The first time it happens, the boys had just finished their biggest tour yet. Blurryface and everything it had lived out to be could now be put to rest and the boys were finally ready to go on hiatus. Tyler hated that word, it made him think about what his life would be like without the band; without Josh. Tyler hated the feeling it left in his throat too.
Tyler hated a lot of things, like the word hiatus, and thinking about things that didn’t really matter, and Josh’s stupid smile at the end of every show. Tyler hated those most, hated the feeling Josh’s stupid face left in his stomach.
So now their back stage, Josh’s shirt still off, lost somewhere for now, and Tyler is trying his best to not let it distract him. Josh leaning back against the oddly comfortable dressing room couch, Tyler tucked into the armrest on the opposite end.
“You alright Ty? You’re being super quiet.” Josh questions, head relaxed against the couch.
“Yeah, I’m good.” Tyler replies, eyes locked onto his shoes.
“Hey,” Josh raises his head from the couch, turning himself towards Tyler. “I’m serious, what’s up man?”
Tyler brings his paint stained hands to his face, already feeling tears burning in his eyes. Josh grabs for them before they could cover the smaller mans face.
“Tyler, buddy, come here.” Josh pulls Tyler closer to him, wrapping him up in his arms as tears began to fall from his eyes. They sit like that for a minute, Tyler’s face against Josh’s chest. Josh thinks he can guess what's upsetting his best friend, he doesn’t really wanna think about it either, so he holds him as tight as he can.
“What if this hiatus isn’t what we need? What if the fans aren’t there when we get back, or what if you don’t want to come back? This band is who we are, who I am, it wouldn’t be the same without you. Nothing is.” Tyler chokes out, letting his tears fall and soak into Josh’s shirt.
“Tyler, we’ve been touring for almost 2 years, we need a break, you need a break.” Josh reasons, placing his hands softly to Tyler’s cheeks and wiping away his fallen tears. “The fans are going to be there no matter what, the real ones always will be.”
Tyler feels like he’s going to explode under Josh’s stare, and he can feel the truth in his words as he stares at Tyler’s face.
“And I’m not going anywhere, trust me. There’s too much here to let go of.” Josh whispers, his eyes searching Tyler’s face for any indication of reaction, but all Tyler can do is stare. He wants Josh to mean what he thinks he means, but Tyler knows that’s not realistic.
Josh opens his mouth to say something, but closes it instead. He wants to ask,wants to show Tyler what he means, but he doesn’t want to push him away. “Tyler,”
Tyler can only nod in response, still not completely sure what’s going on and Josh’s eyes travel to Tyler’s mouth. Josh drags his eyes upward, and Tyler thinks he finally understands what Josh is asking for. “Could... Could I maybe-” Josh begins, nerves eating him alive.
“Tyler! Josh! Let’s get a move on guys!”
Tyler wishes he hadn’t taken so long to comprehend what Josh was hinting towards. Tyler wishes he could still feel Josh’s eyes on him, but now Josh was up and opening the door to let Mark know they were already on their way out.
“Come on Tyler,” Mark motions for him, “Jenna and Debby are waiting to give you the biggest group hug of your lives.”
The next time it happens, the hiatus is halfway over. Tyler and Josh are in his basement studio, and Tyler is showing Josh a few ideas he has for the new album, Trench, and Josh keeps nodding his head along to to this mellow beat Tyler is playing from his computer speakers.
He likes it. Josh likes the concept for this album a lot, but Tyler’s face looks so calm when he’s making music. Josh knows he has a problem, all he ever does is stare at Tyler, but he can’t help it, he’s the prettiest guy Josh has ever seen.
“Does it even fit the idea of the album?” Tyler asks, sitting back in his swiveling desk chair.
Josh sat, eyes still locked on Tyler as the shorter man continued to strum mindless chords on his bass. Josh didn’t know what it was, but he always loved the way he and Tyler sounded when they played music together.
“Yeah, it sounds great Ty.” Josh praises, finally meeting Tyler’s eyes, only to see he was already looking at Josh.
“Josh?” Tyler mumbled, pulling himself closer to Josh with his own feet.
“Yeah Tyler?” Josh asks, his eyes glued to the singer. Josh could feel his heart clench. He and Tyler hadn’t spent a lot of time together since the start of the hiatus, which was obviously bound to happen, but he missed his best friend. Josh knew he needed time for his feelings to pass though; he couldn’t have feelings for his best friend. He knew that, but he would need time to let himself to get over it.
“Do you- do you ever think about how different things would be if we were anybody else?” Tyler asks, sliding his bass to rest across his lap.
“What do you mean? Like completely different, body and all, or just situation wise? No band?” Josh askes, leaning closer and resting his elbows on his knees. Tyler lets out a heavy sigh, eyes no longer meeting Josh’s.
“Situation wise, I guess” He clarifies, plucking his thin fingers along the strings of his bass. He had a distant look on his face, like he was there, but not entirely listening.
Josh didn’t want it to seem like he didn’t know what Tyler was talking about, because he kind of understood. Tyler shifts his eyes back to Josh before talking again. “Without the band, where would you be? Who would you be with? What would you do?” Tyler’s plucking stops and he leans back against the chair. “ I think… I think I would have just given up on everything. My music, my family, my friends, my life even. I think I would have just given up.”
Josh sits for a minute, and he can already feel his throat clench at the thought of Tyler taking his own life. He couldn’t handle the reality of what he’d just said. Obviously Tyler has issues, he has since they met, and Josh isn’t dumb enough to think them kinds of things just go away, but he’s always hated the way Tyler made himself feel.
“Without this band, without music, I don’t think I’d be able to pull myself through. We’ve created such a positive outlet for ourselves, and our fans even. I get to create music and travel the world, and prove to people that they aren’t alone in this messed up world. We get to do all that together, Josh, my favorite person ever, by my side everyday.” Tyler knows Josh is staring at him, knows what Josh must be thinking, but even if Tyler does feel all those things, right now he just wants Josh to know how grateful he was to have him in his life.
Josh can feel his cheeks heat up, his heart beating faster than it should, but Josh feels bad to. All this time he had been avoiding his best friend and never stopped to think about how Tyler would feel.
“I’m not trying to make you feel bad or anything, I know know you’ve got a lot going on, that’s the whole reason we took a hiatus. I just…” Tyler huffs and drags a hand down his face. He’s searching for an explanation. “I just miss you.”
“Tyler, look, I’m sorry. I haven’t really been a good friend, I just got so wrapped up in-”
Josh is interrupted by a sharp bass chord, Tyler had been fidgeting nervously with the heavy object on his lap. Josh flinches, and Tyler apologizes immediately.”I got so wrapped up in my own feelings that I didn’t even stop to think about your’s.”Josh continues, raising his eyes to Tyler’s in hopes of him understanding just what he meant with his next claim. “I lost sight of what was important.”
Tyler swallows harshly; he had so much feeling for Josh, and he knew it wasn’t going away anytime soon, especially if Josh keeps saying things like that. Josh made Tyler overthink a lot of things, especially his feelings, but as the two leaned closer, Tyler found that he wasn’t really thinking about anything other than Josh’s lips.
Josh places a hand on the seat of the chair, next to Tyler’s leg for support. He can feel Josh’s breath on his mouth, a hint of hesitation lingering between them. So, he leans forward, ready to kiss Josh with all he has, cause maybe Josh really wants this too. At this point Tyler isn’t sure if he’ll ever know.
Instead, the rickety office chair gives way under him and he falls to the floor between Josh’s legs, in between their chairs. “Oh my god, are you okay?”
Tyler breaks into laugh, Josh following suit. All the humiliation he should be feeling didn’t really exist as he sat on the floor, laughter rumbling through his chest. There’s no way he could be embarrassed when it’s Josh he’s with. They laugh for a minute before Tyler is pulling himself up off the basement floor.
“So, you wanna watch a movie or something?”
Now it’s a few months later and the middle of the summer, and their on the edge of a cliff in Iceland. Jumpsuit was everything Tyler wanted it to be, and he hopes that the fans love this album just as much as the last, but now they’re waiting for the sun to set so they can continue shooting.
“So Josh,” Tyler say, looking to initiate some kind of conversation. It wasn’t awkward, they’d been talking all day, but as Tyler’s legs dangle off the wooden structure over the mountain, he can’t help but want to know what Josh is thinking. “How have you been? Hiatus ending wise.”
Josh sits down, tucking his legs into a crisscross formation next to Tyler. He stares out at the stream in front of them. The water that once soaked Tyler’s clothes now lapping calmly at the rocks surrounding it. “I think…”
Josh doesn’t really know what he thinks in all honesty. Was he really ready to be sucked back into the tour life? On the road everyday, playing shows is fun for awhile, but it’s tiring. Yeah, he loves paying his heart out on the drums, meeting the fans, and all the memories that came from the last tour, but it took so much out of him.
“I think that I’m excited. The concept, the music, everything we’ve come up with; I’m ready to see that.”
Tyler stares down at his feet, at how close Josh’s knee is to his thigh, how thin Josh’s pants probably were. Josh didi look pretty cold now that he thought about it.
“But,” Josh sighs, “Having that time off was nice. Taking care of Jim, actually hanging out with my family. Me and Debby are even friends again. The time away was nice.”
A puff of air leaves Josh’s nose, and Tyler nods. “Yeah, yeah I get that.”
They sit in silence for a minute or two, the quiet seeming to stretch a lifetime. Tyler hated this kind of silence, it wasn’t awkward, but it left room in his head to assume the worst. Had he pushed Josh into hating being around him? Had Josh not missed him as much as he missed Josh? Had Josh lost his desire to be in the band?
“Tyler.” Josh shakes Tyler from his thoughts. “Whatever you’re thinking, stop. Nothing has changed between us.”
Tyler kinda wants to laugh, claim that that’s kinda the problem. He wants things to change, Wants Josh to want that too. Josh had always been in arms reach, there when Tyler needed him, but now that Tyler wanted to get closer, he couldn’t find the right words. Word were his job, and that kinda made him wanna laugh too.
“Do you want things to change?” Josh questions, his eyebrows furrowed and his voice almost a whisper as he realizes why Tyler had been so worried about this hiatus. “Tyler?”
Tyler was frozen. What was he supposed to say? He had been pining after Josh since Vessel at least, and he wanted nothing more then for Josh to be be with him (like with him with him), but he was scared. What if all those times Josh had gotten so close were in the heat of the moment, or what if Josh just couldn’t see him that way.
But now Josh was holding Tyler’s holding Tyler’s hand between his own and rubbing the back of it with his thumb. “I think things have already kinda changed Ty.”
Tyler wants to escape, eyes looking for anything to lock onto but Josh. “What uh, what do you mean man?” Tyler is pretty sure he knows exactly what he means, but he wants to hear it outloud. He needed to know what Josh wanted.
“We’ve almost kissed twice Tyler, and there’s always been some sort of tension there, I just kinda thought it was one sided.” Josh responded, his eyes locked on their conjoined fingers.
“Those weren’t, like, accidents or something?” Tyler questions, his brain kind of stuttering with disbelief.
“So, you like, wanna kiss me and stuff?” Tyler asks, looking at Josh with a questioning look, like he’s waiting for the punchline to this joke.
“Yeah, totally wanna kiss you Ty, Always have.”
“Even right now?”
“Especially right now.”
Josh takes that as a “go ahead” kind of okay, so he leans closer. This time Josh is determined this time, nothing is getting in his way of kissing Tyler.. He moves his hands to Tyler’s cheeks and he can finally feel how close Tyler is again, after all them months it had felt like some dream.
So they kiss, and now Josh wonder’s how he had ever lived without it. Without Tyler’s lips on his, but he swears he can feel tears on his cheeks, leaking from Tyler’s eyes and he doesn’t care, because he’ll kiss them away. Tyler’s tears, his cheeks, and every space in between, because he’s so happy.
Debby will probably make fun of them for taking so long, and Jenna will probably hug them, because she’s always known, claiming “they just needed time”. They loved their boys, their best friends, but they had been completely oblivious to each other’s feelings.
But hey, now they could go on double dates.