His escape had been nerve-racking, it had all happened so quickly. Josh grabbing him, banditos pulling him through the tunnel, pressing yellow tape to his clothes, the walking, the running, the climbing. It all happened in such a rush that it feels like such a distant memory now that he's here.
Tyler sees it before they're even up the hill they've been hiking.
He sees the smoke from fires and he sees tents and people and god, he wishes he'd ran into the banditos sooner. Maybe if he had he would've escaped years ago. It's amazing, everything he knew there'd be once he escaped. And now, he gets to be a part of it. He's out.
The camp is vast and busy once they reach it, Tyler's eyes stay wide. Everyone Tyler sees is doing something, moving, no one is just sitting around. It's overwhelming and makes him want to hide away, compared to Dema there's so much going on that he doesn't know where to look as they step in. It's over stimulating, loud. He squeezes his fists to keep himself grounded.
He's nearly tripping over his feet as he walks, which he can barely feel in the first place. It's freezing cold up here, he can see his breath. It had only gotten colder as they'd traveled upwards.
No one except him had seemed particularly bothered by the change in temperature. They've been out much longer than he has, they knew what to expect. There bodies must've already adjusted to the cold.
"This is it?" Tyler whispers, in awe, the fear of frostbite gone from his mind. It's so different.
Josh smiles at him, proud. "Yeah, we're here." He tugs on Tyler's sleeve to encourage him to follow him when he makes a left. "Stay with me."
Tyler clings to Josh without touching him, he stays right behind him. He finds comfort in him, stability. Tyler doesn't really understand it, but, Josh makes him feel safe and considering he seems to be in a high position around here, Tyler should feel safe. Josh saved him, Josh will protect him even though Tyler knows he can protect himself.
The rest of the banditos disperse once Josh leads him past a big bond fire. They're quick, moving to tents, seeing family, friends, hugs are common here, the laughter he hears makes him smile. Going to Dema is dangerous and everyone knows it, it's obvious by the way they all seem to cling to each other. The return of the group that came to get him had been anticipated.
Josh has no reaction to any of this, or anyone, he grabs Tyler by his sleeve again when Tyler pauses and keeps walking him through the camp, silent, torch still in hand, he has no one to hug upon his return.
There's no grand tour, just Josh pulling him around. Tyler can't find it in him to ask for anything more.
The ground is dry underneath them, dusty. Dirt rises beneath his every step. Past the bond fire. (which Tyler assumes is the center of the camp) it's all tents; Tightly squeezed together to optimize space and security within the large group. Every few tents they'll be a gap where a fire pit has been built and every few tents they'll be water basins, metal and large. Tyler wonders if the water is drinkable, the question dies on his tongue when he attempts to speak.
Josh hasn't looked at him since they got to the camp, he's barely looked at him since he got him out of Dema. Tyler doesn't expect him to either, Josh doesn't know him and Tyler doesn't want to force him into having a conversation. He doesn't want to force Josh into knowing him. Which is why he doesn't feel like he can talk to him.
So, Tyler stays silent and shivers as he follows Josh's footing.
He expects Josh's tent to be huge, considering his obvious level of power around here. He's a leader, that much is obvious. So Tyler's surprised when Josh leads him between and behind two big tents and stops in front of a much smaller one placed between two tall trees. It's hidden away from the entity of the camp, far away from everything. Tyler frowns.