A common misconception people have about Elliot Anderson is the thought that he’s just simply antisocial. Of course, he will speak. Of course. It just has to be with the right person.
Elliot used to lie to his therapist, consistently saying that he would meet girls at parties and go on dates.
Elliot used to lie to Angela, telling her that he was in a stable relationship and not to worry about him.
Elliot used to lie to himself, though. He would lie to himself as he said “I don’t need Tyrell. I don’t like him. In fact, I hate him.”
But that’s not true. He likes Tyrell. He damn just might love Tyrell, and the thought is simply terrifying. But he’ll deny, deny, deny, and say he’s just antisocial. He’ll say he doesn’t like people. He’ll say he works better alone. But he can’t keep Tyrell’s name out of his mouth.
Tell me where Tyrell is.
I need to find Tyrell.
I’m looking for Tyrell.
I have to find Tyrell.
And when Elliot and Tyrell reunited for the first time in what seemed like forever, Elliot couldn’t handle it. Or perhaps it wasn’t him? It felt like someone else was taking control— someone else had the reins until it was him back in his own body, watching Tyrell’s face drain of all emotion as he stumbled away into the night. It was heartbreaking. And he watched, hands still dripping with that insistent reminder that this was all his fault. He did this. He had Tyrell’s phone in his pocket, the screen smudged with bloody fingerprints that were quickly drying. He didn’t want to look at it right now.
He got home, and he didn’t want to look at it, either. Robot’s been absent. Elliot hasn’t felt the need to speak, of course. He didn’t have anyone to speak /to/. Tyrell was gone. So Robot was gone. There’s no need to talk when the person you wanted to speak to most stumbled off into he snowy forest. It only took a quick stop at the sink to break once more, not even getting a chance to run his freezing fingers under the water before he sank to the floor.
What do normal people do when they get this sad?
Reach out to friends or family, he supposed.
Elliot hadn’t even spoken to himself since that night. He’s been mute. Eventually his hands were washed, and he was running a damp cloth over the phone he so desperately tried to avoid thinking about. He clenched his jaw and unclenched and clenched again, working up the nerve to actually go through its contents. It wasn’t hard to hack a phone, not really. But the emotional toll of this one was all too debilitating.
He did it anyway. It took all of five minutes before he had Tyrell’s unlocked phone in his hands, some dried blood still caked around the sides. It made Elliot want to vomit. He hovered shaking thumbs over the fluorescent screen, pressing one down on the photos app. If you asked him, he wouldn’t be able to tell you why he did it. He was curious. He had to look. And it wasn’t much, not at first. Fairly mundane, for someone like Tyrell. A picture of a dinner he had recently. A picture of a finch outside his apartment. A picture of a takeout menu. Elliot kept scrolling, and he kept scrolling, and he kept scrolling, and he only stopped once he saw himself. Pictures of himself, lying on the concrete, bleeding out. Were those Tyrell’s hands pressing on his wound? He couldn’t tell. There were five pictures in the set. He couldn’t stop staring. How poetic, he thought. How poetic it was that they both got shot in the same place. How chillingly comforting.
Elliot spent two more days with the phone. He kept it unlocked and in his possession, and he would go through Tyrell’s photos every so often. He grew fond of seeing the pictures of nature, the pictures of food, the pictures of his hotel room keys with the numbers on them (just so he didn’t forget). It reminded him how mundane Tyrell could be. He could be so normal. He could live normally.
Wouldn’t it be beautiful? To live a normal life?
To wake up every morning next to your lover, to get up and make breakfast—despite wanting to stay in bed forever. To celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, funerals. To love and be loved, and not have to worry about the consequences. To kiss him goodnight.
Did Elliot want to kiss Tyrell goodnight?
He didn’t have time, really, for a crisis about his feelings. He didn’t have time right now particularly. There was a pounding at his door, something so desperate and pleading, someone on the other end who couldn’t stand to stay in one place. And Elliot didn’t hesitate at all. He damn near ran to swing the door open, half of an apology passing his lips before even seeing the man himself. And he broke, again.
This time, though, it was different. He cried, and he was vulnerable. And Robot wasn’t there, no, not this time. He mumbled apologies and pulled Tyrell in by his lapels, not really caring what the other was saying to him. Everything was muffled. All he could feel was heat under Tyrell’s chest, the quickening pace of his heartbeat, and the vibrations of his voice. He didn’t care. He kept saying it.
Tyrell seemed to be a bit in disbelief. He was comforting Elliot, anyway—rubbing his back, giving little ‘it’s okay’s and ‘I’m here’s. Elliot couldn’t handle it. The way he acted, the way he’s acting. His inhibitions are gone, now, and Robot is nowhere to be seen. They’re alone, for once. They’re alone.
“I love you.”