A/N: There was a review that AwayForLunch left that got me thinking. So this isn't what I had written for my next chapter, but the review said that Chase was kindest to Tyler -- in terms of torture. And I think that'd be an adorable relationship to create. So I wrote this chapter instead. And it's primarily chase and Tyler. It's an entirely different direction for the plot to go in and I hope you guys like it. Please review.
I dedicate this chapter to AwayForLunch, for the inspiration.
Tyler jerked awake with a sharp gasp. The world was fuzzy for a brief second before sliding into place. He jerked again when a figure moved beside him. That's right, he was lying on a couch in the hospital room Reid had been moved to. A bigger room paid in full by his guiltless father. But that didn't stop Reid from growing less responsive. Perhaps it was the dreams that continually plagued him; perhaps it was his inability to remain awake, with all the drugs pumping through his system. Perhaps it was because he was continually locked within these dreams, unable to wake himself. Trapped in these dreams with Chase; tortured over and over again. He had grown quiet, nearly silent, even though only two days had passed. He didn't laugh at Tyler's half hearted jokes and with Reid's recession, Tyler began to deteriorate as well. Both boys could sit silently in the room for hours and Reid wouldn't even attempt to break the silence. Caleb was losing the boys and he couldn't do anything to stop it. Even if he could stop Chase, then what? Would that fix Tyler and Reid? Would that turn them back into who they used to be, before all of this? He knew it wouldn't. He knew Chase had meant to damage them, to scar them. He knew Chase had gotten exactly what he had wanted. He had won already, even if Caleb killed him in the end. He'd already destroyed the covenant.
"Baby boy." The name, nearly one word, was almost a sigh. Sweet and serene, eager. Tyler jumped again, his head whipping around to see the person he knew the voice belonged to, the only person that managed to terrify him. The only person that managed to make him feel anything any more. "You look pretty when you're contemplative."
"I fell asleep sitting," Tyler mumbled. That's right. He'd been curled up in a chair, trying desperately to stay awake. And what for? The days were blending together. He hadn't showered in two days and he hadn't changed since he'd had that dream of Chase nailing Reid to a cross. He hadn't eaten anything in three days, even though Caleb kept bringing him trays of food. He knew he was losing weight rapidly and he knew his lack of energy wasn't just because of his psychological trauma, but also because he'd just stopped eating. It'd been nine days since he'd been attacked. He wasn't sore anymore; he didn't wince when he moved. The bruises had faded but remained as a distant reminder. A reminder he could ignore; sometimes. He still dreamt of Chase. Every night. It'd been four days since he'd found Reid nailed to that cross. Reid had been healing quickly but he still winced whenever he moved or breathed too deeply. He didn't yelp anymore though when he jostled his back. He still flinched whenever anyone tried to touch him. Only Caleb saw the hurt that flickered briefly across Tyler's face. He still slept on his stomach, sedated. He couldn't sleep on his back and he couldn't lay painless on his broken ribs. His concussion made him spacey and quiet. He stared a lot and blinked a lot. He had changed. Tyler noticed this when he had shouted at him. Right after Reid's father had left. Right after Sarah had excused herself to speak with Caleb; she'd been real polite about it, but they all knew she had really left so abruptly because she didn't want to witness their inevitable fight. He had confronted Reid and the two had fought. He realized his friend had changed when his friend, the toughest, loudest, rudest guy he knew, had flinched at the rise of his voice; a flinch that had forced a grimace across his bruised face. It had torn the fight from Tyler, and forced Tyler from the room.
Of course Tyler had returned. But the two hadn't shared a single word since -- in two days. He'd fallen asleep in a chair as he watched Reid sleep. Even in sedated sleep, Reid looked uncomfortable. He looked entrapped; pained.
"I know that," Chase sighed. It took Tyler a minute to realize Chase was kneeling beside the blue couch, frighteningly close, a hand curled around the cushion edge beneath Tyler's head. It took him another minute to realize he was still lying down, weak and vulnerable. And at the same time as the realization clicked, he shot up. Chase was quicker. A hand shot out and hit Tyler in the chest harder than necessary. The hand forced him back down to the cushion and held him there. His breathing hitched, and his heart raced. "You look so much prettier…lying down. Peaceful. Zen." Another hand reached out to cup Tyler's cheek. Tyler flinched beneath the touch, but the touch was so tender, so kind that he was stunned into stillness. A thumb stroked along his cheek bone. "I felt the compulsion to move you." he nodded toward the chair, still beside Reid's bed. "Make you more comfortable. Weird, huh?"
"Reid?" Tyler asked suddenly. He struggled against Chase's firm hand, still placed inconveniently on his chest, in an effort to glance past the older boy's shoulder. He vaguely recognized the annoyance flicker across Chase's face. "Is he --"
"He's fine," Chase assured him, pressing him more firmly against the couch. "I haven't touched him. In fact, he isn't even dreaming of me. First day in two weeks. He has you to thank for that."
His calloused thumb trailed from Tyler's cheekbone to his lips and dragged across his bottom lip. Tyler swallowed hard. His chest was beginning to hurt, but he wasn't sure if it was because of Chase's hand or his heart hammering against his ribs. "Is…am I--Is this a dream?"
A faint smile turned up Chase's lips. He'd always liked the youngest boy, even though he hadn't ever been on speaking terms with him. They weren't friends, not really. He liked Caleb, because Caleb was friendly. He accepted the boy with open arms and included him in nearly every facet of his life. Caleb tried to be his friend. He made Chase's job a great deal easier. He liked Reid because the boy appreciated the Power on the same level. He didn't see it as a curse, not yet. Or he hadn't seen it as a curse, before all of this. Perhaps his views had changed. But Tyler was different. He hadn't resented Chase, not like Pogue had. But he didn't accept him like Caleb. He remained in the background with Reid. But instead of ignoring him altogether, like Reid had tried, Tyler greeted him, in his quiet, almost but not quite hesitant voice. He always nodded to Chase when he passed him in the hall. But he remained distant, he never spoke to Chase, not really. It was always only Caleb.
"I'm sure you've already realized that your dreams might as well be reality," Chase murmured distractedly, his fingers tracing the contours of Tyler's face. The boy was tense beneath his touch and Chase liked that. Even he knew he had a thing for the submissive. He knew he needed fear, it was the only thing that seemed to turn him on now. "How do you get your skin so smooth?" He purred. "Surely you haven't left the hospital…in what….a week and a half? But you're still so soft…and you're hair…" His fingers slipped from Tyler's face to his hair. Tyler remained silent as Chase worked his fingers through his limp brown locks.
Reid had once said the same thing. One night, after a rough night of drinking; hardcore drinking. Tyler had taken him back to the dorms and proceeded to remain at his side as he puked. And he had complimented the boy, in a drunken slur. He had called him a good friend. Said he didn't deserve a friend like Tyler. But it was only as Tyler was dragging him back to his bed that Reid's fingers found his hair. Hair that wasn't gelled or styled in any particular way. He had called it soft. Like pillows, or feathers; clouds. He had told Tyler he liked it better that way. Tyler had to force Reid's hands away from his hair. …Boys…
"I'm tired, Chase." Tyler didn't know when he'd grown so comfortable with the older boy. But he was tired. He yawned. "Just leave me alone. For one night…"
Chase chewed on his bottom lip. A surprisingly indecisive moment for him. Tyler hadn't even thought he'd actually consider the request. Chase had spent his last dream peeling Tyler's skin from his chest. When had he grown a heart? Was that even possible? "Okay," he purred, leaning closer. "Sleep. I'll stay here. Watch over you."
The mere image of Chase watching him sleep made Tyler shudder. "Why?" He hissed. "Why are you still doing this? Why can't you stop? Leave us the fuck alone." He violently swatted away the hand still idly twisting his hair. The fingers had almost felt nice…it'd been so long since he'd been touched -- in that loving sort of way. It made him feel sick. He shoved away the hand holding him down and sat up quickly.
Chase shoved him back down almost instantaneously. It took all of his willpower for Tyler to remain still. He hated the idea of lying down next to Chase and he swallowed the feeling of how vulnerable such an act leaves him. His hands lifted without his consent and attempted to dislodge the fist Chase had buried in his shirt. The older boy swatted away his hands and gripped Tyler's chin forcefully in his hand. "I'm trying to be nice," Chase murmured quietly, his voice barely a whisper. "Civil, if you will. Don't be difficult."
"Why?" Tyler mumbled, shifting uncomfortably beneath Chase's heavy fist. "You've already done what you wanted to…you…." his voice broke off abruptly and he swallowed hard. His throat hurt. He knew it was closing; he knew a large lump was quickly rising and his eyes stung with tears he wouldn't be able to keep back long enough. Chase had already done enough to him, that's the message he wanted to convey -- the one that kept getting stuck in his throat. He was already broken; the oldest son could stop torturing him now. He wouldn't ever be able to heal. Reid wouldn't be able to heal. And Pogue…? Nobody knew what Chase had done to Pogue. Physical abuse, that's what Tyler had deduced. Tearing Pogue apart with force would damage his ego and his entire existence. But Tyler had been different. Getting beaten up wouldn't ever break the boy. But to touch him and to violate him and cause him pain on a whole new level…to use the boy…to take away his choice -- that's what had mattered. Tyler felt as if he didn't have a choice. He wasn't sure if he could ever control himself again. Could he really protect himself? Or would the Power just desert him again. And Reid…? Chase had taken one of the few things he had held dear - his power. He forced Reid to acknowledge what humans are capable of…what they would do just to punish him for being different. He didn't want to be different anymore.
But Reid and Pogue are tough, Tyler kept telling himself. Did they really cry themselves to sleep just because sleep is the last thing they would ever want -- just because in his dreams he could not escape Chase. In his dreams Chase could do whatever he wanted to him and Tyler wouldn't be capable of stopping him. He was just too weak. Too tired.
"Shhh," Chase shushed soothingly. His fist eased on Tyler's chin and he pushed a finger against the boy's lips. "I know that." He cleared his throat and disentangled himself from the youngest son completely, rocking back on his heels. "I don't know how much time I have left, Tyler." There was something strange about the way Tyler's name fell from his lips. It was no longer taunting, it didn't sting, not like it had in his dreams. "I don't know how to say this…I don't know what to say to make you believe me…." Chase paused, almost lost completely in thought.
Tyler eased himself into a sitting position while the boy deliberated. Chase made no move to stop him. "I'm….sorry…"
Tyler blinked. "What?" He croaked.
"Okay," Chase sighed. He sounded frustrated, but Tyler wasn't sure at whom. "It's different….for me. This…power. It's like it's some kind of animal, writhing around inside of me. Like it's impatient, or restless or something. But at times, it's almost human. It talks to me, and it uses these words that…it makes me want to do what it wants me to. But when I give myself over to it, it's like I surrender, Tyler. It's like I forfeit all right to my body until the Power grows tired. It's like I can't control myself."
Tyler cleared his throat. It felt nice. The lump had all but disappeared. "Why are you telling me this?" He asked. He wanted to demand it, but he sounded weak and his voice lost effect.
"Chase's piercing eyes lifted to capture Tyler's and he smiled. But his smile looked different. "At first it was kind of nice," he admitted quietly, ignoring Tyler's question. "It meant I'd have absolutely no conscience. I could do what I wanted to…what I needed to do…and it's like the consequences weren't even there. I never thought about all the bad I'd do to people. I never felt bad. But it's happening more and more…and it's happening before I decide to do it. It's like the Power is growing more…" He stopped gradually, as if at a lost for the accurate word.
"Powerful," Tyler supplied.
Chase gave him another smile. Tyler didn't like the feelings those smiles stirred within him. They weren't bad feelings and he hated himself for that. "Right. The Power is growing more powerful. And I don't have a choice anymore." He shook his head and for the first time Tyler realized just how old Chase looked. No. He could still pass for nineteen or twenty. But his face looked completely worn out like he hadn't slept in days. "Yeah, what I did to Pogue was my fault. And even you…I'm sorry, Tyler but…I did all of that. Even without the Power. But the shit I did to Garwin…I wanted to stop. For the first time in my entire life, I felt the urge, the need, the desire to stop. And I couldn't. It was like I was trapped inside of me, watching all this shit and thinking it all, but it wasn't my hands and it wasn't my words and….and I couldn't stop it. I can't control it. Now it just comes and goes whenever it wants to, like strategically or whatever. It wants Caleb's power more than I do now and I don't know what to do, Tyler."
"So?" Tyler prompted. His word was blunt and forced, but his voice was quiet, apprehensive. "What am I supposed to do? Why should I even help you?"
Chase's eyes darkened and Tyler recoiled. He couldn't identify the sadness laced thickly within his eyes, it was too foreign. All he knew was that when Chase had appeared in his dorm room, even before the boy had used, his eyes had been just as dark. Dark was bad. "I won't make you," he told him in a low, deep voice. "I'll leave you alone….as much as I can. I just thought you'd…."
"I'd what?" Tyler pressed, leaning forward slightly. "Feel more inclined to help you now that I know it isn't really you doing all of this to us? The Power doesn't twist itself, Chase. You have to be twisted to begin with. It's you that twists your power -- how your mind works and the stupid fantasies you have. Your hunger for more Power, your thirst for revenge is what broke your power. It hurts, doesn't it, Chase? That's why you're here. Not because you lost it on Reid, but because your Power isn't just hurting us, it's hurting you too. And that scares you."
Chase was quiet for a moment before his composure shattered. He slammed a hand down on the couch beside Tyler, smiling cruelly when the boy jumped. He leaned forward, rising on his knees so he and Tyler were face to face. The boy recoiled but he couldn't escape Chase's scowl. "I don't think I like your implications, Simms." Tyler swallowed hard, but he didn't care. He was tired of cowering. He was tired of the fear that continuously strangled him and left him gasping, blinking away tears. "Fine," Chase sighed. A puff of air escaped his chapped lips and brushed across Tyler's face. The boy tried to recoil further but the wall pressed hard against his back. "Caleb is next though. And if you thought what I did to Reid was bad….it can't get any better…" He forced a grim smile to his face. "But I tried."
Chase shoved himself away from Tyler and to his feet. In the back of his mind, Tyler wanted to believe this was a dream, but if it were a dream, then why was Chase heading for the door? He supposed this was the part where he called out in desperation to stop Chase, but he never did. Chase pulled open the door and slipped from the room. The slamming door woke Reid with a start. "What the fuck?" He mumbled drowsily, blinking furiously. Tyler jumped at the noise. He wasn't dreaming. "Baby boy…?"
"Sorry," Tyler apologized, running a hand through his bed ridden hair. "It's nothing. You should try to go back to sleep." Reid shifted in bed, grimacing at the pain that rippled through him. It took Tyler a moment to realize that Reid was trying to shove himself into a sitting position. He leapt to his feet and appeared at Reid's side before the boy had progressed. He shoved him back down, his hand warmer and softer than Chase's had been. "Just go back to sleep, Reid."
"Fuck that," Reid huffed. He was supposed to be healing, but it seemed like his pain was getting worst. Tyler had tried to rationalize that maybe they were giving him less medication as he healed. "I'm getting tired of seeing him."
"You had a dream?" Tyler asked, cocking his head to the side. But Chase had been sitting beside him, he had been talking to him. Tyler had looked into his eyes -- eyes he realized were much more softer than the last time he saw them; in his dreams, darkened with magic and raw desire.
Reid almost shrugged, but he didn't. He stopped himself. "Just like all the other ones I've had," he mumbled, his voice riddled with defeat. "Every time I close my eyes. But it was different….this is gonna sound stupid, Tyler…."
Tyler waited patiently but the blonde didn't continue. "Just tell me about your dream, Reid," He chided quietly. "I won't judge you. We've all been having shitty dreams."
Reid's eyes, dull and cloudy, darted up to meet Tyler's. Tyler could see the hesitation within his gaze. The laughter and mischief wasn't there anymore. "It was different," Reid repeated. "Like…I don't fucking know…broken. Like it was distorted and nothing made sense but it still bothered me. He was talking in riddles, but it wasn't the normal riddles. It was riddles that…I don't know…fucking Alice in Wonderland riddles, Ty. That's what it was. It was a fucking Wonderland. But twisted and broken and dark and…it didn't feel like Chase. It felt like somebody else, but the only person there….the only one I recognized was him."
Tyler was quiet for a moment. There was a look twisting his face, but it was a look that Reid recognized. The younger boy was thinking. He was analyzing his dream, tearing it apart and putting it back together to force it to make sense. "I don't think it was Chase," he murmured after a few minutes of deliberating. It was Reid's turn to cock his head to the side in confusion. "Maybe the only one you recognized was Chase because he's already broken. Maybe it was your subconscious trying to tell you that he hasn't broken any of us. We're still….here, I guess. We were unfamiliar because we were too lost in your dream for even you to recognize. But Chase….he doesn't change. He can't change….he's already shattered. Fucking fractured."
Reid shook his head slowly. It did all much sense. But so fucking what? What did that even mean? He wasn't broken? Reid Garwin -- who woke up sweating and shivering every night. Reid Garwin, who wanted to curl up in a ball and wait for it all to end. Reid Garwin, who wanted to just quit and let things slowly, but surely, melt back to the way things were before Chase -- the way it was all supposed to be. He wasn't broken? And Tyler? Tyler, who was quite possibly even worst than Reid. Tyler, who recoiled whenever anyone tried to touch him; who had grown nearly silent yet ten fold more observant and calculating; who tried not to sleep because he feared his dreams more than he feared reality….Tyler, who walked around with this broken expression carved into his face…who looked so different, he wasn't even the same person. Who was somebody else….someone distant, even to Reid. Somebody who no longer had the motivation or the drive to progress in life. Pogue was still unconscious, still trapped in eternity with Chase. And Tyler had the nerve to suspect they weren't broken?
"I don't think it was Chase," Tyler repeated quickly. "Because Chase was here. In this room. I was sitting in front of him and he wasn't Using, Reid."
"The fuck you just say?" Reid hissed, nearly before Tyler had finished. "He fucking what?"
"It wasn't a dream…" Tyler assured him in his rational tone. "The door slamming -- what woke you up -- that was him. He wanted our help…"
Reid was surprisingly quiet for a moment. He seemed almost speechless, at a loss for words. "What's he need help with?" He asked after a moment of deliberation.
"His Power," Tyler answered stiffly. "He says it's getting out of hand. It's like…controlling him, I guess. He can't stop it from doing certain things. Like crucifying his brother and raping his other brother and beating his other brother to a bloody pulp." Tyler huffed, suddenly angry. But Reid waited quietly for the boy to continue. "He's scared. He doesn't know what will happen with Caleb but…but all he's got left now is death, Reid. He's going to kill Caleb because his Power wants Caleb's power and once he gets more Power….I think that's what scares him. I think he knows he will be lost if he gets more Power, because his Power's growing all on its own. Once Caleb is dead, Chase will be dead too. His Power won't need him anymore. It'll kill him."
"So the fucker wants our help?" Reid demanded. His voice came out in a harsh shout and he grimaced at the movement of his chase. "How is that even possible?" He hissed. "We're on the fucking injured list. The only one who can help him is --"
"Caleb," Tyler answered quickly. "Yeah. I know. But wouldn't helping him help us?" Reid scoffed derisively. "What? He doesn't want to kill Caleb. And we don't want him to. Isn't the enemy of our enemy our friend?"
"Except Chase is the enemy," Reid told him quietly. "It's his body…his --"
"Power," Tyler agreed. "Don't be so hypocritical, Reid," he added. "Don't act like you don't know. Like this is his fault…like he could have stopped it."
"Shut up, man," Reid snapped, his face distorting with a scowl. "How can you defend that bastard….after what he did to you…how he touched you; how can you even see his side of all of this? He nailed me to a fucking cross, Tyler!"
Tyler took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He said he didn't meant to. "I know that, Reid," he murmured. "But you did a lot of shitty things too, when you were addicted."
"Oh god," Reid moaned. He heaved himself into a sitting position, violently swatting away Tyler's attempts to stop him. He bit back his sharp hiss of pain only because his mounting anger was fueling him. "I never raped anyone, Tyler. I never took a whip -- a fucking sharp ass whip -- to someone's back. I never crucified anyone. Or jumped anyone. I never sought more Power, Tyler."
"He wanted revenge," Tyler agreed. "He has direction. And his power gets that…his Power is taking that direction and using it for itself. Just as your Power manipulated your issues with your mother. Just as it forced you into a much darker path…because it saw how lonely you were, and it saw how miserable your mother made you -- just because you'd inherited your father's --"
"Tyler," Reid snapped. "Stop it. This isn't fucking about me. I never tried to kill anybody. I wouldn't do that."
"Doesn't mean it didn't almost happen," Tyler hissed. Normally, he'd let Reid win. Sure, they'd gotten into their own fair share of fights, but Tyler tried to steer clear of them. He wasn't going to let the blonde shove him aside this time, though. He'd denied Chase, but he wasn't sure anymore. He wasn't sure if Chase was somehow some sort of…innocent…the word sounded dirty and wrong. It doesn't matter. He wasn't sure if Chase was somehow a victim. Maybe Chase was trying to stop…to stop all this -- to stop his own Power. Tyler had seen the turmoil and conflict contorting Reid's features when the boy had been battling addiction. Chase was obviously addicted. And ascended. The Power had to be far worst. Greedy. It had to be more powerful and greedier.
"I'm not helping him," Reid all but spat. His eyes had darkened as his gaze grew harder, focused completely on Tyler. "And if you do…if you do --"
"You'll what, Reid?" Tyler prompted. "Take back your red crayon? Never talk to me again? I'm tired of this shit. Do whatever it is you will do, when you heal completely, just stop bitching about it. He asked for our help. I am going to help him. I don't care if you won't. And I don't care if Caleb won't. I will."
"He could die," Tyler snapped. "Not only could he die, but his Power would be running rampant. We could all die, Reid. Lives will be lost because you're too damn stubborn to help him. I know what he has done is horrible. I won't forget. You won't forget. We won't ever be able to forget. We won't forgive. But being better than he is involves acting better, Reid. He needs our help. I'm gonna help him, and if you were my friend, you'd help him too."