Dylan hears the cackling laughter behind him and slams his laptop shut.
“Too late,” Julia says as she flops down on the couch next to him. “I already saw.” She grabs the remote away from him while he’s distracted and changes the channel from the Mets game to something else unworthy and unMets-like.
“You saw nothing,” Dylan sniffs and pretends to care a lot about the text that vibrates his phone.
She laughs again. “I saw you looking at Hoechlin Superman pictures. Again.” Her grin is huge and Cheshire cat-like.
“I keep up on show business news,” Dylan says, unsure why he’s attempting to even pretend like she’s wrong. “He’s my bro. He’s Superman. It’s a thing.”
Julia nods. “It’s definitely a thing.” She smirks at him and flips through the channels like she has to see them all in under a minute. “Hoechlin looks good enough in that suit to turn a gay girl straight and a straight boy gay.”
Dylan feels his cheeks flush. “I’m just happy for him is all,” he says, voice more serious than he means for it to be. “He deserves it. Like… you know.”
She smiles at him, and it looks a little less like she’s about to feast on his discomfort. “Yeah. He’s a good guy,” she agrees. “And you should, like, return the 75 texts and emails and calls he’s shot your way in the last couple of weeks.”
Dylan rolls his eyes. It’s a familiar refrain. Since his accident on the set of the latest Maze Runner movie his family has worried he’s isolated himself, hence the reason Julia is on an extended visit. “I’m not a shut-in,” he says automatically.
She laughs. “You should call him,” she says again. “You’re about to start training for your new movie. He knows a lot about… that.” She makes a ‘see this connection I’m making’ face and looks at him expectantly.
Dylan wills himself not to roll his eyes again. There are only so many times he can do that per hour before his family starts to get legitimately pissed at him. “I’ve exercised before,” he says. “He’s busy anyway. And not in LA.” He grabs his laptop again. “These are set shots in Vancouver.”
Julia bites back a smile. “I’m going over to Mom and Dad’s,” she announces. “Don’t change the locks while I’m gone.”
Dylan scrolls through the pictures again after he hears the front door slam. What did he do to deserve Tyler Hoechlin in a Superman suit? Dylan’s a good person. He’s even due a little good karma after the accident.
He groans as he spots a picture with Tyler turned in profile, his incredibly pert ass the obvious star of the shot. “Surely that’s padding,” he says to himself and zooms in for a closer look. But of course it’s not padding. Because this is Tyler Hoechlin, perfect human man, who also happens to be a perfect sunbeam of a person, perfect ass just a bonus on top of all the other perfection.
Dylan flops backwards and lolls his head against the couch. He grabs his phone and flips through the dozens of texts he’s let go unanswered. Not just from Tyler, but from everyone. The guys from his band, friends from his various projects, childhood buddies, cousins, his grandma.
He sent out a big group text after the accident first happened just to let everyone know he was okay and to beg them not to talk about it to the media. He sent more details to closer friends and relatives, Tyler included in those who warranted their own personal reassurance he was still alive.
It’s not that he’s been completely out of contact. Lots of people visited him over the past few months. Friends sent gifts and things to occupy his time. They sent funny hats and disguises, hoping to encourage him to get out of the house more.
But people are busy, and Dylan hates to be pitied. He likes to be busy too. After awhile he got tired of answering the same questions and watching people wince as he said he was still having concussion symptoms.
He pulls Tyler’s text thread up and doesn’t even bother reading the last few messages again. He knows they’re all theme and variation of the same thing. Instead he types quickly before he can stop himself.
Dylan: If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman
He stares at the text after he hits send and feels his normal combination of bafflement and shame at his inability to stop himself from doing embarrassing things. It takes several minutes and then he sees the little bubble of texting activity pop up to show that Tyler’s typing.
Tyler: How old are you anyway?
Dylan: it’s not that old a song geez
He grins to himself as the little bubbles of text thinkiness appear.
Tyler: Released in 2000 I just checked
Tyler: Google is definitely only for nerds [smirking emoji]
For some reason Tyler’s emoji usage brings Dylan great delight. Dylan shoots back his own probably indecipherable string of emoji faces, body parts and food items.
Tyler: lol weirdo
Dylan: Listen. Just here minding my own business and I’m assaulted by all these pics of you being heroey
Tyler: not a word
Tyler: How is that nerdy? ur so weird. Are you alone? Do you have 10 cats now?
Dylan grins. Everyone has been a little too hovery and concerned since he got hurt, but Tyler manages to still bust his balls without being a total dick. It’s a tough balance to achieve. Dylan appreciates the effort.
Dylan: Julias here staying for a few days. Sister=10 cats? Same thing?
Tyler: lol maybe. Tell her hi.
Dylan: So the suit yeah?
He glances over at the computer screen again for confirmation that the perky butt picture does, in fact, exist.
Tyler: [grimacing emoji] yeah you saw?
Dylan: [eye emoji] oh yes its something alright
Tyler: shut up
Dylan: and the super sassy red boots
Tyler: I hate you
Dylan: see u say that but I don't think u do
Dylan: Seriously tho. What’s it like being a superhero?
Tyler: pretty great actually
The thought bubble appears and disappears several times, like he can’t quite decide what he wants to say.
Tyler: everybody’s really nice. crew cast everybody. And dude, the kids. Like amazing to see little kids looking at me like I really am superman. Totally mind blowing
Dylan smiles and imagines how careful and thoughtful Tyler probably is with each of those kids, taking pictures, signing autographs, bending down to their level and asking them questions to show he’s paying attention. God, he’s the worst.
Dylan: so cool bro. really happy for u
Tyler: [smile emoji] thanks. u good?
Dylan swallows. The question of the day for months on end.
Dylan: better every day. Actually able to watch TV lately. Concussion stuff less of an issue. Have to start training for American Assassin
Tyler: that’s right! So awesome man.
Dylan: thanks gotta get my ass in shape and eat a little better
Tyler: lol yeah that part sucks. Let me know if you need any tips
Dylan: will do
Tyler: being called back to set. gotta go. lets talk soon!!
Dylan: for sure [thumbs up emoji]
He imagines Tyler giving him a wholesome thumbs up while wearing the Superman outfit and heavy sighs his way deeper into the couch.
Dylan was 19 when Teen Wolf started filming. He’d never been away from home for a substantial period of time, never lived somewhere without his parents. Shooting that first season of the show while living in Atlanta with Tyler Posey and Tyler Hoechlin was like going away to college.
He cringes sometimes thinking about some of the stunts he and Posey pulled. They treated Hoechlin a bit like their dorm RA. They didn’t mean to be dicks, but they were forever breaking his shit, eating his food. He was an already formed human, and they were just idiots experiencing adult life for the first time.
Even so, Tyler was so nice. He bought them beer, or at least didn’t seem to get mad when they drank his. He let Dylan bum clothes off him. He helped Dylan run lines and explained aspects of show business that Dylan couldn’t possibly comprehend yet, given that he’d sort of stumbled his way into the Teen Wolf role, and Tyler had been acting for years.
Dylan looked up to him. Tyler is only four years older than him, but when Dylan was 19 those four years felt like 10. They still had fun together, had marathon Halo sessions, watched movies and old TV late into the night. Posey often stayed in his room talking on the phone with his girlfriend, so that left Tyler and Dylan to hang out on their own after they got back from the set. But it still felt more like hero worship those first months. Hoechlin was like the nicer-than-he-should-be varsity football captain in an 80s teen movie who lets the awkward nerd hang out with him inexplicably. Dylan never felt like they were on equal footing.
The second season, Hoechlin got his own place. He didn’t make a big deal out of it, and it was in the same building where Posey and Dylan lived, so in a way it still felt like they lived together. They still bummed food off of him, still borrowed his stuff. There were still late night video game sessions, and Dylan still went over to Tyler’s when Posey was up late talking to his girlfriend.
But somehow that second year things felt a little different. Dylan was a little more experienced in show business. He had been on other sets, met other actors, experienced working relationships with different people and realized that not everyone who’d been around the business awhile was like Tyler. Dylan appreciated him more, asked more personal questions, treated him a bit less like a god and a bit more like a person.
Posey was good for a laugh. He’s still one of Dylan’s favorite people. But he’s like that friend that never grows up, who always thinks farts are hysterical, who can never really get serious. Dylan loves that about him, loves that he hasn’t changed much since the first time they met. But for better or for worse, Dylan has. Farts are funny, but that’s not the space he wants to live in all the time.
That second season shoot, Dylan felt a particular kinship with Hoechlin. They talked a lot about what they’d be doing if they weren’t acting, what they’d do if they never got another part again. They talked about their families, their futures. Tyler seemed to understand Dylan’s discomfort with the press, his unwillingness to share the real pieces of himself on social media or in interviews. Dylan likes people, enjoys getting to know them, but he’s deeply private and slow to trust. Hoechlin is better at being glittery and seeming open and easy with strangers, but at his core he’s still a guy who loves a very close circle of people while still managing to make the broader group feel like they’re not unwelcome.
The thing was, over those months, Dylan fell stupidly in love with Tyler Hoechlin. Every time his face would change from the open, sunny Hoechlin demeanor into the scowling, tense Derek Hale expression Dylan was reminded again of how talented Hoechlin actually is. That he’s more than the body and the face.
There was a lot of deep sighing on Dylan’s part, a lot of face planting onto the couch in his trailer and hating himself just a little bit for developing what was surely an impossible crush on his co-star and friend.
And the fans with their Sterek ideas just made it that much more unbearable. Because suddenly they were on a boat cuddling and doing press together and flirting, and Dylan forgot what was real and what was fake.
He was so afraid he was going to mess up his relationship with Tyler that by the third season shoot he pulled away a bit, stopped seeking him out as much. By the end of the shoot, Dylan had a girlfriend and tried to reroute the worn pattern of his thoughts about Tyler toward someone else.
Things were fine between Dylan and Tyler, but they weren’t nearly as close as they’d been during the season two shoot. Tyler seemed to take his cues from Dylan and gave him a wider berth. Plus they were back in LA for the shoot instead of Georgia, so they lived farther apart, had separate groups of friends they spent time with when not on set.
They were still friends, but Dylan never let himself get sucked into Tyler’s orbit quite as much. Self-preservation was a powerful deterrent.
“You allowed to leave the house yet?” Tyler asks when he calls later that evening.
Dylan glances over to the kitchen where Julia is heating up the protein-filled meals his trainer insists on as he’s supposed to be bulking up for his next movie. He’s lost a lot of weight since his injury, and he was never a big guy to begin with.
“No one was ever forcing me to stay inside,” Dylan admits. “But when my face was fucked up, it just seemed easier to stick close to home.”
Tyler makes an understanding sort of sound. “And how’s the face these days?”
“Hairy,” Dylan says with a smile. He brings his hand up to stroke his beard. It’s thick but still not nearly the sort of glorious Hoechlin-esque beard he was hoping for, but it’s less patchy that his last few attempts.
Tyler laughs. “Lazy or movie?”
“You need it for American Assassin?”
“Yeah the first scenes we film I’m bearded,” he says. It was a lucky coincidence, really. He let it grow mostly out of laziness and a little bit out of frustration with how bright the lights in the bathroom are and how much they messed with his concussion symptoms. He’s always hated shaving anyway, and no one was making him do much of anything he didn’t want to do in those first few weeks after he got hurt.
“I want to see,” Tyler says and tries to switch the call to FaceTime.
Dylan rejects the attempt. “We’re about to eat,” he says and feels his cheeks pink.
“Me and Jules,” Dylan says and looks up to find her watching him with her eyebrow raised. “She’s here to make sure I don’t jump off my roof in despair.”
Julia roles her eyes while Tyler makes a shocked sound.
“Dyl,” he says softly, earnestly Tyler.
Dylan sighs. “Not— not really. I just get tired of being here alone.”
Julia scoffs. “Try to sound a little more excited about it, bro.” She dumps his food out onto a plate. “I am a fucking delight.”
“My sister is a fucking delight,” he tells Tyler robotically and sticks his tongue out at Julia.
Tyler laughs. “I’ve always thought so,” he says, sucking up even though she can’t hear him.
Dylan rolls his eyes. “Ass kisser.”
“So your face,” Tyler presses. “Like, are you okay out in the world?”
Dylan furrows his brow. “Are you sending paparazzi over or something? Why so pressed, Heoch?”
“Cause you should come up here,” Tyler says after a few beats of silence. “Vancouver is gorgeous, and Greg has a house on a lake near Whistler and said, like, I could use it this weekend if I want—”
“You just thought you’d take over the roof jump prevention duty?”
Tyler scoffs. “Not like that,” he insists. “I just keep seeing shit up here I think you’d like.”
“I was up there for Death Cure,” Dylan reminds him.
Silence rings for a few drawn out moments. “Oh, right,” Tyler says, like he had forgotten that was the site of Dylan’s big accident.
“It’s okay,” Dylan says because he hates when something rattles Tyler. It throws the world out of it’s balance. “I don’t hate Canada because of that one shitty thing. I hate Canada because they have a weird understanding of bacon.”
Tyler laughs louder than the joke deserves. “Not for their love of hockey over baseball?”
“Questionable judgement shown there, for sure,” Dylan says, smile growing. “But I undercover sort of like hockey, so I’ll let that slide.”
There’s a pause or two and Dylan chooses to use the silence to picture Tyler in a hockey uniform. Time well spent, really.
“So… this weekend?” Tyler says, clearing his throat. “Totally cool if you don’t want to. Could be fun, though.”
Dylan takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. He has gotten a little bit weird about going out in public, and other than his mountain man beard and overall vampiric pastiness, there’s no reason not to. His face has mostly healed and the concussion symptoms are a problem less frequently these days. He needs to start taking baby steps back out into the world if he’s going to get in shape to film American Assassin anyway.
“Yeah, man,” he says finally. “That sounds pretty great actually.” He smiles at his sister across the room and feels a lightness in his chest.
“Awesome,” Tyler says meaningfully. “Text me your flight info, and I’ll work out the rest of the details.”
Dylan’s stomach swoops. “Sounds good,” he says and tries to ignore Julia’s meaningful looks and cocked eyebrow.
“What’s up, Lois Lane?” Julia asks when Dylan hangs up. She hands him a plate full healthy stuff.
“I hate you,” he says and runs his hands through his long mangy hair.
She laughs. “But seriously.”
Dylan sighs. “Tyler thinks I should get out of the house. And he thinks that should happen in Canada.”
She grimaces. “You okay going back there?”
Dylan rolls his eyes. “It’s not Canada’s fault that stunt failed. There’s a lot of blame to go around on that one. But Canada and I are cool.”
“Plus you’re in love with Tyler and you want to hold his hand and have his babies.”
He takes a big bite of chicken and tries to seem above her taunts. “Plus he’s my friend, my straight friend.”
“As far as you know.”
“I lived with him.”
She makes a smug face and doesn’t say anything.
Dylan isn’t absolutely sure Tyler is straight. But he’s only seen him date women, and while they had a few heavily charged moments that seemed (to Dylan) like they could’ve led to a kiss, Tyler had never mentioned being bisexual or talked about dating men. His family is also decidedly conservative, and Dylan assumes (even though Tyler has been nothing but kind and accepting of everyone else) that Tyler wouldn’t go there even if he leaned that way.
Julia reaches out and grabs Dylan’s arm. “I’m just teasing,” she says, face more serious than it usually is. “I’m glad you’re going. He’s been a good friend regardless of whatever secret feelings I think you two have for each other.”
Dylan nods and stares at his plate. Tyler has been a good friend. He’s one of the steadiest, easiest people in Dylan’s life. Tyler is always Tyler. He may look like a model and smolder like a porn star but he’s just a guy who loves baseball and has no fashion sense and likes beer and chilling with his friends. He has very little ego about himself, especially in a social context.
“It’ll be good to get out of the house,” he says finally.
Julia grins and pushes him away gently. “No one will recognize you with the beard. Put on a hat, and you’ll be invisible.”
“Except I’ll be with Tyler,” Dylan says without thinking. “Who is like the frickin’ sun. He’s never invisible.”
Julia bites back her huge smile and turns her attention back to the TV.
The key to traveling under the radar is, a) don’t call the paparazzi on yourself (it’s surprising how many of those “annoyed by the photographer” airport shots are actually self-inflicted by celebrities tipping someone off about where they’ll be—visibility is the name of the game for many celebrities struggling to stay relevant) and b) don’t draw attention to yourself.
When Dylan travels to Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon, he wears a Mets cap and a nondescript black t-shirt with jeans. He tries not to look too grungy (in case he does get photographed, and his agent won’t ever let him hear the end of it) when he travels, but he also endeavors not to look too Hollywood douchey either. Nothing tips people off to the presence of a possible famous person more than indoor sunglasses and an entitled swagger.
He doesn’t always travel first class when he’s on his own. Short flights in first class seem like a waste of money most of the time. And the longer, international flights he takes these days are usually on a studio’s dime and luxurious travel is written into his contract.
But he takes first class to Vancouver, boards first, keeps his hat tipped low and buries himself in a book to avoid the inquiring looks of the economy passengers filing by.
No one recognizes him, or if they do they don’t try to engage. He’s sitting by an indifferent businessman who works on something spreadsheet-like the entire flight, so Dylan is free to read and then when his attention span tires of that to watch things on the little TV. When even that gets boring, he bothers friends by text.
Dylan: it’s a bird, it’s a plane…
Tyler: lol it’s super D?
Dylan: yup in the sky as we speak
Tyler: [big smile emoji] getting the last few takes in of a green screen flying scene
Dylan: ooo harness burn?
Tyler: nah I can actually fly now haven’t u heard?
Dylan: lol if anyone could u could
Tyler: [winking emoji] there is some srs chaffing
Dylan: supersuit gives no protection?
Tyler: super suit is to blame for like half of the chaffing
Dylan: ur life is hard
Tyler: [eyeroll emoji] will u be up for dinner out tonight? I’ve been getting recs
Dylan: sure. Maybe somewhere kinda quiet and not super sceney?
Tyler: Ok. I’ll clarify on the sceneyness
Dylan: you're a prince see u soon
Dylan’s stomach does the annoying, yet familiar Tyler swoop as he thinks about seeing his friend again. And then he texts his sister and Posey to distract himself for awhile.
The Supergirl production company put Tyler up in a suite at a nice hotel downtown. It’s more of an apartment than a suite, and Tyler insisted there’s room enough for Dylan. He takes a car there from the airport, as Tyler is still on set and said he’d leave a key for Dylan at the front desk.
It’s been five years or so since Dylan first got into show business, and he still can’t get over how ridiculous the hotel rooms are. Exploring them is one of his favorite parts of traveling for work. He flops down on the couch in the living room of Tyler’s suite and picks up the hotel binder from the coffee table and flips through it.
If it wasn’t a total asshole move, he would’ve started a collection of hotel information binders a long time ago. He might have a short attention span, but Dylan still enjoys learning about all the amenities on offer at whatever posh place he’s staying. He also reads through the room service menu because he’s hungry.
Tyler’s still not back after Dylan has thoroughly perused the hotel services, so he investigates the refrigerator in the small kitchen. It’s well-stocked, but everything in it is blended vegetable juices and protein shakes and egg white scrambles and the super healthy stuff Hoechlin has to eat when he’s working on a project that requires his body in shirt-shedding peak condition.
Dylan makes a face and closes the fridge just as the front door to the suite opens.
Tyler grins at him. “There’s a yeti in my kitchen.”
Dylan strides across the room before he can stop himself and throws his arms around Tyler. “How many times a day do you have to shave to keep your beard from coming back? Every hour on the hour?” He squeezes Tyler even tighter and lets him go after a hearty bro-back pat.
Tyler laughs and rubs his hand along his newly smooth jaw line. “You know I hate shaving.”
“I do know you hate shaving,” Dylan agrees and pulls one of the least disgusting looking juices out of the fridge, holding it up in question and earning a nod from Tyler. “They making you do the chest too?”
Tyler grimaces. “No, thank god.”
The first season of Teen Wolf Tyler faithfully waxed, shaved and magicked his rather plentiful face and body hair for his many shirtless Derek Hale scenes. By the third season he resolutely refused, and Derek became a much hairier (and in Dylan’s opinion), manlier wolf.
“So far Superman keeps the suit on,” Tyler clarifies and grabs one of the green-colored juices and heads toward the couch, collapsing backward and taking a huge gulp of the drink. He peers at Dylan over top of the bottle. “Beard is long, man.” He smiles his crinkly-eyed smile which makes the observation sound like a compliment even though it probably wasn’t one.
Dylan strokes it. “Yeah,” he says. “Everyone hates it. You can hate it too.”
Tyler laughs brightly. “Who am I to hate it?” He shrugs and swallows the rest of the juice down in long, throat working swallow. “I do like your face,” he amends. “Which I can barely see currently.”
Dylan feels his cheeks pink. “The face was a mess for awhile.”
Tyler nods. “I remember.” He’d visited in the early days following the accident, so he’d seen Dylan at his very worst. “It’s healed up really well.”
Dylan swallows, still raw and a little delicate about the whole thing. “Yeah,” he agrees. “Finally.”
“So you hungry? Or is that organic carrot mango juice all you need for dinner?” Tyler asks looking around the room.
“No way,” Dylan scoffs. “I could eat a horse. Unless Canadians actually do that. And then I’d like to amend that I could eat a cow. And need to actually. I’m supposed to gain weight. Muscle and weight.”
Tyler groans. “Lucky. Low carb though?”
Dylan shrugs. “More high protein than low carb, if that makes sense. I can still eat carbs, I’m just supposed to focus on a lot of protein. But bread isn’t forbidden or anything.”
“I love bread,” Tyler says sadly.
Dylan laughs. “No one understands your burden.”
“They really don’t,” Tyler agrees good-naturedly.
They joke about it a lot, but people really don’t understand how hard Tyler works to look like he does. He enjoys being active, so that part doesn’t seem to be as much of a chore. He plays baseball and basketball with friends at least a couple of times a week, he runs and bikes with his mom sometimes. But when he’s doing a role like Derek Hale, or Superman, there’s also a lot of weight lifting, and a lot of watching what he eats. Lots of lean proteins and vegetables and staying away from carbs and fats. People gush about the abs and the body, but they don’t seem to understand that it takes a lot of effort. If he stopped, he would still be gorgeous, but the very chiseled beefy torso wouldn’t look quite like it did when Derek Hale was strung up on the fence in the season one torture scene.
Dylan mostly needs to bulk up. He’s playing a college student who eventually becomes a secret agent and happens to participate in triathlons on the side, so he needs to look like that could be a convincing possibility. Currently that does not look like a convincing possibility.
Unfortunately, “bulking up” isn’t supposed to come from eating piles of doughnuts and cheese doodles. But he thinks he gets the better end of the diet stick than Tyler if he’s still allowed to consume bread.
“So, steak then?” Tyler asks, breaking Dylan out of his thoughts. “There’s apparently a really nice steakhouse around the corner from here, actually. They have an outdoor area, too.”
Dylan lights up. “I love eating al fresco!”
Tyler grins. “I know this about you.” His eyes are twinkly and bright. Dylan is so fucked.
“Nothing better than a good meal eaten on a nice night outside,” Dylan insists, even though no one questioned his position. “It makes me want to smoke, though.” He’s been quitting for years, mostly successfully aside from random social situations, but the accident had given him an excuse to start up again with a little more regularity.
“Well, I don’t think that’s allowed here anyway,” Tyler says without judgement. Dylan has no idea how he manages not to seem contemptuous of something that Dylan knows, in fact, he feels strongly about for himself. His body being a temple and all that.
“I’m famous,” Dylan says dramatically. “I’ll do as I please.”
Tyler laughs. “I don’t think you’re ‘giving the finger to the provincial rules on smoking’ famous quite yet.”
Dylan clutches his chest. “You wound me!”
“I know ‘asshole smoking even when it’s against the rules’ is one of your biggest dreams.”
Dylan throws his head back and laughs and then recovers quickly to flip Tyler off. “Hey fuck you.”
Thirty minutes later they’ve showered and made themselves marginally presentable (well, Tyler has. He actually looks like he could be taking someone on a date in tight pants and a button down) and walked down to the Gotham Steakhouse. The hotel concierge called and reserved them a table out in the patio area next to the outdoor fireplace.
The restaurant is full of business suits and cocktail dresses, and Dylan feels out of place with his mangy beard and slouchy sweater. If he wasn’t so hungry and it weren’t so close to their hotel, Dylan might suggest they go somewhere else. But he’s hungry enough to eat his own arm, and there’s an old school vibe about the place he likes.
When they sit down, the woman at the table next to them does a double take after glancing at Tyler, and Dylan smirks at the douchetastic guy with her who gives Dylan a scornful look, likely taking in Dylan’s more casual attire and messy beard and deciding he doesn’t belong.
Dylan shakes it off. It’s been awhile since he’s been out to eat and not just snagged takeout with his sister or a buddy. And Tyler is animatedly telling him something about his day on set, and his eyes are crinkled at the corners, and it’s hard to think of anything negative in that face of that.
“Yeah so harness flying,” Tyler says and takes a sip of his water. “Much more painful on the crotch than you might imagine.”
Dylan grins. “So few Superman cartoons feature crotch complaints.”
Tyler laughs. “At least my suit doesn’t have the underwear on the outside.”
“Belted underwear,” Dylan corrects.
“Still have the belt,” Tyler says as the waiter comes over. “Just no underwear.”
The waiter raises his eyebrow in surprise and clears his throat, cheeks pinking.
“No, I mean,” Tyler starts to correct.
“I think it’s a lost cause,” Dylan says with mock gravity. “Brad already believes what he believes.”
Brad the waiter looks between them, confused. “Drinks?” He asks, clearly hoping not to get drawn into the underwear vs. no underwear topic.
Tyler smiles his sunniest, warmest smile at poor Brad. “I promise to keep my pants on for a Red Truck Golden,” he says in a flirtier than it needs to be voice.
Dylan narrows his eyes a bit as Brad blushes again and nods before turning his attention to him. “Sir?”
“Is Red Truck a beer? If it’s beer I’ll have the same.”
“It is,” Brad says and then scurries away.
“I woulda thought we needed to order something with, like, absinthe or something way fancier than beer in a place like this,” Dylan says looking around.
Tyler shrugs. “I’ve spent the last five days in tights and a harness eating fish and skinless chicken and broccoli. I want beer.”
Brad is back with their beer, and he recommends a few of the “social hour” appetizers they can eat while they decide what they want to order. Soon they’re munching on cheese toasts and portobello mushroom fries while they weigh the merits of the menu items.
“I’m getting a steak,” Tyler decides. “And mashed potatoes. And maybe asparagus. And it seems like someone should order the macaroni too. Just to see.”
“Holy shit, man,” Dylan says with a smirk. “You really have been missing carbs.”
“And cheese,” Tyler says mournfully. “We should’ve gone for pizza.”
“I need steak,” Dylan says. “And possibly lobster. I’ll get the mac and you can have some. Oh my god. I just got, like, a food boner.”
Tyler laughs brightly and sips his beer as Brad appears again.
They order. Brad approves of their choices. Tyler gets a spinach salad to start so he doesn’t feel like he’s completely screwing up his diet. Dylan orders fried calamari and declares spinach dead to him.
“This is not a restaurant for a vegetarian,” Dylan says, surveying the tables around them.
“Steakhouses rarely are,” Tyler says in his gentle sort of way.
Dylan wonders if there’s anyone anywhere who doesn’t like Tyler. It’s a tough thing to imagine.
They talk about Supergirl, Tyler’s new cast members, and how it’s only a two episode guest spot, but he keeps getting the sense that if it goes well it will mean more. Whether more episodes on Supergirl or guest spots on other Berlanti comic book shows or maybe, possibly, his own show, he’s not sure. And he seems embarrassed to even be considering the idea that he could ever have such a thing.
One of the worst things about the last season or so of Teen Wolf for Tyler was that the writers seemed so intent on making Derek Hale the scapegoat for all the problems on the show, and Tyler grew more and more frustrated. Dylan was never quite sure what happened, but that frustration seemed to be borne out of more than just exasperation with the script. He and the producers seemed at odds with each other. And Tyler is not a person it’s easy to get on the wrong side of.
When Tyler came to Dylan’s house one night to tell him he’d asked to be let out of his Teen Wolf contract, it was both shocking and completely expected at the same time.
As much as Dylan misses working with Tyler, he’s knows it’s for the best. He has opportunities he never would’ve if he’d still been plugging away, hoping for better things for Derek Hale.
“What,” Tyler asks as he finishes his spinach salad.
Dylan winces. “Sorry. I zoned out. Did you say something?”
“You have this goofy grin on your face and you’re staring at your calamari like it’s offered to blow you,” Tyler observes and takes another sip of his beer.
Dylan laughs as Brad approaches the table at just the wrong time to take their plates.
“Poor Brad,” Dylan says as he leaves pink cheeked. “He thinks we’re freaks.”
“You are a freak,” Tyler says, pleased with himself.
“Hey don’t you shame my calamari kinks!”
Tyler laughs and shakes his head.
“And anyway,” Dylan continues, “I’m pretty sure Brad keeps getting embarrassed because he’s into you.”
Tyler rolls his eyes. This is a familiar conversation for them. “You know, you are Dylan O’Brien, famous recluse. Maybe it’s you.”
Dylan laughs and feels a surge of affection for Tyler. “I have it on good authority I look like I haven’t bathed in weeks.”
Tyler grins. “It’s a good deterrent for autograph seekers.”
“All part of the plan.”
Brad brings their main courses and sides, and Dylan makes an obscene noise at the sight of all of the meat and unhealthy carbs. “Brad you’re changing my life,” he says after his attention-drawing moan.
Brad, predictably, blushes. “Enjoy,” he says as he backs away from the table.
“Oh we will, Brad,” Dylan says as he takes a huge helping of the macaroni. “We will.”
“You’re toying with Brad,” Tyler tisks adding his own pile of cheesy goodness to his plate.
“You’re the one with the face,” Dylan says and gestures expansively toward Tyler’s general Tyler-ness. “Put it away, geez.”
“My face is just being a face,” Tyler says, rolling his eyes. “This is all it does.”
Dylan sighs and takes a huge bite of perfectly cooked meat. He moans again. “Dear god. This is fantastic. I’m blowing Brad when he gets back.”
Tyler coughs and sputters a bit as he swallows the last of his beer. “I think a tip would suffice,” he manages as he grabs for his water glass.
“You don’t speak for Brad,” Dylan says, punctuating the comment with a wave of his fork.
Tyler laughs and shakes his head. Somehow the subject gets changed from waiter-blowing to baseball. And really, it’s a toss-up which Dylan would rather talk about anyway.
They also talk about what they’re going to do for the next few days. Tyler rented a car so they could drive up to Whistler, and on their way out of town they’re going to stop at the Capilano Suspension Bridge and then take their time driving up to Whistler. It’s a beautiful part of the world, and they want to be able to take pictures and scenic detours should the urge arise.
“You’re pretty naturey aren’t you?” Dylan says suddenly.
Tyler raises his eyebrows. “Naturey?”
“Yeah, like, you commune with nature. Are you going to make me hike?”
“Do you not want to hike?” Tyler asks carefully.
“I don’t mind some hiking,” Dylan decides. He’s not sure why this is just now occurring to him. “But, like, also maybe not 20 mile treks. I’ve been doing a lot of sitting around. You gotta break me in slow.”
Tyler huffs a laugh. “We’ll try to strike a good inside/outside balance,” he suggests. “How ‘bout that?”
“Sounds like something a naturey person would say before they drag a pasty city boy on a 20 mile trek.”
Tyler grins smugly.
“So tell me about the place,” Dylan says as he finishes up his lobster.
“I don’t even know,” Tyler admits. “Greg just offered to let me use it. It’s on a lake. He showed me a picture on his phone. Looks pretty amazing.”
“You’re big time now,” Dylan says, and feels a swell of pride for Tyler being involved in a project where he’s valued.
“Greg’s just a nice guy,” Tyler says dismissively.
“And also he’s wooing you, maybe,” Dylan says, because Tyler never seems to believe he may be given special treatment or that this isn’t something Greg Berlanti would do for every other member of the crew of his shows.
“‘Wooing’ me?” Tyler asks complete with eyebrow incredulity.
“You’re wooable, Hoech,” Dylan says and wonders if Tyler has any idea how true that is. “You’re in demand, baby.” He gives Tyler cheesy finger guns and winks at him.
Tyler rolls his eyes. “Says the guy about to star in another huge franchise movie.”
“Right,” Dylan says nodding vigorously. “So I should know.”
“So anyway,” Tyler says and sits back in his chair. “Whistler.”
Dylan laughs. “Whistler. Lakes. Nature.”
Tyler smirks. “Leave it to you to turn this into an episode of Sesame Street.”
“This episode has been brought to you by the letter D,” Dylan says in a cheesy announcer voice. “D. Dylan. Dick. Dong.” He winks again just to see the fond exasperation he gets from Tyler.
“Duck. Dog. Dork,” Tyler supplies.
“Let’s be honest,” Dylan says after he finishes the last bites of his dinner. “The Dylan-themed Sesame Street episode would be amazing.”
“You are Muppet-like,” Tyler agrees. “Big gestures. Big expressions.”
Dylan scoffs. But his stomach is warm, and he’s overwhelmed with the peace of having made the right decision to fly to Canada to hang out with Superman.
As if he can read Dylan’s mind, Tyler smiles at him with a more earnest expression on his face than he had moments before. “Glad you came up,” he says and manages to make it sound really sincere without it being intense and awkward.
“Yeah me too,” Dylan says easily. “I’m sure my sister and parents are thrilled as well. They’re doing a ‘Dylan is out of his house at last’ dance I’m sure.”
Tyler rolls his eyes good-naturedly. “Are we getting dessert?” He asks suddenly as Brad approaches their table.
“Oh my god,” Dylan says dramatically. “Who are you and what have you done with Tyler Hoechlin?”
“Listen,” he says, as Brad hands them each a dessert menu. “I was in a harness all day, dangling from the ceiling, losing feeling in my lower extremities. I deserve this.”
Brad clears his throat. “I’ll give you a few moments to decide,” he says with a cracking voice and flees the table.
Dylan laughs loudly, delighted. “Oh my god. I love Brad.”
Tyler smiles. “Poor Brad. But he wasn’t in a harness all day dangling from the ceiling. So he’s going to have to deal.”
Dylan bites his lip and feels the familiar swell of affection for his friend. “Oh please. Brad is loving this.”
“Either way, Brad’s getting a good tip,” Tyler says and sets the menu down on the table. “I’m doing the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Please get the chocolate thing.”
“What the hell is Sticky Toffee Pudding?” Dylan asks and makes a face at his menu.
“Who cares? It sounds good. Harness, Dyl.”
Dylan grins. “Fine, fine. I’ll get the chocolate thing.” He would’ve anyway because let’s be real, he’s never going to order the fruit plate for dessert. Plus, watching Hoechlin actually eat stuff he wants to instead of sticking to the world’s most rigid diet is actually pretty refreshing.
“You’re earning points right and left,” Tyler says with a grin as Brad approaches the table.
They order their desserts, and Brad gives them the side eye the whole time.
“Brad is kink-shaming us hardcore,” Dylan says after he’s walked away again. “I don’t judge you or your harnesses, Hoech.”
Tyler rolls his eyes. “I’m lucky to have you,” he says, voice monotone.
Dylan laughs. They eat their desserts, and then fight over who should pay the bill. Dylan wins, mostly by playing the “you’re giving me a place to stay” card and then following it up with an asshole “I made more money on my last movie than you did” trump card. Tyler takes it in stride, as he takes most things.
“You’re gonna be a real dick after this next movie, aren’t you?” Tyler does say that, but he’s smiling with his eyes, so Dylan figures he’s still okay with it.
They walk down to a bar nearby and have a couple of drinks, but Dylan is tired and also unused to this much time spent in public. People at the bar are younger and therefore seem much more aware of who they are and the phones have come out a few times for the not-so-subtle “I’m pretending to take a picture of that thing behind you but really I’m taking a picture of you” move.
Tyler is the nicest human alive, so he invites a couple of the most persistent fans over and takes selfies with them and signs napkins. And Dylan sort of has to go along with it because Tyler has set the bar high for niceness and patience.
Dylan’s pretty sure if he were out alone or with his sister, people might double take and think “hey that guy looks like a messy-looking Dylan O’Brien” if they thought anything at all. But since he’s sitting with a very well-groomed, incredibly handsome Tyler Hoechlin, people are able to connect the dots a little easier.
“That’s going to end up on tumblr,” Dylan tells him after the group walks away from the table.
“You okay with that?” Tyler asks, like he’s suddenly remembering it’s been awhile since anyone’s had the opportunity to snap a picture of him.
Dylan shrugs. “I mean, I’ll endure a couple of weeks of people freaking out that I look homeless and then deciding I’ve developed a massive drug problem and I’ve been to rehab and that’s why we couldn’t finish Death Cure. But that’s nothing new.”
Tyler cocks his head to the side slightly, and gives Dylan a searching look, like he’s a puppy trying to figure out a command. Dylan manages to keep himself from making the comparison out loud.
“It’s fine,” Dylan says quickly because he doesn’t want Tyler to feel guilty for being a nice person. “Someone was bound to get a pic of me with the beard. I’m just glad you were here to distract them a bit.”
Tyler grins and nods, taking a sip of his drink. “Reporters always ask about you. In interviews. Press junkets. Stuff like that.”
“What do you say?”
Tyler laughs. “So this is how I find out you don’t watch my interviews.”
“I’ve had a lot on my plate!” Dylan says, voice cracking at the end of the statement.
Tyler raises his eyebrows and looks away, trying to pretend to be salty. But his face isn’t built for salt, so he cracks a big smile and then laughs.
Dylan’s stomach flips at the sight. He’s so, so screwed.
As the interest in them picks up, they decide to walk back to the hotel. On the way Tyler’s phone buzzes a few times with texts. Dylan glances over once and is met with a picture of a naked dude. He promptly trips over his own feet.
Tyler reaches out to steady him. “Colton,” he explains with an eye roll.
“Sends you nudes?” Dylan asks, trying to seem like he doesn’t care one way or the other, but feeling suddenly invested in Tyler’s answer.
Tyler sighs. “Yeah,” he says and then laughs.
Dylan raises his eyebrows and doesn’t know what to say. Because there are so many questions. Why would Colton think you wanted to see him nude? Do you like naked dudes? Do you like Colton? And if he seems too “Eww gross, naked Colton” about it, Dylan is afraid Tyler will think Dylan thinks all naked dudes are unappealing and not just Colton. So he just kind of fish mouths at him for awhile like an idiot.
“It’s Colton,” Tyler explains and pockets his phone. “He’s pretty sure everyone wants to see him naked.” He smiles long sufferingly and shrugs.
“Yeah but—” Dylan still has no idea what to say. It would never occur to him that random people would want to see him naked. He spends a lot of his life trying to keep clothes on.
Tyler laughs. “Right. There’s not a lot of logic to be found here. He learned he could embarrass me by sending me nudes. He started doing it after I sent him a picture of me in my Everybody Wants Some short shorts as a joke. I think he thought I was trying to ‘one up’ him somehow. And you know Colton, no one ‘one ups’ him in a hotness contest.”
Dylan scoffs. Colton is a good looking guy. But he’s definitely not Dylan’s type. A little too “blue steel” 24/7 and a little too interested in documenting every move of his life with artfully taken selfies. It seems exhausting to Dylan, who sometimes forgets to change his t-shirt from day to day.
“I’m fine with him winning every hotness contest,” Tyler says amiably. “Especially if sending him a naked picture is the way I have to compete.” He grins.
Dylan feels a weird sort of relief that Tyler and Colton aren’t exchanging pictures of their junk. That the junk-sharing is one-sided.
“He’s happy though,” Tyler says after what must’ve been a longer silence than Dylan meant to leave. “Not just because of the naked picture sharing,” he adds quickly. “But you know, he just seems relieved.”
Dylan nods. “Yeah I bet,” he agrees and then wonders what it must feel like to finally get to be completely honest with people about such a big, important thing. “Good for him,” he adds, because he doesn’t want Tyler to think he’s judging Colton and his coming out or his open dick pic sharing.
Tyler laughs loudly. “I’m gonna tell him you looked at the pic and said that.” He continues to giggle as he pulls his phone out and taps a reply.
Dylan playfully punches his shoulder and pulls him along toward the hotel.
“I don’t know about this,” Dylan says honestly, after they’ve entered the Capilano Suspension Bridge park the next morning. He hadn’t really considered that this was a bridge suspended high above a canyon that would probably sway and move and scare the shit out of him.
Tyler glances over and assesses his seriousness. “Heights?”
“I mean…” Dylan lets his voice trail off. He’s not scared of being up high as a general rule. But if he’s standing on a balcony, there’s a solid piece of construction between him and certain death. “Normally as long as there’s a railing I’m okay.” He surveys the narrow bridge high above the river. “So I guess we’ll see. Be prepared to carry me.”
Tyler laughs and gives him a cheesy thumbs up.
It’s maybe not something Dylan would want to do every day, but it’s also beautiful. It’s a bright, clear day and the thick forest and vistas make for amazing photographs. Dylan snaps a few of Tyler staring pensively off into the distance, looking for all the world like he’s shooting some sort of The North Face commercial.
Tyler catches him looking at one point and his brow knits in concern. “You doing okay? Step away from the edge.”
Dylan pockets his phone and makes a “no big deal” gesture. “I’m cool as a cucumber,” he says with a cheesy grin.
When they finish with the main suspension bridge they do a cliff walk, which includes some terrifying sections with glass inserted into the sections of bridge so they can see through to the canyon below.
“A real asshole designed this thing,” Dylan grouses as he closes his eyes across those bits, holding onto the back of Tyler’s t-shirt so he doesn’t accidentally pitch over the edge.
Tyler laughs like he supports the asshole cliff walk designer. “It’s beautiful here,” he says.
“Yep, like I said, naturey,” Dylan says.
Tyler shakes his head. “I don’t think you have to be ‘naturey’ to think it’s beautiful.”
“It’s definitely beautiful,” Dylan says waving his hand around. “Communing with the out-of-doors. Enjoying the bugs and bears. Etcetera etcetera.”
Tyler huffs a laugh as he offers Dylan a drink from his water bottle. “You do realize we’re about to go even farther into nature,” he says carefully. “Whistler isn’t, like, a big city.”
Dylan rolls his eyes. “Right, but it’s a rich dude’s super nice cabin on a lake where he pretends to be naturey.”
“Maybe it’s a big yurt,” Tyler says with a smirk. “You assume it’s a really nice house. But maybe the walls are made of canvas and it has, like, a composting toilet and no electricity.”
“Listen,” Dylan says. “I watch Tiny House Hunters. I know what a composting toilet is.”
Tyler throws his head back and laughs.
“I will get a room at the Four Seasons so fast if you make me poop in, like, a toilet that just collects and cherishes my shit instead of dispersing it through plumbing and into a sewer system like god intended.”
Tyler shakes his head with an affectionate smile. “Cherishes your shit? Where do you come up with this stuff?”
Dylan shrugs. “I’ve spent a lot of time alone lately. I’ve got a lot of weird stuff to say that no one was listening to.”
Tyler grins and throws his arm around Dylan’s shoulder. “Come on,” he says. “I think you’re going to like the next part.”
That ends up being an understatement. “Dude, this is, like, where the Ewoks live in Star Wars.”
“The Forest Moon of Endor,” Tyler murmurs looking around.
“Oh my god,” Dylan breathes. “Nerd.”
Tyler laughs. “You’re the one that made the comparison!”
Dylan’s stomach swoops. Tyler continues to be perfect, and it’s continuing to be a problem. But he recovers and says something suitably snarky to cover up the deep affection he feels for the incredibly handsome and yet somehow also completely dorky dude he’s walking through the treetops with.
The Treetop Adventure is really cool, and definitely Dylan’s favorite part of the park so far. It’s a series of bridges suspended through a dense forest, high in the treetops. It does look like the Forest Moon of Endor, and he half expects to see an Ewok running around below them.
“You look a little like a Ewok with that beard,” Tyler says suddenly after a peaceful stretch of contemplative silence.
Dylan looks over at him quickly, surprised, and then throws his head back in a big laugh. “Please take my picture. I need to send my sister that observation.”
Tyler complies, smile playing at his lips the whole time. “Willingly opening yourself up to ridicule,” he says as he opens his camera app.
“Eh,” Dylan says as he tries to evoke an Ewok in his stance and facial expression, “I like to throw Julia a bone every now and again. She’s periodically nice to me, so.”
That’s actually an understatement, and he likes to make her laugh. After Tyler texts him the picture, Dylan shoots her a message and tells her he’s on the Forest Moon of Endor and Tyler thinks he looks like an Ewok. He gets an almost immediate reply that’s just a string of cry/laughing emojis. And then: tell Tyler I love him.
“She loves you,” Dylan says dutifully as he slips his phone back in his pocket.
Tyler makes a proud, smug face and nods like this is information he already knew. He then pulls Dylan closer and takes a selfie of the two of them together. It’s a bit of a Beauty and the Beast situation, really, but he makes Tyler text it to him anyway.
They’re done in the park by noon, so Tyler suggests they take a gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain. Since it’s such a clear day, they’ll be able to see for miles.
When they’re on the gondola Dylan makes the mistake of looking down and thinking about what would happen if the cable snapped. “The theme of the day is heights. This episode of Sesame Street is brought to you by the crippling fear of falling to your dramatic death.”
“This whole trip has apparently been brought to me by Sesame Street,” Tyler says and pulls Dylan back from the edge of the gondola. “Which I haven’t really thought of in like at least 15 years before yesterday.”
Dylan smiles. “Did you watch it 15 years ago? You were, like, 14.”
Tyler rolls his eyes. “Okay fine. 20 years ago. Better?”
“Nine seems a little old for Sesame Street,” Dylan hair-splits.
Tyler makes a frustrated noise. “Oh my god,” he mutters. “24 years? Is your goal to make me feel like I’m ancient?”
“One of them,” Dylan says with a smirk. “Yes.”
“I had a crush on Maria,” Tyler admits.
“Who didn’t,” Dylan agrees. “My big unpopular opinion is that I found Big Bird insufferable.”
Tyler laughs. “Yeah agreed. And I got freaked out every time Oscar came out of his trash can.”
“I always wanted to see inside his trashcan. Weren’t there episodes like that? He was my favorite.”
“Yeah, I think so.” He seems lost in thought for a second and Dylan thinks maybe he’s moved on to a more grownup topic. “I didn’t like Elmo,” he says quietly.
Dylan laughs, surprised.
“What? He was annoying,” Tyler says defensively.
“Yeah,” Dylan agrees. “Plus everyone liked him so much. Tickle Me Elmo. I will not tickle you, Elmo!”
An older lady next to them gives Dylan a disapproving glance, possibly an Elmo enthusiast who is offended by his take.
Tyler smirks at him, having caught the disapproval too.
When they get to the top of the mountain, they take time to walk around, take some pictures and grab a snack. Dylan loves poutine, and tries to acquire it everywhere he can when in Canada.
They talk, and laugh and eat the messy gravy and cheese covered french fries, Tyler apparently completely foregoing his normal nod toward health.
“Okay nature can stay,” Dylan says surveying their stunning view.
Tyler laughs. “It will whether you want it to or not.”
“True,” Dylan agrees. “But I’m just saying I’m okay with it existing now. I want to move here and live in this spot.”
Tyler smiles softly and looks at his hands. “You know, if Superman gets added to the Supergirl cast, I’d have to move here. At least for some of the year.”
“Yeah,” Dylan says swallowing. “Would you want to?”
“It’s a good gig,” Tyler says. “I like everyone I’ve met so far. A series means a steady income. You know how it is.”
Dylan does. He has so much anxiety about every aspect of grownup life. And even though he’s made a pretty good living for the last 5 years or so, he still has this irrational fear it will all end tomorrow and then he won’t have gone to college, or learned a trade, or figured out how to support himself. And he’ll end up living with his parents being a bitter disappointment.
It’s one of the reasons he has trouble sleeping, to be honest. Right after his accident, it was a source of major concern. What if the concussion symptoms never went away? What if his face didn’t heal with him looking like people expect Dylan O’Brien to look and no one would hire him? He doesn’t know what it’s like to be a grownup without also being an actor. It’s his job, but it’s also become a part of him.
He doesn’t really care about the fame. He’s never really liked that part. But he does like having a job that he’s excited to get out of the bed in the morning to perform. That challenges him, requires him to learn new skills, interact with a wide and diverse group of people. He likes stretching and growing for a character, pushing himself to do things he couldn’t have done in the previous movie or TV show.
It was actually one of the reasons he was doing the stunt that went wrong on Death Cure in the first place. He had a stunt double, a good one. For some of the stunts insurance required them to use the double. But as he grew in his confidence with the character and as the director trusted Dylan more and more, they allowed him to learn some of the stunts they’d used a double for in prior scenes.
Dylan had been scared of the stunt, but he’d studied the timing of it, practiced it, gone over and over it with the stunt coordinator and stunt drivers. He thought it would be okay. And then it wasn’t.
“But I’ve been enjoying doing movies, too,” Tyler is saying. “And when you’re a series regular it’s harder to have time for those.”
Dylan nods. “Yeah,” he agrees. “I always thought I’d want to be on Teen Wolf forever.” He laughs, because while he still likes a lot of the people on the show, he’s ready to be done with it. “But I really like digging into a new character every few months with a movie.”
“Exactly,” Tyler says and gives Dylan a warm smile. “But it wouldn’t be so bad to be up here, yeah?” The sun is hitting Tyler’s eyes making them look bright and clear and green yellow. His gaze is intense.
Dylan swallows. “It’s really nice up here,” he agrees finally. “LA wouldn’t be LA without you, though.”
Tyler smiles and looks out at the view. “LA will always be home. But I think I’d rather live here part time than, say, Georgia.”
Dylan smiles, thinking to their semi-shitty apartment that first season of Teen Wolf. It wasn’t the apartment itself that was shitty, really. It was a decent-enough place. But Posey and Dylan were such a mess. They ruined everything good Tyler tried to introduce into their lives.
“Well, not everyone in Georgia has to live with me and T-Pose,” he says and nudges Tyler with his shoulder.
Tyler smiles down at their ever-dwindling pile of fries. “I liked living with you guys,” he says softly.
Dylan guffaws loudly. “I wouldn’t have! We were such dicks.”
“Nah,” Tyler says amiably. “It wasn’t so bad. We had fun, right?”
“Oh for sure,” Dylan agrees readily. “We just ruined like all of your shit and ate all of your food. We ruined the Christmas tree. I mean… we were the worst.”
Tyler grins. “I don’t think about it like that,” he admits wiping his fingers on his napkin. “I miss those days, actually. Now there’s no one to watch late night TV with or play Halo at 2 am.”
“Hey, I will always have late night fun with you,” Dylan says without thinking and then blushes when he considers the implication. “Just, you know, call me up or whatever, and we can pick something to watch on TV or whatever,” he adds hurriedly.
Tyler smiles and nods slightly, looking back out at the vista. “Just don’t ruin any of my stuff this weekend,” he says after a long silence.
Dylan laughs and nudges his shoulder again.
After, as Dylan kept insisting, a very “naturey” day, they start the drive up to Whistler. Dylan loves California. He does. But this part of Canada is on another level of beauty. It’s like Northern California, and the central coast of California had a baby and then made it rain a lot so it would be super green and then you have British Columbia.
He’s been here before, but this is the first time it’s purely for fun. He finds Tyler’s enthusiasm for the scenery to be particularly inspiring.
They stop a couple of times to take pictures on the way up into the mountains, so the drive takes longer than it normally might. But they finally pull into the driveway of the Berlanti Whistler lake house as the sun is getting close to setting.
“This’ll do,” Dylan says as the get out of the car. He stretches his arms above his head to work the kinks out of his back from the drive. He looks over at Tyler and finds him looking at the house determinedly with pink cheeks. “Let’s check it out!”
Tyler nods and fishes the key out of his pocket along with the alarm code.
The house is stunning. Every room on the main level has a view of the lake and mountains. The kitchen is gourmet and all the furniture is oversized and comfy-looking. There’s a big deck wrapping around the back of the house leading to a stairway down to a dock on the lake.
“Wow,” Tyler says and grins at Dylan. “Really nice.”
Tyler pulls out his phone and sends what Dylan assumes is a very appropriate and grown up text to Greg Berlanti, letting him know they’ve arrived and thanking him for being the sort of dude who shares his kickass lake house. Tyler is probably also the sort of person that still writes out very personalized handwritten thank you notes after he gets a gift. Dylan usually relies on the verbal thank you he gives the person, but he’s a barely functional adult. So.
Once they find the bedrooms they decide to head into town and get dinner, and possibly stop at a grocery store so they don’t have to leave the house for every meal.
They find a little place that does gourmet pizzas and interesting salads, and most importantly, good beer. It’s about as lovely an evening as is possible, so they sit out on the patio. Tyler eats a salad with chicken breast, possibly feeling guilty about their earlier foray into poutine. They order a large pizza between them, of which Dylan eats half and Tyler has a piece or two and they wrap the last couple of pieces up to take back to the house.
Shopping at the grocery store together reminds Dylan of when they lived together in Atlanta. They’d go somewhere like Whole Foods so Tyler could get the various healthy foods and nuts and supplements and everything else it takes to look like Tyler Hoechlin, and Dylan and Posey would bum samples and raid the deli for potato salads and onion dip.
There was always a lot of long suffering patience on Tyler’s part as he reminded them they might want to pick up cereal and milk too, because he wasn’t buying Cocoa Puffs again, and if they wanted it they’d need to buy themselves.
Now, five years later, as they walk through the cereal aisle Tyler absentmindedly pulls a box of Cocoa Puffs off the shelf along with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and his own rocks and floor sweepings-looking granola.
“Bro,” Dylan says with feeling.
Tyler turns to him. “What?”
Tyler rolls his eyes. “It wasn’t that long ago. Unless you need a healthier option now.”
Dylan shrugs. “Probably, actually. But let’s just get a bunch of eggs to scramble and maybe some grapefruit or something.”
Tyler smiles and looks away. “Yeah, sure,” he says finally. “And now for snacks.”
Again, in the snack aisle Tyler picks out all of Dylan’s favorite chips and puffs and popcorns. It shouldn’t surprise Dylan. Tyler was always incredibly thoughtful when they were living together. And now that Dylan’s thinking about it, he usually has Dylan’s favorite sodas and snacks at his house whenever Dylan comes over to watch baseball or just hang out when they’re back in LA.
Tyler’s a good friend. That’s not a surprising thing, and yet somehow Dylan feels overwhelmed by it. He’s certain he’s not the same kind of friend to Tyler. He’s always had a harder time remembering special dates and little friend-quirks and who likes mushrooms and who doesn’t.
Being laid up with his injuries the last few months, Dylan has had a lot of time to think about who’s important to him and why. Dylan gets along with almost everyone. He likes to like people. And even if someone isn’t his type of person, he can still usually find something to talk about with them enough that he thinks back on working with them fondly. But those people are the ones that after the accident were tweeting at him and talking about him on Entertainment Tonight. Not maliciously, but just because they weren’t the people Dylan wanted close. They didn’t know him well enough to know that’s the last thing he would want them to do.
Lying in a dark room as he recovered from a facial reconstruction and a concussion, he had a lot of time to think about who really matters. His family was stalwart, his sister so generous with her time and ability to sit with him while he bitched and whined about everything, and he has several very good, close friends who know when to come by and when to leave him alone.
Tyler is in a different category, though. Not because he isn’t close. He is. He’s not one of the surface level friends from movie sets he can shoot the shit with at craft services and then part ways from and feel fine about never seeing them again. But there is also another layer to how he feels about Tyler. He feels both completely comfortable with him and also really wants Tyler to think well of him. Tyler makes him want to be better, to do more, to be kinder, to try harder. Not because he’s in any way disapproving, but because he’s the kind of decent person that makes everyone around him want to be better in return.
Dylan wants to remember what weird granola Tyler likes. He picks up Tyler’s cereal box. “Nature's Path Heritage Muesli Raspberry Hazelnut & Ancient Grains,” he reads off the box. “What in the ever-loving fuck are ‘ancient grains’?”
Tyler laughs loudly. He shrugs, a smile tugging at his lips. “Basically just stuff other than what cereal is normally made out of.” He grabs the box back from Dylan and looks at the ingredients. “See? Spelt, millet, quinoa, barley. That kind of stuff.”
“And that’s better?” Dylan asks because he genuinely doesn’t know. Not because he’s trying to be an asshole.
Tyler makes a funny “who the fuck knows” face. “The idea is that it’s less processed and altered than like wheat and rice and corn, which have been genetically modified over thousands of years and messed with more. I don’t… I don’t put a ton of stock in that, actually. But these are usually the types of cereals that have high fiber and protein and have taken a little more care with the ingredients. Unlike, say, Cocoa Puffs.”
Dylan laughs. “Spelt,” he says for lack of anything else to say. “Sounds gross.”
Tyler rolls his eyes. “I’m not going to eat a big bowl of spelt.”
“What does spelt taste like?”
“I have no idea,” Tyler admits. “This will taste like raspberries and hazelnuts. I’m not going to spend a lot of time thinking about the ‘ancient grains.’”
“I won’t be able to stop,” Dylan says gravely. “What if they used actually ancient grains that they found in, like, an Egyptian tomb or something? And that spelt is like thousands of years old. Seems like a bad idea.”
“You’re so weird,” Tyler says fondly.
“Hey,” Dylan says and start walking backwards toward produce. “I’m not the one eating spelt and millet and being smug about it.”
“I’m not being smug!”
“Smug spelt-eater,” Dylan sing songs. Okay, so he’s going to try to be a better friend. But he can’t just let spelt slide, right? That’s a lot to ask.
To Dylan’s relief, Tyler doesn’t wake him up at the first light of day for a sunrise hike or something. Dylan wakes up naturally, checks his phone and realizes it’s 10:00 am. He stumbles out to the kitchen to find Tyler standing blearily at the sink, fiddling with the coffee maker, his hair sticking up every which way with a big pillow crease across his cheek.
Dylan has a strong urge to slide up behind him and wrap his arms around Tyler’s waist. But that would make the rest of the weekend awkward, so Dylan keeps his hands to himself, just grunts at Tyler when he raises his chin in a greeting after he starts the coffee pot.
They watch morning TV and drink coffee. When they’re a little more awake they pour bowls of cereal and go sit on the deck that overlooks the lake.
“Well, shit,” Dylan says, voice still gravelly from sleep.
Dylan smiles because morning Tyler is a lot like Derek Hale. “This is fucking stunning,” he says and waves his arm around at their surroundings. He wonders if living there would detract from the wonder or if every morning the locals wake up amazed they live in such a beautiful part of the world. The sky is clear and blue and the craggy mountains rise up in front of them, seemingly born out of the lake, otherworldly clear and surprisingly blue.
Tyler nods and takes a bite of his ancient grains. “It really is,” he says after he swallows.
Dylan reaches over and scoops up a bite of Tyler’s cereal without asking.
“Hey,” Tyler says and moves his bowl away from Dylan.
The cereal isn’t horrible but it seems to take a long time to chew. “I wanted to taste an ancient grain,” he explains. “Tastes old.”
Tyler chuckles. “Eat your kid cereal and leave me be.”
“Is the water too cold to swim in?” Dylan asks after he finishes his bowl and sets it on the table between them.
Tyler shrugs. “It’s late July,” he says. “Probably now or never.”
“I want to try.”
Tyler nods. “Yeah, and I think there’s a paddle boat down there.” He peers down at the little boat house next to the dock.
“I think he has one, but I don’t think it’s here.”
Dylan sighs. “Well as long as you can paddle fast enough to pull me up on a wakeboard.”
Tyler laughs and shakes his head.
“You laugh like I’m joking,” Dylan says, raising his eyebrows as he stands. “I’m gonna put my trunks on.”
Fifteen minutes later they’re lying on the dock and Dylan is decidedly not staring at Tyler’s ridiculous body in his impressively tight swim trunks. He is, instead, like a totally mature adult staring out at the scenery and wondering which bird sitting in the trees above them is making that obnoxious noise.
Compared to Southern California, the temperature is relatively mild. At mid-day it takes several minutes of lying in the sun for Dylan to get warm enough to consider jumping into the clear, cold water.
“If a man-eating Canadian fish swallows me whole, please avenge me,” he says as he runs toward the end of the dock and then dives in. The water isn’t as cold as he assumed it would be, but it’s still not heated-pool pleasant either. He surfaces after a few strokes under the water to find Tyler standing on the edge of the dock, like they’re shooting a commercial for sunscreen or something.
“I was kidding about the fish,” Dylan says as he swims back toward the dock, because it does indeed look like Tyler was on high alert for possible giant Canadian fish danger.
Tyler rolls his eyes. “How cold is it?”
“Ball shrivelingly cold.”
“Perfect,” Tyler answers as he dives perfectly into the water, breaking the surface like he’s coming off the blocks at an Olympic race.
Dylan treads water and waits for him to re-emerge. He’s down long enough that Dylan starts to curse that stupid Canadian fish for actually existing in the depths of this cold mountain lake when he finally surfaces.
“It’s not that cold,” Tyler says immediately.
“I know,” Dylan agrees. “I just figured you’d be more likely to jump in if you thought you’d look like a wimp if you didn’t.” He grins at Tyler.
“The water’s so clear,” Tyler says in awe, looking down at his body as he manages to stay at the surface of the water with seemingly no effort.
Meanwhile Dylan is treading water like a drowning man. “It’s nice,” he answers finally, embarrassed that he’s already a bit out of breath. “I like to keep an eye on any potential danger lurking in the depths below.”
The lakes he’s been to in Southern California all tend to be fairly murky. There’s nothing he hates more than being bumped by an unidentified life form while out in the middle of the lake. At least at this lake he’d be able to identify if it’s a random log or something frightening and worthy of the show River Monsters on Animal Planet.
“Should we reenact our famous pool scene,” Tyler asks, still barely moving his arms and seeming like he might possibly be wearing hidden floaty rings or something.
“Yeah, PS,” Dylan says swimming toward Tyler because if he loses his ability to tread water he wants to take Tyler down with him. “You really should’ve been the one holding me up in that pool. Clearly.”
Tyler laughs. “I think I’d struggle with keeping dead weight up too.”
“Try it,” Tyler says, challenging. “C’mere.”
“There’s a very real chance you’re going to have to drag me to the dock in a few minutes anyway,” Dylan demurs, mostly because the thought of Tyler wrapping his arms around Dylan makes his brain short circuit. “Let’s see if the boathouse has floaty toys.”
They find water rafts and inner tubes in the storage trunks inside. They also lower the paddle boat into the water. They create a little island of flotation devices for themselves and eventually Tyler jogs back to the house to fill a cooler with water, beer, sodas and snacks.
“My hero,” Dylan says from the midst of his lazy perch in the float-kingdom. He clutches his heart and bats his eyes.
Tyler grins. “I’m going to put an inner tube around it,” he says and blows up another floaty toy to nestle the cooler on.
“You’re a genius,” Dylan says and leans his head back again. “Can we get sunburned in Canada?”
Tyler laughs. “Probably. Did you not put sunscreen on?”
“It doesn’t seem hot enough here to get burned,” Dylan admits.
“That’s not how it works,” Tyler says as he pushes the snack boat out toward Dylan and then dives into the water, surfacing at the edge of Dylan’s raft.
Water clings to his eyelashes and he smiles softly at Dylan. “Seriously though,” he says after a few beats where they just stare at each other. “You should put sunscreen on if you think you’re going to burn.”
Dylan shrugs. “Maybe in a few,” he says.
They lay on their floating islands with the cooler bobbing between them for awhile. Talking, drinking beer, eating chips and sliced fruit, dozing lazily in the sun. It’s the most perfect day Dylan’s experienced in a long time.
“Want to take the paddle boat out?” Tyler asks after awhile.
Dylan doesn’t want to do anything but stay exactly where he is, but when he turns he finds Tyler with an expectant, hopeful expression, and Dylan is a sucker for Tyler’s face. “Sure,” he says. “Let’s bring the cooler.”
It takes awhile to swim back to the deck from where their rafts had drifted, and then to secure all of the various flotation devices to the dock so they won’t blow away.
“I had no idea people owned paddle boats,” Dylan remarks, once they’re in the small boat with the sun shade raised and the cooler secured in one of the rear seats.
Tyler gives him a weird look.
“What? I thought they were purely for the rental market. At, like, duck ponds and Disneyland.”
Tyler shrugs. “I don’t know anything about it other than Greg has one in his boat house.”
They start pedaling toward the center of the lake and something about the image of the two of them pedaling a paddle boat in a non-tourist-filled location strikes Dylan as funny. He starts laughing and can’t stop, so most of the peddling is done by Tyler for awhile.
“I’m cutting you off,” Tyler grouses.
“What, it’s funny,” Dylan says and then starts laughing again at the look on Tyler’s face. He waves to an older lady watching them disapprovingly from a lounge chair on her dock.
He grabbed his phone from his towel pile on the dock before they boarded the boat, so he takes a few pictures of Tyler’s grumpy cat face while he pedals their boat. He snaps a few of the houses as they float by, the mountains rising steeply from the lake, the way the bright blue sky contrasts with the trees.
“This is fun,” he says after a few minutes of silence.
Tyler raises an eyebrow at him. “Is that because I’m doing all the work?”
Dylan grins. “Maybe.”
Tyler makes a big show of taking his feet off the pedals and crossing his legs over the bow of the paddle boat. “Your turn,” he says.
He looks ridiculous, so Dylan takes another picture of him. Ridiculous, but still gorgeous, which could potentially be the title of his autobiography someday.
“I want someone on a boat to bring me a popsicle,” Dylan says after a few minutes of their passive aggressive non-pedaled floating. “Like an ice-cream truck, but instead of a truck a boat.”
“Yeah I caught that,” Tyler says. “I don’t think that exists.”
“To make it really perfect though,” Dylan continues, warming to his idea, “it would need to be a really creepy and slow moving boat that looks like it might be used to as a kidnapping service on its off-hours. Playing a creepy song at a slightly too slow speed. Cruising the lake with frozen delights and a smack of danger.”
Tyler throws his head back and laughs. “God, you’re weird.”
“Plus, I wouldn’t throw any stones about creepiness at the moment,” Tyler adds and makes a gesture toward Dylan’s beard.
“Hey, this is a triumph beard!”
“That is a beard built from sloth,” Tyler corrects.
Dylan narrows his eyes. “This beard is about to star in a big action movie.”
Tyler laughs. “That mangy thing was already on your face before you found out it would be necessary for the movie. Don’t front.”
“That’s beside the point,” Dylan says imperiously. He strokes it and marvels again that he was actually able to grow something beard-like this time. For awhile he wondered if that was because of his accident. Like the painkillers were Rogaine and all the time he spent in the dark made his facial hair grow like a crop of mushrooms. “Is it really awful?” He asks finally because there’s a dumb part of him that really wants Tyler’s reassurance.
Tyler reaches over and tugs at it, roughly at first and then it turns into a more gentle grooming gesture. “Nah,” he says.
“I shave it like a couple of days into shooting,” he says. “I just needed it for the first few scenes we shoot.”
“You’ve told me,” Tyler says with a small smile as he turns back to the task of steering and pedaling them back to their dock.
“Plus I wanted to see if I could,” Dylan says and continues to stroke the spot Tyler had been touching. “And I wanted to be invisible,” he admits, voice softer.
Tyler reaches over and squeezes Dylan’s knee without taking his eyes off the water in front of them.
“I’m hungry,” Dylan says because the air feels thick with something he’s not sure he understands.
“Me too,” Tyler says with a smile as they get closer to the dock. “Let’s shower and go grab an early dinner.”
“Like the elderly people we are,” Dylan says with a fist raised in the air.
Tyler laughs and pedals faster.
Whistler is full of very nice hotels and really expensive restaurants. And while Dylan can appreciate a fancy meal on a special occasion, really tiny, artfully prepared French food isn’t what he wants to eat after a day spent lounging on a blow up raft and balancing a beer on a palm tree floaty.
So they find a dark paneled, dimly lit pub below street level, like a Canadian Cheers that serves food. It feels tucked away and a bit overlooked. It’s slightly hipstery because it’s Whistler, but it feels comfortable and forgiving of their sunburnt faces and overall scruffy appearance.
“If you shaved tonight,” Tyler says over the top of his beer, “I wonder if your face would be white under the beard or if your sunburn has penetrated your facial hair.”
Dylan laughs. “It’s not that burned, is it?”
Tyler raises his eyebrows and takes a long sip of beer as his only response. He’s somehow only slightly pink-cheeked, despite insisting he didn’t apply sunscreen either. Dylan’s not lobster red, but his face definitely has a decidedly tomato-hued glow about it.
Dylan feels that full body warmth and exhaustion from a day spent in the water soaking up the sun. It’s one of his favorite feelings, something he’s familiar with having spent much of his life in California, just a few blocks from the beach. Like a typical teenager, he took the location of his parents’ place during his high school years a bit for granted, but even in that jaded haze he still realized it was pretty cool to have the beach as an easy option for hanging out with friends and family on an off-day.
He’s been so busy the last few years there hasn’t been as much time for that sort of lazy lounging. Since his accident he’s had nothing but time, but he’s also been shut up in a dark room with a pounding head and an intense desire to stay very far away from anyone who might take his picture or ask for an autograph.
When he was 15 and making YouTube videos and imagining what it would be like to be a star, Dylan didn’t factor in how completely jarring it can feel to have normal, everyday moments observed by others. Things that would otherwise be too boring to even be noticed suddenly become fascinating to people when you have some notoriety. The first few times it happened to him he was so floored that anyone recognized him at all that he found it pretty cool, even hammed it up a bit to give them something to stare at. But after awhile, his overwhelming self-consciousness made those moments awkward. It’s nice to buy a box of condoms without wondering who snapped a picture of the purchase on their phone. Or to run to the grocery store to pick up milk and bread in a stained shirt and have no one notice or care.
Dylan’s been a dick a few of those times. Fans have caught him when he’d just had a fight with a friend or a bad date or lost a part he was really hoping to land, and all he wanted to do was melt into the background and disappear. And in those moments, when someone approaches excitedly and thrusts a piece of paper into his face and babbles about how much they like Teen Wolf or Maze Runner or whatever he knows he’s supposed to smile and make that moment good for them. They screwed up their courage and crossed a crowded room (or store or parking garage) to talk to him, so he should let them take a picture and give them a little reassurance that he’s a decent human being. But there have been times he couldn’t do that. He’s waved people away, mumbled an apology and taken off in the opposite direction. Not often. But it’s happened.
Being famous takes away the ability to be in the background. It’s like being the waiter who just dropped a tray of wine glasses on a slate floor in a crowded restaurant. Dylan always feels like he’s just dropped the tray and there’s been a big crash and everyone’s waiting to see how he’ll respond.
Most days he manages to laugh and say something goofy and take a picture or sign a receipt or whatever. But some days he doesn’t want to be the person everyone is gawking at, waiting to see how he’ll handle the mess of glass all over the floor.
“So if you weren’t acting, what would you be doing right now?” Dylan asks after they order their food. “And it can’t be baseball,” he adds quickly. “If you were just an average guy, in like Kansas, what would you want to do for a living?”
Tyler leans back a bit in his seat and seems to really think about it. “I assume you mean not baseball professionally.”
“Is there a way to make money at it unprofessionally?” Dylan jokes.
Tyler laughs. “I just meant… I think I’d be interested in like coaching a high school team maybe? Is that a safe answer?”
Dylan shrugs. “Not if you think that’s what you would’ve pursued if you hadn’t ever touched entertainment industry stuff.”
“What about you?”
Dylan chews his lip. “I mean, as a kid I just assumed I’d do something with sports. Like, not playing, but broadcasting. That was my plan. I was going to go to Syracuse, and then try to talk my way into a job with the Mets.” He smiles thinking about his teenage optimism, and his firm belief that would just somehow work itself out. “I never thought of myself as an actor. I did all those YouTube videos because it was fun and because it, like, gave me a creative outlet, gave me something to bond with my dad about. It gave me a way to make friends even, maybe?”
Tyler nods. “Makes sense.” He takes a long sip of his beer. “So you didn’t dream of yourself walking a red carpet?”
Dylan smiles. “I mean, no. Like any kid I think I dreamed about being universally loved and adored, so I guess red carpet fantasies fit into that somehow. But that’s not where I hoped I’d end up. You?”
“Nah,” Tyler says. “I mean, I got into it younger than you, but even then it felt like the thing I was doing until I got to play ball.”
“I don’t think I understood what I got myself into when I landed Teen Wolf,” Dylan admits. “But I really liked the idea of creating characters, learning about people, getting to inhabit different skin. That’s what I like about it. Not the fame part.”
“Yeah, same,” Tyler says. “But the fame part is sort of necessary to keeping yourself relevant. At least at a certain level.”
They pause when the waiter comes back with their wings.
“My goal is to get to a level of fame where self-promotion is almost unnecessary,” Tyler admits after his first wing.
Dylan laughs. “I’m not sure that exists,” he says and licks his finger tips, messy with the wing sauce. “Even Hanks has to do press before a movie.”
“I don’t mean that stuff as much,” Tyler says. “I mean like, doing conventions or going to promo parties and doing red carpets for random stuff. That— I mean, the fans are great. But that is the tiring stuff.”
Dylan nods. “Yeah, that’s why I don’t do it.” He grins.
Tyler’s eyes crinkle at the corners and without any animosity at all he manages to say, “well you’ve reached a different level, then, haven’t you?” It sounds proud and pleased and not at all resentful, and dammit Dylan really loves him.
Dylan feels himself blush. “Dude,” he says, because he doesn’t know what to say to that. “It’s not—”
Tyler cuts him off with a wave of his hand. “Not a bad thing,” he says gently. “And I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’ve got a good life. I enjoy meeting new people, and I don’t mind cons really. I just would like to not need to do them. You know? I’d like to have a career that propels itself somehow. Instead of feeling like I claw my way to every role for a late 20s white guy of a certain body type.”
“What a diplomatic way to say the role requires a lot of shirt removal,” Dylan jokes, knowing Tyler hates the man-meat part of the job.
Predictably he winces. “Right. That.”
Dylan isn’t good at sincerity that doesn’t sound somehow ironic or joking. So he doesn’t know how to say “you’re so much more than just your body and your face.” He doesn’t really know how to tell him how talented he is, how much it obviously takes for a guy as sunny and happy as Tyler to become someone with a twisted, tortured soul like Derek Hale. Convincingly. He hates that he doesn’t know how to say that, so he hopes the jokes can imply it for him. He hopes Tyler knows how much Dylan respects him. He wants to try to actually show him that.
Later, after an amazing amount of food and beer, they take a cab back to the lake house. They collapse on the couch and eat the popsicles Dylan insisted they stop for on the way back.
“It was a great oversight on our shopping trip last night,” he says as he asked the cabbie to pull over in front of a convenient store. “This is a necessity.”
They flip around on Netflix until they settle on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. It’s a great show for people who enjoy food and travel, which Tyler definitely does, and Dylan does too as long as he can control some of the variables.
“I’m hungry again,” Dylan admits after their third episode.
Tyler laughs. “Watching these giant pigs slow roasting over a fire pit is doing it for you?”
“Doesn’t that look good?” Maybe not the actual pig roasting, but the end result looks fantastic.
“It does, but I’m not hungry yet,” Tyler says but stands and heads to the kitchen.
“Don’t go,” Dylan calls feebly without raising his head from it’s comfy spot on the armrest of the couch.
He’s not gone long though, and he comes back with tubs of dip and chips and the other items they’d purchased the night before.
“Hoech,” Dylan says, stretching the nickname out. “You’re so good to me. Did you start a pig roasting on the deck too?”
Tyler grins. “Nope. This dip is going to have to be enough.”
It’s as good as prepared dips from a gourmet supermarket can be, which is to say, good enough.
“I’d like to be better at cooking,” Dylan says after a few scoops of the dip on various chips.
Tyler gives him a skeptical look. He lived with Dylan after all. He knows the extent of Dylan’s cooking ability is a recipe for chicken cutlets and a few attempts at chicken parmesan, but mostly it was boxed meals and bumming food off others. These days it’s food made by a private chef enlisted by a nutritionist to help him get ready for the next role. But his mom and dad are both good cooks, and he regrets he didn’t pay better attention to what they were doing when he still lived at home.
“Really,” Dylan says even though Tyler didn’t argue with him. “I should take a class or something.”
“In your copious spare time,” Tyler jokes.
“After Assassin wraps, you wanna take a cooking class with me?” Dylan asks because honestly doing something like that with Tyler sounds perfect. He’d approach it with the right attitude and maturity and would still be able to have some fun with the concept.
Tyler gives him an assessing look, possibly trying to decide of Dylan is serious. “Yeah,” he says finally. “If you want to. That’d be fun.”
Dylan nods decisively. “Maybe we can get a Food Network show where we travel around and then come back and learn how to make our favorite dish from the trip.” He grins and scoops another big glob of dip on the blue corn chips, so far his favorite.
“That’s actually— you know that’s a really good idea,” Tyler says finally. “I’d watch that.”
“Of course! Cause we’re fuckin’ charming!” Dylan crows.
Tyler laughs easily, and they watch Bourdain dive off a boat to spear fish. “We should take a trip, like when you’re done with the movie.”
Dylan’s stomach turns over, and he glances over at Tyler who is looking at him with more intensity than usual. “Yeah,” he says, voice coming out rougher than he intends. “Where to?”
Tyler shrugs. “Wherever. Greek islands? Lithuania? Croatia is supposed to be pretty. Slovenia?”
“Slovenia?” Dylan asks, somewhat incredulously because there are countries he forgets exist, not proudly or anything, and Slovenia would be high on that list.
“I saw a thing on Lake Bled once,” Tyler says defensively. “It was beautiful and made me want to explore it.”
Dylan bites back a smile. “Slovenia it is, then,” he says with a decisive wave of his hand. “After we go shoot the Sterek ‘ride off into the sunset’ scene on Teen Wolf?”
Tyler laughs loudly. “Riiight,” he says. “That feels likely.”
Dylan grins. “Stiles says his goodbyes to everyone and when he opens the front door to leave Derek is standing on the front porch waiting for him. And he’s like, ‘ready?’ And Stiles like kisses Derek and tugs his hand toward the car. Or something.”
Tyler raises his eyebrows. “You writing fan fiction now?”
“Maybe.” He grins. “I had a lot of time on my hands. I call myself Sterek4eva.”
“I think if Stiles rides off in the sunset with anyone it will be Lydia, right?”
Dylan shrugs dismissively. “Probably. I have like a day to shoot a scene or two between the end of Assassin and when they’re done filming TW, so I’m not sure what he has planned. Wish you were coming back though.”
Tyler swallows but doesn’t say anything. Dylan’s still not sure what Tyler thinks about how things ended with his character. He’s always gracious about it in articles and at cons. But Dylan suspects that’s more about wanting fans to have a good experience with the show than it is out of loyalty to the producers.
“PS,” Dylan says because Tyler hasn’t said anything for a little while and he feels like that’s his fault. “I thought the show suffered when you left.”
Tyler gives him a small smile. “Well, it’s ending since you’re leaving. So.”
Dylan smirks. “I don’t know that that’s quite how it went, but thank you.”
They watch a recent episode of Parts Unknown on Georgia (the country, not the state) and when it’s over Tyler turns to Dylan and instructs, “Add it to the list.”
“For real, right?” Dylan agrees. Bourdain has a way of bringing out the best in his hosts and the show seems to do a good job of finding out-of-the-way spots that capture the spirit of the people. “Could we get Bourdain to go with us? How does he find these places?”
“I think he’d spend a lot of the time calling us pretty boys and making fun of us in narration,” Tyler says wryly.
Dylan laughs loudly. “True. Maybe our show can be picking a place he’s been and trying to recreate his experience and see if it is nearly as poetic and romantic as he makes it seem.”
Tyler smiles. “Not a bad plan. Still sure to earn his scorn, though.”
“I don’t think it takes much to earn his scorn, to be honest.”
They watch another couple of episodes and drink a few more beers before they’re both half asleep. Dylan is comfortable, feet up on the oversized ottoman, head cushioned, Tyler’s warm shoulder pressed into his. He could happily sleep in this spot, with Tyler’s even breath the soundtrack to his slumber.
But he also knows he’ll wake up with a kink in his neck. He’s not nearly as flexible as he was even just a couple of years ago. So he rouses himself and pokes at Tyler’s knee.
“Hoech,” he says softly, realizing that Tyler isn’t just dozing but has fully fallen asleep.
Tyler grunts, but just turns his head slightly and continues to sleep.
Dylan watches him for a few minutes, watches his breath rise and fall in his chest, watches the dramatic fan of his lashes against his unfairly beautiful cheeks. He looks so peaceful, so content, Dylan hates to disturb him. But he tries again, this time gently clasping his shoulder and shaking a bit. “Ty. Hoech,” he says again, a bit louder this time.
Tyler’s eyes open slightly and when he sees Dylan staring down at him he gives him a sleepy smile. “Hmm?”
“Time for bed, man,” Dylan says and fights the urge to slip onto his lap and kiss him. “C’mon.”
“Yeah,” Tyler says and rubs his eyes. “Thanks.”
Dylan collects the various chip bags and snack tubs and the napkins and other refuse from the couch and leaves the kitchen moderately clean. When he’s done Tyler is standing in the doorway to the kitchen, looking a little bleary eyed.
“Could we go on a hike tomorrow?” Tyler asks, almost shyly.
Dylan smiles. “How long a hike?”
Tyler rolls his eyes. “Just a couple hours,” he promises. “There’s a trail I wanted to check out. And it’s supposed to be a nice day tomorrow.”
Dylan pretends to consider this with skepticism just to give Tyler a hard time. “I suppose,” he says with a heavy sigh.
Tyler pushes at his shoulder. “Dick,” he says, and then quickly, “thanks. It’ll be good.”
Dylan nods. “Just not at the crack of dawn.”
“Nah,” he says. The crack of, like, 10.” He squeezes Dylan’s shoulder and then heads to his bedroom for the night.
They don’t leave quite at 10, because neither of them move very quickly in the morning and it’s nice to drink coffee lazily on the lakefront deck. There’s no schedule really, just a desire to take the hike before they get sucked into another gloriously sedentary day on the lake.
Dylan grumbles a little, because he knows Tyler expects him to, but honestly it’s such a clear sky, bright day and the air smells like what he thinks those pine air fresheners are meant to evoke. There’s something almost reverent about walking through the forest. Sounds are a bit muffled by the trees so that when they finally break through to the view of the lakes and valley, the moment is even more dramatic.
Dylan takes a few pictures, of the scenery and Tyler and even a picture of the two of them together.
“Hey, so I’ll be in London for a convention in September,” Tyler says when they stop to rest for a few minutes, sitting on a giant boulder overlooking the valley.
It takes Dylan a second to understand why he brought it up. “I’ll be in London in September,” he says with a smile.
“Right,” Tyler says. “So we should hang out.”
Dylan bites back a smile and nudges Tyler’s shoulder with his own. “Yeah okay.”
“My mom would kill me if I wasn’t in LA on my birthday, but I could fly out after that, be in London for the few days before the con.” He glances over at Dylan and then back out at the valley.
Dylan feels something twist in his chest. If he didn’t know better he’d think Tyler was nervous about whether or not Dylan wants to hang out with him in London. “Dude that would be rad,” he says sincerely. “And I’ll have lost the beard by then. So you won’t have to be embarrassed to be seen with me.”
Tyler smiles. “That’s a relief,” he says and nudges Dylan’s shoulder back.
“I’ll be shooting so I won’t be free much,” Dylan says carefully. “But we can hang out for sure.”
“I love London,” Tyler says. “I’ve been getting more into photography. And I want to go back to some of my favorite spots and take pictures and stuff.”
“We can practice our Anthony Bourdain skills on a relatively easy location,” Dylan says.
“Works for me,” Tyler says. “Ready to keep moving?” He screws on the cap of his water bottle and slips it back into the backpack he’d brought along. Dylan assumes because Tyler is magic, the backpack is Mary Poppins-esque and contains enough provisions for them to create their own society on top of the mountain should they need to.
Later after they’re back at the house, they make sandwiches and eat down on the dock by the lake. They take naps on the lounge chairs and then take the paddle boat around the lake.
“This time I’m not paddling,” Tyler announces.
Dylan laughs. “Seems fair. And lazy, if that’s the vibe you want to put out there.”
Tyler snorts. “Pot, kettle.” He crosses his legs across the bow.
“Just sit back and relax, baby,” Dylan says. “Let me show you how fast this thing can go.”
It turns out not that fast and after a minute of all out paddling he’s out of breath in comical fashion.
Tyler laughs. “Phew, slow down,” he says because he’s a douche. “I’m barely hanging on here.”
“Dick,” Dylan says without any heat. “But seriously you could help.”
Tyler keeps grinning and adds to his douchiness by crossing his arms behind his head. Since he’s shirtless that just serves to further accentuate his stupid big biceps and general appeal. “Don’t hit the dock,” he says calmly.
Dylan tears his gaze away from Tyler and back to the water and sure enough, he’s headed straight for a neighbor’s dock.
“You could just stop peddling,” Tyler says. “This doesn’t feel like too much of an emergency.”
“I hate you,” Dylan says and takes his feet off the pedals and steers the boat away from the dock. “Sorry,” he calls to the older woman eyeing them suspiciously from her chair at the edge.
She waves at them anyway, probably because she’s Canadian, and they are a polite people.
Tyler helps him paddle after that and they make it back to their own dock. They swim around the dock, racing each other and then lying on their rafts for awhile, dozing in the sun.
“Let’s make dinner here tonight, yeah?” Tyler asks, lifting his head up off his ice cream cone shaped raft.
“We’ll need to go get stuff from the store,” Dylan reminds him. “Unless you want to eat chips and cereal.”
“I can run over there if you don’t want to go,” Tyler says and lets his head drop down to the ice cream scoop that serves as the pillow for the raft.
“I’ll go,” Dylan says. “What are we making?”
“Steak fajitas maybe?”
“Sounded good to me,” Tyler mumbles into the raft.
Dylan starts thinking about grilled meat and vegetables and guacamole and warm tortillas and suddenly realizes how hungry he is. “Let’s go now,” he says and moves his arms through the water, steering himself toward the dock.
Tyler laughs, but follows.
They buy beer, tequila, and all the components necessary for steak fajitas.
“I assume this is something you know how to cook,” Dylan says as they stand in line. “Because I don’t.” Tyler had even insisted they buy the stuff to make guacamole instead of just buying the tub in the deli case next to the prepared pico de gallo they purchased.
Tyler gives him a look. “Of course.”
“Oh of course,” Dylan mocks. “Because obviously everyone knows how to make fajitas and guacamole.”
Tyler laughs. “It’s not hard,” he promises. “You’ll see. I used to make a lot of steak or chicken and vegetable grilled meals, usually without the tortillas and fixings, but I got pretty good at the other part. I’d usually eat it on lettuce.”
“Your diet makes me sad,” Dylan informs him. “Tonight we eat cheese and tortillas!”
Tyler does, indeed, know how to make fajitas. It just serves as another thing to be attracted to. They make a small pitcher of margaritas and eat outside as the sun sets. It feels like a particularly good date, with easy conversation, shared cooking duties and beautiful surroundings.
Dylan can’t remember the last time he went out with someone who he got along with as well as he gets along with Tyler. Not to say he hasn’t dated some nice people, but his ability to turn situations awkward usually keeps dating from being a relaxing activity. Not that he’s dating Tyler, he just wishes it could be this easy with people he stands a chance with, is all.
“Fuck, this is good,” Dylan says after he eats his fifth fajita. “Just when I think I’m as impressed as I’m gonna get, you pull guacamole out of your hat.”
Tyler laughs. “Sounds messy.”
“But so good,” Dylan says through a mouthful of food.
Tyler turns his intense handsomeness in Dylan’s direction. “Glad you like it,” he says, and his smile turns softer.
“Now, I wanna know what else you’ve learned to cook since we lived together,” Dylan says after he swallows.
“I knew how to cook stuff then too,” Tyler says with a smirk. “I just knew if I did you freeloaders would never stop mooching off me.”
Dylan narrows his eyes, and Tyler smirks. “Just for that, I get to choose the movie.”
“Oh no,” Tyler says. “First you need to clean up the kitchen.”
Dylan starts to protest and then realizes that’s probably only fair. “Yeah, okay.”
Tyler laughs at him again, but helps him clear the table and put things away anyway.
They end up watching Zootopia. It’s not where Dylan thought the evening would end up, but it was a compromise between the drama Tyler wanted to watch and the thriller Dylan wanted to watch. Not that Zootopia really provides much in the way of thrill or drama, but it’s something neither had seen, and Dylan has a not-so-secret love for Disney cartoons.
“Okay is it just me, or is this movie fucking awesome?” Dylan asks half way through.
“It’s no The Revenant,” Tyler says, referencing the movie he’d lobbied for. “But it’s okay.”
For that, Dylan kicks his feet up into Tyler’s lap. “I didn’t want to watch a dude barely survive by, like, killing the forest and getting really chapped lips.”
“That dude is Leonardo DiCaprio,” Tyler reminds him disapprovingly.
“I know,” Dylan says. “But it just… it doesn’t seem like a relaxing movie.” He’ll watch it eventually, but movies like that stress him out. “Whereas we’re watching young Judy the rabbit make it in the big city with her wisecracking fox sidekick. C’mon, Hoech.”
Tyler laughs. “Okay, point,” he concedes. “But your choice was about some weird high school friend that stalks a couple. I’m not sure how that’s less stressful than chapped lips and bear fights.”
“Point,” Dylan mimics. “So now you see why Judy and her band of animal friends were the best option.”
“And the song’s catchy,” Tyler allows.
“I won’t give up! I won’t give in,” Dylan throws his head back and sings.
Tyler squeezes Dylan’s leg and then leaves his hand curled loosely around Dylan’s ankle. It’s a little embarrassing how that simple contact makes his stomach swoop. He tries not to move in any way that suggests the contact is unwelcome. He wants to sink into it, to curl his body closer on the couch, move so that he’s got more than just his feet in Tyler’s lap.
When the movie is over, they watch the credits roll, mostly because neither of them wants to admit how much they want to listen to the whole Shakira song again.
“I don’t want to leave tomorrow,” Dylan says when the screen finally goes black.
“You don’t have to,” Tyler says quickly. “I mean, if you don’t want. You can stay.”
“Well, I mean,” Tyler sits up a bit, squeezing Dylan’s ankle, but still not letting it go. “I have to shoot again on Monday night, so, we need to go back to Vancouver by tomorrow night. But you can stay in Vancouver with me if you want.”
Dylan swallows down his urge to agree. “My flight goes out Monday midday,” he says. “I have a meeting with the Assassin producers on Tuesday morning. And I start my intense training this week. So.”
“So you can’t,” Tyler says and squeezes his ankle again, thumb sweeping along the bone, back and forth.
“So I can’t,” Dylan agrees, even though he really wants to say ‘fuck it’ and stay. “But this has been good.” He’s maintaining a fairly intense level of eye contact with Tyler, and he has to remind himself it doesn’t mean what it would mean if it were happening with anyone else. His brain wants it to mean something more so much he feels like he’s seeing things that probably aren’t there. “Really good,” he adds.
“When do you leave for London?” Tyler asks.
“End of August,” Dylan says. He’s excited to finally get back to work and nervous about being on a set again, about getting himself ready for the pace of work, of living up to the expectations of leading a franchise.
Tyler nods. “Okay, well, I’ll be back in LA by the end of the week. So we should hang out. There.”
Dylan wants to laugh because it’s suddenly way more awkward than anything ever is between them. “Yeah,” he manages, because he’s not entirely sure what’s happening, but wanting to hang out with Tyler will always be true.
“Good,” Tyler says and squeezes his ankle again.
They drive back to Vancouver early afternoon the next day. They make fewer stops and are back by dinner time. They eat supper at a sushi place and then watch the Mets game on TV together.
Dylan falls asleep on Tyler’s shoulder toward the end of the game. And just like everything else this trip it’s easy. It’s easy to be relaxed around Tyler, easy to sit a little closer, easy to feel safe. And when Tyler nudges him awake, he just smiles at the little pool of drool that’s collected on his t-shirt from Dylan’s inelegant habit of sleeping with his mouth open. He helps pull him up off the couch and walks him to the extra bedroom in the suite and gives his shoulder a squeeze as he tells Dylan goodnight.
Dylan is both incredibly grateful for Tyler’s friendship, for this respite from the very tough few months he’s been through and the hard work he will have to put in to get in shape for his next movie, and also incredibly sad that this connection doesn’t mean what Dylan wishes it meant. That he’s let himself fall for his friend, which is such a shitty position to put Tyler in. He’s disappointed in himself.
And the next day, after a tight hug when Tyler drops Dylan off at the airport with a promise to call when he gets back to LA, Dylan is left with the realization that he probably needs a Tyler break for awhile. That it’s just too easy to read into everything, to see things that aren’t there.
They’re both so busy for the next few weeks, that it’s not difficult to avoid Tyler. He does call when he gets back, but Dylan makes up a completely believable excuse about training and rehearsals for the new movie.
It’s all mostly true, is the thing. Dylan is getting his ass kicked by muscle-bound men determined to bulk him up. He eats a lot of protein and drinks disgusting shakes and then goes home and passes out on the couch. So it’s not like he’s actually avoiding Tyler. He isn’t sitting around with loads of free time, but he also isn’t juggling his schedule to try to make it work to hang out either.
His sister went back to Boston when Dylan got home from Vancouver, but comes back to visit again a few days before he’s set to leave for London about a month later.
“Why are you so mopey?” Julia asks the third night she stay with Dylan.
Dylan grunts from the spot on the couch where he planted himself when he got home from his latest workout.
“Do I need to stage an intervention?”
“I’m not that bad,” Dylan insists, still not raising his head off the couch.
“You’ve been heavy sighing and flopping on furniture since I got to town,” she says with a pointed look. “And from what I can tell you’ve been like this since Vancouver. So spill, Dyl.”
“Just tired, Jules,” Dylan insists. “Training hard, meeting with producers, trying to learn my lines. I haven’t worked in awhile. ’s kind of stressful.”
Julia narrows her eyes. “Are we going to do the thing where we pretend like I don’t know you’re morose about Tyler, like I’m suddenly super dense?” she asks, cocking an eyebrow. “I’m not. And neither are you. So what’s with the Tyler-related funk. Was Vancouver horrible or something?”
Dylan groans and covers his face with his hands. “No,” he admits. “It was amazing. And I’m an idiot.”
“Did he stop texting or something?” she asks carefully.
“No,” Dylan admits. Tyler isn’t a constant communicator. They’re both busy. But he does reach out pretty frequently. And Dylan doesn’t ignore him, he just… he tries not to get too engaged in banter and things that will make his huge, life-altering crush worse.
Julia knows Dylan so well. They’ve always been close. They shared a room growing up, and instead of fighting like most kids would in that situation, they mostly got along. Julia was generous about letting Dylan hang out with her friends, and Dylan didn’t pull pranks on her the way a lot of younger brothers might. It’s never been difficult between them.
Sometimes, however, that bond means that she sees and understands things Dylan wishes she didn’t.
“Oh Dyl,” she says with a hint of something that feels like pity.
“Look,” he says, before she can get going. “I’m dealing with it. I forget sometimes that exposure makes it worse. But, like, think of it like poison ivy or something. If I stop touching it, and I don’t scratch it and stuff, it will go away.”
Julia laughs. “I’m sure Tyler would love to be compared to a rash.”
Dylan rolls his eyes, but can’t help but chuckle picturing how Tyler would react to that. “You know what I mean,” he says. “I just. I just need a little time.”
Julia sighs. “Why are you so sure you can’t just tell him how you feel?”
“Uh, because I know him?”
“Like every single thing about him? He’s a pretty private person,” she reminds him. “Isn’t it possible that he doesn’t go around advertising his bisexuality because of his super conservative Christian parents and his overwhelming need to please?”
“Yeah but, like, even that—” he says, because okay. He’s considered that. But he doesn’t want to live a life where they not only have to keep their relationship on the down low from the public, at least for awhile, but to have to keep it from Tyler’s family, with whom he’s super close. It just seems like a bad way to begin.
“Right,” Julia agrees. “But you’re deciding that without even talking to him.”
Dylan closes his eyes and leans his head back against the couch. “If he doesn’t—”
“He’s a really good guy,” Julia reminds him. “Like, there’s a reason you’re into him, Dyl. If he doesn’t feel the same way he will be cool about it. And honestly, if he’s a dick about it, fuck him,” she says and scowls comically balling up her fist and hitting her hand with it in an attempt to look tough. Mostly she just looks like a happy cartoon that suddenly wants to punch something, which makes Dylan laugh.
Dylan knows she’s right. Even if it’s awkward, and maybe Dylan steers clear for awhile, Tyler will make every attempt to stay friends and push through the awkwardness. But it still feels like a huge leap. A huge, scary leap.
He’s carried this crush around for a long time, and in a way it defines his early 20s. There’s an element to it that gives him a sense of security. And actually letting it out into the universe feels like letting go of something that’s shaped his understanding of himself. He’s not sure he’s ready to do that yet.
But Julia is waiting for a reply so Dylan murmurs something affirming, and then squeezes her leg as he gets up to distract himself in the kitchen.
Dylan thinks about telling Tyler, he does.
He thinks about it when Tyler texts or tries to call. He thinks about it when he boards the plane to London, stomach full of nerves and Xanax.
But he pushes the thoughts out of his head because he has so many other things to worry about with the shoot for his new movie about to start. His doctor cleared him for work weeks ago. He’s been working on his body, which, he has to admit, has helped him feel more confident about the brain injury too. If all the running and weight lifting didn’t trigger the concussion symptoms, a movie shoot probably won’t either. And this time he will gladly let his stuntman do everything with even a modicum of danger attached to it.
When he gets to London, Dylan is immersed in rehearsals. They’ve brought in weapons experts to increase his ease with guns. He meets with linguists, as his character is supposed to be fluent in a bunch of languages and Dylan… isn’t. He becomes absorbed into the making of this film.
It’s exciting, too. He’s working with Michael Keaton, an actor he’s long admired. He loves the script. It’s a compelling story, and the possibility of this being a long-running franchise looms.
He’s busy. He goes back to his hotel room each night exhausted. He orders room service or walks down to the Chipotle nearby and takes comfort in the large American-style portions of burritos the size of his head. He talks to his parents on the phone or Skypes with his sister. And then he sleeps the sleep of the truly exhausted before waking up and starting all over again the next day.
So he forgets. He lets it slip his mind that Tyler is coming to London for a Teen Wolf convention and that they’d talked about meeting up. Tyler’s texts increase in frequency one day while Dylan is attempting to learn some complicated fight choreography. He ignores them while giving his full attention to the trainers and stunt people out of respect and doesn’t check his phone until they break for a late lunch.
He remembers his frequently buzzing phone and flips through them as he drinks a protein shake.
Tyler: I get into London this afternoon hoping to meet up!
Tyler: You free for dinner?
Tyler: It’s cool if you’re busy.
Tyler: Maybe just let me know either way though.
Tyler: Landed. We’re staying out by the airport the first couple nights. That’s where the con is.
Tyler: Going to lay down for a bit. Hope the movie’s going well
Dylan closes his eyes and tries to ignore the familiar swoop of his stomach at contact from Tyler. He also tries to ignore the dread he feels at being forced to confront his intense, probably unreciprocated Tyler feelings.
Dylan: Sorry. Was training for and then filming a fight scene. Tonight won’t work. How long will you be here?
He doesn’t expect a response right away, but he gets one just a few minutes later.
Tyler: For a few days. In Paris for a con next week. No worries re tonight. Just let me know when you have some time [smiley face emoji]
Dylan doesn’t text the next day either though. He keeps up with the con through social media, sees the fan pictures and the gushing accounts of meeting Tyler and how much more handsome he is in person. Dylan can vouch for that.
Tyler must be busy with the con because he doesn’t text until the day after that.
Tyler: so you free tonight? I’m checking into a hotel downtown. No worries if you can’t. Just would be nice to see you
Dylan has time. And he hates how nice Tyler will be about it if Dylan blows him off. He’ll be nice about it, but Tyler knows Dylan well enough to know that not meeting up when they’re both in the same place is completely out of character for him. Not hanging out will make it weirder than hanging out.
Dylan: sure. come to my hotel? Not in the mood to deal with the crowds tonight
He texts his hotel information and a time and for Tyler to send his Chipotle order and Dylan will do a pick up and take it back to the hotel.
Tyler: Only you would go all the way to London and eat at Chipotle
Dylan smiles in spite of himself. He is definitely someone who sticks to his comfort zone. He likes trying new things occasionally, but when he’s tired he tends to stick to what he knows. And what he knows is he can place an order online, have minimal contact with strangers, and the food will taste like he thinks it’s supposed to. Instead of having to do the mental gymnastics of “oh when you say pudding you don’t mean pudding” and “oh chips are fries. There’s been a terrible misunderstanding” necessary to eat out in another country.
So after taking a couple of pictures with fans while waiting for his order to be fetched at Chipotle, he finds himself in his hotel suite waiting for Tyler with a bag full of burritos, chips, guacamole and feeling like the world makes sense again.
It makes even more sense when there’s a knock at his door a few minutes later. He tries to stuff down the hopeful feeling rising in his chest and remind himself that he’s supposed to be tempering his stupid crush on his friend.
Tyler is grinning when Dylan opens the door. He wraps Dylan up in a hug before they say anything to each other.
“I have to fly to another country to see you, apparently,” Tyler says as he gives Dylan one last squeeze and back pat.
Dylan rolls his eyes. “You’ve been busy too,” he reminds Tyler, but guiltily, because he knows it’s an excuse.
Tyler gives him a look like he maybe knows that’s at least partial bullshit, but he doesn’t call Dylan on it. “So, I hear London has this new restaurant where you can get burritos full of whatever you want. Chip-Oh-Teh-Lay? Chip-ol-tell? Something like that anyway.”
“You aren’t funny,” Dylan says, but grabs the bag of burritos and points toward the couch. “But I’m hungry. So I’ll let it slide.”
“I had to, like, sneak away to keep Ian from trying to come along,” Tyler says as he sits down. “He kept grilling me about if I was going to look you up while I was here and hinting around.”
Dylan laughs. Ian is definitely not creepy like Peter Hale, his Teen Wolf character, but he does like to give knowing looks and his face is sort of constantly set in a smirk. Dylan finds it unsettling. Mostly because Ian seems to know how Dylan feels about Tyler. He assumes that’s what all the smirking and knowing looks are about. And Dylan would rather not deal with that.
“I’m gonna start calling him Creepy Peter,” Dylan says.
“He’d probably like that,” Tyler says and fishes his burrito out of the bag. “He likes getting under people’s skin.”
They eat their burritos and watch random TV, and it’s nice like it always is. Dylan calls down for beers, and they watch an Australian cricket match and try to figure out what the hell is going on.
“Do they know baseball exists?” Dylan speculates after once again being wrong about what the score should be and why.
Tyler grins. “Fewer sweater vests in baseball,” he observes.
“I suppose baseball is a little weird too, if you don’t know what’s going on,” Dylan allows.
Tyler’s brow furrows. “I guess. This seems— extra complicated though.”
They watch for awhile longer, each of them choosing a team to root for, even though they have little to no idea when their teams actually score points.
“So how long are you here?” Dylan asks after a while.
Tyler smiles and glances over at Dylan. He takes a long pull from his beer bottle. “There’s a con next week in Paris. I’m not sure what I’ll do in between.”
Dylan swallows down the urge to tell Tyler to stay in London with him. “No plan? Just homelessness in Europe?”
Tyler smiles and looks down at his hands. “Ian’s going to Stockholm. I might go with him. I have a friend in Ibiza. Maybe I’ll go there.” He shrugs and somehow his breeziness seems forced.
Dylan swallows. “Sounds fun.”
Tyler chews his lip. “Yeah.”
It does sound fun, even if Dylan would prefer to have a firmer plan in place. Tyler does love to travel. And he’s a much more laid-back person than Dylan to start with.
It’s quiet in a tense way after that. The earlier silences of the evening were easy, with one of them commenting on something periodically. But this one feels charged somehow.
“You avoided me,” Tyler says after they squirm around in the awkwardness for awhile.
“What?” Dylan says, reeling. “No. I told you. I was busy.”
“You’ve been busy since you were 19,” Tyler says with a knowing look. “We always managed to hang out before.” He glances away. “I mean, it’s okay. I get it. I just— wish you’d been honest with me.”
Dylan’s stomach drops. Shit. “I’m sorry,” he starts. “I didn’t— it doesn’t have to be a thing.”
Tyler closes his eyes. “Right. Okay.” He seems to deflate, like a popped balloon. He moves like he’s going to leave.
Dylan feels like he’s missing something. “Wait. What—” he swallows at the defeated look Tyler gives him.
“I’ll be fine,” Tyler says. “Just give me a bit to get over it.”
Dylan feels like he’s in an episode of a TV show where no one listens to each other. “Get over what? Let’s not do the thing where you think I mean something and I think you mean something else. You need to get over me having a big thing for you? Is that— is that why you’re leaving?”
“Yeah—” Tyler says and then stops abruptly. “Wait. No. I thought you were avoiding me cause I make you uncomfortable. Because of— because of how I feel about you.”
Dylan’s chest expands, and he smiles involuntarily. “Well, that makes it easier,” he says and laughs, relieved. “Really?”
Tyler’s smile grows, lighting up his face. “Yeah,” he says and exhales. “I thought— I thought maybe in Vancouver I’d been too obvious, and you were freaked out.”
Dylan moves closer on the couch. “Dude,” he says and reaches out for Tyler’s hand. “I’ve been into you since we lived together. So. The only thing I was freaked about was that I needed some distance so I could get my head together.”
Tyler threads their fingers together. He stares at their hands like it’s something new and amazing. “I didn’t make plans for in between the cons because I hoped I could stay and hang out with you,” he says all in a rush.
Dylan bites back his smile. “Yeah?” he asks and still can’t believe this is the discussion they’re having. “I still have to film,” he says and squeezes Tyler’s hand. “But I can hang out when I’m not on set. If you want.”
“I want,” Tyler says and inches closer. “Always.” He takes his other hand and wraps it around the back of Dylan’s neck. “I’m gonna kiss you,” he says and then chuckles at his own clunkiness.
“Look at these smooth moves,” Dylan says as Tyler’s mouth hovers above his.
Tyler pulls back slightly. “You sure this is the moment you want to play with?”
Dylan laughs and lunges toward Tyler and smashes their lips together in an inelegant kiss. Tyler laughs into it and then pulls Dylan onto his lap and wraps his hands around Dylan’s waist. He slows the kiss down, soft lips, gentle press of his tongue, beard scraping Dylan’s face.
“You shaved,” Tyler says as he pulls away slightly, examining Dylan’s face with a small smile.
“You didn’t,” Dylan says and runs a couple of fingers across Tyler’s beard. “You miss my beard?”
“Not particularly,” Tyler admits. “It kind of swallowed up your face,” he adds and then leans up and kisses Dylan again. “And I like your face.”
Dylan smiles. He suddenly has an urge to rub his nose against Tyler’s, which he manages to curb somehow. He feels like he’s close to reciting cheesy love poems and scaring Tyler away.
“I’m keeping myself from saying super sappy stuff,” he says and runs his fingers through Tyler’s hair.
Tyler blushes. “You can say the stuff.”
“We might both puke from it,” Dylan confides. “I want you to still think I’m cool.”
Tyler laughs. “That ship sailed long ago,” he teases and pulls Dylan further into his lap. “I like you in spite of your uncoolness.”
Dylan rolls his eyes. Tyler is gazing up at him like he’s the only thing he wants to look at. He’s so handsome it’s almost painful. His eyes are sparkly and crinkled at the corners. Dylan smooths his thumbs across those faint lines. Tyler’s eyes close as Dylan moves his touch across his eyebrows. “When?” he asks, because he doesn’t know how to elaborate.
Tyler’s eyes open. “It’s why I got my own place after season one,” he says softly.
Dylan smiles and brushes his lips across Tyler’s. Part of him wishes he’d known how Tyler felt then. And part of him is glad he didn’t. It felt like such an unattainable crush at the time, if it had come to fruition he probably would’ve ruined it somehow by putting Tyler on a pedestal or not taking him seriously.
He doesn’t know how to say any of that out loud so he just kisses Tyler again.
“Julia kept telling me to talk to you,” Dylan admits. “When she wasn’t teasing me about you, that is.”
Tyler grins. “Your sister’s smart,” he says.
“Don’t encourage her,” Dylan groans.
Tyler looks around. “Is she in here somewhere?”
Dylan laughs. “No. But I think she has a super heroic ability to hear people saying she’s right, even across an ocean.”
“I won’t tell her,” Tyler says. “Unless I need to win her over for some reason.”
Dylan narrows his eyes, and Tyler throws his head back and laughs.
They end up just talking and making out on the couch until late. As much as Dylan wants to do dirty things to Tyler, the physical part of things isn’t something Dylan wants to rush.
But Tyler spends the night. They call down to the front desk for a toothbrush, and then Tyler strips out of his clothes like that’s not a thing he should’ve announced so Dylan had a chance to get his heart ready for the shock.
He slips into bed next to Dylan, all tanned skin and taut muscles, and Dylan sputters and swallows and tries to think of a mature way of saying “holy shit, hubba hubba” because dear god, 14 year-old Dylan would be so proud right now.
Tyler blushes when he catches Dylan staring. “I can wear a shirt,” he says in a tentative voice.
“No way,” Dylan says. “I mean, you should come with a warning label cause holy shit, dude.” He runs his fingers across Tyler’s chest, still completely amazed he gets to touch. “I like it,” he adds, in what is the understatement of the century.
Tyler smiles softly and pulls Dylan closer. He wraps a hand around Dylan’s back and pushes his fingers up under Dylan’s t-shirt. “I still kind of can’t believe this,” he says and kisses Dylan like he’s precious.
Dylan’s stomach swoops. Tyler acts like Dylan’s a prize, something he never thought he would deserve. And that’s just crazy. “Me neither,” he says because he’s still not great at getting real. “You’ll stay?”
Tyler swallows and then leans in and kisses him again. “Tonight?”
Dylan nods, face pressed against the cool of his pillow, just inches away from Tyler’s. “And this week?”
Tyler smiles. “Yeah. I’ll get my stuff while you’re on set tomorrow.”
“Awesome,” Dylan says and squirms closer until he’s tucked under Tyler’s chin and can hear his heartbeat as he falls asleep.
Dylan continues the movie shoot, and while he’s on set, Tyler takes pictures of London and explores on his own. When Dylan’s done for the day he either meets Tyler at whatever museum or famous old house he’s found, or they meet up back at the hotel. They find a restaurant (usually not Chipotle since Dylan knows Tyler likes trying new places), and spend time together.
They get stopped by fans sometimes, especially if they’re in areas of town with larger populations of younger people. But for the most part they move through the city undetected.
It’s amazing to Dylan how easy it feels, how normal. They’ve always gotten along well, but as they’ve gotten older, they’ve become even more compatible. Tyler is definitely more outgoing, much more comfortable in crowds of people. But he doesn’t force Dylan into situations, and when it’s unavoidable to interact with random people, Tyler takes the lead, making it easier on Dylan. They both love sports, both live and breathe baseball, so there are no fights about what they watch on TV in bed. It just feels natural, like they fit together effortlessly.
The night before Tyler has to go to Paris for his next convention, Dylan takes him to a restaurant Tyler kept hinting around about wanting to try. It’s a little more of a “scene” than Dylan normally likes, but the look on Tyler’s face when they arrive makes it worth it.
“We passed a Chipotle on the way here,” Tyler observes as they’re seated. “I totally thought that’s where we were going.”
Dylan laughs. “Hey, I treat you right,” he insists, trying to school his face into a serious expression.
Tyler’s cheeks pink, and he looks down at his menu. “You do,” he says meaningfully. “Usually with a side of guacamole.”
“It’s good guacamole,” he protests weakly.
Tyler laughs and nudges Dylan’s foot with his own under the table. “Thanks for this.”
Dylan smiles, helpless not to. “So far there’s minimal staring.”
Tyler rolls his eyes. “No one stares.”
“Ha!” Dylan says loudly causing people to stare. “They’re staring now.”
“They’re staring because you said ‘ha’ really loudly,” Tyler says with an eyebrow raised.
Dylan matches the look with a cocked eyebrow of his own. “People stare. But the point is, it’s not as annoying when you’re with me.”
Tyler’s smile somehow gets brighter. “Are you saying I make you want to be less of a hermit?”
“I’m saying you have big muscles and you can help hold back the extra intense fans,” Dylan says with a smirk. “Don’t get too cocky.”
“You’re the one saying I make everything better,” Tyler says as the waiter approaches with their drink order. “Just admit you’re obsessed with me.”
Dylan bites back a smile as the waiter solemnly hands off their drinks. He doesn’t seem like the sort of waiter that will be easily rattled. “I do have a T-shirt with your picture on it. A fan sent it to me.”
“Obsessed,” Tyler mouths as the waiter moves on to the next table.
It’s been almost a week and they still haven’t gone much beyond making out and same over-the-clothes groping. Dylan isn’t sure why exactly, except that he wants it to be about more than sex, and because even if they’ve known each other a long time, they’ve only just started dating.
Dylan isn’t a one night stand sort of guy, and he’s pretty sure Tyler isn’t either. Sex, for the most part, has been something he’s done when he really cares for someone. And when it has been a more casual kind of fling, it’s not been with someone he considers one of his closest friends, someone he respects and wants to keep respecting even when all the sex is over.
So that’s a bit paralyzing. And Tyler hasn’t pushed it. He seems happy to kiss and talk and just be together. Which honestly just makes Dylan want to do stuff with him more.
“I am kind of obsessed,” Dylan admits several beats beyond when they’d let that joke drop. “With you. Obsessed.”
Tyler’s eyebrows raise, and he sets his drink down.
Dylan swallows. “Like just. You know. In case I’ve been unclear.”
Tyler grins and nudges his foot under the table.
“Not in a creepy way,” Dylan rushes to clarify. “Or I mean, I don’t think it’s creepy? But I mean, maybe when we lived together there was some staring. Like, if you came out of the shower and I happened to see some flesh, I didn’t immediately look away.” He bites his lip and looks around the room. “And not that this happened, but I probably totally would’ve watched you, uh, jack off, had I stumbled in on that. So you know, maybe a little creepy.”
Tyler’s smile has grown through that whole awkward speech, and he laughs loudly. “I would’ve… for you, if you wanted to watch. I would’ve— that would’ve been so hot.”
Dylan’s stomach swoops and everything feels tingly for a moment as his cheeks flush. “Fuck,” he exhales. “You are— shit.”
Tyler grins and presses his foot against Dylan’s leg. “I’m obsessed with you too. And getting to touch you, and sleep next to you and all of that, has been great. And I’ll do that, in a PG-rated way with you for months if I have to.” He takes a long sip of his drink. “But I’ll also up the rating significantly any time you want to. So.”
Dylan smiles into his menu as the waiter approaches. He can’t concentrate but he manages to order something and so does Tyler.
“Okay,” he says once the waiter has walked away from the table. “So you know, before you go to Paris and are subjected to fans offering to do things to you in French, maybe we should, you know.”
Tyler laughs. The thing that’s so great about Tyler, the thing that Dylan is learning is that while he is incredibly kind and good, like on this level that radiates from his soul, he is not without mischief. And he’s also not devoid of an evil streak. “Now? Cause I could probably slip under the table and suck you off before anyone realized what happened.” He says it in the same voice he’d use to explain his character’s motivations in an interview, his perfect smile spread wide.
Dylan chokes on the sip of his drink he’d just taken and sputters. “I meant— I meant later.”
Tyler grins. “Well shit,” he says as the waiter approaches with their appetizers. “Because I’m definitely thinking about that now.”
The waiter sets their food down in front of them while Tyler smiles serenely at Dylan.
“You’re evil,” Dylan hisses as the waiter leaves again.
Tyler cocks an eyebrow and takes a bite of the bacon-wrapped scallops.
“You probably do have some sort of public sex kink, don’t you?” Dylan asks through narrowed eyes.
Tyler laughs. “In the sense that having sex outside on a private balcony or something is nice, then sure. But not in a ‘hey come over here everyone and watch this’ sort of way.”
“Not on a beach though,” Dylan says scrunching up his face. Tyler’s whole surfing, one-with-the-ocean thing seems like it could include a beach sex fetish.
“Once is enough,” Tyler says with a smirk. “There are places sand isn’t meant to go.”
Dylan narrows his eyes, jealous of that other person, experiencing the uncomfortably sandy beach sex with Tyler.
Tyler laughs. “I’ve had sex before,” he stage whispers. “It’s going to be a lot of work to get mad at all of those times.”
Dylan huffs and crosses his arms. “Not mad,” he protests.
“Hey, you’re the one that’s obsessed,” Tyler teases. “Thinking about me having sex. Watching me get out of the shower. Peeping on me in my room.”
“I said I didn’t actually do that!”
Tyler grins. “And I said you should’ve, so play along.”
Dylan rolls his eyes, but the warmth of affection and slight embarrassment spreads over his chest and face in spite of his play at irritation.
“Everyone thinks you’re so perfect,” Dylan says, taking the last bite of his appetizer. “All the moms want you to date their daughters.”
“Oh and you know better?” Tyler asks leaning back in his seat and crossing his arms.
Dylan grins. “Hurry up and eat your dinner. I’ll show you what I know.”
“They haven’t brought it yet,” Tyler reminds him.
“Right. Well, when it gets here, hurry up and eat it. I have plans.”
The waiter approaches to clear their plates then and informs them their main course will be served momentarily.
“Oh, take your time,” Tyler says. “Don’t worry about us. We’re just enjoying a long, leisurely meal.”
The waiter nods obligingly at Tyler.
“I hate you,” Dylan says when the waiter walks away.
“You don’t,” Tyler says, a cocky look spreading over his stupidly perfect face.
“Let’s go to the bathroom,” Dylan says as he thinks about what sort of face Tyler will have when he pushes into him for the first time.
Tyler laughs. “We’re not doing that for the first time in a bathroom.” He scrunches up his face in disgust.
“It’s probably a nice bathroom,” Dylan presses. “Fancy soap I bet.”
Tyler leans forward and his fingers curl around Dylan’s thigh. “You’re an idiot. Have some patience. It’ll be worth it, I promise.”
Dylan’s stomach flip flops at the look of affection in Tyler’s eyes. “God, you’re pretty,” he says without really meaning to.
Tyler rolls his eyes and squeezes Dylan’s leg again before leaning back. “So are you. Now let’s talk about when your parents are coming to visit you on set.”
Dylan groans. “Dude. C’mon.”
Dylan gets nervous on the walk back to the hotel. Tyler puts his arm around Dylan’s waist as they cut down a side street and kisses his temple, like he can sense that Dylan is probably, maybe, freaking out just a little.
“We don’t have to do anything,” Tyler murmurs as they take the elevator up to Dylan’s room.
Dylan rolls his eyes. “I can want to do something and be a little nervous about it,” he says softly, cheeks getting hot against his will. “I’m complicated, man.”
Tyler laughs and steadies his hand on Dylan’s lower back as they exit the elevator and walk down the hall to Dylan’s room.
“Remember on the boat that day in San Diego?” Tyler murmurs as Dylan is unlocking the door to his room with slightly shaky hands. “When we were supposed to get people to vote for Sterek for favorite couple?”
Dylan closes his eyes and leans his forehead against the door. “Yeah.”
“So hot,” Tyler says and presses himself along Dylan’s back, hands sliding up the front of Dylan’s shirt. “I was buzzed and so into you,” he says and drags his lips down the back of Dylan’s neck.
Dylan swallows and nods and manages to finally get his hands to cooperate and finish the unlocking process, propelling them into the door he’d just been leaning against.
Tyler chuckles and toes off his shoes and then leans against the wall and crosses his arms like he’s waiting for Dylan to decide how this is going to go.
“Dude,” Dylan pleads, after he has his own shoes off and lined up next to Tyler’s. “Stop, like, smoldering. Jesus Christ. You’re killing me.”
Tyler grins and pushes off the wall. “I’m just standing here. Is there some sort of hurry?”
“See,” Dylan says and walks into the room, determined not to let his nervousness get the better of him. “People that look like you shouldn’t also get to be so calm and easy about things. Like, God is a cruel God if he makes you look like that and then also makes you all casually sexy and confident too. Can’t you be non-perfect in some crucial way?” He flops down on the bed and stares at the ceiling.
Tyler climbs onto the bed and straddles his thighs over Dylan’s and stares down at him. “Should I flail around and act like Stiles? Or what were you looking for?” He leans down and kisses Dylan thoroughly. Unhurried, unbothered, like they’ve done this a thousand times before.
Dylan moves his hands up Tyler’s muscular thighs and rests them on his hips, pulling his body flush with Dylan’s. “No,” he says finally, out of breath. “I’m just— you know. Nervous.”
“So you’ve said,” Tyler says and leans down and kisses him again. “Nothing has to happen,” he reiterates. “I like kissing you,” he smiles with his lips pressed against Dylan’s, and that just might be Dylan’s favorite thing.
He likes kissing Tyler too, but he also wouldn’t mind if other stuff happened too. “What if you took your pants off?” Dylan suggests in an attempt at nonchalance.
Tyler grins. “What if? Yeah, let’s see,” he says and unbuttons his tight jeans, pulling the zipper down slowly. The saving grace in all of this for Dylan is that it takes some serious squirming to get Tyler out of the jeans. Which leads to less than smooth movements and that makes Dylan feel a little more at ease.
“Probably wishing your pants weren’t so tight now,” Dylan suggests, eyebrow raised. “Hard to look smooth when they’re stuck on your foot.” He laughs at the look of frustration on Tyler’s face.
His face turns triumphant as he manages to wriggle out of his pants. “Shut up,” Tyler says and pulls his shirt over his head, much more fluidly, like the reveal of his glorious chest and abs is part of the Super Hot Dude class he had to take at some point.
“Yeah,” Dylan agrees, nodding vigorously and smoothing his hands over Tyler’s ridiculous body. “Shutting up. Good idea.”
Tyler smirks and leans back down again, rubbing his underwear clad dick across Dylan’s khaki pant covered crotch with a ridiculously hot twist of his hips. “You were saying?” he says about a millimeter away from Dylan’s mouth and then closes the final gap and kisses him with purpose.
All their previous making out had a sweet quality to it. Like they were having a casual conversation with their kisses that had less to do with getting somewhere and more to do with the back and forth. Kissing banter. This feels different, like they’re headed somewhere specific and neither are doing anything to slow down the journey.
“You should have fewer clothes on,” Tyler says, mouth still pressed against Dylan’s. He drags his lips down Dylan’s cheek, along his jaw, down under the sensitive spot beneath his ear and licks and sucks lightly while Dylan moans softly.
“Yeah, okay,” Dylan agrees. “Make that happen.”
Tyler laughs into Dylan’s throat. “I can’t be the one doing all the work,” he teases.
Dylan swats at Tyler’s bulk. “Then get off for a sec,” he says, wiggling around, trying to get his pants off as quickly as possible.
Tyler rolls over onto his side and watches Dylan with amusement, eyes doing that other worldly sparkling thing and he almost looks inhuman.
“What?” Dylan asks shyly because the look is intense, and Tyler is a perfect specimen, and, well, Dylan knows he looks about as fit as he’s going to look given all the bulking up he’s done for this movie, but he’s still not quite on Tyler’s level. And he’s never been super comfortable just flaunting himself shirtless.
Tyler shakes his head slightly once Dylan’s lying in only his underwear. “Just— you know.”
“I don’t,” Dylan says and tries to resist the urge to cover up.
Tyler scoots closer and covers Dylan’s body with his own again, this time smooth skin and rough body hair and erection obvious in a way they weren’t under his clothes. “Insert the sappy stuff here. I don’t want you to roll your eyes,” he adds and leans closer to kiss Dylan gently.
“You are super into me,” Dylan teases, a little of his former confidence coming back as Tyler grinds against him. He lets out an involuntary groan as their dicks rub together.
“A bit,” Tyler agrees and braces himself over Dylan, arm muscles fully (and sexily) engaged.
Dylan runs his hands up and down Tyler’s arms, feeling the taut muscles working as Tyler drags his erection across Dylan’s and up against his stomach. “Fuck,” he groans somewhat involuntarily. He moves his hands from Tyler’s arms down across his strong back and slips his fingers into the back of Tyler’s underwear.
Tyler whimpers, which Dylan would make fun of, but it’s hot and he thinks he might make a similarly embarrassing noise in response, so stones and glass houses and all that.
“Really want you to fuck me,” Dylan gasps as he begins to fear he’s about to come in his underwear. “Please.”
Tyler moans softly. “Yeah,” he says and leans down to kiss Dylan again. “Anything you want. Anything.”
Dylan’s stomach flip flops, and he watches in amazement as Tyler pulls down his own underwear with shaky hands and then looks to Dylan for permission to remove his. Dylan nods but can’t take his eyes off Tyler’s dick. Which, is… the stuff of porny legend. Dylan’s brain unhelpfully suggests to him a lot of descriptors worthy of a trashy romance novel. He bites his tongue to keep from accidentally saying them out loud.
And then he loses his sense of time and place as Tyler leans over and takes Dylan’s dick into his mouth, sucking softly on the head before taking most of it in and pulling back off again.
“Oh fuck,” Dylan says, surprised. He’d been so focused on watching Tyler’s dick he forgot to keep track of what was happening with his own. “You are—“ he looks down at Tyler who is watching him with his intense, ridiculous eyes and can’t think of what to say. “God,” he says as Tyler does something tricky with his tongue.
Tyler smiles as he pulls off Dylan’s dick again. “I am god-like,” he says smugly and then swallows him down again.
Dylan’s head flops back on the pillow, and he concentrates on not blowing like a teenager. It feels amazing. It feels… it feels like getting a blow job. A good blow job. But it isn’t just that. It’s— it’s Tyler. He’s important, and it makes the moment feel bigger than any other blowjob has before. Which is weighty and scary and takes him out of the moment a bit, makes him think back to being 19 and living away from home for the first time, looking up to Tyler, crushing on him in what felt like a hopeless and puppy-devotion sort of way.
He looks back down at him and they make eye contact again, and Dylan feels a swell of the love and affection he’s always felt for Tyler, for his friendship and loyalty and goodness. And then the new layer of returned attraction and shared intimacy and he suddenly, embarrassingly feels like he’s going to cry. Which takes care of the fear of blowing early, but adds a whole different embarrassing wrinkle to the proceedings.
Dylan looks away quickly, and Tyler must sense the shift in mood because he pulls off suddenly. “What? We can stop,” he says gently, breathing a little heavily, lips shiny in a way that makes Dylan’s stomach swoop with want.
Dylan shakes his head and sniffs, wiping at his eyes. “Sorry,” he sits up a little. “I am, wow.” He laughs in a loud burst, tension and awkwardness and emotion releasing in a sudden sound. “Dylan O’Brien, killing the mood since 1991.”
Tyler chuckles and sits up, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “I missed something.”
Dylan swallows and shakes his head. “You didn’t. I’m just— it kind of hit me all at once. How long— I’m really into you, man. Like, really. You are— you know? Just. This isn’t just a fling sort of thing for me. And I just— I never thought it would happen.” He looks toward the window. “Sorry.” He smiles ruefully. “You’d think I could’ve kept this to myself until afterward, yeah?”
Tyler makes a small noise that sounds like understanding and reaches out to squeeze Dylan’s leg.
“I can’t,” Dylan laughs and wipes his eyes again. “I canNOT fucking believe I am crying while Tyler Hoechlin blows me. I am the literal worst.”
Tyler smiles. “It’s okay,” he says, and he sounds like he means it. “I’m glad it means something to you. It means a lot to me too. This isn’t just a blowjob, yeah? It’s more than that to me too.”
Dylan concentrates on his own hands, but smiles despite his own mortification. “You were sucking my dick like it had the meaning of life in it,” he teases finally.
Tyler throws his head back and laughs, flopping backward onto the bed. “God,” he says. “Leave it to you, to us—“ he doesn’t finish the thought, but Dylan thinks he understands anyway. “You’re such a little shit.”
Dylan grins. “Okay, so, we’ve established the secrets of the universe are in my dick and that I want you to worship at it on the regular.”
“Also that you are a sex-crier.”
“Thank you for noticing,” Dylan says with an eye roll. “Will I live that down?”
“Probably not,” Tyler teases and scoots back down until he’s eye level with Dylan’s dick. “Should we keep discussing it? Do you want to stop? Can I go back to the meaning of the universe?”
Dylan laughs and pushes Tyler’s face away gently. “Such a douche,” he says fondly.
Tyler grins and rests his head on Dylan’s thigh. Dylan’s dick twitches at the proximity.
“Just,” Dylan pleads when Tyler still doesn’t touch him.
Tyler glances up at him and then cranes his neck until he’s close enough to lick a long, slow swipe up Dylan’s dick.
Dylan groans. Loudly. He stops worrying about what he sounds like, figuring if he cried and Tyler’s still around, it bodes well for him. “Also,” Dylan gasps as Tyler swallows him down again. “Could you like, you know. Fuck me?”
Tyler rolls his eyes but grabs the lube from the table by the bed without fully pulling off of Dylan and the next thing Dylan knows there’s a finger working its way inside of him.
“How are you so smooth about this?” Dylan says suspiciously.
Tyler laughs around Dylan’s dick, which is a weird feeling.
Dylan reaches out and runs his fingers through Tyler’s surprisingly soft hair. He trails his fingers down the sides of Tyler’s beard as another finger slips in next to the one already working inside of him. Dylan groans and adjusts slightly.
So far it’s mostly been all about Dylan, but Tyler doesn’t seem particularly bothered by that. He’s making these noises while he sucks Dylan down and he’s working his own dick periodically too. Apparently Tyler Hoechlin has “good at sex stuff” under the Special Skills section of his resume, because holy shit, Dylan is losing the ability to think individual, cogent thoughts.
That inability leads to some time elapsing that Dylan can’t account for other than in terms of the number of times he groans Tyler’s name (and possibly calls him “babe” once. He doesn’t want to think about that), and then he’s watching as Tyler rolls a condom on his dick, lubes it up and teases him a bit before finally pressing in, oh so slowly.
Dylan’s getting overwhelmed again. Tyler’s watching him with this intensely affectionate face, and Dylan keeps thinking of all the stupid little things they’ve done together. All the times they’ve borrowed each other’s clothes, that Dylan’s stolen Tyler’s sunglasses before he goes out of town on a movie shoot, the times they’ve had Star Wars marathons, the times Tyler has dragged Dylan on bike rides and long runs. He thinks about the time Tyler tried to teach him how to surf. And all the little casual touches, all the heated glances, all the times Dylan watched Tyler leave a party with someone else, all the times Dylan felt Tyler’s eyes tracking him across a room when Dylan was there with whoever he was dating at the time.
And now Tyler’s working his dick in and out of Dylan like he’s amazed it’s happening, he’s like properly making love to Dylan. This isn’t just fucking. This is Tyler making a lot of eye contact and lacing his fingers with Dylan’s and kissing him softly while he hits Dylan’s spot over and over again.
Dylan has that moment he thought was just fictional bullshit, that he thought movies exaggerated, where he realizes “Oh, this is what they mean when they talk about ‘making love’.” And he tears up again, but hides it by kissing Tyler a little more deeply, by running his fingers up and down Tyler’s back.
“Touch yourself, D,” Tyler murmurs when it’s clear his thrusts are getting a little faster, a little less perfectly rhythmic.
So Dylan does. And when he finally comes, Tyler tells him how hot it is while he kisses him and then finally lets himself come too.
Once Tyler pulls out, they lie side by side, breathing heavily, sweaty and gross. After a few moments, Tyler leans over and kisses Dylan’s cheek.
“That was super intense,” Dylan finally says as Tyler flops back onto his pillow.
Tyler grunts in acknowledgement.
The first time Dylan had sex he remembers how he’d been so sure he was ready. It was with his girlfriend at the time sometime during his junior year of high school. They’d waited until her parents had gone out of town, and then Dylan had come over with candles and like cheap champagne he’s stolen from his house and scented massage oil and thought he was super smooth.
And it was okay. The sex was pretty awkward. They fumbled around, laughed a bit, but mostly just seemed determined to get through it. At the time Dylan thought he loved her, and maybe he did. The seventeen year old version of him loved her as much as seventeen year old Dylan was capable of loving anyone.
But he remembers afterward, when he was getting dressed, how he felt so numb. He spent a lot of time making sure his girlfriend was okay, making sure she felt good about everything. She seemed to. They kissed and laughed and watched something dumb on TV.
But on his way home, Dylan remembers feeling kind of empty. He felt a little disappointed, even if he wouldn’t let himself admit that at the time. It had been nice. His girlfriend was sweet and kind and to this day she’s someone he’s cool with. They were good friends. But it still felt like it wasn’t what Dylan thought it would be.
It felt like something that could feel a little bigger than it had. Which, in the years since Dylan felt was sort of a blessing. Sex doesn’t need to be built up to be some sort of magical union of souls. That’s kind of an unattainable goal to reach for most people.
Dylan’s had good sex with great people on many occasions. But he got over his need for it to feel like this super intense connection after that initial 16 year old disappointment.
But this thing with Tyler? This feels like he thought it would when he was younger. He has no idea if it feels any different to Tyler than other times. And since he’s already been emotional and feels a little raw, he isn’t going to try to articulate how he feels beyond just “that was super intense.” That’s all he really knows how to say.
Dylan looks over at Tyler to find him staring back at him. He swallows and smiles something small and private. Tyler responds by scooting closer and pulling Dylan to him.
“That was amazing,” Tyler says finally when he pulls away, pressing his lips to Dylan’s temple. “I keep almost thanking you, and then I figure you’d find that pretty funny.”
Dylan grins, relief filling all the insecure cracks and crevices he’d felt form as Tyler took him apart so carefully and thoroughly. “Seems like that would make us even after the whole sex tears debacle.”
Tyler nods in mock seriousness. “Thank you, Dylan.”
Dylan stretches exaggeratedly. “Eh, you know. Just another date night for Dylan.” He gives Tyler cheesy finger guns. “I treat my baby right. Dinner at a hot restaurant. Amazing, tear-filled sex.”
Tyler laughs and then leans over and bites Dylan’s shoulder. They lie quiet, still breathing heavily. There’s a lot Dylan wants to say, but he doesn’t know how, so instead he just says, “So are we still going to go on a vacation together when I’m done?” He glances at Tyler. “There can be nature, but I need like, a bed and bathrooms and air conditioning.”
Tyler grins and wraps his arm around Dylan’s back and pulls him closer. “Yes.”
Dylan kind of wants to pin him down on when and where. And maybe pin him down on being together forever right this second before Tyler realizes how much better he is than Dylan at everything, how much better he deserves. But he manages to keep his cool and breathes out slowly.
One thing at a time. They’ll start with vacation.
“Yes,” Dylan echoes and turns his head into Tyler’s chest and smiles.