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Flightless (ON HOLD)

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Oh look. It happened again. My arm is painted red, and the red is pouring down the drain, just like my happiness. I used to feel happy when I did this, but it doesn't work anymore, because I am numb.

I placed the bloody knife back down on the granite counter. More of the substance dripped from the blade, causing that to be red, too. I like the color red, because it describes my whole life. I also like the color blue, because that's what I am. I'm a sad, weak blue boy who's blue skin is painted red.

I like the pain, because that's the only time I'm beautiful. Red makes me look good. Pink doesn't, because that color doesn't describe my life. Instead, it tells me that I failed, because I can't feel like the color. I can only feel like blue, and I can only see red.

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"Where are you going?" Kai asked me.

She always asked that question. She's always worried. She shouldn't be, because she should only feel happiness. She should feel pink, and green.

Green is a vibrant color, and is a natural color that means beautiful. Red is beautiful, too, but Kai shouldn't feel that color.

Right now, she's gray.

Brendon is gray, too. But he should feel yellow and gold, bright like the sun.

"Out." I replied, pulling my sleeve farther down my arm. I didn't want her to feel blue. Kai always gets blue when she sees my red.

She nodded, her green eyes shining in sorrow. C'mon! She needs to be green, like her eyes! "Don't worry! I'm fine." I said, giving her the best, pink smile I could make. I didn't feel it though.

"Bye." She murmured. My sister was still gray. I waved, rushing out the door and shutting it behind me. I sighed, leaning against the polished wood.

I didn't like it when people weren't happy.

The only person who deserves to be gray, blue, red, and white, was me.

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The sun had set already as I walked into the store. The few people in there gave me gray looks, probably noticing the dark circles under my eyes, or the sharpness of my cheekbones.

I ignored them, stumbling through the aisles as I scanned the multiple shelves. I steered clear of the med section, not wanting to look as the faux-colored pills. The vibrant yellows were fake. The bright, happy pinks were a disguise for the blue, gray, and white pills.

The clock ticked and tocked repeatedly as time passed. The only things I had in my hands was a new phone charger and a few snacks for Kai and Brendon. I don't like to eat.

I was broken out of the blue thoughts when a few loud bangs echoed through the small shop. The blue was replaced by white when I realized I was hearing gunshots, but I ignored that as well as I kept my eyes trained on the "interesting" book about romance. I also ignored the sound of a gun barrel revolving right behind me, ready for my blue world to go blank; Colorless. I wanted it to end.

I turned around when I realized my world was still filled with white and blue. My gaze was met with a small gun. I looked at the man holding the gun. What caught my attention was the mess of red strands on top of his head. So did the gun in his hand, but now my head was filled with questions. Confusion.

Why am I still in color? I asked myself. "Hello,"I rasped, eternally cringing at the sound of my voice. I didn't like my voice, especially if I was talking to strangers. Even if they were holding a loaded gun to my head. Did I forget to mention the dead body painted in red lying on the floor, motionless, like my useless body should be doing right now? "Can I help you?"

All the man with red hair did was stare.

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Josh's POV

You could say that I was pretty surprised. I mean, I have this beautiful specimen at gunpoint, and all he does is say, "Can I help you?" His originally sun-kissed skin was pale, and his cheekbones were sharp and very noticeable. His doe eyes were dull and lifeless, prominent dark circles surrounding them. I knew there was something more to this boy.

"Come with me. If you even think about running, I'll shoot."

He gave me a surprised look. "Uh. Why do you want me to come with you?" Seriously? Was he even scared when I threatened to end his life?

"Keep your mouth shut." I growled, gripping his wrist and pulling him out of the store. I pushed him into my car, trying not to hurt him, for some damn reason. My friend, Jeffery, looked up at me, raising a brow.

"More prey?" He asked, analyzing the small man. His expression was still slightly surprised, but he seemed calmer than I thought he would. Why the fuck is he so calm? "He doesn't look any fun." The Irishman said, scoffing as the captive raised his brow back at him.

He took a frail hand, running it through he mocha-colored hair. "What do you mean by fun? Aren't you just gonna kill me? Get it done with already." He said, his voice causing a shiver to run down my side. Everything about him was perfect. The more I thought about it, the more I realized something. The tone of his voice was needy.

As if he wanted his life to end.

Jeffery laughed as if what the other man had said was the funniest thing he heard his entire life. "Of course not, silly. We're goin' to have our way with you. You're gonna be our toy, sweetheart."

The beauty's eyes widened, his face becoming even paler than it was before. "Why do you want me to be your toy. I'm not really any fun, if you can see. " He said, gesturing to his body.

Tyler's POV

"You look pretty tasty to me." The second man chuckled, licking his lips as he gazed at me through the rear view mirror. I nearly threw up at what he said. What does he mean by that. I look bland. Blue, gray, and red. But he can't see the red.

The man with red hair looked lost in thought, allowing me to look at him fully. He had a muscular build, and his arm was covered in tattoos. His tank-top was all black, and he wore a pair of skinny jeans. He looked scary and good at the same time. Way better than me.

This man's life must be pink, and filled with red. But this red was not his own.

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I was now super confused.

First, a normal night becomes super weird when a guy with red hair comes up out of nowhere, pointing a gun at my head. Then he forces me to come with him after not shooting me. His friend named Jason, or something, called me tasty. What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

Now I find myself here.

I'm strapped to a chair, harshly, my wrist stuck together. I gave up my thrashing, realizing that I was just giving myself a rope burn on my bony wrists and ankles.

Where am I?

I look around, realizing the carpet seemed clean, and a large king-sized bed was behind me. The curtains looked like they were made of velvet, the black material smooth and soft.

Am I in a hotel room? When did I even get here?

 

All I remember was sitting in the car, and then my vision went black. When I thought harder, I remembered Jeffery stopping, quickly grabbing a bat and slamming me in the head.

My world went black, but not forever, like I wanted it to be.

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Tyler's POV

 

The next time I woke up, I was laying in the bed. The chair was now next to me instead of holding me. The man with red hair was sitting in it, no ropes in sight. Jeffery was nowhere to be seen.

"You're awake," he said cooly, once he noticed I was awake. Instead of responding, I just stared. His hair was a pretty red. It reminded me of my red. How much I craved to be red.

"Don't do that!" He growled suddenly, pulling at my wrist. I didn't even notice I had reached for my arm, scratching absentmindedly. Red. Red. Red. I smiled as I watched the only thing vibrant about me fall down my pale skin and onto my ratty clothing, staining that red, as well. A wonderful, beautiful scarlet. Much like the man's hair.

He had gone, reappearing with a white rag, smearing the red on my skin, putting pressure on the reopened wounds. When he pulled back, the cloth was no longer just white. It was white and red, like me. It just needed some gray.

 

"Don't...do that," he repeated, before walking away, taking the tainted cloth with him. How sad.

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Josh's POV

 

The way the boy talked may be scratchy and uneven, but his voice was still smooth and soothing to my ears. He didn't talk much, usually mumbling to himself about "red" and "gray" and "white" and "black." Sometimes other random colors would be added into the crazy mix of hazy words.

His movements, although small and sometimes jerky, were clean and smooth. The way he lightly traced the patterns in the bedding or the headboard. The way he'd run his spindly fingers through his hair (which definitely needed a wash). The way he gracefully turned his elegant, frail neck to randomly and emptily examine the room, looking bored and emotionless, almost sad.

His skin, for the most part, was smooth. Tan skin tinged gray, almost ghostly pale. Eyes highlighted by dark bags. A smattering of freckles placed cutely across the bridge of his nose and on the highs of his cheekbones, which were as hollow as his empty brown orbs. The smooth skin, however, was disturbed on his arms by angry, jagged scars. Pale tan transforming into lines of fresh red and healed white. Layers of different tones and shades.

He felt a spark of protectiveness run through him when the boy started absentmindedly tearing at the scars, just emptily staring as the blood flowed. Yes, I know it's weird to want to protect the boy you had just threatened and kidnapped not even twenty-four hours ago. But what can I say? Jeffery was right.

He looked absolutely delicious.

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Tyler's POV

 

When Jeffery came back, he didn't say much. Neither did the red-haired man. I didn't say anything, either. I know I should be scared, but I still don't feel anything. I'm still completely numb. Emotionless, except for the faint blue that crept into my jumbled, hazy thoughts.

I don't know how long I've been sitting here with the man, looking over the same hotel walls. It's boring, yes, but I'm used to it. It's oddly peaceful, much more peaceful than my normal everyday life. It's quiet.

"Josh," Jeffery's voice broke me out of my aimless thoughts, and I realized he was talking to the man sitting in the chair beside me. "We better get going. People might be lookin' out for this one." He warned, flicking his gaze over to me before looking back at Josh.

The only people that might be looking for me are Kai and maybe Brendon. Though, he said him and his fiancé, Sarah, were going out on a trip to Washington, and as far as I knew, we were still in California. Kai, however, worries about me 150% of the time. A shaky, pale blue, which she needn't feel for me. I'm fine as long as I have my red.

I was tired. I didn't fight to listen to the rest of my captors' conversation, allowing myself to be pulled into a temporary black abyss, swallowed by a vast field of nothingness.

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Tyler's POV

 

The next time I woke up, I was sitting in the back of the same car, my head resting on a ratty old bag. Staticy rock music played through the speakers, along with the soft hum of the engine and the soft tap tap tap of fingers against the steering wheel.

I was confused, but I was too tired to ask where we were or where we were going. The only thing I recognized with my eyesight was the vibrant dye of Josh's hair.

The glitched strumming of a guitar lulled me back to sleep.

A cold hand on my shoulder firmly shook me until I opened my eyes. Jeffery, the mean-looking one, was looking down at me from where he was leaning in through the door, a scowl plastered on his face. "Get off my bag, bitch." He practically growled, all but snagging the bag from under my head. I winced at the feeling, but didn't say anything.

He closed the door, walking into what seemed to be a gas station. I took the chance to look around, noticing that Josh wasn't in the car with me. They left me here alone? Well, I guess there's no point in running away. I don't even know where I am. There are no signs around.

I can't go back to sleep. I just have to wait.

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Tyler's POV

I woke up (again) when the door by my head opened, allowing the cold air to wrap itself around me. I slowly sat up, rubbing the heeled of my palms against my eyes. A familiar tuft of colorful hair entered my vision as Josh started placing on the floor of the car. "Eat anything in that bag. You look a little bit too skinny." He said.

I wrapped my arms around my body self-consciously. I nodded, even though I didn't plan on eating anything.

He must've noticed the movement and mistaken it for me being cold—which I was—because he took off his jacket and wrapped it around my shoulders.

He slammed the door behind him, getting into the front seat. Jeffery sat in the driver's seat soon after, placing two bags at Josh's feet. He started the car, sighing in contentment as the vehicle started to warm up a bit.

Jeffery looked back at me, tapping his fingers on the wheel. "You better get comfortable, sweetheart, 'cause we have a long ways to go 'till we get to our destination," he said, eying Josh's coat before turning to face forward, backing the car out of the parking lot.

Making sure he wasn't looking, I pulled Josh's jacket closet to me, burying my face into the collar. I don't know why, but it made me feel safe and secure, something I haven't felt in a long time—not since that night.

I watched as the land around as changed through the window, and a sign informed me that we were in the state of California. That was where Brendon and Sara were going on there trip, right? Somewhere in LA, I think. I can't remember it clearly.

I wonder how they're doing. Are they okay? Do they know I am gone? Does Kai know I am gone? The thought of my adoptive sister not noticing my disappearance hurts me. I feel something in my chest squeeze. I reach down to scratch my wrist, but I stopped, remembering how Josh had reacted last time. He was upset. Something about the thought of him being upset made me sad.

Why?

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Tyler's POV

I didn't know exactly where we were. The desolate roads had long passed, small neighborhoods, and then cities, taking their place. I finally spotted a few signs on buildings, "Las Angeles" in big neon letters being repetitively shoved into my field of vision. That's where Brendon and Sarah took their trip.

My attention turned from my view out of the window to the staticky radio as Jeffery switched it from punk rock to what sounded like a news station. I didn't really listen to what the lady was saying until I heard something that surprised me.

"Five days ago, twenty-two-year-old Tyler Joseph had left his house, stating that he was heading out. His sister, Kairi, had said that she had not heard from him since and that it was unlike him to just disappear. If you know anything about the whereabouts of Tyler Joseph, please contact a local police station near you."

I stopped listening after that, entering a light daze. People were...looking for me? I almost felt elated, and then my excited yellow faded to a sad gray. There was no way anybody would find me. I was stuck a few states away from my home. There was no way anybody would recognize or even find me. The only times I had left the car were when we made bathroom stops, and both men always made sure that the hood of Josh's jacket—which he still hasn't taken back, yet—was pulled securely over my head.

"Well, well, well," Jeffery hummed to himself, looking at Josh out of the corner of his eye before slightly turning his head to look at me. "Seems like people are looking for you, princess." I didn't like the teasing lilt in his voice.

"Don't call me that," I mumbled. Even though I tried to sound as threatening as I could, there wasn't a lot of bite in my voice.

"Oh no! Looks like someone's a lil' feisty, aye Josh?"

"Shut up, Jeffery."

"Damn, fine. You guys ain't any fun," Jeffery groaned, sighing heavily as he focused back on the road. It was now completely silent, the radio muted and an awkward atmosphere surrounding us, but that bubble had already been there.

Has it only been five days since I left the house? It feels like it's been forever.

The car finally halted in front of a dinky-looking jazz bar. I looked over Jeffery's shoulder, checking the time on his watch. It was 5 AM, still dark out. The sun wouldn't start to rise until around 6:30 AM.

I couldn't see the full name of the bar since most of the big neon letters were out. All I could see was a rapidly blinking 'C.' It reminded me of that weird Target vine that Brendon had shown me a year ago. I muffled a snort, remembering how breathless he had been from laughing. I didn't understand why he found it so funny, but he was smashed at the time, so I couldn't blame him. I had only gotten drunk once, and he had said that I had gotten pretty giggly and affectionate, which I could not imagine.

They waited a few minutes before a light in the bar flickered on. Both men exited the car, Josh coming around to the back to open my door. I almost questioned him when he gently pulled me out of my seat, but I kept my mouth shut. I was too confused, and honestly a bit dizzy. I hadn't eaten much, but the red-haired man had gotten me to drink half of a bitter Kombucha bottle.

He ushered me to follow Jeffery as he opened the trunk, hauling out what seemed to be a pretty heavy bag. The other caught my attention by whistling, beckoning me to follow behind him. When I got close enough, he pulled Josh's hood over my head, covering my hair and one of my eyes.

The sign on the door of the bar said 'CLOSED,' but Jeffery still pulled it open, pushing me in. His grip was way harsher and more unpleasant than Josh's, but I didn't say anything. He forced me into one of the stools, going behind the bar and opening a slim bottle of Vodka. He offered it to me, and I shook my head.

As soon as Josh entered with the bag, two figures walked out of one of the back rooms. I didn't look at them, focusing on the feeling of my kidnapper's jacket enveloping me.

"Josh, my man! Where have you been?" Said a very cheerful and familiar voice.

I swiftly turned around, staggering to my feet. I pulled the hood off, eyes widening in shock.

"Brendon?"

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Tyler's POV

 

"Brendon?"

I couldn't believe my eyes. I must be seeing things. There was no way Brendon actually knew my kidnappers.

I rubbed my knuckles harshly across my eyelids before blinking rapidly. I looked back up at the familiar-sounding man, and I nearly fainted when I realized that I wasn't hallucinating or hearing things. Dark hair and eyes. Strong jawline. The tattoos on his exposed arm.

It was definitely Brendon.

My hands flew up to my hair, pulling at the strands as I tried to get my head on straight. I was almost losing my mind. "There is no way! No way, no way, no way..."

My jumbled mumbling was interrupted by a strong pair of hands gripping my wrists, gently pulling my fingers away from my now messy hair. It must've been Jeffery, since the body I was pulled against was less muscular, and the person seemed taller.

I didn't really like it as much as I would've if it was Josh, but I was too out of it to care.

As Jeffery slowly managed to (somehow) calm me down, I saw Brendon glare at Josh out of the corner of my eye. It kind of scared me a little. The only time I've seen him so enraged was when Kai beat him at a game of Call of Duty Black Ops. It was weird seeing his usually warm, brown eyes get so harsh. I swore for a moment that they were red.

"What the fuck is he doing here?" Brendon seethed, jabbing an angry finger in my direction.

Josh stumbled over his words. "I-I...We, uh...I found him in a store and, uh, kind of..." he trailed off, his hand scratching the back of his neck nervously.

The dark-haired man shook his head in disbelief. "No. There is no way you just...You just fucking kidnapped Tyler? From a store? He was with you the entire time?" Brendon's gesticulations got increasingly more violent the more he spoke. "That is utterly ridiculous! I wouldn't think you—of all people—would do something so damn stupid! What was going through your fucking head?"

Jeffery chuckled, "Well, we were hammered. Like, really hammered. We 'ad a few blunts, too."

I finally noticed Sarah standing behind her fiance, arms crossed and lips turned down in disappointment. She usually gave Kai that look when she randomly gorged herself on chocolate whenever she went through her own bouts of depression. One time, she got so done that she locked her in her room with some water bottles, her favorite salad, an iPod and headphones, and a purple fidget cube. All the chocolate was put in the bottom of the freezer. I wonder if Kai ever found the stash.

I felt myself being pulled out of Jeffery's grip, and I squeaked in surprise as Brendon pushed me behind him. "As soon as we finish business here, I'm taking Tyler back. Honestly, you guys are a bunch of fools."

He pushed me towards the backroom, Sarah gently guiding me by the wrist. Before disappearing through the doorway, I looked over my shoulder at Josh. He gave me a sheepish smile, shame clear in his expression. I felt my cheeks heat up, but I turned my head away from him before I could question it too much.

After Brendon shut the door behind us, he quickly enveloped me in a warm embrace. "Jesus Christ, Ty. We thought we'd lost you! Kairi called us and said that you were gone and we were so worried."

I was surprised by how different he sounded from his usual bubbly self. The last time he sounded like this was when Sarah had accidentally fallen and hit her head on the stairs. He had helped her down for a straight month whenever she left home, no matter how much she protested.

He suddenly pulled away for me, examining my feature. "God, you look like shit, Tyler. Did they hurt you? Are they feeding you? I swear if they—"

"Why are you here?" I cringed as my voice rasped, interrupting his angry threats. I cleared my throat, continuing on. "I thought you guys were just on a trip. How do you know Josh?"

Brendon took a deep breath, his brown-eyed gaze flickering between Sarah and me. She must've given a sign of silent agreement, because he sighed, placing his hand on my shoulder and leading me to a table tucked in the back corner.

"We have a lot to discuss, Ty."

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Tyler's POV

 

"Listen, Ty, I know this might sound crazy, but you have to listen to me," said Brendon, standing next to the table he had set me down at. Sarah sat in the chair adjacent to me, giving me a reassuring look.

"Just tell me already," I croaked, running a hand through my hair.

Brendon chuckled bitterly, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "Well, uh, as you can see, we know Josh and Jeffery," he started. I nodded my head, encouraging him to go on.

He took a deep breath. "We are part of a few...gangs, I guess?" Sarah shrugged when he raised a brow at her. "Josh and Jeffery are just criminals. They can either do their own thing or they can take orders from a more...organized group, like us," he gestured to Sarah and himself.

"You mean, like," I gulped, "a mafia? Organized crime?"

Brendon nodded.

"So, what about this trip you were supposed to be on? This is what you were really doing?"

"We got called out, and we didn't know how to break it to you. We didn't even know if we could," he paused. "Kai had been in the business, too, due to family connections and shit like that, but she didn't really want a part in it. She luckily got off easy."

I slumped in my chair, my chin falling to my chest. "You...didn't trust me?" I rasped, not looking up to meet Brendon's eyes.

He fell to his knees in front of my chair, encasing his hands around one of my own. His fiance (right? I can't remember lol) reached out to grab my other. "Of course we did, Ty. We just didn't know how to tell you, or how you would react. Any normal human being would—and should—call the police the moment anybody told them something like that."

A small smile graced my face, "Guess I'm not a normal human being, then."

Brendon smiled at me in return, pearly white teeth on display. He pushed himself up to hug me, patting my back softly. Sarah's hand reached over to gently touch my shoulder, her own lips quirking to form a soft grin.

A knock on the door demanded all of our attention, loud and slightly panicked. "Um, he is here," Jeffery said meekly. I was surprised at how quiet he was, used to his flamboyant and teasing nature. It was hard to picture him all curled in on himself. Maybe his shoulders were hunched, or maybe he was nervously twiddling his thumbs. I almost laughed at the thought.

"Who?" I asked, looking down at Brendon, who had gone back to kneeling in front of me.

"Somebody that you don't want to see," Brendon pulled me out of my chair as he stood up, pushing me to sit in a dark corner. "I know you're not gonna like this, but I want you to stay out of sight. Do not move."

I nodded.

"In a moment, we're going to turn the lights off, and it's going to be completely silent. Do not make any sound. Trust me."

As much as I trusted Brendon, I hated the dark. Anything could be hiding, or lurking in the corners. I guess I am one of those things, now. Doesn't mean I was going to like it. It was the shade of black that I didn't want to be surrounded by. I would rather be taken by sleep, or surrounded by the cold hands of death than be trapped in the dark, by myself and all alone.

"No, Brendon, no, no," I shook my head this time, grabbing at his forearms.

Brendon shushed me gently, running a hand through my hair as he tried to soothe my nerves. It was like when I had those nightmares. "You'll be safe, I promise."

Those soft words and touched didn't really do anything to calm my nerves, but he still managed to calm me down. "Okay," I rasped. "I trust you."

The smile he gave me didn't quite reach his eyes this time. I felt the neverending dread fill my body as he slowly walked away from me and out of the room. Sarah followed behind him, waving meekly before turning off the light.

Okay. I can do this...I think.

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Josh's POV

 

Of course, the boy we had kidnapped just happened to know our partners in crime. Now we'll have Brendon breathing down our necks for a while—if not for the rest of our lives—but I can't worry about that right now. We have a bigger problem at hand in the form of a man in a three-piece suit and the gun in his hand.

As Brendon locked the door behind him, he gave me a look that said he was going to have a few words with me in the future. I nodded in understanding before turning back to the bar's entrance.

The man walked in just as Brendon reached my side, Sarah close behind him. The man's lackeys were standing tall on either side of him, their sharp eyes hidden behind sunglasses. They all looked dapper in their crisp suits, each set probably costing more than my car. I felt underdressed,  but I tried my best not to look uncomfortable. I didn't want to show weakness in front of these people.

Their leader, a man in his mid-thirties, sneered at us as he looked us over, his gaze lingering on our piercings and choice of clothing. "Do you have my money?" Trikk questioned, his hands folded along the top of his cane.

Brendon and I both headed behind the bar, grabbing both of our cases. His lackeys took the cases, bringing them to a table to count the money.

Trikk strode around us towards the bar, and my eyes followed his every move. Knowing that Tyler was just in the next room made me not want to take my eyes off of the crime boss.

He grabbed a bottle of scotch from under the bar, pouring some into a small glass. He leaned against the counter, sipping at the drink before setting it down on the wood. His gaze traveled around the room, and I stiffened as his gaze landed on the door that lead to the room next door.

"I really hope you don't disappoint me. Those drugs and guns were some the best we had. We don't get another stock of the ecstasy until next month, and those Russians are a little reluctant to hand us any more of those guns," he paused. "You didn't disappoint me, did you?"

Before any of us could answer, one of Trikk's men arrived at his side, whispering in his ear. The man hummed, picking up his drink as he pushed himself off of the counter. "Fifty dollars short."

"Look, man, it just fifty dollars," Brendon laughed nervously.

Trikk chuckled, taking out the gun attached to his lackey's belt. "I told you when we last met that I wanted no less than $25,000 dollars."

"Sir, we can get you the fifty dollars as fast as we can," Sarah said hesitantly.

The crime boss scoffed, "You won't need to do that, since I'm going to take what I want right now," he gestured towards the door. "What's in there."

"Nothing," I said a little bit too quickly.

He smirked, and it sent chills down my spine. Trikk pointed the gun at the door handle and pulled the trigger. The handle broke, along with the lock.

Trikk sauntered over to the door and kicked it open. He came back out with a hand leading Tyler by the back of his neck, causing him to whimper. "Who's this little one? He looks to innocent to be robbin' banks. Is he a prostitute?"

"He is not part of this. Leave him alone," Brendon growled, reaching for his gun. Sarah stopped him, whacking him in the shoulder.

"You're not in a position to be making orders, Mr. Urie," he harshly pushed Tyler away, and I caught him in my arms as he stumbled. "I expect the money by the end of the week. You better not fuck this up. It would be a shame to see something happen to your friend."

Trikk and his lackeys exited the bar, getting into a armored black van and driving off.

I held the boy tightly against my chest as he simpered, running my hand through his short hair. I shushed him gently, ignoring the furious glare Brendon was sending my way.

Jeffery looked upset for once, his arms crossed over his chest with a concerned look plastered on his face.

Brendon broke the silence. "That bitch took my fucking cup."

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Brendon's POV

 

I watched as Josh held Tyler to his chest, cradling him in his arms. It was as if they had known each other for years, even though it seems to have only been a few weeks since Kai had called me, crying into her phone.

I hated Josh at the moment, but seeing them now confused me. Why was Tyler letting that man touch him and comfort him so easily, even after he had taken him away from his friends—his family—so selfishly.

Tyler looked so tiny in the man's arms, sobbing into his shoulder. Josh looked at me, an expression I had never seen on him painted across his face. He looked miserable, as if seeing the boy cry hurt him as much as it hurt me. Something else shone in his eyes. He looked determined—not the kind that I had see when Jeffery had challenged him to some sort of drinking game, but the kind that a mother has protecting her child.

What was Tyler to Josh? There has to be another reason other thank the fact that he was shit-faced and high. What had Josh seen in my dearest friend?

Maybe he just needed someone to hold or protect, or maybe I'm looking into this too much. Maybe he was just an idiot who kidnapped someone who I just happened to know.

 

Tyler's POV

I hated it so much. It was dark and quiet in that room, and all I had wanted to do in that moment was to fall asleep and never wake up again.

The quiet was so loud, the voices and the ringing unrelenting. Then the shot rang out, and the door was open. The man's shadow was much scarier than the darkness that had embraced me before, tall and muscular. His imposing shadow stretched out across the room, almost touching my feet.

The large hand gripping the back of my neck terrified me; It reminded me of being scolded as a small child for talking back to my parents.

Being embraced by Josh made me feel safer. He held me so carefully, as if I would break from the slightest touch. I just might. I don't know why I felt so safe in the arms of the man who had stolen me from my family.

Josh’s hand was a comforting weight on my back as he lead me to a room above the bar. He settled me in a cot tucked in the corner of the room, running a hand through my hair until I fell asleep.

Crashing. Flipping. Fire. Burning. Warm hands. Blood. Screaming. Sirens.

Red

I sat up, gasping for air. I couldn’t breathe, a cold hand gripping my heart and lungs. All I could hear was the ringing in my ears. I couldn’t see anything but darkness. It was no longer comforting like it used to be. Is this what death was really like? A constant feeling of dread and nothingness?

“Ty, calm down. It was just a dream.”

The ringing stopped and I could suddenly breathe again, pulling air into my lungs. The darkness disappeared, and Sarah materialized beside me.

She slowly reached a hand up to touch my shoulder, as if I was a frightened animal—which I guess I was. She pulled me into a gentle hug, much like she used to do when the nightmares embraced my mind. They had stopped, but now they were back.

I didn’t like that kind of embrace. It reminded me of the guy in the suit. It was his fault. I hated him. I was starting to get better, and now I’m scared. He made the darkness an uncomfortable embrace.

Chapter Text

Tyler's POV

I didn't sleep for the rest of the night. Whenever I tried, nightmares were painted on the back of my eyelids.

I had told Sarah to go to bed, that I would be fine on my own. Obviously, I wasn't, but when Sarah tried to stay, I had told her that I wanted to be alone.

Getting up in the morning was like driving a car drunk. My limbs were heavy and light at the same time, my head fuzzy and aching. Josh had offered me a small smile and a snack, making me feel a little better. The kiss he had placed on the crown of my head seemed to dull the ache. Brendon glared at the action, brows furrowed at the red-haired man.

The order was sudden.

"Tyler, get in the car," Brendon said, grabbing a bag full if necessities.

"What?" Josh got up quickly from his seat at the bar, eyes wide.

"Don't even start, Joshua. Tyler was suddenly taken from his loving home and thrown into this shitstorm. He needs to go back, far away from you," he paused before continuing. "If you cared about him, you'd let him go without saying a word.

Hurt flashed across his face.

Jeffery, who had just entered the bar to hear Brendon's words, raised his voice. "Do you really think he's safer there than with us? After Big-Boss saw him? No way."

Brendon growled, "Yes, because the further away he is from you two idiots, the safer he is! You guys were the ones who pissed him off in the first place! You were supposed to get the rest of the fifty dollars nights ago! What happened?"

Josh looked guilty. "I was high, and we went to rob the store to get the cash, but..." His eyes flashed to me and the back to Brendon.

Brendon groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. "You got Tyler instead." He looked back up. "Tyler, c'mon. We're going."

Josh tried to interject but Brendon didn't listen to him. He grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the bar. When I looked back, both Josh and Jeffery looked upset. I waved, wanting to say something, but I was afraid Brendon would yell at me.

I'm always afraid of something.

Sarah followed close behind, and apologetic expression painted on her face. Brendon gently pushed me into the back of his car, a sleek black Camaro.

"Don't worry, Ty. We'll be home soon."

I wasn't worried about that. Something felt wrong.

Brendon started driving, and when I looked out the window to see Josh and Jeffery standing outside of the bar, that sense of wrongness only grew larger. I had tried to tell the couple in the front that it didn't feel right, but Brendon just hushed me quietly and Sarah shook her head, looking at me through the rearview mirror.

Only a few hours later, it happened.

It was painful, oh, so painful. It felt like a swarm of bees had stung every inch of my body.

Oh, no. Not again. Please, I don't want to lose them again.

Darkness.

Chapter Text

Tyler's POV

We were on our way home from my high school choir's jazz concert. Kairi, who we were dropping going to drop off at her house, and I were seated in the middle section. My parents were in front of use while all three of my siblings were placed in the back. It was 7:30 PM and I was nearly asleep when it happened.

The light was red. The car in front of us was still, and when my father was about to slow down behind it, the truck behind us rammed into our van. The van flew into the still car, and we were crushed from both sides. The glass broke from the force, jagged shards falling covering us with cuts and lacerations. The last thing I heard before I passed out was the sound of Madison's shrill screaming.

 

Both of my parents had died upon impact. My two brothers had died on the way to the hospital, their internal organs crushed and their limbs broken. Madison had made it to the hospital but had died during surgery. Kairi had a severe concussion and I had made it out with minor injury. I was the only one in my family who had survived.

Kairi's parents had adopted me as their son, and I lived with them for the next three years. We had moved out when she went to attend college. I tried to go as well, but I soon dropped out due to my severe depression and anxiety. I had no motivation to play music anymore.

Brendon had been a friend from high school who had graduated three years before we had. We reconnected soon after the accident, and he had done his best to help me. However much he tried, I was forever trapped in my despair and self-loathing. I wanted to die.

The only things that were beautiful were the vibrant colors of red and the bottomless shade of black. Oh, how much I longed to drown in it. I wanted to be smothered in its cold embrace. The closest I could ever come to it was when I slept, but the peacefulness never lasts.

I want it to drown me.