The first time was when he was born. The story goes that the doctor was a second away from declaring him legally dead, that the world wasn't going to get a Dylan O'Brien, when he suddenly opened his mouth and screamed the room down.
It's nice to know that he was born with a talent for the dramatic.
Tyler's eating lunch with Holland, discussing one of the rare Derek-and-Lydia scenes, when Dylan bursts into her trailer. His hair is rumpled and there's creases pressed into his face like he's just woken up. Holland rolls her eyes at him.
“Holland, light of my life,” Dylan says, throwing himself onto the couch next to Tyler and stealing a leaf from his salad with precise fingers. “How do you feel about basket weaving?”
Holland stares at him and Tyler gets that, it's clearly a more-Stiles-than-Dylan day. You just have to roll with it if you've any hope of maintaining a coherent friendship with him.
“I feel that we have machines to do that for us in America?” Holland says, spearing a tomato and popping it into her mouth. Tyler can feel Dylan being just as distracted by that as he is. It makes him smile.
“And charming mass-produced items those are. Very patriotic, American-made baskets,” Dylan says, crunching his way through the lettuce. He holds his hand over his heart briefly and Tyler snorts. “But what about real weaving, with your hands? Surely there's nothing like the feeling of bringing something to life with your hands?”
Tyler doesn't mean to read that as innuendo but he can't help it when it comes out of Dylan's mouth. He avoids looking at him and tries to focus on the salad he's forcing himself to eat. He thinks his ears redden bit, though, and Dylan makes a sniffing noise in his direction.
“Not that I don't enjoy it when you come in here and practice being Stiles at me,” Holland says, waving her hand in a way that encompasses all of Dylan's behaviour. “But I really don't know what this has to do with me.”
“It's a bucket list thing!” Dylan says, throwing a folded piece of paper across the table. “I mean, not that I'm dying or anything, but I saw that there was a class starting and it's always something I've wanted to do and you get a discount if you sign up as a couple and I figured you'd be the perfect basket-weaving beard, so why not – it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission and -”
“Stiles,” Tyler says in his best unimpressed-Derek voice and Dylan practically swallows his own tongue in his effort to stop talking. He makes a face at Tyler because he knows how hilarious Tyler finds it that he's conditioned to respond to that voice like that.
Tyler laughs because there's no point in hiding it.
“Dyl – this class is underwater,” Holland says, having unfolded the piece of paper. She gives him a Look and Dylan is chastised enough to fold in on himself. Tyler reaches out and pets Dylan's head, no longer surprised when Dylan pushes up into it like a human sized cat. Dylan's weird, Tyler rolls with it.
“I thought it would be fun,” Dylan says, his voice losing some of the Stilesian edge it had carried when he came in. He widens his eyes a bit and looks up at Holland from under his eyelashes. That look should be illegal, Tyler swears, it's gotten them all into trouble way too many times.
“Okay,” she says, tucking the paper underneath her plate. “If it'll make you happy.”
“You're the best Holland,” Dylan says, smile creasing his face. “So much better than that boring one in Europe, even if you can get legal weed there.”
“Don't you forget it, O'Brien,” she says, pointing her fork at him. There's a hint of a smile around her lips. Dylan nods solemnly then flashes another smile.
God, Tyler loves Dylan's smile.
Dylan turns to Tyler and ruffles his hair, making Tyler screw his nose up, then rubs his cheek against Tyler's shoulder before bounding back out of the trailer. Holland raises an eyebrow at Tyler and Tyler shrugs.
“He does it all the time,” he says. “To me and to Posey. Sometimes I swear he's part cat.”
Someone drops something outside the trailer with a loud clang and they both startle, laughing. Tyler drifts as Holland talks herself through Lydia's thoughts, wondering if there's anything on Dylan's bucket list that he can help out with.
The second time was when he was four. He fell into a pool before he had a chance to learn how to swim. His Dad had fished him out, his Mom hated water, and laid him out by the pool, waiting. When he came to his Dad didn't yell at him, just reminded him to stay the hell away from water until he learned to swim like a normal kid.
So, yeah, he finds it kinda ironic that sixteen years later he's the one playing rescue diver.
“- and he looked like a drowned cat, I swear,” Holland says, laughing. “It was the most adorable thing I have ever seen.”
“Yeah, yeah, okay,” Dylan says, waving his hands. “Underwater basket-weaving is not the ideal thing for me, we get it.”
“Aww,” Holland leans over and ruffles Dylan's hair. “If it's any consolation you probably would've looked totally hot if you hadn't been so upset.”
Tyler lets himself imagine it for a moment; Dylan's clothes clinging tight to him because of the water, droplets hanging from his eyelashes, his hair slick and messy. He digs his fingernails into his palms and tries to get rid of the image as fast as it came up. Dylan gives him a sly look before rolling his eyes at Holland and Tyler has the horrible sensation of being found out.
“I don't know,” Colton says, joining in with an evaluating look at Dylan. “He looks pretty hot when he's upset too.”
“For the last time, Colton,” Dylan says, heaving out a theatrical sigh. “You're not my type.”
Everyone laughs and Tyler settles back against the couch. They're in Dylan's trailer today, Crystal and Posey are filming one of their many scenes, and Tyler's trying not to breathe too deeply because the whole place smells so strongly of Dylan. He swears that Dylan gives off some kind of magic scent that does things to him because even without Derek's super-senses it stays with Tyler for days on end. It's always worse after hanging out in Dylan's trailer, which is why Tyler tries to get them to go anywhere but when they're waiting for calls.
“Anyway, it's water under the bridge,” Dylan makes the accompanying hand motion and jostles Tyler's arm. Dylan presses one of his hands against the bare flesh of Tyler's forearm in a silent apology before turning back to Colton.
Tyler absolutely doesn't memorise the brief feel of Dylan's fingers.
“You're up next,” Dylan continues, throwing something at Colton. Colton catches it and makes a face.
“Seriously?” he asks, holding up exactly the kind of lollipop Tyler used to get from the doctor as a kid. By which he means: cheap and nasty.
“Just me and you,” Dylan says, unwrapping his lollipop. Colton raises a perfectly landscaped eyebrow.
“You want to get into a sucking competition with me, Dyl?” Colton asks, the wickedness in his voice belying his general Zoolander persona. Tyler watches in fascination as Dylan's cheeks redden.
“Afraid a novice like me might beat you?” Dylan throws back, just the side of cocky that Tyler knows means he's nervous. Tyler bumps a leg against Dylan's under the table and Dylan bumps back, leaving his leg there.
“Your funeral, O'Brien,” Colton says, unwrapping the lollipop and holding it up to his mouth. At a nod from Dylan they both pop the candy into their mouths and start sucking.
Tyler absolutely needs to not be in this room. He needs to not be in this room as soon as possible because all he can hear now is the wet sounds of Dylan's mouth around the lollipop. He knows if he looks to his left he'll see Dylan's cheeks hollowed from his efforts. Dylan used to pop up like this all over the place when they all lived together, or at least it felt like it, chasing lollipops around his mouth with that distractingly pink tongue.
Tyler makes to move but Holland, sitting on his other side, loops her arm through his and ensures he can't. He shoots her a look and her smile in response is just a little too knowing for him to handle. Holland knows everything, whether you tell her or not, but you can do your best not to confirm it for her. Not that she's a gossip, just irritatingly intuitive and slightly judgemental when she thinks people are being stupid.
Tyler's not being stupid – he just knows that if he does anything about this whole situation it'll ruin the tension between Stiles and Derek and now that he's used to it, and the fan expectations, he finds he really likes the idea of it.
He's saved from trying to make a real break for it by Dylan suddenly making a choking noise and coughing beside him. Holland releases Tyler's arm as he turns to Dylan faster than even a concerned friend should. Dylan has his hand over his mouth, the lollipop discarded on the table (ew), and is coughing pretty hard. Colton's watching with eyes wide with worry and Holland's up and banging around the cupboards for a glass for water.
Tyler's hands hover for a moment before he brings one down on Dylan's back, rubbing circles, and Dylan grabs the other one and presses it hard against his chest. Tyler gives him his best confused eyebrows and Dylan rolls his eyes and mimes squeezing with his free hand. Tyler is pretty sure that's not what you're supposed to do with someone who's choking on nothing in particular but Dylan probably knows himself best so he squeezes.
“Harder,” Dylan's voice is hoarse as he pushes it out through the side of the hand covering his mouth. His eyes water as he coughs again so Tyler, one look of befuddlement shared with Colton, squeezes harder. He can feel Dylan's ribcage under his hand.
Dylan curves over his arm and makes probably the most disgusting noise Tyler's ever heard and Tyler tries to jerk back but finds his arm, once again, trapped. Colton starts back so hard he nearly cracks his head on the wall behind the chair and Holland stares. Dylan gropes across the table for a packet of tissues he'd thrown there earlier and wipes it across his mouth and hand. He falls back with the tissue crushed in one hand and drapes an arm over his eyes, body shaking a little.
“There's some water,” Holland says, setting the glass on the table and shooting a look at Tyler. Tyler shrugs. “We'll just – we'll go.”
“You okay, Dylan?” Colton asks as he stands. Dylan nods weakly. Holland drags Colton from the trailer with a series of imperious tugs.
“I should probably -” Tyler doesn't know how he's going to finish that and he doesn't get a chance anyway because Dylan speaks over the top of him.
“Stay,” he says, wriggling down until the arm he'd trapped between the couch and his back slides up over his shoulder. Tyler instinctively cups his hand over Dylan's shoulder, rubbing his thumb back and forth over the material of Dylan's shirt.
“Do you want the water?” Tyler asks, picking up the glass.
“Yeah,” Dylan throws blind and the tissue hits the bag of trash hanging from a door with pinpoint accuracy. Tyler smiles.
Dylan opens his eyes to take the glass from Tyler, their fingers briefly entwining, then tips his head back to drink the whole thing in one shot. Tyler's mouth dries out a bit at the long line of Dylan's neck and he has to turn away. The glass settles back on the table and then Dylan's curling up against him. Tyler freezes, forcibly reminded of the way Dylan used to do this when they lived together.
“Okay?” Dylan asks, mumbles, into his chest. Tyler slides a hand up to pet Dylan's hair. Dylan sighs against him and relaxes into a heavy sprawl.
“Are you okay?” Tyler asks, his voice pitched soft. Dylan shrugs slightly.
“Happens every now and then when I -” he lifts a hand lazily then drops it, fingers twisting into Tyler's shirt. “When I get overexcited.”
Tyler remembers, suddenly, that he's heard that noise before; coming from Dylan's room, the bathroom and even once, memorably, from the kitchen. Dylan had always found him not long after, looking a little sad, and Tyler had always invited him in – assuming the sadness was homesickness of some kind.
He has a feeling now that it's not homesickness. Never was.
“What is it?” Tyler asks, not sure if he'll get an answer because Dylan is getting the kind of heavy that people do when they fall asleep.
“Hard to explain,” Dylan says, going completely limp against Tyler when Tyler absent-mindedly scratches his fingers against his scalp.
Dylan makes a noise that's somewhere between snoring and heavy breathing, something that comes deep from his chest, and if Tyler didn't know better he'd call it purring. Dylan hadn't appreciated the one time he did, though. Tyler also knows that it's a sound that signals Dylan's gone.
Which means that Tyler's trapped here, now, for at least an hour. He sighs and moves about a bit until he's comfortable, Dylan's dead to the world and won't notice any jostling. He grabs his phone from the table and makes an effort to catch up with Twitter, still circling his hand over Dylan's head and down his back.
The third time Dylan was seven. Realistically he was beyond the age where he'd just put things in his mouth for the hell of it but they say no-one learns a lesson until something goes really wrong. The rat poison had looked a lot like candy, okay? It's not his fault at all. And why the hell did his family need rat poison anyway?
Nowadays, suffice to say, he's picky about what he puts in his mouth. Make of that what you will.
“You're crazy,” Posey says when Dylan finishes drawing his Totally Epic Skateboard Course with a flourish. Tyler agrees with Posey entirely. It is insane.
“You'll do it?” Dylan asks, mouth twitching up.
“Fuck yeah,” Posey says, blowing out a huff of smoke. “It sounds awesome.”
Tyler doesn't agree with Posey at all.
All of which finds them, one week later, in a disused parking lot on the edge of God knows where in LA, with the rest of the cast JR jokingly refers to as the Wolf Pack in tow. Tyler is beginning to wonder if Dylan's been diagnosed with some kind of terminal illness and that's why he's so determined to do increasingly ridiculous things.
Tyler's also beginning to suspect there was never a bucket list to begin with.
“Is it just me or does this seem like an incredibly bad idea?” Sinqua asks, leaning against the wire fence with Tyler. Tyler sighs.
“You've known them longest,” Gage throws herself back against the fence on the other side of Sinqua, making it bounce. “Do they do this sort of shit all the time?”
“It's actually been a while since they've done anything this stupid,” Tyler says. He doesn't like thinking about the last time – he's pretty sure human necks were never meant to bend like that but Dylan had bounced up after a few minutes so maybe he was wrong.
“I feel like this is some real Thunder Road shit about to go down,” Daniel says, shivering slightly. He's standing just ahead of Tyler, hands tucked up under his armpits, uncertain.
“Hey, Leather Pack!” Dylan shouts, cupping his hands around his mouth. “If you don't get your wolfy asses over here you're going to miss everything.”
The others laugh and drift over to where Crystal, Holland and Colton have gathered but Tyler can't bring himself to move. He puts his hands behind him and threads his fingers through the metal links of the fence. He can feel Dylan looking at him for a long, weighted moment but refuses to look back. He's only here because he wouldn't forgive himself if Dylan got hurt and he wasn't around to help him.
Tyler can see fine from where he is. He can see the way Dylan moves through the course with unbelievable grace – the way his body curves and twists in ways that almost don't seem human, the way he should fall multiple times but doesn't and the way he comes off the skateboard at the end and impossibly flips mid-air to land on his feet when he should've landed on his face. Tyler was already moving before Dylan corrected mid-air so he reaches Dylan first.
“M'okay,” Dylan says, straightening from a crouch that any of the wolfier actors would envy. He brushes himself off and grins at Tyler. “I'm okay.”
“You -” Tyler says and in this moment he really understands why Derek finds Stiles so endlessly fucking frustrating. (Tyler would've given Stiles a chance ages ago, which probably says more about him than the character.)
He shakes his head and turns away, heading for his car.
“Come on, Tyler,” Dylan calls after him. “It's fine.”
Tyler waves him off, hunching his shoulders. He doesn't know what kind of death wish Dylan's living out but he just can't be around it anymore, his heart can't take it.
He hears about a few other stupid stunts from the others over the next couple of weeks and Holland makes increasingly worried faces at him because he doesn't seek Dylan out. Tyler can't even put his finger on what's done it, what's finally tipped the scales, but whatever it is he hates the tight feeling coiling in his gut. The upside is that the episodes they're putting together right now are episodes where Stiles has actually done something to piss Derek off and thus Russell is going mad for the dynamic.
He hates the hurt look on Dylan's face between takes, though. He knows he's being completely irrational but he can't help it.
Dylan O'Brien has pretty much ruined his life.
About a month after the skateboard incident Dylan enters Tyler's trailer with a half dozen cupcakes held in front of him. He starts a whirlwind of messy emotions inside Tyler because a) Dylan knows he's not meant to eat sweet stuff during filming b) Dylan also knows that he does it anyway c) he hasn't looked/spoken to Dylan properly for a month and he's missed him and d) he's got a week break starting tomorrow and he's planning on disappearing for a while.
“Peace?” Dylan asks, offering the cupcakes. Tyler sighs.
“Sit down,” he says, waving at the chair opposite him. As usual Dylan ignores him completely and squeezes himself between Tyler and the end of his couch. Dylan's always been fond of enclosed spaces so Tyler, also as usual, rolls with it.
“So Posey stopped coming out with me,” Dylan says as he picks at the cupcake in his lap. Tyler is already half way through his first.
“You mean he's stopped enabling you,” Tyler says. The words should be heated because he's still annoyed but they just come out weary. He can feel Dylan looking at him.
“Yeah, that too,” Dylan shrugs his shoulders.
They eat a couple more cupcakes in silence, Dylan slowly leaning further and further into Tyler's space until Tyler's forced to put an arm around him just to be comfortable. Dylan makes a sound like he's won and if Tyler is to be completely honest with himself – Dylan has won.
“Can you tell me why you got so upset?” Dylan asks, folding cupcake wrappers between his long fingers.
“That time you fell off the wall,” Tyler says after a moment's hesitation. “It freaked me out.”
“You never said,” Dylan says, curiously still against Tyler's side. Tyler huffs out a breath.
“Because I was over-reacting,” Tyler shakes his head. “You were fine.”
“Yeah,” Dylan says softly.
“Are you ever going to tell me where this bucket list thing came from?” Tyler asks, shaking Dylan's shoulder. Dylan looks up at him and Tyler tries not to think poetry about Dylan's eyes because that's just embarrassing.
“Maybe,” Dylan says, holding Tyler's eyes for just a little too long. Tyler feels his ears reddening and he has to look away.
Dylan shifts under his arm and swings his legs over Tyler's lap, curling around him in a way that shouldn't be physically possible.
“Back to this?” Tyler asks, trying to keep his voice level and not betray how much he's missed Dylan's weirdness.
“Best part of the bucket list,” Dylan says quietly against his shoulder. Tyler holds his breath, watching the way Dylan twists propriety fingers into his shirt. He turns his head to rest it on top of Dylan's for a moment.
“You're so weird,” Tyler says, smiling at nothing.
“You like it,” Dylan says, taking a deep breath through his nose and settling in.
“Yeah, I guess I do,” Tyler says, his heart skipping a beat in his chest.
Dylan doesn't fall asleep the way he normally does and Tyler is hyper aware of all the places that they're connected but it's extraordinarily peaceful just sitting together. Dylan fingers flex into, and out of, a fist against his chest. It reminds Tyler of a cat they'd had when he was a kid and the way she used to knead him until he was comfortable enough for her to sleep on.
Maybe Dylan really is half cat.
The fourth time Dylan was eleven. Hilariously enough he fell out of a tree. He had absolutely no co-ordination as a kid, something his whole family found endearing, and he slipped trying to get from one branch to another.
He's gotten better, much better, over the years and just wishes Jeff would give him some proper stunts to do.
When Tyler gets back from his break there's no time to think about anything as they head into the final block of filming for the front twelve of the season. It's successively more intense episodes, as usual, and Derek has a lot more to say than he normally does so he's learning lines at all hours of the day and night. On top of that it's the beginning of Jeff making good on the promise and Derek&Stiles and Tyler still hasn't figured out how he wants to play it.
It means a lot of time spent with Dylan, working stuff out, and a lot of time to observe the weirdness of his behaviour. Tyler's always known Dylan's odd, it's not like you can miss it if you know the guy for more than a day, but it's like he cranks it up to eleven. But only around Tyler. Dylan naps on him, actually on him, at every available opportunity. He's forever sidling up to Tyler and nuzzling into his shoulder, rubbing his face over the fabric of one of Derek's endless grey t-shirts.
Tyler rolls with it, as he always does, but there's something about it that's tugging at the back of his mind. Something big and weird and almost unbelievable but entirely Occam's Razor when Tyler tries to excuse it any other way.
It snaps into place the day he sees Dylan jump from a chair to a stack of crates and then onto the top of his trailer. He probably thinks he's alone, and he would be if Tyler hadn't driven in on a rare day off in order to run lines with him again because he is so completely unprepared for everything they're doing. Dylan moves with, yeah, cat-like grace – his body contracting and flowing with a fluidity that knocks the breath out of Tyler's chest.
“No way,” Tyler says to himself. “No way.”
He makes his way over to Dylan's trailer and lets himself in, grabbing a chair as he passes to position under the skylight. He pops it open and pulls himself up and through, barely breaking a sweat from the effort. Tyler has a lot of reasons to be proud of his body and the way Dylan looks at him as he climbs through the little hatch unsupported is amongst them.
“Didn't know you were coming in today,” Dylan says from where he's reclining on the roof. He stretches out before sitting up to fix his golden (no poetry Hoechlin!) eyes on Tyler. Tyler stares.
“How many lives do you have left?” Tyler blurts out. Dylan watches him, eyes shuttered for one of the few times since Tyler's known him, before shifting into a crouch.
Fight or flight, Tyler thinks. It's exactly the way he's thought about Derek behaving if anyone ever figured out what he was without his permission.
“Three,” Dylan says after an indeterminate amount of time. He presses his hands down against the roof, fingers curling into the metal and denting it.
“Holy shit,” Tyler says, a million questions bubbling up in his mind. He settles for the first one he can pin down: “How?”
“Runs in the family,” Dylan says, shrugging. There's a bare hint of a smile at the edge of his mouth and Tyler desperately wants to draw it out.
“You're a -” werecat, Tyler can't say even though he's on a show that's about werewolves and has had killer lizards in it. Wait. “Are werewolves real too?”
Dylan's head tilts to one side for a moment and then he relaxes, his great open-mouthed laughter bursting out as he flops back against the trailer roof.
“Oh my God,” he says. “Oh my God, Tyler, you find out I'm a werecat and the first thing you ask is about werewolves. You're so completely perfect.”
Tyler feels his cheeks go red and he ducks his head with embarrassment. Dylan is in his space within a matter of seconds, arms wrapping around him and face pressing into his neck. His nose drags over Tyler's throat and it forces Tyler to lift his head again. Dylan pulls back and looks at him.
“You smell so good when you blush like that,” Dylan explains, self-deprecating smile tugging at his lips. “Do you know how hard it is to not, just, smell you all the time?”
“I have a feeling you don't try very hard,” Tyler says, raising his eyebrows. “You're all over me constantly.”
“But I don't sniff you all the time,” Dylan says, dropping his head to rub his forehead over Tyler's shoulder. “Mostly I just like touching you.”
“Yeah, I got that,” Tyler says. He brings a hand up to pet over the back of Dylan's head.
“They're real,” Dylan says, lifting his head to look at Tyler again. It presses his neck back into Tyler's hand and it should be weirdly intimate but it just feels really good. Right.
“They're not pissed there's a werecat -” oh my God “- in a show about them?”
“Meh,” Dylan shrugs. “I don't think they really watch it. It's not exactly true to life.”
Tyler is weirdly annoyed about that – that werewolves exist and he might be playing one wrong. Dylan's mouth is curving up into a grin, which means it must be showing on his face, and he laughs that weird skittering laugh that Tyler finds endlessly endearing.
“You're doing pretty good with what you've got,” Dylan says, leaning their foreheads together. “Pretty sure you're not insulting anyone.”
“Is it wrong that I'm now more worried about that than all of this?” Tyler waves with the hand not drawing circles into Dylan's scalp. Dylan laughs again.
“Dude – I'd be surprised if you weren't,” Dylan pulls back just enough to butt his nose against Tyler's.
Tyler sort of desperately wants to kiss Dylan but he doesn't know, now, if Dylan's affection has just been the werecat in him or if he actually wants Tyler. Dylan takes the indecision away from him by tilting their faces together to catch Tyler's lips. The kiss is dry until suddenly it isn't, Dylan's tongue swiping out against Tyler's lips, pressing for entry. Tyler opens to Dylan the way he's been opening to Dylan for years and Dylan makes a happy noise.
He's totally calling that a purr now. He's allowed.
“Mine,” Dylan says when he breaks the kiss to rub their cheeks together. Tyler's about to say something to that when Dylan kisses him again and this kiss is -
- hard and claiming, edged with teeth and undercut by the undeniable taste that is simply Dylan, Dylan's hands gripping his hair and moving Tyler's head where he wants it and God, all Tyler can think about is how glad he is Dylan isn't wearing Stiles' hair buzzed anymore because he can do the same to him -
“- perfect,” Dylan's whisper falls between them and Tyler feels his skin heat in a completely different way at how wrecked he sounds.
“Looking good, guys,” Russell shouts up at them and Dylan starts. Tyler has visions of a cat's tail fluffing out in fright and has to muffle his laughter against Dylan's shoulder.
“Just – maybe stick to rehearsing the episodes were actually filming, yeah? Instead of the back nine?” there's a lot of laughter in Russell's voice, because he's a bastard.
Dylan flips him off and then cocks his head as Russell walks away. Tyler knows when Russell's out of ear-shot because Dylan slumps against him, cheeks splotchy red with embarrassment.
“It's not like everyone doesn't know,” Tyler says, rubbing a soothing hand over Dylan's back. He realises the truth of it as he says it; they've been heading towards this since the day they met and he's pretty sure the rest of the cast have a pool on them.
“I wanted to keep it between us for a little while,” Dylan mumbles and Tyler lifts him away from his chest, looking into his eyes.
“I don't think Russell will tell,” he says, lifting his shoulders. “But I don't think it will matter purely because I'm not going to be able to stop smiling at you.”
“Pfft,” Dylan flaps a hand, his usual humour returning to his voice. “It'll just be lost in the background noise of how you always look at me.”
Tyler laughs and tugs Dylan forwards for another kiss, this one short and sweet and terrifyingly comfortable.
“You want to run some lines?” Tyler asks when Dylan rocks back again. “Think I'm finally starting to get a grip on how Derek's going to feel about things.”
“Yeah?” Dylan asks, his eyes going shrewd. “How does he feel about it?”
“Constantly frustrated but in it for the long haul,” Tyler says, answering both the questions Dylan's asking. “He's become invested.”
“I can see that,” Dylan smiles, the rare smile that shows the edges of his teeth.
They climb back down into Dylan's trailer, Dylan dropping in with grace he would've hidden before, and curl up on the couch together, legs tangled up.
“Why does it smell in here? And why does the smell follow me around?” Tyler asks after they've run one scene. Dylan freezes where he's been tracing fingers over Tyler's forearms.
“Uh,” he says, flushing red. “How about we table that for another day?”
“It's going to be a weird answer, isn't it?” Tyler asks, leaning back with a sigh. Dylan tips a small smile at him.
“Better get used to it,” Dylan says, grabbing one of his Tyler's hands between his then blinking down at it like he didn't mean to. “It only gets weirder from here.”
The fifth time was when Dylan turned thirteen and had his first night out fully transformed. He can get carried away, running over rooftops and through whatever woods he can find, and he was at his worst as teenager, not listening to anyone. Hit by car, if you were wondering, and it wasn't fun at all.
Learned his lesson, though, and learned to drive the only risks he takes now are risks of the heart. Well. Mostly.
Dylan's supposed to be coming back from his family's in time for the first episode viewing party Jeff's arranged. That doesn't mean Tyler's prepared to walk into his bedroom and find a huge cat curled up on his bed. Dylan's answered a lot of his questions since Tyler found out, been pretty patient with him and only made a crack about Tyler turning into Stiles once, but this is something he's never shared.
Tyler has a feeling this is a big deal.
He's something like a mountain lion, and Dylan must've found that hilarious when they were working on season one, only his fur is closer to red-brown than the yellow-brown Tyler's used to seeing. He stretches when Tyler comes in and moves into a sitting position, watching Tyler with familiar eyes. He's really glad Dylan's eyes are the same – he has a feeling this would be weirder if they weren't.
“Jesus, Dyl,” Tyler says, reaching out hesitantly when he finds himself standing at the end of the bed. “You're beautiful.”
Dylan seems to like that, leaning his head into Tyler's hand and closing his eyes. The fur is short, a little soft under Tyler's fingers, and Dylan makes an extraordinary noise as Tyler scratches his fingers against it. He sits on the bed and Dylan presses into his side, resting his head on Tyler's shoulder. There's a familiar wildly sweet smell tickling Tyler's nose and he smiles.
“That's where the smell comes from,” Tyler says, turning his head to breathe deeply. “You transform in your trailer.”
And rub yourself all over me, Tyler adds to himself. Which explains why the smell follows him around.
“Oh, my gosh,” Tyler says, turning a side-eye on Dylan. “You scent me.”
Dylan looks as abashed as a big cat can look and lies down to rest his head in Tyler's lap. Tyler scratches behind Dylan's ears and shakes his head.
“You're ridiculous,” he says, smiling fondly. “But I love you for it so -”
Dylan heaves out a huge breath and closes his eyes and Tyler has a feeling that may have been the first time he's told Dylan he loves him.
There is nothing normal about them. He finds he doesn't mind.
The sixth time Dylan was twenty-one. He and Posey were dicking around, Posey was high and thought anything was a good idea, and Dylan remembers the fall from the wall and forcing himself not to twist and land on his feet. The crack of his neck. He also remembers opening his eyes to Tyler's panicked, gutted face and realising a lot of things about Tyler all at once.
Six lives down is a pretty fair exchange for finding out that Tyler Hoechlin is in love with you. He wouldn't suggest you try it at home, though.