“I wrote a song for you,” Tyler said one day towards the end of January. Tyler had been quiet most of that month; he told Josh it was the month a “civil war” raged inside his head and Josh wasn’t going to say anything. “Winter depression,” Tyler referred to it as, and Josh knew he got it bad. It was something he had noticed even before he started dating Tyler; during January, Tyler missed a lot of school.
He blinked as he looked up from his pre-calc assignment at his boyfriend’s grinning features across the kitchen table. “You wrote me a song?”
“Yep!” He popped the P, pushing out of his chair to pull Josh out of his as well. Josh laughed as Tyler pulled him upstairs to his own bedroom.
Once they were inside, Tyler forcefully shoved Josh down onto the bed and pulled his ukulele out of the closet.
“Is this what you’ve been working on these past few weeks?” asked Josh as he crossed his arms across his chest. Tyler nodded.
“You’re the first person I’ve written a song about,” he mumbled, face blossoming into a hundred shades of red. Josh grinned.
With a shaky breath, Tyler closed his eyes and strummed the first chord. It was soft and gentle, his slender fingers moving across the strings like he had been playing two years instead of two months. Josh didn’t dare breathe as Tyler sang.
“I don’t care what’s in your hair, I just wanna know what’s on your mind,”
Josh ran his fingers through his hair self consciously, magenta rising to his cheeks.
“I used to say I wanna die before I’m old but because of you I might think twice.”
When Tyler let the final chord ring out, Josh stared at him with watery eyes. He pulled off his glasses to wipe away the tears he was determined to not let fall. For men, the two of them surely did cry a lot.
“What do I think?” Josh scoffed. “That was incredible. I can’t believe you wrote that about me.”
“I don’t know if I’d be alive right now if you hadn’t come into my life at the time you did.” he looked at the carpet. “I was struggling.”
“We’re all broken people.”
“Some more than others.” Tyler’s smile was back. “You made my winter depression bearable this year.”
“Glad I could be of some service.” Josh returned Tyler’s grin. “You’ve helped me see the world in a different light Ty, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.”
“I introduced you to the fear of oblivion.”
“Mother Nature’s own black veil.” Josh reached for Tyler’s hand. “Oblivion is scary.”
“But I’m not going to fall into it, not when you’re here with me.”
Josh squeezed Tyler’s hand. “I’m never going to let you fall.”
February 8th became the most important day in Josh’s life.
Tyler had given Josh a ride to school that day, and when Alex came over to say something snooty, Tyler punched him right in the nose. The crack was deafening and rang across the entire parking lot, causing a flock of birds to shoot out of a nearby tree. Josh stared in shock with the rest of the student body as Alex wiped the blood away from his nose and stared at Tyler in fury.
“What the fuck Tyler?”
“Fuck you,” Tyler replied, pointing a finger at Alex. “I’m tired of you treating people like they’re lower than you. I’m tired of pretending to be friends with you and the rest of the dicks like you. So you can go fuck yourself.” Then he sauntered away, leaving Alex with his mouth open as the crowd filled with low chatter.
Josh ran to catch up with Tyler’s fast pace. “Tyler?”
Tyler only grinned.
At lunch, Josh felt a tap on his shoulder. His fellow tablemates looked up in disgust at the Tyler Joseph, Brendon’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. He knew the two of them had been doing something, but he hadn’t figured out what.
Tyler pulled him out of his chair, and with one playful grin, slammed his lips against Josh’s. Josh swore he heard the entire lunchroom gasp, but he was too lost in the rhythm of their mouths to care. Tyler entangled his fingers in the baby hairs at the nape of Josh’s neck and Josh almost forgot he was in the lunchroom.
Until of course, Brendon yelled out “WHAT THE FUCK!” and Debby shouted “I KNEW IT!” from across the cafeteria. Josh knew people were whispering, but he didn’t care one bit.
After that, Tyler reached for Josh’s hand and pulled him down a isolated hallway.
“I hope you were okay with me doing that.”
“You have no idea how long I’ve waited for you to do that.”
Tyler’s grin got bigger.
Things changed after that.
Tyler stopped sitting with his “friends” and started sitting next to Josh instead. His band friends (with the exception of Brendon) had been skeptical at first, but as they realized Tyler was not the person they thought he was began to relax around him.
Tyler began dressing in confidence, working his skinny jeans and his love for floral. One day he showed up wearing a floral kimono, and Josh could only shake his head and smile.
He stood up to his parents too, told them no more basketball, no more image. They were pissed at him and cut him off, but Tyler was fine with that. Josh helped him get a job at the Rue 21 next to Schmidt’s, where he could get all the floral he needed.
Tyler painted his nails. He bought cds and wrote more songs and played because he could. He smiled more, Josh noticed.
Josh introduced Tyler to his parents as his boyfriend, and he felt every single burden weighing heavily on his shoulders disappear.
Josh noticed that he was smiling more too.
On the night before graduation, the two of them sat on a porch swing outside of Tyler’s house. Tyler’s house was unfamiliar territory to Josh, but Tyler’s parents were a lot more accepting now. Tyler had talked to them and they worked out some of the conflicts that had been going on for far too long.
Tyler stared off into the darkness of the street, a sigh escaping his lips.
Josh looked up from his feet. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to leave you.”
It was Josh’s turn to sigh. “We won’t be very far away.”
“Two hours away is far too long.”
“That just means I’ll have to come visit you a lot.”
Tyler began playing with the hem of his shirt. “You changed my life you know.”
“You say that a lot, but I don’t think it’s true.”
He swiveled in his seat like Josh had just told him his cat died. “Don’t you ever say that. It’s a hundred percent true.” Tyler sighed again, turning to face the street once more. “I was terrified I was going to die before college. And now look. I’m graduating tomorrow.” his voice cracked, a scoff escaping his lips. “I can’t believe I’m going to college.”
“Either can I really,” Josh agreed. “I’m proud of you Tyler.”
Tyler reached for Josh’s hand.
“I’m proud of me too. So much has changed this year. I couldn’t have done this without you.”
Josh leaned his head against Tyler’s shoulder. “I’m still gonna be here for you. I’m expecting to see you at least once a month so we can kiss and watch a movie or something. You can show me your music and I’ll introduce you to more bands.”
Tyler chuckled softly. “We better see each other more than once a month.”
“I might throw a fit if we don’t.”
When Tyler Joseph had shown up on Josh’s doorstep, he hadn’t thought twice about the situation. When Tyler Joseph told Josh he liked him, when he showed that he wasn’t the jerk Josh believed he was, that was when things changed. Never in a million years did Josh think he would ever end up in a relationship with someone as unique and incredible as Tyler Joseph.
And as the two of them sat side by side, sweaty hands entangled between them as they stared off into the darkness of the neighbourhood, peace fell over Josh.
Everything was gonna be alright.