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To get the phone call while in Los Angeles is the second worst thing to happen to him.  Not the first, because that spot was filled about two years ago, and not the third, because the third now used to be the second until this event happened.  It's the second worst.  And he’s in the middle of recording a collaborative song when he sees Jenna’s name pop up on his phone, along with a beautiful, angelic photo of her smiling from a hike they took together a few months ago.  He swipes at a line of sweat on his forehead and answers the phone with a cheery "Hi, baby!" but soon, the actual phone call makes his blood run cold.

Two panic attacks later, Josh is able to rush out of his nearby hotel room and head for the airport.  He’s alone in every sense of the word.  Jenna is back at home— oh god, Jenna.  She’s most likely at home, pacing the whole downstairs, waiting for Josh to return to her, every minute dragging by like a knife in her back.  His hands shake as he holds his arms above his head, socked feet set apart.  Three seconds, the sign says, but it plays upon an eternity.  In a cloud, he exits the body scanner and gathers his things as quickly as his cemented joints will allow, shoving his feet back into his nike’s.  They’re red. 

His parents pick him up from the airport, Jordan grabbing his suitcase and backpack as Josh collapses into his mom and dad's loving embrace, tears and snot running down his face.  Two years.  Two years.  His mother cries, too, because she's the empathetic type to cry at those ASCPA commercials, and to see her son in absolute tears and sorrows makes his own mother break because of it.  Night falls quickly.  Whatever color to the sky there was has now disappeared fast into a hazy orange sky with clouds.  No stars.  

Nothing.  

"Josh," says Jordan.  The passing street lamps barely give Josh any indication of his brother's features, but the voice is so soft and pitiful.  "He's going to be okay." 

"Yeah," he spits out.  

Josh does see his mother's watery eyes glance back at him.  

A noose loops around his throat.

Josh’s mind is spinning and he swears on his life that he can truly feel his brain twisting around in his skull, trying to comprehend what is happening.  It’s like a hazy fog has come over him, a nightmare-ish life that has popped out from a story book. Poor Josh just happened to be the protagonist against his will.  After Tyler went missing, that was it, almost. He has permanent eyebags from those first few months of constant searching and identifying belongings left behind in the surround Columbus woods.  It was mind boggling to him how much shit is in the ground, and how people can find it. But nothing of his was turned up. Never a ransom note or clues. It was as if his fiance vanished in a cloud of dust that led into another dimension.  And with him gone, a huge reason to live was gone. Just fucking gone. He had never had such a severe episode of depression; luckily, it never resolved in a fury of suicide attempts or hospital visits, but with Jenna dragging his ass out of the house and taking him to a cabin that had no wifi or phones.  Just them, a lake, and a bed.  The amount of time that they were there is still a mystery to both of them, but it helped clean his head and he was able to accept the fact Tyler was gone for a long period of time. 

Next stop is Tyler's family's house, where the driveway is lined with cars of Tyler's relatives.  The lights are on, dimmed behind thick shades,but visible.  Three cars are sat in the driveway, presumably two more in the closed garage, along with all the recording equipment they had to store after Tyler-- Josh shakes his head; he doesn’t want to think about that.  He stumbles out, tennis shoes clipping his dad's truck's foot step and he runs to the door, runs into the door, and fumbles for the door handle.  Knocks frantically.  

The noose squeezes.  

And the door opens to Jenna, her messy, more like ratty , blonde hair glinting in the lighting’s glow.  Her bright blue eyes are red and puffy and tissues are clutched in her left hand.  Lots of them. “J--”

His girl, the blonde angel that he fell in love with at the same time as falling in love with Tyler, cries, sobs, and she grabs at neck and shirt.  “I’m so sorry, I-I’m so sorry for not being here,” he breathes out.  His hand cradles the back of her head.

She pushes out, just so her eyes can meet his.  Even with the deep sorrow and pain, she holds such a defined love for Josh; it makes his heart swell.  “Don’t, it’s okay. You’re here now and-and that’s all that matters.”  She swipes at a rogue tear. “He’s not here, baby, he’s at the hospital.” 

“Have you seen him at all?” 

“No, but I’ve spoken with his psychiatrist a few times and she says that he’s just in a lot of shock with what’s happening.  She thinks having us there will help after they get him settled in.”

Josh wants to go now, but he listens to Jenna’s voice and knows that everything will be okay.  “Okay.” He breathes. 

She sniffles.  “I love you,” she says.  Her body is small, weakened against his chest, as if she will fall like a castle of cards.

“I love you too,” he answers, a lump developing in his throat.  

His family follows as he walks into his in-law's home with Jenna's hand practically crushed in between his fingers.  But she doesn’t seem to mind. The house is a bit of a mess with pillows from the couch strewn about, a blanket left on the floor, the remotes shoved in the couch cushions.  The kitchen, Jenna’s palace, is also a mess.  He can smell the oven is on, probably cooking up some stress oatmeal cookies. The dishes are piled in the sink already, but scraps of flour and sugar lay across the counter along with the few spice containers.  Josh squeezes Jenna’s hand just a little more.

Tyler's mom is on the couch, though, and she looks up from the TV.  "Josh, oh thank God you're here." 

The words just fall out of her mouth, as if she had stuffed them back in her throat.  They embrace and Tyler's mom rubs his back.  An overwhelming wave of disgust washes over him, but he shoves it into the back of his mind and give his mother-in-law a quick hug.  After, he moves back to Jenna and latches onto her warm, soft hand.  

When Tyler came home with not just Jenna, but also Josh, the Joseph’s just about had an aneurism.  He had never seen people so bewildered in his entire life.  The concept of three people in a relationship was so foreign that they all just... didn’t talk.  Only the sound of silverware scraping across plates and gulps of either wine or water filled the room.  Obviously, they learned and came to terms with the fact that Tyler wasn’t just “Tyler and Jenna”, it was “Tyler and Jenna and Josh”.  It probably didn’t sink in until the gossip news channels started to boast about an affair between Josh and Jenna, thanks to a fan leaking a picture of the two of them kissing (a picture taken by Tyler, of course).  The absolute, pure fury Tyler had in himself really knocked some sense into his parents and they finally joined their side. Although Tyler has forgiven them, the months Tyler’s family treated the trio like aliens permanently left a stain on the love Josh has for them.  He does love them, but trust?  He’s not sure. 

"How was the plane ride?" 

"It was fine.  Empty," he says.  

Mrs. Joseph nods her head.  She glances at Josh's parents and gives a small smile.  

"So, what's happened so far?" he says.  

The Joseph siblings sit at the dining room table with their dad.  The boys are on one side while Maddy leans back in her chair, arms crossed.  Chris Joseph has his elbows on the table, holding his head up while he is sunken in an oversized sweatshirt.  The middle sibling's partners are probably at their own homes, with the children.  To Josh, they're just background noise.  

"Um," Mrs. Joseph says, "the hospital has him under observation right now.  They just want to evaluate him without us there, otherwise he could get overwhelmed with his family." 

"How was he found?" 

"He showed up at a Cincinnati police station.  They said he was very coherent of the situation, but wouldn't talk to any of them." 

"So wait, he's in Cincinnati right now?" asks Josh, eyebrows high on his forehead.  "Why are we here?  I could've flown into that airport instead and just--" 

“Baby,” Jenna says, “we have to take this a step at a time, okay?  I know how much you want to see him, but we have to make sure he's ready for it."

"I think two years is enough wait time to see his family," he snaps.  

Jenna sighs, looks down at the floor.  She still has shoes on.  "I know.  We just all needed to group and get to our senses." 

“I’m sorry.  You’re right.”  Josh rubs at his eyes until a kaleidoscope of colors blossoms.  

"I think J and I should head home," says Jenna.  

Chris wrinkles his nose, elbows sliding off the table.  "My son, Jenna's fiancé, is in the hospital and you want to go home with his best friend?" 

"Chris--" Mrs. Joseph starts. 

"This is not the place to do this, Chris," Mr. Dun says.  

"No, I think it is.  How do we know that these two didn't do anything with Tyler to be together?"

"My son would never hurt Tyler," Mrs. Dun speaks up.  "He loves Tyler."

"We were together before he disappeared," Josh says, voice unsure of itself.  

He scoffs.  "Whatever that was wasn't a relationship.  Maybe you two got sick of Tyler and pushed him away," he continues.  "He was never stable and you two possibly pushed him to the edge.  What'd you do?  Switch his meds for placebos?  Brainwash him into thinking he wasn't good enough?" 

"Dad--"  The other siblings' voices have no avail to their father's tyranny.  

"Nothing ever happened to him because of us," Josh barks out.  

"Oh,you should speak.  You are the one who made my son a fag--" 

"Enough!" screams Jenna.  "Chris, I do not care if you don't accept the fact this relationship is real and has always been real, but this is not the time to get into it.  You're son is back from being kidnapped for two years and you need to stick whatever attitude so far up your ass you feel the beginning of your colon because this is not the time!" 

Dead silence runs through the house.  Even the TV shuts up.  The color washes out from Chris' face.  Josh's arm quivers, followed by his back twitching.  Jenna moves closer to him, almost as if she wants to be swallowed up whole by his chest.  Instinctively, he swings an arm around her, strewn across her chest.  Her hands then follow to grasp at his arm.  He has always refrained from holding Jenna in any kind of way beyond a hand hold, because it just didn't feel right at all.  Even though her and Tyler accepted him into their relationship with open and loving arms, there was something about being around other people that made Josh... shrink back from them.  Sat on the other side of the room at parties or didn't hold their hands while out shopping, always sat alone on one side of a booth.  It wasn't until Tyler brought it up that Josh spoke about his pain and confusion.  Then, it was always Josh in the middle of them, both hands being held, being in the middle of the seats at a movie, being in the middle while sleeping.  And it was because Tyler and Jenna loved him so much; they wanted to make him feel loved.  And they did, they always fucking did.  

Chris slinks back in his chair.  It creaks and groans underneath his weight.  “It’s a stressful time,” he says, instead of apologizing.  He wouldn’t truly mean it if he did say it, so Josh is thankful he isn’t hearing something empty. 

“Your concerns shouldn’t be voiced at the time that your son is home from being kidnapped.  And I will be informing him that you believe his partners had something to do with the disappearance.” 

“Jenna, wait—“  Mrs. Joseph steps forward. 

“Don’t,” Jenna says.  “Josh and I are leaving to see him in the morning and I’ll call once we are home and Tyler’s settled back in.” 

“You can’t bar his family from seeing him,” Chris says, jaw locked. 

Her gaze is enough to cut diamonds into perfect pieces for engagement rings.  “I don’t see any enthusiasm or arrangements on your part.” 

He sinks, backwards, eyes falling. 

“Kelly, you’re welcome to come with us,” Jenna furthers.  “Just let us know.  Goodnight.” 

Josh really fucking loves Jenna.  She knows it, too, but times like these where she squashes the enemy with such swiftness and ease, he loves her that much more. 

“Hey,” Josh says, pulling open the passenger door to Jenna’s car, “I love you so much.” 

She grins, a sly grin spread across her angelic skin.  “How much?” 

He scoffs, but is smiling.  “I’ll show you when we get home.” 

She giggles, but not for long when they get home.  That ends when she screaming for more.

Chapter Text

Josh drives.  When Josh drives, he thinks, and thinking can lead to some very unwanted thoughts.  Today, they consist of his relationship with Tyler and Jenna. He’s never doubted the mutual love or trust, but it’s always a problem with the outside world.  Knowing that his partner’s family doesn’t accept this wholeheartedly makes him ache in ways he never imagined he could. When Josh came out as bisexual, his family welcomed him with loving arms, proud to have a son who was comfortable and confident with himself.  That moment of his life helped shaped him to who he is now. That gave him the trust to come out to more people. Granted there were some who didn’t understand and pointed out stereotypes, but to know that he came home to parents and siblings who didn’t persecute him.  

When he first met Tyler, it was instant love.  It was after one of his shows, before he joined the band, and a mutual friend introduced each other.  He was sweaty, shirtless, and high off the adrenaline that came from playing a show. Josh immediately felt his stomach flip and flop and his heart soared.  They shook hands, one sweaty, the other calloused, and Tyler mentioned the callouses. “Because he’s a drummer ,” their friend said.  Tyler grinned, wide, loudly, like it was the best damn new he had ever heard.   “You know, I am in search of a new drummer.  Stick around after clean up and we can talk, yeah? ”  And Josh be damned if he passed up that opportunity.  

When they met Jenna, it was another mutual friend.  Tyler and Josh had been together for maybe a handful of months and we’re keeping the relationship very quiet and taking it also very slow, which was an agreement between them.  So obviously, when Jenna was introduced, it was for the prospects of her and Tyler getting together, but Josh, the oblivious type, was already smitten with her gem-like eyes and pearlescent pink lips.  He may or may not have been drooling over her. Tyler took her phone number with them when they went home and almost threw it away, but Josh grabbed the hand that held the paper and said, “I can’t stop thinking about her.  And I know you can’t either. ”  It took a while to actually call her back, because both Tyler and Josh were afraid of what were to happen with her reaction.  If Josh knew back then what he knows now, he would slap himself and have called her that same night.

But every single bit of love and adornment Josh has for his partners are always invalidated by people around them.  Besides the few familial ones, the media always hits hard. He remembers finding out that a gossip site had been leaked a photo of Josh and Jenna kissing and had claimed they were cheating on Tyler.  It wasn’t true, of course, but it still tore Josh to shreds. He was the reason Tyler and Jenna were delved into horrible gossip and fans were confused and wouldn’t stop asking about it.  It was the cause of many breakdowns for Josh; he was determined to leave them, the band, their lives, just so the talking would stop.  

But before he could make any rash decisions, Tyler released a statement on his twitter account.  

It was something short and sweet, something that answered more questions than raised any.  They let the fans talk and do whatever they wanted. Even the gossip channel reached out and apologized about their story, saying they never meant to forcefully out the relationship the trio was happy to keep a secret.   The apology was well received, though.

The drive is only about two hours, less than.  Since it’s six in the morning, there are barely any cars on the road heading into Cincinnati.  Only out. Josh’s fingers twitch on the steering wheel. Jenna glances over, moves her hand to his thigh, and squeezes hard.  It hurts. A good hurt. A hurt that he needs right now.

Hospitals always make him jittery.  He remembers passing out while playing a small venue show and being so ungodly anxious in these tight, white walls that the doctors were concerned he was going into cardiac arrest.  They put him on something that Josh equated to a horse tranquilizer just so they could get his heart rate under control. Walking in, he has Jenna’s hand in his, but gently, just so he seems strong.  He has to be the strong one here. With his facade, they are greeted by Tyler’s old psychiatrist, Dr. Mazz. She’s an older woman, probably early fifties, with graying roots and wrinkled hands. She’s amazing at what she does, has helped Tyler immensely and Josh knows she going to continue with his care for the future.  Usually, she just shakes their hands after appointments and such, but today, the emotions are high up in the clouds; she hugs Josh and Jenna.  Tightly.

“It’s good to see you two,” she says.  “I wish it were for another appointment, instead, but…”  Dr. Mazz sighs.

“We do, too,” Jenna says, voice just above a whisper.  “How is he?”

“Scared,” she states firmly.  “If I’m being professional, he is definitely showing signs of C-PTSD, but I have only talked with him a handful of hours.  We can only tell with time.”

They’ve heard the term before, C-PTSD.  It’s still unnerving.

“And Josh, Jenna, he is in bad shape physically, as well.  I want you to talk to his doctor before seeing him, because showing that he is different outwardly will only make him more afraid.”  She flips through a folder in her arms, then pulls out a crisp piece of paper for the two of them. “I will be back here tomorrow, but please, call if there’s an emergency.”

“Thank you,” says Josh.  

The paper gives them the floor number, room number, and any associating doctors and nurses that are helping Tyler.  It’s a daunting list of specialists: orthopedic, cardiactic, neurology, opthamologist, etcetera. A hammer bangs on the back of Josh’s head, but Jenna holds his hand, shakes him from this daze.  

“It’s a lot,” he says.  

“I know,” she says, too.  

The doctor they meet is, again, older, but probably older than Dr. Mazz.  His stubble on his jaw is very salt and pepper esque, as well as the hair on his head.  Deep set, chocolate brown eyes that are kind and wise. With Josh analyzing his face, he tunes out a name, startled when the doctor goes to shake his hand.  

“Sorry,” Josh mumbles.  

“It’s okay,” he answers.  “Follow me; we’re going to a more private area.”

Someone screams, from pain, terror, anger, and Josh fucking prays it isn’t Tyler.  

They’re led to an office, a colleagues, the doctor says, that was gracious enough to sympathize with the situation and allow the three of them to talk in private.  

“Since I am not based in this hospital,” he explains, “I don’t have my office with me, otherwise I wouldn’t have been scrambling this morning to find a place for us to discuss your partner.”

The couple stays quiet, almost lost for words.  

“So.”  He flips through a few files, licking his thumb to separate the pages.  “I’m going to be as transparent as I can here, as well. Your partner is not in a suitable place.  And our biggest concern is pain management and making sure he is comfortable.”

Josh gazes down on x-rays and scans, stomach churning.  

“This is very hard for me to explain on a sympathetic foot, because I truly do not believe there is a way to do that.  So, I am going to talk and if you need stopping, please say so.” He clears his throat. Josh’s heart thrums. Jenna’s hand tightens around his.  “Tyler’s left eye has an infection, but we are trying to clean it out and treat it before removal should be an option. He has a few broken ribs, but those we believe are from his escape.  He has tissue damage on his achilles tendons, which is most likely from being cut to prevent him from being able to walk or run. He is able to walk at this moment, slowly. And Tyler’s jaw, at this moment, is wired shut with an epoxy we do not know how to remove.  The wires create a criss-cross on his molars and his mobility of his jaw is at a close zero. With that, he is also malnourished, most likely forced to just a liquid diet while he was in captivity.”

Jenna’s crying.  Josh is frozen.

“We are working on taking off the wires first, but--”

Jenna sniffles, holds up her hand, effectively cutting off the doctor’s voice.  “Are there signs of… assault?”

He shakes his head.  “No signs of sexual assault.  These people who had him were cruel in almost an experimental way.  Besides the main injuries, there are many scars, skins grafs, incision points.  People who knew what they were doing. We’re flushing his system with antibiotic and replacing them with vitamins and minerals and making sure he is hydrated.”  He gathers up the papers. “Any questions for me?”

“We just really want to see him,” says Josh, and Jenna cracks a smile, a laugh, even through those shiny tears.  It’s just a huge bubble in the room that bursts in a form of laughter, because this is happy .  It’s terrifying, but he’s home .  

“That enthusiasm is going to be the best medicine for Tyler.  I cannot tell you how hard this road is going to be because I do not know for sure, but your support is going to be the best for him.  I’ll show you to his room.”

They follow and Josh feels as though he is about to implode in on himself.  Excitement and nerves fill his chest, constricting his breathing. It’s like his veins have shrunk in size.  Jenna’s eyes are read around those ocean blue pupils and her lips are bitten to the point where a mark on her bottom lip is starting to bleed.  Josh presses his thumb to it. She leans into it.

“Nurses come in every hour to check his blood pressure and check his pain meds,” says the doctor.  “But please, just talk to him. He needs the support.”

When they enter the hospital room, the only sound is beeping.  A slow, melodic beeping that immediately puts Josh at ease. That’s his fiance’s pulse, heart, life.  He’s curled up in the bed, under a heavy blanket, face smushed into the soft pillow. His head is completely shaved down to just a shadow of what was his hair, but a bandage is wrapped around most of his head, probably for his eye.  Josh weeps into his hand, into Jenna’s shoulder, his lungs crackling and heart clenching down on itself. This is the imploding part; all the grief and pain resurfacing at once. He pictures the day Tyler went missing as if it was yesterday, how torn apart the house was, how many tears were shed that day because he was gone gone gone and Josh couldn’t will himself to run around any more of Columbus in the wild frenzy to find him.  He knows the field he broke down in, cried into the soil and fed the bushes of flowers.

But it’s all in the past, something he sadly can’t change, even if all his willpower was focused so long on getting him back.  

At the door shutting softly, his head pops up from the pillow, his right eye blinking away the sleep that was suddenly ripped from him.  A flush of color erupts over his face, spreading across his cheeks and nose. And he’s waving his arms in the air, waving them to move to him, his bottom lip trembling and eye welling up with fat tears.  The trio, finally completed, fall into a heap of sobs and wails on the hospital bed, hands everywhere and fingers clutching the hands that have been missing from their lives for too much time. There’s so many kisses, lips attaching to one another, breaths trading places in their mouths.  Josh’s shoulders have become free of every weight they’ve had to carry and he slumps forward, Tyler’s fingers threading through Josh’s hair in response, sniffling.

“Please tell me this is real!” Tyler weeps.  “Please God , tell me you’re here .”

“We’re here,” they say, broken up with their own cries.  But it’s strong words that rock through all three of them.  Josh and Jenna belatedly say it, but it’s there .  Here.  Right now, where they can hold their boy and hold on for dear life.  

“Gosh…” Tyler breathes.  His lips smash into Jenna’s lips, a hand snaking through her blonde locks.  The last time he saw her, she had bangs and a short bob, but now she has long strands that fall down her back.  “I’ve missed you guys so much.”

“U-us, too,” Jenna chokes out.  Her voice is thick, like she just swallowed a gulp of cough syrup.  “We would’ve been here last night, but Josh was in L.A. when we… we found out.”

Tyler nods.  “S’okay. I’m jus’ glad you’re here now.”

“We are, too,” Josh says, kisses him.  His lips are cracked, but they still respond as much as he remembers he did.  

“H-how is everyone?  At home, I mean.”

Josh nods, short.  “They’re okay.”

Tyler’s eye slits.  “What did my dad do?” he asks with a flat voice.  

“Nothing,” Jenna answers quickly.  

“Don’t.  I know he did somethin’.”

When doesn’t he? Josh thinks.  “He just… made a big deal with us again.  We told him he wasn’t allowed to come see you until we say.”

“And he got all upset,” Jenna says.  “Said we weren’t allowed to do that, but no one was stopping us nor was he packing a bag to be here.”  

Tyler sighs.  He slumps forward, over his lap, like his spine has given up on keeping him sitting tall.  

“You look exhausted,” Jenna says, but it shakes, and Josh lifts his head up to find her biting at her lips.  

He sort of snorts, turning his head to look out the window.  To Josh, his jaw is even more pronounced than it has ever been.  The baby fat that rested on his cheeks has been taken away.

“I’m sorry,” she continues.  “I don’t know what to say.”

“You can ask about it,” he says.  “I know that’s all that’s gonna happen f’ a while, so I might as well get used to it.”

“You don’t need to force yourself,” Josh says.  

“I want to.”

“Ty--”

“Stop,” he grits out.  “Don’t baby me, please.  The doctors and nurses already treat me like glass and--”

Josh and Jenna trade a look, a look for confusion and defeat; frustration, too.  His own heart sink like a heavy stone in the ocean, in the blue of Jenna’s eyes. The air around them is suffocating them, but Josh forces himself to breathe through it, even if it burns like a cigarette.  “Okay, Tyler,” Josh says finally. He takes both of his fiance’s hands in one, tipping Tyler’s face up by lifting his chin with a few fingers. “Can you tell me how you were kidnapped?”

And there’s a light, some kind of light, that busts through that single pupil staring back at Josh.  It’s not the tears, either. “I h-had been getting strange calls for a few weeks and they specifically told me not to tell anyone, like they knew our address.  So I panicked, but I didn’t tell anyone. I-I listened, Josh, I had to keep you safe--”

He’s shaking, elbows almost sounding like baby rattles, so Josh pulls him close.  Pulls him until his boy is leaned into the curvature of Josh’s chest. “Take it slow, sweetheart,” he coos.  “We’re not in a rush.”

Tyler sniffs, probably wipes snot on Josh’s shirt.  “They demanded s-stuff. Th...They wanted t’ see what I w-would do to protect y-you.”  He sucks in a hard breath. Josh rubs his hand up Tyler’s protruding spine. “I killed the fuckin’ neighbor’s d-dog, Josh.  And the requests wouldn’t stop and I couldn’t handle it anymore and they kn- knew it and used m-me and they p-promised it would stop if I went to this motel outside of Columbus...”  The bandage scrapes across Josh’s shoulder. “And I-I never came back.”

“You came back, sweetheart,” tells Josh.  “You’re back and you’re staying. I promise we’ve got you.”

“I was s-so scared, Josh.  I h-h-had to listen t’ make sure you an’ Jen stayed sa-safe.”

“Baby, baby, baby, shh.  We’re not blaming you at all.”  Josh cups his face, pulls it away from his shoulder, making sure that he’s got him, holding him.  “You’re here with us. You’re going to heal and I promise we’re going to find who did this. I will protect you.”  

A breath passes.  Jenna presses a kiss to Tyler’s head.  He cries, silently.

“Do you want to talk more?” Josh asks.  He doesn’t want Tyler to, but facing fears and diving right into pain is what Tyler heals from.  It gets his thoughts straight, his words in order.

“I… M’tired,” he whispers

“Okay, baby,” Jenna whispers.  “We can step out--”

Stay ,” he interrupts.  “I need you. I miss sleeping with you.”

She grins, a small one.  Weights still hang onto the edges of his lips, though.  “We do, too.”

He grins as well and leans over to kiss her.  He’s always been one to want to kiss; he watches lips so much, Josh has found, and loves to just lean over their shoulders randomly throughout the day, especially when they talk.  It’s just a quick reminder that he’s thinking of their love.

Compared to the king size bed at home, the hospital bed is barely a fraction of it, but the closeness it forces upon the three of them is just like what they would experience at home.  Usually, Josh is between the two of them, but now they lay Tyler down between them, bracketing him with their own bodies, arms strewn across his stomach. Josh presses his forehead to Tyler’s face, nuzzling, sighing and breathing in the familiar smell that Tyler’s skin holds.  His heartbeat relaxes for the first time in the last plus twenty four hours and thus his body follows, deep into a state of glee and love. Sleep hisses in his head. A drowsy hold clutches him, pulls him, blankets him, and soon, his eyes are unable to open again.



Chapter Text

"C'mon, Tyler, just a few more minutes."  

Josh watches his fiancé's jaw tighten, fingers clamp down on the treadmill's handles.  His forehead is glistening in the harsh hospital lights and unlike stage lights Josh has been under a multitude of times, these aren't as flattering.  But the work is more, more intense and terrifying, and Josh has been standing here with knots in his stomach for the last twenty minutes.  It's difficult to stand by while Tyler is in obvious pain, his whole face a very pallid color that Josh is not used to seeing.  There's always been this healthy bronze to his lover's skin; now, he is paler that the own skeleton's that haunt their closets.  Josh has his hand near Tyler's, but he's not sure if Tyler has noticed it.  

"S'sore," he chokes out.  

"What's sore, Tyler?" she asks.  The physical therapist is a younger woman with a warm smile and she is very pushy, in Josh's mind, but he knows why.  

"My... my ankles an' hips.  Hips, m-mostly." 

"What kind of sore?" 

"Like..."  He clears his throat, a hand reaching up to swipe at sweat above his eyebrow.  "It's just painful."  Sweat drips off his nose.  "It feels-- it's ridiculous that I c-can't walk.  It's a nor-normal function.  A-and I can't fu-fuckin' do it." 

"Baby, you know why," Josh says, voice just above a goddamn whisper, because that's all he can manage.  Staring and whispering.  That's all Josh feels he can do.  He stares at this mangled, scarred body of his fiance and hopes that he can make a fifty feet walk.  Back in the day, Tyler could scream out his lungs until his heart stopped and Josh wouldn't even blink an eye.  Now, he's watching guard whenever Tyler moves an arm.  

"Do you know why we do this?" she asks.  

Tyler stiffens.  "To hurt." 

"To heal.  I've seen some videos from your concerts, Tyler, and I want to make sure you can be able to get to that point again.  You went through a lot," she also adds.  "And no one deserves it, but people like me are here to make sure you get through it, even through the pain."  She blinks a few times, waiting for a response.  "We're not trying to be malicious."

"It sure as fuck feels like it." 

"Tyler," Josh snaps.  

"It's okay," the PT says.  "I understand.  I do.  When I was a kid, I broke my leg.  And stuff like this drove me crazy 'cause I was in a lot of pain and everyone kept telling me to do things.  Walk, run, jump.  But if I hadn't listened, I could've lost a lot of mobility, using a cane or a walker the rest of my life.  It's not fun, but we do it to get better." 

Josh knows that without pain, there is no healing.  

"This?" she implores.  "This doesn't seem like anything to me or even your husband, but this work you are putting in is going to make sure you are going to perform once again."  She moves to slow down the treadmill, working down from a stroll to a full stop.  "Okay?" 

Tyler glances up through his eyelashes.  "Okay," he pants, letting go of the bars and goes for Josh's hand.  

"Good!" she gleams.  "Alright, Tyler, that was really good work today.  Would you like to walk back to your room or use a wheelchair?" 

"I'll..."  He looks at Josh for a moment, eyes darting as if he is reading text right in front of him.  "I'll walk." 

She nods.  "Okay, let's get a walker for you.  Josh, you'll be pushing his IV pole next to him.  And I'll make sure to call the nurse late to give you some time together alone." 

A smile creeps up on Josh's face, without warning, and he helps Tyler down off the treadmill.  He pulls Tyler close to him and kisses his cheek, and kisses, and kisses, because there is just something about this sweat stained skin that makes him reminisce of past days.  The crowd, the lights, god the screaming that was more music than the things they were playing.  Those were the moments that he was happiest about, while at the same time crumbling from depression.  It was being stuck in this closet, this box, of toxic and compulsive heterosexuality that everyone pushed upon him.  Being unable to just hold Tyler closer and relish those moments as a loving boyfriend were painful.  And maybe he could have just pulled Tyler in and kissed him, but the worry of outing both of them to not only fans but family and friends were the things that stopped him.  He didn't want to be a gay icon, or be fetishized by young girls that wanted them together oh so badly.  It was hard, but he's here now, and even though this road is going to be harder, he's surrounded by love and support and is able to reciprocate that.  

"I love you," he tells Tyler.  

Tyler grins.  "I love you, too." 

The walk that would usually take Josh about two minutes takes the two of them almost a full twenty minutes, but Tyler does it with a smile painted onto his face.  He's more so dragging his slipper doffed feet more than stepping, though Josh isn't going to correct it; it's enough that he is able to move his joints and stay upright in such a short period of time.  Four days have gone by in a blink, but so much has already improved with Tyler that Josh is beginning to fall into his lull of safety and ease.  He makes sure to keep his head in reality and take every day, every step, with a level head.  

"Doing okay?" asks Josh.  

Tyler's head jerks up from the floor, mouth slack and panting.  "Kinda.  I k-know this is helping." 

"We can rest, it's okay." 

He shakes his head a few times.  "We're... a-almost there." 

Josh squeezes the cold IV pole tighter.  

Tyler's mouth stays shut the rest of the way, presumably to let himself focus on getting all the joints moving like the PT wants him to do.  No dragging; step up, down, and again.  It's easy, for Josh, for pete's sake he's ran a marathon!  Healing from whatever traumatic injury (or injuries) Tyler has sustained needs time to rebuild strength and knowing Tyler, he won't give up until he can leap off his piano again.  

They make it back to the room and Jenna is there, her freshly washed hair cascading down her shoulders.  Josh should cut it soon, because all three of them love the short hair on her.  She sets aside her book and jumps from the chair, her mouth pinned up in a huge grin, exclaiming things about Tyler standing so fast Josh can barely understand her.  She hugs him, holds him, and usually Tyler seems as though a tower over her, but now, he's crumbling.  He slumps onto her shoulders, an arm thrown over, the other still clutched tightly to the metal walker.  Josh uncurls his fingers, wiping the sweat off on his basketball shorts.  

"I was forgetting how tall you were," Jenna states cheerily.  

Tyler snorts a little, head dipping to rest.  

 

•|i|• Ø i+! ].[

 

The first thing Tyler does when he drowsily opens his eyes from a cloud of anesthesia is turn his head towards Josh the moment that hospital door closes.  Wires gone, it opens a crude comment, to which Josh believes has been waiting since Tyler laid eyes on him days previous.  “I wanna swallow your cock,” he tells Josh and Josh blames on the slight sedative he was given due to his uncomfortableness with any sort of medical mask and gloves, but Tyler’s eyes gleam.  

“Tyler,” Josh gasps.  “You’re not doing that.”

“Why not?” he whines loudly, kicking his feet under his blanket.  

“Because.”

Jenna chuckles from the other side of the bed, shaking her head slightly.  "That's the first time I've ever heard Josh turn down a blowjob." 

He opens his mouth to argue, but can't find anything to ever retort.  It's alluring and entrancing when Tyler or Jenna is willing to get on their knees and worship him.  "No shame in that," he mutters.  

At this point, Tyler keeps blinking his eyes at Josh, dreamily he must add, a slight smirk on his face.  Jenna's watching, waiting, and folds her hands in her lap.  It's some sort of pressure, a kind push, because everyone in the room knows how long and how much Josh has been wishing for this same mouth on his body once again.  

"Everyone's asleep for the night," Tyler says, lip stuck out in a very small pout.  

He didn't see Jenna move, but she's behind him, arms draped over his chest, fingers rubbing softly over his nipples.  Josh groans softly, a pianissimo in the clamor of the orchestra.  Head tilted back against Jenna's shoulder, he feels Tyler's hand sneak up to his inner thigh, thumb gliding nicely against the fabric of the basketball shorts.  His dick twitches in the confines of said clothing, but soon his shorts are pushed up to expose more of his paled thighs (winter months were killing his tan), his hips thrusting upwards for some compensation, a release.  

"Keep going?" mumbles Jenna and Josh nods his head rapidly, a fire brewing in his stomach.  

Jenna nudges Josh forward, to his feet, and pressing him into the hospital bed, chest to the scratchy sheets.  Tyler's there, smiling down on him like some god in the sky, hand gripping his greasy hair.  Josh flips over, both hands reaching for his lovers, wanting and wishing their mouths everywhere on their body.  Tyler taps his shoulder and beckons him closer to him, and Josh sits up, only for Jenna to strip him of his sweatshirt. Perfectly red lips attach to his neck, his collar bones, teeth scraping across the first few layers of his skin.  Jenna is kissing the base of his neck as her hands wander down to his crotch.  There, fingers grasp his cock and tighten slightly, just enough for Josh to gasp at the jolt.  He shuts his eyes and lets hands and lips cover every inch of his body.  

"What do you want?" Tyler asks, orders of him, with a voice of whiskey.  Smooth, but comes back for a bite.  

Knowing a response of "You." won't be enough for his somewhat sadistic fiancé, Josh whispers, "Touch me." 

He chuckles softly.  So does Jenna.  And Josh falls deep within those familiar hands that know every curve, every move, every sound.  

Tyler pulls upwards on his dick, slow, and it's dry as hell, but Josh only can shudder through it.  Jenna leans over his shoulder and takes Tyler's wrist, spitting softly into his palm, a string connected the two together momentarily.  Her wet lips shines in the moonlight and Josh can't help but smash into them, taking and keeping the small moan she admits.  Tyler wraps his fingers around, gently, and tugs.  

"Ah, fuck," Josh mutters out, throwing his head back.  Tyler and Jenna are still clothed, bracketing him, and it makes him want to curl inwards, protectively, being so sprawled out and almost completely naked.  

"Lay back," Tyler says.  "Jenna?" 

She moves, blinks her eyes.  

"Keep his mouth busy, I don't want anyone to hear." 

Josh's stomach twists.  He pants, lays back, and then his head is being enveloped by Jenna's thighs, a wet cunt pressed selflessly to his face.  He moans loudly, but thankfully it is muffled by Jenna's cunt, and he immediately finds her clit.  She jerks, legs tightening.  A soft sigh falls from her lips as she curls fingers into Josh's hair.  They meet eyes.  She grins, grinds down, and Josh sucks.  At the top of the bed, Tyler is still working his cock, pulling strokes that now glide thanks to Jenna's generous spitball.  And then they fall into a smooth rhythm.  Just like that.  

"Fuck, baby," Jenna mumbles.  "Keep doing that."  

And Josh does, even if there's a fire in his stomach, even spreading down to his toes.  He jerks his hips up, up towards Tyler's hands, Tyler's mouth.  

"M-more," he moans out, barely getting that out from Jenna's cunt smothering his face.  

Tyler speeds up.  

Josh does, too.