eighteen

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fifty one days in

when josh's eyes finally open, he's alone on the couch.

he swallows, fighting back tears again. he finally gets tyler, but of course it was a dream. life really hates him that much. he wipes tears from his eyes, sniffling quietly. he doesn't even know why he's downstairs.

he shakes his head, slowly making his way back upstairs to his room. the song he was listening to last night had long since stopped playing. he assumes his computer died sometime during the night. he opens up his bedroom door, and -

fuck.

there's tyler. sleeping soundly in josh's bed. josh's eyes roam over him. the clothes josh remembers are discarded on the floor, and from the tiny hole in the covers he can see tyler's wearing one of josh's v-necks. his heart begins to race excitedly.

it wasn't a dream.

tyler really did come.

his eyes are shut, and his face looks so peaceful. a small smile is on his lips and josh stares at him fondly. he moves hesitantly toward the sleeping boy, before shaking his shoulders gently. tyler's eyes flutter open, and for a moment the disorientation of waking up somewhere new is evident on his face. once he finds josh a feeble and lopsided grin settles on tyler's face, and josh returns it happily.

"we need to talk," tyler says shyly.

"yeah," josh hums, looking down.

"in a minute though, if that's okay with you," tyler says, tugging loosely on josh's black sweater sleeve, trying to get josh's attention. josh finally meets his gaze, and suddenly he's being pulled down. he lands next to tyler neatly, and he smirks.

"really?" he asks.

tyler shrugs, smiling again. he presses his lips against josh's softly, both of them reveling in the feeling of peace between them. josh's arm slings itself around tyler's waist, pulling him closer. tyler cups his cheek loosely, his lips working against josh's feverishly. he pulls away all too soon for josh.

"okay," he says, removing josh's arm from around his body. he sits up, running a hand through his hair. josh watches him warily.

"okay," he says again.

"what is it, ty?"

"don't. you... don't," tyler shakes his head, standing up and pacing the room.

josh scoots over and sits on the edge of the bed, confused.

"you... you knew. you knew where i lived and you didn't even... you didn't say anything josh!" tyler huffs.

"because that wasn't how the game worked," josh says.

"the game! what did the game matter? the game was so i'd find out where you live, and you could meet me. what the hell did the game matter if you knew?!" tyler's eyes shine furiously.

josh bites his lip. "it was a trust thing."

"a what?" tyler stops pacing.

"i figured if you could care about finding out where i live long enough to actually get it right, you could care about me long enough too," josh closes his eyes. it seemed so stupid now.

"and i did just the opposite of what i was supposed to," tyler sighs, finally sitting next to josh.

"it's okay," josh shrugs, taking tyler's hand in his.

"it's not. i'm sorry i tried to force you out of my mind so fast. i went on that stupid date because pete thought- nevermind," he shakes his head.

"wait- tyler," josh furrows his eyebrows. "how did you know where i lived?"

"oh," tyler's cheeks redden. "well... after dallon called me many things, i guess you fell asleep or they drugged you or something, because ryan got your phone. he, um... he told me the address and he told me you were home alone."

josh chuckles. of course ryan did. that loving bastard.

"i'm glad," josh admits.

"me too," tyler says, pulling josh gently backwards on the bed with him again. "i half expected you to reject me at the door. i said such awful things to you, i wouldn't have blamed you."

"i could never."

"you could."

"so... tyler joseph," josh murmurs, finally looking at the boy.

"josh."

"what are we?"

tyler doesn't respond. he searches josh's eyes for a moment before finally deciding on an answer. "ridiculous," he says, kissing josh like his life depends on it.

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