There’s one day when everything suddenly hits Tyler, some odd day when Josh is grinning at him and he’s laughing at a dumb joke and he looks around him and he sees the CD - their CD, with countless other ones packed in a box in their living room, ready to be played and cried over and well loved in another person’s life.
He feels okay. He feels free - and then he thinks back and he realizes that it’s all been Josh, he’d always been there, ever since that night at the Newport that they met; his comforting smiles, late night tacos and cuddles in the van in the Ohio winter, just joshjoshjosh in every little corner of his life.
For now, he holds it in, this big explosion of sunny happiness inside his chest. Underneath, there’s a burning longing that Josh feels the same way towards him. (His body also burns when he looks to Josh during shows and he sees him bouncing on his drum stool, eyes closed and moving to the music, but Tyler doesn’t quite want to worry about that yet.)
He keeps it to himself until he can’t, until it comes out in the form of tears in his eyes and rosy red cheeks. He breaks down in the middle of a trip to get food. Josh is brushing away his tears away before they freeze with the snow around them, a knit hat over his curly brown hair and scarf wrapped under worried doe eyes.
Tyler can’t stop - he doesn’t know how. He’s bundled in Josh’s chest, protected from the open parking lot around them, and Josh walks him to the car, turns on the heater, and keeps him close.
“What’s wrong, Ty?” Josh asks when his heart has finally settled. Tyler swallows, tries to speak.
“Josh, I...” he says, and oh, Josh was really close, wasn’t he?
He isn’t quite sure what happens next - if he or Josh had moved first, but they both see it coming and neither want to stop, and then Tyler is kissing his best friend and it’s everything that he’s ever wanted.
Tyler is kissing his best friend and he never wants to pull away.
They fall horizontally onto the seats, and somewhere in the back of Tyler’s mind he’s terrified but he’s too far gone to notice. Josh’s lips are chapped and they’re not perfect together yet - he doesn’t care, he presses his own to them again and again, learns and angles his head so their teeth don’t collide.
“Okay?” Josh asks suddenly, like he’s suddenly realized what he had done. Tyler can’t stand the anxiety showing on Josh’s face, and he nods. How could this be anything other than okay? Josh meets his mouth again, this time with more confidence, trying to get impossibly closer.
When they finally have to come up for air, hands tentatively reaching under jackets, they’re close, sharing a breath of oxygen. After a moment, Tyler opens his eyes to meet Josh’s.
“I... I really really like you,” is what Josh blurts out, and suddenly they’re both giggling, laughing into each other’s shoulders. Tyler fumbles, wraps his arms around Josh’s neck, pulls him in for another kiss.
Tyler can’t think of anything more perfect than this.