coming through again, but with just getting Tyler back, he refused to lose him again to some blonde.

Tyler's mouth opened in a disgusted expression with Josh's words, "She was not! She's my friend, and it's too bad for you, 'cause I already invited her!"

Josh turned off his game and stood up, wincing at the slight pain in his leg, but ignoring it as he walked past Tyler and to the staircase. Tyler was following after him tentatively, no doubt hoping for him to fall and break something else at the moment.

"Joshua Dun, are you jealous?"

Tyler smirked as he watched Josh begin to take that first step up to the second story. Josh paused, so visibly, and Tyler truly wondered if he had just scored a point against Josh. He hoped it was jealousy, hell, he'd be jealous if he was in Josh's shoes. Recently, he'd started wishing that maybe everyone else was right when they said that the two would look good together.

Not to mention when Josh kept him against the wall -- then his phone rang and interrupted what could have been a life changing moment.

"Would it be so bad if I was?" Josh asked bitterly. He pivoted on his good foot to look back at Tyler, "I thought it was obvious; I'm attracted to you, kind of why I agreed to that second hang out with you. And got so upset when you wouldn't talk to me. If I had seen you just as a potential friend, I wouldn't have felt as messed up over it, but you were so fucking hot and so teasing -- Goddammit Tyler."

"Wait—so you didn't see me as a potential friend? Why am I here then?" Tyler questioned with furrowed brows. Now he felt like he was getting a mixed message.

"You're such an idiot, Ty," Josh sighed, stepping down and hobbling towards Tyler.

Both of their chests faintly touched and Josh's hand came up to rest against the underside of Tyler's jaw. Tyler gulped when feeling Josh's other hand sneak around his hip, not daring to look up the few centimeters that would connect their gazes-

The doorbell rang and both men sprung apart, Tyler rushing to the door and opening it to see a chipper Jenna. She was clothed in thick winter gear and had her hair pulled into a bun due to the wind blowing. Tyler welcomed her in and she trotted a few steps forward until she was in front of Josh.

The way Josh looked at him, made him think that they'd definitely talk about what just happened when he got back.

"Hey guys! Thanks for inviting me here, Tyler," Jenna bounced on the balls of her feet and began to unzip her jacket, "Take as long as you need today. I'll make sure me and Josh end up properly occupied with a game or two maybe, or a movie."

Tyler grabbed his own long coat from the rack and slid it on over his casual tee. He was still looking stunned Josh's way, lips parted the smallest bit and eyes wide. Josh was returning the stare, but with a rather harsh glance, still. Jenna looked between the two cautiously, then clapped her hands, knocking the two out of their daze.

"Okay Tyler?" She grinned.

Tyler nodded, "Yeah, bye you two. Behave."

~~



"He's actually jealous of Jenna, would you believe it?" Tyler asked in almost disbelief. Once he had checked up on his apartment and Patrick had gotten off of work, they went to their usual café, "I was hoping he would be, just for the sake of making it seem like we have a chance, but... I didn't think he actually would have been."

"That's because you're both blind as hell," Patrick snorted into his coffee, accidentally splashing it against his face with a cringe. After he padded the coffee with a napkin, he folded his arms against the table and gave Tyler a good, hard look, "Even from your simplest conversations, from what you've told me, you're both smitten over each other. Of course Josh is fucking jealous if he thinks Jenna is stealing you away.

"And you can't deny that something spicy would have happened, had that phone call not come through."

Tyler dropped his against against the table with a groan at Patrick's terms, "That's just in the moment stuff. Whenever we're together, I think something could start, but then when we're apart, I realize how stupid it all sounds."

Patrick shrugged, "Maybe. Mostly since you're both beating around the bush. But that's mainly your fault, Tyler. He pretty much confessed to you today."

"He said he didn't see me as a potential friend. What kind of confession is that?"

Patrick sighed in disappointment, shaking his head immensely, "He wanted to be more than friends back then, and still wants to. He saw you as a potential boyfriend instead," the ginger was obviously so exasperated because of his idiot friends. At least Josh was trying to get them somewhere.

"Oh. Oh. Oh shit," Tyler gasped, hands laying flat against the table now, coffee forgotten, "Josh likes me. Josh might want to have sex with me. Oh my lanta, Patrick!"

"Could have definitely been spared of what you just said," Patrick frowned, grossed out at the thought of both of his friends sleeping together. Simultaneously, he was glad Tyler finally figured it out.

Then Tyler began to freak out, "I've left him with Jenna! The person who he may or may not hate because of me, what have I done?! I need to go back and make sure they haven't killed each other, or he hasn't killed her!"

Patrick chuckled, "Remember, don't move too suddenly. He still needs to heal properly before anything too serious happens," but Tyler was halfway out the door already, leaving Patrick to pick up his coffee and leave as well.

As the brunet jogged through the masses of people on the streets of New York, his phone started buzzing in his pocket. He slowed down against his will and checked who kept messaging him constantly.

PETE 4:56 PM

Patrick told me. I s2g if you hurt my best friend, I'll

chop off both of your feet, stick one down your throat and

one up ur ass.

PETE 4:56 PM

The poor child is still in a cast have mercy on him

PETE 4:57 PM

I know ur a total bottom, but when I go over next and

ask the neighbors if they heard a headboard banging

against the wall at night, I will personally come over and

kill you and break Josh's other leg

PETE 4:57 PM

And if you regret being friends with me right now,,,

PETE 4:57 PM

THEN SUCKS FOR YOU BC ILL BE BREATHING OVER

YOUR SHOULDER FOR THE REST OF TIME

PETE 4:57 PM

And Josh's too. I'll be leaving hickeys against

Patrick's shoulders,,, but that's not relevant rn

Tyler ignored them with an eye roll, already having gotten on a bus.

Maybe he should have asked Patrick for a lift.

~~



"Oh, hey Tyler," Josh hummed, Jenna having tapped his arm and pointed to the new arrival. Tyler had charged through the door after unlocking it, feeling worry until he saw the two huddled up on the couch, laughing at an older movie.

Tyler breathed heavily as he walked into the living room, sitting on the coffee table to the side of the other two.

"You guys having a good time?"

Jenna paused the movie, drawing out a whine from Josh, "Yep! We played H1Z1 and Happy Wheels for a little while, then watched this movie," Jenna said with a smile, Josh still silently complaining over the paused film.

"I thought you guys were going to kill each other. Kind of why I rushed over, but I'm glad you had a good time," Tyler chuckled dryly, gulping nervously after Josh's gaze landed back on him, looking him up and down intensely.

"Kill each other? Nonsense! Me and Joshie are friends now," Jenna grinned, then stood, "I should probably get going now, though," Watching the two men look at each other whilst she was talking, she decided that leaving would be a good idea.

"I'll walk you out—" Tyler insisted.

"No, no. I can literally see the door from here. Thank you, though. Have me back soon enough, though, alright? I had a lot of fun today, and it'll be better with the three of us," Jenna pat his shoulder and walked out as she waved to the both of them.

Tyler turned back to Josh and walked really close to the seated one. He put both of his knees against the cushion next to Josh and rested his hands against his thighs while Josh watched him curiously.

"When you said you didn't see me as a potential friend, I get what you meant now," Tyler said shyly, ducking his head afterwards, cheeks shading red without hesitation, "I'm sorry that I'm so oblivious sometimes—"

Josh's fingers came below his chin and tilted his head back up. Josh was smiling at him as his skin touched Tyler's gently, "I can't read what you're saying if I can't see your lips," His thumb padded over Tyler's bottom lip, and Tyler let it be pulled downward the slightest bit, Josh's touch none more than the press of a butterfly, "You're pretty."

"So are you," Tyler whispered, hoping that Josh would understand despite not being able to talk properly with his finger on his lip. Josh grinned though, so surely he had gotten it.

"Guys like me aren't pretty. We're tough, and we're hot," Josh replied jokingly, removing his thumb to cup Tyler's jaw again, "I know Pete was the one who helped me right after the accident, but after all of this, I'm positive you're my guardian angel. Angels are the prettiest, y'know?"

Tyler giggled and shook his head, leaning into Josh's touch, "Slow down, Romeo. You think you're allowed to make me swoon and sweep me off of my feet before the first date? I don't think so," He teased, moving the tiniest amount away from Josh, enough so the hand on his jaw fell away, "I'm classy and need to be treated like the finest French wine."

"Please, if you're like how you were when I had you against the wall the other day, I'd have you under me whenever I wanted," Josh snorted.

Tyler's eyes widened and he slapped Josh's arm, standing up, dismissing Josh's whines and heading up the stairs. He went into his room and grabbed some clothes, then went to the bathroom to take a shower. The brunet was suddenly thankful for Josh's cast, being certain that if he didn't have the cast, then he'd try to join him.

Still, oh God, how he hoped Josh's physical therapy would be over with soon.


 

"He's making great progress," The physical therapist, Ms. Gunn had said, holding onto a clipboard that seemed ready to break apart, "I'm looking to get that cast removed in a few days. He'll need x-rays first, of course, to see the state of his fibula. I'll pop in to Dr. Williams' office some time today to schedule an appointment."

"When will he be able to go back to work?" Tyler asked, eyes darting over to Josh who was playing a game on his phone.

"He'll still need to rest after getting out of the cast, maybe even continue to use his crutches for a day or two. Since his job requires moving around and standing quite a bit of the time, I'd give it to next week at least," She informed, and Tyler felt a little disappointment at the fact that he wouldn't have long until he'd have to return to work.

"The same does not go for you, Mr. Joseph. Once his cast is off, Josh will be fine handling on his own. I'll sign some forms and send them in to your work, though, saying that both of you will be able to return soon."

Tyler sighed but smiled, "Alright. I guess I kind of miss my job."

Lynn had eventually sent them off to take care of her next patient. The two men made their way out of the hospital in complete silence, thankfully not having to catch a cab or a bus afterwards since Patrick lended his car to them for the day, having caught a lift with Pete.

"I can't wait to get this stupid cast off. I'm ready for it, my leg is fine, so I should have gotten it off today!" Josh complained in a childish manner while Tyler helped him into the passengers seat.

The brunet rolled his eyes and shut the door, walking over to his side and hopping in. Josh was still sulking over his cast, "I'll finally get to go outside of the house for fun and go back to work. That could have been today, but nooo, Ms. Gunn can't do that for me," He bangs his head against the seat and pouts at Tyler.

"I keep you inside for protection, okay? Besides, we've had outside days in your yard. Why are you whining so much over this, anyways? You weren't bad about it the last few times of therapy," Tyler questioned, nose unintentionally scrunched with his eyebrows.

Josh kept his pout in tact, "I know you're not going to do anything with me until I'm completely fine."

"Huh?"

"I-I mean, we've been all over each other the past few days, right? But until this cast comes off, you refuse to kiss me, hug me, get too close to me, take me out.." Josh shyly explains, "Yeah, you find it funny when I cling to you or try to do something with you, but either way, you're just going to run away from it.

"I'm not going to be cripple for much longer. Is it that hard to date someone like that, Tyler?"

"God, no, Josh," Tyler assures, placing his hand on Josh's thigh. His cheeks begin to turn a shade of red as he gently squeezes just above his knee, "I'm just afraid that... if we were to start something, I wouldn't be able to stop. Or wouldn't want to stop. As long as that cast is on your leg, you're in no shape to go through that."

"Are you talking about sex?" Josh grinned, soaking up Tyler's blush, "You know, I'm pretty sure orgasms are like milk, healthy for the bones and makes them stronger. If we went a couple of rounds, I'm sure my leg would be healed in no time."

"I'll have you know, that's not what I meant, exactly. I'm not even ready for that step yet, I'm just saying that if it were to get a bit heated in whatever we did, I wouldn't want to hurt you," Tyler cleared up, not missing the fond expression in Josh's face becoming more prominent.

"I'm not glass," And Josh was chuckling, causing Tyler to look even more sad. The brunet genuinely didn't even want to make Josh wince in pain, and Josh took that so lightly, "My ears and my leg -as of now- may not function like everything else, but you aren't going to break the rest of me just by sitting on my lap or leaning on me."

Nothing was said between them for a brief amount of time, only their eyes scanning over each other, but not in a dirty kind of way. Tyler still felt like he was dealing with a fragile package, and it was beginning to anger Josh a little.

"I haven't changed my mind," Tyler said quietly, staring at Josh even as the older one huffed in frustration and looked forward. Tyler decided to start the car then and go home.

"You must be a prude."

Tears welled up in Tyler's eyes. Was Josh angry because Tyler wasn't going to satisfy his sexual needs at the moment? He at least wanted to wait until their second date, deciding not to count the last two times they went out. That was such a stupid thing to be mad about and it only made Tyler more insecure.

When they got home, Tyler got out of the car and got Josh's crutches from the backseat. He opened Josh's door and handed him the crutches, then quietly walked ahead to the door, leaving it open for Josh.

Tyler ignored Josh for the most part, dashing upstairs into his guest room and dropping onto the bed. His body was laid out like a starfish and he groaned into his pillow before the case started to dampen with the tears suddenly falling down. He choked out a soft sob when hearing Josh's own bedroom door slam shut. An erupt crashing sounded throughout the upper floor, and Tyler could only assume that it was Josh's crutches being thrown on the floor.

When he was able to calm his breathing, he took his phone from his jacket pocket and called Patrick, his shaking fingers almost tapping the names around Patrick's contact.

"What's up, Tyler— woah, hey, are you crying?" Patrick's shocked voice came through the speaker almost instantly.

"J-Josh got mad at me because I d-don't want to have sex with him," Tyler sniffled, hurriedly wiping his tears and snot with his sleeve despite how gross it was, "He called me a prude, for Christ's sake. It— fuck, it hurt so much coming from him."

"Are you serious?" Patrick's tone turned dark so quickly, it sounded like he was ready to kill anything or anyone that even thought about hurting Tyler.

"I came to my r-room when we got home, and he went to his and slammed the door shut.. he also let his crutches fall against the floor."

"Do I need to come over there and beat him up? Do I need to send Pete over at least?" Patrick asked.

"N-no! That'll make it worse. I'm just going to stay in here for a little while. I'm sorry I called just to tell you all this, it was probably a waste of your time," His crying had stopped and his voice was stable enough now, but he still felt like he could cry again at any second.

Patrick sighed, "Don't apologize. You're hurting, and you can't just keep stuff like that to yourself. It definitely wasn't a waste of time, even though Brendon is currently glaring at me for not working at the moment."

Tyler chuckled, "Tell Beebo I miss him. I should be able to come back to work in a few days, gladly. After this, I just want to leave."

"We can get Pete to fill in for the rest of the time?"

"It's just two to three days. I can handle that," Tyler mumbled, "I'm gonna take a nap. Thanks for talking to me, Patty. You're a good friend," and he had dozed off before he even had the chance to say goodbye.

Crying always wore him out.

Later in the afternoon, once he woke up, he decided that he couldn't just lay in bed all day. That wasn't in the cards for him, so he had to get up and do stuff around the house. He cleaned up the rest of the dishes, he vacuumed the bottom floor, even using a dust buster to get the crevice under the oven.

Multiple times he had looked up the stairs, wondering what Josh was doing, even though he shouldn't have been. Josh was probably enjoying his privacy, time without him by his side. Tyler sighed and sulked to the couch and turned the tv on to Danny Phantom, then hugged a blanket to his chest.

As day turned to night, and the tv was still on the same channel, but Catdog now playing, Tyler grew a bit worried. Josh really hadn't hid away in his room since the first few days they had spent together -apart-. He really didn't want to go check up on the older one, but he felt he had to. Hopefully Josh wouldn't even notice him.

The stairs creaked with his slow yet heavy steps. It made him cringe until he remembered that Josh wouldn't be able to hear them anyway, so he continued to take his time along the wooden floors until he reached Josh's door. He slowly twisted the knob, poking his head in, furrowing his brows when he didn't first spot Josh on his bed.

Then, his eyes went lower.

"Josh!"

~~



"I think I remember saying not to bring him back here more beaten while he was still recovering," Dr. Williams spoke to Tyler, who was standing outside of Josh's hospital room. Her tone was held lightly and jokingly, but it still made Tyler feel terribly guilty.

"I-I'm so sorry. I didn't even know, and I don't know how long he'd been unconscious for. We got into an argument and went into separate rooms, then I heard a thud, but I thought it was just his crutches thrown out of anger," Tyler looked down at his feet as he spoke a bit too quickly, wincing from the pain when he dug his nails into his palms too hard as punishment.

Dr. Williams smiled softly at him, patting his shoulder as well, and uncurling his hands so he couldn't hurt them anymore, "Don't beat yourself up over it, okay? Josh could have fallen and hit his head against something any time, argument or not. It was just unfortunate that he had head trauma before this, but luckily it didn't make the fall fatal."

"I'm still sorry that we had to return early. I was hoping the next time we'd be here, it would be for his cast to come off. We just left this place this morning, though," Tyler sighed.

"But in two days time, hopefully it'll be your last visit here for a long time," Dr. Williams assured, "I think your boyfriend is waking up, Mr. Joseph. Shall we go in?"

His response came out like a second nature thing to do. Josh wasn't his boyfriend, but Tyler answered almost like he was.

"Yeah."

Josh was groggy, complaining of a headache in slurred words. Dr. Williams shone a light in his eyes and checked his ears, then examined his head for any injuries. A knot was forming on the side of his head from it hitting the nightstand as he fell, and looked like a nasty arrangement of purples and blues would surround it as well. Not once did the two meet eyes, not once did Tyler want them to.

Once Dr. Williams said he was okay for now, and would be able to go soon, she left the room and closed the door. Tyler messed with his thumbs for a little while, just wanting this day to be over with. He squeezed his eyes shut for a second and when he did, he heard Josh's voice break the silence.

"I'm sorry," Was Josh crying? Tyler looked up just to see, and confirm, tears were falling down Josh's cheeks and gliding across his chin and neck, "I didn't mean it. Any of it. I was sick of you thinking I was still some broken, helpless child, and I say mean things when I'm mad. But I never meant any of it, I'm so tired of hurting you, Tyler."

Tyler shakily stood and walked closer, to the foot of the bed, "You can't just say things like you did, not anymore... I'm not a-a prude, I just have boundaries like any other person. I know that you're sorry, and I am too, but I need to know that when you're angry, you'll try and stop saying things that you'll deeply regret later on.

"But—God, Josh. I should have checked on you the minute I heard your crutches hit the floor. I don't know how long I left you on the floor, but when I decided to check on you, I think my heart stopped. It's, it's just, you slammed your door shut and you were so angry, I got nervous and upset. I cried to Patrick—"

"Both him and Pete are gonna kick my ass," Josh sighed, then beckoned Tyler over, pulling the younger to sit by him, "I'll try and stop being such an asshole when I'm mad. I've never been able to put my foot in my mouth when I've been mad, but I don't want you to cry because of me. I'm not worth your tears."

Tyler chuckled softly, taking Josh's hand and playing with his fingers, "Do you say stupid stuff when you're groggy too? Because I think you're most definitely worth my tears."

"Even with this ugly knot on my head? It looks like I have a tumor growing in my forehead," This time Josh was grinning, "I guess you're into the awfully clumsy guys who might as well move into the hospital?"

Tyler ruffled Josh's hair and leaned over to bite the tip of his nose, then pulled back to see an amused look on Josh's face, "Just the ones with wild hair and a nose ring."

Josh scooted over in his bed and let Tyler take the spot next to him. Tyler's body heat provided enough warmth for the both of them, since Josh's sheets were cold. The younger was careful about not knocking Josh's left leg, and rested his arm over Josh's torso. He hummed when feeling Josh's arm snug around his shoulders.

When Josh decided to close his eyes for a little bit, having been exhausted since the day started, Tyler's phone began buzzing with messages, and he just knew that they'd be coming from two certain people. When he checked, though, he smiled when seeing Jenna's name on the screen as well.

Earlier, he had sent Pete and Patrick a message, but he wasn't sure how Jenna knew.

Group Chat with Pete and Patrick.

PATRICK 5:38 PM

My phone died on me and I just got to my charger at

home! Is Josh okay now??? :(

PETE 5:42 PM

Are you sure I don't need to come to the hospital?



TYLER 5:43 PM

He's being discharged soon, so no. He's right as

rain, Patty. He's just got a bit of a bump on his head

PETE 5:43 PM

I'm going to buy some bubble wrap for Josh so he can

be protected 24/7

PATRICK 5:44 PM

You're such a mom

PETE 5:44 PM

You love it :*

Private Chat with Jenna.

JENNA 5:40 PM

A friend who works evening shift told me that Josh landed

in hospital again! Is he okay?

TYLER 5:45 PM

He's fine! I think he's napping for a little while we

wait for discharge papers. He fell, though and lost

consciousness. But he's good now

JENNA 5:45 PM

That's good!! When the clumsy child wakes up, tell him

that I miss him and I hope he feels better soon <3

TYLER 5:46 PM

I will :)


Josh grunted quietly in his nap, and Tyler thought he heard Dr. Williams' voice crescendo-ing towards their room, so he lightly tapped Josh's arm. Josh hummed as he opened his eyes, his lips gently padding against Tyler's temple as he turned his head to face Tyler. The feel of the touch made Tyler's ears and cheeks turn a little red, and his body flutter with dopamine.

Josh's sleepy eyes stayed focused on him, even when Tyler wasn't looking at him. Dr. Williams eventually came in, and Tyler swore that she even 'aw'ed at them. That's when Tyler slowly sat up and got out of the bed, taking the paper handed to him.

"Hand this paper to the nurse at the desk just outside, and we'll have someone bring a wheelchair out to take Josh to your car," Dr. Williams smiled to both him and Josh, then turned her back to Josh and winked at Tyler.

"You two seemed to have made up. Congratulations."

"Yes, we did. But, we argue all the time, so it was really nothing new. He's—we're trying to change for the better, to agree on more than disagree," Tyler reassured after gaining a raised eyebrow from the doctor, "I... I love him, and I'd hate for something worse to happen after a stupid argument, and neither of us be so lucky then."

"When you first came here, it was more than painfully obvious that you two weren't boyfriends. But now, after these couple of weeks, I'm seeing something different. And after that confession, I realize that my previous decision, to let Josh go with you, was not a mistake. I wish you luck, Mr. Joseph."

Dr. Williams walked out of the room, leaving Tyler and Josh to get fixed up. It wasn't that hard, all that they had to do was get Josh's hospital gown off, having put it on over his clothes. Then a nurse came in with a wheelchair, and Tyler gave the front desk lady the discharge papers which she stamped, and let them go.


 

"Home sweet home!" Josh moaned, dumping his crutches beside the couch and sitting on the nearest cushion. Tyler chuckled and sat next to Josh, cuddling into his side and bringing his laptop up with him.

Multiple sites saying how to do different things in sign language were in his tabs, and Tyler should have known it was practically inevitable for Josh to snoop over his shoulder.

"You're trying to learn... for me?" Josh asked quietly, in subtle shock, to which Tyler nodded, "I had to learn it, to help cope with the fact I was then deaf.. I wasn't too young when I became deaf, and I could never easily adapt to things. It was almost as hard as learning a verbal language."

Tyler planted his laptop on the coffee table, then turned on the couch to face Josh, "I realized it must be a pain to try and read lips all the time. I didn't want you to have to keep struggling with that around me."

Next thing Tyler knew, arms were wrapped around his neck and he was suddenly wrapping his own arms around Josh and then— he felt so warm inside. It was funny, or strange, how some things worked out. Tyler could have recited all of the ways Josh made Tyler feel like his favorite piece of poetry, it was such irony, too; like the excitement and the giggles you express during the rush of a snowball fight, like sipping on a mug of hot cocoa with a marshmallow on top, in front of a fire with all of his siblings like he did when they were kids.

Josh was just so beautiful to his mind, to his eyes, to his fingers, to his heart.

Tyler could ravel in him like a cozy blanket, all day.

They pulled away from each other, even though they didn't want to. A question was on the tip of Tyler's tongue, ghosting away from his lips, and he just had to ask.

"If you don't mind me asking, how did you end up deaf?" Tyler asked, "A while ago, Pete made it sound like it happened when you were just a teenager."

Josh puffed out a breath and looked down, lacing his fingers with Tyler's and squeezing gently, "When I was first in the hospital, they couldn't find my parents in the system, right?"

Tyler nodded and squeezed Josh's hands back, since Josh wasn't looking at him, "It's related to that. My parents aren't alive; it's why I have a lot of money, and it's why I'm able to live in this nice little house."

Josh eventually looked at Tyler, eyes rimmed with red, but didn't seem ready to cry. Tyler took one hand and placed it against Josh's cheek, "I'm not asking you to tell me anymore. Don't push yourself, babe," Tyler comforted, leaning over and kissing his forehead.

Josh shook his head and put his hand over Tyler's that was on his face, "I need to, I've wanted to for a while," He tilted his head to kiss Tyler's palm, then faced the younger once more.

"When I was sixteen, almost seventeen, I got into a really bad car wreck. Mom was in the passengers seat, and she was mad at me and arguing with me, while dad was driving. Dad was getting so frustrated, and he took his eyes off of the road for just a few seconds, and he started yelling at the both of us to calm down... it was then that some other driver came into the wrong lane."

Sniffles came from Josh as he explained what happened, and Tyler wanted to hug him again and keep him close, but he knew Josh would only push him away.

"When we hit head on, my dad passed instantly, but mom died in the hospital later on. My head got messed up in the middle of it all, and I guess it only affected my hearing. I woke up with minor injuries, except, I couldn't hear anybody when they were talking to me.. it was so fucking scary, Ty."

Josh didn't talk past that point, so Tyler took the time to detach himself for Josh for a second, "Whe-where are you going?" Josh asked, and his voice was so small like a scared child's.

"Nowhere," Tyler whispered, scooting closer and putting both of his hands on the sides of Josh's head. He watched as Josh closed his eyes when Tyler slowly leaned it, the brunet kissing his forehead first, his eyelids second, the tip of his nose third, his cheeks fourth, and he took his precious time to press a soft kiss to the corner of Josh's mouth.

"I'll always be here. I care," Tyler said while Josh still had his eyes closed. He wanted his words to float through the air, wanted them to be said without being known. For some reason, it felt more special that way.

When Josh's eyes blinked open, The yellow haired one smiled at Tyler, teeth and all showing. Tyler's hands moved back down to where Josh's were settled in his lap, and Tyler held them again.

"I fall more and more into adoration for you, each day, Tyler Joseph."

Me too, Josh Dun.


 

"One day 'til the cast goes!"

"Are you really going to start counting down one day away?"

"Make that twenty-three hours."

~~



"Twelve hours, Tyler!"

"I'm aware, thank you."

~~



"Will you kiss me once the cast is gone?"

"Technically I already have."

"On the lips, Tyler."

"Oh, maybe."

~~



"Two hours!"

"I suddenly miss my job."

~~



Tyler didn't get to watch the cast be sawed off, but he did get to watch Josh walk in the waiting room, without the cast. His foot was clad in his usual vans, and his skinny jeans were in tact again. Josh's smile was one he hadn't seen in a very long time, one that held a sense of things being normal again.

The workers who saw them every week, coming in and going out, congratulated Josh as they left. Josh even skipped to Patrick's car when they got out of the garage elevator, making Tyler grin and shake his head.

"No more crutches, no more hobbling around the place, no more sticking one leg out of the tub, no more—"

Josh's grin faltered as he looked over to the brunet who was currently driving home, "No more you... It's really gonna be weird, not having you around. You practically lived at my house, but now you get to go back to your apartment."

Tyler didn't want to say or show that he was upset about it too. He most definitely was, but he would try to be positive about the seemingly negative situation. Not saying anything back to Josh at the time, really made his intentions seem wrong, but he couldn't bring himself to try and convince Josh that things wouldn't be different.

He'd miss their late movie nights, the nights where they'd compete in Mario Kart, the nights where they'd argue over what to eat for dinner, the giggles they'd share while Josh was in the tub and would use an excuse about his arms so Tyler would have to wash his hair.

Tyler, unknowingly at first, found solace in his friend -they definitely weren't just friends, not anymore-. It would be understandable to not want to let that go. He wondered if this was how Patrick felt when he started getting closer to Pete, how Pete felt when he started to feel things for Patrick. They were safe havens to each other, and that's how Tyler felt about Josh, and he believed that Josh felt that way about him as well.

When they got to Josh's, Josh practically ran to the front door with Tyler's muttered lecturing to himself in the background ("I told the nurses I wouldn't let him run, and what do I do? I let him run on a still uneasy leg. Good job, Tyler."). Both of them couldn't help but enter the house with fresh breaths and an aura surrounding the two that felt like 'different' floating between them. A good different, though.

While Josh was happily charging throughout his house as he used to, Tyler announced he'd be taking a shower. His hair felt grossly greasy when he dragged his fingers through it, and he felt yucky all over. It was mainly so he could think about what had yet to happen, outside of leaving this place.

As the scolding hot water sprayed down on him, he realized he had three more days to schedule the meeting with the police. He still had to tell Josh about the conditions of what had happened to him, and he knew it had to be said before Tuesday. Though Tyler didn't want to, he said he'd tell Josh tomorrow, a bit before he would be to pack his things and leave.

A fluffy green towel fit snug around his waist as he walked out of the steamy bathroom and into the bedroom. He picked up the loose, black shirt he had lying on the bed when a knock sounded against his door. Tyler went over and opened it to a hesitant looking Josh, whose eyes suddenly went huge as they trailed lower, looking at the brunet's state of clothing.

"You have chest tattoos," Josh mumbled, his gaze not leaving the ink marked along Tyler's chest, "Hot, really hot. Yeah, um, my good sleeping shirts are in the wash right now, can I, fuck, uh, borrow one of y-yours? Maybe?"

Tyler tilted his head to the side, exposing more of the tan skin on his neck, internally grinning as Josh gulped. He nodded and went over to one of the drawers to pull out a white muscle tee, handing it to Josh who continued to look at him as if he was day, night, and all four seasons in a person.

Josh has been so keen on the idea of kissing me. Why isn't he going for it? I'm ready!


They stared at each other, Tyler making suggestive gestures against his body, such as scratching the back of his neck or slightly tilting his head upward. Josh seemed like his throat was going dry just looking at him, and Tyler just wanted to kiss the living daylights out of him. But since Josh had been so confident before, he wondered if kissing Tyler was uncomfortable now, and he didn't want to push any boundaries.

"T-thanks!" Josh peeped, then turned his back and rushed to his room.

Tyler groaned, shutting his own door and banging his head against it, "Fuck me."

And that continued for the rest of the day, and night. While Tyler made dinner, Josh kept his distance, which Tyler tried shortening by staying close to the other. Josh seemed to dance away from his advances, though. Even while they were watching a movie on the couch, and Tyler tried snuggling up to Josh, Josh would seem to scoot further away. Tyler eventually grew very frustrated.

Josh wouldn't even throw his arm around Tyler.

Tyler paused the movie, and stood before Josh, whose eyes drifted up to Tyler's, "Why won't you cuddle with me? Or touch me in any way?" Maybe the question came out a bit wrong with how Josh choked on his saliva.

"What?" Josh asked incredulously.

"Before the cast came off, you talked about... kissing me, and stuff. Remember?" Tyler pressed the tips of his toes on one foot against the carpet, and clasping his hands in front of him, "Now you don't want to even look at me. Did I do something wrong?"

Josh stood as well, dangerously close to Tyler now. The brunet thrived off of this lack of space, though, and could have joyously fed off of it, "Nonono! You didn't do anything wrong, it's all on me, I swear. It's just me being stupid, alright?"

"Well can you stop being stupid...? I'm starting to get desperate," Tyler whined.

Josh cut the space between them, almost, putting a hand on Tyler's hip and the other one finding visitation locked in Tyler's hair, lightly pulling to draw out another whine from Tyler, "Are you needy, baby? Is that your thing? You acted like me talking about kissing you was such a bother, but you really fantasized about it, didn't you?" He smirked.

"Couldn't help it," Tyler tried to defend himself, but nothing past what he said then would come out. He wanted to slap himself, slap sense into him, but he could feel Josh's breath fanning against his lips, and it drove him mad.

"I only waited because I didn't think you wanted to actually kiss me. You really were bitter sounding when I brought it up, I didn't want to like, force you in to anything," Josh said, the tips of his fingers moving from Tyler's hair to prodding along his jawline.

A yawn fell from Tyler's lips, and he wanted to curse himself. He was just so tired all of a sudden, and he just wanted to go to bed after getting a kiss from Josh, but now Josh would probably make him wait until tomorrow. When the sleepy brunet's head softly bumped against Josh's cheek, the elder chuckled and lead the way to a bedroom.

As Tyler was laid against a mattress, he mumbled, "Wouldn't have forced me in to anything. 've been wanting to kiss you for a long time," and his lips mustn't have moved much with his slurring, because he heard Josh say that he couldn't make out what he said. Bummer.

He barely noticed the extra body lie next to his in the bed.

~~



The first thing Tyler did when he woke up, was groan. Not only did he plan on scheduling Josh in today, he had to go back to work tomorrow. Dr. Williams and Dallon were generous enough to extend his time off by one more day. This also meant that he needed to practically move house.

Not only that, but when he opened his eyes, he saw Josh sleeping next to him. He bit his lip in a grin when looking at Josh's parted mouth, letting out small snores. He scooted closer and latched onto Josh with his arm and leg, using the moment to be a distraction from the junk he had to do today. His eyelids became heavy again, only until he felt Josh's arm escape from his hold, only to wrap around him. His eyes opened again only to see Josh smiling down at him.

He shivered when Josh's fingers brushed against the span of his collarbones and neck, from where his shirt collar hung loose. It was that moment, blatantly admiring Josh, that he realized, he could handle just being like this forever. He could handle not being anything more to Josh, just as long as he got to curl up next to him, let his eyes wander around each curve sculpted on to the tan skin, and just be with Josh.

A ding went off in his mind, he suddenly shot up and grinned down at a confused Josh. Tyler giddily padded his hands against Josh's bare stomach, "I have a surprise for you. It's small, but hopefully you'll like it."

"Not sure, I've never been one for surprises," Josh snorted at Tyler's frown, earning a slap to his stomach (not close to his old stab wound).

Tyler stood up on the bed, walking off of it with a little struggle, but planted his feet at the edge of the bed right in front of Josh. Josh sat up so his back was against the headboard, and Tyler wiggled his fingers, bringing them up to his chest.

"I have fallen in to deep adoration for you, Joshua Dun," He signed with little struggle.

He got a little nervous waiting for Josh's reaction, and rested his knees against the bed, taking weight off of his feet so he wouldn't stumble over air.

Did I mess up? Did I call him a name by accident? Oh shit—

"Was-was it okay? If I forgot something, I didn't mean to," He shyly said, lifting his hands in front of his chest in defense.

Josh pulled the covers off of himself hastily, scooting towards Tyler in a similar pace. Tyler's breath hitched instantly, as Josh put his hand on the back on Tyler's neck, giving the brunet time to hold on to Josh's shoulders, before landing a soft kiss on his lips.

Tyler's arms eventually locked around Josh's neck, smiling into the gentle yet enticing kiss. He knew they both had been waiting for this, hence why it was the slightest bit rushed, but he didn't care. He was just happy that he was able to kiss Josh now, like this, teetering over the edge of Josh's bed. He felt Josh smiling too, as his lips slotted Tyler's bottom one in between. Tyler couldn't help but giggle in happiness.

Josh's lips were so soft despite being mildly chapped. His nose ring brushed against Tyler's gently, the coldness of it soon turning to heat from the constant friction. And when Josh's hands slid under his shirt, pushing it up to mid stomach, just to have more skin to hold on to, Tyler moaned, which only egged Josh on more.

By the time the two had parted, their cheeks were already red and Tyler's hair was turned into a mangled mess, and somehow, Josh's fluffy hair managed to be fine. They probably would have kept going, had loss of breath not been a thing.

"Four weeks ago, had I been told that I'd be kissing the breath out of you, the guy I sat next to on the bus each day and fussed at the first time I talked to him, I would've thought that person was insane," Josh chuckled, panting quietly and rubbing his thumb over Tyler's cheek, "But now? I can't imagine this going any differently. I'm so happy that we tried for each other."

Tyler brushed their noses together in an Eskimo kiss, grinning as he pulled a cut off laugh from Josh. He couldn't lie, he felt the same way as Josh. Some people, them included, needed to realize that destiny couldn't happen unless you provided a path for it to begin with. Maybe him and Josh were always meant to be in this room, in this time, in this position, but they had to try and work for it. If anyone disagreed with that, Tyler would personally fight them.

The truth that was bound to spill from Tyler's lips, had to come out now with his next question. Tyler sat down on the bed, a soft smile still in tact, and pulled Josh down with him. He held Josh's hands tightly, occasionally squeezing, "If you getting hurt meant that we'd never have talked again, never got close like this, would you still have changed what happened? You really don't have to answer, because I have mixed feelings about it too."

Josh shook his head, "I don't even know what I would do. Having that happen was honestly one of the worst things in my life. But you, you're so close to being the best thing. I... I don't think I would have changed anything, 'cause suffering to get to peace and serenity, ended up being so worth it," Josh murmured.

Josh nuzzled his nose against Tyler's neck, and the brunet leaned away with a quiet whine, waiting for Josh to look up at him.

"I need to tell you the weight of your situation," The brunet sighed, "When I got a phone call from the police, they told me that your incident was one out of many connected, and successful murders. You were supposed to die—I'm just so, God, I'm so sorry I didn't tell you before, but I could barely handle that information myself. It's why I was so distraught after the call."

Josh's eyes were boring in to his, he showed no expression of shock whatsoever, just continued to look at Tyler as he always did. Tyler grew a bit confused, because he knew that if it were himself being told his incident was an attempted murder rather than just some cruel, and crippling joke, he'd be shaken a lot.

"Are you not surprised? Sad? Angry?" Tyler questioned, watching Josh with concerned eyes and he squeezed the latter's hands again.

"Am I supposed to be? Tyler, I know it really is a big deal, don't get me wrong. I just want all of this to be over with, though, I don't want to waste my time on it more than I have to. All I want is this last day with you in my house, you can save the packing and cleaning for later. Let's leave everything else behind for now; we don't have to leave this bed for a while."

Tyler stammered trying to find the right words. He wanted to do all of that with Josh, but his chest felt so heavy, "You can't just keep pushing your problems away..."

Josh grabbed ahold of his arms and gave him what seemed to be a reassuring smile in attempt to lighten him up, "If I was running away from this, I'd be refusing to go to the police. The only thing I'm doing, is not letting my problems rule over me. There's a big difference."

And oh, how Tyler wished he could be like Josh some days. He guessed that the reason him and Josh were able to fit together so well after getting to know one another, was because Josh was able to fill spaces that Tyler couldn't, vice versa. When a rock rolled in to Tyler's path, he stood before it. When a rock rolled in to Josh's, Josh managed to climb over it.

"You're right," Tyler nodded, wrapping his fingers around Josh's forearm lovingly, "Now, I will happily take up the offer of staying in bed for most of the day."

As they laid in bed together, for the second time ever, Tyler realized that going back to his own bed, tonight, would make him feel more lonelier than ever before.


 

When Tyler's duffle bag hit the floor of his apartment, he kicked the door shut and sighed. Josh had given him peace and quiet whilst he packed, just by sitting on the guest bed and not talking. At the time, Tyler felt warm about them not being enveloped in awkwardness during silence anymore, but now, he wished they had talked all day.

He didn't bother to unpack just yet, didn't bother to take off his shoes either, and plopped against the couch with an arm thrown over his eyes.

The apartment was deadly quiet and still, and the faint sound of cars beeping and passing by was back. He almost forgot how it sounded, since Josh didn't live in the heart of the city. Eventually, a creaking from his ceiling caused by someone above him walking, made his table ornaments shake. This was the silence he didn't want to experience again.

He almost thought about texting Josh, but he didn't want to seem too clingy. He hadn't been gone for an hour and a half, even. Surely Josh was excited to have his house back to himself again, and wouldn't want to deal with any of his texts.

With his phone in hand, moreso against his stomach, debating on texting Josh or not, said man seemed to do the job for him.

JOSH<3 6:27 PM

My bed misses you. The covers are calling your name.

Tyler chuckled, instantly typing up a reply.

TYLER 6:27 PM

Can you read their lips too?

JOSH<3 6:27 PM

No... but if I could, they'd most definitely be calling

your name.

TYLER 6:28 PM

You're seeing me tomorrow, and almost every other day

from then on

JOSH<3 6:28 PM

Are you saying that you're not dying to see me again

RIGHT NOW?? Were my kisses not magnetizing enough?

Honestly, Tyler would admit that he strongly misses Josh's lips on his. It was definitely the highlight of his day, of his year too, quite possibly.

TYLER 6:28 PM

They definitely were. But you know I had no choice but to leave

Josh seemed to have been typing for a while after that.

JOSH<3 6:31 PM

I mean.. unless you moved in with me? If you want that to be

an offer or suggestion, then it totally was, but if not, forget it

TYLER 6:31 PM

Of course I'd like that, but we've barely known each other

for a month now, not to mention our first kiss was just

today. I'm not even sure if we're dating ? Maybe

later, but we're still new to all of this, don't you think?

JOSH<3 6:32 PM

I know :( I just miss you, like a lot.

JOSH<3 6:32 PM

Oh, and yeah I think we're dating now

TYLER 6:32 PM

'Yeah I think we're dating' how romantic yes

Josh I'll be your boyfriend

TYLER 6:32 PM


Does this mean we should probably go on a date

some time?

 

JOSH<3 6:32 PM

At least one or two, to test the waters

TYLER 6:33 PM

Because living with you for three weeks barely

did anything

JOSH<3 6:33 PM

;)


 

"It's about fuckin' time, my man," Brendon slapped a hand against Tyler's back, making him hunch over and huff, "We're almost done with the work now, you lucky little shit getting to skip out on all of it."

"It was for a good cause!" Tyler piped, standing back up straight and greeting Patrick and Pete, who was there to not miss out on the gathering. 

"Where's the 'good cause' anyway?" Patrick asked.

The noun of their conversation came walking through the door almost immediately... with neon green hair. The three men around Tyler cheered, but Tyler stood there like a fish without water. How was it so that one human could work with any hair color?

Tyler and Josh shared a smile while the other three huddled around Josh. The brunet waved when Brendon seemed to be hugging the living breath out of Josh, and Josh was only able to respond in a wheeze. Afterwards, Tyler ended up going over to his side of the wall with Patrick, the two just sitting down rather than actually working.

"I went to Pete's family's house yesterday," Patrick mumbled, fiddling with a pen and looking at it. Tyler smiled, but furrowed his eyebrows when seeing an unhappy look on Patrick's face, "His parents were really nice, I loved them and I hope they loved me. And his siblings were really cool, but we went to Pete's room after dinner, and his brother had laid lube and a bunch of condoms on the bed beforehand."

"Oh no... what happened?" Tyler asked, "Have you told Pete?"

Patrick slowly nodded, "Yesterday. He didn't understand why I was ready to puke, but then I told him. He was so loving about it and supporting, before he shoved the junk off of his bed and yelled at his brother."

Tyler grinned, "I'm so happy the two of you have each other. Pete can be a gentleman when he wants to be."

"And," Patrick dragged out the word longer than he should have, "so can Josh! How was it separating after a lovely amount of time spent living with each other? He apologized for what he did back then, right? Has he given you anymore trouble?"

"Yes, he apologized, no, there's no more trouble. As for leaving home, I hated it until we started messaging each other when I got to the apartment," Tyler sighed, resting his chin against the desk, "We kissed yesterday though, and snuggled in bed before I left. I think we're boyfriends too."

"I'm going to point out how disgusting this is. You called Josh's place 'home', and your real home, 'the apartment'. See, if you had listened to me from the start and properly given this a chance, all of this would've happened days ago," Patrick smirked, eagerly clicking the pen in excitement and smugness, "Always listen to your best friend, Tyler. It can save your life."

"I wouldn't say it saved my life," Tyler said thoughtlessly, watching Josh and Pete walk over to their side to get some snacks, still a ways away from the two at the desk. He heard an angelic laugh come from Josh, and a flat out annoying one from Pete.

Patrick's eyes followed his gaze, and watched fondly as well, then he flickered back to Tyler, "Maybe not, but it did save Josh's. I'm not sure that that's something which can be denied."

Did Tyler really do that? A part of him always thought Josh could have made it on his own. He was just the sidekick, basically, and never felt too relevant in Josh's repair. Maybe near the end, it felt like he had accomplished something with his boyfriend, but before? Tyler wasn't really a life saver, was he?

It was at that time, that Josh looked over to him and locked gazes. Josh winked at him, and Tyler ducked his head with a giggle. Patrick cooed while Pete gagged, causing Josh to punch his arm.

"Sadly, we have one more thing to get through before the storm has passed," Tyler smiled sadly, turning away from Pete and Josh, "I'll be accompanying Josh to the NYPD precinct tomorrow for an identification session. If that goes well, then we're done with all of this junk for good, and can just be happy and normal."

"You guys are happy and normal! The law's just slightly involved at the moment," Patrick chirped.

Tyler rolled his eyes with a snort, "Moving on. Dallon was his usual, cherry self today. What happened there?" He asked with sarcasm seeping through his words.

Patrick's eyes widened a little, and he leaned over in to Tyler's space, "Brendon's been flirting with quite a few coworkers that aren't him. Dallon was subtle about his jealousy at first, but busted a vein over it Friday. He blew up at Brendon in front of the entire third floor at a lunch meeting." 

"Holy shit," Tyler gasped, hopping out of his stool and peeking around the other side of the wall. He saw Brendon slumped on the couch, and what Tyler guessed was pretend happiness, was long gone. The ebony haired one was scrolling on his phone, and through the reflection on his glasses lenses, Tyler could faintly see a text message screen.

"I think he's scrolling through their old messages," Tyler whispered, humming quietly when warmth flooded over him and a shadow joined his. He looked over his shoulder to see Josh staring at Brendon too, but with his chest pressed right against Tyler's back.

"They're so pathetic. Without our help, they wouldn't have even fucked in the first place," Pete muttered while Patrick scowled at his boyfriend's choice of words, "You know what? I'm gonna make a plan for tonight, and you guys are going to help me."

Everybody groaned.

~~



"I don't see why I have to go clubbing tonight. Tomorrow's a work day, and I'd rather not be hungover," Dallon complained as he, Tyler, and Pete walked to the club they were going to.

("Where's Patrick and Josh? I thought they were coming too?" Dallon asked when he opened his front door to his employees -friends-.

"They are! We're going to meet them at the club though," Pete said, dragging Dallon down the stairs to where Tyler was standing on the side walk, "Patrick's pet.. pet fish!— was, uh, floating, so he had Josh come over because Josh is like, some fish expert, but it was just sleeping. But they'll be late."

"I didn't know Patrick had a pet fish," Dallon mumbled, slightly in amazement with the new information.

Patrick didn't have a fish. But, he did have a Brendon.

"You also don't know what the square root of common knowledge in love is, but we all lack in something, Dally," Pete grinned, running forward a bit after Dallon glared at him menacingly.)

"Then don't drink," Tyler deadpanned as if he was able to solve all of the problems in the world, "There's not much self control needed in the art of staying sober," that was a lie, but whatever could sway Dallon in to not making a dumb decision for the night.

"You're right, you're right. I just won't drink," Dallon fanned out his shirt and shook up his hair with his fingers, like he was trying to grow confidence in himself, "I can totally stay sober for this entire night. Watch me."

"Okay, Mr. Lightweight," Pete scoffed.

Meanwhile.

"Brendon, please get dressed!" Patrick yelled, banging on the bedroom door, "We understand that you're heartbroken because your boytoy won't follow you around anymore, but you need a night to let loose!"

"If I go to a club, I'm probably gonna end up in bed with someone. I don't want their ass, I want Dallon's," Brendon whined miserably. Patrick growled and banged his head against the wall while Josh sat on the couch.

"Maybe if you throw sexual tendencies aside—" Patrick began.

Brendon interrupted, "I have the sex drive of a horny rabbit, and you have the audacity to—"

Josh was so tired of waiting. Despite not being able to hear what was being said, he got up and broke through Brendon's door with barely any effort, while Brendon was still talking. Brendon screeched and pulled the covers over his boxer clad body, tissues surrounding his entire bed.

"Throw on your tightest fucking pants, most ripped shirt, and your black boots, then get out here. We have people waiting on us," Josh grumbled, glaring at Brendon until he nodded, then attempted to close the door, but it would no longer stay shut. Josh leaned against the wall across from Patrick, "I can't believe how stupid these two are."

"Like you have room to talk," Patrick raised an eyebrow, "You and Tyler were oblivious to each other since the beginning. But, I will give to you, since you got your shit together faster than those two."

They left when Brendon came out in skin tight black jeans, a white shirt with the sides practically ripped apart halfway up, exposing his ribs, and his black boots. Josh made him lose to the glasses too.

At the club, Tyler was sipping on a pretty alcoholic drink he had already forgotten the name of, but it was glowing blue. Dallon was surprisingly not drunk, but had the side of his head against the bar while Pete awkwardly rubbed his back.

"Patrick sent a text saying that they're almost here," Pete called out over the music. Tyler smiled at the thought of being joined by Josh soon.

Dallon sat up, spinning his stool around so he was facing the same way as the other two, "This was a bad idea, guys. I'm really not in the mood to be clubbing," He frowned. All three noticed Josh, Patrick, and Brendon enter the bar, and as soon as Dallon's eyes landed on Brendon, Dallon groaned, "I can't be sober for this," then waved a bartender over.

Tyler waved their friends over, Josh instantly invading his bubble, not that Tyler minded. The brunet wrapped his arms around Josh's neck and pressed a chaste kiss to Josh's lips, grinning when Josh chased for another act of intimacy.

Patrick and Brendon stood at the dance floor and the ones at the bar looked over to Dallon, who seemed to already be drunk after one glass of alcohol.

"You should go talk to Brendon," Tyler said directly in to Dallon's ear.

"You fuckers set me up. Well guess what, I'm too independent for this. I'm still too fucking sober for this," Dallon slammed his hand down on the counter, calling for another drink. He turned around in his seat, looking at Brendon just as Brendon looked at him, "He looks so hot.. screw this."

As Dallon left his seat to go over to Brendon, Pete left for Patrick. Josh sat down where Dallon previously was, and sipped on what Dallon ordered and then left behind.

"Come here often?" Josh asked with a sly grin, causing Tyler to snort at the cheesy question and tone.

"I don't usually do clubbing, so no," Tyler replied, deciding to go along with whatever Josh was doing.

"Sorry, I can't hear you over this music," Josh yelled, leaning closer. Tyler laughed and flicked his forehead, leaning his elbow on the counter behind him and sipping his drink, "Maybe we should go somewhere more secluded?"

Tyler gave Josh a look. One of disapproval, but with a tinge of 'you use your disability to your advantage, so smartly, too'. He bit his lip and checked Josh out blatantly, "Don't think my boyfriend would appreciate me doing that."

"I can treat you better than your boyfriend can," Josh put his hand on Tyler's thigh, squeezing harshly, "I heard that he hasn't even taken you out on a date yet," He said, letting his fingers trail upward on the inside of the brunet's thigh.

"I'm patient enough to wait," Tyler gulped as Josh's hand got quite close. He doubted Josh would go farther in public like this, but the thought of him doing that made things more heated.

"I'm not," Josh grunted, "Especially when your thighs look so good in those leather pants," He stood up and hovered over Tyler, lowering his head so his lips grazed Tyler's neck.

Tyler felt multiple nips on his neck, whining in embarrassment even though nobody was looking at them. He gasped when Josh pulled the collar of his inside-out shirt down, and sucked marks along his collar bones.

Josh slotted himself between Tyler's legs, brushing their crotches together before tilting his head back up and capturing Tyler's lips in a bruising kiss to capture the brunet's moans. They continued to grind against each other until their bulges were anything but subtle, and Tyler was a writhing mess in his seat.

"I think I remember, a few weeks ago, a little birdie telling that he was into exhibitionism. We'll put that to the test," Josh mused, fingers digging in to Tyler's arms. The brunet hoped they bruised his skin for days.

This was so dirty, and so open for everyone to look at them.

Beads of sweat gathered along Tyler's forehead as he felt heat pool in his stomach, and his pants stuck to his legs tighter than before. Josh had a hold of his hips and was pulling him closer, giving no space between their lower halves.

Tyler keened, knocking his forehead onto Josh's shoulder and harshly gripping on to the elder's biceps.

"Shit," Josh groaned, biting the top of Tyler's ear and drawing out a quiet cry from Tyler, "That's right, baby. Just rock against me—yeah, t-there."

Tyler's legs stuck out, and his entire body felt like it couldn't move. He felt so hot and so raw despite being fully clothed, with the way Josh was grinding on him and nipping at his ear.

"Do you like coming undone in front of all of these people, Tyler? Does it excite you, knowing that people can see how filthy you are?"

Tyler's legs shook and surely the pressure of his fingers were putting bruises onto Josh's skin, "Y-yeah," He breathed out, even though Josh wouldn't know, and his mouth stayed wide open as he let out a silent cry, "I'm comin—comingcomingshit," He spilled in to his underwear, body shaking intensely, then stilling. He heard Josh chuckle and felt him pull away instantly.

"I'm all yucky now," Tyler pouted, red lipped and red cheeked. He looked around, making sure that no one was staring at them. They probably blended in with the mass of other people dancing as if they were getting each other off as well.

"I'm going to the restroom," Josh said, squeezing Tyler's hand before dismissing himself. Tyler didn't think anything of it at first, but looked towards the restrooms when he realized that Josh didn't come.

"You guys are pigs," Pete cringed, coming in to the picture with Patrick, "We saw the whole thing, or I did."

"Yeah yeah, sorry Pat," Tyler scoffed, but meant what he said, "Where's Dal and Brendon?"

"They're giving blowjobs in the restrooms," Pete answered.

Have fun, Joshua.

(Group Chat with Brendumb, Patty, Pete, Josh<3, and Boss Man

BRENDUMB 10:04 PM

I was mid succ on Dallon and some guy just rushed into

the restrooms and started jerking off in the stall next to us)

~~



The next day, Tyler and Josh were thankful that they didn't drink too much. They had to be at the precinct at around 11 A.M., and being hungover would have been a disaster for them at that time. They met outside the building and Tyler held Josh's hand as they walked inside and to the elevator.

They had been expected, so someone was already waiting for them. The lady, who Tyler had talked to over the phone, took Josh into a room with a man with paper and a pencil, and Tyler stayed outside to watch them through a window.

He nervously tapped his foot, deciding to pick out his phone and read all of the messages he had been sent today, him and Josh getting similar ones from their friends.

PATTY 8:43 AM

Good luck! I hope everything goes well

BRENDUMB 10:12 AM

Dallon says he wishes you the best. He's a bit busy choking

on my dick at the moment. Show that pussy killer that Josh

Dun is unstoppable

BRENDUMB 10:12 AM

I didn't mean literal pussy killer, I meant like, he's a

k iller who's a pussy

PETE 10:13 AM

Brendon shut up. And ditto with Patty

PATTY 10:13 AM

Brendon?? We're at work though??? Are you really doing

that HERE?? Disgusting bastards

BRENDUMB 10:14 AM

Yah

And then his separate chat with Jenna showed up while he was checking the older messages.

JENNA 11:18 AM

I hope you aren't stressing too much today! I believe Josh

can handle this, but I need to know that you can as well.

TYLER 11:18 AM

If biting my lip off and tapping a hole through the

floor with my foot counts as calm, I've never been so

free of anxiety before

JENNA 11:18 AM

This will be over soon enough! Identification shouldn't

take too long, right? Then you guys are free

TYLER 11:19 AM

I know. I just don't want this to all be for nothing.

What if they never find the guy?

JENNA 11:19 AM

Don't panic over that. The people helping you out, are

really g ood at what they do. Even if it's not soon,

the guy won't be loose for too long.

TYLER 11:20 AM

I'll try and keep that in mind. They're bringing

Josh back out now, so I gotta go

JENNA 11:20 AM

Love you guys!

Josh walked out of the room and in to Tyler's arms, "The restaurant had a security camera that caught what happened, and my memory of his appearance matched up with the guy in the footage," Josh's voice sounded so light, and Tyler understood, because after having some sort of lead, it would feel comforting and hopeful.

"Thank you guys for coming in today. If we need you again, we'll call, but hopefully we won't," The lady officer said, bidding them a goodbye as they walked towards the elevators.

When the door shut it front of them, both men looked at each other.

"Thank you for coming with me," Josh mumbled, locking pinkies with Tyler, "I know we've been together for, like, three days, but they've been a great three days for me."

"Same goes for me," Tyler said happily. He hugged in to Josh's side and kissed his boyfriend's cheek.

After multiple dings from the elevator, they got out and left the building. It was loud and crowded, but Josh stopped Tyler from going further from the building's entrance, and held the brunet's hands.

"Tyler," Josh swallowed, "I'm not really sure when I'll be able to say I love you, because, that's a huge thing. I mean, when I'm around you, I kind of have to remember to blink and swallow my spit, so I think I'm getting there.. My point is, I know I've said this a few times before, but I adore you more than anything or anyone.

"Even more than the dog that we'll get when you move in with me."

Tyler felt warm tears fall over his cheeks, but he couldn't wipe them away because his sweaty hands were still linked with Josh's. He laughed, though, nodding along, "I think I'm getting there too. To be in love with you, I mean. As for now, I adore you a lot, as well," He didn't have cheesy words to say, or fancy roses to give. So instead, he leaned forward and kissed Josh with all of the growing love inside of his chest.

Tyler really experienced the whole, 'it's always darkest before the dawn' deal, and it did suck at first. He could have definitely gone without all of the yelling, the awkwardness, and the tears, but it really had been worth it.

At least, that's what Tyler believed when he felt like he couldn't be happier, kissing Josh on the street, staying in place while the world moved around them.

This was contentment.

This was living.

This was everything Tyler never knew he wanted, and it was everything he needed.

Chapter Text

"This place already smells and feels like you, babe. I love it," Josh groaned in satisfaction, hugging Tyler from behind while they stood in their living room.

After one year, Tyler was finally moving in to Josh's. Of course, they had a lot of help with it. Josh wanted as much of Tyler's stuff packed and moved as possible, the now-brunet wanted Tyler to feel right at home. Despite Josh's insistence, Tyler had already mentioned that the place had felt like home the second week that he looked after Josh.

Tyler put his arms over Josh's and squeezed his boyfriend's hands lovingly, leaning back and tilting his head to kiss Josh in the slightly awkward position.

"Come on Sinatra!" Jenna hollered as she walked past the door. Both men's heads turned as they saw the hyper golden retriever run past Jenna. Oh, yeah, they also adopted a dog a few weeks ago. Jenna stopped Sinatra from running over the furniture and had him sit down, "You're such a good boy, yes you are!" She ogled.

"I think you love our dog more than we do," Tyler grinned.

"Can you blame me?" Jenna asked, still fluffing up the dog's ears, "Now, I mean it when I say that you can invite me over any time during the day."

"Don't get your hopes up, Jen. I'm positive these two will be christening every available surface as soon as we leave. That might take a month or so," Pete joked, wiggling his eyebrows as he carried a box in, Patrick following on his phone.

The ginger's ears seemed to tune in with what Pete was saying, and he slapped his fiancé's arm, "There's an innocent dog and Patrick in the room," Patrick scoffed.

"Please don't get me and Josh mixed up with Dallon and Brendon," Tyler snorted, pulling Josh to sit down on their couch. They cuddled close together and Tyler breathed Josh's scent in happily.

Even though he lived there for a year, it wasn't the slightest bit hard leaving his crappy apartment, because all he could ever think about was spending all day with his boyfriend and being content, having movie nights whenever, and food fights in the kitchen as they pleased. Besides, hopefully there would be many more years spent living with Josh to overlap the one he lived alone.

"Why aren't Dallon and Brendon here, helping us, again?" Josh asked, seemingly bitter than their other two friends didn't help them with this milestone.

Tyler tapped his jaw and Josh turned to look at him, "They're honeymooning, like the lovey dovey couple that they are," He informed.

It took about seven months for those two to get their happy ending. Even after Dallon and Brendon hooked up at that club, they argued and disagreed on a lot still. They had even broken up at some point, to which all of their friends had to come to a rescue. Tyler cringed when thinking about how loud they were in Dallon's office when they finally made up.

Surprisingly, a lot happened in the year that he knew Josh. He got promoted, being able to work on the fifth floor with Brendon every week now. It was everything that he dreamed it to be, even though Josh and Patrick weren't with him. They were on the floor below, which luckily, dropping by was still easy.

Josh's attacker had also been tracked and found a few months after they went in for identification. He remembered walking in with Josh to the precinct for the second time, watching as the criminal walked by them. Josh gave him a bitter yet sweet smile, waved at him mockingly, then the words 'try me again behind bars, bitch' voiced past Josh's lips.

There was so much satisfaction in seeing the hatred behind the killer's eyes when Josh said that, that when they got to Josh's that night, Tyler shoved Josh on to the bed and gave him a headboard banging reward.

"Okay, children! I think you've helped out enough for today. It's been a big day already, and some of us should even be sleeping right now due to work hours," Josh said, eyes pointedly staring at Jenna who huffed.

"Okay, Mom and Dad," Pete played along, "Don't break the bed!" He said, walking out of the house.

"Ignore him. Love you guys," Patrick smiled, waving and following behind Pete.

Jenna pat Sinatra's head, then stood and kissed both Tyler and Josh's foreheads, "Remember to call me if you need me, alright? I hope the rest of the day goes smoothly for you guys," She said, waiting for Tyler's hum of response, then waving to the two of them and closing the front door behind her.

Tyler threw his leg over Josh's lap as soon as their house was cleared, and Sinatra had already slumped in his bed. The younger's fingers curled Josh's hair around them, pulling a soft yawn from Josh, "My parents want us to come over after spring starts. Both of us still have around seventeen days of vacation left, so we could at least go down for five days or so."

Josh's hands planted themselves on Tyler's hips, "Why not seven? I miss your mom's broccoli casserole," He whined.

"I'll be sure to tell her that you're only dating me so you can have access to her casserole whenever we visit. She'd be so heartbroken but so flattered at the same time," Tyler shook his head at his own words.

Josh rolled his eyes and leaned forward to peck Tyler's lips. Tyler's hands ended up on his cheeks in the midst of their small act of intimacy, and Tyler giggled at the sweetness of it.

If it wasn't already obvious, Josh was introduced to his parents and siblings. Everyone loved Josh to pieces, demanding that they make their visits to Ohio more frequent. Tyler swore that his parents would have preferred Josh as a son, and his siblings would have preferred Josh to look up to rather than him. His parents had denied it, but not his siblings.

On their fourth trip to Ohio, Josh told Tyler's family why his own family wasn't present, and they vowed to take Josh in as their own. So, they were basically married, just without the rings or certificate.

"Ohh yes, I'm so desperate for her casserole, that I'm going to ask you to marry me," Josh said nervously, looking in to Tyler's eyes, hoping for a positive response. Tyler could tell that he was ready to play it off as a joke, "I'm-I'm sorry— that was uncalled for-"

So Tyler hit his chest, "Don't you dare take that back, Joshua. Are you really asking to marry me? I mean, I just moved in today and all—not saying that I'm rejecting it, but are you sure that this isn't moving too f—"

Josh cut him off with a deep kiss this time, squeezing Tyler's hips so hard it made him squirm. When they pulled apart, Josh nuzzled his nose against Tyler's neck, "I've been wanting to marry you since that night in the club when we hooked Dallon and Beebo up. This isn't moving fast for me."

"Oh, so making me come in my pants alerted you that you wanted to marry me?" Tyler laughed.

"It wasn't like that! Well, it partially was, but I thoroughly enjoyed that night, especially since it was our first night out after my accident," Josh shrugged.

"Whatever," Tyler chuckled, kissing Josh's temple, "Even though it wasn't like in the movies or on YouTube, yes, I will marry you with my whole being. And with all of the adoration and love for you inside of me, along with the anger that you sometimes unleash."

"Is that last part supposed to scare me off? Too bad, baby. I want all of you with this marriage," Josh smiled, reaching up and taking Tyler's hand in his own, leaving their fingers together, "I love you so much. Sometimes I swear that I can actually hear angels singing when I'm with you."

"I love you too, you cheesy bastard," Tyler grinned and looked down at his and Josh's connected hands.

He felt like a miracle had truly spawned in his life upon meeting Josh, and ending up in this time and place with him. Tyler's life was a constant string of loneliness, lack of self confidence (with a mask of fake arrogance), and a cold mattress around his body.

Now? Now he was fulfilled, felt that even if his confidence wasn't to its full potential, Josh's loving words to him helped make him feel a bit better about himself. Don't even get him started on how warm the elder made him feel on the inside and outside.

Their friends had started pointing the smallest things out, like the fact that they'd been smiling more, their bad attitudes were disappearing, and they weren't the stubborn, assholes that everyone was acquainted with at first. All in all, Tyler had realized, those weren't small things. Those things affected everybody they were around, it even made Pete cry.

("I haven't seen him this happy since we were in high school. Thank you for bringing my best friend back," Pete sniffled, letting himself be pulled in to the hug that Tyler forced him in to.

"I don't think I've helped that much with anything, it's all been Josh," Tyler replied quietly, a murmur in Pete's ear.

Pete had rejected his statement partially, "You need to give yourself more credit. Josh—he died in that wreck too, he physically survived, but his mind and emotions didn't. He was practically vacant all the damn time, b-but now, he's back because of you.")

Josh knew now that even though he lost two biologically close people to him, that family ran deeper than blood and genetics. Family was made up of the people who distract you from those feelings of doubt that nip on the back of your brain, the ones who wash your sheets every week so sleep showcases behind your eyelids before 2 A.M., the ones who remind you to take care of yourself when they notice you've missed a meal by accident.

Tyler was Josh's family, the elder had told him while they laid in bed one night.

("There are people who I'm related to, who I couldn't stand the thought of looking at, let alone loving," Josh whispered, his thumb grazing Tyler's cheek as they laid on their sides facing each other, "Then, there were people related to me who I loved to the moon and back.

"We're not family by blood, but I love you more than I ever have any of the people I am related to. I love you from East to West, which if you don't know your geography—science-whatever, that's never ending. So, what I'm saying is, we may not be related biologically, but you're more family to me than any of my actual family has ever been."

Tyler responded with a sweet kiss, the two kissing until they fell asleep that night. The morning was one spent cuddling, which had turned into a pillow fight later on.)

"Do you want to repaint any of the walls? Renovate any furniture?" Josh asked, in all seriousness, much to Tyler's shock and amazement.

"Nope," Tyler booped Josh's nose cutely, "I'm perfectly content with everything. You've gone out of your way to make this feel like home from the get-go."

His boyfriend's next question was entirely vast from what they were on track with beforehand. Tyler even choked on his spit when Josh questioned, "What about the children's room?"

Tyler assumed he meant the guest room, but the new name caught him extremely off guard, "Children's room? How far in to the future are we looking here, Josh?"

"Well, I mean.. we just got married, so. Not too far," Josh cheekily grinned, Tyler soon reciprocating, "I was thinking yellow. Or green. We could even do brown! I bet green and brown patterned together would look nice for a baby room."

"We're still not ready! What about our jobs? Our friends couldn't babysit, and my parents couldn't unless we moved to Ohio," Tyler excused, pouting at Josh for being so persistent on the subject, "We have a dog that we can barely even keep up with," He pointed to the retriever sleeping in the corner, and it was probably the most the dog had slept since they got him.

"Do you want to move to Ohio, then?"

"Ugh, Josh!"

"What? Just think about it, you, me, your family, our two children, at the table, and Sinatra in the living room. All of us are eating your mom's wonderful casserole, remember, the reason we're fiancés now, and everybody's happy. Our friends can visit whenever they want to go with Dallon's permission."

"You're unbelievable. I love you."

"I love you more."

"I don't think that that's possible, but okay."

(Spoiler alert: they loved each other just the same, and that wasn't something to be changed, even after the heavens were to take them away.)