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rumor has it

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Tyler doesn't have time for things like this -- gossip, rumors, the media prying into people's lives -- but he knows it's hard to avoid. He keeps trying though, stays away from social media as much as he can, doesn't ask questions about others' personal lives unless they volunteer information themselves. 

But then he's linked to something that he can't look away from. It's Colton who sends him the article and Tyler opens it without thinking about it much despite some previous, well, interesting things that Colton's sent him. 

This one makes Tyler pause for reasons that aren't as traumatic as when Colton found the nude photo edits of every guy in the cast. That one was among the interesting ones. 

What the hell?

He types the message while still reeling from the content of the link, from the article that he opened and skimmed through, only catching the gist of what it said. 

Thought you'd find it interesting. 

Colton's answer is spot on but at the same time Tyler can't help but roll his eyes at how much it simplifies the impact of what he just read. The significance of it. The reasons why Colton of all people sent Tyler this information and thought Tyler would find it interesting.

It doesn't change anything, he types and sends, then sighs to himself. 

Because it doesn't. It means nothing that some gossip on a website says that Dylan's single, nor that there are rumors about his sexuality. Those have been around both of them for years, after all, and never had any basis in reality. It's just... gossip. 

It's probably not even true, he follows up a moment later before Colton manages to reply. 

It's true. It's truer than that site knows. I've told you before.

You were guessing. Like they are.

Is it guessing if he's been on a date with someone?

That's not what I read.

That's what I know. Because he talked to me.

That gives Tyler pause. Because that's first-hand information and not something that Colton of all people would like about. It's still gossip, but of a different kind.

What?

He doesn't have to wait long for an answer this time. His phone rings and he answers the incoming FaceTime call a lot faster than he probably should. But he wants to know.

"He doesn't know," Colton says immediately, foregoing a greeting. 

"What?" 

"He doesn't know about you," Colton clarifies with an exasperated sigh like he has no time for Tyler's willful obliviousness. 

"Well, no one but you and my family knows," Tyler tells him, frowning at his phone. 

"Yeah, well, but people guess."

"You know how much time I have for gossip."

"None, I know. But this is something that is kind of important. For both of you."

"Because you think we should... I don't know."

"Get your heads out of your asses and save me from a life of nudging you that way? Yeah.”

“Don’t you think if it was supposed to happen it would’ve already happened?”

It’s something that Tyler has brought up before when they were still on the show and he first realized that his feelings for Dylan were more than friendship. Also, something he keeps asking Colton, who ’s convinced that there’s more and has been telling Tyler to try even before... well, before now, when he knows that it’s at least a little within the realm of possibility and not something completely impossible. 

Still, even if Dylan is going to be out one day — he isn’t officially, as far as Tyler knows — it doesn’t mean that Tyler is on his radar that way. Or that he ever will be. 

“No. Because you’re both dumbasses who don’t know how to talk to each other.“

“Thanks,” Tyler says dryly. 

“Look, maybe it changes nothing now, but it could.”

"Maybe." 

It's not easy to admit. It's not easy to think about the possibilities that this opens up. Because while one of them is that he might be able to have a chance with Dylan, another one is that they're both interested in men but Dylan isn't interested in him. And that would be a hard pill to swallow. 

"Maybe it's time that you were out," Colton says quietly. "If you're ready, that is."

Tyler thinks about it and doesn't look at the phone screen for a while, but he's aware of Colton watching him. Then he does finally turns back to Colton and nods very deliberately. 

"Yeah. Yeah, I think I am." 

The rest of their call isn't about this. Instead, they talk about Tyler's upcoming plans, about the movie he's starting to promote. While he's running through the dates and travel plans, he ends up thinking about the interview he's supposed to give to an online site he's always felt comfortable with, one that has been a staple on his promotion schedule for every project. And he knows that that's who will know first. 

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Dylan always figured that they were close enough for him to find some things directly from Tyler. Like when he was leaving the show, when he got cast for other things, or when something epic happened in Tyler's life. Then again, he didn't always return that, didn't always manage to even send a text message to let Tyler know about major changes in his own life.

When he got hurt, there was no chance of him letting anyone know. Not for the first few days, when his mom fielded those calls and answered the questions. That time, most people he was close to found out from other sources -- some from Dylan's family, others from the media since the rumors spread fast and wide. 

But things like his casting in movies or whether he was going to be at events for Teen Wolf, those were things he didn't hesitate talking about. His personal life wasn't something he talked about in public and for a long while, there was nothing for him to share with his friends because everything was the same for years. So when Tyler and Brittany split up and Dylan found out months after from a gossip magazine that Posey shoved under his nose, Dylan wasn't impressed. He knew that Hoech didn't owe him anything in terms of keeping him up to date on these things, but Dylan couldn't help but feel left out. 

Then he and Britt broke up and he told no one for a long time. 

He told no one because just as they weren't public about their relationship much, they also decided to keep their separation to themselves. After all, it wasn't any of the public's business. It wasn't any of their friends' business either. 

So when Hoech texted him a simple "I'm sorry", Dylan didn't really understand where it was coming from at first. His returning question mark text went unanswered for a while, but then he got a message that explained it.

Saw the gossip about Chloe and that you and Britt are split up. I'm sorry.

"What the fuck am I supposed to say to that?" Dylan asked himself out loud, his empty house suddenly that little bit colder as the reality of being single again hit him one more time. 

It wasn't that the split wasn't amicable, or that he had some sort of dependency on being in a relationship. But somehow, Hoechlin knowing made it more real, more tangible. Like maybe others knowing, others who weren't family, made it final. 

Thanks. I guess. What do I even say to that? 

Nothing. I just wanted to text you. It sucks that you didn't work out.

Yeah. 

They didn't talk for a while after that, the messages mocking Dylan whenever he opened the thread and wanted to start a conversation, but didn't know how. Not when the last one was so out of left field and somewhat strange. 

Then he saw something else on the gossip pages, an article linked to him on twitter because it talked about Teen Wolf. It heavily featured Colton and Charlie, along with the queer relationships on the show. Dylan just didn't expect the bomb that was dropped nonchalantly in the middle of it. 

"Now that Tyler Hoechlin is also out as bisexual, we can't help but wonder if things on the show would be different if it was still airing." 

Dylan reads the sentence over and over, trying to commit it to memory and trying to understand what it means, besides the obvious. Then he opens another tab in his browser and types Tyler's name. He doesn't do this a lot, if ever, because searching for anyone he knows who's in the industry is a road that never leads anywhere good. It just ends up in mental scarring that he likes to contain to text messages from people he knows, like Colton. 

His curiosity about that one sentence beats his reluctance about finding something he really doesn't think he can deal with. Even if he could, he's very sure he doesn't want to

But with some creative filtering, he finds what he does want to find: an interview from what looks like the promotion of Tyler's recent movie, one that Dylan knows about and has seen, but hasn't talked to anyone about. After all, it's not out in theaters yet and he had to call in some favors to get to see a preview. 

The interview, however, he didn't know about. It's always a risk to look for media that's strictly online, something he's learned a long time ago and it hasn't changed recently. So he starts reading, taking in each of Tyler's answers carefully, trying to find the person he remembers and failing. For a while, reading those words makes him wonder if it's a real interview because it seems so foreign. Then he wonders if it's just that he doesn't know Tyler anymore. 

Finally, he closes the tab in the browser and stares out of the window for a while. He's not sure what to do with the information he just discovered. If there is anything he should do at all. 

But the thing is, Tyler's out. Tyler's bi. The person whom Dylan never thought he had even the faintest chance with due to Tyler being as straight as he could possibly be is... not. That, on top of the fact that Dylan himself has been increasingly open about his own sexuality not only in private but also in places a little more public, is something that leads him to thoughts he tried to repress for a long time. 

He thinks about the article again, about Tyler's words, then about the link that also mentioned Colton. That makes him grab his phone and text Colton -- one of the few people whom Dylan is, surprisingly, still in touch with from the Teen Wolf cast. The one person who has known about Dylan's infrequent ventures into dating guys. 

Did you know?

He figures that if Colton won't understand, he'll just explain later. But when his phone beeps with a reply, it turns out to be unnecessary, exactly as Dylan expected.

For a while. It's not my doing though.

The interview or him not being straight?

Either. Not for lack of trying.

Of course you would.

Who wouldn't?

Dylan refuses to answer that. Not that he thinks that Colton doesn't know, but he's not about to admit how much he wanted to climb Tyler like the Christmas trees of days past. Not somewhere that could be used against him in any way, shape, or form. 

Does he know?

About you? Sort of.

What's that supposed to mean?

One of your dates made gossip waves. I'm just glad it's one that I helped you dress for. :P 

I thought he didn't read that shit?

He reads about you though.

Something about that makes Dylan's heart flutter in ways he hasn't felt in a long time. Not that he lets himself dwell on that feeling. Instead, he looks at his phone again since it pinged with another incoming message.

There's a party at mine next week. He's coming. You should too. 

Dylan stares at the message for longer than is strictly necessary. It might not change anything. It might not mean anything. It might mean that he's going to be disappointed in all the possible ways. But in the end, he sighs, thinks that maybe it's time, and finally replies.

Okay. I'll be there. Text me the details.