Tyler didn't know what to do when he had gotten the call that his sister and her husband had died in a car accident. He cried for hours, because he lost his sister so suddenly. They didn't talk, but she was still a relative. And he wanted to do something about it, but there's nothing when you don't even keep in contact.
Until, a week later, when Tyler's doorbell rings and he gets himself out of bed. He's wearing sweatpants and no shirt, and he surely has bags under his bloodshot eyes. In short, he looks awful, but he feels awful so that's his excuse.
When Tyler opens his door, there's a lady in a blazer with a pencil skirt. She's holding a toddler, and Tyler doesn't know what's going on. He scratches his head and tilts it, even forgetting to say hi. He just goes for the instant: "Can I help you?"
The lady smiles at him and holds the toddler out for him. The toddler reaches for him, but Tyler steps back a bit. The lady soon explains, "Hello, Mr. Joseph! I'm a social worker, and this is your nephew, Elijah Dawn Clark. He's your sister's child, four years old; and since your other siblings are out of the country, we have no choice but to give Elijah to you," She says. Tyler frowns when Elijah smiles at him. The toddler has brown hair and blue eyes, like a mix of his parents. But Tyler didn't even know that his sister had a child.
So when Elijah reaches out for him again, Tyler flinches. He doesn't reach out for Elijah at all, "I'm-I'm sorry, but like, I didn't even know Elijah existed until now. And I can't handle a child. Can't you go to my parents?" He asks rudely. The lady furrows her eyebrows and settles Elijah on her hip.
"Mr. Joseph, just because this child wasn't in your life before doesn't mean he can't be now," She lectures, "I was assigned to give Elijah to you. As far as I have been informed, this is a suitable environment for him. Please, Mr. Joseph."
Tyler sighs lightly, looks at Elijah, and nods. The lady smiles and hands Elijah to him. Then she holds out her hand, "Jenna Black," And Tyler shakes her hand, but doesn't smile at her when she smiles at him, "For the first two months I'll be here to check up on Elijah once a week. And tomorrow all of his things will be transferred to your apartment. Goodbye Mr. Joseph!"
Tyler watches Jenna leave, and slams his door shut. He's almost forgotten that he's holding a toddler too until he feels a wet patch on his shirt. Elijah has already fallen asleep. Tyler rolls his eyes and goes back to his room to lay Elijah down.
When the next morning comes, Tyler wakes up to an empty bed. He forgets about the toddler that he has to take care of, and grumbles when he sees that his clock reads "8:03 AM" then closes his eyes to go back to sleep. His eyes shoot open when he hears the sound of pans falling on the floor. Tyler shoots up out of his bed, grabs his baseball bat from his closet, and quietly walks to the kitchen.
Tyler walks to the entrance of the kitchen, and quickly pushes the door open. He jumps into the kitchen with his bat held high, but groans when he sees Elijah standing on a chair with a cupboard open, and bowls and pans on the floor. Elijah looks back at Tyler with a goofy smile, but Tyler rolls his eyes and drops his bat. He pulls Elijah off of the chair and takes the boy to the living room. The toddler gets sat on the couch, and keeps picking at his toes and giggles whenever he wiggles them.
He leaves the toddler on the couch to play with his toes so he can clean up the kitchen. He puts the chair back to the dining table, and he's not even sure how a four year old could be strong enough to move it. But he puts the pans and bowls back to their cupboards. When Tyler goes back to the living room, the TV has been turned on and The Backyardigans are playing.
Tyler's eyes widen and he walks to the couch to see the remote by Elijah, "You're four years old. Do you have super powers or something?" He asks, shocked. Elijah places all of his fingers in his drool leaking mouth and grins up at Tyler.
Tyler goes to change the channel on the TV when his doorbell rings. He groans and goes to his door, only to see people holding up parts of a bed, toys, and a box of food and clothes. The men delivering the stuff don't even give him any smiles, but Tyler doesn't care because he wouldn't be smiling either. When the guys are done, Tyler signs a form on a piece of paper to confirm the transferring and the men leave.
The first thing that Tyler does when he shuts the door is look at the bed pieces sprawled out over the floor. He walks over to it and sits cross legged on the floor, then picks up a plank piece and frowns. He has no clue how to build a bed.
Tyler's thankful for the internet search engines, because he can google how to build a small bed. He goes by what Wiki instructs, and overall it takes him five hours to find the proper tools and to build the thing. When he finishes it, he's sweating and gulps down half a bottle of water. He glares when Elijah crawls in front of him and giggles at him.
"You're definitely my sister's child," Tyler mutters.
The next day, Tyler has to give Elijah a bath. The boy stunk, and Tyler almost forgot that toddlers needed baths too. The situation ends up with the two in the bathroom with a tub full of warm water, and Tyler trying to get Elijah into the tub. Elijah is screaming though, and is clawing at Tyler's face. Tyler sets Elijah down and covers his face with his hands.
"Jesus, Elijah!" He yells. Elijah giggles and runs out of the bathroom. Tyler uncovers his face and runs after the naked toddler, "No, no! Elijah, we can't run around naked!" Tyler whines, trying to stop the giggling boy who's running around the living room. Tyler catches Elijah at the other side of the couch. The toddler grins at him and begins to run to the other side when Tyler runs after him. Now they're still on opposite ends of the couch.
The chase goes on for another ten minutes, then Tyler's sitting down on the couch while breathing heavily. Elijah slowly makes his way to Tyler, and tilts his head with a smile. Tyler's eyes soften, and he stands up and sighs in relief when Elijah follows him to the bathroom.
It's good until Tyler gets Elijah into the tub, then Elijah splashes Tyler with bath water and Tyler breathes in, closes his eyes, and smiles passive aggressively.
That night, Tyler lays on his stomach on the floor. Elijah has copied his form, and keeps smiling lopsidedly at Tyler. Then Elijah giggles and rolls on his back. Tyler looks at Elijah with half lidded eyes and says: "Hey, you," And Elijah's eyes look at Tyler, and then the toddler's rolling back on his tummy, "You will be nice to uncle Tyler, yes?" Tyler watches Elijah tilt his head and grin even more.
"Taking that as a yes," Tyler mumbles.
He continues, "You will not splash him with with water, and you will obey him," When Elijah just stares at him, then sucks on his thumb and looks down at his nose to make him cross eyed, Tyler nods tiredly, and stands up.
It's a few weeks later when Tyler takes Elijah to the grocery store. He's run out of food for Elijah, and he has to buy some bananas too so he can freeze them and give them to Elijah. The toddler really likes frozen fruit, and it keeps him occupied trying to bite into them so Tyler will take the relax time that he can get.
Tyler let's Elijah walk by his side considering when he put the toddler in the built in seat on the cart, Elijah kept screaming and making a scene. Tyler didn't feel like dealing with that when Elijah was just fine while walking.
He goes over to the bananas and picks out a set, and when he looks down to where Elijah was, he isn't there anymore. Tyler's eyes widen, and he begins to freak out. He runs from his cart and looks down the first isle he comes to, and there's no Elijah. He closes his eyes and breathes in relief when he hears the four year old's voice.
"Your hair looks very ugly, Sir," Tyler hears. He groans and facepalms, then runs to the next isle and sees a guy his height looking down at Elijah. Tyler runs up to Elijah and puts a hand behind the boy's back.
"I'm very sorry, Sir," Tyler apologizes, then looks up to the guy who Elijah had been talking to. He cringes at the faded blue hair that looks a bit green now, "Actually, your hair is kinda gross," Tyler admits. The guy smiles and laughs, and Tyler smiles hesitantly. At least he's easy to harsh honesty.
"It's alright, it's just a bit faded," The stranger says and runs his fingers through his hair. Tyler's eyes follow the motion, and he snaps out of his mesmerization when the guy talks again, "This is a cute little one here," He says, and ruffles Elijah's hair. Elijah pouts at his now messy hair, and uses the hand that isn't holding Tyler's to fix it.
"He's certainly not cute at home," Tyler grumbles. Josh laughs again, and Tyler laughs along this time, "I'm Tyler, and that's Elijah," Tyler introduces and ruffles Elijah's hair just after the toddler fixed it, and Elijah whines loudly, "Shush," Tyler whispers.
"Josh," Stranger says. Tyler thinks Josh suits him, "So, is he your son?" Josh asks. Tyler shakes his head quickly, then goes for the option to pick Elijah up and wrap his arms around the little one. He sees Josh's eyes crinkle a bit after watching the action.
"No way!" Tyler blurts, "He's my sister's child. But she kind of - like, passed. Yeah, now I look after him," He says with a slight frown. Josh looks at Tyler with sympathy and nods.
"Well, I'm sorry about that. But, good luck with him!" Josh says.
Tyler gives Josh a small smile, and nods then walks back to his cart. He puts Elijah into the seat this time, but the toddler doesn't scream anymore. Instead, Elijah pokes at Tyler's cheeks when Tyler puts his items down at the register. Tyler grabs Elijah's wrists and looks at the toddler with questioning eyes.
"Ty Ty was making heart eyes at Jish!" Elijah full on grins. Tyler rolls his eyes and places his items into the cart. When he gets his items and pays, he goes to the parking lot for the car.
"Ty Ty was making friendly talk. No heart eyes," He says. Elijah crosses his arms and pouts, and Tyler sighs and flicks Elijah's bottom lip, "Stop pouting. It's annoying," Tyler pouts mockingly at Elijah then pulls away and puts the cart away. He takes Elijah out of the seat and heads back to the car.
"You're annoying!" Elijah whines. Tyler almost grins at how silly Elijah sounds since he can't properly pronounce his r's yet, but it's a work in progress. Elijah gets buckled into his car seat and Tyler hops into the drivers seat, "Ty Ty, I miss Jish!" The toddler yells.
Tyler groans, "It's Josh, not Jish!" And he looks back to see Elijah pouting again.
The next day, Jenna comes by to check up on Elijah. When Tyler opens his door to her, she gives Tyler a grin and waves at the toddler that's just raced up behind Tyler. Tyler took notice that she wasn't wearing her usual suit, but a knee length sun dress. She gets to her knees and hugs Elijah when he runs towards her.
"Hey, Eli!" She smiles, then stands up while holding Elijah. She enters the apartment and Tyler shuts the door. She walks into the living room and spins Elijah around, making him giggle, "Is Uncle Tyler treating you nicely and taking care of you?" She asks. Elijah gives a nod and a double thumbs up.
Tyler didn't want to admit it, but Jenna has become one of Tyler's better friends. They only meet once a week, and it's just the fourth week, but enough can happen then. And Elijah has really grown to like her too.
Jenna then turns to Tyler, and smiles at him, "How are you?" She asks, while stroking her fingers through Elijah's hair. Tyler shrugs with his hands in his pockets, but he has a smile on his face to show that he isn't doing completely bad, "Anything new happen lately?"
"Ty Ty likes someone!" Elijah calls out. Jenna gapes, and it turns into a grin as she looks to Tyler, "His name's Jish!" Then Jenna laughs and sets Elijah down, who runs down the hall past Tyler.
Jenna walks closer to Tyler and nudges the guy, but he jokingly shoves her away, "His name's actually Josh, but I don't like him," Tyler confesses, "We met him at the supermarket because Elijah insulted his hair," And Jenna giggles, but nods and goes to sit on the couch. Tyler sits down next to her.
"Would you like to hang out with me and my friends tonight?" Jenna asks. Tyler furrows his eyebrows, but Jenna butts in again, "You can always call up a babysitter, of course. But if you don't want to, that's fine," She says. Tyler nods which makes Jenna smile.
Later, Tyler's friend Spencer comes over because he agreed to look after Elijah. Tyler thanks him, and heads to his car. When he gets into the drivers seat, he looks down at the paper Jenna gave him that said the location. It's one of the beaches in the area, and there's only two and Tyler knew the location of both.
There was a supposed bonfire with Jenna and her friends, and apparently Tyler is officially counted as Jenna's friend. It makes him happy since he didn't have many friends to begin with. Dealing with Elijah is the most excitement he's had in his life in five years.
He finally arrives at the beach and pulls in to a parking spot. He gets out and locks his car then heads down to the beach where he sees fire and people surrounding it. A head of blonde spots him, then Jenna's running over to him and pulling him over to the others.
"Guys, this is Tyler Joseph. He's the guy who's son I'm assigned to check on," She says. The other nine people around the fire greet him, but don't say their names until Tyler sits down next to Jenna.
Next to Jenna is a girl named Debby, then there's Brendon, Jack, Rian, Ashley, Zack, Pete, Patrick, Alex, and and another Ryan. There's still free space beside Tyler though, so he wonders if Ryan just doesn't want to be close to him. After he thinks that, he hears someone run down the sand and plop into the spot next to him.
"I am back!" The guy says. Tyler looks over, and sees faded blue hair once again. Josh turns to his left to see Tyler, and grins when he does, "Tyler," He says in confirmation. Tyler nods shyly and looks down, playing with his fingers in his lap, "Where's Elijah?" Josh asks.
"At home. I have a friend babysitting," Tyler says, unaware of Jenna and a few others staring at them in interest, and with smirks and smiles.
Then Ashley pipes up, "People who need babysitting still shouldn't even be around us," She says with a smile. Josh chuckles and Tyler hesitantly nods.
"Then we better disown Jack," Alex says. Everyone around the fire laughs, and then it's complete silence besides the popping sounds that the fire makes. A while after, Brendon ends up pulling Jack to stand with him, and they dance Indian style around the fire while making weird tribal noises.
Jenna stands up and taps Tyler's shoulder, "Do you want anything to drink?" She asks, to which Tyler declines. He hears Brendon call out: "Thanks for asking us if we wanted drinks, you heartless bi-atch!" making Jenna cackle and run off to one of the coolers.
Jenna comes back with beers for everybody, then sits back down in her spot. Tyler sees that Josh doesn't have one, but Tyler takes one. He looks and spins the bottle in his hands. He hasn't consumed alcohol since taking care of Elijah, and it's not like he's addicted. So Tyler opens the bottle and downs half of it in one go. He hears some of the other guys cheer at him, but ignores it.
To Tyler, the beer is drowning out the thoughts and sorrows of his sister dying. It's drowning out the thoughts of having to take care of a four year old. It drowns out the feeling of sadness and stress.
An hour later, and three beers later, everyone around Tyler is drunk and wasted and are dancing. Except for Josh and Jenna. They're talking about Jenna's job, and they children she's been taking in lately. It's not until Josh is halfway through a sentence that he looks to Tyler who has tears going down his face slowly.
"What's wrong, Tyler?" Josh asks. Tyler shakes his head and takes another gulp of his beer, throwing his head back. Josh frowns, "Okay, no more of this," He says, and takes the bottle from Tyler. Tyler whines and reaches out for the bottle. Then Jenna sighs, patting Tyler's head and stands up to throw the bottle away.
When Jenna comes back, Josh stands up and goes to her, "Maybe you should take him to the pier," Jenna suggests quietly. Tyler doesn't register it quickly when Josh pulls him up, and he stumbles but Josh grips onto his arms. Jenna kisses Tyler's cheek and then smiles at the two of them before heading over to a drunken Jack.
Tyler can't process anything; his vision is going double and his stance isn't stable. But he can feel the difference between wood under his shoes rather than sand.
Luckily for Josh, the piers have railings except for the end, so that's where he takes Tyler. The two sit down at the end with their feet swinging over the edge. Josh is taken by surprise when Tyler lays his head down on Josh's shoulder. Josh wraps his arm around the other one, hesitantly. He hasn't known Tyler for very long, so he doesn't feel comfortable doing too much.
Tyler begins to sniffle, and Josh jumps lightly. He nudges Tyler closer to him, "Hey, hey, it's okay," Josh whispers, then wraps his other arm around Tyler. Tyler doesn't cry full on though, and he just has a few tears every now and then.
"No it's not," Tyler mumbles with a slur. Josh furrows his eyebrows. There's two minutes of silence before Tyler remembers what he was talking about and then he continues, "I haven't talked to my parents in forever and ---" Tyler sighs loudly, and it's shaky.
"We don't have to talk about this," Josh whispers. Tyler looks up to Josh shyly, and nods. He places his head back down on Josh's shoulder and falls asleep soon after.
Josh smiles softly, and gets up so he can pick Tyler up. The boys end up in a bridal fashion, and Josh returns to the bonfire. Everyone looks at them when they return, some wolf whistle, some genuinely look concerned. Josh goes over to Jenna and asks, "I'm gonna take him home, but can you drive us there?" Since he doesn't know where Tyler lives. And he'll get one of his friends to return Tyler's car over night, because he knows he can trust any of them to do it for him.
Jenna nods, and says goodbye to everybody. Once they get to the parking lot and into the car, Jenna's driving to Tyler's place. When they get there, Jenna fishes out the keys in Tyler's pocket, and unlocks the door. Jenna gives the keys to Josh then says bye to him. She leaves instantly, and Josh hears footsteps coming down the hall. He kicks the door shut as a guy with brown hair comes in front of him.
"Who are you?" Josh asks.
The guy looks to Tyler and then at Josh with furrowed brows, "Spencer.. Tyler asked me to babysit Elijah. Is Tyler okay?" Spencer asks, tilting his head to get a better look at Tyler's face.
Josh nods quickly, "Yeah! He just had a bit too much to drink," He chuckles, "Thanks for babysitting though," And it's awkward that he's thanking the guy, but he feels the need to. Spencer nods slowly, and Josh moves out of the way so Spencer can leave. Once he does, Josh walks down the hall and looks through every door until he finds the bedroom. He lays Tyler down, and when he turns to leave, Elijah's standing in the doorway with a blanket in one hand and the other rubbing his eye.
"Is uncle Ty dead?" Elijah sniffles, then starts to cry. Josh's eyes widen and he runs over to Elijah. He scoops the little boy up and walks into the hall.
"No, Elijah. He's just very sleepy, and he'll probably be a bit grumpy in the morning," Josh says, wiping some of Elijah's tears away. Elijah smiles and nods, his sadness being left away completely. Josh wonders why adults can't forget so easily about their sadness too.
It's unexpected when he feels a pair of tiny arms wrap around his neck, "I missed you, Jishy!" Elijah exclaims. Josh laughs lightly, and enjoys the smile on the young one's face when he pulls back, "Will you stay?" Elijah asks. Josh shakes his head, making Elijah pout, "Pleaseeee? It will make Ty Ty happy!"
Josh licks over his lips and sighs with a growing grin, "I guess, but only because Ty Ty needs all the happiness he can get tomorrow," He says. Elijah grins brightly, then directs Josh to his room. Elijah's bed is tiny, but Elijah pulls Josh to it. Somehow, the both of them fit on it, and that's where Josh sleeps that night.
Tyler awakes with a groan, and as soon as he opens his eyes they go back to being closed. The sunlight coming through his window shoots a wind of pain throughout his head, and he turns over on to his stomach. He reaches for the pair of shades on his nightstand while squinting. Once the shades are on, he stands up slowly. He hopes he didn't walk in acting loopy and weirding out Spencer; although the two have been friends since high school and weird is nothing new to each other.
He walks over to Elijah's bedroom, nodding in content when he sees the small boy in bed. He goes to walk past the doorway, then stops for a second and takes a few steps back. That's when he notices the huge body next to Elijah. He would run and attack the person, but if he did his headache would probably be worse than it is now. Then Tyler sees the gross, blue hair.
Josh is here?
Tyler furrows his eyebrows, but trots down the hall slowly. He goes to his kitchen and grabs a bottle of water, then picks out an ibuprofen. He groans as he sits down on one of the dining room chairs, then swallows his tablet.
"Morning Ty Ty!" A voice calls out. Tyler winces and groans loudly. His nephew soon pulls a chair over to the countertops and stands on it to get his box of lucky charms. He then gets a bowl, slamming the cupboard shut after doing so. Tyler's almost in tears from the sound of the cupboard slamming, but he manages it with hands covering his ears and eyes squeezed shut.
When his nephew takes the seat in front of him, Josh walks in tiredly. Josh nods as a good morning to Tyler, and Tyler nods.
"Hey, Elijah, why don't you go eat in the living room?" Josh offers, rubbing circles on the little boy's back. Elijah's eyes light up, never being allowed to eat in the living room. He nods and takes his cereal to the living room with him. Josh takes Elijah's old seat, and looks at Tyler, "How's that hangover?"
"Just like any other," Tyler sighs, leaning his chin against his palm, "How come you're here?" Tyler asks.
"I took you home, and stayed because I thought you'd need help with Elijah during the next day," Josh explains. Tyler smiles a little, thanking the blue haired one.
Later during the day, Tyler's hangover has away pretty much, and him and Josh are watching TV while Elijah plays in his room. Tyler doesn't want to pay attention to Josh's arm on the couch behind his back, but Josh's fingers are lightly ghosting over his shoulder. The ghostly touches are like cigarette burns on Tyler's skin.
Tyler turns his head when he hears buzzing in Josh's pocket. Josh retracts his arm from behind Tyler -Tyler frowns slightly, but we don't pay attention to that-, and takes his phone out. Josh reads the text then turns to Tyler who raises his eyebrows.
"Wanna head over to the radio shop that Alex and Rian work at?" Josh asks. Tyler looks back towards the hall then back to Josh with a sad smile and shakes his head disappointedly. Josh bites his lip in thought, and Tyler darts his eyes to the wall behind Josh, "Get a babysitter?"
"I don't want to have Spencer put up with Elijah again. That's too much to ask," Tyler says.
It's almost funny when Josh perks up as if a lightbulb in his head turned on. Tyler watches Josh dial somebody's number quickly then he presses the phone to his ear and talks in the speaker, "Debs," He grins, "mind doing a favor for me?" He asks.
Debby agrees to babysitting, and when she comes over, Elijah's hidden behind Josh's and Tyler's legs. Debby laughs when the child pokes his head out from between their legs.
"You must be Elijah!" Debby says, looking up to the two guys for confirmation. They both nod then Debby holds out her arms. Elijah hesitantly walks into them, giggling when she lifts him up. She walks over to the two then says, "Have fun, you two," And wiggles her eyebrows. Tyler furrows his, and Josh groans and rolls his eyes.
When they walk out the door and to Tyler's car, Josh ends up getting behind the wheel. It's probably a good thing considering how drunk Tyler got last night.
Josh pulls out of the parking lot, and goes out onto the main road. Tyler has his head against the window, and neither talk. So Josh clears his throat to get Tyler's attention, "You said some things last night about your parents," Josh mumbles. He hears Tyler groan quietly, "If you want to talk about it-"
"Listen, I know you're a nice guy and all, Josh, but I only met you two days ago. I'm not ready to give a life story," Tyler says, then lays his head back against the window. Josh mentally slaps himself, because he forgot that he hasn't been friends with Tyler for a long time. Josh nods in understanding and keeps his mouth shut.
The silence disturbs them both.
Tyler sees that they're coming to a stop on a busy street, and soon they're pulling into a street side parking spot. Both of them get out of the car and Tyler follows Josh into the store right in front of them. The music store they're in has racks of CDs, and it has vinyls hanging from the ceiling.
Alex and Rian are on each sides of the counter, tossing a crumpled up paper to each other. Jack is sitting on the counter with his legs swinging back and forth, and he has a sucker in his mouth while reading a magazine on punk bands. Tyler can see that Alex's hand lightly grazes Jack's thigh every now at then, too.
The two walk up to the three guys around the counter, and Rian and Alex stop throwing the paper to hug Josh. Alex groans as he reaches over the counter, but grins when he hugs the blue haired one. Tyler's shocked when Alex and Rian pull him into a double hug. Jack still hasn't paid any mind to them, but Alex tells Tyler that it's just how Jack is.
"I'm glad you guys came. Work was slow and Jack hasn't been doing anything except reading our magazines without paying for them," Alex says, but he speaks fondly of the guy still sitting on the counter. Jack has a smile growing on his face too.
Jack pulls the sucker out of his mouth with a pop, then speaks up, "Thanks for the boyfriend discount, babe," He says. Alex rolls his eyes and walks in front of Jack, placing his hands on Jack's face and kissing the guy. It's messy though, and Tyler thinks that it's just for show since Rian and Josh are laughing.
"Are they together?" Tyler asks quietly.
Rian shakes his head, "No, but they're the closest thing to it," Then grabs the back of Jack's shirt to pull the two apart. Jack smirks and puts the sucker back into his mouth teasingly, and Alex takes the sucker away from Jack to put it into his mouth. Rian cringes at the two, "It's sickening, to be honest," But it's loud because he wants Alex and Jack to hear it.
"Oh please," Jack snorts, "Whenever Cassadee's around, you two always find a dark corner to make out and have dry sex in," Tyler watches Rian's cheeks go red, and then the buff one is walking away with an eye roll.
"Not much different from you two," Josh sighs. Alex flips him off, but his smile gives it away that what Josh said is true.
The bell above the door rings, and Tyler turns around to see another guy who was at the bonfire. He watches Jack run past him and to the guy, "Zacky boy! Now that you're here, we can go. Right, Alexis?" Jack asks. Alex nods and takes some keys from his pocket and tosses them to Zack.
"You're in charge of lockup, tonight," Alex instructs. Zack mumbles a response and takes the keys. Josh puts a hand on Tyler's back and slowly walks forward so that they're walking through the door with Jack and Alex, "Bye Ri!" Alex calls out before the door shuts. Tyler's confused of what's going on, and then he sees Jack and Alex get into a car.
"They're going to get some weed and then they'll be smoking it. I'll probably be joining them too. I can take you back home if you want?" Josh asks, his hand still on Tyler's back. Tyler thinks that he'd like to go, but he doesn't know how he'd deal with Elijah, "Debby wouldn't mind staying the night, and I promise that she's a good person. She wouldn't steal or ruin anything on purpose," Josh says.
Tyler slowly nods, because he may have a child to take care of now, but he still needs to live his life to the fullest at the age he's in. He wasn't even wanting kids, but now he has one, but he also has friends. Friends who do exciting and risky stuff, and Tyler wants to be a part of that. He still has a life to live, and he can take a break every once and a while.
"Let's go join the other two then," Josh grins, taking Tyler's hand and dragging him to the car. The two get into the backseat and Alex begins to drive off. Tyler figures that they'll just pick up his car tomorrow, but hopes that Alex and Jack actually have a place planned out that they can stay. He's not going to have his first time being high happen in a cramped car.
Jack twists his body so he can look at Tyler, then grins, "Have you ever been high before, Tyler?" He asks with excitement, and Jack's eyes are so wide that it almost creeps Tyler out. Tyler shakes his head, and Jack huffs, but then his exciting manner is back in tact, "It's a good fucking thing that I'll be here for your first time," Alex snorts, making Jack glare.
They pull up at a pretty little flower shop, and then Alex gets out of the car. He opens Tyler's door too, and gestures for Tyler to get out, "You're gonna get our weed, alright?" Alex says. Tyler nods nervously, then Alex laughs, "No need to be nervous. Our dealer's a close friend; real nice too. Just go to the front desk and ask for Gerard," Alex instructs.
"Alright," Tyler mumbles. Alex leans against the car as Tyler enters the flower shop. At the front desk is a guy with a name tag that reads 'Frank'. He goes up to Frank, "Um, is Gerard here?" Tyler asks. Frank looks to the back room before nodding.
"You have a visitor, Gerard," Frank says. He grabs Tyler's wrist then pulls the guy to the back room entrance. Tyler stumbles in, and Frank closes the door once Tyler's entered. Tyler looks forward to see a red headed man sitting on a worn down couch while watching a crappy TV show.
"What are you here for?" Gerard asks in monotone. Tyler looks down to his feet then hears the TV shut off, "Do I have to ask twice? Have I even met you before?" He asks with more anger in his attitude.
"I'm here for weed. Alex sent me," Tyler says quickly. Gerard's glare and frown turns to easy eyes and a smile. Tyler watches Gerard get out of his seat and walk over to a shelf. He pulls out a book and opens it to a certain page, the pulls out a bag of weed from between the pages. He walks over to Tyler and tosses the bag, "Thanks," Tyler mumbles.
"Tell Alex I said hi," Gerard says. Tyler nods, then waved lightly as he exits the room. When he's out of the flower shop, he gives Alex the bag and hops into the back seat next to Josh again. Alex gets into the front seat, and before starting the car, he cheers.
"Welcome to our little crew, Tyler. You just completed our ritual," Alex grins.
"There's no sacrifice, right?" Tyler asks quickly. Josh snorts, and Jack and Alex burst out laughing.
"Not unless you're into that kind of stuff," Alex says. Tyler's eyes widen, and Alex laughs even harder.
"Kinky," Jack mumbles.
After that, they drive to a motel, they get room number 93, and enter. Josh locks the door behind them and sits down on the floor next to Jack and Alex. Tyler follows the action, then Alex is pulling out the bag of weed. Jack pulls over a backpack he brought with him, then pulls out a long glass thing.
Josh looks over to Tyler, noticing the other's confusion. Josh leans over and whispers in Tyler's ear, "That's a bong. We put the weed and water in that, light it up, and smoke it," He explains. Tyler nods and watches as Alex and Jack put water in it, then fill the pipe with weed.
Jack crawls over to Tyler, flicking his lighter on, then looks at Tyler, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Jack asks. Tyler nods confidently, then Jack lights up the weed. Smoke starts to build up, then Jack says, "Place your mouth over the pipe, then inhale, keep it in for around five seconds, then exhale," He says.
"Are you definitely sure, Tyler?" Josh asks.
"God damn, you guys act like you're taking his virginity," Alex groans. Tyler blushes, but places his mouth over the pipe. He inhales the smoke, and when he holds it, he lets the smoke go with a cough. The three of them laugh at him with no offense to it, then take a few hits for themselves.
Three hours later, it's getting to sunset, and all of them are as high as can be. Tyler and Jack are getting handsy on each other, and Josh is laughing at nothing while Alex keeps reaching out for fluffy pink monsters who are taunting him. Tyler leans against the front of the first bed while Jack hovers over him and races towards Tyler's neck. Jack sucks onto his neck, and Tyler gasps.
Alex comes over soon enough, gently pulling Jack away and kisses him, "Your ass is mine tonight, Jack," And the skunk haired one giggles, but goes along with it. Alex and Jack stand up, Jack letting Alex drag him to the bathroom. Josh lays on his back, then looks over to Tyler who's eyes are half lidded and his body is so tired that it's limp.
Josh leans on his elbows, then crawls over to Tyler. He straddled Tyler's lap, and Tyler looks up at Josh. Bloodshot eyes meet, and Josh giggles, leaning down to bite Tyler's ear, "Owww," Tyler whines, but laughs. The two laugh until there's moaning and whimpering coming from the bathroom.
"Oh my god," Josh gapes, eyes widened. He throws his head back, then grins, "They're having sex in a motel bathroom. Ew," Josh says in a grossed out manner. Tyler nods, tucking his face towards Josh's neck. He closes his eyes and falls asleep while listening to Josh laugh maniacally and Alex and Jack moan.
Getting home the next day is fine, despite both guys feeling extremely winded and drowsy. Their skin is a bit sweaty but they don't mind that just yet. When Josh pulls up to Tyler's apartment complex, they get out of the car and walk up the steps and Tyler unlocks his apartment.
Debby is on the couch with a sleeping Elijah's head in her lap. She's lightly scratching his head, and the kid has a light smile on his face. Debby turns her head at the sound of the door shutting, and she scrunches her nose, "You both smell like weed. Disgusting," She grimaces. Tyler looks down and nods, "Tyler, go shower; Josh, there's perfume in my bag. Spray a ton over yourself."
Tyler goes to his room and grabs a change of clothes, heading to his bathroom and taking off his nasty clothes. Then he turns on the shower and goes under the burning water.
Josh sprays himself five times with the perfume, coughing on the last sprince. He goes to beside Debby on the couch and she glares at him, "I can't believe you two got high last night. I didn't mind staying over, but because you wanted to do that? I'm disappointed," She says. Josh frowns, but doesn't say anything, "I'm driving you back home. Once Tyler's out of the shower, we are gone."
"Okay, mom," Josh snorts. Debby shakes her head at him.
When Tyler gets out of the shower, Josh sneakily slips a piece of paper onto Tyler's coffee table. Debby lifts Elijah's head off of her lap and gently places it back down, then pulls Josh to the door. She sends him out, then waits for Tyler. When Tyler comes out, Debby smiles at him, "Well, we're off now. Thanks for trusting me to babysit, too. Elijah's a sweetie."
"Yeah," Tyler mumbles, wondering why Josh wouldn't have stayed to say goodbye, "Thanks for looking after him.. Bye, I guess," He says. Debby nods, waves, then walks out and shuts the door behind her.
She runs down the stairs then goes to her car, seeing Josh in the passengers seat already. She gets in then turns to Josh, "I don't want you to talk to him. Tyler seems very nice, and I don't want you to ruin him. I'm not exactly saying that you will, but the people that you surround yourself with," Debby says.
Josh frowns at her, retorting with, "My friends are your friends, what the hell? I'll hang out with Tyler if I want!"
"Josh," She says sternly. He glares, leaning back into his seat with a huff. Debby sighs and starts the car.
Meanwhile, Tyler goes over to his nephew and kisses the boy's forehead lightly, then notices a piece of paper on the table that wasn't there before. He picks it up and sees a number then 'Text me or call me? - Josh x'. Tyler smiles.
"Are you sure you don't like Jish?" Elijah whispers. Tyler jumps, turning around to see the tired boy with half lidded eyes and drool going down his chin. Tyler looks back to Elijah, then to the paper.
He sighs, "We'll have to see, buddy."
Elijah grins, then goes back to sleep. Maybe Elijah's just starting to grow on Tyler too. Maybe.
The next day, Tyler sends Josh a text.
UNKNOWN 12:45 PM
Hey Josh! It's me Tyler
He sends, the puts his phone back in his pocket.
Two weeks later, Josh still doesn't reply. Tyler thinks that maybe Josh was just a little fling, and it wasn't even a fling. It was two days of excitement that's now gone forever, because Josh doesn't like him.
The only thing good that comes out of Tyler's life right now is that he gets a job, since he has to take care of two people rather than just himself. It also provides money to get Elijah into the daycare.
One day Tyler gets Elijah to the daycare, and tells the workers that he should be back soon, but he doesn't exactly know. He plans on going back to the radio shop to talk to Jack and Alex and see if they have any information on Josh. He doesn't want to seem clingy, but he doesn't understand why Josh would give him his number and then never talk to him.
So he ends up at the radio shop, then he makes his way inside. Rian's at the counter organizing the money, and he's who Tyler makes his way to. Rian smiles when he looks up to see Tyler.
"Where's Josh?" Tyler asks instantly. Rian's smile goes away and he furrows his eyebrows, "I texted him three weeks ago when he gave me his number, and he hasn't texted me at all," And it's only now that Tyler realizes how much of a clingy girlfriend he sounds like, but he's honest to God worried.
"That's weird," Rian replies, "He's actually out with Alex right now. They're probably getting high though. But I do know that Josh has been getting drunk and high more," He says. Tyler sighs and scratches his head. Rian smiles sadly at him, "To be honest, Josh isn't the best person for someone like you to be around. But he enjoys you, hell, even we enjoy having you around here. He's just taking his stress out on stupid drugs and drinks, but he'll come around soon enough."
Tyler nods, "Yeah, okay, thanks Rian," He says. Rian nods back, and waves as Tyler exits the radio shop.
It almost makes Tyler so angry that he's fuming: the fact that Josh is the one smoking and getting high because of stress. If anything, Tyler is the stressed one. But Josh's stress issues are just making Tyler feel even more stressed himself, it doesn't change the fact that he's still angry at Josh.
So Tyler ends up going back home. Pining over some guy who's last name he doesn't even know isn't what Tyler likes to do. He's supposed to be independent on his own, believing that no one else should ever complete him. Tyler is his own human being, that's enough pieces to fit in his puzzle.
When he gets to the daycare, he debates on whether he should pull in or not. He huffs before pulling into the parking lot. Tyler goes in and to the front desk, asking for his nephew. Soon, Elijah's being retrieved and is skipping towards Tyler. Tyler thanks the lady and takes Elijah's hand. They get into the car and head home.
"Why did you come back early, Ty Ty?" Elijah asks. Tyler grins, looking back at the child in his carseat with a confused expression. His eyes return to the road.
"We're gonna have fun," Tyler cheers. He looks in his rearview mirror and sees Elijah fist pump the air and giggle. Tyler smiles fondly at the little one without noticing.
When they get home, Tyler gets Elijah to stay at the door. Tyler races into one of the storage closets, then pulls out sponges, two mops, a broom, and cleaner sprays. He races down the hall and dumps the stuff on the carpet, then he gets buckets and fills them with water. Elijah cringes, but Tyler goes over to their stereo and presses play on it.
'I come home, in the morning light
My mother says, "When you gonna live your life right?"
Oh momma dear, we're not the fortunate ones and girls, they wanna have fun'
Elijah giggles, then Tyler races back to the cleaning supplies. He grabs a sponge then hands it to Elijah. Elijah squeals when Tyler picks him up and takes him to the window. Tyler uses one hand to hold Elijah while he sprays the window with the cleaner. Tyler grins as he makes Elijah laugh by dancing in spot while the young one scrubs windows.
"This song is about girls, though!" Elijah giggles. Tyler makes a 'pffft' sound along side squeezing Elijah's sides to make Elijah squirm.
"We can be girls for a day if we want," Tyler says, going against the rules of genders. Elijah asks a 'Really?' to which Tyler replies with, "Of course!" And it makes Elijah smile. The two of them laugh continuously while cleaning the windows until the song stops.
Tyler dumps the sponge in a bucket and throws the spray next to it. He grabs the mops, holding them up and giving one to Elijah. They both dump the mops in the water, then clean the hardwood floor. Tyler spins around and jumps across the living room while cleaning the floor as 'We Built This City' plays within the apartment. Elijah flings his mop around, getting the walls and furniture wet, but it's just water.
When they're done, and the floor's dried, the two of the lie on the floor like starfish. The top of their heads are touching as they lay opposite of each other. 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' begins to play on the stereo. Tyler sighs heavily, and so does Elijah.
"This was mommy's favorite song," Elijah whispers. Tyler's eyes widen slightly, and he tilts his head back to look at Elijah. The boy has a tear going down his cheek, then Tyler sits up and pulls the child to his chest, "I don't know why mommy had to leave," Elijah sniffles.
"I don't get why she had to leave either, buddy," Tyler closes his eyes to stop the tears. He cradles Elijah in his arms even after the song finishes, and the two end up falling asleep on the couch that night.
When Tyler wakes up the next day, he looks over to the body clinging to his. Elijah has a tiny arm wrapped around half of Tyler's stomach, hand clutching on to the shirt. Tyler throws his head back, breathing in and letting it go. He wraps his arms around the little boy, getting off of the couch and laying Elijah in his bed.
As Tyler walks down the hall, there's knocking on the door. Tyler's yawning when he opens the door, and mix the unpretty sight with morning breath and you've got an all natural Tyler Joseph. So he's embarrassed when he opens the door to Josh. Josh smiles lightly at the sight, but frowns when Tyler goes to shut the door. Josh puts his foot in front of the door, stopping Tyler.
Tyler opens the door with a glare. Josh walks in uninvitedly, "I'm sorry I never replied. Debby took my phone for a few weeks and wouldn't give it back to me," He says quickly. Tyler furrows his eyebrows, shaking his head and crossing his arms. Josh still could have visited, but Tyler guesses he was too high to do so.
"Listen, Josh, we aren't even proper friends. It's not like I needed an actual apology, I was just mad," Tyler says. He realizes that after hearing Josh's excuse, the whole being angry was petty. So he holds out his hand for Josh, and Josh takes it, "I'm Tyler Joseph. I'd like to be your official friend from now on."
Josh smiles, "Joshua Dun. I'd like to be your official friend too," He replies. The two let go of the other's hands and Tyler smirks.
"Friends have to do more than get drunk and high together," Tyler mutters.
Later, Josh and Tyler are sitting on a beach side restaurant, eating fish and chips. Elijah's being looked after by Jenna because Tyler didn't want to bring the little one along, plus the blonde was scheduled to come over anyways. This isn't a date, Tyler thinks, but if Josh classes it as one then so be it. It's just supposed to be a friendly first time get together. To declare the friendship and such.
"So, tell me about yourself, Tyler," Josh requests, taking a sip of his raspberry lemonade. Tyler cringes and the pink substance, sipping on his proper lemonade. Josh rolls his eyes as he blows into his straw to make the drink bubble.
"I'm not really interesting," Tyler mumbles, playing with his straw. Josh snorts, making Tyler look up at him, "I didn't have much of a dialogue before Elijah came into the picture, sorry," He shrugs.
"Everyone has interesting quirks to them. You have to have something," Josh encourages.
Tyler sighs, "Well, okay. I'm twenty-seven years old, don't have a good family life, I play ukulele, and I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain," He says with a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth at the end of his introduction.
Josh giggles, "We're the same age! But what's up with the family life?" He asks with a frown.
"Ask more questions another time. Let's get on with you," Tyler looks pleadingly. Josh nods.
"I have an obsession with hair dye, I like bowling, I like guys with kids - wink wink-," Josh pauses, Tyler snorts, "and I also like people who make cheesy song references," Josh winks. Tyler laughs at the reply, and wonders how he was able to meet someone almost as cheesy as him. It's not a bad thing at all, but it makes Tyler's heart melt a little bit each time.
"I'm glad you like me then," Tyler sighs in fake relief. Josh nods, then finishes the rest of his gross raspberry lemonade. Tyler looks towards Josh's blue hair
then he grins, "Can I dye your hair?"
"What?" Josh asks.
"I want to dye your hair. Nobody needs to see that awful blob you call hair," Tyler states.
"Are you sure you're doing this right?" Josh asks as Tyler applies the foam dye to Josh's hair. Elijah is sitting on the toilet lid and kicking his feet while smiling like he just got a load of cotton candy.
Tyler smacks Josh's head, making the one of the floor flinch, "Stop doubting me! It looks fine," He confirms. Josh huffs, but then starts making funny faces at Elijah when the youngest one looks at him. Elijah giggles, and pulls his knees to his chest when Josh reaches out to tickle his feet.
Josh doesn't even know what color Tyler has picked for him, but he trusts that it will look okay, "I love how you can tell that it looks fine just by seeing a bunch of foam smushed into my hair," Josh says flatly, pouting when Tyler hits his head again, "This is assault!" Josh claims. Tyler sighs, and Elijah laughs.
"Okay, we're done. Shut up and wait in the living room for five minutes," Tyler orders, pulling off the gloves and pats Josh's back. Josh trots down the hall and when he leaves the room, Elijah hops off of the toilet and tugs on Tyler's jeans. Tyler crouches down and ruffles Elijah's hair, "What's up, kiddo?"
"Are you and Jish together?" Elijah mumbles. Tyler sighs when hearing that Elijah still can't say 'Josh' properly, but shakes his head, "But I think he likes you," Elijah says.
"We don't know that. Are you even okay with uncle Ty dating another guy?" Tyler asks. Elijah's eyes light up, and he nods vigorously.
"If you two love each other! Why would it be so bad?" Elijah asks. Tyler's smile grows, because kids get the concept of love so easily. He nods and pulls Elijah to him, then hugs the boy tightly. Elijah giggles and hugs Tyler, pressing a big sloppy kiss to Tyler's cheek. Tyler chuckles, then does the same to Elijah who scrunches up his nose, "Eww!"
"That's what you get, bud," Tyler shrugs.
When Josh walks in on the two hugging, he smiles lightly. He watches as the two pull apart, then Tyler stands up and walks over to Josh, "Can't wait to see your hair," Tyler grins. Josh nods, then ruffles Elijah's hair as they both exit the bathroom.
Tyler and Elijah jump when they hear a feminine scream come from the bathroom. Afterwards, Tyler laughs, then races to the bathroom. Josh opens the door and points to his bright pink hair. Tyler bites his lip and refrains from looking at Josh's body, the only part being covered in his lower half and by a towel. So he holds in another laugh and smile.
"Do you like it?" Tyler asks with a snicker. Josh tilts his head with a fake smile and a sarcastic laugh. The pink haired one shuts the door and goes to change while Tyler heads back to the living room. It's already dark outside and the clock reads that it's nine already. Tyler sighs and picks up Elijah, "It's bed time for you."
"But I wanna stay up," Elijah whines. Tyler tickles his little tummy, making Elijah laugh. When Tyler places Elijah in his room, the toddler reluctantly gets into his pjs and hops into bed. Tyler kisses the boy's forehead, "Night Ty Ty!" Elijah says just before Tyler closes the door.
Josh is in the living room already when Tyler returns. Tyler and Josh face each other but Tyler speaks first, "So, you can stay tonight if you'd like. It's already late and such, but you don't have to."
Josh looks to the clock then back to Tyler, "Sure. I'll sleep on the couch-"
"We can just share my bed?" Tyler butts in, then his cheeks turn red after the suggestion. Josh looks taken back by it, but he slowly nods. Tyler's breath gets caught in his throat, not expecting Josh to agree, "O-okay, yeah," He sputters. He shuts off all of the lights in the living room and walks to his bedroom with Josh behind him.
In another world, Tyler would think that this would be leading to sex. But it gives Tyler a sense of warmth because it's not, it's because they can actually trust each other for this already. It may not seem that great, but it's a big step on their terms.
Josh watches Tyler undress out of his jeans, and decides to do the same. He doesn't want to overstep any boundaries, so he's just taking light chances. It's complicated when they get into the actual bed though. Tyler stays on one end, and Josh on the other. Both are too nervous to even move an inch, but then the silence is broken.
"It's better than the faded blue, Pinky Pie," Tyler whispers.
Josh snorts and smacks Tyler's head, making Tyler laugh.
They fall asleep after multiple fits of giggles after silly conversations.
When Tyler wakes up, he's alone in his room. There's pink along his arm, and he instantly thinks of Josh's hair. They probably ended up cuddling. Tyler groans quietly and plants his face into the pillow on the other side of his bed. Where is Josh anyways?
Tyler gets up to find a paper on the nightstand that says "Hey Tyler, I had to leave early! Thanks for doing my hair and letting me stay over - Josh x" The x makes Tyler smile, and he doesn't even crumble the letter. He stuffs it in one of his drawers, the creep side coming out.
And then his phone dings, and he picks it up to see a message from an unknown contact.
UNKNOWN 10:24 AM
Whaddup lil string bean this is jack do you want to hang out later?
Tyler changes 'unknown' to 'Jack' quickly, then replies.
TYLER 10:25 AM
JACK 10:25 AM
As soon as you can get your cute little ass to the radio shop
Tyler blinks a couple of times, re-reading 'cute little ass' because he doesn't know what to think of it. But he closes his phone then pulls on a pair of jeans. He changes out of his shirt and puts on a Mickey Mouse one.
It's stressful getting Elijah out of bed and to the daycare, and he hates to burden the ladies working there with such a grumpy little child. Tyler's a morning person but his nephew isn't, they really aren't anything alike except for psychical features.
So Tyler's drained when he gets to the radio shop. When he enters, Alex is behind the counter and Jack's sitting on top of it on the opposite side. Ashley's there too, along with Brendon. Tyler walks up to them, and when he does, Jack hops off of the counter and wraps his arms around Tyler's neck. It's different from the last time when Jack didn't pay much attention to him.
Jack leans down to press a sloppy kiss on Tyler's neck. Tyler groans and pushes Jack away, but Jack just goes around to Alex's side and sucks a hickey on to Alex's neck, "I'm not being your damn rebound, Jack!" Alex squeaks out. Jack makes a whine sound, then keeps trying to kiss Alex.
While that goes on, Tyler walks up to Ashley who's observing a Blink-182 album. Tyler remembers Josh mentioning that he loves that band. He decides to look at it with her. When Tyler walks over, Ashley looks over to him, "Do you like Blink?" The blue haired one asks.
"I haven't really listened to them, but Josh said he likes them," Tyler admits. Ashley immediately hands the album to him. It has three circles on the right side, one with an airplane, the second with a pair of pants, the next with a jacket. He furrows his eyebrows but takes it anyways.
"Learn those songs before the big hits," Ashley demands and walks to the next rack of CDs, "I never really introduced myself, now did I?" Ashley asks. Tyler shakes his head as Ashley hands him Dookie by Green Day. She smiles up at him and pats his head, "You're kinda cute."
"Thanks?" Tyler says as more of a question.
"Welcome. Anyways, I'm Ashley Frangipane. I'm one of the best people you'll ever meet, Brendon be one of the worst," Ashley chuckles at the end, and Brendon pokes his head up from a few racks over and says "Shut the fuck up, Nicolette!"
Tyler doesn't ask why Brendon just called Ashley 'Nicolette', instead he just keeps looking at more CDs. Alex soon comes around and wraps his arms around Tyler and Ashley, both of them groaning. Alex grins, seeing the CDs in Tyler's hands.
"My children; what are your thoughts on blue hair for a change?" Alex asks. Ashley smiles and Tyler looks at Alex to picture it. He sees Ashley turn around and clasp her hands.
"Blue hair squad, yeah?" Ashley suggest, "I think you'd look very pretty!" She says. Alex bows down in a princess manner towards her, then turns to Tyler.
Tyler bites the inside of his cheek, but goes with, "It'd look great. Too bad Josh dyed his hair pink yesterday," He says. Alex gapes, and Ashley wiggles her eyebrows. She walks towards him, places the CDs down, then grabs Tyler's hands.
"Hanging out with Joshy an awful lot, are you?" Ashley grins. Tyler shamefully nods his head, as if it's taboo to be spending a bit of time with his new friend. Sure he didn't see Josh for those few weeks but the pink haired one's already been sleeping over at his place. They've even cuddled, although Tyler doesn't remember it.
"Not really," Tyler says like he hasn't been developing something for the guy who he befriended literally four weeks, "Just dyed his hair to get rid of the gross blue, or whatever that was," He defends. Ashley nods thoughtfully and Alex huffs.
"His hair just isn't luscious enough to keep it's vibrancy, huh," Ashley chuckles.
Tyler furrows his eyebrows, "I think it's pretty luscious," He says, watching Alex smile brightly and Ashley laugh into her hand.
"Anyways," Alex chimes in, "let's have another get together tonight! Just the three of us, Jack, Josh, and Jenna. The rest will be working so," He suggests. Tyler's stomach flips in a good way, because he feels fully accepted into this group of friends. They actually want him to come to their get togethers, or watch movies with them and hang around them. That's not something he's had before.
"Sure," Ashley says, looking to Josh for an answer. He nods at the both of them, then Alex gives a thumbs up and heads over to wherever Brendon is now, "How does it feel to be in our dysfunctional group of friends?" Ashley asks.
"Not so bad," Tyler smiles softly, making Ashley grin and throw an arm around his shoulder.
An hour later, Alex's shift finishes. Then the gathering happens.
"Let's form a therapy circle!" Jack calls out in the middle of nowhere. Alex pauses his game of Fifa, Josh slowly puts down the last slice of pizza, Jenna looks up from where she's painting her toenails, and Ashley and Tyler pause their conversation.
"What the fuck," Alex says after a clear silence, "This is a hangout, not a home for the mentally ill."
"It doesn't sound so bad," Josh mumbles, pizza in his mouth. Jenna snaps her fingers at him, then waving her index finger back and forth. Josh pouts and finishes chewing his food, then swallows, "I mean, nobody has to do it if they don't want."
Alex sighs, getting up from the couch and sitting next to Jack on the floor. Josh moves down next to Alex, then Jack looks up at the others. Tyler looks to Ashley, and she shrugs and makes her way down to the circle. He watches Josh play puppy eyes towards him, and he rolls his eyes and takes the spot next to Ashley.
Jenna looks up from her toenails to the circle, "Christ, you all round up like a herd of sheep," But she's putting down her nail polish and getting into the circle herself.
Jack looks smug from how great his idea worked out, "Rules of my fantastic therapy circle: A. You must say your first and last name; B. Saying your biggest doubts and fears is optional; C. Say something that makes you happy," And everyone nods along to the rules, even Alex who looks to be regretting all of this, "Remember, we're all friends here," He finishes, hitting Alex's arm. Alex frowns and mumbles a few curse words.
Alex is the first one up. He's reluctant, but Jack keeps staring at him with big beady eyes, and he sighs, "My name is Alex Gaskarth; I have anxiety attacks... But yeah," Then he looks over to Jack with a growing smile. He cuddles into the other one's side, and Jack wraps an around him, "This one right here makes me happy," Alex mumbles. Jack's cheeks turn red, and he looks in the opposite direction of Alex. Everyone smiles fondly at the two.
Josh is up. Tyler pays extreme close attention to this one, because not only is he interested, but he wants to know more about this guy. Yes, they're friends, but it's just stage one. Tyler can't wait until they're the touchy type, if he's being honest.
"Josh Dun; I'm not exactly sure of any of my doubts or fears, but I guess everyone battles fears at some point?" He says lightly, messing with his fingers. Tyler listens intently while looking at Josh's fingers, "I think my friends make me the happiest," Josh says with a smile, but he's looking at Tyler. Tyler doesn't know what Josh is intending, so he directs his eyes to Ashley.
Ashley gives a small wave, clasping her hands, "My name is Ashley Frangipane! Cue the 'Hi, Ashley's'," She giggles. Everyone rolls their eyes at the blue haired one's cuteness.
"Hi, Ashley," Everyone in the circle says in a monotone voice.
"Anyways, my biggest fear is becoming something I'm not. I've always been an out there person, with nothing to hide. I don't want that to get mixed up in the reality of life," She admits with a straight face. She looks down to her hands and plays with one of the rings on there, "I guess food makes me pretty happy," She says in all seriousness.
"Next!" Jack yells.
Tyler takes a deep breath in.
It's the last week that Jenna's checking up on them. It was only a week ago that Tyler last saw her from the hangout, but he's still happy to see her. He's made it two months with his nephew already, and that's the reason why he's so happy in the morning. He wakes up Elijah too, picking the boy up and spinning him around until the younger one is laughing to no end.
Him and Elijah are playing a card game on the floor when the doorbell rings. Tyler hops up, giddily, with a bit of pep in his walk. He opens the door, frowning when he sees Josh, "You're not Jenna," Tyler pouts. Josh chuckles, making his way past Tyler. The two have talked a whole lot in the past week, and have gotten way more comfortable around each other.
"I thought you'd be excited to see me," Josh says with a faked hurt look on his face. Tyler shuts the door, walking over to Josh and wraps his arms around Josh's torso, just under the red head's arms. Josh copies the action, resting his head on top of Tyler's. They don't notice Elijah smiling at the two of them.
"I am, it's just, Jenna checks up on Elijah for the last time today. I'm excited because it's been two months already," Tyler clears up. He feels Josh grin on top of his head, and then he's being squeezed tightly. The doorbell rings again, and Tyler pulls away and opens it up to see Jenna.
He frowns when Jenna sadly holds up a sheet of paper. He takes it from her and reads the first few lines. Josh looks over at them and sees that it's bad. He walks over and takes Elijah out of the room. Tyler looks up to Jenna, and she's almost in tears, "Your parents want to take custody of Elijah. You never put Elijah in your name, so it's perfectly legal," She says shakily, trying to be professional.
"They live across the country, though," Tyler whispers.
"Where they live, Tyler, does not matter!" Jenna growls. Tyler's mouth opens, but all that comes out is a broken sound that was supposed to be the beginning of a sentence, "What matters, is that they have every right to take away Elijah. Sure, you had two months with him; sure, this is a safe environment. None of that matters though, because they're secure on everything too."
Tyler sees tears go down her cheeks, and he starts to cry too. He crumbles up the paper, throwing it onto the couch, "C-can you leave?" Tyler asks. Jenna bites her lip in hesitance, nodding and closing the door. Tyler leans his forehead against the door, and cries.
"Uncle Ty Ty?" Elijah says quietly. Tyler's breath hitches, and he slowly turns around. Elijah's looking up at Tyler worriedly, and looks like he's about to cry himself, "Are you okay?" He asks.
Josh is behind Elijah with arms crossed, and he just stands there. Tyler looks at him, then to Elijah. He threads his fingers through the little boy's hair, "I don't know," He says in honesty, "Can you go to your room for a while, buddy?" He asks. Elijah nods, then trots to his room.
"What's going on?" Josh asks quietly. Tyler sits down on the couch, picking up the paper and flattening it out. He gives it to Josh who sits down next to Tyler. Josh reads the paper, putting it on the table and leans back when he's finished, "What are you going to do?"
"I don't know," Tyler says.
Josh sighs, and rubs Tyler's back. Tyler cuddles into Josh, and the two just stare at a blank TV. It's not like they can just let go of a boy who's been their sunshine since he entered their lives.
Tyler turns so he's fully facing Josh, "I think it's about time I tell you my story," He says shakily.
"You don't have to," Josh says hurriedly. Tyler shakes his head, wiping his eyes with his sweater sleeve. Josh hates seeing the sight of Tyler's eyes being puffy and red from crying, so he keeps a hand on the brunet's knee.
"I haven't seen my brothers since they were eighteen. They moved out as soon as they could, and eventually, moved out of the country. I never talked to my sister; she never made any efforts to talk to me, so I never made any for her. I didn't even know Elijah was in existence until the day he arrived with Jenna at my doorstep," Tyler confesses. He sees Josh look at him with sadness, but he blocks it out.
"I haven't talked to my parents since I moved out. It's been eight years, and even before them, they didn't exactly like me. They didn't treat any of us like they actually cared about us, which is why I guess we were all quick to move out. Though, when we moved out, I didn't expect it to mean for all of us to lose contact. I just don't want Elijah to become a memory only, and if he moves in with my parents, that will happen," Tyler says.
Josh nods, pulling the other one in for a tight hug, and he kisses the top of Tyler's head.
The next day, Ashley and Debby are over. Elijah was dropped off at the daycare, so now it's just the adults. Josh and Tyler are sitting on the couch while the two girls are on the floor against the coffee table. Debby wasn't happy about Josh going against her suggestions, but she knew it was worthless since those two were almost inseparable.
"So, they just want to take the kid?" Debby asks in bewilderment. Tyler nods sadly, hearing the platinum blonde one scoff, "That's stupid. From what I've seen, Elijah is in perfect hands right where he is. You're basically his parent already," She says in defense.
"Basically," Tyler mumbles, "I'm not his parent. I can't do anything except watch him get taken away from me," He looks down, feeling water ball up in the corners of his eyes. Josh places a hand behind his back and lightly draws circles on it, "If my parents take him, I won't be seeing him again. I don't want that," Tyler's voice breaks on the last word, and everybody's heart breaks.
"Surely this can get taken to court," Ashley says, but more as a question.
Tyler nods, "It will be. But I'm just a guy with an apartment and a crappy job. I can hold up for the both of us, but the law won't see it like that."
"Elijah's staying with us, Tyler. We aren't letting him out of our lives that easily," Josh smiles lightly. Tyler looks over to the pink haired one and smiles back, "When's the court date?" Josh asks.
"In four days," Tyler gulps.
Ashley stands up, dragging Debby along with her. She places her hands on her hips, then holds one out for Tyler, "Better get you ready for it then," She says in confidence, "Because you have to win in style," Making Tyler laugh.
They end up at the mall. It's just Tyler, Debby, and Ashley though. Josh went to see Alex during his shift at the shop. So they were in a fancy tux store now, Debby and Ashley holding ones up for Tyler to look at. He smiles at them though since they're putting effort into this. He already has a tux too, but they don't care.
"I may be a sucker for unbuttoned blazers, but we have to go full out professional here," Debby grins, holding out a fully blue suit with a white button up. Tyler cringes and shakes his head.
"Maybe kiss some Honor's ass, too!" Ashley calls out, and some people look over with confused faces. Tyler laughs embarrassedly, shaking his head at Ashley's suggestion, "How about this one?" She asks. She's holding up a tight fitted grey blazer that goes with almost skinny black dress pants.
"I think that's it," Tyler says. Ashley grins, and Debby pouts from her choices not being chosen, but smiles afterwards. They head to the cashier who neatly folds it and puts it into a bag, then they pay for it. Tyler's eyes widen at the price, but apparently Debby is loaded with money.
When they're done, they head to the food court and get some Asian food. Tyler sits on one side by himself, the two girls in front of him.
"Josh has told us about you and Elijah a lot," Ashley brings up out of nowhere. It catches Tyler's attention, and he stuffs food in his mouth to avoid a response. He doesn't know what to think, but he feels his face heating up, "He's so fond of you both, like I don't think I've seen him so happy before. Plus, from what we've heard, you and Elijah have become a big part of each other's lives too," She says.
"And, because of that, we'll be here to support you every step of the way for this court date," Debby says, smiling. She reaches out and takes Tyler's hand, which he responds to by holding hers.
Tyler smiles at the both of them, "All of you guys are the greatest people I've ever known. I'm seriously thankful," He says gratefully. It's not until a second later that he hears sniffling. Ashley is wiping her eyes, and she takes notice of Tyler watching her.
"What? You're a fucking sap," She defends, making the other two laugh.
After that, all of them say their goodbyes. Tyler goes to the daycare and picks his nephew up, and they head home. During the drive, Tyler keeps looking up at his rear view mirror to keep an eye on Elijah.
Once they're parked in the parking lot, Tyler takes Elijah out of the carseat and into their apartment, "Can you sit on the couch, Elijah?" Tyler asks quietly. Elijah nods, skipping over to the couch and climbing on it. Tyler follows, getting on his knees in front of Elijah, "We have to go to court in four days."
Elijah's eyes widen, "Did we do something bad?" He asks. Tyler shakes his head.
"You have to not interrupt me, okay? My parents want custody of you. They want to take you away from me, and I have to go and make sure that they can't do that," Tyler explains. Elijah's bottom lip begins to quiver, and Tyler instantly pulls the boy into his arms. Elijah's tears soak the sleeve of his shirt, but he doesn't care. He keeps threading his fingers through the boy's hair, "I love you so much, Eli," He whispers.
"I l-love you too, uncle Ty Ty," Elijah cries. Tyler's heart breaks, and he begins to cry too. Just not as hard as Elijah, "I don't want to go," Elijah sniffles a while after.
"I don't want you to either."
"Does it look okay?" Tyler asks. Josh gives a thumbs up, sighing and pulling Tyler into a hug. Tyler wraps his arms around the pink haired one, closing his eyes while doing so, "I'm sorry I've dragged you along for this crazy ride called my life," Tyler chuckles sadly.
Tyler and Josh just changed into their tuxes for the court date. Elijah's being looked after by Debby and Ashley so Tyler has less stress on his back.
"Hey," Josh speaks up, pulling away far enough to look at Tyler, "If I was able to go back to the day we first met and knew that I'd be seeing you in that grocery store, I still wouldn't have stayed home. You and Elijah have made everything for me so interesting. I love him, and I love you," Josh smiles.
"I love you too," Tyler admits.
Josh eventually moves away from Tyler to fix up his tie, and Tyler slips on the shoes. Tyler feels so professional in a suit, but he prefers his skinny jeans and short sleeved shirts over suits and ties.
When they turn to each other, Josh takes in a deep breath, "Are you ready?" He asks, making Tyler shake his head. Josh frowns lightly, hooking his arm around Tyler's shoulders. They walk out of Tyler's bedroom, then out of the apartment. Once they're in Tyler's car, they're off to the court house, with Josh driving.
Tyler's legs are shaking the whole time, and it's not until Josh puts a hand on Tyler's knee. It makes Tyler take in a deep breath and relax.
"What if I lose him?"
Josh looks over to Tyler with a look that's silently implying 'are you crazy?!' and Tyler knows that it's a crazy question, but it's been running around his mind no matter how many times people tell him or he tells himself that Elijah will end up being his.
"You can do this," Josh replies.
Tyler sighs, nodding. He's not ready to see his parents, not after the time he spent with them. He's afraid that they'll judge his life decisions, claim that he's not ready to deal with a child. But, that's what he thought at first too. Sure, it's only been two months but Tyler's been confident with it now, and he wants to keep Elijah. He just doesn't want his parents to put him down like they always would.
They arrive at the courthouse. When they enter, Tyler sees his parents in the main lobby area. Their backs are turned to him and Josh, so he grabs Josh's arm and sneaks around them. Josh follows, looking around curiously.
Tyler winces at the sound of his dad's voice and Josh's mouth forms into a circular shape.
"Hello," Tyler's mom says, then taps his back. The two turn around to the adults who are smiling passive aggressively, "It's nice seeing you, Honey. Who's this?" She asks, referring to Josh.
"This is Josh, my friend," Tyler says quietly. His parents nod disapprovingly, Tyler doesn't miss it.
"I hope he's been helping you with the child, because you were never cut out to raise one by yourself. Too unorganized and unprofessional," His father raises an eyebrow, and Tyler grits his teeth from the words. They haven't changed, and he knew that they wouldn't. This just makes him want to win even more.
But Tyler smirks, "Actually, he's only helped not even five times out of the two months I've had with 'the child', who's name, in fact, is Elijah," He says confidently. His parents gape a little, and his mom gets ready to respond until they hear that they can go in.
Josh sits down in the visitor area, just behind Tyler and Jenna next to Tyler up front. Then he sees more people make their way through the doors and smiles. Alex comes in with bright blue hair, with Jack following behind. Then Rian, Ashley, and Debby who is holding Elijah's hand. All of them sit down around Josh, who pokes Tyler.
Tyler looks behind him, smiling when he sees his support.
The court trial ends with Elijah running into Tyler's arms, and Tyler crying. Tyler bunches up Elijah's shirt into his fists, soaking the little one's shirt with tears.
Elijah plants sloppy kisses all over Tyler's face while the older one laughs. When Tyler stands up with Elijah in his arms, all of his friends walk towards them and envelope in a big group hug. Tyler feels a bunch of arms around him, but there's a certain pair of lips ghosting over his neck that he trusts to be Josh's.
Tyler doesn't even focus on his parents leaving without anymore words, he just feels the love of all of his friends. The ones who have been there for him, for Elijah, and will take both of them in at any time. Because even though Tyler has a child now, they love Elijah just as much.
"We're so proud of you, Tyler!" Jenna grins, everyone nodding along, "And proud of you too, Eli," She finishes, lightly grabbing Elijah's chin between two of her fingers, and kissing the toddler's cheeks. Elijah's face lights up, and his cheeks turn red. All of them laugh.
The group hug parts and Tyler presses his forehead against Elijah's then lightly bites his nose. Elijah giggles, covering his nose with a tiny hand. Hands grab at Tyler's sides, then pink hair is coming into vision. Tyler feels a peck against his cheek that stays there for longer than he expects, then it stops.
"I knew you'd do it," Josh whispers.
Then everyone hears sniffling, and their eyes direct to Ashley. She's crying again, "None of you fucking dare hold this against me," She hiccups out, "I'm still a badass motherfucker," Tyler blocks Elijah's ears, and everyone grins, Jack and Rian reaching out to sandwich her between their bodies.
There's an after party at Jenna's place (everyone finally got out of their court clothes). She owns a really big beach house, and there's a campfire going on around the actual beach area, but some are staying in the backyard.
Tyler sits on the picnic bench and feeds Elijah, making funny faces as the little one chews his food. He sees Debby walk over, holding out her hands and looking towards the plate and fork. Tyler gives them to her, then let's her take his place. He smiles when Debby makes Elijah giggle by pretending that the food is an airplane.
He looks out and watches Jack and Alex sit by the campfire. Their hands aren't visible to the sides or behind them, so he assumes that they're holding hands. The two jump when Rian throws a water balloon at them, but that's when Tyler sees their intertwined fingers.
Tyler feels a breath of air escape him when someone jumps on his back, but then they're getting off of him in a fit of giggles. Ashley walks in front of him, placing both of her hands on his cheeks, then leaning in to kiss him quickly. Tyler's eyes widen, but she laughs it off.
"I've kissed every single person here already. It's no biggie; but it was for a congratulations. You should be proud of yourself, Tyler Joseph!" Ashley says loudly at the end, and his eyes glint with happiness. He nods, smiling softly when Ashley pecks his forehead.
Ashley soon moves away from him, making Tyler frown. Then there's hands on his shoulders, gently turning him around. Tyler smiles when he sees Josh smiling too. He's pretty sure both of their smiles are a copy of the other, and that makes Tyler think that maybe everything's going to be okay for now.
Everyone except for Josh and Tyler move down to the beach, and they don't pay attention to it.
"You've got an official kid now. Man with a plan, huh?" Josh asks jokingly. Tyler rolls his eyes, placing one hand on Josh's chest and the other one in Josh's hair, fingers curling the pink strands around his fingers.
"Not really, but I have you guys if anything goes wrong anyways, right?" Tyler asks.
Josh nods, "'Course. You'll always have us, being part of the group and all," And Josh grins so brightly, because Tyler is just so lovely, accepting, sweet, whatever. How could you not smile in the presence of Tyler? "We'll be alright though," Josh says in a hushed voice. Tyler nods.
"Fucking kiss already, assholes," Jack groans out. Luckily, Debby covered Elijah's ears. Nobody needs a four year old repeating those words. Jack ends up squealing as an after reply, feeling a water balloon to the back, thrown by Ashley. Then another balloon outbreak happens.
Tyler and Josh shake their heads at all of them, chuckling quietly. They look at each other soon enough, smiling. Their eyes are directed right at one another's, and then Josh is tilting his head. Tyler closes his eyes, feeling slight pressure on his lips. Josh begins to smile as he moves his lips, and Tyler reciprocates. It's a romantic mess for them, considering they giggle too much into the kiss while their friends scream and shriek in the background, but it's them.
They pull apart because of a tugging on Tyler's shorts, and they look down to see Elijah with a big smile on his face, "I knew you liked Josh!" The toddler cheers, and so does Tyler because: A; Elijah got Josh's name right for the first time, B; He's glad that Elijah's somewhat future predictions were right. Tyler laughs it off.
"So, Elijah Dawn Joseph, do you mind if me and your daddy started dating?" Josh asks, bending down to Elijah's height with his hands on his knees. Tyler's lips part because Elijah's full name sounds so new and different and so good. This means that he has not failed his sister, even though they never talked. He thinks Madison would be happy knowing that her son found happiness and love in her brother rather than sadness and an empty heart in a foster home.
Elijah shakes his head as to say that he is all for the two dating. Josh says a loud 'woo!' then chases after Elijah who begins to run while laughing.
"My name is Tyler Joseph."
A soaking Jenna comes up to him, the two looking right at each other. Tyler doesn't care if she's wet from being hit by a dozen water balloons, he hugs her anyways, "Thank you so much for giving me my son. I didn't think I'd have a purpose in life, but I found it," He says in a sigh.
"My biggest fear is not having purpose, or not being needed by anyone or for anything."
Jenna hugs him back tightly, "And to think you tried giving him up at first," She chuckles lightly, but pulls away, "Anyways, Elijah came up to me a bit ago asking if he could dress like me," She says, motioning to her flowy sundress. Tyler's eyebrows furrow, "Something along the lines of 'Daddy said we can be girls sometimes!'" She smirks, but her eyes show fondness.
"My doubts are not insignificant, and I suppose I can say that my life has never been picture perfect. At least not up until now."
"I guess I'll be buying dresses from now on," Tyler laughs. Jenna does too, then she takes his hand and takes him towards the beach. Josh and Elijah have joined into the balloon fight, both soaked now.
"I think you guys have made me pretty happy, but,"
Then Elijah spots him, and the toddler runs up to him. Tyler picks Elijah up, spinning themselves around when he does. Then there's water balloons being thrown at them and the two are laughing. Josh runs over to them, hugging the both of them with Elijah caught between.
"I think with Elijah is when I'm happiest. He makes me feel like home is within a person, and not just rooms with walls around them. That's it, I guess."
Tyler's so happy. He used to be so down and out, not caring about anything. But these are the people who helped changed that. And he loves them more than anything.
He has a proper family now, and he couldn't be happier.